say it ain't so

We interrupt this crafty/home/life blog to whine about the weather. 

return of geese

Toward the end of last week our spring was interrupted with winter again.  Just when the grass was beginning to appear and a few geese, yes geese, had found the melted spots on our lake, the snow returned.  Sneaky weather. 

snow, shmow

Such is to be expected in these parts where winter has such a hard time surrendering to the warm days that will inevitably return.  It fell like a mini blizzard, heavy and continuous for an entire 24 hour period.  Just enough for us to take refuge indoors but not enough to shut our hearty city down.  No, life doesn't stop here for snow.  We keep going. 


So does the weather.  Oy!  It snowed again last night.  Lots of heavy snow.  It started in the later part of the afternoon and kept going strong into the night.  Now it looks a lot more like November outside, April fools indeed


Oh and yes, that is a snow drift that formed outside my living room window.


spring break

My sister dropped by yesterday to pick up my boys for a cousin sleep over.  Spring break is here and the cousins have spring fever for some time together.  Who am I to stand in the way?  While she was here she told me about a youtube clip that I'm passing on to you now.  It's about a Lion named Christian.  Quite a remarkable story.

You can find more information here: sans aerosmith.

 Happy Tuesday, xoxo.


my happy 'quilted' yarn bag

Over the weekend I decided to try a new quilting technique.  Don't all people get quilting adventurous after a few days of high temperatures and flu symptoms?


It's been long time coming as I've been admiring various quilts by talented quilters.  Free motion is the name and in this case, stippling is the game.   Gulp.  Yup, I felt that knot in my throat too when I began to contemplate this new learning curve.  Yeah, it might by scary, but it's time to take the plunge.  What's the big deal right?  Gulp, gulp.


Well back in January when I had my machine serviced, I ordered a free motion (or darning) foot.  So you know I've been thinking about it for a long while.  Not wanting to overwhelm myself, I practiced at first on 3, 12 x 12 squares of fabric, batting and more fabric.  The size of the square was ideal for this novice as there was a start and a finish to it quite quickly.  After finishing up the squares I wanted to move onto a more permanent project without having to wait to complete an entire quilt.  It was then that I remembered, two irresistible little girls (a few months back) decided to take turns sitting inside my stationary yarn bag.   Now giving these two little munchkins a break here, the original fabric on the bag was a light weight poly-cotton with a nylon lining, hardly durable, at least not for my girlies and I had been wanting to redo it for a while.  Rip, tear, went the bag.

the wool bag

With a quick search for the right fabric, I turned to my current favorite: Wee Play by American Jane, muslin for the lining and cotton batting, a bit of ironing, then basting, and I was set.  I began the stippling.    The practice squares really helped, a lot!  I set to work at it and other than a few start and stop points it felt rather natural.  Almost like free motion, hence the name. After all the quilting was done I finished sewing up the bag, covered the inside seams with bias tape and added a few cute buttons to brighten my happy yarn bag before filling it full to the brim.

happy buttons

Now I'm on a mission.  I keep looking around the house trying to figure out what other items I can stipple.  Placemats, clothing, pillows, cushions...Ahhh, I think I've created a monster, a happy monster.  


what I love...

My handsome and handy hubby, who needs a shave ;)

my painting bud

A sure sign that we are feeling healthy again.  We started painting yesterday. 


Bright.  A new color for the "everything" room.  Until I figure out a better name for this space that really will be home to everything - toys, resourses, music, library.  A place to converge and gather ourselves throughout the day.  A room of purpose, where we will play, dream and work hard.  Our family room.  I can hardly wait! 

really bright  color: orange

For now It's good to be back in this little space and feeling healthy.  Happy Spring!  xoxo



We haven't been feeling well in this house for the past 6 days.   Dizzyness, fever, and headaches have been our constant malady.  One by one we have succumbed to symptoms.  That would explain the kidlets constant flow of emotions and tears over the past week.   Even the hubby has been home from work for the past two days. 

I was hoping this would pass me by, as it usually does, leaving me only tired from serving and keeping the little ones hydrated and happy.  Alas it hasn't.  I'm down for the count.  I need to take a break from posting for a few days - so I can heal and find my strength again.  I feel so very weak and tired.  I want my mumma. 

Stay healthy for me, okay?  Be back soon.  xoxo


If at first you don't succeed

I tried a new cinnamon bun recipe on the weekend.  They didn't turn out very well, actually they were reminiscent of a good ol' hockey puck in weight and texture.  I'm not sure if it was the dough hooks coming loose in the bread maker, or the 3 eggs making the dough so very tough, or if it was the addition of sour cream, all I do know is the recipe sucked.  

Now I like my frugal tendencies along with the next person but I'm
really not into torturing the masses with the tooth braking experience
of consuming the little rocks gone bad.  Instead I quickly went to work
with my tried and true cinnamon roll recipe.  It never fails, it never
has.   Reliable like a good friend is this recipe.

My creation

The dough came out of the bread machine ready and willing to be flattened, sprinkled, rolled and cut before heading for the pan for some much needed rest and quiet time.  One hour to be exact.  Then on cue the buns rose to the challenge before heading into the pre-heated oven for a bask in the warmth.

cinnamon rolls

At last we have some delicious, soft, air-filled cinnamon buns.  With a gentle drizzle of icing sugar the buns were quickly snatched up by the long suffering crowd who really had been waiting so very long. 
Try, try again. 

But for you I'll give it to you right the first time.

Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls  (recipe given to me by my sister...she's a giver I tell ya :)

1/2 cup milk (warm)
1/2 cup water (warm)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp bread machine yeast

Place ingredients in pan in order listed and set machine to dough setting.  Sit back and make a cup of tea, knit, read a book, etc.  When the dough cycle is complete let it rest for about 10 minutes then remove dough to lightly floured surface.  Roll or pat to a rectangle, at least 9 x 12 but I like to make mine bigger.  Brush with 1 TBSP (or more if you like) of melted butter. 

6 tbsp brown suugar,
1/4 cup chopped nuts,
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix together and sprinkle over dough. 

Starting with the longer side, roll up dough tightly.  Pinch edges to seal.  Cut into 24 slices for smaller cinnamon buns (my favorite way) or 12 slices.  Place in 9 x12 pan (grease it if you think you are going to have a problem).   Cover, let them rise until doubled. 
Bake at 375 F, 20-25 minutes. 

Make a little icing (thick liquid consistency) to drizzle over rolls while warm.  Kick it up a notch by mixing 2 tbsp of strong coffee in your icing sugar.  Yummy :)


waiting on spring's return

My youngest son, the B-meister, is a pretty funny character at the best of times, remember his Halloween request?  Well his obsession with the canada goose is in full throttle now that we are well into March.  He knows this is the month they return.  Every morning he wakes and tells me a goose fact or two and then takes his place by the patio doors in hopes that this will be the day.  His optimism is exciting and we can't help but get on board with him.  To celebration the imminent return of the goose there's been some extra special creating going on around here.  It's of a fowl nature so keep that in mind as you continue on through this post.  The girls (Miss A & Miss J) have been nagging asking me to make them some geese.  Thankfully it was of the softie variety and not the "up your nose" fun fur.  Been there, done that.  Ultimately I succumbed to the pressure and agreed.  What did I get myself into now?
pretty geese

It began with a sketch, drawings that resembled a goose before being transfered onto paper to make a pattern, and then onto the task of prototyping the pattern with fabric.  This is where it always gets tricky.  There is always one part of the pattern that inevitably needs to be re-worked over and over and over and over...you get the picture.  Well after about the 8th or 9th goose head, tenacity can be a good virtue, the goose pattern was pretty much complete.  Time to bring out the pretty fabrics :)  Kaffe Fassett all the way baby.  The details were finished in the wee hours while the kidlets slept; embroidered eyes and wool felt beaks and neck bands.   In the morning when they awoke the girls found a few new friends sitting on the coffee table.  Apparently they are loved by all because I now have a couple more geese to make for the big brothers. 
geese love

Today the house is filled with all manner of goose honking...imagine how loud it's going to be when the geese actually arrive?  Can you tell we've missed seeing them?

miss a & new friends


it's a green day, again...

close up

Giving gifts to a friend who's had a baby is fun, even when the "said gift" arrives when the "baby" is almost 1 year old, it's still lots of fun.

seed stitch love

Of course it helps that the pattern was Picky Pants by Little Turtle Knits.  I love this pattern, such a classic!   So many options - diaper butt - no diaper butt - newborn babe - one year old - etc.  Just what the procrastinating gift giver needs, a one size fits all pattern.
picky pants

The wool, ella rae, was purchased back in January at my LYS.  I immediately cast on to make the largest size for the little guy, give him room to grow, after all he is almost a 1 year old.  It was sitting in my gift giving pile while I collected a few other goodies, for mumma and three older brothers.  Yes that's right, a house full of boys in that family.
picky pants
With this gift now delivered I can happily report that my gift pile is now empty.  I'm going to enjoy this short reprieve to catch up on a few other projects looming around the house.  But I'm pretty sure I'll revisit those pants again, maybe even cast on a couple of pairs for my girls for next winter, minus the diaper butt.  Oh that was nice to put in print, no - more - diapers.  Although night time pull-ups are quite a different story all together. 


~ attitude ~

If you are making your way over here from the quilt festival- spring 2009, welcome. This is my most recent and favorite quilt to date.  It is the first quilt that I've made just for me.  It wasn't a gift to give, or for my kids, it has no utilitarian purpose, it is completely a frivolous expression of art.  I love where I went with this quilt and I'm hoping that this is just the start of many more quilts without reason.  Not that I don't love a good useful quilt, and believe me I see many of those in my future, but I want to be able to do both and have both types of quilts in my life.  Those made to give and those made to please, both made to cherish.
Now the original post below was written back in March and rather than re-post I thought I'd use the existing post/photos.  I was a little tired of winter but the quilt was making me feel very happy. 

Yay for quilt festivals and spring.  Thanks for dropping by :)

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I almost wrote a post about how I feel about mondays; then it was quickly morphing into how sucky the weather is with all that white stuff still hanging around; until I realized that starting one's week off grumbling is probably bad karma.  So let's just skip that shall we?  Instead let's look at pictures of the finished scrappy quilt started last month.  That always makes me happy :)

point of view

Finished size is 18 x 21 inches, just the right size to hang on a wall. 

scrappy bits

I found the original tutorial over here at lady harvartine's blog.  The piecing is pretty intensive but if you like puzzles then you are already ahead of the game.  This quilt was a great project for using up those little bits of fabric that you don't know quite what to do with.  I especially the love the colors and how well they contrast with the white.   For finishing I did a basic (machine) line for the final quilting mainly because I'm still too chicken to try free motion stippling.  This project has got me thinking about a stained glass quilt with batik fabrics on black.  Oooo...ahhhh...   I'll just stop there for today and wish you a Happy Monday.  See, I'm feeling better already!

closer still

Oh and for those of you who have asked, Fusion had a great turnout with a good deal of money raised for Ugandan children.


tonight I'll be here...

Fusion poster Feb 8

For more info go here


green week - day 5

I'm getting ready to make bread but it all starts here with some fresh zucchini.


zucchini shower

zucchini logs

zucchini process

zucchini shredded

I'm all set now so I've gotta run, you know the zucchini calls.  It's been fun exploring green this week and makes me a bit hopeful that spring is near despite the new snow that fell yesterday.  Until then I'll have to be content finding inspiration from the green that is indoors.   Have a great weekend.


green week - day 4



We skipped the whole china thing and decided to collect my favorite stoneware from the UK.


When we lived in the UK our first year of marriage we made a point of visiting the town of Denby .  That was an exciting treat for me.   But we were poor students that year and I was weak in the knees over stoneware.  I did the most logical thing, I called my mother and asked her if she would foot the bill for some pottery until we got home and could pay her back.  She agreed.  Good mumma.   So we loaded our rented car up with tons of pieces from the collection, carefully packaged and labelled with fragile stickers all over the boxes, we chanced it all to bring home some pottery goodness.  It was more than we expected when every item arrived home with us, undamaged and completely intact.  After 15 years of marriage our Denby is still going strong. 

green week - day 3

not ready

not ready


green week - day 2

I already like where this idea is going but it didn't originate from me.  Shining egg is hosting all green this week and rather than sit around and be "green with envy" I thought I'd join in.  Coincidentally my first post of the week had green in it. 

the boy

What could be more mindful of green than a tree?  As for the color
itself, green is one of my favorite colors.   It's been a decorating
staple in some shade or another for all of my married years.   I never
tire of it.  Ever.  It's easy on the eyes, soothing and a great
reminder of warm days outside, laying in the grass.  Need I say

PS: Even the J-man looks lovely in green, reading away contentedly in the chair.



Last week found me lost in the boys brand new room painting the soothing colors of the outdoors - green & aqua blue, with crisp white trims.  The colors, against the medium brown floor boards, all do their part to unify the once small, cramped, dark, carpeted, wall papered, "ugly" room.  In reality the new room looks nothing like the old.  The esthetic's not only changed but the size as well.  The old room was a mere 9' x 8' feet, closet included, hardly enough space for two growing boys to call their own.  Beside it, was a huge 13' x 15' hallway, a strange mix of proportions if you know what I mean.  It didn't take us too long to figure out what direction we were heading.  In a fashion similar to Robin Hood, we took from the large and gave to the small.  The structure was altered before Christmas by our favorite reno guy.  He did a great job.  In the end the boys have a good size space of 11' x 14', not including the closet.  Next on the list was the most time consuming part for sure, custom
shelving made by the hubby.  At the start of the new year I was itching
get cracking on the paint but first we had to saw, glue, assemble,
sand, & stain the shelving. Oh what joy that was, another one of
those "not for the faint of heart" activities.  I'll post pictures of them at a later date.  For now...


With all the finishing touches completed, I was able to have some creative time, which involved painting a tree on the bedroom wall.  I love trees and their symbolic nature: life, living, growing, breathing.  Bringing (artistic) nature indoors warms the atmosphere of the room and helps to cultivate the imagination.  In designing the tree I wanted to convey the outline and shadow, where the shape is the feature, versus the detail.  I'm pleased with the way it turned out, so are the boys. 

I keep hearing the exuberant question "are we moving into the room tomorrow?"  (nothing like a little pressure at the end of busy week.)   

I reply: "There is still work to do on the room next to yours which involves more messy, smelly painting".

I really don't want the boys breathing the fumes in during that time so for now a little patience is in order for us all.   Oh and there is still so much more to do here but I really do love how things are coming together in this house.  Our unique thumb print is becoming more evident project by project and "this house" is starting to feel like a home.  Happy Monday, xoxo.

ETA: now a part of green week going on in blogosphere.  This is day 1.

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