Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gardening Party

I can't believe I have no pictures, but it really should be no surprise. Once a party is underway, I'm not much of a host. I take no pictures, offer no drinks, do no cleanup. I'm a mingler once people arrive and neglect all other duties. Luckily, others took up my slack. Without Yvon as my sidekick, it wasn't a guarantee. I fully expected to be hanging around with Rosa at the end doing dishes and cleaning.

So, our Community Garden and Seed Party went really well. Rosa usually hosts a seed exchange in the spring for friends in her own home, but we decided to open it up to the community because there were a few other things we wanted to talk about. And over the last two years we've been wanting to make a difference in our community, not just in our own lives and yards.

About 25 people showed up to talk about their gardens, what they'd like to see us do together (like perennial exchanges, guerilla gardening, sharing yards and putting food into public spaces). We ate good baking and drank coffee together. A City of Edmonton employee came with door prizes. Two writers from a very local paper were there as well. I'm anxious to read what they thought about the evening.

Here's why I thought it was a success.

  • Strange people showed up. Not so strange maybe, but strangers to me and to each other. Random community members who've never been involved with our community events or gardening in the past.
  • People from all generations were there, including a little baby who was very cute and sat beside me.
  • I had fun. And that's a good thing.
  • And other people had fun too.
  • People didn't hesitate to share information on what they'd like to see. And one young lady even volunteered to organize a gardening club. Yay!
But I think the best thing was that one young lady met an older lady there who turned out to be a direct neighbour. The two of them have agreed to get together in the young lady's unlandscaped yard and share advice and ideas once the snow reveals what's underneath. I love the way that worked out.

Not knowing exactly what my vision for this community is, it's hard to measure success. However, I do know that new friendships were formed and that has to be a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


This morning I got an email inviting me to add some new friends to my LinkedIn group, a networking tool that I don't use at all but did join as I left Australia. It was originally intended to be a business networking tool (unlike the more social Facebook) and allows you to include your bio and a resume.

Today's email invite was basically a list of my old colleagues. I know that life was full of work politics and unpleasant re-orgs, but my memory has mostly blotted that stuff out and focusses on the fun we had. The volleyball games in the parking lot, eating with the marketing team and overseas visitors with ocean views and fabulous fresh seafood, travelling to seminars, horse races, getting weekend travel itineraries from the Canadians who'd been there longest (the "experienced" siteseers) and long talks through and over the office cubicle partitions.

And then I read a blog and followed a link to a Port Fairy Music Festival. I love Port Fairy and started to reminisce while I wait here for an incoming work project.

Who would't miss this place? It's beautiful.
I was gifted with a beautiful print of this scene as I left because my colleagues knew how much we loved to drive along the Great Ocean Road towards Port Fairy. We drove this road with my parents when they visited and with my aunt and cousin as well. Beth fondly talks about it as if she remembers sharing the back seat spitting at my aunt, practicing the use of her tongue at about 6 months old.

Beth's first trip was at 5 weeks old to this small town. We walked along the small streets in the rain, looking at the old buildings and the along the boardwalk. April was late fall, heading into winter, and everyone looked at this tiny baby and she received looks and comments that implied we should be wrapping her more warmly or staying indoors with our newborn girl.

Between feeds, I abandoned Yvon and Beth when we saw this church with it's sheep enclosure just outside of it's own stone walls. I walked and walked for about an hour, enjoying my first freedom from the baby that was still physically such a part of me. Yvon worried about where I was because I hadn't intended to walk for so long. It was beautiful and peaceful.
This morning I'm listening to ABC (the Australian Broadcast Corporation) and enjoying the accents of the announcers occasionally and wishing I could go to the Port Fairy Music Festival.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I had a dream

It's not a big dream. Not a life-altering, dream, but it's my dream.

And here it is.

I've always wanted to squeeze lemon juice using only my hands. You know, like they do in cooking shows.

I warned you that it wasn't a big dream. Some of us have small aspirations. But if you've been plagued with excema all your life on your hands, and you like to cook, you'll maybe understand where I'm coming from. Whenever I see people squeezing lemons, I think "Ouch!".

This morning I did it! Without even the tiniest bit of "ouch", this lemon was squeezed like a pro. I don't know when I've last had no excema on my hands so I thought I'd take a picture.

After 40 years of cortisone creams, they will always be old hands, but they are not flaming red, or rashy looking.

I've been using baking soda instead of shampoo for just over a month now. I don't know if this is why, but I read that shampoos have all sorts of nasty ingredients in them and there was one testimonial stating that her excema went away when she stopped using shampoo. That was all I needed to know to try it out. (Read this if you're at all interested, but don't bother if this is a weird route down which you do not wish to travel.) So far it's working for my hair and my hands are better too.

I do hope that gardening and the extra hand-washing that causes doesn't change all this. I like squeezing lemons pain-free.

I should have a bucket list. I could knock that one off now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What?! Another post?!

I know, but I just had to show you these because they are so cute.

Laura's slippers have the finished band around the tops the way the pattern shows.
And yes, I also meant to share the pattern because this is not my own wing-it project. I did use a pattern, simple as it was. Here it is. I'm getting better at blanket stitching.
And now that I've done my deliveries for the community league, I must say that I have a greater respect for mail carriers. I walked up and down short staircases and walked all over the neighbourhood for about 1 1/2 hours. I listened to two podcasts of the Vinyl Cafe to entertain me, but even while I laughed out load and enjoyed the spring-like air, it was hard work. I am going to bed now with a non-cute wheatbag.
I should definitely be spending more time in the gym. It's very sad really.

Wooly things

Really, it's all I feel like I have time for. I play around with the idea of an Etsy shop one day "when I get ahead", but when will that be? Will I ever have more things made than people designated for them. I'm thinking not.

Laura had her first cavity filled this week and while her mouth defrosted we went to the thrift store. My favourite one has become almost a weekly haunt since Christmas. Together we found some great wool sweaters and felted them.

So, my productivity in the last week has been this:

Another one of these wheat bags for another birthday.

A pair of slippers for me. It's no coincidence that they match my purse from last week so perfectly. It's important that your shoes match your purse, right?
These aren't really done. They need a band around the top yet, but I've started wearing them so they are at risk of wearing out before I finish them now. I made an awesome pair for Laura out of a sweater with white and black sheep on them, but I can't navigate through her room to find them. I'll do that Show and Tell another day.
One massive chocolate chip cookie for 100 Day at school last week. Three of us have given up chocolate for Lent, so there will be no more of this until Easter. It'll be the toughest Lent I've ever gone through....

Two of these waist aprons, based on my Olive Garden apron of a few years ago.

That apron was four sided to allow you to flip, flip, and flip within one messy shift if you needed to and still look starched and clean. I started to do that, and then cut the whole thing in half. I don't spill that much tomato sauce on myself at home and I'm within reach of the second apron here if I really needed it. I'm trying to get in the habit of wearing it in the house when I'm baking. It's out of a heavy cotton twill that will work with gardening tools too when/if that time ever comes again.

And this beautiful thing is blooming in my living room, reminding me that the Edmonton groundhog predicts an early spring.

I remain sceptical, but more than willing to be surprised.

And now I've got a community seed party to advertise and work on so I'd better get a move on. Delivering flyers will be my exercise for the day while my sick Beth relaxes in a hot tub. Where would you rather be?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This post has been brought to you by the colour orange

I love orange and it continues to creep into my life. In combination with yellow and red I like it even more.

This is a picture I wanted to try to reproduce. I'm never going to do it really, but it looked do-able, made with torn tissue paper. Really, it's a kindergarten project involving lots of ripping, cutting and pasting.

Uh-huh. Anyone can make art. But maybe not this year.

Anyway this colour combination of red and orange prompted me to buy two frumpy felted sweaters before Christmas. Which prompted me to cut them up and make this:

And Laura commented that even the contents of my new purse matched the purse.

That's not really deliberate, but my new red and orange purse replaced my old orange purse and my notebook matched it perfectly.

I love this purse, but it's not in the best shape anymore. It's dirty where it rubs on my black wool coat and I can't find anything that will clean it properly. And vinyl has it's drawbacks in this cold land of ours. Indoors it is soft, but it freezes solid when I step outside, making the long handle almost unbendable. It reminds me of wet hair in below 0 temperatures. I'm always a bit afraid of it cracking.

And yes, it has cracked in places along the handle and in the corners. It hurts when frozen and I run my chapped, excema-y hands along it by accident.

I'll still use it at times, I think. I've turned it inside out, so now it's green. I've always been happy about the fact that it fits my laptop, my choir folder, unfolded pieces of 8x11 paper, lunches, water bottles, books, indoor shoes, sweaters, tights, 4 litres of milk, etc. Not all at once of course, but it has not yet fulfilled it's life of service.

It's not so much a purse as it is a piece of luggage.

I feel I must comment on the orange soup in the collage. It's Rosa's butternut soup from last week and it was served with this treble clef in it.

Don't you think that if you're going to make impressive art out of cream, that you'd make the effort to actually look at a treble clef first to draw it correctly? I was tempted to reverse it with Picassa, but this is the way it actually was so I won't mess with it. It's still orange, and it's still pretty.

And it was mighty yummy.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Solutions for the Height-Challenged

Beth: Your sleeves are very short on that sweater.

Me: I know! And I bought this sweater because it was actually long enough...once.

Beth: I know how to fix it. I do this all the time with my clothes. Here, I'll show you how.

Beth: Ta-da! Now it's long enough again. At least for a few minutes.
It's sad that she knows these things already. If the growth spurt that has now lasted approximately 8 years continues, she will have many more years of pulling and stretching clothes that don't quite fit.
But I'm thankful for the help. Tonight my sweater fit me again for a few minutes and I had fond memories of my first few wearings of it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Signed artwork

Not exactly art, but crafty at least. And he makes me smile.

Laura was at a party recently and brought an artistic girl another one of my pencil case thingies. There were about 6 or 7 girls there. When she came home, she announced that every one of the girls, all of them, had given Webkins as gifts to the birthday girl.

Seriously? That's all we can think of to give a friend? A stuffed animal with a web link to some games? Something to make them spend even more time in front of a screen. That's not exactly what we need in this house.

We need warmth. And smiles. Who ever has too much of that?

So I have made this little guy for a birthday this weekend and another one for a party next week. It's another wheat bag made from upcycled felted wool.

I know I've said before that I have no patience for embroidery and handstitching in general, but this was kind of fun to do. And yes, he makes me smile.

I'll get quicker with the embroidery I'm sure. I wanted to make him totally microwavable without any hot buttons or plastic bits.

Yvon signs every needlepoint project that he does, and I decided to start doing the same. On his butt is this new label.

For $0.10 I bought about a meter of cotton twill tape at the thrift store (seriously - it was even marked 50% off! I would have paid the whole $0.20 and actually tried to but the cashier wouldn't hear of it). Today I made little "Made by Ev" tags out of iron-on transfers and I'll start putting them on my projects. In the future I'll make the green "home" darker so that it's "homemade by ev", but these will do for the next year or so until I run out.

I like them.