Monday, 27 August 2007

Caught Up...

With the old posts, anyway :-) Now if the rest of life were like that.....

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

...She chortled in her joy! Tomorrow is Mr. S's birthday, and when I asked Safiya what she wanted to give Babo for his birthday, she didn't hesitate - "A BEANBAG!" There was no doubt, she wanted to make him a beanbag. So she picked out the fabric ("'cause I know he likes flowers") and helped cut it out a little ("I'll let you finish, Mama"). Then she said it had to have a "B for Babo" on it. How would we do that? "Ummmm, sparkles?" I gently directed her away from the whole sparkle and glue idea (tricky, delicate stuff with a three-year-old, I'll tell 'ya) and then we decided that we could use thread.

Her first bit of embroidery! She sat on my lap, little fingers gripping the needle, asking a million why questions, giggling when she motioned that she was sneakily going to put the needle down on the other side of the B, and commenting once in a while, very seriously, that "this can be a little tricky, Mama". By the end she had really got the hang of it. It was wonderful.

Then she helped sew it right sides together, turn it inside out ("Like a worm! Come on, little worm!..."), fill it up with buckwheat and lavender ("'cause I'm the buckwheat lady!"), and sew it closed. She was so happy and excited.

And so am I :-)

Monday, 20 August 2007

A Good Weekend

Mr. S and I agree that weekends of what could be described as "nothing" are really the best ones...

We visited the Good Catch Fair, played at Trinity-Bellwoods park, watched movies after Safiya had gone to bed (at 8pm - yay!), family came over on Sunday morning, and in the afternoon we went to Safiya's friend's birthday party. It was a lovely party with good food, conversation, and three other adorable little girls (all in pink :-)

Of course the thread throughout the weekend was Safiya and I making this little girl's present. She insisted it be purple, and she helped when I needed backstitching on the machine or needed to turn corners (she operated the presser foot). When she wasn't with me, she was puttering around the house with Mr. S, helping with laundry, "fixing" things, and they were chattering away with the hum of the sewing machine in the background. Having us all just hang out and working like this with her at a leisurely pace is becoming one of my favourite things to do :-)

And these pillowcases (and buckwheat pillows) are becoming one of my favourite things to make!

psssst two other orphan posts have come home (below)......

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Bad Form

o.k., that was not supposed to happen!

The other thing that was not supposed to happen was me bailing on The Good Catch Craft Fair. (There were alternative titles to this post, such as "Bailing", "Do as I Say, Not as I Do", "On Not Following Through", and "Committed?" - there really is a plethora of choices in this field.....)

Life's been full lately, inventory has been low, I could feel this coming, and I feel horrible that my name's been on their cute little advertisement and yet my table will be bare today. On the other hand, I slept well last night, was not crafting until 2am and will cherish one of the last weekends in summer with my family (we're going down to the fair to show support for the local talent, though - couldn't miss out completely! :-)

Letting go is not easy for me. If I had stayed the course, my vision of what I should have done for today would have kept me up until all hours. Maybe letting go could have entailed me being satisfied with what I had and going down and hanging out anyway. But really, that's just the other side of the same coin. Letting go is also saying that my sanity is worth risking a missed opportunity.

When I pressed "send" on the email, Mr. S asked me how it felt?

Really, the same as if I'd said yes.......but with a lot less panic!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Who Are You And What Have You Done With My Daughter?

This morning (and it's still Thursday) Safiya woke up and turned into some other little girl - that's the only way I can figure it out. The thing is, not only does she love pink, she detests green (except for trees and broccoli) and that's the Way It Has Been. Well, she's not vehement about it, just matter-of-fact - "But Mama, that dress has green in it." "Here you go, Mama, you can have the green ones!" And when beloved Granny gave her a t-shirt in said colour (what was she thinking?), Safiya just looked bewildered and said "But it's green?"

Today when she looked in her closet for what to wear, the first thing she picked up was a pair of underwear - "Oh, look! My little green underwear! Aren't they cuuuute?" As if it was a lost puppy. And then "And now I need a beautiful green shirt".....Wha-Huh?

But to top it all off, after searching for green pants or shorts or anything, she turned to me and said "Mama, can you make me a green skirt?"

Be still, my beating heart!

She picked out the fabric. No pattern (obviously), just chalk and guesstimating. Had to phone my Mom about putting in elastic. Near melt-down trying to get her to try it on for fitting (it wasn't done yet, you see...)

And all of the sudden it was noon and lunch-time. Time flies when you're having fun!


It just dawned on me from those pictures....those legs, her legs.....they don't belong to a baby, do they.....sigh....those are definitely little girl legs.....time really does fly.......

Hello Again...Today is Thursday

Two weeks of summer busy-ness, of beach, family, friends, and, re-learning, re-examining. Even though this ended up being an unintended blogging break, there's a two week trail of orphaned posts-in-progress. I can't bear to just leave them there, so their faces will be scrubbed up and they'll be sent out here, all proper-like.

I'll try to keep them in order, but they're a little unruly, as all summer children should be!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Beginning of the End of Summer

It's the beginning of the end of August...

Things are changing. The mornings are very cool, the sun isn't streaming into our bedroom from the other side of the house at 5-o'clock a.m., it's not nearly as humid, and there are pears already at the farmers' market. Pears mean autumn, but I brought some home anyway because they were so sweet.

This year it's been a much cooler August than I remember. I hope it warms up in time for a much-anticipated camping trip at the beginning of September.....

The idea of seasons in work has also been churning in the back of my mind lately. The next time 'round the sun I think I'll make a commitment to not work in July and August, except for personal things. Looking back, I probably didn't do much "work", but the feeling was there that I ought to be doing it, which is not really where I wanted to be. Summer is a time for exploration of ideas, and perhaps less actual execution of them...But now, now with Fall (gasp!) coming, now I feel the excitement and the urgency coming back, and I welcome it.

Seasonal work, just like everything else seasonal...

Tuesday, 14 August 2007


Wandering my parents' garden in the country....

Drinking in the abundance...

And the riot of colour...

All on a glorious morning, Safiya chattering away in the background with my Mom as I trip away with the camera to be lost in the early sweet summer sun.

The roses are lovely, but it's my Mom's vegetable garden that astounds me every year. Because of the abundance, and also because my Mom doesn't do anything! In the spring she plops a couple of seeds and baby plants in the few spots where things haven't re-seeded from last year, she doesn't weed or water, and this stupendous crop just bursts up. The forest of dill that we harvested for the pickles? She never planted it - it just, well, appeared. There's something about the soil....And staking? Who stakes?

And every year she has the best cherry tomatoes that I've ever tasted. She hasn't planted cherry tomatoes in a decade! Meanwhile my poor garden in its shady, sandy soil, though a valiant attempt, exists solely for the amusement of the neighbourhood squirrels and raccoons.

Next year I'll just sneak some of my Mom's soil and sprinkle it over my know, like fairy dust. Maybe that will work?......

Saturday, 11 August 2007

A Recipe for a Good Life...Wait, I Mean Pickles...

Take a forest of dill, harvested amidst laughter and wonder with your child.

Take an inordinate number of cucumbers. That need scrubbing.

Add bowls full of garlic and hot peppers and nurse stinging fingers and papercuts you didn't know you had.

Add family, a flurry of hands, love, and laughter. The brine can stand in for the tears.

And if you don't make at least 100 jars, what's the point, anyway?

Add a sunset in the country.


Thursday, 9 August 2007


A bit wrinkly, but done nonetheless...

This weekend we're going to my Aunt's to......pickle! Which means I'm meeting up again with my cousin and her little baby Jack who are here visiting from across the country, which means am I ever happy this is finished! AND I had fun doing it, and that's part of the point too, isn't it? My cousin and I are both only girls, so I'm really an aunt to little Jack...

My cousin always had a pet rabbit, hence....

Jack's just the cutest, chubbiest, most boy-looking little baby boy I've ever seen (I'm a little biased) and I hope he drags this around when he's little and spills stuff on it and gets it stuck in doors and takes it camping and it gets full of sand and gets crumbs on it while he's sneaking snacks and snuggling with it at night reading with a flashlight....

nothing would make me happier :-)

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

What The?.....

I really never should have watched so many Japanese anime movies ......
They're supposed to be bushes.....more like big floaty spotted other-wordly bugs, eh?

Monday, 6 August 2007

How Did That Happen?

I swear I was buying them for the material!

The image of the apron is so laden with distasteful sentiment - think "tied to his mother's apron-strings", or of that scourge of the earth, the happy housewife, bright smile tilted just so, that the 50's advertisements would have us believe was the only thing worth striving for as females.....

But there they were, waiting to be cut-up, when I needed something to hold my clothespins while hanging laundry. And then, oh! That's why people wore them! They're useful! For clothespins, toys collected, half-eaten food found, the cordless phone, my earrings, pieces of embroidery thread, so that my jeans have fewer layers of dirt, marker, flour, and snot on them when I run to the grocery store.....

Cutting through the cultural crap and getting back to the real thing has roused in me a new reverence for these accoutrements of the household life, and like Other Useful Things (pincushions - in dire need of one; little scissors on a ribbon for around your neck when you're sewing - because I just put them down right there?....and there's more), from now on I will be more thankful for their sheer practicality.......and how pretty they are :-)

And of course no talk of aprons would be complete without mention of the apron coolness and abundance over at Angry Chicken's Tie One On!

I'm convinced that aprons are the new punk.....

Friday, 3 August 2007

A Little Chocolate for Your Soul

Speaking of chocolate (wasn't I talking about chocolate?), here's the recipe to those birthday chocolate cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 375 F, line muffin tins with paper liners.

  • 3 c. flour
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. oil
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. water

Just throw it all in a bowl and whisk or mix with an electric hand mixer. Fill each muffin cup almost full. I've lost the original instructions, so I bake for about 10 minutes at 375 and then lower the temp to 350 and bake until I smell them and have to come running from another room. The trick is to catch them before that because if they're a little underdone they're wonderfully moist and just a smidgen gooey....mmmmmmmm

I vowed to Safiya that yes, we would have pink icing and sprinkles, but knowing how her body processes artificial colours, I splurged and ordered natural food colouring online and found not-so-offensive-sprinkles at The Big Carrot.

No picture today...I need a clapper for my camera.....

Oh, and today? Today Safiya was so tired at the end of today that she fell asleep standing up, eating an icecream cone......mid-bite

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Heat and Also the Joys of Mud

It's so hot that even though I'm not moving, the bends of my arms are perspiring - no, my elbows are perspiring - it's 36 C in the shade! Safiya is coping in a very logical manner, by using the water in her little pool to make mud and then cover herself with a layer of said mud.

She's busy, running up and down the path to where I'm sitting in the shade, showing me discoveries or asking me to COME AND SEE THIS! even though the tiny size of our backyard means I can obviously see whatever it is she's doing without even shifting positions. It's something that flabbergasts me about this age - the enthusiasm, the drama, the extremes. On some days one minute her face is filled with delight, the next there's been some kind of disaster like the stick she's using is, heaven forbid, too short or she's crying and telling me, randomly, "I really like red!" It can be trying when I attempt to help and nothing works (although these times usually coincide with when she's hungry), but mostly it's just hilarious and I try not to laugh too much: "Mama, it's not funny!" I figure that this is part of being three and that her brain's going through a growth spurt and it's just hard for her to keep up sometimes....

As for my sanity in this heat, I've had to make some modifications inside. We've never had curtains in the living room (to the horror of my mother) and I've always liked the spareness of it, but the windows face south, and even though we have central air, we never turn it on. So some shade was warranted...

I don't think this counts as a craft project, because they're just tacked up, but I'd like to do something simple like two staight lines' window shades and then also make window quilts for the winter.

Oh - the central air doesn't go on because I loathe it. The noise, the having to close the windows, the disconnection from nature - none of these things do I associate with summer. So it stays off. The actual unit (put in by the previous owners) also occupies the sunniest, best spot in the garden, so now it's personal, you know...

To spend the time outside, I've been bringing out my projects and I've discovered that by keeping it small and pick-up-and-put-down-able, both Safiya and I keep happy. Right now she needs me by her side, puttering away, not necessarily always to play with but just there....

Something that's been out in the garden a lot lately is this quilt for my dear cousin's little baby boy, Jack. My cousin always had a pet rabbit when we were younger, and so I used some cute rabbit fabric that I inherited for the front and I'm almost done the embroidery: merry and sweet!