Home Made Macaroni and Cheese

Fall is upon us – and what’s better than a little bit of comfort food?

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What You’ll Need:

1 Pkg elbow noodles (rice, corn, or regular)
5 Tbsp butter or margarine, divided
2 Tbsp flour (rice flour, spelt flour, or regular)
3-4 Tbsp bread crumbs (gluten free or regular)
1 Tsp seasoning salt – season to taste
1 tsp garlic powder – season to taste
1 Tsp onion powder – season to taste
14 Oz. skim milk (or 1 can light coconut milk)
1 White onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
1.5 Cups shredded parmesan cheese
Medium baking dishimage1

What you’ll do:

– Pre-heat oven to 350°
– In a large saucepan, cook your noodles – turn burner off when noodles are ‘al dente’ to avoid over cooking in the oven
– In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt three table spoons of butter. Cook the onion, stirring for 5 minutes or until lightly browned
– Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for three minutes or until lightly browned
– Stir in the milk and seasoning salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly
– Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until blended. Add pepper, seasoning salt, garlic and onion powders to taste. Pour into baking dish and blend with noodles
– In a small bowl, combine remaining butter with some more cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the casserole
– Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned
– Enjoy!


Serves: 6

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DIY: Badass Wolfpack Tanks

As a backstory to this project – I am in the phase of my life where bachelorette parties/weddings fill most of my summer weekends. While these parties are more or less, more organized versions of our typical summer weekends, original themes, give-aways, activities get harder to come up with as the summer/years go on.

Enter the “Wolfpack Weekend”. Part of this weekend includes a competition that required us to split the “wolfpack” in two, which we did by colours (easy enough). These sick cut-off tee’s were done in about 2h (all 12!) and then left overnight to dry. You can run with the idea and basically customize to use any clipart or silhouette (or free-hand design, you creative SOB!). We went with wolves. Because we’re a wolfpack (duh). Plus, they have that “my mom made me wear this in the 1990s in a matching sweatsuit” feel) wolfpack4

What you’ll need:

-Fabric spray (Tulip brand in black and neon pack, available at Walmart)

-Cardboard stencil

-Newspaper/plastic bag (to protect your floor)

-T-shirt/Tank top/Cut-off muscle T

What you’ll do:

  1. Find a clip art or silhouette of your desired design. You can free hand this or find one on the Internet. If you go with the Internet version, you can simply print or trace over your screen and then transfer that onto cardboard. Plain paper can work if you only do 1, but if you are using the stencil multiple times, the paint will soak through and it won’t be functional past 1, maybe 2.
    wolf

Remember:
The part where you place your stencil will remain white (or whatever colour your fabric is). You can also use the stencil as a stamp and spray the paint on it first, then transfer it onto your fabric (keep in mind, it will be a transfer aka backwards).

  1. Once you have your stencil ready, place some paper/cardboard/plastic between the layers of your shirt so your spray doesn’t soak through to the back.

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  1. Place your stencil where you want it. (this stencil looks black because its already been sprayed once).

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  1. Spray! We did a two-parter – a) First, we used black with the wolf stencil. b) Once that was dry, we placed a full circle of cardboard over the “moon” and “wolf” to keep them white and black, respectively, and then went bananas with the neon sprays for that “Northern Lights/rave” feel.

                                                a)
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                                                 b)wolfpack3

Tips:

– Try to hold the bottle as upright as possible, especially when it gets low (the sprayer sucks from the bottom so if it’s tilted, it doesn’t spray as well).

– Use a fondue fork (or some other type of long skinny implement) to hold the stencil down securely to save your hands).

  1. Let em’ dry
  2. Soak in those compliments!

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DIY: Vintage Wine Box

Here at Bubbles & Boat shoes, we like wine. A lot. Like so much (once it hits your lips..). So it was only natural for us to get into a project that uses a vintage wine box to make a sick-ass storage and/or display piece. There are a couple of options depending on how you want your end product to look and ways of personalizing to make it a great wedding gift.

Here’s how it goes:

1. Get a wine box (duh) – the LCBO has these in the back. You just ask an employee if they have any vintage boxes and they can usually find you one. The other great thing is that it costs you ~$5, and that money is used as a donation to whichever charity the LCBO is supporting at that time (the one pictured went to the SickKids Foundation).  The lid often is broken because of how they have to pry it off – use a strong epoxy or liquid cement to glue the pieces back together.

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2. Pull the industrial staples out of the box – I use pliers or wire cutters. Warning – this is actually way harder than it sounds. The wire cutters work well because they get a really firm hold on the staple so that you can pry it up bit by bit. Resist the urge to just cut them or hammer them down (cowards way out), since this won’t look as nice and might shred your hands when you’re sanding.
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3. Fill in the holes in the lid/box left by the staples using a wood filler. Let it dry and fill again until all of the holes have been filled to be flush/slightly higher than the surface of the wood. When the wood filler is 100% dry, sand these down to be totally flush/smooth with the surface of the wood.

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4. Once you’ve pulled all of the staples out and your lid is reconstructed, sand all of the edges of the box and the lid. Some boxes will come with slats to hold the wine (even better) – I recommend sanding these as well because then…obviously…you can use your box to hold wine! If you’re going to stain the box, you’ll want to sand the surfaces too so your stain finishes evenly. As you can see, this craft ravages your manicure, so you’ll want to schedule one as a reward for when you’ve finished the project (very important).sand

5. Again, depending on what you want your end product to look like, you can add some decorative aspects to the lid i.e. corner finishes (pictured below), engraving/wood burning etc. Any decorative work on the lid/box should be done before you attach hardware. I used corner finishes on this box, but for a wedding gift, I’ve had the lid laser engraved with the couple’s names/date and a reading from their wedding. If you are going to engrave AND stain it is crucial that you sand the surface very smooth before it’s engraved! (lesson learned the hard way over here).                                    cornercorner2

6. When you’re happy with the state of your box, it’s time for the tricky part – adding hinges. These things are super finicky. A couple of tips for adding these:

– Attach them to the lid first and then use a pillow to support the lid when you’re attaching them to the box.
– Use a tack or a corkscrew (or some other pointy implement…I just happened to have a corkscrew near by) to make a hole. This works to mark where the tiny screws will go and also makes it easier to screw it in.
– When you’re attaching them to the box, do the outside hinges first – this holds the lid in place when you do the remaining screws.
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7. When you’ve got your hinges on, take a big sip of wine because you’re probably a little frustrated and, hey, you’ve earned it!

8. Then, add your chain (buy it at any Home Hardware etc.) to the inside of the box and underside of the lid to hold the lid when it’s open. You can make it so the lid opens almost all the way to 180° or somewhere closer to 90°. Attaching it to the inside of the box allows the chain to fall inside neatly when you close the lid. I use the extra 4 screws that come with the hinges since they are the right gauge for fitting through the chain and the right length for holding the chain without going all the way through the lid. Obviously, do this to both side of the box.

chain

chain29. Last finishing touch (optional) – add furniture tacks around the edge of the box. This gives it a nice, rustic and professional finish. It also hides the holes where the industrial staples were removed (also a trick to hide any staples left!).

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10. Ta-da! Enjoy your awesome wine box! Or…you know…give it to a friend or something

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Reclaiming Roadside Treasures

We, like most young people in Toronto, live in an apartment building. Our apartment, like most in the city, has minimal storage space. Until far too recently, we kept our service wear on top of the cupboards in our kitchen. Not only was this extremely ugly, but it was also counter productive: before AND after each time something was used it needed to be scrubbed on account of the dust and kitchen scum. Scrub, serve, scrub, scrub, serve. I can think of at least 6 other things I would rather do than wash dishes.

So, naturally,  you can imagine the excitement on the day I discovered a corner shelving unit sitting on the side of the road. As you do, I stood awkwardly and “defended” my treasure, while frantically calling upstairs for help (and possibly approval). Beginning to end the whole project took a single Saturday afternoon and less than $40 to complete. What is it they say about another man’s trash…?

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What you’ll need:

– reclaimed/new wood shelving unit
– newspaper
– sand paper
– elastic band
– matte all purpose paint (let them know you are using it in your kitchen when you purchase – they will tell you what you  need)
– paint brush(es)

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– Wipe down your shelves (especially if you’ve taken them from the side of the road…) with soap and water
– Sand out any imperfections (or mould spots – ew) on your unit and wipe down again with a damp cloth
– Let dryIMG_3206

– Handy trick: put an elastic band around the middle of your paint can (ooooohhhhhh)

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– Use said elastic band to wipe paint from your brush to avoid uneven distribution (aaaahhhhhh)

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– Let your shelves dry between each coat of paint (about 1 hour)
– Continue to apply coats of paint until your shelves have sufficient coverage (about 3 coats)
– Let dry for 24 hours before moving into place and stocking your shelves

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No Machine? Sew What?!

When we first decided to open our Etsy Shop, we thought we would keep it simple by sticking to what we know: goods made from rope and other reclaimed items found around our homes and cottages. But, as with most famous last words, that was short lived. On our first supply shopping trip – a highly anticipated visit to Designer Fabric Outlet – we may or may not have stumbled upon some of the best fabric we had seen in…possibly ever. It was very quickly agreed that it, when turned into a pillow, would make an epic accessory to any couch or chair in any cottage or chalet. We also agreed that said pillows (obviously) needed to have leather backs.  We also agreed that it had been years since either of us had sewn a darn thing, but that we could figure it out…ideally with supervision.

So, what are two crafty critters going to do with limited skills and no machine of their own? Head to a sewing studio, thats what!

sewing 2

Sew Be It Studio, just north of Yonge and Eglinton, is a sewing mecca in Toronto. Filled with the obligatory sundries, multiple high tech machines, and a very friendly staff eager to help, it was the perfect place for us to find.

sewing 3

The studio offers a variety of group or private classes and workshops for all levels, as well as drop in sewing. We decided to take advantage of their generous ‘first drop in free’ offer and strolled in one Monday night (after booking online to ensure our spots, of course). Armed with our leather needles, thread, and a dream we set about our evening of adventure. Instructors were on hand to answer any questions we had, to give us a walk through of how their machines work, and offering (mildly shaky, however much needed) words of encouragement.

sewingAs two entrepreneurs trying to keep costs low, this was the perfect alternative to buying a machine and hoping things went really, really well. Places like Sew Be It allow you to hone your craft before jumping into a big purchase, maximizing your income and limiting expenses. And hey, it could just be the place that helps you see that you’re just not cut out for handiwork. Either way – dodge the bullet!

sewing 4You can check out the finished product Here on Etsy!

 

Skip the Salon: Nail Art With Bobby Pins

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A good manicure is hard to come by in this city. Not a manicure – those you can find anywhere – but a good, affordable, CLEAN, and pleasant experience is surprisingly tricky to find. Once you find your place you never stray. The thing is, nail technicians recommend getting a manicure every two weeks; once a week if you have the time and money. This helps to keep your nails long, strong, and looking great. However, If you are like me and you chip your nails as soon as you walk out of the salon, learning to do your own nails is probably a good call.

Doing your own nails (and doing them well!) can be a bit of a trick and, like everything, with practice you will master a no-mess-manicure. You want any sort of funky design? You can forget about it – that’s why there are professionals, right?! Wrong! I recently had a friend show me an amazing trick: use a bobby pin for easy art.

2014-07-16 14.15.28What you’ll need:

– 2 (or 3, or 4, or 5…) different nail polish colours
– Bobby Pin(s)
– Cuticle oil – every good manicure ends with this!

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Coat your nails in your favourite colour. Make sure your nails are super DRY before you start your art – you don’t want dented polish!

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Using the brush on your polish, dip the tip of your bobby pin, coating it with excessive amounts of lacquer.

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Polka Dots: Dip the pin and dot your dots – literally nothing could be easier than this!

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Chevrons: Dip the tip of the bobby pin and make 3 dots in a triangle. Connect the dots with straight lines. Make your chevron thick or do a double chevron with thinner lines.

Try other shapes like hearts or flowers with your pins and other polish colours. The great part about doing this on dry nails is that, if it’s truly terrible, you can wipe the wet polish off the top and start again!