Sunday, December 5, 2010

Keep The Faith - Canadian Scrapbooker Winter Edition

Allison Orthner wrote a wonderful article in this months edition of Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine about scrapbooking your Faith. I submitted a couple of layouts before the actual deadline but didn't really feel finished yet. On the night of the deadline I was on the computer sorting through some photos and one came up of a friend's son when he was in South Africa. It is a moving photo and right away I knew I wanted to do something with it so I had e-mailed the kid who took the photo and asked him to send it to me in a higher resolution. I was SO glad I had done that because the night in question, this photo flashed up on my screen and I thought "YES! That is the ONE!" I had no layout ideas. I had no time (the deadline was in 45 minutes), I didn't even have any photo paper for my printer. So what do you do in a mini crisis? Whip out your sewing machine of course! This really just goes to show that you never know what the magazine is looking for. This layout has no current product on it at all. Actually, it barely has ANY product on it LOL. A piece of Bo Bunny card stock, some really old Prima letters that I painted black (the paint was still wet when I took the photo!), some thread and a black marker. That's it. Sometimes a layout is built around the photo and the story it tells. No big embellishment needed. So from start (printing the photo on card stock) to finish (photographing the completed layout in bad light and e-mailing it to CS) this took me about 25 minutes. One of the quickest, easiest layouts I have ever done and also one that speaks to me the most. It just flowed together like it was already planned. As Allison said in her article, sometimes you are inspired by what other people do. Thank-you Levi for being an inspiration.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tick Tock

So what are you up to fellow scrappers? This is consuming my mind right now: So much inspiration and Christmas spirit! I {heart} the 12 Tags of Christmas...just visiting Tim's blog every day for 12 days gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Click the photo to get inspired and have a calm, peaceful, wonderful 12 days my friends. xo

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sask Scraps review aka "The Adventures of Lynne Mizera"

What can I say about Sask Scraps? A fabulous time as always with people who ROCK the scrapbooking world! Here is the play by play:

Arrived on Friday to settle in and found myself at a table with Sue Sykes, Amanda LePage, Janet Weser, Barb Riley, Melissa Buhler and 2 other friends of Amanda's who I felt sorry for because they ended up at such a rowdy table! LOL Hope it wasn't too disruptive for you girls!

The only class I took was a 5 tag technique class by Vicki Boutin. I am in loooove with this 7Gypsies girl! She always does such amazing work and I will never turn down her classes. Several things I had never tried like spraying your inked stamp with water before stamping your image to achieve a watercolour look, flocking, foils and rub on glitter and spraying a paint dabber with water and using it to create paint splashes...SO fun! Well worth the price of admission and Vicki is such a wonderful, free spirited instructor. There are no wrong answers BUT she does give great step by step instructions on how to avoid BIG faux pas. Just a great class all the way around.

Before Sask Scraps I had been going back and forth a bit with Lynne Mizera. I have admired her work for a while...ever since I first saw her in Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine. Then I found out she was the mother of my fave online store owner Donna Houston! Small world! Then I am sitting in Vicki's class and every time Lynne's name was called for something I shouted "Lynne Mizera, WOO HOO!" Thinking that she would recognize me and we would have our much anticipated meeting {finally!}. Well this happened a couple times and she just kind of looked at me with a confused smile on her face like "Ok! Thanks for cheering for me! Why are you cheering for me? Have we met? Who are you? And why are you cheering for me?" I thought it was hilarious and would head over to her table later in the evening to introduce myself properly.

Then my name was called for a draw prize {7Gypsies goodness baby yeah!} and Lynne drops what she is doing, jumps up and yells out "Kate Kading?! WHERE?!" So then of course I waved and yelled "Lynne Mizera! WOO HOO!" And she finally figured out who I was and why a crazy lady was cheering for her. It was waaaay funnier in person because the look on her face was just priceless! So now I can say I met Lynne Mizera. And gifted her with a little Tim Holtz. Because isn't that what scrapbooking friends are supposed to do?

The rest of the weekend was wild and low key all at the same time. I was hopped up on a triple shot Starbucks all day Saturday, the amazing ScrapDonnas who wrote a song just for Sask Scraps won the table decorating contest and I got 20 8x8 layouts done for one of the albums to go to the children in the cancer ward this Christmas. Our table rocked the layout competition with me winning the journaling category {layout at the bottom of the post}, Melissa Buhler winning the photography category and Amanda LePage taking home the Best Overall prize! That was super exciting. Then the rest of Saturday we just scrapped and chatted and enjoyed the time together. I was planted firmly in my own little world and it was fantastic. Such a renewal of the creative spirit! Thanks for such a fun weekend girls. Let's do it again very soon! xox

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Evolution of a Scrapbooker

Back in August I had a fabulous weekend at the Bloomin' Inn in Alberta. It is this delightful retreat centre for scrapbookers and quilters and I really didn't know what to expect. Come back later in the week for my full review (it's a long one) but I wanted to post this one first because it is long overdue. When Sheryl and I were at the Inn we sat with these 2 crazy gals from Calgary who had quite the Cricut set up at their station. They shared everything; it was a frugal gal's dream. A pair of sisters who were churning out the layouts like you wouldn't believe. Kari and Janis were truly an inspiration to me. They were getting it done. Beautifully. But they took one look at the eclectic makings of my Starbucks book (a new one for a friend) and Sheryl's vintage record album book and the comments started flowing about them being "beginners". SO not true but nothing I could say would convince them. We had the whole talk about how everyone starts somewhere and it's the whole point of getting your family's memories on paper that is SO important. I felt like we really gelled over the weekend...getting to know each other, teaching each other things (we let them use whatever they wanted from our stashes and they taught me how to use the Cricut machine which I had never used before!) and generally just inspiring each other. And through this all I kept telling them that everyone...and I mean everyone...has a secret "first page" hidden away somewhere. Pick your fave "famous" scrapbooker...Trisha Ladouceur. Amanda LePage. Sue Sykes. Jill Hidebrandt. Leica Forrest. Vicki Boutin. They all started somewhere. So Kari and Janis challenged me to blog my first page. Put it all out there for everyone to see. Well, I will do you one better girls. This is the evolution of a scrapbooker. Kate style.

I started buying supplies before my wedding...probably early 2002 in the hopes of actually scrapbooking my wedding. It piled up and piled up in the spare room and then we had our first child in 2004. I still hadn't touched anything. When he was 10 months old I went to a Creative Memories party. Liked the concept but hated that I paid $15 for the class! I gathered up my courage and asked for my money back. Shannon (the consultant) said I could come to 3 of her weekly crop nights and if I still wasn't happy she would refund my money. Ok, you're on lady! So I started a book for my Hubs. A sort of "this is your life" and this is what the first page looked like. No help. Just me and my "fancy" scissors. *disclaimer: I apologize in advance for the horribly quick photography. I really didn't want to waste time fiddling with these photos.*
I was particularly proud of the little metal fish. Notice the absence of journalling...I always said I could do that later. Wow. Later is a loooong time. So then I started frequenting a little local scrapbooking store in Rosthern. Terrie started trying to get me to try new things. She patiently taught me each component of scrapbooking. Here is where I learned how to round corners.

Notice no title. No journalling. This page has literally been like this for almost 6 years. I will complete it one day. LOL Next I tried adding some ribbon to a page. This is from a 6x6 album I made for the Hubs for when he was away. It took me no less than 3 hours to complete this page. No kidding. It was also the first time using the die cut machine for the title and the little tag.

First time using chalk and buttons. This page took me a whole session which was usually from 7pm to well after 10pm. I can't imagine wasting that kind of time on a 6x6 layout now. Wow! It was SO outside of my comfort zone to use different fonts on the title like that. I was really uncomfortable with it then but think nothing of it now.
Then colour blocking...I remember being really happy with how this turned out. Again, it took me over 3 hours to complete this 6x6 page and now it looks so simple and easy but at the time it was a huge jump for me. I enjoyed colour blocking. It was clean and uniform. And those words describe my early tastes perfectly.
So after the colour blocking I got a little braver and took a couple different classes Terrie had to offer and started reading Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine which led me to try something completely new. Doodling. So with my new colour blocking skills I tried this page in my wedding album. This page also embraced the belief that not all pictures have to be perfect to tell a story.
And then I completely threw caution to the wind (you rebel you) and put some colour in to my wedding album. {Gasp!} My wedding colours were black, white and silver. So I thought I was being so clever by only having those colours in my album. Do you know how hard it was to find nice stuff in those colours 6 years ago? Ugh. So armed with my new love for doodling I did this page. *The name has been blurred to protect the innocent LOL*
This was also when I fell in love with Heidi Swapp flowers. I still have a thing for flowers but I would like to think my taste has matured over time. LOL
I saw something in a magazine about hidden journalling so I thought I would try that out too. This is why a new scrapbooker should never start with a baby or wedding album. Oh look...this is where she learned embossing. And here is where she learned about brads. Sigh. It's a road map of my classes...and mistakes. But I will never change this book. I may do a new one later in life but I will never change this one. I also tried out a stapler for the first time on this page.
This was the first layout I actually felt proud of. They are great candid shots of me showing the girls my garters (first time wearing them) and little did I know that my photographer was so quick on the shutter. To this day they are still the most requested reprints of all 9 rolls of wedding photos. Go figure! Oh the bling. This page started a love affair with rhinestones that will never die.

What are we up to? Ah, the Spring Fling at Just Scrap It! My first ever scrapbooking event where I hauled everything I owned to the crop and ended up buying everything I used because I couldn't find anything in my tote. LOL

I saw this layout hanging in the store. I couldn't even tell you who did it...I just literally took it right off the wall and told Ralna I wanted everything on the page. It was a little pricey...but it was my first "Scrap lift" and was worth every penny. I felt a real turning point in my confidence.
I could post a hundred other pages. Half pages really. I have come a long way in my outlook on what is important and what is not in my scrapbooking. I don't like my handwriting but I value the meaning of it now. I still make pages I am not overly fond of but I never change them. There are no mistakes, I just move on. I feel proud of myself that I have come from that first "Gone Fishing" page to this most recent layout I took 3rd place at Camp Croppin' with this year:

From fancy scissors to handmade grunge board roses (thanks Sheryl). The evolution of a scrapbooker. What is your evolution? I challenge you to post or blog your first pages. What has shaped you into the scrapbooker you are today? Leave a comment here so I can check it out!
So there you go Kari and Janis. Hope it was everything you expected. Stickers, shapes, etc. We've all done it. It's where we go from here that matters! And no matter the experience level of a scrapbooker...we are all artists with valuable things to teach each other. Hope to see you in Calgary at Camp Croppin' in the Spring and Sask Scraps in Saskatoon next Fall! xox

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Frugal Friday has turned into "Frugal Whenever I Want" so Happy Halloween! Is there a holiday that has more frugal potential than Halloween? I think NOT! What did you send the kids off as this year? We had a couple of pirates in this house and it only cost me $20. We got them each this wild set of accessories...sword, hook, eye patch and earring. Then I fashioned them a bandanna, jacket of sorts and painted them up. Well, truth be told only one little pirate made it out the door this year. Pirate #2 wasn't feeling well so he stayed home with Mummy. But he's 2 and doesn't care about anything but the orange sucker I gave him. What's frugal about Halloween? Well I will tell you what's frugal about Halloween:
~Hop on the internet for some interesting ideas and then hit the thrift store for the costumes. It is amazing what you can find for totally low prices!
~Planning ahead will save you money. Going to WalMart the day before Halloween will break the bank every single time. Do I have to admit that I did that this year? LOL I had a plan in mind so it didn't break the bank BUT I was at WalMart yesterday. {gulp} it was a madhouse. I almost lost one of the children under a pile of costumes.
~Candy Candy CANDY. Save me from all the sugar. Spell with me for a moment: C-O-N-F-I-S-C-A-T-E. Spell it loud and spell it proud. As soon as that bag comes into the house I whip out the Ziplocs. One Ziploc is for acceptable lunch items (fruit snacks, puddings, etc. Those come from the Grandmas. They do up the treat bags right!), one Ziploc for "Oh my word there is NO WAY on earth I would ever give you that" which is saved for next year (Yup, I do it. Kids don't care and between parades, birthday parties, Easter and Christmas you would be appalled at how big my collection is by the time Halloween rolls around again) and of course the bag that holds the stuff that isn't too bad and they can have one piece after school (sugar after supper around here is a no go).
~Not only our money is meant to be saved. Time is precious! Plot with another family and swap talents. Let the Dads take the kids out while the Mums stay back to hand out candy...and maybe have a sip or two of fine wine! If treats are required for school swap some childcare for a couple dozen cookies. You get the idea. We are all in this together...let's show some support!
~When the weather doesn't cooperate (This year is the exception!) hit the local malls. You stay warm and dry but the kids still get to haul in the loot.
~And if you have decided that Halloween is not your thing...get together with other parents who share the same views and party hard! Gather for some fun and games and have each parent bring one item to be put into a loot bag for the kids. A girlfriend of mine does this and it is a huge hit. She had 27 kids and 16 parents (bless them) at her house last night! It was a humdinger of a good time and none of the kids feel like they have "missed" Halloween. They just go about it in a different way.
~I used to be the full size chocolate bar house. This was before we had 2 kids and lived on one income. You don't have to be that house. Your enthusiasm and participation is far more appreciated than what type of candy you give out. Although I do remember the pic-a-pop house. And the older couple who gave out coupons for McDonalds french fries. But that was um...well...let's just say it was a few years ago and times have changed. The pic-a-pop guy worked there and probably didn't pay much for them and I bet the McDonalds house owned a franchise. LOL Nowadays you can drop half a weeks grocery money buying Halloween candy. Just don't. And let's leave it at that.
Hope you all have a spooktacular time tonight! I know my night will be interesting. I made a pact with a friend that we will not break the seal. Not ONE piece of Halloween candy will pass our lips. I'm not sure I was in my right mind when I made that promise. Say a prayer for me. xo

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Catching Up

Saying that time flies is an understatement wouldn't you say? If you stop to take a single breath several things get left behind and all of a sudden you haven't blogged in 2 weeks, Mount Washmore starts to take over the laundry room and you wonder where all the spoons went. The CIBC Run For The Cure took up a lot of time and energy but it was SO WORTH IT!!! Our team, the Bandanna Bandits, took the top prize for the most donations from a team of family and friends. What an honour! We raked in over $17,700 to help defeat breast cancer. It was a truly amazing experience. Now that that has died down a bit and life has gotten back to normal, I got a handle on the house, threw an epic birthday party for my boy and even cleared a path to my scrapbooking desk. Shocking, I know. I am actually going to share pictures here of the before and after. No big redesign or anything, it's just mind blowing how much crap was in there. Stay tuned.

And lately I have been trying to make a few Artist Trading Cards. So fun and cute! It's so much nicer than scrawling my blog address on a scrap of card stock and giving it to someone, don't you think? There are many fabulous ways to display these little babies and 7Gypsies is one of my fave companies so it is highly tempting to start collecting these from other artists. This is one I did with some Kiki Art product. A big thank-you to Linda Shewchuk for sending me all the goodies! Kiki Art is not sold here in Saskatoon but hopefully that will change someday soon. What a great Canadian company. I am also working on a blog post from waaaay back in the summer from when I went to the Bloomin' Inn in Pincher Creek, Alberta. Some girls there wanted to see my first scrapbook page. And I like them enough to actually show it here. LOL I am trying SO hard to convince them to come to Sask Scraps next month. If you have attended the event before leave your best experience in the comments to try to convince Janis and Keri to come on down to our fair province! These girls consider themselves "beginner" scrapbookers and think they annoyed me by borrowing my stuff. Don't believe them, it's a lie! They were a riot and completely inspired me the whole weekend. But I'll leave the details for another post. Have a wonderful week! xox

Friday, September 24, 2010

Save a a cupcake!

With the help of friends and family and with the generosity of strangers I have been able to put together a last minute fundraiser for our CIBC Breast Cancer Foundation Run For The Cure! I didn't think we could do it, we had to cut some red tape but IT'S ON!!! The Bandanna Bandits will be having a
at Market Mall
on Thursday September 30th
from 11am to 2pm
to help bump up our total for the run on October 3rd! I was SO SO SO thrilled to learn this morning that we did indeed have permission and the lovely Betty Ann at Market Mall was more than accommodating. The Bandits are over the moon that we have had so much support. One of the organizers told our illustrious leader Amanda that she had never before seen a first year team pass the $10,000 mark. Well WE DID!!! And where are we going?! HIGHER!!! How exciting is that? So if you are in Saskatoon please drop by and visit us for a little cupcake goodness. Not in the area? Still want to contribute? You can also drop by my personal fundraising page. The Bandanna Bandits and our breasts thank-you for it! xox

Monday, September 20, 2010

Think Pink

I know we are not quite there yet but October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Normally, I wear a pink ribbon, donate a few dollars and call it a day. This year is just a bit different. It hit waaay too close to home for me. My good friend Amanda has her one year Survivor Anniversary on November 18th so this is her first October in this situation and we are doing it up HUGE. We have committed our time and running shoes to the CIBC Run For The Cure on October 3rd. It's been in the planning stages for months and I actually started training for it. Me. I always believed my body would never be able to run. Like ever. But losing 50 pounds has made all the difference and I have knocked out 5km a few times this summer and am really looking forward to it on October 3rd. But we can't do it without your help! If you would like to support us please check out my page on the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation website.

Thank-you for cheering on the Bandanna Bandits!!! Let's kick cancer a$$ xox

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Live your very best life

I believe in each one of these statements very deeply. But everyone needs to be reminded sometimes. We only have one live it the very best way you can! xo

ONE . Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully .

TWO . Marry a man/woman you love to talk to . As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other .

THREE . Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want .

FOUR . When you say, 'I love you,' mean it .

FIVE . When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye .

SIX . Be engaged at least six months before you get married .

SEVEN . Believe in love at first sight .

EIGHT . Never laugh at anyone's dreams . People who don't have dreams don't have much .

NINE . Love deeply and passionately . You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely .

TEN . . In disagreements, fight fairly . No name calling .

ELEVEN . Don't judge people by their relatives .

TWELVE . Talk slowly but think quickly .

THIRTEEN! .. . . When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

FOURTEEN . Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk .

FIFTEEN . Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze .

SIXTEEN . . When you lose, don't lose the lesson .

SEVENTEEN . Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions .

EIGHTEEN . Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship .

NINETEEN . When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it .

TWENTY . . Smile when picking up the phone . The caller will hear it in your voice .

TWENTY- ONE . Spend some time alone .

Monday, September 13, 2010

Warm up with some Tea!

Fall brings the need to be cozy. Wool socks, big sweaters and a giant cup of tea cradled in between both hands. And what better way to enjoy those thing than with some close friends? A sweet inviation for tea with some Bo Bunny product. How long has been since we had tea? Come on over! The muffins are in the oven. xox

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine Fall Edition

I did NOT want the summer to breeze by too quickly because let's face it, we live in a part of the world that has a 3 month growing season and that is if we are really, really lucky. But I did want it to hurry just a teeny tiny little bit because I was really REALLY looking forward to this:
Page 66, in the Passport to Creativity section!

This is a feature in CS that I have loved since the very first one I read. I thought how amazing it was for those artists to have a whole 2 pages all to themselves to showcase their work and would I ever make it onto those pages? It was a dream. And now it's here! I was positively vibrating with excitement when I picked it up at my LSS yesterday.

Added to this honour was being included in Sue Sykes' breast cancer article.

This layout was a labour of love and some really big tears. I didn't even care that I had to use a photo from 50 pounds ago. And I got glass in my foot smashing the mirror. LOL It has no fancy, trendy product on it. It is just paint, glass and words. The words were the most important thing to me. So thank-you Sue for your heartfelt article and thank-you Canadian Scrapbooker for allowing me to be a part of such a beautiful piece of work.

Congratulations all around for some more local talent as my friend Sheryl was another artist featured in the Passport to Creativity section! Check her out at Sherylsplayz.
Photo by KMP Photography

The other artist was also a local girl! I haven't had the privilege of meeting Jamie yet but you can stalk her blog here.

A huge congratulations must go out to my sweet friend Lizette for getting one of these!For her layout featuring one of her handsome men. Way to go Lizette! I knew you could do it!

A shout out to some more prairie girls whose work graced the pages this issue were Amanda LePage from Vonda (Wow girl, this was your issue!), Glenda Tkalac of Moose Jaw and Karen Welch-Smith from Saskatoon. Congratulations! As well, I have to say hi to Kelsy Propp who isn't local but I met her at Camp Croppin' in 2009 and I always love seeing her work in print! As well as Lynne Mizera who I have never met but she is the mother of Donna Houston who owns Inspired Designs Scrapbook Boutique and I secretly stalk her work! LOL I loved the mosaic piece she did on page 73. So unique in both subject and execution.

Thank-you ladies for all the continued inspiration! I can't believe it but I am already looking forward to the winter edition. But please summer, don't take that as a sign to hurry away. I'm not done with you yet!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Simple is good

A very quick, simple layout using some bright Bo Bunny product. I didn't have the appropriate chipboard letters so I painted these with crackle paint, let them dry and then coated them with glossy accents. And another picture is done. Only 9, 366 left to go. ;0)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Coupons, flyers, meals and deals--Frugal Friday

I don't often spend time clipping meaningless 25 cent coupons. To me, my time is worth more than that. But what I do like to spend time on is surfing several websites from time to time that offer some great deals. And depending on what they are, I will also sign up for their newsletter or e-mail of the month or whatever so I don't forget to check them out regularly. A lot of the time there are very valuable deals to be had.

Smart Canucks For across Canada. Deals, coupons, flyers, heads up on flight sales, etc. It's a catch all of frugalness.

Home For Dinner local food blog that is no longer updated but has very valuable information on shopping and eating right here in our fair city. The shorter your food has to travel the cheaper and better it is for us. Plus I like to support local business.

Get Rich Slowly this encompasses North America but has a huge amount of financial Q & A that can be really helpful. You can click around in here forever.

Got No Dough A personal blog that has a bit of everything...meal ideas, financial stuff, product reviews, online rewards name it, they have it.

Hillbilly Housewife All about cooking from scratch which is far cheaper than buying ready made meals or processed stuff from a box.

This really is just the tip of the iceberg. I have a whole file in my favourites called "Saving Money" and every time I come across something interesting, in it goes. Hope this helps! happoy reading!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sunshine inspiration

The bright sun leads me to choose bright papers! The Bo Bunny Paradise line is perfect! A quick page with some Glimmer Mist and Stickles. I used so many flowers because they are actually hiding a bunch of imperfections in the photo LOL. But I still wanted to use the photo! It's all about the journalling anyway. Love ya Kel.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Waste not Want not-Frugal Friday

I have recently become cyber-friendly with a gal out of Alberta who has taken her family on a very interesting journey. Jessica from Nothing New Nothing Wasted has set her mind to the challenge of not buying anything new for one year. Yes, there are a few exceptions like toiletries, underwear, etc. But for the most part the challenge is really about being more thoughtful with your spending dollars and considering the impact that purchase has on the world. She has been featured on webites, national newspapers, radio interviews and local media and I highly recommend you surf her archives. It might make you more aware of where your money is going. And one thing Jessica and I totally have in common is I am a HUGE fan of I never make a purchase without hitting that site because you just never know what someone wants to get rid of. Have a fabulously frugal weekend! xo

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Do you carry pictures of your kids?

I am a scrapbooker who is horribly guilty of not carrying updated photos of my kids. *blush* So lately I have been making more of an effort in this department and with the Hubs travelling for work so much I have been seeking out highly portable ways to do this. Men like things that fit in their pockets. Portable, light weight, easily accessible, to the point. So I saw this little magnetic notebook at Michael's and thought I could do something with it.
My son had already written in it but you get the idea. LOL So I tore out some of the pages, then glued a whole stack of the pages together to make 3 separate thick pages. Inked up all the edges because ink is so very forgiving on something like this, covered the outside with pattern paper, used gaffer tape on the edges, trimmed up the photos, added a few rub ons and voila. A pocket album for when my Hubs is gone for weeks at a time.
I held it all together with a matching blue rubber band because the gaffer tape prevented the magnet from doing it's job but after a while the book kind of flattens and settles and the rubber band is merely to keep the pages from falling out when the book has been looked at a gazillion times. This took no time at all and helps my love hold his loves close to his heart. xo

Friday, July 30, 2010

Parties, Parades and Fairs OH MY!

Tis the season...for spending your life away at all the wonderful summer festivals and parties!!! I looooove summertime in our city. SO MANY fabulous things to do. But there are a few things you can do to keep costs down and still have a great time!

Oh those wonderful small town kids love them because they still throw candy off the floats! They don't at the Ex parade (Aug 10th, don't miss it!) but we attend several fair days in the surrounding area and let me tell you, bring a shopping bag. They can be a little... generous, shall we say? And I have never been one to ply my children with candy so, what to do? This tip goes back to my Easter post...remember C-O-N-F-I-S-C-A-T-E? I let them carry the bag around all day, chomping on taffy, sucking on suckers and trying to figure out how to blow bubbles. Then when they crash later on at home I take the bags and separate all the candy. There is the bag that goes in the lunch cabinet (parades never have anything suitable for this, just Grandma's Easter's baskets and stockings do), the {small} bag of acceptable treats that are suitable for after supper, rainy afternoons, etc and then there is the mother load bag. The bag where the majority of the candy goes, hidden away on the very top shelf of my cold storage room and I use it for Halloween. I am a huge Halloween nut. I love the treat bags we make for the nieces and nephews, I love the costumes, I love driving all over to see the Aunties, Uncles and Grandparents and eating ourselves sick with those evil but delicious mini chocolate bars. It's just a fun family night! So of course I also used to strive to have the best candy on the block because when we were kids it was a big deal. There was the pic-a-pop house, the full size chocolate bar house, the house that gave away the coupons for the small fries at McDonald's. You knew which houses rocked and which ones gave out the stale Halloween molasses candies from 12 years ago. So in the first few years of our married life I spent a lot on Halloween. The house was decorated to the nines {I still do that} and the candy was outrageous. And we would get on average...6 kids. Are you kidding me??? But really, less and less kids are trick-or-treating these days and if there are more, they sure haven't been at the last 4 houses I have lived in. So I thought to myself, "Self, what is the most important thing to you on Halloween?" And the answer to that is of course to give my own children the best time ever. So I focus more on decorating our house, carving pumpkins {the boys did their own last year!}, roasting seeds, baking monster cookies, doing the costumes and visiting friends and family. We make a point to not even be home on Halloween now and I put out a HUGE bowl of candy on our front step with a friendly sign wishing everyone a Happy Halloween and to please leave some candy for the next kids to come along. But I have always wanted to set up a video camera to see if it's the first, second or third kid who dumps the entire bowl into their bag. LOL

Long story short, over the course of the year I collect an insane amount of candy for my Halloween stash. It saves us on average around $50 to $100 per year depending on what candy you buy. One year I gave out full size chips and chocolate bars. Together. And I was finding we had over half left over, even when I was super super generous. So instead of wasting money buying stuff I will just eat later anyway, I avoid the extra calories and give out what we already have. It's a win-win situation!

Another money sucker...the exhibition itself. Oh my but that can be a trying day. One year I tried to be super frugal about things to one treat per person, 2 rides, 3 games, one prize, etc. I said "NO!" 857 times and when we left everyone was crying. And I still spent $125. For a day where nobody had fun. Nobody appreciated the time together. It was hot, miserable and nobody got to do what they wanted. So I pose this question to you: Who is the exhibition for anyway?

I have come to the conclusion that the Ex is for us adults to get out for an evening and feel like kids again. I have plans to attend this year sans children. Did I put that bold enough? LOL There is a concert I want to see at the bandstand, some major disgusting calories I want to consume, I looooove the "infomercial building" as I call it and one night during the week I am going to be a "Creative Superviser" for the showcase of arts. Which really just means Corinne and I are going to sit and chat with each other while doing a few little projects while people browse around at the art exhibits. And maybe they will ask us what we are doing. :0) I got a free pass for the day for my volunteer work {volunteering=free stuff!} and I fully intend to take advantage of it. Walk around holding hands with the Hubs feeling like we are dating again. We will spend far less than what we would spend if we brought the boys...unless Hubs let's me buy stuff in the informercial building. LOL But, long story short you need to analyze if your children are really at an age to enjoy something like this. I know, I know, I am a Mum too. I like to give my children all kinds of cool experiences and spoil them with my time and effort. However {and this is a big however} is what you are doing actually for them or is it for you? Some kids just can't handle the overstimulation of the fair so why would you force them to participate in the face painting just so you can get photos for the scrapbook?

Before you make the Ex a family excursion, ask yourself these questions:

*Can afford it?

*Are the kids old enough?

*Are you going for them or for you?

If you answered yes all the way around and are headed out {with sunscreen and hat of course} here are a few tips to save some dollars:

*Pack a backpack with your own drinks. On average a small drink is $4. Times 4 people. $16 for drinks that last 8 seconds. And if you are there for several hourse you can bet you will be doing that at least 3 times. And that's if you say NO 12 times. That's almost $50 just in drinks. Bring your own!

*If you like to do the rides, plan ahead and buy the superpass. As soon as you do...what...more than 5 are riding for free. I am not up to date on how many tickets rides are these days...but a pass is $38 in advance and in my previous experience it cost around $7 for one midway ride.

*Pick the meal you want to eat at the fair. It's a very pricey day if you go right at lunch when everyone is starving and stay until supper. Plan ahead.

*Take in the free stuff! There is all kinds of free entertainment to be had! Seek out the reptile show, the sharks, the wandering clowns. Walk through the art exhibits. You are there...see it all!

*Choose the day that is best for you. They have special rates on different days that can save you a few dollars.

*Save yourself the frustration of parking and take public transit. It's free with a superpass and pretty cheap without one. And if you have the kids with you trust me, they will love riding the bus. If that is not an option, carpool. If you have more than 5 people in the vehicle, parking is free. Take advantage!

*Come heavily armed if you are bringing the children. Pack that bag like you have never packed it before...wet ones, washclothes, changes of clothes, waterbottles, bug spray, sun screen, camera, extra batteries, sunglasses, small first aid me, if you are all comfortable and well prepared it makes for a fabulous day! And don't forget the double stroller. Even my 5 year old can't walk a whole afternoon at the fair.

Do you have any tips for having a fun day at one of these huge festivals? Share them! And have a fabulous rest of the summer!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Looking forward to CHA?

The Craft and Hobby Association show. Where the best of the best show up to reveal their latest and greatest! Have you been checking out the sneak peeks yet? Here are just a few of my faves {so far}.

The new lines by Bo Bunny are catching my eye...especially their new wraps and trims!

And Mr. Tim Holtz never fails to impress...I am really looking forward to the configuration boxes. Imagine the possibilities??? Wouldn't it be great to have a box to represent each of your children with all kinds of mementos from their growing up years? Many, many firsts to collect for!

And of course more of the dies from Sizzix. I already own a couple of the Tim Holtz dies and thought there wouldn't be too much more that would be truly versatile and not so themed or specific to his brand. Well, I was wrong! A die that cuts a tag that he uses in his 12 tags of Christmas. Genius! Last year we lucked out and Just Scrap It ordered them in for us but the year before they were very difficult to find I ended up using smaller ones...didn't create the same effect. Now I won't have to worry about it! What are you looking forward to this CHA? Tell me all about it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

It's Frugal Friday and the Laundry Soap Saga continues...

If you are friends with me on Facebook, about once a month you see the laundry soap thing on my status. I do make my own laundry soap but let's just say it comes with it's own set of challenges. For one, I have dirty little boys in my house. And a dirty big boy too. Lots of dirt and grease on the pants...and the soap recipe that I started out with did just fine at removing said stains. Right on! But after a week or so I was headed to the gym with freshly washed workout clothes that stunk to high heaven. And I didn't notice until I got to the gym and put them on. Oh. My. WORD. Ok, that is a challenge that needs to be addressed immediately. So after fiddling a bit I adapted the amounts of ingredients and it seemed to do the trick. Thank the heavens. But I still wasn't getting that "Fresh washed" smell and the Hubs was starting to mention that he missed the smell of the bought stuff. Here's the thing...we can afford to buy laundry soap. It's not a big deal. But I save where I can and that was one area I thought just because you can doesn't mean you should. Buy it I mean. We were spending $240 a year on laundry soap. That does not include stain removers, fabric softener or any other laundry type accessories. After I discovered the homemade stuff that figure plummeted to about $20 a year. Then I had to adapt the amounts for the stink factor and it climbed to about $40 a year. So that is a savings of $200. Sigh. What to do? I did break down and buy a bottle of soap and fabric softener to conduct several small experiments.
A) Do you really get as many loads as it says on the bottle?
B) How much do you actually have to use to get stuff clean and smelling great?
C) Could I continue to use my homemade stuff and just augment the smell factor with a tablespoon of fabric softener to make the Hubs happy?
D) How much would it jack up the laundry money to do C? How many loads in a bottle of Gain fabric softener?

B has been going actually need very little to get the suds going, get stuff clean and have it coming out smelling great. I am filling it to just below the 1st line in the cup, the one they say to use for small loads. Well, I do a huge load and that still does the trick. And C is actually already confirmed. I had a few loads of homemade soap left when I got all the store bought stuff so YES, I can augment the smell with the softener while still getting my clothes clean with the homemade soap. So with Sharpie marker in hand I will keep track of how many loads I actually get out of each bottle and will report back in a future Frugal Friday. Don't forget to save a few pennies and use that sunshine to dry your clothes! And then you even get a bit of free exercise when it starts to rain {in the sunshine} and you have to dash outside and rip everything off the line in record time. Don't ask how I know this...let's just say the neighbours got a bit of free entertainment. :0)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Simple Summer Pleasures

I love the SUN! I wanted to document this day of just lazing on the beach and watching the kids make tiny footprints in the sand. We need to scrapbook the small things that make us happy because years from now we will not remember these things and the feelings they created. It's a little overcast today, a good day to make laundry soap. Have a happy summer all! xox
ETA: Wow, I have no idea what happened to that photo between Picasa and here. I will hopefully clear this up and post a new photo soon! Sorry for the poor quality.

Friday, July 16, 2010

To gift or not to's a loaded question.

With summer comes a LOT of anniversaries. What to get? What to do? We have a "no gift" agreement for ours that the hubs loves to break but we do try to go out for supper or I cook something special. A small splurge to celebrate our special day. It doesn't have to cost a lot, but no matter what you spend there is still the agonizing decision of what to do.

One of said anniversaries is that of my dear sis-in-law and her sweet hubs. They have a mortgage, a mini van, a budget and children. Sound familiar? My sis and I go back and forth with each other about our feelings, what makes us happy and what our hubs can do {or not do} that make us light up. Or just make our lives easier. So she calls me the other day and definitely had something to gush about. And I have to admit, my already high admiration level for my brother-in-law went up exponentionally. He is a wonderful man but this was the icing on the cake.

So my sis looooves crossword puzzles. Initially she was doing sudoku and actually was the one who got me hooked on them several years ago. Recently she has switched to crosswords and her hubs noticed. In a big way. For their anniversary he made her her own crossword puzzle and all the clues were all about them before they had kids. What was our first lunch together, where did we meet, that sort of thing. I melted into a puddle on the floor when she told me. It was FREE. It was THOUGHTFUL. And she said she fell in love with him all over again. Sigh. Another fabulous example that things do NOT have to cost money to touch your heart. Bravo sir, you have raised the bar for other hubs around the world. xox

Friday, July 9, 2010

Loyalty pays!

You've heard me preach before about how instant gratification {and our insatiable quest for it} ruins our budgets time and time again. If something is that important to us, it is worth working for. If it's not worth working for obviously it wasn't that important to you in the first place. So waiting to make a purchase also forces you to really analyze whether or not you need that item. That's how it's been for me over the last 10 years with my cell phone. You also read all about my complaints about this very item in THIS POST. I know, reading 2 of these is time consuming but if you are not familiar with the cell phone post please read it first. It fully explained why I have kept this phone for so long. Now I am going to explain why I am getting a new one today. That's right. Write this day down, make a scrapbook page commemorating it, I am going to have texting capabilities! And it is all thanks to 2 people down at the Telus store. Justin and Amy were just fabulous. I walked in with my regular chip on my shoulder. My "Don't laugh or I won't buy anything" attitude. I just thought there was no way I could get a better package because of that all holy "billed by the second" thing. Well people, it's not easy to admit when you are wrong but sometimes it's necessary. I was wrong. Amy started out by showing me some phones that would suit my needs and how I could get them for free or at a discount and explaining the different packages. Justin was doing his thing on the computer and asked if he could interrupt us. Will it save me money? LOL But of course, interrupt! He suggested that since I had been with them for so long {the longest off contract he had seen} that I should give the Loyalty and Retention section a call to see if they could put together a better package for me. Wow. I've never actually had a salesperson tell me how to spend less money before. They sent me on my way and I hopped on the phone. It took a few hours of back and forth between Telus and Amy at the store because I kept bothering her to ask questions but eventually I was offered an amazing package just to sign another contract. So my other post still stands...don't rush to sign things just to satisfy that instant gratification. But when you are in a position to gain by signing, think it over, talk it over with the Hubs and weigh the pros and cons. The pros in this case far outweigh the cons of signing and losing my by-the-second billing. 200 anytime minutes, evenings and weekends free, unlimited texting, caller ID, voice mail and 75 free long distance minutes every month for only $25+tax. I can certainly handle that...since my regular monthly bill to date has been $30 and up depending on my usage.

So I wanted to give HUGE props to Justin and Amy with Telus. You guys ROCK! Thank-you for making my "new phone" experience a GREAT ONE! Even though there are fabulous new gadgets released all the time, it was so worth it to delay replacing my phone. I feel like I got an excellent deal and that I worked for it. Which makes it that much sweeter!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mum, we're BOOOOOORED!

This Frugal Friday post is brought to you by the makers of Advil. Do you have a headache from your summer vacationers yet? LOL

Free summer fun! You know it's out there, you just have to go jump on it!

* Garage saling. Not free if you buy something but the kids will love the hunt. I give my kids each a toonie and they can buy whatever they want. Good family fun. And if you happen across something you have been looking for you can just add it to your frugal finds!

*Grab your public library schedule. Puppet shows, reading incentive programs, prizes, parties, etc. They all have summer programming and we can't wait!

*The Leisure Guide. Our local guide has all the free days for different attractions in the city. Mark them on your calendar and take advantage! Now to truly enjoy this, you have to make a day of it and plan ahead. Don't try to "quickly" zip over to the zoo on free family day, it won't be fun. Go early, pack a picnic, bring some little activities for the kids for potential line ups. It's worth it.

*The mall can have free things too! Ask at the info desk about special appearances of all your fave characters. Dora and Diego were the last ones we saw. Again, planning ahead and going early is a MUST. My girlfriend and I hauled our kids (all 7 of them) out at 8am for a 10:30am appearance. We packed a huge picnic breakfast for our crew and they coloured. A few people ended up ahead of us due to some VIP online contest thing {which we hadn't heard about} but we got in, snapped a few photos and were out in no time. The kids loved it!

*Speaking of online stuff...take advantage of websites! Google what to do in your area. Lots of community associations have fun day in the park.

*Speaking of parks...USE ONE! And not just the one close to your house. It is such an adventure to head out to a new playground/paddling pool/spray park. Go armed with your bug spray, sunscreen, snacks and water to make the day hassle free.

*Amp up your own backyard fun. Your computer isn't just for Facebook. Google recipes for different play dough {edible, yum!}, do a little pudding painting {on yourselves!}, do a scavenger hunt {complete ones are downloadable} or make some hats out of old flyers. It doesn't matter what you do...interacting with your children is priceless.

*Nature walk anyone? Check around for your local conservation area. Hike some trails, spot some birds, take some photos.

*Love history? Every city has some kind of historical society interested in passing on the stories of yesteryear. Some have an entire centre dedicated to it. Check it out! Take a walking tour and learn about the history of your very own hometown. You may learn things you never knew before.

*Stores can have free things too. During the summer, bookstores hold free readings for kids. Get a hold of their summer schedule!

*Got a science geek on your hands? I do! Get on that Google again...set up a science lab right at your kitchen table. Some food colouring, vinegar and baking soda will keep your little Einstein busy for hours. Great rainy day activity.

This really is just the tip of the iceberg! If you are in the Saskatoon area, check out the SaskMom website. They are AMAZING!!! Not everything they promote it free but there is such a wealth of info on that site. So much summer fun awaits and it doesn't have to break your budget. Plan for those special events that have a price tag...but just know that it doesn't have to be every day. "Mum, we're BOOOORED" shouldn't make your wallet cringe! Have a great one!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Yes I AM!

Canada is 143 years young today so you had to know this was coming: {Don't forget to pause the music on the right}

Happy Canada Day!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Should I? Could I?

No ground breaking frugal news for you today...except maybe that I got $161.70 in free stuff from the cable company last week! Another reason to always, always keep track of your paperwork and it really does pay to make a phone call or 6. Basically what happened is they kept making the same mistake. Over. And over. And OVER again. I had to explain the situation like 14 times. To 7 different people. Always be polite but firm. If someone can't offer you a solution, ask for their manager. Yes, I was on hold forever. But how long would you stay on hold for $161.70? I was multitasking at the skin off my nose so to speak!

Lots of people have been asking me questions, telling me all about their frugal conquests {which I love by the way...way to go on that water bill Barb!!!} and just generally taking interest in where their money goes. KUDOS TO YOU PEOPLE! It's our own business how we spend our money...but we need to be conscious of what we are doing. With our eyes wide open to the consequences. That's it. For every action there is an equal reaction. So my point this week is the reason I am all about the frugal-ness in my world is so that I will have the extra cash for those things that are important to me. Some might say that it is wasteful of me to spend the money I do on the 2 scrapbooking events I attend every year. But really, compare it to someone who buys coffee everyday. For the sake of easy math let's say they don't drink what I drink {which costs $4.79 and that's why I don't do it all the time! LOL} $3 per day times 5 days a week times 4 weeks a month times 12 months a year. $720. That amount covers most of my "scrap event budget" for the year. So I choose that over the coffee. I can't speak for everyone who does the frugal thing but in our world we live comfortably. I have been working on this for a few years now and don't really feel it as "a pinch" anymore. I just choose carefully where I want my fun money to go! I would rather lounge on a beach in Mexico every 2 years than buy new jeans every month. I'd rather drive a newer vehicle than go out for supper every week. {For a family of 4 that's almost $2000 a year extra at a cheapo restaurant-wow!}. And I would much rather hit every concert that comes to town than unconsciously twenty my money away. Budget binder {write everything down}. Save your receipts. Plan for those credit card purchases. When I buy concert tickets, I take the cash and put it in an envelope. Or any credit card purchase for that matter. Cash goes into an envelope, then when the bill is due it's right there. A fabulous example of how twenty-ing your money away can get you into trouble is when you travel with others. Camp Croppin' was a whale of a good time. Megan puts on one amazing event! Went with some fun gals and for the sake of convenience I put 2 registrations, all gas and hotel on my credit card. There were 4 of us, we drove 6 hours away and we stayed 2 nights so that can amount to a good chunk of change. At the end of the trip I tallied everything up, divided it and everyone paid their share. Now if I would have put it in my wallet and just twentied it away, that credit card total would have been very scary when the bill came. Well, it was already scary actually because the Hubs opened it before I did! LOL His eyes goggled out of his head like the Coyote when the Roadrunner runs right past his trap and he realizes that now HE is going to blow up. :0) Before he even blinked again I handed him the envelope of cash and asked him to deposit it the next day. He smiled {HUGE}, gave me a kiss and sent me out the door to my gym class. Now that situation could have gone a lot different. Could you imagine the stress if I had chosen to spend that money elsewhere and just closed my eyes to the bill coming in a few weeks? Chaos. So in a long winded, round about way my point is that being conscious of how you spend your money means you shouldn't have to live hand to mouth. It saves you grief and argument in the long run. Because life is far too short to be stressing about money right? I'd rather be at the spray park with the kids. Have a lovely summer weekend!