Had a mini-l@w school reunion recently with my “small group” classmates. These are folks who I saw every single day, in every single class first year. I must admit, I have lost touch with many as I’ve dipped in and out of the workforce on my two maternity leaves. It was so much fun to see them all – all grown up, absolutely looking the part. We’re not even four years out, but I’ve got classmates working high-profile criminal cases, starting their own firms, leaving high-profile l@w jobs to run start-ups, and more. It’s so exciting to all of us actually became practising lawyers and most of them are working in the fields they wanted to be in. Even people whom I remember talking to about their uncertainty about the l@w, or who were worried about finding positions. We all did it! I have no idea if it’s representative of the school, or the particular time that we graduated, but it really made me quite proud.

Sad Bunny

P brings home lots of art from daycare. I often wonder how much of a hand he had in it because he does not like to draw much. He does enjoy gluing things to other things. Most of it gets hung up, at least temporarily, in our kitchen, then I take a picture of it and eventually recycle it. Every once in a while he brings home a piece that just breaks my heart, in the best way. I don’t know what it is about this bunny – the one ear, the sad little frown, the bits of toilet paper still clinging to the roll. But this one is being stored in the treasure box.


Quilting 101

My quilt

Two weeks ago I decided, somewhat on the spur of the moment, to take a quilting class at my local sewing lounge, Spool of Thread (which, by the way, is a very cool place with loads of gorgeous fabrics and very friendly owners.) I’ve always been intrigued by quilting, but somewhat intimidated.

The class was a Quilt in a Day class, where we did a simple patchwork quilt. I had so much fun! Sewing at a machine can be a bit of a solitary pursuit, so it was fun to do it in a group where we could chat, commiserate and, most of all, learn from each other. in the course I learned some basics of cutting, piecework and so on. I did learn that it’s a bad idea to choose a very geometric print for a patchwork quilt, but I still think it turned out quite nicely for a first effort! Excuse the picture – I had a tough time taking a good one and it was very dark.

Snuggle-tested and P approved!

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress

I was listening to CBC Radio 2 this morning and the host was talking about four stages of learning.  As summarised by Wikipedia, they are:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence
    The individual neither understands nor knows how to do something, nor recognizes the deficit, nor has a desire to address it.
  2. Conscious Incompetence
    Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, without yet addressing it.
  3. Conscious Competence
    The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires a great deal of consciousness or concentration.
  4. Unconscious Competence
    The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it becomes “second nature” and can be performed easily (often without concentrating too deeply). He or she may or may not be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

I think with my sewing right now, I am somewhere between two and three.  I have enough knowledge to plow (plough?) ahead, but I often make mistakes.  Still, I learn from these mistakes, which is great!

This week I decided to make a dress for M from an Oliver + S pattern I bought a few months ago. I’m quite pleased at how it turned out. It was definitely not perfect, mostly because of the fabric I chose, a light knit. Working with stretchy fabric definitely takes practice, but given that it’s January (or was when I made this), I wanted something warmer than a simple cotton. If I did it again, I might make the yoke and hem from a cotton and the rest of the dress from jersey, although I’d definitely have to prewash in that case.

The hem and notched pockets are a bit wonky. But I really liked the curve of the pockets. I used this method for achieving smooth corners from April 1930s and it was so much easier than trying to iron them under “freehand.”

M showing off her ice-cream dres

I’m sure I’ll make this dress again and I suspect it will go a lot faster the second time.

Super Easy Tomato Sauce

Now that my return to work is imminent, I am starting to think about meal-planning.  I’ve so enjoyed having time to cook lots of meals while I’ve been on maternity leave.  While pregnant, I suffered from evening sickness for most of the pregnancy, so J did the lion’s share of the cooking.  But during the last eight months I’ve really gotten to “know” the kitchen again.  Last night I had a nice meal planned, but realised I’d forgotten to buy a key ingredient.  I happened to notice a tomato sauce recipe on Smitten Kitchen. The ingredient list was so simple that even I, in my grocery delinquency, had all ingredients on hand.  It’s a perfect weeknight recipe, when you’re also dashing out of the kitchen to fold laundry or tend to a snotty baby.

Time needed: 45 minutes

You need:
Spaghetti (or other pasta)
28-oz tin of whole plum tomatoes
5 tbsp of butter
one onion
parmesan cheese (optional, but recommended)

Put the tin of tomatoes and butter in a pan.  Slice the onion in half and peel it, and throw it in.  Let the mixture simmer away, stirring occasonally to break up the tomatoes.  When you only have 15 or 20 minutes left, begin making the
pasta and grating the cheese.  Once the sauce has simmered for 45 minutes, remove the onion and serve the sauce over the pasta.
Sprinkle some cheese on top if desired.  Salt to taste.  That’s it!

I was skeptical, but even J, who loves his seasonings, really liked it and was astonished there was nothing else in it.

In my quest to eat something green or something orange every night, I also served it with some lightly steamed broccoli and carrots on the side.

Steve from Blue’s Clues

I’ve always had a soft spot for Steve from Blue’s Clues – the lovable, friendly guy who appears in the first few seasons of the kid’s show. Even before I had a baby, I remember thinking, this is the kind of show I’d let my kids watch. Maybe it’s because Steve reminds me a little of my older brother.

Steve has left the show, but I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Moth, and I was so excited when I realized he was about to be on. If you’ve never heard The Moth, it’s a podcast of personal stories, with a different speaker every week, sort of a spoken-word memoir. The stories are 10 or 15 minutes in length on any topic – some are funny and some are tragic. Steve’s is wonderful, especially if you’ve ever wondered what its like to be one of those always peppy, happy children,s show hosts. He talks about the “fameishness” that came with being on such a popular kids show, and it’s pretty funny if you’ve ever seen the show. I think my favorite line was when he’s on a date and overhears someone saying “I think that’s Steve from Blue’s Clue’s… and he’s with an escort…”. Take a listen.

First post

It’s really liberating to start a blog, fresh and new.  I’ve had a few web presences over the year, wedding blogs, garden blogs, crafting blogs, website design blogs, none of them updated very frequently.  It’s somewhat exhausting to think about how much content I’ve spewed about myself online.  Suddenly it occured to me – instead of three or four rarely updated blog, why not just have ONE?  So simple. But I took a big step and deleted every one a few days ago.  So here we are!  Still figuring out the menus and so on, but stay tuned!