Friday, December 31, 2010

Oooh, This has some whine.

I always feel a bit sad when it's time to say goodbye to a year. This year is no exception. It's not been an easy one at times but it definitely has taught me that I am strong and I am capable and that I can do anything I choose if I turn my mind to it. I don't always get the results I want or as quick as I want them but I can see the lessons involved and the growth that is made.

Today I said goodbye to my kids as they will be with their Dad for the next few weeks. It's always hard to see them go and to not be a part of their day-to-day. On the same hand I have learned to appreciate the time I am given and take comfort that they are having a wonderful, safe, and treasured time with their Dad.

See, aren't I a big girl now?

And now, I have 16 days spread out in front of me... for 16 days my responsibilities as a mother are, more or less, gone. I haven't been just Karie in so long. I think for 16 days it will probably feel like I have misplaced my phone the whole time, or that I have left my bag somewhere. Not that I see my kids as much-needed accessories but I know that sense of misplacement that ensues. I'll let it come and I will let it go.

What to do? If I had the cash, I'd be in Vietnam. Part of why it is hard to say goodbye to this year is because next year I didn't live in HCMC, next year I will not have seen my friends since last year. And next year, I will have to say last year when I talk about them and there. I whine but I miss miss miss miss...

But I will wipe away those tears because I look around and I see so much that I am so grateful for. I have amazing and wonderful friends, I am starting to feel a connection with the crafting community here and I want to foster that relationship. I have my parents who are a backbone, never wavering in their support of what I choose to do. I look around and I see a beautiful and blessed life and I have no complaints. Ok, yeah, the weather is the shits.

Over the next 16 days I want to really think about the changes I want to happen in 2011 both externally and internally. I feel the opportunity to live the life that I have always wanted (there are actually a few of them, is that normal?). A new page, a clean slate. Rather silly really that a simple change in date can create this feeling. Each and everyone one of us have it in ourselves to be the person we want to be and do the things we want to do, any day and in every moment. I have to remember that.

So 2010, there are big chunks of you that I never wish to visit again but there is so much more to you that holds cherished memories and experiences. Thank you. And to 2011, bring it on! I look forward to what you hold.

I wish you a very Happy New Year and the very best of you! To my friends here in close proximity and to those spread over the world, you are always in my heart no matter what the year or how many have passed. I love you dearly.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

I'm checking out for a good week or so as I have alot of projects to finish up and baking to do. I have 4 more sleeps with my kids before they leave to spend Christmas with their dad who is visiting from India. Time is precious. And I really want my children to feel the magic of Christmas and have fond memories of a sane mother who participated in their lives rather than a stressed out woman who was trying so hard to make everything perfect for them that she did not stop to enjoy all those millions of moments of joy involved in sharing a life with them. That's fucked. So bye for now blog, and sorry there will be no Christmas card electronic or otherwise this year, and that I'm not baking 12 different types of cookies and sewing all my wrapping, or creating half the things I wanted to make for gifts, nor replacing our ghastly stockings with gorgeous handmade beauties, but that's OK, (actually it's driving me crazy but I'm breathing through it). What am I teaching my kids about the true meaning of Christmas if I am so caught up in the whirlwind of my self-constructed idea of having everything perfect? Inhale...exhale...inhale...

I leave you with a bit of a photo essay (if a photo essay can be 3 pics..!), of what the last few days have held. I wish you a safe a beautiful holiday. Be back next year (if I can stay away). Always love.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One down, so many to go

I happen to know that my mom and dad are giving Samia a much desired American Doll for Christmas. So after reading about doll carriers on From An Igloo, I checked out Dolly Outfitters for myself. I have to say with a great big list of things I want to make for Christmas, I was looking to buy the finished doll carrier. It appears business is good in the doll carrier sector however as there were no carriers left that would be ready for a pre-Christmas delivery. So, I got the pattern and I just finished it this afternoon. Christine has done a really good review on her blog so you should check it out if you are interested in making one yourself. I echo her words - super easy, very clear instructions. I don't have alot of patience if things get a bit harry in the sewing scene - I am a big bailer. I didn't bail. One doll carrier complete. It's not perfect (my mistakes, nothing to do with the pattern)) but it's finished and I know Sam will be very happy.

The bag is also lined in the purple which is an old pillow case.

Ideally you would use a double printed quilted fabric but I had none. I used the designer's suggestion of ironing interfacing between the two cottons and it holds its shape nicely.

Next in line, Grandma.

Gratitude Wednesday: I am very grateful to have my mom's car for the hols - will make all the running around that needs to be done much, much easier! Samia is grateful for her Bindi the Jungle Girl videos she was given by dear friends. Jackson is grateful for his gogos and Lego. I feel the need to mention that not too long ago there was a time when my children were grateful for farmers, and the sun, and the good earth. Just so you know...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Handmade Christmas Tutorials

Had to share this great and generous post from MADE. I am suddenly feeling like I have things under control again! Enjoy your Saturday...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In My Backyard

As I scramble to come up with ideas for family and friends for Christmas, all my best intentions for making gifts with my two hands are proving unrealistic. As Christmas approaches, (can you believe it is two weeks away?), I have realized that I need help. I'm a strong believer in handmade and it has been an easy decision to accept that if I'm not going to make it, I'm happy to invest in someone who can.

So buy handmade. Great. Love it. But I think I can do better. Over the last few months since moving back to Canada, I have had the opportunity to start exploring the crafting/creating scene here in Ottawa and I am loving what I am finding. There are so many talented people that are putting their heart and soul into their creations. As a friend pointed out to me the other day, we are not Toronto, or Montreal, or Vancouver where the movement is much more visible. But Ottawa has what's going on - you just need to dig a little deeper to find it.

And although I am specifically speaking about Ottawa, I believe there are fantastic things happening just about wherever you are in this big beautiful world. It's now very easy to shop locally on Etsy and support your local artisans in whatever town you live in. Once you are on their homepage scroll down until you you see "Ways to Shop" on the left hand column. Select "Shop Local." I promise you, you will be amazed but what you find.

So back to my local, Ottawa. I am really excited that I have been able to connect with some local artisans and I want to share them and their creations with you. So here are a few of my local favourites for your enjoyment...

For upcycled children's clothing, Wave Kaia is superfun. All Laura's creations are made almost exclusively from repurposed material and upcycled clothing. She sells the funkiest hats, leggings and trousers but I really adore the versatility of her dress shirt dresses for girls. These are great because when they becomes too short for a dress you can pair them with leggings. High on cute, comfort, and style. Check out Wave Kaia for all the kiddos on your list. Laura also blogs here.

Haley of HaleyByHand is a wonderful sewer who currently is featuring a gorgeous line of owl softies. And when I say soft I mean oooozing softness. Her choices in fabrics and attention to detail in every piece she makes ensures that anyone who is gifted with one of these beauties will have a friend for life. Haley makes stunning things, check out her handmade goodness here and her blog here. You can also find Haley at the Shang Winter Craft Sale this Sunday Dec. 12th from 10-3 (Shanghai Restaurant on Somerset).

I spent a lot of time browsing through Urbanite Jewelry's Etsy Shop yesterday trying to select a couple of photos to show you that reflected the quality and workmanship as well as the style and gorgeousness of Krista's pieces. After much mulling I choose the following three but you really must check her stuff out yourself - it's awesome. Krista is also very active in the crafting community and is co-founder of the Craft Co-Op which is an amazing source of info for all those interested in the subject. Coming next for Krista is Wed By Hand. But first...her killer jewelry:

And if you have ever read my blog before you know of my love for Annie Bananie. Friend, felter, kindred spirit, teacher, day care provider, kundalini instructor. She rocks the free world. For the purpose of this post, I will focus on what she sells - lovely, soul nourishing felting kits that are appropriate for those aged 5 to timeless. She offers several different kits but the ones I particularly love are her ball kits - great for beginners or experienced felters looking to create simple beauty. All of her kits are complete with everything you need and detailed, clear instructions with photos. Annie's Etsy shop is coming soon so follow her blog to keep current of her projects and amazing workshops - joining community through creative expression.

I hope this post has inspired you to shop local handmade this Christmas and throughout the year. Keep watching these women, they are constantly churning out new products and designing amazing awesome things! They are passionate about what they do and everything they create is from love. Now who can resist that??

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Would You Prefer...

It probably started close to a year ago. Jack came home from school with this new game, "Would You Prefer..." We played it at least, daily and it has now become part of our bedtime ritual around here. We go back and forth asking the other questions about what the other would prefer. Samia has gotten into as well now. I wish I had kept a record of all the prefers since its inception. They are almost always pretty hysterical, sometimes insightful, occasionally wildly rude and disgusting, and always entertaining. Sam's tonight were "Would you prefer to have a robber come in and steal all the presents or have 150 presents?" Tough. And the other, "Would you rather have your armpit under your arm or behind your ear?" Hers are always spoken with absolute earnestness too and in a whisper (it is bedtime).

Jackson's are lately of the "Would you prefer a laser gun that shoots 71,895 laser rays a minute or a stealth fighter that can turn invisible?" variety. Again, tough. Oh hell, I wasn't going to write the disgusting one from tonight but I will..."Would you rather eat a spoonful of a stranger's pus or two spoonfuls of a stranger's sweat?" I think my son often mistakes me for an eight year old boy.

On another note, (and to quickly get the above contemplation out of your head), I have started sorting through my HUGE bucket of wooden beads and have put some bead bags together along with a couple of metres of cord each. Not to play into the whole "pink is for girls" thing, but I have bags that are perhaps more lumberjack like than the others? I am selling them for $5.

Also, I have some handpainted dragonflies for sale. They are made of reed (ie. somewhat delicate for the under 4 crowd), and appear to fly as they balance on the very tip of your finger. I am selling them for $5 too.

If you are interested and living in the Ottawa area, send me an email or post a comment. Thanks!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pride and Joy

Just a quickie. Samia had her first ballet recital today. She was a flower. She was awesome and gorgeous and very proud. Something about watching kids perform - their honesty and fearlessness, (or trepidation depending on the kid). They seem at the same time so vulnerable and so strong. Watching Samia today, I had one of those rare and precious moments where I feel like I was granted a glimpse of who she will be. Maybe it takes looking at your kids as a bit of a spectator every so often rather than a harried immersed mom to see the growth of your children. Maybe I need to get a life.

Here she is waiting for her dance. Sorry for the blur. Clearly I find it very difficult to remember to change the camera focus from manual to automatic.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

workermade: Holiday Workshop

I'm really excited to tell you about my upcoming workshop Wednesday, December 15th. I will be promoting and teaching alternative wrapping techniques for holiday gifts and beyond! Participants will learn various techniques and make their own upcycled festive wrappings. I read today that in the U.S alone over 5 million tonnes of waste is generated during the merry season; 4 million tonnes of that crap is attributed to wrapping paper and shopping bags. I would love to see you on the 15th. Please RSVP by December 10th.
Alternative Wrapping Workshop

And even though it's not Hump Wednesday, I'm gonna shake things up a little bit over here and tell you all what I'm grateful for today. My friend Annie. I know I talk about her alot and because of that, some might even think she's my only friend! (don't worry, I am soo blessed with many fabulous, generous, awesome, and gorgeous women in my life whom I am a thankful for every day). Annie is my crafting kick-in-the-pants and cheerleader and she has offered me her workshop space so that I can hold this workshop and I love her dearly for it.

AND...I have such a big head right now. I can not believe I just got this invite posted in my blog. I feel like a technological wizard which is 180 degrees (see I don't even know how to find that little degrees sign), from what I actually am. Ask me anything, go on...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome December

I can't stop making these little flower thingys that I found via a sweet blog I follow, How About Orange. The tutorial, by the wildly talented Alisa Burke, is for a "Recycled Roses Wreath" but I've been pumping these puppies out for a little crafting experiment of my own. Not prepared to disclose too much at this point because it is currently walking the very fine line between bust and bonanza (that's a tad strong). You'll know its outcome in the next few days by either reading about it ad nauseum, or never hearing about it again. That's my style.

It being December 1st. the Christmas tree has been erected and adorned with all the treasures amassed through the years. I managed to get the kids advent calendars up and presents wrapped for when they came in the door from school. Check check. Over the next few days we will slowly go through the boxes and finish decorating the house for the season. What is it about the change from November to December that puts a little bounce in my step? It's a matter of a few hours and I am much the merrier for it. It's my Christmas freakness come to life.

Wednesday's gratitude was somewhat unanimous. Samia is thankful for the Christmas tree and her baby Christmas ornament, Jackson is thankful for gogos and the Christmas tree and I am thankful for a wonderful evening spent decorating the tree with my gorgeous kids, breaking new ground and embracing life as a family of three. Love.