Month: September 2013

Coffee station and pumpkin spice syrup

coffee station DIYOh how I love when a few little projects come together to make something bigger and better. May I reintroduce you to my rustic tray, cinnamon coffee syrup and chalkboard painted glassware? They’re all living happily ever after on my kitchen counter in the form of a coffee station. Bliss right here friend. My morning routine just got a bit easier and a lot prettier with this round up of coffee supplies.
coffee station DIYNo autumn coffee project would be complete without a mention of pumpkin spice lattes. I scoured pinterest and google and combined a few recipes to come up with this coffee flavouring. You know I’m cheap and a fan of doing knock-offs for a fraction of the price! You probably already have everything you need, except the pumpkin puree. I picked up a can in the baking supply aisle of my grocery store for under $2. There’s enough in a can for 5 batches – freeze the leftover in an ice cube tray then use 2 large cubes for each future batch.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup each white and brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

pumpkin spice syrupCombine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let simmer and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes then pour into a heat safe container (canning jar!).  I chose to strain about half of my batch through a sieve to reduce a bit of the pulp – totally up to you. To use: stir or shake your syrup then add equal parts of the syrup and milk to a mug. Heat them up if you have time and froth the milk if you like. Add coffee, stir and enjoy! It’s not quite Starbucks but you don’t have to leave home…or your pyjamas for a cup!

Fall hits the front patio

Front porch updateA $5 doormat and a change in the weather inspired me to redecorate my front patio. I kept it simple and low budget. When I was a renter I didn’t bother to do stuff like this – now I have so much fun keeping my place fresh and embracing each season. It keeps the small space interesting and gives me a chance to play with different color schemes. Simple pleasures friends, isn’t that what life’s all about? Here’s a list of the ‘curb appeal’ updates:

  • the fabric wrapped wreath got rewrapped with burlap ribbon, new felt flowers and a few pompoms ($5 for ribbon, $1 for felt at Michaels)
  • an adorable owl garland got hung across the window; I had this from last year but restrung it and added pompoms for a bit more color ($1.75 for pompoms at Michaels)
  • the cushion on the rocking chair got pulled inside and left the rocker so naked that I quickly whipped up a little bunting using leftover burlap and pompoms
  • 2 wee white mum plants literally got plunked into burgundy pots I already had ($3 each from the grocery store)

Fall patio updatesfront patio garlandThat’s it. You can’t tell from these photos but the upper levels of my townhouse building have burgundy siding which I was trying to tie in with the bits of burgundy. The rest I wanted to look low key and neutral. I’ll add pale pumpkins to the rocker, bench and large planter closer to Halloween. So there you have it, my ‘new’ Fall patio for less than $20! What are you decorating for the season?

Love & cookies

NY Times cookiesLook out, it’s about to get all mushy up in here!…then there’ll be cookies.

Do you have anyone in your life that you just love to bits?…that makes your heart overflow, that brings joy, that accepts you for who you are but also challenges you to be your best self, someone that is a total gift? I hope you said ‘yes’! I have a couple that do all this and more for me and I cherish having them in my little life.

They are my brother Steve and his lovely wife Denise. I’ve always had a good relationship with Steve and it just continues to get better as we ‘grow up’. We share interests in music, cars and making lists. He supports all my creative ventures and often shares his workshop, tools and spray painting booth. I liked Denise before I even met her because I could see how happy she made my brother. What I didn’t expect was that this gal would become my sister and my best friend. She is the kindest, most thoughtful and loving person I know. She is generous beyond belief – with her time, her spirit, her family and her resources. Like the time I really needed but couldn’t afford new tires for my Jeep and went to pay the bill to find she’d already paid it for me. Or the time I asked if she’d go to a concert with me and she booked us the nicest dinner and hotel suite ever. And she cooks for me, and shares her daughter so freely, and lets me stay at their lovely acreage when she knows I need a break. We share books, movie dates, the love of chocolate and peanut butter. We can laugh together and we can have serious heart-to-hearts. Such a blessing. It’s hard to thank folks like Steve and Denise because for any nice thing you do for them, they do 4 nicer, better, grander things back. Yesterday was their wedding anniversary and I wanted to do something to celebrate. So, I did what I do – I make stuff.
NY Times cookiesNew York Times Salted Chocolate Cookies are their favourite so I baked a batch just for them with love in my heart. Try them, I think you’ll like them. Don’t be thrown off because the recipe is written a bit weird – just use the regular cookie method of creaming sugar, butter and eggs then adding the dry ingredients. Use good chocolate, it makes all the difference in the world. I get Bernard Callebaut dark chocolate chunks in bulk and use about 1 1/2 cups per batch. Sweet and salty goodness in every bite – this is a grown up cookie, a bit on the decadent side.

Steve and Denise, happy anniversary…yours and all of ours. How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough ‘cos I’m never ever giving you up. xox