DIY Watercolour Napkins

Last week, I was excited to attend the first event in a "Be the Maker" workshop series hosted by Melissa of The Sweet Escape at West Elm.  It's rare these days for me to get out for a night that doesn't involve work so it was fun to get to be crafty, sip some grapefruit juice and chat about topics other than real estate, babies and renovations for a change.

The event was photographed by Andrea of Personally Andrea so be sure to check out her blog for more pics!

West Elm in Liberty Village was already decorated for the holidays.  It felt festive and it made me excited for the holidays!

Our tables were set up with craft supplies (including Bic markers) and a set of four white Cross Dye Basic Napkins.  They were so lovely in basic white, it was almost difficult to dye them...

Before the seminar began, I couldn't help browsing some of the Christmas displays in the store.  I was tempted to get that stork ornament...

And, I've been obsessed with their origami coffee table for years!  I even remember mentioning it in a post that I published the day we moved into our new/old house.  Oh, how I love it!

Okay, enough window shopping!  Back to the workshop:

As I mentioned, Melissa of The Sweet Escape ran the tutorial and she is super creative.  She wisely had scraps of cotton so that we could practice before moving on to our nice napkins.

There was a rainbow of colours to choose from but I opted to stay within one colour family.  Unsurprisingly, I chose blues and turquoise hues, since they're always my favourites.

We began by drawing starburst or (in my case) snowflake patterns on the fabric.

We then used eyedroppers to drip isopropyl alcohol on the fabric to allow the dye to spread.  The amount of alcohol dripped, determines how much the dye spreads.

Here are my finished napkins, which will be set after a vinegar wash at home.  I love that they're all so different!

I think they'd look great as a compliment to a winter place setting!  This was an easy craft requiring just fabric, markers and rubbing alcohol.  I love the finished effect and it totally makes me want to dye a blanket for little Bruiser.  

What do you think?  Would you make these at home?


2014 Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays around the corner and baby de Sa-Brown on the way, Corey and I have agreed to keep our holidays simple (aka- frugal) this year.  Since we both still enjoy wrapping and opening gifts, we've been wrapping and putting things away for months (mostly items we needed to purchase anyway) and, now that we've forgotten about them, we'll save them for the holidays to give to each other!

Despite having a bit of a low-key holiday ourselves, I just love browsing and window shopping for great gift ideas online.  Here are some of my favourites for 2014.  Whether you're splurging or looking for a stocking stuffer, there's something here for everyone on your list!

For Anyone

Who doesn't love a warm cuppa on a cold day?  I personally like rooibos teas because they are hydrating and I've been enjoying this green and fruity tea from David's.  I actually mix it with some of the (less yummy) teas I've been drinking during my pregnancy and the flavour is strong enough to mask anything bitter.

Speaking of David's Teas, I haven't tried it (I prefer fruity to dessert flavoured) but this birthday cake tea looks so festive!

While we're on the subject of edibles, I just discovered Short and Sweet Cupcakes, thanks to a friend's recommendation.  I hear their "sammies" are amazing and they deliver within Toronto!

One of my favourite scents to fall asleep to is Lavender and Chamomile from Bath and Body Works.  This pillow spray would make anyone's nighttime ritual very luxurious.

If you're on social media, you're probably no stranger to the fascinating Humans of New York blog.  Now there's a hardcover book version!

Perfect for the perfect host/hostess in your life, this set of gold flatware from West Elm would look fabulous on a festive table!

While I seldom wear socks, (I could seriously walk around barefoot all winter.) I might make an exception for some cozy alpaca socks on a cold winter day.

I love this Crate and Barrel wood and marble cheese platter.  I had never noticed it until one of my friends (who happens to have amazing taste) registered for it when she was getting married.  Wouldn't it also make the perfect backdrop for food photography?

Although I have yet to order from Minted, I adore their personalized photo collages which you can order with or without a frame.  I'm sure we'll make one once little Bruiser comes!

I love these chic reusable bags by Baggu!  I would keep one in my purse at all times!

For Him

I love Kiehl's products and Corey uses their facial fuel every day.  It smells fresh and manly and is super invigorating.  I confess to using it to help me wake up some mornings.

If you're going to splurge on someone, what could be more cozy and decadent than a cashmere hoodie?  I love the way Everlane clothes fit and I can't think of a guy who wouldn't love this!

I love the details on these lambskin and silk gloves.  Not ideal for the vegan in your life but perfect for a stylish carnivore!

Who wouldn't want to curl up in a cozy onesie?  Corey would love this!

This cheeky baggage tag makes me laugh.

This sarcastic t-shirt would make my brother laugh.

For Her

I love this mini travel styling iron.  I may even pop one in my "go bag" for the hospital.  ;)

Agate is still in style and I love a beautiful statement necklace!

I love drooling over the Argentinian leather goods on the Cuyana website.  This stunning wallet is one of my favourites.  I really like the unexpected colour of the lining.

I bought a chunky knit cowl from this shop years ago and it is still one of my fall/winter staples!

How sweet and dainty are these initial necklaces?  I think they'd make a sweet gift for a significant other or a bff.

I love this merino wool toque.  I dislike hats that end at the top of my head at this one seems to have the perfect amount of slouch!

For Little Ones

We are big fans of Plan Toys products at our house and for some reason, this weird alligator seems to be loved by kiddies.

I just love this handmade bird stuffy.  You can order one with pretty much any colour combination of clothes to match your nursery!

There's something so sweet about creating a baby book on Pinhole Press to help a baby identify photos of all the important people in their little life!

As fans of classic, wooden toys, Corey and I love this elegant balance game.

Have you heard of I'd Know You Anywhere, My Love by Nancy Tillman?  It's a beautiful book and it delivers a strong message from parent to child of acceptance and unconditional love.  I can't read it without crying these days.

For Furry Ones

We never like to forget our four-legged family members.  Cheetah has this exact collar and we get compliments all the time.  We love martingales because they offer the control of a "choke" collar (which many people with powerful dogs need) but the fabric is soft for the dog and the collar "expands" the moment the pulling stops.

It wouldn't be the holidays without an order from Nothing Added.  Favourites at hour house (okay, our dogs LOVE everything from this shop) include dehydrated anchovies (which cats also adore) and dehydrated chicken feet!

To help our pets brave the cold winters, our favourite shop for breed specific coats (we have winter coats, rain coats and sweaters) is Voyager's K9 Apparel.  Cheetah got his first winter coat this year and he's loving the snow so far this winter after moving here from Florida!

Well that's my list for 2014.  What tops your wishlist?


Who Will She Look Like?

Okay, I'm going to start by saying that I do not have Corey's permission to creepily morph his photo onto our ultrasound photo of Singleton (or Bruiser, as we call her now.) but I really do think she looks like him a bit in the face.  What do you think?  He's not happy about the photo but he already knows I'm a huge dork so it's not exactly a surprise.

Did you ever wonder what your baby would look like?  We're getting closer to our due date and I never got around to having a 3D ultrasound so now it looks like we'll just have to wait and see.  I'll admit that I'm a little curious, since it's difficult to imagine her as a person without a visual.  We already feel like we know her a little and we interact with her when she lets us.  So far, we've noticed that she's VERY active, seems to hate anything resting on my belly (she kicks at it right away) and seems to only calm down for soft music and long walks.  She also seems to recognize Corey's voice and is always more active when he's talking.  All that's missing from our imaginations is her face.

Do you guys remember that hilarious scene in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days where Kate Hudson's character tries to freak out Matthew McConaughey's character by morphing their faces and making a photo album of their pretend children?  That scene always has me in stitches!  Remember these lookers?

So, I was tempted to make my own at MakeMeBabies.com.  The process isn't exactly scientific and the result wasn't hideous but it does seem to have and unsettling quality, don't you think?

Those eyes!  A little freaky, right?  Let's hope the real version is a little cuter and a lot less sinister.  Here's our 33 week ultrasound photo.  It's the first time we had a chance to see her face.  Look at those cheeks!

Just a few more weeks to go!


DIY Leather Wallets

My friend Jess and I seem to have an obsession with crafting workshops.  Over the past few months, we have made terrariums and shibori dyed scarves, but it was time to try our hands at some leather working.

About a month ago, we returned to Crown Flora Studio for a workshop run by Robin from Fitzy.

Of course, we took a few minutes to browse the shop.  After collecting milk glass all year for my wedding centerpieces, I've built up quite a collection and now I notice it everywhere.

I also loved the geometric terrariums.

And the leather and suede bags.

Robin provided templates and tools for us to use and she demonstrated each step... Which was good, since working with leather is not easy.

The tools used to make holes in the leather looked like medieval torture instruments.  I'm shocked that I didn't hurt myself.

We began by cutting out the template for the key ring.

We had to use a mallet and anvil to hammer the hardware together.  The baby was not thrilled about the hammering.

Mine turned out well and was a close match to my purse!

Next was the more intricate wallet.  We each cut out the template and spent another hour poking holes to stitch.

We used bookbinding string that we coated in wax.  We doubled the first and last stitches for added strength.

The template even included the option for pockets inside.

Here are my finished products.

Jess made hers with rounded corners.  I liked both versions!  Hint- If you want to make your own, leather, hardware and tools are all available at Tandy Leather Factory!

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