Words To Live By:

"The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you finish the work."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kitchen Dreams

There are some fabulous home & decor stores out there with even more fabulous websites with extra, extra fabulous catalogue rooms and crazy ridiculous price tags!  Pier 1, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn... and one of my favourites, Ballard Designs.  Besides the inspiration I find in magazines, Pinterest, and through some talented bloggers I follow,  I could spend hours drooling over browsing the websites of these non-budget-friendly outlets while looking for ideas for our home... all the while hoping I can pull off a similar look without breaking the bank.   That little voice inside my head is always niggling away with thoughts like "I wonder if I could do that for cheaper..." or "That would be easy to do myself..."

This is our current dining nook.  For our living space, we have one big open concept room off the deck (which we use as our main entrance).  The room includes our living/tv room and eat-in kitchen, both of which need some serious updating  horrid mismatched lighting fixtures, dated cabinets, ugly countertops, cracked walls, and (shudder!) mustardy/goldenrod-ish coloured walls.   The fieldstone you see is the left side of our fireplace.  It needs an updated mantle

This is a kitchen design that I'm thinking (one day when I have an actual budget of ANY kind - little, big, just a budget, please!) I can incorporate into our living space.  I'll even keep my dining nook neat and tidy and catalogue photo ready (snicker!)  

Kitchen Inspiration:  Constance Kitchen {Ballard Designs}

I love the clean, neutral feel of this dining area.   The colour is perfect too! I love the rustic lantern look pendant (Delaney Pendant, $229) for over our seating area.  I love the round table with a bench tucked into a little dining nook.  I love the panelled walls (wainscotting? or what's this look called? I'm drawing a blank here!)  I could live without this particular rug and would prefer something with more of a sisal feel.
We already have a round table that just needs a little TLC.  Sanding it down and painting or re-staining (or maybe both!) are on my to-do list.  I had never really thought about adding a bench...but I have to say, I'm liking that plan for additional seating.  The bookcase as shelving is fabulous, but I could also work with a buffet instead.  

See the dishes featured on the shelf???? Southern Living Dinnerware.  Cute, functional pops of colour, no?  I need my pops of colour!   They're good solid pieces with pretty details like scallops and fork-pressed pie crust edges.

So what do you think? Does it scream "Lindsey" to you?  Could it work in our space? I think yes!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Charming Ribbon Bookmark Knockoff

I'm not sure I've ever tried (or successfully managed) a chain store knockoff before.   A few weeks ago, the boys and I were in Pier1.  (I think that trip gave me a heart condition - do NOT EVER - never, ever even - bring two rambunctious monkeys into a store filled with pretty expensive things.)   I have never said, "Stop touching."  "Look with your eyes!"  "Don't run."  so many times in one short span of time.

I  love Pier1, but for a mama on a budget who isn't quite sure how she wants to decorate her house, it can still be a bit pricey.   They have some fabulous items though - their decor, art, dishes, and accessories make me swoon a little when I meander through their greatness.   I even love their little tchotskys and giftables - which is what inspired this knockoff.

I love to read.  I've said it before, I'll say it again.  This is just a fact of who I am.  As much as I like books, I loooooove pretty bookmarks.  Seriously.  I don't necessarily remember where I put them, but they make me happy.    I absolutely adored these:

And I thought that for $10 a pop, I could probably make a very similar version for a fraction of the cost.    Yes, and no....  I'll explain!

I ventured into Walmart & Michael's.  I picked out some pretty 5/8" satin ribbons that I loved (and then raided my stash when I got home for more variety!)   I also found some charms and oversize beads that I thought would work well together.  (I then came home and in my raid session found some I already had that were just perfect for this project.)  I had jump rings on hand.    All in all, after purchasing all the goodies for these bookmarks, I could have bought one for less than I spent total.

I cut my ribbon (5/8" satin) into approx. 32" lengths.  I couldn't remember how long the Pier1 bookmarks were so using the picture and an actual hardcover as a guide, I figured 32" would work.   I then slid a ring onto the ribbon halfway and folded the ribbon over - the rings I used were actually half of a toggle set clasp or some "o" shaped beads.   I added a jump ring if necessary and attached my desired charm.   I then slid an oversized decorative bead (think Pandora-ish) onto the folded ribbon from the open ends and slid it down.  I knotted the top of the ribbon haves together, snipped so I was left with approx. 14" length and heat-sealed the ribbon.   If you've never heat sealed a ribbon, it's easy - just watch your fingers!  Light a candle, bring the snipped end of the ribbon (one at a time) close to the flame - kind of on an angle - not directly above it.  Watch your fingers - and the ribbon - it's easy to singe and burn.  Burnt ribbon really smells!   You'll know you're doing it correctly as the cut ends curl up and turn kind of melted looking - this will prevent your ribbon from fraying.   And here is your finished project:

I made about 10 of these today and need to buy a few more supplies to make more - lots and lots more!  They were pretty simple, but it does take a bit of time.   They cost about half of what a Pier 1 bookmark cost per piece (not counting your time) and I think they're pretty darn close in the knockoff department.

I'm trying to create a whole bunch of these.  I need impulse buys for Wisdom & Whimsy tables at some fall/early winter craft shows.  I think they would make darling stocking stuffers for readers on your list or even great teacher gifts tucked into a package with a new bestseller and a Starbucks card.

Want to win one of the charming satin ribbon bookmarks I've already created?  Check out the contest (closes Saturday at 8pm!) on my Wisdom & Whimsy Facebook page.    Make sure you like the page and then add a comment below the photo of the bookmarks sharing your favourite title & author.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Angelic Children...

...don't exist.  At least not in my reality. See their halos gleaming brightly in this picture?

What?  You don't see them?  Oh right... that's because they don't have any halos... because despite their innocent faces, they can really be quite devious.  

Side note:  this photo was taken early yesterday morning (7:30ish - that's early for someone who slept in til almost 8 am all summer long.)  I took it before driving them to school.   Note Justin's grimace.  He's not upset about school, he's angry I'm taking his photo.  This was the best of the bunch.   Lately, he's developed this strange aversion to the camera.  Unfortunate, for despite his less-than-angelic behaviour, he really is quite cute.

Back to that behaviour, then...   All summer long, they woke at the crack of stupid.  Seriously.  They could stay up late and still be awake between 6:30 and 7 am, full of energy and smiles.  I mean, who does that willingly???   They'd go play quietly and drag me out of bed when the hunger pangs got to be too much to handle.  We'd lounge in our PJs and take it easy til we had somewhere we needed to be.   Perfection.

School starts, and I have to fight to get them to open their eyes at 6:45.  What the heck? I'm sure that Saturday they'll wake quite willingly (and on their own) at 6:30 and be jumping on our bed.    After the battle to urge them into some semblance of consciousness, we begin the battle of getting dressed.  Again... all summer long they've managed to dress themselves and prepare for the day without difficulty.  School begins and they revert to toddler behaviour.  Limbs flailing, stubborn rigidity, tears flowing with cries of "I don't know how..."  (because somehow summer drained away the knowledge of how to insert a foot into a sock.)

Ah, sweet relief to get them out the door, to the end of the driveway, and onto the bus - backpacks loaded, clothes on, breakfast eaten, faces washed, children not quite smiling.   Did we remember to brush our teeth?  Don't look to closely at Justin's shirt - there's probably a syrup stain from breakfast.   We're doing really well if Kaleb doesn't decide he needs to use the bathroom halfway up the driveway or if the bus driver isn't honking as she drives past.

I sighed a great big "aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh" this morning returning to the house.  I threw in a load of laundry.  I loaded up the dishwasher.  I gathered up the small piles of action figures, dinky cars and colouring pages that  distributed themselves randomly throughout the living room.  Arms full, I head to the boys' room, turn the door knob, and... what on earth?!?  Can't get in.  My sweet, darling, angelic children have locked their bedroom door.  And shut it.  They never shut their door!  And we have no key.   I didn't even know their door had a lock.  A keyed lock at that.  Couldn't be one of those easy-peasy stick a bobby pin in the door locks.... nope, it's gotta be a full out need a cut key - the right cut key - fancy schmancy locks.   Okay.  Redeposit armfuls onto my bed and try every single random key we own.   No go.   All the screws on the doorknob are on the inside of the room and so are the door hinges.  Ack.  Good thing I have a handy dandy hubby who knows how to shimmy a lock... learned in his youthful rebellion perhaps?   He won't admit it of course.  Doesn't matter - we all know those Oshawa boys pick up some interesting skills while they're young.

Thank goodness God gave my kids adorable faces...  it might just make up for their not quite so angelic antics.   (Don't get me started on the water on the bathroom floor last week... or rock climbing the fireplace... or....or... or...)   Lord knows the trouble they'd be in if they couldn't melt my heart with a grin.