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Tag Archives: DIY

Dark Decadent Feast

21 Oct

Hello and happy Fall/Autumn/Halloween and if you’re in the Sounthern hemisphere Happy Spring and if you’re in the tropics Happy End-of-Rainy-Season.

THE INSPIRATION

This post is about creating a tablescape and some menu ideas for a dark themed dinner. It’s not too Halloween-ey, not overly Autumnal but rather a bit in between. I imagine this as a romantic dinner for two thrown together by a sophisticated witch who enjoys long walks crunching fallen leaves as much as she enjoys online shopping at Pottery Barn.

TABLESCAPE

I began by layering a traditional white lace tablecloth underneath a black netted material purchased at a Halloween decor store.

I then decided to cluster some synthetic and organic elements including a cast pumpkin, a white fake pumpkin interdispersed with fall/Halloween appropriate fruit and vegetables: turnip, beet and pomegranate.

I also added a battery operated off white medium pillar candle placed in a cloche for some lighting effect and to add some interest.

To complete the tablescape and add some height variation I place a clear vase with some beautiful fresh hydrangeas. The white adds the perfect classy touch but the burgundy brings the dark decadence.

The table was complete by adding two place settings of black and white dinnerware and simple clear glass flatware.

MENU

For the menu I decided on a salad, soup, light main and dessert.

DARK SALAD

This salad is a simple combination of mixed greens (I chose one with lots of purple and brown leaves) and purple (or red) cabbage. It would pair well with a balsamic based vinagarette.

To make this salad simply chop, mix and plate!

SWEET POTATO AND BEET SOUP



This thick delicious soup is made from yellow sweet potatoes and a bit of beets to deepen the colour. It can be served warm or cold.

To make the soup : Boil sweet potato and beets, blend or mash into a puree, sautee onion, garlic and spices then add puree and vegetable stock to make thick flavorful soup.

BRAISED EGGPLANT

This is the light main course: an umami fueled flavour trip. The thick meaty texture and deep flavour makes this a fantastic menu option.

To make this braised eggplant: Chop the eggplant into thick wedges

Mix the braising sauce; molasses, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, miso paste and white granulated sugar by whisking ( Mix according to your taste preference)

Using a little bit of olive oil, sautee the eggplant then add braising sauce, turn down heat and cook until thickened.

MERLOT POACHED PEAR

This one gets a chef’s kiss because it’s so good yet so simple. This is a sweet after dinner treat that requires no advanced dessert making skills.

To make the poached pears: Peel and core the pear

Bring merlot, white granulated sugar and spices (I used cinnamon, clove, bay leaf) and vanilla extract to a boil.

Add pears and let simmer until cooked and absorbed the mixture.

Let it cool and serve. This goes well with chocolate as well as a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Have a beautiful decadent autumn !

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DIY Gift

7 Dec

Hello, today I bring an easy DIY gift idea. These are decorated wooden spoons and I think it adds a bit of personal pizazz to your basic kitchen supplies.

WHAT YOU NEED:

Wooden spoons

Acrylic paint in preferred colours

Paint brushes and other painting tools- I used a sponge and a dotting tool

Sealant/Protectant- This is to prevent the paint from chipping when it gets washed. Mod Podge is a good option.

WHAT TO DO

1)Decide how far up (or down) the spoon you want your paint and tape it off- I used scotch tape but of course painter’s tape would work.

Spoons taped off

2) Paint a layer of white paint- This is to prime the wood, especially if you plan on using a light colour.

White paint added

3) Pour/Mix the colours- I chose three variations of pink to create a gradient.

Mix paint colours

4) Paint on colours- I added about three layers to make it very opaque

Paint colours added

5) Add designs- This step is optional, I kept it simple and added silver and gold dots but if intricate patterns on a small surface is your thing, feel free.

Paint for design

Design added

6) Once the paint has dried, add protecting layer of mod podge or other sealant and let that dry.

Sealant added

Once everything has dried, tie it up with a bow and you’re ready to gift!

Finished product

This is a great Christmas or anytime gift and also a great DIY for your own home. It adds a personal touch to everyday items.

Thanks for reading and happy DIY-ing!

Easter Tea Cake

31 Mar

Hello and Happy Easter to all who celebrate! Today I’m asssembelling a cake that I think is perfect for Easter. It’s a Victoria sponge with the traditional strawberry jam and iced and decorated to add a little Easter flare.

Victoria sponge is a well known English teatime staple. It comprises of two layers of sponge cake sandwiching strawberry jam and often times, whipped cream. It can be served in typical cake slices or in rectangular finger sandwich style slices.

For this cake, I used the jam but not the whipped cream and topped it with icing rather than the usual dusting with icing sugar.

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Sponge cake– I used a Waitrose package mix but use whatever recipe or package you prefer.

2) Strawberry jam– Or any other flavour jam you want.

3) Icing– This is plain old icing sugar and water mixed to a fairly thick consistency. I chose to dye mine the faintest pink.

4) Toppings/ Decorations– I used fresh strawberries (sliced) to go with the strawberry jam and Cadbury’s mini candy coated chocolate eggs.

Sponge cake, strawberry jam and pale pink icing.

Fresh strawberries and candy coated chocolate eggs

WHAT TO DO

1) Slice the cake crossways in half to create two layers.

2) Spread a generous layer of jam over the surface of the bottom layer– The cake will absorb some of the jam so use enough to take that into account but not so much that it leaks out the side of the cake.

3) Place the top layer over the jam and place in fridge for at least 15 minutes to let it “set”

4) Spread icing over top of cake allowing it to naturally run over edges.

5) Place iced cake in the refrigerator and let the icing fully set.

6) Once icing has set proceed to adding decorations– I used a very thin layer of icing to stick on the eggs.

And there you have it! A delicious Victoria sponge with a little twist. This is perfect for Easter Tea, (or brunch or lunch for that matter). Also, with a different topping it’s great as a birthday cake or a cake for any other occasion.

Have an awesome day and an awesome Easter!

DIY Gift- Homemade Soap

10 Dec

Welcome to another DIY gift! This is a method for making your own soap right in your kitchen. Homemade soap is an excellent gift or addition to your own home.

Cold Process vs Melt and Pour

There are two major methods of making soap. The first and more traditional method is cold process. This method uses lye and requires a curing process.  It requires a bit more skill and is not ideal for children.

The second method is melt and pour. The name is self explanatory. You use a soap base and melt it then pour it into a mold. You can purchase soap base from craft stores in either white or clear. Alternately you can purchase ready made bars of soap and melt it down.

In this post I use already made soap bars as I was unable to get soap base and it worked fine.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Soap base (craft store soap base or readymade soap)

Scent-essential oils or soap scent

Add-ins- I used loose leaf tea. You can use soap add ins or other herbs, dried flowers etc.

WHAT TO DO 

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan 

Place shredded soap into a heat safe bowl  and place that on top of the boiling water.



Add water as needed to mixture until it becomes thick and smooth.





Add scent and any colouring desired.





Spray mold with cooking spray to make removal easier.

Pour soap into mold and add add-ins

Spray the top of the soap mixture with rubbing alcohol to get rid of the bubbles.

Place into refrigerator or a cool dry place and allow the soap to dry out. Note that the more water you add in the melting process the longer it will take to dry.


Remove soap carefully from mold.

Lightly score the soap to decide where to cut.

Once you have sliced the soap you can allow it to completely dry out 

Wrap and gift!

This is an awesome DIY gift, the type of thing your friends will want to receive. Try it out and have an awesome day!

Cheap Trend- Patches

23 Jul

Hello 

Today I am exploring the trend that has taken 2017 by storm…patches. Like most current trends, patches aren’t new by any means but they have definitely made a big splash recently adorning everything from caps to bags to shoes.

Bag by Anya Hindmarch, Boots by Shop Deco and hat from Forever 21

One of my favourite looks with this trend is on denim jackets so I decided to DIY my own.  Due to the massive popularity of patches,  they are now widely available in craft stores, book stores, trendy clothing stores… you name it. And, they are often quite cheap.

I resurrected a cropped light wash denim jacket from my past and decided to give it a 2017 update with some patches. 

WHAT YOU NEED

1. Denim jacket

2. Patches

The jacket

The patches




WHAT TO DO

1) Lay the patches out on the jacket and play around with the arrangement. 

Lay out patches


2) Read the instructions for the patches CAREFULLY! Most patches can be stuck or sewn on but some can’t be stuck (I learnt this the hard way). Additionally, if you stick rather than sew, the garment can’t be washed so bear that in mind. I chose to stick mine on because I hope to recycle the jacket again.

Follow patch instructions


3) Apply the patches– If you’re sticking them on it won’t take very long but if you’re sewing it will obviously take longer.

Then you’re done!

I just love this trend.  I think it’s so great that you can inject your own personality into your fashion and it’s super fun, easy and affordable. This could work great on a backpack or a pair of denim shorts or whatever you like. 

Hopefully you find some inspiration from this post and hoping you have an awesome day!

Cheap Trend: Tassels and Pom Poms

8 May

Tassels hand pom Poms have long adorned clothing and accessories.  From the ends of strings on a peasant blouse to decorating the perimeter of bohemian style cushions. For the past three springs and summers  tassels and pom poms have been out  in full force, dotting otherwise mundane items with dots and splashes of colour and texture. I actually thought this trend was winding down but look and behold it continues to be ever present from runway to the racks of fast fashion stores.

Tassels bangles by Aqua Lilith  $41 US, Pom Poms and Tassels hat by Eric Javitz $250 US, Pom Pom sandals by Elina Linardaki $225 US.

This trend is easy to wear. You can make any look fun and bright with tassels and pom poms, going from zero to vacation mode in seconds. You can shell out some serious coin for a designer item or pick up something more affordable from off price retailers or fast fashion boutiques. OR, you could DIY!

That’s exactly what I did. I decorated a pair of espadrilles, a cross body bag and made a necklace.

Necklace

WHAT YOU NEED 

Length of leather, rope or chain.

Embroidery thread or floss.

Jump rings

WHAT TO DO 

1. Take a length of the thread and wrap it around three fingers multiple times. The more you wrap, the thicker the tassel will be. Alternately, you can use a square of card board, the with determining the length of the tassel.

2. Cut a short piece of the embroidery thread and tie it approximately 1/4 way down the tassel. Make a few wraps then tie off.

3.Thread a piece of the embroidery thread through the top loop and tie off. Add a jump rings and knot.

4.Cut off all the loose ends, then trim the bottom loop to create the fringe.

5.I repeated this twice using different colours and creating varying length fringes. I also combed through the thread with a fine toothed comb to make it fluffy.

6. Slide onto faux leather and tie ends together .

Shoes

WHAT YOU NEED 

Shoes- I used a pair of espadrilles with laces. You can use gladiator sandals or any other shoes with laces.

Pom Poms-These can also be easily DIY’d using yarn but they are very cheap and accessible from craft and stationary stores.

Eye pins- These are the small metal pins with loops at the top. They can either be bought from jewelry supply stores or you can make one yourself with jewelry wire and a round nosed pliers.

WHAT TO DO 

1.Push the eye pin through the Centre of the pom poms.

2. Cut the excess length off the eye pin and using pliers make a loop at the other end. Note, it must be large enough to slide over the laces.

3. Slide the completed pom poms onto the laces at varying points.

An alternate way is using jewelry bales and gluing the pom poms on then sliding those on to the laces.

Bag Charm

WHAT YOU NEED 

Bag- any style you wish, I chose a black square crossbows.

Tassels- you can make them the same way demonstrated above or use inexpensive  ready made ones from a craft stores,  like I am. 

Pom Poms

Thread- I used embroidery thread since it was at hand. You can use rope or ribbon if you like.

WHAT TO DO 

1. Make a loop and knot it.

2. Add an eye pin to the pom poms.

3. Slide onto thread and knot after each addition.

4. Add a jump ring to the top loop then add a keyring to the jump ring.

 

Bonus

I made this little cutie as a bonus. I’ve been seeing pom poms bag charms with eyes all over. This is great for a kid’s bag or for an adult with quirky taste.

I used a larger pom poms, added an eye pin and a jump ring at the top, then a keyring to that and glued on the googly eyes.

Whether you chose to DIY or buy, you’re sure to feel festive and trendy wearing tassels and pom poms.

Blogmas Bonus- Cranberry Scones

25 Dec

Blogmas Bonus – Cranberry Scones

Hello and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Back in November when I was meticulously planning each and every Blogmas post, I asked my sister to do a guest post on something sweet and easy to make. I told her what daybI was thinking of putting it up and told her to get back to me.

Well she did. Yesterday. But I digress. Better late than never.

This recipe is taken from our favourite online baker Stephanie fron Joy of Baking (I have referenced her more than a few times)

Since this is Kristine’s post I will present it the way she did.

Ingredients

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2 cups of flour
1/3 cup of white sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of unsalted butter
2/3 cup of fresh cranberries
2/3 cup of milk

She left out the candied fruit and the almonds listed in the original recipe.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F (200C) and butter or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients then cut butter in. Use a pastey blender of you have one if not use forks or knives creating course crumbs.

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Add the cranberries and gently mix

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Add milk and stir careful not to overmix

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On a floured surface knead dough four times then form a circle about 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter.

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Cut it into 8 triangles and brush top with milk.

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Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is brown.

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My sister gave these to some of her cowokers for Christmas. They make great gifts or a light dessert to have with coffee after all the heavy Christmas dinner.

Enjoy and have an awesome day!

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