Saturday, 28 November 2015

Making Rainbows out of Shit

Making Rainbows out of Shit

When an obnoxious visitor writes on your wall & ruins your baby's rooms new paint job, what do you do? Turn the shit into rainbows, or the writing into pretty boats.  Let's call it colourful boats over shitty quotes! There, let's begin!

First things first, let's look at the newly painted wall that was ruined:

Before - The "wonderful" writing that was on my son's wall 

The Shit

After: The boats I painted over the writing 

The Rainbows

So how did I get from The Shit to The Rainbows? 

Step 1: 
Find a photo of what you would like to paint from the internet. I searched sailboats & chose the style and size I wanted. I kept it simple & stylized so that I could cover the writing quickly & easily. Print it & cut it out. 

Step 2: 
Hold up the homemade stencil & trace out the drawing in pencil to hide the writing or position wherever you want if you're not covering damage.

Step 3: 
Fill in the boats with pencil before painting them. This is a different way to prime them for painting.

Step 4: 
I repeated the first 3 steps with more boats that were smaller & designed a little differently.

Step 5:
Paint the boats white to prime them some more.

Step 6:
After the white paint has dried, paint the drawings whatever colour you want & add details.  I'm still debating about adding my sons' names to the boats!

I'm so happy & relieved my son's room is painted with cute boats that cover up the crap that was there before. I'm also relieved that none of the marker has bled through the paint at all, so I won't have to redo the paintings or repaint the entire wall!! What was a really upsetting experience of finding the wall ruined turned into a fun project that has made the room even better than it was before. I've defnitely learned a lesson - in the future I'll know to be much more careful about who I allow to spend time in my little one's room.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Creating a Crating & work from home desk

When my hubby was lucky enough to win an IKEA giftcard I wasn't sure what to spend it on. I finally decided on buying a desk.  I pictured it as a place to corral all my arts and crafts supplies and to swing trade during the day. I looked at the selection of desks at IKEA and chose one that was a modest size and had good storage.

The gpals I had for getting this desk were:

  1. To store all my art supplies in one place since they were all over the house
  2. To reduce my time searching for supplies and instead use the supplies to finish more projects
  3. To preserve the quality of the paints and supplies since they're costly and shouldn't be wasted
  4. To have a workspace that is comfortable so I'll be more likely to actually want to sit there and work
  5. To have the desk near a window so sunlight and a view would be inspiring
  6. To be able to have a space that was suitable for both work, meaning trading or writing and play, meaning art
Working on reaching this goal meant gathering all of my art supplies and work papers while my hubby assembled the desk. I thought I might as well stick to what I'm good at, which doesn't include putting furniture together!

Some of my supplies before organizing - in a closet

I organized all of the supplies into multiple piles that made sense. First I gathered all of my paints, then divided them up between oils, watercolours and acrylics.  Then I chose appropriate containers to hold the supplies. I wanted to make the supplies easy and quick to get to and to keep them in good condition.

Starting the organizing

Organizing ideas

-Putting my sketchbooks and work papers on the built-in desk shelves

-Keeping pencils in a pencil tin

-Putting paints in shoeboxes, or plastic bins in case they leaked

Some of my paints, all together now!

-Leaving enough room to have a tablet and laptop so that I could swing trade and write or craft all at the same time

-Making paintbrushes easily accessible - I reused a wine storage box that had been sitting for a while unused. It was the perfect height and had a lot of space for all my brushes!

My wine storage box, reinvented into brush storage


The last thing I added to my desk are things to inspire me when I'm sitting in it. So I added one painting I painted, one that a friend gave me, some photos of my son and I and some seasonal decorations. I'll be changing the decor regularly, just for fun.

So I reached my goal, with organizing my art supplies in one place! I've found I really do enjoy sitting an working at my desk. It's nice to have a space that's all my own...except when my son climbs up on my chair and throws my pencils everywhere! I'm saving a lot of time since all my supplies are in one, organzied, relaxing place.

The end product - trading & painting away!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Lighten your travel load! Pack lightly to save time AND money!

Looking for a huge way to simplify your travel? Packing lightly really makes travel easier and more enjoyable! By decreasing the size and number of luggage and bags you travel with, you can save bother and money.  I for one hate lugging around too many athings while travelling.  I also can't stand pacing and unpacking things when we have multiple stops on a trip.  To minimize these annoyances and maximize travel enjoyment I've some up with an unorthodox way to travel light.

Before leaving for a trip:
  1. Take a good look in your closet for any clothes you haven't worn in a while, you've outgrown, aren't in style anymore, are worn out or stained.
  2. Look through your drawers for undergarments and socks that are worn out or have holes, etc.
  3. Check out your shoes. Are any worn out, out of style or you haven't worn in a while?
  4. For toiletry essentials like toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, razors, makeup - are there any of these that are at the "end of the tube"? Be sure to bring these ones along and throw them out along the way when they're finished.
  5. Bring along any magazines you have piling up that you haven't read yet. I subscribe to a few magazines and sometimes can't keep up with all of the reading.  Save money in the airport and instead of buying magazines or books there, bring ones from home!
The key to this strategy is not to load your luggage with items you won't use just because you want to get rid of them.  Only include essential clothing, accessories and reading you will need during the trip and feel comfortable with throwing away along the way.  
There are major benefits for following some or all of these tips:
  • You'll definitely have a lighter luggage on return which may save you money on extra heavy luggage charges that many airlines are now charging
  • You'll be clearing out clutter from your home
  • Save money on reading material in the airport, since you'll be bringing your own
  • Your luggage will be lighter to carry home, when you're exhausted from the great trip you had!
  • If you're making multiple trips to different cities on your vacation, the unpacking & repacking of the luggage will get easier as you throw things away
  • You'll be able to fill up the new space you get in your luggage from throwing things away - with souvenirs, etc.
  • Your final unpacking when you get home will be much easier and quicker
  • Your laundry will be lessened because of the clothes you threw out along the way

Friday, 7 June 2013

Create an quick & easy floral bouquet from your garden & shrubs!

I love flowers & would love to have bouquets of flowers throughout the house all the time.  I love the look, the scent & just how it cheers up the surroundings in general.  That's all well & good, but who can afford to buy bouquets of flowers from the store regularly?

Right now I'm just starting to build up a garden of perennials that will be great for cutting & arranging into a bouquet, but it takes time.  My garden is full of a number of beautiful flowering shrubs that the previous owner planted & that are thriving still.  So I thought, until I have a bunch of flowering perennials, why not make bouquets from the shrubs?

So here's what I did in 3 easy steps that shouldn't take you longer than 10 minutes to a beautiful, professional looking bouquet!

1. Survey your yard for any flowers or flowering shrubs that are freshly flowering & that you'd like to include in your bouquet.  Pick the freshest looking stems with some unopened flowers & cut each flower in varying lengths for visual interest in the bouquet.

2. Give the flowers a good shake! Why?  Shaking the flowers gets rid of any rain, dead blooms or any bugs that you don't want to bring in the house! Take a quick look at the flowers to make sure they look ok to bring in the house.  Successful shake, ok, next step!

3. Arrange the flowers in a vase that is tall enough & large enough depending on the type, length & number of flowers you picked.  Put in the tallest flowers first, then interesting ones that may hang over, etc.  Next fill in the bouquet with the rest.  At this point, take a look at it from afar & make any changes you think are required. Vary the colours of flowers beside each other & snip off any excess leaves to make the flowers centre stage!

Now set the vase in a place you pass in your house many times a day & see how much the flowers improve your mood!  You'll be picking flowers & making bouquets regularly I'm sure!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Travelling with a baby overseas - My worries & hopefully tips!

After much debate and much worrying on my part, we've decided! We're booked to go to Europe this summer, which is my son's first trip on a plane.  The plane ride there will be at least 6-7 hours and we're staying 10 days.  Travelling as a single or couple takes good planning, but travelling with a one year old takes a lot more consideration.  I've been thinking of strategies to curb my worrying and I think the best way is to note my biggest concerns and then come up with plans to ease them.

First I've divided the travel worries list up between, before the trips worries and during the trip worries.  Obviously I'm going to tackle the pre-trip worries first. So, let's start now!


Before the trip

The passport photo - How will I get my son to sit still and not make an expression?

Getting passport in time - Will we be able to get his passport in time before the trip, or will we have to invest in paying more to have the processing rushed?

Monitoring the pound & Euro -I will be monitoring the Canadian dollar exchange rate against the British pound and the Euro to exchange money at on a day where the exchange rate is good.

Will any of us get sick -How should I prevent us getting colds, etc. before the trip and during it?

Packing light, with a toddler -I always pride myself on packing light while travelling, but how will I do that with a toddler in tow?

The naysayers saying we're crazy -How should I drown out the people in our lives who think we're crazy to travel with a one year old?  They just add stress and needless worry instead of encourage us to travel.

During the trip

The dreaded long plane ride -How will my son react to the plane ride? How will we keep him quiet and happy for so long?  He loves to be active and not sit still, how will we handle this best?

Travelling place to place - taxi, train -If we don't have a car with a car seat for my son, how should we travel to ensure safety and what are the local regulations on car seats for toddlers?

Jetlag - my son's & mine- I tend to have bad jet lag and now that I have to take care of a little one, while I have jet lag, I have to come up with strategies to minimize the impact of it.  I also have to find ways to help my son if he ends up having jet lag.

Just listing and summarizing my worries is already helping.  As I research and work through these worries I will post and share what I learn.  I'll also try to actually enjoy the planning and anticipation that comes along with looking forward to a fabulous trip!

What do you worry about when you travel?  How do you curb the worrying from taking away from the enjoyment?

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Wordless Wednesday - My son's first Passport Photo!

The first step to our first plane trip vacation with our 11 month old son is done! It was difficult to hold him still while he got the photo done.  It took about 10 tries, but it's done!