Something From Nothing and a little bit of Everything!

The art of turning "good junk" into "great design"

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
William Morris, Hopes and Fears for Art (1882)

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Stone" Fireplace

This project was truly a "Something from Nothing".  In the summer of 2009 we began a major renovation project adding over 1000 square feet to our country bungalow.  It truly was a labour of love.  In January 2010 we began this exciting project.
                                                                             The fireplace is our focal point of the addition and a project that both Handy Husband and I are very proud of. I had cut out pictures of houses for years ( just like in Miranda Lambert's hit song, The House That Built Me) Anyway, I digress. I had a great picture of a stone fireplace with a rough hewn mantle. Now we just needed to recreate it.  We purchased the beam from Timeless Materials in Kitchener.  A quick powerwash and it was set to go. We weren't sure whether we should leave the ends, but I am so glad we did.  It adds a lot of interest. 
When it was time to tackle the project we jumped in with both feet.  Having never been a stonemason before it was a bit scary, but we laid the  Dutch Stone ( we used Natural Ledgestone), that we purshased at Shuts in Brantford Ontario.
We drew the size of the fireplace on the floor and started filling in the area with the stones in  a pattern that we liked.  We had already set the 4 hearthstones and set  the stone to the base of the fireplace, and then it was on to the next step.  Handy Husband applied the mesh and the scratch coat and then we started to place the stones on the bottom portion.  It was like a giant puzzle making all of the stones fit.  They are manufactured, and so it was necessary to lay them out to avoid repeats too close together.  This was a project that took several days, and many late nights.     One night, I rearranged stones in my sleep!      

For the upper portion we found the perfect piece for the peak and worked our way down.  Even laying it out ont the floor there was still a lot of fiddling to make it all fit.

A few extra pieces but the work is complete except for grouting in between the stones.  This was a painstaking process, but the colour works well and finishes it off beautifully.
The Farrow and Ball paint colour, Cooking Apple Green, complements the stone work nicely, and before we had the floor laid, we couldn't wait to entertain in our new room, so we moved the furniture onto the plywood and had drinks in front of the fire.  Even Ollie enjoyed having his bed moved to the new family room. 
                                                              We eventually got the hardwood laid but that is another story, and then we had the perfect backdrop for family pictures for years to come.  Notice the tv on the  $10 washstand.  (Spring 2010)
Bookcases were the next project several months later, and for some reason I didn't document it well.  We looked at custom cabinetry as the space is not equal on each side, due to the door to our bedroom.  However the cost was more than we could stand so then we looked at several alternatives.  I kept saying that kitchen cabinets should work somehow, but Handy Husband wasn't sure.  I surfed the web and ended up designing these with help from an Ikea salesperson.  We used Ramsjo wall cabinets( they were the only ones that were finished on the inside in the same colour as the cabinet, rather than birch, making them the perfect choice for open cabinetry)  turning some on their sides to create the top portions, finished them off with crown moulding, and the glass doors so that the components can be operated with the remotes.  A q tip and some walnut stain hides well the holes for the shelving.   We didn't add handles so that they look more like furniture pieces, and most people tell us they can't believe that they are kitchen cabinets.  A custom look without the custom price, at just under $1300.  And Handy Husband doubted!
Check out Sarah's House Season 4 where she uses the same concept for her cabinets in the family room.  

Well it is Christmas 2011 and our friends called our family room, the Bing Crosby Room.  It was great yesterday to have 16 family gathered around the Christmas Tree in the Room that Love Built.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Super easy and very tasty. This was the hit of the night at my Christmas party this year. 
All you need:
Oreo Baking Crumbs
Oreo Cookies
Oreo Ice Cream
Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Syrup
Spring Form Pan
Plastic Wrap

First take your plastic wrap and drape it over your pan then take the bottom of the pan out and put it on top of the plastic wrap. Making sure the plastic wrap goes up the sides but is not actually on the bottom of your pan (does that even make sense? ha ha) 
Mix your Oreo crumbs. I did 3 cups of crumbs with 1/2 cup of butter and press it down on the bottom of your pan. 

 Then I swirled some chocolate syrup over the crumbs

 Then I scooped one box of vanilla ice cream over the crumbs and swirled chocolate over the vanilla ice cream.

 Cut up around 10 Oreo cookies into chunks

 Spread the Oreo pieces over the vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Last step put the Oreo ice cream on top and put back into the freezer.  Yummy and easy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


So as Iwas decorating for Christmas this year I came across some grubby old stockings which were cheap and might I say ugly. So since this year I decided to go more natural I thought  why dont I just whip up some burlap stockings. Heres how.
I got some Burlap from Len's Mill Store for $1.79 a yard (I think) and some amazing fabric that had the story of the "Night Before Christmas" scroll writing on it.

This is the amazing fabric. So simple and classic.
So I took my old grubby stockings and used it for a template. I wanted the stockings bigger than the previous one (cause let's be honest, everyone wants a bigger stocking) So Ifolded the burlap and cut out the stocking.
Then I sewed the burlap together and presto there is your basic stocking

The I took my scroll fabric and made a band on the top.
A piece of red ribbon,

                                                    A painted monogram letter,

                                     and presto, a fabulous burlap stocking with a touch of class.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Little Slice Of Heaven

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownie Bars

original recipe from

Pinned Image

This truly is one of the most delusions and the EASIEST recipe ever! It is a must try.

 First make a batch of your favourite brownie recipe in a 9"x13" pan. I used a box recipe (don't tell)

 Then take 1 cup of peanuts and 8 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and chop them up.

Take the brownies out 5 minutes before they are done and ssprinkle the peanuts over the brownies.

The sprinkle the Peanut Butter cups and bake for 5 minutes.

While the brownies are baking for 5 min. Place chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter into a pot to melt.

 Once your chocolate, peanut butter, and butter has melted put your Rice Krispies and mix together.

Take the brownies out and pour the peanut butter cereal mixture over top. Let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before cutting.

These are really heavenly!!

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownie Bars
Yield: 24 brownies
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 25 minutes
1 batch of your favorite brownie recipe for a 9×13-inch pan (I recommend Chewy Brownies)
½ cup salted peanuts
8 Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped
1½ cups milk chocolate chips
1½ cups creamy peanut butter
½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1½ cups Rice Krispies cereal
1. Prepare the brownies according to the directions and bake for about 5 minutes less than the recipe states. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.
2. While they are finishing baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the cereal to evenly coat. Remove the brownies from the oven and evenly pour the chocolate and peanut butter mixture over top. Spread to cover evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting and serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Candy Bark

I spent all day yesterday coating everything imaginable in chocolate and my family of critics were impressed with it all but not the fact  that they weren't  able to "pig out".  Barks have become a holiday tradition, and everyone has their favourites.  Pictured above is marble almond.  I do everything in the microwave.  The trick is to melt the chocolate at 50% power 1 minute at a time so that you don't scorch it.  It might seem like a slow process but I think the results are better.  I prefer Merckens chocolate wafers and this week they were on sale at the Bulk Barn (Good thing because I went there 3 times)

Chocolate dipped oreos are new to the repertoire, but they might become a new favourite, topped with crushed candycane.

This is a sampling of my days work.  There is traditional white chocolate and almond.  I roast the raw almonds in butter in the microwave, 1 minute at a time for 3 to 4 minutes. This gives them a nice rich flavour.

 Rocky Road, pictured beside the oreos, has peanuts and marshmallows in dark chocolate, Candy Cane and white chocolate, and another new flavour has white chocolate with broken pretzels, melted caramels, and then semi sweet chocolate drizzled on top.  Salt and chocolate make for a great combo!

And my new favourite tool is the Wilton Snowflake pan.  I had seen this snowflake bark on Pinterest using a silicone pan, but I couldn't find one here in Ontario, so when I saw this on sale at the Bulk Barn for $10, I decided to give it a try.  It worked perfectly for my Cranberry Pistachio and the White and Dark Peppermint, and today I made an awesome batch of Gingerbread. 
It feels great to sit down tonight, and also know that I have all of my baking done, and ready to be given away for hostess gifts, and to those hard to buy for people.                                                         It really is a sense of accomplishment. 
 Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

DIY Yarn Wreath

I dont remember where I found this idea but it turned out great. Super easy.
All you need
Round Plant Stand $2.00 (Dollarama)
Styfroam Balls $1.00 (Dollarama)
Yarn- Free
Glue Gun

 Wrap the styrofoam balls in your differnt yarns. Then tie the balls to the plant stand. Then glue the balls together.

Cute, easy, and a great gift for any knitter.