Friday, December 17, 2010

Jumbled Mind

There is still a lot going on around here, so I'll just lump them all together so you know what's on my jumbled mind.

Every season I can't wait for the next season to come because it will be "so relaxing". Umm, yeah, that's not really the way my life works.

I order seeds and plan the garden and finally get it in all in a rush in May. Once the garden goes in, I'm busy with summer camping and maintaining the garden. Then I wait for school to start so that I can relax. But that's when the canning and preserving and getting the garden out starts in earnest and I anxiously wait for snow to fall and things to slow down. Then I take on a project (like the lovely bathroom) and Christmas prep is in full swing. Yes, the snow gently falls and the sounds outside are lovely and muffled or non-existent, but my mind is so loud it doesn't register. Once Christmas is done, maybe things will slow down. Well, no. I've got two birthdays in January and a host of other birthday parties that the kids attend. And the plants get started under the lights. With spring comes the garden again and all of the end of school activities and the year starts all over again. And so on and so on and so on....

It's interesting that I started this "year" with spring and the gardening activities. I guess that's where my mind is even in the middle of a snow storm.

Anyway, here's a bathroom update. The floors are down and with it came new knowledge of compressors and hardwood flooring, tile adhesive and grout. It's lovely though. I've got some paint touchups to do, seal the grout and put up the baseboards and buy a new heat register. Next week the fixtures go in and bath gets out of the living room! Yay!

This wall of the bathroom has slipped to the back of mind to do after Christmas.

I have a door that needs some work, aluminum backing to go in and shelves to figure out. And it's only been primed so far. It's not a show stopper though, so it doesn't stress me out at this point. It'll happen and it's much-needed storage space.

Yesterday Beth made me this Christmas card. (See the upside down bath in the background? It's a suitable illustration for this segment of the post!)

And this is what it says inside. At first I thought it was a copied poem from some cards the teachers might have offered as examples, but no. This is a Beth original.

Dear Mom,

Have a wonderful Christmas and a great time.
I hope you enjoy this little rhyme.
Have a wonderful Christmas, I did the math -
14 days til you worry about the bath!

I'm not sure when she did the math, but I think she's referring to the fact that I was going to get a bunch done on the bathroom this week, but then I'd stop until after Christmas.

Christmas stuff is going on as well though. After all, life's not all about the bathroom.

We had two concerts going on at the exact same time on Sunday. I went to Alice and Beth's musical play while Yvon went to Laura's choir concert. Both were awesome! Laura's is definitely of a more serious nature and I'd heard every recital since September, so I let Yvon see the real thing.

However, while Alice and Beth rehearse I'm rehearsing with my own choir and hadn't seen much of theirs. It was very professionally done and really good.
Beth sang a lovely solo and Alice was just Alice. I heard lots of comments about them after the show. Typical comments: "Beth has a great singing voice. She's perfectly in pitch and not nervous at all" and "I love watching Alice - her big yawns just make the show and her hat covered her eyes through most of it - so cute!" She's still the second youngest in the show and she knew all the words and actions and did actually watch the director throughout the show (when she could see!), so I was pretty proud of her. Do you remember Amy Grant's "Fat Little Baby" song from the 80s? That was part of the production and Alice got to dance with a feather boa through it.

This week was also the school's choir concert. I went to the afternoon one and Yvon went to the evening performance while I went to my own choir rehearsal. Logistics of this time of year are getting to be a lot of fun. Or a nightmare, but we're making it work.

This weekend is my choir concert and party, and we cancelled Beth's piano recital because it was at the same time. We can't do everything and it start taking away from any enjoyment in the holidays.

Today is the kids' last day at school until the New Years, so we spent some time last night making gifts for all of their teachers and student teachers. They had so many student teachers this year. We made marshmallows (using this recipe) and hot chocolate on a stick. And then Beth joined the scene a bit later and dipped some of the marshmallows in melted chocolate for her teachers. Although I vowed not to buy any gift wrap this year and use cloth bags for everything (using stash fabrics only), I did find these cellophane bags from many years ago in the house.

I didn't take any pictures, but Beth gave me very late notice that she was supposed to provide something for the bake sale at the school concert, so on Tuesday night we made a bunch of very yummy caramel. We packaged some up in some gossamer fabric bags and some were sold individually.

And I will leave you with this picture of the cutest Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus I have ever seen. For some reason, my eyes well up whenever I look at them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Goopy White Stuff

My day has been full of it. Goopy white stuff.

White grout.

More white drywall compound.

White bread dough and gluten-free bread dough.

Did I tell you we've been experimenting with no-wheat? This bread looks gross, but it's actually not too bad. I'm sure that's another post, but it was goopy and white dough.

A new batch of laundry detergent. Borax and washing soda makes a white jello substance. It's kind of cool.

120 sugar cookies. Although not goopy anymore, the dough was quite sticky and white. And they are not for us. There's a community league event coming up that promises to be quite fun and cookie decorating is involved.

And supper was made by wrapping veggies in slimy rice wraps. Fun and yummy. Dessert ones were also made with combinations of Nutella, bananas and pea butter.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to lay some flooring in the bathroom and finish the grout on the walls. More goopy white stuff.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What's on my mind...

Rhonda-Jean at down-to-earth asked her readers to post a picture of what's on our minds, so here's mine.

Flannel -- God's gift to babies. This is a shower gift for a friend this weekend. You can never have too much flannel.

Progress Report

Here is our report card so far this term.

Effort A
Performance B

There are still a lot of things to be covered before we complete Bathroom
Reno 101 this term. A time extension has been given once again to
accommodate children's activities and parental volunteerism. Management is
only concerned about the need for stress-reducing baths and how this may effect
the end result. Please do not rush in an effort to sit in your tub!
You need to live with the results for 20 years, so they must be pleasing to
the eye.

Last night we learned how to tile. Is it perfect? No. Are you perfect? Maybe, but you weren't here to help so we have to live with this. And it's good.

Painting of the green is complete, and once I paint the white trim areas I can hang my revamped mirror and show how perfectly it goes with our new light fixture. This makes me happy.

Today's schedule: Pack for the weekend Girl Guide trip where I will be head cook for 25 people. Visit the Festival of Trees and listen to my girls sing there. Rush to the school for 10:30 to help prepare and then serve Christmas Dinner to the school. Rush to Fabricland for flannel to finally work on something I feel competent at: sewing. This time for a baby shower on Sunday, where we will land immediately after the Guide camp.

Aaargh! Better go!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Prairie Pie

A few weeks ago, because we're both wanna-be farmers, Rosa and I went to FarmFair, an event held in conjunction with the rodeo. We saw bit of rodeo activity, tasted local foods, played kids games meant to teach kids about animal treatment and once again saw a fellow blogger in real life.

I recognized Apple Jack Creek by her hand-felted wool boots. I was looking at the ground at the time and it's not common to see green felt boots.

We chatted and admired her ability to spin wool. I would love to be able to do that, but really, I need to learn to knit and crochet better in order to make use of the wool and I don't really have time to spend at it at the moment. I've got it on my "learn to do" list, right alongside with quilting and playing the cello.

I did learn one new thing at FarmFair that needs to be shared because it was awesome.

This is Prairie Pie, like Shepherd's Pie but with more local ingredients. If you are like Apple Jack Creek and can consider lamb to be within your 100 ft diet, you might want to use lamb. Most of us eat a lot more beef though.

I thought I hated parsnips, but I was wrong. Sometimes you have to try things again in another context and be surprised. Next year I'm going to grow some for variety.

I've changed the recipe somewhat to suit what I have in the house, but the spices and chutney were unique to me. I have them in the house but wouldn't have thought to put them all together.

Prairie Pie

1 Tbsp curry
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 Tsp minced fresh ginger (I keep mine in the freezer and grate it as needed)
1 green apple finely chopped or shredded
1 lb lean ground beef
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup dried cranberries, sundried or roasted tomatoes
2 Tbsp rhubarb chutney (it called for mango, but that's not in my pantry)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp ketchup or tomato sauce (I used Julie vanRosendall's recipe)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten

3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup butter
4 green onions, minced (I used dried chives)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper

Chop everything you need so that you can boil your veg topping while making
the ground beef part of the dish.

Combine potatoes, sweet potato, carrot and parnip in a sauce pan.
Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 20-30
minutes. Drain well and mash together until fairly smooth, or rustic and
chunky. Saute the onions or chives and ginger in butter for 2-3
minutes. Stir into mashed veggies with milk, salt and pepper.

While the vegetables are boiling, combine curry powder, cayenne pepper,
tumeric, salt and pepper. Heat canola oil over medium heat and saute the
spices for 30 seconds. Add onion, ginger and apple and saute until tender
and beginning to brown.

Add ground beef to pan and cook until browned. Drain any excess
oil. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in remaining
ingredients and spread in a shallow baking dish.

Spread the mashed veggies on top of the ground beef. Bake at 350 for
45 minutes or until filling is hot and topping is golden brown. Cool
slightly before serving.

Serve with another scoop of chutney on top or jelly. Don't
forget this part. The sweetness was great with the slightly spicey

Saturday, November 27, 2010

All I want for Christmas

... is a good long bath.

Another coat of paint and then we tile. Closer, closer, ever closer but it's getting pretty stinky around here!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blessed meal

How is it that I've been gifted with a meal from someone I hardly know? I have been blessed by this friend-of-a-friend before.

I just had to accept the gift with grace, because we often don't deserve the things we've been given. At least I don't.

Through my drywalling friend (and there's another blessing I don't deserve), this friend-of-a-friend...

Hang on. This is too hard. She needs a name. Because I don't know how she feels about being named in this public (!) space, I'll call her...Deidre.

Start again.

So, through my drywalling friend, Deidre has been hearing about my bathroom reno. Knowing the stress that renos can cause, Deidre thought she'd forward a care package so that at least one meal this week would be off my mind. She's very generous and thoughtful that way. I can learn much from her. I still had to cook it, but it was easy to prepare. The main thing for me was that all of the thinking was done and all of the ingredients provided. It's the planning and thinking about meals that tires me out, so this was perfect.

Deidre has only met me on a few occasions, so she probably doesn't know that we don't really eat many lentils. It's one of those ingredients I'd love to love (like squash), but I haven't enjoyed them much in the past. I did, however, just buy some mixed lentils last week to try again. I keep trying.

The recipe included simply said "Lentils". I didn't know if I should expect it to be like a vegetable side dish, or soup or stew. Just "Lentils". Whatever. Like a good girl, I followed the instructions exactly. Still full of doubts about the taste, I made two big pork chops to accompany the dish in case we didn't like it or it needed something more to fill out the meal.

There was no need. This meal was awesome and filling and full of good nutrients. I ate my pieces of meat, but I won't bother next time. And there will definitely be a next time. I think we all had seconds, even a picky six year old and a guest who'd never had lentils, and Beth requested a bit saved for her lunch.

Our guest went home with the recipe, and enough cumin and lentils to make this for herself later. I can't give you the ingredients here, but here's the recipe:


2-3 cups red lentils
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 - 28 oz can of tomatoes
1 box vegetable stock
cumin and coriander to taste
salt and pepper if you like

Wash and rinse the lentils.

Saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the washed lentils. Add
the rest of the ingredients.

Simmer until done (mine took about 1 1/2 hours). How easy is that? Eat and
enjoy, even if you don't think you like lentils. You will be converted.

We ended the meal with a cheesecake that our guest brought with her. Could things get any better? It was a great meal and I had nothing to do with it.

This is the bag it came in. It was almost perfect, but it should have said this:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Alice's Day

She doesn't know it, of course. Laura and I spent the day making Christmas presents for Alice.

Laura made a doll that looks inspired by a Cabbage Patch doll. She took a book out of the library at school with doll patterns and now all the girls in the class want to make them. She invited a friend over today and at the end of 3 hours, both girls had made cute dolls for their little sisters. I expected to be asked a lot of questions and they made them here because I'd be on hand to help them. They didn't need help. I love their independence!

Tomorrow the book goes back to the library for another friend to take home.

I wish I had thought to take a picture before Laura hid hers away and her friend took hers home.

Oh well. I do have this to share.

Alice wanted a bird wheat bag for Christmas, so this little guy is here to stay. It's the first cute wheat bag to find a home in our own house instead of being gifted away. Parts of this birdy are still the remains of the old orange and red felted sweaters I started hacking up last winter, and the brown is cashmere wool from a coat I made years ago. It feels lovely and warm. And that's before you put it in the microwave.
And now the kids are no longer allowed to view my site until after Christmas.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More learning

Remember these?

And these cute things?

Well, feel free to make them because they are really comfy and warm and easy to make. I just made myself another pair tonight while watching two episodes of House online.

However, I've made a slight change. I needed a new pair because I wore my last pair out very quickly. They are just felted sweaters after all, and not meant to be stepped on, slid over hardwood floors, stepping on and through the dust and debris that seem to cover our floors in spite of daily sweeping.

Leather soles. Hopefully that will work better.

I think I can save the cute tops of Laura's slippers and just re-sole them. If you've received a pair of these slippers as a gift, I apologize for their short life. Life is a learning process and sometimes I fall a bit short of perfection.

All the time actually. Expect it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pictureless Wednesday

I think the camera must be hiding in the girls' bedroom because I can't find it. It's been too long without a post though, so I'll do it pictureless.

I am so grateful for my daily visits with my plaster-experienced friend. The bathroom progresses a bit each day and she's teaching me patience. I'd love to do a thick coat of mud on the drywall, and just get 'er done, but she's teaching me the process of building the mud in thin layers, letting it dry, and building it up some more. Everyday it looks better and everyday we have a good visit and discuss parenting and God and life's challenges. My main challenge is lack of patience, I think!

After more than a week of no piano, we now have a lovely old Heintzman piano where the Australian Beale once stood. The sound and the feel are totally different and new keys are out of tune, but I love that I can sit and play a piece or two while onions fry, or in the minutes I have to wait for water to boil. I don't spend a lot of time playing, but I sit on the stool often throughout the day and I know my home will never truly be without a piano. I think Beth didn't mind the excuse at her lesson yesterday though.

Most of you know the story, but here's how the piano thing played out.

I've never been thrilled with the sound of my own piano, so I occasionally search Kijiji for old Bell or Heintzman pianos and dream of a better tone in my living room. On the other hand, I still have feelings for my Australian piano and wasn't/am not quite ready to sell it.

A good friend told me the drama that was playing out in her family. An old family piano was stuck in a spare bedroom, unable to be played in it's current location and no one really wanted it. But it couldn't leave the family either. I can totally understand that - I'm sentimental about mine too. The rational thing to do would be to sell it, but you can't always be rational. Especially when you involve family dynamics and history.

On loan (because selling it would mean a permanent "leaving of the family"), we are babysitting this Heintzman for now. If the family wants it back, they have only to let us know. And if they want to sell to us at some time in the future, that's an option too. For now though, no money has changed hands and no permanent decisions have been made. Works for everyone.

And my own piano? We couldn't very well fit two pianos in our house, so ours is on loan with the same arrangement. Our teacher's granddaugher really wanted to learn to play, but they couldn't afford a piano right now. She is now getting lessons and loves playing enough that they've had to make a new household rule. "No playing the piano until after the parents are out of bed".

I'm thrilled with the exchange. They have their spare bedroom back. I have better music in my home. And a little girl is learning to play the piano. Win/win/win.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The missing Beale

It was an odd feeling on Friday as our piano was taken away.

It felt kind of like it was being repossessed or something, like it wasn't really my own choice.

It was maybe a bit too fast. On Thursday a new home was found for my lovely Australian oak piano and on Friday it left. I think some adjustment time might have been nice, but a little girl was made very happy and I'm glad about that. I hope she learns to play beautiful music on it.

Although I've never loved the sound of this particular instrument, I played it a lot. I remember my Mom calling me in Melbourne just after Beth was born. I was playing this piano while Beth slept in her bassinet beside the seat. She could sleep through anything at that age. Later I wasn't able to play so often because she insisted on sitting on my lap and banging on the keys while I tried to play.
Laura and Alice have never shown a lot of interest, but they would let me accompany them in their choral concerts in the living room.
I think I've only lived without a piano for a few months since I was about 8. My electric keyboard was my first major purchase after moving away from home. We bought my first "real" piano as soon as we owned a house and thought we would settle down and stop moving. Then we prompted moved overseas and I bought this old Beale piano there because I knew I couldn't live for a few years there without a piano. Weight was not an issue in our overseas move back home, so the Beale travelled across the ocean to Canada in a wooden box that is now our kitchen bench.
It's a weird, empty feeling somehow to have it gone and I miss it already. It won't last long though. Plans are being made.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chicken Claws

One of the things I wanted to try to do during this bathroom reno is to practice the three R's (reduce, reuse and recycle).

In terms of recycling, I'll be bringing our toilet to the Architectural Clearing House because unchipped white toilet tanks are apparently in a bit of demand. The vanity was particle board and icky and not worthy of saving. Sometime you just have to rid the world of ugliness.

There wasn't really a way I could think to reduce, but we did buy a dual flush toilet. That should reduce water usage.

Mostly we are reusing. I managed to score some decent floor tiles at the Habitat Reuse store and I love the square porcelain sink from the ACH. The rest of the floor is the hardwood we dragged home from Victoria years ago from my sister's house when they painstakingly saved it from the landfill. It still looks great in our hallway and will be nice to continue into part of the bathroom. Thanks, Bon and Rodger!

And then there is our clawfoot tub that we found via Kijiji. Of course it needs a bit of work, but when I'm 81 I'll need a bit of work too. The enamel is still great, but the outside is being sanded and painted. And this is what the feet looked like.

Since they were painted originally, I was just going to do that again. I'm too cheap to get them gilded at $60/foot. In the end I decided to try a different route and sprayed them with automotive primer.

Already the detail of the claws shows up much better and the chipped paint shows up less. 81 year old paint turns out to very hard to sand smooth but the primer filled them in a bit.

Then I followed it up with a coat of chrome automotive paint. Here they are now.

The girls called them "chicken claw feet", but they're really eagle claws and a common enough foot for a tub. Since the tub will be a soft grey colour, I'm glad I made the decision to paint them metallic. The gloss makes the chips stand out more than the primer did, but it is an old tub and I don't mind if it looks old.
I can't wait to see the whole tub put together. I could use a bath right now. My feet are throbbing and I feel coated in sawdust and grime. It's all coming along and I like some of the process, but definitely not all of it. I'll be happy to have it done one day.

Friday, November 5, 2010


"If I die..." said Dave, chasing a snow pea around his plate with his
"When you die," said Kenny.
"Whatever," said Dave. "If I die. When I die. What's the difference?"
"Acceptance," said Kenny.

He's right.

We all knew that she would die, but we were still caught off guard when it happened. Yesterday Laura discovered her little gerbil, Ella, hadn't made it through her day. For a gerbil, she had reached her natural age span of about two years, but it still hurts a little girl to lose her first pet.

And it hurts a mother to see her little girl crying like that. It's a different cry than when she falls down, or when she's tired. It makes other people cry with her. Laura, Beth and I had a good cry after school.

After she calmed down, she said "Can you read me some Stuart McLean?"

She could have used the moment to get a trip to McDonald's or to eat some consolatory chocolate, but she asked for Stuart McLean. Laura, you know better than I what will make your heart feel better. A cuddle on the couch and some laughter. You're so wise.

The funeral is today after school. Laura will be painting a rock to place under our nanking cherry bush and then we'll only have Ella memories.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Full of Beans

I finally shelled my dried beans. I've never grown beans specifically for drying before, and I don't know yet how they taste. Another experiment in the garden this year.

Aren't they pretty?

They are a heritage variety called Speckled Cranberry Beans. I saved enough for a few plants next year too, although I think you have to save a full year's growth in order to harvest enough in the second year to make a few meals.

I'll make one pot of chili and see if we even like them. But I do like how they look and beauty is one of the reasons I garden.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another bag

I don't think I'm in tune with junior high fashion, but apparently Beth's friend loved her new purse.

Everything I make is developed sort of as I go. I don't have it all planned out when I start. I started with the sagey linen and the nice cream fabric, of perfect weight for the finished product. But they were boring when sewn together. And I didn't have a handle planned at all.
Laura braided the handle, using the two fabrics and a third with a flowery one just to add some colour.
It wasn't enough colour once braided, so I added the flower.

In the end, it was a purse I would use, and luckily so does the birthday girl.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A gathering of saints

Although we did mention All Saints Day at church, and I always think of Reformation Day and my grandparent's anniversary, it's still Halloween to us. Sacrilegious, maybe. Fun, definitely.

We went around our neighbourhood in a group. Two friends independently called us in the late afternoon deciding that it would be more fun to Trick or Treat together, so we went as a big group. It grew by one even before we left the door as one of Beth's friends showed up. Apparently our group looked better that her mom and three little siblings. The more the merrier!

By the end of the night Beth and another friend joined us too, but we missed taking any pictures of Pirate Beth and Professor Trelawney, and the Eskimoes fan who took this picture.

It just occurred to me - 11 girls and one boy by the end of the night. He was too young to care and way too young to think this was a good thing.

Hope your Halloween was good too!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Elephants and Mice

Little mice. You wouldn't think they'd be scary would you? But this little wheat bag is very scared of them.

See how his eyes are rolling? He's totally freaked out.

Oh, don't turn your back, little elephant! Those little mice might sneak up from behind, take a bite out of your felted wool behind and feast on your wheat!

This little wheat bag was a quickly made gift for another friend and has left the house in happy anticipation of living in a house with cats. No mice for this little guy.

But me? I have to go to bed early if left alone because the mice scamper once the lights are turned down. I haven't seen signs of them in our food yet, but we've definitely seen one in the living room and heard one squeaking behind the fridge. Is it alone? I'd love to think so, but I'm thinking not.

Anyone got a hypo-allergenic hairless cat I can borrow?

Friday, October 29, 2010

By special request

Approximately 50% of my readers have asked for my biscuit recipe, and I didn't want to let her down.

Baking Powder Biscuits (from Pillsbury: The Complete Book of
Baking, my baking bible)

2 cups flour (any mix of white or whole wheat)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening (or a mix of
butter and lard)
3/4 - 1 cup milk

Heat oven to 450F. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender or fork (I grate frozen butter usually), cut in the shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stirring with a fork, add enough milk until mixture leaves the sides of bowl, but not totally mixed. **
**That is the secret I learned. It shouldn't be forming a ball yet.

Dump onto a floured counter and squish together with your hands until it holds
together, kneading it just a little if you have to.

Roll or press out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut into squares or circles. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 - 12 minutes. Serve warm, of course.

Always learning

A long time ago I told myself that I wanted to be constantly learning as an adult. I've always admired people who learn to paint or go to university again at the age of 50 (or whatever I considered a "great old age" while I was 20). People who are never afraid to try their hand or mind at something new.

I was going to take a university or college course every year. Not necessarily towards any goal, but just to keep learning.

That never happened. I've taken the odd Excel course or "How to Write a Mission Statement" and some adult Sunday School classes. But that's it.

It doesn't mean I never learn anything new though. I went to Calgary a few weeks ago and stayed in a house that always smells of good food (you know who you are!). And I learned one simple thing that I should have known long ago.

"Don't mix the biscuit dough too much or it'll get tough". Why didn't I know that? I know that about muffins.

This is what I know how to make now.

Fluffy, almost puff-pastry biscuits. And it's easier than making the tough biscuits I used to make.

Now you may have learned something new in your adult life too. Unless you are my Calgary friend with the lovely smelling house. She already knew this.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One month later

I have no pictures to share today, but I was reminded that I haven't been posting lately.

That's because I'm busy. One month ago we ripped out the drywall in our main bathroom and today we still have no drywall. That's not technically true. The drywall is leaning again the wall in our hallway, weighing a ton and blocking off the wardrobe where I keep my boots and any changes of shoes. I'm kind of wanting my boots right now.

We still have no bathtub, but that's not true either. It's in the backyard filling with snow, although I have started sanding down the sides and scraped all of the paint and silicone and drywall plaster from the enamelled parts. I'm excited about it, but it really has to be carried indoors now so that I can continue.

The toilet and sink are still operational, although that has to change soon. We need to replace a few of the floorboards and make sure we have subfloor everywhere (there wasn't subfloor under the original tub). Then I'll be excited to see some new hardwood and tiles go down.

The new sink and toilet are in the living room. I hope to find someone to alter slightly the stainless steel base for the sink and we carried a piece of heavy countertop into the house today.

I'm totally uninspired by wall tiles at the moment, but I think I found some circular mosaic tile today and some rectangular tile for the walls.

A neighbour is looking into getting some sheets of steel for the back of my storage shelves. For some reason I have my heart set on that detail, but it's hard to find. Otherwise I'll paint the wallboard and put a shiny piece of glass in. I want shiny.

My brother-in-law promises to visit soon to update some of our old plumbing and make sure that the plumbing is where it is supposed to be for the new fixtures. We can't close in one wall or do subflooring until he does his stuff.

So, there's nothing to show, but some framing has been going on and lots and lots of shopping. It's frustratingly slow, but life continues to go on around us. Meals, music lessons, more meals, church events, visiting friends in Calgary, trying to keep the house running and functional and the tiniest bit tidy. It all takes so much energy that there isn't much left for renovations.

My mind whirls with the project planning though, so everyday I try to progress just the tiniest bit. And at the end I can be proud of what we've managed to do. I'll show some pictures when I've got something to show.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ev shares her custom labels with her loyal readers

I keep seeing these lovely, custom label designs that some bloggers are happy to share with their readers. I know that some of you do your own canning. I thought you might like to use my labels.

I don't claim to have pretty jars, but my labels are infinitely more practical than arranging a bunch of jpgs on a page, printing them, cutting them out and still needing to write on them. And they come off easily when you've eaten the contents and want to use the jar again, unlike many of the labels that come with the jars when you buy them.

Incidentally, I bought about 6 dozen pint jars this year and they don't even include labels this year. Huh.

Here are the tools you'll need.

  • clear tape
  • cash register paper roll
  • scissors
  • pen

Lovely, no?, but it's simple and practical and I've had to do hundreds of them this year. I've still got three bags of apples in the basement and the tomatoes were not a total loss and are ripening all the time, but if they don't get done, I'm not going to stress. Life is too short and the pantry pretty darn full.
How do you label your jars? With labels worthy of gift-giving?