Friday, December 31, 2010

Art of the Month: December

I want to share some of the lovely gifts both received and given this month.  I feel so privileged to be around so many creative women and talented artists.  Fostering this creative spirit in Kyan is a joy to me.  I don't structure our art sessions much yet as he is only 3, but when he sees me painting or drawing he asks to do it too and that says to me that he sees merit in it and enjoys the process of creation.  Our gray skies have cleared up and so we've got sunshine but it has brought with it much colder temperatures.  Well, much colder for the west coast anyway.  I can't believe that the New Year is upon us.  I hope to fit in my yearly tarot card spread this weekend.  Usually I do it in November around my birthday but I didn't fit it in then.   I hope to share a bit about this tradition with you in the new year.  I stole the idea from Heidi Joy many years ago and it never ceases to amaze me how looking back over the year and reading the results of the spread reveals so much about what occurred.  And now for some of the results of gift giving and receiving.

 Kyan's crown that I showed in progress in this post.  I can't say he has warmed up to it yet but it's there for whenever his future self is inclined to be king-like.

I received this lovely Soul Sister from my wonderful friend Sarah who is journeying with me through pregnancy at this time.

 Some handmade pot holders from Heidi Joy.  Such a lovely combination of fabrics....I almost hesitate to use them.  And below is the finished doll house.  Ky has played with it and I just have to make some cushions for the sofa and some blankets and pillows for the dolls.

 And I put these drawstring bags together to house a bamboo game of Tic Tac Toe and the blue bag has a good luck charm in the pocket.  Drawstring bags are useful for holding so many little things together whether for child's toys, for traveling or any type of storage.  I'm contemplating making some to just have on hand out of odd ends of fabric.  Maybe after the thousand or so other projects I have in the cue.  This year has been a success for many projects and I've had a blast getting some started, a few finished and dreaming about all the rest.  In a few short months my life will be graced with yet one more distraction from this work that I love but I know there is light at the end of the tunnel.  And the days that I devote to the new baby will be brief in the grand scheme of life and I'll get back to a semi-regular sewing/creating schedule eventually.  May 2011 be fruitful for you in whatever you choose to create.  Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Making Merry

Our days have been full of creating, enjoying and resting.  Resting more in the last two or three. I feel so grateful for the gifts we've received and the times we have shared with loved ones.  Oh, and the meals...well they overwhelmed me more than once.  Something about holiday meals and a smaller stomach due to carrying a baby inside your womb does not go together.  I hope your holidays have been wonderful.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

our weekend

Happy Solstice to you all.  I wanted to share some snippets of our weekend.  Ky had his birthday bash a week early so that he could have a party like the real kids born on the other 364 days of the year.  I will drop in this week with photos from our days of making, both merry and gifts.  We have our special family of three dinner and gift exchange tonight.  This will be the first year that hopefully begins to instill this day as a tradition that we will carry with us throughout our family time together.  

more to come soon friends.  hope you are all having a merry week.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Top Ten Holiday Movies

I've compiled this list from movies that have stayed with me over the years. This time of year is my favorite.  I love snow drifting softly, holiday songs in the background and the hazy glow of Yule tree lights. Again, this list may be missing your favorites so add them in the comments if you think they shouldn't be missed.

10.  The Man Who Saved Christmas
This is a T.V movie that I watched last year.  Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame stars as a man who runs a toy company in the early 20th century and perseveres through adversity.  The writing is good and the message is one that shows the characters learning from mistakes and evolving.  A positive one and as I remember it it is family friendly but is more for older kids.

9.  The Family Man
Normally I'm not a huge Nicolas Cage fan but I like this movie.  The contrast of this man's experience when he is taken from a corporate highballer to a "family man" is somehow believable in Cage's portrayal.  I am a sucker for the second chance to see how things might have been.  There are several films on this list that fit into that theme.

8.  Elf 
This movie is so funny.  Will Ferrell has this genuine sentiment in his acting that comes across so strongly in this one.  The plot is charming and corny but I love how he believes in all things Christmas.  There is also a great version of Baby it's Cold Outside, one of my favorite holiday songs.

7.  When Harry Met Sally
Now you may be thinking is this really a holiday movie?  And I say why of course it is.   There are several scenes as the years pass of Christmas holidays and New Year's celebrations.  This is one of my top movies of all time.  It has it all, witty humour, romance and a certain '80s flair for fashion.  Getting the xmas tree is a central part of the plot since you see Harry and Sally getting it together and separately and it makes the connection they share obvious and poignant.

6.  A Christmas Carol /Scrooge 1951 version
There are many versions of this film/story.  I think this one is the one I like best and that is because I love the Ghost of Christmas Present's scene.   To me he is like the Green Man, a figure of abundance filled with the essence of living in the moment.  A hearty laugh, feasting, spreading joy and good cheer....what else could you ask for?  This story is a classic for a reason, the original what could be if you don't change your ways tale.

5.  Little Women (Collector's Series) 1994/ Little Women 1949
Here I just have to list two versions of this movie because I love them both and they both have wonderful Christmas scenes.  The 1994 version has a great cast and Susan Sarandon's portrayal of the Mama is very empowering.  The 1949 version with June Allyson and Elizabeth Taylor is the first version I learned to love as a child.  It has the charm of the 40's style and you can feel the wholesome love the family has.

4.  It's a Wonderful Life 
Do I really need to explain this one?  It's a classic, so American, heartwarming and full of vintage charm.

3.  One Magic Christmas
This is another classic from my childhood.  The story is touching as a mother who has lost her joy of the season from all of the struggles of daily life raising a family learns how fragile each moment is with the help of an angel.  Simple and compelling.

2.  A Muppet Family Christmas
I love this one so much.  All the muppet characters from The Muppet Show to Sesame Street to Fraggle Rock show up in this one.  I haven't watched it with Kyan yet but I hope he loves it as much as I do.  Regardless we're going to be watching it many times as the years progress.

1.  White Christmas
The songs in this movie are the ones that everyone loves.  The story is entertaining and this movie moves at a good pace to keep you interested.  Dancing, Vermont lodges, train travel, Bing Crosby....I could go on but if you haven't seen it check it out.  If this doesn't get you in the mood I don't know what will.  Happy viewing!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

blurrrrrr.... I'm a bit busy with stuff.  Things here and there, finished, unfinished, pending, processing, becoming an Auntie, slowly gathering bits and ideas to make the holidays festive for little $$....planning the first big party of Kyan's birthday history, being annoyed by things beyond my control and in the case of last night waking at 4 a.m to ponder it all.  As you can imagine that has brought about some highs, lows and many emotions in between.  The highlight of the week has been knowing that my sister and her little baby boy are healthy and made it through the first arduous journey that they'll face together.  Another was visiting with a dear friend and her son.  Sharing our lives now and laughing about our lives then and how ten years later we've turned out pretty well.

 A package sent and wrapped with love and lots of help from the artist in residence.

WIP based on the pattern in: The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections

And the doll house that is slowly coming together for the boy of the house.  I know he'll probably only use it as a car garage but I feel proud to supply him with his first bachelor pad.  The fun of decorating is next.

There is so much holiday magic out there in the blogs.  Really an inspiration to behold.  I'll soon be sharing more festive spirit myself.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Angry doesn't even begin to cover it

The last time a political cause crossed this blog was in June when I shared my action towards having Bill-C311 passed by the Senate.  The bill was the Climate Change Accountability Act and it was an important step for Canada who is not living up to our potential in changing our impact on the earth.  I was horrified to learn that the Senate killed the bill in mid-November.  Without debate, without commitee meetings offering alternatives or alterations the Senate calculatedly waited until the Conservatives would have a majority and voted the bill down.

All the emails that I sent to those Senators fell on deaf ears.  The Harper government is a disgrace to this nation.  I can not find one redeaming quality that he possesses.  There is a UN Climate Change Summit being held in Cancun beginning today. John Baird Canada's minister of the Environment might as well stay here and go visit the oil sands...or go lounge by the pool at whatever Mexican resort he is staying at.   I am embarrassed by our country's leadership on this issue, probably the most defining moment in the 21st century is passing us by in a blur of oil soaked, greedy and shortsighted "leadership." 

The warmth of the coming holidays dulls the anger slightly for me, but I could not let this issue that I have been writing about for many moons now go by without a word of outrage.  Other than embarrassment and anger I simply urge anyone out there to remember that we can vote these people out of government.  Harper is not doing his job to any degree that I consider acceptable.  If you feel the same way please put your feelings out there and vote them out of power a.s.a.p.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

News of note

I just wanted to share that I've been asked to contribute to the Pagan Parenting Resource Blog.  I was honoured to be asked and in order to keep things clear in my mind I've developed three areas that I will write about for each of my three endeavors.  Here I of course pour out the jumble of my mind in everything from mothering to politics to my personal pagan path.  At PaganPages Ezine I write about day-to-day pagan parenting covering topics like Blessingways, family values, and general parenting issues from a pagan perspective.  At the Pagan Parenting Resource Blog I've decided to share a monthly crafting/art project celebrating nature, the festivals or the seasons.  There may be overlap in places but for the most part that is my plan for keeping the content in each place unique and fresh.  I have just posted my first post to Pagan Parenting and have shared a tutorial for making a Tree Advent Calender with your kids.  Please check out the site as it has some great contributors and content.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Art of the Month: Bathroom edition

Today I'm sharing my latest finished project from Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures.  I created the very cozy towel rug from a thrift store towel and a vintage sheet.  I changed the dimensions so that it fits perfectly in the small space between our toilet and wall in front of the tub.  Dave later informed me that it wasn't wide enough for him to feel balanced the next one will be slightly wider.  This project is really quick I did mine in an hour and a half and it is really easy to throw into the wash unlike the rubber backed rugs that tend to disintegrate over time. 

 I love that you can get such instant gratification from a project like this.  And I love the feeling of the terry cloth circles under my feet.  I have plans for at least one more of these so that I can rotate more frequently and because my other rubber backed mat is not going to last much longer.  These mats are certainly the most economical and homey feeling that I've come across.  And they dry really quickly too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

belly update: 22 weeks

Since those around me have begun to comment on how my belly has popped this week I thought a belly update was due.  My body feels like the baby is much bigger than he is.  Did you notice I said he there....yup it's another little man for us.  I had a feeling actually that it was a boy this time.  I was told by a little old lady in a dream early on in the pregnancy and then again in my trance journey at Samhain.  So when the technician paused the screen to show us the evidence it was pretty obvious to eveyone and I was not surprised.  Not having a girl is slightly sad....but I'm so thrilled with having two boys.  I really don't think that I was meant to birth a girl and so boys I will raise, happily.  I could have a girl in the future but I have a feeling that I would end up having 12 boys or something like that instead.  And so, I'll stick with two boys thank you very much.
I feel so grateful that I have a healthy, happy boy inside and outside me.   I recently came across the journal I kept during Kyan's pregnancy and it was interesting to revisit the emotions that I was dealing with at the time.   Adding another one to the mix of three that we have here feels exciting...I know that much work awaits but that is ok, I'm up for the challenge.

Friday, November 12, 2010

to bed with you

I've had a plan to make a harvest table runner for 2 years now.  Last year I washed this piece of fabric in preparation but I had no idea what to do with it after that. 

As Autumnal Equinox approached I hatched an idea of what I'd like to do.  Embroider two words on yellow fabric and attach them at either end.  After getting Gratitude done I thought I'd also like to do some relief transfer with leaves and fabric paint onto the plain yellow.  I thought it would give another dimension to the piece.  And this is as far as I got...

I pressed some leaves and started the A for Abundance.   Having all of three harvest celebrations (not including Thanksgiving) I thought I might get further but I guess it was not to be.  So now this project is folded up nicely and placed back on the shelf to slumber through winter, spring and summer until the fall leaves turn again.  I just can't bring myself to work on seasonal projects in the wrong season.  Not to mention that I have a thousand other projects that I'd love to be doing as well.  But I have the distinct impression that next year at this time we will have enjoyed our fall table runner and it won't matter one bit that it took me three years to make it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In the works...

Written Tuesday morning...
We've been a bit under the weather around here for the last week.  Ky's cold is now a fever and sore throat so the rather busy day that was planned is now a quiet one instead.  There is a flux of things moving in and out of here:  Letters, packages, projects, gifts.  We have meetings, orientations, concerts and dinners planned.  November is often busy for us with birthdays and outings and this one is no exception.  A highlight of this month will be Friday for that is the day that we get to see this babe in real time.  We are also going to find out the sex and I am really excited.  My to do list is not getting shorter but instead is getting a bit jumbled in my head.  I've had lots of work in the last 2 weeks which is great for the bank account but is not so helpful in keeping me on track with all my other work.

Written today, Wednesday...
What a difference a day makes.  I am tentatively putting it out there that I think Ky has recovered.  He certainly seems more of his chipper self today.  And with the sun that has decided to grace us out there I feel like I might be able to scratch some things off the list today.  There are updates being made around our co-op over the next months regarding our water supply.  Today our water is off until 3 p.m.  Preparing for such things is not always easy with a young child but somehow we'll get through these days.
I am starting to plan Ky's birthday party for December, it will be the first big one that he's had.  I don't plan big bashes every year but this one will be perhaps a fond farewell to Ky's train passion.  He's still into them but he's been showing signs of diversifying his tastes a bit.  Also I'm of course thinking of Yule and gifts and such.  The budget is a huge factor this year as we are trying really hard to get our spending under control so that we have money to save towards future plans.  I always take such things as a challenge and I was proud of my work last year visiting Craft Fairs and keeping the budget strictly.  This year I have challenged myself to stay out of malls, or at least big chain stores for all of the gifts.  So far so good.

Well, this has been a ramble post, proof that my brain is still not entirely focused....hope your week is shaping up to be a bit more cohesive than mine.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Beloved Dead

This year I have chosen to honour two wonderful friends who recently crossed over.  At Spiral Dance two weeks ago I honoured my friend Phyliss who was a very dear family friend and my mom's best friend for many years.  She died almost a year ago after a battle with Cancer.  She was a generous and opinionated woman after my own heart.  We miss her very much but know that she is with us still.

And just last week my long time friend May passed.  She lived a long and vibrant life.  She loved to knit and had an ability to see things from a young perspective despite the difference in the generations that we came from.  She was ever so dear to me.  One can only hope to live life as fully as she did in the midst of a wonderful family and an optimistic outlook.

You have been called from the place of your dwelling,
After times, after duties, after separations,
May blessed soul-friends guide you,
May helping spirits lead you,
May the Gatherer of Souls call you,
May the homeward path rise up under your feet
And lead you gladly home.

-Soul-Leading for Someone who has Died
by Caitlin Matthews

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Halloween

Our weekend had its challenges but we all had a great time.

There were parties and sparklers

Hot chocolate, fireworks and trick or treating

Pumpkins and of course candy
I'll share more later in the week about our spiritual celebrations as well.  Hope your Halloween was fun and spooky.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Food: Revisited

October has brought us some reassurances, one of these is my renewed interest in the kitchen.  The first trimester and moving was tough and I avoided cooking and baking for the most part.  We still miraculously ate three meals and day and snacks but I was not fully present in my kitchen tasks to say the least.  This week has been a bit hit and miss as well.  Like despite getting groceries on Saturday I felt like there was no food on Monday....time to pay a bit more attention while shopping I think.  It seems my mind likes to wander around aimlessly these days.   But in whether in or out of the fog I've put together some interesting meals and snacks and my fridge-top freezer is getting a bit cramped but I plan to get as much food in there as I can before this babe joins us.  Here is what we've got so far:

-My mom made two lovely turkey pies from our leftover thanksgiving turkey carcass.  All I'll have to do is cook some veggies and make some biscuits and dinner will be served.

-Last week I took advantage of the lower price of organic cranberries and made these muffins.  I substituted butter for the oil and for the second batch added chocolate chips which cut the tartness of the cranberries.  Really yummy.

-I managed to freeze two small bags of corn niblets.  They won't last long around here but at least we have a little bit of late summer to enjoy as the colder months approach.

-This week we enjoyed this chicken recipe from Fields and Fire.  I loved the taste of the chicken drippings on the veggies.  I have not mastered our oven yet though so the timing was a bit off.  I'll get it eventually.

-For a friend's visit on Wednesday I made some simple tea biscuits and we spread raspberry jam on them.  It was simple and yummy.

-Another occupant of our freezer is half of our flour order from Urban Grains.  This was my first CSA experience and I'm excited to try out the rye flour for some bread. 

-And for the Samhain ritual and Spiral dance I attended last Sunday I made some molasses cookies which are an old family recipe.   It seemed fitting to use an old recipe when eating after celebrating and grieving the dead.

I'll share our Halloween and Samhain activities with you later on this weekend.  Have a lovely time with your tricks and treats everyone.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Saturday morning

Last Saturday morning I did the unthinkable.  I didn't go to the Farmer's Market, I didn't clean, watch T.V or take a bath.  My friends I did something just for me.  Amidst the chaos of my office/sewing room I cleaned off just enough space to sew.  While Dave and Kyan were at singing class I started sewing together Ky's quilt.  It was glorious.  It was brief, but it was a start.  I have decided to devote that special time each week to sewing exclusively.  No matter how many dishes are on the counter, no matter if there is work or if I'm tired or if it's sunny outside, I'll be sewing.
This week has had it's challenges but overall it's been great.  I've gotten lots done and had fun as well.  I attribute that to having time to be creative and in that creation marvel at something coming together.  Yes, it may be slow but oh, it's worth it.  Saturday morning....I can't wait.

the insanity that was this room before I started

What I accomplished

Only 10 more rows to piece

Monday, October 18, 2010

Book of the Month: October

 During this time of year I like to stay present with the call of the seasons. Life and death show themselves and whether in whispers or shouts talks to most of us somehow. With that in mind I chose The Celtic Book of Living and Dying: The Illustrated Guide to Celtic Wisdom by Juliette Wood to share this month.  This book is full of lovely illustrations and overviews of Celtic culture.  I often look through it for inspiration since Celtic art is so rich in detail and meaning.  Wood explores the key themes of Celtic belief ranging from courage, fertility, and prophecy to destiny and the afterlife.  She explains the fascination Celts had with the endless knot and its way to express infinity in a tangible pattern.  There is a section on talismans and of course one about the wisdom of the seasons.

I look to books like this to help me gain perspective on my path in a time when many of us search for our place in a fast paced world.  It makes me feel connected to something deeper and older than most of the customs I encounter day-to-day in North America.   

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water

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Where would we be without water?  In short we wouldn't exist.  Water is a fundamental part of our lives and western society squanders it.  I try to reduce our family's water consumption.  I think of how wasteful it is to let the water run to get it to a desired temperature, I use day old water from our reusable water bottles to water plants, I turn the water off when brushing teeth or washing hands.  I wash as much of our laundry in cold water as I can, I let the yellow mellow in the toilet.  These are small steps, things that seem like a drop in the bucket (if you'll pardon the pun.) 
I want to do more and be as careful as possible with water consumption.  I believe that water should not be owned, but should be free to all.  Clean and safe water is a human right at its most basic.  So please think about your relationship with water today.  I ask this not to make you feel guilt or hopelessness but to encourage dialogue and contemplation.  What can you do right now to respect the fundamental sacredness of water?

You can head on over to the Blog Action Day website to read all the other wonderful posts written today by thousands of bloggers.

I leave you today with a song that I wrote many years ago which shares my feelings about the element of water.


Cradled by the rocking to and fro
rest on top of the water
her cup will overflow
taste salt on our skin and the willow sways
by the water

Dive deep, dive deep,
feel the well heave
we head westward wading through
rivers of reeds

Autumn leaves, autumn leaves
washed from the streets
cleansing rain solemnly beats

Emotions release untangle these weeds
laugh, play and swim
splash in the moonlight
the tide's coming in

Dive deep, dive deep,
feel the well heave
we head westward wading through
rivers of reeds

Fertile fields growing our life force
nourishment heals
and comes from the water

Womb of humanity
coral and pearl, 
glistening jewels of the water

Dive deep, dive deep,
feel the well heave
we head westward wading through
rivers of reeds

Dive deep, dive deep,
feel the well heave
we head westward wading through
rivers of reeds

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Still so much to learn

We had a wonderful time with my parents in town.  We visited some sights and ate lots of good food with friends and family.  Kyan got lots of grandparent attention, Dave had a week off work, and I felt pampered.  There is something very comforting for me about having my parents close.  It is the security they instilled in me as a child that never goes away despite many years passing.  I continue to learn from them too.  Observation wise that is.  Luckily my parents are not overbearing, they offer advice only when asked to.  But what I learned by watching them this trip is something that I think I can really apply to my life: don't put off things that you can do right now.  My house lacks a pile up of recycling or dirty dishes (dishes due in part to us finally getting our dishwasher) but also because my parents would do the dinner pots and such right after.  Obviously 8 hands are faster than 2 so their help combined with Dave being home kept the house in much better order than I've managed for many months.  But I was struck by how much my procrastination adds to my work load.  While I think I'm resting and I'll have more time later I'm actually creating more work for myself later.
It is also much easier to fathom doing things promptly now that I'm well into the second trimester of pregnancy.  My moody blues are almost gone and energy is in higher supply.  But I want to apply this lesson to all parts of my life and see what it reaps.  I have a feeling that I'll really benefit from it in the long run, as will the whole family.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

For the Senses: Autumn/Halloween 2010

Usually I stick to the changing seasons as my inspiration for this jaunt around the web of goodies.  But I thought since Halloween/Samhain is really just around the corner I'd mix in a bit of the spooky for this installment.


The Art of Nicomi Nix Turner.  I love that she works in grey scale and that her images are inspired by alchemy, botany and pagan cultures.


Pumpkin anything makes me happy this time of year.  Like this or this or this!


A Cautionary Song by the Decemberists, can be found on this album Castaways & Cutouts.
This song is fun and spooky and perfectly suited to this time of year.


This scarf.  Nothing makes me feel like it's fall more than scarves.  I love the colours of this one.


baking bread, hearth fires, crisp mornings.....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

3 down

I think I mentioned how excited I was to be able to finally choose the window treatments for our new home.  Today I wanted to share the results of 3 windows being finished.  Above are our bedroom curtains, a vintage print that I purchased pre-Dave and love, love, love.  I'm lucky that Dave loves me because he hates the curtains but was willing to put up with them because I love them so much.  I must apologize for the darkness of the photos but all the windows that are done are on the north side of the house and so there is not much light in those rooms.

It feels like a small miracle that I found time to sew in the last two weeks and make these for my kitchen.  My birds are perched and they make me happy too.  Just the little things make me happy these days. 

As you can see by the pictures on the floor things are still all over the place around here.  But we're working on it.  I'll share more as soon as we get a cohesive room together.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Yoga for Two

Moms who are on their second, third, or more (yikes!) pregnancies will often comment that there just isn't much time to devote to connecting to the little one growing inside when you are taking care of older siblings. I am no exception to this.  As I've already mentioned the first trimester is hard for me, and I was so occupied with trying to cope that I rarely felt like connecting to the little one.

My solution has been to begin a pre-natal yoga class.  I only took one yoga session when I was pregnant with Kyan.  I found that after a day of working I didn't have the energy to take a yoga class.  This seems a bit funny to me now because I'm certainly more tired now than I was then but taking the time is really important to me.  I want to do special things this pregnancy that are related to this child and I can remember fondly once he or she has grown into a big kid.  It is also more precious bonding time for Dave and Kyan who are certainly best buds (Ky refers to Dave as his best friend) I can only think that a strong bond between them will help with the transition of adding a new member to the family in March. 

In other news my parents arrive soon for Thanksgiving and I am trying to get this place in order slowly but surely.  It will all come together one way or another.  I wish you all a great week.  I hope to post several times this week.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A simple first day of autumn

Just a couple of photos from our simple day with friends.  Food, friends, conversation and some lovely sunshine made our first day of Autumn very enjoyable.  I even managed to make banana bread this morning and a dinner of scalloped potatoes, tamari and honey marinated steak and green peas.  I'm exhausted now but it was worth it.  Happy Fall Everyone!