Monthly Archives: November 2011

Comfort

I have been fighting a nasty flu for the past week, so I was feeling the need for some serious comfort.

I turned to food.

I decided to finally make Brandi’s delicious sounding Smoky White Bean Chili.  Super easy to make and delicious.

Served with corn bread muffins.

I added my favourite rice pudding recipe for dessert.  This is the easiest rice pudding you’ll ever make.

You need:

-one tin of crushed pineapple or else a half cup or so of raisins (my boy hates pineapple)

-a tin of coconut milk

-a tin of condensed milk (I just use regular milk, actually)

-3/4 cup Arborio rice

-1/4 cup sugar

-1/4 cup packed brown sugar

-2 eggs slightly beaten

-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I usually add more…)

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Throw everything in the crock pot, mix, and cook on high until it all comes together- about 3 or 4 hours (mine is pretty hot so I cook it for a couple of hours and then turn it to warm).

This is a good dessert to make when you are outside for the day and want to come in for something delicious and warm.

Trust me on this one.  I don’t really even like rice pudding and I love this stuff.  Let me know if you give it a whirl!


Paper Wreath

With all of the beautiful paper wreaths I have been seeing, I couldn’t resist making one of my own.

Seeing as I had been given a discarded anthology of Shakespeare (don’t worry- it was completely falling apart and a lot of it was missing), I had a lot of paper to work with.

First I made paper trees.

Then I made a paper wreath.  There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to make this, so I won’t include instructions, but I will tell you that I used a paper plate for the backing and hot glued my taped cones onto it.  The cones took a while to get the hang of, actually.

I originally put it on the front door, until my husband nearly stabbed one of his eyes out on it.  So we put it up in the kitchen at a height where our eyes were safe.  Who knew paper wreaths were a hazard?

Dangerous, yet beautiful…

I’m making one for my mom next.

My third paper project was a big one…

Stay tuned for the reveal!


Paper Trees

I got busy with a discarded book this weekend and made a few new projects.

This is one of them.  I found this cute tutorial over at i craft with love.

I followed the exact same procedure (except I didn’t have fancy scissors, so I cut my edges with regular ones).

I got all the pages I needed cut while I was sitting and watching a movie one night.  I taped the edges together and then slid them onto a piece of bamboo.

I added a little piece of burlap on the top for decoration.

They are so crooked and Tim Burton-ish.  I love them.


Photography

You will remember that a couple of weeks ago, Christmas came early when my mom gave us a new Nikon D3100 for Christmas and birthdays.

Since then, even though it has been really crazy with work and trying to keep up with the blog, and our boy having his tonsils out, I have been trying to play around with the camera in order to figure it out and use it the way it was meant to be used.

Here are some shots I took a few weeks ago with the camera on auto settings.

A huge improvement already over my old and worn out point and shoot.  But look what happens after I run it through Picnik.

I love this.  So cool.  And after you run it though Picnik, the file size is much smaller, so it loads a lot quicker.  I will probably be running all of my blog photos through it now.

Why is it that there is always a cup of coffee in my pictures?  Come to think of it, I think that cup is still out there.  Now buried in snow.

Here it is after Picnik.

Photography has been an interest of mine for a long time now, and I’m glad that I’m finally learning some new tricks and seeing some improvement in my photos.

What tips and tricks do you have for beautiful shots?


The Spirit of Christmas

…is this really great store in Banff that sells, year round, beautiful Christmas ornaments, trees, and decorations.

My husband was a really good sport last weekend and we wandered around in this wonderful place for a good long while.  He thought this one was a little Charlie Brown already.  Hey, why not just start there?

This store is huge with 3 floors and many, many little areas divided into themes and colours.

I love the white feather trees.

And the upside down tree.

And the beautiful silver tree.

But my favourite area, of course, was where we found the rustic tree and decorations.

The skis speak to the Norwegian in me.

I think these little trees could possible be a DIY project in the near future.

Love the Scandinavian St. Nick.

Birds are one of my favourite holiday decorations.  We don’t have them out at other time of year, but at Christmas we do.

This store was so much fun to look around in.  If you ever go to Banff, don’t miss it!


Front Entry Coathooks

Our front entry is a work in progress.  We built a nice little area in our home for people to be able to come into and sit down and take off their shoes or boots before coming into the living room.  We were excited about having this kind of an area as, in the trailer, you came into a tiny, cramped little hallway and you were all “excuse me, pardon me, can I just get by here” …and that was when you were by yourself.  Here is our old entry.

So we wanted to avoid having such an uncomfortable entrance to our new house and created a not huge, but much nicer area for guests to come into.

It is kind of an important area as our house is open concept and the kitchen and living room are all one big space.

There are little nooks to either side of the door.  One side we hope to build a bench into at some point, once my husband recovers from the rock bank and patio projects.

The other side has a tiny little nook that we want to use for hanging coats.

Just an empty space right now.

Kind of a blank canvas at the moment.

So you can see that not a lot had been happening in this area.  The door remains unpainted (I’m so nervous about doing that job for some reason- strange, considering we painted the entire rest of the house), the bench remains unbuilt, and the coat hooks were unmade.

So, we finally got going on the area and decided to start with the easiest of the projects- the coat hooks.

We used these coat hooks from Ikea.

They had the rustic look that I always love and they were a decent price.

Then we decided to attach them with some of the leftover barn wood from our flooring in order to secure them to the wall and keep the walls from being scratched too badly by the coats.

Then, both walls and boards had the coat hooks themselves attached.

I like how you can see them from the living room.

The barn wood and the metal look nice together (I think, anyway).
Here is the Restoration Hardware art version.
What I love about our version is that it is real.  And in our house.  And didn’t cost an arm and leg.

I also think that repetition is visually appealing.

I love that we finally have coat hooks in our entry.  Now everyone doesn’t have to throw their coats on the chairs, where they pile up and slide off onto the floor.  What I also love about them is that they are beautiful to look at even when there are no coats on them!!


Turning 40

This past weekend marked a pretty big milestone for me- my 40th birthday!

So to celebrate, my husband took me to Banff.

This drive never fails to leave me awestruck.
This is the reserve where my husband’s family is from.  What a view!
And then, the only thing better than the mountains…. mountains and shopping!
I’ll tell you tomorrow how much trouble I got into here.
After a gorgeous drive, fun shopping afternoon, wonderful grown-up sit down meal, soak in the hot springs, and a day with my husband, I am ready for the next 40!

Rusty Metal Bucket Decor

Remember the rusty goodness we found in our very own backyard?

And more specifically, these?

I finally figured out something to do with some of those awesome finds.

Rustic Metal Door Bucket

 via

Of course you just hang them and fill them with something pretty.

Stay tuned to see the finally completed front entry door hooks and keep your eye out for one of those pretty, rusty buckets, too!

Is it Friday, yet?


Family Gallery Wall

A long time ago, I saw a gallery wall of black and white photographs in a restaurant.  I decided then and there that I wanted to do the same thing using photographs of my grandparents.  Going through all of their old photographs was a really wonderful way to spend time with my them and it also prompted me to create a photo album of my parents’ childhoods to give to them for Christmas one year.  I bought cheap wooden frames after I had chosen and blown up my photographs and then painted them black.

I guess it really was my first DIY project.  This was a long time ago.  So long ago, in fact, I had to get negatives made of the old photos and then have them blown up.  Like 20 years ago.  God, I’m old.

So my family wall has been in every place that I’ve lived ever since.  I always get so many compliments on it.

Here it is in our new house.

When I was looking for pictures, I decided that I wanted pictures of my grandparents when they were young, pictures of my parents when they were little, and pictures of my grandpas’ businesses.  We have a serious work ethic around here, and the fact that my grandpas started a construction (sand and gravel) and logging business really lent shape to the direction our lives took.  My dad and uncle carried on in the construction business, and so did their sons after them (my brother and cousin), and I ended up teaching at the reserve where my grandpa had his sawmill.

Funny old world, isn’t it?

Here is my uncle and dad in the wagon in the mud and a shot of all of my grandpa’s trucks out at a job in Kananaskis.  I love all of the laundry hanging.  Can you imagine how hard they had to work?

Here is my grandpa Jack, holding my dad (after his kids were born there were no pictures of him without them- literally- he was always holding one of them or was surrounded by kids) and the lady responsible for all of that laundry in her skating-on-the-river days, my grandma, Marguerite, who left her home on a northern Alberta farm to work in a factory in Toronto during WWII.  They were so brave.

My mom and her siblings grew up in the Rocky mountains at the sawmill camp where my grandma cooked for 30 men while raising a boy and twin girls only a year apart.  She finally insisted they move to town so the kids could go to school.  Here are the kids on a horse.

You can see the tar paper shacks that they lived in and my great-grandpa is in the bottom picture as well.

I love their style!!  Why can’t we wear hats anymore?  My grandma Ileene is where I get my love of crafts and creativity from.  She was a talented artist and made many beautiful things for her friends and family.  Mom says I remind her of Ileene when I am working on a project.  My grandpa Ingmar was the gentlest, kindest man I ever knew.  When he came to the reserve where I worked to go to a bingo, they gave him a standing ovation because they remembered him from his sawmill days 40-plus years before!

Here is the view from the upstairs landing.

And from the kitchen.  I love that they are always close by.

And one final picture of the wall.  I have now started collecting pictures from my husband’s family and we will start adding those soon.

Do you have a special photograph wall or area in your house?


Snow

Well, it snowed here again.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to show pictures every time it snows for the next 7 months.  But this was one of those really heavy, sticky snows that stayed on all of the trees.

It.  Is.  Gorgeous.

Kinda magical, don’t you agree?


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