crafts

Clearing off my bedside table

I wish this was referring to my real life bedside table which is currently a metal folding chair which I thought was a genius idea a la Pinterest until I discovered almost nothing could be less functional in a tiny room where the priorities are keeping everything put away and out of the reach of little hands. As you know, folding chairs don’t have drawers. Or doors. I’m beginning to think that person on Pinterest didn’t have any children…

But I digress.

The bedside table to which I am referring is the imaginary one where I store all the posts, pictures, ideas, whatever that I want to go back to and look over or discuss or just share because it was worth hanging onto. I used to do at least one of these posts a week, then just one, then way less than that to the zero that we currently see. But while I wasn’t blogging anything from my bedside table I was still collecting things there in the form of Feedly blog posts “saved for later”. Try like 149 days later.

So instead of trying to share them in any kind of organized way I’m just going to dump it all here now, and share whatever is still worth sharing after so much time has past and I guess whatever doesn’t make this post will go the way of approximately 75% of everything in my old bedside table [the garbage] when I cleared it out before selling it to its happy new Craigslist owner.

Without further ado, the saved contents of my blog reading from the past 150 days…

+ The Dude Chilling Art Exchange in Vancouver (the name is misleading but the concept is cool and I want to see if it expands this Spring)

+ I had never thought too hard about why we celebrate Labor Day before, until I read two prayers for Labor Day

+ This was a good reminder to me that I want to be tidying as I go and building back habits I had before I started functioning in the urgent. I rely too much on an epic cleaning day when J takes the kids and not enough on being “tidy all the time”

+ Apartment Therapy’s list of 10 of the best things you can get for free online (and they’re legit and legal)

+ I want to see if I can use some of these updates to your kids’ room you can make without spending a cent

+ Obviously a juice cleanse didn’t work for me recently, but I did save this post a long time ago and it has some good tips for how to set yourself up for success when planning a juice cleanse so if it’s on your mind take a peek

+ If you have a girlie girl like me and worry that her only goal of being a princess or a ballerina might not help her in the long run check out the un-princess book list (besides the last one because Robert Munsch you teach kids to be brats and your books aren’t allowed in our house anymore thanks)

+ I saved a lot of posts around Christmas time about gift ideas for this or that family member, most of which aren’t that helpful now, but I want to remember these gifts ideas for future makers next time one of the creative kiddos in my life has a birthday

+ I’m envisioning super inexpensive Ikea or Target or thrifted glassware being transformed like this or like this or like this in one awesome ladies’ craft night (ladies?)

+ This cutting board DIY is so easy it just feels like cheating. Beautiful, display-worthy DIY cheating

+ Unstuff Gifts is a website that will help you find the perfect gift that can be experienced, downloaded or ingested. Genius. If you give it a try come tell me how it went!

+ This is just kind of random but up until I gave him a new one for Christmas, my husband had the same bottle opener in the shape of a foot keychain that he’d had since college (maybe high school?). If we ever accidentally switched keys it was embarrassing to hand them to the checkout girl when she had to swipe my grocery card. If your man’s keychain needs replacing check out this list of 8 great keychains

+ You want to DIY some gifts for kids in your life but you don’t want them to be something the parents try to throw out when you leave? Enter this list of 10 darling DIY toys

Cloud storage for your actual stuff, if this startup ever expands to Vancouver consider me in

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This post, like so many of Jami’s seemed to come right when I needed to hear it. She expresses so much of how I want to look at motherhood, my life and the why behind everything I do. I had been thinking of the word “because” when thinking ahead to 2014, and she, through her own struggles, puts words to that thought process for me.

because i love my God
from the natos

with that said, yes, i’m not my favorite person in those moments when i yell at her and shame her for not doing what i want her to do.  it’s very ugly…

and yet, even saying that phrase can’t change me. phrases have no power. but it became my prayer, my reminder, my cue for repentance. when i would cry and put in her in the bath, i would say over and over again in my head, because i love my God. because i love my God. make it true in my heart. 

No-sew baby bandanas and headbands

While watching the hockey game last night I knocked out a few sewing and no-sew projects I had been wanting to do for awhile. The game went into double overtime giving me plenty of time to get to three such projects: sewing a missing button onto an adorable pair of long john pajamas for my nephew, making two more bandana bibs for my most droolie baby, and trying out a no-sew headband I had pinned to make for her ages ago.

I wasn’t much for accessories on babies when I had the twins, I tried a few times but when they fell off or got pulled off I just kind of quit and dressed them both super casual, usually resulting in being told what handsome twin boys I had. Poor Marlow, she broke me in as a girl mom and now she’d be head to toe in pink and decked out in necklaces and sparkly hair clips everyday if I’d let her.

For this neutrals-loving mom it is a shock to the system to be raising this child. I’m pretty sure somehow she got my sister’s genes.

But anyways, here I am with my second girl and this time around I have a much better idea of how to dress her like a girl while still enjoying a colour palette that’s less shocking to my system. Starting with saving all my favourite items Marlow wore and donating the rest, then adding things I like here and there, including a few DIYs.

That’s where the headbands and bandana bibs come in. I whipped up a couple last night and after sharing a picture on Instagram I got so much interest I thought I’d better sit down and share my sources.

The Headband

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I found a tutorial for a no-sew headband made out of t-shirt material here and I used some organic cotton jersey in gray and white that I bought at the fabric store to make my bandana bibs. I skipped the part about gluing on ties and just made the stripes long enough to tie together, tighten to make the knot tiny and then trim. Does the trick. It seems to be thinner than what she uses so I got a tinier headband even when I doubled the thickness of the strips to two inches. I still love the look but want to try to achieve the size of the gray one in her first picture (which she credits to this Etsy shop if you’d like to buy rather than make), almost turban-like in its look.

Speaking of turbans, I pinned this crochet tutorial to make Norah a turban style hat so I need to get on that too.

How adorable is this??

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(Source)

The Bandana Bib

Norah is a crazy drooler and has been for months, far worse then the twins ever were. I wasn’t a big fan of the bibs I had or what I was finding in stores until I saw a super sweet, soft organic cotton, pink chevron baby bandana in a local store. FOR 25 DOLLARS. A piece of cloth for a baby human to spit on all day. Good grief.

Then I found this tutorial to make my own, complete with snaps, and with the organic cotton jersey and the snap kit I purchased I am currently making them for less than a dollar each. Drool on that.

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I want to try new fabric as what I have is organic and soft but so much so that it rolls and stretches, making getting a clean cut impossible. And my super drooler is soaking them too quickly so I’m starting to double them into four layers.

These were some easy DIYs that anyone could handle with a bit of fabric, a couple cheap tools and a double overtime hockey game.

My bedside table

+ Thank you, dear friend, for writing from your heart about something that touches mine. And I’m willing to bet many other women’s too. Weeped my way through this one. In a good way.

The Best Kind of Dare
not with ink

I think about how amazing it is that my sister’s body has grown a little boy and now her body is nourishing him and that deserves celebration and yet so many mothers I know struggle to love their changed bodies. Their beautiful life-creating, life-nourishing, life-sustaining bodies. These beautiful women I respect and admire. And yet a little voice says to me, Maybe it’s for the best that childbirth isn’t in your current forecast. Could you handle the changes? Would you be able to love yourself with more marks and rolls, when your body is quite literally at another’s service?

+ The insights Amelia has gained from being in a intercultural marriage inform me, touch me and make me laugh. She is going to make one fantastic intercultural mama.

Dear Western Bride of a South Asian Groom, Part 1
ESL Marriage

7. Give your fiancé the space to be Canadian. And Indian. And Indian-Canadian. Let him be confused, and let him take on two different personalities. Don’t put him in a position where he has to choose between you and being Indian. If you find that in India or with his family he has an altered personality, don’t panic. This happens.

+ Despite what you think, my kiddos did not have a Pinterest Easter. And Rage Against the Minivan’s recent revolt against the ridiculousness of overdone holidays has been refreshing and freeing for me personally.

The slacker mom’s guide to dying Easter eggs with small children
Rage Against the Minivan

And, look: if your idea of fun while your children are sleeping is to make artfully designed eggs, knock yourself out.  For me, my idea of a good time without children involves a glass of wine and a remote control . . . not soy-based dyes and masking tape.

+ The sacred messiness
Simple Mom

May we be mindful of the sacred task of parenting this week. May we hold it lightly in our hands so as to not wrap our identities around the job, but may we continually keep it within our eyes’ focus so that we remember its priority in our lives.

Dr. Lockridge’s words never, ever get old to me. There is truth and beauty and love here.

 

 

Photo dump of recent things

A little of this and a little of that whenever I captured it on camera. No time for photoshop so it’s all the real deal.

A neighbour in our building with a daughter a bit older and bigger than our kids has started giving us items her daughter has outgrown. Marlow inherited some clothing but both kids were pretty thrilled when the bag also contained a couple Halloween costumes.

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That same neighbour made a tutu for Marlow. Which made pretending to sweep the kitchen and even pouting in her bed just that much cuter.

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Then I picked up a couple aprons at the dollar store for more imaginary fun in the Ikea play kitchen we put in their room that didn’t initially thrill but has grown into one of their favourite places.

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This inspired me to create a dress up corner using an Ikea bar and hooks that used to hang in their room in our last place. Add a basket of hats and accessories and we have an instant dress up play area.

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Hatley had a sale recently (50% of everything on their website, wow) so I went ahead and bought all-season boots for the twins in sizes I hope will be right for next Winter. And just for fun and because the price was so good, I bought umbrellas that matched the twins’ rain boots – whales for Soren and birds for Marlow. Don’t know if this was a good idea but they sure do love them.

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At Christmas J’s coworkers gave our family a bundle of goodies and one of the items I’d been saving for a rainy day was a set of design-your-own-mug kits. The other day I brought them out and let the twins create a work of art for J.

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I wanted to make the kids Easter baskets after I didn’t find anything I liked in the stores at a reasonable price. Just not into the plastic-y stuff. So I found these cute bags at the Asian dollar store from $2, a silhouette of a rabbit online and with a few pieces of felt and buttons from my mess of a craft bin – voila, simple Easter baskets I can dig.

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And then there’s this.

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My bedside table

Just for the record I’ve been trying to write the post(s) about what’s really in my head, on my heart, going on in our lives, but I can’t seem to get the words out the way I want. I’m just too tired. Or discouraged. Or busy. Or something. I’m not sure what. I’m working on it and hopefully someday soon I can write again like I want to. Not about surface stuff but about what’s in my gut and what I’m wrestling with these days.

But for now I just can’t, the words are still all mixed together in my tired head and I’m using all the creativity I have to keep things going in my home and create life for my kiddos. And so I post links to stuff people who are getting more sleep than me are thinking up and I write the easy peasy posts about making soap so I don’t have to write about life.

I’ll get there again someday. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

+ As you know, I’m into making soaps right now. I’ve done laundry detergent and dish soap and up next I’ll need to give dishwasher detergent a go. But eventually my delicious Aveda rosemary mint shampoo and conditioner I got at Christmas will run out and I might decide to try my own recipe. Simple Mom shares a few ways she keeps her beauty natural routine sane and I think I could try some of them.

+ I love inspirational prints for our kids’ room. When the twins were smaller I picked out a print for each of them and hung them in their room. Now I’m on the lookout for something to inspire little Norah Bean as she grows. Don’t know if it’s one of these but I do love the idea of some golden nursery artwork.

+ My girl Vanessa is also a mama of a tender-hearted boy and she wrote some words to him that inspire me to cultivate and value the heart of my own little man.

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+ Easter crafts for our kiddos have been on my mind, I picked up a few supplies from the dollar store to make them easter bags, and you can check out my other ideas on my Pinterest Easter board.

I’m terrible at doing my hair. Never been good at it but these days my hair is always in a poorly executed bun on the top of my head and hasn’t been blow-dried in so long I think I forgot how. So I really want to try one of these ideas to get beyond my bun and add some style to my hair life.

 

This thought has been in my head this week as beautiful days alternate with brutal ones.

 

 

 

The highs and lows and being the only nurse on duty

It’s 9:15pm, J left a few hours ago and will be gone until Friday so OF COURSE the twins sickness has come on full force. I have been handling the anxiety of this by stress eating all the shortbread and Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks. No I don’t know why the drink is necessary.

They are always, ALWAYS, sick when he has to go somewhere. I have probably said this before in a Facebook status or a blog post somewhere but I am so not in favour of pretty much any reason why J needs to be away multiple nights. It would take a lot to convince me that he needs to sleep away from his wife and kids in order to accomplish whatever happens at these events. But no one put me in charge of this, I don’t get a vote and I support his job in general even if this aspect is hard for me to swallow, and so it is what it is.

The end.

So here I am, staring down a few days of poor sleeps, high needs kiddos and possibly a trip to a walk-in clinic tomorrow if a certain little boy’s throat is causing him as much pain as it was tonight.

Part of trying not to focus on what this night might hold involves writing this post. Because lately blogging has been a source of joy for me and a way to organize my thoughts and empty my brain.

It was a weird day. Full of highs and lows.

High: I was able to finally sleep in well (9:30!) and J got up with the kids.

Low: I was up with M at 3am and S at 4am.

High: M slept in until 8:15.

Low: She’s still sick and it will definitely affect her again tonight.

High: Soren fell back asleep SITTING UP on the couch so J took M up to her auntie’s house to play and when I woke up I walked into the living room Soren was sitting their in his pajamas, passed out and the only one in the house. It was a confusing and then very comedic scene.

Low: For some unknown reason the twins wouldn’t nap. Like, at all. They just played in bed for an hour which makes no sense considering how under the weather they are but kind of actually does because they slept in so much.

High: J took the kids out all morning and for lunch so I went to CB2 where I was able to purchase the light fixture J and I are getting each other for Christmas and, even better, there was one in the as-is section for 30% less. The walk there and back with that light fixture almost put me into labor (I am that slow walking pregnant chick now, big time) but it was a really exciting score.

Low: J had to leave us and I feel like the timing is just so not ideal for me right now that I struggle not to panic that I could go into labor or won’t be able to keep up with everything I need to do or I’ll get sick with the kids…

High: Right before supper the twins had a real perk up and we blew up balloons, turned on a dance mix on Songza.com and had a little party. And in case you are wondering, Missy Elliott is the best thing to watch M dance to.

Low: The kitchen is not clean, my desk is a mess and cloth diapers need washing but I just don’t feel like doing any of it.

High: I finished my flannel nativity scene and hung it on the wall. I am frankly pretty excited to see the kids’ face tomorrow and to show them how to play with it. I hope it will be fun for them and even more so in future years when they understand it more.

The flannel nativity is actually what made me sit down to post in the first place. I wanted to show what I did and give the resources if you want to make one of your own. I bought the flannel from the Asian dollar store in all different colours (and I have so much left over I am thinking of future sets I could make) and found the template on Pinterest that comes originally from this blog. I used a hot glue gun to assemble the pieces of the people, sheep, angels and stable and hung the background on the wall using flat tacks under the frames of the stable. It took me three evenings to complete but with NFL football on tv it was actually a very enjoyable project. I’ve been doing so much housework and organizational projects it was a nice change to just sit down and create, to focus on one thing for awhile.

 

So I don’t really know what tonight and tomorrow and the next couple days will hold but I also know I can’t do much about it. I’ve got the meds ready and I’m hitting the hay in a couple minutes.

As long as I don’t go into labour before Friday I think we’ll all survive.

 

On my bedside table

I wish I could steal all the posts Rage Against the Minivan shared in her roundup post this week but that’s not really the point is it. So I picked two that impacted me the most and I highly recommend you check out the rest.

The Mom Stays in the (Holiday) Picture
by Allison Tate for Huffington Post 

(Pictures) are the stories we plan to pass to our children, to help recount to them and help them remember from where and whom they came. But even more than that, keeping ourselves out of these pictures — out of these stories — can symbolize something greater about how we see and treat ourselves as both mothers and human beings, and our children are watching. I am hoping that we might accept ourselves, perceived warts and all, as valuable, integral, essential parts of our own stories. I’m hoping we can value ourselves in our everyday forms as mothers, women, caretakers, warriors and, most importantly, individuals.

I’ve started telling my daughters I’m beautiful
from Offbeat Families

How confusing it must have been to have me say to them, “You think I am beautiful, but you are wrong. You are small and you love me, so you’re not smart enough to know how unattractive I am. I know I am ugly because I see myself with mean eyes. You are my child and I love you, but I will not allow myself to be pretty, for you. No matter how shining you are when you watch me brushing my hair and pulling my dress over my head. No matter how much you want to be just like me, I can’t be beautiful for you and I don’t know why.”

+ Realized I needed to cook some salmon last night or it would have to be frozen so I quickly searched Pinterest for a recipe and ended up with this sesame ginger beauty. I spiced the quinoa up a bit with my own twists (a nicer way of saying I used what I had) but the salmon glaze was fantastic. So easy my two year old son could help me (a fact which he enjoyed telling J throughout supper) and it caramelized up so nicely in the oven. We’ll definitely be making it again.

A toddler portion of our masterpiece. Thanks for the help, Soren.

+ This week I am making the twins a wall flannel nativity set. I started last night and will hopefully finish tonight. I kept wondering if that is too ambitious and I should just go with a snowman. I’m using this set as a guide (though warning: her templates are hand drawn and pretty casual in their scale so I’ve been referencing them and then doing what looks best for my set.)

Source: mycrazyblessedlife.com via Jane on Pinterest

https://twitter.com/HonestToddler/status/273133645764640769

https://twitter.com/robdelaney/status/273161404859678721

https://twitter.com/perlapell/status/273668688887046144

https://twitter.com/HonestToddler/status/273891204448530432

https://twitter.com/birbigs/status/274646262563893249

On my bedside table

I made this quinoa and sweet potato chili this week and it was a hit. It’s vegan but we kind of blew that by plopping sour cream on top. So worth it. Enough protein here for even a guy to give the thumbs up.

 

I know it’s the hormones that are putting this little video over the top for me, so if you don’t get all mushy and start furiously kissing your toddlers on the forehead while they try to move so they can see it around you, I understand. But if this isn’t the most adorable little video about a snowman I don’t know what is (and yes, I tell Soren and Marlow that’s them in the video).

The same people, supersimplelearning.com, also make other videos including a beautiful version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat showing the seasons of a love relationship in the framework of the changing of the seasons of the year. (and a Ten In The Bed, Twinkle Twinkle and BINGO all of which are favourites with the twins).

If you don’t frequent AwkardFamilyPhotos.com yet, you are missing out. Prepare for addictive hilarious awkwardness.

I saw this press conference and was mesmerized by the sign language interpreter standing by Mayor Bloomberg. Apparently everyone was, so this article answers the question “why do sign language interpreters look so animated?

15 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in November courtesy of MentalFloss.com

[World Toilet Day:] A holiday devoted to the John, the Pot, the Latrine, the Porcelain God? Sounds like the brainchild of a group of 5th graders. In fact, it’s an international event dedicated to destigmatizing toilets and address the challenges of global sanitation. Created in 2001, the official website points out that billions of people in the world do not have proper access to toilets, but also that in addition to being vital to life, toilets can be “fun and sexy.” (Their words, not ours.)

Still looking for an alternative to a real Christmas tree this year (outlawed in our building, boo) and came across some options. I have a pretty good ornament collection so displaying them is really what I’m after. Tossing around ideas like a screen door, an old window or branches on the wall. Seriously limited by concrete ceilings we can’t hang anything from and almost zero surface space. HELP.

Source: sointovintage.blogspot.com via Sarah on Pinterest

 

Source: bystephanielynn.com via Sarah on Pinterest

Big sheets of felt are available at our local dollar store so I think this might be a fun activity to make for the kids this year. Could do anything – a tree, a nativity scene, or a reindeer to learn body part placement.

https://twitter.com/HonestToddler/status/263370470840225792

https://twitter.com/RonanFarrow/status/264107066002661376

https://twitter.com/DJRotaryRachel/status/264096157473570816

https://twitter.com/HonestToddler/status/263992443203121153

 

On my bedside table

I came across a couple new blogs this week through various avenues so I had some fresh reading which was nice. I also did a bit of planning and purchasing for the twins’ birthday party and a pile of cooking so I thought I’d change it up a bit and share a few Etsy shops and recipes as well. These are recipes I made once and have actually gone back to again, which is saying a lot for a Pinterest recipe which can often be, how do I put it, trial and error.

forgiving. the backwards way.
from the nato’s

i think a lot of us want there to be a process before we forgive. you know, like you come to a point of healing where you feel like you can forgive someone. you process it through and then, boom, magically you get there and you can forgive someone.

caroline eloise
after HIS smile

her heart rate was perfect through all 10 hours of labor. i pushed for a while & she was born except we had no idea in that moment that she was already looking into her heavenly Father’s face.

This quiche loraine is simple simple, especially when you use store-bought frozen crusts like I did. This time around I am freezing the filling alone and I’ll buy the crusts when I am ready to cook them to save space in the freezer.

Source: dinnertool.com via Sarah on Pinterest

 

The flavours of this stew are like autumn in a bowl. I’ll be making a huge batch (minus the olives, not a fan) and filling my freezer before the baby comes. for. sure.

 

The twins ABC second birthday theme will get a boost with these adorable wooden spoons which I plan to attach to cupcakes-in-a-jar, in the style of the second pin below.

My birthday change of heart. Again.

Source: etsy.com via Sarah on Pinterest

 

There are just too many ideas out there. Pinterest, you will be the death of me. That or the lack of good party stores in Canada. Suggest all the stores you like, you will never, ever match the access to party, decor and general craft supplies I had in the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex. Never.

So here I am strapped by Canadian shipping, one lousy party store and way too many ideas. What’s that? You thought I had settled on an airplane theme? Oh ya about that…

I received a lovely invitation to a friend’s son’s second birthday party this Saturday and took one look at the airplane seal and I just knew. It was a good idea, so good that someone else got there first.

You guys it even had two little invitations made like Air Canada tickets, personalized with our kids’ names on them. And a map folded up like a paper airplane.

Don’t get me wrong, my friend is a lovely and practical person and would never ever be competitive over such a thing. I bet there will only be a very slight overlap of party goers and the only children to attend both are probably hers and mine. But I just can’t do it. I don’t want to be that friend and I don’t want the temptation to copy or tweak or for goodness sake compete to have a better airplane birthday. As silly as that sounds, how could I not take notes and want to snag all her best ideas?

Oh I could be bigger than that? Ya, I guess that’s one way.

Bottom line is, airplanes are out for me. Thankfully my two year olds have no idea the existential crisis I have been going through over this silly party so it’s neither here nor there to them if we do airplanes or not.

So my backup plan is to keep it pretty Fall but to go with another current favourite theme of theirs: ABC. Or the alphabet. Whatever. I’m thinking wooden letter blocks spelling Happy Birthday, ABC invitations (which I am in the process of requesting customization on with an Etsy seller), letter-themed favours and just yummy Fall foods. Apple chips, caramel corn, pumpkin muffins, that kind of thing. The best of both worlds I think: I get to make a yummy Autumn brunch bar and cute decorations and they get to be inspired to sing their ABCs for two hours.

The adults will be thrilled. But they’ll suffer with a smile because that’s the birthday boy starting up another verse for the three hundredth time. And momma can’t change her mind again or her Pinterest will start to smoke.

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