Tuesday, December 17, 2013

::Memory Game::Birds in Hats::

This game went to a toddler who will chew his game rather than play with it. But I made it to last. I found these beautiful and quirky images at Birds in Hats.

::Memory Game: Getting Around::

A vintage look for this "getting Around" memory game. This one was a St. Nick's gift for a tiny four year-old who really didn't get it. He just wanted a truck.

::Homemade Notecards: Teacher Gifts::

I've heard that most teachers usually head home for the holidays with more chocolates, mugs and smelly candles than they know what to do with. So I try my hardest to come up with something homemade to send off with the kids every year. This year, I put my photography to good use and made notecards.

The best blank notecards I've found so far are these:
They are sold at Walmart and Homesense, and come in lots of different tones. You need to size you photos to 2000 px by 2588 px. Print off your favourite photos. Cut, and paste!

::Christmas Ornaments 2013::

This year, my ornaments don't have a drop of my own creativity to them. They are a classic pinterest knock-off. But they're cute!

1. Grab some 2 cm felt balls from CraftyWoolFelt2. Then collect some acorns from the base of a local oak tree. Or, look outside, see a blanket of snow on the ground and realize it's far too late for that. Then go ahead and buy some from VerreMer, or another Etsy shop of your choosing.
3. Drill a small hole in the acorn cap. Feed two ends of a craft ribbon through and tie, forming a loop.
4. Using a glue gun, squirt some glue inside the cap and quickly press a felt ball into the cap. Note: With bigger felt balls, I worked each ball between my fingers until they were more oblong in shape. But I left the smaller balls as is.
5. That's it. Felt acorns.

Monday, December 02, 2013

::Tree Day 2013::

This is not the first year that snow made it's first appearance on Tree Day. I couldn't have orchestrated it better.


Monday, November 11, 2013

::Paper Kites & Cobblestone::

This weekend we went to see The Paper Kites in Montreal. I took the time to careful choose a small hotel and food spots worth the money. It could not have been a more pleasant and tasty getaway for two melancholy souls.
To Stay: All we needed was a room. Not the pool or the room service-- or the extra cost that goes with them. This tiny hotel was just right. A cozy, beautiful room of our own and a door key. That's it. Perfect.

Food Spots: "O + g" or Olive et Gourmondo is a bakery that is always full. It opened at 8:00 a.m, we arrived about 30 minutes later and there was already a lineup. We ordered every pastry on the menu, plus breakfast... Brassero Hardi was another win. The quantities were startlingly large, but we didn't complain because the quality didn't suffer for it. And the owner was very attentive and chatty.
The Music: The venue was in the middle of nowhere, and nothing special. But the music made up for it. I had never heard of the opening band Reuben and the Dark, but I'm sold. And the Paper Kites did that lovely melodic thing they do. So pretty.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

::Giving her Back::

We were a family of 8 for a year and a half because we said yes to loving a little girl we knew we would have to give back. Last week, we gave her back. And it hurts. 

I miss the dark gloss of her hair. The tottering run. The shining arc of her eyes. And, of course, her smile. Not sure there ever was, or ever will be, a better smile.

He gives, He takes. And we are changed by the exchange.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

::Love & Unseen Things: A Poem to Dad on his 60th::

We are all knit together by love and unseen things
Things absorbed into pores, breathed into lungs, imprinted on hearts
Conceived by eternal mind we passed from idea to earth
Into arms of waiting ones;
Trembling guardians
Armed with nothing but love and unseen things

And we are knit together by love and unseen things Side-long, stolen glances
Eyes crinkling with anticipation
Bedtime tales infused with chameleon-voiced magic
Dull Monday night roar below guiding the way to open arms
Words of comfort guiding the way through fear
Willing co option into grueling tasks, seen through to the bitter end
Crafted words gifted to us all: Memorials of intentional love
Inclination to laugh first. Laugh loud. Laugh long

And we are knit together by love and unseen things
Back-slung gigglers hauled up to bed.
Jello trees and snuggles please
Humble pride in your little charges
The giving of gifts made personal and with care
Eliciting laughter, a common and welcome pastime
And we are knit together by love and unseen things
Curiosity in things that once were, in trenches and cannon fire
Navy star solidarity and late night games
Baggins’s and Borin before bed
The merit of sweat and toil instilled
Limitless “I love you’s”

And we are knit together by love and unseen things
Embracing a tiny red-headed latecomer with joy
Older, but no less willing to:
Toss pigskin, defining intricacies of punting & penalties
Again, bend over schoolboy project--devoted collaborator
Explain when to hold‘em and when to fold‘em
Bond shoulder to shoulder over food and film

We are four who passed by divine hand into your arms
Strawberry hair. Dimpled chins. Freckled noses
We can be seen. Hands held. Laughs heard
But our lives are spaces filled to the brim with love and unseen things
Like air under wing, without them we would fall
You, Dad, give us form and substance with the invisible,
Now absorbed into our pores, breathed in through our lungs and imprinted on our hearts

Monday, October 28, 2013

::Calling it a day::

Oh, the annual family photo. . . This year, we settled.
And then we called it a day...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

::Shhhhh! It's a Surprise::

n the works for over two months, the party came together beautifully. Over fifty people came to celebrate my beautiful sister on her 30th birthday. And guess what? She was actually surprised!
Every time we host a big event at our place it nudges us into some form of home improvement. This time, it was a fairly radical change. Most of our guests had been here when the house was white and tired looking. This time they pulled up to a bright red house. We're a long way from being done, but it thrills me every time I see it.
The party was really an indoor/outdoor one, because there were so many people. We built a fire pit out front that became the literal hotspot of the evening-- apart from the food table, that is. We also made good use of our
screened-in porch. We have a covered fire going in there as well as a slideshow projected onto a screen out there.

People had to walk up a dark lane way so I had to be creative. I strung dozens of small mason jars along the edge of the trees, and popped LED tea lights inside. It had such a pretty effect without any risk of fire, or the need to relight burn-outs.

To anyone who has a birthday near some kind of national celebration, you may relate to having your parties fall predictably into patterns of decor. This was no exception. I used pumpkins everywhere. Hope you didn't mind Kate! The kids and I had fun isolating patterns and designs with tape and gold spray paint.
But my very favourite project was Kate's scrapbook. I had asked everyone I could think of from her past and present to send notes, cards or photos. They came in over the course of a month and I gathered them all into one book. So many kind words about my sister. She stayed up until early morning reading through the book with a full heart.
I had the book on display at the top of the front steps and guests signed in. The pretty banner strung above it was a handmade gift from one of Kate's closest friends. So pretty.
Happy birthday my darling sister.