Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013: story

It's that time of year again, you know, the time when you start reflecting back on what this year has been and what you hope next year will be. And with that, comes the tradition of New Year's resolutions.

Well I have only ever made one resolution that I have ever kept: becoming a vegetarian and this year marks my 20th year as a vegetarian. Can you believe it? I can't! But a couple of years ago, I joined the One Little Word bandwagon and love that approach to resolution making so much more. One word that you work on engendering in your life throughout the year, in the various ways that the word manifests itself.

Last year I chose balance... and I'll be honest, it didn't go as well as I'd have liked. This probably means that I should keep working on it, but well, I like the fresh start so I'll be picking something else for this year.

The year before that, I chose nurture and loved it. I wanted to nurture creativity in my life and since then my life has become one full of craftiness, from etsy to craft fairs, to just finding my own creative voice(s).

This year I'm going with story because I want to engender a couple different themes in my life this year:
  • The story of family and home and the new traditions that Paul and I are continuing to create for our little family in our new home
This year we celebrated with my family, who flew in from BC and the UK (and bused in from Ontario)
  • I want to rethink what my story is in the coming years. I'm in this home in the suburbs, happily married to this wonderful life partner, but still long for adventure beyond house and family. I don't want the white picket fence life, even while I do. So I feel like the challenge in the next few years for me is going to be learning to find a balance between the two in order to live a life-story that embodies who I aspire to be in the world. It's a tall order, but I want to think about story in a way that means what is the story I (we) am (are) creating and what conscious decisions are we making in order to make it the best story that we can.
The year ahead of me is going to be full of challenges and changes (as is every year in some way) but now more than ever, I find myself wanting to ensure that we don't slip into the status quo and that we make our story together unique, full of laughter, sustainable, and a reflection of us.

Friday, November 16, 2012

the little things that amuse me

Seen on my morning walk to the train:

You just have to love graffiti bombing! I passed this in the morning and couldn't help but smile. I'm sure that the people around me thought I was nuts for thinking this was photo worthy. But hey, my motto in life is and continues to be: you have to find pleasures in the little things. And what can I say, this little thing just amuses me!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

what I [heart] about custom orders

My wee little etsy shop gets its fair share of custom orders, particularly in light of the hobby nature of the shop and my modest sales. Don't get me wrong, I do alright. I just re-opened my shop on Thursday after taking a work overload break and have already made 3 sales, 1 of which is a custom order.

And I love the custom orders for two reasons.

1. While it's always a little amazing to know that something you've made is going to take a space in someone else's life, it's even more amazing to know that you've crafted something specific to their needs. That not only have they liked you style enough, but that they also trust your creativity to make them that something special.

2. Best part: custom orders push you to try something new. In this particular case, to try something that I've been contemplating for a while: lined paper.

What you see in the photo on the right is a trial run. I still have to adjust the lines a bit and it's on regular printed paper, not good quality card stock. But I like it.

Even better... my colleague at work helped me brainstorm and plan how to create the lines just right. It takes a village people!  I suspect that if I bring it to my husband's attention (hint, hint), he'll even take it a step further and get the lines just right to mesh with the stamped image (cause he's really amazing at that kind of attention to detail).

All in all, I'm pleased with the order because it forced me to take the time to create a custom template for creating lined stationery, something that I prefer for my own personal snail mail papers!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

to craft fair or not craft fair

So a couple of years ago, V and I did a craft fair together. It was fun and a learning experience but not much of a money maker. But it's that time again, and I find myself wondering, do I want to try another fair?

I'll be honest, in general I find my online sales to decent enough for what I'm doing with my crafting business (much more and I'd be overwhelmed by having too much on my plate cause the shipping is always a challenge). So I like the idea of selling locally and just not having to deal with the shipping question. But honestly... is it worth another go? After all, I can only milk my friends so much!!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

thinking about december already!

So Halloween is over and it's time to start planning for Christmas. (Can you tell I'm not American, I don't even think of Thanksgiving as an in between Halloween/Christmas option). But whatever, I'm excited about Christmas this year.

Did I mention that my family is coming out for the holidays? I think this officially means that I have free reign to go big this year. Fun! Especially cause it's our first Christmas in the new digs!!!

Oh yeah baby!

Proof that I'm already getting geared up? This year I'm actually started prepping my foundation pages for December Daily, the Yule scrapbook album (This is a glimpse of last year's DecDaily album, which I totally did last minute and couldn't keep up with in terms of documenting my progress... but I did complete it). Actually I'm sensing a theme here. I do the work, but don't get around to the photos and blogging that much anymore. Can we say ProjectLife much? I've only blogged about 1/4 of what I've done...

Anyways. Back to holiday cheer.

Here's the first bit:

This year I opted to use white, candy red, and a combo of olive and lime greens. I don't know about you, but I like the more modern twist of olive and lime green instead of the classic forest green. It feels fresh! Oh yeah! (Is it wrong that I'm totally think "Bow chica wow wow" over the fresh comment? Or rather, thanks to my little brother "Brown Chicken, Brown Cow" Grrrr... little brothers).

I still have a bit more work I want to do to the foundation pages, like prepping journaling sections, adding some embellies, that kind of thing, so that the pages are ready to go and I just need to add photos.

And you know what makes me EVEN more excited about Christmas? The fact that we now have a fireplace, complete with a mantle, ready for stockings and all the Christmasy goodness. See:

And I bought a fun new baking cookbook and can't wait to start baking. And we have so many decorations, including a new tree... and well, I'm really looking forward to this semester being over!

Bring it December. I'm ready and excited! Let's do this thing, this big, crazy, boisterous, new home, family occasion!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Starting Holiday Projects. Yes, you read that right!

It's that time of the year... the time of year when crafty peeps start planning for Christmas. I know, right? It seems totally insane that be thinking about the holidays already but these things take time so a girl needs to think ahead.

First project on my agenda? A scrapbooked photo album for a family member.

I'm going about this very differently than normal for me. I've premade all of the background pages with the intention of adding the photos and embellishments later. This makes me nervous because I worry that the colours in the photos might clash, but hey, that's what black and white photos are for, right?

I actually purposely limited myself to using up scraps of paper I've been hoarding. Thankfully this means that I big chunk of my paper stash has been purged! Awesome. This makes me very pleased.

You know, it's funny. I remember when I first started scrapping I was so uneasy about cutting up pretty pages and ruining the paper. Now I tear and snip at will. While I'm by no means a scrapbooking pro, I think it's interesting to see how different my approach is now. When I began this craft, I found it very overwhelming and looked around a lot, trying to find advice on how to create pages. Now I catch myself wondering why I thought it was so daunting when I started. After all, I'm just playing with paper, glue, and stickers. That shouldn't be so scary!

Anyways, back to the project at hand.

The goal is to record 2012 on a monthly basis, creating a page or 2, or a few, with a page dedicated to general, every day life, and more, depending on the amount of big events that happened in that month.

Friday, October 26, 2012

project life... weeks ???

So yeah, I don't know what week of the year it is (39, 40, 41???), cause I don't post about it often enough to keep track and I'm too lazy to look it up. Yup, that's right. I'm owning my laziness cause honestly I don't think it's something that matters that much that I need to look it up.

You know, not like political corruption or starving children or serious stuff like that.

Ok, back to a lighter note, the week before we went to London:

It's getting colder outside and I find myself getting more domestic and hibernating (yes, I know that's not really meant to be used that way, but work with me here)! I've been baking, trying new recipes, making candles, and crafting again.

I love fall. Maybe it's because it's cooler and I feel more homebody-ish or maybe it's years of being in school and organizing my life around the academic year, but fall always feels like a time to change things up, settle into new routines, and enjoy the crisp air.

Check out what's happening in my backyard:

Yeah, I was totally digging the weird mist thing. It hasn't happened since, so I'm glad that I caught it!

I also am trying to take some time to document some world events that happen during the week every now and again. This week was Google 3D undersea.

And of course, our London trip:

Obviously you've seen the London photos but before our trip my coworker surprised us all with cookies. She's so sweet! And crafty. But not in an evil cunning kind of crafy.

More on the changing season too. I visited the river and enjoyed watching the frogs jump into the water. It's the little things people that make me happiest. Some might say "small pleasures for small minds" but I think that joy in the small pleasures is part of the secret of being happy in your life.

Just saying.

 I had so may photos and ephemera from the trip (Rebecca is an enabler - just saying - cause we all know I don't need any help), anyways back to my point, I had so much that it was really hard to narrow it down to a manageable amount for my Project Life album. I know that some people make just travel albums but I've never done this and so I'm not sure if it's something I want to take up. I'm worried that my albums will get a bit overwhelming if I start doing travel albums. After all, I plan on doing a lot of travelling in my life!

Otherwise, the rest of the weekly story was our return, our 3 year wedding anniversary, a death in the family (photo blurred out) and Paul finding out he had shingles. The return home was rough, but such is life.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

London photos, part 2

Day Three:

Changing of the Guard (something I will never do again, oy vey, what a gong show. But I'm glad I did it once). Spitalfields Market and great fun fashion, High Tea at the Wallis, Sean and Paul bonding whilst touring the collection, Shopping districts, dinner out with Sean, Rebecca, Hannah and Luke (poor Luke witnessing the mayhem that Paul and Sean create in public places), dinner, and the view around the corner from where we were staying.

Day Four:

Borough market, complete with signs Paul loved and places that seemed made for me (both of them)! The Globe. Sibling shenanigans. The South Bank and more tube rides. Break for drinks in Camden. The Tower of London. Break for hot chocolate and movie night at home.

Things I learned on this trip:

1. The London tube system, while more extensive, has awful closures on the weekend that can drive a person bonkers.

2. My brother likes to have random dance party for one moments, in which he breaks out his disco star moves. I suspect this might be one of our shared family things cause I am known for random chair dancing for one moments!

3. My sister-in-law and I can geek out over history together and leave the boys to their own devices. Literally. The 2 of them will text and check email instead of soaking up history (see part 1 for evidence)

4. I should never put 2 Leos in a room together. Ever. Random crazy pictures of very unclassy acts in classy establishments will ensue if they are left without a buffer.

5. My brother and sister-in-law have more hot chocolate than I think any couple should and can consume! :P

6. The way I see London today after having done more travelling is vastly different than the way I saw it at 18, 25, and 30, post India, Cuba, France, and Mexico.

7. As much as I love London, it's huge and I am glad I live in Montreal. (or even the burbs of Mtl)!

8. Paul and I need to walk less and relax/savour more when we travel. Our feet are always too sore when we get back!

9. It doesn't matter if I see family in Vancouver or in London, I'm always a little homesick for my family when I get back.

10. I'm excited about this new age of family visits with my brother. Here, there, or back home. It was great spending time with the 2 of them and I hope we find ways to do it more often!  <3 br="br">

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

photos from our London trip - part 1

Ok, ready? Here are just a few of them.

Day One:

We had jetlag so we kept it simple. The iconic phone booth, British Museum, and a walk along the North bank of the Thames.

Day Two:

Tons of tube riding, Charing Cross Station, British Library, more tubes, break for wine at Gordon's wine bar. I love the shot of Paul. It feels like it should be something out of a Poe novel! Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey (I suspect there's a great shot of Sean holding the umbrella for me while I take pictures of gargoyles!) The London Eye at night in the rain and good old fashion pub fare and drinks.


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