Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The New Gypsies

A different way of life that still exists.  Inspiring?  Unbelievable...

Read about the photographer here.

*caution, not suitable for young eyes*

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

gift wrapping with old packaging

At the grocery store today I was on the verge of picking up some cute, cheap Christmas wrapping paper.  I remembered though, that I had planned to never buy wrapping paper again. I don't necessarily think it's evil or anything (although you can't through it in the recycling), but I just think I can be more creative than that.  That's where this lovely idea comes in.  Of course it's recycled which only adds to the awesomeness.  Also see my other post on gift wrapping.  Yay for presents!

practical picket fence

One of the less-than-awesome things about having an old house is the lack of plugs.  We have extension cords hanging around everywhere and they drive me crazy.  Here is a cute idea that could certainly work in a kid-focused area of the house that helps to playfully disguise the endless cords that are lying around.  You might be able to buy something like it, or you could definitely make it yourself.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Confirmed - Delicious!

Yes, now that the weather is cooling off, I decided to finally try the Banana Ice Cream that I mentioned in this post.  It is indeed amazing.  My husband didn't know what it was and was in disbelief that it did not contain any milk, just bananas.  We also tried the peanut butter chocolate, which was very rich and extremely delicious.  No sugar, just goodness.  Amazing!!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Living Room Market

For any of my Waterloo friends, this is definitely something you should check out.  For everyone else, isn't this a cool idea?  Who needs to rent a giant hall for a craft show?  Just have a Living Room Market in the house of someone in a central, accessible location.  Of course good marketing and publicity would be key, but I think it could work.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wine Bottle Glasses

Although this isn't quite a diy, it is recycled and definitely a clever little idea as a gift for a wine-lover.  Actually, please keep this a secret - I just might do this for Christmas...  :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I am searching for quality toys made in Canada.  Does anyone have any leads on this?  After some searching I have realized that this is actually quite rare.  In particular I am looking for a doll house set.  I promise not to use the blog for this type of thing very often, but if you can point me in the right direction, it would be much appreciated!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Play Room Under the Stairs!

Many people do take advantage of the space under their stairs, mostly with storage.  But this is a creative way to use the space that might take a bit of work, but will definitely be appreciated.  The post is a bit long, but you get the idea.  So great!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hooked by Zanne

This is a shameless plug for my amazing sister who has just started her own Etsy shop, Hooked by Zanne!!  Her craft is crocheting and she is a master.  Right now the hot item on her site is hats.  They are gorgeous.  Please check out her shop and share it with your Christmas-shopping friends!

"Towhees" - Sweet Slippers

Although these are made for babies, I might consider making a pair for myself.  They look simple enough and definitely use an old sweater as the main ingredient.  Can you see the cuffs as the upper ankle part?  I just tossed a sweater and although it's not real wool, I think it could do the job of keeping my tootsies warm...Sweet!

ps. it's not that I don't LOVE the handmade slippers I got from my sister - they're just wearing out!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Genuis Reused Reusable Lunch Containers

My resourceful and creative sister passed on this amazing idea to me.  I am floored by how easy, clever and cheap (free!!) these things are!  And seriously, the milk jug one looks exactly like something expensive you'd buy from a specialty shop!  Wow!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crib Turned Desk

A clever little idea that provides tons of space for your kidlets to create.  Use your empty crib between babies, or even an older crib that you feel is no longer safe for sleeping.  Cute!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Get Back Together With Your Home

After a summer full of parties, parties, parties and back pain, my home and I are definitely not getting along.  I am stressed out every time I walk into my bedroom and I'm starting to wonder whether or not I even have a kitchen counter.  Alright, it's not quite that bad, but this post really hit the nail on the head.  A clever way of looking at how you interact with the place where you live.  Although it's not really a person, your home definitely plays a HUGE role in the dynamics of your family and your everyday life.  This article's perspective is a good reminder to acknowledge the importance of respecting your environment, both inside and out.  Oh, and if you've got the time, check out all the links throughout the article.  Super helpful.

As a side note, I have just recently discovered the re-nest section of apartment therapy.  Very cool.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

When I'm Thirty Five

Will someone write something as lovely as this when I turn 35?  Hint, hint, husband ;)  I know you're getting a lot of SouleMama from me these days and not a lot of practical ideas, but I'm just feeling a little sappy these days and so I tear up at the littlest thing and count it worthy of posting about...Anyways, again, I'm inspired.  Looking forward to the days when I've got this whole mom thing down pat and I can say that my "mind holds the tiny bits of every day life that weave the very fabric of our beings".  Wow.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Family Tradition

SouleMama never fails to take my thoughts and put them into words that are beautiful and succinct.  In this post, she talks about their latest trip to camp, and how it's a place full of memories from her childhood and her children's and perhaps one day their children's.  That's my dream for the Point - a place that my husband has been visiting for as long as he can remember, and that I've been to for the tenth summer in a row now.  And now our daughter has been there for her fourth visit since she was born last summer.  I love the idea of my kids having a place that has been a part of their lives from as far back as their memory goes, and even further back than that

Thursday, September 1, 2011

crate table

I have a bunch of painted white farm crates which have been used in so many ways over the years.  They are now being used to take up space in the basement.  :(  But I have one really nice old bare wood one, and that's the one that I think could work for this project.  At one point someone did a horrible sponge painting job on the one side of it (shame!) so I was thinking I might just sand and paint the one side of it and make that the top - a nice smooth surface - and then have it open on one side...who knows.  Knowing, right off the bat, is not the point.  The inspiration is the point.  And I'm inspired.

gift wrapping

Presents are one of my favourite things, and wrapping them is always an ordeal for me.  I will use a gift bag if I'm in a real pinch, but for me, part of the joy of giving is in the unwrapping.  So I love to make the outside look as good as the inside, if I can.

Here is a great bunch of ideas for gift wrapping.  I love how many of them just use little scraps from around the house (yarn, brown paper (I always cut up old paper bags), fabric and ribbon). I LOVE the confetti ones.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Morning Meeting

Amanda Soule, of SoulMama was interviewed on Ohdeedoh. Two of my faves in one place!  SouleMama says this, and it's an idea I love, especially when I think about the dynamics of having five kids...

We start most mornings as a family with a casual “meeting” at the breakfast table, where we all share what we’re hoping to do for the day, what we might need help with, etc. It’s become a really great way to ensure that everyone’s work/play/projects be treated with equal importance – from Papa building a woodshed, to Adelaide building a birdhouse. The morning meeting inspires a bit of compromise, and a lot of cooperation in the day that follows. And perhaps most importantly, I think, it helps us ‘set intention’ for the things most important to us, both individually and collectively as a family.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bed Time

Sorting through the starred items in my google reader, I found this post.  "Enjoying the Small Things" is a massively popular blog that I don't keep up with any more, but I can't deny that her writing is incredible.  She often posts about time spent on her bed with her girls, napping, playing, reading...Bed Time is wonderful.  She has really inspired me to make good use of our gorgeous bed - not just for the usual things :)  Our routine is a morning one, rather than an evening one, and I actually look forward to it every day.  I have never been a morning person (understatement of the century) and was nervous about becoming a mom for that reason - babies don't have a sense of these things, and won't gently wake you up when they need something.  But I have been so pleasantly surprised by how lovely it is to wake up to that adorable, sweet, smiling girl who is so happy to see me.  And it's especially lovely when daddy gets her out of bed and then brings her to ours for a few cuddles and a lot of silliness.  Kelle Hampton's post just inspires me to keep it up and savour each moment.  I love Bed Time! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blob Lights

This is a great, easy, cheap idea that would definitely be great for Halloween.  I know, I know, you're mad that there is already Halloween candy for sale in the grocery stores, but for someone who likes to diy, holidays take time and advanced planning.  So I'm just putting it out there - a cute idea in general, but especially for Halloween,since you could put them out on your porch and they wouldn't blow out.  Or, like the post says, on your coffee/dinner table without becoming a hazard to the little ones.  Sweet!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Clean Green Simple - Banana Ice Cream

I'm sure lots of you who are interested in eating with less sugar have already heard of Banana Ice Cream.  If you don't care about sugar, you've probably never heard of it.  Shockingly I have never tried it.  Thanks to this website, it is now at the top of my to-try list.  I love dairy and adore ice cream, but I'm trying to avoid sugar.  So, I will purposely let those bananas on the counter become overripe so I can use them for this.  Looks SOOOOO amazing!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

lace light fixture

I seem to have a thing going for diy light fixtures and here's a doozy.  This gorgeous idea is easy, cheap, and beautiful.  I am always looking for an excuse to pick up some of those lovely but not-quite-useful doilies at the thrift store (on top of the one I mentioned here), and this is definitely a good one.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

scrabble decor

Here's a cute idea - if you're lucky enough to have a hobby room this would be perfect, if you just love scrabble this would be perfect, or if you're just looking for some tiny shelves - this would be perfect.  Fun!

Friday, July 29, 2011

re-using button up shirts

I've already mentioned the adorable little girl's shirt dress which takes a man's dress shirt and turns it into a dress.  This is another idea which uses a dress shirt, this time, turning it into a great centre piece.  At first I thought that each little votive just had the cuff of the sleeve around it (which could be cute too), but the other pictures show you what's really going on.  On the same blog she makes a cute change purse out of the cuff.  It really is great to do a sewing project where all the tricky parts (the buttons and holes) are done for you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Labyrinth Rug

I have been debating about finding a cool area rug for my daughter's bedroom.  Right now it is a purely functional place with no recreation happening at all.  And since we'll probably move before it ever becomes a play room, I won't invest in anything right now.  But when the time comes to find a cool area rug, I will be seriously thinking about this amazing idea.  Diy, recycled (you could easily make it out of someone's carpet scrap) and full of sentimental memories.  Growing up, The Labyrinth was one of our family's favourite movies; fantasy, magic, a ball, and big furry Muppets, not to mention David Bowie and the beautiful (very young) Jennifer Connolly - how could you go wrong?  Anyway, another bonus is the versatility of this idea - Odeedoh points out the merits of this idea for creating a race track or other setting for imaginative play.  So cool!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

stir stick light fixture

After spending way too much time on my own diy light fixture, I do like this idea - simple, easy to find materials and really cheap.  Cool.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

water colour markers

A great idea meant for teachers could also be used in any art space where kids are using up those crayolas like they're going out of style.  Yay for recycling and creativity combined!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

word quilts

I think that, as a Menno, quilting is in my blood.  I LOVE blankets (of all kinds) and have to physically restrain myself from filling my house with them.  Another thing that I love is words.  I love reading and philosophy and the meaning that written words bring to life.  This artist has combined those two loves for me.  Click on "Collections" to see more.  Oh, to have a million lifetimes to pursue every type of art and craft!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cute Lamp

A slightly random, but nonetheless cute idea for a lamp.  I'd definitely put that in my girl's room.

beach creatures

Thanks dad for this amazing link.  Another illustration that your life doesn't have to be productive in the usual way.  I think that just the creation of something so whimsical and imaginative is a worthwhile use of time...

I might be a bigger fan though if these creatures were made out of something less plastic - bamboo perhaps?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

diy canopy bed - so easy

As I kid I always dreamed of having a canopy bed.  I am super lucky because I happened to marry the son of a furniture maker and got the bed of my dreams as a wedding present.  My daughter, however, will have to wait a while before we can afford/have room for a bed like that in her room.  However, this idea might change all that.  It's basically the easiest idea ever.  In the picture it does look like they have some fancy way of drawing the curtain up, but I don't think that would really be necessary.  Just a simple drape would work...Hmmm.  I'll have to keep my eye out for some thrifty fabric that would suit this purpose.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Story Stones

This looks like something easy to make (or buy) with a lot of potential.  As a teacher, I know that the number one question when it comes to creative writing is "what should I write about?"  I've seen all kinds of solutions to this problem - random illustrations from books hung around the room, jars of popsicle sticks with a sentence starter on each, class brainstorming sessions to think of ideas...I have never seen these.  And of course, they're not even meant for the classroom (although my mind still goes there first).  They're just meant for playing with, and how fun!  And again, you could make them using recycled paper and stones you find at the beach, encouraging responsibility and respect for nature, and creativity.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Porch Party

I haven't really looked into the details of this event, but I really like the idea of it.  A porch party.  Imagine walking down the street and everyone has something going on, on their porch.  One house might have a band, the next has drinks, across the street they've got some kind of game going on on their porch and next to them there's a few tables full of snacks...I love how this brings neighbours together and encourages people to talk to each other.  It lets you open up your home without having to do the usual vacuuming and dusting, since it's just your porch!  So great.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sharing a Bedroom, PLUS an adorable garland idea

There is a lot that I really like about this room.  I like the colours.  I like the crib (we have the same one!) I like the reminder that you don't have to move to a giant house so that each of your kids can have their own room.  I like the vintage decor, which is most likely second hand and doesn't all match.  I like the framed graphics with their names and birth dates and special features about them.

I LOVE the doily garland!  I so often see doilies that are gorgeous, no doubt about it, but also just not the right thing for my house.  But this is SUCH a sweet way to use them.  Another birthday party idea I think!

Amazing, Terrible, or Just Weird? - Painting a Couch

Check out this post where someone painted a couch.  Not the wood parts, the fabric parts.  Part of me thinks - wow, this is so awesome.  The other part of me wonders if that could possibly be a good idea...A definite diy, money-saver, but perhaps no one will ever want to sit on the couch again?  Hmmm.  Thoughts?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Strawberry Party

I just love themed parties and I thought that this was a really sweet one.  And it's not commercially or expensive. My daughter's birthday is in June, which just might be the perfect time to throw this party....We'll see...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Turning Thirty - A Photo A Day

I know a few people who are turning thirty this year, a few people who have already done that, and a few people for whom that is still way off in the distance.  Whatever the case may be, this is an amazing way to spend the next eight and a half minutes of your life.  Watch and listen and think.

thread - strength and vulnerability

I follow the Toronto Craft Alert website, which is SO inspiring and depressing at the same time.  Inspiring because it reminds me that there are people out there who are devoting their lives to art and crafts, and depressing because those people are in Toronto, not my home town. 

Nonetheless, from time to time they feature the most inspiring events, one of which is an exhibit of this artist's work.  I love how she describes her work and how, as she says, her work combines and features the strength and vulnerability of thread.  Can I do that in myself?  Can I celebrate both my strength and my vulnerability and consider them both worth featuring?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

San Fran in toothpicks

When I was little, I was your classic Peter Pan kid - I did not want to grow up.  I cried on my tenth birthday.  I like to think that I still maintain some of the best qualities about kids, one of which is wonder.  I love imaginary things and worlds where everything is just a bit more beautiful than you thought possible.  I love being amazed.  I hope that I can encourage those qualities in my kids (both those I teach and those I parent) - help them to appreciate that reality isn't all there is to life...

Along those lines, I would like to share this.  Here is someone who has put a LOT of time into something purely fun, whimsical and totally impractical.  Yay!  Enjoy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

crayon cookies

A very cool idea, especially as gifts, or birthday party favours, or of course, just for your own kids. 

wow paper garland

I will be using this for my daughter's birthday party, or at least something like it.  AMAZING!

The more I explore, the more wonderful things I see on this blog.  Check it out if you're looking for easy nature-related crafts to do with kids.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Officer Superhero

A very good friend, and fellow blog-reader directed me to a fantastic new blog.  I started by reading a tear-jerker post, and then a couple giggle-jerker posts.  The post that I am going to share with you is neither of these.  It is a full-out-laugh-jerker post.  You may or may not snort while reading this.  I know I usually post good ideas and things here, but I just have to share this with you, and also store it here so that when things are getting just a little more crazy than I think I can handle, I can just read that and remember that I am not alone.

So, here it is: Officer Superhero.  Also, I highly recommend reading her blog as often as possible.  It is so awesome.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pallet Garden

It's easy to think that you have to choose between living in the city and having a garden.  Not so!  This crazy idea illustrates that.  Again, I love it because it is something you can do yourself with only minimal cost, it is recycling, and it will grow!  I think it would be cool to do a whole fence of these!  We just might try it...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pillowcase Dress

Here is another adorable recycled dress for girls that is super easy and super cute.  Thanks friend for the idea! I'm picking up old pillowcases all the time, just because I like the fabric, so I might just whip up one of these for Easter!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Small Cool 2011

I think I've already mentioned that one of my favourite websites for home inspiration is Apartment Therapy.  Every year they have a contest called The Small/Cool Contest.  For those of us who live in less-than-huge houses, it is SO fantastic to look through the different entries and see how other people have made their small spaces cool.  I always love this contest and highly recommend that you check it out if you're looking for decor, storage or small space ideas.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Old Socks Become Baby Leg Warmers!

I'm going to have to say that I am ashamed for not having thought of this, because it's SO obvious!  Of course you should just cut the feet off of your old socks with holes in the toes, hem the edge and pass them on to babykins!  I have one pair of Huggalugs and was just lamenting the fact that I couldn't justify buying 6 more pairs (one for each day of the week of course...).  Here is the answer!  And if you really wanted to, you could go to the dollar store or thrift store and specifically buy the funkiest socks you can find and turn them into baby leg warmers.  Brilliant.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Little Girl's Shirt Dress

I think this is a really cute way to recycle that old shirt that your man is tired of.  As the site says, I think the little girl will be thrilled to wear something of daddy's (or grandpa's), and it's design means she'll be able to wear it for a few years.  Recycled, simple, cute...what's not to love?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Scented Paint!

I love this idea because it encourages creativity and it's cheaply home-made, with stuff you probably already have (I'm thinking vanilla for white (although it might not keep your paint white), mint for green, almond for brown?).

Best Kid's Room Ever

One of my favourite blogs for decor and interior design is apartmenttherapy.  It's fantastic.  Also, it has a section focused on kid's called ohdeedoh.  I find a lot of inspiration there and check it regularly.  One of the main inspirations for my daughter's room came from this room tour.  I just love the colours, the vintage look, the emphasis on books and the wonderful hand-made-ness of it all. 

Intentional Community Living - Belfast Cohousing and Ecovillage

Community living is high on our list of priorities when it comes to family life.  Just as sharing a room with your sister can teach you a lot, sharing a house with her causes you to expand your mind in so many ways.  There is an infinite variety of ways to live in community - anything from making an effort to say hi to your neighbours, to living in a multi-family shared house.  The Belfast Cohousing and Ecovillage is one way of doing community.  The environmental considerations that they have taken are baffling, and I think the combination of private and shared living space is ideal.

Sharing a Bedroom - Three Boys, One Room

Growing up I always shared a room with my sister.  I plan to have my kids share rooms as well, partly because I don't plan to buy a big house with a room for each of them, and also because I think it's great for kids to learn all of the wonderful things you get to learn when you have to shareThis room is shared by three boys and I love  it!  A great way of making life together economical, practical and fun.

Boys Will Be Boys

I don't have any boys yet, but when I saw this post I sighed a big sigh and thought, I want my boys to be like that.  How fantastic are those first two pictures?  I do consider myself a feminist (although most people misunderstand the word), and I just love the way those boys do not seem to adhere to any of the rules about what boys are supposed to be like.  They are both energetic and artsy.  They care about farming and reading.  Hauling in the firewood, helping dad with the chores, and baking and drawing and writing.  Yes, I've determined all this from a mama's blog.  I'm pretty sure they're not perfect, but they do inspire me to let my boys be boys in whichever way they want.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

T-Shirt Pom Poms

I love pom poms as decor, but have yet to actually do it.  But look at this great idea!  And you could make little ones as toys for kids!  Tie a bell in the middle and you have a jingly one.  And the whole thing could even go in the wash.  How awesome.

Storage and Display - DIY pedestal bowl

I have a Pottery Barn book called Storage and Display, and it has completely changed the way I think about organization in my house.  One of the BIG things I've learned from it is the value of small decorative dishes.  Take your front entrance for example.  You walk in with your keys, the baby's soother, and some coupon you got at the grocery store.  You put this little pile on the little table you have in the front hall.  It sits there for however long - probably until you go out again, or longer.  In the mean time it looks like a pile of random items.  Now imagine that same front hall table with a bunch of little bowls and dishes on it.  You toss each of the random items you have in your hands into one of these dishes and voila - they are where they're supposed to be.  Your entrance looks automatically cleaned up and tidy.  I have a tray of little dishes beside my kitchen sink, in the bathroom and beside my bed.  My house is far from cleaned up and tidy, but they certainly help.  Here is a great idea that adds a bit of height and style to your collection of catch-all dishes.

How do you celebrate the arrival of a second (or third or fourth...) baby?

Apparently the event is called a Sip'n'See.  You come to sip drinks and see the baby.  I just love the name since it's so low key.  It only implies drinks, not even finger food, and it only implies seeing the baby, not even a real visit.  Perfect for a mom with a new baby who isn't ready to host a big event.  This example (where I found the idea) did take it all the way (which I probably would too), but I like how the name doesn't put any pressure on you.  Look forward to a couple of these little parties in our family's future!

Teeny Tiny Balloon Vase

I was totally blown away when I saw this idea.  It is the epitome of simplicity and sweetness together!  Amazing.

Embroidery Hoops Taken to a Whole New Level

I've seen embroidery hoops used on the wall (such as here), but never this.  I love how this idea is home made, demonstrates an understanding of how babies develop (tiny ones love high contrast), and could certainly be done with recycled and even meaningful fabrics since the pieces required are small.  It's like a quilt in pieces!

Family Writing Club

As my first post, I think it is apropriate that it is just a link to Soule Mama.  This is probably the most inspiring blog I read, so expect to hear from her often.  I certainly consider her to be a super-woman, so aspiring to actually do what she does is a little ambitious.  But there are little things here and there that I can do, and certainly hope to do some day.

This is one of them.  Of course having a wood stove certainly helps ;)