Thursday, December 29, 2011

On to New Year's...

Now that Christmas has past, I am on to planning our New Year's Eve party. This year it is going to be Japanese themed- sushi, Japanese style oysters, tempura, etc. We have done something similar in the past but I have made some changes. Below are pictures from the last Asian themed dinner party...

The changes-

1) I was recently inspired during a lunch at a local sushi restaurant, to make my own wood sushi boards. Using wood scraps from our home renovations I managed to make 2 large size boards. They are still not complete or I would post a picture- I am in the middle of oiling the boards.

2) Stu received a beautiful Japanese tea set as a gift a few years ago and it is going to be a part of our dinner this year.

3) I bought some new white soup bowls (the kind with the built-in chopstick resting hole) and small white sauce bowls.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Green Christmas Change #4

Decorating with Natural Elements

Inspirational photos...

Instead of buying more Christmas decorations we have turned to our own backyard to find the most eco-friendly (that still look good) decorations.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fun Holiday Gift Ideas

Here are some creative gift ideas for the person on your list that...

...just moved into their first place...

... just moved in with their significant other...

... loves to be the host or hostess...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Host/Hostess Gift Idea

Recently, I came across the President's Choice Ice Cream Shop Flavours- Toppings and they are fantastic. There are 3 different kinds but my personal favorite is the chocolate & toffee topping. They are reasonably priced at $2.99 for 125g,but I thought it would be nice (and a bit unique) to make the mix yourself and give it as a host/hostess gift this holiday season.

How to make the chocolate and toffee mix:

What you need-
1. chopped peanuts (widely available)
2. dark chocolate shavings (I would suggest buying a good quality dark chocolate bar and shaving the chocolate yourself using a knife)
3. milk chocolate shavings (same as above but with a milk chocolate bar)
4. chopped toffee pieces (I would suggest buying good quality toffee and breaking the pieces yourself using a knife or by simply keeping the toffee in its original packaging and hitting it against a hard surface)

Add all ingredients together in equal portions and its just a matter of wrapping it. I like the idea of a small holiday-themed cellophane bag tied with some ribbon and a gift tag.

Cleaning House

It is now clear that Jenn will never have the time (or the computer skills!) to contribute to the blog on her own and I enjoy posting things outside of just the projects I do. So I have decided to make this blog more my own beginning with a few changes.

To start- I have modified the blogs and sites to visit to contain only the design and decorating sites I regularly visit. Next, I have added a "More fun things to do on the internet" section which contains some of my favorite sites to visit for inspiration- some are stores (e.g. Restoration Hardware) or art galleries (e.g. Gallery on the Lake) or television channels (e.g. HGTV Canada). Lastly, I have modified the look of the site a little- just cause I felt like it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Green Christmas Change #3

A Real Christmas Tree

While doing my research for green holiday tips, I came across some interesting facts from

"A real tree
can be an environmental choice this Christmas. For every tree harvested at a tree farm, another 10 are planted to ensure a crop every year; and one acre of Christmas trees on a farm will produce enough oxygen to support about 18 people and remove up to 13 tonnes of airborne pollutants per year. Although Christmas trees have been a problem for landfills in the past, many municipalities now chip them for mulching material. If your town doesn't recycle, use the branches and needles for mulch in your garden."

Stu and I won't be getting a real Christmas tree anytime soon, but our artificial tree is green in its own way. I was given the tree for free about 8 years ago after it was part of a mall Christmas display.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Green Christmas Change #2

Reusable Gift Tags

Most people buy gifts each year for the exact same people, so why not make (or buy) personalized gift tags and reuse them from year to year? Stu and I are foregoing gift tags for our gifts to one another but are reusing the tags on the gifts for the rest of our family and friends.

As I started doing some research, I came across some very interesting ideas for reusable gift tags.

Idea #1- Chalkboard paint

Idea #2- Recycling the Christmas cards you received last year as gift tags this year.

Idea #3- Print and label your own gift tags. Many sites have free Christmas tag downloads (below are from Martha Stewart)- simply download the images and print on card stock.

Idea #4- Make-your-own gift tags. All you need is some card stock or scrapbook paper, a pair of scissors, a pen and a hole punch.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Green Christmas?

This year, Stuart and I have decided to have a green (carbon-neutral) Christmas.

Green Christmas Change #1- Wrapping Paper.
Instead of the usual wrapping paper bought specifically for the holidays, we are using our local newspaper to wrap our gifts. Ribbons and bows are still okay since they can and will be reused from year to year.

Below are some inspirational shots showing how nice newspaper and craft paper (which is recyclable) can actually look.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Montreal Apartment Update

I think it is safe to say that my October challenge of one post per day is over... a little early. Blogging takes a lot of time and I just don't have it on a daily basis. So back to my intermittent- flights of fancy- blogging...

Now that I am spending more time in our apartment in Montreal, I have made some more changes (shocking!).

1. We brought up our old 3-seater sofa for the living room. By keeping the previous furniture and adding the new sofa we now have more than enough room for lots of people to sit or for the 2 of us to be comfortable.

2. We brought up our old dining set. I recovered the chair cushions and touched up any scratches that the set may have gotten during its year in the garage or during the move. Now we have a proper dining area.

3. We bought a large carpet runner to cover the pathetic tiles in the kitchen. I have no intention of replacing the broken tiles or re-grouting so the only option left- cover them up. The runner is the IKEA Egeby rug and at almost 3'x8' it covers more than enough of the kitchen floor.

Friday, October 21, 2011

This Weeks Halloween Project

This weekend I am going to make this sign using scraps from the garage. Well, something similar to the above picture but more appropriate for Stuart and I's line of work.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Painted Countertops

Painting kitchen countertops is an inexpensive and easy way to makeover dated and/or damaged laminate countertops. The trick is to use melamine paint.

This is the kitchen in our Montreal apartment. We painted the laminate countertop and the tile backsplash in a slate grey melamine paint about 2 years ago and they have held up great... not a single scratch.

Some other examples of painted countertops.