Monday, November 28, 2011

tiny treasures - black and white houndstooth chair

My favourite chair is an old black and white houndstooth recliner in our living room. It belonged to my Grandma and was a regular fixture around the house when my Mom was young. It has a matching ottoman that is Chapaue's favourite curl up spot and has long since been my favourite sitting place in our home. It's been reupholstered and recovered a dozen time- from red, to white patent leather, to now, black and white checkers. It's old and creaky with the perfect bum and back indent that only a well loved and most comfortable chair can offer. Finn loves to crawl up into it, especially if Jeff or I are already there. He snuggles in to his perfect little nook and insists on reading any and every book within site.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

12 Days of Random Acts of Community

Building community in a city of over a million (busy) people can be difficult, but at work, it is one of the things we strive to empower Calgarians to create, and the first thing we tell them is that community always starts at home. But what does that mean?

For a while now, I have really struggled with the idea of a 'Random Acts of Community' project- similar to random acts of kindness, but with a focus on connecting with your neigbourhood and the wonderful individuals, families and local businesses and organizations that make it that way. I knew this was something I really wanted to do and I had endless ideas of how to do it, but I could never figure out how or where to start, so the idea always seemed quite daunting. On Thursday evening, I had a (wonderful, much overdue) girls night with some of the most incredible and inspiring ladies I know. We have all worked together at one point or another and it seems that anytime we start talking, the conversation quickly transitions to something very deep, meaningful, and filled with inspiration. On the drive home (at 2am!) I got to thinking about how to start my community building project when it suddenly came to me - This would be the perfect thing to start as '12 days of Christmas'. Incorporating local businesses we frequent, the areas of our neighbourhood we spend a lot of time at, and the wonderful and unique residence in our community- each day will have a different act, but all will have an underlying message of being kind to one another and passing along the love. I will share my individual projects with you as the days get closer, but for now, I just wanted to share the idea of it all in the hopes that it might spark something in some of you. What can we all do to help connect and strengthen our communities? When you start to think about it, the possibilities really are endless!

Side note: The Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, has an amazing initiative called 3 Things for Calgary. The idea of it is simple - do something to engage with your community and get to know the people that surround us each day- Start a conversation with the person beside you on the bus, open a bottle of wine on your front porch and invite people from your street over to share, write to your alderman with your ideas and feedback or attend a city council meeting, volunteer your skills to an organization whose mandate aligns with your beliefs or values, get involved with a community garden, or attend community events (there are TONS of things happening with Christmas around the corner!) - just find three things that matter to you, go out and do them, then tell people about them! The impact this can have on our community, our city, and the world at large is endless!

Some great ideas and inspiration for a random acts project can be found HERE or HERE.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Homemade Deodorant, Lip Balm and Bath Salts!

I have another blog post over at Green Calgary filled with ideas and recipes for making your own natural body care products- deodorant, lip balm and bath salts! All would make amazing gifts for the coming holiday season so be sure to check it out!

Click HERE to read the entire article...

‘It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. The Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... He thought ...means a little bit more.’
How the Grinch Store Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 before 30

i have been feeling a little anxious lately. a little overwhelmed, a little stressed, a little uneasy. i feel like for the last few months i have been having the same conversations over and over about where i am in life right now- in a bit of a holding pattern trying to figure out our next move. it's an unusual and somewhat shitty place to be. My sweet friend Heather suggested making a dream board- hopes, visions, goals and dreams for where i want to end up,  and really- how simply perfect is that concept? how can you ever truly manifest your intangible ideas if you don't clear them out of your incredibly full brain and put them onto paper? Something that you can look at and strive to create for yourself. But life gets busy, and other things always manage to fill up time, so manifesting the future continues to get pushed to the back burner. and i continue to hold. 

my 30th birthday is fast approaching. March 31st marks the end of my 20's and my journey into 'real' adulthood (whatever that means). timing is a funny thing sometimes- a lot of the blogs i frequent are taking part in the 30 before 30 project. simply put, a bucket list of 30 goals to finish before your 30th birthday. Today, more than ever, i feel like this is the perfect thing to kick me out of hold and into right now. And so, with only a few months to achieve my goals, my list will be a little less lofty than some, but it is (hopefully) all a step in the right direction.

1. visit my naturopath
2. find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe
3. plan a monthly potluck dinner with my bestest friends
4. make jeff a new favourite mug in my pottery class
5. spend 7 days without eating gluten, dairy or sugar (i know 7 days isn't very long, but i REALLY love cheese. and sugar.)
6. have a night away, just jeff and i
7. send someone a surprise in the mail
8. hang out with my brother more- arrange a coffee date at least once per month.
9. list our condo
10. pack a lunch for work 3 days a week
11. organize, file, and print finn's baby photos - CLEAR my hard drive!
12. take finn ice skating (or drag him behind me in his sled)
13. watch all of the twilight movies
14. eat at notable and ox and angela
15. get a tattoo (related to finn)
16. be more assertive, honest and forth coming
17. volunteer with a local community group or charity
18. (finally) open my etsy shop
19. buy myself something beautiful and totally impractical
20. floss my teeth every day
21. slow down, give thanks and express genuine gratitude for every blessing i am given in life
22. put plans into motion to start a 'random acts of community' project
23. visit jeff's amazing family in new brunswick
24. do 30 consecutive push-ups
25. sign up for a cob building class with dirt craft
26. do a serious cleanse (without cheating!)
27. work on being more patient. try to pause and have more thoughtful reactions to things that can sometimes annoy me
28. make fresh pasta
29. finally make that dream board
30. learn to let go

Monday, November 21, 2011

right now...

right now i'm...
  • nursing a sore throat with endless amounts of honey and lemon tea
  • smiling as Finn hums to himself to sleep
  • planning to finish decorating the house with christmas stuff
  • loving this portrait and wanting to recreate it with jeff
found via coco + kelly
  • longing to change out some of the art in our house- there are so amazing beautiful things out there!
  • admiring so many treasures on etsy! I dont even know how I shopped before this website. 
  • hunting for a blanket like any of these:
found via pinterest
  • wondering what i will bring to tonights pottery class potluck
  • happy to have another day off to spend with my sweet finn
  • excited for our christmas tree cutting adventure! maybe next weekend?
  • sending love, hugs and warm snuggles to everyone on this chilly winter day! xo

Sunday, November 20, 2011


So... after a lot of thought and a bit of back and forth, I have decided to change the name of my blog. Partly to cooinside with the (eventual, maybe over Christmas?) opening of my etsy shop, partly because I have a domain name set up for the new name, and partly because I like the name better than the current name. So, tomorrow I will be changing everything over- the new name will be paper bluejay. You will still be able to access the blog though, but you will now also be able to access it through

Lastly, Jess over at irocksowhat is raising funds so she can go to the 2012 alt design summit. $20 gets you a custom designed banner and button for your blog and helps her reach her fundraising goal! She also has some great discounts on add space if you are more interested in that. Anyways, she does amazing design work, has the cutest little family, and is so so sweet to work with, so be sure to stop by and check out her blog, or commission her to do some work for you!

Til tomorrow!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Finn's New Desk

I came home last night to find this little gem sitting in our living room-

Jeff searched kijiji and picked up a little vintage school desk for Finn as he felt he needed a space that he could sit and colour and do crafts- a space just for him. So cute! Finn still doesn't really get the concept behind crayons. He likes to carry them around and lick them, he also will scribble, but doesnt reserve his artitistic knack to just the paper- windows, walls, couch, floor and chapeau have all had a touch of colour added. So far though, Finn seems to love it and it's definitely a sweet addition to our home.

Friday, November 18, 2011

This Moment - 2011-11-18

{this moment} - a friday ritual. a single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (inspired by soulemama)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Alternative Gift Wrapping Ideas

A while Back I wrote about how much I LOVE wrapping presents, so when one of the girls at work asked if I would like to design and present an alternative gift wrapping station for their sustainable gift giving workshop, I was beyond excited! It was so much fun to create the packaging ideas and it all resulted in such a fun evening with a ton of great information presented. I will be doing a four part blog post over on Green Calgary's blog all about the topics we discussed. The first post (my station!) - Alternative Gift Wrapping Ideas, can be viewed HERE!
Burlap with potato stamps, and craft paper with yarn and bakers twine remnants
reused maps and sheet music
gift tag ideas - monogrammed letters cut from scrap paper, burlap potato stamps and clothes pins
Alternative packing ideas- cedar boughs, air  popped popcorn and shredded newspaper
reused produce packaging- this is what my garlic and avocados came in.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

catch up

My life has pretty much been chaos these last few weeks. We just finihed a HUGE fundraising Gala event at work that esentially spanned three full days and night and left me with next to no time to do much of anything else. Of course the weeks leading up to the event were full of long work days and restless nights, all of which FINALLY came to an end! I am so looking forward to spending some much needed catch up time with Jeff and Finn and some much needed 'me' time catching up around here and a few other creative outlets. In the mean time, here are a few pictures from this whirlwind of a week. I am so thankful to have made it through and now able to focus on funner things! like CHRISTMAS!!! eeeeep!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

halloween 2011

I love Halloween and this year was extra wonderful! Things didn't quite go as planned costume wise- I had elaborate ideas for Finn's costume and it was almost completely made when an (expensive, last minute) snag ruined it all- but I think we will try again next year to complete this costume as it's just too good to not to use. In the mean time, I whipped together a really quick superhero outfit from some fabric I had kicking around the house. It was definitely not anywhere near as exciting as his original costume, but it did the trick in a pinch. We had a great night partying with the deBoer family on Saturday and then with them again on Monday we ordered Pizza and took the boys trick or treating. Neither of them were very keen on the actual trick or treating part, but they had a really fun time finding sticks and leaves along the walk and Finn loved closing all the gates to the yards as we passed by. It was such a fun night and a very exciting tradition that we look forward to continuing as the boys grow older.

* Sorry, if you follow my instagram, you have already seen these, but I wanted to share anyways. 

Halloween Morning- Catching up on Sesame Street
'Scary Pumpkin"

Best little white pumpkin

Yummy Seeds toasted with black and orange sea salt
a last minute costume for my sweet boy
'Finn Fantastique!"
Wayne and Garth - I kind of blew it on Jeff's wig.
little boys trading candy!

pumpkin picking!

A few pictures from Finn's pumpkin picking adventure with his bff, Theo!
(Thanks to Stacey for the beautiful pictures! More pics can be seen on her blog - XO)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

happy diwali!

Our wonderful family friends, Mayuri and Shashi (Finn's non-biological grandparents), graciously invite us to celebrate Diwali with them every year. Diwali is a HUGE Hindu holiday- loosely defined as the celebration of lights, it signifies the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali, everyone lights tons candles and shares amazing food (with lots of sweets) with family and friends. This will be our fifth year celebrating Diwali with the Modgill's and it is by far my most favourite evening of the year! Mayuri is a vegetarian and always creates the most incredible meals! Unlike anything you will ever see in Indian restaurants, she incorporates dishes from the different regions that her and Shashi are both from- I swear Jeff starves himself on the days leading up to it just so he can enjoy every last bite! I especially love getting all dressed up and making a special evening of it. Venturing to little India to find beautiful outfits and jewelry, and now, finding little things for Finn too! I am so grateful to be able to share in this tradition and be able to teach Finn about the amazing diversity around us.

Diwali 2007
Diwali 2010
Welcome Ceremony
the crew
Diwali 2011
Mayuri and Shashi with Finn