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...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A hockey icon retires

Daniel Alfredsson was the captain of the Ottawa Senators for 14 years, by all accounts a truly amazing guy. I'll never know what happened to make him leave Ottawa and play his last season in Detroit, the media says money but I imagine it had more to do with respect. Whatever the case may be, it appears that fences were mended between Alfie and the organization because he signed a 1 day contract with the Sens so that he could retire as a Senator.

As soon as we heard the news we bought tickets. We had to be there to see it. And it didn't disappoint.

He didn't actually play in the game, only skated in the warm up, but the atmosphere was electric. It was packed beyond capacity, everyone screaming and chanting, 'Alfie, Alfie, Alfie!' Then after the warm up there was a ceremony with him and his family at centre ice (his 4 little boys all wore Karlsson jerseys, which was a nice touch). It was a really great evening.

(Then the Sens lost the game that followed. Sigh.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Lights Across Canada

All across Canada government buildings turn on their Christmas lights for the first time each year together, at the same time. In Ottawa it's, of course, a big old ceremony (ANY excuse for a ceremony in Ottawa, I kid you not), and they call it Christmas Lights Across Canada. This year was particularly special because the Princess was performing along with her school choir at the ceremony on Parliament Hill. So, of course, we braved the cold to see it :)

(She's one of the red blobs, middle/right. My kit lens has decided it's unhappy with focussing in cold weather. Not that I blame it, but it makes for some strange looking zoom shots).

Even apart from enjoying her performance it was a fun night. There were candles for everyone in the audience, free hot chocolate and beavertails (we didn't get a beavertail, the line was absolutely obscene).

And of course Parliament itself was magnificent when they turned on the lights and projectors. I really do love living here.

Even if it's freezing 6+ months of the year...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Camping in the Adirondacks

A Canadian Thanksgiving getaway to Lake Eaton in the Adirondacks, all 5 of us.


It was phenomenally beautiful there, the fall leaves were at peak colour, the campground was mostly empty so it was super quiet.


We had to make a trip out to Tail of the Pup while we were in the area, and it didn't disappoint. Even with my ongoing stomach issues I was able to enjoy an amazing seafood meal (though I had to share the platter with James because I need to keep my fat intake to a bare minimum until the surgery).


Lake Saranac, on our return trip to the park after dinner.


I definitely want to come back here, such a beautiful place...


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.