Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Late at Night, with much Hoopla, a Number is drawn...

And no, I did not match the scraps of paper to her little night t-shirt....

First, thank you kind people for the lovely comments and roll-love. Safiya and I are visiting family, so I'm waaaay behind on emails, but I will be getting back to each one of you (yes, yes, I know it's not like 80 people commented, but you know what? it's still more than all my fingers, so :-)

What was I doing? (can you tell it's way to late for me?) Ah yes - #4 - Paige, my dear, you'll have to email me your address (and I have an idea which roll will be flying your way ;-) Congrats!

I will be taking up the good idea suggested in the comments a couple of times of a 2-pocket roll, and I've also decided to make some (of both the 4-pocket and the 2-pocket persuasion) for The Spring Thing trunk show, and I'll post some in my shop within the next two weeks.

And since it's really not that hard to make, when we get back to Toronto next week I promise I'll post a tutorial as well!

That everything? o.k. sleepy Mama needs to go to bed!

Thanks again for taking part!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Tie a String on Your Finger...

Just a reminder that today is the last day to leave a comment to be in the draw for the happy cutlery roll...

Sunday, 20 April 2008

For the Soul

Sometimes you see a piece of art that makes your heart stop. And you know you don't have to defend your taste or choice to anyone, because very clearly the piece is somehow speaking directly to you. The above is "sheltered" by Shira Sela. Casually scrolling through Poppytalk a couple of weeks ago there it was. I took a sharp breath, and, using a little of my meagre Etsy earnings, soon it was framed and living here. And I'm glad. This I got for me, from my earnings, and those earnings supported an artist. That feels good.

When Mr. S. and I were Double-Income-No-Kids, we got for ourselves a piece of art from local artist Sheila MacDonald Roberts for precisely the same reason - we saw her work and it stopped us both in our tracks. This we considered a good omen, and it came home as a wedding present (for us :-)

When the beauty in our home comes from people that we know or local artists, it enriches us all the more, for these objects have those extra ties, that extra story behind them. I did the art-prints-of-all-the-artists-i'm-supposed-to-
think-are-important-and-reflect-my-true-inner-nature in university, and while I agree with an old professor of mine that prints of "great art" should not be frowned upon because they bring beauty regardless, wouldn't it be even better if the money from our hands went directly to those who worked so hard to create pleasure in this world?

I love Shaun Downey's work. Quite frankly I could never afford one of his oils, but a couple of years ago I went to the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit with a mission to find something to commemorate a turn in my life. After a long afternoon I lucked onto his booth and after humbly asking him if he had anything in my price range, he kindly directed me to a box of sketches. I was stunned with the one above.

Someone else local whose work I love is Peter Schacht. He does these works with acrylics on wood:

Being a former farm girl, I'm really, really in love with the one on the bottom right. I ache for it, I pine over it...

The narrative in these is amazing, and I never get tired of looking at these little postcards. They'll be framed and hung, I think. It's the best respect I can give his work without being able to afford it. Affordability does not have to be a barrier to beauty.

And these days it easy to find. Think your local arts and crafts fairs. Think Etsy. There's Tiny Showcase, which supports artists and gives to charity. There are a million different places where you can find something to nurture your soul and support an artist directly...

Or hey, make it yourself, right? :-)

p.s. One of my friends is of the opinion that the art is our house is a little, well, depressing. But that's just the living room (and personally I find them comforting....). But anyway, there's plenty of thrift store flowers and landscapes in the rest of the house :-)

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Beach Days Already

There is something about sunny days that brings peace of mind. No matter what else may be going on around you, you can look outside and say "well, at least it's a sunny day". Or close your eyes and feel that warmth as you tilt your head up, drinking it in. For me the sun is grounding; it's like a strong clearing drug that starts in my forehead and then blissfully works its way down to my fingertips.

For Safiya it's pure joy. Yesterday we went to the beach for the first time this season. Weird, eh? Two weeks ago there was snow on the ground and these last couple of days have been over 20 degrees celsius...so yesterday was sandy feet, rock collecting, and little toes daringly dipped in the still-icy water.

It took me four years of living in Toronto to finally come down to the beach and see what all the fuss was about. I'd just never thought of this city as a beach city, you know? Big mistake. As we discovered shortly after we moved to this house, the Woodbine beaches, only a 5 minute bus ride from our place, are huge, sandy, and gorgeous. Hmmmm......I think I need a proper beach bag this season :-)

Thursday, 17 April 2008

The Best Reason for Homeschooling I've Ever Heard

We are walking by a small school. Safiya knows that children play there (but she does not know that it is a school for developmentally disabled children). Letting her hand glide across the fence as children do, she asks:

"Mama, why is there a fence here?"

I do my best. Schools have fences.....
She looks at me wide-eyed and says:

"But Mama, how do they go and see the world?"

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

On a Roll... (200th Post Love Update)

O.k., so I was thinking yesterday that maybe not everyone is as enamoured of brown as I am.

And also that these are fun to make, so might as well practice...

So, with regards to the draw, if you are selected you may take your pick!

And maybe the birdies will come home with you!

Just to be really clear: this is a little update to the 200th post give-away. Please leave a comment on the original post before midnight, Tuesday, April 22nd, and your name will be entered into a random draw. If your name is pulled, you may pick which cutlery roll you would like: brown or birdies. Yay!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

A Little 200th Post Love (for a Greener Planet and All You Nice People)

Want to be my cutlery buddy?

I know, that's so not cool....not even not cool enough to be cool. But hey, I'm loving this cutlery roll, and I had so much fun making it that I made two the same! (I'm thinking good craft fair item?) We put ours (the prototype - it's the one with the wonky seams 'cause I forgot to add the pocket at the right time) to a test drive yesterday at Safiya's favourite little sushi place. Very often at restaurants they give you throw-away cutlery and napkins, and this is our little way of cutting down on the garbage. It would also be great for picnics! I suppose you could use real silverware for a little luxe, but I'm not up to lugging the extra weight, so we packed ours with plastic cutlery from our oh-darn-I-forgot-to-tell-the-take-out-guys-not-to-include-cutlery-and-stuff drawer.

When lunch was done, we quickly wrapped up the dirty cutlery, put it back in the roll, and when we got back home popped everything in the washing machine (wait - cutlery in the sink, of course). Easy-peasy! The whole thing's cotton (except the ribbons), so it's durable. It's got 4 cutlery pockets plus one smaller one for extra stuff (more napkins, anyone?) 'cause I'm a Mama and Mamas need nice things that are practical and pretty :-)

I didn't do a give-away for my one year blogiversary, but today is my 200th post! Good grief, that's a lot of babbling! So, if you want to help lessen the burden on this precious earth of ours, leave a comment by midnight Tuesday, April 22 and I'll send you the buddy to our cutlery roll! (including the napkins, which are a cotton/poly blend, but you'll have to add your own cutlery). I'm giving you guys a week! On Wednesday, April 22 Safiya will draw a name randomly out of a hat, and I'll mail it that day! (I'm getting better on the procrastination, even though I still owe the lovely Jen the package she won from too long ago, and there are others but for them I've got a year according to the rules :-)....maybe this is a way of publicly getting myself in gear...however, speaking of babbling, I digress...)

And of course, I'll send you the nice one - no wonky seams for such nice people :-)

Monday, 14 April 2008

Quel Disaster!

That, my friends, is the picture of greed. How so? When I picked it up at the fabric swap, lulled into complacency by its beauty, I knew it was some version of plastic. I also knew that I would wash it in hot water. I tested it when it came home with me; yep, plastic. Huh. It looked a little fragile....but I certainly wouldn't have predicted...

It disintegrated! Poof! Should have left it for someone who would be a little less hard on it, eh?

And I can't even use it for scraps or for stuffing 'cause now it's got a really odd smell.....

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Evidence and a Little Excitement

Just to show you that I did actually do what I said I was going to....although not from the couch that day. I started to try hand-sewing the patches, which promptly reaffirmed that it's just not my thing. Somehow embroidering yes, hand-sewing....not so much. Now I'm looking at that first pair and wondering about the wisdom of such a light colour on the knees, but seriously, those birds are super-cute, (and I'm not doing them over again), so the birds must stay! In other pants love, I saw a tutorial for easy kids' pants, which I'll try to squeeze inbetween other things coming up.

And speaking of, I've been working all day preparing my little on-line "table" for.....POPPYTALK! (Sorry, didn't mean to get soooo excited....but, actually, I am :-) I'm tickled pink to be hosted by them on their market starting tomorrow (there's a link on my sidebar too), and am looking forward to seeing how things go.
Update: here's my table!

There was other fun stuff going on today in the sun:

Be still my heart - she came in all excited afterwards: "Mama, I was going super-fast!" It aches a little, that going super-fast, that growing up super-fast....

Playing with Fire



He he...that was fun. When I thrift fabric, my rule is if there's no label, I don't buy it unless I really like it and can use it for something that's not going to go next to anyone's skin. Which is fine, except when you go to fabric swaps and places like the "by-the-pound" Goodwill, where bags of donations are just dumped into bins and you have to fight the other vultures for what may or may not be cotton....

Now, everything thrifted goes into hot water wash and dry, because, well.....ick. Nothing personal, but I don't know what kind of environment any of those pieces have come from. However, I had got some fabric from a fabric swap at The Workroom (where there is a decidedly un-ick atmosphere ;-) and from the Goodwill that I wasn't sure about, fibre-content-wise. So, using info I found, I did my first real burn test this morning:

Here are my guesses, left to right, top to bottom (I wrote them down first) and the results:

blue and white gingham: mostly polyester :: mostly cotton
green: linen :: linen
lt. blue/pink flower print: mostly polyester :: mostly polyester
cream: cotton :: cotton
red/orange/pink flower print: cotton :: cotton
cream and red baroque print: no idea, probably man-made :: man-made
orange/white print: mostly cotton :: mostly polyester
stripes: mostly polyester :: mostly cotton
baby pink flowered stripes: mostly cotton :: mostly polyester
pink flannel: cotton :: mostly cotton
blue and white: cotton/linen :: some polyester
yellow/red/blue flowers: cotton :: cotton
nubby cream: i hope it's linen/silk :: linen (some polyester? - have to retest)
purple/red print: cotton :: cotton

Some other things I learned:
  • blow out your match before becoming mesmerised by how the fabric is burning
  • when they say well-ventilated area, they mean it - ack!
  • whoah - cotton burns fast!
  • make sure your last piece is extinguished before starting the next one - interesting fireballs may result if this advice is not heeded
  • have a glass of water handy.....
Also, this confirmed my gut feeling about polyester. Why, oh why, would anyone want to wear something whose true (un)nature is revealed like this:

Do you see that melted edge? That's plastic. Gross.
There was a pleasant surprise, though. We have a huge curtain over the closet in our bedroom that I picked up at a thrift store probably a decade ago. It's a large bedspread, I think, and on each corner is woven this:

I was hoping it would be silk, and from the burn test, it looks like it is! It's beautiful regardless, but somehow it's just nice to know :-) I wish I could find out more info on it...

That, and see that sun? The last two days it's been raining, so I'm really doing a happy dance today!

Friday, 11 April 2008

Cinnamon Goodness

A couple of weeks ago my friend Katharine, she of the newborn third child, returned a baking pan of mine. It was, of course, full of goodness. Because she's that kind of new mom. She's got her priorities straight, man. Me? After Safiya was born I don't remember wearing anything but a housecoat for a while, and for the first six weeks, if I did go out (thank goodness for midwives - they visit you at home), the best I could do was pyjamas. Yes. New mother padding down to the corner store, downtown Toronto, in slippers and pyjamas. My mother was horrified. I argued that since we lived in a condo, technically the street was my backyard...

Anyway, back to Katharine's awesomeness. She had made these cinnamon buns (veganised: Earth Balance margarine for butter, soymilk for cow's) from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I think the other things in the picture are popcorn and some homemade applesauce that I finally got around to making from the hoard of apples. We had that for lunch....and then just cinnamon buns for dinner....and then first thing the next morning, Safiya came thumping down the stairs with these words:

"Mama, can I have some more of that awesome cinnamon goodness for breakfast?"


And for other food awesomeness (even if there's not a vegan bone in your body :-), check out:
Drooling yet?

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

On the Mend

Well, sort of. First of all, thank you so much for your kind well wishes...we endured one-and-a-half weeks of various combinations of the three of us having fever, aches, and coughs (I'm still coughing if someone makes me laugh), and at the end I was just plain old exhausted. And behind. So the past couple of days have been spent catching up on housework, on bills, on correspondence, on just being happy that we're all mobile and happy again, and the weather has been lovely fine, which we've been relishing with glee. So we're on the mend.

Until today when I dropped a giant 3L metal can of olive oil on my foot. Seriously...I'm such a clutz. This is better than fever though, because although immobile, there's none of that bleh-I-don't-even-want-to-think-about-moving-but-I-need-a-

So the only pictures I've got for you today are ones that I can take from the couch :-) First, the awesome sewing basket I picked up at the thrift store a couple weeks ago, which Safiya promptly tried to fill with toys when we got it home, but I've reclaimed it....sort of. There's still building blocks in there somewhere....

The project inside is a quilt for an overseas cousin's baby, and I'll show it to you when I'm done :-) The other project for the day has been:

Mending! In keeping with the theme, some sad jeans of Safiya's to go with my sad foot. They still fit just fine, but yes, that's been our kid running around the neighbourhood (in her socks), knees bare to the new spring sun. They'll be good as new, and I love that ABC fabric, which was a skirt found and claimed, just for the fabric. Perfect happy fabric for happy knees.