Now, wouldn’t Miss Piggy just adore this hat?

I love all the animal-themed children’s hats I see on the Web these days. They’re not only fun to make, I’m sure any kid will tell you that they’re also fun to wear.

I fell in love with the Piggy Hat crochet pattern at http://kandjdolls.blogspot.com/2011/10/free-piggy-hat-crochet-pattern.html and so I made one. But I did change it up a little by using plain pink worsted weight yarn, and edging it in a simple single crochet stitch instead of using the recommended crab stitch. I also added a pink ribbon to each ear to make it clear that she’s a little girl piggy!
baby_hat piggy copy

I had so much fun making the piggy hat that I ended up making a bunch of different hats for the children of my nieces and nephews. I handed them out at the family picnic and you can see pictures below of everyone wearing their hats.

Check out my favourite site, ALLFREECROCHET at http://www.allfreecrochet.com/HatsforChildren/Adorable-Animal-Hats-Free-Crochet-Hat-Patterns-for-Kids to discover loads of patterns for some adorable animal hats!
brady in owl hat group shot 2nd cousinsbrooklyn in chick hat

brooklyn spencer weston

There’s nothing like a good power outage to bring the old times back

twin-electric-power-linesIt was the summer of 2003, hotter than ten hells, and daily life in the GTA was whirring along in its usual frenzied state. It was midday, midweek when air conditioning overload caused a massive power outage unlike anything experienced in recent history.

Despite the lack of electricity, the air crackled with the panic of millions who no longer knew what to do with themselves in the event that life as we know it grinds to a halt and sends us spiraling backward to the golden days.

Of course, I just had to write about it.

Power Lost, Humanity Found:
The Blackout Of 2003

three-candle-flames-1431851138OtnThe entire city panicked
When the power petered out,
Everyone, that is, but I,
For I hadn’t any doubt

That this massive power mishap
Would be sure to pave the way
For my boss to shut the office down
Much earlier today.

No working traffic lights!
Drivers in despair!
Gridlock to the nth degree,
Brains impotent with fear.

traffic jamIt took two extra hours
To meander my way home
As I passed distracted drivers
Wailing into their cell phones.

Still—‘twas a lovely afternoon
And my joy was here to stay,
Since no power meant no need to cook
Or wash a load this day!

With sandwiches for dinner
And some still-cold pints of beer,
I joined my spouse and kids outside
On my reclining chair.

remoteThe luscious scent of grilling meat
Spiced the outdoor air,
Neighbors chatted over fences,
Bursts of laughter here and there.

No power meant no computers,
Radios, movies or TV,
Bewildered kids awakened
From their hazy techno sleep.

For the first time in a long time
All ages played outdoors,
Touch football, tag, hide and seek,
Just like the days of yore.

Armed with flashlights in the streetskids-playing-47
As darkness inked the skies,
The children laughed and whirled about
Like happy fireflies.

And once indoors, the blackness ebbed
To amber candlelight,
Board games were played by lantern till
‘twas time to say goodnight.

I realized as I went to bed
How tension-free I was,
My mind at peace, my eyes at rest
So blatantly because

our gangFor a day, we’d traveled back in time
To a simple life so rare,
And survived without the crutches
We’d been leaning on for years.

At first “all power lost” had
Simply meant a work vacation.
But as the lazy hours passed,
Behold! A revelation:

Our collective fixed reliance
On technology as a nation,
Has made us captive lambs
In our humbled desperation.

Progression or regression?
We’ve surrendered to the machine
And forsaken the joys of simple life,
The way things used to be.

We can never go back, too late for that,
But perhaps again someday,
We can blow the power lines again—
Return to yesterday.
courtesy of Joshua Earle of unsplash.com

What Are You Waiting For?

This resonated with me in a big way. It’s what we all know but seem to keep forgetting to do.

anewperspectiveperhaps

My hospice patient died today. I only met him once but I can still feel his firm grasp on my hand and the way he pulled me close and looked into my eyes and told me to take care of myself as I was leaving. We had a moment. A pause in time to stand there acknowledging and looking at each other. A moment to say I see you and you are important to me. I never expected that last Tuesday would be the first and last time we would ever meet. I remember him waiting for his daughter. That is what we do in life…we wait. We wait to grow up. We wait to graduate and go to college. We wait to get the perfect job and meet the person we are meant to spend our lives with. We wait to have kids and then we wait for them…

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Make yourself a delicious ice-cream sundae with ZERO calories!

pincushion_icecream sundae vanilla copyToo good to be true? Not if it’s made of fabric. 🙂

Whether or not you have a sweet tooth, you’ll find that these sundaes are highly addictive!

They make great pincushions or pretend food for kids to play with.

You can make one in less than an hour. Here’s how:

Materialspincushion_icecream sundae chocolate copy

✔ a cupcake-size dish purchased at the local dollar store

✔ a 7” x 7” square of white (or other colour) fabric for the ice cream

✔ a 3” x 3” piece of brown felt for the chocolate sauce

✔ a small piece of white felt for the whipped cream

✔ a small piece of red felt for the cherry

✔ some seed beads for the “sprinkles” on the chocolate sauce

✔ some fiberfill stuffing

✔ matching thread; sewing needle; scissors

1. Starting with the ice-cream fabric square, trim the square into a circle as close to the size of the square as you can trim it. (See my step-by-step strawberry ice cream photos below.)

2. Thread a needle, knot the end, and run a straight basting stitch around the circle, about a ¼” from the edge. Pull the thread a bit so that the edges of the circle begin to gather, then stuff it with fiberfill while pulling the thread to close up the circle. Secure the closure and knot the thread. Now you have your ice-cream ball.

3. Next, take your brown felt (I just used a brown patterned fabric in my photo sample below, but felt is the easiest material to work with and turns out the best results) and cut out a curvy shape. Then use small straight stitches to sew it onto the top of your ice-cream ball.

4. Next, take your white felt, cut a small circle, then cut it into a bit of a spiral. Set it on top of the sauce, nudge it into a whipped cream shape and gently sew it down so that it doesn’t completely flatten out and there’s still some volume to it.

5. For the cherry, cut a small circle and stitch around it exactly as you did with the ice cream. Fill it with a tiny bit of fiberfill, close and secure it into a ball shape. Then nestle it in the center of the whipped cream and stitch it down.

If you want to decorate the sauce with seed bead sprinkles, just sew them on randomly.

Now, make as many flavours as you like and I guarantee that you won’t gain an ounce! 🙂

Step-by-step photos:
Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 9.54.01 AM

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Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 9.54.13 AM

Inspired to write

courtesy of pixabay4I’ve been moderating the Markham Village Writers’ group for the past fifteen years, and I can tell you that there’s no better way to be inspired than by listening to a group of your fellow writers as they read their work aloud and share feedback.

During the last fifteen minutes of our meetings, I throw out a prompt and everybody free writes until end of meeting. We don’t have to share what we’ve written—it’s just a little exercise to challenge the writing juices.

courtesy of Pixabay2The prompt that I assigned at our May meeting is below in case you’d like to try your hand at some free writing. There are no rules. Write whatever comes to mind. It can be one sentence, a paragraph or ten pages. You’re the boss. Once you get going, who knows what may happen?

Here’s the prompt: Write about a lie you told as a child, or that your character told.

This is what I wrote:

Liar

When mother asked where the money went,
When father found his fender bent,
When brother’s wallet disappeared,
When sister claimed that she was scared
to leave her room unlocked…

How shocked!
when they confronted me,
with blame-filled eyes that used to see
an angel boy, a stand-up guy;

To tell the truth, it made me cry.

Me? Steal from you? Or hurt a fly?
Me tell a lie?
Oh, no. Not I.

Ah, but their scorn. Their slurs! So in return,
I gave them good the truth they yearned.

Their ashes fill a lovely urn.
I watched them burn.

So obvious—I wonder why
they took so long to see that I’m

a psychopath. Of course I lie!
courtesy of pixabay3(Photos courtesy of pixabay.com)

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