Monday, December 17, 2012


It's funny you see; not funny ha ha but funny in an odd way because I don't have any connections to the children, teachers and families who lost lives and loved ones on Friday, no physical connections and yet I find myself sobbing at random moments and wiping away stray tears before entering a room where my children are playing. The only thing that links me to last Friday's tragedy is the fact that any one of those beautiful bright eyed children could have been my Peanut. My peanut was a day before, a week after, a month before two months after, six months before, a year after... days, weeks, months a year. I could be in the same position as the mothers in Connecticut who are mourning their babies, their children.

When I posted after my niece' lost her baby after a long stay in hospital I said that I could imagine the pain and the loss and that I knew full well that what I imagined for myself didn't even scratch the surface. And still the pain I imagined was immense; and I had the Peanut who is six and well past infant-hood and the Bean who was and is and was healthy without any trace of genetic disorder or disease.

So I can well imagine what the mothers of those twenty children are feeling, I can put myself in their shoes because what they have lost is so, so very close to what I have safe and sound and boisterously running around my home. I can imagine their pain and it is unspeakable and I know it's not even scratching the surface. So I do what they can no longer do; I hug my girls close and tight, I let them know that they mean the world to me and I pray that no other mama has to feel the pain I am imagining.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Another Art Show How To (or this is how I did it; packaging edition)

If you're just finding this post and haven't read my previous post where I focus on creating an eye catching display using mostly materials I already had on hand click here and catch up. I'll be adding a link there to this post so you'll be able to find your way back.

The drawers we used for display, the one in front is
filled with our ornaments, tissue
and our packaging
So while I was spending the last few years making mental notes about the best ways to do a craft/ art sale some pretty cool ideas were filed away in the back of my head. One of my favourite blogs from an artist who has some pretty fantastic ideas and tutorials for this type of stuff/ not to mention just in general is ArtMind. She's posted tutorials on making your own scratch cards, contemporary price tags, adding your brand to your packaging and of course recycled bags. Mitzi of Artmind is someone who I would love to emulate. She spends her days being super creative and artistic, she's major organized and she loves sharing her ideas.

Our folded envelopes and Tissues
While I was sitting down on the computer to find her tutorial on making the recycled bags (which is something that I will be using in future, when I have way more time and a lot more energy to plan for a show) I started to think about other options that would be less time consuming, use less materials to create and would be self contained. Add in the Peanut's recent obsession with origami and I decided to look up folded envelopes as an option for creating packaging. I came across a tutorial for a simple origami envelope that was self contained, required less than half a minute to do for each envelope and was self closing.

I played around with different paper sizes to get the best package size and decided to use the holiday themed scrapbooking paper I had got on sale last year and that full 12"x12" sheets that were the best bet. They were a little bigger than the ornaments but if I was factoring in tissue to cushion the glass and business cards the larger envelope was the way to go. Also using a full sheet meant I wasn't spending my time measuring and trimming paper before getting down to the business of folding.

Detail of the branding we attached to each envelope
The packages we wrapped our ornaments in looked elegant and charming which fit with our branding and were eye catching to boot. I wrapped each ornament in it's own envelope so that they could be given away as gifts without further need for wrapping. They will look beautiful placed on a tree branch filled with our ornaments or another charming little gift. I used the clear ink jet sticker sheets to print off our shop name and web address and attached them to each envelope as well so the person who bought the ornaments has another reminder to check out our online shop and the person receiving the ornaments can check us out too. One of my customers even asked if I was selling the envelopes which may not have been a bad idea...

To keep the ornaments safe once we sent them off with new owners (to be hung on trees, attached to floral arrangements or gifted to someone special) we used gift wrapping tissue paper from the dollar store. Also from the dollar store we picked up a booklet of receipts to give to customers as well as a decorative book to collect names and email addresses to use in future marketing.

 Next post will talk a little about money and payment options. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another Craft Show How To (or this is how I did it)

I was going to make this one post but then it just kept getting longer and longer so I thought why not split it up.

Over the last few years as I've played around with the idea of doing art/ craft shows I've visited lots of blogs and flickr pages (and more recently pintrest pins) to figure out how to do a successful show. This is my addition to that list. Hopefully someone finds it helpful.

Table Set up the Peanut's School Art Show and Sale

So the invitation to be a part of the Peanut's school art sale was a little last minute; and my procrastination/ planning for the one day not to far away that I would take that step and sell at a handmade show/sale paid off in that I was able to put together a beautiful table with little stress. Not to mention that there was no stress on the making sure that I had enough inventory front. The husband and I have a nice stack of finished ornaments that are ready to go.

So this is the first of three posts about what did I do to get ready for a show. This post focuses on display and set up. In all my research and reading having an inviting and interesting display was number one on the must do list for a successful show.  In our case we weren't just competing with the other vendors at the show but also the student's art. All of the people who attended the show were family or friends of the students in the school and they were all there to buy their kids art. Any other purchases made were bonus buys. Having a beautiful table that beckoned buyers made sure that we had a steady flow of people talking to us, picking up the ornaments, taking business cards and coming back for a second look. In some cases we saw people scanning the room from the refreshment table; see our display and walk over to get a better look.

As is my MO I used a lot of what I have/had on hand to create the display (as well as our packaging and signage which I'll talk more about in future posts). The rest we broke down and purchased.


I had a decorative brass tree that I picked up a few years ago after the holidays. We've used this tree on our kitchen table during December with battery powered LED lights and some of the hand made ornaments we like to display.

After the show we put it on the table and filled with with candy canes and some of the hand made ornaments the Peanut has made this year.

I've also used this tree in merchandising photographs over the last few years and have it featured on my business cards. When I bought the tree it was for future use in shows like this one. Getting to use it for holiday decoration and for product photo shoots has been a bonus but putting it to use for the reason I initially purchased it for was pretty darn exciting. I wrapped some lights around the tree and hung ornaments from the branches.

A few years ago the husband and I got a little organizational and picked up some drawer units to stash my art supplies, his electronics components and also the girls paints, crayons and play dough. The drawers (pictured above filled with everything we took to the show for sale and display) are also metal mesh so that we can see what is inside without having to open all the drawers. I emptied out three of the drawers from these units to use as display racks on the table with the tree.

Because the drawers are metal mesh I was able to set up a light source inside and to create a semi permanent hook system for hanging our ornaments. Using some metal ornament hooks I'd picked up at the dollar store a few years ago; I threaded them through the mesh on the bottom of the drawers pinched the top portion of the hook closed and used the bottom to hang our ornaments. The drawers also would have doubled as a handy place to carry everything from our home to the show venue and back again if we weren't in the middle of a torrential downpour; instead we put most of the display stuff into a plastic bin with a lid. Once the sale was over, the hooks were removed.  Once I've got some free time, the drawers will be replaced and all our displaced art supplies put away.

Our fish, Dragon swimming in front of the
As Is vases we picked up at Ikea for the show
For promoting our shop name I used watercolour paper that was in in my paper stash, watercolour paints and some ink jet sticker paper with our shop name and address printed on it in the font we use for our Etsy shop.  These were placed in a shadowbox frame that I've had in storage for years. I used some blackboard vinyl on a photograph frame clip board that we got for a wedding gift to write down our prices with chalk pastel. One of the other vendors at the show commented on what a good idea the large signage was, which was a pretty awesome compliment.

Inside the drawers and behind the ornaments we used some glass jars; baby food jars, kitchen storage containers and one of the pretty glass vases that was a gift filled with pretty flowers after the Bean came home. We filled them with some battery powered floral lights that we used to decorate for our wedding over ten years ago and that we've had on hand and used yearly since in our decor. the lights inside reflected off the glass and made a pretty glow from behind the mesh similar to tree lights.

In addition to all the things we already had and were able to transform and use for our display we also picked up a few things inexpensively at dollar stores and Ikea to fill out the display.

From the dollar store we picked up some adjustable book lights to help showcase the iridescent quality of our ornaments and also to light up the signage on the display so that people could see what our prices are and who we are.

At Ikea we got more battery powered lights both plain LED as well as a snowflake string and a fiber optic disco ball to place behind the mesh display inside the jars we had on hand. These lights are now decorating our house for the holidays.

To drape over the back of our boxes we picked out an inexpensive set of sheer curtains in black. We'll likely keep these solely for use in craft sales unless we decide that the privacy of being able to keep our bedroom windows open in the summer is too tempting to forgo and now that I've put that thought into my head you know that that is what's going to happen.

Lastly in the display department we hit the "As Is" section in Ikea. I love love this section and never go to Ikea without visiting that area. I found two pretty glass vases with frosted stars decorating the outside which were also filled with lights and placed in the boxes. These will be put to use all year round and right now I've got blue and silver glass balls filling them with a couple of the light strings. they're lighting up our kitchen window and entertaining the family pet.

Absolutely everything we had on hand and picked up to use in display will also be used again for different purposes. Even the book lights are being used at bedtime and I can see them inside a carved pumpkin next year.

Practice set up for the show.
Before the show I practiced setting up the display in our kitchen a few times. Once when I got the initial idea to use the drawers. This let me see how the display might look and also let me figure out what items I had on hand and what I'd need to pick up to finish off the display. I did another practice once we'd visited the dollar store and Ikea so I could see how everything looked together as well as making note of what was missing, what needed to be added or subtracted from the set up and what I might need to help make the display as seamless looking as possible. I did a final practice two days before the show to figure out the most efficient way to set up and also to make sure that the loose items (mostly the sheer fabric but also the book lights) on the table would stay where I wanted them. This way I was able to include twist ties, paperclips, scotch tape and alligator clips to my supply list so that I could keep the lighting wires organized, attach the light for the price sign and not least make sure the fabric was secure.

Finished table
When I got to the venue to set up my table I adjusted my layout to suit the location of my table. Because the tables we were given to use included table coverings both white and the black place mats I decided to use both the sheer curtains on each display box instead of draping one over the table and spreading the second over both boxes.  I reversed the placement of the boxes and tree, as well as the pricing sign and our business sign. Before I set up I also adjusted the table placement to allow more room for people to look at our display without crowding the table behind us or in front of us. Next year we may  move the tables even more.

Did I leave anything out? Is there anything you would do differently? Anything you 'd like to know more about? Tell me int he comments. Next time I'll post about our packaging; click here to read it!.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Moving Right Along

Signage and Proto-Signage for my table
If you've read my last post you'll know I've been busy with trying to keep the Bean asleep past 4AM, making sure the Peanut is feeling loved and everyone has clean clothes... Oh yeah there's also that art show and sale thing....

All my procrastinating has finally paid off and planning a display and table layout is so far going surprisingly well. There are bugs to work out, like where and how to attach spot lighting, collecting glass jars, vases, bottles or  sourcing some nice ribbon to use for hanging the ornaments as well as fabric and more lights and getting a float together, and looking into possibly getting a card reader for debit and credit cards and so so many other things. The last few years when I was thinking each year, "Next year I'll get it together to do a art/craft sale" and looking at how other people do it and do it successfully was well worth it.

As well as the procrastination worked, finally breaking down and joining Pintrest helped too. Really it made sense after doing search upon search for just about anything and everything and having just about every search end on some one's Pintrest pin. So now I have my own boards and am collecting ideas and images that feed into my need to be creative and to dream and to plan and did you know that Neville Longbottom went and got all dreamy looking after puberty? but I digress. Also I find that my thinking that particular thought a little on the creepy side and still I digress. back to Pintrest. One of my most posted to boards is the one for display ideas.I've used one or two from the plethora of pins I've repinned and the rest were all brainstormed using those other pins as jumping off points.

There's really nothing like doing creative things to get more creative ideas. I've been sewing little felt trees together over the last week or so and some of my best brainstorming comes when I've got busy fingers. So Pintrest and making things together have gotten me into one really productive place. I'm excited for the sale and for getting the rest of the display and packaging together over the next week.

I'd say that I'll post pictures once I've got everything put together but I'm not going to promise anything. I still have so much to do as well as getting the Bean to sleep past 4, keeping the Peanut taken care of and managing piles and piles of laundry. I will post after the show for sure and will post before if I can swing it....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Deep Deep Breaths or There's nothing quite as exhilerating as jumping in with very little prep

Oh boy; so I went and gone and done it.

An assortment of snowflake ornaments
The Peanut's school's PAC sent home a request for items for a silent auction that they hold as a fundraiser every year. Last year the husband and I attended the event for a short hour and a half before heading downtown to see The Watchmen (one of our all time favourite Canadian rock bands) perform at a grey cup party. While we were there, we bought the Peanut's art pieces that she made for the sale and also a few other gifts for family and friends. This year we have no other obligations and are excited to be there all night long.

The Bean's Peacock ornament I made for her last year
I've been playing with the idea of approaching them next year to have a table at the sale. It's well attended and the people who attend are there to spend some money, it's a fund raiser after all and also an amazing place to get holiday shopping done and dealt with. So I thought to get my feet wet I'd dip a toe in and offer a set of three ornaments for their silent auction and perhaps inquire about setting up a table for the following year. They replied with an invitation to set up a table this year and now I'm awash in excitement and panic in equal measure.

This Year's ornaments for the girls; the first of as many
as I can put together over the next few weeks
We have about 60 finished ornaments sitting in boxes that can be sold right away and about 60 more that can be soldered if need be. Is that enough? should I include other things? The Peacocks I created last year? I have 5 of them in various states of finished; read all done to still needing a first coat of paint. The felt trees I've been making this year? I can make about 3 or four a day if I don't embellish them with stitchery and beads.

What do I have on hand to display with? What do I need still? What should I build my banner with? Should I have one? Should I price individually or use signage since all my ornaments are the same price across the board? A Float how much change should I have on hand? Packaging, business cards, mailing list, artist bio..... on top of keeping up with the laundry, feeding the family and making sure the Peanut is picked up from school and the Bean isn't drawing on the couch with permanent marker (true story) and also dealing with her recent habit of getting up at 4, 4:30 and 5AM. I have one pretty full plate.

One of my intentions for this coming year is to take any reasonable opportunity and keep up any momentum that builds so that I keep moving forward. I could have politely declined the offer of the table. I could have stepped back and made plans for next year instead. Instead I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and accepted. I've been reading up on doing shows, I've got a list of display items I'd love to be able to put to use, some that I can only dream of and others that I have on hand and or can put together simply and elegantly (I hope).

So the roller coaster is starting up that first big hill, the trick will be to keep those cars on track after that first hill. Any good advice out there?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Still In Candy Coma-land

We celebrated our seventh Trick Or Treating night this year and once again I managed to keep the costumes pretty close to the home made scale of things. I'm a little bendy in what I'll consider part of a home made costume though. For instance if it's been in the dress up box for more than a year and it was originally part of a bought costume that has been handed down to us I will call it a home made costume. I will also accept the addition of newly purchased components of a costume regardless of what it is. This year both of these were a big part of our costume building.

The Peanut had a dress up party to attend this year and since I didn't want her to give up the surprise of the costume she's picked for the big day we rummaged in the dress up box and came up with a layered witchy, gypsy clown costume. The main dress was part of an old witch costume. It was way too flimsy and kind of boring so I added a pink tulle tutu and also the ribbon tutu that's been in the dress up box since our first Halloween with the Peanut. WE put on her flowered leggings underneath, layered the Bean's baby legs leg warmers, some spotted socks and the orange and black witch hat headband we purchased this year. We finished with some purple glitter face make up and she was ready for the party. I think it worked out pretty well and I think the Peanut looks pretty darn cute.

For the big day the Peanut chose to be a cheetah. We purchased a pair of cheetah ears and a tail when we got the with hat pictured above but the main part of her costume was the face paint and the cheetah print top and cardigan that are a part of her every day wardrobe. We got up a little early to get her face painted and her hair done so that those ears would stay put. A little trick I came up with is to pull a portion of hair over top of the head band and secure it with a barrette directly behind the headband. It holds the ears in place and also hides the headband too.The makeup and headband held up from 6:30am until 8:30pm, or if you'd rather all throughout the school day and up until the end of trick or treating.

Last year for the Bean we used the Monarch Butterfly costume that's been with us since the Peanut was 4 months old. I couldn't get it together enough to put anything more together for her after building bat wings for the Peanut. This year I am pleased to say that the Bean's costume was home made from top to bottom. We put her in a black velveteen dress, purple striped leggings and a little purple shrug. Then to top it off I made a tiny felt witch hat and attached it to a barrette and my little witch was ready to go out and cast some spells on the neighborhood. Except the hat didn't stay put; toddlers eh?

This year was the first time we did Trick or Treating with a friend and it was a big success. The Bean made it to ten houses before she rode in her stroller, and the Peanut finished the night off with a big bag of goodies that we are still working our way through hence the candy coma.

How was your Halloween? Did you build a costume or go store bought and what were you?

Friday, October 12, 2012


The husband and I finally had a date night two weeks ago.

What did we do? We went to see Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra and it was one of the best live shows I have ever had the fortune of experiencing.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

5 questions: Colourful and Perfect

I started following Eyelah's (otherwise known as Ayla)  blog way back when it was mainly in support of her jewelry shop on Etsy, AAlexandra. I came across her one morning in the etsy forums and added her blog to my reading list because something about her writing style just seemed to resonate with me; her taste in music has sealed the deal for me; I have been known keep Imogen Heap on auto repeat myself. That and I thought her creations were simply beautiful. Now Ayla puts most of her energy into her jewel bright hand bags and clutches which you can fine at Eyelah

Over the course of the last two or so years I've found following all the blogs on my reading list a bit of a challenge but I manage to drop in here and there when the Bean allows for a little me time. When I decided that it might be a good idea to return to doing features again Eyelah's own blog post about doing features seemed to be too serendipitous to ignore.

Before I went into my feature hiatus I decided that in order to be excited and get everyone else excited about the features I do I would have to choose the artists and artisans I featured from my own list of favourites. They would have to be shops that I would shop at, have shopped at or just visit on a very regular basis to satisfy my hunger for awesome stuff.

Of course Eyelah fits right in there. Her handbags are bright and colourful and I could picture grabbing one of her butterfly clutch handbag's and heading out for an evening on the town with my Mommy friends or for a date night with the husband. Personally I think her yellow Butterfly Cotton Clutch would look stunning at Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra's Theatre is Evil performance at the end of the month... I covet; it's true.

As always a five question feature is a Q&A format of five questions about being an artist, designer and/or artisan, getting inspired and possibly a little insight into the nuts and bolts getting creative. Please please visit her shop you'll be happy that you did. Just looking at her gorgeous and fun handbags puts a smile on my face, let me tell you...

so here's what I asked and how she answered:

What got you started?
I originally starting making jewelry a few years ago because I have a nickel allergy and I found that it was better to make my own earrings than buy them. So when I started making earrings it became necklaces and then someone suggested Etsy. After going Etsy I pretty much became obsessed with crafting.


Do you listen to music when you create? What's on your play list right now and why?
I definitely listen to music now. I used to have Netflix playing in the background but I realize that I am more creative/productive when I have music playing than a movie or TV show. I currently use Pandora for my music source and right now my station is for Imogen Heap.

What life or art lesson have you learned that has shaped your work?

I guess the art lesson I have learned is handbag making and sewing. I started making handbags shortly after I started jewelry and I've just developed the craft even further. It took me a while and a lot of troubleshooting to finally get the look I wanted even now I'm constantly developing the handbags, clutches or wallets I make.

If you were granted 3 wishes to furnish your dream studio space, what would you choose and why?
an awesome sewing machine, endless amounts of materials, a new camera. I think these three things are the key to handmade items especially for handbags. Having a great sewing machine is  very helpful. Having an awesome camera makes all the difference.

Which Children's book character would you be and why?
One of my favorite children's book growing up was "Alexander and the Horrible No Good Very Bad Day". I liked Alexander because he was just trying push through the day and everything just wasn't going his way. Sometimes I felt that was my life back then and even now but at the end of the day or month, year, or decade everything ends up being awesome for me. Plus, I also liked he was named Alexander because my middle name is Alexandra.

So besides Eyelah on Etsy you can also find Ayla on her beautifully designed Eyelah blog where she posts some pretty awesome tutorials as well as lots of other everyday stuff as well as on facebook where you can get a glimpse of her work in progress, the treasuries she's made on Etsy and a little bit of what is going on behind the scenes.

As always all the images should link up to the matching item in Eyelah on Etsy. Go! Visit! and then I really must insist that you check out her latest blog posting... Really it's a great post. I promise!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

If Given a Chance

would you take the opportunity to make  a positive change in someones life? What about if the process was easy to do?

I know from experience that thinking about becoming a bone marrow or stem cell donor isn't at the top of life changing activities. Unless you or someone you know and love is in need, or you see or read about someone who is in need the option isn't one of those things that jumps to mind when you hear about someone who has changed another person's life for the better.  Becoming a donor remains one of those things we think is a good idea but rarely something to act on. The idea usually dissipates as soon as the next topic of conversation rises.

image courtesy of my niece
Last March I posted about my nephew who really needed a transplant to treat his rare disease. Today would have been Linden's first birthday. While Linden was fortunate enough to be matched with not one but two donors as well as receiving stem cells from his Mama, there are families still waiting for a match out there. Families who just want their baby, their child, sister, brother, mother, father to have a chance at more time with those they love.

Linden's life ended on his own terms and had nothing to do with his rare disease or the treatment he received for it. If it had not been for the two people who signed up and were matches with him as donors, his family would have had very little to hope for. The two matches that ere found for Linden were cause for much rejoicing. In honour of Linden, on the day that he would have been smearing cake and frosting all over his face and opening presents to celebrate one very full year of life; please consider becoming a donor. Please pass on information about becoming a donor to your friends and family. If you could help save the life of some body's loved one it would be worth it! What a wonderful gift to Linden's memory? Please help spread the word and please if you do sign up and are a match let us know so that we can celebrate with you and the person you are matched up with.

If you live outside of Canada you can become a donor in your own country. Matches can be made from all over the world. To list a very few:

In Canada visit One Match
In the US go to Be The Match 
In the UK go to the British Bone Marrow Registry 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Another Great Collaboration

 Not too long ago, the Husband and I put our skill sets together and created some beautiful microscope slide decorations. I carved stamps and used them to make impressions of my prints into glass paint and the Husband soldered the glass adding jump rings and a shiny silver frame around my images.

We sell them together in my etsy shop and we've had a little success with them. Given more time for marketing and possibly a chance to sell them in person, where their charm is way more evident than online I foresee more success for them.

The great thing about collaborating is that we get to spend a little time together both doing something that we both love and are pretty good at.

Of course this means that we've been collaborating a little bit here and there over the last year or so on projects that aren't PeanutButterPie-centric but more BoneShaker centric. You see the Husband has been dabbling in building stomp boxes for guitar and bass for about as long as he's been playing bass. The goal is to create a boutique stomp box operation that features hand painted stomp boxes in limited editions. To the left you can see one of our prototypes.

The box is empty right now but soon it will hold the components to make it into a reverb pedal. There will be switches and an LED light added to the box and it will be lovingly passed on to it's new owner. The nice thing about my process is that even the same carved printing block will yield a unique image each time it's pressed onto a surface. A short run of reverb pedals featuring this image will all be one of a kind. In addition to the boxes I plan on creating hand pressed limited edition prints of each image that will be for sale either in PeanutButterPie or in the Husband's soon to be up and Running Etsy shop. Once the editions and the boxes are sold they will be done and we'll start new editions with new art.

I'm very excited about this new collaboration. The Husband is a consummate perfectionist, his work is high quality and if it's not up to customer satisfaction he'll work to fix it or create a happy resolution for everyone. For my part I get to flex my creativity muscle on something that I am excited about and proud of. Not too shabby if you ask me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's not over yet,

Home made popsicles. Fresh picked raspberries
in a popsicle mold covered in fruit juice and frozen
for a special treat on a super hot day.
We're headed into the last week of summer vacation, we have school supplies nearly checked off our list, just tissues, glue sticks and a box of watercolour paints left, well also shoes; but then we are ready and excited about heading into Grade 1.

The Peanut spent this summer participating in the Library's summer reading program, reading books to me as well as vice versa. We've over shot the 50 days of required reading, and in that time we've finished the Hobbit and started on the Harry Potter Series, (me reading to her, currently we are on book 2) as well as a stack of picture books, poetry books, information books and Easy Reader books (The Peanut reading to me, or alternating pages between us). We'll be handing in her reading club form at the end of this week and we'll be keeping on with the reading. It's a lovely way to have some Peanut and me time every day. So with the end of summer looming

I'm determined to squeeze every last second possible out of summer except for those two days of rain they're predicting...

Summer started off a little cool and damp. the Peanut's Birthday party was threatened with rain. Our plans to fill the backyard with boxes and let the kids play with and in them was thrown out the window when the rain continued to fall right up the moment that all our friends arrived. Instead of boxes our friends enjoyed the new back yard swings, the jump rope, hula hoop and sand box. They ate up all of our home made ice cream cake and fresh cut veggies.

Even without the boxes it was a lot of fun and we'll revisit the box idea next summer. Perhaps for the Bean's 1/2 birthday extravaganza. For goody bags I made each child a hand drawn paper doll that looked just like her or him and included a few sheets of clothes for them to decorate and colour. In the rush to get them all done I forgot to photograph the finished dolls but I have plans to make more.

After the birthday party rumpus we hit the Vancouver Jazz festival where the Bean enjoyed roaming free through the crowds, followed closely by either the husband or me. The Peanut enjoyed the music and blew bubbles and crawled over some of the public art in front of the court house.  It's been a few years since we last went to the Jazz Festival. The last time we attempted was the day the wheel axle broke on our car and the trip was aborted in favour of getting the car towed and  calming our nerves.

the addition of a swing set to our back yard has kept both girls busy this summer. The Peanut loves to swing and the Bean has figured out how to get her feet swung around to go down the slide, she requires a little aid to climb the ladder but that's coming (all Gods please help me) The first half of the summer in our back yard was full of sandbox play, Side walk chalk, slip and slide and sprinkler fun. Once the heat set in sprinkler fun was the best way to keep cool without going too far from home using too much energy getting back home after having fun. I loved watching my girls play together and mostly get along.


When we did head out; we hit the beach

Visited the wading pool at the playground:

waded in the water feature at the PNE grounds:


Hit the playground, where we spent the bulk of some visits trying to contain the Bean, who would try to play in traffic if given the chance:

We managed to check off almost all of our summer Must Do List,  including a back yard camp out complete with s'mores and flashlights. and in between we filled out days with lots of silliness and even a few timeless moments.

Our summer wasn't all fun and happiness. We lost a family member, and are still reeling from that. The Peanut is still trying to wrap her mind around saying good bye to her little cousin and we've had numerous conversations about death and I see more in our future. It's one thing to say good bye to a great Granny who has had a full life and yet another thing to have to say goodbye to a baby who is close in age to your baby sister. We're working on making the idea of death seem (to paraphrase Dumbledore from book one:) like another great adventure. Something that should not be frightening because everyone does it, hopefully after living a life full of love and adventures.

So anyway, I've not posted even a fraction of what we've done this summer. I may post more pictures later or I might not. Life flies by on you and my next post might just be full of first day of school things or perhaps a look into what I started on my birthday and am so excited about that I'm itching to get back to it every day...

How did you spend your summer vacation? Did you do anything extraordinary or was it a summer just like a summer should be?
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