Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Break

Well, the year is drawing to a close and so is our Christmas break... it has been a great and an eventful couple of weeks, especially for one member of our family. Evelyn is frequently the perpetrator of acts of mischief but this week she took initiative not to commit daring deeds, but to potty train herself. She just decided one day to voluntarily go pee on the potty and the rest is history. I haven't had to change a diaper in almost a week now! There have been a couple little slip ups, but so far, this has been my easiest potty train yet!

One of our friends had done this cute little thing with her daughter last year at Christmas to give up her bottles (or soothers, I can't remember which...), and we had planned on doing the same this year, although with both bottles AND soothers. The plan was for Evelyn to go cold turkey... wrap up her bottles and pacifiers and put them out for Santa so that he could take them to a new little baby who needed them. In exchange, Santa would leave her an extra present. We talked about it with her in the weeks leading up to Christmas and she agreed to it. I was a little bit scared that we would have some sleepless nights until she got used to it, but Evelyn has been amazing! She has asked once or twice for her "ooshies" (soothers) but we stayed strong and she has all but forgotten about them now. I am relieved and sad at the same time. So proud of her for being such a big girl, but so emotional about my last baby growing up!

So! Some stuff we have done over the break...

Breakfast with Santa at a local berry farm... Evie and Mylie waiting to see Santa pull up:

Eating our pancakes with stewed blueberries on top!

Laina, Mylie and I went ice skating with friends to a winter wonderland theme thing...

There are a lot of things about this picture that I want to make excuses for.... the way Mylie has let the headband fall down over her bangs, the fact that they are wearing white tights under their skirts but with knee socks over... the way Mylie is pushing her tummy out and squinting... but Adam took this picture of them while I have having a Mommy time-out (ie. the kids were pissing me off, so I had to go to my room and take deep breaths until I was back in control) These were their Christmas outfits from Gap:

Christmas Morning!! Matching Carter's jammies

Evie with the thing she asked Santa for... a Winnie the Pooh stuffy

Love the look on Evie's face here... she was just so excited opening all her presents this year!

Laina got a Karoke machine from my mom... that should drive me crazy...

Sitting down to dinner... is it tradition for everybody else to wear the stupid paper crowns from the Christmas crackers?

This is Gigi... grandma to 10, great-grandma to 14! This was her first Christmas without my Grandad and we were all missing him...

My niece Jazzy enjoying her Christmas dinner

AAAAAANNNNND... if you made it this far, here is my first Valentine's project, haha, yep! I already am moving on to the next holiday!! This is a shirt, and yes, Evelyn is pants-less here... it looks like a short dress but isn't. I will probably make some leggings to go under this or maybe just put on some skinny jeans.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I think about blogging a lot and wish that I did it consistently. I love looking back at the pictures and remembering all the little details of our daily life. Just things that you think you will always remember, but slip away without documentation. So here is a little attempt at an update rather than just waiting for a bunch of nice pictures to post.

What have we been up to? Much the same... my days are spent ferrying the kids from activity to activity and my evenings are spent watching TV with Adam or sewing up a storm. I just finished a large order for 15 aprons for a friend to give out as Christmas gifts, and surprisingly, despite sewing so many of the same item, I really enjoyed it, and think that aprons are something I might want to focus on when it comes time to open up an etsy shop with my sewing.

Evelyn is still very much a rule-breaker and mischief-maker... several of her exploits lately have involved food... we had to install a fridge lock on our refrigerator after she repeatedly helped herself to drinks of orange juice and milk by placing a sippy cup on the floor, then dumping the entire contents of the carton on top of the cup. The final straw came when Adam busted her gnawing on a half of a ham in her room after pilfering it from the fridge. She also had a little spell of climbing onto the counter in order to microwave food for herself (let's keep in mind here, she is only 2). When I caught her microwaving a banana in the skin, I asked her, "What the heck are you doing?" To which she replied, "warming it up" as if it was the most normal thing in the world. I guess I should just consider myself lucky that she wasn't microwaving something metal! She has since stopped trying to use the microwave after a very stern talking-to (although who am I kidding? She has probably just stopped for a short time in order to lull me into a sense of safety over the matter)

Mylie picked up a case of Hand Foot and Mouth disease from preschool which sounds much grosser than it is, but s extremely contagious. So she was quarantined from school for a week during which time she passed it to Evelyn and then Laina. So at prime Christmas shopping time, I had all three kids home and wasn't able to get out to shop without them!! Luckily my in-laws stepped into our den of contagion and gave us a break to get out and get some stuff done. Mylie managed to make it back to school in time to star as Mary in her preschool nativity play. Here she is with Joseph:

Laina has graduated to a big girl room... our neighbors offered us their teenage daughter's loft bed that came with a desk underneath which she desperately needed for doing homework uninterrupted. So now Mylie and Evie are sharing the room with the bunk bed, and Laina has her loft bed in the other room. Sounds pretty crazy allowing Evelyn to sleep in the room where I once caught her about to swing from the chandelier off the top bunk, but so far so good!

In crafty news, I punished myself by making and decorating sugar cookies today. Don't know why I continue to torture myself when I suck at it but I love looking at pretty cookies and cakes and keep thinking if I just keep trying I will eventually get better. Oh, and I enjoy eating them too...

I am also testing a new sewing pattern in 3 different sizes, so I should have some new pictures to share of those soon!

And random info: Mittens came in from outside today with half a forest stuck to her undercarriage. Like seriously, I have no idea how she got all this stuck in there, and it was thoroughly entangled! I had to cut some fur out just to get the biggest stick out from under there. How did she even walk to the back door like this? She was very confused and kept trying to chase the large stick in circles.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ruffle Christmas Tree Skirt {Little Lizard King}

This is just a quick post because I finally got my Christmas tree up and took a picture of the gorgeous ruffled Christmas tree skirt from the pattern that I tested for Little Lizard King

This was honestly one of my favorite patterns EVER to make (but I think I always say that!). It was an fairly easy sew, but I think it would have been difficult to figure out how to do it on my own without the pattern. It was quite time consuming; I think in total it took me about 6 hours, but like I said, it was a fun and easy sew and I was thrilled with the outcome!

I love the idea that I created something that is a reflection of our family... bright, fun, and colorful (and very very busy!!) I love the idea that in creating this tree skirt, I am contributing memories to our family Christmas tradition. It will be something that we will pull out of the boxes with excitement every year; it will be part of the backdrop by which our family celebrates Christmas!

Taking a picture of this was an interesting experiment for me... my house is small and with very little natural light inside, especially in the evening when I took the picture! And the think the picture emphasizes the colorful lights we have on our tree, and while I love looking at them in person, I think they come across as a bit garish in picture. But it is okay, because again, it is a reflection of us... colorful and a bit crazy :)

I think the pattern is being released on her website tomorrow or the next day, so be on the lookout!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Catching Up

Long time no blog! I haven't checked in lately, mostly because life seems to move at the speed of light these days and I just never seem to get a minute to just sit down and blog! And to be honest, November is the worst month of the year for me (closely followed by February, grr, strongly dislike both of those months). I have probably mentioned this before, but a lot of people in my neck of the woods get symptoms of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) myself STRONGLY included, this time of year. It is brought on by the dark and dreary days and just a lack of light which causes depression. So this year, I am letting myself get excited over Christmas early in hopes that having something that I truly love to look forward to will boost me out of the late autumn doldrums. So far, it seems to be working! I am pretty sure that my husband and most of my friends think that I am crazy, but that is okay, because I kinda am :) So what is new? Christmas crafts, that's what! First I pattern tested a ruffled Christmas tree skirt which I absolutely LOVE how it turned out... I have a crappy cellphone picture but I think I will wait to unveil it until it is beautifully wrapped around my Christmas tree. Which by the way, if it was up to me, would already be up! Then today, my friend Amy and I worked some hot glue magic and made a Christmas ball wreath... just one of the many projects I have "pinned" on pinterest. So here it is, in all it's bright and shiny glory.
Our kids helped make these cute little Christmas-y faux gumball machines which was a very inexpensive and fun craft. They are on the second shelf of my latest hutch display.
And the last pic for today is of the same display but a fun technique to capture light starbursts (thanks Addy for your settings!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

An argument for manual...

Sometimes people ask me why I bother setting a manual exposure on my camera instead of just using the automatic settings. They say that cameras these days are so intelligent, that automatic is as good as manual. But I disagree... so I thought I would make a little illustrated argument here for why I think that manual is the way to go.

Using the little green box (the automatic setting) on your camera is allowing the camera to make all of the decisions for you... which is great SOME of the time, when it makes the right decisions... but it just as often as not makes the wrong decisions. Just to give you an idea of the amount of decisions that it takes out of your hand, the camera chooses your ISO setting, aperature, shutter speed, focal point, and whether or not to use flash. Here is a photo where I let my camera make all the "right" choices for me this evening. All these pictures are straight out of camera, and not edited at all.

On automatic:


This is a smoke tree shrub that I have planted on my back porch. The leaves are changing for fall, but since the flash went off, the colors are unnaturally bright while the background is dark and dull. The dusty miller plant right behind it is quite in focus as well.

On manual, I made all of my choices with regard to ISO, aperature, shutter speed, focal point and chose not to fire the flash (I NEVER use flash as a general hard and fast rule). I focused on the rain droplets on the leaves of the smoke tree, which were all but lost by the automatic settings. I wanted the dusty miller to be visible, but in soft focus so that the vibrant colors stood out on the smoke tree. The light is evenly diffused throughout the photograph.

Using Manual exposure, the same picture taken within a moment of the other one.


So what do you think? Do you find one more pleasing to the eye than the other?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I want more followers!!!

This is a completely useless post, but I just realized that on November 17th, I will have my 1 year blogiversary.... and you know what I want for my present? To hit 50 followers. That is my humble wish. So I would like suggestions... what do you think I should do to attract more followers? I could do a giveaway for a custom sewn outfit.... I could do a giveaway for a party package... I could maybe make some tutorials that might draw in new readers? I could try being a little more interesting? So I would like to know.... what do you think I need to do in order to gain some new followers?

TeePee Kid's Play Tent

I had the pleasure of testing an exciting new pattern for Little Lizard King which was unlike any of the patterns I had tested for her! It is for a TeePee Kid's Play Tent! This was a very fun project because my husband got to get involved by helping drill holes in the poles etc, and really, it was a very easy and quick sew! I love the fact that it folds up and you can just throw it in the corner of a room or in the closet, and it is easy for the kids to get out and play with by themselves!

So today we tried out photo shoot and it didn't exactly go as planned, for several reasons... the first reason was because I had intended this shoot just for Evelyn and I sewed her a new dress from Little Lizard King's Brooke Pattern but once the big girls got wind of that, they decided that they wanted to be involved also, since they love the teepee so much. Since I didn't have time to sew them coordinating sets in LLK patterns, Mylie wore an apron dress that I had made her from this LLK pattern, the Apron Knot Dress and Laina just wore a tiered skirt that I had sewed her quite a long time ago. And since we are talking about patterns, Evelyn is also wearing a pair of knit ruffles, like these Ruffle Pants or Capris.

And now on to the shots! The next reason this didn't go well was because we were aiming for the golden hour to shoot in, but since we had to go after one set of dance classes but before another set of dance classes, we ended up just about missing the sun setting... so we didn't catch any yummy light, but the kids still had fun.

They were having a little tea party complete with cupcakes and milk!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some Things Never Change

When I was an elementary school student, it was just conducted in regular old English. Since Laina attends French Immersion where they speak and learn entirely in French, sometimes I feel like her school experience will be very different from mine. But tonight at dinner time while she was telling us about her day at school, I realized that some things never change....

.... 8 year olds (okay, and some 31 year olds) will always think that flatulence is funny...

.... teachers will always try to suppress the immature outbursts of toilet humour...

Her story went like this:

"Today during class we heard this big brrrrrrrrpffff" (I apologize for this, I really don't know how to spell a mouth raspberry noise?) " and then So-and-so kept saying, "Qui a pété? Qui a pété??""

With this, Laina dissolved into fits of giggles at the dinner table until tears ran down from her eyes. She collected herself enough to gasp out, "and then Madame shouted, "Ce n'est pas ton affaire!")

Adam had no idea what was going on since he doesn't speak much french so I translated: So-and-so was asking, "Who farted, who farted?" until the teacher got mad and shouted, "It's none of your business!" Doesn't it just take you back just to hear that exchange? I don't know why I find it so comforting but somehow, I just like knowing that despite how much the world has changed since I was 8, some things just never change!

Completely shifting gears, yesterday we went apple picking at a local farm that puts on a big fun family experience every fall for apple picking and pumpkin season. It was a very blustery day, but we had a great time picking apples, doing a corn maze, and going for a hay ride.

There was goats, pigs and bunnies at the petting zoo.

I couldn't resist this :)

Evelyn wasn't happy to be deposited on this vintage flat deck truck for a photo opportunity.

But it was better once big sisters hopped up with her

And so far with my apples, I have made two batches of these muffins, plus 15 mini apple pies (which I am SOOO doing for my next party! These little guys were so cute and yummy!) I froze some other apples to use for making apple sauce and more pie, plus I intend on making some apple cinnamon scones. I like baking and I like eating it even better!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood

Halloween is one of my favourite times of year because as I am sure you all know; I LOVE dressing my kids up! We have so many costumes cluttering up our play room, but I can never resist buying or sewing more.

Evelyn is the only one that I get to choose a costume for this year. Laina has already decided on her own that she wants to be a vampire and Mylie wants to be a witch. It makes me a little bit sad that they won't let me pick cutesy costumes out for them anymore, but at the same time I am glad that they are so excited to help me bring their "vision" of their costumes to life.

I decided that Evelyn was going to be Little Red Riding Hood, and Adam has agreed to be the big bad wolf (I tried to convince Mylie but it was a no go). I used patterns from my favourite pattern-designer, Little Lizard King . as well as a little attempt at designing my own skirt. The hooded cape pattern is here and it is a super versatile pattern because I am just going to modify the hood into a collar for Laina's vampire cape and Mylie's witch shawl. I intend on lining all of them with fleece to make the costumes warmer for our chilly October nights. The pattern could also be used for making a little boys superhero cape! I used this pattern to make the puffed sleeved under shirt, and this one for the reversible corset (I did black on the other side but haven't tried that combo out on Evelyn yet). I made a pretty standard twirl skirt and then made a 3 layer tulle pettiskirt to give it volume. The final product wasn't fluffy enough for my liking, so I layered a hand-tied pettiskirt tutu that I made for Evelyn last Christmas (orignal post is here)

Anyways, pictures! She was very busy, and the light wasn't great (it ended up pouring after about 15 minutes of pictures so we had to leave), but I did get a couple that I liked.

And one from the gag-reel... she was running across this bridge to me when her tutu fell down around her ankles...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Country Celebration

My mother-in-law and I took the girls to this fun country fair type thing at our favourite park today (you know the one I mean.... the one where birds eat out of our hands!). We had a fantastic time and better yet, most of it was free.

There was pony rides... (Evelyn was freaked and I had to hold her on, while my MIL deftly handled my DSLR on manual!)

Oh, and I have to mention, Laina's shirt stood out in these pictures like NEON. I don't know why! I had to desaturate the color in her shirt in these pictures and it is still practically glowing! I swear it wasn't that bright in real life!

Bales of hay to play in....

Pioneer chores to be done, such as: pretend cows to milk...

Potatoes to dig out (if I tried to get my kids to do this at home, they would NOT think these things are fun!)

Eggs to collect:


Clothes to scrub!





And let's not forget to iron them!


Water pails to fill:


And with that, they were done their pioneer chores!

But before I go, I must make mention of the girl who brought her bunny on a leash... it was the cutest thing!

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