A very full week

Asparagus FieldA pack of dogs, new sewing projects, joyful news, sad news, basement flooding, a yarn party, asparagus, roller derby, lots of driving, kitty-sitting, and naps where ever I could squeeze them in. These all filled my time the past several days to the point of almost overflowing. Well, you could say it did overflow since the heavy rains leaked into our basement. There was lots of mopping, ringing out towels, and mumbling profanity as we watched water come in from a newly discovered crack in our foundation. This seemed like the icing on the cake for a rather bumpy week. It certainly wasn’t ALL bad. I suppose that’s what makes the roller coaster of life difficult at times though. For the briefest of moments, it feels like you get to enjoy happy news, only to be slapped with sadness and challenges again.

One happier note was that I started a new job, part-time at a doggie daycare called Back in the Pack. Each day has meant meeting new dogs and learning new personalities. It has been fascinating to watch the dynamics of “the pack”. An average day seems to be about 24-28 dogs, so things can feel pretty chaotic at times, but I’m slowly getting a handle on all of it. The new job has also opened up the possibility of new product to sew and sell, which has led to a bit of brainstorming and sample making.

Cooked Asparagus DishesOn Saturday, hubby and I got out of the city for a while and ventured into the countryside to the Asparagus Festival. It was quite a lot of fun, actually! We were both quite curious about how asparagus is grown and it was neat to be on such a large working farm. The farm itself has been in the same family since 1907 and is primarily a traditional grain farm, but in recent years, they have started growing market garden veggies, including asparagus. Needless to say, we picked up a BIG bag of asparagus, which hubby quickly turned into soup and jars of pickled asparagus.

Also scored a bunch of ground beef, to restock our deep freeze, which has been sadly lacking “happy cow” these past couple of months. Can’t wait for the autumn, when we can pick up more local “happy cow”. We have convinced ourselves to buy a full half cow this time around. We are down to our last package of “happy pig”, but this is an easier meat to re-stock and we still have plenty of “happy lamb” to keep us nourished. If you’ve never really tried eating any of these “happy” animals, then I highly recommend it! I find it is soo hard to eat meat from the typical grocery store now. “Unhappy” meat has so little flavour and even the colour seems odd to me after experiencing “happy” meat. Asparagus FarmHubby and I call it “happy” because the animals get to live like animals, free range, grass-fed, not locked up and pumped full of hormones. We aren’t into being vegetarian, but we do choose to buy the majority of our meat from local farmers who respect their animals. The one “happy” critter we have yet to track down is chicken, so sadly we have continued to buy small amounts of it from the grocery store. We’re still searching though… we’d love if Calgary by-laws were finally changed to allow residents to keep backyard chickens, so at least we would have “happy” eggs to eat.

Somehow this post turned into a moral meat talk. That’s how scattered my brain has been. Wish me luck this week, that I can keep it all together enough to get through each day.

A Look Back

My First Sewing Project
One of the oldest sewing projects made by little 'ol me (with lots of mom's help too, I'm sure)

Wayyyyy back to the beginning. Well not THE beginning, but my beginning. At some very young age I discovered sewing. Of course, I’d probably been watching my mom sew since the day I was born, propped up in a little seat while my mom sat at the kitchen table with her sewing machine. The kitchen was the first sewing “space” that my mom had in the house. She found a more permanent home for her sewing space in the downstairs hallway, once my dad developed the basement more fully. Many years later, my mom was finally able to take over one of the bedrooms and convert it into her sewing room, once my oldest brother left the nest. That room was still in the basement though, so it wasn’t until the day that my brother Aaron and I moved out together (eeek, the last two children leaving in one go) that my mom finally claimed a sunny room upstairs to sit and surround herself with her ever growing fabric stash. And there she sits today, in front of the sewing machine, creating the most lovely things.

It’s simply no wonder at all, that I too have the sewing bug. Not as some fleeting hobby that will eventually be replaced by another, but as a way of life. That seems like a rather serious statement, but it’s true. Sure there have been periods of my life where the sewing machine was left untouched for a time, but I always came back to it and generally with a renewed love for sewing.

My first sewing projectI recently asked my mom what she thought one of my earliest sewing projects were and wondered if they were still lingering around. We both thought of a small wall hanging quilt that remains hanging in that basement hallway where my mom’s sewing room used to be. It’s probably one of the earliest examples of my own sewing and quilting. A project where my mom helped a great deal, but I was at least able to use the sewing machine on my own (sorry I don’t have a photo of it to share here).

However, the other day, my mom pulled out what is undeniably one of my earliest sewing projects. A rather ugly square of scrap fabrics sewn randomly. I admit, it has some charm, knowing that it’s so very old and I was so very young. My mom said that she used to sit me on her lap and let me choose bits of fabrics from the pile of scraps. Then I would plop them down on the square she had prepared and she would control the sewing machine pedal. Some moms might be cringing at the thought of having small hands near that sewing machine needle, but all ten of my digits survived just fine, thank you very much.

Early sewing project
Another early example (looks like mom helped a bit more with the layout)

Last weekend my mom and I were at a friend’s baby shower. Our gift was a gorgeous baby quilt that my mom and I collaborated on. I picked the colours and fabrics and she did all the beautiful piecing. Doesn’t that sound familiar? I also gave my friend some baby bibs that I had recently sewn and seeing the quilt and bibs, someone at the shower said, “I see where you get your sewing talent from.” And I couldn’t agree more.

In light of some recent news, it seems very important to acknowledge just how much my mom has influenced my life. I’m so grateful for all that she has taught me and continues to teach me. I still know where to go when I need help and not just sewing help. I can’t imagine our lives without the bond of sewing between us and that is a gift we can both give thanks for. I can only hope and pray that one day my mom will have the opportunity to teach all these many things to her grandchildren. It would bring nothing but joy to see her with a little one in her lap again in front of the sewing machine.

So thank you mom, for teaching me how to put all one’s love into bits of sewn fabric, how to hold my life together with colourful threads, and adorn the best days with buttons.

Peek into the sewing room

Jars of ButtonsI am grateful today to be featured on the Etsy Alberta Street Team blog. Or rather, my sewing room is featured. I can’t recall offering a peek into my sewing room here on this blog. For shame! Of course, now you can just pop over to the team blog and snoop around. There are some fun post series on the team blog, which is open for any member to contribute to. I am pondering the one series “Hidden Talent”. Pretty sure that the average person hasn’t or doesn’t sew orange peels and bubblegum into dresses. It’s been several years since I did one of those art pieces, but I might just have to share that hidden talent (or rather hidden craziness).

Double-header derby

Derby craft tableA quick report on the roller derby action. Got my table set-up no prob. Featured some items from minibytes and some of my momma’s lovely sewing creations. Tons of great people watching. Met some wonderful derby girls. Sold some stuff. Watched a bit of each game. Had to put up with the delicious smell of hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill about ten feet from my table. Felt like I was a kid again, hanging out at the arena. I was totally a rink rat while both my older brothers played hockey. Random observation… all arenas smell the same. The double-header game made for a long night, especially since the second game had lots of long stops. My heart goes out to Mama Ro of the B52 Bellas. A bad crash led to a broken ankle and a ride in an ambulance. Praying for a good recovery for her and fast healing.

I *heart* roller derby

Roller Derby PostcardsAnd I *heart* fabric postcards, so this project was a perfect match. I just cut up some old jeans, sewed the denim onto card stock with a zigzag stitch and then dug through my stamp collection to find the appropriate stamp bits. Oh, and I also ran the card stock through the printer (prior to being sewn obviously) so that I could print my website and a basic postcard back for a more professional look. Simple and fun!

And yes, you can actually send fabric postcards through the post. I used to organize a postcard exchange between all my art friends and you’d be surprised what you can send through the mail! I loved doing that postcard exchange! I have a shoebox of postcards that I received. One day, I need to figure out how to display them all together. It would make a wonderful art piece and an amazing reminder of the incredible talent that I’m surrounded by.

Oh so, if you happen to be coming to the Calgary Roller Derby bout tonight, stop by and say hi. I’ll be there with all my new items for sale, plus some handmade items by my mom and a few crochet critters by minibytes. A fun mix of stuff!