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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My favourite little office nook.

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This is my favourite little corner in our house. It's where I scrapbook, write blog posts, surf the net, pay bills and read my favourite blogs.
Until last year, my corner was an Ikea desk with a hutch. It was functional. It worked...but it was always a mess. Not pretty. It didn't reflect me at all.  I wanted to make it better, but I wasn't sure how.
I was reading a Better Homes & Gardens special publication when I stumbled on this picture of an office nook. It became my inspiration for my 'new' space. I loved the shelves above the desk and the storage space it afforded. I needed a lot more storage space for my scrapbooking & stamping supplies, so I thought this design idea would work for me.
First, I had my husband remove the small hutch from the desk. This totally opened up the space for new shelves.  Next, I purchased white shelf brackets from Ikea and white shelving from Home Depot. Since I had measured the width of the space, I had Home Depot cut the shelves to the exact width needed for the space.  I had my husband install the shelves and instantly, the storage space was tripled! I set to work filling the space with white Ikea boxes for storing all my crafting supplies and pretty stuff to reflect me. One of my favourite colours has always been pink, but I have never decorated anywhere in the house with pink. So I decided to add touches of pink here in my little nook. I really love how it turned out and the space functions so much better for me.
I splurged a bit and bought a new capiz shell lamp for the desk corner. I love it for it's shape and touch of  'beachy' it gives. To the left of the computer screen are pics of my kiddos when they were babies.
The pink rose plate hanging on the wall is sentimental to me. It hung on the wall of the office where I used to work in the family business. The family business is now closed after 50 years and I like having this little reminder of that time in my life.

The picture is of my parents on their 40th Wedding's a wonderful picture of them.
The silver clock and the vases are from Ikea. The plate on the wall belonged to my grandmother.

The white vases come from my treasure hunting trips to Goodwill. The artwork came as a free download from one of my favourite blogs, "Adventures in Decorating a Brooklyn Limestone."

Scrapbook magazines and books are organized in Ikea magazine files.
The vintage doll belonged to my Grandmother's sister Ethel who died in 1929 at age 14. My Grandmother saved it as a precious memory of her only sister. She left the doll to my daughter.
The shadow box was made by my daughter as gift to me for Mother's Day a few years ago. The picture is of me with my kids on a beach in Nova Scotia when my youngest was a baby. The little pink dish with the blue bird belonged to my grandmother. I remember that dish being on an end table in her house for many years.
Now this space works so much better. It has lots of storage and it's touches of pink make me feel happy. Most of the storage pieces are white, so if I ever decide to switch out the pink decor to another colour, the storage boxes can stay.
The only problem now is that my family says that I spend too much time here!
I am linking this post to these fabulous parties:


Organize and Decorate Everything

inspired room

Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Strut-Your-Stuff Thursday @ Somewhat Simple
Show and Share Day @ Just A Girl.

Monday, June 28, 2010

my little amy bulter project....

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I absolutely adore this peony fabric from Amy Butler's collection. I used it to make this fun, casual bag from her "Frenchy Bag" pattern.  It makes me so happy to carry this around. I love it! This project took about an hour to cut out and about 2 hours on my sewing machine...and I am a beginner! My husband makes fun of me. He thought a sewing machine for Christmas would mean nicely hemmed pants. I beg to differ!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

views of home....

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Usually about this time of year, I am headed home to Nova Scotia with the children for a 6 week visit.
But we are not going to Nova Scotia this year.

I am feeling a little home sick. I have been looking at some pictures from home of my favourite views. Like:

Kingsport Beach.

I once had a summer job when I was a teenager planting these fields with cabbages. Only when I got older did I appreciate the real beauty of this field.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

organizing your children's year end school papers...

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Since it's that time of year with school ending and children arriving home with an overflowing backpack (and more) of 'treasures' from their desk...I thought I would share how I store and save my children's school papers from year to year.

I came up with this system about 6 years ago. My daughter had just finished Grade 3 and my son was still in pre-school. All of my daughter's school papers were stored, messily, in an under the bed box. I thought that method was keeping me "organized". As she was finishing her fourth year of school and I was shoving papers into this overflowing box, I thought that there had to be a better way. Piling stuff into boxes only works for so long. Then it becomes chaos in a box.

I started by creating a file folder for each grade. I used my handy dandy P-touch labeller to label each folder with name, grade and year. Then I organized each folder with papers from each grade. I try to keep these things: report card, special award certificates, leftover school pictures, a few samples of art work and a few samples of handwriting or story writing. I try to the keep the file folder to no more than about 20 pieces of paper at most. If I come across artwork that I know I want to frame, I put it in a special pile for framing later on. {To see the art gallery wall of my children's artwork, click here.}Here are the file folders for each child for the year that just finished:

The file folders are kept in an easily accessible white wooden file box on my desk. I easily pop things into the folders as they come into the house. This system works great and I am really pleased with myself for keeping "with the program". That is the ultimate 'lithmus test' of an organizational project... if you keep up with it!

When the school year is over and nothing more will be added to the files, I move the file folders to each child's special "keepsake box". The boxes are simple, inexpensive plastic totes from the local office supply store. The boxes are letter-sized and cost $11.99 each....which makes them both economical and durable. I keep each school year's folder in the box with other folders from previous years. Each box looks like this:

I am aiming to make sure that each child will have only 1 full tote at the end of Grade 12. That's the goal! What they want to do with their 'keepsake box' when they leave home is up to them. I hope they will appreciate that Mom has taken the time to save some mementos of their school years. And if you are a scrapbooker, well, hot diggity dog, these file folders make scrapbooking a child's school years a breeze. Everything you need to create a layout/layouts can be found in the file folders.

Hopefully, when they move from home, the will only need to rent a trailer for their scrapbooks!

I am linking this post to:

inspired room

Strut Your Stuff Thursday at Somewhat Simple.
Organized Wednesdays at Organize & Decorate Everything.
Show & Share at Just A Girl.
Home & Family Friday @ Home is Where My Story Begins
All Things Domestic @ Crazy Domestic
Motivate Me Monday@ Keeping It Simple

Monday, June 21, 2010

the story of the disconnection of the grade 8 brain....

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Intriguing title, isn't it?

My daughter will want to kill me when she reads this. She won't think this is very funny.

On an ordinary school day, my oldest arrives home around 3pm. My son, although 4 years younger, does not finish school until around 4 pm. So on this particular day, when my daughter arrives home from school, we decide to take our 4 legged little girls for a walk, but we decide to drive to Tyler's school and use his school as our starting point. This makes it easier as when we get back from our walk, as we meet Tyler at his classroom. The 2 children and the 2 dogs pile into the car and we start for home. But Tyler needs new runners, so I decide to make a quick stop at the sports store at the mall. Hunter chooses to sit in the car with the dogs, and I expect to be not more than 20 minutes. Just before I get out of the car, Hunter asks if she can listen to the radio while we are shopping. I leave the radio on for her.

Tyler and I head into the sports store. He is not a big shopper and he quickly narrows down his choices to 2 pairs of runners that he would like to try on. He tries on the first pair and runs around the store to see how they feel. This always cracks me up. Then he tries on the second pair and takes another lap around the store to see how they feel. He decides that he likes the first pair the best and just as as we are boxing up the first pair to go to the walks Hunter.

She announces to me, "I was bored, so I decided to come in. But don't worry Mom, 'cause I locked the dogs in the car."

While I was blissfully unaware, my daughter's grade 8 brain had suddenly disconnected itself.

I hear myself squeak out, "But Hunter, where are the car keys?"

Her blue eyes blink at me. "Huh?"

"Hunter, you wanted to listen to the radio. The keys are in the ignition!!"

Big blue eyes look at me. "Oh." "Ooooooh".

Yes. Ooooooh.

I tell the sales clerk that we will be back to  pay for the runners. I rush out to the car to confirm with my eyes what my brain is telling me. The keys are hanging from the ignition.  And just when I am fighting the brain fog to figure out what to do.... I hear it.

Bawling. Tyler is bawling.

A big, loud fog horn bawl. It echoes across the parking lot.

He is worried that the dogs will die of thirst or starvation before we get them out. His green eyes are puddled with tears. I assure him that the dogs will be fine...we did leave the windows down about 2 inches....plenty for fresh air. But not plenty for an arm to slip through.

My husband is in Cleveland for work. He will not be home for 2 more days.Our extra set of keys are with him. I know that we can call the automobile association to get a tow truck, but sometimes it can take hours. I go into the mall to get 2 wire coat hangers, but I have never tried this trick before. I really don't know what I am doing, but I have long heard stories of how bent coat hangers can save the day. This is the part where my brain disconnects. I try the old trick of trying to get the coat hanger wrapped around the hook thingy for the lock on the door. I really don't know what I was thinking. It doesn't work, of course. I call the car dealership where we get our car serviced and tell them about my predicament. Now, back in my little hometown, they would have sent out a cute back shop boy with a master key to come to your rescue. However, this is the big city....they don't do things like that...they are too busy.


Just when I am weighing my options{Call tow truck. Wait for tow truck. Walk home. Call tow truck from home}, a few parking stalls over, my cute boy does arrive.... in the form of a red Ford truck. He gets out of his truck and asks us, "Did you guys lock yourselves out of your car?".  Before I can even say yes, he is over taking the coat hanger out of my hands. He see the red crying eyes of my nine year old and says, "Don't cry Buddy! We'll get the door open!". I feel instantly grateful to this young man. I can also tell by the look in his eyes that he is determined to get our car open for us. He tells us that he has locked himself out of his car lots of times and he always gets the door open. Great! We are being helped by a cute MacGuyver. After 40 minutes of fiddling, he finally gets enough pressure on the lock button with the coat hanger and we hear the 'click' of the doors unlocking. I have never wanted to hug and kiss a complete stranger so much in my entire life. My children get to see a good samaritan in action.

I thank him profusely for taking the time to help us. I ask him for his mailing address so I can mail him a thank you. We leave, waving to our hero, and start to head home. Suddenly, I have a thought.  I run in quickly to grab a movie gift card for our hero at the grocery store, but by the time we get back to the mall, he is gone. He spent more time helping us than he spent in the mall.

So I mailed the gift card to our hero.

I hope he likes it.

And here's a picture of our pretty little girls when we got home. They don't look any worse for the wear.

Friday, June 18, 2010

a little gift...

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Today is my little guy's last day of school.
We like to give the teacher a little year end gift to say thank you for a great year.
Tyler loved his teacher.
Madame Mariette.
{My children attend French Immersion schools, so their whole day is in speaking and writing in French}
Madame is wonderfully warm and kind-hearted to her students.
She does many 'little' things for making each child a special bag just for their gym clothes.
And  when Tyler's gym bag suffered a big rip, she sewed it back up for him at recess.
"Mom, Madame is so nice!"
was Tyler's comment to me many times this year.

I made up this little package for Madame.
A raspberry lemonade mix.
A 'Thank You' card with a gift card from Chapters.
We hope Madame loves her gift.
She is one of those special people who are truly a gift to her profession.
Bonne Chance Madame!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

ordinary days...

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Nothing special happened today. We didn't go anywhere special or do anything special.
But it was a perfect day nonetheless.
I am always so grateful for ordinary days.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I love lists....

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I found these great monthly checklists on the Style At Home website. I think they are so pretty and I have printed some off to hang on my bulletin board. You can find the complete set of lists here.

Today I am having a spray paint party in my garage. I have lots of picture frames I want to freshen up.

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