Saturday, December 17, 2011

sh** storm

to date i have made:
14 hats with beards and 10 bracelets

need to make:
doll, doll clothes, doll bedding, hair accessories, 4 pouches, hat with beard, ipod case, 2 wallets, scarf

need to do:
clean house, find christmas decorations, put up tree, plan christmas menu, buy presents, wrap presents, breathe


Friday, September 30, 2011


my birthday was lovely. a transformer (to play with my little boy), an itunes card (to buy more disco music to educate my big boy with), and a book (to read with my girl). but the one thing i can't seem to put down is the kobo reader. when i ask "have you seen my books?" the family knows just what item i'm in search of. it's pretty fantastic to have a ton of books literally at my fingertips. the little pouch i made the next day so i can carry it with me always. i found the tutorial on sew mama sew.

Monday, September 26, 2011

stepping up

Carrie Gelson of Seymour Elementary, Vancouver, BC
(photo: Mark van Manen/PNG) Story by Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun
while getting my two smaller kids to their school today, i heard a story on CBC radio about an elementary school teacher who has written an open letter to the people of vancouver. grab some tissue and go read it, i'll wait.

when i moved to vancouver i was a single mom and it took my entire wages just to pay the rent but i had some savings and eventually i was able to find a job with an adequate salary and medical benefits. i had family and friends and a great daycare to help me with my son and still things could be very challenging. i try to imagine what it would be like not to have a job, a warm and safe home, weather appropriate clothing, and healthy food and it makes my heart ache. how would it feel to be a child and not have enough to eat or proper clothing? in vancouver? in canada?

when i got home my oldest son and i gathered up all the extra boots, mittens, gloves, and hats we had around the house. we packed them up and went to the nearest dollar store to buy more gloves and new socks and delivered it all to seymour elementary school.

i'm sure that there are many schools in vancouver and indeed, in any other city, which could use help to make sure that kids are fed and properly clothed. my family is going to do what we can. we are going to step up.

Friday, September 23, 2011

busy busy

from: momAgenda
it's was a busy summer. and fall is shaping up to be full as well. but happily so. september feels like a fresh start when you live with a teacher and kids. my resolution is to be better organized and to that end i got myself a momAgenda. it helps me keep track of everything, including meal planning, kid's activities, birthdays, etc. the entire family (except for the pre-schooler) is using a planner or agenda of some sort and it has been great for all of us.

my oldest has started his last year of school and my youngest has started his first year. my best girl is loving grade two. so still another fifteen years of lunches and driving....but i am enjoying the mornings alone. there is a master list of organizing/cleaning/maintenance in my agenda and i am striking things off task by task. very satisfying. i am excited about reaquainting myself with my sewing machines/knittiing needles/etsy/blogging.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

old dogs can learn new tricks

my lovely husband and kids were away for a week. did i go out and party? did i clean out the garage? did i organize the closets? did i sew? NO.  i learned how to use google sketchup. so much fun.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

can't wait to make

the postman very nearly got a big hug this morning. i ordered print workshop several months ago but it was out of stock. and i hesitated on 1 2 3 sew as i can already sew but it has a lot to teach. Ellen (of the longthread blog) is the only other person that i know of who sews zippers into pouches and bags in the same way that i do. both books are filled with great projects, clear instructions and a ton of inspiration. i have so much admiration for people with the ability to come up with creative ideas and who then are willing to share them with others in such a clear and approachable way.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

lucky number 7

happy birthday to my best girl. you are sweet, clever, kind, funny, and so creative. may you always be as happy and carefree as you are right now. i feel so lucky to be your mom.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


this summer has not provided me with many opportunities to sew. there are stacks of fabric ready, patterns chosen, and notions bought but i have yet to make something for myself. i sewed this cushion cover and bolster cover for a friend and her family. i love her fabric choices - ikea, i still love you! - and it looks so cheerful in their new gorgeous house. absolutely cheerful and the perfect spot to read a book or have a cocktail.

Friday, July 1, 2011

happy canada day

from: Nicole Tarasick
wishing everyone a fantastic canada day. i feel so lucky to call this place home.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

happy father's day

happy father's day to the father of our three. please grow the fu again this summer - you're the brave man who can! i'm so lucky!
and a happy father's day to my dad - you taught me how to tie a tie, check the fluids on my car, and to put things back where they belong. wish you weren't moving so far away.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

we want the cup

i can't stand the tension much longer.. in 6 hours or so the puck will drop in the stanley cup final. the canucks are celebrating their 40th anniversary and if (when) we win it will be the first time ever.  my husband is going and i am green with envy.

it's great to see how the canucks quest for the cup has brought everyone together this hockey season. the city is a sea of green and blue gear. throughout the year the players and canucks organization do so much for this city and province. canuck place, support for kids with mental health concerns, and kids and families facing autism are just some of the ways the team contributes to the greater community.

i will be watching at home with the kids and hope to join all our neighbors out on the street to celebrate our win!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh Happy Day goes to Paris - yes, the one in France

from famille summerbelle

jordan ferney of oh happy day is offering the most generous of give-a-ways. a trip for two to Paris. i was there at age 12 and then again on my honeymoon. oh how i yearn to visit again. if i were to win this contest i would love to go with my mom. she's an artist with a degree in history in art and we haven't travelled together in a very long time. i'm sure sure that my husband and i visit Paris again and there are plans to take the kids in a few years, but a trip with my mom would be the trip of a lifetime for us both. try your luck at:

Friday, June 10, 2011

birthday party prep

been busy prepping for my best girl's birthday party tomorrow. can you tell the theme is "rainbow carnival"?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

lovely lucky day

today has been a great day. woke up to my first fabric sale on etsy - thank you kind new yorker (that's a person, not the magazine). kids were very cooperative this morning. had a great day at work. made plans to play hookie with my kids to meet up with our dearest friends tomorrow. and heard from two potential clients for my interior design business. oh yeah, and it is sunny and warm. lovely.

i'm off to buy lottery tickets!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

smells like spring

it's finally starting to warm up. this is our second spring in this house and it's still a bit of a surprise to see what comes up in the front garden. so happy to have some colour. time to plant the vegetable garden. the kids have some definite ideas about what they would like. the three year old was quite sad to hear that a pineapple tree would not grow in our yard.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Easter Good Cake

we're doing easter dinner tonight so i've been baking and cooking and cleaning for two days.

     maple glazed ham
     scalloped potatoes
     roasted asparagus
     creamed corn
     minted spring peas
     ginger honey carrots
     buttermilk biscuits

grande finale:
     chocolate pecan pie
     coconut lemon chiffon cake


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

spring fever = itchy fingers

spring is here and the knitting has been packed away in the craftcrap closet. and with the canucks in the stanley cup playoffs i needed something to take the edge off while cheering on my team as i can't take the tension. my playoff plan this year was to load up on linen and embroidery floss and just experiment. these will likely become one of a kind pouches.

i know i'm not the only one to be inspired by the Penguins Classics covers by Jillian Tamaki. so stunning and inspiring. i would never get rid of my dog-eared copies but... maybe just get these to display.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

saturday sewing: collaboration

when the weather is a little gloomy i like to do a little saturday sewing. we are going to a birthday party at a pony stable tomorrow and needed a gift for our little cousin. my best girl entirely designed this: drew pictures, chose the fabrics and selected the button. it was so fun to see her working so hard to get it just the way she envisioned. i was happy to supply sewing labour. she's a bit of a taskmaster but to her credit, she let me have lots of coffee breaks. she put a little toy horse in the purse as a little surprise. sweet. but the best part, my best girl asked me to teach her how to sew. my heart is pinching with happiness.

and.... finally, after great deliberation (and much procrastination) i activated my etsy shop. in the near future i will be selling the things i make but for the time being i am selling some vintage Japanese fabric packs. my mom brought these gorgeous linens and cottons home to Canada with her with the intention of me making some quilts. i have a ton of fabric and have saved my favourites but i would like to see these fabrics go to someone who will make something fantastic. a quilt, some zakka goods, a patchwork pillow cover, a bag.... so many possibilities.
ok, now time for another saturday tradition, the saturday siesta!

Monday, March 21, 2011

lady date

my best girl and i haven't had a lot of time together these days. she has been very ill for the last few weeks. but spring break has started and we are healthy and having fun. we made sweet sushi the other day. a little messy but oh so good.

Sweet sushi recipe

- 1" slices of poundcake, cut into 1 1/2" rounds with a cookie cutter
- white icing
- sweetened coconut
- fruit leather (the thinner the better)
- assorted candy: swedish fish, jellies etc.

Ice the tops of the cake rounds and wrap fruit leather around the outside using a dab of icing to hold it in place. (we used real fruit leather and it was so thick that we had to use toothpicks).
Top with coconut. place a "fish" or cut up candy on top. Enjoy.

best girl and i finally had our lady date on saturday - and she entirely decided what we would do. we took the skytrain to the vancouver art gallery and saw the ken lum exhibition - fantastic.

ken lum
 and the WE: Vancouver Manifesto which included the work of Natalie Purschwitz who made all her clothes for a year. even shoes!

once we saw everything (and I mean everything) at the VAG we went for sushi on robson street, then some shopping at h&m, holt renfrew, and sephora. so all in all, a great time. a very girly time. i wondered what would inspire her - the next day she made a maze for her little brother's cars out of all manner of found objects, organized some of her clothes into 'outfits', and helped her dad make dinner. so she must have been inspired and really, what could be better than that?

Friday, March 11, 2011


some treasures from japan
what terrible news from Japan today. i am really thinking about everyone there and their friends and family. my husband's aunt is from Sendai and i'm sure that she is very worried about her family there. and this just weeks after the Christchurch quake. a former colleague from my teaching days in japan was escorting a group of 22 japanese students - he is safe but half of their group was not found alive - so sad and shocking.

i was living in japan when the kobe earthquake struck - there were friends we never heard from again. but japanese people are nothing if not cooperative and resourceful. they will work together to rescue each other and rebuild their communities. our family will be doing what it can by contributing to the Red Cross.

Monday, January 31, 2011

i heart art

for my best girl's 6th birthday (waaay back when it was warm and sunny) we had an art party at Collage Collage for a few of her friends. i made the bag, pencil roll, and pencil case. the apron and art supplies were bought at the local dollar store. it's a real sign of how unorganized i have let things get - i just found the extra goodie bag when i did the 'big craft closet clean out of 2011' the other week!

Monday, January 17, 2011

saturday sewing

one benefit of the rainy saturday was some making time. i made this bag for my sister's birthday present. the pattern is from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. i followed it almost exactly but added a zippered pocket and a magnetic snap closure. it was very straightforward and easier to sew leather than i expected - just need a special needle.
the entire project cost under $20 so i covered three of my 2011 sewing intentions:
  1. make birthday presents (and cards, too)
  2. sew a leather bag
  3. stick to a budget - be more thoughtful of how i spend my money
obviously, the intention to take better photos is a work in progress...                                    

Friday, January 14, 2011

tutorial: towel trimming

here's a quick and easy tutorial for trimming towels. just in case you want to designate your very own towels from all the other towels in the house. after all, who knows how well your toddler is washing his little paws?


 - towel (pre-shrunk) - i used an ikea hand towel 15" wide x 22" long

 - border fabric: cotton fabric (pre-shrunk) the width of your towel plus 1" and two times the depth of the border you would like plus 1/2". - my border strip was 3" deep x 23" long and the finished sized was 1 1/2" x 22".

- fabric loop: 3" x 5" cotton fabric (pre-shrunk)

- sewing machine, measuring tape or ruler, scissors, pins, handsewing needle, thread to match cotton trimming fabric, iron

1. fold the fabric in half lengthwise and press. press in each long side 1/4". fold in each short  end of fabric 1/2" and press - the strip should be only slightly longer than the towel edge.

 2. lay the towel edge over one side of the fabric strip. the strip should be just slightly longer than the towel.

3.  pin through all layers, keeping the edges of the fabric trim strip lined up.

4. carefully sew along the edge of the fabric trim strip making sure to catch all the layers of fabric and towel. backstich at the begining and end.

5. with a handsewing needle, slipstitch the ends of the fabric trim stitch closed.
ta da! there is your towel, just for you! if you want to add a loop, continue on...

6. for the fabric loop: fold the 3"x5" fabric piece in half lenthwise and press. press both long edges in to the centre fold and press again. sew along the long edge.

7. center the loop on the center of the towel edge with about 1 1/2" space between each end. pin and stitch along the towel hem line, backstitching at the beginning and end.

8) fold over the fabric loop and stitch along the edge of the towel, backstitching at the beginning and end.

9) fold it the way you want or hang it from a hook so high no toddler can reach it. make it really girly and chances are your husband or teenage son will not touch it either. just hoping...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

wool in a new way

from: crafted systems

from: crafted systems
amazing and made from wool felt. aurelie tu works with women in transition at a ywca in portland, oregon to create amazing products from textiles. i would love any of the pieces they make. beautiful and helping women find their way. i know how much 'making' helps me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

first you need the right tools

from: kata bags
 we bought our camera almost two years ago and i have yet to take a course or fully comprehend the manual. (why do they not provide you with a proper sturdy waterproof spiral bound manual???). the main reason i have not practised much is the too small and unwieldy camera bag we've had. carrying that and a purse/bag was just not conducive to taking pics. i just bought this camera bag today and it holds the camera, extra lens and batteries and cards, the manual, cords, video camera, my phone, sunglasses, wallet, a snack, and an extra diaper for my constant assistant/model. smidgebox - you inspire me! maybe next year i will try 365 too.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


here's the first sunset of 2011 from my front steps. what a day it's been - a great start for the new decade.
it was a fantastic new year's eve: sukiyaki and wii tournament. the cold and clear new year's day found us geocaching in the park. we left origami cranes for the next people to find the caches we found.