Carpentry 101

If you were to choose between Jess and I who is the best carpenter, Jess would win hands down. That’s because (before now) I have never taken on any sort of significant woodworking project, while Jess has built a kitchen table, a bed frame (or two), and a number of cute benches, including this one. But a couple months ago, I came across a photo of a mirror in one of Design*Sponge‘s Sneak Peaks (my favourite weekly feature) and I determined I had to make one for my own bedroom.

I consulted my brother, who is actually a carpenter, and he helped me draw up some plans, an adapted version that I would be able to construct in my city apartment with minimal tools. I found a $5 mirror at Salvation Army. I paid a little trip to my local Rona and bought some supplies. I convinced a friend to give up a morning of his spring break to be my assistant. And now I have a brand new mirror!

mirror I meant to take photos while we were building it, so you could easily make your own if you chose to, but I failed on that front. So here are a few detail shots so you can see the process.

mirror details 3mirror details 








We first built a frame with four 1×6’s (that I had pre-cut to size at Rona), then used 4 pieces of thin door stop/trim to create a lip for the mirror to rest on. We slid the mirror in, then used two more pieces of door stop to hold the mirror in place. It was as simple as that! Who knew building a unique mirror/shelf could be so easy?



I canned! To be honest though, until this project, the idea of canning actually really freaked me out, mainly because I obsessively worry about botchalism. However, Cam’s mom has been talking about her amazing antipasto recipe for a few years and I wanted to learn how to make it (that and it was high time I conquer my canning fear).

So yesterday, I invited myself over to her place to learn lost art and ended up with about 15 jars of ready to go appetizers, perfect for this time of year.


Summer in the Fall


A couple weeks ago, my cousin called and said she and some of my other family had just booked a last-minute, all-inclusive trip to Cuba. “You should come!” Before I knew what was happening, my credit card had a much bigger balance and I’d convinced my mom to come along as well.

Of course, an impromptu trip to Cuba wouldn’t be complete without a hand-knit beach bag lined with a bright floral pattern, right? I set to work on my first sewing project since grade 8, and I have to say, I think Mrs. Erkelens would have been proud.


The trip was such a treat, though definitely not simple-living on any sort of level. I ate lots, drank lots, read lots, and played lots. It was such fun to get to see my mom so unexpectedly and also great to get to spend time with my aunt, my cousins and their cute kids. Coming back to rainy Vancouver was a bit of a shock after getting used to all that sun. But I’ve come back with renewed energy, perspective, and optimism. I hope you get a fall blessing that can do similar things for you (though I understand my tan in November is more than most can ask for)…


The All Hand-Made Sale

I’ve been knitting (and crocheting) like crazy for the past few weeks, preparing for the All Hand-made Sale that’s taking place November 16 & 17 at Grandview Church in Vancouver. Last year was my first foray into the world of craft fairs, and this year I’m trying to amp it up just a little bit, with a goal of making double the amount of profit I made last year. So, this is a formal open invitation to come out to 1st Ave & Commercial on the 16th or 17th and buy some handmade goods – not just from me, but from all the wonderful crafters, bakers, gardeners, and artists who will be selling their wares. And if you are not anywhere near Vancouver and are really itching for a hand-knit something, let me know! I take orders.

it was a warm summer night so i decided to make a cup of peppermint tea

You probably don’t happen to google ‘burns lake weather’ as much as I do (which is obsessively), but if you do, you would know that the past week has been unusually HOT! With this burst of warm weather came days and evenings spent lounging on party island, soaking up all the sun possible in order to off set those -40 degree days, and entertaining wonderful out of town visitors.

One set of recent visitors persuaded me to pick up (and by pick up I really mean invest in and wait two weeks for my order to arrive) Home Made, an incredible DIY cookbook that is quirky and fun to read (not to mention well worth the wait), but also boasts tricks and straightforward recipes that work well in rural locations where Whole Foods is less than local. Plus, it happens to cater to my love for all things homemade.

When the temperatures dropped this evening, I opened up my new book and got excited about all of the amazing possibilities! I realized that Friday Night Dinners aren’t enough, I need to host more parties, start Sunday brunches, and invite guests for afternoon tea!!! However, while that wasn’t really a possibility tonight, Yvette’s recipes for homemade tea got me thinking about the peppermint exploding in my greenhouse…

After some careful reading and creative thought, I decided I could probably forgo the usual tea bag and opt instead for a few sprigs of fresh mint. Who knew!?

Needless to say, I am pretty impressed. Enough that I decided to document my tea adventure. The tea is sweeter, smoother, and far less aggressive than its boxed counterpart. I may never buy tea again!

With my first adventure complete, I plan to stay up all night reading and re-reading this amazing cookbook. Don’t worry, I will let you know how it turns out.

Going Hippie

Over the last few years I have become more and more skeptical of what’s in all the products I use on my skin every day. Just what is dimethiconol or butylene glycol? Is it really necessary to use this stuff to achieve silky-smooth, acne-free skin?

A few weeks ago I came across this article on the GOOD magazine website about making your own beauty products out of ingredients you can buy at your local health food and/or liquor store. (Unless, of course, your local health food store is closing, as mine is currently rumoured to be.) Anyway, as my facial skin was not exactly the clearest it could be and because I really do like knowing just exactly what is being absorbed into my skin, I decided to try out a few of her suggestions.










I’ve started washing my face with honey (it’s not sticky when your hands and face are already wet); toning with a concoction of vodka, tea tree oil, water, and grapefruit essential oil; and moisturizing with grapeseed oil. And I am happy to report positive results, so I’d suggest you give it a try too! Now if only I had an aloe plant to soothe my sunburn from too much time spent on party island today.