Friday, April 30, 2010

Musings on Beltaine Eve

This week I've been a bit more introspective than usual.  Beltaine has crept up on me and unlike other years I'm not feeling the urge to do much.  I plan to honour the fairies in my garden by leaving them an offering of milk and honey and adding a bit of sparkle (photos to follow in a few days).  I'm reading The Way Of The Green Witch: Rituals, Spells, And Practices to Bring You Back to Nature by Arin Murphy-Hiscock and this quote made me ponder this week.

"The beginnings of the four seasons are specific points at which to pause and evaluate your life." 

I would expand that to include the cross-quarter holidays as well.  I remember feeling such a rush of energy at the Spring Equinox and now just six weeks later that has dissipated and become quieter and harder to balance.  Our family has collectively been a bit off kilter these last few weeks. Our progress with our wellness goals has slowed.  Sickness, teething, changes in schedule, whatever the reason we just lost our groove.  It is starting to get better slowly and I hope that after this weekend we'll start getting Ky's new room in order and I'll have lots of diy projects to share.  

I wish those of you who celebrate a very happy Beltaine.  Perhaps you'll catch a glimpse of the fey.  Keep your eyes open.   

Thursday, April 29, 2010

He Likes Bugs

After a bit of a slow patch over the last week where we weren't out much or I didn't grab the camera we're attempting to finish the Nature Challenge off on a high note.  This Challenge has been great and I've enjoyed seeing what everyone has been doing to participate. 

April 28th: Seeds

April 29th: Bugs

I loved watching Ky interact with the bugs crawling over this huge boulder in our backyard.  He had no fear just interest.  We spent a long time jumping off the rock as well and worked more on the blackberry bushes.  I'll check in again tomorrow for the last day of the Challenge. 

Art of the Month: April

I'm happy to share my first art for art's sake piece that I've finished in quite a while.  I wanted to play with lots of stitching, beads, embroidery and the rough edge applique that I've been using for a while now.

The idea for this came to me in an unusual way.  I saw it in a trance journey and the name just popped into my head.  As an exercise in following through I sketched and cut and stitched and here is the result.  It feels good to have it done and to have finished it in less than a year (I didn't work on it exclusively of course but under a year is a great pace for creative work at this point)

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Studio of One's Own

Where I sew right now

There is a dream in my head of  a space that is just mine.  There are high ceilings, lots of natural light, a comfy chair, shelves of fabric, beads, books, baskets, and the walls are hung with images that I love to look at.  In reality I would settle for a corner that is permanent because right now this is it for me.  The dining table on which I have to keep everything and I move between it and the closet in the spare room where my "stuff" is stored.  I used to have a room that housed my art self but I'm afraid I took that for granted big time.  It seems becoming a mama teaches you tons about yourself and one of those things is you never realized how much time you had for you before baby until you have baby.  I had a lot of time....and I wasted most of it.  
So for now I dream, I sew, read a story, I cut fabric,  get some juice, I pin,  look for a lost train, I rip out a seam,  put dinner on....the juggling of a creative life melded with family is often not smooth, dinner sometimes overcooks, and projects get put on hold with the inspiration in danger of drifting away.  But I try to live right now and sew with my family around me and enjoy the closeness because while it is harder to focus sometimes it is certainly not lonely.

I wanted to fill this post with photos of studios I'd love to have but I didn't find as many as I thought I would.  I created a little gallery on flickr that has some inspiring images.  I seem to be drawn to clean lines with hints of feminine and whimsy, natural light and comfy colour.  There is a series of studio tours here too.   I'm glad that I can create in chaos because if I couldn't I wouldn't be able to sew much at all.  So amongst the tractors, crayons and puzzles I'll be and the pace may be slow but I'll keep creating just the same and keep my dream of a studio in the back of my soul for when it is time.  All in good time.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday at the Flea Market

Heidi Joy and I had a mama's morning out today.  Amidst the junk we did find some treasures.  And then it was on to the fabric store to pick up the last supplies before starting our spring sewing project which I'll share here as soon as the sewing starts.  But here is our day...

Our score!  Two sewing boxes, one for each of us, a chair to match Ky's set and a retro tin picnic basket for Heidi Joy.  Fun was had and yes, we are going again...someday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Outside

We made it out twice today and made the best of sunshine for Earth Day.  The last three days have been a bit of a whirlwind since we started swimming class this week and this is the first structured class for Ky and I.  Day one was scary for him but by day two he was smiling and laughing and I was reassured that he will adapt to working with a teacher and being more comfortable in the pool.  We did make it out each day brief though it was.  But today we really got some sun and this morning it was also quite windy.  He's sleeping now and after deciding not to nap today was really zonked by supper time.

April 20, 21 & 22

 He's been talking lots about climbing trees recently even though he's not a very skilled climber yet.  Today I remembered this big old tree that was more suitable for "climbing" for him. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blog Action For Fair Pay Day

Today marks yet another year of a wage gap between men and women.  In the U.S. the pay gap is $10,622 and this year the action know as The Fair Pay Campaign is asking us to write about what an extra $10,000 would mean to us.  You can find my post here from last year where I go over some more factual information about this situation.  Changes have occurred in the last year in U.S. politics as well:

The Paycheck Fairness Act, passed in the House of Representatives in January 2009 and now pending in the Senate, aims to strengthen current laws against wage discrimination and provides tools to enable the federal government to be more proactive in the fight. Among other things, the Paycheck Fairness Act would also close a significant loophole in the Equal Pay Act to allow for full compensation for sex-based wage discrimination.
You can find more information about this Act and how you can let your senator know your feelings about it here

Since I work at home in two different jobs relating myself to the $10,000 figure is hard.  I don't make any money for the most challenging (and rewarding) job that I do.  But it goes without saying that I would be able to do more with an extra $10,000, who wouldn't?  The message that I find the most important to share regarding this day of action and this situation is that women and men need to understand that sexism still exists in our culture.  It is not gone.  Equality is not just a buzz word to me I know that I deserve the same amount of money for the same skill set in a job that a man does.  Learning of the crazy and gratuitous bonuses and salaries that the top corporate honchos were giving themselves when the bail outs were happening last year really opened my eyes to the huge discrepancies between not only men and women in the workforce but also the entire hierarchy of corporate structure.

To me this all comes down to value.  What do we want to value as a society?  What do we care about?  Cars, mansions, private jets?  Family, health care, no one being hungry?  I chose not to make my value be about dollar signs but about something deeper and more meaningful.  Love, friendship, compassion, respect, I value equality, I value life.   $10,000 is only a drop in the bucket of  where our society needs to evolve to.  But it is a drop that is creating a ripple and so it is a cause that I support.  Good luck in getting this passed through the Senate America, I hope it helps people to see what really matters to them.    

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Last Few Days

We've been outside in spurts the last few days.  Drinking in sunshine and listening to the wonderful song of the birds singing spring along.  There has not always been a camera but there has been a small joy to just being despite a bit of runny noses and tiredness.

April 17th, 18th & 19th

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Book of the Month: April

One of the books that Heidi Joy and I have been drooling over since my little trip to the library last month is French General: Home Sewn: 30 Projects for Every Room in the House by Kaari Meng.  We both fell in love with the amazing photos, fabric, colours, prints, and wonderful patterns.  Kaari's website is fantastic to drool over as well if you love french style and vintage fabrics of linen, hemp and nettle.  There are patterns for making your own sheet sets, roman blinds, seed & linen bread warming bags, the list is incredible and so useful.  The quality is very high and it really makes a do-it-yourself kind of girl dream big.  If you want to see some images from the book itself check out this review.

I take no responsibility for what you may want to buy of buy after reading it though...the esthetic screams summer garden parties, warm breezes as you sip wine at sunset and hanging the laundry on the line as the delicate smell of lavender delights your senses (I'm just saying...)

This book is useful and beautiful and what else would you want from a book?  Check it out.

Friday, April 16, 2010


April 15th: A Chu-Chu Train, a Butterfly and a Snail

Sorry we didn't get a good pic of the snail but this one looks like it.  Too bad the butterfly is not native to North America.

April 16th: Bleeding Hearts, a Stream and a Stick

The Dance of Mothering

With each step of Ky's development my mothering grows and adapts to his needs and much like the tides of the ocean being pulled in and out by the moon my actions often feel like a dance.  There are missteps, frustrations and worries but instincts and space seem to help me over the bumps and keep perspective for me as well.

As we've taken baby steps to remove cords one by one that have bound us so tightly over these last two years I've come to see that mothering is a series of little pushes.  Knowing when to push your child forward, away from you and closer to the independent adult they will one day be (but wow that is hard to imagine for me at this point) I say pushes because I don't think you are leading necessarily as then you would be pulling your child forward,  rather you stand behind knowing where they need to step next and encourage that to happen.  The instinct to hold on to our little ones is strong, to protect, to preserve innocence but I want to empower him, give him good roots and strong wings to fly his own path in the world and so I can't squeeze too tight or pretend that with each day he does not grow.  The pace of growth changes with each child, perhaps some jump forward with out encouragement but Ky is a person of habit, change is usually met with some hesitation and some resistance.  And we work through things in his time and decided whether to take the next step or wait for a while and try again.

As Ky laid in his crib peacefully drifting off to sleep while holding my hand the other night I thought of the often silent but present doubt that he would ever reach that stage.  Because he had slept with us for most of his life there were those that doubted, some felt that he could be too dependent on us for too long.  But again he proved to me that he would give cues that I would have to pick up on and then I would give him the slightest of nudges towards trying something on his own.  The process felt/feels organic and natural.  It was not convenient for myself or Dave, it was not easy, quick, or without many sleepless nights, tears and frustration (mostly from me) But it is happening and I hope that this process of learning to sleep on his own is laying the foundation for Ky to have healthy sleeping patterns for the rest of his life. 

We, as mothers and parents never stop giving these little pushes.  Our parental relationship requires that we continue to encourage what feels right towards the next step in our child's development.  Unfortunately I think many parents miss some stages, push too soon, too hard or don't push at all for reasons that only they can know perhaps their own childhood or personal blocks.  This leaves some children, teenagers and young adults (heck even full adults) with serious independence issues, lack of direction or feelings of inadequacy.   I see it in many peers of my generation who struggle with accepting the reality of adulthood.  Believe me though this is not a blame the parents mantra, nor do I exclude myself from these qualities because whether we have the best parents or not nothing and no one is ever perfect.

My point here is that as this dance advances and the steps become more complex and the stages become more far reaching I strive to keep perspective as a mom and not let my own issues cloud Ky's being.  I don't want him to have my hang ups, I'm sure he'll develop enough on his own as it is.  So I push a little, encourage and wait.  Take his cues, backup two steps and then we walk forward one.  Cues come that it is time to try again and this time we dance a bit longer towards learning something new and then again we wait.  Books say things, people say things, other kids his age are doing things but all Ky and I and his Dada can do is dance our dance and let the natural rhythm of life unveil itself in due time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blog and Internet Housekeeping

I've been meaning to mention a few things lately which are blog/internet related so I guess I'll clump them into this post and get some housekeeping done.

I want to thank Angela at The Pagan Mom Blog for gracing me with this award.  I'm bad at keeping up with all the rules and such that follow along with them but I am always so grateful for being thought of.  Thanks again!

In other news I wanted to share Fire Lyte's wonderful Project Pagan Enough which you may have noticed as a button on my sidebar.  Fire Lyte has initiated a movement towards a less judgmental culture within Paganism.

"Project Pagan Enough seeks to say that - no matter your beliefs, practices, looks, or loves - you are pagan enough. We can argue theology back and forth all day long and disagree with one another's fluff-factor until the cows come home, but it is high time that we stop denigrating one another's level of being pagan. Paganism does not have a set definition, and there is definitely not a dress code or music-loving requirement."

Here, Here!

And finally I wanted to share a decision I've made recently to cull my internet social sites and really only participate in things that are creative and positive for me and that can be visited in short intervals.  I was a member of PaganSpace and Mom Blogger's Club for a while but what I found was that I didn't have the time or correction did not want to make the time to participate in the forums and comment etc.  The blogs I read and the few sites that I have remained a member of are so important to me and have become a relaxing and creative part of my day...or week.  So if you are also hanging out in some of these areas and you want to connect please do but I'll understand if you are doing something better. Really I will.  Life moves fast and when you have a little one and a life to live time should be precious.  So while I have no bones about anyone else being on Twitter I will not be there.  I don't own a smart phone and I like it that way.  Laptops are enough for me (although that ipad does look mighty cool)  Also I want to clarify that I am on facebook but I do not have a public profile there.  My friends on facebook are all people that I have known or know with the exception of a few that I friended before I made the decision to keep that profile more limited.  I've done that mostly to protect the privacy of Dave and Ky and the rest of my family.  Here I can chose to share our lives and keep details out of it and that is really a matter of security for us. 

So now that I've gotten through the drudgery of it all here is where you can find me "out there."

Polyvore pure fun and fantasy this is a site for those of us who like to play with collage and cut and paste with fashion, art and interior design.  So much fun I tell you.  I've given myself a limit of only making one set a week.  Check it out and you'll see what I mean.  You can find me there as chasingdomesticbliss.

flikr I know I'm slow on that one.  But being creative and making stuff I find this is a great place to connect with groups around books I'm getting sewing ideas from and just to get inspired.  Again, Chasing Domestic Bliss is my profile name there.

I'm on The Witch's Voice as Jen as well which is my oldest "membership" I'm sure that is the case for many of you as well. 

So those are the main ones and I don't see much chance in adding any more any time soon.  I'm lucky to fit the time in to get on here as much as I'd like so no more I say!  Wow that feels nice.  But really this ability to connect and share with people from all over the world is so amazing and I'm grateful for it and you all too.

The Challenge continues...

April 12th: Gardening and Exploring

April 13th: Some park fun late in the day with Dada after running errands with Mama all day 
(sorry no photo of that to share)

April 14th: Blackberry bush trimming, puddle jumping and bubble blowing

I've got my work cut out for me in getting the blackberry bushes to be a bit less haphazard.  No one pays attention to them at all except for us eating what I could get at last year.  They are so overgrown that they have ivy, and fallen branches thrown in to them....but I'm hoping to tie up the new canes and get some serious berry picking done this year. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Nature Challenge Beginnings...

5 Orange Potatoes began a great challenge this month based on Richard Louv's Children and Nature Awareness Month.  You may remember my review of Louv's book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder .

Well we've been out there the last two days enjoying the dandelions and little flowers and most importantly sunshine!   It finally feels like spring to me. The challenge of course is open to anyone who wants to join you just have to get outside everyday, take a photo and post about it. I probably won't be posting every day but I'll be getting out there and updating every few days.

April 10th: Flowers, Trains, and Sunshine

April 11th: The Park and The Birthday Party

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Updating Thrift Store Finds: Short pants for kids

Often when you are thrift shopping for your kids or even for yourself you come across outdated clothing that fits most criteria but isn't really "in style." That was the case when I found these little pants recently. They are 100% cotton which is really important for Kyan in the summer as he tends to get overheated easily. I also loved the checkered pattern but the tapered legs had to go. So the following is how I converted them to short pants/Capri pants or whatever you wish to call them.

First you need to measure them on your child and figure out how much of the bottom you want to remove. I figured 3 inches would work well making them just long enough to not be shorts but the right length for extra summer weather exposure.

Next I cut off the excess fabric, turned the pants inside out, and hemmed the edge using a zig zag stitch. You could fold under the seam I suppose but I wanted to keep them from being too bulky. Then I pinned the edge in place preparing to sew the bottom hem. You can always do this by hand but I used my machine for speed.

And here are the results. My model wasn't interested in standing still very long for a photo but you can see that they are going to look great with sandals! These pants were $2 and with a little sewing from me they are not only an economical way to shop for our little ones (or ourselves) but they make creating a spring/summer wardrobe greener for the planet as well.

Updated, loose and breathable. All ready for some fun in the sun. Now we just need some sun.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Poem of the Month: April

I want to share a poem written by my Great-Step Grandmother many moons ago. She passed when I was very young but I have a few visual memories of her and this lovely little hand knit purse as well. I share her name but was not specifically named after her (but for the purpose of kindness my parents never shared that with her)

She wrote poetry and was known for her talent around the town. She was a very devout woman and most of her poems are about God and Jesus. Despite not being related by blood I think that knowing that she was a poet seeped into my subconscious as a child and naturally if Bardie (our nickname for her) could write poetry then I certainly could to. Here is a timeless poem she wrote that is simple and true.


by Jennie Beers

When a spark of kindness
Kindles in your breast,
Keep it ever glowing,
Let nothing give it rest.

When once that spark is kindled
It will become a flame,
Use it in your daily living --
Love's its other name.

Love for one another
Keep it in your heart
With constant usage
Of your life it is a part.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Searching for the Truth behind the Bear Hunt

A few weeks ago I received an email from the David Suzuki Foundation (I am on their mailing list) imploring me to send a pre-typed email to our provincial representatives demanding that the trophy hunt of Grizzly bears be stopped in this province. It seemed like a no brainer to me. I don't agree with trophy hunting. Hunting for food is one thing but hunting to hang a "prize" on your wall is not my idea of a sport. Especially when the hunters lie in wait behind a shield for bears just waking from their winter hibernation to emerge before shooting them with a high powered rifle.

I signed the letter and sent it and was mildly proud that I had put my name behind a cause that I believed in. Fast forward a week and I'm reading our local paper and in the editorial section is a headline reading "Debate needs facts, not emotion" written by Mel Arnold, president of the B.C Wildlife Federation. Here is a link to the article in another paper entitled "Spring bear hunt needs science, not opinion" I read the article and I grew concerned over my actions. I had sent an email trusting the David Suzuki Foundation's word and not doing any research myself to back up the claims. Perhaps they were exaggerating, maybe they had an agenda...I doubted that either of those things were true but I did feel obliged to look into it and see if Mel Arnold had a point.

My first area of research was looking at the B.C Wildlife Federation website. They are a collective of people who hunt and fish. Here is how they define themselves on their website:

"The BC Wildlife Federation is a province-wide voluntary conservation organization of hunters, anglers and recreational shooters, representing all British Columbians whose aims are to protect, enhance and promote the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations."

By "wise use" I assume they mean hunting responsibly and protecting the ecosystems they are fishing or hunting in. Right now they have a lovely photograph of Grizzly bears catching fish in a river on the main page. The science and facts referred to in both titles of Mr. Arnold's article are no where to be found however.

Next my search lead to The David Suzuki Foundation's website where they have details listed of their research and what numbers they are using to make their claims. Here I found facts and they did not indicate that Mr. Arnold's claims are true. In fact the more research I did the more I found to dispute his claim that:

"Contrary to claims there is no 'slaughter,' there never has been; the B.C government manages wildlife based on science. Grizzly bear populations in B.C are steadily expanding to where there are now viable numbers in 90 percent or more of their historical range."

In the research I have found "viable numbers" is not a fact. The viable number is variable and the amount of kills being made by humans are exceeding the recommended numbers in 63% of local Grizzly bear populations.

The United States has banned trophy hunting Grizzlies. British Columbia remains one of the last places on earth that is graced by this majestic bear. Grizzlies are vulnerable to sport hunting because they have a very slow reproductive rate with females only birthing their first litters of cubs between age 5 and 8 and their litters are rarely larger than 4 cubs. Cubs then remain attached to the mother for up to 3 years meaning that females do not have more cubs for another relatively large span of time. Male Grizzlies range over areas as large as 4000 square kilometres and that makes them very susceptible to habitat fragmentation that continues to put wildlife at risk.

There is research for anyone looking for it and numbers to be weighed. I will list the links I have found for anyone interested in reading more or crunching numbers for themselves. What I find hard to swallow in this debate is that popular opinion is not only based on emotion here and the B.C Wildlife Federation is certainly not without their own agenda.

300 Grizzly bears are killed as trophies every year in B.C and given that fact I believe that the only choice we have as British Columbians and human beings with the responsibility to respect this earth and her creatures is to ban the hunting of Grizzly bears for sport. 300 bears for people to hang on their walls or display as a trophy of prowess and skill is a slaughter. Mr. Arnold can present his opinion as fact but it is not that and defending this practice with claims of economic gain for rural communities and agendas being furthered by the international anti-hunting movement is misleading.

The government of British Columbia needs to stand behind the image presented so idyllically at the Olympics this past February and the way to do that is to realize that letting this hunt go on is wrong not just on an emotional level but also in terms of the facts. This population of Grizzlies that we are supposed to prize can not sustain the hunting that goes on each year and if it continues at this rate we run the risk of damaging the population and the ecosystems these incredible animals participate in.

In the end I found that research led me to feel even more passionate about this subject and I will be sending a letter to the editor of the paper to counter Mr. Arnold's opinion. Obviously I can't research every topic to this extent when called on to take action but in this case I feel that I have found sources that I can trust to relay information that is based on science and is looking out for the marginalized and voiceless ones which in this case are these bears.


British Columbia Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy

Environmental Investigation Agency

Grizzly bears being killed at up to double the number allowed by B.C. government: new research

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