Sunday, April 16, 2017

Felted Bunnies

For years, I have wanted to try a needle felting project with my daughters. Until now, I was a little nervous given the sharp tools.  Now that they are older and Lily, especially, has shown an interest in sewing and knitting projects, I thought we would attempt need felting.  I purchased these kits at Daiso, a Japanese Dollar Store, in California.  The kits include the needle, plastic eyes, and wool. I already had a sponge form.

Making the tiny face features was the hardest part. Both of us became frustrated and skipped the flowers.

The little bunny garden is a feature at the Allan Gardens Easter Flower Show (more photos on my flickr)

On Good Friday, we took the girls to the Passion Parade in Little Italy.  Hundreds gather to watch a reenactment of the Stations of the Cross (photo essay here) .

I took this photo at the corner of College and Grace Street.

For those celebrating, wishing you a Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Rose Wilder Lane's San Francisco

Joshua Tree National Park
We just returned from a school break adventure in California.  We took a road trip from San Francisco to Palm Springs. A few of our trip highlights included a stay at the Wig Wam Motel on Route 66 and a day trip to the Joshua Tree National Park and Pioneertown - an old west filming set.
Wig Wam Motel, Historic Route 66, San Bernardino, California
Pioneertown, California
We also explored the spots where Laura and Almanzo's daughter Rose Wilder lived during Rose's time in San Francisco.

Rose moved to San Francisco in 1908 (age 22) and the city opened up opportunities for her writing career.    Rose also married Gilette Lane in San Francisco, but the relationship ended in 1915.  

I have posted before about William Anderson's, Little House Guidebook (which is an excellent book if you are planning a LHP tour), but if you want to learn more about Rose, Trini L. Wenninger's Rose Wilder's Lane's San Francisco is an excellent source.  The guidebook is just 50 pages and a quick read identifying those spots in San Francisco that have a connection to Rose.

By foot, we were able to see Rose's first apartment at 1418 Leavenworth.  In order to reach these spots, you will have to climb lots of hills so it is important to wear suitable shoes.
1418 Leavenworth
In 1915, Rose was able to finance a trip for Laura to visit the city.  At this time, Rose was living at 1019B Vallejo Street in the Russian Hill district. This building - built in 1892  - is called the "Williams-Polk house" after its architect.  The building is built on a hill that was once thought inhabitable because the property lot changes in elevation some 40+ feet.  It is a privately owned home so we were not able to investigate its full architectural significance, but able to admire it from the street.
1019B Vallejo Street
Down the street from the Vallejo property is Rose's Taylor Street Apartment.  Rose and her best friend lived in this shingled building before Rose moved to Sausalito.
1644 Taylor Street 
According to the guidebook, Rose considered herself an adopted San Franciscan and in her letters wrote, "there has never been a place that I love just as I love San Francisco."

Monday, February 27, 2017

Winter Stations 2017

My cast was removed February 1st, but until this week I have been unable to flex at the elbow.  After poor results with physiotherapy, I started laser therapy on Wednesday. After two LT treatments, I was able to flex enough to use my camera!  (I was completely skeptical of laser therapy, but it has worked on my elbow - my wrist not so much). I will see the orthopedic surgeon next week and determine whether the bones are strong enough to bear weight.

To celebrate my new range of motion, I headed down to the beach to photograph this year's winter art installations. Toronto has seen record-breaking warmth this past week so the installations had to be enjoyed with sand instead of snow.

 It was a sunny 3 degrees C and windy.  One beach walker was flying a kite!
Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Milk Bag Mats

A couple of weeks ago, we attended a very interesting Guiding community service event at the Toronto Marlies game.  Prior to the game, the guiding units learned how to make milk bag mats.

[In Canada, the majority of milk is sold in bags.  These mats use the outside bag.]
Angela of Milksbagsunlimited provided the units with a demonstration of the process.  Cutting and weaving stations were set up throughout the arena. The basic how to is found here.

The milk bag mat project was started in 2010 in response to the Haitian earthquake. The bags are woven on looms to create waterproof sleeping mats.

This is an example of a loom.

Here are the looms were set up in the arena.
The girls almost finished mat.
Examples of the finished mats.

The small bits of the milk bags which are not used on the mats are used as stuffing for pillows.
It was such an interesting project and the girls learned so much.
(If you decide to take on this activity as a service project, you can find "milk bag mats" badges here )
.Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

An Honest Farewell to Honest Ed's

One of Toronto's most curious landmarks, Honest Ed's Bargain Store closed on December 31, 2016 after 68 years operating at the corner of Bathurst and Bloor.   This weekend is the farewell bash and the store has been transformed into an art maze and community events. Lily and I attended a ukulele workshop and learned how to play "Seasons of Love" from the musical Rent.

The bargain store was known for its hand painted red and blue signs.  In the fall, there was a popular sign sale and I was able to pick up a few examples for our home and as gifts.

 I used the 25 cents signs on Christmas gifts.


In November, the Bathurst subway station signs were transformed in Ed's distinctive script.

Shortly after moving to Toronto, my husband and I had a chance to meet Ed Mirvish, the founder, in 1997 when we went to his restaurant, Ed's Warehouse before seeing a musical at one the Mirvish theatres (Blood Brothers). He came over to our table and was so personable and since that chance meeting I have always had a fondness for the mark he has had on the City of Toronto.  Farewell, Honest Ed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pinwheel Quilt

On Christmas Eve, I broke two bones in my right wrist after taking a fall on our local ice rink.  It is unclear when I will be able to sew or take photos on my DLSR again.  My cast comes off on February 1 and I will start physical therapy.  Hopefully, the recovery will be complete and speedy.

My last sewing project for 2016 was a pinwheel quilt.  It was a Christmas gift for Lily. The quilt measures 68 inches square and is a mix of Amy Butler prints and vintage sheets and a few others from my stash. The sashing is Little Blessings by Lakehouse.  The binding is a Laura Ashley ticking. I was able to use almost every pink-ish fabric in my stash. The quilt is backed in a vintage sheet.
I sent it to Michelle at Quilted Memories for her to perform her long arm magic.

If you are the quilty sort you might enjoy this little poem my dad found on a family member's FB page.

'Twas the night before Christmas,
And the quilts were not made.
The threads were all tangled, the cookies delayed.
The stocking weren't hung, the pantry was bare.
The poor weary Quilter, was tearing her hair.
Stacks of fat quarters, tipped over in streams.
Visions of Log Cabins, had turned into dreams.

When what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a bus full of quilters with all of their gear.
They went straight to work with just a few mutters,
Sorting and stitching and brandishing cutters.
The patterns emerged from all of the clutter,
Like magic the fabrics arranged in a flutter.
Log Cabins, Lone Stars, Flying Geese & Bear Tracks
Each quilt was a beauty-even the backs.

Her house how it twinkled, her quilts how they glowed.
The cookies were baking, the stockings were sewed.
Their work was all done, so they folded their frames,
And packed up their needles, without giving their names.
They boarded the bus, and checked the next address.
More quilts to be made, another quilter in distress.

She heard one voice echo, as they drove out of sight,
Happy quilting to all and to all a good night! 
~Author Unknown