Wednesday, December 23, 2009

O Christmas Tree and Me - Part one

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the tree. I've always wanted to live in a house where I could have a tree  (or more) in every room.  Alas, I've been confined to tiny spaces.  My relationship with the ole Christmas tree has been kind of a roller coaster.  When I was a child my mom and dad would put the tree up after we went to bed on Christmas eve so we would see it along with the heaps of presents under it on Christmas morning.  As a consequence I don't have any memories,as a young girl, of decorating the tree.  

My mothers tree was very traditional.  By that I mean it was a mish mash of ornaments collected over the years; some handmade, some transported to Africa and back ( six ornaments of which I have carefully cherished over the years), some store bought.  No theme, colour scheme or forethought.  There was always tinsselly garland, colored lights and the crowning glory were icicles draped one by one over the branches.  Oh, and every tree had candy canes resting among the baubles.  In those days candy canes weren't individually wrapped.  We spent the rest of the holiday season picking them off one by one to eat.  As time went by and they absorbed the humidity from the house they got soggy and the dried pine/fir/ needles would stick to the "crook".  We would just pick them off and then chew up the softened minty goodness.  Decorating a tree was not my mom's thing but she always did it for us kids.

Being the youngest and with no one else to surprise and when the novelty wore off for me she had me put the tree up every year.  Dad and I often went out in the woods and cut our own tree so needless (or is that needles?) to say we had some hummers - too short, too tall, one sided, half dead, wrong kind, too wet/snowy/ugly/smelly... WHATEVER.  I was so happy when I was able to talk her into putting the tree up earlier than Christmas Eve.  

When we moved from the country into the city we could no longer go out into the woods and cut our own tree.  Heaven forbid that dad would ever spend money on a stinkin' tree!  Mom talked him into INVESTING in an artificial tree and that's what I put up for the next few years.  What a bear that thing was.  The holes on the "trunk" were color coded with the branches.  You had to match them up to get the shape right.  Well as the years went on and the tree got older pieces got lost, the colour codings wore off and it was all I could do to make it look right.  Still all the ornaments, garland, tinsel and candy canes went on.  And when I say all I mean ALL!  I never remember my mother every buying a Christmas ornament which means they were all purchased before I was old enough to remember.  I made some cute red felt and lace Victorian ones and my sisters made ornaments too but most of what we had was old, old, old.  Even when I went away to college she would wait for me to come home so I could do the tree.  (Really it was so she wouldn't have to!)

It's at this point I feel like I should apologize to my poor niece Kirstin.  When I got married and wasn't home for Christmas on a regular basis Kirstin took over the tree decorating responsibilities.  By this time that ole fake tree was an abomination.  REALLY.  It was HIDEOUS!!  And she had to put it up year after year after had made an 'investment' once.  He didn't see any need to make another.   I remember one year Norm and I went home for Christmas and by this time Kirstin had gone off to college.  When I saw that tree I burst out laughing.  I told mom that was the most hideous thing I had ever seen and why didn't she get a new one.  she told me dad had put it up.  I'm sure I hurt her feelings but I just couldn't help it.  I gave dad an earful too.  It wasn't long after that they put the ole tree out to pasture and from then on used a ceramic table top tree.

Next, I'll tell you about my adventures with Christmas trees after I got married and up to this year.

Friday, December 11, 2009


One of the most anticipated seasons of the year for me, is pomegranate season.  I don't remember when I was introduced to them but I remember my mom knowing that I loved them and buying them for me as a treat.  In Canada they are expensive.  I was excited when I moved to California and could get them quite cheaply.  When we lived in Solvang there were places where they grew them and I could get one fresh off the tree.  Nothing prepared me, however, for the pleasure I received from my son Tyler.  Remember the dresses I made for the grandgirlies?  Well on that trip Ty said he had a surprise for me.  I had shared my love of this delectable fruit with my kids over the years so he knew I would be excited.  He produced a box and said, "Look at these, mom."  In that box were the biggest pomegranates I have ever seem.  Boulders, I tell ya, boulders.  They were huge!!!  Tyler is a letter carrier with the USPS and on his route he came to a house with several boxes of these on the porch.  He commented on them to the man in the yard and the guy gave him about 15 of them!  Several of them were so big that when I held them in the palms of both hands my fingers didn't touch!  And juicy...?!  Man oh man.  THE. BEST. EVER.  Eden and I shared one every morning. 

I have the method of eating them down to a science.  I can cut one open and cut away the segments with very little loss of juice or flying seeds.  A sharp knife and a big towel to cover your lap is the key.

Well then the artist in me took over and so Tyler and I did a photo shoot with them (before I ate them all.)

This is my favorite.  I think Ty has a good eye.

And this one... wish it was bigger. Cool though.
So it's been awile since I posted.  I'm gonna do better. Promise!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Earthlink VS Mozilla Firefox

Well, I'm sure the myriad followers of this blog have noticed my lack of posts recently.  I was having trouble with the enter key.  It wouldn't work when I went to compose.  I would have to either put in my pictures and type the journalling and then go to Norm's office to edit it into a readable format.  That has been a huge hassle but that's how I did the last couple of entries.  The other thig was to do nothing until I could get my computer wizard guy out here to look at it.  That's what I did.  He found out that the Earthlink browser couldn't support something about the Blogger code but when I use Mozilla it works fine!  So there ya go.  Good bye Earthlink...Hello Mozilla.  Oh and.............  wait for it....wait for it... waiiiiiiit....Tomorrow I'm getting Hughesnet satelite internet.  No more little hampster on a wheel making the interent work.  Stay tuned for deatails.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

5 dresses in 3 1/2 days

Well I said I would update you on the progress of the dresses.  Kids are so unpredictable!  I purchased a lot more fabric than I thought I would use but within those fabrics I chose one specific fabric for each girlie.  I was very excited about the horse fabric I chose for Asher (5).  She is a horse crazy girl and I had been looking a long time for something cute.  I was tickled when I found some great little fabric at Joann's.  Then I chose blue with red strawberries for Eden (almost 2) and some cute pink and brown with flowers and polka dots for Micah (7).  When I showed them the fabric, Asher was less than pleased by the horses; she wanted the strawberries.  Micah grabbed the horse fabric right away and Eden was unconcerned.  I just wanted them to like whatever it was they got so we went with their choices of course. 

This is Micah.  You can't really see in this picture but there is a contrasting band along the bottom.  After this picture was taken I added a row of 3 black buttons down the front.

Asher's dress didn't have contrasting fabric so I added the ric rac.  Don't you love ric rac?  I do.  It's so happy.  And of course the buttons are crooked.  Ack!

This little cutie is Eden.  She LOVED her dress.  She wore it the first 2 days but that night at supper she got spagetti sauce oni t so her mom put in in the laundry basket.  The next morning she hauled it out and wanted to wear it again.  She was insistant so Dusti sponged it off the best she could and she wore it another day.  She has a yellow flower button on hers.

These are the coordinating dresses I made for the two older girls.  Micah's flower button is pink, Asher's is green.  Micah's dress gave me fits this time around.  You would think after having already made 3 identical dress patterns it would be a breeze but that was NOT the case.  Anyhow they turned out cute and the girls love them.  They both thanked me many times and asked me if when I got home I was going to make them more!  Little do they know Dusti and I picked out the cutest Christmas fabric with penguins on it.  Shhhh...don't tell.

Tyler sewed a few things for Dusti when they were dating and has since showed an interest in sewing.  He has made a couple of things for the girls and himself.  He showed me an old pitiful sewing machine someone gave him and I felt so bad for him that Norm and I got him a little inexpensive machine from Joann's.  The new machine cost about what it would cost to get the old one reapaired.  You'd think he'd died and gone to heaven.  I got him statred right away cutting out another dress for Eden.  We didn't get it done and so I brought it home to finish.  I'm sure he'll have great fun with it.  I'll keep you posted.  By the way that's my faithful, 30 year old machine in the background.  What a gal.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In Stitches

I enjoy sewing.  I don't LOVE it but I do enjoy it.  My sewing machine is thirty years old and has served me well.  There was a time in my life when I sewed a lot.  In high school I made most of my own clothes.  After I got married and had kids I sewed for both of them but mainly Cody-Anne.  I even sewed a prom dress.  I liked sewing for her when she was little cause the dresses were so cute and small.  They didn't take days and days to finish.  I enjoy craft sewing too; tea cozies, purses and bags, dolls, blankets and the like.  

When I was up in Canada recently at my sister Carolynne's we did a sewing project  i think you'll enjoy.  I was frustrated when packing because I had no way to keep my jewelry from getting all tangled up.  i proposed to Carolynne that we  make roll up travel bags for jewelry.  After unsuccessfully trying to find a pattern we came up with our own.  After a bit of trial and error this is what we made.

Carolynne had this gorgeous golden ribbon we used as a closure.  

  Fabric yo-yo's, ribbon and vintage buttons added the finishing touches.

I have no idea why this picture is sideways ....This is the flap we made to keep the jewelry from rubbing on each other when rolled.  Above the rickrack are pockets on each side.  I used a button and ribbon for a closure.

All my precious jewels tied in place!  
The ends tuck into a folded over area which formed a pocket.

We put a zipper in that part and I use it for bracelets.

So now I'm moving on to another sweet project.  I've bought some fabric to sew dresses for my grandgirlies!  Joanne's was having a great sale and I got all this fabric at half price.  Such a deal.  How could I resist?  

Today I sewed most of the day.

Micah was very interested in all the details and asked a lot of questions.  She asked me to teach her to sew when she turns 10.  I told her she had a deal!  Stay tuned for more pictures in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I can see clearly now

My 7 year old grandgirlie, Micah, got her first pair of glasses today. It made me think about when I got mine.  I got my first pair of glasses in grade 3 or 4. Can't remember exactly. What I do remember, however, is what a difference it made in my life. I could see things! Trees had leaves, cats had whiskers, creeks had rocks and the blackboard had discernable words on it! Having glasses opened up a whole new world to me. I loved being able see the details. I think maybe that's why I'm such a detail oriented person now. I spent the first 7 or 8 years of my life not being able to see clearly. Did I get teased because I wore glasses? Probably. Kids are mean but I don't really remember being singled out because of my glasses. I got teased for other things like, crooked teeth, being a pastor's kid, having scraggly hair and having a big mouth. Glasses? Don't remember that. My glasses are so much a part of me I couldn't imagine being myself without them.

This I think is grade 6.  I think this is my favorite school picture.  To be perfectly honest I really don't remember these glasses.  They may have been the ones I dropped in the creek I guess I didn't have them long
enough to make a very big impression

Grade eight.  The classic John Denver wire rims.
 Same glasses.  Grade 10  Threw this one in for the hair and the crocheted vest I made.

These are wire rims too, but a more hip style.  Or so I thought.  This is my grade 11 picture.

  On to the late 70's early 80's with the gimondo plastic frames.  And get a load of the hair.  This "do" earned me the nickname Tumblweed from
my then boyfriend now husband.

Late 90's back to wire rims but black this time and a more face flattering style.  I wore these for a number of years.Some where in here I wore the red wire frames I'm sportin' in the Huckleberry Pie banner above.

So this is me now.  Taken on my 50th birthday to be exact.  Black wire rims for plastic for my adorable grandgirlie
Could she be any more adorable?  I wonder what her glass frame journey will be like?  As the saying goes...time'll tell.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ras muny for kids in afreca!!!

This adorable child is the oldest son of my niece. I read this story on her facebook page and sobbed my way to the end. I wanted to place it here and save it to read over and over. The accompanying journalling is in her words. "I came home from work today to find Zachary at the bottom of our driveway with a make-shift donation stand set up. He'd made it himself out of styrofoam, a rock and a tomatoe cage"I asked him what he was doing and he held up his sign : "ras muny for kids in afreca!". You may know such charities by more familiar names like :"Raising money for kids in Africa!" He told me "I could buy them pencils or food or clean water for them!" I nearly burst into tears with how much I loved him for this. I was less touched by his spelling. However, I will be putting the sign in his memory box :)He'd stand at our busy street and wait for cars....

...and when they came he'd hold up his sign frantically and yell out "Raise money for kids in Africa!"...and even though no one stopped he stood out there for over an hour with only a few quarters from Mimi and Mom and Mr. Joel in his little green cup. His goal was to "make enough money to go all the way to the top of the cup".

After a while the neighbour kids came out to help....

...their spelling was much better and their sign was much bigger! They even gave him a chair. He stayed out there for another hour. Finally one guy did turn around, park on the other side of the road and brought some change for the little green cup. I didn't get my camera out in time but the smile on Zachy's face is something I'll never forget. "Mom! Someone stopped!"After he came in he counted his money and was thrilled to see that he'd made $12.59 . It's safely tucked into a ziplock bag in his backpack to take to school tomorrow and show his teacher. I sure do love this little boy.

He plans to be back there tomorrow after school if anyone is driving down Auto Road at around 3pm :)Stay tuned for updates on this story!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grande, de-caf, non-fat, pumpkin spice latte. Extra hot...

Oh yeah, WITH whip cream.  I can have the whip cream cause I got non-fat milk right?  Right....  As a general rule I don't like Starbucks coffee.  It is too strong and has a burnt taste to me but lattes?  Yeah,baby.  Vanilla mostly but Pumpkin Spice this time of year.  No other coffee place can compare.  None.  Don't try and nominate yours cause it just won't even be in the same league.  A vanilla latte is a vanilla latte but Pumpkin Spice....  man oh man.  Had one yesterday.  Had one today, too.  Probably have one tomorrow.  Love 'em... really I do. 

retro electo and other pretty things

So, I get this email from Cody-Anne telling me she was/is no longer a blog virgin and started her own blog the same day as me! She is going to share pretty things she finds on her journey as a stylist. I told her to find the prettiest of all, just look in a mirror. Her blog is called retro electo.  You can find a link under Places I Visit on the Web.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Huckleberry Pie" comes out of the oven

One of my most favorite things in the world is huckleberry pie. I have such great childhood memories of picking huckleberries with my family. If you know anything about huckleberries you know they are hard to find, hard to pick and hard to resist! You have to swathe yourself from head to toe in every-inch-of-skin covering attire, tromp through the trees to some isolated heretofor unknown neck of the woods (whose whereabouts you never reveal to anyone) then you swat mosquitos, avoid the poison ivy and listen to the plink plink of the berries as they hit the bottom of the bucket. As the buckets fill the sound becomes more of a plop than a plink and you remind one another to leave some for the bears. You then tromp back throught the trees and home to admire your booty/bounty. Mom would make a pie that very night but the rest of the berries would go into the freezer in one-pie portions to be savoured in the months to come. When the pie came out of the oven the juices would pour out and it was more like soup with a crust than actual pie. The runnier the better. So this blog is going to be about my favorite things... scrapbooking, music, theater, gardens, grandkids, horses, camp life, and whatever else I come up with. So get out your cloth napkin, tuck it under your chin and be prepared for deliciousness.