Sunday, 30 December 2007

Puppy dog: 0, Stairs: 1

Last summer we adopted a baby cockapoo (cocker poodle mix) that we named Brian. It was love at first sight. He is the sweetest thing but he is not...well, how can I say it without being rude...he is not the sharpest knife in the cupboard! I don't want to say that he is stupid. He is actually quite clever but he is very clumsy. To illustrate my point: last fall at the dog park, Brian was so happy playing with other dogs that he did not see the picnic table, ran face first into it and his nose started to bleed!

I live in a little loft with a bedroom mezzanine. Brian will only go upstairs if we ask him to come (good dog!). This is this morning's scenario:

Husband: Brian, here boy.
Me: Come on Brian, come see mommy.
Me: Um, what is that noise?
Husband: Oh no, Brian fell in the stairs!
Husband: Brian is limping.
Me: Oh my God, I'm freaking out! I'm calling the vet.
Husband: Honey relax! It is nothing.
Me: What?New Year holidays??? No vet? My baby is hurt!
(freaking out!!!)

Where I'm going with that story is that I fear that the day we will have a kid (in about 2-3 years), I will be the kind of overprotecting mother who is borderline paranoiac. Brian only has a sore paw and it was the end of the world. What will happen when my kid will fall off his bike. Will I go to the ER and wait 8 hours for a little scratch? Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to be a good mom! Well, only the future will tell.

On a crafty note, this is my new patchwork scarf inspired by Little Red Caboose's Little Scarf. I really like her Matryoshka dolls and if I'm fast enough with my credit card, maybe one day, I will get my hands on one of her beautiful creations.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Santa loves crafts, photography and travels

I guess that I have been a good girl in 2007 because Santa was very generous with me this year. When you are a kid, there is a positive correlation between happiness and the amount of presents that you get at Christmas. When you grow out of that phase you start to feel uncomfortable when you receive expensive or numerous gifts. Then start the “Oh my God, that was not necessary”, “You should not have spend that much money” and the “Are you out of your mind, that is way to much”. I guess the best thing to do is to suck it up and bring back the kid in you! There is nothing better at Christmas than seeing the look of joy in my family's eyes when I open my presents and get ectatic when I get...lets see... a ton of books, a camera, a 300$ gift certificate to buy a plane ticket, etc!

I also got a “sentimental” present. A few weeks ago, I wrote about my grand-mother and a vintage squirrel pattern. My mom read the post and was touched by my attachment to her mother, a women that I never met but that I admire immensely. In 1974, my grand-mother made a beautiful quilt that my family kept. The quilt got very beat up over time but, as a souvenir, my mom took a square from the quilt that was still intact, framed it and gave it to me on Christmas day. It was then my turn to be touched by what my mother did...she tightened the bonds between three generations of women: my grand-mother, herself and I.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

I got my hat (and my love) to keep me warm

Since all the Christmas gifts are wrapped, leaving me with not much to do, I decided to tackle a little last minute sewing project: a hat! I first saw the hat pattern on the Martha Stewart web page but since it was designed for kids I did not give it much attention. However, when I came across that picture from Little birds I decided to give it a shot. In my creative vision (um...whatever!), I saw a tweed (not felted wool) hat, doubled with soft flannel and topped with a big Icelandic wool pompom. I like the final result and it will look very cute with my new winter coat.

One of the great thing about living in a small loft is that my husband is an integral part of my crafty projects ... like a “silent” business partner! His opinion (he suggested the double-braids on my hat), his words of encouragement and his tolerance (I'm a messy lady!) mean the world to me. While I cut, sew, glue or trim, he is quietly playing games on the computer but I know that if I need him he is always there for me. The zombies, aliens, murderers, etc. will have to wait a little!!!

Note to husband: Thank you so much. I love you!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Let it snow….no, please, it has to stop!

For many people, canadian winters rhyme with loads of snow, cold weather, slippery ice and polar bears. For me, everyting is accurate except for the last part...sorry no polar bears in Montreal or, as a matter of fact, in most regions of Canada. Over the past two weeks, 100 centimeters of beautiful white snow has fallen on Montreal. I have been dreaming of a real white Christmas for many years but I think that I got more than what I asked for. Who knows, maybe a confused polar bear will find his way to my neighbourhood and stop by for a hot cholocate!

Beautiful prints inspired by the arctic world from Etsy:

be creative everyday....especially Thursdays!

Sunday, 16 December 2007

How to ease your mind

After my “Grinch” episode of yesterday I decided that I would try to get a positive attitude and “welcome” the spirit of the holidays within me! A craft would be my therapy! Inspired by Tamar's Lovely Cotton Fabric Wreath, I went into my fabric stash and created a mix that could be used all year long. The color scheme: white, navy and a touch of red. The patterns: polka dots, gingham and flowers. I'm really a country girl in the city! The wreath was really fun and easy to make. What better way to get rid of tension than ripping apart fabrics (to give it an edgy look...obviously!) and to strongly tie the pieces to a metal loop! I'm very happy with my wreath. It gives a little festive look to my front door. Concerning the spirit of the holidays, well, I realized that I should embrace the traditions that I cherish such as being with my family and focus less on the negative aspects that come with Christmas (oh no...more trips to the shopping center!).

P.S. My cat won a Flickr contest: the fluffiest cat belly (Cat belly lovers group)!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

A partridge in a pear tree

Today was supposed to be a magical day: the day that we get to choose our christmas tree at the market. We got our tree, it smells wonderful, but the spirit of the holidays is not yet with me! I have a bitter taste in my mouth and I don't like it! I enjoy Christmas (or am I in denial?) but over the years, with my grown up eyes, I realised that the holidays are not what they should be. When you take two minutes and observe, you see that Christmas became a celebration of intense stress, consumerism and excess. I know, there is nothing new there, but I started to wish for a different Christmas: an opportunity to be with love ones, to slow down and to take the time to live in the moment. I think that sharing presents should also be part of it...I'm not a purist! But gifts given should be something that pleases the person who gets the present but also the person who gives it. Personnaly, I would much ratter have a little something made with love than a trendy gadget purchased by somebody swearing at the cashier because she waited 30 minutes in line in an overcrowded store (hum...that could be me!!!).

A simple paper ornament, carefully designed, patiently cut by hand, send with a lovely note is the proof that bigger is not always better...even at Christmas! Thank you Tamara for your ornament!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Let them eat cake

We all love a good meal. However not everybody have shivers of complete joy when looking at a piece of ginger, an eggplant or a papaya! I realized lately that cooking show hosts are getting way more emotional about making recipes than they used to! I’m sorry but a steak is a steak…no matter how blissful you are while cooking it! Ok, I could slightly be jealous of their ability to be happy about cooking! For me, it is more a necessity than a hobby. However, the only thing that I really enjoy doing in the kitchen is baking: cakes, brownies, muffins…you name it!

To my great relief, I have been designated the person in charge of the dessert at our Christmas pot-luck lunch party next week. I decided to go for a really simple, yet festive, upside-down cranberry cake from the Martha Stewart book, Everyday food: Great food fast. I tested it last night and we gave it a 9/10. It is fast, not too sweet and really pretty on a Christmas table! I did not cry of happiness when I made it but I can’t wait to show it off to my coworkers on Monday!!!

Monday, 10 December 2007

Mindless creativity

I don’t know why I bought it, I don’t know why I made it but I do know that I enjoyed it! Some people might say that this circa 1950 hobby is nothing else than a violation of art, an attack on personal expression, etc. And I would have to…agree! There is nothing artistic or creative about (say it…don’t be ashamed) painting by numbers but there is certainly a feeling of gratification about making colors appear on a canvas, feeling the paint brush in your hand, mixing colors (yes, you have to mix colors!). I really envy painters who use their heart and soul to create beautiful works of art. Sadly, this talent was not given to me and that’s fine! So far, I have happily completed two projetcs that I proudly expose on the walls of my walk-in closet and I even plan on buying a few more kits. Honestly, just between you and me, we all have our little “painting by numbers”…something that is not trendy, that you don’t absolutely want to tell your friends about but that brings you, on a personal level, a real sense of satisfaction!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Baby it's cold outside

Having a dog is wonderful! I just love it when I see his overwealmed little face, craving for attention, when I come back from work. It's like if his saying: “What a surprise…you are back…I missed you so much”! The cat is also there to greet me but he would mostly say something like: “Good evening…I hope that you had a pleasant day…I would now enjoy some fresh water”! However, having great pets comes with great responsabilities! As a new dog owner, I recently discovered the joy of walking a puppy during the “oh so pretty” but “oh so dreadful” Canadian winter. When the puppy has to go, we have to go. Who cares about 2 ft of snow that seems to come from every directions, slippery sidewalks and temperature that makes your face numb! Thankfully, I just finished knitting my first pair of legwarmers. They are the easiest thing to make. Even though I wear them under my pants, they will look very nice with a jean skirt as soon as the weather permits it…maybe in March if I’m lucky!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

A rhino in the snow

I just received my very first ornament from Joanne in South Africa. When I took the little package from the mailbox I was slightly worried since it was in a very bad condition. However, as soon as I opened it, I saw a perfect little Christmas rhino who wanted to relax after his long journey to Canada! My festive rhino can’t wait to see what friends the mailman will bring to hang out with him in the Christmas tree!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

It's "fabulash"

I’m not an activist. I’m just a quiet girl minding her own little business. However, I believe that the choices that we make as consumers can have a greater impact on our society than tying ourselves to a tree! I try to buy organic and locally grown food, I clean my loft with eco-friendly products, I even pick up my dog poop with biodegradable bags!!! My latest mission: getting beauty products that are not tested on animals. It just happened that I needed to buy shampoo & conditioner and mascara. Shopping with a good cause in mind…that is my kind of thing! I got Avalon Organics Lavender shampoo & conditioner which smell lovely. I then decided to invest in Aveda mascara rose plus. At that price, believe me, it is an investment! In Canada, that mascara costs twice the American price but since my sensitive skin never had a bad reaction to their products I decided to give it a try. Buying these “human tested” beauty products made me feel very responsible toward my dog and my cat. After all, they are naturally “fabulash”!

Note: “Fabulash” is a slogan associated with a popular mascara company that also don't test on animals!