October 28, 2011

So Awesome, it's Spooky

TheBloggess is not only one of the funniest people in the world, but apparently she is amazingly diverse as well! For the past 11 years she has been slowly working on a haunted doll house. And it is even more impressive than it sounds.

I would love to make one of these, if I thought I could do it without spooking myself too much.

Check out tons of photos of this amazing doll house here!

October 19, 2011

Baby -ville Ideas

Since I have clearly given up on the 31 Day Challenge (a combination of debilitating morning sickness and the fact that my computer is not playing nice at all) , I thought I would move on and get back to what I really feel like posting about. Baby rooms progress.

The room is slowly starting to look like the clean slate I was hoping for, so we're getting to the point where I can start adding some fun ideas back into the room. Yay for the fun part! Here are some items that have or will make there way into Bean's room in the next little while:

I bought a faux-sheepskin from Ikea for $9.99 - but here is the more luxurious real one

A table I bought on UsedVictoria for $10! I have since painted the top white (updated photo to come) - originally seen here

Free Printable Flashcards from TheHandmadeHome

At $25.00 a piece, it is killing me that I may need 6 of these for by the crib - TheAnimalPrintShop

And this hideously upholstered chair - which still needs to be recovered. I found this chair on UsedVictoria for FREE!! Original post here

We still have a long way to go - but soon I will have some progress photos for you (assuming I actually make some progress).

I am still fighting with myself over what fabric scheme to go for. Mostly neutral, yes. But with a hit of navy and lime? Orange? Grey and yellow? Too many to decide between, so instead I think I will procrastinate some more.

What colours do you think I should add?

October 11, 2011

31 Days {Day 11} 5 Must Have’s for the Perfect Bar Cart

Just because I have giant can’t-drink-for-6-more-months sign on my tummy right now (in the form of a quickly developing baby bump), doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be a good hostess this holiday season. Drinking is the key to holiday fun – okay, okay, but it is important to make your guests feel welcome, and here at Casa Morgan that revolves around booze. I have always loved the idea of a beautiful chrome bar cart.

Sarah Richardson

But since we don’t share SarahRichardson’s budget, I hunted down a $10 version at a garage sale last spring.


But, I always prefer a well stocked bar to one that looks pretty. Here are 5 must have’s for your bar this holiday season:

1. Glasses

Although I have lots of glasses stashed in kitchen cupboards, I make sure to keep a few wine glasses and some tumblers right on my bar cart. This way I’m ready to serve at all times for a small crowd, and can run to the kitchen if the party gets bigger than expected.

2. Wine

Red and white! Although I drink both red and white, I would keep a few bottles of each handy even if I didn’t. It’s nice to be able to serve someone what they really will enjoy. And don’t think you have to spend a fortune to get your wine count up, either. I have a ‘under $15’ rule, and in sticking to it the past few years, I have discovered many wonderful wines that I might have over looked next to their pricier cousin. When in doubt ‘EverythingWine’ is my go to when I’m unsure – their knowledgeable staff always is able to find me just the bottle I’m looking for (even when I don’t know what I’m looking for)

3. Hard Bar

We don’t drink a lot of hard bar in our house, but I tend to keep it all corralled on the bar cart. Close to the holidays, I stock up on a few essentials (rum, vodka, whiskey, Amerato, and Baileys) so that there is a little bit of a selection for guests. When in doubt, rum and vodka are great when mixed with soda or fruit juice, so these are always a versatile choice.

4. Beer

Come on, keep the boys happy.

5. Supplies

I make sure to keep things like napkins, cork screw, reusable cork and a good cocktail mixing book right on my bar cart. This way it is all there for when I need it – no rooting threw the kitchen drawers every time someone asks for a little red.

31 Days {Day 10} Quilts – Done Right

Although I would never describe my style as country, I do like a relaxed look in my spaces from time to time. And fall is the perfect time to bring in those cosy comforts that make a room seem more homey. Quilts are one great way to mellow out a room. Sarah Richardson is queen of making quilts look posh and keeping the country out of homey chic. Here are some of her rooms in which she used quilts in the perfect way.

Sarah Richardson

Sarah Richardson

Sarah Richardson

Sarah Richardson

And for those of you that make quilts (applause!) – or like me are tempted to make a quilt, here is a link to a fabulous DIY quilt. Although I have yet to try it, she explains things very well, and the finished product is nothing short of amazing.

Don’t Look Now – Quilt Along!

31 Days {Day 9} Neat Pumpkin Ideas

What will you be trying this year on your Halloween pumpkins? Are you a tried and true pumpkin-carver? Or will you be taking the woossie way out (a la moi) and doing something that doesn’t require inevitable band aids?

I am all for neat pumpkin ideas that don’t require me to get my hands too messy – and here are some great ideas that I will be trying out this year!

Puff Paint – only Sherry from YoungHouseLove would have the guts to try something so risky, yet have it turn out beautifully. She used puff paint to draw dot designs on her pumpkins, and then spray painted them in white and yellow (a woman after my own heart)

Pumpkin Meets Doily – putting a doily on the top of a pumpkin and penning in the details with a black marker. Genius! And it looks so pretty!


Painting Your Pumpkin – Great idea for me since I’m handy with a paint brush, but not so great yielding a sharp knife. Paint your pumpkin white or ivory, and then paint decorations on them with black paint. I very much am in love with the zebra print one.

Young House Love

Martha Stewart

Will you be doing pumpkins this year? I really like the painting idea, so I may opt out of the traditional look for something a little more Erin. (plus, I'm not really allowed to use the big girl knives anymore...)

October 8, 2011

31 Days {Day 8} Gone Paintin

Today I am over at my sister-in-law's house, painting away! Her hubby is away, so we are taking full advantage of the fact that we don't need to double check things with him. So far we have painted her front entrance and hallway (and by we, I mean Pete and I). It is looking pretty great! I love painting - it's such a great way to get high impact for very few hours spent. And my philosophy is that anything can be fixed with a little paint!

When was the last time you painted? Do you think it's odd that I am over at my sister-in-law's painting, and not painting at my own house? Not like I have a baby on the way and a nursery to paint... Hmm...

October 6, 2011

31 Days {Day 7} You Big Turkey!

Today, for a change of pace, I introduce MorganDesignInc's first guest writer, my dad, Patrick!

"I feel larger birds (over 20 pounds) are more flavourful and moist. I tend to go for one 23-26 pounds, lots of leftovers and I can send some home with my kids!

Start with making your stuffing:

Turkey Stuffing (12-14 pound turkey, proportionally more for larger birds)

1 cup celery, finely diced

2 medium onions, finely diced

¼ cup butter (margarine), melted

1 cup mushrooms, finely diced

1 tsp salt (can use less)

1/8 tsp black pepper (or more!)

3 tsp poultry seasoning (or more, to taste!)

10 cups bread cubes (1 large loaf)

¼ cup chicken stock ( or boullion cube with ¼ cup hot water)

Saute onions, celery and mushrooms in butter until transparent. Add spices to veggies. Add veggies/spices to bread cubes. Add chicken stock as required to stuffing and stir well. Aim is for stuffing to be slightly moist, not dry and not saturated/soggy.

Stuff neck/crop area and sew skin to contain stuffing. Stuff body cavity, not too tightly but not loose.

Cover turkey loosely with foil (shiny side in) and put in preheated (325 degree) oven. The last 45 minutes, remove foil covering and continue roasting until skin browns up nicely (baste if desired). Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes or more before carving. (time to make gravy in roasting pan). Carve no more than required at one time, as leftover breast meat pre-sliced will tend to dry out.

8-12 pounds = 4 - 4 1/2 hours

12-16 pounds = 4 ½ - 5 ½ hours

16-20 pounds = 5 ½ - 6 ½ hours

20-24 pounds = 6 ½ - 7 ½ hours

Larger birds, proportionally more time.

By doubling the stuffing quantities, I end up with more stuffing than will fit in a bird. My solution is to remove the last two joints of the wings, and place that and the neck on top of a Pyrex dish full of uncooked stuffing. Pop it in the oven for about 1 ½ - 2 hours and keep covered when removed from oven. Once it’s cooled, I remove the neck/wings (discard), and cover the stuffing up again to prevent excessive moisture loss. I line the bottom of the Pyrex casserole dish with aluminum foil, shiny side out. Then I completely wrap the stuffing in another layer of foil, shiny side in and sealed (to keep the moisture in). With stuffing cooked without the benefit of a turkey around it, the main challenge is to keep it moist. Too high of heat or not having the stuffing sealed up inside foil is a recipe for very dry stuffing (not what I like!).

For our family, traditional vegetables to go with turkey include brussels sprouts (not everyone enjoys them), carrots, niblet corn, mashed potatoes, and candied yams (peel, boil until cooked, drain, mash and add margarine, spoon into casserole dish and cover with a layer of brown sugar, then back in the oven for 30 minutes)"

There you have it, folks. My Dad's tips on the best turkey. And although his intructions are perfect and easy to follow, I think I will still just let him take care of it on Monday night. And by all means, Dad, I will help you out with any leftovers!

31 Days {Day 6} Food So Good, it Has it's Own Day

Today we're going to talk about TurkeyDay! Also know as Thanksgiving, this holiday is coming up quick for us Canadians (for all you US readers, I encourage you to celebrate both, so you don't have to wait so long for stuffing.)

Apple Cheddar Scones - SmittenKitchen - so good - drop whatever you're doing and make them now. I'll wait.

Thanksgiving is happening this weekend (!) on Monday, October 10th for us igloo dwellers, which is perfect since I have been waiting for this since the day I found out we're expecting. We were invited (okay, we're just showing up) to two family dinners this weekend, so we won't be cooking our own turkey this weekend. But that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about what we will be doing in a few weeks when we hold our 'AntiThanksgiving Dinner' (a silly tradition Hubby and I started when we first moved in together, where we eat all the same foods, but sit around with friends and drink wine and complain. Very therapeutic)

Even though it doesn't pertain to design, we will be talking about food today! Because it's my blog, and I'm hungry! Here is a list of recipes I am dying to make this season:

Sundried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms - SmittenKitchen - I die.

Cauliflower Gratin - SmittenKitchen - I made this for last year's Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit!

Spring Salad with New Potatoes - SmittenKitchen - this IS as good as it looks. And them some.

Mushroom and Barley Pie - SmittenKitchen - if it tastes as good as it looks, we're all in for a treat

Broccoli Slaw - SmittenKitchen - I have made this more times than I am willing to admit. The buttermilk dressing will blow your mind.

You will notice that all the featured recipes are by SmittenKitchen. Why you ask? Because Deb knows her food - don't fight it! Whenever I'm looking for a recipe for real people, SmittenKitchen is the place to go. Besides her amazing cooking talent and photography skills, she absolutely cracks me up (a must when I'm in the kitchen).

You will also notice that I did not feature a turkey recipe on here. It is not because I don't want turkey at all hours of the day (because I do.), but because there is only one person that I trust to cook the perfect turkey. He has been cooking turkey for longer than I have been able to say it. Tomorrow I will be introducing a very special feature writer (a first at MorganDesignInc!) - my father, Patrick!

Who else is excited about turkey, like I am? How many US readers will be making a turkey this weekend, just because? Join the party, friends!

October 5, 2011

31 Days {Day 5} Simple Bits of Fall

Around Casa Morgan, we keep our fall decorations simple. It is, for me, a time between the carefree days of summer and putting up Christmas decorations. I love decorating for the Christmas season, so I tend to keep our fall decorations understated.

But that doesn't mean that I skip it all together! ThriftyFoods (a local grocery store) had mini pumpkins on for $1, so I couldn't resist grabbing a few of these last week.

Miniature pumpkins are just one of the easy ways to add a taste of fall to your house. Adding fresh flowers in fall colours can look amazing on a dining table, or simple things like a cluster of fallen leaves in a vase. Keep it simple!

How have you decorated for fall? Does anyone else think these mini pumpkins are the cutest things ever?? Or is it just my pregnancy hormones kicking in? I've restrained myself from naming them. As of now.

31 Days {Day 4} Cozy on Over – Blankets and Throws

We love our blankets, here at MorganDesignInc! This year I’m on the hunt for some new (perhaps posher) throws for our living room. Here are some that I am considering right now:

$95.00 – TheHouseOfHemp

$44.95 – Peir One Imports

$40.00 – SilverBirdNC

$39.95 – Peir One Imports

$58.00 – TheComfortsOfHome

Which one is your favorite? I think I’m leaning toward the grey one from TheHouseOfHemp – maybe I could make one like that? Or maybe it will never be finished, so I should just cave and buy it from this veteran Etsy seller.

October 3, 2011

31 Days {Day 3} Getting the Yard Ready for Fall

From here

Fall can be a great time to refresh your garden preparing it for the following spring. But don’t forget to add some interest to your gardens. Plants like garden mums are perfect to add a hit of colour to tired summer containers.

Now is also the best time for, if like me, you let the weeds get a little out of control in your beds. You are best to do it before they set seed and go crazy next spring. This is also a great time to remulch your beds.

From here

Remember that a healthy, vigorous growing lawn makes it harder for weeds and moss to establish – another great reason to feed your lawns roots for winter. A good fertilizer for this would be a 6-3-20 blend.

From here

Plant picks for great fall colour:

Burning Bush

Maples (Acers)

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Witch-hazel (Hamamelis)

Garden Mums (Chrsyanthemum)



Flowering Kale

From here

31 Days {Day 2} Shifting Gears for Fall

With the change in the seasons comes a shift in the way we organize the house. During the summer, I make sure to keep a pile of fresh beach towels and a backpack with beach items (sunscreen, dog toys, etc) right beside the front door. Well, I am finally ready to admit to myself that our beach days are probably over for the year.

Besides putting away lake-trip-items, this brings me to a few other things I shift around in the house as the temperature outside drops:

1. Pull Out the Coats!

I make sure all of our winter and fall coats are downstairs on the hooks ready to go. I also pull out any sweaters that I have been stashing under the bed.

From here

2. Clean out the Wellies

I get all the cobwebs out of our wellies, and put away any summer shoes I know we won’t be needing.

From SouthernExposure

3. Hats, Scarves and Mitts – Oh My!

I pull out our box of winter accessories and have them at the ready by the front door. It is always a good idea to have a few extra pairs of mitts in the box to – for impromptu snowball fights with friends (happens much more often than you would think)

For purchase here

4. Blankets

Anyone that knows us well will tell you that we keep out house fairly… ‘crisp’ during the winter months. But we are happier with a fire and some extra sweaters than wasting electricity with baseboard heaters during the cold months (we know this will probably change when little bean arrives). I make sure to keep a few blankets in the living room as well as an extra hoodie or two (you would be surprised how often I get taken up on that offer!)

From here

5. Make Sure the Pantry is Well Stocked

I do this every year, and with nesting hormones kicking in – this year will likely be no different. I make sure that our pantry is fully equipped with all needed baking supplies and lots of pantry staples for meals. Since the Victoria BC blizzard of ’96 (I was 11 at the time) I think about what we would do if we lost power for a week and were unable to get to the grocery store. Being able to make do with a wood fireplace, stocked pantry and a full propane tank for the BBQ gives me peace of mind. (Also, don’t forget your pets! I make sure we have an extra bag of dog food during the ‘might-get-snowed-in’ months)

From here

What do you do to prepare for the fall season? Does anyone else wish their pantry was that organized? (or full?)

31 Days {Day 1} My Favorite Things about Fall

With a bit of a computer failure over the weekend, we will be officially starting the '31 Days to Fall in Love with Fall' series today, with a few catch up posts!

Welcome to the first day of our series ’31 Days to Fall in Love with Fall’! We are very excited over here at MorganDesignInc, and are thrilled to be participating with TheInspiredRoom in this post-a-day-extravaganza.

I thought I would start things off for this series with a list of my favorite parts about fall. Fall used to be my least favorite season growing up (that long rainy stretch between summer holidays and Christmas break), but as I get older I am starting to appreciate this season more and more. Here are a few of my favorite things from this season:

1. Wellies!

I love tromping around the yard in my (or my husband’s) Wellies. There is something that feels so very basic about working in your gum boots, it just makes me feel cozy.

2. Fires in the Fireplace

Nothing I love more than curling up by the fire with the dogs and a nice tea. Our house gets cold in the fall and winter, so there is usually a fire roaring when we’re home.

3. Fall Fashion

Wearing suede slouchy boots over jeans, with a sweater and a nice scarf is a fashion season I wait for. I love curling up at work with a big pashmina like a blanket (or sometimes a real blanket)

Hubby and I at Butchart Gardens

4. Rainy Days

Curling up with a good book, watching bad TV, or having Monopoly marathons with friends – rainy days are something I look forward to. Don’t forget the popcorn, grilled cheese sandwiches and hot chocolate!

Friends during a 4 hour epic Monopoly game

5. Pigging Out

Come on, you all know this is the best part – I’m munching on a giant cookie as we speak (er, type). I love baking in the cooler months and there is usually something yummy on the counter (cookies, brownies, cakes, muffins – whatever I feel like!). I also make homemade chocolates every year (a family tradition at my house growing up), tried caramels last year (mmm) and am going to try my hand at peppermint sticks this year! And then there are turkey days – nothing better than my Dad’s turkey stuffing. Okay, maybe his lemon tarts.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

What are your favorite things about fall? And more importantly, how many people have made these scones from SmittenKitchen?? These are amazing, I would highly recommend you try them and bring me a sample.