Monday, November 21, 2011

Things are looking up...

Hi. I know I haven't written here in while. I was struck with a bad case of writer's block. It seems to have abated for now. Things are good.  Things are better. Alex and I are no longer plagued with an unending cough and the fatigue that goes with it. I'm busy. He's BUSY. Too much for one post. These pictures pretty much sum up my life right now.


Sunday, August 21, 2011


Finished. by Pinkbrain and Mr.Chicken
Finished., a photo by Pinkbrain and Mr.Chicken on Flickr.
So this baby is done. Done like dinner. I finally started liking it again, just in time to mail off to someone else. This was so much fun and so hard making something for someone else.

It's funny. I made it for my partner, but it's very much ME at the same time. I guess that's how it goes.
I was sad to see it go, but I didn't have to mourn its loss for very long. The day after I mailed this one out, I received my little doll quilt made especially for me! It's a beauty. I'll post a photo of it tomorrow.

Friday, August 12, 2011

13149 days old

I don't feel a day over 13000 days old :)
Yep it's my birthday. I turn 36 today. It's not so bad, at least it's not 40 (husband turned the 4-0 this year).
Alex shares the same birthday as people like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Frida Kahlo, Sylvester Stalone. Who do I share a birthday with?
George Hamilton who is known for his great tan and not so great acting. And this "knight"...Sir Mix A Lot.

Dance it up and shake your booty on my birthday! You're only as young as the music you listen to.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Working...and slowing figuring things out

I have been doubting myself each step of the way on this doll quilt. I have a quiet partner who hasn't been commenting on any of the photos in the pool. I'm finding it hard to make something I think she'll like, while making something I LIKE.

Is it too simple?

The fabrics on the sides are the potential border fabrics. I don't know anymore. Can't decide on anything.

Also? I'm kicking myself for not buying more of that blue star fabric. I'm seriously loving it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A tale of Three Iguanas (illustrated version)

Little baby Petrie.
She was smaller than this when we got her and she grew to 5ft long.
(the photo is a bit weird because it's a photo of a photo)

Skinny little Petrie. She used to love watching the cars go by.
We used to joke that she must have thought the buses were big white iguanas with wheels.

Pretty Petrie, glamour shot.

                                            Young Kyle acting all tough, but look at those skinny legs!

Not knowing what to make of the other...

Kyle with the gawking tourists. His skin turned orange during mating season (his leg).
Watch out gnome!

My silly husband made teeny tiny party hats for Kyle and Trixie.
The dozens of outtakes with the hat falling crack me up.

We think Trixie might be a distant relative of the Horned Iguana. 
Notice her dainty little spike at the end of her nose.
She always looks like she's smiling.

A Tale of Three Iguanas (LONG!)

When my husband and I first dating we started talking about animals. We visited many many iguanas. They seemed nice, they're hervivores, cute faces. So we adopted Petrie. When we got her she weighed 10 grams (about the weight of a Sharpie). She was teeny tiny and would sit on my finger. A lot of people get iguanas not realizing that this teeny tiny lizard can grow up to be 5 ft long (or longer). We handled her a lot, so she'd get used to people (not biting, and trips to the vet were easier as a result). When we had her for almost a year we saw a sign at the vet. Someone getting rid of an iguana almost a year older than Petrie. Kyle. He was rescued by someone who had two very big Igs. She saved him from a Fraterity house that thought he would make a fun mascot.  She did an amazing job taming him, he was such a sweetheart. The big iguanas were bullying him though so she wasn't able to keep him. So Kyle came home with us. We had many different cages for them throughout the years, but they were mostly apart. Male iguanas can get aggressive around the females.

We did try to mate them, and were almost successful. Petrie laid 67 eggs. It took all day for her to lay those eggs. We had put a giant tupperware in the cage that she would spend hours digging in until she laid the eggs. She looked completely emaciated when she was done laying the eggs (they stop eating because the eggs take up ALL the space). We had incubators ready for the eggs, although only a few looked like nice strong eggs.  One of the eggs plumped up and got bigger. Iguana eggs are soft not hard shelled like chicken eggs. One of the baby igs hatched but it wasn't doing well. It never made it out of the egg on its own. We called it Sprout. Iguana eggs (and really all reptile eggs) need a consistent temperature the entire time. If it varies even by a degree the eggs will fail. It's very difficult to breed iguanas in captivity for this reason.

Petrie and Kyle got bigger and bigger. Kyle looked much more like a male with his bigger head and dewlap (skin flap under the chin). Kyle was more turquoise, especially on his head while Petrie was a bright green. We got them through the ice storm of 1998. We were one of the lucky ones that only lost power for 5 days. Many others in the suburbs lost power for weeks in January. We kept hot water bottles on their bellies and put them under blankets. When we got our power back we took care of other people's reptiles. Two turtles, an iguana and some anoles.

When Petrie was about 4 years old we took care of an iguana that wasn't doing too well. She belonged my husband's coworker. We were only supposed to have her for a couple of weeks until she got better. Her name was Cookie. Her owners never did take her back. She was a very nervous nelly, not tame at all. We changed her name to Trixie (more fitting for a slightly crazy lizard). She never really liked being handled no matter how much we tried. I once went into the cage with a bowl of food and my purse in my hand as I was heading out the door and Trixie went berserk. Full on running around the cage in circles, I had never seen a lizard move that fast before. It was the purse. I could never show her that purse because she would react the same way every time. It must have been the paisley.

Petrie and Trixie would tolerate each other. Kyle would always try to get to the girls. He was sweet as long as he couldn't see them. If one happened to walk by his cage (if they got out or were let out) he'd PUFF UP and go up on his tippy toes, kind of like when guys are flexing. And then the bobbing would start. Iguanas bob to communicate, not having any vocal chords. He had a "hey how are you doing" single bob. He had a "hey this is MY space bob" which was a single bob followed by a couple of short bobs. Then he had the "I'm gonna cut you if you come any closer" bob. We called that one the shudder bob. Petrie's bob was more polite, tamer. Hers looked like she was listening to music, more of a side to side. Trixie, well poor Trixie never seem to get the hang of bobbing. Timing was always off and it looked kind of spastic.

When Petrie was about 8 years old, she fell off her branch one day and hurt her tail. It became infected and then got worse. I had to bathe her daily and dress the wound. Nothing really changed. She had trouble moving around and would fall even more because of it. At first we built her a hammock to lie in but she'd get out of that too. She also stopped eating so I'd have to force feed her baby food. We took her back to the vet and they took x-rays. Even worse. She was egg bound. Iguanas can produce eggs but then reabsorb them if they are fertilized. Sometimes the eggs just get stuck inside and it requires surgery. We would have had to amputate her tail and have the eggs removed. Iguanas do lose part of their tails from accidents and do regenerate tails (both Kyle and Trixie had at least a foot of tail that they regrew) But that's a lot of surgery for a small animal. So we had to put Petrie down. I was devastated. I hate to say this but Petrie was our favourite. She was our baby.

So Trixie got her side of the cage to herself, and Kyle his side. Their cage was about 6 feet cubed. It took up most of the room. When we had Alex we all stayed in one room together for a year. We tried to find someone to take the lizards, to give them a good home. We found this crazy old rich guy who owns a house JUST FOR HIS BOOKS, and he wanted the iguanas to live there. He unfortunately backed out. Soon after that Kyle started to slow down. He was getting old, and it was harder for him to get around but he was still eating. Then he stopped. We took him to the vet and they put him on antibiotics but said it could be kidney disease. Then he passed a stone the size of a ping pong ball. We thought, oh good, he passed the stone he'll be getting better. He got worse. Faster. Apparently the stone was so hard and so large that it basically destroyed all of the organ in its path as it exited. So when Kyle was 15 years old we had to put him down.

We cut down the cage and now have our bedroom that we share with Trixie. She's definitely mellowed in her old age. Not so Cray-cray anymore. Now as I write this Trixie has stopped eating too. My options were:
1. Pay $150 for a blood test to confirm kidney or liver failure. Which can't be treated.
2. Pay $30 for antibiotics in the hopes that it's just a simple infected (from a busted tail)
3. Put her down, not knowing what is wrong with her.
I opted for the antibiotics. If she doesn't get better with them, it will confirm there's something more serious wrong with her. When the vet first saw me, she asked Trixie's age. We think she's around 16 years old. She congratulated me on taking such good care of her. I know she's really old (iguanas in captivity can live up to 20 years old but the average is 4 years) but I still can't help thinking I could have done more. Paid more attention, cleaned her cage more, given her more baths, different food. So now, it looks like we're going to have to put Trixie down on Saturday.

We've been iguana owners for so long. Educating people on how hard it is to properly care for them, on what they eat, what they're like as creatures. Who knew a scaly little cold blooded lizard could have a personality? Petrie's favourite food was anything orange. We did a taste test one time and kept all of the fruits and veggies seperate instead of chopping them all together. She ate only the orange food (butternut squash and papaya). Kyle's favourite was tofu. He'd RUN to get it. Trixie loved any food, devouring a giant collard green leaf (bigger than her) in one sitting. As much as I'd grumble about having to make their food, I'm going to miss that.

May you find a nice sunny spot and some sweet fruit Petrie, Kyle and Trixie.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Walkman bag!

Walkman bag! by Pinkbrain and Mr.Chicken
Walkman bag!, a photo by Pinkbrain and Mr.Chicken on Flickr.

I've been going to the park every morning, then sewing and doing housework in the afternoons while Alex naps. Rinse, repeat.
I finally got the Walkman bag finished and mailed off. It's the exact model my partner had in the 80's. I'm hoping she likes it.

I'm working on the doll quilt but not much to show yet. Soon.

I'm working on other posts too. I know it's been a while. *blowing dust off my poor neglected blog* It's summer. You know, right?

Monday, July 11, 2011

I've been called up to the majors!

So, I've done a couple of fun little sewing swaps on Flickr. Then I saw that they were starting a new round of the Doll Quilt Swap. This to me, is like the Olympics of quilting. Some people have been quilting for decades (while many have been quilting for less time than that). So I submitted my name to the lottery. I gave them a reference (for real!). I crossed my fingers and hoped.

The day that everyone was supposed to get their partners was a very long day for me on friday. Alex had ripped my spacebar off the keyboard of my laptop and it's really slow to type without one. By 9pm when I still hadn't received a response either way, I assumed I didn't get in. Then I found out that people got rejection letters if they didn't get in. Wait. I didn't get that either! After a couple of frantic tweets and emails using the nub of a space bar on my computer I was told to check my spam. Nope not there. Finally at 10pm I got an answer. I got in! There was some sort of mixup. I was accepted, but I wasn't assigned a partner to swap with.

It got all sorted out and now I have a partner to stalk for their favourites (it's like a secret santa swap, my partner doesn't know who is making a quilt for her, nor do I know who is making mine).

The size of the quilt that I'm making has to be between 9" x 9" and 18" x 18". Some people are making some teeny tiny pieces for their teeny tiny quilts. I'm trying to keep it simple. Better to have something simple and well made than something elaborate that's a hot mess.

It's a start

Idea #1 by Pinkbrain and Mr.Chicken
Idea #1, a photo by Pinkbrain and Mr.Chicken on Flickr.

This is what I came up with so far. My partner likes modern looking quilts. Most of the people posting their ideas have been showing quilts with one pattern repeated throughout the quilt. I like the idea of mixing up different elements. The largest blocks in this drawing are 3 inches across. TINY!

DQS 11 inspiration

DQS 11 inspiration by Pinkbrain and Mr.Chicken
DQS 11 inspiration, a photo by Pinkbrain and Mr.Chicken on Flickr.

This is the mosaic that I made for my partner of quilts that I like. There's so many amazing ones to choose from.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A bit of summer fun!

The second long weekend in a row and this past weekend was enjoyable. It was nice out and we got to enjoy it as a family. It's been a while. We went up to Mount-Royal which is a huge park in the middle of the city (we locals call it a mountain even though it's only 800 ft tall).
We did the gentle walk up and the steep down the stairs straight into downtown path.
Best way to see the mountain.

View from the top. (Could I be any more freckled?)

A little soccer after our picnic lunch.

Oh the climbing!

We even had time to discover a new element. Alexonium.

 The playground on the mountain was fun for everyone!
Best. Photo. Ever.

Remember the box kite we were building? It finally had its first flight. It really flew!

Finally, I got another project finished. A summer quilt for a friend. This quilt came together quickly which made it fun.

If a Quilt were a Tree Drawing Quilt

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shameless self-promotion (Vote for ME!)

The (naptime) Pillowcase dress

So I've seen this tutorial a lot and wanted to try it out. The original design uses an old pillowcase. I do not have any sassy looking pillowcases, so it's my version of a pillowcase dress. I made it for the daughter of a friend and it was so easy to make. From start to finish it took me an hour and a half. That's including putting on a load of laundry in that time. I tried it on Mister when he woke up from his nap. He was not impressed. He just kept saying "no, no, no". Funny since he doesn't even know what a dress is! It's a fun little dress and it will probably fit the girl until she's 5. I think I need to make more of these, they're so cute!

In other "hey look at me!" news, I've entered a contest and I'm a finalist! My favourite local sewing shop is holding a contest to name their new privilege-discount card. They asked people to come up with a name for the card, and then they would select 5 finalists The contest details and all the entries can be found here. The finalist with the most votes wins a free member card (worth 50$). I'm asking everyone to help me win by voting for the name Couture Club. I would be very grateful if you could head on over to Emeline & Annabelle's blog to vote for me! The contest ends Monday June 27th at noon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Slow progress

Hi there to all my new WIP (work-in-progress for my regular, non-quilty readers) Wednesday friends!

I've been working on this quilt since, February? It's a pattern from Freckled Whimsy called Random Reflections. It was a lot of calculated sewing (and seam ripping) to make it "random".

I like how the straight line quilting (well, semi straight lines) looks in the center, but it's tiring and I think I want something different for the orange/pink part. I was thinking of doing large semi circles, covering both the pink and the aqua on the ends. Almost like water ripples. What do you think? I can't lower the feed dogs on my old sewing machine so I'm limited in how I can quilt it, no stippling (translation: loopy scribbly quilting). Any ideas?

Also? Can anyone tell me how to add a button to my blog?

Linked here:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Toddler Art School: Lesson 1 - It's all in the name

One thing I learned from art school is that it doesn't matter what the art object looks like, it's all about the title. I saw way too many examples of feces art (seriously were all the artists in the 60's and 70's artists completely stoned?) that really had nothing to do with visual art at all. Some of my snapperhead classmates picked up on this and would draw a giant X as their final drawing assignment, calling it 48:34 (the time it took them to draw the X until their pencil was all used up).

My young grasshopper has learned early the importance of naming his work. This of course thrilled me to bits! Woo hoo! A drawing developmental milestone! Behold:

"Airplane" Which really sounds more like hairplayne.

"Sunshine!" Sunshine is always an exclamation.

It's really cool to see when that hampster is working in that brain of his. He's processing information and putting words to it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Box kite, bee blocks, birthday planning.

Box kite by Pinkbrain and Mr.Chicken
Box kite, a photo by Pinkbrain and Mr.Chicken on Flickr.
I've been sewing. A lot. Bee blocks. 80's swap. A quilt for a friend. A Hawaiian shirt for my brother-in-law (he loves Hawaiian shirts and he loves golf and I found the perfect fabric...I don't usually sew for him), and this bad boy.

A kite. A box kite. A very large, we-only-have-space-to-store-it-on-the-ceiling kite. A kite designed by an engineer with the help of a program from NASA. We went to fly it on Friday afternoon but the wind vanished when we went outside. Then it was too windy on Saturday, and it rained all day Sunday. Maybe next weekend.

Alex has been napping well most days. He's grown two more teeth (they were fast and painful this time, as opposed to the slow and painful molars). We're at the park almost every day (I know the local daycares and nannies schedules at the park quite well now) and Alex is full of words. Sentences! Three word sentences. My favourite from this week "Daisy, window. Funny" when Daisy was lounging in the track for the windows.
I'm trying to figure out what to do for his birthday party. Low key, maybe in the park, perhaps a cake with a cement mixer on it. I don't have any of that "awww my baby is turning 2 years old" that some of my friends are experiencing. Am I a bad mother if I say that I like Toddler Alex a little bit more than I liked Baby Alex? He's trouble sometimes, but also very sweet and generous with hugs. He keeps me on my toes (literally...I had to break into a sprint to catch him after he escaped from the fenced off playground).

He's a monkey alright!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Like totally awwwesome!

I've joined an 80's sewing swap. Here's my inspiration mosaic that I made for my potential partner.

I'm having a really tough time thinking up what to make for my partner. I'd post her inspiration mosaic but it's a secret swap and I don't want to spoil the fun.

So what's your favourite part of the 80's? The movies? The music? The toys?
Or none of it?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Picking apart my brains

So, I've have this uhh sculpture in our closet for 11 years now. I made it in university in my printing and dyeing textile class (or as my husband liked to call it, Pure and Applied Basketweaving). I spent so much time dyeing and printing this fabric. I made a rubber stamp and stamped it by hand. It had two colours, so that was another 12 hours of work. That was before I even started sewing. I think I ran out of steam at the end. The result was not quite how I imagined it. I've kept most of my art projects, this one taking up a lot of space in my closet. Good thing the ceilings are high, it occupied the way up high spot.

I decided to take it apart and reuse the fabric, since really the fabric was the best part of the project. I carefully picked it apart (picking my brains, HA) and then looked for a quilt pattern using strips.

Brains. Buh bye.

I love how the orange transitions into the pink.

My assistant. Getting in the shot again.
(I swear she's not a pelt, it's just the way her fur looks)

The other fabrics I picked to go with a side of brains.

Photo courtesy Emeline & Annabelle

I'm really happy with how the quilt is turning out and getting to keep that fabric is awesome. This quilt with the colours that make my husband cringe is mine. ALL MINE. It's kind of nice making something for myself!

In other Pink Brain related news, let me introduce you to my fabric design! How cool is this?

Sweetie approved (not a pelt).

I made this thanks to Spoonflower. It's really easy. You upload a drawing or photo. You can alter the colours or the layout (a bit) and voila! They digitally print the fabric for you. This is a 8x8 inch swatch. You can also put the fabric to be public so you can sell it (more expensive than regular fabric but not by much). You then get 10% of all the fabric sales (not that I think there's a huge market for Pink Brains). I'd be happy if anyone bought some!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Freckles, Fresh Air and Flying Insects

The weather has been getting nicer and warmer here. Most days anyways. We've gotten into a nice routine where we go to the park in the morning, come home and have lunch then Alex goes down for a nice long nap. My freckles have exploded from all this outdoor time. Of course, just when I start planning things for me to do during his great naps, he gets sick. Again. Poor kid. Another cough that keeps him up at night and doesn't even let him nap during the day. It's getting better now but the past weekend was rough. No sleeping, no napping and an exhausting trip to Grandma's house. Doesn't matter how crabby he is, he always has fun at the park.

Someone is happy about spring.

More someones happy about spring as well!

Before he got sick I was getting a lot of sewing done. Actually finishing some stuff too!
 Here's some of my works in progress (there's actually more than this too, I'm a busy bee).

More on this one later.
This bad boy just need to be quilted and bound and then it's done
. I think it'll make a nice picnic blanket!

This fun little pillow was easier than I thought it would be!
(Tutorial here).
First thing Alex did when I gave it to him?
 He stood on it. Then threw it. Then hugged it. Toddler approved.

Another doll quilt almost done. Super secret project.

Last weekend we went with my friend to see the butterflies at the Botanical Gardens. Those butterflies were not shy, swooping by our heads! Alex loved seeing them, even if he got a little crabby with all the crowds (I was pretty crabby about the crowds too).

 This past weekend we went to the petting zoo at a local mall. Best part was the peacock.

Why did the chicken cross the peacock?
To get to the other side!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An encounter with the Terrible Two Monster

It exists. I met it yesterday, I'm not a fan.

Alex and I went for a lovely walk to the park. It was a nice spring day and the playground was open! Alex got to play in for the first time since November. Happy kid! The monster came when I tried to get him to leave. He started to fuss so I gave him a few more minutes. No go. He freaked out and had to be carried all the way home. I even got some celebrity stink eye on the way home (from a local politician). For my readers without kids let me describe the TANTRUM (totally needs all caps):

Picture yourself on Survivor. It's day 27. You're hungry, you're smelly. Tribal council is tonight. You go for a nice walk to clear your head. You're walking through the woods when you spot a wild boar. Score! Instead of going back to camp to get big strong hulky Colby to hunt the boar you have the brilliant idea to catch it yourself. Amazingly you catch it and pick it up. The boar is smallish, but still about 25-30 lbs. It starting kicking and squealing furiously in your arms, but you're not letting go, you don't want to get voted off the island. After 5 minutes of struggle as you walk you think, the boar's tired. Maybe he'll just walk nicely beside me, like Babe. He's a good pig. So, stupidly, you put down the wild boar. It tears off in the opposite direction of course, because hello?? it's a wild boar! You miraculously catch it again and continue carrying it back to camp. Kicking. And. Screaming. Once back at the camp? That boar does in fact turn back into Babe the pig, with all his please and thank yous. Baaa ram you!

Not fun. I was however rewarded though with a three hour nap after that. Sooooo tired.

In completely unrelated news (umm there were trees at the park, so it's sort of related if you squint...)
I'm doing a guest spot on Curiosity's blog Emotional Umbrella. Willing guinea pigs are submitting trees they've drawn to my semi-expert analysis. Draw a tree, get analyzed. If you want to submit a tree you can find out details here. Curiosity is collecting the trees until this coming Wednesday April 6th if you'd like to get in on the fun.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I spy with my little eye....

...a quilt that's finished! This I Spy quilt is my first bigger sized quilt. I've learned a lot about quilting while making it. I've definitely got the quilting bug! I'm working on a second quilt (just for fun using lots of PINKS because I can) and I might just make a quilt for our bed too!

I'm looking at the photos of the quilt and you can't see any of the mistakes in it, unless it's right under your nose. The binding (the border) was machine stitched on the front but hand stitched on the back so I spent a lot of evenings with it. I wanted the framing of the squares to be neutral since the blocks already had so many colours in them. I worried it looked too dark for a kid's quilt, but the colours definitely POP!

It's square and not meant for his crib. I just like the way it drapes

 When Alex first saw it the first thing he noticed was "APPLE!". He's since noticed the mittens and "full" cup of hot chocolate as well. Fun!
(The colours are more accurate in the first photo,
hard to take a picture of it without
 a clothesline or fence to hang it on like all the quilting bloggers do)

It's already been put to the Kitty Tackle test!