Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Christmas is my favourite season of the year! It is a time to reflect upon the birth of our Saviour Jesus and the hope of salvation He brought to the world. I also savour the happy music, pretty decorations, sparkly lights, yummy food and special times with friends and family. And I can't forget to mention the smells. Oh, the smells! Whether it's freshly baked cookies just out of the oven, a scrumptiously scented candle, a freshly cut Christmas tree or spiced apple cider brewing on the stove, the smells of Christmas are divine! Last year I saw a friend put together what I have come to call a 'Christmas smelly pot'  – for lack of a better term – and let it simmer on her stove top. "Brilliant!" I thought, "I must do this." So I went about creating my own 'smelly pot', modifying it a bit to make the recipe my own. Now my house can smell like Christmas everyday of the festive season!  Here's how to create your own 'Christmas smelly pot'.

Half an orange;
1 apple;
2 bay leaves;
2 to 3 tablespoons of whole cloves;
2 cinnamon sticks;
Splash of lemon juice.

1. Cut the apple in half so that the core makes a pretty star. Stud the orange with some of the cloves. If the skin of the orange is particularly tough, pre-make some holes in the orange with a pointy object (I used a chop stick).

2. Fill a small crock pot with 4-6 cups of water, add all the ingredients listed above.

3. Set the crock pot on low and let simmer away, uncovered. After a few hours the mixture will begin to darken in colour and fill your house with its lovely Christmas aroma. As the pot simmers the water will begin to evaporate. I just add more water a few times a day to keep it topped up.

4. At the end of the day you can place your pot in the fridge overnight. Take it out the next day and reheat for more smelly goodness. I usually use my smelly pot for 3 to 5 days before making a new one.

Note: Although all of these ingredients are edible, I have not tried tasting this concoction, nor would I recommend it – even though it does smell good enough to eat!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A room for baby

Well it's hard to believe my due date has come and gone! Still no baby in sight, but my husband and I are easy-going people so we are patiently, yet excitedly awaiting his arrival. In the mean time, I've had lots of time to create a special little spot in our home for baby to call his own.

Even before we were expecting, I knew I wanted white furniture. It is so fresh and clean-looking. Also, being that the room isn't very big, I didn't want to overpower it with dark, heavy furniture. The white crib and change table we found at Baby Shack, a boutique baby store in Whitby, Ontario. I think it was the most affordable set they had on display, but it was exactly what I wanted!

The inspiration for the room started with the artwork below. I discovered the artandphilanthropy shop at and fell in love! The also have a great website and online store here.
I love the colour scheme and the woodland creatures! So adorable. I got a great deal on the frames with some coupons at Michael's.

Next I went shopping for coordinating accents. I found lots of great stuff at Bouclair (polka dotted pillow, drapes, teal lamp shade, teal basket, wicker hamper and garbage pail). The leafy pillows and polka dotted crib sheet are from Zellers – sometimes you find great things in unexpected places!

The rocking chair is a treasure from my mother-in-law. She rocked all four of her babies in this chair and I love that I will rock our baby in it too. The beautiful afghan on the back of the chair is a hand-made gift from a talented woman I work with. The sweet pea water colour on the wall is painted by a dear friend. Her nickname for me is sweet pea and she made this for me a few year ago. It fits perfectly into the colour scheme of the room! So many special treasures.

And the treasures continue. The side table and milk glass lamp are keepsakes from my grandparents' farm house. They just recently sold the farm and moved into a retirement home. I am thankful to have these pieces from the homestead where they raised their family. My husband repainted the table to a brighter white and added a new handle on the drawer. He also spray painted the base of the lamp from brass to white and I purchased a new lamp shade to match the room.

The wall shelf holds more memorable keepsakes. Paddington bear is my husband's from when he was a child. The red and green wooden music box is an adorable gift my friend brought back for baby from her trip to Rome. The Bible verse (Psalm 25:4-5) mounted on wood is a special verse from my days at Bible College. It is a life verse for me and I hope it will be a meaningful verse for our baby too as he grows up. 

The white picture frame isn't so much a special treasure, but it is a pretty cool garage sale find! I bought it for 10 cents and had my husband spray paint it white. Turned out well I think!

So, come on out little baby, your bedroom is waiting and your mom and dad can't wait to meet you!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Harvest over hallowe'en decor

Since being married I've opted to decorate our home with a harvest theme instead of a hallowe'en one this time of year. This is partly due to the copious amount of decorations I have stored in my basement – saved from our harvest-themed wedding. But I also find autumn leaves, colours, textures, etc to be much more beautiful, warm and inviting than the typical gaudiness and creepiness of hallowe'en decor. Plus, not having to carve my pumpkin saves a lot of mess! Here are some pics of how I decorated our front porch this season.

Even though we're not decked out for hallowe'en, we're still stocked with candy and ready for all the little munchkins tonight! – that is, if my husband doesn't eat all the chocolate first ;)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Memories of Harvest Love

Happy anniversary to us!

My husband and I were married two thanksgivings ago on October 10, 2009.  Fall and Thanksgiving in particular is one of my favourite times of year. I love the cool, crisp air, fall colours and wonderful scents of the season (candles, pumpkin pie, warm apple cider...) We named our wedding event "Harvest Love" and had a lot of fun with the harvest theme.

Since I am back at the blogging thing, I thought I would dig into my photo archives and unearth some 'things that are pretty' from our wedding photos. Here are some shots from our harvest-themed day. Thanks to for the wonderful photography!

My husband and I are both designers, so we had fun creating the print elements for the day. Our initials are J and H so we made a custom monogram for the program and a few other items.

The florist did and AMAZING job on my bouquet, better than I could have imagined. You can't really see them, but there are some wheat stalks in there. Those were my favourite part of the bouquet.

The church always decorates really nicely for Thanksgiving weekend, so we lucked out and didn't have to do much decorating in the sanctuary!

As a wedding gift our friend made us cupcakes for the reception. She did such a beautiful job!

In lieu of parting gifts for our guests we made a donation to the Canadian Foodgrains bank. But we also had bushels of apples and paper bags for our guests to fill to take home with them. Our last name is McIntosh, so it was fitting to gave away apples (McIntosh of course!)

We set up this area at one end of the hall for guests to take photos.

After the large standing reception at the church which was directly following the ceremony, we had a more intimate dinner reception with immediate family and a few close friends at a beautiful B&B.

Monday, October 3, 2011

gifts for baby

My sister has a brand new baby boy! A few weeks ago we had a wonderful family shower for her, my brother-in-law and baby. I was put in charge of wrapping gifts - the best thing to be in charge of in my opinion! My oldest sister did all the shopping and supplied me with all the materials I needed – beautiful paper and oodles of ribbon. You can't have a properly wrapped gift without ribbon! (in my world at least). So one Friday evening it was just me, some baby gifts and lots of gift wrap & ribbon for a few hours – bliss! Some of the gift were awkwardly shaped or really soft – making them difficult to wrap. So I made a trip to the dollar store and picked up some nice brown baskets to put those items in. It made them much easier to wrap that way. Plus, now my sister can have some extra baskets for the nursery.
Here's how it all turned out.

I love the contrast of the solid blue and the brown-patterned paper. It was fun to balance out the two and add accenting ribbon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An episode in gift wrapping

A friend and I went shopping a few weeks ago for a baby shower gift for a friend of ours. Buying baby gifts seems to be a trend in my life lately - lots of friends and relatives have growing families the past few years. It's been even more fun shopping for gifts these past few months because I've got my own little one on the way! But back to the baby and the gifts at hand.

We decided on a baby bath and grooming theme – shampoo, body wash, lotion, wash cloths, the oh-so-necessary Penaten cream, a baby toothbrush set and a baby grooming set. Given my love of gift wrapping, I asked if I could wrap the gift. It had been a while since spending a good long time carefully wrapping a gift. So I took my time, let my creativity have its way and enjoyed the process. I knew things were getting serious when I had to break out the glue gun! A couple of hours later, I was quite pleased with the result.

Monday, August 22, 2011

In search of a (preferably non-hideous) doorbell

My husband and I have been doing some home improvements to our house this summer. One thing we want to update is the wall unit for our door bell located in the front hall. It seems like we have searched every hardware store in town and can't find anything even remotely nice. I think the doorbell is one of the only things that hasn't been updated to keep current with contemporary home decor. This is the sight at every hardware store so far - big, clunky and outdated. Second row, far right is the model currently in our hallway. The brass and wood combo just aren't going to cut it.

I even started searching online for something decent-looking, but to no avail as of yet. Any suggestions on where to find a clean, simple door bell design?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Organization is a beautiful thing

I am generally an organized person, but my box of loose ribbon that I regularly dig into when wrapping gifts, was getting seriously out of control.

After wrapping a gift today, I spent some time sorting by colour and placing each group into its own ziplock bag. I'm excited for the next time I have a gift to wrap – it will be a lot easier to see what I have and find the colour I'm looking for!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm back!

Well, after two and a half years of completely neglecting this little blog of mine, I've decided it's time to resurrect it! I will continue to blog about things that are pretty in my own world and also share some pretty things from other people I know and things I find around the web and blogosphere. Enjoy!

This is a shot I saved from a Jessie Steele apron catalogue a few years back – domestically divine.

Check out her latest apron offerings at