Saturday, March 19, 2011

Round and round we GO!

Hi, I am David.  This year, the Gingras Clan is planning a series of adventures.  They are about our home – Winnipeg.  We love it here, and we are not going anywhere.

This year, we are taking a look at our hometown.  We are planning adventures far and wide (within parameter) of the wondrous and disastrous Winnipeg has to offer.  We want to know more of our heritage here, and what it means to be a pegger.

This week, we surveyed the oldest tree in Winnipeg.  After much research and deliberation, we googled what we believed to be the oldest tree in Winnipeg.  With hats and toques on, we traveled out in search of the illustrious large tree – boasted to be 17 feet around.  We traveled far and wide to Point Douglas, and after making a quick left after Louise Bridge, we entered the Twilight Zone.  We crossed a downed traffic barrier; we headed down an icy and fun filled path to the river.  I knew the tree was to be massive, and as we made our way down to the river, wondering if I was going to be able to drive backwards up the rutted path in our Little ‘93 Trecel, we seen the tree.  It was massive.  I was blown away.  Now, Coralee says that it is nothing like the Giant Redwood trees she grew up with, but to my Alberta boy eyes, used to spruce and birch, this was massive.  I hugged the tree.  Abby hugged the tree.  I held her, she laughed.  

It was beautiful, till I fell and hurt my sternum (the picture above is in the midst of falling).  Then, getting up and laughing, we started our victorious picture memorabilia.  We thought this was a conquered beast.  It wasn’t.  As I contemplated later, I looked at the pictures of us standing proudly beside the beast, and wondered, “That tree is not 17 feet around”.  Shoot – missed the mark. Well, in disappointment, I tried to get the adventure going again. 

The very next day we loaded up the car with potato skins, pickled wieners, crossword puzzles, Spiderman comics, and mama’s homemade rhubarb pie.  We were ready for our 3-minute journey.  Oh yeah, we remembered the kids too.  Then we had to unload the other stuff to make room for us all to fit.  Just kidding.  Point Douglas is where we headed off to again.  This time, Coralee my logistically masterful wife in all her blog wonder powers, found a place that showed the exact location.  I got out the Google maps,

she prepared the kids.  I sighted my exact path, route of escape, and all landmarks for guides (after all it was 3 minutes from home).  We were off. 

As we lumbered up Stephens, heading north towards Rover Ave., there it was.  WOW!! I could not believe it.  Again to Coralee, this is not as big as the Redwoods she grew up with, but to this prairie boy, I was amazed.  This was stupendous.  As we approached, I couldn’t stop staring.  This was indeed a massive tree, equipped with it’s own park and bench.  We found a place to park, and took some pictures. 

This one is a good one of us celebrating. 

 This one is of Malachi to give spacial relation on the thinner side of the tree. 

Now, as I looked at this tree, I wondered – 200 years, what stories could this tree tell.  This tree would have seen the native traders coming down to worship the gods they served at the forks.  This tree would have been a sapling as the first settlers came into view and heard children playing and dressing it in its new Christmas garb.  This tree outlasted every flood.  The 1826 flood of entire southern Manitoba; the 1950 flood; the 1997 flood; and this year, it will survive our 2011 flood as well.  This tree was refuge to generations from the heat in the summer, and a spectacle of wonder as its branches were laden with frost in the winter.  Spring would see it dancing with the birds, and fall brightly lit for its gala performance as it danced with the other trees in their brightest fall colors.  It was wonderful to see, and a blessing as I looked up. 

There are 3 strong trunks; each could be their own tree in size, and as I looked up at the 70 foot ceiling of this giant cottonwood, and seen a representation of promise for Winnipeg.  Even though there are troubling times coming, and certainly ones that could spell ruin for many, this tree held a truth built right into it.  3 trunks came up, and there are 3 members of our blessed Trinitarian Lord.  There was a promise in this tree – Build your house on the rock, and nothing will topple you, but build your house on the sand, and you will have a might crash.  Indeed when the winds blow and the floodwaters rise and beat against the house, nothing built on the sand will survive.  This tree was a promise to me, because with its Trinitarian reminder, there was a tree rooted in deep foundation.  Deep and sure, and they never failed.  We have the promise to have our foundation rooted deep and sure as well, if we will trust in Jesus.  My prayer is that as the storms come in this year and years a head, we will root ourselves in Jesus.  When troubles come, we will stand firm with our Trinitarian God standing with us, reminding us that we have done well – my good and faithful servants.

We drove away, mission accomplished, and musing about what other amazing stories God is going to speak to us about as we adventure through the sights, sounds and mysteries of Winnipeg.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Twila Mae Photography

It all started with these photos!

These photos were taken at our Marriage Builders' Valentines day event, the King's Ball back in 2009. Abby was 3 weeks old here. David and I hadn't met Twila yet, but our planning partners suggested we ask Twila if she'd like to take portraits at our event. I am so glad that she said "yes", because that was just the beginning. Included with the digital copies of these pictures, was a letter and a coupon for a discounted session fee. David and I decided that we'd give her a try for a family photo session later in the year. We put aside the money and booked Twila for late summer. Here's a few from that session:

We were so impressed with her work that we decided that we would continue to hire Twila for all of our family photos. When you live far away from all of your family, it's especially nice to have great pictures to send to them. We were thinking we'd hire Twila yearly for family pictures. That idea hasn't changed, in fact I am constantly dreaming up ideas for future sessions. One session that we did was after I designed her business card in barter. This session was a challenge for me, because I was feeling so vulnerable and not at all photogenic. Twila quickly put me at ease and gave us some incredible pictures! Pregnancy was such challenge for me and I am so glad to have these pictures as a good memory of that time. Here's a few from the maternity session:

This past week we had another photo shoot with Twila. This one starring our Malachi. I asked Twila if I could snap some pictures of her in action and she graciously agreed. As you can see, she's very good with all of her clients. This session was a lot of fun for me and I am so excited to see how they all turn out. I did get to have a few peeks throughout the session and I know that they're going to be great.

One of the things that I really appreciate about Twila is her willingness to try things that you'd like. She's open to different ideas and has a ton of her own, too. We're already talking about sessions for the next few years. If you're looking for a great photographer in the Winnipeg area, I highly recommend Twila! Make sure you check out/like her facebook page.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Poppy Notetaker

Here's my first project with the designer fabric. I've had this pattern for quite sometime. I've only made one large one and one small one (forgot to take pics before I gave it away). I love the look of the finished product, but because I haven't bothered to purchase the required stabilizer, I had to improvise and I found it tedious. I substituted in heavyweight cardboard (like the kind they use inside binders) and some fusible fleece. Because of this substitution, I had to hand sew the inside seam, and though it's not that big of a deal, it's a little bit of a pain. In the end, I'm glad I made one for myself, though I'm not sure I'll be making very many of these. So, here it is, my poppy notetaker.

the front - though I meant for the front and back to be switched

the back - a nice big poppy is featured here

the inside spread (click on image to enlarge)

inside seam - hand sewn

pocket detail

button detail

I really like it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My First Designer Fabric

If you've read any sewing blogs you've probably seen these beauties. I am a little late to the party, but I've finally purchased Amy Butler and Laura Gunn. If you don't read sewing blogs then you're probably thinking what's the big deal. Well, in any case, I feel like this baby sewist is growing up. Just kidding.

I ordered the fabric from a new-to-me online store, Hawthorne Threads. I still love Pink Chalk Fabrics, but Kathy doesn't carry Laura Gunn and if you're paying for shipping, you may as well order everything from one place. HT has a nice website, easy to navigate (though you can get a little frustrated at all the items that are out of stock) and they are super quick. I ordered on February 25, they shipped the next day and I received my parcel yesterday (March 7).

the fabric was carefully cut, in other words, straight and then packaged nicely

Paradise Garden and Sunspots from Amy Butler's Love Collection
I am thinking I need to make one of these in this fabric.

Big Poppy and Climbing Vine from Laura Gunn's Poppy collection.
I actually preferred the aqua colorway, but being late to the party, you can barely find it anymore. I still love it in this spice colorway. I have one of these cut and ready to sew in this fabric.

What would you make out of these fabrics?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

no 10 Charming Tote Bag

I actually made this before my shoulder bag, but as it was a birthday present, I didn't want to blog about it until I had given it. I think I love this purse the best. It was so quick, I used a thrifted pair of pants and fabric from my stash and I have plans for many more of these!

This is from another PDF pattern from I Think Sew, easy to use and really cute.
(Aprox dimensions 16” width X 12” height (STRAP INCLUDED))

4 posts in one week... I really missed the computer!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Living Room/Dining Room Re-decorating

Well, it's not finished, but here are some pictures of our work in progress. I am really beginning to love my home. I am learning to be content in my situation and not buck at it. That's a great feeling, too.
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation... I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Phillipians 4:12
Chocolate Wall, new picture frames (it looks a little off balance yet as we'll be adding more frames as we can afford them), borrowed chair (that I just might have to forget to give back) and tie backs for the curtains. It's amazing what the little things can do.

 Crosses moved from the front hallway to a more focal point in the house
and to make room for a new mirror.

 Into the dining area... will be adding more black and white pics of Venice as we can afford them. Why Venice? Why not?

 Added a new entertainment stand, moved the bookshelves and added
uplighting behind the TV (not lit in this picture)

 Abby's toy/book cabinet, with the media shelves beside (currently with children's DVDs and CDs on it). This is my nursing corner at the moment, hence the pillow, baby blanket and diaper bag.

 Our new mirror... it was a great price and an adventure to get it home
(ask me about it sometime).

Well, that's a great start, don't you think? 

Friday, March 4, 2011

no 22 Pleats Shoulder Bag

I got some sewing time this week! Hooray! This lovely bag is my diaper bag replacement. You know, the in between bag. Not a diaper bag, but not quite a purse yet. It holds as much as the diaper bag, to be honest, but I think it looks even less like a diaper than my diaper bag did. I upcycled a couple pairs of pants  and a bedsheet for this bag. I love that you can get enough fabric out of clothing for accessories. I filled it already and I'm loving it so far. The PDF pattern from I Think Sew, was well done. The instructions were clear. The only downside was how long it took me to piece together the pattern (it prints on regular paper) and then re-draw each piece with a seam allowance. I would have much preferred for the seam allowance to be included in the pattern.

(aprox. 23" X 19.5" X 2" )

(button detail - same on both sides)

(inside view... I added a zipper pocket - all bags need a zipper pocket!)