Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For the Senses: Spring

Here is my second edition of my seasonal senses trip. For anyone just tuning in these are products, people and things that bring joy to the senses, invoke beauty and hopefully inspire. This one is particularly girly....Spring is bringing out the flowery side of me.


This woman's lovely voice and stirring music is one of those albums that makes you think you are listening to a movie soundtrack of your life. Joanna Newsom's songs are long but worth the journey.


A delicate white flower will soon be emerging from lush green leaves. As I wait for them smelling them sounds like a good way to honour Spring's energy. Lily of the Valley Incense....would be just right.


I made glazed walnuts last week to top a salad and then we had them on ice cream too. I used the recipe from Feeding the Whole Family but this one is similar. The only differences were that I used olive oil rather than butter and baked them in the oven at 300 degrees F stirring now and then until golden. Delicious!


Felted soap have you heard of this? Are you with me? I bought some for a gift but have yet to try it myself. But SoFino's shop on Etsy has the most lovely ones. Green Leaves, Jumping Bunnies.....and once the soap is gone you have a lovely felted pouch to enjoy.


Running along with the Lily of the Valley theme I just adore this this hand printed cotton shirt on maryink's Etsy shop. It is bright and simple and pretty. And everyone should feel like they are wearing art now and then.

I'll stop writing about Spring for a bit now since I've been going on for a week about it. It's my way of trying to conjure up some sunshine and warm breezes. Hope you are finding some where ever you are.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tales from my Garden: Primroses & Fairies

When we first moved here 2 and a half years ago I decided to dedicate the small plot in the front of the house to fairies and try and plant plants that they would like. This lead to some research on not only plants that they like but ones that are happy with little sun and less than perfect soil conditions. I am no master gardener. I have at times been arrogant to think that I have a green thumb of sorts but clearly the last year has taken my beginners luck and cut me down to size.

Since I insist on learning in the trial and error way it seems that my biggest success so far has been the primroses or in Latin if you prefer primula. The first ones I planted in the spring of 2008 are so very lovely and are proliferating which means that in a few weeks after they are done blooming I'll spread them out a bit. Last year I added pink to the happy yellow ones and they were the first thing to bloom in my garden this year....way back in February. Last year the blue bloomed as well but I have yet to see that one this year. Over the summer they tend to die back due to the sun and difficulty I have keeping them as moist as they like (a drainage issue I think which I'm trying to fix) but each winter/spring they greet me with their happy green leaves and I am delighted that they like the space I've given them here.

Folklore abounds about fairies and primroses, plant a ring of primula around a rock and you make a fairy ring. Peer over the petals and you'll see the fey. Shakespeare wrote of them often as well. They are such joy inducing blooms, small and colourful it just makes sense to me that the fairies would love them.

Last year I decided to add plants that attract butterflies and bees to my list and so I am awaiting the greening of the survivors from winter to see how many are returning this year but so far I'm happy to see that most are pulling through. The northwest corner of my little plot seems the hardest on plants, I have yet to find something that is happy there and comes back again but I'm persistent in this quest so I will keep on trying. Maybe I should seek some guidance from the fairies as to what they want in that area. It feels nice to have plants to talk about again. Happy Gardening!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Art of the Month: Spring

This month is a bit different in the art department. For our Equinox celebration we (Heidi Joy and her lovely boys, Kyan and I) made the fun hand painted place mats from Amanda Soule's book The Creative Family. Sage being almost 5 was very into this project and Heidi and I were able to sit down periodically and just let the moment dictate what we'd paint. It was a fun exercise in spring thinking and a nice way to preserve the moment for the boys since paper art is a bit more apt to be destroyed at some point.

To keep with the spring theme we used bright and cheery fabric on the back. The front fabric is a poly blend that was in my stash. We used fabric paint rather than acrylic and painting canvas as Amanda does in her book. This is a fun way to mark seasonal celebrations or to just help involve your kids in the decorating of the table (maybe it will even encourage them to eat more? Who knows!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


This week has gotten away from me it seems. I wanted to check in and despite three or four posts running through my head this one is just going to be a rambley update about general life around here.

This family has had a really hard time getting out of bed for the last two weeks. Daylight Savings is kicking our our days have been a little off track with timing and while we are doing our best to stay on track I feel like I'm letting the ball drop quite often.

Ky and I haven't been on one of our fun long walks in a while. We've been outside digging in the garden, checking out a new park and watching the trains of course but not really taking those long hours to explore, play and absorb. Now that time may be delayed even further until the weather clears up a bit. It is supposed to rain here off and on until next week.

The rainy weather is making me want to sit in front of my sewing machine and only get up to pee and eat. I find those emotions difficult to negotiate as a mother because I have to get up constantly and do the thousands of other things that take precedence over sewing. But I'm getting 5 minutes here and sometimes even 15 minutes there so that will have to be enough for now.

The process of creating Kyan's new room is underway. We have found his big boy bed and will pick it up on the weekend. The journey to the room that I have envisioned in my head for him will be long since I see a new quilt, handmade sheets and train prints on his wall. But I will work away at it and eventually (whether here or at another home) Ky will have this room that I see in my head.

And while in some ways I feel just slightly down or off the mark in others I feel like I'm accomplishing something important. The area I'm really happy about is food. We are eating well and I'm working really hard to make that happen. Dedicating time and energy everyday to making good food is an investment into my family's health and well being. Out of all of the goals that I set up for myself this year that one is transforming a part of me. It is helping me to feel the results of good, whole food consumption on how I feel internally. I am noticing energy levels, my head feeling clear or not, sleep patterns....all of it. And food plays such a huge roll in that. Now along with my stack of sewing books from the library I've been mulling over taking out a stack of cookbooks too. But I'll hold that urge back a bit until I've got the sewing ones in perspective.

Now I'm off to do some yoga, Thursday is usually yoga day and that is another goal that I've been keeping for myself. Yoga once a week is really helping me stay centered and feel healthy. Since I may be the only person on the planet who still has a VCR the yoga VHS tapes at the thrift store are a very economical way to get a little instruction and motivation to keep going.

Have a happy rest of your week and I'll be back soon with those other posts I mentioned earlier.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome Spring!

Our weekend was full of simple pleasures that welcomed spring quietly.

We had a snack and watched the trains.

We decorated an altar.

We enjoyed the glorious cherry blossoms on branches and on the ground.

We had an egg hunt.

And enjoyed a breakfast of scrambled eggs using our newly painted spring placemats with a little bonus surprise from the Spring Bunny for Kyan.

I'll share more about the placemats later this week. Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


As the energy has been building in me towards the equinox this weekend I noticed a pattern in myself. We all are effected in different ways by the changes in light that occur during the movement of the earth. I find it fascinating that some of us find new energy and vigor like Heidi Dawn did with the change to Daylight Savings Time while others (ME!) have struggled with the lost hour...feeling it mostly in droopy eyes and a slower step. Along with that feeling though has come a realization that despite the tired me my creativity is kicking into high gear once again. I took many books out of the library last weekend on sewing. Heidi Joy and I drank Chai and made plans for projects on Tuesday. We are endeavoring to sew together more this year for moral support and for the joy of it (although 3 boys under the age of 5 running around at the same time is...well, let's just say we try to keep it While contemplating this surge I was reminded of a similar feeling last year that I wrote about. It was interesting to me that the timing was not as close to now but leading up to the Autumn Equinox. I think the balance of light and dark is a comfort to me. I like the way it feels in my bones and it seems that my creative spirit feeds off of that balance.
It is not necessarily a time for production at a fast pace but the ideas come very furiously. I have to reap the ideas, record, sketch, ponder, plan and measure. It wouldn't be humanly possible to execute all of the ideas I've been having recently right away but the ideas have to come at their own pace. So if I can get them all scrolled down somehow I can use the list for keeping me motivated during the other periods. I'm grateful for this realization and what it can mean for how I plan my time for creativity in the future. I will have to give it a longer test before I conclude completely that my artistic flow and ebb are tied to the Equinoxes but it gives me another angle from which to view this time of year, not to mention another reason to celebrate the coming of change which can be a hard thing for me to accept sometimes. Happy Spring Equinox to you all and I'll share some photos of our doings this weekend soon.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sea Songs

My newest playlist to bring the salty sea air where ever I go.

The Ocean - Led Zeppelin
Born in the Water - The Tragically Hip
Ocean Breathes Salty - Modest Mouse
Wooden Ships - Crosby, Stills & Nash
Sailor's Eyes - Joel Plaskett
Ship out on the Sea - Be Good Tanyas
Oceans - Pearl Jam
Swallowed in the Sea - Coldplay
Down by the Seaside - Led Zeppelin
Sea and the Rhythm - Iron & Wine
Sea of Love - Cat Power
Sail to the Moon - Radiohead
Pirate of Penance - Joni Mitchell
Mark of the Mermaid - Matthew McCully
House by the Sea - Iron & Wine
Sea Lion Woman - Feist
Yer Not the Ocean - The Tragically Hip
Tahitian Moon - Jane's Addiction
Oh Sailor - Fiona Apple
Song to a Seagull - Joni Mitchell

As you can tell my taste is all over the map. What would be on your Sea Songs mix?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A place for Toys

Around here the toy situation is in a state of constant flux. I wouldn't say we are inundated with toys I think it just feels like that sometimes. We are lucky to be able to swap toys with the lovely Heidi Joy and her boys and I try to rotate them a bit as well but even though there aren't copious amounts of toys in our home we still struggle at times with where they all should live.

On Ky's first birthday he was gifted a lovely toy from friends of ours and they presented it in a fabric drawstring bag made by the talented Ms. L. This bag (we were also gifted the remaining fabric) was instantly made the home for Ky's set of wooden blocks. A few months ago as train tracks, finger puppets and other miscellaneous items began being misplaced around here I decided to whip up the rest of the fabric into some more of these wonders. Since they would be the same fabric I decided to label them with some felt letters I had left over and voila a place for some little toys that Ky can carry himself, open himself and eventually learn to read with.

I've also been meaning to share Ky's dolls with you for a while now. Since he's a boy and all he doesn't have much of a collection. To be honest he rarely plays with them at this stage but I felt that he needed the option regardless. So the little guy on the right in the picture is a hand knit doll that my grandmother made for him. This was the same type that she sent to a charity that distributes dolls to children in Africa. On the left we have Mitchell Ky's Waldorf style doll. This doll was a collaborative effort between myself, my mom and my grandmother. I purchased the kit to make him from Dancing Rain Dolls.

The base for his hair was crocheted by my mom and she then looped through all the hair individually. And my grandma knit him the sweet little sweater he's wearing in this picture. His other limited wardrobe is inside of his very own bag. I hope to make him a few more accessories since Ky's favorite thing to do with him is give him a pretend bath. So I think a facecloth and towel are in order and I'll make him a little sleeping bag as well. I was so pleased to share the making of Mitchell with my family and have something cuddly and natural for Ky to carry around, look at curiously and hopefully someday play with in his very own way.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Giveaway results...

Well after such an overwhelming've decided to send both of you a cd! Thanks for entering and please let me know how you like the music.

For those of you who did not enter please give me some feedback about what kind of giveaways you would like to see here. It will not be something I do frequently but I would like to have a few a year to support artists and share some love. So what do you like to win? Vintage items, jewelry, books, quilted or embroidered items? Let me know.

And if Rose and Tea Tester can send their mailing addresses to me at stonegirl1177 AT yahoo DOT ca I'll get those in the mail asap. Thanks again for entering.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sweet Jasmine

Back in January I wrote about the quest I had set out on this year to learn more about natural healing to enhance our family wellness. Recently I purchased two new oils to add to my little collection: Jasmine and Chamomile. It was really hard to pick which ones to get but I settled on these two because they both smell so flowery and I rarely go for flowery scents (I'm much more of a spicy scent girl).

Jasmine is one of those wonderful oils that have many uses, more than I want to list here but I'll include some points that struck me and I'll leave links to some great info for those who would like to know more.

Jasminum officinale is believed to have originated in the Himalayan region of China and northern India. It was brought to Spain by the Moors and is now grown for its oil throughout much of Europe. It is considered to be an extremely romantic flower and is a deciduous climber with white flowers that bloom in lax clusters from mid to late summer.
Adding to its romance factor it blooms at night or just after dusk. The aroma of the flowers is most intense at night and that is when they are picked. Something that struck me about this delicate flower is that the scent is supposedly most intense when the moon is waxing to full.

Medicinally Jasmine is good for lifting depression, skin ailments, sexual blocks, relief of menstrual cramps and is said to help ease the pain of childbirth. It is not recommended for use while pregnant. For a more extensive list of uses visit here.

Some suggestions for oils that blend well with Jasmine are: Bergamot, Rose, Sandalwood and citrus oils like Orange, Lime and Lemon.

Some Jasmine associations: ruled by the moon, its element is water, sacred to Vishnu and more generally associated with: love, attraction, prosperity and tranquility.

For more info.

Just thinking of this flower in bloom transports me to a summer night in a moon garden....
(I hope to create one someday....a girl needs to have some dreams after all.)

Happy Weekend!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Beach

I wanted to share some photos from our beach excursion. It had a little bit of everything that a boy and his mama would love. Trains, rocky shoreline, boats going by now and then, a sandy beach, big trees and picnic tables, fun walkways and a cool pier, birds and lovely views all around. I'm still processing the way the tides are calling to me. What is it that brings out this desire at this time in my life. Perhaps it's that after close to 10 years living on the coast the sea is finally starting to share it's secrets with an inland raised woman. I'll keep you posted.

Just as an aside before the photos some housekeeping. I'm hoping that you all remember to enter my giveaway...some of you must like free music? Especially good music? Don't you? There's still lots of time so please sign up!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book of the Month: March

As spring wafts through the air around here I find myself being drawn to the sea. As a water sign it is not unusual for bodies of water to call to me from time to time but for the last few years lakes have been more appealing to me. 2010 has changed all that and so I thought I'd change up the book of the month as well by sharing a book for children. I found this title at the library this week and brought it home with us. A Pacific Alphabet is written by Margriet Ruurs and illustrated by Dianna Bonder. It takes the reader on two journeys one through the alphabet and one along the pacific coast from Alaska to Mexico. I love the whimsical style of the illustrations and the text is really fun and thoughtful.

One of my favorites is the letter F:

"In the foggy forest among wet ferns and logs,
I search for the fairies but only find frogs.
I know that they live here beneath all the flowers;
they're as big as my finger and have magical powers!"

And I also love the letter S:

"See the starfish and scallops stuck in the sand?
I carefully scoop them up into my hand.
The sound in my seashell is of waves and a breeze,
a swordfish's secrets and a sea horse's sneeze!"

This book is filling me with anticipation for the summer beach season. Ky and I spent some time at the beach this week since the weather has been so great here. I'll share some photos from that afternoon and share some more musings about the sea's calls to me next time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My First Giveaway!

I'm so pleased to bring you Chasing Domestic Bliss' first ever giveaway. This has been a long time coming since I think my first hint about this was over a year ago...but as with all art things like this cannot be rushed.

One of my best friends in the whole world is a singer/songwriter and is set to officially release his debut album Matthew McCully and the matter of principle in the next few weeks. It is already available on iTunes and Cdbaby for sale but one lucky reader is going to get their very own copy sent to them as a sign of my gratitude for hanging out here with me.

This album has been a labour of love for several of us. Heidi Joy and I sing back-up, I painted the cover art and Dave designed the layout. Dave and I also designed the website. But what this album is really about is the music.

Matthew is inspired by artists like Paul Simon and Elliot Smith. His songs are complex and his ability with lyric writing is exceptional but don't take my word for it, see for yourself!

So here are the requirements for entry into this giveaway:

Visit, click on the music link and listen to one of the four song samples there. Then leave me a comment and tell me which song you liked best.

You can gain 3 extra entries by blogging about this giveaway and leaving a link to your post in the comment section. I would like to give any of my current 50 followers who leave a comment 2 extra entries just for being such loyal readers. And if you are new to the blog, like what you see and want to become a follower today I'll give you 1 extra entry. Please leave one comment per entry.

This giveaway will run until Sunday March 14th, 2010. I'll announce the winner on Monday March 15th. Good luck!

**disclaimer: if you know Matt I expect that you will buy this album. Comments will only count if they are made on the blog itself not on Facebook.**

Monday, March 1, 2010

Half the Sky Live Event

I wanted to share the details of a great event happening across Canada and the U.S. My friend Janet at Livin' La Vida Vegan sent me the info (thanks again Janet!)

"a one night event inspired by stories from the New York Times bestseller “Half the Sky” by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Celebrate International Women’s Day and be inspired to help women and girls everywhere turn oppression into opportunity. Featuring musical performances, celebrity commentary and the world premiere of “Woineshet,” a short film by Academy Award® winner Marisa Tomei and Lisa Leone. Also with appearances from, India.Arie, Maria Bello, Diane Birch, Michael Franti, Dr. Helene Gayle, Angelique Kidjo, Nicholas Kristof, Marisa Tomei, Sarah, Duchess of York and others. Experience Half the Sky on March 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm"

Click here to find a theater near you and view the trailer

I'm going to check it out. It's a great way to make a contribution (tickets are $10) to the work that CARE is doing to help women around the world.