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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Monday, 30 June 2008
Saturday, 28 June 2008
I picked this up from J-Mi’s blog~ she picked it up somewhere else~ you know how it goes.
When reposting, please link to

The Big Read says that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.
Well let's see. Here's how it works.

I have included an embarrassingly messy bookcase shot ~ and this doesn't account for my office full at work. Or by our bed, or in Rowan's room and play room. I have a problem.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE, and strikeout the books you read but didn't like.
4) Reprint this list so we can try and track down these people who've read only 6 or less and
make them read.

I've read 34 out of 100.
I don't imagine it means a darn thing, but I am a sucker for lists (and books)!
There is a church near us with an entire basement full and you get to fill a grocery bag for $5!

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. The Harry Potter Series JK Rowling(if i could underline it like 1,000 times...i would.)
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (waiting on my bookshelf!)
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh .
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen .
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving Took several attempts
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan .
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert STARTED, could NOT read
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon ON my shelf to be read!
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville -
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro No way, the movie almost killed me LOL
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry .
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down. Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

How about you?
I am goingcheck out the NEA list of Kids Books, too!
Friday, 27 June 2008
Aw, that was too easy!
I am quite flattered to be chosen for a feature of the Etsy OWLS Street Team blog for this Saturday~ it is a great blog with lots of neat finds, so please take a moment and check them out!
I have just hooked up with the Etsy Natural Kids Team and thought I would point you in the direction of the many wonderful artists and beautiful items they represent!

You will find natural materials, simple toys and earth friendly alternatives to the mainstream children's products you may be used to seeing. Wool, wood, silk, organic cottons... materials that come alive in a child hands or nurture their bodies as they encourage their spirits to wonder!
You can visit the blog.
You can also visit these shops (I am working my way through them right now!)

Aunt Boo's Babies
Beneath the Rowan Tree
Birchleaf Designs
Blossom Babies
Bratsacks Babyware
Butterfly Designs
Conscious Clothing
Cozy Cottage Creations
Crazy Momma Productions
Elsa's Love Patchwork Co.
Fairie Bling
Flower Beads Design
Freedom Rainbow
German Dolls
Hand Crafted Sock Puppies
Harvest Moon by Hand
Kat Eyez
Little Elfs Toyshop
Little Jenny Wren
Looma Keena
Moonchild Studios
Nature's Enchantment
Nishale's Art Shop
Nushkie Designs
Oh To See The Sunset
Orit Dotan Dolls
Plum Pudding by Jenn
Shelley's Natural Fiber Hats
The Fairies Nest
The Gnome Shop
The Little Nest
The Nursing Room
The Polka Dot Dragon
The Singing Bird
Tie Dye Diva
Toys From Nature
Waldorf Mama
Wee Beaks
Woodmouse Loves Wood
Wool Comes Alive
Wool Creations
Zuzu Petal

Have fun!
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
These are our newest additions to our product line of needle felted learning toys for counting & colours. Each stands almost 4" tall and is completely needle felted with 100% wool (corriedale/ merino). You can read more about these toys here.
Saturday, 21 June 2008
I want to tell you about Hope.
She is the creation of Annette of Wool Creations~ a super talented and sweet felter. Annette has a dream she is bring to life in order to support children and families in need and crisis.

That dream is Hope. Hope is a Travelling Doll~ she will start out in North Carolina and spend a year travelling the world. As she goes she will blog (with the help of her host families), get her passport stamped, keep a journal and collect small gifts in her suitcase.

At the end of the year she will return home to be raffled off (journal, suitcase and all!) to raise money.

Hope is a lovely handmade doll in the Waldorf tradition.

Please be sure to follow Hope's journey! She will be visiting us at BTRT in Northern Ontario sometime in the fall, we can't wait!
Friday, 20 June 2008
Today, while walking home from downtown Rowan started doing funny steps... yes, she was doing a silly walk. She even *called* it a silly walk and asked me to do one.

We got home, went straight to YouTube and looked up the classic Monty Python sketch featuring John Cleese and the Ministry of Silly Walks. Rowan laughed and laughed~ I had to keep stopping it and playing parts back for her. And when Daddy got home she re-enacted it, walking around a chair (for the desk) in many silly ways.

By her third birthday I expect she will know full well that a five ounce bird cannot carry a one pound coconut. Today, we discovered that the coconut doesn't fall far from the tree!
My wee hedgehog balls!
Here they are for those who don't click ;)
Thursday, 19 June 2008
Playsilks are the number one toy at our house. We use them for everything!

I am always so glad to finish an order and send them out because I know that a family has just ordered endless hours of natural, imaginative play. These are toys we use daily and I really believe in their value for supporting imaginative play. I'm a little passionate about playsilks, in fact!
Dress up and ropes, capes, canopies, wings, ponds and fields, comets and stuffing...

Playsilks are simply squares of silk, hemmed and hand dyed and ready for anything! Contrary to popular opinion, silk is actually incredible durable~ it has a reputation as a delicate fiber, but it is among the strongest in nature.

You can read up on playsilks (you'll have to scroll about halfway down the linked page) or follow this link to find 10 activities to do with your toddler and a silkie!

I was doing some dyeing today and thought I'd share some process pictures (without giving away all my secrets bwahahaaha). There are as many processes as there are dyers, but this one works for me!
  • Start with white silk. Hand rolled hems. I use habotai (8 mm) in a variety of sizes from 11 x 11" to 4 x 6'.
  • I start with a vinegar/ cold water soak.
  • Use acid (I use vinegar), dye and heat (the magic combo) for steamy goodness! I prefer the stovetop, although the microwave is an alternative that I use for some effects as it allows a little more control of the process). I always stir with a wooden spoon to avoid damaging the silk (it is vulnerable when wet!) and keep it moving to avoid burning.Gently rinse until it runs clear (dye reacts chemically with the silk, the run off is the unreacted dye) and wring gently.
  • Hang to dry (or carefully press while wet for a smoother finish).
  • Press and voila! Plenty of playsilks! These are today's finished silkies.~ mostly Fairy Silkies (11 x 11") and a few standard guys ( 35 x 35)
Silkies are always in stock as singles and sets, and I am always open for playsilk customs, too.
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Please take a moment to visit True Colors and check out the wonderful dyed items by more than a dozen dye artists! Auctions run until June 24th.

Bidding has started with a bang!

All proceeds of all items go to charities close to the dyer's heart.
A little while ago I alluded to an incident with a college roommate and said I would come back to it.
So here it is.

While in my second year of undergrad I lived in a house with a couple, another girl and a fellow we shall call Randy. Now, the couple were old friends of mine and the other girl was my roommate, a fellow refugee from the basement rooms of a crazy old couple ( a different story). But Randy was no one's friend. He was a loose acquaintance of the guy half of the couple.

Randy played Mortal Kombat all day and watched the A-Team every night at midnight while eating the only food he ever ate~ a large pepperoni pizza, all in one sitting. My room was divided from the tv room by a flimsy partition. I went to sleep every night for months to the not-so-soothing sounds of Randy eating and the A-Team saving the day. He was no longer in school, having been given the 'eight month vacation' for poor grades. He gassed a raccoon under or porch. He was really, really creepy.

Things were tense around the house. The usual fights over garbage and groceries. It had come to the point that only the other guy would speak to Randy.

So it happened that one day we three girls realized it had been very peaceful for a week or so. And then we realized it was because no one had seen or heard from Randy in that time. His car hadn't moved. There had been no late night pizza delivery and no "I love it when a plan comes together' blaring loudly. At first we rejoiced, but then we stopped, suddenly, struck with the inevitable 'Why?!'.

Where was he? We concluded (oh so naturally) that he must be dead. In his room upstairs.
Heebies Jeebies all around.
Then what? We didn't dare go in his room (scary even without a dead Randy)~ what if he was dead? What is he *wasn't* and he was naked or something?!
So worked ourselves into quite a panic that we had a dead guy in the house for who knew how long.

The other guy got home, we told him. At first he was skeptical, but then it all made sense.
No sounds from Randy's room. His car was there all day every day.
We democratically decided that the man had to be the one to check.
After much coaxing and in real fear of what we would find, we all clustered in the hall well our stalwart male carefully opened the bedroom door to... silence.
Oh no.
There was a body in the bed.

A body which sat up roared 'Get the hell out of my room!'.

It turns out Randy had a job.
At night.
So he came and went while we were all sleeping and slept all day.
Go figure.
We assumed he was dead.
It never crossed our minds that he would have gotten a job!
Sunday, 15 June 2008
I find the development of the child so fascinating. Set aside that my own child is endlessly fascinating to me, and just the bare bones of how we become is incredible. All of those little bits and experiences that connect, the neurons that fire, whatever. It all comes together into learning and being. Each so unique, and yet so predictable, too.

Rowan is coming up to age 3. She has outgrown her toddler proportions and just this week gave up her 'sookie' (rhymes with cookie)~ which has been harder on me (Think: my baby is growing up), than on her. She made one halfhearted 'we could buy more' attempt when I showed her the bitten up tops of her last couple sooks, and that was it. She knows her letters and is beginning to recognize simple words. She is determined she is going to school this year (not!) and she has a quirky, loving little spirit (ie waking me up with a kiss on the nose and telling me 'you have a beautiful nose'!).

I noticed this week that her drawing ~ which she loves to do~ has moved forward... not just lines and circles, but identifiable figures. She has begun drawing that typical humanoid figure of the preschooler: all head and long legs, usually under a sky which is a line above their heads. How cool is that?!

I have attached her self-portrait. I'll guide you through~ head, eyes and eyebrows are fairly apparent. The blue wedges on the sides are ears (complete with earwax!). The large circle in the center is the nose, with a mouth underneath and a belly button below that. Hair on top of head. Legs extending down, with arms and yellow bare feet.

Isn't it amazing what we can do in just 33 months of life?!
Saturday, 14 June 2008
If your little girl (or boy!) is like mine, they protest every time they get their hair brushed!

Rowan has long hair, and while I love the ease of pulling it all back out of her face for summer time, I dread the brushing, too, because it tangles easily and she cries over every snarl and rat (as my mother called them). She also has sensitive skin and eczema, so I don't like using the drying chemical solutions available in stores. So I just have to rave about an awesome product (and I sound like an infomercial LOL).

Blue House Soaps
. Sigh. Such yummy products~ I have a body sugar I have to restrain myself from eating every morning ~ Honey Almond, like marzipan! Melissa makes a great, all natural leave in conditioner and detangler which we use for Rowan and it does a great job. I found the store sprays made her hair greasy, this is light weight and doesn't leave residue. And it comes in various sizes and a whole host of scents.

We have Oatmeal Honey Vanilla (makes Ro smell like an oatmeal cookie!) and Vanilla Mint (a peppermint patty!)~ the scents are great but not overpowering or terribly long lasting, which is good since the black flies would eat the kid alive if she went out like that!

I just love having a clean toddler with shiny hair and a delicious smell for bedtime cuddles (and no tears, so I thought I'd share the BHS love! And of course, it isn't just for the little ones.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
I have been mentioning the upcoming (June 18 -24) True Colors Dyer's Charity Challenge ~ and now almost all of the previews are up!
Please be sure to pop in and check out all the talented dyers and their chosen charities. Each item has been dyed in the colorway (Turquoise, brown, sand) chosen by the Hyena Cart community.
Auctions go live at noon on the 18th.
For a full explanation of this event, click HERE.
Here is just a sample of the items up for auction for good causes!
Giant Playsilk:
Corespun Yarn:Batik Toddler Tshirt:More Yummy Yarn:Toddler Twirly Skirt:
And much more in store! Come in, bid and win some gorgeous items for worthy causes :)
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
...or the graduating class of St. Mary's School for Unwed Mothers!
The Marys (16 in total) + Jesus are done! Woohoo!

Now on to the Josephs...

For more about The NativityProject (otherwise known as Operation Biteoffmorethanyoucanchew), click here.

I am still having fun, so it's all good. As long as I don't do the math or think about 48 Wise Men.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Home again!
I had the opportunity to take a time of retreat with colleagues in a lovely wilderness setting the past couple days, so I grabbed it. Between work demands and a young child, I have severely neglected my professional life and development in the past few years and this was a wonderful opportunity to learn, connect, and well, yes, sleep!
It was an interesting couple of days spent at the very cool and lovely Elk Lake Eco Centre although an abundance of black flies and rain kept us indoors for the duration.
The purpose of the gathering was in part to consider how we can build groups for support and learning, but it was also a time of 'gathering at the well' to restore ourselves with the leadership of the Moderator of the United Church of Canada.
Perhaps when I have caught up, I can share my conversation with the bison head which I experienced as part of our spiritual exercises!
So I have retreated, I guess that means that now I advance!
Saturday, 7 June 2008
I have been meaning to make some mama shirts for so long. There is a decided dearth of cool shirts for women, at least if you are plus sized. I finally ordered a few blanks and got the first pair finished. I decided to try a range of sizes and the shirts are fairly generous, while being a nice soft, feminine cut v-neck with a bit of a taper at the waist.

The ones pictured are Medium (blue) and XL (red)~ I think the XL could easily go 2XL as the chest is 46". Both are dyed with low water immersion and hand painted. We have gone with a Queen theme LOL
It's good to be the queen (with a tip of the hat to Mel Brooks and a bad pun!):Heavy is the Head that wears the crown (XL):
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
In two blogs today!
Go hedgie, go!
See our little hedgehog purse at Trendy Tots a blog chock full of items for trendy kids.
And she appears again on the blog of a terrifically sweet and funny blogger from the Etsymom Street Team, Starr, on her Grandia Road blog.
Thanks for featuring our little hedgehog girl!
Click HERE for more details about this little felted purse.
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Oh the puns! The puns! I could just dye.
Ok, I'll stop.
I mean, I am dyeing to stop!
I can't control it.
I could dye of embarrassment.

But I had a cool idea.

I am so excited that our True Colors: Dyer's Charity Challenge is coming up. Previews are going up as they come in and the launch date is June 18th (-24th).

True Colors was born of a desire to have artists who work with dyes come together as collaborators and not competitors around what we love best~ colour. So the forum users at Hyena Cart were invited to submit colorways to be considered as the challenge colorway (three colors only). Then the Hyenas voted and the clear winner was turquoise, sand./neutral and brown.Over 20 dyers committed to participating in the challenge. Every one will use those three colours to create something~ anything! and list it as an auction. All proceeds of each auction will go to the charity of the dyer's choice. So far we have yarn, a blanket, clothing and more and representation for charities as diverse as the Army Relief Fund, the Red Cross, Animal Shelters and Lyrics for Life.

It is so wonderful to see all these talented artists working together and sharing the colours.
Please visit and plan to bid generously for love of colour and community!

I love it when a plan comes together.
(As a student I had a roommate who watched the A Team at midnight nightly. It stuck. Maybe sometime I'll blog about when we thought this guy died in his room... but that is another story! But, I ... dyegress...)
I have begun a new project~ collecting art for my daughter. She will be 3 this summer and I have a couple of pieces already in her room, my favourite being this piece from Jellybeans.
I have two more pieces on the way, the first, 'October' features bunnies in a rowan tree (from Krisblues:
And this one from HidenSeek with a very Rowan looking little girl and a bear was just perfect for my imaginative little girl who sees animals every where! It is entitled "Mom, this is the friend I told you about..."

A number of ACEOS (Art Cards, editions and originals~ 3.5 x 2.5 pieces of art) are also on the way~ I haven't quite figured out what I am going to do with them, but they seem a wonderful way to capture themes and passions for a little one as they grow.
Like this one from Studio 27 that says "It was true that she found a sense of wonder in living every day":

And this one that just made Rowan giggle with delight from Snitterdog:It has been so much fun sifting through the many talented artists at Etsy with Rowan and for her.
Monday, 2 June 2008
This is Woolemina (Woolie, for short).
She loves tea parties, making mischief and hugging trees.
She is 16" tall and made with 100% wool (needle felted with the exception of her skirt, which is made with recycled wool and snaps in the back).
Ruby shoes, a heart on her bloomers and rainbow legs.
All natural, safe for toddlers (no small parts etc.), soft and squishable, and even washable!

She was so much fun to make and dress and really has a mind of her own! Inspired by my mother's love for dollies and the appeal for the floppy legs and arms of the Raggedy Ann of my childhood.
Sunday, 1 June 2008
errr... Party every day!
Yes, we are partying hearty at BTRT this week! 4 days down and three to go in our big celebration of our first year in business.

Our guests have brought some wonderful goodies (these are just a few of our over 70 listings!)
From the Indigo Onion
Loopy4EweKeelyB~And a very cool collaboration with Laines Magnifique & The Cloth Canoe (and me!)

Pop in for a visit and see all of our guests and some fun new BTRT products, too!
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