Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Am Celebrating!

It's the Last Day of School ~ a red letter day on my calendar. Let the vacation begin! That's what I love best about my job: all the beginnings and endings. At the start of every new school year, I feel the same anticipation as the kids do. And on the last day of school in June, I am filled with such excitement and joy at the thought of all those summer days stretching ahead. Ahhhh.

I got home shortly after noon and it was pouring with rain. Drat! I was supposed to sit on my neighbours' deck all afternoon and drink margaritas with them. Ya know, to celebrate.

Now I see the sun has come out; the clouds may just blow away and we'll have a lovely afternoon. Out on the deck. With margaritas. And a barbeque later. (Fingers crossed.)

Okay... onto my little giveaway. And it was pretty little. Next time I'll have a prize that will appeal to everyone... well, more people, at least..

I used the random number generator and it said:

The picture is kind of fuzzy (you can click on it)... it says #13.

I went down the list of comments, took out the ones that asked not to be entered (but still very sweetly wanted to leave me a comment ~ thanks!) and the winner is:

Bobbi Jo who said:
That is WAY cute!! Great tutorial also.
Your name is one of my all time favorites Rachel.
Every Rachel I have known in my life has been a wonderful person.
I am loving your blog!
Hugs, Bobbi Jo
Isn't that nice! I will be sending you an email, Bobbi Jo, to get your address. I hope you enjoy the purse.
I'm going to check and see if my good neighbour has the blender going yet. Have a great day, folks!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Awwww... do I HAVE to...?

Sometimes I just dread these Loser Monday posts. I'd like to skip Mondays, but I'm not really the rebellious type. So, here goes...

I've already gained back a couple of the lbs I lost with the detox. There. You happy now? I'm so not a loser. But what do you expect when I spent the last five days sitting on my arse, marking exams?

Let's have a chuckle and all feel better about it.

Summer's here (so says the calendar). I have no beach to go to this year. I can laze around in my Lululemon pants every day if I please. Nobody but me cares that I am 15 lbs overweight.

So there. So there. So there.

I've finished with diploma exam marking. We were done a bit early today, so I was home by 2:30 pm. It was lovely. I walked from the train station through my gorgeous, older neighbourhood admiring all the well-kept houses, leafy trees, and pretty flowers. I met the cutest little dog (a boxer, I think) and got some puppy love from her. All in all, the walk was very pleasant. I have one more day of school left ~ a 'farewell' to people who are moving on and a barbeque that I'd just as soon miss (hotdogs yuck!). Then I'm gonna kick back and relax. I'll sew (two dresses to make) and decorate my scarf from Kellie's 'Design Gives Back' project. I'll read good books (and maybe a couple of bad ones hehe). I'll take care of my little garden. I'll go for bike rides. I'll walk the dogs.
Then I'll get bored and have to find something new to do. But there's always something new to do, isn't there?
Did you enter my giveaway yet? The chances of you winning are pretty good, since there aren't too many entries. Hop over to this post and sign up. I'm drawing tomorrow afternoon, when I get home from work (which I truly hope will be earlier rather than later in the day).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Garden Concert

See this beautiful girl? Her name is Ann Vriend and she is an amazingly talented singer/songwriter from right here in Edmonton.

Last night, my neighbour across the back alley hosted a Garden Concert and Ann was the entertainment. She had a Saturday night free (apparently an unusual occurrence for her) and put on a wonderful, and intimate, show for friends and neighbours. How cool is that?

It was a super fabulous way to spend a Saturday night. We got to meet people from the neighbourhood ~ why is that so difficult in this day and age? ~ eat, drink, visit, and revel in the sounds of Ann's music. I live in a great neighbourhood with some of the neatest people you'd ever meet. Lots of artists and creative folk. (I think nearly everyone at the gathering was in the field of education ~ we are a creative bunch, really.)

I'm going to pay for this, though. I didn't get home until 1:00 am and I have to mark exams all day (yes, on a Sunday). Day 4 of 5.

Please check out Ann's website here. I think you'll like what you hear!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One Pretty Thing

I love the One Pretty Thing blog. And now I love it even more since Rachel (great name, eh?) featured my Cute Li'l Purse today!

Go over and have a look at some of the other projects she's highlighted. You will definitely be inspired.

Five days left to enter my giveaway!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Good Times

The OnlyChild and I biked over to water the garden tonight. We like to go a bit later, when it's cooler. Boy, she was in a mood though. Snitty comebacks for everything I said. It was getting a bit annoying. But I had to laugh at her because we were biking along, she was in the lead and I was moseying behind her, and I could see her butt crack because her pants were slipping down. Needless to say, she didn't appreciate my giggles.

What? You don't put on a dress when you go to visit your garden? I wore this to work today and it was so comfortable I just left it on when I got home. I made the dress last year with some inspiration from Autum at Creative Little Daisy. It's the same pattern as the brown one that I think you've seen before, but it's shorter because there wasn't enough fabric on the bolt so I took what they had. That means I can't wear it with bare legs (well, not to work anyway). I went down to the OnlyChild's room this morning, looking for her little capri tights to borrow. I really don't know why I thought I'd be able to find them in that horrendous mess. She says they ripped and went in the garbage. So, I made my own. I took an old pair of black tights, snipped off the feet and zig-zagged them on the sewing machine. Presto!

Some progress on the potatoes. Kind of a weird angle for the photo. Sorry.

Onions and peas growing well. And you can catch a peek of the OnlyChild's really cute stripey sneakers. I want a pair, too, but that would be too goofy if we matched.

Lettuce will be ready soon. See the paint stir stick that I used as a row marker? For another creative way to use paint sticks, visit Karen at Sew Many Ways. She has a neat feature called Tool Time Tuesdays.
In other news... Saturday night was my dance class get together. We went to a Lebanese restaurant. Oh the food! They just kept bringing it. I didn't take any photos of it, though; I didn't want to make you jealous haha.
We had a great time and, yes, we did dance! There was live music and a belly dancer. But before she came out, we took over the dance floor. Here is our teacher, Nada. She is so beautiful ~ such a lovely person and a wonderful dancer. She always has a smile on her face!

Here I am with Val (left) and Maryann (centre). I've been going to class with Val for SIX years, but I really didn't get to know her until the last two. She's a lot of fun!

Nada and Val. Look at those gorgeous smiles! We were all having such a great time. There were about 20 of us in the group. Unfortunately, I didn't get a group picture ~ there was just too much going on to get everyone to pose.

And Jeanette. She was very entertaining. She made people get up and dance with her. If her veil landed around your neck or shoulders, you had to get up. Nobody refused. Everytime she went by our table, I said a little prayer: "not me, please" but sure enough, the veil landed on me and I had to get up. It was hilarious! She also targeted a table of young men and every one of them went up to dance. One old guy at another table was recording us, which is a little creepy; I think he was more interested in Jeanette than anyone else dancing, of course.

We met at 9:00 pm, which is pretty late for supper. There were still people coming in at midnight to eat. Nada said that is the custom. I got home at 1 am. Yawn!

Good times...!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Snoozer Monday

Is this kind of twisted logic that gets us in trouble, isn't it? Well, I'm not falling for it; I'm going to the gym tonight, if it kills me.

And it probably will because I'm just so tired (hence the title of this post). What is it about the end of June that makes me want to crawl into bed at 5:00 pm? You would think, with summer vacation being just around the corner, that I'd be full of energy. I didn't even work hard today. It was just a blur.

As you know, I did the Wild Rose Herbal Detox. It's a 12-day program, but I cut it short after 10 days because I had a couple of social engagements that made it inconvenient. I weighed myself every day while on this program, just to monitor what was happening. At my lowest point, I had lost 8 lbs. I think I settled at about -6 lbs in the end, which is pretty darn good. Now the trick is to keep losing weight naturally. I've kind of messed that up already with the lunch meeting I had today. Boy, it's hard to eat well when you're out! I chose grilled seafood and it came swimming in olive oil. What is the point of grilling the seafood then?

Tonight I'll have to eat light (no worries about that ~ I'm still full) and, as I said, work out hard at the gym.

I hope to have garden pictures to show you soon. Things are growing very nicely and we've had a bit of rain in the past couple of days. I also will show you the dress I made over the weekend. I it and can't wait to wear it ~ but it's a bit fancy for work. Maybe Mr. P will take me out to dinner. (Or maybe that's not such a good idea...)

p.s. Don't forget my giveaway! I'll be drawing on June 30.

So punny...

This post has nothing to do with anything... except that Mr. P sent me an email this morning with the following. I just love a good pun, and so does Pat from A Little of This and a Little of Pat. I'm dedicating this post to her.


1. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'
14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'
17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
18. It's not that the man did not know how to juggle, he just didn't have the balls to do it.
19. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
20. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
21. A backward poet writes inverse.
22. In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
23. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
24. Don't join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects!

Have a great day. I'll be back later with a Loser Monday update.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mail Call!

Some interesting items came to me through the mail this week. First, I got a scarf from Kelee at The Katillac Shack. Will I wear this scarf? No... it's actually a doggie scarf and my job is to decorate it and send a photo of my (or someone else's) dog wearing my creation. You see, a sponsor has agreed to make a $2000 donation to Design Gives Back to help take care of dogs and cats that have been abandoned if we decorate 150 scarves. It seems that this problem is becoming even worse with the economic recession.

You can help, too. Kelee says that they still need about 50 people to decorate scarves. All you have to do is visit her blog post here for details. It's easy, it's fun... and it's a very good cause.

Also in the mail, beautiful fabric from The Fat Quarter Shop. Yes, I was online shopping again ~ naughty, naughty. But honestly, there is NO good fabric here. I don't know if it's all of Canada or just my little part of the country, but I looked all over and didn't see anything I wanted. I plan to make a skirt with the 'Deer Valley Celadon Antler Damask' fabric and a dress with the 'Flights of Fancy Summer Geo Mirror' fabric.

Here's the dress pattern. I'm making 'B' right now in plain black (you can never have too many little black dresses) and will make 'A' using my new fabric and black for the bodice and band at the bottom. Notice the pattern is Fast & Easy. Just like me. haha.
And my last package this week contained these books for my next course. Yes I DID finish that @#!$! project. I emailed it off to my professor, who kindly offered to look it over for me, and he made one tiny recommendation to improve it. I will incorporate his suggestion and by Sunday afternoon, it will be gone, gone, gone into cyberspace and that, my friends, will be the end of that course! I start the new one on July 2.

These books actually didn't come in the mail. Purolator brought them... sort of. They came by during the day when I was at work (duh) and left me a tag. That meant I had to drive to the other side of the city (30-40 minutes one way) to pick them up. When I pay over $10.00 for shipping, I expect better service. They could at least phone and see when would be a convenient time to deliver. Don't you think?
I have a full weekend ahead with some good social activities. Tonight Mr. P and I are going to see a group called (ready for this?) Apocalypse Kow. You can hear some of their music here. Tomorrow I'm having lunch with my friend Sandi before she heads to Africa. Yep, that's right, she's going to Africa, Rwanda to be precise, with the General Romeo Dallaire Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Wow! Later tomorrow I'm meeting the girls from my dance class for dinner at a Lebanese restaurant. Belly dancing to follow! Since our spring session was cancelled, I've really missed belly dancing so I'll be taking my hip scarf and giving it a little shimmy.
Sunday... well, that's my day to finish that project once and for all and then SEW!
Don't forget my li'l giveaway. You have until June 30 (my last day of school) to enter. I'd love to hear what your summer plans are.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cute Li'l Purse Tutorial and a Li'l Giveaway

First decide what size you would like your purse to be and make a circle that size. I’ve chosen to make a fairly small one and have picked an 8” diameter circle to use as a template. You can use a dinner plate (I can’t because mine are square, so I used a circular plastic lid).

Draw around your circle on a piece of paper.

Now, draw a line across the circle about ¼ to 1/3 of the way down from the top. The farther down you go, the wider the opening of your purse will be.

Along the bottom of the circle, you will draw two evenly-spaced triangles. These are darts to give your purse shape. Mine are about an inch long.

Okay – cut out your pattern. (Don’t use your good scissors!) It should look something like this:

Cut: 2 of outer fabric, 2 of lining fabric, and 2 of batting.

Place batting on outer fabric pieces, lining up darts. With right sides together and using a scant seam allowance, sew the darts. Sew the darts, right sides together on the lining pieces, too.

Now, pin lining pieces to outside pieces along top edge, right sides together, and sew using a ¼” seam allowance. Flip the lining over and press.

Pin the two pieces lining sides together and matching up darts, and baste around the curved edge with a ¼” seam allowance.

It’s now time to decide what colour you would like the binding and strap to be… I chose black and cut a 2 ½” strip (x width of fabric), which I folded in half and pressed, just like a quilt binding. My fabric is a bit stretchy; you may wish to use strips cut on the bias and pieced together.

Find the centre of the binding strip. Pin to the centre of the bottom edge of the purse but only pin the bottom layer of the folded binding then continue pinning around the bottom edge.

Sew just around the curved edge, stopping at the upper edges. Turn binding to the other side, tucking the raw edges in, and pin around the curved edge again.

Check to make sure you like the length of your strap. If you want it shorter, trim it a bit, remembering that once it is sewn, it will be about an inch shorter than it is now. If you want it longer, you might add another 2 ½ strip of fabric to one of the ends. When you are satisfied with the length, sew the two ends together. I like to use an angled seam so there isn’t a bulky bit, but a straight seam will do just fine.

Continue pinning the strap, bringing the raw edges into the centre crease and folding in half. You can press if you like (I didn't, but it does make the job easier).

Sew all the way around, keeping close to the edge.

And you’re done.

Unless you want to add some embellishment…which, of course, I do.

This purse is perfect for a little girl… and I’m giving it away! If you want to be in the very random drawing for this cute li’l purse, just leave me a comment below. Tell me what’s on your to-do or want-to-do list for the summer. To gain an extra entry, mention this giveaway on your blog and link back to me. To gain a third entry, follow my blog and leave me another comment telling me you're a follower.
I’ll announce the winner on June 30, which is my last day of work before summer vacation – so, a celebration of sorts!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The usual Monday fare...

Before I get into Loser Monday babble, I must direct you to V and Co where Vanessa is having a lovely giveaway. I feel it is my duty, as your blogging friend, to tell you about this, even though I want the prize for myself. But go and visit anyway... she has a wonderful blog!

Okay, Loser Monday. Your weekly haha:

And now an update:
I've been cheating. I lost 5 lbs in the past 6 days. Yes, you read that right. But it's not because I suddenly Saw The Light and Mended My (Bad Eating) Ways. Nope, I went on another Wild Rose Herbal Detox. I'm on day 6 of the plan, feeling great, and just hoping I will not gain all the weight back like I did last time.
On the downside, I haven't been to the gym in a week. Too busy, too hot, too tired, too nauseated (the first few days of this program are pretty brutal), but I have been walking or biking to my garden every night to water. That's something, at least.
I think we're in for a thunderstorm. The air pressure is giving me a headache (and Mr. P too!) and the sky looks menacing. It's still very warm, though. And you know I'm not complaining about that after all the whining I did about winter!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Beautiful Day!

It's a beautiful day!

The sun is shining.

The trees are showing off their glorious green canopy on my street.

The flowers were standing at attention, saluting the sun this morning.

And yesterday after work, I spent a little time finishing the binding on a table runner to match my Spring Spell quilt. I made it, completely out of leftovers, in the free moments I could snatch here and there throughout the week. I popped it in the washer late last night and ~ voila! ~ it was ready to go on the coffee table in the living room this morning. I it!

I also finally put together the terrarium I was planning and added Marné's little mushrooms (from the giveaway I won a while back). Aren't they adorable?
Last night Mr. P and I went to the horse races with some folks from his workplace. It was fun. The best part was that, even though we are not big betters, we won enough to pay for our evening out!
How is your weekend looking?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Go and visit Tonya

Okay, really short post. In between the marking and the project I'm writing, I have very little time this week.

But I do want you to go and visit Tonya here because she is celebrating her 100th post and she's having the most awesome, fabulous giveaway.

You won't want to miss it.

And I'll be back soon... I promise... just as soon as I'm allowed to lift my head from all this work.

(Don't feel sorry for me; I brought it on myself. hehe.)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Never mind the pizza delivery guy...

...I should be filing a restraining order against my husband. On Friday night, we went out for supper at a pizza place ~ definitely his favourite food. Last night he brought home Mucho Burritos. I ate half of mine and was stuffed. It's not good to be stuffed (unless you're a teddy bear, of course). I guess if I was a better cook, there wouldn't always be the temptation to eat out. Sometimes I do cook; you've seen the evidence, right? But I've been so busy lately (and I really don't like cooking) that it's been easy to give in and agree to take-out.

I'm not getting any sympathy from you, am I? haha.

I'm still exercising, though, and I eat well during the week, so at some point I should see the results of all my hard work.


Anyway... go and visit Kelee at The Katillac Shack. She needs your help!

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Our lovely little bird house will not attract birds. It's right by the back door and, anyway, we have a cat and two crazy dogs who scare away all winged creatures. But I think it's cute and it brightens up the back entry. I painted over one of the OnlyChild's childhood creations (with her permission, of course). Painting is definitely not one of my talents; it was an experiment.

It's lovely that, even after two weeks of being under my unproven care, my tomato plants are thriving. We will have fresh tomatoes this summer.

And look at those lovely little green zucchini sprouts. My friend Cheryl says the vines will be sooooo long. I may have to thin these out, since I planted the whole darn package in one container. Hey, what do I know? I'm a novice gardener.

At the garden plot tonight, I noticed that in addition to the lettuce, there are onions, peas, carrots and potatoes sprouting. I was worried that I wouldn't know the veggies from the weeds but a lady I met at the garden reminded me that I planted my veggies in rows and weeds don't grow in rows. So, when things really start popping up, I'll definitely know what to weed out!
Remember this tree? I was lamenting the lack of green, since Spring was so late in arriving this year. I took this picture of the lilac tree from the window of my sewing room, where I was hiding from the cold and snow in May.

This is the same tree this evening. Glorious lilacs. They were a bit late blooming this year; everyone else's bushes and trees seemed to have gorgeous, scented flowers on them about two weeks ago. We finally saw lovely purple this week.

I spent yesterday ~ all day ~ working on the BIG project for my course. It's worth 40% of the total mark, so I want to do it right. Boy, I worked hard... and I got quite a lot done, too. I thought I deserved to reward myself with some lovely sewing time. I worked on the Bunny Hill and Seasons of the Heart BOM blocks for May.

I need to do the little bit of embroidery on the butterfly's antennae, and the buttons aren't sewn down (I'll do that after I finish the quilt).

Bernice and I had a bit of a disagreement last night. She seemed to think that it was perfectly acceptable to pull the bobbin thread up to the top of the fabric while I appliqued. I kept playing with the tension, but it didn't seem to help the problem. Do you have any advice about this? I've tried different threads, different stitch lengths and widths, fiddled with the balance dial on the machine, checked the internet... I don't know what else to do.

Don't look too closely at this block. Those tiny hexagons were a pain to applique. A couple of them are not lined up perfectly. Oh well... it was late and my neck was soooo sore from sitting at the computer all day. I wonder why I thought it would be okay to sit at the sewing machine all night? Hmmmm...

Text Color
I'm proud to say that I checked off every single item on my To-Do list from Friday's post. And today I did some school work ~ for my real job, not the course I'm taking. It was quite a lovely and productive weekend!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Why do today what you can put off for the weekend?

Greetings on a rainy Friday afternoon. I'm sitting in my office at school, marking essays and occasionally looking out the window at the dreary day. The sky is grey, the air is cold, and all I can think of is... Rain! Rain is good for the garden.

I think I may be a little obsessed with this gardening thing.

I have no pictures to show you, yet, of my new green babies. By the time I got to the garden to water last night, it was almost 10 o'clock and the sun had gone down. Not ideal light for taking pictures of miracles. If the sun makes an appearance this weekend, I'll walk or ride my bike over and photograph the little lettuce leaves... and I think I saw an onion shoot last night.

The lilac tree in the backyard is now in full bloom. I cut some of the sprigs and placed them in a glass in my office. For two days, I have the pleasure of the delightful aroma of lilac whenever I walk in there. Of course, lilacs cut from the tree don't last long so I'll have to dispose of them before I leave work today. But the backyard smells heavenly.

My plans for the weekend:
  • go to the gym
  • start the final project for my masters course (due June 22 - I'd better get crackin' on it!)
  • clean the house (always on the weekend to-do list)
  • try, try, try to find time to sew my May BOM blocks. I know, it's June...

So... what are you doing this weekend?

People keep telling me to find some time to relax. Huh? I was laying in bed last night thinking sleep is a waste of time. I want to get up and do something. Then I fell asleep. Thank goodness my body is sometimes smarter than my brain!

Okay, back to those essays...