Behind starburst eyes

What dreams may come…

In grade 11 I took a fashion/sewing class. About three quarters of the way through it I stayed after class to show my teacher the sketches I had been working on for months of clothing I’d designed. I knew the fabrics each piece would be made out of, and I could see in my head a 3D image of the finished article. I could turn it around in my head and see where each seam was, and exactly how to make it. I asked her if she could help me to understand how to draw the female form a bit easier as I had some difficulty sketching what I saw in my head. She sloughed off my explanations and question and basically told me not to worry about how to draw my ideas better as I’d really not need them. My face grew hot, my hands sweaty and my stomach churned as I tried to get outta there as fast as I could, all the while calling myself a fool. I still drew the things I imagined but I never dreamed of showing anyone again.

That afternoon is why no matter what dreams may come to them I encourage my children. I might tell them it’ll take a lot of hard work to break into an industry or a great deal of additional formal education. But I ALWAYS tell them I believe in them and their ability to pursue their dreams. Because really, sometimes when someone shares a dream, while they may want it with their whole heart, their confidence in being able to accomplish it is still as fragile as a butterflies wings, and I want to watch them soar.

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Top 6 Ways To Spend Less while Giving MORE!

As most of you dear readers know:

1) Between my husband and myself we have 5 children.

2) Our 2 boys are Autistic and behavioral therapy is NOT cheap.

So how do I make sure that there are presents under the Christmas tree? I’m going to tell you my favorite ways to make sure each child (and the adults near and dear to my heart) receives wonderful gifts they love without spending a fortune.

1) I make a lot of gifts for everyone.

From knitting hats and mittens in funky colors, to making purses, stuffed animals, quilts, hair accessories (such as headbands, and decorative clips) fabric books, skirts, pajamas, tutus, slippers, hot/cold packs, jams, candles, cookies, festive colored pastas and canned spaghetti sauces, chili, chocolates (with cream filled centres), paintings and more I really mean it when I say I make a lot of what I give each year. To help with that, I buy supplies throughout the year as they’re on sale and I TRY to start making things ahead of time so I’m not in a rush come the festive season (typically, I fail at starting early and so I am mostly just sleep deprived as I stay up late every night creating in the few weeks before Yule lol)

2) I price match everything I can, and when I can’t I buy in bulk!

I know, it sucks being behind the person with a ton of flyers who’s price matching when you yourself have a ton of things still to do in the day, but when I can get really great quality thread that sews denim for less than half price, I’m totally going to take the time to do so! Then there’s the buying in bulk aspect. Yes you really do spend less if you buy a larger quantity at a time, and that is wonderful news if you’re going to make a lot of one item. Such as buying take out containers from a restaurant wholesaler, decorating the lids with the kids and volia, lovely containers filled with delicious baked goods for various people.

3) I utilize groups like Freecycle.

Freecycle is one of the most wonderful things to happen to the internet! I know people have been swapping for countless years but still I really love the ease with which I can post what I have that I don’t need anymore and someone will come to my house to take it for themselves. I also love that I can in turn do the same! I once saw a posting for a block of candle wax and I thought, hmm I’ve never tried to make candles, but I’d love to do so! So I responded and I was gifted with 50lbs of paraffin wax! (A 10lb slab is $73.99 at our local craft store!) Then I borrowed some books from the library on candle making and ta da! I had lovely presents for those I cared for! (Well the adults at least)

4) I’m not afraid to try new things, even if it means messing up.

The first stuffed animal I made for my daughter was terrible. The head was lopsided (it was a horse, and it honestly looked like it had a stroke) the hooves were crooked, I’d forgotten to sew the ears inside the seam at the top so they were really odd and floppy, more like a bunny’s. But I laughed at this terrible creation and then looked carefully at where I’d gone wrong and how I could correct it for my next one. My first dress was all kinds of wrong as well! And of course there’s the incident my own mother still likes to remind me of when I tried a 1920’s recipe for cream centres for chocolates, and it didn’t harden and so instead it slowly leaked all over my balcony and made the biggest, gooey mess I’d every seen! (I’d put it on the balcony to cool faster, and it did, it froze in fact, but not before it was everywhere) Again I laughed as I cleaned, and as I made the next batch. (I went on to nailing that recipe, but it took time and practice)

5) I utilize reward points, free discount cards and the like.

I use Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum points, Air miles, plum rewards, husky points etc. One of my personal favorites is I use their search engine instead of google and some searches mearly return my search results, others garner me “swag bucks” which I use to redeem for online gift certificates for places like So far in this last year I’ve earned $60 in Amazon gift certificates which I use to buy the kids books they love 😀

6) I shop online as well as in store.

Why, well there’s the gas it saves, but also because I can shop from more places (which often means better prices as long as you know the “average” price an identical item would typically cost) One of the places I love is I love the auctions, and I always bid the highest amount I’m willing to spend on that specific item at the start. Then if it goes over that, I refuse to bid again. Sometimes I get them, sometimes I don’t. But I do it early enough in the year to not worry if I don’t get all of the items I’ve bid on. Plus you can get some really, and I mean REALLY amazing things on there. I recently found a pair of cufflinks that were identical to the ones my deceased father had on the day he married my mother from the same jeweler in England that I was able to snag for my brother for this coming Christmas. (Don’t worry, while his charming wife reads my blog he doesn’t so he won’t know about them lol)

So those are my top 6 ways for creating special holiday gifts. What are your top ways?


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Creating a sensory room

On Friday the mail came and with it the latest catalogue from The Special Needs Toy company. I love that catalogue, I love shopping from it, I love the variety of items, I love the layout  it, with each category being clearly listed such as “socialization, or auditory” What I don’t love is the prices. I was a frugal woman before I became a super frugal momma and so the prices always make me cringe. I hate that I can buy “regular” toys for FAR less than toys that are geared towards helping my boys to overcome some of the challenges they face and thrive. To that end I became inspired yesterday that perhaps my frugalness (yep it’s a word 😉 could be utilized into making a whole sensory area for my boys without needing to win a lottery!

To that end I’ve been busy crafting, creating and shopping with an end goal of creating a wonderful sensory area for the boys for less that $200. So far I’m at $92 spent, and half-way finished. I’ve got multiple auditory toys, visual items such as squishy animals that glow when they’re shaken, pillows with aromatherapy aspects to them, and more. Over the next week there’ll be sewing of various items (bean bags) cutting of an old tire (to create bins with amazing textured outsides) and more. I’ll post pictures once it’s all complete, along with a total of how much it cost for me to complete. I’m excited dear readers that I can totally pull this off! 😀

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Come hell, high water or $5,000 fines the kids were having a lemonade stand for Sick Kids Hospital

For the last 3 years my wee ones have had a lemonade stand on Canada Day. They make lemonade, cookies, jam, and candles and sell them to raise money for Sick Kids Hospital. This year’s experience was NOT what I’d hoped for them.

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It started great, we put up signs, made strawberry lemonade with strawberries we’d picked as a family at a local farm (Pingles) made original lemonade, each child got to take a turn at squeezing lemons into the pitcher. We made gluten-free cookies the night before. They helped to make jam a few days ago from the strawberries we’d picked together on Summer Solstice. I guided them on making star-shaped candles which they did with great pride and excitement and used the broken bits from their little brother’s crayons to color each one. We ran around the neighborhood and they would watch the lights for me from the corners of various streets as I would dash across the cross walks writing with sidewalk chalk across the entire thing “Lemonade Stand 4 Sick Kids Hospital” and an arrow pointing towards our home. Each child would excitedly want to be the one to pour the lemonade when a customer came, or to offer the cookie that was free with each cup.
Starting at about 1pm my son was waving a sign 4 houses down the street at the cross walk of the highway and our street and yelling “Lemonade Stand, all the money goes to Sick Kids Hospital” as cars drove by. A woman who lived across the street from where he was standing came out and told him to stop. She was not nice about it, he came back almost in tears. My brother came by to help support the kids in their endeavour was NOT happy that C was yelled at for trying to raise money for charity. So he stood at the corner with hin while my son did his best to convince every person that went by that they should buy a glass of lemonade to help out a charity that is VERY near and dear to our family.

The lady came out again and yelled again about them stopping, my brother told her that his nephew was allowed to try to help a charity and that he wasn’t harming anyone. She eventually came BACK out AGAIN and tried to give C $5 to go away. He told her “No thanks, I don’t want your money, I just want to keep doing my thing for Sick Kids” She was determined that he take it, and he was determined that he wasn’t going too. Finally, he told her “I’ll take it for Sick Kids, but I’m not going to stop, I want people to come to our lemonade stand so we can give lots of money to them”

My brother had to go so he walked C back to me, and I walked him back to the corner. This is where things got really crappy. A police car slowed down and stopped just past us. The lady had called the cops to force us to stop. As soon as I saw the police cruiser stop I told C to go back to the lemonade stand. The police officer asked a few questions and then told me he was sorry but that he had to ask us to stop as we were causing a disturbance and we didn’t have a vendors permit to run a lemonade stand. I walked back to our front yard to talk with my husband and saw that C was in tears. He was afraid that I was going to be arrested and that he’d lose his mom. I assured him that while the police officer was well within his rights to fine me but that he couldn’t take me to jail.

I then took the sign from my husband and started to walk back to the corner again. My husband asked me why I was doing it and I told him the truth “How can we teach our children to stand up for what is right and to stand strong in their convictions if we cow down instead of standing up for our own personal convictions. My conviction is that what the kids are doing is RIGHT and that they should be allowed to try to help out a charity. I will NOT back down, I will stand up for their right to be kids, to be good people, and to try their best to do good deeds. If they want to call the cops back again than so be it, I’ll pay the fines because standing behind my convictions is more important that being popular or the money it might cost us. They are worth it, the kids knowing no matter what that I support them is worth it!”

I then proceeded to yell at the very top of my momma lungs “Lemonade Stand for Sick Kids Hospital” while waving the sign at the corner for 45 more minutes, until it started to rain.
Stubborn? Yes! But wrong of me? NOPE If I don’t show them that their beliefs are important, that they are important, that I respect their efforts and that I WILL stand behind them come hell, high water or police officers with fines then how can I expect to raise adults that will be honorable, and strong enough to stand up for what they believe no matter what? How can I teach them to root themselves strong in Mother Earth and stand tall no matter the storm for whatever they believe in.


It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a kid on a leash!

imagesCA0TBJHUWell tonight I finished modifying N’s little blue backpack into a harness style backpack complete with a “tether strap” as it’s called when one is selling it apparently. (I looked online but figured why pay that much money for one when I’ve got everything here to convert a regular toddler sized backpack instead) In reality it’s a leash and it’s attached to my child via the backpack. I have fought doing this for a while, and each time we went out I would faithfully ensure I had the stroller and he was buckled in. Once in a while I’d walk holding his hand, but with his aversion to touch so often holding hands is NOT something he’s in to doing, and letting him just roam and hoping I can catch him when he darts out onto the street in less time than it takes for a car to hit him is NOT something I’m cool with. In fact it terrifies me, and while I KNOW I’ll get the inevitable backlash for “treating my child like an animal” (trust me I had this reaction with C, and I hated it. I hated that no one could see I JUST wanted to keep him safe.) And I know I’m going to upset people with doing it with N.

Here’s the thing though, I can’t NOT do it. Well I’m sure I can in fact, but my heart is pounding from the moment we walk down our front steps. I’m sweaty and nervous as I carefully grip his wrist/forearm (he won’t hold hands at all) I’m watching every direction, frantically looking all around us and trying to watch him at the same time. All the while I’m still holding onto him for dear life. I try to get to our destination as quickly as I possibly can get him to go, and frequently ask him if he wants me to carry him. Why because he doesn’t understand danger, and that makes me terrified. He runs towards moving cars because he’s so fascinated with cars in general. And trying to just say “No” or “Stop” does NOT work with him. especially since he’s often overloaded auditory wise and covers his ears, but doesn’t ever stop moving.

Now, tonight we went on a little walk with his new modified backpack. I held his forearm while he was walking down the stairs and then I let him just walk. He got to choose where we went because I was just enjoying watching him finally have the opportunity to discover his neighbourhood at his own pace. We stood at one point and watched a cricket and I told him about how the cricket makes music. He loves his backpack, and insisted we put cheese in it for our walk 🙂 He’s not upset by it, even when he tried to dart towards the street and it stopped him (he didn’t fall or anything, he just couldn’t go any further than a few feet from me) he just looked back at me and then pointed at the cars speeding past and smiled saying “brooms!” which is of course his word for cars. So yes I loved the peacefulness with which we were able to just “be” together, in each other’s space, experiencing an evening walk together, marveling at all the things that I would have forced him to miss in my haste to get him somewhere safe prior to his new backpack.

Alright dear readers, I’ve taken a deep breath, let me have it.


The mystery of crayons

Another box of crayons has been unwrapped. N still loves very much to unwrap each one. His slow methodical precision is fascinating to watch. No piece of paper is left, no matter how small. I wish he could type or sign or say what he appears to be looking for when he unwraps each crayon. It’s certainly not an absent-minded action on his part, for each movement of his little fingers is deliberate and sure. His eyes never look anywhere but at the crayon as he unveils it in its entirety. Is he making sure that each part of it is the exact same shade? Does he think something else might be hidden underneath the paper? Or does the feel of the paper it’s wrapped in scratch his hand when he tries to color with it? Is he removing an additional sensory stimulation he does not find appealing? One day when he can answer me, I’ll ask him and listen with bated breath as I’m given more than just a glimpse into the thoughts and inner workings of his precious mind. Until then I will marvel at his concentration, and at the deliberate movements of tiny fingers busy at work. I will marvel at how his eyelashes flutter as he stares so intently upon the unveiled crayon and carefully places it with the others, only to pick up another paper covered one and start again. He won’t be done the task he’s set himself upon until the box is finished, and I won’t ever be done watching him in awe as I get glimpses into his breath-taking mind.

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Scraps of beauty part 2

Well I found more scraps that were just begging to be turned into another purse. 🙂

This one was inspired by a friend of mine, simply because I can completely see her carrying this one around while on some fantastic dig, mining all sorts of lovely gems out of the earth, popping them in this over-sized shoulder bag to be brought home with her.


Once again I’ve done embroidery on the shoulder strap, this time a pattern that reminds me of wheat st.


I also added a pocket to the back for smallish items such as a cell phone, it’s got the same sun as the front has on it.


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N’s Book of Colors








My youngest son is mad for any and all types of vehicles, so I made him his own book of colors with each color being showin with a different type of vehicle. I LOVE fabric books (often called soft books or felt books, as felt is often what they’re made out of) Mine however was not made with felt as you can see, I used satin for the coveres, and denim for all of the pages.  I also used quilt batting within each page to make it keep it’s shape and be fluffy for him. He loves to flip through the pages and when he’s done he closes it up , lays his head on it and sighs contentedly, it’s beyond amazing to watch, and certainly makes the numerous hours of work well worth it! (I had no patterns or previous experience making one of these, so I figured it out as I went which we all know means it takes twice as long lol)

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G’s first dress and bonnet

G's first dress and bonnet

Right before G came home from the NICU I found a pattern online to make her a dress and bonnet. I altered it to fit her petit size, and the best part (to me) was that instead of buying fabric to make it, I used one of my maternity dresses 😀
It was suprisingly simple to make, espically with the sleeves being two long ties instead of a traditional sleeve. She out grew it rather quickly, but I’ve got it tucked away in her keepsake box for her 🙂


G’s Snail

G's Snail

I made this for my daughter, and while you can’t see clearly from the picture, the card attached says:

Should you ever feel sad or blue,
about what you can or cannot yet do…
Look at me and know that your pace is the perfect pace for you to go.

She’s a preemie, and sometimes she’s a bit slower to hit the milestones than a full-term baby would be. But I don’t ever want her to feel like she’s going at the wrong pace because of how fast some sheet of paper says she should be developing, instead I truly want her to know she’s doing exactly as she should at the exact right timing for her. 😀


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