Sunday, November 15, 2015

Everyone's favourite meme...

Grumpy Cat!  I'm really pleased with this one. I'm going to have to make a few more of these. :)  I donated him to our humane society craft fair fundraiser.  This week I'll try to pump out a couple more hats for their fundraising efforts on Saturday.
(pattern credit to "MadebyMarji" Crochet Goods & More)

And here are a couple more I made, just for fun.   For my brother, on the occasion of his 35th birthday, "Nutty" from "Happy Tree Friends."   Holy, is that ever NOT a cartoon to watch with your children. :)
 And my crazy orange dwarf (or viking, not sure where I was going with this) for my husband to wear on Halloween.  I'm really pleased with this one! I was short on time (I started his costume on the 30th) so I adapted a store bought grey and black tuque to make the helmet (I do have to practice making horns, they're supposed to be pointier, but mine just kind of look phallic) and then, on Halloween morning, while bingewatching Glee episodes and ignoring my children (Holy crap, Glee, where have you been all my life?), I created the beard.
Combined with the 8 owl hats I made for our Brownies to don in the Remembrance Day parade, and the goal of 10 sock monkey hats before next GISHWHES, of which I'm at 8.5, I've been thoroughly enjoying this new passion.  I'm thinking that I will probably go out of the jewelry business after Christmas. I love the jewelry but I'm not a big fan of the promoting and peddling of it, nor am I any good at that part... and my collection is lovely now, so my desire for the "staff discount" has been satiated. I thought I'd try my hand at something more supply and demand, if someone wants something, I make it.  If not... well, knowing me, I'll probably make it anyway.  But I'm thinking (and this is actually the husband's idea, believe it or not :), a made-to-order crochet business. Something along the lines of "The Mad Hatter"... or "The Happy Crafter"... or "Laura's Kooky Tuques"...   Thoughts?  :)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Why my house is a mess...

Someone help me!  I can't stop!  It started with my attempt to crochet a sock monkey hat... a staple for future Gishwhes endeavours.  Then all my kids wanted one, so I made them all one.  And I just kept going.  

I had a special request from a Gishwhes teammate for a "Link" inspired sock monkey hat.  I think this fits the bill.

Eight monkey hats later, I decided to try my hand at an Owl, inspired by my daughter's status as a new Brownie, and me, as Tawny Owl.   I'm VERY pleased with how this one turned out.  The directions were much smoother than the monkey hat and makes for a cleaner design.

 (That's her "Hey, don't take a picture of me," face)

Then, in honour of the birth of our new niece, Aylin, (a month ago, I really have to get her gift in the mail) and her big brother, Sullivan (Yup, they call him Sully, I couldn't resist), I tried my hands at these two.   I LOVE Mike Wazowski... I think I kind of want to make myself one!

Then, this morning I started on one for our brand-new nephew, Ozzy.  His parents met in Australia, got married in Australia... and I'm pretty sure he was conceived in Australia.  And yeah, his name is Ozzy.  So, really, this themed tuque is ALL THEIR FAULT!

 And this is why the groceries aren't bought, the laundry isn't done, and the tables are covered in crafting supplies.  I cannot stop!  I'm already itching to get back into the wool after supper.  What is wrong with me?  I'm a binge crafter with an addictive personality.

So... what do you think?  Viable side business?  Or should I just inundate my family with multiple tuques every year?  Cause there is only so many I can make more my kids.  Or.., is there?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

First Days of School!

September 8th for the older kids.  Alex is in Grade 6 this year and in his last year of Elementary school.  Connor is in Grade 3.  Kirstin is in Grade 2.
 And then the first day of Strong Start (parent participatory preschool) for Brooklynn, September 21st.  She loved going to "Little School!"

Saturday, September 19, 2015

And that's how it's done!

It looked pretty dismal last night.  Three different kids, at three different times, telling me that the toilet doesn't flush.  I dismissed it... "Use the one in our bathroom," I said, intending to give the toilet a quick plunge after supper to get it flowing again. And then I promptly forgot.  By the time I remembered to check out our septic situation, it had been thoroughly used and was nothing short of a domestic cesspool.


But I can handle this. So I flushed, and furiously I plunged, expecting the water to quickly swirl down the drain. Nothing.  All I managed to do was give our septic soup a hefty stir.


"Did anyone flush anything down the toilet that SHOULDN'T go down?" I questioned them.

Of course not.

"I heard Brooklynn playing in there before supper," my younger son informed me, helpfully.  "She was flushing it lots and laughing."

Double damn.

"Okay, no one use this toilet for the rest of the night.  I'll fix it later."  I visited the commode several times that evening, for several vigorous plunging sessions, but when I retired at midnight, I hadn't made any progress on the clog. I'd only managed to make one hell of a disgusting mess of the bowl.  So I left the plunger sticking out of the toilet, in as a warning to late night visitors (sit on me in the dark and you'll regret it), closed the lid, and retired.

This morning I gave it another half-hearted attempt, but the clog was as clogged as ever.  I jumped in the shower after reminding the kids to use our ensuite (really it's a closet with a toilet and sink, but "ensuite makes us sound so high-brow.")

In walks the husband.  "Did you fix it?"

I raised my eyebrows.  Does it look like I fixed it?  I hear him flush and plunge.   "I already did that," I shout over the noise of my interrupted shower.

"It's broken," he declares.  "We'll have to call the plumber."

I silently agree that it does look that way and my memory flashes back to a year ago when we shelled out several hundred bucks on a new toilet after the plumber happily cleared the plastic toy that broke our bathroom.

"Let's buy a snake," I said, and we added that to our growing list of Saturday morning errands.

"Brooky," I tried, as we drove to the city, "what did you flush down the toilet?"

"I don't flush down toilet," she says.

I try again. "What toy is in the toilet?"

"I don't put toy in toilet."  She seems to be honest.  One thing about Brooklynn, she's terrible at being sneaky.

"Did you put clothing in the toilet?" I suggested.

She laughs.  "No."

"I flush toilet paper," she says, helpfully.

"How much," I probe.

"One!" And that's it.  So essentially, I got nothing.

So we left, went about our day, and returned from the city with a shiny new plastic snake for $13.97 from Wal-Mart.  It doesn't say "toilet," on it, so we're dubious about whether or not it'll work.  Let alone whether or not we even know how to use it.  But it's the only one they had, so the hubby grabbed it.  Probably can't return it after using it if it's the wrong kind but, hey, we've thrown away money on lesser things before.

After my husband heads to bed and the kids are occupied, I slip on to the computer and google "How to unclog a toilet."  It's informative.  There's the plunger demonstration (did you know that the plunger without the bell is meant for a sink?), then the advice to fill your bowl with vinegar and baking soda and leave it overnight (this only works on "organic" clogs, and not invisible toys that no one remembers having flushed), and then there's the video demonstration about how to use a snake or a wire coat hanger to break the clog up.

A wire coat hanger?  Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that?  I scour the bedrooms looking for a wire coat hanger.  Plastic, plastic, plastic, wood (Wood?), plastic.  What the hell?  Who am I, Joan Crawford?  Where the hell are all the wire coat hangers?

Snake it is. Armed with my new shiny kitchen sink snake and a pair of rubber gloves (must remember not put them back under the kitchen sink) I go to battle.

I flush first (hope springs eternal for this optimist) and plunge like mad a couple dozen times.  Nothing.  Just a deeper pool of murky water. Dumbass!  I can't see a thing.

I read the directions on the snake and start feeding it into the toilet.  It goes in fairly far.  A few feet.  Then it stops.  So I tighten the screw to hold it in place and I start cranking.  And cranking.  And cranking.

Nothing happens.  I pull it out and plunge again, not quite sure what to expect.  I repeat this exercise in futility for about twenty minutes, my hopes sinking fast.  Struck by inspiration, or stupidity, I decide that unless I can see what's going on down there, I won't get anywhere.  And so, with an old garbage can and a bucket, I start to bail.

Yeah, I gagged a couple of times, I'll admit it.  And I had horrible visions of tripping on a toy on my way to the other toilet with my bucket of sludge, but I made it without spilling a drop.

And I went back to snaking.  And flushing. And plunging.  And bailing.  I had a real rhythm going for quite some time.  And the more I plunged and snaked, the more determined I became.

Until... suddenly... bubbles!  Bubbles in my cesspool, like a primordial swamp.  BUBBLES!  I was ecstatic.  Harder I cranked, leaning against the toilet for leverage (yeah, I'll be doing laundry later), cranking  and cranking until I heard a gurgle and a glunk and what was left of my soup suddenly slipped down the drain.Three flushes later the water is running clear.  And fast. I swear it's flushing better than it was before the clog.

"I'm a genius!" I shouted, to whoever would listen.  "I fixed it!  Come bask in the glory that is your Mom!" I'm feeling pretty psyched right now (psyched?  Do people still use that word or did I just date myself?) Some Toilet Duck and Mr. Clean and my commode is sparkling again.  Vinegar and baking soda, fizzing away in the garbage can, and our plunger and snake are soaking in homemade disinfectant.

And that's how it's done!

Monday, August 10, 2015


Last week I participated in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.  We have a coworker, Jody, who wanted to try this last year.  I read the list of items and said, "No way, not going to happen."  As did everyone else in our office.  So without any support from us, she didn't sign up.  Optimistically, she asked us again this year, but for some reason, this time a few of us said, "Sure, what the heck!" and threw our names into the fire... probably because she moved to Salmon Arm in May and we realized the hole she left in our office... or maybe because she just finally wore us down!

So... long story short, I signed up for GISHWHES along with 3 other coworkers and a few friends and family.  At the end of registration we had a respectable team of 13, only 2 short of the required 15.  We were the Impalas, ready and waiting, and I was pretty freakin' nervous.  This isn't your average scavenger hunt...

Gishbot (the computer that generates all things Gishy) assigned us our last two members, a lovely American couple stationed at a military base in Germany, their team being Battle Appa, and we were reborn, "Impalas Love Battle Appa!" 

Jody arrived in Vanderhoof the night before the challenge, planning to stay for a few days.  We had no idea how this was going to go but were excited for Saturday morning to see the list which would be posted the next morning, at 6am. We gathered at Sylvia's house for brunch at 10 on August 1st, called up our Germany peeps on Skype, and plotted our way through a rather daunting, 216 item list assigning the seemingly impossible items to various team members.

Now we weren't able to achieve everything on the list (I don't have access to a military helicopter and a humvee to complete one of the items, and funding to head to the Great Wall of China was in short supply), but between the 15 of us, we gave what we feel was a pretty freakin' respectable showing.  Turns out we have some pretty wild, completely uninhibited, awesome people with some pretty decent connections.  I surprised myself, too. I did things that I would never have dreamed of doing. I did things I've wanted to do but haven't ever made time for. I shared things I never would have shared with coworkers, and they slipped a little further outside of the "coworker" role and into the friend role.  All in the name of mayhem and goodwill.  

I can't wait to do this again, next year!  I'll probably be caught up on sleep by then!

Here's just a smattering of the items we managed to check off the list:
Recreate an optical illusion...

We weren't able to to submit this because the actor playing Arrow never retweeted our brony homage, but I'm still pretty pleased with how this turned out and count it as a win, regardless.

Jody and Kirstin putting inspiration bookmarks in the lockers at High School.

Our conspiracy theorist party

Ancient Egypt, cosplayed

The kale tutu we sewed for Kirstin to model in front of our town landmark

Our going away party for a board game that we then donated to the local transition house

Jody's macramed holster (notice how long Jody's hair is in the photo... she cut 13 inches off to donate for one of the items!)

Jody and Andy, donating supplies to a school art program

Mary Lou reading "Call of the Wild" to dogs at our poorly attended Storytime (for dogs) in the park

My Dad's sketch of Stephen Harper turning into a Clicker Zombie

The post office workers doing a conga line

Peddling hugs at the Farmer's Market

Jody donating a backpack of school supplies to Neighbourlink

Lady and the Tramp, the classic scene

Our "Your bedroom is a pigsty" interpretation

A dress made out of flowers and foliage set against a contrasting urban back drop

Sylvia's Leaning Tower of Pizza

Camaflouge three people in a domestic setting. Laundry day, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone.  And yes, there are three little people in that phote.

Our team (almost), dawning our moustaches.  

My Supernatural short story using only letters from the periodic table, no more than once.

There's a ghost working at a local coffee shop

Nice buns, Leia!  Tammy's gluten free Princess Leia.

Tracy's children who, apparently, are half alien!

Wes and Michelle's storm trooper, resigned to working in an office setting since the Death Star left him unemployed.

Robert's car meets Mary Lou's talent!

The Gishwhes drink special that the Byrons created.  It was a short-lived phenomenon.  

And so much more! I think we completed approximately 100 items, but we weren't able to count them all before the site closed down.  Next year... next year we top that! :)

Whew.  Now only 72 more days until Nanowrimo...


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sheer, muddy joy!

The first jump was all her idea!  We didn't see it coming.  After that... well, the dress is probably ruined anyway, so I figured we might as well let her have fun!