Monday, December 30, 2013


We had quite the first Christmas for Josh this year, complete with an ice storm that caused us to lose power for three days! His gift from "Santa" still hasn't arrived even though I made so sure it would be here in time, but thankfully he's too little to care either way.

Just as we were settling back in after a 4am wake-up on the Sunday morning before Christmas, the power went out. We had freezing rain coming down all night, so it wasn't much of a surprise. We snuggled back in, thinking it would be back by the time we woke up. How wrong we were. We awoke to a world coated in several inches of ice. Trees were down all over the place, power lines were snapping due to the weight of the ice, and many, many people were without power in our city.

I'm not sure I've ever posted about it, but due to a tongue and lip tie, Josh and I were never able to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship. I have been pumping for him round the clock since he was a wee thing. Well, no power meant the pump didn't work, and with no manual pump, a baby who couldn't breastfeed, and only 24 ounces of "emergency formula" on hand, we were in trouble. Luckily, we have a car that has an outlet and that car happened to be full of gas, but that car was frozen shut under several inches of ice. It took almost an hour, and some inventive strategies to get that car door open, but we did! I was pumping milk in the driveway and sterilizing bottles on the barbeque. The first thing I did when power was restored to some areas was buy a manual pump and extra bottles!

By the second night the temperature in our home dropped below 5 degrees celcius, and the blanket fort we had built was no longer keeping us warm (plus the cat kept jumping into the middle of the roof and collapsing it), so we packed up the animals and booked it to a hotel for the night. We were so lucky to have had that option (and a hotel that would accept all our animals) as so many others didn't. I was hearing horror stories from friends and neighbours about disabled parents being stuck on the 16th floor of an apartment building. It was bad, but most people were doing whatever they could to help others. We were touched by how many offered us a warm place, even though we could not accept because we needed to keep our animals with us.

This little guy was such a trooper. He smiled straight through, sleeping like a champ even in new surroundings. The animals on the other hand were so stressed, poor dears. Charlie hid underneath the bed (which we actually had to move to get her out in the morning...interesting things you find underneath those hotel beds!), Lola stood guard all night long, and the chinchillas don't deal well with any sort of change.

We were one of the lucky homes to get power back by Christmas Eve, and how happy we were to be back home, warm and safe. We cancelled the festivities for the night, having to empty out the fridge and freezer, and being told to conserve as much power as possible, so we had a quiet night instead. We had a wonderful Christmas morning, even if the ice storm stopped the mail, meant Jer's stocking never got finished, and we were exhausted from all the commotion of the previous days events. We were with family and friends and that was what mattered most.

This is one Christmas we are sure to never forget.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Is It Really December?

I cannot believe how fast time is flying by. Last week Josh turned four months old (and is doing all kinds of new things, like propelling himself across the couch with his legs, laughing the most adorable laughs, and pulling mama's hair), and now we are less than three weeks away from Christmas. Even though he won't really know what's going on, I am so excited to celebrate with him this year. I've already taken him to see the sweetest Santa at one of the local malls, and am hoping to make a visit to the Lowe's Christmas Market. I had planned to go last year, but had just become pregnant with Josh and was feeling really awful those first several weeks. I didn't do many things I had wanted to do last Christmas, so I am making up for it this year! I had been hoping to go to the Christkindl Market in Kitchener since it has been going on for much longer so it has had time to become pretty amazing, but sadly we are home sick this weekend. Next year!

This picture makes me laugh. I had really wanted a Christmas picture of these two, but after several attempts I truly understand why people leave this kind of thing to the professionals. This was the best I got so I didn't bother editing out the background.

We had to wait to put our tree up this year because we had some renovations going on in the basement (after a Thanksgiving flood) and all our Christmas goodies were blocked in a closet down there. When the walls were painted and new carpets put in, we were finally able to get things out. We were also busy moving out of the Pickering Antique Mall. That's right! Lulu and Lolie are still together and we will continue the monthly fleas and are planning to open at Etsy shop, but for many reasons, we decided the Antique Mall wasn't working for us. In the mean time, I needed a little Christmas goodness, so I pulled out the Christmas Pyrex and made a little display on that shelf I thrifted a while back.

This little Pyrex drummer boy bowl has quickly become a new favourite. It's marked "Pyrex tableware" on the bottom.

I'm still finishing up Jer's Christmas stocking and in other crafty attempts, I have been learning to sew with knits. I didn't think it was possible without a serger, but I was so very wrong. So far I've been toying with a bandana bib pattern that works better for us (I wasn't really happy with the fit of these ones I had made, even after tweaking them to include a bit of a cut out neck for a better fit) as well as some baby leggings. I love being able to customize the fit to accommodate those cloth diapers a little better. I'll post a little more about those later on.

I hope everyone is enjoying their December so far!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Off the Needles and On Again

I have been knitting as fast as these fingers can go lately. It really has become my go-to craft for when the baby is asleep and my hands are free. I finished up this Baby Sophisticate, which I'm pretty sure was the last knit on my baby list before Josh was born! It was quick and easy, but I really did not like the yarn I chose for this. I picked out Cascade Pacific Chunky. The colour is ok, but the yarn felt almost greasy to me. I did not love working with it, and Josh is not a fan of wearing it unless he has long sleeves underneath. I guess it is a bit scratchy. Despite the issues, who can resist a teeny grandpa sweater?? Not this lady!

Next, I set off with the Christmas crafting. I mentioned that growing up I was all into traditions. I am a sentimental fool, really, which means my son is going to have to grow up with a bunch of traditions of our own that he will eventually roll his eyes at and think I'm the most embarrassing mom ever. I'm ok with that! One thing I grew up with (and I guess most people who celebrate do) was my own special Christmas Stocking that my mom had made. Mine was the white one with the puffy Santa on it, and my brother's was the red with the snowman. It was just nice to always have that one that was made especially for me. I decided Joshie needed his own mama made stocking and got to work.

Honestly? I don't love it. It is growing on my though. I used the Mix-it-Up Christmas Stocking pattern by Terry Morris as a base and added in a few other charts to go with it. A couple days ago I cast on another for Jer since I was giving him 'stocking stuffers' each year in a gift bag. Not this year! We'll see how his goes. There is more Christmas crafting aside from knitting going on, but that's for another post.

This past weekend was a Leslieville one! The Flea moved inside, which is a very good thing since it was rainy and cold. I was a bit nervous about how we'd fare with the change. I was sure that a lot of the outside Flea traffic was coming from people who happened to be passing by. I guess the organize advertise extremely well though because it was packed! It was hard to move around the main room. We chose to set up in the second room so we'd have a bit more space and it ended up being a good choice because we still had a lot of foot traffic. We had three clothing racks this time! The only downside was we couldn't hang up our bunting or sign.

I'm working on some new displays for next month, including a suitcase display case for jewellery. This messy pins on a plate set-up has worked so far but doesn't really showcase how pretty these are. I'd also like to get a hat rack since we have some amazing vintage hats that are not showcased well enough either. This month is going to be devoted to display.. and opening that Etsy shop I've had set up for a month already. It would be great to have an online avenue for our goodies and I do miss selling on Etsy.

We've also brought out the vintage Christmas we've been collecting, including some very creepy Santa dolls. I'm glad these stay at Lucy's house and not mine! I do think the lampshade is a nice touch.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Starting Traditions - a Seasonal Table

It can seem a little silly starting traditions so young. He won't remember and cannot take part in most activities aside from being present and watching. I want to start now anyway so it is something that has always been so for him. I thrived on rhythm and traditions growing up, and still love them as an adult. One of these traditions I wanted to start is a seasonal table, or nature table. I've seen these most often within Waldorf families, and it's a way to celebrate the season by being aware of what is happening around us, being present in the rhythm of the seasons, and to bring elements inside. This post is a little late coming as the Fall season is on its way out and these pictures were taken back when it was in full swing.

Searching on pinterest or flickr there are many beautiful examples. Some are filled with man made objects that represent the current season, some are filled with items only from nature, and others are a mix of both. Some are elaborate displays that tell a story, and others have items displayed at random. Right now ours is a mix of both. The tree slice is from one of the centerpieces at our wedding, the wood figures and tree are toys that will belong to Josh when he's a little older, the Waldorf apple doll is from Etsy, the Autumn Harvest Pyrex (had to have a bit of that in there!), acorn salt & pepper shakers, and the little squirrel planter were thrifted, the acorns were collected at my cousin's cottage, and the money plant cuttings were a gift from a family friend. Jer and I added some mini pumpkins after our pumpkin farm outing.

As well as being a fun tradition and ever changing display, I think it's a great starting off point for many activities and learning opportunities. It is something that Josh will be able to contribute to as much as he likes as he grows. I cannot wait to start new traditions with him and continue the old with him now involved.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Simple Sensory Toy

The bird has been very much into his hands lately. He's always reaching, grabbing, and trying to fit all ten fingers into his mouth at the same time. To help his exploration and fine motor skills I decided to sew up a simple toy for him - a taggie blanket.

This was another project done with materials I had on hand. I pulled out every bit of ribbon and trim I had, wanting to include a variety of textures for his little hands to explore, and scraps work perfectly in this case. Once I was happy with my selection, I folded different lengths in half, sandwiched them between two pieces of fabric (a cotton print, and some cotton velour for the backing.. I also added a layer of interfacing to make it a bit more sturdy), sewed, turned, and top stitched. I sewed back and forth over each ribbon to add some extra stability. Even doing this, I wouldn't use this without supervision as tiny fingers can become trapped in the loops and may need some help getting back out.

The fabric I used is Windy Day in Aqua from Michael Miller's Backyard Baby collection. The ribbons and trims were all from my stash - some vintage and some new.

It's so exciting to see him learn and explore in these early days, and he's perfectly happy to work his taggie along side me while I do whatever I need to get done. A project well worth it forsure.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Pebble for Josh

I hadn't thought I'd get many knitting projects finished before the bird arrived. I even sourced out some knitting to my wonderful friend to make sure I'd have at least a couple pairs of longies and some booties, and I took up my mom on her offers to knit too. It turns out that knitting for babies is quick and easy, and a lot of fun. Between us three, a big pile of knits grew. After Josh was born, the pile continued to grow as I found myself wanting to craft and knit whenever I had the chance. Mama time to unwind, you know.

This little vest is the latest off the needles. It is the Pebble vest by The Thrifty Knitter. I really loved this free pattern. It was so simple to follow and it knit up so quick. I cast on a few days ago and sewed the buttons on this morning. The yarn is Luna Grey Fiber Arts Cosmic in the mushroom colourway. This is my favourite yarn by far. It's the same yarn I used for the hat in this post. What I really like about this vest is that it will keep his core warm without adding bulk around his arms. He is just starting to reach and grab things and sweaters can sometimes make things more difficult.

Along with being fun and relaxing to make, there is something so satisfying about seeing something you made being worn and used. It motivates me to want to make more!

These longies also came off my needles recently..

And that Gift Wrap Romper I made is almost outgrown.

Yes, we are loving the hand knits over here lately!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Leslieville in October

I was back at The Leslieville Flea this month with Lulu & Lolie, and was it ever a great day! We lucked out with some beautiful weather, and as usual got to spend some time with some great people. One of my favourite things about the Flea is talking to all the vendors and shoppers, and I always manage to run into a friend or two. Once set up, both Lucy & I take a turn exploring the other booths, searching all the treasures available this month. I am so grateful for such a wonderful partner in Lucy. There is no way I'd be able to do this alone with an eleven week old. She really goes out of her way to make it easier on me, and I hope I will be able to do the same for her.

Our booth changes each month and I think this month was my favourite set up yet. We had two clothing racks - one for coats and one for dresses/clothing - and lots of fun displays. We like to bring different stock each month so there is always something new for shoppers that come to each one. I love that we have some regular customers - it's nice to see people enjoying things we have carefully picked out. We also have a list of custom requests, and searching out those items for someone specific has become a new favourite pastime of mine.

Our booth was filled with colourful kitchenware, cozy wool blankets, sweaters, and coats, fun housewares, and some great items for kids. Some of my personal favourites were the Vintage authentic Cowichan wool sweater, a red Hudson's Bay coat that was just a little too small for me, and of course the Pyrex! There were also some really cute child sized antique lawn chairs.

October was supposed to be the last month for the Flea until May, but it has been doing so well that the organizers decided to bring it inside for the winter months. It will be the third Sunday of the month as usual, but will be held inside the Jimmy Simpson Community Center. It will be interesting to see how it goes inside as opposed to out!

There were lots of great vendors this month. Many returning from previous Fleas, and some new, everyone with something different to offer. I love that. There is something for everyone. Lots of vintage and antiques, but also new and handmade from local artisans.

One thing I will miss about the outside Fleas are all the dogs that tag along with their owners. I get to love on several furry babes throughout the day. This month we even had a neighbourhood cat drop by. Unfortunately that drop by included the cat eating some flowers and immediately puking them up in the middle of our pathway. At least the little guy was ok! I always worry about outdoor cats in the city. This little guy below is Lucy's dog Bertram, who is a frequent Flea visitor.

Today, I am resting up from yesterday and looking forward to next month's Flea. During Joshie's nap, I'm going through leftover stock and working on an exciting new project for Lulu & Lolie. I cannot wait to share!

We hope to see you at the Flea next month!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pyrex Love Cross Stitch Pattern

It's done! It's finally done!

As is true with most of my craft projects, it took me forever to finish this cross stitch. I had no idea what it would look like when I first started designing it, but I'm mostly happy with the result. There are a few changes I'd like to make - the Spring Blossom flowers, the shape of the dishes, and just a bit of tweaking with the border - but for now I'm just happy it is finished and up on my wall.

I promised to post a pattern when I finished, so here it is! I'll also post a link on my sidebar. I hope that you enjoy it if you try it out. Feel free to send some feedback my way if you'd like as this is my first pattern.

A Fall Drive

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving. We usually have a big get together with family and all the fixings, but my mom was recovering from surgery and I didn't want Josh's first big family gathering to be one I was hosting, so we kept it quiet. It was good we did, because in the middle of cooking a smaller dinner, I walked down to the basement and realized the carpet was soaking wet. We were flooded! Turns out there was a clog in the pipe that was forcing water to come out of a previously capped exposed pipe (no idea where that cap went), and any time we used the kitchen sink more water poured out. The last time our basement flooded we bought a flood alarm so we'd know right away. The flood alarm? It was laying on its side soaking wet. Next time I'm duct taping that thing to the wall because it has to be upright to work. The day quickly turned into a furniture moving, wet vac-ing, carpet cutting, and phone tagging with emergency plumbers kind of day. I am thankful we noticed quickly, and nothing important was destroyed.

With the flood dealt with and industrial fans blowing, on Monday we needed some fun. We went on one of my favourite yearly traditions - a Fall drive to look at the leaves, and getting our pumpkins for the year. It was beautiful out!

He slept right through his very first pumpkin experience. I had planned on switching him to the baby hawk, but he was so peaceful sleeping that Jer carried him in the car seat. Both he and the dog pass out on car rides. I wanted a picture of him in the pumpkins, so this is what I got!

We did our usual abbreviated pumpkin experience at "Front Door Farms". They have piles of pumpkins out front and we take our pick. Next year when Josh is a bit older we will be doing the full on wagon ride to the pumpkin patch where we'll pick for ourselves, and I cannot wait!

It has been such a beautiful Fall this year. I think we may have to do this again next weekend!