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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

my quilt-lemma...

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One of the things on my "ways to grow" list for 2008 was to sign up for a class and learn something new. I was excited about an upcoming beginner quilting class that my friend Laurie and I signed up for and I had gone ahead & purchased really fun & funky prints from Amy Butler's Faded China collection to make my quilt. I was SUPER excited about this. Well...... the class was cancelled because the minimum number of students required was not met. [insert big groan here]. This is just MY luck. Sure....I can sign up for another beginner class but this class was the right price and the right location.... right here in town with the continuing ed department. Now we have to go elsewhere, except a lot of beginner classes have already started. The quilting store here in town has some classes available but I did not purchase my Amy Bulter fabric there because they don't carry it....and I feel it would be a major faux pas to show up for a class there with fabric purchased elsewhere. *Sigh* This means I will probably have to purchase more fabric. I am considering being a bit of a rebel and making my own quilt with the help of a online quilting site which offers a free beginnner quilt pattern complete with tutorials.
I won't be so arrogant as to say "how hard can it be?", but I think I may just go ahead & try it. Women were quilting at home long before fancy classes, and machines, and fabrics, for that matter.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

supersize me...

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Hunter & I went to Blockbuster one day and came home with this. I have wanted to watch it for a long time, and I convinced her to watch it with me. To my surprise, she remarked that most of her classmates have already seen this documentary and that it was "really gross!".
What surprised me the most was how interested Tyler was in watching it with us and how much he understood what the message was.
I was especially interested in watching this since I have been on a "food theme" lately, with reading the books," Fast Food Nation", "The 100 Mile Diet", "The Omnimore's Dilemma" & watching CBC's show Marketplace with the episode on our "Health Check" system for recommending healthy foods.
As if I didn't have any doubts on the "Frankenfood" that is served up at McDonalds, this documentary proved the actual negative effects of consuming high fat, sodium-laden food with little nutritive value on one's body as proven by Morgan Spurlock's bloodwork prior to and after completion of his 30 day McDonalds diet. Mind you, no one in their right mind would intentionally eat McDonalds for 3 meals a day for 30 days straight, but lots of people do eat fast food a couple of times a week. I am sure that the health affects are just as detrimental in the long term. Fast Food joints have really honed into the fact that you can attract huge numbers of the population by selling cheap food and placing stores everywhere in sight.
I am lucky....both my kids are not fond of McDonalds and seldom ask me to go there. After watching this documentary, I asked who wanted to go to McDonalds for supper and they both cried, " NO!" "YUCK!" "GROSS!!"

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

reading this fascinating book....

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For three centuries, a magical tree stood in the rain forests of the Queen Charlotte Islands, in British Columbia. It was a Sitka spruce, as perfectly shaped and covered in golden needles. It was 16 stories tall and more than 20 feet around and held sacred by the Haida, the Northwest Coast Indians of the region. Tourists gazed at it in awe. One night in 1997, when no one was looking, a man with a chainsaw made a series of deep surgical incisions around the tree's trunk. Two days later the golden spruce came crashing to the ground.

Grant Hadwin, the man who brought down the golden spruce, was a local logger. In love with the outdoors, he dropped out of prep school at 16, and he joined a fraternity whose members were sometimes referred to as "bush apes" and "timber beasts." Mr. Hadwin fitted right in and was known for buying vodka by the case and going on spectacular binges that, even in freezing weather, would leave him unconscious in the back of his Studebaker pickup, or passed out in a snow-filled ditch, dressed only in slacks and shirtsleeves. Two things made Mr. Hadwin different. First, he was expert in sizing up wilderness tracts and laying out the roads that would allow heavy logging equipment to get to prime trees. Second, he was deeply conflicted about the environmental damage that his job entailed. Loggers, paradoxically, love the woods. Most of them learn to turn a blind eye to the consequences of their work.

Mr. Hadwin, as time went on, could no longer do so. He became obsessed with stopping the indiscriminate clearing of virgin forests. His field reports back to the home office contained critiques of logging methods and suggestions that certain forest tracts be left untouched. As the forest disappeared before Hadwin's eyes, he became more & more disturbed.
The book goes on to detail Mr. Hadwin's deep decline into mental illnes, culminating in his cutting down the golden spruce.... he remains 'missing' to this day.
With my long family history in the forestry industry... I find this book especially interesting as I have loggers in my own family and am familiar with the tough scrabble attitude required to work in the forests on a daily basis.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

some ways to GROW for 2008...

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So the word I have chosen for myself this year is GROW. I mean GROW in a lot of ways...both in the creative sense and in the character sense. Here are some ways I want to GROW for 2008...

  • get daily physical activity.... this one is important!
  • eat healthier in this house...althought we are pretty healthy already...skim milk, whole grain breads, no trans fat, no fried foods, lot of fresh fruits & vegetables, homemade baked goods, avoidance of artificial flavours, colours, preservatives...
  • get comfortable using my new serger...
  • take a class and learn something new. My friend Laurie was kind enough to suggest we take a beginner quilt class together. I have always wanted to try my hand at a quilt, plus I need something to keep me busy in the evening when 'Cakes is away travelling for work.
  • finish the 9 aprons I have in various stages of completion. Yes, I said 9!!
  • make some fun bags AFTER the aprons are finished. The type of bags I want to make shown above.
  • spend more time teaching Hunter how to sew & cook. She is cooking supper for us one night a week. This goes back to the eating healthy thing. Our society is losing the ability to cook for ourselves since fast food is on every corner and it is cheap.
  • get caught up on some of my scrapbooking projects. I still have the school scrapbooks to complete for the kids. The birthday theme books are done, as well as Christmas.
  • teach a scrapbook project for my friends.. by request the project is the canvas wall hanging.
  • make gifts more often for friends and family...this goes back to the 9 aprons.
  • make more baked goods for gifts.
  • devise some sort of house cleaning plan.
  • grow something... even if it is just a few herbs. Get more knowledgeable about the perennial gardens in our yard.
  • make a 6 week menu for our family.
  • grow my parenting skills for the new age that Hunter is entering. The bratz-playing, barbie-collecting, pink-pig-tail ribbon days are completely gone for her. I need a new set of skills which take into account how she is growing to make her own decisions about hair, fashion, friendships, etc. and helping to guide her in this. Back to reading some books on this.
  • Ever since I have read the book 'Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 Recipes and 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen', I have been intrigued by the idea of taking a favorite cookbook and making every single recipe in the book. I love to cook and this is one way of forcing one outside of the comfort zone. I think I have just the cookbook for this project... more on this later.
  • teach my children more about being grateful by visiting a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. There is such attitudes of entitlement and priveledge in this city... I want my childen to learn empathy & compassion for others down on their luck.

One way I do not want to GROW is in the waistline. That would not be a good way to grow in 2008.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

one little word......

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"One little word ....a single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow. " ~ Ali Edwards

Last year I began a tradition of chosing one word for myself each January - a word that I can focus on, mediate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life. For me, it was a lot about living without fear - about being more open to experiences with an attitude of playfulness and being brave.Even though I have been living in a new city for more than 2 years... there are alot of days I still walk out the door with a lot of fear....like everytime I need to drive to a new arena that I haven't been to before to take Hunter to skating.... or when I have to drive a road I haven't driven before.... or go to a meeting of some kind for the first time. There is a constant dialogue that runs through my head... will I get lost...will I make the wrong turn... will we get there on time.... will I know anyone.....will the people be friendly or will I be in a corner by myself? My goal for 2007 was to take that dialogue down to a very dull roar. I think I did a good job of doing that. Living without fear is a constant struggle for me and I have learned to handle it so much better that when a curve ball gets thrown my way.... I can deal with it. I can laugh about it. For example, last week when taking Hunter to skating, we hit a detour because of a very bad accident. The detour was a road that I had never been on before AND left me in unfamiliar territory...but I just kept going. I knew that general direction we should be headed and I kept going east until I hit a road I knew and then went south. Normally, this kind of thing would send me into a panic. I would have to pull over and consult the map to get my bearings.... but this time I just let it go.

"Can you identify a single word that sums up what you want for yourself in 2008?
It can be something tangible or intangible. It could be a thought or a feeling or an emotion. It can be singular or plural. The key is to find something that has personal meaning for you.
One little word can have big meaning in your life if you allow yourself to be open to the possibilities." ~Ali Edwards

My word for 2008 is GROW.
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