The Lainie List

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Thatcher loves these bears.  He hugs them every time we go into Shoppers Drugmart 🙂



  1. The Writing Acts of Kindness Challenge
  2. Sugar Shacks in the Greater Toronto Area
  3. A Guide to Maple Syrup Grades
  4. These pies are pieces of art. I need to up my game.
  5. What I’m reading right now.
  6. I want to buy this, this, and this.
  7. I miss being a part of New Collection.
  8. These slow cooker beef gyros are soooo good.
    (I shared this before and decided to again.  Made them for dinner this week).
  9. Home renos an outlet for creativity (pics of our house reno)
  10. Canada Kiss Map
  11. Baby Mop.  A onesie that turns your crawling baby into a mop.



A collection of things I’ve tried, enjoyed, and read this week.

I hope you have a great weekend!


Send the Lainie List to my inbox each week!


The Writing Acts of Kindness Challenge

writingacts of kindnessWho doesn’t love a good random act of kindness story?!  They are sweet and remind us of the goodness in others.  They inspire us to do the same.  So here’s a little something to help you get started with your next act of kindness…



The Writing Acts of Kindness Challenge.

Experience those good feelings that come from making someone’s day.  Send a tacky postcard to a friend!  Write bad poetry that will make someone laugh.  Write your partner an old school love letter.  Through writing, reconnect and share your goodness with others.


What’s Involved?

You might choose to do one writing act of kindness and that’s amazing!  Some lucky person is going to feel like someone out there cares about them.  Aw, see, I told you it will feel good!  Maybe you want to try a few writing acts.  Maybe you want to challenge yourself to do 30 Writing Acts of Kindness.  Whatever you choose, I hope that it recharges you and gives you the chance to reconnect with those you care about.


How do I Get Started?

Have fun with it!  Gather a stash of writing materials…

  • a tacky postcard that will make someone laugh (or maybe a really cool one)
  • stamps
  • recipe cards
  • thank you cards or blank cards
  • a pack of sticky notes
  • stickers
  • fun paper to make your own creations
  • confetti
  • whatever you want!

And if you’re thinking, I’m not a creative, artsy kind of person…that’s okay.  Grab a sticky note and write down something sweet.  Whoever gets it, will love you for it.


Writing Ideas

In May / June of 2017, I decided to do a personal project of sorts – The Writing Acts of Kindness 30 Day Challenge.  Each day I did a writing act of kindness for someone and then blogged about it.

I have 30 different writing ideas that you can choose from or you can totally create your own.

Week 1: Fave family recipes, sticky note love, tacky postcard for a friend…
Week 2: Lunch box note, 3 words, address book…
Week 3: Secret messages, doodle, poetry, Throwback Thursday…
Week 4: Share a joke, wallet notes, old school love letter…


Pay It Forward

Remember that when we share our acts of kindness, it inspires others to do the same.

Once you’ve done your writing act of kindness, tag a friend and challenge them to write one of their own.  You’re paying it forward and spreading kindness.

If you give it a try, I’d love to hear about it!  Share your good deeds using #waok18 and if you’re on Instagram, tag me @verylainie.

Thank you for reading what I’ve written.  You’ve already done an act of kindness for me.

Take care,




More about the Writing Acts of Kindness Challenge:

My Gram and the Writing Acts of Kindness Challenge, the meaning behind it all.


Want to see what I wrote for my 30 Writing Acts of Kindness?

Recipe Card Challenge   |    Thank a Colleague    |    Time to Reconnect    |    Thoughtful Sticky Note    |    Write a Comment on Someone’s Blog    |    Share a Story about Your Partner or Sibling    |    Send a Tacky Postcard    |    Write a Note to a Neighbour    |   Write a Lunch Box Note    |    Wild Card Wednesday    |    Make a Paper Fortune Teller    |    Write 3 Words    |    Send a Note to a Mentor    |    Update your Address Book    |    Write a Secret Message    |    Write a Pick Me Up    |    Write a Poem    |   Share a Story about a Photo  |    Wiper Blade Confessions    |     Create a Doodle    |    Send a Belated Birthday Card    |    Share a Joke    |    Tuesday Top Ten    |    Slide a Note into a Wallet    |    Shout Out Thursday    |   Write a Love Letter    |    Show Some Instagram Love    |    Write a Letter to Dad


The Lainie List

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Her brother picked out her outfit.  Pink shirt and pink glitter jeans.


  1. This is too cute.  Father-daughter duo sing How Fall I’ll Go.  
  2. And an adorable interview with the duo on Ellen.
  3. Taylor Lee, I LOVE her work.
  4. A new Melissa McCarthy movie.  Va-Google.
  5. Oprah Winfrey’s Latest Book Club Pick.
  6. How to Make Handmade Paper out of Recycling Materials.  I’m going to do this!
  7. Justin Timberlake’s Superbowl Half-time Performance
  8. I’m a Painted Turtle. A recent piece of my writing.
  9. A Triptych of a Maker.  This is another piece.
  10. Our household soundtrack lately: this and this.
  11. This Is Us Has Crock-Pot in a Slow-Simmering Panic
  12. I just finished this book and loved it.
  13. Spoonflower: Custom print your own fabric. Amazing.
  14. Some great Canadian bloggers I met this week: @harlowandthistle, @emmetsabcs, @lifeatcloverhill, @themomrant, @the_sizzlinandlivinmamma,, @tania2atee, @justsultanto, @thisbumpyadventure
  15. Winter Olympics 2018 Opening Ceremony




A collection of things I’ve tried, enjoyed, and read this week.

I hope you have a great weekend!


Send the Lainie List to my inbox each week!

A Creative Calendar for Makers, Bloggers, and Good People

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I decided to go DIY and create a fun calendar filled with recognized international, world, and national holidays.


It all started because I wanted to know if there were special days celebrated by makers.

Is there a I Love Wool Day? A National Collage Day?

After a quick Google search for a calendar, I found nothing. So I started to do my own research and came across two great websites:

I found funny days like Squirrel Appreciation Day and Wave at the Surveillance Camera Day (I totally do this in change rooms btw). I decided to create my own calendar. I would include days to celebrate making, but also other things I love – writing, baking, and thoughtful mushy stuff. I started to think, maybe others might like a calendar like this too…

I began to include dates for those who might like to bake, cook, garden, or celebrate Fig Newton Day. As the list of dates grew, I realized what a useful tool it would be for a blogger, a creative entrepreneur, and any goodhearted person who would like to have some fun.  Just in reading it, your head will likely be filled with creative ideas for your next blog post, project, or thoughtful act of kindness.  So here we are, a whole year of days for us to celebrate!

If any of the dates are not accurate, I’m sorry. When I saw conflicting dates, I did check and make changes. The calendar also doesn’t include every possible day celebrated.  I hope that you see this resource as a possible starting place, and what’s the worst thing that can happen if we decide to celebrate Penguin Awareness Day on the wrong date?!
Big picture, I just hope my calendar makes you feel excited for the days to come.

Download your free copy of my calendar here!

If you decide to use it, I’d love to see how! Tag me on Instagram at @verylainie.  I also ask that if you like it, share it with others!  I spent a little more time on the calendar than I’d like to admit and I like the thought of knowing there are lots of people out there celebrating Penguin Awareness Day along with me 🙂

Feel free to share the link to my website on your Facebook, Instagram, etc.  I have a sign up process just because I want to meet other people who like this kind of stuff.  I also like the idea of bringing together a group of crafty and thoughtful people.

And if you have a creative heart, I hope you like getting #TheLainieList each week.   I call it inspiration to your inbox.  It’s a list of things I come across during the week that I really like and would recommend to a friend – ideas for your next project, a title of a great book to read, or a cute video to watch.

We are a group of thoughtful and creative women. I think you’ll fit right in 🙂

I hope 2018 is a fun one for you,

A Triptych of a Maker

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definition from Merriam-Webster


I was inspired by the idea of a triptych for this week’s writing piece (I’m taking a writing course right now).  I wrote three pieces that might seem random but I think they give a glimpse into how my mind works.  It’s messy but I love it.  See what you think.

My Mind is Pinterest on Steroids…


The image of a tree slice
Showing its rings of growth
A great line from a book
I just read

The way that a jar of jam
in our fridge
is labelled
Organic oranges & lemons,
Sugar, pectin, love.

Stick with me here.

A colour swatch of
Gentleman’s Gray
DIY gifs on @adamjk’s
Instagram account

The graphic design of a picture book
I got for the kids from the library
The name of a new magazine
I stumbled upon last week

Different pieces in my
Jewelry box
A cool dot-to-dot book for adults from DeSerres

Images I love
Random thoughts
A collection stored inside my head

That will all come together at
Some point and
Create something new.


Note: all of the photos above are from my phone.  I snap them at different times when I see something I like.



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My Happy Place


My Happy Place
Is a coffee shop on a Saturday or Sunday morning
The kids are home asleep in their beds.
The first round of naps
For the day has begun.

Eric is home with them.
And I’m so thankful to him
For this time.
He knows that I feel guilty about leaving
And yet need it so badly.

I find my long wooden table
and sit facing the wall of windows.
I want to feel the early morning sun on my face,
to watch it slowly make its way across the table.
I want to see the coming and going of people.
Somehow it doesn’t distract me.

I usually have a hot tea next to me,
my laptop
stacks of notebooks
a Flow Magazine
and my pencil case (I sound like such a nerd!)

I have a ton of ideas in my head
pieces that have been floating around
for days and weeks.
I’ve held onto them for dear life,
letting them cycle around and around,
in hopes that they’ll stay long enough
until I have some time
to do something with them.

I have a whole list of things
I want to tackle.

It’s a place where I can sit for 3 hours
and it feels like 15 minutes.
That whole concept of flow,
Yep.  I totally get it.
I get lost
In a good way.

I am reading, and thinking, and writing,
and I’m so into what I’m doing.
The bustle of people around me,
The distant murmur of voices
the hissing sounds of the coffee machine,
the music in the background
It’s the perfect soundtrack
for my work

When I get there
I don’t think I’ll be able to write a thing
And then the words start pouring out
In my notebooks
In multiple Google docs

3 hours later my head feels full
and tired
I know I’ve reached my limit
I don’t want to think anymore.
I’m done.

But I’m giddy
I feel lighter and hopeful
I’ve been able to connect some pieces
I’ve had a little ah-ha moment
I finally got to work on that piece that’s been on my mind
There’s clarity
And there’s

This is My Happy Place.
And the nerd in me
Loves it.
This is what nourishes me.
It always has.


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I’m a Painted Turtle


If you had to choose an animal
that best represents
what writing means to you,
what would you pick?



I chose a painted turtle.

So, why a turtle?  It’s because I work hard to protect myself.  I always have.

I have a strong shell to keep me safe.  But every once in a while, I write something personal.  It makes me feel vulnerable and totally exposed.  I quickly poke my head and legs out, share a bit of myself, and then quickly retreat.  It’s like I can only put myself out there for so long.

Writing makes me feel vulnerable.

At first glance, a painted turtle looks unassuming with his dark shell and olive skin.  Looking down at him, you wouldn’t see bold patterns or designs.  He easily blends into his surroundings.  But what people don’t always see, is his bright and colourful underbelly.


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Image //


It’s beautiful.

I think there’s a part of me that I keep hidden too.  It’s my bright and creative side.

I love colour.  I love art and design.  I love all things creative.   You’d know it from my sock and underwear drawer but not from my black winter coat, black jeans, black boots… I’m literally wearing all of them right now in a coffee shop.  But hidden out of sight are my  bright orange fox socks that make me feel like a kid (Thank you for these, Mom.  I love them!)

So back to the turtle anaology.

My colourful, hidden underbelly.

In addition to the colour, I’m also a mushball.  I’m an emotional person.  I care deeply about others and empathize to the point where I get really sucked in.  Their mood and feelings become mine.  My soft underbelly really needs that shell.

So that’s what writing is to me!  A painted turtle.

Writing is creative, beautiful, unexpected, and emotional.  This year I’m going to do something that is scary to me.  I’m going to start sharing personal stories.  I want to explore my narrative identity.  You need to google the term.  I love it.

I hope to share my colourful and vulnerable side more.  Here’s to hoping that prey don’t notice.

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A little paper collage I made, showing a bright underbelly that represents me.  My love of colour, design, writing, and paper.


I recently read Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown.  In the book she mentions the importance of having a hard back, soft front, and wild heart.  It immediately made me think of my turtle analogy from writing class (we were asked to choose an animal to represent what writing meant to us).

In order to protect my heart, I often do the opposite —  I have a hard front and soft back.  I keep a distance from others to avoid disappointment or hurt.  I may act like I don’t care or seem upset in situations, but deep down, I am.

I’m learning to open up more through my writing and to set boundaries in my life to strengthen my back.  For those who are close to me, they already know my soft front.  As for a wild heart, I have no idea what that is but it sounds fun.

I like my painted turtle analogy.  It will be interesting to see what animal I chose a year from now, after I spend more time outside of my shell.  Wish me luck.


If you enjoyed reading this, you might also like…

Meet Protective Patty.

I’ve Been Very Lost. Just Putting It Out There.

Meet Mr. Owl My Spirit Animal

The Lainie List

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A smiley face on a cold day.



  1. Apple Cinnamon Pancake recipe from Robin Hood
  2. A date with friends here felt like a treat.
  3. We went to a wedding at a coffee shop.  Amazing!
  4. Breaking the Trance of Busyness
  5. The Art of Living Wide Rather than Living Long
  6. How to Make Slime
  7. 6 Ways to Optimize your Blog Posts for SEO
  8. The TTC shows its new subway map
  9. Secrets of Museum Curators
  10. IKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad, has passed away



A collection of things I’ve tried, enjoyed, and read this week.

I hope you have a great weekend!


Send the Lainie List to my inbox each week!

The Lainie List

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A little something I noticed last weekend.



  1. Inspiration for making a kids placemat
  2. Build Your Dream French Fries And We’ll Reveal What People Love About You.
  3. Hot Toddy recipe.
  4. Turning a baby car seat into a keepsake.
  5. A feel good video.  Too cute.
  6. Storyful.
  7. Mom’s Chicken Parmesan Recipe
  8. I’m in trouble.  A lot of shopping is going to happen from this site.
  9. I’d like to buy some of Adam’s little books. Like Pick Me Up.
  10. DIY Placemats for Kids
  11. a poem by Ursula Le Guin
  12. Right now I’m reading Big Magic.



Have a great weekend!


Send the Lainie List to my inbox each week!


DIY Placemats for Kids

Get your kids wanting to evict their high chairs to sit at the table like a big boy or girl.  There’s nothing like a new placemat they have designed themselves to help with the transition [insert ooohs and ahhhhs].

I made some with the boys today and it was super easy.


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Gather your supplies: old magazines, IKEA catalogues, their favourite stickers, markers, crayons, scissors, and glue.


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Cut white placemats out of a piece of Bristol board from the dollar store.  Cut them to whatever size you like. Then lay out stickers, markers, glue, and let your kid(s) go to town.  I also cut out pictures I thought they might like (e.g., trucks) in case they wanted to include them.

It’s tempting to get in there and design it for them, but just let them have fun.  The boys chose everything themselves and as you can see in the photos, they glued everything themselves too (the perfectionist in me is learning to find it cute and go with it).

I did cut out letters for their names and simple shapes that they could arrange in different ways if they wanted to (circles, squares, rectangles, etc.)  They decided that they wanted to make trains out of the rectangles.  Beyond that, it was all them.

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Once your child’s creation is complete, stick it in between two pieces of removable self-adhesive vinyl.  I bought a roll from the dollar store.  It acts like a giant sticker.  Peel the backing and set your placemat face down onto the sticky side.  Now fold the vinyl over the back so the Bristol board is covered on both sides.  Smooth out with your hand to get rid of any possible bubbles.  Trim around the place mat, leaving about 1/4″ of vinyl to keep the edges sealed.


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The boys loved it and stayed in their seats during lunch.  I’ll take that as a #momwin (there have been quite a few #momfails lately).


I was inspired to make our own placemats after  A) seeing the prices online for a place mat ($15 – $30) and B) being inspired by the creations of Orly Devor.

I’m glad we made our own.  The boys are very proud of what they have made and it’s cute to see their scribbles and random placement of pieces.


The Lainie List

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Live. Love. Bake!  A February project in memory of my gram.


  1. In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs.
  2. This is a little much, IKEA. Gross.
  3. Inspiration for a future bathroom reno.
  4. The New Yorker: Improving Ourselves to Death
  5. Inside Silicon Valley’s Secretive, Orgiastic Dark Side
  6. Why You Should Pay it Forward
  7. A Simmer Pot for Cold Season
  8. I’m currently reading this and just finished this.  LOVED it.  So good.
  9. Design for Mankind: My 5 Favorite Life Hacks Right Now
  10. Live. Love. Bake! My February Fundraising project.
  11. It’s pretty hard not to smile at this.  Get a cute baby fix.