Festive Finger Food Delights

On the weekend we had some of our good friends in who also used to live on the Charlottes. It was so great to see them, and so much fun to prep a few finger foods and appies for everyone to enjoy.

We chose foods that were a little different from the every day, and that were festively colourful too.

So I thought I’d give you a little taste and tour 😉 Want to see what we did?

Eggplant for caponata, diced and ready to be sauteed…

Caponata is a Sicilian dish made from chopped fried eggplant, olives, pine nuts, golden raisins, and various other ingredients. It is a type of salad that was historically served as a main course, but is now typically a side dish or appetizer.

With the eggplant sauteing, the bell peppers are prepped for roasting.

Do you see the red peppers in the background?

They will be be char-broiled, heavy on the char part!

See what I mean? Do you ever roast red peppers? The BBQ is a great way to do this, but ours is tucked away for the winter.

Once the peppers are burnt black charred like this, they have to be peeled.

Did I have you going for a minute? Bet you were wondering who on earth eats this, weren’t you?

After the blackened skin is removed, this is what you end up with.

Much better, right?

Toss the peppers in olive oil with fresh basil, chopped garlic, ground pepper, a little salt, and a splash of white wine vinegar.

And it’s like Christmas in a bowl!

Serve as a side dish, or as a topping on crostini.

Crostini, (meaning “little toasts” in Italian), is made using Italian or French baguettes, and is an appetizer of bite-size slices of grilled or toasted bread brushed in olive oil and herbs. It is served with assorted toppings, often cheese and meat, or vegetable toppings like these peppers. Crostini is a great appie with wine!

This is the finished caponata.

Can you see the pine nuts and olives? Do you recognize any of the other ingredients? It tastes a lot like antipasto spread.

And in the blender, a chickpea spread, very similar to humus was being made, also to be paired with the crostini.

And to complete this little assortment, we included marinated mushrooms. They are best when marinated for 24 hours.

Hubby did all the chopping, slicing, and dicing… actually, he made all of these dishes so far 🙂

Notice that the mushrooms are sliced on the thicker side? That’s because you don’t want them to get too whimpy once they’ve been marinated!

This dish is a mix of crimini and oyster mushrooms, tossed with olive oil, white wine vinegar and fresh oregano.

And here’s a little peek at all these things pulled together on the table.

The chickpea spread is in the red dish, and the others are on the white serving tray along with garlic stuffed olives.

I actually did make a few things too!

Like these mini bacon, onion and shrimp quiche…

Oriental chicken wings…

And served bite-size pieces of my brother’s smoked salmon, along with my all-time favorite cheddar cheese ball.

Have you ever had cheese cookies? Seriously, cheese cookies.

I like to include them with an appie buffet like this because they aren’t sweet, and actually have a hint of heat in the spicy way!

That’s paprika you see dusted on the top, but they do have cayenne in them, thus the spicy heat!

A new appie I tried were these cucumber feta rolls.

And they were inspired by my favorite stop for inspiration, Pinterest! The recipe is from Good Life Eats.

We had other savory goodies too…

Like the meat and cheese platter, bocconcini balls, and hiding in the back is a spinach dip…

But of course you always have to have a little something sweet, and in our home, it wouldn’t be Christmas without shortbread cookies!

I used to top them with glazed cherries for the festive colour, but we’re not really keen on them, so I’ve switched to pecans instead. Mmmmm, love the taste of roasted pecans 🙂

And we also picked up some decadent delights from the new bakery in Duncan, Dolce. This is a link to their location if you’re interested in checking them out!

A quarter of the pecan tart is definitely plenty in one sitting. They’re rich and oh, so sinfully delicious!

So that’s a little taste and colourful tour of our appie prep for a day spent with long-time friends.

It feels like Christmas is here.

Do you have any favorites for gatherings like these?

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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Seeing Beyond the Fog… of Parcels!

We still don’t have snow, but are getting another layer of white these days.

Like this fog lying low over Quamichan Lake.

And floating across the ball field.

The cloud of white in the background is steam from the Crofton Mill… I had a hunch you might ask!

And here’s a glimpse of what another type of fog looks like…

The back of this van is full of parcels being delivered to road-side mailboxes by Canada Post employees.

Do you think they’re able to see beyond the fog of Christmas parcels yet?

I bet this week is going to be a busy one!

Did you enjoy this post? By subscribing to my RSS Feed you’ll receive each new post without missing a beat! And you can find more posts here… If a thought comes to mind, comments are always appreciated and I read them all. I’d love to hear from you…



A Cutting Edge on Wreaths

The winter season is drawing near! And for me that usually means I get to watch a little bit of figure skating. I love figure skating – watching, that is!

So what do you do when you have a basket of cast-offs that look like this?


Well, you can turn them into this.


Or this.


And if you’re super talented with a paint brush…


You might even want to canvas a skate and paint a scene on it like this!

When I saw these festive figure skates, they made me think of my Aunt. And I thought, how cool is this? My Aunt is an avid figure skating fan, and has travelled the world for years to take in the major skating events.

Wouldn’t this be a perfect way to salvage discarded old skates?

And repurpose them from once upon a time winter gear…


Into festive Holiday cheer!


And greet your guests with an entry something like this!


I bet my Aunt would think so!

What do you think of this spin on Holiday decorating for main entry decor? Would you give it a whirl?

Something to keep in mind if you do… be creative, and remember to protect your door and your guests from the blades of the skates!

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Did you enjoy this post? By subscribing to my RSS Feed you’ll receive each new post without missing a beat! And you can find more posts here… If a thought comes to mind, comments are always appreciated and I read them all. I’d love to hear from you…


Mega DIY Projects: Fall Pinterest Challenge Round-Up

With the Fall Pinterest Challenge behind us, we now have a whole new wealth of DIY opportunities before us. Before us, and collected all in one spot. How handy is that? You will find all of these projects at random on Pinterest, the inspiration behind this pin-fest, and now you can see the whole Challenge collection on Young House Love’s blog… well over 600 ideas to choose from!

So I thought I’d share some projects that caught my eye. But these are just a sampling of what caught my interest – I’m sure if you visit the site yourself you’ll find other ideas in there for you too!

With the Holiday Season just around the corner, I found these various wreath options intriguing…

I’m loving this burlap wreath, and might even give it a try.

Our 1st Nest Blog

How about a wreath made from unbleached coffee filters?

Living on Live Oak Blog 

 Or one made from rolled music sheets?

Renewed Upon A Dream Blog

Here’s a similar style, but made from book pages instead…

Not So Newlywed Blog

And I know this isn’t a wreath, but a convex starburst mirror like this can certainly step in if you wish.

Hi Sugarplum Blog

Can you picture filling these decorative apothecary jars made from Dollar Store finds?

The Joy of Decorating Blog

Wine glass lanterns. So simple to create, and you can custom the shade to suit any decor or holiday theme.

Small Home Big Start Blog

Don’t these feathers made from maps look great? Nice way to spruce up a tree 😉

Silly Eagle Books Blog

How about this wall art? The Chevron pattern reminds me of feathers, in a geometric kind of way.

The Embellished Nest

On the note of art, isn’t this cool? The images are graphics and book pages, scanned and blended to become one.

Gardners 2 Bergers Blog

Paint chips and all those colour samples you don’t use… I thought these mobiles were very sweet, simple to make, and such a great way to put the extra chips to good use.

Ruby ReDesign Blog

I’ve been contemplating the DIY capiz chandelier, but how about this capiz drum pendant instead?

Pepper Design Blog

To end on a bright note… I really wanted to share this upcycled lampshade with you. I think it’s awesome!

Merrypad Blog

You really need to check out the DIY steps to see how it’s made. Trust me, you will be impressed! But that can also be said for so many of these projects. There’s a world of creativity out there just waiting to be seized.

I hope you found something here to contemplate for yourself. And if not, remember, these are only my handful of picks from a round-up of over 600 projects. Hop on over to YHL’s blog and peruse the 600+ ideas for yourself. And don’t forget about Pinterest, the foundation where all of this began. Once you start pinning, you won’t look back!

Related Posts You Might Like To Read

Fall Pinterest Challenge: Serving It Up In Style

Summer Pinterest Challenge: My Rocking Chair

Working With What You Have

Display of Affection 

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Did you enjoy this post? By subscribing to my RSS Feed you’ll receive each new post without missing a beat! And you can find more posts here… If a thought comes to mind, comments are always appreciated and I read them all. I’d love to hear from you…


Uncork It! Drink the Wine, Save the Cork…

With upcycling, recycling, DIY-ing, and a heightened green awareness, what do you do when it comes to cork? In recent years there has been a growing concern about the sustainability of cork. And if you are a wine drinker, you will have noticed a steady shift in the age old cork being replaced with screw tops, and synthetic ‘corks’. I won’t get into the sustainability pros and cons, but came across this article, ‘Cork – The Argument for Sustainability‘ that you might like to read. I was enlightened, and I must say, surprised…

Cork and Corks

But I’m more intrigued by what we can do with used wine stoppers made of cork…  did you know they are recyclable?

Since we’re rapidly moving into the Season of Cheer, I thought a few repurposing ideas ahead of time would be helpful. You know, so you can start saving the corks now for that rainy day project later (like we all need to gather more ‘stuff, right?)!

Have you heard of Cork Journaling? It’s when you write on the cork the date and occasion that was paired with its wine that you enjoyed.


I thought this idea was pretty cool. And you can have some fun displaying your collection as it begins to grow!

This is what I would do with my collection of journaled corks… if I had a collection!


I think the candle light is so pretty shining between the corks, kind of like a glowing fire in a fireplace. And there’s even simple DIY instructions. How hard can it be?

If you want to go all out with a wine cork theme, and dress your table in style…

How about elegant name cards at each place setting?


These are champagne corks, but they would be a better choice for place cards because of their size and shape.

Once the settings are established, it might be fun to add personalized wine glass charms to each spot…


Just think how much fun you can have with these!

Do you like to give your guests a little token when they leave, you know kind of like a swag bag, but without the bag?

How about these coasters?


Or maybe a potted herb instead.


We always have a little pot of Basil in our kitchen window, so I kind of like this idea…

And I really like these customized monograms made from vintage wine corks.


They’re available on Etsy… and ‘yes please’ comes to mind with this S 😉

But if you want to try a DIY version…


Click here for the instructions to make your own.

There are just so many things you can do with used wine corks. So many things I’m sure you’ve already seen…

But I wonder, have you seen a portrait made of wine corks before?


Isn’t this an incredible work of art?

I thought this chair was too…


Who thinks of things like this? Isn’t this amazing?

And on the note of amazing, what do you think of this vase?


It’s just one of many wine cork vessels made by artist Steven Leslie. If you go to OneofaCork.com you can see more…

So on that note… oh, and speaking of notes…


You might want to make your own cork board to pin your notes to. Click here for the DIY steps.

And trust me, there are lots and lots of cork board ideas out there made from wine corks… this is just one of them.

But if you really want to make a splash… a back splash, that is…


Oh, never mind. Let’s just uncork the wine! Can I pour you a glass?

So, what do you do with your used wine corks? I think I’m going to start saving mine!

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

Photograph sources indicated beneath each image.


Welcome 2011!

As 2010 draws to a close I would like to wish you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011.

May all your resolutions be resolved, and all your dreams come true!

Wanting to give your space a fresh face? Start your year off with a bang? Maybe we can help. Contact us to see how. Schedule an introductory consultation, and remember – the first ½ hour is on the house!

Dressed for Holiday Sales?

Selling your home through the Holidays?

A bit of the 'Light-Up' spirit...

For curb appeal to stand out in the crowd, and light a potential buyer’s pathway to your doorstep this Holiday season…

...brightly lighting the way!

…make sure the ‘For Sale’ sign is dressed for the occasion!

If you want your property to make a lasting first impression contact us to schedule a staging service that sells… creating a ‘welcoming’ feeling is our goal; showcasing your investment is what we do!

All photos by Sheila Zeller Interiors Ltd.

Selling? Tips to Holiday Stage With Style

Selling your home through the Holidays doesn’t have to be an added frenzy on your ‘to do’ list. Here are a few simple tips to keep the ‘first impression’ décor done up just right, and maximize the spirit of the showings.

1.       Decorate with quality, not quantity

This is the time to resist showcasing the cutesy crafty creations you have accumulated over the years. Simple elegance is the way to go. Stay with your pieces that catch and bounce the light. Place them with intention so they draw a potential buyer’s eye to the great features of your home. If you have a fireplace, work your mantle, but don’t hide its details!

Photo: House Design News

2.       Choose a neutral colour scheme with sparkle and glam

If the ornaments clash with your décor, they do not add to it! Choose neutral – think nature: tree cones, berries and boughs mixed with candles (battery operated flameless for safety). Add in a little festive sparkle with cut crystal, glam glass, and top off with the twinkle of metallic accents. Remember to keep it secular so that all potential buyers feel welcome – not everyone shares the same religious beliefs.

Photo: Urban Barn
Photo: House Design News

3.       Holiday accessorizing: visual interest or distraction?

When selling through the holiday season ‘less is more’. You don’t want to overcrowd your rooms with festive decorations, because they will distract the buyer from seeing the real features of your home. Highlight the focal points, and leave the rest to stand on its own.

Photo: Home Depot Decor

4.       Moving a tree in… what are you moving out?

Let’s face it – wherever you put your tree, it is going to take up space. Be prepared to move something out so your tree can move in. The last ‘first’ impression you want for your buyer is a feeling that the space is too small. Have you considered a smaller tree… just this once?

Photo: Martha Stewart Living

5.       What does your curb appeal say?

Curb appeal is your first priority, which is why I’ve put it last – I want to leave you with that thought. Your driveway, walkway, and stairs must be safe! Make sure they are always free of slippery snow and ice. Ensure your entrance is well lit, and that you have a spot inside for buyer’s to place their shoes. Refrain from ‘upstaging’ Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with your display of outside lights – try a minimalist approach by using simple strands of clear lights instead. Suggestion: stay away from icicle lights – they only look attractive at night!

Photo: The Almighty Guru

And may we strongly suggest that your inflatable lawn ornaments stay packed away too!

Photo: Inflatable Seasons

Trust that an understated ‘holiday welcome’ will open the door to your potential buyer’s heart. Greet them with a fresh wreath or door swag instead.

Photo: Restoration Hardware

Need an extra hand this holiday season? Maybe we can help. Contact Us to find out how!

Links to all photos above:

House Design News

Urban Barn

Home Depot Decor

Martha Stewart Living

The Almighty Guru

Inflatable Seasons

Restoration Hardware

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