Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Little things help ease big changes...

My friend Rian lives in the Netherlands. I have never actually met her. However, she is lots of fun to chat with, and she runs lovetilda.nl. This is my go-to source for all things Tilda. Not only does Rian have good pricing, she actually sends the things one orders promptly, safely packaged, and with reasonable shipping costs. Hence, we chat a lot. 
Not long ago, Rian began offering scrap packages of Tilda fabrics-- the left over bits from her own projects and from the workshops she has begun offering in the Netherlands.  I pounce on them like a panther when she puts them up in the web shop.
Little bunting flags
Self covered buttons
Tilda buttons!
As you may know, I really enjoy using scraps and remnant fabrics. As a child, I was allowed to raid my Aunt Rita's scrap basket for little sewing projects. This, combined with free and easy access to her button tin, set me up for a lifetime of joy when I see a pretty useable scrap or an interesting vintage button.
We have been going through some major changes around here.
The time had come for my mother to move into a long term care. As I tried and tried to care for her as she moved through the stages of Alzheimer's Disease, I began to see that the disease was going to over take us.
Our relationship was fast becoming non-existent, and a sort of battle ground around the need to eat proper meals, keep a sensible bedtime, and a hundred other details of daily living that are not an issue -- until someone can't remember how to do them any longer. When the call came that there was a room for Mom in the long term care facility we had chosen ages ago, I felt profound relief. And sadness. And fear. And, the big one -- guilt -- with a capital G.
Since the start of the new year, my days have been spent doing paper work, packing up things, and worrying about whether I was doing the right thing.
In the end, the move went well, and Mom is happy in her new digs.
In all of this to-ing and fro-ing, My creative time has been somewhat curtailed. I have missed it.
Last week, Sandra and I got together to chat and work on some projects.
I got out my Tilda scrap packages and started working on some mini bunting flags. These are going to be part of a larger project I will be presenting at the Spring 2013 CreativFestival in Toronto.
Once again, I will be demonstrating embroidery and embellishment techniques at A Needle Pulling Thread's booth at the show. I am going to be creating a wall decoration which is finished in an embroidery hoop -- a Hoop-la -- if you will. I will post a photo once I have the whole design ready for its closeup.
I also did some self-covered buttons. I was using scraps of scraps for some of these. (Tilda fabric is too precious to throw away anything more than little bits of threads!) 
As Sandra and I worked and chatted, I felt my worries about everything else going on start to melt away. I felt happier than I had in months. And suddenly, I began to see that my mom is happy where she lives. She has made friends, there are people there who care for, and about, her. And, I am able to visit with her as a friend, and not the bossy lady who makes her eat all her vegetables.
Last Sunday, my son and I visited her. There was a musician giving a concert for the residents. At one point, my son was dancing with my Mom. As I watched them, I realized, I have done all I could for her. It was time to allow other people to help me now.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Sorry, I have been away making merry...

Miss B and the cookies
Toutons, a Newfoundland treat
A gift for Ruth and Eric

Presents for Lisa and Kate
Inside the keyring wallet
Homemade lemon curd
It has been a busy holiday season around here. We hosted Christmas this year. Enough said, right? I like to make the big meal, it's the excessive tidying that grinds you down. Just finding a place to put all the extra coats from the hall closet was a task and a half.
Not to complain though, it was a wonderful day of visiting and catching up with the family. Also, it made the quiet of Boxing Day extra nice! The backyard rink recovered from the early thaw of the first of part of December and there was skating on almost every day of Christmas break.
While all the skating, cooking and tidying was going on, I managed to finish off some presents for some close and dear friends.
This year, Miss B and I made some lemon curd using Meyer Lemons. It was magical stuff! And, in their little fabric chapeaus, made some impressive gifts. We also did our traditional amount of baking for our cookie monster nephews (cousins). This year, I also made some toutons to serve at Sunday Brunch with my Aunt and my cousin and his wife. Toutons are a bit like pancakes, but also like doughnuts. They are made by frying a bit of bread dough in hot oil and then serving them with butter and molasses. Yikes! I used heart healthy oil so we didn't keel over at the breakfast table. The traditional way is to fry them in a bit of lard and fat back pork. Well, traditionally, this was food to stick with you until you brought in the first catch of day... 
This year, our little family elected not to buy each other a lot of gifts.
A Niagara Falls -- magical and cold....
New York shopping
and a bit more shopping
We saved our money for a little mini holiday in Buffalo NY. Where there is a Joann's Fabrics and Crafts. And a Hobby Lobby. And, Shout Colour Catchers!
I made a list before I left. The customs rules have changed about personal shopping totals for an overnight stay, but I didn't go too crazy.
I tried to focus on things that are not easy to obtain in Canada. Like kiss lock purse frames at affordable prices and in various styles, and the aforementioned Shout Colour Catchers (I added the extra U -- it is not on the box).
I love those things. They work really well too, you can wash all kinds of things together, thus saving the water and energy. It is nice to be able to wash all the fat quarters together and not have to worry about the colours running together.
Finally, there is skating on the rink!
We can't get these marvels here. Just can't. Don't know why. Sometimes, friends go to the States and bring some back. Sandra gave me a couple of boxes for Christmas. There were coupons on the boxes. I used them too.
Speaking of coupons, Sandra, veteran cross border shopper par excellence, sent me a link to Joann's and Hobby Lobby -- thus saving me many, many dollars. I had a 15 per cent off my total purchase (covering regular, sale AND clearance items) and I also had a 40 per cent off coupon. I was allowed to use both! Unheard of in Canada. Few things make me happier than saving crafting money.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year! Looking forward to getting crafty in 2013 and seeing what everyone is up to this year! Let's MAKE it a great one!