Thursday, 29 August 2013

Back To School Bulletin Board: We All Swim Together

This week is my first week back to school and I love it! There's something so rejuvenating about the fresh set up for a new year - the possibilities are endless, my energy is limitless, and I'm so optimistic about how the next ten months are going to play out. While the student's don't start until next week, I've been working hard to have everything ready to go so I can actually take the weekend off to spend with J. 



Once of my tasks was a new bulletin board display for our main common area. I saw similar bulletin boards to this from several different sources on Pinterest, but none of the pins actually led to the posts.



To create my board, I covered the background with blue paper and put a white border around the end. I cut the letters out using a Circuit in white to match the border, and the fish are all clip art files from Microsoft Word, which I printed and cut out.



I really like it because it's not too juvenile but still cheesy and fun. Also, given the type of school I teach at and the students we deal with, it seems to describe us perfectly!

Shared at: Artsy-Fartsy Mama, The Thriftiness Miss, What Meegan Wants, Serenity You, Life at Lakeshore Drive, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster

Monday, 26 August 2013

Weight Loss and Exercise Visuals


First I have to say a huge thank you! Just this weekend I reached 50 000 views on my little piece of blogosphere. It absolutely amazes me that Polka Dots and Paisley has been visited so many times. I started this blog because I wanted to write and thought it would be fun to share some ideas but had no idea the support and friendship I would find from people I've never actually met. Thank you to all of you for taking this journey with me, and I look forward to the next 50 000.

Now, on to the real reason you're here...

I have to be honest; I dislike exercise and I love to eat but hate cooking (although I think baking is swell). This led me to be larger than I ever thought I would be, to a point where I really was uncomfortable in my own skin. Last fall I decided enough was enough and joined WW. My goal was to lose 20 pounds this year (and to continue that yearly goal until I reach my ultimate healthy weight) and I achieved it with just weeks to spare. I realize this may not seem like much but I’ve made and am continuing to make changes that I can maintain for the rest of my life.

    
With that said, I’ve been feeling a little discouraged lately. I’m a visual person so I knew I needed some sort of image to help keep me motivated. I was using my pounds to goal button jar but it kept getting knocked over, buttons went missing, and I eventually put it away. I decided to revive the idea but to make it much more aesthetically pleasing. I bought some jars and decorative stones at a dollar store and sorted them into “lost” and “to lose” jars.


To make the labels I simply cut out white paper strips, stamped the words on them and inked the edges, then used glue to attach the labels to the jars.


When picking up the supplies for the weight loss jars, I also bought two more jars and some popsicle sticks to make exercise jars. I wrote different simple exercises (think commercial break, no special clothes required) on the popsicle sticks. Every day I’ll take one stick from the “to do” jar, complete the activity, and place it in the “done” jar.



Hopefully these jars will provide the visual I need to help keep me motivated and I’ll reach my goal. I’m toying with the idea of doing a semi-regular weight loss post (maybe once a month) as another way to stay motivated and accountable but I’m not sure.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.



The Crafty Blog Stalker

Glitter, Glue & Paint

Serenity you

Shared at: Kathe With an E, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster, Clean & Scentsible, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Artsy-Fartsy Mama, The Thriftiness Miss, What Meegan Wants, Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Lines Across, Glitter, Glue and Paint

Friday, 23 August 2013

Sour Cherry Jam

In my last post I directed you to Kathe With an E to check out the delicious apple jelly I made with a friend. The day after getting home from visiting that friend I went to run a few errands and decided to stop at the farmer's market on the way home, where I saw some beautiful sour cherries. To make a long story short, I brought a pail home with me. I wasn't sure what to do with them but decided to make some jam.



In order to make the jam, I used the recipe from the Certo pack and modified it a little bit. No, this isn't a sponsored post. 

I think the most important thing with making jam is to have everything prepared before you put anything on the stove. I make sure everything is measured out, cut open, in place, and ready to go before I put my ingredients onto the heat. Find a system that works for you. I have a decent sized kitchen but I like everything close so I cram it on the smallest part of my counter. Below is my set-up.




In my excitement over finding lovely sour cherries, I neglected to think about pitting them. It took 6 episodes of Numbers (thank goodness for Netflix, diet coke, and summer holidays) but I finally got them all clean, pitted, chopped, and ready to make jam.




Stir together 4 cups prepared cherries, 7 cups of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a large pot. Bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute.



Remove from heat and stir in 2 packages of liquid Certo. Stir and skim (not over heat) for 5 minutes.

Pour into jars, screw on lids, and wait for the "ping" which means the jar sealed.



It was painful pitting all those cherries but this is honestly my favourite jam I've ever made. It's sweet but not sickly and a little tart but not sour. I'll definitely make it again but next time I'll be buying a pitter before I start.



I made two batches and ended up with 16 jars of Sour Cherry Jam: 4 x 500 ml, 10 x 250 ml, and 2 x 125 ml. Also included in the picture is a batch and a half of blueberry jam I made while I was in a jam-making mood. Yum.

Shared at: Diana Rambles, Serenity You, Beauty In The Mess, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Lines Across, Kathe With An E, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster, Clean & Scentsible, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess, The Crafty Blog Stalker, For You With Love

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Homemade Apple Jelly: Guest Post @ Kathe With an E

Want to learn how to make seriously delicious apple jelly? 


   
Then head on over to Kathe With an E. She's been kind enough to let me guest post this amazing apple jelly so stop on over, show her some love, and have a look around.

Shared at: A Creative Princess, Sew Much Crafting, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Artsy Fartsy Mama, The Thriftiness Miss, Meegan Makes, Diana Rambles, Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Lines Across, For You With Love

Monday, 19 August 2013

Veggies

I never thought I would be a gardener. Growing up I would ask my mom why she wasted time on a flower bed. Since moving to the prairies that has totally changed. I think because we have such a long, warm growing season (compared to Newfoundland) I've come to enjoy growing my own food and flowers. I've been harvesting a lot of my veggies lately and thought it was time for an update. These pictures were taken a couple days after returning from vacation so please ignore the long grass.


I've been eating tomatoes, yellow and green peppers, and cucumbers from my pots so far and I still have more tomatoes, habanero peppers, cucumbers, and celery growing.


Cucumber: One fell off and there are a couple still growing.


Tomatoes: Starting to look a little bare but I've eaten a lot.


Peppers: The front two plants are done but the habanero is still growing. 


Celery: This one is a pain and needs a lot of water. I don't think I'll be growing this again. 
  

While I'm at it, I thought I'd show you my flowers too. I lost almost all of my perennials last winter so a lot of these are new plants. I'm really pleased with how many of them are doing, and hope they survive the winter.

Shared at: Kathe With An E

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Colourful Graduated Polka Dot Painted Art


In a post a couple weeks ago I showed you my Subway Tile / Brick Wall Artwork that I made to replace my Rothko Inspired Art and gave you a little tease about the other piece I made to go with it. Well, you don’t have to wait any more. My other new piece is this graduated polka dot painting, which was inspired by the Confetti Art at Andrea+Chris+OurChaos.

    
Supplies needed:
Canvas
Paint
Sponge brushes
Bristle brushes
Circle stamper (I used a pill container)
Paint pallet or tin foil


For each dot I used a foam brush to cover the top of the pill container. I tried many different circles but found this to be a nice smooth surface and the perfect size. I then pushed the cover onto the canvas, making sure to roll it around to get the edges. Next I used a bristle brush to fill in any gaps in the circle and smooth over the paint.


I started by making circles using several colours and then left the painting for a while. 


Once the circles were dry, I added the rest of the colours, being sure to only overlap on dry circles, then left it to dry again. At that point I thought I was done. 


The more I looked at it, the more I felt like the full side needed a few more dots so  I reluctantly added some more. To be honest I was terrified that I was going to mess it up. However after adding a bit more it looked finished so I stopped. I also decided I wanted it to face the other way so I turned it upside down.


Now it’s hung over the end table, with my wedding pictures and the corresponding picture on the same wall. Sorry that they're not perfectly straight. Not to toot my own horn but I love it! I feel like my living room is one step closer to complete.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Colour Me Rad

Please allow me to interrupt my regular crafting, DIYing, and home improving for a glimpse of regular life. 


Sparkling clean at the beginning.

At the start of August J and I participated in the Colour Me Rad 5k in Calgary. It was originally scheduled for the end on June and we were going to do it as a family but it had to be rescheduled because of the flooding so D missed it. 


Slightly powdered from the warm up.

There I am coming through the purple (or maybe pink) station.

Did I enjoy it? Yes but I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. I'd do it again if I lived in the city where it was happening but I wouldn't go through the hassle of hours of driving, figuring out Calgary Transit's website, kennelling the dogs, and all the other things just to do it again.

J and I at the finish line.

All coloured and sweaty after the Colour Me Rad.

I guess I can cross "complete a colour run" off the bucket list.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Minor Update, Major Impact: New Doggie Gate


Do you ever have a project that doesn’t even qualify to be called a project, that is simple to take care of, but that you continue to put off? That was my relationship with my doggie gate, until recently.   
   

   
I’ve had this plastic baby gate since I got my first dog, Paquita, back in 2005. It had moved with me from Newfoundland to Saskatchewan to Alberta, through various apartments and into J and my first house. We kept it at the top of the stairs to keep Paquita, and then later Benson and Raven, from going downstairs. We never actually put it in place but just leaned it up against the wall. It was an ugly, ill-fitting eyesore and I’ve looked at it with distaste for four years now.



Fast forward to our anniversary. J took me shopping to buy me a piece of jewelry (I hate surprises) but I came home empty handed. I couldn’t justify spending that much money on something I don’t need. Instead we bought a mental doggie gate which J installed. It wasn’t expensive and it wasn't difficult to install but it has made a world of difference. It’s not ugly and it doesn’t bother me every time I look at it.



I can't help but wonder why I put it off for so long.

Shared at: Diana RamblesSerenity Saturday, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Artsy-Fartsy Mama, The Thriftiness Miss, Life on Lakeshore Drive, C.R.A.F.T., Sugar Bee Crafts, Clean & Scentsible, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts, Someday Crafts, The 36th Ave.