Category Archives: organizing

jamming

I planted a few peas in the garden this morning. It has been such a late spring for us and summer feels so very far away. I can’t believe I’m starting the garden near the end of March!

I came across a nifty little tool via How About Orange that reminded me of what I love best about summer. I can’t wait to use thisĀ  jam label generator.

making books

We love to make books! The little one has been coming home from pre-school with tiny non-fiction books about things like the parts of the flower. The older one loves these blank comic books. I wanted to bring a sense of importance and permanence to the book making so I created a special space for them in our playroom. I am excited to watch the basket fill up over time. There are lots of great resources for making your own little books. I like this one.

finding rhythm

We’ve been struggling a bit with following rules, getting our jobs done and even just getting out the door in the morning! When I saw this great to-do list I thought it just might help us get back on track.

I followed the template pretty closely just changing the size and shape to accommodate the post-its we had on hand. The kids really like it. My structure loving boy especially! I like the flexibility.

My only rule is that I get to put the tasks up there and they can take them off when they are done. We’ve been able to sneak in a few things that we would normally do after school too. Piano practice goes much smoother in the morning when we are all fresh. And the yoga was their idea. Just ten minutes to limber us up for the day (found via Angry Chicken). We change up the tasks as the day progresses. It’s a good bedtime routine reminder too.

pre-reading

My little pre-reader has been working hard on his letter sounds. At pre-school he works with these sandpaper letters, wooden letters and toys. At home we’ve been working with homemade sandpaper letters and images. We made ours by drawing the letter shapes on index cards with white glue and then sprinkling sand on top. There is also a great tutorial for more permanent letters made from sandpaper and wood here.

Playful Learning is another great resource for integrating learning into play at home. Right now we are working on some of the suggestions for setting up a mail station and sorting out some of our writing materials. I’ll share the results when it’s all done!

spaceships

We spend a lot of time in our household with drawing materials. I love how the four and a half year difference evens out when they get down to pen/pencil and paper. One favours markers and the other has already learned that pencils are more forgiving. A favourite gift this year was new sketch pads and a set of markers for one and pencils for the other.

This little organizing box from Ikea keeps it all in check. It’s perfect for carrying around the house and keeping it all in order on the art shelf.

fresh

I’ve been sharing small glimpses of things I have been making in my freshly painted studio space but I haven’t shown you the new walls yet. They used to be a sort of pale green. White makes such a big difference!

I’m still struggling to find natural light but we’ve added some more light fixtures which has been helping a lot.

I’ve also managed to dedicate a small shelf just for things that I love, have made or are otherwise inspired by. Here I have some glass vases that were a gift, a vintage spool of thread, a wooden printing block from India and my beautifully hand-stitched elephant. I’d love to know what inspires you?

colour theory made simple

Have you seen the palettes from Design Seeds? I’m not sure which of these is my favourite.

I love the mustard and teal combo in this one.

These are the colours of my home.

And these are just a great reminder that at the end of these grey days there will be sunshine again.

pin cushions

I’ve been playing with wool roving. In need of some pin cushions I quickly made these with a combination of wet and needle felting. I wanted a very smooth surface and this technique gave me just that! The white one was looking a little bit like a dumpling though so I added a bit of a brown stripe. Now I think they both look more like stones which was the intention. I love having one for needles and one for pins.

I have plans for that pine cone too! More to come.

corners of my home: sewing nook

We call this the Japanese room. Multi-functional, small and purpose built. A cosy little nook under the stairs with a spool rack just waiting for colorful threads, a pin board waiting for pattern pieces and inspiration to be pinned up. A narrow shelf to hold pin cushions and other treasures and a little cubby to hold scissors and rulers and perhaps a cup of tea. The best part is the custom-built table, just the right height for sewing. Now that it’s finished, I’m looking forward to setting it up. I’m a lucky girl. Thank you my love!

back to our bohemian roots

When I was a poor university student we lived very simply. Instead of a couch we had large floor pillows that I covered with gold velvet salvaged from a church renovation. I still have those floor pillows although I’ve since re-covered them with grey wool and chocolate corduroy. We had industrial shelving to house our books and cds, and we had a lot of homemade art around the apartment.

I took a cue from Oppenheim and covered my old school television with leopard print fun fur so my beloved cat could have a warm furry perch. It was pretty challenging to watch anything on the screen with her tail twitching across it but it made for a good conversation piece and it turned out to be a life changing piece of “art”. Peter often says that when he saw that TV he knew I was the one for him. Needless to say, add a lot of wine, good music, good friends and we had quite a lovely, simple, bohemian life.

Of course time marches on and careers, children, and life make us busier and busier and those simple times are forgotten. Gone are the days when a simple pasta dinner and a checked tablecloth marked an elegant time. Last weekend we found ourselves going back to those simpler days and being grateful for what we have.

We’ve lived in this house for six years and suffered with the DIY from the previous owners. The kitchen in particular has been one of the worst rooms in the house with unsafe electrical, broken down cabinets and plumbing that snakes it’s way in and out of most of one side of the kitchen, making the cupboards pretty much unusable. In order to drain the water actually needs to defy gravity (you can imagine how well that works). So we have decided to renovate as simply as we can with stock cabinetry and by doing as much as possible on our own. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to watch the cabinets being pulled out one by one and to be able to see the guts of the house, clean those guts and put it all back together. This was my kitchen last week in preparation for the big rip-out with cabinet doors removed and everything (except the essentials) packed up.

kitchen1

Peter has been really patient and great at pulling everything out. I think he may even secretly enjoy it. Perhaps he shares my enthusiasm for taking on a project like this and really making this place ours.

kitchen3

So here we are today, without cabinets, with everything out and ready for use just like the old days of industrial shelving in the living room. And you know what? We are really enjoying it! The kids can access everything they need. I have found a new rhythm to my cooking, and it’s really easy to clean up. I guess you can survive a kitchen reno without losing your sense of humour. All this disorder has given me freedom to let the rest of the house go a little bit too which has meant more park visits, more wooden trains set up in the living room and more storytelling. Not a bad little perk.

kitchen 2

But if I need a little bit of serenity, I can always glance over to the dining room where things are calm for the time being anyways.

kitchen4

I hope the rest of this journey continues to bring us unexpected gifts. I’ll continue to post photos to flickr in case you want to follow along.