Thursday, 31 May 2012

Cruising in the Springtime

I have a feeling that I'll be riding my bike more this summer than even last summer.  I did two things this week that I've never done before: biked to a meeting, and biked all the way to Walmart.

On Monday night, Juliana's school had a kindergarten meeting.  It took me about 7 minutes to bike there, which was about half the time I was expecting.  I felt pretty cool, with my cru iser bike, wicker basket, and hipster scarf, pulling up to the empty bike rack while all the other parents vied for the limited parking at the school.

Since I still needed to top up my exercise minutes for the day, I took a bit of a detour around the neighbourhood on my way home, snapping this pictures while on a bike path near the beach (although that's just dirt in the photo below, not sand).

Wednesday, I had planned to drive to the hospital to visit Mom as I usually do on Wednesday mornings.  I got the kids out to the garage, opened the van door, and Surprise!  I was missing a car seat.  Kevin had moved them to his car the night before to take Juli to soccer while I went to the baby shower, then we forgot to move them back.

Oh well.  Since we were already outside, I decided we needed to go for a bike ride instead.  I hadn't had breakfast yet, so we biked to Tim Horton's.  That's the farthest I've ever gone while biking around here, other than my one-time-trek into the countryside.  We had to lock up at the bank next door then walk over to our bike-rack-less destination.

As we sat and enjoyed our food (bagel belt and coffee for me, fruit explosion muffins and chocolate milk for the kids), I decided to continue on and head to Walmart.  We were halfway there anyway, and had the whole morning ahead of us.  It was an easy downhill all the way there, and we loaded up both my basket and the back of the bike trailer with plants among a few other purchases.

I had promised to take the kids to the park on our way back from Tim Horton's.  Even though our trip was twice as long and Nick needed to nap, I kept my promise. (sorry for the poor quality cell phone pictures...although they kind of make my bike glow with an angelic light).

Here's to a happy and active spring!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Jar of Love for Baby Mason

There is a new baby in our church.  I don't know the mama well, but I decided to go to the church  baby shower anyway, joining the ranks of the senior ladies who attend every single shower.  I decided to make another nursing cover (after asking if the baby is nursing).  This time I actually went out to buy fabric and found this cute olive green polka-dot among the bolts of somewhat gaudy quilting cotton.

I also made an extra-large swaddling blanket out of flannel and cotton.  It was supposed to be just a receiving blanket, but after I washed the flannel in hot water as I always do for new fabric, there were some colour splotches on the back that didn't look very nice.

The baby's name is Mason, so I couldn't resist including a mason jar in the wrapping.  My gunmetal nail polish came in handy to highlight his name on the jar.


Monday, 28 May 2012

Oh, I love my garden!

I made a trip to Rona today (like Home Depot, only Canadian)  I'm looking for tall ornamental grass, but haven't been able to find any that is affordable.  Instead, today I found strawberry plants for 99 cents!  I got a few other perennials too, along with some basil that has me craving margarita pizza.

We've also been looking for an affordable trellis solution.  My choice today was between a lovely arched trellis panel for $39, or bamboo for $1.09 each.  I went with the bamboo and came home with five.  I'll attach thinner pieces horizontally with wire, and use eye hooks (or plain nails) to attach it to the garage.  This is the view of my former veggie garden, turned berry and herb garden.  Kevin built the boardwalk last fall, and I absolutely love it.  It made our backyard look somewhat civilised and looks much better than the worn path through the grass we had before.  Plus, it gives me a whole new garden bed to plant!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Our First Date

Birthday flowers from a sweet friend.

Once upon a time, I was a shy, socially awkward, homeschooled girl with ZERO fashion sense. (Seriously, I think about what I wore back then and cringe.)  After 10 years of homeschool, I "graduated" at age 17.  But not with any kind of qualifications.  I decided that I wanted to go to college, which meant that I had to get through high school.  After an entire summer of chickening out, I finally "rebelled" against my mother by giving her a letter I wrote stating my intention to go to high school.  She cried, I cried, and I finally called the school to register.  They were unable to give me credit for anything I had already learned, so I had to start from the beginning.

So I started school in September, two years older than all my classmates.  I was still shy, still socially awkward, although my fashion sense was slowly starting to improve.  I started to feel a little more comfortable at our church youth group too, despite still feeling like an outsider.  Most of my friends were heading to college, while I was stuck in high school.

That October, I decided to take part in a play that was being put on at our church: Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames.  I was cast as a gangster's girlfriend.  My job was to flirt with three guys, inciting my gangster "boyfriend" to shoot them.  I knew two of the guys, along with the gangster.  All I knew about the other guy was that he was Brian's brother and his name was Kevin.  My one line was “Hey fellas, lookin’ for a good time?”  And then I had to scream and run away once the shooting started.

Since I had no idea whatsoever how to flirt, the girl cast as the "Christian girl" gave me a few flirting lessons.  They must have worked!  At the conclusion of our scene each night, Kevin would come to sit in the same pew as me...not exactly with me, but several feet away.

After Kevin was thrown into hell three nights in a row, he responded to the altar call and went to the front to begin his relationship with Jesus.

When the play was over, Kevin began coming to church regularly.  After services, he'd seek me out to talk.  It was the first time any guy had ever shown interest in me that I know of.  But I wasn't really aware that he was interested in me as more than a friend.

Case in point: We both planned to attend the church Christmas banquet that year, and had bought tickets at the same table along with some other friends.  Our church has family suppers on Wednesday nights before classes start.  Kevin and I ate together one night in November, chatting about stuff and about the banquet.  Kevin said something like "I can give you a ride to the banquet if you want."  I declined, since I lived right across the street, and it would take two minutes to walk, even in heels.  Then I went on my way while he finished his supper.

A friend of ours sat down to talk to him, then came to find me.  She said, "So I heard that Kevin asked you out!"
"What? No he didn't!"  I was completely clueless.  So she filled me in that he was really trying to ask me out on a date with his awkward offer of a ride.  I went back to sit with him, apologising for misunderstanding.  I said I'd love to be his date.

Now, our youth group was full of "I kissed Dating Goodbye" fever or something.  They just didn't date.  Apparently, all the boys wanted to, but all the girls wouldn't.  So our date was a BIG DEAL.  I'd never been teased so much in my life!  I did end up walking to the banquet with my family--my mom insisted.  She knew nothing about my date.  She would not have approved.

Kevin brought me a flower--a pink and cream carnation.  All the girls oohed and awed.  And someone took a picture.  Despite the fawning and attention, we managed to have a great, though shy, time.  I got home with my flower without my mom seeing it.

About a week later, I got a letter from a guy at school who was interested in me.  Good thing Kevin got me first!

We went on several more dates over the next few weeks (the movie Castaway, and that notable date at Second Cup where I inhaled my white hot chocolate and coughed it all over the table.) before I told my mom about him.  Then Kevin asked, "Since your mom now knows about me, can I call you my girlfriend?"

And they lived happily ever after.
But the best is yet to come.

I'm linking up with Bonnie at The Koala Bear Writer.  It's her 5th wedding anniversary!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Yellow Dressers

I am still undecided on the colour to paint my kitchen dresser.  We have a new table!  Yay!  It is a black-stained pine farmhouse table from Ikea (via Kevin's brother...thanks B&A!).  It is the first time we've had a full-sized table.  The space is nice!  We can actually keep serving dishes on the table when entertaining!  It fits all eight chairs (my four distressed chairs, and the black stained ones from Ikea) and suits our kitchen a lot better than the little natural-pine table did.  For practical everyday use we'll only keep 4 or 6 chairs in the kitchen though. I'd show you a picture, but the kitchen is in need of another 15 minutes.

So back to the dresser.  While the bigger table is great, and suits our kitchen much better, It hides the dresser much more than our little table did.  I'm leaning toward yellow.  But then I don't know what I want to do with the drawer pulls, or the best way to smooth out that crackly finish.  Lucky for me, the internet has lots of yellow-dresser inspiration.  Click on each picture for more details.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Turquoise Clothespins

Migraine. Can't think. Migraine. Drive to and from hospital to visit Mom. Migraine. Feed children. Migraine. Put Nick to bed. Migraine. Have nap. Migraine. Feel guilty about not getting anything done today. Migraine.

That's been my day so far.  The rest of it will include having supper at the church, then looking after a couple of adorable little boys in the nursery while my kids go to their classes.  And I hope it won't include the migraine.

Monday, 21 May 2012

I love Anthropologie! (at least the sale room)


I got to go shopping this weekend for my birthday, so I had to stop at Anthropologie.  I've only been there a few times since it opened, because even the sale items are usually out of my price range.  But since it was for my birthday, I decided to go.  I'm now the owner of the above shorts, although I don't look nearly as cute as the model in that photo.  I wanted the denim-coloured one originally, but since it was clearance, they didn't have my size.  I love these ones too, and now I can say I wear Anthro!  As for the rest of my purchases, it was just some jeans, a skirt, and a few tank tops.  The mall was filled with throwbacks to 1987, which made it difficult to shop amid all the neon, short-shorts, and battenburg lace.

I really wanted to get this dress, but it's not in the sale room yet. It's amazing that everything I try on in Anthropologie is flattering, even if it doesn't fit quite right.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

30 before 30

Today, I am 29 years old.  Yes, it is my first 29th birthday.  Since lists are fun (I've been making them ever since I could write!), I thought I'd give you a glimpse into my goals for the next year before I turn 30. (Thirty, flirty, and thriving?  Maybe not the flirty part...I had to have lessons in flirting for a part in a play when I was 17.  It worked, since I married one of the guys I had to flirt with)

This list is partly serious, partly kidding, and completely off the top of my head.

1. Go rock climbing (this one has to happen this week or else!  I have a Groupon!  Anyone want to babysit?
2. Publish another article
3. Paint our bedroom walls
4. Paint the stairwell and upstairs hall
5. Paint our bathroom
6. Start dating again (my husband, that is.) Now that we have a babysitter or two, this will be easier.
7. Finish compiling that e-book I've been supposed to be working on since November.  Life keeps interrupting, but I want to get it done and off my plate. It's compiled...someone else is looking after the formatting at the moment.
8. Reduce my commitments.  I don't want to be obligated to do anything extra on the computer at this point in my life.  I must stop volunteering to do things!
9. Break my sugar addiction...or if I can't/won't do that, at least exercise regularly
10. Make more money freelancing than I have before (my current highest annual freelance income is $500...anyone got a book that needs editing?)
11. Make myself a new apron.
12. Get better at at taking self-portraits with my little point-and-shoot digital camera.  Which would mean pulling out my little gorilla tripod more often.
13. Finish editing my story
14. Publish my story (or at least submit it, since I can't really control the outcome)
15. Finish writing my novel
16. Use up the rest of my business cards. Ok, so I have about 200 left...I may not be able to get rid of them that fast!
17. Convince Kevin that he does NOT want a stick-figure family on the back of our minivan.  The silver minivan is soccer-mom enough on its own!  I want to keep some individuality!  (Oh I miss my yellow SUV!) I think I've managed this one...he hasn't brought it up in a while. 
18. Get a tattoo.
19. Meet my littlest nephew, Sutton.
20. Clean my living room rug.
21. Set up my laundry room/craft area better and make it pretty.
22. Have the entire house (ok, not the basement) clean at the same time.
23. Send more things in the mail.  Mail is fun!
24. Teach Nicholas that the word green relates to the colour green.  I ask him what colour something is and he looks at it then says, "!"  Last month it was blue.
25. Like all my clothes.  I get to go shopping tomorrow! Wish me luck and good sense!  Happy birthday to me.
26. Learn how to care for my skin so that I don't have too many more wrinkles by the time I reach 30.
27. Pull out my violin, tune it, and see if I remember anything.  I probably don't.  One day I'd like to take lessons again (and I hope I'd actually practice).
28. Teach Juli and Nick to value and care for their stuff.
29. Learn how to be gentle in my speech toward my family.
30. Learn to love my partly-curvy body.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

My Reading Pile

Left to Right:

Country Living, June isue
Victoria, May/June issue
Home Comforts, by Cheryl Mendelson
Connecticut Brides, by Pamela Griffin

Now if only I could take the time to sit down with a cup of tea and read them!  But I can't today.  My mother-in-law is staying at our house tomorrow night!  And the house is a disaster, as usual.  At the very least, I need to make sure we have clean sheets and blankets and pillows for her, and a clear path in the play room downstairs to the sofabed.  At least my silvery bathroom is clean.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A Silvery Bathroom Inspired by Young House Love

I've been planning this makeover of our tiny off-the-kitchen half-bathroom for months!  Probably nearly a year.  I was inspired by what Young House Love did to their daughter's walk-in closet.  


So I painted the walls General Paint's Packing Nut (the same as the living room), and carved myself a potato stamp.

I actually measured and used a level, while YHL did not.  I don't quite have the sense of space that they do and knew I'd totally mess up.  Until recently, I couldn't even write in a straight line on a piece of paper.  Letters to my pen pals would inevitably curve down as I wrote each line.

Even with the measuring, I mispositioned two of the corner stamps.  I did the corners last by cutting the stamp in half and stamping twice, one for each wall (letting the first one dry of course.)

My little collection of vintage/antique mirrors now has a home.  I bought the last one (on the right) at the antique mall the same day I found the little story book.  as soon as I saw it, I knew just where it was going to go.  Until now, the other two mirrors have been propped on the bookshelf waiting for a new home.  I'd like to hang that little wicker and rattan chair on the wall directly under the larger mirror, but right now there isn't really any point since a certain little boy will just pull it off the wall all the time.

The basket will come in handy for storage, since this bathroom doesn't have any.  Eventually I will convince Kevin to cut me a proper shelf for this space.  I can't use table saws.  They scare me.  I narrowly avoided a grevious wound last year, and was only saved by the fact that I was wearing jeans.  I'm much more comfortable with the mitre saw and the jig saw (both of which I used during this makeover!)

The shelf brackets and boards were painted using homemade chalk paint.  I'm not sure yet what I think of it.  I didn't use any wax or sealant like I should have.  What I do love about this paint mix is the earthier feel and colour that comes from adding the plaster of paris.  I will definitely be trying this again.

This picture should give you and idea of the scale of the pattern.  I spaced my little dot-flower-things farther apart than they did in that pretty pink closet.  I like both looks.

This shelf was the worst thing to figure out how to hang.  The wall in question has no studs except right next to the wall on the right.  So a 1/4-inch piece of mdf painted the wall colour with a cut out for the mirror, and some glue and silicone solved the problem...I hope.  The shelf, towel ring, and soap dispenser are from Ikea.

So that was the half-bathroom, showroom style.  Here is what it really looks like:

I'm sure as soon as My kids wake up, they'll add grimy fingerprints and drips to everything too.  This is what the room looked like before:

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