April 28, 2015

door inspiration

one of the first things we decided to do to our place when we bought was to replace the doors.  it seemed like an easy way to add some personality & character to the rather basic space.

[for the laundry closet]
since the laundry "nook" is tucked in the dining room, a sliding door would be ideal to save on the space required to open a regular door.  my ideal door is an old, rustic looking solid wooden door.  something that has natural charm.

(images from  pinterest & aka design)

[for the bathroom]
for the bathroom i think we can get away with a door that has glass.  frosting the glass & adding adorable curtains like these would be a great way to add privacy.


(images from  home jelly & rafer house)

[for the bedroom] changing this door isn't at the top of our list.  if we don't do it right away, painting it a fun, bold colour (black or a bright emerald green perhaps) would be a fun way to give the boring door a mini makeover.


and maybe, in the future, some cute mostly glass, skinny french doors for the bedroom .


not that this door would fit anywhere in our current place, but how beautiful is this one!

(image from netta // natalias)

and we cannot forget about the hardware!  i really love crystal door knobs...they remind me of my oma's house.

(images from media carrot & etsy)

how do you add charm to your home? have you ever replaced doors?

balcony inspiration

it is officially spring! seeing the sun shining (even if it is cold out) & the snow melting is making me excited for the warmer weather to come.  one of the best things about our home is that we have a balcony - our old apartment had no outdoor space.

since we moved in, very little time or energy has been put into the balcony. we got a cute table set & some herbs and left it at that last summer.  this year it's going to change!  i want to put some serious energy into making it a comfortable relaxing place where we can relax & socialize with friends.

[seating] right now we only have a small table & 2 chairs.  i love these cute benches - they are more comfortable for relaxing, & seat more when you have guests.  


[rug] how adorable is a rug on a balcony. something cute & durable that can handle rain & dirt.


[lighting] i want this to be a place we can spend our evenings after work relaxing in. i love the string of lights.


[balcony gardening] even though we only have a balcony, i love the idea of lots of green in the space. 


all of these images are making me itch to get started.  do you guys have any tips, tricks, recommendations or suggestions for our balcony? i'd love to hear your thoughts!

carrot cake [from scratch]


i always thought carrot cake was a fall dessert, but when i started seeing it in all the spring baking magazines i decided to follow suit.  we needed a cake for dinner with friends, and this one is just too delicious to not make. 

 

carrot and walnut cake with cream cheese frosting
serves 8

the recipe is from the cookbook market vegetarian by ross dobson.

[ingredients: for the cake]
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon raw sugar
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup walnuts

[ingredients: for the icing]
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cubed
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

[directions]
preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

put the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and beat for 2 minutes.  add the oil and baking soda and beat until just combined.  

fold in the flour, baking powder, spices, carrot & walnuts until combined.  the mixture should look quite thick.

in a separate grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites with a electric whisk until they form soft peaks then fold them into the cake batter in two batches.

spoon the cake batter into a 7-inch springform cake pan that has been lightly greased and bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden and slightly puffed on top.  let the cake cook in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.

to make the frosting, put the cream cheese & butter in a bowl and let them come to room temperature.  add the brown sugar and, using an electric whisk, beat for five minutes until there are no lumps and the beaters leave a trail when turned off.  add the maple syrup a little at a time and beat for a further two minutes, until the mixture is smooth and a spreadable consistency.  carefully slice the cooled cane in half and spread the frosting on the bottom layer.

[notes]
if you do not like walnuts in your desserts, just leave them out.  it is still delicious.

when i made this cake my pan was a bit larger, so instead of slicing the cake in half and icing the middle i iced the top and sides.

April 15, 2015

no spend february


maybe no spend is a bit misleading - we definitely did spend money during february.  but only on the essentials. so perhaps no-excess spending would be a better way of phrasing it.

the goal here was to get back on track after the holidays.  start 2015 fresh.

the rules we created for our household were fairly straight forward - do not spend any money on non-essential items -  nothing beyond the regular life expenses (utilities, mortgage, gas, groceries, etc), for the 28 days in february.

our first step was to determine what our needs were vs our wants.  needs, in my mind, are things like rent/mortgage payments, groceries, utilities, transit.  wants, on the other hand, are the nice little extras - meals out, coffee from a cafe, the adorable sun dress.

once these were established, the planning started.  how were we going to do this?  each meal needed to be mapped out.  free activities during the month were researched so we could still see friends.  what diy projects could we accomplish with items we already had?

some sources of inspiration for this project were: and then we savedgail vaz oxlade, and give me back my five bucks.

surprisingly, this challenge was not nearly as hard as i thought it would be.  it ended up being a really great way to reassess what is important to you & what you can honestly, truly live without.


a few tips:
- plan ahead!  map out your month - meals to eat, activities to do, everything.
- use what you have.  shop your cupboards for meal ideas, look at your bookshelf for a book you've been dying to read, search pinterest for fun fresh ways to use outfit items you already have.
- remember why you are doing it.  it's easy to make exceptions - the outfit was too cute to pass up, the coffee at work isn't as good.  remind yourself what you want to achieve with this challenge, what your end goal is. it will help refocus your priorities.
- reward yourself.  don't forget to reward your success.  it doesn't have to be huge & elaborate (or undo all the hard work) - it could be as simple as a night out at the movies.  

have you ever done something like this? do you think you could survive a month without spending?


April 14, 2015

diy cement ideas

have you guys ever used cement in any diy projects before?  i have been itching to try out some projects with it.  i've rounded up 5 projects that look super fun.

[push pins] i love the pineapple shape!  they will instantly make any cork board super cute.
[stool] this project has been on my pinterest for ages. it would be perfect for the balcony.

[triangle airplant holder] how adorable are these little plant holders.

[lamp] a cement lamp! how cool is that.

[kitchen island] this island is beautiful. i love the contrast of the cement top to the wooden frame.

April 12, 2015

bed frame makeover


in anticipation of painting the bedroom dark grey, b & i utilized one of the many really cold winter days we had this year to hibernate in our home & redo the bed.  inspired by the beautiful bed makeover on [sugar & cloth], we transformed our black-brown malm bed frame to white with a faux reclaimed wood headboard.




[supplies] bed frame, white paint/paint brush/paint tray, measuring tape, vinyl planks, scissors or exacto knife, pencil & ruler, finishing nails.

the first step was to sand down the parts of the bed frame we wanted to paint.  since the frame is a wood vaneer, it needed a good sanding to make the paint really stick.  once it was all sanded, the next step was to paint the frame white. since the frame was so dark, it took a few coats to get a solid white.  


 

once the paint dried enough (no longer felt sticky to touch), we started on the headboard.  to create the faux wood headboard we used these [vinyl planks].  

depending on the size of the planks & the headboard, the pieces will need to be measured & crop to fit accordingly.  don't forget to hold on to smaller pieces for the sides & top of the headboard.  in order to visualize how the planks would look i laid them out on the bed prior to sticking them on. 



once you are happy with the layout, start sticking on the planks.  it was easier to lay the largest plank first, then finished the row with piece(s) that needed to be trimmed. 



while they are sticky on the back, the glue on the planks we used was not strong enough to hold. finishing nails in the corners of the plans help hold down the planks & give the headboard a more rustic, authentic look. 




 

i cannot believe how different the bed looks. i love it!  and, totally unplanned, the wood colour of the planks matches the dresser perfectly.  now all the room needs is a coat of paint.

April 11, 2015

lately

a few little things that made my week:

[new (old) camera lenses] fancy new lens adapter to let us use some old lenses that b got from his dad.  


[snow] even though it's april, it just looks so darn pretty.


[hugo] while i house sit for my parents, i get to hang out with this guy.


[homemade soda] weekend treats - cranberry lime soda. yum!


[washi tape] stocking up while they are on super sale at target.

April 08, 2015

felt pouch


last weekend while out antique shopping i found the perfect gift for my sister-in-law. perfect because she was antiquing with us and picked it out herself...sorta.  both b & i had been watching her closely, noting items she liked.  when she commented on this broach, i knew it would be the best gift & promptly snatched it up.

once we got home i was less than impressed with the case it came in, & knew i could do better.


to make the pouch, trim down the felt to the a rectangle, making sure the item you want to keep inside fits had plenty of room.  fold the bottom piece up and stitch the sides together, leaving room at the top to fold over with enough space to place a button on.


trim the top into the shape you'd like.  i opted for an envelope look, and trimmed the sides off.  you could also leave the top rectangular.


stitch the button on first, centering it in the middle of the fabric.  then, in order to make sure the button & button hole were aligned, use pins to mark where the button hole will be (using the button as a guide).  measure the size of the button & cut the hole slightly smaller then the button.  using double thread, stitch around the opening of the button hole.


with the stones of the broach being such a vibrant ruby colour, i opted for a bright royal blue.  the colour really makes the stones pop.

now the gift is wrapped & protected.  i hope she likes it!