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Monday, May 28, 2012

Junk Shop Jewellry Box Makeover

This jewellry box had good bones, really good bones, and it played the theme from Dr. Zhivago!  Unfortunately, it looked like this…

Good bones, but dated finish.  Also, it was very clean and in perfect condition.  I know I overpaid for it, but I go through junk withdrawal here in the winter!  No antique shows in my area all winter long!  I end up buying junk in thrift shops which I would never buy in the summer!  I may have bought this, but not for the price I paid.  BUMMER.  So, I had to give it a makeover.

I got this out…

One coat of paint…

Then, after a second coat of white chalk paint, I added some grey detail and some sanding back to reveal the gold paint underneath…

Then I waxed with clear, then some clear and dark wax combined.  Here is the finished product:

I'm a bit light handed with the dark wax, I don't like dark streaks.  I just want it too have some depth.

Excuse the crooked angle of my shot!  

And look at those gams!!

Sexy or what?

What a transformation, from dated yucky '60s box to nice shabby white box.  I think I'll gift it to my teenage niece, she loves this kind of stuff! 

I have a great china cabinet and sideboard I made over a month ago, but I haven't waxed it yet.  I painted it white chalk paint, but it looked so simple.  I just ordered some beautiful appliqués from California.  When they arrive, I will finish it up and do a nice before/after post on those.  

I will be linking up to these great blogs, why don't you check them out?

The Christie Antique Show

Oh what a show!  Only problem is its too big for one day!  Its only a one day show held twice a year here in Southern Ontario.  HUGE and lots of lots of stuff!  I like to cover it twice, just to see if I missed anything the first time, but my friend didn't want to cover it again (bummer).  Anyway, I didn't take any photos there but here is SOME of the stuff I bought…

two old chippy columns…don't know where I'll put them yet, but I love them!  I also bought a round column, but it didn't have a top cap, so its kind of full of spider webs.  I've left it in the garage until I clean it out!!

I HAD to buy this Queen Mum candy tin.  I swore no more little chatchkis, but The QM has a special meaning to me, and I collect Royal Family junk.  How could I say no?

No more tins!!!

And then I spotted this great little cubby to place on top of my desk.  How could I not buy it, especially for $20???

Once I place it on my desk, I'll show you guys how wonderful it looks!  My friend wasnt impressed by it, but I think its rather fetching!

I swore I wasn't going to buy smalls, but I couldn't resist the Charlie Brown lunch box!  It doesn't have its original thermos, but I don't care.  It was only $10 (my friend didn't think it was worth $0.10 but I loved it).

Bought not one…

not two…

but three…

silver plated food covers!  Aren't they lovely?  Look at the details, its on both sides.  They are a little dented/dinged, but I loved them.  They haven't found their home yet either…must find home for them!

Sooooo pretty!

This great barrel was from another antique show I went to two weeks ago.  I've got a candy problem…  Anyway, thats all my loot from this week.  Wow do I love summer and antique shows!!

I'm linking up to these great blog!!

Have a great day!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Bake therefore I am...

I used to love to bake.  Well at first I didn't bake.  Then when we discovered my oldest son was anaphylactic to tree nuts and peanuts, I started baking everything!  He's 11 and there wasn't too many 'peanut tree nut free/safe' baked good manufacturers out back then.  Out of necessity, I learned how to bake crackers, pizza, cookies, cakes, pies…you get it.  I just draw the line on frying donuts.  Some things just aren't worth the smell and mess.  

Then my oldest baby (all of 28 years old) moved back home from San Francisco and she took over the baking.  She bakes because she is a bit down that she had to move back home to 'the mother ship' and baking is truly therapy for her.  The plus of moving back home?  I have a double Viking oven (Oh yes baby!).  

However, how much baked goods does one family need?  Also, I hear eating too much good stuff isn't good for you!  Go figure.  I mean it, go figure as in figure goes right out the door!

Anyway, this week we baked two recipes:
One for the adults - SALTED CARAMEL BROWNIES from the BAKED Bakery cookbook, and 
One for the kids - Candy Sushi (ok, this isn't technically baking, I know).  But, as this was technically for a BAKE SALE so it kind of counts as baking, right?  It didn't come out of a box so don't judge me! Also, let me say, BIG HIT AT SCHOOL!!!  I would have made them bigger if I knew the school was going to charge $2 each for them!!!  INSANE!  Not a rice krispee crumb left!

So, here are the recipes:


caramel filling:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350* F.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup of water, stirring carefully so you don't splash the sides of pan.

Cook over high heat until an instant read thermometer reads 350* F. pr into; the mixture is dark amber in colour (6-8 minutes).  

Remove from heat, and slowly add the cream (Stand back with an umbrella!  It will bubble up!).  Now add the fleur de sel.  Whisk in the sour cream.  Set aside to cool.


  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 11 oz quality dark chocolate (60-72%) coarsely chopped (I only use Bakers Chocolate, as its peanut free)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs (room temp)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Butter sides and bottom of a glass or light coloured metal 9x13 pan.  Line bottom with parchment paper and butter this as well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cocoa  (I always sift this kind of dry ingredient mix to help integrate separate ingredients better).

Place chocolate and butter into a metal bowl, and set over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until chocolate and butter melted and combined fully.  Turn off heat but leave the bowl on the hot water pan.  Now add both sugars to this.  Whisk until completely combined and remove from pan.  Let mixture come to room temperature.  

Add each egg one at a time, mixing between eggs until just combined.  Add vanilla.  Don't over mix.  

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate. Using a spatula, fold the dry into the wet until there is only a minimal amount of the flour residue visible.

Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top.  Drizzle about 3/4 cup of the caramel over the brownie, doing so in a zig zag fashion.  DO NOT LET CARAMEL TOUCH EDGES OF PAN AS IT WILL BURN BABY BURN! Spread caramel as evenly as possible with a spatula.  

Scoop teaspoon fulls of the remaining brownie mix over the caramel layer.  Smooth gently to cover caramel.

Bake for 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time.  Check to make sure brownies completely done by sticking a toothpick in the centre.  A few moist crumbs should be on the toothpick, but it shouldn't be batter-y.  

Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with some coarse sugar and a SMALL PINCH of fleur de sel.  Cool completely before cutting and serving.


Now for the fun stuff!!!!


I found this recipe online a while ago, and I book marked it to use at the next bake sale. I used the recipe from the Matsuri Curacao blog.  Its such a good, complete recipe with instructions, that I felt there was no need to rewrite it.  So, here is the link to the recipe:

My only substitutions were, I used filled twizzlers instead of gummy worms.  So easy and so cute!!!!  Big hit at school, All 80 pieces I brought in sold out right away.  Like I said earlier, if I knew they were going to charge $2 a pop I would have cut the Rainbow rolls thicker, and made the Nigiri sushi a bit bigger too!

We also mixed a smudge (very technical term) of  green gel food colouring with white fondant and mushed it (another technical term) onto chinese soup porcelain spoons to resemble wasabi.  We placed a spoon of 'wasabi' onto each platter.

Have a great day!

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Saturday, May 19, 2012


I love candy!  All sorts of candy (including allsorts!).  I thought I would share some of my recent eye candy with you. 

Firstly. . . I LOVE COWBOY BOOTS!!!!  I live in a suburb of Toronto, and Toronto definitely has an urban flair for fashion.  It also has a strong traditional fashion aesthetic as well.  The prairie aesthetic hasn't hit the Toronto area.  This doesn't bother me my friends, for I am my own person.  Always have been, and feel that I probably always will be, and I LOVE COWBOY BOOTS!!!

Last year I bought these (my first Old Gringos):

I LOVE them (made a funny), and thus cannot possibly wear them!  I know this sounds nuts, but I haven't found the perfect 'worthy' occasion to wear them!  I don't want them wrecked, worn, dirty, dusty, scraped, scratched, stretched, etc. . .  I just look at them, and smile. . . true eye candy!

I thought I should buy a pair of these Old Gringo boots that I would wear.  Possibly ones I didn't love as much!  Now, I know I sound crazy, but surely you must know what I mean?  I bought two more pair over the last six months (some people buy shoes or lipstick, I buy cowboy boots!).  Its difficult to find Old Gringo in Canada, as they are pricey and by the time they get imported into Canada, become even more prohibitively expensive.  So, I bought one pair on sale over the black friday weekend, and bought the other pair just during the Christmas sales.  I purchased them online, and had them sipped to my Aunts house in New Jersey.  I just picked them up last week!!!  I'm so excited about them, but my friends think I'm crazy!  Can you believe it?  My 'city' friends just aren't impressed!  

Here is my second pair of Old Gringos:

How can anyone not LOVE the hearts, roses, wings embroidered front and back onto these beautiful black leather cowboy boots!?!?  Wild thing, you make my heart sing!!

Old Gringo pair 3:

Okay, while they don't have birds, hearts, 'love', peace signs, embroidered on them, aren't they the perfect pair of cowboy boots?  Couldn't you wear these with just about anything?  While these boots are pricey, I will save and scrimp and buy them on sale!  
Now for the Candy Eye Candy.  You see, all candy is eye candy!  Its beauty and sweet sugary goodness speaks to your palate through its sheer colourful goodness!

I bought three of these jars at Homesense for $15 each and filled them with (peanut free and safe) candy!  I used girly pink/pastel candies which while I may not normally eat these candies (except for the jelly beans. . . can't resist those!) they made great jar fillers!  I put them on my dessert buffet on Mothers Day and everyone grabbed some!  My family doesn't even like candy, but they ate them anyway!  Enjoy the eye candy. . .

and. . .

and. . .

Cherry coconut covered marshmallows!!!
Now they sit permanently on my kitchen island. Drives the neighbourhood kids crazy!  They smear their noses on our kitchen door staring at the candy while waiting for my kids to come outside to play.  I usually bag up some as treats for the usual suspects!

Finally, I'll show you the last piece of eye candy.  I know what you are going to think when you see it.  This item, along with the cowboy boot collection, you're going to think I'm extremely tacky!  In my defence, I'm not!  I just like kitsh! 'He' comes out every holiday! Sometimes wearing Santa hats, bunny ears, tiaras!  It depends on the holiday.   Ready for it?

Here he is. . . 'King' of eye candy!!!!

May your life be filled with sweet eye candy, my friends!  Have a great day!

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Busy playing 'Mommy Dearest'

I've been meaning to write, take photos, craft, paint, but have been busy being a 'stage mom' lately. I love writing, even if its not about anything interesting, or no one reads it, because it is quite therapeutic and inspires me on with projects. Its as if writing about things I plan on doing, urges me to get off my big XXXX and do it!

Anyway, this week two of my kids were 'working', and while i titled my post 'mommy dearest', I'm not a mean mommy or a typical stage mom by any means. I mean they don't work that often, and most of the time the pay isn't great, they just have fun and really love doing it!

My daughter was in a Canadian 'chewy bar' commercial last year, which then got played in the US this spring! The US airplay was great, as it has got her college savings going! Then she didn't have any work for 15 months! We still went on a ton of auditions but there are sooooo many cute kids at each one…I would have stopped long ago, but she loves the audition process.  She has fun, and believe me I take it much harder than she does if/when she doesn't get a callback or the job. She brushes it off and said it was fun! I wish I was a kid again!  So last week she was called for an audition for a large North American DIY company.  Two days later, she had the call back, and we were still in traffic when the agent called and said she was on 'hold' and the first choice!  Tuesday she shot the commercial and had a blast!  She met her new 'mommy', a few DIY 'sales associates', and other 'shoppers'.  Its really a maturing process where she learns discipline and control.  As soon as the shoot was done, she said 'That was so much fun, I want to do it again!!'

The very next day my son had his very first job! He doesn't get too many auditions (although he is the cutest kid with shaggy dirty blond hair, green eyes, and character overload) doing a commercial for a Canadian sci-fi channel summer television marathon! We all love Doctor Who, and this is the channel that airs the show here in Canada!  He had so much fun shooting this with his new 'family'!  We can hardly wait till this summer to watch it!

Anyway, today I'm filing papers, cleaning house, groceries (yeah, they want to eat!) but thought I would take a little time to write something about my week, and plan all my big crafty, painting projects for next week!  Its Victoria Day weekend here this weekend and I may hit the Garage sales.  Its not something I normally do, as I don't have too much time, but I just may try my hand at it tomorrow morning!!!

Have a great weekend, and to all Canadians and Brits, have a Happy Victoria Day Weekend!!!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Our house was moved to its current location 17 years ago. All the houses in my neighbourhood have been relocated in order to save them from being demolished during the construction of a highway.  We didn't move it, the previous owners moved it and did some basic restoration to the house before they sold it in 2005.  When we bought it, we did some internal cosmetic work (like removing all the popcorn on all the ceilings!!!!  Houses built in 1855 SHOULD NOT HAVE POPCORN CEILINGS!), painting, added the rear single story addition, remodelling of the interior so the addition would flow properly.  Now its time for the front porch.  You see, when the original owners moved it, they did not build the front porch.  Instead, they kind of built a deck like structure.  Its quite the eyesore, but we had to wait until our finances had recovered from the addition.  Now, after 17 years its crumbling. 

Here is a photo of the front of the house (anyone miss snow?):


See the eyesore deck thing?  This house deserves a beautiful front porch!  Only problem?  The Heritage Committee has a photo of the original front porch and insist its replicated.

See the original gothic porch?  Pretty right?  Guess what? You can't get a building permit for it!  In fact, that porch didn't last very long originally.  Well, 'thats a no brainer' you may be thinking, 'build a different porch!' Well we would…but…The Heritage Committee is saying "NO, YOU CANT BUILD A DIFFERENT PORCH" in that deep, imposing voice bureaucracy has.  So now we are stuck between the building department and the heritage department in our town government.  One branch won't approve another porch, and one branch won't approve this porch!!  PULLING MY HAIR OUT NOW!

Being ever so resourceful, I found one of the two remaining houses built by this architect back in 1855. Its my houses 'high maintenance sister house' and its got a great sturdy porch that any building department would approve!  AND its original to the structure, and the house looks like a fancier version of my house.

Perfect, right?  Sturdy yet architecturally in tune with the design.  No brainer, right right???  Please just agree with me cause I'm crying into my keyboard now!  "NO WAY!" says Heritage bureaucracy!!  

So until the right hand and the left hand of our town government can come to a decision as to how WE are going to spend OUR money, we are stuck with this crumbling deck!  It kills me that WE have no say as to the type of porch we can build!  

While working with Heritage committees and departments is frustrating and time consuming, I have to admit its worth it.  My red puffy eyes will heal, and I will have a great porch to enjoy for years to come (God willing).  I love my house and feel lucky to have it.  

Have a great day!

Linking up to the following great blogs:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mud Room Revamp

I'm supposed to be putting together TWO different art projects for 100 kids (I'm the creative lead of our Church's 1 week sleepover camp).  Sooooo….instead of preparing craft kits, I….redecorated my mudroom!

Whenever I'm under pressure, I paint!  Its my way of releasing stress.  My husband wouldn't let me near a can of paint, so I had to do a makeshift decorating!  I just rejigged my small shelves in my mudroom.

Here are a couple of 'before' photos:

The west wall (makes it sounder bigger, right?).

The south wall.  Instead of a great clog collection, it was just a mess!  I always wanted to do something great with those clogs, but…it just stayed a mess.

Ok, the south wall isn't changing…  Not that its great, its just that its…good enough…for now!

So, as I was a bit stressed and wasn't allowed to touch a can of paint.  I had to 'redecorate'.  Since I have those narrow shelves above the wainscotting on the west and north walls, I can only put small items.  So got rid of the LOVE letters, and messy clogs and just put as many of my vintage Crown jars as I could fit. 

West wall 'After'.

South wall 'After'.

Better, huh?  It just looks cleaner I think.  

By the way, does anyone have any ideas for decorating with a swiss wooden shoe collection?  I just collect the small souvenir kind.  Please let me know, I love them and am looking for something to do with them!  Thanks!

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My Romantic Home-Show and Tell Friday