Early Bird: Thanksgiving at Our House

October 7, 2013

Well, I did it! My first turkey dinner is now officially checked off of my life-accomplishments list and it turned out even better than I’d hoped, if I do say so myself! The Ultimate Dry Brine Turkey recipe I found in this month’s House & Home magazine truly was the ultimate…crispy on the outside, juicy and flavourful all the way through. The recipe’s not up on the website yet but it is in the current October issue…so good! I also made the sweet-and-sour red cabbage and the pumpkin pie, minus the pecan crunch (I thought I had pecans but they were actually walnuts) and both turned out really yummy too. I cheated on the stuffing (full disclosure here!) and bought freshly-made maple sausage and cranberry stuffing from Lepp’s Farm Market. It wasn’t cheap but it was sooo delicious that it was worth the splurge, not to mention it saved me from making one dish myself!

Birch + Bird: House & HomeHouse & Home

Decorating the table is hands down the best part of any gathering for me, obviously. Thankfully, I’ve got a warehouse full of vintage furniture to “borrow” from at times like these and we swapped out our everyday dining table for one of my fave rentals, The Margaret Table…if only it could stay! We also moved our credenza in front of the fireplace and now I’m dreaming of a harvest table to replace our current round one…one day!

Birch + Bird: My Thanksgiving TableMy Table

In addition to the turkey and other sides, I also made these Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes (mine didn’t look nearly this good but they still tasted fantastic!), creamy herbed mashed potatoes, a green salad, fresh bread and my sister-in-law Amy brought a delicious Shiraz Cranberry sauce compote. Let’s just say, no one left hungry!

Birch + Bird: What Katie AteWhat Katie Ate

I was a bit too busy to take any other pics of the evening but thought I’d share some Fall-inspired pics from around the shop, since I’m in such a Thankful state of mind. We restyled and de-cluttered our shelves and displays last week and all found it pretty therapeutic. It’s always amazing to me the effect that our surroundings have on our mental state, whether we realize it or not. You know, that feeling when you’ve walked past that annoying stack of paperwork on your desk for weeks and then finally take 5 minutes and sort it out…it’s like a breath of fresh air!

Birch + Bird: Spruce Collective, Abbotsford BCSpruce Collective

Birch + Bird: Spruce Collective, Abbotsford BCSpruce Collective

Birch + Bird: Spruce Collective, Abbotsford BCSpruce Collective

Fall neutrals are a win-win with decorating in general and you really can’t go wrong. Add some greenery and a few splashes of colour for good measure and you’re good to go! Will you be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this coming weekend (or next month, for my American friends)? If so, what are your favourite dishes and/or turkey techniques? Enjoy your Monday!

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Week + End: 5 Faves for Friday

October 4, 2013

And here we are, it’s Friday again! This week bustled on by pretty quickly, which is a good thing because I must admit that I was in a bit of a funk. Nothing major, just feeling a little overwhelmed. Both my home and the store have a lot on the go and my list-loving-self gave up at some point and just had to roll with it. I’ll feel much better once our basement renos wrap up…it’s amazing how projects suddenly take over the entire house, isn’t it? It’s Brad’s birthday this weekend so we’re celebrating Thanksgiving with his family a week early (renos will be put on hold) and I’ll be cooking my first turkey dinner EVER! Admittedly, I’m a little freaked out but found a yummy (and simple-ish) looking brined turkey recipe in the latest House & Home magazine and will start prepping it today. Nothing to it but to do it, as my hubby would say! Before I head into the kitchen, here are five of my favourite links this week:

1. Loving absolutely everything that the girls over at Spread Love Events did with this West Coast inspired wedding shoot:

Birch + Bird: Spread Love Events/100 Layer CakeSpread Love Events

2. I’ve really been trying to eat well but dang, these look good:

Birch + Bird: Call Me CupcakeCall Me Cupcake

3. My love of nautical + paint-by-number collide in this amazing kids room:

Birch + Bird: Strawberry MohawkStrawberry Mohawk

4. We’ll be needing a new living room couch once our basement TV room is finished and I can’t help but be drawn to navy blue ones like this:

Birch + Bird: A Beautiful MessSarah Sherman‘s home via A Beautiful Mess

5. It’s getting chilly but Fall camping sure would be fun! Loving this DIY camp mug candle:

Birch + Bird: PoppytalkPoppytalk

Off I go to brine my turkey (can’t say I’ve ever uttered those words out loud…) so wish me luck and have a wonderful weekend :)

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Farm Fresh: A Long Table Dinner with Vitala

October 2, 2013

You may remember me mentioning that I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a long table dinner a couple of weeks ago and I thought you might like to get a little peek at the experience. Hosted by Vitala at the picturesque Bakerview EcoDairy (where Rachel and I hosted our Fieldstone Vintage Markets), it was the perfect way to welcome Fall and to celebrate locally grown food and wine. We even got to tour the luxurious Vitala cow barn (yes, I used the words luxurious and cow barn in the same sentence!) where they have back scratchers (which the cows actually use!) and a super high-tech robotic milking machine…they seemed like very happy cows, indeed :) You can see more beautiful pictures by Tanya Goehring over on the new Vitala blog but here are some of my favourites…

Birch + Bird: Vitala Long Table Dinner. Photo by Tanya Goehring.All photos by Tanya Goehring, Post Photography.

Birch + Bird: Vitala Long Table Dinner. Photo by Tanya Goehring.

Birch + Bird: Vitala Long Table Dinner. Photo by Tanya Goehring.

Birch + Bird: Vitala Long Table Dinner. Photo by Tanya Goehring.

I brought Elisa from Spruce as my “date” and we had a great time getting to know other local bloggers while sharing heaping plates of the most delicious food I’ve tasted in a very long time! Chef Dino Renaerts and his wife Nessa van Bergen (Bon Vivant Group) pulled out all of the stops creating a 4-course dinner incorporating Vitala products with meat and local produce sourced from Nature?s Pickin?s. You can see many more pics of the food and evening over on my Instagram feed and we were all filled to the brim by the time dessert arrived! It was truly a farm to table experience, in every way. We sampled delicious wines from Haywire with each course and I’ll definitely be adding them to my next Okanagan wine tour itinerary!

Birch + Bird: Vitala Long Table Dinner. Photo by Tanya Goehring. All photos by Tanya Goehring, Post Photography.

Birch + Bird: Vitala Long Table Dinner. Photo by Tanya Goehring.

Birch + Bird: Vitala Long Table Dinner. Photo by Tanya Goehring.

Birch + Bird: Vitala Long Table Dinner. Photo by Tanya Goehring. All photos by Tanya Goehring, Post Photography.

Birch + Bird: Vitala Long Table Dinner. Photo by Tanya Goehring.

Birch + Bird: Vitala Long Table Dinner. Photo by Tanya Goehring. All photos by Tanya Goehring, Post Photography.

The entire evening was magical and the Vitala team made us all feel so special with each thoughtful detail and some seriously awesome goody bags to take home with us at the end! Thank you so much to Helinda & Bill for hosting such a beautiful evening and for everyone else who helped put it together…I felt truly honoured to be included :) If you have a chance to attend a similar farm to table experience in your own community, be sure to take it! It’s so interesting (and so very important) for us all to understand where our food, where real food, actually comes from. Cheers!

Credits:

Hosts/Venue: Vitala Foods | Bakerview EcoDairy

Photography: Tanya Goehring | Post Photography

Décor/event styling: Partners and Hawes

Food: Dino Renaerts and Nessa van Bergen | The Bon Vivant Group

Wine: Haywire

Music: Scott Perrie

Event management: Ladawne Shelstad | Crush Brand Lab

 

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Green + Simple: The Nature of Things

September 30, 2013

Ok, I’m just going to throw it out there…is anyone else in favour of 3-day weekends? Like, every weekend? We could all work extra long and hard Tuesday through Friday and then catch up on everything else Saturday through Monday. I’m thinking it would be a win-win, just sayin’ :) I’ve been thinking a lot about how busy life has been (thanks to some excellent articles like this one) and am on a constant mission to streamline the work/home/family/chores/cooking/etc/etc juggle but a girl needs to sleep at some point!

We made good progress on Gabe’s room this weekend and moved the furniture all in. Next up, hanging art and some DIY shelves and I just have to find curtains and a duvet cover before I show you the official “after” photos. As we tackle our current renovations, I’m taking the opportunity to purge the clutter and simplify how we live within our home. Now if only I had that extra day each week to devote to the task! Another touch I’m eager to add to his North-facing basement room is a shade-loving plant or two. There’s nothing more calming than nature and I love the fresh sense of life that greenery brings to a space. Branches, flowers, twigs or plants, it doesn’t take much to bring a little bit of the outdoors in…

Birch + Bird: The Design FilesThe Design Files

Birch + Bird: Buk & NolaBuk & Nola

Birch + Bird: Emily Henderson's office via The Every GirlEmily Henderson’s office via The Every Girl

Birch + Bird: PoppytalkIDSWest “The Room of the Year” via Poppytalk

Birch + Bird: Country LivingCountry Living

Birch + Bird: Lovely LifeLovely Life

How was your weekend? Get you get all of your to-do tasks accomplished or did you get cozy by the fire with all of this torrential rain? I must admit that I did a bit of both. Like I said, a girl needs sleep sometimes…especially this one :)

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Spruce Vintage Rentals: Our Winter Look-Book

September 27, 2013

Earlier this month, the Spruce girls and I spent a day in Vancouver shooting our latest look-book for Spruce Vintage Rentals (formerly Trove). We styled three Winter settings at The Urban Winery in Gastown (which is amazing!, featuring a Fireside Table, Gentlemen?s Whiskey Bar (my favourite…weird, right? ;) and Hot Cocoa Lounge. I’m pretty obsessed with the results and wish I had a good excuse to throw a giant holiday party! Photographed beautifully by Mikaela Ruth Photography, we also called on Celsia Florist and Anna Elizabeth Cakes to help with the finer details and they pulled out all the stops. The florals were stunning (wild arrangements of roses, succulents & berries, oh my!) as was Anna?s simply elegant 3-tiered confection?yum! You can flip through the entire look-book here and I’ve included some of our favourite shots below. Enjoy!

All photos by Mikaela Ruth Photography.

Gorgeous cake by Anna Elizabeth Cakes.

Stunning florals by Celsia Florist.

All photos by Mikaela Ruth Photography.

All photos by Mikaela Ruth Photography.

You can see the entire Winter look-book by Spruce Vintage Rentals here:

Gilded Warmth: Spruce Vintage Rentals, Winter 2013

Gorgeous, right? And those bouquets smelled absolutely divine, as I’m sure you can imagine. If you’re in the Gastown neighbourhood (actually, it’s more on the outskirts but well worth a trip down somewhat sketchy side streets!), I highly recommend a visit to The Urban Winery and be sure to check out The Railtown Cafe while you’re at it…our lunch there was beyond delicious! I absolutely love putting together styled shoots like this and feel pretty dang lucky to call it my job. Doesn’t hurt that I do it alongside such a creative bunch of gals too :) Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

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