Sunday, July 29, 2012

Did I Mention...

that my local Fabricland is going out of business?

...and that I've taken up quilting?

...and that I'm a bit of a hoarder?


Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Worth a Shot.

With no school to organise our days around, I have to admit that things have gotten a little lax around here. Beds are not being made, children are not getting dressed, and things are generally a shambles. I was having to chase them down and nag them to do things all day -- which sucks for everyone.

As a family we decided that it was time to do something about it. We all agreed that there are certain things the girls should be doing for themselves without even being asked; especially since Kee will be starting Kindergarten in September (EEeeeeeee!!*).

We decided to make a chore chart. 

As an avid Pinterest surfer, I am aware that there are all kinds of fancy chore charts floating around. However, the fact that I don't have a printer, combined with the fact that I didn't really want to spend any money on it, meant that I didn't want to make any of them.

Instead, I came up with this:

12 x 12 scrapbook paper, Card stock, Markers, Self Adhesive hooks,
Cardboard for the backing

It's not super fancy, but it does that job, and was easy to make. The girls helped decide what it would look like -- they each picked their own papers and markers -- and that got them involved in the process, which I've always found makes them more likely to do what I'm asking.

Each of them has their own side and the cards we're not using hang in the middle.

Anyway. The premise is simple. The chores are written on the cards, and the cards get hung on the hooks when that particular chore needs to be done. Once the chore is completed, they get a big green check mark hung over top of it.

Now when they ask if they can do something like play on the computer, I ask them "do you have all your check marks?" and they go look at the board. If they haven't got them, they go finish what they're missing, so that they can do whatever it was they wanted to do.

And so far? It's working!

I probably shouldn't have written that.

*I'm part "Ohmygod, my baby's gone!" *sniffle*, and part "Ohmygod, my baby's gone!" *highfive random stranger*.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Quilt of my Own.

For a long time now, I've been in love with quilts. I love to look at them, I love to wrap up in them, I love to tuck my children up under them. I have not, however, made one.*
I finally decided to just dig into my stash and give it a try. 

My first attempt. (I'm allergic to ready-made patterns.)

It turned out pretty well, and encouraged me to commit to trying a larger project. Then last week, I went into Fabricland and found that the store in my neighbourhood is closing. Which is incredibly sad for me, because there is nowhere else within walking distance to buy fabric. On the plus side, almost everything is 60% off! It's fate; I am destined to make at least one quilt.

Then I went back the next day for more fabric.

And one more time a couple of days after that. This time, however, I let the girls each pick a couple of fabrics themselves to make something. (Mostly to keep them busy while I had a look around).

They took it very seriously. They chose their fabric, then dragged their bolts of fabric through the store in little wheeled baskets. I thought I was going to die from cuteness when Kee struggled hers onto the counter and said "half a meter of each, please!"

On the way home, I asked them what they were going to make; or rather, what they'd like me to make them. "I'm going to make a quilt!" said Beege. "All by myself!" Alrighty.

So, that night, I helped her cut some squares and start sewing. We sat together for an hour, listening to Jack Johnson, and stitching squares together. At the end of our evening, I asked her how she liked it. "You mean this quilting business?" she asked. "Well, I really wanted to like it because you like it, and we could do it together. But, Mummy? It's really boring."

So, instead of Beege making a lap quilt (that was going to be a "surprise" for me, apparently), we would scale down the project. We ended up making a quilt for her teddy bear, "Sweetie-Honey".

Sweetie-Honey, enjoying her new quilt.

She had already sewn about as much as she could handle (without dying from boredom), so I told her I would finish it up for her.

At least I got some practice with doing the binding!
So, she found that she hates hand sewing, and I learned how to bind a quilt; a learning experience for everyone. I've already started on a full-sized project for myself, which may take forever since I'm doing it by hand.

(Tell me honestly, is that nuts?)

*I did make one for my friends' wedding, about eleven years ago, but I was relegated to fabric selection and cutting, and my mum did most of the actual work. Thanks again, Mum!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Brave: A Review.

When we saw the trailer for Disney Pixar's "Brave" at our house, we were very excited. We like princesses in general (Especially now that they've stopped making them so freaking passive; Tangled and The Princess and the Frog are among our favourites), but this red-haired princess with a bow seemed especially interesting.

We went to the movie last Wednesday, and I had every intention of writing a review that night, but I was having trouble.

Brave is the story of a teenaged princess who is tough, self possessed, and a little wild. She, being a princess, is going to be forced to marry one of the princes competing for her hand, to continue the peace among the clans in her kingdom. Unsurprisingly, she is not the least bit interested in doing so. Her mother, Elinor, wants her to see that she must think of the good of the kingdom, and Merida wants her mother to see that she is too young to get married; especially to someone she doesn't even know. Determined to forge her own path, Merida decides to change her fate, and must rely on her bravery and archery skills to undo the chaos that follows.

It is Pixar, so there are still moments that will make you cry, and it is definitely visually stunning but, for me at least, there isn't a satisfactory resolution; the story feels unfinished.

Which is, I realised, what my problem was. From the studio that gave us "Up", "Finding Nemo", "Wall-E", and "Toy Story", "Brave" seems a little lacklustre, story-wise.

 It is a great movie to take the kids to (although if there is a particular fear of bears, be warned that there are scary bear scenes) and we really liked it, but don't expect to be blown away.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Introducing Rollfer.

Hi there! Happy belated Canada day! (Happy early Fourth of July, to all my American friends!) I hope you did something fabulous. We sat around playing video games and got to bed early... party animals over here. To be honest, we haven't even left the house since Friday. We spent yesterday in our pajamas.

Apparently, this ball's name is Rollfer.
 So today, we finally decided it was time to brave the outdoors and head for the park. For about half an hour. Then we decided it was really freaking hot, so we headed home to our air conditioned basement and, once again, holed up in our cave.

I see how this could become a habit.

Thankfully, we're heading out again tomorrow. Not only are we going to see a movie, but I'm going to buy my first new pair of running shoes in six years. While I'm looking forward to the movie, I am ridiculously excited about the shoes.