31 January 2012

Get to Know Me - Featured at The Scott's Crib!

Hey everyone :) Hope you're having a wonderful week so far! Just popping in to let you know that the super-sweet Latoya over at The Scott's Crib has posted a little feature of me and Honey Sweet Home! I hope you'll check it out (click here for the link)!

Latoya's was literally the second blog I ever read so this is my stars-in-the-eyes moment :) I'm pretty sure most of y'all are well acquainted with her blog, but if not head on over and send her some love!  

22 January 2012

Rookie Recipes – Easy Coconut Shrimp Curry

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I don’t really know how to cook. I WISH I was exaggerating. Like I barely know how. The thought of coming up with an idea for a meal and then shopping for it and then actually making it STRESSES me out like you wouldn’t believe. I’d much rather spend my time painting or gluing something. But I have improved somewhat since getting married. It used to take me like 10 minutes to chop an onion…now it only takes like 8 :)  

I honestly didn’t think cooking would be that hard, I mean I lived on my own during university and I know I used to eat…I even had pots and stuff! And I can remember the kitchen wallpaper, so I obviously used to go in there…But now all the meals have to taste good and be nutritious and stuff, and there are supposed to be 2-3 a day?! Even making a sandwich gives me minor anxiety attacks: do I have all the ingredients? WHY didn’t I buy them last time I went shopping? Because I worried we wouldn’t use it all before it went bad, and then I’d be the Wasteful Wife... Anyway I think you get my point :)  

So when I find a recipe that's quick and easy by MY standards, I cherish it. For any other beginner cooks out there, when I say this is an Easy recipe, I mean there’s no WAY you can mess this up. And it tastes Soo good, just like a restaurant :) Check out the full recipe here.

There are a lot of ingredients, but once you have them on hand you can make this dish or even other curries again and again. And don’t even worry about measuring - I’ve doubled and tripled the spices and changed up the proportions considerably (accidentally on purpose :) and it always turns out fab! We also like adding the cashews at the end so they stay nice and crunchy :)

Bon appétit!

13 January 2012

A DIY Sunburst Mirror to Beat the Winter Blues!

You know you’re a crafter at heart when you’re on vacation in sunny Orlando and it’s all you can do not to think about the unfinished DIY sunburst mirror you have waiting for you at home :) To be honest, I thought about taking it on the trip with me, if it weren’t for those pesky baggage limits!

Sunburst mirrors come in all shapes and sizes, and they’ll make almost any wall look so good you’ll want to hug it. Store bought versions can cost you a pretty penny though, but luckily there’s no shortage of DIY versions all over the net :) Well I have no problem with bandwagons, plus I just wanted one, so here’s my easy breezy beautiful version :)

I planned to use paint stir sticks originally (I liked the shape and plus they’d be FREE), but that plan didn’t go so well…I picked up a few more than my fair share on one paint shopping trip, and I swear, after that, every store within 30km was ON to me! I was going store to store, lurking suspiciously in the aisles trying to get a good visual of the paint counter (seriously, all I needed was some camouflage gear :) But suddenly all the stores were keeping the sticks behind the counter! It's like they knew I was coming :) To be fair, one store was super sweet and said to take whatever we wanted, but those sticks had grooves on both sides (double the trimming, double the work, no thanks).  

It was pretty clear it wasn’t meant to be, so I scrapped that plan and decided to use wood shims instead - not free but still super cheap!

I started off lightly sanding the ones that weren’t smooth. Unless you’re going for a more rustic look, be careful to buy these smoother shims – I saw some at another store that were really rough, basically a zillion splinters waiting to happen.

Then I painted them (sides included!) with a metallic gold craft paint I picked up at Dollarama. Spray paint would be much quicker and probably give you a better finish, but my apartment doesn’t have a balcony…or a basement..I know right?!

For the base, I used a pot mat made of cork and mdf that I found at Dollarama for 2 bucks. Any scrap of plywood in the right size would work too.

Attach some hanging hardware to the back of your base. If you’re smart, you’ll do it before attaching the other pieces. If you’re a little less smart like me, you’ll be in too much of a hurry to get started with the pretty parts before remembering to do this, so the honey helped me out :)

Before attaching the shims, I traced my mirror onto the centre of the base. Umm did I mention that we drove all the way to Michaels for a craft mirror only to find they didn’t have any? And then we came back home and found a 3-pack right at Dollarama? Seriously, Dollarama is amazing!

I played around with the layout of the shims for a bit and then got started on the first layer. I used wood glue to adhere them onto the base a little bit inside of the traced circle (to do this you might need to keep your shims propped up with some books or magazines). 

Then I placed some heavy stuff on top while the glue cured. An hour or so later I attached the second layer of shims right on top of the first, keeping them in place while the glue dried with more heavy stuff.

Next I attached the mirror in the centre. I’m not exactly a glue connoisseur, so I just us some super glue I had at home :)

Lastly, I wanted to give the mirror edge a finished look. I thought about framing it with an old faux pearl necklace, but I couldn’t figure out how to paint the pearls :) So I picked up this gold cord from Michaels instead and glued a simple ring of it around the mirror. 

It turned out fab! Like seriously, I want to make more in different sizes for every room!

I’m totally in love with this look. It’s a little bit glam without being over the top.

With the weather being so dreary lately this was the perfect way to bring a bit of sunshine into our home :) And you can't beat the price either! All the supplies I had to purchase came up to about $17, although given how much I have leftover the total cost was more like $10! Plus you just can't put a price on all the DIY fun :) 

If you're looking to DIY your own sunburst mirror, here's what you'll need:
  • 26-28 shims (found in hardware stores - you could also use paint sticks or skewers, I've even seen a great version outdoor version using chicken wire!)
  • a round mirror
  • a wood base 
  • cord for framing (an old necklace would do too, other versions also use an embroidery hoop)
  • hanging hardware (take one off an old frame!) & a hammer
  • paint in the colour of your choice & a brush
  • glue
I still have a bunch of paint sticks that I'm wondering what to do with now...maybe I can DIY another smaller sunburst mirror :) 

3 January 2012

DIY Wedding & Mehndi Decor Ideas On The Cheap!

I was back at work yesterday and a bunch of my students were like "I haven't seen you since last year!" :) SO cute! Hope that everyone had a wonderful and blessed New Years! May the year ahead be a beautiful one for us all :)

This New Years the honey and I celebrated our 6 month wedding anniversary :) Is it too early to break out the top tier of our wedding cake?

It’s been an amazing start to our life together, but I also can’t believe how quickly time passes…this time last year our wedding was still just a dream…but I was getting the planning started by stocking up at the post-Christmas sales for a whole lot of DIY wedding decor :)

If you’re planning a wedding in the coming months, definitely take advantage of this time! There is a LOT of Christmas stuff still available, most of which is seriously marked down. I really wanted our wedding to be magical and beautiful, but also on a budget. It’s one of the most special days of your life, but it`s also just one day (or in our case, a couple of days :). They key was looking for bargains without necessarily skimping on everything, and knowing when and where to splurge. Ask yourself which details you’ll really remember in the long run.

Of course for us crafty types half the fun is in the DIY projects! Here are just a couple of ways I used some cheap post-Christmas finds in my wedding decor.

Mehndi Decor: Festive Sparkle & Vibrant Colours

Ornament Garlands

When planning our Mehndi party (one of the traditional South Asian pre-wedding parties), all the colourful and festive Christmas ornaments were the perfect inspiration! So come boxing week I combed the stores for any and all sales on the ball ornament thingies – I got some amazing deals! I bought hundreds of them in different sizes, all in my chosen theme colours – purple, green and orange.

Our Mehndi was held in a large backyard tent, so my idea was to string the balls along the perimeter of the tent. To make the garlands I also picked up several rolls of a golden Christmas cord-type rope on sale at Fabricland – festive, but also sturdy enough to hold the balls.

We strung the balls in alternating colours and sizes along the rope, tying them in place with a little bit of gold ribbon (super cheap from Dollarama). 

It turned out fabulously! The garlands were so bright and fun, and they really dressed up the tent with a festive look. Best of all they didn’t cost a fortune. I wish I had a proper picture of the entire tent to show you!

Typical Mehndi and Gaye Holud themes are yellow, but these days people are using any and all bright colours. With Christmas decor available in such a huge range of colours, you can easily find something to fit your theme :) In addition to the ornaments, I bought loads of tinsel and other sparkly goodies to decorate all over the yard.

Twinkle Lights

Jodie Miller Photography via ruffledblog.com
The one thing I always wanted at my wedding was lots and lots of twinkle lights! It just creates such a beautiful and magical glow :)

Hiring someone to light your wedding can cost hundreds of dollars, but with a ladder and a bit of time we were able to easily do it ourselves! (We did have our handyman double check the electric side of things though to make sure we didn't blow any fuses :) We strung lights all around the tent and throughout the garden, as well as lining the entry. Again, wish I had proper pics to show you, but it was really lovely :)

Christmas lights will be on sale in a lot of stores right now, so take the opportunity to stock up. I must have bought at least 15-20 strings of lights, in addition to what we already owned. I got some with green cords to use in the trees and some with white cords to use in the tent. You could even borrow them from friends – just label each cord with a little piece of masking tape to make sorting and returning them much easier. I went with white lights, but try colours too for a really fun look.   

Reception Decor: Classy Shimmer & A Dreamy Glow

Elegant Table Overlays

For the reception, I wanted to create a rich and lustrous table setting, but without breaking the bank! Our banquet hall fee included a choice of beautiful simple linens, but anything a bit fancier cost an arm and a leg extra per table. So I decided to make our own overlays! I found some really gorgeous gold and cream holiday fabrics on sale at Fabricland, so I stalked several locations to buy as many yards as I could find :) All we had to do was cut the fabric into squares (which weren't exactly equally-sized, but no one was going around measuring), and my Mom patiently hemmed them all over a few weeks. To cut costs we didn’t make full size overlays, just small squares for the table centres, but it was enough to add a hint of interest and shimmer to the setting.

DIY Centrepieces

By far my favourite project and biggest bargain -we were able to save loads simply by making our own centrepieces (with a LOT of help from our dear family and friends)! From time to time Dollarama stocks really gorgeous vases, so when I spotted these square beauts I snatched them up! They are quite thick and heavy as well, so I wasn’t worried about them breaking easily. To dress them up I picked up a bunch of Christmas ribbon in shades of white and gold and tied bows around each vase. I also found some shimmery rocks on sale that we added to the arrangements for a hint of colour and sparkle :)

Last but not least we found loads and loads of tea light candles on sale at Michaels, which were discounted even further with a coupon! Gotta love those Michaels coupons :) A few candles per table was the perfect finishing touch :)

DIY Favours

I didn’t actually shop for these during Boxing week, but you totally could. Look for sales on Christmas tulle and ribbons you could use to wrap up your favours. We ordered little jars of honey and customized them with homemade labels, using a verse from the Quran on the beauty & benefits of honey :) Family and friends were a huge help in putting together hundreds of these little sweethearts!

Just going over these is making me wedding-sick...anyone need help planning a wedding? :)