Sunday, April 29, 2012

pantry makeover

There are basically 2 things I never want to publicly share:

1. how much I weigh, and
2. the disorganized state of my pantry.

What can I say? I am far from a neat freak. But even a laid back person has their limits. And although I had a million other things to do this past week, I decided I had HAD ENOUGH of my disorganized pantry and it was time to do some organizing.

Now I must start by saying, our pantry is HUGE. When we bought and renovated our home 4 years ago, it was actually a large laundry room. We moved a wall over to make the kitchen bigger, and converted the space into a walk-in pantry. Sure, we installed some built-in shelves. The thing is...being so big, we would dump all of our crap in there. "Lots of room!" But, we never had a system of where things would BELONG. Things went in and never found their way out again. In the last months, I would cram something on a shelf and then run for my life, fearing it would all topple down on top of me!

So, I started looking up pantry organization on Pinterest, and found a great blog post about a pantry makeover using bins from Dollarama, the most awesome dollar store we have in Canada. Because, bins and baskets are EXPENSIVE, and with the size of our pantry I knew I would need a ton. So, off I went to Dollarama, and then to Staples to get me some Martha Stewart home office labels. And here is the result!

Let's ease you in. First off: my little tea cabinet. This is where I start my day, making myself a cup of tea. Should be relaxing, right?

I did something similar for the coffee maker/toaster area (didn't do a before pic, but trust me, it was nasty):

Next up: the pantry. Don't judge me.


Each of the bins you see were only $1.50 or $2 a piece, and the glass jars with the stainless steel lids ranged from $1-$2, depending on size. The Martha Stewart labels were $3 for 18, and I got two of her magazine holders for my recipe magazines, for $10 each. I bought a couple large blue bins for paper towels and other bulky items for $7 each at Walmart. And I reused a few baskets and containers from around the house. I think the grand total came in at about $140. Very reasonable.

Now, it is not magazine-worthy. We LIVE there, after all. I have an old ugly crockpot that still makes a mean chili and other bulky things that are not white and wonderful and that are in bulky boxes that I need to keep. But, much improved! And I feel a million times better every time I walk into that room (and why is that about a hundred times per day?? Maybe linked to my I-don't-want-to-share-my-weight issue??? LOL!).

Now I am on a roll, people! I vow that I will slowly conquer the rest of the closets and crannies. My husband wonders what the heck came over me, and my kids, honestly, are a bit scared of their mama. But no matter. I am on a mission!

What have you been organizing lately?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My favorite little cowgirl

I can't believe my baby is FIVE. Gulp.

Emotional motherhood moments aside, Last But Not Least had a wonderful birthday. Started off the festivity with a party of friends and family out at Bird's Hill Park Ranch.

Despite threats of cold and rain (my mind went STRAIGHT to kids jumping in puddles of water and manure...shudder), the Weather Gods were on our side and delivered some beautiful sunshine and pleasant temperatures.

I had lots of fun putting together the details for this party. As the kids arrived, LBNL had them sign a stuffed horse as her little "guest book." She was cute as a button waiting on the edge of her seat for each friend to arrive.

Next, they were each given a cowboy/girl hat and a bandana- yeehaw! Then it was time to make some horse-themed crafts.

Of course it isn't a party without food, cupcakes in particular. I cranked out about 100 of these last weekend to divide between the party and class. Just call me Betty Crocker ;)

Next it was time for our little cowpokes to do some pony riding! The kids loved taking turns on the Shetland ponies, in between visiting the animal farm area with geese, hens, roosters, sheep, and a 1 week old pony and its mother!

I love a theme party and am a sucker for coordinated invitations, crafts, tableware and loot bags. The great thing about this party is that it came together stress free. It looked impressive but really, it was easy. First off, I ordered a pdf for my invitations, loot bag tags, cupcake toppers and thank you cards on etsy here. Loved them! Next, I got my plates, napkins, cowboy hats and all the loot bag goodies at Oriental Trading Company. Do you know them? They have tons of inexpensive items in pretty much every theme! So, basically, just had to do some printing and open a box, and we were ready to party! (I have no affiliation with either of these places, I just like their stuff).

On LBNL's ACTUAL birthday, we cut school and work and had a special mother-daughter date. It was fantastic! I took her to have her cute little toes and fingers painted. She loved it!

After a bite of lunch, we finished the day off with some clothes shopping (she did a full-strut fashion show for all the employees at Gap), and of course, more cupcakes!

Happy birthday, LBNL. You will always be my baby :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

this week

Like any other week, I am busy and multitasking and trying to balance all that comes with family, work and fun. Thought I would share some tidbits.

This week I am:

1. basting.... my FFA2/3 quilt and another secret one that is in the works (sneak peak only!)

2. quilting.... an old WIP for the perfect recipient :)

3. dreaming, designing what comes next....

4. writing..... a long-overdo pattern (for the hockey quilt!)

5. blocking...the cutest ever baby sweater I just finished. After a bit of a baby drought, I am so excited that a few of my friends are popping out babies this summer so I can knit up some cute wee things. So cute, but, shhh! A secret ;)

6. casting on...another sweater, a new one for me!

7. disappointed.... that my new Juki sewing machine, which was supposed to arrive in 3-7 days, is STILL on back order, a month later!!! Boo!

8. hopeful....that you might take a minute to make a donation of any amount for my upcoming SCAD fundraiser walk? You can read more here, and click here to donate.

9. grateful...for those of you who have already donated to help me meet my goal of raising $1000 for SCAD research. Thank you so much!!

10. celebrating....Last But Not Least's upcoming birthday with a sweet cowgirl party this weekend. When did my baby get to be FIVE?? I am such a lucky mom.

Which means I better be on my way to ice cupcakes and stuff loot bags. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


This past weekend I attended my first every quilt show. It was hosted by my local quilt guild, which I do not yet belong to but I may have to join! I really enjoyed the show. I will admit, many of the quilts were not my style, but I fully appreciated the skill in every one of them, and was inspired. Here is a sampling of what was on display:

A beautiful Christmas quilt with hand embroidered snowman blocks set on glittery white fabric:

A memorial quilt:

A wonky house quilt made by 4 generations of females to celebrate a family reunion, the youngest quilter only 9 years old!

This quilt was on plain fabric an entirely quilted by hand over a 2 year period, using over 1000 yards of thread!

Other entries that caught my eye:

Thanks so much for the inspiration!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What is SCAD?

Back in September, I told you about my life-long best friend Michele, who suffered a heart attack. You can read more about it here. I think, by nature, heart attacks always come as a shock, but all the more so for my fit and healthy 37 year old friend. I am happy to report that now, 6 months later, she is doing well! It has been a long road to recovery for her, both physically and emotionally, and she continues to adjust and heal, but we are all so grateful to have her with us.

After much testing and debate, Michele was diagnosed with SCAD, which stands for spontaneous coronary artery dissection. This is a rare condition, where one of the coronary arteries bursts, causing an interruption of blood flow to the heart tissue. The result is heart attack or sudden death. The average SCAD victim is 42 years old, with over 80% of the victims being women. While the majority of cases have no underlying risk factors at all, 30% of the cases occur post-partum.

In other words....SCAD targets young moms like many of us reading this blog.

On May 5, the Hubs and I will winging our way to Chicago to join Michele and her husband for the first annual SCAD Fundraiser walk in Naperville, IL! We are so happy do what we can to support research to shed some light on this deadly condition. We are collecting donations in support of SCAD research. I would appreciate if you would click on the below link and make a donation! Any amount can make a big difference as they work to find a way to save lives. If everyone who follows this blog just made a $10 donation by forgoing ONE yard of fabric on their next fabric order, together we could raise over $10,000. Wouldn't that be something? Maybe the life we save could be yours.

Thanks so much for your support!

Friday, April 13, 2012

my happy place

I found an antique store in the city and it has stolen my heart. It is called The Old House Revival Company, located downtown close to the university, and I remember visiting it years ago. But now I see it with new eyes.

I took my daughters in with me for a visit. They asked me why they had to come to a place full of old stuff.

Me: I want you to get to know me, what I like. I like old stuff.
LBNL: Is that because you are, like, really old?
Me: No. I am not old, actually.
LBNL: Really ??? (doubtful, looking to big sister for verification)
The Middle Child looks me up and down and declares, with authority: No. She's not too old. Not yet.


Inside is 4 floors of antique and restoration awesomeness. Stacks of old wooden doors. Moldings. Tin ceiling tiles. Glass door knobs. Furniture. Books.

And quilts. Check out this hand pieced and hand quilted hexie quilt, in my new favorite color combo- aqua and yellow! And only $60! I had a hard time leaving it behind...may have to go back for it.

Pyrex :)

And all sorts of quirky uses of these things all over the store. I love how they used this old door in the bathroom, replacing the window with a mirror and using the door knob to hang a basket for napkins. Adorable!

I totally hope to make use of this place when it comes time to rebuild/repair our flood-damaged cottage. I would love to replace all the doors with mismatched, painted old ones. And use some old corbels with chipped paint to hold up shelves or a kitchen island. Maybe some of these old tin ceiling tiles as a kitchen backsplash?

I showed superhuman restraint and only this one little piece of Pyrex made its way home with me. Love anything blue :) And I loved the delicate snowflake pattern with the scallops.

I am not the type to have collections (well, aside from fabric and yarn!), but I do think it would be fun to "accumulate" some vintage Pyrex. I can picture it lined up and looking cheerful on some open shelving in the cottage. I love that it is both beautiful and functional! I can justify that, right?

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!