Friday, January 30, 2009

Dear Ruby: Volume Four

Dear Ruby,

This weekend, you'll be celebrating your fourth birthday. This isn't news to you -- you've been talking about your birthday since the week before Christmas (at which point you figured that the elves must have your dollhouse almost made and you could move on to the next set of presents). I have so much that I want to say to you this year -- how proud I am that you're growing to be such a lovely person and how that you're more beautiful and spirited than I ever could have dreamed. In the name of brevity, I'll present you with a list of a few things that come to mind:

1. In the last year, you started playschool, and your life has changed. You are a leader in your class, loved by students and teachers alike. You have friends, real friends.

2. Speaking of which, yesterday in school a younger girl was feeling sad and missing her mother. You sat down with her to cheer her up and started regaling her with "spooky" stories. When I asked you what the stories were about, you mentioned tarantulas.

3. And, speaking of spooky, you are very in to being brave these days. You used to be afraid of most movies, but now you love watching Sleeping Beauty.

4. You love cooking and are far more likely to eat something if you helped make it.

5. You love hide and seek. Honestly, you aren't very good at it and giggle whenever you're hiding, but you love playing all the same.

6. All summer, your favourite thing to do was ride your bike.

7. You are very good at doing things yourself: going to the bathroom, getting dressed, getting into the car, etc.

8. You are an amazing sister. Henry loves you more than anything and your are very sweet and gentle with him, even when he gets in your way.

9. When you grow up, you want to be: a nurse, a store worker (specifically, at Safeway) and a mama. You plan to marry your friend Simon, who will look after your children when you're at work.

10. Your favourite song is "Leader Of The Pack." You like the motorcycle. And you prefer music that is sung by girls.

Of course, there are a million more things -- far to many to write here. I love you, baby. Happy birthday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Old School

I don't know what it is about this week, but it's kicking my butt. I only have a tiny bit left to do on Ruby's doll, but I can't seem to pick it up. I have a feeling I'll be up until midnight on Saturday embroidering the face, but every time I go to do the last few bits, I feel like I'm going to pass out. Let's blame the January blues.

Back to happier times, I have one last bit of Christmas business to take care of here. I try to make at least one handmade thing for the kids every Xmas, and this year it was a quick and easy one -- wrapped before I even had a chance to take photos. A long while back someone sent me a couple of pieces of pre-printed fabric as part of a swap. The lady who sent them is a little bit older than me, and said they'd been sitting in her sewing basket since the '80s. Naturally, I was thrilled with the old school Blueberry Muffin and Care Bear, but it's taken me a while to actually stitch them up.

Of course, Strawberry Shortcake and the Care Bears are totally back in style with kiddos -- something that my childless friends are usually unaware of (My Little Pony is also still a hit). Strawberry and her posse have undergone a major makeover, so I'm thankful that Ruby has this old fashioned Blueberry Muffin in her collection, rather than the new tween-style one. Henry has yet to appreciate his Care Bear. but if he's anything like my brother was back in the '80s (who, incidentally, looks a lot like Henry), this grumpy little bear will become a treasured favourite.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Booze Cake!

When I saw this recipe over at Orangette, I was immediately drawn. I'm not sure why -- while ever single recipe that I've borrowed from Molly has been delicious (her simple chickpea salad is so genius, I can't believe it), I'm not much of a whiskey drinker. But, she swore it was awesome, and it is.

I asked Aaron to pick up some bourbon, and he came home with Jack Daniels (which, as the small print on the label will tell you, is a Tennessee whiskey, not a bourbon), but it worked out just fine. Plus, there's some novelty in cooking with JD... I kind of imagined that I was Slash's housewife or something. Anyway, making it was a bit of a comedy of errors -- at one point I accidentally dropped an egg, shell and all, into the stand mixer as it was beating, and later, a metal measuring cup. It also looks less than perfect, because I arrogantly didn't grease my silicon cake pan, so a good portion of the thing stuck.

But, delicious it is. I served it at a wine tasting party (believe me, not as snooty as it sounds) and it was loved by all (except the kids, who were stuck with a pan of Martha Stewart double chocolate brownies, which were also pretty freaking good). The world is better with chocolate, I tell ya. And sometimes, chocolate and Jack Daniels.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Solid As A Sock

So, I held up this sock to Aaron the other night and said "Look how wacky this yarn is! Isn't this sock crazy?" He looked at me like I was absolutely crazy.

I know that I should be working on Ruby's doll, but I got a ball of Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn for Christmas and it was calling my name. So, I cast on and have been addicted to watching the crazy, seemingly random colours fall into place. I know this is a really niche knitter thing, but I actually find Noro funny. I laugh as I knit with it, watching the thick turn into thin, the dark green turn into hot pink. A non-knitter might just think that these colour transitions are ugly, but I think they're witty.

Plus, this yarn is kind of awesome because it knits up so quick, which is exciting, even though I don't see myself wearing these socks under shoes -- they're more of a house sock kind of thing. Either way, I'm well into sock #2, so I'll tell you more about all of this once I have a finished project to show off.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ruby Tuesday: Inauguration Edition

I wasn't going to post about the inauguration today, but when Ruby came home from playschool with this piece of art, I couldn't resist. Even though we live in Canada, Ruby's very cool teacher decided that she should mention the inauguration in class today and set out these little "O"s for the kids to draw on. Ruby, of course, knows all about Obama and even watched a little bit of CNN coverage before school. She drew this portrait of the new president and even asked if we could maybe send it Obama's way.

And that brings my coverage of American politics to an end. I hope Mr. and Mrs. Obama have fun at their various social engagements tonight and then sleep tight in their white house bed. Tomorrow's a new day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

He Runs So Others Can Fly

Oh boy, America, the day is almost here. I know that everyone is trying to remind themselves that Obama isn't some kind of mystical figure who will wave a magic wand and transform the world into a utopia, but man, is it ever nice to see so many people feeling so hopeful. When I see the people gathering around in Washington, it occurs to me that it's not even about this man -- it's about the way that he's making people feel. It's you, America, who has a chance to change things right now. Show us what you've got. I know you have it in you.

The above photo is of a little piece of art that Aaron's sister gave him for Christmas. I don't know who made it, but she bought it from a craft fair, and it's a really brilliant idea: the word "hope" printed on a dictionary page. The fist word on the page is "intellect." Seems appropriate for this week, no?

Friday, January 16, 2009


I don't think any day goes by when someone in our family isn't wearing stripes. And this brings colour week to an end. Big thanks for Leya at Curious Bird for hosting and inspiring. It was fun. And it was nice to blog every day this week without having to rely on words. Come back next week for my sage wisdom (har har).

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Unsurprisingly, I didn't even have to leave Ruby's room for these shots. Happily, I didn't have to resort to any princess pictures, but I will admit that the car belongs to a certain busty blonde.

For more pinks, visit Curious Bird.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


For more sunshine on this cloudy day, visit the Curious Bird.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


For more colour week, talk to the Curious Bird.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Leya is hosting a colour week. With a new camera in hand, how could I resist? Now, I'm not too fussy when I do these things... I just snap the blue things that are closest to my eye. Enjoy. And swing by Curious Bird for a list of other colour junkies.

Friday, January 09, 2009

WIP: Rags To Riches

Every year I make Ruby a doll for her birthday. My little beauty is turning four in a few short weeks and doll #4 is well on her way. Ages ago I ordered Amy's mail order rag doll pattern with dreams of making a Raggedy Ann of my own. Well, I'm finally getting around to it, and I am beyond thrilled.

I made good progress on Miss Raggedy earlier this week, managing to tea dye my muslin (sooo much fun), make the body and the hair, legs, and almost finish off her little dress. So far I've loved making this project and I have high hopes for the finished result.

I haven't seen many of these guys during my travels on the Internets. Have any of you made this pattern? If so, speak up! I want to see!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Admiring The Knits Of Others: Holiday Edition

My own knitting has come to a pathetic slow-down over the last year or so, but our house was blessed with some knitted goods over the holidays. I honestly don't think anyone appreciates a knitted gift as much as another knitter. I love the three items on this page and honestly believe they're all worthy of slipping into the family heirloom category (which reminds me -- I have some actual family heirloom knits to show you -- another post).

A package arrived from our dear friends Josh and Joanna earlier this week and it was a very sweet new year's surprise. Jo is a great knitter -- a true master of the sock. She's also an amazing horticulturalist, but that's another story. Anyway, she sent the little doll decoration that you see at the top of the page (knitting and felting! I'm impressed!) to Ruby and a lovely pair of long booties for Henry. So cute.

And speaking of wee Henry, his Nana (Leena) knit him this gorgeous sweater. It's so cute. With the seed-stitch yoke and the pockets it's like a little woolen jean jacket. Cozy and cute, perfect for my little man.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Oh, I'm a sucker for some reminiscing, that's for sure. I borrowed this idea from Sam, who borrowed it from a couple other people. The idea is to take the first line from the first post of your blog from each month in 2008. Not all of mine make sense, but they do paint a picture of a woman who has little time to think about anything but her children. Or, if you're a glass half full person, a woman who loves to think about her children. Yes.

January: Not much to post about today -- everyone in these parts is sick, sick, sick (except Ruby -- big knock on wood).

February: Despite the growing popularity of the name Ruby, I didn't choose it for my little gal because it's now and hip, or because it appears in so many songs (though, with the exception of that Kaiser Chiefs song, most Ruby songs are way too sad to name a kid after -- though I will note, she was born on a Tuesday).

March: Thanks to everyone who gave me some good vibes about the pregnancy, either here or through private email, I think I'm finally accepting that I may have daily contractions for weeks to come.

April: No, I haven't been spending the early weeks with my new son making curtains.

May: Seven weeks. We're seven weeks into being a family of four.

June: Ruby likes dolls. She always has.

July: Faithful readers already know that I went pretty nutty when the English versions of the Aranzi Aronzo books started coming out.

August: Back from vacation.

September: As a treat for being such a good girl in the car, we bought Ruby one of those Fisher-Price kids' digital cameras.

October: Did you know that there's a Marimekko store in Vancouver?

November: There are some sad sad faces in our house.

December: I wanted to try to post as much as possible in November, I really did.

Oh, and in order to fully enjoy my new camera, I decided to do the 365 thing this year (well, actually 362, because of the delay in getting said camera). I know there are a bazillion groups for this, but I'm posting at this one. As directed by Meg.

Christmas Leftovers

At last, our very-much-on-sale Canon Rebel XS arrived and I'm head-over-heels in love. It's been so long since I had a real camera -- the kind you need to hold in two hands. Anyway, here is some photographic evidence that Santa was indeed in our house.

Above, you've got Henry in his new moccasins. Moccasins were really big in our family this year: by my count, four pairs were exchanged, including this very cute and very tiny pair.

A gorgeous re-strung vintage beaded necklace, under the tree for me.

Ruby decided that she was going to ask Santa for a dollhouse in July. On Christmas Eve, she was so concerned about how Santa was going to get it into our house (we don't have a fireplace) that she started running a fever and eventually threw up. Once Aaron explained how Santa travels through the chimney and then the heating ducts in our house, emerging in the basement by the furnace (duh), all was fine and any signs of illness vanished.

Oh, and it was the year of Barbie. Girl, you'll be a woman soon.

And Aaron's sister and her girlfriend hit the craft shows hard. I got this cute book. Love it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hello, 2009

Happy new year! My new camera still isn't here, so I haven't been able to make a Christmas-fun montage, but I felt it my duty to stop by and do a Hello 2009 post. 2009, can you believe it? It seems like the '90s just ended. I'm starting to understand how the Boomers felt about the '60s when I was a teenager. I feel very old this morning, friends (and I'm only 33!).

Anyway, I have some resolutions for the year... of the crafty variety (on top of the personal ones: more exercise, less sweets, finally get around to dying my hair, yell at the kids less, recycle more carefully, be nicer to Aaron... you know). But yes, I have big crafty plans.

1. Finish. Yes, I need to do a better job of finishing what I've started. Lap quilt for Henry? It's needed binding for about six months now. Knitted baby book? One page to go. Second pair of baby socks? Don't ask.

2. Better my skills. Okay, so I have this fantasy/plan. I have a big stack of craft books, full of projects I want to try. I've been marking the pages and I really want to tackle as many as possible, so that I can better those skills. Plus, I'd end up with a pile of finished projects that I could give away as gifts. Once those skills are honed, I can design more projects of my own and finally open that etsy shop I've been dreaming of.

3. Give more handmade gifts. See #2.

4. Knit more in the evening. Idle hands are the tool of the devil, they say. If I'm sitting around watching DVD episodes of The Wire non-stop, I may as well have a scarf or pair of socks on the needles.

5. Make the things I need. Mittens for the baby, throw cushions for the couch, here I come.

6. Recycle and use what I have. Can I do 1-5 while buying almost no new craft supplies this year. Watch me.

So yes, these are my lofty plans. Please don't direct me to this post three months from now when I announce that I've just bought $200 worth of new yarn and have no plans to actually ever use it. Until then, happy new year to all. I hope 2009 treats you right.