Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Little Things...

... I never thought I would do in my life. Before having a little boy, that is.

To put it in context, you should know that I have three sisters, no brothers, and although we are probably far from what one would call the sit-in-the-corner-playing-with-dolls type of girls, we're still girls nonetheless.

I also have two daughters. When they were each born, this seemed completely normal and expected to me.

But put everything on hold about 5 years ago when I was expecting our third child. Complete and utter shock when I was informed that the child to come was of the masculine gender. Impossible!

How on earth was I ever going to raise a boy? I knew nothing about them. Nothing! I lived in a world of pink and purple and sparkly things. I painted cupcakes and flowers and polka dots galore. Boys don't like pink and purple and sparkly things. And though they may enjoy eating cupcakes, they certainly don't do polka dots. Boys like racecars and dinosaurs and backhoes. They like trains and loud noises and racing about.

And as I found out yesterday on our little day out together, boys like boat elevators. And I'll very quietly admit, that I found it pretty cool too.

Continuing on our theme of the road less travelled tourism, below are more photos of the Ascenseur Funiculaire du Canal du Centre in Belgium. Currently the biggest boat elevator in the world, it raises and lowers canal boats (péniches) just over 73m or approximately 240 feet.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thank you...

... to all those who have featured my work lately in Etsy treasuries. I really should do this more often and have made a mental note to do so, because I really do appreciate your including me in your collections. It means so much!

Please click on each of the images to see these treasuries up close and help out the curators!

Though I never thought of Chichiboulie or bunting as scary, someone else did! By Fruits of the Bloom:

One from Arzu Musa:

One from Evihan:

Another from Felicity Crew:

And another by Itty Bitty Birdie:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And maybe a winner....

...but definitely a finalist!

Modern Handmade Child magazine, mine and Shannon Hanley's ( little baby (along with a LOT of help from an incredible group of people) has made it into the finalists for Specialist Magazine of the Year in the Digital Magazine Awards.

We're SO excited!

We created this magazine just over a year ago with the idea of bringing handmade family living to everyone in a fun and friendly format. We had no idea at that point what would come of it, but thought it would be fun to give it a try. Boy have we come a long way since then! Our latest issue, Autumn 2010, has had over 15,000 views and our readership continues to grow. Our team has increased and solidified as we've welcomed some fabulous new members on board to join the other amazing contributors. And we have more plans to come....

The winners will be announced on the 27th of October so until then, if you could all just hold your breath for us, that would be much appreciated!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And finally a winner...

I needed to get this done on Monday but things weren't going my way. I'm still not 100% sure they're going my way now, but just in case they aren't, I had a quick free moment and child and now we finally have a winner....

Anyone want to supply a drum roll?

The lucky bauble winner is ..... JANET!! For all your replies, I did only count the correct one, but your enthousiasm paid off in the end. The wee fingers of my 4 year old pulled your name out of the bucket.

So, if you'd like to contact me and let me know which bauble design you would like, I'll get started on it while my fingers are still sticky from all the others.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone for playing. I'll surely have another giveaway soon so do check back!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

While you're waiting...

...just know that all of us here in France are waiting as well. Waiting for things to settle down and see what the outcome is, that is.

You may have heard about it on the news or read about it in the paper, but in case you haven't, France is on strike. It's been going on since September and originally it was about the change in the retirement age in France, though I now personally suspect it's about more than just that.

We've had teachers on strike so no school and the trains and metros on strike so no transport in the bigger cities. We've had the truckers on strike blocking the motorways and the high-school students on strike worried about their retirement (though I'll go out on a limb here and say that, although I do not consider myself right-wing, I do think they should try working a day first before worrying about retiring, but of course, maybe I'm just old!).

Needless to say, it's a bit of a mess. And now we have petrol shortages, though the government, up until today says not. Just for fun and just so you can all see what the petrol shortages mean, here is a little map of many of the stations in France where you CANNOT purchase petrol.

Fortunately my weekly driving is fairly limited and thus so too is my consumption as we don't know when this is going to go back to normal. And fortunately for me too, we live right next to the border with Belgium which seems to be slightly calmer despite their own political issues. They may not have a government, but they do have petrol and they do have a working post office (that I dutifully visit at least once a week).

So while we may enjoy fine wines and flavourful cheeses, there is at times a price to pay for all of that and at the moment, it would seem we're paying it!

PS - my apologies for any delayed shipments... I hope you understand!

It's coming...

...I promise!

I haven't forgotten about the contest, just having a few connection issues here. But I promise to have a winner up as soon as it's all sorted, which hopefully will be soon.

Since the closing date has past though, I can let you officially know that yes, the city is Tournai. I thought it would be nice to present one of Belgium's lesser known towns as a bit of travelling discovery, especially since this town really should be better known in my opinion. Not only does it offer tons of history, but it's a gorgeous place to visit with a wonderful "âme" or soul. We're there quite frequently as well for the yummy ice cream and waffles! Definitely worth the detour if you're ever in the neighbourhood!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Running out of time..., not you! For you all, there's still time to play and get your guesses in. It's me who's short of time at the moment, thus the lack of clues the past couple of days.

But I promise to make it up to you. So are you ready?

You already know that this town is in Wallonia and that it boasts not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage sites. If that's not enough for you to google, I'll give you a few more clues here:

- It is also home to the pictured bridge, known as Le Pont-des-Trous on the river Escaut
- It is the only Belgian city to ever have been ruled by England, from having been conquered by Henry VIII
- Under the Roman Empire, it was originally known as Tornacum

And lastly

- I chose this for my game on a whim last Sunday while we were enjoying ice cream and waffles on the Grand'Place

Have fun (and a great weekend... I'm off to cook!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day three and another piece of the mystery..., that is.

Ready for another hint: There it is in the photo. There are loads of these in the region of this town, so many in fact that they are part of the landscape actually. But some are real knockouts in the architectual beauty category. Like the one pictured here, in my opinion.

So not only does this charming little town have an outstanding cathedral, but it also has a beautiful belfry. AND.... both of these monuments are classified not only in their home country, but as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Does that help you out any bit?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another Day, Another Hint

Time for a second hint.

There have been some good guesses, but I'm not going to give away whether or not any of them are on the money, or the bauble as is the case.

Just for the fun of it, here is another image to help you figure out what that famous landmark could be. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but I'm pretty sure from this photo you can at least pick it out, if not name it. Hint: It's somewhat imposing and a one of Wallonia's major historical sites.

Any more thoughts as to where this is?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giveaway Time

I thought it was about time as it's been AGES since I've had any sort of giveaway. So raise your hand if you're excited!

It's the start of the busy seasons for me and I can feel the change in orders already. Lately it seems like a lot of baubles are going out in the post so I thought what better than to give away a personalised bauble to the winner. You can choose any bauble you want from the selection in my shop, or maybe we can even come up with a new one just for you!

Have you picked out your favourite yet?

Not so fast! You do have to do something in order to win this bauble so I thought I would make it a bit of fun if not slightly challenging. Of course, this may be a piece of cake and I'll get millions of correct answers. Or... It may be slightly more difficult (in which case I'll give you loads of hints because I do want right answers after all!). All correct answers will be put into a hat for a drawing, most likely by one of my children, but I'll keep you posted on that.

What lovely town is pictured in this post? First hint: It's in Europe (and one of its major landmarks is shown in the photo)

Put on your thinking caps and let me know your answers in a comment to this post. Enter as many times as you like (well, within reason, no listing ALL the cities and towns in Europe!). All correct answers will be entered into the draw. And if you want a second chance to win, just spread the word about the giveaway and you'll automatically get a second entry. Tweet about it or blog about it or post it on Facebook or take out a full-page ad in the New York Times. Your choice! But do let me know about it in a comment here so I can be sure to give you another entry.

Have fun! (I'll choose a winner next Monday, so until then, happy guessing and keep coming back for clues.)

Oh, and I wanted to mention that that blue sky in the photo is untouched. Not filter necessary!

Monday, October 4, 2010

National Cinnamon Bun Day!

I think I must just be genetically programmed from my Swedish grandfather. The past few days, I've been wanting to make something with cinnamon (despite my husband's severe distaste of the spice). I searched through loads of recipes and even printed out a few I was tempted to make. But in the end, the cinnamon buns won out. Maybe because they are something that you just can't get in this area. Or maybe, just maybe because of my Swedish roots, I just felt it was time to make them. For unbeknownst to most, October 4 is National Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden.

Who'd have known!

Certainly not me, I'll admit, if I didn't have a good Swedish friend who informed me of this little known fact.

But known or unknown, I did make my first ever batch of homemade cinnamon buns. It was a learning experience and there are definitely changes I'll make for future batches. But all in all, and based on the speed at which they disappeared around here, I'd say they were a small success.

ps - I don't have time at the moment, but if you're interested, I'll post the recipe I used. Just let me know or if you have any secrets yourself for making these lovely rolls...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Patchwork Profusion follow up on the Plethora of a few posts ago.

I'm still working on a few models, in particular a lovely wintery blue one, but I have managed to get these two sorted. And photographed. And listed. And in my world, that's something already.

So here are two new baubles to add to the collection this year. Patchwork Tree and Patchwork Mitten. Any suggestions for a third to accompany them? A snowman perhaps? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Although we've only just entered into October, I've already sold a few baubles this year so it's definitely time to start thinking about it!