Saturday, May 23, 2015

How to create huge, inexpensive artwork for $2.20

I love, love, love projects that are not only really easy, but really cheap to make. 

I'd been wanting to print a family photo as an engineering print for ages now, and planned to Mod Podge it to wood -- as one does, on Pinterest.

But when I was trying to plan personalized artwork for our bedroom makeover, I decided to do a collage of personal notes and cards between me and Darling Husband (back when we were two crazy high schoolers). Instead of Mod-Podging it to wood (and losing some of the detail), I bought a large white poster frame. Done and done.

So this week in My Handmade Home, I'm showing you exactly how to prep and order a collage as an engineering print. Try it, seriously. You will luv it, Stacey McGill-style.

Click to view my full tutorial

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pelmet box tutorial + frost those windows!

This week's DIY project in My Handmade Home is actually a two-fer! DIY pelmet boxes and window frosting.

View the tutorial

Hop over to see how I transformed the windows of our master bedroom and upstairs bathroom for just $15 each.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

When the best-laid plans come tumbling down ...

Life has a funny way of kicking you in the face sometimes. And then knocking you to the ground, jumping up and down on your torso, and laughing while you try to scramble to your feet.

[photo credit]
I blogged yesterday -- literally yesterday -- about how I thought we'd finally solved our ongoing problems of How The Heck Am I Supposed to Work With Two Little Kids Underfoot?

As of Tuesday, we'd started testing the idea of the kids going to the babysitter's two days a week, rather than just one.

I wrote about how much work I was able to get done, how I could schedule much lighter workdays on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays -- knowing I had all day Tuesday and Thursday to work in peace and quiet.

And then ... then ... capping off a spectacularly bad 24 hours, the babysitter (whom the kids adore) broke the news to me this morning.

She is not taking kids in any more, as of two weeks from today. She will be working a regular, out-of-the-home job, and no amount of my tears will change it (I added that last part).

*slumps to the floor*

*worries about her career*

*hits "Publish" and tries to resume breathing*


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The childcare experiment

Last week, I was talking about the kids' lack of napping and the unfavourable effects it was having on my freelance career. And my sanity.

With Darling Husband working shift-work (relief shift-work, at that, which means there is no regularly or stability and nothing is as it seems ... *dramatic flourish*), it's hard for me to meet deadlines sometimes without staying up half the night. 

So I decided to try a childcare experiment, in the hopes that it might actually solve things. Instead of the kids going to a babysitter one day a week, we'd up it to two days -- just for three weeks, to see how we all liked the arrangement.

Yesterday was the first day of "bonus" childcare, and ... well, I'll let my calendar at the end of the day speak for itself ...

See the massive row of purple all-day entries? Well, every time I finish a task, I edit it to read "DONE" at the beginning and I change the colour to purple.

It was a superOMGcrazyproductive day.

But not in the usual throat-tightening, can't-keep-up kind of productive-day way. I finished everything I needed to finish, and actually took 20 minutes to eat lunch at the kitchen table. I breathed. I was very, very cautious not to schedule too much. I am slowly learning that scheduling too much is hazardous for my health ... and makes me a Mean Mommy and Naggy, Cranky Wife.

And you know what? That's not all. Since I'll be working full days on Tuesday and Thursday (for these three weeks, to start), I'm making a point of working fewer hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

As in, like, a couple of hours, max, instead of cramming in as much as possible from the minute I sit down to eat lunch (while the kids are eating in front of the TV) until rightttt before dinner is ready. That was just ... not good ... for any of us.

Today is a "light" day (oh dear, is my work schedule going to start sounding like a pantyliner commercial?) which means I'll do some shooting in the morning with C while D's at preschool, and some writing in the afternoon during "quiet time." If they don't nap, whatever. I purposely did not schedule much, so I can go rescue them after a while and we can do something together.

Tomorrow, they'll be back at the babysitter's, and I will focus on work all day long. Breathing, hopefully, in between calls and interviews and writing and emailing as fast as I can.

And then we're all taking Friday off (from preschool, work, everything) for a rare day trip to the city for appointments, dinner with Darling Husband's family, and probably a stop at a "fancy" indoor playplace.

Have I found a new groove for us? Have I found a schedule that will ACTUALLY WORK FOR US, in this crazy freelance/shift work life that we have chosen?

Let the experiment roll on!