31 October, 2007

Halloween Apples

No apple recipes today. I am, however, enjoying the Russets I lugged back from Nova Scotia. They don't keep well so they are never sold here. Best eaten out of hand, with their ultra-tart and crisp flavour. To be honest, I've never tried baking with them. They would likely hold their shape well, but I'm not sure they would be around long enough for me to bake them. So, the Monster and I shared one this afternoon before all the trick or treaters arrived. Better than eating the chocolate.

Here is my Monster, in her lion costume made my moi (even though we know I hate sewing clothes). Nothing fancy. Just some decorator trim basted to an American Apparel hoodie, a tail pinned to some brown pants, and fake fur ears tacked on the hood. But damn, she looks cute. The cutest was when she would actually do her own baby "Roar".

Trick or treat!

28 October, 2007


Ah vacation. Oh, vacation. It will never be the same, now that we have a toddler to take on vacation. Hubby and I are now wondering if there is enough money in the budget this winter to escape to Mexico for a week. We need a vacation after our vacation.

That being said, we did have a good time. Storms that crashed against the steel roof of the cottage, walks on the beech to collect sea glass and pretty rocks, forays into the lame tourist ventures of the area, relaxing in the ocean front hot tub, and lots of lazy dinners and wine with friends and family.

Here are the highlights.

Exploring Halifax Waterfront.

View from the Balmoral Grist Mill

Walks on the beach.

Hiking through Sugar Moon Maple Farm.

Ocean front hot tub.

Self portrait.

03 October, 2007

The Lazy Days of Fall

Tomorrow takes my family on our first vacation in many years. We had a few days in Jasper before the Monster was born, but otherwise we haven't been on a proper vacation in 5 years (since our honeymoon)!

We've had the fabulous benefit of travel for work. Whenever I got to go somewhere interesting and my hubby had some time we went together. Usually we got the chance to spend a few extra days exploring another city or visiting friends. This method of travel has taken us to New York, Chicago, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, San Diego, and even the booming metropolis of Saskatoon. September and October were always busy times. Conferences, speaking engagements, and meetings took me all over. It was a great opportunity to travel a bit on (mostly) someone else's dime.

Alas, with the Monster now that travel has lost its appeal. The hubby can't necessarily leave and I don't want to be away for long. And now our trips are taking us to small towns in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Great people but usually bad or even horrible food and not much to do.

But tomorrow takes us away. We're leaving on a jet plane... do know when we'll be back again. We are spending Thanksgiving - my all-time favourite holiday - in Ottawa with some of the hubby's family. Then we go to Nova Scotia for nearly two weeks. It is a second home for us, where we would live if we could both find jobs there. I am salivating at the thought of wandering the South End and Point Pleasant Park, at exploring the nooks of the Halifax Farmer's Market, and at spending a week at an oceanfront cottage. Reading, good wine, lots of chatting with friends and family, having my daughter see the ocean for the first time, collecting sea glass on the beach, leaf peeping, and maybe a little writing. As long as we survive the long flight this will be heaven for the next two and a half weeks.

01 October, 2007

The reluctant seamstress

There are a few theories floating around to explain my disdain for sewing clothes. For one, I am not good at following instructions. I design almost all my own quilts. I rarely follow a recipe exactly. Step-by-step directions and I don't get along, unless I'm assembling a piece of IKEA furniture.

The other thing I always thought I hated about clothing was how precise you had to be. That really makes no sense if I am a quilter. To me, however, the precision of quilting is liberating. The precision of clothing is stifling.

And finally, I was never good enough at making clothing to get truly creative. I don't think I'll ever know how to build my own pattern or makes lots of alterations. With a quilt I am willing to experiment and just wing it. I simply don't have that confidence with clothing.

All that being said, I made my first article of clothing in 9 years. When I was pregnant a friend gave me an old issue of Martha Stewart Baby. In it there was a great pattern for this kimono. I finally got motivated to make it, in part from the inspiration on so many blogs. It is a simple pattern, but I must admit that I found the instructions a bit confusing. Once I started ignoring them a little and building it intuitively it got easier.
The outside is made of that gorgeous green boiled wool. My Monster has hazel eyes (green/grey) so the color looks wonderful on her.
The kimono ties inside and with the shoulder ties. I ended up making it a bit bigger than I anticipated, but it should carry her through the rest of fall, chinook days in the winter, and into spring.

I made the whole thing double layered, with one of my favourite Amy Butler fabrics as the lining. It is so soft and makes wearing a wool coat bearable for a toddler.
Now I have to keep an eye out for a purple scarf, toque, and pair of mitts. Alas, knitting is also something I've never mastered.