Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Centre Pieces

I need your help! I am trying to come up with an inexpensive DIY centre piece for my church christmas party. I am borrowing these great vintage canning jars from a friend and trying to come up with a filler for the inside. I did the christmas party last year, so i am reusing the green branches and bought new berries this year. The centre piece last year wasn't see through and a tad smaller, so i am stuck on ideas. I have also tried, ornaments inside, but those either don't look nice or they don't fit. I also have thought about popcorn, but Boston isn't fully sleeping yet and i don't want to wake him.

What is everyones pick? Or take your favourite and make adjustments. Or trust tell me to scratch these and start all over again!

The one that looks like ice is water and saran wrap. Thanks Liam for the idea!

And also what should i put the jar on? The stripes in the first few pictures were from last year and the red dots are a napkin. But open to any cheap idea.

I should mention the party is Saturday and i am busy doing a lot of other things for the party plus going to work every day. Please suggest nothing time consuming ;)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Service Exchange

I organized a service exchange for our Relief Society activity last night. As many of you ladies know, when you organize an event you want people to actually show up! At 5 minutes to 7, there was no one at the church but me. At 4 minutes to 7, one lady showed up and then about 10 minutes after 7, 17 more ladies showed up! I even got a thumb up from the Relief Society President regarding the turn out. I personally am just happy at least one person showed up!

I know many of you know what a service exchange is, but for those of you who don’t know, here is what the invite said.

You are invited to a service exchange party
Wednesday, November 23, 7:00 pm at the church
Think of a service, any service, whether it is baking a pie, sewing, knitting a scarf,
cleaning, babysitting or organizing a kitchen.  Next write your service, your name and
phone number on a piece of paper and place into an envelope.
Finally, bring your envelope to our Relief Society party!

We then played Chinese gift exchange (or white elephant) to exchange the services. We had tons of different services offered from; fudge, knitting a scarf, gift wrapping, cookies, cinnamon buns, canned peaches & jams, decorating consultant, 3 hours of cleaning, hair cuts for the whole family (a lady with 3 boys and 2 girls happily got this), homemade cards, pies, canvas picture craft, and the list goes on! And what did I exchange; well I gave away the 2 hours of organizing service and received, a night of babysitting! I’m so excited! I really want to go see the new Twilight movie or maybe i should use it for the night my work has its christmas party.

Our ward was having a fast for a lady in the ward last night, so the RS presidency didn’t want to offer refreshments. Instead they asked me to make take home refreshments. I had no time to bake or really do anything huge, so simple store bought caramel popcorn it was.

I found the cute printable here.

We also did an optional cookie exchange at the end of the service exchange. As of Sunday we had 12 ladies signed up. But by yesterday only 8 ladies participated. But that is fine with me considering I am trying to lose weight, not gain it!

I made these yummy cookies. Honestly, yummy!

And on a side note, if you can tell by my picture of the popcorn, my laundry room has become my little do it room. Since our kitchen has no counter space and my desk is in the living room and Boston can climb up on it, I had to find another space for me.  My laundry room has become this space.  I cool cookies, do crafts, store items, take pictures, etc, on the washer and dryer! I even moved most of my little craft items and stationary into the laundry room. Oh how I cant wait for a day when I can have a “office” with a door!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Where Did I Go?

I’ve been without a computer for over a month now. It is FINALLY fixed, but we lost almost everything!

I have most of my important pictures backed up (like our wedding and when Boston was born) but did lose enough to be sad. I also lost years and year’s worth of documents and craft ideas. I spent years in church callings that required invitations, sign up sheets, organization documents and it is all gone. I also lost all my music, but I was in need of a music de-clutter and Scott has thousands of songs I can take off his computer. I was able to save my journal (which doesn’t have that many entries) and also my list of all my account numbers, user names and passwords (it was a huge list).

My computer has been fixed for a few days, but I’m afraid to go on it. I know it is going to hit me with everything I lost when I get on and nothing is there.

I don’t want to blame anyone but…. my husband has taken fault! The reason it took so long to fix was because he couldn’t believe he broke it because he knows computers. He tried everything before he finally gave in and took it into the computer repair store to get a new hard drive installed and sadly gave up on recovering my data.

He told me he would buy me something to try and get my forgiveness! Anyone have any suggestions on what he should buy me??!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Money Jar Update

Here is the good and the bad after our first month ATTEMPTING money jars...

 1. First time we left to go to the grocery store to buy food with the cash, we were almost at Superstore and I realized I forgot the jar. Had to turn around and go back home.

2. Wasn't quite 2 full weeks on the jars and scott took his visa back and said he needed it for emergencies. That night he told me he used the visa to buy a diet coke. Didn't realize coke was an emergency :)

3. Using baby food jars, wasnt the best idea. They fit the bills perfectly but add in some change and then the bills are too tall for the jars. Also the paint is chipping... I throw the jar into my purse and too many things are rubbing up against the jars and chipping the paint. I'm assuming I should have primed the lids before I spray painted them yellow?

4. Start of week 4 on the jars and we ran out of money. I took my debt card back and started using that again :(

TODAY is a new MONTH! Money is in the jars and ready for a very successful month! I'm also going to be on the search for a new jar idea. I can use large baby food jars, but I was saving those for spice jars and I'm afraid even if I prime the lids firsts, they will still chip. I could use just simple plastic zip lock bags or envelopes. Any ideas?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful Father and my lovely husband Scott.
I love you!

I went low key on the gift giving this year due to the budgeting issue!

The "pieces" printable found here.
The card printable found here (Boston was drawing on the inside and drooled on the card if you notice the weird marks on the front).
The best thing on earth (cookie dough truffles) found here.

I love this picture! They really do look alike!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Laundry Room/Storage Room Organization, Part 1

In the last month I was helping my friend get organized. It was a good little motivator for me and a realization that I actually really enjoy this and I have no excuse to not do it in my own home. Remember this post I did a LONG time ago were I said I was going to organizing my house. Well only 4 months later and I am finally half way done. I could go into my many excuses on why I have been slacking, but not every uplifting!

Let's have a refresher on the before...
Disclaimer (the room is tiny with no window, hard/impossible to get any good pictures)

Without any more fuss or delay, here is the finished Product!

Wait that's not it, maybe this is it?

I wish! I love the clean and simple approach with each rooms.. one day when we own our own house will I then design a room like the above, but until that day I am working with an old apartment that I cant change anything too.

ENOUGH dreaming here is how I tackled the room.
First, I got caught up on all the laundry and took all the recycling to the drop off.
Then I sat down and created a list of the areas and items I wanted stored in the room. I realized I had some great hidden storage areas I could use around the house and clear up some of the clutter. I took all the long, thin items (folding chairs, extra christmas wrap, ect) and placed under our bed. I then took all the items that I want to sell and placed ads online.

I next set up a bunch of my bins in the hallway for easy sorting.

I was using a huge clear bin for all my paints and home repairs/improvement items. I decided to split the contents into 3 small containers (paint, paint supplies, misc home repairs/improvement). It just made more sense especially when the huge container was full it was way too heavy.

On my top shelf I had a huge mess of my blankets and pillows. I thought about my biggest complaint about this area, that being if I wanted anything down from this pile, everything would come tumbling down with it. Simple solution was to use boxes and group similar items into the boxes. My husband was shocked that we had enough towels to fit into a big box. I explained to him that we don't have a linen closet and we only have 4 towels in the bathroom at any time. Plus we have two beach towels in the box. 
In the box labeled "Bedding" I used this idea I saw on Pinterest. It worked perfectly.

I love when I have all the same containers but I didn't want to spend much money on this project. I did buy a total of 4 small and 1 large clear bins everything else I already had and of course not ideal but I used boxes from our move to store some items. I personally like to use clear bins... I like to be able to see what is inside even if the bin is clearly labeled.

I am a huge recycler but sadly I was shocked when we moved to Regina how bad the recycling program is here. Thumbs up for the Alberta Government and their excellent recycling program. I don't recycle nearly as much as I did back home but I do recycle pop bottles, milk container and paper. 

On the bottom half of the recycling area I placed my tool box, sander and drill.

I have a bit of obsession for patterns, patterned fabric, patterned paper. Love it all. If you notice in the before pictures, there is a huge pile of fabric. I took all the small pieces and moved to display in my craft area (picture to come later in a different organization post) and everything else I stored in clear bins.

Here is the major problem corner before


This week I am focusing on adding some fun elements in the room. I am going to go through my 2 huge bin of home decor items and see what I can add to make the room more inviting.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Newest Addition

I purchased this on Saturday at a garage sale close to my house. I was looking for something a bit smaller, but I am going to test this out and see if it will work for a "makeup table"! I am having a hard time finding anything cheap enough and small enough in this small town. I have seen a few desk but they have all been over $55. Not worth it, if i am going to be spending money on paint, hardware and sandpaper. Now just to find the time to make it beautiful! 
Best part... if it doesn't work it was only $5!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bring the flowers in tonight

I love my flowers I planted yesterday.
Hopefully they live! I have to bring them in tonight, it has been raining all day and currently only 9C (48F) only to get even colder over night.

The pots originally were cheap cream pots I purchased from JYSK. 
I figured the rundown front porch area of this apartment needed an extra little punch of color. I decided on a bright blue spray paint that matched the bright blue in the pillows.

While going through my picture tonight I found an old one of my table and chairs. They use to be pink!

Hows the weather where you live?? Hopefully a lot more summery than Regina!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Organizing Our Money

Over the last year we have been spending money like we were actually employed. I was getting $900 every two weeks for 1 year on maternity leave from the government but other than that we just few a hundred dollars coming in randomly (bookkeeping job, interest from a loan we lent, income tax return). We never went into debt BUT we used quite a bit of our savings.
Now Scott is employed! Working as an intern for the government. Amazing experience but little pay. I'm currently updating my resume and already have found child care for Boston starting July 4.
I realized we (okay, mostly me) need to get on top of our money and spending! I have always wanted to do money jars just never got around to it. My favourite money show is Till Debt Do Us Part (it aires on a few different channels and a few different versions including Home Edition and Princess Edition). Gail always sets up each couple with money jars. Starting TODAY I have taken away our bank and visa cards and we are a officially a money jar family! Is anyone already doing money jars and have any great tips?

To set up our money jars I first set up a budget worksheet a lot like Gail's found here. I will admit that I am kind of a geek when it comes to spreadsheets. I have had an excel spreadsheet budget for many years. I can tell you exactly how much we spend and on what. You think the numbers would have scared me to go to money jars sooner, but at the end of the day we always found the money. Sadly looking back, I cant believe how much money we could/should have saved!

Next I took baby food jars that I was saving. I used WD40 to take off all the glue from the labels. If you haven't tried this before, it works! Just spray onto the glue, wait a minute or two. Scrub off and if glue remains, spray again.

I then spray painted the lids a fun yellow that I had from a pervious project. I thought about creating cute labels with my cricut but for now I just used my label maker to print out my categories.

I have a good friend that is going through some hard money times and she listed on her blog some great points that she is started off with to get out of debt. My favourite ones that got me really thinking are 1. Plan your weekly meals around what is on sale in the flyers. Too bad flyers don't come around lately...  but I can go online. 2. Gives yourself a time limit on the amount of time spent at the grocery store. Love this idea. I am one of those shoppers that stores love. I take my time... going around Superstore and Walmart looking at what is new. 3. Fill up your gas tank on cheap days. Didn't even know there was such thing!

Another friend of mine started a blog a few months ago called Sexy Savvy Saving Mom. Take a look at some of her past post. Amazing tips! She has done post like Eating on a $350 a month budget, Saving with Baby and many more helpful posts.

I feel like if I share my struggles with money, I might be able to stay more committed. I love when Gail on Till Debt Do Us Part makes the couples tell their families how much debt they are in. Most of the time they have hid it from their families and close friends. By coming clean their families/friends are more likely to stop asking them to host big parties, go out for dinner, ect. I am going to make a commitment that every month I will tell everyone how my progress is going. My goal is to save enough money that when we are done with Regina, we will have a nice downpayment for a HOUSE back in Alberta! Oh how I dream of a house!

If you have had any success or failures saving money! I would love to hear about it. Leave me a comment below!

Monday, May 30, 2011

New Pillows

While in Arizona, I picked up some home decor fabric that was on sale at Jo-Ann Fabric's. My colors in my living room are red and medium green. Most reds don't look good on my dark couch (I won't go this dark next couch purchase) but I came across a pattern that I knew it would be perfect.

The green pattern is kind of a risky choice. But I saw it and then saw the price and thought, maybe one pillow in it for summer might be nice fun and different?! Bad choice?

I just sewed simple covers with a slit opening in the back.

A little hint that i have found. Use NICE pillow inserts when you are sewing your own pillow covers. Out of all the pillow covers I have attempted to sew over the years, they always turn out best if I use a Pottery Barn pillow insert! I am sure there are other really good inserts but I have yet to personally come across them. The Pottery Barn ones are very thick and are made with feathers... maybe that makes all the difference?

I bought at the end of the season sale last year outdoor pillows from Restoration Hardware. The pillows are blue with grey stripes, but due to the small outdoor living space in our rental, the only thing I have outside if a small bistro table and chairs set. These pretty pillows are too big for the chairs. 
But the two matching pillows that have been on my couch (see below) over the last 8 months happen to also be outdoor pillows purchased at Superstore at the end of the season. 

They are about half the thickness and a few inches shorter. Since the cover isn't removable, they have gotten pretty nasty on my couch due to baby spit up and food. I decided these would be the best cushions for outside. I went to our local one and only fabric store and started the hunt for blue and grey outdoor fabric. Mostly everything I could find was blue and brown. As I was about to leave I spotted the perfect fabric in the clearance section and the best part was it was only $7 a meter. Sold!

Any day now I am going to be attempting to plant some flowers in two pots I recently purchased at JYSK. Never planted flowers before (my mom did them for me but now I live 8 hours from here). Wish me luck! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

West Elm Pillow

Happy Friday! It's pouring rain in Regina, but we are hoping it goes away so we can go out and play! I just pulled out the paint and going to start painting a few projects. If we can't go outside and have fun on a Friday, I might as well have fun inside!

While in Arizona I found a perfect pillow from West Elm that matched a throw I have from my days working at Pottery Barn.

It wasn't even on my couch for more than 24 hours when Boston found his first pen, figured out the click mechanism and drew on my brand new pretty pillow!
I quickly went online to find out how to remove pen from fabric. I tried it all... only to have it NOT come out and in the end the pillow looks even worse than if I had just left the ink. The color faded where I scrubbed and applied all the "guaranteed" household products.

My mother in law is headed back to Arizona in July and she said she would pick me up another one, but i'm still sad.

Next post, MORE pillows! But pillows that make me Happy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Boston's First Birthday Party

Remember this post a while back...

Well both parties turned out GREAT! Koston's party was back in March and Boston's party was April 30th. Here are some decor pictures of Boston's party. It's simple but this was my first party I have ever thrown and people kept telling me, it is only his first birthday he isn't going to remember any of it... so I did try to keep it pretty simple and inexpensive.

Cake pan is from Williams Sonoma, the top says "Cookie"

It was hard having a party 8 hours away from your own house and comfort zone, but it still turned out good (i think, my guest might have a different option). Thanks to my mother in law who let me use her house and for my mother who let me use all her pretty glass jars!

My friend and I are already thinking about next year's party theme. It is fun party planning with a friend. Two heads brainstorming and two wallets purchasing!
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