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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Friday, 27 February 2009
This winter, my husband has taken an interest in feeding the birds. As we live on the lake, we have not had much luck with bird feeders in the warmer seasons since all we attract are ducks and starlings, the occassional seagull or robin. Although our townsfolk have a wide variety of birds (and deer and bears!), we just get ducks. And the geese, lord, the Canada Geese.

Although we do enjoy the redwing blackbirds in spring and summer. And there was the day when a visiting friend said "You have a horse in your yard"~ the horse was a young moose who left our place and ran along the shore startling the children in the beach playground as he ran through the swings.

So, this winter, being a littl emore faithful and creative with feeders, we are enjoying the chickadees and woodpeckers and blue jays~ but especially the redpolls. Apparently they are a hearty breed of finch who can tolerate extreme cold *as long* as they eat a lot and regularly.These are a few photos I took today of the redpoll party in the back yard (it was -20 C).
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
While our 3.5 year old has us over a barrel this past week or so, and we are frazzled, frustrated and exhausted (boy this parenting gig is hard!), one bright light is the lovely sense of accomplishment when a big order is completed!
I'll take it where I can get it!An order of silkies, large and small and a couple of Twirligigs (tm) are on their way to the children's shop, Citizen Kid, in Hamilton, ON today.I always find packaging to be a challenge for in-store selling as we are committed to using as little extra packaging as possible (our online sales are pressed and sent out 'naked' in the re-used, resealable bags the blank silks come in). So a little raffia with a small hang tag attached on the back is the compromise.(The Twirligigs don't come with the kid, but believe me, if the buyer wanted her, I'd be happy to attach a little raffia and include her in the package for free today!)
Monday, 23 February 2009
Ever feel like a little something something for yourself or the ones you love?
Here are a couple of sweet things I have found on Etsy lately!

Awesome little top from Urban Turn ~ old fashioned toy with a hip edge!
Simple and captivating, our 3.5 year old loves it and is enjoying the challenge of making it spin.
Some sweet ponytail holders from Cutecumber
have been great little treats!And a little something for me ~ I have used this for spinning and felting and still have lots left of this excellent fiber (and what an amazing price!) from Shunklies.

Saturday, 21 February 2009
Just a couple pics of a couple new mamas :)
Friday, 20 February 2009
I'm done!
Whew! This was a bigger project than I planned (spinning all those scraps together was time consuiming!), but I am happy with the results.
You can see my post just before this one for the work in progress to this point.

The finished purse is bigger than I intended (maybe 12 x 10"? I have to measure if I can find my measuring tape~ last seen playing snake), but the strap is long enough to go across the chest which works well with the width.

I was concerned about different fibers felting differently (how quickly, how much) and this did come into play, creating a bit of an issue with the width of one side of the purse vs. the other, which was resolved with enough coaxing and felting, but I would be more careful in a future project (things like swaledale and jacob likely shouldn't be included with the softer fibers). I was also wondering how the thick and thin would felt relative to one another and this was less of an issue, thankfully.So~ this purse is made with handspun (spun from my roving scraps and bits), hand knit, fulled/ felted and accented with felted curlies and hand felted beads. I am feeling pretty good about this very handmade project~ learned lots and a real sense of accomplishment in using new/different skills. A great 'palette-cleansing' project!
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
My reasoning (to my husband who said I didn't need another craft) for purchasing a drop spindle was to do something with all my scrap roving~ I had this vision of spinning all the bits into a crazy fiber.

And I did it! And I love it. What it lacks in uniformity and skill it makes up for in craziness and colour. It is very thick and thin, mostly because I didn't draft it, just made myself a pile of pieces of various lengths and similar width and grabbed them on the fly (or, er, spin).

I was tempted to use some of the samples of glitz and angelina and other novelty stuff I have received in fiber packages but I wanted to be sure it all felted, so I resisted (there is a wee bit of glitz on one of the fibers).

It was actually a very good exercise in spinning ~ I learned a lot as I went. I think I did about 120 yards in all.

So I spun it (and spun and spun and spun~ boy, it takes a lot of yarn to make anything!)~ very time consuming vs. just spinning out a long length of one roving! And I have knit up a basic bag which is all ready to be fulled (felted) once I attach the handle.I'll update after the fulling and blocking... this could go beautifully or badly given the uneveness of the yarn in some places. I am hoping the felting will equalize it!
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
OK, so it is really Rowan's, but after someone commented on the post previous to this that they wanted one for themselves, I tried to stake my claim to Sarah ~ to admit I bought her for me.

You see, Rowan has Puppy. Having watched her enjoy her time with Hope the Traveling Doll this past fall, I mistakenly thought she would like having a 'big girl' (ie not a baby) doll. But Puppy is a jealous master and while Hope was a visitor, when Sarah came to stay, Puppy got his nose out of joint.
I was *so* excited to gift Rowan with Sarah~ made with 'orange' hair (Ro's favourite colour), brown eyes and a weighted body so she can sit to play~ beautifully created by Joyce at Hillcountry Dollmaker. While she did allow the newly named Sarah (I even steered the name choice, I admit, because "Goggily" or "lummo" or whatever name Ro came up with would have been quite a handle~ witness her giant alligator Viggo and baby Lippy) to play Hungry Hippos with her on Christmas Day, by Christmas night she had shoved her to me and said "you can sleep with her mommy". Sad mommy moment.

I tried buying a new dress for Sarah. It fits Puppy perfectly.

And when I saw a little outfit on sale a while ago, I snagged it. It arrived today, and I actually had a fight with my 3.5 year old over whose dolly was going to wear the dress. I won. Rowan cried. I wasn't giving in. There was feet stamping. Not saying by whom. And yes, I was slightly embarrassed and it wasn't my best moment, but to be fair, the larger principle was that not everything in the house belongs to Puppy/ Rowan and sometimes other people get their way, too. Honest.
So, Sarah is my Waldorf doll now. Even though when I asked today Rowan only agreed to share her, and only if Puppy gets to wear the new outfit tomorrow. But if Rowan asks, or shows even a glimmer of interest, I'll give her back in a heartbeat!
**Waldorf dolls are also known as 'Steiner Dolls' after the fellow who developed the Waldorf style and phiolosophy of education.

With hundreds of dolls to choose from on the commercial market~ dolls that walk and talk and get a fever and sing and eat... doll so of every colour and shape and size, why a Waldorf doll?

Because they are simple.

With their natural looking cotton skin, wool stuffed bodies and simple, even featureless faces, these dolls stand apart in the childhood world of plastic babies. Made with old world doll making skills and made by hand each doll is one of a kind.Their wool bodies warm up in a child's arms and take on the familiar scents around them. Their simple faces allow the child to determine emotions and to employ their imagination (vs. Susy Talksalot who determines the play with her battery operated chatter). They feel *real* instead of cold and hard (and stinky!). If you drop them they don't bounce or clunk. Their heads don't fall off and their arms and legs can bend, even if it is just a little. Cuddling a Waldorf Doll is much more comfortable than avoiding a kidney jab from a plastic dolly!

There are many talented dollmakers out there, our own 'Sarah' a 16" big girl style doll is from Joyce at Hillcountry Dollmaker, and the Naturalkids Team on Etsy is proud to have a number of wonderful makers on our team.

Dolls can be purchased ready made, or custom with features such as button jointed limbs, weighted bodies, specific hair colour, race, gender and size.

Waldorf dolls make wonderful bonding dolls for infants and toddlers and are wonderful for boys (yes, every dboy should have a doll!).

1. 15" Moonchild Waldorf Doll w/ Wool Barrettes, 2. I3 inch waldorf doll, 3. Coco, 4. cousin 2, 5. Mini-Baby-bones, 6. Root Children Dolls according to waldorf pedagogy, 7. Friendship Doll, 8. Oskar, 9. Narcis
Rowan dressed herself.
She is very proud!Displaying her handmade finery from:
Pants, Katydid Creations.
Tutu & Headband, Trinity's Tutus
Dress, Courtney Courtney
Giant bow (not our style, but great for dressup) was inside a Spotted Box.

Cyndi Lauper would be very proud.
Sunday, 15 February 2009
For Valentine's Day Rowan and I wanted to make a cake and I wanted to try the method of making a colourful cake by adding food colouring to the batter. For this we needed a white cake so a boxed mix wouldn't work (many chocolate mixes are dairy free).

I am completely dairy intolerant and Rowan is finally having some dairy (and egg), but we limit it. I should try more alternatives, but I have gotten so used to being dairy free. Having found, finally (in Canada) a truly dairy free margerine alternative (President's Choice Lactose free version is also dairy protein free) we are still playing with it (does NOT work for shortbread!). Rather than risk it with icing, we used a can of Duncan Hines 'white' (not vanilla which has milk).

So armed with our dairy free margerine and soy milk and good ol' Betty Crocker's (1969) Starlight Yellow Cake recipe (I still prefer a book for recipes) we forged ahead and made a cake! Actually, we made two cakes because we planned to make cupcakes for a party and forgot to buy papers. So we made two small cakes instead (one for home celebrationa nd one for the drop in).Once the batter was mixed, we divided it into three bowls and coloured two (two different pinks) and then poured batter as usual, into our pans.Once baked and cooled (and luckily surviving Rowan's 'helpful' flipping of the heart cake from rack to plate by herself!) we iced and decorated and ate the leftover candies (of course!).(Yes, that is a tutu, boys fleece pj bottoms and a footbal jersey style shirt!)
Having not tried the recipe with milk/butter to compare, we really liked it! Moist (maybe a little too heavy) and lightly flavoured. I think the colour trick would work more effectively with greater contrast in the colours but it was fun and a nice treat!
Saturday, 14 February 2009
And I feel bereft! I actually have things to blog but want my computer and photos! Waaaah!

Happy Valentine's Day, all!

I have been informed by Rowan that I love her today, but haven't loved her all the other days.\
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
I am so glad we are taking Rowan to music classes (note: sarcasm).
I mean, it is wonderful that she goes and enjoys singing with her little friends and learning about rhythms and notes and such (ie piano = quiet, forte = loud).
I especially love that my 3.5 year old can now boss me around in musical terms.

Oh ya.

I am innocently standing at the kitchen counter.
Rowan is in the next room.
She leans around the door frame and demands 'attention':
"I need attention!"
"That means be quiet."
She goes back about her business.
I didn't move, I definitely didn't make noise.
Head pops around again.
"Mommy! piano!"
"piano Mommy, not forte. piano."

Well, alright then.
Obviously those classes are worth every penny.
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Every once in a while I get a comment left on Flickr or made elsewhere about how creepy it is that my felted people have no faces. At first I am a little offended, then I get a giggle (because it is kind of true in a someone-used-to-horror genre kind of way, I suppose) and then I let it go. Because I am happy with my faceless creations!

The 'blank' faces arise from the Waldorf tradition of leaving toys/ dolls with 'open' faces which allow the child to supply the expressions and emotions with their imagination. Which is a wonderful practice and extends both trust and possibility to the child, as well as the ability to more fully direct their own play.

As I have been doing more sculpture, including customs of families, I have become even more enamoured of the open faces.

First of all, I am terrified of making faces! Always have been, whether painting, drawing or felting.

I also know that there is no way that I can create a true likeness of a beloved child's face~ but that if I provide the physical shape, skin tone, hair and so on, the last piece, the mobile, amazing and unique face simply slips into place in eye of the beholder. A mother will render her child's face much more true in the mind's eye than I can do in wool and I love that. I think it is deeply appropriate.

In this way, even as I build my custom figures with their complete bodies (even if parts of this remain unseen!), I do not feel they are complete until they are beheld by the one called them into being~ to the casual observer, the face may be empty, but to the one who recognizes that shape, that tilt of the head and fall of the hair, the face is alive.
Monday, 9 February 2009
At 9 am and 9 pm!
Yarn, toys, clothing, candy... from a variety of talented artisans!
Thursday, 5 February 2009

Two bunnies met and fell in love... and a week later... (cue the cheesy slideshow!)

Reminds me of the trouble we always had with bunnies growing up. No one at our house was very good at determining the gender of a bunny. Everyone thought they knew the males from the females, and everyone thought everyone else had it wrong. Add to that a pair of primary aged twins who loved to cuddle the bunnies and then drop them back into whatever hutch was handiest.... and we ended up with a lot of bunnies.

The strangest occurrence was the mama bunny who had her babies, so my mother took out the other adult bunny who was rooming with her for the moment. About a week later, the baby bunnies were thriving and there was a bunch of new bunnies in the same cage. Somehow pregnant mama had come up with the goods for the not-hers newborns and then raised all the babies.

Or my pet bunny Emerson who went to university with me. He gradually became more and more vicious, up to and including chasing my screaming 8 year-old sister down the hall. When she leapt up on to a chair and then the kitchen table, the rabbit jumped on the chair behind before I finally caught him. (*insert Monty Python-esque 'run away! run away!'*) I called the vet, who said we could neuter him to calm the testosterone driven attacks, but the behaviour may stick. So he was sent, for everyone's safety, to a room-mate's farm. Where 'he', about 3 months later, became the proud mama of 'his' own little family.

Ah, rabbit love, is there anything sweeter?!
(Itty Bitty Bunnies in our Etsy Shop)
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
My husband will probably never tell another story within my hearing.

I lost my voice this past weekend, and Sunday afternoon, while we were sharing a little family time all curled up in the winter sunshine, Rowan wanted a story.

Usually I tell the stories. Now, I am no Dr. Seuss, but I'll do.
Jacques and Fifi's (the French Poodles) fateful journey to the Eiffel Tower is a classic around here.
But no voice = no story.

So, with much coaxing, Andy agreed to tell the story.
A little background: Andy worked for 18 years in community news as a journalist, covering many local news and politics stories, including the ins and outs of town councils.

Throughout the ensuing story, Rowan kept looking at me with a 'get-a-load-of-this-guy' look and a giggle. I behaved myself.

The upshot of it was that George the Elephant ate tacos in town every week.
Then he went to the town fountain to drink (the motive being thirst from the tacos, but this connection was not made by the three year old listener).
The town council got upset with George and held some meetings.
On the third Thursday.
They told George to cease and desist.
So he drank from the town pool (which frustrated Rowan as she knows pool water is not drinkable~ but Daddy would not be dissuaded).
And the town council met again and made George his own watering spot.
And someone (not sure who) gave him a 50% off coupon for tacos.

When it got to the taco coupon, we lost it. Hilarity ensued.
Seriously, a coupon?
Talk about your gripping plot lines for the preschool set~ tacos, town meetings and coupons.

Thank goodness Andy saw the humour, and I have to say I am still giggling about it.
I also have to say I am stuck being the family storyteller, so I better shape up.
Maybe a riveting tale about Alphonse the Monkey and his unfortunate misreading of the grocery flyer or his jaywalking ticket.
Sunday, 1 February 2009
Treasure Reef is the newest playscape at BTRT.

Completely needlefelted with wool onto a base of clean recycled wool (for stability).
The reef measures 8 x 10" at the base.

The reef is alive with the colours and sea life of a healthy coral reef.
There is a sea cave as well as the reef itself and a treasure chest, an oyster shell with a pink pearl and a bendy mermaid, all included. The mermaid is made by Dannielle of Princess Nimble-Thimble.

Plenty of open space is provided to encourage imaginative play. Due to the details on the mermaid, the set is suggested for the over 3 crowd.

This one was so much fun to make, as the various fibers and textures lend themselves so well to being anemones and urchins.
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