I did my first my home improvement project last year – well first one that I shelled a lot of money out for, that is.

I had my side porch expanded so I could actually use it. I figured evening and weekend work when the sun is out would be much more enjoyable if I was outside. Plus it will give me outdoor space to entertain and an added bonus was covering up a chunk of the yard that used to need weeding.

Since it was finished last fall I haven’t really had a chance to use it and so was stuck with sticker shock. But my friends and family have my back and have been helping me make it useable and cozy and pretty so I’m excited about it again!

I have my great-grandparent’s colorful garden chairs and my nephew painted me a glittery turquoise pot and wooden flower for my birthday. Then the big birthday evening… I came home to find a grill from a friend – and promises to teach me how to use it :). I’d just finished setting it up when another friend appeared with a glider rocker he’d found for free that will make a great reading/work/nap chair.

Finally… the pretty but empty porch is filling up with functional pieces that make me feel loved & happy every time I’m out there.

The sunny Sunday we had today was the inspiration I needed to recover the glider to add a good punch of color to the porch and make it mine (and cover the cushions with outdoor friendly fabric).

I wasn’t completely sure the strategy in my head would work, but figured I had nothing to lose so I dove in. The padded arms were the first to go (comfy maybe, but the look of the bentwood arms wins out) and I was happy to see all that was left were two stand alone cushions and the footstool top. The footstool was easy – I know how to work the staple gun!  For the cushions, I wrapped them in the new fabric and used lots and lots of pins to fit the cover. Then sewed it most of the way, slid it back over the cushion and hand sewed it closed. Bingo, a brand new chair!

The Before

The Before

Good bones

Good bones

The After

The After

Direct comparison for good measure

Direct comparison for good measure

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I’ve now officially made just as many tutu’s for boys as girls and I’m so proud the latest was for my nephew. Interesting coincidence that in both cases they requested purple?

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Enjoying his tutu

Enjoying his tutu

Pinterest dreams do come true! I came across a Rice Krispie treat cake awhile ago and knew I had to make it for my good friend Michelle. She’s gluten free and loves her some rice krispie treats! So I held onto that idea for her birthday and after lots of not so patient waiting I finally got to make it.

Not my normal cake making ingredients

Not my normal cake making ingredients

Cocoa krispie rice krispie treats patted into a springform pan.

Cocoa krispie rice krispie treats patted into a springform pan.

Two layers sitting out to dry

Two layers sitting out to dry

Time to stack the cake with Marshmallow Fluff frosting.

Time to stack the cake with Marshmallow Fluff frosting.

Hmmm... turns out that frosting makes a better filling. The cake spent the night in the fridge to try to keep some of it from sliding off.

Hmmm… turns out that frosting makes a better filling. The cake spent the night in the fridge to try to keep some of it from sliding off.

Time for sprinkles. It's a lumpy bumpy cake, but sprinkles help.

Time for sprinkles. It’s a lumpy bumpy cake, but sprinkles help.

Maybe the sweetest dessert I've ever made. Tasty and fun, and we already have lots of combo ideas for future versions!

Maybe the sweetest dessert I’ve ever made. Tasty and fun, and we already have lots of combo ideas for future versions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of my all-time favorite splurges – a cooking class at the Dirty Apron. Wow, do they know what they’re doing, with every tiny detail perfectly thought through. You arrive to wine and appetizers at a family-style live-edged table. Once everyone is settled you move into the classroom/kitchen for your first demonstration. Then everyone breaks into individual cooking stations to make that course. Once finished, it’s back to the dining room to enjoy your creation with more wine. Repeat 3 times. Normally it’s an appetizer, two entrees and dessert. My expectations are higher each time and surpassed every time.

This class was BC Dine and Vine: A Celebration of Local Flavours and may be my favorite yet. The dishes were incredibly tasty and for once I was happy with my plating each time (I’ll chalk that up to the good demo). Time to start saving up for next year’s class!

Here’s what we made:

Proof I really did make the food!

Proof I really did make the food!

More proof :)

More proof 🙂

Prawn and yuzu ginger vegetable gyozas (I'll make these again for sure!)

Prawn and yuzu ginger vegetable gyozas (I’ll make these again for sure!)

Crispy seared sockeye salmon with a scallion potato rosti. (I still can't believe I made and plated this!!)

Crispy seared sockeye salmon with a scallion potato rosti. (I still can’t believe I made and plated this!!)

Crispy BC duck breast, sherry orange gastrique and apple, green bean saute.

Crispy BC duck breast, sherry orange gastrique and apple, green bean saute. (This one and the dessert are Jess’s creations)

Apple and almond tart with chai ice cream and vanill maple (I only ate half the duck course so I'd have room for dessert)

Apple and almond tart with chai ice cream and vanill maple (I only ate half the duck course so I’d have room for dessert)

The menu with the local wine pairings.

The menu with the local wine pairings.