Mother’s Day Gift Ideas – Etsy Round-Up

Good Morning!

Hey, remember me?   It has been whirlwind this last couple of weeks with 2 client project on the go and my recent trip to BC for my childhood best friend’s wedding and I’ve been suffering from some jet-lag since I returned. But I’m a bit more myself today so I’m sharing a little round-up of some Mother’s Day gift ideas from Etsy.  Now I will admit that although all these gifts could be great for any Mom, most of these gifts are inspired by things I think MY lovely Mother would enjoy or find useful.  Go with what you know, right?

Etsy Mother's Day Gift Ideas

1.  If your Mom is a gardener how about these super cute Leather Gardening Gloves? And they are washable!

2.  I can’t think of a better way to represent a Mom’s tireless love and care than with a pretty piece of jewelry  with the infinity knot, like this  Infinity Knot Gold Filled Bracelet.

3. I really like the style of this hanging planter/basket with a hand spun copper & brass bowl.  This one might be a bit modern for my Mom but she might like to use it outside and let it get that rustic patina.

4.  There have been a few times my Mom has suggested a book she has that she thinks I would enjoy, only to realize that she has lent it to someone.  In these cases, she either doesn’t remember who she lent it to or she knows but hasn’t gotten it back yet.  Enter this set of library book cards that you can put inside your books reminding those that have borrowed it to return it.

5. My mom (and often my dad) are perpetually looking for their glasses.  If your mom has the same tendency to misplace her glasses, this magnetic eyeglass holder that you just attach to your shirt is a great practical gift!

6. What Mom doesn’t love a nice tea towel. And this Coastal Cottages tea towel is lovely, and just a little different from your standard tea towel.

I hope this gives you some good ideas for your Mom this year!

Have a lovely day!

XO,

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Valentine’s Day Outfit

Good Morning!

Happy St. Valentine’s Day to all.  This isn’t a holiday I would say that I actively observe , nor do I have anything particularly exciting planned for the day (unless eating cinnamon heart until my tongue bleeds can be considered “plans”). However, since the day is here and I figure there is no way to totally ignore it I’ve put together a V-day themed outfit for a casual Friday at work.

Valentine's Day

(Click on the image above to see all the sources on my Polyvore page).

Distressed jeans are back, and I’m a fan of the trend.  Those flats are very pretty, and even a V-day cynic like me can admit that the heart sweatshirt just screams cute and fun.  I mean a girl can dress the part even if she’s not feeling the vibe, right?  Yes she can.

I hope you all have a great day full of love, (and more importantly) candy and chocolate!

XO,

Magical Christmas Lights

Good Morning!

I’ve been trying to pin down what is the part of Christmas decorating makes it so magical.  I mean I pretty much love all holiday decor but I think the lights are probably the thing that makes it special.  Sure you can use lights all year round but only during the holidays can you wonder around a town or city and see so many homes, stores and parks sparkling through the darkness.  Here are some photos of holiday lights that I found on pinterest this week that gave me that warm fuzzy feeling I often have this time of year.

lights copy Clockwise from top left:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ,6, 7, 8, 9, 10

I’m now off to my last day of work before I head back to New Brunswick for the holidays. Have a lovely last weekend before Christmas!

XO,

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SMACK: The Ultimate Christmas Candy Recipe

 Good Morning!

Today is a big day at Recreated.  I’m sharing what might be the BEST recipe for any person to have in their holiday cooking repertoire.  And I don’t say BEST in a flippant way.  I actually mean it.  This is a recipe my mother has been making forever. She has always called it Christmas candy but when she started sending it to me in university and my friends tried it, we started calling it SMACK.  Because it is addictive. Addictive like a drug. Smack is so delicious, it is almost impossible to just have one piece.  It tastes a bit like a homemade Skor bar, but is way better than a Skor bar.  Today I’m sharing this killer recipe.

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WARNING:  The ingredients are not healthy.  They are perhaps the very definition of unhealthy…..but together they make magic…

 Ingredients:

1 Pound (2 cups) of butter

2 cups of white sugar

1/4 cup of water

2 tbsp of corn syrup

1 1/2 cups of chopped blanched almond

6-8 squares of semi-sweet chocolate

1/2 cup of ground almond

Tools:

Candy thermometer (IMPORTANT!)

Large heavy saucepan

2 large cookie sheets (preferably rimless)

Double boiler (of some kind)

wooden spoon

soft brush (bbq brush or similar)

Step 1: Toast your almond pieces until just starting to brown. This time I used the almond slivers because I couldn’t find any blanched whole almonds, but I definitely prefer the roughly chopped whole almonds for this recipe.

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Step 2:  Melt butter in the large saucepan under medium to high heat.

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Step 3:  Incorporate sugar then water and then corn syrup.  Put in your candy thermometer. Make sure that the end of the thermometer isn’t sitting on the bottom of the pan as it will spike the temperature on the thermometer and give you a false reading.

Step 4: Let it cook to a temperature of 290 degrees or “Hard Crack”.  It is very important that you take it off exactly at Hard Crack, no earlier and no later.  If you take it of too soon, it will be like toffee and will get stuck in everyone’s teeth.  If you leave it on too long it will get really sugary and crumbly.

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Do not stir vigorously, just slowly pull the wooden spoon along the bottom of the pan, more frequently as the liquid heats up. While it’s cooking you will see the liquid change colour and consistency.  It starts off yellow and thin and by the end will be be brown(er) and thick.

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You will find that it will take time to get from 200 to 250 but after that it tends to shoot up to 290 really quickly so have your almonds and pans ready.

Step 5: When it hits 290, remove from heat, pour in your almonds, do a quick stir and then immediately pour onto the 2 baking sheets.  Smooth out as quickly as you can until it looks sort of like this.

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Step 6:  Put the baking sheets either outside (if it’s cold) or in the freezer for about 10 – 20 minutes.  In the meantime, chop up your chocolate squares and melt it in your double boiler.

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Step 6:  Bring in your baking sheets and brush a layer of chocolate over top of the candy and sprinkle with the ground almond.

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Step 7: Put it back outside for a few minutes until the chocolate dries. Then bring it back in and flip it over.  If you are lucky it will flip over in 1 or 2 big pieces (but it often it breaks into many).  Repeat step 6 (chocolate and almond) on the other side.  Put back outside.

Step 8:  Break it up into small pieces and ENJOY!

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It is the perfect thing to bring to a party as a hostess gift.  Everyone loves it.  And it’s also great for a holiday cookie exchange because one batch makes so much.  Overall, it is just awesome.  Crazy awesome. And then some.  You are welcome.

Also, if you  haven’t yet entered to win these fabulous earrings from Her Pretty Bird jewelry on Etsy….get your booty over here to get yourself entered!

Enjoy your SMACK.  (I’m sorry in advance for enabling your addictions.)

XO,

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Holiday Decor and Annual Christmas Lunch

Good Morning!

It was a busy weekend with three different Christmas gatherings as well as some holiday cooking on the agenda.  I also have finally managed to take a few shots of my Christmas decorating.  Here is a little snippet of some of the festive prettiness around my place.

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The shimmery goodness in the top picture was a mini DIY project made from three white gourds that STILL weren’t old and rotten even though I’ve had them since October! I spray-painted those bad boys gold and set them up with some greenery in margherita glasses.  Instant loveliness.  And the picture second from the bottom shows off my new “Merry & Bright” print from SS print shop.  Awesome.

On Sunday I went to the annual Christmas lunch that my friends and I have.  There was good food, eight kids between the ages of 0 and 4, and Santa. My friends Sam & Pete hosted the party again this year, which is a feat considering Sam is 8 months pregnant AND they only returned from a week-long vacation Saturday night!  I tell you, this woman is a machine.  Anyhoo, here is a little looksie at the fabulous food we all put together.

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On the menu were the most luxurious make-your-own sandwiches using with delicious beef tenderloin and beef brisket, and some yummy salads .  The dessert highlight had to be the adorable Santa hat cupcakes. Delicious meal.

And then came the favourite part of the Christmas lunch….when one of of the Dad’s dresses up as Santa Claus (they rotate) and they bring all the kids little gifts.  Of course there are always a couple of kids who aren’t keen on Santa which results in tears but this year’s the reaction to the the jolly fat man?  It could be best described as an all out revolt.  The majority of kids were in tears the moment he got the bottom of the stairs.  I wish I had more pictures of some of the good moments with Santa but these are what the majority of my pictures look like.

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Now, this in no way is a reflection of the performance of Santa himself (Geoff you did a great job), but let’s be honest to a 2-3 year old a big fat man in a red suit who is loud, has jingle bells and is a complete stranger (as far as they know) is kinda frightening.  There is also a video of Santa’s arrival in which the ensuing choas was described by one of the parents as being “like a bomb went off”. I was going to post the video, but I decided not to as it might make you re-think having a Santa at your holiday party ever again.  The best/worst part about the video is you can make out the not so faint sounds of laughter in the background as so many of us adults were unable to keep a straight face during this seemingly traumatic event. Of course it was highly sympathetic laughter.  One thing is for sure, I now have a lot more respect for the mall Santa.

XO,

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Unexpected Holiday Traditions

Good Morning!

We all know and love many of the holiday traditions that come with this time of year, but you might be surprised to hear of some of the traditions that are practiced in other countries.  Today I’m sharing some of the more random traditions that I have found from around the world.

Japan

For many in Japan the traditional Christmas dinner is KFC.  Yep. It is popular that you have to make reservation in advance at a KFC if you want to go.  Really?  I guess Colonel Sanders does resemble Santa Claus a little….

 

Czech Republic

This one is right up my alley.  On Christmas Eve day  single women perform a ritual of standing in front of a door and throwing a shoe over her shoulder.  If the shoe lands with the heel closest to the the door she will not marry in the coming year.  If the shoe lands with the toe closest to the door she will get hitched.  I’m totally doing that this year, someone remind me.

 

photo via

Venezuela

In the capital of Caracas, all roads are closed on Christmas Eve morning so residents can roller-skate to mass!

photo via

Norway

In Norway it is believed that witches and evil spirits will rise from the graves on Christmas Eve and steal brooms from houses in order to fly through sky and cause terror and chaos until morning.  As such, it is tradition for people to hide their brooms on Christmas Eve.

Catalonia

And finally for the strangest of the traditions….in the principality of Catalonia, it has become customary to decorate the traditional nativity scene with an extra character, known as El Caganer, also known as “the pooper.”  Traditionally the ceramic figure has been that of a shepherd,  however modern El Caganer come in a range of pop culture personalities as you can see below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos via and via

Hopefully you were as enlightened and amused as I was but these wacky traditions.  But who knows, perhaps in some of these places caroling may seem a bit weird. You can read about other holiday traditions here and here.

Have a great day!

XO,

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Community Christmas Tree with a Twist

Good Morning!

I came across this image and story from Designboom when I was perusing Apartment Therapy recently and I just had to share.

You all know I love a making old new again story.  Well,  this is the ‘taste tree’.  Created by the design duo Mooz this tree is found in the main square in Hasselt, Belgium. It is a 9 ft Christmas Tree sculpture made out of of 5000 crockery items that have been donated by the local residents.

all photos via Design Boom

Not only is it amazingly cool, and highly creative alternative to the typical holiday decor but the community gets to really feel a part of the result.  You can read more about it here.  It is pretty amazing what can happen when people think outside of the box.  Have a great Friday!

XO,

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Holiday DIY – Glowy Trees

Good Morning,

Today I’m sharing a little holiday DIY project I did last week.  I warn you, it might be the least helpful DIY post I’ve ever shared on the blog in terms of instructions.  I didn’t get enough pictures.  But because it took some time and the result was decent I thought it was worth sharing anyway.  This DIY is called “Glowy Trees”. (Sometimes naming a DIY is half the fun….).  I came up with this idea because I wanted something to add to my outdoor decor this year.

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STEP 1:  Cut bristol board and make them into 3 cone-shapes; a small, medium and large.  I’ll be honest I struggled with this part, and I really just used trial and error to get 3 cones that fit properly on top of each other.  I went online to try to figure it out and people were talking about the Pythagorean Theory to calculate cone shapes, and I thought, forget that. I’m crafting, I don’t want to do math.  So I just winged it.  Just be warned, if you are going to go this route buy a couple of extra sheets of bristol board.

STEP 2:  Cut the bottoms of the cones to look like tree branches.

STEP 3: Around the bottom cut out circles using the hole-punch.

STEP 4: Use the large needle to poke small holes everywhere else on the cones (the more you have the glowier your trees will be).

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STEP 5:   Create 3 bunches of lights with your strand and assemble your cones into trees and place them on top of the lights.

And voila:

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Not too bad, right? You can see the largest one is the least tree-like as that one was done before I got the hang of the cone shaping.  But the effect is what I wanted.  You can put these anywhere but the glow is most effective outside.  Mine are under a covered area so they don’t get ruined by rain or snow.  What I didn’t think of…WIND.  As a result since I took this picture I think the top of the small guy may be lost forever.  Ah well, what can you do.

XO,

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Giveaway: Get your holidays on with Minted!

Good Afternoon!

I don’t know about you but I’m starting to rev up my holiday planning.  From events to decor I really need to (quoting my lovely mother) get a wiggle on!  One thing I need to do is my holiday cards.  Last year I fumbled together a mismatched bunch of cards that I bought on sale after the Christmas before and sent them out.  And that totally works but it is so nice to send out something that is a bit more personal.  Luckily there is a place where you can order fabulous custom holiday cards.  Enter Minted.

MINTED

Not only does Minted have a HUGE selection of card designs, they are created by independent designers from all over the world.  From the Minted website:

“Our mission is to find exceptional artists and designers all over the world and bring their work to consumers who appreciate great design.”

 

This is a great concept.  Not only to we the public get access to designs that we might not see in a regular retail store, but the designers also get a forum to build their careers and get exposure to the public.  That is a WIN-WIN if you ask me.

Now,  back to the lovely selection.  Here are some of the photo card options:

minted - photo holiday card

And for those of you who don’t really want to send out cards with an awkward picture of yourself on it (um, I definitely fall into that category) there are non photo cards as well!

minted - no photo holiday cards

They have various types of cards types and shapes -  postcard, petite cards, ornament cards, foil-pressed cards, you name it.  And since it’s late-(ish) in the holiday planning season, there are also selected cards that they can do express printing to get them to you sooner.  And you can get pre-addressed envelopes for no extra cost. You just have to upload your addresses when you order!  Kind of awesome.  Head over to their website and see for yourself!

And now for the goooood part….I am giving away a $50 credit to Minted!  To enter, just leave a comment below!

For an additional entry tweet “Win a $50 credit for holiday cards from @minted and @lgrecreated http://recreated.ca/2013/11/17/giveaway-get-your-holidays-on-with-minted” and provide another comment saying that you tweeted. (2 entries max per person).

Contest ends Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 10 pm EST and I will announce the winner on Friday, November 22nd!

Enjoy your Sunday!

XO,

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Touring the new Toronto West Elm with a Rock Star

Good Morning!

I apologize for the lack of posts lately, my parents have been in town for a visit, so I gave myself a few days off.   Today I’m back with a little summary of my visit to West Elm last week.  I was there to check out their newly renovated Toronto store, and the tour guide was none other than West Elm’s creative director Vanessa Holden.  Now, before I get into the store and merchandise, can we talk for a quick minute about the killer resume that Vanessa has?  Former editor in chief and creative director at Martha Stewart Living AND Martha Stewart Weddings, creative director at Real Simple and co-founder of Donna Hay magazine.  Saying she has talent is like saying Adam Levine is just “decent” looking.  She is obviously an incredible force in the design industry. So it was pretty awesome to get a chance to meet her.

But back to the pretty new store.  They have expanded the space further back which has opened it up a lot and provided much more natural light. Also, they have added a coffee bar.  And people, the coffee is gooooood.  They have added an area to sit to discuss design and ideas while you sip on your coffee (and maybe snack on a treat or two).  They have really created a space that you can shop in but also relax and mull over design or gift ideas.  Of course, in typical fashion I got all excited about the Christmas stuff that I didn’t take one picture of the coffee bar itself (silly me) but I did catch a teesy bit of it in this shot of Vanessa.

rock star coffee bar copy

(SIDEBAR:  Vanessa, if you are reading this (and I’m sure you are not), I’m sorry to have included this less than perfect photo of you with your eyes half shut looking as though you had just spent some quality time with our mayor prior to our tour…but it was the only one I had which showed  the coffee bar.)

Vanessa took us through the three holiday decor themes that West Elm is featuring this season..  The first is a traditional, woodland inspired, rustic Christmas. Lots of wood, felt decorations and woodland animals.

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Next was the less traditional but whimsical enchanted forest; full of jewel tones, bright exotic birds, and shiny agate tree decorations.

Jewel Tone xmas West Elm

The third, and most popular, is the contemporary white, silver and gold with lots of sparkle and shimmer.

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Then we went to the Market, which if you are familiar with their Market line you know it’s FULL of great gift ideas.  Love the food section.  Lots of fun sauces, jams, jellies and oils.  Yum.  Although, I think someone needs to explain to me what “Whore Style”  Puttanesca sauce is (see below).  And I also hope no one gets this for me for Christmas.

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The store was filled with lots of small affordable items, perfect for secret Santa exchanges, like this cute jacks set or WE’s fabulous tote bags with sayings like “Totes ma goats”,  “Oh, KALE yeah” and many more.

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West Elm has also started designing their own small kitchen appliances.  This sleek stainless steel and smooth wood toaster caught my eye.

toaster west elm line

And I so love a product designed with both beauty and function combined.  This Universal Expert Chopping Station designed for West Elm by Sebastian Conran is one of those items. Chopping board with slide out tray to removed scraps.  GENIUS.

cuttting board

And I couldn’t leave without snapping a shot of this pretty gold tablescape.  (Apparently I also couldn’t leave without having some of it for myself, so I took 4 of those gold-rimmed plates back home with me to Casa Linds.)

place setting west elm

All this to say you should really should stop by the store soon.  And plan to stay awhile.  I certainly will be.

XO,

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*this is not a sponsored post. Other than a great opportunity to meet an incredible leader and a small gift bag I did not received anything for this post.  I really love what West Elm has done with it’s space and wanted to share it with you.