Friday, March 30, 2012

Welcome to the World!

My friend Rachel had a baby! A girl! And that means it's gift giving time! I put this cute little gift together for the new family, perfect for delivering to the hospital and celebrating with them their new arrival!


I would say my usual M.O. when it comes to gifts, especially for babies & new parents, is not to go very practical. My go-to gift is this MEC backpack (I learned that from my mom)! Because you know what? Everyone else does practical! And the parents are gonna get the kid what it needs anyway, and would be less likely to splurge on something that is completely cute but entirely overpriced or useless (like shoes for a newborn, for example). So it falls to people other than the parents to get awesome stuff!


I started with a Dad's Rootbeer 4 pack. Dan & Dave (the new dad) often gift each other beer for birthdays & other random occasions, but since it seems wrong to bring beer to a hospital (can you? I have no idea!), this was perfect. Also, Dad's. Obvious!

Next, I took out two of the rootbeers and we enjoyed them without the company of our friends! (Sorry, friends!)

Then I went to my gift stash and pulled out one of the crocheted hats I made a few weeks ago, and a strand of Chewbeads (which I also try to have on hand, since they are my other go-to gift! Unfortunately, the store where I was buying them went out of business, so this is the last one from my stash. I guess I'll have to buy them online from now on!).

For the fourth compartment, I paid a visit to a local florist, Simply Perfect Flowers, and got this adorable arrangement made up. And when I was offered glitter sprinkled on top, of course I said yes! Let me tell you, nothing can brighten your day like stepping into a flower shop!

Compact, portable, creative and fun way to say "Congratulations!"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

World's Cutest Henry

I dare you to show me a cuter baby named Henry. 





Can't be done. He wins. Every time.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Curtains, Part 1

I've been sewing, and measuring, and asking Dan to hold up fabric while I sew, all so we could finally accomplish this today:


Project Curtain, Phase 1: (almost) Complete!!


Yes, I still have to hem them. I know. I will. Someday. 


I think our electrical conduit curtain rod solution was pretty ingenious, if I do say so myself. I used brackets that I found at Bed Bath & Beyond, and spray painted the conduit to match. Dan cut it to length, and after holding the whole thing up (which was really heavy since I used full on black out fabric on the back!), and having several conversations that all married people have experienced with regard on how to best accomplish something, we had everything up!

I used these instructions on hidden top tab curtains, for anyone interested.

Phase 2 will be dealing with those rake windows above. I love those windows, and am not one bit sorry they are there. Though we've already lived with them bare for 2 summers, it's time to do something to keep dark in at night, and the sun/heat out during the afternoons. Even today, which has been a gorgeous spring day, we can feel the heat upstairs. So, solution needed.


I'm still at the think it out portion of that phase. Next step is to draw a rough sketch on a small piece of paper/back of receipt that will get crumpled in my purse and misplaced somewhere. Should be a good time!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Garden Variety

(I always think of my Grandma when I see Pansies.)

Nothing brings joy to my heart quite like the first visit to a nursery after a long grey winter! Today I wandered around my favorite local nursery, just looking and admiring. I lucked out because it was even sunny while I was there. I'm not much of a gardener, but do enjoy the lushness and colour and new growth all around when I go in there! 

+++

I saw an idea to plant kitchen herbs in tea tins in a magazine somewhere. I liked the idea, and after some thrifting, found 3 tins that I liked. Today I got three herb plants at the nursery and put it all together. I planted chives, parsley & mint. I am not in the habit of cooking with fresh herbs, but I thought those three would be pretty easy to incorporate or use for garnish into dishes I already make. Except the mint. That just smells good and I thought I'd use it in mojito's when it's a bit warmer (and you need a mojito!).


I think they add a little something to my kitchen, all lined up on the window sill!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thoughts on Food Production & Being a Farmer's Wife

I just finished reading Michael Pollen's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and I found it incredibly thought provoking and interesting and challenging (and, I will admit, somewhat boring as I slogged through the first third of it).

As I was reading it, I sometimes had these jolting moments of realization throughout my days that everything I know about food is because someone else (read: society) has told me. For example, I was flipping through my latest Canadian Living magazine and came upon a section making comfort food recipes less fattening. I thought "Oh, that's a good idea, I wonder what they suggest?" And then was hit with the idea of who said less fat was better? (I do generally agree that it is). In Defense of Food called into question pretty much everything I know about nutrition and diet. Not that those things are wrong, there is just so much more complexity to it than we think. Or know. Or can scientifically prove.

I do believe that you should know where your food comes from. How it's grown, harvested, produced, shipped. Looking back, I knew very little about any of that - or maybe, didn't give it much thought - before I became part of a farming family. I know where milk and eggs and chicken comes from. I know what it looks like in the dairy, the layer, and the broiler barns. I know (generally, again) what the cows & chickens are fed, and that animal nutrition has everything to do with producing Omega-3 eggs, or increasing the butterfat in milk.

Here is where I could launch into a tirade about supporting local farmers, the strict & sometimes costly guidelines farmers are required to adhere to in food production, and how I believe mass food production is necessary in economically feeding the population.

I didn't agree with every point that Pollen made, but I do agree with his overarching theme: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

However you feel, whatever you eat, you should read this book, and you should think about what you eat, where it comes from and how it's made.

My main take away was this: How do I reconcile what I read & learned from In Defense of Food in my own kitchen, when food production on a mass scale is our own bread & butter, literally out the front door?

(If you've read it, I'm interested to hear your thoughts!!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Telephone

This morning on my drive to work, I was thinking about the family reunion I went to last summer. More specifically, I was thinking about the last evening we were all together, sitting around a fire in my aunt & uncle's backyard. My sister started a game of telephone, and what started as "The fire is warm" ended up as "Auntie Roses' dress looks like Granny!"

And while I was thinking about that, I couldn't help but laugh out loud to myself! Good start to the day, to say the least!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Projects To Cross Off The List

1. We got that shoe cabinet for the mudroom, so that's done! Hooray! We only had to go to one hardware store during the install of said cabinet. Our baseboard was too tall for the cabinet to clear, so we got some adjustable furniture feet and used those to add some height. Phew - glad that one worked out so easily!



2. My excruciatingly slow bedroom make-over got one step closer with the completion of my customized white duvet cover. I saw a lovely bedroom on one of the blogs I read, and used some of their ideas in my room. You can see two of those ideas in this photo. One is the long pillow across the bed, and the other is the striped duvet. Getting that stripe on was not easy!! I tried a couple different methods, but finally ended up unstitching part of each side seam so I could get my sewing machine arm in there!






That's my inspiration pic - I loved the long pillow, and the stripe around the edge of the duvet!

My next bedroom project will be sewing some curtains. I ordered fabric, and have my blackout fabric all ready to go. I just want one curtain to go across our windows, so Dan picked up some 1/2" electrical conduit for about $5, (way better than spending a couple hundred on an extra long curtain rod!!) so there will be no need for a bracket in the middle. I ordered enough fabric to cover the rake windows in our room too, I just have no idea how I'm going to do that!




This is my curtain fabric!

3. I finished Easter gifts for the small children! I know there is really no need to get my little people anything, but I just love them so!! Plus, I get so much pleasure from crafting & sewing little things for them, so why not, right? I don't want to spoil anything on here, (since some of their parents might be reading) but I am working on a sewing tutorial for part of what I made - hopefully I'll have that up soon! 

I think that's all I've completed lately! What about you? Any projects on the go? 

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Quirks

Years ago, Leah mailed me a bookmark that she got from her local library. I am talking YEARS. For a long time, it was the only bookmark I would use. No reason why, just because! Probably the same reason that Hillary would only use her "Bit-O-Wisdom" bookmark!

Anyway, a few weeks ago I cracked open The Message, and what did I find?


I have to say, I was kind of pleased to re-discover this little non-treasure! 


Who knew a tattered old piece of paper could be so....sentimental?? Haha!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Live & Learn

I mentioned yesterday that I took a photography class this weekend. Last summer I bought a Groupon for this class, Oh Snap! Fort Langley Photowalk, taught by Lesley of Lesley Ann Photography.

It was a fairly basic class, but did give me some confidence to try new stuff and play around a bit. I have already been in the habit of using the aperture priority setting on my camera, but the information Lesley gave was more in depth and she did a great job explaining the whys and hows of beginner DSLR photography! 

Here are some abstract 'light paintings' I made with my camera. Don't worry, we also covered things like depth of field and taking photos of moving subjects, so hopefully soon I can show you some lovely photos of the lovely little people in my life!! So, now I've got to practice, practice, practice!! 


If you are looking for a photography class that covers some photography basics and helps you get to know your camera, I would recommend this class. For $45, you can't go wrong! 

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Shade

MY ROMAN SHADE ARRIVED!!!! 


I was anxiously awaiting it's arrival (Dan can attest to this), and yesterday the parcel arrival slip finally made it's way to our mailbox. And it said I could come pick up the package after 1 today. And the post office closes at 12:30. How convenient!! 

It all worked out though. Dan was able to pick it up this morning (I couldn't go because I took a photography class this morning - more on that in a later post!) and I installed it this afternoon! 


I was super nervous about ordering a custom roman shade sight unseen from a website, but it is so well made, and worth every penny! I could never have done such a superb job myself. 

For those interested, I ordered it from Tonic Living. This is hands down one of my favorite fabric stores, and it's Canadian! They are located in Toronto, and I wish I could buy every fabric they stock! Janine was great to work with, too, and answered all of my questions. I wouldn't hesitate at all about getting another custom shade or drapery from Tonic Living. Glowing review!!!

One other thing I love about Tonic Living, is that you can buy fabric samples for $1 so you can see & feel what the fabric is actually like. I had my fabric sample taped up on my window for a few months before I finally ordered. (I just got a new batch of samples and have been considering them for curtains in our bedroom - it's a difficult decision!!)


My fabric choice was Gazebo, Cloud. I love those subtle grays and bright blue & greens!