Holiday Gift Guide: For Home & Hostess

Holiday Gift Guide: For Home & Hostess ~ By Bubblegum Sass ~ Shop Handmade Canada

I’m diving in good & early with my holiday gift guides this year. I’ve already started quite a bit of my Christmas shopping online from local and Canadian shops, so that I don’t have to worry about things getting delivered in time for gift giving. I also wanted to share some of my ideas with you now, so that you have a chance to work in a few local, handmade goodies into your Christmas shopping list {or even your personal wish list}.

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

Zoolights at the Calgary Zoo
Ahhh… so the month of December is speeding by, as usual. Here we are on Dec 23rd already and we’re busy loading up our car full of food, gifts, snowshoes, sleds, and storybooks in preparation for our Christmas in the woods. We’ll be out of town & off the grid for the next several days, while we spend Christmas at the family cabin with many of our loved ones.

Hardly any snow left in the city, but I’m hoping there’s at least enough at the cabin to pull Sammy around in his sled and possibly even snowshoe a bit. There will be many cozy cuddles by the fireplace, lots of cooking and devouring of tasty food, and plenty of dinosaurs thrown into the mix. Plus this year, I have a brand new little niece who will be celebrating her first Christmas. Lots of special moments will fill our days, I’m sure.

Wishing you a very joyous & merry Christmas this year! See you back here after the holidays.

Zoolights at the Calgary Zoo

Holiday Gift Guide: Rugged Gentlemen

Holiday Gift Guide: Rugged Gentlemen ~ Bubblegum Sass

For the third installment of my Holiday Gift Guide series, we turn to treats for all the wonderful gentlemen in our lives. The only thing is, most of the gents in my life are rough-around-the-edges, cabin-bound or farm-bound men, so my gift guide is inspired by them. Cheers to all the rugged gentlemen out there! (And don’t forget to check out the other posts in this gift guide series.)

Medicin River Soap Gift Set
NGNG (No Guts, No Glory) Gift Soap Set from Medicine River Soap Co. (Red Deer, AB)

 

Ole Originals Alberta T-Shirt

Alberta T-Shirt 2nd Edition by Ole Originals (Vancouver, BC)
*The BEST tees around. Hubby & I each own a few of Chandler’s designs.*

Wood Journal by Forest Nine
Wood Covered Journal from Forest Nine (Calgary)


Mammoth Beard Co.
Hazelnut & Hemp Beard Oil Sample from Mammoth Beard Co. (Calgary)

Don’t forget to check out ideas from more great local shops on my Etsy Holiday Gift Guides page. Hope you’re starting to feel like you’ve got a number of things checked off your gift list. Would love to hear your own gift ideas for the gentlemen in your lives! I always find shopping for the gents the most challenging. So let’s hear it! What are you getting the menfolk for Christmas this year? {post in the comments}

Holiday Gift Guide: Beauty For Her

Holiday Gift Guide: Beauty For Her ~ Bubblegum Sass

Next up on my Holiday Gift Guide series is beauty products for all those lovely ladies in our lives, be it moms, friends, girlfriends or wives. Don’t forget to check out my previous posts in the series. Once again, these products are made by fairly local or very local folks in the Calgary area. I’ve included a few of my personal faves this time around too.

Lip Balms by Handmade Therapy
All Natural Lip Balms Set of Eight from Handmade Therapy (Calgary) *my fave lip balm*


Bubble Gum Bar Soap From Eliza Jane Soap Co

Bubble Gum Bar Soap from Eliza Jane Soap Company (Delburne, AB)

Cherry Blossom Glitter Polish
Cherry Blossom Glitter Polish from Seven Sins Polish (Calgary)

*Who knew there were folks in town making custom nail polish?! Need to try this out for sure*

Cheeky from Cedar and Sparrow
Cheeky Cosmetics (Okanagan Valley) from Cedar & Sparrow (Calgary)

*really enjoying the lip gloss & eye shadow these days*

You can check out more great ideas from all my Holiday Gift Guides over on Etsy too. Just remember that shipping deadlines for ordering outside of Calgary will be fast approaching!

Into the Ground

It’s almost been a full week since our Happiness By the Acre Tree Planting Day out on the farm. Still feels like we’re recovering here or maybe it’s just that we’re still “on the go” so much that last weekend feels like a blur. I’m hoping that things get a little less hectic in the coming weeks, not just for my sake, but for Sammy’s. He sure has been a trooper, but some of the craziness is taking its toll.

We had an AMAZING turnout for the Tree Planting Day!! Loved that so many of our friends brought their little kiddos along too! It was a great way to share the day and build some of our first memories of the farm. We really appreciated each and every effort made by our volunteer team, big and small. There is NO WAY we could have gotten this project done without the help of family and friends. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! We will not forget the smiles or the sweat that went into planting our one acre of food forest.

Food and hand wash station (we tried to keep everyone hydrated and their bellies full)
Food and hand wash station (we tried to keep everyone hydrated and their bellies full)
This is the first event I've made a real effort to do "low impact". We used real plates, napkins & utensils (no disposables), mason jars of cold water in the cooler, and as much locally sourced or homemade food as possible. It was tricky, took a bit more work, and I cheated a bit here & there (hello broccoli salad & cans of pop), but felt super satisfied by the end of the day. Only a half full bag of garbage to throw out after feeding more than 15 people :-)
This is the first event I’ve made a real effort to do “low impact”. We used real plates, napkins & utensils (no disposables), mason jars of cold water in the cooler, and as much locally sourced or homemade food as possible. It was tricky, took a bit more work, and I cheated a bit here & there (hello broccoli salad & cans of pop), but felt super satisfied by the end of the day. Only a half full bag of garbage to throw out after feeding more than 15 people 🙂
The kiddos got much use out of these. We put them on tree watering duty. SUPER helpers!
The kiddos got much use out of these. We put them on tree watering duty. SUPER helpers!
Volunteers got to choose a tree to adopt. We've measured each tree and will send growth updates over the coming years. (Little Rylin did so well amongst all those boys. She even had fun picking up dirt, a first for her).
Volunteers got to choose a tree to adopt. We’ve measured each tree and will send growth updates over the coming years. (Little Rylin did so well amongst all those boys. She even had fun picking up dirt, a first for her).
Super helpers Joanna and Soren with their hazelnut tree!
Super helpers Joanna and Soren with their hazelnut tree!
Little helpers here & there! Thanks boys!
Little helpers here & there! Thanks boys!
We hope everyone had as much fun as Shauna! She's anxious for us to get moved out to the farm so she can come visit. Looking forward to it too, Shauna!
We hope everyone had as much fun as Shauna! She’s anxious for us to get moved out to the farm so she can come visit. Looking forward to it too, Shauna!

Hundreds of Happy Trees

400 hazelnuts tucked into a trench awaiting Tree Planting Day
400 hazelnuts tucked into a trench awaiting Tree Planting Day

Have I mentioned our crazy plan of planting an acre of food forest out on our “big farm”? And when I say “crazy”, I mean it’s driving us a fairly crazy. Wowza! Hubby started feeling in over his head about two weeks ago and we’re seriously in the thick of it now! This is all a part our of Happiness By the Acre adventures.

We had 400 hazelnut trees arrive last week. We’ll be picking up 400 raspberry bushes, and a few dozen apple & pear trees at the end of this week. Yep, that’s over 800 plants to be planted. Oh boy…

That's what an acre of land looks like. Now picture it covered in a beautiful food forest (or food savannah as Marcus keeps correcting me)
That’s what an acre of land looks like. Now picture it covered in a beautiful food forest (or food savannah as Marcus keeps correcting me)

So we’re organizing a Tree Planting Day! On Saturday, May 24th, we’ll be trying to get ALL those plants into the ground out on our farm near Carstairs. If you’re interested in lending a hand & spending some time out in the country this weekend, let me know or check out our event page on Facebook. We’ll be providing tasty treats and cold drinks. Come for an hour or come for the day! Kids are more than welcome.

Sammy_with_shovel

This is your chance to be a small part of our family farm history in our very first project. And as a thank you to all the folks who come out to lend a hand, we will be letting each volunteer adopt a tree of their choice. Attach your name to a bit of history. Get your picture taken with your little tree and we’ll send you growth updates as the years progress. Plus you can pop by and check on your tree the next time you visit the farm.

I hope that some of you can join us on Saturday! If not, we could sure use some extra prayers to see this project through.

I’ll be sure to post photos from Tree Planting Day and let you know how it all goes. Until then, we’ll be continuing to run around a little crazed, checking things off the to-do lists, and praying for plenty of sunshine, and more importantly, that we can find a bobcat operator with an auger to dig 800 holes by Saturday. Oi!

Greener pastures

Well over a month ago, we ventured out to our farm for a little visit. Thought I would share some photos with you. It’s a 150 acres just outside of Carstairs, being leased for grain farming. No buildings currently on it, but one day it will be our home. Until then, we’ll pop out for visits when we can and watch it change through the seasons.

Hubby recently set-up a Facebook page and a website for our Happiness By the Acre business. We hope to do small scale market gardening in an urban setting over the next few years while we continue to live in Calgary and then transition this into a larger farming business and lifestyle once we move out into the country. So many adventures to come! Oh and don’t worry, the crafting will continue. For without crafts, where would I be?

Here’s a peek at the farm…

Farmland

Crops growing

Marcus on farm

Country road

Lend a hand

Bow Crescent flooded
Bow Crescent flooded in Calgary (Photo by Lonnie Springer)

The natural disaster that Southern Alberta is dealing with is epic. If you haven’t heard much about it yet, then do a quick search on “flooding Alberta” and your screen will be filled with some very sad images.

The flip side of this whole thing is that, I have never before witnessed so many people coming together as a true community to help each other out. Honestly, when do you hear stories about having TOO MANY volunteers show up for a cause? When 50-100 volunteers are needed, a thousand show up. When 500 volunteers are needed, THOUSANDS show up to lend a hand. Simply incredible!

In fact, there is so much help being offered, it can be a little overwhelming to figure out where to begin. This post is coming a bit late for some of the initial clean-up efforts that have already taken place, but there is and will be plenty of help needed in the coming months. The biggest thing to remember, is that anyone and everyone can lend a hand!

YYC Helps
One of the best resources out there organizing and connecting Calgarians. There is a steady stream of requests for volunteers needed. Sign up to their email list and they will contact you as requests come in that fit your profile. They also have a list of community initiatives and events (including fundraising events).

Samaritan’s Purse
Also offering volunteer registration and organizing volunteer efforts. We saw lots of Samaritan’s Purse folks in Bowness helping home owners dig through the mess. Their website also provides info for prayer requests and opportunity to donate to the flood relief efforts.

If you’re interested in lending a hand further abroad, our First Nations people were hit hard by the flood as well. The Stoney Nakoda First Nation on Morley have donation and contact information on their website. I’m having trouble finding out more information for the Siksika Nation, although there is an official group on Facebook which is updated frequently. If you have an account you could contact them through there to ask what they are in need of most.

Other devastated areas include, High River and Bragg Creek. There is volunteer info available for High River. You can also donate to their relief fund. At this time, the town of High River does not have the resources to accept or collect donations of items. Keep checking the town website, as I’m sure down the road, they will be looking for item donations, once people can settle back into their homes.

There is volunteer and donation info for Bragg Creek on their website, just scroll down to their Bragg Creek Emergency Response Info section. You can check out the list of items that are needed and also pledge items for future donation (as with High River, many residents won’t be settling back into their home for a while).

Again, keep in mind that even if you don’t have a lot of muscle to help gut homes, or a lot of spare money to donate to funds, there will be a steady flow of requests for help. You can bake treats and bring them around to neighborhoods damaged in floods (such a nice pick-me-up for all the volunteers, home owners, and tradespeople). You could make greeting cards with your kids and deliver them to flood victims (a simple kind gesture to let them know you’re praying for them). Time and understanding are some of the greatest gifts you can share with your neighbor at times like this. YYC Helps really is a great way to learn about some of the relief efforts (big and small).

If you have any good ideas on helping out flood victims, I’d love to hear them!! Just post your ideas in the comments section!