Friday, June 29, 2012

A Party and Some Printed Pillows

Every year I host a get-together for all of the women I taught with at my previous school.  I left that school 3 years ago and I find that this is the best way to keep all of these dear friends in  my life and up to date with the "goings-on" in each others' lives.  

I try to keep the party as simple as possible - food, drink and lots of things to keep the kids happy and busy!
I planned everything for outside, but the day of the party was so blinking HOT, that we moved it all inside!! The kids were in and out - after all you can only blow bubbles and play with water guns OUTSIDE - but all of the food, wine and chatter took place where the air-conditioner was cranked up!

As usual these days, a few of my party ideas came straight from Pinterest.

While we waited for the 10 mommies and their kids to arrive, I snapped a few pics to capture these summery moments:
Juice boxes on ice, Timbit and strawberry kababs, paper lantern decor and a bucket full of new sand and water toys

A yummy display of veggies, plastic "glassware" ready to be filled with a cocktail, bubble equipment and flowers in full bloom

Now the title of this post contained "Printed Pillows."  How do those fit into the party scheme?  Well - to be honest, these pillows came into fruition a day or two before the party while I visualized the decor for the get-together.  My deck is covered in pots of pink flowers and all of the furniture is quite neutral in colour.  I have a few throw pillows that I purchased last year, but unfortunately they became quite faded over the summer months.  When I pulled them out for THIS summer, I knew I needed to add a few more pillows with a bit more colour-zip.  

I used a chunk of fuchsia cotton that I found at the thrift store and took it from plain to pizzazz  using craft paint, a sponge brush and some foam stamps.

With stamp and paint in hand I went to town  creating a garden of daisies on my pink fabric.  

Love the daisies, but I needed more colour zing.  Add in the yellow centres:

Once satisfied with one kind of print, I covered another section of the fabric with a different pattern using several shapes of stamps.  A little touch of yellow landed here, too!

It took next to no time to whip these rectangle chunks of fabric into 3 throw pillows:

And they were the perfect addition to the "deck decor" for my party.  In fact, every time I am out on our deck, I am so pleased with how they turned out. They are the perfect dash of colour for the beginning of the summer!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

From One Teacher to Three Others....

As the school year draws to a close, I am always challenged with what to buy the kids' teachers as a thank-you gift.  We have been lucky again this year - A and B have ADORED their teachers, so of course I want my year-end gift to reflect that.  
As a teacher myself, I'll admit, I have been given some real dud presents at the end of year - including used lipstick and a pack of maxi pads.  Really!  But there have been other, fabulous, well thought out gifts from many a child and parent, too.  Cost is never a factor - something simple and free can turn out to be the best gift of all!
I know I am counting the minutes til our summer vacation starts (2 days!!!) and I am sure so are my kids' teachers. So to celebrate their upcoming period of relaxation I have put together a gift that will allow the teachers to sit and chill out, and not worry about lesson plans, yard duties and parental phone calls. 

Instead - iced tea for on the deck or porch, a magazine with nothing but useless information, some newly downloaded tunes and a pretty polish to decorate summer toes.  
Once these items had been purchased I thought long and hard about how I wanted to wrap them.  Something pretty, but artsy and cute, too.

My daughter helped me stamp 3 large pieces of kraft paper with different images.  Cute bird, eh?

Then I folded the kraft paper into a large envelope shape, securing the edges with some 2-sided tape. 

To help the paper hold its envelope shape, I zipped around the edges with a straight stitch on my sewing machine.  it adds a little texture, too.

In goes the gift-- fastened together with a little clear tape.  

For the final detail, I added a little bow on the flap of each of the envelopes.  
Red bow, blue butterflies:

Purple bow, pink birds:

There we go.  Done and done.  I really think the teachers will love these gifts (and the wrapping, too!)  

Truthfully, I'd love to receive these from anyone of MY students!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mmm.....Snacks for Camping

Hi there! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! 
We are currently trying to "finish" our basement and we're at the drywall-ing stage.  Hubby needed some kid-free time to get it done so my mother and I took the three kids for a little camping trip in conjunction with her family's annual family reunion.  

Here are a few pics I snapped during some of the action:

It really is wonderful to spend some time outdoors reconnecting with my rather large extended family.   My mom is one of 9 children and each branch of the family tree has extended by at least 2 generations. That's the makings of one REALLY BIG reunion.  

Food always plays a large role in the festivities (doesn't it in every family??) so everyone does  his or her part to bring drinks, munchies and meal food for the whole weekend.  

For the last few years I have brought this  yummy snack mix- 
Cereal Nuts'n'Fluff.  

The kids LOVE it - and the adults fight over it!!  It is really THAT good.

It's fairly easy to make, too.

You need:

6 cups cereal              6 cups popcorn        1 cup peanuts

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup butter

250 grams marshmallows

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place peanut butter and butter in large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM-HIGH 1 min.; stir. Add marshmallows; microwave 1 min. or until marshmallows are puffed; stir until well blended. Add cereal, popcorn, and peanuts; mix well.
Spread evenly into two greased 15x10x3/4-inch baking pans.

Bake 10 min. Cool completely. Break into small pieces.

Oh yeah! Check this out!

Mmmmm....Could you enjoy this?

Honestly - I put it out on the table at about 2:45 in the afternoon, news spread how good it was, and the huge double batch I had made was GONE by 3pm!!

Give it a try! You'll not be disappointed!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Every Kid's Dream: A "Sprinkle Bar"

Hi all.  Feels like summer around here.  The last few days have brought temperatures close to 40 degrees Celsius.  No one's complaining though - it's perfect for ice cream, sprinkler play and BBQs.

Hubby gave me 2  peony plants for Mother's Day.  They have bloomed beautifully.  Here are the last few tissue-like blooms (and my three babies!):

That's a whole lot of loveliness in one photo!

Last night, grabbing a cookbook, I actually had things tumble out of this cabinet that stands in the  corner of our kitchen.  What a mess! Books, bowls, cookie cutters, food colouring, and bottles of bubbles (Yep - you read right!!) Time for an organizational makeover!!

I thinned out the cookbooks and re-shelved them for easier use.  I love cookbooks but I find I don't use them as much as I used to.  Pinterest, blogs and foodie websites are where  I search for meals lately.  However, the good  old-fashioned cookbook still has a place in my kitchen.

There are some classics here, as well as ones bought simply for their beauty.  

The bookshelves turned out  well - time to move onto the lower shelves where I keep all of my baking accoutrement. 
  I bake A LOT.  Cookies, cakes, muffins -  you name it, I make it. So with this baking obsession comes the gear.  I have sprinkles coming  out of ears - every colour, texture and flavour.  The kids adore them on everything so we are never in short supply.  But I really needed a way to store them so that they are handy for me and accessible for the kids.  This is what I came up with :

Several  spice jars bought at the second-hand store

And a kitchen organization basket from IKEA.  I attached it to the inside of the cabinet door using my hubby's brand-new Father's Day gift lithium-powered drill.

Then little lady helped me pour several bags of sprinkles into the little bottles.  Not an easy job, but well worth it! 


In celebration of the new "sprinkle bar" we put our homemade ice cream maker to work again (as we do EVERY weekend!) and made some fresh Butterscotch Cookies'N'Cream  ice cream as a vehicle for all those sprinkles!

Here, Camden adds green sugar to his bowl:

 And Afton adds pink to hers:

See those darling Disney spoons?  We had ONE with Mickey Mouse on it when my sisters and I were growing up and we fought over in constantly.   Recently I found SIX of them at the thrift store - 2 Mickeys, 2 Minnies and 2 Donald Ducks.  And for 29 cents each!!  Can you believe it?  Now my kids can eat dinner with  Disney forks and dessert with the matching spoons.  So cool.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

"BLOOM" Where You are Planted...

Recently I came across this image on Pinterest.  It was posted on the Pink Postcard blog but I was unable to find who created the vignette seen in the picture.  

What caught my eye were the large signs  with the wooden letters - Grow and  Bloom.  

I had no idea where this craft/vintage sale was, so there was no chance of me purchasing a sign, so I did the next best thing - I MADE one!!

I started with a leftover pine board I found in my basement.  I sprayed it pale aqua and distressed the edges. 

Then I painted some $1.00 letters I found at Walmart with a ballet slipper pink spray paint - and distressed them, too!

Then I added a wooden daisy leftover from this project.

Out came the hot glue gun and on went the letters.


What do you think?  I am not sure where I will hang it.  Outside for sure....but where??

I tried it in a few places.....


And here too...

I may just leave it resting on the deck for awhile. I can enjoy most easily here.  

Thanks for popping by!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Just a Bit More Pink....

Hey all!   It's Friday!  It's been along week (and I am SO ready for summer vacation!).  Two more weeks to go - then the free'n'easy summer will be upon us! 

Just a little something to share today.  

This is how my shelving unit in my living room looked for early spring and Easter.
 Eggs, bunnies and birdies.  Cute but not really up-to-date.  So time for a good dusting and a re-vamp.

I stuck with a pastel palette but added in a lot more feminine details - and more pink!

I can't get enough of this bowl of fake hydrangeas.  I wish I had bought both bowl- fuls at the store!  My father-in-law bought this turquoise glass wasp-catching for me. Too early for wasps - but perfect decor in the meantime!

See my "new" vintage plate?  Pink roses- my fave!

And my favourite magazine, stacked in a basket ready at anytime for a quick read.....

This vintage tray is a recent purchase too. I love the ruffly edges and the purple violets.

It wasn't until I was creating these vignettes that I realized I had it's matching jug (bought ages ago!) in my collection, too.  Cool eh?

For another  zap of pink, I added some silk primroses into  bunny baby mugs - one from my childhood and one belonging to my daughter.

And here is the whole view, dusted, primped and positioned:

Nice and refreshed, just what it needed!

Now before I go, I'd love to share some pics from Bryn and Afton's tap dance recital that took place 2 nights ago.  Both looked pretty "jazzy" in their sparkly top hats and shiny tap shoes. 

Look at my little girl! Done up in mascara, eyeliner, blush, lipstick and sparkly eye shadow.  Talk about making my heart leap.  With all of that makeup on I could see into the future - my beautiful 16 year old daughter made up and smiling, ready for a date - or even the prom!!
Be still my heart.  You've got 10 years before that.  Lots of time to enjoy your LITTLE girl.

And my biggest boy?  It was such a joy to see him tap, slide and shuffle with sheer exhilaration on his face.  Dear Bryn - you have come a long way from that brain tumour  that controlled your body for so long.  Once again you have shown that you are truly amazing!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Going Up and Digging In

My sister-in-law, Amy, works for Toronto's "Worldwide Short Film Festival."  Today they were holding an event called "shorts for Shorties" - an hour-long presentation of kids mini-movies  in the theatre at the base of this: 

If you don't recognize it, this is Canada's tallest building ( & the tallest free-standing structure in the Western hemisphere) - the CN Tower.  I hadn't been to visit it since I was young and the kids were so excited to check it out today.
Before going into the theatre we hung out with this "Inukshuk." 

After the watching the short films from around the world (they were all so good!), we jumped on an elevator and traveled the 61 meters up to the observation deck.
Here is the view west from the tower:

And the view to the South:

After lunch in a nearby sports pub, everyone (even ME!) napped in the car, exhausted from the morning's excitement.

Once home and refreshed, the kids settled into a movie and I got crafting!

Recently in this issue of my favourite magazine

I came across this picture:

Thinking of my recently planted garden, I thought, "I need those!"  

And, "I can MAKE those!"

We had a fair bit of wood left in our garage from a recent project so I asked handsome hubby to cut some of the thinnest pieces of wood into stake shapes.  

After sanding them down, I painted each stake a different colour.  Then I used some 1" stencils and black paint to add the lettering:

I sanded the edges and the lettering a little bit to add an "aged" feel.  It also made the stencilling "slip-ups" a little less noticeable!  : )

And here they are in "action."  We've had tons of rain mixed in with lots of full-out sunshine in the last week. All of the seeds we planted less than 10 days ago have already popped up in leaves and stems.  I love going and checking them each and every day.  

Today's garden excitement?  15 strawberries -ripe and ready to pick for snack this afternoon.  Oh yeah! They were the best we had ever tasted!