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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Monday, 31 March 2008
So Rowan informs me.

With her recent obsession with all things fish and ocean related, she has decided that we need to eat penguins. In fact, she announced on our way to the grocery store that I needed to put penguins on the list.

A little probing revealed her intention to eat them (at first I thought she wanted to feed them, but no...) and she would not be deterred.

When I told her people don't eat penguins (do they?!) she replied haughtily: "Our family eats penguins".
When I told her the grocery store didn't carry penguins she replied, logically, "Ask them". Not to be put off, I figured the easiest thing to do was to ask.

The poor clerk looked both shocked and appalled as I asked her: "Excuse me, could you tell me where you keep the penguin meat?" while shaking my head 'no' most fervently. She stuttered out a questioning "we don't have penguin meat..." and then the killer... "or I don't think so...".

Needless to say Rowan still thinks we are going to find penguins in the frozen food section, given the clerks lack of certainty (and I still wonder if she thoughtwe were serious OR that they just might carry penguins?!).

I wonder how penguin tastes? Like chicken?
Who doesn’t love Pumpkin Pie? Now in my family we eat it with corn syrup, but I digress, rather seriously! Please let me introduce you to Angela, the mom of two and the busy hands behind Pumpkin Pie Baby.

Angela started her business about a year ago with crocheted soakers, longies and shorties for cloth diapering (click here to learn more about cloth diapering if you have been out of the loop!
Things have changed!). She has also begun offering knitted items to provide her customer with more variety (crochet and knit items offer different advantages) and to keep her work interesting.

I am fascinated to learn that Angela is inspired in her work by her love and education in
literature. She enjoys thumbing through favourite passages for color ideas. And of course, living
in Maine, near the coast, she has nature’s diversity and beauty to inspire her as well.

Her great joy in her business is connecting with other women, being creative and being part of
the handmade movement which values craftsmanship and quality over cheap mass production
(have you all signed the handmade pledge?). She finds it most challenging to self-promote as
part of her business. She is hoping to improve her sewing skills to be able to provide matched
sets and would love the time to design more.

Don't these peppermint shorties look good enough to eat?!

Please take the time to take a peek at Andrea’s wonderfully made work~ the attention to detail
and color choices are just perfect. You can visit her gallery; her shop and her blog.
Monday, 24 March 2008
Looking out the bedroom window this morning at the lake, still thick with ice (good thing since it is also still thick with ice fishing huts) it occurred to me how much we take our homes for granted! I mean, there is a *lake* outside my bedroom window, which after 2 years of living here can still surprise me if I stop and think about it!
And not just any lake. The world's largest freshwater lake without an island.
OK, in practice it makes it a great lake for sailing and recreation, but a boring one to look at! None of those rocky tree filled islands one expects in this part of Ontario. But it is very shallow around the perimeter which is fabulous for children and deep in the middle which the fishers love. And it grows on you as you watch it change moods and seasons.
And it is the world's largest freshwater lake without an island!
What is your town's claim to fame? The largest twine ball? Home of the Great One (wait, that is my home town LOL)?
Add you town's claim to comments, I'd love to hear them~ I have a little blog project in mind!
Sunday, 23 March 2008
Me too! No, wait, that is Andy's job. How sweet is that?
OK, so getting your husband to do it is one way out of it.
But there is a more attainable way!

We used to make our own soap but got away from it. In recent months we have gone back to using handmade soaps and we are loving it!
I thought I'd share some of our finds, as we have some 'special needs' when it comes to bath products!

It took us a while and quite a few trials to find soap we really like from a seller with shipping that didn't break the bank when sending to or within Canada.
Something good for sensitive skin, dry skin and eczema.
Something nicely scented, but NO florals (me) and not overpowering (try to be scent free when we leave the house). Something that is good for the skin types above, soft and moisturizing, but hard enough to last a while.
That is a lot of expectations for a bar of soap!

We have found some real winners, and some great products for Rowan too (and her eczema prone skin).
For myself I am deeply in love with Blue House Soaps. Melissa is professional, ships super fast and has great stuff! I love her Honey Almond essential oils scent and we have ordered (and reordered, or will!) soap, body sugar (the honey almond is good enough to eat!), Crunchy Mama All in One, hair detangler and Gentle Bath Wash (orange for Rowan, yum!) and we also love our Extreme Cream in Bananarama (although it is missing, thanks to a little someone). We use it ourselves and have given many of BHS's products as gifts, too (all the soaps come packaged in pretty fabric!). Nice chunky natural soaps, no artificial colours or ingredients and very creative scents (like Caesar!).

We also recently discovered True Vine Soaps. Attractive, generous soap bars with gorgeous marbling and luscious scents. Andy has some Cedar and Coriander and I am nuts about the Anise and Lavender (especially since the lavender in this does not bother my allergies). Like BHS, nice hard bars that last, but lather and moisturize.

Tory at Frost Fish Cove Soaps has the prettiest soap I have ever seen! Perfect for gifts and so many natural choices. Everything she makes in Vanilla Lavender smells delicious (though it makes me sneeze a little) and her Supernatural Lotion is fabulous for eczema (my hands, Rowan's face).

Natural Madison is the place to go for incredibly creative soaps, especially for the little ones! The Goldfish in a Bag soap was a hit at Christmas and she has amazing desert soaps and even popcorn!

And we must give an honorable mention to Clear Hills Honey and their new, all natural bath crayons. VERY cool! They write on tub and skin (great for kid tattoos) and wash right of with the included sponge ~ turning to a nice moisturizing lather.

What good is all this yummy soap if you wash it right down the drain? We recommend a crocheted cotton soap saver from Jessica at Crochet Funtime! Fun colors and themes and great for conserving soap or using up bits and pieces.

Oh~ and all this to say... if you are sick of scrubbing the tub, go natural! No more gunky bathtub and icky residue. Like your skin, your tub will be clean!
Saturday, 22 March 2008
Quick post to introduce my gnomish little friend 'Haystack' and a funky orange toadstool!
I am *so* addicted to needle felting!
One of the best things about the community at Hyena Cart is the inspiration provided by so many talented artists and crafters. Many of them are moms who know the types of products other moms need and the types of features that will be most helpful., while also providing unique, handmade quality items for natural living families (and others, too!).

This certainly applies to Karma and her business Pirate Bootie Baby.

Karma is a mom of 2 (twins), a graduate with honours and a BFA in Fashion Design, a veteran
seamstress and designer who has worked in costume design, children’s wear, lingerie technical design, bridal alterations and as a custom hat maker! She now turns her experience and creative energy to clothing for the littlest ones because she is inspired by her babies and bythe playfulness of children’s design.

While her only frustration with her business is the lack of hours in the day vs. ideas in her head,
she absolutely loves being a WAHM and seeing her creations worn by the children for whom
they were designed.

Naturally, she sews, but she also loves to knit and hopes one day to be able to master spinning her own sock yarn (maybe when the babies grow up?!).

Karma has created an innovative product called ‘Underwool’ ~ beautifully made, soft, absorbent undershirts for diapering. Made with a built in soaker (can be customized to the amount of protection needed), these all wool undershirts absorb wetness and without cotton or other fabrics to wick wetness against baby’s skin, baby stays dry all night long! She also has some simply lovely ‘bloomeralls’, dresses and other clothing. Be sure to check out her links below!
Pirate Bootie Baby home page & gallery
PBB Blog
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Meet Pierre and Petronella.
They are two of a rare breed~ the Canadian Pocket Penguin. Unlike their cousins around the world, these critters come in brilliant colours!
They stand about 2" high (pictured with a standard business card to give you an idea of size) and are happiest snug and warm in a little hand or pocket.
They don't eat much and they are generally quiet.
They love children, but don't like to be chewed on (wet feathers is a bit of a health hazard for them).

Pierre and Petronella are needle felted using 100% wool. Their heads and bodies are firm ~ everything except their fuzzy little tummies which are squishably soft!
Tuesday, 18 March 2008

We decided not to turn on the TV for Rowan before she was 2. We fudged a little, but even so, she doesn't watch more than about 1 hour per week (at 2.5), and not usually at once (except if someone is sick). When she watches it is usually one of the Sesame Street vehicles or a little Canadian production called Four Square. We are fans of the long since cancelled Zoboomafoo.
We have dabbled in some of the others, but don't find much to merit the time invested watching.

So when we were offered a DVD of a new tv show to check out, I reluctantly took it home. Tonight we watched 'Fifi and the Flowertots', from the creators of Bob the Builder. With smashingly creative characters like Stingo and Slugsy (yes, a bee and a slug) and a main character who 'forgets' things like the word for um, water, and the uses her catchphrase 'Fiddly Flower Petals!' it was like nails on a chalkboard. Wet wool being rubbed between your teeth. And when they sang, off key about making a milkshake, and how having a milkshake will make everything better, you should have one every day AND it is the most fun you can have all day... I was speechless.

The worst part about it all was the assumption that we would just be all over it without question ~ both the website and sample disc make sure to tell parents that merchandise is coming SOON!
Toddlers are not stupid.
They are not little consumers.
Parents should not *be* stupid about television choices for their children.
But if Fifi taught me anything, it is that we are being much too stupid, much too often.
And milkshakes are good. Very good.
Too bad about that whole dairy allergy thing.
Fiddly flower petals indeed.

Don't even get me started on the Dora empire.
Do you remember that camp song?
Sittin' on the fencepost, chewin' my bubblegum...

This is my homage to that family-eating little critter~ needle felted in an attempt to practice making round forms. He is felted with a 38 needle and swaledale roving ~I can't find much about this type of sheep in terms of felting, but it was what was available locally (imported from the UK). It was grey to start and is rather coarse and a little wiry. So maybe Herman is more fuzzy caterpillar than worm. I dyed the roving myself.

Needle felting is a little addictive, but a nice project to carry with you to work on in waiting rooms or meetings (which is just not possible with tie dye LOL)
Monday, 17 March 2008
Welcome to the first True Colors Dyer’s Charity Challenge!

To be hosted at Hyena Cart.

This is a non-competitive event, intended to showcase the many and incredible ways three simple colours can be creatively presented when in the hands of an artist. Crafters working in various fibers and materials are working to create unique pieces based on the colorway (group of three colors) chosen by the users of the Hyena Cart Forum. That means every pair of hands will work with the same three colors to produce something amazing! After all, that is the wonderful thing about color~ the possibilities are endless.

And to show their ‘true colors’ every participant’s item will be listed for auction, beginning June 18th - June 22nd. Each participant will choose a charity and the complete sale price of each item will be donated to that charity by the seller.

To Participate:
~The True Colors Dyer’s Charity Challenge is open to all dyers.
~You may submit only ONE item.
~It must be ready to ship, no customs, please.
~Yarn dyers~ you may refer buyers to your own shop for knitting/crochet service, but this listing must be only for the yarn.
~Your submitted item must represent the chosen colorway and must be dyed by you.
~There is some leeway for inclusion of non-dyed materials with your dyed work, but the heart of the project must be your dyed work.
~All materials are welcome: silk, wool, cotton, bamboo... and in any form~ diapers, mama cloth, clothing, toys etc.
~You do not need to have a Hyena Cart shop, but you must have positive (100%) feedback at either Etsy, Diaperswappers or eBay (and provide links). Once you have notified the organizer of your intent to participate, you will receive confirmation of your acceptance, pending your credentials.
~You will be responsible for shipping your item to its buyer AND for donating the entire sale price to your chosen charity. This is on your honour.
~There is no cost to participate. Please respect the organizer’s time and carefully prepare your submission to the specifications below. Improper submissions will be returned and inclusion will then depend on time.

The colorway will be announced before/ by Sunday, April 13th. Previews for the auctions will begin June 15th. Items will go live on June 18 until June 22.

Your Submission:
You must make your submission no later than June 1st to be included.
~Your 4 (four) item photos MUST be resized to 500px (square is preferred, but not required), and ready to list. The organizer is not responsible for editing photos or resizing. Also include 1 (one) thumbnail photo (150 px square), in addition to the 4 listings pictures (be sure to include close up and front/ back etc.).
You must also include:
~your product description and shipping info in HTML code (use a WYSIWYG editor if need be)
~your paypal address
~a link to your main shop or site (so folks can connect to your other work, about me etc.)
~a description and web address and/or phone number for your chosen charity.
~your starting price for your item (all items will be auctioned)

Please contact Lori at to join in the challenge and the fun! Please include your e-mail address, shop or gallery of work and name in the post.
Friday, 14 March 2008
Much to Briar's chagrin.
This is Briar:
So, this might actually qualify as torture, if dogs were covered by the Geneva Convention. Don't tell the SPCA.
Because this is George:
And this is Gracie:A pair of young mated canaries (and here I thought they were all yellow!) we brought home today ~ I went to the pet supply shop looking for catnip for a project and found these guys instead. Given that I am a terrible dog snob and a bigger snob about pet shops (being a dog snob and all), you can see how deeply I fell in love with these little sweethearts. Oh, and I am afraid of flappy flying things, too.
George and Gracie feel right at home and Rowan is thrilled. When I got home I had her help me set up the cage and all the accessories, the whole time, fielding her speculations about the nature of what a bird would and wouldn't do with the items with vague acknowledgement that she was probably right, too bad we didn't have a bird, huh?
When we were all set up, we stood back and she sighed "Maybe a bird will walk into our house and come to our new bird feeder and live here".
I love that she is just old enough and still young enough for these kind of surprises.
When I opened the box with the first bird into the cage she was so delighted. We watched them until bedtime and she kept retelling me, with wonder, how the bird just 'popped right out of the box!'.
So. George and Gracie are part of the family now. We actually don't know which one is really the George~ apparently they have to sing or lay an egg (and we'd have to witness this) to determine which is the male and which is the female, and given that it is possible that neither of these things will happen, we just made the prissy, dainty, pushy one the male and the broody, sweet, happy one the female. Sounds about right?!
Thursday, 13 March 2008
What's not to love about a woman who names her businesses Painted Patootie and Fishnoodles?! I am a fan of Dawn's work, always impressed by her concise, creative and colorful designs. Even before I began my own business, Dawn's work caught my eye!

Dawn is the owner of the two businesses named above. One (PP) is hand sewn and embellished diapering, while the second is a spinoff featuring Dawn's designs on tees for babies and kids ~ hand painted or iron on patches. You can find Dawn's work in stock at Hyena Cart and Etsy. And you can view her gallery and enjoy her blog, too, to get a better sense of the variety and quality of her work.

Dawn's original artwork is inspired by the world around her, her own childhood memories and her husband's sense of humour (I wonder if she has better luck than I do when I follow my husband's sense of humour into a design?!). Dawn is inspiring to me because she continually works at new techniques and designs, striving to improve and expand. She says she loves this aspect of business, but doesn't enjoy the bookwork! She is always looking for new techniques and ideas.

When asked to share something unusual about herself, Dawn notes that she has not one, but two master's degrees in two different fields and is not really using either one!

Be sure to follow the links to see Dawn's art! I have posted pictures of a couple of my favourites from her shops.
I made it onto the 'Most Spots This Week' page at Hyena Cart! Woohoo! 'Spots' are used to mark items you are impressed with, want to see again, or think others should see (in theory, at least!).
I was so happy to see my little White Rabbit dress on there for a brief and shining moment before being overtaken by the lovely work of the 'big guys' and all the wool. This is my first solo effort at arriving on most spots, although I was flattered to be carried there with Gen of The Cloth Canoe and Nicole of Laine's Magnifiques earlier in the week! LOL Click the image for a better view, you know you want to! hehehehe
Let me introduce you to Ashley~ mother of 2, wife, knitting, sewing, jewelry making, graphic
designing wonder! This woman is BUSY and while she describes herself as very task oriented, she also says that having young children changes that ~ which no one will deny!

Ashley is a transplanted Albertan, living in British Columbia. She began creating natural baby and family items in 2005, inspired by her son and their desire to raise him as naturally as possible. This lead to the desire to offer sustainable and more natural products for other families, too. Creating graphics for 6 years, she now offers graphic design for others, too.

Ashley truly loves being in business, especially seeing the satisfaction of her customers with the things she has created for them. She is continually inspired anew by her kids, her lovely
province and her desire to better the world. She is always learning new skills and is facing the
challenge of knitting cables ~ she finds them daunting but is also determined to do it! (It isn’t that bad, honestly!).

You can see a variety of Ashley’s work through her Hyena Cart Shop: Mama Stone Creations. Items like these gorgeous earrings, wool play food and hand knits. You can also visit her on Etsy, and through her Flickr Gallery and her blog to see what this busy
Canadian mom is creating for your family!
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
I *really* don't need another craft. I don't! But I am continually drawn to the colour and texture of felted wool and the appeal of something else to dye. So with the excuse of making a few Easter goodies, I ordered a couple of kits on Etsy to give it a try.

Of course, I was too impatient for the mail and had to get my own roving and dye it up! Lacking proper felting needles, I had to begin with wet felting. I am really pleased with the balls I have made, and would love to felt soap (made one attempt) but the PAIN caused to my hands and forearms from the wet felting (I have carpal tunnel syndrome not to mention eczema on my hands) makes it impossible to pursue, except for the balls which you can get your washer to help with! I have listed a few balls in my Etsy shop.

Thank goodness for the arrival of my felting needles!
OK, the neck hurts and the arms don't love it but I do!

I started with this adorable, easy and well put together kit from Woolpets on Etsy. My bunny is a little canine in form, but cute, and Rowan loves him bunches. I then used the remaining fluff to make an Easter egg (with Rowan choosing the colours). Oh, I know I have a long way to go, but it is really fun and a great take along craft (I needle felted all through a 2 hour meeting today).

I want more roving and I want felting gloves, because when you punch one of these needles through your finger, you know it! Boy, wool felting is not only addictive, it is down right dangerous!
Monday, 10 March 2008
Playsilks are simple. So simple in fact that many adults balk at the idea of a toy that does nothing. Toddlers, however, revel in such toys!
Today after work, Rowan(age 2.5) and I pulled out the silkies to see what we could come up with for indoor physical activities to help beat the winter blues and I thought I would pass these along for the adults out there who may be looking for something to help them get into silkie play, or for some fresh ideas to get in some extra activity before spring releases us all to the outdoors!
You can read some basic info about silkies here.
We had four of different colours, we could have done all this with one or two, too!

1) Practice colours. Lay out various coloured silkies around the room. Child stands at center and runs to the colour you call. Add some more activity by having them jump on it, spin around with it, whatever!

2) Practice counting. Lay silkies on the floor and have child step on them like ladder rungs, counting as they go.

3) Literacy?! Our local literacy worker has told us that one of the big concepts children lack when they reach kindergarten is a sense of position/ relations. On top, beneath, beside, along, between... Use a silkie and practice! Put it on your child's head ~ they are under the silkie, the silkie is on top of them. Have them place it in various relations to their body, or yours (put it behind mommy). Up, down, away, left, right...

4) Throw and Catch. Bundle one silkie into a ball and knot a second around it and you have a lightweight indoor-safe ball with a handy tail to help novice catchers and throwers feel successful.

5) Jumping and other Gross Motor Skills. Jump over the silkie river, walk along its bank (balance), crawl under a silkie thrown into the air, spin around with one in each hand, step over and crawl under one held up like a limbo stick.

6) Fine Motor Skills. Weave two silkies together. Stuff them into a cup. Lay them down in a straight line.

7) Imagination. Rowan wore her extra silkies as hat and snowsuit while we played. We hid one another and popped out to scare each other (she is at the stage where this is big fun!). She pretended to be a kitty curling up on a kitty bed. She made her big girl bed all up and climbed in to 'sleep'.

8) Rhythm and Body Awareness. We finished with dancing with our silkies~ feeling the music, moving our arms and legs in various patterns (flapping wings, waving in the sky, tiptoeing).

Exercise for body, mind and spirit.
All in about 30 minutes.
Using only a couple 35 x 35" squares of silk.
It doesn't get much better than this!
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