Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas at Home

Just a few pictures of the decorations around our home. Hope your holidays are merry and bright.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

More Making

Less than two weeks until Christmas and for the first time I don't feel rushed. I'm just working away at a steady pace, making things with love for the ones that mean the most to me. I'm making time to enjoy the season and I'm finding time every day to work on a special gift.

I finished F's Milo vest, made a pair of Quick Change Trousers to go with them (with the cutest Heather Ross Itsy Bitsy Spider fabric and lined with super soft flannel) and started a baby gingerbread boy knit to go with the Gingerbread Baby I got to in F's stocking.

For A I made a little wallet to go in her stocking (and a few for some craft swaps) and quickly made her a dress from some lovely Birch Organic fabric. I'm stumped on the buttons though. For some reason buttons are the hardest thing for me to make decisions about, the wrong buttons can just ruin a project for me. I will look at this again tomorrow with fresh eyes and keep on making.

What are you making?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Lucia and the Light

I must say I think Saint Lucia Day has become a family favorite. It might be only our second year celebrating the day of light but I know it's made an impact. For the past year A has been reminding me how much she's enjoyed it. "Mom, remember when I was that Lucia girl? And we made those buns? And I had that tray with candles? Remember Mom? I want to do that again!"

This year Lucia Day fell on a very busy weekend for us so I almost felt like I didn't get to really enjoy it. I had wanted to make A a Lucia dress and F a star boy hat but I just wasn't able to find the time. We made our Lussekatter (which turned out much better than last years) and read our favorite Lucia Day book on the night before. I set an alarm and went to bed myself but something woke me in the wee hours of the morning. It was still dark, as it is on Lucia morning, and I quietly went about setting things out for our celebration. It was peaceful and by the candle light I felt such warmth. I woke A and we prepared the tray together. It was really as I had hoped our Lucia morning would be.

We then took our Lussekatter buns to neighbours and family. I think sharing the light and the love is the best part. Miss A loves telling people about Lucia. She wears her crown with such joy and pride. Her own special light really shines through. I hope you all were able to find and embrace the light today.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Jack Frost

We don't get much in the way of snow around here, so when A came running into my room telling me it snowed (in the first week of December no less) I was more than confused. So I went to the window to see not a blanket of snow but rather a glistening coat of frost. Even without the snow, getting bundled up and crunching through the frozen leaves was fun. It was beautiful too.

When it gets very cold like this it always reminds me that the growing season is done and gone. So we decided on that cold day to make bird feeders. Up until a few days before that frost the birds had been in our yard, plucking bugs from the piles of leaves in garden, but now the ground was too hard for them to even get some worms. One of my favorite, easy kid craft bird feeders calls for a toilet paper roll, nut butter and seed. I coat the toilet paper roll with the nut butter (we used cashew) then the kids roll them in seed. The roll makes it easy to just slip on the end of a branch. Once the birds have eaten all the seeds the toilet paper roll can just be composted.

It took a while for the birds to find the feeders but once they did both kids were delighted to stand at the window watching the feast. I do hope that Jack Frost will send a bit more than a coat of frost this year. A wee bit of snow would be such a treat. Maybe when King Winter comes for the solstice he will bring snow. One can dream, right?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Saint Nicholas

Tonight when it is dark
Saint Nicholas may come.
He loves to bring a big surprise.
He gives the children toys.

We thank you, good Saint Nicholas!
We thank you for the toys!
We thank you, good Saint Nicholas!
You bring us many joys.

—Ade Bethune

Saint Nicholas Day is such a lovely way to start our holiday season. It comes one week after we light our first advent candle. It's a much needed break from the busyness of the season. We take the time to polish our shoes, read stories and share our blessings. The children woke to find an orange, dark chocolate, and a toy each. A got a lovely wool fairy, which she has named Lilac, that I received in a craft swap and F got a wonderful knit hedgehog from the talented Nicole. They both had their oranges for breakfast and played with their sweet toys. 

Saint Nicholas reminds us that we should share our wealth and help those in need. Today we take the opportunity to give toys to children less fortunate than my own. We chose to donate to a local group called Santa's Anonymous. They collect toys and clothes for families in our city, wrap them and deliver them for Christmas. I had some toys we never even opened and they were the perfect way to spread some joy.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


The month before Christmas is almost frantic. No matter what promises I make to myself, I'm always busy. Since we decided many years ago to forgo the consumerist culture of Christmas, I've spent more and more time making handmade treasures for my loved ones.

A's Christmas sweater is blocking. I used the Sunday Sweater pattern but it looks like I didn't quite understand the eyelet pattern. It's ok, I'm happy with it regardless. I chose three little bird buttons since that Bob Marley song is a favorite in our house. While that blocks, I'm cast on a Milo vest for F out of some lovely homestead alpaca yarn.

Also for F, I've made a little flannel hen for play. I think I might knit one egg and then I was planning to use some Anna Maria Horner flannel scraps to make a trio of chicks. He loves our chickens so much but they are certainly not cuddly.

The time of year for mailing cards has come as well. While I sit writing address after address on plain white envelopes, my darling A sits next to me with stripes of colored paper making festive chains. It's our first holiday decoration and it's so jolly I want to sing "Deck the Halls". Yes, we are busy making all kinds of things over here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Winter Fair

It's that time of year again. Our local (and when I say "local" I mean an hour drive) Waldorf school was hosting their annual Winter Fair. I can't tell you how much I look forward to visiting that school. It's a beautiful school on a gorgeous piece of land. While we were waiting in line a bald eagle soared overhead. It was sunny but cold. Really, it was the perfect day to celebrate the upcoming winter season. We enjoyed ourselves so much last year, I knew this would be a new tradition for us.

There were many crafts and fun experiences for the kids. We made wool angels (A hung hers over her bed), salt dough ornaments, dipped candles and painted silks. I personally could have dipped candles all day long. They had beautiful harp music, soft candle-lit winter scenes and the delicious smell of beeswax. Everyone whispers and moves very slowly; it's the definition of serene. Miss A badly wanted to wind her own jump rope but the line was too long. We visited the cookie cavern and the enchanted garden. Again the enchanted garden was so magical. Silks hung over strings of light, rock lamps, gentle winter scenes. At the end the children were allowed to pick a little toy gnome to take home.

This year we took the time to watch a blacksmith work. It was fascinating. I rarely get to see one in action but there is no technology at work here. It was just good old-fashioned iron and fire. I was glad to see the blacksmith was so young. I like seeing young people learning old trades and working with their hands.

The sun was out and I had dressed the kids in wool (but not myself. Silly me.) so we let them have a good run around on the playground. I love their playground. It's so natural and simple. A tunnel made of live bamboo, a simple wood bridge over a sand pit, a tree house, logs for climbing; it was hard to tear the kids away. What a fun day it was!

Friday, November 13, 2015


Last year's lantern walk was such a hit, A has been talking about it ever since. She would frequently ask "Remember that lantern walk we did? Let's do that again.". I had all sorts of ideas for the lanterns we would make, after all I had been collecting links on Pinterest for a year. When it came down to it, I knew that F would want to make one too so wet felting or beeswax were out. I saw a lantern made from a mason jar and leaves. So I put out mason jars, fabric leaves, kite paper and washi tape and let them go nuts. Miss A had her best bud over to decorate with her. They did go a little crazy with the washi tape but they glowed so nicely and after all, isn't it about their own inner light.

As we did last year, we shared a warming meal of root vegetable soup (yam and leek saffron soup; it was amazing!) by candle light. We baked our favorite sugar-free ginger snap cookies and bundled up for our walk. We were worried about the weather as there was a wind warning for the area but it was calm and starry. Guided by the light of our lanterns we found our resting place in the community gardens. There were shared those cookies and reflected on the light we bring to the world. How I enjoy our new tradition.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

On Halloween

It all started with a train ride and ended with a switch witch surprise. A week of Halloween fun. The Saturday before we went to our local model train yard where they were hosting a Pumpkin Express event. We road the train, carved pumpkins, got our faces painted, bowled with pumpkins, did a scavenger hunt and made a drum to keep away ghosts. It was a big hit. I always love when we find events that are fun for both my children.

Miss A had been begging for a least a month to have her friends over for a Halloween party. Our house is so small and it's always so much work to put it all together, for a while I said no. However, once I realized Halloween was on a Saturday, I figured I might be able to make it work since Jon would be home. So I gave in. As soon as the Monday before the party rolled around I regretted my decision. Still, when all was said and done, I know my kids had fun. We had sugar-free snacks, a pinata (filled with candy-free goodies like notepads, stamps and rings), decorated mini pumpkins, made hand puppets and enjoyed each others company. Though we all enjoyed it, I don't think I will be doing it again for many many years.

Finally it was time for trick-or-treating. Once again we had fairy and this year we had a baby elephant. Both turned out to be perfectly warm for the cold Halloween night. One of our neighbours is A's best friend so we went door-to-door with them. I was surprised that little F wanted to go to the door but he was pretty insistent on not being left behind. After two hours of walking, we decided our buckets were full enough for the switch witch and headed home. Miss A really wanted to keep some things and luckily we got some playdough, temporary tattoos, pencils and goldfish crackers in our buckets that she could keep. Then off to bed they went and in came the switch witch. So far there has never been any complaining about the lack of candy. The goodies they find in it's place always seem to be enough to quell any disappointment they may feel. Thank goodness for the switch witch!