Sunday, 22 February 2015

Glacial waters

Image result for herringbone crevasse
Herring-bone crevass

A glacier forms over many years of fallen snow that does not melt off each season. The accumulated weight of the snow causes this dense body of ice to move and shift.

Several years ago I went camping in Kananaskis Park, AB with some friends. One day hike that we went on ended at a glacial lake. When you see the glacier on the other side of the lake, one should pause and ponder one's imminent action. Yes, you may be hot after your hike and yes, it is July, but are you really prepared for a swim where the glacier is nearly in the water? We jumped in and it took my breath away. Indeed, it was refreshing.

Well, since having a baby, the free evening and weekend time that I once had to quilt no longer exists. My fat quarters and fabric are starting to accumulate and the weight of them on my mind moves me ever slowly to the creative and design process. Yes, I still Pin quilt ideas on my Pinterest quilt board which I may or may not attempt to accomplish in my future. However, a friend of mine in Montreal inspired this quilt design and I was compelled to sew this quilt.

I have never attempted a design with a 60 degree angle before and suffice to say, it busted my brain somewhat. I read a few blog postings and that was it. With no pattern to follow I started to cut and then realized that I cut some things wrong.  Becoming somewhat frustrated with the cutting process, I let it sit for a day and then I figured out a way to salvage the fabric that I had cut wrong.

I wanted to have a negative white space to off set the intense herringbone pattern, but I also wanted that white space to pop out. The free motion quilting pattern on the white fabric made me think of rivulets running into a larger body of water.

This quilt certainly challenged me, but I am pleased with the result. With certain projects, you sometimes have to just jump in and hope that you catch your breath later.

Glacial Waters


Saturday, 27 September 2014


It is OK to admit failure and defeat, right? How does one event erode at your confidence and leave you second guessing your choices?

I recently took on a furniture refinishing project. I was inspired by my friend who owns Fresh Vintage in Swift Current. I wanted to update some shelves to put in the baby room, which by the way, does not currently exist. The city denied our permit application, so we are back to the drawing board. Anyway, she recommended trying van Gogh fossil paint. I chose 2 colors, white and turquoise or rather, their paint color names chalk and confidence.

Creating a shabby chic look is not easy. My first attempt left me wondering what I had gotten myself into. The shelves were drab and lacking color and style. I was tempted to abandon the project. I joked with Daryl that I needed more "confidence". As I continued the project, I still doubted. Again joking with Daryl that I was almost out of "confidence". Will I have enough "confidence" to finish the shelves? Yes, the joke got old quickly. However, in the end, I was pleased with the result.

This parenting gig can also leave you feeling like your confidence has been depleted.

When a random stranger bangs on your wall at 3 a.m. because your little one is crying, it makes you wonder why you travel and upset their little routines. Making hasty decisions in the middle of the night doesn't help the situation either.

I am not sure if anyone came out the victor, but I do think the baby is one point up.

A note to the person in apartment 805. We live in community and somehow we need to navigate our way through this sleep transition phase. We are doing our best. We all want a quiet stress free night.

May the odds ever be in your favor.

Lacking confidence
A little more confidence

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Summer lovin'

What defines summer for you?

Yesterday I walked with my little family to Mayfair Pool. It was about 19 C with a cool breeze. Some might say, "Not the perfect conditions for an afternoon at the pool". When we arrived, there were 6 other kids in the pool. Instantly I was transported back to my childhood.

Where I grew up in small town Saskatchewan, there was a pool directly across the street from where we lived. Hot days, cold days, rainy days, my brothers and I lived at the pool. My little brother would even have his naps in the lifeguard station.

The sounds of children talking and yelling, the blow of the whistle, the smell of chlorine (on the skin), the sting in your eyes from swimming with them open. . . Everything about the pool in the summer, I love. Well almost, I do not like going to the bathroom there because the toilet seats are always wet. Gross. Regardless, I think you are either a pool person or a lake person. I enjoy the lake experience, but my summer is defined by the pool.

On a side note, what pool rules killed your fun or made you just scratch your head?

One rule that I have never understood, enforced, or followed, is showering before entering the pool.

Anyway, I am looking forward to  lane swimming, playing chop chop timber, and splashing in the pool all summer long.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Ten thousand

At what point does one become an expert in their field? Malcom Gladwell's book "Outliers: The story of success",  suggests that the 10 000 hour rule is the key to success. One becomes proficient at a task or skill whether it is hockey, computer programming, music, etc. when vast amounts of time and energy are spent doing it. He suggests that greatness requires an enormous amount of time. Throughout the book, Gladwell discusses how family, culture, and friendship each play a role in an individual's success.

What brings this concept to mind for me this week is my most recent road trip with my 6 month old son. Since he entered this world, our little family has traveled over 10 000 kms by car. I used to love a road trip, but recently I have come to dread them. One needs to consider what time is the optimum time to leave, what snacks and toys will be required for distraction, have I brought enough diapers and bibs. Couldn't 10 000 kms be considered the same as 10 000 hrs? Why haven't we reached the point of greatness in our travel? Why isn't my baby an expert traveler?

I realized how much I depend on the nap to help travel seem bearable. When the first big nap is wasted stuck in traffic in Calgary only 4 blocks from your departure point, you know that the trip is going to be excruciatingly long...for everybody in the car. Our petit hibou was a trooper though.

When will we be able to emulate George Clooney's character in "Up in the Air" where travel is no longer cumbersome and you arrive at your destination calm, cool, and collected?

Saturday, 26 April 2014

What is in your closet?

A closet can be a veritable treasure trove of unseen items. I remember making my way to my parents walk-in closet via the "secret" hallway for hide-and-seek. There were many great places to hide and so many things to look at. In their closet you could find the Halloween dress up box, Dad's skinny red pants that he wore in his 20's, Christmas decorations, porcelain dolls, and around Christmas, somewhere in there, I always hoped that I would catch a glimpse of my gift (which I found out much later in life that they were hidden in the attic).

Closets are also great places for hiding unfinished projects and odds and sods, or rather, those things in your life that you are not ready to part with or deal with, and so, to the back of the closet they go.

We recently purchased an IKEA PAX closet system to organize and hide our treasures. It only took us 5 years to decide what type of closet system to get, but it was worth the wait. How great it is to have a space to hang the sleeping bags and to put Daryl's instrument cases.

My suitcase of fabric.
A few months ago I was helping a friend sort and pack for a move.What did her closet reveal? A large stack of fabric and unfinished quilts. She inquired whether I wanted the fabric, which I quickly replied, "No". I work very hard at keeping my fabric intake in check. I did offer to finish any unfinished quilts. I came home with 6 in various stages. Some just needed a boarder added, some needed to be sewn together, but all of them were cut out and ready to assemble. This week I wandered down to Unique Textiles to purchase the batting and fabric for binding. I am now set. Next step, to carve out a little time to sit and quilt in between playing, feeding, and comforting my baby boy.
Project 1
project 2

Wednesday, 26 February 2014


Valancie & Hibou
Did your parents ever dress you and your siblings in matching outfits? I am not certain how old I was, but on one of our family vacations out west to visit Grandma, my mom sewed us all matching striped T-shirts. By all of us, I mean Mom, Dad, my 2 brothers and myself. I guess the rationale was that we would be visible in a crowd. "I wonder where Dad is? Oh, there he is. We are wearing the same outfit. Perhaps I should stay in the Flinstone car and nobody will notice..." Of course they will notice because we all looked so cute as a family all matchy, matchy. Secretly, I love wearing coordinating outfits.

When does wearing matching outfits become inappropriate and awkward? The other day when I put on my striped sweater, I thought, "Wouldn't it be cute if Hibou was wearing his striped outfit too". When I asked Daryl to take a picture, he commented that it would be our first Motherboy contest entry. If any of you have watched Arrested Development, you will know what he was talking about. Motherboy was a dinner dance organized to promote mother/son bonding. How many years do I get before Hibou starts to protest and refuse to wear matching outfits? I suspect not many, but perhaps I will make the most of it while I can.

Who will win the coveted "Cutest Couple" this year? You can watch Motherboy XXX on NetFlix (season 2 episode 13)

If you see me in 30 years and we are wearing matching track suits, please stop me and tell me that I have taken it too far.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


The joys of parenting has the added balance of the anxieties of parenting. Our petit hibou was born in December. He is nothing short of adorable.

The first week we brought him home, we thought we were all doing good, until the public health nurse came to check in on us. Hibou was losing weight, which is normal for newborns, but he had lost more than the acceptable amount. The nurse recommended that we rent a breast pump and start supplementing him. New parents will do anything for their precious little one. Daryl went out like a dutiful husband and dad to bring home a pump.

Although a breast pump is a useful piece of equipment, it is not sexy. The first time I used it double barrel style, I thought of the fembots in Austin Powers. Now, they are sexy and dangerous, I am only comely and vulnerable. Be as it may, double barreled pumping is my lot in life these days.

Medela "Fembot"