Monday, January 31, 2011
I've been pretty busy again since last week, since I started working part-time again (thank goodness I can take the kids with me :) ,and with my school books on the way, I'm about to get busier. But don't worry, I don't plan on abandoning this blog, I just might not have time to post 5 times a week. But until then, I'm trying to enjoy my last few "quiet moments" crafting as much as I can.
So when I was asked last week if I could do a tutorial on how to make my Valentine felt decorations, I thought this was a great idea! Now, let's get to it, shall we?
1. Here is my trick for when I don't feel comfortable free handing my shape. You can draw in directly on your felt with a sharpie, but since I'm using a cookie cutter I drew it on paper then secured it to the felt before cutting.
2. You will need 2 shapes for each ornament you make.
3. Then decide on your decorations for the top. You can add smaller felt shapes, buttons, embroider details, whatever you choose. Sky is the limit!
Position where you think you will like them before attaching.
4. Start with stitching or attaching your "decorations" to the top heart. You can match your thread to the heart colour, but you can also use a different one for a pop of color. It's really up to you. The possibilities are endless. I like to use regular sewing thread and only use embroidery thread for the details, but that's a question of personal preference. Once you make a few, you will see what you like and what your comfortable using.
5. Now you are ready to attach both hearts together. I start slightly off centre from the top, so that I have enough space to end with putting the ribbon in the middle, at the very end of the stitching. You can stitch the hearts whatever way you chose, but I figured out how to do this stitch and I like this one. As you can tell, I'm no sewing pro, because I don't even know what this stitch is called, and cannot explain it. But it does not matter how you chose to do it, it will look nice either way :)
6. When you are almost up to the other side of the heart, use batting to fill up your heart. I've also used left over bits and pieces of felt from other projects to fill up my hearts before, as a way to recycle and it totally did the job.
8. When your almost at the top centre, put in your ribbon loop and I always make sure I stitch through it twice instead of just once, to be sure it's secured and won't come out. Then secure and cut your thread.
And voila, you have Valentines felt decorations to hang around your house!
Have a happy Monday!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
First, may I just thank every one that entered the giveaway for participating and for all the amazing comments you left me about my plans. It's so nice to have so many women say such positive things about it, it really made me feel extra positive about it, and reinforced the fact that I am making the right choice for me.
Now, onto the giveaway!
I got my little girl to draw a name this morning for us:
And the winner is...
Good on ya for putting yourself on the list! It is important for us to remember that we need to fill ourselves so that we have something to give others. Not always easy to do though!
Love the hearts! I wanna make some! Is it difficult?
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
This weekend, the kids and I did a Valentine's day garland, Garden Mama style.
You can see her tutorial HERE.
I had some watercolor paper that I had purchased back in my college days, but never really used because I found it to thick. So I decided it would be perfect for this project. I wanted a thicker paper to make sure the garland lasts more than just this year.
I asked the kids to fill up their paper with reds, oranges, pinks and a little yellow, but they had other plans in mind ;)
I tend to be a bit controlling sometimes (though I don't mean to be), so my first reaction would have been to stop them when I saw all those non-valentine's colours, but I decided to just let them be. After all, they were not hurting anything and I would not ever want to suppress or discourage their creativity. And I'm so glad I let them continue what they were doing, look at all those beautiful colours:
The finished project. I think I might even leave it up after Valentine's day. It's so pretty, colourful and because we all worked on it, it makes it even more special.
I am linking to:
Monday, January 24, 2011
The kids and I spent a lovely weekend at home, relaxing, crafting and baking. OK, OK, there was also lots of whining, the kids were fighting, arguing, very early morning waking and house cleaning, but that does not sound near as fun :)
I love baking though. It relaxes me. Sometimes I bake out of necessity, but rarely does it feel like a chore to me. Which is a good thing, because I cannot resort to buying pre-made things like muffins and cookies in this house. It's not only cheaper to make it yourself, but with all the food sensitivities we have in our house, the main one being that my son cannot do processed sugar. I also recently developed serious eczema and after careful observation, I figured out this weekend that it's caused by dairy. I don't usually eat much dairy other than the occasional goat cheese, but I noticed recently I had been reverting back to some old food habits that include dairy.
So with all this, it's a good thing I enjoy baking vegan goodies! A couple of years ago, I figured out how to veganize just about any of my old favourite recipes and how to replace the sugar. And good news! Everyone that's ever tasted my baking always love it! So it's good news for you too, since I'm going to share this recipe with you :)
3 large (or 4 small) ripe bananas, mashed
6 Tbsp coconut oil (I usually cut it in half, and replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce)
1/3 cup honey or agave
1 Tbsp ground flax with 2 Tbsp warm water (or can replace this with 1 egg)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
Mash the bananas in a bowl and add the coconut oil (and or applesauce), the honey and the salt and mix well. In a small separate bowl, mix the ground flax with warm water and set aside. Add the egg (if using) and the vanilla to the banana mixture. Then add all the dry ingredients along with the gooey flax mixture (if you chose to make it vegan) and mix until combined.
Bake in muffin pan in a 350F oven, for about 15-20 minutes. Will make 12 regular size muffins.
This has been a go-to banana muffin recipe since I learned how to bake as a kid in my parents kitchen. So it's a long time family favourite, and I hope you will like it too :)
Just a reminder, you have until Wednesday to enter my heart felt giveaway (pun intended :). You can enter HERE.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Snuggling with big brother :)
Thursday, January 20, 2011
OK, so I am trying to kill two birds with one stone with this post today. First, I wanted to show my valentines creations I made to decorate our home. The kids and I absolutely love them! I just hung them around the house today, but I have a few more to make. I also want to make a valentines garland, but I'm not sure exactly how I will make it yet.
Secondly, my heart really IS happy today!
You see, for the past couple of years, I've been wanting to take an online course to become a Holistic Nutritionist. It became a passion of mine, when I found out that my son had food sensitivities that disguised themselves to make it look as if he had ADHD. I would love to work with parents to help them feed their children healthier, and just help people in general (and even help myself in the process! God only know I could be healthier right now!), give cooking classes, etc.
But when your a stay at home mom and hubby works away, your far down your own list of priorities. I know there are other moms out there that will agree with me on this. When the New Year rolled around, I made the decision that this would be my year. A year that I would learn how to take care of myself, do things for me. Because a happier/healthier me, is a happier/healthier mama and wife.
Well, today, I finally just signed up for my Advanced Nutrition course! I should receive my material within the next 2 weeks and I couldn't be happier (I even did a happy dance)! This means that within the next 28 months, depending how long it takes me, I will be a certified Holistic Nutritionist. To make things even better, tonight is the night I start participating in a weekly yoga class (for the next 10 weeks). I've done yoga before, but only at home using a Gaiam yoga DVD I have. And though I love it, I've been wanting to follow a yoga class for a long time. But when your hubby works away and is not home in the evenings, it makes these things almost impossible for me. So how did I managed that? I have the most amazing friends! One I am attending the class with, the other accepted to watch my kids while I go to class.
So you see, my heart is so happy right now, it's singing. It's bouncing in my chest. It's excited and content, all at the same time.
Now, for the giveaway:
Since I'm so happy, I decided to spread the love. I will make a new set of 3 felt valentines heart, for one lucky winner. All you have to do, is leave a comment. (only 1 entry per person)
The giveaway is open to anyone. I will ship anywhere :)
You have until next Wednesday, (February 2/2011) at midnight to enter.
Have a happy, happy day!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I've had a diffuser for years. I used to just melt those square of wax on top to diffuse some lovely fragrance around the living area, but found it messy, and really, what's in those wax pieces anyways? No where on the package did it say oil this, or natural that. Not wanting to possibly diffuse anymore chemicals around the house for us to breathe in, I ended up buying orange essential oil because I like the scent. Orange oil is the only one I had until recently.
Early in December, I came down with the flu and decided it was time to head to the health food store and get another essential oil. Peppermint oil to be exact. I knew it was going to help me breathe better, but was not expecting what happened.
Peppermint is not only good to help you breathe better, but it also helps make you feel calm, awake and happy. The kind of feeling you need and want to feel in the cold winter months. I also noticed it helps my kids a great deal, as they seem so calm and peaceful when I burn this essential oil. It truly works for us!
If you've been wondering how to burn oil in those diffusers, I thought I'd share a trick with you. Add a bit of organic olive oil, or another carrier oil (as pure as possible), then add your essential oil to it. It will diffuse slowly, without burning your essential oil to the bottom of your diffuser bowl.
I'm off to bake with my kids now. My son's school is closed because it's too cold to run the buses (yes, it's that cold!), so I thought baking would be the perfect thing to do, on such a cold day.... other than burning essential oils and reading a good book that is :)
Stay warm my friends!
Monday, January 17, 2011
There is no doubt, my kids love each other. Of course, they have moments where they fight like cat and dog, but after a few days of that, they will usually go back to being best friends again, and saying lots of I love you's to each other.
After a while of fighting and not getting along, they finally started to get along well again a few days ago. One of the things they seem to love to do together lately, is wrestle. Here is what I captured today:
She had him pinned down the whole time! I don't know if he was letting her "win" or if she's actually stronger than him? I just love watching them play and laugh together. It brings me so much joy!
So that was mostly our day today. We've had a super busy weekend, but I captured none of it on camera. Between going to a comedy show with my hubby, attending a birthday party and braving the stormy weather to go to the city and buy things for our home (mostly for the kids rooms), we barely had ANY time at home. But I am finally getting around to decorating my daughter's room now. You may recall I've talked about giving her a mermaid room HERE. Well, I couldn't find enough things for her room and she decided to change her mind to the other option I had given her (since I knew exactly what I could do and could finish her room quickly enough). I am still working on it, but I will start sharing bits and pieces of her new room very soon.
I'm only going to give you a hint for now... woodland fairy.
I hope you had a great weekend!
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
As I mentioned before, I thought I would give you a quick update on my latest project. First, I discovered this great yarn made from a blend of 70% wool and 30% soy, and it comes in great colours like the ones you will see. Every time I started a scarf with a new one, I never really knew what colors were waiting for me. Every project was a different surprise!
This one Arianne claimed almost right away, as it has her two favourite colors, pink and purple.
My little man modeling this rainbow scarf :)
This last one I just finished last night... I think I might sell it or it will be a present.
Also, I recently made friends with a neighbour of mine. She is really sweet, and her family moved here 2 years ago from Germany. She has a little girl and our kids get along really great, but my daughter has especially taken to her daughter. (They are the same age :)
They like more natural toys, like we do, and her daughter has this great set of pencils. I've been looking for some in specialty stores in the city, but never seen any. (They are thick, and have a triangular shape for easy grip. Not to mention that the inside does not break easily, unlike our cheap Crayola pencils.)
Well, a relative sent her a few packs over the holidays, and she gave us two packs of these amazing crayons! She insisted we take them, and did not want anything in return. But of course, I will still give her something. Swaps are so much fun, and I LOVE giving!
So I started making her daughter a set of felt cookies. With sprinkles and all :)
I'm not happy with the stitching of the one at the front, so I will start that one over, but the one behind is great. I already have the stitching down! Yay!
What have you been creating lately? I'd love to hear about it!
There are so many giveaways on the blogsphere, and I usually enter the ones I see and like, as most people do, but I never win. To tell you the truth, I've only won once in my entire life, and it was a cute pencil when I was in elementary school. So you can imagine my surprise when I was reading a post over at Making Love in the Kitchen and saw through the post, that I had won the giveaway! I had forgotten all about it, lol.
So this is part of what I won:
It's from a company called RUME. I won a mini Rume bag and a baggie as well. I love reusable bags, and with kids, you always need to carry snacks everywhere with you. So this is going to be perfect! Thank you Meghan for hosting this giveaway :)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
My son had kindergarten today, and my daughter did not want to leave his classroom after we dropped him off. Well, she never wants to leave. She is very upset that she does not go to school like her big brother does. I've been planning on homeschooling her for preschool next year (as I find preschool ridiculously pricey), but I figured, why wait until September, if she wants to start now!
So this morning, I took out the foam beads and we did a sorting activity. First I asked her to sort by color.
And when she was done, she sorted them out by shape.
As soon as she was done sorting, she still wanted to use the beads, but on her own terms. She got busy making a necklace :) For now, we will only do simple activities (that are not too long) every couple of days. I will let her guide me and we will see what she is ready for. After all, she is only still 3 years old :)
After lunch, we braved the freezing temperatures (a high of minus 21 Celsius today! Brrrr!!), and did a stop a our local thrift store. In the summer, I usually go there once a week, but it had been a few months since I went. I still managed to get a few great things though.
First, I got these sugar and creamer container. They are pottery I believe and have some sort of serial number underneath them, which leads me to believe they are part of a collection or are a limited edition. I'm not 100% sure though, I'm not an antique specialist. But weather they are worth anything or not, I love pottery, I thought they looked beautiful AND they were only $2 for the set!
I also found 7 of these huge buttons,
and these 4 wooden ones.
I've been wanting to make some felted cozies for coffee cups, and maybe some felted purse/small bags. I think these will be perfect!
All in all, it was a pretty good day. Now, I'm off to go work on some felt cookies and maybe finish knitting a kid's scarf I've been working on. I will update tomorrow with pictures of what I'm working on, I promise.
Have a great night!
Thursday, January 6, 2011
One thing I love more than going to the book store, is going and finding a great book on the sale table. Last fall, I ended up buying this amazing book, for only $13 instead of the $57 suggested retail! It had some beautiful design pictures and at that price, how can you really go wrong?
I had no idea just how great this deal turned out to be!
I devoured in no time. You see, this is not just any decorating book. It's a book that makes you reflect and gives you ideas on what makes a place, your home. And how style can work in your home, even with children.
Here's an exert of the book:
Home is a word that resonates deeply. For many people it evokes family, childhood, some of their most vivid memories. It's a word that conjures images and emotions. If we're lucky, it is a word that brings comfort to the soul, that names a place we want to return to, that makes us feel safe, loved and nurtured. We may not all have grown up in the ideal environment, but we can relate to the hope of inspiring these feelings in our own home. In this book, I explore what 'home' means to us as individuals and as families, how we choose to arrange and decorate our living spaces and, more importantly, the way we choose to live in them. Our home-life can have a huge impact on who we are; as adults it affects our daily lives and moods, and for children, it influences the kind of people they will become.
After reading this book, I realized it was time I started making our house feel like a home. Or should I say, make our apartment feel like a home. You see, when we moved across country, we came from a house, and I never really took the time to make our place feel truly homey since I unreasonably expected us to be moved to a new house in no time once out here. I now decided that I need to add more touches to make our place feel inviting, and feel like a home. Weather we will be in this apartment for another couple of years, or just for 6 more months, it is our home.
One of the first things I decided to tackle is our front closet. As you can see, there is no doors and it does not take much to look messy.
I have so many scarves (and I'm not just talking about the winter kind), that it was getting out of hand. So I finally purchased this hanger from Ikea to get it all organized. Now they are all together in the front closet and I can just grab one on my way out the door.
I also cleaned up the shoe mess and the basket mess at the top, but in all honesty, that never seems to last in our house. I need to find much better baskets for that, and have a few more, for it to stay organized. But in the mean time, I don't need to stress over it as much anymore.
I picked this curtain that matches the wall colour instead of a bold or different colour, so the closet itself does not stand out every time it's in my sight. (Note, I do need to remove the hanging lantern now that the curtain is up, but you get the idea.)
So why does adding this curtain helps make our apartment more of a home? Mostly because it's something that has been bugging me since we moved here 2 and a half years ago, and had never done since I always felt like this place would be temporary. While I know we will probably only live in this apartment for a few more years at the most, it is our home right now.
And after all, home is where the heart is.