The Pancake Chronicles

The Pancake Chronicles: projects

The Pancake Chronicles

Thursday, May 08, 2008


      When I was a young teen a friend of my mom's taught me to cross stitch. This new occupation came at a good time. Rather I should say it came at a good time during a bad time. In Grade 9 I had chronic fatigue. I dropped out of school for some time due to extended periods of great and unexplainable exhaustion. So I cross stitched. And wrote massive letters to friends in distant places. And cross stitched. There was one particular pattern that caught my eye when I was sixteen. I began it and somewhere in the middle of stitches energy returned to me and I returned to school and the project was laid aside. When I got married I wanted to cross stitch again but thought I should finish my project before I moved on. Of course now the picture wasn't something I wanted for myself but I thought it would be sweet for a little girl. And that's the way it seems to be with cross stitching. I can't possibly stitch everything for myself so I end up giving away most of it.

      This is the project I began when I was sixteen and completed ten years later.

      My bare windows have been talking at me for some time - PLEASE put something on us. It's cold and we feel so EXPOSED! My friend Kelli taught me this year (thank you!) how to make these little window toppers for my kitchen and living room. I love them! Just a little something makes all the difference. All I have left to do is my living room window and that is the one I'm most excited about.

      My friend Jenna showed me how to make this quilted table runner. AND she let me use her own material to practice with! As well as her beautiful sewing machine. And her thread, too. Basically I descended upon all her things and used them shamelessly. Now that I know how straight forward it is maybe I'll try a quilt someday not so far away. Hmmm. I wonder if she has enough thread and material for a king-sized ....

      And now I'm making these little Christmas ornaments. Yeah, you heard me. I know it's May. But the snow only just melted last week and there still is a frozen chunk of the stuff in my yard in the shade and today it was a mere 3°C (37°F). But most importantly, in my defense of holiday merriment in spring, is that my side of zee family has started a tradition of having Christmas in June since it seems to be an easier time to get the whole gang together. So that's who and what the ornaments are for. So leave me alone.

      However, not to be outdone by me and the thredz, Mark has taken it entirely to the next level and has begun the all-consuming and awe-inspiring task of making a cedar strip canoe from scratch. I know.

      First he made molds that are in the shape of the canoe for the strips of cedar to be wrapped around.

      He took 2x4s and other cedar planks of sizes unbeknownst to me and widdled them down with widdling machines into hundreds of strips and then put grooves into each strip that run the entire length of them all. Here are just a few of them. I know.

      And this is, more or less, where he is at presently - beginning the painstaking progress of gluing the strips together around the molds. He has put in 200 hours on this already and is not quite a third of the way done. And he's already talking about making another one as well as a kayak.
      I'm going to have to stitch myself silly to even come close to this accomplishment. That or a vacation. Yeah, I'm going to sew us a trip to Mexico.


Blogger Ace said...

Oh wow! You know! The cross-stitching picture is beautiful! I used to help my mother cross-stitch when I was around 10. IT is good fun. Love the window topper too. HOW do you two find time to do all this stuff?

I'm moving to Canada if Canada = more time to 'actually live'.

I must show (my) Mark the canoe in progress. Awesome work.

xx Ace.

8 May 2008 at 23:55  
Blogger Les said...

I love to cross-stitch but have only completed one project. It's been years since I've stitched anything. Reading always wins.

I'm in awe of your husband's ability to make a canoe! I can't wait to see the final product.

9 May 2008 at 05:02  
Blogger Tara said... really wow.

9 May 2008 at 08:55  
Blogger Rachel said...

I adore your window toppers!!! Perfect.

9 May 2008 at 10:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very, very cool Colleen! Jen would like the fabric stuff, and I'm goofy over the woodworking.

Tell Mark about Skin-on-frame kayaks.

I saw Robert Morris making them on Granville Island years ago, and have been infatuated since.

Sunshine smiles,


9 May 2008 at 16:03  
Blogger villagegirl said...

First off - love the window toppers! Second - LOVE the table runner!
And third - your hubby is truly amazing! Wow!
And forth? If you ever manage to sew yourself a trip PLEASE let me know. I'd be up for that. :)

9 May 2008 at 21:30  
Blogger Koala Bear said...

Thank-you SO much for giving Rachel that sweet cross stitch that you had been working on for so many years and took hours of time, I feel honored that you chose my little girl to give the completed project to!
And the canoe that Mark is building, wow! What a talented couple you are!
How did it go with the paper Christmas stars?

10 May 2008 at 04:40  
Blogger Sonya said...

I am sitting here just stunned at your talents and the talents of your hubby. I am in awe. And more than a little jealous. I really wish you would give us all a picture tutorial on the window toppers. They look like something I could maybe do.

10 May 2008 at 12:39  
Blogger Ed and Jenna said...

I love seeing pictures of you and Mark. I love seeing what you are up to. I miss you. Maybe we can set up time to work on the quilt if you get some time away from all the Christmas celebrations this June.

10 May 2008 at 15:13  
Blogger Keri's Collage... said...

How is it possible that you are BOTH so talented?
You both do beautiful work!

13 May 2008 at 21:04  
Blogger Talena said...

I'm pretty much in awe right now. Spring has instilled in me the need to finish projects, but I have not come close to touching you two, yet. Especially Mark.


That's all I have to say about that.

14 May 2008 at 00:17  
Blogger Colleen said...

Thanks everyone! I really do have a lot of time on my hands these days so it's fun to try different things. I would love to try and do a tutorial although the idea makes me laugh a little (I don't know sewing lingo AT all and I had to get a friend to finish one part because my sewing machine didn't have the strength to do it [it's wimpy but I'm glad I have it at all]) and that was a crazy sentence and I'm not sure how to finish it after all those brackets so I wo ....

I'll post more photos of Mark's canoe soon. It's amazing.

19 May 2008 at 00:53  

any questions?

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