Archive for January 2013

blue sky snow day

On weekends my worry about snow makes me feel like a scrooge – there’s tobogganing and snowmen and hot chocolate and lazy days at home. We could go swimming or clean the house but when it’s a blue sky snow day it feels like a shame to do anything but enjoy it.

tartan week

tartandayDuncan’s memorised his Scots poem for Tartan Week at school and I’ve finished his bit of tartan to wear. Aside from a kilt, it’s a bit harder to put tartan on a boy – sashes and ribbons work really well with minimal effort for girls but I was struggling to come up with a plan this year for Duncan. We’ve decided to go with a homemade waistcoat this year using a pattern completely invented by Duncan and I and constructed initially out of brown paper for fit. Aside from a couple oopsies – don’t look too closely at one shoulder, I think this worked out pretty well. I didn’t bother with buttons because he wouldn’t do them up anyways and we went with a wee lapel to make it a bit different and give some texture to the front. It’s fully lined (in the same fabric) as it needed the weight and meant there was no need to bother with facings or bindings. I could trace the pattern if anyone wants – it’s rather forgiving since there’s no fastenings at all.



sled1Snow hanging off the trees as I ride by bike to work, the quiet cold, the pawprints of the rabbits in the snow, and the uncertainty about how I’ll get to work tomorrow with the snow forecast overnight. It’s not quite how it used to be, snowshoeing in the mountains, but it’s beautiful here at the moment and we’ve a snowman in the backgarden and got out for a wee bit of tobogganing before lunch.
I alternate between really missing the snow, and dreading it’s impact on my commute. Old and grumpy – I wish it would either snow us in, to make working from home the only sensible option, or not snow at all. I don’t have a parking spot at work so I either ride in the 18 km or drive most of the way, leave my car, and cycle the rest. Unfortunately in this weather riding all the way is rather epic sometimes while leaving my car could mean getting blocked in by the plow. Both options mean riding my bike on the road surrounded by drivers with low profile summer tires – sliding their way across the street. So I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t snow overnight and my 10 year old self is disgusted with me….


chicandsimplesewingTwo new projects that have me really loving my new sewing machine aren’t actually quilts, but shirts. The first, in a lovely Liberty lawn, is from Christine Haynes’ Chic and Simple Sewing. This was actually the first time in my life that I made a muslin (or in regular-speak, a practice shirt to check the fit) simply because I love the liberty lawn fabric far too much to cut into it without a lot of thought. The first draft was in left-over quilting cotton and is therefore far too smock-like. With the lawn it’s a lovely floaty shirt that I’m wearing regularly to work. (Pattern for the Back to School Shift dress shortened to low-hip).

scoutteeThe next shirt is a Scout Woven Tee from Grainline Studios. This is actually the muslin, made from left-over fabric from Fraser’s quilt (men’s shirting). It’s a 6, but I graded down to the size 4 under the armholes (I had to take in my French seams for a more flattering fit). I also added two inches in length to make sure there’s never a gap between it and my jeans – the pattern is on the short side for anyone with a long torso. But aside from the length which is easily adjusted, it’s a brilliant pattern and I love the bias used to finish the neckline. This version is a bit too boxy, although improved by the cardi I think, but I suspect that a version in the Liberty Lawn will have a more flattering drape.

I’ve also made a few more pairs of the Liberty knickers, similar to these (photo not supplied for obvious reasons). One pair was shipped off to Jen – I can take requests but only if your hip measurements are the same as mine. I love these, although now that I’ve put the word knickers on the site I’m waiting for the avalanche of soft-porn spam…

And my iron is broken – not able to produce steam. The lawn irons like a dream even without steam but the shirting is really struggling. I’ve a £50 gift certificate for John Lewis that was earmarked for more exciting things but a new iron it is… Any recommendations?

New Year with the Mosedales

theboyswithmarisca We spent the New Year with the Mosedales down in Yorkshire (I’ve heard them talk about moving “North” when they moved from Bedford to Shipley but it’s still almost 6 hours south of here). It was a brilliant special visit to give the kids a chance to play together – the boys love Marisca and she’s grown up so much since our last visit in July 2011. Tim’s lovely camera has once again snapped a fabulous picture of the kids and has posted links to the walk, ice cream playbarn and diner, and our fab New Year’s supper.

Tim was exceedingly brave and made mince pies with all three kids as soon as we walked in the door. They were lovely and well appreciated by the adults! (Bottom picture).

thomasquiltBut the really special thing was meeting Thomas, who at six weeks old was absolutely gorgeous. I probably stole him a bit too often to get a cuddle – especially from Tim who’s back at work now and probably missing having a good snuggle with his wee boy.


Thomas is lying on his new quilt here – whipped up from a lovely batch of organic cotton fabric that I found at M is for Make. Unlike some of the quilts I’ve made lately, the fabrics are from multiple designers – meaning the colours aren’t a perfect fit. I wish I did this more often as patchwork that’s too matchy-matchy defeats a bit of the magic. It’s hard to do this though without seeing the fabric in person and our local quilt store isn’t exactly carrying the ranges I’d prefer (but then I’m not the typical client so that’s reasonable). What I’d love to have is a local shop carrying liberty fabrics and organic goodness… but fortunately there’s the internet…

Merry Christmas 2012

Christmas morning this year was a lovely and quiet family affair. As much as we miss family on Christmas, sitting with the boys and slowly (it took all morning) opening presents and enjoying them was wonderful. Fraser made us coffees, we tried out the boys new scooters, bike (Fraser), and skateboard (Duncan), and then wandered up to the kirk for the 11am service.

christmascontrasts If anything, this was the year of the Christmas nativities. Duncan was in three (school, Beavers, church) although his class did another at the school assembly. Along with Duncan at church, Fraser was in the nursery nativity and also dressed up to go and sing carols at a local seniors home with the library. I think by the time the last one rolled around the boys were nativitied-out, but they definitely are ace on the Christmas story. It’s a vast difference from the multicultural area of Toronto that I grew up in where Christmas activities at schools had to be inclusive of all the kids who weren’t Christian.

I feel like I should be showing pictures of Cory and I as well, but somehow they’re never as good (even if they do show me wearing my lovely Brora wool shawl that some wonderful husband bought me). Actually I was mid-haircut Christmas day. I took the scissors to my hair on the 23rd and added some layers and a side fringe. It wasn’t short enough though so a few days ago I cut it a bit further. When the boys protested (aren’t all women supposed to have long hair) I explained that it would look much better after being under a bike helmet and they agreed it was a good choice. Duncan’s comment “riding a bike is the most important thing in our family isn’t it” was corrected by Cory to be “not THE most important thing” but the meaning is the same. I will probably visit the hairdressers in the next month and get it properly cut – but for now I still think it’s an improvement on a daily basis from how it looked before.


Top: trying on the new headlamps from Bompa. Duncan’s wearing his new bodywarmer while Fraser’s doing his best Dr. Who impression.

Middle: Duncan dressed as Joseph for the Beavers’ Nativity, Fraser at Christmas dinner.

Bottom: A photo used for this year’s Christmas cards, December 1st 2012.