Beating the January Blahs

Oh man, I’ve had the January blahs before but I have NEVER had them this badly! It must be to do with the lack of light we have here and it’s compounded by the fact that since we moved up north, I don’t really leave the house that much. I do go pick the kids up from school every day but it’s a max of 10 min that I’m outside and it has been so cold that it’s not really an enjoyable 10 min. It’s started to warm up which was a surprise and I don’t want to sound ungrateful but it’s just made things worse. There is a pile of dirty snow as tall as our 9 year old on our front lawn courtesy of the city grater and everything is a muddy mess! I just want winter to be over but I know we have a long way to go yet. 

I needed some pretty. In a bad way. All the Christmas pretty is packed away and without the tree, things feel well, blah. Straight to the nursery I went and I picked up some plants. I also interrogated the ladies there because I have a pretty long rap sheet of plant murders in my history. They set me up and I feel confident that these ones will live on and cure my January woes! The thrift stop also provided me with a bit of glee. I found these old copper canisters in there which will make perfect homes for my new babies.

For my wee cactus garden I lined the aluminum base of the terrarium with a plastic liner. The nursery ladies said that plants often hate being housed in metal and the liner will protect them. I added some stones for drainage also at their suggestion.

I nestled them in their new home and filled in the spaces with special cactus soil – you guessed it – because the nursery ladies told me so. These guys are supposed to be watered once every three weeks and I have a reminder set in my phone.

Once they were all snuggled in I put the terrarium together and added more stones just to make it look nice. I gave them their first watering and on day two I’m happy to say that they are still alive HAHA. I love that one has a red flower on top – I wonder how long it will bloom for? If anyone knows let me know, I forgot to ask about it.

When it came to the copper pots I realized that they were aluminum on the inside too and that I didn’t have liners. I improvised and layered in two sheets of plastic wrap and a sheet of parchment on top. I figure that it may well break down but it should help until they are big enough to need replanting – if they live that long anyway it will be a miracle.

I liked how the parchment looked so I cut the plastic wrap close to the container and left the parchment sticking up. Cute no? I’m so happy with these and I’m not entirely sure where they will live but for now they are on the kitchen counter.

The potted plants need watering once per week and I did the same rock in the bottom for drainage and filled in with cactus mix – the ladies said that would be just fine. I need to add some more parchment in to the larger pot just for show so it matches the other because I didn’t have enough sticking out for my liking but I can do that whenever.

These plants bring so much life to the house – we didn’t have any at all and taking down the Christmas tree sure made me realize how badly we needed some. It’s going to be a long time until I can get outside and get my fingers in the dirt so this little project went a long way towards a happy ‘there is life even in January’ feeling. Do you suffer from the January blahs? What do you do to help banish them? I’d love to know!

Crochet Heart Shaped Box of Face Scrubbies

These cotton crochet face scrubbies and their matching storage basket are all made with size 4 cotton yarn and a size 5mm hook. Work your stitches fairly tightly so your basket maintains it’s good form. You will also need scissors and a large gauge needle.

This free crochet pattern is written in US terms and uses the following stitches: magic loop, chain stitch, single crochet stitch, double crochet stitch, triple crochet stitch, and half double crochet stitch.

Round 1

Begin by making a magic loop.

ch 3 (counts as triple) The following stitches are all worked into the magic loop. 2 tr, 4dc ,2 tr, 4dc, 2tr. Ch2 (counts as triple) sl to center of magic circle (not to starting chain) close magic loop. (14 stitches plus the two chains for 18 in total)

Round 2

2sc in ch space of 1st round, 3 dc in same stitch (top stitch of the starting chain)

3dc in next stitch, 2dc in next stitch, dc in next two stitches, sc in next two stitches, next place 2dc in the space between the triples of the previous round. Sc in next two stitches, dc in next two stitches, 2dc in next stitch, 3dc, 3dc. 2 sc in chain space (30 stitches.)

Round 3

Sc in next two stitches (the first sc stitches of the previous round. 3dc in same stitch, 3dc, 2dc, 2dc, dc in next 4 stitches. Sc in next 4 stitches. As in the previous round, 2DC in the space between the two double crochet stitches of round 2. Sc in next 4 stitches. Dc in next 4 stitches, 2dc, 2dc, 3dc, 3dc, sc, sc.  (43)

If making scrubby then sl to join, then Ch 4 and fasten off. Tie ends to make finger loop.

If making heart shaped box continue to round 4

Round 4

hdc in back loops around (43)

hdc in each stitch around until the 41st stitch then skip a stitch and continue around for a third and fourth round. At the 42nd stitch of the 4th round, skip a stitch and sl st. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

I hope you enjoyed this free Crochet Pattern! Make sets and sets of these heart shaped crochet face scrubbies for all the teen and tween loves in your life. They make an awesome Valentines day gift!

How to use Thrift Shop items in your decor

It’s no secret that I have a little addiction to thrift store shopping. It’s a wee thrill when you see past all the junky big box cast offs to a little gem with more value than it’s price sticker would have you think. Bringing value to old items also tickles my fancy, I mean, why buy new at top dollar when you can invest a little time to revamp something with fresh purpose?

Using thrift shop finds to decorate our home means that we can be thrifty yes, but it also means that when my kids destroy something, as kids often do, I don’t need to get upset. If they gouge a hunk out of a $1500 dining table then oh boy, that hurts. If they gouge a chunk out of a $50 dining table it’s nothing to be upset at – you just get out your spackle and slap on a new coat of paint and there’s no real harm done.

I also really enjoy looking for vintage or antique pieces that have much more value than what I would pay in the thrift store. Potentially, I could resell these items to recoup some cash if need be. So far, I haven’t sold much because I fall in love. I can’t help it, I just do – but the potential is there. If we needed to scrounge up some extra cash for vacation I could flip that $30 coffee table for $75 after a nice coat of paint. Read more about ‘How to Flip Furniture‘ 

Mixing thrifted items with new items works well too so don’t be afraid to have different metals or wood tones all in one space. There aren’t many rules for this, just have an open mind and look at things for what they could be and not what they are, sitting among all the other junk in the store.

Tips:

~ Go often. The goods in your thrift shop will turn over fairly quickly as new items are dropped off. I go about once a week.

~ Spend time. Thrift shops can be messy and that means you might not really see what is there until you walk around a few times and really look.

~ Have an open mind. What would that table look like with a coat of paint? What would that basket look like filled with flowers? How could you use that chunk of wood?

~ Pick things up on spec. If it’s a good value piece but you aren’t really sure what you will do with it, but you KNOW you like it, grab it. I have had things sit in my closet for a year before finding just the exact right use for it. You can always resell if it just isn’t working out.

~ Don’t worry about matching. Frames don’t have to match. Wood doesn’t have to match. Nothing needs match. Mix things up for an eclectic look. New and old work together and many of the trends you love can be worked with thrift shop finds too. That orange vase that’s just the right size but is oh so hideous can be spray painted white or gold easily!

~ Don’t get discouraged. You might go three or four or more times before you find a treasure but I promise you – there will be a treasure!

Which item from the Thrift Store scene below did I purchase for our home? See the makeover! 

Foxy Machine Embroidery Download

Hi Friends! I’m going to slow down for the holidays soon but wanted to share this one last download for you. It’s a foxy swirl that’s perfect for quilting squares or other small projects. I designed this in PE Design 10 for a 4×4 hoop. It’s approximately 15.5K stitches and the zip file has a number of extensions so hopefully you should find the one that suits your machine. Happy Holidays!

Machine embroidery is a fairly new hobby for me but my goodness, it has become a complete obsession! I’m also enjoying creating my own designs. Keep up with my Facebook Page so you don’t miss the freebies as they are released!

 

 

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Cut out sugar cookies are a staple in our home at Christmastime. We make them every year but we’ve never made chocolate roll out cookies! When I found these fun woodland animal cutters I thought that a chocolate cookie dough would suit considering moose and squirrels are brown anyway.

Oh I had so much fun making these silly chocolate cut out cookies! We have been in a deep freeze here in northern BC so I felt my delicious little Canadian cookie friends needed to bundle up too. What’s more fun than plaid scarfs and toques on a chocolate squirrel? Not much if you ask me.

To decorate, I used melted, white candy melts which worked surprisingly well in a piping bag with a small round tip. Then, for the plaid effect I just coloured the hardened candy melt with red edible marker and drew crisscross lines in black edible marker. I’m not a very skilled cookie decorator when it comes to fancy icing so this method worked well for me and I think the results were pretty cute! The pompom on the top of the squirrel’s toque is a bit of mini marshmallow. I just cut it and it was sticky enough to adhere all on it’s own.

The recipe I used is a mix of this one and this one. This makes a nice sized batch of dough and only requires a little chilling time in the fridge to cool down that butter. The chill time means you get a nice, tender, flaky cookie. This dough kept it’s shape very well which is important when you want to use cookie cutters and it’s packed with lots of chocolate flavour!

Chocolate Sugar Roll Out Cookies
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 large 24 small
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted, softened butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg and mix on medium speed until incorporated.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients with a whisk.
  3. Add dry ingredients to bowl of mixer and stir on low until incorporated then increase speed to medium until mixture turns into dough.
  4. Chill dough for 1 hour.
  5. Roll dough to approx ¼ (no more than a ½) inch in thickness. Cut with shape cutters and transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for 10-14 min until slightly browned at the edges - it's difficult to tell because these are chocolate cookies so keep a close eye on them. Allow to cool on the pan 5 min then transfer to a rack. Decorate when completely cooled.

Resources:

Ricardo cookie cutters available at Safeway Canada

Wilton Candy Melts affiliate link

Wilton Edible Markers affiliate link

Twelve Lovey Dovey Colouring Pages – Free!

I know it gets dicey this time of year what with the gift buying and the stocking stuffing and let’s never mind all the political stuff that’s flying around right now. Things are down right depressing when you think about humanity and all that we have witnessed of late. So, I thought I’d share this free download in the hopes of spreading some love.

It’s almost Christmas and it’s time to think about giving and connection and these free printable coloring pages are my gift to you! They’re chock full of my love and I hope they bring just a bit of peace and warmth as you sit and colour.

These lovey dovey coloring sheets are perfect to tuck into a stocking with a pack of pencil crayons or to take with you to grandma’s house. They’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I promise. Get them free!

There are 12 sheets in the download and you can save them to your desktop for printing out later. They will print on standard 8.5×11 sheets of printer paper. Go at them with pencil crayons or wax crayons or even paint. Whatever your heart desires. Tie them up with a ribbon and give them as a gift. Have your kids colour them and frame them in dollar store frames and you’ve got your teacher appreciation gift nailed. They’ll look great on an office wall, a true gift of love!

A Cozy Vintage Christmas

Hello and welcome to my home! I’m so glad you came! Last season I had an amazing time participating in the fall home tour with some other Canadian bloggers – our Canadian writers are some freaking talented and amazing peeps and I’m honoured to be a part of it again for Christmas! Big thank you to the DIY Mommy for organizing and hosting the tour. I wish you were all here in person, I’d give you a mug of hot chocolate (maybe with a little something extra in there) and we’d settle in for a cozy chat around the fire. That was my goal for our space this year – vintage, cozy, warm. And we need it! It’s -30C as I write this. Brrrrr!

Vintage Christmas mantle display

My favourite part of the home right now is the mantle. I made over an old clock housing I’d had kicking around for years and it just sings! The center is done in machine embroidery so it has fantastic texture and the housing was made over with acrylic white and gold craft paint. I added in some red berries and it’s the star of the show. Surrounded by bottle brush trees and vintage brass, the clock feels right at home on our holiday mantle. The birch bark wreath behind it completes the scene with more cozy texture.

Close up vintage clock centerpiece

Mixing woods, metals and pretty much everything gives an eclectic feel which I adore. I am never good at sticking to a colour scheme because I love it all so, I pick what I love and put it out and somehow it works. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll be aware of my love for copper. When I found this candlestick at the thrift shop for next to nothing I had to grab it.

Vintage copper candle stick

Yes, yes I painted the oak mantle! This is the same deep blue that I’ve used in our kitchen. This open concept space feels much more balanced now that I’ve pulled this colour over to the living area. I’m pretty happy with it and it was done in about an hour. There’s more I would love to do to the fire place but it will wait until I have a good chunk of time to deal with it.

cozy-christmas-holiday-home-tour

This brown chair. Oh this chair. It’s about 10 years old and it’s a terrible magnet for pet fur. I’ve tried to get rid of it so many times but you know what? It’s my spot. It’s comfy and it’s right by the fire and it’s good quality construction. I’m going to try to recover it or make it a slip cover or something in the new year but for now I’ve dressed it with a cozy crochet blanket (pattern here) in Hudson Bay colour yarn and a felt poinsettia pillow that I made with my Brother embroidery machine.

Vintage Coleman Thermos Collection

On the other side of the fireplace is the old German radio (no, I won’t paint it even though the finish is not so perfect) and I am so happy to have it back in our space! It spent far too much time in the garage waiting to have it’s leg fixed. It was broken in the move and honestly, the movers might as well have taken my heart and stomped on it. I love that thing so much. On top I’ve got a little vintage Thermos collection and some more copper. Cozy!

vintage-coffee-table-styling

Is there such a thing as too many bottle brush trees? Too many brass deer? Too many mixed metals? Nope. Like the felt machine embroidery coasters? You can download the file free here.

free-machine-embroidery-pattern-felt-christmas-coasters

Our tree is a traditional live tree that we’ve decorated with family ornaments from years past. I recently replaced our haggard angel with a red star and my husband was none impressed. The angel will be fixed so it can be used again next year. It’s nothing precious but we have had it a long time and she had a way of settling into our hearts.

a-cozy-vintage-christmas-home-tour

Traditional red pulls the Christmas theme all together in the space.

red cardinal Christmas ornament

I added some wired ribbon and it looks great with our ornaments. My daughter brought home a star with her precious face on it from pre-school oh…5 years ago and I’m so happy to have our memories hanging from the branches of our tree.

traditional christmas tree

On the other side of the room is the dining hutch dressed in twinkle light garland and the typewriter table, the typewriter has been replaced with a wee festive sled that I DIY’d.

christmas-dining-hutch

Moose, check. Bottle brush trees, check. Red berries, check. It was a quick and fun craft for a chilly afternoon.

Vintage inspired holiday sled ornament

I had loads of fun with DIYs this year and love this copper bundt pan wreath – tutorial here I did earlier. It’s so cute with the star shaped lights!

diy-vintage-winter-wreath-copper

Well my friends, thank you so much for coming by to see our cozy, vintage inspired Christmas home. I hope you enjoyed the tour and I hope you’ll follow on Instagram or Facebook to see what I have in store for the fire place and brown chair on my to-do list. I want to say thank you to Brother Canada for helping me create the pillow, coasters and clock face for this holiday season. It’s been incredible working with their machine and I will have more embroidery file downloads coming for next year.

vintage home tour

Now please do go on through the rest of the tour participants listed below – there are some incredible things to see! You won’t be disappointed!

2016-canadian-bloggers-christmas-home-tour

Monday

northern style exposure
The Learner Observer
The Uncommon Law
Heather In Heels
Clean and Scentsible
THE SWEETEST DIGS

Tuesday

Amidst the Chaos
Brooklyn Berry Designs
lemon Thistle
Suburble
Life is a Party
PMQ for two

Wednesday

Love Create Celebrate
Satori Design for Living
A Pop of Pretty
So Much Better With Age
VinYet ETC
Woman in Real Life

Thursday

The DIY Mommy
Fresh Crush
Time With Thea
A Pretty Life
Home To Heather
Nalles House

Friday

This Little Estate
Craftberry Bush
The Happy Housie
Kimpowerstyle
Elliven Studio

How to Download from Netflix

Netflix announced BIG news yesterday! If you’ve always wanted to watch Netflix content when you’re off line, on a plane or just visiting a spot with a spotty connection now you can! It’s easy too. If you’re using an app on your device that allows the feature you should see a splash screen when you load Netflix up. I saw this on my Android phone and on the iPad. Not on my PC via the web.

how-to-download-netflix

In your Netflix menu, search for a show you wish to download and touch the little i symbol as shown below.

how-to-stream-offline-with-netflix

From there you will see the list of episodes in a series and the download icon next to each one.

how-to-stream-from-netflix-offline

Not all content will be available for download immediately and I’ll speculate that the Netflix Original Content will be available first. This is great news for people who fly a lot and want to take their favourite series on the go. I also see many, many moms taking content on the go for their toddlers. I mean, grocery shopping has got to be easier with Paw Patrol in the cart. Right?

Copper Inspiration

You know how one thing leads to another and before you know it the glue gun is out? That’s how I got here, to this place with this vintage copper bundt pan wreath. You see, I’d found these sweet copper star lights and they were amazing against the dark blue of my accent wall but they looked a little bit lonely hanging there on their own. They needed a buddy. They needed just one more thing.

copper-wreath-inspiration

These copper pans are easy to find at thrift shops and they aren’t expensive at all. I found this one in a second hand shop so I paid a little more than thrift store prices at $8 but it was absolutely the perfect thing so I coughed up the cash and brought it home. At the dollar store I found a pack of little pine cones and the birdie too. I also used a couple of sprigs off a vine of artificial red berries I already had and a bit of ribbon. So all in, this baby cost me around ten bucks and I think that’s fantastic.

how-to-make-a-copper-bundt-pan-wreath

There really isn’t much to say in the way of ‘how to’ here. Find your bits and glue them on with a hot glue gun. I laid mine out on the kitchen counter to get an idea of how I wanted it to go together. I love red berries and they go so nicely with the copper. They are easy to work with as well because they’re wired. Just clip some off with some wire snips or strong scissors. I went with a less is more approach but you could make it as full and glamorous as you wanted really.

 

diy-winter-wreath-copper

 

To hang, loop some ribbon through the center and tie in a bow. A single nail in the wall was more than adequate to support this copper wreath. This was a super fast DIY and I just love the end result. It’s festive enough for the holidays but I can leave it up all winter long with these little star twinkle lights.  Above is what it looks like during the day and below is in the evening with the little lights on.

copper-bundt-pan-wreath

I’m in such love with all of this that I don’t know if I’ll be able to bring myself to take them down in the spring. I don’t have to ….do I?

Have you tried these?

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It’s a super busy time of year isn’t it? We’ve had karate tournaments, parent teacher interviews, holiday preparations and more. In between that stuff boxes have been arriving and when I opened this particular box everyone got excited. “Don’t eat all of those when I’m at work,” my husband said wagging his finger towards the coconut macaroon ones. Coconut is his absolute go to when it comes to treats.

My kids have been chomping at the bit to get at these too but I’ve kept putting them off because I needed to taste test them myself, all scientific like, you know…..for work. Ahem. I waited until they were at school then I carefully opened all three bags and one by one, pulled a bite from each. I wallowed in the silence and sipped some coffee in preparation for my little indulgence. It felt like an indulgence but really it wasn’t, LÄRABAR bites are are made from real food with 8-9 simple ingredients like dates, nuts and chocolate and there’s only 13g of sugar in FOUR bites.

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My favourite is the mint chocolate. These are so good that I’m going to put them out for the holidays along side the cookies and pretzels. My weird friend Kyla suggested that I build a tower with them. I laughed at first but actually, it would be kind of impressive! They’re awfully pretty don’t you think? It’s nice to have an option that is a bit less sugary for me to pick at as I trim the tree and deck the halls.

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Of course, the kids came home from school and immediately assessed that I had done my taste test and that these snacks were now on the open market. “Yes,” I said, “You can have some. But only a couple!” Two or three bites is a perfect after school snack because they are a sweet that won’t ruin their dinner. They think they’re getting a treat (which they are, they’re delicious) when in reality, I know that they’re eating something that’s good for them.

All three LÄRABAR Bites flavours are gluten free, vegan, dairy free and kosher so they’re the perfect offering no matter who you have visiting at your home this holiday season. If you haven’t tried these yet pick up a bag!