what we’ve been up to lately…

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Magazine Feature!

I wanted to share some good news with you today, I’ve had one of my projects featured in Better Homes and Gardens Make It Yourself Magazine!

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Months ago I was contacted by them asking if they could feature my acorns made out of Easter eggs.  Yes please!  There was so much paper work, but last night the magazine came out on new stands and I picked up a copy.  How exciting.  I spotted it in the table of contents first.

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They featured them with other nature inspired projects.

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And, they spelled my name right, which is indeed no small feat!

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These acorns are by far the most popular, most pinned project I’ve ever created.  You can find all the step-by-step instructions here, and see how I recently featured them in my fall mantel, here.

With a Better Homes and Gardens feature, life really is a party!

Pumpkin Ginger Loaf with Red Lentils

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It’s the weekend, and I almost never post on the weekend.  I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you all week, but I’ve been busy with life and creating all week, and I thought this might be the perfect inspiration you need to make this pumpkin ginger loaf and enjoy it this week for breakfast.

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This is a very yummy loaf.  It’s pumpkin-y, and ginge-ry, and so moist.  The walnuts add a little crunch.  It feels like fall, in all the best ways.  And, it makes two loaves, so you can enjoy it twice as long -or freeze one for later.  You could make it with walnuts like I did, or try pecans or green pumpkin seeds.

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And then, you have to make the honey cinnamon butter -have to.

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Pumpkin Ginger Loaf with Red Lentils

Pumpkin Ginger Loaf with Red Lentils

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup split red lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 14 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp freshly gated ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans or green pumpkin seeds)
  • For the Cinnamon Honey Butter
  • 1/2 lb soft butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp honey

Instructions

  1. In a small pan, cover lentils with about 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Simmer 15 -20 minutes until they are soft and drain.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a food processor, combine the lentils, pumpkin, oil, buttermilk, eggs, fresh ginger, and vanilla, and process until well blended and smooth.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, along with the nuts, and stir to combine.
  5. Bake in two greased loaf pans at 350 degrees, for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out dry.
  6. For the Cinnamon Honey Butter
  7. Combine soft butter, cinnamon, and honey in a stand mixer and beat on high until well combined, and light and fluffy.
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Ginger pumpkin loaf with lentils

I didn’t get a chance to freeze the second loaf yet.  Every time I make it, we eat it before I can manage to put one away for later.

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With homemade pumpkin ginger loaf, life really is a party.

Neutral Fall Mantel

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Happy first day of Fall!  It’s been a busy day around here, but I wanted to share my Neutral Fall Mantel with you before the first day of Fall drew to a close.  I found this great deer head not last Christmas, but the one before, and he’s hung out a few different places in my house since then.  I decided to use him in the living room this fall, for a bit of woodland feel.  He’s made of paper mache, and I spray painted him in a glossy white.  He’s light enough to hang easy on my vintage window pane, which makes a great backdrop for my corner fireplace.

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I used these pretty log inspired white vases to hold some dark sticks, and love how it came out.

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I thought this book page pumpkin tied in well with the neutral colours too.  It’s made from a faux pumpkin with simple book page flowers hot glued on, click here to see all the instructions.

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On the other side of the mantel I used this fun white ceramic squirrel (from Target a few years ago) and put him in my vintage drawer -love how it acts kind of like a frame, and then another white pumpkin, this one ceramic.

Deer head fall mantel

Along the front of the mantel, I made an oak and acorn inspired garland, with an old stick.

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I just cut out some simple, oversized leaves from brown kraft paper, white paper, and old book pages, and tied them on with some twine.

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The acorns are my favourite.  I made them a few years ago, and they would have to be my most popular project ever.  They are made out of a plastic Easter egg, with burlap and pinecones -click here for all the instructions to make your own.   I love how they look here as part of the mantel.

Deer head fall decor

I really like how it turned out, and how simple it is -neutral colours, lots of texture, and nature inspired.  With a fall mantel like this one, life really is a party!

Why You Should Keep Blogging

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Why You Should Keep Blogging -even though HGTV hasn’t called, you don’t get a cheque from Google Ads each month, and your basement is full of old projects

Blogging is hard.  It’s fun, and creative, and pretty, and hard.  It’s hard to keep coming up with new ideas, it’s hard to learn how to take better pictures, it’s hard to be a business woman, it’s hard to keep doing it all over and over again, especially when you don’t see the results you are hoping for.  I don’t think anyone but a fellow blogger realizes the kind of time put into blogging, and how all consuming it can be.  I’m not complaining, I’m just telling you how it really is.

Over the last year I’ve struggled with the question of whether it’s all worth it, or whether I should quit and put my energy in other places.  I think this is a question that lots of other bloggers face as well.  So, I thought I’d share some of the conclusions I’ve come to, and shared at Blogpodium over the weekend.

Do you remember when you were a kid and you’d go to the library and see the new Owl magazine, and the first thing you would look at was the section on the back cover, if I remember correctly, that had the magnified images.  It was a really tight shot of something, and you had to figure out what it was without seeing the bigger picture.  I think blogging is a little like that sometimes.  We spend so much time looking at our analytics that we can lose sight of the bigger picture.  We may need to put down our magnifying glass and step back to see the whole.

Magnifying glass

When I was weighing up if I should continue, I thought a lot about the hits and the money I make on the blog -or the lack thereof.  We look at our daily hits, and how much money we’re making and sometimes it’s a little disappointing to us.  Sometimes we feel like we’re investing all this effort with very little pay off.

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But, what if we consider the other things we get out of blogging?  What if we were to weigh up those other benefits, would it counterbalance things?

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I shared these thoughts at Blogpodium, and I also checked in with some of my blogging friends about the reasons they keep doing it, beyond the money and the hits, and here are some of the reasons we came up with.

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I blog because it is a creative outlet for me.  It gives me the push I sometimes need to be creative.  It helps me to go beyond the thinking, dreaming, pinning stage to actually making things. Just about everyone I talked with about why, shared a form of this answer.  Things like to push myself, to be intentional about being creative, to try new things, as a creative outlet, because I’m an artist, and to explore.  I have to say this is all at the top of my list too.

I was most struck in my conversations my one woman’s response “to reclaim myself”, and another who said “to reclaim joy”.  As a stay at home mom, especially when I first started and my girls were really young, blogging was a way to do something just for me.  Part of creating, is perhaps recreating ourselves.  Another wrote “to transform” -everything from old furniture, our homes, to our very selves.

Of course, part of blogging is also to connect with others, to network, to inspire others, to share our passions and our stories, and in that way to be of service to others, and share something positive and beautiful with the world.  We hope to make the world a better place in our own, perhaps small, but beautiful way.

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There are as many reasons why people blog, as there are people who blog.  So many “small” reasons, but added together, they add up to a lot, enough to counter balance other things.

Weighing things up

At the end of the day, I blog because it makes me happy, it adds to my life, and it’s worth it to me.  In times when I get discouraged, I’m reminded of this saying “don’t apologize for being in the middle of your story.”  If I compare my first post to my latest post, I can see my growth, and improvement.  I’m getting better at this, maybe not at the speed I would like, but I’m making progress, I’m getting there.  It’s okay to not have arrived, to be in the middle and not at the finish line yet.  It seems like a cliche, but what we really need to do is keep going and keep getting better.

I love this video.

I hope you’re encouraged to keep going if blogging is adding something to your life.

Encouraging quotes

I’m sometimes tempted to think that it’s all or nothing.  That if I’m not great at something I should give up.  But it’s not all or nothing.  Some is better than none.  Some hits, some money, some comments, some work with brands, some growth is better than none.  And it’s really not all or nothing.

Some is better than none

It s not all or nothing

In fact, sometimes hard things teach us the most.  What if your discontent is actually a gift to help you pursue something greater?

The gift of pain

These lessons are true of blogging, and true of life.

The printables are available for free download here It’s not all or nothing, Some is better than none, What if your discontent is actually a gift to help you pursue something greater?

And since I am a blogger -print these pretty printables and frame with clipboards, these are from the dollarstore with the metal spray painted gold, and then covered with gold leaf.  Enjoy.

This post is linked up at The Inspiration Gallery, and The Weekend Retreat Link Party.

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