Get Creative

The holiday season can get kind of hectic, and DIY projects are a great way to put aside time to simply slow down and take a deep breath. We’ll be sharing all sorts of fun recipes and projects leading up to Christmas, but we decided to kick off this busy time with something extra calming. We all need a bit more calm in this wild world, right?

For this week’s installment of the #pastelcraftclub we teamed up with Julie from Province Apothecary. I had the pleasure of attending an outdoor essential oil blending workshop with Julie this past summer, and I was so enchanted by the magic of her knowledge that I immediately know we needed to share some of it here. Paige quickly agreed, a long-time fan of Province Apothecary as well, and here we are.

Part natural medicine, part olfactory, and in my opinion a little bit like witchcraft, the power of blending pure essential oils is pretty amazing, and we’re thrilled to have Julie here today sharing one of her secret formulas – Keep Calm!

Scroll down for Julie’s DIY





As an aromatherapist I love reaching for essential oils to help calm my body and mind during times of stress. My favourite way to apply them is in a therapeutic roll on.

By using essential oils in your daily life you can help diminish stress, relieve depression, ease physical pain, promote alternateness, heal skin issues like acne and much more. The properties of essential oils, when used properly, can promote general well-being and self-connection. Essential oils are so easy to use and can be incorporated into your daily routine: they can be used in a bath, during a massage, or in your daily skincare regime. The beautiful thing about essential oils is that they work on a subtle level- sometimes one drop is enough.

Terms to know:
Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants.

Aromatherapy: The therapeutic use of plant-derived, aromatic essential oils to promote physical and psychological well-being. Your skin is the largest organ of the body and absorbs essential oils easily.

| ESSENTIAL OILS FOR calming the body + mind |

BERGAMOT naturally relaxes and uplifts. It’s invigorating scent invites joy and laughter in one’s space, working as a natural antidepressant. It relieves tension to unfold a natural harmony.

CEDAR WOOD naturally strengthens + clarifies. Its light, woodsy scent has a calming and soothing effect on the mind and is of great help in conditions associated with anxiety. It also acts a general tonic, easing conditions of a respiratory nature.
CLARY SAGE naturally calming to the nervous system. An effective sleep aid. Great for reducing anxiety/asthma, reduces muscle tension, PMS. Aphrodisiac.

FRANKINCENSE naturally settles and composes. Its scent eases worry and rejuvenates the mind. Antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, calming/relaxing, anti-fungal/antibacterial/antiseptic, decongests open airway. Relieves tension (in all systems), stress, anxiety. Has been used for meditation..

ROMAN CHAMOMILE naturally calms. It’s a powerfully peaceful oil, bring inner harmony and reducing irritability, anxiety and worry.

LAVENDER calms nervousness and relieves depression. Its antispasmodic, antibacterial, antiseptic properties make it nature’s #1 First Aid oil. Use lavender oil to naturally relieve dryness, cracked skin, eczema, and wounds. It stimulates the growth of healthy new cells, making it effective in healing the skin and reducing scars.




•1 ml vials or beakers to blend your scent
• Essential oils of choice
• Coffee beans to help with olfactory fatigue
• Roll on container (10 ml roll on), 10 ml base oil + beaker
• Labels for blending and for finished product

BLEND DILUTIONS 10 ml : 1% – 2 drops, 3%- 6 drops, 5% – 10 drops, 10% – 20 drops

1. Choose the essential oils and % of blend you would like to make, 1-5 oils is best for therapeutic roll ons

2.. Add one drop of each oil to the 1 ml vial or beaker and smell your blend after each drop, record the # of drops and slowly add more of the oils you would like more of.

3. Shake or stir your blend. Smell your blend and add more oils or keep as it is. Count out the number of drops your have used. This will be your final recipe.

4.. Once you have discussed your final blend with Julie, slowly count out the final number of drops into your 10 ml vial. Add your carrier oil of choice to the eos, put the cap on and shake.

ALWAYS: Document every single drop. Add drops one at a time and check scent. When formulating is complete, add EO blend to carrier base. Store your blend in a bottle out of the light. Label your formula clearly with the date.

DIRECTIONS: Apply oil to your wrists, temples, and back of neck (into your hairline) and let the essential oils absorb into the skin. For immediate results, place scent directly under your nose and breath deeply. Can be used as many times as needed throughout the day.

Get Creative

Happy Hallo-weekend! Are all your costumes ready to go? Have you stocked up on candy? Are you looking for a spooky (or sweet) craft?

Well, we don’t have any tricks, but we do have a special Halloween treat for the #PastelCraftClub this week. We teamed up with Michelle from Big Ass Piñata to bring you the sweetest little pastel Candy Corn Miñata (aka mini piñata) ever. The best part? It’s so simple to make it’s almost like casting a magic spell!

Michelle is a master of tissue and cardboard, and we’ve been constantly impressed by her piñata magic for months, so it was really wonderful to watch her get down to work in the studio. Turns out with the right supplies and a strong vision piñata making isn’t as scary as we thought it would be! Are you ready to impress your costume party guests with the sweetest candy decor?

Scroll down for Michelle’s full DIY instructions!





Mini Candycorn Piñatas

1. Start with a fun, cute idea for your mini piñata. Today we are making pastel candycorn!

2. Grab a pencil and draw the shape for your mini piñata onto a piece of thin cardboard. If the cardboard is too thick, it will be difficult to cut later.

3. Cut out the shape using scissors or an xacto knife. Trace your shape and cut again, so you have a front and back for your mini. Finally, cut a long, thin strip of cardboard to wrap around the whole shape of your mini.

4. Using masking tape, begin assembling your mini piñata by wrapping the long strip of cardboard around your shape and taping edges to the back of your mini. Once you have taped the back and sides of your mini, you can place the front on top and tape down. I call this the “ice cream sandwich” method!

5. Use your xacto knife or scissors to cut create a little door for your candy! You can make a pull tab that can be used to open it later or simply cut a flap into the side of your mini.

6. Time to decorate! Grab some tissue paper (I like to use streamers!) And use your scissors to cut and create a fringe effect.

7. Using glue or a glue stick, begin attaching your fringe at the base of your mini and layering upwards until you have covered your piece. If you cover your little candy door, that’s ok!

8. Surprise a friend with your mini piñata and have them pull the tab to release the surprise inside. Is it candy? Chocolate? Jewelry ? Who knows!




Happy Halloween!

Get CreativeSips, Sweets & Snacks

When the weather turns cold here in Toronto (and trust us, Winter IS coming) there are only a few places where one can feel really truly warm. In all honesty, most icy days Paige and I have a hard time finding a good reason to even go outside, daydreaming about Hawaii, Mexico, or other tropical getaways instead. That said, we’ll never say no to a staycation at Miss Thing’s.

Miss Things is relatively new to the Toronto scene, but they instantly became a favourite for us the moment they opened. With a menu that includes incredible seafood, delicious shrimp Po’Bao (just try them) and a crazy good pineapple fried rice served IN a pineapple, the food couldn’t be more our style. Coupled with gleaming gold decor details and tropical prints galore, there’s really no place quite like it in the city, and it’s always a welcome escape from the daily grind.

But wait, the best is yet to come. We haven’t even mentioned the tiki cocktails yet.

Toronto has a lot of great cocktail bars, yes, but this place truly tops them all in the tropical tiki department. Everything from crazy cups to elaborate garnishes have clearly been carefully thought through, and we almost never manage to order just one per visit purely out of curiosity for how each one looks!

With winter sneaking up on us more and more, Paige and I have been craving a taste of the tropics more than ever, so we reached out to Miss Thing’s and asked if they’d share some of their magical boozy wisdom. A few weeks later we found ourselves behind the bar shaking up tiki classics and building banana dolphins! It was the most fun (and slightly tipsy if we’re being honest) Pastel Craft Club yet, and we learned SO much too.

Scroll down for an epic “Our Tai” cocktail recipe, and instructions for how to master some favourite tiki garnishes!







The Mai-Tai, a classic Tiki Cocktail //

Funnily enough, the birth of the Mai-Tai, a classic tiki drink, was in California. Back in the mid-1940s, Cali bars started to adapt the tiki craze. There are two gentleman Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron, and Donn “Don the Beachcomber”, whom claim to have created this particular drink:

The name is said to have been created when Trader Vic’s two friends from Tahiti came to visit. He wanted to make a special drink just for them, and when they tried his creation they said “Mai Tai roa ae” which means “Out of this world, the best!”

Our Mai Tai at Miss thing’s is more like Trader Vic’s original Recipe.

1 oz White Rum (We use Selvarey White)
1 oz Dark Rum (We like it with Mount Gay Eclipse)
1 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Orgeat – almond syrup (if not homemade we like to use Monin Syrup)
2 oz Fresh Lime Juice

*We also turn it into a minimum two-person drink and rename it the “Our Tai”, which is twice the amount of ingredients as the Mai-Tai.

Garnishes //

A garnish compliments the cocktail, making it look more pleasing both to the eye and to one’s Instagram followers. If a drink has lime juice, it’s usually garnished with lime, or a lime wheel might be added for extra flavour. But for tiki cocktails there’s usually a creative tiki mug involved, and garnishes get a bit more showy, like pineapple fronds, orange wheels, cherries or edible flowers. The cool thing about tiki is that the garnish adds a creative aspect and it can really be of whatever you think of. At Miss Thing’s we garnish our drinks with simple but fun ideas, such as…

Banana Dolphin //

1 Whole banana
2 cloves
optional- 1 blackberry


slice off an inch of the bottom part of the banana. You can angle the slice so that the banana still has a point at the open end.

From the open end, slice the peel upward about an inch on either side of the peel. This adds fins to the banana.

Move to the top of the banana and create a mouth for the dolphin, this is done by slicing the middle of the part that connects the banana to the rest of the “bunch”.

Add the Cloves as eyes on either side of the “mouth”. You can put the banana dolphin in your drink, peel up the “fins” so they rest on both sides of the glass. Add the blackberry to the mouth of the dolphin as a little snack if you’d like!

Lime Sailboat //

1 lime
1 cocktail skewer (ex. bamboo stick, toothpick)


Zest one side of the lime, but be careful- you want to have two good rinds to use as the sails.

Cut the other side in half, then in thirds. Take one third of the lime and remove the flesh. This is the base or the hull of your boat.

Flip it around so it has the peel facing up, take your skewer and stick it in the centre of the rind and pull it through, leaving a centimetre at the bottom.

Now grab your rinds and cut them in half. Choose one side, then choose one piece that is slightly smaller than the other.

Fold the larger piece in half, rind side out, and stick it on to the skewer, repeat that step with the smaller piece. Those are the sails, try to space them out a bit.

For a cool added effect, simmer the boat in a small saucepan with 2 ounces of water and 3 ounces of sugar on medium heat. Remove after 5 minutes and sprinkle with sugar. You have just candied your sailboat!




Frozen Watermelon Slices //

house made flavoured simple syrup
vodka (can also be flavoured)

parchment paper
Vac-pac (bag or a container with a lid)

At the bar we have a machine in our kitchen that vacuum seals our infusions which helps speed up time, but you can do this at home with a simple airtight container.

Slice up your mini watermelon and place the slices in a vac pac with the vodka and our house-made syrup. Seal it and let it sit in a fridge for 6 hours, then place the slices on parchment paper in a container and leave them in the freezer overnight. Frozen slices can be used the next day and they stay fresh for up to a week.

If you don’t have access to a vacuum sealer, simply put the watermelon slices (1 layer) in a container and fill it with vodka and syrup for about a day, then wrap and freeze. Make sure to keep everything chilled for this process!

In the end the frozen watermelon acts as an extra component to chill the drink and won’t dilute the flavour. Plus once the drink is finished the watermelon will have defrosted and you can eat it for an extra kick!

*Note: make sure you keep the recipe ratio at 1/2oz vodka and 1oz syrup per watermelon slice or they won’t freeze!

Get CreativeSips, Sweets & Snacks

Tea and #RAOPxStudioB (wow that’s a mouthful) go way back- in fact we almost always work together over cups of piping hot tea! A few years ago I had the pleasure of taking a job at Sloane Fine Tea Merchants, a local company with a lot of heart and SO much knowledge about tea.

If you think tea is simply those little squished bags of Red Rose hanging out in your grandmother’s cupboard, you’ve got a lot to learn. Working in the world of tea constantly surprised and enchanted me, and as I shared my newfound facts with Paige she only found herself more and more interested as well. That said, both of our knowledge combined doesn’t even come close to more than the tip of the iceberg. If you want real tea expertise, you have to turn to Hoda Paripoush, founder of Sloane Tea.

Hoda has experience in perfumery, which makes her uniquely suited to create the most magical teas in all the land. After travelling the world visiting tea estates, she launched Sloane right here in Toronto. One of the few tea companies that blends on Canadian soil and directly trades with ancient tea estates, I’ve never met anyone who “gets” tea quite like Hoda.

So if you’re ready to learn about proper tea steeping times, the difference between Oolong and Green Tea, the definition of Camellia sinensis chinensis and more, cozy up with a cup of your favourite blend and keep reading!

Scroll down for Hoda’s tea 101 and tips!



Where does tea come from //

All tea, be it black, green, oolong, or white tea (and even some other types) come from the same plant: camellia sinensis. The plant was originally discovered growing in China, and was later cultivated in other parts of Asia. There are two subspecies of this plant: the Assam varietal (Camellis sinensis assamica) and the China varietal (Camellia sinensis chinensis). Grown in India, Sri Lanka and in other parts of the world, the Assam varietal produces larges, bold tasting leaves. The China varietal, cultivated in China, Taiwan, Japan and in parts of Darjeeling produces smaller leaves with a more delicate flavour profile.

What makes different types of tea //

The difference between types of tea is the state of oxidation. A black tea, for example, is fully-oxidized and undergoes a complete firing/baking process- hence why it is darker in colour. That being said, each tea type has a most unique and distinct flavour, with a variety of differences within each tea type. I highly encourage people to try tea types that they may not have tried previously, or even teas that they may have tasted before but were not fond of. Just as your palate changes with time, your experience will change as well, especially if you had a tea that was not properly prepared the first time. There is no end to the types of tea flavours available, so the more you explore, the larger your repertoire of fine and favourite teas will be!

Black Tea = fully oxidized

Oolong Tea = partially oxidized

White Tea = un-oxidized

Green Tea = un-oxidized

How to properly prepare each type

No matter what type of tea you are purchasing, you need to become very clear on the proper preparation methods. I say this because even if someone purchases one of the worlds most exquisite teas, if the crucial factors of water temperature and steeping time are ignored, then you can take an extremely high quality tea and ruin it very quickly.

Some teas require boiling water (such as black and herbal teas), some less than boiling water, and all need to be steeped for a different length of time.

When preparing a traditional black tea, the process is as such:

1. Warm the teapot with hot water.

2. Fill the kettle with freshly drawn water and bring it to a boil. Water that has been double-boiled will affect the taste of the tea.

3. Measure one rounded teaspoon of tea into the teapot for each person, and one extra spoonful of tealeaves “for the pot”.

4. Remove the kettle as soon as it boils and allow it to come off the boil for a minute or two.

5. Pour the not-quite-boiling water onto the leaves and leave to steep for 4-5 minutes.

6. Serve in fine bone china cups as the delicacy of the cup does seem to enhance the delicacy of the tea within.

7. Add a splash of milk or a slice of lemon to taste.

As green tea is un-oxidized, caution must be taken when steeping it as over-steeping the tea produces a bitter cup. As well, green tea is not to be steeped in fully boiled water, as too hot a temperature will also produce a bitter cup. Less than boiling water is what is ideal when preparing green tea, as it is with white and oolong teas.

Proper storage of tea is also of crucial importance, as it helps to maximize the shelf-life and freshness of tea. The oils in tea are highly volatile, and as such, they easily absorb surrounding odours. Hence, you need to store your tea in a space that is separate from your spices and items heavy in scent. In addition, the tea should be stored at room temperature in a low humidity environment, and away from direct light.




Perfect pairings //

When it comes to pairings, it’s often a matter of preference. However, with milk specifically there is good reason for adding the milk last. If you are drinking an unfamiliar tea, it is easier to judge the correct amount of milk to add once you have seen the strength and colour of the tea. On the other hand, pouring the milk in first means that the fat in the milk emulsifies in a different manner when the tea is poured, which alters the flavour of the tea, providing for an even more creamier flavour. It also cools the tea slightly to a more acceptable drinking temperature.

However, milk is really only to be added in black tea, but not in all black teas. Darjeeling black teas, specifically, should never be paired with milk as it’s the equivalent of adding ice in your wine. Darjeeling tea is so delicate and refined in flavour that the addition of milk washes out the nuances of what makes it unique.
Green, oolong and white teas should always be savoured straight- without the addition of any milk products. Herbal teas, though they should be enjoyed without the addition of milk can often be paired with honey and other natural sweeteners (depending on preference). Personally, I don’t add sugar into my tea but I can never resist the pairing of a sweet biscuit or scone with the trimmings.

The difference between tea bags and whole leaf/loose leaf //

The world of tea has come a very, very long way since it’s discovery, as have teabags. Though the charm of loose leaf tea will always remain, the innovation of the pyramid tea bag has made it so you can still enjoy the beauty of exceptional loose leaf teas with an incredible amount of convenience. Quality does not have to be compromised for convenience. At Sloane Tea, we use the exact same tea in our whole leaf sachets as you experience in our loose leaf tea caddies. The pyramid shape of the tea bag allows us to fill it with a fine variety of full premium tea leaves and exotic ingredients such as herbs, flowers and real fruit pieces. It’s innovative design allows for optimal flow of the ingredients into your cup, creating a consistent infusion every single time.

Fun tea facts //

The origin of tea is infused with a fine blend of fact, myth, and ancient concepts of spirituality and philosophy. According to an ancient Chinese legend, the story of tea was born over 4700 years ago when a fortuitous blunder caused a few dry leaves to accidentally fall into a pot of boiling water that was being prepared for emperor Shen Nong in the hills of China. The emperor enjoyed drinking the infused water as it had a most unusual and delicious flavour. He felt so immensely invigorated and refreshed, and as he was a skilled scientist and ruler he set out to further research the plant whereby he discovered tea to possess medicinal properties.

Since that time, through exploration, discovery and experimentation, tea has exploded into the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second to water. It is a world that has become so very vast and specialized- just like that of fine wine.



Get Creative

Welcome back weekenders! You may have noticed we took a little break from the #pastelcraftclub series last week, but we’re oh so happy to be back just in time for the impending seasonal shift. That’s right – cozy Fall DIY’s are coming soon, and we thought it was only fitting to do a roundup of some of our favourite summer 2016 projects as a farewell to the sunshine.

From fruity furniture to hand-labelled panties, we think this list has something for everyone, and we highly encourage you to try all 6 projects if you feel inspired…

See you in two weeks for some brand new pastel DIY fun!

1. Day of the Week Panties by Studio DIY //

This project is a bit more complex than we’re used to, but the results are way worth it. Who else grew up obsessed with their day of the week panty packs?

2. Five Minute Chic Bento Box by Sugar and Cloth //

There’s nothing better than a perfectly packed lunch, and these bento boxes are so charming and SO easy to make that we simply couldn’t resist falling for them.

3. 3 Tiered Copper Planter by A Bubbly Life //

We can’t get enough of greenery right now. Plants everywhere please! This staircase-like planter stand is a simple yet elegant way to showcase your favourite potted plants, plus it’s super affordable to make.


4. Fruit Shelves by A Bubbly Life //

Feeling fruity? Us too! Why would you even bother having a normal shelf in your home when you can have one that looks like a fruit slice?! Total no brainer.

5. Romantic Bath Salts by Glitter Guide //

Floral baths are a year-round indulgence that we simply can’t live without, and this concoction is the perfect way to instantly up your bath time game (plus they make a great gift!)

6. Word Embroidery by A Pair and a Spare //

Clothing is getting wordy this season, and we’re all about it. We sense a serious embroidery addiction coming on… Collars? Jeans? Socks? The possibilities are limitless!

Imagery by Paige, words by Alyssa.