Monday, August 31, 2009

Fluffy Mail Love

We all love packages right? And we all love super soft fabric right? So it is doubly awesome when something super soft arrives in the form of a package yes! I bought some fabric off of a mama at Livejournal and I am so happy with it! The boysenberry is to-die-for and the natural will be PERFECT for the doll I am planning for Wednesday's Christmas gift. With the boysenberry I have many many many cloth wipes planned and some mam cloth too. Oooh I see many hours on the sewing machine this week. I should stock up on the A5-35 !

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule

Over the last few weeks I have really taken an interest in the blogoshpere. Particularly the mama-come-crafter bloggers. And most recently I stumbled upon Amanda Blake Soule also known as Soulemama. And also most recently, I purchased her newest book Handmade Home.

I ordered it (from my Chapters wish list) and received it yesterday. I had a package slip in my mailbox that could also have been for some bamboo velour that I recently ordered but I was wishing for this book. I got my wish!

What a wonderful book so far. The projects are both practical and beautiful and easily manipulated to suit your needs and/or tastes. They include both cloth diapers (prefolds) and cloth pads (mama cloth). I was so happy to see the mama cloth included especially since her blog is so well read by so many. She stresses the use of reclaimed fabrics and vintage materials. She also explains how thrifting is both pratical and fun. A woman after my own heart.

I have a project in mind for this week, but if I get to it and complete it soon enough expect at least one post in September to be made from the pages of this wonderfully photographed and loveingly written book. Also, I will be purchaseing her first book The Creative Family as soon as my budget allows.

Happy reading!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Here Fishy Fishy....

Wow, what a day so far! So busy! But last night I finished my latest crafty obsession and today I can finally share pictures of it with you! Okay, drum roll please!

Here Fishy Fishy

It is a little fishing game I crafted out of mostly felt, some steel washers, bamboo and crazy magnets. Because I only get nap times and bed times to do the bulk of my crafting (Wednesday is so curious I cannot get anything done) this took me the better part of the week to finish but I did it. With a bunch of ways to improve it so that I am not AS happy with this as I should be. But, I am really really happy with how it turned out. Especially considering my skill level and artistic talent (or lack thereof).

I have to note that the original idea is NOT mine. I found a picture of a similar item in this photostream at Flickr. I cannot link to the original photo or set because of the author's settings but you should check out her photostream, she has both great taste and great talent for making childrens toys.

It was essentially a practical lesson in machine embroidery because all of the stitching was done on a machine with various zig zag and straight stitches. I learned as I went and I learned quite a bit. I can't wait to tackle another project that requires some sort of machine embroidery.

Fish Collage creatures

Clockwise from top left:
White salmon, yellow tuna, red tuna, blue whale, hermit crab, octopus, sea turtle, two jellyfish, starfish, two sea weeds and a great white shark.

The first three fish look kind of funny because they were my first and I did a combination of straight and zig zag stitches. By the time I reached the octopus (which was my last) I was a pro at the whole 'machine embroidery thing'. And when I was sewing the washers on I realized I could have put the washer inside since the magnets were so awesome. Another thing to try next time. The batting is an eco friendly poly made from corn! (Which I thrifted for a buck at a local charity shop.) The felt is eco-spun made from recycled plastic bottles.

Fish Collage bag and details

The fishing poles are bamboo garden stakes sawed in half with a hand saw and a shiny red string tied to one end (to be glued soon as tying was a bad idea) and then I wrapped some cloth around the magnet and tied the string around that. In theory it was a good idea but the fabric I used to wrap the magnet was way to flimsy. After just a few minutes of play the corners of the magnet were wearing through the cloth. I will sew up some felt packaging this weekend. It will also dull the power of the magnets.
The bag is a simple sewn drawstring bag all straight stitched but I do double hem the seams because I really don't like fraying edges. The lettering and fishing pole were my very first attempt at such a thing and although I was smart enough to back it with something, felt was the wrong thing. It catches on the tracks just a bit too much, next time I will invest in some interfacing.
The blue sea is some sheer yardage I bought at Value Village just the other day for I think a couple bucks.

Fish Collage action shots

Some action shots from this morning. I babysat my cousin's son again and this was a big hit with both children. They played it for probably a good solid half hour. Not bad for a two and four year old. It was worth all of the late nights and neck cramps. I can't wait to do it again, maybe he'll get one for Christmas.

I really had so much fun making this. All the felt, fabric and notions I had on hand but I did have to go out for the washers, bamboo and magnets. All in all the whole 'game' cost me about fifteen dollars not including felt. Totally awesome.

I think that is all I can say about that for now. Good night folks!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sugar Nazi 1 - Them 0

I have been crafting up a storm lately but nothing is finished yet so I thought I would talk about something very important to me. The sugar intake of children.

Wednesday is one of those children who has a lollipop and then climbs the walls. So, she does not get lollipops. She had one once. Once. And her head nearly exploded after an hour of constant babbling and running. I think she was fifteen months at the time. That was our get out of jail free card. Wednesday had never really had sugar before that so we had no idea what her reaction to it would be. We were with the in-laws who were in from out of town and so she was mostly occupied and indoors (the lollipop had come from having dinner our earlier int he evening and I had popped it into my mouth without realizing someone would be watching)where she could babble and run until she crashed, almost literally. She had tripped over a toy, fell on the carpeted living room floor and started to half-cry. The sugar high was over and we as parents were much wiser.

The next dose of sugar she had came months and months later in the form of a juice box. We were at a friends place visiting and their little guy was drinking a juice box and so, Wednesday being the curious one wanted one as well. I couldn't find it in my heart to deny her one and seeing how we were just about to leave I thought we could manage it. Well, for the twenty minute car ride home Wednesday sat in the back seat just babbling away. And I mean babbling. Total jibberish all the way home. So we learned, again, how Wednesday reacts to sugar.

Now, Wednesday gets sugar through fruit. NOT fruit juice. We try very hard to keep fresh and/or frozen fruit on hand for Wednesday daily intake. Fruit is always offered first and foremost at snack time. At the park I have container after container of grapes and apples and such. She does get 'cookies' but they are Heinz Toddler biscuits and it takes five cookies to amass a whopping 7g of sugar. She likes them and I like that.

I am not going to lie, it is a constant battle with others. Thankfully Wednesday is still too young to know better. But, I have the nick name 'Sugar Nazi' because no one is allowed to give Wednesday sugary treats without first asking me. And I say no 99% of the time. She can have one fruit juice jujube or a teaspoons worth of ice cream from their bowl etc. But on the whole my child lives a relatively sugar free diet.

The reason I decided to write about this today was brought on by what I did yesterday. I babysat a four year old boy. I thought it would be fast times at Sweet household high. But alas, the child was very well behaved, very polite and above all, very mellow. Which was a blessing because it rained the entire morning so I was not able to take the children to the park to burn any excess energy. For breakfast they ate MultiGrain Cheerios with fresh blueberries, for snacks they had all the fruit they could eat (which apparently he detests) and Ritz peanut butter sandwiches and Heinz toddler biscuits. For juice I gave them watered down lemonade which both children were happy to have. For lunch he had a peanut butter sandwich and milk and then it was nap time. He woke up and his dad came to take him home.

All in all it was a breeze to care for the child. I was happy to offer to do it again tomorrow. Upon talking to his grandmother (my aunt) I found out that he reacts to sugar the exact same way Wednesday does. A single juice box or glass of chocolate milk will send him into a sugar induced frenzy. So, score one for the 'Sugar Nazi'.

I have just never understood people who give children sugar in the form of candy or the well meaning juice box and then marvel or become angry at the child who "bounces off the walls". And then when they crash they get sent to bed for a nap because "they must be tired". That is no way to spend a day constantly getting high and crashing and then being punished. Imagine that in an adult's day, being given speed a couple of times a day and then being given trouble for the poor decision making skills that come with it and THEN being sent to sit in a room by ourselves to think about it or sleep it off. Just reeks of unfairness I think.

I am looking forward to tomorrow at the park with two children though. And I am looking forward to tomorrow with a well mannered boy and my well mannered Wednesday. maybe, I'll have my big craft finished in time for them to enjoy it. But that is another post for another time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Amour pour Vintage

Vintage Linen Love

I happened upon a blog one day (perhaps Modern Acorn, perhaps not it has been awhile) and she had a post about her vintage sheet collection. It was gorgeous. I was so very envious. I thought to myself "How come I never come across such beautiful sheets in thrift stores?" All I ever came across was pilly flannel sheets that were not even covered in a cool cartoon character.

Anyhoo, today, today I scored. Big. I popped into Value Village to pick up a piece of blue material for a thing I am doing for Wednesday. I had hoped I would find a silk blue scarf. Unfortunately no silk, but I did get a couple yards of dark blue sheer. Perfect for what I want. I also found a couple yards of purple tulle to go in a tutu I am making for Sidney's birthday. I also found a sizable piece of black polar fleece. All pretty good for the five dollar price tag for all three. But wait, there's more!

I also found eight beautiful sheets. Some vintage, all gorgeous and coincidentally somewhat coordinating. They are all so pretty! I want to make quilts and clothes and shopping totes and doll clothes etc. etc. and so on and so forth.

*Squee* have a look!

Vintage Linen Love

Vintage Linen Love

I don't know if I can pick a favourite but I do love the second from the bottom aqua-green-blue floral. The bright pink and white gingham is great too. It is a no iron muslin, and I am not going to lie I really don't know what that means.

You watch though, I won't use these at all thinking no project is worth cutting up such pretty fabric.

Definitely going to make doll clothes for the Waldorf doll I want to make Wednesday. I have some natural bamboo velour coming that I want to use for the head and hands of that, but that is another post for another day.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bean Bag Fun


This is Wednesday loving her bean bags. She said "I love them." And so I asked her to show me so I could take a picture.

Months and months ago I came across this tutorial @ Whimsy Love through my Craftzine RSS feed @ Livejournal for bean bags. Wednesday was a wee babe but I thought they were super cute and super easy and so I bookmarked them for later making.

Recently I rediscovered Whimsy's blog and stumbled upon the tutorial again. I thought, what a great way to teach Wednesday something! At first I was going to make letter cut outs for the alphabet but that was a little bit overzealous even for me. So I thought, "Hey! Why not use the bean bags to teach Wednesday her colours and shapes?!" And an idea was born. (An idea that is working I might add. Mind you, Wednesday already knows her shapes really well.)

Being the always-wanting-what-I-do-not-have kind of gal, the project that started out with on-hand supplies quickly turned into a thirty dollar gig thanks to the needs for some really pretty fat quarters (for the cut outs) and purple fleece (I couldn't find purple felt at the store I was at.)but, it was worth it because they turned out sew pretty! And using popping corn was really quite brilliant. Super eco friendly, and I think it gives the perfect texture, sound and weight that makes bean bags super fun for little ones.

EDIT: The thing is, I have been sewing on some level since I was but a child (I think I learned how to sew by hand age six or seven.) but I haven' really done much of anything save a random project now and again in almost ten years. So, recently the few projects I have attempted have been going very well. I think I might be a better seamstress now than I was then. Due mostly to patience (more now) than before. This project was perfect for practice and confidence.

I had initially thought I was giving a set to an undecided toddler (a cousin, Sidney etc.) but they turned out so vibrant and so pretty that I don't want to share any more. Shucks.

Bean Bag Rainbow



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fourth Installment of the Sleep Saga

Last night Wednesday did awesome. She woke even later for that first waking and then it was smooth sailing until six this morning. I on the other hand slept like poop. I couldn't sleep until she woke up that first time which was not until eleven thirty and then after that was a fitful restless sleep. I think I had psyched myself up for a night that would be horrible since the night previous went so well. I, apparently was wrong.

Maybe it IS a pattern. Wouldn't that be super duper?!

And, in the spirit of Wednesday photos since I do not have a new recent picture to share, here is a picture of Wednesday a year ago almost to the day.

Going for a walk

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sleep Like a Camel

Well, last night was night number three of no more bottles for my no longer a baby. It started off pretty good with Wednesday waking late for her usual ten pm bottle. She woke at eleven and went back to sleep in less than five minutes. I thought great! Now if the rest of the night could go this smoothly we would be rockin'!

Well, it went...even better! Yes ladies and gentlemen, Wednesday slept for seven and a half hours straight! And I slept just as long, not waking halfway through the night wondering why she hasn't woke up yet. We both woke refreshed and rested. I even woke at six am and waited a full hour for her to wake at seven am.

I am so happy. I am not expecting to happen two nights in a row this soon but I tell you it is one heck of a welcome reprieve from the hourly wakings of the past year.

Now, Wednesday is asking me to go to the park every thirty seconds and since it is the coolest day in a week I am obliged to take her. We'll talk soon folks.


In celebration of a good nights sleep, instead of a picture of Wednesday sleeping, here is a pic of her from this morning, bare butted and bed headed just the way I love her!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day Two of Water Withdrawl

It is only 8:04 and I am on my second mug of coffee with fervor. Last night was our first night of no water at all. It started off really well, almost too well.

Wednesday woke up at her usual two hour interval from bedtime and without water went back to sleep in less than five minutes. Score. She even stayed sleeping for two more hours. (Too bad my period showed up and kept me awake for that two hours.)

Midnight came and she woke and cried and slept and woke and cried and slept and woke and cried and slept until two thirtyish. That was a tough couple hours since I hadn't slept yet.

The next five hours brought a few wakes up, but I think we were all exhausted from the hours previous and so we got some rest as family off and on until seven this morning.

We are pretty tired, and I think nap time will come early for both Wednesday and myself but all in all this is going much better than I thought it would this soon.

Another picture of my babe sleeping...this one is from the end of January.

Sleeping Beauty

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh That Elusive Slumber.

Hi there folks. I just wanted to write a little bit about last night. We started weaning Wednesday off of her umpteen middle of the night bottles of water. It went really well. Ron even stayed in the bed the entire night.

Back story:

Birth to ten months: Breastfed until my supply dried up

Ten months to 14 months: formula during the night started out as one bottle climbed up to three or four 8oz bottles

14 months to 17 months: milk during the night. But this was constipating her due to the ridiculous amount she was taking in over the course of the night.

So at 17 months, thanks in part to the flu she went from milk to water at night. I read (I believe in a parenting community here at Livejournal)that if babies are waking up a billion times at night for a bottle give them water, babies don't wake up for just water. It made a lot of sense. Well, they were wrong, at least where my baby was concerned. At two years she is waking up for water almost hourly. And when it is not for water it is because her diaper is soaked through from the water she is drinking or because her stupid bottle leaked, or her diaper wicked out and now she and the sheet underneath her is soaking wet. And of course she won't go back to sleep without...a bottle of freaking water.

Now before you say anything, or judge me for being a lazy parent this is not the lazy parent approach. This is the 'I have not had a full eight six hours sleep since I was six months pregnant approach' and yes, sometimes it is easier to give her that bottle. And sometimes I can't let her scream all night because other people in the house have to work or go to school in the morning. And did I mention I'm tired?

But, this week was the last straw. Wednesday has been waking more and more frequently due to teething, the heat, wet diapers etc and Ron and I are getting less and less sleep as time goes by.

So, I finally decided I don't care how tired I am at night, or how badly others need sleep for work in the morning, Wednesday is getting no more water during the night. Well, the first night went much better than expected. She only woke a few times and I only gave her one bottle. Not being soaking wet really helped keep her more comfortable and therefor sleeping longer.

It went so well though that we are keeping it going and by weeks end we should be at a resolution. I am really optimistic. (It doesn't hurt that I am so tired, her whines and cries fall on deaf sleeping ears.

I should mention, that her naps have been growing in length some as long as three and half hours so she is getting rest. Just not as much as she/we should be.

And just to remind myself of what a sleeping baby looks like here is Wednesday sleeping last May. :)

Sleeping angel

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When Life Gives you Zucchini, you make cake!

Giant zuchini

The single zucchini from our garden. Looks ginormous next to a mini muffin yes?

Giant baby eating giant zuchini

Wednesday kept calling it a "Keemy" and asking to hold on to it.

Lemon, blueberry zucchini bread

This was probably the most moist, the most tasty, the most delicious cake bread I have had in ages. I wish I could take credit for the recipe but alas I cannot. I just baked it to perfection. The recipe came via someone on my friends list on Livejournal. It is here at Virtual Cities. I will paste the text out for you too though.

Lemon/Blueberry Zucchini Bread

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
3-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
Juice of 1 lemon
Chopped zest of 1 lemon
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup frozen Maine wild blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour two 5 x 9-inch loaf pans. Beat eggs; add sugar and beat until well mixed. Add canola oil and beat well. Add lemon juice, zest, and zucchini and mix well with a wooden spoon.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, soda, and baking powder together. Add to the zucchini mixture; mix well. Fold in the blueberries. Pour mixture into the loaf pans and bake approximately 55 minutes until done (test with a cake tester). Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes prior to removing from pans.

Totally worth the effort it takes to grow, pick, shave and shred the zucchini!

For the Love of Snow Cones and County Fairs

Snow cones...

Good to the last drop...

Even if it is on our nose.

Yesterday we braved the heat (37 degrees Centigrade with the humidex) to venture to the 151st Stirling Agricultural Fair. The tractor pulls although very cool, were set up so that you had to do too much walking in the sun to get to where you needed to be whether it be to watch the pulls, ride the carousel or get back to your truck. Because of this we did not stay very long, I think maybe an hour and a half tops. We managed to squeeze in a small petting zoo, a look at real cows, a carousel ride (Wednesday's first) and a snow cone shared with Daddy. We did meet a woman with an Alpalca farm who sells the softest wool ever. I am on a mission to learn to knit this month so that I can justify driving out of town for her wool!

Sleepy chick

Ferris Wheel

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Missie Krissie giveaway.

I stumbled upon this giveaway from Missie Krissie jewelry designs through the Flickr group I made it myself. The picture had a link to the blog which was having a giveaway. My favourite kind of post.

I do love the idea though. I am a fan of all things shiny and recycled so this just seems to be a match made in heaven.

The pictures although creative in their garden-esque appearance are kind of busy. But this close up of the spoon caught my eye. Also there is this one which gives you a great idea of the utter practicality and sheer prettiness of the piece.

You can view some of her jewelery pieces here at her online shop but I could not find a listing for the trees. Hopefully I win one *grin* but if not I would love to purchase one. She has a blogger located here and her flickr set for the trees is here.

Indoor Pool!

Indoor Pool (16)

We went to Tara and Sidney's house for a play date today. Sidney got a bigger kiddie pool and the kids loved it. The last twenty minutes or so Wednesday was outside of the pool just pouring water from one container to another and was really enjoying herself. So, when we got home I thought I would continue the water play with a tub on the floor in the living room. (It is just not the same in the real tub for Wednesday, I am not sure why.) But instead of playing *with* the water she insisted on playing *in* the water.

Indoor Pool (5)

Indoor Pool (23)

Indoor Pool (24)

Indoor Pool (32)

Indoor Pool (36)

Indoor Pool (42)
The aftermath.

I have had some mamas say I was brave to allow water in the living room but it didn't occur to me to do it otherwise. The kitchen is a galley kitchen and not very conducive to fun on the floor and the living room is hardwood (parquet) so I thought it would be hunky dory. It was and I can't wait to do it again. :)

Beer + Cupcakes = All Awesome

The thing I love most about baking before the smells and tastes and satisfaction is the giving and sharing. That is what I love most about baking, sharing my creations. No recipe is small enough to keep to yourself and so your family and friends all get a piece of tasty goodness. Yesterday I baked for my brother-in-law's 38th birthday. I made Stout Cupcakes from Martha Stewart's Cupcake book.
Funnily enough, it was my brother-in-law who gave me this book for my birthday last month so it only seems fitting that he receive the first batch of baked awesomeness.

Stout Cupcakes

And awesomeness they were. They tasted very much like gingerbread without the ginger due to the molasses and spices. They were incredibly moist and tasty and not to big or too sweet. The glaze is made from beer and icing sugar and adds that perfect bit of 'oomph'. They were so good.

Because these were not iced or piped with anything fancy, I printed up some little flags from and I also photocopied a couple templates from the cookbook. They were the perfect touch. (It really is a wonderful book. Full of gorgeous photos and delectable recipes.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A morning at the market means an afternoon of baking.

Yesterday I was actually raring to go at an obscenely early hour and so I decided Wednesday and I would walk downtown to the farmer's market. I bought wax beans (my favourite veggie) rhubarb, peaches and raspberries. Well, because the gentleman at the market packed my peaches and berries wrong without my knowledge the berries were not much good whence Wednesday and I stopped at a park to enjoy some shade. The peaches had crushed most of the berries so I ate myself sick almost so they didn't go to waste. Oi vey.

BUT! The peaches were fine, mostly due to their not-quite-ripe-ness. So when I got home I chopped up the rhubarb and blanched the peaches to peel them and proceeded to make a crisp. My mom makes the most amazing (and amazingly simple) apple crisp and so I compare all similar to it and this one really stacked up well, an instant favourite. This is the recipe (Found @ and this is the result:

Rhubarb Peach Cobbler/Crisp w/ French Vanilla Ice Cream

You ever eat something and with that first bite you feel home? Like true comfort food. Well, maybe because of my mom's apple crisp maybe not but this dish, is comfort food at it's finest.
I should mention that using fresh instead of frozen meant I should have upped the granulated sugar to 2 cups. But thanks to the French vanilla ice cream it was a nice little sweet and sour desert.

Peach-Rhubarb Crisp

Prep: 15 min., Bake: 50 min. Rhubarb adds fresh, tart flavor to compotes, crisps, and pies. Serve this dish warm with low-fat vanilla ice cream, vanilla yogurt, or low-fat whipped topping.

1 (20-oz.) bag frozen peaches, thawed (I used 6 fresh)
2 (16-oz.) packages frozen sliced rhubarb, thawed (I used 5 cups diced fresh)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (If using fresh I would add 1/2 cup more)
3 tablespoons lemon juice (I used juice of one lemon)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
Vegetable cooking spray
1/3 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; add 1/4 cup flour, stirring well. Pour mixture into a 13- x-9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

2. Combine oats, brown sugar, and remaining 1 cup flour in a small bowl; cut in cold butter with a fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle mixture evenly over fruit filling.

3. Bake at 375° for 45 to 50 minutes or until bubbly.

Note: Nutritional analysis does not include ice cream.

Yield: Makes 10 servings

CALORIES 308 (0.0% from fat); FAT 6.4g (sat 3.9g,mono 1.6g,poly 0.4g); IRON 1.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 16mg; CALCIUM 188mg; CARBOHYDRATE 61.4g; SODIUM 48mg; PROTEIN 3g; FIBER 2.7g