Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Gift

As my gift to my bridesmaids I'm putting together a few things. I won't give them all away in the off chance that any of them read this blog but I will share one item that I've been working on.

I was inspired by this picture on pintrest:

I went out and bought some nice hangers for their bridesmaids dresses.
I bought some letter stickers from Michaels as well as some acrylic craft paint from the Martha Stewart collection (in Hydrangea Purple). I spelled out each bridesmaid's name in stickers on the hangers.

Then, using the paint, I painted one coat over top of the letters. I also applied scotch tape over sections of the hangers to ensure a nice crisp border. I let the paint dry (give it a few hours) before carefully removing the letters from the hanger.

Some of the letters didn't turn out quite as nicely as I was hoping for but I am going to go back over them and clean them up a bit. With the exception of the last hanger (which was drying at the time of the picture) - The finished product:

It's as easy craft and a nice way to personalize a hanger for your bridesmaids to keep their dresses on.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer in the City: The Beaches

I've said it before but I'll say it as many times as I can: I love Toronto.
It's an amazing city (despite the recent surge in violence that seems to be happening) with so many different neighbourhoods. Numerous times I've found myself semi-lost, wandering around areas I've never explored before. Always I'm reminded how big this city is and how much it feels like home, no matter where I am in it.
My mom and I used to take a trip down to the Beaches every summer, usually at the end of August. It's been about 2 years since we last went, so yesterday we put on our walking shoes and made our way East on Queen Street for some shopping, lunching, and catching up.
The weather was beautiful - hot and sunny without the heaviness of humidity.
While my mom didn't have to much luck in the shopping department, I went home with 2 new dresses and 2 pairs of yoga pants (for $20 each at Titika!).

We also sat down and shared a chicken souvlaki dinner as well as some white wine and margaritas.
Nothing says summer like enjoying the sunshine with drinks on a patio.

While we didn't eat here, this place holds a special place in my heart.
As a kid, anytime my family and I would go to the Beaches we always stopped into Garden Gate for some chinese food.
I have never once in my life called this place Garden Gate.
It is lovingly referred to (by anyone who knows of it) as The Goof.
Or, 'Goof's' as we called it.
Even it's website knows how people have come to know this place.

Thanks, mom, for a lovely afternoon.
And thanks, family, for making me smile everytime I see the sign for Goof's.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Extras on a Budget

I've aways loved Value Village but I love it even more now that I'm shopping around for cute things for the wedding.
I wanted to find some vintage-y anique-y looking picture frames to put instructions and such inside of. For example, to let people know to sign the guest book and I've been toying with the idea of putting small picture frames on each table to let people know how our kissign game is going to work.
This might change though as the key to this game will be found inside each guest's place card.

I found this frame at Value Village on Sunday and plan to use it for guest book purposes.

I also have a soft spot for baskets (having purchased roughly 53 baskets from Value Village over the years). I needed a new one for wedding purposes and when I saw this one I had no second thoughts about scooping it up.
The plan is to put in some take-home items for guests to grab on their way out of the venue.
I won't say what that will be in order to keep some things a surprise.
I made adorable cards to go with the bags though.

And the best part of all is that these 2 items only set me back about $10 in total.

I'm driving John to the airport early early in the morning as he's on his way to Vegas for the weekend with some of his friends for a crazy bachelor party weekend.
*Andrew, if you're reading this: take good care of my boy! Don't leave him on any rooftops. And most importantly - HAVE FUN!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Martha Stewart Living August 2012 Review

The August issue of Martha Stewart Living arrived last week and I was quick to browse through it. I still haven't read all of it but I wanted to share some of the things I thought were particularly good.

An edible dessert bowl solution: Cookie Cups

Basically it's as easy as rolling out puff pastry, cutting out squares, and shaping them around an upside down muffin tin pan. Bake according to the package details, or until the pastry starts to brown.
Voila! Perfectly shaped edible dessert bowls.

Summer Hair: A Braiding How-to Guide

From fishtail (which I finally taught myself how to do 2 summers ago but don't have thick enough hair to have it look really really good) and french, to the a classic braid and the rope braid (which I'm going to try ASAP), the article provides step-by-step instructions and illustrations to teach you how to become a braid master.
French braids are my go to out-of-the-way hair style so this article gave a new style to try out.

Recipe that isn't a recipe: Avocado bar

Why have I never ever thought of doing this before!?
Avocados have such a smooth texture and flavour that make them a perfect condiment for or addition to most foods. And they're loaded with the good fats you need so if you need an excuse to add some avocado to your diet here's a great idea.
Cut avocados in half, remove the stone, and use them as a bowl! Fill them with Mexican inspired ingredients like tomatos, salsa, black beans, onions, and top with some parmesan cheese. Set out bowls of ingredients and let guests create their own avocado salads.

After having a healthy serving of guacamole last night, you can bet I'll be trying out this idea sooner rather than later. If I can find avocados for a reasonable price this avocado bar idea might even make an appearance at this year's Fam Jam....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Guest Book

As the number of wedding Wednesdays left starts to dwindle, it's becoming time to take care of a lot of the small details. One of these includes getting a guest book.
I took a look at a few and have so far been flabbergasted by the price of them.
We're talking $250 in some cases for a book filled with blank pages.
Seems just a little ridiculous.

The other day I was doing some leisurely shopping while walking home and I came across a store that is having a going out of business sale.
Outside was a binder with a beautiful black, white, and cream cover.
For seven dollars.

Thinking creatively, I decided to buy the binder and to use it as a guest book.
I plan on gluing a large white ribbon around the guest book to tie it closed, and then to glue a smaller green ribbon over top of the thick white one.
For the inside, we're going to purchase some scrap book paper and arrange photos inside for people to look through and to sign a page where they see a photo they are in or just a page that they like.
I wanted originally to have a jigsaw puzzle guest book but price wise it's just way too much.
This idea makes it personal and allows us to use the guest book as a scrap book too where we can add in photos from the big day.

And worst case, if I hate it after everything is ready to go, I'll only have spent $7 on the binder and we can figure out a plan B.
And I can always use the binder later to help organize things for another wedding... in a few years when my sister's ready!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Lazy Woman's Guide to Desert: Black Forrest Mug Cake

On Sunday, after mauling a box of smarties and a bag of jelly beans during 'Magic Mike', I was still craving desert.
Not wanting to buy an entire cake just for a peice of it (which I've done and which never - NEVER - results in the eating of only one peice), I remembered I had some mug cake left over in the cupboard.

I decided to spice it up a bit and turn it from chocolate cake in a mug into black forrest cake in a mug.
Or my version, at least.

If you're craving gooey cake but don't want to spend more than 5 minutes preparing it, this is for you.

Here's what you'll need:

 Pour the cake mix to a lightly greased mug and add 1/4 cup milk, and whisk to mix.
Add in halved cherries.
Put in the microwave for 1 minute 15 seconds (or whatever the box recommends)
It's gooey like a lava cake and the cherries are a nice surprise when you spoon one out with the chocolate cake.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Roasted Summer Salad

To pick one thing I love the most about summer would be impossible.
Summer is my all time favourite time of the year. Yes, even more than Christmas, although it is a close close second.
I become a creature of the outdoors, I get to wear sundresses and flip-flops, and I get to spend weekends at cottages and at backyard BBQ parties.
There is nothing (that I can think of) that I dislike about summer. Not even 50 degree heat waves can make me say otherwise.

I stopped off at the fruit market around the corner from my apartment the other day and was reminded of another thing I love about summer: the fruits and vegetables - especially the fruits.
Peaches are ripe, cherries spill out of their bags, and yellow zucchini is front and centre on the shelves.

I love independent fruit markets and buy my fruits and vegetables from them almost all of the time.
The prices are so much more reasonable.
The market near me (and another one just a short walk away) sell their fruits and veggies at prices so low it seems impossible to walk away without a bag full of food.
The other day I picked up 2 containers of strawberries, 2 containers of blueberries, and a package of 2 peachs and 2 plums all for a grand total of $7.00.
Blueberries usually retail for around $3.99 a container and I got 2 for $3!


I took my love of all things cheap and summer-y and made myself a delicious summer salad.
It's the easiest thing you will ever make and it tastes so good.
All you need to do is roast 1 yellow zucchini and some heirloom cherry tomatoes in the oven , season them with pepper, and add some hot banana peppers (which I have become obsessed with lately).


Hope you are finding some inexpensive places to buy fruits and vegetables and being inspired to make some delicious summer meals.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cottage Weekends

This will be a quick post, as I'm off to a job interview in a few minutes.
Just wanted to share some photos from the last few weekends.
I'm lucky to have several friends (and family members) with cottages and there is nothing I love more than spending a relaxing weekend hanging out by the lake.
Can't wait to do more of it this summer!

Friends relaxing on the dock

Beautiful sunset

Food always tastes better (and disappears faster) when grilled and roasted on the BBQ

Another beautiful sunset in Ontario

How to be creative with your partying!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Chalkboard Crafting

I'm in a bad mood because I had to switch my dress alteration appointment so that I wouldn't have to miss work but the only other time they can do it requires me to take off work anyway.
Why does everyone get married in the summer to the point where they are completely booked for all of July and August!?

Okay. Breath. Not the end of the world.
Back to a happy wedding place!

One of the craft ideas we're using involves something I've been wanting to try for awhile now:
Chalkboard paint!

(See what I did there? It looks like a chalkboard. Gosh I'm clever)

While realistically I'm going to go to Home Depot and buy a can of pre-made paint, if I have a lot of time I might just try this home-made version.

Instructions and photos are from A Beautiful Mess

  • First off, you'll need to get your hands on the following supplies: 1/2 cup acrylic paint (choose any color you like, or mix colors together to make the perfect shade!), 1 tablespoon unsanded grout (this can be purchased at most hardware/home improvement stores), mixing cup or bowl, spoon, paint brush and an object or board you plan to paint on.
  • Step 1: Measure out your paint and grout. The unsanded grout is a fine powder so be sure to work in a well ventilated area.
  • Step 2: Stir the grout into the paint until no lumps remain.
  • Step 3: Paint your surface with your new custom chalkboard paint! The paint will begin to harden once it is mixed, so only mix what you need at one time as it won't store as well as other paints.
  • Step 4: Once your chalkboard has fully dried be sure to slate the surface before using it for the first time. To slate a chalkboard lightly rub chalk along the surface and then lightly rub it off.

Happy chalkboard crafting!