Saturday, July 25, 2009
That's right folks: Six years of reading, writing, editing, transcribing, case studying, and drinking far too much coffee have come to an end. TDSH is now Dr. TDSH! Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
For those of you not familiar with the finer points of a thesis defense, the event starts with a 20-minute presentation by the candidate, two rounds of questioning by the committee (in this case, five people who took 15 minutes each for the first round and then five minutes each for the second), and questions from the audience (it's open to the public - just to add another layer of cruelty to the event) before the candidate and audience are kicked out of the room for deliberations. After that, only the candidate is invited back to hear the verdict.
At first I wasn't going to join in the fun, opting instead to take the day off work and spend the morning biting my nails from the comfort of my own couch. But when TDSH specifically asked me to be there, I couldn't say no.
I'd have to say that this is probably as close as I'll get to experiencing the helpless feeling that fathers must get while watching their wives go through labour.
He did a fantastic job of the presentation and handled what I thought were rather challenging questions with ease. To say that I am proud of him is a complete understatement.
I managed to snap a few pics of the lovely thesis defense room before everything got started.
So, know of anyone looking to hire a recent graduate with expertise in sustainable community development? If you do, please post their contact info in the comments section ;-)
Monday, July 20, 2009
I've had a stack of old t-shirts languishing in my craft cupboard for months without any ideas about what to do with them. It always seems such a waste to get rid of t-shirts that are in perfectly good shape, but just don't seem to fit right. I'm proud to say I thought this pattern up all on my own and sat down the other evening to whip one up after work.
- Figure out how long the skirt needs to be; either measure your child or use an existing skirt as a guide.
- Take that measurement and add approximately 1.5 inches for the waistband.
- Measuring up from the finished hem of your previously-loved t-shirt, mark your measurement.
- Cut the t-shirt at the line you just marked. [I found it helpful to fold the t-shirt vertically a few times before cutting. Knit material is a pain to work with, so making a shorter cut is easier than trying to stay in line for a longer cut.]
- Fold the unfinished edge in about .5 inches and then about 1 inch again to make a channel for the elastic waistband, pinning in place as you go.
- With the wrong side out, sew the bottom edge of the channel being sure to leave about 1 inch open in order to feed in the elastic later on.
- Make a second line of stitching just along the top edge of the waistband channel (i.e. about 1-2 mm from the top of the skirt). For whatever reason, that stitching will ensure the elastic won't fold over down the road.
- Measure your child around the waist and add about 1.5 inches to your measurement. Cut your elastic to length and attach a safety pin to one end and feed it through the channel. [I used 1-inch elastic for this skirt.]
- Overlap the ends of the elastic and stitch securely together.
- Even out the gathering on the waistband and stitch up the opening you left earlier.
That's it! You're done. Pretty easy, eh?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
No, I want to write a post about all those indispensible little items that get you through the day as a parent, but no one thought to give you at your baby shower. So without further ado, here are my...
TEN THINGS NO NEWISH PARENT SHOULD BE WITHOUT (in no particular order [though if I had to pick, I'd say number 1, 8 and 10 are pretty important])
- OxiClean Baby: Babies pooh lots. It leaks. 'nuf said.
- IKEA washcloths: Babies make messes out the other end too. These come in a pack of ten -- buy two. Also useful for milk sprayage, so buy three.
- Internet access: Keeps you sane through those early days and is very helpful for keeping relatives abreast of the latest developments. YouTube can also be good for entertaining particularly fussy babies ['cause watching the computer isn't nearly as bad as sitting them infront of the TV now is it?]
- A phone: Not for the reason you'd think. Yes, it's also useful for keeping relatives abreast of the latest developments, but it makes an even better toy. Extra points if your phone will play music instead of just beep when you press the buttons.
- Pampered Chef prep bowls: Once your child starts eating solid foods, you learn the frustration that is a toddler's appetite. In my experience, meals get started, but rarely finished so the containers come in handy for the eight million leftovers that continually cycle through the fridge.
- Remote control: 'cause I've never met a baby who didn't love 'em.
- Baby Tylenol: We swore we'd never use the stuff...then Abner had her first fever.
- Soap: Lots and lots of soap. I've never washed my hands more than since becoming a parent. Seriously considering investing in Lever.
- Straws: Useful for making rehydration a little easier in those early days of breastfeeding when it was really a hands-on affair. Also good for hours of entertainment for the little one - it's helpful that they are so easy to find (try any Starbucks) when you're out and about and realize that your child just dropped the only toy you brought along for the day about six blocks back.
- Bathroom scale: Not so you can obsess over those last 10 pounds of baby weight, but so you can toss it in front of the baby and, ahem, 'do your business' in peace. Digital scales are particularly good since they have numbers that light up for added entertainment value. Be sure to store the scale within arms reach of the toilet or it will be no good to you!
There you have it. All you new parents out there can thank me later.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
A few weeks ago, TDSH kindly offered to give it a try and as you can see from the photo - Abner was as horrified as I was at the thought.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Back in mid-June we went on a little jaunt to Maplewood Farm in North Van. This is the kind of place that is so well hidden, you wouldn't even know existed if you didn't have kids of your own. They have all kinds of farm animals to look at including miniature horses - they're Abner's size! You probably can't tell from these photos, but we decked Abner out in her best farmer outfit just for the occasion: overalls and her farm shirt from H&M.
After the farm, we popped over to the Seymour Golf Club for a friendly game of minigolf. Even though I haven't played minigolf in many, many years, and had a 22 lb baby strapped to my back, I still managed to kick TDSH's butt...by one stroke.
We also recently took Abner on her first real hike. We picked a rather tame one to start out with: Minnekada Regional Park in PoCo. We chose a route that would take less than two hours: long enough to feel like we accomplished something, but short enough that we could motor back if need be.
In addition to the wonderful scenery, we saw lots of snakes, toads and quite a bit of bear scat. There are signs up in the area warning of bears, but we had our very own little bear bell: Abner was rather fussy and skwaked most of the way.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
In my book, 9:45 is bright and early on a holiday morning. Not so for other people it seems. By the time we got there, all the picnic tables were taken, people had tents set up and were sitting on the benches sipping coffee and gazing out at the bea-u-tiful inlet.
Not getting a picnic table turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It forced us to take up a patch of grass just beyond the main picnic area. It turned out to be an ideal spot - sheltered from the hordes of people and the constant wind with lots of shady spots to get out of the sun, and just small enough that most folks didn't feel comfortable joining us in our clearing (except for the gaggle of girls who plunked themselves down for a few hours in the afternoon).
As we waited for the rest of my family to arrive, Abner had a blast tearing around the clearing and running down the little hill our blanket was set upon. There is something so cute about watching a new-walker attempt to walk down hills...you know they're going to hit a speed where their little legs just can't keep up, and you really should go after them to help out, but it's just so funny to see them inevitably pinwheel out of control and wipeout.
TDSH took her down to the water after lunch. It was a bit cold for her so she practiced her dance moves on the beach instead. The girl has got some moves!
Maryn may be the younger of the two, but she's wily - I don't think Abner ever succeeded in getting either one away from her.
I found this adorable, adorable, ADORABLE flannel on my last trip to Fabricana and couldn't resist using it for this project. It's from the Urban Flannel collection by Valerie Wells if you're interested. You won't find it in with the rest of the cheesy baby flannelette...it's in with their regular quilting stock.
- After prewashing and ironing your chosen fabrics, cut each one into a square (or as close as you can get to square)
- Lay the two squares right sides together and pin the corners
- Lay your batting on top of the fabric and pin it in place
- Trim batting to the same size as your fabric
- With the batting side up, sew up three sides of the square plus about 2/3 of the fourth side (you have to have the batting side up otherwise the feed dogs on your machine won't be able to feed the fabric through properly)
- Trim your corners before turning right side out
- Fold in the edges of the opening you left earlier and pin together
- Sew up the opening leaving as much of a seam allowance as you want (I always go with the width of the presser foot)
- Continue sewing around the rest of the blanket so that you have a nice top-stitched edge
Now you'll have a rather baggy looking blanket so you'll need to do a little bit of quilting so everything will stay in place...
- Measure about six inches to the right of the needle on your machine and mark that spot with tape or a felt marker
- At each corner of your blanket, mark six inches from the edge on both the vertical and horizontal axis and mark each spot with pins
- On the machine, line the blanket up with the tape and with one set of pins as your starting point
- Sew up each side keeping the edge of the blanket flush with the tape
- As you get to each set of pins, make the turn to go up the next side. When you've done all four, you're done.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 t cream of tartar (a byproduct of the wine making process in case you're interested)
1 t oil
1/4 cup salt
- mix all the ingredients in a large pot over medium heat
- continue to heat and stir until your arm feels ready to fall off and everything comes together into one solid mass
- if your dough is still looking a bit sticky, continue heating and stirring a bit longer
- can be coloured with store-bought food colouring or with natural dyes like beet juice
This recipe makes a pretty small amount so you may want to double it as I did for the birthday boy. Keep the finished product in an air tight container when not in use.
I can't wait to make Abner her first batch!