Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year! Pop Fizz Clink FREEBIE Printable

That is it lovelies, one more day of 2013! This past year FLEW by but I am really looking forward to 2014 - there are so many exciting things in store and many more great memories to be made.


I was absolutely thrilled to partner up with Tiny Prints this holiday season and got to witness first hand their fantastic customer service and quality holiday cards. I absolutely love my Pop Fizz Clink NYE party invites and matching stickers! To complement my New Year's theme, I whipped up this black and white print for a backdrop to my bar, and if you're needing some last minute NYE party decor, now you can too!

Download your Pop Fizz Clink print here!

And have a HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR! See you in 2014! xox

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Giveaway winners!

Sorry all for the late announcement - technical difficulties over here!

Time for some winners! The tiny print $30 GC goes to Nyd! Did you know tiny print has everything from iPad cases to lucite trays to notepads? So many fun things to look through!

And winner of the digital design by moi (can be used next year as well if you've already done your cards), is Betsy!

Ladies, email me to claim your prizes! Jen@shopthesociety.com

Congratulations Nyd and Betsy!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Print Your Own Photo Cards 2013 and Tiny Prints GIVEAWAY

It's that time of year again. Christmas card time! I'm usually done mine and have them out the door end of November but I've been really slow this year - not quite sure why. If you're a little late to the party like me, doing a custom photo card that you can print in a jiffy at Costco/Walmart etc is a great solution. Of course, nothing beats my card-crush Tiny Prints (absolutely loving their glitter collection this year!), but these DIY ones work as extras when you run out of your fancy printed ones, and are great because they can be reprinted within no time if you need more. 

I'm only doing a few designs this year (well, one is new, two are updated versions), but you can check out last year's designs here and feel free to email me if you'd prefer one of those! Etsy listing can be found here and they are also up on my website.

Oh, and because who doesn't love a giveaway - leave a comment below to enter to win one of TWO prizes:

1) A $30 Tiny Prints Gift Certificate

2) A custom photo card design from the Paper Society

Winner announced Dec 13th by 10 PM EST.








What are you doing for Christmas cards this year?

xo
J

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Adventures in DIY Flocking an Artificial Christmas Tree

I have always wanted a white Christmas tree. So badly, in fact, that I came very close to spray painting our hand me down artificial tree last year (seemed pretty messy and tedious so I skipped that idea).

Then one day in mid-November, I came home to a white Christmas tree. Hubby had surprised me with it, along with a new assortment of gold, silver and white ornaments (and six bottles of wine sitting underneath it - he knows me so well). Sweet man had taken note, and on the 8th anniversary of the day we decided to be more than just friends (a date we hadn't acknowledged for a while), he tried to fullfill my lifelong white tree dreams.

To make a long story short, I returned it. I found a bigger, better one for a better deal so tree #1 went back (yup, I'm that wife). I decorated it, and then stepped back and looked at it, and it wasn't working. White, for once, just wasn't right. It was just too white. It didn't have that magical Christmas feel to me. Perhaps had we splurged on an uber expensive one it would have felt different, but this tree just wasn't for me.

Tree #2 went back to the store, and a third tree put up in it's place. This time, it was our old artificial tree, the one we've put up every year since we've been married. But, I couldn't do the green anymore. Some faux trees are realistic looking - ours is not. The green is just... so greeny. So after some soul searching (and wine drinking), I decided that faux flocking my tree was the way to go.

There are a bunch of "recipes" out there including everything from soap flakes to shaving cream. I went the shaving cream route and was flocking happy with the results!

To flock an entire 7.5 foot tree (every single branch) it took TWELVE batches of the following recipe:

1 cup Elmer's All Purpose Glue (not the kiddie version)
3 cups Generic foam shaving cream
1 tbsp Corn starch

Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer for a few minutes or until stiff peaks form.

For application:
I started from the very bottom of the tree (I kept it in it's pieces so flocked the bottom third first, then put on the second tier to flock, and then put the top on to finish it up).

To help mask the nasty green, I decided to flock every single branch thoroughly. I filled my palm with my fluffy mixture and massaged it into each branch. After half the tree was done, I had dozens of little cuts in my hands. Learn form my mistakes - wear gloves! I put gloves on for the remainder of my flocking session and was much more comfortable.







Be warned - this is not a quick process. All in all, it took me about 4 - 5 hours to finish the tree, but I'm so happy with how it turned out.

Let the flock dry for at least 24 hours (preferably more). It dries nice and spongey - not hard and crusty. It DOES flake off when you move it, add ornaments, etc to a certain extent, but a quick sweep will clean up the mess and it won't effect your flocking result.

Also, if your tree is pre-lit, you really have two options (that I can think of). Tape off each light with painters tape (which would be WAY too much work in my opinion), or flock over those flocking lights and call it a day! I decided to go this route and then add more lights post-flocking (and leave the ones I flocked over unplugged.)

I'll try and get pictures of the finished and decorated tree up this weekend! Until then, is this something you would try, or have tried?


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reverse Bow Art | Easy DIY Gift Idea

I spent the weekend crafting and playing with my new gold foil sheets and my Silhouette. Oh the fun things you can do with a craft cutter and some gold foil! I could have spent days playing around, but alas the weekend ended and I had to get back to real life.

One of my favourite creations was a simple gold bow on white paper - classic, perfect for the holidays and all year round, and definitely a nice bit of Kate Spade inspired whimsy.

While I was playing around with the bow shape I designed, and the many cuts I made, I had an idea. Instead of putting a gold foil bow onto white cardstock, what if I cut it out of the white cardstock, and put my gold glitter wrapping paper behind it? So I did.

What I love most about using this for a gift is that it can be personalized - a piece of wrapping paper from a bridal shower, fabric from a baby's quilt or a wedding dress, a newspaper or magazine clipping, pages from a favourite book ... the options are endless!

If you don't have a craft cutter, you could always try an exacto knife - or cut a simpler shape like a heart.




What's your favourite DIY gift to give?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gold and Glitter

What's white, gold and black all over?

Snapshots of my Christmas crafting weekend - so many more to come, as well as a tutorial (not pictured) of a project I completed that I am OBSESSED with. Hint, it's flocking amazing!








Saturday, November 16, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide | Gold, black and white all over!



As much as I love gift giving, I LOATHE gift buying. I may be a rare kind, but I stress myself out big time trying to find the perfect gift for someone. I am extremely indecisive, and usually end up buying multiple gifts for the same person before finally narrowing down what I'd like to give them. And I usually end up buying two of everything... one for me, one for you, one for me, one for you. Yup, I'm that person!

This year (okay, and last year, and the year before that), I'm loving all things gold and black and white. Such a timeless colour combo that melds my favourites- the holidays with a little old Hollywood flair. If you're stumped on what to get the ladies if your life, this round up covers all the bases, from affordable smaller gifts, to splurges for those closer to you. And of course, I would be thrilled to receive any of these gifts (well, except my own print, because, uh, that would be weird!).


From left to right:

Gold Confettit iPhone Case, $40 , LaFeliz on etsy

Gold Initial, $14.50, Chapters Indigo
Tres Chic Gloves, $58, C Wonder
Lip Tease Mug, $28, Reiko Kaneko on SHOP by Monika

Raison d'etre Print, $10 - $20, The Paper Society
Striped Throw, $128, C Wonder
Limited Edition Gold Brush Set, $29.99, Sonia Kashuk for Target
Bubbly Gold Decanter, $39.50, Chapters  Indigo
Voluspa Room Spray, $20, Chapters Indigo



Thursday, November 14, 2013

FREEBIE | Ho Ho Ho Holiday Print


 I figured it was about time I start filling the empty frames in my house with something other than the stock black and white photo of a family of three whom I do not know. Graphic and typographic prints seemed like the way to go. I whipped up a bunch of designs to play around with - and now I wonder, why didn't I do this before? Such easy, classic art, and a great way to decorate for the holidays as well!

I have a selection of designs available in my shop (Etsy or my online store), but for those of you not scared of your printer, why not download and print for free!

Download the Ho Ho Ho print here and enjoy! And if you feel like sharing, use #thepapersociety to show me how you style your print!





Enjoy! xo J







Monday, November 11, 2013

Holiday Labels and Prints | The Paper Society

Once November 1st hits, I'm R-E-A-D-Y for Christmas! Who's with me?

Hubby isn't as keen as I am, so we are waiting a little bit longer to put up the tree - but that didn't stop me from creating some new labels and printables to get into the holiday spirit! Check out the first preview of my Holiday Collection below (just released on shopthesociety.com) - and come back this week for a pretty awesome giveaway and some free printables!


"Bisous a Tout (kisses to all)" Print (perfect for under the mistletoe!) and



"Ho Ho Ho" Print (shown with upcoming DIY glitter deer print)









These and a few others are listed in the shop (soon to be on etsy as well), with more items coming next week! Stay tuned! #shopthesociety


Monday, October 28, 2013

Look What I Found at the Dollar Store | Halloween Edition

It's been a very long time since I've done a dollar store round up, so I hope you enjoy this one! I haven't done a thorough Dollorama trip since our move to Manitoba, and Halloween crafting was just the excuse I was looking for.

You might know I'm not a fan of most seasonal decor, and the main reason behind that is that I would much rather invest my decorating dollars into something that will hang around for longer than a couple of weeks.

But, if I can source something or DIY it without allocating too much of my vase-allowance, I'm on board. Something that won't look out of place in our house, that will be useful in years to come, and can also double as party decor for those impromptu neighbourhood get togethers.


Those pumpkins? Started as this...


Three gourds, and two packs of mini-gourds set me back $10 ($2 each), along with some rhinestone stickers ($1 each) some faux flowers ($1), napkins ($1 each) and craft chalkboard paint ($1). Straws were $4 from HomeSense, so the total investment for this Halloween vignette was around $20. Not too shabby, especially since the "chalkboard" (painted canvas), straws, flowers and napkins can all be used throughout the year, and the painted gourds will make an appearance in many Octobers to come.





But that's not all I scored at the dollar store! These glass carafes ($1.25 each) were perfect for decanting my vinegars into so that all the jars match in my pantry, but would also be great filled with water and food colouring to resemble potions and blood for some Halloween creep-factor.

The plastic jars are also great for craft supply storage (or for Halloween, fill with spiders or eyeballs) and best of all, they cost just $3 for three.



This set of black frames was only $3! I thought they were separate frames but are in fact all attached, which turned out to make the perfect "wreath" to hang on the front door for Halloween! I'll share that finished project later on this week!


And these doodle-rific notebooks made the Halloween cut off purely because her eyes and face terrify me - but they are cute none the less and for $2, who can complain about creepy eyes?

Have you found any dollar store finds perfect for Halloween?


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Addictive Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Vegan & GF!)




One of my favourite activities around Halloween is to scoop out pumpkin innards and sort the pumpkin seeds during pumpkin carving. It's been a long standing tradition that my mom and I would roast the seeds and while they roasted, we would carve our pumpkins. Last night we had a bunch of our neighbours over for pumpkin carving, and I was thrilled to carry on the tradition in Winnipeg. Since we had a number of good sized pumpkins, I had a lot of pumpkin seeds to sort through and roast. And are they ever tasty.....

I modified my mom's recipe to make it vegan-friendly, but the recipe listed below is her original recipe, with substitutes listed in brackets, and the ones I used in bold.

Seasoned Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup rinsed and paper towel dried fresh pumpkin seeds with shell/husk
1 tbsp butter (or Earth Balance or vegan Becel margarine)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or Braggs Aminos or Soy Sauce or vegan worcestershire)
Good shakes of both garlic powder and seasoning salt to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Melt the butter in the micro or a sauce pan, the  add the rest of the seasonings and stir to make your coating.

Once well mixed, toss with the pumpkin seeds in a bowl until coated.

Spread thinly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Shake a little more seasoning salt on top. (Warning: these are salty - almost salt & vinegar chip salty, so adjust to your taste).

Bake for about 30 minutes or until light golden, then stir and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Take out, stir again, let cool and serve. Bet you can't eat just one! They are incredibly addictive. Such a yummy treat that can be made year round, but I prefer to reserve it just to Halloween so it's something to look forward to every year.

I made both vegan and non-vegan versions last night, and must admit that the Braggs amino (soy sauce) version tasted every bit as delicious as the normal recipe, so give either one a go. I wish I had tried coconut oil instead of margarine, or even no oil at all, to see how it would work. Next year!

Do you roast pumpkin seeds? Do you like them salty or sweet?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Umm....

Are you still with me?

Wow, really? Well, thanks! After an inexcusably long absence, I'm back to say, I'm not really back. I'll leave the consistent blogging to those who do it much better than I, but I certainly hope to pop in now and then with random and occasional updates!

Where I have I been? Well, living! Living in Winnipeg. Between work, the dogs, the hubs, and keeping up our house, I just haven't been able to carve a niche into my day to find a space for creating and blogging. I must admit, I'm also completely uninspired. I absolutely love our neighbourhood, and our house is FANTASTIC for us right now. It is exactly what we needed as newcomers to a new city. There really would have been no other better way for us to be introduced to a new province and I can't imagine we considered buying from afar for even a moment. That said, this isn't my home. I guess if I saw us here for years and years to come, I would feel more inspired to decorate and put my touch on this home- but since it's not the case, I just can't find it in me to do it.

I do still have to tackle our pantry though, and with the in-laws coming to visit for the first time in a week and a half, I think it'll be checked off my list this coming weekend! I also hope to take some pictures of monochromatic dining room, which happens to be my favourite yet most unused room in the house- funny how that happens, hey?


PS. Where did summer go? How is it pumpkin spice latte time already?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

June

Oh what a June it was!

From packing up our house in British Columbia, to saying many many tearful goodbyes...


To leaving our first home and starting our long journey from the West Coast through the Prairies, with many beautiful stops along the way...


To arriving in a province I've never been to move into a house I'd never seen...


If June wasn't full  already with setting up house in an unknown place, I had to add a job hunt and interviews (I landed a GREAT job that I start on Friday thankfully) to the mix. And then, last week, after only 3 weeks of being here, my dear mom visited us and it was wonderful getting to show her  (and me!) around Winnipeg. We also got to meet some long lost family who live here and I'm related to a possibly Olympic-bound curler! Very neat.


I would say June was an exciting, thrilling, and adventurous month and then it turned into an emotional one. My dear Sadie (our first mini dachshund) injured her back and was diagnosed with IVDD (intervertabral disc disease).


It's a serious one and it absolutely crushed us. Thankfully we realized the signs and got her to the vet right away, otherwise we could have risked paralysis setting in fully. She's currently on strict bedrest and can only leave her crate to go to the bathroom (which is so sad because now that she's starting to feel a little better she wants out of that thing so badly!). We only have 7 weeks and few days left to go! It's definitely put a crimp in our summer ... we couldn't join our neighbours for the Canada Day celebration downtown because we had to be home to help Sadie stand up to relieve herself. She's worth it though. (If you ever have questions regarding this disease/ dachshund back problems, please don't hesitate to contact me!)



Needless to say, June hasn't been a month of projects (except for the dining chairs I refinished) or decorating (except for putting our existing stuff into place) so there is still quite a bit to do this summer! I'm IN LOVE with our walk in pantry except for those gosh darn ventilated wire shelves (any advice?). I can't wait to tackle the pantry here and get some great systems organized for the laundry room.

Now, I have about a months worths of blogs to catch up on, so please don't think that I've strayed too far! I can't wait to see what some of you talented people have been up to. Happy Summer!




Sunday, June 9, 2013

Healthy Home | Make Your Own Date Paste

Have you heard of date paste before?

After seeing this nutrition video, I was determined to find some date sugar to be a whole food, healthy alternative to sweeteners in my house. Alas, date sugar was nowhere to be found in stores. Dates? Those I could find. So, I've been using dates to sweeten and add texture to a multitude of recipes for about 6 months or so, and one could call us BFF's.





I buy my medjool dates (the sweeter, tastier kind) at Costco and have found they have by far the best price around. I also buy Parnoosh honey dates in a big container at our grocery store. Although they aren't quite as sweet and decadent as the medjool, they are still sweet, more affordable, and work well for certain recipes. And if all else fails, check your bulk food aisle, because I see dates there all the time.

Now to the paste part. Dates are fantastic and I use them whole frequently, but they do require processing in either a food processor or high speed blender like a Nutribullet or Vitamix for use in most recipes. Many recipes I make with dates I'm already using one of these appliances so it's not a hassel, but sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I just want a quick and easy purreed date to use on the spot. And so that is where date paste comes in.

In a way, it should almost be called "date butter" because the process and end result are very similar to that of a nut butter. Soak, purree, store in a jar. But maybe date paste sounds healthier. Perhaps we should just call it"daste"? No?


Making date paste is ridiculously easy.

1. Stuff your pitted dates into a mason jar
2. Cover with boiling water and soak overnight
3. Drain excess water, and puree in a food processor until smooth consistency
4. Add cinnamon, vanilla bean and/or vanilla extract to taste if you prefer
5. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for anytime use




What can you use dates/ date paste for? Currently, my go to oil/fat-free salad dressing is as easy as 1-2-3 with some of my pre-blended date paste. It is so very tasty and easy to make.

3 parts acid (lemon or lime juice, or apple cider/red wine vinegar)
1 part date paste
Seasoning/herbs to taste

The date paste desolves beautifully in the acidic base and adds a thicker texture to your dressing, not to mention cuts the acidity and adds a nice flavourful sweeteness to your dressing. 

Date paste also makes a welcome substitution for many ingredients in baked goods. Because it freeezes SO well (it doesn't freeze solid), it's easier to have on hand all of the time, so things that call for apple sauce, honey, agave nectar, syrup, sugars etc, I often replace partly or entirely with date paste. The result in a much healthier, whole food sweetened recipe that you can feel better about.

Have you given date paste a try? Or found date sugar anywhere?


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Big Move: Prepping your House for New Occupants

Oh what a month!

I am sitting in our new living room right now after our very first night in Winnipeg. The last few weeks have been a blur, with getting our previous house all ready for someone else to live in, to organizing all of the particulars of our move and new life in another province, to making the very long trek across the county.

I will update you on each aspect of the move, but should start out chronologically with the preparation of our home for our tenant. We chose to rent out our place, however the following tips will also apply if you are prepping to sell your house, or just want a refresh on the home you're living in.


Tips for Getting Your House Ready for New Occupants!

1. Refresh your grout! Nothing says "lived in" more than dingy grout. I've tried every kind of grout cleaner imaginable, scrubbed with a tooth brush on hands and knees, and have never been able to get that new house grout look back. I was sceptical when I brought this grout pen home with me from Home Depot, but I was pleasantly surprised. Obviously the inventors of this stuff have realized that no amount of scrubbing will clean grout, so painting it becomes the next best option. The pen is like a big white highlighter with a white paint that readily covers the grout. I used this for our ensuite floors and the wall tile in our guest bath (although neither were bad) and was very happy with the result!




2. Touch up nail holes with a cotton swab. I got this cheater tip from a property invester, and it certainly works! If you have some small nail holes that need to be filled and painted, try dabbing on the paint with a cotton swab so you don't have to paint the whole wall!

3. Flip the shelves in the kitchen cupboards. After wiping down all of the kitchen shelves, a light bulb went off. If I flip the shelves, not only will the new surface be untouched and perfectly clean, but any bowing that occurred from all my heavy cans and jars with now be flattened out in the other direction! How did I never think of this before?

4. Seal that stone! If you have granite, marble or another natural stone surface or backsplash, make sure to seal it. If you are renting out an investment property, you will want to make sure your more expensive fixed fixtures are protected, so this is a must. If you seal it right before you go, you know you have at least a year before it needs to be done again. If you're selling, it's just a nice little touch to alleviate some of the stress on the buyers end.

5. Leave a care package. Light bulbs for your lights, cleaning supplies, etc, are all a nice touch for the next occupant. Bonus is that it will also be less bulk you’ll need to pack for the new place (if you’re moving).

6. Magic eraser. I’ve been scared of that spongey little block of super power since I was told by my handy man that it can really affect the finish of the paint. I threw all to the wind and went for it anyways, and it helped get the scuff marks off the walls and baseboards and saved us so much time repainting. Just make sure to test the wall in an inconspicuous area to make sure your paint finish is hardy.

7. Wash the walls. A solution of warm water and PineSol with a clean rag is an easy way to get those walls nice and clean and bring out the natural shine of the home (it’s like a hair commercial for houses!).

8. Colour match the wall, not the paint code. If you painted your walls five years ago, and want to touch up some spots with that same paint, be warned. After five years on your walls, the paint has surely cured and changed to a slightly different hue than what's in the paint can via the paint code. Chip off a fleck of paint on the wall about the size of a quarter and take it to the paint store to match.

9. Use a natural cleaner for the fridge. If you aren’t already, choose a natural cleaner with essential oils for the fridge. I used a rosemary mint cleaner and it made the fridge smell amazing and not chemically, which is what you want in a place where you store your food. It's little things like this that help take your home from well used to well loved, and the fresh scent will give the new occupant that new car fridge feeling!

10. Re-caulk. If it doesn't look perfect anymore, peel off your old caulking in the kitchen and bath with a utility knife and re-caulk. It makes everything look new!

Do you have any great tips for getting your house ready to sell or for a renter? Have you tried any of the ones on this list? Let me know your thoughts!

And don't worry - more posts to come chronicling the big move and the new place! So much to share, so many boxes to unpack! Wish me luck ;)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What to do with that Extra Room formally known as the Formal Dining Room


You know that room. It's most often found at the front of the house,  just beside the foyer. Sometimes it has doors on it, other times not. It's usually separate from the kitchen and the rest of the house. It's more likely than not to be unused 99% of the time.

In some homes, it's called a "formal dining room", in others, a sitting room or a parlour. Some homes, like the one I grew up in, happen to have both. One thing is for sure, this room is as flexible as it is inflexible. It's extra space, which is great, but it's hard to decorate around and keep it a functional, useable space for everyday living.

Why the ode to the formal dining room?

Well, we finally have one! The layout of our new house is very different than our existing, but the size is similar except for the addition of the extra room by the entry. I feel like I need to do something great in this space because I've actually got the space to work with!

I am really torn about what to do. I have those 6 Louis chairs I am planning on FINALLY refinishing after my first botched attempt, I do have an extra dining table, but I also have a darling love seat from my mom and some side chairs I could use. And, let's not forget my desk, which is one of my favourite pieces. 

I am contemplating an office/ dining room combo, or perhaps a sitting room/office combo.  I love all the uses of the space in these pictures- if only I had more than one room like this to decorate!
 










What are your thoughts on the formal dining room?