Pssst…I have a new blog!

I’m embarking on a new adventure in cookie decorating and I’ve decided to dedicate a new blog entirely to this venture. Not to worry, I’ll still be posting all my other creations here!  If you want follow me along my cookie decorating journey, head on over to!



DIY Canvas Art

Art can be expensive, VERY expensive, but without it, walls look bare.  What to do? My answer: make your own! I’ve always loved sketching and painting, but you don’t have to have an ounce of artistic talent in your body to make beautiful art you can proudly hang on your walls.  All you need are some blank canvases and acrylic paint…oh, and maybe a paint brush or two (but don’t dismiss the idea of finger painting!)

We painted our master bedroom earlier this year and went with a charcoal grey, white and yellow colour scheme.  We don’t have a head board so I wanted to create some abstract geometric art to hang above the bed.  We got two big canvases out and used painter’s tape to outline the shapes.  Then we painted in the empty spaces in grey and yellow.  My husband got in on the action and we each painted a canvas. When the paint was dry, we removed the painter’s tape and voila: Art! I was very happy with the result and it only took about an hour to make!

Geometric Painting

For my friend’s 30th birthday I made this canvas for party decor (and as a bonus gift).


We just recently finished our basement which will serve as a playroom for the next few years.  We had a very small budget so we purchased some inexpensive toy storage and used whatever other furniture we already had.



As you can see, it’s relatively bright and cheerful (considering it’s in the basement!), but there was definitely a little something missing.  I had some extra canvases lying around so I decided to make some afternoon DIY art.

I looked up silhouettes for animals and sketched them out on paper, then cut out the shapes to create a template:


Then I painted the canvases in four fun and vibrant colours.


I used the cut out templates to trace a pencil line of the silhouette then painted it white.  I did 2 coats of the white to make sure the background colour didn’t show through.


I find it really finishes the space! I also made a triangle garland using scrapbook paper in similar colours to help tie it all together.


It really is that easy! Grab a canvas, some paint and a brush (or whatever else you want!) and start creating 🙂


My New Obsession: Decorated Cookies

Ok confession time: I have a new obsession with cookie decorating. It started with the cookies I made for my son’s moustache party. I decided I could’ve done a much better job and needed to up my game. When we decided to throw our good friend a surprise 30th birthday party, I took the opportunity to I try my hand at piping and flooding cookies.

I watched numerous (too many??) tutorials for this and in the process discovered quite a few great blogs, but my favourite by far is SweetAmbs – her work is UNBELIEVABLE. It is truly edible art. Even then, I don’t know that I could bring myself to eat them; they’re all just so pretty! I now know what I aspire to create – I’m going to need a LOT of practice!

The party theme was mason jars, but I couldn’t find a mason jar cookie cutter, so I decided to make small gift cookies using a square cutter. I made regular sugar cookies following the recipe from Canadian Living. The party colours were turquoise and light pink so I decided to flood the cookies in the aqua and add pink “ribbon” and bows.

While my cookies weren’t even close to perfect, I was pretty happy with the outcome considering it was my first time.



Like I mentioned, the perfectionist in me wasn’t 100% satisfied with the final outcome, but it’s all about trial and error. A few things I learned from this first batch:

  • In hindsight, I should have flooded the cookies and put the ribbon detail on wet on wet, but I had run out of royal icing ingredients so ended up doing it in two stages – first flooding and then adding the ribbon and bow once it had dried (the next day).
  • Another mistake I made was storing the flooded cookies in a tupperware container overnight between the stages. I used wax paper between the layers, but the icing hadn’t 100% dried so some of them had weird discoloration. Luckily, the ribbon and bow covered most of that up.

I used #2 and #3 piping tips (#2 for piping, #3 for flooding). Another confession: I used pre-made royal icing mix that I bought from Bulk Barn.  I needed to play around with my icing consistency as this is really key to making successful cookies.

Last week, I found an 18 pack of awesome fall and Halloween cookie cutters (for only $10!!) so I was very excited to get decorating some Halloween cookies.

How awesome are these!

How awesome are these!

I used the same sugar cookie recipe as before but I added some pumpkin spice (ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves). I only used the pumpkin, spider web and ghost cutters for starters because I didn’t want to get too crazy with the different colours of icing I’d be using.

I decided to try making my own royal icing this time. I followed the recipe from Joy of Baking using meringue powder and it was SO easy. Getting the right consistency can be a bit tricky but I added my water one tablespoon at a time and if I overdid it with the water, just added a bit of powdered sugar to adjust. It was much easier than I expected. I also decided to add some vanilla extract. One thing I learned about adding flavouring to royal icing is to stick with extracts and stay away from oil as it’ll change the properties of the icing.

This time around, I also wanted to try a few techniques I’d seen on the many (many) video tutorials I watched including marbling and transfers.

I started off with the pumpkins – I only had 2 piping bags left and only have one #2 and one #3 piping tip so I actually just used Ziploc bags with the corners cut out to pipe and flood the pumpkin cookies. It worked surprisingly well! Not to mention it’s much more cost effective. My green icing was a little thicker than I would have wanted but I think they turned out ok in the end.


I did the pumpkins in the afternoon while the baby napped (she was nice enough to give me a nice long one J) and when I was done the pumpkins, I piped out the spider body transfers using my purple icing. Unfortunately, the baby woke up just as I was starting so I had to rush to finish them and the designs on their backs aren’t as nice as I’d planned. I let them out to dry for the afternoon.

I made the spider bodies by piping a large dot and dragging the bottom a bit with a toothpick for the body and a smaller dot for the head.

I made the spider bodies by piping a large dot and dragging the bottom a bit with a toothpick for the body and a smaller dot for the head.

I finished the rest of the cookies later that night after the kids went to bed (so forgive the poor lighting in the pictures!) For the spider webs, I piped the outside in purple (I’m not a fan of black and wanted something more colourful), flooded with white.



I then went back with the purple (on the wet icing) to create the cobwebs in a circular pattern.


I just used a toothpick to marble the web pattern, starting in the center and lightly dragging out towards the corners.





While the icing was still wet, I plopped the spider body onto the cookie. I waited for them to dry a bit then went back to pipe the legs directly onto the cookie.



These were honestly so much fun to make and I wished I had baked more of them.IMG_3665

I saved the ghosts for last. They were very simple and I kind of regretted not going with a different shape so that I could have had more fun with them. My confidence had built from doing the spider webs and I wanted to try my hand at more intricate designs! I piped and flooded in white and added eyes and spooky mouths in purple.


I refuse, REFUSE to throw out perfectly good cookie dough, so any leftovers or scraps that don’t fit my cookie moulds still get baked. I’d cut out some small square cookies from the spaces between the real ones to use as practice (and tasting!) pieces. I tried my hand at some plaid, chevron and herringbone, and of course one small tasting cookie for everyone in the family.



I also bake scraps (yes, I’m THAT crazy about cookie dough waste). My husband pointed out that one of the scraps kind of looked like a mummy…so a mummy he became! To be honest, this might just be my favourite one hihi.


So there they are, my second attempt at decorating cookies ready to go for Halloween! I still need a lot of practice but I’m pleasantly surprised at how fun these were to do so I’ll just keep making more!




Now I’m hooked! All I can think of are excuses to bake cookies and decorate them! Luckily, Christmas is just around the corner and I’ve got friends getting married and having babies so I will have lots of opportunity to practice 🙂

Melissa’s Mason Jar Themed 30th Birthday Party

It’s a big year for us 1984 babies – we all turn 30.  Yep, the big 3-0.  My friends and I are turning 30 this year.  We’ve known each other for a long, long, long time.  Some over 20 years.  We are sister-like.  We are always there for one another, have seen each other through all kinds of crazy adventures and heart break and we’ve always got each others’ backs.  We’ve gone through some big milestones together: weddings, babies, careers and personal accomplishments.  Through it all, we’re always there to celebrate with one of our girls when there’s cause to celebrate. Who am I kidding, even when there isn’t a cause, we make one up!

My good friends Lisa and Sabrina and I decided to throw our close friend Melissa a 30th “surprise” birthday party.  I use the quotation marks because the girl is a sleuth and there is NO way to actually surprise her.  She has the memory of an elephant (remembers my appointments when even I forget!!) and is SO detail oriented, she picks up on EVERYTHING.  Needless to say, when we decided to throw this shindig, we knew it would have to be up to snuff. We decided if the event couldn’t be a total surprise, the theme and details would be.  We decided to go with a mason jar theme and use her two favourite colours, turquoise and blush pink.  A little something about Melissa: she’s a Pinterest pro, so finding out what things she’d like was very easy – just go to the Boards!!  We divvied up the tasks and the party went off without a hitch.  It really was a group effort and so much fun to plan!!

My friend Lisa graciously (and bravely!) offered to host the party at her place.  We were lucky enough that the weather cooperated and we were able to set up outside and it made for a great party space.

We set up the sweets table inside because of the humidity. We had all kinds of goodies: sugar cookie cupcakes (made by Lisa), lemon and white chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies decorated as gift boxes in the theme colours (made by me). We also had pink champagne for toasting.




A chalkboard frame hung above the sweets table with some of Melissa’s favourite sayings in hashtag form.  Melissa (like many others) loves everything social media.  It’s not a party unless you hashtag it!


The other girls pitched in a brought all kinds of yummy appetizers and munchies, including Melissa’s favourite macaroni salad made by our friend’s mom.



Sabrina found these adorable chalkboard place cards that fit the theme perfectly! We love chalkboard everything!IMG_3333

Opposite the app table we set up a display of pictures and albums from Melissa’s childhood.  The girl is a ham! Doing photo shoots and posing at the ripe age of 6.  I’d also painted a canvas with one of Melissa’s favourite sayings as my gift to her and to use as decor. 1601096_10100923412107746_3049958779979686527_n

Melissa takes a LOT of selfies (or so it seems).  We printed off a bunch and hung them using cute clothes pins as a shrine to the birthday girl.  I also found these awesome thumbs up post its so that people could “like” the pictures 🙂 IMG_3311

Outside we set up the drink station with mason jars for people to use. IMG_3348


We had white wine sangria (which unfortunately didn’t taste as good as it looked – we’ll have to try a different recipe next time), and lemonade as a non-alocoholic option.  IMG_3319

It’s all in the details: Sabrina found some cute blue mason jars and brought some gorgeous hydrangeas from her mom’s garden, and we decorated some other mason jars with twine and lace.  Melissa loves all things vintage so we tried to incorporate that into the decor anywhere we could.IMG_3327

What’s better than glass markers? Chalkboard!!!!IMG_3323

As the sun went down it gave the party an even more intimate feel and twinkle lights and candles provided the perfect ambiance. Lucky for us Sabrina LOVES candles and was able to provide some great outdoor lanterns.IMG_3347

People were asked to BYOB so we set up a watering hole wheelbarrow with ice to keep their beverages chilled. IMG_3329


Lisa’s husband made the most AMAZING beef sliders and he home-made all the toppings too.  We all agree: he’s definitely a keeper. IMG_3355



We know our birthday girl, we know our crowd, and both love props!  We’d gathered together some props to have some fun as the night went on – sure enough, the birthday girl was the first one to dive right in!IMG_3368

We were so excited about all the little details we were able to find and put together to make this party a memorable occasion for Melissa.  She’s always there for others, it was high time we celebrated her in nothing but grand Melissa fashion.  We love you to pieces Missy – here’s to 30, and plenty more parties ahead! xo

It was a Moustache Bash!

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now but, well, life got in the way!

My son turned 2 in July and I wanted to have a themed party with family and friends, but didn’t want to use up any “good” themes (like dinosaurs or construction) when he’s too young to fully appreciate and have fun with it.  We decided to throw a moustache bash because, let’s be honest, that’s just as fun for the adults as it is for the kiddos! (Ok, maybe even more so.)

My very good friend offered to take pictures of the shindig (thanks MP!!). However, in spite of all my organization leading up to the party, the one thing I neglected was locating the good camera.  We are finishing the basement and it’s gone missing somewhere among the chaos. I’m sure it’ll turn up at some point, but unfortunately that means all the pictures of the party were taken with my phone.  Lesson learned!

I stuck to a black and white colour scheme because moustaches are classic.  I found an awesome chalkboard banner at Target and had it hanging in the entrance with black and white balloons and streamers.


I made a banner with his name to hang above the sweets table – you can’t see it from the picture, but the clothes pins holding the banner pieces had little moustaches on them.  I found them at Michaels and thought they were just too adorable to pass up.  IMG_2767

Friends of ours got us the Little Man canvas and it fit in perfectly with the decor! IMG_2764

For dessert I’d made chocolate cupcakes with a cream cheese Oreo frosting, sugar, gingerbread and chocolate sugar cookies, and we had some dark chocolate and yogurt covered almonds (YUM!).IMG_2747

The cupcake toppers are from Etsy.  I also ordered a moustache hole punch from Etsy (yes, you read that right, a moustache hole punch) and made card stock moustaches on a sick.  I also couldn’t pass up giving our little guy a moustache on his baby picture.  Just too cute!IMG_2775


I found moustache candles at Party City – seriously moustache stuff is everywhere!! I also had moustache print cupcake liners but unfortunately I didn’t factor in the fact that chocolate cake in white liner would hide the pattern 😦  You could still see it up close but it didn’t have the impact I was hoping for.Dessert table_1

I bought a moustache cookie cutter (from Etsy) and made a TON of moustache shaped cookies and frosted them with royal icing (for the dark cookies) and chocolate buttercream. The great thing about these was that I was able to make them ahead of time, freeze them, and they still tasted great.  IMG_2755

I found this cute chalkboard easel at Michael’s and the moustache bins at Target so I set up a little display at the entrance where guests could grab all kinds of stick-on moustaches and join in on the fun.  IMG_2751


And of course the home-made fabric loot bags filled with a moustache cookie and some other little goodies for the kiddos.IMG_2771

I found moustache duct tape (yes, duct tape!) and wrapped it around some water bottles for our drink station.  The straws and moustaches are from Party City.Wet your whiskers

I had bought a big moustache pinata and had planned on using it as an activity, but, upon further reflection, I decided giving a bunch of toddlers a bat and telling them to hit stuff might not be the best idea.  So instead we used it as decor above the food table and I’ll save it for another occasion (maybe a Mexican fiesta!). I had also planned on having a “Pin the moustache on” game and moustache prop photo station but unfortunately I ran out of time. 😦Pinata

Our mothers helped us out greatly in making a delicious spread for our guests. IMG_2735

I used my (awesome) moustache hole punch to make place cards to let people know what was what. I also had some fun naming some of the food items 🙂  In addition to this spread, we also had a “shaved pork” (hehe) sandwich station.  I made the pork in the crockpot using this slow cooker pulled pork recipe from Simply Recipes – it is AMAZING and we make it all the time.  It was a crowd pleaser!

Pasta sign

I used the cookie cutter to make little cucumber “manwiches” – so much fun!IMG_2763

I found the perfect moustache plates and napkins at Target (LOVE that store!).


So there you have it – our little man’s moustache bash! If you’re looking to have a themed party (for adults and kids alike!) I highly recommend going the moustache route because it’s just everywhere right now and is so much fun to plan.


Easy DIY Drawstring Loot Bags

My little man will be turning two in July (cue mind blowing up – where did the time go??). We’ll be throwing a party but since he doesn’t really have any little friends yet we’ll only be inviting our close friends and family.  Some of them have little ones, but it’ll be mostly adults.  I have a TON of ideas for awesome party themes for the little dude (thanks Pinterest!), but I didn’t want to “waste” a really good one at an age where he doesn’t fully know what’s going on.  So, I decided to go with a theme that will be fun for big and little kids alike: a moustache bash! Given that moustaches are super trendy right now, it’s been very easy to find all kinds of fun things to incorporate the theme.

I will admit, I’m going WAY over board with this party, but, hey, I’m on maternity leave and have a lot of time to think of ideas and I can get things done during nap time (most of the time) so I figure why not?!  One of the little projects I decided to take on for this party is making fabric loot bags.  I found this fabric on Hawthorne Threads and I just HAD to use it somehow. I thought making little fabric bags would make the bags part of the “loot” and reduce waste. Win win!

I saw this fabric and couldn't help but think "I moustache it!!"  Hihi

I saw this fabric and couldn’t help but think “I moustache it!!” Hihi

I ordered 2 yards which was more than enough (I might just make a little something else for the little lady with the leftovers :)).  I counted a total of 15 kids potentially coming to this party, though I suspect they won’t all make it with it being in the middle of summer vacation.  Erring on the side of caution, I’ll be making 15 anyway just in case.

To fill the loot bags I’ve got all kinds of fun little things, including homemade moustache shaped cookies and moustache patterned pencils.

Moustache things are EVERYWHERE!

Moustache things are EVERYWHERE!

Given that I have 15 to make, I decided to go with a really easy, quick and dirty drawstring bag.  The length of the fabric is just over 21 inches when folded in half width-wise, so I cut three 7 inch wide pieces by 9 inches long (long enough to fit the pencils with seam allowance).  You could modify the dimension depending on how you’ll be using the bag.

I cut the fabric, folded in half, in 7x9 inch pieces.

I cut the fabric, folded in half, in 7×9 inch pieces.

Because my fabric’s pattern had a right side up, I had to cut two pieces for each bag to make sure the pattern went in the right direction on both sides, but if you had something like a stripe or a chevron, you could likely cut the pieces in 7×18 (double the length) and just fold over the bottom (saves you that extra stitch).

To create the top of the bag where the drawstring will go, start by folding over about a half inch corner on each side at the top of your fabric pieces, folded in toward the bad side (see picture below).  Iron down and sew a straight stitch down the middle of the fold.

Sew a simple straight stitch - nothing fancy here, we're going for efficiency!

Sew a simple straight stitch – nothing fancy here, we’re going for efficiency!

Next, fold over the top edge of your fabric pieces about 1 inch (modify this depending on what you’ll be using for the drawstring).  Stitch the folded edge down about 1/8-1/4 of an inch from the edge.

The top fold will be for the drawstring.

The top fold will be for the drawstring.

Pin your two pieces of fabric together, good sides together. Sew down the side and bottom edges, with about a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Back stitch where you start and finish as this is where the bag will open – it’ll need the reinforcement.

Pin both pieces together and stitch the sides and bottom.

Pin both pieces together and stitch the sides and bottom.

Turn the bag inside out.



Quick and easy DIY loot bags!

Quick and easy DIY loot bags!

Finally, thread your drawstring through, using a safety pin to help guide the ribbon or string through. I had some extra binded ribbon lying around that just happened to match the fabric perfectly.  Tie the ends of the ribbon and use a flame to seal the ribbon (if you’re using ribbon) and you’re done! Once I’d gotten the hang of it, each bag took all of 5-10 minutes to make so I could make about 5-6 in an hour (i.e. the length of a nap).

Cute and practical little home-made loot bags! I think the kids will like them :)

Cute and practical little home-made loot bags! I think the kids will like them 🙂

Now I can’t wait to fill them with fun moustache-y stuff!! Stay tuned for the party post! Lots more DIYs to come 🙂



My new toy and some sweet treats!

My wonderful husband got me an amazing surprise gift for Mother’s Day this year: a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer! I’ve been saying that I want one for a while now, specifically the Ice Blue one – and he got just that.  Bonus points for him for listening! I’m excited to try out new recipes for all my loved ones – I’m trying to limit sweets but I will always have a taste of what I make.  Because you know, every good chef tastes what they make 😉

My new toy looks great on the kitchen counter!

My new toy!

So far I’ve only made two recipes but both were a huge hit so I wanted to share them.


I got this recipe from one of my favourite food blogs: Simply Recipes. This torte almost has the texture of a brownie.  It’s rich and decadent but the little touch of heat that it leaves behind is just enough to cut through the richness and leave you wanting more.  I made for a mexican themed birthday dinner for my mom and was the perfect end to our ribs, corn, slaw and sweet potato fries.

Here is the recipe as posted on Simply Recipes:


  • 10 oz. of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9 ½ inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper. Grease the sides and the parchment with butter or non-stick cooking spray (I love Pam for Baking cooking spray, myself).

2 Melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.

3 Whisk together the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl, and then slowly, a bit at a time, whisk in the melted chocolate. Add the salt and spices and taste, adjusting the spices if needed.

4 Pour into the springform pan and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

*A note from me on cooking time – the recipe calls for only 22-25 minutes of baking but I ended up having to leave it in nearly 15 minutes more than that. The toothpick kept coming out with mix on it.  I have a gas oven so I’m not sure if that played into things.

Chipotle Chocolate Flourless Torte - a little heat, a little sweet, very yum!

Chipotle Chocolate Flourless Torte – a little heat, a little sweet, very yum!



I made these lemon mini cupcakes with light lemon buttercream frosting for my daughter’s Baptism reception.  I call them pink lemonade but really the only thing that makes them “pink” is food colouring in the frosting 😛  Next time, I think I’d like to try making a raspberry frosting.

The cake batter recipe is from Laura in the Kitchen and the buttercream frosting is based on the vanilla buttercream recipe from  Canadian Living and modified to add lemon flavour.

Lemon Cupcake Recipe

*Note: this recipe is for 12 regular sized cupcakes, which makes approximately 36 mini cupcakes.

1 ½ cups of All Purpose Flour
1 tsp of Baking Powder
¼ tsp of Salt
1 cup of Granulated Sugar
½ cup of Unsalted Butter at room temperature
2 Eggs
¼ cup of Whole Milk
¼ cup of Sour Cream
2 tsp of Freshly Grated Lemon Zest
1 Tbsp of Fresh Lemon Juice
½ tsp of Vanilla Extract


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a 12 piece cupcake tin with liners and set aside.
2) In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
3) In a large bowl, using a hand help whisk or you can do this in a big standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs and incorporate well.
4) Add the sour cream, milk, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until its all well incorporated.
5) Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix them in to combine but make sure you don’t over mix.
6) Using a large ice cream scoop, divide your batter evenly in lined muffin tin. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let them cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting Recipe

*Portion size3-2/3 cups (900 mL)


  • 1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened
  • 5 cups (1.25 L) sifted icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (adjust to taste)
  • Red food colouring (1-3 drops)


In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 2 additions of sugar. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest. Add food colouring one drop at a time until desired shade is attained. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours; let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Beat slightly before using.)

My mother in law also got me a piping bag for Easter so I’ve been practicing my piping skills.  Still need a bit of work but I’m getting better!
Mini "pink lemonade" cupcakes are a refreshing treat!

Mini “pink lemonade” cupcakes are a refreshing treat!

The cupcake display - they didn't last long!

The cupcake display – they didn’t last long!