d.i.y. adventures in birch bark.

This past weekend I went on a short camping trip with my dad out to West Hawk Lake in the Whiteshell.  We usually try and get out there at least once a summer and it's really nice to be outside and on the water.  Fall seems to come so much faster out there, all the poplar trees were already turning yellow and every morning when I woke up it smelled clean and crisp like October mornings.

I love being out in the Whiteshell because of all the trees, going for walks in the forest/ Manitoba escarpment and especially collecting all the birch bark that has started to peel off the tree trunks - on it's own of course!  I have always loved birch bark.  It's a little weird.  I think it's because of how papery and smooth it is.  I always imagined writing letters on it when I was little.

I found a few good pieces over the weekend and brought them home with the intent of doing....something....with them.  I didn't feel like just pinning them up on my wall, they needed something a little bit more...plus I really wanted to try writing on it.  Turns out its a pretty good writing surface...and an even better material for embroidery!  The bark is more brittle than cloth but it's super soft and punctures easily with an embroidery needle.  I chose some words from one of my favourite She & Him songs and a few little green star flowers, just to try it it out.  It made me excited for all kinds of other embroidered bark projects, I think another camping trip is in order!
Have a happy rest of your week, I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be a very great day! xo, T.

eat me:. walnut carrot cupcakes with ginger frosting.

So, I don't know if any of you have noticed, but it's been a very long while since a cupcake recipe was featured on this blog.  I have not idea why but the amount of cupcakes I bake is severely disproportional to the recipes that make it on this blog, probably because most of them are baked for specific things and they all get eaten before I can take photos!

So, when one of my friends asked me if I wanted to come over and bake carrot cupcakes with her and add ginger frosting I leaped at the chance.  I love cupcakes. And I love ginger.
These cupcakes turned out super well.  They were really moist and the addition of walnuts and ginger made them a hundred times better than any other carrot cake I've ever had.  Leave it to Deb and Smitten Kitchen to always have the best inspiration!

walnut carrot cupcakes (recipe modified from smitten kitchen)
2 C. all purpose flour.
2 tsp. baking soda.
2 tsp. ground cinnamon.
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg.
2 tsp. fresh grated ginger.
11/2 C. brown sugar.
1 1/4 C. vegetable oil.
4 large eggs.
3 C. grated peeled carrots.
1 C. coarsely chopped walnuts.

sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. in a separate bowl mix together oil and sugar. add in eggs one at a time. add to flour mixture and stir until blended. stir in carrots and walnuts. Divide batter among prepared cupcakes pans.  bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean with only a few crumbs.  let cool.  makes approximately two dozen.  more accurately 21.

ginger cream cheese frosting.
1 package of softened cream cheese.
1/4 C. butter, softened.
1 1/2 C. icing sugar.
fresh grated ginger.

in an electric mixer beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy, five minutes.  add sugar and mix.  start grating in fresh ginger, tasting along the way until you find an amount you like.  I know, super exact right? We really like ginger so we probably added about 1/8 of a cup of fresh grated ginger, but start with less, taste it and go from there.

once your cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with an offset spatula.
Have a lovely start to your last week of August!  So many exciting life things have happened this month and I cannot wait to see how September unfolds, perhaps I will tell you about them in a bit! xo, T.

d.i.y. silk flower crown.

So, I work in a flower shop.  And I love it, I get to be surrounded by pretty bouquets all day.  But my most favourite things are the flower crowns that the very lovely miss Heather makes every so often and that I ocassionally get to test out.  They are gorgeous.  I would wear one every single day if that was possible.
However, since no one has time to make a new, fresh flower crown everyday, the best alternate option is a flower crown made of silks.  It lasts forever, hooray!  This project took a little bit longer than some of the other ones, but it is totally worth it, I love how it turned out and I purposely picked soft colours so that I could wear it into the fall!
Things you need:
_silk flowers.  i chose to go with one type of smaller flowers, but choose whatever your heart desires!
_floral wire.  this is 26 gauge, it'll be in the same aisle as the other floral tools.
_floral tape. (stem wrap tape.)
ribbon.  i chose mint.
_pearls, large enough to slide over your wire.
1_cut a piece of wire a few inches longer than the circumference of your head.  wrap it around your head and loosely twist the ends together, you can fine tune the size later, after everything has been added.
2_wrap the wire in floral tape.  tip: floral tape gets sticker and holds better the more you pull it, so pull tight and wrap in kind of on an angle as you go. do not cover the ends.
3_prep your flowers.  cut off the blooms from the stems and using three inch pieces of wire place the wire under the base of the bloom, cross the ends to opposite sides and continue twisting so that the bloom is secure.
4_wrap your blooms in floral tape.
5_prep your pearls.  using needle nose pliers curve the end of a three inch piece of wire into a swirl to keep the bead from sliding off.  slide the bead on and then fold the end up and wrap around the base of the bead to keep it from moving.  pinch the wire loop that is created together to create the stem.
6_wrap your beads in floral tape.
7_start adding flowers!  while wearing the wire crown decide where you would like your blooms to go.  attach them by placing the stem of the flower parallel to the crown and wrapping both wires together securely using floral tape, doing one bloom at a time.  since the flowers and pearls are wired their angle can be adjusted after taping.
8_add pearls.
9_attach as many flowers and pearls as you like.  i wanted a bit more of a sparse look and used seven pearls and nine blooms taped in clusters.
10_you can either leave your flower crown as it with the floral tape as the finished surface, or, to add a bit of colour you can wrap your crown with ribbon.  before doing this try your crown on one last time and adjust the sizing before secnurely twisting and taping the ends.  i found it easiest to cut a long piece of ribbon, secure it with a bit of floral tape and then wrap the ribbon carefully and tightly around the wire before using hot glue to secure the final end.
and there you go, your very own sweet little flower crown!  Have the loveliest week! xo, T.

i miss this:. santos, brazil.

I few weeks ago I shared some of my photos from my trip to Rio de Janerio, Brazil.  The next stop on our trip was Santos, Brazil, a small port town that is Brazil's bigger exporter of coffee, sugar and orange juice.  This was our site for our studio project, and we spent a quick four days exploring the port and choosing locations for our individual projects, an area that is referred to fondly as "cracklandia." It was a little terrifying, run down, overgrown and enthralling all at once.  Here are some of my favourite moments.
In order to explore the port in greater detail we took a little boat tour of the estuary, it was rainy and misty and absolutely wonderful to see the variety of warehouses, massive ships and cargo cranes towering into the sky.
Ther was a cupcake shop across the street from our hostel.  My hair was not friends with the humidity/rain combo of the day.
Small catria boats take the people of Santos from the city across the esturary to a small neighbouring island.  The boats pass under the port through a series of locks before emerging into the open water.
I hope you enjoyed this little adventure to Santos with me! Have a wonderous weekend. xo, T.

eat me:. whole wheat saskatoon shortcake.

So, it's already the middle of August, and I'm already dreading the end of summer. I really like being warm, being outside all the time in the sunshine and the chance to go to the beach. In an effort to prolong summer as long as possible I decided to bake the most summery dessert I could think of, shortcake. Shortcake is the quintessential summer dessert to me, light and sweet with fresh whipped cream and fruit. I decided to make it the prairie girl version by swapping the usual strawberries with saskatoons. Best choice ever.
Whole wheat Saskatoon Shortcake. Shortcake recipe modified from joy the baker.

for the shortcake:
1 C. flour.
1 C. whole wheat flour.
1/4 C. sugar.
2 tsp. baking powder.
1/3 C. cold butter, cut into small cubes.
1 large egg.
1 tsp. vanilla extract.
1/2 C. milk.
sugar for sprinkling.
In a bowl sift together flours, sugar and baking powder. cut in butter with a fork or pastry cutter until it looks crumbly. mix together wet ingredients. form a well in the centre of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients, slowly mixing together. Knead together and transfer to a floured surface, kneading and stretching a few times. Form into a rectangle approximately 6"x9". I made my cakes smaller than suggested so they weren't so thick. this makes nine shortcakes. if your prefer larger, thicker pieces then form the dough into 4"x 7" and cut into six pieces. sprinkle tops with sugar and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. let cool.
for the whipped cream:
1 C. whipping cream.
1 tsp. sugar.
in an electric mixer beat the cream and sugar on high until soft peaks form. don't overbeat. you can also do this by hand, it'll just take a while longer.
for the saskatoon compote:
2 C. saskatoons.
1 1/2 C. sugar.
in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat bring saskatoons and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly throughout. let simmer for a minute or two then transfer to a bow and let cool, it should thicken up quite a bit.
To serve cut short cakes in half and layer on whipped cream and saskatoons to your hearts content.
Have the sweetest rest of your summer! xo, T.

d.i.y:. painted glasses.

So kitchen items are my favourite things ever.  Nothing makes me happier than getting to use my vintage seafoam green mixer or finding more vintage plates to add to my collection.  So far I have a pretty good stash of things for when I move out, dishes, mixing bowls, small kitchen appliances and measuring cups are all covered.
The only things missing on my list are cutlery and glasses.  I have been in search for the perfect vintage juice glasses for a very long time and although I still refuse to give up on this goal I decided that maybe it would be fun to paint my own glasses.  I used mason jars as my glass of choice because they're inexpensive and sweet looking, but you can use any kind of plain glass of your liking!  I really love how they turned out!
Things you need:
_glasses.  i used 500ml mason jars.
_paint brush.
_glass paint.  i used martha stewart all surface paint from michaels.  it is apparently dishwasher safe on glass, but i have yet to see.
1_choose your designs and practice drawing them out a few times.  i suggest not picking anything too complicated since you are going to be free-handing it on a curved surface.  i chose to do three with the word "drink"  and some little flowers and three with a pattern of leaves.
2_clean glasses with rubbing alcohol or window cleaner to remove oil/grease, let dry then start painting.  go slow and take your time.  if your jar has a pattern on it i suggest sticking only to the smooth portion to make it a bit easier.  embrace the fact that this is your own personal set of glasses and that they won't be perfect and that each one will be a little different.
3_to get a more opaque design i suggest doing multiple coats, letting the paint dry in between.  i did two coats.
4_continue painting all of your lovely glasses with as many designs as you like.  try using the back end of your paint brush to create cleaner looking polka dots.
5_you have a lovely set of new glasses! let dry according to manufacturers directions.  for this paint it has to cure for 21 days before being washed or filled with liquid.  apparently they are dishwasher safe, but i will let you know how that goes when i have the chance to try it.
When your glasses are finally cured use them to enjoy your favourite drink, like raspberry lemonade, or lemonade + cucumber +gin.  I'm really into lemon right now.

Now all I need is a cute little apartment, and maybe some cutlery.

Have a beautiful week! xo, T.

paper love: the 1900 letter.

peacock parleur letterhead and detail.

Happy Friday!  Today's paper love comes from The 1900 Letter, a paper shop based out of Los Angelos.  They create enchanting, dark and hauntingly Victorian stationery reminiscent of 19th century letters.  If you know me well then you know that this is one of the things that I love.  A Series of Unfortunate Events and Dark Shadow are my favourite movies, I like the somewhat odd, creepy and magically enchanting.  The gears, devices and meticulous animal studys and illustrations of the 1800's are some of my favourites!

If you would like to view more of their lovely paper work you can visit their shop here.
Time Machine letterhead and Masked Bird Skulls letterhead.
Have the most wonderful weekend! xo, T.

all images from here.

eat me:. snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles were one of my favourite cookies as a child, I loved that magical taste of baked cinnamon and sugar. Actually I still love it.  And it is one of those recipes where I generally actually have all of the ingredients already in my pantry, so these lovely, fluffy, cookies can be whipped up at a moments notice! 

Baking time is super important with these cookies.  Our first batch got left a minute too long, and although still delicious, they were a little hard.  The second batch on the other hand came out a minute early and were absolutely perfect, crispy and sugary on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  So the point of all this is that you really need to watch these.  Or, maybe that's just me because my oven has a mind of its own....it's quite possible.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen.  who adapted this from Martha Stewart.  Clearly well tested.

2 3/4 C.  flour.
2 tsp. cream of tartar.
1 tsp. baking soda.
1 C.  butter, at room temperature.
1 3/4 C. sugar, plus more if needed.
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon, plus more if needed.
2 large eggs.

Cream the butter and 1 1/2 C. sugar in a mixer until fluffy.  about 5 minutes.  in a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients (do not add cinnamon yet).  add eggs to butter mixture and then slowly add dry ingredients, mixing every once and a while.  in a small bowl mix remaining sugar and the cinnamon.  shape dough into 1/2 inch balls, roll in sugar mixture and place on a baking sheet, pressing down lightly with the palm of your hand so they are a little flattened.  bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, turning the tray at the half way point.  cool and eat.  makes roughly 2 dozen 3 inch cookies.

Enjoy the rest of your week! xo, T.

d.i.y. macrame belt.

Belts are one of my favourite accessories, I like how they make every outfit look even sweeter and add a little bit of unexpected colour or texture.  I've been really into a kind of beachy, hippie-ish look lately/ maybe forever and I felt that macrame would be a super quick and fitting technique to make a new little belt!

If you're my mom this will remind you of terrible 70's jute planters.  If you're me it probably reminds you of hemp girl guide bracelets.  And if you're younger than me you may have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about.  But you will, soon.
This is a super simple little project that takes a little bit of time but is perfect to do while sitting outside in the sun or watching a movie, it doesn't take a ton of concentration.
_other supplies I decided I needed after  took this photo: ribbon and glass beads.
1_cut four lengths of twine roughly three times the width of your waist.  if you want your belt to wrap around twice, double the length.
2_tie the four threads at the top with a knot and secure to your work surface with a bit of tape.  starting with the far left thread cross it over the two middle threads so that it looks like a "4."
3_then tuck the thread under the middle two threads and over the rest of the far left thread, pulling on the end until the knot tightens.  don't pull it extremely tight otherwise the knot will look strange and won't lie flat.  this is a d knot.
4_repeat the mirrored version with the far right thread, then the far left thread, etc., alternating sides so that this pattern is formed.  you may need to press it down lightly with your finger as you go to keep it from twisting/
5_ if you would like to add some beads slip them onto any of the threads and then continue knotting as normal. (left, right or the two centre threads together.)
6_once you have reached your desired length tie the threads off and trim.  i made mine long enough to wrap around my waist once.
7_cut two lengths of ribbon long enough to tie in a bow.  i made mine long enough to start in the back and then wrap around my waist so that I could have the bow in the front. 
8_place a bit of hot glue on one knotted end and wrap one end of the ribbon around it, making sure it's secure.  repeat for the other side. 

and there you go, you're very own sweet little knotted belt, perfect for all your summery dresses and fall cardigans! (yes, I'm already thinking about fall!)  I think a shorter version with smaller/no beads would also make a very sweet headband.
happy week! xo, T.

ps. this weekend marked the one year birthday of the most delightful adventure! This year has completely flown by and this blog has been such a fun little project, thank you to all my lovely readers!

i miss this:. rio de janerio, brazil.

So, after baking that mango coconut cake last week (see here) I realized two things: that I missed Brazil and that I hadn't really gone through any of my pictures. This is an attempt to fix that. While in Brazil for three weeks in December and January our group visited rio, santos and sao paolo. It was crazy to all of a sudden be in a super warm, super dense urban environment, but I loved it. It was so colourful, so busy, filled with samba music and delicious mangos.
I hope you enjoyed this little adventure to Rio! Have a delightful weekend! xo, T.