Monday, November 28, 2005

And were almost off....

Every year we've waited until Lina's birthday was over (this coming weekend) to put up the Christmas Tree so that we could have some sort of dis-connect between her birthday and Christmas. This year I'm itching to get it up and I am starting to wonder if the separation is all that necessary. It's hard having her birthday at the beginning of December. When she was little, the gifts would start arriving via mail the week before her birthday, then the Christmas gifts started coming in and then it would be Christmas and then there were a few gifts that would arrive after Christmas. It was just a big month of gifts and it did become a little tiresome and overwhelming. Now that she is older it is a little less crazy. So maybe this Sunday, even though it is her birthday, maybe we can get the tree up and begin decorating it.

She has decided she would like a sleepover this year so we have invited 5 little girls to stay over this Saturday. It should be crazy but I am pretty much prepared to handle it. Afterall, as a Sparks Leader, I've had 15 - 5 and 6 years olds sleepover in a church hall before and we all made it through the night so how much worse could this be?

Lina wants to have do-it-yourself pizzas, watch Madagascar and have pancakes and sausages for breakfast. That, I think we can handle. I am thinking that we might make cupcakes the night before and the girls can decorate their own. We'll probably do some sort of crafts and have popcorn and such. If they are into it, I'll set the tent up in the reckroom and they can sleep down there. If not, I'll turn Lina's room into one big mattress and they can bunk down in there.

Well, I spent this weekend getting recertified for First Aid, so between that and the attempt to get an extra hour of sleep each night this week maybe all will be well. At some point, I am going to have to talk to hubby about wearing that pair pf PJs he got for Christmas eons ago. I can guarantee at least one child will walk into our room next Saturday night and I don't want to have to explain to some girls parents why she saw my husband in his underwear.

So this month is all about inspiration. It's usually my most creative time of year. So, instead of Inspiration Wednesdays (which I am far behind on) I will post 'em as I run into them.

Season's Greetings all!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Illustration Friday - Small

Along the family theme (see post below), I thought I'd post two images for Illustration Friday. The first by my daughter Lina, was drawn when she was small.

Chick drawn when Lina was Small

The second drawn by me. It's amazing how cool small things can look close up. This one is my avatar. It's one of my favourite drawings.

Oh, and a "small"note. This is the actual size of the drawing. It was and ATC (Artist Trading Card - 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches), so even the drawing was small.
Ladybug Posted by Picasa

Time for a post... Family Friday

Indeed. Where the hell have I been. I have been crafting, dreaming of crafting and wishing there were no other distractions so that I can craft some more.

I freaked out yesterday when I realized it was a month from Christmas Eve. Yikes! Time to get my ass in gear.

Last night at Brownies, I taught the girls "Must be Santa" and added 13 ASL (American Sign Language) signs to it. They are going to work on their "Communication is Where it's @" badge and it includes learning other ways to communicate such as sign language and brail. They thought it was pretty cool, especially when they they learned that the sign for reindeer was to put their hands up to their heads like antlers. They will perform their song in front of their parents next week at our Christmas Gathering.

I've been busy trying out some amigurami softies. Just funny little creatures, nothing fancy. I've also been crocheting a granny square afghan. Not sure who's going to get it, I just hate to sit around watching TV if my hands are not busy. I've been busy making art dolls and sending them to my exchange partners. I've been putting the finishing touches of embroidery on my Backtack project. Yes I whispered that word.

I've been reading my regular blogs and seeing what everyone is up to. Life has been going on as well. My Mom took a job out of town so I have been enjoying starting to write letters again. Which brings me to Family Friday.

If I would have had more forethought this morning, I would have brought in and scanned some of the letters that my Grandmother left to me when she passed away. When I was young, I had the wonderful gift of two Grandmothers who felt that letter writing was an expectation of a proper upbringing. My maternal Grandmother (mom's mom) lived in Whitehorse, Yukon. She had 8 children and a hoard of grandchildren, and yet she wrote to us all faithfully. I cannot even begin to explain how special I felt when the mail was brought in and there was a letter for me. I didn't know my mother's mom very well, she lived so far away. The fact that our whole relationship was based on letters and all of it between her and I, that she was interested in everything I had to say was a gift. Especially growing up in a family with many troubles. Just before Lina turned two, my Grandmother passed away. I decided I needed to go to her memorial service so my Mom, my Mom's foster daughter, Lina and I flew up to Whitehorse. We visited with family I hadn't seen for quite a while and met cousins I had never seen face to face. And after the memorial service the Aunts and I sat down and went through my Grandmothers things. While my Grandmother was alive, I rarely saw her without knitting needles or a crochet hook in her hands. She was of the mind that idle hands were a lazy waste. I still have two afghans that she made for me when she came to live with my parents for a year before I was ten. They are two of my prized posessions and I snuggle them under my duvet when the weather turns cold. When the Aunts and I met to divide her things it wasn't furniture or money or china or anything that we were interested in. Not at that special gathering. It was her collection of well used needles and leftover balls of yarn and pattern books. I had such a feeling of family and inclusion at that moment with the knowledge that the Aunts had waited for me before the opened those boxes that had been packed away when my Grandmother moved into the hospital for the last time. My Aunt Pat took her needles, and if I remember correctly may have taken home an incomplete afghan to complete as well. I came home with her pattern books. But most amazingly, I came home with letters I had written to my Grandmother when I was little and that she had kept all those years. It brings tears to my eyes even now to think that she felt our correspondance was just as special as I did. Although, she had the foresight of an adult and kept my letters, hers I have lost over the years.

My paternal Grandmother was a strict proper women with many peculiar beliefs. She lived in Beaverton, Ontario so we were able to visit many times throughout the year. She heartily felt that a wife's job was to serve the husband and keep house for him and that children were best seen and not heard. She used to be a grammer teacher before she had her family. I would never say that we were close, I was not a boy. She and my brother do have a lasting relationship though. As kids, we used to enjoy finding ways to get into mischief without Grandma catching us. Mom and Dad usually listened to her and meeted out some punishment or another if Grandma caught us up to no good.

But, my Grandma did write letters. She was a different person to me in those letters. Exclaiming pride in my accomplishments and being very gracious with her return correspondance, suggesting resolutions to my problems and asking after my friends. She is 93 now, still living on her own albeit she is not mobile anymore. And even though she and I do not have regular correspondance, I know that two of my cousins write to her without fail on a regular basis. She is not able to answer them being to frail but I feel a sense of satifaction that she can have this comfort even now.

Last Sunday, I sat Lina down and helped her write what was basically her first letter to her Grandma. It felt wonderful to sit at the kitchen table with music playing in the background, me writing a letter to my mom, Lina composing a letter all her own. She told her Grandma that she had visited the Humane Society, that she had earned her "Pet Pals" badge by telling her friends about how to care for animals and that she had seen a cat at the Society that she would have named Buttons. Helping her to start the letter "Dear Grandma, How are you? I am fine", well what can I say, it felt right to continue a long standing family tradition in such a simple way. Grandma should have the letters now. Lina made her an art doll and included a photograph she had taken at the Sudbury Science Centre. I hope my Mom keeps these little correspondances, it would be nice for her to share them with Lina some day when Lina has a little one of her own.

I can't wait to see what my Mom writes back. I asked her to address Lina's letter to her personally. Family Friday, the continuation of a special tradition.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bead It! December Challenge

So for anyone who would like to participate in my Bead It! Challenge, just click on the Bead It! button for details on how to go about it. The deadline for December's challenge is Dec 31. December's theme is "Ornamental". You can tell I was leaving the door open for Christmas Ornament type outcomes but anything goes as "Ornamental" could apply to just about anything.

Have fun beading! I will as soon as I get my backtack project into the mail. Almost done~!

Bead It! August challenge is finally done!

Can you believe it? I am catching up! Here are two dolls I worked on to finish the August Bead It! theme I set up ages ago. It was a double challenge for me. I have Art Doll Birthdays owed for a Nervousness exchange and I needed a kick in the butt to get a move on workingon these in the hopes that Nervousness would some day be up and running again and I could finish the exchange. Yay! So now that is up again I have reconnected with the group and have a list of people to send dolls to once again.

I liked the simplicity of this doll. I was really happy with the metal leaves against the metal wire.

Art Doll 3

But then I tried filling in an entire doll. I really like the way this one turned out. I have two more in progress. I will post pictures when I am finished them.

Art Doll 4 Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 04, 2005

Illustration Friday - Night

A simple moon for this week's illustration Friday's theme. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 03, 2005

And indeed it was.

I did. I did have a good day. I walked around with secret smiles and I did pause to run my hands across the smooth suede of the handmade journal she made me.

It was made even better by the fact that when Lina arrived home I showed her that she had received a package and was even further blown away by the fact that her package contained a Lina sized version of the beautiful bag made for me. Her very own. And inside was a beautiful little kit to create her own magic wands and a wonderful little book containing cat paper dolls and all of the outfits that any respectable crafty cat would wear. Lina loves cats. We walked home from the neighbours tonight (after showing our neighbour - mother AND daughter) what wonderful gifts we had received. My neighbour loves journals, she is a prolific writer (journals) and is working on writing a novel in her spare time. We devoured the pictures in the journal making and keeping book together.

And I did gloat. Gives me a sick satisfaction to show something like this to the non-initiated. First of all "Look and see what a wonderful thing the internet can be! It brings people together all around the world" and second "See I don't waste my time with "crochet" (everything is jokingly crochet to my husband) - it yeilds the most amazing rewards and unfathomed friendships!" So there!

And yes, I am sore, but I have fought this battle once or twice before and I am on the downward slope of my upward battle. I have figured out that I can stay off meds with a good diet and proper exercise. I have learned that this thing is cyclical and it will show up around this time of year. I have learned that I cannot do everything. THAT one was the worst. (Actually I can say it now - that's the first step, but do I actually mean it? I'll have to work on that one). And I recognize the signs that this monster is flaring up. This time I figured it wasn't going to completely do me in so I did the unheard of - took a week off of work for no reason, well no "normal" reason. I have been drinking 50 million glasses of water - trust me on this one, my teeth have been floating. I have laid off sugar (what thoughtless person put Halloween smack dab in the middle of a fibro flare?). And I have laid off alcohol (that one was pretty hard too considering I like wine with a good steak - oh well). I have forced my 20 pound overweight arse onto my bike every morning and sweated out a good workout. And I have laid off the caffeine I had stupidly let back into my life so I can get a good nights rest. Phew. That is a lot to accomplish in one week. Not to mention the fact that I have taken time to breath. Alot. And to begin to dabble and create. I think I need another month. I'm not me yet. If time could only stand still so I could catch up with my potential. It took off on me when I was in university and I have been ignoring it, abusing it or chasing it ever since.

Thank you Cindy for your kind words. I do hope you are feeling better too. I was never upset with you about the whole sleuthing thing. It made me laugh and it made me think. It made me feel like we were in the same room giggling about passing notes back and forth in class. (Oh I am not certified (genealogy) yet, but I am certifiably hooked. Certification is a long process in the works. I'll get it 20 years after I retire I am sure.)

And Angharad, Lina will sit down with me, when it is not past her bedtime, and write a thank you note to you herself. She is very greatful.

Of tiaras and tears.

Of tiaras....

Lina had planned on being a princess for Halloween for the last month. After I purchased a pair of feathery blue wings to wear as a silly blue fairy for our Brownie Halloween party last Thursday, Lina took possession of them and decided she would be a "blue princess fairy" instead. I promised her I would make her a crown to wear. I refused to buy her a plastic crown from the dollar store. So Monday on my first official day off, before I excercised, before I tidied the house, I sat down and watched creative crafty stuff on TV and made a Cooper inspired tiara for her. I had to put my own touches on it, especially since I didn't have too many colours of blue wire to work with. But I do have A LOT OF BEADS!. She fairly glistened in watery droplets of glass. I wish she would have decided to be a fairy earlier, I would have made her a dress of leaves and petals, oh well, she loved the way she looked and told me I could make her costume next year. And of course I HAD to make a matching wand, although I like to call it a scepter.

Here. I flattened the tiara so I could close the scanner and get a better color shot. The tiara is fastened around the head with 3 mil silk white ribbons (like a head band). Isn't it amazing what you can make with some florist's wire, craft wire and some beads? So Cindy, what colour would you like?

Tiara Posted by Picasa

and tears....

Well, for the second time, Back-Tack has been a gift and I am left speechless. I was paired with Angharad of Sweet. I don't know what to say, I shed tears.

On a morning of extreme frustration, having woken up once again in pain. I am doing so good this week, trying to piece a healthy diet and excercise routine back together that to take such a step backward... well, I had started the day feeling so low and trying to get my brain in a good place to keep going on the journey back to health before my stupid fibromyalgia dragged me down. I almost wept this morning when I woke and my fingers were like sausages and my arms felt like they had been rowing slave oars all night in my sleep. I knew that once I stopped my busy routines and took time for just me, my body would shut down and avenge itself for the last session of mistreatment, but the knowledge and the living of it are two different things. Anyway, I forced myself up early and went to the gym and walk on the treadmill for about 40 minutes. It was a good relaxed change from riding my bike which I have been doing every morning this week.

On the way there, I stopped by the post office to pick up the parcel I knew was waiting for me. I was SO BIG!!! I didn't even peek at it until I got home, got my boots off and turned on the TV (I have been treating myself with watching whatever I want - I don't normally get control of the remote). I can't even tell you how amazed I was to open the precious gifts I received. Angharad, you are a jewel and read me better than I thought possible.

I took pictures with my 35mm, so you will all have to wait for pictures. First off, a BIG box of Southern California's "best salt water taffy". (It's a treat, I might just have to indulge in - just one until I get my fibro under control - but I bet it will be worth it!!!). Now I know I never mentioned that in my blog, how did you know that salt water taffy is one of my all time favourite treats! Maybe you are the true sleuth!

Then, low and behold a beautiful handbound leather journal. Then I opened up a parcel containing a wonderful book on "Making and Keeping Creative Journals". Heart be still.

I am alone here today, not that it matters, neither John nor Lina would understand how profound my silence and awe were when I opened a kit to find tools for bookbinding and journalmaking. I am stunned. Angharad, when I made the journals I made last year, you would laugh to see the rudimentary tools I used. I don't live close to anywhere where tools and materials such as these are readily available. You have provided me with a gift I could not easily gift myself with.

And the bag! It is gorgious! I love it! So clever. So stylish! Don't you wish I had a digital camera now?

As soon as I opened the tool kit I had to phone my mom. (She understands me creatively and how much I need to create or my health suffers - strange eh?) She is as touched as I. She agreed I needed to get off the phone with her and share what I am feeling.

Thank you thank you thank you.....

The best part is, I am alone at home today, and I get to savour all of this without interuption (even the taffy). While I am putting the finishing touches on my backtack project, I can sneak back from time to time and run my hands along the bone folder, the fabrics, the cases. And add to that the fact that my backtack partner is herself a bookbinder!

The worst parts are that she was so generous, she even gifted Lina with a parcel of her own. And I am bursting to see what's in it. Lina loves receiving mail of any kind which she became addicted too when I joined Nervousness. And the last that until I finish my backtack project, I can't sit down to have a go at a new journal. But I can dream...

Tonight before our Guiding Enrollment Ceremony, I am going to bring all of my items in to gloat to the other Leaders.

Thank you internet for allowing me to reach creative and talented people from around the globe, and THANK YOU Angharad! Today will now be such a good day!

Leather craft
Modelling & Pottery
Paper Mache


Knot work
Lace making
Finger knitting

Cross stitch

French Beading
Loom work
Bead embroidery

paper craft

Cultural Handicrafts
Native Crafts


Dramatic Arts
Puppets (Finger puppets, marionettes)

Visual Arts
Pen & Ink





Letter Writing

Toys (Games, Puzzles)


Travel / vacations

Pen Pals





Homeschooling Resources
Science (Earth Science, Astronomy, Physics, Geography)

World Culture


Father’s Day
Mother’s Day

New Year’s Day
Canada Day
St. Patrick’s Day
Remembrance Day
Hair Accessories

Girl Guides