Entries in Parenthood (26)


How This Quilter Mends Pants

Ok.  I hate mending.  Seriously.  I would rather make something from scratch than mend.  Even hemming pants or reattaching a button ... yuckeroni.


If I can figure out how to turn a mending chore into some semblance of a quilting task ... well ... THAT is something altogether different.

This is a pair of my daughter's leggings with not one, but two holes.  (She's an overachiever in this department.)

Not expensive.  And she'll probably outgrow them next week.

But never mind.  I've got an idea.

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I drew a few hearts on my computer, printed them out, traced them onto fusible web, made fusible patches from pretty coordinating fabric (Lecien's Flower Sugar) & found matching thread. 

Then I spent all of about 10 minutes at my sewing machine.


Only the top and bottom hearts are covering holes.  But they're so far apart I thought it would look better with a few connecting elements. 

I don't think anyone would ever guess this was a patch job! 

AND she really likes them.  Bonus!


Wacky Hair Day

I don't know if your child's school does this, but mine does ... Wacky Hair Day.  The kids love it.  Secretly, it's my favorite fun day too ... since my girls and I came up with this idea:

crossing a french braid concept,

with a small collection of Littlest Pet Shop toys.

There are 9 creatures in all.  Each one is held in place with a small, clear hair elastic around its neck.

Pretty cool, eh?

Best part is that the hair is out of her face and the animals stay put all day.  These pictures were taken AFTER school. 

Other best thing is there's no hair spray, glitter, color, gel ... nothing goopy or messy.


Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

We have to say goodbye to someone special today ... my daughter's Grade 3 teacher (who also taught my older daughter).  As far as teachers go our family has been pretty lucky, but Mrs M really topped them all.

She got married last summer and in September when we found out she'd be my daughter's teacher for the second year in a row (yay!) I informed her that she & her husband were allowed to ... you know ... "get busy" in another month because we needed her until the end of June. 

Jokingly of course. 

Sort of.

Sometimes I say inappropriate things like that to people, especially if I've known them for a while.  But she got this weird look on her face.  I thought she was just a little surprised that a parent would say something that ... personal.  A few months later I learned the reason for that look ... she had NOT waited for my permission to get busy!

Anyhow we are all very happy and excited about her new arrival due later this month.  But we're also very sad to lose the best teacher ever.

My daughter - the same little munchkin who made this,

and this,

really wanted to make her a farewell gift.  So here's what she did.

Found a font she liked for the letter "J", Mrs M's first initial, and printed it out.  I gave her a piece of white fabric, she picked a floss color, grabbed my light board and got to work. 

The note on her Template says "Don't throw out! Thx :)"   Apparently my children are used to me tossing out unidentified bits paper they leave lying around.

She stitched this up in about 25 minutes. 

Did I mention she's 9?  You can't see me here but my chest just exploded all over my keyboard with that special & unique sort of pride that can only be known by a mama for her little one.  You know, the kind that can reduce you to a puddle of tears?  Especially if you have PMS?  (Excuse me for a sec while I go get the mop ...)

When she finished the embroidery, however, she didn't know what to do with it.  I suggested a lavender sachet ... 'cause ... well ... what can I say ... I'm just really excellent at solving crafting emergency problems.

Another 25 minutes later and we had this ...

I wish you could smell it.

Happy motherhood, Mrs M.  We will miss you!


Daisychain Sampler "Q"

The first time I did a search for something on the internet was in June 2002 for my first daughter's first birthday.  I wanted to take a picture of her wearing a fairy crown made from the pink daisies growing under our kitchen window.  But I'd never made one before so I Googled "How to make a Fairy Crown." 

Here's how it turned out. 

That's my little cutie almost 10 years ago. 

(Sorry 'bout the quality - they're photos of photos ... remember, I took them back in "the olden days" before I had a digital camera!  LOL!)

A few years later, I made another one for my second daughter.  This time we were on a holiday (and she was almost 18 months ... you know how it goes with the second child ...)  No pink daisies to be found, but there were tons of white ones.

This is the little munchkin who made the anniversary embroidery I showed last week.

Is it normal that looking at these pictures of my babies makes my heart ache?  I miss that new baby smell & the squooshy squoosh & pudgy cheeks & baby giggles & tiny fingers & them sleeping in my arms. 

(Sigh.)  Anyhow. 

This is my long way of explaining WHY I wanted to make this "Daisychain Sampler" in the first place.  Seriously.  It was this post on Alicia's blog that sold me.

And now with this letter?  I would do the entire alphabet with this style of letter.  Really, I would!

I admit to almost wishing I'd used a darker background fabric so I could make the daisies white.

But I think this pale buttery yellow worked out so beautifully.

Normally, I'm a little (ok, a lot) fussy about my lazy daisy petals being exactly the same length and perfectly spaced around each flower.  But in this application, I felt the haphazard, "natural" approach would suit this letter best.

So I let go of my OCD perfectionist tendencies and just let the petals be where they wanted to be.  Some flowers with 5 petals and some with 6 ... and a few are just half flowers. 

Love it.

Something told me to go with my favorite blue as the flower centers.

Could you not just weep? 

Isn't it THE.most.unbelievably.pretty.letter.EVER?!


Creative Teamwork

My daughter & I finished the Anniversary stitchery.  What do you think?

I confess to searching Amy's blog for some ideas and found this one ...

The cute "Washi Tape" idea on the corners of her quilt got me thinking about the seam allowance here which hanging by a thread ...


I thought adding some washi tape applique would help, and be a cute little detail too.

I presented the idea of adding tape to all 4 corners but I was vetoed.   At least she allowed 2. 

AND she liked the buttons.

Maybe when she moves away to college I'll sneak on the other 2 tapes and hopefully she won't notice.

Here it is "in situ" in my favorite corner of the kitchen.

Livens up the place, that's for sure!

"Thank you Sweetheart for your beautiful handmade gift for Daddy & me.  We love it and will treasure it forever." ox


Remember This?

That was almost 2 months ago.  But my spunky little 8 year old didn't give up on it.  I think her interest was rekindled when I told her I'd like to sew it up into a wallhanging ... this mama's been around the block a few times now ... ;)

And this little issue about running out of room that was making her so frustrated?

Here is how we solved it.

Somehow the yellow floss she started with went missing so we color-matched as best we could.  We've decided it's not at all noticeable.

The little angel thought she'd "trim" the top edge for me ...

... I'll make it work somehow!  LOL!

Here are the fabrics "we" chose.  She picked the yellow polka dots "... 'cause they're so fun!"

Guess what I'll be doing this weekend!

(Right now I'm SO wishing I had the same kind of magic one of my all time favorite bloggers has ...)


Communication 101 ... For Moms

If your 8 year old requests macaroni & cheese for dinner and you go to the grocery store with her after school to get the ingredients and you're not sure how much milk is in the fridge so you ask her and she tells you there's LOTS, make sure she knows you mean WHITE milk, not CHOCOLATE. 

'Cause even hardcore chocoholics have to draw the line somewhere ... right?


Proud Mama

I almost didn't have anything to brag blog about today.  But then I thought you might like to see what the other needlewomen in my house are up to these days.

Big Sister (10) got this book from Santa. 

Santa rocks, just sayin'... ;)

And she wanted to try out this design on a t-shirt,

so I suggested she practice on muslin first.

I must say she has a most impressive stem stitch.

So of course whatever Big Sister is doing, Little Sister (8, but almost 9) also wants to do, right?  I was a little sister so I know ALL about that.

She decided to stitch her initial, which she drew freehand with no hesitation.  (She did NOT get that confidence from ME!)  Haha!

(Love her little curli-q's!) And check OUT that backstitch! 

So when she realized it was our Anniversary last week, she wanted to "secretly" make something for us.

She's watched me make letter templates many times before with the computer so she just went ahead and made up her own pattern.

And I hadn't put away the muslin yardage so she helped herself to a nice big chunk.  Unfortunately, she was a little upset that the piece she'd cut was still too small, (thank goodness she used the 'el cheapo' muslin and not my prized fabric from the "forbidden" pile) but I have an idea for that.  I'll show you when it's done.

The most surprising thing to me is that this kid usually loses interest in things quickly ... but she hasn't given up on this yet!

(Please notice how she flourished the Y.)

I really am a super proud mama. :)


It's What Canadians Do

If you read this post, you need to pinkie swear first that you won't call child protective services on me, kay?

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I gave birth twice.  I'm not having any more children.  This kitchen is closed.  So you'd think I'd want to keep the ones I have safe, right? 

Just one problem.  I'm Canadian.  I'm culturally obligated to let my offspring participate in somewhat ... er ... unconventional activities. 

Admittedly, the following story illustrates a rather bizarre way to enforce national pride.  But I don't make the rules.  I just live here.

So here's how we spent Boxing Day.

"Ok girls, guess what we're doing today.

We're going to get into this galvanized-steel-coffin-on-tracks (otherwise known as a  snowcat)

named "Felix"

and I'm going to let your Uncle (my brother)

drive us for about an hour along 12 miles (20km)

up a vertical mile

to an elevation of 7,400 ft (2,300 m) at the top of a mountain.

When we get there he's going to use Felix to dig a huge pit in the 4' (1.2m) deep snow in about 30 seconds

and we're going to make a bonfire

so we can roast sausages & marshmallows to go with the smoked salmon sandwiches, veggies, shortbread cookies & chocolate packed for us to eat

while sitting on snowbenches,

complete with hot chocolate mug holders.

Then I'm going to let your Uncle take us waaaaay up there,

where your mom will almost s%&* herself

(Okay dude, seriously?  Dude?!  DUUUUDE!!  STOOOOOP!!!  I am SO NOT LIKING THIS RIGHT NOW!!!!!)

'cause she reeeeeally doesn't like heights.

Up here I'm going to give you an inner tube ... yep, that inflatable rubber donut that comes with warnings about "causing serious injury & even death". 

That's right girls, that what it says right here in big bold letters ... SERIOUS INJURY & EVEN DEATH.

I'm going to let you sit in this human-missile-maker with absolutely no safety devices and have someone give you a big push from this spot right here

and I'm going to let you fly down the mountain

at god knows what speed

and hope you stop before you disappear over the edge.

Then I'm going to follow you on a sheet of plastic called a crazy carpet ...

... in a manner that could not POSSIBLY be less dignified.

And then we're going to do it again.  And again.  All afternoon. 

At some point, your Aunt & I are going to think it's a good idea to share an inner tube down the mountain

and we're going to have an EPIC wipeout

and then laugh until we can't breathe.

Ok girls, you up for all that? 


Now go put your helmets on.  Wouldn't want you to get hurt."


Humility Bootcamp?  

If you're not a parent but plan to become one some day, take my advice and practice humility.  You're going to need it.

For example if you live in a cold climate, your child might make an announcement that goes something like this ...

"Hey Mom, I just farted in my snowpants and now I'm all extra warm!"

... followed by hysterical laughter ... in the produce department of a grocery store ... with lots of people around. 

Just sayin'.


Puzzles - Quilting Style

As a mom, I think doing puzzles is very good exercise for growing brains.  When I was a kid, I loved doing puzzles.  It was one of a VERY few things I was better at than my big sister.  Which is probably why I liked doing them ...  ;)

So naturally, I encourage my girls to do things that are good for them but that I also like to do. 

Now, I'm trying not to force quilting on them.  I don't want them to hate it because I made them do it.  But if I can figure out how to trick them into doing something educational while wrapping it up in a pretty package full of fun, I will.

That's right, I'm sneaky.  I'll admit it. 

Here's my latest triumph.

Math puzzles.

Cleverly disguised as last week's FW blocks.

Can't believe I didn't think of this earlier!

Oh, and did I mention they both had so much fun they're BEGGING me to cut more blocks?!  Mwah ah ah ah ... some things about parenting you just can't put a price tag on!

The only downside to this whole exercise?  Watching them man-handle the triangles.

Bias cut edges should be respected.

And feared.


Dear Thy Beloveide ...

No, this isn't an impromptu lesson in Ye Olde English.My daughters were playing "Wedding" with their stuffed animals the other day. 

Here's the script they wrote out.

This kind of stuff has got to be (one of) my all time favorite things about being a mom. 

They crack me UP!

Happy & safe Labour Day long weekend.


Pretty Pencil Case

Today is the first day of school for us and I'm happy knowing both my girls will have a little something made with love from me in their desks ...

You see, fairsies math rules in my house.  So just because I bought little sister's backpack doesn't mean I can't make her a pretty pencil case too.

Lecien's Flower Sugar fabric.  I know.  You're totally shocked. ;)  She picked them.  She wanted polka dots to go with her backpack.   She was sooooo happy when I told her she could have it because it was in the "forbidden" pile with my FWQAL fabrics.

FYI, the polka dot/floral/stripe is one print ... no piecing required!  I love using unusual stripes like this.  Can you say "cheater panel" at its finest? :)

I LOVE this print.  However, I can't use it for my FWQAL blocks because the print is too big. 

But it's absolutely PERFECT for a sweet little Grade 3er's pencil case!

Did you notice my boo boo with the lining?  When I was cutting out a piece of batting, somehow the lining got stuck to the batting underneath and I didn't notice it until it was too late.  So I had to piece it ...

I still have a few more back to school projects to show you next week.


Scrap Pencil Case

Ok.  First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the Messenger Bag love yesterday!  Wow.  You guys made me blush & tear up ... all at the same time.  A girl could get used to that kind of affirmation!  I'll try to not let it go to my head. ;) 

And I've heard the hue & cry for a pattern/tutorial.  Gee whiz!  I'm totally blown away.  This feels so nice to have people not only like what I made, but want to make one too.  I think I should wait and let my daughter "test drive" the bag for a bit ... see if any fatal design flaws show up.  I'll keep you posted.

Now I'm afraid that Messenger Bag is a hard act to follow.  Today's project isn't quite a spectacular, but I think just as cute. ;)

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I'm always surprised by what can be done with scraps. 

Explains why my scrap bin is overflowing ...

Here's what I managed to eke out from the Messenger Bag leftovers.

A coordinating pencil case!

Cute, eh?  She said she wanted to sleep with it. ;)  I think that means she likes it.

Even the zipper pull is a fabric scrap ... 3/8" x 6".  Little fingers really appreciate them.  FYI, 1/4" is just a bit too narrow.  It will rip apart.  Just sayin'.

I'll show you little sister's pencil case tomorrow.


PS:  Thank you :)


Back to School Messenger Bag

Here it is ... the messenger bag.

Happily I didn't have to resort to implicating an imaginary dog ...  ;). 

What do you think?

My daughter loves it.  I'm sorta impressed with it myself.

One fabric change and few additions were required since my last post. 

First, I talked her into going with the polka dot instead of the red tonal - I thought the dots would look just a bit softer.  Plus, dots are happy ... and little sister's backpack has them.  I like doing things like that. 

I needed more fabrics because the pocket on the back was an afterthought and I made the flap bigger than originally planned (better too big than too small) so we added the pretty scallop and flowers to the mix. 

She resisted the flowers a bit because she was trying so hard to achieve her idea of grown-up, but it was the last gray print in the bundle and she reeeeeeeally wanted to stick with the one color.  She's quite happy with it on the inside. ;)

And I forgot to show you the fabrics she chose for the inside lining ...


When I started making all the different components of the bag, I asked her how she wanted me to top-stitch each piece.  She asked what her choices were. 

"Well, my dear child.  That is an EXCELLENT question.  Let me show you what your mama can do NOW!"

One problem:  we both became crippled with indecision.  Who knew an FMQ repertoire could cause a problem?  haha

So, she went with a few different ones ...


Back (with a little heart in the top right corner ... because I love her.)

A small monogram for the flap embellishment was all she wanted with the FMQ flowers.  And for the first time ever I tried my hand a raw-edge applique.  Turned out great!  Thank you Miss Amy for the inspiration ;)

I added a large pocket to the back and a handle for hanging on a hook.

I installed an easy-to-use zipper on the inside ... TWICE.  (Yep ... I knew y'all were waiting for my screw-up confessional.)  The first time it went in upside down.  It was late and I was tired so I didn't take a picture of it.  But here's the evidence. 

Second time ...

She INSISTED on a red zipper ... to go with all the little red accents on the bag.  She's so cute. 

I used two different fabrics for the zipper to "make do".  They are the leftovers from the front and back panels.  A little scrappy ... but not TOO scrappy.

And check out the shoulder pad!  Thanks for the suggestion, Kate. 

I made the entire bag with 10 fat quarters - no yardage - and only scraps for leftovers ...

Check back tomorrow to see what I did with them.


Back To School Prep

Five years ago when my oldest daughter started Kindergarten, I made her a backpack for school.  (Sorry, no picture ... it was salvaged for parts a few years ago.)  It was the prettiest backpack ever.  I vowed to myself that my girls were going to have brand new handmade backpacks every September for the rest of their lives. ;) 

So far, I've kept that promise.  But I'm about to break it.

I had a weird moment of weakness this summer when we were shopping for school clothes and I saw this ...

I thought it was perfect for my little one! 

I dunno.  Something about the pink & happy polka dots.  And the navy.  I couldn't even believe the words coming out of my mouth as I asked her if she'd like it for school.  She said yes.  I wasn't sure how I felt about that.

So right now I'm sorta sad that I broke my informal promise to make two new backpacks every year (until they flat out refuse to take ANYTHING homemade to school because "that is SO NOT COOL ... no one ELSE does, MOM!")  (Ouch! Stick a knife in my heart already!)  But I'm also sorta relieved that I only have to make one this year.

So.  My Grade 5er decided she needs something more sophisticated this year ... because she's not a little kid anymore - she's TEN.  So she's requested a messenger bag. 

Ok.  I can do that.

I also gave her freedom to pick anything (well, ALMOST anything) from my stash.  She went straight for these ...

The grays from Bonnie & Camille's new "Ruby" line.  She thinks this is a very grown up color.  I agree.

(I know!  She isn't a pink girl like her mom.  I'm slowly coming to terms with that ... although sometimes I wonder if she was accidentally switched in the hospital.)

I don't have any yardage - just these FQs.  So it will look sorta patchy.  But not TOO patchy (so I've been directed).

She also wants just a little bit of decoration on the flap.  We're thinking about either applique or embroidery in red.  Perhaps a monogram.  Or a heart.  Or flowers.  Or a combination.  Or something else we haven't thought of yet.  I'm workin' without a net here ... or a pattern. 

I've actually never made a messenger bag before.  This is my rough sketch which has been approved by my client.

I can hardly wait to get sewing.  I hope it turns out!  I'll show it to you when it's done ... if it looks good.  If not, then I'll lie and tell you the dog ate it. 

'Cept we don't have a dog ...


Tooth Fairy - Mystery Solved

Dear Holy Cow Fabulously Lovely Readers Who So Awesomely Responded To Our Request For Help,

I am pleased to introduce to you my very first guest blogger - my 8 year old daugher who was the subject of Tooth Fairy Tale.  She'd like to share a few words with you ...

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Well i read all of your comments.thank you so much for answreing my questyen. Now i know that i am not the only one. Wow! Tooth Fairy Glitter. That is way cool and seeing your money jar lose some money and get some money now that is way way way cool!

I should look for Fairy Glitter.

Oh! I don't know if my mom all ready posted this but i knew that the money was not the tooth Fairy's money because i am not sure if she left me with coins or bills any ways one of the coins had four yellow dots on it and when i saw it i remembred that night when my dad was showing me a famous girl from the olimpics [Cindy Klassen] and i asked my dad if he could show me the new remembrince day coin that he all ready showed me and my dad asked if i could show mom the girl on the coin and the remembrince day coin and i was bored and i saw a yellow super endelebul never com off in till you are dead and maybe even later markers/sharpe

[Translation:  Super-Indelible-Never-Come-Off-Until-You're-Dead-And-Maybe-Even-Later Marker ... a funny from Purple, Green & Yellow, a family favorite book by Canadian author Robert Munch.]

and so i was holding the remembrince day coin in my hand and i put four yellow dots around the flower i know it was weird but i did it and that is how i knew that the tooth fairy took my perents money not her own.

Well that is the time i knew that she barroed the money :) Well keep reading my mom's blog!! ;)

best wishes to everybody,


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Thank you sweetheart for your wonderful post!  And to you, dear audience, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us solve the mystery. 

Now I'm going to dig into the now infamous loose change dish to pay her freelance fee ... that girl drives a hard bargain! :)


Tooth Fairy Tale

Dear parents of children who are visited by the Tooth Fairy.  The following story is a faithful account of what happened to my 8 year old this weekend.

She woke up Sunday morning and checked her Tooth Fairy pillow for the money she was expecting for the tooth she'd lost the night before.  She was a little disappointed to discover that the Tooth Fairy hadn't come.  But the Tooth Fairy has forgotten before and always shows up the next night.

Well, this time, my daughter returned to her room after watching some Sunday morning tv and discovered the Tooth Fairy had come while she was downstairs!  Wow!  We figure she was just running late.

But as my daughter was inspecting her payment, she suddenly announced that it WASN'T the Tooth Fairy who'd left the money.  The money was mine ...

You see, the Tooth Fairy left 8 quarters ($2).  One quarter was very special.  The Canadian Mint often produces limited edition coins and this one happened to be for Rememberance Day (I know November 11th is a special day in many countries) and it has a very distinct red poppy on one side of the coin.

Now it just so happens that my daughter had recently drawn faint yellow dots on this very coin and then returned it to the little spare change dish I keep near by.  She showed me the dots. 

You can imagine my surprise! 

The only thing we can figure is that the Tooth Fairy had run out of money for the night and had to borrow some from me. 

My daughter and I would like to know if this has ever happened to you.  She has read this story to verify it's accuracy and is looking forward to reading comments that will help us solve this mystery.

Many thanks for your input!


Logic is TOTALLY Overrated

So.  My husband was at Costco the other day and came across two women & a toddler, who was sitting in the cart. 

Halfway through the store the little one got antsy and started demanding her freedom. 

The mom said, "You have two choices:  either sit here in the cart, or let your Aunt carry you."

Little's response?   "Me pick PURPLE!"

Next time someone offers me two unacceptible options, I'm picking PINK!


Note to Self #4

CENSOR the lyrics of a song that gets stuck in your head after listening to a 90s radio station - like “You’re Makin’ Me High” by Toni Braxton - before absentmindedly singing it in the kitchen while preparing lunch for your daughters. 

I don’t know all the words, but apparently know the first seven lines well enough to confuse the heck out of my 9 year old … !