Monday, February 28, 2011

Science Sews, Sautes, and SWAPS!

I'm feeling the need to:
1) Get inspired;
2) Make something that I truly want to make; and,
3) Send my love to a friend, in the form of a gift.

What better way to fulfill all these requirements than a craft swap!? Linnea suggested trivets/pot holders, which I think is absolutely perfect for this particular project.

All you need to do is:
1) Tell me that you're awesome and want to join;
2) Make 2 pot holders/trivets for your secret swapper;
3) Send your present;
4) Receive your present;
5) Love your present; and,
6) Tell Kim to stop making lists.

These trivets can be made of fabric, cinnamon sticks, unicorn horns, or whatever your heart desires and whatever you can get your hands on. I am saying 2 trivets, but am willing to negotiate with any dissenters :)

Inspiration from:,,,,,

(I just had an AHA moment. After looking up pics of trivets, I realized that pot holders and trivets are 2 different things...not always interchangeable, as it would be difficult to pick up a pot with something hard, like slabs of wood, despite them being perfect trivets. Not that any of us are practiced in the art of woodworking and likely to send wood trivets...I'm just saying. Not the same thing. I say we stick to trivets, and if they also serve to pick up pots, then no one is complaining.)

I will set up a swap on Elfster, a secret santa site. The site will automatically pick names for us (sneakily and secretly), AND it has some neat like perks, like being able to post things that you like or dislike, and you can even send anonymous questions to your secret partner!!

Will 3 weeks be enough to finish this project? Can we say that projects have to be sent off by March 28th?

If you're interested in participating, let me know by THIS Friday, Mar. 4th. I will send out invites as I receive responses, and then will set up the picking of names to occur on MONDAY. So please, sign up for Elfster as soon as you receive your invite as I don't want anyone to be left out. That would be a disastrous disaster. DISASTROUS. disaster.

I'm late!

Ok, ok, I know this is late, and I know that Kim likely set that deadline especially for me, but you should all know that this is how I roll. A deadline is set, and then I pass something in two or three days late, pleading forgiveness and leniency, promising that the aforementioned late thing is of the highest possible caliber... Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad - it is late, and I am pleading :)

Here goes:

1a) I'm a PhD student now. I'm still undecided about this latest endeavor, but I've made a promise to myself to give it a shot. Here are the details. In January, I started a PhD with Rick Cunjak at UNB - Fredericton. Rick is a member of the Canadian Rivers Institute and studies several aspects of fluvial systems, including overwintering behaviour and ecology of juvenile Atlantic salmon. I'm hoping to answer some questions regarding differential survival among young-of-the-year parr using a combined behavioural and physiological approach. I'm not entirely sure what those questions will be right now, but hopefully I'll have a better idea within the next month or two. Most importantly, Rick is a super nice guy - funny, supportive, laid back - and has a great group of students who have been really welcoming. To help me with the physiological aspects of the study - and to maintain a presence in Sackville - I'm going to be co-supervised by a great friend and mentor at Mount Allison, Suzie Currie.

1b) Rick felt that it might be a good idea for me to spend as much time as possible in Fredericton for the first year, so I've been splitting my time between Freddie and Sackville, a week here, a week there. It's been a little difficult, but I do enjoy spending time in they city. In order to do that though, I needed a place, and so I now have an apartment!!

This is my first apartment ever. Prior to Tyson and I moving to Edmonton, I had lived with my parents. And when we got to AB we moved into a house. That's actually pretty exciting. :) I hadn't really thought of it like that before. Anyways, it's nothing super special, but its safe and I'm starting to fill it with stuff. Like that bed. and that couch. Prior to Saturday, I had been sleeping, sitting, eating, and living on a futon mattress. NOT FUN. You can't even believe how much I'm in love with the bed. Head over heals.

Anyways, hopefully over the next little while I'll be able to put some stuff on the walls and make it feel a little less sterile. (By the way, I don't know what's up with the picture, but the print over the couch isn't nearly as small/high as it looks in that photo. odd.)

2) Just call me four eyes - I now wear glasses! After years of steadily declining vision, I finally went to get my eyes checked. Ladies. It wasn't pretty. I couldn't believe what the doctor was telling me (in fact, I'm still not convinced!). Anyways, the take home message was that I had some crazy strong astigmatism and that technically, I shouldn't be driving without corrective lenses. oops. oh well! Here are the new specs:

They're orange on the inside! I totally surprised myself when I picked this pair. Typically, I don't dig orange, but somehow it makes everything bright and happy when I'm looking through these glasses, and I don't see how that could be a bad thing.

3) This is the only thing I've crafted in 4 months.

Super sad. I'm just not feeling it lately. Hopefully that will change soon. Initially, this was going to be a box bag for Tyson's mom. We were headed to Antigonish one weekend right after her birthday and I thought I would craft her a little gift. I was supposed to finish it in a night. It never happened. I had this pattern in my head, and I just couldn't make it happen. I think I cut the fabric too small but I was too stubborn to modify my design. So instead it sat in a pile in my sewing room. Finally about 6 weeks ago I felt I HAD to FINISH something, so I turned it into a little envelope bag.

Complete with contrast stitching,...

... and a zipper. I use it to hold my laptop power cords, memory keys, and external hard drive. Now that it's finished, I'm pretty happy. And, between you and me, secretly delighted that I didn't have to give it away. ;)

4) One perk of 'living' in the city is that I get to do city-like things,.. like go to the gym, eat at more than one restaurant, and go see concerts! (truthfully, Sackville is actually pretty good as far as the live music scene goes,.. for a town of 4500). Last week I went to the Hey Rosetta! show. As I think you all know, I'm a big supporter. Lead singer and primary song writer Tim Baker is an old friend from my youth choral music days and I think he's solid gold. The real deal. And not one bit hard to look at.

The show was off the hook. Buy the album (Seeds). See the show ( Embrace your inner Newfie poetic indie rocker and love life just a little bit more. Come on b'y. Do it for me.

They closed the show with this cover (filmed and posted by friend and labmate, Heather).
Yes b'y. Don't mind missus. She was part of the opening act.

5) This has likely been pretty well broadcast by now, but Dr. Tyson MacCormack, TERM Assistant Professor, Dept. Chemistry & Biochemistry, is now officially Dr. Tyson MacCormack PERMANENT TENURE-TRACK Assistant Professor, Dept. Chemistry & Biochemistry, Mount Allison University.

Which essentially means that, since receiving the official offer, I've spent the bulk of my time here:

... the more things change, the more they stay the same,..

much love,

Friday, February 25, 2011

A mixed bag...

Alright, well I guess it’s my turn. This ,by the way, was an awesome idea – gold star for Kim!

I was thinking I didn’t have much to report, given that 2010 was over, and I vowed to never pack so much into a short amount of time again. As it turns out, there’s still a few things to talk about, so here we go…

1. I started a PhD

I guess this is a big change. Back to the books…5 months was SOOOO not enough time to have off, but luckily I’m settling into this new reality and getting excited to spend the summer cuddling my favorite endangered tree.

Isn’t it lovely?

Needless to say, I’m spending far too much time staring at these electronic devices…

but it helps that we live here:

that was terrible of me. it just makes me happy to look at every time. Also this is how i'll convince you all to come visit! Do it!

It also helps that I hold on to the hope that I will once again been hiking in the mountains hugging (literally – that’s how you take a DBH measurement) whitebark pine. I really wasn’t sure about this decision in January, but I love working on something I care about and having the ability to (hopefully) answer the questions that interest me (as long as these questions also interest funders). Hey - it's just a few obstacles. If I don't get more research funding I will be spending more time writing math equations (please refer to the photo above of multiple computer screens and mug of coffee) and less time hugging trees. C'est la vie.

2. Craft room.

In settling into our home, I discovered that craft corner couldn't be contained in a corner anymore, and moved it into the spare bedroom. That's right ladies, you're looking at CRAFT ROOM! (please don't use that term around you-know-who...he likes to pretend it's still the "spare bedroom". Fool).

Look how cute it is!

Shelving unit courtesy of Unik printshop (Sophie moved :( ).

3. We got some new wheels

This was definitely un-planned. About 2 weeks after getting back from Asia, we got into a wee accident, totalling our beloved moz (that was our Honda's name). I use the term wee, because it was probably the slowest accident in history, but truck vs. itty bitty car solidified that we need something a bit more substantial.

This is me loading up our Christmas tree onto our CR-V. This was from the same woodlot where the owner caught us stealing a tree last year. This year, we were caught red-handed again. Not just by the woodlot owner, but by his entire immediate and extended family driving by us in a convoy of trucks hauling a huge Christmas tree, while we argued about the correct technique for wrapping rope around our tree whose needles were falling off at an alarming rate. Pathetic? Yes. But in true country-form, the woodlot owner stopped and just wanted to make sure we had a "balsam", not a spruce. (I use quotes because "balsam" is really the name for Abies lasiocarpa - or subalpine's not a balsam at all!! hahahahahahahahaha. funny.)

I think we're going to try getting a tree from crown land next year.

4. Project house.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a house, then comes caulking. No - I wish it was at least in the category of what you are thinking, but the caulking I refer to here is related to filling in the gap between the tub and the plastic insert around it to stop it from peeling off the wall and leaking through the floor. Home ownership makes me happy on a daily basis, but reminds me that no matter how many papers i have to read, how many balls of yarn need to be knit, or how many games of hockey must be played, if we don't take the time to fix things, nobody will. damnit!

i don't have a picture of the tub that needs fixing, but here's a pic of one of the few places that feels 'finished'

on the left, above the bookcase, you'll notice a herbarium press of gingko leaves - that was an xmas gift from my lovely man - also known as the best gift I've ever received. EVER! It's a press of one my all-time favorite trees - everyone has a list of fav trees right!!?!? and he collected, pressed and mounted on acid-free paper, with all the appropriate documentation for a proper herbarium mount and then had it professionally framed. He rocks my universe.
on the right is a beautiful quilting wall hanging a good friend of mine from back in Ontario made for us for our wedding. On the floor is a wicked afghan rug from my brother and his lovely wife who are expecting a baby in April - woohoo!!! (future blog posts will be riddled with baby stuff, just so you know)

5. I'm almost done with wedding stuff!

Speaking of the wedding, the end is in sight. I know I shouldn't be posting this, because it will ruin the surprise, but what the hell - i want to show the random assortment of colours I made for our thank you cards. These take forever to write, and has been a weight on my shoulders for a while. I made them with the lovely Sophie of Unik printshop back in the fall, using a full-screen. I started by trying to use the Gocco, but it was actually easier using proper screen-printing. I love them. I think they're great. I can't wait until I never have to look at them again.


hhehehe (from China)

That's all for now my friends...


Spendings spree...

Well, looks like this will be coming in right under the wire. Despite my best intentions to spend some time making this post amazing and wonderful, I'm left starting things (and hopefully finishing them...) in my 30 minute Friday lunch time break...they don't call me "Last Minute L-" for nothing! But, in an effort to meet New Year's resolutions and goals, I am pleased to announce that I don't also have to add "better late than never" to the list of cliches appearing in this post.

So without further ado...I would like to present to you L's Spending Spree: a small sampling of items and events that broke the bank. Sponsored by Nikon.

1) I bought a camera...

...or rather, the jerk who broke into my house and my wonderfully generous step-father bought be a camera. I bought a lens. I have been wanting to make the jump from a regular point and shoot to a DSLR for some time now but could never justify the expense. It is hard to justify that kind of coin when a) you don't have the money and b) you don't have a hot stinkin' clue how to operate a non-point and shoot camera. Despite the fact that it is now the most valuable thing I own combined with the fact that I have no idea how it works, I LOVE IT!! Using the auto-settings has allowed me to play around with the camera without having to understand cameras or photography. I'm confident that the rest will come in time (and with the help of some qualified professional willing to teach me). D is very adament that I learn to use it properly to ensure that I didn't just severly over pay for a point and shoot camera that's too heavy (and too BIG) to carry in my pocket. Lucky for you guys, this very expensive "point and shoot" means that my blog post is not just a bunch of drivel and whining about how my spending habits have left me broke.

2) I bought things to take pictures of...well, if I'm being honest, I bought them because I have a problem where I want to buy and own lots of pretty things. The pictures are just to make me telling you about all of my frivolous spending more interesting! Behold:

2a) Books

I've been doing a lot more reading now that I'm done with my thesis. And sadly, after reading so many technical papers and scientific articles, I'm finding it really hard to enjoy regular fiction. I've become a classics addict. I've always liked the classics...ALWAYS...but I knew they would always be around and so I was in no rush to read them all right away. This all changed the moment I discoverd clothbound classics. Aren't they pretty? So much more pretty than journal articles. So pretty that I've become afraid that they will all be bought and sold before I can get my grubby little hands on my fair share of them. So I've started collecting. And in order to feel okay about it, I am trying to read them as soon as they arrive on my doorstep...if I've learned anything from my fabric purchasing experience it is that anything that sits around for too long becomes more of a stress and burden than a treasure to behold. I've got the ones shown above and Little Women (not's at Grandma's house right now, further justifying itself in my life). Oh, and I had to buy the Ian Tyson biography just to make sure I don't end up thinking I live in 1867.

2b) Fabric (was there ever any doubt???)

Please pretend for a minute or two that this picture is not upside down...My new fabrics are much prettier right side up, I promise! Yes, another unnecessary purchase. This one much more expensive than the books. I have been drooling over these Ink and Spindle fabrics since I first got my sewing machine. They are organic, independently designed, hand screen printed, and ... did I mention how pretty they are?! Once I got it in my head that I was making myself a mustard and aqua quilt there was no stopping me. I knew that it just wouldn't be perfect without some of these awesome prints. And of course, to make the most of the ridiculously high shipping costs from Australia I had to buy A LOT.

2c) More fabric

I blame Winnipeg. And my mustard obsession. And Nokomis going out of business. And my love of wool. I NEEDED theses lovelies. I could not leave the store empty handed once I knew they existed. I was visiting one of my besties in Winnipeg (lucky for me, not an expense that broke the bank since I was headed that way for work) and she wanted to take me to one of her all time favourite fabric stores. She described it as "a little like Fabricland, only better," and to state the obvious I did not have very high expectations of finding something "I just had to have" and figured it wouldn't hurt to look. Well, I just about died...truly...or at the very least almost gave up any desire to live out a normal life in the real world and wanted to move into this place. The upstairs was just as described...a little like Fabricland but better...but the basement was a little less like Fabricland and a little more like heaven. It was filled with never ending bolts of CHEAP vintage fabrics. Cheap, like .$99/meter cheap!!! These wools set me back a little more than .99$/meter but were still much more reasonably priced than anything I've been able to find in Edmonton or online. Of course, it didn't hurt that they were also mustardy shades of orange/ new favourite color. So why do I blame Nokomis? Well, these guys are going into soon as I can figure out how to sew clothes. It was my only choice now that my one-stop-clothing-shop is gone :(

2d) ...more fabric

Same store. Same story. Except for one detail I forgot to mention...This fabric store amazing little piece of's the same store that a lot of Canada's independent designers find their fabrics. The gals of Fridget, Cinder & Smoke, etc... all shop there. You may recognize this print...this print that my pal and I each bought 4m of...and if you don't, here is a reminder:

It's the same print/fabric that was used to make one of the tops I bought (yes, another one of my expenses) at this year's Make It craft fair. The best part of the story, is that I was wearing this shirt when I stumbled across the fabric. I took it as a sign...and bought more than I know what to do with. Any suggestions? I think it would make a beautiful skirt...but I'm more of a dress girl than a skirt girl. Ms Maria, you may recognize this style of top as it is the same as your purple plaid one from last year! Oh, and that's my new camera (and new glasses...and ugly old sports bra). Yay!

2e) A long list of items that I unfortunately don't have time or energy to tell you about. Just trust me on this one...they all add up!

3) I helped D celebrate his FIRST Christmas. Unfortunately, he's not a man that can be bought and my elaborate spending didn't really convince him that it was a holiday worth revisiting too often. Maybe next time I'll save some money and just make him the popcorn garland he really wanted for the tree this year. Speaking of tree, here is a picture of our tree (a first for both of us since I haven't had a tree since moving out of my parent's place):

... and that's Otis (I needed something to help me compete with the awesomeness of Kim's post!) it was also his first Christmas. D and I were so thrilled to get to hang out with him over the holidays and he definitely helped bring a little bit more merriment to our home. And I promise he was happier than he looks in this picture...he was just exhausted after a long walk. Kim and Aaron also helped to bring some merriment to our home, as there's was the only present under our tree that we hadn't bought for one another. It was a total surprise to open it up and see what was inside...D and I had been guessing for days, and neither one of us was right.

Would you have guessed correctly?

We love it and immediately put it up in our newly designated reading nook. Thanks Kim (and Aaron)!

And well...that's all from me for now. My lunch break has long since run out and I still haven't eaten anything. I'm excited to see what the rest of you have to share.


p.s. Those pretty fabrics...they're waiting patiently to be sewn together. Unfortunately they have to wait until the wedding quilt is done. Pics to come soon...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sascha's 1st Blog Project

Wow, I have to admit that this was a pretty difficult assignment for me. There isn't much going on in the Jeffers' household. I did, however, manage to come up with 5 new(ish) things in my life. The photos in this post are poor quality since I took them with my iTouch in low light. My deepest apologies considering this blog will likely follow Kim's incredibly clear action shots. ;)

1.  New: Weekends alone after becoming a Mum.

This weekend was the first weekend I have spent alone (without Lee or Cora) since Cora was born. Lee and Cora went to Denver to see Lee's dad and I opted to stay home to "work". By work I mean hanging out with friends, sewing, and scrapbooking. It was definitely fun at first, but by Sunday I was lonely. They were supposed to come home today, but as luck would have it, the dates on their tickets were messed up. They will hopefully be getting in tomorrow around 3pm. The picture below is where I've been camped out the last two days. My computer, afghan project, iTouch, remote control, and telephone have been very good companions. If only I could teach the dog to make dinner or fetch me another glass of wine...

2.  New: Wedding Scrapbook

Saturday was spent scrapbooking with Eva! I haven't had my scrapbooking supplies out in FOREVER. Needless to say, they are incredibly outdated. Eva was working on wedding stuff, so I followed her lead and dug out my wedding photos. Maybe this wedding album will be done by April 15, which happens to be Lee's and my 5 year anniversary. Wouldn't that be a nice present to the both of us?

3.  New: Weekend Getaway, BOOKED!

This week, I booked a little get away for our family at the Castle Mountain Chalets in March. Lee's mom will be here for her birthday, so we decided it would be fun to take her to the mountains to celebrate. I am really looking forward to this quick get away. Bring on March, baby! This picture was taken the last time we stayed there back in 2007. This time we have a cabin rather than a room in the lodge. FUN!

4.  New: Sewing project, of course.

Since Lee's mom will be here on her birthday, I had to make her a birthday present. This is the bag that I have been working on for her. I have most of the pieces cut. Now I need to get the sucker sewn.

5.  New: Pedigree

Finally, I had to show this off. Below is a picture of the Western Hudson Bay polar bear pedigree. It spans about 30 years and opens up a zillion doors for questions to be answered. I am pretty excited about this one.

Friday, February 18, 2011

An assignment, nay, a PROJECT.

Let's get this board moving again! I love to hear about everyone's lives (pictures are a bonus). I know that I think about posting every once in a while but then the thought of writing about EVERYTHING that's happened since the last post is so overwhelming that I end up making cupcakes instead. So, I propose we get the ball rolling with an assignment...nay...a PROJECT.

We love projects, don't we? I was thinking anyone could post project topics like "your top 5 books", "best recipe you've made in the past week",...ooh, the ideas are limitless!!

Project #1: Tell us/show us 5 things that are new(-ish) in your life. The could be photos of goods, a quip from YouTube, your newest creation, and so forth to infinity.

I'll start.

1. Aaron and I made a gingerbread house for follows our ideal property plan.

Aaron made a breadstick shed; it even has the notches so that the 'logs' fit into each other.

Lots of deer on the property.

I forgot to take good pictures of the deer stand.

2. A few of my New Year Resolutions are to call people who are away more often, respond to emails as soon as I get them, to eat at min 1 'dive' per month, and to start composting.

So far I feel like my first 3 resolutions are well under way!

3. I'm loving celebrating holidays, especially since some of them involve food I've never tried before.

We celebrated Chinese New Year for the first time since I've moved away from home. It was really fun to make some dishes that we used to eat at home. My original menu plan featured 4 dishes, and just kept growing until it settled around a gazillion dishes on the actual day.

Hanukkah festivities were also celebrated - I learnt that I'm terrible at dreidelling, and that oil plays a very large role in this holiday (hurrah!).

4. There was a bout where there was so much snow that we couldn't help but play in it

Otis showing Andrea who's the boss.

Late night revelry.

5. I have 2 pairs of earrings that I'm loving right now (impromptu Photo Booth photos!)

One was a present for myself, and the other was from one of my favourite people :)

Okay ladies, your turn! Since I know that some of you work better with a deadline, I'm going to give this project 1 week! Due date Fri, Feb. 25. (If you can come up with a doctor's note, I am pretty flexible with excuses of tardiness....)