Monday, May 31, 2010

a quickie giveaway

Hello! I am looking for good homes for 2 of my handmade address files***

The first file is in almost-perfect condition, it made of ecologically harvested solid maple wood, and finished with a nice non-toxic satin finish. The only thing 'wrong' with this file is that it has a small dark spot on one of it's top sides (you can see the little mark in the photos). I actually love this little spot, but others may not so much and so it is not for sale.

The second address file is made of, again, ecologically harvested solid black walnut wood, and finished nicely with a non-toxic satin finish. It looks, however, as though somewhere a long the way it may have been banged, as one of it's back corners is a little bit dented in. You cannot notice it at all unless you pick it up and examine it, but still it will not be sold.

Each file is filled up with 200 address cards, each of them cut and punched personally by me! (I can now cut these cards with my eyes closed) Many of the cards are patterned with my own designs and printed on recycled paper, some are solid-coloured cards, and some cards are cut from re-cycled cardstock such as vintage library book cards. Each file is numbered, personalised to the recipient, and made with a whole ton of care and love!

If you would like to have one of these special address files to call your own (or give to a friend) Please leave a comment and I will randomly pick two winners tomorrow evening (Tuesday, June 1st, pacific time) This contest is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. Good Luck!

***This contest has now ended - comments are closed. Thank you to everyone who entered!***

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Three Years Old

She can talk forever and often does. Why? Constantly. Why? Why, Mama? Why? She will announce, so strong and determined, her many ideas and plans. That she wants to become an animal doctor one day. That she is an Artist. That she is going to learn how to drive. That she wants to go to school. She loves to announce her favourites to the world: Magenta pink (not baby pink). Pancakes. Har Gau. Sticker books. Sushi (Avocado Roll). Grandpa. She adores collecting up all of her treasures and sorting them out, laying them out in neat rows. Seashells. River Rocks. Pinecones. Ribbons. Buttons. (Clothing with pockets is the best). She likes to leave seashell gifts at our friend's and neighbour's front doors. She cannot walk a few feet from our home without pausing to pick up something. Sticks. Buttercups. Salmonberries. Earthworms.

Everyday a little bit more I can see that she has a wonderful sweet heart, calm and kind, loving and strong. And everyday I am still so surprised that she - somehow - came from me. Often wish I could hold her forever as my little girl, just three years old. But I also am so looking forward to knowing her and watching her grow up, and away.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

a special candle

Over the past few weeks, I've been dealing with a couple of big blow-ups. First off, my daughter Adelaide stopped sleeping. Then, my hard drive blew out, leaving me computerless and in fear of never accessing my records or work again.

There are few times in Adelaide's childhood when I've turned to the baby books. Long ago I threw away most of the standard books which seem to come to you when you have a child via well-meaning relatives or friends. I found that relying on my gut served us much better, rather than worrying what, for example, my child should be doing developmentally on her 232nd day.

I am not dedicated to one specific parenting philiosophy, and I have found no one book which is my parenthood bible (although I have discovered a few gems that will stay on my shelves: How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way, You Are Your Child's First Teacher, Simplicity Parenting). But mostly I prefer to pick and choose that which resonates with me and leave a lot of bits right out.

But then, there are some experiences with my daughter that have left me curled on the floor, crying to myself and wondering just how I will survive... I'm sure all parents out there know exactly what I am talking about! This is how I found myself when, for the umpteenth night in a row Adelaide was awake for all hours delusional and screaming. My exhausted brain and blurry common sense weren't helping me this time... Time to drag out those books.

And so, realising how much of Adelaide's world was mixed up with vacations, family visiting, and increasingly later bedtimes, we have implemented a tighter family schedule. Dinner at 6, bathtime at 7, storytime and bed before or by 8. And, one absolutely magical special sleepytime candle.

I can't remember which book recommended a candle for bedtime, but I cannot thank the wisdom of the author enough. I kind of thought it was just an overly simplistic idea - to have a special candle especially for a little child's bedtime - but I was at a point that I would try anything and so out came a candle. We make a special event of dimming the room, and lighting the candle together with a match. When the candle is lit, it is a magical, special, quiet time. We speak in whispers. We watch its dim light glow reflect throughout the room. And it is time for sleep to come.

This special bedtime candle has worked absolute wonders with Adelaide, whom was never really a great sleeper. It seems to even have helped with me (I've never been a good sleeper, either) And the two of us have been sleeping wonderfully well in it's soft glow ever since.

Another magical even has occured since the introduction of the special sleepytime candle - I have tried it out and with it lit Adelaide has begun napping mid-afternoon again, several times a week. Before the introduction of the sleepytime candle, she hadn't napped at all in well over 6 months.

I am not sure who is more thrilled with the special sleepytime candle and Adelaide's new sleeping and habits... Myself or Elliot. He is just ever so pleased to have his little girl napping once again. (This can't doesn't miss a beat!)

PS. I now have my computer back, but I am still sifting through it's remains, hopefully and anxiously. But 2 years of Adelaide's childhood in photographs are just... gone. I am left thankful that I've kept this blog because I still have it and it's record of many of my days and experiences with my daughter. And... I've missed all of you, too! I hope you are all happy and doing well.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

(almost) ready for the tiny stitches

I have been craving much to sew and to quilt all winter long. But only now that it's spring - and sunny and warm outside - I finally got a moment to finish piecing together my Autumn quilt top. I only need to pick up some more ivory fabric with which to add a border, and then all of the thousands of the tiny stitches will begin.

It would be nice to have this quilt finished, all cozy and ready for when Autumn and all of it's grey and cold return later this year. I am hoping, but I know full well that likely I'll be working on this quilt for a long time to come.

But being in the hand-quilting phase gives me permission (in my own head) to begin on another very special quilt which I've had floating around in my brain - and on scrap papers - for a long time now. If I can bear to make the first cut!

Monday, May 03, 2010

keeping inspiration

The past many months I have been feeling bored of home and craving time away, and so last week, Adelaide, my mom, and I went on an semi-impromptu girls vacation to Hawaii. We had a marvelous time in the sun, hanging out at the beach, swimming in the beautiful ocean, going for long walks, and eating many treats such as the freshest pineapple, shave ice, pho and Japanese curry.

I haven't been feeling very creative recently, and so I was hoping that a trip away would help me to find some of my waning inspiration. But as the week went on I began to feel just a little bit uneasy, because although the trip was marvelous in a "get away from it all" type of way, my inspiration was just not returning. I was feeling... flat in that department. I started wondering to myself, what I would do if all of my inspiration, ideas, and creativity just faded away, and never returned. I began to feel a little bit lost in the world.

And so we returned home to Vancouver. We walked in the front door and I was hit so hard with the cozy happiness of our house. I had really forgotten how great home can be! Once again I saw and I felt the life which, together, we have made for ourselves. And, quietly waiting for me, all of the neatly organised treasures which we have loved and brought into our home. Adelaide's rocks and seashells, much loved old books, family photographs, art made by friends. It felt so good to be home.

And woosh - Inspiration hit me. Hard! In the most unlikely of places - my home. I was filled with an overwhelming desire to create once again. I have so many ideas and all I want to do is lock myself in my workroom and make things! Hurriedly, I jot down ideas and throw together Illustrator files full of shapes, colours, textures. Swipe some chalk from Adelaide and scratch out thoughts onto my neglected chalkboard. I am attempting to capture even a little bit of what is bursting in my brain. Trying to keep it all, trying not to lose it once again.

For of course... my real life as a mama is a little bit more pressing. Adelaide, as if sensing my distraction, is desperate to regain her status as number one in her mama's world. I have been trying to find a way to keep this inspiration and not lose it in amongst all the million other little things that overtake my life and my brain.

Tooth-brushing, pants on front-ways, matching socks, hair-doing, healthy snacking, vegetable eating, tidying, playground visiting, crossing the street, showing, teaching, lunch-making, unclogging stroller wheels, laundry-doing, folding, tidying, bed-making, vacuuming, chasing, changing, tear-wiping, distracting, cat-litter changing, playdohing, cupcake-making, stickerbooking, role-playing, socializing, wiping bottoms, flushing the toilet, bath-running, hair-washing, band-aiding, comforting, story reading, kissing, hugging, encouraging, loving.

But I am happy. I am thrilled that inspiration has returned! And feeling a little bit silly for doubting myself. For becoming a mama - and all that becoming a mama brings - didn't change who I am. But it did make me so much stronger and much more patient and full of more love than I knew was ever possible.

And so I have made my choice. I am determined to encourage and capture my inspiration, and I am determined to be a fabulous mama, too! Here's to making the decision to be the best mamas that we could ever be, and - somehow - not losing ourselves in the fray.