Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nine is Mine!


Only 4 more days till Christmas! Wow! This is kind of like Hanukkah though, only better. Instead of 8 nights of gifts, we get 12!!








Today's surprise came from Lisa Ryder in New Zealand. Look at the ATC's. It's a full hand, 12 cards, each with personality, humour and style!








But that's not all. I LOVE this little canvas with a grid of circles! Click on it to see better. I'm still noticing new things in each of the elements...so much detail!

Thank you Lisa!

8th Day is so fine

It's icy cold, -27, but bright and sunny and beautiful. There is a frosting of pure sugar over the whole landscape, and the sky is a brilliant baby blue that only happens this time of year when the air is full of ice crystals. It's breath taking! Quite literally. Stepping outside is a shock to the lungs and the senses.







But the day brought more surprises, and more Christmas! Fiona started my day out with fun and festivity!

Look at the little linen heart goodness,









and the fabric (Amy Butler? Vintage?) book mark.


I love them both! One is hanging on the door knob of my pantry cupboard, giving me a little kick of colour and charm each time I reach for a can of tomatoes or a jar of fruit.
The other is holding my place in my Tasha Tudor's Christmas book, where I see it often and appreciate it's usefulness and beauty whenever I sit down to read a bit, between projects.

Thank you Fiona! I heart them!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

If you're stuck for ideas for Christmas Gifts...

Please take the time to check out Kiva-Loans That Change Lives. It's so simple to buy a gift certificate in someones name. They recipient gets the joy of picking an entrepreneur to help, and it's a gift that keeps on giving. A loan is made, and when it's re-paid, it can be re-invested, over and over. One small gift can do so much and help so many. I LOVE this! It's fast, simple and secure...and no malls are involved!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 7 and a New Look

I didn't forget to post about the 12 Days swap. I just don't have my 7th gift. It was here...now it's gone...so much for "Lucky 7"! I will post it when I get it.

I played with my blog background and header today and I like the new colours. Not so much Christmasy, but happy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 6!


One week till Christmas. Ruth's gift marks the half way point of the swap. Look at the polka dot paper. I have been enjoying the creative wrapping (almost) as much as the wonderful gifts!









Ruth made crocheted cuffs! Perfect for me. My girl Vanessa knits, so I can always count on her to make me gorgeous knitted things like felted slippers and tea cozies and mitts. But she doesn't crochet, and I while I can grasp the concept and understand the pattern, I have never been able to follow through on the amount of attention to detail and tension and time involved in this beautiful art.

Thank you Ruth, for gifting me this gorgeous aqua beauty with the mother of pearl button (!) and tiny seed pearl beads. Isn't it perfect?

No one can prove I haven't been a good girl this year...I have proof to the contrary. Surely I would not be the recipient of all these wonderful gifts made with such love and care had I not deserved it.
And yes. That's my story. I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the 5th Day of Christmas


Lelainia's lucky #13 is mine! This is day 5 of the swap, and that's my day, so I can now open the gift made for each of us by Lelainia. I can't show you, because that would ruin the surprise for the other artists who have to open her gift later in the exchange. ( But you're going to love it!)
Instead I'll show you the gifts I made. They are darn hard to capture on camera!

I made each artist a wallet with my favorite medium...a little of everything. Fabric, papers, ephemera, and bits and bobs...keys, buttons, old stamps and glitter and...stuff! Of course each one is different. I couldn't make them all the same if I tried. It was so much fun hunting down the scraps and material and assembling each one. It was always a surprise to see how they would come out.




I wrapped them in red paper, tucked them in envelopes and sent them out into the world. They mostly arrived on time, but I need to make a new one for Barbara. Hers still hasn't shown up. So sad! Barbara, I hope you do something nice for yourself today. Even though you don't have a surprise from me, make sure it's a special day as we count down to Christmas!
(You'll be getting another one in the mail!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fourth Day of Christmas

...another gift for me!


Ooh La La! What's in the pretty package?



Jeannine Peregrine
made me a little blue house. It's tall and thin and has texture and is divine. I could move right in. It's blue! (Did I mention that?) I love that it has words on it. In a perfect world, I could collage all over the outside of my house and write, like Jeannine did.."The sky is a blue, blue sea". Isn't that perfect?

I LOVE it Jeannine! Thank you so much!

There's another one here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Twas the 3rd Day of Christmas...


and the little bird was at it again.


It's a wee bit warmer here today. It's only -27.

Yes.

That's my world folks.

One where -27 actually gets mentioned because it's warmer!

But I digress. The bird is fast becomming my new BFF. He flew in this morning with a little silver box from Texas! Amy sent this pretty package, tied up with pink string.

What makes it worthwhile to crawl out of bed when it's this cold? Dominos! A perfect silver soldered Domino and the letter "A"! ("Today's programming is brought to you by the letter "A" and the number "3")


Amy did it! Isn't she wonderful? I'm wearing it now, and I am not taking it off! Thank you Amy. I may not be a ten, but I'm a 9!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On the 2nd Day of Christmas...


I woke up very early this morning. Liam was here. Last night we snuggled on the couch and watched the full moon through the icy front window. While we were sleeping, it circled all the way around to the back of our house, and Liam noticed it when I was making him breakfast. There it was, stuck in the frosted branches of our big tree in the back yard!




It's cold. - 36 Celsius. But this morning brought more than frigid temperatures. Look! This brave little bird brought me a mysteriously wrapped little gift from Penelope.








It's a perfectly adorable little hand bound book! It's cover is richly textured and hints of the secrets inside...











It does indeed hold magic! Each page has a pocket, with an inscribed card tucked inside. The cards reveal the secrets of that greatest of all scientific mysteries; Alchemy!

Alchemy is the lost art of turning ordinary materials into gold. Penelope achieved that objective very well. The little book is much more than the sum of it's parts. It's beauty and charms surpass the expectations of mere paper, a bit of string, a bit of heavy fabric and a pair of beads.

It's a precious gift I'll treasure forever Penelope. Thank you!!!
See more here...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

On the First Day of Christmas....

Kathy gave to me....


I've been so patient! In early November I sent off 12 parcels to the most wonderful group of artists you could imagine. I waited as one by one, and two by two, 12 gifts mailed by the group have trickled into my mailbox.







This little bear is snuggled up to Gift #1, with it's pretty black and white paper and perfect little red heart tag...








Look what I got! It's an amazing and beautiful pendant.
Kathy Strittmater, of Denver Colorado created the first gift from a used shell casing (*funny story about that to follow), silver wire, brass washers, a cool gear off something, a strip of old text, a shiny crystal faceted bead, and a lot of care and attention. It hangs from a ball chain at the perfect length.
I love it Kathy! Thank you so much!



Here is Kathy's post from the Dozen Days group. Thanks Kathy, for being willing to "take a bullet" for the group!

"The Long Lost Bullet:


Here's my story!!! A long time ago a friend of mine gave me a bag
of tarnished used bullet casings in various sizes and he said "I know
you'll figure out something to do with these". I've had them for
years and recently thought about making a pendant out of them for our
exchange. Since there were several sizes, and I'm not the least bit
knowledgeable about guns and bullets, I took the bag to work to ask
some of the men that hunt if they could tell me about the different
sizes. I started with my boss, and that was the wrong person to
ask. He promptly told me that I had violated our company policy on
bringing firearms and contraband into the workplace and he could
immediately terminate my employment. I stood there stunned and
said "are you serious – they are empty bullet casings" and he said it
didn't matter, it was a violation of our policy and I needed to get
them off property immediately. And I was not allowed to go put them
in my car as we have a vehicle search policy at any time and now that
he knows that I have them, I cannot put them in my car or they could
search it. I am still in shock and disbelief at this point because
to me it was so innocent. So, I took the plastic bag of casings
across the street from our building and put it in a ditch. I wrote
myself a note and taped it on my steering wheel so I would remember
and pick them up after work that night. I figured I was now good to
go. Well………lo and behold, I leave work at the end of the day to come
out to the parking lot and I see a street resurfacing crew tearing up
the street and they are right by the ditch where I left the bullets.
There were several pieces of heavy machinery right there moving dirt
and I knew for sure the idea of getting my bag of bullets was long
gone. They have to be buried in dirt and asphalt by this point. I
was so distraught – I was about ready to cry. I was bound and
determined to get more casings, so I looked up in the phone book to
see if there was a gun shop in this small town where I work, and I
went on my lunch hour the next day, found what I wanted, purchased
the casings, left them there to come back and pick up after work
(explained to the old man why I couldn't take them with me at that
time) and I made what you have today. The original ones were all
tarnished and I was in love with them, but hopefully the new ones
will get tarnished sometime. So, something so simple could have cost
me my job, but never my spirit. I hope you enjoy wearing the "Long
Lost Bullet".

Kathy"

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Counting Down to the 13th


It's really starting to feel like Christmas, what with the snow and the -20 C temperatures. Brrrrr..... It's all I can do to stay warm. Just looking out my window makes me shiver! I can't wait for this! Look at all the goodies that arrived in my mailbox over the last few weeks. The anticipation is half the fun!


On Saturday Mr. Wonderful had a birthday. It was pretty special because we had a lot to celebrate. We saw the specialist on Friday and learned for certain that the "thing" on Daniel's back was not something to worry about. We had been told a couple weeks ago that it was all OK, then we had a call from the surgeons office that Daniel was to come in so they could discuss the"next step", but they couldn't tell us what that meant over the phone.
We didn't want to worry, but that sounded a little ominous. It was all good, and we are very happy, and we had a little celebration with family and a few friends!

Look who got all dressed up!

Yesterday Liam came to visit, and managed to convince both his uncles to have a nap with him. There was a lot of snoring going on, but I don't know if anyone got too much rest.




Today is my sweet sister's birthday! She's been getting into the holiday spirit with parties, and skating on the canal in Ottawa, and visits to see this guy. I know for a fact that she's been a really good girl, so I hope all her wishes come true this year. She deserves it!


I love you sis!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ada Grace

video

I guess she's not afraid of spiders!

Cheerful Heart = Good Medicine


Despite all the outlandish politics in Canada this week, (and believe me, it's bad), I have many reasons to smile.






Ada is a ray of sunshine. I got to babysit her today while Liam went out with Mommy. It's the first time she's been away from her Mommy. I don't think she was too traumatized.










Zoot was the object of her attention, making her squeal and positively vibrate every time he walked by...just out of reach. She is really trying to crawl. Apparently she doesn't have enough cat hair in her diet.





The reason Ada was here was because this goof went to get his first haircut at the salon. He sat much better than he did for his mom, as evidenced by the fact that he has hair left. Last hair cut, (home made) he wiggled and fussed so much that Nessa ended up just shaving it all off because he wouldn't sit still for her to cut it straight.
He's quite pleased with himself this time, and he pointed proudly at his mouth to show me where he put his chocolate (bribe) from the salon. So, here is his new Funky Fro!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Zoot Helps Decorate





Each December Josh always gets excited early to decorate for Christmas. He's good at getting out the old suitcases filled with the early decorations.

There's Santa, making his annual trip around the world...he goes up with the globes.








There is the little paper village that Josh made many years ago
that is carefully placed on a mirror.









There is the nativity we found at a global market before the boys were born. For some reason Zoot feels he must welcome baby Jesus back by licking him, and his stable, every time we unpack it! Is that weird or what?




Every year, Zoot is as excited at Josh to see the old friends we unpack. And every year, when there is room in the suitcase, Zoot must crawl in and curl up for a nap.



This little guy comes from Port Townsend. Daniel and I bought him on our honeymoon. He's pretty special.

This time of year is the time for memories.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Dozen Days of Christmas


For the last couple of years I have been part of a gift swap with 13 artists, hosted by Lelainia Lloyd. I make 12 little gifts, all of a kind, and mail them out to 12 other artists scattered far and wide around the globe. We all do the same, and on December 12th, we will each begin opening one gift per day till Christmas Eve. It's a magical experience!
Each of us have an assigned day...mine is #5. On Day 5 (December 17th) all the other participants will open my gift, and so that I am not left out, I will open the #13 gift...the extra gift. I can't wait! This is the picture of my wrapped gifts before I packed them up to mail.

Here is my contribution to last year's exchange. And here.

Dawn and I are excited to be in the same group this year. She is #8.

You can check out the Blog for Dozen Days of Christmas here.

I'll be posting pictures of the gifts as I open them. Do you think this might just inspire me to actually blog?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Good News and "P*rn"

So much had happened since I last posted. Life is like that. I don't not post because nothing is happening. The opposite is true. Life is busy, fast and furious, and sometimes just plain messy.
We spent the last two or three months in concern about Daniel's health, which, as it turns out, is just fine. I can't even tell you how happy we are to learn that it turned out to be nothing more than scar tissue around his spine. Tests and tests and still more tests were done. Specialists were consulted. Nails were bitten, and prayers offered. And we can relax and be thankful.

There were a lot of other wonderful things happening at the same time, and it was all just too much to share, because how can you say "I'm really worried and at times I am terrified but I am carrying on like everything is perfectly fine" without alarming others.

Thank you to everyone who did know, and offered encouragement and love.

By the time we got the good news we just wanted to carry on without the weight of it, and have fun.
This past Friday was a very fun day. Liam came to spend the day with us. Nialle dropped him off in the morning and we had the best time just chatting and playing with him. There is nothing like conversing with a two year old to cheer you up! Daniel and I laughed till we cried. How can Liam be so funny? He is quite a conversationalist already. He is very observant, and constantly comments on the things that effect his world. And about every 20 minutes or so he says "I'm hungry".
He didn't like the idea of using the washroom here, until I pulled out the big guns. Then he thought it was a fine idea. (Sorry Nessa, we finally just skipped the stickers and went right for the chocolate chips. Desperate times call for desperate measures.)

Then, in the evening "Grandpa Partner" (Liam's name for Daniel, who has always called Liam his partner) pulled out the popcorn maker and the popcorn. We thought the sight of it would excite Liam, as most anything edible does. He didn't blink an eye. He didn't get excited when I put the pot on the burner and added the oil, or when I dumped in the popcorn and started turning the handle. Daniel and I were astounded! (This is enough to start a feeding frenzy at our house. Our teenagers still start circling like sharks when they even hear the sound of popcorn being shaken in the jar!)
Were his parents that seriously neglecting his culinary education? (How could they?)
When it started popping I opened the lid once or twice as Grandpa held him up so he could see the popcorn zinging out of the popper into the nether regions of the kitchen. His eyes got bigger, and soon he was catching on. (Hmmm...I suspect popcorn falls into the category of sneaky snacks* at his house. Is this true?)

Well, the Travnik clan are infamous for their lack of etiquette when it comes to eating popcorn. Handfuls are semi-consumed as bits reign down on the floor. I believe it's why God invented vacuum cleaners...so we don't need to show restraint in eating this ambrosia. We may have encouraged Liam to indulge in like manner. He certainly liked sharing handfuls with Grandma and Partner. He's so generous! Hilarious too, as with a full mouth he kind of morphed the words pop corn into one word, dropping the second two syllables of the first word and the first syllable of the second word and coming out with a one syllable word. Which given the complete lack of self control, was kind of fitting, but made our eyebrows jerk up when we considered what his parents might think if he went home and used that word. So we spent some time working on enunciation.

Tomorrow we'll have four generations here for lunch. My mom is coming in, so Nialle and Nessa are coming for lunch with Liam and Ada. I can't wait to see what brilliant new things Ada learned since I last saw her two weeks ago. She's probably crawling!

*Sneaky snacks: food consumed by parents after the children are put to bed at night to preclude sharing.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Turning a New Leaf


Fall.
Things are falling...temperatures...expectations of warm weather...and LEAVES. It is happening all around us.
Liam and Ada came for a visit with their Mama. It was a busy day.



Liam had his work cut out moving all those leaves. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of hard miles on that Tonka. All those leaves were in the wrong place! He had to rearrange everything!


Some went here.....







In fact a LOT went on Uncle Josh.







He also had the big job of introducing Ada to all this fun. She was such a good sport. Even when he tipped over and dumped her face down in all those crackly, scratchy leaves. Her lip came way out, but she didn't cry at the indignity of it all. What a trooper!












It was a welcome break for me. I've been buried in paperwork for the past week. I think I have the first giamungous pile ready to go to the accountant tomorrow. Then I start on the next job...even bigger. I am trying to shed my habits of procrastinating on things I don't like to do. (It's a long hard road. I'd much rather continue in my fantasy world that Procrastinators are the leaders of tomorrow!)

Out of the paper piles into the fun. This Grandma is enjoying following their lead!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Great Ending

We're home!! We left Whistler on Thursday morning . it was a last minute decision to leave rainy Whistler early and spend a couple days in rainy Vancouver.








We called Hotwire and scored a room at the Hilton...in Richmond. It was a little out of the way as we were planning on visiting fun cousins Kath and Court, and their wonderful family, who live in Coquitlam. We didn't really know if they'd be free, but as it turned out, they adjusted their schedule as soon as we called so we could get together. So after a beautiful walk through Stanley Park on Thursday afternoon, Daniel and I trusted our fate in Martha's hands and set off to find their new (to us) house.

What a great family. We don't often get to spend time one on one, and the kids hardly know us, because whenever they visit Alberta there are usually a hundred other relatives around. Kendra and Nolan are younger than Josh and Levi. The last time we visited their house was so long ago we have a picture of little Kendra, happily lying in her Daddy's guitar case! Now she is a confident and beautiful young lady with the most amazing smile. Nolan is helpful, warm and has the most delightful sense of humour. He made us laugh out loud many times with his fun personality. Forest is the eldest, about the same age as Levi. Forest and I have a lot in common. Food is a sure way to make us both happy! (Especially carbs and sweets. *sigh*) It was great to see them all!
We ended up ditching our hotel reservation on Thursday and staying overnight at Kath and Courts. They have a guest suite and assured us we were most welcome to it. It was a lot easier than trying to navigate through Vancouver in the dark, going somewhere totally unfamiliar to find a hotel room, especially as we stayed on into the evening.
Friday morning we had coffee and a nice visit with Kath after the kids were off to school, then Daniel and I went off for a day of exploring Granville Island. We had a lot of fun, and too many desserts! We looked at all the shops in the market, and all the booths and all the galleries. What a feast for the senses! We hadn't been there since about 1997, so it was all fresh and exciting, though I love it so much I think I could happily visit every week!


I picked up a fun book for myself. Keri Smith's Guerrilla Art. I found it in a little shop called Paper-Ya. I seriously could have stayed in that shop all day and spend a lot of money! I showed such restraint. Aren't you proud of me?

Friday evening we met Kath and Court at the Coal Harbour Marina, where their boat is moored, and we all took a cruise around the point, along Stanley Park and into False Creek and Granville Island.

The city looks totally different from the water.


It was beautiful, seeing the city lights come on as the sun went down. Court then cooked us a fantastic Italian dinner in his fully stocked galley kitchen there on the boat, which is not what I know as a boat. It's 50 feet long, and beautiful! It was such a fun evening!

Though they invited us to stay overnight with them there (Yes, there is a guest room on the boat) we headed to our hotel. It was a short night, as we were out of the room by 5 am and on the road. We stopped for lunch in Jasper and made it home in time to take the boys out to dinner. There was very little traffic, and the time flew by as Daniel and I listened to CD's on Thomas Jefferson Education all the way home, discussing the upcoming year and all the things we will be learning.

I'm glad to be home. I missed all my kids, (big and little), a lot.
Today the sun is shining and the day is absolutely splendid! I had a lovely time in BC, but I really missed the Alberta sunshine!