The Gift of Time

Dec 1, 2016

How can it be the first of December already? I still have so much to do (packing! cleaning! shopping!) but I eagerly look forward to this month and one of our favourite Christmas traditions - the Advent calendar.


I feel a bit guilty that I haven't had time to dedicate to holiday crafts this year like I've had in the past. But I knew I just had to make the Advent calendar happen. Chloe has been eagerly anticipating it; she loves opening each day in the calendar, finding an activity and sometimes a treat.


The cotton bags I've used in years past are packed away. Somewhere. Beneath the dozens of other cardboard boxes currently scattered around the house. And so, this year's Advent calendar is a bit simpler. I've printed a calendar of activities with each date covered by a piece of washi tape. While it's not as grandiose as previous displays, the message and purpose remain the same.

The greatest gift of the Advent calendar is time. There's something so wonderful about setting time aside to come together as a family, away from the distractions of iPads and Netflix and housework. Sugar cookie baking, driving around to see the lights, making snow angels... these are just some of the memories the calendar has given us over the years.

We managed to host a gingerbread decorating party this weekend for Chloe and her friends, as well. I really wanted to give Chloe have one last opportunity to celebrate with her besties. The girls didn't care that I didn't have streamers up or holiday decorations displayed. They didn't mind the moving boxes in the corners of the room, nor the mismatched party plates. What mattered was they got to spend time together. Giggling. Fighting over gummy wreaths. Debating whether or not Santa was real.

This holiday season, I'm going to hold onto that message. In between the hustle and bustle, I'll seek those moments when I can give my time and attention to those I love most. I hope you give and receive those gifts too.

New House Style

Nov 25, 2016

A second shopping post? With the new house just a few weeks away, I admit it, I might have gone a little overboard with my shopping this Black Friday weekend. But the deals are just SO good. I've been creating wish lists for weeks and thought you might like to see, stylewise, what is appealing to me for the new house. Many of these items are on sale this weekend only.


The Love List - Best Home Decor Black Friday Deals

This week's Love List brings you all the home decor deals I'm loving this Black Friday along with a few of my product picks. Are you going to be shopping? I've got my eye on a few things!

Serena and Lily: 
20% off everything. Use code THANKYOU

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Rugs USA:
50% off Safavieh | 15% off Surya
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Minted: 
15% off everything. Use code BF2016


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IKEA Canada: 
- $50 coupon for the first 200 visitors. Free breakfast for the first 500 visitors. See details here.
- 15% off living room seating, 15% off BESTA and TV benches, 20% off rugs. See flyer for details.

IKEA US:
- $25 off a purchase of $150 or more. Download coupon here.

Blackthumb Decor:
All items on sale. Additional flash sales for one hour at 12pm EST on Friday Nov 25 and Monday Nov 27. See site for details.

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Simple Christmas Decorations with a Canadian Twist

Nov 22, 2016 + ,

Do you have your decorations up already? I love seeing all the different decorating styles around blogland and how trees and colour schemes change from year to year. My own decorating will be a bit challenging this year because of the move mid-month. I don't want to unpack all the garlands and ornaments only to have to pack them up again two weeks later. So, I'll make do with simple Christmas decorations for now and hopefully still have time to add a bit of sparkle to the new house too.


As I like to do every year, I wanted to add a few new pieces to my collection. Real Canadian Superstore always has a great selection of trendy decorations that can bring a freshness to your regular decor. Their latest Home collection includes items with a fun Canadian twist. How cute is this Life at Home™Photo Real Cushion? The iconic winter scene in pinks and blues feels very modern, don't you think? I never really decorate with these colours so it was a great excuse to break out my pink mug and blue napkins.


I'm a sucker for a good throw and this faux fur one is amazing. I curled up in it for a few good hours after we got home from the Santa Claus Parade this weekend. It comes with a handy carrying strap and would make a lovely gift too.

To balance the soft blues and pinks, I added a few hits of red around the room. Red makes a room come alive and instantly says Christmas. The Maple Leaf ornaments come in a set of 8 and I strung them on a ribbon to create a garland. 


For a super simple arrangement, I filled a bowl with ornaments and paired it with a moose figurine and the Life at Home™ Gold Geometric Star Ornament. This might be my favourite ornament of the season. It's modern and eye-catching and would look just as fantastic styled on a bookcase.



Could there be anything more Canadian than a hockey player? Chloe has a growing collection of nutcrackers and this whimsical guy makes a fun addition. They also have skiier and snowboarder versions - I think I'll have to go back and get them for her stocking!

The wooden houses were a quick and easy project I created for the Style At Home Blogger Christmas story I participated in last year. They're made out of a fence post and their simple Scandi style is a look I'm gravitating more and more towards.


The red wreath and other items are ones I've had for years. Its always fun to bring them out of the boxes and remember holidays past. While I can't go all out with my decor, these stylish accessories are enough to keep me in the holiday spirit - even if the rest of the room is knee-deep in moving boxes ;)

What's your holiday style? Do you change things up each year?


Disclosure: This post was sponsored Real Canadian Superstore. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Cricut 3D Gingham Tree Ornament & Giveaway

Nov 21, 2016

I know, I should be packing moving boxes. But the holidays are coming and I couldn't resist a quick festive DIY. Or mayyybe I'm procrastinating ;)

At BlogPodium this year, I was fortunate to receive a Cricut Explore Air. I'll admit I was intimidated by it but Cricut makes it easy to jump right in. With thousands of free images and projects available for download, I was cutting up a storm in no time. There are so many Christmas crafts you can do with this machine... and you have the chance to win one! Contest details are below but first...

I'm happy to be joining a group of crafty bloggers today to share a Christmas ornament project you can do on a Cricut machine. Here's my Cricut 3D Gingham Tree Ornament.


I created this as a Print and Cut project - the gingham patterned tree is first printed on my home computer on a blank piece of paper, and then that printout is cut on the Cricut machine. 

Before you do a Print and Cut project, you need to calibrate your machine. This step was actually very problematic and I couldn't get the machine the read the sensor marks (the "L" shapes in three corners). Here's a few tips in case you run into the same problem:
Download the calibration sheet directly from the Cricut site (make sure none of the "L" shapes are cut off by your printer
- Make sure your printer is not set to "Fit to a page"
- Turn off any overhead lights. Ambient light makes it difficult for the sensor marks to be read properly.


Once you have calibrated the machine,
  1. Download the Cricut 3D Gingham Tree image here.
  2. Upload the image into Cricut Design Space as a simple image and erase the white space
  3. Save the image as a Print and Cut image.
  4. Select the image and insert it onto a blank canvas in Cricut Design Space. Edit the image size to 2.5" wide x 3.53" high. Copy and paste so that you have four trees on the 8.5"x11" page.
  5. Click Go and then print the images on your home printer.

6. Attach the printed paper to the Cricut mat. Insert the mat and click Go to cut the images.
7. Remove the excess paper. Remove the cut images from the mat.



Tip: to remove the cut images from the mat, I find it easier to flip the mat upside down and slowly roll the mat back as you hold onto the cut image.


8. Use a scoring tool to score a line down the middle of each tree.
9. Fold each tree with the pattern on the inside
10. Take two trees and glue one half of each together. The trees are symmetrical so you the edges should line up perfectly.
11. Take a loop of ribbon and tape or glue it to the back of the paired trees.
12. Take the remaining two trees and also glue one half of each together.
13. Take both pairs of trees and glue them together. You will end up with a tree with four sides.




And that's it! You can hang the trees on your Christmas tree or use them in a vignette (you can omit the ribbon loop).


Now that you've seen what the Cricut can do, it's time to enter to 
win your own Cricut Explore Air 2!
cricut-ea2
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! Now check out the other great Christmas Cricut Ornaments 
from my Canadian blogging friends!
13-christmas-ornaments
From top left, they are:

 

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