Words To Live By:

"The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you finish the work."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Be Still...

We all know how crazy, hectic, impossibly busy this time of year seems to be.  For some reason, I'm finding myself stressed and worried more than usual this year.  I feel disappointed that I don't seem to have it all together and I was convinced life was supposed to be simpler with the move - almost a year ago!  It hasn't been.  

I've gotten busier (yay!) with my Wisdom & Whimsy projects, I've started doing data entry from home part time, and on top of that I'm still trying to earn the mom of the year award while wearing my Martha Stewart hat - and I'm failing miserably on both those fronts!  And just because life in and of itself isn't enough of a whirlwind, illness decides to pop by for a surprise visit like an unwanted house guest, seemingly sucking the life and energy out of us all ever so slowly.   Oh, and we're going on vacation over the Christmas holidays and I'm a detail person - I need lists, checkmarks, plans in place well in advance of the great departure and just can't seem to find the time to squeeze it in as completely as I'd like.   Little details are falling through the cracks and you can only apply so much pressure before something has to give!

Let's rewind a few weeks though and reflect on a verse from our pastor's sermon that plunked itself inside of me and won't let go:

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14

This of course, also reminds me of the classic verse "Be still, and know that I am God;" (Psalm 46:10)

I've heard this theme reiterated over and over and over again in the course of the last few weeks from various unrelated sources... but I'm Dutch, I'm stubborn, and sometimes I just don't listen.   Maybe, just maybe, there's something in this whole concept of stillness.  Maybe, just maybe, I need to stop trying to do EVERYTHING all at once, in my own strength - which is ever failing - and take the time to just be still - to meditate on the goodness of God, on the faithfulness of His promises, on the faith, hope, love, humility and humanity that are the foundation of this season, to remember to be thankful for the blessings we enjoy.  What if I stop struggling with the need to do it all and actually take the time to breathe, to sit quietly. to be still?  I can only find the rest, the peace, the strength that comes through leaning on Him.  So I charge you too - in the midst of all the crazy, hectic, impossible busyness of the season - take time to be still and find strength in reflecting on the hope and promise of Christmas.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kitchen Dreams

There are some fabulous home & decor stores out there with even more fabulous websites with extra, extra fabulous catalogue rooms and crazy ridiculous price tags!  Pier 1, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn... and one of my favourites, Ballard Designs.  Besides the inspiration I find in magazines, Pinterest, and through some talented bloggers I follow,  I could spend hours drooling over browsing the websites of these non-budget-friendly outlets while looking for ideas for our home... all the while hoping I can pull off a similar look without breaking the bank.   That little voice inside my head is always niggling away with thoughts like "I wonder if I could do that for cheaper..." or "That would be easy to do myself..."

This is our current dining nook.  For our living space, we have one big open concept room off the deck (which we use as our main entrance).  The room includes our living/tv room and eat-in kitchen, both of which need some serious updating  horrid mismatched lighting fixtures, dated cabinets, ugly countertops, cracked walls, and (shudder!) mustardy/goldenrod-ish coloured walls.   The fieldstone you see is the left side of our fireplace.  It needs an updated mantle

This is a kitchen design that I'm thinking (one day when I have an actual budget of ANY kind - little, big, just a budget, please!) I can incorporate into our living space.  I'll even keep my dining nook neat and tidy and catalogue photo ready (snicker!)  

Kitchen Inspiration:  Constance Kitchen {Ballard Designs}

I love the clean, neutral feel of this dining area.   The colour is perfect too! I love the rustic lantern look pendant (Delaney Pendant, $229) for over our seating area.  I love the round table with a bench tucked into a little dining nook.  I love the panelled walls (wainscotting? or what's this look called? I'm drawing a blank here!)  I could live without this particular rug and would prefer something with more of a sisal feel.
We already have a round table that just needs a little TLC.  Sanding it down and painting or re-staining (or maybe both!) are on my to-do list.  I had never really thought about adding a bench...but I have to say, I'm liking that plan for additional seating.  The bookcase as shelving is fabulous, but I could also work with a buffet instead.  

See the dishes featured on the shelf???? Southern Living Dinnerware.  Cute, functional pops of colour, no?  I need my pops of colour!   They're good solid pieces with pretty details like scallops and fork-pressed pie crust edges.

So what do you think? Does it scream "Lindsey" to you?  Could it work in our space? I think yes!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Charming Ribbon Bookmark Knockoff

I'm not sure I've ever tried (or successfully managed) a chain store knockoff before.   A few weeks ago, the boys and I were in Pier1.  (I think that trip gave me a heart condition - do NOT EVER - never, ever even - bring two rambunctious monkeys into a store filled with pretty expensive things.)   I have never said, "Stop touching."  "Look with your eyes!"  "Don't run."  so many times in one short span of time.

I  love Pier1, but for a mama on a budget who isn't quite sure how she wants to decorate her house, it can still be a bit pricey.   They have some fabulous items though - their decor, art, dishes, and accessories make me swoon a little when I meander through their greatness.   I even love their little tchotskys and giftables - which is what inspired this knockoff.

I love to read.  I've said it before, I'll say it again.  This is just a fact of who I am.  As much as I like books, I loooooove pretty bookmarks.  Seriously.  I don't necessarily remember where I put them, but they make me happy.    I absolutely adored these:

And I thought that for $10 a pop, I could probably make a very similar version for a fraction of the cost.    Yes, and no....  I'll explain!

I ventured into Walmart & Michael's.  I picked out some pretty 5/8" satin ribbons that I loved (and then raided my stash when I got home for more variety!)   I also found some charms and oversize beads that I thought would work well together.  (I then came home and in my raid session found some I already had that were just perfect for this project.)  I had jump rings on hand.    All in all, after purchasing all the goodies for these bookmarks, I could have bought one for less than I spent total.

I cut my ribbon (5/8" satin) into approx. 32" lengths.  I couldn't remember how long the Pier1 bookmarks were so using the picture and an actual hardcover as a guide, I figured 32" would work.   I then slid a ring onto the ribbon halfway and folded the ribbon over - the rings I used were actually half of a toggle set clasp or some "o" shaped beads.   I added a jump ring if necessary and attached my desired charm.   I then slid an oversized decorative bead (think Pandora-ish) onto the folded ribbon from the open ends and slid it down.  I knotted the top of the ribbon haves together, snipped so I was left with approx. 14" length and heat-sealed the ribbon.   If you've never heat sealed a ribbon, it's easy - just watch your fingers!  Light a candle, bring the snipped end of the ribbon (one at a time) close to the flame - kind of on an angle - not directly above it.  Watch your fingers - and the ribbon - it's easy to singe and burn.  Burnt ribbon really smells!   You'll know you're doing it correctly as the cut ends curl up and turn kind of melted looking - this will prevent your ribbon from fraying.   And here is your finished project:

I made about 10 of these today and need to buy a few more supplies to make more - lots and lots more!  They were pretty simple, but it does take a bit of time.   They cost about half of what a Pier 1 bookmark cost per piece (not counting your time) and I think they're pretty darn close in the knockoff department.

I'm trying to create a whole bunch of these.  I need impulse buys for Wisdom & Whimsy tables at some fall/early winter craft shows.  I think they would make darling stocking stuffers for readers on your list or even great teacher gifts tucked into a package with a new bestseller and a Starbucks card.

Want to win one of the charming satin ribbon bookmarks I've already created?  Check out the contest (closes Saturday at 8pm!) on my Wisdom & Whimsy Facebook page.    Make sure you like the page and then add a comment below the photo of the bookmarks sharing your favourite title & author.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Angelic Children...

...don't exist.  At least not in my reality. See their halos gleaming brightly in this picture?

What?  You don't see them?  Oh right... that's because they don't have any halos... because despite their innocent faces, they can really be quite devious.  

Side note:  this photo was taken early yesterday morning (7:30ish - that's early for someone who slept in til almost 8 am all summer long.)  I took it before driving them to school.   Note Justin's grimace.  He's not upset about school, he's angry I'm taking his photo.  This was the best of the bunch.   Lately, he's developed this strange aversion to the camera.  Unfortunate, for despite his less-than-angelic behaviour, he really is quite cute.

Back to that behaviour, then...   All summer long, they woke at the crack of stupid.  Seriously.  They could stay up late and still be awake between 6:30 and 7 am, full of energy and smiles.  I mean, who does that willingly???   They'd go play quietly and drag me out of bed when the hunger pangs got to be too much to handle.  We'd lounge in our PJs and take it easy til we had somewhere we needed to be.   Perfection.

School starts, and I have to fight to get them to open their eyes at 6:45.  What the heck? I'm sure that Saturday they'll wake quite willingly (and on their own) at 6:30 and be jumping on our bed.    After the battle to urge them into some semblance of consciousness, we begin the battle of getting dressed.  Again... all summer long they've managed to dress themselves and prepare for the day without difficulty.  School begins and they revert to toddler behaviour.  Limbs flailing, stubborn rigidity, tears flowing with cries of "I don't know how..."  (because somehow summer drained away the knowledge of how to insert a foot into a sock.)

Ah, sweet relief to get them out the door, to the end of the driveway, and onto the bus - backpacks loaded, clothes on, breakfast eaten, faces washed, children not quite smiling.   Did we remember to brush our teeth?  Don't look to closely at Justin's shirt - there's probably a syrup stain from breakfast.   We're doing really well if Kaleb doesn't decide he needs to use the bathroom halfway up the driveway or if the bus driver isn't honking as she drives past.

I sighed a great big "aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh" this morning returning to the house.  I threw in a load of laundry.  I loaded up the dishwasher.  I gathered up the small piles of action figures, dinky cars and colouring pages that  distributed themselves randomly throughout the living room.  Arms full, I head to the boys' room, turn the door knob, and... what on earth?!?  Can't get in.  My sweet, darling, angelic children have locked their bedroom door.  And shut it.  They never shut their door!  And we have no key.   I didn't even know their door had a lock.  A keyed lock at that.  Couldn't be one of those easy-peasy stick a bobby pin in the door locks.... nope, it's gotta be a full out need a cut key - the right cut key - fancy schmancy locks.   Okay.  Redeposit armfuls onto my bed and try every single random key we own.   No go.   All the screws on the doorknob are on the inside of the room and so are the door hinges.  Ack.  Good thing I have a handy dandy hubby who knows how to shimmy a lock... learned in his youthful rebellion perhaps?   He won't admit it of course.  Doesn't matter - we all know those Oshawa boys pick up some interesting skills while they're young.

Thank goodness God gave my kids adorable faces...  it might just make up for their not quite so angelic antics.   (Don't get me started on the water on the bathroom floor last week... or rock climbing the fireplace... or....or... or...)   Lord knows the trouble they'd be in if they couldn't melt my heart with a grin.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Question Everything

Anyone who knows me, even just a little, knows how much to read.  In general, I'm particularly fond of light, easy-reading, happy-ending, love and romance fluff.   Definitely not stimulating or thought provoking, but a quick escape from reality that doesn't require intense concentration.   I don't have particularly high standards when it comes to author or content.  I don't have high expectations that I'll get something out of a quick read.   I want entertainment, pure and simple.  If it's boring or requires undivided attention, it gets re-shelved very quickly.

All of that said, once in a while I'm struck by a paragraph, line or even general message that a light & fluffy book can bestow.  I just finished reading "The Briton" by Catherine Palmer.   She's a Christian author who doesn't get "preachy" and this particular book is my favourite genre:  historical romance.   It was a predictable, not-too-deep fiction and I could pick it up and put it down without losing my place.   It wasn't awe-inspiring or even a favourite.  It just filled some spare minutes throughout my day without taking up too much room in my head.

Until I read this in the midst of a conversation between the hero and heroine:

"...The wise question everything."

"Even the existance of God?  That is heresy, is it not?  No one can prove He is real, Jacques."

"How shall I know Him if I don't seek Him?  The one who asks questions of God and studies diligently to learn the answers must, in the end, have a far greater and deeper understanding of Him than the one who accepts Him blindly."

Well, didn't that just strike a chord?  I went back and re-read it.  Then I decided I should copy it because well, isn't it the truth?   And in the midst of an average tale of romance and danger I was reminded that faith may be blind in that we have no concrete proof, but in our search for that evidence, in the questioning of that which we hear and read and think, we understand, we grow, we find confidence that, yes, this is what I know to be true...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Steadfast Hope

I'm the first to admit we tend to slack off in the church department.  I don't think this is a reflection of my faith - my beliefs, the ones that are solid and unshakeable, remain the same.  As I've matured, I've learned to question for myself and I don't take everything at face value.  This has changed the face of my faith but not the core of my beliefs.

All that said, our weekends get busy and more oft than not, our Sunday mornings are lazy.  We don't make the effort to get to church.  Besides, who wants to be a quartet of cranky people in a service that's supposed to be a reflection of praise and happiness?  It's hard to get in the spirit of things when you just spent 2 hours fighting to get out the door.

But....on occasion, we actually do make it (relatively on time) without any bloodshed.  After participating in a summer kids' program, faces are more familiar and it feels like a comfortable place to be.  We've found a welcoming, warm hearted non-judgemental environment to just be.

My favourite part of service is always the worship - even though pastor's message is always relevant and inspiring.  Today's song service left me slightly teary eyed more than once as they sang a few old hymns mixed in with the more upbeat charismatic songs.

Old hymns always remind me of sleep overs at Oma's and Sunday mornings in church listening to her sing with dignity and unwavering faith.  Its funny what triggers a memory... and reminds us that even though our beliefs may waver or vary, it's that steadfast hope that remains...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tick, Tock

The summer is flying by.  In just over two weeks, the monkeys return to school and we have a whole list of things on our summer bucket list that we haven't even attempted yet.

Now comes the mad dash to cram it all in before the big Back To School.  On one hand, I can't wait - it's hard to tackle my own projects while entertaining the troops.  On the other hand, I enjoy our lazy mornings and watching their excitement over silly things like pet rocks, movie marathons, and hunting for grasshoppers. 

Time is running out and we have to make the most of summer days remaining.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A {CRATE} Idea!

It is now the second day of August.  This is not a revelation for most of you.  For those who get behind the whole Christmas-in-July thing, it's a frightening enlightenment.  Particularly if you seem to have skipped through the entire month of July with nary a thought of Christmas.   On occasion, a fleeting glimmer of *something* would flutter through my brain and I had the best intentions of getting the ball rolling on the home-made, heartfelt Christmas wagon.   That *something* seems to have fluttered in on a wisp of nothingness and floated back out the same way.  At least I have 4 months to pull in some ideas and execute some last minute late night creative sessions.

When I am organized, I can start thinking holiday mode before Christmas has even passed the previous year.   I'm just that crazy.  Not so this year - with the packing, and the move, and the settling in, and establishing new routines, and making new friends, the first half of this year has disappeared and I seem to have misplaced my organizational skills!

Speaking of organized - the boys and I took a quick trip to Michaels and saw these lovely unfinished wood crates on sale (reg. $21.99 on for $16.99).   If you're handy, you could probably hit up Home Depot and buy the wood to make one yourself (that's something I'd like to attempt now that I can mentally deconstruct the ones from Michaels.)   At that price, I picked up two with no real purpose in mind - just some more of those vague fleeting glimmers of an idea - library books? toys? planter?  Those vague little fluttery thoughts of course led to the ever-popular Google search (keywords: "personalized kids crate").

Aren't these ideas delightful?

{ Pinterest via ashberrybaby.com }

{ Pinterest via  plantabox.co.uk }

{ Pinterest via michaels.com)

Now I'm thinking... adorable customized crates stuffed with filler and a coordinating gift or two.  Towels for a house-warming.  Trowel & gloves for a garden.  Apron & grill tools for a BBQ. Stuffed animal & book for a toy box.  Wine & corkscrew.  Jams & tea towels.   The possibilities are endless... so maybe in my effort to think about Christmas in...err... August, I have inspired you to start planning for a hand-made holiday with some {crate} ideas of your own!       

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day-Cation: Part II

It's almost as good as the tropics!  I'm finishing a sun-drenched afternoon with a {yummy!} banana daquiri.  It's not quite a pina colada on the beach but it hits the spot!

Banana Daquiri, The Oasis Girl, Cobourg


We aren't taking holidays this summer but have instead opted to enjoy daytrips. With a little imagination and a very small budget we're able to explore local destinations and still get out of the everyday mundane.   I like to think of them as day-cations - little escapes without the big ticket price and I get to sleep in my own bed at night. 

We might just be sitting on the shore of Lake Ontario today but in my mind I'm feeling ocean breezes, lying on a white sandy beach with the scent of saltwater in the air. All I'm missing is the Pina Colada

Beach Boys at Victoria Beach Park, Cobourg.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Another creation

I have been steady with my Wisdom & Whimsy creations but this is ine if my recent faves.

MDF painted with an off white, vinyl letters as a mask, topped with a coat of espresso, sanded to distress a little, then sealed.  It looks amazing and I'm a little jealous it will be leaving our home.

Miss me?

So it's been approximately 3 months since I last blogged.  Some days I've thought "Oh, I need to share this..." and then (as always) life gets busy and composing a post just slips my mind.    So much has happened, but if you follow me on Facebook, you are probably on top of the latest gossip involving our lives anyhow.

I just recently switched (a week ago? maybe?) from my dinosaur vintage iPhone 3G.  It wasn't even 3 years old but man, oh man, it was starting to drive me nuts.  Now, in Apple's defence, the phone fell in the toilet twice, the dish water once, and was left in a stroller in the rain briefly.  It fell on gravel, store floors, concrete, hardwood, ceramic and grass.   Despite the scattered screen after a slip out of my pocket (iPhones don't bounce!) the touch screen still worked and with all the other mishaps, it held it's own.    That being said, it was 2 models behind when I got it (I think they just brought out the 4G)... and over the last few weeks it kept freezing on me, the GPS services never worked, and the shattered screen started to nick up my fingers. I visited my service provider (Telus customer service rocks, by the way) and they waived the fees for slipping out of my contract early and provided me with a cheaper plan.

So I shopped.  I browsed.  I touched.  I asked silly questions.  And perhaps, maybe, just maybe, I had a little technology envy after Kevin came home with his Samsung Galaxy SII HD.   So I got the same phone... but better.   I have no complaints with Apple as a whole, but I'm not a die-hard i-anything fan.  And lemme just say how much I looooove my new Android Samsung Galaxy SIII.   It's awesome.  I find it a little more user friendly and everything is just "more".    Now, I'm sure I'd be thrilled with the newest iPhone when compared with that old one I was using - but I went with the Galaxy and I'm hooked.  

Here are some of my favourite features or apps:

* S Planner Task widget - all my to-do's on one screen with the slide of a finger, and easy to check off my tasks as I get them done.
* Google/G-mail integration - I use Google for everything (well, a lot of things) on my netbook and it's nice to have everything synced and accessible.
* 8mp camera & instagram.  My old phone camera sucked.  This camera rocks.  Seriously.  I love it.
* YouVersion Bible app and Verse of the Day widget.  I will admit that in the busyness of life, I've gotten out of the habit of picking up my Bible and reading a passage each day.  This widget means that the minute I check my phone in the morning, a verse is sitting their and cannot be ignored.  I see it multiple times a day when I'm flipping through screens so I can mull it over a little.   When I find some quiet time, I can click and read the entire passage.  And it's easy-peasy to read along with the pastor at church.
* Words With Friends.  I used to use this on Facebook and then stopped for some reason.  But I downloaded the free app and it's a quick, addictive time-waster for here and there mind-bending in between the important parts of my day.

Downside to my phone?  No Pinterest app for Android (so I try to use the Pinterest mobile site with mixed results).   No Etsy app for Android (although that app was never available for my dino iPhone either.)  Again, mixed results using the mobile site.  And for some reason my Kijiji app always crashes.  Again with the mixed results browsing mobile.   I suppose these are more disappointments with the app developers than with the Android platform.

What are your favourite apps or phone features? Are you using an Apple, Blackberry, or Android?  Do you use Instagram?  I'm just getting started but you can follow me as brownlin (simple, no?)  If you love Scrabble-ing, you can start a game with me on Words with Friends.  Oh, what would we do with our days if we didn't have technology?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm Hungry!

I've gotten out of the habit of creating a meal plan and/or grocery list... and I always go way over budget at the grocery store and run out of food well before I should.   (This also happens if I grocery shop with a) Kevin or B) children.   With Kevin, items randomly appear in the cart.  With the kids, I tend to just want to get in and out as fast as I can so I fly through the aisles grabbing whatever I *think* we need.)   

With two FUSSY monkeys, (ohmygosh they drive me crazy with their complaints at dinner, breakfast and after school!) and lately, no desire to spend lots of time in the kitchen, I want quick, healthy, yummy meals that will make table time a breeze.   Unfortunately, when we do find something that the majority (3 out of 4 ain't bad!) enjoys, it gets added to the regular rotation and *I* get bored of it quickly.   (The "men" get spaghetti and meatballs... mommy makes toast and eggs, or a bowl of cereal.)

Today I went shopping for a 10 day meal plan - with some ingredients on hand and NO COUPONS (whoops!) - $300+ later, my cupboards are full, my fridge is overflowing and there's no "hmmm, what's for dinner?" happening until next payday.

Here's what we're planning this "week":

Chicken Veggie Flatbread - think restaurant style loaded with yumminess.   This is a quick one that I can do using left over chicken from a previous meals and hit's the "thanks for dinner, mom" mark because it adds variety to our rotation while playing on the pizza factor - lots of toppings, no tomato sauce or pepperoni.

Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry -  This is not always a hit with the boys (not big fans of peppers) but I add enough veggie variety to the stir-fry that they can pick out what they like and leave the peppers.   Served over rice or noodles.

Pulled Pork -  I originally planned on ribs (they love ribs!) but they weren't on sale and little pork tenderloins were.    This is my no hassle meal for the week, and while not necessarily healthy -hello, bbq sauce! - it's tasty and because I make it in the crockpot, it's "quick" (or slow I suppose, if you want to get technical.)   Usually I'll serve it on buns - but occasionally with rice - and always with a side of slaw with a sesame dressing.   The leftovers are great on tortillas or as a pizza topping.

Dutch Meatball Soup - My kids don't like this.  They'll eat the carrots, some of the noodles and dig out the meatballs, but on a whole, they're not really soup people.   Too bad, so sad, because in this case, I don't care if they like it or not.  This is a staple from my childhood and makes good comfort food.  This is pretty close to the recipe I use - I always tweak it to what I have on hand.  Freeze the leftovers for lunches or another quick meal.

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwiches - Easy, peasy.  Grilled chicken breasts topped with tomato, cheese, bacon (or whatever anyone wants) on foccacia.  Served with a side salad and I'm thinking yam fries done in my T-fal Actifry.  Simple and delicious!

Maple Salmon - I still haven't made this even though I've pinned and bookmarked a few recipes, usually as kebabs. (Funny side note, Justin is adamant that fishing bobbers are called "kebabs".  There's no convincing him it's wrong.)  This week, I'm cheating and going to use a grilling rub, Maple Peppercorn from Gourmet Village, just to keep things easy.   Serving with fresh veggies and rice.
Ginger Beef & Pineapple Kebabs - I know one monkey will definitely complain about this - he has issues with the beef texture.  He just keeps chewing, and chewing, and chewing - even though he likes the taste.  Weird.   It's a yummy recipe though and kebabs are always fun!  Just a note - I don't necessarily use the listed marinade - I use what I have on hand (usually my own.)

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells - This recipe makes a semi-regular appearance in our rotation, so we're not quite sick of it yet. The boys like tex-mex inspired and usually this will go over okay.  I don't use the taco sauce but just use extra salsa on top.

Beer Can Chicken - I've tried a few recipes and somehow whole chicken isn't my thing.  I've had some that turn out AMAZING (a lemon stuffed one from Chatelaine) and the next time, it's an epic fail.   I haven't tried this beer-can one yet - but they're pretty much all the same.  We'll see how it goes.  I'll probably serve it with mini roasted potatoes and a side salad.  The leftovers will come in handy for that flatbread I listed first.
So that's my plan... hopefully the meals will hit the spot and keep complaints to a minimum.   You know I love new recipes, so feel free to share your favourites in the comments below.   This breakfast one got my mouth watering while browsing for other ideas this morning - I plan on serving it Saturday morning:


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ginger Snap Scraps: Mega Mother's Day Giveaway

Do you ever stop to think about how social media has changed the dynamics of consumer, business, and even personal networking? Do you ever dial "0" for the operator or call 411 when looking up a telephone number? When you need to get in touch with someone - for a quote, for an order, for a quick question - do you pick up the phone (forget writing a letter or sending a fax!) or do you send a text, an instant message, or an email?

The internet and social media are amazing things - providing access to information and ways of interaction to an extent we never imagined even 10 years ago. Here's an example of how you can just stumble across something wonderful.

On a random blog, I found an example of some paper crafting projects and stamping products I loved. Unfortunately, I didn't know anyone who was a rep for Stampin Up. ---->

Head over to Stampin' Up website and locate a local consultant. ------>

Place an order online and find out said consultant has a blog and a Facebook page - both of which I now follow. ---->

Via Facebook, learn that my consultant knows someone who is opening a new (FABULOUS!) online scrapshop called Ginger Snap Scraps. ---->

Impatiently wait for online shop to open, follow Facebook page and the store's blog --->

Browse amazing product lines and earn reward credit when I place my first order with Ginger Snap Scraps. Now excitedly wait for my delivery (hello, amazing grand opening deals and shipping special!) ---->

Regularly check both blog and Facebook page for Ginger Snap Scraps and see this amazing post:

Ginger Snap Scraps: Mega Mother's Day Giveaway at Ginger Snap Scraps!: Welcome to the Mega Mother's Day Giveaway with Ginger Snap Scraps!  ....One lucky mom will be the winner of over $300 worth of scrapbooking and paper crafting items from Ginger Snap Scraps.

Well, let me tell ya, that is an exciting contest.  Seriously!    You should head over and check out the multiple ways you can enter... and if I'm the lucky winner and you just happen to be selected, you'll share, right?   Check out the store - Cori has amazing product lines in her store, the customer service is fantastic, prices are affordable (cheap, cheap Cricut cartridges) and it's all so user friendly.   And check out the blog - earn some entries - good luck!

And to think, if I hadn't stumbled across the random blog entry so many months ago, I'd never have indirectly learned about Ginger Snap Scraps.  It's a small world with so much at our fingertips.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Black & White

Nothing in life is as simple as black and white.   Yes, there are obvious rules and morals that are clearly defined, but not everything fits so neatly into such a categorization.   Black & White is the inspiration for today's second photo-challenge inspired post - I'm back on track!  

When talking photos, black and white can hide some not-so-perfect elements in an image you'd like to capture.   I find sepia can do the same.  Using basic camera settings on newer digital models or a decent image-editing software, you can pretty up those pictures that otherwise just look "blah."    Generally while crafting with images, I use a sepia or black & white - it just eliminates distractions in the photo and gives everything a more polished look.

When talking about my life, nothing (minus a good extent of my wardrobe!) is so boring (or is that sophisticated as?) black and white... but here I present three of my favourite "things" - in monochrome.

This is one of my favourite features of the new house.  The fieldstone fireplace sits opposite a bank of  large, bright windows.  It shares the focus of the living room with the tv (of course!)   It's no longer wood burning - it's had a propane unit installed, the mantle needs improving, and there are some cracks in the stone hearth - but I love it!

The living room is one open space with a patio door entrance to the deck, stairs to the basement, and and eat-in kitchen.  It has lovely tall ceilings and a few skylights.   The fireplace makes the room.

I need to take down that lamp and we have to figure out our lighting situation - so for now it stays.  See those boxes on the right?  All books... I want to put a floor-to-ceiling built-in where the dog bed and boxes are now sitting to make better use of that space.   I took the photo in black & white because I can't stand my yellow-painted walls.  Isn't the fireplace itself lovely though?

In my colourful world, I need a reminder to live not so colourfully.  This is currently my favourite Bible verse if I can actually pick just one favourite.   Believer or not, the words are just so true and applicable to everyone.   Life would be so much more peaceful if we all took them to heart.

"...let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath."  James 1:19      One day, you may see this tattooed in a nice script inside my wrist - because I am NOT always a good listener, I OFTEN speak without thinking, and I have a very quick TEMPER.   It's a lesson I need to learn!

Finally on this very short tour of my life in black & white, I share one of my all-time-keep-it-framed-on-the-fireplace pictures of my boys.   (Edit:  I can't find the actual digital file... but I found one taken the same day!  Darn.   The memories are still the same though even if the photo doesn't quite invoke the same feelings of heartmelting awesomeness.)

This photo (and the one that has gone AWOL) was taken in the summer of 2008.   Justin would have been just a year and a bit, and Kaleb was almost 3.    I love seeing the Kevin interact with the boys... and this day, even though they were far too young to interact with the RC car Kevin still has tucked away in the basement, the day was filled with giggles, grins, and maybe a few tears if the car came too close.   Aw, sweet memories - no doubt about it, this guy loves his boys!  

It's In The Cards...

I haven't been crafting as many cards lately as I did, say, oh the 2 months before Christmas.   For some reason I find it harder to create all occasion cards that are attractive.   I find inspiration on Pinterest, through some magazines, various blogs - but when it comes down to it, Christmas cards just seem to be my thing.

This is one of my most recent cards, a set of 4 made for my Wisdom & Whimsy group.

It's blank inside... which makes it perfect for a girlfriend's birthday, a wedding shower, or just because.   It's simple... but I feel like it's just missing something.

Here is another simple card I've created for Wisdom & Whimsy since "the move."  I found the charms, used as my sentiment, at Michael's in the clearance department and thought they were too good a deal to pass up.  I wasn't thinking 'card' when I bought them, but I saw a similar idea through an online print shop for wedding stationary and thought they would work perfectly well on a thank you card.  

I'll have to set aside some time to card-make using the tons of photos and cardmaps I've clipped and saved.... first I have to find the desk in my craft room.  Why is it so hard to keep my creative space neat?

PS - I'm off a day on my photo-challenge-inspired blogging...   cards were yesterday, black & white is today.  I had to get some broken molars repaired last night - again - and wasn't feeling up to blogging when I got home.  This is the second time they've fixed them and I have no idea how I keep breaking them in the same spot.  I really wish they'd stay 'fixed' though - the ladies at the dentist's office and Dr. Gold, himself, are all lovely... but it's not my favourite place to hang out.  I like my space and hands in my mouth is just way too invasive *shudder*.  I walk away from every appointment with a tension headache and my poor gums are so bruised.  I deserve chocolate.  Or a frappucino.  Or a Tim Horton's mango smoothie because they're my new favourite drink in a town that has limited coffee shop options.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Burst of Colour

I know it's been so long since the last post... and I feel like every new entry I'm apologizing for the span between... but life get's busy and some days it seems as if we're just settling into a working routine after "the big move."

We've been in the house just under 3 months and haven't even begun to scratch off the items on our to-do list.   We've survived the move, the school transfer, the bus mishaps (they forgot to drop off my kids not once - but twice - since mid-January!) We've survived a small basement flood, a larger basement flood, a thunderstorm, a snow day, and March break.   We've met some neighbours, met the original owner, met (& sheltered overnight) 2 runaway Kuvasz dogs  - one who decided to walk right in the house when I opened the screen door to the deck.   Needless to say, life goes on, life gets busy, life is seldom without it's adventures.

I really want to maintain the blog now that we seem a bit more settled and our internet isn't so sketchy.  (Ok, it's still sketchy - rural internet generally is - but fingers crossed, it will continue to work as smoothly as it's working today!)

I decided that this month, I'm going to try to follow as many prompts from the Scrapbooks Etc. April photo challenge as I can.   It will give me a springboard to launch a post from - even if it's just a sentence or two to capture the thought behind the image.... and maybe someday I'll actually scrapbook them.

April 1:   Colour Challenge

I've had this clivia for some time and it's just sat there - green and not so pretty.  It was an offset from my mom's plant.  After we moved, I put my houseplants (all 4 of them!) in the hot tub room.   It's all enclosed, windows on all sides and a few skylights but not so warm as the main house.  On a good day it retains a damp heat but through the winter months it could be chilly.   I wasn't sure my plants would survive.  

Earlier this week, I moved my pots back into the house.   My rubber plant & some other green one I can never remember the name of boasted tons of new shoots.   My tropical grass didn't survive.   My clivia was finally full of buds!  Woohoo!   I've been waiting impatiently all week to see these beauties open - and this morning they finally provided a burst of vibrant colour for an otherwise dreary day!

Tomorrow... I'll share a new card or two I've made.