Celebrating Mediocrity – Christmas Decor Edition

A big thank you to my loving husband for the title. He asked what my photos were for and when I said “My blog.” He responded with “Celebrating mediocrity, hey?” Mainly because I barely decorated this year. I usually LOVE a ton of Christmas decorations, but this year I thought I would take it easy and…I know…SKIP THE TREE. Actually, I pretty much skipped everything that required pulling boxes from the spider-filled crawl space.
So this year, Christmas decorating at my place is majorly scaled back. Just a few touches here and there. As much as I want to be included in the blog-world Christmas home tours at some point, this year’s lack thereof might have disqualified me.
To make up for it, I will be sharing my sister-in-law’s place later this week. Her home is GORGEOUS this year!

The mantel was a quick addition of mini lights in one jar, with some mistletoe greenery to top the other. Add some gold accents and burlap ribbon and…ta-da!

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I found this little tree at HomeSense, and despite the clerk’s sarcastic comment that “I’m sure you’ll make this…shrub…look very nice,” I think it is adorable.

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This little vignette is one of my favourites. I have to admit to an addiction to chalkboards…

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And speaking of chalkboards, I updated this one to something festive. The autumn chalkboard was up until today.

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In other news, I also wanted to call this post “thank goodness I am getting a new phone because the camera on my iPhone 4 just isn’t cutting it at all for this blog!

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I hope you are all having fun getting ready, or not getting ready, for the upcoming celebrations!

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My Favourite Christmas Movies

I love Christmas. The music, the lights, the food! One of my favourite holiday traditions is Christmas movies. I love to watch great Christmas movies to get me in the mood for the season, and they are usually feel-good movies that beg you to curl up on the couch with hot chocolate or a glass of wine, and just enjoy. No high stress action scenes with everyone getting shot (unless you count Die Hard, I guess), just warm and cozy scenes that, hopefully, remind you what Christmas is all about.
So without further ado…here are my 10 favourite Christmas movies…my “must watch” picks for cold nights ahead. In no particular order…

1. The Holiday
Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Jude Law and Cameron Diaz tell such a sweet and heartfelt love story. I am a sucker for a RomCom and this is one I watch pretty much every year. It is funny and has a true, Christmas, happy ending.
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2. Love Actually
With a huge A-list cast, this is one of the few of this genre that actually succeeded, in my opinion. I actually laugh out loud, and this movie is often bittersweet, but in the end warms the heart. And who doesn’t love a cheesy Christmas version if an 80’s pop hit?

3. White Christmas
Seriously. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. If you don’t watch this, you must be a Scrooge! Bing Crosby is my #1 Christmas song crush, and he is gorgeous in this movie. It is such a classic and the scenes and songs hold a special place in my heart.

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4. Elf
Will Ferrell kills me. I can no longer get in an elevator without something inside me wanting to press every button and say “It looks like a Christmas tree!” This movie is one that my husband will actually sit down and watch with me without a serious guilt trip required.

5. The Year Without Santa Claus
A lesser known puppet movie. I love the crazy songs, and the out there storyline. So much disjointed puppet dancing!
Along with this is Here Comes Santa Claus…the back story of Kris Kringle. Because Santa is a ginger…and there is a character called Burgermeistermeisterburger. Yeah.

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6. Sound of Music
Not technically a Christmas movie, but one so many families watch at Christmas. We used to watch this every year with my Grandparents on Christmas Eve, unless we watched White Christmas. It really holds sweet memories for me!

7. The Night They Saved Christmas
Ok, this is a really random 80’s Christmas movie about a family whose father works in oil drilling. The kids work to keep the drilling from destroying Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. My parents recorded this off the TV, and I can honestly say the trip to the North Pole made me believe in Santa so much more as a kid. Be prepared for 80’s cheese and matching snowsuits.

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8. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
No Christmas movie list is complete without this puppetry favourite. Quirky, cute, and with songs you will have stuck in your head until July, this one is fun for grown ups and kids!

9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Colin’s favourite Christmas movie, hands down. This isn’t one for the kids, but it is off-colour enough for adults to enjoy. I think it really captures the insanity of family Christmas…if your family was over-the-top crazy.
Put your Christmas dickie on and get ready to laugh…even if you feel bad about it.

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10. Jingle All the Way
This is actually another one of Colin’s favourites, but with classic Arnold Schwarzenegger lines like “PUT DA COOOKIE DOWWWN! NOW!” this 80’s Classic is good fun! Deep down, I hate this movie, but I have so many friends who love it, I had to include it.

Happy watching! Are any of these your favourite? Which Christmas movies do you watch every year?

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10 Things I Love About Yoga

So, this isn’t a fitness blog or a yoga blog, but recently I started getting back into yoga, and did a Yoga Challenge for the month of November at a local yoga studio. The challenge was to complete 5 classes each week.
I loved getting back into it and the improvement in my yoga classes in such a short time was phenomenal!
Me in the park last summer, cutoff denim and all – I have improved a lot since then!
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So without further ado…the things I love about yoga:
1. All that warrior pose has given me quads of steel. Now if only my abs will follow suit…

2. Flexibility means I can now reach that annoying spot to shave on the back of my leg, without risking wiping out in the shower.

3. I can touch my toes for the first time since the age of 10! Tight hamstrings are slowly becoming a thing of the past!!!

4. Yoga workouts finish with a mini nap-time….yeahhhhhhh

5. Yoga isn’t about being competitive with everyone else – unlike Zumba, where I see everyone else dancing like JLo and I look like this:

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6. I am better at yoga than Colin! Okay…I have a hard time with “not competitive”.

7. It is actually something I can do at home. Sure, I would rather be in class – it is much more challenging to me that way and WAY less repetitive than a DVD, but all I need at home is me and a mat!

8. Yoga has made a huge difference to my shoulders and back. It helps strengthen and stretch some major problem areas!

9. Sometimes yoga instructors say the darnedest things…I had one yogi tell us to swivel our hips “as though our bum was wiping out a big bowl of chocolate.” Try keeping it together after that one! Yes…I am that person giggling in yoga class.

10. I have found a workout I actually enjoy! Sure, there are days when I have to make myself get off that couch and head to class…but once I get there it is so calming!

Okay…one more. I love seeing the people who show up to class. There are guys and girls from young to senior in the class, and everyone gets something out of it.
Also, my yoga studio has free stickers. And I love free stuff.
So get out there and chataranga the crap out of your next workout!

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A Wreath for Every Season

‘Tis the Season and everyone is getting evergreen wreaths hung up on their front door! Including me! But this year, I made a wreath that I love because it can hang in my home year-round. It can even be spruced up seasonally if I want to – but I think its natural beauty is really enough.

This summer I stayed at my parent’s lake property in BC, and my Mom and I were feeling the need to be creative after many days of sitting in the sun.
We sent my brother to Michaels to pick up wreath forms on his run to town (he was not impressed…but gave in to my whining loves me so much he had to) and my Mom and I set out into the woods to “shop for supplies.”

The particular area had a lot of fallen trees, and no shortage of branches. I was looking for something that looked more like greyed-out driftwood, and my Mom wanted one made of small burls.

A burl, for those who don’t know, is a rounded, deformed tree growth. And it is actually quite unique and pretty. Large burls on the trunk of a tree are often cut into coffee tables and such, but the small ones is what we were after.
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After we had bags and bags of sticks (we got a fair whack of exercise getting our stuff!) we set up our supplies: 12″ wire wreath forms and a glue gun! This isn’t a craft that requires you to buy a ton of stuff!

Working from the outside in, we glued pieces into place. This is where patience comes in handy, and you shift and move pieces until they find their place on the wreath. Put some glue on the wreath form and hold it in place, then once the glue has set, glue it from the back to be sure it is secure. Be prepared to burn your fingers. Over and over and over again. #craftworldproblems

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Once all pieces are in place, check for any visible frame wires and cover them from behind with small pieces. And that is it! Be forewarned, this project will take you 2-3 hours, longer if you are super picky like me! But take your time and the finished product will be worth it. What I really love is you can source items in your area – driftwood if you live by the ocean, birch bark would be gorgeous. Make one that suits your look and region, then it will feel even more special. Please don’t kill a tree to get your supplies – there should be enough on the ground.
And for Christmas, put a big red bow on it ;)

Have fun!

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That’ll Do, Pig.

My life can get crazy busy, and as much as I love to cook, I hate last minute dinner decisions. It usually end up being a frozen chicken breast being thrown in the oven with some seasoning on it, and bag of salad on the side. Or pizza.
So I try my very best to meal plan. Yes, it may be a little OCD of me,but I prefer that insanity to the one that slaps me when I am eating chicken. Again. I try to loan my menu of suppers for two weeks, and then do one big shopping trip and avoid Walmart after that as much as possible. (Insert my husband laughing at that…somehow all roads lead to Walmart…)
But organizational bragging and rambling aside, I had grown a little sick of my fridge looking like this…and my meal plan being a sad piece of paper torn out of a notebook.
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So one night at Michaels, Colin saw this little piggy chalkboard. He was cute, he was the right size, he was being purchased with a 40% off coupon. And now my sister-in-law can have further fuel for the fire to bug me about “hork on pork.” Another story for another day never.
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Making him into a menu was pretty simple.
I tied a twine bow in the holes the previously held his string. And then I glued on a TON of magnets. And yes, this was overkill. They were the super strong magnets from the hardware store and I put them all over this thing. However – it doesn’t move around or fall off when you slam the freezer door. And he stays still when I write up the menu! Yes, piggy menu is a “he.”
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Once the glue was dried, I seasoned him. Not with BBQ rub, but with chalk. New chalkboards must get seasoned before be written on. You do this by rubbing chalk sideways all over the board, and then wiping it off. If you don’t season your chalkboard, the first thing you write on it will be there for all eternity. This is the voice of experience. :(

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I love using chalk pens instead of dry chalk. There were another 40% coupon purchase, but they make everything so crisp and clean. And if you choose to get fancy on your menu, they do a great job of that!

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So here he is, all installed and fitting right in, in the kitchen. Let the bacon and pig jokes ensue. I love him.

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Welcome Back – To Me!

A month goes by, and then another, and before you know it, your blog has settled into a total funk, and You haven’t posted since there was still snow on the ground. And not the new snow, the old, last year’s snow.
But to be honest, it hasn’t been a simple case of procrastination. I had to put the blog on a back burner while life got in the way.
Sometimes, when you are so busy documenting, Instagramming and Facebooking every mediocre moment of your “life,” real life happens.
Sometimes real life is hard, and exhausting, and takes it out of you; and the last thing on your mind is your blog.
And to be honest, I had that kind of year. There were days I just stayed in bed with the covers pulled up, and days it took everything in me just to get showered and head to work for the day. Things were rough. Life wasn’t turning out the way it was “supposed” to. Being an adult can be hard. Marriage is hard. Giving up on all the preconceived ideas of what my pretty little fairy tale was supposed to look like was hard. I didn’t deal well with it for a while. And the last thing on my mind was decorating, or cooking anything noteworthy, or taking effort to do much at all.
Usually my home is a direct reflection of how I feel. It can be warm, cozy and inviting. But when I am feeling like crap, my house looks like I feel. Enter dishes sitting in the sink for a week. And lettuce in the fridge from whoknowswhen. And no clean underwear because…didn’t I JUST do the laundry?

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So I took some time for me. I spent time with friends, and family, and my husband. I rested a lot, I looked after myself. I layed on the dock at the lake and let the sun soak in, and jumped in the freezing cold water when the sun wasn’t enough to clear my head. I let my friends and family love me, and loved them for understanding that I wasn’t myself for a while.
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And slowly but surely, I felt better. I started projects again, moving things around in my living room, reorganizing my kitchen cupboards. Before you knew it, I had ripped the medicine cabinet off the bathroom wall. A planned removal, not an anger-induced cabinet ripping. Either way it felt good.
And such is life sometimes. You get knocked down, and you get back up. Because what else can you do but get back up? Find strength in your family and friends and faith and get back up.

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So now life has settled into itself, and I have time, and the desire, to make and write and blog and share with you.

Welcome back!

A DIY Vintage Art Piece

I love to paint, and though I am a far cry from Monet, I like to hang what I make on my walls. There are a few pieces that remain stashed in a spare room closet, but a lot of it is in my living room.

You don’t have to be amazing to make your own art for your home. If you are anything like me, you will get addicted to the calming effects of paint on canvas, and soon your walls will be full of your creations. Don’t be afraid to experiment, mess it up, start over, or just give all your friends and family “unique, one of a kind” gifts for every occasion!

If you prefer not to jump in head first, this project is the perfect “dipping your toe in the water” first attempt at hanging something you made on your wall.

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So, the first step is finding a vintage/retro piece that you like. Mine is just a page from a magazine in the 1950’s. Once you find that piece, buy a canvas that is slightly larger than the chosen image.
The best paint for beginners is acrylic. Oil takes a very long time to dry, and can be more expensive.

Then just paint a messy background, leaving white edges visible and brush strokes in all their glory. I liked black for the stark contrast with the greyscale advertisement.

Once the paint is dry, attach your vintage image. I used double-sided adhesive foam squares I had for scrapbooking, and they held the image away from the canvas slightly and gave it a nice depth.

And you’re done! Hang this baby proudly where it makes your heart happy. For me, it gave a nice view when I walk down the stairs, instead of all that builder’s beige.

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