Saturday, December 22, 2012


Some great women hosted a Ladies Ornament Exchange evening at our church. I thought that sounded like a fun evening. . .but I REALLY wanted to make an ornament! My original idea was a stocking, but then one day I just started doodling and changed my mind to making matching country mittens. So. . .here they are:
There is my pattern--a free hand mitten and long heart. Add a button and coloured embroidery floss. . .
Then stitch like crazy!
And I got them done on time! I loved how they turned out!
After that, I made a few more in blue with brown buttons and looped the hanging string just on one side. (No pictures. . .what was I thinking???) Most of those disappeared to my co-workers and prayer partner at school.
I love crafting during the holidays!

Christmas in July. . .a little late!

I just realized I still have this post in my file. . .and it has never surfaced into the blogosphere!
So. . .ignore the title, and here was my "Christmas in August" ideas.
Yes, you read that right. I have learned from the past. There is no time to create Christmas cards prior to the Christmas season, and I had a wave of creativity one lovely day in August, so this is what I did: I made Christmas cards.
Maybe you can guess. . .it was a Pinterest idea. Well, I should say it was based on a pinterest idea. I saw cards made out of paint chips (similar to the ones at the bottom of this post) and decided I should search the web for some tree ideas. I found a gift tag (blog here) that looked similar to the tree I made, but decided to make mine as a whole card, thinking I could put a family photo on the back. Which never happened.
But here it is:
Here are the cards--done on the right, works in progress on the left.
(Stamps from Michael's clearance, ink was Staz-On, ribbon from my left-overs stash, paper from Activity Village website and my stash)
And below are some other cards I tried to make.
They are very, very pink. Cute, but VERY pink. Sparkle too, but VERY pink!
(stamps from Stampin Up)
(stamps from Michael's clearance bin)
Thank you to my many trips to Home Depot, where I was {seriously} considering painting the guest room one of various shades of green, but never did, and then considered painting a hallway pink, but never did--and didn't want to waste the chips so I crafted instead. (Am I justified in this?!?!)

Star of Wonder. . .

This past week we had a snow day, which would have been perfect, except that my princess also decided to come down with a nasty flu bug that same day! Lucky for us, it was only one of those 24 hour things and so far no one else has caught it. Not a pleasant way to start a blog entry, I know, but I needed to give you background for this one. The day I stayed home with her was supposed to be a Christmas craft day with my students. The snow day was supposed to be a day that we would do some art for a Christmas Pageant Chapel my primary cuties were doing. So, suddenly I had two days of art activities that I had to cram into a day that I wasn't able to be there!
The sub plans were all there--crazy art explanations and all--but of course, there were those projects that I knew just could not happen! I've been on the TOC list before so I know what a TOC needs to put up with, and I just wanted to be kind to her--and I wanted a star ornament that would be all that I envisioned it to be! So I ditched the old idea and came up with something new.
And then, not even knowing if it would work for little kids or not, the princess (and her partner in crime) and I gave it a try at home. If you say the words art or craft, the princess perks up pretty quickly!
So. . .first we made a Star of David out of Popsicle sticks. You can Google how to do it, or you can glue together two triangles and then place those on top of each other with more glue.
Once that was dry, we painted. (Unfortunately for the Royal Sick-o, all my glitter was at school, so hers was straight paint--maybe we will add some sparkles soon). Her little follower thought black was a pretty cool star colour. I tried, but how do you argue with someone who says, "Shh-shh. Mommy, I do good" ? You don't--you let the star be black. Maybe we need to add some glitter to his too!
While that dried, we traced a 5 point star pattern on scrapbooking paper (mine here came from the ActivityVillage website). The other side has musical notes on it that the princess and Mr. Black-star traced in yellow and orange for star colours.
Then a hole-punch, some raffia ribbon and a loop to hang it on the tree.
Easy enough?
The finished star craft
So, here it is: hanging alongside out mudded walls--not my best photo op. Oh well.
The cute creators
And here are my cute little sick kids, proudly showing off their creativity!
The good news: when I went back to school on Christmas Chapel day, the stars were already hung behind our stage for ALL the moms, dads, grandparents, family, and friends to see. . .
and they looked great!
Hooray for easy, last-minute crafts!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


My little princess is having a bunch of fun in school. She learned to draw owls recently. . .
so at home she tried to do it again, and do some writing about owls, and for some reason this all got her into  the poem, In Flanders Field.
I *think* it says, "Owls fly.Owls hoot. Owls have good eyesight on the trees."

 Today her brother showed her how to make flowers--poppies--out of Kleenex. Here is her droopy one that she put on a sign on her door. . .

 and then inside her room--it is her Flanders Field--with the poppies that she made "row-on-row."
(Is that adorable or what?!?!? Oh to see all of life through the eyes of a child!)
She spent a bunch of time drawing, colouring and cutting poppies. Little did I know that this is what it was going to turn into!
Lest we forget!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A little bit of Apple Butter

I was browsing through some blogs, and an old colleague of mine said that she had made apple butter in the crock pot. I had never done that before (I had never made apple butter, period!), so I searched for an easy recipe.
Approximately 3 lb. apples
3 cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cloves
Dash of salt
3/4 cup water or fresh apple cider
So. . .that was one recipe. . .and I pretty much did that, minus the adding water/apple cider (since later on in the recipe they ask you to boil it down to very little moisture anyway. And I added less sugar, something I read on another blog, that suggested if I were using sweet apples, maybe not as much sugar was needed.
So, I followed directions as needed. . .but then when I got to the part that suggested I take the lid off of the crock pot to get rid of excess water, I did something different--so ground-breaking! I decided to drain it. . .and make apple cider with the extra apple juice. Brilliant, I know! (See my "pioneer method" of getting apple juice?)
 I don't have a hand blender, and when making apple sauce, I usually just use a potato masher if I do the crock pot variation because we don't mind it chunky on occasion. So for this recipe, I put the drained apple sauce into the kitchen aid to make it smooth. So easy, so fast!
Then I added the spices, and needed to boil it one more time in a sauce pan (or crock pot again. It was getting late into the night, so the sauce pan was quicker. More dishes, yes, but it got me to bed before my alarm clock went off in the morning!)
And the kids like like it--including he BIG one. . .but not E. He thinks it is just smoother spicier applesauce and that doesn't belong on bread. Oh well. . .it is getting gobbled up anyway!
Happy fall food preserving!

A few words. . .

Oops. . .this post is a little bit dated now, but I figured I would still tack it on here. . .

Today I have been thinking about Words. Yes, words. Funny topic, when that is all I can produce from this keyboard of mine, when that is all you get to read from me this sitting, all my mind swirls with most of the day, all my poor little mouth can generate for me.


Facebook, full words, got the best of me today. I was reading a post by the local newspaper—it told me that FIFA had suspended Christine Sinclair for a few games because she complained about a referee following the ever-famous Canadian-U.S. Olympic soccer game. The newspaper asked if the followers thought it was fair. And really, what were they expecting people to say??? Was it worth even reading the responses? But something in the back of my mind caused me to read the responses—something that told me, maybe FIFA was on to something.


Before you think I am crazy, let me tell you I DID watch the game!!! I saw what those refs were doing!!! Don’t think for a minute that I wasn’t sympathizing with those Canadian gals! But in between all the people sharing—or should I say that they were pulling out the “what about freedom of speech” line and bashing FIFA quite harshly—there in between all of that, was a comment that resonated with what my gut was gurgling around. A paraphrase of what a certain commenter said was this: he said it was fair. He pointed out that, yes, it was a poorly refereed game, but that athletes are taught to just play the game and show sportsmanship. He pointed out that Sinclair is a role model for kids across Canada and that those little ones (and can I also add, maybe the big ones too) need to know that it is not okay to challenge a ref. He asked if we wanted to give athletes—or parents for that matter—the okay to “give it” to the refs.


Maybe this resonated with me because one of my “friends” had posted only a few spots down a video about bullying and what the words of some “too cool” middle school students did to the life of young girl. She’s no longer on this earth to tell about it.


And then a few posts later was a question asking if followers thought the school districts were doing enough to stop bullying. And I was appalled by the language used and attitudes portrayed in some of these replies!


And then I got to thinking about what freedom of speech really means. And I don’t think it means we can say whatever we want whenever we want to and to whom ever we want.


Believe me: I am a gal with opinions! When I was younger I spoke these opinions all too quickly. I still do. I’m learning the art of thinking first. I’m learning to use some intelligence and understanding first, because words are all too powerful, and I’m not sure we always know how to use them or receive them correctly. So I need to learn.


I could read the book of James daily just to learn a little bit about wisdom and my words. A very key thought for me comes from James 3:10: “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”

And Proverbs—I could spend hours studying that one, too!


James 1:19-20

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.


Proverbs 17:27

A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.


James 3:8-17

. . .but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.


Proverbs 12:18

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.


Although everything in me wants to side with the fact that the refs acted poorly and that justice should be done—I want to side with the complaints!—I am also called to act a life worthy of Christ. Although I want to be “political” and boast in my freedom of speech, I am also called to remember the millions of kids in schools today who are wounded by the words so freely tossed out both on a whim or with the intention to hurt that scar so deeply. Although I want to be a popular voice for those feeling injustice soaked up by the media, I am also called to relentless love for those whom the heart of Jesus is breaking for—those truly feeling the pangs of injustice and the wrong-doings of inequality. 


I’m convinced that there is a right way—a wise way—to voice your opinion or belief. I don’t want to be a person known to “give it.” I don’t what to raise children who think it is okay to toss around words so lightly. I don’t want the world to see just another complainer. I believe that the words that emerge from my life have to reflect the One Greater than I who IS the Word. And because of that, I need to use caution, care and persistent wisdom, so that my tongue doesn’t act as a sword, but as light and salt.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pretty clothespins

Here is a quick and easy thing I did a few nights ago.
Pretty clothespins!
No, I'm not so crazy that I need this for hanging my laundry (I don't know how durable they would be if used for that reason). I was thinking more on the lines of hanging up student art. I used the clothespins last year, but I just wanted to spruce it up a little, make it "cutesy," like a good primary teacher would. :) Using clothespins was so-o-o handy--no pushpins=so much quicker to put up and down! An easy student art wall!
 Here is how easy it is: Cut strips of scrapbooking paper--really thin! Measure your clothespins and cut away. Glue the strips on. Wait for them to dry. Then modge-podge, or whatever brand you have of that glue-ish-y paint. Wait for it all to dry again--really good this time, and there you go.
 So, now I have done my first "get-ready-for-the-new-school-year" project.
And I'm wondering where is my summer disappearing to???


Back when #3 was a fresh baby, I had borrowed this sling or "Peanut Shell" from one of my sisters. It worked like a charm! I used it as he grew older and was able to sit in it as well. I loved it.
But eventually, it had to go back. He was getting bigger anyway, and we had a backpack carrier for him to go in. It turned out that he HATED the backpack carrier! He screamed whenever he went in it or even saw it! I'm not typically one of those moms who lets my baby-child "decide" what he or she wants, but this was just plain irritating, since my ear was not that far from his scream! I was kinda stuck, because he was much too heavy to carry, especially is we ever went walking or hiking!

So I went on an Internet search. . .and found my solution. It was found here, although the link to the instructions is no longer on this page. Hmmm. . .

I wasn't 100% sure on making my own sling, but didn't want to spend the $$ on one, especially if #3 didn't want to be in it! My cousin had one and she had even carried her 3 year old in it (on her hip or on her back), so I thought this might be the answer. But being cautious, I didn't go out and buy the trendiest material for it, just in case. Here is my plain-Jane blue.
Based on the advice from the instructions, I doubled my material because it was only cotton.
I cut my curve. . .2" less on the sides than in the middle.

 I made my super nice french hem. . .
 Okay, so I didn't follow the instructions to a "T." I eventually found the sizing chart, which wasn't 100% clear as I fit into two of the sizes, and re-cut my project and sewed it all over again!
 Here is me, with it on, although he picture seems to show off the kitchen more than me. Oops!
And below is my model, the banister post. . .who does a lovely job of showing it off!
 Here is my munchkin who LOVES being in it!(And who LOVES freezies! How can you tell he is #3? #1 would have never been able to have so much sugar/junk food at that age!) What a great thing to make, and what an "arm"-saver for me! Sorry I don't have any photos of me in it. . .I just haven't thought of taking a picture when I am on the go with him! :)
If I do it again (which I will, when I have time!), I will pick better fabric. Thick cotton with a nice pattern so I don't have to double it. I will also add a small pocket. And a loop to hook my keys on or a toy on. I was thinking that I could add a pocket or some printed bias binding to the current one. . .we'll see.

So this whole post was written a LONG time ago!!! (My links above disappeared in this time of not posting!!! Oh no!!! So sorry if you were trying to hook to them--I'll go searching again! Just give me some time!) 
Over a year ago! And I have used this sling like crazy! LOVE it. I still use it a bit, eve though baby #3 is past the 2 year mark. He's too old to be in a stroller--according to him--and too young to walk as much as the rest of us can. So this is always in the van, for just those times! And although he is heavy, using this is much easier than having to carry him without it and it frees us my hands a bit!

But I did do some exploring with the pockets, loops for keys and bias binding ideas. . .
dinosaur trim

racetrack trim
Happy sewing for me again!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A few "pets"

We are a pet-less family. At least for now.
So when my kids find animals, they like to "adopt" them. (Meaning: research, watch and follow them to death and act like they actually now own the rights to that species). Our summer has not been without animal adventures!
Here is our first  to showcase: a little baby pine siskin.
This little guy (or girl or one of its friends) decided to spend some time sitting on little A's head to our surprise a few days ago, and then E found another one here in the tree (below). He could actually reach out and touch it--I'm not sure it was old enough to know it should be afraid of humans. Luckily, this one found my kids, who LOVE animals!
And we have our owl from the creek. We think it is a barred owl (we have seen two together, but there might even be three of them), but E is a little on the fence on this one. His screech seems to mimic a barn owl, but a barred or spotted owl is our best guess from all we have researched. We've taken some extra walks in the creek to visit our friend, and to see the things it likes to eat! (Ew!) We've had some pretty close encounters with it.
Below is a picture from my camera--your plain old point and shoot kind.

And another one from a different day--yah, I'm pathetic. I go out each time we see or hear it to see if I can do any better for a photo. We've had it sit on our back fence before, but then there is no camera around!
These two pictures are sent from our neighbours down the road. He has the cool camera with the specialized settings and the extra lens and all. . .Maybe I can convince my hubby that I NEED one of those cameras!!! Can't I hope for my Canon Rebel for Christmas? :)

And a few from E's bug box. He has been busy collecting caterpillars of all sorts and enlisting the help of others. Here was Opa's contribution one day--he caught it and put it in E's bug box while we were out to surprise him! (This one was taken on my boring old camera--I was kinda impressed with how well it turned out!)
And as you can see (or this explanation will help you see) that beside our butterfly friend (who was released the next day) a cocoon or chrysalis of some sort. You can correct me if I am wrong, but I think this one is a cocoon because it is silky and cotton-like and a chrysalis is more of an opaque hard shell. It came from a black caterpillar with orange spots.
Well that cocoon  (and one other darker coloured one) sat there in its pupa stage for FOREVER! I was ready to scrape them out. This particular white one is actually still sitting there and getting thinner, but the darker one is broken open, because. . .
out came this moth! We haven't quite pinned down what kind it is except that the wings are brown with white spots (and we have a few pictures to go back to and compare for our searching for the exact name!)
In this above photo you can see the cocoons and the moth. We had a big releasing at Grandma's house and by her pond. After it was all done, E decided to announce that he had learned that usually moths and butterflies go back to the place of their emergence to lay eggs. (Glad it wasn't released at our place if that was true!)
And another is on the way--a fuzzy brown caterpillar in a new bug box brought over by Opa. We will see what comes of that!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

a little garden fixing. . .

I selvaged this little garden sign from my MIL yard garbage pile, probably about 5+ years ago. It has been in my garage that long, waiting to be fixed up and painted as the thing was almost wood again, no colour. Last week, I finally gave it a try.
Added some wire. . .I was going to hang it on my tree or fence and take the stake off.
But it didn't look too bad like this, so here it stays for now.
And here is my previous ivy patch, all dug out (well mostly in this photo). Why is it that every spring/summer I want to change around all my gardens? I'm not a great gardener--just learning as I go, listening to others, and looking at what they have done (and of course using the good ole computer!). Hopefully I will fill this spot with a variety of hostas instead. But for now, I am busy weeding and cutting down overgrown gardens!
Happy gardening!

a few more baby gifties

With summer here, I've had a few extra minutes to sew again!
Aside from just fixing the broken clothing, I've made a few baby blankets for gifts. I missed a few babies being born, and had no extra "boy" ones in reserve, so that was my job for the last few days. I was a little hesitant at first to use this fabric because the matching ribbon was. . . black! It was a risk for me--I'm usually more into the colourful, but I just could not find any matching ribbon! I also tried a "hooded blanket" this time, just to try something new.
 Here is my dinosaur set--hood blanket, bandanna drool bib and a tag blanket.
 See all the black ribbon on this one? But I think it turned out OK!
 And here is my bandanna drool bib. My daughter had one and it worked wonderful, so I thought I would sew a few to match.

 And here is my race car set--hooded blanket, tag blanket, and bandanna drool bib.
This one I was able to find a blue that went pretty well with it, without going to bright and bold with red or yellow. Maybe on the next one. . .
Now it is off to the fabric store in order to make more--I ran out of blanket material!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

felt flowers for her hair

It was my daughter's birthday a bit ago and she knows all about parties because of her older brother.
So whenever her birthday comes along, she had a long LIST of things to do!
But we keep it small--and crafty! Here is what we did:
felt flowers on headbands or barrettes.
My sister and I had made some cute rosettes out of felt to put on headbands or barrettes once, and I thought they were cute, so I kinda went off of that idea and made these layered felt flowers.
(supplies above)
First I found all the different colours of felt I had in the house.
Then I found some flower patterns on google. These ones were great! I also found more "daisy" type ones with pointed petals as well. I sided them differently and then started tracing and cutting!
 Then I chose a few to try--pink and grey for now. I layered them up. Now, you can just layer them and glue them--some of my daughter's friends did that. These flowers were bigger, so I put one tiny "x" stitch in the middle (see the yellow?) to gather them just a bit.
 Next went the rhinestone. . .
Oh the girls were in heaven with those things!!!
 And then finally the little circle patch to help glue it onto the headband.
I gave the girls a choice--so here is how it is if they wanted to use a barrette instead.

I wish I had taken pictures of the ones they had finished/made. Some of them were so cute! I had also cut out some tulle flowers and circles to add in and little leaves if they wanted to add those as well. They just stacked flowers and started gluing! (and then I used the glue gun to finish them all off!)
It was a cute and easy party idea!