Friday, July 31, 2009

San Fran-tastic!

We're back from our trip to San Francisco. It was an interesting 6 days and, if you don't count the family squabbling, it was a good getaway. San Francisco is a very neat city, with lots to see and do.

We started our visit on Saturday with a stroll around Union Square, which was where we stayed, and into Chinatown. Unfortunately, I don't have photos because they are on the OnlyChild's camera and she hasn't uploaded them to my computer yet.

On Sunday we went to Alcatraz. Now that is something not to be missed. If you find yourself in SF, you absolutely must go to the Rock. Here I am on the ferry on the way over. It was extremely windy and cold. In fact, the cold temperatures all week surprised me - I had to buy a sweater!

The island.

Can you imagine spending years in a cell like this? (Notice the crochet on the left-hand side... the prisoners taught each other games and crafts to fill the time.)

Alcatraz has the best view of San Francisco.

We took the audio tour, which explained how the prison was organized and shared stories of some of the more famous inmates - Al Capone, Alvin "Creepy" Karpis (a Canadian), the "Birdman". Afterwards, we explored Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf. Very touristy, but lots of fun.

Look at all the sea lions. They were just lazing about at the pier. There were over 300 of them the day we were there!

I met a long-lost relative!

On our last night, we went to Alioto's for dinner. Stacy recommended this restaurant and it was a great choice. I had halibut - it practically melted in my mouth. Alioto's also had probably the best service of any place we went while we were in SF.

On Monday, I dragged a very reluctant Mr. P and OnlyChild to the Mission District. I wanted to go to 826 Valencia. You will understand my fascination with this place if you watch this video.

The front of the building houses a Pirate Store. The back of the building is a writing/tutoring centre. In the course I'm taking right now, one of our assignments involved watching this video. I was so excited to actually get to visit the place. But, alas, I didn't talk to anyone there. It was too busy, I was too shy, and it was lunch time.

We spent the afternoon in the Castro district and in Haight-Ashbury. The Haight district was the hippie epicentre during the Summer of Love (1967 - I wasn't even thought of then!).

This is one of the landmarks - fishnet-stocking clad legs above a very gaudy lingerie store (that mostly caters to cross-dressers, from what I saw).

We had supper at Lori's Diner, a San Francisco institution. There must be 7 or 8 of these restaurants in the city. Very good 'malt shop' type food.

On Tuesday we took the bus to Ferry Plaza for the Farmers' Market. There's also an arts and crafts market there daily. While we were there, an episode of a new television show, Trauma, was being filmed. We weren't even able to get to most of the booths because they were performing a stunt. We did see the stunt, though. Can you believe I didn't take any photos?
On Wednesday, Mr. P and I went to Sausalito. The OnlyChild opted to stay back at the hotel. I think she was getting sick of us at that point (and the feeling was mutual, to be honest; nothing like a sulky teenager on vacation). When we left San Francisco, the fog was so thick. But by the time we docked in Sausalito, the sun was shining in a blue sky.

Sausalito is so beautiful. It's a little upscale community with lots of boutiques and art galleries. We didn't buy anything, but we did enjoy a lovely lunch at a waterside restaurant.
Look at this yacht that was moored just off-shore! It has a helicopter on it, for goodness sake!

Yesterday morning, our last day in SF, the OnlyChild and I went to the SF MoMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). We love museums! We went to the MoMA in New York City last summer and were very much looking forward to seeing San Francisco's version. This one was incredible. One of their permanent exhibits is a collection of photographs by Robert Frank. You have to look him up. I was so impressed that I bought a book of his photos!

They also had two limited exhibitions - Richard Alvedon (wonderful photographer also) and a combined exhibit of Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams. I'm not a fan of either of them, but I have to admit it was a clever pairing of the two. It worked.
I took a few photos of art work. Here's a piece by Diego Rivera - "The Flower Carrier". Rivera's work was quite political - not just pretty pictures!

This one is "Kind mit Pudeln" (Child with Poodles) by Katharina Fritsch - 224 poodle sculptures in tight circles around a child lying on a gold star. Of course, there is also a message behind this work.

I took many more, but I don't want to bore you. Besides you should go and see it for yourself!
On the way back to the hotel, I asked the OnlyChild to take a photo of me in Union Square in front of one of the heart sculptures. I wanted you to see my dress, finally. It's a good thing I was wearing leggings... that wind! I would have had a Marilyn Monroe moment!

And then it was time to check out of the hotel (they allowed us to stay until 2:00 pm) and head to the airport. Sad to leave... but good to be heading home! I missed Abby, Derby and Rex, and I missed sleeping in my own bed.
I just want to show you a few of my purchases:
I bought this book at Borders, which was just down the street from our hotel. Book prices in the US are so much cheaper than in Canada. This is A Writer's Paris by Eric Maisel. I also own another one of his, The Creativity Book. Eric Maisel is from San Francisco. I love this book and I'm almost finished reading it already. Needless to say, I go no course work done while I was in SF and even the school books I brought along remained unopened. I read this instead.

We bought a couple of books at Alcatraz, too. Mr. P is fascinated with Al Capone (and gangsters in general - must be a guy thing). The book on the left was written by a woman who lived on Alcatraz as a child. Her father was a guard. She was at the store to do a book signing, so we chatted with her for about 10 minutes and she signed our book. She had some very interesting stories to tell!

I thought this sign would be good for my office at school. You know, to remind the kids why they are there. I think you can click on the picture to read the magnets. These are based on the Alcatraz Rule Book.

When we were at Ferry Plaza, we picked up a few of these pictures from an artist named John Turin. He was actually painting them while we were there. John is originally from New Zealand but now makes his home in SF. I doubt he has a website, but if you're ever in SF, look for him. His watercolour pictures are so sweet.

Of course we bought chocolate from the Ghirardelli store. We also picked up a few souvenir items for gifts. But I think most of our money was spent on food!
It was a fun trip. Thank you to Stacy for all the advice on what to do and where to go. That's one of the beautiful things about blogland - meeting people from all over! Stacy was so much better than the guide book I bought. Oh, and Stacy, I walked right by ImagiKnits and didn't go in. I know, I know... but that was the day I dragged the family blocks and blocks to go to 826 Valencia and I didn't want to push my luck. Next time...
Now, back to reality. I have a huuuuge project due on August 8. Originally the due date said August 5, but I got a message from my professor today saying it should have been listed as the 8th. Thank goodness! I still have a ton of school work to do (for my real job) before the new year begins. And, I want to fit in some sewing.
Busy, busy, busy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And Another One...

You're going to love this giveaway, too! Rachel (such a great name) from p.s. i quilt has a $50 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop to give away.

Can you stand the excitement?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Victoria at Bumble Beans is giving away this beautiful bag.

Yes, you should go and visit her!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh No!

You just never know what's going to happen when you're on vacation. Look at me - I ended up in the slammer!

There's a story behind this, of course, but you'll have to wait until I have more time. Can you guess where I am in this picture?

We're spending the week in San Francisco. Nobody told me it was COLD in California in July! It was 90 degrees at home when we left and is about 56 here. Ha!

Have a great week. I'll check in again soon!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


This afternoon, I was working on this...

When I was interrupted to help with this...

I was working on my block for Bumble Beans' Pixiedust Gather. We are to make a 10" block out of the beautiful fabrics provided and return them to Victoria by August 31. I thought I should get mine done and sent off before we leave for a few days of vacationing in San Francisco. The mail here is so slooooow that I was afraid if I waited, it might not get there on time. I'm not sure how much I am allowed to show, so you get just a little peek for now.
Mr. P is building a deck out back. Hurray. I only had to help for a few minutes but boy is it HOT out there. It's about 32 celsius (90 fahrenheit). Whew. One of the maybe 10 hot days we'll get this summer.
While I was outside, I also checked on my veggies growing in containers in the back yard. The Roma tomatoes are growing.
So are the Patio tomatoes...

The Beefsteaks are looking good.

And we'll soon be picking Big Boys. Yum. Maybe some will be ready when I get back.

I've also got zucchini on the vine. This little one is about the size of my pinky finger (and I've got small hands). Some people at the community garden already have huge zucchini on their vines that are as big as my forearm. I hope mine continue to grow.

I finished hemming my dress yesterday afternoon, while sitting on my neighbour's deck, catcalling over the fence at my husband and his friend who were working so hard in our yard, building our deck. I'll show photos of the dress when I get a chance to wear it - maybe while we're on vacation there will be an occasion to get gussied up.
So, things are getting sewn, built, and grown around here.
What's happening in your part of the world?

Look who's celebrating one year!

Jeanne of A Bushel and a Peck is celebrating her one-year anniversary with a fabulous giveaway.

You definitely should go over and visit her. She is extraordinarily generous and she has a wonderful blog (one of my personal favourites).

Tell her I sent you!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Bosun was our baby. He was a silly little dog, full of fun and mischief. He loved to run in the backyard, play soccer, chase the softball and go for walks. He liked to find a sunbeam, lie down on the floor, and let the warmth pour over him while he took a nap. Bosun's favourite thing to do was to snuggle. He would curl up next to the nearest person and stay for hours cuddled up together. He loved to sleep under the bed covers, leaving his fur everywhere. Bosun made everybody happy. He was so friendly and cute. He gave big, sloppy kisses - on the face, hands, toes, wherever he could reach.

We got Bosun on December 7, 2003. I wasn't working at the time and Abby and I were lonely at home. I spent too many days staring at the puppies in the pet store. I fell in love with Bosun through the window and kept going back to visit him. Finally Mr. P bought him for me as a Christmas present. He was such an adorable ball of fur and we all loved him.

Bosun's short life ended on July 21, 2005. Early in the morning, he and Abby escaped from the back yard in search of adventure. While crossing the busy street, he was struck by a car. His little outing ended in tragedy.
We miss Bosun - his big brown eyes, his soft black ears, his polka-dotted coat, his stubby tail and his round belly. We cherish the fun times we had with him and will remember him always. Losing him hurt terribly, but our lives were enriched by his presence in our family.
We love you Bosun!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm back (and I wasn't even gone)

Thank you for all your thoughtful comments and sympathies on the loss of my 'Sew-Jo' (sewing mojo) and my creativity. Needless to say, it's been a trying few days and I did not adjust well to being creative-less.

But I think (I hope) I have good news. I think (I hope) my sew-jo is back. It didn't return of its own accord, I can tell you that. It took some coercion and (wo)manhandling to bring back my creative motivation. I had to have a very stern talk with it and remind it that my life was very dull and depressing without the ability to sew, quilt, and create.

So... as you can see, I managed to make my second little dress from the Butterick 5317 pattern. I love this 'Flights of Fancy' print! And I think this is just the cutest dress. I can't wait to wear it... but I'll have to hem it first. I was about to press the hem last night when the power went out. Again. It was off for about an hour and by the time we had electricity again, I just wanted to go to bed with a good book. How frustrating!

I didn't have time to sew at all today. I didn't even have much time to work on my course. I spent the entire afternoon with my good friend Sandi. We used to work together (until I moved to another school) and we hit it off right away, despite the fact that she is old enough to be my mother, and indeed has a daughter two years older than me. We have so much in common and share many of the same values and interests. Sandi is my travel-partner-in-crime; we went to New Orleans together a couple of years ago and next summer we are taking a group of 36 junior-high students to Italy. We are also plotting a getaway to Paris for next August (and just praying for the funds to come through).

Sandi just returned from a trip to Rwanda. She went with the Romeo Dallaire Genocide Institute. She had some amazing stories to tell about her visit, and some heart-wrenching tales, too. In case you weren't aware, Rwanda was the site of the genocide in 1994 where over 800,000 members of the Tutsi minority were slaughtered in about 100 days by the majority Hutus who were their friends, neighbours and family members. For more information, visit this site.

Although the purpose of the trip was not shopping (and certainly Rwanda is not a tourist destination), Sandi was thinking about her friends and family while she was there and made sure she picked up a little something for us.

She brought me back that beautiful little purse (just the size I like) and this wonderful piece of cloth. See that rhinoceros! Isn't it great! I wonder what I should do with it...

I had a very nice afternoon visiting with Sandi. She really is an amazing person and a good friend, and I'm lucky to have her in my life.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

After the storm

I woke up early this morning and decided to take a walk to survey the damage from last night's storm (see previous post). The flowers in the barrels by the front steps are a bit flattened. I think they'll perk up though.

I went over to check on the garden. This is my garden marker. Everyone else got a rock with their name on it, but I was the last person to secure a plot so I think the organizer forgot about me and I had to make my own. Oh well, the shell is more 'me' anyway.

The onions got a big damaged. Actually, everyone's onions were flattened down, probably by the wind. Mine weren't doing so well before the storm. I think someone (or something) stepped on them.

Everything else seems to have survived. Look at that lettuce! We've already eaten some. Yum!

We live in a neighbourhood with many mature trees. All along the streets there were branches down. This is in front of our next-door neighbour's house. This branch was out in the road until he came home around midnight and moved it.

At the end of the block.

This was a couple of streets over.

And this was the worst I saw this morning. There wasn't really too much damage to our neighbourhood. As I was walking, I met up with a man out walking his three dogs and he said that the house next door to him had a power line hanging down.
So, we survived. We haven't received a newspaper yet today so I'm not sure what the extent of the damage was in other parts of the city.

It was pretty wild last night, but Mother Nature is putting on her innocent fact today - it's beautiful outside with blue skies and a slight breeze.
Before I go and do something productive with my day, I wanted to show you a couple of giveaway prizes I've won in the past few weeks.
First, this fabulous pillow pattern from Kellie at Don't Look Now:
And then these Moda Patisserie charm squares, cute pattern and magnetic note pad from Jen at Miss Punkie Pie:

Thanks girls! I love my gifts!

And you must visit Linda over at Natural Suburbia. She is having another giveaway with some beautiful hand-dyed wool as the prize.

I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing Sunday.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. We are in the midst of a terrific storm. Thunder. Lightening. Winds. Rain. Hail. Power outages.

It was very hot today, then the sun went away and the sky started to crack. Abby Dog went crazy and was literally trying to climb the walls. Derby didn't mind it too much. I ran outside to rescue my tomato and zucchini plants (good thing they're in pots) and put them in the front porch. I really thought the wind might pick me up!

The sky was a strange shade of orangey-grey. I didn't see any funnel clouds, but the conditions were definitely right for a tornado.

Mr. P wouldn't let me go back outside to check on Bettie (my car) or take pictures. Bummer. But he's got more common sense than I do so...
We had no power for about an hour and a half. It's back on for now and the wind has calmed a bit, but there's still rain and thunder and lightning.
Mr. P has gone to pick up the OnlyChild who went to a movie with a friend tonight. I'm sitting in the front porch listening to the radio online and the sirens from across the city, and watching cars zoom up our little, narrow one-way street. You'd think the weather would slow them down, but no. I'm hearing reports of all the damage in the city - traffic lights out, trees down, fires. The exhibition and fair are going on a few blocks away from where we live and someone phoned into the radio station to report that one of the concession stands caught on fire. Right now a farmer is talking to the radio host - the roof blew off his barn and he can't find his cows!
This is crazy. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, I probably blew away and ended up in Oz.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The well is dry.

I just cannot seem to find an ounce of creativity in myself lately. I desperately want to sew, to create, to produce pretty little things. And I even have the time to do it. But I find myself unable to commit to any sewing or quilting project.
I finished yet another essay last night (although it needs some editing) so I thought I would treat myself with a bit of sewing time this morning. I still have the second dress to make from this pattern:

And I have that really cute geometric fabric that I ordered from Fat Quarter Shop a while back. I also have PIF gifts to make, a dress for the OnlyChild (although she has been less-than-nice lately and I'm not feeling so inclined to make her anything), BOM blocks, and countless quilting projects. Not to mention the two scrapbooks I wanted to complete (NYC from last summer and Europe from spring break).

But here's the scene from the spare bedroom, where I cut out patterns:

This is as far as I got - two pattern pieces pinned. And then I just could not bring myself to do any more. I had this overwhelming feeling of ennui.

Ennui: a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom.

I'm not bored. But that feeling of weariness and discontent - bingo!