Author: Ali

Garden

Hard Working Man

We are currently in the process of building a playhouse in our backyard for Meegs to enjoy.  I use the word “we” loosely, because really, Kevin’s building it.  But hey, what’s a project without a supervisor, right? Watching him out the window building what will likely be her very favourite spot in our yard, makes me smile. Smile, and cringe. Watching tar paper rolling off the roof, one-foot-top-wrung-of-the-ladder reaches, and sunscreen-less 30 degree days spent putting up walls are what lead to the cringing. I have to look away or I’d be constantly shouting out the window “be careful!” and “do you want me to hold that ladder?”  I’ve learned that my help, while silently appreciate I’m sure, isn’t as well received as I might hope.

Meegs often says “Daddy is a hard working man,” and he really is. Much of his spare time is spent doing things to make our life better, or more fun.  It’s easy to forget how much time and effort it takes to do what he does, and it’s equally as easy to ask “What’s wrong? You seem cranky. What can I do to help?” when all that hard working Daddy really wants is a nap. Because 3 am comes early every morning, and those of us with the luxury of the summer off tend to forget that he continues to work before the crack of dawn, in addition to building the house that childhood dreams are made of.

An overnight visit with my aunt was on Meegs’ agenda for the last 2 days, and while Kevin (frighteningly) puts the roof on the playhouse, I sit on the porch reflecting on how legitimately thankful I am that he is ours. Because after all, he’s a hard working man.

Looking Good

Flocked Nails Tutorial

You will need:
  • Nail polish of choice
  • Matching colour flocking (I found mine at Hobbycraft in the card making section, but I’m sure you can easily find it online too, try searching for “Fun Flock”.
  • A little bowl or dish to catch the excess flocking (you only really need this is you don’t want to waste it!)
  • Nails (false or otherwise!)

Begin by painting the nails with one coat in your chosen colour. If you are doing this on real nails I would advise using a base coat. Then, doing each nail individually, paint on a second coat &…

…very quickly, pour lots of flocking over the top of the wet nail. You will need to be really quick, when I did this a second time on my real nails, some of the flocking came off because I wasn’t quick enough putting it on & the polish was already drying. This is also why you will need to do one nail at a time 😛

Shake off the excess flocking, & voila, you are done! Repeat for all your nails & you should end up with a manicure that looks a little like this:

Hope that helped some of you, see, I told you it was simple 🙂

Crafts

Weekend Project

My weekend ended up being pretty great, despite my fears that Mother’s Day would be incredibly difficult.  I was spoiled rotten, as is always the case thanks to Mr. T. and the kids.  Mr. T. picked out a really pretty hydrangea plant for the garden, Sex and the City Movie on DVD, and this gorgeous orchid.

 

Isn’t it pretty? And check out my owl – sneak peak of next week’s spray painting extravaganza post Winking smile As gorgeous as the orchid is, it was dwarfed by the beauty of this flower:

Mimi made me a present at daycare and then snuck the bag into her room to hide it.  I was so impressed – when I was a kid I couldn’t keep a secret to save my life.  Then, after about 24 hours in her room, she moved the back to the coffee table, then the kitchen table, and then she told me to please move my Mother’s Day flower present to the TV cabinet.  She’s my child.

With Mr. T tackling the household chores, I headed to the basement to figure out what to do with my new corkboard.  I decided Saturday that I needed a place to organize my notes and scraps of paper I seem to be collecting.  I write recipes on napkins, blog post ideas on post it notes, and then – whoops, they’re gone.  I decided bigger was better, and Mr. T screwed it to the wall downstairs where I’m setting up bloggin’ shop.

Very practical, right? It’s enormous, and will have room to organize this blog and my Prior Fat Girl posts, and of course meal plans and various assorted other things.  But, and it’s a big BUT, it was ugly.  Hmm, what to do?

Fabric collection to the rescue!  I love fabric, and keep buying it with the intention of sewing something fabulous, and then it doesn’t happen. So I dug through fuzzy pink monkey flannel, green sequined silk, and found this!

Perfect.  I unscrewed the corkboard that had been put up just hours earlier, laid it on top of the wrong side of the fabric (the side without the pattern), and grabbed the staple gun (and Mr. T).

Put one staple in the middle of the first side of fabric, pull it tight, and put another staples in the middle of the opposite side.  Follow this same process for the other 2 ends, and then, start stapling around the rest of the board.  Tip: keep the fabric pulled as tightly as possible for the best results.

 

Now THIS is a place to post inspiring thoughts.  Only one problem:

An unsightly screw that needs some camouflaging.  I am kind of obsessed with buttons right now, and tried a few of them there, but it just wasn’t doing it for me.  Then I found a cute little ladybug.

They’re supposed to be good luck, so I thought it was a great addition.

One last addition – and now it’s ready to go. Such a fun, and EASY half an hour project.

Garden

Spring Awakening

It’s funny. When I think back to the time in my life when I felt the most like I was doing what I was meant to be doing, it was when I was blogging regularly.  Was there a fulfillment in the constant gratification from comments and page views, or a cathartic nature to the act of writing down what what going on in my life?  I’m not entirely sure, but I’m going to try and find out.

The last year wasn’t the cathartic, take back my health year that I had planned.  It was fraught with sadness, anger, chaos and some of the hardest times our family has ever known. And then there was that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. The a-ha moment.  I could find more tacky cliches, but I’ll quit while I’m ahead.  I changed my way of thinking.  The workplace that I used to love but dreaded returning to? I didn’t go back, and I let go of the idea that success in life is tied to money and career.

When was the last time I was truly happy? When I was home with Meegs, working part time, blogging, making dinner every night, spending time with family and friends.  So guess what? I’m working part time, making dinner every night, blogging and spending time with family and friends.  I’ve found balance. The last time that there was balance in my life? I couldn’t even tell you.
So here is to a spring of reawakening old interests, of balance and enjoying the small things in life.  I’m ready. Are you?
Family

New Blog Beginning

I’m not normally a big fan of New Year’s Eve, or the resolutions that often come around at this time of year, but this year I’m feeling the need for change.  I’m ready for 2014 to be over, and this year I won’t be making any resolutions other than to commit to living the best life I can.

What exactly does this mean?

It means that I want to focus more on living a life I can be proud of, and find the positive elements that are always there, if you’re looking for them.  This year will be about rediscovering who I am – not the me I used to be, or the mom, or wife – but the me I really want to be for myself and for my family!

When I started blogging a year ago, I never dreamed I’d stumble upon this amazingly supportive community that has welcomed me with open arms, supported me through some of the toughest times of my life, and continues to inspire me to be a better, healthier person – serendipitous, wouldn’t you say?

I started “Fat to Fit” as a way of chronicling my weight loss efforts, and over the course of the year, I started to feel like I had painted myself into a blogging corner.  Weight loss and healthy living – that’s what I should be blogging about……. Then it hit me – this is my blog, I can blog about anything I want (what a revelation, eh?)

So, over the last few months, as a took a much needed hiatus from blogging (and quite frankly, from life…..) I re-evaluated what I wanted this blog to be about.  You’ll probably be less than shocked to learn that I want this blog to be about my life.  I will continue to strive for a healthier me in 2015, and I can’t wait to be blogging about that too – but a healthier me is in both body and spirit!  Making myself a priority again will be an interesting struggle, and I’ve been inspired by people like Lynn and Jenny who’ve started style blogs, and who knows, maybe I’ll explore some of that too!  Health, weight loss, family, style….LIFE!

With a bit of a new focus, I decided the blog needed a new look and a new name.  The name part was difficult.  I wanted it to encompass everything this blog is about – but how do you do that in a few short words?  Then it came to me……Serendipity.  If there is one word that can be used to describe my life it’s serendipitous.  Even when life has seemed to be at its worst, I always seem to stumble upon something fortunate.  Let’s face it, my life has been a series of happy accidents, and I can’t wait to share the next year of these happy accidents with all of you here on A Serendipitous Life!!

If you have a chance, come by and check out the all new look of the blog!  It’s simple, and fresh, and absolutely perfect.

Thanks to you all for the last amazing year, and I can’t wait to see what the next one has in store for me…….

Crafts

Secret Santa

I know it’s been a while since I’ve let you know how things are going in my world, so I thought it was time for a quick update before the Christmas craziness kicks in!

I was so excited when Jessica asked if I wanted to be part of a Canadian Blogger Christmas Gift Exchange, and knew I had to do it!  After we filled out a questionnaire about our likes and dislikes, I couldn’t wait to see what I’d get from my Secret Santa!

Wow, I was not disappointed! So much thought went into my gift. Thanks, Secret Santa!

And some unpictured Candy Cane Lane Tea (which Mr. T. and I searched for in every store in town and came up empty handed).

*****

Christmas this year isn’t the same without my mom, but we’re making the best of it I’m so thankful for the kids – isn’t that what the holidays are all about?  Healthy living has been, quite frankly, non-existent and I’m not focusing on that right now – just saying “it’s alright”and moving on.

In other news, my new blog is just about ready, and I’m hoping for a new (blogging and life) start January 1st!  Stay tuned!

Crafts

Handmade Christmas Gifts

As well as a Hello Kitty set & bear that I made for my cousins, I also made the majority of everyone else’s. I didn’t make anything for my sister, because she had declared earlier in the year that she hates (my) handmade stuff. I don’t know, her loss I guess! I ended up buying her lots of cheap trinkets instead, but moving on… I made this lap quilt for my Mum with scraps of fabric I had.
My first proper quilt, & it’s definitely not perfect, but she loved it! I don’t have a quilting foot on my machine, so this took forever, haha, & instead of making life easier for myself & quilting from one end to the other in straight lines I decided to quilt each patch with a square. Not fun! I ended up finishing this the day before Christmas Eve. As you can see Button wanted to help me out with pics, but he’s cute so I hope you don’t mind 😛

I made these matching initial cushions for my Granny & Grandad. They were another long project, popcorn stitch is another thing I’m sick of now, haha! You can’t see, but they are red & white gingham on the back & have feather pillow inserts.

This was another gift for my Mum, I painted 3 illustrations of our little doggies, & then spent hours searching for & then eventually buying a frame that would fit all 3 of them. It’s now hanging in the hallway, & Mum declared it her “favourite gift”. Yay!

For every other adult couple in the family I made them 2 jars of jam & packaged them nicely. My jam was also the main present last year, & everyone seemed to like it, so I made 2 pots this year, strawberry again, & “jumbleberry”, which was a blackberry, raspberry, blackcurrant & redcurrant mix. I also painted the design for the labels, (this isn’t the best pic), of a badger holding a basket of fruit.