Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween !!

I hope everyone has a very goulish day today... I myself am baby free for a whole day *and* night. Oma has taken Jude so that Matt and I can go see a Guns and Roses tribute band tonight with friends and have some adult time together. There is absolutely nothing better than a ridiculous cover band on Halloween. I dropped Matt off at work about half an hour ago, and I have the rest of the day to myself, yay!!

This post is short and sweet because I have approximately four million things to do today... but I just discovered these uber cute Christmas softies on etsy and had to share them. I now need $150 so I can buy some for my Christmas display!! arg

Why why why are the best and cutest things that I desire always so expensive??? *sigh*. These lovely softies are from Fantastic Toys. They even have a cute little pink fawn..

Ooops - somehow I ended up posting about Christmas instead of Halloween! LOL! :) See you all next week! I won't be posting this weekend due to real life obligations and preparations for the store opening on Monday..

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Busy busy!!

Have you forgotten that the Paper*Cakes Shoppe is set to open THIS MONDAY?! I haven't, and I've been busy!!

This big creative mesk is my desk right now... messy messy! But, a mess means I have been making things!! I am so excited to show off my latest creations..

These two cards will be in the shop on Monday, along with lots of other fun paper creations! I am working my little butt off to have a decent inventory... and don't forget that there will be prizes, discounts, and giveaways every day next week to celebrate!

Don't forget to BOOKMARK THE SHOPPE now so you can easily check back on Monday!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Ahhh... Christmas is approaching! Now that is is almost November, I can talk about Christmas without feeling like a complete nutter. I've noticed over the last few days/weeks that there are so many cute handmade plushies and softies out there! I want to get Jude a bunch.. here are some of my very favorites from etsy and flickr.

Kitties by Penguin and Fish
Kitties by Penguin and Fish
J Bear by Penguin and Fish

These few are from Penguin and Fish, one of my very favorite plushie sellers on etsy. I love her kitties, dogs, and especially her knitted bears with letters on their belly. I have been wanting to get Jude a "J" bear for a while. I really feel better about him chewing on wool than on some of the fibers on commercial stuffed toys.

Fluffcrobe by Jennybubbletime
Fluffcrobe by Jennybubbletime
Round Robin by Jennybubbletime

Jennybubbletime makes giant "fluffcrobe" softies made of fleece - and they are so cute! I want to buy Jude the large sized orange and blue one, so nobody buy it :P She also sells other cute plushes of various designs, like birds and fish. Her plush are completely washable, which is great for kids.

Cupcake Playset by Nanacompany
Cookies and Napkins by Nanacompany
Jakes Playset by Nanacompany

Nanacompany technically does not make stuffed animals, but she makes felt and fabric play food that is absolutely to DIE for! Her details are impeccable and she often packages items in little vintage-look suitcases (also sold separately here). She will even customize items for your child. I have been following her creations for a while now, and everything she makes is absolutely gorgeous. I wish that Jude was old enough to have one of her little baking sets...

Patchy Bears by AmyK
Crocheted by AmyK

Amyk is based in japan and has some very cute soft animals made of felt. I love the bright colors she uses, and the simple, classic, fun designs. She also makes some crochet animals, my favorite is the little sage green cat.

Reversed Tuxedo Kitty by Kimmymade

Kimmymade has a reverse tuxedo cat plushie for sale, he is too cute! Look at the heart on his bum! She also made some very cute and soft looking elephants that have lavendar sachets inside and are intended to bring good luck and help the owner get a good night's rest. I think I need one ;)

Bear Bonnet by Oliviaew
Deerly Beloved by Oliviaew

Oliviaew makes some really interesting little plushes featuring sad looking girls, usually wearing interesting hats. My favorite is the Bear Bonnet! There is just something about these unique, sad looking dolls that I love... I want to hug them. Olivia is based out of Montreal - another talented Canadian!

Monkey by Punezilla

And last but not least, we Puncezillahave who makes traditional looking Sock Monkeys, as well as an array of other soft toys. Her monkeys are lovely, and have such expression in their face it almost looks as if they were smiling. She is based out of Edmonton, Alberta - which just happens to be the city I was born in!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thrifty Thursday: Restaurant Quality Wraps!

So, last night I had a bit of a snack attack and ended up making veggies with home made dip. I had so much dip left over that I decided to use it as a spread in some vegetable wraps for supper tonight. Jugo Juice makes a vegetable wrap with a cream cheese spread that I LOVE, but they cost $6-7 and now I live somewhere without a Jugo Juice location so I thought why not make my own? They were delicious, and went over well with the husband too. I think they would be great for kids and they are easy enough to make that if your child is old enough they could even help.

Cost Breakdown: $9/7 wraps (will vary depending on your filling)

You Will Need:

- Red Peppers, I used two total in the spread and the wraps
- Tortilla wraps, spinach or tomato are good
- Carrots, I used 3
- Garlic, I use jarred minced garlic because it's quick
- Plain Cream Cheese
- Your choice of filling for wraps

- Food processor with shredding and blade attachments
- Panini press or grill
- Sharp Knife
- Vegetable Peeler

To make the spread:

First, shred one seeded red pepper and 2 peeled large carrots in your food processor. Next, switch to the blade attachment and add the cream cheese and garlic. Puree until well blended. You're done! Yep, that's it. You can make up a big batch of this and keep it in the fridge for a few days, using it as sandwich/bagel spread or veggie dip. If you prefer a stronger flavor, use less cream cheese and for a lighter flavor vice versa.

To assemble the wraps:

Spread cream cheese mixture on wrap, covering the entire surface all the way to the edges. A thinner layer is best. You can use any fillings you like. I used shredded carrot, onion, red pepper, and bacon in my wraps and for my husband I used ham, chicken, lettuce, onions, and carrots. Experiment based on your personal taste.

If you want all of your filling in the middle like a traditional wrap, place it in a line down the center, fold the bottom in a couple inches, and wrap tightly. If you want a more 'mixed' wrap, spread your ingredients across the entire surface. This works best if you're using smaller pieces of vegetables/meat. If you do choose to spread the ingredients out, the wrap stays together better so this is a great way to do it if you want to cut your wraps up into smaller pieces for children or snack sized bites.

Once the wraps are assembled, pop them onto your grill. When I did mine I grilled 3 at a time and cooked them 3 minutes on one side before flipping over and cooking another 3 minutes. This was enough to heat the veggies sufficiently and crisp the outside.


Day two...

My mom is on her way over and should arrive any minute. She is coming along to Jude's his six month innoculation appointment with me since I hate going alone. Jude does not like needles and seeing him get upset really upsets me, and Matt has to work. Then she is staying so I can finish up the craft room. Speaking of Jude, he is sitting next to me on the couch - hiccuping. It's pretty cute!! We are totally hanging out together :) and watching the doodlebops - lol. He keeps making the cutest little sounds and grabbing his toes... ahh, mommy and happy boy time is lovely.

And speaking of cute - I won some fall mushrooms from Craftsy! She was doing some giveaways on her blog in celebration of her birthday so I made a comment, and was fortunate enough to win! This is my first ever giveaway win and I am so excited. So, enjoy some photos of her mushrooms, and head on over to both her shop and blog.

Also - if anyone happens to be interested - we got our professional wedding photos and I uploaded a few to flickr.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Remember this post from a while back?? I was just reading it.. and I thought wow, I managed to acquire most of those items! I purchased a filing cabinet in excellent shape at a garage sale for $5, acquired both of the shelves I was wanting *and* a little end table, and purchased a bunch of lovely vintage pyrex for $5/piece! Woot woot for me :) And somehow, I did it in less than a month, and got all of my items for less than $100.

So I guess it is time to post about newly lusted items (you didn't think that once I got what I was lusting I wouldn't want anything else did ya?)! This time, it is going to be a bit of a Christmas Wishlist since I am trying (and failing, arg) to be on a no buy challenge!

Decor8 recently made a post about quilts and it reminded me how much I want a quilt. I have thought about making one, and maybe eventually I will do it, but for now I will lust over these lovely ones on etsy.. they are unfortunately way out of my price range right now (although they are reasonably priced for a quilt, a lot of work goes into them). I just love the snuggly feeling of a handmade quilt.

My poor kitchen table is very bare and blah, it needs a bit of something! This oilcloth is just lovely and would match my decor perfectly. I also want some oilcloth to cover my desk with upstairs, eventually.

Just a couple from me this time, because I can hear Jude waking up from his nap. What are you lusting? Make a post like this on your blog, and I will link it here. Maybe we can all discover some great items that way!

1.Courtney's Lust List
2. Your name here - send in your list!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A lovely day..

Ahhhhhhhhhh. I just got out of a nice, hot bath.

My wonderful mother came over today and watched Jude while I cleaned the craft studio like a madwoman (truly, I have a ton of bruises and some pretty cool looking scrape/bruise combos!). I was able to get a *lot* done and I think with another day or so my room will finally be functional, organized, and at least semi-cute. I have been trying to clean up in the studio for so long, but have been finding it hard to find time. Seeing progress has really gotten me motivated to keep up with the project this time around.

I've really been enjoying more family time lately, which is great. The last few nights we have had cook-at-home family dinners (around the table no less!). I am so happy with Matt's new schedule and he loves his new job.. things have been going so well for us lately, I am so thankful althought slightly scared of the bubble bursting.

Exciting things!!!

Check out my new product tags!! The wonderful McPrincessMaree on etsy designed them for me, as well as my shop banner, business card, and a few other graphics for the Paper*Cakes Shoppe. Aren't they lovely? She does excellent work and is very fast and professional!! She is a stay at home mom to *three* boys and does this as a side business. I think it is so important to support the little businesses like this, especially by fellow moms! So go check her out.

If you're interested, the banner is up in the Paper*Cakes Shoppe - go check it out and add the shoppe into your favorites for when I open November 3rd!! :)

Also - Tip junkie posted my home-made baby food post! Yay!! :) I am so excited. So, hello all of you Tip Junkie readers!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Monday!

Hope everyone out there in blog land is having a good start to their week.. I just woke up so I can't say how mine is so far. I had an awesome weekend though! My husband FINALLY has Saturdays off so we got to spend some time together :) Some of our plans didn't go exactly as they should have (my fault, arg) but it was still so great to just hang out as a couple. I also got a chance to visit the flea market for the first time in weeks, and I found some great goodies!! I promise to post some photos of them in the next couple of days :)

It seems that I have a big week coming up, with Halloween preparations and THE LAUNCH OF MY STORE fast approaching!! Yes, I have not forgotten that I have been talking about this store for months and months now. My *official* opening date is Monday, November 3rd. In celebration of the store opening and my blog nearing it's 100th post, I am thinking of doing some contests... but as of yet I am suffering from a lack of creative ideas for them. If you have any suggestions, please let me know! I will be using some of my merchandise as prizes :) I hope to do a series of giveaways..

And because I hate making posts with no photos... here are a couple of the items I am thinking of using as prizes..

Stationary set :) Comes with two sizes of cards, gift tags, an address book, a place to store your stamps, and a pen in a co-ordingating color. The box folds up all neat and tidy when you are done.

A cute tag I made, it is very large and has a finished back so it could be used as a card. I think this one would be great on a baby gift.

Felt magnets. They look pretty cute on my fridge, I bet they would look cute on yours too ;)

One of my signature "cupcake" cards. Perfect for the person in your life who loves all things cute and sure to put a smile on anyone's face.

Christmas ornament made with Vintage book pages.

So if you are interested in winning any of these items, check back! If you wish, leave me your email or a comment and I will let you know when the give aways are starting. I am estimating that next week will be "prize week" :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Meet Mrs. B

So, last night I discovered a new blog that I really enjoyed! I haven't found a blog since Chez Larsson where I actually wanted to go back through the archives and read *everything*. She talks about decorating, documents a lot of her own projects, and she is a great example of how to achieve your own style on a budget.

Here is what Mrs. B's profile says:

I am a wife and mom to three children. On my blog you will find random bits about decorating my home, my family, places I love, and life in general. I hope that while you're here you find something to put a smile on your face!

Here she shares a great tip from Country Home magazine about building a DIY charging station for electronics like cell phones and iPods.

This photo shows off her daughters desk, made from a vintage vanity and chair that she re-painted white. So cute!! more pictures of the processes here.

Her Husband made this awesome trundle bed inspired by pottery barn kids. Look at all of the storage underneath.... my husband needs to learn how to build things so I can have one of these!! :) I am always desperately trying to find ways to make room in my home while getting clutter out of sight.

How cute is this little birdcage?

Go visit Mrs. B! If you're anything like me, you won't regret it!

Thrifty Thursday

I recently made my own baby food, and I promised to write about it on the blog... so here we go. Making baby food is extremely economical, easy, and great for baby. How can you go wrong with something that saves money and makes both mom and baby happy?

First, let's talk about supplies. You're going to need:

- A food processor, blender, or food mill
- Vegetables, fruits, meats, or alternatives (like lentils and tofu). You can use fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables and fruits as long as they do not have added salt or sugar/syrup
- Zip lock freezer baggies - or containers of your choice
- Sharpie Marker
- Ice cube trays - I started out with 8. The more you have the bigger the batches you can make at one time

Now, let's talk about cost breakdown before we get into the instructions. I'm going to use Butternut Squash as my example. I paid $1 for my squash, which yielded 20 ice cube sized portions (Each portion is roughly 1/2 of a baby food jar). That means each portion of squash cost me $0.05!! Pre-jarred food usually costs anywhere from $0.30 (on sale) to $0.70 - around here anyways. Think of how much money you could be saving... I paid $1 for this squash, and I would have paid roughly $6 to buy pre-made, jarred squash. My six month old baby eats roughly 6-8 iced cube portions a day, so that means I can feed him for less than $1 daily.

OK, onto the instructions. First, you're going to need to cook the item you intend to puree (there are some exceptions, fruits like Bananas do not need to be cooked first and avocado can be served right out of the flesh). Do not boil vegetables on the stove, as most of the nutrients will end up in the water instead of in the food. To save time and retain nutrients, I usually cook my items in the microwave.

Peel and core your fruit, and cut into cubes. Add a small amount of water to a microwave safe bowl, and cook until soft. You could also bake or steam your fruits and vegetables. To cook meat, boil a bit of low sodium broth in a saucepan and add your meat, boiling until cooked through and tender. Thinner cuts of meat with little fat and no bones are best.

I usually add at least some of the leftover water or broth into my puree. To achieve different textures, experiment with how much liquid you add. If your puree is too runny, you could add infant cereal to thicken it. If your puree is too thick, add 100% fruit or vegetable juice, low sodium broth, water, or formula/breast milk. Younger babies typically need smoother puree to start with.

Once you have cooked your items, throw them into your food processor and blend away! If your baby is just starting out on solids, it is best to introduce one food at a time. Once your baby has tried a few things feel free to start mixing!
Once your puree is done, spoon it into ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer into labelled zip-lock freezer bags or containers. To serve just take out a few cubes and thaw in the microwave for a few seconds.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes :

Winter Squash Bake
1 acorn squash
2 or 3 Macintosh apples
pinch of cinnamon

Baby Guacamole
1 Avocado
1/2 Tsp Lemon Juice
1/4 of a Tomato - seeded and chopped
1 Tsp Cilantro

Mango Mush
1 dried apricot - soak in orange juice overnight
2 tablespoons pure orange juice
1 small ripe mango
1 small ripe banana

Meat and Potatoes Dinner
1/2 cup ground or cubed cooked meat
1/4 cup cooked vegetable pieces (peas,
carrots, squash, green beans, corn)
1/4 cup cooked rice, potato or enriched pasta
1/4 cup milk or formula

Lentils and Carrots
1/2 pound dry lentils (sorted for stones and rinsed)
1/2 pound raw baby carrots
1 small onion, minced
4 cups water

Mostly everything that you yourself eat can be blended up for baby (with exceptions of course, your baby probably shouldn't eat a hamburger). Try blending up a bit of your dinner for a quick and easy meal.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fabulous FALL!

Hello readers!! :) I hope you are having a wonderful Tuesday, I know I am! For all of you Canadian readers, please make sure that you don't forget to get out and vote today (preferably NDP - Canada needs a leader with a badass moustache!).

It's only 2pm here and I have had quite the full day already! Jude and I ran some errands this morning, and I have oficially started my Christmas shopping. I went looking for this:

But alas, I did not find it. However, since I was in the bookstore already, I did a little bit (and when I say little bit I mean I was in the store for over an hour) of browsing. For the first time, I allowed myself to visit the Children's book section. Here is what I left with:

There were waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many books with gorgeous illustrations! And waaaaay too many of those gorgeously illustrated books also happened to be on sale. I paid full price for only one, with the rest costing between $2 and $5. Oh and I did pay full price for the cd (you can't tell in the photo, but is lullaby renditions of radiohead songs, cool hey?).

Here are a couple of badly shot photos from the book "Vunce upon a time", the one I paid full price for. I just couldn't resist this cool artwork, and I figured that we needed at least one Halloween book!

And these are some shots from a couple of the other books. Don't you just love the colors in all of the illustrations? When I was a child I always treasured books like these ones... obviously I still do ;) I hope to get back to the bookstore sometime soon because there were a lot more books calling to me! Especially the large Alice in Wonderland with original illustrations, and I really want to pick Jude up a copy of Goodnight Moon.

After the bookstore, we had one more stop to make.

Gorgeous, right? These road side self serve vegetable stands are very common here in PEI, and of course now that fall has arrived they all prominently feature pumpkins. I had driven by this particular pumpkin patch about twenty times and never had any cash on me or didn't have time to stop, so I planned a special trip. You see pumpkin patches like this every 10 homes or so, but this one is HUGE and beautifully arranged. The pumpkins we picked up are very good quality, better than any I have seen in the grocery store so far and the best part, pumpkins at this patch only cost $1! I got a jumbo pumpkin, 6 mini pumpkins, 9 ornamental gourds, and 4 regular sized pumpkins for only $13 (I threw $15 in the box because these pumpkins are grown and harvested by the family's 5 kids and the money goes to them). There were even two very friendly little kitties there to greet us, and follow us around. Jude loves kitties so they made fast friends :) Of course, I couldn't resist taking lots of photos!

Our plan is to attempt to carve something like this with the jumbo pumpkin:

And maybe something like this with the smaller ones:

These ideas are both from Martha Stewart (of course, I love Martha!!), here is a link to the raven project with step by step photos and instructions, and the silhouette project as well if you want to give either it a try.