Monday, January 30, 2012

Free Valentine Printable

My mom was going through some old papers and found this verse laid out to show the word VALENTINE.  She thought I might like it.  I thought it was really cute, so I remade it in a more modern way.  

Enjoy!

6 x 8 Valentine printable


Free for personal use.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Goal Lists and Blog Critiques: Do Both!

So January is generally when goals are made, dreams are dreamed in technicolour, and hope for the future is at an all time high.  I usually make a personal goal list every December/January for the new year.  I don't always accomplish everything on my list and some make it onto the following year's list.  

A sample from last year's list:

Accomplished: Read 100 books
Not Accomplished: Ahem, those last 15 preggy pounds

This year, my blog made my goal list: I would like to see growth as well as an improvement in content and display.  I found a couple of blog checklists that gave me a few ideas and I have implemented a couple of them.  (The LinkWithin gadget is one - I had seen the suggestions pop up under posts on other blogs and wanted one so badly for my own blog!  Checked off the list now.) 

But, then I found a fabulous blog critique party and joined!  It was GREAT!  Two lovely bloggers, Alyx and Stephany, were kind enough to send me wonderfully constructive advice and a great review of my blog.  All the participants used this blog critique checklist.  It is awesome to get honest advice from another blogger!  I could ask my hubby but he would tell me it looks great no matter what (and I am sure that, to him, it does), so getting input from others doing the same thing is so helpful.

For example: I have a widescreen monitor at home.  And at work, I have a double monitor setup and both monitors are widescreen.  So when I widened my blog a couple of weeks ago to enable the words in my top ten posts to show up as actual English words (like Millennium Falcon) instead of 

Mi
lle
nn
iu
m

Fa
lc
on


Well, because I am never on a regular sized monitor, it never occurred to me that making my blog fit my widescreen monitor may be a problem on other monitors.  Lesson learned!  (Fix coming soon!)

I give this blog critique party two thumbs up, and I would definitely do it again!

Aaaaand, because I can't leave without a picture, my sweet lil dancer had her first ballet lesson last night.  Here she is!


Unfortunately, joyous pirouettes and excitement didn't happen.  We left early in tears...   Oh well, next week's class cometh.  Fingers crossed!

Friday, January 20, 2012

DIY iPhone Icon Magnets

My hubby was very sweet and cut out over 20 tiny little icons for me, and the top 20 were chosen to become magnets.  (Those are his hairy manly hands!)


Glass squares or tiles can be purchased as is, or you could use pieces from a sheet of glass mosaic tile - just peel the tiny glass squares off the backing.


Cut the magnets (I used a long strip piece) into squares that are slightly smaller than the back of the glass squares. (Don't want any magnet overhang!)  Use hot glue to attach magnets to glass.

 


After the glue is completely cool and hardened, attach the picture.  I used a mixture of super tacky craft glue and water (1:1 ratio) and, using a paintbrush, lightly covered the top of the glass with the glue mixture.  


The picture went on immediately and was straightened into place with a toothpick.  I had to work quickly in order to place the picture accurately before the glue dried, which was super fast!  I then repeated this with the other 19 tiles.


Using the same glue mixture, I painted a light coat over each picture ensuring the glue mixture went right to the edges of the glass.  Let it dry thoroughly.  

 
Repeat!



Let cure for 12 hours, then pop them right onto the fridge!  Great gift idea for the family techie!  (Or the one who thinks (s)he is! Ha!)


Linking up with some great  parties!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Candy Flavoured Body Scrubs

This is a fun gift that I love to make as much for myself as for someone else!

I bought cute little glass jars that resembled old fashioned candy jars.  The blends were mixed in a bowl, then spooned into the jars.


Each jar got a different candy flavour: Candy Cane, Creamsicle, and Caramel.  The scents were completely made with essential oils and enhanced by the types of sugar that I used.  Grapeseed was my oil of choice as it is one of my favourites!


I cut the ribbon pieces and punched out the labels.




A dab of hot glue attaches the two ribbon ends together.




Another dab of glue to hold the label in place.


Put them in an organza gift bag, tie with matching ribbon, and glue a tag onto the ribbon.  Ta da!

Linking up with some great  parties!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Party How To: Single Serve Veggies & Dip

Step 1: Fill shot glasses with 1 tsp dip.


Step 2: Add thinly sliced veggies.



Step 3: Add to your party table!

Linking up with some great  parties!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Orange Girl's Bedroom Reveal!

This room had a tall order:

1. It must be orange
2. It must have Nemo
3. It must grow into a teenager's room (the little lady is not into her tweens yet!)
4. It must have space for a desk for homework time
5. It must be very soft to touch
6. No overt girliness
7. No ruffles
8. Open windows (i.e. no drapes or curtains, just wooden slat blinds)
9. Pandas and polar bears should feel comfortable alongside the Nemo collection
10. Bamboo (for the pandas, of course!)
11. Storage
12. More storage


Wow!  Well, we started with the orange base, and I felt like a black and white print would be a good choice to encompass the animal side of things.  A zebra print on the pillow and throw blanket (which can double as a cozy rug) took care of that!  A bright orange furry pillow at the back of the bed is perfect for reading.


Plain black bedding became the base and a selection of fun pillows brought in everything else, plus a good supply of fuzzy friends brought in for a cuddle.  The photo collage frames on the wall above the bed show some of her favourite things, with some frames repeating the zebra print.

The first thing we utilized in the way of storage was this memo board, made from white cotton canvas and black grosgrain ribbon with white stitches on the each side.  The tiny glass beads even tie into the room.  Click on the photo to enlarge it and you will see what we hid in the glass beads!  {Tutorial on the memo board coming soon.}


My friend's dad refinished her childhood bedroom furniture in black and it has lots of shelving which was a bonus!  All those Nemos and other friends needed a place to live, after all.  We hung some zebra prints here also.


There was just enough space here for something.  Some new shelves were built, and a desk added into this tiny nook for a homework centre.  Furry friends have a good view of the bed and windows. 



And last but not least, a tiny corner for one of her bamboo plants and her bow holder that I made a couple of years ago.  I love how it still fits her and her personality!



This room will be easy to transition into a teen room as {some} of the animals are replaced with older girl things.  The orange, black, and white will still be fresh and, best of all, it will continue to grow with her.

She loves it, and I am so happy we were able to give her a room that is perfectly her!


Linking up with some great  parties!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Gingerbread Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Caramel Drizzle

I have been working on using up all the leftover bits and pieces out of my fridge.  I had an open can of pumpkin pie filling that I needed to use up, but I was not wanting to make a pumpkin pie.  I have been thinking about coffee cakes for the last day or so, and this is the result!  It is super moist and wonderfully flavoured with classic gingerbread cookie spices.  Plus the cinnamon caramel drizzle just sends it over the top!!  Plus, I figured it was a bonus that the kids really liked it (I didn't mention the pumpkin haha!).


Ingredients:

1 generous cup pumpkin pie filling
1 egg
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla

2.5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cardamom

1 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda



Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large mixing bowl, blend together pie filling, egg, oil, and vanilla.

2. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl until fully combined.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.

3. In a small bowl, blend sour cream and baking soda together well.  Mixture will begin to expand.  Add half of this mixture to the pie filling mixture and blend well.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and blend, then add the remaining sour cream mixture and blend until everything is fully incorporated.

4. Grease and flour bundt pan.  Fill the pan with mixture and place in the centre of the oven.  Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into coffee cake comes out clean.  

5. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then insert over drying rack to cool further -or- place directly onto serving plate if serving warm.  Pour 1/2 cup cinnamon caramel sauce over top of coffee cake.  Reserve other 1/2 cup for drizzling over individual servings.  Enjoy!!


For cinnamon caramel sauce:

In small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup butter with 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp cinnamon.  Whisking the whole time, cook until bubbly then cook 2 more minutes.  Slowly add 1/4 cup milk and keep whisking.  Cook until sauce is smooth and all sugar granules have dissolved.  Yum!

Yield: just over 1 cup sauce.


Linking up with some great  parties!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

DIY Soft Light Sabers

For my son's Star Wars-themed birthday, we set up several different types of games, all with Star Wars flavour!  One of the games was a light saber duel, and we needed something that could be used without harming any of the kids.  We also still needed some kind of party favour.  Enter the soft light saber, a toy that is still getting lots of use in our house a year and half later!

Supplies:
foam pool noodle
electrical tape in 1-2 colours
duct tape in black

magic marker



Directions:

1. Cut the pool noodle in half.

2. Wrap one end of the pool noodle with three strips of duct tape, creating the light saber handle.  Wrap each end of the duct tape in coloured electrical tape.

3. Use the magic marker (we used fat Sharpies) to darken the cut end.

4. Have fun!





Linking up with some great  parties!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bling Light Switch Cover

I have been procrastinating on this girly toddler room for quite a while.  Apparently so long that she really cannot be called a toddler anymore.  So little girl room it is.  I finally have got some things going on in here, this being my absolute most favourite of late!!!  (I think it warrants extra exclamation marks!  Ha!)

Supplies:

Light switch cover
E-6000 (or other craft glue)
bling! (I used several sizes of clear rhinestones)


Directions:

Glue rhinestones onto light switch cover.  Start with the large and medium sizes around the interior of the switch plate and work your way to the edges.  Use the super tiny size rhinestones to fill in any blank spaces. 


Once finished, I waited 24 hours before hanging to ensure the glue was solid and no rhinestones were falling off.  This is going in the Chanel-inspired girly girl room.  I can't wait to tackle more!


Linking up with some great  parties!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Neon Pancakes -aka- Pancake Tribute to the 1980's!

Prep your favourite pancake recipe, and separate batter into bowls.  


Preheat your frying pan or griddle while adding colour to each bowl.  I use Wilton gel colours.  They are super bright and you can get big colour impact with a tiny bit of gel.  


Get a large spoon in each bowl.  (Alternately, use one empty plastic squeeze bottle for each colour.)  Spoon (or squeeze) your base colour onto the griddle.  Working very quickly, add some of each colour to each pancake.  I did 3 pancakes at a time, and only had about 30 seconds to get all the colours into each pancake.  You will likely not end up with perfect circles here so if you have OCD tendencies, you may want to skip this!  Ha!  


And flip to cook the other side.  You can tell I started with green!


Ta da!  It is like the 80's threw up onto your pancakes!  Notice the size similarities to 80's shoulder pads...  He he!


Of course, my kids have no clue what the 80's are, so they just thought they were getting super awesome pancakes! 


Linking up with some great parties!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Vertical Gardening

I know it is barely January, but I am already thinking about my garden and how I can add some wow factor to it.  Our lot is postage stamp sized, so not too much can happen.  

Last year at my favourite garden centre, there was an amazing display wall with vertical plantings of succulents.  I fell head over heels!  So gorgeous and such a statement!  My hubby does not know it yet, but we will be having some sort of vertical garden happening this summer, ha ha!  Get out those power tools, baby!!

Here are a couple of vertical gardens I have been checking out lately:


I think this is called a cucumber teepee.  I grew two cucumber plants this past year and used one of those round tomato cage things (can you tell I am new at this?) and thy grew like crazy all over the place.  I like this idea for veggies that like to climb.  Plus it looks like it would be simple to harvest it all as well.  I don't have the space for a teepee this size, but still, this idea is definitely a keeper.
Photo from Veggie Gardener.


This is another great idea for veggies.  Last year, in addition to cucumbers, I also planted cherry tomatoes, red peppers, and black tomatoes.  I was so excited to try the black tomatoes but, even though 9 or 10 lovely tomatoes grew, I only got to try... zero.  Yep, none of them made it into the house thanks to a little animal family.  Not sure if it was a mouse or rabbit family but, nonetheless, I got none.  The cherry tomatoes grew really well, so well that they knocked over their tomato cages several times.  And the red peppers were okay even though they were completely crowded out by the cucumbers.  This garden looks like a great solution though.  I just love that the veggies aren't on the ground for lil critters.  I am not being stingy here, but geez, my garden is supposed to actually help feed our family and not just exist solely as a critter buffet!  Ha ha!  Plus, the veggies are so easy to see, which would be helpful when I ask the kids to go pick the veggies!
Garden photo from Gardening with Kids.



I. love. this!  It is housed in a restaurant in Palo Alto, but can you imagine a small version for home?  Love the black, love the chalk writing, love the amazing amount of herbs, love it all!!
Photo found at Food Gal.


Love this!  And it's even in the kitchen!  It looks like it's up against the side of the fridge perhaps.  How wonderful to grab fresh herbs daily, and I would expect that the scent would be heavenly!  Plus the pop of green is just a bonus.  
Found at Design Squish here.



How cute is this one?  I love the vintage vibe from the old window.  The plants peeking out can have such variety - I think there are actually some strawberries on the left side in the first or second vertical panel.  I could see this up against my fence near my lavender plants!
Photo found at Restored Style.



I saved this one for last!  It is just breathtaking.  Imagine waking up in the morning and seeing this every day!  J'adore!
From NY Times.

Check out some other vertical garden photos pinned to my Gardens board on Pinterest.  Now I am off to dream of green!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Piña Colada Smoothie

After a green Christmas and a green New Year’s, our weather has finally decided to be normal and bring on some snow.  Hubby is outside shoveling for the second time today, and I am sure it is going to be all hands-on-deck shoveling in the morning if the weather channel is right.  So I guess that means a 50-50 chance, right? Ha ha!

Even though it is the middle of winter, I wanted to feel a bit of summer today and, as such, decided to whip up a smoothie reminiscent of hot summer nights!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 banana
1/2 cup pineapple
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup coconut milk
6 ice cubes

DIRECTIONS
Pulse in a blender until ice is crushed.  Super yummy!


Linking up with some great parties!

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