DIY: glitter christmas cut-out card with Cricut

Handmade glitter paper cut out christmas card using Cricut / The Sweet Escape

I know, I know…you’re like “get out of my face Christmas, I’m not ready for you”. I feel the same way and I can promise you that there will be no more signs of Christmas until after Halloween but I had to share with you my latest Cricut Design Space Star Challenge project that I submitted today. Last month’s entry got me in the Top 10, woot! The main theme is Holiday and our Lucky 13 team theme is “holiday sparkle”. The possibilities are endless but I decided to keep it sweet & simple and make a glittery paper cut-out holiday card using my Cricut Explore. Keep reading to see the full tutorial and a bunch more holiday projects from my crafty teammates.

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GOOD EATS: jalapeno cheddar loaf

jalapeno cheddar loaf recipe / The Sweet Escape

I was home for Thanksgiving and got in the mood to try something totally new in the kitchen. My mom had made a jalapeno oil mixture that inspired me. I’ve been on a real jalapeno kick for awhile now. I don’t know what happened, I went from being a total hot spicy wimp to wanting to put jalapeno and chili flakes on everything. It’s kinda hard for me to put together ‘recipes’ because I really believe in expriementing in the kitchen and throwing stuff together and seeing what happens. I’m not very good at keeping track of what I’m doing. But I’m going to try.

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EVENT: be the maker worshop series with West Elm

West Elm be the Maker Workshop with The Sweet EscapeI love starting a Monday with a fun announcement. I’ve been planning this for awhile and so happy to finally announce that I’ll be hosting a workshop at West Elm Toronto on Thursday, November 20! It’s called Be The Maker Series and it’s going to be an evening filled with making, meeting, chatting, snacking and ok, who are we kidding, probably some shopping. You’re going to learn how to make these gorgeous  & unique dinner napkins for either your own holiday table or as a gift for someone special. Oh and I think green is beautiful and festive but there will be lots of other colours to make your own creation.

be the maker craft workshop series at West Elm / The Sweet EscapeHere’s all the details. For $25 not only will you get a fun evening with me and some new crafty friends surrounded by some seriously stylish and festive decor but it also includes a set of 4 West Elm’s Cross Dye Napkins in white (a $19 value!), all art supplies, snacks & beverages from Mildred’s Temple Kitchen and a little thank you gift to take home. Sounds like the perfect way to spend a Thursday night if you ask me. Because of the planning involved and the space there’s limited spots so you do have to grab a ticket in advance. You can reserve your spot and grab your Be The Maker Series ticket here.  

West Elm be the Maker Workshop with The Sweet Escape

A handmade gift is always extra special or being able to say “I made that” is so satisfying don’t you think? Come early and do a little shopping to find some table top pieces that will go perfectly with your new napkins. I just love West Elm so much and I’m so excited to be working with them for this fun event. Although they sell lots of beautiful things, they also are big supporters of artisans and selling handcrafted goods.  Through 2015 West Elm has committed to paying 35 million (!) to artisans that use handcrafted techniques. You gotta love a company that backs up their beliefs with some hard cash money.

be the maker craft workshop series at West Elm / The Sweet Escape

Aren’t you just dying to get your hands dirty (you won’t really get them dirty, don’t worry) and make something? Grab your Be The Maker Series ticket and join us!

be the maker craft workshop series at West Elm / The Sweet Escape


THRIFTING: Aberfoyle Antique Market

Aberfoyle Antique Flea Market / The Sweet Escape

TGIF. Why is it that the shortest weeks feel like the longest? Probably because we cram 5 days worth of work into 4 days. I was just thinking about how gorgeous last long (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend was. I was in my hometown of Guelph for the weekend and decided to take advantage of the stunning weather and head down the street to the Aberfoyle Antique Market. Have you been? I would say it’s definitely one of the best markets in Southern Ontario. Although I have noticed the prices creeping up over the years. I guess it can’t be kept a secret forever. There’s no shortage of amazing vintage pieces and still lots of deals to be had if you keep your eyes open and practice your bargaining skills. The truth is that I really don’t need anything but of course I saw lots of things I wanted. Actually I was pretty disciplined and only walked away with two small pieces but here’s a bunch of interesting things that caught my eye.

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SPACES: 12 open shelving ideas for your kitchen

kitchen open shelving / The Sweet EscapeSo my kitchen makeover is kicking it up in high gear these days. My freshly painted kitchen cupboards are up and I’ll have an update soon on my lights. I’m in love. I stared at them all afternoon after the electrician left. The counters and backsplash are happening this week. I’m just crossing my fingers that nothing goes wrong. Nothing ever goes wrong with these things right?


So once all these logistical details get taken care of it’s time for the really fun part. The styling! If you remember this kitchen mock up – you can see that I’m planning on opening up a few cupboards to create an open shelving nook. It’s something I’ve always wanted but I’m pretty realistic about knowing that I could never pull off a full open kitchen. The key to open shelving is having well curated and styled pieces. I have the great kitchenware to show off, I just need a little help editing. Here’s 12 kitchens with a pop of open shelving that I love.

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DIY: 5 thrift shop halloween costumes

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadian friends and readers! Today many of us are gathered around the table filling our bellies and being thankful. Or we’re on the couch recovering from a turkey hangover. While we’re celebrating one holiday, I admit that my mind is on my most favourite holiday that’s just around the corner…halloween! I never grew out of the idea of getting dressed up and getting to play another character for a night. And the bag full of candy was a pretty sweet deal too. If only I wouldn’t get the stink eye doing it now, I would be out there with my pillowcase ready to cash in.

I think part of the reason I love this holiday so much is the creative factor in pulling together a costume. Sure, you could go out and buy something already put together, there’s so many more options now then there was before but where’s the fun in that? Halloween + thrift stores = a few of my favourite things. Last year I made a mermaid costume all from pieces I found at Value Village (aka Savers for my American friends) which was a big hit. But if you’re not the DIY type, I also showed you a bunch of easy costumes you could pull together with thrift store pieces. Here’s some more great thrift store halloween costume ideas for this year.
DIY Thift Shop Halloween Costumes - 50's girl / The Sweet Escape


DIY Thift Shop Halloween Costumes - female bank robber / The Sweet Escape


DIY Thift Shop Halloween Costumes - fortune teller / The Sweet Escape


DIY Thift Shop Halloween Costumes - Marge Simpson / The Sweet Escape


DIY Thift Shop Halloween Costumes - Sally Jesse Raphael / The Sweet EscapeAs usual, there’s a reference to the 80’s & 90’s for us that grew up during those questionable decades. And hopefully you don’t look like a man in that red haired Sally Jesse wig!

Do you have a costume in mind already for this year? I would love to hear what costume ideas you would add to this list or some of your favourite halloween stories.


DRINK UP: cinnamon spiced ice tea cocktail

Cinnamon Spice Ice Tea Coctail / Thanksgiving / The Sweet escape

So thanks to my mega cheaters spiced pumpkin cake & maple rum glaze recipe, dessert is taken care of for Thanksgiving. But that’s the end of the evening, what about the beginning? You need to have something for your guests to sip on while eagerly anticipating the meal ahead. This Cinnamon Spiced Ice Tea is the perfect fall flavour cocktail to whip up. You can leave out the spiced rum if you want to make it virgin but who are you kidding, it’s Thanksgiving with the family, you’ll definitely need a drink. Or two. Or five.

Cinnamon Spice Ice Tea Coctail / Thanksgiving / The Sweet escape

What I love is that this not only has the spicy fall flavours but it’s balanced out with some refreshing citrus flavours as well. Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1 orange, juiced
• 1 lemon, juiced
• apple for garnish
• 3-5 cinnamon sticks
• 1 can (2 cups) of ice tea
• 2 oz. spiced rum
• ice cubes

* makes 2 cocktails

Cinnamon Spice Ice Tea Coctail / Thanksgiving / The Sweet escape

• First you’re going to make an ice-tea cinnamon reduction. This sound fancy and a bit annoying but trust me, it only takes about 5 minutes and it will add so much flavour. Add the cinnamon sticks to the ice-tea in a small saucepan and bring to a boil for about 3-4 minutes. Take off heat and let cool, remove cinnamon sticks and set aside.

• While the ice-tea is boiling juice your orange and lemon.

Cinnamon Spice Ice Tea Coctail / Thanksgiving / The Sweet escape

• Then add all the liquids to a cocktail shaker (or pitcher) half full of ice. Give it a shake shake shake or stir stir stir and you have a delicious cocktail.

Cinnamon Spice Ice Tea Coctail / Thanksgiving / The Sweet escape

Pour over ice and add cinnamon sticks and apple slice as garnish. Then it’s time to cheers! If you’re hosting, drink at least two of these in advance, before crazy aunt June makes an appearance.

Cinnamon Spice Ice Tea Coctail / Thanksgiving / The Sweet escape Cinnamon Spice Ice Tea Coctail / Thanksgiving / The Sweet escape

Cinnamon Spice Ice Tea Coctail / Thanksgiving / The Sweet escape If you’re looking for more great fall drink ideas, both hot and cold check out some of my blogger pals delicious recipes. Don’t they just make you want get cozy?

9 festival fall drinks and cocktails / The Sweet Escape

Vanilla Maple Latte from The DIY Mommy

Spiced Tea Recipe from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Steamer from Satori Design For Living

Apple Cider Punch from Fynes Designs

Hazelnut Hot Chocolate from The Sweetest Digs

Autumn Chill Chai-Tea-Ni Martini from The Happy Housie

Chocolate Orange Martini from Suburble 

Cinnamon Apple Spice Latte from Craftberry Bush

Cinnamon Spiced Ice Tea Cocktail from The Sweetest Escape

GOOD EATS: pumpkin spice cakes with maple rum glaze

Fall thanksgiving treat: pumpkin spice cake with maple rum glaze/ The Sweet EscapeMan, there’s so much to love about fall. The colours, the fashion, the weather and all the fall flavours. So much pumpkin & spice everywhere you turn. Just ask Starbucks how the Pumpkin Spice Latte$ business is doing. There’s also Thanksgiving dinner. Yum. Whether you’re hosting or looking for something to bring as a guest, these little guys pack a spicy delicious punch.

So remember that cheaters version of pumpkin cake with cinnamon cream filling I made last fall? Yeah, will I just kicked it up a notch for this year. Same cheater recipe for the cake but I made them into cute little guys, ditched the cream filling and added some maple rum glaze instead. Sounds delish right? Yup, it is.

Fall thanksgiving treat: pumpkin spice cake with maple rum glaze/ The Sweet Escape

• 1 can of pumpkin pie filling
• 1 box of pecan cake mix
• 1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Super crazy easy. You take your cake mix, ignore the ingredient list on the box and just mix it with the pumpkin pie filling and add some nutmeg & cinnamon to taste. Mix until all the lumps are gone. Done and done! Pour into well greased mini bunt pans or cupcake pans and cook in 350° oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Fall thanksgiving treat: pumpkin spice cake with maple rum glaze/ The Sweet Escape

• 1 cup icing sugar
• 1/2 oz. spiced rum
• 1 oz. real maple syrup

While your delicious spiced pumpkin cakes are cooking, whip up some glaze. And by whip I literally mean, toss the ingredients in a bowl and whip them together until you get a similar consistency to below. If it’s too watery, add more sugar. If you like lots of glaze or making one big cake, double up the recipe. Make sure the cakes are cool then drizzle with glaze shortly before serving.

Fall thanksgiving treat: pumpkin spice cake with maple rum glaze/ The Sweet Escape

Use a wire rack with a tray to avoid big messy glaze puddles while you drizzle. Let them sit for about 30 minutes before serving.

Fall thanksgiving treat: pumpkin spice cake with maple rum glaze/ The Sweet EscapeThese are amazing on their own but toss a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream and forget about it. That glaze may look all sweet and simple but trust me, there’s is so much flavour in there.

Fall thanksgiving treat: pumpkin spice cake with maple rum glaze/ The Sweet Escape

You can also make the cakes ahead of time, keep them in your freezer and just take them out a few hours before you want to serve and just glaze them.

Fall thanksgiving treat: pumpkin spice cake with maple rum glaze/ The Sweet EscapeDo you recognize these fab plates that I scored on my blogger thrift store tour? Yup, pretty happy with that purchase.
Fall thanksgiving treat: pumpkin spice cake with maple rum glaze/ The Sweet EscapeThanksgiving meal is a big deal and there’s lots to think about it. It’s ok to cut corners here and there. This recipe is super fast & easy but also super delicious. I promise it won’t leave your guests disappointed!

SHOP LOCAL: etsy made in Canada Roadtrip

Etsy Made in Canada

Photo via Tracey Thomas

I’m finally sharing my Etsy: Made in Canada roadtrip with you. Sorry for the slight delay peeps but I was waiting on some photos so I could really show you what a great event it was. It’s been a few years since I’ve done a craft show. It’s kinda like a hangover. You swear you will NEVER drink again but then the next weekend all is forgotten and you’re back at the bar ordering a gin & tonic. Heck, make it a double. Except with a craft show it’s in reverse. The painful part comes first, then the fun. So full disclosure, I signed up because I wanted to get crafty and have a great event to look forward to but I completely forgot and underestimated how much work goes into prepping for a craft show and I was poooooped by the time the day came. Usually I’m not a big fan of long drives (although I love being the passenger) but it was a gorgeous weekend and Ford Canada was kind enough to lend me a sweet brand new Fusion to get me and all my craftiness up to Ottawa so I was kinda looking forward to the roadtrip.
etsy made in Canada 7

So I admit that I’m more of a city drivin’ small hatchback kinda girl but this sedan was a sweeeeeet ride compared to my 10 year old Ford Focus. Don’t get me wrong, my Focus has served me well and I’ve stuffed that thing with more pieces of furniture and whatever else you can think of but it was such a treat to drive a brand new car with all the bells and whistles, including that crazy self parallel parking and basically a mini laptop on the dash that I could talk to and it would just make stuff happen. Amazing. But most importantly it could hold all my stuff in the trunk – without putting the seats down – with room to spare.

etsy made in Canada 5

Fall is my favourite season and pretty much the only time ever that I actually enjoy long drives. We can get pretty caught up in daily life stuff so it’s nice to just cruise for a few hours with this view. Look ma, not speeding! Of course any trip up the 401 wouldn’t be complete without a stop at The Big Apple, which also happened to match my Ford Fusion. Yes I got some pie, no I didn’t share.

Etsy Made in Canada roadtrip: the big apple Ontario

Etsy Made in Canada Ottawa

Photo via Tracey Thomas

Fast forward 24 hours and after a smooth ride to Ottawa and a relatively painless booth set up the day of the big Etsy: Made in Canada show is here. The line up was CRAZY. This picture doesn’t even do it justice – this is just one angle of the line that wrapped around 3 sides of the huge arena. Let the shopping begin!

The first 100 people through the door got a swag bag full of vendor goodies and they also had these awesome baseball shirts for sale. I’m going to take a moment to toot my horn here because I designed the logo which I think turned out pretty damn cute, don’t you agree? The show was hosted by Handmade Harvest, which is run by my pal Emily and sponsored, along with Etsy, by Hello Yellow and Boogie + Birdie.

Etsy Made in Canada Swag Bag

Photo via Tracey Thomas

So yeah, this is pretty much what it looked like from 9-3pm. Nutso. It was a wee bit warm but nothing a growing cash box couldn’t help us vendors get over. As a vendor, you couldn’t ask for a better turn out.

etsy made in Canada 18

Photo via Tracey Thomas

People were ready to shop!

Etsy Made in Canada Swag Bag

Photo via Tracey Thomas

Here’s me at my booth. I admit that I can be a bit of a perfectionist but at the same time a horrible planner which kinda causes some issues for me. In my haste I just threw a bunch of stuff in a bag to use for my display and once I got to the show I wasn’t totally happy with what I had to work with but being the huge Project Runway fan that I am I channeled Tim Gunn and had a ‘make it work’ moment and by the time the doors opened I was all smiles.

etsy made in Canada 13

Not surprisingly, my display matched the vintage inspired pieces I was selling with a vintage sheet backdrop, vintage frame and a bunch of vintage tins and bowls. I was pretty happy with how much I sold but I did have a bit left over. You can find some of my plates and cake toppers at Hello Yellow in Almonte, Ontario as well as on my Etsy Shop.

etsy made in Canada 9

The plates were a pretty big hit and I was so happy to hear lots of great comments about how different and unique they were. That’s always good when you’re at a craft show full of talented makers. Two major lessons – 1) make more deer head plates 2) don’t make more E-A-T sets. For some reason people weren’t really clicking with the set but luckily there were enough people out there with names that started with “E”, “A”, or “T” so I still sold a bunch of them.  The fake cakes were a big hit and the smell of sugar helped attract people to my table.

Etsy Made In Canada The Sweet Escape

etsy made in Canada 12

Here’s a shot with Emily and me at the end of the show. You can tell it’s the end by our shiny faces and my questionable hair.  I’m so proud of her for putting on such a huge successful event. The Ottawa show was the biggest Etsy:Made in Canada event of all the ones that were taking place across the country and although Em had some great volunteers & partners she’s pretty much a one woman show and pulled off this event without a hitch. #girlboss

etsy made in Canada 11

This is me happy after packing a much lighter load into my Fusion at the end of the show. That’s always a great feeling. Those boxes were MUCH lighter on the way home.

etsy made in Canada 10

I took the rest of the weekend off and relaxed and visited some friends that live close. This was the sunset at my friend’s cottage on Lake Mississippi. Doesn’t get much better than that.

etsy made in Canada 19

After a looonnng overdue solid night sleep I woke up early Monday morning, which also happened to be my birthday (!) and hit the road. The weather was still amazing so I decided to take the back roads almost all the way home plus I wanted to maximize the time in my sweet ride. My day started off with the basics, a Tim’s coffee and a birthday sprinkle donut then I was off.

etsy made in Canada 14

I love taking the back roads. Not only is it more chill but it’s so much more interesting than anything you see on the highway. Here’s just a few of the interesting stops I made on the way home. Including a little quickie at the roadside motel. Kidding. The cute blueberry farm boy was nowhere to be found. 
etsy made in Canada 17Thanks Etsy Canada and Handmade Harvest for putting on such a great event and thanks Ford Canada for making it super comfortable & smooth for this tired crafter. Now that my hangover is gone I’m already thinking about the next Etsy: Made in Canada show.

TRAVEL: Drake Devonshire Inn

Hey all. So what did you get up to this weekend? We had our big annual Nuit Blanche here in Toronto. There’s always quite the buzz with the main streets closed, lots of cool art and thousands of people roaming the streets. BUT if crowds and huge public events aren’t your thing, maybe you escaped the city. Or perhaps just dreamed about escaping for the weekend.

I did enjoy the weekend festivities but I have been dreaming about getting away to Prince Edward Country lately. It’s already one of my favourite places in Ontario but it just got even better with the recent opening of the Drake Devonshire Inn. It’s a boutique Inn with 13 unique stylish rooms and suites in on the lake in Wellington, Ontario.  I’m already a huge fan of the popular Drake Hotel & Bar and recently visited and loved the Drake One Fifty restaurant and now they have another location in Prince Edward County to hang out at. Drake by the Lake they’re calling it.

Drake Devonshi

Like all the Drake establishments this one oozes understated cool. Like that person you see walking down the street wearing some outfit that each piece individually ins’t anything special but the way they pull it together along with their confidence and good looks just makes them effortlessly cool. Yeah, that person. That’s the Drake Devonshire. I haven’t been yet, but it’s on the top of the Weekend Getaway list. Keep reading after the jump for more of a sneak peek of what you’ll find if you visit.

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