Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Snail Mail ~ Creative Pen Pal Swap



Here's a random fact for you, I used to be a pen pal. I had three friends that I faithfully wrote to for years. I got married and had children and the art of snail mail had fallen to the wayside. Sad. I LOVE mail. Have you seen that movie Paul Blart Mall Cop? There's this scene that I like:
  • "Give me your cell phone". -"I don't have one"
  •  "What are you talking about? Every kid has a cell phone."
  • I prefer handwritten sentiments."
although somewhat unrealistic these days, it's a nice thought. There is nothing quite like getting actual mail delivered to your mailbox.

So, what I propose is this: join me in a Creative Pen Pal Swap. Think mail art! If you scrapbook, dress it up with stickers and embellishments. If you draw, go nuts! Be as creative as you want. Here's how it'll go down. Email me at mrsgingras (at) gmail (dot) com with

  1. Your name and full postal address (I'll only share this with your partner)
  2. Your preference for domestic or foreign match ups (I can't promise, but I'll try)

When you receive an email back from me you will then send your pen pal a letter which should include
  1. A bit about yourself and/or your family
  2. what hobbies you enjoy
  3. a small gift* (nothing elaborate and handmade is great though not required)
  4. and perhaps a picture of yourself
* Here's the challenge and a little rule: In order to keep the costs to a minimum, please keep your letters to the size established by your postal delivery company as Lettermail and not parcel mail.

In Canada those requirements can be found here. When you go to the post office they have an acrylic board that they slide your letter through to make sure it's not too thick. If you are a Venture One member (small business owner) then you can purchase one, but I looked up a picture of one online and with a ruler and some markers, made my own. I printed off the current postal rates and attached it onto the board, I like a quick reference guide. I don't have a weigh scale yet, but it's on my wish list. You could use a digital kitchen scale if you have one (I don't). 



If you need some creative ideas for making your letters creative or for small mail-able gifts, check out my Pinterest board for inspiration.



One more thing, please commit to writing your pen pal at least once a month for six months. At the end of the six months you can decide together if you'd like to continue or not. Let's have some fun!



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Our 10th Anniversary Party ~ The Rest

So, let's talk about our venue for a minute. We were graciously hosted by Rob & Lois Friesen at their family farm and it was so amazing! Rob & Lois are no strangers to hosting events and ours was a small one in comparison to events like Farm Fest and their daughter's weddings. The outdoor stage was such a picturesque backdrop for our ceremony and the barn provided a shady getaway. The landscaping is gorgeous and so lovely, it suited us and our needs beautifully! Thank you, Rob & Lois!



After the official ceremony, we had time for people to just play, visit and explore. We had music playing in the background and the children took the opportunity to turn the stage into a dance floor. David had fun putting together a playlist and I thought I'd share it in case you were interested.

click image to enlarge

Supper was simply a hotdog bar with potluck salads and desserts. My friend makes the most amazing London Fog Cupcakes, you should definitely order some!!! We considered a traditional cake, but decided that cotton candy was a bit more our style. David spun the sugary goodness and let me tell you, fresh cotton candy has me spoiled for anything less.



Instead of a guest book, we decided to have a wine bottle time capsule that people could leave messages for us to open in one and five years. Our Abby spent a long time at the table, so it will be fun to see what treasures she's put in there for us.



THE DRESS! Thanks to your support, I was able to find a dress that I LOVE. Thank you!

We didn't actually pose for any pictures, so I have an action shot here for you.

Finally, the Gingras family tradition quiz and First In Bed ~ Official Rules. We wanted to end our party with laughter and fun. David and I love quirky traditions and we thought it would be a good time to share some. I made a little quiz and we shared the details. If you'd like to play along, feel free to answer the quiz in the comments and I'll share the answers later.

click on image to enlarge


The final tradition we shared was a game that David and I have been playing almost every night for 10 years. It's ridiculous and funny and we love it.

click on image to enlarge
And just because, here's a few more great pictures....


Oh my! He's so handsome!!!

My favourite picture of the two of us




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our 10th Anniversary Party ~ the Ceremony

A friend of ours was kind enough to take pictures for us, so the following pictures credit goes to Greg Gerbrandt ~ thanks!

Just like our wedding, we wanted our party to be fun, celebrate what God has done and to reflect our unique personalities. I think we managed to accomplish that. The ceremony began with us dancing in and inviting everyone to join a mini dance party. Song here.


My parents (left) dancing while David dances with his sister, Tabitha

Huge participation points go out to all the children - Aisha shows her super high kick!

It was super fun to see everyone participating!

Norm, our friend, who officiated, shared about marriage and why we were there to renew our vows. During our marriage ceremony David and I read the following bible verse:
"Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." 
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Over the last 10 years our three stranded cord (represented by God, David and I) has grown into a large knot thanks to our friends and family. We showed a visual representation of what that looks like in a monkey's fist knot. We thanked everyone for being a part of that knot that keeps our marriage together. We've been so blessed by community and support!

David explains the monkey's fist knot of our marriage

Something that we wanted to share was our vow renewal. We figured that one of the hang-ups of doing vow renewals is the pressure to throw a big event or party, and since we had the party and the officiant already, we figured we would invite the married couples to join us in renewing their vows. We told our parents ahead of time so that we'd have someone participating, but we were pleasantly surprised to see most (if not all) the couples stand and join in. We handed our ring pops to exchange and I pre-made certificates to hand out to each participating couple. 

We exchanged ring pops and vows - Abigail is standing by to "steal" one of our rings



David and I shared communion with each other and used Dr. Pepper (a throw back to our wedding ceremony) and Mum Mums (baby crackers for the stage of life we are in).

Communion with my love


We ended the official ceremony with confetti rockets.



We had a great time and it was great to renew my commitment to David. I am so thankful for 10 years with my best friend and co-founder of our Gingras family.




I still have more party to share, stay tuned.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Our 10th Anniversary Party ~ the Creative Details

What a great day! We had so much fun and from what I've heard, it sounds like it was fun for everyone. I've kept details under my hat for so long that I hope to remember everything I wanted to share. Let's begin with our save the dates.


I printed these on card stock and used marker to mark the date. I chose this format so that I could design and print them before even confirming the date. 

Then the invitation:


These are Wonka Bar knock~offs complete with golden tickets. This was a Pinterest find as many of my details were. In fact, I've just taken the private lock off my anniversary party idea board if you're interested in seeing most of my inspiration.

The main crafting project that kept me busy for weeks was the backdrop. A few notes before I show you:

  • I had help. A few of my girlfriends came over for an evening to help and my sister also helped me for an evening.
  • Even though the backdrop got destroyed (wind and transport etc) I would do it again! I loved the result
  • The end result was not quite the end I would have left it at if I had more time. 
  • I loved this backdrop!

The details: there are 12 foam backed poster boards attached with zip ties covered in paper flowers. The only thing I used was plain printer paper and glue (low temp glue gun). I researched tutorials on Pinterest and in the end I just made things up as I went. It took an average of 2 boards per evening to complete. 
A close~up from my Instagram

I wish I had followed my original instinct to make some extra fill flowers, but as I finished two nights before the party and having out of town guests, I decided to call it finished. The gaps are obvious. Within the first hour of having set it up, I lost one of the larger flowers in the wind and I decided not to try to save it. Transporting it was a bit of a pain. If I make one again, I hope to sell it to a photographer. I think it would be especially nice in a studio.

The only other decor piece we had anything to do with from the picture above was the program.


We actually started late, but we managed to catch up and finish on timer anyway. We wanted to be sure families with littles weren't out too late. Anyway, the rest of the stage...gorgeous right? We were blessed to be hosted on a family farm by an awesome family who are no strangers to hosting events. Their property is beautiful and full of the host's creative touches. 

Our family outfits had some creative touches added here and there. Bow ties, boutonniere and a hat brim change.


Instead of making traditional bow ties that wrap around and under the collar, I removed the top button on the shirts and put a snap in its place with the other side on the bow ties. It worked quite nicely. I couldn't resist popping a piece of wheat into the bib pockets of the boys' coveralls. They looked so cute. I'll show you them dressed up in another post.


We decided that David wouldn't wear a suit but instead a dress shirt with blue jeans and suspenders. He looked so hot! Yes, it was a hot day, but I mean he looked really great! I whipped up his boutonniere with matching ribbon from the boys' ties and my hat brim.


This awesome hat I purchased at the Haberdashery here in town. Friends from church own this great shop and I was so happy to have an occasion to need a great hat. Luke hooked me up with this one and I love it, but the trim was black and my dress, navy. I took matters into my own hands and changed up the trim with a ribbon. 


It's not the best picture, but you get the idea.

I made some digital designed printouts, but I'll share those with you as I get into the ceremony details.

I had a lot of fun with this party. I had so many ideas and some of them didn't make the light of day, but in general I'm happy with the results.








Sunday, August 3, 2014

Thank You!

Well we are one week away from our anniversary party (9 days away from our actual anniversary). I am so humbled and honoured by support I've received and I can't wait to show you my new dress. You are going to have to wait until after the party. I do like to keep secrets. In the meantime, here's a couple of pictures of bags purchased from my blog sale in action. Thanks Charis and Donna!

"It fits a Mac Book Pro"

 Charis wrote me this note: "I love my teardrop bag! It's just the perfect size to stash stuff for the kids when we are at the park or splash pad.  Todays contents: snacks, water, sunscreen and bug repellant, diapers, wipes, nursing wrap... Plus more! Since I don't currently use a cell phone, the little cell-pouch holds my roll of diaper-disposal bags! Love it"

Many of you shared the link to my sale on Facebook etc, and that meant just as much to me as a purchase, so thank you. I have lots of details to wrap up in a week and we have family coming from out of town, so I probably won't be posting until after the party. I can't wait to show you what I've been so busy doing! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Slashed Prices!

Have you visited the blog sale? Well, today I've slashed the prices. Go check it out!




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I Made Something NEW!

I've finally finished a project that's been on my cutting table for months. David bought me the fabric for it for Mother's Day and I've had the pattern even longer. Thankfully, summer has meant that I get to have sewing time and I've been thoroughly enjoying it!


The pattern is The Iris Convertible Shoulder Bag by Canadian Designer, Celine of Blue Calla. I saw the pattern featured in the I Think Sew newsletter and knew I wanted to give it a try as soon as I did. I admit that it helped that it came from a Canadian designer, I love to support my countrymen.

I began making this bag in a different fabric that David had helped me choose, but the slippery nature of it and the straight stripes that refused to stay straight caused me to change my mind. Believe it or not, I found this fabric at Walmart in their pre-cut fabrics. It's a canvas weight and I'm really happy with the result.

The front pocket has a pretty little surprise under the pocket flap. The lace and vinyl trim is something only I will see, but it's a feature that I really like. It closes with a magnetic clasp and keeps my small items secure.



The vinyl was a challenging and fun new experience for me. Every needle hole shows and so you can't pin it or stitch rip and re-do. It's get it right the first time or you really notice! I'm really pleased with it. I took it really slow and payed very close attention to lining things up. It's recommended that you use a walking foot and I don't have one, so I had to trouble shoot certain steps. 


I lined the bag with a bold pink broadcloth. I like light coloured lining so that I can see into every corner with a glance and I like a pop and surprise of colour in every bag. The bag has a divided slip pocket and a zipper pocket in the lining. It's a very functional bag.


David found me this great rainbow zipper and I knew that I wanted to use it in the purse. It makes me smile every time I see it.


There are tabs on the side where I can attach a shoulder strap later, should I choose to do so. I'm not usually a fan of cross shoulder straps, so I may not do it, but you can't add those tabs later and I now have the option. 






PS I ordered my party dress and it's on its way! Thank you for all your support in my blog sale. I've left the blog sale post below and will keep it there for the time being. You're welcome to peruse and shop. I won't be showing you my dress until after the party, but I am pretty excited to have something pretty to wear.