Christmas decorating happened late this year - with Matt travelling and the new floors being put in (!!!!! - post to come), we didn't get a tree until Friday the 19th and decorating didn't happen until Saturday. Now it's Monday and I'm starting to put stuff away (I like a fresh house for New Years). So here are a few little things we did this year:
Kitchen & Stairs to Basement
Christmas Eve & Morning
This past weekend we hosted a brunch for friends of ours. They got to see our house and we got to meet their adorable 5 month old baby girl. We had good conversation and food, and I took a few pictures of the table beforehand. I used the florals I did for my grandpa's 90th birthday (post HERE) to complete the decor. Here's just a bit of Saturday morning pretty:
Note to self - use tripod to avoid crazy angled photos...I can't take a straight picture freehand if my life depends on it!
Today we had a great celebration of my grandpa Charlie's 90th birthday (his actual birthday is in a few weeks). Here are a few pictures from the day:
Beautiful argyle birthday cake made by Kat Makes Cakes (delicious too!)
If her website doesn't work, you can find her on Facebook under katrina Salvador
Florals (my brother Adam took this one!)
This one is better. Typical Andrew.
Mom and grandpa
Grandpa and his 3 kids - his fav team is the Roughriders
(Wow my dress is inappropriate short with a bump)
Aunt Andrea with grandpa and dad
His first born
And the baby giving a great speech
My grandpa spoke so well! I love his stories.
Mom's cousin John (grandpa's nephew on the paternal side) spoke about his dad and grandpa
Mom's cousin Marian (grandpa's niece on the maternal side)
Family photos and albums from so many family members
Grandpa with his cake
Now for some randoms...
Movember growth...halfway done
(Matt can't do it this year because he has to wear a respirator at work in certain areas when he travels and you need to be clean shaven to get a complete seal)
Andrew, just because he likes to be on the blog.
This year, my brother Adam and his wife Jessica threw another Halloween Party. Jess' birthday is on the 30th (Happy 29th sister in law!), and so they've had many celebrations in the past few years, like this one from two years ago. I honestly didn't take many pictures of the party, since I left at 11 p.m. My feet were actually killing me, it wasn't the exhaustion, but my drive home I felt it kick in so I'm glad I left when I did. If people have pictures, send them to me and I'll add them here!
I love all the juxtaposiiton of their decor - beautiful straws and gory eyeballs
Blood and spiders and Kate Spade coasters (which I think I gave her)
Tiny skulls and glowing West Elm tree laterns
A gorgeous mirror in a sitting room with bloody hand prints
Lacey black making the front hallway eerie - see? Halloween doesn't have to be tacky!
Birthday Monster cupcakes I made for Jessica - Devil's Food cupcakes with buttercream
I used the Wilton grass tip for the hairy effect
My brother, the zombie. (Jess was Katniss but I didn't get a picture)
I also got to dress up my bump a bit - nothing crazy, but here it is:
Daytime - Skeleton baby (a girl!)
Just a little project I did with some extra wood from the basement. I designed it, Matt made it, and I painted it! I just wanted to put a little bit more of that turquoise from the butcher block and stool into the kitchen.
Here is the raw wood product
Little nook by the stairs - I'm going to die dye those spoons in the paint too, along with a few other colours.
Pulls from Anthropologie, Swan apron from Home Sense
My kitchen is getting brighter and brighter!
Walking past Casa Loma on my way to "Dressing for Downton" at the Spadina House
(pronouced Spa-deena - who knew?)
My cast of "Into the Woods" at their finale show
First ice cream truck of the year!
Easter "nest" cupcakes - carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut and mini-eggs on top
Family trampoline time
Gave my hedgehog some hair with a mustard plant (lasted for about 3 months - pretty good)
I always get tulips at St. Lawrence Market
I had a whole bunch of bananas that were too ripe - so made banana-chocolate cupcakes
Teacher Day at the zoo. Saw the new pandas and polar bear cub, and this peacock strutting his stuff
Getting out the outdoor patio furniture and stringing up the lights
Painted this little shelf and decked it out with some Anthropologie pulls (more on this later)
Hydrangea cupcakes - didn't use buttercream so they melted pretty quickly into a tie-dye delicious mess
Mother's Day love
Had my family over for a Mother's Day BBQ
One of many cat love pics of Earl Grey (my neighbour's cat who pretty much lives on my porch)
Florals for spring (only the tulips are real)
May Long Weekend at the cottage with Moose (right before he swatted at me, I'm sure)
Decorating for the Music Banquet.
The students picked pale yellow and I accented it with leafy greens and bright pinky-orange flowers.
Marta and I - work wives
Nothing like a little coordinated dancing from my awesome music students
Go Jays Go (I'm wearing a Jay's shirt, I swear!)
That Jays Game was followed by apps and margaritas at El Catrin in Distillery
...and then Ed's real scoop. And then we walked home. So Roger's Center to distillery to Queen & Broadview to home. That was about 3 hours of walking, but it felt good!
Last rehearsal of the year with my students :(
Enjoying a drink outside one warm spring evening
I heart gelato
Marta and I at Wonderland for our performance at the Music Festival
Happy 25 years Skydome!
The Roots concert outdoors
Just a few sweet Tea-cher gifts.
Another of my January Cure projects was to (finally) paint and stain our butcher block island in the kitchen. I have a few Pins saved with stain on the top and paint on the rest in various colours. Took me a while to decide on what I wanted to do, but here is what I decided:
Ahhhhh it makes me so happy to see the bright colours all done! This is the Bekvam Kitchen Cart from Ikea by the way. I decided that I would also do the step stool (Bekvam from Ikea as well) I had yet to assemble as well:
So here's the project, in pictures, of course!
Day 1 - Disassemble the island and open up the step stool package. The parts to be painted I left to the side and all the parts to be stained I laid out and raised up. I was forced to the upstairs guest room since the basement work is already taking up all that space down there.
I applied a thin coat of Minwax Pre-stain to the side I was staining. You only have to wait 20 minutes and then you can stain within two hours. It just helps the stain adhere. I used Minwax Polyshades in Classic Oak with a satin finish. It will end up being a bit shiny but I didn't want it glossy.
This is after one coat of stain on the top and sides. I used a small foam brush. If I did it again I would have sanded the pieces first - they were more raw wood than I thought they would be.
Just to compare - here's the bottom side before...
...and the top I just finished.
Matt snuck a photo. Only fair as I snap them all the time. Yep, I look super attractive with Matt's baggy old sweats and t-shirt. It's the weekend, okay? Oh yeah, I'm also wearing gloves. This is not at all necessary except if you get expensive manicures that you don't want to ruin!
Once each side had a coat of stain I brought them to the basement to go over with very fine steel wool. This gets off any of the thick drip marks and makes things nice and even. Do this away from your work area as the steel wool sheds and leaves dust everywhere. Wipe everything down with a damp cloth before you start the next coat so nothing is left sticking to it.
Once all the coats are done (I did two one the bottom side and three on the top sides), it is time to buff and polish. Matt taught me his full polishing method that I doubt is completely necessary but they looked great in the end!
First step - super fine wet sandpaper and baby oil. Again takes off any excess stuff and smooths it out.
Second coat is the heavy duty cleaner. It's orange and looks like stain but rubs off with a dry cloth. Third coat is the turtle wax polishing compound that makes everything all shiny and smooth.
Left is the scary red rubbing compound, right is after it was polished off.
When you are covered in stain and layers of polish, you are banned to your work room to eat dinner.
Time for the paint! This was easier. I'm familiar with painting.
Anyone else see a Glockenspiel? (Sorry, "xylophone" for those non-music people)
Prime first, of course.
I picked Valspar's "Bayside" (Go Tigers!) as my paint colour. I used a satin finish but you could go more glossy just as easily. Typically the more sheen, the easier to wipe down, which is good in a kitchen.
Ohhhhh - Prom Dress Blue (I should find a pic of me from prom to post), or "Robin Egg Blue" as others would say.
2 coats on each side and you're good to go!
Assembly!!! This should have been easy but some of the paint gunked it up and it took more strength than I thought but in the end I got it done! Note to self - tape holes beforehand.
Yay! Yes, my floor is dusty. The basement stairs are just to the right. There will always be dust on the floor until that project is done.
After I yelled at the step stool for an hour while working, I got fed up and asked Matt to put the island back together.
He did good!
Double yay! That's a speaker on the bottom, linked to our sound system in the living room.
See? My David's tea goes perfectly. Have cobalt blue already in the kitchen the form of TWO teapots (can you tell I heart me some tea?), so I was glad to have a vase that links the two together. I love the sheen to the top.
I'm going to put a shelf on the wall above this that I will paint the same colour. I'll hand that apron along with some other things from it (got the apron from Home Sense).
Those are my shelf plans, from my engineer husband! We will use some of the extra wood from the stair project. There will be a few hooks on the bottom half.
Also got this drying mat that matches too. I'm going to probably do some colourful faux roman shades to bring the colour up a bit from the floor, and maybe a doormat too.
So bring and colourful! Makes me smile each morning when I make my tea!
It was a time-consuming project in terms of number of days (multiple sides, multiple coats) but not in terms of time each day (about an hour max).
Proud of this project - hope you like it!
Since we didn't have people over for Christmas Eve or Day, but we had decorated and cleaned, we were feeling a bit let down without playing host. We debated doing a New Year's Eve dinner, but we know that it's tricky. Most of our friends and family lay low, were out of town, or already had plans. These kind of things need to be planned well in advance. I also know, personally, that I like to have an easy way home, but be able to drink, and not be freezing cold taking TTC with a party dress. So home is best for us.
Last year's meal - braised duck poutine (leftover duck from Christmas Eve)
This year, just like the past few, we make a great dinner and cuddle up together to watch movies. A few years ago we were hooked on Dexter. Last year we watched the first two Godfather movies (how had we not seen them before?), and this year we just watched the movie "Don Jon" - directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt - it was pretty funny and well done. Not to be taken seriously but still really good. We made sea bass with creme fraiche, fingerling potatoes, and artichoke. I attempted to make a chocolate terrine, but timing was off. I started it before I realized I didn't have whipped cream, and by the time I got it, the chocolate had hardened (couldn't reheat as it had eggwhites in it), so it was pretty much a fail. Since it needs 12-24 hours in the fridge, we were out of luck. Matt went to the rescue and got some delicious mousse tarts from Bobbette & Belle, a bakery near us.
So anyway, back to the lack of hosting. We decided to invite our siblings over for a New Year's Day brunch. Jamie and Hope got back from England the day before so knew they wouldn't want to do Eve, but would come the next day if we could watch the Winter Classic. Adam and Jessica were up for it, and Meg was AT the Winter Classic so didn't come. We made easy food - tried and true which are cozy brunch foods. French toast souflee made with brioche (I made the day before and just cooked it that morning), the bacon, cheddar, potato bake we did on Christmas morning (easy and delicious), did a fruit salad with winter fruits - citrus, apple, pear, pomegranate (made this for a brunch last year), plus some prosciutto and melon. We also did a hot chocolate station, had coffee and tea, and the hangover cures of mimosas, Caesars, and beer.
The setup was fun - I was going to leave all the Christmas stuff, but Matt and I always clean it up on New Year's Eve day to start the year fresh and clean, so I cleaned up and just left a few silver and gold sparkly pieces to keep it festive but not Christmas-y. Here are the decor pictures:
Painting from Home Sense, LOVE Print from Madebygirl
Okay, I just mean the type of hot chocolate...nothing else (talking to you, Jamie).
Runner is from West Elm
Silver chargers are from The Bay, gold are from Dollar Tree (score!)
This candle from Bath & Body Works is both festive and smells delicious!
My grandma's neighbour was throwing this mirror away, can you believe it?
She asked for it and kept it for us - I love it!
Pineapples mean welcome!
Matt is smiling but probably saying on the inside "please put down the camera and help me!"
To prove to my brother that my fridge isn't just full of beer and butter
(we were going away one summer after I had made a lot of buttercream icing and bought too much butter, haha)
Mimosa & Caesar station
All in all it was fun decorating and hosting. We had some good food, some great company, and watched the longest hockey game ever, haha. Maybe we'll make this an annual tradition! Plus it gave us an excuse to clean the house top to bottom and it was a nice clean start to 2014! Happy New Year everyone!
We didn't host a Christmas dinner this year, but we did decorate, and a bit earlier than usual - right at the beginning of December! Here are a few pictures from around the main floor:
Our Christmas tree was a bit taller than normal (but still tabletop to fit in our little living space), and I decorated in silver and white, with some fuzzy soft touches.
Most of the ornaments are from West Elm and Pottery Barn from the past few years
Matt wrapped the ones with red ornaments, I did the grey and white. He is better than me.
Spoiled. Next year we are going to save our Christmas present money for a trip together.
Rosemary chipotle mixed nuts - a favourite every holiday.
After seeing so many Christmas mantles and not having a fireplace, I made my own on the sideboard.
It's real greenery!
The scotch still has a home in the decor
I liked the Chalk Pens this year!
Ohhh pretty tree bokeh in the background!
While in Vegas, I got a text from my sister-in-law Hope saying "COME BACK TO MEEEE" - I guess she missed me. This was Thursday, so I asked if she wanted to come over with Jamie for a BBQ. I also invited Jessica and Adam. Saturday worked best for all, so that was good. Well I sort of forgot that we were flying home late Friday night and arriving home by 9 AM Saturday morning. Well just call me Martha because we slept until noon, I cleaned the house, Matt got groceries, and we threw together a backyard BBQ in a few hours. It also helped that Jessica made a delicious cheesy french onion dip appetizer and Hope made a yummy apple berry crumble for dessert. We did a fruity salad (from a Comfort of Cooking recipe), grilled bread with prosciutto (from a Barefoot Contessa recipe), and hamburgers with grilled corn. Lots of drinks and laughs with both sides of my family made a really good night. Plus we got to show off our bench seating and string lights!
I realize now that we did not invite Meg (I think I thought she was working) - Meg if you were home all sad and lonely I'm sorry and I will take you to dinner this week!!!!! Love you littlest sister!!!!!!
Bread, cheese, prosciutto, garlic, parsley, olive oil - assemble & BBQ - yum!
(adapted from THIS recipe)
Arugula, strawberry, peach, cucumber, goat cheese salad with a balsamic reduction
(adapted from THIS recipe)
Yes, Adam is wearing a leopard print snuggy!
Good weekend - let's do it again really soon!