Saturday, October 15, 2016

Reading Rabbits

I can tell by what I've read this month that I have been busy with other things.  Sadly.  But craft sale season is upon us - I've had two already and three next month, and must... keep... sewing...  So I've only read two (and a half) books in the last month.  They all, however, have a hefty page count, so I haven't totally gone into withdrawl.

Watership Down by Richard Adams was absolutely delightful.  I have had this title on my radar for years because it's been on so many must read lists, but I was shocked when I picked it up at the library - I was expecting a thin child's book, but this was a huge work.  And it's about rabbits.  Seriously.  A completely captivating story, about rabbits, that was a great read.  Go put it on hold.

Then I read Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.  I may not have read this so fast because it just was not gripping.  It was wonderfully written, and had lots to ponder in it, but while a lovely book, it was not as entertaining.  I guess that's what I look for.  It is written as a letter from an aging pastor to his son, and looks at the connection between fathers and sons and roots.

I'm in the second half of another big one; A Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George.  I thought I was all caught up in this series, but was happy to discover that there were actually two I hadn't read yet, and I was looking for a read I knew I would enjoy after Gilead.

So that's all for this month.  Now back to my book...

I linked this to Modern Mrs Darcy's Quick Lit post.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Let Me Introduce You to a New Friend

One day not too long ago, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I saw a shot of some postcards that my friend had received.  The hashtag #postcrossing made me curious, so I followed the rabbit trail right down the hole into wonderland.

I like getting mail - who doesn't? Postcrossing is just a way of taking matters into your own hands.

From their website (
"The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world."
My stash of postcards that I've collected to send.

You sign up, request to send a postcard, and they give you an address.  You can see the person's profile with a bit about them, so you can customize what you say or what postcard you choose to send, and then when they receive it, they log it on the site.  THEN, the next time someone requests to send one, they get YOUR address.  And you get mail.  

And all the ones I've got so far!
Just a little something I've been having fun with over the last little while - thought I'd share in case you'd like some happy mail, too!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Where A&V Will Be This Fall

This is where you'll find me out and about selling this fall.  There are some great events on this list that I am excited to be a part of!

Saturday, September 24
Etsy Made In Canada Sale
This is the second time Regina has had an Etsy sale; I was in last year's and it was pretty great to be surrounded by people who do what I do, but with all kinds of different things they make.  Come check it out if you can.  There will be workshops on macrame, paper making, bullet journaling, and starting an Etsy shop as well as the shopping.
Research and Innovation Centre Atrium, U of R  10-5

Saturday, October 15
Henry Braun SCC
I prefer the all handmade sales over craft and trade shows, but I had no other sales in October so thought I'd add this one in.  Hoping for some good crowds.
710 Graham Road, Regina  10-4

Saturday November 5
Maranatha Women's Wellness Day
This event is in Winnipeg at my family's church, and while I will not be in attendance, there will be a table of my goods for sale.  Check with the church as to the best drop-in shopping times. 204-832-1371

Saturday November 19
Cathedral Christmas Craft Sale
Second year for this one, too.  It is the same day as the sale at Westminster Cathedral, and just across the street and down a bit, so you can take in both and don't even have to move your car.
2900 13th Ave, Regina  10-5

Sunday November 20
Twinkle: A Holiday Handmade Market
First time joining up with the Wren for an event, but it promises to be awesome.
The Exchange - 2431 8th Ave, Regina  11-5

Saturday November 26
Holiday Bazzart
Bazzart is the annual outdoor summer sale put on by the MacKenzie Art Gallery; this holiday version take place inside.  I've been once - a lit of talented people!  I applied for Bazzart this year for the first time and was thrilled to get in to both summer and holiday shows.
3475 Albert Street, Regina  10-5

Thank you to all who shop local and handmade.  It makes our communities better places.  :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Summer of 5 Star Books

I finished a good book yesterday and when I went to jot it down on my list, I noticed that they were all rated really good - and there were a lot of them! So it's time to share, I guess!  I hope you find time to pickup a book - I feel like my time should be spent sewing or listing items in my shop or getting things ready for our scrapbooking retreat which is coming up soon, so I may not devour as many in the next months as I would when times are slower.  Can't not read, though.

4 Stars

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel - He has descriptive writing that really transports you to another time and place, but can be a little odd at times, too.  There are three different characters in different times that all tie in to one place in the end.  There was one theological error that bothered me since so much research would have had to go in to the rest of the story; why get that part wrong??

Distortion by Terri Blackstock - she writes decent Christian Fiction.  Not a ton of depth, but it was ok.  (Maybe more of a 3.5?  I'm sure you can find more amazing books, but in a pinch, pick her off the library shelf.)

4.5 Stars

The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva - A WWII story with lots of layers in the spy game.  I picked this one up because I thought it was the first in his series, but this was a stand alone.

5 Stars

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd - This one is about an affair, so if you don't want to go there, don't pick this one up.  It is more of a psychological look at a woman finding herself unsure of who she really is once she's facing an empty nest, and what she goes through to understand who she is and what she wants.  Kidd's understanding of people is well captured.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for  Day by Winifred Watson - Written in the 30's, this was a fun read with a delightful cast of characters.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - Really good.  It'll take you a few chapters to get into it, maybe, but quite interesting, if you can accept the strangeness of the main character living her life over and over again.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - Another really good one.  It follows a few characters after a nasty virus kills off most of the world's population.

The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva - This is the first in the series that I was looking for.  Israeli spy / restoration artist.  Good guys vs bad guys all around Europe...

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - Grumpy old man that you fall for as you slowly learn his story.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - I started this one years ago but got distracted by something easier probably, so decided I'd read it for the reading challenge I'm attempting this year.  Glad I read it, though I'm sure I missed lots - very wordy and I was not always clear what he was talking about!  Great story, overall.  First Dickens I've read - is that sad?

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - Despair and hope. Set in the 30's in the US, it chronicles an Irish immigrant girl sent on an orphan train to the Midwest to find a family.  Also set in the present day as a teen helps the same girl, now in her 90's, clean out her attic, and all the memories it uncovers.  That sounds a little cheesy, but it really is well done.  This one stuck in my brain for a long time.

If you are looking for more good recommendations, I would send you over to Modern Mrs. Darcy - her blog has lots of good lists.

Happy page flipping!!

Thursday, September 08, 2016


I was pretty proud of our boy this past week, for a bunch of things.

He wanted more Lego, so Dad, training a future entrepreneur, told him he should find a way to raise money to buy some.  I sure hope he learns that hard work is what gets you things, not just handouts from your parents.  So since we were camping, collecting cans seemed to be a no-brainer.  We went around our loop of the campground Sunday night and around another Monday morning, and after rinsing them all in the backyard Tuesday, Sarcan handed over $41.65.  That's a lot of cans!  And a lot of Lego!

We had also said we'd pay half, so after Sarcan we headed to ToysRUs, got his $30 set he wanted and he still has $25 towards the other big set he wants.  He's thrilled to have the Volcano Exploration Truck, and I'm thrilled that he had a good experience doing some work and seeing a reward for it.

(In other Lego news, I picked up a bulk lot today - over 1000 pieces for $25 is a pretty sweet deal - and now we have over 7000 pieces...  But it gets used!  A lot!)

Another reason I was proud of N is that he didn't really want to go to school.  At all.  He wanted to skip every class before it even started.  But Tuesday after lunch he got ready with no fuss and when we got there he told Mrs. Palero that he was excited about what they were going to be learning!  Whew.  I was not looking forward to school being a fight.  And today was a bit the same - "I don't want to go" followed by "I had an awesome time."

And number three:  He got his 4 year immunizations yesterday (after ToysRUs and before he put the set together ALL BY HIMSELF).  He was distracted by the Lego box while we were waiting, but didn't make a fuss at all and chatted up the nurse who was suitably charmed and said he was a great communicator and was so ready for Kindergarten already.  He even counted her down to the shot and said it didn't hurt much.  He is ornery about a lot of things like school and going for this shot and eating lots of food, but comes around in the end and does just fine.

Except for pants.  This summer he only wore camo shorts and it looks like this fall only fuzzy pants will do.  Fleece lined.  Sigh.  We pick our battles...

Oh, and he is 97th percentile in height and 97th percentile in weight.  Very proportionate.  :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

One Sweet Day

A week or so ago we went camping for a week with family - besides us, there were two grandparents, two uncles, two aunts, and five girl cousins.  We had a great beach morning the one day, but when we went back the next morning, Gramma, who had rented a stand up paddle board for the day and beat us down to the beach, said it was pretty yucky...

So we all hopped in Uncle Kevin's boat and went to the other side of the lake, where we found a stretch of un-peopled beached and made ourselves at home.  It was awesome.

We all got a chance to play around on the paddleboard and swim in the warm shallow water.  Then we took the boat out for some tubing.  Nolan loved it.

There was also some swimming off the boat, kneeboarding, and some wakeboarding.  Nolan even tried kneeboarding, but wasn't quite heavy enough to keep the nose up to get going.  Next time!

Camping.  So good.  Nice to make fun memories with family, too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How We Organize Our Lego

Organize it?  Don't bother!

That's the response I got when we first started getting sets and I put the question out there.  I agree it shouldn't be sorted by set and kept separate - then you only ever build what's on the box.  But we soon had WAY too many pieces for me to find anything when the 4 year old said, "Mom, can you find me a...?"

Searching for a particular piece is not my favorite part of playing with Lego.

It made the most sense to me to sort by type - all the similar blocks together, so if you're looking for a red 2x2, you look in the right bucket, look for red, and you're good to go.  After a few months of tweaking, we have a system that works great.

We got a new *BIG* set on Saturday and weren't around to play with it till Sunday, so after Nolan went to bed I tidied up so we'd have space to at least dump it out and do a bit before church.  I snapped a few pics before the tidy got destroyed again because I've been meaning to share this for a while.

The system breaks down into big buckets and little buckets.  I've got two silver boxes that are a bottom and top from a sturdy gift box, and three Ikea bins that I found on VarageSale from someone who ordered too many.  We don't use lids, because they are always out in play, but they still stack neatly and there is room under the table to tuck them away.

In the big bins are:
 - bricks.  The 2x2's, 2x3's, 2x4's and longer.
 - plates.  All the flat ones.
 - 'one by whatevers' (half width bricks)
 - 'ones and twos'
 - angles and slopes

The little boxes are Ziplock - I have the lids stashed away with some Lego set boxes if we ever need to store them.

 - slopes
 - rounds
 - tinies
 - tiles (flat plates with no bumps on top)
 - people & their accessories
 - specials
 - vehicle stuff
 - technic pieces
 - 'attachers' (the ones with dots on more than one side)
 - windows and doors

Sunday after church we ended up with Grandparents, an aunt, and uncle, and 3 cousins over for the day, which was great.  I checked with Nolan to see if we should tuck the new set away until he had a chance to make it himself, but he was happy to let them play with the new set, too.  So proud of our little sharer.

There are a few more ways I'd like to divide up some of our sections; the bricks  are 3 deep and tough to root around in, and the specials is getting pretty full and could easily make 3 buckets if I took out say the 'attachers' (all the ones with joiners other than dots), and the jumper plates.  Or separate the wheels out from the other vehicle stuff, because that one is overflowing, too.  But it will stay this way for now so it fits well on our table.  We first got Lego for Christmas last year and for his January birthday, and it's been put away maybe twice.  It doesn't get used every day, but often enough to give it prime real estate in the living room.

Nolan took this one of his favourite piece, and why he wanted this set:  the awning.  The camper, the boat and the cabin all incorporate it, and he loves it.

Random side note - apparently when you order from the Lego website, you will get a catalogue in the mail for the next season's release.  We were both eying this set up and  - did you know - if you click on building instructions at the bottom of, you can enter any set # and see how to make it?  We did that last week (before we knew we were going to get it!) with this set to make the bear.  We were missing a bunch of the pieces, of course, but improvised a pretty sweet polar bear.

Happy Lego-ing!!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Books to Put on Hold at the Library

A short list today, because I've been sewing Cornhole bags all month, and haven't had time to read!  Thankfully they were all good reads worth picking up.

The Travellers by Chris Pavone - 4.75 * - Life takes a crazy turn for a travel writer turned reluctant spy... who can he trust?  Pavone writes a good deep multi-level story.

The Pearl by John Steinbeck - 5 * - His writing is amazing... he gets societies, and why people do what they do.  A short book.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - 5 * - Imagination of an old woman with cabin fever or real?  A lovely story about hardships, longing for a child, true friendships, set in Alaska in the 20's.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - 4.5 * - A slave story, but with a twist - the main character is an Irish orphan, indentured and raised serving with the slaves.  As with every slavery story, there is much suffering, but worth a read.

The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman - 5 * - I'll add this even though I'm only 3/4 finished.  I read the intro to this one time before and put it back because it seemed that it would just be too sad...  I've since read another by this author and loved her storytelling, so I put this one on hold and while sad, yes, it is also an artfully written story.  WWII separates a newly wed couple, and (not a spoiler, because this is in the prologue) they meet again at the wedding of their grandchildren decades later.

Hope you have time to enjoy a good book this weekend!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Chicken and Sheep and Cows, Oh My!

I may have a farm post every spring, but that's because I take the good camera when it's sheep and kitten season.  Here are some of the gems from the Denzin's place the other week.

Collecting eggs.

So perfect.


The cutest ever??

Or this one? So sweet. Or is N trying to eat it?

Finding out what cow pies are.

Hugging a cow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Three Legged Sunday Fun

This was from a week ago - we went to watch our nephew play soccer, so I took along the 'big camera' - glad I did, because I got some fun shots at the church picnic after. It was a good day of sun and family.

This is N and his friend A.  They were in the same class in preschool this year, but since she is a fall baby, she'll be heading off to kindergarten in the fall, while N has another year before he starts.  They are lined up for the three legged race.

There was a whole series of shots of this classic fall, but this was the most awkward.

And here they come back!

Then it was the mom's turn.  So N got to hold the camera.  He snapped this, and then seven of our bums.

But then he took this one.  So sweet.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Some Magical Books

I don't have a good book on the go, otherwise I'd be flaked out on the couch with it.  But that's ok, because I've been meaning to share my last bunch of reads with you for a while, too.  I just organized my 'Books' note on my phone, alphabetizing by author so I can find them more easily on the shelves at the library, and I ordered a bunch when I was done, so hopefully the next few weeks will be full of great reads and not just what I can find on the shelves.

5 Stars

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
So fantastic.  I loved this one.  You should read it.

The Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman
A well written WWII book set with strong characters and a good plotline. (It was possibly enjoyed more because I read it right after a real dud.)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Great story that makes believing the unbelievable fun.

The Lake House by Kate Morton
True to her formula, and it works!

The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
Quirky characters with issues, unlikely friendships, more quirky characters, and a trip to Canada.  It was a nice one.
4 Stars

Her by Harriet Lane
One character was annoyed by someone saying they were not enjoying a book because they didn't like the characters... and that made me defensive. Ha.  But she was psychotic, so there's that.  A read that has you wondering what 'the event' in the past was and what the real story and connection between the two characters is.  A quiet psychological thriller.

The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison
Affairs and murder, but it is more about the psychological journey that the wife takes through it.

The Body In The Library by Agatha Christie
A pick off the shelf because I needed books and Christie is always a decent filler.

3 Stars

February by Lisa Moore
This one could probably be read in Canadian high schools because I'm sure there's lots of discussion that could come from it.  A widow's story of life after a great East Coast tragedy.  I read primarily for entertainment, and this was not so gripping.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Sometime you read a book just to check it off the list of books everyone should read...

0 Stars

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
I quit reading in the middle and really should have given it up well before that.  I kept waiting to find the big secret from the past, but it got to the point where I didn't even care anymore, I just wanted to read something decent.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

May Got Crazy

The boy on two wheels! On a bike path!!
With something every weekend, it felt like we ran through May.  I had a two day sale (which stunk) to start the month off, then we went to Winnipeg for a visit.  My aunt was visiting from England, so we wanted to make the trip when she was there; I saw her last when 4 year old M and I took a trip to see them a dozen years ago.  N and his cousin Z have a grand time together - a highlight was going to the Lego Store in Polo Park then getting some 'Superkid' popcorn.  We played Pounce, as we do, and M WON.  I came in second - IN THE NEGATIVES.  Way to go, kiddo.  I hope they gave you the champion shirt.

Last weekend we went camping for 'May Long' as it's called here in Saskatchewan.  We have friends that we traditionally go with, even though we suffer through the cold almost every time... suckers for punishment I guess.  Or camping enthusiasts?  Maybe I'm the only one bothered by the chill...  Anyway, with this year's early summery spring weather, it was a great weekend.  We had lots of hikes (and geocaching!) in the warm sun, and two thunderstorms to watch.  Awesome.  Nolan even went for a swim. (He is four.  It wasn't THAT warm.)

Bedtime Marshmallows

And then this weekend I had two sales - Saturday was my favourite, the Street Fair of the Cathedral Village Arts Festival.  Crazy busy and decent selling.  Today was another show I took on since I was going to have it all packed up anyway, but it was another dud.  Lesson learned - Don't do tradeshows in the spring!  They are not the right fit for me.  I am, however, very much looking forward to being in Bazzart on June 18.
Chinese food tailgate picnic in the park.

Now, that's a month of full weekends, but honestly, our weeks are pretty empty, so it's not as if life is busy... But now we've got something to fill our weekdays, too, for the next couple of weeks.  N's preschool teacher left in March to have a baby, and their usual sub, a lovely lady who used to teach there, came to fill it.  One morning they needed a sub for the other teacher, and since their sub was already teaching, I got a call from the director.  Who didn't even know that I used to teach there.  Meant to be??  And then... Sub-teacher had holidays booked, and Baby-teacher decided not to come back right away after all, so yours truly gets to be teacher for the last two weeks of school.  Fun!

N and I went to all three classes together (one is his class) on Thursday and Friday last week to meet the kids, and tomorrow we start on our own.  I say we because N thinks we are teaching.  He went from not wanting to go to school anymore (I think he's just done with routine) to today telling me that his new favourite day of the week is 'school-days'.  I just finished my lesson plan - we're working on the food groups right now - and am actually kind of looking forward to having fun there.  Wish me luck!