Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Discovering Georgetown

Last Saturday I went with Chris to Georgetown as he had a Dentist appointment. I knew it had  quaint downtown with a few shops, and I certainly was not disappointed. I actually only made it down one side of the street, missing the butcher, creamery and famous cupcake shop; I guess there's always next time!

As I do in any new small town, I started taking pictures of the architecture and quaint shops. As I poked around in one, the following conversation occurred over text:

Chris: Are you taking pictures? The people in the waiting room are making fun of someone taking pictures on the street.
Me: I've never cared what others thought, and I don't intend to start now
Chris: I knew it was you:)

I found this great antiques shop on James St that was a treasure hunters paradise- one of those places where nothing has a price tag, and you have to move things around to get further into the shop. I ended up getting an old window frame that will be converted into a mirror/key holder, and old book, and an old Blue Ribbon Baking powder tin.

Do you spot anything interesting?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Things I love: kitchen table

 I love my kitchen table; I bought it off craigslist a few years ago, and from the moment I laid eyes on it; I knew I had to have it! I will hold on to this piece for as long as it still stands, and although I envision a large harvest table in my dining room dream house future; this table will likely be in my kitchen for years to come. It's made of pine, has two leaves that can be removed and the perfect amount of patina.

One of my favourite things about treasure hunting has always been that no matter what you find, you know it always had a story before it got to you. Often times we don't actually know what that story is (so we make it up), but every now and then one is told to you. I bought this table from a fashion designer that was downsizing from a gorgeous house on Lakeshore to a condo in the city (Yes, I thought she was CRAZY). She told me this wonderful story of a British Prime Minister owning this table before she bought it in England and brought it back to Canada. That story, was all well and good until I was moving the table and noticed this moving label underneath it:

I'm not going to lie, I was more excited the table had also lived in NB than it coming from England. Then I decided to google the lady I bought it from, and turns out she's famous! Designing costumes for movies and shows, she has worked on X-Men, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Being Erica. Who knew a table could share so much- do you know where your table's been?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Open Season!

This weekend marked the first score of the 2012 antique season! I have been keeping an eye on craigslist and kijiji for antique fruit jars. I have been collecting these jars since 2008, and i'm always on the lookout. 

There is a jar in just about every room in my house; they have many uses. In my bathroom they hold toothbrushes and cotton pads, in my kitchen they hold flowers and candles and are on display on the ledge leading to our back entry way. There are many DIY options I will share with you over the next little while, but back to my weekend find. A wonderful man named James was downsizing his collection and offered me a miscellaneous variety of 15 quart size or greater jars for $25!!!

Opening the boxes was like Christmas on Saturday's what I found (notice Boy-Cat was very interested).

Then we had a little photo shoot

These were some of my favourites, 2 Balls and The Imperial

These are just dying for some white tea lights!

I'm really excited to put these to use, but they went back in their boxes until i'm ready to put my inspiration to use (or at least redo the display in my back entryway)! As you can see Boy-Cat really took to the new jars (or he wanted a photo shoot of his own)!

PS- I waited to tell Chris until after I had met James and picked up my jars (I thought he may not like the idea of me meeting a stranger in a random parking lot and he had a conflicting appt so couldn't come). He asked me why I kept it from him-  I told him I was excited embarrassed as I'm growing my collection for potential centerpieces (so my good ones aren't damaged and don't vanish)...he didn't ask any more questions!

Photo Credit:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Good Hack

I came across this website a few months ago, but I recently shared it with a friend and it really helped her out. The concept is based on buying something on the cheap from Ikea and turning it into something totally different (and valuable). My friend wants to frame her fireplace with built-ins, and after looking into a custom job, she's decided to do it herself with the Billy Bookshelf system from Ikea. I can't wait to see the finished product!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sweet Sweets

Happy Valentine's Day!

I made sugar cookies for Chris' potluck today. I was hoping to revitalize my strawberry icing that I had froze from here for cupcakes, but unfortunately the butter separated and the freezing/fruit added a lot of water, and it just couldn't be saved (despite trying with additional icing sugar).

Tonight I redeemed myself with a chocolate cream cheese buttercream to top the naked's delicious and very easy to make. I found the recipe on Glory's blog, and it is absolutely AWESOME. I also got to use my new large tip and icing kit from Christmas to frost them- very exciting!!!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup (1 stick/8 Tablespoons) butter at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese (directly from fridge)
1/2 cup cocoa (I use Fry's)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp heavy cream, heavy whipping cream (I used milk)

*Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend slightly. Add cream cheese and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.
*Sift cocoa into mixture, mix until fully combined 
*Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
*Slowly add the heavy cream, beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
*Use at once or keep refrigerated. (Glory says this frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Set Sail

When we first moved into our new house, we had some pretty gnarly wall-paper borders to deal with. (TIP: Fabric softener is an amazing wallpaper remover agent- you just sponge it on, and the wallpaper peels right off)! We had to do this for the office (Spiderman) and the spare bathroom. Our spare bedroom had a boat themed border, and being from the maritimes and hoping to one day have a large nautical themed bathroom; I decided to work with it:)

The shelf was a yard sale find, the blocks came from Aberfoyle Antique Market

The boat tote is from LL Bean clearance, the pressback was purchased from a friend, and the oars came from a cute antique shop in an church in Niagara on the Lake 

I've had this canoe shelf for years, came from a Duck's Unlimited auction. Lantern is from Ikea, brass anchor is from an antique shop in Sauble Beach. I now also have a vintage fisherprice radio that plays row row your boat on this shelf, gifted from a friend!

The full room, all the linens I had on hand. The mat is from Ikea, the point blanket was a Christie Antique show find (steal at $15), and the red bedside table came from goodwill.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Buttercream or Bust

Have you ever had a craving that just wouldn't go away until you gave in? That was me a few Sundays ago for a vanilla cupcake with strawberry icing. I had one from Prairie Girl Bakery last October, and for some strange reason- I needed to have one.

Prairie Girl is all the way downtown, so I looked up a few cupcake shops in our area. There wasn't anything that totally stood out or I felt was worth driving to, so I walked to the grocery store to pick up some butter, strawberries and a golden cake mix.

I have a copy of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes that has scratch cupcake and icing recipes. Since I have never made swiss meringue buttercream before (and in my opinion this was the most important part and I only had tolerance for one error and not two) I baked the cupcakes using a mix...

Now to the buttercream...this is relatively painful easy to make (if you know what you're doing). Despite overmixing and having to throw out my first batch, I found this website very lifesaving useful the second time around.

Strawberry Buttercream (Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book)
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter cut into tablespoon size chunks at room temperature.

1. Cut up your butter first so it's able to reach room temp as you prepare the icing

2. Puree strawberries in a food processor, set aside. Combine egg whites and sugar in mixer bowl over top of a simmering pot of water and stir forever  until the sugar has completely dissolved (if you don't, your icing will be gritty.

3. Attach the bowl to the mixer with wisk attachment and starting with a low setting (2-3), working all the way up to medium-high (7-8) until soft peaks form and the mixture is glossy and fluffy. This takes 10 mins- I did 2 mins at speed 3, 3 mins at 5, 3 mins at 7, 2 mins at 8- this seemed to work well.

4. With the mixer on medium-low (3) add the butter a few chunks at the time, mixing well each time. Once it's all added, switch to your paddle attachment and continue beating 2 more mins. Then, you can add the strawberries (strain after pureeing if you don't want any chunks).

5. Frost your cupcakes!

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