Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry, merry!

I recently spent a weekend with Emily in Toronto, enjoying the St. Lawrence Market as well as Yorkdale Mall. At Yorkdale they have such lovely, glitzy decorations:

In this hallway, the stars change colours as Christmas songs play:
My favourite shot, Emily with stars in her eyes.
As everyone makes it home for Christmas, I realize that my mom has always been right: All we need for Christmas is to have our families around.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmastime! I also hope there are a couple of lazy pajama days in your upcoming week, a nice break from the hustle-bustle of the past month.

Merry Christmas!

Judy Ann

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another good review!

Terry Hong is an author, editor, reviewer, critic, teacher, speaker and consultant, and she writes a blog for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. She cleverly calls her blog, "BookDragon"and she reviews books which have a multi-cultural component. I'm tickled that she likes Reaching for that reason. Here's part of her review :

"Author Judy Ann Sadler creates a gentle lullaby while illustrator Susan Mitchell adds a colorful touch … not just in her choice of color palette but with clearly multicultural grandparents (Oma and Opa in addition to Grandma and Grandpa) and multi-ethnic cousins and Auntie, too. In today’s world of shifting borders, Reaching is a timely reflection of the global village in so many of our own families!"

Isn't that nice?

All the best,

Judy Ann

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lovely review!

I was delighted to hear from my friend, Marsha Skrypuch , that CM Magazine (an electronic reviewing journal) ran a review of Reaching. I especially like how the reviewer, Meghan Radomske, a librarian at Guildford Library in Surry, BC, wrote,

       "Babies and toddlers will enjoy Judy Ann Sadler's flowing language-her use of rhymes and repetition create a soothing melody to which young babies will respond."

About the art, Meghan says,

      "Susan Mitchell's bright, radiant watercolour illustrations bring the joys of getting to know a newborn baby to life and reflect the flow of Sadler's words."

She concludes:

      "Sadler and Mitchell have created a warm, joyful picture book worth sharing with any new families."

And she rated it as, "Highly Recommended." Yay!  Reaching even made the cover  of this edition!

All the best,

Judy Ann

Thursday, December 1, 2011


It has always been the tradition in our home to kick-off the Christmas season on December 1st. We don't put up any decorations or play Christmas music until it is officially December. I always used to wake up the family by playing, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!" by Andy Williams, nice and loud, early on the morning of that special day. For the past few years I've had to do it by phone! It has also been a tradition for Jeff and Emily to put up the outside lights together, usually on a blustery, snowy day. Em can't make it home for that fun task this year, but here's a photo from a couple of years ago.

I've done a bit of baking and a lot of Christmas song singing today. I love the holiday season, even though it is a bit of a marathon!

Happy December,

Judy Ann

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book signings!

Over the past couple of months, I've had the great pleasure of signing copies of Reaching purchased by one of my siblings, cousins or friends. I always feel so grateful and excited that someone likes the book enough to make the effort to go out and buy a copy. It's so nice! I love to hear about who will be receiving Reaching and what's the special occasion. It tickles me to think of my book being read by families at bedtime or anytime. Wouldn't it be lovely if it became a favourite!
All the best,

Judy Ann

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One of those weeks!

There are weeks that, despite my very best efforts, I just can't seem to carve out a few hours (or minutes!) to write or quilt or sew. The past ten days have been like that. Nothing major, just busy with unexpected things that have come up. I guess I did do some baking: buttery oatmeal cookies packed with as many chocolate chips as I could possibly fit in for Jeff's students, and a couple of batches of cinnamon rolls made with a buttermilk biscuit base. All yummy, all gone. I'm glad to be available for what needs doing and thankful that all is well. I will try again in the next few days to indulge in some creativity! I hope you can too.

All the best,

Judy Ann

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cosy cap

I've just finished another baby cap, this one made from super-soft alpaca yarn. The pattern is called, "soft as a cloud" from Baby Beanies by Amanda Keeys . Her book is full of irresistible hats for irresistible babies. This book is as much fun to look through as it is to knit from because Amanda's photography is so delightful!

Instead of tying cord on top of the cap, I made a small pom-pom. I mixed in a few strands of ivory-coloured yarn, just for fun. 

One of the other things I like about this pattern is that you can unfold the brim so the hat will fit your sweet cherub for a little longer.

With winter on the way, this hat will keep a baby cosy-warm (and cute!) all season long.

All the best,

Judy Ann

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More and more leaves

What a gorgeous morning it was! Jeff couldn't resist taking a few more leafy photos. There's a brick path and lawn under there somewhere.

Our Japanese maple is at its peak of beauty too.

I wonder if everything will be blanketed in white soon?

All the best,

Judy Ann

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another wallet

Recently I made another little wallet from Valori Wells Designs of Stitchin' Post Publications . It's nice to be able to make an appealing project from start to finish in just a few hours. 

These are some of my very favourite fabrics, so elegant and beautifully designed. They are leftover from this quilt that I made a couple of years ago.

 I crave more sewing time, but it's often difficult to fit it into a day. 

All the best,

Judy Ann

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Another season

Our front-yard maple trees are dropping their leaves like crazy this morning, blanketing the lawn with orange, yellow and brown. It smells fresh and earthy and lovely. I found one last perfect potted begonia, protected by the verandah for now, but not for much longer.
I love the change of seasons and look forward to winter. I'm glad we'll be changing the clocks back to standard time this weekend so that our mornings will be a little brighter. Evenings will be dark, but that's okay. That gives us a good excuse to cosy up writing, quilting, knitting and sewing.

Enjoy your day,

Judy Ann

Monday, October 24, 2011

Introducing Hannah!

Today I had the great pleasure of meeting and holding my newest great-niece, Hannah. She's only 5 days old and, as you can see, quite perfect!

I was tickled pink to give her a little toque and glad it's a bit big so she has room to grow.

Isn't she beautiful? Her mom, Lindsay, is beautiful too!

I don't think I could ever get tired of being around a new baby.

All the best,

Judy Ann

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ruffles scarf

Along with being addicted to knitting little baby caps, I also love knitting scarves. Caps and scarves are often fairly quick to knit so I guess that's why I like making them so much. Both are great for gift-giving too, an added bonus. The pattern I used for this scarf is called "just enough ruffles" by Laura Chau, and it's available on her website as well as many yarn shops. I used pure merino superwash Malabrigo yarn which is also available at lots of great yarn shops. This yarn is such a treat to knit! In the photo below, you'll have to pretend that the newel post is my head;-)

It's warm and cosy to wear this scarf scrunched around your neck, but it can also be opened out and worn shawl-style.
I'm looking forward to a day cold enough to wear it!

All the best,

Judy Ann

Monday, October 10, 2011


What a glorious weekend this has been! Jeff and I celebrated Thanksgiving and our 30th wedding anniversary all weekend long. Thirty years ago on our wedding day it was chilly, cloudy, and breezy, nothing like this week's almost hot and non-stop sunny weather! Yesterday we had a delightful family celebration with our kids, in-laws, parents, siblings and other family members too. Great company, fantastic food and even a fun, fast bike ride! It's amazing to think about how our family has grown over the years from the two of us to this wonderful gang:

Carly baked us a delicious chocolate-
cinnamon-buttermilk cake and decorated it beautifully!
Today the two of us took off for Fergus, Ontario, and had lunch at the Breadalbane Inn where we stayed one night on our honeymoon. We haven't been back in 30 years! It was lovely to be there and the drive was scenic and so pleasant, a real trip down memory lane. We've been so blessed all these years and feel so grateful we could almost burst! We're ever hopeful that we'll have many, many more wonderful years together.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Judy Ann

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spool Buddies

Jeff and I had the pleasure of looking after our 5 year-old niece, Marie, for the weekend. She loves being crafty as much as I do! Here are photos of the funny little spool characters we made together. To make them, bend a long pipe cleaner in half and thread on a two-hole button for a hat. Thread on the head bead, then an empty (or full!) thread spool. (I have a bag full of lovely old wooden spools that I dip into regularly for crafty projects.) Thread on another button and twist the leg pipe cleaners so the spool won't fall off. Wrap a short pipe cleaner under the head to make arms. Bend over the ends of the pipe cleaners to make hands and feet. Decorate the spool by wrapping it with variegated yarn (glue the yarn ends in place) or glue on a piece of fabric. Tie three strands of yarn under the button hat to make hair. Finish the spool buddy by drawing on a face.

Sweet Marie decided this one needed a necklace so she patiently threaded little beads onto waxed dental floss. So cute! We separated the strands of yarn to make wavy hair. (You can also braid the yarn hair.)
She trimmed this buddy's hair.
Loads of fun!

Enjoy your day,

Judy Ann

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Woven apples

Autumn is apple time! One of my favourite ways to eat an apple is to slice it up and dip each slice into natural peanut butter. Yum! What a great combo! Since I was thinking about apples, I decided to make an apple craft with the kids at my teeny tiny library last Saturday. We had lots of fun!

Begin with a sheet of red, yellow or green card stock and draw a large apple shape on it. Cut it out and fold it in half.

Make cuts in the apple from the folded edge to the open edge, but stop about an inch (2-3 cm) from the open edge. You can make the cuts straight, zigzagged or wavy.

Unfold the apple. Cut 6 to 10 narrow and wide strips of other colours of card stock. Begin weaving a strip over and under the cuts you've made in the apple. Push the strip as far to one side as you can, then start weaving in another strip, but this time weave it in the opposite way of the first one.

Continue weaving in strips until no more fit. Glue down the ends of the strips on both sides of the apple. Trim off the extra bits. Cut out a couple of leaves and a stem and glue them in place.

Try another colour too!

If you like, you can cover your woven apple with self-adhesive vinyl and use it for a placemat. Lots of fun!

All the best,

Judy Ann

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Old Faithful

For just over 30 years now, we've had the same almond-coloured Kenmore refrigerator. We bought it from my not-quite-yet brother-in-law in the summer of 1981 when we were setting up our home just before our October wedding. It's been an amazing fridge, never needed repairs, and has quietly and efficiently served our family of five all these years. When we bought it, we needed the door to open on the right side, but over 25 years ago when we moved to our current home, we needed the door to swing open the opposite way. So all these years the fridge has opened to the doorway instead of the kitchen counter! The fridge has been plastered with our kids' art, school photos, funny notes, hockey and soccer schedules, pictures of new babies, wedding invitations, grocery lists, newspaper clippings and every kind of magnet you can imagine. It has preserved the ingredients for countless meals, kept juice and milk cold and ice cream and Popsicles frozen, cooled off leftovers, held school lunches, birthday cakes, and so much more. That's why I'm feeling a tiny bit sentimental today as I wait for a new refrigerator to arrive. Old faithful broke down on the weekend and we have to replace it. The new one is a bit deeper, shiny, will use about one quarter of the electricity of the old one, and it's bright white. You can no longer buy an almond-coloured fridge! Oh, well. I'm sure it will take our family a while to remember to reach for the door handle on the left side, but we'll get used to it. We may even bond with our new fridge. I highly doubt, though, that it will last for 30 years!

All the best,

Judy Ann

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A nice review

My brand new picture book, Reaching , has been reviewed by Kirkus. My favourite line from the review is:
"Ultimately a book that many new parents will reach for as they revel in their love of baby."
I'm very pleased that the reviewer says lovely things about Susan Mitchell's gorgeous art. The whole review is here . It's not a perfect review, but it's nice. I hope I've accomplished my goal of writing a book that shows the ideal growing conditions for a baby. Here's a spread from Reaching:
Enjoy your day,

Judy Ann

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I love baking with buttermilk. It just seems so wholesome! I've had a carton of buttermilk (and rotten bananas) in the fridge, and recipes that use buttermilk on the counter, for a couple of weeks now. Yesterday was finally cool enough to have the oven on for a few hours of baking time. I started with three loaves of banana bread packed with crisp walnuts:

Next was Irish soda bread, so aromatic and yummy. As you can see, I didn't wait long to have a slice, with lots of butter, of course!

I made Raspberry Buttermilk Cake last so that it would still be warm for dessert. Jeff and I ate half the cake in one sitting!

It looks like today is too hot and humid for baking so I'm glad I made time for it yesterday. It's a muggy start to a new month.

Happy September,

Judy Ann

Thursday, August 25, 2011


First thing every morning I like to look out our upstairs bedroom window down at the garden below. My dad gave us this amazing castor bean plant as a seedling and now it looks like something that belongs in a jungle! This photo is taken through our bedroom window screen so it isn't very clear. It does, however, show how large the leaves are.

Here are two more from ground level.

This plant is over 7 feet (2 m) tall and still growing.

The other thing that is very noticeable in the garden is that the pumpkins are turning orange already!
Enjoy your day,

Judy Ann

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beautiful weddings!

We went to another beautiful wedding this weekend, the third in four weeks. Each wedding has been joyful, fun, moving, and full of hope for a promising future. It's been so amazing to see the special bonds in each family, the love and pride that parents have for their children, gratitude for parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, friends and each other from from the bride and groom, and the love and care all of us feel for the newlyweds. I also love to see the way the families of the bride and groom get to know and appreciate each other, working together to support their children and to throw one heck of a great party! We feel lucky and blessed to be part of these special celebrations!

And special celebrations require special dresses! I stayed up far too late a couple of nights last week to get this 50s-style dress finished. I made it out of an inexpensive piece of linen I found a couple of years ago at a discount fabric store, and used the same pattern as my last dress , but with a different bodice. Linen is wrinkly, but has such nice drape and just feels good, so I don't mind a few wrinkles! The bodice is lined too, which feels really nice to wear.

All the best,

Judy Ann

Monday, August 15, 2011

Home again

We've just returned from a wonderful week of holidaying on the Bruce Peninsula. Look at the scenery we had to put up with! This photo is taken in front of the cottage my sister, Mary, and her hubby Greg, own in Lion's Head.

We had some dramatic skies just after a thunder storm.
This photo shows the view looking the other way. Pretty hard to take!

There are many farms in the area too, with old barns, cattle and hay fields.
Here's one of my favourite views!
It's fun and a good change of pace to go away, but I always love to get home again.

Enjoy your day,

Judy Ann

Friday, August 5, 2011


Today turned out to be a great day for sewing! By mid-afternoon I had the bodice finished and most of the skirt put together. This is what it looked like when I had the top and bottom pinned together:

I used almost every pin in my dish! The dress went together well and then it was on to stitching in the invisible zipper. Well, almost invisible. It's on the left side so it won't be noticeable that is isn't quite perfect. This evening Emily and I watched a movie and I hand-stitched the hem. Whew! Now all it needs is a good pressing:

I think I'll wear it with pearls.

All the best,

Judy Ann