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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a mini-scrapbook...

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While cleaning and organizing my little scrapbook space, I came across this little scrapbook I made a few years ago from an altoid tin.
 It was a really fun & easy project.
Just take an empty altoid tin and wash it.
Assemble some scraps of cardstock, some ribbon and whatever little embellishments you have and 2 punches.
For this project I used the Marcy Uchida circle punch (2 1/4 inch size, which fits perfectly into the tin) and an EK Success Flower Punch.
You also need a set of little pictures to go inside the scrapbook.
Walmart makes this easy with the various size miniature prints you can make under the 'collage' setting at their in-store photo kiosks.
You start by punching a circle out of cardstock to cover up the altoid label on your tin.
Embellish the circle with a punched flower, a brad and some ribbon as shown.
 Or whatever other creative ideas you have. I am all about making a project your own!
Inside the tin is your 'mini scrapbook'. Punch as many circles for the scrapbook as you like. I recommend around 6-7 circles.
Place an eyelet at the top of each circle page to provide a place to insert ribbon to tie the scrapbook pages together.
Then build each page however you like. On each page of my mini, I have included a picture, a punched flower and a button. I have inked the edges of the flowers and circles for a little added dimension.
Building the pages is your time to play.
Mix and match colors! Switch up embellishments!
This project makes a great little gift for Grandparents. Or a nice little purse-sized scrapbook.
It would also be a great birthday party craft.
You only needs some tins, cardstock scraps, a few punches and whatever else you have on hand for embellishments.
This is one of my favorite projects ever!

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Organizing Keepsakes...

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 A few years ago I spotted these attractive suede boxes at London Drugs. 
 I loved the combination of the suede and leather look and the antique-looking handles.
  I thought these boxes were perfect for the upper shelves of our closet.
A place where I like to store special keepsakes because I know that they are dry, warm & safe.
 In these boxes are things like elementary school pictures of Ron and I, baptism candles, tiny baby clothes and such.
Problem was.....I didn't have these boxes labelled.
 Bad idea.
Everytime I needed to locate something....I had to peek through all the boxes.
I finally took a few hours and solved that little problem.
With a black sharpie pen, tags and some ribbon, I had all the boxes sorted and labelled, and back into the closet in 2 hours.
It feels so good to look at those tags and know what is in each box.

Notice the wall that is partially painted?
 That is another project that needs to be finished.
And guess what?
I recently learned from watching Cityline that when painting a room, it is best to leave the interior of closets neutral so when you paint a room, you don't have to go throught the hassle of emptying a closet to paint it.
Brilliant! I wish I had thought of that sooner!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Greek night at our house....

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For some reason this morning, Hunter and I both got up with thoughts of Greek food.We decided to make tonight a "Greek" night at our house.It was a collaborative effort between her and I. Using a new recipe from "Fresh Flavours Fast", she made the greek chicken kabobs.Marinated in greek spices, fresh oregano and mint...they were yummy.She also made the lemon-scented rice.

I made the greek vegetable salad. Yup. I got off easy. Except, it seems now that whenever I cook with my mother or my daughter, I ended up being the 'sous chef'. Why is that?

My favorite part of the meal, however, was how she stood over her father while he barbequed
the kabobs to make sure that that he didn't burn them. Or turn them black.
Yes. He does that.

We also served soft pita bread and tatszki of course.
It was a delicious family meal.
Such a nice finish to the weekend.

There was even enough to package up for school lunches for Hunter.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness......

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When we were in Colorado, we happened to be leaving a mall when we drove by a homeless man with a sign asking for money.

Hunter's voice came from the backseat of the car, "Mommy, can we give some money to that man?".

I said, "Of course".

There was a time when homeless people used to scare her when we met them on the street. She was always afraid of these individuals because they looked and smelled different.

Our car happened to be stopped while we waited for traffic lights to change to green. We both dug into our purses to give money to this man. I came up with a twenty and Hunter came up with six dollars.

We handed it out the car window to the man, and he gave us a toothless grin and a thank you.

My heart felt both glad and sad at the same time.

This is a man who looked like he should be retired and puttering around his yard with gardening tools. Or off golfing.

Instead, life's circumstances have put him on a street begging for money.

A private discussion later ensued between Hunter and I about our act of giving. I told her I was proud of her for wanting to show compassion by giving this man some money. We agreed that this man looked so sad to us.

I explained to her that the spirit of giving comes from the heart.

The act of giving should not be screened or censored by  judgements, assumptions or hidden agendas.

We gave to this man because it felt right in our hearts. We didn't make judgements about his life and whether or not he deserved our generosity. Nor should we.

It was simply a random act of kindness.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

I came upon this great post  about 'Random Acts of Kindness'. This post readily embodies the spirit of giving.

I think I may adopt a 'Random Act of Kindness' as part of my next birthday celebration. I am going to  encourage the kids to adopt this tradition as well.  I hope they learn from me to always give before you take.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Colorado Springs...

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Hunter and I just returned from a 4 day trip to Colorado Springs in Colorado.
It was a short trip, but very fun.
We went to Colorado to watch the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships.
23 teams competed for the title of World Champions.
Teams came from Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Croatia, Austria, Australia,
New Zealand,....just to name a few.
Canada had 2 teams competing in the Championships.
We had quite a large cheering section for the Canadian teams.
A group of about 25 attended from our synchro club here in Alberta.
Colorado is a gorgeous state.
Full of beautiful landscape.
It reminds us of the rockies here in Alberta.
In between the skating events, we took time to enjoy the local sites.
We visited a rock park called "The Garden of the Gods".
It's a park of rock formations that are thousands of years old.
Spectacular to see in real life.
The red clay-look of the rocks remind me of the Bay of Fundy mud we see in Nova Scotia.
The park had a walking trail of about a mile long where you can observe most of the rock formations.
The formation below is called "The Three Graces".
The weather was perfect for our walk through the park.
We even came upon a wedding.
We marveled at the beauty of these gigantic rocks.
Canada placed 4th and 5th in the Worlds.
Finland placed 1st and 2nd.
Team USA placed 3rd.
It was a really enjoyable 4 days of skating, eating out, hanging with friends,
seeing the local sights and shopping.
A  great girls trip!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

a travel scrapbook...

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A few years ago I attended a scrapbook convention.
This was one of the projects for a class.
A mini travel scrapbook.
I simply adore this little book.
I love the crispness of the white & black colour scheme.
 I intend to make a project like this.... a mini travel scrapbook in a black & white colour scheme.

This scrapbook was made by Danielle Johnson with her 'Art Warehouse' line, which is now more than a few years old and may be hard to find. But I love it just the same.

Friday, April 09, 2010

a note to self....

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Can you please finish this pretty quilt that you started for your mother over 2 years ago? It is so close to being finished. It just needs a bit more quilting. Then the binding.
And then it is finished.
Maybe a few hours of work is left.
Please finish me soon!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

my happy homemaking heart...

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Here are some new things this week  that make my little homemaking heart go pitter patter. My wonderful husband picked this up for me from Costco a few days ago. Hunter and I had a little tug of war over it when it arrived home, but I let her have it since she's so cute & all. Besides, what mother doesn't want to encourage their offspring to cook for the family?

I also bought a bottle of this. Why love it? Well, you might not be able to tell from the picture, but this is not large jug. It's a jug the size of a mustard bottle. And 4 little squirts does one load of laundry. But again, may I large jug that hurts your wrist when you pour it, or makes a sloppy mess. ( really need this!)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

an altered clipboard....

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At one of the last scrapbooking retreats I attended, I had the chance to make an altered clipboard for the kitchen. I wanted a way to display the kids school photos that was fun instead of in a boring frame.

This is made with a 'mini' clipboard that can be found at the dollar store for $1. I know it sounds funny to say that it cost $1.00 at a dollar store, but some so-called dollar stores sell things for $1.50 or other prices that are not exactly a $1.00!  I used scrapbook paper along with 'mod podge' to cover the clipboard. Then a bunch of ribbons are tied on the clip part of the board to get it that special touch of texture & colour.

The clipboard rests on a shelf next to the family calendar. I love having my sweeties faces to look at when I write on the calendar. I made one of these for the grandparents as well and mailed them off wrapped in bubble wrap.

This project has been linked to

Mod Podge Mayhem at:

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

a three hour tour...

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Our family recently acquired a boat.Yup. A boat.

For tours. Fishing. Knee-boarding. Water-skiing. All the fun stuff.

Whenever I think of boat tours, the theme song from this little show from my childhood pops into my head.
This got me thinking.  If I had to describe our family in terms of Gilligan's Island, who would we be?

Ron. For sure, he would be the Skipper. He is fatherly, of course, being a father to our children and all. He is also brave, determined and sensible. He keeps us on course and he takes care of us.  He will be the one to float our boat. (But we will skip the part where he gets us marooned on an unchartered isle. Luckily, we are not the ocean-going sort, and live in the middle of the Prairies and the Rockies.)

Me. I hate to say this...but honestly...I am Mrs. Thirston Howell. The Third. No doubt about it. I like to be pampered. I don't like the wind in my hair or strong sun on my face. If I could be pampered on our boat tours with a martini and a little 'lovey' calling...I would be a super happy chic.

Hunter. Well.....she is Mary Ann. Funny and bubbly. Strong and athletic. She looks so cute in her little bikini, and she would be the most likely female on board to help out the Skipper. She is the all-canadian girl....sweet as can be.

I bet you think that Tyler will be Gilligan. That dumb-witted, but lovable numbskull.


Tyler is our Professor.

He loves knowledge and learning and he likes to collect scientific facts. He also likes to share his scientific facts. For instance, the other day he asked me if the dogs could 'see' colours. When I said I wasn't sure, he went to the computer to google it. He reported back to me that 'dogs could only see primary colors'. Good to know.

So there you have it. Our own little family of Gilligan's Island people going on boat tours.

Another song that pops into my head when I think of boats is Robert Plant's song, "Crazy Ship of Fools."

I'm sure I'll be able to talk about that one at the end of the summer.

Here is the Skipper and the Professor with the S. S. Minnow.

Summer can't come fast enough for these two.

Monday, April 05, 2010

my family wall....

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Awhile ago, I gathered up some frames not in use from around the house and spray-painted them heirloom white.

I had an an inspiration....I wanted to create a "family wall"....a collection of photos of our family roots....our parents and grandparents. It is also important to me that my children recongnize those they come from.

The hardest part was locating pictures. I was able to find pics of all the grandparents except for Ron's paternal grandparents. I am not sure if even a picture exists of these two people in their younger days. Once I found the pictures, the rest was easy. Arrange. Hang.

I absolutely love this wall.

The picture in the centre is of Ron and I on our wedding day in 1995. The picture to the top right of us is of my maternal grandparents Josephine and Frederick circa 1950's. To the lower right are Ron's maternal grandparents Evangline & Antonio on their wedding day in 1945. Just below Ron and I are my paternal grandparents Ada & Clifford with my Uncle Phillip circa 1941. And to our lower left are Ron's parents with Ron and his brother when they are little. That handsome couple to our upper left is my parents in 1965 at a high school dance.

I loved my grandparents dearly and it is a nice to have their pictures on the living room wall  to remind me of happier times. And of who I am and where I come from.

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Hello Mrs. Bunny Cake...

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My mom always made a version of this cake for us at Easter. It's a simple homemade cake cut into a bunny shape. Decorated with jelly beans, coconut, licorice and whatever other yummy things we had on hand.When she happens to be visiting us at Easter, she makes it for my kids.

Such a simple little tradition. But it makes the kids feel so special.

This is our project for make a Mrs. Bunny Cake. We have icing, jelly beans, can't be a holiday unless there's a mess in the kitchen.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sarah's House Season 3: The Farmhouse Kitchen

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It always amazes me how I can watch each episode of Sarah's House faithfully each week,
and how there are still beautiful details that the 30 minute show doesn't capture.
Like this staircase.
We never saw it in the show.
But here it is.
I have seen numbered staircases before, but it looks like there is a painted runner
in addition to flea market style numbers on each riser.
It really adds some great character to what could be a lacklustre staircase.
But there is never lacklustre with Sarah.

Another little corner of the kitchen that we didn't get to see in detail on the show.
Here appears a beverage centre and a baking centre.
Sarah has tackled the use of space around low hung windows with practicality.

I love this view of the kitchen.
It shows how Sarah has made every square inch of the kitchen functional.
Love the farmhouse sink.
The big stove to put out the big meals you expect at a farm.
The island that can serve as a buffet for entertaining.

Another beautiful vignette.
I would love to cook in this kitchen.
It is so bright, functional & cheery.
I think this kitchen would reform this late sleeper into a morning person.
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