Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Simple Stitched Cards

When the school year ended a few weeks ago here in my part of Ontario, Canada  the kids and I put together thank-you gifts for their teachers.

Here is a quick tutorial I shared on Tanya's blog,  Twelve O Eight, a few weeks ago.  

A teacher myself, I ADORE receiving handmade cards from kids (and moms!) So, my daughter and I set out to make some Simple Stitched Cards for each of the kids' teachers.

We started with some cardstock cards - these measured 4"x6".
I let my daughter pick a few pages of pretty scrapbook paper.  Construction or wrapping paper would work for this, too.

After cutting a template out of thicker cardboard, my daughter traced and cut out a heart-shape from the patterned paper.

To make the stitching easier, I used a thick needle to pop holes around the edge of the hearts.  Remember to do this on top of a piece of foam, or even a folded towel, so that you don't poke holes into your table!

My daughter used a slightly dull embroidery needle to stitch in and out of the holes with 6 strands of embroidery floss.  Thin yarn would work for this as well.  

It took her less than 5 minutes to do each heart.
"Look Mommy! I am sewing!!"

After sticking the thread ends to the back of the heart with some tape, we glued each heart to a card, slightly left of centre. 
This gave us room to stamp the sentiment.  If you have pretty hand-writing, you could print your own text.  

My daughter and I were so pleased with how the cards turned out. The teachers who received them were full of compliments, too.  

Now what did we give the teachers as their actual gifts?

I'll admit, I did not come up with this by myself.  Unfortuneately, the Pinterest link I have seems to be broken so I cannot send you to the originator of this idea.  

But here is the general idea:
We packaged up matching paper plates, paper cups, napkins and plastic cutlery for each teacher.

I then created this label on PicMonkey:

I am pleased to say that the teachers ADORED their gifts.  Who can blame them?
They can have guests for a BBQ and then toss the dishes into the compost bin when they are done!

That's my kind of gift, too!

Thanks for the visit 
and thank-you so much for leaving a comment!



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Afton's Beautiful Bedroom Reveal

Yep. It's done.  I've been planning, gathering, painting and sewing since last fall, but today I can finally say it is done!

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  

I think this is my favourite part:

This is Afton's favourite part:

I'll share how I made the pillow below later on in the week.

The chair is a $5 yard sale find that I hit with 2 cans of cream spray paint to cover the previous orange and purple paint!!

Afton's name has hung on her wall since we chose it 5 months before she was born ( that's almost 8 years ago!! )  They've been 3 different colours, but still are an important decoration in her room.

I let Afton choose her new light fixture.  I was sure she would pick a glittery jewel-covered chandelier. 
Instead she chose this lacy barrel shade from the Home Depot.   
It casts beautiful shadows!

This dresser has been pink for years.  No change here.  We like just as it is!

The rose picture below is from IKEA, the painting of Notre Dame is a junk store find, and the painting of the doorway was done by Afton herself.  

She has a lot of talent, doesn't she??

I am very pleased with this room.
So is Afton.  
It really is the kind of room I would have loved to have had when I was a little girl.  
Pink and blue and rosy all over!!

In fact, it's the kind of bedroom I'd like now- but I don't think dear sweet hubby would go for it!!

I'll admit that we are having a bit of trouble keeping it tidy, but each day we do a little spruce up in hopes to stay on top of the typical 7-year-old girl mess. 

Next project??

Big Brother Bryn's room.  His room has been basically the same since 2008 so it's time for some new elements.
We are thinking some kind of "explorer" theme.

What does that entail?

Just wait and see.......

Hugs to all,


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Camden's Complete Shelf Overhaul

I am a teacher.  I work 10 months a year.   
usually spend those 10 months putting off odd jobs in the hopes that I'll get to them "during the summer."

This is one of the hundreds of little jobs that I ignored all school year - and finally got to this week.
Once it was done I realized that I probably could have got it done easily one Saturday morning during the school year....... but I digress.....

Oh well. It's done and I much prefer how it looks NOW!!

The Expedit shelve unit in my youngest son's bedroom had become the catch-all for everything that was even slightly related to him.  
So many toys, books, stones, cards, picture frames....well, you get the picture.  

They needed some major thinning and organizing.
And while I was at it, I thought some "beautify-ing" might be in order, too!!

Let's start at the top.
The words and stars have hung on the wall since Camden was a baby.  The pinwheel collection has been hiding the air-return vent for a few years, too.  
That's a "new" thrift store orange tray and some yard sale boxes that hold little "treasures."

I organized the books next.  Once ordered by size and placed neatly, they took up far less shelf space than I thought they would!

"Grinchy" has his own shelf along with all of my son's favourite Dr. Suess books.  

To corral his collection of Hot Wheels cars, I threw them into a big metal pail.   

Santa brought Camden several musical instruments that had been scattered throughout the playroom. Now they are ready for an impromptu jam session in his bedroom.

The mason jars hold my little boy's typical collections of rocks and shells.  

And here's the final product:

Much, much better.  
These shelves no longer give me a heart attack when I walk into Camden's bedroom.  

And Camden has done so well keeping things tidy, too.
Instead of re-shelving his own books after he reads one, I have placed a plastic bucket on the floor for him to put them in.  Every couple of days I put all the books and toys back on the shelves neatly and tidily.  

So far the system works and we're sticking to it!!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Hugs to you and yours,


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Wrapped Wreath

Hello all! We had a wonderful camping trip over the last week.  So many sights and sounds and sweet memories.  

I am glad to get back to the "normalcy" and routine of being home.  There is something to be said about not living out of a suitcase and being able to drink milk at a really cold temperature!!

A little project to share with you today.  I originally made it to hang on the gate that leads into our garden. However, when it was all done, it was far too pretty to hang outside and now decorates  a door in our dining room.

To begin, I "borrowed" one  of the kids' pool noodles and shaped it into a circle approximately 14 inches across.  I held it in the circular shape using painters tape. 

Next, I chose a variety of pink and white prints from my stash of  quilting fabrics.  

To speed things up, (I'm always trying to do things relatively quickly because my crafting time has to be fit in between making snacks and helping with the latest LEGO project!) I ripped my fabrics into 3 inch wide strips. 

 I needed lengths of about 8 inches to wrap around the noodle.  I secured both ends of the fabric to the noodle using a glue gun at the back of the wreath.  

I overlapped each strip by about 1" and continued around the circle.  

I was tempted to leave the wreath  just like this because the mix of fabrics were just so pretty, but it DID need something else.

Out of my stash came these gorgeous silk flowers.  I had fallen in love with them earlier in the month while on a visit to Michaels. They were drastically marked down, so I bought several.  
Lucky for me they were the perfect way to finish off this wreath.  

And here is the finished product:

My daughter has already requested one to hang on her bedroom door.  I think I may oblige her.  This has been one of the quickest and easiest crafts I have done in a long time!

Thanks for all of your comments .
I am so thankful that so many people care about what I have to share!

Hugs to all,


Sunday, July 14, 2013

This Week I'll Be.......

Happy Monday everyone
I hope you had a marvelous weekend!
The kids and I went to visit my mother and spent a good part of Sunday in Lake Huron where we splashed, floated and enjoyed the sun.

Just a quick note to let you know what I'll be up to this coming week.  

Today you can find me guest posting over at

Tanya has a wonderful blog full of decor, crafts and recipes and I would love it if you popped over there and read my post and check out all of her previous entries!!


On Tuesday the whole family is heading out on a week-long camping trip to.....


We'll visiting my sister and aunt along the way and will be home early next week.  

See you all soon,


Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Visit to Historical Oakville

Summer is here! In fact, we have been off of school now for 2 whole weeks
And when I say "we," I mean our whole family.  The three kids have finished another year at our local elementary school and Kevin and I completed our 13th year of teaching.  

Now we have 10 weeks of  rest, fun adventure and relaxation ahead of us!

During the day, we keep the kids busy (and happy!) doing bike rides, playing UNO, splashing in the fun pool and giving them short spurts on the Wii.

Because bed times don't need to be as early as they do during the school year, we have been a bit more active in the evenings.

The other night we took the kids to a nearby small city called Oakville.  In fact, it is the town in which my hubby teaches and is a very pretty place to spend time.  

A brief history of Oakville:

 In 1805, the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada (our earliest body of government in Canada) bought the 
lands from 

the Mississaugas aboriginal people.  In 1807, British immigrants 

settled the area on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Oakville, the town that exists today,  was founded in 1857.

It's first industries included shipbuilding, timber shipment,

and wheat farming. In the 1860s, there was an economic recession 

and the foundry, the most important industry in town, was closed. 

Basket-making became a major industry in the town, and 

the Grand Trunk Railway was built through it.

Right along the shores of the lake, the Historical Society keeps two 175 year old homes as museums and wedding venues.  The gardens are spectacular including a fountain, winding pathways and earlier home foundations clad in ivy.  
And, of course, this being Canada, there is a life-sized moose peeking from behind a large pine tree!

The gardens surrounding the stately homes continue down the ridge towards the lake and pier.  They have been created in an alpine garden  style and the kids spent nearly 15 minutes climbing up the stone steps and running down the grassy knoll.  

Next- down to the waterfront.
Here the "beach" is covered in millions of time-worn, water-

smoothed stones. We put our feet into the cool water and then 

admired the many Inukshuks decorating the area. 

Traditionally, Inukshuks have been built by the native peoples of Canada's north.  They were used for navigation, veneration and as place markers that simply meant, "Man has been here."

Obviously, many people had been to Oakville's pier in the last few days and wanted to leave their marks!

On our walk through the nearby streets, we came by many more historical homes with date plaques stating the year they were built and their original purpose.  The building at the top right was the earliest hotel in Oakville built in 1857.  
The home on the bottom left belonged to a "Master Mariner" named Captain Samuel McGiffin. 
And the bottom right? It belonged to William Spinner, the owner of the first "public house" in Oakville.  My daughter and I agreed that his porch looked like it was set for tea even though history might dictate otherwise!

Our last stop on our Oakville tour??
Starbucks of course.
Why the picture of my coffee you ask??
Check out the label - that's my name printed perfectly by the barista.  And he didn't even have to ask twice. 

 It's not very often people recognize my name AND know how to spell it!!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer on the Deck

While shopping at a greenhouse the other day, I came across the perfect thing to give my hubby for his 38th birthday.
Kevin is always happiest when he is near water - on a dock, at a cottage on a lake or swimming in a pond.  
Unfortunately, we don't  own a home near any kind of water ( pool included) so he has live without the constant trickle or splash of water.

Until now.  
For his birthday I bought him all of the components to make his own deck top fountain.  

The kit came with a pump, a hose and several stackable rocks that had holes drilled in them to feed the hose through. I then chose and purchased a large pot  into which all of the elements went.  We put the pieces together, added water and plugged it in.

And - TA-DA
We had a water feature on our deck.  

While photographing the new fountain, I took a look around and saw that our whole deck area was looking particularly pretty as well.

So, of course, I took some pictures to share here!

Our seating area is made up of a four-piece outdoor furniture set from Home Depot. I've "prettied" it up with some flowery quilts and pillows.

When building our deck a few years back, my husband built a long bench over top of the window wells so that sunshine could still get into our basement. It's the perfect place to sit and decorate with pots and other pretty accessories. 

I read so many English blogs and magazines.  Everyone over there decorates their gardens with tons of fabric bunting.  I joined in on the trend with several lengths of home made pennants across the gazebo on our deck.

Aren't these cool?  My Aunt Mary made them for me.  They are simply a pair of old work boots filled with soil and planted with some succulents called "Hens and Chickens."  

Our dining set is many years old, but is still holding on well.  I'd like something with a little more character, but until then, I'll make the most of this set.

I've filled most of my pots on the deck with a mix of Impatiens in several shades of pink and white.  New this year I have added these lovely blue flowers.  I have no idea what they are called, but I will definitely use them again!

Thanks for visiting me on my deck.  I hope you found it comfortable and welcoming.  
We have been spending tons of time out here so far this summer.  

Before  I go,  I'd love to share a collage of pictures from Canada Day on June 1st.

We spent the holiday in my hometown with my mother and sisters.  We went on a nature walk, played at the park, lit sparklers and ate tons of yummy food.
Canada Day is always the best!!

Thanks to all of the people who take time to comment on my posts. It warms my heart.
Glad to see so many new followers, too.

Please follow me on BLOGLOVIN ( the button can be found at the top of this post) if you haven't yet!!

Have a wonderful week!

Hugs to all,