Recycling my stuff

Posted on June 26, 2015 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

In yet another effort to downsize and organize my studio (and myself), I've been selling off a lot of things that were just plain cluttering up the place. Since I almost never buy anything new, most of the things that I am selling are vintage with a few genuine antiques amongst them. When I was a student I couldn't afford a lot of new decorative accessories or even essentials, so charity shops, flea markets and garage sales were the mainstay for my shopping adventures. Now I'm glad that I did what I did back then as I had no idea what my odds and ends would fetch today.  

I was lucky enough to visit Europe over the years and haunted the flea markets in France, Italy, and the UK, bringing home souvenirs of my trips. Few of these were actually tourist souvenirs, just bits and bobs I simply had to have - dozens of Eiffel towers in various sizes, concrete cannonball, brass candlesticks from St. Paul's church in Paris, an antique lidded pewter measure, old wooden boxes - even a foldable military cadet's wrought iron bed which weighed a ton. I brought it over as luggage and the guys at Customs just shook their heads in amazement. No way could I do that today.

Over the years I have sold a lot and miss quite a few. I am reluctant to sell off all of my James Keiller & Son marmalade crocks so have only put two for sale. They still speak to me. Usually I only have bought what I really, really, really was drawn to (and still do) and I remember exactly where and when I made my purchases. Funny how things can evoke such strong feelings but there it is. Do you feel the same way about what you have?

If you want to see what I've posted recently, go here

6 Ways to Upcycle Your Easter Eggs

Posted on April 1, 2015 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Real or faux - you’ve dyed them, decoupaged a few, painted some, dipped even more so do you really want even more ideas for decorating Easter eggs? Well, I ask "Why not?" Scouring the internet I’ve found a few egg-citing (get it??) projects that tickled my fancy and might even tickle yours (fancy, that is).

Easter egg decorating is always a great way to entertain your little ones but these ideas might even be fun for older kids or teens who may be getting a tad old to be excited about this festive holiday.  So here we go.

1. Brownies in an (egg)shell

A delightful way to creating edible Easter eggs without the yolk (that's a joke!). The blog is in Spanish but a click on the English icon provides you with a good translation for these yummie treats. For sure, I will be attempting to make these using a favourite family brownie recipe - but with my baking skills ...

2. Clever disguise!

Cute as a button (or an egg), this is a very doable project. You can create your own little egg characters. I make these as little witches every Halloween topped with little witchy hats and filled with ghastly goodies!

3. Help, there's a (gummy) bear in my egg!

Let your little ones think that all they're getting this Easter are hard-boiled eggs then, surprise - once they're cracked, the little ones will forgive you. This post (also in Spanish but with great photos to follow along), shows the eggs filled with confetti if you're not partial to sweets. You can also fill them with little toys and stickers.

4. Emoji me!

Bright as can be. You don't have to be a Picasso to make these. This post provides you with easy step by step instructions for drawing emoji images on your eggs. 

5. Grow your own

This blog post shows you how to grow wheatgrass in your emptied eggshells. TIP: Once the wheatgrass is ready for transplanting to larger pots, remember to gently squeeze the eggshells to crack the shells as this makes it easier for the roots to get out into new soil.

6. Hipsters

In this blog post, Autumn uses tattoo paper to transfer the image onto the egg. If you can draw, you can create your own characters - maybe family members?? 

So - Happy Easter to all. Happy eating and playing. Don't forget to empty and rinse out the eggshells before using!

March Break - Inspiring Recycling Projects

Posted on March 11, 2015 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

March Break is next week here in Ottawa and I've put together links to a few of my favourite kids' projects which will appeal to both kids and parents (I hope). All of the sites shown here have tons of projects and enough ideas to keep you and the kids busy all week long and are worthwhile exploring. I haven't noted any age categories although some are easier to make than others. I think kids any age would enjoy these (even me!!). 

Most call for stuff that you no doubt already have around the house: i.e., newspapers, milk cartons,  popsicle sticks, cardboard, etc.

For the Architect

Source: Paper Houses

For the Gardener

Source: Garden Plot

For the Musician

Source: Harmonica

Source: Drum

For the Mad Scientist

Source: Science Fun 

Source: Balloon Fun

For the Rocket Scientist

Source: Zoom, zoom 

NOTE: Both the above sites have projects that both girls and boys can enjoy. 

For the Structural Engineer

Source: Instructions for this bridge can be found at the following link:

For the Sailor

Source: Spanish Galleon

Recycling - Cardboard City Inspiraton

Posted on March 3, 2015 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

If you're gobsmacked by this little cardboard city as much as I am, I'm not surprised. It's the creation of Evgeny Kudryavtsev (aka Cardboard Dad) an architect and the father of a little girl, Ira, for whom he invent toys made from recycled cardboard and scrap materials. He crafted this mouse-sized cardboard city as part of a commission for German publisher Fordevind. The bright colours and graphic details that he added to his city makes it irresistable to any mouse or child (even a few adults). It just shows you what you can do with something as common as cardboard. 

Take a wander through his blog (it's in Russian) and you’ll be tempted to break out the cardboard and create a city with, and for, your little ones. To view Evgeny's blog and his mouse-sized city landscape, click here

Evgeny has an online shop selling his own designs. His current DIY kits include a cardboard house and a rocket, both customizable. To check out his wares, go here.

March Break Eco-Friendly Craft Supply Recipes

Posted on February 28, 2015 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

March Break is just a couple of weeks away here and some parents have nowhere to send their kids (not there, silly!) and take time off to spend with them. If you've decided to forego the trip to Disneyland or Cuba, and, if you're in a tizzy and too busy to look up some ideas to keep the kids occupied, I'm here to help.

First up are a few links that give you easy-peasie instructions to make your own (MYI) glue, paint, play doh, even Mod Podge (so easy, you'll fall off your chair in surprise!). All the 'recipes' are environmentally friendly that you can make at home. No need to head for craft or dollar stores: most call for ingredients you've already have in your kitchen cupboard and are easy enough for kids to make under your supervision. So, here we go!

Homemade Craft Glue

This craft glue recipe comes from Moms over at Paging Fun Mums and is very simple to make. When I made mine, I never thought to use vinegar as the preservative. Good idea. For the how-tos, click here.

Mod Podge

Great recipe for decoupage crafts. Mod Podge can get expensive so these two handy MYI recipes come in handy. They're from the wife and husband team over at Painted Furniture Ideas. I tried the simple solution one and found that it worked beautifully. For both recipes, click here.

Homemade Playdoh

Almost everyone I know has a recipe for playdoh. But the two offered by Instructables are by far the best I've tried. There's one recipe for cooked which they say has a better texture and another one for uncooked playdoh. The choice is yours. Cooked or uncooked?

Homemade Finger Paint

I found oodles of recipes for finger paint and choose the following because the recipes included ingredients I already have in the cupboard (and a neighbour kindly took down for me as I'm still pretty much unable to stretch!). Anyway ...

The first finger paint recipe is via Stacey from The vG Huis blog. It includes sugar as an ingredient so don't tell the kids. They may want to eat it! Just tell them that it's a secret ingredient that you can't divulge. Kids love secret ingredients. For the instructions, go here.

Melissa from the Fireflies and Mud Pies blog claims to have a taste-safe recipe for finger paint. It doesn't include sugar but uses Kool-Aid instead of food colouring to colour the paints. I didn't attempt to try tasting but I do admit it came out nicely and really worked well. The recipe is here.

Homemade Water Colours

Your older kids might like to use brushes instead of their fingers to create their masterpieces. Here's an easy recipe for water colours from Amy, a blogger over at All Parenting. If you don't want to (or don't have an extra) ice cube tray, use a muffin tin instead or small jars. For recipe, click here.

I hope you find these links useful as well as both time and cost-saving. There's nothing better than creating and spending time with your kids. They grow up so fast!

Back Green Garden Update

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, here they are - photos of our lovely back green garden in bloom.

The lettuce (Lola Rosa) patch is already producing enough for most residents ...

I never knew you could grow your own celery ...

Herbs are my favourites as you can pick, and pick, and pick ....

The rosemary and mint in these clay containers give the garden a distinctly Mediterranean flair, don't you think?

Nasturtiums keep the French beans company.

The little guy loves to play under the trees behind the garden where he makes mud pies but he also loves to water the plants in the garden. This garden has been a godsend for me as I find it hard somedays to keep up with his nibs. So much energy in such a little package. Now we spend mornings in the garden enjoying the sunshine - I get to catch up on my reading and the little guy plays happily by himself or with any of the other kiddies that show up.