Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My Favourites of 2013

A couple days ago I shared my top viewed posts of 2013. Today you get to see my favourites from the past year. These are the projects that I really like, that make me smile every time I look at them - some for sentimental reasons and some because I just love the end result.

Here they are in no particular order.

Last but not least, my FAVOURITE project of the year…

Our Wedding Scrapbook

Part One          Part Two          Part Three

Looking back it's been a busy, productive year. I can't wait to see how 2014 unfolds!

Shared at: Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts, Someday Crafts, A Creative Princess, Artsy-Fartsy Mama, Diana Rambles, Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive, C.R.A.F.T.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

10 Most Popular Posts of 2013

It's almost the end of 2013 and so it's time for a wrap-up. Here are the 10 most popular posts from the year.

*this was technically from the end of 2012 but, 
seeing as it wasn't included in my 2012 round up, I added it here.

There you have the posts that were the most popular in 2013. If you'd like to see last years most popular, click here.

Check back in a couple days to see my favourite posts from the year.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Merry Christmas from Sunshine Village

Merry Christmas from Sunshine Village!

Yes, I realize it's actually the 27th but better late than never, right? Besides, I didn't want to post vacation pictures while we were away because that just seems like asking for trouble.

J and I decided to "skip Christmas" this year. We didn't decorate, cook a big meal, bake lots of treats, or buy presents for each other but instead we spent Christmas Eve through Boxing Day at Sunshine in Banff National Park. To get to the hill we had to drive a little way up the mountain and then take a gondola another 20 minutes higher.

The view from our balcony.

The hotel where we stayed.

Looking down from the hotel at Sunshine Village.

Christmas Eve we arrived too late to ski so we explored the village and spent the evening tobogganing and watching the torchlight parade  Christmas Day J spent the entire day skiing while I took snowboarding lessons for the first time ever. I wasn't good enough for the big hill so J took the camera up and snapped some pictures.

I was horrible at snowboarding and spent more time in the snow than on my feet but it was so much fun I want to go again! 

Christmas night we went snowshoeing around the hills. The snow was falling, we had headlamps, and is was absolutely magnificent. Boxing Day I was hurting (snowboarding introduced me to muscles I'd never met before) so J spent the morning back on the hill while I relaxed around the village. When he'd had enough we came back home, tired and sore but also relaxed and refreshed from a fantastic holiday.

One last photo of the mountain,
taken from the gondola on the way down the hill.

Shared at: Life on Lakeshore Drive, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With an E, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster

Monday, 23 December 2013

Hand Print Snowman

Let me start by saying I cannot take credit for this craft. I didn’t make it or take the picture – it was all mama and little man. 

Last year we started a tradition of me finding an ornament  tutorial online and her making them with little man. For those of you who don't know, little man is my amazing almost-3-year old nephew who lives too far away. If you want to see the adorable thumb-print reindeer from last year, click here.

This year mama followed this tutorial from Little Bit Funky and I think they turned out perfectly.  I love the ones they sent me so much that they are the only Christmas decorations we have out this year, hanging from a spider plant. We're not having a tree this year but I'll explain that later. 

I decided that, given how adorable they are, it'd be a shame not to share them with you. Aren't they fantastic? I love the little smudges and imperfections! Now to find a tutorial for next year

Shared at: Sugar Bee Crafts, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Diana Rambles, Life on Lakeshore Drive

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas Tablescape at School

Yesterday was one of my favourite days of the year at school - turkey dinner day. The students work with a couple assistants to cook turkey dinner and we all eat it together as a school. Things like this make me realize how special my school really is and how much we are like a family.

I was given the task of decorating one of the classrooms (the one where I spend my mornings) to be our dining room. My amazing principal bought some dollar store decorations and let me do whatever I wanted. 

I think it turned out beautifully and was the perfect setting for enjoying a wonderful meal while visiting with students and colleagues.

While I'm on the topic of Christmas at school, I thought I'd also show you my Christmas bulletin board, which is the same design as the one I put up last year. This one took a lot of time to put together but I really like it. The students coloured and cut out the bulbs, and I "hung" them using ribbon.  

Now to survive the next three days and then I have two weeks off. I love my students but I sure am ready for a break!

Shared at: The Happy Housie, A Creative Princess, A Bouquet of Talent, Sugar Bee Crafts , The Crafty Blog Stalker

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Abstract Artwork for the Bedroom

Remember the master bedroom overhaul I shared with you here and here? It’s been on hold for a while, partially because I’m dreading finishing the curtains (but that’s a post for another day) and partially because there has been a lot going on at school.  Anyway, I decided this weekend to get back at it and make a painting to go across from the bed.     

I decided to go for something abstract and gained inspiration from paintings such as this one and this one and this one. Please keep in mind I’m not an artist, although I do enjoy trying to create pieces for my house.   
First I gathered my supplies:
Paint brushes
Next I started painting. I went for slightly messy edges and made sure each colour was dry before adding the next, as I didn’t want the paint smearing together.  
Colour 1: dark brown

Colour 2: beige

Colour 3: light beige (colour 2 mixed with white)

Colour 4: yellow

Colour 5: light blue (left over from the walls)

Colour 6: burgundy (to cover the yellow)

Colour 7: white (to cover the burgundy, which just turned it pink)

Colour 8: navy

At this point I thought I was done, but didn’t like it and couldn’t put my figure on why. I texted a picture to my dear friend Linda (who helped me make amazing apple jelly) and she said it was the pink. She then suggested I try yellow. After laughing over the fact that I already had, we settled on silver.  
Colour 9: silver softened with a little white (to cover the yellow, burgundy, pink mess)
Once the entire painting was dry I added a tiny bit of white paint to a glass of water so it had a very faint colour, and then roughly brushed around some edges to soften things up.

Honestly I’m not sure if I like it. It’s not what I’d pictured and that’s throwing me off. However, it’s better than an empty wall so I’m going to leave it up for a while and see if it grows on me. If not, I can always repaint it.

Shared at: C.R.A.F.T., Kathe With An E, A Stroll Through Life, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster, Clean and Scentsible, Ginger Snap Crafts, Diana Rambles, Snippets of Inspiration, The Happy Housie

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Book Club and Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Snacks

I know it has been awhile. No excuses. It is what it is. Thanks for sticking with me.

A couple weeks ago it was my turn to host book club, for our meeting about The Thirteenth Tale. When I offered my house for this round, I didn’t realize I would be eating gluten and dairy free by the time the meeting came around. It definitely made snacks a little tricky but I tried my best.

First I made this lovely banana bread with carob chips. It looked good, smelled good, tasted good, but was really grainy. I’ve decided almond flour is not my favourite. While I’ve been enjoying it, I don’t think the recipe is worth sharing.

Next I made a delightful zucchini loaf. Again, it looked good, smelled good, and tasted good, but was incredibly crumbly, even after I added extra guar gum. Also not a recipe worth sharing.

For my final baking project I made a modified version of my chocolate chip, oatmeal, pomegranate cookies. These turned out really well except for one small problem: once they thawed out, they turned mushy. The solution, I quickly discovered, was to eat them frozen. They were delicious and the leftovers didn’t last long but, as with the above recipes, it’s not share-worthy… yet. I’m hoping to be able to tweak this one a bit more.

I had been told that gluten free baking was tricky but I didn’t expect it too be as difficult as it was. I guess I need more practice. Along with my attempts at baking I had some chips, veggies and dip (tofu sour cream and gf/df ranch dressing mix), and gf/df brownies, plus lots of wine so no one went hungry.

My mixed feelings about the baking are similar to my mixed feelings about the book. I loved the way the author wrote and really enjoyed the book while I was reading it. However in reflecting on it there were a lot of things that annoyed me, and even more things came up during our discussion. With that said, I’d say it was worth reading and I’d like to check out more books by the same author.

P.S. If you came here looking for a recipe, sorry to disappoint. I have found one gluten-free, dairy-free snack recipe that I'm loving right now and I promise I'll post about it soon.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Homemade Washi Tape Business Cards

Recently I’ve had several orders for bird’s nest pendants that I knew were going to be given as gifts. While I always include a thank you note to the buyer, I wanted to include some cards that the buyer could choose to include with the gift, showing where the pendants came from.

The first thing I did was create a card using publisher. I included the blog name, website, and Etsy shop in a clean, simple font.

I printed them off on card stock and cut them to size (2 x 3.5).

To finish them off, I added a strip of washi tape (my new love) to the bottom and then trimmed it to size.

I had a very limited selection of washi tape in the town where I live so when I made a trip to the city I bought a few more styles.

I love the simplicity and homemade feel of these cards. At first I was beating myself up because they aren’t nearly as fancy as the ones I saw online but I forced myself to get off Pinterest and get back to reality. I’m not a professional blogger but it’s a hobby that I enjoy. Ditto with jewelry making. The more I look at these cards, they more I feel they are a true reflection of my blog: homemade, slightly imperfect, but made with heart… and of course a little bit of dog hair.

Serenity you

Shared at: Life on Lakeshore Drive, Lines Across, Kathe With An E, A Stroll Thru Life, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Clean & Scentsible, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts, Ashley's Dandelion Wishes, 4 You With Love, A Creative Princess, What Meegan Makes, The Thriftiness Miss, Diana Rambles, A Conquered Mess, Serenity You, Snippets of Inspiration, Throwback Thursday