Thursday, September 30, 2010

pretty pictures

the Imke shirt in action

happy mail!!!
This is the final result of an embroidery round robin that I was part of.
I did the embroidery on the yellow square, and added the teal lace in the corner, and then I sent it out into the wild world. There were (I think) ten of us who took part. I'm in love with the results! Now I just need to figure out how to mount it for display - I want it out where I can see it every day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Doesn't that look so much better?

If only I'd known how great a walking foot is, I'd have bought one years ago. Sometimes I can be such a Luddite.

So, there's the Imke shirt from Sewing Clothes Kids Love, just a few days later than I'd planned. Me and knit fabrics will never be BFFs, but at least now I don't have to be scared of them.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Is there anything cuter than a little girl on her first day of ballet lessons?
What do you think?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Outside my window...
pine needles and cedar flags litter the pavement. The pumpkin is starting to turn orange. The tomato plants are making a desperate last bid to produce something that will change my mind about pulling them out. The pepper plants finally have presented me with a teeny tiny little red pepper. (My garden didn't produce much this year - I'm going to have to re-think my planting scheme for next year.)

I am thinking... about the unexpected difficulties that can arise when parenting teens and much younger children at the same time. I don't want Ellie to believe that she has more than two parents. I don't want the teenagers to implement rules that I have no desire to follow through with.

I am thankful for... corn on the cob. candied ginger. wooden knitting needles. smooth-running ball point pens. pears. love.

From the learning rooms... getting ready for a week of Mrs Rumphius... and wishing I could visit Maine.

From the kitchen... steamed greens, with a sprinkling of toasted sesame oil and a bit of salt. Oh my!

I am wearing... boringly, the same old jeans and t-shirt/cardigan combination I wear every day. Something needs to change... like my whole wardrobe.

I am knitting... the Kinsol Trestle vest from Twist Collective, in Cascade 220 superwash - what a lovely yarn to work with!

I am going... to try again with sewing the knit fabrics. I've bought a walking foot. Hopefully that will make all the difference.

I am reading... my script for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe... over, and over, and over, and over, and over...

I am hoping... that my older two (who are still at home) will start getting serious about finding jobs.

I am hearing... one of my favourite episodes of Firefly, as it's being watched behind me.

Around the house... things are slowly getting sorted. Homes are being found for random things. Other things are leaving forever. Summer things are being put away, fall things are making an appearance again.

One of my favorite things... is the smell of wood smoke wafting through the trees, and the crackle of a campfire beside the lake.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • ballet lessons start this week!
  • a field trip to the ocean
Here is picture that I am sharing...
...from our trip to the orchard last week...

More daybook pages can be found on the linky at the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

making memories

Life with teenagers can sometimes be challenging. Seriously.

After an intensely difficult week, culminating with an extremely unpleasant day, it seemed to me that it would be a good idea to create a happy time.

So, in spite of the fact that attitudes were not good, and chores were not completed, and because the weather was spectacularly pleasant (25+C/80-ishF, with a clear blue sky), we went on a wee ramble through the woods.

Well, it kind of was a bit too much for Ellie, who is 5 and doesn't like steep hills... but she did just fine with a little help from her brother and dad.

 We clambered straight down the mountainside from a logging road, down to the lake. The path was barely marked, and there were downed trees across it in places.

But we made it down without falling too many times, and the lake at the bottom was simply lovely.
We had our snacks and water, and threw lots of stones in the lake, and then made the trek straight back up the mountainside. As we drove away, we saw a bear cub rambling through the trees.

And, strangely enough, now that we're back home, attitudes have changed. Everybody is more relaxed. Life feels a bit better.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Is there some essential skill that I just haven't learned yet???
This is my attempt at sewing knit fabric. It's been so long since the last time I tried, that I thought it surely couldn't be as bad as I remembered.

Ummm. Yeah.

It's worse.

So, what am I missing here? Do you have any tips for me?
This is kind of depressing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Outside my window... it is surprisingly warm. If I walk outside and close my eyes, I almost think that it is spring again. Then I open my eyes, and I'm swiftly disillusioned. It's definitely fall out here.

I am thinking...
wait, no I'm not. I'm functioning on auto-pilot.

I am thankful for...
the chance to have all of my kids home for the weekend. Even though they drive me crazy sometimes, I love them all.

From the learning rooms... we're getting ready for a week with "How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World". Pie will definitely be made. And eaten.

From the kitchen... Maple Orange Granola, and vegan Triple-Ginger Cookies. Oh my!

I am wearing... my favourite thrifted Japanese double gauze shirt. I never understood the appeal of double gauze fabric til I found this shirt. Now I need to buy some more and make myself some more clothes from it.

I am creating... more clothes from Sewing Clothes Kids Love. My goal is to make one item a week.

I am going to... continue on with my running program. I really want to conquer week 4 already... this will be my 5th week doing it.

I am reading...
ExtraVeganZa (where I found the recipes for the afore-mentioned granola and cookies. I think I'm going to have to buy this one!)

I am hoping... for miracles.

I am hearing...
rifles firing, "need a medic!", and "dynamite planted", as my husband plays Enemy Territory. An ironic choice of game for a nice Mennonite boy...

Around the house...
I'm still in the midst of sorting and rearranging. There are piles of things everywhere. I just want to grab my knitting and run away to a peaceful tidy place.

One of my favorite things...
is to snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and a book, listening to the rain outside, knowing I don't have to go anywhere.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

  • choir on Monday, drama on Wednesday; as always
  • a trip to the apple orchard to pick apples for pie

Here is picture I am sharing...

a bouquet of fall flowers - I love the pinks and reds.

More daybook pages can be found at the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

busy busy busy

I didn't realize that adding one extra thing to my life was going to make me feel so very frantically busy! It seems that homeschooling a kindergartener, even though it's simple and joyful, has messed with my routines enough that I feel like I'm always behind. And, it has been a busy week.
  • Monday... school prep for the week (because I put it off all weekend - my own fault!), choir
  • Tuesday... coffee and picture-viewing with the in-laws
  • Wednesday... drama rehearsal
  • Thursday... stayed up all night keeping Abby up for a sleep-deprived EEG
  • Friday... recovery from Thursday night. I'm just too old to go without sleep!!
On the plus side, though, apparently sewing machines do not need to be classified as heavy machinery, and can be used by the half-asleep and brain-dead.

I squeaked under my self-imposed deadline, and finished Ellie's Feliz dress.
This one, I'd say, is not for the faint-of-heart. The instructions are fairly vague in spots, and some of the pattern pieces are lacking in markings.

The embellishments are all left to the discretion of the maker - no instructions are given for them. I put in three rows of ruffles on the back section, all with ribbon trim to hide the raw edges. I also made a flower pocket on the front - something I'd seen long ago on some blog somewhere. I think I'd still like to put a few more decorations on the front of the dress - it's looking a little bare in comparison to the riot of colour on the back!

I love how it turned out, though, and (more importantly) so does Ellie. I'll definitely be making more of these... after I try all the other patterns in the book ;)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Outside my window... again, the dark. This time, also, there is rain. It beats incessantly, mindlessly, an unceasing tapping on the glass, begging to come in.

I am thinking... that there are only three months til Christmas, and if, as in other years, I intend to give hand-made gifts, I had better get started on at least the planning stages now.

I am thankful for... good friends. Salted chocolate. A comfortable chair.

From the learning rooms... furniture has been re-arranged. Books have been collected. And we are still having fun!

From the kitchen...
I am learning how to prepare two meals at each mealtime. I have now switched from eating raw to vegan, so I'm being mindful of what I can eat as well as what the rest of the family prefers.

I am wearing... warm clothes again... long sleeves, woolly socks, my old hole-y slippers.

I am creating... a Feliz dress for Ellie, from pink baby-wale corduroy and brightly coloured quilting fabrics.

I am going to... start making lists of things I need to do. I'm feeling the need to be more purposeful.

I am reading... recipe books. Vegan ones.

I am hoping... and hoping.

I am hearing... promises.

Around the house... a mess. Re-organizing and re-arranging will do that.

One of my favorite things... spicy chai. Now, I make it with almond milk. It's not the same.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • choir practise
  • an overnight visit from a friend
  • a home visit from our homeschool teacher/liason
Here is a picture that I am sharing...
sunshine for a rainy day

More daybook links can be found at the simple woman's daybook.

Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

she is schooling again

School is very fun so far. Teaching one eager 5 year old is a whole different ball game than teaching three reluctant teenagers.

Our curriculum so far:
  • Saxon kindergarten math
  • Getty-Dubay handwriting (I'm thinking of trying something different)
  • Five-in-a-row... this week we've been reading Clown of God, which makes me cry every time... and the associated lap-booking. It's the lap-booking that is making this palatable for me. When I used FIAR with the other kids, it seemed too inane to just talk about stuff and have nothing to show for it. I like having something that the kids can look back over afterwards.
I've been trying to throw in some reading time (it's not working so well), and I want to add some nature study/journaling a la Charlotte Mason.

Yesterday we took an impromptu field trip out to Westminster Abbey in Mission, after discussing the monks in the story.

Monday, September 6, 2010

simple woman's daybook: sept 6

Outside my window... it is dark. The house is quiet; my thoughts are stilled. The day is done.

I am thinking... of how life moves on. Seasons change. Things change. I change. And yet, paradoxically, nothing changes.

I am thankful for... a warm house. Hot tea. Family.

From the learning rooms... school starts tomorrow. I have one child in high school for one more year. And our homeschooling journey begins with the first day of kindergarten for the youngest.

From the kitchen... I am half-way through my second month of eating mostly raw. I'm considering going vegan (not all-raw) for the winter. I can't fathom a winter without soup.

I am wearing... my only pair of jeans and a teal wool sweater. It's definitely fall. And time to knit some new slippers. My feet are cold.

I am creating... tidiness and order. I've been sorting and purging stuff in the house. I'm shocked by how much I have accumulated in the five years since we moved back to Canada.

I am going... forward.

I am reading... nothing at the moment. And that is truly unusual for me!

I am hoping... not to disappoint my daughter, who is so excited about starting school.

I am hearing... the sounds of silence. Peace.

Around the house... is evidence of plans, of hope, of wishes that just might come true.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • dentist appointment (blech!)
  • drama rehearsal (yay!)
  • homeschool trip to the park (I hope it's not raining!)
  • eldest daughter's driving test (fingers crossed that she passes this time!)
Here is picture that I am sharing...
 a rainbow over my sister's house.

To read more daybook pages, visit the Simple Woman's Daybook

Saturday, September 4, 2010

busy as a bee

It felt very strange, not to be blogging the last couple of days.

Things have been very busy... I've been trying to get lots of things done outdoors while the weather is still nice.

I'm also hoping to have my new sewing room/area ready for pictures in a couple of days. Much progress has been made in the sorting/organizing/tossing/giving side of things. I didn't realize exactly how much fabric and yarn I actually own. And yet, when there is a project I want to do, I still don't have what I need. How does that work, do you think???

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

moving on

Don't be alarmed. I'm not going anywhere.
I'm just finished with August break... what did you think of it?

I loved the freedom of just posting a photo. I loved the challenge of trying to improve my photography and processing skills. I confess I did get a bit bored at times, but I'm pleased that I managed to actually post something every day (even if some of the times were prescheduled posts... did you notice that I was away for two weekends of the month???)

So... moving on. Is there anything you'd particularly like to see here in this spot during the fall?