It’s a Red Plate Kinda Day!

I want to dedicate this post to our daughter Eden! She has really had to fight through a lot of crap during the past 5 years, but her perseverance and stamina to push through and never give up are truly admirable. She has been completely depression free since May! Her spark and confidence have returned and she is ready to take on the world.

The Red Plate

The Red Plate is the perfect way to acknowledge a family member’s special triumphs…celebrate a birthday…praise a job well done…reward a goal achieved…or simply say “You Are Special Today.” When the Red Plate is used, any meal becomes a celebration honoring that special person, event or deed. We encourage those who purchase a plate or celebrate this tradition to share YOUR story.

Red Plate Store

We received our red plate as a gift from a friend several years ago. The cool thing about the plate is that it comes with a special permanent marker that you use to record the “event” on the back of the plate. It is so fun to look back and remember all of the occasions in which the red plate was used. I had actually forgot about ours for a while, but came across it when going through my china cabinet this summer. I think it is a super cool idea and makes a wonderful gift! The plates are available through the Red Plate Store and Amazon.

What Made Today a Red Plate Day?

I got up this morning to take Eden for a bit of last minute practise before attempting her 5th road test. The first time she went she was super nervous and made it through the parallel parking and most of the test. She was basically on her way back and made a “critical error” which resulted in an immediate fail. Of course, she was disappointed and this seemed to compound her anxiety for future tests. On her second attempt, she had an almost immediate fail for a critical error before she even made it to the parking test! That was the end of the critical errors, but the third time she didn’t pass the parrallel parking and the fourth she had too many points deducted. Each time she left feeling disappointed, but we tried to encourage her and tell her how important it was to be ready for the road.

To me road tests are like swimming lessons …..please whatever you do, DO NOT pass my child if they are not ready. I was always amazed at parents who would complain when their child had to repeat a swimming level, especially when they were small and in the beginner levels. For me swimming was not an activity, it was a LIFE SKILL! My kids were forced to take lessons whether they wanted to or not. I didn’t want them to ever be in a situation where they couldn’t save themselves or help someone else because they didn’t have this basic life skill. It struck me as so odd, when one particular instructor took the time to explain every detail of the swimming report and why one of the kids hadn’t passed. I politely stopped him and thanked him for holding them back. It was comical because he couldn’t let it go, he kept trying to justify his decision. I told him I completely supported his judgement and that I would never want them to move on if they weren’t ready. He told me he’d never encountered that before as most parents argue, trying to get their child the “badge” they haven’t yet earned. I was literally dumbfounded.

The same is of course true with driving. I’m not sure about you, but I wouldn’t want my daughter on the road behind the wheel of a car, if she were not qualified or ready. Why would any parent? I always prayed with her for a pass, but was so thankful for each failed attempt, knowing that it gave her more time to grow, mature and gain confidence. I strongly believe checks and balances are a blessing! I knew that she’d pass when she was ready and was quite confident today would be the day. She has healed so much in the past few months and she went in knowing in her own heart that she was ready.

Getting your driver’s licence is one of those milestones that mark a turning point in one’s adolescence, but I didn’t bring out the red plate because she finally passed! Today was a Red Plate Kinda Day because the true measure of success is when a person is willing to put themselves out there over and over again, failing as many times as it takes to finally reach their goal! For me, today represented so much more that finally getting her driver’s licence. Today we celebrated her resilience, her willingness to never give up, her perseverance and understanding that all things work out for good, for those who believe and never give up. One can only truly fail, if they stop trying or never take the risk to try in the first place.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Way to go Eden, so proud of you!

*This post was written on Saturday, September 7th, but I just got my kiddo’s stamp of approval to post it publicly.

Gift Wrapping Tips: Purchasing Paper Punches

One of my “go to” gift wrapping tricks is to add interest using simple paper layers. It’s amazing to see how you can elevate the look of a gift by simply adding in a layer or two of paper to create the present focal point or add to another primary element. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using simple paper punches. You simply punch out the desired shape and use it to create a layered look. Investing in multiple punches can certainly add up. In this video, I share some shopping pointers that will help you get the best bang for your buck! Don’t waste your money on tools that have limited uses. Ensure you are buying items that are versatile and more open-ended. Check out my latest video to find out my suggestions!

If you like this video, be sure to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my channel (BOWhemian WRAPsody) for more great gift wrapping ideas. Also, don’t forget to SHARE!

Also, check out my blog archives for more posts on DIY projects, home decor, recipes and so much more!

Gift Wrapping Ideas: Paper Storage Hack

This wrapping paper storage hack warrants a second post. I originally shared this idea several years ago, but today I will share it again in video form. One of the things that drives me crazy about leftover wrapping paper is figuring out how to effectively store partial rolls. The paper roll unravels when not fastened and yet finding ways to secure the loose paper is not a simple feat. The use of tape often results in ruining the surface of the paper where the edge is secured. I’ve also used elastic bands, but they often end up cutting/damaging the paper as well. This solution is simple and works like a charm! Check out the video to find out how to solve the wrapping paper dilemma once and for all.

cardboard toilet paper roll + 2 brads + mini hair elastic = storage hack

Find out how these materials are used to store your wrapping paper rolls effectively without damaging the paper!

If you’re interested in learning more gift wrapping ideas, please subscribe to my channel BOWhemian WRAPsody. Also, don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE.

Creative Gift Wrapping Ideas: Think Pleats!

Although I was not on “my game” when taping this video (lots of edits), my heart was in it! Unlike most of the presents I wrap, this was a real gift! It always means more when you have a recipient in mind. I picked up this bible at Sam’s Place a few days ago, with my friend Heather in mind. I knew that this version was one she really wanted and when I found a brand new copy, I couldn’t resist. Now consider yourself warned….I’m going to go off on a little tangent here, but I just have to ….If you’ve never been to Sam’s Place before, I encourage you to check it out! It’s a used book store and café. It is operated by Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba through a large group of volunteers. There’s great coffee, food and of course, many books. I often manage to find brand new ones and the prices are always great! Fabulous place to meet a friend for coffee. It’s located on Henderson Highway, here in Winnipeg. A favourite for sure. There’s my plug!

Knowing that Heather’s favourite colour is pink, I began to go through my stash to see what I could come up with. The interesting thing about combing paper and patterns is that you can often produce a great look with paper/patterns that might not be that special on their own. To be honest, I did’t love the chosen paper and guessed I would never use it for scrapbooking. However, what I did know was that 1. Heather loves pink! 2. Once you begin to combine elements it is surprising how a pattern can be elevated. The combination of patterns, shades of pink and simplistic design came together nicely to create a beautiful finished look.

One of the features of this gift wrapping design is the inclusion of pleats along the centre of the present. This finished look was primarily created using paper scraps, but you certainly wouldn’t think of it as “leftovers”. The simple white lattice ribbon and a brad are the only extras in creating this look. I did use my circle punches to cut the concentric circles that anchor the centre of the paper flower. Definitely worth investing in a few circle punches of various sizes. (The dollar store sometimes carries small circle punches.)

Check out my latest video from BOWhemian WRAPsody to see how this gift was pulled together.

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Ultimate Upcyle: Staircase Makeover Using Antique Furniture

We moved into our 1921 home in 2008 and although it is a beautiful character home with many wonderful features including coffered ceilings, original built-in cabinets, a fireplace, French doors and a double staircase to the basement, there were definitely a few less than attractive features. Slowly, but surely, we have chipped away at the projects a little bit at a time. The great thing about having a handy husband is that he can pretty much do it all – electrical, plumbing, carpentry, sod, small engine repairs, etc. The downside is that “Mr. Fix-it” also has a full-time job and understandably does not want to spend every moment of his free time doing projects for me (I mean us).

When we first moved into this house, the staircase and entire second floor were covered in a disgusting brown carpet from the 70’s. We knew from the previous owners that there was not hardwood beneath, despite the age of the house. Evidently, there was a fire that gutted most of the second floor, thus none of the finishes upstairs are original. One of our first projects upon taking possession of the house was to remove the carpet. We had previously lived in a house (long story for anther time) that had OSB floors on the second story. We both loved the look and they were a perfect choice for the pocketbook as well. We bought, laid, sanded and urethaned for under $700. We loved the finished OSB look upstairs, but the staircase itself was a mess. The wooden stairs beneath the carpet were in very poor shape. The wood that was used was extremely rough and our attempts to paint and urethane did little to hide the imperfections.

I’ve hated the staircase from the moment we moved in and always had this vision in my head. It has taken us a very long time to attack this beast because we both knew it was not only a huge undertaking, but quite possibly beyond our capabilities. In December, we remodelled the upstairs landing, so that the kids would have a place to hangout with their friends. We don’t have a finished basement (yet) and with only the one family/living room, there really wasn’t a place for the kids and their friends (without us breathing down their necks). We both desired to have our home be an inviting spot for all the teenagers. Sure enough with the upstairs space finished, our kids began to invite their friends over on a regular basis and before long, they didn’t even need an invitation, but knew they were always welcome and were expected to come in and make themselves at home. Back to the reno…the staircase itself is actually very narrow and when we went to move the sofa upstairs (after finishing the landing) we could not make it work. With very little forethought, we smashed down the rail and jumped into this project. I distinctly remember my conflicting feelings…Oh no! What have we done! …verses Hooray! I’m finally getting new stairs!

Before: Painted Staircase

I searched for before pictures, but having hated the stairs, there really aren’t any that truly depict how bad they were. I have a few shots from 2013 after fresh paint and a coat of urethane, but most were taken post demo in December 2018. Demo involved using the “sawzall” to remove the rail and cut off the overhang/nose of the stairs. Otherwise, the black painted/chipped treads and yellow risers demonstrate quite accurately what they were like.

My Vision:

Part of my vision for the stairs involved upcycling old oak. Our home is old and I really didn’t want to purchase a stair kit or even have brand new stairs installed. I wanted hardwood, but also desired to have something authentically aged and with a story of its own. And so it began…I spent several months scouring Kijiji in search of wood that would meet the size requirements for the treads. The trickiest part was finding wood suitable for the bottom three steps which were oversized and oddly shaped because of a turn in the staircase. I ended up with a mishmash of antique oak from a combination of dining room tables, desks, a church pew and junk piles. In addition to the hardwood stair treads, I wanted painted risers that would match the custom stair skirting, batten moldings and chair rail. I knew the look I wanted, but it would take lots of fine finishing work to pull it all together. Keep in mind….my husband is not a carpenter by trade!

The Process:

Once we had the wood collected, we had to muster up the courage to start. It was scary to embark on such a daunting project, but the reality was that our stairs had been barely usable for over 6 months and the job just had to get done. I stripped and sanded the antique pieces. Tim cut the collected wood into treads and then proceeded to stain and urethane. We purchased 1/4″ hardboard to cover the rough risers that previously existed on the old stairs. Tim measured and cut the skirts, batten boards, moldings and chair rails and within 2 weeks, the project was completed. I was in charge of painting and of course, that took many hours of work as well, but none of it would have been possible without Tim’s skills and commitment to getting the job done.

The Results:

I honestly can’t brag enough about my husband right now! First and foremost, he gave up his entire 2 weeks of vacation to get this project done. He dove in despite his reservations, and his workmanship was the best he’s ever done! I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. We decided to put the handrail on the inner wall as opposed to adding one on the open side (for now at least). The staircase is so narrow that leaving it open just looks so lovely. We have already tossed around some ideas for the outer rail, but for now we are just going to enjoy the beautiful open feel of the narrow space. So proud of my man!!

BEFORE & AFTER:

Check-out the video to see the full before and after reveal!

Ponytail Presents!

I make every effort to think outside the box and incorporate new elements into my gift wrapping. As soon as I saw this burlap ponytail, I knew it would be a perfect present enhancement. I love the natural look and texture of burlap. In this gift wrapping tutorial, I demonstrate how to incorporate the burlap ponytail as well as a burlap broach into your gift wrapping project. I also demonstrate how to create two different looks with paper. The brown packaging paper melds perfectly with the natural elements of the burlap, while the black elicits more impact through the contrast. These two simple elements add beauty to the plain solid-coloured papers, but would also mix wonderfully with a carefully chosen print!

Coming soon! Our biggest upcycle DIY project ever! So excited to share this project with my readers.

Gift Wrapping Basics: Think Wardrobe!?

Best Bang for Your Buck:

Gift Wrapping Basics

If you’re interested in creating your own gift wrapping style, it may seem a bit overwhelming at first. This is especially true if you don’t have any materials with which to start the process. In my latest BOWhemian WRAPsody video, I don’t actually wrap any gifts, but rather share tips on how to begin building your collection of gift wrapping supplies.

This short video highlights some basic rules of thumb for making initial investments that will give you the most bang for your buck. My best advice is to resist the temptation to buy that beautiful ribbon that you love so much…chances are the colours and pattern will be so limiting that you’ll never actually get the chance to use it! I’ve made this mistake many times in the past….you know, those “I just have to have that!” purchases. We’ve all done it! When you’re first establishing your basic supplies, always ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the colour neutral?
  • Is the pattern busy and/or limiting? (I recommend only solids to begin with, especially if you are shopping on a budget.)
  • Do I already have something similar?

Gift Wrapping Inventory Must-Haves:

  • solid, neutral colours of both ribbon and paper 
  • varying widths of ribbon/cord/string in each of your foundation colours

Think Wardrobe!

I compare my collection of gift wrapping supplies to that of a wardrobe. In your wardrobe, you probably have your classic solid coloured pants/skirts that coordinate with various other accessories/prints you wear. The “staples” or classic pieces are an essential element to your overall wardrobe, even though they may not be your favourites. These pieces are often boring and lack personality, but their importance can not be underestimated. They are essential components.

When you begin to develop your collection of gift wrapping materials, think of it in much the same way…you will add those awesome colours and patterns, but only after you establish the fundamental elements with classic neutrals. Once you have those in place, you can begin to look for those pieces that add more personality and interest to your gifts, but you have to start somewhere.

Patterned Paper:

In today’s video, I also suggest purchasing a 12″ X 12″ (light weight) scrapbooking pad. This is a great way to incorporate patterned paper designs into your collection, but be sure the weight of the paper isn’t too heavy or it will not be pliable enough for wrapping. Although scrapbooking paper does limit the size of the gifts you can wrap, you can check out some of my other videos and tips for “patching” to make smaller pieces of paper work for you:

Edge Work!

Wrap With Scrap

Wrap With Scrap#2

Take some time to check out some previous posts from my archives. You’ll find some great DIY projects, recipes and much more! If you enjoy my blog, you can subscribe and get an email notification as soon as I post! Thanks for visiting!

Cindy

Environmentally Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

Upcycle! Upcycle! Upcycle!

My husband recently received a gift and although the bag was pretty, the gift giver wrote his name and birthday wishes directly on the bag, making it impossible to reuse. I really do hate wasting items and try to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible. My husband tossed the bag in recycling, but the glittery back caught my eye and I just had to rescue it! I love the way this gift came together by combining 3 rescued items: a gift bag, a previously used ribbon and a broach! Check-out my latest tutorial to see the variations I came up with and perhaps you might rethink some of your own castaways!

If you like what you see, don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE the posts! You can receive an email notification of my latest posts by SUBSCRIBING to both my youtube channel: BOWhemian WRAPsody and my blog! Thanks for visiting!

Stay Tuned for the Big Reveal:

We have been super busy this past week….tune in to see pictures of our latest and perhaps most spectacular DIY reno and upcycling project yet. I am honestly speechless…my hubby really out did himself this time! I hope to have the finishing touches done and the post up by next week!

Gift Wrapping Ideas: Edge Work!

This gift was created using scrapbooking paper. The edges of the paper were folded to create a white board running down the centre of the gift. A pink strip of paper was mounted on top and then a second strip of white paper sits on top of that to create a layered look. I added in a small white doily and big pink button in the center to serve as the focal point in this gift. I love the black-based floral print. The contrast between it and the white and pink creates a beautiful stand-out look.

I absolutely love this paper! Whenever possible, I try to use scrapbooking paper for wrapping gifts. Why? Because there are so many incredible papers to choose from. A great way to get started using scrapbooking paper for gift wrapping is by purchasing a 12″ X 12″ scrapbooking paper pad. There are many great collections and they often follow a specific theme, colour scheme or a certain look. Some examples might include: Christmas, pastel colours, shades of blue, vintage, travel, floral, chalkboard designs, etc. Once you find a book you like, be sure to watch for coupons or a good sale price. I only buy paper when it is 40% off or greater. Some books come with coordinating solids and others only contain patterned papers. If your book does not come with solids, purchase some matching single sheets of paper to go with your patterned papers. Often the colours in a book follow a set scheme and a handful of solid colours will match with most of the patterned designs.

Regardless of whether you are using scrapbooking paper or regular wrapping paper, you can create interest in your finished projects by focussing on the edges of your paper. In this video tutorial, you will learn how to:

  • Use a folded edge to compensate for a piece of wrapping paper that is too small
  • Incorporate a folded edge as a design element
  • Enhance your gift wrapping with torn paper edges

You will be amazed to see how a variety of looks can be created with the same elements being used in slightly different applications. I hope you enjoy today’s tutorial.

To learn more great gift wrapping ideas, SUBSCRIBE to my channel. You can also help me out by LIKING and SHARING my posts. Thanks for visiting!

My Secret Weapon for Great Gift Wrapping

 Re-used elastic ribbon, a dollar store netted wire bow, silver curly ribbon and a few strands of iridescent present stuffing are used to create this beautiful gift.

Today’s gift wrapping tutorial introduces you to one of my secret weapons. I wouldn’t consider myself a hoarder by any means, but when it comes to gift wrapping, I keep and re-use the same ribbon and embellishments over and over again. When I host a birthday or when we open gifts on Christmas morning, the paper gets recycled, but I collect anything and everything that is re-usable. This is my secret weapon because it saves me both time and money! This is especially true at Christmas when there are so many gifts to wrap!

In my latest BOWhemian WRAPsody tutorial, you will see how I take one of my old embellishments and with a tweak here and there, create a beautiful gift. With such a great finished look, you don’t need to feel the least bit guilty about taking this shortcut! Watch the video to see how you can start saving time and money by purchasing the correct types of embellishments and creating simple looks that can easily be stored and re-used in the future.

If you want to learn more great ways to create beautiful looking gifts…subscribe to my channel! Don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE. Thanks for your support!