Friday, 28 February 2014

Flower Luv: Beating the Winter Blues on a Budget


I love fresh flowers. If I had my way, I would be buying fresh flowers each and every week. A study done on the mood-lifting effect of flowers in 2001 by Rutgers University showed that 72 percent of seniors who received one or two bouquets over a six-month period were happier than they had been. In a separate study, flowers evoked a stronger response than other gifts.

The problem is that fresh bouquets can carry a hefty price tag and at the end of the year you can run up to about $1300 bucks a year if you were to buy a $25 bouquet once a week.

I guess that's still cheaper than therapy, but I've figured out a solution to getting my weekly flower fix on about $200 a year.

The trick is to buy the cheaper "filler" flowers in bright colours and trim them down into mini bouquets.  The "filler" flowers shown above are $3.99 for the bunch and the green leaves are from a large money tree plant in my living room.I just trim the money tree every 3 months, and the leaves start to root in the little vases that I bought from Ikea. I just switch out the flowers every week with a new bunch of $3.99 "filler" flowers.

The bright colours really help to brighten up my day, and the pretty arrangement goes well with my decor no matter the choice of flowers at the market. Give it a try, take the time to smell the flowers and beat the winter blues... now where is that freakin' groundhog to herald the start of Spring?






Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine's Day Presents: Almost Home Made Brownies


I love Valentine's Day. I just like all the pretty pretty colours and lovey dovey movies on the women's network. Andy and I don't usually do presents, but this year I decided to make an effort and actually bake something for him. (Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't really have a sweet tooth, I don't like chocolate and I do not like to bake. I love to cook, but a baker I'm not).

After Andy went to bed last night, I pulled out the old brownie mix (hey, that's considered "Baking" at our house, ha!) and mixed in a load of mini Reese's peanut butter cups (he LOVES those peanuty-chocolate cups, who doesn't?).  Needless to say, I messed up the brownies to where they looked like clumps of goo....

To fix the situation, I pulled out some cupcake wrappers I had on hand, spooned in scoops of brownie, and topped with more Reese's. The "brownies" tasted really great, and Andy's such a sweetheart he raved about them this morning, but am I a little embarrassed about their presentation? You betcha!

The good thing is that you can't really mess up the taste of a premix brownie recipe, and no matter how funny looking they might turn out, the chocolaty goodness outweighs the lack of aesthetic appeal, so at the end of the day, all was not a fail.

Hoping your Valentine got you something better than messed up premix brownies!

;)


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Decorating A New Place: Second (Hand) Time Around

Mid-Century Mix

I just can't believe it. In a few weeks, we leave our beloved Toronto bungalow to move to Chicago! My husband and I are going to be living in the Midwest for 2 years, which means that I have some work to do.  My plan is to sell off all of our current furniture and start new. I like the idea of down sizing a little (we're moving into a two bedroom condo) and starting fresh with a brand new palette.

Since I can't take the lake with me, I am looking forward to incorporating some calm lake hues and colours (soon I'll have to start spelling it the U.S. way - Color!) into our new decor. I'm also super excited to take my time and hunt for some mid century modern furniture. The antique shops and markets of the Midwest can't be beat and my plan is to find every single item of our new place from a second hand source. That means craigslist, anitque malls, garage sales... reusing is great for the environment and easy on the wallet. I guess the thrill of the hunt doesn't hurt either.

I'll be sure to keep you posted on how it all goes with more blog posts and photos, and if you are from Chicago, please be sure to alert me of your fave antique shops and finds. I'd really appreciate it.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Easy DIY: Embroidery Hook Jewelry Organizer


I have wanted to make one of these embroidery hook jewelry organizers for a while now, and when my good friend's birthday came up last week, I decided it was time to roll up my sleeves and do it.

It was so simple to make, that I think that just the photos alone are self explanatory, but for the sake of not coming off lazy here,  I'll list it out :)

What you need:

- 1 or 2 wooden embroidery loops
- a can of acrylic paint
- 1 yard of burlap
- a glue gun

Optional:

Some pins, scrap fabric, beads and needle and thread for flowers to pretty up the burlap

Directions:

Paint the embroidery loops, fit the burlap into them, trim to about an inch, hot glue the burlap down at the back onto the embroidery loops (try not to burn your thumbs like I did) and voila! You are all done.

I made little flowers from some scrap fabric and green beads that I had lying around. I cut out the floral motif and layered the fabric to make petals. I sewed the bead onto the fabric and pulled the centre in to bunch up the flowers and attached to the burlap with pins.

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