new to me

Someone new in the house

I have a new sewing machine thanks to my big sister.  She offered to trade machines with me.  The reasons?  She says she hardly uses the machine for more than mending and basic sewing.  I think she traded because she loves me, but mostly because she is a generous soul.  She always has been.  It's the way she is wired.  Anytime we have gone down to visit her (she lives in the US), her home is always comfortable and she never makes you feel like you are an imposition.  Even when you know you are imposing, by having you own American friends rendezvous at her casa, she warmly opens her home and her arms to you and your friends.  Really it should be no surprise to me that she was offering me her Husqvarna machine, but I am none the less, and ever so grateful.

going retro

It is a huge step up in the sewing equipment department for me.   I've been contentedly sewing on a Kenmore that my hubby purchased for me 14 years earlier but admit to feeling a bit limited with it when it came to doing more serious quilting.  Really a newer machine was just a matter of time.

linen and retro love

I'm all upgraded now, even put the machine in the shop for a check up, purchased correct
bobbins, needles and some other accessories to keep me busy.  The retro fabric is cut and I'm ready to rock it.  Thanks sis' for loving me and spoiling me :) 


so cool

The Crafty Crow

A big thank you goes out to Cassi for giving our recycled bird houses a mention on The Crafty Crow.  I loved some of the other feeder ideas that are listed as well and can't wait to give some of them a try.  If you made your way over here from there, welcome and thanks for visiting!  Oh and please take advantage of the pine cone feeder tutorial that is located in the left column.  It's a free pdf. file. 


don't you sew anymore?

Asks one of my girls the other day.  I have an excuse, really I do.  My machine has been in the shop for the past couple of weeks and before that it was Christmas, where my gift giving centered around the sticks.  Now that all those events have passed I need to find a new rhythm with sewing but life is distracting me.  I have other work that is begging to be done and these are my current tools of the trade. 

Tools of the trade

After a couple months hiatus it's time I started back at my kitchen cupboards.   Not the actual cupboards in the kitchen, those were finished in the fall, but the doors.   I still haven't had doors on my cupboards since we moved in.  They've been sitting in a pile in my basement waiting for their turn in our renovation process. 

Tools of the trade....

Before the snow arrived we did a bit of work on the doors by ripping off the old molding that had too many ridges for sanding.  No way on earth was I going to spend countless hours trying to remove the stain off those babies.  Uh-uh.  Instead we replaced the old with a new flat smooth (and primed) molding that will make my job a slight bit easier. 

Tools of the trade.

Fast forward to where I am today with that nagging feeling of an unfinished project.   So it's time to get busy.   Let me start by telling you upfront that re-finishing is not for the faint at heart.   It's a tedious little process of (and most of the time I enjoy the tedious)
painting, waiting for paint to dry, sanding, more painting, more waiting for paint to dry, more sanding and still more sessions like these.  In the end I'll be left with creamy off-white cupboards that have that old and antique look.  Either that or they'll just look dirty. ;)

Tools of the trade..

Have a good weekend, xoxo


feeding the birds, part 2

Some times the simplest of ideas are to use up what you have in your own home.  After completing our pine cone feeders we had a lot of extra suet/cornmeal/birdseed food left over.  At first we thought we'd just freeze the rest but realized that if we could come up with a bird house design, or two, the birds wouldn't mind the extra food or place to perch.  

feeding the birds, recycle style

The first place we looked was the recycling bin for odd shaped cartons, boxes, & jugs; really anything sturdy enough to hang from a branch, as well as hold the feed.  Other supplies we used were an exacto knife for cutting (with adult supervision or by an adult, please) tape and string then you are pretty much set.   Your youngster can decide on the design: windows, doors, etc. and you can help with your almost expert architectural skills; don't want the house collapsing on the wee birds now. 

if you fill it

they will come  and leave

From 1 L cream containers to the big 4 L milk jug, the feeders are attracting the birds at regular intervals.  So far we've been able to catch the black-capped chickadee making a stop, but even he doesn't stay still for very long before he is off again.  They do this all day.  Fly into the feeder for a quick grab of food and fly out. 

he's so proud, he worked so hard

Our funnest (& most creative) feeder by far consists of a garbage bag box, granola bar box, toilet paper rolls and a clear plastic lid to keep the snow from disintegrating the design.  The B-meister was really into the construction of this one.  He is so proud of his bird feeder house. 

creative recycling caught ya!

Keep in mind that these won't last forever, but they do provide a good winter activity if you are housebound with the bonus that they didn't cost anything just some time and imagination. 


it's might be winter

but we'll be frogging in this house.

I made the girls a couple of short sleeved sweaters last summer, that I am really not happy with.  Oh I love sweater in the booklet (especially the picot edging) but on my girls I do not.   It bulges and hangs awkwardly  and really isn't that flattering.  It's the first time I've knit something where I feel :meh:, not such a great feeling.  For the record, I don't blame the design.

I like frogging

So I made the decision this week to start taking the green sweater apart.  It's called frogging and let me just say right now that frogging with yarn isn't nearly as fun as frogging with buckets at the beach.  After painstakingly sewing up seams and weaving in yarn ends it is a knitter's nightmare to take it apart.  I did not really enjoy that process.  Made me almost think that I should sew seams in a coordinating yarn thread for ease of recognition but that would look ridiculous.

I will be frogged

If that weren't enough after I pulled the sweater apart and wound the yarn on a ball I immediately casted on with the yarn for another project I've been wanting to work on.  After 100 CO stitches and some 30 rows the yarn had this terrible kink running through it so a-frogging-we-will-go again.  It is at this point that I *sigh*.  I ask myself is baby bamboo really worth all that trouble? 
bye bye picot

The answer is a resounding yes!  I'm giving it one more go again tonight.  I've steamed ironed (a process where you hold the iron slightly over the yarn while the steam does it's job) the kinks out of the yarn, rewound the balls and I'm all set to sit down with it.  Wish me luck.  I need the yarn gods to smile down on me.


gift knitting

for my MIL

I mentioned the fetching that I was knitting for my niece.  It was such a quick knit that I ended up making another pair for my other niece.  It makes sense, they are cousins after all.  I still want a pair for myself but too much of a good thing isn't always good for you.  I think for sake of originality I may detour my fingerless knitting over to the maine morning mitts.   Have I said how much I love free downloads?  I really do.

to keep her neck warm

Speaking of free downloads, when I purchased some Hacho yarn (Mirasol project) at my LYS I was given a free pattern called the Superior Travelling Vine lace scarf.  At the time I wasn't sure if I was going to use it but in the end I am so glad I did.  I love this scarf.  For a lace pattern it wasn't difficult to work up and the hacho yarn displayed beautifully.  As tempting as it was to keep the scarf for myself, the gifting season was around the corner and giving (handmade items) makes my heart a flutter so off it went in the MIL pile.  She loves it btw. 


Fast forward to a recent crazed search for the pattern, in my ever increasing pattern pile, it was becoming oh so apparent the pattern could not be found.  Sadness ensued.  Being the persevering type I pressed on and began a search at ravelry.  Found.  Joy followed.  But unless you have a ravelry account that little bit of information won't help you much so after searching one of my favorite yarn websites I found a link for a whole slew of free patterns, PLUS a download for the scarf I speak of.  More joy. 
Perhaps the holidays aren't completely over yet?  Happy Knitting :)  


what I love

A brother who has a teachable moment with his little sister who absolutely adores him.

Big brother teaches little sister

Convincing her to get on the tobaggon was one thing.  Getting her to hold on was quite another.

that winter fun

Following her close behind to show her how it's done, belly style. 

he rocks!!

You rock B-meister and your fans adore you! 


feeding the birds

It's cold, so very cold.  I think that may be a consitent theme with me during January and February. I was born and raised on the Canadian prairie and it never ceases to amaze (and disturb) me just how cold it can get.  Brrr.    Maybe I'm not such a hearty girl after all?  

The next two months are pretty challenging for me as a homeschooling parent.   The constant barrage of cold (temperatures plus wind chills leave us in the -30's (celsius) on most days) keep us indoors for extended periods of time.  When we do go outside it is a an exercise in patience as we layer ourselves in pants, sweatshirts, snow pants, jackets, mitts, scarves and good old Canadian Sorels to keep those tender tootsies warm.   By the time I've assisted with all the dressing I'm pretty tuckered out myself until I realize I still have to get my own gear on.  On those days when the adventure of going outside eludes us we stay in, put a log on the fire and make the most of our housebound existence with reading, baking & of course crafts.  It's especially nice when you can combine all three as an opportunity for learning, after all isn't learning supposed to be fun?

making birdfood

Lately we've been captivated by birds, birds and more birds.  It probably started back with the water fowl when we moved to the duckyhouse and now it has escalated to include other species.  Fictional reads, costumes & educational materials have kept our interests growing and now that the cold has set in we find ourselves thinking about the birds that are non-migratory, such as black-capped chickadees, brown creepers, and woodpeckers to name a few.   They stick around to brave the ridiculous temperatures by growing heavier feathers, shivering or burrowing themselves in the snow; for food you can often find them somewhere near a bird feeder.  When I went out to shovel the snow the other day, I noticed my neighbor's bushy everygreen tree was host to about 15 birds fluttering about the feeder.  At our last house we had a couple of feeders, but one broke during the move and the other has not yet surfaced.   Such is life I guess when you move but that shouldn't stop us from feeding the birds.

crafting is for the birds

So the wheels turn...feed the birds, feed the birds.  We rented a library book once that talked about pine cone feeders and it just so happened that there was a bag of pine cones sitting by my front door from one of our fall walks back in October.  I can't tell you how many times my hubby has asked me what that bag of pine cones was for and I kept telling him I wasn't sure yet, procrastination paid off once again.  After a quick stop at the grocery store for supplies, umm no I don't usually have suet in my freezer, we were all set up for making our pine cone feeders.

pine cone feeders

I've put together a "how to" in pdf. format for downloading Pine Cone Feeders
.  It's my first pdf. so be gentle with me ;)  I'll add it to my side bar shortly.  

pine cone feeder hanging

The kids had a lot of fun making these feeders and even more fun hanging them up.  After we finished making these we realized that bird feeders could be made with other items through out the house with a little effort and some time.  I'll be back to share some photos of our recycled bird feeders with you next week.  Happy Weekend, xoxo.



It's slow this week or should I say that I'm slow this week.  My brain knows the holidays are over but the rest of me has yet to respond.  The tree is still up, granted it was only put up the week of Christmas, stockings still sit on the fireplace as do various other Christmas decorations.  There they will remain until annoyance becomes more prevalent than procrastination.  Some things are easier to deal with then other things.

peppermint bark

Like candy canes.  After making an executive decision that my children really don't need anymore sugar right now I decided to make a treat with even more sugar than one simple candy cane could ever pocess.  Peppermint bark.  The culmination of dark chocolate, white chocolate and crushed candy canes.  Yes, enough sugar to send my body into a diabetic coma.  Yeesh, what was I thinking? 

almost gone

Probably not a whole lot of thinking went into that one actually.  Remember I said I'm slow this week.  Whatever, I can ponder that while I snack on my bark and stare at my tree a little while longer.

How's undecorating going in your home?  


a glimpse of what's past

It's time to check in and wish you all a Happy New Year. I hope that you are enjoying the remaining days of the holiday season before the routine of life starts up again. I realize some of you may already be in the midst of the routine but for those who are fortunate enough to have a few extra days of slow down time, enjoy each and every moment of it.

snapshot of 2008

We are loving the slower pace of having daddy at home these past two weeks.  It's been so enjoyable that I've been reluctant to turn on the computer unless necessary.  A bit of a break is alright I think?  As life would have it though the hubby is off tonight enjoying a little time with his dad (aka "Papa") before they (Papa and "Nana") get on a plane and head back to their neck of the woods.  (I'm going to really miss you guys you know?!)  Now that I've got all the kids in bed and before I curl up with some wool and a movie I thought I'd press or a button or two and wish you a most wonderful year ahead.  May your days be filled with adventure, excitement and creativity, as well much peace and joy.   Thank you for stopping by so faithfully.  See you in a couple more days.  xoxo

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