Saturday, January 22, 2011

And the real story is...

I'll get back to the sort of blogging where I make stuff sometime soon, instead of the "hey, look at my kid and my sweetie" diversion tactics. Maybe. It has been a kind of a brain squeezing week for me. I am working on something that is HARD.
I'm writing something for my therapist, her name is Ramona and she is awesome. If you or your family ever need to be put back together after a Traumatic Brain Injury (and I can't tell you how much I hope you never do); then Ramona is your guy.
Right now she is working on a thing, a Field Guide to Brain Injury if you like, from a family's perspective. And she asked me contribute from my perspective.
I am genuinely honoured to be asked, but it's hard for a couple of reasons.
Firstly because it was not a superfun time; excavating those feelings from back then, then honing them down into words, the right words, to tell the story with honesty and integrity. Not so easy.
And I guess that's the other part of it. I do not want to fail. Because if someone had handed me a book that said, "this is the deal with brain injuries" on that shitty day in September, that might have helped. And to have the opportunity to help, that's a big deal.
And mostly what I want to say is,
Alive but broken is hard.
But alive is not nothing.
And alive and moving forward is the only thing.


Friday, January 21, 2011


Two days ago I was attacked by a VICIOUS EGG. I was. It came out of nowhere and sliced a bit of my thumb before whispering "This better learn you" and then peeling away in a waiting Jag.
OK maybe not the last part, but I sliced my paw on pretty much the roundest, fragilest thing in the world. And I made the mistake of telling this guy:  

His response?
"Oh no! That must have been eggstremely painful"   
Guess how many ways there are to put egg into a word? A million. And two days later he's still at it. It's gone beyond a yolk.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

There, I Fixed That For You

What's small, blonde and has the destructive power of 10 angry tigers armed with chainsaws?
Here's a clue:
And here's what this guy does for shiggles when I'm busy making a new slip cover for the couch (and therefor totally neglecting him)
 There, I fixed that for you

That too.
And here's a bit more of a sneek peek at the reason for the radio silence and the child neglect. New couch covers. Dude. It's a LOT of work. but I love them so much. Actually I like the original crazy floral too, and this couch has a good story too, maybe for some other time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh Olay, can't we all just get along?

You guys! It's time, I feel, for a broad, sweeping statement based on dubious anecdotal evidence!
And here it is... I  think maybe the folks at Olay hate Canadians. And I don't say that lightly (ok fine, yah I totally do say that lightly).
But see, Olay makes a thing-that-changed-my-life (they're not paying me here, thought they totally could - I've have no moral compass. No. Really.)
Their Complete Care Touch of  Max Factor Foundation stuff is The Bomb. Moisturizer, sun screen, make-up. Three awesome things. One hamfisted once-a-day application. and DONE.
I LOVE this stuff.
I love it so much in fact, that I stole my first bottle from my mum, (see, I wasn't kidding about the moral compass thing).
And last month I squeezed the very last speck out of the pump and thought dude, I better go get some more of that soonest, if not sooner.
So I trotted down to the drugstore and hit up the Olay section. And nuffink. I even took the bottle with me so I knew what I was looking for. Nope, nada. I nabbed the makeup girl and was all "cough it up lady!" but apparently NOPE. Not available in Canada. But, according to her the Olay Total Effects 7 Signs yadda yadda with foundation is the same kinda deal. So I got some of that.
The verdict is... boo.  I'm not saying it sucks, but it sucked on me. Orange, and slithery in texture and orange and slithery and YUCK. $30+ and I can't use it.  I was cranky about it.
So cranky that I whined to my sweetie ALL day, "WHY? WHY don't they have my stuff here? WHY?"
All day. He eventually had the pained expression of a man in the middle of chewing his own arm off, I think maybe he deserves a medal of some kind.
So I did some research, found out that they hadn't actually discontinued it (HATE that. And I'm talking to you Floris perfumes), And that it's available in the UK and Ireland but not in Canada; leading me to believe that  Olay hates Canadians (I will admit that this is a mental leap).
Anyhow, I hit up my European contacts (my mum!) and had her send me some. And it arrived yesterday and now my skin is happy.
I can't really remember what the point of this post was, and as a person who's facial cleanser comes in a bright pink bottle with dancing turtles on it; I dunno how qualified I am to offer makeup advice.
OH and I had my haircut! I kind of love it. Maybe I'll take some pictures and do a round up of From Hair to Eternity.
OK rant over and here's a picture of my dog-faced girl, being ridiculous with her chum Leroy Brown (he's baddest dog in the whole damn town).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Felt Pierogies... mmm

Is there anything in the world more awesome than dumplings? That was totally a trick question, OF COURSE there's not!

So. Pierogies (actually at my house they're called "Pierogies... mmm") My bear is an enormous fan and he happens to have a play kitchen that needs stocking. So I whipped up a plate of felt Pierogies...mmm for him.
They were crazy-super simple and they could do double duty as Ravioli or Jiaozi or Gyoza depending on how you roll.
You'll need:

  • Some cream-ish felt (I use eco-felt for most everything, it's cheap and it does the job)
  • Some fiber fill. (I actually cannibalized a dollar store camping pillow for mine - lots of stuffing for dirt cheap)
  • Co-ordinating thread

You could make these with a sewing machine in seconds, but they're almost as quick to hand sew.

First you'll need to cut a circle of felt, (mine is 2.5", I drew around a cup).  I used my pinking shears 'cause I think it looks cute, but it's not essential.

 you're done!

Next up is Char Siu Bao. mmm. huh. I don't seem to be cruising past this dumpling thing.... mmm.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sure, it looks like nailpolish...

And OK, I guess technically it IS nailpolish. But it also happens to be part of my triathlon training regime. No really, it is.
But firstly a tangent! You know, it's funny; I would never, ever (like I'd-rather-chomp-out-my-own-tongue ever) say to someone who had just had their first swim lesson "OH HEY. Good job fatass, there's another thing you suck at". 
I wouldn't say it to someone I disliked. I wouldn't say it to a stranger and I sure as hell wouldn't say it to a friend.  
But it's actually the mild version of what I was telling myself after my first swim lesson (on Nov 1st). Was it true? Maybe.That first lesson was TOUGH; I like the water just fine and I could swim enough not to drown. I didn't however, like jamming my head under the water and exercising vigorously. Or even just putting my head under the water, period.
But I did it. I turned up, I learnt some stuff and I did the best I could. If you had done the same thing I would be telling you how awesome you are RIGHT NOW. In fact, consider yourself told.

But I spent three weeks dreading going to class and practice, and then having nightmares about the race. Not like subtle "and this giant anchor tattoo represents your fear" nightmares. Oh no. Like "I swim and swim as hard as I can but I still don't come in under my time and I get disqualified and all my friends and family are so NICE about it that I would rather have drowned". That kind of nightmare.
So, I did this mental exercise thing with my homegirl Ramona, where I had to talk myself through my swim like I was someone I liked, you know, "Hey! Good for us! We didn't drown and we're totally getting better! Woo. You go us-girl!".
So I've been doing that and tonight... I KICKED MY DISTANCE'S ASS. For seriously. And um, I've been a little slack over the holidays (OK REALLY slack) which leads me to believe that the problem before wasn't my fitness level or my breathing so much as it was my brain. And now I can officially tell my brain to SUCK IT.
How does this relate to nail polish? Well for me pretty toes help me get my head ready for the swim. I feel more comfortable and confident with red toe-claws. So I do that. Also with the shaving my legs. In fact I prepare for the gym kind of the way I prepare for a date with my sweetie. Only with less high heels and smooching. heh.

When I'm doing the actual swim, spin (bike) or run. I don't let myself give me a hard time. I bust out my internal soccermom (only not the scary kind) and she stands on the sidelines yelling encouragement (she's SO embarrassing!).
Seriously though, my deal is that if I wouldn't say it to my kid, I can't say it to me. And so far it's working out pretty well.
So, you guys? How do you get yourself psyched up to train/work out? Do you give yourself a hard time or are you "yay for me!"? Any pre-game rituals I should know about? 
(Oh and the oil stuff is for my face after the chlorine roshambo. It's the bomb.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas Leftovers - Faux Frosted Glass Jars

I loves me some Christmas leftovers. I totally do.
Turkey = good.
Boxes of Lindt chocolaty thingies = better.
Plastic candy jars with lids = best.

And if you're thinking "Dude. Really?" then stick with me here...
I picked up three of those guys from the Dollarama before Christmas; I'm guessing they were meant to be used for gifting homemade treats. I, however, have no homemade treat skillz. So I didn't do that with them. Instead I did THIS:

Buh-bye christmas-themed plastic item! Hullo classy frosted glass apothecary jar with year 'round storage usefulness!
And the BEST part about these? All I used to transform them was some nail polish remover and a clean kitchen scrubbie. Which I happened to have on hand. Which means free. Yay for free!

So, I used the nail polish remover and a bit of paper towel to wipe the print off of the plastic. You could totally stop there. That looks like this, see:

Otherwise, grab your clean kitchen scrubbie and rub gently on the surface of the plastic in small circles until you've reached your desired level of opacity (You guys! I LOVE the word opacity. And I hardly ever get to use it.)
If you were feeling kind of fancypants you could mask off some areas with tape (or say, heart shaped stickers to make a VALENTINES candy jar?)

And that's it. Done. I'm using mine as STUFF holders in my bathroom, (yay for unbreakability!)
How are you using your Christmas leftovers?
Oh and I shared over at Melissa's (complete with embarrassing spelling mistake. GAH!)

And over HERE too!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Play Kitchen In A Bag

Hey you know when is a good time to decide to make your kid a play kitchen? Any other time than 7 days before Christmas. (You might have seen this lapse of sanity in my twitter feed. If you see anything like it again, do feel free to give me a good hard punch and a "seriously?")

See I got started making felt sushi, ('member?) and that was super fun. So I made some edamame. And that was fun too. Then I saw a tute for broc-a-trees on exactly the same day I thought "huh, we could use some brocs" (uncanny!). And then we happened to pick up a little set of pots and pans when we were at ToysRus (more about those later). Then things might have got a bit out of control.

I gave some serious thought to an Ikea hack of a bedside table but I just couldn't make it work size-wise. And then I saw this roll-up version at Balancing Everything and was all "OH YAH YOU DID!" and I did a little dance and that was that.
So, I give you... The Play Kitchen in a Bag!

Now obviously the real props here go to Jessica. The only things that I modified on her design was to add knobs that turn. (um, notice the deliberate mistake in the shot with Teddy; I totally didn't add the second knob 'til after he got it!)
I used three layers of white, medium weight felt for the base and I sewed the elements, sink and faucets on with a close zigzag stitch after I stitch-tacked them down.
Then I stuck the top layer on the bottom two base layers and zipped around the edges with the same zig zag stitch (no turning inside out for me, I'm too lazy).
Next I poked two grommets ($1.99 for a pack of 14 from Fabriclnd) through all three layers of base felt (yay for whacking things with a hammer!).
I sewed the big buttons onto smaller buttons through the grommet holes. Leaving enough slack so that the big buttons can be twirled all the way around.
And voila!

Wondering what ELSE is in the bag? WELL...
We got this set of pots and pans and tools from ToysRus (they're OK but not awesomesauce. I wish we'd have held out and gotten the Ikea Kids Duktig sets).
And some baking supplies (and some cookies):

A couple of pasta dishes (felt farfalle and ribbon basgetti) and some brocs, cauliflower, beans and carrots for sauteeing:

Also eggies for frying (inspired by Heidi's tute actually), the sushi and SAMMICH fixin's . The pink thing is Montreal Smoked Meat, or you know, ham.

And lastly, a bottle of dish soap and a scrubbie, for the unlucky guy on KP duty.

Talking of KP, when it comes time to clear up, the food goes into a take out container

And everything else goes into a clear plastic box,

And the whole shebang goes into the shopping bag!
The Bear mostly cooks "veg-bill curry" and "clown chowder (it's like clam chowder but infinitely creepier)" and "I making PIEROGIES mummy. Are they awe-sum?" Mmm pierogies. Yes, yes they are awesome. Actually I should make some felt pirogies right now. Also maybe some real ones. with butter. and bacon. and butter. hooboy.

Lastly of all I wanted to say that if you're stocking a play kitchen then you could do worse than hitting up your dollar store. I scored this stuff at the Dollarama, and the clear box to jam it all into too.

So, yah, I'm doing a triathlon...

So here's where I'm going to talk a bit about this triathlon thing I'm doing. If you're feeling all "WHATEVER lady, I came here for the crafts" then you should hop over to One Pretty Thing about nowish, I guarantee Rachel has something awesome to look at.

Otherwise, I'm going t'be talking about me me me here for a minute...
So yah. A triathlon. It's just a tiny one, teeny distances, super rookie-friendly. It's called a Try-A-Tri. They prolly have cupcakes and hugs for everybody. But you guys. I have/had the gut wrenching terror about it.
See, way back in '09 the very second post I ever wrote was this one. It's about the first aquafit class I ever took. Now, Aquafit (then later Deep Water Running) was the only exercise I ever stuck with for more than 3 months. On account of how it's FUN. Swishy, mermaidy, fun. It genuinely changed my life.
Then in June of last year I realised that swishy-mermaid-fun wasn't cutting it anymore. So I took a spin class, and I did Julia Jones 5K training plan. I wrote about that here.
Those first sessions were barf-inducingly hard, but I kept at it and they got easier. And eventually they even got to be FUN. Running with my fuzzy dog girl on warm summer evenings - genuinely nice. WHO KNEW?!

I had planned on doing a 5k race in September. But by early July I hit a big-deal-for-me milestone, 3k (there was a sunset, it was pretty, I didn't puke; you can read about that here). And by August a 5K run was just what I did on a Friday. I guess I still could have done a race, but racing was never really the point for me.
So, cut to October, I'd settled into my running/spin/pilates routine, I guess I must have seen something on the internetses and the idea of a triathlon passed through my mind super briefly, like REALLY super briefly. But here's what happened, as written to my good chum Ian
me: So I was idly wondering about triathlon, and talking to Elliot about it 'cause M (his ex) used to do triathlon.And he and Andy both rolled their eyes in a YUH HUH way(*they DID. Polite incredulity totally yanks my chain).
Ian: you could do a triathalon. The secret to these things is that once you reach a basic level of fitness, it's all psychological
me: I didn't really want to before but now I'm like, "WHAT? Yes I could. Sure, I'd be the world fattest, slowest, triathlete; but I could finish a sprint race"
I might have to learn something a bit more effctive than old lady swim, but essentially the distances are just a spin class and a friday run. So I'm pondering.
Ian: Your basic front crawl isn't that hard. You can totally do a triathalon. And it'd be worth it just for the "I told you lazy fatasses* I could do a triathalon" effect.
me: I KNOW right?
So, I did a little more research and hit upon the Guelph Lake Try-a-Tri. And I'm in (or I will be once registration opens for reals).
And I managed to coerce another chum into this same gig. She's training for a half marathon anyway (crazy!).
So that's that. I think maybe I'm going to do a few more posts on this, but I won't be offended if you skip them. And here's a picture of my Non-Human training partner, so this post doesn't look all nekkid.
What's funny is that this girl could kick a triathlons' ass. She run's 16-19K with Ian. She swims like a fuzzy fish. And she's super happy doing it. The bike is the only problem, though I betchu she could manage on a Big Wheel. Hmmmmm.....

* for the record, neither of those boys are actually fatasses. They are skinnny men who can eat whatever they like. Which is WORSE!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Incredible Magnetic Boy

Hey, you know what would be awesome? Being able to magnetize my kid and stick him to the fridge so he couldn't get into shenanigans while I was doing the dishes. What's that? You're calling child services? Oh. Did I say awesome? I meant awful. bad. terrible.
Le sigh.
Turns out there's only one socially acceptable way to stick your progeny to the fridge. Like ziz...

This is part of the magnetic, dress up-able bear set that I made Teddy's grammie for Christmas.
This isn't a tutorial exactly, on account of how I use Photoshop like a chimp trying to tie a bowtie; you know, with honking rage and tears of frustration.
But what I did was take a picture of the shortpants there against a lightish backdrop. Then I meddled with it a bit in Picnik (so much less scary that Photoshop, and free!).
Then I used photoshop to cut and paste it onto a white background and go around the edges of my bear in white. I used a biggish brush with a blurry edge.

I took pictures of some of the bear's favorite things, like Mr. T-bone Walker up there (you can call him T-Bone, he's cool like that) and a few different hats, his bear ears, fire chief and yellow hard hat. I also scavenged a flower and a balloon offa the internets.
I outlined them in photoshop too then I resized them and moved them all onto the image of the bear, so I could make sure they fit him like. Here's where most of the honking howls of frustration came in.
Next I used Picnik to make a word -bubble that says "HI!" and a heart with "I Love Grammie" in it.
I saved my files as jpgs then printed those suckers down at the drugstore. You could use your own printer but mine is LOUSY and for 19c a pop you can't really go wrong.
Once I had them printed I cut my images out then stuck them on sticky magnetic sheets, trimmed the magnetic backing and voila, fridge-ready.

Presentation wise, I stuck them on a bit of card with some rolled up tape and popped them in an envelope.
I might ALSO have made my guy chums some Vargas Girl pin up magnets for their fridges using the same technique. And that might have looked like this... (Look away now if you're offended by scantily clad women or copyright infringement)

But I'm not admitting to anything on account of how those images do have copyrights and googling "Vargas Girls" will show you some genuinely nasty things and may acquire you a virus so bad that it decimates your computer and makes you cry like a baby at the thought of losing every single picture you have. Or, ahem, so I've heard.

Monday, January 3, 2011


You guys! We had us a Super Extra Awesome Funtimes christmas! Really, genuinely brill. With food and chums and The Fat Man and peanuts for reindeer (reindeer're all about the protein, flying requires muscle mass baby.) And gifties for my bear and chums and eating and eating and eating and chums. and REALLY BIG DEAL legal news (the good kind, I can't wait to tell you guys about it) and a New Year Soiree. And lounging around and reading books of dubious educational merit . And And And... Awesome.

Also a tiny bit of heartbreak. The switch to the big boy bed. Holy cats you guys! SO hard. (Teddy was stoked but I had to keep sneaking off to snivel.) And a writing assignment that must be good for me because it's brutal. I might get up the gumption to talk about it here in a bit.
Oh yah! I almost destroyed my computer and the ONLY copies of our pictures (um. backing up is a good idea. Turns out.) but my HEROIC sweetie and a good chum's BOY SCOUT PREPAREDNESS saved the day (thanks Ian).
I did miss my brother something fierce, he was gallivanting (GALLIVANTING I tell you!) around Europe. But he's home soon. Also! I have nefarious plans to lure my sis and her sweetie over here soon. Ok fine. Not that nefarious, I'm just going to ask her in a wheedly way a squillion times until she caves.
So far this '11 has been great and I have some REALLY BIG PLANS. Triathlon. Banjo. The BOOK. Driving (I'm not so excited about the last one).
Oh and hey! Want to see how many of my favourite guys it takes to cut down a toddler's hockey stick? This many!

OK, now I'm off to see what YOU'VE all been up to.
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