Archive by Author

Continuing Education

4 Mar

I have been taking a photography class for the last 7 weeks. I have had such a blast! Tom gifted me the class for my birthday and it was really the perfect gift. I have been wanting to learn how to use my camera better since I got it two years ago. It feels so good to learn new things and be creative as an adult. I think we often lose that ability to let ourselves be creative when we are adults. That is so sad to me. Why is it encouraged to be creative when we are young- to use our imaginations, but almost frowned upon when we hit a certain age? We have to buck up and get a real job that pays real money. I guess we do have to make money to survive. But I think it is so important to nurture those creative parts of us as an adult.
Here are some of the pictures I took for my class:

Be Mine

12 Feb

It has been Valentine central at the Mulherns. Here are some of the projects we have been working on. Hope you have a very happy Valentine’s Day!

Denim Betrayal

9 Feb

My go-to pair of jeans have forsaken me. They are wearing out in the crotchal area. I was really not expecting this. I thought we had another year together at least before they would succumb to my constant wear and tear.

But I did not let them give up to easily. I patched them on the inside and you can’t tell at all. I am wearing them today, and although they do not feel quite the same, (they rub a little weird and I am not digging it at the moment) they serve their purpose and will last a few more months.

I also fixed Tom’s Peru pants that split, and some pjs we got for Noah from the thrift store that are super cute, but have a hole in them we did not see until he was wearing them. This took me maybe 20 minutes to fix three items of clothing. It is so silly that we throw out perfectly good clothing that have a lot more life left in them because we are too lazy to take five or twenty minutes to fix them.

I have been trying to just do menial tasks that I am being lazy about but, I know will only take me five minutes to do (or less). It is some good advice that Gretchen Rubin gives in her book the Happiness Project that I have been reading for months. It is a really good book, but I always get distracted by fictions such as this one.

It makes my life so much easier to just (for example) clean up the bath toys in the bath tub after the boys have their bath. Instead, I wait and then step on them when getting into the shower. It is the same for mending clothing or fixing things around the house. Isn’t it so much easier to just throw it out and buy something new? It is. But, I think I feel more of a sense of accomplishment when I take the time to fix something and keep on using things until they really have nothing left to give. This is one way I am trying to be a producer rather than a consumer. Takes a little more time but it is quite satisfying.

Happy Birthday to you…

1 Feb

The tri-birthday madness is coming to an end in the Mulhern house. We had my 30th (I am so old), Noah’s 6th and Tom is 31 is on Friday. (Actually, Tom is just turning 29, but he always makes fun of me that I am older, so on here I can make fun of him and he can’t do anything about it. I am such a nice wife).

I went a little nutty with Noah’s birthday. I made almost everything in the goodie bags, including the Yoda finger puppets pictured above. Noah wanted a “Lego Starwars” birthday extravaganza. I made little bags and stenciled a Lego man on the front that Tom had cut out and designed. So, were were doing so good with the “handmade” birthday party.

Then we decided to go to CHUCK E. CHEESE.

Chuck E. Cheese is the opposite of the Compact. It turns children in to gambling addicted terrors. I am being a bit over dramatic, but I can say with no hesitation that we will NEVER be doing another birthday party there again. It is so wasteful and chaotic and awful. Noah cried when Chuck  sang happy birthday to him. It was really scary. I felt like crying too.

All that being said, the children will look back at the time when Noah had that awesome birthday at Chuck E. Cheese. Noah still wears the crown that he got there around the house, and we didn’t lose one child from the party. (I counted 7 heads about 200 times in a two hour period).

Noah the Birthday king

Chugging along

12 Jan

Photo by: Brandon Johnson

Here is a list of what we have purchased so far on the compact (other than the items “allowed” on the list):

Snow pants for Noah (we left his snow pants in Lethbridge at my parent’s house at Christmas. We tried to make it work with layering until we were going to see them again, but the weather has been AWFUL… so $5 snow pants from Goodwill).

Cloth bag from Planet Organic. I have no brain and I keep on forgetting my bags at home.

I think that is IT! So far so good. We ordered the Action Bible for Noah’s Birthday before the compact began (cheating…maybe) and it arrived today. So, no more little packages arriving in the mail this year. I am ok with that I think.

I have to share that my Mom and Dad are doing the compact this year with us, and they are doing SO good. Their electric mixer conked out and they went to the friendly neighborhood thrift store and picked up a “new” one. They are super committed¬† and doing really well.

I think that Birthday parties for boys are going to be a bit of a challenge for us this year. Unfortunately, we live in a land of DSIs, video games and plastic, plastic everything. I have been making capes in the past for gifts, but is that becoming passe for a six year old? I feel sad if it is. I think girls are easier. I can whip up a tutu in tutu seconds and I think that is a real crowd pleaser. Oh boys. I need some ideas, so if any of you crafty people out there have ideas, I could use some.

Good bye beautiful jacket

5 Jan

I love clothes. No, like I really love clothes. I sometimes try on my outfits the day before I wear them, and model them for Tom. I have done this since I can remember. I love looking at fashion trends. I find cute little outfits that I just HAVE to have.

That being said, about a month ago, I bought a new jacket. Did I “need” a new jacket? Not really. But, the “fashiony” jacket I had was like FOUR years old… so pretty much ancient. And then my warm jacket is TEN years old and in perfect condition. So, I decided, I needed a new jacket. I bought one from the Gap and I got it for 40% off plus another 30% off. Really. It was the deal of… well it was a great deal. I loved this new jacket and the jacket and I were getting along quite well. Quite well until I stepped on it weird and ripped the button off the hood. It was a fatal rip. I tried to fix it and the kind of material it is just does not deal well with a needle and thread. So, I called the Gap and they said I could bring it back. So today… I brought it back to the mall (cue dramatic music).

I parked right where the store was so that I didn’t have to walk by all the beautiful store windows with the pretty clothes and I looked at the ground until I walked into the Gap. It was my hope that they would have another jacket there EXACTLY the same so that I could just exchange them and that would be that. But, they were all sold out. I just got my money back and walked out. BUT NOW I HAVE NO BEAUTIFUL NEW JACKET AND I CAN’T BUY ONE FOR THE WHOLE BLOODY YEAR. I am a little upset about this. But at the same time, a little disgusted with myself. I have TWO perfectly great coats. But I look at them with disdain because they are not this season (or last season, or this decade’s season… I digress). But I have a warm jacket to wear to keep me warm during the blistery Alberta winter. How many times do we all look at something we own that at one time we loved and think that it is not good enough anymore? Who is it telling us that it is not good anymore? I guess all the advertising around us is saying that nothing is good enough. I didn’t think that I really listened or was affected by all that, but obviously I am.

I am going to try and wear my jackets with pride this year and remember how I felt when I first got the jackets. I will try and channel that feeling to 2011. I am telling myself that my ten year old jacket is vintage.

Waves of creativity

21 Feb

We went into a super expensive store in Canmore a few weeks ago and I found a little sweater tank top deal that I loved for $140. No thank you. But I thought, I could make that. So I went to the thrift store and got this lovely sweater for $5. This was the outcome:

I am quite happy with the result and I can’t tell you how fun it was to cut the mamoth sweater into bits. It was really quite theraputic.

We are five months pregnant, so I have been trying to use what I have for clothes and alter here and there as not to buy a totally new wardrobe. I have been really fortunate to have some good friends lend me some things as well.

I saw a beautiful mobile on this website and I thought I would try it out for our new little one. I love it because it doesn’t look like a Winnie the Pooh mobile, but it is still interesting and I think our little babe will like looking at it. I tried to use more manly colors for the birds (since we are having another little man). I found this drift wood on our camping trip this summer and I have been saving it for this occasion.

I have to get some hooks to put it all together and hang it up.

Culture Shock

6 Jan

So, it has been almost a week since our officially official compact came to an end. I have been really quite grumpy this week. I am struggling with feeling guilty and mad when about to buy something or in a place where I could buy something. It is really annoying to myself and others around me (ie: my poor husband).

I have discovered through the years that I am an “all or nothing” kind of gal. I think this is where the majority of my struggle is coming from. For the last year, I have thought of shopping as “bad.” Now that it is “allowed” again, I still have it in my head that it is bad and I think badly about myself when I do buy something. There are some things in life that you just need to buy new. For example, my iron has been leaking water for the last… well year. I have tried to find one at a thrift store, but to no avail. So, purchase number one of this new year, an iron. I bought it from Canadian Tire (at least it is Canadian) but, let me tell you people, I don’t think it is possible to find a fair trade iron! This annoys me to no end, because I can’t feel good about my purchase and I just feel like a consumer again. How do ideals and reality come together in life?

I think I am a little broken and I need to give myself a break. I am a conscious consumer. I do think before I buy. I am not going on a huge shopping spree of things I don’t need. I am just having a little difficulty adapting and not living a life governed by strict rules. Not having strict rules is harder for me than having them.

Little elf at work

17 Dec

I have been a busy little elf trying to get Christmas gifts ready for one and all. Well, not really all. A few. I wanted to show my new Christmas card I created that I am really quite pleased with. I was able to reuse brown paper bags from some mushrooms and from Planet Organic (I forgot my cloth bags the other day). And I re purposed some magnetic poetry that I haven’t been using for a while. Here is the end result:

I used some fun green thread the fasten the brown paper to the card. It was super easy and I think they are cute.

Here is Noah’s Sock monkey thus far. I still haven’t committed on the cape.

Also, I found this wonderful idea on the Wee Wonderfuls blog. It is a cute little bookmark which I think everyone can use. So, here is my simplified version of her fabulous idea:

So there you have it. A few super simple little gifts for Christmas. I have a few others, but a certain someone may be lurking on here and find out what he is getting before the designated time;)

Clutter’s Dirty Little Secret

27 Nov

We got a super nice suprise in the mail yesterday from a fellow simple life buddy. Alison Roberts sent us her book Clutter’s Dirty Little Secret. I had a chance to look it over a little and it looks fabulous! Thanks so much Alison for sending it to us and helping so many people to live a more simple life.

Disease has struck the Mulhern house the last few weeks. This has distracted me from focusing on the Christmas gift making. I have to get my act together soon! So far I have finished Noah’s little sock monkey super hero (well, I haven’t chosen the cape color yet, but other than that it is looking quite good).

I will post some pictures of the gifts I am making. I would love to hear what other’s are making this Christmas season. I hope you are all enjoying this season and not getting caught up in the craziness. It is so easy to do, even when you are not buying!