Crafting our stories in February

Feb sneaks

February has been full of stories about everyday kind of moments.

There was a pretty typical Monday…

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(supplies: Ali Edwards “thicker days” and “encouragement bubbles” , Studio Calico “Arendal” Scrapbook Kit, Citrus Twist Kits “Stories” pocket life kit )

followed by a holiday Monday (the best kind of Monday!!)…

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(Supplies: Ali Edwards “Valentines Journal Cards” , Citrus Twist Kits February “Sprinkles” )

and a haircut.

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(supplies: Ali Edwards “Craft” Digital Story Kit, “Craft” Story Kit, Studio Calico’s “Arendal” Scrapbook Kit, One Little Bird’s “Cheri” papers, Citrus Twist Kits “Stories” Pocket Life Kit, and the cork paper is one I’ve been hoarding forever from an old Crate Paper collection “Story Teller – Archives”)

Liam and Gus

This story isn’t just about a haircut though. This is a story about passion. That man in the photo cutting Liam’s hair is Gus, proud owner of “Gus and Son”. Gus just turned 90 years old (!!) and has cut the hair of 4 generations of Baldwin men. Now THAT is a man who has a passion for his craft! Here’s what I want to remember about him:

This photo will without a doubt be remembered as one of my most favourite photos ever, not just because it’s awesome (it is seriously awesome!), but because it will always remind me of the day I met Gus. At the age of 90 (yes 90!!), Gus has now cut 4 generations of hair for the Baldwin men.

I’ll never forget walking into “Gus & Son”, a little 2 chair barber shop on King Street that I’ve passed by so many times before. It was like stepping into a time capsule, with photos pinned to the walls that easily go back to the 50’s. We walked through the door and were greeted with the most wonderful smile from Gus and his son Lou, and stories about how he had given Brett his first haircut, and how he had cut his dad’s hair, and even his granddad’s. 

I watched in awe as he gently combed and cut Liam’s hair. He spoke so gently, with a heavy Italian accent as he worked. I sat and I watched and I tried hard to soak it all in. Because there is something special about this place, and there is ABSOLUTELY something special about this man!

I can’t think of any greater way to live than with passion for what you do, and that is so clearly Gus!! You can hear it in his stories, see it in his smile, and feel it just being in the room while he works. He is awesome. And when you know how rare it is to get to meet someone who has found their passion and lives it everyday, even at the age of 90, you feel humble in their presence. You want to sit and watch and listen and learn, and you hope some of that magic will rub off onto you.

As we got our coats on to leave, Gus smiled at us and said with such sincerity, “you have a beautiful family”. And I knew it was true. Because after 90 years, you definitely know a thing or two about what is beautiful.

The part that didn’t make it into the story was how badly Emily wanted her hair cut too, and Gus’ son Lou played along, giving her a little trim. She was ecstatic   🙂

Emily and Lou

Thank you so much for stopping by today!

 

“I Totally Dig You!”

One of the best parts about Valentine’s Day has GOT to be the cheesy puns    🙂 The other best part is getting a little bit crafty and making Valentines for the kids’ school parties, and this year, I am pretty excited about what I’ve come up with for Liam. So excited, I thought you might love them too and I created a little tutorial for how to do this yourself.IMG_3756Liam’s love for all things “dinosaur” started last spring/summer. One of the coolest projects he did (pretty sure it got captured during Week in the Life) was a Dinosaur excavation kit. It kept him entertained for DAYS!! So I did a little searching and came up with our very own Dinosaur Dig kits for this year’s Valentines 🙂

IMG_3757Each kit includes a heart shaped “dig” block with the pieces to a dinosaur skeleton (and a heart shaped gem) inside, a wooden dowel and paintbrush for the “excavation”, a magnifying glass to inspect their find, a little plastic mounting stand for assembling and displaying the completed skeleton, and a 3×4 card with instructions as well as an image of the skeleton pieces.

IMG_3689I purchased the magnifying glasses ($5 for 12) and skeletons ($7 for 12) from the party store, the paintbrushes ($3 for 25) and wooden dowels ($1 for 12 – 12″ dowels, cut down to 4″ each) came from the dollar store and the digging blocks were a homemade concoction.

IMG_3677Supplies you’ll need to make the digging blocks are a nontoxic dry plaster mix, sand, water and some sort of disposable mold. I picked up the heart shaped tins from the dollar store ($1 for 24).

IMG_3656Mix together two parts sand, one part plaster mix, and one part water.

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It only took a few seconds to mix it all together for an even consistency.

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Pour 2 big teaspoons into the bottom of the molds and spread it evenly.

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Scatter your “treasures” throughout the mix. When I first came up with this idea, I was planning on just digging for a variety of colourful gems…something along the lines of “You’re a gem valentine” or “I treasure you”. Coming across the dinosaur skeletons was pure luck! The digging for gems would ALSO be awesome, but Liam’s all about the dinosaurs, so that’s what I went with this time around.

IMG_3670Top them off with more of the sand/plaster/water mixture. You’ve got two options here…you can let them air dry, or you can speed things along a bit in a warm oven. I chose to use the oven at 275 degrees for about 15 minutes and it worked beautifully!

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When they come out of the oven, they’ll look pretty much the same as when they went in, but dry 🙂

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Let them cool just a few minutes and then you can feel free to slide them out of the molds. Ours came out really easily! Once they had cooled down, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and assembled the rest of the kit. The assembly for this project is pretty kid friendly if you’ve got a little helper in the house. Liam helped bury the skeletons and sort out all the pieces of the kits by colour (that was his call). I did up the packaging and he wrote his name on all of them.

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He was dying to test one of them out and it was so awesome!! He was just as excited to uncover the bones in this little homemade kit as he was with the big project he worked on last summer. He tried out some of the tools from his previous excavation kits, but the dowel we included in our kit actually worked the best.IMG_3742This is definitely a project I would do again! Happy Valentine’s Day!