My Magical (Almost) Perfect Day!

shoes and buttons

I’m sure we’ve all had special days that we’ve planned months in advance, down to the very last detail, eagerly awaiting, only to have the day fail to live up to our expectations. Birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, you name it. I’ve certainly been there, and it sucks. In reality, sometimes the very best days cannot be planned. Today was one of those days.

My friend Anna and I both had the day off work and were greatly in need of “me” time. So, we dropped off our little ones at their respective daycares and headed for a nearby town, about 45 minutes away, with vague plans of grabbing lunch and checking out a thrift store for funky buttons. We were looking forward to the day, but in kind of a laid-back, non-committal way.

We hit up the thrift store first, and we were pleasantly suprised. We sat down on the floor and sorted through bin after bin of buttons. Lots of cute and vintage finds to be had, and we walked away with several pounds of buttons for only $6 each!

We got back in the car, stomachs rumbling, in search of a place to eat. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I spot a small and unassuming sign on the side of the road announcing: “Sample Shoe Sale Ahead!” I quickly swerved into the far right lane, so as not to miss the turnoff, cutting off another car in the process. I offered a friendly “thank-you” wave, and all was well. As we followed the signs, I could feel my heart starting to race. Fireworks went off in my head, and I can’t be sure, but I may have heard angels singing softly in my ear….okay maybe not, but it was a magical moment.

As we parked the car, and walked up to the hotel where the sale was being held, I sternly told myself out loud “Don’t get your hopes up.” I prepared myself for dissapointment, speculating that the shoes were probably hideous, out of style, and either size 5 or size 11. Well, when we walked into the room, we couldn’t have been more pleased. Tables and tables of neatly organized, high-end European leather shoes, in dozens of fabulous, fashionable colours and styles. My eyes glazed over, and it’s possible that I may have been drooling a bit. The bulk of the shoes were size 7 (hence sample sale), but still many styles to choose from in a range of sizes.

Decisions, decisions. It was tough, but we finally settled on a few pairs each. Three pairs for Anna and two for me. But wait, at the last minute, the salesman (and my new BFF) throws in my third pair for FREE, thus relieving the great angst I suffered in trying to narrow it down to two pairs. I even managed to barter on the already rock-bottom prices, despite the saleswoman’s urging that “we don’t do that.” End result, I scored close to $500 worth of shoes for $100. Booyah! Clearly, the shopping gods were watching over us today.

Bags in hand, we headed to a nearby resort and spa for lunch. Fabulous food and super reasonably priced. I’ve honestly spent more for lunch in mall food courts! We topped off the day by stopping off at a local market, where we picked up some cheap art supplies.

Driving home, I remarked to Anna, “You know, we really couldn’t have planned a more perfect day if we tried,” and she agreed.

But alas, all good things come to an end. I came home to an uncharacteristically grumpy toddler. Normally a nap-loving, bed-time requesting delight of a girl, she needed not one, not two, but three visits from mom to help her settle in for the night. Our new puppy Patrick was jumping, nipping, peeing, and digging in the plants. Our neurotic 8 year-old dog senses things aren’t quite right (hubby is out of town for the weekend). So, he barks his awful Stanley bark MUCH more than usual. It truly sounds like the devil himself is trapped in the body of a 20lb terrier and trying to escape. I’m exhausted. The house is not up to my OCD standards. But, I had a wonderful day, and I will tune out the chaos by admiring my shoes.

The Magic of Buttons

I heart buttons

Lately, I’ve become totally addicted to making button art. I think I’ve found my perfect craft! Why?

1. Organizing and sorting my buttons makes my OCD side VERY happy;)
2. You really can’t go wrong, and there is room for mistakes. This is an activity where I can truly give my perfectionism a holiday. It is not needed, and I think taking a more relaxed approach leads to a more creative and successful result. Definitely not the case with sewing, by the way.
3. I find the repetitive task of adding and layering buttons is very relaxing, almost meditative if you will.
4. Best of all, this simple little pastime has had a ripple effect, allowing me to give back to my community and strengthening an already close friendship.

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With regard to the latter, I have been attending a weekly ladies’ sewing night in my community for over a year, which is funded by a great program called Ladysmith Family and Friends (LaFF) . I had so many people interested in my button art, that I took a friend’s suggestion and decided to host a button art class at a recent LaFF sewing night. I purchased canvases, paint, buttons, and brushes at the dollar store. I typed up a brief tutorial on the steps involved in making a button animal. Since a few of the participants were new to crafting, I created animal templates for them to trace using poster board. I charged $10 per person to cover the cost of supplies and to allow me to make a donation to LaFF at the end of the evening. I got great feedback from all the ladies. It was nice to see how others used different techniques and made different colour and style choices than my own. Everyone’s projects turned out great, as you can see below. I made the zebra, which was a custom order.

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The best thing, is that my good friend Anna is now as hooked on button art as I am! She and I get together regularly to craft. She is very talented and I’ve learned a lot from her style, which is bolder and more colourful than my own. I look forward to seeing many more creations from “Anna-Rama Art”! This shared interest has become a major topic of conversation between us, and I think we’ve grown closer because of it. Recently, we took a toddler-free trip out of town for a weekend of shopping, dining, gabbing, and a few drinks. It was fabulous! We even found some treasures at a button store, recommended by another good friend, Marcy.

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Finally, I’m very excited to announce that Unicorn Crossing and Anna-Rama Art will have a table at the Ladysmith Spring Fair on May 3rd and 4th!

http://www.harbourliving.ca/event/ladysmith-spring-fair-your-one-stop-shop-with-local-home-based-businesses/2013-05-03/

Hope to see some of you there:)

A 1950s Birthday Extravaganza!

50s music

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After much planning and great anticipation, my daughter’s second birthday party was a fun-filled blast from the past! I chose the theme carefully, knowing full well that this was likely my last year to have free reign over her party planning. For that reason, I wanted to choose a theme that adults and kids alike would enjoy. Like any good mom, I will throw a Dora the Explorer party should my little one desire, but it certainly isn’t something I’m going to offer up as a suggestion;)

Now that K and all her friends are rambunctious toddlers, I made the decision to rent a hall for the party, rather than host another party in our home. This was probably one of the single best decisions I have made all year! Words cannot describe how wonderful it was not to fret over spilled popcorn, cupcake crumbs, and sticky fingerprints. Bliss I tell you, pure bliss.

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Guests entered the hall to upbeat 1950s classics, such as “Rockin’ Robin,” “Hound Dog,” and “Stand by Me.” A candy shoppe was set up where guests could help themselves and fill their own bag of treats. Party favours included a record with each child’s name on it, a jar of 1950s party mix, and for the girls, a custom made poodle hair clip. For lunch and snacks we served hot dogs, veggies and dip, deviled eggs, chips, and popcorn in little theatre-style boxes. I purchased Coca-Cola six packs in the retro glass bottles. Dessert included an ice cream cake with a poodle on it and cupcakes.

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Throughout the hall, I displayed several of K’s baby photos in frames. Two large posters were hung on the walls- one was from K’s first birthday “cake smash” and the second was a picture of K in front of a jukebox. I made a large Happy Birthday sign using coroplast and old records. We hired a photographer (Courtney Hawkins Photography) who set up a photo booth for families to have their pictures taken. Photo props included hula hoops, an inflatable guitar, and cateye glasses. K and I dressed in the full 1950s attire- poodle skirts and all. I found my skirt at Value Village and K’s on a Facebook Swap and Shop group, then added poodle appliques. We were delighted that friends and family got right into the theme, with many of them dressing up as well.

Overwhelmed with gifts from her first birthday, we decided to make this year a “Toonie Party.” Guests brought one toonie for K’s piggy bank and one for charity. Of course, some guests couldn’t resist bringing a gift as well. Our talented friend Marcy sewed matching dresses for K and her American Girl doll. In keeping with the theme, Mommy and Daddy bought K a pink retro play kitchen from Costo and her Grammy stocked it with play food, pots and pans, and utensils.

All in all, I think everyone had a great time. We were so happy to share K’s special day with good friends and family. Looking forward to seeing what the year will bring for her:)

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