Monday, January 31, 2011

Taking Care of Mama Mondays! Please join in!!!

Todays post fills me with shames me to no end to even admit to this, but I am obese, (my GOD how I hate that word)!!!  Around Christmas time, when I had my revelation that I needed to get onto the never ending "to do" list, I felt awful.  I was pretty darn close to the heaviest I've ever been.  I've never been attracted to junk food, but put a plate of cheese, crackers and bread in front of me and I'll eat the whole darn thing.  I've always been an emotional eater...when I'm troubled, bored, stressed, tired...and let me tell you, I've been pretty darn troubled, bored, stressed and tired these past few years.   I've spent my whole adult life being overweight...the weight I carry masks some pretty serious pain in my life, but I'm feeling like this is the time to come to terms with myself and I need to make the time to do this!

sorry folks...I'm not feeling brave enough to post my "before" pic tonight!

On Boxing day I cleaned my fridge...not just cleaned, but I had it sparkling clean.  I cleaned out the kitchen cupboards, (again to a sparkle), and then I filled my home with good, healthy food.  I joined an online weight loss group, (called Spark people), for support, and I started exercising again...putting myself up there on the "list".   In a month I'm down 12 pounds and soon I'll be classified as "overweight"...I have about 38 to go before I'm at a healthy weight.  The best part of it all is that I'm relearning how to eat...what a serving size looks like, making cooking wholesome food a priority, (and by taking care of myself, my family gets the benefit of some pretty amazing meals)! 
Taking care of our health is one of the most important things we can do as mamas. 

Please leave your link below if you're joining in this week.  You don't have to do it on a Monday to play along, just link to something inspiring that you do for yourself.  It can be as simple as carving out some time to knit or read, cleaning out your craft nook...something, anything that is for YOU and you alone!
Be brave mamas...take some time, (guilt free), to find yourself again!

xo maureen

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hanging Hearts!

Here's a super easy Valentine's inspired craft! 
Hanging hearts!

First make some heart templates.  Cut out hearts of varying sizes.

Trace onto big one and one slightly 3 sizes, (and 2 of each size...a front and a back)
Cut them out...

and sandwich some tissue paper in the middle...put glue around the heart and press...

Put some string in between all the hearts...for hanging and you should end up with a little something like

Don't be limited by red and pinks...go crazy with your colours...these are easy and really pretty to have hanging around the house...I think I'll keep them up until spring...we're deep in the heart of winter here and I need all the colour I can get!!

Happy Heart Making!!!
xo maureen

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our Giving Tree ~ A Valentine For The Birds!

We have been in a deep freeze in our part of the world lately. It has been dipping down to -40 during the night and our daily goal is just to keep our wood heated house warm!
We have a feeder outside our window and enjoy watching the birds come to eat all winter long. With this crazy cold though, we decided to make them a more elaborate and rich gift of food ~ a "giving tree" with a Valentines flare!

We made pine cone feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and then rolling them in birdseed.
Be warned ~ this is a crazy messy craft and should (as I learned too late) be done on newspaper with old clothes on!

 We made birdseed hearts.
We created these feeders by cutting hearts out of corrugated cardboard, slathering them in peanut butter and then sprinkling on birdseed. Again oh so messy ~ seems the messier the merrier though ;)

We re-used our Christmas tree in the backyard ~ so much fun to decorate it all over again!
All smiles despite the cold. A true Canadian girl!

We  put on baskets of love ~ a grapefruit half filled with cranberries.

Seedalicious hearts

Bread hearts

   Pine cone feasts

There is is...

~ Our Giving Tree ~
         Naming our tree was inspired by the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein ~ one of         my most loved stories growing up and an absolute favorite in our home!

Together we are enjoying the array of friends finding their way to our tree. Luna loves waiting and watching for a closer glimpse of our beautiful friends ~ flying and feasting on our offerings!

Here's to feeding our fine feathered friends


Monday, January 24, 2011

Taking Care of Mama Monday! Please join in!

 Years ago at a womans gathering I recall one of our older mama friends musing about her feet.  There were tears in her eyes, as she talked about having calloused and rough feet, because she just never found the time to take care of herself.  I always remember this moment, because I'm so guilty of not taking the time out of my day to pamper myself in little ways.  I can feel the toll of neglect on my big toes have huge callouses on them...I have foot pain, (that comes and goes), and my toenails are in a horrendous state of disrepair, (and also have remnants of nail polish on them from the summer of 2010)!   These feet of mine carry me through my day, they help me run after my children, play and dance...they've carried the weight of 2 children and have helped me walk endless miles. new committment to myself...start taking care of these beautiful feet of mine. 

Here's a recipe I found for a basic foot made my feet feel heavenly and soft!
1/4 cup ground oatmeal
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 Tbsp sea salt
3 drops peppermint oil, (optional)
*Mix with water to form a paste and massage it onto your feet...get it between your toes and all over, love those feet up!

Afterwards, rub in your favourite moisturizing cream and put on some thick socks!  This took about 5 minutes out of my day, but I'm feeling some serious self love here!

"The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art."
-Leonardo da Vinci

Please join in our Monday linkalong!  You don't have to do this on Monday to play kind to yourself any day of the week, or every day of the week because darnit...YOU deserve it!!!

xo maureen

Friday, January 21, 2011

Love n' Acorns

With Valentines day approaching...
 I wanted to share these nature inspired ~ love offerings.
Hope you enjoy!

To create you will need
Modeling beeswax
Fimo clay
Acorn tops
Walnut shells

We created some of our love filled acorns with modeling beeswax ~ warming it in our hands until it became malleable ~ then shaping it into acorns and adding our acorn caps.

The beeswax is so lovely to work with.

We also created them with fimo clay, following the same idea of warming the clay in our hands and then shaping.

After they were shaped to the acorn cap, we took the cap off and baked (according the the package instructions) then glazed. When all was dry we glued on our caps. This clay is incredibly durable after the baking and glazing process.

We roasted our walnuts at 225 F for about an hour ~ works like magic for easy opening! Next we scraped out the meat (and good!)

We placed our love acorns into the hollowed walnuts shells...

 adding a small sweet love note to the other half of the shell.

We then tied up our walnut acorn treasures for valentine gifting.
Love to spread the LOVE!

Love has no desire but to fulfill itself.  To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.  To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.  ~Kahlil Gibran

Big love to you all

~ Shanti  ~

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Gnome" is where the heart is!

Valentine's day is around the corner...time to bring out the love inspired crafts!  Last night I decided to make some little Valentine gnomes!  So so simple.  Using the Wee Folk Art gnome pattern, and some red and pink wool felt, I simply embellished, sewing a little heart onto their body. 

Of course they need some toadstools to dine on...using wooden hearts for plates, and then wooden plugs, (found at home depot), I painted wee little toadstools...just perfect for a romantic gnome feast!

This was a quick and easy craft to whip up for the kids...a sweet little addition to the nature table, or playscape!'s a bonus...I just discovered this song the other day...if you're a gnome enthusiast like me, it'll make you smile.
David Bowie's "the laughing gnome"
here's a version with the you can see the clever little things the gnomes are saying!

xo maureen

Friday, January 14, 2011

Toadstool Plant Pokes

With the depths of winter fully upon us here ~ I have been craving some "new life" for our indoor space.

These spun-cotton toadstools that the crafts dept. inspired, seemed like the perfect fit!

To create you will need

Thin cardboard (an old cereal bow works great)
Low-loft cotton batting
White and red paint
Bamboo skewers

 ~ To begin ~
 For the toadstool cap, cut a circle from your cardboard, then cut a pie wedge out of the circle. 

Fold the circle onto itself at the wedge and tape. 

To make the toadstool stem ~ roll a rectangle of cardboard and tape to secure. Next tape the stem into the toadstool cap (be forewarned it seemed to take quite a bit of tape to get it secure!)

Place loose cotton stuffing on toadstool to build up the top of the cap.
 Tear a circle shape from cotton batting, leaving a long tail. Place circle on cotton batting and pull around the cap; wrap batting tail tight around the top of the stem (tucking when needed) to secure ~ this seems to give your toadstool some great gills! Continue wrapping the tail down the stem adding more batting if necessary. 

Insert a skewer into the stem.  
Mix your white acrylic paint with a little water and paint the toadstool.

Let it dry ~

 Then paint your cap red, followed by the white spots when the red is dry.
Finally add a coat of modpodge for sheen and strength.

There it is ~ a ray of spring to cheer us along in this season of cold and quiet.

Poke it into your favorite potted plant and await the fairies that will be enticed to come frolick...

 ~ Thought I might try out some other mushrooms ~ 

The toadstool still has me smitten though!

These now live among our indoor plants, reminding me that spring shall be greeting me with her fresh face soon...

Wishing you
 where ever you are in this big wonderful world
a season of warmth and wonder!
~ Shanti ~ 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Money Saving Craft Project!

Like countless other families we are struggling with debt issues...we live paycheque to paycheque and there is no room in our lives for when things go wrong, (and when they the time our car just refused to start...we panic).  I've decided that I need to get a good solid handle on our finances.  I am starting to tackle our debt one debt at a time.   Part of this plan of mine means that I need to set limits on our means that I need to set an amount that we can afford to spend on gas, groceries and fun money.  The problem with using your debit card is that unless you keep meticulous records, you have no idea how much money you're spending.  I need to get I came up with a craft that can help me!

These are my new money wallets.  I made one for "groceries" one for "gas" and one for "spending"...the "spending" one is basically whatever we want that doesn't fall beneath the other 2 catagories...magazines, movies, books, yarn, etc...  As soon as we get paid I'm going to fill these with what we've decided we can afford...and when the moneys gone...well, so be it!  Livin' on cash baby!!!!

Now...I'm going to give a brief tutorial on how I made these, but I am not the worlds best sewer...I am not the ideal person to teach you how to install a zipper!  There are other wonderful sewers out there who have tutorials on how to do such things...if you need  the extra help, google can be your best friend!  You could also run out to the dollar store and buy some plain pencil cases and embellish to your hearts delight, (but since we're trying to save money here, and you probably already have fabric, zippers, thread,'s the DIY)!

First I got some lovely prints out of my stash...I wanted each wallet to have a different print.  Then using a business envelope, I traced a rectangle onto the fabric.  Taking an iron I pressed down a 1/2 inch seam at the top.  Then I pinned on the so.  You will need to use a zipper foot on your sewing machine to sew on the zipper.  Good luck!!!

Next I got out some plain white ribbon from my stash as well as my alphabet stamps.  I stamped onto the ribbon the words, "groceries", "gas" and "spending".  Of course you can stamp on whatever works for your family.

Then I blanket stitched each one onto the wallet.

Sew up the side seams and bottom, I'm sure you can do it straighter than me!

And your fancy new "wallets" are ready to use!  I plan on keeping mine in my purse, as I'm the main shopper in the house.  I plan on giving Keith my debit card too, so there will be no impulse buying going on, (oh, and the credit cards will be chillin' on ice)!  I would love to start a discussion on how to curb personal debt...I know I'm not alone in this! 

Spending in moderation
xo maureen



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