Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall Texture

 I've been watching alot of episodes of Sarah Richardson's shows on HGTV lately, and one thing that really stood out for me was all the different textures and patterns she uses in her designs. In one episode she mentions that she often uses 14 different textures, patterns and fabrics in one room. 14! I looked around my house, to see how many I have, and the answer is very few. Fall is the perfect time to add layers of plush fabrics and natural textures around the house, so I set out to see how I can add a bit of autumn to my living space easily and frugally.

I picked up two bags of textured balls from the dollarstore. There's about five balls of different sizes for $2 per bag. Which works out to about 40 cents each. I couldn't decide which I liked better, so I got both. Why not? Next, I scrounged up a bowl and a vase and tried out some different arrangements to see what I liked best.

This bowl looks like teak, but it's actually plastic! That make it very washable and durable. I've had it for years, I found it in a thrift store for $1. I piled the textured balls inside the bowl casually. Not bad, but the individual balls get lost in the heap. 

Next, I grabbed a vase that has been collecting dust, and spent some time figuring out the best look. Since the vase is narrow at the base, with a fluted top, it works best with smaller balls in the bottom, one larger one in the middle, and then some more small ones on top. Much better than the bowl, since the glass is translucent, all the balls are visible.



One a recent trip to Ikea I picked up two faux sheep skin rugs, for $9.99 each. Bonus-they are machine washable. They're meant for floor coverings, and have non-skid nubs on the back, but so far I prefer them as throws.  They are lovely and plush. I bought two, as I anticipated the cat would bogart one, which is of course exactly what happened.

Also at Ikea, I added an apple scented candle to my cart, to add a layer of scent to my autumn mini makeover.


Accessories are the easiest way to change up the look of a space without commitment, and for little money. These little shelves above my couch are great. I got them at Canadian Tire, for $20 for the set of three. I can rotate items around whenever I like to change the look. Candles, a handmade wooden box, and some other small accessories add personality and dimension. The grey sculpture in the middle was only 50 cents on clearance!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Corporate BBQ-African Lion Safari

Date: Sunday, August 28, 2011
Location: African Lion Safari, Flamborough, ON
Guests: 40, mix of children, teenagers and adults
*Photos of actual guests are included in this post, but faces are not clearly visible

African Lion Safari Corporate package includes:
  • Admission to the park and all park amenities
  • Mascot character
  • Reserved Picnic Site (Peacock Pavilion)
  • Animal encounter (Cheetah)
  • Elephant Tug of War
  • BBQ Lunch
  • Souvenir Buckets for children
  • Promotional Materials-posters, brochures, tickets to distribute to guests  

  • cheeseburgers/hamburgers 
  • hot dogs 
  • veggie burgers 
  • all the usual toppings 
  • potato salad 
  • coleslaw 
  • beverages 
  • freezies (not included, I brought those)
    African Lion Safari was a fantastic place to host a corporate staff bbq. All company staff and their families were invited. Safari staff were fantastic and easy to work with.  Major highlights of the day were the elephant tug of war and the animal encounter with the cheetah. Sadly, many guests were late, and missed out! Safari staff are defiantly prompt, down to the very minute. After the scheduled activities concluded, guests (including myself) were able to venture out on their own to enjoy all the activities the park has to offer, and there are plenty! Lots to see and do.

    Private Pavilion

    Lining up for Lunch

    Palm Tree
    I found inflatable palm trees and animals at the dollarstore. The palm trees have a compartment at the bottom to fill with sand, making them stand up on their own. It was very windy, so I lashed them to the picnic tables with fishing line. Worked pretty well. 
    Animals were monkeys, parrots and flamingos. I strung them up from the rafters of the pavilion, but I forgot to take pictures of them in situ! Children each took one home for a souvenir.


     This is the best picture I have, not the greatest, but you get the idea. The monkeys were the best, in my opinion. Once inflated, they are able to stand on their own. 
    Not bad for $1.25 a piece.

    African Lion Safari commemorative buckets and animal cookies are included in the corporate package.I added a little something I found at the dollarstore.
    A little tote bag to colour, with a jungle/safari theme.

     I coloured this one as a test, before the event. Looks pretty good, I think! The bags could be used as a lunch bag, but I also thought they might come in handy as a first aid kit, a travel sized bag to hold snacks and small toys to keep kids occupied in the car or on the go. The tote bags are small enough to fit inside a purse or diaper bag. The only thing that slightly bothered me, if you use the included markers, the bag will not be washable. Something to keep in mind. I would use fabric markers, and wash it separately to avoid running.

    The corporate package through African Lion Safari includes unique animal encounters, a tug of war with an elephant, and a personal visit with an animal and trainer. 

    Elephant Tug of War: Safari staff brought over an elephant to the private area, and directed the guests into formation. Maggie the Elephant wore a harness attached to a rope. All the guests lined up along the rope, and when directed, tried to pull the rope away from the elephant. As you can imagine, Maggie won. 

     Maggie the Elephant

    Tug of War

    Cheetah visit:
    After the thrill of meeting Maggie, guests were visited by Raj the Cheetah and his trainer. It was so wonderful to see such a gorgeous cheetah up close and personal. The trainer provided lots of educational information, and was open to questions about cheetahs, Raj, or the park in general.

    Cheetah and Trainer
    African Lion Safari mascot Dandylion stopped by to say hello.

    I couldn't resist taking a photo with Dandylion

    After the BBQ lunch, guests were free to enjoy the remainder of the day exploring the park on their own time. I quickly cleaned up, so I could enjoy the park myself. I stopped by the Birds of Prey show at the little amplitheater, and took a drive through the Game Reserve to see the animals. Here are a few of the best shots:

    Male Fallow Deer

    Female Fallow Deer

    Addax (Antelope)




    I received many compliments and great feedback about the event, both in person and via email.  See my testimonials page for more details.
    Everyone enjoyed themselves, and were able to take in the great attractions, such as elephant rides, water park, petting zoo, boat rides, train rides, and Safari tour. 
    For more information about African Lion Safari and to plan your own visit, go to

    Update: Certificate in Advertising Complete

    My certificate came in the mail today! Hooray!