Archive for the ‘Free Stuff!’ Category

Green and Gorgeous Giveaway: Pillows from Fabricadabra

April 6, 2009

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This week's giveaway is proof that style and sustainability can go hand in hand. The brainchild of a veteran of the textiles industry, Fabricadabra offers decorative pillows that are made from natural fibers using natural or low impact dyes. From stunning handwoven Ikats to soft and chic organic cottons and beyond, these are pillows you can feel good about snuggling up to! Fabricadabra also sells pillow inserts made from a fiber called kapok, which is a healthier and eco-friendly alternative to synthetic stuffing.

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One lucky reader will win the pillow of her choice! Just head to the Fabricadabra website and scope out your favourite pillow, then leave a comment telling me what it is. I'll randomly draw a name and the winner will go down in cushion history!

Squishy and Stylish Giveaway: Blissliving Pillows from AllModern.com!

March 27, 2009

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In life there are two types of people: 1. Girls who love pillows 2. Boys and girls who love girls who love pillows. (You can probably guess which type I am—much to my husband’s chagrin). And Blissliving Home makes pillows that satisfy even pickiest of pillow connoisseurs, which is why I’m so thrilled to bring you this week’s giveaway! The kind people at Allmodern.com are offering one lucky reader the choice of any Blissliving Home pillow priced up to $65! Awesome, right? Here’s what the folks from Allmodern.com have to say about the Blissliving Home line…

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“Add a Dash of Style with Blissliving Home: The spring season marks the perfect time of year for a revitalizing change in our lives and there isn’t a better area to start than in a place where we spend most of our time: home. Given the fact that we are a little more cautious in our purchases during this time of year, this featured décor item couldn’t come at a better time as it not only gives our modern furniture the makeover it needs but it also falls within our budget. Often times it’s easy to feel stressed about how our space looks and we immediately think of uprooting our room’s style and starting from scratch which can be costly and overwhelming. Instead of tearing up the rug and placing ads for our old furniture online, use what you’ve got and bring out your room’s very best features with a decorative accent pillow from Blissliving Home.”

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“The collection from Blissliving Home combines fresh spring colors with simple, modern prints that are sure to add just the right amount of grace and style to any corner of your home. When furnishing a space with this collection, it’s important to step a bit out of your comfort zone and add the boldness of color, texture, or pattern that will really kick your home up to the designer level while maintaining the soothing comfort you enjoy. Choose from a variety of models that feature an organic print reminiscent of the springtime upon us as seen in the Crisanta Citron or a chic style that adds dimension to your space like the Society Rose Gold pillow. Blissliving Home uses only the finest of fabrics such as silks from India and China and intricate cotton jacquard from Italy to provide the very best accent piece for you to enjoy for years to come.”

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You know the drill: just leave a comment on this post before next Thursday at midnight. Then wait with baited breath as I randomly select one reader to win their choice of any Blissliving Home pillow valued at up to $65! I’d suggest starting your shortlist now—there’s a seriously good selection. Below are some of my faves! Now pardon me while I go fluff the pillows on my couch…

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Need Printing? Giveaway from UPrinting.com!

March 20, 2009

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I am supa-dupa psyched to be taking a letterpress printing class taught by the fabulous Jordan of Oh Happy Day. We’ll be making our own business cards, and this is the design I came up with. Isn’t it cheeky? And speaking of business cards, I’m thrilled to announce this week’s giveaway. The kind folks at UPrinting.com have offered up two prizes to two lucky readers. One will win 1000 free business cards (!) and the other will win 500 free postcards (!!). To sweeten the pot even more, I’m throwing in my services and will work with the winners to create a custom design.

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Of course you’re welcome to use your own design or one of UPrinting.com‘s handy dandy templates. A full-service offset printing resource, they also print stationery, calendars, greetings cards, the works, and all for crazy reasonable prices. Just leave a comment before midnight next Thursday describing what you would use the free business cards or postcards for–birth announcements? save-the-dates? anything your heart desires!–and I’ll randomly select two winners.

The Fine Print: One winner will receive 1000 free standard size business cards, and the other will recieve 500 free standard size postcards. You can choose from any paper stock for these items. Winners in the United States and Canada qualify for free shipping. Shipping fees will apply to winners outside these areas.

Wicked Cool Giveaway: Claflin, Thayer & Co.

March 9, 2009

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Um, are these accessories not the coolest you’ve ever seen? They’re brought to you by Liz Thayer, the creative mind and nimble fingers behind Clafin, Thayer & Co. in Oakland, California. Liz is very kindly offering this fabulous pink and black cosmetics bag in her signature ‘Painted Ikat’ print—free to one lucky reader! You know the drill: pop over to her shop, leave a comment telling me your favourite item, and on Thursday night I’ll randomly select a winner.

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I can’t get enough of these incredibly vivid patterns and colors, which Liz paints and sews by hand. The wee coin purses would be perfect for getting my handbag organized—no way would that vivid pink get lost in the seemingly bottomless depths of my purse! And these acid bright pillows would bring such fun personality to an otherwise neutral room.

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Liz’s talents extend to the world of leather as well! She uses recycled materials from pre-loved leather clothing, so each item has that butter soft texture that only time and love can achieve. Check out the exposed zipper on this fabulous clutch; it adds the perfect touch of rocker edge to the bag’s clean and streamlined shape.

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Liz also has an addictively stylish blog with her favourite fashion finds, the inspirations and processes behind her designs, and special sneak peeks of her works in progress (I want one of these shirts!). I absolutely adore this fierce studded pouch—though frankly they’re all stunning. Don’t you want to collect all four?

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Don’t forget: leave a comment to be entered in the draw for one of Liz’s amazing hand painted cosmetics bags! It’s the perfect antidote to a post-daylight savings Monday 🙂

P.S. Congrats to Grace at Poetic Home on winning the Pink Lemonade necklace from last week’s JessLC giveaway. See the rest of the winners here, and even if you didn’t get lucky in the giveaway you can take advantage of JessLC‘s free shipping for the rest of the week!

P.P.S. Thanks a bunch to This Is Glamorous for randomly drawing me as the winner of these awesome earrings, and to Brooke at Velvet and Linen for selecting me to receive a copy of Swedish Interiors. I never win anything, so I’m feeling pretty special right now!

Massive Giveaway: Jess LC and Soc Chic

March 2, 2009

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I am so excited about this one, I can barely contain myself. It’s the biggest giveaway in history, with not one but seven chances to win! The wonderful Jess of Jess LC (who I’ve waxed poetic about before) has gathered several of your favorite blog-gals to raise awareness about her Soc Chic collection of necklaces. Each piece directs proceeds to a different charitable organization—and it’s a brilliant way to wear a cause that’s close to your heart!

I have the honor of presenting to you the Pink Lemonade Necklace, which honors Bright Pink–a national non-profit providing education and support to young women at high-risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Just leave me a comment between now and Thursday at midnight, either giving a shout-out to your dearest cause or telling me about a time that you turned life’s lemons into pink lemonade. I’ll pick a name at random and announce the winner on Friday.

And don’t forget to visit these awesome ladies and enter their giveaways too!
Coco + Kelly is giving away the Match Made in Heaven Necklace
Design Lovely is giving away the Lucky in Bed Necklace
La Dolce Vita is giving away the Silver Lining Necklace
Delight by Design is giving away the Good Intention Necklace
Heart of Light is giving away the Falling Star Necklace
Blah Blah Blahg is giving away a Commenter’s Choice

Crazy Easy German Chocolate Cake and Our Giveaway Winners!

February 19, 2009

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Well we have the results of our ‘Baked: New Frontiers in Bakinggiveaway: Melanie from You Are My Fave will be receiving a copy of this incredible cookbook and Rachel from Heart of Light is the lucky winner of the fancy pants muffin papers! Both lovely ladies have awesome blogs that I encourage you to check out. And before I part with my copy of the cookbook, I leave you with the recipe for the cake that I made for a co-worker’s wife on Valentine’s Day (long story, don’t ask; suffice to say that I’ll take any excuse to bake a cake).

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The great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. Often with cakes I get one of two things: scrumptious cake that melts in your mouth but is too delicate to work with, or sturdy cake that holds up well but tastes like sawdust. This cake gives you the best of both worlds. A rich crumb offered deep chocolate flavour, and a firm but fudgy texture allowed me to manhandle the layers into the two-tiered creation you see here. Top it with your favourite ganache, throw on some fresh flowers, and get ready to beat your adoring fans away with a stick!

German Chocolate Cake
Recipe courtesy of ‘Baked: New Frontiers in Baking‘ by Matt Lewis

2 1/4 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose with good results)
3/4 cup dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1 1 /4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the paper. Dust the pans with cocoa powder and shake out excess. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine coffee and buttermilk. Using an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add vanilla and beat. Mix in flour mixture, alternating with coffee/buttermilk mixture, in three additions, beating after each. Fold in melted chocolate. Divide batter into prepared pans and bake 30-35 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, and remove when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack, then invert pans to remove cake and let cool completely. Frost/devour as you desire!

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins and a Giveaway!

February 16, 2009

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Well the long weekend is over and it’s back to the grindstone. However I’m still basking in the warm glow of three whole days with nothing to do but hang out with my sweetie! These muffins are a great example of why I love a long weekend; when else can you laze in bed before heading to the kitchen to whip up something hot and tasty for breakfast? So in honour of long weekends, I’m giving away a copy of the cookbook that this recipe came from. It’s called ‘Baked: New Frontiers in Baking‘, and it’s an amazing collection of decadent recipes from the Brooklyn bakery of the same name. All you have to do is tell me your favourite breakfast to enjoy on a lounge-about morning! I’ll randomly draw a name on Thursday and announce the winner Friday.

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Of course you didn’t think I’d leave you hanging without the recipe for these beautiful muffins, did you? As sweet treats go, these verge closer to cupcake territory but don’t let that stop you from eating them for breakfast! Moist and heady with fragrant banana, they hide gooey pockets of melted chocolate and boast a perfect—not too light, not too dense—texture. I had never used the fancy baking papers pictured here in the photo, so I picked some up on a whim and I’m never going back! They are foolproof, and you don’t loose half your muffin to the accordion folds of a typical baking cup. In fact I love them so much, I’ll pick a second name and give away a stash of ’em!

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins
Recipe Courtesy of ‘Baked: New Frontiers in Baking‘ by Matt Lewis

1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4 bananas)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (I used about a tablespoon ’cause I love me some coffee!)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (next time I would use less, and I’d use bittersweet chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either line a muffin tin with papers, spray with non-stick cooking spray, or if using fancy pants papers as above, just set them on a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, stir together bananas, sugars, butter, milk and egg. In another bowl, whisk together flour, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, stirring until barely combined. Gently fold in chips–don’t overwork the batter!–and then fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before removing. Enjoy!

Sinfully Delicious Brownies and Our Giveaway Winner!

January 8, 2009

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I’m very excited to announce that Teresa in Tennessee was randomly selected as the lucky winner of my New Year’s Day giveaway! She’ll be receiving a copy of ‘The New Cook’ by Donna Hay. Teresa commented that one of her goals this year is to increase her repertoire of healthy recipes for her family, which this book will be perfect for! Of course I can’t send this gorgeous cookbook away without first sharing another recipe. And sure I could have made a nice lemon and basil pilaf, or a roast beetroot salad. But aren’t brownies so much more fun? Especially these brownies…

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When a recipe has only a few ingredients, it’s either going to be really good or really bad. When one of those ingredients is chocolate, how could it go wrong? These brownies are just what a treat of that name should be: halfway between cake and fudge, a moist layer of rich cocoa-y chew studded with mellow nuts. I’ve adapted this recipe ever so slightly for my American readers—Donna calls for self-rising flour but very few cooks in this country keep that ingredient on hand. As well, Donna recommends serving these with a shot of espresso—so civilized! Me? I say bring on a big glass of milk and an even bigger appetite.

Chocolate Brownies
recipe courtesy of ‘The New Cook’ by Donna Hay

4 oz (1/2 cup) butter
4 oz good quality dark chocolate (I used bittersweet chocolate with 60% cocoa solids)
2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar (see note below)
1 cup plus two tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda (just a pinch, really)
3/4 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I used slivered almonds to good effect)

In the microwave or in a double boiler melt butter and chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside. In a separate bowl using an electric mixer, beat together sugar and eggs until pale and thick (I just love the color the mixture turns with this step–I want to paint a room that color!). In another bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and soda. Combine chocolate mixture with egg/sugar mixture, then fold in sifted dry ingredients and nuts until barely combined. Bake in a pre-greased square baking pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a knife stuck in the center comes out clean. Cool, slice, devour!

Note: Caster sugar is a type of sugar that is finer than granulated sugar but not as fine as icing (confectioner’s) sugar. I just used a cup of granulated sugar that I spun through the blender for about 30 seconds.

Simple Apple Tart and a New Year’s Giveaway!

January 1, 2009

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One of my goals for 2009 is to try a new recipe at least once a week. And what better way to start the ball rolling than with a new cookbook? I just love Donna Hay‘s books—her recipes focus on fresh ingredients, bright flavours and vibrant colour—so I picked up a copy of ‘The New Cook‘ and made this apple tart for my dad on New Year’s Eve.

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As with most Donna Hay recipes, the tart comes together easily. The subtle warmth of apples meets a buttery pastry crust for a dessert that is simple, honest, and downright delicious! A dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream provides a cool contrast for melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

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Have you set goals for the new year, food-related or otherwise? Tell me in the comments section and I’ll randomly select one reader to receive a copy of ‘The New Cook‘ by Donna Hay. It’s full of fabulous recipes to make 2009 your tastiest year yet!

Simple Apple Tart
Recipe Courtesy of ‘The New Cook‘ by Donna Hay

3 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped (any crisp baking apple will do)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons sugar
8 oz ready made puff pastry
4 green apples, extra
1 tablespoon butter, melted
sugar for sprinkling

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine chopped apples, water, lemon rind and sugar. Cook until apples are very soft. Mash mixture with a fork until almost smooth, then let cool. Meanwhile, slice four remaining apples very thinly and evenly. Thaw pastry and open it out to create a flat surface. Spread smashed apple mixture evenly on pastry, then layer sliced apples in a pleasing arrangement. Brush the entire surface with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until pastry is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Yum!

Best Giveaway Ever: Leaf Pendant from Patagonia Gifts

December 2, 2008

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Caroline at Absolutely Unique is giving away one of her incredible leaf pendant necklaces! Just pop over to her blog and leave a comment to be entered in her random draw.

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I just can’t get enough of the gorgeous designs she sells through her shop, Patagonia Gifts. They’re simply stunning, and even better, they’re hand crafted by artisans in the Patagonia region of South America.

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Of course I love everything on her site, but I have a soft spot for the leaf jewelry. Each piece is unique due to the fact that they aren’t made with molds; rather, individual leaves are dipped into iridescent plating. And can you believe that they’ll only set you back around $42 a pop?