new space.....

if you are looking for me, i'll be over here, making happy.


happy 2013

i don't think i've ever been so relieved to say good-bye to a year and welcome a new one.  happy new year to everyone....wishing you all the best this coming year.

i always love fresh starts and new beginnings and feel like 2013 is bringing a wave of change.  our family has chosen one little word for the year:

you can find the post that inspired it all here at ali edwards' blog.  i think the concept is fabulous and am so glad that the boys have all embraced the word too.  i think we can apply it to so much of our everyday life. i'm sure you will see it pop up here from time to time throughout the year.

along with this one little word, i've found new inspiration all around me.   instagram, pinterest, and so many creative people around me in real life and online have ignited so many ideas and plans in me.  i am very lucky to be surrounded by so many creative minds that inspire me day to day.  

i always make commitments to myself for the new year, and this year is no different.  but instead of listing them all here i thought it would be more fun to post some of the things i am so happy to have discovered in 2012. 

1. one little word (from ali edwards)
2. instagram and all of the amazing photos and people i see there each day- i am obsessed
3. project life and the inspiration it has brought me to start documenting our lives
4. my macbook- i love it!
5. my cookbooks and a few chefs in particular that have reignited my love for cooking

when i look at this list, i see that each item listed is in some way linked to a goal or project i have for the new year.
obviously missing from this list are the most substantial and important blessings- my family, my boys, my health, my job and a wonderful new friend i have made there....  but this list is focusing on things which have sparked some creativity in me again.  i'm so excited to see what 2013 will bring.


project life

when i was in my twenties, i tried my hand at scrapbooking but it never really stuck with me.  i tried again after camden was born but again, it just didn't last....i didn't like the finickiness of it all.  the huge amount of supplies, stickers, papers, etc.  i loved the look of others' layouts, but i just didn't like the work or time involved.
i've taken art in school ever since i can remember and my job is heavily creative as well.  any spare "creative" time i have now is really spent on little projects that come easy to me....usually sewing and knitting.  i've always had sketchbooks too, and they seem to fill my creative headspace enough.  
but lately, i have been feeling like i was missing good family documentation (other than my computers hard drive which holds thousands of pictures & memories).  i was tired of only seeing those moments on a screen but with a full time job, the occasional travelling for work, and the general business of life, i wasn't sure i was ready to take on organizing all the memories.  also, a regular photo album didn't seen right to me.
and then i discovered this wonderful system on heather bailey's blog which immediately caught my eye....
it's called project life and it is kind of like the busy woman's answer to documenting your photos, your life, informal or formal events, in a really beautiful way.  you can add notes, as little or as much flourishing as you like and it just looks so much prettier to me than a plain old photo album.

no crazy supplies needed.  just the album, plastic inserts and the cards which fit in perfectly.  i love it! 

 i spent a whole weekend recently tackling a part of 2007.  I printed a huge stack of my favourite photos and started.  Seeing some of those moments when the boys were so little made me so happy.  and the boys loved it too. i am so glad i found this system.

i also really love that it can be used to document the simplest parts of our lives.  the little moments between the busiest are sometimes the nicest ones to cherish.  almost like blogging.  and i love these pretty cards i got which remind of the important things....

i know i have many years to really catch up on our lives, but i am not rushing it.  i plan on having one album for every year of our family life...eventually.  


good old reliable friend

with the colder days here, i have found myself cozying into our home more.  things often get out of control, schedules are tiring, and daily responsibilities take its toll.  i wish i had more control over balancing it all, but it's always a struggle.
i have pulled out my trusty slow cooker at least once a week though, and it is like an old reliable friend. and one that i don't feel guilty asking for help from.  one of my trusted recipes is this delicious soup, which i am overly excited that both the boys will gladly eat (let's just say we have problems in the vegetable department in our house lately).

it was inspired by a minestrone soup recipe i saw on pinterest, but i tweaked a bit for our own liking.
basically, the only real work involved here in in the chopping.  and the trick with my boys is keeping all of the vegetables to a very similar, smallish size (no large chunks).

here is my recipe for our favorite minestrone in the slow cooker

2-3 carrots, chopped small (or diced largely)
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes, with juice (28oz)
1-2 cartons of beef broth
1 14oz can kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
1 pound of stewing beef, cut into small pieces
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup dried bow tie pasta (or whatever type you like)
1 large zucchini, chopped
handful of frozen corn and/or frozen peas each

combine all ingredients except the pasta, zucchini, peas and corn in the crock pot.  cook on low for 8-9 hours, or high 4 or so hours.  add the pasta, zucchini, peas and corn to the crock pot, cover and cook 30-45 minutes longer.
serve with loads of grated Parmesan (this is ESSENTIAL!) and a crusty loaf of bread.

it's amazing how much joy it brings me to see the boys eat this many vegetables and beans in one bowl!


quick fix

one of the fastest ways to get my 'fix' of creative time along with a little home decor update is to make new pillows.  it's the biggest bang for my buck, if you will.  i try to keep the walls and bigger pieces of furniture in my home neutral so that i can update with smaller accents and fabrics.  this is probably why most of my crafty blog posts in the last couple of years have been of pillows.  i apologize.
i really adore amy butler and anna maria horner fabrics for this reason.  they are complex and colourful with just the right touch of vintage and modern.  this brown one has been sitting in my stash for a long while, and once the walls in my sewing room were freshly painted white and we found this gorgeous couch i set it aside for pillows.

i made a longer pillow for the centre of the couch with this brown floral and then made one for either end with 2 different fabrics- the green/aqua floral showing and a smaller blue print on the back.  i found the small pink pillows tucked into a chest in the basement.  apparently the boys in this house made the executive decision without me to remove them from the basement couch. hmm.  thank goodness for this little space i call my own.


super busy

i started blogging a long time ago in order to stop and savour the small moments.  mostly the really tasty food moments that were shared with my foodie friends on-line.  it morphed into a more personal space for sharing corners of my home, sewing projects, my feeble attempts at knitting, mothering- with dabs of dealing with autism, and just my life in general.
lately, i've found myself cooking less (thanks to that pesky full time career that i always dreamed about), sewing a little less, and always feeling busy.  not just busy, but super busy.  yes, i am one of those annoying women that can't even say busy anymore, i am super busy because busy just doesn't cut it these days (it is gag worthy, i know).
in an attempt to boycott this super busy feeling, i have been taking longer moments to sit.  longer moments to pick up a book, enjoy a cup of coffee slowly in a real cup and savour my dinner (no more rushing to fill the dishwasher with my last bite still being chewed).  i turned 38 this year, and i felt worried that if i didn't stop right this second and slow down that the rest of my life would be filled with super busy- no thank you!

in celebration of all the beautiful things i have in my life, and the not so beautiful things too, i have taken steps to slow it all down.  i've decided to pick up my camera more.  i've decided to not feel guilty about some of the things i can't be at school for.  i've decided to accept that some days are yuckier than others.  and i have decided to start documenting more of my moments again. 
i discovered this lady, and her course project life which i am LOVING! it causes me to slow things down and enjoy.
i am trying to not feel guilty about my sporadic blogging either.   it has become such a business for so many, that i started questioning why i was even doing it.  but maybe documenting my moments and thoughts on this blog is a hobby.  a beautiful post here, made me realize that.  and part of this one, too.
i sometimes forget about the enjoyment i get from the other inspiring women whose blogs i enjoy.  i may not be the most regular visitor to them, but they continue to inspire me and make me feel like my crazy life is just normal. 

i am updating my favorite places to visit in the sidebar to reflect some of the blogs that truly inspire and refuel me~ i hope you will find goodness there as well.


new york

i recently travelled to manhattan for the second time in one month.  although it was a work trip, i managed to enjoy small moments here and there. thank goodness for coworkers that become friends!

thankful for a coffee stop at the magnolia bakery in a department store.

beautiful carpets in a favorite store in soho.

interesting shoe window at barneys... love!

most delicious minty lemonade and sandwich for lunch at a new favorite lunch spot.
i love this city so much and there are always new discoveries made.  think it's time to plan a weekend trip there with the boys.  one day!