Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Summer of Skirts

         There really is nothing better than the feel of the hot Okanagan sunshine on bare legs for the first time each year- take it from me I- this is a field of which I am expert in! Recently we have had a whisper of promise from the sly summer breeze- it promised long evenings spent giggling with cousins, sticky feet from walking through popsicle drips and most of all it whispered promises of quick dips in the lake! It's with these whispered promises of the season yet to come in mind that my girl and I have declared this the Summer of Skirts!

          Two weekends back- time does certainly fly- we had a free day with Grandma and Grandpa- this meant outside playtime for the Littles and two entire hours of  uninterrupted
 sewing time for myself! I'm not going to lie- it was nice- real nice -to be able to sit down to the machine and know my kids were well distracted- thanks to my Mom and Dad. I have had this great Japanese Linen stashed away for a few months now- just waiting for the perfect pattern and coincidentally a Japanese pattern book arrived in the mail just the day we were leaving! Talk about timing!

         I am absolutely in love with all the darling patterns and gorgeous styling in the Linen, Wool, Cotton Kids book from Akiko Mano. So good- I would live inside this book if I could! This wee skirt was just the start of things to come- my girl and I have picked out a few pieces to make her easy summer wardrobe complete- obviously another skirt!

         After a really busy fall, winter and spring we are all looking forward to summer break- longer days and an easier (read no) schedule. Being a full time working mom has been a huge experience for me this past year- learning how to balance my time between family and work has been a constant juggling act and somewhere in there one of my favourite things has gotten passed over. I miss sewing- I miss watching a garment come to life. I am so looking forward to doing more making this summer- both for my Littles and myself as well- I have a pile of patterns to work my way through!

         Meanwhile back to the real heart of the matter- there really is nothing better than the first bare leg day of the season- especially when you are a six year old- with a new skirt- that has bunnies and foxes!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

On Our Bookshelf: Wildwood

       When I was a kid in probably about grade two I can vividly remember sitting on the carpet during story time and listening to my teacher- Mrs Steinhouwer- read to us James and the Giant Peach. With it's macabre details of the little orphaned James and his big bug friends I was enraptured- hooked into reading even though I could not yet read such a book myself. This book was followed by Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang and my beloved Anne of Green Gables as read to me by my Aunt that summer. These are the books that made me fall in love with reading.
     It was with this in mind that I went searching for something new that would capture their imaginations the same way James' epic journey inside a rotting peach.When I came across this hefty tomb- aptly titled Wildwood by Colin Meloy I will admit that my attention was caught by the illustrations on the cover- never underestimate the power of a good book cover or wine label!

      We are only a couple of chapters in and rest assured we are all appropriately spell bound. Wildwood is clearly written by a master story teller- which Colin Meloy is- weather it be a book or a song with his band The Decemberists. I really don't want to give anything away as the story is just so magical- dark and brooding just the way children of a certain age (surprisingly) like it. I will say one thing- leave one last cryptic remark on the matter- we all have a whole new suspicion of crows- looking askance whenever more than one starts to accumulate!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Year of Knitting: Moonstone Pullover

           So kids grow- and fast at that! At the beginning of the year I cast on the Moonstone Pullover- in a beautiful neutral grey wool that I was so in love with. I knit it up quick as can be- popped it off the needles and attempted to put it onto my boy's body. To no avail- he had grown- and so little sister got a brand new sweater she never even knew she wanted!

        Needless to say the Boy was disappointed and so off to our favourite local yarns shop we went- I let him pick out the colour this time. The bright blue we came home with wasn't what I would have picked out but he felt strongly this was the colour for him and so I trusted in that. As you can see it was absolutely the right choice!

Friday, April 15, 2016

In The Field: Orca's Island

            This time last week we were pawing through our camping gear and preparing for an island weekend- we were headed to Orca's Island in Washington State. This place has been on our Summer bucket list for the past two years- one of those places we keep meaning to visit and have yet to make time for. With some truly unseasonably warm and dry April weather we made a rather last minute decision to head out on an overnight adventure to the island.

           April on the West Coast is traditionally very wet, rainy and grey- this is not at all the case this year- I will admit I have been lulled into a false sense of Summertime! We all have faint tans starting to show- the sandals have been out for the past month or so and I can't remember the last time I dragged out the umbrella! That said I did manage to remember extra wool blankets- we are tenters after all!

         Orca's Island is situated just South of the 49th Parellel- making the boarder crossing our only real distance to cover. Hopping onto the Anacortes ferry which is only about a half hour from the actual boarder and setting sail towards the gorgeous San Juan Islands. As someone who is not Island bound the novelty of taking a ferry anywhere is still high on my list of favourite things to do- I love the disconnect a person gets as soon as the mainland fades away.

          While there are quite a few beautiful looking resorts and B& Bs to stay on we made our way to Moran State Park- which was quite unlike any state park we have camped in. Situated a little inland around two lakes the park is massive- I feel like we only experienced a very tiny slice of the beauty to be had. If you go be sure to reserve a spot- on this particular sunny weekend the park was packed and we were lucky to have found a spot close to the washrooms!

          These short little camping trips are really the best way to hit the reset button- we all unplugged completely- which for me these days is a pretty big deal. We took our books, our paints, the knitting, the coffee and of course there was the lake. The boy practiced his wood chopping skills and both Littles learned to light a campfire on their own.

         By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around the biggest complaint was that we had to head home. With weather like this it was hard to remember it's still April- we still have school and work! So we packed up and headed to the ferry- only to discover it was full. So we parked in the standby area and went in search of ice cream- obviously! If you go be sure to make ferry reservations!

        Friends it is Friday! Yahooo! It's crazy that I am saying this but as you read this we are headed East this weekend back to the Okanagan. I'm hoping for some time to sew, drink coffee with my Momma and visit with my sister- oh and I am sure there will be wine! Happy Friday Friends!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thrifted Thursday

          Today's Thrifted Thursday comes to you via the Vernon Value Village. Now heres the thing- first of all the Vernon Value Village is usually the most disappointing of the bunch- there is never really anything good. And two Value Village has become way too expensive these days for my thrifting tastes! Pricing has gotten out of hand and more often than not one can turn up items that are priced the same as new items at the mall. I am however a creature of habit and often go into VV just to browse- hoping to stumble upon a gem. Thats the thing about thrifting-  you never know what might turn up and so no stone should be left un-turned which proved true on this particular day when we hit gold- figuratively speaking in the thrifting department!

           Just as I was turning away from the racks and towards the check out a little scrap of blue and polka dot fabric caught my eye- quickly followed by a quick flip of the seam to check for finishing. A quick quality check goes a long way and I always check to make sure something is well made. This day the thrifting goddess was smiling down on me and revealed that this scrap of blue fabric was in fact a hand made (by someone) dress- we quickly slip it over my girl's head and it was like the dress was made just for her.

        My Girlie was thrilled of course- she is going through a phase of all dresses and skirts all the time. And so when paired with her fancy new space boots and a favourite green cardi she was all set to head out for some serious playing!

        Shopping for a six year old can be tricky- on a recent foray into conventional shopping at the mall( which is rare for either of us) I discovered that once a girl reaches size 6 apparently the clothes are designed to fit a size 6- 14. Trappings such as spaghetti straps and low or no back lines abound and don't even get me started on the crappy fabric. Not to say that this is an ideal situation for a 14 year old either and one day when I have a 14 year old daughter I'm sure I will once again be railing at the state of fashion. But come on- what happened to sweet little Easter dresses with a side of modesty?

         So needless to say when my Girlie slid that little blue dress with the most perfect of twirling skirts over her head and it settled onto her shoulders and we zipped up the zip I let out a whisper of Thanks! By the way did I mention the most best dress ever was only $3.99?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Life Lately

            Life lately has been full of all sorts of adventures. Hence the radio silence in this space. The good and the bad- everything from a trip to California to head lice and pink eye- we have seen it all this month. Watching these kids of ours move through the world lately has brought into clarity the importance of our time together as a family- how neither myself nor the Mr. want to waste a second of this golden time of childhood.

          I have spent quite a bit of time ruminating on parenting children of this age- they are stretching their comfort zones and spreading their wings- one day they will surely fly. This is the age when I as a parent am pretty superfluous- I am there in the role of supervisor only. Less and less am I brought into their worlds of imagination and exploration. It is a little bitter sweet.  This is the natural order of life and one I am happy to support- for while they are spreading their wings they still need Momma around- if only to carry the snacks.

          So part of my process in being moved to a supporting role in my children's lives is to hold space for that small amount of grief I feel as a mother. To honour it and then let it go. It's hard to explain until you are really in the thick of the elementary school years- a process that starts in kindergarten and I suppose continues the rest of our lives- the letting go- the growing. Don't get me wrong I'm not sitting about moping- I am so proud of who these little people are becoming!

           Stopping to notice the ever evolving changes in my children has been whats brought actually important to me into sharp relief. Being present- like really present all the while presenting opportunities for exploration and growth has taken prescient over all things this Spring. Tuning in- truly trying to listen and hearing what they say- not just offering up pearls of wisdom or solutions to problems. Just being there as a receptacle for their words- worries- joys.

              Life lately has been full of real life moments- the hilarity found in being so dead tiered but still combing lice out of each other's hair at midnight. The shear childish joy in hugging Mickey Mouse AND Minnie! The mundane pizza dinners when we are just so tiered to cook anything else but still have to feed everyone. Life is messy- life is fun- life lately is just life!

P.S. these pictures were taken a couple of weeks ago at Uplands Park in Victoria- it is the most wonderful place to take a wander no matter the weather!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Year of Knitting: Bradway Shawl

          Way back in the fall while parsing Knit City I purchased some gorgeous Brooklyn Tweed Shelter and the Bradway Shawl pattern from Very Shannon. I had good intentions of this being a quick knit over the fall- and then two sweaters for my children happened and my shawl dreams were put on hold. It wasn't until I was packing for our vacation to California that I pulled both the yarn and the pattern up and just a couple of hours before boarding the plane I could be found winding up balls of yumminess and packing my knitting bag!

       The Bradway Shawl was cast on at the Seattle airport- the first few rows knit out over the Pacific ocean- and subsequent knitting happened up and down the South Coast of California- all to be finished off this past weekend in Victoria. This project is well travelled to say the least! My finished shawl is perfect for this time of year when you need just a little something over your shoulders- the loftiness of the Brooklyn Tweed Shelter makes it warm but not too hot.

     As always I learned a tonne while knitting this project- mainly how to tell the difference between a knit stitch and a purl stitch by sight- after a few years of knitting I can now truly understand how to knit by sight. With lots of different textures and shapes this was a challenging knit but I feel the Bradway is a great gateway to knitting cables- which I hope to do this fall!