Friday, December 14, 2012

A Simple, Practical Dinner Gift Basket

Some friends of ours are in the middle of a stressful move, and to add a little support, we made a simple dinner basket up for them. I think this would be a great gift for a new mom, if someone has family in the hospital or just needs a bit of lovin'.

I just layered spinach salad (heaviest ingredients at the bottom!) in a large mason jar, added a pretty loaf of bread and some poppy seed dressing on the side and popped it into a basket. Simple, beautiful and helpful. I'll definitely do this again!

Ingredients, in order from bottom up:
Mushrooms, sliced
Grape Tomatoes, whole
Grated Cheddar
Hard boiled Egg (one and a half), sliced
Bacon, diced
Lots of baby spinach

Will keep in the refrigerator for 2-5 days depending on how fresh the ingredients are.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wands, Pop-Tops and Blackboards: Oh My!

Here's a little sneak peek of a few of the new items I'll be bringing along to my only Holiday craft sale of 2012 on December 1st. There will be at least one more new item debuting at the sale. I'll also be sponsoring a Magnet-decorating fundraiser for Attachment Parenting Village Calgary. The magnets will make a great gift for kids to give to grandparents, siblings or friends. Hope to see you at the Sunalta Community Center from 10-3 on the 1st!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Easy Homemade Lip Balm Recipe

This lip balm is the best. I've tried all sorts of expensive natural chapstick and been disappointed every time. When I started using my homemade stuff, I was able to go from constant, all day application to once in the morning and once at bedtime!

2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp beeswax
1 vitamin E capsule
5-10 drops of sweet almond oil 
*optional 5-10 drops essential oil such as sweet orange, peppermint, vanilla or cinnamon

Melt it all in a pan (be clever and use one that pours well) on low heat. If using essential oils, add after removing from the heat. Pour into containers.

 *I bought a big brick of beeswax from a honey supplier. I use a sharp, heavy knife to shave off the wax and then pack it into the teaspoon. You can also buy beeswax in pellet form (much easier to deal with) or if you don't want to buy a lot of wax, a chopped beeswax tea light will do.
*Lip balm containers can be found at some health food stores or on Etsy
*I quadruple the recipe to fill approx 12-0.15oz containers (standard twist up size)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vintage Chair Make Over

 I bought this great/ugly vintage chair for $10 and couldn't wait to spruce it up. Just a couple coats of yellow spray paint and some new faux bois fabric on the seat. Voila! An updated chair for $20 and an easy half-days work. 

Unfortunately, I couldn't quite get a yellow that matched with the art in my bedroom (more on that next time...) so I sold it. For $40. Woo Hoo! I love DIY. But I am still looking for another chair...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tutoria Upgrade- Making Your Own Labels the Smarter, Faster Way!

I had a very small amount of time to make a very large batch of labels and needed to make the process more efficient. I cannot believe I didn't think of doing it this way before.

Instead of cutting my ribbon or twill tape, I just ironed 5-6 onto the ribbon at a time. SO much faster! It keeps them way more organized for storage and cuts down on the amount of ribbon wasted. I've included the (extremely popular) original tutorial beneath for convenience, but with fewer steps, since I'm getting smarter.

Iron on Transfer Paper (I just used the t shirt kind)
Ribbon, twill tape or whatever you like best. Just make sure it's iron safe!

1.) In Keynote or Powerpoint, arrange your logo in rows. I printed out a few test sheets to get my labels just the right size. FLIP YOUR IMAGE! I may or may not have forgotten this step and wasted a sheet of transfer paper. If you're using a Mac, use keynote. Powerpoint for Mac has no 'flip' feature to make your logo a mirror image. Print onto transfer paper according to package directions.

2.) Cut out your transfer paper labels and position as many labels as your iron will cover (I managed 4-6 at a time) on the uncut ribbon or twill tape.

3.) Iron those suckers on. Like crazy. When you think you might be scorching the ribbon, wait another few seconds! Make sure to read the transfer paper directions so you know what heat setting to use and if you should use steam or not. I peeled off the paper backing at random intervals as a sort of quality control, to make sure they were stuck. The rest I left on when I rolled it back onto the spool to protect the tags.

Isn't that sooo much easier?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rainy Day Entertainment

The easiest and cheapest way to keep a child entertained while you do the dishes (or drink some coffee while procrastinating):
Use a plastic grocery bag as a parachute.

He lasted almost an hour by himself. Adding a cape and superhero gloves may have gotten me past an hour. Especially if I had given him a stuffed animal to rescue from a burning building.

Friday, May 11, 2012

DIY Mother's Day Flower Pots

Here's a pretty, handmade gift for the mom in your life this Mother's Day. It cost us under $15 and can be finished in a lazy afternoon.

Clay Pot; big enough to hold your herbs or flowers
Permanent Marker
Chalkboard Paint 
Masking Tape
Optional: acrylic paint for a border

We taped off a rectangle with the masking tape and painted it with blackboard paint according to the directions on the bottle. When it was dry, we peeled off the tape and wrote on the opposite side with Sharpies. Once we had planted our basil, we added the white border and left it to dry.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cutest Soccer Snacks

Cucumbers and cheese biscuits aren't usually the most exciting snack, but packed up this cute they sure are! I used cellophane bags, blank business cards and stamps to package the biscuits and press-n-seal wrap to pack up the cucumbers. Our U6 team definitely seemed to enjoy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Picnic Perfect Lemonade by the Jar

This lemonade is the best I've ever made and it only takes 3 steps, 2 ingredients and I made 4 jars in less than 5 minutes. I'm thinking I could even add a shot of vodka for hard lemonade for a grown up BBQ!

Supplies & Ingredients:

250 mL Mason Jars (as many as you'd like!)
Measuring Cup and Spoons
Lemon Juice
Hot (or boiling) water
Ice Cubes

1.) Add 1 heaping Tbsp of sugar and an inch of hot tap water to each mason jar. Put on the lid and shake to dissolve the sugar.

2.) Add 30 mL (2 Tbsp, 1/8 cup) or lemon juice to each jar.

3.) Pack full of ice cubes and screw the lid on. It will be perfect by the time you unpack your picnic lunch, just give it a little shake before you open it!

If you plan on drinking it right away, add 2-3 ice cubes and fill the rest of the way with cold water. Yum!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

No More Ugly Ketchup Bottles

I was looking for a way to spruce up the look of condiments on burger night and decided on plain old mason jars- my favorite! Such a simple, classy and appealing way to serve condiments. no more ugly bottles around here. Or at least when there's company...

Monday, April 2, 2012

First I Spy Quilt for Sale

I finally got the nerve to list my 'Cotton Candy' I Spy quilt. I'm not sure why I was worried about posting. I think pricing quilts is just challenging! I'm hoping to have the boy quilt finished sometime this month, it's going to be adorable.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Making Cheese (and other delicious things)

A few months ago I bought a very cool cheese making kit from the lovely Ella at Make Cheese. It made the perfect family night activity!

With 4L of milk you can make mozzarella, mysost and ricotta. Our mozza went on homemade pizza and poutine (we bought the poutine kit). I just noticed on the website that there are new brie kits! Oh man...I love brie. Maybe this will become a regular family activity!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tutorial: DIY Forward Facing Bookselves

I love forward facing bookshelves and have been wanting to buy some for quite a while. I'd been putting off making a purchase and snooping for tutorials for a while when I finally found a great tutorial on JOT.

In true Freya style, I skimmed the tut and winged it. Here's how I DIY'd all four of these shelves for under $25 including paint. It was actually really easy, especially since they did the cuts for free at the hardware store.

2x2x8 lumber (mine were cut into 4' lengths by the guy at Home Depot)
Trim, 2.5-3" tall and cut to the same length as your lumber. I used flat back baseboard trim with a simple profile.
Glossy Paint. Glossy is more durable. I used quick dry spray, but any kind you like works.
Flathead Wood Screws #12 x 3". We used 3 screws per 4' length
1.5" Finishing nails
Hammer or Nail Gun
Stud Finder
Measuring Tape

1.) Paint your wood and trim the day before.

2.) Pick your spot on the wall. Use the stud finder to locate your studs and shift your position so the spacing is reasonably even. Using your level, make marks, on the studs, where you want the screws to go. We put the center screw on one stud and the outside screws into the next stud on either side.

3.) Pre-drill holes into the lumber and the wall. Staring in the center, screw the lumber to the wall. Check for level BEFORE you screw the end screws in!

4.) Decide on your spacing and continue on up the wall. We used 16" gaps between each of our 4 shelves.

5.) Nail trim to the front of your shelves. Make sure the bottom and corners are flush and nail away. Space the nails differently than the screws so you don't nail into metal! We used 4 nails on each shelf.

6.) Done! I just touched up the nail heads with a little white craft paint and that was it. The project only took and hour and a half or so after the painting was done.

One of my best bang-for-the-buck DIY projects so far. $2 per 2x2x8, $0.59 per foot for the trim, $8 for screws and nails and $5 for paint = $22 total!

Monday, March 12, 2012

DIY Curtains for our New Kura Loft Bed

Daniel's room is very tiny and so we just just got a new Kura reversible/loft bed to try and open up some play space. I immediately knew that I wanted to make the space underneath into a fun little hideout. Curtains seemed like the right idea to soften and cozy up the space, while adding something interesting to look at. I sewed panels of fabric, in random widths, together for a patchwork look and pinned the 2 panels up with upholstery tacks/finishing nails. If you wanted to totally tent off the bottom, you could add a tension rod and an extra curtain across the front as well.

I was a little dark under the bed, so I bought 2 Larga Spotlights from Ikea and clamped them onto the bedposts at either end of the bed. They open just enough to fit on and they were only $4 each. It really brightened up the space, and once I'm finished the rest of his room, it will become a reading nook.

And for one last little custom touch, I added an old laundry bag to the end of the bed with a couple over-the-door hooks. It's full of our way-too-big collection of stuffed animals. One day, I might make a bag that co-ordinates with the curtain, but an already made bag was just too tempting to resist!

Hopefully you'll see more of this small space update soon. I have some great ideas!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Before and After: Updated Vintage Dresser Project

Now that my handsome handyman has installed the new handles, I have a before and after photo to show off. My $10 thrift store find had a face lift, and it looks 20 years younger!

The hardest part of this project was filling in the screw holes for the old handles, since they were not a standard size. I just used drywall mud, let it dry well, sanded the holes, primed the whole thing and painted it with 2 coats of high gloss paint. The paint and primer cost me about $25, the handles another $25 bringing the total to $60!

I was planning on putting this dresser in the hall by my bathroom, since we don't have a linen closet, but I changed my mind. I painted it in a friends garage and when I brought it home and saw it in the living room/entry (oh, the joys of small space living) I knew it was a perfect fit. It gives us extra storage for mittens, work bags, sunscreen and all those things you need when you're heading out.

I added a slightly retro lamp from Ikea, a mail sorter and invisible bookshelves by Umbra and a little tabletop organizer with compartments for our phones and wallets. Thanks to all my friends and FB fans for your color advice!

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