Saturday, November 22, 2008

Christmas Napkins

Are these not the cutest Christmas Napkins you've ever seen?? I think so too. And they were so simple and easy to make! I ran across them at the quilting store in town, and this is how I made mine:
First I made a template on a piece of paper using a 16 inch pizza pan. (The ones at the quilting store were made using a 19 inch pan.). I purchased some random Christmas themed fat quarters (12 in all) with a gold theme to all of them as I made these for Christmas Eve dinner at my sisters house and she said she's having a gold theme. So first I cut out two half circles from each fat quarter.

Then with right sides together, I sewed around using a 1/4" seam.

I left an inch to inch and a half opening for turning them right side out.

I trimmed the corners so they would lay nice when they are turned right side out also.

I turned them inside out. I used a wooden spoon handle to push the seams out, then I pressed them flat.

I top stitched around the edges to give it a nice finish (and also because I'm lazy and didn't want to hand stitch the inch opening shut by hand!)

Then I pressed them this way...

and that way... so they lay flat and look like Christmas trees!! I know, ingenious, right!

It only took me a couple hours to whip these up from start to finish, I made twelve in all, 6 matching pairs. And I love that they are all different but similar enough that they won't look funny on the table.

And then I used the leftovers to cut up into squares to make into these cute fabric baskets (only Christmas themed!) You can find the tutorial on Pink Penguin's blog.

The fabric baskets will have to wait however, I do remember saying that my next project would be my table runner, so last night while I was chopping up these little scraps, I also cut up the charm pack for my runner, so I will be able to start piecing it today! Maybe... I have so many projects on the go right now. But as always, I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I am sleep deprived. Today, I took my kids to get pictures done and was disappointed by the result. My son refused to cooperate and as a result I got a picture of my two kids with a three year old bearing the fakest smile ever. It looks so unnatural I can't stand it, and it takes so much effort for me to get them both ready and out the door and across town to the appointment that I don't want to do it again anytime soon, especially when there is no guarantee that my son will feel like being a part of picture day again. I may have to get creative and do something at home, as he is always asking me to take pictures of him here. Silly. And I was really disappointed with the studio I went to, as the quality of pictures for the price I paid was not up to par. Wal Mart and Sears take the same quality pictures (sometimes better) than the ones I received today, and are far less expensive, and you have more control over which shots you get.

Then, continuing on with my Nikon story, I took my camera back to the photo shop today, as it is still giving me problems with that shadow at the bottom of the photo. They kept it there as the Nikon rep will be there next week, so they are going to ask about it and do something. I feel better about that at least, as the fellow I spoke to said the flash on the camera is tested and rated for the 18mm lens that I am using, and shouldn't cause that shadow, and if it was the flash it should be consistently doing that, which it isn't, so hopefully we'll know by next week what the problem is. I'm hoping it's defective and they exchange it for me, as I really don't know what I'll do if that is really how this camera takes pictures, as at the moment my Canon 8mp digital elph takes better indoor shots. And HELLO! I have children and will take lots of shots indoors.

Then this evening, my baby was cranky again, tried to breast feed her and she wouldn't eat, so I warmed up a bottle and that is what she wanted. Made me die a little inside! I may have to pump and give it to her that way, so she still gets the good stuff for a while.

Then my husband came home at 10pm this evening, and told me we are getting freezing rain. Lovely. Roads are going to rock tomorrow morning!! I hate that he works in the oil patch and is on the roads all the time, makes me worry for his safe return when the weather gets bad. I also had some small shopping plans for tomorrow, but for nothing that is urgently required, so my plans may be thwarted by the icy conditions.

So all in all today was a bit of a disappointment, but I'm optimistic, and hopefully tomorrow will be a bit brighter than today... Would be nice to have some time with my husband, he's been working lots and late nights, haven't had real quality family time in a while and my son misses his daddy too.

I'm going to go to bed now, to pray for 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep, safety for my husband, sun to melt the ice, and a new camera. What the heck, I may just throw in world peace for shits and giggles.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Natural Progression

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together. There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you."
~Winnie the Pooh

My baby is growing up!! She is now two months old, and I am no longer producing enough milk for her :(

She is still fussy after I have fed her off both sides and have started supplementing with formula, when I know she's hungry and I have nothing left. This makes me sad for two reasons, (maybe more, we'll see how long I ramble). Okay, first of all, it's just one more step of my baby growing up, needing mommy less, because once she's fully on formula anyone can feed her. Also, she is my last baby, so this will be the last time I get to experience the most natural thing in the world... feeding my baby the way God intended. I truly feel breastfeeding links me back to all the generations of women before me that nursed their children. How many hundreds of years have we been doing this very thing??

And I feel that from the time our children are born, they slowly begin the process of leaving us. Which is naturally what happens when they grow up, if you do a good job. They become self sufficient, productive adults that can rely on themselves. And this is step one of my baby leaving me. WAaaaaaa! :'(

I know that this is what she needs, and I have given her a good head start. Breast feeding is much easier (no sterlizing or mixing, or heating, or purchasing!) Although there is also a certain freedom that I know I will enjoy once I am able to leave the baby with my husband for more than an hour at a time.

I suppose that is the progression though, as she grows up and becomes more her own person and needs me less, it leaves me the freedom to reclaim all the time and things we mothers sacrifice of ourselves for our children. It just makes me ache a little inside to know that one day, will be the last. And it seems that in the beginning I resent having to give up the freedoms that I used to enjoy, I have to take the baby with me everywhere I go, I am 100% responsible for her 24 hours a day 7 days a week. But once that same responsibility is taken from me, I am sad, and it makes me think that one day, I will look back and miss it, and realize that I didn't take the time to enjoy it.

Funny thing, I was thinking the other day, how the "young" kids don't appreciate their own beauty, like when I was 18-25 I remember thinking how chubby I was and not fully appreciating my youth. But how can you when you don't know anything else? Now that I am getting older, I can look back and say that I didn't appreciate the energy I had, the body I had, and all the freedoms I had.

So I suppose I should enjoy the last few weeks of nursing my child, try to be more present in the moment when I am feeding her so that when I do look back, I will know that I experienced it the best I could, and enjoyed the bond with my baby girl to the fullest extent. They change so fast and grow so quickly and there are already things about her that have changed, the way she looks around and focuses, the way she kicks her legs and waves her arms is less jerky and more smooth, and these changes are so subtle that we barely notice til they're gone.

I think I repeated myself alot in this post, but if you notice the title, I am a rambler, and what it all boils down to is that I need to accept the change that will inevitably come with a child growing up, and enjoy every moment as it comes, because the moments are so fleeting.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Addicted to digital

I think I am addicted to the digital world. I love digital photography, and most recently digital scrap booking. I can not believe how much content is available - for free! A most sincere thank you to all you bloggers out there that post freebies, I love you for that. It's so hard to quit looking at all the kits and pages out there. Everyone has something different, and we all post our favorite blogs and one click leads to another, leads to another, leads to another...and before I know it hours have gone by. I would have no concept of time at all save for my baby eating every 3 hours! It is seriously driving my husband insane and is causing his already less than enthusiastic attitude towards the computer to sink even further into the abyss. And I think my computer chair will give me chronic back pain if I don't detach myself from it once in a while! I will try to tone it down a bit, I have marked several pages as blogs to follow and I think I will limit myself to following these few, as even with only a handful the possibilites are endless.

And seriously, I am addicted. I love the Dr. Phil show and he explains addiction or addictive behaviour as a behaviour that interferes with how you function in your day to day life. It's 2:07am, my baby is asleep in the swing beside me, my three year old is asleep in his bed, and my husband is sleeping alone in our bed, while I download content. I am ADDICTED!!! And I love it! I can't wait to see what you all have in store for me tomorrow... :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quilting, human error

Okay, so apparently it IS me. I'm standing too close to my subject and the flash is causing the shadow. I'm not used to the honking lense on this thing! I am sure I will get used to it, and I am much more aware of how close I stand and how much light is around to make sure I get a good shot. Anyways, that's something new learned about my Nikon already!! So after that, I used it to take pictures of this cow themed baby quilt I made for my nephew.

Not bad if I do say so myself. I know there's room for improvement but I'm always happy when I finish a project. I'm good at starting, not so much at finishing (or so my hubby tells me).
There was an ongoing joke between my sister-in-law and brother-in-law regarding her "cow eyes" (which he loves) and it carried I told her I was going to make her a cow blanket...she said go here it is!

I love quilting. Well, I love sewing. I absolutely love sewing together the quilt tops. Adding the backing and quilting it, not so much. I have a really hard time with the bulk of the quilt, and I almost always, no correct that, I ALWAYS end up with material puckers, even though I use a quilting foot and I pin the crap out of it!! It must be something I'm doing and I think that through practice and maybe some tips I may pick up along the way I'll get better. It's a passion I never would have thought I would have, but here I am.

I'm moving on to making a christmas table runner. I'm so excited. I wanted to make one for Halloween as well, but the baby came early and I've been a little busy. SO! I am making a runner using a "Merry & Bright" charm pack by Moda. The pattern is called "Charmed I'm sure" and I think it's going to be so cute!

I'll keep you updated :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Nikon D90

So I purchased a new camera a few days ago, the Nikon D90.

This beautiful state of the art memory maker is more camera than I know what to do with. I have never taken a photography course and don't know my aperture from my shutter speed. There are so many menus and options that I fear I may turn it to "auto" and leave it there. I do feel confident though, that I will take excellent pictures with it, and it will be a learning curve for me to slowly go through all the components of what this high tech machine can do. I am excited to learn all about each setting and what I can do with it. I want to take beautiful pictures of my children, photos of items so close up that you can't tell what they are (even though they are perfectly in focus). I want to know this camera inside and out! The Nikon manual and I are going to have a special relationship. And I know that I paid too much money for this camera for it to end up a point and shoot, because if that's what I wanted, I would have kept going with my Canon digital elph.

My only problem so far is shadows. In the past two days, I have clicked off over 100 pictures of random things around my house, plants, my dog, my kids, the furniture even. And on the odd picture, I have a half moon shaped shadow at the bottom of my picture, dead center at the bottom of the frame.

(My sad three year old illustrates my shadow problem.)

And only on indoor shots with the flash on, with the lens at the shortest setting, not zoomed out at all. And I have checked the obvious - is my finger over the flash, is my finger or part of my hand over the end of the lens, is my camera strap swinging into view...but no.

(Our husky/collie/heinz 57 dog Keiko also illustrates the shadow problem). These photos are all taken at different times of the day.

(My three year old, happier this time to illustrate the shadow. He's all dressed up to play in the snow for the first time this year!) The pictures are also taken in different areas of the house.
(My sleeping daughter is willing to help display the shadow too). These shots are at different angles as well.
She is disgusted with my photography skills and can't even look at me!! In general I am getting wonderful pictures so far, except for this little tiny glitch.

Anyone out there know why this super costly piece of photo equipment is leaving shadows at the bottom of my pictures??? I will be taking the camera in to the photo shop where I purchased it tomorrow, to find out if this is user error or if this camera was slammed to the ground in the box causing some defect!! I'm hoping it's something I've done, as I am so excited about this camera that I really don't want it to be something I can't fix. I will be extremely disappointed if this is the case.

Christmas Cards

So I told you I would update you on my creative process and making my Christmas cards. It was a great evening. I got 10 cards made! There was also the best tasting coffee I've had in a while (not including my Tim Hortons, and anyone who knows me knows how much I love my Tims), lots of cookies, squares, and chips with guacamole and salsa. There were 7 other ladies to visit with and I met some women new to the scrapbook club that I hadn't met before. All in all it was a successful evening.

I tried to keep them simple, but elegant and cute! I love my little gingerbread punch, this is one of the ones I bought that I couldn't wait to try out!

Snowflakes, reindeer and candles (partylite, WOOO!) are always things that make us (or at least me) think of this special time of year.

And although you can't tell from the picture, the green card is textured and feels like velvet, and the blue card has little star brads on the corners. Last year I enjoyed making these more than I thought I would, and I didn't think I would do them again this year after having the baby. But alas, my creative side won't let the season pass without a few handcrafted items to send out to all my special friends. Ten down, maybe 25 or 30 more to go?? I still have lots of ideas rattling around, and my sister and I are getting together to work on them some more during the week. And then, it will be cookie time! Start baking and freezing and eating...mmm cookies.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Feeling Creative

"Women need real moments of solitude and self reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away" - Barbara DeAngelo

So tonight is my weekly night out, although I still have to take the baby with me! I am going to a scrapbook night to work on preserving my memories. Although tonight my project is to handmake Christmas cards. And yes, I am thinking about Christmas already! If I didn't I would never have things ready. I also have cookies to bake and pierogies to make...and maybe cabbage rolls and meat pies as well...mmm. Have I mentioned Christmas is my favorite time of year?? I love it when I can look out the window, and snow is gently falling, I light my partylite candles (one more of my favorite things), and bake. This year may be a little more difficult, or not, as I know Chase's favorite question lately is, "Can I help?" It will either be tonnes of fun, or very frustrating, and as I have realized about myself lately, I am a little uptight about him not doing things exactly the way I want....I'm a stickler for details. I suppose the thing to do would be to make sure that whatever I'm making that he is able to help, maybe give him a section of dough to work with by himself. then he can play and not drive me crazy! Especially as I like to give my baking away at Christmas, I want it all to look a certain way.

Anyways, back to my scrapbooking cards. I just bought a couple new punches and can't wait to use them, as well as some new paper and a card making kit from Creative Memories (yes, favorite thing). I made cards last year as well, and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. So I figure this year it's a great thing to do again, and it gives me a reason to go to a scrapbook night and have some time for myself. My sister also comes with me, so it's also a great time to socialize and just have some plain old fun. And the best part is, my three year old gets to spend quality time with his Daddy, which he never seems to get enough of. So hopefully, tonight I can get lots of cards done, in between breastfeeding and dealing with Rayna, and eating snacks and visiting, and laughing...yes, I love scrapbook night! Hopefully I will have something to show you on my next post...incentive to get something accomplished!

Beware the few racy photos...thought it was worth it to see all the other ones!