Monday 31 October 2011

Pinspiration Monday - Pinspiring Places!

My dad was born in a different country, and somewhere along his journeys he snapped up my mom and together they have done a fair share of adventurous traveling around the world.
This love of seeing and experiencing different place and cultures was most definitely passed on to me.
I've been lucky enough to travel with them to a handful of countries and it has only left a taste for more (although I could handle traveling without some of the adventures my parents seem to find).

Have you scrolled through the pics of gorgeous places on Pinterest yet?
Sometimes I like to dream about visiting these countries, so today I thought I'd invite you to dream along with me...

New York City in the fall.
Who doesn't want to go here?!

I must say, as much as I dislike snow, this winter shot in NYC looks pretty inviting too.

Then of course, there is Italy.
I will visit you someday.

Lake Como, Italy

Burgundy Street, Madrid.
Absolutely beautiful!

And obviously Paris. Another place on my bucket list.
But...can I stay in this room? Pretty please?

How about Christmas shopping in Vienna?
I think I could handle that.

And last, but not least, I'll leave you with a few pictures of a country I have had the privilege to visit, and even lived in for a few years. My dad's home country...Sweden.

I am so in love with the little red houses with their white trim.
They're every bit as charming as you would think.

A cup of hot, strong coffee and a raspberry truffle would pair nicely with this scenery...

I hope you enjoyed going with me on this short little tour of beautiful places!
Now tell me...where have you traveled, and where do you dream of going?!

Sunday 30 October 2011

Raspberry Chipotle Truffles

I'm usually pretty good at ignoring the tempting beck and call of magazines in the grocery store aisle, but a couple weeks ago I caved. Christmas magazines, after all, are an exception...right?
(I may or may not have a wee, teeny, tiny...only slight addiction to magazines, therefore I may or may not have to exert more effort than the average person to avoid them for fear of drowning under all the piles of magazines I may or may not already have.)
 I bought the Victoria Holiday Bliss magazine.
Oh yes I did. And it is blissful indeed.

When I saw that Debbiedoo was hosting a magazine copy-cat challenge, I knew just what I was going to do.

Raspberry Chipotle Truffles.
Don't they look divine?

Of course, in keeping with my own tradition, I am arriving fashionably late to the party because that's the way I roll. But I say late is better than never...even though my husband strongly disagrees with me on that point.

I picked up the ingredients last night, and I must warn you, in case you want to try them for yourself...this is not a budget-friendly recipe! Had I known the cost of good chocolate before heading to the store, I may have chickened out! Gulp.
But I justified it, knowing that these little bites of deliciousness are making up the dessert course for a very special anniversary dinner coming up.
Today I spent much of the day working away at them.
They may require a bit of time and effort...but oh my. So very worth it.

Now I know the picture is not an exact replica.
I hunted for a silver tray that I was fairly sure I still had. Apparently I gave it away in my great I-have-too-much-junk-and-I-must-get-rid-of-everything frenzy after moving last winter. Thankfully I had the sense to keep this antique silver sugar bowl...and I think it looks rather pretty with the truffles, no?

I had to substitute a couple ingredients as I didn't have them on hand, or wasn't able to find them in our little town. The recipe calls for freeze dried raspberries (not so common in rural Alberta apparently!), but I used frozen raspberries and squeezed most of the juice out. The recipe also calls for sparkling sugar, but I used the pearl sugar I already had on hand. It worked out great and the taste is spectactular!
If you enjoy the zing of chili pepper in your will LOVE these!

Here is the recipe slightly adapted from Victoria magazine:

Raspberry Chipotle Truffles
Makes about 2 dozen truffles

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp. raspberry jam
24 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped and divided
1/4 cup frozen raspberries, thawed and juice squeeze out
(or 1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries)
11/2 tsp. ground chipotle chili powder, divided
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
1/4 cup sparkling or pearl sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine cream and raspberry jam. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Place 16 oz. of chopped chocolate in a medium bowl, and pour hot cream mixture over chocolate, stirring gently, until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in raspberries, 1 tsp. chipotle powder, salt and cinnamon. Place chocolate mixture in an airtight container and freeze until completely chilled and firm.
Scoop out a small amount of chilled mixture and form 1" balls by rolling with your hands. Place truffles on a baking sheet and chill until firm.
In a double boiler, melt and stir remaining 8 oz. of chocolate and shortening until smooth.
Using a wooden skewer, dip each ball into melted chocolate. Place on wire rack to partially set.
In small bowl, combine sugar and 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder.
Roll truffles in the sugar mixture to coat.

These are amazingly rich and decadent!!
Imagine what a great gift these would make at Christmas time.
Or, better yet, spoil yourself and pretend you're in Europe and savour one with a cup of strong coffee!



Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum


Feathered Nest Friday



Weekend Bloggy Reading

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

To see what other great parties I'll be hanging out at, click HERE!

Saturday 29 October 2011

The Project That Didn't Want to End...

Not too long ago, I asked my hubby a silly question.
"Have you ever started a project, only to get halfway through and realize you have NO IDEA what the heck you're doing?!" I was currently working on some project that I apparently realized was totally over my head, and thought I'd see if he could relate.
He gave me a funny look. "Yah. Every time you ask me to build something for you."

Well...let me introduce you to the latest addition to our home that brought the feeling of "what in the world am I doing?" to both of us over and over again....

The tufted headboard.

For those of you who follow on the FB page, you've read the odd status update about this headboard here and there, and if you were counting (which you probably weren't cause that'd be kinda weird), you'd know that it has taken WEEKS and WEEKS to finish!!
A few times I started singing...It's the Project that never just goes on and on, my friend...
In fact, it took well over eight weeks to complete, thanks to lots of mistakes and dumb uneducated decisions.

Originally I had intended to record our steps so that I could do a tutorial on it.
But as the project went on (and on and on), we both realized we really had no idea what we were doing, and there was no way I was going to pretend we did and attempt to tell you how to do it!

Not that you really need another tutorial...there are so many fabulous ones all over blogland already.
That's what got me going in the first place!

So - I thought instead of telling you how to do it, I'd point out some things that we didn't think about before starting our project. Sound okay?

First of all...we wanted a contemporary looking piece. We came up with the idea of a wide black frame and a tufted center. I thought it was a pretty original idea...until I joined Pinterest and found a dozen or more similar to ours already pinned. Ha!
At any rate, hubby knows me well and decided that the tufted center should be removable, without having to take apart the frame. I am a commitment-phobe after all and tend to get bored and fall out of love easily.
Strangely, hubby says this tendency of  mine is a bit unnerving for him.
So, through lots of sweat and tears, hubs made two separate pieces (frame and insert) so that when the day arrives that I no longer love and adore black and white, we can easily remove the fabric center, reupholster and repaint the frame. Brilliant, no?! I knew I married him for more than his looks!

Before we finished it with the white fabric, we stapled down an old cotton sheet, using exactly the same upholstery method (pull tight!!). Now, if/when I want to change out the white fabric for something else, the foam and batting will stay in place, thanks to the sheet!

This should be obvious, but to us upholstery dummies it wasn't...make sure you pull your top fabric tight TOO! We thought since the cotton was tight, we could just snugly wrap the white around everything and then go ahead with the tufting.
 Nope...we ended up having to take it apart and redo it thanks to lots of wrinkling.
Sometimes I wonder where we come up with our ideas!

(if anyone out there particularly loves ironing bottom sheets, please feel free to come over and iron mine!)

When hubs was figuring out the measurements to build the frame, he asked if I wanted it to be flush with the sides of the mattress, or to extend past the mattress. I had no idea! I was so concerned about doing this "right", that I started scouring the internet for pictures to see what the "right" way was. To the best of my knowledge, there is no "right" way so we decided to build the frame about 2" wider than the mattress.

And I'm so glad we did. I love that I can see all of the frame and that it's not hidden behind the mattress.

When I was purchasing the upholstery supplies, the sales assistant asked how thick I wanted the foam.
Once again, I had no idea! I'm really not sure how we started on this project so unprepared.
I couldn't decide if I wanted the fabric flush with the frame, or coming out past the frame! After much deliberation, we decided on 1 1/2 inches of foam so we would have a decent amount of cush extending past the frame, and allow for a nice deep tuft. That meant, however, that we needed to use one layer of 1" foam and another layer of 1/2" foam. I do NOT recommend this, even if it is less costly than using thicker foam. It's too much hassle to fight with the layers and keep them would have been much simpler to go with 2" foam and put out the extra dollars.

We kept the tufting to a modern minimum. It's a king sized headboard and we used two rows of five 1.5" buttons (fabric covered). The top row is 10" down and the side buttons are 10" in...and the remaining buttons were spaced evenly by dividing in halves. Hopefully that made sense.
In my internet searching, I came across a great tip for securing the backs of the buttons. After running the upholstery thread (I used four strands of thread doubled up, and looped through the button once), through the button and back down, we tied the thread around a finishing nail and then twisted the nail around and around, in order to get a deeper tuft. I pushed pretty hard on the button, while hubby twisted the nail on the bottom and then he stapled the thread ends into place. It worked like a charm and I highly recommend it!

And there you have it! Hopefully I gave you a few things to consider before starting your project, unlike us, and you will be able to finish yours much sooner and with less headaches!

Now...on to dressing that bed!! I come! 
Feathered Nest Friday



The DIY Show Off
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

To see the other great parties I'm linking up to, click HERE!

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Pinspiration Tuesday...err...Wednesday...

Wow. I feel the like biggest blogger LA-HOOOZER around.
Every week, I have the greatest intentions of getting these posts drafted up on Sunday afternoons.
It almost never happens.
Thank you for bearing with me. This week I blame it on Potty Training Boot Camp.
I've been practically living in the bathroom all week, after all...

Okay - enough of that...let's get on with it!

I've been pinning a lot of food pics this week.
Mainly, I think, because I'm on a no-sugar kick right now.
Which makes me want to eat almost everything in sight, including this picture.

And this one.
Frozen S'mores?! Oh yes, please!!
Pass the plate over here!

Okay. It's maple glazed bacon.
Now - before you turn your nose up...I've HAD candied bacon before.
And it's good.
Very. very. good.

These are cheese strings wrapped in wontons and baked.
Sounds mighty fine to me!
Pass this plate over too, please.

What a cute and simple way of dressing up your cupcakes!
Love. it.

The last two weeks, BPPackages has had a CRAZY amount of hits from Pinterest.
Like - CRAZY. I quickly realized it was the post on coffee filter peonies that was drawing all the traffic.
I headed over to Pinterest to see what was going on (I never did figure out where it got started),
and in my poking around, I came across these GORGEOUS coffee filter roses.
Aren't they absolutely stunning?!! Love them.

Then I found this DIY ruffled scarf.
Ack! I want it!

Which leads me to these shoes.
They're not DIY, but they're ruffly like the scarf and just plain gorgeous.
But then - I'm known for having a bit of a thing for shoes.
Just had to share.

If I had those shoes...this is one place I would never wear them.
Although this chicken coop is fancy schmancy enough you could almost get away with it.
Seriously peoples! Isn't it amazing!
I have wanted a chicken coop in my backyard long before chicken coops in your backyard was cool.
I still want one.
Now I just want THIS particular coop.
Any ideas on how to talk my hubs into going along with it?
It's been five years of talkin' and I have been very unsuccessful so far!

I'd be happy with this chicken coop too...

And hey...if it looked like this on the inside...
well, I might hide out in there for a while.
Until the smell got to me, that is...

If you still think I'm nuts...just look at what I could make with those fresh eggs!
Mmm hmmm!!


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