Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Miss Gina Designs Review and Giveaway

"The other girls told me my tutu was so beautiful! And one of the girls told me I looked like Cinderella!" my daughter recounted to me with sparkling eyes after dance class. The source of this twinkling confidence and pride? A "Cinderella" blue tulle tutu by Regina Moore of Miss Gina Designs! The tutu is a two tone creation with sparkles fit for a princess. Both my princesses now have Miss Gina Designs tutus. My eldest daughter's tutu is a lavish extra full purple tulle complete with purple satin bow. As I've said before, I love quality handmade products. I know the care, time and skill which goes into the production of quality handmade items as those Regina creates. Handmade also provides individuals the opportunity to express themselves through unique pieces.
My daughters are fortunate to be allowed to wear any dance wear they wish to their regular dance classes and these delicious tutus are now the favourite! The tutus are tied rather than sewn but are so lavish and made with such obvious care and attention to detail that I have never encountered prettier! My girls truly feel like prima-ballerinas and I love any product that brings such confidence and high self-esteem to my little girls!

Regina Moore has mentioned there may be fewer children's items on her site shortly due to the new CPSI regulations.

But for grown-up "princesses" such as myself there will continue to be gorgeous quality handmade products like the next product in this review!

My new Miss Gina Designs Handbag makes me feel like a princess in my own right. The fabric combinations Regina chooses are stunning. As I removed my fabric handbag from the tissue it was carefully packaged in I was struck by how unique it was. I am not the type who enjoys attracting attention but I do love celebrating my own unique personal style. This handbag does just that! It stands out as special amongst the sea of plain leather handbags. I like to sew. I am not an expert seamstress but I know quality and I know when shortcuts have been taken. No shortcuts were taken to produce this bag! The craftsmanship and attention to detail is evident at first glance. Not only is it esthetically pleasing but very functional. I love that it has outside pockets for those items you need easy access to. I also love the multi-sized pockets inside able to accommodate all the gadgets and gear a woman could want to carry. And by the way the inside is as gorgeous as the outside. This particular handbag has a satin button closure but another I will be reviewing at a later date has the quick, convenience magnetic closure. This handbag is my little piece of heaven!

The Giveaway: One of my lucky readers will have the opportunity to experience her own little piece of heaven! Regina Moore of Miss Gina Designs has graciously offered one of my readers a fabulous wristlet clutch handbag of their very own!
To Enter:
~Visit Miss Gina Designs online store and browse around. Come back here and comment on your favourite item. {This is required}
~If you are not a blogger you can still enter! Just be sure to leave your email with your comment or make sure that if you are a follower your profile is public so I can find your email there!

Extra Entries:
~Sign up as a follower of Regina's blog Miss Gina Designs
~Follow my blog
~Subscribe to my blog via email
~Grab my button or my Spring Into Action Giveaway button for your blog
~Blog about this giveaway with a link to my blog and Miss Gina Designs. Make sure you leave me the link to your post!
{Be sure to leave separate comments for each extra entry}

Open to Canadian and US residents. Giveaway closes April 7th, 2009 12:00am CT. Winners will be contacted by email and must respond in 72 hours. Please see Giveaway Rules.


Okay, so I'm a day early but I've been so excited I can't hold back any longer!
I have a line-up of fantastic eco-friendly and handicraft businesses including:
~Miss Gina Designs
~Oliver's Labels
And many more!!
For those non-bloggers or those unfamiliar with blog giveaways here is how it works:
~Simply read and enjoy the product review and then follow the entry instructions!
~Usually to enter you must visit the company site and come back to my blog and comment on your favourite item.
~You can also gain extra entries by:
1) becoming a follower of my blog (click on the Follow button on the left hand sidebar)
2)subscribing by email to my blog (also located on the left sidebar of my blog)
3)grabbing my button to place on your blog (by copying the HTML code for it and pasting it into a gadget/widget on your blog)
4)by blogging about this giveaway on your blog or on Facebook
There may also be other opportunities for extra entries and these are all explained at the end of each review with a giveaway!
If you do not have a Blogger account make sure you post your email with your entry and if you do have a Blogger account make sure your profile is set to public so I can contact you by email if you win!
Winners are chosen randomly using random.org ( a random number generator) so there's no favouritism :)

Some Giveaways I've Entered!

Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous
~Is giving away a SPI running belt. A mini "fanny-pack" great for running or the beach!
~is giving away sweet handmade laundry bags from Lulu & Peep
Barefoot Mommy
~is giving away a Do-N-Slide to a lucky reader! The Do-N-Slide is a visual schedule that allows a child to slide the pictures of their tasks as they are completed. This is a great way to guide children through their day!
My Organized Chaos
~is also giving away an educational item...actually 2! 2 lucky readers will win a set of True Learning educational CDs as well as aspecial iphone app code!
The Soothie Ranch
~One lucky reader will win a pair of children's shoes from the Eleven Collection ! These shoes are fantastic! My daughter Emma has a pair!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Canvas Bag Gifts!

I am always looking for creative handmade gift ideas. I love giving handmade gifts. They are more personal and unique. Etsy has fabulous handmade gifts one can purchase but to add that extra personal touch I often like to make my own! One of the occasions that I feel screams for handmade is Mother's Day. Oh I know spring has bearly sprung but it's never too early to consider what the kids should give grandma on mother's day! Children can make pretty fabulous things. I cherish everything my children bring home to me but I can't say everything I've received has been practical or durable. I think it is wonderful to find crafty ideas that children are a part of that can also be useful and longlasting as well as treasured!

This year my kids have decorated beautiful cotton bags as gifts! You can buy plain canvas, cotton, or even organic bags at many craft stores. We created iron-on transfers to decorate our bags. The children first used coloured crayons, pencils, and markers to produce lovely original art pieces. These drawings were done on regular white paper. I then scanned the artwork onto the computer and printed them out on T-Shirt transfer sheets for the printer. You can find these transfers at office supply stores but be sure to get those for light fabrics if you are using a white or light coloured bag and those for dark fabrics for dark bags.
After printing out my transfers it was easy! Iron the transfer onto the bag as per the transfer instructions and voila! Just remember that words will appear backwards if they are not written as mirror-images so it might be a good idea to forgo using words. I had my children sign the bags afterward with a fabric marker. Add tags or fill them with other gifts if you wish. These bags are great for grocery shopping, library books, just about anything and they aren't plastic!! Create your own eco-friendly bags!

Some new giveaways to checkout!

{My Organized Chaos }
~is giving away a great Platypus hat from Walleroo Hat Company! This company has great Australian inspired sun protection hats for the whole family!
~is also giving a winning reader a tee or onsie from Zoe & Sprout! This company sells organics and donates money to Keep America Beautiful.
{Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous}
~for your baby's little tender tootsies one reader will win a pair of Bobux shoes!
{LillyShayStyle }
~is giving away a great crocheted hat from yarnlovertn on Etsy!
{Seeryus Mama }
~Win a 5x7 rug from FLOR! This company's rug kits and mix and match carpet tiles are a great decorating tool and they are recyclable!
{Simply Stacie }
~will be giving one reader a $50 gift pack from Honey Dipp! I'd love to have these citrus body products YUM!
{Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls }
~Is giving two lucky readers a 12 piece assortment of FUDGE! Yes yummy Rosa's Fudge!
~will be giving 2 winners Eco-bags! These are from the ECO-BAGS Tote's with Quotes collection!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Remember to turn your lights off from 8:30-9:30 tonight March 28th for Earth Hour!! Show your support for energy conservation and the conservation of our planet!


Starting APRIL 1st I will be running giveaways each week! I only choose to review products I believe in! Please stop by this week for my giveaways launch, win some fabulous products and discover some wonderful businesses!


Okay I know many of you bloggers are already registered and are old hands at Swagbucks! For those of you out there who are not it's a search engine like google but unlike Google you are rewarded for using the service. Simply search and win points or "swagbucks" then spend them on prizes! Wow what a deal! You win more swagbucks by signing others up and when they win so do you! It's truly that simple!

Here's my registration code if you'd like to join:

I also have the code posted on my right side bar! Just cut and paste!

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Giveaways from the Blogs I Enjoy!

{NATURAL} MOMMIE ~is giving away a 3 $30 gift certificates for Gorgeous and Green ! Great eco-friendly products!

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls has a giveaway for Top It off! Handbags and accessories!
~is also giving away Ribbies hair clips! Very cute for little girls!

Everything Up Close is having a pendant giveaway. The pendants are from Lincoln Christian 's Etsy shop!

Simply Stacie ~is giving away an adorable Eco-stuffed Wolf from Celery Street! This is a great Eco-friendly company!

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is giving away an absolutely gorgeous pillowcase dress from Sassy Miss Boutique!

Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous is giving away a Baby Star Diaper Bag of the winner's choice! These are bling-tastic!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Book Review -- Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

I am a huge Obama fan! Regardless of how the unprecedented economic climate of today is handled by his administration I am a fan of his new wave of hope! He is a great orator and a man of the people these are significant in a time when the "word as sword" and the "pen is mightier than the sword" have been forgotten! Great oration is more than words. It stirs the emotions of the populous, it drags people out of the shadows of indifference and apathy and drives them to unite to do great things or to at least yearn for change! These are important political and social gains! Reading this book is like being offered a glimpse into a tiny segment of a man's soul. It reveals a journey of self'-discovery and offers the reader their own self-revealing journey!

I'd say my knowledge of black history is furnished with generalized historical facts: slavery, the underground railroad, the civil rights movement driven by such names as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, "The Little Rock Nine", and Rosa Parks refusing to sit at the back of the bus! My most in depth knowledge was gained in a 4th year anthropology course when I studied and analyzed the anthropological writings of Zora Neal Hurston. Her reflections on the inner lives of slaves in "Mules and Men" and her own experiences and self-discovery in "Dust Tracks On a Road" were a source of understanding and fascination to one with a thirst for insight into the culture and history of others. I admit this is a limited knowledge base and I am not black. I cannot say I have an intimate knowledge of the black experience and I will not hide behind the clich├ęd "I have black friends" line many white people tend to use as a means of somehow claiming that intimate understanding. I do not fool myself into believing this!I continue to further my education by delving through shelves stocked with Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes or searching the web for more information on Dr. Joseph Lowery. "Dreams of My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" brought a new dimension to this search for understanding!

Barack Obama's run for office and later election to the position of President of the United States was an exciting moment for so many, including myself a strong social-minded Canadian. It marked a historical moment of hope and inspiration and in so many ways was a symbol of a race overcoming the cruelties of history. I have understood the historical significance, the personal triumph for those who have fought for their civil rights for decades but I did not know this man. One could conjure up so many images based on racial assumptions but until I read Obama's memoir I had no true insight into this confident, calm, charismatic, and eloquent figure. "Dreams from My Father",written in 1995 before his run at the presidency, reveals the boy and young man that came before the one who stood before a nation and the world on his inauguration day. Racial assumptions mat not apply to Obama. He was, in a sense, sheltered from the American racial climate in his youth. Barack's father was a Kenyan who had been an international student in Hawaii when he met Barack's white mother. Barack's father returned to Africa before Barack really had the opportunity to form his own memories. Barack, early in life moved with his mother to Indonesia after her remarriage and lived there through much of his childhood. It was not until his return to the U.S. that he began to realize that being a black man in America was an illusive but required life skill! Obama, describes with such captivating eloquence and lyricism his struggle to reconcile the two aspects of his interracial identity. In Obama's early adulthood, his father writes {to him} "...the important thing is that you know your people, and also that you know where you belong." and Obama reflects, '"He made it sound simple, like calling directory assistance. "Information--what city please?" "Uh...I'm not sure. I was hoping you could tell me. The name's Obama. Where do I belong?"'(Obama 1995: 115). Kansas (the original home of hie mother's family), Hawaii, Indonesia, to Kenya (home of his father's people) Obama travels along the paths of his family history to discovery his place in the world.

In this book Barack realizes his struggle with identity is not his alone, but rather that of many black and interracial men and women. Some choosing to deny their race and inheritance, some trying desperately to claim two inheritances while society ultimately allows them only one--the one that can plainly be seen in the colouring of skin! He discovers that the "white" and "black" divide exists even within his own family. He brought to light the difficulties of a black man with a white family, the difficulty in reconciling the differences of his interaction with American society from that of his other family members.
Reading this memoir was an enjoyable and enlightening experience. The words are as moving and poignant as the heart inflaming speeches we are now accustomed to Obama orating. I often heard his strong and resonating voice as I read. Not only will this book shed light on the life memories and moments that led a boy to become a political "rock star" but it will shed light on our own understanding of race, our society, and self!

"Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" by Barack Obama is available at all major bookstores and is a New York Times #1 Bestseller!

Giveaways of Interest from Fellow Bloggers!

Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous is giving away a free personalized t-shirt or onesie from Simply Colors !

My Organized Chaos is giving away a handbag from Nest! These are so natural and classic looking!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Great Buy!

WOW! These gorgeous recycled wood bracelets are only $5.00 at Iram-Inal Design !

Cool Giveaways You should Know About!

I love this one! GreenEarthJourney is giving away a great original and eco-friendly piece of art from artbyjoni ! It is crushed can art...take a peek!

A Giveaway Addicted Mommy is giving away a $50 gift certificate to Pure Anada ! This is a Canadian company selling natural make-up!

My Organized Chaos is giving away LEGO!! Yes win a My First Lego set! YAY!

One of my faves! {NATURAL} MOMMIE is giving away...get this organic jewelry, a pair of beautiful earrings, from MOONRISE JEWELRY .

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I have been busily preparing to launch my first reviews and giveaways! COMING SOON : Giveaways from Miss Gina Designs, Dapple, Earthlust, TheCharmLady, and Oliver Labels!! Stay tuned!

Grass Heads!!

Okay, I suppose my title could mislead some! This is just a cute craft idea however for kids big and small. Having a green thumb can be an important in a time when ecological and environmental responsibility has become a necessity! Gardening with my children is one of my favourite family activities but in the winter ideas like this one are ideal compensation for the lack of outdoor horticulture. Search the back of your drawers ladies for those old nylon stockings, grab a handful of soil, a scoop of grass seed and you can produce these cute green haired delights!

Cut off the toe portion of the nylons about 12 cm from the toe closure. pour in a scoop or about 3 tbsp. of grass seed into the nylon stocking. Add a handful or two of soil then tie the end of the stocking (you may also twist tie it). Now children can decorate the "head" by adding a face using markers, googly eyes, and or bits of fabric and pipe cleaner. You may wish to form a nose using a twist tie, pipe cleaner or thread to wrap around a small portion of nylon and soil. These are fun and easy! Be sure to soak the "grass head" in a dish of water and then water regularly! The grass seed should then grow creating a coif of hair!

Giveaways Catch-up!!

Glimpse is giving away a beautiful handmade book from MyHandboundBooks!! I can just imagine how inspiring carrying one of these journals would be for any aspiring writer or artist. I would love one!

Simply Stacie is giving away an item of the winning reader's choice from Cowlick Cutie ! They carry adorable hair bows and more!

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is giving two lucky readers SKOY cloths. These are a reuseable product and a great alternative to those throw away garbage creating paper towels!

Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous and DoGree Online have teamed up again to bring you a great Daddy giveaway! One lucky Canadian reader will win a Daddy Gear jacket!
-Win a ``Garbage--the Revolution Starts at Home``DVD! There will be 3 winners. Learn how you can make an Action Plan for your family and cut back on your garbage output!!
-Win an Easter portrait from My Magic Me ! These are so mystical and will definitely make you feel like a movie star!
-Win a 3 pack of PureGreen24 travel sized and a free copy of the book Naturally Green Clean!
-One lucky reader can win an inspiring t-shirt, desing of their choice from Chewy Lou Designs! These are so sweet!
-A digisaver can save your little ones tender fingers from the terror of door slamming! Win one at Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous .
-Want to personalize your home decor! Win a quote of your choice for your wall from Word to the Wall.

My Organized Chaos
-is giving a reader a $50 gift certificate to Favours With Love! Buy great gifts, wedding favours and more!
- My Organized Chaos is also giving away a pair of Trumette socks from Baby Bella !
-Win a hat from Small Potatoes ! These are all Canadian and in Canadian dollars plus they come with a great shipping rate when you purchase!
-For you Twilight fans Tammi at My Organized Chaos and BellaBejeweled is giving a reader a $25 gift certificate to BellaBejeweled! Buy some beautiful Twilight inspired jewellery!

Simply Stacie is giving a lucky winner an apron from Boojiboo! These aprons are adorable, vintage style in fabulous fabrics!
-Also at Simply Stacie win a Sterling Silver Blue Topaz Bracelet valued at $85 from Beautiful Silver Jewelry! Wow!!

Win a $30 gift certificate to Room It Up from Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls ! What bright and cheerful vacation gear!

Everything Up Close has a Great Giveaway!! Win a Reliable Steamboy™ T1 floor cleaner! This is a value of $136 and cleans and sanatizes your floors using eco-friendly steam rather than harmful chemicals! Wow! What a great item to win!

{NATURAL} MOMMIE - is giving away a $25 gift certificate to BARE ORGANICS ! Fabulous organic products for body and more!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Natural Mommie's Spring Giveaway Event!

Amanda at {NATURAL} MOMMIE is starting her Naturally Step into Spring Giveaway Event TODAY! She's launching with a giveaway we all can appreciate a $25 gift certificate for Starbucks!! Her first Spring giveaway is for 2 yoga mat and bag sets from Kulae! Take a peak and Good Luck everyone!

Sorry I've been Away!

I was in Edmonton for the week and was rushed away! I am back however and anxious to get back to writing and getting my blog glitches worked out.
I will be offering some fabulous giveaways this spring! I am hoping to launch my spring giveaways in about four weeks time and am extremely excited!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Giveaways from my Fave Blogs!

My Organized Chaos ~is giving away socks! Yes socks but these are very cool socks from Ozone!

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls ~is giving a lucky reader a Family Pack of PureGreen24 green cleaning products!

Win some delicious brownies at Simply Stacie ! YUMMY!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Wrestled a Polar Bear!

Alright....I exaggerate! I have never wrestled a polar bear and funnily enough I have not seen a polar bear for about ten years or more. I lived in the arctic for 8 years and saw a polar bear only once during that time from a distance on a boat trip. My close encounters with polar bears occurred in the sub-arctic environment of Churchill, Manitoba years earlier. If you've read my bio you will remember that I trained as an archaeologist and anthropologist. These have always been the disciplines dearest to my heart. I was happiest digging with a trowel in my grid "square" slowly, meticulously unveiling history one tiny piece at a time or sitting sipping tea with Aboriginal elders as they told stories woven in time and tradition. It was this love and interest which drew me up to Churchill.
I was young and eager to test my theory that archaeology was my niche. I joined all the Canadian archaeological societies I could. It was in a newsletter from the Manitoba Archaeological Society which drew my attention to a volunteer position with an excavation in Churchill. The excavation was that of a Hudson Bay trading post known as "Old Fort Churchill". That summer I was on a plane for the first time in my life heading north! Ever since I guess my gaze has turned northward.
As Canadians know, and many across the world have discovered, Churchill is the "Polar Bear Capital". It is the perfect spot for these magnificent creatures to catch the sea ice in the fall and a perfect landing location as the sea ice melts in the early summer. Mothers den there and the Churchill garbage dump has become heaven on earth for this animal's "seal-lacking", days of famine. Polar bears go almost 4 months without eating...well without eating seals which constitute their primary diet. The summer diet is truly one of starvation. This is why the Churchill garbage dump is so alluring. I imagine this was also what made our cabin so enticing.

The excavation site of "Old Fort Churchill" lay across river from the Churchill town site. Across the Churchill river, through muddy tidal flats, and over rock mounded taiga. Travelling back and forth each day was not feasible. We were dependant upon tides and time would be wasted. Though we stayed at the Northern Studies Center on the town side we also had the use of a cabin on the opposite side of the river. The cabin belonged to a local hotel owner. It was a beautiful log cabin with a spacious living room, two bedrooms, a large dining room and kitchen. To the back of the cabin was an indoor washroom not yet in service and a back mud room leading out to a back porch and the beloved outhouse! If not for the bars on all the windows one might imagine it some rustic resort. Yes, bars on the windows to keep out unwelcome visitors of the large, white-furred variety.
Having no running water at the cabin we chose to stay at the Northern Studies Center every 3 to 4 nights. This allowed us to restock our supplies, bring in new excavation volunteers and more importantly refresh with a real shower. The Northern Studies Center was an exciting hub of activity. An old military bunker at the time it was rather institutional and not particularly cozy but meeting a gamete of scientists from Climatologists, and bee researchers, to polar bear biologists and photo plankton micro-biologists more than made up for the inconvenience! I remember feeling the flutterings of academic opportunity and intellectual possibility. My summers in Churchill marked a coming of age, a turning point in my life which I will always cherish and will never forget.

One of those vivid memories I will never misplace. It was my first encounter with a creature so majestic my breathe was knocked from me with awe stricken wonder. The morning was thickly foggy. We had just arrived on the shore opposite town and after pulling in the skiff began stickily working our way through the muck and mire in our customary hip waders (truly fashionable in the north). As we rounded the path leading to our cabin the assistant archaeologist leading the way stopped suddenly without explanation . I had been with the team for several weeks by this time having been hired a week after coming up as a volunteer. I walked up to the assistant looking askance at him then turning my eyes to mimic his view. There, at first hard to make out through the whiteness of the fog, stood the polar bear in front of the cabin. Magnificent in his immensity. Polar bears exude power, strength.
I do not know how long we stood in awe. Time seemingly stood still in that moment. I took in every movement of the bear as I squinted through the fog and he lifted his nose to sniff the air. We knew instantly we had to go back, back to the shore and the abandoned skiff before the tide went out and we were stranded with a potentially dangerous animal. The silence and reverence of the experience was vanquished by the bantering of a volunteer railing about the inherent danger and stupidity of someone stopping in just such an situation to snap photos as his camera clicked insipidly. "I wish I was shooting with something other than a camera" he laughed as we rolled our eyes in disgust. We finally relegated everyone to the skiff and were soon out on the water again. Helicopters were sent out to scare off the bear.
Our return to the cabin revealed the unbelievable power of the polar bear. The bear had literally bent the bars on the large front window and jumped through landing on the antique exercise bicycle sitting in its path and crushing it. He proceeded to pounce on the couch breaking its legs and then headed for the kitchen. After scavenging the kitchen he somehow managed the impossibility of squeezing through a tiny back window. We looked with wonder on chewed wooden spoons and food containers imprinted with bite marks as we cleaned the kitchen the best we could amidst the slivered wood from torn cupboards. Outside the front of the cabin was an ingenious food cache. The cache had been dung into the ground enabling the permafrost to keep food chilled. The hole typically covered with a heavy paletted lid had been ripped open and the heavy iron wrought ladder leading down had been bent under the weight of the bear.

The residents of Churchill are probably less exhilarated by the sight of a polar bear. They have become accustomed to the bears. They may present a danger and a nuisance but they are also embraced as a part of the culture of the community! Tourists and scientists from all over the world visit their town thanks to the bears. Though the population may seem to be thriving to those who must bar their windows the polar bear is in serious danger. There are diverse reasons for this "endangerment" but the most significant of these factors is that of climate change. Climate change and global warming may be only words to many. Phrases scientists use to frighten us into action. To the people and animals of the north these words are not meaningless! The effects of climate change on the ice and ice formation in the north is so significant that Inuit elders can no longer trust their traditional knowledge of ice to ensure safer hunting and travel. Polar bears can no longer trust their instincts to find food in safety and in adequate time on the ice flows. Drilling for oil and gas, toxic chemicals such as PCBs and DDT are other leading factors threatening the polar bear.

Our government has been slow to act. Two-thirds of the world's polar bear population lives here in Canada! The polar bear is "a species of concern", "at risk", but not considered by our government strictly "endangered". The threats to the polar bear constitute a threat to not only that species but other arctic animals and the aboriginal people who rely on the land and the animals for subsistence and a traditional, more healthy lifestyle!
Another excellent source of information is the David Suzuki Foundation website!
(I always say WWSD, "What would Suzuki Do?")

Thursday Giveaways!

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is giving away a Flip Notes compact. This is a vibrant, compact note pad folder great for your purse!

Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous is giving away two soap and candle sets from Terrapin Market.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Navigation Bar Menu...still under repair!

Just a note to remind you that my Navigation bar is still not working correctly. Please use the archives on my sidebar to retrieve past posts!

Tuesday and Wednesday Giveaways!

At Nurse Mommy win a "Voila Chop Chop Chicken" from Gummy Lump toys! It's a play food roast chicken with cutting board and knife. It is a great addition to any child's make believe time!
My Organized Chaos
~Is giving away both "St Elmo's Pacifier" and the "Full Metal Diaper" CDs from Crib Rock to 2 readers! These are funny!
~Also win an organic onesie, tee, or hat from Little Chickie Wear ! These are sweet, eco-friendly, and the tees go up to size 6T.

LillyShayStyle is giving away a lovely traditional pair of crocheted slippers of your choice from lindaphcc!

The Soothie Ranch is giving away a "North South" bag from Melissa Beth Designs. These are gorgeous and vibrant bags you will love!

There's an exciting giveaway for Canadians only at Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous for a disk swing...yes swing...from DreamGYM!!
Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous is also giving away an Essentials Wellness Kit from Aromatic Health. True aromatherapy !!

Win a beautiful piece of knitted children's wear from Picaflorkids at Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls! These knitted pieces are made in Peru and are lovely!

Simple Finds is giving away a Starlit Nest passport cover. They come in a wonderful array of patterns!

Here's a new one! Win a set of very cool vintage magnets from Monamivie at GreenEarthJourney !

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

General Giveaway Rules

* Follow the rules provided at the end of each giveaway. You must follow the entry requirement in order to qualify for additional entries. Giveaways are meant to help companies/businesses increase their exoposure and determine which products are most popular so please visit the sites as required to truly get a sense of the products. I cannot count your entries if they are not in accordance with the entry requirements!

* Who May Enter? My giveaways are open to U.S. and Canadian residents unless the giveaway details state otherwise. If you are a non-blogger you may still enter my giveaways but you must leave a valid email so that I may reach you if you win.

* If you do have a Blogger account/profile please be sure that your profile is set to Public so your email will be visible. This way I can contact you if you are a winner!

* I will chose a winner randomly using Random.org . This is a random number generator and is purely objective :)

* If you win you will receive a notification email from yours truly, Northern Mama! You will have 72 hours to respond in order to claim your prize!

* I hope you enjoy the giveaways on my site and Good luck to you all!

Hip Pop!! Handmade belts with a twist!

I am craft crazy! Creating something truly aesthetically pleasing from seeming bits and pieces is always a spirit building process. I love creating beautiful books and framed art from family photos, sketching faces in pencil, sewing brightly patterned and lushly textured fabrics into beautiful and functional pieces. Discovering new crafts opens a whole new world. I am currently learning to make soap and hope to learn wool felting. One of my favourite hobbies though is to find new ways of using "garbage" as a medium for creation. Yes, garbage....or recyclables. Reusing materials is growing more and more popular in crafting and in manufacturing. This new wave of green has caused the creative juices of many to flow!

One of my favourite "recycling" crafts lately is the pop tab belt! I have been playing with the design (which I realize is not all that unique) adding colour and embellishment to create a trendy accessory for adult or child to enjoy. My children love the latest additions to their wardrobe!

These belts are made with the tabs from the tops of pop and beer cans woven together using cord. You can vary the cord colours, add beads to the ends, and even thread buttons or other embelishments onto the body of the belt itself. I cleaned and filed down the tabs first.
My eldest daughter Emma wanted a "Hannah Montana" style belt which I made using hot pink and purple, some rock star motif buttons, prupls and pink beads, and finally to add really character I wove on a key clip. My daughter clips on her little "Hannah Montana" change purse (in which she carries a lip gloss)!
I will share the instructions for the craft in the future!

Disclosure Policy!

This policy is valid from 10 March 2009

~This blog is a collaborative blog written by a couple of individuals. For questions about this blog, please contact northernmama35{at}gmail{dot}com.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

39 Clues- A new series from Scholastic!

Scholastic has come up will an ingenius new series for young people. Their concept combines all the media that attract youth today: the internet and computer gaming, collector cards, and a series of adventurous, suspenseful books written by favourite children's book authors. They have also included the added incentive of $100 000 in prizes. Essentially this is a mystery adventure which includes a hunt for clues. The game includes deciphering codes, playing games of skill and wit while discovering places around the world and and tid bits of history. The whole process involves reading and research and FUN!
If you are looking for an adventure for your children ages 8 - 12 (or to adult as the case may be) you should checkout this link: www.the39clues.com and purchase the first three books of the series and the card pack at www.scholastic.com , look for them in your local bookstore, or at your favourite online book seller!

Monday Morning Giveaways on other Blogs!

Simple Finds is giving away a unique piece from Cose Dolci! These are handmade felt and fabric items....they are lovely you will see!

Win a onesie (up to size 24 mos.) or a tee (up to size 4T) from bonn bonn Baby at Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous !

Sunday, March 8, 2009


My blog looks a little funny at the moment...working on my navigation bar which is not yet operating properly. Bear with me :)


Crafty Ideas

About Me

Reviews and Giveaways

Mommy Tips

Going back to Vermicomposting!

The first time I ever encountered a vermicomposter was about 17 years ago! I was seventeen and adventurous. I had made the decision to become an archaeologist and to prepare for the experience I volunteered to work a dig in Churchill, Manitoba. You will be reading more on my adventures there in future posts. While visiting a friend's home in Churchill I watched as my friend opened this bin, which appeared an unusual shape for a trash can, and deposited what seemingly was garbage! She noticed my look of curiosity and began to explain. A bin of worms, red wrigglers to be precise meant to turn your organic waste into compost!! Ever since that introduction to such to vermicomposting I had yearned for the novelty of having just such a magical container! Yes, magic...waste to useful soil, voila!

It was not until I was married and living in the arctic that I finally had my very own "worm composter". Gardening is a bit of a rarity in the arctic for obvious reasons. The ground is forever frozen with permafrost, the growing season is exceedingly short, and the temperatures even in the summer can often be too cool. We are human however and winning over mother nature part of our instinctive nature. My neighbour had a small greenhouse and our enormous wall of south facing windows provided opportunities for indoor container gardening. Though we did dig up soil from outdoors vermicomposting provided extra, essential, nutrient rich planting material. We grew tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, herbs and chives. We even tried potatoes for a few years in large wooden boxes positioned in our backyard. We moved containers in and out of the house depending on the weather conditions and admittedly we had some minor successes!
We were not the only ones with a vermicomposter. In fact even the elementary school had a couple. They provided a great educational experience for the children and furnished the houseplants with some wonderful meals.
When we left the arctic we had to leave our worms behind. It did not make sense to transport them. To some it may seem an odd thing to live with worms! I had spoken to the woman who would be moving into our home and she seemed very interested in gardening, asking many questions about whether or not one could have a garden in the north. She was coming from southern British Columbia and had no experience with northern living. As I cleaned the house to leave I thought perhaps I should leave the vermicomposter for her. I had grown so accustomed to having one and so many other people in the community had one that it never occurred to me that she may not be familiar with them. I mean isn't B.C. known for it's granola-crunching, eco-friendly inhabitants?!? I was going to mention the bin of worms but in my packing frenzy it slipped my mind and she came across the bin quite horrified! I suppose then vermiconposting is not for the faint of heart!

It has been 3 or 4 years without our red wriggler friends and this spring we will be starting to vermicompost again! We do compost in our backyard but during the winter months it's not so convenient.

Would you like to start to vermicompost?
Probably the best way to find red wrigglers available near you is to do an online search. I know of a few suppliers in Canada. Regular earthworms will not survive on your bin as they require foods which are already partially decomposed. Red wrigglers also eat half their own body weight in a day which helps to speed up decomposition.

You Will Need: ~Red Wriggler Worms
~Bedding (shredded paper, newspaper, and/or cardboard)
~A bin or container with holes in top and sides (we used a Rubbermaid)

Tips: ~Use a shallow bin, wider than it is high. The average bin size for a 2 person family is about 30cm high X 40cm deep X 60cm long (the more waste you will have the bigger the container you will need). You will need about 60 square cm of surface area for each kg of food waste per week.
~You will need roughly half a pound of worms for each cubic foot of bin (this is around 500 worms)
~The worms need oxygen and the moisture in the bin must be controlled so holes must be made in the top and sides of the bin. It is not likely the worms will want to leave their new home but you may cover the holes with mesh.
~The worms in a bin can handle a range of temperatures but make sure they do not freeze or become extremely hot!
~The worms require some moisture. Dampen the bedding a bit but do not make it soggy or leave it dry. Fill the bin with about a foot of bedding. Do not pack the bedding down. Add a handful of soil or sand to help with digestion and place the worms on top. If you leave the bin open for a few minutes the worms will hide under the bedding to escape the light.

Worm Foods: Feed the worms your fruit and veggie waste i.e. carrots, celery, melon rind, apple, banana peels, also tea leaves and bags! You should feed them only minimal amounts of coffee grinds, tomatoes, and citrus peels (they are too acidic). Clean crushed egg shell is great to counteract acidity and to add nutrients. Small amounts of bread,cereals and leftover spaghetti noodles are alright too!
Do not Feed Worms: Fish, meats, dairy, and eggs as these will smell and attract other insects! Garlic, salt and vinegar can kill worms!

~Chop up the food to make it decompose faster and bury the food under the worm bedding. Add a tsp of soil with each feeding of waste. Save your worm food in a smaller container and feed it to the worms once or twice a week.
~Your compost will look brown and earthy when it is ready for use.
~Harvest your compost by moving everything in the bin to one side and adding new bedding and waste to the other. The worms will gradually move to the new food source and you can remove the compost in 1-2 weeks then replace with new bedding. OR Open your composter and shine a light on it for 10 minutes. This will cause the worms to dig deeper into the bin. Scrape off the top layer of finished compost then repeat the process until you are finished.
~You should harvest the compost about every 1 or 2 months. Watch for worm eggs (which are roundish, translucent and brown)! You will want these to remain in your composter!
Voila! The Magic of Vermicomposting! I will post pictures of our new vermicomposter as soon as we get started again!

Sunday Giveaways!

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls has a Flex-Flop giveaway. These are great comfortable and flexible flip-flops that come in a fabulous travel bag!

Win a Mini Luxe purse from English Retreads at Everything Up Close ! This company is a fabulous eco-friendly company which creates its products from recycled rubber (from truck tires and inner tubes)!!

My Organized Chaos
~has a wonderful giveaway for those children with night fears! Win a Night Sprytes set (storybook and character)! I need one of these for my youngest, Bronwynn! There will be 5 winners!!
~Have a baby you want to take hiking or on adventurous trips? My Organized Chaos is giving away a ERGO HandsFree System which includes a carrier, backpack, and pouch! WOW!
~Win a pair of Jack and Lily baby shoes of your choice also at My Organized Chaos.

Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous has a $25 gift certificate to Sugar and Spice Bows! This company sells cute hair accessories for girls and much more!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gabriel's Reading List for Boys (and Girls)!

Hello my name is Gabriel. I am 8 years old. My mom suggested to make a list of books that I like for her blog. Here are some the books that I read and enjoyed:

  1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

  2. Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat

  3. Swindle by Gordon Korman

  4. 39 Clues Series (by various authors)

  5. Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

  6. Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osborne

  7. Nancy Drew Series

  8. The Hardy Boys

  9. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowlings

  10. Into the Mist by Patrick Carman

  11. The Bones Series

  12. Jeremy Thatcher the Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville

  13. The Secrets of Droon Series

  14. Dragon Slayers Academy Series

  15. Goose Bumps Series by L.L. Stine

  16. Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black

  17. My Teacher is an Alien by Bruce Coville

  18. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

  19. Stink and the Worlds Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers by Megan McDonald

  20. Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol

These are just some of the great books out there!

Saturday Morning Fave Giveaways!

Another $50 bundle YouCanMakeThis.com giveaway...maybe I'll win this one! Find it at Nurse Mommy !
Also at Nurse Mommy win a temporal scanner for taking your child's temperature in a less invasive way!

At Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous
~Win a luxurious handbag from Madi Couture. What a fashionable handbag and it comes in your choice of brown, grey, or black!
~Win a $20 gift certificate from Scribble It! These are beautiful wall quotes and signs! I would love these for my home!

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is giving away a City Details bracelet and it is charming!

Friday, March 6, 2009


You may notice that my header is a little off-side at the moment! I'm still building my page and learning. Hopefully I will have all the kinks worked out soon.
Thanks for visiting!

Boys Don't Read?!?

I remember reading an article last year in a parenting magazine about why boys don't read. "Boys Don't Read?" I thought to myself. As a mother of an eight year old boy who laps up books like a starved kitten I somewhat struggled with the concept! Now I am not naive. I was a teacher for several years and have taught children in the primary grades straight up to junior high. I am certainly no stranger to literacy issues in our country especially those that affect our Aboriginal youth. I believe perhaps there is something to the article writer's hypothesis that boys tend to score lower on standardized reading tests than girls. What bothered me however was their reasoning. Boys Don't Read Girls' Books they touted and there are very few good books written for boys yet the library is bursting with stories for girls!! WHAT?? I had trouble stifling a giggle as I thought of all the female authors of days gone by, those that had to use male nom de plume just to be published, turning over in there graves. In a world where man is king in the literary world....there are no books for boys!
The article claimed that girls are more flexible readers. They will read books written for boys but boys will not read books written for girls! I'm wondering what constitutes a girl's book versus a boy's when one discusses truly good children's literature. My son is 8 and his book of choice currently is "Anne of Green Gables". To be more precise, the entire series of Anne books. He has just cracked open the third in the series this week! Is this unusual? Perhaps...
but I believe there is a reason he reads what he does and at the level he does.
When my son was a baby I rocked him to sleep reading "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". From infancy to this present day we have read to our children daily. Of course reading daily with your children is a literacy development fundamental but it goes deeper and further than this. My husband and I read everyday ourselves. We have modelled reading as an activity for enjoyment and for the acquisition of knowledge and we have surrounded ourselves and our family with books! I would dare anyone to find a room in our home that did not contain at least one book...okay I admit there is the furnace room. I believe that our personal relationship with books is reflected in our children's. I believe that the issues of boys and books do not stem from the lack of good reading material but rather the messages we send them. I do not pick a book off the shelf and say this is a boys' book or girls' book but rather this is a well written book or a poorly written one. When I relate the story from a classic to my children in an attempt to peek their interest I do not focus on whether the main character in a heroine or hero but rather relate some of the interesting aspects of the book.
When obtaining my bachelor of education I recall viewing a video clip, a true story about a primary and middle elementary school teacher in an American inner-city school (I do not recall the details of location and names). The school was one with a poor academic record and the children were struggling. The teacher taught the students about Shakespeare and used his plays in a way that appealed to them. These were young children, you must remember not high school students. The children flourished! When asked about this phenomenal change and what brought it about the teacher remarked, "What was wrong before was their expectations were not high enough!" They were not expected to succeed, they were not given expectations to meet or even attempt to attain! Just as this woman broadened the worldview for these children so we must do the same for our own. We should not intimate that there are boundaries between genres such as those of gender. We must introduce literature to our children with an open mind!

TIP: Another important tip which I found developed excellent literary and verbal skills in my children is to use language when speaking to them that you would use in conversation with an adult. I know this may sound strange but it truly makes a world of difference. Patronizing children by "dumbing down" your use of language can hinder the swiftness of their vocabulary acquisition. Even if you know that your child will not comprehend a word don't be afraid to use it. Use the more complex word and then follow it with an explanation or definition rather than refraining from using it!

More Giveaways From Fellow Bloggers!

Simple Finds
~is giving away a gift certificate for $25 to be spent at Plum Tickled!! What beautiful handmade girly wear :)

My Favourite Giveaway Today is at My Organized Chaos ! Win a beautiful and unique pair of wool slippers made in Mongolia from a Fair Trade company Satch & Sol!! I Love these!

Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous
~has a giveaway for the DVD Stable Days! This would be great for horse lovers especially, like my daughters!
~Win a Baby Rys toy bag. This is baby adventure gear but could be used for so much more! The company is Canadian and they are made in Sri Lanka.

My hubby really wants me to win one of these Evolve showerheads! I've entered contests for these on other sites and have not won yet. But maybe this one on Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls ! These are great because they are energy and water saving showerheads!

Barefoot Mommy
~Win a boy's and Girl's Scratch & Sketch book from Peter Pauper Press ! That's 2 books!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Exciting Contests from other Blogs!

Barefoot Mommy
~is giving a reader the opportunity to win beautiful children's knitwear from Picaflor! Handcrafted inPeru a percentage of the profits helps Peruvian children!
~Win a big coordinated stationary set from CarolinaPad ! You get to choose your pattern and they are adorable!
~Win a Fear Busters Kit from The Shrunks. This is fear gear for kids to help conquer sleeping fears!! Bronwynn could use this!
~Checkout this link N.Y.C Lip Sliders Tinted Lip Balm - 3/19 for a chance to win 6 Lip slider shades!
Simple Finds
~has a great Audrey Clutch from Christa Taylor to giveaway! SMASHING!
~You will find another gorgeous giveaway! A necklace from Gallery Window

Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous
~Win a Halo Sleep Sack and let your baby sleep in safety!
~Win a pair of baby/toddler shoes from See Kai Run ! These are cute!!
~Win a onesie or Tee from "Squishy Fish! These are Canadian and organic cotton!

At Sandier Pastures you will find a wonderful giveaway! Checkout this link: http://www.sandierpastures.com/giveaway/giveaway-lisa-leonard-designs.html You could win a beautiful pearl necklace from Lisa Leonard !!
My Organized Chaos
~has a great toddler/kids hat giveaway! The company is called "Little Fit" sounds perfect for those little heads :)
The Soothie Ranch
~has a great contest from I See Me!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Promoting a friend's blog:)

I just have to get the word out to anyone who will read it! I am adding a link to a wonderful blog on my sidebar! Friends Kara and Matt have had a blog for three years. They started blogging in Kugluktuk, Nunavut http://wenttokugluktuk.blogspot.com and now are blogging about life in the Yukon http://wenttofaro.blogspot.com/. Kara says she is surprised at how many people follow her blog and find it so interesting! I think many people in the "south" are just fascinated by the little day to day differences in the lifestyle. Please take a peek and enjoy!

Emission Busting!!!

As you will soon gather as I start to post more I am an environmentalist. No I am not a fanatic but I believe we need to find our niche in the environment again. We need to realize that we do not live on the earth but rather are a part of it! We take in and internalize each element: the air, the water, and the soil in some way. We also for many years now have been working to destroy this part of us sometimes through immense and obvious actions and sometimes through the seemingly small and simple actions which are part of our daily existence. In the same way however we can also work to reverse this destruction and help to save the part of us that is the earth. Each simple action can start a chain reaction of environmental healing.
Here is one such opportunity! Pollution from vehicles accounts for 20% of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. This type of CO2 emission remains unregulated! The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a reversal of the Bush administration's decision to prevent states from taking action to reduce global warming through such vehicle emission regulations. Action from the EPA would authorize California to reduce emissions and encourage automakers to start building cleaner cars almost immediately! The decision would also pave the way for 13 other states to do the same.
In these economic times it is important to transition, to start a shift from an economy based on destructive products to one based on products which will provide a healthy living for all of us. Igniting a clean energy economy can help us on the path to economic recovery! The EPA is requesting comments and though this is an American initiative Canadians are welcome to enter their comments. As a Canadian the state of CO2 emissions in the US effects me! As a Canadian the state of the US economy effects my country's economy and how we do business! Please use your voice and visit this link to have it heard: http://www.wecansolveit.org/page/m2/396e8983/6fd8c8de/99e9fa5/19ba5271/1583765114/VEsA/

The Ramblings of an Unfulfilled Writer!

I have always wanted to be a writer! Perhaps always is a bit of an exaggeration but it has been at the very least since grade four when I made my first journalistic attempt in a creative writing class. The topic of my article, if memory has not deserted or deceived me, was something like "Has Marrying Sean Penn Changed Madonna's Image?" Oh no now I am dating myself and wondering if I should have pursued a position at some celebrity tabloid! Regardless, from then on creative writing became more an undying and undeniable passion than a pursuit! I would leave a notebook and pen by my bed each night to jot down my otherwise allusive cerebral compositions which invaded my night thoughts. I was always afraid that I would forget each perfectly formed sentence or phrase of prose or verse of poetry if I did not immediately commit it to paper.
I wrote a play in grade four. I started my poetry phase in grade six or seven I believe. That phase has really never ended although now I rush to create a line of verse using magnetic poetry on a refrigerator which soon is lost or reinvented into a shape quite like a happy face or a rocket ship by the sticky fingers of my children once I've turned my back! Yes, in high school my dream was singular and translucent. I would write the next Canadian Classic. I was actually quite talented at that time aided I think by the romanticism of youth. My English teacher truly believed I would do or rather write something special and lamented my choice not to major in English in university. I believed my experiences in life would eventually weave their way into an intricate and unparallelled tale. This epic would naturally and effortlessly flow from me someday onto a blank page like water flowing from an open faucet. I am now 34, soon to be 35, and I think I am still waiting for this euphoric moment or have I given it up?
I thought of life experience as fonder for story but now feel life and all its experiences can instead stand in times' way. Time for self-reflection, expression, and the weaving of stories is fleeting! I'm sure in all likelihood I will never write the next great Canadian novel. Perhaps the closest I will come is writing my annual, long-winded Christmas epistle to family and friends. Maybe this blog is the answer to my unrequited dreams. Writing here each day may come to nothing memorable, it is possible very few will ever read this rambling in plain prose but it is a therapeutic salve for a dream not yet fulfilled and there is something to be said for that!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday's New Fave Giveaways!

Barefoot Mommy :
~has an Umi children's shoes giveaway and they are fantastically cute! You pick your fave pair!
~You can also win a Tassi ! It keeps your hair out of your way when washing your face or putting on makeup!
~A Daily Dose of Toni has a great contest for new bloggers or just a blogger who wants a new look!! Win a free professional blog design by Sara at Subjective Beauty ! Toni's blog looks great so I can imagine what a great prize this would be!!
~At Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls win lollipops and ducky soap for St. Patty's Day!
~Find a giveaway for a gorgeous hat, headband, and leggings from Gigi Apparel at Fabulous Fun Finds!
~My Organized Chaos is giving away a vintage inspired sign from Signs & Salvage. These are unique decor items!

~Everything Up Close has a great giveaway for coffee lovers! Win a Keurig Platinum home brewing system and 4 boxes of k-cups to brew in it!! This is valued at $169.96US!
Other Great Tidbits!!
~I love Northwest Mom Finds and want you to know about the great companies they've been reviewing lately! Checkout these links to their blog: Making a game out of the outdoors --where you will find a great scavenger hunt game to purchase and http://www.nwmomfinds.com/2009/02/their-first-place.html --where you can enter a giveaway for an adorable felt mail carrier playset!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Curlers or Rags?!?-- What's a girl to do?

So here I am an educated, intelligent woman, mother of three amazing children--two of whom are vibrant girls and what am I contemplating all evening? How do I create perfect curls in hair that is the consistancy of corn silk?
What you may wonder is she rambling about? Both my vivacious daughters are in their first year of dance. Both are taking jazz and tap and the air is electric with the glitz and glam of what else but the recital!! No one could anticipate the drama of being a dance mom. I have always prided myself on raising my children on the importance of education and intelligence over appearances and frivolity. Now I am an appointed image consultant! I must admit seeing my daughter, Emma receive and try on her costume this evening did give me a thrill and I can envision my tall,brown eyed beauty decked out in this glitzy creation, hair pulled back in the prescribed curls, face aglow with colour! I however cannot envision the process which will create such gorgeous curls. My girls are cursed with my fine, flat hair!
I remember envying one of my cousins who was blessed with perfect ringlets daily. Later I learned the reality was she was not blessed but was rather cursed with the nightly ritual of having her hair wrapped to achieve this perceived perfection. Perhaps I should call my aunt for instructions. I think she must have wrapped my cousins hair in "rags". While the other dance moms are rushing around frantically looking for curlers to buy and ordering special wrapping rods I think why? Why do we discard the traditional and often inexpensive way of doing things when it has worked for years just to buy into the foam and plastic of a new gimmick? Just as I love handmade things I love rediscovering old fashioned practicality and ingenuity! Wish me luck because it's rags instead of curlers for my girls this year! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday Morning Giveaways on other Blogs!

~Nurse Mommy has a new Bumkins Superbib giveaway!
~Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is giving one lucky winner a beautiful pillowcase dress (I love these) for a little girl!!
~Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous has 3 Bobs and Lolo CDs to give away! Great kids' music and they are now on Treehouse! also at Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous win a $50 gift certificate for YouCanMakeThis.com !!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Fave Giveaways!

Head over to Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous for some great giveaways:
~Win 2 Mama and Me flameless candles and a black Combo Warmer or a secondary prize of a Regal Size Sot Candle in your choice of scent.
~Win a BooJee Beads product such as a beaded lanyard or badge reel.
More giveaways at http://nursemommy07.blogspot.com/ :
~Win any 15 samples from the Enchanted Fantasy Makeup Line from Mineral Basics.
Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is offering:
~The chance to win a St. Patty's Day table runner from Krafty Kats
My Organized Chaos as usual has some great giveaways:
~Win 2 Whimzee Glass pieces: a keychain and necklace
~Win a $50 gift certificate from Photofiddle

Handmade Sunday--Mexican Insired Cardholders!

Those of you who are crafty, creative, or just love unique home decor will appreciate this post! I love handmade items! I think handmade gifts say so much more than those pre-fab items you find in a store. They are unique and if you make them yourself they become a "labour of love". I admit I truly enjoy spending every extra moment I can scrounge producing some handicraft or another. I also enjoy buying handmade items from small business owners like those on Etsy.com. It is truly amazing the amount of talent there is in the world and Etsy represents just some of this untapped artistry.
Even if you are not an expert crafter or undiscovered artist you can produce this fabulous Mexican inspired cardholder in minutes! I must give credit to my mom. She is a retired kindergarten teacher and is more creative than she would ever care to admit. After admiring a friend's greeting card holder purchased in Mexico my mom decided to create her own. I received one as a gift this Christmas and started making them as gifts for my friends and family! Uh oh...now I've spoiled the surprise!

You can find what you will need at local dollar stores and craft shops. My mom found all her supplies at Dollarama and around the house. I found my clips at Dollarama and the beads at a local craft warehouse. The green wire I purchased from Michaels in the jewelery making section but I later realized my husband had some wire of the same gauge in the garage!!

What you will need:
*Approx. 192 small hand painted wooden beads
(You will need less beads if you use larger beads or a mixture of large and small beads. You may also need more or less depending on how many clips you choose to use)
*12 or 13 medium sized Decorative clothes pins (there are smaller ones also available or you may choose to use large ones and decorate them yourself)
*approx. 1.65-1.7m (5 ft. 5 inches) of 18 gauge multi-purpose or craft wire.
(check your hardware store or your local craft shop)
*A wire cutter and pliers
*Two picture hanging hooks

Here's How:

1. Cut your length of wire. The craft store may have coloured wire if you wish.
2. Form a loop on one end of your wire by wrapping it around the end of small pliers two or three times. The loop should be just big enough to hook onto the end of your picture hanging hooks.
3. Start threading the wooden beads onto the other end of your wire. You can use all the same sized beads or vary the bead size which looks fantastic too! The numbers here are based on small wooden beads so you may wish to decrease by 1-3 if you are varying the sizes. String on 6 small wooden beads then string on your first clothes pin. The wire should be fed through the side hole of the metal clamp which holds the clothespin together. Make sure that the clip end faces down.
Note: I found that some clips are made to face the wrong direction with the clip end up. Do not use any that will look upside-down if the clip end is at the bottom....clear as mud?? Basically, the cards must hang below the cardholder. They will just flop over if you try to clip them above it.
4. After the first clothespin string on 15 small beads (approx. 12 beads if you are varying big and small beads) and then another clothespin. Repeat with 15 small beads between each clothespin until you have string on 12 to 13 clothespins. After the final clothespin is strung, string on the final 6 beads (to match the number you began the strand with).
Note: You may choose to make a longer cardholder with more clothespins but you must remember to cut a longer wire accordingly.
5. With the remaining wire form a loop similar to the one you made on the other end of your wire. Again form the loop by wrapping it around the end of your pliers or even a pencil 2-3 times. Make sure the loop is tight up against the last bead so the beads and clips cannot slip and slide. Remove any excess wire with the wire cutters.
6. Use the picture hanging hooks to hang your finished piece!
VOILA!! Your Mexican Inspired Cardholder is complete!!

A great way to package your gift is to purchase a wine bottle gift box. Then the holder can be stored in it when not in use!