Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Vintage Doily Pillow

There are so many beautiful things on Pinterest. 
Lately I have been searching for things to do with my collection of vintage doilies.  
And - zowee- there are so many good ideas!

These doilies were Mod-podged onto recycled pasta sauce jars.  So much prettier now, aren't they?

Wouldn't these be beautiful at Christmas time?  Snowflakes for your walls.....
Louise Rastall

Don't these canvases look strikingly modern?  You see the geometrics of each doily so clearly.

This doily has been hanging around my mother's house for a pretty long time. So, the last time I was home visiting I asked her for it. Mom knows I  always have something up my sleeve so she was pleased to see it used in one of my "schemes."

I really like the unique shape of this doily - squarish with scalloped edges. 
I knew it would be perfect to stitch on the front of a pillow.  
I used cream coloured thread and stitched in several places to a pink-printed cotton fabric.  

To finish the centre of the pillow I added a flower-shaped button chosen by my daughter. After all, the pillow was going to go in her bedroom!

I showed you my daughter's new decorated BEDROOM
last month.  You might have seen this pillow nestled into the newly-painted garage sale chair.

I love when old things can be used to make new things look prettier.  Usually it's less expensive and it's the loveliest form of recycling!!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
It's the last one of the summer.

Much love to all,

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bryn's "Explorer" Curtains

The other day I showed you some Pinterest inspiration for my oldest son, Bryn's, "Explorer" Themed Bedroom Makeover.

The first thing I knew I had to change was his window coverings.  Even he mentioned that the red and white gingham curtains were feeling a bit "babyish."

I thought the denim kept things "big-boy, " but apparently he thought otherwise.  
And the pennants that I made a few years back?  Cute in my books, "silly" in his.

Oh dear.  I think I am seeing a shade of "Tweeny-ness" in my almost 9 year old!

So, because, for the first time ever, Bryn had an opinion about his bedroom decor,  I took him shopping for curtain fabric. 
  It didn't take long for him to pick out some fabulous tan and black map fabric.  The tan blended nicely with his tan-coloured walls and the black was graphic and exciting.  

We opted to stay away from long, floor-brushing drapes and went with a valance. 
Both he and I liked the simplicity of it.  

To jazz up the neutral fabric, I sewed on a slick line of red along the bottom edges.
It ties the valance to the red colour of his bunk beds.  

I've used this same valance pattern 
 to sew new window coverings for my other son's bedroom, too.  Even though they are the same basic shape, the colour and fabric change the look so  much!!
(I'll share them soon.)

Here's a little peekity-peek of how Bryn's room is coming together already.  A globe, a wall map....we're on our way!

Before I go, I'd like to share some pictures of a day out I recently had with my 2 younger kids.  
We visited nearby Springridge Farm and enjoyed the sunshine and farm animals.  

The sunflowers were 10 feet tall and the tarts in the bakery were scrumptious. 
 (You can tell that Cam REALLY enjoyed his!)

One more week until school starts here.  All 5 of us head back - 2 teachers and 3 students.

Where did the summer go??

Bye all!!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Amish Cinnamon Bread

Have you ever been given a container of Amish Bread Starter?  You know the one - the container of soured milk, flour and sugar that is kept on your counter and you have to feed it new ingredients every few days? Then you have use it in a recipe every so often?  You are then encouraged to pass some of the mix onto a friend who would appreciate it and use it? You know the one I mean?

I remember my mother would receive this "starter" on a regular basis and it would be fun and delicious for a week or two, then it became like a 6th family member having to be fed and taken care of constantly. Eventually she would dump it in the compost bin and take a rest from its sour-dough needs.

Though this sour-dough starter was often a pain in the you-know-where, you could never argue  the fact that whatever was made out of it - biscuits, coffee cake, quick bread - was ALWAYS delicious.

So do you want a recipe that takes just like sour-dough, but you can make from scratch ever time you crave it?

Well here it is!

( This recipe makes 2 loaves. )


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice)
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon 

1. Cream together softened butter and sugar. Add in the eggs and stir until smooth.

2. Stir in buttermilk.  

**Did you know that you can turn regular milk into a buttermilk texture by stirring 2 tbsp of lemon juice/vinegar into the milk and letting it sit for for a few minutes??

3. Gradually add 4 cups of flour and baking soda.

4.  Spread 1/2 the batter into 2 greased (or lined with parchment paper) loaf pans (1/4 of the batter into each pan).

5. Stir together cinnamon and sugar to make topping.

6.  Sprinkle 1/2 of this mixture over batter in loaf pans.

7. Spread remaining batter over cinnamon topping.

8. Sprinkle remaining topping over the second layer of  batter.

9. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, depending on your oven.
Cool in pan before removing.

I love how the cinnamon layer swirls and dips as it bakes between the layers of batter.  It looks very pretty when sliced.

Enjoy with a cup of tea and a few girlfriends.
That's how these loaves were devoured early last week!

I'd love to hear how this recipe works out for you.  Do you have any other favourite quick bread recipes that are favourites in your house??

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

"Explorer" Themed Bedroom Inspiration

After finally completing my daughter's  bedroom transformation, my oldest son Bryn quietly requested that we work on his bedroom next.  

Right now, his room looks any boy's room - tons of LEGO, books all over the floor, posters above his bed and tons of stuff pinned to his bulletin board.  

Currently, Bryn is enamoured with the earth and sky and everything geographic in between. He constantly has questions about population, rivers, capital cities and continents.
He's already chosen a bucket list of cities and countries he hopes to visit ASAP (Brazil, India, Mexico City, Paris & Australia).

So when I asked him if he wanted a "World Explorer" theme for his new bedroom, he was thrilled!

I've gathered up some inspiring pictures that will hopefully aid in this makeover. 

First - a few items that we already have and I will use as the basis of my 'design.'

1.  Red bunkbeds
(I bought and painted these 5 years ago when we moved into our current home.  It took FOREVER to paint them, and I am not ready to change them yet!

 2. A blue Hemnes dresser from IKEA.
(Another 5-year-old piece, but it's sturdy and still looks new, so we're keeping it!)

3.  Tan and black map fabric. 
(Bryn helped me pick this out. I was pretty proud of his choice.  Pretty elegant and classy for an 8 year old!)

Now for the "new" elements

1. Union Jack Pillow
Bryn likes the lines on the Union Jack flag.  At first he wanted real  flag to hang above his bed. I convinced him a pillow would be best. : )

2. Map on the wall
3. Tan coloured walls
4. Cozy blanket for over the foot of the bed.

5.  Signal flags 
(Like the ones he'd seen recently in a Pirate movie.)

6. Map art 
(and words to live by!)

7. Button Art 
(But in the shape of Canada, please!)

jillian audrey designs

8. Flag Pennants
(He requested every country in the world.  I'll make 10!)

9. Graphic Word Art
(He'll choose the cities, I'll make the sign.)

I definitely think we have come up with enough projects for this makeover.  I've begun with some sewing and I'll share Bryn's new window-coverings later in the week.  

Oh! And I haven't even begun to share the changes we have made in the last week on our whole main floor!! We had guests for dinner last night and they couldn't believe how different everything looked.  I'll take some pictures and share ASAP.

Here's to  a wonderful week!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

One Last Summer Mantel

Two weeks until school begins again.  In our house that means all three kids head back and hubby and I return to our teaching positions as well.  It has been a wonderful summer - full of outdoor play, camping, swimming, BBQing and gardening.  

We've also done a ton of work inside  - particularly in the last week or so.  We've been painting and rearranging furniture all in the hopes of using the space we have in a much more effective way. Pics of that in the next few weeks . . .

But first, my last bit of mantel decor for the sunny season of summer.  After this,  I'll probably change it mid-September and  switch to pumpkins and acorns to  usher in autumn.

I kept this mantel-scape pretty neutral and clean - just a mix of natural shades and white.

I found a bag of cream and white crochet cotton at the thrift shop recently and thought they would add a interesting, vintage element to my mantel.

Now that we are planning a vacation to France for the summer of 2014, I pulled out a few of our favourite French travel story books.  Hubby and I would like to read them again and having them out where we can see them might help us to remember!

I made this felt leaf garland last fall.  I had put it away temporarily but pulled it out again to drape across the shutters and frames at the top of my arrangement.  

This is the last mantel I'll put together in our living room space at the front of the house.  
We've already moved our electric fireplace/mantel into our new dining space at the back of our home.  
It sits near our table and can be enjoyed more easily and often by the whole family when we eat and cook.  

Gotta love a fireplace that moves more easily then most pieces of furniture!

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Before I go, I'd love to share a few pictures from our most recent camping trip.

We took our newly-renovated camping trailer to a campground about an hour from our home.  

The kids connect so well when there isn't any technology to distract them.

Kevin and I love that we have the freedom to sit and read while the kids frolic nearby.

The kids adored that there was an empty picnic table on a neighbouring campsite.  That meant they could spread their LEGO out on the table and play for hours under the trees.  

Kevin bought this new s'mores contraption while running to the camping store for matches.  It worked wonderfully!

Pool time! This is always the kids' favourite part of each camping trip.

Thanks for stopping by!

Hugs to all,


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Our Home - For Real

 We recently had a few friends over for a summer BBQ.
I spent  the day prepping food and weeding the garden. I also gave our home a good cleaning -  decluttering, dusting, tidying and "pretty-ing."

By the time our guests were set to arrive, I took a good look at our home.  
It wasn't perfectly staged - it looked lived in - but it looked nice.  Full of colour and personal touches. 
I took some photos to capture our home as it is - a place of warmth and home-y details.

Here is a wide shot of our family room.  It's where we watch TV and practise the piano.  

We cozy up and read stories on this Ikea couch.  

I made the pillows and afghan and my children put together the 3D puzzle of Notre Dame. 
 And the daisies?? From my garden.  

Across the other side of the room  sits a second-hand easy chair where I do all my knitting.  
Above that is the large mirror that was given to us by our neighbours on our wedding day 11 years ago.  
The dresser has moved homes with us several times - it was my sister's growing up.  

Now to the front of the house - and into our living and dining room.  
I love our small electric fireplace and mantel.  I change its decor on a regular basis.  

This half-wall is right at our front door and sports a welcoming sign.  

This bookshelf changes on a regular basis too.  I love the shots of pastel colour I have on it for the summer season (though it won't be long until we change to autumn!)

And here is the dining room.  It takes up one end of this mid-sized room.  We usually have it set up with seating for 4, but it does stretch out to seat six on special occasions.  

I hope you enjoyed my little house tour.  
We do love our home.

I am glad I captured our house on this particular day.  It never  stays the same for very long !  
In fact, tomorrow I am beginning a large re-painting project in which the whole main floor (except the powder room) will get a new coat of paint.  
And the furniture?  It's getting a real shake-up, too.

There are going to be big changes around here in the next month or two, all in the hopes that we can use the space we have more effectively.

I have a list of things to do that is 5 feet long and I hope to get through most of it before Thanksgiving.

I'll share a few of plans in the next few weeks.

Thanks for stopping by!