Saturday, June 30, 2012


Over the course of some recent rainy days, we're developed a new craft habit; we've been creating our own stamps. I've coveted this idea while exploring the blogs of others and was a little intimidated by the amazing designs I've seen out there and by my complete lack of experience with all things print-related.  I have a pile of wooden stamps from days when my sister and I would dash down to the U.S. from Vancouver to buy piles of stamps, and I had some ink pads too but, have never made my own. But after seeing this (thanks to the lead from here), I decided it was worth a try. The designs are basic and I have lots to learn but, wow, we had so much fun.

I created the first few stamps using some of Elsa's drawings (the curly-haired child and palace/castle) and then, started 'doodling' myself and discovered that it's been far too long since I did so, since the opportunities for quiet, extended visits to a cafe with paper and pen in hand don't present themselves so often lately! I've never been a brilliant drawer but I always enjoyed it and, well, that's the main idea isn't it!? Drawing places me in a meditative state (as writing once did) and it was nice to derive that feeling from it again.

I picked up some soft-lino from here and set to work with tools I had tucked away from a prior attempt at print-making post high school. And now we have a new stock of cards for those special occasions and, for any reason we please really. I have some more sketches ready to work with and hope to get better at cutting and, to find some more space in the craft cupboard to store the tools of this new fascination.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


She's tried so hard to be serious as I took these photos today. She's wearing a new head scarf courtesy of Ella. The first photo below may just capture the only moment she was serious all day - such silly, fun, busy, noisy play to be had around here today. I've made her a few head scarves over the years but I couldn't resist buying this one, particularly given her current (I can hope!) love of all things pink. While the current weather is far more suited to knitted head-ware, she insisted on wearing this new item to the park and how could I resist!?! Thanks Ella! Perhaps one day we'll make it back to Vancouver and I can pop by to buy a pile of your wonderful creations!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


While you're expected to stay and share in some of the fun, it's time for you to take a back seat for a while Wind. I mean, you've been great, really. No, really you have. You've cleared some of the fallen red, orange and brown leaves from the grassy floor out back and swept over our days, sometimes pushing the rain from our faces, even sweeping the hair from our eyes. We do appreciate you being here and we've loved your performance but, now it's time for you to step into the wings for a minute (or two, or even longer). Take a backseat, take a holiday, take a break.

I know it's difficult for you to do but, you know, like a well-trained actor in an improvised, two-person play, the sort who knows when his monologue must end, we need you to move back stage now and allow your partner to take centre stage. It's time. King Winter is on his way with a performance of his own, all prepared and ready to delivery. I hear he has quite the soliloquy planned for this coming weekend (with temperatures around 10 degrees - impressive!).

We don't mind if occasionally you revisit the stage in a support role but, Winter has some performance of his own to run through, and one of you is enough for any celebration. We eagerly await his first delivery of snow, which apparently isn't far off, and are planning a trip to the mountains to bask in it's white glory; we have snowman to build and a little boy ever so keen to see snow for the first time! Thanks Wind and, welcome Winter! (we'll be asleep when you arrive tomorrow night so please move quietly. Also, if you see Mother Earth on your journey, ask her what's the deal with the earthquake!?! Wow, that really shook the house!).

Monday, June 18, 2012


That 40th birthday party we've been planning for weeks, it's a fizzer. You see, we're all sick, ill, off-colour, flat and it's been that ways for far too many days. On Friday afternoon and Saturday morning we contacted the seventy-five or so guests (plus 30 or so children) to share news of Dada's cancelled 40th birthday party. Well, it's not actually cancelled but, postponed without any indication of an alternate date - just yet. For now, we focus on what's really important, getting through this bout of 'cold'.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


An Explorer Vest for a dear nephew of mine who is forever exploring in the most uninhibited, adventurous, creative, wonderful (!) ways imaginable. Elsa and Raf enjoyed adding extra little bits of goodness to the pockets.

I enjoyed sewing this vest. Their patterns are so clear and well-written. I enjoyed learning a few new things too. For one, I'd never made 'bellows' before so that was fun. I lined the vest using a few old business shirts of D's. Elsa has since requested that I make something else for her from the pile of these shirts that I've tucked away at every opportunity (i.e. mainly when they're 'old'). Mmmmmm....will have to think on that one. For now, she's still wearing this, though it's much shorter these days!

Next time I make this vest, I'd like to use two fabrics for the outer vest; one for the main pieces of the outer vest, another to line the pocket flaps and create the bellows. Perhaps...

Cake Pops all round

And, I have to say,  Rafael is actually wearing his new hat now, and given how roomy it is, I hope it will come in handy for a few winters to come.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


These little stitches are finally hanging on her wall, which is actually their wall. The themes of wool, butter, chickens and apples seem more fitting than back when I stitched them. These days, she works with wool in new ways (finger-knitting now a favourite pass-time), there are chickens to tend now, she enjoys to bake independently (within reason and with butter of course) and, well, the apple trees are on their way! So, she's got it all covered :).

And there's more Wee Wonderfuls stitching underway here now....such sweet designs! Who knows when they'll be framed but they are underway. For the above, I went with a nearby custom framing place in the end as I was unable to source the stitcky backing fabric I've heard of friends using in Canada, which apparently helps a great deal when self-framing embroidery...perhaps next time.

enjoying our 'lid-potatoes'
Can you see the potato-bags in the first photo above? We're out of garden beds (the soil in the ground has too high a percentage of clay to risk planting precious vegies in) and since it's unlikely they'll be built in the next few weeks and I was desperate to plant potatoes, I used potato-bags courtesy of Diggers. I planted nine tubers of Nicola and hope for a good crop.

On the potato front we recently discovered the beauty of 'lid-potatoes' thanks to Milly, Molly, Mandy who enjoyed them with 'little-friend-Susan' in the chapter we read the night before we settled down in front of the fire to enjoy some - the perfect Sunday night dinner. So simple; bake whole, washed potatoes, slice a 'lid' off one end, scoop out the insides (or what you can without breaking the potato skin) and mash the contents with whatever you please (we chose butter, salt and pepper just like M.M.M with a little grated cheese on top). Thanks Millicent! (a.k.a M.M.M), my Mum will be so happy to hear that I've embraced another way to enjoy the good old 'spud'. In a conversation with my Mum last year sometime, I made the mistake of mentioning that we rarely buy potatoes and she was appalled, along with her Irish heritage!

On a related front, the next round of seedlings are growing like crazy. Winter and spring, you should be goooood! (touch wood).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


(Warning: slightly 'gushy' celebration of all things Elsa below!)

She's five now. It's been that way for one week, exactly. This time five years ago we watched her ever so closely, most minutes of every day, mesmerized by her every move from the slightest twitch of her face to the widest yawn, the most wide-eyed expression and still very surprised she was with us (it was a long journey to finding each other). 

We're still as enthralled, just by a wider range of activities these days! Now, her moves are oh-so deliberate; the swirling and twirling about the house, the jumping, the running, the careful stitching, the endless drawing, the wrestling with her brother.... We have been known to sneak into their room at night to watch the sleeping figures of her and her brother for a taste of that sleeping baby, to enjoy the quietness, to take a look and absorb them after the chaos of a day. Last night, we even took her Yiayia in for a look (via Skype). The day after her birthday we reminded her that, in Canada, her birthday had only just begun - so the celebrating continued for our part-Canadian lass.

We've spent parts of the past week with an inquisitive, sometimes chatty, sometimes laughing, sometimes quiet Elsa by our sides looking through photo albums of her early days. Perhaps my favourite comment was "oh Mama, look! You and Dada loved me right from the very, very, very beginning, I can tell". Ah, you could say that.

She's not so sure about this 'five' thing, she tells us she would be quite happy to be four forever, or three, or two. She enjoyed the cake, the party and the gatherings with family, despite being a little uncomfortable with all the attention, asking others to open her gifts for her and  handing off the parcel to others when the music stopped at her (re: pass-the-parcel). She's enjoying the afterglow of her birthday perhaps a little more than anything and more than once has reported "Mama, I'm still FIVE!". Yes, for a whole year Elsa! And we're sure that 'six' will be just as wonderful. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012


So there's been a spate of bag-making about here of late and here's another, a bag for a wonderful little boy to celebrate his fifth birthday. We popped some picture books inside and wallah, a gift outside and in that we hope he enjoys for a while to come.

I chose the basic principles used to make this bag, excluding the box seam at the base.

Saturday, June 9, 2012



Lately, things have been a tad busy here, partly attributable to four important birthdays including preparations for a big party for a big birthday. We're combating the busy period with lots of yoga and, every time we do, I find myself thinking of past northern hemisphere summers and time spent here. Some days, I miss living on the island and being on Canada's west coast in general, even when Vancouver friends shared this recent bit of news

Okay, so once on a camping trip near Whistler with friends we awoke to find a bear in our camp site (as in, right outside out tent!) but, there was no 'swiping', no aggression on the part of the bear, with the exception of an expression of slight annoyance when we took photos (once we got to the comfort and safety of the car that is!!!). The 'annoyance' was communicated by means of some rocking back and forth and head-swaying in our direction but, certainly no attempts at 'swiping'....gosh, what an experience for that man and a tale to tell forever more.

Okay, so I sometimes miss the island but, hey, there are no feijoas there! My latest foray into feijoa-land (if only such a place existed); a dozen or so jars of feijoa jam now in our cupboard and a few extra in the homes of friends. Given our recent feijoa-'love-fest', I tried to order another 15kg box (truly) but sadly, the season had ended. We've been promised early notice of the next feijoa season and plan to watch our own tree very carefully in the hope of beating the possums to the fruit. Likely? I think not but, we can dream, cross our fingers and some netting for that tree! As a final adieu to the 2012 feijoa season, we enjoyed some feijoa cakes (these being feijoa and orange cakes - so tasty!).
And oh the cuddles, craft, stories and chats we've enjoyed fireside these past few weeks. The kids have taken to falling asleep in front of the fire following a chapter (or more) of her current favourite book or an improvised tale shared by Elsa, complete with little figures of all sorts. My Tea Leaves is also coming along fireside and tea is being consumed in crazy volumes but, I can't blame the cardigan for that...I don't need an excuse. Seeing this latest knitting project sitting alongside my last Tea Leaves, reminds me of oranges and lemons. My latest colour choice is possibly inspired by all the citrus tree-planting around here of late...perhaps.