January 29, 2013


Hi friends!  I'm doing a HUGE 4 week long giveaway, and today is the first day!

To enter to win, just visit my Facebook Page, 'like' and comment on the photo (as seen above).  Which coin purse would you like to find in your mailbox?  Contest closes February 1st.

Good luck my lovelies!  

January 2, 2013

Playroom Reno

Happy New Year!

Hope you enjoyed the holidays!  Can you believe I forgot to photograph all the little projects I made for Christmas gifts?  I know!  I think I could make a post out of what I have left over (not 'reject gifts', just things I made for Rowan or extras) so perhaps I'll get on that later this week.

In the mean time....

I found a home for all of the toys and books little R-man received over the holidays.  And I'd like to introduce you to the first part of my PLAYROOM RENO series.

I have a few rooms that I'd like to transform this year, but instead of doing things in scatterbrain fashion, I'm going to take a civilized approach and concentrate on doing one at a time.  And in the most cost-effective manner.

So, this is what I have to start with.  I really liked the idea of bench seating and storage with a pair of Expedit IKEA shelves as seen on i heart organizing.  I am on the hunt for some funky fabric for the cushion and pillows.  Hopefully Tonic Living will unveil their new arrivals soon!  I also need a home for all those mini hockey sticks and stuffed animals that are not bedtime must-haves.

I need to paint this table and chairs set (given to me about a year ago already primed) and figure out a storage cabinet for arts and crafts goodies.  I'm thinking a small dresser or bedside table should do the trick.  I'd also like to add an area to dry/display art work.

The handyman table was Rowan's big gift on his second birthday (dreamed up by me, but built by his dad) and I'd also like to do a little DIY play kitchen too.  I'm not entirely sure what to do about that blue and red desk set.  I'm going to have to do a bit of research on painting plastic; it may end up in Rowan's room.

My colour palette will be inspired by this alphabet set from K&Company.  You can find it at Michael's if you're not into online shopping.  I Mod Podged the cards to some foam core board...not a great idea.  It warped and now it looks all funky and weird.  And I'm not a fan of the random blocks of scrapbook paper I threw in.  This method from Teal & Lime is much better.  I may re-do it :(

The ceiling is unfinished (thanks, previous homeowners) and not a high priority at the moment.  I prettied it up with my bird mobile that use to live over Rowan's crib.  It doesn't really work.  Since the playroom is in the basement and the only natural light comes through a window in the adjacent spare bedroom, I need some fun art work or other wall treatments.

I was proud of my post-Christmas organizing until I returned to the main living area in the basement and saw this...

...trains and trains and trains.  Ahhhhhhh crud.

December 10, 2012

Tulle Wreath Tutorial

I'm sure it happens to everyone on Pinterest at some point.  Becoming so obsessed with a DIY project or recipe pin that you must try it ASAP.

When I saw the pin for this tulle wreath:

that obsession took hold.  I was thinking of design ideas for the set of Rowan's Christmas photos and after I saw it, I went out the next day to buy tulle and a foam wreath form.  I apologize to the person who originally posted this photo to the 'net.  Pinterest wouldn't let me connect to the URL address for fear of a virus or some other nasty consequence.  A Google search turned up nothing.  I tried.  

To make this wreath you'll need:

~ 12" styrofoam wreath form.  Or check out this idea on how to make a super thrifty form. 
~ 10 m of tulle.  Check the prices at the fabric or craft store before you purchase.  Sometimes tulle can look similar but have a whopping price difference.  I bought mine for $2.50 per meter at Fabricland.
~ Scraps of white cotton fabric; enough to cover a 2 m length
~ Sharp scissors
~ Hot glue gun
~ 2" wide satin ribbon

I didn't plan on making a detailed tutorial, so I failed to take photos of each process.  Hopefully I don't lose you.  Once you start tying the tulle knots, this wreath is a perfect 'movie watching' project.  Easy, methodical and doesn't get too messy.

Cut fabric into 3" wide strips and wrap around the wreath form, gluing at each end.  Neatness doesn't matter, but you need to make sure your wreath is evenly covered.

Cut the tulle into 4" wide strips.  I left my tulle folded to make this part go faster.  I made my tulle strips 18" long, because I wanted a whispy, whimsical look.  

Tie two tulle strips in a double knot and position at the top of the wreath. 

Some of my strips ended up being a little lot shorter, but whateves.  Whimsical, right?

Scrunch the tulle close together until you've used up all the strips or have run out of room on the wreath.  Straighten the knots, trim the tulle to be somewhat even (or very even...it's all about preference) loop a long ribbon around the form and you're done!

You can fasten the ribbon in a bow as demonstrated in the pink wreath above.  I tied my ribbon around the wire on the back of the picture frame.

Refresh the wreath each year (or each season!) by changing the colour of the ribbon, adding a string of beads, a cluster of fabric flowers...etc, etc.

I don't buy many Christmas decor items new from a store, but at a recent trip to IKEA I couldn't resist these little candle holders.  The glittery tree to the left is just a paper cone smothered in glue, teeny beads, sequins and glitter.  Fun project but m-e-s-s-y!  

I might not do another blog post until the new year.  If I get my act together and make some stockings (my 'Winter Holidays' pin board is full of ideas!) I might share them.  Most of the things I'm making are gifts...so it'll have to wait.

How did the photo session go?

Very well!  Thanks Kerri for being so AWESOME.

Happy Monday!

December 3, 2012

Take Out Box Advent 'Calendar'

Bah haha.

This blog post is so late it's not even remotely funny.  Who writes about an advent calendar on the third day of December?  Moi.  Lame sauce.  To comfort my tardy soul, I should explain that this project comes together lickety split; you can have a new 'calendar' in one evening.  Or: pin it and save it for next year!

I decided on November 27th that I needed a new advent calendar.  The old one had teeny little pockets that held Lindt truffles perfectly.  Chocolate and a two year old with a memory like an elephant?  Nuh-uh.

Besides, I wanted to make this advent about doing things rather than getting treats.

For this project you will need:

24 take out boxes (I used 16 oz and 8 oz sizes)
Decorative paper
Cutting tool (like a Cuttlebug or similar) or pre-cut numbers
Circle cutter or punch in 2" and 1.5" sizes
Clear glue
24 items to place in the boxes

Cut out 24 x 2" circles and 24 x 1.5" circles out of decorative paper.  My paper came from this book of scrapbook paper, available at Michael's.

Cut out numbers (if you need to).  My crafting took place at 10pm on November 30th (hence the crap photo), I laid my numbers out to make sure I had cut the right amount (late night crafting = increase in errors) before packing my Cuttlebug away.  I used the 'Olivia' alphabet and number set.

Glue the circles and numbers on each box.

Fill with fun things!  I stuffed the boxes with tree ornaments, finger puppets, stickers, muffin liners, cookie cutters, and lots of activity tags.

The activity tags included:

Attending the Santa Claus parade
Skating (will be the first time!  Exciting for a mom who is an ex-figure skater)
Baking cookies
Baking muffins
Reading Christmas books
Watching Christmas movies
Having hot chocolate
Colouring in Christmas-themed colouring books
Making cards for family and friends

I had various ideas for displaying these little boxes: hang from a tree, string up like a garland, etc.  But ultimately, convenience and ease prevailed and I stuck them on top of a white fabric blanket on the piano.

Paired with my vintage bottle brush trees, I think they look pretty cute up there.

Today, Rowan and I have a date with a cookie cutter and cookie dough. Happy Monday!

November 12, 2012

One Hour Coffee Cozy

I'm not going to take a survey, but I'm willing to put money down that every knitter likes a project that can be done in one sitting.  One hour-long TV show, one (or two) cups of coffee or tea.  And for Mamas - one nap time.

These little coffee (or tea...or hot chocolate, or whatever it is you drink in winter) cup cozies are quick, easy and they use up scrap yarn.  Plus, they're pretty darn cute.

This is my second-ever attempt at writing a knitting pattern; so if you try it and end up making a headband...please tell me.

You will need:
5mm straight knitting needles
Worsted weight yarn
Tapestry or wool needle
Co-ordinating ribbon

Skill level: Beginner

k - knit
p - purl
yo - yarn over hook
k2tog - knit two stitches together
stockinette stitch - knit the 'right side' and purl the 'wrong side'

Cast on 30 stitches
Rounds 1 - 5: work ribbed pattern of k1, p1    
Rnd 6: purl, increase 3 stitches evenly across row; 33 stitches
Rnds 7 - 9: knit
Rnds 10 and 12: purl
Rnd 11: knit
Rnd 13: k1, *yo k2tog* repeat * to end.
Rnd 14: purl
Rnd 15 - 22: continue in stockinette stitch
Rnd 23: bind off, leave a long tail (30cm or 12") for sewing the seam.

When you've cut your long sewing tail, you'll have something that looks like the photo above.

Fold right sides together and sew seam.  Fasten off and weave in tail.

Weave your ribbon in and out of the little holes made in Round 13.  I would suggest sliding the cozy over a cup before knotting the ribbon; you don't want to tie it too tight!

To prevent the ends of the ribbon from fraying, melt the cut edge ever so slightly with a lighter.

Now that you're done, what will you do with it?  Gift it away?  Keep it?  Make another?  I think a little touch of homemade is on everyone's wish list for Christmas.  I would pair this cozy with a coffee shop gift card.  And just to be extra cute, ask for an extra cup, slide the cozy on and pop the card inside!

September 18, 2012

Sugared Molasses Cookies

It's not technically autumn yet, but on this dreary, sloppy, wet, cold (am I painting an ample picture?) day, I needed to make molasses cookies.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Autumn = molasses cookies.  I'm one of those people who associates certain foods with seasons.  Rich, hearty fair like stews, roasts, pumpkin pie (or muffins...or pumpkin anything for that matter) and molasses cookies are definitely fall and winter food.  Nonetheless, not I realize not everyone feels this way; I've actually had a debate with someone over when you should eat molasses cookies. 

It doesn't matter when you make them, they're damn good all year long.  I'm not sure where the recipe came from.  I begged an former co-worker for it (and her name is Autumn, nifty!) who cited 'the internet' as her source.

Collect the following ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, softened or shortening
1/3 cup fancy molasses (or black strap for a bolder flavour)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2tsp baking soda
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup white sugar 

Crank your oven up to 350'F (180'C).  Expect 48 small or 24 large cookies.

Fresh ginger gives a fabulous flavour to these cookies.  My aunt (the Gingerbread Lady....and Strawberry Lady) swears by fresh ginger, and she makes AH-MAY-ZING gingerbread.  I keep my ginger frozen until I need to use it and then grate it with a microplane.  Of course, if you have ground ginger in your cupboard, go ahead and use it in place of the fresh stuff.

With an electric mixer, beat butter, molasses and brown sugar together.  Add the egg and mix well until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir until smooth.

Add dry ingredients to the molasses mixture and blend slowly, either by hand or with an electric mixer.  Don't forget to scrape down the sides!

The dough should be slightly sticky, but if it's TOO sticky (ie cannot be formed into a ball for the life of it), add a little more flour.

Pour white sugar into a small bowl.  Take a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball, roll it the sugar and place on an un-greased cookie sheet.

Press down slightly with the back of a spoon.

I like to make larger cookies, but for the kiddos, scoop out the dough by the teaspoon to make itty bitty ones.  Roll in the sugar and don't flatten.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.  Let cool completely before storing.  These cookies store well at room temperature for a few days, or for about 2 weeks in an airtight container in the freezer.