Monday, February 28, 2011

Play tables for kids

Cute, especially if you have an old table (just saw down the legs) and some extra paint. The table doesn't have to be square, or a table at all for that matter, cardboard & markers would do. It's about the fun, not about complicating your life!

 I think a map of your neighbourhood with street names and landmarks would be especially great.

Photos from here.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Make a craft tray out of a plastic 4 L milk carton

One day I thought to myself, why use tupperware as a paint, glue or glitter tray while when I can cut off the bottom of a 4 L plastic milk jug and use it instead? Inspired by the reusable plastic container from this post....

Make as many as you need to satisfy all the little, and big, crafters in your house!

Other possible uses:
Snack/picnic tray
Button/needle/thread holder while sewing
Sprinkle catcher while sprinkling iced cupcakes

Why you can love it:
You're reusing instead of buying
You can recycle it after using it (without cleaning it)
It's free (providing you have milk drinkers in the house)!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We Can Speak Up for Ourselves

We Can Do It! We can speak up for ourselves. It's our right and, in some ways, our duty. If we don't speak up for ourselves who will (easier said than done, I find, but practice makes perfect).

This post is along the same lines of last weeks - it's about self care. Self care is a craft, so it belongs on this blog. Besides, it's my blog and I can write whatever I want!

Ever been "caught" in any of these following situations:

  • Feel like someone has the upper hand over you for no good reason?
  • You haven't said what you really thought/felt because [fill in the blank - mine is usually because I'm afraid of hurting someone's feelings or because I'm scared of potential consequences to follow - ie. someone being mad at me]...
  • Feel badly for not sticking up for yourself or feeling misunderstood?
  • Been insulted or too shocked to come up with a comeback, until 2 am the next morning?
  • Feel like you're being taken advantage of because you're "too" nice?
  • Etc, Etc, Etc. You get my drift.
Well, I'm pretty sure nobody learned to purl one stitch two perfectly the first time so consider all of those past circumstances lessons or practice for being the woman you really want to be. Sticking up for yourself takes practice and in our culture it's hard exercising this craft when the craft of sticking up for yourself is not really encouraged or rewarded.
Bring in the big guns! I love the Wendy Williams Show. She's calls herself a "woman of a particular age" meaning that she's lived and learned. Part of her show is called Ask Wendy, and the general rule is if you don't want to know what she really thinks then you shouldn't be asking. Every topic under the sun seems to come up and I think Wendy has good advice for each and every audience member who has the guts to ask (including one liner come backs!). Her motto is "Say It like you Mean It" and she understands that being able to do this takes practice. If you're not sure how to get from here to there then some of her answers to particular questions may help you.

Other than this great feature - Wendy puts on a great show. It's filled with food, celebrity gossip, backbone building (aka Ask Wendy) and fashion. What more could a girl want in a daytime talk show? I have our PVR set to 11 am on FOX so I can catch the show after our daughter goes to bed if need be, otherwise our little one and I are dancing, singing and watching Weny (as she calls it) while we eat lunch during the week.

If we can learn to stick up for ourselves more and more each day then we can help teach our kids to do the same. YOU ARE WORTH IT! And P.S. wouldn't it be nice to dish some of those good one liners back at those offenders instantly instead of at 2 am in the morning in your head? I'm not condoning being mean or not turning the other cheek, but seriously, we're too cute to be doormats and if that person can dish it they should be able to take it. I'll be practicing, maybe in my head at first but I hope to be more and more ready each and every day.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Skip the BiG bOx Support Local Crafters (!)

These are cute, right?

Well, not only are they cute they're made locally and from organic cotton (!)

It can be hard to find old fashioned cuteness in super consumer shopping land.

If you like the idea of home made but aren't into making it yourself than try checking out your local crafters - many crafters have gone high tech and you can order online - like the maker of the cute bonnets below (Lit'l Lamb Organic Baby Products) or search engines made for the modern lover of fine and interesting [you fill in the blank] (aka Etsy).

Find Etsy here. Whoa Momma!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Holy Dresser Revival (Where's the Spray Paint?!)

This has inspired me to keep some of the bedroom furniture in our house and redo it this summer. Watch for before and after photos when the weather warms up (just for the record, my intentions are good, when it'll get done? don't hold your breath!) ...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Make your own fabric buckets (!)

I'm always on the lookout for storage solutions. I [love x 2] these fabric buckets because not only can you wash them, but you can make them however big/small your heart desires. Instructions below (from Apartment Therapy) or buy here (I can't find it...but there's a lot of other super cute ideas & products, including online workshops).

What You Need


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Felt Butterfly Mobile

I think this is a self explanatory bright and cheerful craft - you could replace the butterfly silhouette with whatever shape your heart desires. From here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Get yer hair did...

We Can Do IT....We Can Make Some Time To Take Care Of How We Look (even while sporting a t-shirt with kiddie snot/yellow pit stains - I'll get another white t-shirt soon, just not today...) If It's Going To Make Us Feel Better About Ourselves.

I don't think I'm a superficial sure does feel good to reap the benefits of a long overdue (6 months) haircut and colour. I was meaning to do it forever, but kept putting it last on the list of things to do - last and fast don't rhyme, I guess that's why it took me 6 months to do it...that and I was feeling really badly about how I looked & was tired of looking & feeling blah every time I looked in the mirror.

After less than 2 hours at the salon (side note: I can't sit in a hairstylists chair for more than 2 hours without getting antsy and annoyed) hair had shape again and P.S. who knew a little bit of colour would make me feel so much better about myself, not to mention younger/at least acceptable for my age.

Like soaking wilted veggies in a bowl of ice cold water (this works by the way) I'm now refreshed and more optimistic. It's just what I needed after a lOnG winter. If you're feeling like a Soggy Sac of Suck then stop whatever you are doing and make your gorgeous self an appointment - pronto - at the salon. And P.S.S. If you like your hairstylist but feel you're not getting the results you want/ask for it's time to CUT THE SPLIT END and find a new stylist. I'm serious....even if she's your sister-in-law/friend-ish. It's nothing personal... how you feel about yourself is really important. Your hair is the ultimate Go-Along accessory - it deserves some attention (yes, I know

All I'm trying to say is take make some time to get yer hair did if your hair needs didding. A little bit of snip goes a long least that's what the guy I worked with implied after telling me at least 5x that my hair looked so much better, soooo much better, I mean sooooooo much better (ok...I get it!).

Get Yer Hair Did and Go from This to That 
(Forgive me, this is the metaphor that came to mind after working 7-4 today after an impromptu sleepover party with our daughter last night at about 3 am... she came into our bed, nobody slept, we put her back into her bed after 1.5 hours w/ some warm was all good...and poodles are funny anyways, right?!)

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Love Us.

Hallmark has reinvented itself in my eyes as of this Valentine's Day.

If you haven't seen their latest commercial it goes something along the line of, 
"Valentines Day isn't about saying I love you. It's about saying I love us."

In my eyes, it's good. It's relevant. It's modern and I'm not apologizing for liking it. For all the companies out there vying for our Valentine's Day Dollars has anyone you've noted made an effort to spread the idea of love, vs. love our product? Know this, Hallmark has not paid me to blog about their latest campaign - I just like it! BUT me liking this Hallmark spin on Valentine's Day doesn't mean I think you should go out and spend an exorbitant amount of money on flowers/chocolates - unless you want to...and if you want to then I say, More Power To You. Enjoy your life, that's what it's there for.

Like anything, it's the thought that counts and giving my two beloveds (hubby and daughter) a box of chocolates (albeit not the Hallmark brand) and seeing the surprise and happiness on their faces at the sight of it made my day. I'm a lucky lady. That and my husband surprised me with 5 pound (I'm not kidding) chocolate-chocolate cake handmade (2 days of work) by a friend of his. (P.S. It's better than the Goodies Chocolate Sin Cake (Italian Bake Shop in Winnipeg). P.S.S. That means it's REALLY good...).

If you're not partnered up Valentine's Day can so easily be a day that just sucks rotten eggs through a straw and is so cheesy it makes you wanna eat your own arm and spit it at all the lovers strolling by. (I'm just saying. I've been there.) I think you should do what I wish I would have - show yourself some love. Had your eye on a piece of jewellery? Some hot boots for spring? I Dream In Colour says - (4 letter word) the budget and go buys yourself something pretty!!! You freaking deserve it.

RuPaul - You're the breastest!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rachael Ray's Super Butternut Squash Queso Nachos - SOOOO GOOOOD

Seriously, you will not believe how good this butternut queso is until you try it. From here.

Rachael's Nachos looked like this - I was salivating... In fact, I'm going to go eat some more right now!

I've added my notes in GREEN

Super Nachos with Butternut Queso

Serves 4

Butternut squash is a healthy addition to nachos dip. Enjoy this super bowl for the Super Bowl!

For the Butternut Queso:
  • 1 small to medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (1/3 palmful)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (1/3 palmful)
  • 1 rounded tablespoon seeded pureéd chipotle in adobo (purée the entire can and freeze remainder)
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese
For the nachos:
  • 1 can spicy vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 bag good-quality tortilla chips, such as blue corn, multi-grain or flax seed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (14 ounces)
  • Drained pickled jalapeño slices
  • Diced seeded tomatoes
  • Finely chopped red onion
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced avocado, dressed with lemon or lime juice
Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Drizzle the squash with EVOO, salt and pepper and roast for 20-25 minutes, until golden and tender.
While the squash roasts, in a medium size pot, sauté the carrot, onion and garlic in a little EVOO over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, cumin and coriander. Cook  for 10-12 minutes, until tender. Scrape into a food processor and add the chipotle puree and the roast squash along with the stock. Puree until very smooth and reserve.
Return the pot to stove and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk. Season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg; melt in the cheese. Stir in the reserved vegetable puree and adjust the heat level and seasoning, to taste.
Switch on the broiler.
Heat the vegetarian refried beans with about 1/3 cup water to them out a little.
Arrange the chips in a casserole dish and dot with the thinned refried beans. Sprinkle with black beans and top with the butternut queso. (Note: You will have extra butternut queso. Thin it out with stock and enjoy as soup!) Broil until brown at the edges and the chips are crisp. Top with pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and avocado.
P.S. I love her bakeware collection. It's super fun!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Super Duper Easy Decoupage Tins

I think this is a great way to reuse tins from the kitchen. Some pretty paper, white glue and water (if you don't have the decoupage/mod podge stuff) aaaand - voila. A good craft to do with your little one or even on your own.

Imagine the possibilities: Easter Baskets (just add a ribbon handle), Chop Stick Holders, Pencil Holders, Pencil Crayon Holders, Paint Brush Holders, Gift Baskets, Teacher Appreciation Gift (imagine mod apple print paper - teachers have lots of office supplies to store, yes?), see this blog for details and more great ideas (look for the tin can windsock!). All images from here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

GIve yourself permission to [fill in the blank]

It's Wednesday...and... that means I'm technically supposed to do something productive and inspiring for myself. So that's exactly what I did. I took a two hour nap this afternoon and it was magnificent (!)

Now, I'm not going to lie...I like my sleep and I've been known to nap here and there, whenever possible. Luckily our daughter still naps, and therefore, so can I. When she goes down to nap I try and ask myself this simple question, "What can I do when she's sleeping that I can't do when she's awake." The answe today? You got it...catch some zzz's.

We try to do a lot each and every day. Somedays are more productive than others, and somedays we just need to give ourselves a break. Here's your permission slip:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lace Heats

Ohhhh. Pretty. If you're crafty and/or have lace you can find the instructions here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sunblock, Pillows and a Waterproof Mattress - Oh My!

I thought it may possibly be selfish to keep these wonders to myself:

Yeah, yeah, we all know, we're supposed to use sunblock everyday. WhaTever, right? Then I read Carmindy's book Crazy Busy Beautiful and thought, hmmm. Ok, FINE. I'll try it one more time.
I found Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, SPF 30 at Superstore for $14.99 - I LOVES IT! Ultra light, non-shiny finish, fast absorbing, clean feel CHECK! This sunblock feels more like a moisturizer and for someone who breaks out at the thought of using gross-greasy sunscreen this is a goddess-send. For reals.

Need a new pillow? Superstore has PC Gel Fibre Pillows ($19.99 for a standard size) that you can WASH. Bonjour? Enough said, if you have kids, of if you're a drooler (nobody's judging, we've all been there) then you can rest easy at night knowing your pillow has been freshly washed (or dry cleaned for that matter). Oh, and you can re-use the zipper cover/packaging to store bed linen, swim towels over winter, kids clothes, etc! While you're at it grab yourself a PC Luxury Pillow Protector. 100% cotton top cover, soft and washable - oh, and on clearance right now at our Superstore for $3.49. Seriously?

Bodily fluids got ya down (gross right?! haha!) - those of us with kids know that life is's not your mattresses fault - why should it suffer? Superstore has Quilted Waterproof Mattress Covers for only $29.99 (twin size). Since we're  I'm planning on night-training our daughter sometimes sooner than later I think this purchase will pay for itself in NO time.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

SPACE is a Verb

Hey there We Can Do It Wednesday warriors! 

This week I have an anagram to help us in our efforts to organize our home and simplify our lives!
(I can't remember where I read it but it's from somewhere out there...)

SPACE is a Verb. 
  • Sort 
  • Purge 
  • Assign a Home 
  • Containerize 
  • Equalize (or if something comes in, something goes out)

I've slowly been working on our house and thus far have done: our linen closet, our daughters room, the living/dining room. I still have to tackle our bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen - that and keep up with the maintenance. I'm finding that a few things keep coming up for me in this battle of home organization & purging:
  1. If things have a home, they go back to their home after we're done using them and we can find them the next time we need them. Not rocket science I know, better.
  2. The less storage space we have the less crap I can jamb into it and the easier it is to purge the stuff we have to the stuff we actually need and use. Best example thus far is our linen closet. I took a chance and removed two shelves so I could fit the vacuum into instead of in the doorless coat closet. Instead, I've put my daughters playdough & colouring stuff in the doorless coat closet in a bookshelf she can reach so she's not asking me to get it 3x/day (which frees me up and is teaching her that her things have a home and they go back home when she's done using them)... I digress... linen closet: so with two shelves I have enough room for the towels & bedding we need instead of a mountain of stuff we don't need. Now, every time I open the linen closet I feel happy at how much less stuff there is rather than stressed at how I'm going to shove what we own into the space we have.
  3. Kids crave organization. It may not seem like it when I've got a Tigger stamper imbedded in the sole of my bare foot or - bonjour - there's another patch of playdough mating with my living room rug, but I really believe it to be true. Kid's like organization and order - so why not bring them on board? Hell, it may mean more time for tea and bonbons between laundry loads at 3 pm, right? 

Here's a great book I found at the library filled with tools, tips and advice for people who clutter, people who are married to clutters and how to help your kids from becoming clutters: Stop Clutter from Wrecking Your Family: Organize Your Children, Spouse, and Home by Mike Nelson. I'd suggest reading it 1st before wrapping it up as a gift for your favorite's got good information for everyone!

Lastly, I remember listening to CBC's Tapestry one day and the interviewee was discussing life and possessions. It went something like this: "The more things you have the more pulled away from the spiritual life you become because everything starts to take over. Each little thing that we have we have to take care of. It starts to possess some little part of our mind." Now the phrase, "is it worth it?" takes on new meaning for me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recycle Your Crayon Bits Into Chunky Wonders

Ever wonder what to do with those old bits of crayons? Why not melt them into a set of cool new technacolour crayon chunks (and I'm not talking about leaving a bag of them on the back dashboard of your dad's 1963 station wagon on a hot day)...

Cute and useful with complete instructions here. Rumour has it bright colours work best...

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