Monday, July 28, 2014


One of the things I'm crazy about is creating flavoured syrups. They are SO easy to make, you have to try it! You can use them to create your own sodas which kids (big and small) will love. They also get a lot of use here at our cocktail bar ;)

So start with making a simple syrup.  This is great to use in your iced coffee or tea, mixed with citrus juices and some soda or as a sweetener in a cocktail.

The recipe is so simple it's not really a recipe.

Just measure out equal parts sugar and water. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 2 minutes. Let cool. Your done.

Once you've mastered the simple syrup you can wander into the world of flavoured syrups. Summer is the perfect time to do this, with the abundance of fresh fruit and herbs.

A popular syrup in our house is the lemon-lime syrup. The kids add it to carbonated water from our Soda Stream. (recipe at end of post)

Grapefruit-orange syrup is delicious too!

Saving old jam jars for syrups like this makes for cute packaging too. I also like to use these Bonne Maman jam jars as glasses.

Tip: Save soda bottles from store-bought sodas to re-use. Just make sure you wash them, but of course you know that...

Lemon Lime Syrup:

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water

Orange-Grapefruit Syrup:

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 cup water
2 cups of sugar

Bring the juices, water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Stir only until the sugar dissolves. Allow the syrup to boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon to press out the liquid. Cool completely. 

This will make approximately 2 cups of syrup.

Enjoy! There are so many flavours you can try. Up next in my house is Cherry Syrup!


**P.S. I set up my Soda Bar on my new DIY Bar Cart (which I love!) that I shared with you earlier today here.

DIY // Patio Bar Cart {sponsored post}

We love to entertain in our backyard and I've been looking for a bar cart that we could use not only as a bar, but also for parties like our outdoor movie nights with friends.

I wanted something substantial and sturdy that could be left outdoors during the summer and easily stored in the winter.

I found this cart at Staples after they contacted me to collaborate on a decor project using some pieces from their new home decor line-up. I was tempted by some of the side tables (like this great coffee table) and chairs they offer online. Who knew you could buy furniture at Staples that wasn't just for the office?! 

I loved the idea of turning a utilitarian cart into a bar cart. Here it is!

I transformed an industrial steel utility cart from Staples into a bar cart with a can of spray paint and some styling tricks.

A really easy DIY project that you can complete in under an hour. 

1. Lightly sand the cart so that the paint can adhere.
2. Wipe the cart clean.
3. Spray the cart with your choice of rust proofing spray paint. Follow the drying time directions on the can. You may have to do two coats to depending on the colour. 
I used Rustoleum brand spray paint, the Tremclad line in Glossy White.

I really like how it turned out. I think the white paint compliments my shady garden nicely. We have lots of verdant greens so the white is actually a pop of "colour" that works well with our more modern decor. Although I think this would look really cool in a bright colour like yellow or green.

I used a mixture of vintage and new trays, baskets and a vintage soda crate to corral bar essentials such as glasses, sodas, towels etc. The shelves provide tons of storage space. 

Psst... in the winter I can roll my cart into our shed and use it as shelving. 

Tip: I've been making simple syrups for our summer drinks. They are so easy and versatile. We use them for our Soda Stream too.

Create some simple DIY art to lean on or hang behind your cart. A dollar store canvas is painted with some favorite colours with an ombre effect.

I also picked up these great solid colour outdoor cushions for my vintage basket chairs.  I love how they look. I'm thinking of adding some green cushions too.

The colours of our garden...

I like a more monochromatic look in the garden these days. I find it relaxing. The focus is on the garden rather than the patterns on outdoor textiles. I like using natural linens and the colour scheme to reflect what's going on in the yard.

When I was browsing the patio furniture at Staples (yes they have patio furniture!) I was crushing on this set. I really like outdoor sofa sets and love the resin options that are available. Maybe next summer ...


*Disclosure: Staples contacted me to partner with them on a home decor collaboration. They offered me the opportunity to choose some product and use it in my home. When I choose to collaborate with a company like Staples I am careful to ensure that the partnership works for both of us. I love what Staples has to offer and was excited to see and use some of their new home products.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

indigo dreams

visit my Indigo Dreams board (above) on Etsy

Ever since John and I travelled to Japan many years ago I have had an obsession with Indigo.  I picked up several items on my travels that were made using natural indigo including lots of ceramics, paper and linens.

I have been collecting some gorgeous indigo inspired finds over on my Etsy board "Indigo dreams" including beautiful Indian kantha quilts, shibori linens, and even these cool tile decals.

There is something about indigo that is dreamy and soulful yet vibrant and rich at the same time. It has been very much on-trend of late in home design showing up in rich blue-black wall paint, ikat, shibori and ombre dyed linen pillows and fabrics.

In my own home it appears in many rooms including my bedroom which is a mixture of white textiles, vintage walnut furniture, soft grey walls and pops of indigo, brass and white.

I would love to add this little slipper chair from West Elm in the mix.

button slipper chair, West Elm

and maybe this little pillow from Indigo which is on sale for a steal right now...
blue ombre pillow, Indigo

Currently, on my coffee table is this book, Nomad by Sibella Court. I adore her style, photography and of course her books. In Nomad, you see examples of indigo from her travels to Japan, India and more. So inspiring and beautiful.

If you want to know about Indigo, it's history and how it is used, Design Sponge did a post on it here including some links to further reading.

So that's all for now. Just felt like sharing some colour inspiration with you.

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