Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Boo! happy halloween

Happy Halloween all!

Truth be told, I am not a huge Halloween fan. Sure, I like the candy (who doesn't??) but the whole costume-gory-fake-blood-evil-spirits thing doesn't really get me going. I'm happy to be "grown up" enough to like handing out candy more than anything else about the day. Today's supposed to be pretty chilly so hopefully we'll still get a good crowd of kids through! Here's our pumpkin this year:
(simple is as simple does)

And yes, I did save and clean all the pumpkin seeds to roast them up - that's my favourite thing about carving a pumpkin! (Oh, and the smell of pumpkins with candles in them. Just me?). And I saw this a little too late - totally going on my list for next year's pumpkin (now just to remember...).

Hope you all have a safe and happy halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taste of fall {butternut squash + carrot soup; and roast chicken}

This past weekend Sunday was all about cooking (and a little pumpkin'll see that tomorrow). We like cooking, but especially in the fall and winter because it feels like spending a few hours in the kitchen working on dinner is totally legit (especially on a non-stop-rain weekend that we just had). The leftovers that come with them are pretty sweet too.

I made this "creamy" (no cream) butternut squash and carrot soup (and added ginger, black pepper and a bit of thyme for flavour). This recipe makes a tonne of soup (about 8 or 9 cups I think). I started it in my biggest pot and by the time I got all the veggies in I saw I would have to swap to my stock pot instead! Since the soup doesn't have any cream in it, I kept some in the fridge and froze the rest. Easy and impressive soup to have on hand for cool days or as a starter for a dinner party.
As a side note...I usually puree my soup using an immersion blender, but this time I actually scooped out the cooked veggies, let them cool a bit, and pureed them in this puppy (batch by batch):
This may not be my best kitchen fancy, but it still does the job! Using a blender to puree the cooked vegetables (with a bit of broth to help the blending) make the soup so smooth. It's worth the extra time to do it this way.

The Mr. made a delicious roast chicken with carrots, onions, and parsnips (it was our first time cooking parsnips - they are amazing!). The chicken came from my sister's friends' farm and it was very tasty! The bones and skin are in the freezer to be used for broth soon.

What have you made / tasted lately that gave you a taste of fall?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Living room update {curtains}

How do Mondays come up so quickly?? I had a great weekend, but spent a lot of it running around the city (depsite the rain). Oh, and last week I noticed that my rainboots have a leak! Help! Frankenstorm (Hurricane Sandy) is coming up the NE coast of the US and I have leaky rainboots...what's a girl to do? I slapped on some crazy glue to the small slit I could see on the bottom of my boot...think it will hold? Let's hope so...from what they are saying we might have to swim to work tomorrow.

Anyhoo...despite the rain I am happy to report progress on my living room! A couple of weeks ago I bought these curtains / drapes from West Elm:

They are a good weight, have hidden tabs, and are ridiculously reasonably priced ($44 per panel...for $88 + tax (less the $20 gift card I had!) I couldn't have even bought fabric to make them).

Then came the curtain rod search - THIS proved to be difficult. We did the easy thing and picked up a rod at Homesense, but it was cheap and way too thin (and black...which was too stark against the curtains and our wall). Then I went to Designer Fabrics to look at their options - they have the most customizable options, but obviously that comes at a bit of a cost. Then we even considered making our own rod out of electrical conduit (bloggers never fail to amaze me with their resourcefulness!). We went as far as being in the electrical aisle of Home Depot, looking at conduit, and then me being worried that the rod would be too heavy (heavy wall hangings + plaster walls = potential disaster). So we wandered over to the home decor section and low and behold, they had a rod. A rod that I actually *liked*. It's antique-brass looking, with large glass (acrylic) ball finials. For $40. Sold. Although the Mr. was a bit upset at not being able to do this DIY, it was a pretty easy decision to pick it up (and finally get these curtains hung!). 
There they are! I still have to hem them and adjust them a bit on the rod. You can't see the finials in this photo, but they are there. Warning to others considering acrylic finials - they do tend to fade into the background in dark conditions. (Speaking of...all the rain this weekend made photos in my house with my point and shoot next to impossible. Time to start thinking of a fancy camera!).

As a reminder - the pillows and coffee table (and very eventually the flooring) will be changing in this room.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Taste of fall {Carrot muffins}

It is definitely fall out there! At least Toronto isn't getting snow like Calgary is (I could NOT deal with that...).

A couple of weeks ago I wanted to make different muffins so I found a carrot muffin recipe to try out. Note - if you try this recipe and you aren't used to carrot muffins don't be discouraged if the "batter" is pretty dry when you mix the dry ingredients with the wet ones! I thought it was too dry so I added a bit of milk, but in the end they probably didn't need it. I also added some raisins and you could add walnuts for a nice crunch.

The cinnamon, ginger, and moist carrot make these muffins a great morning snack.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kitchen light fixture

I am embarassed to say that we still have some ug-ly light fixtures in our house. We've had more important things to focus on, but they're getting dealt with one at a time!

We had a gross boob light in our gross that I didn't even honour its memory with a photo.  Ideally we would have potlights in there, but when we re-did the electrical in our house we decided to wait until we did a kitchen reno, built out an island, and knew where we wanted our task lighting. Well, then our kitchen reno turned into a gorgeous kitchen facelift with everything staying in the same spot so we didn't do potlights in the kitchen at all.

We finally dealt with the ugly light we had in there by going the retro modern route and replacing the old boob light with a school house fixture:
It was a pendant light, but the Mr. took out the rods and hung it as a flush mount since we don't have a lot of room underneath it (the cabinet has to open up). It is one of those small changes that just makes me happy that it's done, and that I don't cringe whenever I look up at the ceiling!

Similar light available at Home Depot - but you should check in-store, we found another brand that had the pendant light on sale for $39!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

We found a chair!

And I do mean found...craigslist style...woot!

First things was your weekend? Ours flew by AS USUAL. Seriously, what is up with that?

Friday night we went to Lahore Tikka House for dinner...this place is..."rustic" but the food is GOOD! If you're in Toronto and not super picky about restaurant decor, go there.

Saturday we ran all over town - first to pick up the chair in the east end, then to the west end for an appointment and a trip to Designer Fabrics, then to Costco (yes, we survived). Saturday night we had a wonderful dinner with a friend, and then Sunday we did a bit more running around (Rogers finally cooperated so I could get my new iPhone5...wooooooooooo! It is such a novelty to have a phone that does what I ask it to...on the first try...without a hissy fit. Amazing, my friends), had a great workout and made a delicious dinner. Oh yah...and hung a curtain rod in the living room only to discover I didn't like it up. Right..sometimes you don't know until you see it drilled into the wall! Busy but lots and lots of fun.

Ok...onto the chair.

If you remember my post about re-doing my living room, a chair was on my wish list. Last weekend we went to no less than 10 furniture stores and we didn't find anything we liked. If we did see something that we liked aesthetically, it felt wobbly and cheap when we sat in it. So, the hunt was on for a used chair to re-upholster. I had been looking on and off but hadn't seen anything that I liked. Then I saw this...for cheapsies ($25) so we picked it up less than 24 hours after it was posted.
(Sorry for the bad light)

I like the classic shape of the char, curvey arms, and not-too-deep wing back. I think it's a classic that we will keep for a long time.

I am crossing my fingers that my friend Lindsey from Recreated will work her re-upholstery magic on this piece :)

I'm thinking a classic fabric, and then I'll liven up the whole space with fun pillows that I can change at will. Here's a nice herringbone I found:
Bertrand from DesignerFabrics

I love the gray on gray herringbone as opposed to white and black, but am thinking I need it in a bigger scale. Anyone have any good fabric sources for upholstery projects?

Hope you all had a great weekend, and a good start to the week...tomorrow's Wednesday, let's hope the rest of the week speeds by!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday faves - AMORdesignpassion {photography and art}

It's FRIDAY. TGIF!! Why do weeks following short weeks feel SO long? The weekend will be here soon, and even the small fact that it's Friday just makes me happy and feel lighter.

Today I'm featuring works from an amazing Etsy shop - AMORdesignpassion. You may or may not have noticed the logo appear this week on my right hand side bar as a sponsor! That's right folks, if you are interested in advertising or being a sponsor please feel free to contact me at

If you are looking to add some beautiful original photography (or art) to your space (who isn't?) please check out AMORdesignpassion. I've featured some of my favourites below...


Enjoy your weekend, I know I'm looking forward to mine.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall decor with my wine crate

It is officially fall now...we have cool nights (and cool days for that matter), my basil bit the dust after a night that was too cool for it, and we have had the heat on for a couple of weeks now. Instead of worrying what comes next (shhhh...winter...eek!), I wanted to zhush up our front porch for the season and I thought using my wine crate would be perfect. In yesterday's post I gave some before shots, and today I'll debut the afters - I think it was the perfect little vessel for my front porch zhushing!
Here's hoping the squirrels (a) do not like gourds or (b) are starting to get verrrryyy sleepy and won't disrupt my crate of plenty.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vintage wine crate makeover

You've probably seen vintage wine crates popping up here and there - I like the look of them for storage, and one of my favourite inspiration pics of one way to use them is here:

Doesn't that look great in the nursery? I have also seen crates used as mini-gardens among other things. I have seen them at antique shops / fairs, but they always came with a hefty price tag ($40 for an old wooden box is a bit much in my books). As luck would have it, I was coming home one evening after work and saw a wine crate sitting on a neighbour's recycling bin, ready for the next day's garbage collection. The neighbour was outside, so I asked her if I could have it, she said sur,e so I grabbed it and took it home! I'm pretty sure she thought I was a little loony taking her wooden wine crate, but so be it. All in the name of DIY I tell ya.

I decided to stain it and figure out what I would do with it's what it looked like:
Notice it's from France. Score.

I scraped off all the stickers and removed the nails and staples that had held the top on the box. Then I broke out the Walnut stain and got to work.

That's what it looked like with one coat...check back tomorrow to see the finished product and what I decided it's premiere would be!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blogger book club | Review: On Beauty (Zadie Smith)

Happy Monday everyone! How was your weekend? Hopefully relaxing and refreshing.

Mine was full of a lot of errands but a bit of progress on some mini-projects. Thank you all for your advice on my living room post - I needed the advice of a "light" coffee table! The one we have now is...hmmm...6 years old? It is practical but really doesn't suit the space or the look I am going for. We tried to find a table and a chair this weekend to no the search continues.

Ok - onto the business at hand - book review time! If you haven't read On Beauty yet, you can decide whether or not you continue to read on (but I can't promise no spoilers).
This is a novel about a family and the changes and challenges they go through; each character in the book makes decisions which impacts the outcome of the book. 

Unfotunately I can't say that I loved this book (gah I feel like I've said that about each bookclub book!). I'm not sure if it's the fact that I'm reading on the subway so my reading is broken up into 30 page chunks, but I didn't feel that I associated with any of the characters. Usually I have someone that I'm rooting for through the book, and I didn't have that here. I also didn't feel intrigued by the story of the book. Yes, I was disgusted by Howard on occasion, yes I felt badly for Kiki, yes I was annoyed by Zora. But did I really care about the outcome? Not really. And good thing because I felt the ending was pretty anti-climatic.

Now that I've given my unencumbered opinion...what did you think? I hope people enjoyed it, even if I didn't.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Living room re-design {I need your help}

We recently bought a new sectional for our living room (hoorah!) Here's a little before and after for you.

{sorry for the brutal lighting in the new photo}

I like the scale of the sectional in the room (and especially like how we now have enough space to both lie down...amazing). I also happen to think that it fills that corner in better, but now we need some other things to fill out the rest of the room. Curtains - definitely, and a chair (one chair with some weight as opposed to two smaller chairs which I was originally planning if we didn't get a sectional).

I've put together a mood/thinking/inspiration board for the living room, but following my typical indecisive style I need some help!

Living Room

Living Room by interiorgroupie on Polyvore

We already have the end tables, lamp, and sofa. Here are the things I need to decide on...

1. For curtains, I think a muted pattern would be nice in this space. The corners of the room are plain right now and I think we need something visually interesting instead of solid fabric, especially since we have the corner of the sectional in the far left corner instead of an end table.

2. Chairs - We want to get a chair to replace a Poang chair we currently have in the room, and I have no idea what style I want! I could go for patterned (but I couldn't find any nice ones on polyvore :) )... which style do you like with the room?

Sweep Leather Armchair

Pierre Chair - Grey


 3. Coffee tables - I like the idea of a round table, but most of them don't have storage. This is a fairly big deal for me because our side tables don't have storage and I'm always behind on my magazine can we get around (ha!) this issue? Some options include an ottoman or a trunk style coffee table.

Drake Round Coffee Table

4. Pillows - I'd like to change out the green and ikat pillows that I have. In this mood board I've selected neutral prints but would like to add a pop of colour...potentially orange. I think it would a nice change. Any colours (or pillows) that you're loving lately?
Twinkle Living Lego Pillow Navy

So, what do you think? All comments welcome (except we're keeping the couch, side tables and lamp no matter if you can resist providing "get rid of it" comments on those items that'd be great :) ).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thankful and a reminder


So many things to be thankful for this weekend! I was in Ottawa for work last week, and stayed there for the Thanksgiving weekend. The Mr. met up with me, and we hung out with family and friends, visited some of our favourite areas in Ottawa and stuffed our faces all weekend. All in all a great little Thanksgiving! So thankful for everything we have, and most importantly all the caring people we have in our lives.

Some smaller everyday items I am thankful for: flying home to Toronto instead of enduring a long-weekend-trafficy-drive, bringing home tons of leftover turkey, gravy, and stuffing (thanks mom and dad!), seeing my bestie's new house, having some time to catch up on blogging and magazines, seeing the beautiful fall colours in the trees, and having time (because of said flight!) to get to the gym today after a week away from it.

And, to end off - a quick reminder that Blogger Book Club is back on October 15th! We are reviewing Zadie Smith's On Beauty in a week - that means get reading! (Including library book is officially late...but I have to finish for next week's review! Shhh...don't tell them I will purposely be incurring late fees to finish it).

Happy Monday which feels like Sunday, folks.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday faves | Thanksgiving

It's Friday (hooray!) annnnddd it's a long weekend in Canada (hip!hip!hooray!). Many many things to be thankful for, not the least of which is the homemade goodies I am looking forward to this weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving all...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Curb find stools -DIY'd and finished!

I know, I KNOW. These stools took me forever to finish...between chosing fabric, spray paint blunders, and any other excuse I could come up with they took a llllooonnngggg time (read: all summer) to get to a point where I could show them.

But. They are ready.

I can say that they've been done and displayed for a little while now, but I've only recently found / made the time to write about them.

Say helloooo to the new stools:

These will act as extra seating whenever we need it, and potentially as side tables without the cushions if needed.

Thanks to my amazing mom who made the round cushions - no easy feat. And, to beat that? She took pictures of the process. See, I told you she was amazing.
 And to recap....
Don't you think with the black spray paint they look a lot like this puppy:

Except the PB one retails for $192.98 each ... without a cushion.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I can taste fall {lemon cranberry loaf}

Another weekend come and gone...can you BELIEVE it is October?? September flew..and I mean flew by. I remember the first week of September being at work and thinking, wow everyone is on full-speed-ahead-mode. That has not changed but it's now October...we'll have to wait to see what it brings.

Let's rewind a little bit for a weekend recap...The Mr. and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary that I mentioned last week with a phenomenal dinner at Ici Bistro on Friday night. It's a small french bistro with excellent service, great wine seelction, and food that is to die for. If you are in Toronto and looking for a special meal I highly recommend Ici.

Saturday we did tons of errands and wandered Queen East to see if these chairs were still available...needless to say almost a year later they were nowhere to be seen, but it was a nice afternoon walk.

Sunday was the day of domesticity! It started with the Mr. making eggs benedict for breakfast (he's the best), then we did some yard work, laundry, ironing, and I started on a little fall project that I hope to showcase after the craziness of my upcoming week(s). In between I got into fall cooking - roasted butternut squash soup (if that doesn't scream fall, I'm not sure what does), pork with maple mustard sauce, and glazed lemon cranberry loaf (recipe here).

Hope you had a delicious weekend as well...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...