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Archive for October, 2007

I’m taking a risk here, of sending what few readers I have running out the virtual door, but for the sake of being honest I will say it anyway.

I hate Halloween.

After 3 years of living in Canada, I still haven’t found a way to make myself comfortable with this one. For the life of me, I can not understand why anyone who is not a dentist or a candy retailer will enjoy having the kids running around the neighborhood with pillowcases full of the worst kinds of sweets.

And it makes me feel misplaced and lonely. And it makes me miss the holidays I do know. And anything that reminds me of Israel in a positive way, should be banned…

For three years I was afraid that if I say these things out loud, I would be denied entry into North America, or at least have my children taken away by social services on account of not being allowed to trick or treat. But now I know I’m not alone – so maybe there are even a few more misfits our there who find Halloween strange? lets form an alliance and share some thoughts about alternative way to celebrate!

In the meantime, as we do like the pumpkin patch, and some of us go to preschool and are blissfully unaware of mommy’s inner conflicts, lets enjoy some photos.

Happy Halloween everyone, however you may chose to celebrate it!

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Corny, I know – but what can I say, the Japanese craft books got me too. I would have probably stuck to drooling over photos on the net, since the prices of buying these books (+ shipping) kept my addiction under control. But then, one dark night, some frantic searching of the internet led me to an amazing discovery – the Vancouver branch of BOOK.OFF. Their prices are usually lower then anything else online, and you never know what you’re going to find. I was there twice so far, each time bringing home a pile of books full of beautiful photographs, tons of inspiration, and very few words I can actually understand…

Handmade felt (ISBN4-277-43002-3)

This book has some beautiful projects such as bags, hats, scarves, felt flowers, baby boots, small toys and a few other cute things. Almost all of the projects feature neutral color schemes and simple, understated designs which I just love.

I have never tried felting before, and I’m building up the courage to actually try one of the bags in this book. The only “small” problem I had to solve first is the use of wool. You see, I happen to be a vegetarian, and I strongly object to any unnecessary suffering in animals. This was never an issue in the past since I didn’t care much for wool products. Until, that is, I started reading crafty blogs and through them was introduced to modern craft books and especially the Japanese style.

So I started researching the net once again. I didn’t like what I found at all. To cut a long story short, it appears that most of the wool around us these days is derived from Australian sheep, which have to go through the painful process of mulesing. I certainly didn’t want any part of that. Then I tried for to find a local farm which practices some better policies towards the animals, but i was unsuccessful.

And then I found Homestead Wool and Gift farm. Exactly what I was looking for: small, animal friendly, family owned and operated. They don’t let the animals reproduce, which means no animals are slaughtered for meat AND they have an online store. I ordered a nice sampler of wool, and I strongly recommend Homestead farm to anyone who is looking for wool products (they also carry hand spun yarn) and is concerned with animals rights. Even if you don’t spend your days at PETA headquarters – give them a try. Jim and Sandy Ryan are very friendly and helpful, and where else can you find the names and photos of the sheep providing your wool???

Now I just need the time and patience to start learning something completely new. Anybody seen some animal-friendly cruelty-free TIME running around?? oh, I’ll google it later…

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I have actually seen many Japanese mugs in the thrift store before, but I managed to hold off instead of starting yet another collection. It’s the cute blue ones that did it – how could i just walk by? how could i leave them there on the shelf? I’m not strong enough for that sort of things. And since i bought these two, I had to buy the three other mugs they had as well. So another collection it is.

Enjoy your weekend!

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He loves his trains

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Well maybe obsessed with them describes the situation better. There’s no doubt that this year will be remembered as the year of Thomas and friends. He knows all the engines names, even those he doesn’t have (yet!). He tells stories about them, they dine at our table, they walk with us to preschool, they patiently wait behind the bathroom door. So when i asked him what would he like to see on his new preschool bag, you can imagine what he chose – trains!

And the final result:

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He loved making this – choosing colors (OK, maybe i did help narrow down the selection a little), “helping” me pull the needle and floss, and the cute buttons for the steam puffs? entirely his idea!
He felt very proud wearing his special bag, and telling his teachers he helped mommy make it.
If you’re wondering “why bother making something you could easily get in the mall” this is the answer, and it’s definitely worth it.

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In my shop… Rain clouds

The rain is back today, and i thought I’d share some thoughts behind the making of these…

Beside the obvious inspiration that comes from looking out of the window, how the clouds were made was also inspired by Amy Karol’s book, Bend-the-rules sewing. One of my favorite pages is not about techniques or projects (which are gorgeous, by the way), but about the different “creative personality types”. I think i easily fit in the “perfectionist” category, and while i do like that in my sewing, I also wanted to try something a little different, something more relaxed, or as Amy puts it – more FUN. The clouds, with their curvy shapes and raw edges were the perfect exercise in crafting something that is inherently less then perfect. The materials used were almost exclusively thrifted, the only exception being the white linen fabric. The gray wool was an old wool blanket, the accent prints were from vintage sheets, pillow cases and other old fabric finds. Did i mention fun already?

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The sun is shining outside today (which everyone around Vancouver can tell you is a rare occasion this year), and its the perfect day for my first post…

All my non stay-at-home friends always ask me how on earth do we spend our days, without a good daycare routine… So on good days, these are our current favorites: just being outside, walking, running,dsc_0205s.jpg

getting as dirty as mommy will allow (not much, but I’m working on it…),dsc_0214s.jpg

searching for seasonal treasures – mushrooms everywhere these days (we counted 6 different types just walking back from preschool today),dsc_0191s.jpgdsc_0208s.jpg

stop at home for the tiniest frog’s nap, and hopefully do it all again in the afternoon.

Quick, take in all the sun before the rain is back!

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Welcome!
Grab a cup of coffee, make yourself comfortable – I hope you enjoy a glimpse into our lives…

Shirley

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