Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Family is Born

Waiting since January 2007 ... this couple have taken an incredible journey to their daughter.

This journey was fraught with many setbacks, obstacles and forks in the road, but ........

Here they are.
Finally together with Kimberlie.

I can only imagine how they felt after this very long wait.

Congratulations Amy & Rob. The smile on Amy's face says it all. This is the picture of pure happiness.

"The child must know that they are a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child lilke them."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Keep Your Face to the Sunshine & You Cannot See a Shadow

Sunshine and Shadow .... How this day brought much needed relief from the depths of a cold hard winter.

Frigid cold, rain, snow, high winds and occasional freezing rain, so this respite of beautiful sunshine and blue skies today was absolutely delicious.

The sun found every hole in the privacy screen so it could weave this graphic pattern on the lid of the hot tub.

A ray of sunshine catches on the living room curtains and then dashes across the floor, runs up the wall, stopping for just a moment at the curio cabinet to infuse it's pure white light with every colour of the rainbow picked up from my Swarovski crystal. And then ...... the finale of the show - colourful splashes of light dancing around the room.

Now I am renewed by the warmth of the sunshine ..... and by the beauty of these fresh tulips on my coffee table.

With just a little more patience and endurance, I look forward to seeing these beauties poke their heads up through the soil in the not so distant future.

With an attitude of gratitude I thank the universe for sending these beams of light to earth today with the message that "Spring is Not Too Far Off".

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Are you a Shlumpadinka???

Yesterday I watched a rather interesting Oprah show which discussed the horrors of becoming a Shlumpadinka.

Could I be a Shlumpadinka! (Sound of me screaming in horror). Oh Noooooo............

What is a shlumpadinka you might ask?

Do you run errands in your pj's?

Are your husband's sweats a staple in your wardrobe?

If your answer is yes, you may be a shlumpadinka.

Oprah's been using this word for years, but many people are still in the dark about shlumpadinkas.

One audience member guessed they were the distant cousins of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's Oompa Loompas, while another said shlumpadinka is what you call something when you've forgotten its name.

Though this word isn't in Webster's Dictionary ... yet ... Oprah says she knows a shlumpadinka when she sees one. "I made this word up a long time ago," she says. "It represents, for me, a woman who dresses like she has completely given up…and it shows."

Every woman has had a bad day or two in her life, but some are guilty of nonstop frump.

This was a really fun show where stylist Lloyd Boston demonstrated how to easily and inexpensively change up your wardrobe preventing you from becoming a shlumpadinka.

The majority of his picks were from Sears and Old Navy and were quite inexpensive.

Lloyd says the following basics are important to add pizzazz to your wardrobe.

1. Bright scarves
2. A Trench Coat in a bright colour
3. Basic black trousers
4. A black and a white turtleneck
5. A tunic with a pair of white trousers to make the colours of the tunic pop
6. A black dress
7. A denim jacket, preferably white or dark
8. A black skirt
9. A cashmere sweater (they are really coming down in price) - try Old Navy
10. A pair of flats - try leopard or a funky print. How about a juicy colour!
11. An oversized colourful bag
12. And last but not least a versatile crisp white shirt.

See you after shopping ..........

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Fire, A Book, An Afghan, A Cup of Tea

It's a great day to stay inside!

Snow, rain, freezing rain - we are expecting this mix all through the day.

Although it is dismal outside, this is the kind of day that just cries for us to stay in our pj's, curl up with a cup of Earl Grey tea, picking up a great book or a stack of lovely magazines to read, wrapping up in a quilt or afghan and just staying put.

Sebrina is reading "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. She is tearing through this book at record speed and is recommending that I too should read it. It certainly sounds like a book that I will enjoy and plan on signing up for the online course Oprah Winfrey along with the author is offering on her website.

She and I have been discussing different parts of the book - her words were, "this book was written for me". I have a feeling that I will say the same thing when I get it. This book is a self help book to awaken your inner self to your true life potential.

Do you hate your body?
Are you plagued with thoughts that you're not "enough"?
Do you fear that if you lose something precious (money, spouse, youth, vigor, job, etc.) that your life will be "over"?
Is your attachment to "stuff" and striving to live up to the expectations of others wearing you out?
Do you want to heal from painful emotions and negative states of being?

These are questions and thoughts that I struggle with daily, so this book along with one of his others, "The Power of Now" are books that I will definately add to my library.

For now however, I am watching the rain run down my windows in rivulets and thinking about all that is lying dorment under the snow.

In the blink of an eye new life will soon be coursing through the brown and white landscape. New beautiful buds of green will soon be appearing on the very naked trees & bushes as they rejoice in the new garments they will display for us for the next five to six months.

Crocuses, tulips, daffodils, narcissis, johhny-jump-ups, lily of the valley pushing their heads up through the remaining snow .... songbirds and butterflies back from their sojourn abroad, the sounds of children playing outside.

If you are still long enough you might even hear the sounds of insects waking up from their long winter naps.

Ahhhhh ..... spring, I can hardly wait!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all who love, who are loved, who have ever been loved.

Here's a picture of the sweet dessert I made for my Valentine.

It is a devil's food chocolate two layer cake. In between the two layers is whipped cream with mashed raspberries. Then drizzled over the whole cake is a chocolate ganache. I added some fresh raspberries on top just to make it look pretty.

Sebrina is the marvelous baker in our family, but this is actually quite easy. Although it is a scratch cake, the recipe is very simple. It always turns out perfectly and is delicious. This cake always gets rave reviews when I make it for company.

It is very rich, very decadent, very moist.

This dessert will follow a special dinner of Tuscan Smashed Potatoes and Oven Baked Barbeque Ribs. (This is special because I would usually cook a meal like this on the weekend).

I know that my Valentine will enjoy it ....

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints .... I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! .... and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The ABC's Of Winter

I love winter!!!
And here is what I love about winter starting with A.

A - Alpaca wool, Afghan

B - Blowing winds & snowflakes

C - Carafe of hot chocolate, Christmas, Chili, Cashmere, Cuddle, Coffee

D - Down comfortors & pillows, Drifts

E - Eggnog, Earmuffs

F - Fireplace & Fires

G - Gloves

H - Home, Hat, Hot Tub, Hot muffins

I - Inside looking out, Icicles

J - Jam on toast with tea

K - Kiss

L - Love

M - Mittens, Mohair

N - Nose - red & cold

O - Oatmeal

P - Pinecones to make the fire crackle

Q - Quilt

R- Rum Toddy, Red River Cereal

S - Skates, Snow, Snow Blower, Scarf, Stew

T - Tea, Tobaggan

U - Under a warm blanket, Uggs with sheepskin lining

V - Velvet, Vase of fresh flowers, Vacation (someplace warm),

W - Warm, Wood Pile

X - X-Country Skiing

Y - Yorkshire Pudding, Yikes - it's cold

Z - Zipper - on my coat & my boots

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How Old Do You Think You Are?

Check out this site. It is quite interesting.

I took this questionnaire and according to my results, my virtual age is 39.1 and my life expectancy is 91.9 years.

By the way my real age is 54, so I guess I'm healthier than I thought I was.

These estimates are based on my lifestyle, my stress levels, my blood pressure, my cholesterol, drinking & smoking habits, use of pharmaceuticals, OTC, etc....

Here's the site ...

Happy Anniversary

One year ago, these three people became a family. Sebrina and I met Sherrie and Ivan in Ethiopia when we went to pick up Gabriella.

This was a trip and experience I think of often and find myself longing for the time when I can go back to this beautiful land that wrapped itself around my heart.

On that very special day, Ivan & Sherrie drove down a dusty old road in Addis Ababa, went through a very tall steel gate into the orphanage compound and saw their sweet little Bethelyn for the first time.

At the moment she was placed in their arms, two became three.

Happy Anniversary to you all!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Almost There

Here is the almost completed quilt top.

After completing 5 rows, I was not feeling happy with the results - too much patchwork, to0 much bright colours, too quilty ......

Don't get me wrong, I love quilts and appreciate the amount of love & labour that goes into each and every one, I'm just very particular about the style. I usually find quilts fit more into a Country, Americana or Shabby Chic style of decorating. So in my home, my quilting really needs to be a little more restrained, definately not the old fashioned style of crazy quilting for this girl.

So what I ended up doing to calm down how busy the quilt looked is this. I followed the example of my daughter Sebrina's quilt (see at left), where she used the blocks to border a feature fabric.

I didn't have enough of the feature fabric to do a large centre square with a single border, so I came up with this idea of two rows on either end with a centre strip equal to two rows plus two white edges. Then I put a 5" border around the whole thing. You can see from the top picture that I draped it across a double bed and it is still not quite as large as I want it, so may do a little more piecework around the edge, or I may put another border with one of my other printed fabrics before the final assembly.

The only problem I have right now is ...

1. I've run out of white quilting thread &
2. I've run out of white fabric for the border.

So far, I am much more content with the look of this quilt top which will definately not end up in the rag bag, which incidently is where the first one was headed for.

I have decided to mitre my corners for a cleaner finish. Here is a closeup of the first mitre. This picture is taken on our hardwood floors, so the seams are quite obvious, they won't be so obvious when the white quilting batt and the backing is on.

Time for a breather, I'll pick up my missing bits tomorrow and get back to quilting on Tuesday.


Friday, February 8, 2008

One, Two, Three, Four .. only 135 More!!

An update on the quilt-in-progress.

I have completed four rows and am very pleased with how this is coming along.

Quilting is not at all hard as I had once upon a time imagined. It just requires patience, patience and more patience.

Snow Falling on .... "Everywhere"

Some pictures of just how beautiful it was during our blast of winter on Wednesday February 6

The flakes were big, wet and stuck to everything.

How pretty is this ... like a picture postcard.

Trees bent down low under their burden of snow, my small garden ornaments went under cover and my cast iron furniture looked like a white frosted cake.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

How's Your Ticker?

With Valentines Day rapidly bearing down upon us, this entry about heart health - (mine in particular) - seems rather appropriate.

For the past 6-8 months, I have been experiencing extremely annoying bouts of palpitations, flutters, racing heart, etc....

I have had bouts of minor palpitations since entering menopause approximately 10 years ago but always attributed it to fluctuating hormone levels. But when they increased to a point that left me breathless as well as increasing the feeling of pressure on my chest, I thought I should mention it to my doctor.

He immediately sent me for an EKG and then for a test called "Holter Halter". The Holter Halter is simply a portable EKG which you wear for a day. It constantly monitors heart activity while you are wearing it.

After that test, I went to see him for a follow up. Apparently, I do not have a racing heart but extra beats coming from my ventricle. He felt it would be best if I saw a cardiologist.

I'm a pretty down-to-earth natural supplements kind of girl, but when this problem arose with my heart, I didn't want to try supplements or homeopathy to help this. My feeling ... since my heart is pretty much my life support system, I should investigate this through regular medical channels first.

When he told me he wanted me to see a cardiologist, I felt a little concerned. Of course the fact that my heart was acting up every hour or so didn't help matters.

Well, I saw the cardiologist yesterday and here's his report.

He does not know why I am getting extra beats. My sinus rhythm is perfect so he does not feel there is any cause for further investigation or concern on his or my part with regard to the extra beats.

Here's a little heart education for you ... The sinus rhythm is what a normal EKG shows. EKG paper is graph paper and when the peaks of rate and rhythm are regular then you have regular Sinus Rhythm. Sinus refers to the sinoatrial or S-A node ... the origin of the electrical impulse that starts each beat.

As well, he said that some people who are highly sensitive to outside stimuli are also very sensitive to heart movement and he would classify me as someone who falls into that category.

As a side note ... Sebrina has told me for many years that she thinks I suffer from Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

Sensory Integration Disorders vary between individuals in their characteristics and intensity. Some people are so mildly afflicted, the disorder is barely noticeable, while others are so impaired they have trouble with daily functioning.

In this disorder children can be born hypersensitive or hyposensitive to varying degrees and may have trouble in one sensory modality, a few, or all of them. Hypersensitivity is also known as sensory defensiveness. Examples of hypersensitivity include feeling pain from clothing rubbing against skin, an inability to tolerate normal lighting in a room, a dislike of being touched (especially light touch) and discomfort when one looks directly into the eyes of another person.

I definately struggle with clothing issues - tags on sweaters, certain types of fabrics, problems with bright light and extreme discomfort with direct eye contact. If the seam on my sock gets under my foot, it can drive me to distraction. So maybe this heart issue is just another symptom of SID.

So back to my heart issues.....

There are medications the doctor could prescribe for this, but because the side effects are many and severe, he would rather if I could learn to live with it.

The one caveat to this is if I should start to experience light headedness or fainting, that would require medication or possibly a pacemaker.

So hopefully as time goes by I will become more accustomed to this hard beating heart of mine and like a mildly annoying pain I will start to not notice it any more.

I am very thankful it turned out to be not a large concern since I certainly have felt concern about a heart attack with the wild beating I have been experiencing.

So it is great to have my fears eased and concentrate on other much more important things .........

Like my knitting and quilting (LOL)!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Watercolour Quilting

When I first decided to make a quilt, I had in mind a quilt with undulating waves of graduated colours.

I have since found out that this is called Watercolour quilting. When I finish my quilt, this style will be my next quilting attempt. I imagine this will take a lot of fabric patterns, so may look to buy coordinated jelly rolls (this is rolls of pre-cut strips of fabrics). It is a good thing that I started on the pattern I am working on now, there are not too many pieces (315 in total) so I can get some practic on piecing. I believe a watercolour quilt may have many hundreds of pieces depending upon the size of piece I choose.

From the research I have done, I can see that the more & smaller the pieces are, the better the shading will appear.

The quilt in the picture demonstrates the beautiful way watercolour quilting blends colours one into the other.

This picture was borrowed to illustrate watercolour quilting from a quilter displaying her beautiful quilts on Flickr.

Now that I've discovered this style, I'm excited to get my first quilt done and get started on this one.

Maybe I'll just start choosing, purchasing and saving fabrics for this next quilt.

Oh no, I think I have caught the quilting bug ... is there any cure???

Tag - I'm It

I've been tagged by my daughter Sebrina.

I have to list 6 random things about myself.

1. I LOVE my family ... so much sometimes that I experience real physical heart pain.
2. When I have a drink it MUST contain 4 ice cubes.
3. Sebrina said she was a little bit afraid of the dark ... guess she got that from me ... I am very afraid of the dark. Don flew to Montreal last night for a family funeral and I was alone. I left many lights on in the house so I felt safer.
4. I LOVE breakfast for dinner.
5. I am very SCARED of water.
6. I LOVE reading ... my day is incomplete without reading at least 1-2 hours in morning.

My chiropracter follows Sebrina and my blog faithfullly and always says how much Sebrina is like me. Interesting most of her random thoughts about herself are very similar to me.

I can't really tag anyone because I only follow a very few blogs, my daughers blog being one of them, and the other two blogs I would have tagged have been already.

Friday, February 1, 2008

New Toy for My Boy

We finally cracked and bought a snow blower this winter.

Since moving to this house we both found the driveway was just too much. It is a double and can hold nearly six cars, not to mention how much snow the city ploughs dump in the bottom of the driveway when they go by not once, not twice, not three times, but so far today four times. As well we park in the garage, unlike most of our neighbours so we have an entire driveway to clean not just around the vehicles.

We bought a snow blower on Boxing Day - an 8.5HP / 24" cut, however we had trouble getting a vehicle to pick it up (comes in a really large wooden crate), so what did Sears do - they sold it to another customer on us. And to top it off they took our money on December 26th, so we were out the $600.00 and they were fresh out of snowblowers. Don now refers to Sears as "The Store with No Name".

After 2 1/2 weeks of very frustrating phone calls with sales clerks and customer service, I finally called the manager of the store and within three days and for the same price he substituted an 11.5HP / 27" cut and had it delivered free of charge. Guess that shows you've got to talk to the right people!

As of posting, Don is out there cleaning our driveway and the neighbours and having I think a lot of fun. Doesn't look like he'll be in for quite a while.

Hey Don, did you forget we've got a snow blower - what are you doing with that shovel?

Guess old habits die hard .......

It's a Good Day to Stay In & Quilt

What a great day to stay inside!
Here's a couple of shots outside our home. We are in the middle of a rather nasty snowstorm in Toronto. There is about 10 cm fallen so far and we are in for another 15 cm.

Since Don decided to work from home today, I decided to cancel my therapy and errands to stay inside and work on my quilt.

I've completed three rows now. As Sebrina told me it is really hard to line up the squares.

This third row was really out of alignment, so I put an extra row of my feature fabric between the two white borders.

I quite like it and find that it draws the eye away from the fact that the squares are not perfectly aligned.

I also had my very first bath since having my knee replaced. It was simply delicious!!!

Lavender essential oils and dead sea salts. I made a cup of tea, lit some candles and brought in my book to read.

What a heavenly way to spend an hour on a blustery winter afternoon........... Ahhhhhhhhhh


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