What's a Birthday celebration without a delicious cake?
What's a Birthday celebration without a delicious cake?
Make a birthday celebration extra special with one of these deliciously decadent homemade cakes!
This easy-to-make chocolate birthday cake will be a hit with guests at your party. Find the recipe here.
A slice of this chocolate gluten-free birthday cake will delight all chocoholics. Find the recipe here.
Love coconut? Then this light, heavenly coconut birthday cake recipe is just what your party needs. Find the recipe here.
For the health-conscious chocoholic, an easy-to-make, gluten-free chocolate birthday cake is the answer. Find the recipe here.
Filled with seasonal flavour this mouth-watering carrot cake recipe from Rosie Daykin, owner of Vancouver's Butter Baked Goods bakery will have your guests asking for birthday cake to take home with them! Find the recipe here.
A tale as old as time, the meant-to-be combination of chocolate and vanilla is on display in this stunning layer birthday cake. Find the recipe here.
Use your favourite red velvet cake recipe to make these fun birthday cake push pops. Find the recipe here.
Taste a hint of hazelnut with this flourless chocolate birthday cake recipe. Find the recipe here.
Try this scrumptious birthday cake recipe featuring sweet maple syrup. Find the recipe here.
This striped birthday cake confection is a double dose of chocolate that is as pleasing to look at as it is to eat. Find the recipe here.
A dream getaway with classic coastal style.
A brand new all-season dream getaway dressed in classic coastal style captures the nostalgia of cottage living.
Perfectly imperfect: It may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it’s the spirit that guided the design of Tradewinds, a stately 7,000-square-foot cottage nestled just above the shores of Muskoka’s Lake Rosseau in Ontario. It was those very shores that attracted home-owners Kai and Joanna Tukums back in 2011. After considering their options, Kai, who is self-employed, and Joanna, a chartered accountant, made the decision to build a dream getaway for their growing family. But first, they had to find the land. “We were looking for a property with unobstructed views, natural privacy and great sun exposure,” says Kai–a tall order on an already popular lake. But when the couple found this verdant plot, complete with a stretch of sandy beach, they knew it was the right site for the coastal-inspired cottage they envisioned.
Their first call after securing the lot was to builder and designer Cory DeFrancisco of Muskoka Living Interiors, with whom they’d successfully collaborated on the renovation of their Toronto home. “We really clicked,” says Cory. “They gave me carte blanche to run with my creativity.” With Kai and Joanna’s blessing, that creative streak led Cory to sketch out an all-season dwelling that would pay homage to the shingled homes of Nantucket and the Hamptons, with a decidedly Muskoka twist.
The architectural focal point in the living room is its ceiling, with wooden beams mounted on a 45-degree angle over white beadboard. Down-filled slipcovered sofas invite family and friends to sink in for long conversations. A TV is cleverly concealed behind the doors above the fireplace.
“The kitchen is my favourite room,” says homeowner Joanna Tukums. And it’s no wonder. The play of clean white kitchen cabinetry and backsplash tiles against the warmth of an antique-oak island and pantry makes it an inviting space for cooking and entertaining.
Large windows frame the view from the spacious dining room. “We wanted to highlight the wooden mullions, so we painted them a soft black,” says Cory. “It’s a technique we used throughout the house.”
In the master bathroom, Cory used a soft blue for the vanity and let the floor treatment, a wooden trellis pattern with inset marble tiles, act as the focus. The round window between the sinks is reminiscent of a ship’s porthole.
Substantial black hooks punctuate the poplar tongue-and-groove walls of the mud room area in the laundry room, while a checkered toss cushion references the home’s navy and white scheme.
The bright galley-style laundry room is outfitted with built-in appliances, upper storage and a bench that runs the length of the windows.
A split staircase makes a lasting first impression in the cottage’s entryway. Cory enhanced the walls with applied moulding in a grid pattern. The texture acts as a striking background for black Windsor-style benches.
The casual loft-style den at the top of the stairs offers a million-dollar view of Ontario’s Lake Rosseau. With an all-white room, builder and designer Cory DeFrancisco chose to keep the furnishings symmetrical and simple, with a pair of slipper chairs adding the only note of bold pattern to the room.
White wicker furniture with nautical-themed toss cushions keeps the feeling as fresh as the air in the Muskoka room. “We entertain all summer and enjoy spending lots of time in here,” says homeowner Kai tukums. “It’s an extension of the house.”
“We were looking for a property with unobstructed views, natural privacy and great sun exposure,” says Kai.
The grand cottage design draws architectural inspiration from coastal homes in Nantucket and the Hamptons. But the white cedar bevel siding with charcoal trim provides crisp contrast that feels authentic to the Muskoka region, explains Cory.
How to: Paint outdoor furniture
When undertaking a DIY project, there are usually a few things to consider. Add tempermental weather to the list and suddenly that little list has multiplied. How do you prepare your furniture for painting? What type of paint do you use? How does it differ for different types of material?
Though the process of painting outdoor furniture may seem daunting now, the best way to go about a DIY job is to be prepared. We talked to an expert at Canadian Tire to do just that. Michael Bache, Category Business Manager at Canadian Tire, shares his prepping and painting how tos to help put your DIY nerves at ease.
1 What supplies will you need for prepping and painting?
Depending on the state of the furniture (e.g. new wood, old plastic, painted metal, painted wood) and the type of paint chosen, a variety of items should be considered.
If using brush-on paint, consider using a primer before applying a new fresh coat of colour. When priming your furniture, make sure to use a good quality paintbrush and rags or drop cloths for clean-up. However, if you're using Krylon® Fusion™ no primer is required.
If repainting a metal or wood surface that has loose peeling paint, it must be removed for best adhesion. You can use sandpaper, steel wool, wire brush, scraper, or a stripper. You may require a tack cloth to clean up dust residue when sanding. If sanding a latex paint, a simple damp rag will work just fine.
2 Do these steps differ when prepping different materials, such as metal, plastic, wicker or wood?
Yes. Some products don't require primer, saving you a prep step. Using an aerosol is a benefit, too, as you also save a step in the prep. It generally dries faster and doesn't require clean-up since no paint brushes are involved. Even better, aerosols tend to give a factory style, air brush finish when applied properly, as opposed to a brush-on paint.
Bare wood generally requires a primer to seal the wood prior to painting as the surface is porous. The primer is used to provide a nice, smooth finish. Krylon Dual saves a step on both bare wood and metal since it primes and paints in one easy step. This saves time and allows people to have more time enjoying their furniture and less time prepping it!
3 What type of paint should you use for outdoor furniture?
Always follow the directions on the label for specific product use. This will ensure proper adhesion to your surface.
Plastic patio furniture should only have a paint specifically designed to adhere to plastic and hard-to-bond surfaces. Many general purpose paints can adhere to most surfaces except plastic.
For wicker or rattan, spray paints tend to make a nicer finish and easily gets into the grooves. Muskoka chairs are also easier to paint when using an aerosol as opposed to a paint brush. Now there's even an aerosol wood stain by Krylon. Spray stains make fast work of Muskoka chairs and planters - no brushes to clean up either.
5 What about rust prevention?
Paint designed especially for metal surfaces tends to add rust protection into the paint - make sure the paint says "rust proofing" or "rust inhibiting".
As our climate changes, U.V. rays are also a consideration - they're hard on our skin and our exterior patio furniture! Some paints actually have U.V. protection in their paint. This will help protect your finish to resist harsh weather conditions. We suggest storing patio furniture during the fall and winter months when not in use. If space is a problem, a variety of covers and tarps are available to help protect your investment.
6 What are the best painting methods to use?
Much of this is personal preference. However, some surfaces, like wicker and rattan, have a nicer finish when sprayed versus brushing.
7 What kind of finish, if any, should you use?
Most paint companies offer a variety of finishes to choose from - satin, gloss, textured, metallic, hammered, and more. As long as you use an appropriate paint for your exterior surface and follow the instructions, you should achieve the finish you want. The really nice thing about the variety of paints and finishes available is that people can turn "garage sale finds" into treasures. Mixing and matching old and new creates a different and personalized patio set.
8 How many coats should you use
Follow the instructions on the can, however many paints suggest two coats. When painting remember this rule of thumb: Thinner coats are better than thicker coats. Thinner coats dry faster and produce a harder finish.
9 What should you look for in a brush?
Is it the right paint brush for your paint? Oil-based paints generally have different bristles than latex paints. The brush label will specify this.
Is the paint brush the right size to do your project? If you are painting furniture, smaller brushes may be better. Ensure it fits into your paint container.
A roller can be great for large flat surfaces, like a tabletop. This can help reduce brush marks, too!
10 How does climate affect the painting process?
Weather is a big factor. For the most part, if you're getting a sunburn and sweating, it's probably too hot to paint. This will cause the paint to dry too fast. If it's too windy and you're using an aerosol paint, your paint may dissipate before it reaches the surface. Either wait for the wind to die down or use cardboard to build a spray tunnel. Humidity can affect the paint's dry time, which leaves more time for surface imperfections to take place on your finish. In general, 21ºC and about 50% humidity are ideal conditions for painting.
12 Any last tips?
Remember to protect other surfaces if working outside by using masking tape and drop cloths. Most importantly, regardless of your project, remember to always read product labels thoroughly and follow directions.
Drab kitchen goes bold in black and white
A Toronto couple with a shared vision cooks up an ambitious renovation plan for their outdated kitchen and backyard.
They say a renovation can lead to a separation, but that couldn’t be further from the truth for this Toronto couple. “We agree on absolutely everything design-wise,” says Melissa Evans-Lee, marketing director of Bayview Village Shopping Centre, about her media CEO hubby, John Lee. “Sometimes I think we share a brain.” The pair’s united vision for the three-bedroom Victorian fixer-upper they purchased in the city’s west end in 2006 was clear – and ambitious.
Over the course of a decade, every room was redone, but it all began with the kitchen, a priority for these foodies and skilled home chefs. A total gut job liberated the 135-square-foot pass-through cooking space from its decrepit pale yellow-painted wooden cabinetry, dark green linoleum flooring and outdated basic appliances. The original window and radiator were left intact, lending old-world character to newly installed budget-friendly modern finishes in white. Oh, and the walls were painted black. When asked about the bold choice, Melissa laughs. “Is it? We didn’t get the memo,” adding that nearly every wall in the house was painted a dark colour, from charcoal to navy. Black also spills out to the backyard for an extra dose of drama.
Thanks to a generous helping of black paint and a good dose of stainless steel, Melissa Evans-Lee and John Lee’s Toronto kitchen oozes sophistication. Tidy open storage and the large original window mask its modest proportions.
“I’m a very visual person, so I like to have everything on display,” says Melissa with regard to the plenitude of open storage. But she does admit that keeping everything orderly requires a certain personality type (“Can you say OCD?” she says with a laugh). Everyday dishes and oft-used ingredients are kept in sight on floating shelves and in the island’s open base, while overflow is hidden away in a small pantry. Black and white accessories throughout look fancy and offer function.
“I think saying dark walls make a room feel dim or small is a complete fallacy,” says Melissa. “Black adds something really amazing to the mix: drama.” Case in point is this group of picture ledges she uses to display her best-loved cookbooks, which rivals some of the most affecting art walls.
Potted herbs enliven the kitchen’s dramatic black and white scheme and also add a nature-inspired feel that helps create a connection between the indoors and out.
Whether dining on buffet-style tacos or a four-course meal, guests enjoy interior-calibre comfort on vintage Bertoia chairs and the newly built-in banquette, which Melissa cleverly cushioned using dog beds and indoor toss cushions. “Everything is movable,” she says. “These chairs can easily go in the dining room, the toss cushions in the den.”
Choice furnishings and accessories (in a chic black and white scheme that matches the interior) create an integrated outdoor dining space – “it’s oven to patio table in about five steps,” says Melissa – that plays host to dinners à deux and mingling guests alike.
Tucked into a corner of the backyard, this stone patio outfitted with vintage metal seating and a hand-me-down coffee table is a serene spot for lazing around with a book under the pleasant shade of two mature trees. Low-maintenance potted ferns add fluffy texture.