Thursday, August 27, 2009

today is the day

i talk about my love of being an aunt, rant about healthcare, maternity leave and the state of the world in general. k? k.

let's start this off nice. first off, i love being an aunt. yay!
i have one nephew (plus another on the bub's side, in Portugal), my brother's little guy who just turned three (see previous post!) and another little guy due today. today. TODAY! i'm not sure what's going on over at their house right now, so who knows when the little man will actually make his grand entrance. i'm just so excited! so naturally i'm feeling a bit reminiscent and sappy about my first nephew. 'cause i'm a total sap when it comes to him. i cannot say no. "auntie keeleeee come to da basement to play hockey wit' me puleaseeeee?" i mean, the fact that he knows me and wants to hang with me and can say my name like that is enough alone. forget the cuteness of his little face. forget the fun we have playing hockey in nanny's open unfinished basement. he brings me back to a place of comfort and ease. joy and happiness. we play with my old toys, my old puzzles, the thick wooden ones my own nanny bought me. we play with his new toys, his new favorites, that nany has bought him. it's nice. it's the sweetness of life. i love it.
which is why i'm increasingly bubbling over with anticipation over the impending arrival of newest member of the d. family. we know (or so the ultrasounds have shown) that it's a boy, and we know from the 1 hint we get that the name is associated with water. from what language, who knows. my nephew has a cool name, so i assume whatever they choose will be equally unique yet not freaky-bad. they are cool like that, my brother and SIL. they are having a birth in a childbirth unit at a great hospital close by, with a midwife and doula, and if all goes well they should be snuggled in at home within 6 hours of his arrival. (touch wood. do it!)
now THAT's great healthcare. free. shared care with a midwife and an obgyn. new hospital facilities available in a childbirth unit, the midwife comes home with you, and all except the doula (that may have changed, doula's might be covered under your employee benefits or the gov't) are covered by the gov't. you walk in, have your baby, you walk out. no bills. nothing. ok, some paperwork, but it's all covered. tell me our health care isn't pretty good here. i'll take it over the US system any day.
So, i read the blogs of so many awesome bloggers who are moms. and some amazing guy bloggers too. (sorry, the term mom & dad bloggers for some reason bugs me, no offense.) I read the struggles the ones in the US sometimes face to get untrasounds for their high-risk pregnancies covered. i read about the fights they have with their insurance over procedures for their premies. i read how they scrimp and save in a crappy economy to pay for a midwife, even though it is the last thing they should be worring about paying for. Yet, these are the same people who pay something like $1300 for insurance - per MONTH.
THAT is criminal. THAT's a nice mortgage payment, friends. And even if they have all that covered and an easy, happy birth, they only get what, 6 or 8 weeks maternity leave? OMG. THAT is ludicrous. How are you suppose to provide that bonding time, impress your values & love upon and teach your growing baby all it needs in that first important year when society your doesn't give you the time or value that enough to do so? So yes, I'll live here and take my year long maternity leave, thanks. I know, we all know, but i have to say that it is no wonder our neighbour friends are in debt up the ying-yang. I feel bad for them. We all deserve access to healthcare and it shouldn't bankrupt anyone.
can we go back to my being an aunt now?
here was the little man when he was only 10 days old. ca-ute or what?

i know i'll be tweeting when the new guy arrives. damn twitter, how i hate to love you so.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


i feel scattered. not centered. little bits of me here, little bits of me there.
i know i am not unique. i see it all around me, people struggling to keep it all together, stay focused, stay on course, on path, pointed in the right direction. and that gives me comfort.
but I feel scattered.

for instance, online. it mirrors my life IRL perfectly. little bits of me here, little bits of me there. i have this blog, 2 other blogger blogs, my nerdfighter blog, my old 43 things spot, my old facebook profile, my flickr photos, my picasa albums, my rss feeds. my gawd. i'm scattered.
i want to pull ALL those little pieces of me together. here, and irl, but i have a feeling that if i take the steps to pull all the online parts of me together, maybe the in real life me will feel more patched back together. i'm ok with being patched. i like patchwork.

anyone heard of armybrat syndrome? not sure it's officially called that, but you get my point. in one discussion with a therapist we discussed this theory that children who move around a lot and change schools, make new friends (easily or not), continually being uprooted and part of a moving family often continue to pattern that as adults. few roots, the rolling stone gathers no moss types. the entire time the family just keeps moving, the kids are learning what it is to be a nuclear family (if they stayed together), but never learning what it is to have long term relationships outside of that. to generalize, some then tend to move freely and easily from situation to situation needing constant change yet craving stability. some need to keep moving, changing. duh. we do what we know. but it's bigger than that. we feel disconnected. connections, friends, get lost with each move. and so as adults, we mimic this. i mimic this. in most areas of my life. and so i feel like i just can't Be. can't sit still. and i so want to.

in an effort to consolidate and obliterate the many loose ends that are making my mind cluttered and scattered all at once, i am going to start to repost some of my other blog pieces here. as a way of doing some web housecleaning like. it'll be interesting to see all my web personalities come together, i think. it'll be cleansing, at the very least, with more posts!

ok, enough of the deep crap. i'm 1/2 through making a vintage suitcase a table! i'm super excited to share, but not much to share yet! i still need legs for it and to finish the top but luckily live within walking distance to Ikea and Lee Valley Tools, so slap my ass and call me judy, i am one lucky gal.

stay tuned!
+ have a wonderful sunday

♥ leel ♥

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Before & After: Jennifer, the kidlet rocking chair, rocks on!

This kidlet sized rocker became a before & after project when I was out scouring the side streets of my neighbourhood late into the night on the eve of garbage collection a few months ago. Hey, I can admit, I have been known to scour side streets from time to time. How can any honest upcycler not, really? I don't know about where you live, but in my little 1950's neighbourhood there is some AMAZING stuff just waiting for a new life. So, I spotted this little broken rocking chair sitting at the end of one driveway, peeking around someone’s weekly stack of recycling and trashcans and it was perfection; I could not resist. It met all my criteria (fixable within a couple of hours, wooden furniture, and no one was around. Oh, plus I had squealed when i saw it => very key.) So home she came! I must say, it was love at first site.

I had originally named this little piece Dan, but once i turned it over and saw Jennifer scrawled underneath the seat, i knew her name had to be Jennifer.

So please, meet Jennifer, Before:

& Jennifer, After:

Like everyone, my inspiration comes from everywhere, including the piles of magazines strewn around as well as the internet, naturally. This idea, as some of you may recognize, was from an April article in Better Homes & Gardens: 100 Decoration Ideas, and was inspired by the Alphabet Chair. I love the sleek simplicity of the warm white and the subtle letters arranged to fit each smooth side. I loved the size of the kidlet rocker for my sweet nephew who was turning 3 soon! Naturally, I had to give it a try. (See end of post for additional images!)

I first needed my husband, the Bub, and his handy skills to fix a couple of missing dowels and reglue the unglued portions that were making the rocking chair unusable when i found it. Once that was completed and the little chair was ready to rock (sorry, I couldn’t resist) I set to giving it a thorough sanding with my hand sander, and used pieces of sandpaper wrapped around each dowel to sand them.

Since I wasn’t sure how the chipboard and foam stickers I purchased were going to work on primer, I decided to adhere them directly to the sanded wood. Since this was such a small piece with few surfaces that weren’t rounded I decided to only do the back and front of the backrest. Less to pick at for little fingers, was my line of thinking as well. (That’s just what I need. A choking nephew. Thanks Auntie for the choking hazard!) I was also trying to make sure the backrest took on a seamless look, with few edges of the letters sticking up and peeling away as possible. Before attempting the front, I completed and primed the back to see what would happen to the letters. If the foam shrivelled and resisted the primer or the chipboard got soggy and lost all shape I needed to know! Especially before starting the front, the side I imagine most visible.

After 2 coats of spray primer and few signs of peeling I continued to apply the letters to the front portion of the backrest. I had imagined needing to peel off the letters and reapply them with the glue I had bought in preparation for such event, but to my delight the adhesive on the back of chipboard and foam letters seems amazingly substantial. Once I had all the letters adhered, I finished priming the front. Finally, onto my favourite part - the paint part! Heirloom White was what I chose since I really was going for a re-creation of the adult alphabet chair. 2 coats over top (maybe more on the letters themselves) and a perfect membrane had formed over the letters – the foam hardened somewhat and the cardboard fastened strong. Perfect!

I decided to make a little removable cushion with ties from some scrap flannel fabric and polyfill I had stored away, for little bums get sore on wooden chairs, I imagine. I found as I attached this little 9x9” cushion that it might double as a nice little lumbar support cushion as well. Who knows. Removable is key, so I just went with it.

(click to enlarge)

I have to admit when my nephew pointed to it and said “what’s that” and I said “it’s a chair. Guess who made it for you?” and he replied, smiling “auntie?! it’s a ROCKING chair!!! ” and moved the other gift bags in his way so he could have a little sit and a rock, I knew it was perfection. Sweet perfection.

Happy 3rd Birthday buddy!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

my sense of humor and an upcycling sob story

i tend to think i have a pretty good sense of humour. ok, when i'm cranky not much is funny to me. that i admit. or when i'm hungry. or when i have just awoken from any sort of sleep.
so i have a sense of humour about 50% of the time. i digress.

my sense of humour: when in need of a pick me up, i have a few websites i go to for a guaranteed laugh. one that i have been frequenting for a while is
It's totally my kinda thing. hilarious actual pictures of people in weird outfits and/or rediculous poses. what's not to love?

i have another one as well. it just so happens i met my first tweet friend mchen IRL (I KNOW! she's superawesome coolio) to pick up the t-shirts i got from her sicksweet etsy shop last evening. It was via her blog, i was recently introduced me to this cool site The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. i know. the titles pretty much speak for themselves. i love anything public that is misspelled or oddly hand written. so, obviously i love Love LOVE that site too. lots of lolz. days of lolz in fact. back on track.

i remember tweeting a few days ago that one of the local free/upcycling newsletter i receive has some pretty funny stuff offered and/or taken by, who i like to think, are multi-media artists or the like. taking weird stuff and using weird stuff to make cool stuff. yup. i can relate. I also think about all the potential serial killers lurking behind every retro 60's teak dining set or old box of jars. but i'm a little imaginative like that. or i read the news too much. one or the other. you decide later.

ok, so. tonight. i open one of the many newsletters i get on upcycling, and inserted somewhere between nana's basement couch and a need for cottage windows there is this little jem of lolness (yes, that is SO a word.) I have removed any reference to any actual organization by way of the X below. I have left it as is. cut and pasted as the moderator intended...

Dear Group,

X is not a charity, nor should any of its members expect it to be one. X exists solely to keep items out of the landfill. We want everybody --- rich or poor --- to feel comfortable requesting an item, no questions asked. So please do not include a sob story with your request. (I've been editing them out of any messages if I get the chance.)"What is a sob story?" I hear you ask. Here's an example:


I have 27 kids all under the age of 11, and I don't get any child support because their fathers are either dead or in prison. We are desperate for a plasma TV. Of course it should be at least 60 inches wide because we all have to crowd in front of it at the same time. If you have a plasma TV that is at least 60 inches wide, give it to us, because we need it more than you do but we can't afford it because of all those dead and/or deadbeat fathers.

Old Lady Who Lives in a Shoe

If any members of X really do live in a shoe, I apologize ... I didn't mean you.
Moderator, Local X

personally, i think that moderator should have their own blog; i can only imagine the things she must edit out. i'll be sure to keep my eyes peeled for any new jems that might suit a follow-up post. so, on that note: upcycle!

& never, ever believe the hype



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