Thursday, January 31, 2013

the older i get...

The other morning while I was getting ready for work I got to thinking - the older I get the more my life priorities seem to change. I'm sure a good ten years ago I was substantially less concerned with how thorough my facial moisturizing regime is, but now I make sure to set aside time to slather on a variety of products to get me through the day. It's funny how all these little things seem to shift in importance and I thought I'd come up with a top ten list of the life lessons I'm learning the older I get. Behold:

Ok - so I mostly just think about yelling at teenagers to put a coat/some pants on while they're shivering out there scantily clad in fridged winter temperatures but I do like to exaggerate from time to time. So how about you? What priorities are you seeing shift as you age? 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

handmade buttons

Do you ever come across a project and think, "wow - why didn't I think of that ages ago?" Well these super simple and adorable polymer clay buttons certainly fall into that category with me (as most polymer clay projects seem to do...). Check it out (link):


Oh that heart one is just calling to me! I also loved how Agus Yornet tells you to put your cookie cutter through some corn starch first so the clay doesn't stick! Brilliant! I am positively swooning over this project and can't wait to make myself a few buttons of my own. Then to figure out what to put them on...hmm...potentially a more difficult task... What do you think? Have you ever made your own painted polymer clay buttons? 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Giveaway at What A Peach!

Great news blog readers! I've teamed up with the oh so wonderful Kit from What A Peach! to bring all of you one fantastic (well...I think it's fantastic...) giveaway for some lovely handmade goodies crafted by yours truly!  Take a peek at what's up for grabs:

One lucky winner will receive a hand-painted and adjustable acorn necklace, a pair of icing rose resin earrings, and some ever enthusiastic love robot pinback buttons! Hooray! So stop on by Kit's blog today (link) and enter away! Good luck!

Oh! If you're a new friend (or old - I love those too) stopping by to fulfill Kit's giveaway requirements - you can peruse all of my crafty goods in my products tab here (link)! Yay! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

when life gives you lemons...

I came across this gem this morning and just had to share it with all of you:


Haha! Oh I am a sucker for free stuff and after a lovely weekend catching up with good friends like Lindsay and Wendy I've realized that my pals are suckers for free stuff too! Good on us ladies! How about you? Are you prone to adopting everything and (almost) anything with a free price tag on it? 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Oh no you didn't!

Since Fraser has been trying extra hard to cut out all refined sugar in his diet I attempt to be supportive. Sure I love myself a little sugar binge once in a while but find if I can resist the temptation in the store it's easy to live without it. That is...until they bring candy corn out for Valentine's Day:

Oh dear! You know I can't say no to the delicious wonders of candy corn! How sneaky of your candy makers to conveniently change the colours to be more Valentines-y! What a delicious surprise! And since this time of year also means the arrival of one of my other seasonal favourites (cinnamon hearts) I think February 14th may just be a little extra exciting this year! Hooray! What are your favourite candies? Any seasonal faves like me? 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

cute as a button!

You know what I like (besides kittens...)? Adorable images that make me feel all warm and cozy inside (and even better when the combine things I love - like buttons!)! Take a peek:


Hehe! There's something to be said about the simplicity of a happy little button picture and those muted tones take a page right out of my favourite things style book. Hoho! Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh Miss Marple!

I must say after plowing through all 265 episodes of Murder She Wrote this spring/summer/fall I have been left with a sad empty void in the "adorable old lady murder mystery" part of my life.  I'd find myself craving a little Jessica Fletcher every now and then and re-watching episodes just wasn't cutting it since I'd remember all the major plot points and let's face it - after that many episodes and murders there is a pretty basic formula for how each show would go. Well - void no more thanks to the magnificent-ness that is ITV's Agatha Christie's Marple! Of course those good old Brits would come to my rescue with hour and a half long episodes that are brilliantly cunning with twists, turns, cute 50's outfits, loads of famous British costars, and one wonderfully spry Miss Jane Marple (played by Geraldine McEwan)! Just look at that face - its just bursting with nosy, mystery solving, old lady sass:


Oh my! Garaldine stole my heart for the first three seasons and now that I'm getting into season four, I'm warming up to Julia MacKenzie as Miss Marple as well:


I feel like Julia's appearance is more sweet than sassy like Geraldine, but not so secretly I think I just liked Geraldine more because lots of her features and strong female presence remind me of what my grandmas' were like (and trust me, I had some amazing grandmas!). If you haven't had a chance to catch an episode I highly recommend it but make sure you are paying attention (and not multitasking too much in the background) because those plots are twisty! I'm sure that comes with the joys of being based on the best selling Agatha Christie novels and not just some murder mystery formula hollywood pushes out, but I am certainly enjoying this Miss Marple series more than the BBC versions from the 80's. *Sigh* Now I just need to prepare myself for an even bigger void that will be dug once I've made it through this series...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

voltaire to live by

Lindsay has been a peach to me lately and has been sending me little inspiring images to start up my day.  This one (with a quote from Voltaire) is by far my favourite and I really like to write up my own version to put on the back of my door (or somewhere similarly prominent) so I can remind myself each and every day! Hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I have:

Simple, to the point, and ascetically pleasing to me and love of all lower case letters! Oh my! What quotes have been inspiring you lately? 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lace Headpiece

As I proceed on with my wedding planning I've come to the conclusion that I do not want to get a high priced white ball-gown as my wedding dress.   Instead I would love to find a reasonable, colourful, tea length dress that is both flattering and useful again in many future circumstances! Hooray for practicality! I am however I little concerned that nothing will set me apart as the actual bride at our reception part I'm hoping to solve this with some sort of bride-like lace hairpiece like this beauty I saw on pinterest (link):  


As it turns out, finding lace bits that I actually like (and aren't covered in pearls, rhinestones, and sequins) is much more difficult than I thought it would be. Rats. After many months of searching everywhere I finally came across one piece that might do the trick and is wonderfully subtle too:

I really like how it isn't overly frilly but just fancy/doily enough to be special.  Now I just need to get some starch and somehow work this into a hair band for my undecided hairdo for the big celebration! Oh is that all? Hmm. What do you think? 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Well Done Zander Olsen

When I came across the magnificent works of Zander Olsen entitled "Tree, Line" I was in awe. The way he wrapped the white fabric to line up perfectly with the horizon based on each camera viewpoint is absolutely breathtaking. Take a good long gander:


Oh my! I'm sure the fact that all of these landscapes are in the UK just adds that little something extra to the works, but boy oh boy am I ever in love. Could you imagine these as a series hanging down the hallway? Brilliant. How about you - are you as taken as I am? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Welcome to the family fancy cat!

The other morning I went to work at the crack of dawn like I always do and was surprised by a lovely present waiting for me!  Apparently Diane had asked Hetty if she thought I might be interested in "insert description of the image below" and Hetty answer with an astounding, "YES!!!" Well looks like those ladies know me pretty well because just look at the lovely new addition to our wonderful home I unwrapped:

Oh my! Isn't he one fancy feline? Looks like you can never go wrong with bowler hats, mustaches, and monocles on kitties and I just love how it is printed on a dictionary page! Oh! I'm in love! On my way home from work I stopped by Michaels to get the $8 frame and grey/blue paper I backed it with and now this amazingly wonderful piece is ready to adorn the walls of our apartment! Hooray! Now to decide where to hang him....hmmm...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Have you met Pudge?

Since I've been a little distant these last few days you may be wondering what I'm up to. Well besides getting over this never ending stomach flu and newly arrived sinus infection (woo woo) I've also been attempting my wedding planning! That's right - as soon as xmas was over it was time to buckle down and figure out some tying the knot type festivities and so far it involves a whole lot of pom poms. I'm also working with Heather to come up with some fun hand drawn invitations and it's been great fun looking through fonts and deciding on printers (hint - this one may involve squirrels)! Even though I have very high hopes of eliminating all the stress in my life and focusing on just being happy (like in my big long resolution post) I am finding the list of wedding type things I need to get done grow and with it so does my stress level! Oh dear!

My solution? MORE KITTIES! Bring on some good ol' fuzz therapy and luckily the internet (in this case - pinterest and instagram) are right at my fingertips to meet all my kitty needs. Hooray! I quickly came across one hilariously adorable exotic shorthaired cat and although I used to be pretty anti "those smooshed faced cats", Pudge the cat (link) has certainly changed my ways. Here are a few of my favourites:

 and just when you didn't think it could get any Pudge: 

(source for all the Pudge pictures!) 

Ahahaha! Isn't Pudge the best? Those eyes, that mustache, that name, those grumpy "I'm going to murder" you expressions? Oh my! I'm not sure how I managed to miss out on this kitty before but she's sure to perk up even my most stressed out days. How are things on your end? Do you need more Pudge in your life too? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

a little washi goes a long way

Since the gift giving season is long past, I figure now is the perfect time to share one of my favourite vintage fair finds I picked up for Hetty!  I was especially pleased with this little thrifted treasure and once I brought it home and washed it up it was as good as new! Since I was giving it away I thought I had better give it some snazzy presentation and a little recycled card, stamp, and washi tape later it was packaged and ready for go:

Oh boy does a little washi tape ever go a long way when it comes to presentation. That stuff is just wonderful! Hetty appreciated my presentation efforts (or...well...I figure she did anyways...) and is sure to give this little bow pin a new loving home! Hooray! Have you thrifted anything amazing lately? 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: The Complete Photo Guide to Beading

l was recently given a copy of the crafting book "The Complete Photo Guide to Beading" by Robin Atkins to review, and I must say I am thoroughly impressed with the depth, quality, and clarity of this publication.  As a pretty well versed crafter, I have dabbled in beading projects in the past (heck, I even took a beading class when I lived in Nelson) and this book has excelled far past my expectations and is truly an invaluable resource for all your beading projects, regardless of your expertise level. Take a peek:

The book itself is quite lovely to flip through. As the title indicates, it is full to the brim of beautiful full page images of beading tips, techniques, and projects and is an ascetically pleasing dream for any beaders out there. This guide does an awesome job of introducing you to the fabulous world of beading and continues on to clearly expand upon stinging, stitching, crocheting, knitting, weaving, and embroidering with beads.  If there's a beading teqhnique you'd like you learn (or master), this book is certainly a perfect go-to reference and is sure to help you figure out pretty much anything bead related. 

I love how each technique is introduced with a bit of history (perfect for any academic geeks like me), then clearly and thoroughly explained with step by step procedures and lots of helpful images. It certainly provides a well rounded approach for teaching new skills that would appeal to all sorts of crafters with different learning strengths. There are even projects designed to teach the beading techniques and make beading easier and more fun!     Hooray! I also really like how it explains even the basic methods like hand knotting and gives you great tips to help you master it! As a mostly self taught and internet tutorial knotter, I really liked learning more about how to tie the perfect tight knots in a necklace and found the instructions incredibly clear and the images extra helpful:

Even though not all of the projects were my cup of tea (there wasn't a single smiling bacteriophage to be found), I can certainly see using this guide as an inspiration point for all sorts of fun bead projects and loved seeing all the different beading techniques in action! Here are a few of methods I can't wait to execute in my own way:

OoOo! I love how this book has inspired me to take a trip to my favourite bead store and add a little extra bead fun to my crafting and I'm excited to see the results of my efforts! I actually ended up loving this guide so much that I picked up "The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet" this weekend and am stoked for even more crafty learning! Oh my! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

DIY Party Animals!

I have always been a sucker for little plastic animals. They're such an easy way to add some much needed fun and whimsy to your home and if you've got rad dollarstores like Dollarama they're even inexpensive! Well, when I stumbled across these extra exciting party hard adorn pals over at Makezine (link) I just had to share them! They're ready to party on!:


Aren't they wonderfully cheerful? I love the idea of using them as party decorations and think they would be just splendid hanging out on a cake! Now since most of the plastic animal projects I share on here involve plastic dinos (link and link), I must stick to my dino loving ways and say how extra awesome they'd be as prehistory themed party animals instead! Could you imagine? I think I need to work these into my wedding celebration decorating somehow! Oh the possibilities! I could even glitter some up and add little mint, cream white, and gold colour schemed details to them to go with my wedding colours! Oh my! I'm excited. How about you? 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My new mittens!

Now that the holidays are over and winter is in full swing (meaning it will be wet and slightly chilly here for another 2+ months) I thought I'd share one of my favourite items I got in the xmas parcel I received from my sister! I have been waiting patiently (well...sort of patiently...) for a good year now (see where I originally blogged about them here) and am so happy with how they turned out! Check out my snazzy new Totoro mittens:

Eeeek! Aren't they just the cutest things you've ever seen? I love the detail in the pattern like the little umbrella with rain drops and "totoro" knit by the cuffs! Here are a few more shots to show them off a bit more:

Hooray! These pictures don't do the best representation of the colours, but they are slate grey and cream and are neutral enough to go with all my winter coats! How wonderful! It's also lovely to see how skilled Leslie and Fraser's mom Susan are at knitting and gifting their handmade creations my way so I don't have to frustratingly try to knit for myself! Yay! Looks like I can stick with crochet on my end and vicariously enjoy knitting when I see (or in some lucky occasions - receive) their projects. Perfect! What do you think of my new mitts? 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Lease

With the wonderful sprinkle of cheer and excitement that always seems to happen around the holidays I am feeling extra thankful this time of year. Despite one never ending stomach flu/"this will be the death of me" cold, this xmas was magical and there's nothing like a few days off from work to recharge and reevaluate life.  I appreciate so many little things about life and wanted to make sure I took the time to thank you (you wonderful reader you) for popping in and spending an internet moment with me. I think this lovely print from Sarah Abbott sums it all up in a gorgeous, ascetically pleasing, simplified, and slightly floral way:


I suppose most of this reflection is thanks to my dear old pal Travis who I ran into this past week.  I'm not sure how he always manages to say just what I didn't even know I wanted to hear but he never ceases to amaze me and it just so happened to coincide with the start of a goal making new year!  I went home feeling motivated, energized, and pretty much given a whole new optimistic lease on life and boy oh boy do I ever hope to keep this up!  If you told me a week ago that one simple sit down for coffee would leave me feeling this blissful and confident I certainly would have doubted you, but now that it has happened I figure I will just roll with it. Okay, so I sort of feel like I'm raving about one of those scam-y goal making seminars or self help books but I think Travis mostly just helped me realize what is most important to me in my life and made me really want to do whatever I can to keep that in mind while moving forward. Sounds logical right? A little reevaluation does wonders since I was already in the resolution making mood I figure I might as well make a blog post about the whole thing in case any of you had some input to share too.

I'm naturally a pretty high stress person. I like to take on more than I can handle, I thrive with challenges and massive to do lists, and ultimately try to finish every little task perfectly in a timely and responsible manner.  I get ridiculously enthused about pretty much everything in this wonderful world we live in and often get so caught up in the moment that my once approachable list of tasks becomes much too overwhelming. Throw in a hefty handful of health problems that like to put a giant kink in things and you've got my life in a nutshell.  I'm always coming up with more goals and tasks to add to that endless "what kate needs to do with her life" list but what I feel I really need to do is take a step back and shorten that list into one word. Happiness. Above all else I really just want spend my life being happy.  Of course that can encompass loads of other little subtopics and sounds entirely too simple, but it is that simple. I'm always loosing sight of what's most important to me in life and it comes down to happiness. I don't really care about impressing anyone with material possessions or accomplishments and would much rather just be content with my life just how it is and never look back. Life is what you make it, so as far as I'm concerned I'm going to make it a fun and happy one!

I'm determined to lower my (mostly self-inflicted) stress level and make a habit of continually increasing happiness. Sounds easy enough right? Here are some of the tactics I've found helpful to keep my life happy:

  • Retain a positive outlook. Anyone can point out flaws with pretty much anything so instead look optimistically at each situation and roll with it.
  • Keep meaningful relationships. Surrounding yourself with positive people who truly love and care about you makes your feel amazing! Call your mom, have a kitchen dance party with an old friend, or make an effort to sit down for coffee with that fun girl from biochem.
  • Treat others exactly as you'd like to be treated. Just like that New Radicals song from the late 90's "You Get What You Give" so be nice and you'd be surprised how far a little kindness can take you. 
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle. Happiness isn't all about mental wellness, physical wellness is important too! Make good choices towards sticking around on earth for as long as you can. It will be worth it.
  • Don't get bogged down with details.  Sure life throws all sorts of challenges your way but getting worked up about them isn't going to get you anywhere. Try to stay patient, calm, and positive and remind yourself what you're aiming for in the end. Taking a step back once in a while can give you a lot of perspective on keeping your life happy. 
  • Enjoy the little things. I know fuzzy kitty pictures sure do wonders for lifting my spirits so find what it is that makes you feel spectacular and keep it up! Make time in your weekly schedule for doing something that makes you happy then go out (or stay in) and really enjoy life! Kittens and sunshine for everyone! (well....for me anyways....)
  • Stop worrying what others are thinking about you. If someone is really going to judge you or be mean to you for being yourself then they really aren't worth your time. There will always be negative people out there, but as long as you keep bettering the world with your sunshiny disposition who cares?
  • Learn to say "No". This is a big one in my life since I'm always biting off more than I can chew. It doesn't help anyone by making unreachable goals for myself and instead I'm going to focus on committing to being practical and trying my best to lay off being a perfectionist. Everything doesn't have to be perfect, but as long as you're doing your best and staying happy (and sane) that's what matters!
  • Make one good choice at a time. Life is just a big long series of decisions you are making to work at making them good ones. No one's perfect, but you'll feel great about making a habit of good choices and you'll be on your way to the road of happiness
  • Be happy with who you are. If you struggle with poor self-image, try to make a list of all the things you love about yourself and focus one of those each day. Even if you're having a rough morning, taking a moment - throw on some extra lip balm and glance in that gorgeous smile on the way out the door. Every little bit counts! 

Well that quickly turned from "just a few tips" into quite the list, but I'm sticking by it. Each of those strategies have helped me become the person I am today and taking a step back and remembering to focus on happiness is a great way to live my life. It's wonderful to think that all of this happy habit changing loveliness came from one little "where are you at and where are you going?" life evaluation with my friend Travis, but it certainly did and I couldn't be more pleased about it.  He did tell me about challenging yourself and others to stick to a resolution at the beginning of each year and I'm certainly ready to resolve any negative elements of my life! The big goals I have for 2013 include:

1) Reconnecting and remaining close to the wonderful, kind, generous, and fun loving people I've met in my life.  I often forget how much I appreciate the positive influences that have shaped me and it takes only a moment to let someone know how wonderful they are (and I'm sure they'd love to hear it too)

2) Dropping any self inflicted stress factors. Sure I like a little challenge once in a while but my mental sanity often gets put on the back burner as I fumble to meet personal deadlines and (*gasp* - I'm going there) blog every single day.  Happiness is all too important to me and in order to be the best person I can be I'm going to cut back on here and share my geeky enthusiasm about life when I can healthily find the time for it!

3) Keep with my Arthritis Class goals! You only live once and after struggling with chronic illness for the majority of my life I'm ready to take control. I'm going to make smart choices, start saying no once in a while, and really focus on being healthy! Hooray!

Well I don't know about you, but this post has really got me ready for a most wonderful 2013 and since this year is going to be a big one (including all sorts of new crafts, lots of big decisions, and...getting married!!!) I'll be sure to stop in and share them with you along the way. How about you? What are you aiming for this year? 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Find: Red Gate Stitchery

If you're looking for a great stitch starting project to attempt this year - Red Gate Stitchery (link) has you covered! I love doing little craft kits and this heart pendant really tickles my fancy:

Not a heart fan? How about chevrons, felt coasters, embroidery patterns, or blank kits instead?:


OoOo! I must say that patterned rabbit is pretty darn tempting and since it's the start of a whole new exciting year I figure I can have high hopes for my crafting potential! Hooray! What do you think? Have you ever dabbled in cross stitch kits or crafts? What do you like best about Red Gate Stitchery?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What's this?

What's this you say? I'm back from vacation and still spamming you with cute animals? Yup. I'm back and work and doing that "recovering from too much fun" deal. This guy is certainly impressed with me:

Okay, not so much, but I love that pose and expression! Oh and those ears! How darling. How could you not like cats when you see one like this guy (haha)? How have things been without me? What's new?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed

Still recovering from a two day hangover? Bring on the coffee drinking squirrel!


Aww! Nothing like a little caffeine addiction to start off the day. I've been abruptly cut off all coffee and black tea while I recover from my epic flu and can let me tender unbalanced belly recover but boy oh boy could I ever go for a nice cup of earl grey right about now...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013!

Welcome to a fresh new year! If any of you were out living it up last night you may be spending your day in bed much like this little pal:

What a dear. Those green eyes and evil expression really do it for me and even though I went to bed early last night, I'll be sure to get plenty of R&R today since for the first time in years I have the day off! Lucky me! How do you plan to spend the first day of 2013?