Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Happy 20th Birthday

Our son celebrates his 20th Birthday July 2nd. Me oh my, how time flies. 

We used to live in Toronto. Our son's early birthdays were celebrated both at home and in London with family. Most of our old photos are kept in albums, but we're missing a few years from when we moved to London and transitioned to digital.  I can't find photos from his 5th, 6th or 8th birthdays. Let's assume they are safely stored in a box someplace. 

I thought it might be fun to travel back in time with photos I found from birthdays past. I hope you enjoy this visual journey down memory lane.
1st Birthday Pooh Bear Cake (London)
1st Birthday "Day Of" Cake (Toronto)

2nd Birthday Barney Cake

3rd Birthday Tractor Cake

4th Birthday

7th Birthday Soccer Cake

9th Birthday - Decorated Door for Party
9th Birthday Pool Party

10th Birthday - movie and lunch with friends
 10th Birthday dinner and cake with family

11th Birthday - Grand Bend for lunch and beach party
 11th Birthday Dinner and Cake with Family

12th Birthday (home-made) Oreo Cheese Cake

13th Birthday Cake

14th Birthday Cake (same as 13th B'day cake)

15th Birthday Cake

16th Birthday
 Friendly competition with his Uncle

17th Birthday - decorated his own cake
 Giant Nutella Love

18th Birthday - Graduated High School, looking forward to U of Guelph

19th Birthday - two cakes 
Drinking legally now.
Our baby boy has grown into a young man in the blink of an eye. We wish him a Happy 20th Birthday with a year full of fun and adventure.

We're looking forward to celebrating our son's special day this weekend. Best wishes with lots of love always from Mom and Dad.

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below

Monday, 27 June 2016

Pattern PDFs

Over the past year, I have written and shared a few free patterns. I wanted to add PDF Versions to make them easier to print, but didn't know how. When I mentioned this to my son, he suggested I google it. 

I searched "how to add pdf to blogger". A few different options came up.

This one by blogger Projects by Jane was my favourite. Her instructions are up-to-date and easy to follow. I was excited to start creating pattern PDFs.

Learning how to add PDF File links to my posts was just the first step in the process. Next I had to create PDF Files for each pattern. 

I started copying the pattern text from my posts into Word documents creating a standardized title and footer format including my name, blog address, date and page numbers. I copied and sized photos to fit in a strip across the top of each pattern. All this formatting and fussing took time, but was well worth the effort.

Each pattern was saved as a Word document, then as a PDF before it was ready to upload and share as instructed by Jane in her post titled  "How to attach a PDF to your Blogger blog post".

In the end, it was easy to create Pattern PDF's. I'm so happy I finally took the time to figure it out and get it done. 

You can find my free crochet patterns here. Click on links below photos to be taken to my free patterns recently updated with PDF Version links.

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


Imagine my surprise to receive an email from the creator of lalylala crochet patterns. Lydia lives and works in Germany. She is extremely talented. I love her designs. It was her crochet characters that inspired me to create my first Bobo Bunny and pattern. 

After making a few bunnies and perfecting my pattern, I decided to try making a bear. I copied the look of "Bina the Bear" because it is so cute. Without purchasing or seeing Lydia's patterns, I simply created a new pattern for a similar looking bear. 

I was pleased with my Boo Bear and eager to share, not thinking this pattern would cause problems for a crochet designer in Germany. 

I remembered my children loved watching Teletubbies when they were toddlers, so my next few crochet critters were made to be similarly short and chubby. I created a few chubby crochet critters: Freddy Frog, Lucy Lamb, Crochet Kitty, Ellie Elephant, Green Goblin Baby and Sunflower Doll. 

My next and final crochet critter was Reddy Fox. Our daughter shared photos of a fox's futile attempts to break into their chicken coop in Boulder. Our grandchildren were thrilled to see a fox in their backyard which inspired me to crochet fox hats for them. 

Once the hats were finished, I decided to crochet a fox critter for our granddaughter using yarn left over from the hats. I created the pattern in the same style as the rest of my crochet critters making the body midway between the tall bear and the shorter critters. I referred to fox photos to make the ears and tail and select colours for the limbs. I was very happy with my Reddy Fox.

Unfortunately, Lydia is NOT happy. She thinks both Boo Bear and Reddy Fox are too similar to her Bina the Bear and Fibi the Fox. She would like me to remove these patterns from my blog and stop "copying" her designs.

I do not wish to cause Lydia problems with her business, so have removed my free patterns for both Boo Bear and Reddy Fox
If you would like to make Bina the Bear or Fibi the Fox, please visit where these patterns along with many other awesome crochet characters designed by Lydia are available for purchase.
* * * * * * *
Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below

Friday, 10 June 2016

Finding Fancy Flats

In my last post, I mentioned discovering Katy Bowman and her theories on Healthy Movement for long-term health and function. Katy recommends flat, minimal footwear to restore foot function and health. I have read a few of her posts related to footwear: "Are High Heels the Cigarettes of the Future?", "Your Child Might be Wearing Heels, Right Now" and "Sitting (in Heels) is the New Smoking". Katy's explanations make sense to me. 

Now that I know how shoes with heels affect posture and foot function, I have decided to stop wearing them. I have a few relatively flat casual shoes good for transitioning to more minimal shoes, but no fancy flats to wear with dresses. I expected it would be easy to find a comfortable pair of ballet flats to meet my needs. I was wrong.

On Saturday, I visited all the shoe stores in Masonville Mall finding nothing. On Sunday, I targeted shoe stores at the South end of town checking out Marshalls, Winners and The Shoe Company. I was almost ready to give up when my husband suggested we go to Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) across the road. 

DSW has a huge selection of flats. I tried on almost every pair before finally buying Audrey Brooke ballet flats for $75. The soft leather felt wonderful on my feet, nothing rubbed. They stayed on when I walked. They were perfect ... or so I thought.
The next day I took my new shoes to work. I lasted about 10 minutes before realizing my toes felt pinched. There was no 'wiggle' room. My new flats were going back. My search was not over.

I asked a coworker who swore by her comfy Claire Scrunch flats she bought last year at Payless Shoes. I tried them on. They were super comfortable with plenty of 'wiggle' room. After work, I went to Payless Shoes to buy them for myself. Unfortunately, none of the shoes available this year were made with the same flexible material. The shiny, stiff leather heel cup hurt my feet. My search was still not over.
The next night, I went back to DSW to return my 'perfect' flats with pinchy toes. I tried on a half size larger, but they slipped off my feet. Audrey Brooke flats didn't work for me. I continued my search at DSW looking for something similar to the Claire scrunch flats, but with a softer heel cup. 

Finding Fancy Flats took longer than expected, but I finally found them. Elastic around the edges of these shoes makes it possible to wear a full size larger leaving plenty of wiggle room. Check out my new Me Too Shoes from DSW in the photos below. I LoVe them.
I bought these shoes at DSW for $70 less $10 for completing an on-line survey less another $10 for prior purchases on our account. 

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below

Friday, 3 June 2016

Healthy Sitting

"Sitting is the New Smoking" has been making headlines lately. I was surprised to hear that regular exercise cannot undo damage done from spending hours each day sitting in a chair or on a sofa. It got me thinking.

I have a 'desk' job. My work days are spent on a computer at a desk in an office. I work from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. To get to work, I either drive (sit in a car) or ride my bike (10 km through the park). At home I sit on a sofa for hours while I crochet, spend 'fun' time on my laptop or watch tv. I do get outside to walk the dog at least three times a day; early morning, after work and before bed. 

I usually manage to reach my Garmin goal of 10,000 steps per day, BUT my days are focused around activities that involve A LOT of sitting. 

A few weeks ago while crocheting and listening to podcasts, I discovered Katy Bowman and her theories on Nutritious Movement. I began reading posts on her blog and listening to "Katy Says" podcasts. I was intrigued with her recommendations to counteract damage created by sitting and lack of natural movement.  

Katy recommends a movement based lifestyle for improved health and function. She explains what that looks like by describing a day in her family's life here

Katy's family uses low tables and the floor instead of sitting on couches and chairs. She recommends an almost furniture-free home to encourage more movement. She also moves regularly throughout her day. Katy will sit at a low table then move to stand at a high counter when working on her laptop. She takes regular breaks to do chores or go for a walk; never sitting or standing in one position for an extended length of time.

Katy recommends walking to places you might normally drive. She always wears minimal shoes or goes barefoot. Minimal shoes are wide, flexible, and totally flat allowing more natural movement through the whole body. If you are used to wearing shoes with support and heels (even just 1" heels), she recommends transitioning slowly to minimal footwear. 

Katy also recommends sleeping without pillows to encourage more natural postures and movement while sleeping.

I took a look at my total LACK of movement throughout my day and decided to make a few changes. 

It has been five weeks, since I started sitting on the floor at home. I placed my laptop on a plastic bin and sit on a cushion beside a low table. Sometimes I ditch the cushion and sit on the carpet. I tend to change position a lot to keep from getting stiff and sore. I also practice standing without using my hands. I can do it most of the time now. Sitting on the floor has been a simple change, but definitely not easy. If you're not in the habit of sitting on the floor, give it a try. You might be surprised by how difficult it is at first. 
The low table to my left is perfect for drinks and food. So far my husband has refused to join me on the floor, so we eat dinner at our kitchen table. It's funny, our poodle and cat also refuse to join me on the floor. They like to sit comfortably.
I have also stopped wearing any shoes with heels. I don't have a lot of options and I haven't yet purchased any 'minimal' footwear. I figure that's fine as I need to transition slowly to avoid injury.
These Nike water shoes qualify as minimal. I wore them on a few hikes in Cuba this year. They are comfortable, so I will wear them to walk the dog and see how it goes. I would also like to find some 'ballet' flats for the office and the few occasions when I dress up. Hopefully it's not too difficult to find something I like.
What other changes have I made?

I ditched my pillow. I was using a relatively flat pillow, so this was easy for me. It still felt a bit strange at first, but I've totally adjusted and love sleeping pillow-free.

I have started walking more often and longer distances with the dog. This is easy because it's summer. If it's too hot, we walk later in the day once it has cooled down. I'm not sure how it will work in the winter when the weather is really cold. We'll have to bundle up and do it anyway. It'll be good for us.

I try to take regular movement breaks from my desk at work. I get up and stretch every 40 minutes or so and do some tasks while standing. 

I ride my bike to work. Bike riding is another exercise/movement that keeps your body in a narrow range of movement. Long distance riding puts a lot of stress on various parts of the body. I love bike riding, but it hurts after a couple hours. I'm not sure if long rides are good for long-term health. In Cuba, we rode mountain bikes on rough roads. The rough roads necessitated more movement than normal bike riding, but it was still painful after a few hours. I will continue to ride because I enjoy it, but maybe not as far or as long.

Although floor sitting at home is going well, I have not been motivated to crochet. It's probably because crochet requires more focus and concentration than I can manage while fidgeting to stay comfortable. 

The impatient part of me says, "it's been five weeks already". The wise part of me responds with "it's ONLY been five weeks". I will continue to sit on the floor. I want to be able to squat keeping my heels flat on the floor. Years of chair sitting, shoes with heels and biking have shortened my calf muscles making proper squatting very difficult. 

I would also like to be able to play on the floor with our grandchildren the next time we see them. It's all about making movement a more natural part of my day. I am enjoying this new challenge. 

There are many free resources available on Katy's website. If you're intrigued, check it out here. Be sure to let me know what you think.

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below