Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Day 31: 31 Days Finale!

Happy Halloween!! Today I've sort of looked back to all of my other 31 days posts and I'm really happy with the way things went. I feel like I actually have learned to live more by doing less. I now am more likely to set reasonable goals for myself, and have started to work on things one project at a time until-it-is-done which has really helped me to be more productive.

"Productive" is also a word I have been using a lot less. I no longer feel the need to be "productive". I just get done what I set out to do, and if I spend the rest of the night watching a movie, or knitting then awesome!

Today was a pretty relaxing day for me. I just got up and got my cleaning done and spent the rest of the day getting ready for trick-or-treators and then my husband, sisters, and I sat around, ate candy and watched halloween movies. It was a really good, not-at-all-productive sort of night.

Have a Happy Halloween Everyone!
Thanks for Reading.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Day 30: Winding Down

Hey Guys! So this is something I've really been trying to do for a really long time. There is really nothing that improves my quality of life so much as a good nights sleep. There is really no amount of coffee or cold showers that can make me feel alert and awake if I have had just a really bad sleep the night before.

I've heard in quite a few different places that one way to get a better sleep is to sort of 'wind down' before bed. This just means, like, turning off unnecessary lights, turning off the computer, and phone, and just relaxing for a while before you go to sleep. A normal night for me is where I literally close my computer and jump into bed, and when I close my eyes I can still vividly see whatever it was that I was just working on.

Tonight I decided to actually try this "winding down" business. I'm turning off my computer and phone well before I plan to go to bed, and I'm just going to look through these knitting (well knitting and crochet) books while I drink some tea. Here's hoping I'll actually get to sleep right through the night!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Day 29: Try Try Again

Hey Guys! So today I tried something new, and it seemed like a really simple project, but was still something I'd never done before. Basically, I was trying to make a frame for a cork board I bought. (Hopefully I'll get to show you the finished product in a few days, if everything goes well!!) I bought a really basic looking not-that-cute cork board to go up in my office and I was going to frame it with, basically a base board that I picked up at a hardware store, to give it a little more personality and make it look a little bit nicer.

I figured this would be crazy easy. My husband has a saw that cuts on an angle, so I got him to cut the pieces, and then all I had to do was glue them together, and then glue them onto the board! Easy peasy. =)

A LOT OF THE TIME I look up how to do a project and because I fully understand all of the steps and the basic concepts, I figure it's gonna work out like a dream the first time around. This ACTUALLY does not make any sense. If you have never done something before? It's not going to be a familiar action for you, and it will not likely work out like clock work. That being said, if you can get past that, and work through it, you might actually end up with a workable finished product!!

When I was trying to put the pieces together, and they weren't fitting or staying the way I wanted I got super fed up, and said it "wasn't worth it to fight with a $5 piece of base board anyway." Which is really just silly! Yeah, I didn't pay much for the project, but that was kind of the point! I wanted a nice looking cork board without PAYING for a nice looking cork board.

Anyway, we stuck with it (thanks honey!!) and now the pieces are drying in the basement, and (hopefully) tomorrow I'll have a frame that I can paint and turn into a really nice cork board. Much nicer than a pile of supplies sitting in the garbage can outside. I'm hoping I actually do learn from this, and give myself a bit of a break while I try to learn to be a bit more handy. Who knows! Maybe one day I'll actually be doing cool things like re-finishing furniture.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Day 28: Hot Cocoa

Hey Guys! Today was an especially brisk day for this fall, so I decided to indulge in a simple pleasure. Hot Cocoa! Originally I was going to make some Hot Chocolate mix that I bought from a coffee shop a few weeks ago, but I've been kind of avoiding making it. Eventually I realized that it was because I knew it was so bad for you! The calories alone pretty frightening at 160 calories per cup! So I decided to try something new and just make Hot Cocoa myself. I've never made hot cocoa before, but I've been really interested in learning how to use simple ingredient to make the foods I like, as opposed to buying frozen and pre packaged foods. Making the cocoa was amazingly easy! I actually just followed the instructions on the back of the container: 1 tbs of Cocoa and 2 tbs of sugar per cup of hot milk.

It turned out to be super delicious! I think next time I may actually use only 1 tablespoon of sugar per cup as it was really really sweet. I was really pleasantly surprised with how well this turned out, and considering I only used cocoa, sugar, and skim milk, I'm thinking it can't have been that bad for me either! I think this will be a regular treat for me in the coming winter.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Day 27: Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

 Hey Guys! So I decided after carving my pumpkin to try my hand at roasting pumpkin seeds!! Every year I carve a pumpkin and I always just throw away the seeds, figuring that I couldn't make them taste the same as when you buy them from the store.

Not true! I followed this recipe I got from and it worked out really well. Basically the recipe just instructs you to boil the seeds for about 10 minutes, and then bake them with a little olive oil for about 10 minutes.

I ended up having to cook them in two batches and I added a little worcestershire sauce to the first batch (the farther bowl) to spice it up a bit, which someone suggested in the comments on the recipe. I didn't find that it made a huge difference in taste, so I did the second batch without.

I'm really happy with how these worked out, and it was basically a free snack because I would have bought the pumpkin either way!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Day 26: Pumpkin Carving!

Hey Guys! So I decided today to carve a Pumpkin! Carving Pumpkins is a really fun thing to do around Halloween, and it makes for a really quick and inexpensive decoration. I picked up this pumpkin at a local market. It was really awesome because there was a lot to choose from, so I got this perfectly round pumpkin! 

I bought a pumpkin carving kit that came with a book of templates. I don't really have a ton of skill in this department, so I played it safe and picked out the easiest looking one.

I think it turned out really well! It was actually kind of fun and sort of relaxing to get to just sit down and work on something so quick and instantly gratifying. I'm really excited to see how it looks on Halloween!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Day 25: Halloween Decorations!

Hey Guys! Halloween is less than a week away, so I decided to get into the spirit by putting up some cute decorations! I just love these pumpkin lights. They're so cute and I feel like they instantly decorate the front of your house!

I think decorating your house for holidays is a lot of fun, and can be really inexpensive! Most of these decorations were $1!  I'll probably end up running back to the dollar store to grab some decorations for the yard, so we can decorate inside too! I really feel like if you get into holidays and have fun with it, it can make you appreciate the space you're in a lot more, and just makes every day a little more special.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Day 24: Hello Kitty Glasses!

I've decided lately to try to sort of get out of my comfort zone when it comes to fashion, and sort of life in general. All my life I have sort of played-it-safe and always had a very safe jeans-and-t-shirt wardrobe. But I got bored of it! I think sometimes it's important to just go for it if you like something. These glasses are sort of the start of that for me. I already kind of tried to change it up a bit. A few months ago I went blonde which was a HUGE deal for me, and then about a month ago I bought pink and purple clip in hair extensions. I figured those were pretty safe seeing as you could just take them out.

I think for sure the most outlandish thing I've ever bought with the intent to wear are these Hello Kitty Glasses which I got from this ebay site.

I have been considering these for a massively long time because I was positive that they would look god-aweful on me, and I would never wear them, and even be embarrassed that I bought them!

I finally realized that at a little over $5 for the set of three, it wasn't exactly an investment, and they made me happy! Even if I never ever wore them, I decided it was worth it to give them a go. I really like them! I'm actually pretty disappointed that you can't put lenses in them, because I think I would actually wear the black ones as my regular glasses... and maybe eventually convert the other ones as well!

I'm happy I decided to step out-of-the-box with this one. I've been having a lot of fun even just wearing them constantly around the house.

Which ones are your favourite?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Day 23: Use Your Supplies

Back on Day 17 when I was sorting through and sort of taking stock of all of my knitting supplies I realized that it was almost absurd to have so much yarn. My Husband actually saw me stacking up all the now-neatly-rolled bundles and laughed "you'll never need to buy yarn again!". Problem is, I'm CONSTANTLY tempted to buy more yarn when I'm at the store. So, in order to keep off the Hoarding  show, I decided I wasn't going to buy any more yarn until I used up some of that stash!

I have been looking at knitting a cowl, or infinity scarf, for a really long time. I love how they look and figured they would be pretty wearable. I'm the kind of person who is constantly cold, so it would be nice to have a kind of scarf that I could not only wear under my jacket, but also around the house.

When I was sorting my yarn I noticed that I loved the way that these olive toned green and oatmeal colours go together. I was instantly inspired! I grabbed a pair of circular needles and set to work.

For this project I used:

Around 5mm or 6mm Circular Needles (The Packaging is gone, and it doesn't say anywhere on the needles the exact size, sorry!)

I cast on 135 stitches with the main colour
(you could make it wider by casting on more, or more narrow by casting on less, but for the textured pattern I recommend using an odd number of stitches)

I  used a (British) Moss stitch pattern, or Seed Stitch which just means that you Knit 1 Purl 1 all the way around.
        - Because you used an odd number of stitches you do not need to change anything when you start a new row, you just keep going around with your Knit 1 and Purl 1. The design is created because all of your knits are on top of purls and vice versa.

The way I did my rows was 10 rows of the main colour and 5 of the contrast colour alternating, with a total of 55 rows all together.

I'm really happy with the way the cowl turned out! and I'm also really excited to be knitting again. I already have two more cowl ideas I want to try. It's just really fun, relaxing, and rewarding! As these can be knit up in just a few days even if you don't have a ton of time to commit to them.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Day 22: No Such Thing as Wasted Time

Today I decided to do something I don't usually let myself do. I went out, purchased a Magazine, sat down, and read it.

This is almost silly, it's such a small thing, but it goes against most of the limitations I put on myself! Wasting money (a magazine isn't super useful) and wasting time (reading a magazine is also not super useful). Wasting time and money is pretty huge in my books, but lately I have been challenging the definition of a "waste". I never really gave it much thought before, my current definition of a waste is anything that is not ultimately productive in some way; Window shopping, Going out for Coffee, Reading Magazines. Basically things that are just for fun.

Anyway, my Husband finally pointed out to me (as I was clearly not going to get this on my own) that sometimes having fun IS productive! And that if you take a break from work to have fun, you're bound to get more work done later when you pick it up again.

So I read a magazine today, and I really liked it. I think I may even subscribe.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Day 21: Don't Watch the Clock!

Where I work I generally work evenings, and have gotten very used to my routine of getting up, having breakfast, getting some cleaning done, having a bit of time to work on whatever project I'm currently working on, and then go off to work. I have everything pretty well timed out so that I can get a good amount done and be productive before I work.

Days like today are a little bit different. My shift got switched around so that I'm actually working the night shift, which starts when I would normally be getting off work. This is fine, accept that it throws off my routine. Whenever this happens it can kind of ruin my day because, even though I have pretty well all day to myself, I'm basically waiting all day until I have to work!

I wanted today to be different. It's really stressful to just sit all day thinking "I have to work in X number of hours" so I didn't! I refused to think about how long it was until I had to go to work, and all day I was a lot less stressed for it. And I actually got a lot done!'

I guess this is kind of a quick post, but I thought it was really interesting how such a small change could really improve my day.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Day 20: Office Inspiration

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

I've been thinking lately about how I have an office and I never use it! My computer is always in the living room, and I never seem to get any work done in my office. I would love to have a really organized and functional work space to use, and I really can't figure out what's missing.

I decided that looking at some really amazing looking offices would give me some ideas, and it sure did! I am so excited to get a really nice comfy chair, fill the spare with lots of color, and I really want to switch out my corner computer desk for a more simple table-like desk to make the work space less cluttered.

I also really want to make a real home for my sewing machine, because I'm not always inspired to sew when I have to dig out my sewing machine first.

I found these amazing plans to make a sewing table that folds down into a little island work space for a craft room/ office. This would be a total game changer because trying to sew on a corner desk is not a good time.

It looks so amazing! And with the table set up there would be a ton of room to sew.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Day 19: Plastic Photography

Hey Guys! So something I've been really wanting to get into for a while now is plastic or toy camera photography. I hadn't even heard about it until a friend of mine got a Diana Mini camera, and I just loved it! I love the 'dreamy' look of the photos they take, and I think that the cameras themselves are so cute and fun to use!

The thing that really sold me on this particular design was the back. I have used digital cameras for a very long time, so I'm pretty used to immediately looking at the back of the camera after I have taken a photo. This design says "Just Surprise Me" on the back, almost as a cute reminder that you won't get to see the photo until you develop it.

So why choose to talk about this now while I'm doing my 31 Days of Living Life to the fullest? Well, I was just thinking the other day about how long I've been interested in plastic cameras.

I heard about them and considered getting one for a good year before I finally ponied up the $35 bucks, and then spent another $5 or $10 (can't remember) on a back of 2 rolls of "Holga Film" also from Roxy.

Once I got the film I spent weeks taking pictures only when something memorable or really fun was happening as to not waste the film, and then spent another couple months trying to decided whether to send then film in somewhere good, or just take it to Walmart.

Eventually tried Walmart. No go, as this "Holga" film was from Europe, so I had to send it away.

A Month later they told me the film had not loaded into the camera properly and there was nothing on the film.

A little anti climactic? Yeah, for me too. Mostly because I had been waiting for SO LONG to get those pictures! When I started thinking about how long everything took, I realized that I was needlessly prolonging the process with this little camera simply because I believed that it should take a long time. But it really didn't have to! At this point I had really only spent $40 - $45. Not in any way a serious investment!

Realizing that I have been spreading everything out to make this whole "Plastic Camera Experience" Take as long as possible, I went right to Walmart, bought a pack of 3 Rolls of Kodak film, and went to town. I took pictures of everything. Most of the roll was spent on me and my family hanging out and baking cookies at my Mom's house.

As soon as the roll was used up I dropped it off back at Walmart, and picked it up when it was ready.

Unfortunately a lot of the pictures didn't make it. I should have realized that the 400 iso film wouldn't do so well in the house, but I'll just have to get some "Inside Film" later on. The point was that I finally had pictures!

Out of what I did get out of the roll these are my favourites.

It's really exciting to finally have pictures from this camera, and I am still a little frustrated at myself for making everything take so long! I am happy however, that I'll be taking a lot more pictures with this little camera from now on.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Day 18: Hit the Books!

Reading used to be one of my favourite things. I would literally have around four books going at all times when I was growing up, right until University. At that point life was just too busy to do something I enjoyed like reading a novel. After all, the reading I was assigned was often more than I could keep up with!

After I was done with University I thought I would have so much more time on my hands, even with starting a business. After all, how could anything take up as much time as all of those courses?! But even still I can't seem to find time to read. Last Christmas there were several books that I wanted to read, and between gifts and breaking down and buying them I had a small stack of great reading ahead of me.

I still have that same stack of books waiting to be read. Not cool. When I think about it, that stack of books wouldn't have taken me a month to read in High School.  I would have thought nothing of it! But somehow reading a "whole book" seems like such a daunting task to me now. I think it's about time that I got over the assumption that a whole book is just too much to get through, and just start reading for the fun of it again. Even if I don't end up with a finished product, or something usable, reading is still productive because it just makes me happy! And sometimes it's okay to have a little time to just selfishly, frivolously enjoy what you are doing. So I've decided I'm going to start reading again. Not because it will help my business in any way, or help us out in the long run at all, just because I want to know how Christmas at Tiffany's ends.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Day 17: Taking Stock

So I'm realizing that sometimes you just don't realize how much crafty-type supplies you really have!

I have been wanting to start up some knitting again. I used to knit and crochet all-the-time when I was in University, and a lot when I was growing up as well, but for the past year I haven't really touched it. I started looking at a few small patterns to try, and started thinking about what sort of yarn I should pick up when I thought "I probably have some knitting stuff in the storage room that I could use." Yeah, understatement of the year, for sure.

I forgot how huge the box was that I used to pack up all my knitting stuff when I moved. It's enormous! And what's worse is that I sort of packed everything pretty unceremoniously so it was a disaster sort of a mess...

I realized that I really haven't been knitting because I forgot that I even had this stuff! And realistically, looking at this mess of tangled yarn didn't really inspire me. So I decided to take stock!

I dumped out all of my yarn, half finished products, bits of stuffing, and sorted it all.

When I was finished I was actually shocked at how much yarn I had!

I am so inspired people. Like, I want to make a million different projects now. And This is perfect timing because it's just starting to get chilly outside! It really really helped me to get to see exactly what it was that I had, and to have all of my supplies in front of me. It also made all of my knitting supplies a lot more useful! Now that they aren't just a tangled mess. I'm really happy that I decided to put in the time to sort all of my yarn out. Now I just need to think of a really cute way to store it!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Day 16: Get Unplugged.

Today I decided to try to do something a little different. I spend most of my days looking at a screen, whether it's my computer or my phone, I'm usually using one or the other for the better part of the day. Today I decided to turn off my computer and put down my phone for about 8 hours today. It may not seem like a lot, but it sure made a difference in my day. There were a lot of times when I thought I would just quickly look at something on the computer, but I couldn't! And really? I didn't need to. I wanted to look at things like patterns and recipes that I've already seen before, and was not planning to try today, or else I wanted to check Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter. Basically just time wasters.

Because I couldn't go on the computer and check all my regular social media sites, I had some time on my hands! I did a bit of yoga, read a chapter in my soap making book, got a bunch of cleaning done, visited with my Mom, and made a supper before my husband got home.

It was really nice to kind of 'unplug' for a few hours and sort of live normal life! Again, probably sounds silly, but it was a nice change of pace for me. I think I'm going to make an effort to have a few more 'screen free' hours in the day from now on. Time doesn't seem to go quite as quickly, and it made for a really nice day.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Day 15: Smart Shopping - Start Early!

I know it's a little early to be thinking about Christmas shopping, heck, I'm normally a shopping-a-week-before-Christmas kind of person! This year, however, I don't have a whole lot of money for Christmas; so I figured I'd start early and try to find some good deals!

I realize that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but I think this idea applies to a lot more than the one holiday. It's just as important to keep your eyes open and be a smart shopper for every day household items! However, Christmas Shopping is my example, run with it?

Every year Christmas kind of sneaks up on me, and, while I know exactly who I'm going to be buying for every year, I never make a plan! This year had to be different; I really don't have the means to just roll with the punches this year!

I figured that I knew for sure that I was going to be buying for my Nieces and Nephews so when I saw that EVERY TOY at my local, get this, Super Market (did not previously even know they had toys) was on sale, we for sure had to check it out.

We literally found everything we were looking for! And for once I didn't feel like we just had to grab the cheapest toy that was in Toys-R-Us, on our one Christmas shopping trip. We didn't have to settle! Because realistically, I really didn't even need these presents yet, so if they didn't have what we were looking for we could just leave! No pressure. Fortunately? They had all the things we normally would have been looking for! They weren't odd brands, overly small gifts, or knock offs. They were the regular toys that our Nieces and Nephews recognized and would be really happy with, for far less than I expected to pay for them. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I in now way believe that Christmas should be a materialistic Holiday, and neither do my Nieces and Nephews; they would honestly be just as happy with the dinner, and getting to spend the day together. I just really love getting to get them a little something for them to open, and they are always so grateful! And they sure were a little something this year! Each gift came up to about $5!!! So, for all of the gifts that we bought so far we spent $30. This is truly a record for us. I have heard of people trying to scout out deals before, but I thought they were maybe getting a dollar off here and there. Apparently deals are out there! And I am now more willing that ever to go out and find them! I am a true believer. 

A quick note on how I am also using this idea in my every day life. This is probably pretty obvious to most people but, for example, if I am out of say dish soap, or shampoo, or paper towel? I don't go check if it's on sale. I don't need to! I already have some! And then when I run out, I need it ASAP, so I buy it for whatever it is selling for right then. I'm obviously going to run out of these every day household products at some point, so it's worth it to check and buy it when it's on sale, or when you have a coupon, so that you end up paying retail prices a lot less often. And bonus? When you run out of something, you have a back stock! It can be tricky sometimes, because even if toilet paper is on for $8 instead of $12, I might need that $8 for something else! But it's worth it to do it when you can.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Day 14: Decorating with Household Items

So, this probably seems pretty obvious to most people, but when I think of decorating a space I usually gravitate towards cute nicknacks, candles, and vases. I was thinking today about how I have so little space, and don't really want to be cluttering it with a ton of little things; I would rather just have a nice looking usable space. This got me thinking about what a useable space was to me. Being that it is fall, going into winter, I like to have people over a lot and hope that they will feel free to help themselves to a nice cup of tea! Unfortunately I have all my tea stuff in like, three different cupboards, so it's not really easy for guests to just quickly make themselves tea. Because of this I decided to make a little tea area on the counter.

It's kind of nice having all the tea stuff set up and ready to go for me too, because it will also be a lot easier for me to make a cup of tea, and I think it looks nice on the counter.

I'll probably end up changing around the set up a little bit with time, but for now I really like it, and it was a really easy way to add some interest to my kitchen without buying anything! I just decorated with some household things that I already had.

Some things I for sure eventually want to add is a better way to organize the tea, like, maybe getting a little basket for the tea pouches. I'll probably also get a canister for the teas I buy a lot of at once, like orange pekoe. I'm really excited for this new little space in my kitchen, and I'm really excited about the idea of making different places around my home look a lot more finished, while also making them more functional!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Day 13: Make Your House a Home - With Houseplants!

Hi Guys! Lately I have been looking into different affordable ways to kinda dress up my home, and to create some more finished looking spaces. Being that I can't paint or put anything on the walls, I decided to try getting some plants! We don't have a very long summer where I am, and I think bringing green into the house will really cheer me up during the winter months.

I was planning on getting some plants for my house in the hopefully near future, and have spent quite a bit of time looking up which house plants are hard to kill good for plant beginners and there are actually quite a few to choose from! One that I was really interested in was a Peace Lily. I think they are quite popular house plants, and maybe aren't super original? I was really drawn to them because they are so pretty, and they are also really low maintenance! They just need a shady spot, and to be watered once a week. Sounds easy enough to me!

While I meant to wait for a little while to get a plant, only because I wasn't in a huge rush, sometimes things just don't work out that way! I happened to be in the grocery store last night, and they happened to have a stand of all kinds of lovely houseplants for very reasonable prices. Needless to say I spent FAR too long considering each and every single plant, but I ended up coming home with two that I'm really happy with!

So this is my Peace Lily, which is keeping my little Owl Oil Burner company. I think the Peace Lily really completes this space as my little owl was looking pretty lonely on that end table all on it's own. 

Owl Closeup!!

And then this is the other plant that I bought. It's a little Calla Lily! I'm really excited about it and, even though it wasn't listed on the easy to keep plant lists I found, hope that I'll be able to keep it alive for a long time. And it's pink! I always think of Calla Lilies as being white, so I'm really excited to see this one come into full bloom. 

After getting these plants I was super excited to go out and buy several other plants to put all around my home, but I think I'm just going to start with these as my green thumb is barely even in training. I still need to get new planters for them, and will likely find myself moving them around to see how I like them in different rooms of my home, but I am just excited to have them! Who would have thought that spending $11 on two plants would be so exciting?