Category Archives: Family

Spring picnics – Swedish style

Classy picnics with tablecloths and everything

Swedish springtime can be cold and rainy, but folks are so eager to get out during the long days after a dark winter that picnics with heaters, blankets, and fires are pretty common. On my visit to BC last week, I had some Swedish-style picnics with my family.

Puffer jackets around the fire
Sometimes it was sunny enough for sandals!

We had a picnic (almost) every day and hardly got rained on at all!

We had some pretty awesome meals in the yard, since we didn’t have to carry anything very far

More art cards

This one was for Elizabeth and Erik

As promised, here are some more art cards to draw up during cold days and send in the mail. ¬†I didn’t make or send any heart-shaped valentines this year,¬†but feel free to interpret these with a loving spirit.

This one was for David and Kinoi
This is for Bridget and Ed, inspired by a fermentation cookbook gift from Bridget and a trip to Korea.
The kim chi card contained this poem, co-written by Graham and me.  Maybe you had to be there? 

Ferry photos

Everyone likes the Ferry!

Graham's modeling shot #1
Graham’s modeling shot #1

That is not strictly true. For folks that live on the Island or who take the ferry a lot, the ferry is an inconvenient, expensive, and time consuming necessity for getting back and forth to the mainland. When I lived in Victoria, I felt that way; the ferry was something that you rush to, grumble about, and then ignore while you read your way across.

Township on the ferry LIKE A BOSS
Township on the ferry LIKE A BOSS

Now that I live on the prairies, I miss the ocean and the ferry feels like a real treat. I’ve taken a handful of ferry trips since moving away from BC, and for the most part I now spend them as a tourist: walking on the decks, looking out at the water, and marveling at the scenery ( and occasionally looking for wildlife).

David and Graham were kind enough to also be up for a walk on the decks, even though it was a bit chilly and windy in December.
Selfie with another ferry in Active Pass!

Of course, being on the island is great too and is really the point of it all.

David’s modeling shot on the beach in Mt Doug Park

Family visits

Part of the Xmas visit involved a trip to see Elizabeth in Victoria. Fun times!

Graham and I at Agrius
Graham and I at Agrius

We went to a super-awesome nes restaurant called Agrius.

David and me
David and me
Elizabeth and Erik
Elizabeth and Erik
We saw a 3D movie, and were the only ones at the late showing! So I obnoxiously took a flash photograph
We saw a 3D movie, and were the only ones at the late showing! So I obnoxiously took a flash photograph
A photo of Nanna and Pop that Unkle Mike has
A photo of Nanna and Pop in the garden from Unkle Mike 
The best zucchini from the best gardener!
The best zucchini from the best gardener!
This squash was also very impressive. It was like holding a toddler!
This squash was also very impressive. It was like holding a toddler!

Snow in Vancouver

Snow on the palm trees!
Snow on the palm trees!

So we arrived in Vancouver for a two-week visit to the westcoast and found it snowy. Luckily it has mostly melted, so we can continue our tour: the city, Maple Ridge, Mission, Seattle, and Victoria.

Unicorn and dino in the audience of a mummers play
Unicorn and dino in the audience of a solstice mummers play

On Dec 21 there is always a big multi-site solstice celebration in Vancouver, which is one of my favourite events.  Professor Banjo and Hot Pluto Jazz trio played, and the grand finale was Urban Haida drum group accompanying fire dance.  Perhaps 2017 will be the year I put together my hula hoop and acro-yoga skills and take up fire dancing.

MyY solstice favourite, the outdoor (shirtless!) fire dance
My solstice favourite, the outdoor (shirtless!) fire dance

Graham and I also took his parents and our youngest nieces on a tour of the Fraser Valley Eco Dairy. We learned about their bio-digester and methane fuel/compost production, as well as animal husbandry. Linnea was really interested in the robotic milker, and Jasmine was brave enough to let a cow lick her with a long, scrapey tongue.

A visit to the EcoDairy in Abbotsford with nieces!
A visit to the EcoDairy in Abbotsford with nieces!

A tale of two thrifties

I bought this all-wool grandpa workjacket for $10, then I hipstered down to the farmers' market and bought this pumpkin.
I bought this all-wool grandpa work jacket for $10, then I hipstered on down to the farmers’ market and bought this pumpkin.

The first time I remember going to a thrift store was with my Mum and my Nana, the summer I was 4 (or so.) It was at a St Vincent de Paul in Langford on Vancouver Island, and was a favourite of my Nana’s to visit after grocery shopping in town. We looked through the varied array of items for treasures, tried on outlandish things and things we’d actually buy, and generally had a good laugh together.

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The little pumpkin went to hang out with his friends: $10 table painted apple green; once-flowered lamp spray-painted black; Fish aquarium skull spray-painted black

Value Village was a mainstay not just for halloween (though it was that), but also to get clothing allowance to go a little further and to get something no one else had. I thank my lucky stars I was a teenager during the 90s, when thrift shopping made you THE COOLEST (especially since I would have done it anyway, even if it wasn’t cool). Also thank goodness that my Mum was not alarmed by the outlandish fashion sense of my cross-dressing, african-headscarf wearing teenage self. I have had great thrifting outings with my high school buddies and my Mum; I’ve learned some great ideas for thrifted fabric and how to use ‘all parts of the sweater’ from Margot and Anita, all with the ethos of ‘waste not want not’ and ‘frugal is smart’. I loved thrift shopping in Sweden and got tons of cool stuff, like our Swedish sofa/chair and the boots and jacket seen here.

Tweed grampa blazer and lined leather boots from Erikshjlalpen
Tweed grampa blazer and lined leather boots from Erikshjlalpen

I haven’t been thrifting with Mum for a long time, but occasionally she and Graham’s mom Bernie get together and go to ‘the boutiques’. Favourites are the women’s shelter coop in Mission, and the Mennonite Community Council Store in Abbotsford. They seem to have a blast, and much of the awesome hand-made ceramics in my cupboard are fruits of Mum’s searches.

A doily stretched over a frame for earrings and such
A doily stretched over a frame for earrings and such. It’s not just storage, it’s art!

In the internet age, one can engage in ‘online thrifting communities’¬†to¬†find out what your local thrift shop has in stock, ‘hunting trophy’ blogs¬†where people show the coolest things in thrift stores like this one in Sweden, and blogs all about how to repurpose old stuff. ¬†I have been doing some thrift shopping lately, showing a grad student where to get furniture and housewares and getting a few things for the new apartment. I have even prepared a ‘refashion’ of my own for your enjoyment:

DIY how-to for a wool cushion cover

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We don’t call them Cosby sweaters anymore, just ugly sweaters, after infamous comedian Bill Ugly.
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It had 10 minutes of life as an all-shetland-wool ugly-sweater-vest!
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Three quick seams on the sewing machine and stuff with a pillow
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Now living in texture-harmony with the Norwegian reindeer skin

 

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$30 side table with storage inside. It might be the world’s highest piano bench? $2 ceramic plant pot on top.

So, the ‘two thrifties’ in the title could be Mum and Nana, me and Mum, or Mum and Bernie (the common person in all these pairs being Mum). I’m glad to have learned to avoid waste and to find utility in used things, it is a good value to have and I think I am better for it.

Here’s to you on your birthday mom: they don’t make ’em like they used to!

vintage-cake
Happy Birthday Mom!