Monday, 30 April 2012

The Sweet Shoppe Birthday Invitation

So it's probably a little late in the game to present the invite but alas here it is.  It's not perfect but you are welcome to download it here for your own personal use.  Be weary there may be faint faint lines in the background pattern...I suggest you do a test print.  If you know how to fix that with the patterns function in AI please do a girl a favour and pass along some advice.

Thanks all.  Night.


Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Sweet Shoppe Birthday Party Water Bottle Label Free Printable

So to continue with the Sweet Shoppe theme I love love the addition of a matching water bottle label.  People under estimate how easy it is to do these yourself and it really adds to being able to pull the theme of a party together. 

For your Sweet Shoppe party I created a generic "Happy Birthday" water bottle label for you which you can download and print here.  Print them up in colour, buy your water bottles, rip off the original labels and using two sided tape on one end of the label pull tight and attach yours.  I kid you not it will take you 5 minutes to do 24 bottles. 

Note:  Do yourself a favour and use a board cutter to trim these labels quickly.

Looking forward to continuing this theme with you all Monday.

Wishing you a restful day tomorrow.


Friday, 27 April 2012

Loving Mary Ness Greeting Cards

So I am sorry to interrupt the Sweet Shoppe Birthday Party stretch but the next few posts need me to post some free printables and I don't have time this evening to edit them for you. Instead I thought I would show you some stunning Greeting Cards by Mary Ness that I picked up today in a boutique near my home.  Each one is a piece of beautiful art and they made me happy.

Did anything catch your eye today and make you smile? 


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sweet Shoppe Birthday Party Candy Jar Labels Free Printable

Well you certainly can't have a Sweet Shoppe birthday party without jars of candy everywhere.  Really...what would be the fun in that?!
You can download the sheet of printable labels here (I included some blank labels if you prefer to write your own).  Again I suggest you use some sharp small scissors as these are a little finicky when cutting out.
Okay I need to get back and do some more work for my day job.

Hugs and tune in tomorrow for another piece of this party.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Sweet Shoppe Birthday Party Sign Free Printable

I thought it time for another birthday theme and I just adore the Sweet Shoppe Party!  To start off the intro into this girly affair I thought we should begin at the door.....some signage.  What little girl wouldn't get excited to see this to greet guests?!

You can download the "Sweet"" and "Shoppe" here for your own use.  To create the signs you need to do the following:
  1. Print in colour and cut out (they are a little tricky so grab some small scissors)
  2. Buy some dowels from Home Depot (much much cheaper than a craft store)
  3. Hole punch at the top and bottom of the signs and feed the dowels through.
  4. Bottom with a knot of numerous strands of pretty ribbon.
Easy right?!  I really hope you enjoy this theme as it was particularly a lot of work for me to create so please make your little girl smile from me.

Come back tomorrow for another piece of the Sweet Shoppe.


So Sorry

Hi all, Sorry no post tonight....started a new job last week and am swamped with work and travel. Back up late tomorrow night. Hope you had a great day. Xox Dish

Monday, 23 April 2012

Fruit Kabobs and Chocolate Fountain...Mmmm

So I dove into the archives today and found this photo from my sister's wedding shower of the fruit kabobs and chocolate fountain mom and I did. 

I love star fruit and if you have never used them as accents try buying one for your next party and cutting cross sectionally.  Don't worry about what to do with them...cut away and inspiration will come to you.  Also I am not sure if you can see it in the photo but I used a half head of iceberg lettuce as the anchor for the kabobs in the bucket container.  It worked like a charm, dense enough to support the weight of the kabobs and pretty enough to not look out of place if there were gaps after sticks were removed.

Seriously, who doesn't LOVE flowing chocolate and if you are looking for something to do with your leftover Easter goodies try melting it and dipping with fruit.

Night all.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Fingerprint Family Tree

I just adore this family craft that we did last weekend.  I bought a canvas at the Dollar Store, painted a tree on it and had each member of the family add with their finger foliage to the branches.  Each member had their own colour (or shades of) to use and although fall colours would have been spectacular I wanted us to do a spring bloom tree to coincide with the season.

I know it is something that I will always cherish but I think I will recreate the tree as a print with stamp ink for our fingers and frame it to ensure it is protected as an heirloom. Stay tuned on that as I will make the tree a printable for you to also do with your family.

Just so sweet...

Night all, see you Monday.


Friday, 20 April 2012

Getting Outdoors With Painted Birdhouses

So I've been away all week with work and I came home to these beautifully painted birdhouses in the front tree.  I always try to leave a big bag of things to do for the kids when I'm away and one of this weeks crafts was to decorate these little houses. 

If you are looking for something similar for your wee ones I suggest checking out the local Dollar Store as its an inexpensive way to grab a few items to keep your kids engaged.  These little houses were $1.25 each.
I haven't forgotten that Earth Day is this weekend so I am trying to work out some environment aware/friendly crafts for us...stay posted.

Have a great evening!


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Post Deleted?!

Hi all, I am sorry to say that there will not be a post this evening. I am away on business and although I had the posts prepared somehow my iPAD deleted the one for today. Sadly the photo files are on my home computer so I am not able to recreate remotely. My apologies but we will resume tomorrow evening when I return home. Hope you had a wonderful day. Xox Dish

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Adding A Penny To Cut Flowers Experiment Day 6

If you have been following this wee experiment we did adding a penny to the vase of cut flowers (testing an old wives tale) than you are probably already convinced that it helped keep this cluster of tulips bright, beautiful and tall. 

For those that still needed to see further proof (I may be one of these individuals) is Day 6 and not a brown petal in sight.  Outstanding.

Can't hurt right?!  Give it a try.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Butterfly Feet...Perfect for Mother's Day

With Mother's Day quickly approaching I am thinking about very economical and yet thoughtful gifts for those special women in your life.  I know the whole butterfly feet thing isn't new and I actually was reminded of it by a post on Pinterest (Art by but how could we pass them up? 

Just imagine your little ones feet artfully transformed into a beautiful butterfly.  Really easy and don't spend a fortune on the canvas, I bought the below at the Dollar Store for $1.25 each.  Thankfully I bought a few spares and I suggest you do too as my kids weren't exactly serious with gooey, squishy paint between their toes.  It took my husband and I to manipulate the little one as he thought this was hilarious...and I guess we did too listening to his giggles!  Don't forget to use two fingerprints for the antennas.
Oh...and I thought the paint was may want to check that...

Have fun!


Monday, 16 April 2012

Making Freshly Squeezed Lemonade With Leftover Baking Lemons

I adore lemons so I use them frequently for cooking and baking but inevitably end up with 3/4's of a perfectly good lemon that desperately needs a purpose.  Intro music...freshly squeezed lemonade.

Here is what a typical "used" lemon looks like for me.  No zest (poor thing) and barely any juice to speak of; its perfect!
How To:
  1. Slice a few slices of lemon for garnish.
  2. Squeeze juice out of lemon being careful to remove the pits.
  3. Do not discard outer casing but throw them into the pitcher.
  4. Make a separate mixture of sugar water (here I used 1 teaspoon sugar for every 1 cup water).  Usually I use Splenda but its currently on my shopping list.
  5. Add sugar water to pitcher and top with ice and one garnish.  This top garnish makes the pitcher a little more eye pleasing as opposed to the destroyed lemon halves.
I like to put a lemon flower into the bottom of the glasses before serving.  To do this you make one slit in the slice and pull the ends together one on top of the other as if you were making a swirl.  Wedge it into the bottom of the glass.
Play with the concentration of the sugar until you find your desired sweetness...the above is my personal preference (not too sweet but not terribly tangy).

I hope you enjoy and never discard a 3/4 lemon again!


Saturday, 14 April 2012

Finally A Great Pound Cake Recipe; Thanks Martha

Now I'm a huge Martha fan but I will admit that she doesn't always nail it...but with this recipe she has knocked it out of the park!  I love love freshly baked warm pound cake with a scoop of ice cream and perhaps a side of berries.  In fact if I am really on the ball when we have dinner guests I pop this into the oven just as we sit to eat and then serve after its rested.  You know you have done well when there is silence as people enjoy their food.  

I found this treasure in the Everyday Food (Martha Stewart Magazine) issue May 2011. 
As we've discussed in the past the creaming of the sugar and butter is critical here so let that mixer run at full speed for as long as it takes you to get everything else prepared.  The mixture should be light and fluffy before you move on in the recipe. 

Now I always play around with flavouring this recipe but more often than not I am adding lemon and I promise you it does not disappoint!  I add 2 teaspoons of lemon zest and 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice when I add the vanilla. 
Martha also suggests a brown sugar and pecan cake, berry-cornmeal cake and double chocolate cake to jazz up this old faithful but if you prefer plain Jane you'll still love it.

Give it a roll, go ahead and wow them!

See you Monday.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Adding A Penny To Cut Flowers Experiment Day 3 and 4

Day 3 with the penny in the tulip vase and everything looks beautiful!  No wilting or browning on pedals, just a group of gorgeous blooms.  Mrs. LTB did make a brief amendment to the penny tip as apparently the older the penny the better (mine looked too shiny to her).  This makes perfect sense as it is said that it is the copper that is responsible for the anti bacterial properties and the older the penny the higher the copper content.

Below is also Day 3.

 Day 4 and still looking great.  Sorry for the photo...sadly I took this picture well after the sun went down so the artificial light seriously strips the ability to see these beauties clearly.
I expect they will still look great tomorrow so my verdict on the penny in the vase of cut flowers is forever favourable. 

Easy enough.

Night all.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Quick Pasta...What's In Your Fridge?

I thought it was time that I posted another meal and why not whatever I was making for dinner tonight.  I am the Queen of opening my fridge and finding inspiration...well actually its more of a desperate grab to see what I can throw together to make semi appetising.  Usually things turn out okay but I have realised that I fall back on a few simple fundamental tactics to make that happen that I thought worth sharing.

1.  I always have in the house fresh garlic, Italian parsley, light (very light) olive oil, jarred sweet red peppers, honey Dijon mustard, grated Parmesan and Romano (in bags in the freezer) and dried pasta.  The others store longer than the parsley but as I hate throwing food away having it in the fridge forces me to use it which is actually a good tactic to get me moving.  In the summer months I do grow the parsley in the backyard...its actually more of a weed at this stage and after the initial planting I have done absolutely nothing to maintain it but alas it's already being clipped for dinners now.
Above in tonight's pasta was olive oil, chopped garlic and parsley, sliced prosciutto and grape tomatoes.  Cook pasta beforehand, drain in cullender, lightly coat with oil and let sit until you are 10 minutes before plating.  Fifteen minutes before you plan to eat lightly saute the above and add the noodles.  Serve with grated cheese (Romano or Parmesan).

2.  I am not afraid.  It surprises me how many people are afraid to cook without a recipe.  Don't be afraid..if it flops so it flops and you'll know for next time but its the fear of making a mistake or "not knowing where to begin" that is stopping you from enjoying cooking.  Literally open the fridge grab what you have and give it a roll (tonight was the tomatoes and prosciutto).  You'll learn quickly what flavors you enjoy together and those which you do not.  I love to cook but I from time to time have some serious mess ups but I only do them once.
3.  The most important fundamental.  Surround yourself with people that appreciate you making the effort and praise you for doing so.  God bless my husband; even if the meal is completely intolerable he still eats it all and says that he enjoys it.  If its really really bad he may make a comment that although the dinner is good, he mentions another dish I make as his favourite but it never stops him from finishing his plate. 

I am very lucky....but he thinks he is too so I guess we're all good....  Getting the kids to eat the disasters is another topic all together...

Happy easy healthy cooking all.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Wedding Preparation: The Bonbonniere

As many brides are frantically trying to put final arrangements together for their plans this coming wedding season I thought it would be fun to chat here and there about ideas for "the big day".  What gave me the idea to start with bonbonnieres was a discussion I had this afternoon with a friend who is in the very process of narrowing down what she will do as a guest favour.  I don't want to spoil anything but she came up with something brilliant for her fall wedding (which I hope to eventually post) but above is another idea that is very popular right now.

The charitable donation makes a ton of sense to me but I agree that I still like the idea of guests walking away with a small something at the end of the night.  With that I love the above as it is the perfect answer: a cookie, a charitable logo and a thank you tag says it all.  This was from the wedding of my Aunt and Uncle several years ago and I believe they were made by Cat at Sugar Baking.  If you are looking she does fantastic work, and is certainly work checking out.

Great right?!  Love to hear what you think is popular right now.

Happy planning you brides.


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Testing A Penny To Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

Today I decided to test an old wives tale that I have heard many times concerning increasing the longevity of your cut stems.  Ms LTB| our floral correspondent tells me that many florists believe that the copper content of the pennies acts as an antibacterial agent in the vase and I decide to test the hypothesis.

I recognise that in conjunction with the penny some sort of food additive should be considered but to minimise variables we will stick to the penny addition only.

Alright...I also recognise to do this properly I should of had a control vase of simply water and then perhaps a second vase of food and no penny but alas this started as me treating myself to some fleurs and I didn't envision a research paper.

I'm exhausted already....lets simplify and just see how we fare. 

Time to shut the brain down!


Monday, 9 April 2012

Long Lives the PoPo Poncho During The Spring Season!

I am a total sucker for a great story and even more of a sucker when I can relate to that story.  So often now the stories I rally behind are what I call "The 3 Tiered Mom Tales".  Torrid roller coaster narratives about one fabulous woman juggling career, family and side business.  I love talking to these women for energy and inspiration but more importantly I love to be able to help them out whenever possible.

I was fortunate to meet one such woman at the One Of A Kind Spring Show in Toronto a few weeks ago.  Sharon Shum is the owner of Po Po's Ponchos out in Vancouver, BC and literally appears to be pulling it all off seamlessly.  In sales by day, kids clothier by night and mother all the time she is finding a niche for herself as another of Canada's working/entrepreneurial moms.
I met Sharon because I beelined for her booth...and it wasn't because I knew anything about her, it was simply due to the stunning products she had on display.  These ponchos ooze quality both in look and feel and I fell in love with several of them. 

PoPo's Ponchos (popo = grandmother in Chinese) has been around since 2007 and carries both a rain and fleece line of products.  The poncho's come in 3 sizes (for ages up to 6 years) and are easily maintained with the washing machine and a good tumble dry.  I just adore that this is one overcoat that kids can learn to put on themselves...thank you Sharon!
You can order a fantastic poncho off the PoPo's Ponchos website and Sharon does ship internationally. 

Sharon, it was an absolute pleasure.  Please keep in touch with us as we would love to follow your success.

Night all,

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter All

 Just a quick post (as I have much to do this evening to prepare for tomorrow) to wish you surrounded by family and friends Easter Sunday.  Thank you mom for the wonderful cookies today, they are outstanding.

Apologies all for the picture below....I couldn't resist and we are P.D. Eastman fans in this house.
See you Monday.


Friday, 6 April 2012

A Few Interesting Egg Decorating Tips I Wish I Knew Years Ago

So this particular post will not wow you with our professionally decorated coloured eggs, in fact it may underwhelm you with our low skill level.  No this post is to give you a few tips that I picked up from Mrs. Q this year that I can't believe I didn't know before now...nothing earth shattering but helpful.  Egg decorating to me is about the kids no matter the age level but as I have particularly young kids things need to be simple. 

Tip #1:  Use either empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls as your egg stands.  Cut them approximately 1 inch deep and you are sitting pretty!
 Tip #2. A simple white crayon before dying allows you to create whatever look you like, protecting those covered areas from the dyes. This is how I created the monogrammed eggs in the first photo. You can be really creative with this!
Tip #3.  With little ones choose mixed medias for your decorating that are easier for them to work with.  Below is the sequenced egg my son made...I think we decided it was a robot.  We also used stickers, markers etc.
Like I said nothing earth shattering, you are probably doing all of them already and obviously it is me that needs to brush up on my Easter Egg decorating skills!  Thanks again Mrs Q!

Happy Good Friday.


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Bobbette & Belle's Chocolate Nests Courtesy Of My Mother

I am blown away by these fantastic chocolate nests that my mother made yesterday from a recipe by Toronto pastry artists Bobbette & Belle.  Aren't they hilarious?!  My wonderfully supportive mother even took step by step photos so that we could share this project with all of you.  You're the best ma. 

Chocolate Easter Nests (excerpt from the Marilyn Denis Show )
  • 8 oz semi-sweet or milk chocolate, chopped
  • 2 – 2 ½ cups chow mein noodles
  • Garnish: small jelly beans, Cadbury Mini eggs
  1. Line a baking pan with a piece of aluminium foil, spray with non-stick vegetable spray.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Gently fold in chow mein noodles, being careful not to break them.
  3. Spoon six mounds of the mixture onto the prepared pan. Use your fingers to form each mound into a 4-inch (10 cm) nest shape. Make a small indentation in the centre of each nest.
  4. Place the pan, with the chocolate nests, in the refrigerator to set (about 30 minutes). Just before serving, remove the nests from the refrigerator and place some small jelly beans or other egg-shaped candy in the centre of each nest. Makes about 6 nests.
If you want to wow a crowd but need something that is ridiculously easy I am certain this should be your project.  Don't forget to add the little chick (from the Dollar Store) in your presentation.  I think the whole thing is priceless.

Such fun and thanks again mom. 


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Easter Egg Filled Paper Carrots

 I've been looking and thinking for a few weeks now as to what I was going to make for my son to share with the kids in his class tomorrow.  I saw this totally adorable idea on Oh Happy Day and I just had to give it a try. 

See the visual "How To" below:
A few notes. 
1.  Size of the paper for each cone is 8.5x5.5 (8.5x11 cut in half).
2.  Paper for both the cone and the greens are just a regular printing paper (not card stock).
3.  Depending on how tightly you make your cone you will need anywhere between 5-7 eggs.  Those below have 7 chocolate Easter eggs in each. 
4.  The greens are cut 1/4 inch wide. 
5.  Be assured the more you do the better you get so don't panic if you seem to be all thumbs in the beginning...I most certainly was!!

Wouldn't these be absolutely perfect for an outdoor egg hunt?!!  I love it!!

Happy crafting all.