Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Crafting

Quiet on the blog lately, I know, life has a way of taking up all of my time :)

I did a little bit of Christmas crafting this year :) I started out with 4 quilted tote bags for four work friends (we've been spending time together as a group for years now). They're featured in a previous post :)

I made a quilt for my mom:

This is the 9-patch pattern from Crazy Mom Quilts' quilt along, and it's the second time I've made this pattern. This time I added 2 extra rows of 9-patches and removed the borders. It measured 66" x 82" before washing, which should work for draping over the back of a couch when it's not being snuggled under (my mom likes to curl up on the couch with her books). I chose a gold/brown/orange colour scheme, with a few greens and reds thrown in. It's backed with a deep brown solid and bound in a beige leaf print.

And I made a quilt for my grand-niece Emilie:

This started as a quilting bee project, with the scrap-busters group on Flickr. I received 8 scrappy string blocks in the swap, and made the other 22 myself. It was a HUGE amount of work, and so very difficult getting all of those white lines to join up and all of those bias edges to stay straight, but I think it might be my favourite quilt that I've made, ever. It was really hard to give this one away!

I also made calendars for my mom and mother-in-law. This has become a bit of a tradition, I've been making them annually for many years (I should try and figure out just how many years... it's at least 8 anyway)


And finally I made a little pouch for J-man, to hold the tablet that we got him for Christmas (we got one for his sister too, but I haven't yet made a pouch for her)

A Hot Wheels licensed fabric, lightly quilted with random straight orange lines and lined with a soft minky to protect the screen, with a velcro flap and handle to keep everything contained.

It was an ambitious Christmas but I got everything that I wanted to make made :) Now I have other projects to start, including baby quilts for a couple of expecting coworkers and an attempt at Project Life (probably digital).

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

The bits let us sleep in until 7am Christmas morning, which would have been a lovely treat had the biggest kid of them all not been bouncing on the bed at 6, anxious for the littles to wake up :)

We had a lovely, quiet morning and early afternoon at home, then headed into the city to have dinner at the sister-in-law's home with most of C's family. I took exactly zero pictures, even though the littles were surrounded by their cute cousins. I guess I was distracted by all of the yummy food!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Tote bags

I made 4 quilted tote bags for my four office mates with whom I enjoy hanging out, chatting, etc. Hard to believe that we're been working together 6 and a half years. We got together last evening for our annual Christmas cookie exchange, this year made all the sweeter with the addition of sharing our favourite wines and cheeses. I didn't take any pictures of our gathering, but I did snap this shot of the tote bags.

I didn't use a pattern, they're just simple 20 inch square quilted panels with a coordinating lining and handles. I topstitched them after turning but the lining isn't tacked down. They're reasonably substantial, should be able to hold a load of groceries or a towel and a bunch of books for a beach day.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Glorious morning

Takes my breath away. 7:25am

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Hallowe'en

Ah Hallowe'en, not my favourite holiday but the kids love everything about it, the candy, the costumes, the running around after dark... and the candy. Oh the candy!

This year Katie decided to be a "50's girl", and Jonah was a cowboy. Except, because this is 2012 and they're 9 and 11, they had to be an undead 50's girl and an undead cowboy. Ahem. I made Katie's poodle skirt out of felt with a sequined border. Those sequins, ai yi yi, I couldn't glue them so I ended up stitching them all by hand, almost 3 yards.
Jonah's cowboy shirt came from Giant Tiger (you mean there are people who dress like this all of the time?), his boots were Katie's (now outgrown) and his hat was a most fortuitous Dollarama find, but his holster and guns, we went to multiple toy and department stores before finally finding this set at a costume shop (and overpriced at that). Crazy, I guess cowboys aren't popular any more. Pity.

The trick or treated with C for more than an hour (in lovely mild weather) and brought home heaps of candy and crap.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thanksgiving camping trip

We decided to take a little camping trip for Thanksgiving, all 5 of us. We love camping, and we all have good quality warm sleeping bags so we weren't worried about being cold. We chose Cedar Point State Park, not too far away, and reasonably close to Watertown, where we could do a little shopping. Our site was right on the water, so we'd have nice views, maybe some pretty sunsets....

We arrived rather later than we'd hoped Friday and were a little disappointed with our site, it was on the water, sure, but it was at the edge of the park, there was a cottage right beside it (like RIGHT beside it) and it was flanked by giant campers (we were tent camping). Still, we were undeterred, set up the tents and stuff in the dark and settled in. The next morning we were surprised by the wind, a near constant wind that blew across the water, but we figured it was just a windy day.

The park had some family fun activities that morning - costumes, clowns, crafts and lots of snacks, the kids had a blast. In the afternoon we drove into Watertown, shopped, had dinner at Olive Garden (a total highlight!) and returned to the campground after dark.... to this.

The constant wind had strengthened and blown down both of our tents. C and James fought with them for a few minutes before realizing that the wind was just too strong, we wouldn't be able to keep them standing. Thankfully the park operators were completely understanding and switched us to a site further inland, away from the wind. Threw everything into the car and moved across the park, setting up the tents in the dark, again.

Sunday we did nothing! The new site was much better, no wind, no neighbours, lovely view of the sheltered marina. It was really cold Sunday, but with a fire blazing and sweaters on we huddled together, played cards and washers, drank, ate like pigs and relaxed. Sunday is the day I'll remember when I look back on this trip (hopefully I'll be laughing about the tents blowing down by then!) And yes, despite everything, I hope we go camping for Thanksgiving again next year. But next time we'll know which sites to choose...

Friday, September 14, 2012

A sweet little girly quilt

Another little quilty, this one for a lovely lovely lady in my office who is having her first long awaited baby (a girl!) in early October (yes, two pregnant ladies in my office, both having girls, both were due only 6 weeks apart).

As soon as Nabila announced the pregnancy I ordered these fabrics from Sarah Jane Studios and crossed my fingers that she was having a girl (she is!) I chose a very simple square in square pattern so that I could highlight fussy cut squares of the sweet little girl and little outfit images from the fabric. And though it turned out a little smaller (it measures about 36" x 45") I'm super pleased with it.

Kind of bummed that I didn't take a picture of the back before I gifted it though... it's simple, but sweet, half pink, half baby blue with a strip of the balloon print fabric in between. I love piecing backs that are (almost) as cute as the fronts, it's like getting two quilts in one!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A little Labour Day cottaging

Spent Labour Day weekend at the cottage. Hadn't been in more than a year! It was a quiet weekend, the wind was incredible, which made some amazing waves for my little boogie boarders.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Baby cakes!

There was a baby shower at the office today for a sweet coworker and I brought cupcakes. I saw these on Pinterest and was dying to recreate them.

Mine were a little less, uhm, professional looking.

She appreciated the thought anyway :) (I also made lemon cupcakes with lemon frosting which were divine)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to school

Another summer is in the history books as the bits return to school, grades 6 and 4.

And for a smile: Back to school through the years... (click for larger)

Friday, August 10, 2012


We've finally had a little rain and my garden is so very happy because of it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Date Week 2012 - Date #5

For today's date night C and I took in the last concert of ChamberFest, a French quartet called Quatuor Ebène (along with guest pianist and violinist). The concert took place in gorgeous Dominion-Chalmers United Church, which has acoustics to die for!

A man seated beside us kept complaining about the musicians' interpretation of the pieces they were playing (which was very fresh and different, quite exciting!). He said "it doesn't even sound like Tchaikovsky, Tchaikovsky should sound prayerful". I wanted to tell him that prayer doesn't have to be solemn, that prayer can be joyful and uplifting, but I didn't have the balls. He moved during the intermission anyway so I didn't need to endure his critique of the Chausson piece (which was one I'd never heard before, and it was crazy good!).

And so ends date week 2012. It was a wonderful week, filled with tons of fun things, but the best part was just being with my honey.

(FYI: Quatuor ébène means 'ebony quartet'. You're welcome)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Date Week 2012 - Date #4

Tonight's date was a bit of a ménage à trois since Big J was in town, but no less enjoyable. We started off having dinner at Buffet des Continents, then we had reserved seating for Les grands feux du Casino du Lac-Leamy, which is an annual international fireworks competition.


We saw Zaragozana perform, representing Spain. Their theme was 'A cruise on the Mediterranean Sea', the soundtrack featured music and sound effects meant to evoke the various countries along the Mediterranean. It was FAB-U-LOUS!!


It rained earlier in the afternoon, which meant for the evening performance the humidity was gone, we were dry and comfy.

We have been to this fireworks competition in the past, but have viewed it from the beach (general admission) or from a bridge nearby (aka for free), seeing it in the reserved seating, so that the music was perfectly timed with the explosions, so that the presentation faced you and could be viewed as intended, oh it was just a whole new level of amazing!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Date Week 2012 - Date #3

For date #3 we took a loooooong drive. First we stopped in for lunch with my parents (it'd have been rude to drive right by them without stopping n'est-ce pas?) Then we drove into Toronto. The whole city is like one big flashback to my formative years...

We met up with friends of C's for appetizers and drinks, at Jack Astors. We sat on the patio, chatting and people watching, it was quite lovely.

Then we had tickets to see WarHorse at the Princess of Wales theatre, It was so wonderful!

I've been a theatre buff my whole life, but theatre in Ottawa is twice the price of theatre in Toronto, for far, far fewer shows (and often of lesser quality). I don't miss living in the GTA, not really, but I do miss the theatre.

10 hours round trip is kind of crazy just for a show, but 10 hours of chatting with C, with no one in the back seat bickering or offering up an unsolicited opinion was a rare and lovely treat.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Date Week 2012 - Date #2

Can't really call this one date 'night' :) It's a statutory holiday today in Ontario, but not in Quebec, so we started our day together with a very romantic trip to Costco in Gatineau :) Hehehe.

Afterwards, we went back to the cinema to try our luck at seeing The Dark Knight Rises and found it far less crowded (it was early afternoon). Surprisingly I really enjoyed the movie. And the popcorn was fantastic. I'm not a huge fan of theatre popcorn, it's generally greasy and gross, but this was just perfect.

We came home and spent a quiet evening in, eating butter chicken in front of the tube while watching DVRed episodes of Swamp People. Date week rocks!

(The French version of The Dark Knight Rises is called L'ascension du Chevalier noir, which is kind of sexy sounding. Now you know!)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Date Week 2012 - Date #1!!

Put the bits on the bus at 6:00 tonight for a week of sleepaway camp (at Camp de l'amitié, just like in 2011, and Katie alone in 2010 and 2009), and just like last year when both went away we are celebrating date week!

As soon as the buses pulled away C and I headed out for our first date of Date Week 2012. We had a Dealfind voucher for a little Italian restaurant downtown called Dantessa. It was dim and moody, and had a pretty good house red :) The waiter was strange, really strange, but the food was excellent. I had fettuccine in a cream sauce with spinach, red onion, tomato and shrimp (I wanted the lobster stuffed agnolotti but alas, they were all out. Next time...). We enjoyed an unhurried meal where no one once said 'put your bum on the chair' or 'use your fork'.

After dinner we headed out to the cinema with the intention of seeing The Dark Night... along with 2/3rds of Ottawa it seems. The theatre was jam-packed and the movie sold out! So a quiet night in it was, curled up on the couch watching Thor (aka über-hot guy and the hammer).

I might have a little bit of a crush on the actor who plays Thor. Ahem. Also - I'm a reasonably intelligent person and I have no idea what the heck was going on in that movie. Not that it really mattered since über-hot guy took off his shirt.

A perfect start to date week 2012, me and my honey.

And über-hot guy. :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A little quilty for a baby-to-be

A lovely lady at work is expecting her first baby, a girl. As soon as she announced the pregnancy I knew I needed to make a little quilty for the bundle of joy.


I chose the New Wave pattern from Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson. I modified it slightly to get the finished size I wanted (about 45" x 48"). It's constructed with fabrics from Connecting Threads featuring cupcakes and ice cream and macarons, how better to celebrate a 'sweet' baby? I love the colours too, a rosey pink, aqua and cream, all grounded with a chocolately brown, feminine without being cloyingly sweet.

The back is a stripe of the focal fabrics from the front, along with two big patches of solids in the same rosey pink and aqua. I love the back, it's simple and soothing, but still visually appealing. Really, I think you could use both sides!

Edited to add: it has been received by the mama, who was pleased :) Now the countdown is on for baby's arrival!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic emotion


The Olympics bring me back to when I was young and believed all things were possible...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Keeping Cool...

It's been obscenely hot (and dry) here so far this summer, today's forecast high was 35C. At least we're getting good use out of the pool.

(Love the masks :) Jonah prefers these to regular goggles, frees his hands from having to plug his nose when he jumps off the diving board!)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012


My sweet niece (and her momma, my sweet sister-in-law) are visiting :) Pretty Maya, she's a brown-haired clone of my brother at that age. It's been wonderful having her here, but boy I'd forgotten how busy 2 year olds can be!


Sunday, June 24, 2012


Yet another step in my transformation to 'country girl', this year I'm seriously gardening, not just my little patch of strawberries and tomatoes, but a large 7.5 x 24 foot garden, filled with tomatoes, carrots, radishes, zucchini, cucumber, squash, radish, cauliflower and beans. It's a little daunting, it requires more upkeep than I imagined, the weeds grow faster than I thought possible, faster than the vegetables, and the soil is seemingly perpetually parched. But I love it. There is something humbling about coaxing an envelope of seeds and a chunk of dirt to produce food. Weeding it is hot and dirty, but with my ipod it's also so very meditative and very calming, and it's just what I need.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

40 things at 40

Today is my 40th birthday. I know 40 is when people start panicking about all of the things they should have accomplished by this point in their lives but honestly I'm so involved in the day to day 'doing' that I haven't started to obsess about the lack of 'done'. Maybe it's denial? It doesn't help that in my head I'm still a wide-eyed child, trying to navigate this big world.

In honour of 40, I'm going to navel gaze and offer up 40 things about me at 40.

1. When my mother was my age she was already a grandmother. I don't even want to think about what that means.

2. I hate surprise parties, I think that each human should have no more than 1 in their lifetime. We have friends who throw each other surprise birthday parties every year. Now the surprise will be when they stop.

3. I'm the absolute definition of an introvert, when I get tired or stressed or overwhelmed I need to be alone. I can see that very same trait in two of my three kids.

4. I love Brussels sprouts, steamed with butter, yes please!

5. I am simultaneously smarter and more naive than you think.

6. I'm messy.

7. I am incredibly sarcastic. Age has taught me to be cautious because a whole lot of people don't understand sarcasm.

8. I think I'm funny. I've been blessed/cursed with a familial dry wit, which makes for hysterical family gatherings, but which is grossly under appreciated by the world at large....

9. Typos and spelling errors jump off the page at me. I try not to be a douche about it, but they drive me mental, especially when they are published by a 'reputable business' (Ottawa Sun I'm looking at you).

10. I hate wearing socks. Shoes are only moderately tolerable.

11. I have a ridiculous amount of my brain cells dedicated to song lyrics. I only have to hear a song once or twice to commit most or all of it to memory. There are thousands and thousands of songs floating around in there.

12. I consider myself both artsy and crafty. I don't see any reason why I can't enjoy both.

13. I love kitsch and tchotchkes. I fear that someday I'll be featured on an episode of Hoarders.

14. I’m hugely proud to be Canadian and unabashedly a monarchist.

15. I hate shopping for clothing and shoes, and have no interest in designer handbags.

16. I feel a deep pull to live near the ocean. I make do with rivers and lakes, but the ocean is always calling.

17. I've been hearing impaired since I was a young child. I'm reluctant to tell people because so often it changes the way they treat me. I don't need you to yell at me or over-enunciate your words. Just face me and don't cover your mouth with your hand. I'll do the rest.

18. I'm a Trekkie. I've even been to a convention.

19. In the 7th grade I had to present a song to my class - play a recording, hand out a lyric sheet and explain what it meant. I chose "Bohemian Rhapsody". I wonder what poor Mrs Stewart was thinking while I cheerfully dissected "Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me"?

20. I swear like a sailor. In my defence, I come from a long line of prolific cussers.

21. I dislike television. I can't tolerate any show that subjects any of the characters (or contestants) to any amount of embarrassment or ridicule, no matter how seemingly minor. It is physically painful for me to watch. That means I'm pretty much limited to documentaries and live sports (and even that can be iffy).

22. I love hockey! I love the swish of the blades on the ice, the crash of bodies into the board, the earnest commentators and bizarre stats keeping. I love it live, I love it televised, I love it on static-y AM radio.

23. I listen to a LOT of radio.

24. I used to sing. I miss that part of my life, but I don't think I can get past the mental block that made me stop. Not yet anyway.

25. I wish I was a better mom.

26. I think my kids are the most amazing people on the planet.

27. I get carsick really easily.

28. I love Christmas. Easter, Hallowe'en, Valentine's day, I can take or leave any of those, but Christmas is special. If I had my way I'd put the tree up in October and not take it down until March. Fortunately the other people in my house are not on board with that idea.

29. I don't eat chocolate, but there isn't much that I wouldn't do for a potato chip.

30. I'm a night owl. 20 years of trying to train myself to be a morning person have been utterly unsuccessful.

31. When I was 10 years old my greatest wish was to perform on stage with Michael Jackson. Let that roll around in your head a moment. That's just scary on many levels.

32. I'm a complete sucker for sunsets.

33. I love photography. I've been enamoured with cameras and film (and later developing and photoshop) since I was 4 years old.

34. I spent part of many summers at a camp for the arts near Haliburton. I count those times among my fondest memories, surrounded by creative people who shared my passion.

35. I'm a doodler. I have a pen in my hand at every meeting and during every phone call. The margins of every notebook I own are filled with geometric shapes and tiny people.

36. I cry really easily. Movies. The theatre. Commercials. Remembering commercials. Blogging about remembering commercials.

37. I dream of climbing into the car, me, the man, the bits, and heading out on a real old fashioned road trip. I think what stops me is the knowledge that it wouldn't be anything like my dreams, that it would be filled with bickering kids, bad diner food and camping in the rain. But still, it's there, and some day I might be crazy enough to try it.

38. I'm painfully shy.

39. I spent half of grade school and all of high school in a class for gifted children. I know, I can only think that I made quite a few really lucky guesses on that IQ test.

40. I'm grateful to have won the birth lottery, to have been born into comfort (if not wealth), into a free and safe society, into a loving and crazy family, to be surrounded by friends, an amazing husband, wonderful children, to have a nice home and a good job, a full pantry, a full belly, a full heart.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A quiet evening at the fair

The Gloucester Fair came to town. I bought passes for the kids a month and a half ago (a group*n, buy one get one free). We didn't tell them, preferring to surprise them (which almost backfired, sigh, but in the end it was fine).

The day started in typical fashion, with Katie clamouring for the bit kid rides and Jonah happy on the little kids rides, but less than an hour into the trip Jonah began to hint that he might be willing to give a couple of the tamer big kid rides a try. And it was remarkable, each one he tried built his confidence more and he ended up riding all but three (the three that flip upside down, I can't say I blame him on that!)

This was Jonah's favourite ride at the Gloucester Fair. Before one ride, he was strapped in and waiting to start and I was standing on the other side of the fence and he said to me loudly (because Jonah only has one volume level) "Mama you should ride this, it makes you feel like you're hammered', and all of the blood drained from my face and I envisioned visits from CAS, then he continued "like when it spins and I hammer into the person next to me!". Shit my kid says...

For whatever reason, opening day was absolutely dead, the kids never once stood in line to get on the rides and more often than not they were the only people on the ride. For a crowd-hating person like me it was fantastic! It was sunny and warm but not too hot, the absolute perfect day for a spring fair, and yet no one showed up. I'm going to call that a little gift just for me :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Tulips in my garden.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Alone vs lonely

C and I were discussing the difference between alone and lonely. I was often alone as a child, but I never remember being lonely. Here in my cookie cutter cube, in a nondescript building in a dishwater dull complex of nondescript buildings occupied by tens of thousands of workers... Here I feel lonely.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Playing with a new kitchen toy!

Making our first batch of castoreum-free ice cream :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

More trophies for the shelf :)

My two little bits came home from today's bowling banquet with another armload of hardware :)

Princess' team was the bantam division champion. As well she won for girl's high double with a 308. Wookie won for boy's high double at 297, which is even more impressive when you take into consideration that he's one of the youngest bantams and is competing against kids 2+ years older. The both also received perfect attendance awards, which really should go to C and me for schlepping them there every weekend!

And so another year of bowling comes to a close. Just in time for soccer to start Monday. The fun never ends :)