July Adventures: A Recap

July 30, 2012
I can't believe that July has passed by so quickly, but I'm really excited about all of the fun adventures I have had, and still plan to have this Summer. I want to share with you a little recap of what this Summer has been like so far.

On July 1, we celebrated Canada Day by dressing in red -- well, my little guy wore red clothes, I only own red earrings.

July saw Little Boy decide that he would now go down the slide at the nearby park all by himself. He only needs help from Mom or Dad when he goes to sit down.

July also saw my husband and I celebrate our 8th anniversary of marriage. I shared two blog posts about our big day: Part 1 and Part 2, and a blog post about four things that I have learned about marriage -- or relationships in general.

In mid-July, I took a couple of days off from work, and planned on taking Little Boy to an outdoor pool for the first time -- it was the first thing to do on my Summer List. We had so much fun, and I plan on taking him back again when I have holidays in August, but this time we'll take Dad along too.

My husband and I also attended the wedding of a good friend of mine this month. I had so much fun making these special mugs for her and her new husband. You know that anyone that loves Coca-Cola is a good friend of mine :)

And lastly, July saw me lose 6lbs! I can't believe what a difference the loss of those 6lbs has made in my body. I am now able to fit into a lot of pre-pregnancy clothes, and am so close to fitting into the smallest of my pre-pregnancy pants. Here's to losing six more pounds in August!

What stands out for you in your July?


Three Blogs You Should Visit

July 27, 2012
I want to share with you three blogs that I'm really enjoying right now. I love the way that they write, and believe that they don't have near the following that they deserve.

Meg, from the blog Meg + Andy, shares the coolest projects and has the coolest shop where she sells the most lovely handmade dolls. What draws me in to Meg + Andy? It's the way she writes her blog. She sucks you in to each story, and the photographs are amazing. She is so candid in the way that she talks about her children and her husband -- Handy Andy. I love it! She doesn't write very often, but, when she does, it's always worth reading.

Color Me Redhead is the blog that is filled with the thoughts and ideas of Sarah-Lambert. Not only does she share items and ideas that she has for her shop, but she also has some really thought-provoking discussions on her blog. She is a military wife, and recently made a big move to the coast. I have really enjoyed seeing how her move has inspired her, and given her new ideas for her shop.

I just recently discovered JT and The Sea, and fell instantly in love with it. Like the other two blogs, Jennifer has a way with words that make you want to read more, and her -- and her husband's -- photography is out of this world. She recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, and I've loved reading all of her latest posts about him and how their lives have changed. She is such an inspiration.

Please, check them out, and have a fantastic weekend :)


Two Apples, Some Cinnamon, and My Mouth

July 25, 2012
We often take the kids at work to the local library so they can choose books to take back to the centre. On one of out most recent trips, we picked up a book about apples called Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington.

In the book, you learn about all of the different kinds of apples that Annie has in her orchard, and all of the goodies that she makes to sell at a market in New York City. It's a pretty fun book, but the best part is that at the end of the story, you will find recipes for apple sauce, apple muffins, and apple sauce cake.

I recently made the apple muffins, and thought that they were most delicious, and wanted to share the recipe with you. The recipe makes about one dozen muffins.

You will need:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped apples

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

First, I peeled and chopped all of my apples so that they were ready to go. Then, in one bowl, I creamed together the sugar and the butter. I added the egg, beat it well, and then I stirred in the milk.

In another bowl, I combined all of the dry ingredients -- flour, salt, baking powder, and spices -- and mixed them together. I added the egg mixture to the flour mixture and blended it just until it was moistened.

After all that was done, I gentled stirred in the apples -- or, as I like to say, folded in the apples.

I greased up the muffin tin, and filled it up with the muffin batter. It smells just like apple pie.

After the batter was in the muffin tin, I mixed up the topping -- brown sugar and cinnamon -- and sprinkled it on top of each muffin. Then I put it in a 400 Fahrenheit oven for about 22 minutes. This is where the recipe could use a little tweaking. I would either put the muffins in at a lower heat, or let them cook for less time. They were not as moist as I would have liked them to be. Remember that every oven is different, and you know what will work best.

Other than that, the muffins made the most delicious breakfast for the next week or so, and tasted so yummy when warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds.

Hope you'll try them out!


Show Some Confidence

July 23, 2012
I did a boudoir photo shoot for a friend of mine this weekend. It was amazing to see her transform through the hours that I was with her from this shy girl into a confident woman. It really got me thinking about how we cover ourselves up, cloaking ourselves with make-up and other defence mechanisms.

So, I want to expose myself to you, and show you what I look like without make-up, and with make-up. It's so amazing what a difference make-up can make not only to what we physically feel, but how we feel emotionally as well. Like most people, make-up makes me feel more confident, and secure, but I want to reveal my true self to you, and show you that I can be a confident woman without my make-up, too.

Will you join me in showing the world that we don't need to hide behind make-up, fancy clothes, or other defence mechanisms? Share something you would like to expose about yourself on your blog, and post a link here in the comment section.

Let's show our confidence :)

Grab a button


Weight Update: Body Image

July 20, 2012
I have come a long way since my last weight update more than one month ago. I was 140lbs the last time I talked to you about my weight loss journey, and now I weigh 134lbs. I have been amazed at how my body has changed, and that's what I want to talk about with you today.

Even when I was a young girl in high school, I always thought I looked fat -- I was far from it at 5'2" and less than 100lbs -- and that, obviously, negatively affected my body image. We all know how hard it is on a girl -- no matter what size she is -- to be bombarded with magazines, and other forms of media, that are stuffed full of skinny girls that are 6'2" and 110lbs.

I'm wearing a pair of pre-pregnancy pants!

But  now that I have been over-weight, and had to do some work to get back to the body that I had pre-pregnancy -- which I honestly never thought would happen -- I have a greater love for my body, and a better understanding of how thin I really am:

- I always thought I had big -- or athletic -- calves, but they are so small!

- I thought my hips were big, but they are perfect for my body!

- I thought my belly was full of fat, but it looks like an Olympian's six pack -- okay, that is an exaggeration.

After having my son, I would look at old photographs of myself, and I realised how small I was. Here I thought that I had always been fat, and now, actually being over-weight, I was looking at what I once had and thought to myself "How stupid was I to think that I was fat?" I mean, I had a fantastic body, and I never appreciated it for what it was.

I have waited for a year to be able to wear this shirt!

As I am slowly making my way back to what I once was, I'm falling in love with a body that I should have always loved. The only thing that makes me sad is the fact that I had to become over-weight in order to do that.

Have a fantastic Friday!


For the Bride and Groom

July 18, 2012
My husband and I went to the wedding of a good friend of mine this past weekend. I decided to do a little project as part of their wedding gift. I found the His + Hers Sharpie Mug DIY on the lovely blog A Beautiful Mess, about a month ago, and thought that it would be a fun project to do some time. This wedding was a perfect reason to try it out!

I drew out what I wanted to put on the mugs over and over again in my sketchbook so that I wasn't just drawing willy-nilly on the mugs -- I was too afraid of messing up. I didn't try washing them like Elsie did, but I did slip a little note in with one of the mugs explaining how they were made and that they should be hand-wash only.

I also framed this little art print -- Love Grows -- in a simple black frame, and we also gave them a gift card to The Bay so that they could pick out anything that they had their eyes on on their gift registry.

To finish it all off, I wrote a personal note to the couple thanking them for inviting us to share in celebrating such a special day in the Wedding Equation card that I just recently put in the shop.

Have you been to any weddings yet this Summer -- or this year?


Studio: A Little Peek

July 16, 2012
Haha! Do you like how I called it my "studio"? Far from it! It's an office that I share with my husband, but I thought I'd give you a little look at one of my work spaces. This is where I package the items that have been purchased, and get them ready to be sent on their way.

I found the little cabinet/cubby at HomeSense a little while ago, and fell in love with the rustic, country feel that it has. It seems very unfinished and rough, and I love that.

In each of the little cubbies, I have items that either decorate, go in/on, or close the packaging. From left to right: My business cards in a nice little black box; Scotch tape -- which is essential; the stamp pad and stamp that I use on all the card envelopes and mini folders that protect the art prints; a small card with my logo and business name on it that I use to write personal notes to each customer.

My left-handed scissors. They are my trusty side-kick, and take care of everything from cutting paper to ribbon.

My handy-dandy paper cutter that I use for doing all the fine trimming of art prints, and the little cards that I use to write the notes to customers. The fine art photo can be found at the lovely shop Anna Delores Photography.

Hope you're having a Happy Monday!


The Summer List

July 13, 2012
I found the most fantastic idea for Summer at the wonderful blog Meg + Andy back in June. It's called a Summer List. You make a list of all the fun activities and adventures that you'd like to have during the Summer, and check them off as you go.

Meg + Andy made a list of about 15 things that they'd like to do throughout the Summer with the help of their children. My little guy can only tell me when he wants to go outside, so I took the liberty of making up a list for us. It only has five activities.

Yesterday, we did the very first activity on the list. I took my little guy swimming in an outdoor pool for the first time, and we had so much fun! He loved splashing and jumping in the water, climbing up and down the steps and in and out of the water, and going for rides on the foam mat.

Although it's been marked off the list, we'll definitely be doing it again.

What's on your Summer List this year?


My Attempt at Batik

July 11, 2012
I mentioned to a friend of mine that is a teacher that I was looking for some fun art projects to do with the kids at work. She mentioned that she does art projects from That Artist Woman with her class, and the next day I went to check her out. I tried out her glue batik -- what's batik? -- art project to do with the kids. Obviously, some things she does are too old for the age group of the children I work with, but she has such fantastic ideas!

There are several parts to this project. The first part uses washable glue -- preferably of the clear or blue variety -- and cotton fabric.

Make a pattern -- or anything you like, really -- on the fabric with the glue, and let it dry. This would be Day 1 of the project with my kids at work.

Part two of the project requires you to paint the fabric over the glue. Regular acrylic paint works perfectly fine, so there's no need to go out and purchase special fabric paint.

This is the part that I messed up. I just painted the fabric with the paint straight from the bottle, but it is best to water it down so that it goes on the fabric more like a dye, and it doesn't make the fabric all stiff. Also, I had no wax paper, so I had to use aluminum foil -- the fabric came off of it quite easily though.

Day Three -- or part three -- of the project is where you submerge the entire piece of fabric in water to get all of the glue off. As you can see, the glue is clearly washable -- but the paint is not. I did have to kind of scrape at the glue with my finger nails, but it came off with virtually no problems at all.

Once the fabric is dry -- so part four of the project -- you can do whatever you like with it. That Artist Woman made them into pillows and windsocks. My fabric was too stiff to make a pillow -- because I didn't water down the paint -- so I made a windsock instead. I folded the top of the fabric over a piece of string and glued it down -- I had a variety of items...like a hammer...holding it in place while it was drying.

The end product is a lovely windsock that I must remember not to leave outside because, as I have learned, the glue really is water soluble :)


4 Things I Have Learned About Marriage

July 09, 2012
I want to share with you four things that I have learned about marriage -- and all relationships, really -- in my eight years of being married, and was hoping that you might have some fun tips to share as well :)

1. Communication really is key: My husband and I talk about anything and everything. Our conversations have varied from sex and money to our first crushes in school. I love sitting down with him at the end of the day and seeing where our conversations take us. But communication is not limited to having a good conversation, it's important to let your partner know things and not keep them in the dark all the time, too.

2. You don't have to do everything together: This one took me a couple of years to figure out. I would get upset when my husband wouldn't want to do something with me, or if he would go off and do something without me. Then one day, it hit me, that I don't need to do absolutely everything with him. Yes, we need to be friends and all that jazz, but even friends can't spend every waking moment together.

3. Date Night is important: Even before we had our son, my husband and I would make a point of going to a movie or out for dinner with each other, and sometimes we would even take a walk by the river. Now that we have had our child, we try even harder to get out of the house, just the two of us, at least once a month.

4. Keep an open mind: Don't be afraid to try new things. There may be something that your spouse enjoys, but you never thought you would...until you tried it. It doesn't just apply to that, though: try something new as a couple; keep an open mind while talking to each other; don't push away the idea of getting help if it is needed. Obviously there will be some things you are unwilling to try, but listen to your partner instead of shooting an idea down immediately.

What have you learned about marriage -- or relationships -- so far?


The Big Day: Part Two

July 06, 2012
In Part One of The Big Day series, I shared photos from getting ready and the ceremony. In Part Two, I am sharing candid photos from the professional photo shoot and the reception with you. Our reception was a simple afternoon tea. We had no dance, and everything was over by 6pm. It was so nice to be able to go to our hotel room before 2am -- although we were still exhausted for the next two weeks.

Sitting Pretty: When my husband and I got married, I was still in university, and there was one building that I was absolutely in love with -- the architecture is amazing! I insisted that we have our professional photographs taken in front of, and around, this specific building. It was such a beautiful day to be outside.

With This Ring: You may have already read the story behind my engagement ring, but for those who haven't, I found the most beautiful sapphire setting in a flyer one day and that same day, my husband went and snatched it up! My husband wanted a simple gold wedding band, but I had it engraved with "L loves L".

Piece of Cake: Our wedding cake was made by a good family friend that makes the most amazing baked goods. She used real flowers to decorated it, and even tucked a little four-leaf clover that she had found in her clover patch that morning amongst all the other greenery -- it made it that much more special.

Kissie, Kissie: To make us kiss, our guests had to either answer a trivia question, or sing a song with the word "love" in it. Little did we know, there are a lot of songs with love in them :)

Cuuut!: We had an afternoon tea for our guests that was filled with goodies, so there ended up being a lot of cake left over, but we didn't mind eating it for desert over the next few months. Haha!

Careful Now: Surprisingly, my husband did not smoosh cake in my face, and I was kind enough to return the favour.

Find Part One here.


The Big Day: Part One

July 04, 2012
My anniversary isn't until next Tuesday, but I wanted to do a little series of photos from my special day to share with you. Here are a couple from me getting ready all the way to the official kiss, and I'll be sharing candid photos from the photo session as well as photos from the reception with you on Friday. Enjoy :)

Getting My Hair Did: I had a hair trial a couple of weeks before the big day, and my hairdresser told my mom and I that we should detach my veil from the comb and sew on some Velcro so that it could be taken off the comb at the reception. That way, I wouldn't have to leave it in -- because, let's face it, it feels like it's going to be ripped off your head while people are hugging you -- and I wouldn't have to take the comb out and ruin my up-do. She arranged for a few pieces of hair to be hanging out in that area so that we could place them over the comb, and no one would be the wiser. Pure genius!

My Daddy's Boutonniere: this is one of my absolutely favourite photographs from the big day :)

The Ladies have Arrived: Taking a quick photo outside the church just after the ladies arrived in a purple Grand Am convertible -- my parents and I arrived in a purple Trans Am convertible, courtesy of my pianist and her husband.

The Last Walk: making my way down the aisle with my parents to Camille Saint Saens The Swan -- I absolutely love that piece -- I didn't think I would cry, but as I went to hug my Dad when we reached the end of the walk, the tears came flowing down.

Husband and Wife: making our way back up the aisle to sign the register and have our first real kiss as husband and wife :)

The Kiss: enough said.

Find Part Two here.

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