Sunday, December 12, 2010

Felt Ornament Tutorial

My daughter wanted to show you how to make these lovely Christmas tree ornaments.   She's 6.  I'm sure this project would not take too long if you didn't take as many breaks for pictures (we had to do it over 2 days due to attention spans.).  She says hopefully yours will look as pretty as hers at the end.

1) Cut two pieces of felt.  We used a plastic lid as a template.

2) Decorate! This is the fun part!  You can stitch or glue to attach things to your ornaments.

3) Put both sides together right sides out.  Sew most of the way around.

3) Stuff.  We used scraps from another project.

4) Sew the rest of the way around and tie a knot.

5) Add a loop of thread or yarn.

6) Hang your new ornament with pride and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

The ornament on the left was little sister's project - we didn't write a tutorial for that.  
I cut the circle and she cut and glued the decorative bits on.  Perfect for a three year old.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Eyes Wide Open - Now I Get It

I recently walked through a part of the city that I'd never before been to before. I was stewing on something so the walk was good. I realized how much you notice everything when you're in a new place. You see every detail because you take nothing for granted. And I got to thinking that there's probably lots to notice in the places I go and the things I do everyday. I think bloggers have been trying to tell me this for years but I'm just now getting it. I thought they were being blindly by optomistic when commenting about how beautiful the snow is when it's -30 outside, or how a tragedy can bring out the best in people. But no, they're just fully seeing what's actually there, and carefully choosing which parts to point out. I still don't agree with censoring your blog to only show the polished perfect picture, but I wonder if they don't all do it on purpose.

The picture above is NOT from my walk to unfamiliar places. Truth be told I had taken a wrong turn was embarasingly late for lunch. My coworkers all applauded when I finally got there. It was so sad. I even had a (working) GPS with me. I'm not kidding.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sand and Sun

It's not hard to see the beauty in a place like Saint Lucia. Sand and Sun and Humidity. Oh, the humidity!

But it's good to be home. Going on a trip without your family is not nearly as much fun. It's good to be home cooking my own food, also. The restaurants didn't quite know how to feed someone with a wheat allergy, so there was a big pow wow each time I went to order something, approximately twice a day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saint Lucia Hurricane

You’ve probably heard that my sister in law and I won a trip earlier this year. Well, we finally booked tickets to the Caribbean island of St.Lucia!

And then a hurricane hit the weekend of October 30th and devastated the island. They were without water for several weeks, there are 8 confirmed deaths (and many still missing) and the country was in a state of emergency. Now, a month later water is back, roads are being rebuilt, and, since our resort has reopened, we have decided to continue with our travel plans.

We have several extra suitcases which are currently empty.

We have been in contact with the Red Cross and NEMO (the national disaster organization) and below is a list of items that the people in Saint Lucia need right now. If anyone is interested in donating anything we would be happy to take it along with us. Nothing too heavy or bulky, please, we don’t want to go over the weight restrictions on our suitcases.

We are leaving the evening of Saturday November 27th. Donations can be dropped off with us anytime before Saturday suppertime. I can meet people downtown Calgary at lunch this week to pick up anything they might like to donate. Email me to make arrangements (silverSistersStudio (at)

thank you,

From the Red Cross:
Tooth brushes (we have some already donated), toothpaste, soap, towels, linen, under wear- children and adult, male and female would be welcome, dry items like cookies, pasta, beans, cereals will be able to pass through customs.
Other emails have mentioned basic food supplies like rice, sugar and flour as well as children’s clothing and toys (story books, coloring books, crayons). Again, nothing too heavy or bulky, please, we have to fit it all into suitcases.

Monday, November 22, 2010

what's she up to now??

Here's a new project to show you. I needed something for a gift this weekend so thought I'd whip up a shirt. I took 2 shirts that no longer worked by themselves - one was overdyed grey (ick!) and the other had a super wide neck and a couple of tiny holes. I painted the greyish tank and cut the red shirt up to sew on top.

Of course, you can't just "whip up" a shirt that calls for painting and drying, construction and embellishing, all done by hand so I am cheating here and only showing you the front side which is finished! Soon enough the whole thing will be finished and whisked away on a jet plane on a tropical vacation.

Obligatory artsy photo of the stitching. Love stitching.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

This photo was completely accidental but then I realized I loved all those lines.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

I forgot about the beautiful patterns snow brings. It's going to be an interesting winter afterall.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Birds and Blooms Magazine

Look Look Look! Silver Sisters gloves in a magazine!

I should be all cool about it all but to tell you the truth I'm darn excited. I think I squealed a little when the package came in the mail yesterday!

I've got the gloves in my shop here, here and here. Order now if you want some, I only have a limited number of gloves in stock until spring.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

This leaf is about dochotmies.
And I love how it's accidentally beautiful.
It's like a secret that I pass on my way through the city every day.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I used to be a painter.

Before I ever sewed fabric I painted it. And painted it and painted it. I had the urge to paint something early this Saturday morning, so I got up, snuck about and got to work.

I am thrilled to bits about how this turned out. It's a bit 60's era old man, but I like it.

I bought this red cotton sweater when I was pregnant with my youngest - so 3 years ago. And never wore it after she was born. It fit well but lacked interest. I used a stencil for the pattern. It was something that was in a ceramic painting kit that my daughter got for Christmas. To tell you the truth I got pretty worried about all that black about half way through. But I knew I had to finish and then figure out how to fix it.

I think I am in love.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Eyes Wide Open - New Feature

There's so much to see if you just look around. But you have to have your eyes open and be looking for it. You might have noticed I've been posting some random images lately, well, these are the beginning of a new feature on the blog where I post images I've taken recently of interesting colors, textures and patterns I find while out and about. Play along if you like; put a link on the comments to your own pictures of interesting things in the everyday.

The light tonight is so beautiful. I loved the way the sun was playing with the bark on this tree trunk.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm back, and I intend to stay!

I've been writing this post in my head for at least a week, but now that I'm writing I don't know where to start. I'm back. I don't quite know what happened, but I'm back, and that's a good thing.

I keep telling people "I think I lost a couple of months" and they laugh because I think we can all relate to life going a little more quickly than is comfortable. But, really, I think I lost about 6 months. As in I wasn't really there for it. I remember my daughter's doctor appointment in April and then the one in June where we'd made no progress and I felt like I was in a time warp. The summer wasn't much better. I was here but not here, you know? I don't know if I was depressed or just exhausted. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and be very very still for a long long while.

But I'm back, and I intend to stay.

Several things have changed lately. First, we went on a 2 week holiday that ended up being even more relaxing than intended (for me anyway) due to a blown engine in our truck. We also stopped nursing, and though it wasn't all that frequent near the end, I know that has a huge effect on how my body works. I can feel the bounce back in my step. I feel like doing things again. Living.

But I'm so cautious. I never want to be in that place again. What if I don't resurface next time? I'm doing all I can to boost my health, get enough sleep, build a support system, but will it be enough? So for now, focusing on the positive, I'm BACK! and I intend to STAY!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The One With All The Pictures.

On to the eye candy. I started this project at the end of April and completed it the beginning of September. It started with a compulsion to make something a little more useful than I had been doing before. I made a shirt and dress which were auctioned off for this charity which I talked about in this post a couple of days ago.

First up, the dress:

Completely hand-stitched from reclaimed t-shirts. The blue ones are from the same golf tournament the year before. The flowers are relief appliques from still more t-shirts.

You can see the charity logo on the bottom left back which was reused from one of the volunteer t-shirts. This will fit as a dress from about 6 months until about size 2 as a shirt making it long wearing. I love that it can be used for a long time as kids grow out of sizes so quickly.

I was so worried about the buttonhole loops. I'd never done them before and left them for the last minute, but they worked out really well. You can see the vintage buttons and zigzag chain stitch here as well.

Palestrina stitch along the bottom hem. I love the look of Palestrina stitch - it's delicate and looks almost beaded.

And now on to the boy's shirt. Mothers of boys always complain that girls get all of the fun clothes, so I wanted to make sure I made something good for the boys. My daughter who's two saw this picture and said "There's my bear!". She loves this guy.

Again completely handsewn using reclaimed t-shirts. I enlarged the charity's logo to use as a pattern for this reverse applique.

I wanted the stitching on this one to be a lot simpler, but still let it have some details. This one is a 12 month size.

And a close up of some of the stitching. I used linen thread (brown) to give it a more rugged appeal.

It was hard to let them go after spending so much time with these two pieces, but both went in the silent auction and now have the most loving homes as well as having raised money for a charity very close to my heart.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Fashion Designer is Born.

You are looking at the face of the worlds newest fashion designer.

I should back up a bit. We happened upon an arts festival in our town this weekend. An entire street was blocked off and art was everywhere – pottery, paintings, photography – but Ailsa gravitated towards a particular set of abstract paintings stopping at one that had black painted fabric flowing from it and a face painted on the canvas. She said it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. I thought we should tell the artist that as she was sitting right there. Jolan was her name – but apparently the kids call her Yo yo. The conversation went something like this:
Yoyo: Are you an artist
Ailsa: ?
Yoyo: Do you like to make things?
Ailsa: Yes.
Yoyo: Then you are an artist.

We told her about the doll dresses that Ailsa had made and some of the other projects she had done (she really is an artist). Completely stoked, we went home, got out the fabric and started sewing. My little girl is now a fashion designer. She is NOT “going to be” a fashion designer she IS a fashion designer. Right now. And she’s about as excited as it gets. The enthusiasm is contagious, really, and I really admire (envy?) her confidence.
And why not. I’ve heard so many brilliant people say they started doing their life passion (ballet dancers, mechanics taking everything apart, engineers building bridges with lego) when they were six.

Here’s a parting shot in case you don't believe me. These were taken this spring. The outfit just shouts creativity, don’t you think?

p.s. Anyone know anything about fashion design for real? Like what skills to help her learn – drawing and sewing obviously, as well as looking at clothing, art, color around her. I’m looking for ways to help her realize her dream.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Scott Smed - part 1.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and that was a good thing. The Annual Scott Smed golf tournament came and went this week, and I was thrilled to be part of it again. No, they weren’t crying about their golf games, in fact, I think the golf part is almost like an afterthought. Almost. They were crying because the charity had touched their hearts. again.

It all began when my friends Shannon and Peter were pregnant with their first child – a boy – Scott. I didn’t know them at the time, my sister was still dating Shannon’s brother (they are married now with a baby of their own this year). I remember my sister saying that Shannon had read every baby book there was and was so excited about the pregnancy. Anyone who knows Shannon knows how she throws herself into things with contagious enthusiasm (oh, that laugh!), and I can only imagine what she would have been like then.

But, sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. Something went very wrong and they ended up loosing the baby in the third trimester. Peter always says that the charitable works that they do make Scott’s life and death have purpose. That even though he is not here with us, his presence can be felt by the good things that people do in his name. The Scott Smed Memorial Foundation is making efforts to improve the experiences of families who have lost a child. The money raised has gone towards building special delivery rooms in soon to be four Calgary hospitals for families who are experiencing a loss, support and resources for families, and training for hospital staff.

What I really admire about this charity is its grassroots beginnings. It’s the story of a family seeing a need in the community and deciding they can do something about it. And this group of people is accomplishing that in really concrete and measurable ways. The best part of the golf tournament, in my opinion, is the guest speaker. Someone who has used the services of the Scott Smed Foundation gathers up all their courage and tells their story. You grieve with them, but you also can hear the hope coming through, and the gratefulness that they didn’t have to go through it alone. That’s why I choose to volunteer at this tournament every year instead of just sending my silent auction items. To be part of something like this, even for just a day makes us all feel a little more human.

(come back to see part 2 - I promise lots of pictures, less seriousness, and a follow up to the sneak peak posts I keep taunting you with. Thanks for reading this far.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sneak Peek!

Here's a sneak peek at a huge project I've been working on since, oh, probably April.

Completely hand sewn from leftover volunteer t-shirts. They are for a favourite charity to include in their silent auction.

There are two of them, one boy, one girl. The boy one is a t-shirt with a bear (their logo) reverse appliqued on it, about 12 month size and the girl one is a dress with flowers relief appliqued on it size 12 months to 2T - it grows into a shirt as the child grows.

Guess how many hours of stitching this was! Happily I've found a better solution for inside labels!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

PINC GLAS AND YELOFEED (glove pictures)

Here are a couple of glove pictures I haven't shown you yet. I packed up a big order of gloves this spring - the one on the top is a freebie I threw in as a thank you for the massive order. I was getting a little tired of monograms at this point so the geometric folk kind of flower design was really fun. I will definitely be doing more of those.

After the big order was this pair.

They were a special order.

#8 on my order list - it says: Ailsa (the name of the orderer, my daughter) A H (The desired monogram) pink gloves. Yellow thread. You know, all the details. Don't you just love kindergarten spelling? I love that thread starts with the letter F. Precious.

Monday, July 26, 2010

On Water. And how to get more of it into you.

We’ve been struggling with water in our house this year. Our older daughter has a medical condition and meds which require her to drink a lot of water.

Her specialist is a very different sort of doctor. I like him. At our April appointment he brought out a spreadsheet and detailed how we could increase her water intake a little at a time at specific times during the day to eventually get us to where she needs to be. I get spreadsheets, and this made a lot of sense to me.

But I am really really random and following a specific, timed, numbered consistent plan like that was doomed before it began. Oh, we gave it good effort, but fell off the boat in a couple of weeks. Fast forward to last week’s appointment and I realized we need to take a radically different approach and be serious about this.

And that is how the race began. A. and I are in a race to see who can drink more water in a day. To make it fair we somewhat arbitrarily decided on a 2:1 ratio – as in 1oz of her water = 2oz of my water. The logic is that I am at least twice as big as her. I should mention that it’s not just water that counts – juice, popsicles, soup, jello, freezies, snow cones, lemonade, iced tea, anything wet other than milk is fair game (and we’re looking for new ideas here – please comment if you have any suggestions.).

We’ve got bar graphs and everything.

Hers on the left, mine on the right. Notice how my bars are twice as fat? That’s the 2:1 ratio. We just have to compare the height of our bar graphs to tell who is winning.

She totally creamed me yesterday. We’re 4 days in and she’s already only a couple of ounces away from her daily goal. Now, doubling your water intake in 4 days is definitely not recommended, but it shows that this method is really working. Hopefully it is sustainable. We’ll have to figure out how to make it sustainable. And how to make it work when school resumes in (eek) 5 weeks.

Now I have to tell you that it all falls apart on the weekends. Remember that random part? Ya, the kid needs set meal times and routines to get her body back into a normal rhythm. I am totally lost on how to do this on the weekends. I could do a whole post on weekends because I can’t decide if we’re severely dysfunctional on the weekends or maybe that’s the only sane part of the week.

Well, I’m off to fill the water bottle again and head to the bathroom for the 4th time this morning! Please comment if you have anything to say, I'd love to hear your experiences, ideas, wisdom.

Friday, July 16, 2010

why I’ve been gone so long.

I had a dream one night where we were all becoming mindless robots.

I’m worried about that. Worried about living a life without meaning. I think we all should be at some level. I believe that’s part of what it is to be human. Many things that I won't go into here led up to this realization, but I'm deciding to do something about it. I have to.

So I’m readjusting my attention to things that are more grounded. Instead of trolling the internet looking for humans, I’m meeting them in person. There’s a group of like-minded moms that meet for coffee and support. Reading blog after blog looking for something to make me smile has been replaced with a running conversation through the day with my sisters (love the internet for that).
I catch myself when I’m bored or annoyed turning to facebook or the blog reader and am making a conscious effort to turn it off and deal with whatever it is that I am avoiding, spending time with the family, neighbours or making some art (or bread) instead. I’m even reading a real paper book for the first time in a long time. And, yes, it does feel better than the shallow un-focused existence. I just didn’t know how to get here before.

So where does that leave this blog and my shop? I don’t know yet. I’m sure I’ll return to blogging. I’ve always enjoyed doing it for myself, not the readers. It really bugs me that I can’t put lots of pictures on here and do it properly, though, a problem that I’m sure technology could solve if I threw some money at it.
The shop, maybe not. I can be creative without the hassle of listing and promoting. I always thought it would be a good back up if I got laid off – I could easily throw it into high gear – but this doesn’t seem like quite enough anymore. It challenged me creatively, that I will miss for sure, but I’m sure I can find that passion elsewhere. I keep going back and forth on this one.

So that’s where it stands. I’m having trouble articulating all of this because I’m still in the middle of it. And this is, of course, the abridged version. If you have any thoughts, please comment, I’d love to hear it.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Mumford And Sons - Awake My Soul

This is just where I'm at these days.
Wouldn't this make some good art - Awake my soul.

p.s. If you haven't yet you should check out more Mumford and son's videos. I'm digging this music right now.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

blogging break ahead.

I’m a little out of sorts this week. a lot out of sorts today, we put our big old dog down last night. It was the compassionate thing to do. But it still feels pretty crappy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guest Post

Guest Post!
Check out my guest post on the lovely and gracious Gina's blog.
Lots of pictures, I promise, and I can't wait to see what her other guest posters come up with for the rest of the week.

Friday, June 11, 2010

what inspires you?

Gina (from Dreamland) is having a multi-week long discussion on her blog on creativity and invited me to guest post there on Monday. Here’s the prequel (you know, like star wars had a prequel?) to that post. Like many of you, I am driven to create things. I am happiest when I’m busy making something. It’s my fatal flaw.

I create mainly for 2 reasons. First, I have a brain that often spins out of control and leaves me behind. By doing something with my hands I can trick it into slowing down, then I catch it and get it to do what I want. I didn’t always know this trick so I try to tell others often.

I also create because it makes me feel whole. It makes me feel like I fulfilled some higher purpose beyond the necessary getting things done that takes up so much of our energy and time. I believe there ought to be more to life than just getting through it, and being creative fulfils that need in me. I feel whole again.

So, you see, this drive to create goes way beyond simply making something pretty or useful. Lots of people don't get that. They think we're just playing around. Which we are, what's so wrong with that?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Links - So Silly.

I just spent 3 lunch hours embroidering text. I need to find a new way to put labels on things. And now I’ve lost interest in the project. Does this happen to you?

On to the Friday Links. I had fun with this one. It was time for some silliness.

domo pocky. so silly!

OMG. for Roxy. Everyone else check out the pants in the post for today. I think life would be better with the addition of those pants.

Caramel Bacon Popcorn. Oh ya. I hope Jessica (aka bacongirl) doesn’t hate me for this. ‘Cause I laughed out loud when I thought about the irony. It’s like triple chocolate cake if you have a wheat allergy (me).

And one more link. This one’s a treasury. A dying art apparently.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A new twist on the Farmer's Market.

OK, so I have this idea -

You know how much I love the farmer's market - and mostly because it's grassroots and it's community etc. etc.

Well, what about a booth that's a creativity booth. Not selling anything, but a place where people - ok, kids, probably, but not necessarily, would come and make something - I haven't figured out the details of that part yet, but it could be collage or painting or whatever we wanted. There would be a donation jar to hopefully get enough money to pay for the table rental and maybe some supplies but that's not really the point, it's about getting people together and opening up their creativity. I think this could be really fun.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

25 Things to do this summer:

1. nature scavenger hunt

2. what to eat while camping

3. weave a rug

4. zoo journal. or maybe camping journal. or roadtrip journal. or nature journal.

5. coloring pages and fairy puppets to make.

6. draw something.

7. draw together.

8. finish someone else's drawing.

9. doodle pad.

10. read books.

11. make books.

12. counting the house - wouldn't this be fun with outside stiff - count squirrels, flowers, logs, bugs, wheels...

13. make bannock

14. creating zoo maps. why stop at zoos? How about a campsite map?

15. go for a picnic

16. coloring mandalas

17. conduct a pond study

18. finger knitting. I remember spending hours and hours on this as a kid. "Dad, what's your favourite color" must have seemed like a suspicious question.

19. say you're at the beach... sandcasting

20. learn all the words to Red Grammar's the ABC's of you.

21. leaf printing on fabric.

22. visit small-town museums and coffee shops. Like this one.

23. Make sun tea

24. make butter with children. it's magic.

25. nap in the sun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I just have to do something with my hands.

My daughter has what she calls her "bad brain". Sometimes her brain just gets carried away on a train of thought and she can't help it. I know exactly what this is like cause it happens to me too, and probably everyone, I'm guessing. I have a couple of good fixes. Meditation (finding stillness). Yoga. Breathing (this works well for my daughter). And doing something with my hands. It’s the latter that really works the best for me. I always forget how therapeutic it can be to work on a project. To just sit and sew or draw or paint, how it calms the mind. I was thinking about this today when I came upon these 2 blog posts by very different people who also create and have run-away brains.

I started something new yesterday as I was home sick with a cold and going a little stir crazy. Something biggish and fun. I really ought to post some work in progress pictures but that would mean stopping the sewing to take pictures. And that would defeat the purpose.

If you have the time, Stefan Bucher also talks about this a wee little bit in his video talk on design in the Architecture/Design series on iTunesU that I mentioned in an earlier post. I really loved this talk (it was, by far, the best of the bunch I have listened to so far) and will certainly be revisiting it from time to time when I need some inspiration.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Please add to the list!

Hi, all!
I've been sick with a cold, so away from the blog for a bit. We're getting ready for the May Long weekend here - the official start to the camping season, and while hubby is getting all the vehicles etc. ready (and there is a lot of etc. this year) I am thinking about food and things to do while camping. I'm compiling a great big list of things to eat and do and ways to enjoy the great outdoors this summer. Our summers are relatively short so we tend to do them with gusto.
So, if you have any favourite camping foods, projects, crafts, etc. please leave a comment and I'll add it to the list.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Links.

I have two fantastic links to share with you today, and one of them’s not even a link. I feel like I’m cheating but it really is worth sharing.

Link #1: Fear.less magazine. Read the story about the bus crash that almost killed the photojournalist. What I loved about this: People thinking about what’s happening is a really to-the-core kind of way.

Link #2: Look up iTunes U Advertising / Design podcast out of the Walker art center. Go through iTunes, it should be really easy to find.
I just discovered iTunes U and am so excited to devower and entire education via podcast. Nerd? Yes. Reminds me of when I took Sociological Theory for fun. And then picked up a second major. Ahem.
Anyway… oh, yes… hour long video lectures from some really smart graphic designers (so far I’ve devoured Ed Fella and Stefan Bucher. Figuratively.). Graphic design lectures are really interesting mainly due to all the pictures. What else would you expect? Like the Project Management class I took. It started and ended exactly on time and was exceptionally well organized. Just what you would expect.
What was I saying?... oh yes… smart, entertaining - who knew artsy fartsy people had so much to say. About what’s going on in the world, not just art. Stefan Bucher, in particular, made some really good points about greed, authenticity, work, searching and values.
I think I’m about to fill up my hard drive with podcasts again.

stormy skies

The weather is finally starting to clear, but we've been in blizzard mode for a couple of days here. School was even cancelled for a day. We're getting pretty tired of talking about the weather which is odd for Albertans, we are always going on about the weather. I've heard spring is coming, and wouldn't mind seeing that someday soon. Little green bits are trying to poke up their heads in my garden but I'm afraid they'll take one look at the snow and give up. It is MAY, for crying out loud!
By the way, today is the last day of the sale. There are over 70 shops participating with a very wide range of things you might really need. or just want. or need. for a birthday present or something.
go here for a complete list (with links) to all these shops.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Gigantic Sale!

I was going to post a giveaway for my 100th post but, to be honest, just couldn't get excited about it right now. When the time is right.

I've been itching to stitch! I've been collecting things to upcycle for my next project and it's just killing me to try to get things done so I can start that. Do you ever get so excited about an idea that you can't think about anything else? It's probably a sickness, but some call that passion.

The Alberta Team on etsy is having a gigantic sale starting tonight at midnight. There are 70 stores participating. 70! A list of links is here. I hope you don't buy the necklace I have my eye on!

I'm offering 40% off all hair accessories in my shop, and free shipping on everything else. Garden gloves will be relisted this weekend. I had to take a break on them for a bit to catch up.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Interview with a 5 year old.

SSS: what's it like to be almost 6? Are you excited?
A: ya.
A: and then I want the next question to be do I have a little sister who has book in her hand.
SSS: so?
A: yes.
SSS: Do you like your sister?
A: mmmhmmm.
SSS: what do you like most about having a sister?
A: I like poking her belly button.
SSS: why do you like poking her belly button?
A: because it makes her laugh.

SSS: What's the best thing about being almost 6?
A: my best friend's birthday is close to my birthday and I'm gunna have my birthday soon.
SSS: so are you excited about your friend's birthday?
A: mmmmhmmmm
SSS: Is it all about the cake?
A: no
SSS: Is it all about the presents?
A: no. It's about I'm gunna give A. her presents. and I have my clothes picked out.
SSS: what are you going to wear.
A: I'm gunna wear a dress with a skirt underneath it and a shirt.
SSS: why a skirt under the dress?
A: because I think the dress is a little smaller than the skirt.
SSS: so you can see the skirt out the bottom?
A: yes, and I want my dress to be longer.
A: the end of the story.

SSS: where did you get the idea.
A: because when I tried my dress out it was too small.
A: Now say The End.
SSS: The End


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Interviews and interviews, oh my!

ok, boys and girls, check THIS out! There's little interview over on Gina's blog today.

And I'd like to carry on the tradition (Natalie Chanin interviewed Gina, Gina interviewed me...) and offer to interview someone here, too. Put your name down in the comments by Friday if you'd like to be interviewed and I'll pick someone to feature next week.

Also, My 100th post on this blog is coming up VERY soon (this week or early next) and I've got a little something up my sleeve... so many exciting thigs happening at the same time.

And please do take a gander over at Gina's blog. It's full of inspiration and art and the beautiful penmanship she is known for and who could forget the Alabama Chanin style skirt (my favourite).

(p.s. I just noticed a sale in her shop right also)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mind Over Matter. Get it?

Can I tell you a story?

I started walking a different way home from work recently. There is a pedestrian bridge that goes over the road on my new route and I’ve always hated pedestrian bridges. It’s not rational, my heart beats a little faster and my breath gets panicky so I walk as fast as I can right in the middle so I can get off of them as fast as I can.

One day last week I’m walking on the new pedestrian bridge thinking that after a while this will seem like no big deal. After walking over it a thousand times it’ll be old and familiar and not scary at all. And at that moment the bridge lost all it’s power over me. Just by imagining what it would be like to not be scared, and knowing that it would happen I suddenly wasn’t scared anymore. Amazing, the power of thought.

Now, thinks me, how can one use this kind of thinking to one’s own advantage? Think of a thought pattern you want to change. Imagine as vividly as possible what it will feel like to think in the new way. Believe, no, know that it will happen. Take it for granted that it will happen and go for it.

Friday Links

Every Friday I share something I found interesting I found on the internet that week. Here are this week's links. :

Brilliant. I just love these pavement sheets. I love the social commentary that they provide, plus they're really well done. And some of the profit goes to homeless. Aaahhhh, the intersection of art and sociology - it tugs at my heart.

I found this blog written by homeless people while listening to CBC (via podcast) yesterday. Very interesting to hear a perspective that I'm not as used to seeing.

I'm almost up to my 100th post on this blog so am planning a giveaway. I'm thinking hard about what to give away... any suggestions? I'm very malleable. That's fancy for gullible.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

When it Rains, It Pours!

Can I tell you about the craziness that's gone on here lately?

Here's a screenshot of the etsy front page (right now!). Notice something second from the bottom on the right hand column? This comes from a lovely treasury made by the lovely emmamaha who makes wool felt accessories as well.

I was also featured in an etsy finds email (like a daily email newsletter) on gardening and have gotten several orders of custom monogrammed garden gloves from that. I'm being very careful to schedule the work in and let people know when I will be able to ship their order. I don't want to disappoint anyone, and I don't want to feel panicky about getting the work done.

And lastly, things on the home front have been really busy. We painted 1/3 of our house two weekends ago (what a gong show with little kids, let me tell you) and then installed new carpet last weekend. For the carpet we had to move all of the furniture from 3 bedrooms and a tv/playroom out which meant that basically none of the house was inhabitable. I have this vivid picture of my husband and I sitting, one on the stairs, the other on a pillow leaned against a dresser in the hallway checking emails on our laptops, tired after a day's work of organizing and moving things. Phewph. I took the kids to the museum on the second day so they wouldn't be in the middle of the chaos.

When it rains, it pours, I tell you. After all that the day job seems relaxing!

Friday, April 9, 2010


Here is a screen shot from the treasury I mentioned in my last post. Not much new to say about that except it's long been my belief that more recycling and better light bulbs are not what we need to save to world.
I find it's getting tougher and tougher to tell the difference between an need and a want these days. When you're surrounded by a material culture on all sides it's tough to see an alternative.

Friday Finds!

Interesting things from the interweb this week (see below). I'm working on a super-secret project for my daughter today. I do hope she likes it! I do hope I can get it done before Saturday (ya right!). I like to call my lack of planning ahead "living in the moment". What, you're not convinced?

Friday Finds:

You'll want to check out Angie's drawing, Be the Change. I think I might embroider the second line onto something.

I loved this blog post about perspectives on aging. It's a guest post from several different women of different ages talking about fashion, body image and how it changes over time. I'm glad to be out of my 20s, that's all I can say.

Last up this Friday is an inspiring story on how making art heals. I can completely relate as this is how creating makes me feel alive.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


New Treasury Here!
I was thinking about talking with the kids about NEED vs. WANT as I stumbled upon this article earlier this week. I loved that the article had actual activities and suggestions of things to do with your kids on this topic. We'll certainly be printing out the "what do you need?, what do you want?" cards sometime soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

a list.

Things have been just a wee bit crazy on the homefront recently. We've painted a portion of our house and are waiting for new carpet. I have pictures to show but no time to download them yet. I've stitching to show but no time to take the pictures. How is it that time is not linear? It bunches up and slows down and I can never keep up.

Found this on a blog I like to visit. I am the complete opposite of this person, which is so interesting. I had the hardest time with #16. It's a satisfying list.

If I were a month I’d be April.
If I were a day I’d be Saturday.
If I were a time of day I’d be quiet and still early morning.
If I were a font I’d be bacon font.
If I were a sea animal I’d be a jelly fish.
If I were a direction I’d be West.
If I were a piece of furniture I’d be a comfy leather recliner.
If I were a liquid I’d be water.
If I were a gemstone I’d be amber.
If I were a tree I’d be a brooding pine tree.
If I were a tool I’d be vice grips.
If I were a flower I’d be a pussy willow.
If I were an element of weather I’d be light fog.
If I were a musical instrument I’d be a clarinet.
If I were a color I’d be cranberry.
If I were an emotion I’d be wishfull.
If I were a fruit I’d be a wild strawberry.
If I were a sound I’d be a sigh.
If I were an element I’d be Oxygen.
If I were a car I’d be silver and small and urban.
If I were a food I’d be satisfying.
If I were a place I’d be the space between mountains.
If I were material I’d be repurposed.
If I were a taste I’d be layered.
If I were a scent I’d be subtle.
If I were a body part I’d be a long graceful neck.
If I were a song I’d be acoustic.
If I were a bird I’d be a heron.
If I were a gift I’d be handmade. And late.
If I were a city I’d be miserable.
If I were a door I’d have a window.
If I were a pair of shoes I’d be sandals.
If I were a poem I’d be by shel silverstein.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gluten Free doesn't have to be Expensive!

Posts around the interweb today have got me thinking. Thinking about gluten.
Thankfully, it’s only wheat that bothers me, and not gluten, but I end up eating close to gluten free as a consequence. And when I say bothers, I mean BOTHERS, friends, not a pretty sight, so I’m pretty motivated to stay away from the stuff.

I keep having a conversation with a friend about how expensive it is to eat gluten-free. I vehemently defend the point of view that it doesn’t have to be expensive – it just depends on how you do it! For example: For breakfast today I had plain yogurt with frozen berries, a dribble of maple syrup and some pumpkin seeds. Yesterday for breakfast I had cheeze, rice crackers and a couple of strawberries. Lunch was leftover chicken, brown rice and leftover broccoli with apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing. Supper was homemade hamburger helper with rice noodles. No special expensive ingredients here.

I was recently at a specialty gluten free bakery. I paid $8 for 2 pizza crusts and $3.50 for a coffee cake. One tiny serving of coffee cake. $3.50. And that was the best darn coffee cake I had ever eaten. For someone who doesn’t get cake often (ever) boy that was good stuff (and you can bet I’ll be back). But can you imagine how much you would spend if you ate there on a regular basis? Save it for a treat.

So, my advice to you if you are trying to avoid gluten – avoid the specialty shops and specifically gluten free items. They ARE expensive. Because they can be, it’s a niche market. Eating gluten free is easy when you cook from scratch.

I make pizza crust at home from spelt flour (not gluten free, but you could easily use a gf blend) and baking soda which probably costs pennies. We eat a lot of potatoes and brown rice. I make a big pot of brown rice, leave it in the fridge and serve it with everything. Spaghetti sauce, tacos, everything. When the rest of the family has noodles and breads I have rice or quinoa.

Anyone else with me on this one? Do you find eating gluten free to be expensive? Comments and discussion welcome.

Here are some interesting resources I just discovered – there’s a gluten free carnival going on at kitchen stewardship this week, so I am looking forward to seeing what else comes up. Plus there's a giveaway on there right now from some coconut flour that you won't want to miss.

Also, simply sugar and gluten free looks like a good site for resources. It’s making me start to wonder if I should try quitting sugar for a while, too… but I’m just not sure how to drink coffee without it.

And I have to leave you with Gluten Free Girl’s delightful blog which asserts that she is not missing out by eating gluten free. Just look at the pictures – she is definitely not missing out!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

handstitched mama...

As promised, here are screenshots of the two treasuries I made this week on etsy.

This one is on handstitching. Inspired by Alabama Chanin, my current obsession (can you tell). This one was actually tough to do. I was looking for projects inspired by, not copies of the style.

And this one I really do love. I was thinking Mother's day. Maybe that's obvious. All of these selections are so expressive to me about what it means to be a mother. I especially love the little girl with the frown. She's got a bee in her bonnet about something. Some days are like that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

By some stroke of luck I managed to get two treasuries today, within minutes of each other.

Here is the first one, on motherhood.

And here is the second one, on handstitching. I was thinking about the Alabama Chanin books I recently purchased when I made this one. It's amazing how little is handsewn for construction these days, even in a handmade marketplace.

I will put up screen shots in a few days.

Monday, March 22, 2010

DIY Revelation – Starting a Yoga Personal Practice

I have practiced yoga since 2001, so 8 or 9 years off and on. Off mostly when my babies were born and then on again when I returned to work. But this winter I just couldn't get into the class.

My brain was moving too quickly and I needed to modify or skip so many of the poses that the class became, for me, disjointed and unfulfilling. The class failed to meet my needs anymore. So I stopped going.
And stopped moving.
Not moving is bad when you sit in a chair barely moving all day anyway.
My body started to feel stiff and still and I knew I had to do SOMETHING. Anything.

Suddenly, one day it dawned on me that I already knew everything I needed to practice yoga on my own. Call it a DIY revelation. After 9ish years of practicing, I had learned a thing or two. So I did a little research and came up with a plan and have been practicing in my little office twice (more or less) a week for a couple of months now. I thought it might be beneficial to share the journey a little. Because starting a yoga practice on your own is easier than you think (though I do think you should take classes to begin, yoga can’t be learned by reading about it).

I have always practiced ashtanga yoga and I always enjoyed the classes that most closely followed the traditional ashtanga series. I don’t know why it took so long to figure out that all I had to do in my own private practice was to use that series as a starting point and then branch out from there. Easy. Before I figured that out I would meander from pose to pose, not exactly knowing what I would do next. Finding my foundation was key to a good personal yoga practice. I can deviate from there, but at least I have something to start with.

In my next post I’ll tell you about what poses make up my personal practice, and then I have a third post in mind with tips and hints to get you started and keep you going.
And don’t be shy posting a comment – I love to dig deeper.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

TAST - Beaded Hedebo Edge

Here are a couple of pictures for Take a Stitch Tuesday from Sharon B. Check out her blog if you are at all interested in stitching, it's a great resource.
I have to tell you this wasn't my favourite stitch. I don't normally carry beads around with me in my embroidery kit - and I didn't have many ideas for doing different things with this stitch. I like the challenge of doing as many things as possible with a stitch. It is a very pretty stitch, though, and I can see using it in little girl's clothes a lot. It is quick and easy to work up and, as you will see, quite dainty.

You might have noticed that I didn't use beads, but substituted french knots.
I also tried putting it on the edge of the fabric which I'm not actually crazy about, but it was worth the try.

and a close up:
And another close up. This one is actually the front. Next time I would stitch it so that this is on the back.
And that's all I have to say about that.