A lifestyle blog, with lots of photography, creating and pretty things.

August 04, 2014

37 Things Before 38

Over 2 weeks ago now I turned 37. We were on vacation at the lake and it was perfection. Just me and all my boys, I couldn't ask for anything more. As I tend to mentally age myself early (I've been calling myself 37 in my head for a few months now) I was already adjusted to the age change.

One of my goals on the 36 Things Before 37 list was to write my 37 Things Before 38 list ON my birthday. And I did it!

I can't say the same for everything else on the list. I didn't make it to half of them, but:

  • as a weak excuse, I created the list 6 months away from my birthday and didn't have a full year to complete them.
  • I didn't put a lot of thought into all of them and they weren't what I truly wanted.
  • some things made it onto this year's list as I still want to do them.
  • I am okay with all of the above.

37 Things Before 38

  1. Take a pottery wheel class
  2. List 100 items in my Etsy shop
  3. Do the de-clutter challenge (I started this on August 1)
  4. Create a blogging schedule
  5. Take pictures with my DSLR every week.
  6. I need to listen to my doctor and get down to my ideal weight to help with my diabetes and high blood pressure
  7. Try my hand at some Fair Isle knitting
  8. Go to yoga once per week
  9. 5 new date night adventures
  10. Sign Connor up for the babysitting course
  11. Take boys to Whistler
  12. Book dentist appointments (done, we go this month!)
  13. Make my bucket list
  14. Play new song on the piano
  15. Print out the family mantra I created
  16. Sleep outside with the boys
  17. Go thrifting with Gabi
  18. Organize the playroom
  19. Make new kick-ass workout playlist
  20. No snacks after dinner except on family movie nights
  21. Work through all my old personal training plans
  22. Drink 4L of water per day (this is going well 2 weeks later)
  23. Finish my first Project Life Album
  24. Climb Golden Ears
  25. Go to the gym 3 times per week 
  26. Refinish the filing cabinet I scored from work
  27. Go for a family bike ride on the dykes
  28. Book our 4th Shuswap trip
  29. Donate all the clothes I haven't worn in a year (be brutal)
  30. Organize my craft desk (that new filing cabinet will come in handy)
  31. Paint my bedroom side tables
  32. Get my piano tuned
  33. Buy a paddle boat or kayaks for item number 28
  34. Brush off the children's stories I have written and start submitting them again
  35. Send in queries to magazines for some new articles
  36. Create and implement a chore schedule for the boys
  37. Write my 38 things before 39 on my birthday
 It's a good sign that I'm exciting about this list. It is going to get DONE!

August 03, 2014

Sunday Links No. 25 - 55 Movies, Make-up & Hair Clips

This is the real behind the scenes of me trying to get a group shot. Maybe this is part of the reason I love my lifestyle/candid style of photography. Please note that my husband is holding the sign upside down and I took many shots past this one before I noticed.

After a brief hiatus, here are my Sunday Links:

I am trying to grow out my bangs (after having them for less than a month). This clip is perfect for when I am on job sites!

Those who know me, know that make-up isn't something I do a lot of, or well for that matter. But this tutorial is something I can get behind.

We bought a projector yesterday so we can watch backyard movies on a giant white sheet. These 55 movies are a must.

This bookmark is going to be my new method of tagging great parts of books. Move over post-it notes.

I came home to over 1200 unread posts in my blog reader. I ended up clearing them all (sorry, I just couldn't justify the time to spend a day reading blogs). I am so glad I read this post before I hit "mark all as read".

My boys love pierogies. I am going to give this recipe a go and make our own.

And here is the final picture of my family that I got (even though I had to photoshop the face of one of my boys in from another photo as not one shot was "perfect").


PS I pin a lot of photography tips, including posing guides and photoshop tutorials here.

July 27, 2014

Here and Off Again

Swimming.
Hiking.
Laughing.
Eating.
Reading.

Check, check and double-check!


And most importantly, a week of family connections.

Now I'm off on a solo trip to New Jersey via Philadelphia for some Project Manager training. This time my laptop is coming so I can blog.

Have a great Sunday all!

P.S. Sunday Links will return next week.

July 18, 2014

The Lake 2014

I have such fond memories of going to my grandparents cottage in New Brunswick every summer. Ahhh, the familiarity, the routine the swimming (I could do without the leeches though).

It makes my heart burst that we are providing these same memories for our boys even though it is across the country and at a different lake.

Here's to our 3rd annual week at the lake. I can't wait to share our new adventures.

See you in a week!


July 14, 2014

A Jumble of a Post

Here's an assortment of odds and sods to catch up on from the past week.
  • I cannot wait until these are ripe. Our long driveway is lined with blackberries and they are my perfect summer berry recipe ingredient. 
  • We are beyond excited for our week at the lake. I have already started to gather the important stuff for packing (books, games and yarn).
  •  I have harvested most of my garden and when we get back I plan on reinvigorating it with some mid to late-season veggies. The weeds right now are winning but I am coming for them. (this sunflower is 5 feet tall!)
  • I functioned on less than 4 hours sleep and went to work. Not something I want to make a habit of.
  • Cleaning out your fridge makes all the food inside look more appetizing (or is that just me?)
  • I am not a big fan of devices for kids but if you are going to sit outside under a tree with your iPod, I can manage that - for a while anyway.
  • None of my cucumbers made it. I need to buy some as I still want to make pickles.
  • Going outside still in your PJ's and on the front porch I guess still qualifies for my "You can play on your iPod as long as your are getting some fresh air" rule.
  • I plan on bringing my laptop to the lake and working from there today so life is good.

July 08, 2014

Getting Bigger


I don't know about you, but once they get those big front teeth in they all of a sudden have grown up. I love the in between phase before the new teeth come in though. I savor the last moments of them being little and the little lisp that comes along with it.


"Mom do I look creepy when I smile like this?"
"Yes, yes you do."

July 06, 2014

Sunday Links No. 24 - Tourtiere, a Friendly Fox and Stains = Art


I'm on countdown to vacation time, can't believe it will be here in less than 2 weeks! I can't stop daydreaming about sitting on the dock at the lake. But for now, here are the Sunday Links:

Love this cute and friendly fox.

I love Tourtiere but I have never made my own. This recipe from my friend Julie looks perfect.

The perfect touch for a pair of folded up jeans in the summer.

Stains = art!

This method to declutter your home is a good way to ease into the process.

If you are looking for more links to browse, you can find some here.

July 05, 2014

A Great Start to July


Ah July, my favourite month of the year. It isn't just because my birthday is in July, it's more than that. It's the heat, the excitement of no school (and no school lunches), days at the lake and everything in it's prime.


We have a few watering holes we go to that aren't that crowded or ones we go to at off times so we can get the place to ourselves.


We explore, hang out and just be.


We also have fun. On Canada Day we took these Happy Notes and placed them in random spots around our city. Then we had to drive around again because the boys wanted to see if any of them were taken. A few were and that created waves of excitement.

Happy July!

July 01, 2014

Shorts or Pajamas?

I've had a pretty summer fabric in my stash for some time, a very long time. When I first bought it I also purchased a dress pattern, I had a plan for this fabric. I made the dress, it fit, I wore it to work. And then I donated it.

I felt like a picnic table. It didn't help that I worked in a law firm at the time and everyone else was wearing their conservative lawyer-type stuff. (No pictorial evidence is available of the dress.)


But on the weekend I found this tutorial for toddler shorts with a free pattern. It was time to redeem my summer fabric.

Instead of using the supplied pattern (um, because they wouldn't fit), I made my own by tracing a pair of my shorts that have a nice fit. Then I followed the step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the shorts, I chose the version with pockets. I traced around my hand giving a 1 inch allowance all the way around to make sure they would be roomy enough.

The instructions were easy to follow and I was super-impressed with myself as I have never made shorts before.

Now my only conundrum is I feel like I am wearing pajama bottoms in them.

SO, what do you think? Are they for the beach or the bedroom?


PS Here is a great round-up of some more short tutorials.

June 29, 2014

Sunday Links No. 23 - Veggie Cream Cheese, Lemonade 3 Ways & A Summer List


We went on our first picnic dinner of the summer last week. It is a favourite activity in the warmer months around here We arrive at the lake just as everyone is packing up to go home, eat our dinner and then swim until the sun goes down.

I made this veggie cream cheese to go on our baguette. Definitely a recipe that will be repeated.

I'm horrible at buying vegetables with the best of intentions to use them up and then they die in my fridge. Maybe these tips will help.

I'm going to fill in this free printable summer list today and get all of my boys to fill in their own too.

I used this tutorial to sew a lining into a crocheted purse I made for myself.


And speaking of sewing, I don't think any dress or skirt should be without pockets.

Another braid tutorial I am loving (meaning it is easy enough for me to do).

My boys are past the alphabet magnet stage. I am going to upgrade to these pretty ones.

3 lemonade recipes.

And make sure you have these 8 things.

More Sunday Inspiration can be found here

June 26, 2014

A Shop Update (sort of)

I was gearing up to post a shop update this week, but then my dear friend Gabi went ahead and wrote this post.


I think it sums it up rather nicely, don't you?

June 22, 2014

Sunday Links No. 22 - Say YES, Pretzel Buns & Summer To-Do's


We celebrated the first day of summer by being outside as much as possible and doing very little of anything. The perfect combination. My favourite season is here and I intend to soak it all up.

This summer check-list will start me on my way.

I'm going to make some of these for the many picnics we have at the lake.

And while I'm at it, I might as well make a big pitcher of this to bring with us.

Want pickled carrots in a hurry? Try this recipe. (I tried them for the first time and love them).

Soft. Pretzel. Buns.

I absolutely adore these and will be making a bouquet of them for myself.

Don't forget to Say Yes!

I'm not looking for work right now but it is always a good idea to keep your resume up to date. These ones are eye-catching and fun while still remaining professional.

Browse the Sunday Links archives here.


June 20, 2014

Where do you Find the Time?

When everyone says "I don't know how you find the time to do everything you do", I don't always have a great response. But the other day while driving home I was thinking about that statement and I recorded my answer.  So here it is.

Well I make time for it, but most times it is at the expense of other things, whether it be spending time with my husband or with my kids or doing the laundry. But let's be honest, most time the laundry loses the attention battle when I'm really into one of my projects.



So that's just it, you can't do it all. But you have to pick what you want to do and that is where a lot of people come from when they're saying, "I don't know how you do it all". They're putting the items on their to do list that really aren't that fun and that they don't want to do first and then they don't have time for the things that fill up their cup.



But for me, I'm okay with leaving the things like the laundry and the dishes. Sometimes I do feel guilty if my boys want to play and I'm in the middle of something that is inspiring me and I say no to them. What I do to balance this out is that I make time for them a bit later. This helps them learn as well that I have passions and goals and it encourages them to entertain themselves (an important skill for kids as they get older - my boys are 12, 8 & 6). I love myself enough to make sure I'm happy and when I do that, my time with the boys is even more fulfilling  because they get a better me.

What do you think? Do you get this statement a lot, or perhaps do you say it to others? What can you do to balance your life and fill up your cup?

June 15, 2014

Sunday Links No. 21 - PSE Tutorial, Cornbread Muffins & Summer Challenges


A very Happy Father's Day to all of you dad's out there! I hope you are spoiled with lots of love and attention.

I am starting off our Father's Day celebration with these muffins. Jeremy mentioned cornbread muffins about a month ago and I filed it away for today.

I am absolutely horrible at styling my hair. It is either down or in a pony tail. I saw this tutorial and gave it a shot. My hair has been sporting a side French braid all week!

This idea! My shop is going to be full of hats this winter and I am going to jazz them up with embroidery!

When I did my photo booth for the boys' school it was so hard to get the background sheet wrinkle-free. Now I won't sweat it with this Photoshop Elements tutorial.

I am going to print these out today and get everyone to fill-in their Summer Challenges! Stay tuned for mine later this week.

Horrible Adorables. Enough said.

Looking for more links? Check these out!


June 10, 2014

Oh, Hi There!


I've been up to:
  • lots of family time
  • lots of knitting
  • lots of work
  • and feeling totally exhausted
Taking it easy and recouping (from I'm not sure what) is just what I need.

June 04, 2014

Make

I've been on a making spree lately. If I can't find a way to multitask while crocheting or knitting, it isn't getting done. Buying excess supplies is hazard of all this creating. The only improvement I've made is that I am buying with purpose. I needed each colour of this thread to coordinate with some new yarns I have been working with.

This picture is my response to the prompt "make" on the Focus on Everyday blog. Please visit the blog here to see Gabi's response.


June 01, 2014

Sunday Links No. 20 - Simple Living

I'm working on this beautiful weekend but am still making time for myself and the family. My oldest has his ACR (Annual Ceremonial Review) with Cadets today that I'll get to go to. I'm grateful I have a job that let's me balance all the important things in my life.

I haven't done a themed link round-up in a while. This one is dedicated to simple living.

Bleubird talks about how great it feels to simplify and cull your belongings (how hard it can be too).

This family check-in station would eliminate a lot of morning stress and hassles in my house (where is my planner, where are my keys, ahhhhhhhhh - we're late!).

The difference between organizing and decluttering.

This print from Bookishly UK on Etsy.

Go to the listing here.
Living with only what you need.

Enjoy your Sunday!

May 30, 2014

Ireland Bound

Not me, but this little guy is on his way to Ireland:

My mom made a large custom order through my Etsy Shop for various family in Ireland (thanks mom!). She asked what I had for little boys, and the answer was nothing. So I made this little guy as a bonus to her order.

This is the pattern I used. It is a free pattern and is not to be used for commercial purposes (I.e. I won't be making them for the shop). But he is a cute little fellow.

May 28, 2014

A Business Card in a Hurry

Creating a business card for myself has been on my list of things to do for a while. It just got bumped to the front of the queue with some of the orders in the shop.

I didn't want to delay the orders while waiting for professionally made business cards to arrive so I made this quick one in Photoshop Elements.


I've been drooling over different cards on sites like Moo and Minted but I think this one will do just fine until I can put more time into the design.

I used the header from my Etsy shop as a starting point (which is also the header for my blog with different pictures - branding!). Then, using the same font combination, I jotted down all of the pertinent contact details. I added my main product lines to the bottom of the card to balance it out as voila, business cards printed out on nice card stock.

Where do you get your business cards printed?

May 26, 2014

Over Here

Over here I am breathing a contented sigh of relief that the parties are done and everyone is satisfied and feeling appropriately loved on their special days.


Over here I have taken 3 days off to just "be".

Over here I am so grateful for everyone who has visited my new shop and have left me encouraging comments.

Over here I have committed to focus on my health.

Over here I feel loved.

May 25, 2014

Sunday Links No. 19 - A String Bowl, Red Cabbage Smoothie & Soft Pretzels

I am gearing up to 3 more days off. Lots of creating and getting ready for a garage sale is on my agenda. I plan on throwing in some gardening and lots of relaxing too.

Here are my Sunday Links:

This string bowl is so pretty.

Let's agree to have more adventures.

I can't remember the last time I had a soft pretzel. This recipe looks like a good candidate to introduce my boys to this yumminess.

A craft for boys. Mine are stoked to make their own.

A craft for me. I am stoked to make this fabric!

Red cabbage smoothie. The author raves about it, I am going to give it a go.

Enjoy your week!

PS Here are more Sunday Links if you want to keep browsing.

May 22, 2014

He Turns 8


My last birthday boy of this year, and his exuberance for his presents and cake was a great way to end the celebrations in our house. (Mine is still to come but we will be on vacation and I will be planning none of the festivities!).

At 8 Darien:

  • Still loves to snuggle. He loves to come into our bed just as I'm waking up for the day to sneak in extra cuddles and sleep beside his dad.
  •  Is so adventurous and independent. These are great attributes, they just make me nervous as he is also very focused on doing what he wants to do.
  • Has a famous line when he is caught doing something he shouldn't and it is "I forgot". 
  • Is so very thoughtful. He loves to make things for others and surprise them with his creations or good deeds.
  • Is creative and has a keen sense for figuring things out. Like when he went to the salmon hatchery and put 2 and 2 together about the mechanics on how human babies are made. There is a logical trail he followed and I'm not sure all 8 year olds would have connected the dots the way he did. Ahem.
Happy Birthday Darien Bear!

May 21, 2014

alone

When I want to be alone I seem to be surrounded by boys and when I don't want to be alone is when I am. I am learning to appreciate the moments I have and those I share them with instead of wishing for something else.

This is my response to the prompt "alone" over on the Focus on Everyday blog. Please click here to see Gabi's response.

May 20, 2014

A Make-Over for my Clock

This clock is another item in my house that is functional but I was really getting tired of looking at it. I am not sure if it was ever my style, I think it was a gift. Instead of doing away with it and spending money on a new one I decided to give this guy a make-over.
Here is what I did:
  1. I took pictures with my iPhone through the entire dismantling process, I wanted to make sure I was going to be able to put it back together properly!
  2. Sanded the wooden part of the clock to prep it for painting. I originally was painting the outside yellow and then with a mishap with the clock that involved the wet paint portion to land face-down on my lawn, I decided I wanted it white anyway.
  3. Using scrapbook paper, I traced the old clock face and cut out my new background.
  4. In Photoshop Elements, I picked a font I liked and then printed out the numbers after flipping them horizontally. I wanted the numbers to be white and it was easiest to print the numbers in black and then cut them out. By flipping them your numbers won't be backwards
  5. After the paint  and glue (from the numbers) was dry, I reassembled.

A few tips:

  1. Make sure you haven't bent the hands, especially the second hand. That little guy is very fragile and if it is bent will either hit the glass or minute hand. Trust me, you don't want to undo your hard work (3-4 times) to get this one right.
  2. Make sure that the minute and hour hands line up properly for each hour. This is easy to fix if they don't. Position the number hand exactly on the 12 and while (gently) holding it in place, move the hour hand to the proper position if it were to be exactly 1 o'clock. It would be a good idea to check this with all of your numbers.

May 18, 2014

Sunday Links No. 18 - Homemade Lightning, Food Art & Garden Signs


I just had a lovely coffee date with Gabi, so am only getting to my Sunday morning links now.

Making lightning sounds like a perfect summer activity for the boys.

I want to make this shirt, but I think I will use a jellyfish silhouette.

Food art, so fun! My favourite is the birds on a line.

This book is extra appealing to me now that my Etsy Shop is open for business.

A DIY family photo collage, another summertime activity me thinks.

Love this sign!

Browse some more Sunday links here.

May 15, 2014

In the Moment

So many things running through my mind; all things I "should" be doing. But I said no to all of them, shut them down and stayed in the moment. This moment.

This is my response to the prompt "in the moment" over on Focus on Everyday. Click here to see how the other ladies are staying in the moment.

May 14, 2014

Welcome to My Etsy Shop!

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/creatingharmoniously?ref=si_shop

Last week I promised that today would be the day; the day that I open my own Etsy shop. And it is open for my business! I was ahead of scheduled and a wee bit excited, so ended up opening up shop on the weekend. I'm so glad I did, the response has been great and I've already made my first sale.

I plan on adding more items to the shop each week and so hope you will come and visit me.

Creating Harmony is all about items that are handmade with love. Be prepared for a wonderful array of knitting, crocheting, photography and curios.




May 13, 2014

Aspen Croft

Back in February, I wrote about some Etsy shops you should check out. One of those shops is Aspen Croft Heritage Farm Felt Studio. At the time I was anxiously awaiting a custom pencil case for my markers. It arrived over a month ago but since it was a Mother's Day present I wasn't allowed to open it until Sunday.

It is so sturdy, even more than I was expecting; there are no concerns about it holding up to the amount I am going to be using it. The craftsmanship is superb and it is so special as it was made just for me by a friend from high school.

Julie asked me what colours I wanted and then browsed some of my favourited items on Etsy where she discovered I like dragonfly's (now that's service!). It is perfect, I love that my markers stand-up in the case and I can see them all easily without having to pull every one out to find a specific one.

Thank you Julie!

Please visit her shop to discover more felt wonders.

May 12, 2014

A New Ironing Board Cover

This little ironing board has been in my house for almost 17 years. I was considering putting the after picture first so I wouldn't scare anyone off, but decided to be brave and show you what happens after 17 years of ironing.
I purchased this flowered fabric at a thrift store for $1.99 and have had it in my stash for 2 years. I love the sunny disposition this fabric has but haven't been inspired to use it for a project, it's a bit too bright for a skirt and doesn't match anything in my house for a cushion. But yesterday I was ironing and voila, a quick and easy project was born.
I ironed the fabric first and then laid it right-side down on the floor.
I cut off the extra fabric (enough left to do another project of some kind) and used a staple gun to pin the fabric to the board. I didn't take off the old fabric or padding.
My hands weren't strong enough to get the staples all the way into the board so I used a small hammer to bang them in all the way.
I made snips in the fabric around the corners and stapled each section individually to keep a smooth, round edge.
This little friend is a new member of the household (part of my Mother's Day/Anniversary present). He fits right in with the new ironing board cover.