Goodbye MTL

Well after 3 amazing years, I said goodbye to my MTL home. My first home will always hold a special place in my heart. I got unreasonably attached to it during my time there, and I was so sad to say goodbye. However I’m off to new adventures, a new province and many new memories to make. I’m hoping I’ll be able to document this new house a bit better than the last…thanks for all the memories #10.

-C

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Hidden Treasure

In an effort to make my house ready for winter, my boyfriend and I decide to tackle the insulation problems that seem to plague all the houses in my neighbourhood. Apparently insulation wasn’t all the rage in the 50s, because each year icicles the size of a teenager hang from my eaves. Finally last year the water back up seeped into the front of the house and I knew it was time to see what was going on in there.

As a first step we opened up the attic walls upstairs, which had been sealed for the last 5 decades as far as I could tell. Opening up the crawl space was an experience in itself, and I’ll be posting more about that later, but I thought I would share this little tidbit that we found when we opened up the back wall.

Isn’t it neat? I’m thinking it’s a vintage 50s tie rack. It’s in amazingly good shape, I guess since it’s been sitting untouched in the back of my attic for so long. I’m so curious about who used it originally and how it ended up here. I’m thinking it will be repurposed into a key holder by my front door? Or maybe a scarf hanger? I’m open to suggestions! I’ll clean it up and take some better pictures when it finds a real home.  Can’t wait to see what else I’ll discover in this house.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

-C

Bake: Poppy Seed Bundt Cake with Blueberry Glaze

Sometimes I forget that the things I love about summer – Sunshine! Swimming! Heat! – come hand in hand with one terrifying, inescapable fact: bathing suits. When you’re on the paler side (read: my brown hair is the only thing between me and being albino) like me, and love your food like me, that can be a scary thing.

I can’t do too much about the paleness (I’m looking at you, Irish grandparents). So, I guess I could diet? But really. have you tasted food? It’s the best thing ever. So, I’ve come up with this foolproof plan to keep myself in bikini shape*: instead of baking typical, icing laden and chocolate filled goodies, I’ll pick recipes that involve things like fruit and berries! I’m no doctor but I’m 99% sure that fruit cancels out the calories from all other ingredients. If you are a doctor, please don’t tell me otherwise. Just enjoy your cake.

 

So, for my friend Andrea’s birthday this weekend I whipped up a cake that fit perfectly into my ‘includes berries so has no calories” – a Poppy Seed Cake with Blueberry Glaze from Joy the Baker.

 

It turned out amazing – light, moist and delicious with a hint of sweetness and zero calories (don’t quote me on that). I highly recommend it for a summer birthday, get together or Tuesday night.

 

You can even whip up your own cheery bunting banner to give it that extra kick.

Check out the recipe on Joy’s amazing site – and take a look around while you’re there. She is hilarious and comes up with all kinds of delicious treats.

The only change I made in the recipe was substituting skim milk for buttermilk, since that’s what I had on hand. 

Poppy Seed Bundt Cake with Blueberry Glaze (from Joy the Baker)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds

Blueberry Glaze

  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, thawed but not drained
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons buttermilk (or regular milk is fine too)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Place a rack in the center of the oven.  Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  In another medium bowl, whisk together canola oil, buttermilk, egg, vinegar, and vanilla extract.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once.  Whisk together until just combined and no lumps remain.  Stir in the poppy seeds.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cook in the pan for 20 minutes.  Carefully run a butter knife along the edges of the cake to assure that it is well loosed before inverting the cake onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the blueberry glaze:

Mash the thawed blueberries in a medium sized bowl releasing lots of dark blue juice.  Remove most of the blueberry skins from the juice and discard.  Add the vanilla extract, buttermilk and lemon.  Add the powdered sugar and whisk to combine.  If the mixture is too thick, add more milk to reach the desired consistency.  If the mixture is too thin, add just a bit more powdered sugar.

Drizzle the glaze over the completely cooled bundt cake and allow to set for 20 minutes before serving.

Happy Baking!

-C

*totally not going to keep me in bikini shape

Great Giveaways!

I love photo books, and have been slowly compiling a file full of memorable images from the last year to document 2008. I used to do the whole scrapbooking thing, but since we became two people in a 500 square foot apartment the space dedicated to scrapbook supplies has been taking over by hockey equipment and baseball hats. So, I have thought about going digital, and creating a photo book of our memories. Much less mess and effort and prettier to look at (I was never much of a scrapbooker). Lucky for me (and you) two great blogs are having photo book giveaways.

The fantastic do it yourself website, iDIY, is giving away a 40$ book from MyPublisher – comment to win here!

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And the always amazing Pioneer Woman is giving away 5 books to 50 people!! That’s right, 50! From Snapfish.com – but only until midnight tonight. Check out the details here.

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Go and enter these amazing contests – give your photos the spotlight they deserve! Or scan in other things – restaurant receipts, love notes, ticket stubs, you name it!!

Duvet Covers

I am having a bit of a dilemma. In our current place, the bedroom is painted a taupey brown, and my bed linens are white and dark chocolate color. I love them, but they aren’t in the plans for the new place. I am hoping to paint the new bedroom grey, with some hints of yellow. I am looking for a change, and I want to relegate the brown bedding to our guestroom. So, I figured the first step would be to find a duvet cover that I loved, and then I could pull the grey and yellow shades out of that. This is turning out to be more difficult than I had anticipated. I am seriously considering going to some fabric stores and making my own cover. Let’s just ignore the fact that I haven’t used a sewing machine since high school home ec class, where I made a pair of lopsided, oversized boxer shorts. So, not really a pro.

I have some options. Although none to promising – either they don’t deliver here, out of stock, or out of my price range.

The first couple of options have the combination of grey/black and a yellow color all together on the bedspread.

Dwell Orbit Comforter – Target (100$) – the issue here is that they don’t ship to Canada. And it is not available in the store. So, kind of a dead end, unless i can get it shipped to the vacation house in Maine while someone is there to receive it. Also I am not sure if the yellow is too green. It is so hard to tell online! I am an ‘in person’ kind of girl.

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Collage Charcoal Bed Set – Dwell (570$ on sale) – more from Dwell, and I love the style, but the color is more of a mustard and less of a yellow than I was hoping for. Also, even on sale I can never afford this type of luxury.

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If I don’t go with the combo of both colors on the spread itself, I can always choose a base of grey or yellow and then accent it with some quilts or coverlets and pillows.

Ecosphere Oak Duvet Cover – Bed, Bath and Beyond (100$) – I like this option. Also, it is eco-friendly bedding, so that is a plus. The price is more reasonable. This one is a contender.

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Dwell Studio for Target Khaki Leaves – Target (80$) – I like the style of this one but although it looks pretty grey in the photo, I think that it is too brown for what I want (the khaki in the title makes me hesitate)

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Unni Slinga – Ikea (20$) Ok, I love this one from Ikea. and it is 20$? How is that possible? I am worried the quality will be really low, for that price, but one of my old duvet covers was from Ikea and I loved it. This one will definitely be checked out on my next trip!

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Matine Toile Duvet Cover – Pottery Barn (150$) – The yellows. I like this one, but I think it might be a bit too much of the bright cheery yellow. I am trying to picture it with a super thick, dark grey throw over the bottom and white sheets. It could work.

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Tillinghast Duvet Cover – Ruby Green (169$) – I like the yellow here, but again I worry about it being too much. I really wanted to keep the yellow as an accent. But I figure if I can switch out the pillow cases and bring in that dark grey and white, it might work also. Although it is more expensive and the shipping would cost me (if they even ship to Canada, which seems to be too difficult for most companies! Not that I am bitter…no…not at all)

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Basically, I am still at square one. I will be heading to Maine on Victoria Day weekend and hopefully will be able to find something. If not, off to the fabric store I go! I have a vision of large stripes of charcoal, grey and white with a band of yellow here and there. Sounds great, right? But unlikely. I will have to continue my search in the meantime!!

Guess what arrived!

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Guess what came in the mail on Friday! Yep, my very own bittersugar print. I am so excited, I immediately opened it and put it in my 9$ frame that I had bought last week at Winners just for this occasion.

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Doesn’t it look beautiful?? I can’t wait to hang it up in the new house. It makes me sad to have all of these works of art sitting in a bag in my bedroom while they wait for the move, but they will be in their new home soon enough – 36 days!! Crazy!!

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While I was taking the pictures my cat Shadow showed up to investigate, and while she looks quite vicious in this picture she is actually meowing at me in a friendly way, I promise. She is just my little Halloween cat and her sweetness doesn’t really translate into photos. But trust me, she is tiny and adorable. And clearly approved of my framing job!

In other news, packing has begun in earnest in our house, and the pile of boxes by the patio door is slowly growing. I think I need to learn how not to over load a box, since all of the ones so far feel like they way 400 pounds each. At least some progress is being made, since I have two trips planned in the next 5 weeks and that doesn’t leave too much time for packing! I can’t wait to be in the house (have I said that before??), this weekend is supposed to be 25 degrees here and sunny, for once, and I wish I was in the new place, sitting by the pool while Sean fires up the BBQ for dinner.