Happy Easter!

Posted by on Mar 31, 2013 in Blog, Family, Holidays | No Comments

Last year’s decorated eggs. This year there was a bit too much going on over the past week, what with Passover and birthday parties, to get my act together.

These were a multi-stepped project that the kids enjoyed helping with. First we hard boiled the eggs. Then, while they were still quite warm, we drew on them with crayons. The heat of the egg makes the crayons melt and adhere to the shell. Then we put them in dye baths. The dye is resisted by the wax, so you can get great contrasting colour play happening. And, for the final step (some of the less persistent kids flake out a bit by the time you get here), we randomly brushed on gold leaf sizing, waited for it to become a bit tacky, and applied gold & silver leaf. Oh … and from the tool box of a 6yr old, I do believe there was a bit of star-shaped glitter glue happening as well.

I hope the Easter Bunny shared a bit of sweetness with you all today.

More Grownup Than Yesterday

Posted by on Mar 27, 2013 in Blog, Family | 3 Comments

Emma ran into the bathroom this morning, squealing in delight, to let me know that she can now officially do sooooo much more than she could before, as today she is 7 years old, and therefore much more grownup than yesterday. The smile in my heart (as well as on my face) was only slightly tempered with the thought that she is so far removed from that tiny little girl who came into our lives seven years ago today.

I wanted her day to be as special as possible from the get-go, so I had done a wee greeting for her last night. This is the doorway to our kitchen/dining room where we spend our mornings.

I had offered to make cupcakes for her class as a special birthday treat today. Initially the plan was simple chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting. But no. Something more special, Mummy. I was game. I figured an hour or two was no big deal to make my daughter extra happy.

Five hours later, her class was complete.

Here she is on the right with her best buddy, Aya.

I used a really easy cupcake recipe, a yummy frosting recipe (with some cocoa powder added for darker skin tones), melted milk & dark chocolate for most hair (some are coloured crystallized sugar), m&m’s, jelly beans (halved) and other random candy for facial features. Each got a little name tag flag to avoid classroom chaos.

She was beyond thrilled with them this morning, and so excited to be able to share her special day with her class.

Happy Happy Birthday my beautiful, smart, loving, creative girl. Our life is so much fuller since you’ve come into it!

The Learning Curve, Part 3

Posted by on Mar 17, 2013 in Blog, Learning | One Comment

It’s been quiet on the blog front for me this past month. Lots going on, leaving little to no time to focus & write. This weekend finally offers a bit of breathing time.

I received the second go-around of Strike Offs on my first collections last week, right when I was already higher than knee deep in figuring out colours for my next two.

I am so glad we did a second set before committing and printing yardage. There are now full colourways that I am beyond happy with. There are some that are decidedly better, but still need minor tweaking, and there is one that I was prepared to say “scrap it completely” a few days ago, but I have found what I hope will be good fixes.

So, what have I learnt this time?

– Picking colours is far from being an exact science. I can send a swatch, but that doesn’t mean that that colour is what I will get. The swatch is read by a computer that produces a formula. That formula is then looked at by a pair of human eyes that makes minor adjustments to tweak it to be closer to the intended colour to print. Not being able to control that part from this end is frustrating at times, but, in the end, just has to be accepted. “Perfection” is virtually impossible. Learn to let it go.

– There is a better chance of getting an accurate colour match if a fabric swatch is sent rather than a swatch on paper. Thus far I have been sending paint chips. The head office sent a few fabric swatches to the factory for me, and this had better results.

– This time they sent strike offs with printed selvedge. My name is on them. Very exciting!!! It was a bit tough making the decision of what name I wanted to use. My last name, Serrao, is often mispronounced, so I decided to forgo the traditional route. While few people know my middle name, in the end I decided on “Tamara Kate”. I think it has the right feel for my design style.

And now I cross my fingers and send as many positive thoughts as possible as I send back my final adjustment suggestions, as next time I see them, they will be printed yardage, never to be changed again. They may even be ready for Quilt Market.

And finally, I will be able to share.