Thursday, June 30, 2011

poppy's first haircut

Last night, I decided it was time to give Poppy her first haircut.  Her ringlets are often quite tousled and out of control, but when she began to grow what looked like a ringlet rat tale I knew something had to be done.  I have, on many occasions, cut my own curly hair with the kitchen scissors with both great and not so great results.  Curly hair hides a lot of sins, that I know for sure.

I was a little nervous about cutting Poppy's virgin curls, but I strapped her into her booster seat, Daddy distracted her with funny animal videos on you tube, and I gave her a little curly bob.  I quickly collected the lost curls for her baby book and released my restless toddler.

I spent the rest of the evening admiring the fresh cut curls as they bounced prettily around her shoulders and marveled at how quickly these milestones come upon us.  Some days it is like watching grass grow, but other days it is like watching a wildfire rip through, both can be equally difficult in their own rite.

go gently + be wonderful


Monday, June 27, 2011

a room of my own

I recently registered to be a vendor at the Annual Peterborough Folk Festival.  I haven't been all that productive in the crafty department since Silas's arrival nearly ten months ago, but I thought this show, which happens August 27th, may be just the thing I need to push me, ever so abruptly, back into crafty-dom.  Months ago, I promised I would be re-opening my Etsy shop, but between the move, and a lack of time and focus, it never happened.

So, first things first, I had to clear the room just off the kitchen which we had affectionately begun calling the 'Room of Boxes' and make it into something functional.  It is a small room, but it is well lit, looks out into the woods and it is all mine.  It is a work in progress, but it does feel good to claim it.

Now to begin creating.  I am feeling the need to streamline my products and presentation for this show.  Start fresh.  Clean out my market box and begin again.  Pick a few items and focus on those.  Think through the presentation and meaning and {minimal} packaging.  Concentrate on what I enjoy making and leave it at that. Yeah, enjoy the process.

I will keep you posted.

go gently + be wonderful


Friday, June 24, 2011

this moment

{this moment} 

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

go gently + be wonderful


Thursday, June 23, 2011

bleach pen t-shirt

I recently pinned this idea on Pinterest and couldn't wait to try it.  One of the things I sell when doing craft shows and markets are upcycled screen printed clothing.  I just use the simple freezer paper method seen nearly everywhere now, but first seen in Soulemama's first book The Creative Family.  It is effective, but a little tedious when doing many items and sometimes lacks the fluidity I would like.

Enter the three dollar bleach pen.  I don't know why I never thought of this before!  I just free-handed a design onto a perfectly worn gray t-shirt I found at Value Village and rinsed it off when I liked the colour it had changed to.  I was on the phone when it was time to rinse so I couldn't be as careful as I should have which resulted in a few rouge bleach marks, but I think it adds to the rather weathered look of the shirt.

Seriously simple and rewarding project.  Try it.

go gently + be wonderful


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

thirty one things you may or may not know about me...

  1. I turned thirty one today.
  2. I have a diastema {gap between my two front teeth}.
  3. I wish I hadn't filled it in 8 years ago now that Silas has the same family trait.
  4. I find my birthday to be the loneliest day of the year.
  5. I don't think I can come up with thirty one "interesting"  truths about myself.
  6. I weighed 167 pounds this morning.
  7. I would like to weigh 20 pounds less.
  8. I can't burp.
  9. I swear like a sailor.
  10. I like Randy Travis.
  11. I still miss my Gramma.
  12. I make a lot of tea.
  13. I rarely drink it.
  14. I am an only child.
  15. I often wish I wasn't.
  16. I met my husband online. {Lava Life}.
  17. I think every house should have an outhouse.
  18. I want a pet crow.
  19. I would like to ride horses again.
  20. I prefer bare feet.
  21. I believe in ghosts and past lives.
  22. I sort of like watching Sesame Street.
  23. I am painting our front door yellow.
  24. I eat a lot of cilantro.
  25. I love Indian food.
  26. I like the number 26.
  27. I firmly believe that the toilet paper should come over the top.
  28. I am trying to convince Mike he should bring back bow ties and suspenders.
  29. I love The Waltons.
  30. I would like to make pottery again.
  31. I have big feet.

Monday, June 20, 2011

a mess of berries

It was a good weekend.

unfettered thrifting
a new to me Filter Queen vacuum
a fenced garden
 a newly discovered swimming hole not 7 minutes away
peonies, daisies and buttercups
berry picking
working horses in the hay field
stained fingertips
sticky, happy, sleepy children
Sun warmed berries
the year's first sunburn
a birthday trailer
sun soaked laundry
one blessed and charmed life

Yes it was one lovely, productive weekend.  Now, if you need me, you can find me in the kitchen hulling and freezing a mess of strawberries for the winter months.

P.S.  as you can see I am having way too much fun making new headers.  The novelty should where off soon.

go gently + be wonderful


Friday, June 17, 2011

she has come undone.

I love the suspense and promise of the peony.

How perfectly elegant + frivolous they are.
Like the puffed sleeves Anne so desperately wanted Marilla to sew onto her dress for the Strawberry Social.
{or was it the Ice Cream Social?}
Or the fluffy icing on a tall white cake.
Or the colour of ballet slippers.
Or swan feathers.

Sometimes, when I let my mind wander, it nestles into the petals of a peony, listens to the gossip of passing bumble bees, and just moments before quiet slumber swaddles me in her blanket, I remember where I came from.

The wind and the clouds and good summer dreams are held within these petals.

go gently + be wonderful


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

the joys of making it yourself

Now that getting a chocolate bar involves a significant and wasteful car ride I have become more resourceful.  I was raiding the cupboards for something sweet last week when I came across the milk chocolate chips and a jar of unsalted almonds. Growing tired of eating plain chocolate chips, I melted the chocolate and spread half of it onto waxed paper, sprinkled it with the almonds, drizzled it with the remaining chocolate, and, because I couldn't wait a second longer than absolutely necessary, placed it in the freezer to set.

Another favourite is dipping strawberries in said chocolate which, as you will see in the photo below, Poppy got her hands on fresh out of the bath.  

Not rocket science, I know, but you have to admit it is a little more refined than scarfing down Chipits straight from the bag.

Next up, I will share a basic cracker recipe.

P.S.  I am rather in love with my new header also made myself.

go gently + be wonderful


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

beauty in the details

Today I am.

::Wishing:: my handsome husband a Happy Fourth Wedding Anniversary and nearly eight years of "together".

::Trying:: to make this a good day despite the interrupted sleep {6 times} and a much too early start for some cranky and sick kidlets.

::Thinking:: I am going to want/need a do-over.

::Craving::  Doritos + chocolate.

::Wearing::  Yesterday's pants upon which Poppy leaked pee onto while cuddling after her nap.

::Hearing::  The furnace.  In June.

::Needing::  Some romance and a tan.

::Smelling::  A hint of yesterdays's homemade dill + garlic and sun dried tomato + basil crackers.

::Looking:: Forward to a drive, a walk and some ice cream tonight upon Mike's arrival.

::Remembering::  The beauty is in the details...trying anyway.

go gently + be wonderful


Thursday, June 9, 2011

The rain came


I ran out to the clothesline to rescue the dry clothes from the fast moving storm.  My hands moved clumsily as I swatted at the deer flies and grasped for the clothespins.  I was trying to beat the rain, but as I felt the first dollops hit my sweaty skin I changed my mind.

Instead of running, I stayed with it.
I stayed out until my clothes were soaked through.
I stayed out until my pants were so heavy with water I had to take them off.
I stayed out until I had to let the weight of my hair down.
I stayed out until I could feel a little bit of normal creep back into my bones.

I was baptized.

Mike worried that I would be hit by lightening and urged me to come in.  He looked so tiny standing on the porch flailing his arms, but when I waved my pants at him to let him know I was going to be a while I could tell he knew I needed the rain.  Like Big Fish, I was getting dried out.  He smiled and went back in, but I knew he was keeping a watchful eye on his wayward lamb and wouldn't rest until I was back with the flock. I couldn't help but love him for it.

Our house looked like a warm ember glowing in the purple darkness of the storm and I could see my family moving safety inside.  It throbbed with heat while I walked slowly in the sweet, cool rain.  And I was grateful and new again.

I finally came in and Mike greeted me with a towel and a deep hug.  As I walked up the stairs to our bedroom I felt, for the first time since moving here, that this was home.  Not a vacation or some temporary good place.  In a moment, I knew I was going to be ok and these walls were going to keep us safe on our journey.

I am growing into my own.  I get a fresh start here.  I care less about what people think and talk with everyone as though they are long lost friends.  I shake their hands and ask for their names and sincerely hope to run into them again.

I am a tangle slowly coming undone.

go gently + be wonderful


Monday, June 6, 2011

anger and what lies beneath it

I am a quick tempered woman.  I grew up in a house with a lot of anger and sometimes even frightening rage.  But this isn't a post about placing blame on my parents or my situation or how I was raised to excuse my own behaviour, but one about standing up and owning up.
It is true what they say, that a child will bring out both the best and the worst in you.  They will coax it out of the most unexpected places I assure you.  The good, the bad, the brilliant, and the cringe-worthy.  My biggest flaws are my fast anger and easy frustration.  I snap quickly and recover quickly, but my words during that brief and red hot time are no less hurtful or unproductive.

As a stay at home mom of two little ones I am taken to my edge everyday.  By the time Mike gets home I am often mere moments away from twitching and rocking on the bathroom floor.  I wake up with grand visions of a day filled with frolicking in the fields wearing a sun dress taking beautiful photos of my beautiful children just like so many other bloggers I follow.  They rarely, if ever turn out like that.  I am usually running around from one chore to the next while intermittently changing dirty diapers and re-filling empty sippy cups until I finally get to go to sleep only to have our 9 month old wake up 5 or 6 times in the night only to refuse any comforting, singing, swaying, rocking, or patting that isn't accompanied by nursing.

I know I am often my own worst enemy as I flail and muddle through our unstructured days.  I crave boundaries and rhythm just as much as children do and when I don't get it I get unruly.  

I recently had a shocking realization that if I were paying someone for the care I am providing for my own children I would be incredibly disappointed and disheartened.  

That was hard for me to say out loud.  

I still stand by my decision to stay home and believe wholeheartedly in its importance.
There is no other job I would rather do.  
But it is hard. 
Damn hard. 
Harder than I had ever imagined or prepared for.  
It is often a lonely, mind numbing job.
And some days I am just angry.

This isn't to say I am giving up.  No, no, no.  I may be a lot of things, but a quitter I am not.  I am simply lacking the tools and structure I need to make these early days good ones and I have access to plenty of wise women both online and in the flesh to remedy that.  I have armed myself with many of the great books I see recommended by other bloggers I admire including Seven Times the Sun, Heaven on Earth, Creative Play for Your Baby/Toddler, Living Simply With Children, Above All, Be Kind, etc.  I have even tried following some of the guides offered through Little Acorn   Perhaps Poppy is still too young or perhaps I should just keep to the routine and wait for her to catch on.  I don’t know, I’ve never done this before.  All the books paint a lovely calm picture of free play and helping with house work, but it never happens that way.   She would rather bang the broom over Silas’ head or dump all the water on the floor than “help” with sweeping or dishes.  Am I doing something wrong?  Am I expecting too much from her at 2?  We don’t have Waldorf schools nearby to observe so I really don’t know if I have a good grasp on what to do in daily situations.  And it doesn’t have to be a purely Waldorf day either, I just appreciate the calmness and ritual aspects that a lot of daycares can provide.  Let it be known that I am in no way against good daycare, but would like the best of both worlds in which I can watch my kids grow and change while giving them the benefits and activity daycare provides.

I would love to hear your suggestions on life with the under 2 years of age category, but in the meantime I have created a plan in hopes of getting on track.  I have found that the best way to get my mind in the right headspace is to treat this as my job and our home as my “daycare”.  I know this may seem odd, but it really hit home when I thought about what I would want in an ideal daycare provider and then realized I wasn’t giving that to my own children on a daily basis. 

I started with a list entitled “Daily Rhythm” with the outline of how our days will flow; our inhale and exhale is you will.  It includes things like waking, chores, meals, snacks, outdoor time, nap time, story time, crafting, baking, family time, bedtime routine etc.

I then broke it down into a daily work sheet to fill in so I can organize meals, snacks, and activities for the day and added a weekly colour, letter, plant, animal, and number to work into our daily activities.  I did this so I can be sure to have all the necessary supplies in the house when the time comes.  These will evolve as the kids do and as I become more inspired.

I am doing this for my own sanity as much as I am doing it for my children.  My anger is deep rooted and often more than spilled milk and broken items, but sometimes it is just that.  

I am working on it.

go gently + be wonderful


Saturday, June 4, 2011

tilling the land

 After pounding a metal stake into our rocky, uneven ground for what felt like forever, Dad and Mike arrived at the conclusion that this was the chosen location for our vegetable garden.  I hate cutting down any sort of tree, but dad comforted me by telling me that none of the trees in a large clump would do well so we cut out the scrub and brush trees to the right to allow the cedar to flourish and clear a path for the sunlight space for the new garden.

After searching our local sawmills and lumber stores for fence posts and being turned off by the high prices for delivery and each piece we thought we may as well use the trees we had already cut for this purpose.  They are a little gnarled and crooked and I am not sure how long they will last in wet ground, but I think it will add a touch of whimsy to our wabi sabi garden.  I have seen four poster beds made from entire trees and envision something similar with chimes and vines growing up and through without blocking too much sun.

We rented a tiller from the local hardware store and Mike was able to tear up the sod and soil through it took a long time and a great deal of muscle, but once he found his rhythm it went smoothly.  The bugs were too intense for the kids and I so I went inside out of pure frustration.  Mike is a freak of nature and though the bugs will bite him, he never gets itchy or swollen.  The kids and I are eaten alive and then driven insane with the itch.

I enjoy witnessing this man come into his own.  I watched him wrestle with the soil while I made supper and tended to the house and children.  I felt useless and impotent as I baked cookies and watched the bugs swarm around him, but I couldn't help but think he was in flat out, bloody battle with his own demons and insecurities.  I decided he was better off without me there micromanaging and giggling at him.  It took a little longer, but he was able to come to his own conclusions and is better for it in the end.

Then he realized I was out there taking his picture and danced and posed appropriately.

Our efforts to get a garden in on time this year have been slowed by the wet weather, lack of truck or trailer, the kids, and the bugs.  It is another wet and rainy Saturday so we haven't been able to till in the compost and manure with the tiller; we'll have to do it by hand.  The post holes need to be dug, the posts need to be cut and placed.  The fence needs to be attached and then we will finally be able to plant.

We feel like we are running in water; expending great amounts of energy, without much progress.  But I am reminded of the quote "Nothing in nature rushes, yet everything is accomplished".  

Slowly, we are making this land and home our own.  
We intend to be here forever, so we've got time.

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

go gently + be wonderful


Thursday, June 2, 2011

we're in.

Things still feel foggy as I try to find our rhythm once again, but we love the new home and land.  We feel like tourists and one of my favourite things is exploring all the local, true General Stores of the north with seasoned wood floors that groan under even the slightest weight.  You know, the ones who carry everything from your everyday plumbing needs and bait to stylish country clothing and home decor.  Awesome.

Things feel a tad hectic and overwhelming as we try to get everything done at once.  The garden is staked out and we were able to get a few cucumber, pepper, herbs and heirloom tomato plants from the Kinmount Farmer's Market.  We have to turn the soil, add the organic compost from Ellenberger Organic Farm, rent a rototiller, fence it in and plant it this weekend.  Then I would like to paint the upstairs bedrooms.  Then we have the Doors Open next weekend.  After that, we build a chicken coop and find some ladies to fill it.

We were  fortunate enough to stumble upon Jan, a previous owner of our new home, as she sells baked goods at the farmer's market.  I liked her instantly and hope to get together with her to talk history, ghosts and other good stuff over coffee or tea.  She eased some of our 'too-good-to-be-true' type fears.  My first question was if it was haunted to which she replied "it is a happy haunted, not a bad haunted".  Good enough.  As long as they're friendly.  The night before we met her we heard what sounded like someone whispering to Silas over the baby monitor.  In the first couple of days the monitor shut itself off and then on again and the tv shut off randomly a couple of times.  It hadn't happened before and hasn't happened since.  Perhaps they were just saying hello.

On our first full day here we braved the black flies to lay some dandelions on the Mr. Williams' grave.  Mr Williams was the original owner buried on the property in 1892.  Jan also told us there are many unmarked graves around the property as well.

Everything is more intense in the country.  Dark nights seem darker.  Strange noises seem stranger.  Thunder cracks seem louder and closer.  The quiet is deep.
Our bedroom window frames the highest branches of a tall pine and the other morning I laid with a sleeping bird +gnome and watched a yellow finch sing to the sun.  He sang as though its very rising depended upon his song.
Last night I laid in the quiet.  It was so quiet that my first instinct was to panic and feel homesick for the noises of town living; the car doors shutting, the voices of people walking by on the sidewalk, the comfort of the streetlights, headlights and break lights.  Instead of distracting myself or turning the fan on to drown it out, I moved past the panic and stayed with it.  It was crisp, cool, deafening and pure and I felt calm for the first time in a long time.

Blogging has been difficult for me as I struggle to find the time to both think and type whole thoughts, but I am constantly writing wee snapshots in my head.  I have a book in me somewhere and a few weeks ago I awoke with the words to start.  I remember a friend telling me she had taken a writing workshop in which the teacher told them "everyone's story is worth telling".  I will try again to be a reliable and comprehensive blogger and  to re-devote some time and energy back into recording our days and experiences here once the dust settles, but I admit I am struggling to find structure and routine.  I can't seem to find my center or my breath.  I am sure I will find it in one of these boxes someday soon.  Likely the last one I unpack.

If you would like to see more pics you can do so here.

go gently + be wonderful

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