"You know, he was always like a fish out of water around her...poor Lumpers, never mind, I says, plenty more fish in the sea, plenty more."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Patchy Patch

Forty years ago, before I was attending school (that's telling something), I'd watch Mr. Dress Up, The Friendly Giant, and Sesame Street, back to back episodes provided by CBC, on our little black and white tv. There were also a couple of other children's programs like Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo on the american networks. Today's children have a hundred more programs to choose from, and they can watch them via cable television or the Internet. There are dedicated networks for children and a vast array of edu-tainment options, which include programs from other countries.

I watched a couple of Toopy and Binoo episodes on the Internet to check out Patchy Patch, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the storytelling - very cute and imaginative.

What programs did you watch when you were little?

***update*** Sorry, I will no longer make Patchy Patch or any other trademarked or licensed characters. Please send me your child's drawings instead!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Picnic in the Park

Why are these kids running, you ask?

Yesterday was my son's grade 3 class picnic. Since kindergarten, the families have been gathering every year in June for a potluck picnic at a nearby park.

We had a fine day. Sunscreen was slathered and we ate, played soccer, flew kites and had a scavenger hunt which is why these kids are running.

The hunt was fairly easy to set up. Earlier in the day, I went around the park and used the macro lens on my camera to shoot close-ups of some ordinary things you find in the park, printed them out and then hid the photos at the various sites. I gave the children the first photograph clue which they had to identify and locate to find the next photograph clue, and so on. The kids ranged in ages from 3 up to 11, and everyone was running and figuring out the clues. They were only stumped by this clue, and a parent had to give them a little hint.

Do you know what it is?

Mouldings Check!


I rented the mitre saw from the Home Depot. It scared me, but I was mighty careful as I used it. I realised that my original plan of using 1 1/2" L-shaped pre-primed mouldings and gluing them to the top of the cabinets was a bust only after spending the whole day cutting all the pieces. I even began to suspect about halfway that it would not work, but I only admitted defeat at the end, after cutting all the strips and gluing them. Carpenter's glue does not bond (well) to painted surfaces.

Sooooo, I went back to the Depot to pick up some 2x3's which I cut after supper, and then I screwed them to the top of the cabinets. This method worked much better, but it meant that I had to empty all the cupboards which I had hoped to avoid with the gluing method. But, I made more work for myself in the end. Ha! Lesson learned.


Sunday, June 26, 2011


I took these photographs after coming across a series of beautiful photographs of corrosion on the Internet by Stephen Reed. I was inspired to go out and find some of my own examples of corrosion. After taking the shots, some fiddling with filters and cropping, you end up with some interesting textural images!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

home improvement

I live with my husband and son in a little red townhouse near the river. There are 36 homes in the complex, as well as lots of birds, dogs, cats and a family of raccoons. That's my son playing with his best friend, who lives next door. There's my husband, Gio, barbecuing, and there's me in front of the door working away with a mitre saw. What the heck am I doing with a mitre saw, you ask? Well, it's time for home improvement projects! There are 3 things in our little home that have been bugging me lately (really, there are more, but these three are at the top of The List of Nagging Items) and I'm going to tackle them in the next little while.

The three items are:

1) See the gap above the cabinets? My kitchen is missing the crown mouldings. Four years ago, we renovated our little kitchen, hiring a handyman (Greg Ross) and various subcontractors and doing a fair bit of the work ourselves, and it just went on and on. Finally, we ran out of steam and said we'd do the mouldings later...that was 4 years ago!!

2) The futon in our tv room is a sagging, tired old beast. Time to buy a replacement? Or what could I do to revive it?

3) Finally, my dining room needs help. It's a bland room, with heavy, formal-ish mahogany furniture. It feels dark and during the winter, it's a cold, cold place.

So there we have it. Three projects. One person on a mission.

Off I go!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Would you believe that these cushions were created by over 55 working pairs of hands? Lorna contacted me with the idea of making cushions as end of year gifts for her sons' teachers. The image was taken from a plate that the school children had illustrated with self-portraits. The hand-drawn faces are so sweet.

I used Strathmore iron-on transfer sheets to reproduce the image on fabric. The little face is Lorna's younger son's self portrait and I hand-embroidered his name (for Lorna's cushion), but for the teachers' names in the center, I enlisted the help of Carole Conlin, a crafty lady with an embroidery machine. I'm not a quilter nor a seamstress. I like making soft toys, which is a somewhat different activity, but I also enjoy learning new crafty things. I really liked that this project was the sum of many parts.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Time for a giveaway!

It's time! Here's the first giveaway from this blog (the first of many). Would you like to see how your child's drawing will look as a soft toy? In honor of Happy Goat and Elephant Bird, I'm going to establish the theme for this giveaway to be Animal. Interested? This is what you have to do:

1) ask your child(ren) if they want to participate.
2) ask them to make a sketch of their favourite animal (or maybe they have one already done)
3) take a photo of it (with handheld device is fine) and share it with me on facebook or send it to info@childsown.com

On July 1st, one will be randomly selected and using your child's drawing, I will handcraft the animal soft toy for your child.

Have fun and Good Luck!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Natural play structure

Some children love to climb trees. Maybe it's a morphological behavior that hasn't become vestigial yet. Some parents don't like their children climbing trees (it's not safe, dear), and we have playground structures to meet their needs. But it's not the same thing, is it kids? Well, here's the next best thing: a nearby land development has brought a gnarly wood play structure to our neighbourhood and it's awesome.

I used to climb trees too when I was a kid and I like how Warren Brubacher's structures provide children with a similar, perhaps safer, activity. My son loves climbing the structure, pulling himself up and around the gnarly limbs, developing his grappling and toehold skills.

Warren Brubacher, a wood artist, gathers his medium from forests. He goes with a permit into an area that is to be logged and takes the stuff that logging companies don't want - the twisted snags, stumps and limbs, and uses them to build house features, furniture and lampstands.

His play structures are fantastic (he's built one in Whistler, Richmond and now this one), and they're brilliant not because they're uniquely beautiful pieces of sculpture in the landscape, and not because they're totally biodegradable and sustainable, but because they can lure boys away from computer games and get them outside, to climb and play, and keep those arms and legs from becoming vestigial.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mixed blessings

If, one day, you came across a magic elf, and he offered you his two-sided gifts, and they were:

the gift of talent PLUS
the lack of conviction


the gift of focus PLUS
a lack of patience


the love for nature AND
pollen allergies


a thing for whimsy and serendipidity AND
a neurotic need for order?

What would you do?

And what if you were born this way,
What would you do?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


This drawing came to me from a fellow in Herefordshire in the UK. I finished it last week and then drove across the border into Point Roberts, WA to mail it, because of the impending Canada Post strike (we won't talk about his carbon footprint). He's a fine little friend, and he's both excited and a little nervous about his journey across the Ocean.

"lovely home, lovely home, I'm a lucky dog."

"eh, wot's that you say?"

"I'm going over to where?"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Isa's softie

This is Isa when she was three.

When she was three, she drew this picture, for her nonna (grandmother) who then lent it to me, but not before making me swear I'd handle it carefully and return it.

King Elephant Bird is a likeable guy, always in good spirits and never forgetful. He'll never forget your name, your birthday or your favourite ice cream flavor. And he's the kind of character who likes to hang out with friends, and will insist on leaning a bit on them. But Happy Goat doesn't mind.

Friday, June 3, 2011

10 minute cookies

Well, okay, it doesn't really take ten minutes, especially if you include the setting up of cookies, wooden bowls, flour, chocolate chips, etc for the artsy photo shoot (I'm learning to use my camera) but, at least after it's all done, I can relax with a cookie...

you know the recipe, don't you?

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (at least!) chocolate chips

Oven at 375 F.

Cream shortening with sugars, egg, vanilla. Add flour, salt, baking soda. Fold in chips. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.