Storming the Capitol

Last week the kids, my Mum & I went on a little adventure to our nation’s capitol.

I think the last time I was in Ottawa I was in grade 9 or 10 & my parents, sister & I had driven up for a Vintage Clothing sale. To this day I regret not buying that sheep skin coat. It was probably a Lincoln, dyed a deep orange. I was deeply into my Janice Joplin phase then & it reminded me of her. Instead I bought a red silk velvet bias cut dress. I still have that dress.

This visit had a different purpose, my Mum & I are on the hunt for military records for 3 of my relatives. Unfortunately, when we visited the Library & Archives, we were unable to obtain copies, but the staff were super helpful & as I now am the proud owner of an access card for their archives, the next trip should prove more successful.

The kids were alternating between being excited & nervous of the trip as this would be their first real trip complete with sleeping in a hotel and traveling on a train!!! I’m a fan of train travel & really wish train travel were easier in Ontario. So many of the lines have been cancelled over the years that travel anywhere other than the Ontario/Quebec corridor is a challenge.

The kids enjoyed watching the countryside fly by. 027

But the arrival of the snack trolley is what really excited them!

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I had made sure to pack books and a travel board game to keep the kids busy as well as gave them each a blank travel journal along with water colour pencil crayons & some water brushes (these are a brilliant invention!). All of this kept them mostly occupied for the 4+ hour trip.

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We spent a total of 2 full days in Ottawa. The first morning, we set out for Parliament Hill. We passed the Rideau Canal on the walk over.093

We wanted to see the Changing of the Guard, so arrived early and had some time to wander around before things got going.

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As we came across different monuments/statues & the kids asked questions, my Mum was much faster than I at giving them a quick history lesson. The Famous Five & the Persons Case were of particular interest to them.100

And then we started to hear the drone of the bag pipes that signaled the beginning of the Changing of the Guard. Abi was super excited to see two of the pipers were women…she is now asking about bagpipe lessons… 153

After we visited the Archives, which proved a bit of a bust, so we set about doing touristy stuff. We saw the Supreme Court.

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Went to the National Gallery to see the Alex Colville exhibit we had missed at the AGO. Abi was quite taken with the Chagall exhibit too.

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The Canadian Museum of Nature has Animals Inside Out which my Mum (who having been a nurse) greatly enjoyed. The kids were alternately fascinated & skeeved right out.

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Ottawa is a nicely walk-able, and man did we walk! I should have brought my pedometer! The hotel we stayed at is great for families! We booked a two bedroom apartment complete with a kitchen and then took advantage of the Byward Market’s offerings so we didn’t need to eat out all the time. It was also nice to come back to the hotel with two tired kids who would retreat to the 2nd bedroom which had a tv to unwind.

We came across a great shop called Workshop Boutique in our wander of the market. They carry handmade Canadian fashions, housewares, kids stuff etc…basically it was right up my alley!

Then it was time to head back home. After 3 nights, I was very happy to be back in my bed!

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Making of a cyclist…

I was going to post a well overdue crafting post as there has been a lot of that going on, but something way more thrilling happened around here just this afternoon…

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LIAM IS ON TWO WHEELS!!!!!

This has been a while in the making. Last Summer we bought him a bike that came with training wheels and he was alternating between “getting it” and being thoroughly frustrated by biking.  This Spring after being teased by a friend (the little jerk!) about still having training wheels on his bike he asked for them to be removed. One fall was all it took for him to decided he didn’t want to learn to ride. I didn’t push the issue, so he found himself scootering along the side walk to school while Abi & I rode our bikes on the road, which frustrated him even more as we could go faster but he refused to ride his bike without the training wheels being put back on.

Instead of putting the training wheels back on, I removed the pedals from his bike, essentially turning his bike into one of those expensive balance bikes. We spent about 2 hours TOTAL putting around the block while Liam figured out his balance, then he asked for the pedals to be put back on…and then he was off…

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He is still a bit wobbly when stopping and starting, but spent a good bit of time riding up and down our street, gaining in confidence then rode around the block.

 

 

What on Earth happened to my Summer?!

My last post (as my Mum reminds me) was in late May, I was gearing up for the end of school followed by eight long weeks with my beloved children. It’s almost like I went to bed one night & woke up to discover 4 months had flown by and now I’ve got a whole lot to catch you up on.

The Summer was lovely, we played & adventured around the city and I went on quite the crafting jag.

Annoyed with the current offerings in the clothes stores, I dusted off my sewing machine, made seven dresses for myself and one for Abi.

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I added two more tattoos to my body, due to their placement, I will not post photos, but will link to the inspiration. Since someone always asks, I currently have 10 tattoos, yes I said “currently” because I will more than likely add more over time. No, my tattoos do not signify a mental or moral failing, I just happen to like permanently decorating my body & only a very select few know where & what I have tattooed on me. The majority of the work I have are adapted from Iron Age La Tene culture designs.

This Summer was also filled with music, I have attended more concerts in the past few months than I have been to in the past 10 years. Starting with The Breeders, followed by TREE Fest with The Lowest of the Low & Flogging Molly, then there was RIOT Fest where I watched Iggy Pop flail around on stage. The last concert was Dropkick Murphys with The Mahones. Fellow Mum Leah was my companion for all of them & we had good times! I had forgotten how much I loved seeing bands live, but also discovered I really don’t care for crowds and have even less patience for drunk girls with no sense of personal space. Leah & I tended to leave before someone (not us) was going to get punched (by us, okay me!).

There was a lot of cooking with the kids, we made doughnuts, Onigiri, stained glass eggs and tonnes of other stuff. We had plans to do some preserving, but just never got around to it.

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Knitting also occurred. I knit a lot of shawls and started a sweater, they will have their own post…

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Now we are on to Fall and all the busy-ness of 3 birthdays in 6 weeks, Rhinebeck and getting people back into a groove!

 

 

Have bag, will travel…eventually…

While perusing Pinterest one day, I came across this rather nifty duffel bag sewing pattern. I had been looking for a decent size weekender bag for sometime & all the ones I had found were either not quite the right size or pretty darn expensive, but this bag looked to have all that I needed and gave me an excellent excuse to finally use that yard of Kokka Trefle fabric that had been in the fabric stash since Abi was 2.

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Robots! How fun!

The duffel pattern is a .pdf, which I’m rather fond of as they allow for a certain level of instant gratification and I can print them out on a heavier paper than that tissue paper traditional patterns are printed on.

With patten printed & taped together, I made a run up to my LFS (Local Fabric Store) for the few supplies I needed, read through the instructions and got down to business…and this is about the time things went a bit wonky… I am a visual learner, written instructions and I are just never a good combination no matter how well written they are and the Duffel pattern has REALLY GOOD written instructions, my brain is just not wired to work that way. I need pictures! Well defined & clear pictures, or video. Give me one of those shop manual blowouts of an engine & I can rip that Ducatti engine apart, clean it and pop it all back together in a weekend, give me written instructions and you’ll be lucky to see it back together in this lifetime. All this is to say that at some point in the construction of the duffel, I messed up a few times.

First mess up was I bought a separating zipper when I needed a zipper with a stop at the end. After a bit of internet perusal, I figured out a fix that would give me a non-seperating zipper.

My second OOPS! was I realized that according to the instructions, the outside of the bag was sewn first THEN the lining was attached. I had sewn all the layers together and ended up with raw edges inside the bag…WTF?! that was not how the examples I had seen looked…upon re-reading the instructions, I discovered my error and quickly set about fixing it. By “fixing it” I do not mean ripping apart all my seams and re-starting, that is just not my style, unless it is the only solution then I will crack a beer and accept my fate.

I had in my sewing stash some bias tape and it was the perfect width to cover almost all the raw edges, there are a few that will need a trim with the pinking shears…but we won’t talk about them.

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Applying the bias tape through 4 to 5 layers of fabric was slow going but I eventually got it all done, cleaned up my loose threads and turned everything right side out just as Liam came downstairs, saw the bag & with his eyes all lit up and said “ROBOTS!!!!!!!IS THAT FOR ME???!!!!”

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Yes, my little man…this is now for you.

Abi has requested a bag of her own as well…perhaps this time I will make it according to the instructions…

 

Dear Abi:

At some point in the wee hours of this morning, you officially turned seven years old…

Holy Freaking Crap! You’re SEVEN! And are turning into quite the little person! You have a great artistic flair and are regularly entertaining us by choreographing dances to your favourite songs. Soon we will need to buy a second fridge to showcase your drawings.

Your personality has really come into to it’s own. You have announced you will only ever wear skirts & dresses because that is all Denny wears and you want to be like her, I am pleased by this choice of role model as Denny is quite the kick ass chick! Your little observations on how the world works and opinions about situations are both mind boggling and comforting such as your recent comment about never having a DJ boyfriend because they are crazy for the girls and that is just not okay! I do hope you remember that when you get older…

Happy Seventh Birthday Mz. Abigail

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Liam:

Today is your fourth birthday.

I should have taken your super speedy arrival as a sign of what we were in for…your possession of a strong James personality became evident quite early on.

As badly sometimes want to stop your growing up, I am loving watching the seeds of the man you will become being planted. You have your grandfather’s love of all things mechanical as well as his habit of throwing an offending item in frustration then asking someone to pick it up for you. I get a kick out of your insisting on picking out a bouquet for me at the flower shop, this bodes well for your future partners. You are developing a love and appreciation of hand knits, in a few years, as promised I will send you to Denny for a knitting lesson just as I did with your sister.

Tonight, there will be Batman cake, your favourite meal (noodles with red sauce and LOTS of cheese) and we will celebrate your fourth year. Happy Birthday my love.

 

 

 

 

 

Big-ish changes

Things be changing ’round here…in two weeks I will be finished my full time contract position and return to my old job at the front desk. But there is a twist, I will only be working weekends and will be spending my Monday to Friday’s home with my kids.  The decision is mostly for economical reasons, having 2 kids in before & after school care is about $1600 a month and higher during the summer & holidays as they are there full time.

In addition to the financial benefits of our new normal, it also means that the house clutter will no longer be barely kept at bay, Chris will be relieved of cooking duty (our consumption of meat & starch will drop dramatically), I will have time with my kids and there WILL BE TIME FOR CRAFTING!!! I’m super excited by that last bit as for the past 2 years, between school, work and life, there just hasn’t been much of it going on so consequently, I was becoming quite the unbearable Grump-A-Lump.  The little bit of crafting I was able to do was one of the few things keeping me sane…mostly…

My weaving has seen a resurgence, mainly as an effective and quick stash buster but Spunky Eclectic’s Weaving Club has turned out to be an excellent way to expand my rigid heddle skills and get me excited about the loom again! My two most recent projects are a HoundsTooth scarf from using some Shibui yarn that has been maturing in the stash.

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Houndstooth looks like it might be tricky, but it’s dead easy! I plan to weave up a few more for gifts.

New Baby Niece Mea’s arrival inspired another weaving project with coordinating sweater:

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There has been next to no spinning going on although last night I was spindle spinning through out the bi-weekly DnD game.

The knitting has been slow and steady, I have a new sweater (which will become it’s own post once buttons have been added) and a nearly completed one. The various travel knit projects are going to now take a bit longer to complete as my commute will drop from 5 to 2 days a week…

Another little bonus to my becoming a mostly stay at home Mum, is that I will have time to blog again!

Undercover knitting

While perusing my Ravelry queue yesterday for some inspiration after frogging a bunch of WIPs that had lost their relevancy. I stumbled across the solution for two problems I was facing: a new knitting project AND the kids Christmas gifts! For once I even had all the necessary bits and pieces too! It’s a perfect storm of perfect!

Both the kids have a hand knit toy from me, Abi has a SackGirl and Liam has Eli the Elephant. They love their stuffies and have requested friends be made to keep them company…How could I refuse? Now I have just under 35 days to knit Otto and Sophie without the kids seeing me working on either toy. With no time to waste, I printed off the patterns, tossed the stash for the required yarns, grabbed the needles, flipped a coin to figure which project to cast on first (Otto won the toss),

made a pot of tea and settled in with episode 6 & 7 of The History Of Scotland for some undercover knitting…then I hit my first snag…The Disappearing Loop Cast On. The pattern directs you to the instructions at TechKnitter blog…and I just did not get it! I’m a visual learner and need REALLY good diagrams for something to make sense to me, videos or in person demos are the best way for me to learn…YouTube has a video that worked like a charm!

Once the cast on was sorted I was off and knitting, had the head all set to cast off and start the body…but I had over stuffed it and I was not happy…frogging ensued and there is a do-over this morning.

35 days and counting to knit a bear and a rabbit without being made…

And then you turned three!

Not exactly sure where the time went but I woke-up this morning and Liam is three. THREE! Holy Crap! When exactly did that happen?

Liam is turning into the quite the little gentleman, and I’m expecting him to grown into quite large gentleman! Some would say he is a mini version of my Dad, complete with the love of all things mechanical and a hilarious habit of tossing items that are frustrating him down the baasement stairs then asking one of us to go retrieve it.

Happy Birthday Liam! I look forward to watching you grow up, become the man I expect you to be and learn how to eat a Girl Guide cookie without getting it smeared all over your face.