Saturday, October 25, 2008

sewing mishap #635

I've done it again. Even though I used a pattern, I've made a shirt fit for a pregnant woman.

The pattern was easy (Simplicity 2931), and I was really happy with the shirt until Jay caught sight of it. He just laughed and asked why I'm so drawn to puffy, baggy clothes. Sure, empire waists are in, as are gathers and flowing tops, but still, it seems this shirt pushes the limits. In its favour, it is very comfortable and I love the deep chocolate brown of the corduroy (thank you Superbuzzy). But speaking of corduroy, that's probably the main reason why it's too puffy. Oh well. A lightweight cotton or linen would probably turn out better but I think I'll move on to another pattern.

Or stop sewing altogether. Yeah, that's it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

lantern tricks

Last year I announced to Jay that Hallowe'en was the one "holiday" I was going to purposely decorate for. Luckily, he didn't mind the idea and even helped out. And where last year's attempt was a little haphazard, this year is completely different. I heart these Jack-O-Lantern lanterns.

I wish I could take credit for them, but truthfully, I saw similar lanterns in a store window that came with faces already printed on. My trick was to buy plain orange lanterns (a fun trip for Jay, Sadie and me to Chinatown last weekend) and draw our own faces on them. Sadie drew one all by herself and helped out quite a bit filling in the bigger faces. Then I found this string of copper ball lights that my Mom gave me last year, which couldn't have been more perfectly suited. The lanterns just clip on to the top of the copper light, and I spaced the lanterns to leave other lights exposed. At night, the shadows that the copper strips produce add an eerie feeling to the lanterns that they just don't have during the day. Then some orange and black-and-white polka dotted ribbon on the door, and voila, we have a Hallowe'en porch. All that is left is the real Jack-O-Lantern, but he won't make his appearance until Hallowe'en night. I'm loving this "holiday" so much I'm even going to take the day off work.

I mean, someone has to be here to walk the 4 year old Cat-Princess-Bunny to school in her costume.

Monday, October 13, 2008

word pile up

The benefit of starting the Canadian Reading Challenge on time this year is that I don't feel rushed to get through my list. On the flipside, I haven't been very successful posting about reading. I have finished another 3 Canadian novels since I last wrote, but I fear that waiting so long to write about them means I may forget the details that stood out. On top of that, I've fit other books in between, namely books about design and advertising (see the top of the book pile for example) which make my recall even harder.

The Body's Place by Elise Turcotte: This was a swift read. Even though character details were sparse, the tension that the author created was well crafted and it lead to a riveting ending. The story is told through a 15 year old girl, but it is actually the story of the three children in her family. On the outside the family seems typical, living through a dull suburban existence. What is underneath the veneer however, is a broken marriage that impacts each child in totally different ways.

Streak of Luck by Richelle Kosar: I already passed this one on to my mom, forgetting I would want a photo of it. Like The Body's Place, this came in my $5 book bag from Comorant last year at Word on the Street. Another story about a family, told through three female characters (the mother and two daughters). Most of the story is set in Toronto, and so I enjoyed the familiar details of my city. There were moments when I absolutely cringed; the family is perpetually down on their luck, yet I never felt truly sorry for them as it seemed clear it was the parents' decisions that were responsible for their situation. And the ending surprised me, leaving me totally satisfied. Overall, a good read.

Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark: Yes, I loved An Audience of Chairs more, but this novel was a pretty close second. I'm so thankful Ragdoll introduced me to Joan Clark. East coast stories are particularly charming to me, and the main character, Aurora, was another woman I was drawn to. Her story begins when she is found as a baby, floating on an ice floe, suspected to be a Titanic survivor. We watch her grow up, get married, have children and live out her life in her favourite Newfoundland. I loved everything about the story, but it's funny that sometime last year I checked out a few pages while in a bookstore and a passage upset me so much that I really had to talk myself into giving it a chance this year. The passage was about the birth of Aurora's son, and how her 6 year old daughter reacted. The birth had been hard so Aurora was hospitalized for 6 weeks. In that time her daughter's allegiance switched from Aurora to her father, and until the daughter was middle-aged it never once turned back. It hurt my heart to think that a child's love could be so temporary, and that an unforeseen absence could have such a devastating effect (not to mention totally freak me out about the prospect of having a second child while Sadie and I are so close). But clearly I got over it, and it was a wonderful novel. I heart Joan Clark, and highly recommend her to everyone.

So there is my second round-up of book reviews and still no sign of a knitting comparison. It could be due to the fact that every knitting project I take on these days takes me forever, but I still intend to get back into the habit. I just need my knitting mojo back. The leaves are falling, surely that should be enough, right?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

birthday girl

A certain little girl turned 4 yesterday. In one word, wow. I have no idea where those 4 years went, but at the same time I can hardly remember that this person was a baby. She has grown into someone who charms me every day with her sweet and relaxed personality, along with the occasional practical joke. To illustrate her budding humour, here is an example: on the way home one day Sadie told Jay that she had made friends with Tallulah in her JK class. Excited by the name, Jay then told her the story of how our cat Ellie was named Tallulah for a day until we realized it didn't suit her. So, Jay and Sadie get home and Jay tells me that Sadie has a new friend. I ask about it and Sadie tells me her name is Tallulah. Just like Jay I start telling the story of Ellie's name, but Jay says he's already told the story and Sadie gives me an "oh Mommy!". Fast forward an hour and the three of us are sitting around the kitchen table finishing dinner and Jay says to Sadie that he just loves that there's a girl named Tallulah in her class. Sadie looks at him with a knowing smirk and says, "there's no Tallulah in my class". Confused, I look at her and ask "what do you mean?" and she responds, without missing a beat, "I was only joking". We erupted with laughter. She played us - both of us! - for over an hour. We couldn't believe that she actually planned and followed through with a joke. I better be careful with this one, as if watching out for Jay's traps wasn't enough.

So that's my girl. Enchanting, funny and growing up way too fast. Insert the typical Mommy sigh here.