Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wall Flower

I do not consider myself artistic in the least. Some people sneeze and it comes out looking fancy.
Not me. I ... "craft." Which tends to mean, dollarstore bargains, some better than others, and projects that can get done without a whole lotta complaining :)
However, every so often I stumble across something fun. And even had the opportunity to whittle away some down time finishing up this project I started (amazing!) at our moms group.
This is what a dollarstore canvas, some material, a creative stencil and some paint can do :)...


Fun hey :)?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Last Sha-bang!

We were in the home stretch of a rather long day. Three hours of sleep (after a week of rough nights), congestion so bad my eyeballs were swimming - and even my hair folicles hurt! In a sea of Kleenex and Sinutab, you move through the day, eyes fixated on the 8th hour of the evening. Bed time. But alas, there was to be more adventure before the days end. Sweet K has a slight obsession with dog food. She likes to sneak a kibble in her mouth here and there. I find this terribly disgusting (I have been known to dry heave and almost toss my lunch over the thought!) and by the way she skedaddles, she knows it's a big NO NO! I am convinced that any day now, she might even start barking!! Anyway, she snags a "treat" and Little M, having watched my numerous episodes, proceeds to barf all over the floor.

All in a days work, right :)? Clean up on aisle 4!

Needless to say, bed time seems beautiful on days like this (especially when the patient-mommy voice started wearing  thin around 10:00 am!).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Let the games begin!

Half (or maybe more than half, I have not yet decided!) of the fun of gardening for me is the dreaming. Hmmm. That is the part that involves no cost, no labor, no sweat - but can consume hours of imaginative time! Right about now, I switch from surfing Christmas craft websites (and book-marking all those fun projects that I'll never get around to!) and start hunting through a few garden favorites. Most ideas will remain dreams (unless a free landscaper comes my way!), but you never know which ones will take root and manifest themselves in some small (or large!) way with your own personal flair.

Here are a few gems....
 - Who could resist the ever-popular Better Homes & Gardens! I have so many ideas stored up in my folder that I wouldn't know where to start! And, really, some of this wouldn't even apply to my zone 3 turf! But it doesn't hurt to browse :).
 - I subscribed to the Canadian Gardening magazine for a few years. Chock-full of fun, color, ideas, tips, etc. A pleasant read!
 - My 8x16 vegetable plot, and my few flower beds, make it more important to think of small-scale gardening. I've read a few good books or browsed a few websites that provided some helpful tips: or

Happy dreaming!

Monday, February 23, 2009

the sweet life

some days are tough slugging. even breathing seems like a lot of work! but every so often, by an act of his great grace, God settles my angst and anxiety with his blanket of peace. and i am grateful! 

my weekend wanderings brought me to the city and back (with a duvet AND cover that actually match AND fit - and let me tell you, it's just not that easy!), alone, with a glorious morning drive (love being a SAHM but do miss those morning commutes sometimes!). i cooked and baked, and by golly, it actually turned out! i think i've had enough practice now for a while :). we got to share church with our friends, enjoyed visiting on sunday evening and actually slept through the night once in a rather long time :).

but it's the handiwork of God that makes life so sweet. those delightful moments where he sheds truth and light, insight and healing; it carries you through the next uphill climb, to the next oasis. and when there are others to share that with, all the better!

not every day, week or month is like this. in fact, the past years, and particularly the past 19 months, have been littered with challenges, strife, inner turmoil and searching. but God, in his great timing, does not leave us there. He meets us there and walks on with us. "tis so sweet to trust in Jesus..."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

it's come to this!

shock value. that's what sells these days. but sometimes the stun runs so deep that you're not even sure what's being advertised! some one, some where, out there actually dreamed this up. wow! 

click here to watch!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

sew sweet!

finally FINALLY i got to start on a project that i've been eye-balling since fall. i whipped out my sewing machine, and started sewing baby bath robes! all you need is a towel, some ribbon, thread and a sewing machine and VOILA! an adorable baby robe! well i don't have pics of mine to post just yet - they are still awaiting some adorable applique features... this is the project i am talking about.


after the drama of sweet k's arrival, and all the questions we faced after that (and there were many many many - more about that another day!), i began to dream of her running down the hallway in her own bathrobe. because embracing the miracles of milestones, watching them wander around, freshly scrubbed and rinsed :), in their very own little robes was a precious balm for my momma's heart! now that she's walking - or at least enjoying walking between things! - i NEEDED to get her a robe of her very own. and i wanted to stitch it myself, just for her. AND her older sister. 

now, to finish it off with the just-right embellishments :).....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One more thing that I love!

Peas. Straight outta the shell, warmed in the garden by the summer sun, nature's candy - PEAS! And with all this snow and ice and cold I CANNOT WAIT to get out there and plant me some! It's coming. I keep looking out my back window to the garden area and I promise myself. THE WARMTH IS JUST AROUND THE BEND (it's a long bend, mind you...).

And I want an abundance of peas this year. Somehow, that just seems delightful. In reading a gardening book that I have, here are a few helpful suggestions in getting the most pea out of your pod :)....
1) I use tomato cages, and some people use chicken wire fence - but using a make-shift trellis saves loads of bending, is a great space-saver and makes picking a breeze! 
2) If you hill the plants once they are taller, the vines have better support, better moisture retention (as peas are not so great on water-deprivation!) and makes it easier to weed.
3) Soak pea seeds in water or milk, for 2-12 hours prior to planting. Apparently this helps quicker, better germination.

Hmmm, got any other handy little tricks :)?

Monday, February 16, 2009

ya know what is fun :)...

... watching babies morph from tiny little babies into tiny little people :). lately my sweet k has been puttin' on the miles. and it is fun fun fun to watch her go from tentative to daring - 
letting go of the security and walking to me
     across the room
          landing in her sister's arms 
               gracefully nose-diving into her daddy :).

she has been more hesitant, for sure. less eager to explore the world around her than her older sister, far more content to watch the world go by and every so often put in her own two cents worth (though she does love the games Tackled By A Baby and Wrestling!).

but her sensitivity and her gentle spirit shine through every day, blessing me and nurturing me.

and reminding me. that it is okay to hang on tightly as long as we need to. there are some seasons in life when we need that extra security, stability, strength.

but, when the time is right, it is very okay to let go and venture out and explore the world.

and that, that is fun.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How do YOU feel about change?

I can't remember exactly where I picked this one up, but is sums it up so well....


Friday, February 13, 2009

A rant only a duvet can cure.

It's official. We need a bigger blanket around here, and since fall I have had my heart set on owning a luxurious, feather duvet. I am a terrible shopper and sometimes it takes me a great while to make my dreams come true. This has been no exception. AND NO END OF FRUSTRATION. The things I have learned about duvet shopping could fill a book.

Mind you, it would be a short book, but a book nonetheless :).

Did you KNOW that not all sizes were created equal. Some are 88x90. Some are 80x88. The wonderful blanket we found is a whoppin' 90x98! All these are "queen" sizes. And it wouldn't matter. IF the people who created DUVET COVERS would talk with the people over at the DUVET SEWING PLACE and, you know, cross-reference sizing numbers for easier CUSTOMER PURCHASE. After all, it's ALLLLL about the customer. And if I'm hoppin' mad because all these sizing issues are making my head spin (and more than a little unclear because of baby-induced sleep deprivation!), I'm less likely to buy your blankey. Plain and simple. 

Herein lies the tragedy. I am picky about the duvet cover because we have an ... ahem .... particular shade ... of carpet that we are working with here. And until the carpet goes (and that could be a while) color selection is limited (at best). And not one duvet cover that I like fits any of the duvets that seem to be available to me. Unless I ship it in from a different continent, and folks, I'm not that wealthy. 

What's a gal to do!? Any suggestions :)!?

Keep this in mind. I'm not a great shopper. I'm in the middle of the Manitoba prairies, and in the past week we've had snow, ice, rain, sun and wind - and the roads are in horrid condition.

Do you need to buy your duvet AND the cover at the same place? What happens if store A has a duvet with a better thread count than store B, who happens to have the snazziest duvet cover of all time?

One other thing to keep in mind. I COULD sew a complete bedroom set. IN FACT, I have a pattern for just the occasion. HOWEVER, when I mentioned that to J, all he could say in response was, "yeah, well we both know how well that goes!"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Charmed, I'm sure...

This week's craft project was a one-dollar-wonder from Dollarama. Ohhhh, Dollarama. The mecca of all earthly $1 treasures. Our last visit proved to be very productive, and we acquired all sorts of useful $1 do-dads like scrapbooking embellishments, NERDS, stickers AND of course - these lovely wonders...


For those of you who appreciate the Shrinky Dinks phenomenon of the 70s and 80s, you will adore these little charms. So fun, so easy, even with a 3-year-old. Color to your hearts content, let mama do the cutting and oven-work, and watch these little creatures curl up, turn around, shrink, flatten out and VOILA! Customized charms for all your toddler-related jewelry! 

So fun, I can't wait to go back to Dollarama to get more! Because I'm thinking - these would work GREAT in K's scrapbook! However, I feel like it is my personal responsibility to mention that Dollarama may be crossing over to the dark side. On my last visit, I noticed some strategically placed signs indicating that "items may be 1.25 or 1.50 or even 2.00"!!! Shame.

On a cheerier note, you just gotta love this sign-off from the head hancho over at Shrinky Dinks!

Shrinkingly Yours,

Betty Morris 
Originator of SHRINKY DINKS
President, Optimist & Determined to encourage CREATIVITY! 

How's that for spunky!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I've decided to call her Katie

I've never been a huge fan of garden ... "additives." Gnomes, trolls, flamingos, dried out "sculptures" - they just really didn't do anything for me.

But this year, in early anticipation of the upcoming gardening year, I purchased a lovely little garden angel. She's a beauty alright. 


I've decided to call her Katie to keep my gardening connected with my family roots. My dear Grandmother, who cared for us kids on many a farming day, was affectionately known as Katie. My mom's mom, who delights us still with her painting, funky stories and sense of humor, goes by the full name Katherine. My self and my own daughter also bear this name. And so, to me it is fitting.

Katie she is and Katie she will be :).

ps - that is the picture from the box she still lives in. We have not have a recent bout of warm weather that would leave us with grass or pretty flowers. That fun is still to come!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Somewhere between hither 'n yon...

I have been a mother for exactly 1145 days (well, that doesn't count the days she was in the womb, but the days when the sleepless nights began!!) Doesn't sound like much, but it is. And somewhere between Day 1 and Day 1144, a metamorphosis has occurred. You know you've crossed that parenthood threshold when you walk around singing Veggie Tales songs like they're the latest hit, eating more goldfish crackers than your kids do and toting diapers in your JACKET POCKETS (hey, it's easier than packing a bag!). And the changes don't stop there.

This morning I had the opportunity to visit with a new mom. And as we talked about those early days, I had to laugh at the things that used to t.o.t.a.l.l.y stress me out. Leave me weeping in tears at the kitchen table whilst planning for my child's future counseling fund - stressed out. And as I laughed and shared, I reflected in amazement at how normal this all feels now ...

... and how much I love it.

You wouldn't have known that from the way I snarled during today's lovely whining episode or the way I huffed in frustration with having to deal with the same old same old again and again.

But I love it. I really really do.

And I'm so glad I'm not a newbie anymore. Those were rough days! But I'm also glad that I can look back with grace-filled lenses, chuckle over those bumpy lessons, and hopefully pass on something that I've learned.

Take the space you need. 
Let the little stuff go. 
And some of the big stuff, too. 
Laugh a lot. 
Cry once in a while. 
Pray always.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Square peg, round hole

Ouch. Yesterday was that kinda day. Actually, so was the day before.
Bedtime (theirs AND mine!) could not come fast enough!

My patience was about the size of a newt. (but not quite as cute!)

And periodically throughout the day I reminded myself that coming face-to-face with my limitations and weaknesses as both a mother and a real-life person :) is very very frustrating, but very normal.

Especially on the heels of sweet K's first year of life, which was far from normal and so very stressful, I try to embrace the normal ups and downs and ebbs and flows of life. I still fight them, of course, but it doesn't take me as long to recover. Usually :).

However, in the mean time, bed time is good. Very good :).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why do you garden?

Why Do You Garden?

Really, why does one feel the need to dig in the dirt, spend endless hours weeding, watch things wither without a clue as to why...

flower college

Honestly, I garden from a bag of mixed motives! I'd like to say it's all about nurturing and appreciation for nature, but - alas - my intentions are not quite that simple!

1) I garden because it brings me back to my roots. My Grandma Katherine has been known to win awards for her yard. She had glorious tomatoes, apple trees and lovely flowers (pre-condo days :P). My Grandma Katie (who died when I was in grade 5, and I still miss her!) grew flowers like you wouldn't believe (us kids used to pretend that her gardens were Buchart Gardens from Vancouver Island!) and canned like she was still feeding a family of five. My mother has diligently hauled gallons and gallons of water - by wagon - to the end of their acreage, just to make sure the blooms in their rock garden were getting what they needed. When J and I married, I received a family of gardeners as well. His parents both love the great outdoors, and spend endless hours shaping, tending and adding color to our world.

2) I garden because I love to plan. Plain and simple. I love to order seeds. Get everything organized, lined up, plans drawn (and folks, my vegetable garden is only 8'x16'!!), books read, and so on. I love to bring out my little garden map (of course I NEVER measure anything out, though, so details are not a strong point!) and plant everything in its proper place. Not necessarily properly spaced, by somehow, we get by :).

3) I garden because I enjoy saying "this year, in my garden...". :) 

4) I garden because I enjoy looking out my bedroom window and seeing my leafy green vegetable garden. I find it inspiring.

5) I garden because I feel proud when I get to scrape dirt from under my nails, my tan-lines are a little more earned, I get down on my hands and knees and dig dig dig. There is a huge sense of satisfaction in well-tilled soil.

5) I garden because it reminds me that growth is a process, that it is affected by seasons, that God is a Master Creator, and thateven the smallest efforts can come alive.


I am not a great designer, so flower beds are constantly under renovation! I am not a diligent waterer or weeder (though I start off well and J has kindly installed soaker hoses in the majority of our beds, so I am getting better!). I get overwhelmed and neglectful, but somehow, it's still worth it. Every year I wade through the same process. And every year I wonder why on earth I do this. And every fall, as I pile things into the compost bins or burn the dry stuff, or carry in the last load of treats, I am grateful for the opportunity.


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