Tea Par-tay!

Hubby and I decided that yesterday was a good day to throw a little tea party for those we are closest to on a regular basis (most hadn’t yet seen our new place).

Unfortunately, yesterday turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far and our place was almost unbearably hot, but we had the kindest of guests who didn’t complain even once about the soaring temperatures.

Teacups and Plates 1

I didn’t think we’d have any takers for hot tea, so I made a ton of iced tea from scratch using this recipe. I only used lemon and lime juice and omitted the orange and mint. I reduced the amount of sugar by a little bit – I was going for more refreshing than sweet, and I think it worked! It always worries me when I bake or cook for other people, because I really don’t like things too sweet, and I’m afraid people will wonder why I was so cheap with the sugar.

Teacups 1

I admit, I was not good at remembering to take a picture of everything once it was laid out. I ended up taking a picture of the cupcakes while they were still in the fridge –

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Fresh Blueberry Buttercream

The icing on these is blueberry cream cheese buttercream, made with fresh blueberries, since they are in season and in abundance right now. I used this recipe, but substituted 1/2 cup of pureed blueberries for the raspberries.

For the vanilla cupcakes, I used this recipe. I did a test batch of full sized cupcakes earlier last week and they turned out perfectly both times. I usually have such a hard time getting any sort of cake or cupcakes to turn out, so this was a minor miracle to me!

Lemon Cake with Lemon Drizzle

The lemon cake with lemon drizzle was a hit, despite near disaster while making it. It just did not want to come out of the pan, even though I used a non-stick pan and greased it. The cake tasted fantastic though, so I have a hard time complaining too much, but I used a double recipe of the glaze to cover up all of the pieces the cake ended up being in (4 or 5, I think). Hubby re-assembled the cake for me and got it ready for glaze.

Palmieres

The Palmiers were the one thing I decided to buy instead of make. I’m pretty sure than even Martha Stewart herself recommends this. LOL! With all the humidity they were a little worse for wear and sticky, but still tasted good.

Mini Quiche Lorainne

Can you believe I’ve never made quiche? I like it. I eat it. But I’d never made it. I did make it this time though! I used this recipe for mini quiche lorraine. They came out quite nicely, and I’d use this recipe again. I baked them the night before, but if I was doing it again, I’d make them the day of, because you just can’t beat fresh-from-the-oven quiche.

Taragon Chicken Salad with Sour Cream Instead of Mayo

The chicken salad was perhaps my favourite thing. I usually avoid chicken salad, actually any sandwich filling ‘salads’ because I don’t like mayo (those who know me know that’s an understatement). I.will.not.eat.it. This chicken salad is made with sour cream instead of mayo and was fantastic! It also has dried cranberries in it. Here is the recipe. I will make this often.

Instead of serving the chicken salad on regular bread, I used mini-croissants cut in half –

Mini Croissants (to be filled with chicken salad)

I also did cucumber sandwiches with garlic cream cheese on pumpernickel and managed not to take one picture of them. They were super tasty too. I think they were hubby’s favourite.

This marks the first party I’ve ever thrown at my house (we didn’t have the space for more than one guest at a time in our old apartment), but it certainly won’t be the last. And we learned that we can fit 15 people in our livingroom.

Before and After – Take 2

I took some proper before and after pictures of my kitchen and living room this morning. I tried to match the angle that the original photographs were taken from.

So here we go again…

Kitchen before –

Before

Kitchen after –

Kitchen After

Please forgive my mountain of knitting and sewing stuff that’s taken over the kitchen island. Yes, I do have a craft room now, but I’m having some knee problems, so I’ve been trying to avoid the stairs as much as possible, leaving the kitchen area as my home base.

Living room before –

Before

Living room after –

Livingroom After

Ahhh…much better…

More ‘Before and After’ Pics…

We decided to finally get our main floor dolled up with some new paint, so I thought I’d share a few more before and after pictures. I need to put my wide angle lens on my camera, so these pics aren’t great, but they’ll give you an idea of the transformation…

Here’s the kitchen ‘before’ –

Before

We removed the chair rail, painted the trim and painted the whole room in Para Paints Eggshell Sarah Richardson Collection in the ‘Retreat’ color. Here it is ‘after’ –

Kitchen

Here’s one beside the window –

Kitchen

I really wish it was in the budget to replace those dingy old venetian blinds, but alas, that’s not something we’ll be changing in the near future (or likely ever really).

Last week, my dad was over and working hard to get rid of all of our wall sconces and replace them with ceiling pot lights (aka recessed lighting). We still have to do the front entrance, but the one in the living room and the ones up the stairs are gone.

Here’s a before –

Before

And here’s the ‘after’ –

View From Livingroom Up the Stairs

Here’s a bit more of a peek at what the living room color looks like –

Livingroom Paint Color - Para Sarah Richardson Pebble

It’s Para Paints Eggshell from the Sarah Richardson Collection in Pebble. We’ve also painted our front entranceway this color, and I think our office is destined to become this color as well (it’s the last room to paint!!).

I’ll do another ‘before and after’ of these areas (as well as the front entranceway) as soon as I get some better pictures.