December 31, 2012

Recap: 4 Simple Goals (Before 2013)

Back at the beginning of October, I shared with you four simple goals that I wanted to complete before 2013. The day has finally arrived for me to reveal to you whether or not I did what I had set out to do. The goal was to focus more on the positive actions than the end result, and I was supposed to choose things that might not get done, but were simple enough to accomplish.

My first goal was a hefty one, and one that I have not completed in its entirety. But, I am pleased to say that I am on the right track. The first part was to paint, and that is over with. Now I just have a few other design things that I plan on doing, and more art that I plan on hanging up -- I just have yet to buy everything on my list. I will definitely share the end result with you!


You can tell that I have made some changes to the room since we have moved in. The first thing was the headboard and the art, but, since then, I had done nothing else. Now that the painting is done, it should be smooth sailing from now on :)



My second goal was to create a new painting. It had been a very long time since I had painted. Since my shop is focused on drawing that is what my attention has been on for the past year and a half. Before I sat down earlier this month, it had been almost two years since I had done a painting. It felt great to squeeze the paint out of the tube and mix the colours. I had a couple of little bumps in the road with scale -- I decided to start small and paint a 4"x4" canvas -- but I figured it out.



My inspiration was a photograph that I took while my husband, son, and I were driving down the highway on a particularly frosty morning. I have always loved those kind of days. This painting will actually be one of the pieces of art that will soon be hanging in our newly decorated bedroom.

My third goal is one of the more difficult ones, and one that I have not been practicing regularly. I am continuing to try my best to say something positive to someone every day, and I will continue to try every day for the rest of my life.

My fourth goal has been accomplished several times since I first made it. I am very proud to say that I have tried a few different recipes -- some good, and some not so good. My favourite so far comes from the cookbook More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'Dea. This book really is genius, and I haven't been disappointed with the recipes that I have made from it so far, but the recipe I love most is for the Dry Rub Ribs. They've got some kick to them, but boy are they delicious!


And there you have it! Would I say that I completed my four simple goals before 2013? Yes and no. It's a 50/50 split down the middle, but it's tricky because I know that one of my goals is something that I will have to work on for the rest of my life. I'm glad that this little exercise has taught me to think outside of my box. I really do feel like my life is a little bit richer from these experiences.



Happy New Year to you! Enjoy your festivities, whatever they may be, and stay safe tonight :)





December 24, 2012

The Calm of Christmas Eve

Northern hemisphere, southern early evening sky

Amid the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas and the actual celebration of Christmas, there is a moment -- a single moment -- when I feel peace in my heart. I usually find that it is while driving home from Christmas Eve celebrations. I look up at the stars and feel this amazing sense of calm.



Merry Christmas to you and yours! Enjoy the celebrations :)




December 21, 2012

Simple DIY: Christmas Card Display


I Used:

Martha Stewart Desert Glitter Set -- it comes with the glue that I used
Mini Clothes Pins 



It's simple enough. I spread the glue evenly over the clothes pin until with my finger so that it was smooth. Then I tapped the top of the glitter bottle with my finger so that a dusting of the sparkly stuff would be spread over the glue.



I did each colour individually so that I could put the unused glitter back into the bottle after I was done, and not end up wasting a bunch of it as it is my precious.



I am using them to display our Christmas cards. I made 10 of them, and I actually need to make more! Can you believe that? Yay for the movement back to sending holiday greetings! What have you done to display your Christmas cards? Do you send out Christmas cards?



Have a fantastic last weekend preparing for this special day. Enjoy the merriment!




December 19, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Have you ever stopped to think about or wonder why you do a specific tradition during Christmastime -- or any time for that matter? It is a curiosity where our traditions really come from.

I remember having a discussion with someone once about how our lives are filled with traditions. They are what make us do the things that we do; he called them our ghosts. They are the little values and traditions that our parents taught us, but we don't exactly know why we think or do them. It could be something as simple as the way you make spaghetti, or something as deep as why you think children should be quiet while waiting in line at the grocery store. He gave me a good example:



A girl he knew that would cut off the top part of a ham before placing it in the oven to cook. When he asked her why she did it, she really had no idea why: "That's the way my mother always did it," she said, "and that's why I do it." He encouraged her to ask her mother why she always cut the top off of the ham before putting it in the oven: "That's what my mother always did, so that is what I do," said her mother. So he encouraged her to ask her grandmother why she cut the top off the ham before cooking it: "The ham never fit properly in the pan, so I would cut off the top before I put it in the oven so that the lid could cover it," said the grandmother.



Simple enough reasoning, isn't it? Some of my Christmas traditions I know have a reason behind them, and others I'm sure I would have to ask just why we do them. Perhaps my mother would know the answer, and maybe my grandmother would know the answer, and maybe nobody would know the answer. We do what we do simply because it is what we have always done.



My family doesn't start listening to Christmas music until the 19th of November. It is my grandfather's birthday, and it has turned into a tradition for remembering that day. It is simply so he is always on our minds at this time of year.

We also decorate our Christmas tree on the first Sunday of December -- in celebration of the beginning of Advent -- and it is a tradition that I have continued on. I didn't continue the tradition this year so that my little boy would have less time disturbing the ornaments on the tree. It has since proven to be a wise decision.

Another tradition that my family has is that my mom would give me and my sister an ornament each year. It could be one that she has made, or one that she has bought that she found particularly special. The little bear in the photo above is an ornament that she made for me many moons ago. I have since begun this tradition with my son. The little penguin in the middle photo above is one of the ornaments that I bought him this year. I also have the tradition of buying myself a beautiful ornament from Pier 1 each year. The ball ornaments in the top photo are some from years past.



The beauty of traditions is that they can be built upon, altered, or broken at any time. There is no need to be stuck, unless you want to be. What are some of your Christmas traditions?




December 14, 2012

Simple DIY: A Beaded Necklace

I bought most of our Christmas gifts this year. Some are from stores -- either local or not so local -- and some are handmade -- again, from local and not so local -- but I also made a few Christmas gifts this year. I want to share with you one of the gifts that I have made in the hopes that maybe it will inspire you to make some gifts this year as well, maybe even this necklace.

I Used:
5 large wooden beads
4 small blue beads
6 small green beads
24 gauge wire
silver chain
a lobster clasp


First, I laid out my pattern to figure out what colours and sizes of beads that I wanted to use, and exactly how I wanted them to be positioned on the necklace. Then I thread them onto a wire on which I had previously made a loop at the end.



After the beads were thread onto the wire, and the loops were made at each end, I measured out the length of the chain -- which can be any length you wish. I went with 14". The necklace, including the beads, is a total of 20", but, because the wire is mouldable, it doesn't seem that long. I then found the middle, and attached the lobster clasp.





I hope you have a fantastic Friday, and a happy weekend!




December 12, 2012

Winter Wonders: Handmade Goodies

On Saturday, I went to the Flock and Gather Winter Wonders Handmade Market. It was absolutely fantastic! I found so many goodies for myself -- and for others. I just wanted to share with you some of my finds, and the fantastic shops that made them.



One of my last discoveries was Plant. I fell in love immediately. I had always wanted an air plant in a terrarium, but could only find shops from the United States -- and customs does not allow plants across the boarder. I snapped this guy up at the end of my shopping -- so as not to disturb the beautiful presentation while walking around.



Orrnamentation sells beautiful ceramic ornaments with designs pressed into -- and painted on -- the ornaments. They are simple, and they are beautiful. This star ornament was my first purchase of the day, and it now has a place of honour on my Christmas tree.



I snapped up the BBQing shark from Shauna Buck -- I've bought her stuff before -- and the sweet little puppy button -- that I bought for my little boy -- is from Ookie Ookie. Awesome, I know :)



Lastly, I bought another cup from Carole Epp for my little guy. I had bought one before, but it has since gone missing. I was so upset that I couldn't wait for the Winter Flock and Gather to pick up another one. You want to know something amazing? She remembered me from earlier this year. That's some good business right there!



Have you been to any handmade markets this Winter? What goodies have you found?




December 10, 2012

A Toddler's Christmas

I love shopping for my little boy. Christmas and his birthday are my favourite times of the year because I get to finally buy him the toys and goodies that I've had my eye on throughout the year. It can be hard to keep myself in control. I just wanted to share with you several items that I've been looking at recently in hopes that they will give you some ideas of what to get your special little person this Christmas.








December 07, 2012

Holiday DIY: Three Dimensional Winter Scene in a Book

I mentioned this project a little while ago when I announced that one of my cards, and this exact DIY are in Discover Paper's 2012 Holiday Guide, but I wanted to share it with you here on the blog -- maybe you just haven't had the time to look through the Holiday Guide yet...you really should.

In the meantime, here's how I made my winter scene in an old book.



I Used:
Martha Stewart White Gold Glitter
Martha Stewart Florentine Gold Glitter
Martha Stewart Glue Writing Pen
Fiskars Acid-Free Photo Stickers
Elmer's Clear School Glue
24 Gage Wire
Old German version of Heidi
Scraps of scrap-booking paper
Exact o-Knife
Scissors


 
1. Prepare to hollow out the first 70ish pages of the book -- so about half way through, depending on the size of the book. Measure one inch from each side of the very first page and then dig in with your Exact-o-Knife until you reach the page where you wish to stop. Use the scissors to even out the pages, and trim any sides that are unequal. The first page acts as the frame, and you don't want any other pages sticking out from behind it.

2. Add glitter dots, with the glue pen and White Gold Glitter, to a piece of vellum that you will be attaching with the photo squares to one of the last few pages that you carved out of the book. This is to make it look like the snow is lightly falling.



3. To add the snow hills that are behind the tree, tear pieces of white paper -- this is to get a more light and fluffy effect, not the rigid look you would get from pieces of paper that are cut with scissors. These pieces can be attached to pages near the front of the book, but don't add them all to the same page. Add the pieces of snow every few pages or so to give it a more layered look.

4. Measured the length of the paper that you will need for the big pine tree, and trace out the shape with a pencil. Cut the tree out and add the Florentine Gold Glitter to the edges with the glue pen, and then attached it a couple of pages back from the first piece of snow so that it looks like it had a pile of snow in front of it.



5. Draw and cut out the three smaller trees that are in the background and attach them to the very top of a scrap piece of paper -- cut into the paper a little bit around the trees so that the scrap paper cannot be seen once the three trees are stuck in the book. Attach them several pages behind the last piece of snow to make it look like they are off in the distance.

6. Cut and shape -- with a wave and a little curl -- the two pieces of 24 Gage wire that you are going to use for hanging the stars in the sky -- you could easily use thread or fishing line, as well.



7. Free-hand cut out two little stars and attach them to the wire with a small dot of clear school glue. Once they are dry, flip them over -- so the star is now facing you -- and attach them to a scrap piece of paper that you have cut into a square -- again, use a small dot of clear school glue. When that is dry, use the square of scrap paper to attach the stars to two different pages that are close to the back, near the piece of vellum paper -- so you continue to have the layered look.

8. Once you have all of the scene put together, close the book and glue all of the pages together with the clear school glue. Put a weight on top of the book to make sure the pressure is even on all sides of the book, and spread the glue around the edges of the book with your finger. Make sure you get as much glue on the edges as you can without it dripping all over the place. Also, make sure that you don't glue the front cover down. Let it dry, and voila! A book with a 3D winter scene.





I hope you've had a fantastic week! Happy weekend!




December 05, 2012

They Will Always Have a Place

I don't have my Christmas Tree up yet out of fear that the child will touch absolutely everything on the tree. I will be setting the tree up this coming Sunday, but I decided to put a little bit of the Christmas decorations out this past weekend. It is December, after all!

I have found that I am putting less and less Christmas decorations out each year. I don't really know why -- probably because I am constantly paring down everything during the regular part of the year -- but there are a few decorations that I'll always love, and will always have a place on my bookshelf at Christmastime.



This beautiful sculpture of the manger scene was a Christmas gift to me from my husband's grandmother during my very first Christmas with them as part of their family. I love the colours and its simple beauty, and actually like it a lot more than a creche.



This snowman has been with me for many moons. When I first started decorating my room in my parents' house at Christmastime, I bought this little fellow to start my collection of snowmen. He is now one of the only snowmen from the collection that sees the light of day. Also, the collection never got very big.



As a wedding gift, a family that my husband grew-up with sent us a massive box filled with Christmas decorations and and Advent wreath -- the mother of the family is an incredibly crafty lady. This set of old books wrapped in a beautiful ribbon and topped with an arrangement of poinsettias, evergreens, and pine cones, is my favourite. The massive box is now the home to several of our other Christmas decorations, as well.



I bought this golden fellow during mine and my husband's first Christmas together. He has always had a home on our stereo, but has moved to the top of the bookshelf this year because I know he would be moving around the house quite a bit -- with the help of the child.



Have you put up many of your Christmas decorations? What is one of your favourites?




December 03, 2012

20 Months...Just Like That


This little fellow is 20 months old  -- that's 1 yr and 8 months -- as of this past Saturday. He is getting over a cold, as am I -- which explains a lack of posts last week.

He currently loves eating blueberries and Christmas oranges, and posing for photos and then running towards me to look at the photo on the camera. He has several words, and has started making small two word sentences. He enjoys watching the Toy Story movies and often talks about Woody and Buzz. Dancing to all sorts of music, singing little songs, playing chasing games, and pushing toys and other objects around the house are his favourite past-times. I can't wait to see what the next two months will bring!


I hope you had a fantastic weekend. Happy Monday!




 photo s_03.jpg  photo s_04.jpg  photo s_05.jpg  photo s_06.jpg  photo s_09.jpg