Monday, February 28, 2011

Dreaming of Summer Nights

Image from Home and Garden

As the snow falls again this morning, I am dreaming of summer nights.  Of the time I will spend under the stars and lights with my new little babe in my arms.  Of nights laughing and sharing next to the fire comforted and warmed by the flames.  Of long summer days of running, sliding, swinging, falling and getting back up, afternoons in the pool, and adventures created.
Of a vegetable garden tended and cultivated by our hands and food exploding with flavor.  Knowing that the food was grown with love and care.   Teaching the kids about nature and growth.
Long walks in the dying sunlight, children deep in slumber that only long summer days and nature can bring, and the strange rhythm that summer brings and works so well for everyone.
But for now we are covered in a new blanket of snow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Glaze Mixing Weekend

One of the things that I like least about being a Potter is Glazing.  There are so many different elements involved in this part of the process that if one was to sit down and think about them all one may choose not to be a Potter.  There is first the decision on what colors you want, whether to make them yourself or buy them commercially, and how much research into new and original color you want to do.  So far there hasn't even been any talk of actually making any glazes yet!  

When I first started the studio I decided that since I really didn't know ANYTHING about chemistry and I thought I would buy them commercially and then mix them up myself.  Sounds like a great idea, except super expensive!  So then I decided to try my hand at mixing and making my own glazes from recipes.  O.k. not a bad idea but a lot of trial and errors in the kiln and on pieces.  Not so great when you are either trying to sell stuff or it is on student work.
So in the end I have a mix of commercial glazes that I can count on as well as some of my own that I know may not work 'all' the time but at least when they do turnout it is amazing.

At the end of the last lessons in the fall I let the glaze run out knowing that I would have make all new ones in the Winter Session.  I thought that I would just make all new batches and we would be all topped up and ready to go for the Session as well as Production for the one Spring show.  Seems like a good idea, except I had not mixed that many glazes all at once before, so it took all weekend to mix all 6 glazes!  Many breaks, and a very fine mask on for safety, it is all done and completed.  Feels good to have it all done. Now on to the fun part of putting the color on!

Friday, February 18, 2011

{this moment}

This past weekend my Dad and Adriene came for a visit.  They live about 2 hours from us and so we don't get to see them as often as my Mom or Paul's parents.  The kids love it when they come as it is someone new to laugh with them and enjoy the their games and play.

You would think that not seeing them that they may play strange or be shy, but they run to see them, as though they see them every weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Handmade Dress for 2011

In the middle of what feels like the longest Winter ever I have gotten the creative bug for some reason.  Maybe it is the middle of the pregnancy hormones or maybe it makes me feel like I have accomplished something on the days when I in reality I haven't done much else.  What ever the reason there are many new things being created daily.  

A few weeks ago I ordered the Ruffled Kimono from ManiMina to be this years homemade dress.  Looked simple, easy to sew, and oh so super cute.  It lived up to everything. 
 I was able to cut out the pieces, and sew it together in a little less the 2 hours.  This in my books is fast and great for my instant gratification that I sometimes need when knitting projects are taking a little longer.  The part I liked best was that I didn't need large pieces of fabric. I was able to mix and match to get great colour combinations as well as use of some of the pretty fabrics I have but are not large enough for a full project on their own.
I was also excited to use the yellow fabric with the pink flowers as now Lily and I have matching outfits.  Do you remember the sewing treat for me last summer?  Always wanted mother daughter matching outfits.  I think there is a few more of these kimonos in the future.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Teaching Night Easy Dinner

Today is Tuesday which means that I teach my pottery class tonight and there is little time for preparation, eating and cleaning of dinner.  This means I have to find a few special meals that meets these needs.  
I thought I would share with you one of my favourites; Chickpea Ratatouille from Vive Le Vegan! 

*Please excuse the picture, I am no food photographer. 

It is super easy to make and enjoy.  Everything is mixed right in the dish and then put into the oven to cook.  I have even mixed all the ingredients in the morning and covered in the fridge until it was time to cook.  While the recipe is from a vegan cookbook we have been known to throw sausage and other leftovers that we may have from previous nights.

Chickpea Ratatouille (modified for little people's taste buds)
3 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 - 2 cups of red onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup of green/red bell peppers, diced
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tsp of honey
2 tsp of basil
1 tsp of oregano
1/2 tsp of rosemary
1 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp of allspice
2 bay leaves.

Mix all the ingredients together, bake covered at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes add 1 cup of minute rice stir and place back in the oven for 10 minutes.
Take out cool for little ones and serve!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Sweet Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day from the two sweetest hearts I know

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Cocoon of Pregnancy

We have all experienced it.  Whether it is while you are pregnant or watching a friend during her pregnancy.  We just seem to quiet down and draw inward.   I have been spending my days inside, cozied up on my bed either knitting, reading, typing, surfing or eating.  I don't often get dressed and the kids play while I cocoon.  I haven't seen friends in a while and not because I have been avoiding them but it just hasn't seemed to work out; busy schedules and me without a car to get around in the mounds of snow.

I am in a slow moving quiet place.  I spend time thinking about the little soul growing inside of me.  Who will he be, how will be change all of us, will he be the same baby as Sam and Lily or will he is calm and quiet. (both Sam and Lily cried a lot the first few months)

There are times in which I feel bad that I am still in my pj's at 4:00pm while making dinner, or that I think there is a bum imprint on my side of the bed.  Are the kids getting enough of my attention or are they ok playing with themselves.  Should I be getting more done and why does everyday feel like Mondays around here.   I am sure this is all just me feeling like I have to keep going as I was before even though I am pregnant, but the reality is I can't.   So shouldn't I let these thoughts go.  Everyone is fine.  The kids are happy and everyone is fed.   Soon the cocoon of pregnancy will be over and I will be thrown into the care of a newborn.  What else is there for me to do but enjoy the cocoon for now.

Friday, February 11, 2011

{this moment}

A single moment from the week in which you want to savour and remember.  

This is the first snowman that we have ever made.  We had to replace the nose a few times as Sam got hungry while making and ate the carrots.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pregnancy and Cookies

I think the excitement of hitting the half way mark in my pregnancy is starting to wear off.  When we hit 20 weeks there was this mini celebration of realizing that we are half way there.   Now two weeks later we are realizing that there is still much time left, 17 weeks 5 days to exact.
I have been thinking that when I was pregnant with my first there was so much stuff to figure out and get ready that we probably needed the 9 months to prepare.  When I was pregnant with the second I had so much inner work to do that again I probably needed the 9 months.  This time I feel like what am I to do with all these months of 'preparation'.  I know that the little peanut inside needs this time to grow but don't you think that there should be some pass when it is your third time or more.  Third time or more and your pregnancy is only 6 months.  You and your body have done this before you have a routine.  Kind of like baking cookies, after a while you don't have to look at the recipe, and you are able quickly put everything together and great cookies come out every time!  Now I know I am comparing pregnancy to cookies, but I think you get what I am saying.  The more you do it the less prep time.
Cookies..... (Mmmm) maybe I will bake cookies today.

Finished Knits

So my plan of knitting the 9 projects spaced out over 18 weeks seemed like a good idea at the time.  Counting down the weeks and days until the little peanut arrived.  So far in the first week and a half I have finished 4 of them.  I think I had forgotten just how quickly baby knits are.  
So here are the first three finished projects for the little one. 
 The Baby Sophisticate.  
 The Pebble Vest. 
 Vintage Baby Shirt
All links and info for these projects can be found here
All of them are super cute and snuggly and it makes me want to meet him so much more.  I am thinking of our summer together.  Well maybe that dream is more coming from a place of wanting it to stop snowing and start melting.  Yes it is snowing again here this morning!  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weekend Snow

A beautiful weekend in the snow.  After another huge snowfall we received a mild day perfect for outside playing with little ones.   We have been having such very cold weather that there hasn't been much outdoor play.  It was nice to be outside laughing with the snow falling.  Sam learning about snowballs and Lily taking to the rhythmic task of shoveling.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

#41 ~ Make quilts for the Kids beds. Pt. 2

Last week the fabric for Lily's quilt arrived and so I got right to work on making the quilt for her new bed.  I didn't want to cut the fabric as I loved the patterns so much.  So I just put them together with some lavender strips in the middle. 

 I also lined the back with some flannel for added comfort and warmth.  

Doesn't she look like she is enjoying the new blanket!  She is growing up into quite the little girl.  

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Moment to Myself

Yesterday was a different kind of day for me.  I was alone for the whole day.  I had no appointments that I had to rush to, no real errands I had to do, just a day to myself.  I almost didn't know that to do.  After dropping off Lily I went to the Starbucks, got a Mocha and muffin and sat down with my knitting.  It was quiet and at first I felt a little uncomfortable.  I am so used to rushing from one thing to the other or having the kids with me and therefore managing them at the same time.  At that moment I had none of that.  I was just sitting there in the morning sun knitting and sipping warmth.  I started to feel guilty. I was paying for Lily to be at Daycare and here I was relaxing and doing 'nothing'.  I started thinking of all the things that I could be doing, should be doing, and what I was going to do with the rest of my day.

For a minute it was overwhelming.  Then I stopped and realized that I was missing this moment to myself.  I picked up my knitting and with each stitch I let it go.  I enjoyed watching the people come and go and the warm sun after so many days of snow.  I walked around the Chapters looking at books I wanted to just because and even took some notes for future projects.  When I left it was because I was done and not because I had to rush onto the next thing.  I felt like I was moving in slow motion but in a good way.  A few more times in the day I let the guilt of being alone creep back in and each time I tried to push it away.  Trying to remind myself that this time to myself is o.k.

Having a few moments to finish the quilts (pics to come), make soup, and eat my lunch in quiet is what I needed.  I spend so much time caring for the other people in my life and sometimes I forget about caring for myself.  I think there is a little more self caring needed and coming in the future.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowed in on Groundhog Day

Last night Southern Ontario was hit with another winter storm.  We are under a blanket of 6 inches of snow, and everyone is home from work as the offices are closed.  This means lots of warm food, games played, and for this Mama knitting!  I am hoping to snuggle into me bed and knit the snow away.

With a small bit of motivation (the dog chewed the old ones) I decided to recover the couch pillows.  I have used this fabric on the doors of the kitchen cabinet as well as the resurfacing of the bench by the front door.  I now find that it ties all the rooms together in a small way.  After 3 years of living here I am starting to feel like we are finally getting it to a place that we want and feels like home.  
With January finally behind us I am starting to feel hopeful for Spring (I know thats hard when we are under another blanket of snow) January is just such a dark, dreary month. And this year I found it even more difficult, just felt like I was under a cloud of winter and pregnancy. While I am half way through my pregnancy there is still so much time left.  January is cold, everyone is tired and burnt out from the holidays, and there is this feeling that there is just so much Winter left here in Ontario.  I always find that once February starts that spring is here before I know it.  With a few less days in February, Mine and Lily's Birthdays in March,  March Break, and then before you know it April 1st is here.  
Sam this morning informed us that today was Groundhog Day and that if he saw his shadow there would be more winter.  It is not sunny here and so I am sure he didn't see his shadow I am also sure he was not able to get out either.  So who knows how much more Winter we are in for.