Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Traditions Exchange

Holiday Traditions Exchange 2009
This year, I participated in the Holiday Traditions Exchange organized by the creative and inspiring blogger Meg McElwee at Sew Liberated. In this exchange, you are matched with someone from around the world (most participants are in the US) and you are asked to send them:
1.) One handmade holiday decoration.
2.) Your family's favorite holiday recipe.
3.) A “Tradition” Tutorial. This is a description of one of your family’s special holiday traditions.

I know that my parcel has been received, so I can share what I sent to my partner (who, ironically, lives not too far away in Washington State!).

2 DVDs of Christmas Cartoon Classics, a Christmas Pop Mix CD, a copy of "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry, a fair trade chocolate bar, a sparkly Christmas necklace, and a recipe for Butterscotch Squares, plus:

The recipe for Aunt Lizzie's Peppermint Squares

Complete with diagram!

A pear ornament made using Retromama's pattern

A felt ornament with one of my first attempts at embroidery. Pattern from Fantastic Toys.

It was so much fun to reflect on my favourite holiday traditions while creating this package. Now I can't wait to see what arrives in the mail for me!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My cycling roots

Thanks to my dad for scanning this awesome photo of Mom taking me for a ride on Quadra Island. I'd guess it's circa 1979. Good times.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My 1 year blogoversary!

Yay, me! I've been writing this blog for one whole year now! This is my 40th post, which means I've almost reached the once a week blogging frequency. I've enjoyed having a place to share silly stories, document my progress on my 101 Things List, and show off some of the crafts I've been working on this year.

Here's to reaching 100 posts in year two of my blog!

Monday, November 2, 2009

What I learned in October

Inspired by Amber's post at, I've compiled a list of things I've learned in the past month.

1. Sophie isn't scared of being surrounded by chickens.

2. If your kid is sick and you end up not going to the Island for Thanksgiving, turkey dinner at the White Spot is more depressing than a regular dinner at home.

3. Rain gutter shelving is easy to install and makes for a great display area for picture books.

4. There are at least one or two members of the younger generation in the Vancouver Quilters' Guild.

5. Canadians care about climate change. If you look closely at this picture, you can find my family in the Bridge to a Cool Planet march.

6. $650,000 can get you a 100 year old house in the Main St area that's falling apart at the seams (don't worry, we didn't put in an offer).

7. Giving a toddler a Sharpie isn’t always a bad idea.

8. The camera smile that Sophie flashes these days is definitely genetic.

9. I can sew Halloween costumes for Sophie. I also learned that you can fit two full quilts worth of batting under that bee tunic.

10. Group costumes are a lot of fun! Especially when you stay in character and solve the mystery of the missing emails! Jinkies!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We had our annual pumpkin carving night on October 29th. The soundtrack of the festivities, as always, was Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album. The taste sensation of the night were Kristi's strawberry tarts. Yum!

Sophie was a willing helper in the pumpkin gutting chore.

Kristi made a traditional pumpkin which Sophie was sure was angry.

We gave Sophie a Sharpie and let her go with a mini pumpkin. She really enjoyed "carving" her pumpkin while we were working on ours.

My pumpkin was Moishe, a monster from "Where the Wild Things Are"

Dean made the sea monster from "Where the Wild Things Are". We couldn't find it's name.

We've posted a set of our pumpkins over the years on flickr.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009

Today is Blog Action Day 2009 and the theme is climate change. My little blog is part of a global network of blogs that will touch on this topic today. As an eco-geek, an environmental educator, and the daughter of a man who's known as "The Carbonator" because of his work on carbon neutrality, I have a bit to say on the subject. I'm going to narrow my post to how I try to reduce my carbon footprint through using alternative transportation. Our family of three lives a car-free lifestyle by choice. Here's how we do it:

Walking, walking, walking. I live in a high-density urban neighbourhood with many amenities within walking distance. We walk to the library, the grocery store, the credit union, the bookstore, the video store, gym class, music class, and any number of coffee shops and sushi restaurants. I love getting where I need to go on my own two feet!

As you may have guessed due to the name of my blog, I like to ride my bike. In the past, it has been my main mode of transportation to and from work. The addition of a child to the mix has assuredly lowered the frequency of my bike trips, but we do get out and about with the bike trailer once in awhile.

My main mode of transportation when I'm getting around with my two and a half year old is the bus. The transit-savvy of you may have recognized the bee logo from the 99 B-Line bus that runs east-west along Broadway here in Vancouver. It's a great express bus, crowded at times, but gets me to many transfer points including the new Canada line skytrain.

When walking, biking, or bussing won't work, we book a car through the Co-operative Auto Network (CAN). I've been a member of CAN's car sharing network since 2002 and I love having access to a fleet of 230 cars throughout the city (and beyond!). I typically book the sedan that's a five-minute walk from my house, but I've also used their minivans, VW beetles, trucks and cars with bike racks.

For the really long trips (e.g. visiting my family in New York), we fly. Then we buy carbon credits. It's not a perfect solution, but it's something!

Now that you've heard my two cents, head over to Blog Action Day and read some of the other 8,000 bloggers' posts on climate change!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

9. Personalize at least three onesies for new babies.

I have now personalized three onesies for some little ones that have entered the world in the past year. The most recent one was ironed on and then embroidered around the edges and I was quite pleased with the results. I also made a matching pair of booties (they turned out really tiny!) and a burp cloth (sent them off before remembering to take a photo!). Such easy and fun projects!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Best bus ride ever!

Dean, Janet, Sophie and I had the pleasure of riding on this vintage 1948 trolley bus today. It was in service to ferry people to and from the Dunbar Harvest Festival and we had perfect timing and caught a free ride! The driver was wearing a vintage uniform (complete with jacket and hat) and there were old ads inside the bus. I particularly liked the one for the Pirdle, a stylish form of underwear from the 60s. There was also a futuristic ad showing skytrain, sea bus and buses transporting their users into some unspecified future time period, perhaps 1987?

Our trusty bus gamely took us up the steep hill and we alighted with a spring in our step. Thank you, driver!

Found the image here in AaverageJoe's photostream on Flickr.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I've got a thing for...

... cute shoes! I can't help it! I try to keep myself in check, but have been coveting adorable kids' shoes for a long time. Can't believe I've never heard of Puddle Jumpers Shoes before. Just came across them on a blog called Arnelle that is full of delicious design ideas. Check out these polka dots!

Do you think it's justifiable to buy a pair in every colour?

Happy 75th Birthday Tomie dePaola!

Meeting Tomie dePaola

Back in August, I visited the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. Just as we arrived, we noticed a line-up in the lobby. It turned out that Tomie dePaola, author and illustrator of oodles of children's books, was just wrapping up a book signing. Thrilled by the serendipity of arriving just at the right moment, we hurried into the gift shop and got a copy of Strega Nona for Tomie to sign. Strega Nona is a story of a good witch who leaves goofy Big Anthony in charge of her magic spaghetti pot, resulting in spaghetti threatening the small Italian town. Sophie loves how the spaghetti escapes through the door of Strega Nona's house.

Anyway, after this long preamble, I wanted to say, "Happy 75th Birthday, Tomie dePaola!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Yummy dishes

I'm not quite sure why I'm drawn to these porcelain take-out dishes by Lorena Barrezueta of Brooklyn. I usually avoid disposable containers but these are handmade porcelain replicas of disposable containers, so now they become cool to me. I'm drawn to the pie plate that reminds me of all the delicious apple pies my dad has made over the years. I also like the circular take-out dish that is an exact replica of the aluminum ones the Chinese restaurant across the street uses.

You can also find samples and seconds of her wares on Etsy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Patchwork mosaic

I've been quilting since 1994, back in the olden days when we didn't have digital cameras. Fortunately, we got ourselves a newfangled camera in 2003 and haven't looked back. Here's a sampling of my more recent quilts. I used the mosaic maker at to create this image. I'll try to add more quilts to my flickr set at some point.

Monday, September 7, 2009

32. Bake a loaf of bread the old-fashioned way.*

With some tutelage from a friend and the master recipe for boule from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day", I baked two loaves of bread today. They were things of beauty and I'm very proud. Can't wait to try again!

Loaf #2 (the one I flipped upside down while attempting to slide it into the baking dish. Fortunately, it turned out just fine!)

Loaf #1. I was so excited to bake my first ever loaf of bread that I forgot to dust the top with flour and slash the top with a pretty pattern. It still turned out good enough that Sophie was saying, "I want more of your bread! I want more of your bread!"

*I think I have fulfilled the spirit of this goal in that a yeast-risen loaf of bread was made in my kitchen. Granted, the recipe didn't call for kneading, but who knows, maybe I'll get crazy and try that kind of bread next!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cooking with Kids

"Pretend Soup" and "Salad People" are cookbooks for preschoolers by Mollie Katzen of Moosewood Cookbook fame. I have to return them to the library today but I haven't actually made any of the recipes in either book. This post is really just a reminder that I should get these books out of the library again. I have a feeling Sophie would love following the visual recipes and tasting the yummy treats like quesadillas and focaccia.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Elude: my fake YA novel

I had some spare time, so I decided to take up the challenge from 100 Scope Notes and create a cover for a young adult novel. Here's how I did it:

1 – Go to “Fake Name Generator” or click
The name that appears is your author name.
2 – Go to “Random Word Generator” or click
The word listed under “Random Verb” is your title.
3 – Go to “FlickrCC” or click Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.
4 – Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in.
5 – Post it to your site along with this text.

Who is eluding what? I'll leave that to your imagination!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

From Canada to India

Not me, but one of my quilts. Over the weekend, I put together a small baby quilt to contribute to Craft Hope's Project #3. Craft Hope is a love inspired project designed to share handmade crafts with those less fortunate around the world.

I came across Craft Hope in my daily blog reading and wanted to contribute. My quilt will be going to help the babies at an Indian orphanage.

I wanted the fishy fat quarter to stay intact so you could see the large fish pattern, so I simply surrounded it with colourful squares.

Instead of using batting and creating a quilt that might be too warm for the climate, I simply sewed a snuggly flannel backing to the cotton top of the blanket and I'm happy with the light, yet cosy, result.

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time
I'm sure the good folks at Craft Hope have more ideas and I'll be keeping my sewing machine at the ready for future projects.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our wedding tree over the years

On July 7th, 2002, we planted a redwood tree to celebrate our wedding the day before. The tree started out at waist height and is now well over our heads seven years later. We've taken an annual picture with the tree and today I put together a series of these photos for your enjoyment (note the arrival of Sophie in 2007). Unfortunately, I didn't have digital copies of the photos from 2002 and 2003 (the dark ages before we had a digital camera!), so they're missing from this compilation.

Aunt Kristi was kind enough to babysit for us tonight so we enjoyed a lovely dinner out and a long walk on the beach to celebrate seven years of marriage. I love you, Deano!

Monday, May 11, 2009

68. Convince Dean to recycle box of old Peaks.

Ever since university (I graduated in 2000 and Dean in 2002), we've been lugging a cardboard box of student newspapers from apartment to apartment. They've survived four moves and each time I've wondered why we were keeping them. I didn't read The Peak even when I went to SFU, and I only occasionally thought the student-drawn comics were funny. Finally, this March, in a fit of culling, Dean decided he was ready to part with the Peaks. Thank you, Deano for helping me to tick a goal off my 101 Things list!


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