Recap: 4 Simple Goals (Before 2013)

December 31, 2012
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 :)


The Calm of Christmas Eve

December 24, 2012
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 :)


Simple DIY: Christmas Card Display

December 21, 2012

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!


Christmas Traditions

December 19, 2012
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?


Simple DIY: A Beaded Necklace

December 14, 2012
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!


Winter Wonders: Handmade Goodies

December 12, 2012
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?


A Toddler's Christmas

December 10, 2012
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.


Holiday DIY: Three Dimensional Winter Scene in a Book

December 07, 2012
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 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

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!


They Will Always Have a Place

December 05, 2012
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?


20 Months...Just Like That

December 03, 2012

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!


On The Sense of an Ending: My First Dog

November 26, 2012
When I came across Ann Patchett's The Sense of an Ending in the September 2012 issue of Vogue, the story immediately tugged at my heart. I introduced you to my first dog, Bailey, at the beginning of October. The reading of Patchett's article spawned the introduction, and I have since put off sharing with you why I told you about Bailey in the first place.

Bailey eying up my ice cream sammich.

Patchett's article in Vogue is about the loss of her dog that she had had for 16 years. It was a difficult article to read because, even though I had not had my dog for quite as long as she did, I had been through the experience of losing one's dog, and I could picture Bailey's face after the life inside her had moved on the entire time I was reading the article. It was very moving, and brought back many memories that I had not thought about in a long time.

It's not that I had never experienced death before. My Grandfather had passed away a few years before we put Bailey to sleep, but I was young and didn't see my Grandfather every day. Yes, I loved him dearly and we had a special bond, but, like all relationships in life, it was a different kind of love and a different kind of bond than I had with my very first dog. I didn't take my Grandfather for walks, or stroke his fur. There was a separation in our lives, but there was never a separation from Bailey.

I liked sharing with her.

What else made it different from the passing of my Grandad is that I had never actually seen anyone die until Bailey. My Grandmother called to inform us that my Grandfather had passed on, but I was there with Bailey. I was right beside her as she took her last breath, and I stayed beside her stroking her soft fur for a few moments afterward. I saw it all in her eyes, and that is what made this article so amazing to read. I knew that Ann Patchett had experienced the same thing that I did, and she freed me from something that I had buried deep inside my heart.


Two Blogs I Love

November 23, 2012
The title says it all. Today I want to share with you two blogs that I love. Both are inspirational to me in two very different ways. I hope that you will check them out, and maybe even find them as wonderful as I do. Happy Friday!

I love Hybrid Handmade. Cari-Jane is an incredibly poetic writer. She writes such lyrical sentences as: "There is a kind of magical thirty minutes just before dusk, when the light renders everything with an insistent intensity.  A fanfare of sorts, before dipping, prematurely it seems, below and away."

She mostly shares the inspirations behind her work -- she has some fascinating inspiration from nature -- but she has recently been sharing more about her life, and how it has been affecting her work -- her family just made a big move. She is such an amazing woman, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her through her blog.

I first heard about Flock & Gather from a friend of my Mother. She told me about this group that puts together handmade markets with artists from the community and surrounding areas. I was intrigued. I had heard about handmade markets through other blogs, and here was one in my own community -- there are others, but they are rather large and you have to pay to get in. I excitedly looked for it online to find out when the next one would be, and discovered their blog.

It has been a great place to find out information about the market, but I have, more importantly, discovered a lot of new artists that I am proud are living near me. Don't worry if you can't attend the Flock & Gather markets, a lot of these artists can be found online too -- I shared some of my treasures from the last market here.


Dear Lush

November 19, 2012
I had been using the same shampoo for about five years. It was a fantastic shampoo that made me feel good about rinsing the ingredients down the drain. They recently changed their formula, and when I began using this newer version of my favourite shampoo, I noticed that my hair was becoming quite greasy after one day. I was not happy. I was frustrated. Here was this shampoo that I had been so loyal to, and they did something so drastically different that I now hated their shampoo.

I discovered Lush Cosmetics a few years ago. I have always had problem skin, and I turned to them for a different kind of facial feeling. I haven't turned back, and, since then, I have been slowly adding more of their products to my arsenal. The most recent is their solid shampoo called Seanik, and their conditioner called Veganese, both of which have never made my hair feel lighter or more amazing. What I love the most about them is the fact that my hair dries on its own faster than it ever has before. I l-o-v-e it!

I also love that my hair feels so soft and it doesn't get static-y like you would think it would being so soft and light. I can go 3-4 days -- yes, I'll admit it -- without washing my hair, and I can travel lighter with this little bar of shampoo. My Monday wish is that everyone would be lucky enough to find hair care products that make them love their hair again.

I hope you had a fantastic weekend, and an even better Monday!

* Just to let you know, I don't work for Lush or anything like that. I was just having issues with my previous hair cleaning products and found new ones that I think are the knees of at least two bees.


Weight Update: What I Have Accomplished

November 16, 2012
It has been almost six months since I began my weight-loss journey, and I am pleased to announce that I now fit in the majority of my pre-pregnancy pants. In all honesty, I am no longer as stickler about what I eat as much as I was during the beginning of this whole process, but I have continued to be aware of the portion sizes that I eat, and rarely go in for seconds.

The Little Boy sneaked in on some photos.

I uploaded a new profile photo on Facebook yesterday, and, as I looked through some of my previous profile photos, I noticed how much weight I have actually lost. It's funny, because I didn't realise what I really looked like. I felt just as thin as I had been before the pregnancy, and it wasn't until I started looking at old photographs that I figured out that I looked a lot larger than I actually felt.

While there are still some days where I struggle with body image, I know that I am much healthier at the 126lbs that I now weigh. I have a little way to go to fit into the last pair of pre-pregnancy pants, but I feel fantastic, and I now have this former body to look back at to remind myself of where I came from and what I have accomplished.

Have a great weekend!


In My Home: The Living Room

November 12, 2012
I have introduced you to my son's room -- first here, and then again here -- but that is the only room in the house that I have shown you so far. Well, I buckled down on Saturday and cleaned up our living room just for you to see what it looks like -- I'm sorry, but I'm not going to let you see it all messy. It was good, too, because it hadn't had a good cleaning in a while -- priorities...right?

I love our living room. It has vaulted ceilings, and pretend wood floors. It was the first room that I painted when we moved in to this house, and it is the room that invites you into our home. I try my best to keep it clean -- for the most part -- because it is where our guests congregate.

The first thing you see when you walk through the door is the sofa and the love seat, as well as a painting that I made for the last house that we lived in. There is a big bare spot above the sofa that I need to take care of, and it wasn't until recently that I figured out what to do -- don't worry, I'll be sharing that later.

Blue is my absolute favourite colour -- don't worry, my husband likes it too -- so I painted a feature wall in a beautiful Tiffany Blue. There's no way that I am ever going to climb up to paint all of these walls. We are going to have to hire a professional painter when that time comes.

Our living room leads into our kitchen -- which is currently filled will the junk that I cleaned out of the living room. This is the view of the living room from the hallway. As you can see, we are one of those families that has a television in our living room. I'm not ashamed of it. It is an essential part of my every day living. This is my favourite view of the living room.

My favourite area of the living room is a vignette that I have created with a wicker chair that I picked up from Pier 1 many years ago, and a bookcase that holds some of my favourite books, all of our CDs, as well as some art and some photos of us and our family -- along with a few little nick-knacks. This is where the dog lays and waits for us to come home.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our living room. It was a pleasure cleaning it up for you. Happy Monday :)


On Being Self-Sufficient

November 09, 2012
My cousin works overseas teaching English, and she is currently doing some materials development for the college that she works at. The unit that she is currently working on is on being self-sufficient and she thought about my shop on Etsy. She contacted me wondering if she could do a written interview with me about my shop. She asked me some excellent questions, and I thought I would share them with you.

If you already own a shop, then maybe you'll agree with some of what I've said, and if you're thinking about opening up a shop, maybe it'll give you an idea of what goes into a business. I didn't go into any deep conversations or anything, but I think I sound pretty smart:

1. What is your online shop? Can you describe it briefly. (When did you start? What do you sell? etc)

I sell small cards and art prints that draw myself, scan into my computer, and print out on high quality paper with a good printer. My shop is part of a handmade marketplace called Etsy. It's like going to a market where you can find all kinds of items, but they are all individual shops, they just use the market to draw larger crowds to their shop rather than standing on their own. I started selling art prints and photographs in March 2011, and soon expanded to include cards. I have since discontinued selling photographs. Part of owning your own shop is experimenting and recognising what sells and what doesn't.

 One of the photographs that I used to sell, but didn't sell.

2. What made you decide to open your shop? Why did you start?  

I had stumbled upon Etsy in January 2011, and immediately fell in love with it. There were so many amazing artists all around the world that were suddenly at my fingertips -- through the internet -- and I started buying art, toys, and jewellery through the shops that I found on Etsy. After a while, I thought, "Hey, I think I'd like to open up a shop to sell my artwork," and it took off from there. I had no idea what I was getting in to.

3. What were some challenges you had? What was easy?

There are so many challenges when starting a business. I had no idea how hard it would be for people to find me. Even though I was part of this marketplace that brought people to me, I still had to work hard to bring people to my shop specifically. I began using Twitter and started a Facebook Page. I also started a blog and began networking with other blogs. I advertised, and did giveaways to draw people towards my shop. It has been such a huge learning curve, and I really didn't expect it. I honestly haven't found anything easy about owning my own business.

 One of the advertisements that I've used.

4. You are pretty successful now (congrats on being in that magazine). What would you attribute your success to?

Haha! Thank you for thinking that I'm pretty successful. Yes, I am doing a lot better that I was in the beginning, but I still have such a long way to go, and a lot of business owners don't ever feel successful. There are always goals to be attained, and new items to be created. I would attribute the successes that I have had so far to the work that I have put into my shop. I work on it every day, and I always have a schedule and goals to work on. I have never had the attitude of, "Oh, I'll work on that later," or "I give up," because I'm the only one that's working on it. I've got to keep plugging away at everything even if I don't make a sale everyday because I need to look toward a day that I will sell something and I need to be prepared.

5. What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?

Be prepared for a lot of work, and that you won't be a superstar over night. Of course some people are successful within months after starting a business, but most people have worked for years to build up their credibility and make a business that people can trust: a business that is good to their customers and sells quality products.

Have an amazing weekend!


Mason Jar DIY: The Piggy Bank

November 07, 2012

At the beginning of the year, I found these three mason jars at the local Value Village. It was my goal to make a piggy bank for my son that he could use to keep his money in in the years to come -- I keep my money in a mason jar as well. What I will do with the other two jars, I do not yet know...stay tuned!

I started off taping around the jar with painters tape wherever I wanted to create a strip of paint. I chose Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Acrylic Craft Paint in Beach Glass -- the green -- and Pond -- the blue. I also created a chalkboard section with Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Chalkboard Acrylic Craft Paint in Gray.

I created the chalkboard section to be able to write my son's name or how much money is currently in the jar -- the choice is really up to him, and it's something fun. After all the paint dried, I used a white paint pen -- I know not the brand -- to create the line and dot designs around the jar. I thought this might add a touch of whimsy to the jar.

I thought it turned out quite well, and it's nice that you can still see into the jar. It's fun to see how much money you have collected so far.

I hope you are having a fantastic week. Happy Wednesday to you!


Have You Discovered Paper?

November 05, 2012
I am so excited to be able to announce to you that a couple of my creations are in this year's Discover Paper 2012 Holiday Guide. I am also very honoured to have my items among such amazing artists that have devoted their lives to paper. After looking through the Holiday Guide twice already -- the first time was quickly so that I could find where my own work was -- I have some good ideas for more Christmas gifts, and a greater respect for what can really be done with paper.

 My Jingle All the Way Christmas card is included in the Holiday Guide -- it's on page 38.

There are so many artists that I was excited to find included in the Holiday Guide. Artists that I look up to, and admire their work -- Sweet Harvey, Imeon Design, and Yellow Bird, Yellow Beard -- and artists that I am excited to have just discovered. I really can't describe the level of artistic workmanship in this year's Holiday Guide, except to say that you will find so many lovely cards, holiday decorations, wrapping paper and tags, calendars, stationery sets, art prints, three-dimensional artwork, and paper toys that will surely fill all your gift-giving needs -- and beyond.

The 2012 Holiday Guide also includes some fantastic DIY projects for you to do this holiday season. One of the projects that was included is a DIY that I made up a few weeks ago -- I don't know if you remember me sharing a few little teasers on my Facebook Page and on Twitter. I am so proud of this project, and hope that you will check it out on page 100 of the Holiday Guide. I'll also be sharing the DIY here on the blog later on this month.

Happy shopping!


3 Under-Rated Movies

November 02, 2012
My husband and I thoroughly enjoy watching movies, and I just wanted to share with you three movies that, I think, did not get the attention that they deserved from the box office:

1. Morning Glory - This movie is funny, witty, sad, happy, and every thing in between. It is one of the best performances that I have ever seen out of Rachel McAdams, and it showed a different side of Harrison Ford that I really enjoyed and wished that he would show more often. This film is, by far, one of the best ones that I have seen in the last few years.

2. Extraordinary Measures - Is it strange that I have chosen two films that star Harrison Ford? Perhaps. But it's not strange that I chose this movie. It's the first movie that Brenden Fraser has done in a long time that I have actually been interested in seeing, and it is one of those films that has you hoping and praying for that happy ending. It may seem to drag a bit at times, but the story is quite endearing and the characters are so very likeable -- even grumpy Harrison Ford.

3. Just Go With It - I didn't want to see this movie because I am not the biggest Jennifer Aniston fan, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it, found Aniston to be quite enjoyable in her role, and -- because of this film -- I laughed when I saw Dolph Lundgren in The Expendables 2. The kids did a fantastic job in their roles, and the other characters were sometimes a lot funnier than Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler -- don't get me started on Dave Matthews. I don't know how many times I have watched this film since the first time, but, I'll tell you, I feel like watching it right now.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend, and maybe you'll consider watching one of these movies! Peace and love to you.

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