Thursday, July 26, 2012

A little loveliness.....

I'm sorry. I'm at it again. This sewing malarky has got me hooked. I have officially completed the sewing trifecta.....homeware, accesories and now clothing!! I made a skirt for Miss Bel and it's the cutest thing  I've ever seen her wear (except maybe those adorable Huckleberry Fin-esque dungarees of hers!)  I used a free pattern from Oliver and S and whipped it up one evening when Neil was on nights and the kiddies were tucked up in bed. I used some fabric from ikea (notice any repetitiveness about my fabric choices) and a bit of ribbon I found in my cupboard for the trim. Belly loves it! And I love that she loves it! Her favorite thing about this skirt is that it's perfect for a bit of this....

Hehe! Nothing like a good skirt for twirling is there!
Here's a closer look, cause I just know you are dying to hear more and more about my sewing!! If you look closely you'll see my trademark wonky stitching.

And here's the view from the back. Much like the front really :)

I've already ordered some cuter fabric with her next skirt in mind! Oh and Miss Molly, there's one on it's way to you as we speak! It even has less of the wonky stitching :)

I'm not really sure how I'll be able to start making clothes for Seb. His preference for clothing usually resembles outfits such as this one.......

And I think this might be a bit beyond my skill level right now.

(Yes, Bel is the dog and Seb is the dog walker in this pic.)

Things have been a little stressful in our household this week for reasons that I don't even want to think about let alone discuss. I just wanted to add that my new found distraction of sewing and the happiness and smiles that my lovelies bring to me every day make it all seem so insignificant. I'm so lucky to have such an amazing family.

I love you monkeys and sometimes even you too monster....

Progress in the garden....

Or in the container I should say.

Rhuby the rhubarb is still alive. Not exactly flourishing as you can see but alive nonetheless. After his traumatic journey on my lap all the way here from Tofino he hated his new life here in Edmonton and proceeded to make that apparent to me by turning brown, moth-eaten and shrively. I was scared for him mostly because, like ET and his little potted flower, I felt the same was happening to me (metaphorically speaking, I'm obviously not brown and shrively). We're both adapting and trying to stay positive. He's looking a little more green and even has a wee baby leaf poking through. I'm hoping this is a sign that things are looking up for Rhuby and me. 

My Arugula, the first plant I have ever really grown from seed (aside from various forms of sprouts) is also surviving. Considering that he was abandoned for nearly three weeks in the heat of the prairie summer he is looking remarkably well. I was concerned that I let him grow flowers but have just discovered that they are edible and taste a bit like radishes so I'm going to try them in a salad most likely this afternoon. It turns out Neil hates Arugula so it looks like I get to enjoy him all to myself. 

In the kitchen my first attempt at growing some Thyme and Oregano from seed seemed to fail miserable. I'm not really sure wht happened but my seedlings just stopped growing. They were still green but that was about it. After several weeks of watering the teeny little blighters I gave up and started from scratch. After a bit of research I found out that they may not have enjoyed the ice cold tap water I was sprinkling on them every so often. Apparently they are quite fussy and might prefer it to be tepid. We'll see if that makes a difference this time around.
I've also added a Mesclun mix to my seedling attempts and in just a few days I've got cotyledons galore and hope to make a home grown salad in the not too distant future!

Have a happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The nicest bag in the whole wide world ever ever ever......

Boo-ya-ka-sha! Check out ma'bag! 

Yep, it's lovely and colourful and beautiful and big and I made it! Yes I MADE IT. (sorry, I'm not sure when I'll get over this crazyiness about realizing that little old me can make things! I MADE IT! Hehe!) With an old coffee sack from Breakers, a bit of ikea fabric and an old bed sheet for the lining!
Here's just one more photo just to show you the stunning beauty of my boxed out corners..........


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

sew sew

Before our big BC camping trip you might remember that I randomly went and bought myself a sewing machine. Well I managed to squeeze in a couple of sewing projects before we went away but haven't had time to tell you about it yet. So here goes...I started off nice and simple and decided to sew some napkins. "Easy peasy" I hear you thinking (yes I can hear you thinking), "how hard can it be to cut out 4 squares of fabric and sew them into, well, 4 squares of fabric" I hear you thinking again. Well, I'll have you know it's much more difficult than you think. At least for me, Miss never-sewed-a-single-thing-in her-life. You see napkins require hemming and hemming requires ironing and I am also known as Miss never-ironed-a-single-thing-in-her-life-unless-her-life-depended-on-it. It is a true fact that had I known sewing involved quite this much ironing I never would have even contemplated taking it up as a hobby. When setting myself up with all the necessary stuff to be able to sew I had to add "iron" and "ironing board" to my list of supplies because I had managed to live for at least the last year and a half without either item in my possession. Anyhoo back to the actual sewing. I was quite frazzled after all that ironing and was surprised to discover the complexitites of mitring corners. It's quite a process for the novice sewer let alone the novice ironer. I was very proud of my first completed napkin even with it's wavy stitching and slighly gappy and uneven mitred corners and the sense of achievment spurred me on to try to at least make a set of two. The learning curve in sewing (so far) seems pretty steep and napkin number  two came out  soooo much better than napkin number one it was shocking. By number three I was beginning to feel like some kind of seamstress superstar who just whips up napkins from thin air in a matter of seconds. My stitches were straight and my mitred corners...oh the perfection! On completion of napkin number 4 I couldn't take the smile off my face. I'd actually made something and it was something nice!

You'll be quite impressed to find out that not only did I manage to turn 4 ordinary squares of fabric into 4 ordinary squares of fabric with nicely pressed and sewn hems and mitred corners but also.....wait for it......I printed the fabric myself! WITH A POTATO!! Hahahaha! I don't know what has come over me!

Yes, I used a small old potato from somewhere in the back of my fridge to creeate a beautiful feathery design on my plain Ikea grey gingham fabric. I just carved out my design into my old potato, left it to dry for a bit and then dabbed it into some fabric paint and onto my fabric a bunch of times. Voila! I bet you'll see me on Pinterest within days!!
Look! Here are my four beautiful napkins all folded and neatly pressed I might add. I doubt I'll ever use them in case they get creased ;)

....I can't wait to show you what I did next!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

About the big trip....

 We tent camped for 12 nights, stayed in a beeeautiful rented house in Tofino for 3 nights and hoteled it for the last two nights in Banff mostly because our camping stuff was by this stage so disorganized we couldn't face the thought of trying to sort through the mess crammed into every available nook of the truck to find what we needed to camp for just two nights. We camped through southern BC and Vancouver Island including Clearwater, Goldstream Provincial Park, Bamberton Provincial Park, Nitnat Lake Forest, Sproat Lake Provincial Park, Mussel Beach and Kekuli Bay. We also spent time visiting the city of Victoria, the lovely Cowichan Valley, Port Alberni, Ucluelet, Revelstoke, Merrit and Tofino of course. In Tofino we met up with Neil's Mum, Dad, Aunt and Uncle and other than one more night back at Nitnat, convoyed with them for the rest of the trip. Most of the campsites we stayed at were BC provincial parks and were really lovely. Plenty of space and tons of trees for privacy along with nicely looked after facilities. Goldstream Park had hot showers and proper toilets and I would highly recommend it for camping with young children, a beautiful park full of tall trees and only 20 minutes from the centre of Victoria. A highlight of our stay there was seeing Neil emerging from the tent all dressed up in his business suit ready for his interview, I've never seen someone look so out of place in a forest before :)  Bamberton was beautiful too, our camp was right by a pretty beach and surrounded by Arbutus trees, common on the Island and coastal southern BC, they have reddish curvy trunks and really pealy bark which makes them look a little tropical. Nitnat lake was pretty special, it's remote, like really remote. To get there you have to drive to the middle of nowhere, then drive for a good couple of hours more down some hairy logging roads. The dust cloud we created was pretty horrendous and little did we know was seeping through the gaps of our trailer and into every bag of stuff we carried. Our clothes, food and even toothbrushes were literally caked in brown dust upon arrival at the lake. Nice. The campsite at Nitnat is run buy the local First Nations on behalf of the BC Forest service and facilities are limited. There are a couple of seriously stinky pit toilets and that's about it. There was no water so we had to haul in whatever we needed. The lake at Nitnat and the surrounding forest is stunning. Neil spent the day Kitesurfing (Nitnat is a kitesurfing mecca with some of the most consistent winds in North America) and the kiddies and I hung out on the beach climbing giant tree trunks and picking wild salmonberries. We were warned to be watchful for bears and other big critters such as wolves and cougars, all common in the area so we kept the kiddies close at all times. Thankfully the only bear I saw was from the safety of the  truck although Neil did spot one on the shore while he was kitesurfing, apparently it was standing on it's hind legs watching him with great interest. There were so many amazing parts of our trip it's hard to choose my best bits, obviously seeing Grandma and spending time with family was lovely especailly as we got to share with them the wonders of Tofino. For Neil the highlight was without a doubt Kitesurfing at Nitnat. For me I loved the Cowichan Valley. The rolling hills of forest and farmland, pretty lakes and seaside towns. It's a foodie paradise with small organic farms tucked in amoungst vinyards and orchards. My favorite outing was a sunday evening spent at Merridale Cider House sitting on their orchard terrace with a band playing, sipping cider and eating pizza fresh out of the wood oven. Hehe, it really was as good as it sounds! More amazing times were had at the Ucluelet Aquarium ( I LOVE that place), magical Mussel Beach and strolling around beautiful Banff with the family. 

I would love to post every single photo for you to see  everything full size and beautiful but it'd take forever and your finger might get sore from scrolling down so here's a slideshow for you instead......

Friday, July 13, 2012

Best. Trip. Ever.

It was everything it should have been. Fire crackling, s'more dripping, rope swinging, sea shell collecting, berry picking, lake paddling fun. I loved every minute...well maybe not every minute (I could have done without the bug bites, smelly pit toilets and small children falling from tall tree stumps) but I loved 99.9% of every minute.  And even though I'm in a house with hot running water, no bears and an actual flushing toilet I would be back in that tent quick as a flash if I could. 
Stand by for the 187 picture slideshow....I'm just waiting for the darned things to upload :)