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

April 28, 2014

Seeing Beauty No. 3 - My Living Room

I've given you a little tour of my yard and my basement and my quest to see beauty in my surroundings and in the things I already own. I was planning on seeing beauty in my kitchen next but then I soaked up the view in the below picture and knew my living room had to be next on the list.
I love the collection of mementos and pictures above our fireplace. I eventually want to fill the entire space with frames full of memories and art.
This little fairy has been in my home in one place or another for over 15 years. Her bowl broke this year during the Christmas decorating frenzy. She is sitting on old science book set set my husband has had since he was a boy.
A little side table full of odds and ends. My dancing lady needs a repair, a project that is in the queue. If you look closely you can see some of the fossils that make up our fireplace wall (hint, there is a shell to the right of the dancing ladies raised arms).
I love to craft with buttons but I haven't in a long time. It has a lot to do with this little frame I made. I need to buy more buttons so the container can stay full and my crafting craving can be fulfilled.
I love all of the light that floods this room during the day. I am even more grateful when I can work from home and sit on the couch answering my e-mails. Don't worry about the smoke detectors, it was battery changing day and they are reinstalled.
Made crafts and purchased crafts can be found in little corners of the living room.

Is there an area of your house that you can look at with fresh eyes to see the beauty that is already there?

April 27, 2014

Sunday Links No. 15 - Photo Backdrops, Ducks & Ice Pops


Last week I had a mini-photo shoot with my neighbour's Indian Runner Ducks. SO cute.

I am dreaming about our lake vacation and homemade popsicles. These ones to be precise.

Adding video to your Project Life albums is not only possible, it is a must.

10 photo background ideas for your crafts and projects.

I am going to play around with this edging pattern to create some headbands (more stock for my future Etsy shop).


Pinterest has launched Guided Search, you can watch the video to see what it is all about. The reason I love this video is watching people use Pinterest to actually complete the projects they pin! I can definitely get better at that.

Want more? You can browse more Sunday Links here.

April 23, 2014

looking up


Yesterday, I laid down on the ground and looked up. In doing so I found out that holly trees have yellow blossoms.
Who knew!
This was my response to the weekly prompt over on Focus on Everyday. Click on over to the blog to see the responses from the other contributors.
Here's another picture I took while laying on the ground. It is too pretty not to share.



April 21, 2014

30 Days of Happy


30 days ago, I shared that I was going to start the #100happydays project. Well actually it has been 31 days, I counted number 7 twice.

Shortly after joining the project, I read an article in the local news bashing the challenge. You can read it here, but essentially it says how unrealistic it is to be happy for 100 days in a row and that we are setting ourselves up for unhappiness trying to achieve this goal for such a long period of time.

A friend asked me why I was participating because, in her words, "You are happy!" And my response was that I like the idea of being mindful of what makes me happy and documenting it.

I don't believe we go through life in a cloud of happiness everyday. We feel the range of emotions, some fleeting some longer, on a continual basis. But why not make an effort to seek out and recognize the moments that bring you happiness?

If you want to follow along with me, you can find me on Instagram.
User name @harmonyc

April 20, 2014

Sunday Links No. 14 - Coil Baskets, a Drawing Challenge & Map Art


I am creating a new rule for myself. No more working past 4 PM. When you don't have an office and you work from home most of the time it is too easy to keep working and forsake all of the things you want to be doing. Sure there will be exceptions to this rule, but I need a hard stop to put the laptop away and live my life.

Even though no posting happened here this week I still found lots of links to share.

I'm going to do this drawing challenge.

Poppytalk has opened a storefront. It's in Vancouver and I think I need to visit.

Another craft to add to my long list of crafts to try: coil baskets.

This stool is a must, not just a want. When I am on job sites I can sometimes be found sitting on the floor if there are no chairs. I should start carrying my own!

Make paper into fabric that can be sewn.

Map artwork, yes!

It's time for a new iPhone case.

30 things to start doing for yourself.

Will this article stop you from doing those online quizzes?

Want more? Click here.

April 14, 2014

My Weekend in Pictures

Two days of pure sunshine made for a fantastic weekend here in BC. Spring means rain here (well, so does fall and winter) but to have 2 days of sun fall on a weekend is a rare treat.

Here is how we spent our weekend.

 He didn't want to participate in the beach fun at first. But we convinced him it was still okay to have fun with the family even though he is 12.
 A strawberry break.


 If you sneak up on your big brother, you need to run away, fast.
How was your weekend?

April 13, 2014

Sunday Links No. 13 - Funny Owl Video & A Perfect Outfit


Saturday was a great start to this weekend. Sunshine, silliness and smiles. This is my good friend Gabi. You can read this beautiful post that sums up our friendship.

This is the perfect outfit for me. I can wear it to job sites and it is ME.

If you want to burst out laughing while learning at the same time, please, please go watch all of these videos. Not all are kid appropriate though (especially the duck one).

This is my favourite so far:



If you want to write about a good life, you must live a good life. Great article.

Improving your photography with Lego figurines. Brilliant.

If you want to keep clicking links, I have more for you here.

April 10, 2014

Audio Books - My New Obsession

1. I drive a lot for my job.
2. I am a former audio book snob.
3. As a recovering audio book snob, sometimes I am sad when I get to a job site because I have to pause my book.

Because of number 1 on my list above I now adore audio books. I'm sorry to say I judged people who listened to audio books but now I can say it was only because I didn't understand. I didn't understand how I can take a routine activity and spice it up listening to rich stories; fiction and non-fiction.

I now listen to books when I'm cleaning my house and on my runs too. I am one of those people who will forsake all responsibilities because I need to finish a book but sometimes guilt creeps in as I lounge away a day. Enter the audio book, I am productive and getting my literature fix all at once.

I still love curling up in bed with a good book or bringing a novel into a bubble bath but these audio books have opened up a whole new world. And the best part, I get them all for free from my library, I download them onto my phone and play them on the stereo in my van. I am on multiple waiting lists for recently released books (which I don't fully understand, must be a licensing thing).

Here are some of the books I have listened to in the past 3 months (remember, I drive A LOT).
http://www.rickriordan.com/my-books/percy-jackson/heroes-of-olympus/The-House-of-Hades.aspxhttp://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/inferno-featuring-robert-langdon/9780385537858-item.html?s_campaign=goo-BooksByTopSales&gclid=CMvBwoOI1b0CFU1bfgodNYQAXghttp://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/the-help/9780425232200-item.html?ikwid=the+help&ikwsec=Books
 

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/wild-from-lost-to-found/9780307592736-item.html?ikwid=wild&ikwsec=Home http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/ive-got-your-number-large/9781594136351-item.html?ikwid=i%27ve+got+your+number&ikwsec=Homehttp://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/spirit-animals-book-one-wild/9780545522434-item.html?ikwid=spirit+animals&ikwsec=Home
I am on the wait list for The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt right now. And yes, I enjoy books written for children.

Have you listened to or read any good books lately?

April 09, 2014

experience

On Monday night I came home to an empty house. I was home early and all my boys were out at the park or activities (with my husband transporting them). I wandered from room to room not knowing what to do with this unexpected free time, not sure what to do with myself.

It was a strange predicament, in the mornings I love my quiet time; I drink my coffee, read my blogs and am still. In the evenings, after the boys are in bed, I putter and tidy or I will work on my "day" job. And I fit in creating when and where I can.

It was early in the evening and the sun was just setting, it was a photographer's magic hour.

I decided to really experience this found time and took my camera on a front yard exploration. I felt awkward at first as my camera is usually pointed at one of my boys or purposely taking pictures for this blog. And then I let go and was in the moment.

This is my response to the prompt experience on the Focus on Everyday blog. Please visit the blog to see the rest of the team's interpretation of experience.


April 08, 2014

PSE Actions - A Beautiful Mess

I treated myself to a new actions set from A Beautiful Mess, The Elements Actions, a couple of days ago. When the shop first opened the action bundles were only for Photoshop and I was sad. Then they released this set of 10 actions shortly afterwards and I was happy again - for $10 you get a lot of editing fun!

One of the first actions I ran is called Clara, and it was perfection (you can see it just below on the pictures of the trees in my front yard).

I found that the Light Leak and Mia actions called for a summertime photo and pulled out one from last year. Mia and this photo of Grayden go hand in hand.
Since Darien is fair-skinned like me, I find a lot of actions wash him out, but Dottie and Nico look good on him.
I like to play with the layers in pre-made actions. Not only do I get different results but it also helps me pick-up tips on new layers I can try on my own. The Wendy action converts your photo to B&W but by reducing one of the layers to 90% I was able to preserve some of the colour. The Harper action really made the greenery pop in the photo of Connor.
Where do you buy your pre-made actions?

April 07, 2014

Inside my Sketchbook No. 1 - Image Transfer

A pretty convincing argument could be made that I have too many sketchbooks & notebooks, especially when you consider the fact that none of these are full (yet).


I used one of my favourite art journaling methods today: packing tape and magazine pictures.

It is a very easy photo transfer technique. You put packing tape over the image you want to transfer, being careful to keep the tape as smooth as possible (meaning no folds or creases). It is worth it to take the extra care and attention during this step as you only get one chance, once the tape is on the image, it is on the image!

I then put the magazine page in a bowl of warm water.


After 10 minutes, take the image out of the water and you should be able to remove the paper from the tape by gently rubbing on the back. If it doesn't come off, put it back in to soak or you can try rubbing again in the sink under running water.

The ink from the image should be "ghosted" on the tape and the tape should retain some of its stickiness. I pat it dry with a tea towel and then place it on my page. As the image will retain some of the transparency, you can start your sketch or journaling before you place the image transfer on your page.


This was a light coloured image to begin with (sorry no before photo), so the image is very faint. I find the results vary from magazine to magazine and is dependent on the colours in the picture. Darker hues are picked-up more by the tape than lighter ones.

I kept this page simple and added a quote to finish it off.


I enjoyed a trip through the pages of this book as I haven't picked it up in a long time. The picture of the giraffes was inspired by a pocket-door that separated my boys' rooms in our old house. My middle son and I would find pictures in the wood grain and tell stories about them (yes, just like cloud-gazing). The 2 giraffes was one of our favourites.


I am committing to filling up all of these books before getting any more, a lot of sketching and journaling are in my future.

April 06, 2014

Sunday Links No. 12 - A Fun Food to Make and Say, Concrete Vases & Merit Badges

A lunchtime photo shoot by Science World in Vancouver.

I lost my creative groove this week. I was swamped with work for my project manager job and the little energy I had left went to laundry and my boys. After a couple of hot bubble baths, some brainstorming sessions with my notebook and a pep talk to myself I am ready for another week.

And, as always, I start my week on Sunday morning with my cup of coffee and my favourite links I found on the internet.

Not only do these look delicious, they are so fun to say!

I was playing with Plaster of Paris yesterday making volcanos, now I want to make these too.

I am going to print out the picture on how to properly jump a car and put it in my glove box, hopefully never to be touched again.

I want to sign-up for this class and make some new goals.

I loved my Brownie sash with all of my badges. Now I want to make my own, I can earn my blogging badge!

A collection of TED Talks dedicated to creativity.

Yoga mat flip flops? Yes please.

Do you want to join my scenius?

I love this sneak peek of a designers process.

If you are looking for more Sunday Links, you can find them right here.