Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How To: Receiving Blankets

These receiving blankets are amazing. Double layered for extra coziness, and unlike store-bought receiving blankets they actually ARE useful and can be wrapped around your whole baby! They are perfect for swaddling. They are such a great size I still use them every night in my one year old's crib.

When we were camping recently it was SO freezing cold, but we had several of these blankets with us and with one on my legs it saved the day (or night!). I am now on a mission to buy two good size flannel sheets and make one for my own bed for this winter.

2 Pieces of Cotton Flannelette - I get the fabric shop to cut off each piece as long as it is wide
Coordinating thread
Masking Tape

1. Pre-wash and iron your fabric.

2. Lay your first piece of material flat, right side up, on a large enough surface area, and use masking tape to secure corners.
Flannel can be very difficult to keep flat and I picked this tip up online which really does help a little.
Lay your second piece of material centered on top of the other, with the wrong side up. Pin pieces of material together all the way around the outside edge.

3. Machine stitch around outside, 1/2 inch from raw edge of fabric, leaving one gap large enough to fit your hand in.

4. Clip all four corners

5. Using the opening, stick hand in and turn blanket right side out.

6. Go around the outside edge of the blanket, pressing it lightly with an iron, and securing it with pins making sure to fold in the unstitched opening so it looks equal. Hand stitch edge of the folded in opening using a slipstitch, or other subtle stitch.

7. Stitch around entire blanket within 1/2 inch from the edge so you are sure to secure the raw edge on the inside making for a stronger blanket. Obviously you can also zig zag or serge the raw edge before turning in, but of all the blankets my mom has made me (and for how much use they have had) I haven't had any come apart.


Best baby shower gift ever!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I have been very interested, not to mention curious, about the whole Waldorf approach to learning, and was very excited to be able to get a glimpse through registering my little munchkin in a parent-child group at one of the Waldorf schools.

Yesterday was our first day. We have a great group, and not only was it awesome for Levi to be able to play like crazy with a group of other kids around his age, but I really enjoyed having a group of adult women to chat with - not a normal day occurrence for me so it felt pretty good.

There were delicious muffins mixed and baked with help from a few small pairs of hands, while others just played, curious and happy to be in each others company but also happy to be playing alone (ie. not having someone take the toy they are interested in at that moment!).

I really dug that they said a blessing before we had snack. It just feels right to be thankful for each and every time we fill our bellies. Something I would love to start incorporating into my own life.

All the toys were safe, natural & hand-made. Either wood, stitched, knit, or felted it seemed. It was really nice to be in a space where I didn't need to say no. That word becomes all too common sometimes, and it's really nice to just give my curious little boy freedom to play - with Everything.

I tend to build things up a lot in my mind, and then generally find myself disappointed or just not overly thrilled which leaves me very non-committal and unmotivated to attend. As I drove this morning I thought to myself "Please be happy with this!" considering that I had paid, and knew deep down if I didn't totally feel at ease with it I would probably let laziness take over and make excuses why not to go! So there you have a dirty little secret about me...

Looking forward to next week!

A Day at The Fair

Sunday was perfect for a visit to the fair. Milton Fall Fair has been happening for 157 years! Hard to believe. It was our first time - actually I feel like it was my first time at any Fall Fair.

We just loved the small town feel of the fair, and our little guy couldn't get enough of all the animals.

We watched a demolition derby - also our first.

Enjoyed one of my favourite treats that I have possibly once a year - this year I believe I've had the pleasure of enjoying them twice!

Now that I think about it it was a 'classic' fair day, in that I ate nothing but crap! Donuts, popcorn, and sour candies do not make for a healthy lunch. This baby of mine is destined to have a sweet tooth.

Definitely a great day at the fair!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"New" Old Goodies

Rain comes down, air becomes chilly. Sun pops out, air gets crazy warm. Coat comes off, and the rain comes down...
So it went throughout today.

I felt sorry for the vendors at the Aberfoyle Antique Market, as many probably spent half their day covering and uncovering their furniture with big plastic sheets.

It was a very pleasant day still. I love browsing antiques. Like thrifting, everything you see is different (for the most part), and it becomes a challenge, or a game to find that perfect item.

Two brilliant finds found their way back to my house today.
The first was an old wash board which I have wanted for quite a while to hang in my laundry room.

The second was an old school house coat rack. It is quite heavy, which worries me about actually attaching it to the wall.

I am quite happy with my day's finds, and am now looking forward to squeezing in at least a full hour of sewing!
Must go take advantage of every moment!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Making Room For Autumn

There are a great many things that have been keeping me from this space.

First and most importantly there is this little boy who is all out of sorts.
Ah, the mysteries of babyhood... Could it be teeth? A need for changes in naptime? Hunger? Overtired? Just plain tired? Sore tummy? AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! These are the trials of his and our week. So far no solutions. Even a visit to the doctor proved futile. I just hate to see him upset. And I also struggle to carry him around as much as he currently desires it. Poor little fella. I think today, I will bust out one of my slings and just carry him as much as his little heart desires it :). Though I don't love him feeling down of course, for a little boy who seems to be growing out of his need for cuddles all too quickly I sure do love all the hugs lately! ;)

All the other little bits and bobs that are taking up my time all come down to this beautiful and busy time of year. Oh Autumn! I believe it's my favourite (though I feel like I may say that at the on-set of every season...).

Maybe because it was ingrained in me for so many years throughout school, but as soon as September hits so does the desire for routine and organisation. I have been doing a mass de-cluttering, and cleaning of all sorts. You know, the sort of cleaning that seems to get missed on an all too regular basis when you have a young one taking up most of your time.

My sewing space is piling up with projects, and the more projects, the less motivated I am to start on any one of them. Time to get the silliness out of the way so I can work on the good stuff. So I have been mending and creating the little bits that we "Need".

First on the list was yet another RagBag. Garage rags are a whole other kettle of fish, and therefore they need their own space. I suppose I could have saved myself the trouble and used an old plastic bag holder, but instead I made one out of the leg of an old pair of jeans. Denim is a good sturdy fabric that just seems to speak "work" - perfect for work rags right?

We don't use paper towels in our house, but found a need for something to soak up excess grease from frying bacon or other greasy kitchen jobs. Flour sack towels are a bit too big for this duty, so I cut one (the mankiest one I had) in half, ironed it, rolled and hemmed the cut edge and added a coloured tag so we could spot them easily. And there you have the "Grease rags".

We bought a braided rag rug for the equivalent of a couple dollars at the market in Tongatapu, Tonga in 2008. It has been falling apart, not to mention taking up space in my craft room as a 'need to repair'. Instead of stitched together, it had been woven in a few spots and these pieces were coming out, and the gaps were becoming increasingly larger between each row. I had put it amidst some things to go to Goodwill, but just couldn't commit, and kept taking it back out to throw on my pile of things to do. A couple evenings on the couch (hand sewing is very relaxing), and I had it sewn up tight. Tonga holds a lot of memories for us, so I'm glad I decided to keep this little mat.
Stitching this baby together inspired me to make my own braided rag rug from beginning to end. I WILL find rubber thimbles for my thumb, pointer and second finger before venturing out on this though, because two days later and they are still crazy sore!



I did a bit of baking the other night. Impulsive urge or need (it's a fine line) to bake chocolate chip cookies at 9:30pm?? It's hard to say, but it could be the pregnancy...
I don't know what I would have done had they not been insanely delicious. By the time they were out of the oven, I was near desperate!

This recipe? Yummy. While making them I came up about a 1/4 cup short on chips, and they were beyond chocolately so not to worry should you stumble upon the same problem. Also, I only had bittersweet chocolate as opposed to semi-sweet - still amazing!

Other than these things, and all the cleaning, we have been house shopping and car shopping. The house shopping may be the reason I am so intent on paring down - if only I could stay away from the thrift shops for a little while...
We would really love to find a little starter/training farm. I'm talking 1/2 to 1 acre. Just enough to explore our skills and learn a little.
Car-wise - don't judge me - but we are in the market for a van of the "mini" kind. We figure it's bound to eventually happen. Why fight it? All those that make fun the most and resist that same purchase themselves, will quite possibly be the ones calling us up to borrow. Anywho, in our defense we want a pop-up tent trailer and need something that tows and holds a good bit of gear. We are not SUV people at all, which leaves us with... A mini-van! WOW.

My little guy and I start a parent-child group at the Waldorf school next Monday. I am REALLY looking forward to this, and will let you know in detail how it goes. It is always so fun, and anxiety inducing watching your little one play with other little ones. You have to really be on your game to watch for those sudden movements - I'm talking about the ones that aren't looking to be hugs, love, and sharing. You know the kind that are more of the reaction exploring type?

So, now to get myself in top gear. I can feel the sniffles coming on, and I am not a fan. Must get healthy and find peace and order in this house. That's a fairly tall order, no?
I hope your Autumn is starting up just as busy or as chill as you want it to be!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another Day, Another Farm

It was a Saturday well spent, at Everdale Organic Farm.
Their Annual CarrotFest was this afternoon.

Although the sky threatened rain at the start, within an hour the sun was out and everyone was in good spirits.

Our first order of business was to take a tour of "Home Alive", the on-site inhabited permaculture example, which I have been wanting to visit for a long time. I have wondered, in the past, about the efficiency of a straw bale home in a winter climate such as ours. This home has stood successful, and sufficient for several years.

The above photo, was taken inside the home where you can take a peek at what lay underneath the three layers of plaster.

We enjoyed homemade burgers, and fresh carrot & orange juice. We played in their big sand pile and their play box of grain, listened to live music, and browsed the farm store. Next year, when our little one is a little bigger, we'll join in a craft, some bread baking, and all the other fun things on offer at the farm. Looking forward to it!

At the end of it all we came home with a sweet pile of tasty, fresh, organic veg. which made for an awesome dinner of a Jim special (homemade pot of soup) and a fresh salad.

Oh yes! I can't forget the tasty Mahem bar that I bought at the farm store and finished devouring just minutes ago. These little chocolate, maple syrup, & hempseed treats are seriously amazing. They are made in Southern Ontario, so if you live anywhere there they probably sell them at your local health food store. If you don't live here but plan on visiting, put it on your list of things to do!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Strawberry Pie

Last night, this was what remained of our spoils from our vsit to Springridge Farm earlier in the week.

The last of Springridge's strawberries of the season were available and I was unable to resist their smell, or their look. I came home armed with a big basket and after eating plenty I needed something to make with them before spoilage set in. Strawberry pie it was! Next time I should probably save the pie for when people are coming over. The hubby and I worked on eating it for the last 3 nights or so (with a tiny bit of help from the little guy).

Always love a farm visit!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The last leg

We woke up our last morning in Portland to, of course, a beautiful sunny day. Whenever we have a moving on day, no matter what plans we had excitedly made the night before, we tend to want to get up and out the following morning. It basically went that way the day we were leaving Portland.

The pre-drive called for a greasy spoon brekky, and (yay!) we came across a big old yard sale where I spent a whopping 3 bucks! I scored a big bag of corks (I have a plan), a bag of kids crafty stuff (pompoms, safety scissors, stickers, stamps,etc.) a big bag of stamps AND a kids book that I had when I was wee. 3 BUCKS! Man, I love garage/yard/car boot sales.
In Alberta, they are generally on Thursday and Friday nights. How wicked is that?? You don't have to be up at the crack of dawn like you do in Ontario to claim all the best stuff!
In Scotland, you just venture out to one big old parking lot for everyone's stuff. Again, Awesome! You don't have to drive all over the city to find a sale.
If we combined those 2 ideas, we would have the perfect yard sale.

Anyway, back on the homeward bound subject... After spending a little change at the sale, we had one last look at the lovely coast and headed out with a plan to stop in Utica for the night, arriving home on Sunday. As it turned out when we were cruising by Utica it was only 4:00pm, and we felt a strong urge to head on and try to avoid spending another 80 dollars on a motel. We were wary of pushing it for the little guy, but he was so amazingly patient with us.
He fell asleep at around 9pm, and we had a listen to Harry Potter #7 on cd (I REALLY wanted to say tape there, books on cd just doesn't sound as nice as books on tape...). We had been working our way through this 21 hour story on our trip, and being in the throws of the final chapters in those last couple hours it was pretty easy going.
We reached home at 11pm, had a smooth transfer of sleepy boy from car seat to crib, and presto, lay in our own wonderful bed.
One of the ultimate feelings when you arrive home from a trip. Ahhhh.....

Makes me want to go away again just thinking about it! ;)

Handmade Holiday

In the spirit of Handmade Holiday I thought I would share with you a few of my current favourite patterns available for sale on Etsy for creating your own handmade Christmas goodness:

Sewing -
Baby Flower Power Boots by NeedleCraftPatterns
4 Patterns Recycled Mens Shirts by ManiMina
Padded Laptop Sleeve by alifoster

Knitting -
Wide Awake/Sleepy Owls by HandKnittedThings
Christmas Ornament Patterns by AmyGaines
Matryoshka Pillow by Elf518

Crochet -
Apple Cozy by UnravelMe
Potholders by WeeDesigns

Stop over @ Plain and Joyful Living- the inspiration behind a Handmade Holiday

Happy Creating! xo

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Portland, Maine

Ok, it's true that we love nearly everywhere we visit. The fact is, that there is good to be found in every place if you have enough time to find it.

Saying that, we didn't have to look hard to find the good in Portland, Maine. We really enjoyed this coastal city. It has all the great things a progressive city has to offer with the personality of a small, and very bohemian flavoured town. We packed our days and still barely touched on what there is to do around here!

Day the first was tough going because we wanted our little one to get a good and proper nap in before heading out on our bikes. It's a little more than complicated for him to catch a nap while cruising along in his little bike seat, so out of kindness to him, and for the sakes of our own sanity later in the day we pushed for that long and proper bed nap which he seemed especially reluctant towards.

After a good relax for all three of us, we grabbed our bikes and headed for the door with a good day's plan in our pockets. Unfortunately a heavy downpour was the boss that day. An on-the-spot alternate plan found us driving our butts in to the downtown area, and walking around. We hopped into and out of stores depending on the ever-changing afternoon weather.

The Old Port District was a fantastic place to walk about with tons of great shops.

How does that saying go? "When in Maine..." or something like that? Being as such, I decided it was mandatory to give Lobster another go-around. We stopped in for lobster rolls at a great place called Linda Bean's Perfect Maine. I actually really enjoyed it. It has made me wonder if, while in Prince Edward Island, it wasn't the whole lobster boiling, tearing apart process that somehow affected my enjoyment...

Thanks to the blog of Soulemama I had a couple of spots in mind to check out upon reaching Portland, and they did not disappoint.

I visited Z Fabrics on our first day, and did not leave empty-handed. I finally found the perfect material for a top I have been wanting to make as well as a couple of other goodies.

The second day, we stopped at 158 Pickett Street Cafe while exploring South Portland, and ate one of the best bagels, drank some really good coffee, and chilled out amidst the most excellent vibe. Portland is definitely not shy of wicked funky cafe's.

Thanks for those great suggestions!

After Pickett Street we headed over to the Portland Headlight, and walked a beautiful trail next to it.

After the headlight it was a certain someone's nap time, which enabled me to venture out for a little solo time. On yet another tip from Soulemama, I went to seek out the shop KnitWit on Congress Street. I found it, among a number of other super great finds.

First I came across the Portland Fibre Studio & Weaving Gallery. I finally bought a spindle to give hand-spinning a try. This spindle can be used as a top or bottom whorl, which I definitely wanted to try both. When looking online for one earlier it seemed I had to make a choice between which type I wanted to learn - far too difficult a decision for someone who has no idea about either. I was shown the best type of roving to purchase for a beginner, and I'm sure I'll have no trouble finding information online to get me started.

A couple doors down from there I stumbled upon Carlson & Turner, a dreamy little second hand bookshop with shelves floor to ceiling, several ladders, and an antique book scent that couldn't be beat. I'll admit I was trapped in here for quite some time. I'm a sucker for books, and an even bigger sucker for old books.

Further along Congress Street, a window peep turned me on to the next little treasure of a spot. A wicked vintage clothing shop, with plenty of awesome handmade goodness to top it off. I spoiled myself in Ferdinand with an awesome vintage comb that my dressing table is going to LOVE, and a super cute, best fabric EVER dress, that hopefully I can squeeze a couple good wears in to before my preggy body says no more!

I finally found myself back at our hotel, our bub awoke from his crazy long nap, and we joined forces for a late afternoon stroll downtown. Once again, our plans for an awesome bike ride along the Fore River Parkway trail were "dampened" by impending weather.

Our plan was to visit the Portland Museum of Art, but first we made a pit stop at Local Sprouts Cooperative Cafe. Yet another fabulous cafe to be found in this great city. This place is worker owned, has such an awesome feel to it, and is a major supporter of local and organic food. The icing on the cake was the children's reading and play area (Miracle! How do other cafes not do this!!). I loved the beautiful mosaics, and artwork spread throughout. It was a place you would find yourself spending a great deal of time should you live near by.

The Portland Museum of Art was well worth the visit, and being a Friday night it was FREE(!) from 5-9. Very convenient I must say. We had the pleasure of seeing some really beautiful art work - for as long as our hungry babe would permit. :)

Last stop of the day was Whole Foods. I couldn't resist. Portland, Maine must have one of the largest of all the Whole Foods Stores. It is absolutely massive. It may sometimes be rather pricey, but their prepared food is tasty and healthy, they always support their locals, and it is a really fun place to shop. I used to work at one, and I gotta say I REALLY miss my staff discount!

When discovering a new place, we find it helps to go armed with a few suggestions (be them sites to see, restaurants to eat at, or shops to browse). We keep as open-minded as possible and a single simple idea often finds us stumbling upon a rare gem or fabulous adventure. If we have no tip to go on, the next best thing is to just pick up our feet, start walking, and see where curiousity and spontaneity lead us (of course not without an address of where we're staying in our pocket, should we lose our way).