This afternoon my Mom called me and asked the following:

"Have you seen the laughing baby on YouTube?"

Followed by:

"Just type laughing baby into YouTube and you'll probably find it."

Little did Mom know, that was the equivilent of saying: "Did you see the funny cat on YouTube?" or "Do you know Joe from Canada?"  My mom is adorable.  With a little more information, I was able to find the particular baby she was talking about.  So the Awesome of the Week is both this super-happy baby and how adorable my Mom is.



Posted by Jen B On Monday, February 28, 2011 4 comments
I love this photo.  I think I scooped it from my grandparents collection one day because I thought it was so great.  It is clearly snowing like a bastard, but Sunshine is just around the corner.  What an amazing (and funny) message.  I keep this photo framed beside my desk as a comical reminder that even if it is snowing (literally or metaphorically) just hold on, because you're bound to run into Sunshine soon enough.  It could even be as close as a 1/4 mile away! 


Posted by Jen B On Friday, February 25, 2011 3 comments
I have been hesitant to start a new knitting project, as I still have my outstanding  Knitting Bag of Shame.  For well over a year I've had a half finished scarf project that I had absolutely no interest in finishing.   

Part of the problem was that I just started knitting with a basic idea in my head, but no actual pattern to follow.  Half way through knitting, when I encountered my motivation problem, I think I subconsciously decided that the scarf was too wide and I wouldn't like it when it was done.  So I stopped trying to finish it.

On Monday, I woke up with the freeing idea that the scarf didn't have to be a scarf at all.  With a little tweaking, I could transform the half finished project into something else.  As it was already quite long, I decided to modify it into a door draft stopper.  With a new goal in mind, my motivation instantly returned, and I worked on it non-stop Monday evening.  Nearing completion, I put it around my neck (just to see) and I realized I wanted it to be a scarf again.  It was long enough and I actually liked it.  So I nixed the door draft stopper idea and finished the project as originally intended.  A girl has the right to change her mind, right?

I am now the proud owner of a wide scarf.  If I fold it in half, it becomes a super thick and super warm scarf.

If there is a bitter wind and I need more neck and face coverage, I can wear the scarf at the original width.

I finally finished my year old project and I am really happy it is a scarf.  It matches my hat, so now I have a set.

So the next time I lose my motivation to finish a project, I am just going to relabel it in my mind as something new and exciting and hopefully that will get my ass in gear to finish it.  It worked for me this time!

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, February 23, 2011 2 comments
Inspired by Just A Mum...?, the following is a list of 25 things that make me happy (in no particular
order and definitely not exhaustive).  As we have a few weeks left of this too-much-snow winter, it is nice to be reminded of happy things.


1. The smell and taste of the first sip of fresh brewed coffee.

2. The sound Gary makes when she knows she is about to get treats.

3. Food - especially tacos and all types of snackies.

4. Good Talks.

5. Deals, coupons, grocery flyers...purchasing anything for less than regular price.

6. Getting obsessed with a song and realizing I've already heard it 40 times on repeat.

7. Sending and receiving mail; choosing or creating an amazing greeting card. 

8. Clementines and pomegranates.

9. Waking up to find a cat somewhere on the bed.

10. Finishing a project (knitted, scrapbooked, etc.) and obsessively looking at it over and over.

11. Helping older people at the grocery store retrieve things from the top shelf (I'm at a height advantage).

12. A walk on a sunny day with the iPod.

13. Sleepovers at the family apartment complex.

14. Relaxing after cleaning the whole house (including all the laundry!)

15. Photos.  I love photos, albums, frames, scrapbooks - the whole package.

16. When John surprises me with warm jammies from the dryer.

17. Home alone dance party.

18.  Marathoning TV on DVD.

19. Spending the whole day in comfy clothes.

20. Compliments from strangers about the sweater my Grandma made.

21. Sleeping like a rock in clean sheets.

22. When the due date for library books lines up perfectly with a requested book coming off hold.

23. The smell of spring.

24. The internet.  I have a healthy addiction to that shit!

25. Getting re-obsessed with a band I haven't listened to in years.

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, February 22, 2011 1 comment
Holy crap, did you see a computer play Jeopardy! last week?  It was freaking AWESOME!  I find it equally fascinating and hilarious.  How amazing is it that we can teach a computer about the complexities of human language?  Jeopardy! clues aren't always strait forward, so I am completely in awe that "Watson" can pick up on the subtle clues and get the right answer.  I'm filled with wonder about the many applications "Watson" will be put to in the future.  Plus this whole experiment was doubly amazing because it was Jeopardy! and Jeopardy! is rad in itself.  I'm not sure how long these clips will last on YouTube, but seriously, watch them before they are gone.  They are the definition of AWESOME.

Episode One: Part One




Episode One: Part Two




Episode Two: Part One




Episode Two: Part Two




Episode Three: Part One




Episode Three: Part Two



Posted by Jen B On Monday, February 21, 2011 No comments
Surfing Saturday: a weekly round up of some of my favourite links on the interwebs.

Music

If you haven't heard it yet, go over to LadyGaga.com and listen to Born This Way.  It is a TONNE of fun and the song will start playing right when you land on her page.  You can also watch massively talented ten year old Maria Aragon from Winnipeg sing it too, by clicking over to YouTube.  There is also THIS ADORABLE video of Maria talking to GAGA while on a Winnipeg radio station yesterday morning!  It is so sweet I watched it twice!

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Canadian Music Awards, The Junos.  In honour of the anniversary, they are having a contest where you vote for your ten favourite Juno nominated songs by following this link to their Facebook Page.  I don't think you have to "Like" the Juno page to vote, but you do have to accept an application to submit your list.  There are too many amazing/classic songs to choose from that I couldn't pick my favourite ten, so I haven't voted.  Some of the awesome choices include: Rock Me Gently by Andy Kim, Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone by Glass Tiger, Can't Stop This Thing We Started by Bryan Adams, Drinking in L.A. by Bran Van 3000, and Could I be Your Girl by Jann Arden.


Geeky Goodness

I recently discovered some online photo editors.  FotoFlexer provides many different tools to embellish and enhance your photos, and there is even a function that lets you merge two photos together.  I used FotoFlexer to add the text and the border to the above photo of Gary.  I also tried Picnik, which has some pretty cool shapes and designs that you can layer onto your photos.  I also like that you don't have to "sign-up" to use these services.

Atomic Tom does a pretty good cover of Don't You Want Me for a movie coming out called Take Me Home Tonight. The music video is really fun, with the movie's actors portraying iconic scenes from 80's flicks.

Rick Mercer does a nice send up of the proposed metered internet in Canada.

This is the best use of Justin Bieber I have ever seen.  Have a great weekend everybody!

Posted by Jen B On Saturday, February 19, 2011 No comments
This isn't exactly a photo, but this is the image that greeted me when I went to the knitting blog Rhythm of the Needles this morning.  I won a book!  How fantastic!  I won "It Itches" and it is a humorous book for knitters. Many thanks to Joanne at Rhythm of the Needles for this fun contest! :)


Posted by Jen B On Friday, February 18, 2011 1 comment
I reluctantly took down my Christmas cards yesterday.  I know, it is the middle of February, but I love greeting cards and love having the "cheer" hanging around.
Look how festive and happy these are!

As I was taking them down, I got the bright idea to leave the string up and display whatever random greeting cards I'll receive throughout the year.  Previously, greeting cards would sit on my desk, but due to limited space they were easily knocked over and didn't get the attention they properly deserved.  Now with them hanging up, I will be cheered the whole year through!

Look how festive and happy these are too!!

What do you do with your greeting cards?  I have a giant box of them from over the years. Every time I move, I look through my giant pile and clear out any that I'm not attached to anymore.  I also have a plan to make a scrapbook that showcases the greeting cards that I'm really sentimental about...but that will be a BIG project, so it hasn't moved past the planning stages.  So what do you do with your greeting cards?  Do you display them, store them, or toss them?

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, February 17, 2011 2 comments
We bought a Sunbeam Humidifier in Barrie in November.  It was on super sale, only $17.99, so it was worth the drive to go buy it.  The store return policy was within two weeks of purchase, and wouldn't you know the humidifier started causing problems a day or two before the return window was to end.  We were set to return it, but a giant snow storm got in our way and we missed our window. The other return route was to contact the manufacturer (Sunbeam) and try to get the problem resolved with them.

Enter phone phobia.

I'm great when I'm on the phone (my hours of used in-plan minutes can prove that), but depending on the nature of the call, actually picking up the phone and dialing can be a problem for me.  Especially if I perceive the call as having a conflict.  In the case of calling Sunbeam, I just avoided doing it, convincing myself it was an added hassle to my day that I just didn't need.

Until two weeks ago.  I woke up with a take no shit attitude and dialed.  And it was the best customer service experience I have ever had.  I don't remember the woman's name, which is unfortunate, because she was kind, funny, attentive, knowledgeable, and she really wanted to help me.  I explained the problem (the unit kept shutting off on it's own) and she trouble shot with me for a few minutes and then said: "We'll send you a new one."  She then said that the model I had was no longer available and she would tell me the details of another model and see if I would "accept it".  The model she described was amazing, and retailed at over twice the price I paid.  I told her that and she said: "In replacing your unit we are comparing features not prices, so we want to ensure you get the features you wanted."  Amazing!  I asked about the old one, and she said not to return it, just put it out at the side of the road.  I told her that she won at customer service, and she said: "We're Sunbeam.  We stand behind our products."

Once off the phone I discussed it with John and we hypothesize that the original unit we purchased must be a trouble unit and it is probably easier for them to just send out a new one rather than go through the hassle of trying to fix something that might not be fixable.  Whether that is the reason or not, my $17.99 humidifier turned into a $44.99 humidifier, and I still have the broken one!

Not only did I have the best customer service experience, they sent my humidifier over 2000km via UPS.  Starting in Missouri on Feb 8, I tracked it's journey across America and into Canada, and I am awed by the complexity and efficiency of the shipping process.  One week after departing, it arrived at my door right on schedule.  I Google Mapped my humidifier's journey, and I can't believe all the effort that was made to send me a free humidifier!


View Larger Map

I have been running the humidifier steadily since I got it yesterday and so far so good.  I can't imagine they would ship a broken one 2000km, but if they did, I know that their customer service is excellent and I will have no trouble phoning them.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, February 16, 2011 No comments
I'm not a crazy person, but I recently made the following:

It's a coupon binder!  I picked up a pack of hockey card sleeves at Dollarama (8 pages, with 9 pockets on each page for $1.00).  John gave me an old binder of his and then I was set.

I easily get obsessed with things, and my new thing is couponing.  I definitely won't use all these coupons, but now that they are organized, I can easily find a specific one if I want to use it.  For example, I wouldn't normally buy Dawn dish detergent (I'm a store brand or Sunlight-on-sale kinda girl), so I most likely wouldn't use the "buy two Dawn save $1.00" coupon that is in my coupon binder.  However this week, the fun people at Smart Canucks posted their Hot Coupon Flyer Deals, and it turns out that Dawn detergent is on sale at Giant Tiger for $0.99.  If I buy two bottles for $1.98, I can use my coupon and save $1.00, so the two bottles of dish detergent are actually only $0.49 each!  That is a deal I can go for!

Do you collect coupons?  How do you keep track of the ones in your collection?

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, February 15, 2011 No comments
It's the Awesome of the Week: Anti-Valentine's Day Edition!

Oh Valentine's Day.  Such a silly, consumption-driven, made up holiday.  As someone who can't stand buying things just because "you're supposed too!", I think Valentine's Day is pure trash.  If you are partnered, it is hyped as a day when your beloved showers you with gifts and tokens of their love, but in reality, we impulse buy chocolates and stuffed animals at Shoppers Drug Mart on route to Valentine's Day dinner.  And if you don't get those hastily purchased, mass-produced, generic love-themed gifts, you better start questioning how much your partner actually loves you.  Such. Trash.  I choose not to participate.  Also, if you're not partnered, it is just another stupid reminder that you are single.

To celebrate my disdain for Valentine's Day, the Awesome for this week is an anti-love ballad called Bruised, preformed by The Ben's.  At Valentine's Day karaoke a few years back, I actually sang this song (it's been an anti-Valentine's anthem for a while now!)  Happy Love Day everybody!



Posted by Jen B On Monday, February 14, 2011 2 comments
Valentines Day isn't a holiday I care too much about (for more on that be sure to read tomorrow's post), but I do love sending mail and making cards.  I also really enjoy making my nieces and nephews feel special.  I got a new heart punch this week, so even if Valentine's Day is stupid, I still had a fun time making cards.

For all my nieces and nephews: 


For my Grandparents:
 

For Mom and Dad:


This is the inside of Mom and Dad's card:


For Bro and Tab:


Remember the cards I made at the scrapbook store open house? 
I sent them to some friends as well:


Do you send cards on Valentine's Day?  Do you make your own or buy them?  Even if I think it's a silly holiday, have yourself a great one!

Posted by Jen B On Sunday, February 13, 2011 No comments
Surfing Saturday: a weekly round up of some of my favourite links on the interwebs.

Geeky Goodness

If you like RPGs, Rule of the Dice should be on your Blog List.  They recently added some new writers, and they are exploring topics like the greatness of the Star Wars RPG, tips for introducing new players to your game, and what makes RPGs awesome.

Ivy over at The Happy Whisk might be happy to see these fun Wonder Woman Cosmetics that were released this week.

Mixing my love of Mike Holmes and video games where the goal is to destroy things, check out this awesome comic from The Joy Of Tech.


Baking

There are some pretty amazing cookies at Bake at 350.  I want to try and make the olive and martini glasses, the Scrabble pieces, and the Harry Potter cookies!  For some video instructions, check out University of Cookie.  I really want to try making these turkey shaped cookies too (I love turkeys!)

If you want to get lost in pretty pictures of cakes, check out Sweet Things.  She has many amazing cakes, including a Sesame Street cake, a Star Trek Enterprise cake, and there is even a tutorial on how to make a purse cake.   And if you're new to using fondant, check out Cake Decorate Celebrate; they have some great tips about decorating with fondant.


Things to Do

Are you a youth from Ontario, a teacher of youths, or do you have one at home?  Check out this weekly round up of Youth Opportunity News at MarilynAnneCampbell.com, for a variety of arts related opportunities and resources.

Over at the Canadian Living Craft Blog, they linked to something called National Sweater Day happening this Thursday, February 17.  The World Wildlife Fund, in partnership with Loblaws, is encouraging people to turn down their thermostats 3°C and put on a sweater to help fight climate change.  Seeing as sweaters are my favourite, I will be wearing one on Thursday for sure.


Posted by Jen B On Saturday, February 12, 2011 No comments
If I'm working on a crafty project, sorting papers into piles, or folding laundry, I should always expect Gary to turn up and sleep on top of whatever it is I'm working on.  It's kinda her thing.  What's mine is hers, right?
Dominating a puzzle. If you are missing a piece, this is the reason why.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, February 11, 2011 2 comments
A big thank you to everyone who voted for me, but unfortunately I didn't win the Scrapbook Layout Contest.  But I am a winner just for participating...blah, blah, blah... :)  The winning layout can be found by clicking here, and the winner profiled a cat too, so I think it's a good choice.  I'm also really impressed with the time it must have taken her to cut out the snowmen from the patterned paper we were given. Congratulations to the winner!

I picked up my layout yesterday and it is now happily in my 2010/2011 scrapbook.  I'm still very happy with it, even if it didn't win me first place.  The contest led me to purchase and work with brads, which are my new favourite embellishment, so I'm a winner in my own way (...but in a more accurate way, brad manufacturers and the contest winner are the real winners).  :P
Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, February 08, 2011 2 comments
Pet Shop Boys montage/mash up of Pet Shop Boys songs, preformed by...Pet Shop Boys.  With support from Lady Gaga.  This pleases me on every level.  From the 2009 BRIT Awards, this is ten minutes of pure awesome.



Posted by Jen B On Monday, February 07, 2011 No comments
The only thing better than turkey dinner is turkey leftovers!

This week's photo is of an awesome turkey club sandwich with homemade french fries on the side (drenched in turkey gravy).  YUM.


Posted by Jen B On Friday, February 04, 2011 2 comments
I'm at my Mom's this week, and the awesome thing about Mom and Dad's apartment is that it is directly upstairs from my Grandparents apartment.  Lots of family fun in this building, that is for sure!

Grandma is knitting herself a sweater right now with a pattern she has from the '80s.  There is an amazing photo in the pattern booklet that is just too amazing not to share.

Taken from Patons All in the Family pattern booklet (#609) from 1988, this photo has it all.  The sweater design and colours, the leather skirt, the giant belt(!!), and especially the wicked walkman with those rocking headphones! (Note: this is definitely not the sweater Grandma is working on).

Being around Grandma when she's knitting is great because I'm always able to pick up something new from her.  Spending time with her yesterday, Grandma showed me how to test a pattern's gauge. Ensuring a proper gauge isn't something I've ever done before; partly because I knit simple patterns, and partly because I never learned how! I didn't realize that testing gauge was something you did before you started your project, I thought you incorporated into your project somehow. And because I haven't knit something where gauge really mattered, I never bothered to learn more about it.  But thanks to Grandma, now I know all about knitting a swatch before starting a project. Thanks, Grandma!  I also found an instructional video from Red Heart Yarn (featured below) in case you want to learn more about testing gauge too (I actually have the tool featured in the video, I've just never used it!)



Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, February 02, 2011 No comments
I'm at my Mom's for a few days and look what's in the fridge!!!

It's a fricken Turkey!!!  Wahoo!!

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, February 01, 2011 2 comments
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