Month: May 2014

DIY Event decor: Painting bottles

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When planning a special event, things can add up quickly.  It’s easy to have a vision and various Pinterest  boards, but when you actually start putting these ideas to paper… the cost can be frightening.  It’s important to spend your budget wisely and focus on the things that are most important to you and your guests.  When attending a special event I’m always most excited about the food and beverage.  The decor is secondary but it’s important to create that WOW factor and still create a sense of originality.

I’m a bridesmaid in two weddings this summer and I’m very excited to be part of some of the planning process.  One of the weddings is taking place in the evening, in a beautiful backyard that is covered with vines, massive oak trees and endless strings of fairy lights.  I spent the day with the bride and groom a couple of weeks ago and we brainstormed ideas to incorporate more decor without breaking the budget.  After raiding the recycle bin, we started spraying several bottles of various sizes and shapes.  With one paint can spraying at least 30 bottles and costing only $10, we found this is to be a very inexpensive way to add that final touch to the decor.  I used bricks and stumps that were laying around the property to add levels and dimension to the bottle displays.  The bride picked up several bundles of silk roses from the Dollarama, as well as wooden letters and phrases that we sprayed as well.  I have to say that it’s all coming together quite nicely.  Stay tuned for more photos of the big day and keep this idea in mind when planning your next event.

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Banana French Toast with Pecan Crumble

Serves: 8


For the french toast:
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 large day-old baguette (I used whole wheat, but any loaf of bread will work), cut into 1-inch slices
2 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
6 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
3 cups milk
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

For the crumble:
¾ cups whole pecans
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
3 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Scatter the cubed butter over the bottom of the dish. Arrange bread slices in rows, with slices slightly overlapping. Slide banana slices between the slices of bread.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks until well combined. Whisk in the milk, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the liquids over the bread.
To make the crumble, pulse the ingredients together in a food processor until the pecans are roughly chopped. Scatter the crumble over the french toast.
Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight. About 20 minutes before baking, remove the pan from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cover with foil and bake, covered, for 35 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until golden brown and crisp on top, about 15 minutes more.

Serve immediately and drizzle with syrup, if desired.

The finished french toast is not super sweet on its own. It’s perfect for syrup, but if you’d like to serve it without syrup, you might want to increase the sugar in the recipe by a ¼ a cup or more.




Tea cup candles


When I first laid eyes on these adorable little tea cup and saucer candles, my DIY wheels started turning.  What a wonderful way to blend my love for candles and secondhand shopping into one inexpensive, personalized creation.  I’ll admit… I find it hard to walk by the tea cup isle at Value Village and Goodwill stores and not stop to browse.  There is something about those odd, mismatched little patterns and delicate bone china handles that screams BUY ME.  My tea cup collection has grown over the years… and yes, I love drinking tea.  However, I’ve discovered that it’s rare that I’ll call a bunch of girls over to sip earl grey and eat tiny sandwiches.  My ladies nights usually consist of bricks of gourmet cheese, crackers and several glasses of heavy red wine.  Lets be real, after a nights like these… a little tea cup isn’t going to cut it.  I usually need a large bottomless mug with a cheesy saying on it like “I only drink wine in days that end with Y.”  So I guess what I’m saying is… what the heck am I going to do with all of these tea cups and my growing obsession to acquire more?

The answer… Make candles!

Have a look at how fabulous these tea cup candles are.  What a perfect gift to give to your guests if you’re hosting a dinner party, bridal shower, or a tea (or wine) party.

Try this out at home!





Save 20% on Escents Aromatherapy diffusers- online




Using essential oils for Aromatherapy is not just a pleasant way to scent your home, essential oils carry many inherent benefits for the mind and body. People often ask what the best ways are to get the benefits of essential oils. The answer varies based on the condition a person wants to treat, but if you’re looking to breathe in the benefits from the air while adding scent to your home, ultrasonic aromatherapy diffusers are by far the best choice.

Ultrasonic diffusers disperse natural aromas and create healthy living environments using advanced air technologies with many benefits over heat-based diffusers that use candles or heat elements. Ultasonics use a high-frequency, low-energy vibrations to break down essential oils into fine particles as a mist that is dispersed into the air. There are numerous benefits to this system, allowing you to do all of the following:

Use Less Oil. Diffusers that use heat burn through oils very quickly to disperse the same amount of scent into your air. When using an ultrasonic diffuser, you only use a fraction as much essential oil to get the same fragrance effect.
Purify Your Air. These diffusers purify, sterilize and deodorize the air you breathe, which can help control allergies/hay fever, asthma, cold & flu symptoms, eczema/psoriasis, emphysema, etc.
Improve Wellbeing. These diffusers circulate negative ions, which increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. This helps relieve stress, mental fatigue/concentration and headaches and improve breathing and sleep.
Humidify. These diffusers humidify the air, which is useful in air-conditioned rooms or arid climates where dry air is harmful to the skin.
Reap the Benefits of Oils. When using ultrasonic diffusers, essential oils are broken down into much smaller, lighter particles, than they do with heat methods. They can travel more deeply into your sinuses or down into your bronchial passages to do their healing work.
Beyond these benefits, each model has its own features that appeal to different needs. Our Ultramist Ultrasonic Diffuser has multi-coloured ambient lighting system that can be set to a specific colour or to switch between colours. Some models on the other hand, have different timer settings allowing you to shut down the unit after a specific length of time and control the rate of diffusion. Check out the product pages for videos demonstrating how each individual model works.

Breathe in the benefits and feel good… naturally!

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Blueberry, brie & walnut quesadilla


Blueberry Brie + Walnut Quesadilla

Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
20 mins

Author: This Gal Cooks

Serves: 2-4
2 10 inch burrito tortillas
⅓lb brie cheese, room temp and divided
1 tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
6 oz blueberries, divided
3 tbsp walnuts, divided
1 tbsp half and half
¼ C powdered sugar
Cooking spray

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Remove ¼ tsp from the mix and then divide the rest.
Whisk together the powdered sugar, half and half and ¼ tsp cinnamon sugar mixture. Set aside.
Heat a grill pan or a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray.
Spread the brie cheese onto each quesadilla. Place one quesadilla on the heated grill pan or skillet. Top with half of the blueberries an walnuts. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture. Fold over and press with a plate or pot lid. Flip over after about a minute and cook for another minute. Repeat this process for the second tortilla.
Cut each quesadilla into quarters. Serve with the glaze.

Serving size: 2-4 slices