Dans le Lakehouse

Home & life on the shores of lake superior

February 5, 2016

DIY Dolly Mix Valentine's Day Card + Treat Bag in One

DIY Valentine Card and Goody Bag

In elementary school, I was the weird kid who brought homemade Valentine's Day cards to school while everyone else doled out Ninja Turtle emblazoned missives.  Frankly, I don't remember much about those years, but I do remember sitting at the kitchen table with my Mom, making those cards.  Hubby and I both have such strange work schedules that days of the week, and especially special occasions, often pass us in a blur, but this year I remembered about Valentine's Day and whipped up something cute for our niece and nephew:  homemade Valentine's Day cards + goody bags in one!

Candy Stuffed Valentine Card
Handmade Valentine Card

Adorable right?  These easy Valentine's Day card come stuffed with candy so I'm sure they will be a hit!  I don't think a tutorial is really necessary, but 'll outline the steps and supplies below just in case - you're at least going to want to know about the insanely cute, pint-sized Dolly Mix I used...


DIY Valentine Goody Bag

First I cut some paper to the same width as the bags with my paper cutter.  I folded it in half and then wrote a little message across the top with a gold pen (I also signed our names and "xoxo" on the back).  Then I added a row of hand-painted hearts and set the cards aside to dry.  It took quite a bit of practice on scrap paper to achieve the effortlessly perfect swoopy heart.

While I waited, I filled two treat bags with Dolly mix.  I went to the bulk store in search of heart shaped candies but stumbled across this British confection instead.  Apparently it's been around since the 1920s and I love that it (the Waterbridge brand, at least) uses completely natural flavors and colours. 

Dolly Mix

Look how teeny!

Dolly Mix Size

Sure, this treat packs a lot of sugar (and I feel guilty about that), but the pieces are small and made to scale for tiny little hands.  My hope is that they'll devour it more slowly!

DIY Candy Treat Bag
DIY Valentine Craft Ideas

Once the cards were dry, I slid a folded card over the top of each treat bag and stapled it near the bottom in two places. 

Sweet Goody Bag

I threaded a length of ribbon through the card and then wrapped it front to back before tying it in a bow at the front - the ribbon hides the staples.

Valentine Cards Kids Can Make
DIY Valentine Card for Kids
Valentine Card and Goody Bag in One
Easy Valentine Craft Ideas

Easy peasy!  A cute homemade card and sack of sugar in one!  Now I need to make sure that:

A. I remember to actually bring these treats to the kiddos on Valentine's Day
B. I don't crack open each sack, inhale the Dolly Mix, and pretend that I forgot V-Day again this year

Valentine Craft with Kids
Handmade Valentine Card Idea
DIY Valentine Treat Bag

February 4, 2016

See Our Old Townhouse, Decorated by the New Owners!

Townhouse tour

In the fall I was outside on the deck, making my evergreen wreath, when Hubby called me from work:

Hubs: "Hey, how are you?"
Me: "Bleeding and covered in sap."
Hubs: "Oh my god, why?"
Me: "I'm making a wreath."
Hubs: "Oh. Well, do you have a minute to go to your computer?"
Me: "Is this another Movember video about why mustaches aren't creepy? Because I want to finish this wreath before it gets dark and the zombies come out. Can I look at whatever this is later?"
Hubs: "Yeah, sure, I'll send you the link. The townhouse is for sale."
Me: "Wait, what? Our townhouse?"
Hubs (smugly): "Yep."
Me: "Alright, I'll head to my desk right now."
Hubs: "Thought you might"

It is the weirdest thing to see your former home lived in and decorated by someone else!  I have been waiting for this moment for two years, hoping the new owners would sell and that we'd get a chance to peek inside and see what they changed/what they kept.

Of course, I immediately wanted to share with you, because so many of you were with me back when we were decorating the townhouse and you were there for the emotional (and disappointing) experience of selling it to buy our dream home.  But then I wondered if sharing photos would constitute some kind of invasion of privacy?  I waited months, mulling it over.  Finally I figured that because the listing photos could be accessed publicly - it's not like I'm snagging them from a private Facebook page or something - that it's okay.  It's been staged and photographed for sale, and therefore public viewing, so I'm sure any embarrassing and extremely personal items have been removed.   

To show a fair comparison, I've included photos I took of the townhouse, as a reminder of how we lived in it, and then I've shared a direct comparison of the real estate photos.  Listing photos don't tend to be very flattering, so I thought that it's only fair to compare them.  You can see the full townhouse tour by clicking here and to see the two sets of real estate photos taken when we sold the townhouse, check out this post!

Welcome back to the townhouse!  Here's what the hallway and front entrance looked like when we lived there:

Townhouse decorating ideas

It looked a lot plainer for the real estate listing photos.  The new owners (bottom photo) added shelves where we had an occasional table (and later, a bar cart). 

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
Here's our old powder room, which we painted right before listing.

Aqua powder room

Although I accidentally chose way too bold a hue, the new owners didn't paint! 

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
I loved our living room because it had a wood burning fireplace and so much light!

Natural brick fireplace
How to decorate around a brick fireplace

The new owners didn't paint the brick fireplace in the living room!  I would have been so disappointed if they had, because I'd wanted to do it but kept it natural for re-sale.  I am so jealous that they replaced the old, rickety sliding patio doors - something we wanted to do, but we'd already spent so much money updating this place.  The new white doors really brighten the space and make it look so much more modern.

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
Here's a different angle of the living room, this time their photo is the top one:

Top Photo: Now // Bottom Photo:When it Was Ours
Not much changed in the dining room, either.  Here's a reminder of what it looked like when we lived there:

Small dining room

It's kind of hilarious how similar our old dining room chairs were to theirs!  The new owners kept the light fixture we chose, as well as the layered sheer curtains.

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
I am so thrilled to finally have turquoise kitchen cabinets, but I do miss things about the old kitchen, like our DIY houndstooth tile backsplash and brand spanking new fridge.  Ugh, our appliances in the lakehouse are all so old and rickety (please don't tell them I said that - my appliances always fail after I've spoken ill of them).

Decorating around wood kitchen cabinets
MCM table with houndstooth upholstery

I thought the new owners might paint the kitchen cabinets, another project I wanted to tackle but didn't because I was warned it would alienate some potential buyers (plus Hubby loved the wood).  The new owners didn't paint, but they did replace the fabulous cantilevered light fixture we found for above the sink, where there was an off center junction box.  It took ages to find that and it made the off centered box look intentional.  I am so curious as to why they swapped it out...

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
When we lived there, the townhouse master bedroom was used as our guest space because it had a handy powder room that gave guests some privacy. 

White bedroom with pops of color
Mint green retro chair and table

We staged the room as a master for sale, which is how the new owners use it.  They invested in new blinds (unsurprisingly, because our DIY window coverings, here and here, were a budget-friendly quick fix).

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
If I were them, I would have placed the tall boy dresser beside the long dresser on the same wall, but I'm weird.  (Our bed was a king size, that's why it seems so much tighter with our furniture in there.)

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
Our bedroom, which was technically a guest bedroom, saw the biggest change of all!  We kept it airy like the rest of the house, with white walls and sheers.  We chose this as our room largely because I loved the treed view and giant window.

White bedroom
Large DIY art

I think it's the only room they painted and they swapped out our black curtain rod and sheers for a white rod and purple drapes, which is so perfect for a kid's room.

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
They used the smallest bedroom as a guest room/office combo, but we had used the space for two desks.

Home office with two desks
Silk drapes

The new owners had asked for some art that I hadn't wanted to leave behind so it was removed from the contract.  In the end, I ended up leaving them the painting in the office as a peace offering.  It's strange to see it in the exact same spot in the office!  They moved the bedroom sheers in here and got rid of my silk drapes.  I wish I'd known they'd chuck them, because that was a lot of silk and I really wanted to take the panels with me.

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
In the bathroom, not much changed but you know that I approve of their aqua towels ;)

Grey and white marble bathroom
Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
The basement, master powder room, and exterior didn't change much.

It's kind of neat to see our former townhome - our first house! - decorated and lived in by someone else.  We had some amazing years there and I think that because this was the first home we purchased, it will always have a special place in our hearts.  It looks like the new owners enjoyed their time there as well (at least I hope!) and I hope they've had a successful sale and moved on to their dream home!

February 3, 2016

DIY Vanilla Infused Vodka with Blood Orange Sparkling Beverage

Blood Orange Vanilla Vodka Drink
Easy Blood Orange Drink

Here's a deliciously simple drink idea: DIY vanilla infused vodka with Aranciata Rossa San Pellegrino, which boasts a juicy hit of blood orange.  It's pink, so it's perfect for Valentine's Day, but it tastes like summer in a glass - like a creamsicle.  Drool.  (This isn't a sponsored post, I just really enjoy San Pellegrino sparkling fruit beverages because they're sweet and carbonated, but not as cloying as soda - although I fully admit I might be swayed by the cool history and vintage-inspired branding).  

Making my own vodka infusion was something I had been wanting to try for awhile and it turned out to be so simple!  Now I'm eager to try different variations.

How to Make Vanilla Infused Vodka

How to make Vanilla Infused Vodka


Vanilla Vodka Recipe

Step One:

Pour the vodka into a clean mason jar, plop in some vanilla pods (2-3 for almost 750ml of vodka), and twist the lid tightly.  Seriously, that's it!  I photographed the smaller blue ball jar but ended up using a larger mason jar so that I didn't have to break the vanilla beans.  A mason jar ensured that I could easily retrieve the vanilla pods - they would have been difficult to fish out of a narrow bottle.  You could also pop them right into the vodka bottle and decant later, but I didn't want to infuse my entire bottle.  Some folks break open the pods or scrape out the insides but as I understand it, that can produce a gritty tasting vodka.  You really just want the oil from the pod to infuse the vodka, so leaving them whole will produce the best results. 

Tips for making vanilla vodka

Step Two:

Place the mason jar in a cool, dark place for 7-10 days.  Peek into the cupboard obsessively, everyday, to check on the development.

Step Three:

Open the mason jar, remove the vanilla pods (trust me, it's easier than having them flop around), and strain the vodka through a clean coffee filter into an empty bottle.  This removes any gritty bits that have been shed by the vanilla.

How to strain vodka infusions
Why you need to filter vodka infusions

I love what a soft golden hue the vodka picks up.  And it's so tasty - now I want to try adding pears and figs and all kinds of deliciousness. 

DIY vanilla infused vodka

Vanilla Vodka with Blood Orange Sparkling Beverage

San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa

A glass of San Pellegrino, a splash of the vanilla infused vodka, a couple of ice cubes plus a slice of blood orange and all of a sudden Wednesday is looking a lot better.

Easy Pink Valentine's Drink
Blood Orange and Vanilla Cocktail
Blood orange
Pink vodka drink
Galentine's drink ideas

This is the perfect drink for "Valentine's Day," "Galentine's Day," or "I'm Going to Drink at Home on the Sofa Because Who Wants to go out into That Madness Day?"  Cheers!

Easy vanilla infused vodka and sparkling fruit beverage

P.S. Curious about the oddly specific numbers on my tumblers?

Pink vodk drink ideas

Handy Hubby and I were married at City Hall in Toronto but held our brunch reception at a swank hotel.  We stayed there the night before our wedding (we flew to Greece immediately after) and the hotel gifted us these glasses - the number is our room number!
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