Tuesday, 22 December 2015

In My Closet- My Christmas Party Outfit

I just wanted to write a quick post about what I wore to our annual Pretty in Pink Christmas Party.

My cousin's wife was recently clearing out her closet. I found myself the new owner of a couple of pairs of pants, some sweaters, button up tops, and this lovely cobalt blue top.

I thought that this year's Christmas Party was the perfect place to wear it!

Cobalt Blue Top- Free (Castoff from cousin-in-law)
Black leggings- $7.99 Value Village

Grey Wool Boots- $20 from Facebook Buy And Sell Group (Also seen here)
Grey Wool Purse- $6.99 Salvation Army Thrift Shop

Great top, yes?  LOVE the colour.  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, friends.



Friday, 4 December 2015

Confessions Of A Single Mom- My Choice To Postpone My Wedding With Only 5 Weeks To Go

One week ago I sent out a note to our wedding guests that there would no longer be a wedding on New Year's Eve.

Those may have been some of the most difficult words for me to type to date.

But we just weren't ready.

For the wedding- oh yes, we were ready! The website was running and the RSVP's had all come back in. I had DIY-ed our table numbers, boutonnieres, chalkboard signs...even our bouquets! And I couldn't wait to blog about all of it.

But we just. Weren't. Ready.

The food had all been chosen, the cake, decor, the shuttle had been booked. Trust me, as a 'thrifty' person- the money that has been lost weighed heavily on me.

But there were still things that needed to be done.

Not for the wedding. But for the marriage.  

There were still things that needed to be completed- some schooling, for example. And there were some things that needed to be started, or perhaps rediscovered- like a genuine mutual respect for one another.

My love and I did things backwards, it seems. We dated. We had a baby. Then we fell in love. There are certain difficulties and hardships that come along with that.

Not to mention the fact that I'd been married before. My love told me numerous times that I am jaded. But I don't believe that I am. In the past 4 years I have learned to be open and vulnerable. I have broken down walls that I had believed kept me safe and have found that I am happier for it. I learned to trust someone again, which I never believed that I could. But through all the positive strides, I knew there were things that I needed to be in place before I could marry again.

I needed to know that it would be best for us- the adults involved. That through marriage, we would help to bring out the best in each other. Not that we NEEDED each other, but that we CHOSE each other. Every single morning.

I also needed to know that it would be best for my children. That they would see in us a happy, healthy relationship. They would see conflict, of course. But I need them to see resolution in a loving and respectful way.

In these ways and more we need more time to get there. I need more time to get there. 

And I still have hope that we may. As a couple. As a family. But possibly I have done too much damage with the postponing of the date. I know this. But I still have hope.

I love him. Still. 

But we just weren't ready.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Today I DIY-ed A Re-usable Advent Calendar

Today I decided that if I was going to DIY an Advent Calendar this year, it had better be today. Next week is the beginning of December, after all. So, here are my many step-by-step's to my repurposed, re-usable Advent Calendar that I dreamed up and finished today.

I was inspired by various Pinterest calendars that I've seen, but also by my friend Sharlene's Calendar that I blogged about here.  

First, I went down to my laundry/ storage room. Otherwise known as the Repurposing Room. I found a mirror that the past owners had left here. They had it left above their sink. At first, I thought- "why would someone want to look at themselves while they did the dishes??" But now I wonder if this was a genius idea- doing your makeup while making the kiddos breakfast perhaps?? I may need to think more on this... ;)

Anyhoo, this mirror is no more.

I removed the mirror and the board behind it. So then I was left with an empty frame.

I tied some raffia to the frame. I decided to do 4 rows. Then I attached some glittery washi tape to some regular, run-of-the-mill wooden clothespins.

I realized quickly that the bags that I had purchased from Dollarama were going to be too big to fit 24 of them on this frame. So I decided to snip the tops off of the bags.

I then wrapped 3 small goodies in Kleenex (so the kiddos couldn't peek inside) and placed them in each bag. I used stickers, markers, some supplies to make ornaments, and a few sugary treats, too.


And here is the finished product: 

Oh, I should mention that I decided to staple-gun the raffia to the back of the frame so that it stayed in place.

Here it is up on the wall:

Then tonight I decided it needed an 'Advent' sign. You know- in case it wasn't clear what it was. Haha.

Alongside my kijiji-bought  "curtain lights" and star-ornaments.

Absolutely LOVING how this repurposed, reusable Advent Calendar turned out. Now I cannot wait until December first to start celebrating with my kids! (yes, I do realize that advent does start before December first- but there was NO way of fitting any more bags on that frame!!) ;)

You can check out other repurposed Christmas decor ideas from my past posts here, here, and here.

Peace and blessings, friends.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Why I See Red When I Hear About Starbucks

First of all- I am SO over the Starbucks Coffee Cup Scandal.

I need to ask, what is WRONG with us as human beings that we can get SO upset over a Coffee Company's choice of holiday cup.

Why do we as Christians feel persecuted when others don't celebrate the same holiday that WE do? Why can't we simply celebrate with those we love in a quiet, humble, loving way- instead of angrily trying to shove our Blessed Holiday down everyone else's throats? 

I suppose that is a post for another day.

THIS post is about why I see red when I see a Starbucks cup- of ANY colour.

Instead of getting angry that the cup doesn't celebrate our holiday enough- why aren't we FURIOUS that Starbucks and other coffee companies like them are making billions off the blood and sweat of poverty-stricken coffee farmers? 

Where is our outrage that coffee prices dropped to a 19 month low in August 2015 (according to the International Coffee Organization), yet the price of your daily caffeine-fix continues to rise?

Who do you think is pocketing that extra cash? 

Who do you think SHOULD be making a decent wage? The CEO sitting at his comfy desk, or the coffee bean farmer working the land to support his family and to send his children to school?

In case any of you are under the illusion that Starbucks serves fairtrade coffee- Starbucks reports that 90% of it's coffee is sourced from their Coffee And Farmer Equity Program (C.A.F.E.) and that only THREE percent is from third party certifiers like Fairtrade International.

THREE percent.


Remember when I mentioned that coffee prices are at a crisis-level-low? This affects the farmers. This affects them being able to put food on the table. Clothes on their family's backs. Roofs over their heads. When coffee prices go down- so do their already-low wages.

Although C.A.F.E. is a decent system- it is NOT Fairtrade. Fairtrade pays farmers the same value (currently $1.40/ lb- more if is certified organic) which does not rise and fall, no matter what the global markets are doing. Which according to Fairtrade International have dipped to lows of .45/lb in the last 15 years.

So I get upset. I get angry that Starbucks charges $4.00 for a latte and pays pennies to the farmers working the fields to keep them in business.

Why doesn't everyone get angry over this?

 Instead of the colour of the cup. 

And that is why- no matter WHAT colour the Starbucks cup is at that moment-

I will ALWAYS see red.

I posted on the importance of Fairtrade back in May, 2013- Can You Really Make A Difference With Your Morning Coffee? Please check it out.


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Thrift Some Dollar Store Crafts

I saw this post on Pinterest today- "14 Pretty And Practical Dollar Store Crafts" and just had to check it out.

I love saving money on home decor ideas. 

But I REALLY LOVE when I can envision making those same items with some beautiful, thrifted gems.

Here are a couple of my favourite ideas from that post:

This post had a great idea to use inexpensive Dollar Store frames and paint them white.


She then added some metal bookplates to personalize the fames.

I just love how you can print out labels to remind you when and where the photo was taken. And when you switch out the photo? Switch out the label.

I can absolutely envision thrifted frames used in the same way. And you would get a more interesting, non-uniform look with different sizes and shapes.


In this post, the writer took a few craft boxes (used to store photos or small items), painted them, stenciled words on them, stacked them and used a lamp making kit to create a beautiful one-of-a-kind lamp.

My thought is that without making the boxes into a lamp- you could find some cute, thrifted boxes that were a little less match-y ...and do the same thing. Paint, stack, stencil some meaningful words on them.

Great second-hand decor idea and extra storage, too!   

And lastly,

This blogger found some candle holders on  line for $40. She thought- "I can do that with Dollar Store items", and did so for $5.

All she did was wrap jute around the base of the candle holder.

Again, you can EASILY find vases, mason jars, candle holders in ANY thrift shop. You can wrap jute, rope, ribbon, lace, burlap....the list is ENDLESS! You can also find candles. So- you could get her $40 for $5 or even cheaper if you look second-hand.

Thanks for reading friends. 

I hope I've given you some ideas to DIY not only cheap crafts, but to recycle and to repurpose items that have already been loved.


Monday, 28 September 2015

Repurposed Halloween Decor 2015

It's that time of year again. 

The time to look around the home for items to repurpose into some spoooooo-ky decorations.

 This year I found plenty of DIY ideas made from garbage items that most of us have lying around the home every day.

These little bats caught my eye right away this year! So easy and adorable! 

A couple of toilet paper rolls, some construction paper and markers- and voila! A fun (and repurposed) Halloween craft for the kids to help make. You can find the step-by-steps here

 Here's another DIY that the kiddos will love. These bottle cap magnets are too cute!

Some googly eyes, glitter and felt and you've got yourself some bottle cap bats. Tutorial here

And here's another one for the kids and also made with repurposed bottle caps. Halloween hair clips.


Seriously, how sweet are these hair clips?? And easy! Directions on how to make a spider, bat and pumpkin hair clip here

I just loved these cereal box monsters when I saw them!

How cute are these for around the home, and who DOESN'T have extra cereal boxes? Side note- any other boxes could be used. Find the easy-peasy step-by-steps here.

These 'Junkin' Pumpkins' caught me eye with their adorable rustic feel.

My recycling bins are always overflowing with tin cans from pasta sauce, beans, diced tomatoes etc. Now I have a re-purpose for them!

You can find the tutorial for these pumpkins here.

I don't have a tutorial for this craft- but I am just in love with the string art that I am seeing all over Pinterest these days. This skull would be super cute put up alongside some halloween decor. If you have a piece of wood, some paint, nails and string- then you can have this:

And if you have any tea light jars (or baby food jars) around...I mean- who doesn't? Those things seem to multiply on their own...you can wrap them in black lace for this very pretty decor DIY. 

And finally- to finish with a yummy Halloween treat idea. Any child...who am I kidding- or ADULT- would LOVE to get this at a Halloween party!

For more Repurposed Halloween DIY ideas you can check out my 2013 post here, and last year's post here.

I also did a post on Repurposed Fall Decor here

Hope you are all enjoying the change of season. The crispness in the air, the beauty of the leaves as they begin to change, and the over-abundance of pumpkin-spice EVERYTHING. ;)

 Thanks for reading. Blessings.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Facebook Buy And Sell Groups- A Great Way To Buy Second-Hand!

In the last couple of years, I've joined a few Buy-and-Sell groups on facebook. 

A couple are specific to Moms. One is specific to the City of Hamilton.

Lately I have been finding total SCORES on these groups!

A couple of months ago, I was able to snap up this super-duper cutesy dress. The tags were still on, and it was obviously bought from an independent shop (which I OBVIOUSLY love!). 

This dress, bought on a Mom's Buy-and-Sell Group, was only $15!

Belt- thrifted ions ago.

Shoes- Talize- $7.99


I love these boots.

I grabbed them off of a fellow Mom this past week. They are (perhaps faux?) wool on the outside and fleece lined. They fit as though they were made for my feet only. I LOVE them.

Taxi Grey Knee-Length Boots- $20 from a Mom's Buy And Sell Group.

I even took a chance on buying a CHI hair straightener on a Facebook Buy-and-Sell Group. 

I use it for work (!!), but I thought, if it doesn't work well, I'll just use it at home on my hair.

Well, friends....it works perfectly.

The person selling apparently had "too many CHI irons". Well, good for ME, I guess!

CHI professional flat iron- $35 off of a Hamilton-based Buy-and-Sell Group.

Even with my hair-stylist discount, I couldn't get CLOSE to that price.

Just another idea for you readers out there on the different avenues you can use to buy second-hand.

Remember- buying second-hand reduces consumption (which produces less pollution, waste, and is more eco-friendly). 

Buying from a Buy-and-Sell Facebook Group helps support someone in your very own community.

Check out some Facebook Groups that are based in your community- You'll be glad you did!!


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Our Newest Clothing Swap- AKA Girls Night Out- Or Shopping For FREE!!

We had an awesomely fabulous Clothing Swap last night.

So. Much. Fun.

It's just such a great feeling to clear out room in your closet- to take out things that you don't wear anymore, for whatever reason- and to see someone else fall in love with one of those items.

And I always go with NO expectations, whatsoever. I always think, maybe I'll find a cute dress, or a shirt...maybe.

But I ALWAYS end up amazed by what I find. This time I grabbed a FABULOUS leather jacket. A beautiful maxi dress. A cute scarf, some tank tops, a couple of hoodies. 

Not to mention, had a great time with some amazing ladies.



Making faces. And shopping.

Oh ya. I totally snapped up this sweatshirt.

More shoping.

Trying on and saying 'not for me'.

And more shopping.

Grabbed this cute number for a Carribean Honeymoon Vacay.

I cannot emphasize enough what a fun and inexpensive way a Clothing Swap is to add new items to your wardrobe!

If you're thinking about having a Swap with your friends, you can check out my tips here and here.

Thanks for reading! Happy Swapping!

Peace, friends.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Oh Ya, Baby- The Shirt Tuck Is Back!


Along with the rise in waistlines of our pants and skirts, I am very happy that the "tuck" has returned.

Does anyone else feel a sense of nostalgia when they give the front of their shirt a little tuck? No? Just me...?

I remember tucking in ALL of my shirts in the late 80's- early nighties. With my big hair. And my baggy jeans.

These tucked looks are a vast improvement on THOSE looks- let me assure you...


Here are the different TYPES of tucks that you can try-

The FULL-Tuck: 

I like the full-tuck best with highwaisted pants and pencil skirts. Try putting your shirt on first and then pulling your bottoms over top. Lift your arms to the sky for that perfect amount or "un-tuck". I love the waist-whittling effect of this look.

(Anyone else remember wearing THESE babies- the button-down bodysuit? I suppose they are also ripe for a comeback) They are the easy way to get the 'tuck' without the bulkiness of a shirt bunching beneath your skirt/pants.

 My Personal Fave- The FRONT-Tuck:

I love the casual, 'Did-I-mean-to-do-that?' feel to the front-tuck. It is great for slouchy tops, so you don't look swallowed up by them. It can give more masculine button-down tops a bit of a feminine feel, as well.


 And Lastly- The Half-Tuck:

 I WISH I could utilize this look. It's casual. It's fun. It's perfectly un-done. But, my OCD loves things to be symmetrical and sadly- I don't ever see myself rocking this trend.

So PLEASE readers- do it FOR me!! ;)


SO, what do you think friends? Will you be rockin' the tucked-in trend this season? (Hopefully with some thrifted items, if so!!)

Thanks for reading!