Saturday, May 23, 2015

Been a long time...

I kind of thought I was done with blogging, but then I realized that I missed having my pictures and stories together in one place. So, over the next little while, I'm going to try to backfill this blog, fill in the stories of the past year and a bit, then start writing about new stuff. We'll see if I stick with it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pink and Grey Heart Quilt

Ever since I saw this tutorial I have been looking for a project to make with it. C's coworker's pregnancy was the perfect excuse :) He gave me free reign, any design, any colours. Since baby-to-be is of the girl variety I chose a hot pink and silver colour scheme, then filled it in with softer pinks and greys.

It's backed with amazing hot pink minky dot and measures 40 inches square. I looooove it! Was hard to give away :) Definitely going to make this pattern again, next time in orange I think.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas quilting

So I managed to make and gift two quilts this Christmas, both are ones that I started eons ago and both started as Flickr quilting bee projects.

The first is an orange and grey free-form version of Chinese coins, which I called an Oscilloscope. Orange is James' favourite colour, this was always intended for him. I began it in 2011, sending packets of fabric out to a bunch of other Canadian quilters in the Maple Leaf Bee, then after I received blocks back from them I made a TON more, until, voilĂ , an oversized twin quilt (it's longer than a typical twin, something that he can snuggle with on his couch). I managed to get this done in October, and then had to hide it in my closet :)

The second finish is a standard twin, for Maya, with free-form and paper pieced houses. A neighbourhood quilt. I first requested these blocks from the Scrap-BEE-Looza group in November of 2010! Woah I didn't realize it was that long ago! Again I got a handful back and had to make a ton more, so the handful sat in my drawer a long time.

It's definitely weird, but I'd like to think she'll have fun with it. I finished it just days before Christmas, which is why the only photo I have is in my folk's living room on Boxing Day :)

Hoping to accomplish more than two in time for next Christmas, there's still a long list of people I'd like to gift a quilt...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Happiest Place on Earth

Disney - it's been on the bucket list for years, and this year we finally made it happen.

We drove out, road trip adventures are something we both enjoyed as kids and were excited to share with the bits, and it turned out wonderfully! They were perfect travellers. We took two days to drive down, arriving in Orlando in time for a late dinner and swim. We stayed at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside resort, and I can't recommend it enough, it was really special, not over the top 'themed' like many of the other Disney properties, focussing instead on just gorgeous grounds, perfect little pools dotted among the lodges which were set into wooded and landscaped areas with walking paths and bridges. Our plan was to spend two days in the parks, a day poking around Orlando, then two days with C's parents who have a condo in Fort Lauderdale before driving back home.

The next morning we boarded the shuttle for Magic Kingdom. C had been there as a kid, and we'd both been to Disneyland in California 12 years ago with big J, but this was the bits first experience. They were amazed, and overwhelmed (and frankly so was I!) The day flew by, and it was incredible to watch my almost teenager turn back into a little girl.

Day two was Epcot, and this was a first for all 4 of us. I loved Epcot! It really works for the older people, and the nerds, and I'm definitely both. Epcot was substantially larger than we thought, and we were substantially more tired than we anticipated, so we saw only about half of what the park had to offer. We did, however, enjoy two spectacular meals there, a buffet breakfast where princesses visited each child at the table (worth.every.penny) and an Oktoberfest-inspired German buffet dinner with communal seating and a polka band (the friendly people in our group had a wonderful time chatting!)

In retrospect, 2 days at Disney isn't enough. We tried so hard to see as much as possible that we were just exhausted, legs aching, brain fogged. But oh so worth it! If we do it again (and I hope we'll go back!) we'll spend 4. Plus C really wants to see Animal Kingdom, and the bits are sad to have missed Hollywood Studios.

Day 3 we had a leisurely breakfast, then hit the pool. It was the first hot non-rainy day of our trip (25C and full sun). The kids were in heaven.

We packed our things and loaded up the van, then took the water taxi from the resort to Downtown Disney, what a cool ride and a cool place. C started feeling unwell, so he went back to the resort while the kids and I shopped and explored.

Dinner back at the resort, then off to Ft Lauderdale. The rain, sadly, followed us, but we didn't let that deter us from a beach visit. It was the bits first experience with the ocean (they loved the waves, but didn't care for the saltiness of the water).

It was the perfect denouement to our trip, relaxing, comfortable, warm.

The drive home was fine, if quieter. We were compelled to take an extra day because of storms back home, but we had perfect driving weather.

I can't wait for our next adventure!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


2014? Wasn't it 1999 just yesterday?

One Little Word - concept that Ali Edwards has been promoting for years; one word that influences and guides your year. I wanted to play along this year, and I've been thinking about 'my word' for weeks. I knew right away what I wanted: let go. But, of course, 'let go' isn't one little word, it's two little words. And I spent weeks - WEEKS! wasting my precious mental resources trying to come up with an 'appropriate' word...

And that's why I need 'let go'. Let go of unrealistic expectations, let go of the little things, let go of the fear, of the disappointments, of regret. Live in the now.

Let go.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


C and little J and I spent about 4 hours raking leaves today (and that didn't cover half of our yard). 18 well compacted giant bags of leaves later, every part of my body hurts. Oh man am I out of shape! (Unless you count round as a shape).

But we got it done, and it was a glorious day to spent outside with two of my favourite guys.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

In the big house...

The United Way was selling tours of the recently decommissioned Kingston Penitentiary. C lived down the street from KP briefly as a child and has been curious about it ever since. We were incredibly fortunate to get tickets, they sold out super fast.

We took the kids out of school so that they could experience the tour too. We were guided by a current corrections officer who worked at KP right up until the end (and has since transferred to another facility), he was a little light on the history of the amazing old place, but the picture he painted of life there just prior to the decommissioning was incredible, vivid and thought-provoking.

The 'main entrance' as viewed from the inside.

Little J in a standard general population cell, incredibly tiny!

Beautiful architecture in the 'shop dome', where inmates could learn a trade or complete an apprenticeship.

Razor wire. This stuff was EVERYWHERE. I never knew what razor wire was until this tour, it actually has double sided razors all along the coils. Creepy.

After our tour we spent some time in the penitentiary museum, across the street in the original warden's house, then lunch together at 5 Guys. Such an interesting, educational but still cool day.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving camping

A return trip to Cedar Point Park in New York state to camp for Thanksgiving weekend. In contrast to last year, the weather was absolutely spectacular, warm and sunny (except for a little rain overnight Sunday and early Monday morning).

The park had tons of programming for the kids, costumes, hay rides, trick or treating around the campground to name a few.

We also took a little trip into Watertown for shopping and Olive Garden, but mostly we just enjoyed being together in the beautiful surroundings.

I love Thanksgiving camping!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hello Fall

A quiet stroll through Mer Bleue, all by myself, to enjoy the peace and quiet, and spectacular fall colours.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Extreme Makeover: J-man's room edition

A very very very very very long awaited redecoration of J-man's room commences. He's chosen a brilliant smurf blue (officially called 'Wind Tick', who names these things???) for the bottom, white for the top (with a strong arm twist from mama) and bright orange for the dividing strip. Should be, uh, interesting?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First day of school

Woah summer went by fast!

They look so old! My babies!

Monday, August 26, 2013

NYSF 2013

In what has become an annual tradition, we again spent a week of summer vacation in the Syracuse area, camping, shopping and visiting the New York State Fair.

As always the trip wasn't without its, uh, challenges (our car getting hit in the mall parking lot by a woman driving her new car for the first time, a kid singing the most forlorn version of 'Crazy Train' over and over at an ungodly hour right outside our tent, heatstroke and torrential rain on the same day...) but it was a great trip and we all enjoy camping together and poking around the fair too. Just being together.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Opening Night

A rather large part of our summer has been occupied by twice weekly (plus) rehearsals for the Dundas County Players' youth summer workshop production of Alice in Wonderland. Tonight, finally, was opening night. It wasn't without issues, there were a few forgotten lines (though none by either bit), but it was surprisingly good, and really, really funny. Most importantly of all, the bits were just thrilled with themselves.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Camping on the beach

We enjoyed a quick weekend getaway in our new-to-us tent trailer, staying at Golden Lake campground, in a site right on the water.

The weather was decent, the lake was lovely, the campground was, well, a bit close and a bit crowded, but it was fun.

We took a day trip to Bonnechere caves. It wasn't really what I was expecting, the caves were neat, but you couldn't explore or even walk through without a tour guide who talked incessantly, mostly about the 'adventures' of the caves' owner, and who really rather rushed the process (plus our tour group was around 25 people, which is a lot for tight subterranean caves). That said, Katie LOVED it. And Jonah HATED it. LOL, on the plus side, helping Jonah deal with his abject terror kept my mind away from any claustrophobic thoughts!

(Don't let that smile fool you - he was miserable).

All too soon it was time to bid the beach good bye. Can't wait for our next adventure!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

In a jam

For once we managed to get a couple of buckets of cherries from our sour cherry tree before the birds got to them (is it all the rain that delayed their cherry feast?)

I decided to make cherry jam. I've never made sour cherry jam before, and I don't know why, it's AMAZING! The contrast between the tartness of the cherry bits and the sugary jelly. I hope the birds leave me a few pounds next year because these jars probably won't even last until fall...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day?

We attempted to do Canada Day on the Hill (not the whole day, just the early part, there was a concert by Carly Rae Jepsen (who the kids love) and an appearance by Commander Hadfield (who I love!). It was awful (not Carly Rae, or Cmdr Hadfield, they were awesome, what little of them we saw). The hill was crowded beyond even my wildest dreams, and security was ridiculous, a queue over a kilometre long to get to a security checkpoint manned by 3 police officers searching bags, etc, then 150 or so cops all along the perimeter of the hill who's sole job it appears was barking at little kids who wanted to climb up on the walls that hold the fencing so that they could see what was going on.

I understand the 'need' for security (I don't, but I'm trying to be magnanimous) but my tax dollars, and the tax dollars of the thousands of other people who simply didn't want to queue up for 2 hours in the heat to see a 15 minute show, pay for every aspect of this, the building, the 'security', the entertainment. And we're denied enjoyment of what we've funded. The bad guys have won.

(here's a cute picture, so that the entire post isn't a complete downer)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Double digits

His birthday fell during a sleepaway Cub camp. His birthday cake was delayed, which lead to sad boy, which lead to sad mama. This sweet, oh so sensitive boy, he's so much like me, that makes it awfully tough sometimes.

My last baby. He isn't a baby anymore...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Project Life: my title page

Project life is a 'memory keeping system' (so says the promotional material), but really, it's a scrapbook with pockets that are supposed to make recording your life easier. I was pretty excited about this concept, not because I'm looking for easy (heck no, I generally take the most difficult route for everything!) but because I wanted a place to put those random one-off photos, cellphone pictures, ticket stubs and the other bits and bobs of daily life. So I plunged in. And every single page I've done has taken 20 times longer than it should. But you know what? I love them. And the kids love the book already. I know I'll be even more thrilled a few years from now to look back at our normal, typical, maybe a little boring lives.

I thought I'd share some of the pages here. To start, here is my title page:


The blue and red 4x6 cards are from the Cobalt Project Life core kit, the orange 3x4 cards are from the internet.

And here is week 1:


Again a couple of cards from the Cobalt core kit, a couple from the internet and 1 from a Studio Calico kit. And tucked into one of the pockets is a ticket stub from our NYE movie (exactly why I wanted to do this project!) I've also included the view from my office window, I hope to put that into every week, as a visual cue to the changing seasons (we'll see anyway)

Week 2:


1 core kit card, one internet card and a bit of scrapbook paper. A newspaper clipping (well, a picture of the newspaper clipping, newspaper itself would yellow and fall apart).

Week 3:


A couple of core kit cards, a studio calico card, another movie stub, and even a little bit of writing directly *on* the pictures. I feel like I can have fun with these in ways that I wouldn't in my regular scrapbooks.

That's enough for today, I'll post more pages bit by bit.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A bright pretty little quilt

Another from the WIP list (#4 in my original post) I made this for my coworker's second baby daughter. She came a little early, so this one was an 'after her arrival' gift. Which turned out well as I was able to include a label with her name on it.

Everything in this quilt came from my stash, I purchased nothing new. There are fabric bits leftover from A's baby quilt, N's baby quilt, Sam's baby quilt and a dress I made Katie when she was a toddler. The solid purple backing is leftover from Jennifer's purple quiltie. Even the batting was leftover from another project. I'm pretty pleased by how cohesive it all looks given the multiple sources. More importantly it turned out bright and happy, which is what I wish for this baby and her parents.

Monday, March 25, 2013

WIP Follow-up #1

Well it's late March and I have precious little to show for it in terms of my WIP list. Little - but not nothing.

#12 on the list, the Nautical New Wave baby quilt, is done and was gifted last week. I love how it turned out, though the back had to be improvised on the fly after my machine flat out refused to quilt through the marine blue ultra cuddle fabric I'd bought to back it.

An almost big enough piece of blue bisected by a strip of leftover pieces from the front. Bound in red it's boyish without being baby. I think it almost feels preppy :)

I've also (finally) ordered the Kona coal I need to finish #1 on the list. Slow and steady right?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Star is Born

OK she wasn't actually the *star* (though of course I only had eyes for her) but Katie made her stage debut in our community theatre's production of The Wizard of Oz.

Best Munchkin ever :)

I've complained quietly, but endlessly, about the process. It's been a ridiculously long 4 months, 6+ hours a week of rehearsals, endless emails and notes and emails about notes, the driving, the waiting and waiting as rehearsals routinely went over, the utter exhaustion. But she was breathtaking. The whole production was good, but the children were just spectacular, consummately professional, not a missed cue, not a missed line, not a missed step, they showed up the adults in every one of the 6 performances (and the young actress who played Dorothy, oh she was the best of the bunch!)

She can't wait to audition again for next year's show.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


My baby princess is 12.

And what an incredible 12 years it's been. She is brilliant, witty, dramatic, challenging, loving, outgoing and so very brave. She's been independent since she was a toddler but now she's also incredibly self reliant. She's always eager to try new things (though getting her to stick with any of them can be difficult).

Nearly everything she tries she is good at right away. She is enormously talented in music, an excellent writer, strong in math. She's a strong swimmer and a good runner. She has an incredibly memory, and a real gift for remembering people.

She loves fashion and accessories (especially hats), and perfume and stinky candles, and shoes. She's a whiz with computers and electronics, but secretly she still loves her dolls too.

She is so much more than I ever imagined possible, she surprises and delights me daily. I can't wait to see what the next 12 years have in store...