BESA GM has been nominated for a Leibster award

Even though I started my blog early this year, I effectively started blogging these last few months. Being a new in the blogland, I was pleasantly surprised when Angela at Life in Velvet nominated my blog for the Leibster award.

I am kind of embarrased that I did not know what this award was about, so after doing some research I learned that this award is given to support & recognise up & coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. To accept the nomination the nominee must play by the rules and answer some questions, discover 10 bloggers with less than 200 followers and nominate them for the award.

To accept this award the nominees, listed at the end of this post, should follow the steps outlined below:

Read my answers to the (10) questions selected by the blogger who nominated me.
Find (10) bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate for the award.
Write a post on your blog featuring the Liebster Award.
After writting the post, comment on each nominee’s blog informing them of the nomination.

Thanks again Angela for the nomination! I accept the nomination, and the following are my answers to your questions:

Why did you start blogging?

Throughout my working career, and especially this past decade my work, at the positions I held , was so demanding that did now allow me to pursue other interests. After completing the last tour of duty at an overseas mission, I realized that now is the time to take a little break from work and enjoy all those activities that I am passionate about such as: design and decor, DIY projects, sewing, cooking and baking, knitting etc. I also wanted to share my projects with my family and friends who live scattered around the world so blogging seemed a good platform for sharing. A lot of others, outside my circle of family and friends, have found my projects inspirational and started following along, and I am grateful for that. So far it has been a lot of fun and I am enjoying it.

Most loved city and why:

I have lived in many places, but the time I lived in Vancouver BC I enjoyed the most. It is such a vibrant, ethnically diverse city with beautiful parks and beaches, warm climate during winters, and world cuisine restaurants at every corner; so, the love for this city for me is going to be eternal.

Favorite thing in your house:

My kitchen is my favorite thing in my house. It was an old, ugly and tiny kitchen which needed a complete remodel. I designed the remodel without making any big structural changes, and assembled myself all cabinets and hardware. The weirdly shaped kitchen area turned into a super functional kitchen which is now my favorite thing in my house. I will reveal the remodel in one of the posts scheduled to be coming soon.

Worst habit:

My worst habit is sighing. I sigh a lot ( and sometime quite aloud) when I am tired or stressed out, and I drive my husband crazy with my sighs. Lately, my dog started sighing too, and my husband is saying that I have been a bad influence. Sorry, doggy if this has been the case!

If you could only take one candy to a deserted island, what would it be?

It would be a caramel hazelnut candy. It has been my favorite candy since my childhood.

What is your favorite post you have written (please link)?

A Painted Wingback Chair is my favorite post. I have painted an ugly upholstered wingback chair and it turned beautiful. The project was featured in many blogs and it is generating a lot of views.

What is one interest or hobby you have that is completely different from blogging?

I love reading.

Who influences you the most?

I admire Candice Olson’s design style and I like to say that my decor style is influenced by her designs.

Describe yourself in three words:

Hardworking; decisive; honest.

Favorite holiday:

I love all holidays but Thanksgiving is my favorite

BESA GM’s Blogger Nominees


Salvaged Styles



Homemade by Hollie

Circus Berry

Katie Griffith Design




BESA GM’s Nominee Questions

1. Do you have ambitions for your blog? If so, what are they?
2. Where does your blogging inspiration come from?
3. What time of day do you write the best content for your blog?
4. Do you have a post in your blog which is worth seeing but it did not generate the expected views(please link that post if any)
5. If there was a singular wish you could have granted what would you wish for and why?
6. What is your most cherished memory?
7. What is your most common typo?
8. What is the best thing about you?
9. What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?
10.What advice would you give a person who intends to start a blog?

Thanks to all who decide to accept the nomination.

Happy bloging.


Magnolia Leaf Wreath


The time has come to change my fall home decor and get prepared for the coming holiday season. To get into the holiday spirit, I chose my front door as a starting point for the holiday decor.

Last night I made this unique wreath reusing magnolia leaves from one of my previous projects.

I love easy and quick projects that cost $ 0.00, and this was one of them. The leaves used to create the arrangement for my fall decor were perfect fit for a lush, formal yet modern wreath I was aiming to create; so I started by dismantling the arrangement made previously.

Next, using the fallen willow tree branches in my yard I created a wreath base.

To create a rich, lush look I attached the leaf bundles about 1 inch apart in zig zag pattern. I used wire to attach the leaf bundles onto the wreath base.



Using wire, I tied a set of two white painted pine cones and attached several sets on the wreath.
These pinecones were left overs from my Tea Light Centerpiece project.

I decorated a set of pinecones with thumb tacks and placed them as a focal point.

I added some decorative pieces of silver painted decorative dry grass as well as some fresh evergreen branches, and in less than two hours I got this beautiful, lush wreath which I proudly hung on my front porch door.



Even without any additional decoration, the wreath alone instantly added a rich holiday decor look to my porch.


Now that my porch got that festive look, I am looking forward to continue with the overall decor for the coming holidays.

Have you started putting up the holiday decor yet?

Thank you for reading.

Sharing with: A Pretty Life In The Suburbs
Great Thanks to the followig blogsites for featuring this post: A pretty Life in the Suburbs; Our Delightful Home; Momninvore’s Dilema

A Reupholstered Wingback Chair

After a successful completion of the painting project of an upholstered wingback chair I was ready to undertake another DYI challenge; reupholstering a wingback chair.

I have never done a project involving upholstery/reupholstery so to me only the thought of undertaking such a project was kind of intimidating. However, the wingback chair for this project was for free so I would not have to lose that much in case the project did not go well.

I proceeded with the purchase of 5 meters of fabric in a local fabric store as I was impatient to buy online and wait up to a week for delivery. Online fabric selection is huge, and after I finished the project I kind of had regrets for not ordering online the striped fabric that I liked. Well, instead of the lovely striped fabric I now have an unique zig zag one.

Before starting this project I did a bit of research as to what is involved during the reupholstery process. Even though some of the tips and experiences found on the internet were helpful, I faced some challenges which I think were particular to the chair at hand. For example, the fabric and the piping on the wings of the chair required sewing, as oppose to some other chairs where the piping as well as the fabric on the wings are stapled on. I had difficulties fitting perfectly the wing pieces onto the chair after sewing, and I was quite annoyed with this.

I started with stripping off the fabric from the chair. Where to start? You start there where the staples are visible. In my chair the staples were visible at the bottom of the chair. I started at the bottom, and then I removed the back of the chair.
The back part was attached with a strip of 1 inch nails, which I carefully removed and reused later.
After removing the back, you will figure out which part is next for removing. Continue until you remove the last piece.

Take pictures of each step and also mark pieces by numbers and arrows for directions ( up/down/left/right) as this will help for a better placement of the old pattern piece onto the new fabric.
This step (numbering) is also helpful when putting back the new cut pieces as your will refer to numbers, starting to staple a piece with the last number first.

After stripping off the fabric and taking all those staples off, I spray painted the chair legs with Rustoleum-HeirloomWhite and proceeded with the preparation for reupholstering: using a seam ripper I took apart pieces that were sewn together; ironed the old pieces which served as a pattern and sewed the piping (reused the existing one). I did not change the batting since it was still in great condition.
I laid the fabric for cutting, and considering that I had to work around the fabric repeat pattern I had to cut one piece at a time. First I chose which part of the design I wanted to appear on the back of the chair, ( grey zig zag line) and then worked around that design.
I started to apply the new pieces in the opposite order that they were removed, and as I mentioned above if you mark the old pieces with numbers then this process will go smoothly.

Pulling the fabric while stapling is very important, as you will get a tight and nice professional finish. My fabric was not a thicker one so I found the pulling part quite challenging in a way. Another challenge was the fabric repeat pattern. The repeat was every meeter, so considering that I only had five meters (very small amount considering the wide repeat) I had to be extra careful with the pattern placement without jeopardizing the overall design.

I used an electric stapler, and I must say that I was not satisfied with its performance as most of the staples had to be hammered down.

After completing the upholstery process I sewed the cushion, and the chair was done.To add a finishing touch I decorated the upper leg part with nailhead finish.
I used 5 meters of fabric for $8/meter and, considering that I reused all other materials, this project cost me only $40.00 plus tax, which is not too bad for almost a new chair.
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While the process was not too difficult, I found it quite time consuming; however, I would do it again as it is very interesting to see how the chair shapes up during the process.
Finally, all things considered, I am happy with the final reupholstered project, and I am hoping that you too will like this transformation.

So here it is:

the ugly BEFORE,
and much much nicer AFTER

Linking to: Coastal Charm; Our Delightful Home; Give me the Goods Monday; The Scoop; DIY By Design; From My Porch To Yours; The Turqouise Home; No Mininalist Here; Share Your Cup Thursday; The Shabby Nest; Made In A Day; Liz Marie Blog; A Pretty Life In The Suburbs; Creating With the Stars

Great thanks to the following blog for featuring this post: Be Betsy
Thank you for reading.


Small Bathroom Remodel Idea


Several months have passed since we have remodeled our bathroom, and I am very happy with the outcome of the remodel. The bathroom project was the costliest part of the renovation of our old house; however, considering the transformation, I think that this remodel was worth every penny.

For several years the house was a rental and some of the “updates” were made by our long term renter to suit his needs and taste, so there were a lot of things that we had to completely redo or change.

After deciding to take back the possession of our house, the first thing we wanted to change was the bathroom and the kitchen.

The original bathroom was the typical forties bathroom of a small rancher; very small size, small shallow tub, a toilet and a vanity with an overall boring and tired look. Since changing the size of the bathroom was impossible, we were looking for ideas on how to make changes that would create the feel of a larger space.

However, while we wanted the space to feel larger, we had to focus on a design that would not involve changes in plumbing, so this way we would remain within our budget.

In the end we decided to take out the tub and replace it with a walk in shower and frameles glass doors. This decision proved to be the right one as this change alone instantly made the small bathroom feel much larger.

The uninterrupted view created by the frameless shower doors, and uniform tiling throughout, give the impression of spaciousness, diminishing that claustrophobic feel of an old, small bathroom.


The small open shelf bathroom vanity also adds to the feel of spaciousness.

I opted for a frameless vanity mirror to complement the frameless shower door and create an elegant and minimalistic feel. The simple, white narrow shelving below the mirror and above the toilet tank add an interest to that wall. By changing accessories on those shelves I can always create various looks so my bathroom can be always interesting.
The bathroom floor as well as the shower enclosure is tiled all the way up to the ceiling with natural stone mosaic tiles.

Ceiling height tiling created that grand feeling of the shower area, and moreover added to the overall feel of the spaciousness in the bathroom.

I am very happy with this remodel, as my bathroom now feels larger and has a modern vibe with a touch of classic; something I was striving for.

Now, are you ready for that BEFORE and AFTER moment?

So here it is: the very ugly BEFORE,
Before Bath
and much prettier AFTER.13

Have you done any major remodeling lately? I would love to hear from you.

I am linking this post to: The Dedicated House; Coastal Charm; Our Delightful Home; Tuesdays Treasures; Rain On Tin Roof; A Stroll Thru Life; Growing Home; The Turqoise Home; The Scoop
; Inspire Me Please; Common Ground; The Charm Of Home; Share Your Cup Thursday; French Cottage; The Shaby Nest; The Cottage Market; Masterpiece Monday; My Romantic Home

Great thanks to the following blogs for featuring this post: Commona My House; Our Delightful Home; My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia; DIY By Design; From My Porch To Yours; The Cottage Market
Thank you for reading.

Tea Light Centerpiece


Tea lights, known as the most inexpensive candles, are incredibly beautiful when it comes to decorating tabletops and creating mood lighting and festive atmosphere at homes and celebratory areas. There are endless ways to use tea lights, which make them a very versatile decorating item.

Being as inexpensive as they are, most of us tend to have tons of them around the house. I found a box of these yesterday in my pantry (I have no idea how those ended up there) placed next to the bamboo skewers. Tea Lights and bamboo skewers hmm… “I shall create something combining these two”…and a few minutes later, after a short brainstorming for ideas, I was out in my backyard clipping some cedar branches which I intended to use for my Tea Light Centerpiece.

I started by piecing together three to four cedar clippings in a circular shape.

I placed small pieces (1 square inch) of white paper on the front center and at the back center of cedar clippings, and secured them tightly with a stapler.

This way I created a wreath like tea light holder.

To add a distinct festive look, using tacky glue, I wrapped each tea light with white ribbon.

I attached the wreath and a tea light to a bamboo skewer.

Next, I used a florist foam, a Dollar Store plastic silver look plate, pinecones previously painted in white, and 4 pounds of epsom salt to make the arrangement.

And there you go.

It turned out quite neat and nice, and it can be used mainly as a centerpiece for dinner, tea parties or simply as a decor on console tables, sofa tables or elsewhere throughout holiday season.

It is an affordable and easy to make centerpiece. Most importantly it is fun to make and, as simple as it is, it adds elegance to any sitting for this holiday season.


If you decide to make one I would love to hear how yours turned out.

Sharing with: The Scoop; Common Ground; Silver Pennies

Great thanks to the following blog for featuring this post: One More Time Event; Craftionary
Thank you for reading.


Fireplace Screen Mini Makeover


Even though there is no snow and the temperature has not gone below zero as yet, evening after evening we are cozying by and enjoying the fire of our open wood burning fireplace.
As much as I was enjoying the coziness of the fire, I was pretty much disliking the dated and unattractive fireplace screen that we have.
Despite disliking it, I was not ready and willing to pay a big buck for a new one which I like, so I gave my fireplace screen a mini makeover.

I started by creating a (left and right) greek key corner template on a A4 sheet of paper. After creating the template I laid down the screen and positioned the template under the screen.
With a piece of chalk I traced the lines of the greek key onto the screen, using the template placed beneath the screen. Transferring the pattern onto the screen made it easier for stenciling.
Previously, using the mentioned template I created a stencil. I used this stencil to apply the white paint onto the screen.

After applying the paint on four corners, I used the painter’s tape to create a line for joining the greek key corners. After taping off the line, I applied the paint and immediately removed the tape.
And that was it.

In less than an hour, I had an updated fireplace screen which I instantly started liking.
These simple corners in white acrylic paint added an interesting detail and modern touch to a fairly dated fireplace screen.

Now I am fully enjoying the fireplace as well as the coziness of the fire coming through the screen which underwent a quick and successful makeover.

Is your fireplace screen in need of a makeover? If so, perhaps you may consider updating it using this or similar design!
Linking to: The Shabby Nest; Dwellings; Coastal Charm; Give Me The Goods; Make it Pretty Monday; Emanuela@ My Little Inspirations; Bloom Designs; Common Ground Thrifty Things Friday; The Charm of Home; Life After Laundry; Embracing Change; The Shabby Nest; The Cottage Market; The Girl Creative; My Romantic Home; Liz Marie Blog

Great Thanks to these lovely blogsites for featuring this post: Maison De Pax; Life After Laundry; Salt Tree; <a href="

Liz Marie Blog

” title=”Liz Marie Blog”>Liz Marie Blog
Thank you for reading.

Jack Daniel’s Bottle Hack


As I already mentioned I love everything pumpkin, but my fall favorite is the famous Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Late. I was a bit disappointed to find out that in fact this spicy, I mean pricy, late I have been consuming every season has zero pumpkin in it, so lately I started making my own pumpkin spice lattes.

After trying many pumpkin spice syrup recipes circulating on the internet I have developed my own, which is loaded with homemade pumpkin pyre, and a right balance of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove and allspice.

However, this post is not about my pumpkin spice syrup recipe, but it is about the bottle that I “hacked” to store this syrup.

You may agree that Jack Daniel’s Whisky bottle and the label have an unique design, and I have always wanted to find the way to repurpose them.

Last night, while I was baking a huge Jack O-Lantern, I spotted an empty Jack Daniel’s Whisky bottle in the recycle bin, and this is how I came up with the idea of hacking the “JACK” bottle.


I wanted to keep some of the original design and get rid of the lettering, so I taped off the original design that I wanted to show. Next, I painted black the white lettering on the label and allowed to dry.

Using the Windows-Word Art and different fonts, I typed the text which I wanted to place on the label.

After printing I cut the text to the desired sizes and created small labels. Using a black marker I went over the edges of each label to create an aged look. I glued these labels onto the desired spots as shown, and gave each a coat of clear nail polish to stand the wear and tear.

I thought that using this bottle as a pump would be more efficient, so I used one of the dish detergent pumps from my kitchen and the pump screw fitted perfectly to the bottle screw.

Now my coffee station is perfectly complete with this unique bottle of my very own pumpkin spice syrup, the recipe of which I will be sharing next time.



Have you “hacked” something lately? I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading.


Mom’s Apple Squares

Growing up apples squares made by my mom were my fall favorite. I was not an apple fan back then, but if apples were part of any cake or pie I could eat them with pleasure. However, the apple cake or pie had to have a lot of cinnamon for me to enjoy it fully, so my mom used to add an extra “shot” of cinnamon to suit my taste.
So if you are an apple and cinnamon fan then this is a recipe for you.
It is easy to make, does not require a lot of ingredients and it only takes 20 minutes to make and about 50 minutes to bake.
The time spent to make and bake this recipe is totally worth it, as you will end up with a delicious desert that fills your home with a wonderful aroma.

It can be served as a warm desert topped with vanilla ice cream, or cold served with tea or coffee.


500 gram sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
250 gram butter or margarine, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Apple Filling:
6-7 skin on grated tart apples
4 tablespoons brown sugar 
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Powdered sugar for serving.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 9×9 inch pan. with parchment paper. Sift together flour, baking powder, and set aside.
In a small bowl mix together grated apples, sugar and cinnamon, and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together melted butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Add milk. Blend in the flour mixture until combined. Spread half of the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Spread the apple filling over the batter mixture. Spoon over the remaining batter mixture over the apple filling. I
Bake for 50 minutes in preheated oven. Cool in the pan, and cut into squares, and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Enjoy as much as I do.

Sharing with Common Ground; Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Thank you for reading.


A Painted Wingback Chair

Ever since entering the world of blogland I have seen quite a few painted wing chairs and sofas from bloggers out there, and many of them are quite fantastic.

While I was convinced that paint can fix and bring up to date almost everything, I was not sure whether the ordinary latex interior paint could fix and bring a cast-off chair into an up-to-date furnishing, so I wanted to undertake a challenge of painting an outdated wingback chair.

I found two (quite ugly) wingback chairs in the local adds for free, and had some leftovers of different colors of latex interior and exterior paint so I decided to paint one of the chairs.

I partially followed the instructions of Hyphen Interiors for painting a chair. I did not use the textile medium as I found this product to be quite expensive. Textile medium is a permanent bonding solution that when mixed with paint will become permanent to fabric, so when you wash the fabric the paint or the dye does not come off.

I used:
Less than 1 Quart of Latex Water Based Paint-White
1/2 Quart of Latex Water Based Paint-BM Sea Haze
Spray Bottle full of water
2 inch paint brush
sponge brush for edges
Sponge roller
Spray paint- white
Thumbtacks- about 200
Total cost of the project: $1.25 for a package(300 counts) of thumbtacks purchased at a Dollar Store.

I mixed 1 part of white latex paint and 1 part water for the first and second coat. For the third and fourth coat I mixed 1 part of paint and 1/4 water. During the first and second coat I lightly sprayed the fabric with water before applying the paint. The spraying helps the paint to evenly penetrate into the fabric. I used a sponge roller to apply the first and second coat and small sponge brush for painting the edges and the piping. The third and fourth coat was applied with the brush. I did not sand between the coats as suggested by many bloggers who undertook this challenge previously, and I was satisfied with the results I was getting.
For the back and the sides of the chair I used undiluted paint and gave the chair two coats of paint-Benjamin Moore’s Sea Haze.I applied this color with a roller. Initially I started with Foothills – Sherwin Williams but I was not happy with the color choice so I switched to BM Sea Haze, and I am so glad I did.
I allowed 24 hours between applying each coat.

I spray painted the legs with Rust-Oleum-heirloom white.
After applying all these coats of paint, the fabric turns into a vinyl/leather like material, so if you like leather you will be okay with it. My husband tried the chair, and his comment was funny: “it feels like you are sitting on heavy starched linens”. It made me laugh to tears.
Lastly , using a template as shown in the picture below, I nailed the thumbtacks about 1/2 inch apart around the piping on the wings and on the front bottom of the chair.
After drying, the paint does not get on your clothes even without the use of the textile medium. Moreover the paint does not crack when you sit on the chair. I am not sure what will happen after a while, but for now it seems that this chair may have a long life ahead.
Even though it may appear like a daunting and lengthy painting process, I did not find it as such. It was not tiresome either, considering that you only spend about 30-40 minutes of your time for each coat every 24 hours. It is a bit messy process though as it involves paint and a bulky chair in the middle of your garage (carport in my case),backyard or an indoor space, but other than that it is a fun project to undertake, especially if you are happy how your project is coming along.

I am happy that my challenge paid of so the ugly wingback chair turned into a beautiful white swan.
Unfortunately, due to the limited space in my home I cannot make a use of this chair, so I am thinking of donating it to one of the charities in the area I live. It would be a perfect furnishing for a girl’s room, nursery or as an accent chair in a bedroom, hallway or elsewhere. Depending on the accessories, this chair may add a romantic feel as well as dramatic look to any space.
Do you have a chair in need of a face-lift? Well you may try painting it. It may turn as beautiful as my chair.
Before - Wingback

Linking to: The Shaby Nest; 504 Main; Romantic Home; Classy Clutter; Dwellings; By Stephanie Lynn; Liz Marie Blog; A Blossoming Life; Coastal Charm; DIY Showoff; Crafty Allie; The Charm of Home; Serenity Now; Give Me The Goods Monday; Silver Pennies

Great thanks to these lovely blogsites for featuring this post: Blissfully Ever After, The Cottage Market; The Shabby Nest: Serenity Now; Dimples and Pig Tales; Carrie This Home; A Pretty Life in the Suburbs, Lovely Crafty Home; Power of Paint
Thank you for reading.


Pom Pom-Edged Blanket

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These past few days we are experiencing a nice rainless sunny wether, so I take every opportunity to spend the afternoons lounging on the sun at my backyard porch curled up with my favorite blanket.

I have had two checked lambswool blankets for over 20 years, and even though throughout these years I bought other different throws and blankets, none of them was good enough to replace my favorite oldies.

However, the age has taken its toll so these oldies are getting thinner and quite fringeless, so in order to make them more fun and to add to them a bit of texture, I replaced the remains of the fringe with huge pompoms. Pompoms are fun, and for me they evoke nice childhood memories, warmth, coziness…

I found a very suitable bulky loosely twisted yarn (BERNST Rowing -5) at craft store, in cream and black. I got one ball-100gram (120 yards) in each color.

To create pompoms I made 2 cardboard rings (3 inches in diameter) as shown below. I started wrapping the yearn around the ring about several times until I wrapped about 18 yards (for each pom).
Once I have wrapped the yarn around the rings, I placed one scissor tip into the loops and started cutting the loops open.
I slightly separated the cardboard rings and using another piece of yarn, at about 7 inch in length, I tied off the center tightly and securely. Once it’s knotted, I had a “ two-strand tail” so I could attach the pompom to the blanket.

Once the yarn was tied, I slowly removed the rings from the cut yarn, and I had a beautiful pompom in less than 10 minutes.

Since my blanket was quite worn at the edges, I had to create kind of a blanket stitch (using a crochet needle) before attaching the pompoms. I used the “two strand-tail” to fasten the pompom to the blanket.
Now that I have revived my favorite blankets I am looking forward to sunny fall afternoons at my backyard porch, and cozy nights by the fireplace.

I hope that that my dog is going to resist to these fluffy balls of fun. I had a hard time keeping him away from the yarn while I was working on pompoms.
Do you have an old blanket or throw which you would like to keep it forever? I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading.

P.S. Linking to Silver Pennies Sundays Link Party; Nifty Thrifty Things Sunday, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson; Common Ground; We Call It Junkin; The Shabby Nest; Embracing Change; Made In A Day
Great thanks to the following blogsites for featuring this post: Embracing Change; Have a Daily Cup of MRs. Olson; Made In A Day; Stephanie Lynn

Coffee Filter Wall Art

Few weeks ago I was reorganizing my pantry, and I came across to a huge bunch of white basket coffee filters. I remembered that those, quite while ago, were mistakenly purchased by my husband who “forgot” that our coffee machine “accepts” only the cone ones. It appears that I have never returned them or threw them away. It looks like that these coffee filters were meant to be utilized by us, so I had to come up with the idea on how to use them somehow.

I have seen on Pintrest a lot of creative ideas with coffee filters, but I wanted to do something different, so my take on coffee filters is this:
In my shed I found a piece of round shaped Plexiglas, so I only had to figure out how am I going to shape and attach coffee filters onto a Plexiglas. I came with the idea of sewing them on to a ribbon about half inch apart as I thought I could shape them easily the way I want.

I started by folding a coffee filter in the middle, ruffled it, and attached the tip of the filter on to a ribbon. I continued with the rest of the filters leaving about 1/2 inch in between.

I created the pattern from the kitchen paper towel and stitched the ruffled coffee filters onto it as shown below.
Previously, I have drilled the holes in to a Plexiglas to create the hanging hook.

I looped a ribbon into the holes and created a hanging hook.
I painted the edge of the Plexiglas with acrylic “Artist’s Loft” paint in Antique Gold from Michael’s.
I glued the ruffled coffee filters onto the Plexiglas and superglued on the framed portrait scissor art from our (long time ago) trip to Disneyland.
It was really a surprise to see that coffee filters could make such a pleasant wall decor.

Did you make something out of coffee filters, and how did your project turn out? I would love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading.

Linking up to Liz Marie Blog; Elisabeth & Co; Classy Clutter; Be Different Act Normal; Life on Lakeshore Drive; Sew Many Ways; Dwellings
Great thanks to the following blog for featuring this project: The Cottage Market

Pumpkin Decor Idea


Lately, the traditional jack-o’-lantern is being replaced by more glamorous pumpkin decorating, so I easily and happily embraced this trend.

Few days ago I picked up another big jack-o lantern pumpkin at my nearby grocery store, and this time instead of chopping it up and making it ready for my cakes, pies and soups, I decided to give it a glam makeover.

I wanted to incorporate thumbtacks in my pumpkin decor. I already had a few which were a left over from another project. I also had white and gray spray paint cans, and I thought this color scheme would be a perfect match for the high gloss nickel thumbtacks.

The pumpkin I picked was flat in one side, so this imperfection gave me an inspiration for my design. The whole design idea of my painted jack-o-lantern evolves over the flat side of this pumpkin.

After taping off the stem I spray painted gray the flat side, and continued with a 4 inch line all around the center of the pumpkin.

In order to proceed with the white color I made a pattern, as shown below, from the kitchen towel paper to cover the gray which I originally wanted to be shown on the design.

Something went wrong, and while removing the paper towel the gray paint peeled off in some spots, so I had to cover this with what I had at hand. IMG_6837

As you can see it was a black glossy paint, another left over can of paint from my porch railing project.
Luckily, it turned better than I expected, even though I was not as precise as I should have been while covering the gray. However, the thumbtacks take away the attention from the sloppy job done with the black, so all in all it turned out nice.6

After placing the thumbtacks, I used white french manicure nail polish to “engrave” our monogram “M”, and the glamorous pumpkin was ready to take the stage.

I placed it in an ice bucket, and surrounded it with a hand made wreath of fresh cut snowberries. I like these juicy white pearl like berries, and I wanted to incorporate those in this year’s fall and holiday decor.

Who would think that a pumpkin can add a touch of glam to a place or setting. Well this is a prove that it can, so do you feel like swapping pumpkin orange for another color this fall?
If so then try this glamorous pumpkin makeover.
Thank you for reading.

Embracing Change


Sharing with Our Delightful Home; Common Ground; The Charm of Home; The Trhiftiness Miss ; Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olson ; French Country Cottage ; The Romantic Home; Under the Table and Dreaming; A Dedicated House; Home Stories, Serendipity Spice; DIY Show Off


Magnolia Leaf Arrangement For My Fall Mantel Decor


I find magnolia leaves breathtaking. They are shiny green on one side, and velvety, cinnamon brown on the reverse. Even the fallen and dried ones have that distinct rich shine and beautiful, beautiful fall colors.

I do not have such a tree in my front or back yard, but luckily there is one in my neighbor’s front yard , so I can enjoy this beautiful tree all year around, and even sometimes pick up its fallen leaves for my floral arrangement.

We have experienced quite a stormy whether during past week, so as a result my front yard was full of fallen magnolia leaves. This made me very happy as I was planning to change my mantel decor to welcome the fall, and magnolia leaves were a perfect fit for fall decor.

Few days ago I bought two metal decoration balls, and after collecting all the fallen magnolia leaves in my front yard I started thinking on how I could arrange these leaves into these balls.

I started by making the bundles of five to six leaves each, starting with brown/yellow leaves and finishing with one green on top. After bundling them up I tied them together with elastic band and started arranging the bundles into the ball.

At this point I decided to use the wire as I figured that elastic is not working anymore. I started wiring on bundles of leaves at the top of the ball, and continued all the way down. I tied them tight and kept them as close as possible, so I could create a full look.

After achieving the desired look I placed the arrangement into a white bowl to create the stability, and showcased it on the mantel.

I have replaced the mirror used for my summer mantel decor with the wall art purchased few years back at Bombay & Co. After moving to our new place, this framed art (stored in my closet for months) was patiently waiting to get hanged and displayed in a decent place, so I am glad that now these pieces of art got the focal point.6

The colors in the hand painted glass complement the magnolia leaf arrangement, and the white surround within the frame complements the white fireplace trim, so there is a right balance and nice transition from dark to bright colors. The candle holder in gold goes nicely with the touches of gold in the glass painting. Touches of gold in home decor accessories have been quite trendy in 2013; “ hence, some touch of gold in my mantel decor”.


I think that my fall mantel looks pretty and elegant. What do you think? I would love to hear from you about how you have incorporated magnolia leaves into your home decor.

Thank you for reading.
Linking to: A Stroll Thru Life ; Common Ground; The Charm of Home; Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Pumpkin Cake With Homemade Caramel Sauce

pumpkin cake

Fall has arrived and has brought us the yummy pumpkins along. For me, nothing defines this season more then pumpkin and the spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove and allspice. I love to incorporate any of these spices in recipes that do not call for pumpkin, but but when these spices are combined with the lovely pumpkin, it just tastes heaaavenly good.

The other day I bought a huge pumpkin and as soon as I got home I chopped it into big chunks, discarded the seeds, cleaned it thoroughly, and baked it in the oven with its skin on. After two hours in a 400 F the pumpkin was as soft as butter so i could easily spoon out the flesh from its skin. I ended up with a huge batch of pumpkin pure, and I thought there is going to be a lot of soup, pies, and cakes for the weeks to come.

I started with my favorite Pumpkin Cake and topped it with Homemade Caramel Sauce. I was glad to find the recipe for this decadent homemade caramel sauce created by Jamie from My Baking Addiction Blog. Previously, I have used other caramel sauce recipes, and honestly, they can not compare with this one.

So here is the recipe for this supper yummy cake, which can be enjoyed by anyone during this lovely season.

• 1 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 4 eggs
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon allspice
• 1 cup pureed pumpkin ( or canned)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3 Tablespoons sour cream
• 1/2 cup walnuts

Cream butter. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar, beating well at medium speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add pumpkin and mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add to creamed mixture, mixing just until blended. Gently fold in vanilla, sour cream and nuts.
Pour the mixture into a pan layered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely for about one hour.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

As I mentioned above this caramel sauce was developed by Jamie from the My Baking Addiction Blog .

1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon corn syrup 1/4 liquid cup water 1/2 liquid cup heavy cream, heated until warm 2 tablespoons unsalted butter ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In a heavy saucepan (at least 5 cup capacity), stir together the sugar, syrup, and water until the sugar is completely moistened. Place your candy thermometer into the pot taking care that it is tip in immersed into the sugar mixture.
2. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring completely and allow it to boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber (like the color of Bass Ale) (see notes below). Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel. It will bubble up furiously.
3. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until smooth, scraping up the thicker part that settles on the bottom. If any lumps develop, return the pan to the heat and stir until they dissolve. Stir in the butter and salt. The mixture will be streaky but will become uniform after cooling slightly and stirring.
Allow the sauce to cool for 3 minutes. Gently stir in the vanilla extract.

Let it cool at room temperature and spoon sauce over cooled cake. If you make a double batch of caramel sauce, you may additionally spoon it over each slice of cake. I know it will become a calorie bomb, but for the sake of the full enjoyment of this cake you should have an extra sauce over, at least, every second slice you have. PUMPKIN 5

What is your fall favorite cake or desert? If you happen to try this recipe please let me know how your cake turned out.pumpkin cake

Thank You for reading.


Cheering Up a MALM Bed Frame

bed paintThe Malm bed frame at IKEA has a simple profile and it is a good choice for those who prefer clean design lines. I got one of them eight years ago as I thought it was a perfect choice for my condo bedroom below. The bedrooom has an odd shape and did not offer many design choices, so I decided to get this frame as it seemed to fit nicely with the matching PAX wardrobe.
condo bedroom

After moving out from my condo, I took the Malm bed with me; however, its red-ish color did not go well with a piece of furniture which I was forced to accommodate in my current bedroom. To make things work I did what all DIY-ers do – I PAINTED IT.
I used the Minwax Wood Finish in Onix Gray. The reason that I decided to use this paint in this specific color is pretty simple: it was a leftover from another project, and I wanted to give it a try and see how it works on veneer.
First I tested the paint at the back of the nightstand by applying it with a lint free cloth in horizontal strokes. I was happy with the first result, so I continued painting the remaining parts of the bed.

I did not do any prior sanding, as I was not sure whether the veneer could be sanded. However, prior to starting with the paint, I thoroughly cleaned the surface with a dump cloth so they were completely free of dust.
After two coats of paint and two nights sleep in our sofa (waiting for the paint to cure) the result was amazing.
The Onix Gray shade applied over the red-ish veneer turned into a deep, rich espresso brown. The horizontal strokes applied during the painting process appear to give a cheerful look to a boring veneer.
It has been over two weeks that I completed this project, and I have been noticing that the paint has tendencies of scratching easily, so I would not recommend it for desks or surfaces involving high traffic.
bed paint

Anyhow, for now my bedroom looks much nicer, and I got the feeling that the bed frame has been cheered up.As far as the the small scratches is concerned there is always a quick fix with a paint touch up.

Have you used Minwax Wood Finish over veneer? If so, I would love to hear your experiences with this type of product on veneer.

Thank you for reading.


Watermelon Mojito

It is a long summer and I am enjoying it at my country seaside vacation home where there are no restaurants and bars around. Some may find this as an inconvenience, but for me it is an ideal way of enjoying the summer. This is a chance to disconnect from busy city life and some of the hassles it brings along. However, the lack of bars and restaurants near my vacations place does not mean that I have to deprive myself from the cool refreshing drinks while I am soaking in the summer sun.

This summer I found a perfect summer drink recipe that I am enjoying with my sisters while sunbathing at the beach.
This Watermelon Mojito screams “let’s cool off” with its bright colors and sweet fruit flavors. In addition to the mint, the watermelon gives this drink a perfect refreshing flavor, exactly what you need on a hot summer day.

What is your favorite drink this summer?

Thank you for reading.


Mantel Decorating Ideas for Summer

Until recently, I left my fireplace mantel bare naked. Shame on me! I did not have a fireplace in my previous place, so I was lacking accessories to instantly decorate the mantel. As a result my fireplace mantel remained naked for a while, until I figured out what kind of mantel decor to incorporate so it would fit this time of year.

Few days ago I went shopping and I found this nicely shaped mirror at Home Sense, luckily at a half price. Not exactly what I was looking for, but it will do the job for now. The shape of the mirror fits my design idea for my mantel decor, but I would really prefer if the frame was much thicker. Well, sometimes you cannot have it all….
I painted the frame in white so it would nicely blend with the fireplace trim. For the decor I used these glass vases which I already had them from last year. I filled them each with silk white flower and added some greenery for color. Fresh cut flowers, such as white hydrangeas blossoms would suit better, but I just did not have them at the time of creating this design. Adjacent the large glass vase I placed two small oval shaped laboratory glasses from CB2. To add color, I also placed some moss and dried rhododendron leaves in those tiny ones.I also added a white round shaped glass vase from Ikea and two beach rocks collected in one of our recent vacations. IMG_6070_1
Inside the fireplace I placed a piece of a tree root painted in white. I found this piece this spring in English Bay Beach, Vancouver, and I used it as a decoration in its natural color for a while. Beach wood is being used largely in decor lately.

To compliment the summer decor of the mantel, I decided to paint this piece in white and I inserted it in the fireplace.
To add a sparkle to the cavity of the fireplace, I am using four led battery operated candles. I have masked those around the root branches, so no one can tell where those candle lights are coming from. It feels quite calming in the evening, and creates a nice focal point.

In my view everything has blended nicely together, and it feels fresh, crisp and fun. Just what we need for those hot summer days which are expected soon.

Does your fireplace mantel need to get dressed up? Do you change your fireplace mantel decor to reflect the change of to the seasons?

Thank you for reading and have a nice weekend.


Completed Renovation of our Old House


It has been about three weeks that we finally moved in to another city and we are in the process of adding finishing touches to our newly renovated house

It has been a lot of work inside and out since we moved in, and I am feeling quite tired from all of the unexpected work I have come across in the past few days. On the day we moved in, the renovation seemed finished and i thought there are only few things left that can be managed easily.

Well, I was wrong. We needed the installation of our new kitchen and even though I have assembled all the kitchen cabinets myself in a record time, the arranging for the installation of the wall cabinets, the countertop and appliances took more time than I have expected. Luckily, now I have the cook top installed so I can prepare hot meals at home, but my oven is till in the middle of the living room waiting for installation by the electrician.

I am very happy with the choices we made with regard to the color scheme, the materials we used etc. For the flooring we chose 12.3mm ENVY Laminate Flooring Silver Maple color and it very well coordinated with chosen enterior colors which are Silver Plate for the walls and Cotton White for the trim, both by Sherwin Williams. The old tiling adjacent to the fireplace has been replaced with black granite tiles, and the new 6 inch baseboards has added a nice and rich finishing touch throughout. The decision to remove the wall dividing the living room from the kitchen and replacing the kitchen window with the french door proved to have been the right one. The space now looks and feels larger, and moreover provides a direct access to the backyard. Previously, we had to use the laundry room door to get to the backyard, and it was an inconvenience.


During the past few days I was busy with the back yard. It is huge, and during more than a decade it has been grossly neglected by the renters. One portion of the yard was filled with scraps of wood and other junk, so it took us a lot of muscle work, two full days and three trips to the landfill with full truck loads to clean that mess up. Finally, my backyard is free of junk and does not resemble to a yard of a hoarder.
I have planted a lot of hydrangeas along the fence and I hope that those will do well considering that it is a shady yard as result of two huge willow trees.

Today I planted a few lavender plants in this built in planter (or a flower bed or whatever the creator called it) made by one of my previous renters. Even though I dislike very much the design of this planter, it would require a lot of work for demolition and disposal, so I decided to keep it for a while, hoping that lavenders will grow tall enough to cover it.
One little thing that fills up our flowerless big yard is our adorable 11 weeks old puppy. He was eight weeks (as seen in the photo) the day we got him, and it is amazing how much he has grown in just three weeks.

In a few days i will be leaving for a long vacation overseas so when I come back after two months, I assume that my puppy will be grown to a full size dog.

Thank you for reading.


Tres Leches Cake


As I mentioned in my last post my old house is undergoing some “serious” renovation, and according to our contractor it will be ready in few days. Well better be it ready as I am half way to finish my packing for this big move, and have already confirmed the schedule with the moving company, so “few days” should really mean few days.

I will be out of my condo and leaving the beautiful Vancouver, believe or not, in these “few days”. I have grown pretty close to this city and all things it has to offer: great outdoors, plenty of diverse restaurants, entertainment, shopping and list goes on and on, so I will be needing some time to adjust to the new, very quiet and not so vibrant city I am moving in. Well, I think that I am pretty good at adapting so I am sure I will handle this one good too.

However, let me be clear, one thing that I will not be missing for sure is Vancouver’s RAIN, RAIN, RAIN. Yes, I repeated it three times because it rains in Vancouver more than one could ever take so, being a light and sun lover like myself, I found the clouds and RAIN in this city to be quite bothersome at times.

While being in the midst of packing, there is no time for cooking and baking so I am showing you the last cake that I prepared two weeks ago in my kitchen.

It’s a Tres Leche Cake which simply translates to three milk cake.

This cake is considered to be a traditional Mexican dessert and it is very popular throughout Latin America. It is a sponge cake soaked in three types of milk – condensed milk, evaporated milk and, depending on the recipe, half and half, whole milk or heavy cream.
Lately, this recipe has become extremely popular in my home country, so if you are a Tres Leches fun you will find the “TRE LEQE” cake everywhere over there: in restaurants as a desert; in coffee shops; bakeries; supermarkets, and even in grocery stores. If you happen to be invited as a guest or if you are paying a simple short visit to someone over there, be prepared that most likely you will be served with the “tre leqe”, because this cake has currently reached its popularity peak and has become the “cake to be served” kind of cake.
Even though it is very tasty, fluffy, creamy and rich cake I do not fancy it that much, but my husband loves it so I have made this cake quite often lately. I used different recipes, and have also tried a family recipe from a friend in Spain, but I have come up with this easy and light version of this cake.

So here is my version of this cake.

 1 cup All-purpose Flour
 1-1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
 1/4 teaspoon Salt
 5 whole Eggs
 1 cup Sugar, Divided
 1 teaspoon Vanilla
 1/3 cup Milk
 1 can Evaporated Milk
 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
 ½ cup Condensed Milk Caramel Flavor

 2 packages instant desert toping

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees ‘F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan until coated and dust it with flour.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.
Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.
Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a ire rack and allow to cool.
Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher or another dish with a spout. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.
Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. To ice the cake, prepare 2 packages of the instant desert topping according to the package instruction.
Spread over the surface of the cake or decorate it by piping the topping. I have used an open star Willson tip to decorate the cake. Pour caramel flavor Dolche de Leches over the icing. It will give an extra layer of flavor to the cake, and will taste delicious. Cut into squares and serve. The cake is best if served a day after as to allow for the flavors to incorporate and for the sponge to absorb the milk.
If you try this recipe I would love to hear from you on how your cake turned out.
Thank you for reading.

Renovation of Our Old House

After immigrating to Canada our goal, among so many other goals, was to own a home. It was not a very simple goal to accomplish though. Immediately after settling my husband and I worked odd jobs which did not pay much, but this did not discourage us from the desire to own a home.

During our first year in Canada we managed to build a good credit and save some money for a down payment so our mortgage application was approved easily. However, considering the low paid jobs at that time we could only purchase a small starter home so we were lucky to find a small, ranch-style home in a good location. The house was old and small, but it was well maintained and had a huge immaculate yard with two willow trees that gave the backyard a peaceful look.

Because of our job opportunities we had to move to another places so we lived in this house for only 14 months. Since then the house has been a rental, and this May 2013 it reached its 15th year of rental anniversary. Lately, we decided to go back to live in this house but ,after the last visit with the renters, we realized that in order to live there we needed to undertake major renovation.

The day the renters vacated the house we started with the “demolition”, and this is how the living room looked at about 12.00 am on 1 May 2013.

We removed the part of the wall that divided the kitchen and the living room. This was a MUST because we love open spaces, and moreover this will create an illusion of a larger space, something that everybody strives for.

In order to have a direct access to the backyard from the kitchen, we are replacing the kitchen window with a french door, so beside the practicality this alteration will bring more light to the space. Natural light is also another MUST to the space I occupy, as I may be described as a person who can function at its best in a space that boasts tons of natural light.

Even at this rough stage I am loving how it turned out. The space instantly feels larger and brighter.

We are also replacing everything in the bathroom, so this is the last shot from the old bathroom and every item in this picture is now in the landfill including the drywall throughout, as well as the flooring. The bathroom walls are being redone using a moisture resistant boards and we are doing new plumbing too.

The tub is being replaced with a walk in shower and we have chosen the slate tiles for the shower surround and the bathroom floor.

In order to have an unified flooring surface throughout the house we are putting new flooring on top of the exiting one, and also the baseboards will be replaced with 6” wide ones.

Everything is selected and delivered, and awaiting the implementation.

Since this renovation is taking place in another city we took a trip and stayed almost a week in a hotel so we could oversee the beginning of the project and select and bye the needed material. However, we had to return back to Vancouver so I am now just praying that everything will turn out as I have envisioned and planned.

Even though renovations and remodeling can be quite stressful, for me such undertakings have always represented fun and joy, so I am quite exited about this project too. I will, therefore, share with you this fun and excitement by keeping you updated on how this project is coming along, and I hope you will enjoy it too.

I am sure that you would like to see those “before” and “after” pictures which will be coming soon, so visit my blog to check those out.

Thank you for reading.


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