Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Valentine Pinwheels and Pencils

I love pinwheels although they can be a bit challenging when it comes to safety.  If you want them to be operational it inevitably involves some sort of pin or tack which for obvious reasons limits age groups.  With that however because I love the idea of handing out Valentine pencils with a pinwheel attached I have also included here a kid safer version (notice I said "safer" due to the fact that a small button is used) but the pinwheel is fixed.  Some have used a brass fastener and have had success....I didn't have any on hand.

1.  Square piece of paper, I used a 4x4 above.
2.  Put a pencil dot in the centre of the square and draw lines from the four corners of  your square towards the centre leaving an inch gap. 
3.  Make pencil marks on every other corner of the pinwheel and poke all dots with a straight pin.
4.  Cut the lines and start to bring every other coroner into the middle and onto the straight pin.
5.  Push the straight pin into the eraser of the pencil.

Test it out!! 

Version Two:

In the "kid safer" version I used a needle, thread and button to hold the pinwheel together. When completed I taped the pencil to the back of the wheel.


Monday, 30 January 2012

The Speedway Party Part Two

I love doing water bottle labels for parties.  They are very easy and really make your guests feel like you "thought of everything" which let's be honest is exactly what you want them to think even when you are thinking otherwise!  I started out by tearing one off a water bottle to measure it and then created my own using a design software but you could certainly put something cute together using Microsoft word and some imagination.  I usually print 3 per page (8.5x11) and then take them somewhere to use a colour copier.  I suggest you price it out and if you need a ton of labels try printing on larger sheets (11x17) at a copy centre which would reduce your cost per label.  I then typically use their guillotine cutter to quickly and easily chop these babies up....using the rulers on the cutters makes it a breeze.

Banners for this party were fun to make and put up but the pictures are not the greatest (sorry).  The birthday banner I did in a checkered flag look with little red cars hung between the words and at either ends.  You could make this out of a checkered material (cut and string the flags) and by pasting the letters on if this paper design is overwhelming for you to attempt.

The year picture banner was actually construction paper made into an oval track, with lines and all (great work LB) and the monthly cars with photos/labels arranged on it. The only downside with this design was you needed a very large wall to be able to put it up as opposed to hanging the banner from point A to B.  Even with that said this most certainly was my favourite monthly banner made to date.

Dining Etiquette 101...Love This A Must See!

Dining etiquette 101: Proper formal eating habits
Basic rules of etiquette at a formal table setting. Read more about eating soup, holding utensils, proposing a toast, cutting meats and finger foods. (Published: November 11, 2007)


Sunday, 29 January 2012

Valentine Cranberry & Lemon Scones

I love baking and there is nothing more perfect than waking the family to the smell of freshly baked goodies.  This recipe I got from Martha Stewart but as usual I made changes based on what flavours we preferred over the original. 

2 1/2 cup flour                                                         
1/4 cup granulated sugar             
1 tbsp baking powder                                            
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy milk (I used homo milk)                      
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)                          
1 lg egg yolk                            
3/4 cup dried cranberries                                        
Coarse sanding sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and move the racks so they are as far as possible away from the bottom element.  Mix dry ingredients together then cut in butter with a knife and fork stopping when there are a few pea sized pieces of butter.  Photo 1. Add milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, yolk and stir until just combined (photo 2).  Photo 3. Put dough onto parchment paper and flatten with your hands until it is ~1 inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter to shape the scones but don't cut through the cranberries, simple remove or push them farther into the scone.  4.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake for 13-15 minutes  Rotate pans half-way. 

Valentine gift idea....wrap these up (above box from Creative Bag) with a tea bag and give to those you care about. 

Hope you enjoy,

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Valentine Fortune Cookies

A girlfriend of mine gave me a birthday fortune cookie (thanks JS) a couple of days ago and she and I both fell in love with the idea of being able to make these with our own personalised messages.  So I figured it out and here they are.  I will say that until you get the hang of evenly folding these suckers practise on cheap white paper as it takes some getting used to.   
You need a paper circle (I used a 5 inch diameter but you could just trace a CD), double sided tape, a fortune (I printed my at a 14pt font) and ribbon.
1.  Bring two edges of your circle together and make sure everything lines up.
2.  Lightly press or tack the centre of your circle.
3.  Hold the circle edges together with one hand and use the other to push up on the centre of the circle and down on the two wings of the soon to be cookie.
4.  Bring the two wings of the cookie together.
5 & 6.  Put in the fortune cookie and the ribbon.
7.  Use a piece of tape between the two wings and proceed to hold it together.

Just adorable.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Speedway Party Part One

Here is the Speedway party that I did last year that really turned out to be a lot of fun.  Although you may feel that this is a bit complicated you can scale down the graphics and stick to the concepts.  All of this was done with a design software but you could create similar looks with cut and paste (the old fashioned way...literally scissors and glue) and Microsoft Word.  Be creative and think outside the box.  Also to personalise party hats simply print your design or logo onto adhesive paper and affix to the hats. Very very easy and yet so often forgotten...remember there is no age limit to the party hat ;o)

I love paper cupcake toppers (yes I know...all you chefs are cringing) because it's an inexpensive way to personalise them.  Price it out yourself, paper on a stick with your child's name on it is much cheaper than a fully decorated cupcake that matched your theme.  The sticks are sucker sticks you can buy from any craft or cooking/baking store. 

Stay tuned for more ideas from the track.

The Year Begins...Crafts, Crafts and More Crafts

Admittedly today was like any other day but somehow the colours seemed brighter, the sounds sweeter and my children, husband and family more precious than ever.  My two boys laughing hysterically whilst they caused trouble in a book store.  Me scolding the older one for causing a ruckus and the book store staff giggling at the sound of my 11 month old's musical laughter.  It was a day of perfect fun. 

I am grateful to my mother for a dinner of my favourite foods.  A cake made and decorated with love and this beautiful card she created which I can imagine took hours to make.  Love you mom.

Let the year begin.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Big Day Tomorrow

So tomorrow is the Big Day.  Tomorrow everything needs to come together...all the resolutions are in play.  Thankfully number four didn't start last night as I was downing some Quality Street chocolates due to the whole necklace frustrations.  Note...move tempting food AWAY from computer...move all food away from computer. 

Will I be able to juggle everything?  Lord I hope so but I sense a few discussions with my mother telling me "you are doing too much dear".  Ugh.  Sigh...

Must hold onto this one thing for myself.  Must try.  Must really try.

Night all.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Valentine Girls Gift

After I made the pearl necklace I realised this would be the perfect Valentines gift for the little girls in my life.  As you can see from the above photo I found this necklace for $5.05 and it was desperate for a make-over!  I found a matching ribbon, determined the tail length and tied a "pretty" knot that would serve as the hiding place for my thread to be anchored.  I then used the needle and thread to string alternating beads and ribbon to create the above.  Once completed I made another knot, secured the thread there and voila.  Starting this project I did envision a more elaborate design but you (or I) would need to be an octopus to have enough hands to hold everything in place (I also used my knees).  Thinking back now if I had tied a small knot after each ribbon strung it may have been A LOT easier, taken less time and saved me from some serious frustration!  I have enough beads left to make another strand but for now I think I'll pass and move onto something else.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Amendment Resolution Number Four: Oh Lord

Gal pal Julia came up with an interesting idea to make Resolution Number four more exciting for all of us... (thank goodness someone did!).  Each month in the honour of heart health (kudos Heart and Stroke) I will try a new method of exercise and report back.  I envision Yoga, Pilates, Zumba (?), spinning, belly dancing, swimming, running and whatever else I can think of.  Now usually unless it was a contact or high adrenaline sport I didn't play it growing up so some of these are going to be very very painful for me to endure but I will do it and most certainly try to drag Julia with me.  I am absolutely positive this resolution will be a laugh so stayed tuned!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Save you the trouble...no smarties when baking.

Valentine craft disaster today.  If you have any wild ideas of trying to make chocolate chip cookies with pink and red smarties please think again!  Unfortunately I didn't listen to my inner voice when it nagged me at the bulk barn today suggesting this was a bad idea and yet I couldn't remember WHY it was a bad idea.  I had my rose coloured glasses on as I pictured cute little Valentines' cookies beautifully packaged and ready for distribution.  No sir, instead they looked like medical misfits; albino smarties surrounded by either a pink or red halo.  Hubby thought they were "fine" (don't you love that word when it comes to your cooking?!) and still edible....sorry bud, garbage they went as resolution number four was slapping me in the forehead.  Ugh....no energy to make another batch of old faithfuls.  1 Valentine Cookies : 0  Dish

Saturday, 21 January 2012

It IS a "Good Thing", Oh Martha

Martha Martha Martha
I love this little craft that I saw in the Martha Stewart Living magazine today.  It took me less than 15 minutes and was made with materials I already had.  Super easy and all the rage right now in costume jewellery.  I took two strands of pearls and used a ribbon to tie them off at both ends after I had created my ideal "look" with the strand length.  When I knotted them I also did a small tack (which you can see faintly in the second picture) to hide the end of the tie.  I can't wait to see what other junk jewellery I can find out there to rework into fantastic pieces!  Fun!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

A Year of Crafting Begins: Where ever do I start?!

So it looks as though this blog is going to be a heck of a lot more work than I thought especially when it comes to being able to provide some interesting and creative crafts.  Between updating periodically on the status of my resolutions I will also be posting as many holiday/occasion ideas as I possibly can for you (and juggle two kids, a household, my "real job", help my hubby at his work as well as find some quality time for "us"...oh and a few house moves and renos during the coming year).  I am exhausted already!  So tonight I am going to spend one hour thinking up ideas and then....I may veg in front of a movie. 
Night all,
(P.S.  The heart above is to prepare you for one of my fav upcoming occasions...the next few weeks will be fun.)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Resolution Four: Death Loves Women; Make Death Wait

4.  Please watch this YouTube Video immediately from the Heart and Stroke Foundation especially if you are a woman:


I have seen this commercial more times that I needed to because it hit home the first time I saw it.  I think of it often especially as I catch myself worrying about the health of everyone around me and never once do I consider the fact that I don't take care of myself.  Don't get me wrong if you looked at me on the street you would swear that I was healthy and even if I told you I wasn't you probably wouldn't believe me.  In truth (ask my husband) I eat terribly (junk food really is my crutch) and I don't exercise, he is forever telling me that one day it will all catch up with me.  He's right and I know it  but this commercial which I 100% identified with was what it took to open my eyes.  I have also read recently that it is the mother's eating habits that determine the fate of the whole family.  I believe it, my choices every day affect both my children and my husband so by putting myself first on this resolution I see as only benefiting everyone. 

What's the problem then?  Well, I love food, all food and I love cooking it, baking it, canning it etc. etc.  The problem is not how to eat better...that part I can figure out, the problem is how do I measure the progress of this resolution?  Both my BMI and Fat % are fine so I have decided I will measure the success of this resolution on the overall health of my husband with a promise to myself to take care of him through taking an interest first in my own health. 

Will this work?  I have no idea and welcome any and all suggestions!

Please my female friends give this some thought for both your family but more importantly for yourself.


(Oh, Heart and Stroke Foundation...well done, message received.  Thank you.)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Circus Party Part Two

I had a ton of circus treats out for this party and personalised them all one way or another.  Who didn't love the cotton candy bags hanging around the room or the boxes of popcorn and Cracker Jacks?!  I always get a kick out of the surprised faces for both the kids and parents when they walk into a decorated room.  The two banners I did for this party were a lot of work but well worth it (sorry the pictures aren't the best, I have yet to figure out a great way to take those shots).  If you don't have a design software you can scale down the "Birthday Banner" by using a Cricut for the letters (or freehand/buy them) and just cutting out the background shapes like I did and string them together with a matching ribbon. 

The second banner I do now for all the 1st birthday parties.  This was a fairly simple one and displayed the childs' monthly photos starting from birth until the 1st year.  A total keepsake and you will catch EVERYONE at some point during the party staring at each photo.  You can do this easily....the trick is finding the photos (especially if it's not your first child ;o)

Monday, 16 January 2012

Sneak Peak Tomorrow...More Circus Party Photos

Resolution Number Three...A Little Cheese Please

3.  Now the challenge (work) begins. I resolve to try to locate and thus connect with four lost friends from various periods of my life. A success is measured by locating and meeting face to face with said individual (skyping is permissible if outside of province). We may now have absolutely nothing in common but I would like to thank them for their gift of friendship back then and share some laughs reminiscing.  Although I will have four attempts only one contact for the year is needed to fulfill this resolution but obviously the more the better.  Sound easy?  I guess we'll see!!  

First Quarter:  Nicole (high school)
Second Quarter: Laura (elementary school)
Third Quarter: Alicia (university)
Fourth Quarter:  Margaret (childhood pre-school)

To be noted I am in no means a 'mushy' individual just someone very very grateful for all the blessings in my life. How often do you tell people thank you for impacting your life....in my case not nearly enough.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Beginning: The Circus Party

Throwing my creativity in the direction of children's parties actually started with this circus party late 2009.  I desperately wanted the exterior of our home to be as welcoming and creative as the inside for this party so I put together a mini tent that you had to walk through before you entered our home. 
It was super easy to make, you can do it too!  You need a hula hoop, rope, fabric, hook, heavy duty safety pins and bows. 
1. To start make two identical panels out of the fabric (above was from Ikea) and at the top of each panel fold it over 2" and sew the edge to the panel (so you can feed the rope through it).
2.  Feed the rope through both panels and gather the material together at the top of the tent.   Once you have connected the two panels tie the ends of the rope and cut excess. 
3.  Next you take your hula hoop, lie it flat and using two long pieces of rope tie their ends to the ring so they cross (one piece is tied to the north and south area of the hoop, the other tied to the east and west). 
4.  Feed the strings with the hula hoop through the underside of the fabric and through the loop at the top of the fabric panels, link both ropes to the hook. 
5.  Hang the hook somewhere low so you can work on the top of the tent.  Use the heavy duty safety pins to attach the fabric rope ring (fed through the panels) to the ropes attached to the hula hoop. 
6.  Use safety pins to connect the fabric panels together at the level of the hula hoop on both sides.
7.  Use safety pins and bows to tie back the panels to make the tent openings.

Clear as mud right? 

Second photo were the cupcake toppers I created for the party.  Love having things personalised!

A Moment to Thank

My dear friends,
It is with much thanks that I send this note to you for all your support concerning my little project.  Many have asked where I hope this will go but the truth is although I dream to have others share a laugh I am really doing it to take ownership of something for myself.  We all have families and responsibilities and like me I am sure there are times you wonder where YOU are.  This is just me ensuring that of all the hats I wear (mommy, wife, employee, daughter, sister and friend) I have a little piece left just for myself and a bit of fun along the way.

Thank you,

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Resolution Number Two

2.  Convince sidekick single foodie girlfriend to trek around Toronto with me to declare the best city bakery of the year.  Each month one outing to taste wares with the goal of awarding the supreme title in January 2013.  Note to self:  Discuss this endeavour with single foodie girlfriend and create judging criteria....we will take this task very very seriously. Duh, like who wouldn't?!  If you have any suggestions as to locations to be put on our list to visit please submit.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Butterfly Party 2

A few more photos from the Butterfly Party this past summer.  The Cricut was again used for the cupcake toppers (not those on the sticks), wrappers and for the banner blue appliques.  All the rest I created with a design software.   Little Molly had a blast!

Butterfly Party 1

Right Brain Creative Outlet Butterfly Party Summer 2011.  I just love these paper lanterns I picked up from China Town.  I then used the Cricut my mother bought me to make these beautiful butterflies in various sizes and colours and glued them on.  Crazy easy and a beautiful hanging feature! Give it a try.

Resolution Number One

Okay, number one and hence the reason for the blog. 1. Find/create an outlet to monitor and track resolution progress for the next year as well as use this medium to actively engage and display my DIYs. This in theory should force me to find more time to do the things that I love and expand away from my daily left brain profession. I am attempting to find a better balance and I am hoping this will get things going.

A Birthday Wish

So as I approach a mildly milestone-ish birthday I strive to do something a little different.  I didn't make any New Year's resolutions this year...why bother? In truth I struggle to keep them and with two small children underfoot I struggle to keep my eyes open with the ever constant lack of nightly sleep.  I do not however want to let this month pass without a promise to myself for the coming year, I think its time and I deserve it.  Operation Dish will begin on the 27th.  It won`t be easy but hopefully it will push me in another direction, break new ground perhaps.  The ``Resolution List`` is not quite complete but it is solidifying so stay tuned.