Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

       We are in full on Halloween mode here today! Everyone is gearing up for parties at school followed by a special spooky lunch at home with haunted crafts to follow- the afternoon culminating with Trick or Treating of course! We have already been busy at work with the Halloween crafts- a few Jack- O- Lantern portraits and some ghoulish ghosts to fill our hallways!

      These cute little ghosties come courtesy of my friend Caro- I spotted them at her house a few weeks ago- she was prepping for a crafternoon at her daughter's Montessori. I though these guys were just so cute and fun we would give them a try- we used neon green instead of white for a bit more of a spooky look.

     This is the perfect craft for Halloween afternoon- quick and easy- all you need is black construction paper (we made  black cats earlier this week and so had to improvise with a painted background) Thinned out white or neon green paint and a straw. Dab the watered down paint onto your black background- place the straw close to the paint and blow- this is airbrushing at it's most basic! Once you have achieved optimum ghost shape allow your paint to dry- afterwards add googly eyes for silly effect!

    Of course we had to get those pumpkins carved and all ready for tonight- so the Littles did the dirty work of getting all the pumpkin guts out and then they drew on their ideal Jack- O- Lantern faces- I once again did the heavy lifting and wielded the knife to do the actual carving. Miss Lo was very specific in her face - however the Boy is much more of a conceptual artist and I had to decipher his drawing but this is what we came up with.

    The costumes are hanging and ready to go- Miss Lo and I have discussed wand etiquette and The Boy is practicing being in character- they are just too excited! If I had wings like these I would be excited too- this costume is everything Miss Lo has been dreaming of- glitter, tutu, wings, ribbon! I have no wish for today to speed by- but I know in a few short hours the knocks on the door will cease and these Littles of mine will crash from the excitement- the Mr. and I will kick back on the couch with a glass of wine or a beer and Halloween 2012 will be put to bed.

     Weather you are 3 or 23 I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween! Don't eat too much candy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


     Our decorations are up, the costumes are made and the pumpkins- planted by wee hands last spring- are ready to be carved into fierce or funny faces. Halloween we are ready! The Littles are really into the whole Halloween thing this year- obviously they are really excited about Trick or Treating- since we live in a building full of families this is a really fun night of the year. Many parents in our building are like my Mr. and I- we grew up in smaller towns where Halloween meant running willy nilly all over the neighbourhood collecting candy. The older kids were a bit more savvy and knew which neighbourhood had the best candy- once you were old enough you too could venture to the legendary neighbourhoods that handed out full candy bars!

       As a community we come together and organize Trick or Treating with in the building- it is a much safer version of what we did as kids- floor to floor instead of street to street. Families  who wish to participate decorate their doors and put out the carved Jack-O- Lanterns and then at around three P.M. the candy fueled madness kicks in. This is just one of the many ways that an apartment building in the city has found a sense of community and a bit of small town feeling. Of course- because as many would like to accuse I like to take the fun out of things- I decided to hand out an alternative to candy this year. I still think the wee ones will enjoy the mini bubble wands that I found at a craft store- a bit healthier and a tad bit longer lasting than tiny bars of chocolate.

       The final touches were put on The Boy's costume this weekend- it is very elaborate and I am impressed the Mr. is doing such a great job- I don't want to give too much away but lets just say his costume rhymes with "Eggo". Pictures of course to come - after the big reveal to all his buddies! Miss Lo is going to be adorable and is really excited about her costume as well- she picked it out weeks ago on a shopping expedition with Oma- it came with a wand- I think some wand training will be needed before the big day.

      I love Halloween- the true end of the harvest- saying goodnight as the earth goes to sleep for the winter season- the sun from now on is much softer and watery when it makes an occasional appearance. I also tend to jump directly into Holiday mode after Halloween- as I have mentioned before our family celebrates many different Holidays- Solstice, St.Nicolas and Christmas- my parents also celebrate Serbian Christmas which is something I would like to introduce to our Littles this year as well. Celebrating so many holidays might sound extravagant but it need not be so- most of our gifts are hand made and mostly the celebration is about the meal and the candles and being together on a special evening.

       Another thing that I love- especially at this time of year is sending and receiving mail- it is this personal touch sent by the hand of a friend or loved one that led me into creating Plain Jane Designs so many years ago. I have to brag a tad and mention that I feel this season is shaping up to be my personal favourite- the line this year is simple and clean but still with oodles of personality and quirkiness!

      This pleasant little juniper branch with bright red berries that pop out happened in my studio today- the Littles were otherwise engaged in a game that involved all their dress up clothes and the pop up beach tent- so I had a little time to sit and sketch. These beauties are tiny but statement making-
 2.5"x 3.75" in size with matching envelopes. Packages of six are available for $12 plus shipping- either message me or wait till they pop up on Etsy next week.


Monday, October 29, 2012


     On Friday when I posted about the calm before the storm I had no idea how apt that would be as it was indeed the calm before a whole lot of rain! Here on the West Coast we may not have to worry about Hurricane Sandy but we have our own special brand of incessant fall weather settling in. In spite of the rain as any good Vancouverite will do we suited up and hit the field on Saturday- this is what junior soccer in Vancouver looks like- we are moving indoors next month but for now the Littles joyously squished through inches of mud running drills.

       Of course nothing warms a person up faster than hot chocolate and pancakes at our old neighbourhood diner- The Grove Inn- we haven't been there since before kids and so it was fun to take them for breakfast and then show them our old apartment. We settled into the cozy old diner and reminisced about the old days over cups of bad coffee while the Littles coloured and sipped their hot chocolate.

     Sunday we played it simple and stayed very close to have- what few plans we had fell by the wayside in favour of completing Halloween costumes, knitting and cooking chicken masala. The sun peaked out for a few minutes in the afternoon affording us a brief respite from the rain- Miss Lo and I headed outside to soak in a few rays- a bit of water table action happened, a latte, a few rounds of knitting and a chapter of my new book- Homegrown & Handmade. I am planning for our future while sitting on the deck in the middle of the city- dreaming and knitting- in a sliver of sunshine.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Calm Before the Storm

     Yesterday was the perfect day- crisp and cool but still warm enough, not to mention dry enough, to sit outside watching the Littles play while enjoying a latte. We walked the Sea Wall over to Olympic Village and pretty much had the place to ourselves. Snacks under the giant bird and then races along the benches- simple in the sunshine

    As with any fair day in Vancouver I was again struck by what an amazing place we live in- a few weeks of rain will help a person remember how beautiful their city actually is when not seen from under the brim of an umbrella! I feel yesterday was the calm before the storm- we will have a handful of sunny days over the next few months it is true- but I feel maybe yesterday was a final fair well to our all to brief summer. So while we were soaking it all in I captured as much of it as possible- there aren't really any words more necessary.

    It's Friday friends- boy did that week ever feel long! I think this weekend we are going to just chill out- my friend Lisa from Draw Me a Lion is going to be at Collage Collage 621 Kingsway this Sunday at 3pm-5pm to launch her new colouring mask book- if you are local be sure to check it out! I hope that where ever you are and whatever you are doing this weekend you sneak a handful of candy from that box stored above the fridge- you deserve it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rapunzel with the Green Hair

     So this little lady has come to live with us- Rapunzel with her hair so green- and blue and purple! Ms. Lo now has a soft and squishy totally organic doll that is the cutest little gal I have ever seen- they are pretty inseparable and it has only been a few days- they are besties!

      A few weeks ago when I was out in Abbotsford with Lovely Cousin Laura we stopped by Birkeland Brothers Wool and there was a basket full of the softest jersey knit in skin tones that I had ever seen. I have been wanting to try doll making for quite awhile now and with some assistance from the on site wool Guru I got together the basics I would need to start my first Waldorf style doll- the idea is very limited features which allows the child's imagination to take over- very soft and round- very fertile stuff for the imagination of a three year old!

     I am very pleased with how Rapunzel turned out- her hair is Merino wool and her dress is Linen with vintage lace- I will admit her leggings are actually a pair that Miss Lo has outgrown- I simply took them in a fair bit! The only issue with making this doll is that now I want to make more- every time I am near a wool shop I am sizing up what would make good hair- highly addicting! OK and lets go back to her hair- I think I want hair like this! The colour and shear volume- I can have dreads vicariously through this doll- I know it's weird- but my friend Amy will know what I am talking about!

     So here is the fun part- I am going to make a few more of these little lovelies( Rapunzel here is not for sale) and offer them up in my Etsy site for $125 for the month of November! This is a 16" doll made with organic cotton and stuffed with virgin wool, the hair is wool and the features are cotton.  All dolls come with either a dress and leggings or overalls and a shirt. These dolls  can be personalized with skin, hair & features if you message me or email me.

    I am getting started on the new dolls this weekend- if you are interested in a custom doll please let me know so I can pick up the supplies and get right on it! I will post the new little cuties here before they go live on my Etsy site- as well as providing a link! I am so excited- this is the type of toy I want my kids to play with- simple, easy- no marketing, no sexualization- just a cozy cloth doll!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Seam Allowance Progress

      Today I thought I would update you all on my Seam Allowance progress- if you will remember from a few weeks ago I pledged to sew twenty five percent of our clothing. I cant lie- it has been slow going- some times easier to buy something at the Thrift store than sew it from scratch. I haven't bought anything new for the Littles- they really are a tonne of fun to sew for!

    This time it was Miss Lo's turn to have something Momma made- and that came in the form of a slightly modified Oliver & S Puppet show tunic. I have made this pattern before- with the collar- but I noticed that the collar sort of annoys Miss Lo and she voiced the need for pockets. Where is a girl to put her rocks?

      So may I present the Puppet Show tunic with pockets and no collar! There is a shorts pattern that comes with this pattern and I simply took the pocket pattern pieces from there and transposed them onto the tunic. The fabric is lovely- it reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her sisters- it is from Lecien and is called Memoire a Paris. I think the scant leftovers will become the base for Miss Lo's new quilt- it is that pretty- so soft with dusty colours.

    This girl of mine is tough to catch- always in motion- running, marching, exploring- doing everything on her own-testing her boundaries. These Littles of ours are growing so fast that sewing for them is necessary but it is oh so much more fun that sewing for myself! My Seam Allowance Pledge stands- there is something coming up on my sewing pile for me- but first there are pants and a hoody for the Boy and then there is my Mr.'s Solstice gift that needs to get started- and then I will get to my project- I swear!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Peek at Our Weekend

  I am having some difficulty settling into this fall season- perhaps it is denial- perhaps it is because just a few short weeks ago we were sporting sandals and heading to the beach. This past weekend was down right cold and when the clouds lifted a fresh dusting of snow was topping the North Shore mountains across Burrard Inlet. The wind that sweeps down from those mountains is crisp and whispers promises of skating, skiing and tobogganing- but not yet! Please not yet!

   This weekend we tucked inside to escape the ceaseless rain- we joined some old friends from out of town at Science World for an afternoon of cool science. We followed that up with dinner at another family's house- many hours and several bottles of wine later our Saturday was done. It's funny how a day we look forward to all week can be over before you know it- I tried to slow it all down and really be present in each moment.

       Sunday found us lounging around the house in our pajamas- toast and lattes with phone calls home- even though we aren't in the Okanagan we feel closer after a quick phone call. The weather was anything but pleasant and yet we ventured out to the last Farmer's Market of the season- the winter market doesn't start for weeks- running out of garlic was not an option!

       In the midst of a torrential downpour I made a mad dash into the Farmer's Market dodging the umbrella's of much more organized shoppers than I. Although it was grizzly weather the market was still very busy- a real testament to the local food movement in Vancouver.

    The Mr and the Littles stayed snug as bugs in a rug in the nice dry van listening to the CBC- when I showed up I looked like a drowned cat. I have lived here long enough to know better- expect rain- end of story and yet at east once a season I end up making an inappropriate clothing choice- that day was Sunday- I have since come to terms with the fact that I should just grab the rain gear and nothing else on my way out the door! This is why I am having trouble settling into fall!

     After the Market and on a bit of a whim I ducked into one of my favourite consignment shops- Turn About on Broadway- and either my mind was set on finding warm, dry clothing or the thrifting gods were smiling down on me because there sitting and waiting just for me was a brand new pair of Hunter boots with a very reasonable price tag! Obviously they came home with me- along with a cute little sweater from Banana Republic that will be nice and cozy under my grubby rain coat!

      This past weekend was all about connections- renewing old ones and making new ones- I think the Boy made a life long friend with the son of my life long friend and I connected with a pair of rubber boots. The reconnection to our city and the land here- it's here, that land, even if it is under concrete. Through ballet and soccer practice, through dinners at friend's homes and visits to local attractions and of course through buying our food locally at the Farmer's Market we slowly reconnect and settle in for the fall. I still have one question though- when the heck did the weekend get so short?