Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday Craft Update - December 30

OK, so Christmas has passed and I'm still working on the 2007 Christmas ornament for Jill, but I'm getting there .... the stitching is all done and I have just the finishing to do. In the meantime, Julia asked for a new scarf and I did a quick 2-hour crochet scarf in pink and white to match her coat. I also started knitting socks this week, using my new Christmas sock yarn from Laura. Our sock-yarn exchange was so successful last Christmas that we decided to do it again this year.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Can't Do This with Photoshop

Julia is almost a teenager, and she must be very advanced for her age, as we've been putting up with the teenage attitude for a good long time now. However, when Mom gets a snarky comment, she can get her revenge by making a layout out of it!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Note to Self

Kate has been writing daily notes to herself. Tonight, after a wonderfully fun and relaxing Christmas day for all of us, Todd found her writing, "Yesterday was the best day ever!" When he asked her whether she was referring to yesterday, Christmas Eve, she said, "No. This is tomorrow's note." Kate has always been good at planning ahead!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! We had a lovely Christmas morning with Nana, Opa and Uncle Jamie. Santa found our house, ate the cookies Kate left for him, and dropped off lots of presents for everybody. We talked to all our family members in England (Tim, Kimberly, Alexandra, Lily-Ann and Teaghen), Singapore (Joe, Jill, Martin and Oliver) and Montreal (my Mom and Dad).

My family was very generous to me and this photo was taken with my brand new Canon PowerShot. Finally, I have a camera that I can fit into my purse, so I won't have any more of those "Darn, I wish I had my camera!" moments.

I hope all of you, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, are enjoying your family time together, as we are here at home today.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Club Competition

Saturday was the local skating club's annual competition. This competition is meant to be inclusive and all club members are invited to participate, even if they're, like our kids, not normally in a competitive stream.

This was Kate's first club competition. Because she started the StarSkate program so recently, we hadn't expected her to participate, but her coach taught her a short solo and encouraged her to register. This resulted in a frantic, last-minute sewing session which my regular blog readers heard me whine about in a previous post. Kate didn't place in the top three in her group of seven, but we were very proud that she managed to perform her first solo with no major mistakes. She also looked pretty cute in her new dress, even if I do say so myself!

Julia, also in a brand new dress, skated a bit later in the afternoon. She did a terrific job, and we were thrilled that she made it onto the podium! She came in third in her group of seven, and the photo above shows her at the medal ceremony afterwards. Coincidentally, one of her good friends was at an adjacent rink, watching her brother's hockey game, and so Julia had extra applause and cheers when she got her medal.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

An Ornament from Jill

I've not made much progress on needlework projects this past week, so instead of the usual Sunday Craft Update, I'll post a photo of the gorgeous ornament I received from Jill. The photo doesn't do it justice. In real life, the beads are very sparkly and you can see the subtle shading in the hand-dyed linen. When we opened the package, Kate wanted to put it up on the tree right away and she found a very special place for it where it would be seen by everyone who passed by!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Wonderland

There's a challenge on the Circle of Scrapping Friends blog to post your favourite Christmas carol and/or do a layout based on one. Well, I wouldn't say "Winter Wonderland" is my favourite Christmas song (maybe Pavarotti's rendition of "O Holy Night" would be high on my list), but I do hear it a lot around the house, especially from Kate. Coincidentally, had these great freebies and I had a bunch of photos from last weekend's snowstorm.

Layout credits: Tree brush from "Holiday Trees No. 7 Brushes-n-Stamps", text from "Worth Repeating Holiday Brushes-n-Stamps", paper from "Winter Wonderland Paper Pack", all by Katie Pertiet, "Edition" font from

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Word Freak

I recently finished Stefan Fatsis's Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble, which a co-worker had lent me. You don't have to be a Scrabble player to enjoy the book, and indeed it has gotten good reviews outside the Scrabble world. However, it helps if you tend to be obsessive about something ... anything. Otherwise, you won't see the point.

The book is, on the surface, about competitive Scrabble, but really it's an examination of a subculture and obsessive people. Many years ago, I was more deeply involved in this subculture. Then, "real life" (kids, jobs, etc.) got in the way and I drifted out of it. It scares me a little to know that people described in Fatsis's book as "borderline pathological" seemed normal ... well, not terribly abnormal at any rate ... when I ran across them at Scrabble tournaments.

Reading this book has made me realize how much I miss playing Scrabble with real people sitting across from me and spending entire tournament days playing one exhausting and thrilling game after another. It's got me thinking that I need to dig out my old word lists, learn the new OSPD 4 (Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, Fourth Edition, for my non-playing blog readers), and practice tracking tiles again. But then those real-life things start demanding my attention, and the index cards covered with 3-letter words get put aside for a while longer.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Craft Update -- December 16

I spent the entire week sewing skating dresses for the kids' club competition (an informal annual fun competition for the local members), which will be held next weekend. It took me a few hours to finish Julia's dress, as she asked for a simple design that I'd used in previous years. Making Kate's dress took the rest of the week.

First, the design Kate chose required a zipper. I've not yet mastered the art of applying zippers to lycra. If anyone has advice on how to make this easier, other than baste, baste and baste some more, please let me know. The pattern instructions suggested using adhesive tape to stabilize the fabric. Bad idea, at least with the type of tape I used.

Second, those of you who have met Kate know how particular she is about things. Skating dresses are no exception. She fussed about the style, the colour, the embellishments ("It's just too plain, Mommy!"), and everything else except, ironically, the zipper. When I suggested, as calmly as I could, that she wear her old skating dress instead of putting us both through this frustration, her reply was, "My skating coach says it's illegal to participate in the competition with an old dress." I'm sure her coach didn't put it quite that way, but she does have a new dress now and won't risk being arrested as she steps on the ice.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A New Martin Layout

I realized it was time to do another scrapbook layout of my newest nephew, Martin. I stole this photo of him at two months from Joe and Jill's Web site. Got inspiration for the title after spotting Kernighan & Ritchie on my shelf.

Layout credits: Template from "Paper Reveals Layered Templates", blue paper from "Mail Room No. 1 Paper Pack", frame from "Decoupaged Photo Frames No. 4", and alphabet from "Messy Stamped Alpha No. 2 Brushes", all by Katie Pertiet. Corner paper from "The Grunge Factor, Just the Solids Ma'am" by Dana Zarling. All materials from

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday Craft Update -- December 9

Did more Photoshop layouts this week, like this one of Julia that I'm posting just for fun. I'm still working on the Christmas ornament for Jill. It's almost done, though I've given up hope of getting it to Singapore by Christmas. (Sorry, Jill!) I also finished sewing Julia's new skating dress today. Spent more time cursing at the serger than I'd care to admit.

Layout credits: Papers from "The Grunge Factor Just the Solids Ma'am" by Dana Zarling. Frames from "Snap Frames Brushes-n-Stamps" and title from "Snap Frame Alpha", both by Katie Pertiet. Labels from Dec. 2, 2007 Ad Freebie by Lynn Grieveson. All materials from

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Recital Videos

Jill asked, in a comment to the last blog post, whether we had any videos of Kate playing her violin. Luddites that we are, we've not gotten around to purchasing a video camera. However, our friend Chris took a video of Kate at her last recital and he put it up on YouTube here. There is also a video of Chris's very talented daughter Sara that you can find here. Sara is a good friend of Julia's and she also has the same violin teacher as Kate.

In other concert news, we attended Kate's big orchestra concert today, in the company of her Opa and Nana who came to town especially to see the performance. Her group, the junior division, played well, and we were all very proud to see her up on the big stage! The rest of the concert was terrific and included performances from the intermediate and senior-level orchestras. Sara played too, as she is part of the intermediate strings group. Now, Kate gets a nice long break from rehearsals and concerts until they start up again in January.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Violin Shopping

It's Christmas concert season. Kate played in group concerts Saturday and Sunday and is preparing for the big youth orchestra concert this coming Saturday. She is in the junior division which includes a good number of first-timers.

Kate was ready for a new violin and we'd planned to go shopping after all the concerts were over. That way, she'd get the Christmas break to get used to the larger violin. However, she was so eager to get her new instrument that we decided to purchase it early but keep the smaller one another couple of weeks.

On Saturday, after her strings school's Christmas concert, we went to the violin shop with her teacher Martha. It took us an hour to find the right violin. Kate had definite ideas about which ones sounded good and which didn't, and fortunately, her teacher approved of her choice. A good chunk of time was spent on choosing the bow. Todd likened it to the Harry Potter idea of the wand choosing the master. Kate wasn't satisfied until she found one that gave the perfect sound and felt good in her hands.

Kate was able to play all her songs on her new one-quarter-sized violin right away. So we decided not to keep the old one any longer. Kate gave the little one-tenth-sized violin a kiss and said goodbye to it. It had a beautiful sound and served her well for her first two years of violin playing, but it is wonderful to have the louder and stronger sound from the new one.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday Craft Update -- December 2

I've been playing with Photoshop a lot this week. I won't post all the layouts here but you can see them in my scrapbook gallery. However, since it's Sunday Craft Update, I'll show one about a craft I haven't done in a while. I finished these a few years ago and have not had the urge to make another Winnie-the-Pooh character since. I also worked on Jill's Christmas ornament this week, and it's about two-thirds finished.

Layout credits: Papers from "Mail Room No. 1 Paper Pack" and "Notebook Paper Pack". Frame from "Doodled-n-Curled Photo Frames". Alphabet from "Messy Stamped Alpha No. 2 Brushes". All items by Katie Pertiet,

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Kate and Beethoven

This week's dare from Circle of Scrapping Friends, proposed by guest designer Tammy Bingeman, is to use three different patterned papers from three different companies. I decided to use this photo I took of Kate with her new Webkinz, Beethoven, a couple of months ago (when there wasn't any snow on our patio).

Papers from "Carnival Collaboration Kit" (, "Festa Kit" by Jessica Sprague, and "Flat Jacks Frolic Kit" by Katie Pertiet ( Alphabet from "Messy Stamped Alpha No. 2. Brushes" by Katie Pertiet.