Monthly Archives: March 2012

sponsor giveaway – chicks in hats

I am Julie Persons, the woman behind the camera in the Chicks in Hats series. My 8 year old daughter Ruby and I began this project last spring when we had new chicks and a pile of tiny hats left over from a previous project (Gerbils in Hats) and we decided to combine the two.  Ruby was the chick wrangler and hat placer while I took the photographs and tried to capture the moment before a chick would fling a hat across the table. We had so much fun working on this together that Ruby and I have decided to continue working on it when our new chicks arrive this spring.

I hope you love the series as much as I loved creating it.
You can also find the chicks on Facebook as Chicks in Hats.

the giveaway

Julie is generously giving away 2 packs of 4 notecards, a mixed pack of postcards and 3 magnets to one  lucky winner!

Also she is offering feather + anchor readers a coupon code “chicksinhats” for 20% off in the etsy shop.

I know my own fridge will be a much happier place with these sweet prints.

To enter

Blog, Pin, Tweet, Share this giveaway

Heart the Etsy Shop or Like Chicks in Hats on Facebook

Leave a comment answering the following question: Which chick/hat/outfit is your favourite?

Be sure to leave a different comment with a link or note about where you’ve shared for each share/tweet/pin/like if you wish to enter more than once.

Giveaway open to everyone and will close on Friday, April 6th at 7pm.  The winner will be announced shortly after, at the bottom of this post.  So be sure to check back.

P.S. You have until 7pm tonight to enter the Long White Cloud…Baby Giveaway!


Deborah Cunefare

Posted in sponsorship | 79 Comments

painted toes + an aching heart

Yesterday, as Silas napped, Poppy and I painted our toenails.  She was so excited that she even agreed to take off the purple rubber boots she had been wearing all day and sat perfectly still.  She picked the colours and her eyes lit up and let out a little gasp with the completion of each tiny toenail.  I considered painting my own toenails all one colour, but thought better of it and let her choose the colours for mine as well.  We ended up with matching toes and she was thrilled.  Silas shared our enthusiasm an squealed “Poppy’s pree toes!” and “Booofull!”.

It was a rather big moment for me as I realized we don’t have babies anymore.  I have a little girl with a curly bob haircut and a little boy who hates to wear pants.  We have a little boy and a little girl whose limbs were once curled up and enveloped in my own belly, but now stretch and reach out to who they are becoming.  I measure their height on a door frame upstairs and witness their growth in little increments.  I remember my own Gramma doing this with my cousins and I on a slice of her wall at the bottom of the stairs.  It was still there when we cleaned out her house after she passed away and I felt a pang when I thought about the next owners who would inevitably sand and paint it over.  I look up to the top of our own door frame and feel weepy at the thought of one day looking back at those first little marks I had made.  Would I remember this day and who they were when I made that little mark?  Would I remember the little quirks and funny things they would say and do.  Am I recording enough?

Our heart breaks a little when we look at old videos and photos and marvel at how tiny they once were; when we realize we don’t get that moment back.  Ever.  It hits us that the child who is here today won’t be there tomorrow.  Parenting is excruciating in that we can’t stop or rewind time.  Since the moment Poppy was placed in my arms, time has moved too quickly; first the hours, then the weeks and months, now the years.  It is death and re-birth with each bedtime and sunrise and sometimes I think my heart will break clean in half with the pain and pride.

Having another baby is a multifaceted decision, but I wonder how much of it is based on the hope of slowing time; delaying the inevitable day when we stop making a family and move into the realm of being a family; the day when we close that chapter of our own lives and youth forever.  I am comforted by the thought of not having to have another baby, but I am also comforted by the idea that we could if we wanted.

Of course each day is better and the love deeper than it was the day before, but does it ever stop hurting?  Is it one of those decisions you just know is right or are we always going to battle against the hard wiring of our species to reproduce?  Do we ever feel done?  Do our ovaries ever stop aching?  Will I really never feel a baby roll around in my own belly again?  Will I never nurse another sweet newborn to sleep?  Will we never name another child?  Will we never know another babymoon?  Will we always feel like someone was missing from our family?  Or will we be glad we didn’t overstretch ourselves and were better, more patient and attentive parents because of it?

Of course there are the practical things to consider such as the morning sickness and depression that swallows me during pregnancy; there is the c-section and recovery, the weight gain and breastfeeding; we would need a bigger vehicle and have another mouth to feed.  Is there any truth to the warnings of being outnumbered?  Would we change the perfect dynamic that seems to be forming right now?

I feel happy where we are right now.  They love and entertain each other.  They take care of each other as Poppy rushes over to Silas when he falls, exclaiming “Im’a coming Silas!  You alright?” and Silas helps her find all the things she misplaces with a calm “Here Poppy” as he hands her the item she can never find.  I enjoy the growing independence.  I enjoy wearing my pre pregnancy clothes and bras again.  I feel like the fog is lifting and, though there is magic in babies, it is physically intense.  I look forward to the chatter and stories and learning that is to come.

The only thing that eases the pain of time passing too quickly is to be ever present and aware.  To eat up every morsel of these young days.  To let go of the guilt when we  don’t live up to our own ideals and to loosen our grip so that we might enjoy this part with a vulnerable heart and enjoy these moments of clarity when they show themselves.


go gently + be wonderful


Posted in family, life | 20 Comments

making way for prettyful

This week we experienced unseasonably high temperatures in these parts; ideal summer weather if you ask me.  I keep waking up wondering when the blackflies and mosquitoes catch on.  In this perfect little lull of warm weather, dry ground and bug free outdoors we have been on a bit of a tear to get some projects done.

First, we demolished the rotting old shed beside our house.  It stood beside the large pine tree we lost in the fall.  We would never have chosen to take down the tree or the shed for that matter in order to put in another vegetable garden, but when she came down on her own we decided it was the perfect sunny location for some raised beds.  The shed was an old hunting cabin which sounds much more romantic than it was what with its blue and green tarped roof, rotting boards, shabby construction and ply wood floors.  It was full of sharpie graffiti inside; the most intriguing inscriptions from the previous owners “JF was here when the wind came” and CW’s: “…the cake was not a lie…”

We considered moving it back into the woods, but figured it would collapse in the process.  It was sitting up on a shallow stone and concrete foundation about a foot deep.  We thought we`d fill it with topsoil and use it as a garden, but then Mike came up with the brilliant idea of putting our planned pizza oven in there.  After that my imagination has been working on the space.  We need to dig out the front and build up the back and sides with the large rocks laying on the floor of it.  Then we need to create a broad flat space on which we can build  the pizza oven.  I was thinking we could plant climbing veggies and flowers along one side and the back for a little privacy and shade.  We`d like to build 2 or three raised beds on the land around it and perhaps some herbs around the perimeter.  We`ll need to build reasonable fences around the entire area to keep wildlife and roaming chickens out.  I just need to come up with a clever idea for the large stump that remains.  I asked them to leave a taller stump thinking it would make a neat table top or garden bench.  Hmmm.

It is a big project, but a fun one I look forward to.  I am relieved to see the shed gone.   It was an eyesore and though the area still needs plenty of love before it is pretty enough for my liking it is nice to look out the window to see grass and trees instead of a crippled old shed.

I am thinking I will be shifting gears with the coming warmth and outside time.  I will likely be using this space as more of a home spring and summer home journal.  I am sure we will be doing all sorts of fun projects, but I won`t have as much time to write about each one so I may simply share photos and a few words, some recipes here, a few methods there.  You know, that sort of thing.  Nothing too structured or drastic.  I will also be taking on less sponsors as that is proving to be a bit time consuming as well.  All in all I would like to gain a balance between recording and sharing and spending more time living.

I have some articles to submit, products to review and 3 books to review (this, this and this).  It is going to be wonderfully busy!

Posted in homesteading, life, our cabin | 8 Comments

earth’s best sundays

a walk in the the woods

running errands and other shopping in a town we once thought of as our holiday town

a quiet tired night


brush pile moved

3 loads of laundry hung outside

dirty happy kids

piled about 7  face cord with help from mom and step dad

still no bugs


hearty bean soup + homemade buns

warm bath + a fire when the temperatures dipped

go gently + be wonderful

Posted in earth's best sundays | 5 Comments

sponsor giveaway – long white cloud…baby

Long White Cloud…baby, is a stylish collection of handmade, eco-friendly and Organic, baby and toddler clothes. The range is designed and handmade in Ocean Grove – a sunny beachside town in Australia.
The creator, Nicole, has a motto that “Eco-friendly shouldn’t cost the Earth!” and her creations reflect this. She offers both an Organics range, and an Up-cycled range, so that any budget can afford Eco-friendly.
Nicole’s passion for the environment, and equal access to Eco-friendly products is what drives her. After struggling to find clothing for her own busy toddlers, that ticked all of the boxes of:
Eco – friendly
she took matters into her own hands, and created Long White Cloud…baby ( the collection’s name, is inspired by her native homeland of New Zealand, which is affectionately called ” The Land of the Long White Cloud ” – the Organic Merino fabric is also sourced from the gorgeous Merino sheep roaming the mountains of New Zealand  )
The beauty of handmade paired with Eco-friendly, is that each piece is functional, affordable and unique! And most importantly, it’s gentle on the Earth!

the giveaway

Nicole is offering one lucky reader a $50 gift certificate towards anything in her shop!

how to enter

1) Blog, Pin, Tweet, Heart or Share this giveaway
2) Leave a comment answering the following question: What is your favourite item in the Long White Cloud…Baby shop?

Be sure to leave a different comment with a link or note about where you’ve shared for each share/tweet/pin/like if you wish to enter more than once.
Giveaway open to everyone and will close on Friday, 30th at 7pm.  The winner will be announced shortly after, at the bottom of this post.

Remember, you only have until 7pm tonight to enter last week’s giveaway!

 the winner

I have sent your email to Nicole and she will be in touch shortly!  Congrats and thanks for playing.

Posted in sponsorship | 75 Comments

fawned friday

01) this makes my heart happy and swelly.

02) this is pure genius.  making.

03) this is the year I make us some of these.

04) i think this would make a lovely little fall activity.

05) looking forward to starting some seeds soon.  Some good ideas here.

06) i am thinking either a nose ring or ink for my 32nd birthday.

07) well now, isn’t that clever!

08) still thinking about small winter living…this sort of kitchen, shelving, and counters would work.

09) thinking about our outdoor eating area.

10) bubbles!


p.s. Remember to share and enter this week’s giveaway!




Posted in fawned fridays | 3 Comments

by any other name

I have decided that self sufficiency is the wrong term entirely.

I have watched as family and friends rally around us to make so many things possible and it has left me humbled and grateful.  To be honest, I have always struggled with the term; I find it sounds arrogant, lonely and not at all what we’re trying to do.  I am not saying everyone who uses that term is arrogant and lonely, but it isn’t for us and to imply we are doing this alone or that we want to do this alone is inaccurate.

We are about community and connection; gratitude and pared down beauty.  We are not lone soldiers.

I don’t know that we will ever be self sufficient and I don’t know that I want to be.  I also don’t know that full self sufficiency is even possible for most people.  What is more important to me is making wise consumer decisions.  I want to support local organic farmers and producers and grow and produce what we can from our own land and hands.  I think it important to create a good strong web of people based on different strengths and talents.  We are social creatures and to live as one nuclear family living and working alone feels unnatural and unnecessary to me.

Even those who appear to be doing it alone are backed by someone whether it is from ancient knowledge and tools passed down from generation to generation or from endless research, reading and stories.  We learn best from shared knowledge and heavy work is made lighter with many hands.  It isn’t just shared work, but shared joy as well.

We recently were looking at the map of the Croatian town my great grandparents lived in.  Everyone had their own few livestock and each morning or season, men would walk down the road and gather everyone’s individual animals and herd them out to a communal pasture.  Work was shared, there were building bees and support for the families facing hardships.  It was a community in the truest sense and definition of the word.

Do we want to reduce our need for grocery shopping?  Yes.
Do we want to learn lost arts and skills?  Yes.
Do we want our children to understand where their food comes from?  Yes.
Do we want them to learn at their own pace and be inspired by what intrigues them?  Yes.
Do we want to feel a deeper connection with the earth and all of it’s creatures?  Yes.
Do we want to make, can, grow and produce as much as we are able to ourselves?  Yes.
Do we want to or are we capable of doing it alone? Absolutely not.

Ultimately, we want to live according to what makes us feel good and right.  We protect what we love.

Will we ever grow our own wheat and grind it into flour?  I don’t know, I’d like to try grinding it ourselves, but I prefer the idea of building a relationship with a farmer already doing just that, learn from them and support them.  Do I really want to raise our own meat?  To be honest, not really (though Mike has a different answer to that question).

I appreciate our web of support and hope it continues to grow and flourish as we continue walking with and learning from those who are a part of it.

They say it takes a village to raise a child; but what does it take to raise ourselves?


go gently + be wonderful



Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

earth’s best sundays a little late

summer friendly warmth

burning brush

walks in the woods

good city friends

toasted marshmallows

yummy food

ridiculously tasty drumstick pie

surprise treat of indian food

old shed demoed and big pretty plans for our garden space.

a visit and homemade blueberry pie from a friend and neighbour

The  warm weather lures us outside more and more these days as we try to fit in everything we possibly can before the bugs come.

It felt like a summer weekend.  We’re tired and achy and warmed to the core.

Going to bed good and tired just the way it should be.

go gently + be wonderful


Posted in earth's best sundays | 6 Comments

sponsor giveaway – luxfish handspun yarns

I started knitting when I was 18. I was visiting a friend, who’s grandmother was visiting too. She would sit down with her knitting every night. I gradually saw the transformation from a ball of yarn into a wee baby sweater. I was enamored and had to learn! My first scarf was pretty holey! My first hat didn’t fit anyone! But I fell in love and was soon knitting for everyone! I found that after a few years, I was growing a yarn habit I couldn’t afford….hand dyed silks, handspun angoras, rare Peruvian cottons, and bright naturally dyed wool. I thought to myself, if I can knit, why can’t I spin? So I found a learn to spin kit and I was set. I was obsessed! I tried every kind of fiber I could get my hands on! And now after four solid years of spinning, I tend to gravitate towards softer wool blended with curly locks for texture or bamboos and silks for shine. I always strive to make my yarns one of a kind with rich, saturated colour. I want my yarns to feel luxurious when you are working with them.
I update every Sunday at 11:00 MT unless otherwise noted on my facebook page. I alternate my updates between my etsy shop and my big cartel shop. I am always willing to work with anybody on a custom order too. If you can dream up a yarn, I can probably bring your dream into reality!

the giveaway

Jessica is kindly offering a $25 gift certificate for her shop which can be used on any of her delicious handspun yarns.  She would also like to offer you lovely readers a 20% off coupon for use in her shop.  Simply use coupon code fullhouse for the discount.

how to enter

1) Blog, Pin, Tweet, Heart or Share this giveaway
2) Like Luxfish on Facebook
3) Leave a comment answering the following question: What project would you like to make with these luscious yarns?

Be sure to leave a different comment with a link or note about where you’ve shared for each share/tweet/pin/like if you wish to enter more than once.

Giveaway open to everyone and will close on Friday, 23rd at 7pm.  The winner will be announced shortly after, at the bottom of this post.


Vicki E – I have forwarded your email to Jessica and she will be in touch shortly!

I do hope the rest of you will wander on over to her shop and put that coupon code to good use!

Posted in sponsorship | Tagged , , , , | 116 Comments

small living


Even as the winter loosens her hold on us I am left thinking more and more about living small.  You see, our house is sort of like two houses connected.  There is the old 104 year old part with hand-hewn logs.  It contains three bedrooms, a very tiny bathroom, the woodstove, and one large main room.  The newer log addition contains a large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, the kitchen and eating area, another room we use as the kid’s play room and where our large freezer lives, there is also a large loft which is the home of a very messy underused craft room.  It sounds huge and I guess it is.  I find it amazing they felt the need to build the new part as the old cabin is quite livable.  Our laundry is in the crawl space under the new part.  The old part has a dirt crawl space where our water and furnace are.

If we were to close off the new part, we would have very little, if any, need for propane heat which is pretty enticing.  Sure we would have to buy a stove (ours appears to be a built in and I don’t know that it can be moved), move the fridge, create some sort of counter space (I envision some sort of old wooden cupboards and or butcher block) and sink with added plumbing to it.  We would need to drain the water and figure out something for our washing machine.  Sounds extreme, but when you consider how much we’re paying out each winter in propane ($1500-2000) it would still be worth it especially after the first year. Not to mention a fun little experiment in small living.

With all the wood we have laying in our yard we won’t likely need wood for another two years.  The woodstove heats the entire old cabin without issue, except the basement for which we have a small space heater to keep it at 5* so our water doesn’t freeze.  We hope to build a little divider for the water stuff so we don’t need to heat the entire basement.  I think we will try using the rest of the crawlspace as a root cellar though I don’t know the ideal temps for that yet.  I will read up on it this spring/summer.

Sometimes when things get rough financially, or I just feel overwhelmed, I wish we had just bought a piece of land and put a yurt on it.  I begin to fully understand what the Zen Monks are saying when they let go of all earthly goods.  The more you have the more you worry and the more you spend.  Less stuff really does mean more living.  When we acquire and love something, we quickly move into a fearful place of loosing it all.  I cling to things, not because I am materialistic, but because I am sentimental.

What it comes down to is this: we need warmth, food, our pets, and each other; throw in memory, a few cherished photos, some practical comfortable furniture, a warm fire, some good books and a lantern and you’re free to move through life unfettered by the confining things we like to cling to.  With each passing year, I find myself willing to give up more in order to find my own peaceful balance.  It isn’t everyone’s path, but I am realizing my own and for me, letting go of things and thoughts I assumed I needed is empowering and enlightening.

The more unconventional and eccentric the better, I say.  I think I just talked myself into it.


P.S. I began compiling my usual fawned friday post, but was sidetracked by this photo.  I do hope you’ll forgive me.  To make it up to you, I hope to have another giveaway posted tonight or tomorrow.  Remember, you only have until 7 tonight to enter the Gypsy Forest Giveaway!




Posted in family, frugal living, homesteading, our cabin | 12 Comments