Monday, April 30, 2012

It's Gettin' Crafty Up In Here!

Well, my friend Alison has been harassing me (okay, okay...encouraging!) to get to blogging more since apparently she likes to read while she sips coffee. Clearly the girl has great taste. Well, that or nothing else to read in the morning. Whatever the case may be, I decided I'd let you all in on a 'lil bit of my craftiness as of late. When I say craftiness, I really mean that I have literally NO crafty ability, so anything I do better be quick and easy and require little more skill than a monkey could muster.

Enter, Pinterest.

I, like everyone on the planet, am addicted to Pinterest. I pin stuff that I like the look of, that I dream of owning or doing, or crafts that I have some modicum of ability of even tackling at a later date. The painted/coloured Mason jars were just that project.

I have a bazillion jars lying around because my mother in law is the Queen of homemade jams and pickles and salsas and well, anything  you can preserve in a jar. They were all just sitting in my cupboard (this is AFTER I've returned a box full!) taking up space so I figured, why not make use of them?

I saw a few different versions of tinted Mason jars, running the gamut from acrylic paint and baking them in the oven to the more simple white school glue and food colouring. Hmmm. I'll let you figure out which I chose. It was also important to me that I be able to actually put flowers IN the jars, so the painting of the inside wouldn't really work.

This is so simple to do, and I'm REALLY pleased with the results. Martha Stewart had them all together on a nice tray with flowers in each jar, but I'm not Martha so mine are currently just sitting on my mantel. I'll get to flowers later on! One step at a time for Tracey-kind here folks!

You literally put some white school glue in a receptacle (I used a plastic cup) with a splash of water, and mix whatever food colouring you'd like to a tint you find snazzy. I used about 2 tbsp glue to 1 tsp water,  and 3 hits of blue colouring with one of green. I'm guesstimating the glue and water because (and this is also why I don't generally bake very often) I'm just not a measuring sort of gal.

I mixed it together and got to painting the outside of the jars. I let each coat slightly dry and did 3 coats per jar. I then let them dry completely over night. Don't freak out (like I did) that they look streaky while they are drying. As they get completely dry, the streaks go away and the surface is smooth. It's not sticky or tacky at all. Magic!

This is my fancy schmancy set up for painting the jars. I know-I'm all professional with the kids paint brush and the flyer drop cloth. Don't hate.

Here they are all done and sitting up on my mantel! The colour looks more green in this pic (these are off my phone know....) but they are actually a shade more blue. Let's say an aquamarine colour, tut tut.

And finally, on my mantel. I know I'm horrendous with a photo. I generally leave picture taking to my husband but I was emailing every one I know pics of my completed project because I was THAT excited by my cool new funky jars. It's the little things, clearly.

We had also just painted our mantel and that surround piece in white from an orangey wood yuck, and painted out the brass of the fireplace to that black colour you see peeking out in the photo.

Voila! This was literally the easiest project to do and despite my awful picture taking skills, turned out better than I imagined! I really like the beachy look of them as that is pretty much the theme of my home, in general.

I have more crafty ideas on the horizon and I am overjoyed to be able to share them with you in future, if only to convince you to give things a try, even if you have little to no skills, like me.

There ya go, Alison! Happy now? :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

50 Shades of Crimson


I'm sure you've heard all the buzz circling about the trilogy of books in the "50 Shades of Grey" series. If you haven't, you clearly don't troll the Internets like I do, because it's all over the damn place, from to blogs to Twitter to well, everywhere. You get the point.

For those of you not in the know, here are the basics. "50 Shades of Grey" was written by first time author E.L James and published solely as an e-book. It made the rounds quickly with women reading on their Nooks or Kobo's or iPads in privacy, without the shame of some racy Harlequin looking cover in their hands. It's an erotic work of fiction that steps into the world of Christian Grey, a billionaire with a penchant for domination and Anastasia Steele, a recent college graduate that falls in love with him and tries to understand his world.

When I first heard talk about the books, I had no desire to read them. At all. I'm just not an erotica type of reader and I stray far, far away from Harlequin romances. I've mentioned before that I'm not really a romantic type, so the silly plots that always seem the same never do it for me. You know what I'm referencing, here. The guy and gal cross paths and immediately one finds the other infuriating and they "try" to stay away from them, but in the end can't deny their passion and love blah blah blah gag.

However, I joined a Book Club and "50 Shades of Grey" is our June selection, hosted at MY house. It wouldn't do very well if I hadn't cracked open the book! I downloaded it on to my iPad and started warily reading.

Holy. Crap.

I read it in one night. It's one steamy book, let me tell  you.  I felt like I might need a cold shower a few times, actually. One woman's description of reading it cracked me up when she said, "My husband loved this book and he never read a word."  True. Dat.

On top of the (often bizarre) sex stuff, there actually is an interesting story line in terms of  Christian's past and how he came to be who he is and why he needs the domination/submission roles in his life.

I read book 2 of the trilogy last night (yes, in one night again) entitled "50 Shades Darker" and have just started "50 Shades Freed" today.  Word on the street is that a movie is in the works as well.

I can't say I'll be out there delving into the erotica shelves for my next read, but I do have to admit that this series shocked me (in oh so many, many ways!) and I actually really enjoyed the story lines. In fact, the "sex stuff" as I like to oh so maturely reference it, became some of the parts that I tended to skip or gloss over after the first ten times or so. I mean, how many times can you read about someone being spanked or handcuffed really? There are only so many ways to describe the scenario, and believe me, they all get covered.

Of course with anything that gets cult following, the questions and debates arise, trying to dissect the "why" as to women flocking to this series. "Do women actually wish to be dominated?" or "Are women hungry to submit to men in their private lives, after being dominate now in workplaces?"  and the best one, "Do we need to re-examine and redefine men and women's current roles in society?"  Whaaaat?

How about we break it down into something much more base. Women like sex, too. I know, it's shocking really. Women might not  necessarily like erotica from a man's point of view (a threesome or orgy, AGAIN?) but throw in a female writer with an idea of what women really find "hot" and it catches on with the masses.

So, "50 Shades of Grey"....I didn't expect to be hooked on your kinky ways, but you got me hiding out reading furiously for the last three days and I applaud you for that.

Don't worry though, folks, next book club selection is a creepy thriller entitled "The Boy in the Suitcase." It should shake off any last vestiges of hot billionaires and delve me into a world of mystery and darkness.

What are you reading?

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I wish I had some titillating fantastic post to reel you all in and freak your world, but this is MY life we're talking about so, you know, it's status quo with a side dish of cray cray.

I realize I've been a bit Emo as of late, and I apologize for my dark, moody, "I've gone all Goth on you" posts.

I'm still in some sort of weird holding pattern in life, or that's how it feels anyways, and I kinda hate the months from January to end April, just in general. Blah and blah.

We had a nice Easter, very quiet and kept on the down low, which is how I like it. This is the first time in a few years we've been with family for Easter, so that was a switch for us. I should clarify, with my side of the family. We have historically travelled to see my husband's family for Easter, or spent it living away and on our own. We attended Church, had a meal, ate some chocolate, lounged. Not too shabby.

I'm back at Booty Camp, busting my butt! We had an outdoor class on Saturday, and come May it's all outdoors. It was quite the time. Running laps, walking lunges, a blur of reps and sets that involved many burpees and squat jumps and such. Have I mentioned here that I now have an ass? I totally do. It's strange to look in the mirror and see this roundness-I'm like a dog trying to catch it's own tail as I swirl in the mirror.

I seem to only write about once a week, which is on par with my moodiness as of late. Once April has closed it's frigid doors and the warmth of May starts to spread through my bones, I'm hoping for a bunch of blooming and blossoming on the blog, and in life.

Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stress Bustin'

I've been a basket case of nerves of late, not sure which direction I'm headed or where certain paths are leading. I'm my own worst enemy, I'm well aware, because I'll focus on the issue and turn it over and over in my mind to the point where I'm not sleeping and I'm not eating well and I'm an emotional powder keg.

In an effort to try and diffuse the clutter weighing on my mind, I've been redirecting my brain to my blessings. When life seems overwhelming, it's easy to forget everything that is good and going well. I know that I'm pretty lucky in so many ways, and I need to keep moving forward in gratitude. I can't control other people, I can't control all situations, I can't predict what is to come, and I can't change what has already passed.

One thing that has been keeping a smile on my face is running. Well, I'm not smiling WHILE I'm running, let's not get carried away. However, the running comes with several really great perks, things that for my own spirit are necessary for sanity.

One such surprise is that my husband has stuck with the running and it's something he now does on his own early each morning, but it's also something we're enjoying doing together. We head out and get our sweat on. We don't talk much while running, but there's peace in the huffing and puffing. I still out run him, but I have no doubt that will change sooner than later. I'm just loving sharing those moments with him, separate to the routine and habit of what makes up the every day of a household.

The second is that I'm doing a Couch to 5K program with my friend, Claire. This is a very different run than with my husband, with Claire and I chatting the whole way. We head out to the trails, do our walk/run program and talk about everything under the sun. We laugh, we vent, we gossip. I find that I can spend days in my little bubble of worry, and then I come home from a run with her and I'm laughing and smiling and feeling lighter in general. It's like there's not enough time in the hour or two to discuss everything we'd like-which is a rarity in most friendships.

I don't know where my path is headed, and I worry like a pro, but with friends and loved ones keeping me in check, my soul feels more balanced and my outlook remains more positive.