DIY Upcycled Wood Panel Quote Art

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via
I love a good upcycle challenge, and when it’s a curbside find – even better!

This wood panel wasn’t actually a curbside find. It was more like an in-the-trash-behind-the-kid’s-school find. I was in the parking lot at the school one day and noticed this gorgeous, distressed wood panel IN THE GARBAGE. Can you imagine? It looks like it must have been used in the art studio. I rescued it pronto, knowing I’d be able to do something fun with it one day.

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

You can imagine how happy I was when Decor-Art asked me to use their Americana Multi-Surface Acrylics to upcycle a surface. This scrap wood panel was perfect for an art project. And I especially loved that it came from my girls’ school, which would make the artwork even more special.

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

I love the current trend of using graphics to create personalized art because you can choose a message that really resonates with you. I knew I wanted a song lyric, since we are big music lovers in my house. It was actually hard to choose – so many of the songs I love have beautiful lyrics. I settled on an old favourite, Van Morrison’s Into The Mystic. Because what suburban housewife doesn’t have some gyspy soul inside that needs a little rockin’?

Here’s what the wood panel looked like (more…)

Coming Up: #RBCFirstHome Twitter Chat

#RBCFirstHome twitter chatI’ll never forget the day we bought our first home. It was a small bungalow, on a lovely street. We bought it far too quickly, and with far too little money. We really had no business buying a home, but luckily our bank stood by us and helped us figure it out.

It was the place where we started our marriage, and later became a family. My girls spent a happy childhood there, and we made lifelong friends. I became who I am now in that little bungalow. And a lot of life happened in those 4 little rooms.

Your home is the biggest purchase you will ever make, and the first time can be a little terrifying. This is where you depend on your financial institution to help you through the process. Any potential home buyer is full of questions, and the experts at RBC will be available to answer all of yours during their twitter chat on January 20, 2015, 8:30–9:30 pm ET.

Join the chat and submit all of your home buying questions using the hashtag #RBCFirstHome. RBC has invited experts to join in – a lawyer, a realtor, a designer, home builders, home experts, and mortgage experts. And participants have a chance to win 1 of 5 $100 gift cards!

I’ve been a homeowner a while now, but (more…)

5 Drinks That Help Flush Away Fat

These 5 drinks will help your body flush the fat!  via
Hello. Remember me?

Today I’m going to tell you about my favourite drinks that I use to get healthier. These are the drinks I always turn to when I need to feel better after eating too much chocolate.

These 5 drinks will help your body flush the fat!  via

But first, I must apologize for my long absence. I’ve been gone for weeks now.

I have no excuse. At all. It kind of just happened. First Christmas got in the way, then chilling out after Christmas got in the way, then life just got in the way.

So I dropped the (more…)

Mini Chocolate Banana Ice Cream Cakes – A Gluten-Free, Healthier Dessert

Delicious mini chocolate banana ice cream cakes for dessert!  Recipe via
Making memories.

That’s a big part of parenting some times. Stashing the good times away in a memory bank somewhere, to draw on when you need them. And you need them a lot when you kids hit their teens – just sayin’ ;)

mini chocolate banana ice cream cakes for dessert, recipe via

What’s a better way to make great memories than to bake something delicious with your kids? My girls know their way around the kitchen, and we’ve whipped up some great things over the years. Desserts are a favourite, and I can always (more…)

5 Amazing Drinks You Can Make With Frothed Milk

5 Amazing Drink Recipes You Can Make With Frothed Milk
If you’ve been visiting lately, you’ve read all about my love affair with my new Saeco Minuto coffee machine. We have permanently packed away the old stovetop espresso makers, and joined the modern age of fully automated, freshly-ground coffee at your fingertips, just the way you like it. Our coffee standards have gone (more…)

Crispy Crusted Great Lakes Pickerel


For as long as I can remember the official kick-off to the holidays at my house has been marked by serving a multi-course smorgasbord of fish and seafood on Christmas Eve.

Now if you’re like me, someone who actually prefers fish to any other kind of protein, this is like a dinner dream come true but for many sitting around the table, eating a meal consisting of multiple courses of fish does not appear very high at the top of their holiday wish list (it’s been described to me kinda like a visit to the dentist; yes it’s a tough crowd sometimes).

As the cook, the ultimate satisfaction is achieved when you create a menu that (more…)

Handmade Holiday – DIY Beaded Star Ornament

DIY Beaded Star Ornament via - an easy and inexpensive craft, perfect for holiday gift giving!
I have Christmas on my mind these days.

It’s a little early for me. Usually I don’t really start thinking about the holidays until either the snow hits or December 1st arrives – whichever comes last. But this year, I’m already in the holiday mood.

We’ve had our first snowstorm, and my Christmas-loving youngest is already playing the holiday tunes. She’s a die-hard Christmas fan, and her countdown phone app is telling us we only have 30 days left. She had a little school break recently, so we decided to spend some time hanging out and making some handmade presents. You may know that we have a tradition in our family of exchanging handmade gifts at Christmas. This started years ago as a way to cut back on the seasonal excess (didn’t work), and we’ve kept up with it just for fun. And some of our handmade gifts over the years have been the best.

DIY Beaded Star Ornament via - an easy and inexpensive craft, perfect for holiday gift giving!

Isabel has been knitting away, and I decided to pull out my old beads and make a few ornaments. I have a bit of an ornament “thing,” and I’ve collected hundreds over the years. My collection started with (more…)

Massaman Curry Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Peas

massaman chicken
What could be better on these cold damp and oh-so-close-to winter evenings than a hearty healthy helping of Thai curry yumminess?

I am a big big fan of any kind of curry and this Massaman blend is one of my favorites.  I generally like to make my own curry pastes but when I tried this paste from Thai Kitchen, I was happily surprised at how much it tasted like the real thing.  I always have a jar handy in my pantry for those nights when I’m short on time and need a quick and delicious meal on the table.

The flavors are deep and complex, very rich and tasty.  I really do love any Thai curry.  They are remarkably healthy, deriving all of their flavor from a blend of herbs, spices and roots.  Add a super food like coconut milk to these pastes and you’ll have a delicious satisfying meal that’s good for you too.  Out-of-the-park in my book.

Here is my riff on a traditional Massaman, made with sweet potatoes, peas and chicken drumsticks.  Try this on a weeknight with some (more…)

Jeweled Christmas Tree

easy DIY jeweled Christmas tree art via

photo by Melissa DiRenzo

Got a drawer full of old jewelry you don’t use? Why not repurpose it into a beautiful one-of-a-kind piece of Christmas art!

I’ll tell you everything you need to know to make this beautiful jeweled tree below, but first I’m beyond excited to announce that #MerryMag is here! It’s a holiday magazine put together by a group of talented bloggers just for you! It’s full of holiday inspiration and ideas that will help you make this season special. Because who doesn’t love a handmade touch? From food and drinks to table settings and decor, this magazine has something for everyone. These bloggers are all women who love to create, and I hope you’ll support this little project of ours and share Merry Magazine with all your friends!

Merry - A Handmade Holiday Guide via

I’m thrilled that Merry Mag features 2 of my projects. My Little Meringue Christmas Trees are a sweet touch for your holiday table. And this Jeweled Christmas Tree art is an easy DIY that can you can make yourself with a (more…)

Little Meringue Christmas Trees

Mini Meringue Christmas Trees via
The holidays are just around the corner, and there is 1 special project I’m super excited to tell you about. You may have seen sneak peaks on social media of some fabulous holiday projects with the hashtag #MerryMag. Well the big reveal is almost here! Come back tomorrow when we launch a special holiday magazine packed with inspiration from 15 of my most talented blogger friends. I have seen some of the projects, and I can promise you that you won’t want to miss this! I am just in awe of the talent that is out there in Canadian blog land.
(UPDATE:  It’s here!  It’s here!  Check out Merry – A Hand Made Holiday Guide for 100 pages of blogger awesomeness!  I guarantee you will be inspired to create something fab yourself!)

Mini Meringue Christmas Trees via

One of the desserts featured in the magazine is a cluster of these little meringue trees I made recently with (more…)