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In Christmas

Tree Thinning then Trimming, 2017

We picked up our tree from the Loblaws lot around the corner. Over the past few years I’ve taken to thinning the tree out. I’ve done this for two reasons. The first, it’s a preference in looks (I’m drawn to the more “I cut this tree down on my own” look as opposed to the huge full tree.) But the second reason I do this is because the less branches allows me to get more ornaments on the tree and the lights look better. I take my gardening shears and pick an area to work on, step back, assess, and then go back in and cut some more.

And some more….

The next step is to string the lights. I use 90% coloured lights and 10% white. (I’m making that % up. I don’t really know. But my tree is basically all coloured lights)

Charlie’s first Christmas! (Mak was being grumpy on the couch)

There are those 10% of white lights I was telling you about.

And then….

Excuse the pine needles, and the random wire hanging from the edge. It is not staged, nor a professional shot. It was taken while I sat on the couch drinking our pina coladas (Our new tradition) listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas Album, admiring our tree.

In Christmas/ Crafts

Holiday Project Roundup / DIY Snow Covered Pinecones

When I walk Oscar to school in the morning I always find myself picking up one of two pine-cones in the schoolyard that have fallen from the pine trees. I knew I’d try a craft with them, initially thinking I’d paint them, but I decided to try something different using white puffy paint. 

I wanted to make the pinecones look like they had snow on them, so I added a dab of white puff paint to each leaf of the pinecone, as if the pinecone had been sitting out in the garden, after a snowfall – I consider where would the snow have fallen on it – so that’s where I squeeze some paint. 

Let the puff paint try, and then arrange on the mantle or as a part of another scene and you have a pretty ridiculouly cute decor. 

Ps., You can find pinecones in most garden centres this time of year too for not that much $

I picked up my puffy paint at Michael’s, but it’s a common stock item at all craft stores!
Example: Walmart,  Amazon (You can use fabric puff paint – it totally doesn’t matter!)

This was originally posted on December 2nd, 2014. As I’m at the One of A Kind Show, I’m reposting all of my favourite holiday projects and baking recipes! 

In Baking & Recipes/ Christmas

Holiday Project Roundup / Dipped Peppermint Sticks

This really is a project that needs little details on how to accomplish – but instead I’m posting it it for inspiration should you be throwing a Holiday party this season and are looking for little details to add a little pizzazz. The bulk stores have an array of Holiday themed candies – including these peppermint sticks (10 for $1.00!) 

Step 1: Melt chocolate wafers (I used the double broiler method)
Step 2: When the chocolate is liquid, dip the peppermint into the chocolate
Step 3: Set the peppermint sticks on a cookie sheet
Step 4: Let the chocolate harden slightly, and then sprinkle some sprinkles lightly over the chocolate. The reason I let the chocolate sit a bit is that you want the excess chocolate to dip off, and you don’t want it to take the sprinkles with it. 

Final step is to put in your hot chocolate and enjoy! 

In Baking & Recipes/ Christmas

Holiday Project Roundup / Making Candied Orange Peels

My Mom made some candied orange peels last week for the holidays and I kid you not, they were the best things I had ever tasted. I was hooked. I decided to try my hand at making my own batch this past weekend. I think this will be a new tradition over here – It’s a simple thing to make, not many ingredients and plus – oranges, and chocolate remind me of the holidays. (Perhaps because of the orange ovations that my parents used to have scattered throughout the house, and that I used to eat ALL the time). So here is how I made them, including a video. 


  • 4 Navel Oranges 
  • 3 Cups of White Sugar 
  • 1 Cup of Water 
  • 1 Candy Thermometer (It needs to be specifically a candy one as regular baking ones don’t go high enough) 
  • Chocolate Chips to melt 


  • Peel 4 Navel Oranges, slice the peels into thin slices. 
    Note: I did thin, I did thick. It’s a matter of personal preference. They tastes awesome no matter what you do. (But thinner slices go a longer way)
  • Put the Peels in a pot of water, bring to a boil. 
  • Remove the pot of peels from the stove, strain and then repeat Step 1. again. You want to do this three times – this softens up the peels. 
  • After you have done it the third time, set the peels to the side. 
  • Put three cups of white sugar in a pot and add 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Be sure to continuously stir the mixture while it gets to the point of boiling. 
  • Once it reaches the boiling point, stop stirring and add the candy thermometer – Bring the sugar mix up to 230 degrees. (No stirring) 
  • Once at 230 degrees remove the thermometer and add the orange peels. Let them sit for 50 minutes. You can stir occasionally but don’t do it too often. 
  • After 50 minutes, remove the peels from the stove, drain and place the peels on parchment paper. Let them sit for an hour or two. They need to cool down, but still be sticky. 
  • Once cool, but still sticky place them in a bowl of sugar and coat. 
  • Set them aside overnight. This gets them to harden. 
  • The next day, melt some chocolate (I used the double broiler method) and dip the slices into the chocolate. Place them back on the parchment paper. 
  • Let them sit in room temperature. 
  • Eat them all. 

That is it. I have to tell you that this was such a fun project for me to do. Not only were they delicious to eat but creatively it was such a fun outlet for me taking the photographs and doing the video. After a busy, crazy month work wise – This kind of thing is what I just love to do – figuring out new photographing techniques, styling, baking. I do it because I adore it and the blog is just canvas for me to put it all on. Anyhow, as much as I love the chocolate dipped orange peels – this was also as much about just creatively having fun. 🙂 I hope it inspires! xo


This post was originally posted on December 16, 2013. While I’m at the One of a Kind Show, I’m reposting my favourite holiday projects from years past, in hopes that you find some baking / crafts that inspire you. xo