Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Handmade April

I managed to get Jane's handmade-of-the-month for April to her last week. In honour of spingtime and planting I made a little gardening apron. Elly's going to model for us again.

Made from the basic instructions from Martha Stewart. I changed things up a little bit. Instead of linen I made the outer layer from a Michael Miller laminated cotton and then lined the apron with a turquoise cotton. I was very pleased with how it turned out.

I also added some nasturium seeds. These little plants are a real joy to grow. They like to be in the ground instead of in containers and they thrive on neglect - very little water, lots of sun. You end up with lovely little plants with bright happy flowers, and best of all you can eat the flowers and leaves. They have a spicy radishy taste and are very nice on salads (we ate quite a few of these last summer).

Happy Handmade April Jane!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thea's Birthday And More!

Today is a very important family date for two events.

Firstly, it's Thea's 11th Birthday. She is my one and only niece and I'd like to wish her a very happy day as she begins her twelfth year in this life.

Eleven is a fabulous number to be - we all know that both Harry Potter and Anne Shirley will tell you it's when life finally starts to get interesting. It's also Nigel's favourite number, and for the most part he's pretty smart.

Thea has always been a little traveler, so far due mostly to her parents. I've been encouraging her to board a plane alone and come for a visit and this summer might just see that happen!

at one (Granny made the sweater, it has scottie dogs all around the border, so sweet):

Thea's always been a helpful child and keen to be part of the workings of her house and family. It makes me smile when I see her love of orderliness because I know that's something she and I share.

Thea at one and a half:

and at four (if only my kids would pick up a broom!):

Thea is also showing an aptitude for art, especially sculpture. She's a whiz with Fimo, making me a wee skeleton at Hallowe'en and also made a Western Wall that Jane showed on her blog. Very fine detail, I just love them!

Unlike the women on our side of the family (most of us are shaped like pears - some larger fruits than others) Thea inherited a lean and lithe figure from her Dad's side. The perfect shape for all kinds of clothes. Thea's taste in clothing is quite sophisticated, rather than the typical pouffy dress most young girls would choose, Thea has consistently chosen elegantly tailored suits for all her formal occasions since she was quite small.

at seven, looking very sharp in my favourite kind of fashion:

For her birthday this year I sent a little parcel that combines the Domestic Arts with a little fashion. A little cupcake cookbook, some measuring cups (green silicone, very nice), a set of silicone muffin cups (I've never tried these, but they look very cool) and an apron I made from a wonderful pattern by Montessori By Hand called The Emmeline Apron. The apron is reversible, making it very versatile. Here's Elly modelling for us all,

I made one side polka dots:

and the other side fish:

Happy Happy Birthday Thea!

Secondly and, I think my siblings would agree with me, far more astonishingly, today is my parents fiftieth wedding anniversary. Due to all the hard work, compromise and sacrifice a marriage involves, I don't know how any survive for fifty years, but my parents are among the few. Curiously, I think my Mum will notice how their married life mirrors a bit of this post, as it's been fifty years filled with travel and cooking and cleaning (at least for her).

A Very Happy 50th Anniversary to both of you!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Did You Think I'd Gone For Good?

Yes, yes, I'm still here. I've just been busy with mostly unblogable things.

My brother (Ian) came to town for a visit, which was very lovely and heaps of fun. We kept busy seeing the sights that have been changing since he was last in town, plus a few other additions to the city that he's never seen on other trips. We did this puzzle Sunday afternoon:

I spent the two or three weeks before his stay cleaning the house from top to bottom - well, actually I never got to the basement level, it's still a bit of a tip. Ian suffers from allergies which were very serious when he was a child, so I felt compelled to clean thoroughly - considering the two dogs, the rabbit and the general dustiness of the old place. I was quite worried he'd drop dead the minute he walked through the front door, but he didn't, Hoorah! He even managed a stay of five days without one trip to the hospital, though there was one trip to the pharmacy for antihistamines.

In the knitting department, I did finish those socks I started ages back. They were a very quick knit and I've been meaning to show them, it just kept slipping my mind.

They're very cheerful. They remind me a bit of the jars of jelly my Mother makes. Raspberry, bramble berry, red currant all cooling on a sunny windowsill. Very berry, jewel tones.

I've also been working on a tot cardi for a little one I know.

It's being worked in the recommended yarn, Sirdar Baby Care DK in a lovely fresh cream colour. I've finished the back, both fronts and both sleeves. I'll start sewing it up and then work the button band. I also need to choose some buttons - a favourite chore of mine.

There's also been two other projects in the works, one of which is winging it's way to its new home as we speak, and the other is queueing up to fly. As soon as they reach their destinations, I'll show you some photos.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Is It April Already?

Where has the time gone?

Jane sent March's button-of-the-month sometime back, in March in fact, and a lovely button it is. Square and gold, reminds me a bit of an Aztec or Inca pyramid. Very fitting for the vernal equinox. I like the way the texture catches the light.

On the prairie the sun can be very strong and bright. On these early spring days the air may still be cold and the temperature well below freezing, but the sun will shine away, melting the layers of snow cover. A quick glance outside and all you can see are the dismal dregs of winter - old snow, bare trees and pale faces - but if you look a little longer you can see patches of grass here and there and tightly closed buds on the trees.

Soon enough it will all change.

I've been keeping busy working on my dolls' house kit.

I installed the wiring. I was quite intimidated by this, but it only took an hour when I finally got down to it.

I also started installing the windows,

and the roof.

There's still a fair bit left to do, like shingling the roof and sorting out the decor, and, hmm...maybe a garden, maybe a garden that changes with the seasons.