advent bags....on the floor

It's almost 2am. This is where the advent bags are - my dining room floor. For the life of me, I never clued in to how LONG this bag lineup would be. And I'm not about to figure out where to hang them, or how to, tonight. I do take some comfort in that Oscar is only a year and a half - so the concept of picking 1 bag from a lineup was going to be tough. What I'll likely do is give him a bag a day, so some fun can be had. Oh - and some of you asked what I filled them with - the bags were filled with fun little trinkets from the dollar store. A rubber lizard, a colouring book - fun silly little things. Happy December 1st!! xo Linds

Wordless Wednesday

It's so hard to be wordless.

Holiday garlands

I was visiting a friend over the weekend and noticed a gorgeous red bunting hanging across her white mantle and fireplace. I immediately decided to try something similar with my mantle this year (thanks Em!). The past few years I've decorated my mantle with tree boughs, lights, ornaments, candlesticks - the whole shebang. But this year I want to try something different and pared down (that goes for Christmas decorating in general). Here are a few garlands that I think would do the trick. Are you feeling the need to change up your decorating this year, or are you sticking with what you love?



I'm *almost* there

I've successfully ironed on 24 numbers onto Oscar's Advent Bags. I was fully inspired by Kai Ethier for House & Home Magazine who did these. And, it only took me a full YEAR to do it. I'm not kidding you, I actually started this last year. But I suck at iron on transfers, maybe trying to peel them back too soon, and 1/2 of the project was a disaster. With December 1st creeping on me way too quickly, I managed to perfect my skills at ironing on, letting them cool off and peeling back. Like my numbers? Because freebies are fun, click here to download my design of 1 - 24 so you can do your own. Now I just have to figure out 1. what to fill them with and 2. where to hang them. :)

West Elm Holiday Picks

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

This Thursday is the Etsy night at West Elm [Blogged about here] that my shop was invited to participate in. I'm a big fan of Etsy and I'm a big fan of West Elm so the combo is pretty fantastic in my mind. As I gear up for the night, I'm making a list of some West Elm picks I want to grab while there.  xo Linds

Gingerbread House

This past Saturday, Oscar and I decorated a gingerbread house, along with one of Oscar's friends from the street. My friend and I each bought a pre-made gingerbread houses for the boys and stocked up on extra cool candy from the Bulk Barn. I whipped up some extra icing, got out my cake decorating bags (um, yes, I once took a cake decorating course with my Mom) and went to town. My idea of the perfect gingerbread house is recreating Hansel and Gretel's house. To me, that is the perfect candy house imaginable, no? Oscar kind of  went bananas on sugar (oops), watched as I decorated, and playing with his buddy. Overall, an amazing time was had by all and will surely be a tradition we continue on. Want to see how excited Oscar was with the final product? .....
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Glitter pine cone DIY

With last week's snow storm and December right around the corner, I was in the mood to start my Christmas decorating over the weekend. I started by adding some tall branches with bright red berries to my mostly-white mantle and then decided to try an easy and inexpensive holiday craft I'd spotted around the internets: glitter pine cones.

I picked up a few packs of cinnamon-scented pine cones at the dollar store ($2 for a pack of five pine cones) and a small bottle of gold glitter ($1). With a small foam brush, I applied glue to the edges of the pine cones, then sprinkled them with glitter and left them to dry. I had a couple of hurricane vases we used to display flowers for our wedding, so I filled them with my sparkly pine cones and - instant holiday decor! It's also a great craft for kids - provided you don't mind a house full of glitter :)

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Snips & Snaps From My Sisters House

We are home.

It's a bitter-sweet feeling.


I miss my Virginia family already, but I also missed my own house, my own friends and family here and...
You know what I'll be doing next.

Anyway, we always stay the greater part of our trips to VA with my lil sister.
She and I are close.
We had no choice.
We shared a room for 17 1/2 years. (she got married young)

Our husbands are great pals and they have 4 kiddos so the cousins & hubs have much fun as well.
It's one happy story all around.

Now let us get to the meat of this episode.
I love my sisters house. (despite what she thinks of it)

She has a simple, timeless style that makes a statement.

Her husbands family owns Classic Furniture in Charlottesville, so she gets some great furniture choices.

Are you drooling yet?

I've wanted to get photo's of her house for some time, but with 7 kids between us, it's rather hard to snap a shot before they tear through and declare it a war zone.

She gets to go with her husband to furniture market sometimes.
Market sounds like a little slice of paradise.
She recently got her dining table there.
I licked it.
Tasted like paradise all right, with some other flavors mixed in.
Happens with 7 kids around.

You wonder why I didn't take a picture of the whole mantel dontcha?
I have no idea.
Just try to enjoy the two halves.

I tried to sneak downstairs and take down her dining room light one night.
I didn't think they would notice.
The screaming might have tipped them off.
Dumb electricity.

She made this coffee filter wreath out of the brown filters after seeing the white one I made.
Hey, I AM cool!

The metal letters came from our grandpa's shop when they upgraded to a new sign.
She offered me some too and I went off and forgot them.
Super cool.
Letters I mean.
Not cool that I forgot them.

I'm gunna decorate just like her when I grow up.

Don't forget to enter my Shabby Apple giveaway that ends tonight!

New Blog Series - BlogPodium

So the big news I had to share got announced via Twitter last Friday night. The news is, Jennifer from Rambling Renovators, and Shannon from What's up Whimsy and I, have come together to create an awesome series of talks all around the topic of blogging - a new series of talks called BlogPodium. [See Jennifer's post on it here] It's pretty fantastic.
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things that make you love where you live

Do you have things that happen in your neighbourhood that just make you love where you live? This past weekend was one of those reasons. A little Santa Claus Parade for the kids - Complete with homemade floats, the local police division handing out candy canes, the Beach Citizen of the year, the high school band - Things like this are what memories are made of - for kids, and adults. :) I'm sure it takes a great deal of effort, and a lot of volunteers but it is honestly, such a great idea for a neighbourhood.

See more pictures from the parade when you click on read more
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What didn't get blogged

I've been up until 2am most nights working. Being self employed you take the work when you can, and push yourself - because around the corner there is likely going to be a slow period. It's part of the thrill of running your own business. So seeing as it's my busy season for work, my "creative" projects around the house have been put to the side for the next week. Anyhow, here is what didn't get blogged about
  • I found an old CD Cover I had designed for Markus. (Mine is the one that has the sleeping baby). I totally wish I had more time to illustrate. That is something that I've had to let slide while juggling everything.
  • Love these shoes
  • Everything in this inspiration board I want. Especially that Kate Spade bag. I'm a sucker for stripes.
  • I'm hoping you'll see an announcement from myself and Jen today - we're on the cusp of announcing something that is really very exciting.
  • We're going to our neighbourhood Santa Claus Parade this Sunday. We went last year and it's SO fun. Aubrey has to work so it's likely going to be me and Oscar party crashing on other peoples family time. ;)
Have a great weekend everyone. xo Linds

All I want for Christmas...

I'm not a Black Friday shopper because a) I live in Canada and b) I would pay almost any amount of money not to battle a crowd and stand in line (yup, not a huge fan of amusement parks), but hats off to you if you braved the fray to score some amazing deals today. With the gift-giving season underway, here are the items on my wishlist this year. What's on yours?


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I get a lot of e-mails about what camera I use so I thought it wouldn't be weird to show you my early Christmas gift. I used to have a Canon Rebel XTi that I've been shooting with for three years, but the camera started to malfunction a bit, and truthfully I was drooling over the features of the updated cameras for awhile. Last week, this beauty came home with me - a gorgeous Canon 60D. For the record, I have a number of cameras in my house including my "purse" camera that I toss in my bag - This camera isn't a "toss in your purse" kind of camera. This is a camera that is off limits to everyone. Even Aubrey. I've VERY territorial with my SLRs. So, the functions on it are crazy cool on this, allowing for wireless speed light control (meaning you can put your external flash somewhere else in the room, and have it go off when you want it to - wireless) This may not seem very important for the regular photographer - but for product photography that I do - this is really cool.

I got my love of photography from my Dad -  a shared joy that we have. I remember my first camera that I got, when I showed interest in photography to get a badge for Brownies. Ever since, I've been an avid photographer. I just really, really like it.
Photos I've taken over the years
Sometimes people ask me what the tricks are to good photography and I wish I could be eloquent enough to explain. This isn't a post about my photography tips - There are a lot of factors, all deserving of their own post. But, what I always tell people about (most) of my shots in our house is that one of my BIGGEST tricks is that I really try to avoid flash.  By not using your flash, you need to allow that shutter to be open just that much longer to allow more light in - so get a tripod. I don't always use the traditional tripod, I use a stack of books, chairs, tables. But having a camera on something steady when you don't have a lot of natural light is a necessity.

But sometimes what you see, is manipulated after the fact. Take for example my pumpkin shot. Shot in daylight, but even still it seemed dark. So I manipulated the levels of the photo on my computer until it seemed right. It's always easier to manipulate photos that have been shot in daylight vs. artificial light, not sure if that's because I'm a novice, or because working with lighting is just overall hard to do.

The big DSLR isn't for everyone. It's big. It's not something  you can toss in your bag (you shouldn't at least) but for someone like me that takes great joy in house shots, product photography, photographing people and events, as well as testing out differen lenses, different settings, it's the best gift ever. :)

"Framing" children's art

One of the best wedding gifts we received was handmade art from Adam's nephews, who specifically directed me to hang them next to our bed. With our walls painted, they were the first things to go up:

To "frame" them, I decided to paint the edges of the canvases black. I just taped around the front of the canvas, painted the edges with acrylic paint and removed the tape.

We were married on a lake, although Adam's parents' driveway is definitely the focal point in the top painting :) The painting on the bottom says, "Dear Adam and Amy, I hope you have a gret wedding. Love, Evan." How could we not want to wake up to these everyday?

Another DIY Advent Calendar

Image credit: Oh Happy Day
I'm working away on my advent calendar/bag project still - ALMOST done! But when I woke up this morning and read this post on Oh Happy Day, with my morning coffee, I thought it was soo good not to share. You can download the free template from Jordans site when you visit the post, and these are actually the exact same bags you can buy in my little shop. Oh, the uses of bags - the only limitations are your creativity. :) xo Linds

Painted closet doors

I know what you're thinking: "Is she seriously blogging about painting a bi-fold door?"
Yes, yes I am.

Sure, closet doors aren't all that exciting when you have them. But imagine that you've been staring at a mess of your husband's clothes and a basket of dirty laundry for the past 9 months, and now you have a way to hide those things behind a door. Closet doors are suddenly more exciting than all-you-can-eat sushi.

When we moved in, our bedroom had lots of closet space (yay!), but no doors (boo!). I found them stacked in our garage. So, this is what I've been doing most evenings (door #3 from last night):

Each one takes two coats of primer and 3-4 coats of paint, which has taken me through all three seasons of The United States of Tara and several episodes of the new 90210 (don't judge,'s tv selection is severely lacking). I picked up replacement hardware to hang the door (around $10 per door at Home Depot), which I was able to do all by myself (I heart my powerdrill). I also added new knobs:

Still can't imagine yourself jumping for joy over a closet door? Here's a little before and after:

I still have to finish painting and hanging the doors for my closet (it's a double, woo hoo!), but progress is a huge motivator (and I've got two more seasons of 90210 to get through).

West Elm + Etsy Night with yours truly

The lovely folks at ETSY e-mailed me awhile back to let me know that West Elm had picked my shop* to be a part of the Holiday Handmade Night at the Toronto West Elm. Apart from the fact that I will be there, it sounds like a really fun night of shopping. If you do come, I hope you say hello! xo
*My 13x19 Prints are sold exclusively in my Etsy Shop Here

Shabby Apple Giveaway!

Dresses from Shabby Apple

Okay, so here I am on vacation, but when Shabby Apple (a wonderful source for women's dresses) contacted me about doing a giveaway, well I just came right out of vacation.

I love Shabby Apple.
And I looooovve this skirt that they are so generously allowing me to give away.

It's called the Francine and it just makes me happy to type that name.
Francine lived in 1940ish.
She is a snappy dresser, wears horn rimmed glasses while she works and her hair piled high on the weekends.

I like Francine.

So here's all ya got to do:

1. Go to Shabby Apples Facebook Page and LIKE them!
2. Leave a comment for me to let me know you like them.
That's it!

Giveaway ends Monday, November 28th @ 12AM Central time.

*Giveaway is open to USA residents Only :-(

New to Shabby Apple?
Be sure to stop there and just enjoy perusing through some of their wonderful dresses and skirts for women and girls.
No need for clothing?
No problem cause they have jewelry too!
Great place for gifts!

PS. I'm having fun on vacation. Be back soon!


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