Saturday, March 24, 2007

Flashlight update

My little Flashie is home but we still don't know what's wrong with her. They tried to collect a urine sample but when they finally got her and her tiny bladder out of the cage, she peed on the table. Because they had waited so long for this sample, they had to collect it off of their table (with all of its contaminants) so even though there were white cells in it, they still have no clue what is going on. She came home looking tired and thin. I doubt if she slept very much at the vet's - she's a pillow diva so a metal crate would have been insulting. You don't go to Motel 6 when you're used to the Waldorf Astoria, eh?

I'm monitoring her and giving her a lot of cuddles and kisses. Mein Liebchen, my little girl, the daughter I never wanted - she bears all of these titles (and more) with grace and scratches. Ya gotta like that in a girl.

On a brighter note, I wrapped up my community justice facilitation course this afternoon and begin my apprenticeship soon. It's such a worthwhile volunteer opportunity, I can't wait to start attending forums and helping people through the process. I've met some really incredible people in this course and I feel really good about what I've learned.

I'm still making purses and bags galore and man is it fun! I whipped up a couple of these quilted bags, following the tutorial found here

Bag back

Interior wristlet with credit and cash slots

I've hidden my cards by adding the slots/holders, then adding a flap that matches the lining for over the top. To the unknowing eye, it just looks like a pencil case when you open it.
I initially made the wristlet because I hate carrying a large bag - this one fits the phone,cards & cash and iPod that I tote around, without a lot of extra space. Plus I can slip it on my wrist and always know where my purse is when shopping. Once I started playing with quilting, making the over-bag was just a natural progression. I made a matching binder cover to cover up my beat up letter portfolio. I just love this fortune cat fabric; it cost a fortune (yeah, I said that) but I figured that it was a rare find. Better to splurge on something really special than to regret not having had it, right? Sewing is taking over from knitting these days and despite the snow squall going on outside right now, Spring has truly arrived. I'll do a little LK knitting to keep my stockpile growing. I have a couple of hats for loved & dear ones that will be knit soon, too (that's a hint, Ms. Tiny Head D.- measure that skull of yours, please - I gotta get your hat done LOL)

Keep your fingers crossed for Flashlight; she's such a good friend to all of us (especially me...I never saw that coming... when did she work her way into my heart? I'm glad that she did)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I miss my Kitty-grrl

Many thanks to the lovely Rita for pointing out that something might be wrong with Flashlight - sure enough, the little lady has something going on. I'm hoping that it's just a urinary tract thing but no word from our vets yet. She spent last night at their office. She's so small and has refused to drink while there so they're struggling to get a urine sample for testing. Her bladder is the smallest that they've seen for an almost- 7 year old cat (who knew?!?)and that makes a difference when trying to collect a sample. She always was our 'itty bitty micro kitty' so the small bladder thing is just part of that parcel. I just want her home, safe and healthy, clawing at my hands when I try to pet her, attacking the dog as he tries to eat his kibble - you know, normal stuff.
Pray for my little grrl, won't you?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Big Shout Out

to all my Ottawa-area/ Lanark County homies!

I keep finding these great events all over North America where artisans and artists get together and create, sell & swap their stuff and frankly, I'm jealous. I want some of that craftiness for moi-meme. Don't you?

Are you in the Ottawa area? Want to get together, in person or virtually to create, share, learn (ok, maybe drink and laugh, too)? Tired of hearing about the cool things that other cities are putting together for crafterly purposes? Want to craft for good and not evil? If you answered 'why, yes!' to any of these questions ,we need to get together.
Give me a shout and let's discuss ways to create, together.
Some ideas that I've been mulling about -

  • guerrilla craft fair with local artists and artisans, selling their uber-cool wares
  • crafting in public days (kinda like a KIP but broader in scope)
  • teaching each other cool skills
  • materials swaps and give-aways

Who can particpate? You! (everyone welcome - totally barrier-free)

Make sense?

bumbershooterathotmaildotcom - 'k?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Still trying to figure out

why Flashlight pulled a Fergie Sunday morning...yup, you read correctly. She climbed up on to the couch, right beside me. Whoo hoo, I thought, finally I will cuddle my cat in quasi-public. No more rumors that this bitchy cat doesn't like me. People will see that she does! Then, she scratched and dropped her butt to the couch and tried to pee! Yes, again you've read correctly. I grabbed her before too much could ...uh, spill (?). Thank God for Ikea slipcovers - off, into the wash and back on the now-cleaned couch in less than an hour. I'm still a little flabbergasted at the incident. She gave me a filthy look as I picked her up and tossed her onto the floor - gently, mind you. She is an older lady, you know but where do you buy kitty Depends? We think that she's pissed off (ha ha ha yes, I did say that out loud ha ha ha) because our old nemesis, the stray cat known as Matou is back, peeing on our front door and driving Pablo & Lightie to distraction. Bastardo! This mangy, old cat looks better and better every time he appears in our driveway. He'll disappear for more than a year, only to reappear the next spring. If he was one of neighbours, I'd think that he was incarcerated for some petty offence and 'got sprung' for spring.

Saint Pat's day has come and gone. At least we no longer mourn our beloved Bert, lost on this day 7 years ago. Our sailing, tennis-playing wild cat who taught himself how to use the toilet and who gave us such intense and unwavering love during his time with us. His feet had been crushed and never mended properly. I used to cuddle him when it was cold and hold those broken little feet in my hands to keep them from cramping. He'd purr, in thanks. When one of the boys would be 'in trouble and sent to their room, I'd catch Bert sneaking in to comfort them, like a gentle brother, a kind friend.

When we moved here, we discovered that we had a nest of raccoon cubs who entertained me (but drove some others to heinous acts). Bert would join them on the sloping barn roof, watching my boys and their friends play in the yard, usually around dusk. Bert would beam as he sat alongside his wild cousins, almost as if he was showing off his family. The 'coons would chirp, in conversation as they watched the human cubs and it was easy to imagine them asking the older 'coons questions ("Why do they run around like that? What is that white round thing that they're kicking about? What's a 'goal'? Oh look! the Big one has brought them snacks!") It's still one of my happiest memories of this house...

My neighbour was tired of the raccoons and complained that they were always in her garden (yeah, because I can control wild life!). A little rat poison and without warning, we were without our wonderful raccoon-babies...and our Bert. It was a long, drawn out death that I wouldn't wish on anyone and it broke our hearts to see him suffer so. At his burial, my sweet little (and ancient soul) son, K the younger urged us all to hold hands so that he could deliver an eulogy. "Dear God, please take care of Bert. He is very special to all of us here. You have to know something:Please listen. He was wild when he found us. He was sorta wild until the end. You kinda gotta like that in a guy". Through our tears, we smiled at each other, our little family. No better or more heart-felt eulogy was ever delivered. A life spent in loving is a life well lived.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March Madness

It must be a good week because today is the day that brought us my SIL, Connie. Kids, please say 'hi' to Connie (pictured here with her grandbaby, Iso - who is arguing with her cousin, Matt about Candyland. Yes, wars have been started because of this common childhood game... and Iso is always right)Happy Birthday, Connie. We love you with all of our hearts

Here's her birthday present from the Bumbershoot Haus - what else? A tote!

Phew, the presentation to the U of O class went ...well, I suppose. M was there with Noah so I was in good company. I got my face licked (no one shares his love like Mr. Noah) so my nerves were quieted. I talked a little bit about the challenges of not-for-profit life and how to be respectful of assistance dogs. M was great and shared the challenges of effectively changing legislation in order to protect the rights of service animals and their human partners. The class itself was noisier than I remember any of my classes being (I pictured Prof. Longsworth tolerating the brouhaha like that... nope, he even shouted at a student sitting in front of me. His crime? He used a set of colored pens (about 15 in total, all different shades) and switched colors for every word. Apparently Early Russian historians are not amused by this type of display and the student was dispatched from our room in the drafty old Arts building to sit with his pens in the hall until such time that he would use only one color pen. No such luck with the class

Sunday, March 11, 2007

So very very tired

Man, I'm bushed...but why? I think I've picked up whatever knocked K the elder out a few weeks ago. I can barely function, I'm just that tired. My skin is pale but my cheeks are bright pink and I have a fever...just weird.

We were supposed to go to the cabane a sucre (maple sugar shack) yesterday but the threat of freezing rain kept the cityfolk in the city and us country bumpkins were firmly entrenched indoors, snacking and drinking lots & lots of good, strong coffee. We'll probably con, um, I mean "convince" the city slickers into going soon, hopefully on one of those sunny spring days that remind you how wonderful the woods are. This will be the first time in years that I'll be going to the sugar shack sans hangover so I can't wait to go. MC & I figured out that the past 2 or 3 years' trips have been spent nursing major hangovers and fatigue from the nights before. For some strange reason, it's usually a Fred show on the Friday and then sugar shacking on the Saturday so we've toddled home late and drunk, only to have to wake up, drive an hour or so and stuff our gobs with syrup and carbs. Yes, our mothers are proud of us - thank you for asking.

When we were living in the Laurentian mountains, we used to go to the BEST cabane ever! Cabane à sucre Millette knows how to really give you the full Quebecois experience - their servers wear the ceinture flechee, the food is home cooked (and delicious) and then you can walk through the snowy maple forest, watching the sap drip through the long tubes on its way to the sugar shack. For those of you who have never had maple syrup, it's synonymous with Canada. I had hoped to send some to Melissa for our swap but I was worried that their customs agency would stop the parcel at the border... Next time, I'll risk it - maple syrup candy is just that good! Back to maple syrup - Basically, you tap into sugar maple trees, collect the sap in metal buckets (the traditional way) or use the newer tube method and then boil it down to a concentrated syrup. The best part was when the syrup maker would take a little fresh, hot syrup and pour it onto fresh, clean snow. A wooden spoon rolled through the resulting taffy would put a smile on the most unhappy child. We have photos of the boys when they were little, walking through the forest after eating their fill of les pettes des soeurs, crepes, feves au lard, les oreilles de Chris' (Yup, the food names are pretty... uh... 'unusual') and pools and pools of fresh maple syrup, followed by la tire sur la neige. Sticky - the boys just look sticky (and cute). It was home to a bath and trying to calm them down after our yearly excursions to the Cabane

Pat looks like he's trying to either wipe off some syrup from his jacket or find a spot to lick off... never know with these kids of mine. K the younger is stoned on sugar. Pure maple madness to feed that to a four year old and hope that he'll sleep at night. They're grubby, they're cute and they're full of sugar - what's not to love?

Going through our old photos, I found some warm fuzzies from a while ago (and realized that letting the kids 'own' the photo collection wasn't such a good idea- check out the scratches on all of these shots!) - every year, the kids would wear costumes for Easter at ski school. I made Pat this tiger suit and he wore it a lot...even when it wasn't an officially sanctioned dress up day. I'd catch him in his room, curled up in his armchair reading - everything looked normal except he'd be wearing the tiger suit.Don't get me started about the dragon cape and helmet....

I loved skiing with the boys when they were little turtles. Pat was probably three in this shot

Doesn't he look cute? That Austrian/ Maser suit lasted through 2 tough little boys, skiing 6 days a week all winter long. The boys were always toasty warm even on the coldest of days - I'm sure that a few other kids got good wear out that little suit after we gave it to the charity shop. You definitely get what you pay for...
Just so that you don't scream "Britney" at me for Pat's lack of proper headgear - here's proof that they always wore helmets!

Just in case you were thinking of nominating me for mum of the year, I made my share of gaffes, too. Like the time I let Pat wrap himself in the banner of balloons from his birthday - strings, wrapped tightly around a 4 year old? Not such a good idea...

I believe that the quote was, "look, I'm grapes! I'm grapes!"

No matter what, these 2 boys have brought me much joy throughout my parenting experience. I made Pat a photo album of his childhood for Christmas this year and it was so wonderful to travel back in time to make copies of all of these silly photos. I spent so many years just trying to keep up with everything that was going on around me that I had forgotten so many fun memories. Be forewarned - the photo albums will be making appearances here from time to time...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How long has it been?

Well over a week since we've had regular, reliable Internet access.... hard to believe. We take our DSL for granted in this household and a lot of our lives are attended to via this tool - shopping, bills, contact... so much so that we go through painful withdrawal symptoms when it's gone. Not only that but we also lose anything that we're working on or trying to do. S.U.C.K.S spells Sympatico. At least they've sent us a new router/modem. K the elder did his usual eBay rounds and scored us a cheap router. Once he finds an equally cheap modem, we'll have a back up in case this happens again.
K's also set up our network a little differently so I may, just may, be able to access files remotely - FINALLY!
One delight this week so far has been that I was treated - nay, spoiled - by Melissa, my swap partner from One Hour Craft. Not only did I get this incredible tote, it was lined in a little bit of Australia.

This flower is called 'Wattle' and it's Australia's flower; it's even on their coat of arms. We get a spray of maple leave, they get blossoms - says a lot about our relative climates, doesn't it?
Being a super swapper, she added some things that made me even more than incredibly happy, somewhere in the neighbourhood of ecstatic- like a gold brick!
Actually, it was better than that! it was a box of the most lovely chocolates! I ate something called "Lilly Pilly Gelly" - I have no clue what it is but if it's a tree, build me a treehouse, I'm moving in! Absolutely to die for!
She added a handmade lip balm made on a local farm - and in my favorite aroma, lavender!

See the seed packet? Don't report me to the CFIA but I'm planning on planting these suckers this summer - I'll be making my own wattle candy with any luck - yum!
See, I wasn't exaggerating - spoiled indeed! The bag is already filled with my work for tomorrow so I'll be proudly sporting this great bag all around - thanks Melissa!

I'm adding new fabric swatches to my Flickr account so let me know if you see something you like - bags are so much fun

It's minus 35 Celsius out there (according to my trusty lawn thermometer) so today will be spent indoors, cutting, sewing, writing and drinking warm, brown liquids - hope your day is as satisfying

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Pablo turned to me and asked, "so why no posts lately? Whatcha been up to, lady?"

Fighting Sympatico - that's what! After weeks of superdy-duper (thanks, Barney), mundo- craptacular ISP (lack of) service, my route/modem combo went off to the great routing grounds in the sky. Days (no exaggeration here D-A-Y-S!!!) of pleading, cajoling and finally yelling at service reps later, they agreed to send us a new model. Yeah... right... They sent out A model, just not the right one for our network (even though K the elder told them what we were using and what we needed to continue using this Internet thingy). Sent it back, and waited... and waited...and waited. Finally, K the elder stomped over to the modem, punched it really hard, um, I mean switched it off and reset it back to its factory settings. It's only bumped me off three times in the past hour which is a (good) record. Last week, I managed to get 30 minutes here and there of use but almost gave up and pretended that the Internet didn't exist. Assignments went unposted, emails unanswered. I promise, pinky swear promise for that matter that I will attend to all of this stuff, this week.

In the mean time, I managed to get some work done. If January's focus was on lessening the strain of an unruly yarn stash, February's was surely all about the fabric. I did toss a few new pieces into the pile but I also managed to use about 16 metres of fabric, plus the metres and metres of drapery-to-be-born that Pat & Val will be getting later this month. I'm sure that I'll be moving out even more fabric once the Etsy-mobile gets going.

So what have I been doing instead of posting? Making lots of new bags ready for their owners

postcards have been sent to much missed people (you know who you are),
plans have been drawn,
news has been digested,
a few tears shed (mucho gracias, MC for patient ears and kind words)
AND (one of the most wonderful inventions EVER)

Possibly the best licorice known to humankind HAS BEEN DEVOURED...but could someone explain 'soft eating licorice' - does that mean that you can do other things with other brands of licorice?

Most importantly of all, a symposium attended. Yup, symposium -great word. The local (and not so local) arts community came together for a really interesting day to learn 'how to make a creative living' in one of the most beautiful locales on earth. It was a bit of drain to drive up so high into the Highlands in white-out conditions but typical for this area, the sun came out once we had all arrived and by closing time, the roads were clear and the vistas were snow-covered and heartbreakingly beautiful. We've been considering moving further away from the urban encroachment almost since we rode into this little burg but I was surprised when K the elder asked about my drive, last evening. I related how grateful I was for good tires and 4 wheel drive; he added 'I'd still really like to live up there'. I countered with 'yeah but what about the commute?'. Smart little cookie that he is, he replied 'well, you drove further for years - maybe it's my time to drive a little?'. So, he wasn't just paying me lip service during all of those conversations.... hmmm

For those of you who've been in my life a while, here's someone you might remember

Yup, it's my 'foster daughter', Beau. Our little girl is all grown up now and placed with someone who needs her very much. For some reason, she's been in my thoughts lately. People still ask me how she is doing and who 'got' her. She is one of the smartest 'persons' I have ever known and from what I understand, her new "human" is a special man, as well. I'm so glad that she'll be a working dog, enjoying her purpose and helping him to live a good life. Even with her pacemaker, she's strong, smart and as ready to please as ever. I could tell you so many stories of how she trained, comforted and amused me.
Beau,in her various incarnations, has been a muddy little scamp,

FredHead concert-goer (she likes trains, too), activist (ask Beau how you stand up to a bully who orders you to leave a concert because 'no dogs are allowed' - you smile and return to your seat to enjoy the show - yup, Beau is just that much smarter than I am -and she knows the law!) and all-around good friend - if only I could have convinced her to get off of the sunroom couch!