Thursday, October 30, 2008

Did I mention my kitchen is green now?

I've still got to put some stuff on this wall. I'm going to get a little white shelf and put my tea pot and bodum on it, since they are presently cluttering up my counter, and their cupboard space has been taken over by playdoh and paint. Plus some other things I haven't decided on yet.

I also decided it was time to take the garbage off the dishwasher. I think Aaron is old enough to stay away now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We have acheived . . . green.

Well, my kitchen certainly is green! It is midnight, and everything is still drying, so I shall take photos in the morning. I do think it might be a bit too green, but we shall see what sunlight brings. I still have half a gallon, so I can always ask them to add some white and do another coat, right? Right.

Giveaway link

I have more to tell today, but my kitchen is burgeoning with unwashed dishes and I have a gallon of paint sitting in my laundry room ready to make my kitchen happy. So for now, I just wanted to link to jc handmade's blog because she is having a give away you might be interested in. And because she is a maker of lovely things. I would love to win a little brown and blue and cream quilt for little legs on cold winter car rides. Make sure to link to her etsy store while you're there.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Swap updates

This is the amazing little quilt I got for my Sept 6 - 12" mini quilt swap. Isn't it awesome? I love Kaffe Fasset fabrics. Need to get me some of those some day (um, once I've used some of my other fabric, that is). This quilt is amazingly small -- less than 6 inches across, and I love the design.

This little pirate is from imagingermonkey in the UK. Andrew loved it so much he kept running away when I tried to take photos of it. He is now in Andrew's room, sleeping in his new pirate ship / envelope to keep him away from little brothers. That was my mini-quilt swap from Oct -- the theme was out of the box.

This is Andrew's quilt. Isn't it cute? He picked the fabrics and decided to make strips and picked the order they would go in. Then, he picked the border fabric. I wasn't so sure that the super bright fish were going to go with the middle, but they actually worked well together. He ran the fabric through the machine while I ran the presser foot and made sure he didn't sew his finger. Even doing it in just 15 min. intervals every few days he was tired by the time we got to the borders. So I made him finish the quilt top (as a lesson in finishing what you start) and then I did the sandwiching and quilting. I think it turned out pretty cute. He was happy to send it to Australia and is eagerly awaiting his package, but I was really sad to see it go. I'm sure he'll make something else for me to keep someday.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

Yesterday was my birthday! I had a nice, fairly quiet day. Quiet, that is, if you don't count the hour before supper when Andrew went running around the house yelling "Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!" at the top of his lungs. I got to have a nap in the morning with Aaron when he fell asleep. I asked Dave if I could sleep for 20 min. or so, and was woken up by the phone an hour and a half later. Shortly after I woke up, Dave and Andrew returned with these (picked by Andrew):

I had to bake my own birthday cake and make my birthday supper, since I'm just in that stage of life, I guess. But I decided not to be grumpy because it was just my little family I was celebrating with. Instead I decided to just enjoy my family and make the table a little fancy. Considering the amount of unbroken nice bowls and our complete lack of nice table linens, I set the table as best I could:

I remembered these little kitty napkin holders my friend Lisa gave me for my birthday about 12 years ago. Aaron and Andrew loved them.

We had supper and then ate carrot cake. The recipe calls for buttermilk, but we subbed coconut milk and got a bit more sticky result that was edible by Andrew. Unfortunately this meant we had to bypass the cream cheese icing, so it wasn't quite as good as it could have been, but still very delicious.

I got two birthday phone calls from friends, and spent a lot of time on etsy, trying to decide how to spend the money my in-laws sent me, which made the day extra fun.

One of the best things about this year was that Andrew was more aware that it was a special day, and Aaron picked up on the excitement. Andrew spent much of the day reviewing how he and Dad were going to light the candles and sing happy birthday and then we would all eat cake! Aaron sat at the table saying, "Hap Birday, Mommy. Hap Birday!" It is really lovely to just be able to enjoy your children and have them delight in your special day with you. Moments to cherish, I tell you.

Sometimes I wonder what they're thinking

Andrew is at that age now where he leaves these funny little vingettes of toys around the house. I always try to shoot photos of them before Aaron comes along and trashes them. I got to have a nap with Aaron yesterday while Dave watched Andrew and I woke up to find this in the middle of the kitchen floor:

Later, after a cooling off period in his room, I found this little set up:

I wondered what the guys were looking for, until I went to move the magnadoodle:

Monday, October 20, 2008

It only took us 15 years to get around to buying one

That's right. We have been married 15 years in two months, and we have never owned a vacuum of our very own. When we were first married, and lived in a tiny, grungy apartment in B.C., we simply ignored the carpet. We were hardly ever home, we had no pets, we took our shoes off at the door and we never ate on it. Then we moved to a house in Langley and our border (one of those people who is thoroughly capable at all the practical things I am inept at -- we never could figure each other out) borrowed her parents'old one. Which still didn't stop us from ignoring the carpet most of the time. When we moved to Saskatchewan, there was a central vac system, so we used it. But about a year ago its suction started deteriorating until it got to the point where is basically just moved the dirt along. With two small boys and a cat, this has been a total disaster for the carpet.

So, as part of our push to get our house in a state where we can stay sane this winter, we bought a vacuum. And now I am spending about an hour a night scrubbing the carpet until the damn thing is at least uniformly discoloured.

This is the special attachment we received with it. I don't know if Dave bought it as extra or if it was a bonus. Its called the Power Paw. I don't know if you can read it, but it says its for picking up pet hair and doing stairs. Then in small print under the frightened looking cat is says : Do not use on animals.

It was good that they packed the vacuum in lots of styrofoam. That way, after Andrew was done constructing "stairs"(seriously), I could test it out on all the debris.

Also, why is it that when you look at photos of other people's children they are blissfully playing with their pretend food in their pretend kitchen, while my son

is making pancake and leftover salad stir fry. Um, in between taking bites out of the cold pancake. I guess its time for fridge locks.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rummage Sale

Our church has two rummage sales a year. The spring one is on the weekend that kicks off the yard sale season in May. The second one ends it and falls the same weekend as all the trade / craft shows in town.

Anyway, as well as donating to the sale, it is also imperative that I go and buy something from it. So I have more things to donate next year. But seriously, often someone in our church is downsizing to a condo and thus dumping a lot of their fabric stash and / or linens in the process. Very occasionally there is even a wool sweater I can felt in the clothes section, or a pair of cords I can repurpose.

This was what I picked up this year:

Ten balls of polyester yarn. I was expecting this stuff to be somewhat soft, but when I opened it it proved to be that scratchy yarn your grandma used to make slippers out of. Well, okay, my grandma used to make slippers out of it anyway. It will suffice for craft projects for the boys and may even be used for me to learn to knit. One of the ladies offered to teach me, so I may have to invite her over for tea and cakes (she's an ex-Brit, so I think that would be appropriate) and let her teach me. But not until I've finished the Christmas softies I"m scheming and the English paper pieced quilt I have tugging at the back of my mind.
Also some sweet vintage fabric. Only one is faded - the rest are in really nice condition. I especially love the light blue with the eyelets. I think it might be a cute little summer blouse for me if there's enough. Or maybe a dress for my niece if theres not. I haven't opened it up yet.

Someone's embroidery UFO. The sections that are done on this are really nice. And because its not finished it has never been used, so the cotton or linen (not sure which) is in amazing condition. I am either going to swap this for some fabric, if anyone wants to finish it, or cut it up for quilt blocks.

Things that Bug Me: Update

Well, I took all the stuff in my basement to the dump, and all the odds and ends to the rummage sale, including all the drifter toys.

Yeah, drifter toys. You know the ones. The ones that seem to serve no purpose other than to get taken out and left in another room. They are never actually played with, but only serve as painful things to step on in the middle of the night, or odds and ends that don't fit in any of the toy bins. Becuase they don't fit in any of the toy bins, they get put in the "doesn't go with anything else"bin. Which is the one Aaron systematically dumps every morning. He then spreads its contents all over the floor and leaves it. Andrew then picks up some of the odds and ends, pretends they are plumbing pipes or snacks or bird food and relocates them. And then forgets to ever play with them again, leaving them conveniently in the middle of the shoe mat or on his desk or under the kitchen table. Where I find it at night (asking myself "What IS all this stuff under the kitchen table?") and put back in the odds and ends bin. So I gathered them all up and let them clutter up someone else's house.

Unfortunately this included the food cutting set that I got for Andrew last year. It was such a great idea, and he loved to pull all the food apart and scatter it all over the house. But even since I gave it away I have found a pea pod, half a pineapple and a corn husk in various corners of the house.

So that is one less thing to irritate me during the winter.

Andrew's room is almost finished. I just need to hang a few more things on the wall and it will be done. Photos soon, I promise.

Swap News

My partner received her Sept. mini quilt, so I can post about it now! The theme for Sept was owls and mushrooms, which totally didn't inspire me. The whole owl craze is one that I'm not too big on. My memory of owls is a pair of ceramic owls my sister made in the 70's that my mom has displayed in our house ever since. Those two brown owls stared at me with their weird, empty hollow eyes for too long for me to be excited about the all new retro re-emergence of this trend. Knowing me I will eat those words in about two weeks, but there you have it.

SO, I opted to just do the "plain Jane"swap. That basically means you make whatever you want. This is what I made (yes, that is a cd case underneath it):

I have wanted to make one of these zig-zag quilts for a long time now. I think they have a really simple, graphic vibe to them. When I ordered some fabric from Starlit Nest -- she has great fabric and lots of fun ways of selling it, you should check out her shop -- she sent along these 4" pop garden charms as a little bonus. Since I only had five of them, I decided to do a very tiny zig-zag. The squares started out at 2", which means these triangles, after stitching and cutting and stitching are about an inch and a half or less. It was a really fun little quilt to make, and I made enough triangle squares to make myself one too.

I have also almost finished my October quilt. The October theme was "out of the box"(ie- non square quilts) and I am making a very silly quilt. Fortunately my swap partner is British and very cool, so she should appreciate it. Here's a peek at it:

I also sent out my next fabric and chocolate swap package. This is such a fun swap that every month I swear its going to be my last month becuase I have too much to do. And then I go and sign up for it again in my sleep. Anyway, this is a peek at what I sent this month. Amazingly, I even found the bottom two fabrics at my local shop:

I think that catches me up on swappy news. There should be some packages on the way for me soon. I'll show you what I get when it gets here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

God daughter's Quilt Progress

I know, I've been working on these forever and you're probably all bored of them. Or maybe I'm just projecting. Anyway, I am now half way done these quilt blocks! Once I'm done them it will be pretty quick to complete the quilt tops, pin, quilt and bind them. I'll be done all the tedious squaring off and matching points part.

So now I'm wondering if they're too busy. Maybe I should put a 2"border of cream around each block to calm it down a little bit. This is really your call, Sharon. That would look something like this (but it would be less bright than the white and cleaner than the carpet):

In other, related news, we finally gave up on our evil central vac system and bought a vaccuum. It should be delivered by the end of this week. I'm excited because then I can actually stain remove the upstairs carpet and pick up all the cat hair and litter dust on the downstairs carpet. And its got one of those allergy filters, so it might even improve Andrew's breathing a little bit. If you don't hear from me for a while, you know its because I'm busy scrubbing carpets and vaccuuming vents.

Interesting . . .

I'm not much of a linker (bad blogger! bad blogger!) but I just read this and its worth a read. I actually totally agree with him.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

pliers crush

pliers crush
Originally uploaded by heshta
This is from a group I just found of Flikr -- "I Crush Your Head". Aah, brings me back, it does. Brings me back.

I'm crushing your head! I"m crushing your head. You are a flathead!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Don't Know Where He Gets His Fashion Sense From . .

It must be his father. Yeah. That's it.

Of course we couldn't just wear this around the house. We had to wear it to playschool.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Five Things That Bug Me

Fall is here, and winter will be closing in soon. I know that sounds dramatic, but we often get our first snow around the 15th of October. Once winter is here, we spend a lot more time in the house. Last winter was really, really long, and by the end my house was driving me mad. I made a few changes last March and April, but not enough to make our house really feel like a home, or that added enough colour and interest to make this winter less white.

So I have decided to tackle five things that bug me before winter comes. You know those things, the ones that are always there at the back of your conciousness whenever you are in or walk by that space.

I think I've done two so far:

1. Remove wallpaper from the kitchen. The wallpaperers left a one inch overhang on all the seams of this wallpaper. When Andrew was 2ish he peeled them all apart and left these gapes in the wallpaper. I finally got rid of it. Cleaning under the appliances and painting the kitchen is #4.

#2. I painted this bulletin board and the chalkboard ( remember? ) and Dave finally got a chance to hang them up today. This led to a general, and much needed tidy in the crafty corner (but not, unfortunately in the rest of the basement).

#3. Andrew's room. We finally got the hooks for dress up clothes and the cubbies (not sure what they're for yet) put up. But there's still a fair bit to do before it will feel like a real room, not just a bunch of stuff and a bed.
#4. Stuff to the dump. We replaced out old Ikea closet organizer metal basket-drawer things with two wardrobes in our bedroom. Did I post about this? I think I meant to but never did. Anyway, it put our room into the sparse but tidy category instead of the total eyesore category it was in before. We did not, however, throw out the drawers yet. The frames are bent and don't actually hold the drawers anymore, so its not worth keeping. We also have a bunch of boxes and ramdom debris that needs to go to the dump.
#5. Put something on the walls in the living room. I rearranged the furniture to make it more cozy, but we still have these very blank beige walls to contend with. I really need to stop second guessing myself and just throw something up there.
#6. Oh yeah. Clean under the fridge and stove and paint the kitchen.

I'll let you know how I do on the other three and a half.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fall Frolic

I couldn't figure out why the boys kept stopping and tripping in this huge field of leaves, until Andrew mentioned that it was full of mushrooms. The ground was covered with these massive clumps of them.
Hill climbing (artificial hills - silly flat Saskatchewan)
Back to the Dead Tree Stump

The rest of the tree is now in our back yard.

Friday, October 03, 2008

My Favorite . . . Coffee

I've decided to start posting some of my favorite things. I am not one of those people who rationally researches and reads reviews about things. Instead, I tend to pick up favorites from random places . . . trying things at someone's house, hearing about something online somewhere, picking something up in a drug store and loving it, or just walking in to a new store and trying something on. If I'm going to make a huge purchase, I do research, but for little things I tend to randomly accumulate favorites. So if you are the same sort of person, I thought I would help you, too, find some new favorites.

This is Kicking Horse Coffee. Roasted in Alberta, fair trade, shade grown organic coffee. Its great stuff. You can get it for 14.99 a pound, which is not cheap, but its good and ethical, so I think its worth it. My favorite roast is the Hoodoo Jo. I must admit that its mostly because I love the name. Its a dark roast that is not too bitter. If you like a medium roast the Kootney Crossing is good, too.

I will make this in the coffee maker, but my favorite way to make it is in my 2 cup bodum, where it comes out hot and frothy. Yum.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Andrew drew his first person today. Its Batman. The circle is the head, then it has two points on the top -- the points of his helmet. Then he has legs sticking out the bottom, and the yellow is his costume, of course. He drew eyes and a mouth, but then put stickers over top of them -- his mask. Such a funny drawing. He brought it as his "B" thing for playschool, and ended up giving it to his teacher.

Oh well, I know there will be more people in the future.

His second person (Batman again) had a body, arms and legs, so he's figuring things out quickly.

In the same way as the biking came suddenly, we had two breakthroughs that led to going straight from squiggles to people with nothing in between. Last week he learned to draw circles - something I never really tried to teach him. I just figured he'd pick it up somehow, I guess. The second was that I taught him how to hold a pencil properly the other day, so he had a lot more control.

Tools! Tools!

Aaron is going through a building stage. If it were up to him, we would spend all day in the garage, rifling through the tool box. When Andrew was this age, we did spend an hour or two a day rummaging in the tool box. Which resulted in tools all over the house and a broken tool box. As it is, Aaron has to be satisfied with some time hammering on screws Dave has drilled into a board.

He spends a lot of the day playing with the play tools and helmets and saying "Hammer! Hammer! Garage! Garage! Fix! Fix!".

Kid-Made Quilt Swap Is A Go!

So, it has come into being. I posted in my two swap groups, and got enough responses to start a little swap group of our own.

Andrew started making his quilt. His original plan was to make this giant quilt -- about four feet by four feet. I have pared it down to something closer to 25 inches for the quilt swap, and then we'll have enough left over strips to make a little lap quilt for him to use in the car, if he's still interested in sewing after he's done his first one.

He, of course, thinks that if 7 or 8 kids are participating, he should get 7 or 8 quilts. But thats just typical 4 year old thinking. He will be quitle happy just to get a package in the mail, I think.

We're started sewing and he's already getting better at sewing straight lines. We're using a 5/8 inch seam just because its the biggest line on the sewing machine guide and the easiest to follow. We sewed for a few days, and right now we're taking a break. I think that playschool days are too busy already for him to have the concentration left over for learning anything new. Still, its a fun start.