Let me throw a party for you

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A few weeks ago, I helped a friend spruce up her house for a little get-together she was having. Total cost, under 30$ of supplies and about 3 hours of my time. Which gave me an idea. I love parties. I love decorating for parties. Let *ME* help *YOU* spruce up for your parties!

Doesn’t have to be a big shindig. I can come over and help you make a very fancy Shabbat table for a week when you have special guests coming. Or let me go nuts and throw your kid a Minecraft birthday party. You were going to spend a few hundred dollars on an entertainer anyhow, let ME come up with something way more original that NOBODY else has done in your kid’s class yet.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting pictures of past projects I have done. My kids have had a Harry Potter party complete with run-through brick wall, a Candy-land party with life-size boardgame, an Amazing Race party with all the details from the show. Really, there is no limit to the stuff I can come up with, and I promise you, you won’t believe how inexpensive it can be.

So next baby shower, book-club meeting, out-of-towners dinner, office get-together, cocktails with the girls, game-night with the boys…. if you need to make it look pretty, CALL ME!!!!

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My secret trick for the big letters

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There are tons of tutorials online for making big letters that look like neon signs. I make them over and over again, as seen in my last post. I’m about to give you my trick….. I don’t use a hot glue gun, on any type of glue at all…..

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An ePIEphany

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I love pie. I’m not such a cake person, but I love pie. Yet except for the occasional apple pie for my apple-loving husband, I’ve never really made pie. Until today. When I held the fundraising auction a few months ago, I was the proud high-bidder on A Year of Pies and a fabulous maple rolling pin. Today I put both to good use on a triple-berry pie. It was delish. And super fun. I see lots of pie-making in the future!

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Getting my crafty-groove back

well hello there!

Is this thing on? Is anyone even still reading this? Oh well, that’s what happens when you stop blogging for months!

Anyhow, in case you didn’t know, I’ve been dealing with a little case of breast-cancer. And along with my cancer-cells and my hair-cells, the chemo apparently wiped out my crafting-cells. I lost all interest in things crafty for a while. I did keep knitting, but it was more as a self-preservation attempt than a love-of-knitting.

Yesterday, however, my therapist looked me straight in the eye and told me to pick a new craft, to find *SOMETHING* to do, before I completely lose myself and my mind.

So I’m here to say I am going to get back to crafting. I’m going to so *something* every day. Maybe only something small, maybe something bigger, but something.

first though, I should probably put on some pants….

done, with 2 days to go!

and this time, I it was so fast, I boxed and wrapped it before I remembered to take a picture of it!!! Will have to wait for recipient to open it and take a picture then. In the mean time, if you want a super fast comfy cowl/scarf, the Cozy Coccon Cowl will do!


Picture from the one made by Espace Tricot.

one down, one to go

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so my first gift was Groovy. that’s the name, but it was pretty groovy to knit.

Took one week, I used Sweet Georgia – I think it was CashLuxe, i didn’t keep the tag, it was a lonely single skein.

ok, now onto the chunkier project! only 7 days to get it done!

The Gift of Life

if you happen upon this craft blog through Pinterest or a link and don’t know me outside of here, there is something momentous happening to our family right now. 2 days ago, my husband received a double lung transplant, and I of course will be blogging it, at :

http://jaysnewlungs.blogspot.ca

Concentrating on my own crafts

For the last few months, I was moonlighting as a craft-blogger. Not here, somewhere else. It didn’t work out. I haven’t been feeling good about it for a while, and yesterday, after a disagreement with the editors and owners, I decided it was time to concentrate on THIS blog, MY blog, and keep my ideas for myself. I happen to have written a great summer entertaining post, so here it is, my content, on my blog, my way. Expect much more regular posting.

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Summer at my house is a never-ending rotation of guests at the pool. ¬†Yet no matter how many BBQ’s we end up hosting in one week, everyone always goes home feeling like I went all out to make it special SO SPECIAL just for them…. OK, I am about to out myself here: I really don’t go to any trouble… I make my kids do it and call it CRAFTING!
Here are 5 kid-friendly craft projects that lend themselves to any entertaining occasion. Just change up the colors to match your theme: Canada Day, a birthday, etc. The best part is that it keeps the kids out of the way while you do other things and kids love to boast about their fantastic participation in the event!
Tip #1, the colored cupcake liners: This one is a bit of a make-ahead project, but you can make a whole box and keep them for the next occasion. Original idea found on the Little Wren blog.
Put a few drops of food coloring in a bowl with water, dip cupcake liners, let dry for a few hours.
Tip #2: Bunting! Nothing says party like party decor. Forget those dollar-store plastic flag banners, you can make your own bunting with 1 pack of paper napkins, a long ribbon or string and a stapler.
2 variations on the napkin-as-flags bunting
Pardon the less than stellar picture, but these are two examples of bunting I made. The checkered one was just regular napkins, cut in half to double the amount we got, just slipped over a long ribbon and secured in place with one staple. For the triangles, I used the rectangular shaped napkins, opened them up and cut them into long triangles before stapling them to a wide gros-grain ribbon. This was slightly more labour-intensive, about 2 hours instead of 10 minutes. In both cases my girls took charge of the projects.
Tip #3: Fancy ice cubes. People will go crazy for a fancy ice cube in their drink! This can be as easy as freezing colored water, freezing dark juices like cranberry or blueberry (which adds bonus flavour to the drinks) or getting really fancy and using a knife for lemon-slices like I found on the Industrious Justice blog. Again, let your kids slice up the citrus and freeze.
For a Canada Day theme, why not freeze some red berry slices? Stick to the theme colors!
Tip #4: Set the table! Yes, I am already recycling my own ideas from an earlier blog post, but trust me, you put a pretty paper runner on your picnic table and all of a sudden people think they were invited to a fancy dinner. Also, make place cards. I let my kids write all the guests’ name down on either little cards or items that relate to the theme (ie they could cut out maple leaves, or NOW you could use dollar store flags!). I also let them pick the seating arrangement. It’s very funny to see who a 9 y.o. choses to place where. It makes for funny and interesting combinations!
Tip #5: Send the cupcakes home with your guests. Did you know you can easily carry one cupcake home by putting it in a plastic drinking cup?
It’s one of the most clever tricks I have found, via Bird on a Cake blog…. Makes guests feel very special and you don’t get stuck with so many left-over cupcakes. The point it to send leftovers home. You could package left over salad in a nice big beer cup, with a plastic fork on the side. I give the kids the big bowls, a serving spoon and the containers and I let them measure out the portions. Keeps them out of the way during the clean up and the left-overs get eaten. Not to mention you score major points as the hostess-with-the-mostess!
And now that I have reveled all my secrets, nobody will be that impressed when they come to my house next time.

Before and After: my Passover Kitchen

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The biggest luxury in my life, bigger than the fabulous house, fabulous patio and fabulous pool (I am VERY lucky) it having a second kitchen. my Passover kitchen is a gift from g-d himself. When everyone is scrambling and rushing to clean their kitchen and ‘flip it’ while somehow managing to not eat only crap for the days leading up to the holiday, I have the total luxury of simply getting rid of my pasta, taping up the cabinets in my kitchen and doing all my cooking in advance in the basement.

The thing about my Passover kitchen is, it’s butt ugly. We cobbled it together with the ugly butter-yellow melamine 70′s cabinets we ripped out when we moved in, along with some assorted white uppers that used to be in the laundry room. Last year, my dad and I made a decent counter and covered it with laminate and I did a backsplash with my favorite: bead-board.

I’m not even going to be here this year to really enjoy it, but I still have to make the first Seder for 15 people, completely Gluten free. So instead of cooking, today, I decided to do the only logical thing: redecorate!

I present the Before:

The post-its indicated Meat and Dairy because it’s hard to remember from year to year, and the kids don’t recognize the utensils.

And now, after 22$ of supplies and 2 hours of work:

I used 2 rolls of Contact Paper to hide the yellow. This would not be feasable in an actual kitchen that gets used more than 8 days a year, but I didn’t see the point of painting. The *WOW* factor is the dry-erase stickers and chalk-board stickers, both from the Martha collection at Staples. Now everyone can find everything, and when we walk through the basement to go out to the pool, we won’t feel like skipping right through the room. Too bad I won’t really get to enjoy it this year!

 

the country house basement stairs

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I have been going on about the stairs at the country house for months. The wood was quite worn and scratched, and it’s that lovely honey-yellow wood color that I cannot stand!!!!

 

The first step was wood putty. A LOT OF WOOD PUTTY.

And then, it was super easy. I used only old paint I had left over from previous projects: 2 shades from #2′s old room at the old house and 1 avocado shade left from painting a cabinet in the living room here. The tricky part was using the stairs while I was painting. So I painted one color at a time, every third step. It took me 2 days because of drying time. If you can paint your staircase and not use it, it won’t take more than 1 day to do something like this. Just start at the top and work down. The other way is IMPOSSIBLE!!!