custom orders, get ’em in now!



i just wanted to throw out a last minute heads up… i have received several custom orders (thank-you, btw!) and i will be closing the door on custom orders THIS SUNDAY NOVEMBER 12th. i gotta do this so that i have enough to time to complete the orders i have received and make more fun things for the holiday markets i have signed up for. email me at lolas_mail@yahoo.ca.

there are photo’s of my handy crafts on facebook & instagram.

i will gladly accept your custom orders again in the new year !

thanks, friends!

 

xo, mama lola

hiya, everyone!

it’s been a while since i’ve been here. almost a year.

i’ve been in a weird of dark place. a place that’s been hard to navigate.  a confusing place with lots of dark corners and dead ends. 

in the spring my life slowly started to turn around. well, not quite turn around as that sounds too drastic, but slowly shift towards the light again. i think i’ve at least found a place that’s a little brighter, where things are clearer. it’s a process and a work in progress, but there in positive momentum in my life.

 

finally.

again.

 

i have been busy with various things in the last year, one which i am super proud of; i have started making artsy, crafty things with my hands and selling them. it’s kinda a big deal in my world, as i have always thought that the things i made weren’t good enough. which then took me down that whole dark road to why bother.

i know it sounds confusing because so much of my blog has been about making things. but, i never really made things for other people, and certainly not to sell! i shared crafts i did with the boys when they were little and wee. i shared our recipes i made for dinner and holiday decorating aides that were simple, but pretty. everything was for other people. then last spring things changed, i found a little bit self confidence in a back pocket, i rallied support from my family and friends and then a wee local farmer’s market let me be a vendor! people LIKED what i was making and were willing to pay me their hard earned money! this blew me away, because i had always had this assumption that anyone can do this, my ability isn’t worthwhile…  

so, with my re-discovered creative self i am re-vamping bear & lion.

mama lola is back!

i am back to blogging. i will be sewing, daydreaming, creating, making, gluing, crafting, felting, photographing, selling, sharing my handmade items on here as well. there will also be pictures on instagram and facebook (go on over and follow me there as well!)

bear & lion is back up and running. i will slowly be adding things here, updating (bah, this part scares me as EVERYTHING is so freaking old), sharing and selling. it’s been a while since being in this space so please be patient with me! the tech side of my brain is covered in cobwebs and i may need to re-start it several times before i really find my groove!

so, WELCOME to all friends new & old.

 

xo, mama lola

http://bearandlionmama.com/2017/10/4516.html

snowflake window garland.


snowflake-garland

last week was super warm here in SW ontario. it was even, what some might call HOT, on some days reaching +20c!!!

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on the weekend the boys and i decided to help mother nature along by enticing her with our very own snowflakes! we folded our square papers, and cut, cut, cut. we made different sizes and oohed n’ aahed over the different patterns we were each creating. 

we pressed the snowflakes in a heavy book overnight, then i carefully taped them onto white sewing thread. i tied the end of the thread to a pretty weathered branch i found in our shed. (i collect all sorts of natural treasures like sticks, rocks, acorns, leaves, feathers… ) and, voila… a snowflake garland is made. DH wired the branch from an existing curtain rod. 

the project itself is very easy, but the impact it has is striking, lovely and to our pleasure inspired mother nature to throw some snow our way and drop the temperatures A LOT! it sure does feel like winter now!

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xo, mama lola

costa rica : our family vacation

we went on an absolutely magnificent family vacation to costa rica in october.

it was a long time in the making, we had been talking about a vacation for a while, but life just seemed to get in the way. DH changed jobs several times in the last couple of years, we sold and bought a house; big things that make vacationing a little tricky!

> WARNING : this blog post contains millions of family vacation photo’s <<<

waiting before the sun had even risen for our flight at the airport.

not much to do or look at as shops and cafes were just opening up. i did enjoy a tiny cappuccino for $5! yikes!

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the view from our room! not bad at all!

looking at this scenery each day helped calm our everyday nerves, recharge our batteries and helped us really enjoy each other’s company.

dreams las mareas costa rica

but, this october we finally hopped on a plane, flew south to the HOT and HUMID lush land of sloths and volcanoes! we stayed at a beautiful all-inclusive resort called dreams las mareas. we have never stayed at one before so we had nothing to compare the experience to, but regardless… IT WAS AMAZING!!!

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our room was big and bright, with an amazing balcony with a hot tub! we never used the tub, except to dry our wet bathing suits on it! every afternoon after spending the morning on the beach and poolside we would have a siesta during the heat of the day. and, boy-o-boy was it hot!!!

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the resort had a lovely beach on the pacific ocean.

we would head down daily after our delicious breakfast, with towels and books under our arms. at 10am bar service started and the lovely waiters would bring us all sorts of drinks to the beach!

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there were dogs at the beach. they were super social wanting to lounge with you. often they would crawl under various people’s chairs to hide from the sun and rest in the cool sand. they never barked, were threatening, begged for food… they just chilled with the tourists!

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the waves were big, strong and fun! the boys would jump into the waves for hours and hours. there were little fish all along the shallow shores and massive grey pelicans would dive-bomb into the water to catch them. it was impossible to get a picture of this, but it was wonderfully entertaining to watch.

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did i mention how beautiful and lovely our resort was!?

it was designed in a way with lots of lush greenery to create an intimate feel, separating various pools and restaurants. it was so easy to relax as we had nothing to worry about. our biggest concerns were when and where to eat!

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and the plants. the flowers. the trees. the foliage.

i couldn’t stop admiring it all. they were planted in a way to break-up sight lines, so it was easy to forget you were at a resort.

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this was one of the outdoor seafood restaurants we enjoyed for lunch. it’s hard to tell from the photo, but we were all dripping in sweat, kids included. but, it was fun to sit outside with the birds and lizards eating our yummy food. DH and i enjoyed all sorts of fancy alcoholic drinks, below i am devouring a strawberry daiquiri! 

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did i mention the beautiful fauna in costa rica?

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we went on one day trip. it was one of the funnest days we have ever had. the four of us were joined by two newly-wed couples who had just married 4 days before!!! it was so great listening their stories of their wedding days, how they had met, their future plans and so on. it gave me much clarity and reassurance on how far my sweet DH and i have come in our ten years of marriage.

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our day trip included zip lining!

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the kids were the first ones to go! lion went with a guide as he is so tiny still, but bear went on his own.

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it was super hard to take videos and pictures while ziplining! in fact i was the only one brave (stupid) enough to bring my camera and phone with me. because, i didn’t drop anything i am so glad i did!

there were 9 separate lines that whizzed along. we went over waterfall, rivers, jungle, fields with cows… it was completely unreal! i could be heard over the hills screaming with fear and excitement!

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earlier we zipped over this incredible waterfalls. we came here to swim, cool off and relax. we even walked under the falls, which was a loud, slippery but another amazing experience. even the kids ventured under there with us!

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we saw a sloth! and it moved! and it was much faster than we imagined! it was pretty high up in the tree, so getting a reasonable picture was impossible, but i took the one below for proof.

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below DH and lion can be seen relaxing in the volcanic hot spring. the water was very hot, but after ziplining it felt really good.

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after our long, adventurous day we had quiet ride back to the resort. quiet as in people slept, but the bumps were loud. they call the bumpy roads a costa rican massage! during our drive we saw lots of new infrastructure being built, things like more windmills and many improvements to the roads. the northern part of the country, where we were, is not as developed or touristy.

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thanks andre &  melanie and eric & kristy for spending the day with us and filling it with all your newly-wed love!  our new big nickle and georgia peach friends… how cute are they?

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this giant chessboard was a huge hit with our family, night n’ day!

the kids loved playing against their dad!

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on one day we decided to head up the hills to the nearest town. we were told that a local bus came by the resort. well, something got lost in the conversation between DH and a hotel employee, and the four of ended up running to try to catch the bus at the main gate of the resort. unfortunately the main gate was about a kilometer from the actual hotel, so we decided to run in the hopes to catch the bus we had missed t the hotel.

even though it was nine in the morning, it was already super hot n’ humid. 

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we ran and ran down this tiny road… that wee speck just passed the blue sign in the photo is DH, who ran ahead in the hopes to hold the bus for us. but, we still missed it. we walked back to the hotel, very disappointed and sweaty.

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after some discussion and problem solving we decided to splurge and took a taxi into town.

the road was windy and bumpy, but i was a lovely way to see the country. our driver was chatty, speaking english well telling us all sorts of things about his country. we were winding up the hills and mountains up, up, up.

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look at that view!

takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

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one of the first things we discovered while in town was a skate park! how cool?!dsc_0145 dsc_0151

the town was small. we were there to find souvenirs, which we didn’t find. but, we did buy some local coffee from the grocery store, which i have been savoring here at home.

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we found the kids these fun safari-style hats that said costa rica on them!

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back at the hotel we decided to have japanese for dinner.

we called it our family date night. first we went to the special lounge in teh main building that only privileged customers were allowed into. we’re still not quite clear how we managed to get those perks, but we did and we enjoyed them. the bartenders were hilarious showing all sorts of tricks to the kids and making fancy drinks for them.

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the chef below was learning the fancy tricks of the teppanyaki style of japanese cooking. it was pretty fun! 

oh and the sky. 

always beautiful.

always different.

always full of surprises!

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time to go.

after of week of relaxation, good food, swimming, sun and epic thunderstorms we were ready to say good-bye to the lovely people of costa rica and head home. we all missed our kitty-cats, our own beds and the cool breezes of october in ontario!

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HELLO TORONTO!

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if you have ever considered going to costa rica, GO! 

so much to see and do. a very beautiful country with lovely people.

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xo, mama lola

hi there. again. i think.

i have a had a really tough year.

well, 2 years actually. tough in a way that has made it hard to come to my blog and share. tough to get creative. tough all around.

i’m not quite ready to get into the details of the rough days in this super public place, even though this is my place to share anything.  for now, i am choosing privacy for the time being on the me side of things, but am hoping to increase posts with the family side of things. cuz life has been BUSY!!! and when i say busy, i mean BUSY!

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i don’t even know where to begin!

i’ll start here… my last post from march was about the volunteer work i was doing with the refugees fleeing war torn syria. sadly, my volunteering ended with the syrian newcomers project quite abruptly at the beginning of spring. the wheels of bureaucracy had a very specific direction they wanted to turn, which meant the clothing warehouse had to closed.  all of us volunteers were caught off guard by the news, but so it goes, sometimes you just have to go with the flow.  i am proud of the work i did, of the men and women i worked with to sort mountains of clothing and household items donated by the wonderful people of our city.

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and then there’s the big, fun news…

we sold our beloved peppermint patty in the spring and bought a new house closer to the kids school, on a quieter street. we were sad to leave our first wee house, but are thrilled with the new name-yet-to-be-decided house that sits in a better location, providing more space and the thing that the kids love the most is that they each get their own room!

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we moved to the new place in july and enjoyed our summer getting to know the house. it came with a super awesome hot tub, which we have put to good use a lot since moving in. we haven’t made any cosmetic changes yet, opting to live here first to figure out what exactly what we need vs. ant to do.  our walls are currently all various shades of brown (poo brown) so we will slowly start by changing those. and when i say we, i mean me. hahaha!

more details of the new house to come for sure.

 

a few days after moving went on a fantastic canoe camping trip to killarney provincial park.

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it was such a great trip. yes, there were tears, but there were mostly smiles and jokes and fun times. camping like this is an enormous amount of work for all, but we came together as a family and conquered the bugs, showing them we could have a blast no matter how much they bit us! we’re already making plans for another canoe camping trip for next summer.

school started in september for the boys. they are thrilled with their classes, enjoying school and their buddies so much these days. it really is such a satisfying sensation to watch your kids gain all sorts of new skills, absorbing knowledge and creating strong bonds with their peers.

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next up, coming soon…

pictures from out AMAZING family vacation to costa rica. we just got back late monday night and i am super pleased with the pictures i got. costa rica is such a beautiful country, rich with nature and the people there are super lovely. we stayed at an all-inclusive for the first time EVER, which felt like paradise. there was no meal planning to worry about only delicious restaurants to visit and taste test. we enjoyed beautiful fresh fruit and fresh baked sea food right from the sea! the service was incredible with staff always meeting our needs with a smile.

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costa rica is such a beautiful country, rich with nature and the people there are super lovely. we stayed at an all-inclusive for the first time EVER, which felt like paradise. there was no meal planning to worry about only delicious restaurants to visit and taste test. we enjoyed beautiful fresh fruit and fresh baked sea food right from the sea! the service was incredible with staff always meeting our needs with a smile.

here i am with my glorious sea salt parched hair, smudged mascara sucking back my super delish strawberry daiquiri! YUM!

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anyhow, i am hoping to get back to the swing of things here.

i know i have said that before, but maybe this time it will be my time for an actual comeback!!!

xo, mama lola

it’s march… post march break in fact.

blargh.

i know i said i would be back to blogging, but i haven’t been able to find my groove.

i think i’m a little lost in my life. things are changing, but not changing, but changing and life just keeps on trucking along, regardless of how i feel about it. the boys are growing so quickly, as are their needs. DH is enjoying his career, which has really boosted his energy and confidence recently.

me though… i feel a bit left behind. all of these years i sacrificed to care for my guys, who are now thriving without me. yes, i realize the kids still need and they will continue to need me for a long time still, but their needs are changing, ya know? most of the time they are doing their own thing, going to school, playing with friends, going to swimming lessons, going to rock climbing, building lego things and so on. and, then all of a sudden POW something happens and they become very dependent and needy. it’s in these times when i am holding them and gently stroking their hair that i find it completely incomprehensible to go back to work. to return to paid work… i still work my butt of daily even if it’s hard to see or understand.

i guess i am trying to find my way. trying to figure which direction to go in. do i go this way or that, or maybe down a completely different road all together.

all of this to say…

i have lots of ideas for blog posts. i start them, but have started to feel insecure about my voice, about what i’m saying and why people care. if they care at all. i think these questions are common for bloggers, as it’s kinda weird to put your stuff out there the way i have for years, and not really know who is at the other end

hmm… a lot of rambling is going on here. which is my point. i am nowhere and all over the place at the same time.

very confusing.

overwhelming. 

alice in wonderland

source

 

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if you don’t already head on over to >>> FACEBOOK <<< and like bear & lion there

or on >>> INSTAGRAM<<<. i update there with photo’s and silly little tid bits! 

happy monday beauties!

xo, mama lola

syrian refugee project; why i’ve been MIA

i have been MIA from this space for a long time! it’s not something i am going to get into here, right now, because i have something pretty great to share with you instead!

something that i am totally & completely proud of!

one main reason i have been distracted from my blog is i have been volunteering for the syrian refugees arriving in our community soon. a local business man, jim estill, has sponsored 50 families! yes, that’s right 50 families, not 50 persons, 50 families! we don’t even know how many people are in each family, how old these people are or any of the details. we were told that the average size of a family is 7 members. this project is estimated to cost $1.5 million!

this what the warehouse looked like before the avalanche of donations arrived.

syrian refugee project, guelph

thank goodness this cardboard was laid down on the floor; my knees and feet will be forever grateful considering some days i have clocked almost 10, 000 steps before noon. i know this thanks to my fitbit!

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all of the furniture has been removed from our warehouse and transferred to another location providing much more space for the clothing we are sorting.

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i started volunteering in the new year. it was quite overwhelming when i first arrived, with enormous piles of clothing, stacks of bowls and plates and furniture. many volunteers at our location created kitchen starter packs which include plates, bowls, cutlery, cooking utensils. really just to get everyone started with the bare minimum of kitchen supplies. some people went out and generously purchased brand new cutlery! it is such a great feeling to see we also initially were sorting bedding, linens, towels and toys. these items have also been moved to different location, because really THERE IS SO MUCH STUFF! which is good, because it is hard to understand how much stuff people will actually need to start their lives all over again in canada.

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our location has now formally become the clothing distribution centre, which means the syrian newcomers will book appointments in order to come and choose clothing for themselves. we have clothing from size newborn to XXXL, in all shapes, colours, styles, textiles, patterns, textures and for every season. i have sorted through clothing looking for tears, holes, staining, ensuring the zippers and buttons work, that pockets are empty, hoods are attached and that the items are in general good condition. if things don’t look good enough for myself or my family, we chuck them. we bag the unwanted clothes and send it off to a company that resorts it, and eventually recycles the clothes. 

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all clothing is sorted into kids, men’s and women’s. the kids clothes are sorted further into boys and girls, and then into ages. dresses, skirts, blazers, suites and winter coats are all hung on rolly racks, while sweaters, blouses, t-shirts, pants, shorts, sleepware, scareves, gloves, mitts and hats are all packed into boxes.

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the above personal items have all been meticulously inspected for expiration dates, new packaging and all small electrical appliances and things have all been tested.

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i work with the loveliest of people from all walks of life, from all over the world. there are the regulars who come every day of which some work all day from 9am to 4:30pm. then there are people like me who come often, but only work one shift either from 9am to 12:30pm or 12:30pm to 4:30pm. then there are other’s who come when they can, which may not be often, but their help is necessary and needed. the work we do is not glamorous, in fact some days are mind numbingly dull, if weren’t for the other people there! we all suffer from various aches and pains at the end of our shifts, but we all still seem to come back!

i feel proud of my community for coming together and helping the refugees who so desperately deserve it. we live in such excess, which has really been shoved in my face during my time volunteering.  

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i am dorking it out with the mayor centre, and some of our lovely volunteers.

 

>>> some of the photo’s in this post were taken by another faithful volunteer, pete. not sure how much of his identity i should reveal!

more photo’s and volunteer tales to come, i promise!

 

xo, mama lola

how to make your own felted balls.

i love, LOVE working with felt. i’m not really sure why, but there is something about the way the material feels.

felting, felted balls, diy

last year i bought a bunch of roving wool and made felt bowls. they were a bit time consuming to make, but they turned out great! you can check-out the pictures and tutorial HERE.

this year, i have decided to try something new with my roving wool.

>>> felted balls<<<

you see them all over pinterest so i thought i would give it a go. roving wool can be purchased at most craft supply stores, i got mine at michael’s. 

oh-mah- goodness it was fun! time consuming and drying on the hands, but so worth all the cracks on my thumbs! there is something meditative about standing at my kitchen window, in front of the sink, felting. i love the process of choosing the colours to work with, but not knowing what kind of patterns or swirls the rowing wool will ultimately create!

felting, felted balls, felt crafts

so here’s what you do:

  1. gather a large handful of the roving wool. you can choose a few different colours or just use one colour.
  2. you will want to work close to a sink. i filled a bowl with dish soap and hot water, soaking the wool and gently creating spherical shape with the roving wool.

roving wool, felt crafts, felting roving wool, felting, felted crafts

3. keep wetting the wool in hot water and soap. the hot water and soap help create the friction needed for the felting process. use two hands to create the felt ball, by rubbing the roving wool in between your palms in a circular motion.

4. to make one felted ball can take half an hour. try to relax your shoulders, because after a while of doing this i found my upper body was getting very tense. 

roving wool, felted crafts, felted balls, felting

5. once you are satisfied with the density and shape of your ball, rinse it very well. this can take a while, but you want to ensure the soap is all out of the ball. set the felted balls on a hand towel and let sit for a couple of days to completely air dry before making anything with them.

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aren’t they lovely?

you can get super creative with your felted balls and make all sorts of fun things with them. things like garlands for any occasion, necklaces, hotplates, rugs, zipper decorations, key chains… just check google or pinterest for ideas and tutorials!

xo, mama lola

my homework.

guys! i’ve gone back to school! 

it’s pretty scary, intimidating and did i mention scary???

years and years ago i started my women’s studies degree at the the local university here in town. i loved the program. then i became pregnant with bear and took some time off, returning part-time when bear was about 18 months old. i completed almost half of my degree when the university stupidly discontinued the entire program. it was devastating for me as a woman, as a mama and as a student. when i was pregnant with lion i took my last course at the uni towards my degree.

i always knew i would return to my studies when i was ready. it took me a while to find the courage to head back. the thought of sitting in a lecture hall with 21 year old’s really intimidated me. plus, i wanted to get my health back in order after dealing with my pituitary tumour for a few years. now that the boys are both in school full time i have decided to gently enter the world of academia myself. i was accepted at athabasca university where i will be completing my women and gender studies degree online. to easy my way in i am only taking one class; an english composition course. it’s mandatory for me to complete in order to graduate.

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for fun, i thought i would share my first piece of homework. lotds of people are curious about my back-to-school life! i had to read about paragraphs and write my own introductory one to share with my prof. 

 

Paragraph 1

It is a miserable November Friday here in south western Ontario. The furnace is pumping away trying to warm up the house my coffee is brewing in the kitchen all the while our two cats, Leo and Poppy, have found cozy, warm spots to curl up for their usual morning naps. My kids are at school hopefully enjoying whatever fun kindergarten and grade 2 have to offer. My husband is off in the big city today enduring work meetings, while I putter around our home completing homework assignments and various household tasks. Our life looks and sounds like the lives of so many other families, but it is unique, because it is ours. The routines we struggle through, the adventures we enjoy all make our little family unit special. We have survived another week of morning wake-ups and nightly bedtime shenanigans, of meetings with teachers and anxiety inducing specialist appointments. Now, the weekend is rolling in with the cold rain, blowing the fallen leaves around like empty thoughts. We are all ready for a few days without routine, without alarm clocks and the warmth our family and home create.

it’s not going to get graded, it’s for an assessment to see that i capable to complete this course.

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this weekend the kids and i have been busy crafting, crafting, crafting so keep checking back to the blog for all the fun pictures and tutorials!

and, we had our first real snow fall!!!! WOOHOOO!!!!

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first snow, bear and lion blog

this weekend the kids and i have been busy crafting, crafting, crafting so keep checking back to the blog for all the fun pictures and tutorials!

 

xo, mama lola

felt envelopes for santa claus!

oh my goodness! look at what i found!

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i was researching other christmas crafts when i saw these lovely, adorable felt envelopes to santa claus! of course i pinned the ideas and decided to make a round-up post for inspiration.

first i’ll share what i made.

i used felt, thread, hot glue gun and my sewing machine just a little. 

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i used a blanket stitch to sew the edges of the envelope together. i wasn’t too concerned about the evenness of the stitches, creating a childlike quality to the project. then i used my scrap felt to cut out the letters, stamp and holly embellishments.   

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i have lots of scraps of felt that i save for detailing for all sorts of projects. here i used the small pieces for holly, the reindeer’s face and antlers and the stamps. i just hot glue gunned them on.

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then i embroidered some simple wintery stars on the back of one of the envelopes. 

TA-DAA!!!

i just love them!

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below i have included ideas that vary from quite intricate to very simple. school aged kids could even make one of the easier versions of the envelopes. 

 

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writing to santa : diy felt envelopes from city girl gone coastal 

 

santa envelopes 2  letter to santa claus felt envelope from not on the high street

(this one is not a tutorial, but a envelope for sale) 

 

santa envelopes 3felt envelope by michale ann via paper + stitch

 

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personalised felt christmas letter to santa envelope from cut out and keep

 

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christmas wish-list felt envelope from jumbbleberries

 

if you’re not feeling crafty, check etsy for these felt envelopes. there are many creative people there making fantastic envelopes; go check them out by just putting “santa felt envelopes”into the search and enjoy!

these sweet things would be perfect for kids or even for gift cards!

xo, mama lola
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