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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Thursday, 31 July 2008
The bean bag is a classic toy. A staple. A simple toy with endless possibilities. Our very favourite kind of toy!

And I want to tell you about Whiffy Bean Bags and their creator, Leah~ a busy mom and entrepreneur who has taken the bean bag up a level while maintaining its simplicity, too. If you have a busy toddler, especially, read on!

Leah makes quality bean bags with attractive fabrics and fills them with wonderful scents! She works with scents from the fun and fruity, to the calming and sleep encouraging to fill her various products: bean bags (for toys, sachets etc.), the Whiffy Ice, Whiffy Shmoo (cuddly blanket that can be stuffed with an appropriately scented Whiffy for sleep!) and Whiffy See-Its (I Spy bags with scents). Now, Whiffy Poo, I am not going to touch!

Now, I am *very* sensitive to scents, and I will say that these products are VERY strongly scented in my experience~ my packages scent the post office! So if you have some sensitivities, choose carefully (I avoid flower scents) and talk to Leah about your order (as she makes them to order). This is a good thing, though! As the scents do last and work wonderfully for so many uses. We love to give Whiffys as gifts.

I want to say a special word about the Whiffy Ice. These little bags are wonderful for babies and toddlers. My daughter is, like most toddlers, constantly coming up with bruises and bangs. Putting ice on an injury is like trying to catch a greased pig. But since we have the Whiffy Ices in our freezer (can be warmed up, too)Rowan happily accepts the icing of a boo-boo (including her recent, and first black eye!). The Ice has smooth cool satin on one side, and a fun print on the other and can be filled with natural herbs to help soothe, too. I even use them for placing at the base of my spine for migraine relief.

So take a moment and check it out~ cool product, great service, lots of choice~ you'll be glad you did!NOTE: all my reviews of products are my own, objective opinions. No review has been solicited, or payment made. Not saying I *can't* be bought ~ just that I haven't, so far! LOL
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
The Natural Kids Street Team has a contest running right now that you have *got* to see!

The Natural Baby Nursery Contest is running until August 15th, so there is still time to enter.

Just fill out the entry form about your natural (or going natural) nursery or playroom to be eligible to win one of the amazing prize packages~ you have to see these to believe it!
The North Carolina Triangle Street Team has included me in their round the world feature spot today! take a peek and check out their blog and lovely handmade items!
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
You know how it goes~ you are someplace where you never expect to meet someone who knows someone, but you always do.
And I find it fascinating to hear people's stories of unlikely connections in unusual places (add yours in the comments!).

Like when I met Audrey. I met her in a cemetery in northern New Brunswick. I was the new minister and she was visiting an old friend. The old friend stopped the car because she thought that Audrey and I would like to meet, both being from Brantford, ON (I thought 'big deal' it's a big place!').

Funny thing was I recognized Audrey right away as a regular customer at the pharmacy where I had worked all through high school.
Small world, huh?

Well, it gets smaller.

Audrey went home, and in her kindly old lady way, she called my mother to say she had met me and I was doing fine. Of course, she didn't know my mother, just thought it would be interesting.

So, she calls my mom and says "You don't know me, but I'm Audrey XY".
My mother says, "MY Audrey XYZ?"
"Pardon me?" says Audrey.
"My Audrey! From the hospital! Is that you?"
By this point Audrey is thinking she has called a VERY wrong number.

It turns out that Audrey had been my mother's head nurse at her very first nursing job in the early 70's and my mother hadn't heard from her or of her since that time. But she remembered Audrey with fondness because when my (here's the kicker!) mother was pregnant with *me* she was having a lot of trouble and Audrey stepped up to the plate and saved my mother's job and enabled my mother to take time off for the sake of her pregnancy.

With me.
Who 23 years later met Audrey in the New Brunswick cemetery of her old hometown, where her husband was buried, very far from Brantford!

Pretty cool, huh?
Next time I'll tell you how I get to be only 2 degrees of separation from Arnold Swarzenegger (ooh ahhh!).
Monday, 28 July 2008
OK, so it was just one of our products which flashed for a nanosecond on the screen, but still!
You can click here to see the clip.
Somewhere between -2:45 and -2:30 on the clip, the little guy in the foreground flashes his police car toy.
Yup. Handmade by BTRT and customized to match his daddy's cruiser!
Even if not to see our brush with fame (LOL) it is a fascinating and somewhat controversial piece on the practice of cross-nursing featuring a Hyena Cart mama and her friend which is worth watching and thinking about.
Saturday, 26 July 2008
I have puzzled and pondered over the question of how to share some of our BTRT art in other forms once the clothing has been made and sent off.

I have found a solution!

I have been having fun making Scrabble tile pendants with BTRT images (and others, too).
Lightweight, affordable and fun, these little guys are like candy! They are wearable for adults or kids, and all you need is one cord and you can just change them out as the mood or outfit strikes you. Rowan and I have fun sharing them between us.

I have used a non-toxic resin to give them a shiny, raised finish and all images are printed on high quality, acid free paper. Silver bails (larger size for ease of cording) and super strong epoxy. They are not waterproof, but durable otherwise!

Cords or ball chains are available in various lengths.

Custom pendants of a photo or your child's art are available.
Any BTRT image can be made into a pendant.
We have a selection of common domain illustrations.
Also some of our own graphic design.

$6/ea or 3/$15 for the pendants.
Currently in stock at our Hyena Cart, with a few making their way to Etsy.
Thursday, 24 July 2008
I want to point you in the direction of a wonderful resource for the felter~ Marie Spaulding and her online shop and resource at Living Felt.

I was lucky enough to win a Gift Certificate to Marie's shop through the Felting Forum's monthly challenge for June and spent it on a bunch of gorgeous merino roving which arrived today. I can hardly wait to take a stab at it (haha felting pun, sorry!).

When I went to Living Felt to shop, I was thrilled to find the variety of resources Marie and her family business make available~ from fiber and needles to a history of the art, online workshops and even free tutorials.

If you are a beginner looking to learn, or a little more advanced and looking to shop or learn more, please stop in and visit Marie and all of her fiber-y goodness!
My box is pictured below :).
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Rowan calls all hair stuff 'pretties' and I am just stocking some more felted hair pretties for the kiddos at Etsy.

They are needle felted (and some are finished with wet felting) and securely attached to ouchless (no metal) covered elastic bands with cotton floss. The bands are the smaller size, perfect for toddlers, but suitable for older girls and grown ups, too.Yes, yes, I was playing with Flickr Toys again, man, I love them! LOL
These are all my images, and you can click on the mosaic for a larger view.
Monday, 21 July 2008
At a Rodeo themed birthday party on the weekend.
Remember my post about Hope the Travelling Doll?

Well Hope has completed her first visit, in California~ click here to see pictures of her first adventures. She has now made her way to the UK , so watch for updates soon!

If you are interested in following Hope's journey or having her visit you, you will find all the info on the blog link above!
Sunday, 20 July 2008
What is summer without a yard sale?!

We are having a 'clean-up-my-workspace-please' sale at BTRT all this week (July 21-27) with savings of up to 60% on clothing, silks and felted whimsies.

Come on over~ it's cooler in the shade!
Saturday, 19 July 2008
From the Felting Forum: enjoy their creations~ drawn from our Flickr group! Click the links below to find the image details and its artist!
1. blue tulip wallhanging , 2. ATC Needlefelt with Poppies Traded, 3. Farley - commissioned pet portrait, 4. Needle Felted Cairn Terrier, 5. DreamWhimsy Needle Felted Sea Star , 6. "Topanga" Pug Wooliture, 7. Rainbow vortex, 8. Safari Bags, 9. A dude named Alice!, 10. Sleepy Sam, 11. Needle Felted Sea Horse, 12. Counting Fishies Stacked, 13. OOO me poor head, 14. Group portrait dogs 1, 15. Leaf Shaped Box, 16. Nickelby
Friday, 18 July 2008
...but I am a tattooed lady!

I did it! I have thought of a tattoo on and off over the years but never had anything I wanted on me permanently. Now I do.

So last night I had a tattoo of a rowan branch (daughter Rowan is named for the tree) done on the inside of my right ankle. I wanted it some place visible but discreet, if that makes sense LOL This way you can see it, but not from the front if I were facing you, say, performing your wedding!

I am loving it ~ the artist did a fabulous job (Denis at Live Once), right down to the serrated leaves and it was pretty quick and easy.

However, now that I got one for Rowan, if we have other children, I am kind of on the hook for another... we'll just have to make sure they have a name that can be a symbol for a tattoo~ like Anchor or Flaming Skull ~ awesome baby names!
Thursday, 17 July 2008
Rowan's favourite colour is orange.

It is now a running gag that when we see something orange we say 'Hey, Ro, look at that!' and she says 'That's orange! Orange is my favourite colour!'. And if you give her an orange cup or spoon or whatever, you are a hero, as she marvels 'that is my favourite colour spoon! It's orange! Orange is my favourite colour!'.

So today at lunch we were colouring (restaurant) and (for some reason) I was telling her that 'feeling blue' meant someone was sad. And she gave me a big smile and said (wait for it)... 'I feel orange!'.

'What feeling is orange?'

My daughter makes me feel orange, even when I am feeling blue.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
The Fall Colorway for our next True Colors: Dyer's Charity Challenge has been chosen: red, brown, cream (any colour within these families may be used, but all *3* must be used together).

Our first event raised over $500 for charity and with double the dyer's for September 30th we hope to more than double the givings!

The mosaic above is made at Big Huge Labs and you can follow the links below to find the profiles and work of the artists featured.
1. red chair tan chair, 2. Petite Ruby & Cream Vase (4), 3. Hibiscus Tan-Red-1+, 4. Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting, 5. Autumn Cherry Yarn, 6. The Red Car, 7. Sultan Spice Scarf, 8. red branches, 9. red & tan Moctezuma, 10. Red and Cream, 11. C79016, 12. Red and Tan with Ivy, 13. red ceiling cream brick, 14. pomegranateNecklace, 15. Sock Monkey Flower, 16. Eleanor Pendant
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
How wonderful is this? A small door~ anywhere~ in a tree, on a shelf, along the baseboards of a building or bedroom... a fairy door!

While I may not 'believe' in fairies, I believe in the wonder and whimsy (and, depending on your sources in lore, malice and babysnatching!) they represent in our cynical world ("there are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio..."). I believe that a fairy door offers a delightful opportunity to imagine, to be caught up, even if only for a moment, in the maybe and the what if. In the wonder with which we are born and all too often lose all too soon.

A fairy door can be placed anywhere as an invitation for the wee folk to come in to our world, or even more fantastically, for us to peek into theirs! Children, naturally, love a fairy door, and creative parents can even use it as an entry way for the Tooth Fairy.

Our first fairy door has been created in felt and there will be more to come as the wee folk whisper in my ear! Please click these links to see the wonderful photography pictured here (Flickr users murn, ilovemath and karlt):
1. Fairy Door, 2. Fairy door, 3. red shoes fairy door, 4. Fairy Door #1
Monday, 14 July 2008
I went to camp last week. The camp was for 6-8 year olds.
And my heart just ached for some of these kids.

The little girl who didn't recognize 'the red thing' in a salad as a tomato. The 6 year old who couldn't tell me where she lived because she bounces so often and unpredictably between parents and homes. But most of all the very bright little guy whose conversations revolved around his favourite video game, which revolves around assassinations, apparently.

My first conversation with him involved his graphic description of the way he would choose to take out the camp and the bad guys who might come in by the lake. A suitcase bomb placed on the lifeguard stand, and he on the raft with his weapon and he could 'pick off' everyone. Another time he met me on the path, raised his finger and pointed at me, walking with my 3 year old, and said "I just executed you".

And I wanted so badly to hug him. I mean to hug him so hard the 7 year old child could come out. I wanted to wrap him in a playsilk. Children should be dreaming and playing, not plotting suicide missions.

This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about natural toys for children. About open ended, child-lead activities over screen time and consumerization. I believe in the value of my art and I am not ashamed to proselytize ~ for it is more than just marketing, it is claiming for children the rights of childhood that are so rarely protected and honoured. It matters to them and it should matter to us, too.

If you are looking for greener, gentler, more organic options for play and learning, please do check out the Natural Kids Street Team and if you have questions, please feel free to contact me, too!
Friday, 11 July 2008
I signed up last night to participate in a 'Day in the Life' swap~ meaning I send some little items and gifts to another mama, all drawn from a day in our life. So in order to inspire myself I thought I would join in the DITL trend and do one! Holy cow, this took forever! Click on any photo to see a larger version.

Today is Friday, I am off work and generally spend Fridays with Rowan and not on housework etc.
I am a firm believer (if not always a practicer) of Sabbath time.

#1~ wake up slowly (starting at 5:40 am with Rowan). She plays about, allowing us another hour or so of peace before we become her playground as she jumps, slides and otherwise abuses us. Being Friday we roll out of bed at 8:30. Andy goes to work. I skip my shower (see #3) to feed the hungry inmate and get moving. I am met by the mess from supper last night (mild in comparison with many mornings~ it gets left as Ro goes to bed right after supper and we go out to work or get to work on things at home).

#2~ Rowan feeds all of her animals (this is new today). She eats her mix (bad mother!) of applesauce and baby cereal~ we just got home from camp, no groceries for her usual fresh smoothie. I have nothing, though I meant to eat.

#3~ Me. Sans shower. Need a haircut SO badly. But wearing pretty new earrings from Etsy!

#4~ George & Gracie, my big mistake. I fell in love with them, but they are SO messy. And I never liked birds. I like Gracie fine (the darker canary). George is a pain, but he sure can sing. They get fed, fresh water, and a fresh bath. I hope Andy fed Briar, the dog, and let*him* out.

#5~ Rowan is busy feeding her animals something she calls 'sick milk'. Time to package up sold orders for mailing. I try to mail out 2-3 times a week. I keep everything in our back/ dining room.

#6~ Enforced modeling session. Today I told Rowan a story about two sisters named Bella and Smella who wanted to see a picture of their new skirts on a dog (since she, Rowan is not a girl, but a dog). She agreed only once she ascertained that Bella and Smella were also girl dogs.

#7~ I can't even look. We got home from camp last night and need to do laundry and put everything away. But this is Sabbath time. Close my eyes and run away!

#8~ We run away. We packed all our stuff in the wagon and hit the trail. Notice the dog looking sadly out the window. He does this ALL day long, every day. My nice new garden, but uncut complaining ~ it is not a commercial lawn. And the big ol' pickup trucks on the empty lot next door. Our local dealer has borrowed the lot and apparently the townsfolk are lot. We don't like it either~ the things keep breeding at odd hours. 6 pm, 6 trucks. 10 pm, oops! 7 trucks! But then these absent neighbours are not exactly neighbourly, but that is another story.

#9 & #10~ with lunch at the local greasy spoon on the odd Heading downtown. Our Friday morning routine has evolved into coffee (only day I drink it), park, post office, deli and 'honey store', occasion. I would have taken closer pictures but people would look at me funny. Puppy and Rowan walk. I get a (mmmmm) Maple coffee and we have a nice chat with folks outside the coffee shop, make plans to meet at the beach later.

#11, 12, 13~ At the Park~ I chat up a tourist and his three kids while Rowan gets her park mojo going on the monkey bars. We get a nice close look at the duck family (10 ducklings!) that hangs out on our shore some days and Rowan enjoys a good swing. Life *is* good. We have a lovely, friendly little town and the health and good sense to get out and enjoy it today. We too often take it for granted.

#14~ To the post office. Always a chore. 'Nuff said. I got a pretty new bracelet in the mail, though! And some roving. Rowan fed the resident octopi their usual diet of foam peanuts while I mailed my parcels.

#15~ To the deli~ Rowan wants bologna for lunch. Apparently with ketchup. Blech. We wait in the usual long line (great deli!) for our bologna (and her requisite free piece). We then pop into the 'honey store' as Ro calls it, next door (the bulk store) and pick up some 'crunchy gummy bears' for the beach. I am such a good mom, I usually only let Rowan have a few (sugar and dye and all) but end up eating the rest ~ how self-sacrificing!

#16 & 18~ Bologna sandwich~ I talked her out of the ketchup. And yes, I do cut her sandwiches in shapes, it is not just for this journal! As we have no food in the house aside from the bologna and the smushed bread I made it on, that is it for lunch (she'll fill up on gummy bears later bwahahaha). Briar sticks close by in case something falls. Rowan enjoys her orange cup and straw. Her idea. Because (all together now) 'orange is my favourite colour'. How gross does that bologna look on the palate?! Sorry!

#17~ My new pretty! Silk and sterling, colour and texture. I adore it.

#19~ (I am out of order, just in case you are keeping track!) I get the kitchen tidied while Rowan eats, I'll eat while she naps. I'll take something up to the computer with me. Tomorrow is real cleaning day.

#20 & 21~ While I try and convince my squalling toddler she needs a nap (ok, I need her to nap to keep us both sane), the dog decides to try to drink from the orange straw in the orange cup. You can see how well that went over (all over the floor). And when I finally get Rowan heading upstairs she knocks the quilt from the wall in her pique. I notice all the dog hair on the black backing. Ick. Hang it up again and hide it.

#22~ Rowan sleeps for about 2 hours (yay! yay!) while I begin this post and do some online business work. I wake her at 3 for the beach~ at first she grumbles about being wakened, and then 'beach' pierces the haze.

#23~ we slap on suits and sunscreen and head out the door, only to discover we don't have a vehicle (I forgot), so we pile everything in the wagon and hit the pavement, passing our church (my job) along the way.

#24~ It is a GORGEOUS summer day, low 20s (celsius, of course!), bright sun, clear air. I snapped this picture on our way to the beach (at a neighbour's home~ our waterfront is natural, so we beach elsewhere, there is no shortage!). Rowan is riding, reluctantly, because I didn't want to move at a toddler-in-flip-flops pace.

#25 & 26~ Grumpy Puss is talked into making a sand castle with me. This home is so lovely! The family has 6 adult kids, 4 live locally, and built their retirement home to accommodate all their family. A warm, boisterous, busy bunch. It is so good for only child Rowan to go and hang with the kids! The adults gag on the gummy bears (all covered in crunchy pellets of some sugary kind).

#27~ Our host tells me 3 & 5 are the water fear stages and Rowan has it big time. Much reassurance and a very helpful kid coax a smile out of her in the water. I love to swim and Rowan was a total frog as a baby, so I am just baffled by this and I know I need to back off with her.

#28 & 29~ It is getting late but it is too nice to go home! Rowan is busy with the girls on the playground equipment, but the time has come to round her up.... she isn't happy about it as this unwilling picture with me shows! We hose off and head home, stopping to visit with other neighbour's on the way~ realizing Andy has no idea where we are and it is bedtime ( 6ish).

#30~ Apparently Andy amused himself playing with bubbles while we were gone?! Before setting into car repairs. Also apparently the dog had *not* been out int he morning as we found out upon entering the house ~ cowering dog, pile of , well, you know.

#31~ A quick shower, a fight into a nightgown (are you sensing a theme today? Is this the last kick at the terrible twos this week?!) and Rowan eats cold noodles. Yep. She wanted 'em cold. I have a guilty moment over no shared meals today, but get over it when I reflect on our day!

#32 & 33~ after dinner (which ended up being bologna and a slice of soy cheese~ so nutritionally sound, huh? balance over time, balance over time, my friends! We don't fight over food, Lord knows I have enough food issues and I refuse to pass them on if I can help it) Rowan makes 'Puppy' some food with Daddy, gets her sleep juice (melatonin~ ask me about sleep issues before you judge~ I always swore I'd never be a benadryl parent, well... we have sleep juice) and heads up, reluctantly, to bed~ taking Pup's food dish to bed with her. While they play I contemplate my fiber drawers and the need to clean them out. I pull out a few unfinished projects and resolve to work on them tonight.

#34~ Oi. Chinese Food for supper. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Andy had to go out and peel potatoes for the church supper tomorrow night. Picked it up on the way home. Now I feel rotten. Spent the evening watching 'Awake'. Meh. Gimmicky.

#35~ One of my unfinished felting projects was this black bird. I had a vision. I am actually happy with it, even if Andy says it looks like a fishing lure. We then had a long and inane conversation about fishing for ducks, predicated, by me, on the fact that I saw a duck eat a live mouse whole, once. And with that, I am checking email etc. brushing my teeth, tucking Rowan in again, drinking my bedtime coffee~ I said I don't drink it, I don't, this is medicinal, for a weird migraine I get over night~ the neuro said coffee or lithium. She also said only men over 70 get this particular class of headache, I am a medical marvel (or freak)~ and off to bed (where I have to kick the dog off onto the floor).

If you lasted this long, God bless you! At first this seemed like fun. Around noon I was feeling philosophical and by now, I just feel a little stiff in the neck from all this navel gazing, and tired. Interesting exercise, regardless (for me, at least!)!
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