27.2.13

Here comes Peter Cottontail

With Valentine's Day over, I turned some Springy attention to my mantel. Time to show it some bunnyish love (minus actual bunnies).















































I don't normally make my 'Spring mantel' so Eastery but with my little guy taking more notice of the decorating I do these days (he'll be four at the end of March) I though it was high time to tap back into my inner child and pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat.

I didn't really have a set vision in mind (as you will see later) but one of the main jumping off points was the (always great) seasonal subway art from Eighteen 25. You can see all of their amazing creations here, and how I used their Christmas one here and Fall one here. So fun.



















I placed some eggs in a green tin I had on hand, a nice way to nod to Easter without getting all baskety and raffiafied.

To play off the pinks in the subway art I used one of my favourite candle holders (bought a few summers ago for my back deck). I still think the 'legs' look like stiletto heels ;)












































The white candle holder is one I've had for years. It houses a large pillar candle and projects a neat 'swiss cheese' pattern when lit. I thought it complimented the 'spring' look well. Nice and light and airy.

The pink bowl in the background was a gift from my parents. I placed some cotton branches and little wicker decorative balls in it.





















To frame the subway art I used a frame I had (originally painted for my Christmas mantel a few years back) and mounted the art on some wrapping paper I had. I love the crisp green - very Easter like in my opinion.












































And a photo of it all put together again for you... You can also see the white ceramic bark vases far left. I got those in the Fall and have been using them non-stop ever since. You can see them in use here, here and here.

Clean and simple. Just the way I like it. 

And since I like to challenge myself to see if I can figure things out, I took a video of the whole thing and time-lapsed it (so you can see my 27 different variations before I decided on this one – if that's your kind of jam). But warning, this video holds absolutely no educational value and is probably not going to get any high marks for entertainment value either. Definitely no Oscars for this little piece of confusion. But I had fun doing it (that's all that counts right?)


video

What about you? Ready for the Easter Bunny yet? Any Spring mantels that you'd like to share? I'm all ears (ha, pun intended).


Linking to:
The DIY Dreamer
The Style Sisters
This Silly Girl's Life
Housewife How-To's
Liz Marie
Serenity Now
Craftberry Bush
The Shabby Nest
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
A Jennuine Life

25.2.13

What's in a name?

A really good friend of mine had a sweet little baby boy on Thursday. When she told me his name - Evan - I immediately saw some interesting typography in my mind, so later that evening I whipped up a little art gift before I forgot it.


The process was simple enough to do in my graphic design program (Adobe Indesign). First I made a block of colour (background) which was 7" x 5". I chose a warm gray (Pantone Warm Gray 5), then I typed the words "LOVE" and "EVAN" in a font named "Cabin" at 125 pt. (a free font that can be downloaded here).  I overlapped the last two letters of 'love' and the first two of 'Evan' and set the 'Evan' font block to "multiply" in the effects palette.  I then set an opacity of 46%. And for those wondering, the colour I used for 'Evan' is Pantone 322.

Then I typed "the sweetest little baby boy..." below it in the font 'Bickley script' (download from here) and set the colour to "Pantone Cool Gray 11".

This is just how I did it of course, you can get the same affect through Photoshop or other programs that have some design capability.

The neat thing about the typography in this gift is that the last two letters of the word 'love' are reflected in Evan's name. (i.e. in 'love' we end with 've' but in 'Evan' we start with the opposite arrangement 'ev').

Here are a few other examples of how you could play with something like this: SPECIAL and LAYLA - see how 'special' ends with 'al' and then 'Layla' start with the opposite 'la'. Or, how about LOVE with EVIE, EVA, or even EVELYN. Or, JOY and YOLANDA. SWEET and TEAGEN, PURE and ERIN, or (my fave) LOVEABLE and ELAINE (ha!). See, the possibilities are endless!

Here is a better look at the the script line...

To frame it, I used a white frame with an interesting wood grain detail.

I got to meet baby Evan this weekend and give him a lot of cuddles. Mommy and Daddy enjoyed this gift and hopefully one day when he's old enough, little Evan will too.

What did you get up to this weekend? Any highs from 'new baby smell'? Any impromptu artwork projects? Regardless, I hope it was a nice one. Have a good week all!

Linking to:
Liz Marie
Serenity Now
Craftberry Bush
The Shabby Nest
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
A Jennuine Life

22.2.13

Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got...

... Jenny from the block I'm not.

But I DO have some new sparkle! This post is all about jewellery upcycling yo.


I've been meaning to do this for years. A long time. Are you with me when I say I had a super stylin' Ziploc full of battered jewellery that needed some lovin? You know your fave pieces that break, go out of style, wear out or just get generally dingy? 

It's like that orchid you received as a gift in 2008 that you accidentally killed yet you still hold on to it in case it comes back? Well, I'd like to introduce you to my orchid.






So much potential... Let's get to fixin' and revamping these pieces shall we? All you need is a bit of imagination and a few sets of pliers and wire snips as seen above.

This first upcyle was made from the chain of a broken necklace that I owned and a necklace that my friend (she's a manager at a accessories store) gave me as a hand-me-down (#thanksKaelayourock). I've lucked out many times getting things she no longer wants (score for me). Some I wear as is, but others have made it to my pile above for the reasons mentioned.

 This piece was actually inspired but one of my favourite Stella and Dot necklaces.

This next one was from a necklace that my neighbour gave me. It was hers, but she wasn't wearing it. She asked if I wanted it as I tended to wear chunkier pieces than her so I gladly accepted! The only problem was it hung at a weird length for me so I didn't tend to use it. But then I had an idea...


I love the double strand chain.

This next one was a simple revamp of one of my favourite necklaces. I adore the rose clasp and used to wear this all the time. The chain had worn down and due to loosing it's finish tended to kink and roll on itself. I noticed in the multi-chain hand-me-down from my store manager buddy that there was a chain that I could use to bring my favourite necklace back to life! I know the multi-chain necklace looks really pretty from this far view but unfortunately when you got up close you could see that some of the strands and overall condition had seen better days.



Moving along I made a new necklace out of a silver chain I had. The pendant was originally a white flower but had started to degrade and yellow. The leaf was actually an earring! I had lost the other one but loved it so much that I kept it thinking it would made a great pendant. I also used a piece of chain I had on hand to make an 'extender'.






If you follow me on instagram or Facebook, you may have seen this 'sneak peak' on Tuesday...


This is one of my favourites. The chunky teal necklace was a hand-me-down from the same neighbour who gave me the gold and orange one above. It came on a brown suede rope and the beads had a simple knot between them. The suede broke one day and so I revamped it into this new piece, adding yet another orphaned earring as the centrepiece. I also added an extender to this necklace too from another fragment of chain that I had.




This is so fun!

Okay, moving along. This next one combined two strands of pearl from the multi-strand necklace, as well as a link from the gold/orange one and a little cluster that had broken free of the chain used above in Stella and Dot inspired piece.


This last necklace again used a few strands from the multi-strand necklace along with a few gray beads from another one and the clasp from a bracelet. Again, all hand-me-down pieces.



I also had a charm bracelet but the charms weren't really my 'look'. So I simply removed them creating a new cleaner look that was much more 'me'.





















































And this last little one is more of a 'tip' should you have any pieces in need of the same help. I have this adorable ring (again, thanks Kaela) but one of the little 'diamonds' fell out. I simply dabbed a small bit of white nail polish into the recess and now the little discrepancy isn't so noticeable!
So there you have it. Nine 'new to me' or refurbished pieces of jewellery that come in at a bank busting total of zero dollars spent. Now that's my kind of shopping ;)
What about you? Any jewellery surgery as of late? And ridiculously generous friends and neighbours who shower you with hand-me-downs? If nothing else, you now know another use for nail polish aside from fixing tears in your pantyhose!
And that makes a good day doesn't it? TGIF friends!




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20.2.13

Are you pulling my leg!?






Nope. I'm pulling your pork (shoulder).

Well, actually Chef Kev is.... he made Pulled Pork. What did you think I was talking about?










































prep time: 10 minutes assembly
cooking time: 6-8 hours in a crock pot

sauce:
2/3 cup ketchup
2 tbsp dijon mustard
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp ancho chile powder
2 tbsp worchester
3-4 peeled and crushed garlic cloves
2 tsp ground coriander seed
3 tbsp golden brown sugar
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
1 whole chopped white onion

3 lb pork shoulder
coleslaw (store bought or homemade from your favourite recipe)

the how-to:

Mix all the 'sauce ingredients' together in your slow cooker.

Prepare your pork shoulder by seasoning with salt and pepper. Add to slow cooker and cook for 6 - 8 hours. Remove your pork from the slow cooker and sauce. Let it stand, covered with aluminum foil, for 5-10 mins.

While the meat is resting, pour the sauce from the slow cooker into a pot. Over med-low heat, skim off any excess fat and reduce to desired thickness.

After it's nap, shred the well-rested pork with a few forks (hey, that rhymes!). Then, add the meat back into the sauce. Mix well.

Serve on fresh portugese bun. Top with your favourite coleslaw or (optional) shaved onion.

Redonculously good. Enjoy!


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18.2.13

Tick tock on the clock (But the party don't stop, no)

Sorry, just channeling my inner Ke$ha (minus the raunchiness).

But, speaking of Tocks, what is this space here missing?














































ShizzBLAM! 100 points if you guessed a CLOCK.













































Now let me wicka-wicka-reeeewinnnnd.

This is our master bathroom. When I get ready in the morning Chef Kev is still fast asleep. As a result I keep the master bathroom door closed and find myself constantly peeking out of the bathroom to check the time on the alarm clock on my nightstand. Annoying. I found myself constantly thinking 'hey, I should get a clock in here'...

So I did.





















Might just be the best $9 I ever spent. Thank you Real Canadian Superstore.

I especially like the lightly brushed finish on the frame.





















Now, since I've invited you in to my bathroom, I should offer you the courtesy of a tour (aka, turning around).

I did touch on our master bathroom WAY back in this post but here are a few pictures as I'm sure many of you have never seen it before.

I think most of this is pretty self-explanatory but I'm sure I'll ramble about it anyway. The only really major change we've made since we moved in is the blue paint. It used to be fire engine red. It made me kind of angry. It had to go. Now she feels much calmer... (the bathroom AND me).

So, to state the obvious, here are a few towel hooks right outside of the shower...












































And the shower itself. She's a biggin'.












































Turning around you will see the 'sink and mirror wall'. Complete with ugly tile counter that shows every single mark and water drop. That is my way of saying that we did not do that 'upgrade'. If I had an unlimited budget it would be gonzo.




















A few other little touches that I do like... starting with our little 'his' and 'hers' hand towel hooks that I picked up when we visited England in 2008.












































The 'soothe' sign that sits next to the 'renew' one you saw earlier...












































I should paint those with the same white as the panelling shouldn't I? They look a bit off-white but in reality aren't/shouldn't be.

Here is the funky 'stem' of my favourite pedestal mirror. I love this mirror so much that I actually bought it before I ever purchased my first place. And I still love it all these years later.









































Chef Kev bought me a large jewellery case a few years back for Valentine's Day (you can see it above next to the sink). I especially love the delicate little knobs...





















And on top of that sits my pretty collection of perfume. And of course, I work in a perfume-free office.





















Ha. Oh well. I can wear it on weekends. You know, for when I do laundry and dishes.

I hope you enjoyed this random virtual tour through my bathroom. I'm so glad you could stop by? Awkward... Umm, I'll just end with another Ke$ha quote from the post title song.  "Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy". Oh man. Still awkward isn't it...

Linking to:
Design, Dining and Diapers
DIY Dreamer

15.2.13

Chicken Chorizo Quesadilla


I LOVE quesadillas, and this one didn't disappoint! Thank you Chef Kev. I owe you a foot rub (don't quote me on this but if you do I will claim my blog was hi-jacked). Okay, so, on with the show...
 
 
 
To make these bad boys (or girls, whatever) here is what you need to know!
 
cook time 15 mins. prep time 30-35 mins. makes 4 quesadillas

Ingredients:
2 shallots
red wine vinegar
brown sugar
2 medium 'on the vine' tomatoes or 12 strawberry tomatoes
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 avocados
1 lime
1-2 tbsp hot sauce
1 small can black beans
1 small can sweet corn
fresh cilantro
2 chicken breasts
5-6 oz dry chorizo sausage
canola oil
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
small (6-8") tortillas
cheese - shredded (a blend of your favourite cheeses)
sour cream
salt and pepper

You'll need to prep these things first (yum):

pickled shallots: mince your shallots and place them in a small bowl. Marinate them in red wine vinegar (just enough to cover the shallots) and brown sugar. Set aside.

tomatoes: Dice your tomatoes and place them in a bowl. Add the white wine vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir and set aside.

guacamole: Pit and hollow the avocados into a bowl. Juice one lime into the bowl and add add your hot sauce (Chef Kev uses sriracha). Season with salt and pepper. Use a masher and mash it up (hee hee. 'mash' is a funny word). Set aside.

corn 'n beans: empty your drained cans of corn and beans into a bowl. Chop a handful of fresh cilantro and add. Set aside.

Now we're cookin' with gas! (or electric - whatevs)
chicken and sausage: Dice the chicken and chorizo sausage. Add some canola oil to a pan and heat. Once hot, add chicken and sausage to pan. As you are cooking add paprika, ancho chile, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper (to taste). Saute until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. 

Drain your shallots. Mix them with the corn, beans and cilantro. 

Heat a non stick griddle. Place two tortillas on griddle and spoon on chicken chorizo mixture. Spread a handful of cheddar cheese on top. Finish with another tortilla on top of that. Flip quesadilla when bottom tortilla is golden brown. Brown other side. 

Now the fun part!
To plate, add your quesadilla and top with guacamole, sour cream, and tomatoes. Add your black beans and corn on the side.

... and enjoy!

 
Like what the chef is serving? See all of Chef Kev's creations here.

13.2.13

DIY Valentine's Art

As you may recall from my Valentine's Day mantel, I made my own bunting (tutorial here) and "love" art. As promised, here is how I created the "love" art plaque!

Here it is sitting pretty on my Valentine's Day mantel.

The first step was to get a board. My dad has a workshop in his basement so I asked if he had any MDF or plywood scraps kicking around. I gave him a general idea of the proportions I was hoping for and what he found for me was an 11.75" x 22" MDF board. Thanks Dad!

I began by priming my board. I was using acrylic paint which is pretty resilient but I still wanted to prime it first to be safe. Priming gets your surface ready for the paint you are using - protecting from any 'bleed through' coming off the board as well as allowing your paints to go down smoothly and work to their best ability. Don't forget to do the edges too! I actually did the back as well since it was going to be propped up against a mirror.

Here is the primer I used. I had it (and the brushes and paint) on hand from when I did a portrait of my little guy Chace.

After the primer had dried, I painted a really loose 'border' in a teal shade. This will make sense below.

Once that had dried, I went over the whole canvas with white paint. I even painted over my teal border but here I allowed some of the teal to 'peek' through. I painted the white paint loosely here and even did a bit of dry brushing. 'Dry brushing' is where you don't have much paint on your brush so that when you paint it is quite 'dry' and does not lay down uniformly. 

The reason I painted the white over the teal is so that I could created a soft layered effect. As you can see above, the edges are quite defined if you paint the teal on top of the white. I'm all about the layas people!

The next thing I did was print the word 'love' out on a laser printer using vinyl adhesive stock. The font I used is called "Lavanderia". You can download it for free here!

Here is how it looked when I printed it. I didn't like the flourish at the end of the letter 'e' (it sort of made it look like a written letter 's') so I let that run off the page.

Then I cut the word out using scissors and an exacto blade. I didn't get too hung up on being perfect as I knew this was the sort of art that would generally be viewed from a distance. 

From there I simply peeled off the back and stuck it down. I placed it in the top third of the board and at an angle (just because I thought it looked the best there for the look I had in mind).

Next was the really fun part... painting! I painted right over the adhesive word using varying shades of pink. To do this I simply squirted some red and white paint on to my palette and mixed and painted as I went along. I kept it nice and free. You'll also notice that I was careful not to cover up the bits of teal peeking through. I did in a few spots, but left quite a few as they were from the earlier step.


Once I had the board filled with shades of red, pink and white (and teal) I started adding in a few other hints of colour - such as bits of yellow and a bit more teal...

Once I was happy with the colouring I started peeling off the black 'love' word BEFORE my paint dried. The adhesive word did not come off in one big piece so expect to have to pick it off in stages. I used the tip of a knife to get under the sticker.

There were a few spots were the paint had seeped under...

But I simply waited for the paint to dry and then retouched those spots up with a small brush and some white paint.

Once it was all dry it was ready for display!

Here are a few close ups of some of the painted areas. You can see how I layered in teal and yellow a bit better here...

And a good example of the 'dry brushing' effect I mentioned earlier.

And there she has it! One easy DIY Valentine's Day art for you. What I like about this type of art is the options are limitless. Imagine this at Christmas with the word 'merry' in shades of gold and silver or even something fun like 'hunt' in pastel hues for an Easter egg hunt. Or 'BOO' in black and orange for Halloween! 

But today we focus on love. And with that I wish you all a very Happy Valentine's Day. 

linking to:
the diy dreamer
i heart naptime
craftberry bush
Serenity Now
The Shabby Nest
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
 
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