Sunday, December 23, 2012

REALLY EASY Last Minute FREE Gift for the Holidays

I am so proud to direct you to the right hand side of the site where you will find the 2013 version of the OWL calendar that has been lovingly curated by My Owl Barn for three years running. I love the new art and just finished printing a few for some stocking stuffers. BRILLIANT last minute gifts, especially because there is such a range of art that you can customize each calendar to fit the person you are giving it to. But also, if short on time or just really indecisive like me, you can simply download the one she's already created for you. (Really though, the first one I did took about a minute and a  half to sort which month should go with which picture. Obviously the snow ones go on the winter months, the flowers in the summer and my favourite one goes on my birthday month of March. Obviously.)


Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Perfect Christmas Cake

How adorably fabulous is this Red Velvet Cake with Snowmen Macaroons on top? I am totally in love!!!

I don't know if macaroons are beyond my capabilities, but the ingredients, cream cheese icing, red velvet cake and gorgeousness, all make for a good reason to attempt it. Oh, wait... I think I may have to make this a joint project with my foodie friend Becca. Mmmmm... :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday To Do List: Fabric Gift Bags

Last Christmas I learned a few things. Thing number one: Fabric Gift Bags. I am reposting this now so that those of us (ahem) who are really seriously on it, can keep this in mind as a possible "To Do" for their holiday list.

Last year I spent Christmas with a friend's family. This fabulous and crafty friend shared a secret with me, and now I am sharing it with you. The new thing is fabric gift bags instead of paper.

Brilliant! I personally am not a fan of red and green, I rarely do "normal" for Christmas. It certainly doesn't have to be just holiday themed patterns though. In fact, I am adopting an entire spectrum of these bags for birthdays and such as well... and this neutral bag with the tree on the front is another lovely idea. I think stamped or silk screened pine cones would be gorgeous. I haven't taken on silk screening before, but I have a friend who does it and would probably be willing to do a trade. Regardless... this is the most easy peasy sewing project imaginable!

In the end, the bags cost less than paper if you use them over and over and I can't tell you how amazing it was that there was no crazy obscene mess of torn paper as an aftermath last Christmas morning. When I asked her if her kids missed the ripping and tearing into gifts, she replied that there were still gifts from outside the family (or from grandparents) that came wrapped in paper for that. And that when the gifts are torn into, often it becomes more about ripping open gift after gift without having much appreciation for what is inside. I tend to agree with that... having seen the youngest in more than one paper ripping frenzy. Christmas was very calm and lovely, and the cleanup was not only far more eco... but super easy. All the bags fit into one big one to be stored with the decorations. Or with your wrapping whatnots, whichever you prefer. I am looking into wooden gift tags as well... or durable cardstock ones. There are a number of possibilities and since your family members will probably keep their names, re-use is a simple option :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lavender Hot Chocolate

Now that there is no denying the cold that has befallen us, I am open to trying new things in the world of hot chocolate. Because, well... I might just have to make this a few times to perfect it, right? My new obsession is Lavender Hot Chocolate. Mmmmm...

Go here for the recipe...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Another ADVENTurous Idea!

Last year I posted this idea of making advent calendars for friends, family and ourselves.  The thought being that I should have started in November. I said that I would post it again so that we would ALL remember to start early and actually stand a chance of getting it done.

Waaaay back in  November my sons and I decided to create an advent calendar for friends of ours. We thought it would be fun to gather silly gifts to open every day, small animals, a lucky penny, a pretty rock, that sort of thing. Their sons are of an age with these guys and all about collecting, so it seemed a good idea and the collecting begun. Then all hell broke loose with the social calendar and somehow the calendar was forgotten about till it was already well into December. I told them we would do it next year.

Today we are sorting out the last of the gifts we are making and figuring out what still needs doing and I have an ENTIRE day to work on Christmas details. I stumbled upon a lovely set of photos and ideas this morning in the Anthology Gift Guide, revolving around holiday traditions, new and old. I love them all, but this one in particular got me to thinking. It's an Activity Advent Calendar, and it's meant to cover a month of Christmas doings. I think that is pretty brilliant, but then I got to thinking further and realized that what we REALLY should do in this house, is to make next year's calendar NOW. Maybe not put the dates on it right yet, but make an activity for say, twenty of the twenty-five days so that when next year rolls around we can place the days around the things already on the calendar. The coolest thing, is that by next year, we will only have a vague recollection of what we put into it. It really will be a surprise for everyone! For us, it will be a way to be sure that enough time is spent doing family based activities and not running around like crazy just "getting things done".

I like the idea of doing this with small gifts as well, and am thinking that next year, if I'm really on it, November can be spent making advents for all the families we know. If you have ten families, you need to bake a dozen each of a few kinds of cookies, buy a set of small forest animals and paint them with glitter, a box of individually wrapped chocolates to divvy up, print out some friendship notes and curl them up into a vial or tiny box, a few decks of cards maybe from the dollar store, handmade tree ornaments... there are literally so many small objects that would be fun to put in a basket or box, each wrapped individually (make sure you put the individual cookies into wrapping, bags or containers that will keep them fresh) and with numbered tags on them. The family can pick a person each day to open something. So much more special than the cardboard and cheap chocolate things that you see everywhere.

If you have unique ideas of what to put into the advents, leave us a comment!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Formal Garden Love

In the little world that exists within my head, I am creating a garden from heaven. It's been in the works for several years, so that when I get my land I will be able to hit the ground running. I almost purchased a large property on a local river two years ago, and I went so far as to sneak onto the land and plant a small violet plant in amongst the old wasted garden plot to say "here I come!" and start the process. It turned out that it sold before I could acquire it. So I was sent back to the planning stages. I have about a million photos in various inspiration folders all over the computer. I thought I would share.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

DIY Butterfly Art Found on Poppytalk

I am always happy to find something out of the ordinary... especially if it is a thing I can try my own hand at. I pretty much never do the thing that the tutorial tells me to do, but if there is a good idea there, I'm in.

You might find this lovely little B-day card slash butterfly pin found on Poppytalk Handmade to be a happy project. I am thinking that I will turn the mass of butterflies into art for my wall as practice, and then find a way of using the idea to decorate something wedding oriented for the other blog. I love the neutral look and the mass of wings and especially love how the gradient in the ribbon (which I think probably will be referred to as "ombre" because EVERYTHING in a gradient is now referred to as ombre) really sets it off. Off to experiment!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Whimsical ReBirths of Jessica Joslin's Taxidermy Sculpture

Once in awhile you come across an artist that makes you all jittery when you see their work. Like when you were a kid and you would hop up and down a bit hearing the song of the ice cream truck ten blocks away, or knowing that when the car stopped you would arrive at one of your favourite destinations. Taxidermy sculpturist Jessica Joslin gets me all hoppity like that every time I visit her website.

Now, I can't say that I am a huge fan of taxidermy per se, but I AM a huge fan of different and unique. And while the steampunk revolution, goth encores and inundation with macabre that comes from living with two boys has created a sort of blase attitude toward using skulls and such in art for me... well Jessica has hit some sort of nerve. A really good one!

Jessica's work takes these critters to an entirely new world of fun and whimsy. You almost get the impression that they feel lucky to be reborn in such a world! I find something to oooh and aaaah about with every piece, her intelligent use of decadence mixed with an ability to let the personality of the piece speak simply. She's just kind of brilliant!

I absolutely ADORE her work and have made it my brand new mission to start a collection. It may take until I am eighty to acquire enough pieces to actually CALL it a collection, but I shall have at least three. THIS way I get to visit her site regularly to pick out favourites and keep tabs on her work with purpose! I'd love to know what you think... should be a fun discussion!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fabric Quilled Gowns

One of the most popular posts on this blog has definitely been the paper quilling projects from last spring. I understand why, they are unique, super fun to do and have a distinctly "back in my day" feeling to them. The look is delicate and ornate at the same time and I was very excited today to come across these gowns from Victorio & Lucchino in the Grace Ormonde digital issue (which is fabulous). They look like they have taken quilling to a modern couture level and I absolutely love the lines and juxtaposition between the sheer and the lace fabrics.

Friday, March 2, 2012

To Do... Make Felt Cookies

I have been meaning to go to the store and buy some cardstock to make up a chore list for my kids. It can't hurt right? Partly because I walk everywhere and the trip downtown is somewhat of a luge run of ice, but also because a plain old list of chores and stars (as much as my kids ADORE stickers) just doesn't seem awesome enough to get my kids' butts in gear, I have been procrastinating. HA! Imagine, if I can't even MAKE the chore list, what kind of example am I setting for them to pick up their toys??? LOL, anyway, I digress...

Today my inbox had the PERFECT solution for me. Thank goodness I didn't spend that five bucks on paper and star stickers! Urban Threads, which is where I get my favourite embroidery patterns from, has a tutorial posted for THIS:

Brilliant, I know, right? I love the way Niamh and the other UT girls think. They make everything fun, and even if you don't own an embroidery machine, you can still make a version of this for your own little rascals. I really think this just might do the trick. We painted their room a bit ago and have built a loft bed into the space and I love how it is coming together, I just can't see the floor. Ever. So this is being done this weekend. Promise.

And since we are on a monster kick, if you're feeling crafty, you could head over here to vote for your fave monster from their readers projects. I adore the zombie bunny :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snow Bunny

As per usual Anthro has the most genius display up for winter that includes a bunny that is so excellent, I might just attempt to make him. For Easter. Maybe. Because I really haven't had time lately to do ANYTHING. Which is why I haven't been around here. I apologize for my absence. You know that lull that happens after the holidays where you get to recoup and refresh? Well there wasn't that. AT ALL! I had scheduled some projects to keep me busy and tie up some loose ends through that typically white and cozy "at home doing nothing" period, but it never happened. And then not only did I have these projects, but also the things I had been working on all last year suddenly EXPLODED into fruition overnight... and I am just starting to get caught up! So I am happily puttering away, trying to stay ahead of the game by just a few strokes... and in the meantime my inspiration folder for this blog is bursting at the seams... so I might have to spend a few posts just cramming all the neat stuff into a few posts to get it out there to you :) Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Crafty Ideas... Craftgawker

Do you know about the site "Craftgawker"? I peruse the Weddingawker site fairly often for the other blog's benefit...  but my real favourite is to check out the goings on over at Craftgawker. It's my true eye candy. I adore seeing what people make. Not just the things I can do myself, but to aspire to greatness in other areas... such as, say... crochet! I also love it when somebody takes something we've all seen and reinvents it. It's just brilliant.

I have a friend who was chatting the other day about the doily pendant lightshade... which, to me was an obvious evolution of the string pendant made famous by Moooi. I was surprised that she hadn't seen it, and realized that maybe not everyone spends ridiculous amounts of time perusing websites just to look at pretty pictures. Huh. Who woulda thunk? (Although I have created a Pinterest addiction in her... mwahahahahaaaa). A sight like the Gawker series (food and dwellings are also part of the Gawkerverse,) puts the pretty teaser photos all on the same page and clicking on the links takes you to the sight mentioned where you will find tutorials, latest works or even just a glimpse inside someone's sketchbook. The next time you are looking to kill some free time, check them out!