Probably my favourite thing to do when I have spare time is bake.  I find the science of baking so interesting, and I love to measure and mix a bunch of ingredients and create a (delicious) masterpiece!

 

One of the best recipes I’ve ever created is my Cherry-Vanilla Bean Scones.  When my husband returned to school in 2006 I got to know one of his professors, and upon hearing that I baked daily, she asked me if I would bake her some scones. These are the scones that I created for her, which she deemed the best she’d ever had!  I’ll let you be the judge!

 

Scones Collage

 

Combine the dry ingredients, then cut-in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.

 

Scones3

 

Add the cherries.

 

Scones4

 

In another bowl, combine the cream, sour cream and vanilla.

 

Scones5

 

Pour the cream mixture into the dry mixture, and stir just until combined.

 

Scones6

 

At this point you can either shape the mixture into individual scones, or put the entire dough into a greased 8″ cake pan.  Bake at 350℉ for 20mins.  You may need to adjust the time if you bake your scones individually, so keep an eye on them!

 

Scones7

 

While your scones are baking, prepare the glaze. Slice one vanilla bean down the center and scrape the beans from inside with a sharp knife.

 

Scones8

 

Add the vanilla beans to your confectioner’s sugar, then add your cream and mix well.

 

Scones9

 

Scones10

 

Allow your scones to cool for about 30 minutes.

 

Scones11

 

Pour your icing over top.  Slice your scones like a cake, and enjoy!

 

Scones12

 

Please make sure to leave me a comment if you bake these scones, and let me know what you think!

 

Scones1

 

 

Cherry – Vanilla Bean Scones

Scone Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tbsp butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup 10% cream
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350℉ . Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the cream, sour cream and vanilla extract. Now mix the wet and dry mixtures just until combined. Form dough into individual scones and place on a cookie sheet, or bake as a whole in a greased 8″ round cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Note: Time may need to be adjusted if scones are baked individually.

Glaze Ingredients:

1 madagascar vanilla bean
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup 10% cream

Cut vanilla bean down the centre and scrape the seeds from inside with a small knife. In a bowl, combine the vanilla seeds, confectioner’s sugar and cream until creamy.

Remove scones from oven. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, then pour the glaze over them. Slice as you would a cake, and enjoy!  For those of you watching your calorie intake, I’m including the nutrition facts.

 

Scone Nutrition Facts

One thing I seem to have a ridiculous amount of around my house are trinket dishes and boxes.  They’re just so handy for storing and displaying my small treasures!

 

Living Room Trinket Boxes

 

Crab Trinket Box

 

Dining Room Trinket Dish2

 

Peacock Trinket Dish

 

Pottery Trinket Dish

 

You’ve probably realized by now that I’m a bit of a hoarder maximalist!  It is my personal mission to rescue all of the pretty and interesting things from thrift stores and display them in my house.  This will probably come back to bite me in the ass someday when I can’t even get my front door open, but for now, I love it!

 

Here are some of my favourite trinket dishes and boxes from around the web!  Click the thumbnail for sources.

 

 

So here’s a super easy DIY for anyone feeling crafty, but not that crafty.

Today we’re going to frame up a cheap poster in a re-purposed frame, and honestly, you can’t get a much easier DIY.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a poster or piece of art
  • an old frame
  • spray paint
  • mat board
  • double sided tape
  • ruler, or super awesome eyes that accurately determine measurements

 

Step 1: Buy Ugly Frame

Ugly Frame

 

This super ugly frame was $10 at my local St. Vincent De Paul’s thrift store.

 

The Rest of the Steps: After purchasing the frame and storing it in the basement for a year, I spray painted it with a $7 can of black spray paint.

Note: the procrastination is not essential to this DIY; feel free to finish the project in the same day, week or month that you purchase the frame.

Next I purchased a large piece of white mat board from Michael’s, and mounted my poster, this Shepard Fairey print, purchased for $14.99, with double sided tape that I got from the dollar store.  Easy, right?!

 

DIY Framed Poster

 

So for a grand total of $44, Abigail and Isabella now have this beautiful, large piece of lovelieness in their room!

You can totally do this!!  And if you do, make sure to send me some pics!

Two things I love are funny people, and DIY renovations, and Victoria Elizabeth Barnes’ blog will both crack you up, and drop your jaw in awe of her and husband Paul’s skill.

 

Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

 

You won’t find any run-of-the-mill Ikea kitchens on her blog!  Victoria dreams big, and then forces Paul to realize those dreams.  Like this repurposed antique piano, which Paul “magic-ed” into a kitchen island, complete with storage drawers!

 

Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

 

Victoria is a Craigslist aficionado, and it always thrills me to check in and see what amazing new “fancy thing” she has acquired for her home!  Seriously, this girl has skills! I can honestly say I’ve never found anything even close to this amazing on Craigslist!

 

Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

 

She writes with real honesty about how eye-opening renovating an old house has been, and how much longer the process has been than she initially thought, which let me tell ya, after 5 years of living in a torn apart house, I can certainly relate to!

 

Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

 

Anyone who has ever renovated with their spouse will certainly relate to posts like, “Front Porch – Part 3 of 3. Where we sand and stain the floor. But first try to kill each other.”

 

Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

 

The best part about Victoria’s blog is getting to view the incredible results of her and Paul’s hard work!  Start with, “How we Ended up Buying and Restoring an Old Victorian House” and prepare to be amazed!

 

 

One of my favourite places to spend time in my beautiful city is Jackson Park.  It’s like a little oasis in the middle of the city.

Growing up in the country just outside of Peterborough, I spent my days making forts in the woods, catching frogs and tadpoles in streams and swamps and exploring nature.  Now raising my own kids, it’s important to me that despite living in central Peterborough, they still have opportunities to connect with nature and explore its beauty.

 

Jackson Park, Peterborough, Ontario

 

Jackson Park, Peterborough, Ontario

The magic of the park lies in the fact that you lose all sense that you’re actually still in the city.  Besides the well-groomed pea gravel trails, there are worn footpaths throughout the forest that make you feel like you’re on a real adventure.

Jackson Park, Peterborough, Ontario

 

Great Blue Heron, Jackson Park, Peterborough, Ontario

Isabella getting a close-up view of a Great Blue Heron in Peterborough’s Jackson Park

 

Graffiti, Jackson Park, Peterborough, Ontario

 

Pagoda Bridge, Jackson Park, Peterborough, Ontario

If you’re the athletic type, you can follow the Trans Canada Trail, which cuts through the park, all the way to Lindsay, Ontario.

Jackson Park, Peterborough, Ontario

Besides the beautiful trails, ponds and streams, bridges and wildlife, Jackson Park also has a playground, picnic area, and public washrooms.

Anyone visiting Peterborough looking for a nice place for a picnic should definitely plan to spend the day at Jackson Park!

Three years ago, Lola, my Old English Bulldog gave birth to 7 beautiful puppies.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my adult life.  Also, one of the smelliest.

 

 

Despite originally planning to only keep one puppy, I used my superior negotiating skills, and managed to talk Mike into letting me keep a second one.  I swear, that man is the only thing standing in the way of me becoming an animal hoarder.

 

Now I’ll probably never love another dog as much as I love Lola….

 

Lola

 

But Rosie and Pearl have definitely stolen my heart!

 

Puppies

 

 

So as a little birthday gift to my two little girls, I decided to DIY them a nice comfy bed to share.  Besides providing them with a comfy place to sleep, this project actually helped me to use up one of the beautiful textiles that I have hoarded, and up-cycle sofa cushions that would have ended up in a landfill.  I call that a win-win!

 

First I cut down two sofa cushions from a sofa that was given to me.  The coils were easily cut down and removed.  I pieced the two sections together to create one large cushion.

 

DIY Dog Bed

 

After mitering the corners of the rug, I sewed the zipper from the old cover, which I had removed with a razor blade, to the edge of the rug.

 

DIY Dog Bed

 

DIY Dog Bed

 

 

Next the bottom piece of fabric, an old curtain panel, was sewn on and the cushion was stuffed in through the zippered opening.

 

DIY Dog Bed

DIY Dog Bed

 

 

I opted to leave the fringed edges visible on either end of the bed, though it actually would have been easier not to.  I just like to make things difficult for myself.

 

Here’s how the project added up:

2 sofa cushions   :   Free

Rug                    :  $7

Curtain panel     :  $3

___________________________________

Total Cost          :  $10  + 1 hour of time

 

Rosie thinks it was well worth it!

IMG_2468

 

 

DIY Dog Bed

 

 

Back a few years ago I shared a tutorial to make a family names canvas.  The idea came to me after I saw this t-shirt:

 

Family Names Canvas

 

I bought this big canvas for $6 at a discount store, and picked up some cheap contact paper from the dollar store.

 

In Photoshop, I chose a font and played around with finding a good size for my letters.  Then I  printed out our names and traced them onto the contact paper. Then I spent the next 4 days cutting out letters. Ok, not really, but it totally felt like 4 days.  I’m sure you could do this way faster if you own a die cutting machine, but unfortunately I had to do it old school.

 

Family Names Canvas

 

 

Family Names Canvas

 

After painting the canvas white, I stuck on the letters and sprayed over them with black spray paint.

 

Family Names Canvas

 

 

Family Names Canvas

 

 

Then I peeled off the letters and voila!  My masterpiece was complete, and ready to be hung in our upstairs hallway.

 

Family Names Canvas

 

 

Family Names Canvas

 

 

Bold, inexpensive, personal art that only temporarily paralyzed my right hand!  Not bad for a grand total of $15!

If you haven’t yet heard of, or shopped from Spoonflower, you have to check it out!  Not only can you upload your own designs to be printed on fabric, wallpaper or gift wrap,  but if you’re not the most artistic person in the world, you can order designs from another user who is!  There are like, a gazillion different designs to choose from, ranging from the bizarre to the truly gorgeous!

 

If you’ve never used Spoonflower before, I highly recommend that you take advantage of their design tools, and order a color guide, a color map and a swatch booklet before you attempt to design or order fabric.  I find the swatch booklet, especially, indispensable in choosing the right fabric for each project.

The best part about Spoonflower is that you can design and/or shop for unique fabrics, and have them printed and shipped to your house in about a week!

Yesterday I posted three possible designs for Abigail and Izzy’s room, all of which featured fabrics from Spoonflower artists.  Well, we ordered our fabrics, they’ve been printed and shipped, and should arrive at our house any day!  Then the fun will really begin!

So, drumroll please, let’s see the design that Abigail chose for her room:

 

 The Masculine Design
Abby & Izzy's Room Sample 1

These are the beautiful fabrics from Spoonflower that are featured in the room:

 

There are so many gorgeous fabrics on Spoonflower, that it is hard to choose just one!  Here are some of my favorite textile designers and their products featured on the site:

 

 

Do you have a favorite textile designer or fabric from Spoonflower?

I’m not sure how many people are actually still reading my blog, since I’m like, the worst, most lazy blogger in the world, but I’m going to just go ahead and start writing again.  If nothing more, it will give my parents something to read!

I have, as usual, about 60 projects on the go, but am trying to actually force myself to finish at least one room in this damn house!

Abigail and Isabella’s room has bugged me ever since we moved in.  We decided to use an almost full gallon of yellow paint that we used for an accent wall in our rental house, but I just never loved it.  I mean, I loved it in the old house, but in their bedroom I just couldn’t stand it.

On top of that, I just kept buying random stuff for their room, and none of it really went together.  I had no real vision or focus for the room, so I kept switching gears and changing my mind about how I wanted the room to look.

The absolute worst thing about the bedroom was a huge partial chimney that was plastered over, and jutting out into the room.  In fact, the entire wall was a wonky mess.  Here’s the room when we first bought the house.  You’ll have to excuse the photo quality, since I grabbed them from my old blog!

 

Abigail & Izzy's Room

 

The door on the left leads into the hallway, and the one to the right is the girl’s (very small) closet.

 

Abigail & Izzy's Room

 

In this picture you can just barely see the chimney in the top left corner of the photo.  What you can’t see is how lumpy and bumpy the entire wall is.

 

Abigail & Izzy's Room

 

The first thing I did was rip out the chimney and wall.  I would have loved to strip the entire room right down to the studs, but I knew it would take me forever to complete the room if I did that, and I wanted to get the girls back into their room as quickly as possible.

It was a HUGE job, but it’s really coming along!  After I finished stripping the plaster, lathe and shiplap off of the wall, I insulated it and put up vapor barrier.

 

Abby & Izzy's Room

 

Next it was time to drywall.  While I’ve helped hang drywall before, I’ve never actually mudded and taped it, so I started watching Youtube videos to see if I could teach myself how to do it.  I found the two videos below, which basically turned me into a drywalling master.

 

 

 

 

We still have a LOT more work to do on the girl’s room, but this time we have an actual plan.    I created design boards on Olioboard so that I could play around with several different designs, and then I let Abigail choose which one she wanted.  We didn’t give Izzy a choice because no matter what Abigail chose, Izzy would choose the opposite, and I wanted to avoid the long drawn out fight that would occur!

 

Here are the designs I presented to my client kid:

 

The Girly Option

Abby & Izzy Sample 3

 

 

The Middle of the Road Option

Abby & Izzy Sample 2

 

 

The Masculine Option

Abby & Izzy's Room Sample 1

 

 

Can you guess which one she chose?

Another Halloween has come and gone, and I think Mike and I really outdid ourselves in the costume department this year! Life right now is complete and utter chaos, with Mike and I both working full-time, and working on a major home renovation project (see more on this soon), but we managed to somehow produce elaborate costumes during the last 4 days! Check out our handiwork below.

 

Hayden was Maleficent for her first high school dance

 

Hayden dressed as Maleficent for her first high school dance. Though we didn’t get a picture of it, the staff that her father made actually lights up!  He spent hours making it, only to have her leave it at home because she didn’t want to drag it around with her all night! Ah well, at least I got a picture out of it, right?!

 

Ewan dressed as Kurt Cobain from the Sliver video, complete with fake cigarette.

 

IMG_1905

 

Abigail dressed as a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull.

 

Abigail in her Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) costume

 

This costume was a LOT of work, since I drafted the pattern myself, but I think it turned out very well, and Abigail loved it!

 

Abigail

 

 

The makeup was very difficult to apply, mainly because I bought grease makeup instead of cream makeup.  If you’re considering elaborate face painting, I would highly suggest cream makeup and a paint brush!

 

Abigail

 

And finally, Isabella was The Little Mermaid.  This was another labour intensive costume, as again, I drafted my own pattern, and there was a lot of sewing involved.  The flesh coloured suit threw off a bunch of old ladies last night, who actually thought that Isabella was walking around in a bikini top!  She was, in fact, wearing two sweaters under her costume, and a winter jacket over top, so she was nice and toasty!

 

Isabella dressed as The Little Mermaid

 

Isabella

 

Though you can’t tell by the photo, the tail is made of forest green quilted velvet, and the tail and fins at the hips are also velvet, but hand quilted.

 

Isabella

 

The kids are already discussing their costumes for next year, while I am just happy for the break from my sewing machine!

 

Finally, for your viewing pleasure, a picture of my husband, Mike, the lumberjack.  This was a last-minute costume idea, as a young cashier actually asked him if he was a real lumberjack because of the beard and jacket!  Add a toothpick and an axe, and voila, instant costume!

 

Mike & Isabella

 

Hope all of you had a fun and safe Halloween!