Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Breath of Nature in the Big City

Just a few minutes from my house, there is a lovely park that I like to take Rufus for a walk through,  in early morning.  It was built on the grounds of an old race track and it is truly a piece of nature tucked into the city.  I'm always amazed at how quiet it is and I love pretending I'm up in the country going for a walk at my cottage because, quite often, all the sounds I hear are the birds chirping and the frogs calling.  Hard to believe, with the city skyline peaking above the tree tops.

I brought my camera with me this morning because I was hoping to catch a shot of a white heron that makes his home in one of the hidden ponds in this park.  He wasn't there today.  Often I will see him, preening his feathers one of three beautiful little ponds, surrounded by bull rushes, and quite literally, 20 feet away from a major city thoroughfare.

Other birds were there today, though, and the most amazing thing to me is this sits a few minutes outside of the downtown core. There is a wonderful boardwalk that lies between the bull rushes and as my feet hit the wooden boards I sometimes can't believe I'm just east of the city and a few hundred feet from the lakeshore.

I grabbed a shot of the ornamental grasses beginning to grow, at one of the entries to the park.  It's hard to believe that this is the same spot I grabbed an instagram this past fall(bottom picture).  Gotta love nature!

Have a great day!

ps.  This was quickly thrown together with the new picmonkey collage feature ... YEAH !!... it's finally here!!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

What Bloggers Say

Helana came home today and told me I had to see this. If you have a blog - I think you will find this hilarious. Have a great day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wrap it up Thursday - The Key to Great Wrapping

1- oh hello friend      2- helana and ali  3- making it yourself - Craftberry Bush

I finally came up with a great teacher gift - all ready to go.  However, now of course, instead of making all the little elements of the gift, I feel the need to wrap it up nicely.  I have to make sure that I don't go too crazy on the wrapping - I mean come on - 
but still I plan...

I've been thinking about adding a little key - you know - "you are the key to a great year" ... I can see the girls rolling their eyes now.  It might not pass the sniff test but it is an idea nonetheless.

I got a deal on these little babies.  Actually they aren't that little but I showed them to my niece, a teacher, and she thought she would appreciate it if she got it as a gift so that was good enough for me.

The box itself is great (don't have a picture but trust me it is cute) and I don't want to cover it up.
So a key with tag may be my answer.  

Key or no key, whatever I come up with, I will share next week.  And maybe show a few other teacher gift ideas - I know - I can't help myself.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

1 Year - Blog Anniversary

Well, it's hard to believe that one year has passed since I frantically put together my first blog post.  I had my very first how-to being published in Amy Power's Inspired Ideas Birthday Issue and because I was doing a give-away of my prize ribbon project, she thought I better have a blog.  Ugh!  Helana came to my rescue and in a few minutes had me all set up.  It wasn't much, but over the past year I have learned so much about photography, graphics, editing, promotion and this great community of supportive friends.  Okay, I still have so much to learn - but it's a start.

I wondered how I was going to celebrate the day and thought it would be fun to make some special cupcakes.  I wanted to highlight some of my how-to's but I didn't want to use fondant.  I have been wanting to try making marshmallow fondant and let me tell you it is so much fun!

Truth be told, my back was breaking as I created all these little guys but I had the Celebrity Apprentice on and that passed the time.  The girls pitched in as well.  It was fun. I wish I had known about this recipe ( Clockwork Lemon ) years ago.  I can't wait to try to decorate a cake for an upcoming special event of some kind.  It is really easy and next time I am going to try adding lemon extract for a little more flavor.
I knew that my linen prize ribbon was going to be my star cupcake but then I took a look at the past year and came up with some examples of other tutorials that I have put together.

The guest post on ms. glitter pie (top) was alot of fun.  I couldn't figure out how to make the chain out of the fondant (below) but you get the idea.

I didn't quite get the ikat bag down (top) perfectly but the color is pretty close to the bag I printed with a stamp made from a potato (bottom picture)

It is really easy to make shapes like the macarons (top) from marshmallow fondant but not so easy to capture the texture you get from felting knitted ones.

The quick and easy nest I made with yarn and felt balls was pinned by Ez of Creature Comforts to two of her boards.  She has alot of followers (over 1 million) and so that seems to be my most popular post for the past year.

I had a few misses to get the look of my felt flower rings (top picture)

This was probably the least effective of my how-tos as a cupcake topping. (picture left)  It is hard to keep the needles from flopping down and my yarn could use some work.  But - I still like to use the felted heart knitting needles (right) - they make me happy.

All in all, it was fun to look back at the past year and appreciate some of things I have done.  I've had a great time putting together posts and diy's and I think I have learned alot.  I am starting up a new blogging course next week so I look forward to a wave of inspiration in the coming year.

Thank you to all the vistors for stopping by, leaving comments, pinning pictures and generally making my day.  I wish I could make a cupcake for all of you but this cupcake love is going to have to do...for now anyway.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wrap it up Thursday - Wrapping up Lunch

It seems sort of crazy that as we wrap up the school year, I am thinking about school lunches.  I'll tell you why.  It is always, always a source of frustration.  Missing bags, cups, bottles, forks, knives, coolers and containers.  It all adds up and some days it makes me want to scream.  Okay, I actually do scream.  I wish I knew the answer  but I don't.  That isn't going to stop me from hoping though ... that a solution is near - a DIY or store bought solution - something.  I think this (prudent baby) DIY is adorable.  This print is too cutesy for the girls at this stage but not too cutesy for me.  I just need to use a different print for them.

I love this grouping from Martha Stewart.  Simple and straightforward.  The question is how mad will I be when it doesn't make it home.  I have to weigh my choices here.

I love these containers.  I mean I really love them.  Yes, I would be cross if they didn't make it home.  That blue is too good.

How about these?

I actually got my dad the bright blue and green one for boating in the Keys.  I haven't really seen him use it but I love the idea of all the stacked containers, containing everything you need for a fabulous lunch.  Too big for school though.

These are neat and I have seen them around town.  It helps keep everything separated.  And yes, sadly, even at 15 years old, some people don't like it when different foods touch each other.

Speaking of food.  That, ultimately is what I am confronted with.  What keeps and is appealing, healthy  and safe to eat after a few hours in a container.  I really haven't solved this dilemma but now I will give myself some time this summer to come up with some ideas. Could I put something together like this so that packing is fun and easy?

I'd like to think so.  The possibilities are there and one can only be optimistic at this point.  I just haven't been able to crack the lunch code.   

But when I do won't this fabric look cute, wrapped around a delicious, well-received lunch?

I have had this oilcloth (Kaffe Fassett) around now for 2 years - I am going to try something with it.  

I'll let you know when I come up with something good ... have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Neon Felt Ring - DIY

Last fall I made some felt rings with recycled cashmere in all the yummy fall colours.  Today was such a welcome bright day and I thought that maybe I could use up some of the felt bits I have left over from my neon coffee cup holder.  I have a wedding this weekend and I need one fun ring to pull it all together.

Supplies laid out on a sunny morning.  

I couldn't help myself this morning from making something fun and bright.  I have neon felt sheets, a needle and matching thread and some silver, adjustable ring forms.

Step 1 - felt strip about 6 X 1 inches

Step 2 - fold the strip lengthwise and press

Step 3 - snip cuts on the folded side and cinch with a running stitch (1/4 inch)

Step 4 - roll the strip starting in the centre and sew together and then stitch the flower you have created  to the ring base

You can find more details on how to make the rings here.

I have grown to like these bright colours and I think it is fun to add a hit of colour like this to a spring outfit.

So for the wedding, the girls picked this dress out for me at Anthropologie.  I wasn't sure it was me - but they were.  It was shown with this necklace and although I never would have put the two together Helana and Ali insisted I needed to have it.  This new felted ring, I think, will tie it all together.

Now I am off to find some fun bright pink wedges but I am going to keep the receipt because I need my stylists to approve it :)  Seriously, I am not kidding...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day

With my mom and daughters, Florida Keys, 2005

Happy Mother's Day, to all the mothers, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, aunts, sisters, godmothers, friends and mentors, in our lives.


When I lost my mom, a friend of my dad's passed on the poem Journey of a Mother.  It took me a while to get through it all without weeping.  I won't put it all down here.  This is a link to one version.

The following is the part that touched me the most.  Have a wonderful day!

Your Mother is always with you.
She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the
street, she's the smell of certain foods you remember,
flowers you pick and perfume that she wore, she's
the cool hand on your brow when you're not feeling well,
she's your breath in the air on a cold winter's day.
She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep,
the colors of a rainbow, she is Christmas morning.
Your Mother lives inside your laughter.

And she's crystallized in every tear drop. A mother shows
every emotion ...happiness, sadness, fear, jealousy,
love, hate, anger, helplessness, excitement, joy, sorrow...
and all the while, hoping and praying you will only
know the good feelings in life.

She's the place you came from, your first home,
and she's the map you follow with every step you take.
She's your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy,
but nothing on earth can separate you.
Not time, not space...not even death!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wrap it up Thursday - Last Minute Mother's Day DIY

You can have all the best intentions but sometimes life gets in the way and you run out of time.  If you might not have much time before this sunday and you want to put together a little something personal, maybe an add-on to a flower arrangement or favorite candy, here are a few suggestions.

Above - I quickly printed out a couple of old photos of the girls.  They would be so sweet on a beautiful pencil or pen but I couldn't find any - so hey - they kind of dress up these plain, old pencils.  Make sure you give yourself some space above the head and below the feet for the pencil holes.

I think I would love to have my family put together a cute package like this and rent my favorite chick flicks with a magazine or two... hint, hint.

This is from Martha Stewart.

If you have a little more time - this sweet vanilla sugar packaged so beautifully would be a lovely thought.

This is a valentine's gift from Somewhere Splendid but could easily be adapted for Mother's Day.

How cute.  A card that even the least creative can add to a special gift and let the "mom" in their life feel special.

This is from How about Orange.  You could use a great color that matches your flowers or whatever gift you are including with it.

In either black and white or color, any mother's desktop would love to have a reminder of the special "child" in their life.  I will pop these onto my desk jar and smile with the memories of my little girls over the years ... and that is all a mom wants anyway.

Monday, May 7, 2012

DIY Linen slipcovered lampshade

After a recent minor flood, I was left with a really ugly lamp shade.  The lamp sits in my craft area and also suffers from a tear in the paper shade.  Okay, it is really ugly.  A few years ago, I think based on something I had seen in a magazine, I fixed up an ugly lamp in our guest room and I wanted to do the same with this lamp.

I used some leftover linen and a cotton tape to act as a channel for the twine.  I sewed up the edges of the linen with a half inch rolled to a quarter inch, then pressed and sewed the seams.  I sewed the linen into a tube and pressed the seams where the sides met.  I added a channel one inch from the top of my shade cover, on the inside (wrong side) of the cover.

Once my tube was turned right side out, I created a small slit in the middle of the channel stitches.  This only goes through the linen layer of the fabric (not the cotton ribbon of the channel).  With a safety pin tied to the end of a strip of twine, I guided the twine through the channel created between the linen and the cotton ribbon.

Once the twine was pulled through the channel to come out the slit again, I was able to tighten up my top.  This creates pleating in the fabric and once I got the top to fit the top of my shade, I tied up the twine in a bow.



My Guestroom Lamp inspiration.

Ugly lamp,  with really ugly shade.                                             Now with blue and white ticking cover,
                                                                                                                                                    cute lamp

Shell details were added to the cloth tie, to add to the coastal theme of my guestroom.

Both of these lamps are only for atmosphere so I have a very low wattage bulb in the lamp.  

Other than spending less than a dollar on the cotton ribbon for the channel, I had all the supplies on hand.  This was a quick and easy way to cover up an eyesore.

If I finally find a great lamp to replace these, I can always used the shade for a hat :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wrap it up Thursday - Neon Packages

After I wrapped up a coffee cup a couple of weeks ago,  I decided maybe neon could hang around for awhile.  I mean, I see it everywhere from interiors to all these cute wrapping ideas.

I found a few of these from pinterest.  The polka dot packages are simply neon stickers on kraft paper.  How cute and how easy - (Project Wedding, photo Chelsea Fuss). 

I really love this look of simply painting the inside of a kraft box a bright color like this.  This would be cute for a small kraft box as well.  Found via pinterest Jeanette Lunde

The tags are from etsy Knit & Bow  found via Oh Happy Day.

How sweet to simply pack up in bright pink tissues - great in a grouping- Frolic (Project Wedding Photos Lisa Warninger) found via Jeanette Lunde    

And finally, the neon tape and paper tags from the House &Hold blog

And if you can't find neon bits and bobs for packaging, you can always hop over to funkytime and download this adorable neon wrap - all ready to go.

How easy is that?

For a spring gift, teacher gifts or mother's day - who wouldn't appreciate something bright and cheerful.

Okay Neon ... you are winning me over.  But I am definitely not going to wear a neon pink crop top with ripped shoulders and tease my hair... I have to draw the line somewhere.
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