Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WIP and a new old machine

A few weeks ago I was given a new sewing machine. It just magically appeared at my door one day...and just in the nick of time, as the machine that I have been using for about 14 years now has been in a steady decline. I am now on a bit of a learning curve with it....figuring out all the little operational secrets. This is not a machine built with planned obsolescence in mind! It is metal and heavy and the motor of a jet plane (or so it seems to me). It folds down into a table for quick and easy hidden storage, so is located in my living room at the moment.
I decided to make Hazel a skirt from Emma Hardy's book called "Making Children's Clothes" as my inaugural project. It is a dream to sew with...smooth, solid and self assured.
Thank you Great Aunt Helen. I hereby promise to put this machine to good use.

Fabric cut for Hazel's skirt from various tablecloths, sheets and fabric stash.

My lovely brown and beige 1967 Singer sewing machine.

Isn't she a beaut?!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Flowers aplenty

"And the good brown earth got on with doing what the good brown earth does best."
*an excerpt from the picture book by the same name by Kathy Henderson*

This is my garden. It consists of mostly flowers, with the odd bean plant, tomato plant and renegade squash that decided to muscle its way in. Herbs are included as well, but mostly in pots by the back door. And although so far this year the earwigs and aphids are abundant, it seems as though the plants are all taking it in stride....so am I.

Every square inch is being used. It is all I have ever wanted in a garden...of this size that is.
How does your garden grow?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where have all my babies gone?

I find myself feeling the weight of time passing. Another school year is pretty much done, and I am wondering how that is at all possible. Abbey done Grade 10, Raine finished with Grade 7 and Hazel going on to SK. How? Why? Where are my little girls?
I know that is is what happens but when I first became a parent I felt that the future stretched on forever and ever, and I was excited for it to start. Now, my excitement is bittersweet as usually, any time that passes, any milestones reached are bringing my girls closer to their own personal destinations. I never thought about things in these terms before.....maybe because when little ones are little all energies go to showing them the ropes. I actually have time to think about what is going on now (thanks to lack of sleep deprivation)...I can see full well how this is going to end up.
Just the ramblings of a sentimental mama today.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My lofty summer goals are as follows:

Reading, lots of reading...and not just kids books, although they are my favorite kind of book.

Enjoying the days that are happily spent without time constraints or watches.

Building sandcastles.

Basically, lots of time spent outside with the ones I love. If water is around that makes it so much more sweet.
I think I can do it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summertime reads

Our summer book pile is gigantic.....in anticipation of lots of reading time either outside or in. Some are old favorites, others brand spanking new and eagerly anticipated. I thought maybe some would be looking for some suggestions for their bookshelves, so here they are (no, not all of them as the list would be to looooong).

Old Favorites include:

Blueberries for Sal written by Robert McCloskey. An oldie but a goodie as they say. A Caldecott Winner about a little girl and her mama picking blueberries on the same hill that a mama bear and her little one are also looking for blueberries.

And the Good Brown Earth by Kathy Henderson. The story of a young boy gardening with his grandma. Beautiful story and pictures to help kids realize the importance of and the fun in gardening.

A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry. Another Caldecott winner about trees and how great they are. Not necessarily just in summer, but for some reason we tend to read this one more in the summer.

Summer by Alice Low. In the style of Dr. Seuss, this story is the exhaustive list of why two little kids enjoy summer. For example, "Summer brings so many things. Summer brings us rides on swings! We swing up high into the trees. We swing so fast we make a breeze>".

Eagerly awaited:

Peter in Blueberry Land by Elsa Beskow. A young boy is searching for a birthday gift for his mama...blueberries and cranberries. When he is about to sadly end his search, the King of Blueberry land appears and helps him out.

Birds by Kevin Henkes. A beautiful little book all about one of my favorites things....Yep, birds.

One is for the Sun by Lenore and Erik Blegvard. Not a new book, but new for us. A beautiful counting book that starts with the sun. Doesn't it all start with the sun?

Of course, there are so many others. What will you be reading this fine summer?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Strawberries and summer

Pretty much a perfect harbinger of summer...the arrival of strawberries for the picking. Lovely, red and juicy strawberries. They smell like strawberries...much unlike their early bird cousins that arrive in plastic containers mid March to tempt us from our withering selection of winter fruit. But oh boy, are they ever worth the wait.

So, on this solstice weekend, I hope to find myself some time in my kitchen. I will start with a strawberry puree to put into the freezer to dress up our pancakes during the deep darkness of winter. I find this a nice way to lead into the more labor intensive process of making jam....hull the strawberries, put into the food processor until it is full, whir it around and add maple syrup to taste. Put into containers and freeze. Done and done.

You may notice the new header for summer. The idea for the sun came from the Twig and Toadstool blog. You can get to it by looking at my On-line sunshine section. Thanks Maureen for the idea, I think it turned out perfectly.

The beginning

of local flowers (so local...the source is right out our front door) all over the house.
So simple and so beautiful.
A lot going on this weekend....a day for the papa's and the Summer solstice.
Happy times to you all.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Butterflies are where it's at.

"But these are flowers that fly and all but sing"
*Robert Frost*

It seems as though the insect world has made quite an impression on my littlest. The process of going from caterpillar to butterfly has been in her head from the moment those chrysalis' entered her classroom and went and turned into butterflies before her eyes. She recreates the scenario in many ways throughout our days. Sometimes it's like this: "Mama, tell (insert any name here) to look at the chrysalis on the couch". (The chrysalis being Hazel wrapped up in a blanket).
Other times, it involves running in circles, flapping her arms and drinking nectar from the block flowers she has setup.
It is amazing to me, how much she knows....and more importantly, how little I seem to.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Three little butterflies

flitting about before flying out the door.

A trip to the hills

This year, as a combined Mother's and Father's Day gift my brother and I (and our families) took our folks to an amazing restaurant hidden away in the small town of Chelsea, Quebec called Les Fougeres. Now, this type of restaurant is not the kind we head to regularly....for many reasons, any dinners we are lucky enough to eat out at are usually pub-style. Les Fougeres presents local fare where possible, and with a price tag that may lead one to believe that it isn't for most....especially those with children. Not so! I would venture to say, that it is one of the most child friendly restaurant we have eaten at. It provides really amazing food for adults while accomodating the little ones and their own personal take on what gourmet is. There is lots of space for kids to run around, and no shortage of things to look at around the grounds.

A view of the enchanted forest through the eyes of a tire swing. I am sure there are fairies in them woods. You can just tell.

A small view of the gardens that is where the herbs and veggies are gathered to make the meals. Also, the beautiful flowers that grace the tables.

The swings that are to be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Good, old-school swings on long ropes that allow for long graceful glides...the grandmother of swings....the opposite of swings setup in parks today.

Needless to say, it was an amazing way to spend the morning.
Take a peek at www.fougeres.ca. Better yet, take a meal at Les Fougeres.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wash Wednesday

Without question, this is my favorite laundry line sight.
First, the color red is predominate. Red is my absolute favorite color.
Second, the placemats I made this spring are not quite gently swaying in the breeze, but just hanging around doing their thing.
Third, my backyard from this vantage point doesn't look so small and city-like.
Happy Wednesday.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Craft Hope

"Spreading seeds of HOPE one stitch at a time". Such simple words.
Please go now and check out crafthope.com.
The Gulf oil spill is Project 8. I think Haiti relief was Project 6 or 7. A worthwhile cause that is quite easy to get involved in...even if you don't stitch. Get your kids involved in Project 8...teach them that it is important to care and to try in any way you can.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

In celebration of rhubarb.

For as long as I can remember, preserving the harvest has been a ritual of summer. Sometimes it was picking beans with my grandmother (and my disgruntled brother) to prepare for freezing, other times it involved taking a family roadtrip to the Niagara region to pick apricots and peaches for canning and making into jam. So many vivid memories stay with me about these events.....the feeling of climbing the ladder to reach the best fruit, the smell of beans being blanched, green fingers from shelling way too many peas, peaches and apricots lining every square inch of surface space to avoid bruising before their final voyage into jars.
The experience was so formative that I imagine I would feel incomplete if a summer passed with no preserving. Rhubarb is my starting point. This week my rhubarb plant in my tiny garden plot was in full glory. Now, there is stewed rhubarb in my freezer, rhubarb cake in the cupboard and enough rhubarb saved to add with strawberries for jam. It is a small thing, but it makes me feel just a wee bit self-sufficient, and also provides me with a tangible link to my past, my roots and my childhood. Not to mention, it tastes really good in the middle of winter.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

If I could live in a sandcastle

it would look like this:

I do love to build them. The process has the same meditative/restorative properties to me as something like knitting or gardening. A time to get lost in creating....a time where there is nothing else. Although the days I get to spend at the beach are few and far between, if given the chance I would in fact live in a sandcastle. Of course, don't hold me to that when it is minus 30 with blowing snow.