Friday, August 31, 2012

Red Quilt

I've been meaning to show you another change I made in our master bedroom.  When I finished our bedroom redo recently (which you can read about here), I decided I wanted to be able to change the bedding to get a different feel.  

I still love the Pottery Barn flowered duvet cover that we have used for the past ten years, but I wanted the flexibility of having another quilt to use sometimes.  So I went to Homesense to see what they had.  I was originally going to get a white quilt, but I couldn't see that lasting well with a dog that likes to sleep on our bed.  Then I spied the red quilt and was taken with it - I love gray-blue and red together.   

I also had a small cloth that I bought in Bangladesh last summer that I wanted to use across the end of our bed. The red quilt was a perfect compliment to the red, white, and gray in the Bangladeshi cloth.  So here is the alternate version of our bedroom.  

Perhaps there will be Christmas and Valentine's Day versions as well - the red is rather good for that.  

Do you decorate your bedroom for different seasons or holidays?

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WISH Wednesday #46

Do you see the view out the window of this adorable bedroom - that is Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia) - one of the most beautiful spots in the world.  When you read this I will be down in Nova Scotia myself, so this bedroom seemed a perfect choice for my WISH Wednesday photo.  Kate goes to university in Halifax, Nova Scotia and will be sharing a house with two other girls this year rather than staying in residence.  I'm helping her get her room set up - you know - visiting thrift shops etc to find furniture and getting a big load of groceries. We are going to squeeze in a little sightseeing as well. I love Nova Scotia so I'm really looking forward to my week there.

This house was built as a family vacation home. The whole home has a spare, clean, modern look. I'm not usually a fan of modern as it can look stark and cold, but I find this home very appealing in its simplicity.  You can see more photos here.

I think the children's bedroom is one of my favourite rooms with the similar, but different Indian quilts on the bed, painted floors, and soft gray walls with white trim ... oh, and a breath-taking view out the windows.

The outside of the house is also stark and modern, yet echoes the cedar-shingled traditional homes of the area.

I'll be back from the maritimes next week and I'll show you pictures of what we visit.  I'm not going to Cape Breton Island, but I know that I'll be taking a bazillion photos of the areas we do see.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Travelling in the the 1940s

I'm off on a roadtrip tomorrow to Nova Scotia.  It's going to be a brief visit - just a week - but long enough to get Kate settled into the house she will be living in next year at university and to see a few of the sites.  I'm so excited.  I love the maritimes and I love a road trip.  Sounds like the perfect end to the summer to me!

This photo of my Grandmother, my mother and my aunts on their way to the Georgian Bay cottage was taken in the 1940s.  When they went to the cottage in those days you really had to go prepared because it was a long way to the nearest grocery store - thus the big trailer full of goods.  We will be packing almost as much stuff, given that we have things for Kate's new house, but we will be in a truck camper.  I'll be posting about it when I get back and I have some posts lined up for when I'm away.

Have a good last week of summer - sniff sniff!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WISH Wednesday #45

I fell in love with this patio and had to share it (although I can't even remember where I got it from - bad blogger ... hanging head in shame).  I thought it would be perfect for a late summer WISH Wednesday photo.

I love the gorgeous stone building in the background. It looks French to me, especially with the pea gravel patio. Aren't the chairs painted such pretty shades of turquoise and teal - they are the perfect compliment to the rustic wood table.  I'm a sucker for simple table settings like the one shown here with jugs and vases filled with pink flowers, runners across the table, lanterns, and bowls of food.  I would love to have a quiet lunch here.


And as always, here is the collage of all the August inspiration photos.  I see lots of cottage and outdoors photos along with plenty of soft blues and greens.  

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stir Fry

I have a favoutite recipe that I use for stir fries.  I make stir fries often, at least once a week, and the vegetables vary depending on what i have available.  I sometimes use meat (beef or chicken) and I sometimes use tofu.  The sauce is pretty standard though.  It is very easy and I can whip it up in a minute.  Kate wanted to have a copy of the recipe to take to university next week so I thought I would share it with all my bloggy friends too.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper

Stir all ingredients together.  Put some oil in a pan and cook onion, garlic, meat, and veggies that have a longer cooking time (like carrots and cauliflower) together until the meat is cooked.  Add the veggies with a shorter cooking time (like green peppers and snow peas) and add in the sauce.  Cook for about 5 - 8 minutes until the veggies are hot, but still crisp.  Serve over rice or noodles.

Do you make your own stir fry sauce or do you use one of the bottled ones?  I have to say there are some really yummy bottled ones out there and they sure make it easy to get dinner ready in a flash, but this recipe is pretty quick too.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Blueberry Muffins

We had blueberries that needed to be used up - a difficult problem, I know - so we made blueberry muffins.  We actually made two slightly different recipes ... a blueberry muffin duel of sorts.  I've included the recipe for both as they were equally delicious.  I guess that would mean our duel ended in a draw.

The first recipe included oatmeal and was delicious.  Definitely not an overly sweet muffin so they would be great for breakfast.  You could also sprinkle sugar on top of them like we did for the second recipe - it adds a nice crunch.

  • 1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (we used whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and drained

  • Directions
  1. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 
  2. Mix in milk, egg, and oil; 
  3. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. 
  4. Fold in blueberries. 
  5. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
  6. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.

The second recipe is more of a classic blueberry muffin.  I like to do all my baking with whole wheat flour so I'm sure my muffins are a little heavier than if we had used all-purpose flour, but I prefer the health benefits of whole wheat.  We still somehow managed to eat all the muffins!

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS (from Canadian Living)

2 cups flour (we used whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries

1. In bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. 
2. In separate bowl, cream butter with sugar; beat in eggs one at a time. 
3. Gradually stir in milk (mixture may appear curdled). 
4. Make a well in centre of dry ingredients; pour in liquid and stir just until moistened. 
5. Gently fold in blueberries.
6. Spoon into large paper-lined or well-greased muffin cups, filling to top. 
7. Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops are firm to the touch.

Do you have a tried-and-true blueberry muffin recipe?  I'm always trying different ones and don't have an all-time favourite.
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Friday, August 17, 2012

A Few Things to Share

It's Friday and I'm eating a donut and blogging - does it get any better than that. Do you have big plans for the weekend? I'm going down to see the artillery demonstration at Fort George - yep my third fort visit this summer - and, of course, Kate is part of the demonstration.  And according to the girl it is going to be epic!  

While I'm away watching muskets being fired and Kate marching around, here are three things I have to share with you:

First I am thrilled and honoured to have been included in the Bloggers' Budget Kitchen Tips post on the Canadian House and Home website. You can find the page here - chock full of great kitchen tips.

Anyone else notice how much the top kitchen photo looks like a snazzier version of our kitchen. Here they are side-by-side. White uppers and gray lower cabinets?  Check.  White beadboard backsplash?  Check.  Funny, eh?

I also wanted to draw your attention to a fun article on the Style at Home website about the ABCs of summer decorating (click here to see the page)  I have a personal soft spot for A, K, Q, and T - you will have to pop over and have a look to find out what they are.

And finally, Jennifer and her husband from the blog Rambling Renovator are writing a book about Blogger Style and are looking for homes to feature.  If you think your home might be worthy of being featured in the book, you should get in touch with Jen before September 15th.  You can find more info here.  

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The Regency Kitchen at Fort York

When we visited Fort York recently one of the buildings I toured was the Officers' Barracks and Mess Establishment. I always love touring historic homes and this was no exception - the Officers' Barracks were a great example of Regency colonial living quarters. I especially found the dining room and kitchen and the different dishes they used interesting.

Fort York Officers' Mess Kitchen with CN Tower behind it

The officers' dining room was decorated in colours popular in the Regency period (and look a bit wild by today's standards) - mustard, teal, and burgandy.  The wall colour seemed a little dark for my taste, but I loved the teal chairs with the white tablecloth.

The patterned flooring was actually a painted floor cloth - seems like a great DIY project, don't you think?

The table was set with beautiful china in a navy and orange pattern with crystal drinking glasses and brass candlesticks.  I usually like to see a table set with a mix of different patterns of china, but this was such a demanding pattern that it really worked best as the focus of the table.

In another room across the hall a round table was set with this pretty blue and white china.  I wished I could have seen it closer up.

In the kitchen I also saw blue and white china - in fact there was a whole luscious plate rack full.

There were cooking demonstrations happening in the kitchen - so not only was this a visual feast, but it was also a yummy one as well.  We got to sample plum pie and ginger biscuits 

and currant bread.  You will notice that there was yet another pretty blue and white plate used for the currant bread.

Along with the finer blue and white dishes were many more rustic earthenware dishes that were used in baking.

The glazed brown pie plate (in the photo above) was a good example of the earthenware as was the empty pie plate in the photo below (and no I didn't personally finish the entire pie, although I wanted to).  Anyone know what the design on the plate below is called? I've seen it before on other early pottery dishes.

There were shelves full of glazed jugs in the pantry.

Along with the china and pottery, the kitchen was also stocked with copper and iron pots and pans.  I love the copper pot on the bottom shelf and the kettle on the top shelf and the cast iron pots.

Along one wall were some shelves holding spice containers. Having just organized my spice cupboard I was particularly interested to see how they stored their spices back in the day. The top shelf held small tin containers with lids and the lower shelf held crockery tied with waxed paper lids.

I loved this corner of the shelves with the old cookbook from 1831 (although it may have been a later edition or a reproduction).

Fort York has an excellent gift shop and I wanted to get something for both Kate and myself to remember her summer working at the fort.  Given all the blue and white china used in the fort, I was drawn to this plate in the gift shop.

And promptly put it to good use a few days later. Don't you think it was just made for holding blueberry muffins?

I also got this little glass decanter that is about eight inches tall.  It will be great for salad dressings.

And finally I got this little blue and white box with a classic Regency design on it for Kate.

In case you missed the real reason we were visiting Fort York you can see our daughter Kate in action as a guard in this post.  

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