Thursday, April 30, 2009

Knitting Needle Case

Just some pictures of the Knitting Needle Case I sewed for myself using this tutorial as a guide. I was getting really tired of having my needles lose in my knitting bag. Now of course Madison wants one for herself, I guess I'll make her a pencil crayon roll out of the same lovely fabric. The bias tape I used was given to me by my grandmother, I wonder what she had bought it for all those years ago, its nice to have that little bit of history sewn in.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Root Viewer

Introducing our Root Viewer, "From sprouting to full harvest, the Root Viewer allows you to observe vegetables growing right before your eyes . . . a fun and educational experience for kids of all ages!"

They planted onion, carrot and radish seeds but they had the most fun watching the growing medium expand in the water and become soil.

We placed it on the kitchen window so the plants get lots of warmth and sunlight (and can't be reached by little hands!).

We will be using our Garden Journal to record our observations of how the vegetables grow. Madison and Carter have both checked for sprouts about a dozen times already today!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kids Teapot Cozy

With a collaborative effort Madison and Carter created this cozy for their teapot. Together they picked the colours for the circles & the colour of thread, next they decided where it should go, Madison poked the needle through the felt and Carter pulled it. It was absolutely incredible to watch them sew together and see how proud of themselves they were and Mama is even prouder!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our Nature Bag

We have been very busy lately exploring and observing nature using our Nature Bag. The kids have really been enjoying this and are extremely enthusiastic which fortunately for me is quite contagious. The plan is to share some of our nature journal on the blog, so we'll start with the contents of our nature bag . . .

The actual bag itself is a thrift find and one that Scott wants for himself but Madison won't give it up. The plan was to sew personalized bags for the kids but this will have to do for now. I have included a sketch pad and pencil crayons to keep record with.

The Easter Bunny brought the kids a wooden HABA compass and magnifying glass with a metal box for safe keeping.

I have also included binoculars, bug viewer and a whistle and bear bell for each child because you just never know when you might run into a bear or other wild animal! As well as a LED lantern for night-time nature walks which Carter has really taken a liking to.

These are our specimen jars for displaying our findings on the nature table. I did have these in the bag but quickly realized glass wasn't such a good idea so we had to switch to plastic bags (ugh!).

And of course our books: the first one is Keeping a Nature Journal and the second is Fun with Nature a Take-Along Guide which is an amazing reference book for kids, I would highly recommend this one.

For some other great ideas about what to keep in your field guide check out this.

And The Magnifying Glass is an amazing online nature journal.

Happy Trails!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Felted Dress for Madi

This is my new knitting project: a felted dress for Madison. I spotted the pattern at the yarn store and couldn't resist it, knitting and felting, so now its on my needles. Hers will be pink though, of course. This is my first time knitting with circular needles instead of dpns, which is much easier.

I'm in the process of sewing up Madi's sweater which is proving to be more challenging that I thought, its hard to be such a detail oriented personality. She was looking through a knitting book and found a knit flower for her sweater. So I guess I'll be knitting that along with a matching purple hat to use up the rest of the wool.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I've Made Myself a Committment

Here's my disclaimer: this post is all about me, not my kids, not my family, not even my crafting . . . its all about me, so keep reading if you want to.

I want to be runner, and always have. However, I always had an excuse why I couldn't run: I'm pregnant, breastfeeding, too tired, blablabla, you get the point. But, fortunately I've run out of excuses. So last week, with my Mom's encouragement, I splurged and bought myself a pair of motion control running shoes. So now I've committed myself to running and I'm really excited about it.

Running is almost the perfect form of exercise, it can be done anywhere, anytime and the only cost is the fancy shoes for your feet (and maybe for some a good sports bra). You get fresh air, get to enjoy nature and probably see parts of the city you wouldn't otherwise. Of course there are the cardiovascular and muscular benefits. 

I'm doing this for myself, by myself, on my own terms. I have promised myself to maintain realistic expectations and not get too discouraged in the beginning. I think its really important for my kids to see me enjoying exercise and doing something for myself. I have to lead by example since I'm trying to teach them, "Its better to have a body in shape than to obsess about the shape of your body".

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Simoninigan Lemonade

We made the first official batch of Simoninigan Homemade Organic Lemonade in the backyard yesterday and we thought we would share the recipe so that our devoted blog readers could enjoy this refreshing & fun to make summer-time drink. So here goes . . .

1 Slice as many organic lemons as you want (or have) in uniform thin slices, by halving the lemons from pole to pole before slicing horizontally. Don't peel the lemons but make sure to give them a good scrub first.

2 Add approximately 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar per lemon - more or less depending on your taste for tart vs sweet.

3 Now here comes the fun part, mash the sliced lemons & sugar with a potato masher until the lemon slices give up their juice, the sugar is dissolved and the juice is thickened to a syrup consistency, about 5 minutes.
This should be done in a glass non-reactive bowl but, we do it in a pot so one child can hold the pot handle whilst the other mashes. This is a great activity for either excited kids and/or frustrated parents.

4 Next pour your mashed up lemons & sugar through a large sieve over a bowl and press on solids with masher or back of wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible.

5 Compost lemons, transfer liquid to glass serving pitcher, add cold water to desired taste & stir until blended. Taste for sweetness & add more sugar or if you want to be fancy add one Tablespoon of grenadine to turn the lemonade pink. Add ice to chill and enjoy!

Let us know if you try it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Celebration Bunting/Flags/Garland

I finished sewing our Celebration Bunting/Flags/Garland (whatever you want to call them). The multi-coloured polkadots are an old pair of my pajama bottoms and the other coordinating stripes and polkadots I purchased new to match. 
  1. I created a 6 x 8 template out of sturdy cardboard but, you could make them whatever size you want to
  2. Using the template and my rotary cutter, I cut the triangles from the fabric, you can make as many as you want
  3. Using the same template I cut out triangles out of a really thick (almost starchy) white cotton, to back them with
  4. Sew them together (right sides out) along the two long sides of the triangle 
  5. Trim the edges with pinking shears to stop the fabric from fraying 
  6. I then made some bias tape with the same sturdy white cotton  
  7. Sew the flags into the bias tape using a fancy zigzag stitch making sure to leave enough at both ends for tying or hanging.
These can be used as decoration any time of the year for a child's bedroom, playroom or outside. But, they can also be used as seasonal decorations by changing the fabric choices. They make a great green alternative to disposable crepe birthday banners. And can be personalized by using applique or freezer paper stenciling to write on the flags.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring has finally sprung at our house!

We have been busily reading our Spring books, working on our Early Spring Nature Table, planning our garden, sewing seeds and getting our nature bag supplies collected. All of the snow has melted from our yard and the winter gear is ready to be packed away. The sun is shining, flowers & trees are budding, the birds are chirping, the squirrels are busy digging up stored food. 

The kids have found a cure for their cabin fever which includes (but not limited to): puddle jumping, mud digging, nature collecting, bird watching, park swinging, and all around squeals of delight that spring has arrived.

Our long & dark Canadian winter hibernation is over . . . let the sun shine, the rain pour and our world turn green all around us right before our eyes! Magical.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm Still Here

I'm still here, I just haven't been posting much lately. I've been re-evaluating the whole blog thing and trying to sort through my have-to and want-to. There are a lot of things on both lists right now and I'm trying to muddle through them as best as I can without too much stress or anxiety. I can't decide if blog posting should be on the have-to or want-to list? 

I recognize that I have to let some things go and even lower my standards on some. Sometimes I have to move something from the have-to list onto the want-to list. Most of this is self-imposed, silly really, I blame it on the fact that I'm a Virgo and its just in my nature to be organized and a bit of a perfectionist. 

I think it also has to do with the whole concept of "spring cleaning", for some reason I feel the need to clean, organize & air out the entire house and I guess part of that includes myself and its great to have this blog to help me with this. I guess this is in anticipation of the lazy days of summer when we can just sit back, relax (ya right!) and enjoy the outdoors.

The blog needs to be more about "life", my life, the kids life, our life together as a family. Regardless of what we are doing, weather its an exciting day or mundane day, happy or sad, good or bad.  You are going to see it all, right here. This space is a place for my creative expression through my words & photographs, the sharing of my crafty creations and of course a way to document it all and share with friends & family. Even if we have one of those days, I'm going to share it. If I'm going to document our lives then it needs to be real, not staged or contrived, but honest and true to ourselves. 

Oh ya, I almost forgot, the above picture is of Sasha (Madison's doll) with her new ring sling and pocket baby. Madison earned the money to pay for it when she came to work with me for a couple of hours. She took it really serious and made sure to complete all of her tasks. Now she wants to work more hours to earn the money to buy a friend for Sasha!