Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer In A Jar

This morning I decided that I was going to make some quiches for lunch on Sunday this weekend. Not having everything I wanted, I set out to the farm stand around the corner from my house to pick up a few things. While browsing, I noticed they had quarts of local strawberries for $3.50. My son just kept trying to grab them and eat them (they're his favourite) so I put one in my basket and kept shopping. But, as I was passing the fresh peppers and the crowns of broccoli, I thought to myself - why not make a batch of strawberry jam. I never do it, despite the fact that I know it's an easy enough thing to can. So, back to the berries I went. I picked up 4 little baskets and checked out. My son sat happily eating a small bowl while I hulled 2 quarts and got my jars ready. Within a few minutes, the berries were boiling away and my whole house smelled of super sweet strawberries - something that always reminds me of summer. I quickly canned off half a dozen jars to store in my cellar and one for myself for with breakfast tomorrow morning. It was easy enough to do that I may just make another batch tomorrow with the remaining berries... then again, I think I may use them for with Strawberry Shortcakes!
Here's the recipe I used for one full batch.
4 cups of fresh berries (hulled - the greens removed)
7 cups of white sugar
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 packet of liquid pectin
1/2 tsp. butter
Sterilize 7 - 250 mL jars in hot, boiling water after washing them and place in an oven on 125 degrees to keep hot. Put washed lids and screw tops in a pot of boiled water that's now simmering. Place everything but the pectin and butter in a large pot. Bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Once boiling, add the pack of pectin and stir for 1 minute. Add butter to reduce foaming. Working quickly and carefully, fill one jar at a time with preserves. Once filled, wipe rim clean, place lid on jar and screw on tightly with fingertips. Once tightened, set jar aside, on a board or towel with another towel over top to keep hot and away from any breeze. Fill all jars until jam is gone. Let sit for 24 hours to set under the towel. Jars are sealed properly if each lid is tight with no movement when pressed. Label jars and store in a cool, dry place like a cellar.
As I'm writing this I can hear the pop of a jar every so often, meaning that they're sealing nicely!
A jar of strawberry jam is the perfect little addition to a thank you or as a small hostess gift. They look especially pretty when you take the time to make a nice little label, add a swatch of a pretty vintage fabric over the lid and secure it with a piece of ribbon or my favourite, bakers twine.
Who could resist such a delectable treat?
This is the farm stand down the road from me where I buy all of my fresh fruit. They have a great selection, good prices, great quality and they always seem to be open! Oh and the handsome man at the counter happens to be my dad. He was being a good husband and picked my mom up some peaches for fresh peach pie.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


~ It's official ~

is open for business on Etsy.

Browse through our many vintage findings with pretty, rustic charm. From vintage ephemera and linens, to old books and other curious things, there's a little bit of everything. Our style is country chic and you'll find many delightful things from a time more quaint and simple. So, take a peek around, hopefully you'll find something fabulous!

Visit us at:
Note -
Anyone in the Niagara Region who would like to purchase something, you're welcome to come pick the item up and save the shipping costs, or, if possible, I could drop them off.

APOTHECARY ~ Satin & Birch Soaps

This week in the Apothecary, I've decided to showcase an Etsy artist - Leslie - and her shop Satin & Birch.

She makes pretty gift packages of glycerin soap in any colour of the rainbow. My favourites are these ones. I think they would make wonderful little favours or additions to a guest bathroom. Either way, they're made with 100% pure glycerine and absolutely no harmful ingredients. I like that they're so delicate looking, something that isn't easy to do (having been a soap maker myself). Also, the pretty tags she's displayed with some of them are done by a friend of hers - Bluebirdlane.

Enjoy and take a peek at her Etsy shop.

I think these poppies are just so gorgeous. They would look fantastic as a wedding favour!
Coffee and Cream roses.
French Flower Market - a combinations of Jasmine, White Carnations and White Roses.

RECLAIMED RUSTIC ~ The Vintage Fireplace Mantel

This is just a simple, elegant mantel that takes this from a small little area of a room to a luxurious little reading corner that's begging you to come snuggle up with a good book and a hot cup of tea.
This week, the Reclaimed Rustic is in honour of the fact that I've almost finished my basement renovations (we ripped out baby blue carpet and tore off Harley Davidson borders, if you can imagine, and repainted everything pretty shades of cream and white to freshen it up). It's the fireplace mantel. Now, this isn't going to be so much a clever new use for it, rather, an interesting, simple and cheaper way of adding the cozy charm of a fireplace without all the work.
I've picked the mantel because I'm at the best stage in the reno, the putting the room back together and decorating it. One of the main projects I tackled was painting the existing fireplace and simple mantel surrounding the wood stove that's downstairs. It was brick - but the ugly late sixties sort of brick, not the nice, soft coloured gorgeous brick. It had some sort of wood mantel that was stained super light all the way around it. It fit with the decor, it's just that the decor was awful. Plus, it's the focal point of the room! Also, it's a basement and basements can be dark. Actually, there does happen to be quite a bit of natural light in that area, which is a bonus, but still, it needed be brighter to reflect all that light. So, I scrubbed and sanded and finally painted it white. Oh, what a difference it makes! It's like that entire corner has come alive. I can't wait to post pictures of what it all looks like once it's back together - oh, and to dig up old photos to show you a before shot!
Anyway, here are some examples of great faux fireplaces. It doesn't even matter that it's not an existing fireplace - it still adds comfort and warmth - just in more of a visual way!

Okay, so I'm pretty sure this is an actual fireplace, but I just loved it so much I couldn't resist throwing it in there! Just look at those floors! And how great is that little window bench, and the old chair and bucket of kindling? I was so inspired by this photo.

This particular mantel houses some sort of domed artwork. It's a charming little addition and the grayish tones of the mantel add a little more depth and contrast to the whites in the rest of the room without being overpowering.

This is just gorgeous as well! I love that they've kept the mantel unpainted. It brings so much life to this bathroom! And, did you notice the old painted tiles in place of the actual fireplace?

This is great also; there are a few too many architectural pieces for me but I can appreciate it. The mantle as the headboard is such a grand piece. Notice the old windows and doors as the frame?

Monday, August 23, 2010

An Anniversary Gift

My mother-in-law came over this morning with a lovely surprise for our anniversary - a big bunch of pretty green mums and hydrangeas wrapped in brown paper and twine. She knows I love to arrange flowers so she kept them loose so I could arrange them myself. So, I spent some time this morning putting them together and this is what I came up with. It's sitting on our dining room table and I can't get over how good the mums smell!

I used a soup tureen to make the arrangement in - I figured it was something different but still very pretty.

With the left over mum buds I made a little bud bouquet for by my sink.

Thanks Mom!


Happy Anniversary To Us

So yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. I know that it's not a long time compared to many of you, but it's just so hard to believe it's been two years! Time is flying past. We've graciously been blessed with so much more than either of us could have ever imagined - in every aspect of our lives and we count ourselves lucky each day to be so madly in love with each other. I really did marry my best friend and I can't wait to see what the next years have in store for us.
I've been asked to share some wedding photos so I thought I would dedicate this post to some of the photos from our wedding album.
Enjoy the sneak peek into our special day!

Getting ready.

I had a fairly simple, but classic, wedding dress. It was fitted and ivory with a pretty lace overlay and longer train.

I wore my grandmother's (who had passed away a few years prior) delicate diamond necklace and earrings that she wore on her wedding day. They were simple, small little flowers.

My wonderful parents spend hours and hours helping me do the flowers for the wedding. That included all the bouquets, the decorative pots and urns and a small metal pail on each pew end!

We do!

Our photos and reception were at a conservation area with an old historic farm, large barn and tiny chapel on site.

The conservation area is set in the Niagara Escarpment and there's a falls on the property.

Our wedding party and the old Benz that took us to the reception - it had just hit 1, 000, 000 km (I think that's somewhere around 600,000 miles)!

We had a very laid back, simple country wedding and part of the charm was the old barn that we had our reception in. It just made everything so cozy!

Our head table, and the view from the barn.

BROWSE LIST ~ Argyle Antiques

This is a photographic tour of the Argyle Antique store in Argyle, Ontario. It's roughly a couple hours North-East of Toronto. So far, it's become one of my top favourite antique stores to browse. It's in a tiny little town (one intersection) and each house is now a little shop of some kind; a general store with fabulous coffee, a hole-in-the-wall "antique store", a country goods bakery and shop and this antique store.

I loved it because it was in an old Blacksmith garage style workshop that was actually really large. Everything was half thrown in there and most of it was more rustic than antique (which was all the better for me!). The prices were good and there was lots to wander through. Oh and the best part, Johnny Cash was blaring the entire time we were there! Nothing like some old country, a solid cup of coffee and a warm apple fritter to really make a girl's morning bright!
Old watering cans.

Some sort of dried flower, I just thought it was really rustic looking!

This one is actually my favourite photo! It just turned out exactly how I wanted it to.

Great old blue bottles.

This trunk was another favourite! It was a solid piece of furniture with so much character. The eggshell blue just made it that much more fantastic!

Some old tins.

I also really liked this needlework piece. It was warn and beautiful and the font used for the writing was really pretty.

I'm always drawn to old chandelier bits and pieces - and when it's displayed on chippy white pieces - even better!

This was an old weigh scale of some kind.

Some really old, interesting but of ephemera. I actually ended up purchasing this lot. It consisted of old estate documents, a soldier's calender book, and the best part, an old auction log book. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do with them.

An old floatation device, very vintage, hanging from a rusty old garden gate. I wanted both!

Friday, August 20, 2010

APOTHECARY ~ Making Lavender Linen Spray

This is a recipe for making Lavender Linen Spray from A Prairie Girl's Guide to Life by Jennifer Warick. I read it while I was up at the lake and this was one of the things that I wanted to try for myself. Under my sun room windows I have a little lavender garden planted and I've been meaning to harvest some of the lavender for drying at some point this week.
This is a really simple, and fresh scented spray to make. It's great for spritzing your linens with before bed (as lavender has calming and relaxing properties) or even for spritzing on your clothes before ironing to give them a little more freshness. It's also a pretty gift when packaged in a vintage apothecary bottle if you can find one with the mister. If not, create your own label to give the bottle a more pretty, vintage feel.
In the winter time, I add a little bit of eucalyptus oil - it adds a minty freshness and seems to clear your sinuses which is a bonus in the middle of cold season!
Lavender Linen Spray
Supplies and Ingredients:
Sealed Jar
2 tsp. Lavender Essential Oil
5 tbsp. Vodka 100 proof
1 c. Distilled Water
Glass Spray Jar
Combine oil and vodka and shake vigorously. Add water and pour into spray bottle. Shake gently before using.
I found this wreath when I was looking for lavender photos online - it's from I just thought it was really pretty.