Wednesday 28 May 2008

It's Official...

Official that my good friend Janet is awesome in a pinch (if you look at that phrase literally, it's very odd, isn't it? Sorry, I digress...) She's awesome because she put this little business card together in all of an hour for me, fixing my attempt in MS Paint (oooooo, high tech, eh?), covering for my procrastination and soothing my not so concealed anxiety. We had had previous grand plans for a much more complicated card, but she directed me to this, and I like its simplicity. The printer was Warren's Waterless Printing Inc. here in Toronto, who I highly recommend. Not only are they environmentally friendly, when dealing with me, a business card neophyte, they were extremely courteous, informative, reassuring, and quick!

I was so excited to see the little box in my mailbox this morning. Just in time for the Children's Trunk Show, which is the reason I've been awol lately.....any emails that I've managed to get out lately seem to have had this sign-off:

must go sew

Speaking of.......

Friday 23 May 2008

Like an Old Lover....

Admittedly, I don't know what having an old lover is like (oh, wait, Mr. S. is old - does that count? hee hee - hi honey), but I imagine that this is what it's like. Apart for so long, and really you shouldn't start again because it's bad for you; it does strange and crazy things to your heart. But oh, so good., so good......

Thursday 22 May 2008

Meet Me In That Dream

I've finally (almost) finished the last quilt of the "Grow, Child" series. Waaaaaay back, last year, I had this idea about combining writing and embroidering and snuggling....all good things. My first poem was "Grow, child". (Somehow I've got to post the quilts in order here.) I've enjoyed it immensely, and can finally say that at least one quilt has been made for each of the stanzas of the poem.

Here's a sneak peak of the next series:

meet me in that dream
the one with the deer
and the friendly dark

we can count
the stars on our street
and the owls in the park

meet me in that dream
the one with the mouse
and the dancing moon

we can feel
the wings of the bats
as they weave on their bright loom

This one only has four stanzas :-)

Tuesday 20 May 2008

I Want to Rock Like This Woman

This song will from now on be our house anthem. If you want to get in, you have to sing it at the door :-) It would also make a great lullaby, somehow.

Thanks to Katharine for turning me on to this rockin' woman, Malvina Reynolds. She reminds me a little of my Grammy, except she has a guitar.....and says the word "sex"......

Thursday 15 May 2008

Should've Been a Pirate...

...or an archeologist (there's no pillaging if you're an archeologist, right?)

The hunt is good. It gives an adrenaline rush (ha! sky-diving and bungee-jumping have nothing on....thrifting!), and it's useful. Well, usually :-) The nice thing about houses is that they are a finite space (except when you're cleaning - how does that work?), which usually puts a limit on the things I bring home. So, no more furniture or dishes or things like that. However, I have a feeling I created the business part of girl number twenty to enable myself to bring home more fabric (shhhhh, don't tell Mr. S). Ahem. I'm not going to explore that idea any further. Just to be clear, it's not just an addiction; we can live in the middle in Toronto on one income for various reasons, no car, cook food at home, socialized healthcare, and most of our clothes, etc. are second-hand.

My attempts at justification aside, I especially have a soft spot for anything well-made and wool. Look what I found! The first clue at the goodness within was: good quality cotton cover (polyester tends to cover polyester):

I furtively opened a few stitches at the Value Village and saw within: good quality cotton flannel. Ooooo. It came home with me. Besides which, it seemed too heavy to be filled with polyester. Once home, the reveal:

Eeeep! Wool! Look at the pencil-marks. Someone worked hard on this:

Thank you to whoever made this (and whoever donated it). On our bed now is a lovely wool-filled-duvet-mattress-thingy. We're sleeping on it, and it's heaven.

And how much does heaven cost? $7.99.

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Taking Her Seriously

(The Spring Thing craft fair - a couple of vendors brought their kids, and you can see Shannon Gerard's cacti there - this is relevant, i promise ;-)

A lot has changed in a year. Whereas last year felt like I was juggling all the time, and trying to "integrate" having a child with my creative life and head-space (which sometimes felt like dodecahedron pegs in round holes), now, with Safiya all grown up at 3 and 3/4 years old, it seems a bit easier. Of course, there are other struggles, but now things just are, and there's not so much trying anymore. Maybe we're just both getting the hang of things. Or, I'm just more tired :-)

For instance, the last craft fair. Whereas preparing for a craft fair before could feel, well, a little bit traumatic (in a fun way, you know) now, while I'm preparing, sometimes Safiya also makes things for the craft fair. "Mama, I need a needle", "and some felt", "and thread". And off she goes, to shortly return with, "This is for the craft fair, Mama". I've never suggested this to her, it's something she does. There are now various soft sculptures and fabric pictures all over the house, and it didn't click until that last craft fair. I had just been saying and thinking "isn't that cute - oh, aren't they lovely, dear". Good grief, how patronising.

Like all kids, she likes to be involved (wants, needs, deserves? substitute your own verb, if you want). During the actual fair, she was making some of her sculptures, when I finally asked her if she wanted to put some of them up for sale. You should have seen her face! She was so excited! We discussed how much she thought people should pay for them, I made a sign, and stepped back (all right - not entirely - I asked my friend Becky to be her first customer because I know how impatient kids are and the sign was kind of small, and she looked so forlorn with no customers ;-) Actually, I didn't even need to step back - Safiya pushed me away! Very seriously, she took command, "Mama, you're in - my - space! I'm selling my sculptures!" (giving me a nudge each time). Awesome - anybody who thinks attachment parenting is going to create anything but independent minded kids hasn't met Safiya.

The sweet topping was her understanding that one way to obtain the cool crocheted cactus that she wanted to buy at the fair was to sell some of her sculptures and save the pennies. This is cool. I admit I'm clueless in the matter of kids and commerce (my own upbringing and experience having been dismally misguided in this area) so Mr. S. and I are just hashing it out as we go, but this is a good start, I think.

Wendy Priesnitz wrote a great article entitled "Children are People Too", which articulates very well something I hold as essential to being a person (just scroll down a bit on the page, it's her post from May 2). Not a parent, not a mother; a person. I guess the short version would be "we belong together" - and by that I mean people, not just parents and kids - in all areas, in commerce, in restaurants, in everyday life. Not just around the dinner table at the end of the day. We would do better to benefit from everyone in our society, children included, eh?

And as a p.s., for fun check out Toronto Life's article "Baby Wars" That's not sensationalist titling at all. Mr. S. and I just laughed at it and kept going about our business.....

Saturday 10 May 2008


"If you post about that," said Mr. S. this morning, "you're going to lose all your readers!" That just seemed like a dare to me :-) But, out of respect for anybody's delicate ears, just a little warning that the next little bit might contain a too much information for some ;-)

Sewing merrily away, this morning, my thought was "Now that's liberation!" Not having to go to the store? check. Not having to spend extra money? check. Not having to throw away plastic? check. Making something extremely useful and reusable in very little time? check and check.

It's a pad. A reusable pad. Oh the horror, eh? Anyway, this morning I needed one 'cause I was out of the (environmentally friendly) disposable kind (which is a phrase that doesn't really make any sense), and the only reusable one I had was in the wash, so.....

Now, because I use a Keeper, (which is awesome, by the way) I rarely need to deal with anything more than a little spotting (also awesome). The reusable liner I had was one from Many Moons that I got from Grassroots a while ago, to see what it was like. It was fine, and I had been intending to make a bunch, but never got around to it. Necessity the mother, right?

Anyway, I used some left-over flannel and it was fast and easy. I like to sew, so no biggie. I could do it by hand if I had to. It's a skill I can teach Safiya. These are all good things. For more good reading, one of my favourite posts on the matter is Sharon Astyk's post "Everyone Talks About their Period, but Nobody Does Anything About it". Also, Crunchy Chicken (who I just can't. keep. up. with!) has challenges and everything for those of you want to live dangerously, you know, as far as your menstrual cycle goes. She also has started Good 4 Girls to counteract those stupid ads by a certain company encouraging people to buy disposable menstrual products and make whole generations of girls in other countries dependent on their products (how to dispose of them? build incinerators! that's good for the economy, right? and....the environment? sheesh). She's got patterns, too!

Even better than reading? How about getting your Mom a Keeper or a Diva Cup for Mother's Day? Crazy, eh?

Oh, and the title up there is a tongue-and-cheek, because in order to be liberated from something, you'd have to regard yourself as being oppressed. And, I'm sorry, but anything that enables me to have the privilege of giving birth to and then sharing my life with Safiya....really? I think a little blood and pain each month is worth it.

Mr. S. is threatening to leave inappropriate comments on this post. Hi dude! If you do, I'm emailing the link to this post to all your friends because, my love, what you don't know is:

He wanted more coffee, I wanted to get my pad done. He offered to help - Mr. S. really loves his coffee :-)

Wednesday 7 May 2008

She Gave Me a Piece of Pink Lace as a Thank-You

She said, "that's the prettiest bag I've ever seen!"

For your travels, my love, no matter where you go.

Monday 5 May 2008

Good Spring Things, Part Two

Where would you rather be? Outside in this gloriousness, or inside facing the aftermath of days of craft insanity:

Mr. S asked me why I was tidying if it was just going to get messy again - he said that was the point of having a studio :-) But if even I can't find things, it is no good. At least a little prettiness was added before I girded my loins and set to:

The buttons were part of the loot I scored from Becky. Apologies to her, because the crossed out part is my doing. Just a little something to remind me....well, over-analyzation in favour of actually doing something is a tendency I have (Mr. S. will back me up on that one....heartily....go ahead, ask him, he'll be delighted.....) And while in the decorating mood:

I really love that patch from Dory - it might be the start of a whole inspiration wall or something...

Also, I loved the jewelry in Old Weston Handmade Wonders' trunk, Lesley-Anne Green's little trunk of beautiful stuffed critters (see them in her Etsy shop - they're adorable! she was kind of my table-partner in crime for the day and I think I like her very much - I may have a fellow-crafter crush, she's very sweet and cool), and of course the very interesting Shannon Gerard, whose crocheted genitalia will blow your mind (not hers, she makes them - oh dear, I really messed that one up!) - and her cacti are very cute, too :-) Actually, everything was good and I wanted one of each!

One of the disadvantages of working in haste is that pictures do not get taken. And with my memory being what it is, I came home, stared blankly at all the fabric, and couldn't remember what the cutlery rolls that sold looked like. It seems people like them, so I'll be making more (sorry, no tutorial yet - I'm going to wait until later on in May, as there's just too much on my plate right now). Finally it came back to me and I pieced some of the colourways back together:

I love seeing other people's fabric on their blogs, so that's for all you who like a little fabric-porn ;-)

The second disadvantage to non-stop sewing is - I woke up on Monday morning and couldn't move my legs. "Now that doesn't make any sense", I thought, "sore back, yes, but legs? From what, sitting all day at The Workroom?" Baffled, I went downstairs and then it hit me (or my legs, really). Studio: basement, sewing machine: main floor. Aha!

Sunday 4 May 2008

Good Spring Things, Part One



Theoretically, one could sew a needle book one's self. But why would one when there are talented and lovely people like Claire from Needlebook to do it? And so prettily, I might add. And she's as lovely in person as her writing led me to believe, so it was very nice meeting her (in danger of exposing my inner craft fair geek, I'd like it to be noted that we actually swapped...kind of....she bought from me eeep!, I bought from her....that's a swap, right? right?). Also scored an adorable patch from Dory (who I just made the connection writes at The Green Peugot) and swapped for some good stash from Becky. I lusted after a good many beautifully made things, as well - which I probably will go over in heartbreaking detail tomorrow. It's dangerous for the wallet to vend at a good craft fair!

Good talk, good venue, good crowd, good people, good snacks and tea, good craft, good Safiya and Mr. S. It was a happy happy day and I am tired tired.

More fun stuff tomorrow.

Saturday 3 May 2008

The Fabric Swap Quilt

The lady who introduced me to coffee and chocolate was the lady for whom I was an au pair many many years ago. I was a recently highschool-graduated Canadian farmgirl employed to take care of her grandchild, she was one of those ageless Parisian women who was tall, mince, had a perfect golden blonde bob, and was always impeccably dressed. "When you take chocolate with coffee," she instructed, "it must be the best chocolate, very dark." This, of course, seemed the height of sophistication to me.

Europe is on my mind not only because as I write I'm eating chocolate and sipping a very good coffee (in which I rarely indulge), but also because I've finally finished a quilt for Mr. S.'s expecting cousin who lives on the other side of the ocean. There seems to be a lot of life swirling around these days, but the sipping and nibbling and contentment of having finished something (and before the baby's born, no less!), seems to anchor me to a happiness deep within.

Except for the top fabric with the little trees (which I love) and the white-on-white flower fabric, the rest was all gathered at the recent-ish fabric swap at the Workroom. (Ah, now that I check the date, not so recent; it was two months ago!) When I spied the bottle-y fabric, it suggested little houses immediately, and I'm so pleased that they turned out.

There aren't any more pictures as the only recently appeared light was fading fast and the batteries in the camera were dying. So unfortunately that means no pictures of the other stuff I've been madly working on today - items for tomorrow's The Spring Thing Trunk Show. Thank goodness we're limited to only a suitcase of things to sell. A whole slew of projects was brought down to my Mom's for working on during our recent visit. Did it get touched? Of course not, not at all.

Hence the coffee :-)