Friday, December 20, 2013

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas....

Today was the first day of Christmas Break for the kids. 
Outside it was cold and rainy, but inside they were rocking the gingerbread house construction!

We did have a slight separation in our roofing which was easily fixed with a breadstick and later lots of icing and candy :)

These kits were from Metro and were a deal at $10 including candy.

Our tree -- the kids want more colour, so maybe we will add some of my vintage ornaments. The monochromatic look just doesn't cut it with them.

I like to add a little bit of holiday throughout the house so I popped some fresh greenery into a vintage canning jar and tied it with this ribbon (which I love) from Lindsay.

I did get a bit of wrapping started today while the kids were busy building houses.

I still love brown paper packages tied with string or pretty ribbon. But I am loving the plaid wrap I found at Target

The rest of our weekend includes some gingerbread baking and lots of wrapping!

Have a great weekend! 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Host A Cookie Swap!

I hosted my annual Cookie Swap last weekend. So much fun! If you like to bake (or eat!) cookies I encourage you to plan one. It's not too late! 

I thought I'd share the details on how you can host a successful cookie swap.

I have to confess I get a lot of teasing about my "rules" but I highly encourage you set some for your swap. It encourages great quality cookies that everyone will love.


This is the decadent display of sweet cookie bliss that we ended up with. Recipes sources below. You're welcome :)

Recipe Links
1. Cranberry Pecan Noels 2. Shortbread Spritz 
5. Peppermint Merengues 6.Cranberry Shortbread 7. Cranberry Shortbread 8. Lemon Crinkle Cookies 9. Butter pecan Crescent Cookies 10. Chocolate Ginger Cookies 11. Cinnamon Nut Diamonds (see end of post)

"From the Kitchen of" rubber stamp from Penny Paper Co. 
Blank tags from my shop.

Cinnamon Nut Diamonds

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup butter or margarine (softened)
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
½ cup ground walnuts or pecans 
1 egg
½ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix first flour, salt and cinnamon.  Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add flour mixture and ground nuts to butter mixture. Spread in a greased 9 X 13 pan and pat down evenly. Beat egg and brush on dough. Sprinkle evenly with chopped nuts and press into dough.

Bake 25 – 30 minutes 
As your cookie comes out of the oven, cut into desired shape and remove to rack for cooling.
This recipe has been in this bakers family since she was a child. 
It's from Family Circle Magazine circa 1970 (!!)

Happy Baking!


Gifts for the Hostess

I hope these little gift guides help you out with finding unique holiday gifts. Etsy offers loads of unique gift ideas plus you are supporting small businesses, which I love.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

gathering up holiday ideas to share...and jam!

The holiday season is upon us and the absolutely stunning White Issue of Gatherings Magazine launched this past week. 

I was thrilled to contribute a story on holiday wrapping ideas (see above) and honored to be in such great company. 
Thank you Heather.

Visit Gatherings Magazine shop to buy a digital version
or order print copy here 

It's been a busy week full of holiday orders in my shop, holiday baking, school bazaars and parties. I actually love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. 

This week I attended the Chatelaine Magazine holiday event at West Elm. It was fun to connect with old and new friends. Afterwards, Lindsay and I headed over to Mildred's Temple Kitchen to catch up and enjoyed a delicious meal. We finally tried the famous and oh-so-amazing gnocchi poutine! Go try it. SO GOOD.

A little SHOUT OUT to local preserve Queen - Lesley McDowell

The kids school held their annual Christmas bazaar on Friday. It was an amazing success thanks to the hard work of parent volunteers. While there, I picked up some of my friend Lesley's AMAZING preserves. I stock up every year. My husband can't get enough of it. What I love about her jams (other than how delicious they are) is the story behind them. 

Lesley spends the summer at her cottage in northern Ontario with her family. It sounds beautiful. While she's there, she and her boys forage for berries on their property. The berries they hand-pick end up as preserves that she sells at the Christmas Bazaar! Love that! 

She said that this summer they discovered a raspberry patch that sprung up behind their cottage - it was a good summer for berries. New this year is a jelly made from pin cherries. What the heck is a pin cherry? I don't know but it's delicious.

Lesley discovered the tree and wanted to use the fruit but they are tiny and have seeds. So, Lesley turned them into jelly! I wish I had snapped a photo of her yesterday selling her preserves, but sadly I didn't. I'm always amazed at all the amazing talented ladies who live in my neighborhood. 

Lesley I crown you the queen of jam :)


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gift Guide - Tweens

When I was 12 I wanted a Sony Walkman, 
Michael Jackson's Thriller album and Bonne Bell Lipsmackers (strawberry flavor).

To help you find the perfect gift for the tweens on your list I put together this little gift guide with picks from Etsy. 
See more finds ---> here

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

catching up...

Hi there, I hope you had a great weekend! 
When we didn't have to be out and about we were staying cozy indoors because winter has officially set in. Brrr! 

I did manage to start decorating for the holidays again (visit here for that back story)... 

Here is a little peek at a couple of the holiday touches I have added.

the Peace on Earth print is available in my Etsy shop here

So catching up...

1. This past week has been busy in my Etsy shop. We are having a special holiday sale! 20% off orders $25+. You can pick up the coupon code in my shop here.

2. I'm looking forward to attending the One of Kind Christmas Show & Sale on Thursday morning for a preview. This years show will feature 800 artisans and designers from across Canada and there are over 90 new participants debuting.

I'll be sure to report back to you on some of my new finds at OOAK. There is always lots of great talent to share. In addition to shopping you will find seminars and diy workshops. I'm hoping to catch one of the seminars hosted by some of my favorite magazines including Canadian House & Home, Chatelaine, and Covet Garden.

3. Next week I'm hosting my annual cookie swap. I'm still trying to decide on a recipe. Yikes! My friends at Style at Home Magazine are hosting their annual Holiday Cookie Swap. More details and some great recipes can be found here.

I'll be back with some Gift Guides this week to share! I've had fun putting them together and it's helped me narrow down my shopping lists too.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

best sources for holiday wrapping

some of my favorite wrapping embellishments 
gathered together

One of the things I like to plan ahead of time is how I will wrap holiday gifts. In an ideal world, I would wrap the gifts as I pick them up. However, the reality is that we have a marathon wrapping session(s) on the nights prior to Christmas. What makes it all go smoothly is a plan, supplies and lots of wine.

Here are some great places to source 
holiday wrapping supplies. - a great source for Japanese Washi Tape

The Paper Place - shop online or visit their gorgeous store (my favorite) in Toronto for specialty papers, embellishments and gift items.

Creative Bag - online or in-store they are a great source for packaging materials such as boxes, bags, paper and ribbon.

Goodwill/Thrift shops - vintage books abound here and are perfect for repurposing into handmade embellishments.

Dollar Stores - I'm not a big fan of dollar stores but in an age when items such as craft supplies all seem to come from the same types of manufacturers you can't go wrong here. You will find many items that you will pay more for if you shopped in a big box craft store. Gift wrap, kraft paper, sometimes great ribbon and twine, kraft paper boxes and bags too.

Paper Parade Co. - in addition to custom stationery and art prints I have started to offer fun packaging supplies such as tags, baker's twine, paper bags that are great for small gifts and treats and some other goodies. Be sure to stop by my shop too! If you are local, give me a shout as delivery may be available for your area.

and of course Etsy is a fabulous source for creative gift wrap/packaging ideas. You can see some of my favorite Etsy sources here

Gift Wrap Tip: 

Try sticking to simple paper options such as kraft paper or another solid colour and then spend your time on embellishing your gifts to make them special. It doesn't take much to take a wrapped gift from ho-hum to cheerful.

Here I used simple white paper, twine and a scrap of 
paper from a vintage book.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

and the winners are ...

It's time to draw the winning entries for 
the book giveaways!

Cue the dramatic music and flashing lights ;)

Congratulations Interior Groupie (entry #7) and Grace (entry #1) on winning Matthew Mead's newest book Christmas All Through the House. Please contact me at with your mailing address.

P.S. I used Random Generator for this draw.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

All that glitters...

Tick, tock... Christmas is just 6 weeks away.

Don't hate me for reminding you. 
I'm here for the next few weeks to help you get started - with holiday decor ideas, gift giving suggestions and more.

Also a reminder to enter the giveaway on my blog. Hurry! 
---> just leave a comment here
The giveaway ends Friday at midnight.

Vintage Soviet Alarm Clock from Mirtime

G O L D 
caught my eye this week as I browsed Etsy for some holiday inspiration. 

Vintage glass ornaments, Milleseem Designs

I love vintage ornaments. I also love the old cardboard boxes these orbs are nestled in. I have a collection which I will share with you soon.

Gold leather coin purse, Razolly

Antique gold garland, Couture by Ayca

Garlands aren't just for parties. 
Go ahead hang one in your house and it will make you feel all festive ;)

Brass mid-century reindeer, Charlies Nest

I have a soft spot for deer. That's all.

Metallic gold pillow cover, Chanee Vijay Textiles

I have been coveting the pillows from this Etsy shop for too long. I must own one soon.

Raw citrine and gold necklace from Shop Clementine.

So pretty. Holiday sparkle for your neck.

Faux taxidermy, Mahzerandvee

Gold dipped moose.

sparkly sequin pouch from Plain Cases

such a gorgeous evening purse don't you think? holiday parties anyone.

Do you like to decorate with metallics during the holidays? 
What do you prefer, gold, silver or the new trend copper? 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Holiday Inspiration & A Giveaway from Matthew Mead

It's hard to believe that last week we were decorating for Halloween and now the holiday season is on our minds. Our American friends will be celebrating Thanksgiving this month and Christmas decor has hit retail stores in full force. I've also just finished planning my annual cookie exchange, 
so you know it's soon ;)

I thought I would share some images that Matthew sent me from his gorgeous new holiday book "Christmas All Through the House" . It is full of inspiration for the upcoming holiday season. I love the simplicity of this kind of decor. Subtle and fresh with the pops of greenery.

Scroll to bottom to enter the GIVEAWAY!

There are loads of craft, decor, baking and gift ideas that you will enjoy creating. I refer back to these holiday books every year. You will too. I'll share some images later next week.

The issue is available to purchase now on Amazon, Indigo and I've seen it on several news stands. 

I'm thrilled to be able to offer a giveaway for two lucky readers to win their own copies of Matthew's book.

To enter to win please leave a comment below. 
For additional entries please share this post on Twitter and/or Facebook. 
Make sure you leave me an additional comment so I know you shared.

This GIVEAWAY is now closed. 

Giveaway open to residents of Canada and the U.S. 
The giveaway will close November 15th.

Good luck! 
Remember the more you share the more entries you get!