Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fresh from the garden

One of the (few) things we were happy to inherit "as-is" when we bought our house was the back garden. It was landscaped really nicely and came complete with raspberry bushes! It's only June but we have already had a good amount of raspberries (I would say at least a pint and a half...if you don't include the ones we snack on while "harvesting" :) ). I hope that they keep on coming because they are SO GOOD.

Raspberries grow sort of like Benjamin Button - they start off all dry and light coloured, and then plump up and become nice and tender and beautifully red and plump!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sarah 101: Season 2

Are you all loving Sarah 101 as much as I am?? I did a bunch of posts last year on some episodes from Season 1, but from what I've seen so far, I am looovvvving Season 2!

I haven't seen all the episodes, but the ones I've seen I think better reflect the needs of the people featured in the episodes. I found in Season 1 they took a lot of chances, and they weren't necessarily ones *I* would be pumped about living with. I also love how we are getting more Sarah and Tommy quips, as well as "meeting" some other people from their team. Getting insight to the process is just as exciting as getting to see the final design.

Here are some examples of season 2's winning designs so far:

{All photos via HGTV Canada}

Beautiful projects, aren't they? And totally liveable...

Make sure to tune in on July 10th for the big reveal of one of our very own blogger's Sarah101 experience! Janice from Life Begins at 30 is part of the show this season, as Sarah and Tommy designed "Baby Poutine" (now known as Luca)'s nursery! Can't wait to see that one...

What do you think so far of this season?

PS - If you've missed any episode (like me) it looks like there will be a Sarah101 marathon on Sunday July 8th from 9am-12noon!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday faves - some like it hot

Toronto has been in a major heat wave this is supposed to "cool off" today to a high of only 25 C. I think the humidity is what's been killing it this week...but I have been SO grateful for the air conditioner we had installed in the spring! It's unreal what a difference it makes - it really removes the humidity in the air. We'll have the windows open again when things cool down, but it has made sleeping, blogging, and just general LIFE within our house a pleasure this week.

If you need to cool down, here are some of my favourite ideas:
via - Nothing beats a cool, citrusy drink
via - sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Toronto home store tour

A friend is coming to visit this weekend, and asked if we could go home store shopping. I mean really, did she have to ask?? She'll be moving into a new home at the end of the year so it's a perfect time to browse for inspiration!

Of course I took this to the nth degree to plan out which stores to hit and in which order. In true "Type A" style, I mapped them all out:

View Home Stores Toronto in a full screen map

Don't you just love all the nifty interweb gadgets out there? This map was made by Batchgeo. If you are having trouble viewing my map above you can see it here:
You can hover over each "flag" for the name of the store, but I've listed them below too.

A - GH Johnson
B - West Elm
C - Elte
D - Crate and Barrel
E - 1212
F - Cornerstone
G - CB2
H - L'Atelier
I - Pottery Barn
J - Restoration Hardware
K - Artifacts

We won't be able to make it to all of them - so for some unique, Toronto centric ones, I was thinking of hitting up the western strip - West Elm, CB2 (I still haven't been there), GH Johnson, and Cornerstone. I could see if we could squeeze in a trip to Elte too since it's just soo fun to go there!

Do you have any favourites that I missed but should check out?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I got to use a nail gun!!

Last week I was invited to a DIY event at Home Depot where we got to make our own garden boxes! I thought the event was a neat idea, and then when I got there I saw what we were doing and that we would be able to use a saw, drill, AND NAIL GUN and I was sold!

(PS - aside from the finished product and gabbing with bloggers the nail gun was BY FAR my favourite part of the night!).

We started with a little get to know you, and met our Home Depot reps:
Our fearless leaders, Linsey and Kris

And the fun tools we got to play with:

My new favourite power tool - a nail gun. Have you used one?? They are glorious, so easy and SO FUN to use.

Ok...I get it, enough of the tools. Right, so now onto the fun thing we made - a flower box! The Home Depot reps helped us with instruction, and we measured, cut, drilled, countersunk, and nail gunned these puppies together.

I decided to stain my flower box (well, the Mr. stained it on the weekend - a role reversal from our usual process - this time I got to use the power tools, and he painted!).

And with the goods - the flowers!

A big thank you to Home Depot and Environics Communications for throwing this little DIY shindig!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Strawberry mini pies

Welcome back, Monday.

How was your weekend? Ours was great...Saturday was a beyond beautiful day in Toronto, and my company had their annual summer picnic on Centre Island. We biked down and ferried to Wards Island, went to the picnic, and then biked to Hanlan point, and back through Centre Island to Wards Island. Sunday we did errands, and popped by the Beach Ribfest which was fun.

One of the other things I did on Sunday was I said on Friday I LOVE local strawberries, and I picked up 2 quarts in my shopping on Saturday. I didn't want to make a whole pie because it's hard to eat it just being two instead, I made mini-pies:

Look good? Here's the recipe I used from Tasty Kitchen. They turned out delicious...perfect little pies of sweetness! You could easily adapt the recipe to any fruit pie (blueberry, cherry, raspberry, peach...). I made 12 although the recipe called for 9. Next time I would do 9 or 10 so I would have enough pastry to do a proper lattice top! Here are some photos of the mini pie making.

See those little while strips sticking up? Those were a godsend...If you've ever made strawberry anything before, you know that the juices can go everywhere! In tarts this means it would make them next to impossible to get out of the tin. So to help myself out, I took strips of parchment paper and overlapped them in the muffin tins.

After the mini pies were baked, they helped me pull the tarts out of the tin.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday faves - sweet summer strawberries

It's June friends, which means Ontario strawberries are out in all their glory! When we were leaving Ottawa we saw some for sale on the side of the road and I was devastated that we were $0.50 cents short of a quart price...and obviously they don't take cash. Fortunately for us, we picked some up at the grocery store (that were still local juice amazingess). I'm a fan of strawberries - those that read my blog regularly may remember posts here and here about them (might have to make another galette this year)...I just can't resist their goodness.

So on this sunny June Friday, happy strawberry season y'all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

DIY baking ingredient jars

Last week I embarked on a project that was well overdue...for a while I've had my baking goods (flour, sugar, etc.) in un-labled glass containers in the pantry. I knew which was which from the size of the container, and from looking at the contents. One night I realized maybe that's not the best system for others in my house (aka the Mr.) - he was making a delicious dinner for me, and used some flour to thicken the sauce he was cooking...except instead of flour, it was non-descript icing sugar he grabbed. Woops. Fortunately it didn't change the sauce too much because it was a very small amount, but from there on in he started asking for labels!

My friend Lindsey at Recreated did a great DIY Spice Jar post a while back and these served as my inspiration:

Aren't those fantastic? So cute, and so easy! So, the Mr. and I embarked on a similar project for our baking jars.

We started by emptying out all of the jars:

(and yes, all the contents did stay in bowls on our island for about a week, thanks for asking)

We thought we could make templates out of newsprint, so I got to cutting and the Mr. got to spraying:

We obviously were not following Lindsey's directions because this is what happened:

woops. a few drips and leaks here and there. Back to the drawing board - i.e. actually looking up how to do this and breaking out the frog tape:

Then paint away!

After a little bit of clean-up with paint thinner (especially on the first round of newsprint templates), and a good soapy water wash, the baking ingredient jars were done:

*That round one is my favourite! It's from the newspaper templates but the Mr. cleaned it up for me. I now use it for baking soda so it's easily identifiable from baking powder!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nuts over doughnuts

This past weekend the Mr. and I went to Ottawa to visit our families and some usual, it was a jam packed weekend! Gotta fit in as much as possible while there, right? Whenever we go back to Ottawa we always make sure to buy some Kettleman's bagels to bring home, and also some baklava from Brioche bakery (both located in the Glebe)...well now we may have to add another stop to our list. Friends that we visited on Saturday recommended we stop in to SuzyQ doughnuts...they raved about it, and it was just down the street from them, so stop in we did.
If you are in Ottawa and haven't been - GO. It is ah-mazing, drool worthy deliciousness in a fluffy doughnut. The back story is pretty cool too - this business was just started last year by going to the Lansdowne Farmer's Market, and now has a "shack" in an up and coming neighbourhood in Ottawa. When we popped by at 3pm it was lined up 8 deep, and people kept on going in after us.

Here's what all the fuss was about:

Yes folks, those are flavours like salty caramel, toasted coconut, and blood orange. Are you drooling yet? They also had smoores doughnuts. AND you could get any doughnut cut in half and they would put soft serve ice cream in the middle to make an ice cream sandwich.

Our choices were dirty chocolate and maple bacon:

Believe me - it was TOUGH to remember to stop eating and take a picture of these beauties.

I hope you're drooling now...if anyone knows of a place like this in Toronto - let me know! Otherwise...road trip to Ottawa??

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Giveaway winner!

I'm excited to announce the winner of the Blurb $35 are the results:
*note I removed one comment that was in twice, which reduced total comments from 23 to 22

And the winner is....Ashley from Calmly Chaotic!! Ashley has two beautiful little girls, Alice and Isla who will be turning 1 in August!

BloggerAshley said...

baby book... of course... the first bday is coming and it would be a great way to bring it all together!

Congratulations Ashley, and thanks to everyone who entered!
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