Saturday, December 27, 2008

What I Made In 2008 (including the baby)

1. Calorimetry, 2. Child's Smock Apron, 3. Calorimetry #2, 4. Baby Surprise Jacket 2, 5. Petit Apron #2, 6. Ruby Doll, 7. Hoodie Baby Blanket, 8. Nursing Apron, 9. Nursing Apron #2, 10. Baby's Room Swatch Portraits, 11. Diamond Seed Baby Sweater, 12. Anastasia Socks, 13. Iron-on Fabric Patch Onesies, 14. Green Baby Socks, 15. Orange Marimekko Curtains, 16. Drawstring Bag, 17. Wonky Vinyl Lunch Bag, 18. P1020354, 19. Allsorts Advent Calendar, 20. Pony Hat

A handy flickr mosaic of my 2008 crafties. Not a ton, but not bad considering that whole motherhood thing. Unsurprisingly, a lot of baby gear.

And, happy holidays to all. Our camera died at about 1 p.m. on Christmas Day... Aaron promptly went online and bought a new one on a Boxing Day sale. Until it comes, things will probably be quiet around here, so happy, happy, happy new year.

Also, apologies for the very short post. So exhausted -- and not just from the holidays. I'm nursing a serious Wii Fit addiction. I'm determined to get those saddlebags off of my disturbingly rotund Mii.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Book Review: Stitched In Time

Wow. I didn't mean to take this long to get to this one, but the season has been keeping me busy. So, if in the next couple of days you really need to buy something extra for the crafter in your life, here's a book that you can pick up and maybe (just maybe) they'll have made something really special for you next Christmas.

So yes, Alicia Paulson's Stitched In Time. No doubt, if you're a fan of Alicia's blog Posie Gets Cozy or similar crafty blogs, you're already aware of this one. Well, friends, I'm here to give it another endorsement. Full of beautiful things to make and share, Alicia has hit it out of the park with this sweet book.

The thing that I really like about Stitched In Time is that Alicia doesn't just compile a bunch of projects that fit her crafty style, but she really goes with a theme, with projects that anyone could adapt to their own aesthetic. The theme is memory-keeping: heirloom items that would all make truly special gifts. There are tons of projects celebrating childhood: growth charts, a baby clothes quilt, and ways to incorporate your child's art into craft. There are also plenty of things for grown folks: a book to keep family recipes in, loads of wedding things, and a cute apron with a recipe card on it. Alicia uses photos printed on fabric in several projects, which I usually find kind of tacky, but she figures out ways to use this technique really tastefully.

Of course, Alicia has a great eye for fabric and everything in this book is gorgeous. If you're going to take the time to make something yourself, it should be special. This book will give you the inspiration.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This kind of fall into the no-big-whoop category, but it's actually taken me a year to make these little ornaments. Well, kind of two years, actually. My friend Jane gave me a little pack of Sublime Stitching Christmas patterns two years ago; I did the embroidery on these two last season; and I finally cut out some backing fabric and stuffed some fluff in them a couple of days ago. Lame, I know. Anyway, I think they're cute and they're going to Ruby's teacher later this week.

And you can't really see it, but I also stitched up a little felt crown ornament for my friend, whose last name is King. Not my finest work, but kind of cute.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's A Horse (Of Course)

When I first reviewed Jean Adel's Knitted Critters For Kids To Wear, I wasn't that jazzed on it. I thought the hats were a little repetitive and sized for kids too old to pull off animal hats. But, as you know, you can't really judge a craft book until you make something. Let's just say my opinion hasn't turned for the better.

Like I said, the hats in this book start at a size 3 yrs and go up to 4-5 yrs and 6-7 yrs. Most (if not all) the hats are knit in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted. Now, I know Lamb's Pride is a little thicker than most worsted wools, but the sizes are wacky. Either Jean Adel doesn't have children or they have tiny tiny heads -- because there's no way that these are sized for children that old. For example: a three year old's hat in Adel's book has 72 stitches. In Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Hats, the same gauge and stitch count yields a hat sized for 6-12 month baby. I know I could have used common sense and double checked this, but I shouldn't have to do that.

So, I knit up one of these in a cheap-o acrylic yarn, at 72 stitches. I couldn't even get it on Henry's head (remember, in the book it's recommended for a three year old and Henry is nine months). I re-knit in pure wool at 80 stitches and I think it will just fit my one and a half year old nephew, for whom it is a Christmas gift. There's no way it would fit a 4-5 year old.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, it's a horse. I omitted the eyes and nose because I was afraid they'd stretch too much once the thing was on his head, and I like the idea of the child's own face being the face. Anyway, I think it's cute and you could easily use any of Adel's embellishments on a hat pattern of your choice. Just measure your kid's head before you start knitting.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ruby Tuesday: Holiday Edition

Ruby has been crafting up a storm in anticipation of Christmas. Above is a collection of ornaments that she made for gifts for her loved ones. She started off colouring as close to in the lines as she could, but she started to lose interest and got creative. Either way, these will be nice mementos of what it was like for her to be three and a half.

And, a very flamboyant gingerbread man. Made during this past weekend where we (family) partied our faces off. We're in full-on holiday mode friends. If we're still standing on the 25th, I'll be shocked.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Goody Gumdrops

I made a gumdrop wreath! I saw a link to this tutorial on Kiddley and fell in love. It's technically a kids' craft, but Ruby is still too little for this kind of thing, so I dove in and did it myself. There was something very soothing about sticking toothpicks in gumdrops and jamming them into a wreath form. And I love how it turned out.

I followed the tutorial pretty closely (you can't really stray too far on this one), using jumbo gumdrops and a hard foam wreath. I didn't buy a ton of gumdrops and also didn't want it to be too heavy, so I only decorated the front part of the wreath, but since the foam form was green, it worked out well. I love it so much, I don't even feel tempted to eat it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Book Review: Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines

Okay, this one's been out for a couple months now, but if you haven't already, I really do recommend checking out Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne's Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines. Anyone already familiar with Ann and Kay's fab blog or the equally fab first Mason-Dixon book won't be disappointed by this one. It's got everything that the Mason-Dixon Knitting world has come to represent: great design, humour, smart knitting tips and practical, yet beautiful patterns.

You know when you pick up a knitting book and instantly want to cast on for every single project in the book? This is one of those. I've put my own knitting fixation on hold since having Henry, but just looking at the pictures made my fingers itch for the needles. They've split things up into chapters: Decorating Yourself (which includes a perfect mohair cardy), The Fairest Isle Of All (a non-scary introduction to fair isle), Covering The Small Human (really cute kids stuff), Occasional Knitting (I wish I'd tackled their Xmas stockings a month ago) and The Sophisticated Kitchen. Yes, the last chapter has a dishrag pattern. These gals know where their bread is buttered.

But, the draw to Mason-Dixon Knitting isn't the patterns or even the gorgeous design and photography of the book. It's Ann and Kay. Like the Yarn Harlot, these ladies write with a warmth and inside-joke kind of humour that makes the reader feel like they're part of a secret society of knitters. They're really quite genius. A good read and a good knit -- either buy it for a knitter you love this Christmas or drop hints for someone you love to buy it for you.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Homey Holidays

I wanted to try to post as much as possible in November, I really did. But somehow, even though I had loads to post about last week, I just didn't get around to it with life and all. So, here are some little holiday vignettes -- there's been lots of Christmas prep going on in these parts, I tell ya.

Chocolate Thumbprint cookies from Martha Stewart's Cookie Book. Ruby give a big thumb(print)s up.

Gingerbread tree, as assembled and decorated by Ruby and Nana.

And (drumroll, please), the finished advent calendar, as seen at Allsorts. We cracked 'er open this morning. Ruby was most impressed. I'm most impressed that we now have a concrete visual aid to count the days until Christmas. After a Friday visit to Santa, Ruby spent the day telling Henry that it was Christmas eve and that Santa was coming that night. Hopefully life will be a bit more bearable with these little treat-stuffed envelopes counting down the sleeps for us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


No, I didn't skip straight from 1 to 24... I'm finished making my envelopes for Ruby's advent calendar. I won't string 'em up until Sunday night after she goes to bed (it would just be cruel to make her stare at it without getting to dig in), but I'm essentially finished. I've already stuffed the envelopes with treats: little plastic animals and candies, alternating so that she doesn't start every single day with a blast of sugar. I'm really excited about this one and I know she's going to freak right out when she sees it. Since she's started practicing from her Christmas concert at school, I'd say that Christmas season has officially started in our house.

And, most craft blog people have probably already checked it out, but I'm totally obsessed with Sew Mama Sew's Handmade Holiday posts. They did this last year too, and I love the themed selection of tutorials, handmade gifts to buy and treats to bake that they've offered every day this month. I don't think I'll actually have time to make any of this stuff, but I love looking through them every day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Clean Bib, Happy Baby

Due to some non-stop parenting, I fell way of the blogging every day wagon last week. Aaron was out of town, and man, is it ever exhausting chasing Henry around and feeding Ruby and all that. Anyway, I got very little done last week in general, so I hope to have some finished advent calendar action to show you soon, since that deadline is certainly creeping up. I have four envelopes to go... but you never know.

This weekend I went to a craft show and picked up a few Mally bibs for gifts, plus one for Henry. I'm way late to the leather bib train, but I'm hooked. Look how cute this one is! And it does wipe clean. Awesome.

In other news, I've decided to give up coffee, at least on weekdays. It was starting to make me feel crazy. Now I'm feeling tired. Green tea is tasty, but coffee it is not.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

All apologies to Ward (he of the inspiring Ava Thursday), but I felt compelled to share some Ruby art. After sharing Ruby's correspondence with her friend Simon, I thought I'd show you the picture that she drew to send along with her letter. Ruby's art is still usually pretty abstract, but I had the suspicion that she could draw actual people if she felt like it. So, I casually suggested that she might want to draw a picture of Simon himself to send to Toronto. She sat down and came up with this beauty -- the first actual drawing of humans that I've seen from her.

From left to right, you've got Ruby, Simon's baby sister Stella, and Simon. Ruby felt bad that she didn't include Simon's body, but I told her that it's just perfect the way it is. And it is. Perfect.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Baby Pie...

... that's what Ruby was pretending this pillow is. I love it, and so does she.

I've always been drawn to crafts made out of doll parts, and I'm not just talking about the hipster jewelry that you can find made out of Barbie faces and such. I'm talking full-on granny craft. I love these kinds of pillows, I like the doll whose full crocheted dress conceals a box of kleenex, and as a kid I always wanted one of those birthday cakes that acted as a dress for a plastic doll. You know what I mean. This pillow is creepy and kind of looks like a baby pie, but I still think it's awesome in a totally unironic way.

While this would have been easy to make, I bought it for $5 at a local craft show... one of those community craft shows that is full of acrylic granny crafts: slippers, barbie clothes, ornaments, knit dolls, etc. I loved it. Now I just have to find a place in our house for the baby pie since Aaron has very clearly stated that he never wants to see it again. Boo.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Three Years...

Three years, three years I've been blogging (actually, three years as of Friday, but I'm failing on this NaBloPoMo thing). I chose the above picture randomly. Below is a list of 100 things I love (compiled quickly and with little real thought, so it's a little random), as inspired by the lovely Andrea:

1. chocolate
2. baby smell
3. gossip
4. television
5. red
6. whistles
7. grass
8. pottery
9. cereal
10. slippers
11. vintage
12. pyrex
13. photobooths
14. cherries
15. fancy make-up
16. dress-up
17. parties
18. giggles
19. pillows
20. coffee table books
21. vampires
22. doilies
23. coffee
24. kidsʼ art
25. boat rides
26. carousels
27. road trips
28. bunnies
29. cats
30. ballet flats
31. ballet recitals
32. ribbons
33. teapots
34. day timers
35. fishnets
36. cardigans
37. milkshakes
38. cool water
39. coke zero
40. massages
41. accents
42. banjos
43. beaded curtains
44. old trees
45. tiger lilys
46. cuddles
47. polished stones
48. old school video games
49. shoe laces
50. butterflies
51. floral patterns
52. ʻ50s dresses
53. ʻ80s model BMWs
54. mascara
55. lip gloss
56. mineral foundation
57. pin-ups
58. pulp fiction
59. biography
60. recycling bins
61. old fans
62. pearls
63. guided tours
64. chandeliers
65. persian rugs
66. shawarma sandwiches
67. broaches
68. veils
69. Starbucks holiday drinks
70. pink Christmas ornaments
71. mojitos
72. fresh tortillas
73. ice cream
74. handbags
75. handmade soap
76. playing cards
77. matchbooks
78. wood paneling
79. grandmaʼs house
80. fisher price little people
81. tea sets
82. doll houses
83. argyle
84. nap time
85. lists
86. Blythe dolls
87. shawls
88. magic eraser
89. my little pony
90. old lamps
91. puppets
92. wine
93. stinky cheese
94. vinyl records
95. mugs
96. cake trays
97. cupcakes
98. cookie jars
99. silk scarves
100. tea towels

Thursday, November 13, 2008

8 Months!

I can't believe that Henry has been with us for eight months. He still feels so new, but I also can't remember life before this crazy little man came into our lives. Happy 13th, little guy.

And, since I'm getting all mom-blog on you, I feel compelled to document an exchange of letters that's been going on. Ruby's dear friend Simon (and his baby sister and parents, who are dear friends of ours), moved to Toronto over the summer. It was a very sad farewell, and Ruby mentions frequently that she needs to go to Toronto to remind Simon that he's supposed to marry her. Yep, cute. Yesterday, we got a letter in the mail, which Simon dictated to his mother and she wrote down his words verbatim:

Dear Ruby,

We miss you. We hope you are having a good day.
I hope you will get to see us soon.
I will make a painting for you and put it in this letter.
I have a new home. Maybe sometime you could come in the spring and we could have a playdate together?
I am having a plum for dessert!

We have all our things unpacked now including the stero.
If you come over, we could listen to some music on the stereo together. The other thing is, we have lots of DVDs for you to watch

Sometimes cats come in our backyard and my daddy has to shoo them away.

Dear Ruby, I love you. We are eating supper and having apricot beer.

Bye Bye,

Here's what Ruby is writing back in return (also recorded verbatim):

Dear Simon,

I'm coming to Toronto. I want to see you. I want to play with you. I want to come over for a playdate. I love you.
Chug-a-chug-a-choo-choo! I want to play with you and share toys with you. I want to play some games.
We will have a magic word. How about we say "elephant" when we see each other. And we'll say "hi."
I will see you in May. I'll be smiling. And then I'll say "sparkle."
Thank you for your letter. I miss you.

Ruby. Hearts.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The First Batch Is The Sweetest

This will come as a huge surprise to anyone who has followed this blog through a holiday season, but I'm not feeling Christmas this year. I know, it's still early, but at this point last year I think I'd baked about four or five batches of cookies and had almost finished my shopping. This year my Christmas traditions are feeling more like chores than pleasures.

We're having a smaller holiday party this year, partially because I can't bring myself to do a crazy amount of silly prep. People will still have a good time with a simple punch, store-bought dip and three kinds of cookies rather than ten, right? Maybe it's because of the financial times we're living in: even though our family are thus far doing alright (knock on wood), it seems garish to go too far this Christmas. Or maybe I'm just the mother of two small children and I'm tired.

Anyway, I started my cookie baking today. I don't think I'm going to pour over all of my many holiday cookie magazines (or buy new ones) -- I think I'm sticking to the Martha Cookie book this year. First up to bat is the Chocolate Crackle cookies. Holy crap, these are good -- probably the most successful go I've had with this book (though, those banana bread cookies were really good too). I knew I was in for something good when I sneaked a taste of the batter -- you could have spooned the stuff into custard cups and served it for dessert on its own. Baked up these are cakey and really really chocolaty, tasting more like really airy brownies than anything. Seriously good. And with the icing sugar, they almost pass as Christmas cookies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Book Review: Simply Sublime Bags

I've actually been sitting on this one for a while: Simply Sublime Bags by Jodi Kahn. The book, as the cover promises, has instructions for 30 bags that require little or no sewing. How does she do it, you ask? Recycling, staples, and lots and lots of duct tape.

The bags in the book are gorgeous looking, though after reading through the instructions I'm skeptical about how some of them would look in real life and with less spectacular fabrics. But still, there are some great ideas in here. The chapters are divided by the purpose of the bags: make-up bags, totes, purses, evening bags, change purses and big bags. Jodi is really big on re-purposed materials: she uses pillowcases, t-shirts, placemats, caution tape, astro-turf, shower curtains, a bubble envelope, wallpaper, monopoly money, candy wrappers and a Twister board. She's kind of like the McGyver of purses, which makes this book pretty unique.

Obviously, not all of us will find a tote made out duct tape and a Twister board that practical, but there are a lot of other options in here. And, as other reviewers have mentioned elsewhere, this book would be really great for tweens and teens -- especially those who aren't allowed anywhere near their moms' sewing machines.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Want To Suck Your Blood...

Okay, I'll admit it, I've been quietly trying to blog every day in November (with the exception of Sundays... a girl needs a day of rest). Hence all the book talk. I didn't really want to go here, but I felt compelled to talk about what consumed me this weekend.

I caved. I read Twilight. Usually I don't go for these super-popular young adult titles (well, I did read all the Gossip Girl books), but I haven't been able to finish an actual adult novel since I had Henry, and YA books definitely work while breastfeeding. So I started Twilight, also because I have a soft spot for sexy vampire books (see Rice, Anne). I know that there's been a lot of debate over whether or not these books are actually good, and I do have a lot of problems with some of the book (too long, I didn't actually like the protagonist very much, the dialogue was stiff), but I read the whole thing in two days, which believe me, is a feat for a mommy. I was so drawn in that I'm dying to see the movie later this month (even though the trailer looks kind of terrible). Any other Twilight readers out there? Please discuss. Thank you.

Friday, November 07, 2008


I borrowed this from over at Allsorts (were I've been consulting for the advent thingy). Each line must be answered with a single word. Let me know if you play along.

Where is your mobile phone? purse
Where is your significant other? work
Your hair colour? brown
Your mother? supportive
Your father? eccentric
Your favourite thing? family
Your dream last night? interrupted
Your dream goal? peace
The room you're in? crowded
Your hobby? making
Your fear? boredom
Where do you want to be in 6 years? public
Where were you last night? home
What you're not? rested
One of your wish-list items? massage
Where you grew up? Calgary
The last thing you did? diaper
What are you wearing? jeans
Your TV? overused
Your pets? kids
Your computer? mac
Your mood? frantic
Missing someone? Toronto
Your car? mom-mobile
Something you're not wearing? lipstick
Favourite shop? etsy
Your summer? short
Love someone? completely
Your favourite colour? pink
When is the last time you laughed? Henry
When is the last time you cried? Obama

Dance, Owly, Dance

Shh... this one is for non-Ruby eyes only. I finally got around to ordering Tania's kid's book, Berkley's Barn Owl Dance. I've been collecting a few special Ruby things above and beyond the tea set and doll's house that she's requesting from Santa and I've known for a while now that this book was going to be on that list. I'm not sure if she'll end up getting this for Xmas or if it'll be a birthday gift (early February, you know), but she'll be in for a little Berkley action. I haven't actually read through the book yet, but the illustrations are obviously super cute and it generally looks awesome. Way to go, Tania!

In other news, I took the kids to get their holiday portrait today. Last year we finally nailed Ruby's pose and now we're right back to struggling with a baby in front of the camera. By the time Henry turns into a portrait pro, Ruby will be old enough that she's pouting and sneering in front of the camera. Parenting has been a headache this week, I tell ya. I'm just happy that with Christmas approaching I can use the "the elves are watching" threat on Ruby. Props to whoever invented that whole lump of coal thing... it's the only thing that gets me through the holidays.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Envelope, Please

Every year in early December all the blog types show off what are truly the world's most awesome advent calendars... which is about two months too late for my snail's pace crafting schedule. Last year I admired Jenny's calendar over at All Sorts and miraculously, I actually remembered it and have got a start on making one. I'll go into my insane love of advent calendars once I actually finish the thing, but for now I'll just say that I'm really looking forward to starting this tradition for Ruby and, eventually, Henry.

Jenny has a tutorial over at her site, but I'll tell you it's remarkably easy and the kind of thing that will look good even if you're not a particularly precise crafter. Basically, you make 24 felt envelopes and string them on your mantle or banister. I'm making the envelopes a bit bigger than the tutorial calls for so that I have more options on what to stuff in it (ideas, anyone?) and so that I can put two goodies in each pocket once Henry is a bit older.

And yes, it does seem to be a bit early to start on Xmas stuff (though I am secretly thrilled that that Sears holiday ad that uses the Badly Drawn Boy song is back on the air already), but I think Xmas prep is okay for early November. I won't actually decorate anything until December 1. I promise.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Thank You, America

Thank you, America. I don't think many of you realize just how much the rest of the world was watching this election and how obvious the choice seemed to everyone else. Not that you should ever listen to people from other countries when exercising your own democracy, but I promise you, the rest of the world is loving you right now. I feel proud to be situated next to you.

I posted this in the comments section over at Tracy's blog yesterday, but I'll repeat it here. Aaron and I watched Guess Who's Coming To Dinner a couple of months ago, and we were really struck by one scene. Sidney Poitier was talking to one of the parents (I forget which one), discussing the pitfalls of having mixed race children. Poitier admitted that he was worried, but that "Joey thinks they can all be President Of The United States." It seemed so naive, so impossible... and that was the point. Barack Obama was seven years old when that movie was made. Today, forty years after Guess Who's Coming To Dinner was released, Barack Obama is the president-elect of the United States.

But it's not just about a person of colour becoming the leader of the free world (though, that is an amazing and inspirational thing). It's about hope winning over fear. It's about a nation stepping out of the status quo and being brave enough to try something new. It's about the end of apathy and a phenomenal voter turn-out. I was so moved by the images of all the people at Grant Park because it is so rare that you see so many people on the news being so purely happy.

Okay, that's it for the politics around here, but this is so important and so joyful that I've got to speak my mind. If you're lurking around, feel free to comment because even as a Canadian, I feel like this is a time for everyone to experience this together.

Oh, and I chose the above photo because somehow it encapsulates how I'm feeling about the world right now. And it's pretty.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Okay, if you're seeing this blog for the first time, I'm sure you'd assume that I'm a) American and b) a person with too much time on my hands. Well, you'd be wrong on both counts. But, for some reason I, and a lot of other Canadians, are as excited about this day as only the most politically-obsessed of Americans are. While I don't subscribe to the "America is the centre of the universe" view, I do, obviously feel that when things have the potential to be really good down there, that goodness will spread around the world.

We're going to a CNN watching party tonight and I made these delicious Obamacakes. In fact, I've started referring to Aaron as "Obamacakes" as a term of affection. I think I'm going crazy. I'm glad this is all going to be over in just a few short hours (four hours and 43 minutes, according to CNN).

Monday, November 03, 2008

For Those About To Vote...

... I salute you. C'mon America, give the rest of the world reason to love you again. Get that voter turn-out up and elect a man you can be proud of.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mourning Malti

There are some sad sad faces in our house. Malti, the 15 month old elephant at the Calgary zoo died yesterday after a week-long battle with elephant herpesvirus. She was loved by everyone who frequented the zoo. Her mother had had a calf a few years previous which died at three weeks old after the mother rejected it and refused to care for it. When Malti was born, zookeepers made a heroic effort to get the mother to bond with the babe and the entire city rooted for this little elephant. When Malti celebrated her first birthday in August everyone was so delighted that this little elephant had made it. Then she suddenly got sick and it all ended so fast.

Above is a picture of Ruby in front of Malti's pen, taken about a year ago. The Calgary zoo has had so many losses in the past year or so. I don't know what's up -- but I still support the zoo completely. I've made no secret of the fact that I don't really love this city, but the zoo is one of the few things that I really like about it. It's right in the centre of the city, on an island in the middle of the river. It's a great zoo and I hope they get over a string of really bad luck so that they can continue on strong.

Ruby is having a hard time dealing with this. I suggested that she draw a picture of Malti to send to the zookeepers and the other elephants to make them feel better. Then Ruby said "and I'll draw a magic button on the picture and Malti's mother can push the button with her trunk and Malti will walk out of the picture and be alive again." If only, my sweet.

For a better picture of Malti, click over here or here.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo To You

Happy Halloween. I'm not a huge Halloween person (no holiday can hold a light to Christmas), but I am a fan of anything that's fun for my kids. Yesterday Ruby's school held a class party and it was really fun. Ruby has recycled her Queen costume from last year (it's actually a princess costume, but she insists on being the Queen), which made for way less work for me, since I refuse to buy a pre-made costume. She's so cute and is excited for Halloween to come and go, since she knows Christmas follows fairly soon after. The apple does not fall far from the tree with this one.

This morning we carved up our pumpkins, with Ruby drawing the faces. I love these. She's still pretty new at actually drawing stuff that looks like stuff, so I cherish every attempt. And I'm sure once lit, these things will actually look kind of scary.

On a side note, has anyone seen any examples of Obama-themed cupcakes online? I want to make a special treat for Tuesday to celebrate (or alternately, drown our sorrows in sugar) with.

UPDATE: Check this out for all your Barack-baking needs. And, on a similar note, this has been making me smile all week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stacking The Pages

So I have been slowly working on Henry's knitted book. Dudes, I'm not so sure how this one is going to turn out. Intarsia is not my forte, that I have leaned. I don't know if I didn't choose the best possible gauge or yarn, but it's not looking nearly as tight as any of the other ones on Ravelry. Or it just could be that I'm not a tight enough knitter and not very details oriented. Or it might all look way better once I block it.

I'm pretty happy with the almost finished moon, which was way easier because of the minimal colour changes. The other page you see here is a fish, in case you were wondering. Either way, I'm kind of glad that this gift is staying in the family (and going to a baby), since it may not end up being my best work.

I have one page to go. It's the sun, which is one of the most complicated of the bunch. Hopefully I'll get a start on it tonight over some Barack Obama infomercial action and a marathon session of CNN.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Off Topic...

Okay, I know, this is totally off topic and not in line with what I usually write about. But, what is with the voting in the U.S.? Like a lot of other people in Canada, I am pretty fixated with your election, my American friends, and spend a lot of time watching CNN. I see long long lines, a full week before the election. Problems with machines. Confusion. People being denied. What's up.

In Canada we go to our polling station and usually don't have to wait at all. They give us a ballot and a golf pencil. We draw an X by the candidate of our choice. If there is more than one vote that day they give us multiple pieces of paper. We drop our paper in a box. They count them and release the results later that night.

I know there are 10 times as many people in the States, but there should also be 10 times as many poll workers, right? So why does television footage of your voting process look like that of a third world country?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brownies For Boys

Ten years ago, like most people in their early 30s, I assume, my life was much different than it is now. I was single, living downtown, working as the music editor at an free urban weekly, and hosting a campus radio show. I had been through my first big real heartbreak, went out almost every night and relied very heavily on my very close-knit group of friends. I think everyone goes through a phase in their life where the friends they make will be the friends that they'll have for the rest of their life -- for some it's high school, for others it's their first few years of working in an office or a bar or a store. For me, it's the people I met during my last few years of university and the year or two after I graduated. Not surprisingly, I didn't talk to them daily when I was living in Toronto for those five years, but, for the most part, they were all still here when Aaron and I returned.

When we first got back to Calgary I thought "oh my God, no one has changed a bit!" But that wasn't really true. Some of them still live downtown, but others have settled down, bought houses on the outskirts of the inner city and stay in way more than they go out. While we all used to obsess over the Gintastic (an invention of a bartender at our favourite indie rock club), we now have wine tasting parties. Most of us now know how to cook (my goodness!) and when we get together, we go to expensive restaurants and order fancy meals. And now, we're getting together with our babies.

I made the brownie that you see above (from Jamie Oliver's Cook With Jamie) to take to a get together today featuring four of us who have had baby boys this year (there's another who also had a little boy very recently who is still recovering from her C-section). Four baby boys. I really never thought I would see this day, and it makes me so happy.

P.s. Okay, and as for the brownie, I don't think I would recommend it -- it's too much. The recipe urges you to undercook it -- which I did -- and it was way too gooey. Like pudding. I popped it back in the oven (after I let it cool, since I trusted Jamie when he said it would firm up), and it got a bit more solid, but it was almost too rich to eat. It's basically just chocolate and butter. Delicious, but tummy ache-inducing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkin Peeps

To cheer ourselves up and usher in Halloween, I picked up a little pumpkin painting kit, consisting of some paint, a brush and six little pumpkins. Simple, no? I was hoping that it would entertain Ruby for a good part of the afternoon, but she didn't want to get fancy with her pumpkin faces, so it only took up a mere 15 minutes of our day (why is it so hard to entertain a pre-schooler when you don't feel like going outside?). But, I think she actually did a pretty good job on the faces, especially since this is a kid who does not really enjoying drawing stuff that actually looks like, you know, stuff.

I've lovingly named the pumpkins: Barack, Joe, Anderson, Campbell, Hilary and Tina Fey. I am watching way too much CNN. November 4 can not come quickly enough. And I'm not even American.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Still here. I know this is becoming a reoccurring theme around here, and my sagging webstats show it. I just went through the Thanksgiving weekend from hell though: husband with pneumonia, which sent him on an ambulance trip to the emergency room and a few days in hospital. Believe me, trying to comfort an ailing husband in the ER and wait for a doctor to find out what's going on while tending to a baby (who can't be left with grandparents because he's still nursing) is not fun. So yes, still here. Perhaps I'll try to blog every day in November to inject some life into this sad blog. Or perhaps I'll crawl into a cave and sleep for a month.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Rice Krispie Pie

I've never been big on Rice Krispie squares -- in our house if it ain't chocolate, no one is interested (I don't think Ruby has even tried non-chocolate ice cream. I blame it on all the chocolate she consumed in utero). But, kids seem nutty over Rice Krispie treats, so when I stumbled across the recipe for Chocolate Marshmallow Squares in the new issue of Everyday Food (sorry, too lazy to link, but I'm sure the recipe is also on the Martha Stewart website, they're pretty good that way), I had to make them. Basically, it's just regular Krispie squares with some cocoa thrown in with the melted marshmallows, then some bittersweet chocolate melted and drizzled on top. Goodness me, they were delicious. And trust me, they did not last long.

And, it turned into a Rice Krispie pie, because I weirdly don't have an 8 by 8 baking dish. Next time I'm going to double up and make it in a bigger pan, because it'll be worth my while for sure.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Finnish Start

Did you know that there's a Marimekko store in Vancouver? I almost wish I didn't know -- since we do make it out to Vancouver a fair bit, this could get me in trouble. Aaron's parents were out there last month and Leena stopped in and, being the good Nana that she is, picked up some things for the kids.

Here's the thing: Leena is Finnish (well, she's Canadian, but her family comes from Finland), which makes my kids a full quarter Finnish. I'm not sure why, but this makes me really proud, and in a weird way, it makes me kind of feel Finnish myself (for the record, there's not a drop of Finnish blood in my German/Ukrainian/Irish self). So, I definitely have an affinity for anything Marimekko. And I feel like my kids should indulge in their Finnish heritage via cute clothes and fabrics.

Anyway, here's Ruby's adorable pink Marimekko giraffe dress. It's perfect, since giraffes are her favourite animal. Off to a good Finnish start.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Warming Up A Bald Head

The weather took a sudden change this week. It's not freezing or anything, but I realized that Henry's bald little head was going to get pretty cold pretty fast if I didn't knit something fast. So, for about the 15th time in my life, I cast on and made a very simple baby toque.

I used the Simple Baby Cap #2 from Itty Bitty Hats, which is a pretty standard hat pattern (there's a million of them out there). I used some Malbrigio Worsted that I had leftover from I don't remember where and just went to town. I love making this kind of hat -- it doesn't take much more than an hour and it's something that I know will be worth my while and get a lot of use. As I was knitting it, I was afraid it was going to be too big, but apparently my kid has quite a lot of brains, because I'm now worried that it won't last him through the winter. Which is okay, since I can always take an hour or two to make another one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Baggin' The Bags

Hey, I made some stuff! Ruby's playschool started today (oh, I can't even begin to tell you how cute the whole thing is -- I welled up several times watching her play with the kids) and she's required to bring a change of clothing and a snack. Since my own purse is a horrible mess, I decided I should probably get Ruby off to a good start in life by giving her a neat and organized backpack for her first day of school.

So, I made the above drawstring bag to keep her change of clothes in. I used this tutorial, since I wanted something lined, but not too complicated. Ruby chose the fabric from my stash -- I think it's from Superbuzzy (but maybe Reprodepot?) and it's got a sweet Sleeping Beauty theme. Then I just embroidered her name on it and felt very proud of myself. More proud in that I made it while both kids were awake, and playing together in the basement (which is where my machine lives now). It was awesome, and will likely never happen again.

The snack bag, was not nearly as successful. I used this tutorial, but skipped the lining, since it will only be used for little snacks, not full lunches. I also skipped the velcro and fastened it with a clothespin, a la Martha Stewart. I used a vinyl coated cotton from Reprodepot and while I looove the fabric, this stuff is a bitch to sew (pardon my french). I don't know if it would stand stiff enough if I seamed it on the inside, but sewing on the outside was really difficult. I think I may make another go of it (with lining) and see if running tissue under the presser foot would make it go easier. Or I just might buy one.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Six Months

Today my little baby turns six months old. Six months old, with two teeth and a hellbent desire to crawl away. He's a mover, this one. Which makes for a pain in the neck baby, but surely an amazing child and an extraordinary adult. Seeing him makes me smile, even when I'm totally stressed out about the world (thank you, American politics).

Monday, September 08, 2008


Has it really come to this? Am I really showing you pictures of my lunch? Well, after I felt confident enough to confess to anyone who'd listen that Henry is a magical baby who has slept through the night since he was a month old, I went and jinxed myself. We've had some tough times in these parts with the sleeping thing: he's up as many as three or four times throughout the night and I often can't get him to sleep in his own crib and have to bring him into bed with Aaron and I, which totally destroys my sleep. He also won't nap in his crib anymore. I'm running out of tricks to try and I'm rapidly losing my marbles. So, not a lot of blog worthy fodder.

Still, look at this lunch. When I lived in Toronto I used to frequent a breakfast place that served something called Sunny's Grilled Cheese. It was a grilled cheese with avocado and red onions and it is so good that I'd often stay up at night thinking about it. Throughout the years I've gone through periods of making them at home, but for reasons I'm not sure of, I've been on a Sunny's hiatus for a while. But I'm back, baby, I'm back. This one was made with gouda, which made it extra good. And if you're going to try this one at home, the red onions are essential. Essential.

And, here's a little vintage pin that I ordered from this etsy shop. Word to the mothers. If anything, the last couple weeks have reminded me of how tricky this job can be.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Ruby's Eye View

As a treat for being such a good girl in the car, we bought Ruby one of those Fisher-Price kids' digital cameras. The quality is amazing -- kind of like a faded old Polaroid. And we love taking a glimpse of the world through Ruby's eyes. As a long weekend treat, here are some of her best shots from last month's vacation.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Family Photo Friday: Dear Old Dad

Has it been two weeks? Oops. Life has really gotten in the way -- Henry is officially difficult (no longer sleeping through the night, no longer napping, getting teeth...), Ruby has been sick, school's starting in a week, I have a work assignment I have to do, the second season of Dexter is out on DVD... I swear there will be a post-Labour Day blogging extravaganza. Really.

Anyway, yesterday my strange but lovable father turned 65. He is officially a senior citizen, no longer in the age of majority. He's had his share of health problems over the years, so we're all glad that he made it to his golden years in relatively good health. Above is a picture of Dad when he was nine months old. He wouldn't like me saying this, but this picture pretty much looks like someone photoshopped his current head onto the body of a very sturdy baby. Happy birthday, big guy.

Is it gross that I'm letting Henry keep himself occupied right now by chewing on my bedroom slipper. And he just vomited on it. Great.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

33 RPM

Yeah, more thrift stuff today -- it seems like a far less popular topic than craft, judging from the lack of comments around these parts, but that might just be summer for you. Either way, it's all I've been up to and I want to make at least some attempt of posting through the summer, so here I am and here it is.

Today is my 33rd birthday and Aaron got me the best present a girl could hope for: a day of being me. You know, the old me, the pre-kids me, the me who didn't have to carry a bucket carseat and a diaper bag while managing the hand of a three-year-old at all times. It started with a morning of yard and estate sales, which he'd researched in advance so that I could hit as many good ones as possible before rushing home to nurse Henry. The first place I hit was truly amazing -- a couple about my age were thinning out their massive vintage collection and almost everything they had was right up my alley. I spent about $50, buying some stacking stools, more Fire King bowls, a Fire King casserole, a Fire King mug and the cake stand you see below.

The cherry on top, though, was the Fisher-Price record player at the top of the page. Oh my, I actually stopped breathing when I saw it. And they had loads of kids' records too, so I picked up a pile of oldies, but goodies for Ruby. It was awesome. I also stopped at a couple others and got a great cookie jar and some bintage Christmas ornaments. It was so great.

Then, after feeding my little dude, I was off to a massage at a fancy-pants spa. Then dinner out with Aaron and the kids, with friends waiting to surprise me at the restaurant. The whole day was genius on Aaron's part. And then we were home in time to see Michael Phelps win his eighth gold medal. On my birthday.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Vacation Pyrex Mania

Well, it's turning out to be a hot and lazy August. I'm thinking that this space will be more of a "lookie what I found" kind of place rather than a "lookie what I made" thing, though Henry is getting into a more predictable sleeping pattern these days, giving me a bit of free time. Plus there's all that sitting on the couch time that comes with the Olympics. Don't get me wrong, I'm not too jazzed about the whole human rights in China thing, but I can't stop my Olympic fever.

Anyway, I really hit the Pyrex jackpot when we went on vacation. In a big way. In our two week trip I hit an amazing (and very very cheap) island thrift shop, a big city flea market, an amazing junk store in the middle of nowhere and was blessed by Aaron's sister's girlfriend, who is downsizing her own massive Pyrex collection.

In addition to the Friendship casserole (lid pictured above) and the amazing Fire King bowls you see here, I picked up these additional FK bowls, a couple of refrigerator boxes, some more Butterfly Gold to add to my set, a couple of solid bowls, six mugs and, best of all, a special Christmas bowl. Amazing. And incredibly boring if you're not into Pyrex. Now I have to find a place to put all of this stuff before Aaron tries to throw it out. Eep!