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Archive for February, 2009

Snowing again

It is snowing here again and we are expecting more overnight. We are planning to stay home tomorrow, as much as Pip loves preschool, rather than risk the snowy roads. She now has her own little snow shovel and is very excited at the prospect of shovelling snow with Daddy. Of course, the snow comes just days after the shovels were returned to the shed at the top of the garden!

A little more snow than anticipated.

A little more snow than anticipated.

Hopefully the snow will be sufficient to allow for snow-man making, but it would be nice if it all melted tomorrow night. I have found a running buddy and we are going for our first outdoor run together on Saturday morning. I feel quite bad about leaving DH with the children at the weekend, as that is precious family time, but I need to get outside for a practice run and find out how different it is to running on the treadmill. I know it is going to be a challenge, as half of it will be uphill, her legs are about twice the length of mine, and we will be in public! It is probably a good thing that I don’t know too many people here, as I hope no one will recognize my beetroot face and wobbly-legged stumble! I have to keep reminding myself that at least I am doing it.

Postscript: I added the above picture this morning. We definitely have enough snow for making a snowman! I spent about an hour clearing the snow from the driveway and the path. There is really a lot!

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More gift ideas

Tomorrow we are going to a birthday party for a 3 year old girl. I was intending to make a crayon roll, and had even cut the fabric out ready, but changed my mind at the last minute and made a colouring bag instead. This is a bag with pockets on the side for her crayons and space on the inside for her colouring books so she can take what she needs and go. I used the same combination of fabrics, because I know this little sweetheart likes things pink and girly!

Colouring bag

Colouring bag

Apron

Apron

As mentioned previously, we have also given crayon rolls, hand-tied tutus, aprons, bibs and bags. Actually, what I find really awesome is that people have started to ask me to make things for them to give as gifts. How cool is that!

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Like most people with young children, throughout the year we are invited to numerous birthday parties and trying to think of ideas for birthday gifts is sometimes a challenge. Admittedly, it is somewhat easier now that I make most gifts myself. I do this because I genuinely enjoy making things and really love being able to give something unique that I have made myself. I am also keen to avoid filling other peoples’ houses with yet more plastic toys. It would undoubtedly be easier and probably cheaper to go and buy something, but I don’t do that anymore. I often worry that our offerings will look paltry in comparison to some of the other glitzy, popular gifts, but I know the time and effort involved and am pretty sure that the things I have made will be around and in use long after the battery-operated, plastic things have died or lost their appeal.

We have given handmade aprons, bibs, bags, tutus and crayon rolls. Our most recent party was for the 5th birthday of one of Pip’s friends. Her mom had a special request: J. really wanted the outfit from the Backyardigans’ Volcano Sisters. I had to Google it to find an image: http://shop.nickjr.com/sm-the-backyardigans-the-legend-of-the-volcano-sisters-dvd–pi-2559992.html

This is what I came up with:

Custom request Backyardigans costume

Custom request Backyardigans costume

The headdress is constructed of layers of felt and raffia. The dress itself became a challenge when my daughter refused to give up the original dress, so I have to come up with another one the night before the party. This is made from an old sarong. The main body sections were cut to highlight the motif on the sarong, but the fringed hem was running in the opposite direction, so I had to sew them on as a band. It was good in that I then didn’t have to hem the dress. The upper section of the dress has facing for stability. I used Simplicity pattern 5489. The sash is the model’s own!

When I can work out how to put several images together, I will do a post with pics of some of the other things we give.

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We do not go in for the disposable consumerism of these “special” days. I see no point in spending money on masses of paper cards to be handed out to all and sundry, then promptly discarded. It encourages the kind of disposable culture that has landed the world in so much trouble. It is easy to get caught up in all the hype and fuss, but we are trying to set a good example for our children – and we are trying to be better ourselves. I do, however, appreciate that cards are cheap, convenient and really quick and that not everyone has the time or love of sewing that I do!
Yes, it is nice to show your friends how much they mean to you, but personally, Valentine’s is about romantic love and if you need to wait until February 14th to show your partner you care, then something is missing! Perhaps it is just that I am quite materialistic and would much rather have a nice set of saucepans than a bunch of roses and some chocolate…. Eight years later we still use those pans every day!
It was the preschool party this week and we found a way of going along with it all, without succumbing to the purchase of cards that will be thrown away in a few days. What’s worse is that almost all the cards are basically just advertisements for the characters and shows we avoid! Instead, I made a batch of heart-shaped felt ornaments for Pip to give to her friends. So far she is happy with my craftiness and hasn’t asked to have the same as everyone else. Long may it continue (please!!).

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day

We also made some cupcakes for the preschool party and had lots of fun doing it! Then we made a heart-shaped cake which was turned into a chocolate cherry trifle. Yum! The girls, of course, had to test the batter, after the mix was poured into the cake pan, by rolling up their sleeves and getting right into the bowl! A few minutes later and there was chocolate everywhere!

testing the batter

testing the batter

Cupcakes for preschool party

Cupcakes for preschool party

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The title says it all. It has been nearly 4 years since I last saw this amazing woman, who has inspired me far more than she will ever know. She plays a cracking game of Scrabble, too!

Gran, me and Pip

Gran, me and Pip

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On missing Dad

No light-hearted, crafty posts tonight, so please feel free to stop reading now if you are feeling jolly.

Today is the 3rd anniversary of Dad being taken away in an ambulance. Little did we know that he would never return home. He passed away 2 weeks later in the Palliative Care Unit of our local hospital. I know that it was his time and that it finally brought an end to his suffering, but I still miss him every day and wish it could have been different. He was only 59 when he died, but he did more in those 59 years than many people do with decades more.

Dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in March 2001. I am eternally thankful that the Canadian health care system enabled him to have a stem cell transplant which gave him 5 more years with us. When people say they have no regrets, I often wonder whether they have lost anyone close to them. Even though I saw him nearly every day after I moved back to Canada, I regret not spending more time with him, not asking him more about his thoughts, feelings, about his life before we came along. I regret every impatient, stroppy word. He could be very exasperating at times, as can I, but we didn’t clash very often. Fortunately, I have far more things to be thankful for – he lived to walk me down the garden (no aisle for us!) on my wedding day. He was still here when I took over hosting of family gatherings such as Christmas dinner and never criticized my cooking, though he thought the house was too cold! He lived to see the birth of our first daughter and was able to watch her grow from a sick little baby to an energetic, healthy, beautiful toddler. He was so very proud of her. One of the things I am most thankful for is that she still remembers visiting him, sitting on his knee with a snack and the pair of them watching Wallace and Gromit together. She still associates certain cookies with Granddad.

I have always been relatively emotional, but was unprepared for the depth of grief I experienced in the months following his death. Immediately afterwards it was actually a relief, as he was in so much pain, but couldn’t speak or move or open his eyes. I think he held on until we all had a chance to say goodbye.

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Simple pleasures

We are thinking about cancelling our cable plan, seeing how much the girls enjoyed watching the new washing machine in action last night!

Simple pleasures

Simple pleasures

We still need to install the dryer and shelving, then I might set up some chairs so they can watch in comfort! It was so much fun seeing them, as it reminded us both of when we were children and our mothers got machines for the first time. My husband must have been about 8 when his mum got a front loader and he sat and watched load after load go round. I remember Mum washing clothes by hand with a tub and washboard. Bear in mind that I am 34. We didn’t have running water until I was 6, so getting a twin tub was a big deal. Anyway, I am really happy with the machine’s performance so far and am looking forward to testing out the dryer too. I hang washing out during the summer, but it is far too wet and cold here right now to do that and I am not keen on filling the house with damp laundry. We used to do that, but I don’t think it is particularly healthy – and we just don’t have the space for it either.

Yesterday was Milly’s second birthday and we had a lovely day. It was a very late night the night before, getting ready for her birthday brunch, and a very early morning. Actually thinking back, it was very much like when she was born! Didn’t get much sleep that night either! We are very fortunate to have two beautiful, happy, healthy, funny girls who love each other very much – most of the time. Milly was a quiet, peaceful and contented baby who is turning into a mischievous, articulate, cuddly little girl. She has the most amazing eyes that have not yet decided on a colour, an infectious laugh and the sweetest little feet.

All in all, I am a very happy Mummy.

Happy Birthday Milly

Happy Birthday Milly

Talking to Nanny & Poppa on the computer

Talking to Nanny & Poppa on the computer, wearing her birthday crown and new fleece

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