Category Archives: craft
I am back.
What’s new, you ask?
Well, let me see….
Our little cabin is for sale.
We’re moving to a run down, but lovable farmhouse just a hop, skip and a jump away from my dad and step mom’s farm.
More on that later, I promise.
I made the leap and deleted 340+ friends on Facebook in an act of self preservation and in hopes of getting back to a place of creativity and productivity.
I will still be posting often on
And I can’t see myself ever leaving Pinterest 😉
I am sure there will be more on all of that later too.
I picked up my crochet hook again and taught myself some new moves.
I made a slouchy hat and had so many requests to make them for others that I decided to make and sell a few to do just that.
It feels so good to make pretty things again.
So good that I decided to unearth some beads and challenge myself to more making and story telling.
I will be tucking a pair of the sweetly simple Story Girl Earrings with the first 10 hat orders.
Each pair comes with a little story inspired by the woman who may wear them or the jewels themselves.
I have mentioned before that if I don’t carve out time to make pretty things, I will surely burst.
It feels good to be back.
Tell me what you’ve been up to.
This feels right.
go gently + be wonderful
- You’ve started to take it upon yourself to pick out your clothes for the day and proudly prancing downstairs to show us your choice of attire. It is often on backwards, but the colours almost always coordinate.
- You are going through a rather new phase as you become more a girl than a baby. You put your hands on your hips a lot and are trying your hand at defiance.
- You continue to adore Clementine and get lots of smiles out of her.
- You continue to love painting and were inspired to paint some flowers. We picked a flower book off the shelf and you spent most of an afternoon painting flowers.
- You are quite enamored with your friends M and N. You draw pictures of them and told me they are your sisters. It’s lovely to watch you form bonds.
- One morning you informed me that “Princesseses are so brave, and soo strong (said while flexing), and sooooo smart!”
- You spent the better part of two days decorating a cardboard box with yogurt labels, glitter, glue, paper bits, twine, tennis balls, spoons, lids, and other random bits. Then your dolls moved in and had a party.
- When I put makeup on the other day, you exclaimed that I looked like a Bratz Doll. Oh boy.
- The other morning while Silas melted down, you donned my sunglasses, laid down on my yoga mat in a bean of sun with your arms folded behind your head and legs crossed while saying “Awwwwww, what a beeeeeautiful day!”. Even though you’re more defiant than usual, you are still pretty easy going.
- One of the most exciting developments is that you peed on the toilet for the first time on March 10th! Since then you have been potty training and wearing big boy undies. You have had two full days (going on three?!) with no accidents, consistently wake up dry, and tell us when you need to go. We are all thrilled.
- In the past few days, you’ve started showing interest in drawing things like treasure maps, lions, dinosaurs and even some letters!
- Silas is already planning for his 4th birthday party…in September.
Me: Who do you want to invite to your birthday party?
Silas: The boys.
Me: Why not the girls?
Silas: Because they will ruin my party and eat all my cake.
- Silas just woke up from a late afternoon nap. When I asked if he had a good sleep he nodded and said:
“I had a dream about a super hero who saved a guinea pig and took him back with his mudder and daddy.”
Then his tone changed to sadness “…and then I had a dream that I had no home and no daddy”
I asked if that made him sad and he brightened, looked around, and gestured all around him “But this is mine home and daddy will be home soon.”
- You make all sorts of
demandsrequests for costumes, and things. Roll the paper up like a map, build me a ship/car/truck/tiger/etc, make me a doggy’s tail, make me a mermaid tale, etc. Most often it is ALL WRONG. We’re working on the “I can’ts”.
- The other morning we had the 90’s station playing on Songza and you broke into spontaneous dance and air guitar. You always make us laugh.
- You don’t often play with actual toys. If I am ever missing a slotted spoon or spatula, I ask you first regarding its whereabouts…in fact, as I write this I can hear you clanging about in the kitchen making a robot face out of lids and butter knives…oh wait, now you’ve donned your pith helmet and are digging dinosaur bones with a ladle and spatula.
- You’ve been sitting up on your own.
- You continue to smile easily, but this week you have been hollering wildly until you’re in someone’s arms.
- Our days have been demanding, but you’ve been waking less in the nights.
- You are wearing 6-12 month clothes.
- You tend to like your food with flavour such as cinnamon or thyme.
- You love mushed brown beans.
- Your hair continues to grow wilder by the day.
- You are Daddy’s biggest fan when it comes to his ukulele playing. You often cry when he stops playing.
- I’ve cleaned off the desk by the wood stove to make space for the sewing machine and have high hopes of sewing a few of these pinafore dresses for me, as well as a couple reversible pinafores for the girls. Like I said, high hopes.
- Brainstorming ideas for article submissions.
- Dreaming of a small addition to our small porch with a screened in area so we can sit outside in bug season.
- Wondering when Old Man Winter will loosen his grip. We are still buried in at least three to four feet of snow.
- Wondering if I should even be posting this stuff on my blog.
- Thinking a lot about breaking up with all the stuff and and finding balance in the online world.
- Project333 seems like the perfect place to start.
- I find myself fantasizing about calling 1-800-GOT-JUNK people and starting fresh.
- Finding great comfort and clarity in Buddhist/Zen philosophy when it comes to daily work and the “point of pointlessness”.
- Looking forward to doing more cooking with the kids each day/week.
- I am compiling a playlist for jogging.
- As the saying goes, “I was uncool before uncool was cool”, but I love me some catchy dance music. This will be on said jogging list.
- We’ve been making smoothies full of spinach and chia seeds and the kids gobble them up. It helps me stay calm when they refuse to eat veggies at meal time.
go gently + be wonderful
First of all, a huge thank you to Erin for featuring me in this space. Erin and I have been friends and neighbours-in-our-minds for a long time, and reading her blog always grounds me and resonates with me; I am continually inspired by her soul-baring honesty.
September has always been a time of change, renewal, and beginnings for me; so it feels right that this year it marks a new change in my life: starting my own creative business.
For the last seven years I was a graphic designer. Before that, I was in school for seven years to get into the field (a degree in fine arts, followed by a diploma in graphic design). Somewhere along the way, I became disillusioned with the industry, and realized there was a creative part inside of me that wasn’t satisfied. Though I was designing, I didn’t feel that I was creating. I had lost my passion for my work. That was a scary realization. It took traveling around Asia for 6.5 months to realize that I couldn’t come back and be a graphic designer. But at some point over the trip, that stopped being a scary thing. Why not do something different? I realized that up until that point I was looking for permission to change paths. But really, starting my own Etsy shop is just a new direction on this same creative journey. The path I’ve taken has led me here. It couldn’t have happened any other way.
So now, when my head and sketchbook are bursting with new ideas, I can run down to the sewing machine and get to work. Working with new and upcycled fabrics, I create Wee Fabric Houses with lots of tactile details, a variety of fabrics, and even hand-painted details on some. Each house is unique and tells a story. For instance, the Wee Hobbit House has some laundry on the line out back, beside a rake and broom (with bristles made of twine), suggesting that perhaps when he isn’t curled up in the velour armchair beside the fire, or taking a little stroll down to the river, that he likes things quite clean and orderly.
Other than this patchy, appliqué style of house, I make another style using fabrics custom-printed with my own illustrations. There’s a Birdhouse with a little chickadee resting inside the soft, felted nest, and judging from the wall of family portraits, this particular chickadee comes from a rather regal lineage; and a Japanese Teahouse, which opens to reveal a little table and cushions overlooking a zen garden. There’s a Gingerbread House in the works as well as a new line of hand-puppets to appeal to littler folk, both of which will be ready in time for the Holidays. It’s fantastic watching the houses and puppets take shape, and exciting to imagine how they’ll ignite the imaginations of all ages.
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS – Amberlea is offering FREE SHIPPING on her photographic prints until Sunday September, 22nd, 2013!
Yesterday was restless and rough. Paint smeared across furniture, Huck stealing homemade pizza from the counter top, and yarn unraveled. T’was not a stellar day in my parenting career thus far, that is for certain. It ended with me laying rumpled on our bed in a dark room wishing I was more patient; better; different.
Today has been better. Christmas crafting, roughhousing and hugging, soup warming on the wood stove, and sitting cuddled under a creamy blanket watching The Sword in The Stone. The tree line out front is hazed by heavy layers of falling snow.
I am looking forward to the slow days of our Christmas vacation; a visit to the farm (and if we’re lucky, a horse drawn sleigh ride), puzzles, books, afternoon coffee, all day snacking, perpetual Christmas movies and music, visitors, walks in the woods, campfires, sleeping in front of the fire, and gingerbread houses.
Yes, I intend to savour every little morsel of Christmas goodness because I know January, February, and March will be good, but oh so long.
In other news, I am very excited about what 2013 holds for my wee photography business. I am feeling inspired and hopeful. If you haven’t already, be sure to “like” my new Facebook page to learn about mini sessions and other updates. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to book a photo session for the new year. I can’t wait to hear from you!
Have a merry day, folks!
go gently + be wonderful
In September, our homeschooling connections got organized and began weekly meet-ups each Tuesday. It just so happened that our first meet-up fell on the first day of school and we were able to make it. We went to the fabulous home studio of Artech Glass Blowing (seriously fantastic Christmas gifts by the way). The kids played, the adults planned and chatted, we all went for a walk in the rain to learn about what we found along the creek with Corina (Owner of Deep Roots Team Building) and then ate a healthy potluck lunch before heading home again. I still had the daycare family each Tuesday so we were unable to make it out to the weekly gatherings since then. Now that daycare has ended, we have been able to join them once again
Last week we visited Gaia Farmhouse Retreat where we learned about the birth of the Universe. Some of the activities are a little too structured for my little ones, but it was a great place and they enjoyed the re-enactment, the drums and shakers, the drawing and, best of all, running through the Labyrinth with the other kids.
I thought we were going to have to miss this week’s idyllic meet up at the home of Kira and Andrew due to me not being able to get the car. I thought we were stuck, but Andrew and Kira were so kind to make the drive out to pick the kids and I up and then drop us off at home at the end of the day. Thanks to them we were able to enjoy a day by the fire chatting, eating homemade chicken noodle soup, sweet potato chips, warm apple cider, hot cocao and cut fruit. We got out for a walk in the woods to gather dried bits of nature to decorate the juniper wreaths Andrew had crafted while we were out. Two of the moms (with hands of steel) crafted beautiful spruce wreaths while we all chatted and the kids played wildly.
One of the things I love about homeschooling is that our kids will get to interact with children of various ages in so many different settings. Yesterday there were 9 kids ranging in age from about 1.5 to 6. Sometimes the activites require a longer attention span than my two are able to give, but the play time is always appropriate.
It was nearly dark when we got home. I made a simple supper and re-lit the fire while we waited for Mike to arrive home late. Silas and I fell asleep quickly, but even after all the running, fresh air and play, Poppy tossed and turned until after 9pm. I love our days out, but the day after a busy day out is always extra cozy and comforting.
I am so grateful for these wonderful families, this sense of growing community, and our Homeschooling Tuesdays.
Since daycare officially ended a few weeks ago, I find our days have a new rhythm to them; slower; less frantic. The kids have been getting along better and I often find them reading a book together or laughing hysterically at each other’s antics. It’s good.
Yesterday I used the hot glue gun to attach cedar to cardboard wreath templates. As I was explaining the importance of not touching the tip to avoid burning yourself to Poppy, I promptly burnt my thumb. She gasped, kissed it, and asked if I would like a band aid on after a bath. Later I had them sort through the cranberries by placing the mushy ones in a small dish and the good ones in a little pile for me to string onto baker’s twine. I hung it in the kitchen and added the small cedar wreaths to it. I hung more twinkle lights in our bedroom. We rummaged around in the scrap pile for two good pieces of barn board and made a “be merry” sign as well as a “follow joy” sign. I have no idea where I will hang them, but I like them.
Today we went on a hunt in the woods for leathery oak leaves, bits of cedar and spruce, feathers, birch paper, clumps of mossy and lichen, and pine cones to create a festive yet natural advent calendar I am so excited to create. I was on the lookout for small pine and cedar saplings to transplant along our front fence. I had never noticed the numerous saplings who had gathered at the feet of fallen or barren coniferous trees; as though to protect and pay their respects to a fallen elder.
We then released thousands of milkweed seeds into the air. Much like the petals of a peony they remind my of frivolous and whimsical things. Things like star dust and moon beams. Seeds with wings, my goodness, it doesn’t get much better than that. The sky is as pure a blue that ever was or will be and the sun friendly.
Of course Silas still throws down like a boss and Poppy still refuses (I mean refuses) to go on the potty, but I find myself more patient with it all.
Today I woke early and started a crock pot full of pulled pork with a made from scratch sauce. If it tastes half as good as it smells we are in business.
The season of home and hearth is upon us and it is where I am most at ease.
go gently. be wonderful + merry.
No matter how many times I waken to see hoar frost decorating the landscape, I can’t seem to resist the magic as it beckons me outside. It is much like the first warm day of spring; the first crimson leaf spotted; or the first blanket of snow. I had a craft that called for tiny bits of cedar so we bundled up and ventured out into the cool air to gather what we needed. We wandered up into the woods and headed for the pond. It really is the best way to start a day (when my overactive imagination doesn’t think about coyotes and bears that is). The dogs raced back and forth. Soma tends to go just out of view and that come crashing back out onto the path, but I noticed Huck would stop when he would get too far from us and sit looking back at us and in the direction Soma had gone. It seemed like he didn’t want to leave us alone on the path.
We came back to a warm house warmed by fire (we have yet to turn on our propane furnace this season!) and scented with crock pot beef stew. I opened the turquoise trunk that holds our Christmas decorations and began stringing lights around the perimeter of our front room while the kids squealed excitedly, pulling decorations from their safe places, and becoming tangled in tinsel. I wrote “joyeux noel” with a chalk pen on the front window.
The rest of the day will be for making mini wreaths (if only I can find my glue gun), making date squares, and stringing cranberries. Mike will come home to see twinkle lights in the windows and be greeted with warm stew and pastry ready for the table. We will listen to Loreena Mckennitt’s Christmas music (and ,very likely, Silas’ post nap/ no nap tantrum. We will bath the kids and then settle in a night in front of the fire.
Sometimes this life of one income and one car in the country can feel as though it is somehow lacking, but then there are days such as this, when it feels so utterly luxurious.
go gently + be wonderful
After an entire weekend devoted to work on our entertainment cabinet, it is finally complete.
As many of you may have noticed, we live in a 104 year old cabin so much of the wiring could not be hidden in the walls since they are made of giant logs. One wall contains huge tats of wires, panels and plugs. We did our best to place the biggest pieces of furniture and curtains in front of it to both hide and keep the kids out, but it has been a thorn in my side since day one. We originally thought we would pay someone to build a false wall there, then we thought we would build it ourselves, and then we decided to build a very large cabinet that would nearly perfectly cover most of the wall. These plans fit the bill perfectly and since we had such great luck with Ana White’s plans for our harvest table and Poppy’s bed, we jumped right in.
With the addition of a chop saw (an early birthday present from Mike’s dad) and a Kreg Jig the project, though time consuming, was fairly simple for us newbies. That being said I am glad it is done. It contains a lot of blood, sweat, tears and maybe even a little piece of our marriage.
We used pine and finished it with two coats of “White Oak” stain. We placed four drawer pulls and will be making the remaining door knobs from driftwood or cut antlers. Though we don’t have a big television (actually it is just an old computer with a 20 inch monitor) we decided to leave the large opening since we may one day get a real one again. It cost a bit more than we had anticipated, but when you factor in our learning of new skills, the quality and strength of the piece, and the feeling of pride we feel when looking at it, I would do it all over again.
Last night, the living room was put back together and, while I made supper, Mike chopped wood for the wood box. We sat fireside last night and again early this morning.
Fall is no longer a whisper and I couldn’t be gladder.
I love Pinterest.
I love becoming inspired and creating the tutorials and ideas I find.
This DIY watercolour portrait tutorial definitely makes my top 10 list of favourite DIY pins to date.
This craft is incredibly simple with a high quality finished product. I was able to do the one of Silas in about an hour while two kids napped and the other two watched the Magic School Bus, drew pictures, and climbed the counter to see what I was up to. The one of Poppy took a bit longer due to the tiny details of Smitten’s face (masking fluid would be ideal for the more detailed pictures), but with Silas napping and Poppy painting with her own paints I was able to finish it in one sitting.
These are just begging to be framed and wrapped up as thoughtful Christmas gifts.
I have long wanted to learn watercolour painting, but usually just end up with a lot of muddy colours and can never seem to get the results I am hoping for. That being said, it is tremendously therapeutic and meditative for me. Knitting, crocheting, and sewing usually make me twitchy. Seriously, it’s unnerving. But when I paint, it is all I think about. My mind easily slips into a silence I rarely know and serenity comes.
Just had to share with you!
go gently + be wonderful
I had all sorts of grand plans for Dancing Rabbit Daycare. With Poppy being the oldest of the four children, I quickly realized they were unrealistic. Instead of spending hours doing structured crafts and exploration they spend most of the day half naked in free play and exploration. When we do do crafts, it usually lasts about 20 minutes and then I spend the next hour cleaning the house, the children, and the bathtub.
In their freedom, they have begun making up games of their own; the newest being a dragonfly hunt in which they run around the yard searching for imaginary dragonflies (don’t worry, no real dragonflies were harmed). They discuss strategy and work well together. Another favourite is when they all hold onto a stick or rope and pretend they are a train travelling around the yard. Silas’ personal favourite are Peter Pan sword fights on the rocks and logs with great agility. Their favourite toys generally aren’t toys; things like rocks, sticks, and dirt are most often played with. They enjoy the dump trucks and diggers and love making mud and soup with rocks, dirt, grass and water. They enjoy taking water from one place to another and will do it with great purpose. We play a game in which we guess if an item will sink or float and then throw it in the wee pool to find out who was right. I have been doing some reading on unschooling and am fascinated by it. I realize their play is their work.
In the last few weeks I have noticed a shift in Poppy as she becomes more measured in her crafts. Not so very long ago, she was the girl covered from head to toe in whatever medium we were working with that day (namely glitter, glue and/or paint) and usually smearing and sprinkling it on every surface available to her (human or otherwise). I always tried to let her experience it as she needed and wanted, but it was exasperating at times.
This week we went into the field in search of items to use to make collages and Poppy surprised me with her enthusiasm. She was the first to think of using the many feathers scattered through the yard. She found leaves and flowers and stayed with me for the duration of the task, placing each item with excitement into the basket. We said hello to an especially lovely beetle and a fluffy caterpillar before heading back in to begin our craft. Inside she put just enough glue on her paper and carefully picked her leaf or feather to place. She was so proud of her completed work and when I taped it up high on the kitchen door she demanded I give it to her and I later found it hanging at her level so she could admire it.
Yesterday, while the little ones slept, I took the two older ones out to paint some big rocks they had found. Poppy usually prefers to paint her entire body (and I mean her ENTIRE body), but with this craft she took her time and chose the colours carefully. She used a small brush and layered the colours in one concentrated place in a way that they were all visible. It was like a beautiful gem. They declared they were painting happy and scary monsters.
I was only there to ask questions and provide the paint and wash cloth. I didn’t interfere or make any suggestions. I just let them sit in silence and put the paint where they wanted. They decided when their creations were complete and then we placed them in the sun to dry.
I am learning to trust. My gut is drawing me into unschooling, but it is still something that makes us both a little uneasy though I have a hard time articulating why. I think it is mainly due to the misunderstanding attached to the term and process. What if our children are behind? Will people think we are neglectful and dumb. Poppy has been testing our trust since the early months. She was very slow to talk and has refused to show any interest or motivation to potty train while she has excelled in other areas such as coordination, and knowing all her colours, numbers, letters, animals, etc with great confidence from a very early age. Any effort to teach her things such as using scissors or how to complete puzzles and games on the Ipad usually just makes her freeze up and resist. Then I will spy her doing it nearly to perfection all by herself a few weeks later. I see myself in her ways; I preferred to learn things alone where I could make mistakes without being corrected. Even when I really wanted to try something or learn something I would often bow out if it made me uneasy. This can be disabling in many ways, but I would have appreciated it greatly if I hadn’t been pushed (with the best of intentions) to be something I wasn’t. It is a fine balance for sure; honouring who they are while learning that challenges can be good. Silas, on the other hand, is a proficient talker with an insane vocabulary and incredible coordination and imagination, but doesn’t have the same interest in letters and numbers that Poppy has.
My biggest question is how would we ever deal with any “delays” with confidence? How do we tap into the trust? Of course, these are more our issues than our children’s so I will continue reading and watching. For anyone interested I am currently reading The Unschooling Handbook and The Unschooling Unmanual and wanting to watch this documentary. Some other videos I have come across here.
So, who out there is unschooling? Any tips, thoughts, references?
go gently + be wonderful