Meet my crafty friend Jodi A!



This is my friend and co-worker Jodi, she is amazing, generous, gentle, strong, reliable, and super talented. We went to the same school way back when but we didn’t become close until we both started working for Rogers Communications. Her sister BJ would like me to mention that she is single, we are both unsure why!

You may be wondering why I would feature a random (no matter how awesome) person on my blog well for one it’s my blog and I will blog what I want to. But I wanted to put Jodi in the spot light because she is one of my dearest friends and her talents need to be showcased.

A little over a year ago I came across a photo album on her Facebook page that showcased the many crafts she has completed but most of all her hand embroidered pillows really caught my eye and I had asked her if she had some time if I could commission 4 of them, one for my sister Crystal, her husband John, my mom Marion, and me. Jodi being the awesome person she is said that she would love to as long as I was not in any rush as she had a few to finish before hand. We talked later on about what I had in mind and I left her to it. Almost a year to the day after I asked for them they were ready to be enjoyed. I never rushed her or felt entitled to bug her since she was doing something nice for me and I was happy to give her the space to be creative and to complete what other projects she felt. She does do this as a hobby after all so there really shouldn’t be any pressure or rush when you are doing it because you enjoy it.

What she delivered is nothing short of amazing! I absolutely LOVE the final product and it was well worth the wait. I would have waited another year for them, they are just that awesome. I decided to have an owl for mine, a dragon for Crystal, an elephant for mom, and the Horde symbol from World of Warcraft for John. Jodi says that John’s was the first one done and she even went as far as to looking up the font that Blizzard uses and replicates this for John’s name. Mom’s she decided on a circus elephant standing on a ball which is the most vibrant she could showcase. Crystal’s favourite colour is purple so with that in mind she beautifully portrayed a dragon. Crystal’s presented a frustration for Jodi as she tells me that her first attempt was more on the “cutesy” side not at all what the final product is. For mine I let her have at it I’m not picky and I just really wanted one so it could have been a dandelion and I would have been thrilled and amazed. Here is a picture of each of them.





Look at the details of all of them! Mom’s has a 3D tail effect and beading.


I asked Jodi if she would be comfortable if I interviewed her she agreed here are the questions and answers. It maybe slightly edited but not much.

Penny (P): When/Why did you start crafting?

Jodi (J): I started sewing the pillows about 10 or so years ago. Why? I suffer from anxiety and OCD…and would fidget with my hands so it was a combination of reasons. I like being creative and it gives me something to do when my stress or anxiety got bad.


This is the first pillow Jodi did as a wedding gift.

P: You mentioned your anxiety and OCD I imagine some of my readers also deal with the same sorts of things. Have you found that rafting has enriched your life and helped manage symptoms?

J: Absolutely! I find it helps me focus and turns off the “hamster” running on the wheel that is anxiety. I can get OCD with the colours and timeframes but most people like you are amazing at being patient. My older sister BJ is great with helping me choose colours.

P: What other craft projects do you like to do?

J: I love woodworking and stone inuksuk. My younger sister is a painter and a photographer, the whole family is pretty creative

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A picture of her beautiful woodworking. An a surprise gift given to me from Jodi last year.

P: You are damn crafty! Is there a project that you really want to attempt but haven’t had the chance yet?

J: <Took her a bit to answer this one> I thought of one….I’ve been saving old jeans for years to make a patchwork quilt for my bed,…haven’t gotten around to it yet. My biggest project that is also my favourite by far is the throw I made for my parents.


Throw for her parents.

P: Would you ever consider doing this and opening an online store or earning extra income?

J: Everyone asks me this but the answer is no. One of the main reasons is because of the time they take, they are pretty much 100% handmade. I really only charge for the what it costs me for supplies and I don’t want the stress…LOL I do it to relax, and for the joy I can give to others when they get them.

Note: The pillows Jodi does are handmade, the only time the pillows touch a sewing machine is to sew the front to the back. The backs of the pillows (which are not pictured) are well suited to the theme and style. She made mine with fuzzy fabric which is cozy and I loves! She buys the actual pillow itself but always adds more stuffing.

P: What is your approach and method with your crafts?

J: Something unique about what I do is that I never make the same pillow twice, and I really try to match each pillow and colours to the persons’ personality,…like with my wedding pillows.

Pictures below show a project’s progress (not any of mine) used with permission from the now owner of the pillow.

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Cool eh?

P: What is the best and most frustrating thing about the crafts you do?

J: I have to be in the mood to sew. I have said no to pillows if I didn’t think the idea would work on fabric. Customization and asking a person a lot of irritating questions helps. Best thing…the final product and the persons reaction. Worst…colour selection (hence my sisters help) and the actual blood, sweat, and tears that go into every pillow (project) because I want them to be perfect (damn OCD).


Me and my family LOVE the pillows Jodi has done, she made them with love and it shows. I asked Jodi if there was something that she wanted to add or anything that I hadn’t thought of that she wanted to include but she couldn’t come up with anything. Let me add something on her behalf; Jodi uses crafting, the same way I use humour or writing she is AMAZING at what she does and the joy she brings to this world because of it cannot be replaced. Jodi is the friend you want in your corner because she will do ANYTHING she can for you, even if that means telling you off (which she hasn’t yet had to do for me!) I couldn’t imagine my work or personal life without her. I hope by reading this you have felt like you have gotten to know her. I’m sure she would love to see or know what kinds of crafts everyone out there does. Post them and I know they will make Jodi and me smile

1 Year and a Fish Taco ago



One year ago this weekend my sister, her husband, and I were enjoying all things Comic Con in sunny San Diego California.  It was an amazing adventure and seeing all the posts and pictures makes me wish it could be a yearly adventure. I envy everyone who lives in the area who is able to get out and get your geek on.

I would have to say my only complaint is that there were SO many people crammed in the spaces so it made it hard to really enjoy the floor. I did however manage to complete a mission to get all pins from HALO. We had attended a panel and were given special cards to head to where Microsoft / Xbox was and given lanyards with all the information required to find the pins. So on one of our last nights I headed out on my own braved the crazy floor and snagged ALL 11 pins. It was a quest, and I was up for the challenge.

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The other fun things about being able to go to California last year was getting to visit the Zoo and Sea World all though I wasn’t impressed by Sea World and felt bad for all the captive whales.




My other favourite part of San Diego besides the people was the FOOD, we ate at the Crab Shack and Coyote Café ( OMG the fish taco still has me talking about it a year later. If I were filthy stinking rich I would fly there once a week just to eat there!

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See, doesn’t that look good!


I asked my sister Crystal and her husband John what their favourite part of the trip was last year and they agreed that it was the touring. Being able to go to Old town, walk around where the convention centre was, all the sights you see on the bus travelling back and froth from the Con. I would have to say one of my favourite parts was starting a Hug fest at the Haven Panel. Crystal went with John to one panel and I went to the Haven panel and managed to get a front row seat and got up and asked a question. I was second in line, Eric Belfour recognized me from Twitter and realized he owed me a hug (he didn’t really owe me, but that’s ok) and he delivered. From then on in EVERYONE wanted a hug from other members of the cast. I was also able to mingle with some of the cast after the panel and it was a moment I will never forget.

I could fill a lot of blog entries with all the pictures and fun I had but they are just memories and hopefully one day I will be able to go again.



On a related note I think this August I am going to try really hard to get to Fan Expo. My sister and I went one year and we did have fun but we ended up having to stand in line for 2 hours and were SO tired when we finally got in that I don’t think I got the most out of the experience. Picked up some cool souvenirs but I’m still on the hunt to buy my first comic book. Yes, you read that right I have ZERO actual comic books in my house. I have a few digitally from Dark Horse but no physical ones and I really want to buy one.

I also want to be able to meet some of the stars like Nathan Fillion, Hulk Hogan, the cast of Bones, Patrick Stewart, William Shartner,…. well this list could go on for a while.

It may not happen and I will be very disappointed since it’s SO close.



I heard that Grumpy Cat with be at the Chapters Indigo Book store in Toronto on August 4th… also would love to check meeting Tardar off my bucket list.


So many events and things to do and so little time to go. 🙂

Great weekend

I started writing the following post way….way, back in February and I was using a computer I wasn’t familiar with (and that wasn’t mine) and couldn’t figure out how to get pictures off of my phone to port to this post. I wasn’t able to write in a while due to lack of good computers but an amazing Facebook friend saw my plight and sent me a brand new Acer E laptop so that I can do more writing. This post is dedicated to her, she wanted to remain anonymous so I won’t name her but I will take his time to THANK HER! She has a couple of knitted doggie blankets coming to her soon…as soon as I finish the baby blanket I’m still working on that I started on this trip. So everyone can expect more posts since I now have a working computer YIPPIE so happy and so very thankful to you know who!


Last year my Orthodontist asked me to be a part of a fundraiser called Ski For Kids. She had asked me to come last year (and probably the year before) but things just never worked out. This year she very much wanted me to be a part of it and asked if I would be the guest speaker.  Each year she has one of her patients come and talk about themselves in the hopes that the attendees will connect what they are raising money for to an actual person. So in February I was able to take part and had a great time.


The fundraiser is in support of The Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto’s cleft lip & palate and craniofacial anomalies research fund. Let me tell you more about the Ski For Kids objectives as it was posted on the flyer for this year’s event;

~ Orthodontic care for children born with cleft lip & palate is the key part of the overall corrective process SickKids have a number of research studies underway designed to enhance care and determine best practice treatment.

~Clinical study is examining the effects of outcomes of infant orthodontic devices designed to prepare infants born with cleft lip & palate for surgical repair.  A second study is using 3-D imaging to assess the outcome of the use of these devices.

~ Children born with cleft lip & palate often require numerous surgeries initially and during development.  Orthodontists are reviewing surgical techniques to improve outcomes and ultimately optimize best practices.

~ A population-based research study is examining the costs associated with care for children born with cleft lip & palate to determine if nasoalveolar moulding is cost-effective.

~ Medical studies have shown that children with cleft lip & palate have a greater chance of having cervical vertebrae anomalies.  SickKids orthodontist are looking at these anomalies in conjunction with how these children develop overtime.


For me that weekend was a whirlwind of fun. I’m not one to always have fun on my own so I brought my good friend Donna with me. The even was held in Collingwood Ontario about 2.5 hours away from where I live. Donna and I started out after she finished work at 12:30pm Thursday afternoon and got to the hotel after 3pm or was it closer to 4pm…hmm.. anyways we got checked in and explored our room. We stayed at The Westin Trillium Hotel and WOW is that a really nice place to stay. If you are ever in Collingwood and want to stay in a friendly clean really nice hotel I highly recommend that one! See the pictures below.

After settling in for a few minutes we were asked to come to Alpine ski club where everything was being set up for Friday’s event. Donna and I were introduced to the committee members who were doing a fantastic job getting all the stuff together. Donna and I helped fold information pamphlets in half and put them on the tables where the attendees would sit when they come in to rest from skiing. We talked and watched as things came together. After a few hours the whole group went out for dinner at a place called The Huron Club.

This is where the weekend had a low point, as Donna was manuvering her car in to a tight spot the tire caught some ice as she went to hit the break her foot slipped and hit the gas. You can already see what happened, can’t you? Well thankfully we were going super slow but she ended up hitting a concrete pole. The impact was hard enough that the bumper cover popped off on the passenger side. I haven’t felt that helpless in a long time there was nothing I could do. Donna was upset and after consulting with her brother and having the guys in our group come to look at the damage it was determined to be minor and that the car was drivable which was a huge relief. Once Donna got home she had the car looked at and it’s going to cost $1600 to replace the bumper cover, and rebar that was bent. Again I feel so helpless like me Donna lives at home with her mom and supports her mom so like most of us it’s going to be hard to come up with $1600 as when it rains it pours.

When we had got the car bit sorted out dinner was AMAZING I had the trout which were served with maple glazed brussels sprouts and a potato pancake type thing and man was it yummy. As an appetizer I had crispy calamari, my orthodontist had octopus as an appetizer and she made me try it. To my utter amazement I actually enjoyed it but I have to say I will not just “try” octopus it would have to be at that restaurant and that preparation. For dessert I had cheese cake…yummy! Donna had the fish tacos and I’m kind of sad I didn’t try those maybe next time as fish tacos are one of my favourite dishes.

We got back to the hotel and we had a chance to relax watch some TV and sit in front of the fireplace. We headed down to the lobby of the hotel to get some pictures and to have a coffee at the bar, that’s right we had a COFFEE at the bar, not a beer, although I could have used a Strawberry Daiquiri! I asked Donna to help me prepare my speech as I had not yet really planned out anything. I’m a procrastinator so I do typically leave things to the last minute. Every time I tried to think about what I was going to say a wave of panic washed over me and I just gave up. So sitting at the bar drinking our coffees it was so nice, Donna helped me have a stream of thought and an order of things. It was nice having her there and it was a huge help.

We got up early on the Friday had breakfast in our room (my first time having room service) we got ready and headed out to Alpine. Donna took my orthodontists husband to a local auto repair shop to get a first daytime look at the damage to her car. I stayed back and hung out eating and watching people as they were skiing. It was a cold windy day but everyone was having a great time. Donna got back and after she got her teeth whitened we decided to go snow shoeing. We were provided with a guide from the resort named Larry and Larry was amazing. They stopped the ski lift and we proceeded up to the top of the hills where there are trails after getting all sorted out we walked a bit down a trail and it was so calm and peaceful. If I hadn’t had to get back to do a speech I would have loved to keep going it wasn’t nearly as cold and windy on the trail as it was coming up on the lift. We were treated to a trip back down the mountain via ski lift which is not something Alpine Ski hill normally allows but we were treated like VIPs and the view was spectacular. My phone battery died so I was not able to get any pictures which makes me sad 😦

I had brought a change of clothes with me so that when I gave my speech I would feel confident however we were running a bit late so as soon as we got back from our snow shoe adventure the festivities got started. Dr. Dagys got it started with a very emotional speech that she couldn’t even get through and I thought I wouldn’t get through mine but I took the mic and just started talking. Since Donna had helped me the night before I had a rough outline and an idea of how I wanted to present what I wanted to say. When I started talking people were still having some conversations and than it started getting quieter until other than me speaking you could hear a pin drop. I want to say that I had not done any public speaking before this and it scared the living crap out of me but when I started talking I had no nerves. I had people laughing (which was one goal) and had people crying, when I finished the crowd erupted and got the greatest gift a standing ovation! WHAT! After my speech I was able to help with the raffle draws where I didn’t win anything but in the live auction someone bid and donated to me an amazing gift a $500 gift card for St. Anne’s Spa (google it) I am thrilled and super excited, and honoured, and speechless, and so grateful.

Once the evening wound down and everyone had gone home we headed back to the hotel to meet up with a group for dinner at the hotel. The restaurant in the hotel is Oliver & Bonacini and it’s so SO good. I had the tiger shrimp linguini, Donna had the salmon. For dessert I had smore cheesecake. I would eat that again if it was in front of me right now!

That Saturday morning marked the last day and we had to check out by 11am so we got up early to take a dip in the pool and the hot tub both of which are outside, yep so while it was -15 we took a dip in a nice heated pool. The fun part was getting from the pool to the hot tub….wow it was cold. After we got back we had breakfast downstairs where Donna and I each had the eggs benedict…oh I can’t even begin to say how good it was. We had a nice drive home where I knitted and we sung to some tunes. I am still knitting the blanket I started in February really need to work at getting that done!

I had a really great time, we raised a lot of money for the charity and I stuffed myself on really awesome food. Thanks so much to everyone who came. Dr Dagys for inviting me, Kelly-Ann Macknight who is the dental hygienist but more than that she is a friend who made the weekend so much fun, shout out to Kelly-Ann’s awesome 2 kids Sky & Ben and to both their husbands. A HUGE thanks to DONNA thanks for being there and supporting me always. I am so lucky to have you in my life.

Now for all the pictures:




Trail we were snow shoeing on.


Donna wasn’t really dressed for the snow so she ended up borrowing a jacket, mittens, and a hat. She is really impressed I took this picture. LOVE YA DONNA!


 Donna was acknowledged for her volunteerism with this nifty tooth shaped vessel filled with awesome stuff!



One of my favourite selfies of this year so far! FYI it was cold and we were in bathing suits!