Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ok, ok. It's done.

I'm finished.  Finally.  It's time to unveil my top-secret project!!

What?  No trumpets?  No red carpet?  Geez, you're a tough crowd.

Do I at least get a "please"?  No?  Oh well.

Without further ado, here she be:

My very first pattern (with tutorial):  a farmer's market bag (with full lining), perfect for summer market shopping, summer picnic enjoying, summer lunch toting and summer beach lounging!  Not exactly in time for Mothers Day, as I had hoped, but oh well what can you do?

I've posted it to Scribd but I have no idea if their stupid printing problems have been resolved, so I would recommend that you sign up for a free account and download the document. 

*ETA: HA!  Here it is on my very own blog, suckas!  Enjoy!!

If you can avoid printing this 20-page sucker out, I (and our forests) would be grateful.

I don't just give you the pattern for this bag - I've included a full (exhaustive, 'cause you know me - if something can be said in 50 words, I like to use 150) step-by-step tutorial on how to make the bag.  That way, beginners can learn how to actually build a bag and intermediates may learn a couple of new techniques (but maybe not - who am I to say?).  At any rate, it's there and it's waiting for you to go and try it.

Oh, just one more thing.  No-one but me has proof-read this baby.  No-one has tested it.  If you decide to, could you let me know if you find any glitches?

Good luck, my pretties!

Saturday, May 29, 2010


So I get home last night after a particularly grueling week at the office and the hubbie and I take the dogs out to the beach for a good 90-minute walk.  When we get home, we start making supper and in the middle of chopping onions, the phone rings.  It's our neighbour Mike (I call him Mike-and-Emily because his wonderful wife's name is Emily and because our *other* neighbour is *also* called Mike).  Mike-and-Emily is very nice, though he is pesky and likes to tease me about being a tree-hugger.   He lends us his extension ladder whenever we need it and has been known to drop by with fresh lobster (free!), a time or two.

Anyway, he is calling because he knows that we are a little bit on the isolated side and he wants to let us in on what's been planned for the neighbouring property to ours (on the other side of us from him).  As Mike-and-Emily is in charge of the grapevine in our small village (I won't use the title "gossip-monger", but you get the idea), he has learned that our *other* neighbour Mike is planning to host a BUSH PARTY FOR 500 GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOLERS FROM THE NEXT TOWN OVER.  That night.  Yesterday.  In our "back yard".  Seems that everyone knows about this shindig except us.

You see, Mike owns an excavation company and he owns a large (20-acre-ish) field where they get soil and deposit things like rocks from their excavation work.  Our little property used to form part of that larger field, but was parceled off several years ago and a house was placed right smack dab in the middle of that small parcel.  We bought the parcel (and the house) a few years ago, and that is how we have come to live adjacent to a mostly-vacant field.  It's a nice arrangement for us - peace and quiet and a nice empty space for the dogs to frolic.  Mike gets built-in caretakers, as we are always here and can keep an eye out for people who want to use his property for nefarious purposes.  Except when those "people" are his guests.

We were descended upon by a flock (a big flock -  I wasn't exactly out there counting, but there was a LOT of traffic) of rowdy, disorderly, exuberant, energetic, celebratory, inebriated "children".  Most of whom were driving themselves to-and-fro with complete disregard for the law, as I am sure that their blood-alcohol levels were sky-high.  They generally made a nuisance of themselves and the only reason I didn't completely lose my shit is that they:

  • didn't set foot in our yard (that I know of)
  • didn't set the dogs off barking all night (we even agreed to dog-sit this weekend, as we were completely ignorant to the fact that Woodstock would be taking place next door - so that makes 3 Labrador Retrievers and 2 humans in a 864-square-foot house)
  • stayed waaaay back in the field and didn't park in our driveway
Still, we were forced to spend at least an hour after supper drunken-teen-proofing the yard to make sure that if they *did* stumble over, that they wouldn't hurt themselves, find something to steal (or "borrow", like lawn chairs), or get too comfortable (in our screened-in tent, for example).  Not exactly what I was expecting to spend my evening doing. 

And you know what the best part was?  If it wasn't for Mike-and-Emily, we wouldn't have had a clue it was going to take place.  Thanks for that, Mike.  You jerk.  You dink.  You arse.  A plague on your house!

So, today is going to be about quietly sitting in my "studio" (and by "studio", I mean the corner that houses my desk and ironing board) and I am going to sew.  And then, I am going to make soup for lunch, and then I am going to knit.  And then, I am going to watch a movie and then I am going to eat supper and then I am going to bed early.

Who's with me?

PS: Yes, Hubs did call Mike to give him a piece of our minds.  Mike had the good sense to be apologetic and conciliatory, so J went easy on him.  Too bad.  If I had been the one doing the calling, I would have threatened his manhood and probably insulted his mother.  Repeatedly.  Maybe J could see the blood in my eyes and that's why he commandeered the phone...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I live in a really beautiful place

These were taken on a farm where we bought our seafood compost, this weekend.

I love all the abandoned farmhouses like this white one (above).  They are like old ladies, sitting in their overgrown orchards, soaking up the sun.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Is it a long weekend, where you live?  It is Victoria Day long weekend in Canada and it is largely seen as the official kickoff of summer.  Thing is, it's usually raining and cold.  People go camping in the hopes of a good time and typically come back with pneumonia.

But not this year.  This year, we are having the most beautiful "May Long" that I can ever remember having.  It was somewhere in the neighbourhood of 25 Celcius today and right now, at 8:45 pm, it's still 20 C.  Folks, when I'm on my deathbed (assuming I have a deathbed), today is the kind of day I want to have on my mind.  I know that sounds morbid, but trust me when I say it is not.  Today was the kind of day where I find myself putting down my work and smiling up at the sky with a silent "Thank You" going out into the Universe.  I felt very fortunate to be experiencing it and to have the opportunity to enjoy it to its fullest.

Ok, enough of that.  It turns out at least ONE of you is waiting with bated breath to see if our deck/planter/walkway project is complete.

It isn't.

The End.

Ok, I'm just kidding.  I'll fill you in. 

It really isn't finished.  But it's getting there.  I just zipped out there to take some photos of our handiwork (and had to run around, making windmill motions with my arms in order to dodge about 16 million black flies that all decided they wanted a piece of me - ever try to windmill your arms while taking photos?):

Ooh, that lawn looks nasty.  For now, anyway.

Those daylilies, geranium and hostas are all waiting to be replanted, tomorrow (after we go get some mushroom compost to fill the boxes with).  I didn't want to start on the box for the other side of the deck, as I was a little concerned about the effect the heat was going to have on the uprooted plants.  We'll whip that one up in no time (that box is a little smaller), so it can wait 'til tomorrow.

As you can see, we haven't had a chance to finish the deck.  We need someone with a table saw to "rip" a few pieces for us, which will likely have to wait until later this week, when my coworker has a few moments to help us with that (thanks, Kelvin!).

While I was out there running (and windmilling) from shot to shot, I figured I might as well do a circuit of the yard and give you an update of the rest of the garden:

My two-foot-tall chives (are chives SUPPOSED to get that tall?)... crazy chives.

Our awesome new compost (we picked it up yesterday) that has lobster and mussel shells in it.

I'm going to try and put together some gardening posts, wherein I share with you some of the wisdom I have picked up from family and friends that you might find useful.  Here's the first snippet:


Otherwise, you will rue the day you ever set eyes on said herb.  It looks all innocent and lovely and fragrant and tasty in this picture, but DO NOT BE FOOLED, PEOPLE.  This plant is possessed by the DEVIL.

Go ahead, ask me how I know.

PS: No, I have not finished the sweater.  Or the top-secret project.  Or any of the fun items on my to-do list.  I'm going to start pulling my hair out, now.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I am SUCH a delinquent

Do you forgive me for being away for so long?

I have no good excuse.  I've been busy, but you already knew that.  I've also been inexplicably tired.  Going to sleep at 8:30/9:00 pm every night and sleeping right through 'til 6:00 every day.  Not exactly sure why, but I figure a lack of exercise is to blame.  This past two weeks, I've been focusing on making sure I walk regularly (the 3 hours of yoga per week are not enough) and my energy levels have been improving.

A couple of weeks ago, we got some company - a couple that my husband works with decided to come by with their dog and offered to give us a helping hand outside for the afternoon.  Holy cow, people!  Did you know that 2 people + 2 people does NOT = 4 people?!?!  No.  In this case, 2+2=6.  We got so much work done and it was FUN!  It's like they brought us a dose of motivation and energy, in addition to the offer of help.

This is what my husband was doing that morning, before they arrived:

(he's cutting out part of the front lawn to form a new walkway... so we stop mucking up the lawn)

It had taken him a good hour and a half to do what you see, there.

This is where he was at after 2 hours, with his friend helping:

Yup, like I said, 2+2=6.

I'm really glad we got that little kick in the pants, because it got me moving.  I decided to take this upcoming Monday off and drew up a pretty extensive to-do list for myself.  I've got all sorts of things on there, like "finish pile of sewing" and "finish @%$#ing sweater", but also more pressing/less fun things like "wash car, inside and out" and "clean and organize basement" and "rig up sump pump hose connection" (that's a big one).  Not to mention the standard "do the laundry - all of it" and "cook meals for the week".

So, I got up bright and early this morning, went to get my haircut and made a stop at the hardware store.  'Cause MAMA'S GETTING A NEW DECK, BABY!

This is something we've been dragging our feet on for almost 4 years.  It's not exactly like we've been sitting on our laurels, but a new front deck was much less pressing than say, a new roof.  Or painting the exterior of the house.  Or installing a wood stove.  All of those things were expensive and extremely time-consuming.  So, our little front deck has remained much as it looked the first day we moved in:

Well, actually, this is what it looked like the day we moved in:

(kinda scary, eh?)

That original front door was actually TAPED SHUT, when we took possession of the house.  There was an vestibule addition on the far side of the house which was used as the main entrance.  We tore down the rotten addition, replaced the front door, painted the exterior (thanks to the Hubbie, who is a teacher and gets his summers off).

Anyway, I digress (gee, quelle surprise).  This was a post about a deck.

Before you make fun of his awesome head-wear, you should know that he's wearing it so as to avoid going insane.  The black flies are out and they are rabid.  If you have the good fortune of not knowing what I mean by "black flies" (some people call them midges or no-see-ums), count your blessings.  They are absolutely, mind-blowingly, excruciatingly horrid.  And nothing (NOTHING!) keeps them away.  Netting is the only way to go.  I was wearing a full bee-keeper's shirt, 'cause they like me 'specially well and they like to bite me through my clothing.  Good times.

At the last minute, we decided that we would close in the risers, so we ran out of decking, but that will be remedied on Monday, while I am enjoying a well-deserved day off.

So by the end of this weekend, we will have the walkway finished and filled and I *may* even have the planters built.  We'll see.  The front door also needs to be cleaned and painted (that's just a factory-primed finish you see there - it's going to be butternut squash orange/yellow before long), but I can't do that until we get slightly warmer weather.

I am exhausted in a way that feels delicious.

Good night, friends.  Have a good evening and a good Sunday.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In another life...

..I was a musician.

Just not in this life.  I am so completely musically DIS-inclined that it's laughable.  I am totally tone deaf.  I couldn't sing on key if my life depended on it.  I've tried to learn to play the guitar and it was like running uphill against the wind.  Mission: Impossible.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  I have no false modesty.  I know what I'm good at and I take pride in the things I can do.  I can accept that I can't sing and I can laugh at my lack of musical inclination.

Except that I LOVE music.  I really really really do.  I've loved it since I was a sprout.  I live with music and a day that I forget my earbuds at home is a bad day.  I listen to music almost all day long.  I need to have it playing in my ears in order to focus on my work.

So, here's what I'm getting at: I have discovered CBC (that's the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - our national/public broadcaster) Radio 2.  I'm not entirely sure what took me so long to get on the bandwagon, but I guess I discounted it because our radios at home can't properly *catch* the signal.  BUT, my car radio is fine.  And I can listen online.

Oh dear, I'm in trouble now:

(more available here)

And now:

And some girls I went to high school with (seriously, I can't believe how big these girls have made it - to me, they'll always be the bratty 10th graders I remember them being):

Good times.  These people make me wish I could I sing.  Then again, they're so good at it that I don't really mind being the one doing the listening.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day

Just wanted to pop in and say I hope you had a nice May Day.  I know we did.

There was the Farmer's Market:

And then there was a visit to a nursery:

And then I met a neighbour who was selling some perennials from her garden:

Managed to get a shasta daisy out of it and the promise of some asiatic lilies.  Oh dear.

Plus, we both bought some new shoes (photos to come when I have decent photos) and ate some really good food. 

Life is good.