Saturday, March 24, 2012

All Beautiful, the March of Days...

Earlier this week, the calendar announced the first day of Spring, but today [actually yesterday because I didn't end up finishing this up yesterday] was glorious.  It still feels unseasonably cold, but the expanse of blue above me, and the cherry blossoms just beginning to awaken more than compensate for the chill.  I enjoyed a walk to the park with my boys in the morning, and another walk with the addition of my hubby in the afternoon.

We walked slowly, as I had decided to make a concerted effort to not to hurry O along.  Sometimes hurrying is necessary, often because of poor planning, but often because of unforeseen complications: a missing shoe, a diaper blowout, an owie.  Sometimes, though, I find myself hurrying O along for no good reason.  It is days like today that I realize what I'm missing when I do that.  We played make-believe games on our walk, he asked me a million questions, and I paid attention to all the little things he noticed on our walk.  He has what I refer to as the "collecting gene" which is totally attributable to me.  He stopped to stuff his pockets full of rocks, pine cones, and anything else interesting for "my collection."  Luckily he hasn't caught on that I empty his pockets out after our walks.  I had several collections when I was little: rocks, coins, stamps, pencils, erasers, you get the picture.  It's a good thing my husband is a minimalist, or else our house would be even more full of stuff.  It was pretty fun to watch O playing with T at the park too.

Little hands finally un-mittened and exploring the world. 
Our afternoon walk along the beach.  The smell of the ocean was so refreshing.

Did you know that a group of crows is called a "murder"?
Kind of creepy, but even the crows were beautiful yesterday.
Today [really talking about today now] was just as beautiful, but warm!  Spring is finally here!

After taking a zillion photos in the last few days, I started paring down some near-duplicate photos in my iPhoto library.  While doing so, I came across a few photos that I had meant to post before and forgot.  Here they are for the enjoyment of the crafty among us:

This is a photo of O and his buddy doll that we gave him for Christmas.  I had bough O these fleece plaid pyjamas quite a while before he even fit into them at my favourite thrift store for $1.  They were missing one button, and I never could seem to find the time to search through my button jar, find four matching buttons, and replace them.  Lo and behold, I then found the exact same panama top at the thrift store another day for fifty cents.  Thinking that I couldn't even buy new buttons for fifty cents, I bought the extra pajama top and planned to just donate the missing-button top back.  Then I felt kind of guilty about passing the button problem onto someone else, so I came up with the idea of making some matching pyjamas for the doll for Christmas.  That is the long version about how I ended up sewing doll pyjamas at midnight on Christmas Eve.

This is O's other handmade present from me: an apron with embroidered pockets.  The lobster fabric has been sitting in my fabric stash since grade eight home ec class in which we sewed boxer shorts for ourselves.  Boxer shorts under the uniform kilt was really big that year, and served a practical purpose on windy days.  O requested the mermaid king and princess and octopus.  The embroidery patterns were from this book:
Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection: 400+ Easy Embroidery Designs

For the next bit o'random: my gingerbread Christmas tree.  I made the cookies with a set of nesting star cookie cutters that I found at superstore a couple of years ago, and managed to not eat all of the cookie tree before the Christmas party started.  I may have eaten more than my fair share at the party, however.  Yes, I definitely did, as I now recall.

It tasted better than it looked.
Remember my post eons ago when I talked about opening my own easy shop to sell my crochet patterns? Nope, I still haven't gotten around to that, but here are a couple more creations.  Hopefully I wrote down the patterns as I went along, and, if so, hopefully I can find the patterns once we move and unpack!

Robot Roscoe.  Square shapes in amigurumi are hard to figure out.  

And for the last bit of my random photo collection is this, which I snapped at a trip to the aquarium.  It was the first time that I've the breastfeeding symbol in a public place.  It was right in front of the beluga tank, with a comfy chair and a curtain that could be pulled across to create a private area for those who want more privacy or for easily distracted babies.  Neat-o.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Looking for the Unforced Rhythms of Grace.

Today I saw myself in my three-year old, and it was a bit of a humbling experience.  My boys each brought home a blue helium balloon from church on Sunday, and have been having oodles of fun with them ever since.  That was, until T's balloon unexplainably popped today.  Nobody was playing with it at the time, and it was not touching anything sharp or hot.  It just popped.  T could not have cared less since he appropriately has the attention span of a ten-month old, but O was quite sad about the passing of the balloon.  After he confirmed that it was T's balloon that had met its demise, he came to question whether this could happen to his balloon.  I broke the news to him that yes, his balloon would pop sooner or later as well.  [Although, side note, we have a balloon kicking around the house somewhere that has been around since my cousin's baby shower last summer.]  O came up with some ideas about how we could blow the balloon back up and fix it with some exponentially strong tape.  I agreed that we could give it a try, but prepared him for the very real possibility that it would not work.  I encouraged him to just enjoy the balloon while it lasted, but the fun of the balloon was lost on him for a period of time while he fretted away about if and when it would pop.  Silly, right?  Three year olds are not that different from thirty-one year olds, I'm afraid.  At least, not this thirty-one year old.  Worry and anxiety are always lurking to steal away the joys of each day.  I'm not proposing anarchy or hedonism here, but it would be nice to spend less time worrying about my balloons popping.

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

A friend alluded to this passage on her blog this week and it seems appropriate here as well.  Living freely and lightly, in the "unforced rhythms of grace": it sounds really, really good, does it not?

And now, for a sneak peak at our new flooring.  The uppermost floor of the townhouse was complete, until we discovered a plumbing problem today that had leaked water all over the newly-laid floor in the bathroom.  Thanks to my amazing parents and their intrepid friends who are helping us, the plumbing problem has been fixed and the flooring can be put back down when the installer returns.  Hurray!

Here you can see a bit 
of the new flooring (and the plywood sub-floor to the left).  
It's already looking better than the before shot...

 I'm looking for some inspiration for DIY wall art - here are some possibilities, all via pinterest:

I like this paper crane, but I saw another one somewhere else 
that had a large frame and a separate paper to show each stage of the folding.

I kind of wish I had hung on to some of my tattered Van Gogh posters that I finally got rid of to do something like this - you cut up a poster and mod podge it to several smaller canvases.  Costco has affordable poster-printing prices, so you could even do this with one of your own photos or one from their gallery.

I really like this one too.
This is mod podged fabric on a canvas.  Would be fun to have pieces of fabric that are meaningful, like the kids' baby clothes, but that would make me too emotional about how quickly they are growing up every time I looked at it.  Ridiculous.

Looks easy enough.  Famous last words, right?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tales from Reno-Land

I had hoped to write another post in February, hence the "So Far" in the title of the last post.  However, renovations have taken up the bulk of our free time since we took possession of our new home, and my mind seems to be muddled when I try to retract my thoughts to anything but paint colours, flooring choices, and light fixtures.  We are so thankful for the people who have generously given up their free time to help us fix up our townhouse.  With two small children, and hubby working full time at a new job, and going to school, it probably would have taken us about two years to accomplish all of the painting, fixing, and organizing that have happened over the past two weeks.  I jest not.
We decided on a grey theme for our walls, a decision which started to take on monumental proportions in my mind after looking at hundreds of paint swatches.  I had to give myself a reality check and remind myself that decor is just decor at the end of the day.  It should be fun, right?
Most of the house is painted in ICI "Barley Beige," a warm grey that looks different in different lighting.  The master bedroom is a darker shade of the same colour, but the room gets so much light that it doesn't close up the room too much.  We are still working on the bathrooms to find the right colour.  The problem is the pink countertops, an homage to the 1988 vintage of the home.  The dusty rose glare seems to turn the walls a bit...bruised looking, as in purplish.  I bought a gallon of a different grey that has some green undertones which I hope will counteract the pink.  We shall see.
Barley Beige


I also have plans to resurrect the wallpaper accent wall fad in the downstairs powder room to draw attention away from the pink countertop.  Perhaps something black & white to tie it in with the grey walls, but I also kind of fell in love with this photographic wallpaper mural from National Geographic of apple blossoms.  Why not just embrace the pink?  And why stop at one wall - would it not be amazing to walk into a blooming tree every time you go to the washroom?  I know the design gurus would probably highly disapprove, but I kind of love it.

Love this one, but it's a wee bit out of my price range.

Birds to keep you company.

This one is really neat - it has little drawings of houses, and the windows glow in the dark when you turn the lights off!

Our flooring will be installed in a few weeks, and then we can finally move in.  We decided on a medium-dark toned wood colour for most of the house, and carpet for the stairs and the rec room.  Instead of laminate, we opted for vinyl plank flooring.  I had never heard of it before we started shopping around for flooring, but I had seen it without realizing what it was.  You probably have as well if you ever shop at Safeway that has had recent-ish flooring renovations in the produce section.  It is supposed to be much more durable and water-resistant than laminate, which is a bonus when you have young kids.  ell, seeing as we are going to lose an hour of sleep tonight, I shall spare you further details from reno-land until another post!
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