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DIY Wooden Gift Box

DIY Wooden Gift Box, with Craft Cocktail Ingredients It’s no secret around here that we’re pretty obsessed with finding the next best craft cocktail. I recently realized that there are now cocktail ingredient subscription boxes available – and am seriously considering signing up for one as a Christmas gift for my husband. Actually, I realized, it’s really a perfect Christmas gift for a lot of people. A box of interesting liquors and fresh ingredients to make new cocktails? Who wouldn’t want that?! Read More

DIY Vintage Linen Wrapped Books

Vintage Linen Wrapped Books

Styling a mantle or a book shelf is hard. I like to do it, but it’s hard. When I was younger, I always envisioned that I would have a library in my house with floor to ceiling shelves housing hundreds, probably thousands of books with a ladder that slid across the wall. What I didn’t know is that the houses on T.V. that had such libraries were mansions, the owners millionaires. We do not have a mansion nor millions of dollars, so we two have bookshelves, one mantle, and maybe 50 books (not including kids books; seems like we do have thousands of those). Anyway, styling a mantle or a bookshelf with “new” books can be difficult. A book’s cover most likely was not designed with your bookshelf in mind and unless you have a library, they aren’t going to look particularly pretty. That’s where these easy DIY comes into play. I turned a handful of “new” books into shelf ready decor.  Apologies to anyone if defacing these books is offensive, but the pages remain intact therefore, they are still readable. 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Hardcover books
  • Solid linen-like fabric
  • Scissors
  • A hot Glue Gun
  • A pen
  • Black Tea or Coffee & a rag (optional for staining book edges)

Did I mention this is a super cheap way to make some great shelf decor? If you don’t have hardcover books or you want more, garage sales are an excellent way to score cheap books for typically $.50-$2.00. Alternatively, you can find amazing deals on used and even new books on amazon.

Vintage Linen Wrapped Books

Start by removing any paper cover wraps. Note – even just doing this simple things give greater shelf appeal to books!

Vintage Linen Wrapped Books

Very gently peel back the hardcover starting from the binding. Do so carefully as you ideally want to keep the front lining of the book in tact which makes it easier to reattached the hardcover later on.

Vintage Linen Wrapped Books

Vintage Linen Wrapped Books

The next step is optional. I wanted the ability to display the books pages out, so I coffee stained the edges of the pages for a more aged look. To do this, you just need a bit of coffee or black tea and a rag. Dip the rag in the dark liquid, and gently rub along the edges of the pages, being careful not to over saturate and ultimately wind up with wavy pages.

Vintage Linen Wrapped Books

Next, line up the hardcovers on the fabric leaving at least two inches in between. Outline each cover with a pen or sharpie, leaving approx. an inch border around each. Then, cut along those lines.

Vintage Linen Wrapped Books

Wrap the fabric around the cover, using a glue gun to seal down. Make sure to leave some give so the cover will be able to easily close back up.

Vintage Linen Wrapped Books

Once the fabric is glued all around the edges and corner, insert the book of pages back into the cover and glue down the liner that you were hopefully able to leave somewhat in tact when removing the hard cover.

Vintage Linen Wrapped Books

How much more appealing does that look?!

Vintage Linen Wrapped BooksVintage Linen Wrapped BooksThis was my original, simple styling, shown with both the pages out or in.
Vintage Linen Wrapped Books Vintage Linen Wrapped Books Vintage Linen Wrapped Books Of course, the mantle got revamped for the season, but the books were the perfect touch!
Halloween Mantle Decor

Nana’s Pumpkin & Raisin Muffins

pumpkin raisin muffins

My nana was a lot of wonderful things in her life, but a cook/baker she was not … with the exception of her perfecting precisely three recipes. The first being her Yorkshire pudding (she was born and raised in Yorkshire, so I think you kind of have to know how to make the pudding), the second being her oatmeal raisin cookies, and the third being these pumpkin and raisin muffins. While most of us don’t bust out the pumpkin recipes till September, October or November, Nana would make these all year round. She was famous for them. They’re unbelievably moist, probably because they call for FOUR eggs, and more vegetable oil than I’d care to acknowledge. Totally worth it though.

I see a lot of pumpkin recipes with chocolate incorporated and I’ve always had the hardest time wrapping my head around that concept. It just doesn’t sound right (or good) to me. Baked pumpkin goods, if made with an accompanying feature ingredient, should be made with raisins, NOT chocolate chips…..IMHO. Why? Because that’s how Nana did it and she never steered me wrong. Read More

DIY Ghost Orb

DIY Ghost Orb

Things have been pretty quiet around here and for that we apologize. Steph and I have both had pretty hectic Septembers (are there any other kind??). But this weekend marked the first weekend of October and I was finally in the mood to do some Halloween crafting and decorating. I’ve had the idea for this project in the back of my mind since we did the DIY pool orbs for the 4th of July. The idea of pairing something as simple as a balloon with the re-useable battery operated tea light is so, so simple and seems to lend itself to any kind of holiday or celebration (my wheels are turning for a Christmas-themed balloon orb project!).

I’d actually never tried the cheesecloth ghosts which have been all over Pinterest for years. However, as I pondered ways to incorporate the orb into Halloween, my mind kept coming back to the idea of using starched cheesecloth or fabric to drape over the lit balloon. I actually tried it both ways – with cheesecloth and with a basic white cotton fabric. I’ve pictured it both ways but think I prefer the fabric application best.


DIY Ghost Orb - supplies

1 square of 30″x30″ (or larger) white fabric or cheesecloth

liquid starch (I DIY’d this using this tutorial as I didn’t have the energy to run out to the store AGAIN. It worked perfectly!)

1 white balloon

1 submersible tea light

small pieces of black fabric or black cardstock (for the eyes)


Start by making your liquid starch, if you’re DIY-ing it. Follow the directions here.

Next, rig up a “form” to create your starched ghosts. I used a tall vase with a balloon attached to the top.

DIY Ghost Orb

Soak your cheesecloth or fabric, depending on which material you’re using, in the liquid starch and wring out the excess liquid.

DIY Ghost Orb - starch

Drape the piece of fabric over your ghost form. Allow to set for an hour or two.

DIY Ghost Orb

Once the fabric has set, prepare your orb. Stretch the opening of the balloon and pop in the submersible tea light (have it switched on). See this tutorial for more pictures of this step.  Blow up the balloon and tie it.

Insert the balloon into the fabric ghost. If it falls out with the weight of the tea light, you can secure it with some glue or tape. Ta-da!

DIY Ghost Orb

If you plan on lighting the ghost up multiple times, you’ll want to blow up a new balloon each time (so you can turn the light off when you’re not using the decoration).

This was the cheesecloth version…. didn’t love it…

DIY Ghost Orb - cheesecloth version


Fall Travel Destination: Picton, Ontario


Fall is my favorite time of year to travel, I think. Maybe it’s because most of my favorite travel activities are optimal in the fall – eating local fare, hiking, drives in the country, visiting farms and markets. I’m really not much of a lay out on the beach person. I’m far too restless (anxious??) for that.

I recently came across an awesome blog called Compass + Twine. The blog authors, Sarah and Lindsay, document their travels to amazing places, most of which are pretty accessible. They also travel a ton in New England, which, as I’ve previously mentioned, is one of my favorite areas to travel to. They’ve given me several ideas for new places to try out on our next adventure out there and they do such an amazing job of capturing the vibe of the places they visit.

So, when I recently stumbled across a group of pictures from a past trip to Picton, Ontario in the fall, I thought it would be fun to follow their example and share with you why I so highly recommend the area as a fall destination. Read More