Friday, December 31, 2010

looking back

I just spent a large chunk of the morning looking through my files of photos for this year. How utterly satisfying!

2010 has definitely been a good year.

Not that there haven't been hard times... but overall, the memories are happy.

Several overnight trips away, just Ray and me... a return to acting after several years... my in-laws' 50th anniversary celebration... my mom's wedding... happy family together-times...

I'm happy. Joyful, even.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2 days... busy busy busy

So much is getting done here... finally!... and I can't show you pics of any of it. I *knew* I shouldn't have let my family know I had a blog!!

But here's my present this year, half of it courtesy of Pioneer Woman and the photo editing contest that I won (I won!!! Seriously, I still can't believe it most of the time!).

A (gently used) Canon 40d... which, as one of my friends kindly pointed out to me, sounds like a bra size... and an 18-135 lens which I hope will turn out to be a good general-purpose one. Picking out a lens was the hardest part of the purchase - finding one with good reviews, that would cover most of my needs, and still be within my budget.

So, now I get to play with my camera... so many buttons and dials and unfamiliar features. It feels so good to have an SLR in my hands again!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

6 days... and a winner!

Seriously? Six days til Christmas??? Soooo not ready.

But that's irrelevant right now... here's what the random number generator says:

Congrats, Meadow! I hope you enjoy the purse!

frost on the rosebuds

Monday, December 13, 2010

11 days ... giveaway day!

Today is Giveaway Day at Sew, Mama, Sew!

I love doing this giveaway - so many new blogs to investigate... so many cool handmade items to investigate (and maybe win).

So here's the deal.

I'm giving away this cool little purse. It's a take-off of Renske's minimalist tote bag; the tutorial for which was posted on design*sponge a while back.

It's a fascinating design - the handle doubles as the bag's closure.

This little version is made almost completely of recycled materials. A white canvas/denim type fabric for the main body, a couple of shirts for the lining and pocket, and a leather skirt for the trim.

It measures 11"x7"x1" and has a handle drop of 10".

To have a chance of winning this bag, just leave me a comment - I'd love to know what is bringing you the most joy right now.

And now for the fine print:
  • The comments will stay open until midnight Pacific time on the 17th of December, after which the winner will be chosen by the all-knowing random number generator.
  • I'm willing to ship internationally.
  • Make sure that you have included your email address in the comment form, or else I'll have no way to contact you, and another winner may be chosen.
Good luck, everyone! And be sure to check out the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog to find the huge list of participants in the Giveaway Day!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

12 days ... daybook


Outside my window... it has stopped raining. Torrentially.

I am thinking... about how surprised I am at my emotional disconnect from Christmas. I can't seem to get into the spirit this year for some reason.

I am thankful for... cosy felted wool slippers. Yes, I finally made them!

From the kitchen... potato and leek soup. Ahhhh, yes. Comfort food at its finest!

I am wearing... the afore-mentioned slippers. Also jeans, my double-gauze black/grey checked shirt, and a grey cardigan.

I am creating... purses. And a new ArtFire shop in which to sell them. Finally. After talking about doing it for well over a year now.

I am going... forward. Feeling optimistic again. I like it.

I am reading... a new-to-me historical fiction/mystery series... the Shardlake books by C.J.Sansom. They're set in Henry VIII's time, against the dissolution of monasteries and religious reform. So far, I'm cautiously optimistic about them. Although I don't think that they are going to steal first place on my list from Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael series.

I am hearing... the rumble of helicopters. "Ah, shoot!" "Bang,bang,bang" "Hahaha!" My husband is playing Wii games with our daughter.

Around the house... there is some evidence of Christmas. The tree is up. Lights are strung. The mantle is  decorated.

One of my favorite things... the new birdie ornaments I bought this year.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • shopping for presents
  • more sewing (presents as well as purses. Maybe even a tree skirt!)
  • cookie baking
  • the first of the annual extended-family Christmas dinners
Here is picture I am sharing...
snow on my lavender plant... it's from a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't bring myself to take a photo of all the rain we've been having lately.

More daybook pages can be found here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

20 days... and I'm gobsmacked!

Originally uploaded by whimsey
Yes indeedy. Blown away. Shocked.
You are looking at the winner of a Pioneer Woman photo-editing contest!
PW put one of her photos up for everyone to edit, and out of around 1200 entries, this one caught her eye.
So now, having won a gift card to B&H, I get to replace my camera with something that doesn't have a condensation spot in the middle of the lens. Something (maybe) in the DSLR category. Oh, can it be???

Thursday, December 2, 2010

23 days... feeling cheeky

I'm slowly pulling boxes of decorations out from the storage area under the stairs.

(side note: we've christened it 'Harry Potter'. As in "Can you please get me a jar of pickles from Harry Potter?" Or "Where's the sleeping bag?" "It's in Harry Potter." This confuses our friends and makes us laugh.)

I found these blocks at a thrift store last year, and set them out on my mantle. This year, I've got other things above the fireplace, and the shelves in the china cabinet aren't big enough to hold long words.

The obvious solution was to hit up the anagram generator for words that would fit.

Right? That was the obvious thing to do, wasn't it??

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

24 days... and a winner!

There's nothing like doing things at the last minute, is there?

Please tell me I'm not the only Mama who spent a good portion of the day creating this year's Advent calendar!!

I used a combination of tutorials and pictures found whilst wasting time researching online. Also, I spent the last month or so collecting empty toilet rolls, much to the bemusement of my husband.

"Honey, why are there 20 empty toilet rolls in the cupboard?"

"Oh, I don't know. I just thought they might come in handy one of these days."

I like being cryptic like that.

I covered the rolls in old book pages, then flattened the bottoms and ran them through the sewing machine. I used a leather needle (a needle intended for sewing through leather, not a needle made of leather... just in case there was any confusion) and zig-zagged across to make a little pocket. Then I glued on the numbers, and they were all ready to hang up.

I also took great joy and delight in the fact that I bought the fillers in the presence of my daughter, and she had no idea what they were for. Of course, she is only 5, and we didn't do an advent calendar last year, but still. I'm easily amused.

Each little tube contains a tiny ornament for the tree in her bedroom, as well as a small chocolate for each of the kids, and a verse to read.

The countdown has begun!

Also, (please forgive the delay), the all-knowing random number generator has chosen the lovely Jessica to have the joy banner! Congrats, Jessica! I hope overseas posting will still allow you to enjoy it this Christmas!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

25 days... why now?

Ten years ago, on Christmas Eve, we got the news that my dad had terminal, inoperable liver cancer.
Last night, the phone call let us know that my seventeen year old nephew has leukemia.

I stumbled through my day, trying to keep to my routine; remembering at every moment that my sister has been thrown adrift. Her day, and the many days that follow, will be anything but routine.

Today I hold their family in my heart; a wordless petition resounding throughout my body, to God who can do all things. I cling to the fact that He gives hope. That He is good. That He shines light when things seem very dark indeed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. On the advent wreath, the first candle that is lit is traditionally the candle of Hope.

Hope remembered. The Messiah, the Saviour, foretold by the prophets.

Hope fulfilled. He was born, lived among us, sent the Holy Spirit to remain with us.

Hope looked for. He will come again.

I admit to being optimistic by nature. I can't help but think, when things have gone all pear-shaped, that the situation will improve, given time and (perhaps) effort. I remind myself that things could be so much worse. I choose thankfulness for what I do have.

This year, I'd like to give some of that hope to others who are in those so-much-worse situations. I'm planning for Christmas to look a little different than it has previously. I'm joining the conspiracy. Think about it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

29 days

I'm starting to feel Christmas-y. In fact, sometimes I'm startled by the fact that it's still November. The first of the decorations are up on the mantle.
Now I need to start sewing. Only 29 days to go!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

30 days ... and another giveaway

Well, that took a little longer than I had anticipated...

I always think "oh, I'll just whip these up in no time..." and it always takes so much longer than I'd thought. You'd think I'd have learned by now...

But anyhow, here's my stack of little christmas banners for (yet another) swap, all ready to be sent out. After I wrap them. Which will, no doubt, take longer than I have left time for.

And I've made an extra one to give away here. Just leave a comment - I love getting comments :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

34 days... sneak peak + winner(s)

some unbleached muslin + a bag of old doilies + random scraps of fabric = ???

And because I got only 3 comments on the ornament giveaway, I'm going to give one to each person who did. Thanks for commenting, y'all!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

36 days... an ornament tutorial and a giveaway

It almost snowed at my house today. The raindrops were thick and slushy. The mountains around town are frosted with white. I stayed indoors and made stuff.

These ornaments are for a swap that I'm part of.

If you want to make one, you'll need:
  • 5 squares of paper... mine are 2.5" square, and are from an old German book I picked up at a thrift store.
  • 2 squares of decorative paper that are one quarter the size of your paper squares... mine are 1.25" square, and made from a piece of red scrapbook paper with a 1" square glued onto it.
  • 9" of 1/8" ribbon
  • a bead... I used a 6/0 Japanese glass bead
  • a decorative charm and jump ring
  • glue/paper cutter/scissors/pliers/needle and thread
To make:
Fold the larger paper squares in half lengthwise, then crosswise, then on one diagonal. Bring the diagonal folds toward each other, sandwiching them between the two square parts of the paper. Repeat for all pieces.
Glue the folded squares together: holding one folded piece, apply glue to the upper square. Lay another folded piece on top of it, making sure that the folded points are together. Repeat till all pieces are glued together in a stack. If you've done it correctly, the pieces should be able to fan out like in the photo. It's very important that the folded corners (i.e., the centers of the pieces of paper) are all together, otherwise it won't work.
Glue the ribbon to both sides of the stack of folded papers, having the cut ends of the ribbon toward the folded point, and looping over top of the open point. Make sure that the ribbon is not twisted. Then glue the decorative paper covers over the ribbons.
Put a bead onto the ribbon: Push the threaded needle through the bead, around the ribbon, and back through the bead. Then pull on the thread til the ribbon comes through the hole. Push the bead down toward the paper.  

Add the charm to the ribbon using the jump ring. It needs to go onto the ribbon loop above the bead, so that it acts as a block, preventing the bead from being pulled off of the ribbon.
 And there you are! You could (theoretically) hang up the ornament as is, all closed up like a little book; or you can pull the bead up to the top of the ribbon, fan open the pages, and put the covers back-to-back, and pull the bead back down to make a 5 pointed star.
This is, in fact, a little book. You could decorate the pages, or make it bigger and put photos into it, or whatever you like. I was thinking it might also be fun to make 24 of them and use them as an advent calendar... just open one a day.

There's one of these up for grabs... just leave me a comment and I'll pick a name in a couple of days.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

37 days

Today I don't really care that it's now one day closer to Christmas than it was yesterday. Not when the sky looks like this:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

38 days


There are only thirty-eight days til Christmas. Excuse me for a moment while I run around in circles and tear my hair out.

Okay. Deeeeep breath.
I'm back.

By this time last year, I had a stack of presents already made.
This year I still don't even have a list.

But I'm still committed to making it a mostly-homemade holiday. Am I crazy?

Well, let's just pretend not.

How about I start with an advent calendar?
Here's some links to tutorials that I found.

 Now to choose which one to make. Aren't they all so gorgeous??

Thursday, November 11, 2010


All rights reservedThis woman brought a handful of medals to the Remembrance Day ceremony today. I wished she could have brought her son. All rights reserved

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

sunshine and shadows

sunshine and rain over the ocean


Need I say more?
This time of year is fraught with emotional ups and downs for me. I hate being so dependent on the weather.

The older I get, the easier it is to recognize. If I don't get enough sunshine, I find it hard to function. Hard to make it through a day. Hard to put one foot in front of the other. Hard to force myself to do the things that need to be done.

I've been supplementing with Vitamin D, when I remember. I don't know if it helps. And when the sun shines, I make sure to get my sad self out of doors. Because it's amazing how happy I feel when I do!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


mystery and promise.
there's no telling where a day will end up.
will the mist clear to reveal a shiny day, or will it grow and spread and obscure everything?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

november day

These colours are SOOC*.
I love days like this.
And I'm always surprised by them at this time of year.
It startles me.
I forget that I don't need a jacket. Or sweater. Or long sleeves.
I had to shed several layers before we got back to the car.

*straight out of camera.
ie, no futzing about with enhancements or anything.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November already??

...remembering a sunnier day...
today it's pouring cats and dogs.

Monday, October 18, 2010

the hazel grove

I'm going to be having an incredibly busy week; ironically, that includes two days where I'll be able to accomplish nothing on my (extensive) list.

the hazelnut grove on the property where Ellie has ballet lessons

But I'll still be able to take photos.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

playing with photos again...

I've been learning so much about photo-manipulation... and having so much fun!!! The textures that I used on this picture came from Shadowhouse Creations... he's got free textures, brushes and tutorials, and such amazingly lovely photos. I'm so inspired!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010



Outside my window... the weather doesn't know what to do with itself. Torrential rain this morning as I woke up, dying down to a mere drizzle by the time we hit the road to church, sunshine on the way home...

I am thankful for... my family. roses. pumpkin pie. feather duvets. comfortable shoes.

From the learning rooms... I don't know which book we'll be doing this week for FIAR... but there will be math, and writing, and reading. And I'm sure we'll have heaps of fun doing it!

From the kitchen... pies. Pumpkin pies. Three of them. And Hazelnut Pear cake, oh my!!!

I am wearing... jeans. my sleeveless brown floral shirt. the obligatory cardigan, this time in dusty turquoise. still no slippers... must. knit!

I am sewing... an apron. I felt so cranky yesterday that, as an attempt at an antidote, I cut out the pieces for a cheerful apron, from a bright yellow and orange and lime green floral vintage sheet. If that doesn't bring a little sunshine into my kitchen, I don't know what will.

I am going... round and round in circles in my mind. should I? shouldn't I? I really want to, but it probably won't solve anything, and will most likely cause more problems in the long run...

I am reading... GIMP tutorials. I've become a photo-processing fiend. I love textures!

I am hoping... for good news.

I am hearing... the hum of computers. the clack of keyboards. U2.

Around the house... a mess. I've been baking up a storm all weekend, and have not been home long enough to clean up properly.

One of my favorite things... the new texture pack I bought from Jessica Drossin.

A few plans for the rest of the week: not much out of the ordinary... besides the fact that Monday is a holiday.

Here is picture that I am sharing...
from our hike the other weekend... and processed using some of the new textures
More daybook pages can be found here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

just saying...

Port, cherry and cranberry sauce

adapted from the Gluten-Free Girl, who adapted it from Cooking Light, Nov 2005

1 cup of agave syrup
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of port
1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice
1/2 cup of dried cherries
1 bag of fresh, organic cranberries (12 oz?)
1 teaspoon of grated orange rind
1 small capful of vanilla extract

Put the first four ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan, and bring to a boil, stirring, on high heat. Add the cherries and boil for one minute.

Pour in the cranberries and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for ten minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in orange rind and vanilla.

Pour into a container, cool, and refrigerate overnight.

Makes approximately 2 cups.

And it's sooooo good. You owe it to yourself to make some. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


A few days late, thanks to a dead hard drive... please, everyone, back up your data. Life is so much easier that way.

Outside my window... the weather has changed. The sun still shone, and the sky was clear, but the air was decidedly cooler today.

I am thinking... of my high school years. Remembering people. Wondering if they have changed as much as I have. Wondering what it would be like to all be in the same room again. Wondering how life has been for the friends that I lost touch with.

I am thankful for... my husband's techie skills that allowed him to retrieve most of the data from my hard drive after it died. I'm so glad I didn't lose all my photos.

From the learning rooms... a week of Owl Moon with Ellie. Great Horned Owls, the phases of the moon, hyperbole and imagery, learning to be still and notice.

From the kitchen... searching for recipes for my first vegan Thanksgiving. Feeling slight yearnings for turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes. But only slight. I'm feeling so good these days that I don't want to go back.

I am wearing... my clothes a size smaller than a month ago. I'm still bemused by the fact that two months of running and eating all-raw netted me only a two pound weight loss, yet a month of almost non-existent running and eating vegan has done so much more.

I am creating... baby gifts. I love sewing for babies!

I am going... to keep smiling.

I am reading...
Practicing the Presence of People by Mike Mason. "We are not born with love; it is something we must learn."

I am hoping... that something changes. It's got to happen. I refuse to feel hopeless.

I am hearing...
the hum of an unfamiliar hard drive. The slam of the door as people arrive home. The faint rumble of the dryer in the laundry room. The gurgle of my stomach as it lets me know that I haven't eaten yet.

Around the house...
not much has changed. I'm making plans, but I haven't done anything about them yet.

One of my favorite things... is the walking foot that I bought for my sewing machine. It's pure magic, I tell you!

A few plans for the rest of the week: 
  • planning Thanksgiving dishes to bring to various family functions
  • finishing up the gift for the baby shower I'll be attending
  • sewing a purse
Here is picture that I am sharing...
This is my daughter sitting on a rock, high above
Lindeman Lake. We had an amazing hike on a perfect day,
and yes, it really was this beautiful.

More daybook pages can be found at the Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, September 30, 2010

pretty pictures

the Imke shirt in action

happy mail!!!
This is the final result of an embroidery round robin that I was part of.
I did the embroidery on the yellow square, and added the teal lace in the corner, and then I sent it out into the wild world. There were (I think) ten of us who took part. I'm in love with the results! Now I just need to figure out how to mount it for display - I want it out where I can see it every day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Doesn't that look so much better?

If only I'd known how great a walking foot is, I'd have bought one years ago. Sometimes I can be such a Luddite.

So, there's the Imke shirt from Sewing Clothes Kids Love, just a few days later than I'd planned. Me and knit fabrics will never be BFFs, but at least now I don't have to be scared of them.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Is there anything cuter than a little girl on her first day of ballet lessons?
What do you think?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Outside my window...
pine needles and cedar flags litter the pavement. The pumpkin is starting to turn orange. The tomato plants are making a desperate last bid to produce something that will change my mind about pulling them out. The pepper plants finally have presented me with a teeny tiny little red pepper. (My garden didn't produce much this year - I'm going to have to re-think my planting scheme for next year.)

I am thinking... about the unexpected difficulties that can arise when parenting teens and much younger children at the same time. I don't want Ellie to believe that she has more than two parents. I don't want the teenagers to implement rules that I have no desire to follow through with.

I am thankful for... corn on the cob. candied ginger. wooden knitting needles. smooth-running ball point pens. pears. love.

From the learning rooms... getting ready for a week of Mrs Rumphius... and wishing I could visit Maine.

From the kitchen... steamed greens, with a sprinkling of toasted sesame oil and a bit of salt. Oh my!

I am wearing... boringly, the same old jeans and t-shirt/cardigan combination I wear every day. Something needs to change... like my whole wardrobe.

I am knitting... the Kinsol Trestle vest from Twist Collective, in Cascade 220 superwash - what a lovely yarn to work with!

I am going... to try again with sewing the knit fabrics. I've bought a walking foot. Hopefully that will make all the difference.

I am reading... my script for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe... over, and over, and over, and over, and over...

I am hoping... that my older two (who are still at home) will start getting serious about finding jobs.

I am hearing... one of my favourite episodes of Firefly, as it's being watched behind me.

Around the house... things are slowly getting sorted. Homes are being found for random things. Other things are leaving forever. Summer things are being put away, fall things are making an appearance again.

One of my favorite things... is the smell of wood smoke wafting through the trees, and the crackle of a campfire beside the lake.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • ballet lessons start this week!
  • a field trip to the ocean
Here is picture that I am sharing...
...from our trip to the orchard last week...

More daybook pages can be found on the linky at the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

making memories

Life with teenagers can sometimes be challenging. Seriously.

After an intensely difficult week, culminating with an extremely unpleasant day, it seemed to me that it would be a good idea to create a happy time.

So, in spite of the fact that attitudes were not good, and chores were not completed, and because the weather was spectacularly pleasant (25+C/80-ishF, with a clear blue sky), we went on a wee ramble through the woods.

Well, it kind of was a bit too much for Ellie, who is 5 and doesn't like steep hills... but she did just fine with a little help from her brother and dad.

 We clambered straight down the mountainside from a logging road, down to the lake. The path was barely marked, and there were downed trees across it in places.

But we made it down without falling too many times, and the lake at the bottom was simply lovely.
We had our snacks and water, and threw lots of stones in the lake, and then made the trek straight back up the mountainside. As we drove away, we saw a bear cub rambling through the trees.

And, strangely enough, now that we're back home, attitudes have changed. Everybody is more relaxed. Life feels a bit better.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Is there some essential skill that I just haven't learned yet???
This is my attempt at sewing knit fabric. It's been so long since the last time I tried, that I thought it surely couldn't be as bad as I remembered.

Ummm. Yeah.

It's worse.

So, what am I missing here? Do you have any tips for me?
This is kind of depressing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Outside my window... it is surprisingly warm. If I walk outside and close my eyes, I almost think that it is spring again. Then I open my eyes, and I'm swiftly disillusioned. It's definitely fall out here.

I am thinking...
wait, no I'm not. I'm functioning on auto-pilot.

I am thankful for...
the chance to have all of my kids home for the weekend. Even though they drive me crazy sometimes, I love them all.

From the learning rooms... we're getting ready for a week with "How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World". Pie will definitely be made. And eaten.

From the kitchen... Maple Orange Granola, and vegan Triple-Ginger Cookies. Oh my!

I am wearing... my favourite thrifted Japanese double gauze shirt. I never understood the appeal of double gauze fabric til I found this shirt. Now I need to buy some more and make myself some more clothes from it.

I am creating... more clothes from Sewing Clothes Kids Love. My goal is to make one item a week.

I am going to... continue on with my running program. I really want to conquer week 4 already... this will be my 5th week doing it.

I am reading...
ExtraVeganZa (where I found the recipes for the afore-mentioned granola and cookies. I think I'm going to have to buy this one!)

I am hoping... for miracles.

I am hearing...
rifles firing, "need a medic!", and "dynamite planted", as my husband plays Enemy Territory. An ironic choice of game for a nice Mennonite boy...

Around the house...
I'm still in the midst of sorting and rearranging. There are piles of things everywhere. I just want to grab my knitting and run away to a peaceful tidy place.

One of my favorite things...
is to snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and a book, listening to the rain outside, knowing I don't have to go anywhere.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

  • choir on Monday, drama on Wednesday; as always
  • a trip to the apple orchard to pick apples for pie

Here is picture I am sharing...

a bouquet of fall flowers - I love the pinks and reds.

More daybook pages can be found at the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

busy busy busy

I didn't realize that adding one extra thing to my life was going to make me feel so very frantically busy! It seems that homeschooling a kindergartener, even though it's simple and joyful, has messed with my routines enough that I feel like I'm always behind. And, it has been a busy week.
  • Monday... school prep for the week (because I put it off all weekend - my own fault!), choir
  • Tuesday... coffee and picture-viewing with the in-laws
  • Wednesday... drama rehearsal
  • Thursday... stayed up all night keeping Abby up for a sleep-deprived EEG
  • Friday... recovery from Thursday night. I'm just too old to go without sleep!!
On the plus side, though, apparently sewing machines do not need to be classified as heavy machinery, and can be used by the half-asleep and brain-dead.

I squeaked under my self-imposed deadline, and finished Ellie's Feliz dress.
This one, I'd say, is not for the faint-of-heart. The instructions are fairly vague in spots, and some of the pattern pieces are lacking in markings.

The embellishments are all left to the discretion of the maker - no instructions are given for them. I put in three rows of ruffles on the back section, all with ribbon trim to hide the raw edges. I also made a flower pocket on the front - something I'd seen long ago on some blog somewhere. I think I'd still like to put a few more decorations on the front of the dress - it's looking a little bare in comparison to the riot of colour on the back!

I love how it turned out, though, and (more importantly) so does Ellie. I'll definitely be making more of these... after I try all the other patterns in the book ;)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Outside my window... again, the dark. This time, also, there is rain. It beats incessantly, mindlessly, an unceasing tapping on the glass, begging to come in.

I am thinking... that there are only three months til Christmas, and if, as in other years, I intend to give hand-made gifts, I had better get started on at least the planning stages now.

I am thankful for... good friends. Salted chocolate. A comfortable chair.

From the learning rooms... furniture has been re-arranged. Books have been collected. And we are still having fun!

From the kitchen...
I am learning how to prepare two meals at each mealtime. I have now switched from eating raw to vegan, so I'm being mindful of what I can eat as well as what the rest of the family prefers.

I am wearing... warm clothes again... long sleeves, woolly socks, my old hole-y slippers.

I am creating... a Feliz dress for Ellie, from pink baby-wale corduroy and brightly coloured quilting fabrics.

I am going to... start making lists of things I need to do. I'm feeling the need to be more purposeful.

I am reading... recipe books. Vegan ones.

I am hoping... and hoping.

I am hearing... promises.

Around the house... a mess. Re-organizing and re-arranging will do that.

One of my favorite things... spicy chai. Now, I make it with almond milk. It's not the same.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • choir practise
  • an overnight visit from a friend
  • a home visit from our homeschool teacher/liason
Here is a picture that I am sharing...
sunshine for a rainy day

More daybook links can be found at the simple woman's daybook.

Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

she is schooling again

School is very fun so far. Teaching one eager 5 year old is a whole different ball game than teaching three reluctant teenagers.

Our curriculum so far:
  • Saxon kindergarten math
  • Getty-Dubay handwriting (I'm thinking of trying something different)
  • Five-in-a-row... this week we've been reading Clown of God, which makes me cry every time... and the associated lap-booking. It's the lap-booking that is making this palatable for me. When I used FIAR with the other kids, it seemed too inane to just talk about stuff and have nothing to show for it. I like having something that the kids can look back over afterwards.
I've been trying to throw in some reading time (it's not working so well), and I want to add some nature study/journaling a la Charlotte Mason.

Yesterday we took an impromptu field trip out to Westminster Abbey in Mission, after discussing the monks in the story.

Monday, September 6, 2010

simple woman's daybook: sept 6

Outside my window... it is dark. The house is quiet; my thoughts are stilled. The day is done.

I am thinking... of how life moves on. Seasons change. Things change. I change. And yet, paradoxically, nothing changes.

I am thankful for... a warm house. Hot tea. Family.

From the learning rooms... school starts tomorrow. I have one child in high school for one more year. And our homeschooling journey begins with the first day of kindergarten for the youngest.

From the kitchen... I am half-way through my second month of eating mostly raw. I'm considering going vegan (not all-raw) for the winter. I can't fathom a winter without soup.

I am wearing... my only pair of jeans and a teal wool sweater. It's definitely fall. And time to knit some new slippers. My feet are cold.

I am creating... tidiness and order. I've been sorting and purging stuff in the house. I'm shocked by how much I have accumulated in the five years since we moved back to Canada.

I am going... forward.

I am reading... nothing at the moment. And that is truly unusual for me!

I am hoping... not to disappoint my daughter, who is so excited about starting school.

I am hearing... the sounds of silence. Peace.

Around the house... is evidence of plans, of hope, of wishes that just might come true.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • dentist appointment (blech!)
  • drama rehearsal (yay!)
  • homeschool trip to the park (I hope it's not raining!)
  • eldest daughter's driving test (fingers crossed that she passes this time!)
Here is picture that I am sharing...
 a rainbow over my sister's house.

To read more daybook pages, visit the Simple Woman's Daybook

Saturday, September 4, 2010

busy as a bee

It felt very strange, not to be blogging the last couple of days.

Things have been very busy... I've been trying to get lots of things done outdoors while the weather is still nice.

I'm also hoping to have my new sewing room/area ready for pictures in a couple of days. Much progress has been made in the sorting/organizing/tossing/giving side of things. I didn't realize exactly how much fabric and yarn I actually own. And yet, when there is a project I want to do, I still don't have what I need. How does that work, do you think???