Craft Corner Update

Once again it seems the universe has some big, fat L.O.V.E. for me.  It hasn't even been a day since I finished that little project - ...
8:28 PM

First Day

It's raining and I feel like it's stealing little pieces of me - like some twilight of youth that takes away my breath -  and I see...

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Problem With Working At A Church

There was a ladies night planned and I was really, really sure that I wanted to go.  I craved the social bit of it: the laughing and the chatting and the eating and the break from real life...

BUT, it was being held where I work.  And I just don't want to hang out where I work.  I spend all day there.  I get paid to hang out in my pretty little office and create pretty things with my laptop and my over-achieving need to make everything just right.  And when the day ends, I pack everything up and say goodbye to whoever is left and make the freedom run...

Listen, I can love the snot out of my job but that doesn't mean I'm not happy to go home.  It feels good to stick a pin in a day, know it's a job well done, and leave knowing I don't have to come back through those doors for a good pile of hours.

Unless there's an event.

The stupid thing is that they could have planned the very same thing and held it in a coffee shop or a bingo hall or a garage (for goodness sake) and I probably wouldn't have thought twice about going.

I know I would have had fun.  I know it would have been time well spent with people I really enjoy and I would have come away glad that I had gone.  I know I'm being stupid.  But think about you want to hang out where you work?  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Laugh Until You're Broken

I am tucked against him so that his heart beats against my cheek and we fit just like you should after fifteen years.  It is better when he's here, when I don't have to sleep on his side because I miss him, though I dare say the very nature of our strange scheduling is what breeds our good because in the missing there is wanting and in the wanting love stays young.

We are both tired and sunk into a movie because we're too lazy to turn it off.

But then Melissa McCarthy (God bless her!) has got us near dying.  It starts like a slow flood until it's pouring over our edges and we're gasping and grasping and weeping.  We are weeping!  It's coming out of me like a low howl and soon I'm sobbing and I can't see anything but a blur and we miss long minutes of the story but we Just. Cant. Get. It. Together.  How my stomach hurts!  He's wiping tears from his face and my nose is running like I'm devastated when really I'm over the moon and so so alive.


It is good to laugh together.  To be heavy with glee that bubbles through with tears that make you ugly.  To laugh long and loud and wild until it breaks you.

There is a picture in an old college yearbook of my father, all dapper-dandy in his plaid pants, captured in this moment of bent-in-half hilarity and it's all dorky and adorable in a that's-my-dad kind of way.  I think of that picture when I'm in an out-of-control fit of laughter and know that I look exactly like him in that moment. 
I don't know why I bring that up.  I suppose there's something to be said for being able to let go.  To be free in levity.  Shouldn't my goal always be to embody the freedom encapsulated in that old photo? No matter how ridiculous (and dorky and adorable) I look?

He gets up to blow his nose and I wipe my eyes and know they'll still be swollen and red in the morning.  We sigh heavy into each other, emotionally spent but full somehow.

"It's good to laugh," he says, a residual snigger bubbling up.

And it is.  So so good.

Download this printable without a watermark here

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sick Can't Quell My Hero Factor

"Do you have the neighbor's cell number?"

He's calling down from upstairs and I'm curled up in my book and blanket and sick like dying - hacking into the atmosphere like I might dispel a demon from my lungs.  "No, why?"

"Their horse is stuck in the fence and freaking out."

I moan my way up the stairs and stand on the back step looking out across the freshly cut hay field.  Poor thing is on the wrong side of the fence, stone still and tangled while momma horse worries from the other side.

"What do we do?" he asks.  "They're not home.  I rang the doorbell twice."

"I don't know," I say.  "I don't know anything about horses."

One leg is caught up in the fence and we know it's electric and he must be terrified.  "We can't just go untangle him," I tell him.  "He'll be all worked up and horses can kill you, you know."

His head suddenly flies back and he kicks out his back legs and tumbles back to his mothers side and is caught down on his flank, panic thrashing at the sky and shaking himself back to his feet before he takes off for the barn, still tangled, snapping the top line from each post as he runs, spooking the other two until they're tearing crazy and whipping manes and it's all hooves and terror and chaos and they're pounding the field like a frantic heartbeat leaning close to hyperventilating.

"There's probably a gate or something you can close," he says - because, remember, I am a tank and he is a pansy.

"I might die," I tell him.

"You won't die."

I cross the field and follow the line of the broken fence to the gate before I realize I have to go in with them to be able to close off the gate that gives them access to the field.  Gulp.

Momma eyes me up and I reach through the gate and let her nudge my hand with her nose.  Her flank is trembling and she's breathing hard and she's all huge and beautiful.  "It's okay," I tell her.  "I'm you're friend."  And she huffs out a breath and shakes her head like she doesn't believe me.

The colt is quivering against the barn and he's scratched up from his falling and his eyes are huge and shinning and his skittish feet dance up dust beneath him.

I unlatch the gate and I keep talking softly and my heart's pounding because they really can kill a person and I know nothing about horses.  I mean, I love having them for neighbors - I love sitting out on the deck and listening to them run when they're playful or whinny across the field in a 'hey look at me, I'm big and gorgeous and you're really living in the country now!' kind of way - but I know nothing about them.  I've never ridden a horse.  I've never cared for a horse.  I don't think I've ever been on the same side of the fence as a horse.

I hear the steady tick tick tick of the electric fence and I have to duck underneath it.  She watches me like I'm watching her and I set my hand on her nose and tell her how I just want to keep her safe.  Straw pricks against my feet, inappropriately sandal-clad and she nuzzles against me and I'm accepted into the fold.  The colt neighs, frightened.

I seal the inner gate, clicking the clasp tight over the hook that holds it.  Now I've sealed myself in with them.  But they've lost interest.  Not even a thank you.

So I slip back beneath the electric ticking and stick a note on the neighbors door and nearly cough up a lung on the way home.

"Did you do it?" he asks.  "Did you close them in?"

"Of course."

Because I am a mighty woman.  

And sick certainly can't quell my inner hero! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Craft Corner Update

Once again it seems the universe has some big, fat L.O.V.E. for me.  It hasn't even been a day since I finished that little project - a mere twenty-four hours since I stood back from my busy and gazed on my pretty...and thought, 'gee, this would be better with a rug!'

Well, guess what?

Hubby dearest - bless his cotton socks! - came home from work with a grin on his face.  "I've got a treat for you out in the car."

Oooooo, mysterious!

And there it was, hunkered in the trunk like a cocoon ready to burst into brilliance - never used, still coiled in plastic wrapping and calling my name - a brand new POTTERY BARN carpet!  Yikes!  What?  It had been donated to his workplace but they just didn't have anywhere to use it.

Again, what?

And, yes please!

So, the family room gets the new, slightly more sophisticated PB treasure...
→    →    →    →    →    →    →  
(Yes, that is a futon, and no, this is not an apology!)

...and my cement floor craft space (desperately seeking reprieve for cold creative toes) inherits the old Walmart thing we made due with because it only cost $28 treasure.


Thanks universe! 

Make It Monday: Pretty Craft Corner

Since we moved in I've passed that dingy little space every day and wished for something better.  It's been more than a year and I've just been stuck.  Stuck in my displeasure because I just couldn't see past the freezer that seemed to solidify that under-the-stairs-corner as unchangeable.

Until I remembered that I can do anything.  Because I am a tank.  And because pretty (eventually) wins every time when it comes to my home.

I had to do it in bare feet because my socks kept slipping on the floor.  So, barefoot and teeth-grit-determined, I moved that freezer BY MYSELF (because I am a tank!) and tucked it way back in the wood room and was left with this:

→    →    →    →    →    


And it's not like I can run out a spend a boat-load of money to spruce it up into something that won't make me cringe BUT, I did find a cheque for $311 while I was cleaning the kitchen last week, so I took that as a little nod from the universe and grabbed a couple little things at the dollar store - I know, big spender!
  1. Three rolls of contact paper.
  2. Little storage jars.
  3. Bigger storage jars.
  4. Paper lanterns.
  5. Clock.
(And more than enough money left over to fill that freezer - that would not have moved so easily had it not been depressingly empty.)

After cleaning the walls, I put up the contact paper - wallpaper made easy but a little more commitment than the gift wrap I used at my bedroom writing desk. It's subtle but it's got a little silver sheen to it that immediately dressed up the dingy.  And WAY cheaper than wallpaper!

Everything else was stuff we already had.  The desk has been living out in the barn since we moved because we had no use for it.  The chairs were a $15 Kijiji buy last fall that have been waiting for a good home.  The window frame over the electrical panel was something my mother-in-law picked up in the hopes that I'd make her some kind of beautiful display with pictures of the grandchildren... hopefully she'll be so impressed by my ingenious that she'll just let that one slide...

I sent my sister a text photo of everything as soon as I finished because I was just so darn proud and her reply was, "Adorable! Are you going to let the kids use it?"

I don't know who I was kidding.  This was ALL for me.

"They'll have to earn the right," I replied.

Because the attempt at a craft room upstairs turned into a tumbling vortex of terror and chaos.

And now that room stands to be converted into a darling little guest room.  [Pinterest, thou beest my guiding light.  Or my laborious inspiration.  Or my tedious demon.  Or my lover.]

That's right, under the stairs is where the dress-up clothes live...Buuuuut, crafting is creative and playing dress-up is creative soooooooooo, it all kind of goes...

I'd love to add a rug to ground it all and soften that cement floor.  I also think it would be brilliant to paint the panel wall red but this was supposed to be a one day project.  Still...there may be more to come.

Happy crafting everyone!

[click here for a little update!]

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Published An eBook and I'm Not Sure How I Feel About It

Mostly it was curiosity.  I wanted to know if I could do it.   Turns out I can.  So I did.  Now I feel weird.

It's really that easy?

Amazon just opened it's big wide arms and tucked me up under it's smelly anybody-can-be-published armpit and plopped me on a shelf with a whole bunch of anybody-writers.

What about integrity?  What about endorsements and backing?  What about accountability?  What if I'd uploaded some filthy dribble not worthy of a moment?  What if it was the kind of thing that someone reads and then they beg for those lost hours back?  WHO IS IN CHARGE HERE???

Here is the truth:
It took me around five hours to go from blank document to an uploaded product ready to sell.


I compiled the material I wanted to include, pulling from various poetry notebooks I've kept through the years.  I designed a cover.  I formatted.  I submitted. 

Goodness gracious...Published!...I mean, "published".

So why do I feel dirty?

Perhaps the romance of a traditional publishing deal is archaic.  Or perhaps we'll just call this what it is - an experiment - and face whatever graces or ills it brings.  I suppose it can't do any real harm.  Unless it gets a terrible review - in which case I'll probably move to Nunavut and pour my efforts into saving the seals.

I will not claim that When We Were Young is any work of greatness but I still feel a marginal sense of pride over the words inside it.  As an eBook, there are definitely things I don't like about it - certain formatting that wouldn't translate, a table of contents that is not active, a preview that doesn't actually give you a glimpse of any poetry (and other things that I'm sure will bother me until the end of time until I do some more research and learn how to make it happen properly).

As a special promotion When We Were Young will be available for free from September 12-16.  I wish I could offer it for free indefinitely but Amazon won't allow that.  So, download a free Kindle App, download a little poetry, and let me know what you think...gently.

[update: if you're thinking about reading this on your smart phone I would suggest changing your settings to show it in the smallest font - the shape & format of the poetry seems to get all riled up when you try and squish it on that little screen]

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Day

It's raining and I feel like it's stealing little pieces of me - like some twilight of youth that takes away my breath -  and I see myself all over their faces and in her eyes and the way he crinkles his nose when he thinks something is really funny and I wonder what happened...where it all went...  Time: she is a fickle mistress.

They get lovelier and taller and brighter and I...I...Dear God, is that a grey hair???

I am terrified of getting older.  But I love to watch them grow.  Quite a pickle.

How did it happen?

We're waiting for the bus and this is the first day and it's already fall and too cool and wet to wear flip flops anymore.  Their backpacks are goodie loaded and shiny new and they don't care what those  jeans cost or that their shoes are already dirty.

Not long now and he'll sprout past me, that eldest with his wisdom gleaned from the Guinness World Records book and Uncle John's Bathroom Readers But, for now, he is the perfect height for hugging.  For resting my cheek against his hair.  For clinging to that last little bit of child before he's all man.  

And that one stuck between - that one who loves me loudest and hardest - that one who wishes school was nothing but a field and a ball - that one hugs like a tackle and grinds his face against my arm and is so sweet when he forgets to be hard.

Then there is she, that daughter blazing beauty from a sparkle that begins in her heart and covers the whole world with one little grin.  I'm quite sure she comes from the same place as rainbows.  She is JOY as surely as her middle name.

I watch them climb onto the bus - the big, the medium, and the small - and just like that summer is over and I'm two months older and we're back to 7:30 bedtimes and making lunches and early wake ups and homework.

They're gone.  I walk back to the house and my clothes are wet with rain and there, resting on the kitchen counter is a lunch box.  Sigh.  Here we go!

Happy September, my friends!  I hope Autumn finds you falling into new and exciting adventures!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Make It Monday: Stick A Pin In It

It gets us every year.  The Fall Fair.  That final week of procrastinator hell that sucks us deep and drowns me in a rippling state of continuous nagging and pushing and 'pay attention!' and 'watch it - that glue gun is HOT!'

Our poor little town is surely the host of the lamest fair in recent history.  The parade took all of seven minutes.  There was no midway.  There was little to no competition in all the children's categories.

I don't know why I care so much.

Come to our little country fair where you are guaranteed sheep poo on your shoes, penny carnival games that cost a great deal more than a penny, and frog races (bring your own frog, of course)!

I took the week off work and spent it crafting with the kids - joy of joy...all those restful moments...

We came out with nineteen entries.  Which all placed.  Which means they'll get paid for each thing they made.  (Somehow, I still don't think that will cover the $60 in craft supplies I bought...)

But it really is so fun to watch them run across the arena floor to their creations, excited to see those little stickers claiming their victory.  That's when it's mostly worth it.

My absolute favorite thing was the pincushion.  We floated around pinterest until we found a version using a teacup and knew it was the one!

There's this awful little thrift shop in town - stuffed so full that you can't really turn around - perched along the main street like a messy mistake just itching to be dug through because surely treasure waits just beneath that top layer of musty clothing and Country Women magazines from the 90's.  We wandered in seeking a cup and saucer only to discover it was 'Bag Days' - fill a grocery bag for a twoonie, a garbage bag for $5...SCORE!!!

And so, armed with a simple teacup (among other treasures) we returned home and began our simple, no-sew project:

1    Cut a circular piece of scrap material approximately 2" wider than the lip of your cup.  (Ours was a terrible strappy bandana shirt, stuffed into our $2 bag for the sole use of it's material and because, if we bought it, we would never have to see someone walking downtown wearing such an offensive atrocity.)

2    Place cotton batting on material and gather together to form a circular 'pillow' then fasten with an elastic band.
3    Using a hot glue gun, attach along the inner rim so the 'pouf' rests above the rim.
4   Add desired embellishments.
5     Glue teacup to saucer.
6     Stick a pin in it! 

So cheap.  So easy.  And super cute resting by the sewing machine on my pretty desk!  It was a shame that it had no competition...but even if it had, I think it would still have taken first place!

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