Late to the Party…again

1377108_10151945981211337_631306359_n

Why am I always late to the party? And by party I mean Mad Men.  I am currently binge watching this series. It fascinates me. As one of those kids who were born in the 60’s I watch this show and look at the mothers, fathers and society and think “wow, that sure explains my childhood”.

I am one of those moms who loves her children fiercely, wanted to be the one who raised them so made huge sacrifices to be a stay at home mom. At the time, I thought I was sacrificing things. Hindsight is an amazing thing. This is not true, We survived just fine without ‘things’. What I sacrificed in many ways was me. The intellectual me. The self-esteem me. The me who did things a certain way to get through the day and now it is an expectation of those around me to keep it up. HA…that’s not going so well. I created monsters and now am trying to undo all those things – like dinner ready at 5, like ultra planned events, like parties where details are lovely.

I pretty much have unzipped that persona and stepped into the new me where I am usually still studying at 5, food is fuel – you don’t see dinner? Make it yourself – you are capable because I taught you. Parties? How about we meet at a restaurant? That way I don’t have to care about what my house looks like. I have pretty much become a man of the 60’s. I would love a 60’s house wife…but who wouldn’t?

I had a grandmother who had 5 children. She did house work and cooked but always changed into a nice dress and but on makeup before my grandfather came home. She said he worked hard and it was the woman’s job to pamper the man and to put herself together and look nice for him. Dinner’s ready, wife is cute, children are sparkling… wow.

This is not something I ever did. Should I have? Would it have made a difference?

Did the man actually appreciate what the woman did? Not sure. It isn’t like that on Mad Men. It is an expectation. It was an expectation of my grandfather too. My father just expected food and quiet. At the end of his day, he needed 30 minutes of solitude before dinner. I soooooo understand that. He never cooked, actually, the time my mom was in the hospital, he did cook. Once. I then took over cooking duties. How can you expect someone to do something well if they had never been taught? Or had time to practice? You can’t…or shouldn’t…. just teach them. Now that dad is retired he is starting to learn, but mom still makes all the meals and looks after him that way. I suspect it has more to do with her feelings for him then it being an obligation because I learned about feminism from my mom. Besides, my mom really and truly loves to cook.

Not me.

I HATE COOKING. I hate being a restaurant. I detest cooking meat.

I fail as a housewife of the 60’s.

I am cool with that.

But what I didn’t anticipate is how I feel about the men of the 60’s.

I like their assertiveness. I like their vulnerability. They were the providers and it was stressful. That isn’t an expectation anymore, it is a shared burden. As difficult as it is for men now, I think it might have been harder for them in the 60’s. Aside from the condescending attitudes towards women, I really think bearing the brunt of all financial matters was a tough position to be in.

So I watch Mad Men with a keen sense of nostalgia and it has my childhood making perfect sense…the the 70’s came along and ruined everything from weird attitudes to fashion. The 70’s and 80’s were just wrong.

Do I wish I was an adult in the 60’s? No…I prefer the hierarchy of today.

However, the fashion was kick-ass…I miss that kind of swanky luxury.download

Once upon a time there was a little girl who could make babysitters cry…

06443029462bcbe897d59a3467928dc4_answer_6_xlarge10 o’clock at night and my girl is upstairs blasting Time Lord Rock while baking Rose Tyler esc cupcakes for a dear friend and fellow Whovian’s birthday. I have been told that she is quite capable of following the instructions and baking on her own. Agreed.

Then I hear “Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom, can I have your opinion on these cupcakes please? They are giant but liquid in the middle. How long should I put them back in for? And why do they taste like Cherry Cough Syrup?”

Good Question… Ask Grandma.

My mom was a good egg in lots of ways. She always let me listen the radio station of my choice when we were in the car. She didn’t care. Dad on the other hand would say “This stuff is utter crap, I can’t listen to this.” And the station would change to some oldie station playing Peter, Paul and Mary or the Limelighters. This would account for my obscure and amazing talent of knowing every song ever written between 1948 and 1989, this includes jingles and TV theme songs. It’s a handy talent for some great trivia games and for radio quiz shows where I get to win tickets to The Who and The Rolling Stones.

Mom would also encourage me to experiment in the kitchen. I learned the basics from her and my Aunty Mary Poppins, but the fine tuning I did on my own. I dad would eat ANYTHING I put in front of him and he would always say, “That is the best I ever had! Did I make it?” Between both my parents, that made me fearless in the kitchen. I am not a swell cook – but I am an AMAZING baker. There is a difference. I think some people can be great at both but often they are only good at one or the other.

My girl is a self proclaimed distraction in the kitchen. I let her do all kinds of baking and cooking experiments but there is usually some disaster that happens and we need to figure out how to fix it. To be honest, it isn’t always fixable, so we pack it up and give it to her Grandpa (my dad) who will eat ANYTHING and say it’s the best ever.

I remember baking on Friday nights when we had a babysitter because Mom and Dad were off Dancing  – I know…it was the olden days when people went dancing at the club – (as in country club) It sounds fancier than it was, but my parents loved it. We went through babysitters like some people go through socks. My brother and I were THE WORST KIDS EVER – not true  – were only bad if we didn’t like the babysitter. I liked the weak ones. The ones that were nice on the outside but I could make them cry in an instant. One time we had this gal, a neighbor of my grandma, she came over and wanted to play games or watch TV and I would say – no. I am baking cookies.

“Are you allowed to do that?”

Me: NO – are you kidding? Mom is going to kill you. “Yes, my mom lets me all the time.”

“Okay – call me if you need help”

Me: pfffff whatever – “okay”

I went into the pantry and pulled out all the ingredients for Quaker Oatmeal Cookies. The Just Add Water kind of cookie mix that mom would buy and add a billion things to for granola bars. I used an entire package (enough for 1000 cookies) and a gallon of water. I think it said one cup but the measuring cup was really big – I think it was 8 cups. But I filled it because it was still only one cup.

I had made cookie cake. It was liquid porridge. I couldn’t spoon it onto a cookie tray, it would run all over the place. So I left it in the bowl, put all the dirty dishes and baking garbage into the oven and shut the door.

I went to join the babysitter and my brother and said I changed my mind. I didn’t want to bake.

Later while I was fake sleeping, my mother called me into the kitchen.

She had the keen sense of Sherlock Holmes. There wasn’t a dish left out, yet she knew.

“What happened in here tonight?”

Me: I was fake tired and said “What???’ in my sleepy fake voice.

“This kitchen is a disaster!”

Me: What are you talking about? I hid the evidence. I knew I needed to stay silent.

“Were you making cookies?

Me: How does she know this stuff? Silence…………

“Where did you hide the stuff?” She looked around and likely saw a fingerprint on the oven door.

Then I remember the oven door opening and the angry voice lecturing me for what seemed like a week. But thankfully dad came home and sent me to bed.

Now that I am a parent myself, these are the thoughts that run through my head:

  1. Why would the babysitter let an 8 year old bake cookies unsupervised?
  2. Obviously mom saw the flour dust all over everything. What is clean to an 8 year old is not clean to a mom.
  3. Why didn’t my parents just lock us up under the stairs to go out? We tortured babysitters for fun. How we make it out of our childhood alive is beyond me.
  4. I always thought my mom was crazy about cleanliness – I still do.
  5. Why did my parents change babysitters so frequently? Did the girls just say no? I would – but to be fair, I could talk those girls into anything and I think they didn’t expect that from a kid. I was the evil emperor of kids needing supervision. Let’s face it, after every girl in Sherwood Park failed and became brainwashed by my charms, there wasn’t a whole lot for them to do. They became powerless. I would put my sister to bed, I would talk my brother into running away or hiding or really – anything to make the sitter never wanting to come back. I’m sure my parents paid well, but sometimes no job is EVER worth it.

Meanwhile, my daughter just made cupcakes that taste like cough syrup and I am proud like I am raising a little me. Luckily her grandfather lives a block from the school, so when her friends don’t eat the cupcakes – he will.

And the family tradition continues….only the dirty dishes better not be hidden in the stove.

15th Anniversary of the beginning of Harry? I suddenly feel very old and melancholy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

15 years ago the J.K. Rowling released the first of her epic series of Harry Potter Books. I know the first one as Harry and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Americans know it to be the Sorcerer’s Stone. Why? I don’t know, something to do with it being more marketable in the USA. I HATE it when they do that to books.Publishers did it with The Book of Negroes in the rest of the world and Someone knows my Name in the USA. Anyways…

I became a Harry Potter fan by accident. I needed to find a story book to engage my young son in so he would want to become a reader. Books that girls would like to read seemed easier to find. I picked up this book in the Scholastic Book Club Flyer and decided it would be the bed-time story for the next few weeks. By the time we had caught up on the series, we were waiting for The Goblet of Fire to come out. We dressed up and went to the book launch at the local book store, picked up the book and went home. I read the first chapter to him for bed-time as was our usual routine. I then took the book to MY room and finished reading by 4:00 AM. This became a trend for me. Taking the book and reading it in one go, then preceding to read it my son.

By the time we had reached the (near) end of the series, my son was reading novels on his own. He preferred adventure stories but would never read Harry Potter on his own, that was reserved for me. He would watch me read the book through with tears rolling down my face, or so caught up in adventure I couldn’t hear what was going on around me. The advantage to reading first was I knew when a good time to stop the book for the night. Chapters aren’t always a good break in the story.

Rowling isn’t the worlds greatest literary author, but who cares. She made children readers because they finally understood that a book can transport you away to another time and place and lets you spend time with characters who might resemble you and your friends. Better yet, they might show flaws that make you feel normal. I knew Harry had an impact on my son when, as a 16 year old, he came home from a School Trip to California sporting a wand, 11 inches long, made of holly and had a phoenix feather core. It made me smile. The movies were fine, but both of us agree the books had that extra detail that became important to the characters and their lives.

They were important to me, because it gave me some extra cuddle time past the age when your mom reading to you at bed-time was not so cool. Those books were important to him too and set the stage for the future us to discuss books, movies and other geeky things we both find so fascinating. Even now, both my kids like it when I read to them occasionally  I take advantage of every second because these times are growing few and far between. One day it will be me and my grandkids cuddling up to read new adventures.

I’ll leave Harry Potter for the future grandkid’s dad to share with them because that needs to be a special time between a parent and child to let the tradition continue.

The Chain Smoking Angel is a Christmas Tradition in my house

I have spent considerable time reflecting and remembering on Christmas past. I decided to take on the Weekly Challenge at WordPress: Just Do It. My buddy over at Brown Road Chronicles inspired me and reminded me of the oddball assortment of Christmas decorations that adorn my tree. I am one of those Christmas Geeks who ‘theme’ out my tree. This year I have a Tiffany & Co tree,151071_10151349105206337_749003960_n

a Disney Tree,577823_10151359535226337_541165187_n

a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree404982_10151307316561337_1108099625_n019

and of course, the regular tree.

Decorating the tree was always a huge deal in my house. It was my mom’s favorite time of year. Now that her favorite little one’s (the grandkids) are all bigger than her, some of the magic sparkle has left the holidays. We cheer her up by sitting around after dinner/breakfast/lunch/dinner and reminisce about Christmas Past.  (Proof that I existed):73256_10151359512121337_124215547_n

That is me (pre-clown hair) in 1968 with my groovy cool dadeo.

When I was 4, we moved to row housing in Sherwood Park. This was my first Christmas memory. I remember getting Baby Tenderloin and 64 crayola crayons. All I remember of my brother was him in flannel pjs. I remember my mom hanging a box of angels on the tree. It was the 60’s, angel’s came in bulk. These fancy angels all were holding ‘so called’ candles. They never fooled me for one minute. These angels were chain smokers.

In those days everyone smoked, so it never occurred to me that angels wouldn’t. This drove my my crazy, “THOSE ARE NOT CIGARETTES!!” The more she denied it the more my brother and I were convinced she was lying. Mom carefully bent the ‘candle’ perpendicular with the angel and my brother and I spent hundreds of hours bending the candles so the angel could smoke. Tell me what you think.

Non-smoking angel:photo 1 (2)

Smoking Angel:photo 2 (1)

She even had a groovy black filter and kind of looked like Phyllis Diller. See for yourself:Phyllis-Diller-post-new

This year the after dinner conversation will start with “mom, why did you hang Phyllis Diller on our tree every year?” This should generate some heated frustrated conversation from my mom. You can’t call it Christmas and not have the mom go a little crazy.

 

Merry Christmas to all my Edmonton Tourist readers. I appreciate you more than you can every really know. Happy Holidays :)

Alone

I was sitting at the bank the other day, when a man somewhere around my age, perhaps on the closer side of 50, came in with his dad. He walked up to the desk and asked the receptionist if she knew his father and pointed to the elderly man on his right. The teller smiled with sad eyes and said,” yes, we all know George.” I could tell be the look of pity on her face that this man had some serious struggles with his father.

The two gentlemen took a seat beside me and the father kept saying “They stole my money”. The son sighed and said “dad, you are confusing the issues. There is no record of you purchasing a money order and why do you think you bought one? You have no need for a money order. These people are professionals, they are not out to steal money from their clients.” He leaned his arms forward on his knees and placed his head in his hands and just sighed. I could tell he wanted to be rescued. I wanted to place my hand on his shoulder and tell him it will all be okay. But that would be a lie.

It’s not going to be okay. That moment when the child becomes the caregiver is painful. I watch my aunts and my parents go through those same frustrations. I know one day it will be me and my siblings going through the same thing. I watch the stress levels of everyone rise, from the parents to their children. One can’t help feel it too. I worry about my parents and they worry about their children and their parents and I worry about my kids and it all becomes a vicious cycle.

I wonder about how it happens. That very moment where my grandparents went from being in charge, being strong, looking after my great grandparents, to relying on others to help them get through, needing someone to make choices for them. As a child, I was shielded from the struggles my grandparents had with my great grandparents. I remember my great grandma living at my grandma’s house. I remember when she went from looking after little details, cooking meals and being an active member of the household, to being cared for. Meals brought to her, medications lined up and eventually the decision to move her into a care facility. I don’t remember being aware of my grandparent’s struggle, their stress or agonizing over decisions about what to do. What likely had happened was my grandfather made the decisions for my grandma. He took care of her like that. He would rescue her and make her feel safe. I’m sure that is what she misses most about him. Because seriously, that’s all any girl wants. Women are capable of making decisions, being strong, holding it together, but that one person who can make them feel safe and protected is the ultimate.

When I looked at that man who was my age, I had a moment of clarity. Although I am removed from caring for my parents, I am in a different situation. I am still feeling that at this very moment. I want to be rescued, made to feel safe. I knew that son had wanted go back to the time where is dad was the protector and made everything safe. I long for a simple time where I could crawl up to couch and snuggle between my parents. I am lucky that I am not alone like that man in the bank. I have my family supports and the clarity of mind from both parents. I understand that everyone has the sense that the future is unknown. It makes it hard to plan for, but it is one of those leaps of faith that anyone who has a desire to do great things must take. It just happens to be my turn to face the unknown.

Putting My Best Foot Forward

While I am away, I am reposting some of my olders blogs from 2011. It is interesting to see where I have come from. This is from /2011/02/28.

——————————————————————————————————————

Pixie using her pixie dust power. Art by Greg ...

Pixie using her pixie dust power. Art by Greg Land. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was wacky. I had a heated conversation with a colleague about what I know and don’t know. I was so angry by the time the conversation was over I wanted to walk out never to return. Instead I kept my composure, defended my position and used conversation skills I have learned in my course. Does it matter in the end? No not really. I was seriously offended though. I put it aside and went swimming instead of stewing about it. My arms hurt but I feel good. I thought about why she might say those things to me. Clearly we do not share the same belief system or values. I was questioned as to why I work so hard at what I do if I am not loving it any more. To me the answer is simple. If you do a job, do it well or go home. Just letting things “go” or ignoring situations is just not how I was raised. My Grandfather would be rolling over in his grave and my mother would ground me. I have set goals for myself and I know I will not achieve them if I do not put my best foot forward. I need to shout those goals to the Universe so everyone knows what my intentions are. Do you hear that Universe? I do not want to keep my regular position anymore, I want more.

To achieve those goals I need to remind myself of beliefs and values that are important to me. Genetic Offspring showed me his Power Point Presentation on Beliefs for his Religion class. It has inspired my list. I am writing them down because I need the reminder.

  1. Family First Always. Sometimes I forget how much my family means to me. I am not just referring to the ones living in my house. I mean the ones down the street, across town, in another city and over oceans. Family is my reason for almost everything.
  2. Doing the Right Thing is hardly ever easy. I wish it was easy. If everything was easy, life would be boring. However, would it kill you universe to make some things easy?
  3. Great Wisdom often comes from children. I have learned amazing things from my children. I don’t just mean the answer to scientific questions, but the maturity my children deal with social issues, personal problems and road blocks inspires me to be better. I think all parents can learn from their children. If you are childless, you can still eaves drop on conversations of children. Not only are the a great source of entertainment but profound things often come out of those mouths.
  4. Trust your instincts. There is a little voice or a feeling. Its something or someone trying to tell you something. Listen to that gut feeling. It is usually right. Trust yourself, you have your best interest at heart. Don’t let yourself down.
  5. Show Kindness to others. You would think this would be easy. I see children who don’t know how to be kind to each other. We need to teach that. It isn’t instinctual. My ChatterBox is the kindest person I know.
  6. Magic/Miracles/Pixie Dust are real if you believe in hard work. All of it will happen if you work for it. Look at me, I am working hard for it, a little pinch of Pixie Dust and I’ll have my goals in my pocket.
  7. Nurture yourself. I never use to believe this. I have started practicing it. It’s true, it makes a difference. You have to love yourself first then other things fall into place.
  8. No is as important as Yes. Learning to say no has been liberating. It ties in with nurturing myself. Hard to do, but essential.
  9. Yes is as important as No. Saying yes to things you normally wouldn’t do is also liberating. Hard to do, but essential.
  10. Family First Always – but don’t forget you are part of the family too.

Step by Step Chenille Baby Quilt

I was frustrated with the lack of detailed instructions for making a chenille  baby quilt. Sure I could find all types of instructions, but I wanted information for someone who has never made a quilt before. I never did find one complete with picture and non-quilter lingo.

 

I love the feel of chenille and flannel. For a baby or and young child, these seem like the ideal cuddle blanket. To make the same one I have, you will need the following,

  • 5 meters of flannel – I used the same print for the front and back. When choosing the fabric for the chenille, I pulled colours from the printed fabric so it would coordinate.
  • .5 meter of flannel for the binding. Some people use a satin binding pre-packed from the fabric store. I find satin doesn’t hold up well to many washings. Since this is a baby quilt, it WILL be washed many times over. Flannel is soft too and you have the advantage of using the background fabric or contrast, the choice is unlimited.
  • 1 spool of Mettler No.100 274 meter poly-cotton thread. Old thread sitting in your sewing box will lose it’s integrity and will break frequently. Spring for a new spool.
  • 1 #11 sharp needle for your sewing machine. You may break it, but if it is new it is sharp enough to poke through 5 layers of flannel. Less chance of breakage. You needle dulls over time, so consider changing it after 25 hours of sewing.
  • Rotary cutter or a sharp pair of shears (large scissors used ONLY FOR FABRIC).
  • If using shears, you will need tailors chalk in a colour that contrast with your fabric.
  • Large ruler or omnigrid. I prefer an omnigrid because of the lines to ensure a straight cut.
  • Cutting mat if using a rotary cutter.
  • Binding clips (these look like hair clips – wait they ARE hair clips that I bought at the dollar store!)
  • Safety pins
  • Iron and ironing board
  • obviously a sewing machine – you could hand sew this but I would die of boredom, you good luck to you! I have a walking foot attachment on my machine. You can purchase a roller foot if you don’t have one. It helps to pull all the layers through the machine together at the same rate, so there is less slippage and puckering.
  • Seam guide attachment – this prevents marking the quilt and helps with guiding you to creating a straight seam…helps but you still have to take ownership ;)
  • small thread scissors

 

I didn’t use a quiltbat because flannel is warm. I wanted a floppy feel to the quilt so the child can drag it around like Linus does. If you decide to use a quilt bat, use a thin cotton so shrinkage stays the same. Buy extra needles because 6 layers of fabric is

I had the gal at the fabric store cut my 2m of background fabric in half. Sure I could do it but, why do I want to when she is willing and able? I had her cut the .5 meter separate as well too. Then I knew I could get straight to work.

I never pre-wash anything. Shocking right? There are several reasons for this.

  1. the sizing on the fabric ( its like a starch added to the fabric in production) keeps the fabric stiff and easier to work with, especially cutting!
  2. I like the look of shrinkage after the quilting (quilting is the sewing of the layers together) is done. It wrinkles between the quilting and it makes it look vintage and pre-loved.
  3. Fabric rarely runs any more. I have never had that problem and when I do, I dunk the entire quilt into a tea bath and dye it to even out the colours. Again, a nice vintage look.
  4. When working with raw edge flannel, the more fraying the better.
  5. The binding shrinks at the same rate as the quilt, less pressing (ironing) and sharper corners when mitering.

I layered my fabric on the floor in the following order:

The Quilt base:

  1. Background fabric
  2. Quiltbatting – I omitted this step
  3. Top fabric – Be careful to place these two pieces of fabric WRONG sides together. The good side of the fabric will be on the bottom and on the top. Wrong sides are sandwich together inside the quilt.

The chenille – layered next on top of the “top fabric”

  1. Print – right side down, so the top right side and the print right side are touching. This fabric will be the dominant colour throughout your quilt. Choose wisely.
  2. Second colour – right side down
  3. Third colour – right side up.

Layering is the most important step and crucial to get right. The fabric will not be straight or square. That is okay, we will square it up after sewing the layers together.

Pin all the layers together with safety pins about every 8″ apart.  Straight pins will work but they will stab you once you are at the machine. Straight pins will also fall out, jeopardizing the integrity of the carefully matched layers.

For the chenille process to work, you must sew on the bias. The bias is the diagonal direction of the fabric – the stretchy part. I started at the corner and sewed a “straight line” to the other corner. First of all, I did not sew a straight line because I did not mark it out. Secondly, this is not a square quilt so I ‘eyeballed’ it. I am not a perfectionist. The Amish who are near perfect quilters always add a humility block because only God is perfect. So I am lazy AND not perfect. It works for me. The only one who will notice are other quilters, babies don’t care about perfection, they just want to be warm and to be cuddled.

I set the seam guide attachment at one inch from the needle.

Once I had sewn the first seam, I would line that seam up on the elbow of the seam guide and use that as my seam allowance.  I had a quilted seams through 5 layers of fabric every inch. I sewed half the quilt on the diagonal so it appeared to look like a half-square triangle (half the quilt = triangular quilt lines). The other half of the quilt I sewed perpendicular to the original quilt seams.

Once the sewing was complete, I cut the top 3 layers of the fabric between the seam lines. You can purchase a chenille cuter from Olfa, but for $56 I figured I could use my scissors. Be careful to only cut the top 3 layers or you will cut your quilt in to strips and have to start all over again. I am happy to report I did it correctly!

 

It was at this point when I thought i should have set my seam guide to 3/4″, the chenille would have been shorter and closer together. However, i do like the finished product of being able to see the top or background fabric.
After cutting, i used my Omni Grid Large Square to cut and square off the quilt. At some sections of the quilt I had cut off a good 1 1/2″. The important part is to have the sides fairly straight and the corners true. This makes a difference when sewing on the binding. I have seen many demos where a dinner plate is used to round the corners. People tend to do that when they are unsure of how to miter a corner. Don’t worry, I have your back. I’ll show you how.

The Double Fold Binding

I use a double fold binding to had body and weight to the quilt, and it is a more durable option for quilts that will be laundered frequently.

I carefully folded my 1/2m with salvage edges together (the edges of the fabric that is finished from the factory, not the cut edge from the store). I line up the salvages and cut them off and discard.

Then I measure a two inch strip and cut using the rotary cutter. I cut 6 of these strips. You really only need 5 and a bit for this size quilt, but I like to have lots of extra for the mitered corners.

Piece together the 6 strips of 2″ flannel so you have a very long single piece of binding.

Fold fabric in half so you have a 1″ narrow binding and press. (Press not iron because you do not want to stretch or shrink your binding before it gets on the quilt)

Finger pin (because I hate the extra step of real pins, I just hold it with my fingers) the raw edge of the binding to the raw edge of the TOP of the quilt.

Start about 6″ away from the corner. Never start the binding at the corner.It is easier to hide the extra fabric of  the finished binding on the side of a quilt rather than the corner. Sew the binding using the edge of your pressure foot as the seam guide around the raw edge of the quilt top. Ensure the pressed fold is “elbow” down. Once you meet the beginning of the binding, fold the start over about 1/2″ and continue to sew the binding over top for about an inch. it will be bulkier but there will be no raw edges and thus will be a sturdier binding.

Fold the binding over the the edge using the pressed elbow crease at the cover of the quilted layers. The pressed crease should fit over the edge of the quilt giving it a finished look.

Flip over the quilt to the backside.

Fold the raw edge of the binding under towards the pressed crease. Using binding clips hold the binding in place, ready for a blind hem stitch.

 

The Mitered Corner

There is a trick to it and if you are able to watch a video it might make more sense. To me a mitered corner is what sets quilts apart. It has a polished and professional look.

Sew your seam and stop 1/4″ from the edge of the corner. If you are using the pressure foot as your seam allowance, it is that distance you need to stop from the edge of the quilt.

Back stitch to lock your stitches and keep the binding secure.

Insert a pin on the diagonal from the corner. This will be the miter guide.

Fold the fabric up allowing it to be guided by the pin.

Remove pin and hold in place with your fingers. Fold fabric back down along side the edge of the fabric  – be careful not to lose the mitered fold.

Sew from the edge of the binding and back-stitch to lock into place. Keep sewing and repeat steps for every corner.

Flip binding over the quilt. Use a blind stitch to secure the miter.

If this is your first mitered corner, you should practice on scrap until you have the hang of it. Then do it on the big quilt. I have a practice sample I made the mitered corner, complete with my hand writing all over it with tips and tricks notes for me.

Once the binding is completed, hand stitch the backside with a blind stitch.

Trim all your threads and get ready for the fun part.

This is my completed pre-washed quilt. You can see slight ruffles starting to happen. You will notice at the top the yellow ends and the green begins. I didn’t pay attention to the width of the fabric. The yellow was a smaller width from the rest. I used it anyways and I liked the colour variation it gave.

I washed and dried it using regular soap and fabric softener. Then dried it twice in the tumble dryer. Being so thick it needed two dry cycles.

Once I removed it, I cut all the loose threads. It stopped being so yellow and the plaid of the under-fabric became the main colour. Here is a close up of the chenille.

After holding this quilt for a while, I entertained the thought of making a larger one for cold winter movie nights. Likely won’t happen, but who knows?

It took me 4 hours to sew and cut the quilt and 2 hours to bind it. I did it over a two-day period. The closer together the chenille, the more sewing involved. That is what takes the time – and all the cutting. The more frequent the washing, the softer it gets.

So tell me, have you made one? How did it go?

The sad reality, is I am coffee lazy.

*Warning to all you enviro-enthusiasts out there. You may wish to advert your eyes*

I just realized I am incredibly lazy.

This is a real lightbulb moment.  Self-awareness can be painful, yet it is an important step in growth.

I woke up this morning, reaching for a k-cup for my Keurig and I discovered the coffee drawer that holds REAL powerful triple x bold high test k-cups of awesomeness was empty. All I had left was decaf and Vanilla French Roast. In my world neither of those count as coffee. I gave the vanilla french a try once, but quite frankly I hate flavored coffee. To flavour coffee in the manner to which I prefer, it must be after the coffee is made. I really do not enjoy the beans being altered. The taste of coffee in it’s purest form is delicious. To add milk is divine. To add Vanilla flavour then becomes an exquisite addition.

So now I had a problem of epic proportions. How am I going to fill my giant Mary Poppin’s Mug?

In my pantry are no less than 3 pounds of coffee beans. I have Verona French Roast, Organic Fair Trade Artisan Nicaragua French Roast and Fair Trade Certified Italian Roast. Of the three, I prefer Verona. The coffee I enjoy most is in your face screaming I am Coffee . It is a well documented fact I prefer Starbucks Coffee to grocery store “coffee”. In my opinion those brands are acid in my mouth. I do not enjoy the acidic nature of those blends.

keurig coffee filter

keurig coffee filter (Photo credit: mondays child)

Now, I have no K-cups for my Keurig, but I do have a My K-Cup. It is a little basket that makes a cup of coffee using the freshly ground coffee I have in my pantry. This is how lazy I am:

  1. I actually thought twice about making coffee or DRIVING to Starbucks to have someone make one for me.
  2. I made coffee using My K-Cup yesterday and now the basket must be cleaned before I continue on to a fresh cup this morning.
  3. I need to pull out the coffee grinder, but that is ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK OF MY PANTRY!
  4. I need to grind the perfect amount of coffee or grind an entire bag and commit to using it every day. It’s messy and a process
  5. Once I grind the coffee I have to use My K-Cup daily and that means it must be cleaned everyday. EVERYDAY PEOPLE! I am on vacation!

The up side is, my Keurig makes a damn fine cup of coffee. Add steamed milk and its a party of divine in my cup.  Now I am sure there is an inventor out there who can assist me.

This is what I want. I want disposable filters for my Keurig. It would be less waste than an actual k-cup. It is bad enough that I need to take the housing apart to use a My K-Cup. Amazon sells an Ekobrew for $16.99. This filter doesn’t need me to disassemble the housing before brewing. I like that, but I still need to clean out wet and soggy coffee grounds.

I did google “paper filters for keurig” and I was led to this page.   Now I was a little bit excited for a moment until I watched the how-to video. It would require me to be an origami specialist. If i am too lazy to clean out My K-Cup, you can me damn sure i am too lazy to fold a filter before grinding and making a cup of coffee. Time is money people!! What gets me is, you need to purchase 50 reusable cups to hold the filter and then special lids. Really? Why can’t I just use my K-cup Basket? Because of coffee explosion. Seriously? Then there is a mess to clean up too? AND the possibility of grounds in my coffee. I am not camping – I have no desire to strain cowboy coffee through my teeth every morning. When did the perfect cup of coffee become so complicated?

Obviously the solution for me is to go to the store, BUY several boxes of K-Cups and be vigilant about restocking. OR as I often tell other princess’ who complain about things “Suck it up Buttercup” and get it out of your head that your time is too important to make yourself a cup of coffee with all the tools you have at your disposal and use up your 3lbs of coffee that is delicious and fabulous.

FINE I will, but crimany crickets it will be painful, or as I like to call it “Personal Growth”.

 

 

How’s it going eh? C eh N eh D eh Deh!

Happy Canada Day! You may not celebrate it in your home country – you should – but it’s okay that you don’t because Canadian’s are understanding like that.

This little nugget was a leaf I found at Vimy ridge in France. There is no other place on Earth that makes me feel more Canadian then there – weird because it is FRANCE, not Canada – but travel will do that to you.

Today is about BBQ’s, family, friends and fireworks. Typically this happens in the sunshine but it is pouring here in Edmonton. I have hope by 4 PM – the sun will be out and the festivities will begin! If not – it will be party inside and that’s cool too.

Part of my role as Tourist is actual travel to other destinations. My Tourist role isn’t all about finding self-awareness. It is also about taking risks and doing new things. Traveling is a part of that. Yet every where I go I come home thankful I was born and raised in Canada. I am trying to instill that feeling into my children. ChatterBox has joined the party. She shows off her love of all things Canadian through her new Photography blog, AwkwardBox Photos. I’m her mom so I am OBVIOUSLY super proud of her work. She is an artist and sees things through a unique eye. Go take a look and subscribe. She is amazing.

Things That are Awesome About being Canadian

  1. Northern Lights are a regular view from my deck at night.
  2. Killer spiders and snakes can’t take the cold so they live in Australia instead.
  3. There is always a Hockey Game on SOMEWHERE.
  4. Some of the world’s best water comes straight from my tap. Clean, fresh, clear and abundant.
  5. Living in an Urban area – the Capital of Alberta, and I can STILL watch wildlife from my deck. I watched a Bald Eagle soar overhead last week and a Red Tail Hawk stopped by for a visit on the deck yesterday.
  6. I can have a White Christmas AND 11:00 PM Sunsets in June
  7. I have a rights and freedoms act that protects everyone, even new immigrants. Respect it, don’t abuse it.
  8. My National Parks are protected from corporate abuse – lets fight to keep it that way.
  9. I live on the second largest landmass in the world. Our population is about 34 million, yet we still are able to stand strong and compete in world competitions and can EXPECT gold medals.
  10. I am 5th generation Canadian and people still ask me what I am and where my people came from.
  11. When I travel, particularly to Europe, people gush and give me the royal treatment because of what the farm boys did 60 years ago. They still remember.

So today is honourary (honor with a U – the Canadian way) Canadian Day. Put on some red and sing with me.

Things I learned in Preschool

Another year has passed by and I sent my lovelies off to kindergarten today. I cried during the good-bye song. I never do. 25 years and I can hold it together But this group was …. different. I cannot put my finger on it, but they were special in the way that I marveled at how smart there were. Not once did I have to say “It is not okay to lick the bathroom floor” Yes I have had to say it in years previous. I couldn’t trick these kids. They were on to me. Too smart for you Miss Tourist! It’s true, they were. I learned some cool stuff anyways. It is ALWAYS a good day when you learn something new, in this case -it was a good year because I learned 7 new things.

1) Kids don’t taste like cookies. One day I was sitting at the manipulative table talking with a young girl. We were discussing what made a nice person. We talked about being kind and helpful. I said to the child “you’re so sweet I bet if I ate you, you would taste like cookies”
The child replied, “no, I’d taste like skin”

2) Not all kids want to be teacher when they grow up. Shocking isn’t it? Around the circle we went asking what we were going to be when we grew up. I heard a Captain America, Teacher, Dad, but my favorite? A Psychologist. What 4 year old knows that? That was awesome.

3) When you live in a large family, sometimes you don’t know everyone. A mom brought a puppy to school to show the class the new family member. I asked the little boy (who was the owner of the puppy) what is your pups name? His reply with wide eyes innocence, “I HAVE A PUPPY????”

4) Four year olds know all about sarcasm. I often sit at the snack table and ask all kinds of questions. For example “what did you eat for breakfast?” The focus for me is to hear sentence length, content, vocabulary and if the child can follow the direction of the conversation. At the beginning of the year they would just look at me and blink. By June they would say “My mom made bananas and cereal. I then had cheese”. I would mess it up and pretend I didn’t hear what they were saying. So my reply would be “You had bananas, cereal and FLEAS? Is you mom crazy?” Today I knew they were ready to graduate because I received a sarcastic reply “Yes Miss Tourist I eat FLEAS for breakfast…”  That was AWESOME!

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5) Sometimes science experiments go very wrong and scientists never cry. We had 6 caterpillars this year and watched them change into chrysalis and then waited FOREVER to change into butterflies. Only two turned into beautiful butterflies. One had shredded wings. Two never made it to the chrysalis stage and one never came out of his chrysalis. The children decided that the butterfly with the shredded wings would be bird food. I swear to GOD that is what they said. “Poor little doody is bird food. Game over Miss Tourist” We talked about the other one that never came out, BIRD FOOD they all chimed in! Wow… practical yet heartless. No one cried.

6) No one likes food. We put a variety of fruit and veg on the table every day with the single rule of you must try. Try means touch, taste, sniff or lick. It does not mean swallow. Although swallow is what we hope for. We hear a lot of “I don’t like…” what ever is on the table and then we ask have you tried it today? Of course the answer is NO. Today we had a gift of Rainbow bread from student. I judged it just like my table companions. Only I never judge out loud. One gal said, I HATE RAINBOW BREAD it is DISGUSTING” I was inclined to agree, but we all had taste it before the ice cream celebration sundae social could begin. So we all poked it, sniffed it and then ate it. I am happy to report we did not die after swallowing it. In fact, it tasted just like White Toast. The young gal who denied liking it, divided up the Rainbow bread for her peers. She gave everyone a single piece, and 5 for herself. Apparently she didn’t hate it today.

7) I learned that this group was the very first group who really knew what it meant when you said, today is the last day. One fellow who was arguably the brightest in the class, didn’t seem to understand. He said, if today is the last day, what will happen when we get on the bus tomorrow? I explained to him, the bus won’t be coming. School is over for 64 days. Where will we go? he replied with a look of panic on his face. I held both his hands and explained again, Your mom will look after you. You don’t come back here anymore because today you are smart enough for kindergarten. He looked at me with a sad expression and said, but what happens to our school? Is it closed now for 64 days, just like the sandbox was when we put sand in our friends hair?

He walked away, and then came back to hug me. He finally understood – or perhaps he was in denial before. This was the class that cried when we group hugged, and didn’t want to run around the trees while we waited for the bus. They stood close to their teachers, held our hands and talked a lot about “remember when”.