Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Grass Green Funk

Yesterday was a funk of a day.  The sun was shining, the snow was melting and I was in a funk.  I had ideas in my head, things I wanted to do but my body just didn't want to do anything.  I did manage to volunteer in Quinnie's class in the morning and it was a lot of fun.  But after that I floundered.  So I headed home for tea and a little knitting.

Caramel Cocoa Rooibois Tea in my Favourtie Cup
I worked on a sweater for myself.  It's the first sweater I have knit for myself in almost two years.  A simple sweater in a beautiful grass green in a chunky yarn.  The chunky yarn meant this sweater was knitting up quickly and I was looking forward to having a new sweater when the weather warmed up just a bit.  With just the sleeves left to knit, I could have a new sweater by the weekend.  The construction of the sweater allowed me to try it on as I was knitting.  Yep, not too snug.  Falls at the right place on my hips but . . . nope, don`t judge it until it is finished.

For the rest of the day, the fit of the sweater bothered me.  That evening, before knitting, I decided to try it on.  Yep, just as I thought.  I walked down to Mike and asked him what he thought.  Bless him.  He has been listening.  He looked: ``It has no shape.``  Good man.  Not ``you`` but ``it``.  And he was right.  The combination of that sweater pattern with a chunky yarn did not a good sweater make.  I look in the mirror again.  I mean, I know I am not greatly endowed but I am pretty sure I am not that flat chested.  (Not that I have ever had much of an issue with being on the smaller side.  Quite perky,  my breasts BC (Before Children).  I mean, I admit there have been times when I have wondered how the other half live.  One day at the beach might be nice.  But enough about my breasts.)  Nor am I that straight.  Straight and flat-chested.  I was not going to spend any more time on a sweater that was going to make me look flat-chested, straight and thick.  This sweater is toast.

I gave into the funk.  I made tea, grabbed a book and watched TV with Mike.  In that book, I found inspiration for the pile of grass green chunky yarn in my possession.  And it`s not going to be a sweater.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tiny Books

Today I really wanted to do something a little different with the boys but the ideas, they just weren't there.  I was in need of some help.  So I bought a copy of Alphabet Glue and within its pages, I found my inspiration for our afternoon -- tiny accordion books in their own little boxes.


Quinn's Book of Colours
Keegan's Lego Book
Quinn set right to work.  Keegan danced around . . . a lot.  He also claimed a case of writer's block, hinting not-so-subtly that perhaps a new Lego kit would cure it.  Once he realized that wasn't going to happen, he found his muse too.  Lego, of course.

I had to get in on the book making action as well.

Keegan already has plans to make another book tomorrow.  I think I might too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just When I Thought it was Safe

I thought it was over.  The days were longer; the sun more intense.  Scooter rides had been taken.  We had even spent hours sitting out on the deck with books, toys and crafts.  We had been a fond farewell to Winter and had welcomed Spring.  I thought it was safe to put away the snow pants.  And then . . .

Winter insisted upon one more dance.

I have to admit, the day after was a beautiful one.  And that snow?  The spring sun is already exerting its power.  Drip, drip, drip.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


It's that time of year.  Buds that have been sleeping through the winter are coming into their own, reaching for the sun.

I wish this hyacinth were in our garden.  Rather it sits on our windowsill, scenting the entire main floor of the house.

The boys seem to have entered a spring season as well.  Physically, they are growing ever taller.  New pants and new shoes will be on the spring shopping list.  One day I'll be looking up when I look in each of their eyes.  But what I am really noticing lately is how they are each coming into their own.

Our oldest, for years, was content with his circle being his immediate family.  Now I watch him forming new friendships outside of the home.  These friendships haven't weakened his connection with us but they have given him new experiences and new levels of relating to others.

Our youngest always had the confidence to take on any physical challenges facing him whether we wanted him to or not.  (He still tries to convince me that he should be allowed to go down the hill in front of our house on his scooter.  The creek at the bottom of the hill doesn't appear to be a concern for him.)  However, in a crowd, he was more likely to stay close to one of us.  Now I see his confidence growing as he asserts himself in groups of people.

So yes, there is a lot of blossoming going on around here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome Spring

On this damp, grey but decidedly spring day, these little guys wanted to welcome spring with open arms, I mean, wings.

The pattern for the birds is from Ana Paula's book Amigurumi Two.  I attached them to a piece of driftwood scavenged from the shore of Lake Huron and they will be my little welcomers at the craft sale next month.  I want to decorate my table simply but I don't want it to be stark.  I wanted a little bit of nature and a little bit of whimsy.  I think this piece fulfills both of those criteria.  Oh, and it also had to be inexpensive.

Now I am trying to decide how to display the soap itself.  I'm going to have lip balms in a little felted bowl.  Not sure about the bath bombs yet.  Any ideas?

Here's to spring.  Let's raise our cups together.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Putting on the Sneakers

Two days ago, I laced up my sneakers and went running for the first time in four months.  Okay, maybe it was closer to five months.  Each fall, I attempt to make the commitment to continue running through the winter months.  Last fall, I even made sure I had the clothes so I couldn't use that as an excuse.  Then it gets cold.  The snow falls.  And I hibernate.

This week, Spring has made her grand entrance.  Hello, Spring!  Feeling a bit doughy, my body is in the mood for a run.  I'm not sure how I'll do but I don't care.  I just want to run.  Plus, I have the right clothes for an early spring run this year due to last fall's preparations.

Cross the road, down a few blocks.  Up ahead is the cross walk where I have yet to have a car stop to allow me to run across since we moved here five years ago.  Good, I'll get a little breather at the beginning, just to judge how I'm doing.  Darn.  The one polite driver in all of Burlington and he is at my crosswalk.  Courteous driver or sadist?  I haven't quite decided.  I'm leaning toward sadist.  So I keep running.  And I keep running.  And I remember how much I enjoy running.

So at the beginning of this running  season, I make another commitment to keep running through the winter this year.  Last year I made it to November and I have already starting running in March, a month earlier than usual.  Maybe I will make it to December.  But don't worry.  you won't see me running on Christmas Day.  That's one commitment I know I can keep.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Brotherly Love

After an incident that happened earlier this afternoon that resulted in Keegan having a pretty nasty gash on his right pinkie finger and a trip to the walk-in clinic to assure a whoozy, slightly nauseous mother that no stitches were required, my two boys have been inseparable for the last 4 hours.  (You can't even guess how many times it took me to spell "nauseous".  I had to look it up.  Even just now, I had to look at what I had just written.)  They are even having a sleep-over in Keegan's room.  About 5 minutes ago, they came rushing in, quinn carrying a piece of paper in his hand:

                                         Dear Quinn,
                                         All is forgiven.
                                                               Love, Keegan
                                         P.S. I love you.
                                         P.P.S.  Rilly All is forgiven.

Come on!  I think I have the two sweetest boys on the planet.  And they are certainly very lucky to have each other.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Return of the Lazy Weekend Morning

Once we decided to increase the size of our family, early weekend mornings became part of the norm.  Young children being who they are, they weren't always relaxing, no, "relaxing" is not the right word because often they were, "lazy" is the word i'm looking for.  With having to keep up with the energy of little ones, they weren't always lazy mornings.  Lately, the lazy weekend morning has been making a bit of a return.  I am able to stumble downstairs, make coffee and then climb back in bed with coffee and book.  Not for long, just a few minutes.  Until hungry tummies call.

I'm not always alone. . .

and somehow that makes the morning that much better.

By the way, the book of the moment is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  I am really enjoying this book.  It is one of those books that you want to carry with you everywhere in the hope that you can sneak in a little bit of reading.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ooh La La

I've been reading about this technique in soapmaking called hand milling or rebatching.  I've also seen it referred to as French milling.  i love how you can add the word "French" to something and it immediately increases the ooh-la-la factor.  Whatever the object or act is, it immediately seems to gain a certain amount of rustic sophistication.  I mean, think about the french fry.  Okay, maybe it doesn't work for the french fry.  No, wait, it does work for the lowly fry.  In Quebec, they dip fries in mayo, real mayo.  It's really good actually.  And it does make me feel a little more shii-shii than plain old ketchup.  Not that a fry needs a lot of help but I can imagine that I can dip my fried in mayo and still drink a glass of red wine with it.  Anyways, I digress . . .

So back to hand milling.  Hand milling can be used when a batch of soap is good but didn't quite turn out the way you had hoped, thus the term "rebatching".  But what really has me interested in hand milling is that you can continue to add ingredients to your soap after the initial soap making process.  And because the soap has already gone through the saponification process, more of the benefits of the additives are retained.  There is some debate as to how much of the benfits of such ingredients as botanicals are retained after the cold process of soap making.  Another bonus:  it gives the soap a nice rustic look.  Okay, enough words.  Let me show you what I have been up to.

pink grapefruit poppyseed

honey almond milk 
I added real honey, milk powder and ground almonds to this soap.  No added scent.  It is just what it is.  it reminds me of Cleopatra.

fudge soap
For my fudge soap, I took the chocolate soap I had made a few weeks ago and added whole milk to it and a little more orange essential oil.  I am so excited about this soap because it looks just how I wanted it to look -- like a big old piece of chocolate fudge.

My soap making adventures this week haven't been just about hand milling.  I also experimented with using PVC pipe as a mold.

The light coloured disc is simple unscented soap.  Absolutely no scent.  The other two discs are vanilla bean with a hint of orange essential oil.

I received confirmation last night that I will be participating in a craft sale in April, just a month away.  I'm really excited because it's my first time.  I'm also really nervous because it's my first time.  With my Etsy shop, there is still a certain amount of annonymity even though I'm putting myself out there.  A craft sale?  it's just me and my soap.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Squeeze, Sniff, Shake

Several weeks ago, I was the lucky winner of a giveaway hosted by Joanie at Nini Makes.  Well, two days ago the above package and pretty little bundle below arrived.  I apologize for the lighting.  They aren't the best photos, especially the one below but I received the package in the evening and wasn't able to open it until later that same night.  I guess I could have waited until the next day when I had better light.  No, I couldn't wait.  You know the person who sites beside the Christmas tree and shaes, squeezes and sniffs the presents?  That's me.  So to wait 12 hours when I wasn't forced by tradition  to wait was not going to happen.

Wrapped in the brown paper was a lavender filled sachet.  I love the colour combination, the fabrics, the scent, and each little stitch of Joanie's.  Enough words.  I'm just going to show you some photos of the little piece of art that now hangs from one of our doorknobs.

Pretty, huh?

And the surprise in that little bundle?  Some vintage crochet thread Joanie had found recently.

I think I see another crochet covered stone on the horizon.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fight the Power

Oh, I do love my new soap mold that arrived today.  What I am not loving . . .

are the packing peanuts also held within the box.  And you know the regret you feel when you really, well, regret something?  I am regretting the suggestion that they would be a great craft material.

They are kind of great for crafting -- gluing, building, colouring.  Oh, and let's not forget the science lesson inherent in packing peanuts -- the power of static electricity.  It is kind of cool to pick up a big handful and throw them into the cardboard box only to see some of them hover and then jump right out again.

But I am fighting the power, people, the power of static electricity and it is kicking me.  There are tiny pieces everywhere -- on our clothes, our fingers, our hair, the cat`s (ahem) behind.   I sweep them up and as I tilt the dustpan towards the garbage, the peanuts do that little dance of theirs and are now stuck to the wall and the toilet.

If I were a better housekeeper, these peanuts just might drive me to the brink of insanity.  Instead,  I am preparing myself because so far only one little boy has been introduced to the packing peanuts.  There is still one more pair of hands that are going to want to dive into that box.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just a Good Day

Yesterday was a good day.  Nothing special.  It was just a good day.  You know, one of those days where you seem to enjoy each moment spent with each other.  I think it started in the morning with a little sleep in and then being able to go back to bed for a few minutes with my coffee and book.  Followed by swimming lessons, brunch and leisurely browsing through a gift shop together.  Even the spontaneous Star Wars soccer game in the darkening drizzle was a special moment.  Yep, it was a good day.

simple cafe curtain made from vintage sheet

I also managed to dust off my sewing machine.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tea and Cupcakes Anyone?

I had a request from a good friend for a crocheted tea set for her daughter's third birthday.  I always think of pink and purple when I think of Little Miss Abbie and I love the colour combination.

I thought the birthday girl might enjoy cupcakes with her tea.  Sprinkles, of course.

By far, my favourite part of the tea set are the felt tea bags.

I had to throw a little green into the set.  As much as I like the combination of deep pink and purple, green and purple is still one of my favourite combinations.

In the realm of soap (because I can't seem to stop talking about soap), I am ridiculously excited about the batch of soap I made this morning.  Yes, ridiculously excited.  Why?  I'm using PVC pipe as a soap mold and I simply love the look of discs of soap.  Let's just hope I'm able to get the soap out of the pipe.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Little Extra Jolt

The adventures of Claire and Jamie have been keeping me up far too late the last few nights.

Waking up a little more bleary eyed than usual has inspired two new batches of soap: coffee and citrus squeeze.  I'm hoping they will provide that little extra jolt on those mornings following a good book.  The coffee soap was made with good strong coffee with coffee grounds for a little exfoliation.  It smells like a great big cup of coffee.  The citrus squeeze soap is actually a salt soap.  I've added fine sea salt to the soap and is scented with lemon and orange essential oils.  Have I mentioned I like to make soap?

I think I'm going to try some kind of chai tea soap next.