Let's Just Try It

a compilation of inspiration and creative endeavors of a mom and daughter duo

Category Archives: Inspiration

Camping the Healthy Way

When I was a kid, we went camping often.  Mom and Dad would seemingly just decided we were going and we would pack up our tiny little Toyota Corolla (with roof rack), wedge our bodies in, and head off. From my child eyes, my mom would just throw all kinds of things into the cooler box and away we went.

We loved being outdoors, we loved the sounds of nature, we loved the activity… but most of all we loved the treats.  Camping meant treats – caramel corn, smores, trail mix and lots and lots of soda pop.

Now we have our own kids, and while we don’t camp nearly as much as I did when I was small, it is still a fun holiday… and a lot of work.

We are in process of bidding our fair summer goodbye, while all my northern hemisphere family and friends are just beginning to look forward to summer, we are packing for a weekend at the dam (lake for you northerners).

I am a huge list maker when it comes to camping, and I like to plan carefully my menus and snacks.  And, of course, with our healthier perspective on life now I need to break out the creative juices and get cracking!

I’d love to hear your favorite camping take-a-longs  and we will find ourselves with a great list of amazing yummy treats to add some flair to our next trips out-of-doors.

Breakfast ideas:

Potato Scramble – veggies, eggs and egg whites with a splash of salsa on top. Yum!

Yogurt and Papaya with a granola crunch topping and Health Muffins

Super Starter Oatmeal – oats cooked with chopped apple, peaches, raisins (or cranberries!) and cinnamon.  Mmmmm!

Lunch ideas:

Wraps made with homemade hummus, tomato, lettuce and a sprinkle of shredded white cheddar

Stuffed Baked Potatoes – broccoli, cauliflower, beans and a sprinkle of shredded white cheddar. Salsa and Plain Yogurt for a saucy topping

Dinner ideas:

Grilled chicken with whole wheat pasta salad, pepperdew and feta cheese

Chicken Chili and corn muffins

Easy Paella

Snack ideas:

Dried fruit trail mix  pretzels, peanuts and purchased dried fruit with coconut


Fresh fruit

Fresh Veggies and Hummus

Sweet Treat

(just because camping isn’t camping unless you have them…)


Marshmallows, chocolates and Marie Biscuits (if we were in the States, it would be graham crackers!)



So while we try not to look like the Beverly Hillbillies heading out on our adventure  at least we’ll know we’ve got “good eatin’s” in the food box!


Hearts-A-Plenty Quick DIY Wall Art

I love pretty things, but I love pretty things done quickly even more!
Our house has a very natural relaxed feeling – natural stone, putty coloured walls and wood.

I found a selection of woven wicker hearts at Mr. Price – my favorite budget hunting place. For R140.00 ($18.50) I got my creative juices flowing and came up with a great natural looking piece to hang over my bed. It fits perfectly with the apple green and brown – and has a little sentimental value with each heart representing one of my family.

I hung each heart at eye pleasing levels, knotted at the top with two small loops to create hangers. In less than an hour I had just what I wanted.

Arts and Crafts in Cash-Strapped Times

I am certainly not an historian and do not have a degree in Art – but after recently visiting a few of the worlds most amazing museums in Paris, I realized that it doesn’t take an art major to draw the conclusion that economic and social climate certainly impacts what is considered beautiful in the eyes of society.

Who doesn’t love beauty?

Here we are in a world-wide economic down-turn  – does that mean that we all must don grey and black clothes, let the garden die and line our lives with illustrations with images similar to a Charles Dickens’ novel?  Not a chance!

In fact, art has a way of picking up the spirits and brightening  the future – so let’s get busy!

“What to do?” you may ask…  “I don’t have money to decorate” you may say… Not to worry!

Art does not have to be a stodgy effort of oil and canvas – nor does it have to be a perfect example of skill. Art is what decorates our lives and gives beauty to the dark corners of our rooms. 

I am a recent Twitter convert – and while my husband loves to follow political stories, I prefer something more positive, so I have looked for posts on all things bright and beautiful. In my quest, I have come across  a few Tweeters who are sharing their amazing ideas for adding beauty using materials that are all ready on hand – giving a whole new perspective to the word “recreation”. Isn’t it true that those who love to create find it recreational? – and if you are using recycled or repurposed materials, you have joined the upcycling (or as I call it “re-creation”) movement. 

My head is spinning with ideas – some old, some new.

         How about teddy bears or place mats sewn with old denim jeans?  

    Wreaths or adornments made from book page roses?

  Lamp shades from old milk bottles?

    Garden art from old soda cans?

Here is a hint: A quick internet search of “upcycling” or “crafting with recycled materials” will give you an endless list of projects – and if you are a Twitter fan, look for posts from Trashthetic, Triftybydesign and Hipcycle for some daily inspiration.

And don’t forget to WATCH THIS SPACE for some of our efforts!

Fear of Failure: Living Authentically

Taking risks is scary. Even little risks, like paint choices or whether to use the blue paper or pink, can scare the pants off of me. I get the heebie jeebies at the thought of having to make an impulsive irreversible choice.

What if it’s wrong?

What if I waste money on it?

What if I do it the way I wish and someone makes fun of it?

These questions echo quietly in my heart and in the hearts of my dear friends who gather every once in a while to create together.

Creating is deeply personal. And as a woman with a sensitve heart, I am crushed at the slightest hint of dissatisfaction. It’s as if I put all the icky parts, all the pretty parts, all the hidden parts of me out in the world to see.  When I create something, I am confident that whomever sees it will see that I am a terrible measurer- and all my pieces are slightly off centre. They can see that I am not very tidy and somehow manage to get glue all over the place. They can see that I am not very trendy and my creations are all a little homespun. They can see that I have a particlular taste for blue and more blue and white.

They can see me.

But I am learning something. It’s okay to be living authentically! The perception of perfect trend appeal just isn’t who I am- and those I bring into my home or who see my crazy office desk know who I am and it’s okay to be Elizabeth when I create!

When these feelings of panic creep into my heart, I need to do something crazy.

Doing something crazy seems to scare the scary thoughts right out of me. Like making enormous outrageous posters. Or nailing 100 tacks into the wall and making a twine mural. Or even switching out something green for bright pink.

It’s okay to live authentically. It’s okay to allow your creations to echo your heart, not the magazines. It’s okay to be who you are in your creations.

Even if it is scary.

Decorating secret to make a big impact

I have  a decorating secret. When my house is looking a bit boring and uninspiring, I have a little tool that makes a BIG impact. And for very little money.

For the cost of a couple of printed pages, you can transform the appearance of any room of your home.

There is a little online software that will tile a low res image into a high impact poster.

And a little later, after I was tired of that- I transformed the space again (the window is the same – the dining area and living area are open plan),



Of course just not at the same time!  These little posters can really transform a space into whatever fits your fancy, from homeschool 1950s to 1980 Glam Rock. FUN!

The Rasterbator (awful name, I know) creates huge, rasterized images from any picture. Upload an image, print the resulting multi-page pdf file and assemble the pages into extremely cool looking poster up to 20 meters in size.

Sweet, right?

Garden Art – a little bit of whimsy

I don’t know if it was the ceramic statues of gnomes, deer and squirrels in my Grandma Peterson’s garden (my brother and I would go on safari, hunting for them among the blooms and bush) or my mom’s creative flair in dressing up her flower beds with old shoes and teapots, but I have always wanted to add touches of something to my garden beds. 

 In our current home, we have a lot of well established green – and not too much colour. The bird life is great, and that has brought a special kind of colour, but I am ready for some fun.

At the moment I’m busy getting a container garden going, but once complete I am planning on getting a few fun things put together to add a bit of flair and maybe even fantasy to my garden (or yard, for my northern hemisphere friends and family).

High on my list are items created from upcycled goods. I love garden markers made from old spoons,

       Staked flowers from recycled soda cans

– and I’m definitely going to find an old bowling ball and croquet ball and do a bit of mosaic.

It’s a good thing that garden art has progressed beyond clever arrangements of gnomes and squirrels, and that there is so much great inspiration to be had!

Special thanks to meiphemera.blogspot.com and stitchanddestroy.blogspot.com for their great ideas!

Colour Inspiration- Rich and Vibrant

These colours make me want to pack my bags and head into somewhere exotic. (Or maybe it’s just the bok choy I had for lunch).

Spring Colour Inspiration

The smell of spring is in the air! I am completely infatuated with the warm, sweet air- and the sense of victory! Spring has finally broken through!

I have been oogling the fresh spring palette all weekend too.

These colours have been really inspiring me lately:

Spring Palette(original image by House Beautiful)

I adore the art in this image too! There is nothing better than pinks, yellows and teals for springtime!

Flower Pin- just for the fun of it

My great-grandmother used to wear the most beautiful brooches. I remember as a little girl wondering over how pretty they were as I sat on her lap and smelled her perfume.

This flower could be used as an adornment on just about anything. I made one for Elizabeth’s birthday out of an old book – she’s a fantastic writer and is just about to finish her degree in English literature, so it seemed fitting – but any unique paper would look great. I have some beautiful scraps of pearlized and embossed paper that I will use one day and make a pin to wear. I’d love to make some out of old music sheets to put on my Christmas tree this year

Tools and Materials Needed:

For the pedals:

Tim Holtz Alterations BigZ Die

– Alternatively, hand cutting a similar shape would work great!

Die cutting machine

Craft Glue

Coloured Tulle (fine netting as used on wedding veils)

Small coloured feathers

standard sized brad

old-fashioned button

Step One: Cut from your favorite paper 5 large flowers, plus one extra

Step Two: Cut from the coloured tulle netting –  4 large flowers

Step Three: Paint the front and back of the paper flowers with craft glue. This will stiffen the pedals and allow shaping and curling later

Step Four: When the glue coated flowers are dry, trim the flowers as follows:

Flower #1, #2 and #3 – Leave as is

Flower #4 – Trim away one pedal

Flower #5 – Trim away two pedals

Step Five: On Flower #4 and #5, with a touch of glue (hot glue or craft glue), fold over the trimmed side to form a slightly curled 4 and 3 pedaled flower

Step Six: With the tulle netting, trim only one flower of one pedal, and glue as in step five.

Step Seven: Layer as follows: Flower #1 at bottom; Tulle net flower; Flower#2, Tulle net flower; Flower #3; Tulle net flower; Flower #4 (trimmed to 4 pedals); Tulle net flower (trimmed and glued to 4 pedals); Flower #5 (trimmed and glued to 3 pedals). Rotate each layer slightly to offset the pedals

Step Eight: Insert metal brad through the center of each  layer and flatten at the back. Trim brad ends if necessary

Step Nine: Glue feathers around the back of the bottom flower, bending where necessary (hot glue works well)

Step Ten: Glue extra flower over the back to cover the brad back and the feather stems and glue the button on top of the brad head.

Finishing: With the end of a pencil or paintbrush, curl the pedals slighty as desired to give a dimensional feel to your new creation