February 22, 2011

A Member of the Fan Club

I have been thinking a lot lately about household gender roles. When I was little, I was just as likely to see my mother holding a hammer as I was to see my father wearing an apron, and I grew up thinking that both things were perfectly normal. My parents, on the other hand, were anything but normal. I kid! (Sorta.)

So, because of the example that I was seeing at home, I always thought it was weird to encounter parents who clung to more “traditional” practices; dad went off to work and puttered around with his tools on weekends, while mom stayed home, cared for the kids 24/7 and kept busy with things like sewing, baking and looking pretty. In my house, not only did my mom and dad both work; mom was awfully handy with a mitre saw and dad could bake a hell of a pie.

There was no question in my mind that when I grew up and had a family of my own, that it would just always be that way. I am trying to instill that same ethos in my own child. As a solo-parent, when things of a DIY nature come up I have the choice to either call in professional or tackle them myself. Thanks to my parents’ expert tutelage and my trade-school training, there is really only a handful of tasks that I am not able to perform on my own, whether due to a lack of equipment or skills.

Generally speaking, though, small carpentry and home dec projects are no problem for this girl, and any time that I start to question my abilities, I just have to make a mental list of what I have attempted and completed successfully. Drywalling? Check. Laminate and vinyl floor installation? Check, check. Installing a dishwasher (with the help of my fella)? Check.

This past weekend, I finally got around to removing the big beast of a microwave from above the stove. It’s been dead for a while, but the task of taking it down, though fairly simple, was daunting in its annoyance factor. First of all, the damn thing was heavy and attached to the cabinets and kitchen wall. Secondly, it was hard-wired, so removing it involved more than just unplugging it. I had to actually turn off breakers and open a wiring box…

But, with a new stove on the way, I figured that I had better just suck it up and do it. Plus, R and I found a hood-fan on sale at Canadian Tire. That was a good a sign as any, I suppose. So, on Sunday night, before I started making dinner, I cut the power, climbed up on my step-stool and got rid of the microwave and its bracket. The following night, I climbed back up, attached a few wires, screwed-in a few screws and installed the gleaming (for now) new hood fan. (You’ll have to take my word for it, but it really does work!)

(...and please pardon the janky Blackberry photo... I was so excited about the hood-fan that I couldn't wait to get the camera!)

February 18, 2011

Denim Hipster

It's been a while since I shared a tutorial...so long, in fact, that I can't remember what the last one was. A scarf? A necklace? Either way, I figure we're due for another one. And, by coincidence, my weekly blog challenge is to post a "tute". Ain't it funny how things work out like that...

This project came about after I had removed the legs from a pair of jeans (to repurpose into a yoga mat bag and two purses). I had used one of the pockets on my mat bag and was left with the second pocket and waistband. 15 minutes or so later, I had a handy pouch to hold my Blackberry and ID!

1. cut pocket area from pre-loved jeans, leaving a 1” flap along the top edge and cutting close to the edge of the sides and bottom of the pocket itself.
2. cut-off waistband. (I like to leave a few frayed-bits/threads, but you may trim these off.)
3. decide where on the band you would like your pocket. (I have placed mine about 8” from one of the ends.) With a seam ripper, open the bottom edge of the waist band seam – about 1” wider than the top width of your pocket.
4. insert the flap of denim that you left at the top of the pocket into the opening in the waistband and pin into place. (Make sure that the top of the pocket front is not tucked into the opening!)
5. top-stitch through the waistband and pocket flap, following the original line of stitching.
6. embellish pocket as desired with buttons, pins, paint, studs…
7. Note: I like to wear mine quite low on my hips, but if your waistband is much larger than your hips, or you want to wear it higher, feel free to add additional buttons or a buckle to fasten.

February 16, 2011

Monkey Love!

You can say it with chocolates, cookies, a mixtape and a big bag of candy, but, really, nothing says “I love you” like a custom sock monkey.

This is the sock monkey that I made for my fella. As you can see, he is sporting a tie, a pocket protector and a calculator watch (just like my fella), and even has his very own synthesizer (just like my fella). If you know my mister, you’ll agree that he is the perfect “mini monkey me”. And, if not, you will just have to take my word for it.

“Dick Monkini” was made out of a standard pair of wool work socks and his accessories are all made from eco-felt and hand-stitched with plain-old embroidery floss. I took a LOT of artistic licence with the watch and synth, but I think that just adds to the charm. At least, that's what I like to tell myself.

His tie, by the way, is the “skinny end” of one of my dad’s old neckties. I think it matches Mr Monkini’s stripes perfectly and I was happy to use it for such a special project.

So, what did my fella think of his new little friend?
He went bananas. ;-)

February 15, 2011

Winnipeg City Guide on Design*Sponge!

One of my favourite go-to websites for all things hip and lovely is Design*Sponge, so you can imagine how delighted I was to see Winnipeg featured in today's city guide.

It is literally a where's where of all the hot dining and shopping spots in the city and almost all of my faves have been included: Bistro 7 1/4, Cake-ology, Soul Shoes, Tiber River, Into the Music...I could go on and on (and on and on), but you can just read for yourself. And try to spot the little mention of your's truly! Needless to say, I am honoured to be included.

Thanks, Lenore, for putting together such a fantastic list. Seeing everything in one place like that really reminds me of how lucky I am to be in a city that is so full of wonderful things and talented people! It really is one. great. city.

February 9, 2011


I just used the word "frothy" in a new and surprising way (for me). "Can we put a rush on this? So-and-so is starting to get frothy."

Even though it is an existing word, it takes on a whole new level of, well...froth when used to describe the lather* that So-and-so is getting herself in while she waits for the object in question. I'm not sure that froth/frothy/frothing is generally used in this alternative context, but the person who I was speaking to at the time knew *exactly* what I meant. Add that to the Bectionary!

Interesting to note: I usually use "frothy" to describe big wedding dresses and fancy, blended cocktails.

*Oooh! Lather is a good one, too.

February 1, 2011

Day 1...the start of something Geek.

Today's challenge is in 4 parts: (to paraphrase) invite, add, interact and introduce. I will strike them off as I complete them.

1. invite at least three people to the blog challenge
2. add the Girl Geek Winnipeg Challenge badge
3. visit the blogs of other people who have signed up and leave comments
4. write a post describing your reasons for blogging

Well, since I'm here, I might as well start at the bottom and work my way up. I started blogging on Live Journal several years ago because, as they say, "all the kids were doing it". My first blog has since been deleted, mostly because it documented a very painful time in my life and, through the process of blogging about it, I've been able to leave all of that behind me. I also felt that blogging on such an intimate level was actually becoming a detriment to my personal (and potentially professional) life. I guess you could say that I decided to be less of an open-book and more of a reference-book.

Once I left the uber-personal stuff behind, I started blogging about a few topics that hold a great deal of interest for me (besides myself, of course) - ecology, cooking and living the life craftastic. I suppose I could have combined all three topics into one blog, but I chose to divide it up so that people who were interested in, say, vegetarian chili recipes wouldn't have to sort through entries about upcycled bulletin boards or polluted lakes just to get to them. There's no escaping hearing about me, my brilliant son (aka "the mascot") or my wonderful fella (aka "the fella"), though, no matter which of my blogs you go to. (Sorry!)

To counter all of that self-absorbedness (it's a word, I swear!), I also write for the handmade shopping blog, Try Handmade. And I only talk about myself a little...