Thursday, February 25, 2010


So, on the very day that I decide to get off my lazy bottom and do some sewing (for the first time since Christmas, if my memory does not deceive me), not only do I also get the fabric and patterns for making three (3!) costumes for the play I'm in, but I also get an email asking me to do a bag design for a company that I've done a design job for in the past.

How does that work, exactly?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

This is our 24th Valentine's Day together.

That seems like such a long time...

...and yet somehow it's gone so fast.

I love him so much.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

failure is always an option - day 13

We spent the day with family today - brunch with mine, dinner with his.

I'm tired now!

It was a very good day.

Ellie and I went to watch the Russian figure skaters yesterday at our local arena... none of my pics turned out at all, but we had a great time watching four of the singles skaters practicing their routines.

Ellie was very pleased to find out that one of the girls is named Alena!

And YAY!!! I finally managed to do something I've been attempting for the past week... I've installed a new comment system on the blog! I've always been frustrated and unsure of what was the "proper" way to respond to comments. I generally send an email to the commenter, but then other people can't see that I've done so. I know that I *could* respond in my own comment form, but sometimes people don't come back to see if I've done so (I know I never do...). It all felt very inadequate. Soooo, all that to say... when I heard about disqus, I was super excited! Of course, it didn't work the first time... and so I had to change my blog template... and then figure out which settings were getting messed up... but it's here now.

So leave me a comment already, so I can see if it's really working ;)

Friday, February 12, 2010

failure is always an option - days 9-12

I thought seriously of taking a picture of my pile of snotty tissues, and the stack of books that I've read in past couple of days. But then I reconsidered. (No thanks required.)

That cold was a project that I truly would have liked to fail at. It was nasty.

So, meanwhile, I'm way way behind on what I would've liked to have accomplished by now. The valentine wreath is not yet completed... I needed to make a present for my friend's baby, who is turning 1 on Sunday... the cloak should have been ready for its second fitting by now...

Here's what I've done with the wreath so far. I ran out of painted pages... hopefully I'll get it finished by valentine's day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

failure is always an option - days 5-8

It was a busy busy weekend!

I'm working on a test-knit for Kristen... not only will it be a pretty shawl for me, it'll work beautifully as part of my costume in Pride&Prejudice.

More bread was baked. I'm starting to suspect my kids of purposely leaving leftover porridge in the mornings just so that I'll make more bread. It's just that good.

Hearts were crocheted. These are so fun and so cute! Well, actually, I'm not really looking forward to weaving in the ends - I hate doing that. But really, aren't they sweet?

Hot chocolate was drunk. Seriously, this is the best hot chocolate I've ever ever tasted. I like my chocolate spicy, and this stuff has chunks of chili peppers in it. You *can* strain them out, but it's way more exciting to chew them on the way down! It's the Aztec Chocolate spice blend from Made with Love Delectable Edibles. It's made in Kamloops, BC, and I've just recently found a place where I can buy it here in town!!!

A piano was acquired!!!!!!!!!!
I've been keyboard-less for a few months now. This sweet little console piano was given to us by some friends who had no use for it any longer. It had been stored in their atrium, which had also housed their birds... consequently, the inside of the piano was full of mouse nests and birdseed; and all of the felts had been chewed up by the mice. We've ordered replacement parts, and will be restoring the piano. Surprisingly, it's still mostly in tune and has a very nice tone, so I'm excited to have it in good working condition again.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

failure is always an option - day 4

Just a quick drive-by post this  evening... I've got a cranky snotty girl who won't let me be too far away for too long.

I painted some pages today, and cut out and started sewing a cloak - a gorgeous black wool/cashmere blend for the outer, and a silk broadcloth for the lining. Yum!

I'm also starting another knitting project - I'm test-knitting a shawl for Kristen.

And can you believe these flowers??? They're growing right outside my front door. The crocuses I can almost fathom, but the snapdragon? Really???

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

failure is always an option - day 3

A sick kidlet keeping me up half the night with her crying/coughing/snottiness resulted in my get-up-and-go taking a day off. So I ditched the "doing stuff" plans in favour of having tea with Oma.
Coincidentally, this resulted in me baking some very tasty cranberry scones, which I wouldn't otherwise have done. Hmmm.

Oma had been going through some boxes, and brought along some toys that were originally bought for her own kids when they were small. Ellie had a lot of fun playing with her daddy's old toys!

AND... in other exciting news, my magic yarn ball arrived today!!!!!!!

I squealed with excitement when I found the package sitting by my front door!

Sarah sent me two luscious balls of alpaca/shetland blend sockweight yarn. LOVE!

And oh, the goodies inside!!! And oh, what fun I had unwrapping it (what, did you think I had the patience to knit them out??? are you kidding me???)

Bigger pictures can be found at my flickr stream...

Seriously, this was the best swap ever. Actually, I think that it was just that I had the best swap partner ever.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

failure is always an option - day 2

I know it's only the second day, but I was amazed by how much I was able to accomplish today. Most of it was just the day-to-day stuff that has to be done anyhow, but which I've been so good at putting off til "later"...

Sunday evening, as I often do, I put a batch of porridge in the crockpot to cook overnight. Most unusually (and probably because I'd also made muffins that evening) the kids didn't eat *any* of it on Monday morning. So there I was, with a whole pot full of porridge. I was certainly not prepared to eat it all myself, so I added the entire mass of it to a batch of bread. Oh. my. gosh. so. good.

I also got started on a wee Valentine's Day project. These are pages from a catalog (Toast, in case you're wondering - it's got gorgeous photos!) that I ripped out, and gessoed (both sides) and painted.

Monday, February 1, 2010

failure is always an option - day 1

I came across this statement the other day...

Failure is always an option.

 ... and I realized that I really do let the fear of failure stop me from doing a lot of things. If I can't get it perfect the first time I try, I shouldn't even make the attempt. Stupid, really. Because who can live up to that standard?

So I've decided that February is going to be my month for doing things. New things, old things... doesn't matter. I need to lose the "what if"s and just do stuff. If it works out, great!!! And if not, well, at least I made the attempt.  My goal is one thing a day... I might fail at that too, we'll see!

One new thing that I've been eying for a while is Macarons. They look fascinating, and complicated, and totally yummy. I had some egg whites sitting in the fridge from a marathon Creme Brulee-making session on the weekend, so I figured that today would be a good day to give it a shot.

I used the recipe from the amazing Helen at Tartelette, and a basic Vanilla Buttercream for the filling.

 Here are the basic ingredients being mixed together: almond meal run through the food processor with icing sugar, and egg whites beaten with granulated sugar. The tricky part here is mixing them enough. I didn't. My batter was still a little thick. Oh well... now I know for next time.

The dough is then piped onto parchment paper, and left to sit for about an hour, so it can develop a bit of a crust on top. Then it's popped (gently!) into the oven to bake. I, of course, pulled up a little chair and sat and watched the entire baking process, so that I could see if my cookies would develop the requisite "feet" underneath. They did! It was very exciting.

Well... most of them did, anyhow. Some of them went all cracked and hollow. But a bit of vanilla buttercream hides a multitude of imperfections. Once they were all sandwiched together (and somehow I had perfect matches for all of them... some big, some little), they all looked good enough to eat.