Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Holidays from Stampin' Up!


Ways to put lonely socks to good (uncluttered) use

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada, is a self-described “unique and charming” museum that displays well over 10,000 shoes and hosts podcasts about “one fantastic shoe” every month. And, shoes aren’t the only thing on display. The museum also held an art exhibit featuring socks and the history of their humble beginnings.
The curious thing about socks is that they often lose their mates and become a source of clutter. Unlike those featured at the Bata, the ones in your home can end up under your bed and in between the sofa cushions. They are also often relegated to the dark recesses of shopping bags when Justin Case comes for a visit.
“I’ll keep this sock, just in case its mate turns up.”
Does that sound familiar? When we misplace an item from a matching set, we tend to hang on to them for a while, especially when the items cannot be used without each other (such as a gadget and its power cord). We probably keep lonely socks because we still see some value in them, even though they are now orphaned and we may not want them anymore. Fortunately, there are uncluttered alternatives to keeping mateless socks:
  1. Wear them! This may not seem as obvious (or maybe it’s so obvious that it’s often overlooked), but you can still wear them. You can make a pair using another lonely sock and wear them around the house.
  2. Use them as padding in your packages. Clean socks can be used inside packages to protect the items that you’re mailing. This is a good way to keep the contents of your package safe, but you should let the recipient know that the socks can be discarded.
  3. Use them to protect holiday decorations. You can store some of your holiday decorations (like ornaments) inside the socks before packing them away.
  4. Dust with them. I’m not a fan of dusting, so this is my least favorite option, but you can add mateless socks to your cleaning supplies. Just be sure to keep a specific number of sock dusters so that you don’t end up cramming more and more of them in with your supplies.
  5. Use them in craft projects. This is perhaps the most fun way to repurpose socks (especially for children). From sock puppets to doll accessories, get creative and make something new. Looking for inspiration? Check out the book The Lonely Sock Club: One Sock, Tons of Cool Projects!.
  6. Make a pet toy. If you have pets, you can make a cool tug-of-war toy for them. Have a look at this tutorial from Real Simple on how to make one. If you have a cat, you can stuff a little cat nip inside it, close it up, and watch your cat go nuts. You may also want to check with your local animal shelter to find out if they have a need for them.
The next time you end up with orphaned socks, be sure that they don’t overstay their welcome and turn into another source of clutter. You can use one of the suggestions above to breathe new life into them, but remember that it really is okay to let them go if you have no use for them.
                                        Six things that suck the life out of                                                                            
                                                 your   productivity
When I taught pre-school children (way back when), I would have the kids jump up and down to “shake the wigglies out” before working on projects that required their sustained attention. This allowed them to have a bit of fun before starting to work, and they were ultimately able to focus and complete their projects more easily. Though I should probably be jumping up and down more (exercising) myself, I’ve noticed that my productivity doesn’t get up to full speed until after I’ve done a fewnon-essential tasks. Though they’re not specifically related to tasks on my to-do list, doing them helps me get into a productive mindset. And, while I’m working, I subscribe to the “silence is golden” rule. I have a better chance of completing tasks efficiently when there’s very little noise and few interruptions.
While it helps to identify the strategies that help you do what you do consistently well, you probably need to figure out the things that cramp your productivity style, too. Are there particular things that throw you off track? A recent article on Mashable suggested that there five things that you should stay away from so that you can get more done (like not sleeping enough), and I’m sharing six more that you should consider kicking out of your regular routine.

Having poor eating habits

This one goes along with not exercising enough (or exercising too much), not drinking enough water, and not taking regular breaks. Lest you start thinking that I sound a bit like your mother, there are some statistics to back up this suggestion. A study published by Population Health Management found that …
Employees with an unhealthy diet were 66 percent more likely to report having experienced a loss in productivity than those who regularly ate whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Employees who exercised only occasionally were 50 percent more likely to report having lower levels of productivity than employees who were regular exercisers.
So, in order to be at your best, take care of yourself and refrain from…

Moving at the speed of light

There are many benefits of slowing down and keeping your pace at a speed that doesn’t make your head spin. Taking your time means that you’ll likely be better at deciding what your priorities are. You’ll also be able to give your full attention to your most important tasks without feeling frazzled.

Trying every productivity strategy

There are many strategies that can motivate you to get stuff done, but not all of them will be the right fit for you. For example, if you know deep down you’re a paper person, use a paper calendar, a notebook, and handwrite your to do list instead of investigating digital options. Gadgets and digital solutions may seem bright and shiny for a moment, but if they don’t suit you, they won’t really help you in the long run. The same is true for how you set up your environment. If you get tons done when you have music playing, go for it. But, if you prefer silence, then keep the music off.
Once you find “the one,” stick to it. Yes, you may need to use a new technique when your life changes, but when you find a system that works well with your learning and work styles, don’t spend any unnecessary time checking out other things.

Working only on other people’s stuff

Sometimes it may seem that you’re getting a lot accomplished, but are those tasks that you’re checking off your to-do list yours? Or do they belong to someone else? It’s nice to help your colleagues, but not at the expense of your own responsibilities. Set aside time to assist others but ensure that you’re giving priority to your own projects. You also need to be careful so you’re not …

Taking on too much

In the spirit of being helpful and wanting to be a team player, you may say yes to any or all opportunities that are offered to you. (Can you really take that board position and coach the basketball team?) Instead, be more selective about what you choose to take on and figure out if accepting something new will negatively impact your life in other ways. Think about the time commitment and, before you say yes, take a look at your calendar and task list to see if you really can accept new projects. Your stock response when other people make requests of your time should be, “let me check my calendar and get back to you.” Save the “yes” responses only for those rare times when you know your boss will be very upset if you don’t jump right in.

Having no way to keep yourself accountable

Whether you’re working on personal or work-related goals, you will need to find a way to hold yourself accountable so that you can meet those goals. If you have no way of tracking your progress, you probably won’t accomplish the necessary tasks. An easy way to work toward completing your goals/projects is to set deadlines and/or milestones. Add due dates and milestones to your calendar (or project management program) and use “naked planning” to your benefit by scheduling regular check-in meetings others involved in the project.
If you can avoid these six productivity traps, you should be able to get things done on time and done well.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


Melva George Halliday will be one hundred and three years old this December 9, 2012. Sometimes I think she knows me when we visit. Other times she asks me where my wife is and how the boys are growing. She tells me about her little house on Braid Street and her garden. She wants to go back there by bus. She misses the independence it gave her. She gets lost easily but motors around pretty good with her feet in a wheel chair. I got scared a few weeks ago when she had a fall and would not get out of bed or eat much. She misses her organic home grown vegetables that have a lot more taste than the puree mushy ones at the Kiwannis Care Center. They take good care of her there and provide her with a comfortable living situation safe for her. She is fed healthy meals with a lot of variety and lots of coffee. Her eyesight and hearing are failing making it harder and harder to communicate with her. She refuses to get cataracts removed, consider glasses or wear a hearing aid since she's over one hundred she thinks it's futile. I disagree. The children aren't keen on visiting her room but downstairs is less scary for them and less smelly too. There is a fish tank, a dining and living type room with giant televisions and a garden to look at out the windows. The get a lot of attention from the other residents. They seem to get a kick out of seeing the children. I guess they do not get a lot of children running around there. The center provides a lot of activities but her hearing and sight prevent her from participating. She finds it too frustrating. I love her dearly but feel very alone in that. I think I have a cousin who visits sometimes and possibly my half sister. She has one out of three sons left alive who in his eighties, lives in Ladysmith. He has 4 children that know her too. She has a few pictures in frames but what happened to all her memorabilia and possessions I do not know. Luckily I was able to track her down when she was taken from her home after a series of falls. Every time she was moved I had a job finding her. Now that my father has died I'll be lucky to be notified if she passes away, by my family that is. She always said, "Our family isn't very close." I suppose they aren't too interested as my own dad wasn't particularly interested in us. Actually he would not recognize me sitting next to him outside on a bench or hanging around him as he walked through the mall. He was an alcoholic, womanizer, chronological liar, drinking driver, diabetic, gambler with a few wives and children and destruction in his path but with "No regrets" according to him. He ended up very lonely and had been threatening to commit suicide when he suddenly died. The only way I found out was by accident through the NWPD. Ancient history. I do care about my grandmother and it's difficult to see her gone. In a sense she has already left us. There is a bit of dementia going on and a lot of forgetfulness. "When you are over a hundred you are always tired." she says. I hope I do not live that long because i am already feeling exhaustion frequently and i cannot imagine being like she is now. I was told by my Uncle H not to mention my father's death since she seems to relive her grief each time but sometimes when she recognizes me she knows. I can see it in her eyes and tear fall. Some days she tells us to "Get lost." or "Beat it." When she is having a good day it is a better visit. She still is physically pretty good and able to do a lot more than most her age. I think it's because of all her healthy living. She has out lived two of her sons so far. Bob her eldest died at the Garfield Hotel of Hepatitis addicted to Methadone. He was a walking zombie in the streets of New Westminster long before that. She used to delight in her flowers and vegetables and was forever outside in her garden. She used rain water to wash her hair and a roller washer to washer her clothes under her house. She never wasted anything and was good at repurposing anything she had since she grew up in the great Depression. She stopped giving Christmas gifts then and wasn't starting now she used to say. In her eighties she frequently enjoyed dancing and playing cards at the Century House until someone unknowingly sat in her seat and she refused to return to her weekly cribbage games. Her homemade pies were quite nice made with her neighbor, Mr. Card's transparent apples or her own berries and currents from the bushes outside in her yard. Everyday she enjoyed the puzzles from the newspaper and her index finger was bent to an angle from knitting her own socks and sweaters. Last week she told me about the time she knit herself a long long coat, a whole coat from top to bottom she repeated a few times. She no longer knits and cannot think well enough to play scrabble or crib or do the crosswords but she's hanging in there. After her last fall I was so worried she would waste away, staying in bed, sleeping as long as a cat does, not eating so much. Luckily she decided to get up and be brave. It must be scary to fall and not be able to get up on your own. I cannot imagine. They have cut her hair, very very short. She claims the hairdresser will be returning to finish the job. She used to cut her hair on her own. I was shocked when I first saw it like I saw who she really is now for the first time. I mourn the loss of her personality the most. After about 20 minutes with the children there she lets me know it's time to get going and we say good bye. I'm glad I haven't had to say it for this life so far. Patrick wanted to cook her some roast beef for her birthday but usually she has a hard time chewing and spits food out once there's no more flavour left. I remember she used to say about her sister Laura, "She has a tube down her throat and she cannot eat anything. How dreadful that must be." We'll bring her some chocolate and perhaps some ice cream or a black forest cake. That will make her happy.  She worries about things getting stolen and has every right too. Her room is by the nursing station so lots of residents wander in if the velcro guard isn't up. Things disappear unless you hide them especially sweets. I imagine people just think of it as helping themselves. I am trying to think what we can do with her but am at a loss but thinking of snakes and ladders. It's hard to watch her age so rapidly as she always seemed so young at heart while I was growing up. Avalina likes to say she must have been very beautiful a long time ago. Ella likes to say greatgramma greatgamma when she hears us talking about her or on the way to and from her place, the place where she is now. I too miss her home and the tours of her garden, her meals, her adventures, her laughter but we can usually get some smiles if it's early enough in the day and she has had a good sleep. I remember she would always visit anyone she knew in hospital and in rest homes when she was getting around more easily. She enjoyed writing and receiving letters from family and friends. She loved to talk and usually you could not get a word in edgewise. She also liked to go to the race track and visit Lynn Canon occasionally. She did not like to eat in restaurants or go to the mall too much. Her favorite flower is a pansy and her favorite treat chocolate covered macadamia nuts. 
This was a nice walk down memory lane for me. Thanks for listening. 

Yikes I forgot about you and me

 Lesson Learned by Phil: Don't leave your overgrown haired son alone with scissors at Lola's house or he'll get a haircut and a really bad one!
 Anastasia Grade Two reading up a storm, coping with her emotions, loving art and dancing and rhythmic gymnastics and the photo booth obviously.
 Manong Marvin is looking like a teenager with growing feet, hair where there wasn't any, clogged pores, attitude sometimes, enjoying Scouts, Friends and Food most of all. He's been volunteering at the breakfast club and likes to get up early!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Camp Crop-A-Lot Autumn 2012

One of the classes offered will be similar to this one above with 12 cards in total. Twelve delightful pretty homemade holiday cards go a long way especially since Christmas is far enough away for you to make more of these kinds of cards. We'll be getting out the glue, glitter, spray bottles, embossing powders there will be plenty of sponging going on. These cards are definitely sponge worthy!

Scentsational Season clean, simple, crisp 3"x3" mini cards. These cards evoke smellories for me. I love the smell of pine, mint, chocolate at Christmas time!  Perfect for the busy stamper during the holidays!  Envelopes included.
There's a mini album coming and more….

Monday, August 20, 2012

Joel and Breanne

Mt. Lehman Winery out in Abbotsford and the location of my cousin's Canada Day wedding.  The reception was held under a tent on the winery grounds, overlooking the vineyard. It was very picturesque. Joel and Breanne’s wedding was very much an expression of their personalities, both original, sweet, and it felt so intimate . The proposal story is adorable and so are the first date stories. How did they meet you may ask. Well, Breanne saw Joel from his band website while shopping at Value Village, she contacted him through facebook and then they got together and getting to know one another was a dream come true for both of them. So of course we gave them a gift certificate. Wait it's still in my purse but will make it's way to them. 
Gifts were in the barn in a vintage suitcase displayed on a table covered in vintage linens. The bridesmaids’ dresses were all previously loved for under $50 each all different – but matching nicely. Table cloths were actually thrifted bed sheets cut to fit the tables and the afternoon tea was served in vintage china cups, saucers and plates. The centre pieces were made from jars and vases collected, and dressed up, holding dried flowers, dried themselves and potted succulents that were then transplanted into their garden. Also there was a serve-yourself candy table. The wedding cake sat on a vintage plate as well beside a display of photographs of the couple. The barn where the ceremony took place was decorated too and they did a lovely job! 
One of the neatest displays at the wedding was a hutch that had photos of their parents and grandparents weddings various picture frames; a wonderful way to honour their heritage and highlight the importance of family. They rented some items from Trove Vintage Rentals & Handmade Affairs and found other items adding them to their home afterwards.  One of Joel and Breanne’s favourite pieces is an old antique stereo that held their register. I could tell by some of the fabrics she was a child of the 80's for sure. 
Next month another bride will be wearing her beautiful dress. One of their family friends made all the jam served with the scones and tea. How awesome is that?! Her bridesmaids were two of her close friends and Joel's sisters. They seemed pretty tight knit. Aren't the flowers gorgeous? I wonder whose ear that is. 
I asked Breanne why they decided to do their wedding this way. This is what she wrote to me: [reblogged from Thrift Shopper for Peace]
One, it was frugal. Since we are both poor students with tight budgets we didn’t want to financially overburden our parents. Two, we really value simplicity and wanted our wedding to reflect that. Three, we love old things and love being able to support organizations like MCC and Bibles for Missions which donate their proceeds to important causes. Four, we were turned off by the mass consumerism that has been generated by weddings and wanted to avoid getting sucked into it. Five, I just love crafting and if I can make something myself, I am all over it! And six, we really wanted our wedding to be reflective of our values, lifestyles and who we are as a couple.
P.S. These pictures came from Thrift Shopper for Peace. Check out her fabulous blog! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

manghi insanity

Is my husband insane? Maybe it's me? Right now he is working on the yard. He has a lot of fancy Japanese garden ideas with a pond which I am trying not to squash. I do not want a pond with small children running around and I am skeptical that it will become as he pictures. Lately I have been practicing visualizing in order to use my left brain or something….I think some folks can picture things in there mind with more accuracy and maybe even move them around. I decided that possibly I may do this as well with some practice but each time I try to I see a scummy pond full of frogs and other things children have thrown in including barbie heads and plastic pieces of toys or broken computer parts and packaging, not to mention papers large and small in various sizes. Anyway I have given up on filling the hole each time he goes to work because that just wasn't working. He can dig deeper and faster than I can and get less dirt on his feet. The 'hole' has been filled with weeks for a little while now and I cannot pull them out as fast as my children can mess up the kitchen with stepped on crackers or soggy cheerios so I gave that up too! I am so grateful we have a yard now don't get me wrong but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of additional work it provides. Also my husband loves to shop FOR PLANTS! This spring he went crazy making hanging baskets. Those dang people who lived here before had already hooks all around the deck! They also were close to retirement and designed the yard to be low maintenance, God bless them with volcano rocks and very little grass plus a huge garage to enable the next owners-us to leave things like broken washing machines, various bicycles, barbecues, furnitures, old mattress', malfunctioning fridges, recycling, half fixed items belonging to other ward members. There are some borrowed then broken things- do not lend him anything! -when he breaks it he buys a new one to replace and then keeps the new said item and plans to fix the borrowed one. Plus there is anything his brothers bring over and leave here. Now he is installing and working like a dog every day off and after work A BOARDWALK over the stepping stones with a lovely little path bordered by railway ties leading to the garage. There is cement mixing, wheel barrels, digging, sawing, comments like, "I am not a carpenter" in a Filipino accent, measuring, ropes, swearing, tools accumulating, lumbar heaving, several trips to Lowe's in between and lots of dirt coming in our house. It's like pig pen lives here. It's hard enough to keep an only bathroom floor used by six people clean as it is. It's driving me up the wall. Not only does he work during the cooler hours of the day but the hot ones too. INSANE i tell you! I love him dearly not queerly but right now I want to put a bucket on his head and beat it with the post hole digger. A metal bucket, good thing we do not have. Maybe I will just ask him to kindly wipe his feet, put all packaging in the nearby recycling and garbage bins, close the basement door to keep the bugs out, hose himself down outside and enlist the missionaries to teach him while helping, eat outside, feed his children while I am at work and take a chill pill. Don't sweat the small stuff .I keep telling myself that and taking deep breaths and taking the children to the park! He is a fabulous father but handy he is not. He does work as a janitor slash maintenance man but his dad who is quoted above is an office type who doesn't really like to get dirty and detests assembling anything because it takes him two days. I won't even mention the perfectionist part of my darling knight in previously shinning armour because I know how sleep deprivation can make you think! What a big load getting all that off my chest! Park here we come. Wait they already left without me with three cousins in tow. I better grab the lunch and head out the door! This from a mommy who barely has time to brush her teeth and read her beloved scriptures as she rushes and rushes and rushes.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pick and Mix your own teas

Don't Eat the Paste: We picked and mixed our own herbal tea (tisane): Wild Chamomile Blossom - Taken by Shala Kerrigan In the last few years, I've been making a point of showing William and TG what's edible…
Check out this recent post from Shala full of good information. I found it interesting and I love eating my plants too! Please Don't Eat the Paste but DO enjoy her fabulous blog!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lotsa Visiting in June 2012

 Aunty Granny Trudy Ruding's Giant CAKE!

 Relatives came from Toronto and New Jersey, Richmond, Surrey and more places...
 Lina with Alyssa and E.J.
 They're posing for the camera together with Faythe and Alyssa.
 They were so nice and friendly and inclusive. I really enjoyed getting to know them better.

 Angels getting ready! Daddy with the Boy playing games.

Just wonderful memories we made! 

 so many cousins….so little time….but lots of food and fun
 cousins and BFFs
 drumming and singing and mark on guitar at lolas
 there's ella

 girls got along like they had been close friends forever

 it was so good to get to know this part of the family better!
 grace and oscar's place outside, too bad i had to work
 tickling at home
 party set up for Lola Eltrudis
 Avalina close up
 mom, carlos, alisa, isabel, nancy, marites, josh, bogs
 Lobster Fest at Deer Lake with Yhong&Phil
Note to self: no more high heels especially when there's grass involved.
 hanging out with family
 making music
 Uncle V with EJ
 Hovito with daughter number 2 and daughter number 3
 party time
All the angels gave Auntie Ruding a rose. 
 Summer unhappy in Yasmin's lap i guess...
 Aunty Pet we hadn't see you since 2002! It was so nice to see you again!
 Breakfast time! Pat made his famous buttermilk pancakes!
 Uncle Russel, Untie Elena, Aunty Pet and Uncle V - above and below.

 Pat shared his secret family pancake recipe with his cousins from NJ and took everybody over early in the morning to cook them up at Lola's house.
 Rhey's sons two brothers Rabara
 Brothers and Sisters Rabara
 Hugs and Giggles

 Tristan with his mommy. Ain't she pretty!
 under the table at parties when you are little is always fun!