Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another week, another project (or three)

Hello! Ah, still no baby yet. Less than a week to go until the due date now, though. I think I'd like a couple more days, but hopefully not a couple more weeks!
We spent most of today tidying up, and putting together some garbage bags for Spring Clean-up. We got the shed emptied out (no more styrofoam or broken glass - hooray!) and the fireplace ashes all cleaned out. We finally got all those bags of clothes dropped off at the appropriate location. All in all, a good start. Today it was actually HOT outside, and we had to stop for a popsicle break in the morning, and an ice cream break in the afternoon (although Jai didn't actually partake in the ice cream break:)

I've been spending most of the week trying to get some last minute stuff done. I actually got a day in the shop, although I must admit it wore me right out! I had the requisite doctor's appointment again this week (everything looks good still) and got a big grocery shopping done. After all that, I needed a break, and spent several hours yesterday sewing up a new diaper bag. I know, I already made a diaper bag, but I started using it, and decided that actually I would prefer a bag that didn't need to be carried. So I found this amazing tutorial:
and tried it out. It worked great, and I am SO happy with the result! I used a fabric I picked up at Frenchy's for the outside ($2.00) and the ProCare Barrier fabric for the inside, so the whole thing is waterproof and washing machine and dryer safe. It has four velcro pockets on the outside, one big zipper pocket on the back (zipper $0.25 at Frenchy's) and five elastic pockets on the inside. The web-site she bases the pattern on sells similar bags for $130, so I am feeling rather pleased with myself just at the moment. I took some pics of the bag:

Then of myself wearing the bag:

Plus a more profile, "belly" type shot, just to document how truly large I am at the moment!

Earlier in the week, I ordered a Japanese book of embroidery patterns, but I couldn't wait, and stole two of the patterns from the photos in the listing. One I used to make a book cover for our baby book. I already liked the book, but wanted something a little more personalized, so this is the result:

I liked it so much that I had to do another one. So I blew up another fuzzy drawing, and sewed up a little cover for my dayplanner.
These are such fun, easy, projects that they are quite satisfying. Plus, I always like anything that has to do with books :)
Tomorrow Brandon and Jo are picking us up, and we're all heading up to New Minas for breakfast at the brand new Cora's. Cora's, if you've never been, is one of the best breakfast places ever - everything comes with heaping piles of fresh delicious fruit, and I am drooling already! Anyway, I hope you all have an excellent week, and who knows...maybe next time I write, there will be a new member of the family to write about :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Very Lazy Weekend

Hello! Hope everyone had an excellent couple of days. We had a VERY lazy weekend, which was really nice, because it might be a while before we get another one of those. It was gorgeous weather outside, and we did get a few things done out in the yard. We pulled apart the compost bin, and spread the dirt out over the beds, which I then planted with lettuce, carrots, and sweet peas. We built some little topiary-things for the sweet peas to grow up, and I can't wait to see them, and more importantly SMELL them!
Jai added to the fence, and we transplanted some blackberry vines, and added a couple of roses. I spread a bale of straw out over the strawberry patch, so hopefully it won't be a mountain of grass again this year. And, of course, I spent some time admiring the progress of the tulips I planted last fall. I think they will be blooming right around the time the baby arrives :)
On Friday, Jai met me in the park with the bookmobile, and we had a picnic lunch.
I loved it! The schedule won't work out so nicely very often, but it will certainly be a special occasion when it does. And once we pull out the bicycles and dust them off, he'll be able to bike home for lunch occasionally. His co-workers threw us a little baby party today at lunch time. I walked over, and they had the room all decorated in a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" theme, as well as mountains of food, and a pile of gifts! How sweet is that?
We had so much fun, and it was nice to see how much everyone likes working with Jai. They've also started a baby pool, where everyone had to guess the date, sex, and weight of the baby. Most people said girl, so we'll see. Plus they got us our very own copy of "A Very Hungry Caterpillar" as well as some other beautiful books, and a gift certificate to the web-site "Parenting by Nature" which is an excellent Canadian store, and totally worth checking out, if you never have. I think we will pick up a Moby Wrap, so I can "wear" the baby, but still have two hands free.

On the way home, I stopped in at the Post Office, and my fabric arrived from Wazoodle! So I sewed up two new wet-bags this afternoon before Jai got home from work. The new fabric (it's called ProCare Barrier Fabric) is so much nicer than the vinyl I used for the first one, and I am very happy with the results!

And I'm trying to spend at least a little bit of every day with my feet up (doctor's orders!) so I did get another little stitched picture finished. This one isn't framed, and I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it was a perfect activity for sitting and relaxing. And I think it's cute - I got the image from one of the antique photos I picked up along the way.
Anyway, I think that's all our news. We're having Greek food for dinner tonight. One of the challenges/benefits of living in a very small town is that if you have any sort of craving for anything that could even remotely be defined as ethnic food, you will have to make it yourself. And you may have to be very creative with your ingredients. So along with our greek salad, with home-made greek dressing, we are having pita and home-made tzatziki (we did actually manage to find one package of pita in our local store, and it's whole wheat, no less.) This is my second attempt at tzatziki from scratch, and this time I think it's perfect! Last time I followed a recipe, and it was just way too garlick-y, and we both really like garlic. This time, I sort of melded together a couple of different recipes, and it's delicious! Now if I can only make it again....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Tidings

Hello!  Well, we had a slight Spring upset with the onset of snow squalls on Easter, but we are back on track now, with today marking the first day I put laundry out on the line to dry.  Luckily none of that snow stuck, and the soon-to-be-flowers have all shaken it off like a bad dream.  
We all had a very nice Easter here, with good company and excellent food.  The Easter Bunny paid us a little visit, and left behind more chocolate that I could eat in one sitting, or ten!  
And we finally were able to get the Baby room all painted and set up.  

Here's a close-up view of the shelf:
And the closet:

Plus another beautiful mobile made by my friends, which will hang over the crib, when it arrives:
It's nice to finally start feeling like we are almost ready.  There's still lots of little things to do, and I'm sure there are things that I will forget, but we're definitely in the home stretch now.  My crafty projects for this week included making a prototype wet-bag, for face cloths, dirty diapers, etc.  I really love it, but the vinyl that I could buy here in town is a little too stiff, and doesn't slide out easily for clean-up.  I ended up ordering some special fabric on-line that is mostly used in cloth diapers as a moisture barrier.  When it gets here (hopefully soon!) I will make up a bunch of these wet-bags to have around.  I think they will be really handy, and they sew together fairly quickly.  I already have an order for another one, to be used as a lunch bag! See. . . handy!
Yesterday was my last shift with the post office for the next while, so I am ready to officially apply for maternity leave now.  It was nice to get a little burst of shifts in with those guys, and now I should be able to settle in a little and really get some stuff done.  There's so many little things, like paperwork and taxes and business odds and ends, and it will be really nice if I can get them all tidied up on time.  

Tomorrow is yet another visit to the Doctor (which means yet another visit to the fabric store - this is how I get myself motivated for the drive.)  I think I will also stop in to the nursery on the way home.  They probably won't have much available yet, but I would like to pick up some sweet pea seeds.  It's just about time to get those in the ground.  We are going to let a couple of beds be dormant this summer, but I thought instead of just covering them over and letting them sit, it might be nice (and good for the soil) to fill them with sweet peas.  (And I might tuck a few sunflowers in there as well, just for good measure.)

And finally, one more project to see you out.  I was over visiting my friend Sarah, who just had a baby boy seven weeks ago, and she was sitting with him sprawled across her lap, sound asleep.  She said, "You'll be doing a lot of this, so you better find something to do with your hands!" and I thought, "maybe it's time I take up embroidery again."  I did some as a kid, but it's been a while.  I ordered a copy of Doodle Stitching off Amazon, but decided I couldn't wait for it to arrive.   I had a photo of my Grandma and her twin sister when they were little girls that I thought would make a nice clear pattern, so I drew out my Grandma's face with disappearing marker, ran to the store to get a hoop and some thread, and Voila!  A fun little project that I am very happy with.  I was thinking of making a little pouch or something with it, but part-way through I thought 'this looks good enough to frame,' and so I did.  We will hang it in the baby's room as a wee handmade family portrait.  And now, of course, I am excited to do more.  (Sorry about the slightly blurry picture)
"Family life is full of major and minor crises -- the ups and downs of health, success and failure in career, marriage, and divorce -- and all kinds of characters. It is tied to places and events and histories. With all of these felt details, life etches itself into memory and personality. It's difficult to imagine anything more nourishing to the soul."
-- Thomas Moore

Monday, April 06, 2009

Presents under the snow...

Hello Again!  Well, it's happened. . . for the first time since November, we officially have not a speck of snow anywhere in our yard.  And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but some miniature violas, tulips, and lupins with fairy mirrors!  
Spring is here!
It's really here!

And it arrived a little early inside the house, as the quince branches I brought in have now blossomed into pale pink beauties.  

I love them, but I'm still looking forward to that rich, reddish pink flower that comes off the branches.  Not that I'm complaining!
Also, the little tulip bulb that I planted in a pot ages and ages ago has finally blossomed into a mass of parrot-y goodness.  It never grew very tall, but it sure is pretty.  

I finally finished my piece for the Just for Fun show that the NSDCC show is doing this June.  And I scraped in just under the deadline for the jurying, mostly because they let me send it post-dated for the last day, as long as I sent it Xpressspost.  Yikes!  Anyway, we'll see if it gets juried into the show or not, I know those guys are very exacting, but I thought I would show it off here, at least.  The idea was to do something that you've never tried before.  So I used my woodburning pen and made a Jumping Jack, which is something I've been wanting to try for a while.  My version, of course, is a little cheeky.

Wish me luck!  
We got some more work done on the baby space (I still have trouble not calling it the closet.)  It's primed, but still not painted.  Hopefully we'll find some time this week, but we're both working a lot lately (kind of not the best timing for the Post Office to suddenly need someone, but I'm not going to turn them down.)  Anyway, we've both got long weekends coming up, so we should be able to get a lot done.  It's about time - not too long now!
We've had a lot of people dropping by the house to leave lightly used baby things with us.  Which is great, but will be a lot better when we actually have somewhere to put them.  I'm sure this is a sign of things to come, but we're starting to be taken over by baby things.  Of course, I am contributing to those things as industriously as I can.  This week, I made a diaper bag with eight pockets for us.  I modified a pattern off the Better Homes and Gardens web-site, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  My first bag!

Three pockets on each side of the outside, and two little pockets on the inside.  It's so much fun when these things actually come together.  I think it will be a nice size - big enough to hold all the essentials, but not so big that it will be a big heavy burden of a thing.  Now all we need is the diapers, which may come this week.  That will be fun (at least while they're all still clean and new!)  Speaking of poop, underneath all the snow, I found some evidence of a visitor.  

I'm not sure what kind, though.  They're a little big for bunny poo, but I've never seen a deer here in town.  Anyone have any ideas?