Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Frame this one.

Happy New Year From Kim, Cole, Jem & Shea!

This is a very rare photo not just because all four of us are in the same place at the same time and no-one looks terrifyingly bad but also:

Shea doesn't have his hand in front of his face. Can't count how many 'hand' pics I've deleted
Kim is smiling. (He often does, just rarely in front of a camera)
Cole isn't pulling any pranks on anyone. (that we can see) Oh, except for that silver bow stuck on my chest, but I think that was courtesy of Shea-Max.
No-one is wearing a t-shirt. That's an event that only happens, maybe, once a year.
Both boys are being hugged by their Mom and, guess what? They both survived.

On to the next decade....

Come See

Our House is not completely finished or fully furnished but we've proven that it is party-ready so we're having our long-delayed house-warming open house.

Saturday afternoon & evening, January 2nd.

Everyone is welcome to come any time after 3pm. (Knowing us we'll just be finishing up our current project at 2:55)
Email me for address and directions.
We'll be happily giving tours of the house and our kitchen will be stocked with lots to eat, maybe even some food that doesn't contain left-over turkey.

(I know I'm safe posting an invitation publicly here because I get weekly reports on how many readers I have & even if every single person who reads my blog comes to the party they'll all be able to comfortably fit in the master bathroom at the same time.)

Here are some of our latest projects:
Installed the monorail lights over the kitchen island.
If they look familiar, they are: the pendants match the ones in the dining room.

Our powder room was a truly collaborative affair: tiling by Jem; fir walls with jatoba detail & cedar pedestal by Kim. You'll have to come & see how it all looks properly put together.

Kim sitting down on the job, gluing down the landing and step.
"Kim are you really going to allow people to actually step on that, with their feet even?"

Monday, December 28, 2009


This is what Christmas dinner for 32 & 1/2 (for first time in ten years we had a toddler at dinner, little cutie-pie Anna-Lisa) looks like in our house. (click on pics to see full-size)
We didn't actually need all 32 chairs because by the time the last diners got their plates filled the first ones through had already inhaled mass quantities, as only teenagers can, and left for an important 'Rock-Band' engagement upstairs.

It was just a little frantic getting everything ready on time, considering we were still tiling, sanding and installing paneling and trim up until the 23rd but we managed to pull it off. There was a mad rush to vacuum & dust away all the sawdust (Thanks Mom!) and re-arrange our furniture to accommodate four long tables in the living room.
"The fourth table goes right here."

Only once did I get to the point where I had to remind Shea that "when your Mom is acting all stressed-out like this it's best to talk to her in calm, soothing tones". Referring to yourself in third-person always lets them know just how close to the edge you're getting.
We supplied the turkeys, hams and potatoes while everyone else arrived with the rest of the feast.

Dinner was a little later than expected (I lingered over our lovely champagne brunch at Tammy & Alain's and my turkey wouldn't pop itself into the oven even when I phoned it and asked nicely) and we ran a little short of mashed potatoes (Grandma's potato calculations didn't take into consideration the abundance of teenage boys in our family, all starving by the time my turkey was done) but, other than that, everything ran very smoothly.

Kim and I want to give HUGE THANKS to:
for taking on all carving duties and dish-scraping afterwards;

for cleaning, cooking, organizing, helping and all-around Mom-type support;

For their centre-piece building and table-decorating skills, Tammy(centre) and Alain(left) now AKA "Glitter-boy" after having waaay too much fun when Tam took him to Michael's for supplies.

And to everyone else for making it such a wonderful evening, and showing Kim that we could comfortably fit that many people in our living room. Love you all.

Aftermath. This is the last picture taken that evening. Four cousins and an Aunt: Heather, Tammy, Jem, Erin, Floralee.

Interesting fact I learned: even a 1:1 ratio of Bailey's to coffee does not diminish the effects of caffeine if you're not accustomed to drinking coffee at 10pm. On the upside, it sure was nice to wake up to a spotless kitchen with every inch of counter vigorously scrubbed clean.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Quick Zoe Update

Here's proof that our Zoe is feeling like her old mischievous rascally self again:

There's still no sign of life in her tail but I think we'll wait until after Christmas to amputate it. Don't want a sulking kitten moping about during the holidays.
(Although, on second thought it would be safer for our decorations.)

Oh dear, the Christmas tree.
And she thought toilet paper was fun.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


This year I'm participating in the annual Clayamies Christmas Ornament Swap again after not having a space to make ornaments in for the past two Christmases.

I had a great idea for something interesting and a little different but after a couple of attempts I realized that the design that worked so well in my head would require a lot more real life design (& engineering) hours to get it to work than I was willing to spend. Filed it away in the box with all my other great ideas that didn't quite work. Am going to need a much bigger box soon.

Got nervous when I started to hear from some keeners who had already finished the maximum of 20 ornaments and I was still trying come up with a new idea - I now needed something simple that I could whip up a bunch of very fast. (I may have been guilty of going a little overboard in the past so I'm due for making some smaller, simpler ornaments than say, the giant pinwheels I made one year - sorry guys, I'm sure those ones blew everyone's postage budget to hell)

In the meantime I went to Julie Picarello's wonderful workshop at Linda's house in Deep Cove.

Here's a horrible photo of a slice of the Mokume I made in her class.

As a quick aside to the main course of Mokume, she showed a cute little thing to do with the scrap ends of Mokume blocks that she calls a lizard tail.
My Lizard tail.

Came home, started playing around and made some Julie's-lizard-tails-inspired twisted candy-canes.

Except I used a striped block of clay instead of thin sheets;
and I twisted them instead of rolling;
and didn't use any of the gold leaf that gives Julie's sparkle;
and I used no Ecru in my colours, strictly clear bright candy cane colours;
and I didn't taper them - (who would want a pointy, already-sucked-on candy-cane?);
and I cut them in 4 sections, not 2;
and.... Hmmmm, I guess my weird little candy canes really don't have much similarity to Julie's lizard-tails after all, except for the fact that they both have a mirror-image effect.
Julie's class DID remind me of the mesmerizing effect that those mirror images have on our brain.
I made an even dozen of them, a perfectly respectable amount for the swap. It means I get back a dozen ornaments from clayers across the country.
I can't wait.

In the past I've put all my swapped ornaments on a wreath but this year it was too crowded to fit all of them.
And I haven't even received this years' batch.

I'm going to have to get a small artificial tree, just for my treasured polymer clay collection.
Or a second "overflow" wreath.