Karen Ballum

Hi, I'm Karen Ballum. I'm a Community Moderator on BlogHer.com. You might know me as Sassymonkey.

I live in Ottawa, Ontario -- Canada's national capital. Keeping me company are my husband and cat, commonly known on the internet as the Fake Husband and the Fake Cat. Last I checked they were both still very real to most people but according to Denise, it's not real unless she can see it. (She's met the fake husband and has seen pictures of the cat but once fake is always fake in her books.)

I have been blogging about life (and food, I like food) since 2004 on my personal blog, Sassymonkey.ca, and started my book blog, Sassymonkey Reads, in August of 2005. I don't read quite as many books as I used to but I still love hearing about the books you love.

While I spent a LOT of time here on BlogHer.com you can also find on Twitter. If you want to judge for yourself whether or not my cat is fake, she features prominently in my Instagram stream. (But you never know, I could be using a stunt cat.)

I also have a slight addition to the overuse of parentheses. (Oops?)

6 Gifts Every College Graduate Needs

Not sure what to get your college graduate? Here are six practical gift ideas to help get the college graduate in your life set up for life beyond the ivory tower. Money Credit: Carolyn Tiry...more

Four Fun Easter Bunny Crafts You Can Make

I don't know about you but I went from thinking Easter was weeks away to being shocked to find out it's almost here. I started decorating Easter eggs and I've planned my Easter dinner but that's all I've done. My Easter plans are currently lacking in Easter bunnies but here are some crafts that can change that. Sock Bunny...more
Love those cute and simple ideas for Easter!more

Five 2014 Wedding Trends You Can DIY

I love looking at pretty wedding things, a fact that often surprises people. You see, I didn't have a wedding. My husband and I decided to get married and 10 days later ran off to City Hall without telling anyone. Surprise! If we'd had a wedding, we would have had to DIY a lot of things. When I looked at all the pretty wedding things I always wonder whether it is possible to DIY them. Here are some of this year's trends that you can do yourself. Baby's Breath...more

8 Gorgeous New Ways to Make Easter Eggs

One of my earliest Easter memories is watching sharp pins being delicately pushed in the ends of an egg and then being shown how to carefully blow out the whites and yolk. We handled the fragile empty eggs with care as we dyed them. I recall we used wax and carefully, though not exactly skillfully, layered on the colours and designs. Well, the adults and older children mostly used the wax but I was able to help with the dipping....more
sassymonkey Pictures, please! -Momo RebeccaAngelmore

Can't Make Your Own Curtains? Hack Them

While curtains are easy to make, for someone like me who is not great with a sewing machine, sewing my own seems a little intimidating. While I'm sure whatever I made would look fine, I would forever see any teeny-tiny imperfections I made on the seams. Perfectionist? Me? Sadly, yes. Then I started thinking -- if I can't make them, maybe I can hack them? I found some easy modifications that can take curtains from drab to fab. Change Tab Top Curtains to Pocket Curtains...more
we don't have many curtains.more

6 Fun Crafts for St. Patrick's Day

I've always had a soft spot for St. Patrick's Day. It's probably because I have auburn hair and it's the one time a year people are really into gingers. Sadly, as far as I know, I don't have a speck of a Irish in me. I still celebrate it and while in year's past it may have involved a bit more of a parades and party feel, I'm more of homebody these days. You know what's perfect for homebodies? St. Patrick's Day crafts. ...more
my sister had just mentioned to me how she wanted to make personalized loot bags for her son's ...more

Can You Make Your Own Curtains? Yes! Here Are 9 Different Ways!

I am bad at curtains. I know they are one of the simplest things you can do to change the mood of a room. We've lived in our house for almost four years and we've slowly been changing wall colors but I've been even slower at window coverings. De-popcorn ceilings? No problem! Painting? Love it. Curtains? Eep!...more
I've made drop cloth curtains. So easy, especially since I didn't paint them. It only requires ...more

7 Easy Bookmarks You Can Make

I recently went on vacation and overall we planned rather well. We didn't end up bringing many things we didn't need and we only forgot to pack a couple of minor things. Part of that planning was figuring out how many books to bring, something that BlogHer's Facebook community helped me with. It was a screen-free vacation so I only packed paper books. As I settled into a lounge chair on the first day of our vacation I realized I had made an error. I had not packed a bookmark....more
Zauberbear  I like that idea!more

10 Fun Crafts for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day tends to be a love it or loathe it holiday and I have to confess I fall firmly in the middle. I don't like the pressure for romance but there are aspects I do like. I always had so much fun making Valentine's Day crafts when I was kid, perhaps because hearts are one of the shapes I can draw fairly well. Seasonal crafting doesn't end when you grow up so I went out to find what our bloggers were making in their craft rooms for Valentine's Day. I think you'll like what I found. ...more

17 Awesome Nutella Recipes

Happy World Nutella Day! We thought it would be fun to share some of our blogger's best Nutella recipes with you in celebration but we ran into a small problem -- there were too many to choose from! Sit down and get ready for a chocolate hazelnut sugar rush. Warning: Reading this post may cause cravings. ...more
Yum - totally delectable!more