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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Thursday, 29 January 2009
I have said it before, and I'll say it again, imagination is an amazing thing.
A precious thing.
A bizarre thing.

I came home from work today at lunch to the following greeting from Rowan (age 3.5):
"Grandma Beaver! You are home!
I missed you!
Mommy and Daddy beaver are gone and I need you to help me get home to our dam in space."
Further questioning revealed that we were, in fact space beavers from the moon.
After which Rowan bit me, and then when I told her space beavers don't bite, she bit a chunk out of the cardboard box from her Hungry Hippos game.

That's my girl.
This morning we were tossing imaginary food to the beetles on Bug Mountain where lived (on the bed/mountain) the giant Daddy Beetle (the dog, Briar, looking very morose at his new title). And yesterday I was Mommy Bluebird to my young baby Bluebird named Advil.

Life is never, ever boring.
And if it is, we just slap our space beaver tails and go for a swim in the shark infested moon lake.
Friday, 23 January 2009
Congratulations to Sue~ winner of the itty bitties and to Wendy P. winner of the hedgi ball for subscribing to the newsletter! And thanks to all for your time, comments and input!
Time for some hedgehog chucking!
From me to you... two ways to win.
Here's how...

1) Visit my Etsy Shop and come back here
to leave a c
omment on something that catches your eye or tickles your fancy!

All comments made to this post between now and January 30th
will be eligible for this random drawing for a completely free pair of Itty Bitty Hedgehogs~
these 1" cuties will arrive in a wee drawstring bag, perfect for your Valentine's sweetie.
Be sure that I can contact you through your comment.
2) Sign up for our monthly newsletter
& be entered in a drawing to win a hedgehog ball!

Our newsletter, 'ROOTED' is published on the first of each month.
Subscribers will receive the link to the web-based eZine via email on February 1st.
All new subscribers between now and January 30th will be entered in the draw to win.
You can subscribe through the box to the left of your screen, OR through this page.
The winner will be announced in the February newsletter.
We never spam :)

I seem to have a thing for hedgehogs.
So I am going with it... LOLWee hedgies are now available~ only 1" long, these little guys (and gals) are sweet all by themselves. But they can also be used as beads, pendants, stitched to a ponytail holder or added to a bobby pin, zipper pull or other accessory, too. They are just right for nature tables and tiny hands.Needlefelted and soft (no prickles).
Mated pairs available for Valentine's Day!
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Even before your child is born you give up a lot of dignity, or at least modesty.
And you never get it back.

Aside from pregnancy and childbirth, there is the nursing, and the pumping and the family members who keep singing the Ontario Milk Board commercial about the "big bad Bessie with the M-I-L-K". Yep.

Tonight, Rowan was insisting on being a monkey and climbing on my head to use me as a slide.
Exasperated and exhausted, I finally begged "Please, can I have a little dignity?".
And she replied, "Sure! And then you can be my slide!".

At which point she dodged around me (we were on her bed) and climbed up my back and onto my head. As I rolled over to topple her down she crowed "Here's your Dig-ninny!".

If you haven't seen this little shop~ brace yourself for the cuteness! Dannielle has the most darling little bendy dolls~ with amazing attention to detail and such appealing colours.

Standing only 2.5" tall, these little dolls are the perfect size for a playscape or dollhouse. Dannielle has fabulous customer service and these dolls are as durable as they are adorable. She has recently added dolls with faces to her standard Waldorf style dollies with open faces (for children to provide the expressions with their imaginations).

We have a growing collection for Rowan, who loves to carry them everywhere, and I have stocked up on some to add to playscapes in our own shops as well.

One reason I wanted to draw your attention to Dannielle's work is that she is one of the many artists struggling under the strictures of the new CPSIA law and her business is in serious jeopardy.

Take a peek at her shop and take some action about the CPSIA!
Wednesday, 21 January 2009!

Yesterday afternoon, while taking care of some business in the city, we made a pit stop for Rowan at the toy store. While we browsed, she spent some time playing with their train track and trains.

While browsing, Andy found the Schleich toys and passed me the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Rowan is very interested in dinosaurs but has a distinct dislike for the 'Tyrannosaurus Ex' (and watching the Land Before Time courtesy of Grandma didn't help~ the 'Sharp Tooth' really frightened her).

The T-Rex had a moveable jaw and was pretty darn cool, so I took him over to Rowan and the trains. She was s absorbed she didn't notice me, so I 'roared' and placed the T Rex right in front of her train.

Well, the poor thing shrieked, clutched her train to her chest and yelled "Get THAT OFF OF THERE!" as she leapt back about two feet in horror.

Bad, bad mommy. I started to laugh.
She looked at me, mystified, as I tried to assure her it was just a toy (and yes, apologized!).
She stared and then finally stuttered...
"Stands on two legs. Tiny front legs. Sharp meat eating teeth."
And then she giggled and declared "There was a Tyrannosaurus Ex on my train track!"
Hopefully not scarred for life by her evil mother (but hey, I learned it from *my* mother!).
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
If you have not heard about the CPSIA~ the new US law that (positively) limits lead and other harmful substances in consumer products, but which (negatively) is making sweeping changes that will wipe small handmade US-based businesses off of the map?

Check out the Handmade Toy Alliance for more information.

Essentially, this law requires third party testing, certification and serialization of every component that goes into a product for children under 12. The problem, of course, has been plastics and other synthetic materials and large manufacturers~ no one would like to see them continue to produce dangerous items unchecked, but the small toymakers, and seamstresses etc. who use natural materials are also getting slammed.

And the irony? While home based US businesses are having to close up, the big guys are producing questionable (and ugly!) 'eco' and organic items because they have the cashflow to do it.

If you are an American, please take some time to get the information, contact your delgates and make your voice heard. So many toymakers have chosen to make safe and healthy alternatives to what is available on the commercial market, only to have them outlawed *because* of the flaws in the commercial market.

As a Canadian based business, with the exception of wholesale into the US, my business will remain unchanged, but I cannot help but spread the word and need for action for my US based colleagues and friends.

Some clever folks on Etsy have calculated the costs for their handmade items under their new law, as displayed in this Treasury.
(click the picture to view full size~ check out the prices!)
Sunday, 18 January 2009
I love glass and I love trees.

A while back, the avatar of an Etsy seller caught my eye~ a dichroic glass pendant of a tree. Well, now.

So I bought myself a little Christmas gift (blue/green pendant below) from Deborah at Unique Dichroic in SW Western Australia.

Dichroic glass is described this way by Wikipedia:
Dichroic glass is glass containing multiple micro-layers of metal which give the glass dichroic optical properties. Dichroic glass was originally developed by NASA and its contractors for use in satellite optics and spacesuit visors.
My little pendant is the one pictured at top, and here is a little sampling of Deborah's current work. Enjoy!
Saturday, 17 January 2009
Did it!
I could hardly wait to spin that spindle and after a few false starts (and a kid who kept standing on my drafted wool), I was off and spinning.
It's funny~ it is easy to do but clearly much more difficult to do well.

I used the natural fiber that came with the spindles (I started with the top whorl)~ I drafted it and then used a spin/park method to twist it. While I thought my twist was fairly consistent, once it was set (after 15 min. in hot water) and dried I definitely ended up with a 'thick and thin' yarn.

I did two lots of the natural fiber and then spun some green roving that is too bright for most of my felting projects.
I then painted the natural yarn in a pastel rainbow and ended up with some very pretty dreadlocks!

In the midst of my play, Rowan began picking bits of fiber (she often does when I am felting and rolls them into snakes) and declared she needed a stick. A stick with a round thing (accompanied by a swirling arm motion). A pretend one, or handmade-of-popsicle-sticks one wouldn't do, so she and I did a little spinning together (excuse my pj bottoms!). She makes an excellent 'parking attendant'!
Friday, 16 January 2009
Well. I haven't done it yet.
But I am going to. Oh yes, I am.

I have been resisting the urge to learn to spin with a drop spindle. I do not need another craft. But the fiber made me do it. I mean, I already have the raw materials (do I ever!) but I needed the tool, just one little innocent tool.

So I ordered two! I found a nice little shop on Etsy~ Maine Woods Yarn~ that had a kit with both a top and bottom whorl spindle and I caved in to the fiber pressure (or maybe it was the mountain of fiber exploding in the corner of the room?).

It is here and I am anxious to give it a try. I found a nice series of videos on YouTube by 'The Art of Megan' which were very enlightening.

I don't need another craft and I don't enjoy knitting, but I do have a lot of fiber and a yen to learn to spin, so I will keep you posted!
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Following on yesterday's post... last night Rowan had her first ice skating lesson.

Now, I am a little resistant. I mean, yes, a Canadian girl needs to know how to skate. But around here skating is a gateway sport... it leads to harder stuff. Like HOCKEY. Having had my fill of arenas growing up I dread the crazy commitments required of hockey families. Before Rowan was born we agreed hockey was something we would not want to be involved in.

As I say this, Rowan is spinning around the hall with her stick raised over her head, crowing 'he shoots, he scores!' ~ which is an improvement on last winter's pronunciation of that~ 'cootchie sores!'.

Many of the girls play hockey here (and the boys, of course). It is *the* social activity/ sport outlet. Sort of unavoidable. At least if you want your child to grow up with a healthy Northern Ontario identity it is unavoidable.

So, we started skating lessons. After a few skating outings in the last week, Rowan was keen. Until she found out that she would have to give her real name. She balked.
"I'm Pup's Mom. I'm a dog."
"Well, they don't allow dogs on the ice, so let's pretend you are a girl for the hour."
"But my friend is a kitty cat and she skates."
"Well, I think they pretend she is a girl, too."
We arrive.
A mournful cry from the back seat:
"I don't WANT to skate if they don't let dogs skate!"
I can admire the sentiment and the need for inter-species justice, but we go anyway.
Halfway through the lesson, the little helper drags Rowan to the boards to meet me. The issue?
They don't know her name and all she will say is "woof".

Out of forty or so kids on the ice, one never rises to her feet on her own power. One is dragged about, slipping to the ground from the arms of one frustrated pre-teen after another. One remains staunchly a dog and not a skater.


Maybe we don't have to worry about hockey after all.
But we really should look into obedience classes.
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Why is it that most of the phrases expressing the severity of the cold are so vulgar? Perhaps because when you open the door and get slammed with super subzero temps (-28 C here today, not factoring windchill) all you can do is curse and spit obscenities?!

Today, we, along with much of the wider region, I believe, have entered the deep cold of January, deeper and colder than it has been for some years. The snow squeaks. The dog tips over in the yard with three paws held in the air and a pleading expression (insert vulgarities here at the thought of rescuing him!).

It may be:
Colder than a witches teat (in a brass bra).
Colder than a well diggers arse.
Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.
And so on...

But, it is also simply lovely to sit in the sunshine and hear the air crackle as the smoke hangs low over the ice fishing huts scattered across the lake and be thankful for the warmth we have and lengthening days. It makes one feel quite peaceful.

At least until you have to step outside again!
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
These are a few favourites from my Etsy Favourites list~ we own prints or ACEOs from 7 of these shops (mostly for Rowan's room, a couple for me!) and would love to have more! Can you see a theme~ I just realized how many of them have trees!1.
Thursday, 8 January 2009
We are still deep in snow, in fact, 'real' winter is just sort of settling upon us with the bright cold days and frigid starry nights of January. But I can't help thinking of spring!

In that spirit, we had fun today (Rowan was my advisor and 'model') spending an afternoon playing games and working on spring felted animals. It *is* early but we went with the mood!

Rowan likes to pick bits of roving for me to stab together for her, and since Daddy was at a meeting, we had a little stolen time to share in the week. She made a number of little felted bits for her toys (including the 'very old horses' who live in beaver dams~ as, I am told, all old horses do~ named Mess and Runny. I had to bite my lip when I overheard her talking about the damage Runny and Mess had made in the bathroom! Ick!) while I worked on new animal balls for spring. We debated on rabbit whiskers, but went whiskerless in the end.So this is the result of our afternoon, finished up between cleaning up after the horses and games of Candyland.
Tuesday, 6 January 2009

I am so excited to share that BTRT has joined up with the talented and innovative women of the Fresh congo on Hyena Cart~ as a member.

Fresh is fresh... stocking once a month on the 9th at 9 am AND 9 pm, it stocks to a theme, a word...
this month's word is ::INSPIRE::

I have worked with many of the women in the congo before and I am delighted to have the opportunity to share creative energy and space with them.

We have a brand spanking new blog that needs some love: here.

Previews for the January 9th stocking will be up tomorrow night.
I will be stocking my new Inspire a Reader sculpture, among other felted items.
Sunday, 4 January 2009
Last spring I bought a scarf from Leanne at Rainbow Revolution. What's not to love about an Etsy shop dedicated to colour?!

Check out the Shop Announcement:
Rainbow Revolution is all about feeling good and lifting your spirits with colour.
Give yourself that well needed boost with a bright and cheery scarf or a calming and peaceful wrap!
Everything here is made from natural fabric such as cotton, silk and hemp and has been hand dyed with love!

I adore my earth tones close weave wrap~ it is so versatile, big, lightweight and pretty.
Imagine my joy when I peeked into RR today to find a great big sale section with so much rainbow goodness at 50% off (not to mention the lovely items, such as hemp fleecy wraps and neckwarmers at regular, and well deserved, price)!

Leanne is moving most of her stock to her website so snag these deals while they last! And be sure to check out the website, here you can get your very own and very therapeutic colour boost right now in a lovely slideshow of images.

My sister will finally stop hankering for my scarf when she gets her own and whether the others I purchased ever leave my hands remains to be seen.

Oh. And the best thing about Rainbow Revolution?
Colour with a 'u'!
Saturday, 3 January 2009
With apologies for this being late!
We had the joy of hosting Hope, the Travelling Doll in our home in November (actually she arrived just in time for Halloween) and here is a little bit of her Ontario adventure:

Hope arrived just before Halloween. What a lovely girl she is! Rowan (age 3) was immediately smitten with her and set off to make her a Halloween costume. When the time came for Trick or Treating, it was unseasonably warm for Northern Ontario and Hope was decked out as a Fairy Princess~ crown, wand, wings and all! She enjoyed visiting with the neighbours and seeing all the other children in their disguises.

Early the next week, Hope joined Rowan at her Music for Young Children class. Hope clapped and danced and even played the triangle with a little help from Ro. The children enjoyed meeting Hope and they all helped her play London Bridge with them.

Hope arrived at our place with her little suitcase of treasures from her travels and a lovely scrapbook. Hope and Rowan often sat together and enjoyed the chronicle of Hope's journey so far. inspired by photos of Hope's camping trip in the UK, Rowan decided to set up a Canadian camping experience for Hope... in the living room. Tent, sleeping bag, camp chairs, fire, marshmallows and all. The girls played for hours around their makeshift site, including Rowan's best friend Puppy and our real dog, too!

On November 11th, which is marked as Remembrance Day in Canada, Hope joined us for our town's service at the Royal Canadian Legion. We live in a small town, so we all walked to the service where veterans are honoured and sacrifices remembered. A children's choir sang a version of "In Flander's Fields", youth read their own poetry, a roster of names of the war dead from our community were read, the trumpeter played Taps and Reveille and then the bagpipes played Amazing Grace as memorial wreaths were laid by the families of those who had died in the past year. Some of the wreaths represented vets and community members we know and miss. It was a moving service, and many people were curious to meet Hope and welcome her to our community. The mayor even pinned her with a town pin!

Hope is pictured here with the trumpeter/ piper; with the wreaths and with 90+ year old Sam~ local retired principal, active townsman and veteran. Sam was a little befuddled as to why we wanted a 90 year old man to hold a *doll* but he went along with it and Hope was very gracious with him, as she admired his medals.The final visit Hope made with our family was to attend a church service in November. She was introduced to the children during the children's time and went to Sunday School with them. That didn't last very long as Rowan decided they didn't want to stay and during the prayer for the Offering (I am the minister) Rowan and Hope came running up the aisle declaring "we don't WANT to stay in Sunday School Mommy!". After the service Hope received lots of hugs and attention from young and old captivated by her lovely appearance and interesting story.

It was a delight to have Hope visit with us, to share her story and to show her around our small community. We wish her all the best on her continued journey!
We will be following Hope's story on her own personal blog.
Friday, 2 January 2009
I have a long standing love affair with polar bears~ and given the current climate here in Northern Ontario, I was inspired to create a new playscape (you can read more about playscapes here).

Nanuq's Playground (click any of the photos for a larger view) is a whimsical little winter play park. It measures roughly 12 x 10" at the base and comes with a wee polar bear (Nanuq' or Nanook) and an Inuit friend. White spires of snow and an arch/ slide are paired with a deep snow cave (with a back exit). There are several nooks and crannies for perching and leaping from, and a protected ocean cove.

This piece took about 12 hours from start to finish. There is no armature or other interior structure~ it is all wool, all stabbed into shape (LOL). And although the thought of all that white seemed boring at the start, it was actually an engaging challenge to work with shadows and shapes in a fairly pure way (without too much colour to lean on).

This set is firmly felted and has no small parts. It would be suitable for a gentle toddler.

A turquoise playsilk makes a nice sea and why not make your own icebergs and kayaks to explore in?
Thursday, 1 January 2009
Happy New Year!
We had a nice break through December and we are back, ready and rested for the New Year!

We had lots of family time and then spent a couple days in Toronto with time at the Science Center and the Royal Ontario Museum (Dinosaur section!).

I am busting to reveal something new in the works, but I can't tell yet! So look for us in a new place in January...

We have a couple of special stockings taking place on our Hyena Cart this month Nativity Set Subscriptions (Spring Round) will stock on the 15th with payments from February through June and July delivery on small or large sets. And beginning today we are taking orders for our popular rainbow tights and twirly skirts (including tights in women's sizes)~ orders will be accepted until the 16th after which we will dye them all and send them out! I have pretty much stopped dyeing (at least on a regular basis) so I am going to try out limited time batch listings to see how that goes while supplies last.

Again, Happy New Year!
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