So you want to take indoor photos

Indoor photos are very simple, and pretty much similar to the outdoors in terms of rule, but when you are working an event and are taking more candid shots than posed, here are a few rules to guide you through an indoor event. I just photographed Jacqui’s bridal shower, so I am going to use a few of my favorites for examples.

Lighting
I can never stress this enough: make sure you have a decent light source. Flash is 100% acceptable if you like, but the problem there lies in washed out guests, and no one wanst to look like they haven’t seen the sun in over 100 years. Find a good source of light for posed shots, and work with what you have for the rest. I know this is going to go over some people’s head, especially since I am talking photography, and I tend to ramble using ‘photog jargon,’ but I am going to do my best here. If you use a flash, make sure you bounce it! That means either getting a diffuser for your flash, make your own, or learn to bounce your flash off the ceiling/walls so that the light caresses the faces of the people, and doesn’t end up blinding everyone in the process.

Excellent Light use, if I do say so myself!

Excellent light use, if I do say so myself!

Smiles
There are so many people who do not smile for pictures, and can I just say as a photographer it kind of sucks when the only photos you get of people are either closed-lipped smiles (which can really look like a grimace of pain), or no expression at all. It is best not to focus on them, but capture what you can of them when they’re as close to smiling as they’re going to get.

Toni always gives good smile.

Toni always gives good smile.

Posed
As always with posed shots, it can look boring, and people can also look crazy in them. Best thing to do is be comfortable taking the photos and they will be more comfortable getting the photos taken of them.

No cardboard cut outs here! The happy couple!

No cardboard cut outs here! The happy couple!

Candid
People can make amazing faces when you are watching them. Beautiful expressions and happy light-up-their-face smiles may only happen once in a while but catching them is always a blessing. Sometimes you can miss those moments and get the funny faces as well. Best thing to do for that person, who looks like they are trying to eject something from their nose using their mind, is to not have taken it at all. I call it the photographers code. Sort of a “Thou shall not post pictures of people if they look utterly ridiculous.”

At the end of the day, I caught this one of JQ. She is so beautiful!

At the end of the day, I caught this one of Jacqui. She is so beautiful!

Overall, for indoor photography just remember to focus on the light and that flashes can be tricky at times. Just smile, have fun, and watch for the moment.

~ Andreah

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A very merry unbirthday to you! TO YOU!

“Babe..?”

“Yes?”

“I’m 25…right?”

“Are you actually asking me this?”

“Yes – how old am I?”

“You are 26!”

“I lost a whole year…..?”

This is an actual conversation Cody and I had about three weeks ago.

It seems that as you get older for women, you start going backwards in age, but for men you just lose years. You stop counting all together.

Today Cody turns 27! I am marrying this handsome devil.

And although he is not a big fan of birthdays,(tonight’s festivities include Chinese food and a Sons Of Anarchy marathon), I am a huge fan of him!

Love you Cody! Happy birthday! I have a feeling this is going to be a great year!

~ Jacqui

Mmm-mussels

With all this lovely (read: disgusting – winter can eff off now) cold weather we’re having, I thought a yummy, satisfying and simple recipe was just the ticket for this post.

While I am no chef, my mussels do have my household’s stamp of approved foods we crave often and have been a hit with many of our friends.

Personally, I love seafood, shellfish in particular, which is an issue for anyone who doesn’t live on a coastal town with fresh catch being brought in daily – it’s often pricey due to transport and shelf life tends to be iffy. I’ve found I can usually count on Caudle’s Catch in Kitchener for a decent price and fresh product; however the live mussels from Costco are hard to beat in both price and freshness and that is where I end up purchasing them the majority of the time.

Source: awesome Costco sale blog www.adventuresinnevyland.com

Source: awesome Ontario Costco sale blog www.adventuresinnevyland.com

Live mussels are easy to prepare for cooking and can be whipped up in 20-30 minutes once you’ve got a solid recipe down pat.

To start, you will need to clean and debeard the mussels as well as check them for quality. To do this I place the mussels into a colander in the sink and tap the slightly open ones to make sure they’re alive and good to eat – if they are, the shell will slowly seal shut; if they’re not, the shell will stay open. Throw out the mussels that stay open. The mussels from Costco don’t usually need a lot of cleaning or scrubbing and very little debearding, so I give them a good rinse and then debeard the few that may need it.

Source:  www.noshon.it

Debearding – Source: www.noshon.it

Once the mussels are clean, I set them aside either in the fridge or add in some loosely packed bags of ice to the colander to keep them cool.

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Depending on your personal taste buds, the next part is subject to your liking – the basic requirements are the same, though with a liquid for steaming and vegetables and/spices for flavour. Personally, I love to keep it simple with white wine, fresh cherry or canned tomatoes (side note: to speed up the flavour I’ve noticed a bolder presence with canned, diced tomatoes and the juice from the can), garlic, onion, fresh parsley and sometimes a bit of celery if I’ve got it.

To the ratio of two-packages (they come attached) of Canadian Cove farmed live blue mussels, which works out to be roughly 5.6lbs, add:

  • 1 large onion, (I prefer Sweet or a Spanish onion), chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 cups of white wine (keep some extra on hand for ‘taste testing’ *wink* *wink*)
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh parsley

Because when I cook I have to feed an army, this usually feeds 3-4 adults comfortably and then some if it’s being served as a main. As a side, halve the recipe and mussels.

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Broth before steamy pre-boil

I place all of the above ingredients, minus the mussels, into my trusty Starfrit 6qt deep pan with a vented glass lid and slowly bring to a steamy temperature, just before any signs of a boil then add in the mussels using a slotted spoon. I give the dish a good stir in, ensuring the mussels are well coated in sauce and then replace the lid, allowing the steam to build and the liquid to boil without getting out of hand (a gentle simmer, not a hard boil). I let it cook for about 10 minutes, making sure to stir the mussels into the broth every once in a while to even cooking and flavour infusion. You will know the mussels are done and ready for serving when the shells open.

Slowly starting to open, indicating 'ready' status!

Slowly starting to open, indicating ‘ready’ status!

Be sure to not overcook them or they will become rubbery and, while still edible, not nearly as enjoyable.

I like to serve them in deep bowls with a bit of broth and some nice crusty french bread for dipping. To up the ante, I whip up some garlic butter, give the bread a good spread then light toasting in the oven…mmm…I’m drooling at the thought.

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Looks like I know what’s for dinner tonight at my place!

~ Toni

The second annual Julia awards

Last night (and this morning) the Oscars took up my living room and our Twitter feed and my dining room table:

SO. MUCH. FOOD. And yes...those strawberries are wearing tuxedos. It is the Oscars, after all.

SO. MUCH. FOOD. And yes…those strawberries are wearing tuxedos. It is the Oscars, after all.

It was lovely…and LONG. I don’t know why this year felt sooooo long…or soooooo snoozy…I’m going to go with it’s because I’m getting old.

This year, the Oscars were hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, a funny, engaging guy. The trouble? He’s no Ellen. Or Tina and Amy. Or Seth. NPH is…witty. And zingy. And the night is long and I loved the bits, but he just wasn’t my favourite.

I will tell you what my favourite was, though! Hanging out with awesome ladies, gossiping and laughing, and eating and eating and eating. Having an Oscar party is pretty damn amazing – there’s a room full of ladies who get my gossipy obsession, who can out-trivia me and back me up on dress judgments and Spanx guessing. It’s dreamy. And lovely. And there’s tons of food and comfy clothes.

I know they look demonic, but I swear they're really nice (and I have no idea how to use a photo editor...)

I know they look demonic, but I swear they’re really nice (and I have no idea how to use a photo editor…)

And now, without further ado (unlike the end of the Oscars where NPH stuck YET ANOTHER BIT), here are my picks for last night’s BEST:

Best Dressed

All the ladies, both demonic and non-, agreed: who on earth would be best dressed? There was no clear front-runner for any of us. But, I’ve come up with my favourite of the night:

Jessi Cruikshank of the Canadian eTalk team was stunning in this muted gown. When I saw her on my Twitter feed, I immediately wrote her name down as a contender.

And my runner-up was Naomi Watts. She was stunning in this peek-a-boo dress, that showed flawless skin and toned torso. I’m also a sucker for tiny, tiny spaghettini straps…because I’ll never be able to wear them.

Naomi_Watts

Best Speech

For me, it was a 3-way tie:

Mr. Pawel Pawlikowski, the Polish director who won Best Foreign Language Film for Ida. He spoke so long, he was cued off with the music…but then, he refused to budge. And he didn’t. He just kept talking. Until the music STOPPED and he was given MORE TIME. Finally, the music started up again..and he did eventually leave the stage. But it was awesome – you work your whole life for the top accolade. Why on EARTH would you ever leave the stage before you’re ready once you’ve achieved it?

Pawel Pawlikowski

J.K. Simmons, who won Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash. He told everyone that if their parents are alive, to call them. Not text, not email, CALL them. Pick up the phone and talk. I love J.K. Simmons.

87th Annual Academy Awards - Show

And our third winner, Graham Moore, who won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game. In his speech he not only honoured the subject of his movie, the late Alan Turing, he also talked about his battle with depression and his attempted suicide at 16. His best advice was to the kid that thought they were too weird, too different: “Stay weird. Stay different. And when it’s your turn to stand on this stage, pass the message along.”

Graham Moore

Best Underwear

Yep. There was underwear. And all we can say is, Mazel Tov, David Burtka, Mazel Tov.

WOWZA

WOWZA

Best Irony

Or worst…because REALLY? There were a lot of causes highlighted last night, and for good reason – there’s a lot we can do to fix this world – but the worst one was Patricia Arquette standing up for equal pay for women after winning Best Supporting Actress…and Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez emphatically agreeing with her.

Meryl-Streep J-Lo gif

The cause is real. But beyond making more money than most of us will ever see, what are these women doing for the “women of America”? Because all I can see are rich ladies demanding equality in a world where equality is a joke.

Best Not-So-Veiled-We-Were-Snubbed

Before, it was Ben Affleck accepting the Oscar for Best Picture in 2013 with his “You can’t hold grudges” bit in his acceptance speech acknowledging his perceived Best Director nomination snub. This year? It was all about Selma all the time.

Terrence Howard took his presenting job as the chance to highlight the emotion behind the movie Selma, to highlight the fact that it wasn’t nominated, although it did overwhelm him.

Terrence-Howard-467

Some say it was a teleprompter problem. Others wonder if he was drunk. I’m going with, Selma wasn’t nominated for anything but Best Song and Best Picture and this was his chance to make it shine. What do you think?

Best Joke

Last year John Travolta just couldn’t get Idina Menzel’s name right. It came out Adele Dazeem…which isn’t even CLOSE. So this year, I vote the use of the John Travolta Name Generator as best joke. (It wouldn’t let me embed the video, so here is the link.)

Ben Affleck pronounced as Benedict Cumberbatch?? Awesome.

Best Creepy Moment(s)

All of John Travolta’s. No seriously.

With Scarlett Johansson.

travoltakiss3A

With Benedict Cumberbatch.

John Travolta and Benedict Cumberbatch

With Idina Menzel.

john-travolta-idina-menzel-lg

Creeeeeeeepy.

Best SHOCKER

Ummm…Lady Gaga can SING. And as everyone on Twitter pointed out, she kicked Carrie Underwood’s ASS.

lady-gaga-oscars-sound-of-music-2015-billboard-650

And the last award of the night…Best WIN Face

It has to be Eddie Redmayne, because how can you argue with JOY like this:

eddie-redmayne-was-absolutely-shocked-by-his-first-oscar-win

It was a looong show and a looong night and an early morning (hence the lateness of this post), but the people I got to hang out with, the gossip I got to rehash, and the food I got to eat all make it worth it…sort of. Now, for coffee. 🙂

~ Julia

Can I hear it for some love, peace and understanding?

Everywhere you go there is racism. People judge harshly, quickly, and without cause. We hurt people who had nothing to do with the bigger picture, and too many innocent bystanders suffer.

One place I am going to highlight on is France, especially in light of what happened there this January. This is not to place blame but to recognize that nothing is always as it seems, and that there is more going on then we know. We just need to take a deeper look.

I just want to define something here, an Extremist (which exists in any religion or culture) is a person who favours or resorts to immoderate, uncompromising, or fanatical methods or behaviour, especially in being politically radical.

Extremists, who were under surveillance last year, but got taken off of it six months prior to the shootings, were the root of the problem. Not Muslims.

A Muslim, as the Sufi spiritual leader Ibn Arabi says, is a: person who has dedicated his worship exclusively to God…Islam means making one’s religion and faith God’s alone.

I have recently read an article in the New York Times, written about how Muslims, even if they have lived in a country for their entire life, do not feel like they are home, or that they are welcome.

Can you imagine living somewhere and not ever feeling like you could just live, just be?

Why is it in peaceful places does racism and biased reactions, based on one small group, instead of the whole, reign true? Why can’t there be peace without the violence and why can we not just see that everyone is wrong, and the only right in the world is peace, light, and love?

People judge so harshly based on religion or even just skin colour. We take the leap before we even slow down enough to find out who someone is and to know that they aren’t all bad, just like we aren’t all bad.

I want to stop time and just make sense of all the nonsensical violence, all because of pigmentation or the right to believe in who and what you believe. It will never make any sense. It will never get us anywhere judging people for something that is theirs alone and is in their hearts. You shouldn’t judge what you do not know, and I don’t know much, but I know that when you are walking down the street towards me, I am not going to judge you on the pigmentation of your skin and I am not going to judge you based on which headdress you wear. I am going to smile, keep walking with peace and love in my heart.

As my one roommate says “We all want one thing: to live.”

We will learn. I have hope.

We will learn. I have hope.

~ Andreah

I was LIED to!

I have a bone to pick with Walt Disney – he has set me up for failure! Ever since I was a young girl he has spewed lies and set unrealistic goals for my life. Well, Walt, I have had it up to the top of the tower in my non-existent castle!

First there was Cinderella, who taught me that when I get older and am too busy to plan my outfit for a night out, there’s not a fret! The mice and birds who live in my attic and sub-basement will be happy to whip something up. I can spend more time at work and cleaning my house now because of all the free time I will have not having to make my own clothes!

My reality? I live in an older house, and am no stranger to mice. I do not live in a land far far away. I live in the real world where mice eat through your electrical wires, shit everywhere and are a general nuisance. There are entire sections in hardware stores dedicated to the riddance of these creatures. Cinderella would be mortified! Not once have I come home to a mouse-made couture dress delicately created with the knick knacks and rags around my house. Instead I come home from work after a long day and where are my clothes? On the ground where I left them. Now I have to struggle to figure out the perfect outfit for the ball.

Then, there is Snow White, who lived with 7 men and made it look like heaven, a party with music and dancing every night, and yes she cleaned the house, but before she came along they were getting by just fine. Now I know not all men are grody, but in my experience I would never want to live with 7 of them, dwarfs or not!  Could you imagine the smell? The grocery bill? THE ARGUMENT OVER THE TV REMOTE?  I am shuddering just thinking about it!  Snow White, either you are a goddess who has managed to tame 7 men, or you are one sweep away from a nervous breakdown! Either way, you did not prepare me properly to live with ONE boy by myself let alone 7. (I love you Cody.)

Rapunzel and Ariel may have told me the biggest lie…about MY HAIR! Let’s start with Rapunzel who let her hair grow out to unimaginable lengths, with no product, no trims, just au natural! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? Apparently, in this land far far away, there is no such thing as humidity or split ends or GREY HAIR! I get up an hour earlier than I technically have to just to make sure my hair is tamed enough that when I walk into work I am not asked to put a bag over my head. Straighteners, products, curling irons, hair spray – nothing? Really Rapunzel? You are really going to tell me that you sat up in that tower of yours and just let it grow and grow?  Her poor neck is all I can keep thinking! Every time I watch that movie with my nieces and nephew, my mind races: She had to have at least a chiropractor on call? How is she not a hunchback?

AND then there is Ariel! With her graceful rise from the water during her big musical number. For years girls around the world have been immersing their heads in water and trying to find the perfect flip technique. If you are sitting here reading this, pretending like you have never done this before you are LYING to yourself. This past summer I spent a good 20 minutes attempting to get the perfect flip, each time suffocating myself with my soaking strands of hair. Finally, after one flip too many, my neck advised me quickly that I am not suited for the hair-flipping life. I have since then removed Beyoncé from dream jobs. I have learned my lesson…the hard way.

Yeah, right.

I live my life every day knowing that I met Cody the good old fashion way. That he didn’t come into my tower and kiss me as fate brought our lives together. I have to work to get my hair the way I want it. Small critters will not make me a new wardrobe, and frankly my singing voice does not entice birds to join in with me; instead, I am sure, it scares them as it scares my two dogs.

I may have been fooled, but you have a chance to spread the word so that other little girls don’t grow up with high expectations like I did. It’s been a tough road, but I am doing just fine taking it one day at a time.

~ Jacqui

Finding the beauty in the breakdown

In the grand scheme of life’s available disasters, losing my job this past November is really not that big of a deal.

Really.

It was just a job.

Just a job at a very terribly run company.

Just a job with my department being managed by the type of woman I loathe. The kind of woman that feeds the reputation that generalizes how terrible women are to each other.

It was just a job.

Then why did I completley lose my shit?

I let a terrible employer take advantage of my work ethic and then make me doubt myself on a personal level. Why had I been such a pushover, and why hadn’t I walked away?

A friend of mine pointed out that it could be like a bad relationship – you loved it at one point and it stopped serving you long ago, but you don’t want to be a quitter – you want to fix it, make it better, get the joy back. Sometimes the work pays off and you find it. But then sometimes you end up sacrificing a bit of who you are and the things you need to actually live, the real important things, like moments with family and friends, and missing your workouts that keep you sane and then you STILL lose.

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed

I think it was the fact that it didn’t matter what I did, the outcome that came would have been delivered whether I wanted it to or not, or whether I worked harder or not.

I hated that I couldn’t control it.

I crumbled.

The months following were very dark for me. I had built a certain ideal of what my life should look like by now and I struggled with the very real reality that not only had I followed the wrong path, I was completely fucking lost, with no sense of direction and not a thread of hope in sight for understanding why.

I had chosen a career path that I thought I wanted.

I took time between high school and college and worked to get a better understanding of what I was good at and what I liked.

I went to school for three years at Conestoga College, hustled my ass off, got grades I had never dreamed of, accolades from my professors that enjoyed me being in their classes, got bumped into the co-op and advanced diploma program and landed a job all before graduating year.

I was set.

I worked in my field through from entry level to management and back down to events. For 9 years I put my everything into working in a marketing department at a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job that always meant 9 to 7, 8, 9, and sometimes (read: usually) even later nights and weekends. I took pride in what I did and what I had the training and skill set in. Safe to say I loved it at one point.

This is what I had been told my whole life success looked like: sitting all day in a stuffy office with some people that I really loved and some I would never dream of spending my energy on if I wasn’t literally paid to.

Please don’t get me wrong, I met some very important people in those offices – people who still mean the world to me, even if we’re not as close as we once were. People who taught me valuable lessons in life about love and following your heart and not letting anyone stand in your way when you want something. As with all tales of hurt, it’s only a waste if you don’t take the lessons and hold onto the blessings that were provided while in the struggle. It’s only a waste if you let your heart become bitter from it all.

So this was the path I was on, with the stuffy offices and the life revolving career that I thought I loved.

And then I was let go.

Three times…in a row.

Each for a different reason. Each with a different feeling of relief, grief or shock. Each being delivered in a different way, facing a different person doing the letting go.

Each horrible in their own way.

I had never been fired before.

What was wrong with me? Why did I keep picking these companies with failing positions and horrible management? Was it me? Was I not good enough at what I did?

Then I asked myself why I was letting it define me as a person? Why was what I did so attached to my identity?

It’s the first thing a person will ask you when first getting to know you – what do you do? As though that is the most important aspect of who you are to determine if you’re a person of value to know. What happened to care of community, interest in heart and soul, work-life balance? When did what I do become so important to me and whose values was I adopting? When did the bottom line become so much more than the people who helped you get there? When did a pay cheque determine who I was inside, and what I could do for my community?

No wonder I was so lost.

It’s just a job!

It didn’t mean I wasn’t still a kick-ass employee, an awesome co-worker and team member and it sure as hell did not mean I as a person was worth any less.

It was just a job.

Personally when I’m lost I take council.

So off I went, having lunches with mentors and coffee with friends. Getting to know me from their eyes again, having them ask me just the right questions to get me to think in the right way, to seek the answers I so desperately needed.

It helped a little for sure. Having one mentor ask me in particular to close my eyes and think about what a perfect day off would be to me definitely kickstarted the journey. I sat, at first feeling rather silly closing my eyes for such an extended period of time in a crowded sushi restaurant, but then I let go and saw getting up early while it’s still dark out and taking off for a sunrise hike in the Escarpment, catching the top before the sun really peaks onto the horizon, while sitting and drinking my coffee. “Now, in that feeling you feel doing that, lies your answer,” he responded like my very own inspirational bumper sticker.

Great. How the hell does one make a living on a feeling?

And then on a whim I returned to Moksha Yoga Cambridge for a Friday night Karma class.

I’d attended before and always liked them, but this time I felt a deeper connection. Chantal, the amazing soul who lead us in practice, had began the class by reading the following perspective-snapping verse:

IMG_0451

It hit me then: why was I wallowing over a job that had literally been stealing my life from me? Working 60, sometimes 80 hour work weeks, feeling empty inside…that was not a loss. I had gained.

By the end of class I had finally settled into a place of peace, where my brain was quiet, my mind was present, there was not a worry on my shoulders. My whole body humming from the release.

I had let it go.

I decided to sign up for their introductory month and attend as many classes as I could to get a real taste.

About two weeks in, I practiced with Wendy, co-owner and teacher at Moksha Cambridge. It was a particularly rough day where I hadn’t exactly felt the desire to leave the house, but knew I needed it. I sat in the parking lot right before practice and swallowed back tears, self-talking my way into calming down and getting my butt into the studio.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of practicing at MYC you will know the second you step in that door that it is an impossible place to have a heavy heart. The smiles from the front desk, and warm welcomes from the regulars that were starting to recognize me helped me to shake a bit of the worry off my shoulders.

Throughout class, I connected to my practice in ways that I had only aspired to before. I experienced two breakthroughs in positions where I really had to trust in order to open up and by the end had tears of relief streaming into the sweat that dripped off me and onto my mat. I had experienced my first “Aha!” moment.

It was incredible.

I didn’t know how or why or what just yet, but I want to help people live their lives like this. To remove stress from their lives, the weight off their shoulders, to find balance, harness the power of peace and acceptance and to live in the moment – this moment – because it’s the only one that really matters, that we really have, ever. You can plan and predict and decide how you want your life to be as much as you want – but at the end of the day, if you’re ignoring your heart and ignoring who you really are, God and the Universre will find ways to re-direct you when you’re lost until you ‘get it’. If you’re open to it. If not, you will just keep hitting the same challenges over and over again until you are.

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I still don’t know how, or why, or what just yet, but I know that yoga, specifically Moksha, is going to play a huge part in it and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

~ Toni

Getting my granny on

In our family, there is a reverence around the art of crochet. It is a skill, a talent, a craft that has been passed down generation to generation to generation on our mother’s side. We grew up watching Memere, our mom’s mom, whip up blankets and granny squares and Barbie clothes and crazy quilts and baby clothes and pillow covers and decorative bed dolls and giant comforters and soft baby blankets and baptismal wraps and and and…she was a machine. And we all coveted what she had.

Draped over my couch, warmer of all my little family, made by my Memere.

Draped over my couch, warmer of all my little family, made by my Memere.

We’d all ask her, pleadingly, as her fingers whipped the yarn around her hook and magic transformed string into works of art, to teach us! The company line was, “When your fingers get bigger. They’re too small now, but I will teach you when they’re bigger.”

We all waited, with bated breath, for our fingers to grow to the perfect length, width, size to handle the hook and yarn and learn how to crochet like our Memere.

And then, finally, finally, we’d be her students and she our teacher, and we’d try so hard with tongues stuck out and fingers too rigid and nerves on edge as she taught us a chain, a single crochet, a double crochet, a triple crochet and then we’d finally have a wonky looking scarf and voila! We were magic too.

But time goes on. And perfect finger age turns into teenager age and then early 20s age, and then…you realize, you haven’t crocheted in eons. In fact…you may not even remember how. It’s a sin, considering how eager we all were to crochet, what a lasting gift it was from our grandmother, and what a handy skill it is to have some sort of craft under your belt.

Time marched me right into my hairdresser’s chair for my yearly hair cut (yes, really) and style, where I sit alone, with no babies around, and in the middle of my head massage (oh, yes, really), she asked me, “What do you do for you?”

I was pregnant with Isaac at this point, about ready to pop, and had Lillian running around and Sophie gearing up for school, and I had no idea. What did I do for me?

And then she told me what she did when her babies were young. She crocheted. She’d get everyone into bed, and then the hook would hit the yarn and she’d be off.

When she said that word, crocheted, filled with enchantment and childhood wonder, I got it. Instantly.

Crocheting is for adults. It is a ‘Mommy-only’ activity. It can only be done when little fingers aren’t trying to get all up in it. It can only be done by ME. AND?? It takes a tiny bit of brain power. In fact, it’s almost zen-like in its ability to make you focus on one thing and one thing only.

So, I went home and found all of my crocheting stuff. I had one hook and some sad yarn. I went to a crafting store and got a fancy set of hooks. I grabbed my sad yarn and thought about what I should make.

I settled on dishcloths, because they are USEFUL. And baby items. ALSO USEFUL. And after 5 dishcloths and 5 sets of misshapen booties, I decided maybe useful wasn’t the best idea.

And then, I let it drop again. Because BABIES EVERYWHERE.

But this Christmas, I really wanted to make stockings for our family. We don’t have uniform stockings. We have mismatched stockings that were free or purchased for other people (visiting family)…but no real stockings. I found a pattern online and planned to have all five of them whipped up over the month of December in time for Christmas. HA. It didn’t happen (clearly), but I did get the yarn at a killer price after Christmas, and have made it through 1 of 5 stockings.

The top cuff...it's finished now...and I just have to get the rest of them going. I should be done by Christmas.

The top cuff…it’s finished now…and I just have to get the rest of them going. I should be done by Christmas.

And then my sister-in-law, the fifth sister, Kim, asked if someone could make this headband:

Photo and pattern by Tender Moments Crochet

Photo and pattern by Tender Moments Crochet

I told the sisters that I was planning on making it, and they wanted in! Yarn-shopping adventure was ON! And then, of course, a granny night, complete with Friends on Netflix and homemade cookies and a rekindling of everything good about crocheting.

Granny Dee and Granny T

Granny Dee and Granny T

Granny J and Granny JQ

Granny J and Granny JQ

The finished product was gorgeous! Everyone who made one and got one LOVED them…and Kim?? Looks SMASHING!

Hot mama!

Hot mama!

I’ve been crocheting pretty steadily now since the New Year, and currently I’m working on a super-secret mission (if I told you, I’d have to kill you), but I’m getting to be pretty good! So good, in fact, that yesterday morning, when we were getting ready for a nice leisurely day of lounging around (it was a holiday here), the girls asked me if I could make them clothes for their lovies. Sophie wanted a sweater for the puppy stuffie she had received from Aunt Toni for Valentine’s Day, and Lillian wanted a Spider-Man dress (she LOVES Spider-Man) for her Baby (her most prized possession). After some Pinterest hunting, I came up with two patterns and got to work. It took a couple of hours for each, but both girls LOVED the final results.

Sophie and her sweatered puppy! Pattern from Knot Your Nana's Crochet

Sophie and her sweatered puppy! Pattern from Knot Your Nana’s Crochet

Spiderman Baby with Spiderman Lillian! Pattern from Mamma That Makes

Spider-Man Baby with Spider-Man Lillian! Pattern from Mamma That Makes

It was fun, being able to say yes to something, having the tools and skill and supplies to fulfill requests on the spot, and of course, magic, watching the girls pick out their yarn colours and then help me do fittings and watch me with the same eager eyes that I had watching my Memere whip up yet another something.

The enchantment carries on here and I’m already getting bombarded by, “Can you teach me to do that?” and “I want to learn.” and “Can I try?”

And I’ve already delivered the line, one that is as generational as the crochet hooks and yarn – “Yes, when your fingers are big enough, I will teach you.”

~ Julia

Winner winner, chicken dinner!

Dear readers,

THANK YOU for a year of reading.

THANK YOU for a year of support.

THANK YOU for loving us.

THANK YOU for all of your comments and well-wishes!

THANK YOU.

With the help of Julia’s pyjama’d family, winners for all FIVE giveaways were picked!

Here are our winners:

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro – Nicky

Yoga mat – Olen

Rustic country star – Susan

Hand-crafted accessories – Kim

Grand Prize (all four of the above prizes) – Dianne

To claim your prize, email us your address at weathervanesisterhood@gmail.com.

Again, THANK YOU.

And from us and our loves to you and yours, Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤ 

Valentine15 ~ The Sisterhood

Knowing more

This past year has been a crazy one: moving away, finding new passions, trying new things, falling down, picking ourselves back up, engagements, wedding planning, moving back, and just generally trying to figure out what works.

This has been a year of learning for all of us with the blog, and in life. We are just living, and life always has a lesson to teach.

This has been an amazing, eye-opening experience for me.

I always knew my sisters were talented, amazing and beautiful women, but reading their thoughts has shown me new bits about each of the sisters.

I feel like you can find out a lot about people through their writing, and it holds true to this experience.

I mean, in all of our very first posts, there were timid steps as we each set foot into blogging, but we found our way, kept going, and the sisters and the readers all ended up inspiring me more than I had thought humanly possible.

This blog has been a new push through everything, and when I re-read all the posts, I realized how much we all changed, or at least I have changed. I realized how much I have been able to still keep pushing through all the negative that can come with change.

Change usually scares me, but this time, I’m not scared at all! I’m excited and can’t wait for the next blogging year for our sisterhood!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

And now, without further ado, my giveaway is hand-crafted jewelry and a survivalist bracelet made from parachute cord made by my friend Kate, and a tea wallet so you can have that fresh tea anywhere made by Kate’s awesome Mama!

Survivalist bracelet, beautiful hand crafted ring, and necklace, and a tea wallet!

Survivalist bracelet, beautiful hand-crafted ring and necklace, and a tea wallet!

I want to thank you, dear readers. You have been a wonderful and captive audience, and we owe you lots of hugs for the past year! And my question I pose to you is: What is the one accessory that you’d feel naked without? 

~ Andreah