Tuesday, March 31, 2015

xmas blooms

I'm not exactly the best at keeping plants alive.  I certainly have the aspirations to be a wonderful gardener but somewhere along the lines I neglect or over water whatever greenery I have and it dies.  I do get lucky once in a while and produce the most wonderful blooms like this stunning red flower I got in a bulb kit for xmas:

Isn't it lovely? I was pretty impressed with the kit - and even though I didn't plant it until many months after xmas, it still managed to grow! and flourish even! To make things even more impressive, my sister received the same bulb kit and her flower did not grow (and she's usually super good with plants)! Ok...so her bulb probably died on her trip home to the far reaches of the arctic circle (a smidge of an exaggeration perhaps) and the icy cold temperatures may have been too much for poor little bulb to handle. 

I am super curious how anyone gets plants like these to grow straight. I rotated her little pot as she grew (since she would lean towards the sun) but that didn't appear to make any difference. Look how crooked this gal is:

Well...perhaps that isn't the most convincing picture but I assure you the long leaves shoot out in one direction and the stem and flowers lean in the other. Oh well. It just gives her more character! It also makes me want to try to grow more bulbs next year! I'm stuck container gardening for now since I live in a condo but it would be super awesome to have some nice little spring bulb flowers on the patio! Does anyone have any experience with gardening out there? Do bulbs even grow in pots outside? 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Stepping up my painting game!

I've always been very particular about colours - I like certain shades, am extra fond of muted jewel tones, and like combinations that pop. With this in mind, I rarely ever find paint colours I can use straight from the tube and end up mixing my own instead.  This process is enjoyable but can be quite tedious when my perfectly mixed paint dries and I want to continue working on the same project the next day.  The solution? Making my very own custom coloured paint pots! Aha! Why in the world did this take me so long to figure out? So I took a nice little trip over to the Dollarama, picked up some sweet stackable small containers, and got to mixin'! Here is what I ended up with:

Yay! I promise you they are even more stunning in person and make my crafting/painting life so much easier.  Now I am free to paint for as long as I'd like and still be able to come back and continue without more mixing! Oh the world is a wonderful place! Sure I'm missing out on the fun of mixing up the colours but if I want a new tone I can just start a new pot! Plus they lock together for easy storage:

Ooo those mid-centurty modern colour palettes are dreamy. I am now substantially more efficient when it comes to acrylics and used these lovely custom colours to make 26 different necklaces last week. Apparently I went a smidge overboard with the painted beads and pendants but who wouldn't go nuts over perfect colour tones? I'll be sharing my creations over the next while and you'll be able to see these colours in action! What about you? Are you also the colour police? 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Katie Makes

Mollie Makes (link) magazine is awesome.  It is jam packed with fun sewing, knitting, crocheting, weaving, and thrifty upcycling projects that you totally want to make and has the dreamiest colourful pictures to swoon over on each page.  Seriously though - how many magazines out there always have projects you want to make in them? In my experience - very few. Sure I love the projects in my subscription to Bust magazine, but Mollie Makes is dedicated to craftiness so there are loads of fun ideas in there! Like most magazines I fall in love with, it's from the UK.  Those Brits certainly know how to win me over with publications but torment me with their lack of availability in Canada and when you do manage to get your hands on a copy it is usually outdated by a season. (Note: they did have a US version of the magazine for a while but it was pretty lack lustre in comparison and I think it may be gone now since I haven't seen one in ages?).

Well! Availability is no longer a problem for me since I decided at xmas to subscribe! I still get them a good 3 weeks after they are released over the pond, but it was totally worth it (plus mail! yay!). Another amazing perk of this fabulous magazine? They come with little projects packages too! Here was my most recent bonus craft kit:

Looks amazing right? I tore straight into this mini project and am thrilled with my sweet new accessories! Check them out:

Yay! I ended up supplementing the kit with some of my favourite embroidery floss colours and surprisingly broke three needles when making these. Seriously? I never break needles. It must have been all that enthusiasm I was pouring into making these babies! 

I made the pendant in a chevron pattern that wasn't actually in their "18 designs to chose from" but was super simple.  I added the dark teal and grey thread from my stash and when I finished and glued the back extra strings down I whipped out some dark turquoise paint to finish off the edges! For the brooch I went with a neat flower design they included the pattern for.  I used my own coral coloured floss because I am apparently supremely particular about my colour selections and finished it off with some coloured pencil petals and chartreuse painted edges! Oooo! Take a peek at those details:

Yaaayyy!!! Issue 51 of Mollie Makes is clearly a big winner and I even have a few more projects up my sleeve from this magazine too! Oh my! What do you think of my cross stitch creations? Are there any other magazines that will make my crafty life more fantastic I haven't heard of? Are you totally going to go buy this magazine now? I hope so!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

that squirrel is ACTUALLY trying to catch that peanut.

Remember that adorable squirrel I posted about yesterday? Isn't he darling:


Well - as it turns out the guy who took the picture did NOT photoshop that peanut in there. What!? Yep - that squirrel is actually going after that peanut. Great job James! You can see loads of his other lovely squirrel pictures on his deviant art account here (link). 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Squirrel trying to catch a peanut

When I came across this gem of an image it was too good not to share:

Why yes - it is most likely photoshopped - but it is still super cute and entertaining and it sort of reminds me of when I find pyrex dishes at thrift shops! Haha! Happy Wednesday! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Extreme Pyrex Love

The last time I posted about Pyrex on here I had a tiny handful of pieces and was super stoked to share each one as I found it.  In the last three years my pyrex collecting has become quite extreme as I have enthusiastically thrifted a lot of these lovely vintage milk glass dishes. At first I was all about the 441s (the small cinderella style bowl with the handles) and 403s (the 3rd largest mixing bowl size) and then it became all about good deals and bowl sets. I now have well over 80 pyrex dishes, have completed oodles of bowl sets, and am still thrilled when I see these lovely dishes in the wild! I've also (obviously) picked up my thrift shopping game quite dramatically checking much more often for new pieces - and Fraser and I have made pyrex hunting one of our new past times! Ok...so it's really more my favourite hobby than Fraser's...but he is a good sport and wonderfully supports my excitement and purchases (what a great husband)! 

I'd really like to take some time and share all about my favourite pieces and amazing deals I've found but for today will share one of my favourite sets that are prime for using (unlike the rest of my collection that requires a step stool to get at)! Behold - my almost primary frankenset:

Isn't it lovely? The smallest and two largest bowls are from the classic primary mixing bowl set and I've swapped out a verde 402 for where the red bowl usually goes! I really dig the colour combination and am slightly less concerned about breaking them because they are all duplicates. Ack! Did I just admit that? Well - technically they aren't all duplicates. I have a completed 1940's unnumbered primary pyrex set on display on my living room/dining room dividing book shelf - and these bowls are numbered so they are newer and technically different. The verde 402 is indeed a duplicate, but I am super drawn to those olive/avocado greens so I'm not surprised I ended up with two. My other duplicates now hold succulents in my living room and I now have pictures of my collection saved on my phone so I can avoid mistakingly purchasing doubles in the future! Yay!

So my pyrex love has definitely become slightly more extreme - but I still rejoice over every last piece I manage to find and lovingly bring home to my hoard. It's certainly becoming harder and harder to find pieces I don't have but it certainly isn't going to stop me from looking! Is there anything you collect from thrift shops? How long has it taken you to build up your stash? 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Oh hello.

I am a sucker for cute animal pictures. I spend a little bit of time everyday checking out cute fuzzy creatures on the internet and am particularly fond of this picture:

Oh hello raccoon! I also wanted to post this in case for some reason my sister decides to read my blog since she has an irrational fear or raccoons. It's also her birthday today.  You think I'm being cruel? It's payback for that cotton ball dispenser she got me for xmas a few years back (I hate cotton balls). *shudder* 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

DIY Postage Pins

Geeky childhood confession - I collected postage stamps.  I actually feel like it was instigated by my mom who got my sister and I "Canada Post Stamp collecting kits" which I remember as being free in the early 90's (which I could be wrong about - but that was 20 years ago...).  As I got older I stopped thinking stamp collecting was super awesome but my mom continued on the collecting for years.  I still make a note of checking out the stamps on any mail I receive and I always like checking out the new stamp collections at the post office when I'm there.  It's such a neat art form and with this rad tutorial from Miss Vicky Voila (link) - you can turn that post marked postage into pins! Check it out:


Oh do I ever love this idea! I'm also on quite the Sculpey accessory making binge so this fits in perfectly! Now all I need to do is find some cool stamps worth pinning to my cardigan and I will be set! How about you? Do you go on craft binges? Did you collect anything embarrassing as a kid?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

a dabble in jewelry repair

Last Easter I went to the island with my best pal Lindsay and we had a fantastic time soaking up all the Victoria loveliness (that I miss SO much since I've moved back to the semi-arid interior)! It turned out that there was a vintage fair going on that weekend in Sidney and I was extra excited to take Lindsay to one of my favourite events! I love checking out vintage goodies and it's even nicer when they are all hand-picked and sifted through so you aren't searching through piles of garbage! Yay! I picked up a few goodies including some vintage accessories and a bizarre triangular milk glass casserole dish (not pyrex - but too cute to leave behind).  I always flock towards the super deals and picked up a few items for a dollar or two a piece. When you're shelling out so little for these goodies they often need a little love - and this super quirky necklace was no exception.  It was missing a few of the coloured balls but I loved the crazy colour combination and shape so much that I figured I could fix it! It may have taken me almost a year to get to - but now all the bits are in tact and this pendant is ready to add to my outfits! Take a peek:

Ok, so if you look at it really close it's pretty obvious which balls I replaced - but here is a before picture for reference:

I felt like the missing pieces weren't SUPER obvious and I would wear the necklace regardless of its "not quite all there" character (because I can relate to that quite often).  Here's another look at the three circles that were missing: 

and the fixed pendant once more:

Hooray! It was a pretty simple fix all in all. Fraser made me teeny tiny little balls with some of his war hammer sculpting clay and then I painted them to match.  After they dried I just had to glue those babies in and bam! Perfect! Jewelry repair a success! What do you think? Do you ever buy things you plan to fix? How long does it take you to get around to them? 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kitchy Fish Friends

While I was still living in Victoria I came across this pair of anthropomorphic fishies at a vintage shop downtown.  I got super excited about them and promptly snapped them up to bring home. Aren't they dear?

When I showed Fraser my magnificent buy and how awesome they would be in our new condo in Kamloops he told me that, "We better put those in the ensuite bathroom so people don't think we're weird." Uhh...Fraser - have you seen the decorations in our house? If guests think these fish make us weird then clearly they shouldn't be hanging out in the bathroom at our house! These lovely pals did end up in our ensuite, but I put a framed moustache and monocle cat in the main bathroom so it still has some quirky personality...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The best news for polymer clay users!

I'm a big fan of making things out of polymer clay. It's super fun to stretch those creative muscles and take a stab at sculpting shapes and creatures from clay! I'm partial to using Sculpey brand polymer clay because it doesn't dry our or get all crumbly if you leave it out and only gets rock hard after baking. It's also a great base to paint on and is super durable once its cooked.  I decided to whip out my box of Sculpey this past weekend and attempt to make a few projects I have been thinking about for quite some time! As always, my craft projects always seem to take way longer than I think they will (so I'm nowhere close to finishing them and sharing) but here are some of my past polymer clay projects I've made: 

1) Geometric pendants and rings!

2) Albi the racist dragon magnet set (including badly burnt albanian boy and jelly bean) for any FOTC fans out there!

3) Love robot charms! Back when people hung things off their cell phones...

What a lovely little trip down past craftiness memory lane! Now - what is this big news I was hinting at from my blog post title? WELL! If you've ever spent ages playing with clay you quickly come to realize that it is incredibly hard to get off your hands. Friday night I made a bunch of little white Sculpey balls and with all that rolling the palms of my hands were coated with a nice layer of clay.  When I finished baking my creations and went to wash up with soap when I remembered how much scrubbing it takes to get that layer off. I whipped out the gardening nail brush scrubber and ended up getting the clay off after 5 minutes of elbow grease.  The next morning I decided to search Pinterest to see if they had any fun polymer clay projects I may want to try with my remaining Sculpey and found a life changing tip - hand sanitizer dissolves clay for quick and easy hand clean up! AH! MY SAVIOUR : 

My polymer clay cleaning days are forever revolutionized! A little squirt of this stuff and that pesky layer of mess on your hands rubs right off with no scrubbing involved! Oh! I'm still ecstatic about this discovery and thought I better share it with all of you! Hooray for clean hands! What a wonderful world we live in! 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hell of a Caturday

When I came across this image I just had to share it! Behold the ultimate in cute geekiness:


If you weren't already aware, my husband Fraser is a big geek.  I thought it was a pretty standard assumption but when I had my friend Maureen over a few weeks back I was showing her Fraser's studio (where is nerd-dom flourishes) as part of the condo tour.  She saw all of his war hammer and war machine little painted dudes all over and reacted with, "I didn't know Fraser was THAT much of a geek!"  Yep. He sure is. It's wonderful. That being said - Hellboy was one of his favourite comic characters when I met him many moons ago and since kitties are my favourite animal this picture is a lovely fusion of our likes! Yay! I mean look at those little faces and paws!! Adorable! Happy Caturday everyone! What geek level are you at? 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I don't get it.

Here's something that has been on my mind for far too long:

Why is it that prune juice isn't called "plum juice"? It's not like we call grape juice "raisin juice"...

I personally think that plum juice sounds WAY more appealing than prune juice - and makes more sense. Hmm. Anyone have any insights to help untangle this puzzle from my brain? I mean prunes don't even have juice. They're dried. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I've been a fan of Pusheen the cat for quite some time.  He's everything I love - adorable, a cat, chubs, and full of personality! If you haven't browsed through his blog I definitely recommend it (link) when you're craving some cute gifs. 

Fraser also happens to be a Pusheen fan so this past xmas I decided to make him his own version of our favourite little grey and black pal in crochet form! Isn't he a cutie?

Oh Pusheen! He melts my heart every time I see him and I can just imagine all the cat-like hijinks he gets into when we aren't home (most of which probably involve binge eating). 

He was pretty quick to whip up and probably would have only taken one evening if I wasn't trying to make him behind Fraser's back and not spoil the surprise. I got the pattern here (link) and since I'm quite proficient in amigurumi, found it super simple to follow along. The only change I made was using slightly larger safety eyes than the ones recommended. I am super thrilled with how he turned out and he is now enjoying his new home on our radio in the living room! Hooray! Are you a loyal Pusheen follower too? 

Friday, March 6, 2015


Do you ever browse the shelves of a store and see something and think, "what the hell were they thinking?" Case and point - skin cancer playmobil:

Don't get me wrong, I love playmobil. It was undoubtably my favourite childhood toy and I still get excited to flip through a playmobil catalogue - but sun tanning girl? Seriously? I guess that's why she's on clearance... 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Calling all Cat Lovers!

This may be old news to those of you who surf around the internet regularly - but have you heard about Cat Island? Its a tiny little island off of Japan that originally brought in cats to deal with a mouse problem. After some time the cats have taken over and outnumber its human residence 6 to 1! Just check out these darling feral felines:


Unfortunately there is no where to actually STAY on the island - but you can take a short ferry ride there for a visit! Oh that would be fun! So many fluffy kitties! I particularly like this picture:


Yay! Looks like I'm doing this trip alone since the majority of my friends aren't that into cats and the hubs is ridiculously allergic to them. I don't think an allergy pill would help when you're surrounded by 120 kitties...shucks...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: All Lovely Things

A few weeks ago I received an email asking me if I would like to review Lea Redmond's new book "All Lovely Things - A Field Journal for the Objects That Define Us" that is being released today (March 3rd, 2015)! I obviously jumped on the offer (hence this post and review) and am beyond impressed with how well suited this book is for me. I am always interested in books and journals that help me stretch my creative muscles and this one is the perfect resource to prompt all sorts of meaningful and reflective drawings.  It's a wonderful illustrated guide that helps you better understand yourself through the items and objects that fill in the background of the story of your life.  Before I go much further, I'd like to say that this is by no means a paid promotion - I just really, really ended up loving this publication.  Let's take a look:

The first thirteen pages or so of the book outline how to use this journal to document meaningful objects in your life.  Lea takes you through a series of experiments to get your creative juices flowing and to help you connect with special items and important people in your life.  To help you understand the concept of the proposed project even further, she has filled out a few pages of her own to demonstrate ways to use this book to its full potential.  I was particularly drawn to two of the people she chose as I have a certain admiration for them as well.  The first being that all too amazing mid-century modern icon Charles (and Ray) Eames:

and the second being the king of natural selection himself - Charles Darwin:

I'm pretty sure I am not quite as knowledgable on the life and inspiration of either Eames or Darwin but enjoyed peeking into the inspiration they have given Lea to grow into the person she is today. There is even a section later on in the book that lets you reflect on specific objects you've drawn so you can describe how they have contributed to your life.

This book is like a guided tour of your inner thoughts and memories and really helps you identify key items in your life and celebrate them without necessarily having loads of physical "stuff" that clogs up our homes.  It is like a lovely spring cleaning for your soul (and house in many cases) as it lets you connect by sketching, collaging, or describing memorable objects from your life and may help you let go of some items that you don't necessarily want around but still want to preserve the memory of in a special way! The majority of the book is a blank canvas where you can draw portraits of yourself, or people you know, admire, or imagine and connect specific objects to those important people in your life.  I love that there are different words as well as blank spots on the journal pages to help you stretch your creativity and perhaps think about someone or something in a slightly different way. Here's a sample blank page:

Now when I went on to start drawing in my own pages I quickly realized just how personal and emotional you can make the journal and enjoyed a look back on some fond memories of my Grandma:

I then decided to take a step back from the serious and dedicate the next drawing to Humphrey (the stuffed unicorn car pillow Fraser and I make stories up about).  I was shocked at how quickly I had filled up the two pages:

Oh my that unicorn is a character.  I really love how I can draw a little doodle of something that may seem super random but actually tells a whole story about a memory (or in Humphrey's case an imaginary memory) based on the person it is drawn next to. I
 had an amazing time doing up quick sketches in this journal and will certainly continue to fill it out over time.  I'm thinking  the next entry I will do is drawings of myself at different ages and all the things I loved during those years.  OoO! What fun! 

I'm quite obviously a big supporter of this book and highly recommend picking it up for anyone who enjoys journaling, doodling, or wants to reflect creatively on their life.  Just think how cool it would be to show to your kids one day and tell them all the stories about how Humphrey secretly makes campfires to keep warm in the wintertime (despite his weak ankles)! Hooray! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Left over wedding decor

As you may have heard, Fraser and I have been working on fixing up and unpacking our condo for a good two years.  Now that the majority of the renovations are done (just some little touch up projects left), we can really focus on unpacking all of these boxes that have been sitting here for ages and enjoy our home and our things! What a concept!  

A lot of our unpacking is actually just trying to purge like crazy and see what we really don't use or need anymore and what fits in our lives (and house).  I found it super satisfying when I got around to sorting through our left over wedding stuff because most of it ended up being recycling and donations! I can't believe we just packed all that crap up after the wedding and shoved it in the spare room for it to sit for a year and half taking up space! Oy!  

I did want to keep a few things to remind of our magical special day - and one of those things were my homemade pom poms! I painstakingly crafted hundreds of tissue paper and yarn poms for months before our celebration and even though the tissue ones went straight in the recycling, I couldn't part with the adorable little fluffy white yarn ones I spent so much time and love making. But what do you do with a garbage bag full of white pom poms? Apparently put them in apothecary jar and pop them on the main bathroom counter! Behold:

Now whenever I'm washing my hands I can be pleasantly reminded of all the fun we had on our wedding and since these poms are wonderfully enclosed in glass they won't even become a giant dust magnet! Ho ho! Bonus! I even bought the jars on clearance years ago so they were just empty vessels waiting for a decorative purpose. Double bonus! I'm certainly thrilled with how this little project turned out and how wonderfully it fits in with our bathroom colour scheme. So how about you? Did you keep any of your wedding paraphernalia around? How do you use/display it? 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Forever ill

Does anyone else out there find these ecards hilariously on point? like...all the time? I certainly do and this one falls particularly close to home these days. 


My friend Hetty phoned me a few days ago and asked me, "Hey Kate - are you busy?"  

I paused. I thought. "No...not really. Whats up?"

Hetty:  "I was wondering if it would be ok if I popped by and borrowed Game of Thrones Seasons 1-3 from you."

Me: "Oh! I don't have to shower OR get out of my jammies for that! Of course you can!"

Yep. I actually considered saying I was somewhat busy in fear of having to put actual real clothes on and go out into the world. No, I'm not a hermit - but I have been suffering with severe chronic illness for many months now (plus a lovely cold/sinus infection this week) and getting dressed seemed like entirely too much effort than it's worth. The majority of my energy these days is spent trying to rest up and get healthy - thankful two things that do not require me to wear a bra. Perfect.