A push in the right direction

Allow me to introduce you to my friend Diane, who has opened a shop on Artfire.com.

Diane has been working her ass off, making the most amazing shopping totes and bags. Have a look around her shop, but stay away from the Tomato Tote. It’s MINE.

SpeedKin On Artfire.com


All in a day’s work

Although I have worked off and on at random things over my time on Earth, a stint as a publishing exec, a tour of duty as a project manager, even a career as a contract painter, I’ve been a stay at home mom for the vast majority of the passed 21 years. Both my husband and I are of the belief that if you’re going to have children, you should attempt to raise them yourself, rather than leave the job in the hands of a daycare centre. I realize this is not always the case for most families; they either can’t afford to survive on one income or both parents are career oriented or what have you. The logistics of such arguments aside, we agreed that I would stay home for my children and keep house. I’m sure many self-professed *feminists* out there are going to have a shit-fit reading my homesteader attitude, but know that I’ve had that confrontation on more occasions than I can count, and I’ve always won the debate.

Fortunately for our cause, the finances are such that there is no inherent need for me to work. There’ve been rough patches over the years ( let’s face it, raising four children is damned expensive) but for the most part, we pulled it off and made it through. The jobs that I have had were purely out of boredom during those times in my life when I wanted something else to talk about other than potty training and parent/teacher interviews.

At this point I am what my husband and I laughingly refer to as “semi-retired”. Two of my children have grown and left home, only two remain, both of them heading into their teenage years. All in all, I have enjoyed my life and look forward to its future. Parenting has been fun for me, always challenging and having a homesteader attitude has benefited me greatly in all of my endeavours. Today, for several reasons, I’m going to post a photo journal of my day, lest you, dear reader are like my in-laws and believe my time is filled with soap operas and bon-bons. I also, for myself and posterity’s sake, wish to journal my accomplishments today, in the possibility that someone may use what I post to their advantage.

I grant you fair warning, this post is long, this post is involved and it has the potential for being mundane for those whole-heartedly against a woman with a homesteader attitude. For RSS subscribers, I’ve cut down an excerpt, to save your load time, incase you’re not inclined to read on.

If you’re so inclined to turn down my street, click to continue reading about my day.

Trip, till and tuck-in

This passed weekend was completely random and scattered, but so highly productive. As busy as we were, it was completely relaxing and satisfying. Weekends like this are awesome.

We headed to the city Saturday morning with the young ones in tow to start our search for cabinets for the studio. Our search began at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. This store is a salvager’s dream shopping mall. It’s a good thing we took the kids, because that meant taking the car instead of the truck. Had we taken the truck, I would have spent a small fortune. As it was, we were only there to scope things out, gather some prices and possibilities.

The idea behind the Re-Store is this

Habitat ReStores are outlets that accept donated goods for resale. While every ReStore is a little different, most focus on home improvement goods—furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances. These donated goods are sold to the general public at a fraction of the retail price to help local affiliates fund the construction of Habitat homes within their communities.

Materials sold by Habitat ReStores are usually donated by local retailers, contractors and individuals in the community. ReStores provide an environmentally and socially responsible way to keep good, reusable materials out of the waste stream and simultaneously provide funding for all of Habitat’s community improvement work.
from the international  Habitat for Humanity website.

It’s an awesome opportunity to kill several birds at once, without firing any buckshot. Help fund the mission, keep shit out of landfill, get a really good deal, and retro-fit  the house all at the same time.

We came across a couple of sets of kitchen cabinets that would work great for the studio. Again, if I had the truck, cha-ching. One set was a solid oak ensemble, used, but in really good condition for $900. It probably cost upwards of $15,000 originally, we could have out-fitted the studio, potting shed and had left-overs for the garage with the amount of cabinets in the set. Next time!

Our trip showed us that we certainly don’t take the kids to the city near often enough. It’s only been 4 years since we moved up here, but man, were they amazed by what they saw. It was highly entertaining, and eye-opening at the same time. It never really occurred to me that the kids were not seeing city life, at ALL.  I’m not entirely sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It definitely made for an amusing day!

Sunday we headed to a friend’s for lunch, and to lend a hand installing a retracting ladder in their garage attic.  They’ve built a little loft/clubhouse up there for all the kids to hang out. Although the ladder was supposed to be of the “cut a hole/frame the hole/bolt the staircasing in place” variety, it wasn’t as easy as all that. Fun times were had watching the men wriggle and jiggle the thing into place. I’m sure MauMau and I were at risk of receiving a stair tread or two in the eye over some of our comments, but it made for a good laugh over lunch.

Onward home to till the side garden. After a stop at the hardware store to buy a new tiller. We were going to just till it by hand, but screw it! We were able to till it, give it a layer of compost, a layer of peat and a layer of mulch all in about two hours. Today, if the day cooperates, will see the onion sets started, some lettuces and such planted, and a bazillion seeds set.

To finish, because the day would be better started soon, here’s a bunch of random eye-candy.

} Beautiful Garbage



Do you remember the icebucket from this morning? The one the kids brought home for me from the Disneyland Dump? Today it became a bin for the kitchen counter, one we can put scraps in to carry out to the chickens. Being an ice bucket, it’s air tight with the lid on, so if it gets left full on the counter for a day or two, it won’t stink the place up!



Here it is now, after a little bit of paint, some elbow grease, and a power tool.


Three coats of flat black paint, followed by two coats of antique white acrylic. I had considered using a crackle medium on the white square but since Kayla had given me the icebucket and she hates when I use crackle medium because she thinks it’s below me (rolls eyes) I decided against it.

Two coats of varnish and it’s all done! I love the egg handle!

} One man’s trash…

Saturday was my bi-weekly (I say that as if I only go every two weeks) trip to the dump. The dump in our town is my Mecca, my Mother-Land, my treasure haven. I can’t even begin to describe the joy I find rummaging through the dump.

The season is coming, tourist season. The season when the cottagers come north to open their summer homes, to bask in the shade of enormous Douglas Firs and Sugar Maples. This is the season when cottagers will make endless trips to the dump, hauling junk they brought up with them last year from their year-round homes down south. The cycle is endless, repeating itself year after year….buy new stuff for year-round home, bring old stuff north, take last year’s old stuff to the dump to make room for this year’s old stuff. It’s a fun time for scavengers such as myself.

When we drove into the dump this past Saturday a group of gentlemen were standing around a trailer full of goodness, including Dwayne, the dump attendant. As I got out of the truck Dwayne turned to the group of strangers and said “Don’t bother unloading, she’s here”. It seems he had been talking about me to these fellas, explaining that he knew a woman who would just eat up all the stuff in the trailer, no need to push it over the edge. And here I was.

The owner of the trailer turned to me and asked if I was “the project lady”. He then began to “sell” me on his wares, explaining what the various items were, as if their prior life would hold some bearing on their future life. Here we have a birdhouse, which, with some sanding and a good cleaning, a few tack nails and a coat of paint would make a great addition to the yard. I began to explain to the fella that nothing will be as it seems when I am done with it. This here birdhouse is a fabulous base for an occasional table in my dining room. Which is what it will become once I have a piece of glass cut for it. It might get sanded, it might get cleaned up, but I quite like it, just the way it is, nests and all.

On the other side of the trailer was the metal work for one of those gazebo type things you might find at a big box store like Lowe’s or Home Depot. He had a bag with all the nuts and bolts and assured me that I could probably find canvas for the roof at the marine shop in town. I took the bag of nuts and bolts, not because I intend on building a gazebo on the deck, but because one can never have too many nuts and bolts. The rails I took because my brain wouldn’t shut up. Perhaps there’s a bench in their future, perhaps one will find itself plunked in a garden with a Jackman Clematis clinging to it for dear life. It’s possible the four units will just find themselves decorating the chicken’s pen. Can you see them backed with long sheets of Washi paper? Would make excellent window coverings for the bay window in the dining room.

As we pulled out of the dump, another truck was pulling in, with yet another trailer full of stuff. I took a moment to curb my enthusiasm.

On the way home, Paul told me we needed to make a second trip to the dump, there were more scraps from the bathroom reno that needed to go. Imagine my excitement.

Before I even got out of the truck the second time, there were already people strolling towards me with treasures in their hands. The conversation about me had continued in my absence, my reputation spreading. I declined a 5 foot plastic snowman but was enthralled by a handful of vintage books.

I came home with a 50-year-old copy of Little Bear Visits by Else Holmelund Minark.

And a pristine, copy of When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne, a collection of verses  about Christopher Robin pre-Winnie The Pooh.

The day before our double trip to the dump, Kayla and Bill informed us that they were taking a trip to my “Disneyland”. I told them to bring me back a souvenir. An ice-bucket that will get a coat of paint to become a catchall for kitchen scraps for the chickens and a set of snowshoes, makes for a happy score.

The art of studio space.

While I sit here at my dining room table contemplating painting yet another primitive wall hanging, one thing refuses to leave my brain. The fact that I’ve been ousted from my studio space. It’s not that I begrudge Kayla and Billy for moving home, thereby invading my studio (because, really, where else was I going to put them?) It’s just that, I don’t feel like I’m actually “working” when I do it at the dining room table. Now, you may say, “well, you’ve got that beautiful room behind you, full of craft and art supplies, why don’t you use that?” And I’ll tell you, I don’t use it, because it’s freaking COLD in there. And there isn’t a whole lot of room to move around. Remember, I’ve got my entire studio (minus any artwork) stuffed into that room behind me, and it’s only a sunroom, lacking insulation or heat vents. The paints freeze in that room.

So, here I sit, wishing for my own workspace back, because really, I don’t feel as if I’m “working” at all. It’s the lack of “going out to the studio” “Where’s your mom?- Out in the studio” “I’ll be in the studio, do not disturb” moments that really leave me wanting. It’s just not the same working at the dining room table. When I’m here, I feel obligated to participate in household redundancy…do the housework, do the laundry, scrub the toilet. And I feel guilty for not accomplishing these things if I spend the day at the dining room table. With a studio to go to, one feels as if one has left for work, to accomplish productive tasks.  I’m not sure how much longer I can hold out.

Recent Make-ables for December and January

I’ve been doing quite a bit of crafting lately. It’s like I’m on a roll, which is a hazard, because not much housework gets done!

And of course, as usual, I bounce back and forth between crafts, because I’m neurotic that way, and probably have an extreme case of OCD/ADD.

Here is some recent Stitchery.

Recent Scrapbooking Layouts