valentines day gift ideas - pink etsy faves roundup via the sweetest digs

making me blush: pink gift ideas

23rd January 2015

I don’t know if it’s because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner or because I’m starting to long for Spring (it’s been a coooold winter so far), but I am having a serious love affair with all things pink these days. Here are some of my favourites from Etsy recently. Any of these would make great gifts for your sweeties on love day! I’m pinning after, oh, everything.

valentines day gift ideas - pink etsy faves roundup via the sweetest digs

1 >> This felt flower box would not only look amazing on a dining room table or buffet, but I love that it’s felt and you don’t have to worry about buying new flowers! I’m too cheap to buy fresh flowers all the time even though I love them, so this would be a perfect alternative.

2 >> This saturated pink photograph of a shop in Ireland is lovely. If you last name is Jordan, or you know a Jordan, that would make it all the more sweet.

3 >> I think I have posted prints from this artist before. This particular giclee print based on original oil painting is vibrant with gorgeous colours. Would be amazing on a white wall.

4 >> Can’t forget the guys. This men’s bow tie has a vintage vibe going for it, and I’m digging it.

5 >> Throwing a party or wedding? This pink sequin table cloth is all kinds of amazing, and would MAKE any table.

6 >> Oh, this pink champagne tie? Love. Plus the pink is really subtle, so I feel like even guys who “don’t do pink” would be into it.

7 >> Wanna go really over the top and make a lady in your life feel ridiculously special? This rose gold diamond ring would definitely do it.

8 >> If the ring is out of the budget, these blush pink earrings in 14K plated gold would be a pretty fabulous runner up.

9 >> I have been using these hair tie style elastics in my hair and they are really soft and don’t damage the hair as much as regular elastics. These pink and floral hair elastics are particularly cute.

10 >> Want to make some valentines at home with your kids (or, let’s be honest, just by yourself)? This DIY valentine’s card kit has everything you need.

11 >> You know I love some fun, budget jewellery. This baby pink crescent necklace is only $10.

12 >> Any little guy would look ridiculously cute in these suspenders and bow tie. Everyone always says how fun it is to dress a girl, and it is, but there are so much cutie patootie boy stuff too.

13 >> This vintage turkish kilim rug has me dying. Dan is actually going to Turkey today for work for a week, and you can bet I showed him all kinds of photos of Turkish textiles to encourage some purchasing while over there. Hopefully I’ll have a post when he’s back about all the sweet finds he brought home.

14 >> I loooove the arrow pattern in this coral throw pillow. Would look amazing in just about any space.

15 >> Wanna add a little something to your outfit? These lace boot cuffs that just pop out the top of your boots are darling.

16 >> Maya is crazy about stuffed animals (and god knows she has enough already!), but this plush monster is all kinds of sweet.

17 >> I don’t know if she’ll go for it, but I reeeeeally want to get this floral infinity scarf for Maya. Maybe in a few years when she won’t just pull it off?

18 >> If you’ve got a little girl in your life who wears headbands, this DIY headband and hair tie kit would be really fun. Maybe as an activity at a baby shower?

19 >> OK, shut the front door. Baby aztec harem pants? DYING. Would look amazing on boys or girls.

20 >> I have some floral jeans for Maya and they are pretty much my favourite pants of hers. These black floral leggings for just $10 are cute and would go with anything.

21 >> And while we’re on the legging trend. These faux leather leggings are pretty fab too.

22 >> Maya has just started playing dress up. Mostly just with my clothes and jewellery… but I feel like a dress up box is in my not-too-distant future. These tulle skirts would make an awfully cute addition.

What do you guys think? Into pink? Making any plans for love day?

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the morning routine + an egg muffin recipe

21st January 2015

What does your morning routine look like during the week? I don’t know about you guys, but I always feel that morning frazzled rush even though I don’t have a traditional job where I need to “clock in” at a certain time. The three of us wake up at the same time, and then Dan and I rotate showers, with Maya running around the bathroom/hallway/bedroom (often opening the shower curtain to peer in at whoever is in there — “eee! Maya! close that – it’s chilly!”). Once we make it downstairs, breakfast is a pretty quick affair, before Dan runs out to catch his bus and I take Maya to daycare. In terms of breakfast, I have muesli with berries, Dan has cheerios, and Maya has a piece of toast with almond butter or cream cheese and some fruit. On the weekends we give Maya oatmeal – I feel like it’s a great, nutritious breakfast – but during the week, I just can’t handle the clean up of oatmeal (it gets EVERYWHERE) and the extra time it takes Maya to eat it (we are still learning the whole spoon thing). Although toast isn’t a bad option, I really wanted to switch it up and try something with more protein and nutrients, but that wasn’t going to add time to our routine.

Have you guys seen recipes for savoury “egg muffins” popping up online/pinterest/etc? I came across this recipe which is a bit different than the usual egg + veggies + cheese, as it incorporates flax, hemp seed, and almond flour. It’s a little more muffin-y versus mini quiche. And there is literally nothing unhealthy in the recipe – it’s full of nutrients, gluten free, and low carb. I thought I would give them a go.

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[ note the plywood countertops… still waiting on our countertop install. Hopefully end of this week?! ]

One of the wet ingredients in these muffins which helps to give them some moisture is cottage cheese. I feel like cottage cheese gets an unfair, bad wrap. Sure, it looks a little chunky, but it is super high in protein, has almost no fat, and actually tastes really good. I don’t love the 0% stuff as I find it a bit too watery, but the 1-2% is delish. I often have it with berries and cinnamon (kind of like a replacement for yoghurt) and Dan loves to put it on his salad for extra protein. I used the Gay Lea 1% cottage cheese for this recipe.

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Anyway, back to the muffins. I followed the recipe pretty exactly, except for a few things: I used almond flour instead of almond meal and I didn’t put in the nutritional yeast flakes (simply because I couldn’t find them at my grocery store).

About 25 minutes in the oven and they came out looking golden and yummy.

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And you know what? They were actually pretty good. Definitely more of a dense chewy muffin rather than quiche. I think next time I might try not putting in the almond flour and putting in some veggies like peppers and mushrooms, maybe with some pesto for extra flavour? The nice thing about them is that you can switch it up a bit with every batch so that you get some variety.

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And Maya? She digs ‘em! Breakfast this morning was half of a muffin and some strawberries and the girl was saying “mmmm-ore!” the whole time. Oh, and Dan opted for two of these muffins instead of his usual cheerios too. Success.

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Oh and FYI that they are definitely better served warm, so you want to pop one in the microwave for 20 seconds or so before eating. Side note: When I was telling Dan to microwave it, I used the phrase “just bung it in the microwave for a few seconds”. He looked at me, totally confused, and was all like “What did you say? Bung it? What kind of phrase is that?”. Is that weird you guys? Is this a phrase from my British father or something that I have inherited? I would usually use it in reference to the oven, but microwave seemed applicable too. Thoughts?

What’s your go-to breakfast in your household? Made some of these egg muffins before? Got a recipe to share?

Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own. Don’t forget to head on over to the Gay Lea website for recipes and more info! 

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shower tile: subway with a side of marble

19th January 2015

Let’s get back to the kids/guest bathroom, m’kay? It feels like the one room in the house that is close to being finished. Maybe cause it’s the smallest? In the post last week you saw how we put down charcoal grey tiles in a herringbone pattern and installed the IKEA vanities. Well, let’s get to the shower.

Like the floor tile, there wasn’t any DIY’ing going on here (too little time – functional bathroom required!). We have a great tile guy who works quickly and does beautiful work. To start off, he painted the drywall with a waterproofing material.image (6)

As you can see, in keeping with the black + white direction of the room and my general French vibe, I figured that classic subway tiles would be perfect. Plus, they don’t do too much damage on the ol’ wallet. To up the ante a little though, I went with the extra long ones. You can still get them at your regular big box hardware store – I got these ones at Home Depot. The price per square foot didn’t end up being all that different from the usual 3×6 subway tile size.

That orange thing in the pic below is a niche – little nook where you can put shampoos and stuff. It feels all kinds of fancy to me…. but in actual cost it was only an extra hundred bucks or so (for materials + a bit of extra time in labour).

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I had a little fun with the niche and bought one sheet of marble hex tile. It isn’t cheap, but buying just one sheet was do-able (also from Home Depot). DSC_1327

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We went with a medium grey grout. I like the way the subway tiles pop, and I also like the fact that the grout won’t show dirt. Three cheers for less cleaning?!DSC_1331 DSC_1333 DSC_1337

I would have looooooved to get a black shower head/drain set, but the black ones I could find were all on the expensive side. This budget-friendly Moen one in chrome was $150 and the traditional shape felt like it would suit the bathroom (it is this fixture from Rona). DSC_1343Oh, and here is a more “keepin’ it real” pic of the niche. It holds 4-5 bottles, which means that we have just a few tucked in that one corner (I’m a bit of a product lover, and Dan and I don’t use the same stuff… so you know… there are always quite a few bottles on the go!). I also need to grab one of those bags that you can put bath toys in. Right now, our various boats and ducks sit on the vanity when not in use. Not ideal! 
DSC_1346So that’s how it’s shaping up. I need to paint in there and then I can get to the really fun part: accessorizing. Oooh how I’m dying to put up a piece of art somewhere in the house.

 

kitchen

planning + designing a kitchen

13th January 2015

So, the kitchen. The heart of the home, right? Just to jog your memory, this was our sweet little diner-style kitchen we had pre-reno.

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We had made it work by painting out the oak strip cabinetry, adding new hardware, and laying those fabulous budget-friendly black and white vinyl tiles. We lived with our kitchen like this for a number of years, which gave us lots of time to think about what our dream kitchen would look like.

One thing that was on the must-do list was to expand the kitchen. You can see in these pics that I snapped just as we were moving out, that our kitchen was on the right side of the supporting wall…

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And the living room on the left side..IMG_20140609_111313

Well, one of our main re-design elements was to bring that wall down (a beam put up in place to support the house). Once our renovation was underway in the summer, things were looking pretty horrific.

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When you do any kind of large reno, you just always have to remember that it gets worse before it gets better. Otherwise you would just want to hide under your pillow and wonder why on earth you ruined a perfectly functional space…

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As the house was getting framed, we turned our attention to planning the kitchen. We kept the kitchen in the same general spot as it was before to save on costs related to moving plumbing, but we moved our front door over to the other side of the house so that we could expand the kitchen right up to the exterior wall. Where the door used to be, would now make way for a big picture window.

Before I go on, I just want to make it clear that we are newbie DIY kitchen designers and did these mock ups on our own. Once we got to our more final version, however, we consulted with an IKEA kitchen rep, which was definitely super useful. If you’re able to, I would always recommend chatting with a professional kitchen designer as there are lots of things that they can help guide you with, and point out things that you might not have considered.

On our first crack at using IKEA’s kitchen designer tool, we came up with this. We got the basic layout down, with the “work triangle” people talk about (you want a triangle between your sink, stove, and fridge for efficiency and ease of use). You can’t see the sink in this snapshot, but it goes under the window. The whole thing wasn’t bad, but the island was looking really dinky. We needed to leave a certain amount of space around the island for walking in and out of the kitchen, so this short island was basically as big as it was going to get. In the picture it looks decent, but when we measured it out and imagined it, I just didn’t love it. Plus, we ended up deciding to do a wall to help define the entryway/front door area, so that wall was going to come up and block the left hand space around the island. Plan #1 nixed.

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In our second attempt, we switched from an island to a peninsula. Made way more sense space-wise, and this way we could build out the wall by the front door. I didn’t like the symmetry with the microwave built-in by the hood vent though (and it wouldn’t have been functional anyway, I have now found out!), and wanted to incorporate some glass fronted uppers.Kitchen Snip #2

Version 3 was the winner. I liked the symmetry of that far wall, the peninsula gave a nice big stretch of countertop while leaving enough walking room between it and the fridge (over 3 feet), and we could still have our wall to help define the entryway. See where there is a box on the floor of the peninsula that doesn’t appear to have a cabinet on it? That’s where the wall would come to from the far left side of the picture, leaving enough space to tuck two stools in to the peninsula. kitchen layout

Here it is with the new door, window, and wall framed up. See what I mean about wanting to define the entryway? If we hadn’t of put that wall in, you just would have walked basically straight into the kitchen. Not terrible, but not ideal either. I like having the bit of wall, and it gave an opportunity for a few more upper cabinets and a spot to run a bunch of electrical.

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I had done up a moodboard a few months before on a bit of a whim, and I ended up sticking quite close to the design.

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Flooring >> We decided to carry our hardwood through to the kitchen, both for continuity on the main floor and also because I just love hardwood in a kitchen up next to painted cabinetry. I like the warmth that it brings to the space. So our medium tone gray-brown hardwood (more details on that in another post) was what we started with.

Cabinetry >> We knew we would go with IKEA – great prices (most important factor for us), nice contemporary styles, and good reviews from friends and fellow bloggers. I went back and forth about going with all-white cabinetry, but in the end I fell in love with the grey of the Lindigo cabinets.

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via IKEA

I like the look of a two-tone kitchen, so we went with the grey for bottoms to help ground the whole space, and white uppers. If I had a huge kitchen I would have loved to do some open shelving, but the reality is that our new kitchen, although bigger than it used to be, is still not massive. I knew we would benefit from having as much storage as possible.

As I type this, the kitchen cabinetry is actually in, but we are still waiting on countertops, and figuring out hardware, backsplash, etc. More pics and posts to come soon!

Have you guys designed a kitchen before? Ever gone with IKEA? Got any tips or secrets to share?

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life lately

9th January 2015

Woah – it has been a COLD week here this week. I guess typical January Ontario, Canada stuff… but man I am not cut out for it. It’s weeks like this when I start to dream about winning the lotto and spending January and February down south somewhere. One day?

I didn’t really do much of a recap of our Christmas holidays on the blog. With the house craziness right now, we didn’t really travel around or do too much. A few family dinners around Ottawa, a couple of holiday parties, and that was about it. It was really nice to have two whole weeks where the 3 of us were all together, all the time though. We haven’t had that much time together since our summer holidays. And actual Christmas day was pretty sweet with Maya this year. She ran right over to the stockings and thought opening presents was the best thing ever.

Just a few snaps, mostly of my little darling (if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen these!)…

We had some hand-me-down Christmas PJs that were ridiculously cute.

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This picture makes me laugh. I was trying to hold Maya up while I popped my head out the side. Clearly she is falling backwards or something – her face just cracks me up. Whoops!
IMG_20141225_121221Oh, so probably the most popular gift? This rocking horse that neighs and moves its tail. It came from Home Depot for only $40 (from my parents to Maya). She goes up to it every morning and evening to give it kisses, turn it on, pet the tail, etc. She’s a little small to get up on and ride the horse by herself (hence the monkey sitting up there), but I have a feeling it’s going to be well loved for a long time.
IMG_20150102_095912Heading out to a holiday party, sans kiddo. This was just as we were making some coffee + tea pre-party to keep ourselves awake past our usual 9pm bedtime. #wildthings

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We lit a lot of fires over the Christmas break at my parents’ place. M always watches Grandpa very carefully, and tries to help out. It’s pretty hilarious when she tries to pick up one of the bigger logs. She’s strong, that girl! IMG_20150107_093445

I have been picking out finishing details for the house fast and furiously. Although I’m pretty good at being decisive, the number of decisions you need to make (and usually quickly) when you’re building a whole house at once is a bit daunting. Luckily I have a pretty cute assistant…

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This is one decision that I have been pouring over for a while now. Countertops. I’m going to go into muuuuch more detail about this whole process in another post, but I’m happy to report that we have made a choice. They are coming to template the kitchen today. Hallelujah!

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Alright that’s it for now. Hope you guys have a great weekend! Any big plans? 

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bathroom progress: herringbone floor + vanities

7th January 2015

Let’s talk bathrooms today, k? With our bungalow-to-3-story-home renovation/addition currently underway, we are going from having 1 pretty teeny bathroom (remember how we renovated it a few years ago here?) to 3. Talk about luxury!

We are leaving our master bathroom to finish until after we have moved in, as it’s not as though we will need it right away. That way we can wait for good sales and do some of the finishing ourselves. The other bathroom on the second floor though – the one designated for kids and guests – is on the more immediate “must finish” list so that we have a functioning bathroom on the second floor.

My inspiration for this bathroom has been Paris. I love the cafes that often feature black and white schemes, subway tile, herringbone patterns, and classic pieces. I spoke a bit about my general design direction in this post, where I showed you my original moodboard…

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I have tried to stay true to the moodboard, but a few things have changed along the way due to budget (isn’t that always the case?).

Anyway, let’s start with the floor. This was undoubtedly going to be the highlight of the room for me. I wanted herringbone dark grey floors – non negotiable. I started my hunt for tile. The larger hardware stores don’t carry much in the long rectangular shape that really lends well to herringbone. Tiles tend to be 12×12 (square), 12×24, 12×36 – which just weren’t skinny and long enough for a good herringbone in this room. So, I started to go to some of the specialty tile shops in the city. Man, I was like a kid in the candy store, guys. I was actually a bit surprised to find pretty decent prices. I had been thinking that it was going to be much more expensive to go the tile shop route, but many had a good variety in prices and options. In the end, I found the perfect tile.

It is a 5×20 ceramic tile (from Centura Tile, for the local folks) in dark grey. It ran me $4.60 a square foot, which isn’t an insane deal or anything, but is still quite reasonably priced.

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We decided not to try DIYing any of the tile work in this room for a few reasons. Firstly – we needed it to happen fast. Since we aren’t living in the reno zone, finding time to go over there and actually work on the house, in between working jobs, parenthood, managing the rest of the reno, and other responsibilities, has been tricky. And secondly – it’s herringbone. That is tricky stuff! We have an amazing tile guy who does a perfect job…. so we were more than happy to pay him to lay all the tile for us. He busted out the herringbone floor in a day. NBD.  image (10)

Next up was the vanity. It’s not like we have an unlimited budget or anything, so I knew we needed to be cost conscious when choosing the vanity in here. Our priority was to have two sinks, but it could have been a single long vanity with two sinks or two separate vanities – I wasn’t picky. I looked around at the big hardware stores and online, but I kept coming back to IKEA. There just wasn’t much that could compare to their great prices and contemporary style.

When I went into the store and actually took a closer look at the Hemnes vanity, which was the one I had featured in my original moodboard, I knew it was perfect. I liked the white finish, the rounded edges on the sink top, the lip at the back, the legs, soft close drawers, and even the dark knobs. They have a pretty classic shape and look. Luckily they come in a few different sizes, so we were able to fit two next to each other instead of one long one (more drawer space! more elbow room!).

As is the case with IKEA stuff, there is a bit of a production zone putting the pieces all together.

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Dan had his trusty assistant helping him install the vanities. She was so funny picking up pieces of tube and sticking them up through the drain hole. Really trying to help Dad. I think I see a future renovator… ??image (4)

 

Oh, and see how the drawers come lined in that stripe paper? I thought that was a super nice touch. Well played, IKEA.

Alright, that’s it for today. Gotta get over to the house and unpack Maya’s room. I have a whole car full of little girl clothes and toys waiting for me. Who knew she had SO MUCH STUFF. But this bathroom is coming together in lightning speed so I’ll be back soon with the rest of the progress! Hope you guys are having a great week!

DIY kids crayon holder via the sweetest digs blog

gift idea: DIY crayon holder

5th January 2015

So I know the holiday have just passed (hope you guys had a wonderful and relaxing time!) and you have probably done all of your gift-giving for a while, but this is a sweet little idea to bookmark for next year or an upcoming birthday: a DIY crayon holder (or pencil, pens, paintbrush holder – whatever!).

I made this one for Maya for Christmas and also gifted a few others. They were super easy and I think the result is darling!

DIY kids crayon holder via the sweetest digs blog

For these particular crayon holders, my Dad gave me a hand and cut the pieces specially out of cherry wood, but you could use any 2×4 piece of wood. I think that Michael’s even sells blocks of wood like this ready for such projects.

Once you have your piece of wood, you want to sand it quite well – on all sides and edges. We did the edges with my Dad’s router, but you could use a block grain or sander. You just want to make sure it’s nice and smooth.

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Now onto the holes. We wanted it to be symmetrical and played around with different options. In the end, we thought it looked best to do two lines of five.

After you have measured where you want the holes to go and marked them out on your piece of wood, it’s time to drill. My Dad has a drill press in his workshop, so we used it with a Forstner drill bit. The size of the holes are 1cm. You could also make the holes with a regular drill, but take your time to do them accurately (the nice thing about a drill press is that it always comes down perfectly vertically and really cuts the hole in a more sharp way). Another tip would be to put a piece of tape or something on your drill to know when to pull it back up and out – that way you get the same depth of hole every time.

Also, you might want to adjust the size of the holes if you’re going to be making the holder for something else like paintbrushes, markers, etc. Good idea to do a bit of testing!DSC_1288

(this particular block above is a shorter one that we experimented with)

Next up was to stain the wood. I tried out some stain cloths for the first time. Have you seen them? They come in a package and already have stain applied and you just need to rub it in. In the end, I prefer the good old method of taking stain out of the can and applying it with a brush or rag. I felt like the stain went on really strongly with the cloths and it went splotchy in some areas. If the items were larger, then I could see the cloths working well, but for small projects like this they weren’t quite right. However, it worked…
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I then painted the names on with regular black acrylic paint. I drew out the letters with a pencil beforehand to make sure I spaced them properly (I inevitably always don’t get the spacing right to begin with), and then painted the letters in with a fine brush.
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I took a really light grit sand paper to the names after they had dried just to make them look a little more “aged”. Stick some crayons in them, and there you go! Cute, right?DSC_1294

Maya is obsessed with dumping the crayons out, then putting them all back in again. Then repeat 4 or 5 times. So I guess not *just* a crayon holder but a skills development activity for kids too?! Sweet.DSC_1300

I experimented with a few different things that didn’t quite work out. My first plan was to wood burn the names in. I don’t know if I just don’t have the hang of wood burning yet, but my attempts were pretty pathetic. Perhaps burning smaller names would have worked, but trying to do something big was not great. Lame-o…DSC_1301

I also tried out a black sharpie. It wasn’t bad, but it did bleed a little bit. See how the lines aren’t super crisp – especially on the ‘e’ in Annie? In retrospect, I think the sharpie would’ve been fine, though, so you could totally go that route. DSC_1303If you have some basic woodworking tools in your house, this is definitely a very easy project. The ones I gave as gifts went over really well – so I think they will be well loved (and were also appreciated by the parents!). Hopefully this particular holder will be a fixture on Maya’s desk for many years to come. Got any favourite homemade gifts to share?

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2014: year in review

1st January 2015

Holy smokes, how is it 2015 already? Feels totally crazy to me. Time seems to be whizzing by at lightning speed. Well, happy new year, you guys!! Just as we are saying goodbye to 2014, I thought I would take a little look back at the year on the blog.

I have a bunch of favourite posts and projects from 2014. In no particular order …

These DIY gold and white jewellery stands were easy to do and continue to look gorgeous. I still love gold and still love swiss crosses… can’t get me off those trends yet. 
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Unfortunately this stair runner using IKEA ‘soften’ throw rugs hasn’t made it through our renovation, which is terribly sad because I loved it. Definitely a favourite project from 2014.  make-a-gorgeous-DIY-stair-runner-using-IKEA-rugs-and-upholster-nailsI had so much fun making over this nursery for a friend/client. It’s full of handmade touches and clever ideas, like this little nook where we used IKEA Ribba picture ledges for kids books. nursery-bookshelves-using-IKEA-Ribba-picture-ledges-via-the-sweetest-digsAnd the bunkie! This was definitely one of *the* projects of 2014 for me. A major makeover transforming a tool shed into this nautical retreat at my parents’ cottage.

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Although I thought this was going to end up as a major craft fail, this burlap ribbon table runner ended up being quite darling.

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And this was a recent one, but these felt pennants are all kinds of cute. I’m ready to whip out a dozen more because they were so easy and fun to do.

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One new thing I did this year was style a few weddings. I rent out vintage stuff for various weddings and events, but I hadn’t ever taken on an official stylist role until this year. Let me tell you — it was so my jam. I can’t see myself ever doing it full time, but I do have a few weddings lined up to style for 2015 already. Fun.

This gold + pink wedding was glitzy and gorgeous.

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And this more vintage-inspired wedding, full of greenery, was a beaut. Plus, it was my girlfriend Courntey’s wedding – so double fun.

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Continuing on the event trend for a sec, one of my favourite events of 2014 was definitely Maya’s 1st birthday party. It was full of friends, family, and fun. We did a time capsule, smash cake, and this polaroid wall of ‘firsts’ at the party.

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I also posted a little about parenthood in 2014. My post on my struggles with breastfeeding ended up being hugely popular with a lot of readers. Obviously this is an issue that deserves more discussion!

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Other popular parenthood posts this year included my follow up post about pumping, and my top 10 tips to support a new mom (or generally, new parent).

top-ten-tips-to-support-a-new-momAnd obviously – the most major thing that we took on in 2014 has been our whole house renovation. We had been dreaming and planning this large scale renovation for several years and decided it was the right time to pull the trigger. It has been a whirlwind 6 months living out with my parents and managing this reno, but we are in the home stretch now and it feels amazing.

I did a last tour of the bungalow, which makes me all kinds of sappy. As much as I’m excited about our larger, more family-friendly home, I did love our little space.

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This pretty much sums up our 2014.
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What a great year! We also had lots of personal fun things like travelling to Puerto Rico and England, spending several weeks in the Adirondacks, re-branding my shop and starting to sell in craft fairs and in retail, Dan continuing to enjoy and be challenged by his work, and lots of fun with our now walking and talking toddler. There were a lot of firsts in 2014 for our little lady!

In terms of the blog, I hope to make this coming year my best yet. Heck – I have a whole house to do – there is going to be a serious amount of DIY and decorating projects! I have like 10 moodboards floating around in my head at all times and new ideas popping up constantly. I can’t wait to really get started. I’m going to need your input, guys! I also hope to continue to weave in stories of our family life, of parenthood, and maybe a little more “lifestyle” stuff like food, fashion, etc. Thank you so much for coming by this little corner of the internet. I so appreciate you guys — you’re the best!! It’s why I love blogging so much and continue to do it. Seriously, if it weren’t for all of you reading and commenting, I wouldn’t be here. So thanks. Happy new year, darlings! Let’s make it a great one. xo.

simple banana bread recipe with sour cream via the sweetest digs blog

the best ever banana bread recipe

29th December 2014

Are you guys bakers? I am in waves. Usually around the holidays, I get into a bit of a baking frenzy. One of my good old standbys is banana bread. I have been making it since I was a kid. There’s not much I love more than a fresh piece of it out of the oven, all warm and delish. Anyway, I whipped up a few loaves this holiday season to have ourselves and give as gifts.

The recipe I like to use is this banana bread recipe from AllRecipes. It’s traditional, and I don’t do any of the additives like walnuts or chocolate chips. The straight up banana flavour is where it’s at for me. This isn’t gluten free or low cal or anything like that. There’s a serious helping of butter, sugar, and flour. But it’s good to have a treat every now and then, right? There are over 3000 reviews of it on All Recipes, with a 5 star rating. Can’t beat that!

I won’t go through the whole recipe – you can find it here - but this is what you’ll need:
-butter
-white sugar
-eggs
-vanilla extract
-all purpose flour
-baking soda
-salt
-sour cream (I used Gay Lea’s Premium Gold)
-bananas

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Pretty basic stuff, really. You might not be used to adding sour cream to your banana bread, but guys, it’s amazing. I used the Gay Lea Premium Gold sour cream which is super rich and creamy – it’s made of just 3 ingredients. It totally gives the banana bread extra moisture. Nothin’ dry about these loaves and definitely no need to add butter on top of each slice. You can check out Gay Lea’s website for more ideas and recipes on how to use sour cream and other products.

You want the bananas to be super ripe. Either black ones that you have in your freezer, or ones that are going very brown on the counter. That way they are nice and mushy and really easy to blend in to your mixture.

I sliced my bananas in and then just mixed them around with everything else. Within a minute or so they were all mashed. DSC_0002

I find that banana bread doesn’t take much time to prep, but does take a while to cook. Maybe 10-15 minutes of prep time, but like 1 hour + (depending on your oven) to cook the loaves. I did 3 at a time.

And here is the result. Golden, with those natural cracks at the top.
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Seriously, can you smell it coming out of your computer? SO good.

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Here was my… ummm, helper (?). Basically she ran loops around the kitchen island as I did the prep work. Monkey.DSC_0006

So as much as I wanted to devour all of these loaves myself, I did give some as gifts. Here is one that I wrapped up in parchment paper and tied along with some other kitchen-related goodies (tea towels + oven mitts) for my sister. Handmade, practical, yummy. Plus, doesn’t it look cute? DSC_0019

simple banana bread recipe with sour cream via the sweetest digs blog

Have you guys been baking over the holidays? Got any favourite recipes to share? Gay Lea sends out monthly newsletters featuring great content, tips and coupons! You can sign up here.

Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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merry christmas & happy new year

24th December 2014

Woah guys – sorry to not have been on here recently. Life has been over-the-top busy with the house renovation — trying to finish it up so that we can move in there over the holidays. A lot is happening very quickly! I promise to give you a good update soon, but for now I just wanted to jump on here and wish you all a very merry christmas. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your loved ones, and take some time to slow down, eat well, laugh, reflect on your year, and watch a few holiday movies. I’m jonesing for some Love Actually.

Here are some snippets of Maya’s first visit with Santa Claus this morning (yep – on Christmas Eve … talk about last minute.. whoops!).

Quite a worried look. No tears, though!

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And a family shot (which apparently didn’t help any with the whole worried-not-sure-what’s-happening-here look for M).

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From my family to yours, merry merry! xo.