Wednesday, September 28, 2011

31 Days to My Green Gables

As many of you know (especially if you read my sidebar and not just my posts lol), that I have a love for all things Anne of Green Gables and Prince Edward Island and that recently, my family and I have decided to simplify our life, including selling our house for a cheaper house (and it looking like a century farmhouse would be fab!), living off the land and living off grid....And living in Canada, well, we are ACTUALLY considering moving to Prince Edward Island.
What a dream come true (maybe....).

Well, recently, the Nester invited everyone to join in on their annual "31 Days to.." challenge/event. I thought this would be a great way to start "preparing" for the Green Gables lifestyle and kick-start my homesteading (traditional, domestic, homemaking, old-fashioned, whatever you want to call it) experience.

Kickoff is THIS Saturday, October 1st and the month is filled with good ol' home cooking recipes (like a Southern mac n' cheese, homemade ice cream, apple cider), my first attempts at making bread and canning, country/cottage decor, homesteading and homeschooling activities and more! I will try my hand at making a dress and hat for myself and other traditional skills as well as some fun "old-time" activities. Maybe even a hairstyle or two! There will also be some "anne-fun"...
Raspberry Cordial anyone??

If you want to join in, the Nester is having a linky party on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mantel, in transition

I have a mantel.
Fall is here.
I am seeing mantels everywhere.
I hear (or, read, on blogs the looming question of "what's on your mantel"...sounds like the Capital One commmercials, huh?)

Not one for peer pressure, and without my mantel being fully complete (see below..), but I jumped on the mantel bandwagon.
Here's my mantel, currently being "fall-ized", so it's in transition......
don't judge :)

I made a few crafts and specifically for my Fall mantel....

The Easiest Wreath. Ever. Evah.
It's two steps.
Step One: Take the Michael's tag off.
Step Two: Clip a hairpin on.

...yes, that's a hairclip from my own About a Bride (Shimmer & Tulle Collection, of course) line. The wreath is just borrowing it....

Fall Frames

Getting two ugly "fake bronze" frames from the Dollar Store, I removed the flower prints and sprayed painted them a glossy white. I then used some jute as the backdrop (which I got on clearance at the beginning of summer, it really was to wrap your trees in for the winter...).

For the green one, I clipped the flowers off of a bouquet that I used for a Little Girl's Nutcracker Party I hosted last year....not fully sure of the color -- but I sprayed one a bronzy color and well, it looked a bit like poop and that wasn't quite the look I was going for. Lol.

For the pumpkin one, I bought a cheap packet of self-adhesive foam pumpkins from Michael's and just painted them blue and one white. Yeah, as said before, I couldn't do plain orange.....

Also, that yellow flower bush on the righthand side of the mantel, that is my tissue paper tree that I made many years can see a closeup here.

And you obviously saw the unused Ikea Ribba Frame....yeah, still working on that...its a huge frame and this is really the only place it works, so I am still trying to decide what to do with it. Was thinking either a fun wall quote or scripture or the "house rules" (inspired by this)....

What's "stifling" the decor a little in this room is that in all honesty, I've wanted to paint this room since we've moved in, 4 years ago...the green is okay, but not really me. I would love a cottagey/country look with white batten board walls and pops of that robin blue color that I all along the years, I have been decorating with what I will eventually change this room into.....

So, overall still working on my Fall mantle....I have till around Nov anyhow when then, I will be working on my Christmas mantle.

Linked to:
The Centsational Girl ,
Blue Cricket Designs
The Lettered Cottage

Monday, September 26, 2011

You're a Smart Pumpkin....

To continue my fall decor project (projectS, actually!), what else am I to use but pumpkins??

But as my husband declared the other day "Nothing that you create is simple" (though he was referring to his surprise that I made JELLO instead of some major gourmet sounding, looking and tasting concoction)....I couldn't just fill my house with simple, orange (read: normal and ordinary) pumpkins.

No. I had to make a pumpkin. Out of a paperback book.

Some of the pictures make the pumpkin look orangy --- but that's just because I am taking photos with my Iphone...I really do need to get a professional camera and learn.

But can you see that it's just a regular paperback book -- see the chart on the left...

So when you are done reading the nutritional value of your Lucky Charms cereal box, you can read something a little more educational -- like (in my case) "memos to the president".....Yeah, this was a book in our collection that I think my husband got at a yard sale for something like .05 cents. Trying to use what we had in our house and not have to buy anything new, I found it and asked him if he really wanted it --- because once I was done "crafting it", he wasn't going to be able to read it. EVER again.

Oh, and no, this wasn't fully my creativity in the works...but I was inspired by Craftberry's paper pumpkin.

Linky Parties....
The Centsational Girl
Tip Junkie handmade projects
The Girl Creative


Friday, September 23, 2011

My Roadkill has been featured....

Remember Eliel's chalkboard.....? The one that started out as a crib base?

Well, it's been featured on Roadkill Rescue, from the blog author of Infarrantly Creative....

You can see my moment in the DIY spotlight over at Roadkill Rescue.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What's in Your Fridge...?

I've been a follower of the Life in Grace blog for a while. And recently there, I came across this very funny post and challenge. It's an off-shoot of a Mark Menjivar exhibit, looking at points of stewardship, how we eat and how we take care of our bodies. Some of the fridges are quite funny....

So, without any cleaning or shifting around, as is -- my refrigerator.

So what does this mean....? What insights can you draw?
1. We need more fruits and veggies...though I like to buy fresh as close as possible to when I will use them....and this was kind of an 'off-week'..

2. You can definitely see that I am a No-frills shopper. No name and Great Value are usually my pics...but for some items, YES definitely, you have to go name brand and just pay a little more.

3. We are obviously stocked in the butter department.

4. What you can't see is that there are 4 different types of strawberry husband LOVES bread and jam....and when he's in the mood for such, he will quickly look for it in the fridge and subsequently not find it, therefore, opening from the pantry a whole new jar. This goes on frequently...

5. You will also find 3 containers of yogurt --- because what my husband does with #4 and jam, he also does with yogurt (except that he just buys another one, he doesn't find it in the pantry lol).

6. A reminder to myself to get to that meat that is defrosting (has already defrosted) in the tupperware (bottom left). I don't like cutting/messing with meat and so I usually procrastinate in this department (even if its for a fabulous sounding recipe)...and then I end up throwing out the meat because I am just not sure...

7. The two gallons of milk -- yeah, that will last us about a week and a half and we are a family of 2 adults, 1 toddler and one on the way.....

Overall, I am proud of myself because (besides the occassional meat - see #6) I don't really waste food -- I make enough for my family and we usually eat leftovers from dinner the next day as lunch or I am able to transform it into a side for another meal. Also, I don't really have a lot of processed/ready-made food or condiments (because I am really on a "as natural as possible trend").

If you decide to take this challenge....let me know k?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall Equinox Decor Countdown

According to my calendar, it's a week till the Fall Equinox. But actually, according to the weather outside, Fall is practically here. I'm already donned in a pullover sweater and furry boots and have bought some "little man" fall clothes for my 2.5 year old.
(I was so happy to find that Old Navy was having their $5 sale....)

And now that my family is all set, the mind turns to the house and FALL DECORATING! I do enjoy seasonal decorating. I'm not completely there, but I can't wait to have huge tupperware buckets, one for each season, just all organized, full of decor items and anticipating their release at the change of each season.

But in reality, for the Fall, I only have a few items....but have been really enjoying seeing what other bloggers are doing to fall-ify their I will be joining along in the DIY'ing and posting as I create.

My first piece of Fall Decor is a centerpiece that I made when we first moved into the house, about 4 years ago. Granted, it's out ALL year long. I just switch the vase for more of a seasonal indication. Currently, it's in a deep red bamboo vase and I love the contrast.

I've used this in the summer, in front of the fireplace as an "alternative fireplace cover", or on the dining table as a "welcome spring" centerpiece. Currently it is on our mantel.

Can you believe this is tissue paper? Using a Martha Stewart template for making flowers, I cut and folded square pieces and hot glued them to branches I pulled from our backyard.

Welcome Fall! :)

Linked to:
The Inspired Room

Friday, September 16, 2011

from Roadside Roadkill to the Classroom

I started homeschooling my son a few months ago. And at the same time, for obvious reasons, I started redecorating the family room into his playroom/our classroom. I haven't posted any pics yet (partly because I am an all-or-nothing type of person who can't for absolutely any reason show you an unfinished project. It has to be gleamy shiny, have the new car smell, all t's crossed and i's other words, it has to be perfect. Just ask my husband. I have been in the middle of writing something, say a blog post, and he will come into the room, look over my shoulder and I will literally try to cover the screen with my hands, asking him to not start reading).

Yes, I have some personal work to do. And yes, I have digressed.
Back to the roadkill :)

And by the way, the last part of Eliel's playroom that I need to finish is the chair. It's a great "mommy & me" reading chair, but the golden baroque-y/paisely print just doesn't work in the room. So it's in need of a makeover --- it's just a matter of time.

Digression #2. *sigh*

Since the room is part classroom, I wanted a chalkboard in there. One that my son could use freely and we can also use it during our "lessons" (he's 2.5, y'all. The curriculum is more full of songs, movement and creative discovery than rote learning). But a chalkboard was needed, was important, was paramount, nonetheless. It makes the room a classroom, right?

I should write something like The Chalkboard Diaries or something for I've had the hardest time finding a chalkboard, well, that WORKS! We were given one of those Fisher Price ones.....but the chalkboard part was either really cheap or really used for the chalk did not work.

Me thinks this could possibly be a frustrating experience for a little one. So then at the Dollar Store, I thought I lucked out on finding this chalkboard material Whale Wall Decal.
*This is not the actual one nor is this my house, people. Even if the writing is in French and I live in Canada....*
It worked, but was a little small AND my son kept ripping it off the wall, thus it losing its stickiness at some point. Returning to the Dollar Store, again, I thought I lucked out on finding a small chalkboard -- about 16 x 12...but for the life of $3 chalk, it wouldn't take the chalk.
I didn't want to start giving my son educational, intellectual or integrity complexes so I stopped being cheap frugal, and looking at the Dollar Store, and start looking into a slightly more expensive store (aka, Walmart, Target or the like). That idea was nixed pretty quickly when I saw the prices and my DIY hat was fervently pulled out. I can definitely make this.

Now here is where my husband has cringe potential. Why? Because I always say "I can make this....." and then there's another project on the plate and because I have too many projects, our basement has somehow (SOMEHOW!) turned into a wanna-be warehouse of deadbeat furniture, crafting supplies, items "drying" and projects waiting. Like the waiting room of the Department of Motor Vehicles. On a Friday afternoon.

AND because I am pregnant AND a lot of the projects require paint, this means a lot of the projects, at this time, get pushed suggested for my husband to complete. AND this is usually the night before some "big" event -- like someone stopping by to pick up a book ("well, honey, they will come through the front door and of course, see the strategically placed new lampshade we, um, YOU, painted for of course, it's important"). Wait till I start nesting again y'all --- only have 4 more weeks :)

So I asked my husband if there were any random wood pieces down in the "warehouse" or garage because I was going to stop spending HIS hard-earned money on Dollar Store rejects and buy Chalkboard paint.....which um, for a little quart, yeah it was about $20..(it's Canada, y'all). And oh yeah, I think we have a gift card or something around here that we can use towards it....(totally trying to soften the blow).

"Find wood for chalkboard" went on the "honey-do" list and I happily bought the paint. And then one day, it happened.

My husband crossed the DIY mentality line.

After helping a friend of his during a move, my husband excitedly came home with some "scrap" piece of wood. He asked, "Do you know what this is for?" And I don't think he actually even let me finish and he continued "it's for the chalkboard".

But it''s......well, it looks like the bottom of a bed that part of a crib?

My husband had a DIY vision --- he repurposed! He actually saw something in the garbage, PULLED over and PULLED it from off the side of the road and placed a new mission on the piece.
As my mother in law said, "I've taught him well". :)

So our chalkboard-to-be was cleaned, sanded, primed and got two coats of blackboard paint (one layer going vertically and the other horizontally -- thanks internet!). Then us three wiped chalk all over it (as another "priming" method) and then hoisted it in its new position in the "classroom".

I guess I could have just said "hey look, here's my repurposed project.
It was a crib, now it's a chalkboard.

But what fun would that be? :)

Linked to:

Somewhat Simple

Transformation Thursday
Join  us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap 
 up           party!Todays Creative Blog


The Girl Creative

Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Beyond The Picket Fence

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

Back in January, the Ann Voskamp book, One Thousand Gifts, came out and I posted my interest on reading it and joining the discussion.

Every year, I make a "want to read" list and for the most part, I read all the books on the list. What's also a definite given, is that I always ADD to the list as I go. This year, I've been my most "successful". My "Smart List" has 25 books on it to read for this year and as of today (mid September), I've read 23 books. IF you want to get really technical, I've read 8 books off the actual list, which is kind of funny. So, in terms of "numbers accomplishments", I am successful in reaching my terms of focus, yeah, I obviously have a distraction problem. :)

HOWEVER, this is just a long-winded way of saying that I HAD not got to reading One Thousand Gifts....and my disclaimer.

But what I do want to share is that from that book, even though I have not read it, is that I have been keeping a small (and quite beautiful, if I can say so) journal bedside to record daily my "blessings" with the aim of getting to 1000 (at some point!).

I've started becoming serious again about my daily QT (quiet time) and prayer/chat with God, so I just added the "task" of recording my daily blessings from the day before as part of this routine. I'm up to 48 so far and wanted to thank God now for even that amount, as many of them have either been something that my heart (not my mouth) asked for, protection over me, my husband or son (those "oh-oh moments) or just situations where I knew God was reaching out to me, if only to see me smile.

So take this post as an encouragement to really RECORD, not just count, your blessings.
What a wonderful keepsake to read through when completed, no?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On Keeping It Simple....

Here's a parable I had heard before but came across it again on another blog.

The Tourist and the Mexican Fisherman

author unknown

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist got out and complimented the local Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish, then asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American tourist asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds you buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

“Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“15 perhaps 20 years,” replied the American.

“But what then, señor?”

“Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

The American said slowly, “Then, you would retire! Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I carry your heart....

Off another blog, I read this poem from e.e. cummings. I really like it. Also, I think e.e. cummings is really cool, especially since we graduated from the same high school (DeWitt Clinton in the Bronx, NYC)... :)

" is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)"