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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Monday, 30 March 2009
My Shadow and Me opens its virtual doors today!

We are offering instructions and templates for creating fun, simple shadow puppets at home. Hours of creative play for all ages... take a peek!
Saturday, 28 March 2009
My daughter's name is Rowan.
Our business name , of course is connected (it is actually a line from an 18th century Scottish Canadian poem).
I have written before about the meaning and richness of this name.
I have several lovely jewelry and art pieces with rowan branches on them (these are a couple faves):
'October' by etsy seller krisblues
A lovely custom pendant by KeelyB
My tattoo (July 08)~ I joked that my next child was going to be named 'flaming skull' or 'Mother' so I could get a nice tattoo for them, too!:And now I am waiting for the arrival of a new piece by the amazing artist behind lulubug jewelry on Etsy~ the green portions are concrete! How cool is that? This was a custom design and I have been so happy with the artist and the process:
Isn't it gorgeous?!
Just had to share! LOL
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
I started my business dyeing clothing for kids. I really love dyeing but when I discovered felting, and found my heart was really in toys, I made the tough decision to let it go from the business.

I really enjoy teaching (and do a lot with my professional work)and writing tutorials is a nice challenge and a way to share accumulated experience and knowledge.I have finally completed a tutorial for dyeing~ particularly the rainbow that has been so popular for BTRT. The tutorial stretched to 10 pages (20+ pics) including instructions and many tips and tricks. It is a very thorough intro to dyeing for those who may be new to procion/ fiber reactive dyes (stuff I wish someone would have told me when I started!) and a complete detailing of the process to create the rainbow pattern which more experienced dyers may enjoy as well.

It is now available in the Etsy shop int he tutorial section: BTRT Rainbow Dyeing Tutorial.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
(This is a follow up to last night's post).

When Rowan got up this morning she asked what was happening today and when I told her (neutrally and lightly) she was going to see her sitter for a half day I could *see* her worry. I then told her I spoke to the sitter and we worked it out.

Rowan brightened immediately and asked "She'll just open a window?". And when I said yes, and that she should tell the sitter if it is bothering her and ask kindly, Rowan grinned and started bouncing around happy and asking to go right away for the WHOLE day!

I was floored. I had no idea that this had really been weighing on her and it was like the weight lifted off her shoulders. Boy, this is going to be a tougher job (this parenting gig) than I thought it would be, in ways I never imagined!

She had a fabulous time with the sitter and can't wait to go back for her day next week.
Our daughter is very sensitive, and we are trying to honour this trait. Working together on this is actually really helping her with a few issues we were just not 'getting'.

Before Andy lost his job in the fall we had the most amazing babysitter 3 days a week. A total gem. Rowan misses her and the sitter, who is an older lady, is at home every day and missing Rowan. We have finally worked it out that we think we can swing one day a week if Rowan goes *to* the sitter's house (gives Daddy a break).

The problem is Rowan doesn't want to go. Which is odd. I asked her why and at first she said "I don't want to tell you" and then she finally said the house smells and she doesn't like it. Oh. The house *does* smell~ the sitter is a diligent housekeeper with a love for scented products (we use none as I am very sensitive to chemicals). I left it alone and asked her a few days later about going.
She replied, "it's stinky, though!".

And this became, without my expecting it to, a difficult parenting moment!

Rowan is booked to go this afternoon to try a half day. I couldn't put it on her to tell the sitter or try to resolve it (she is only 3.5 and how would the sitter reply to a kid telling her her house stinks?) since it really does bother her and I don't want that poo-poo'd by a well meaning adult.

So I had to call this lovely, house proud woman and tell her my child thinks her house stinks.

That was awful! Mortifying. But I needed to let her know that it bothered Ro and that should it come up maybe they could find a solution (like open a window). I am still kind of shocked I did it, but I knew I couldn't leave it on Rowan and it really does bother her and affect her willingness to see someone she loves. This won't change the scents in the house, but hopefully it will respect Rowan's feelings, not hurt the sitter's and enable them to work out a compromise (and perhaps model openly talking about our concerns for Rowan?).

That was hard and the people pleasing part of me is still in shock!
Sunday, 22 March 2009
A little something new!

We wanted to find a way to share the fun and simplicity of shadow puppetry with others in a do-it-yourself and affordable way~ so we have launched (or will be launching on Wednesday) a new shop: My Shadow and Me. Offering a tutorial to get you started and a variety of easy-to-use images to download~ no shipping and you can mount a grand theatrical performance in just a few hours! Perfect for days when you need a new activity!

Open ended, child lead, imaginative play~ the very best kind!

"Life is gonna be we-wow-whee!
For my shadow and me!"
Friday, 20 March 2009
I am so inspired and moved by the stories and ideas shared by all of the entrants. My husband would lock up the silk if I tried to give one to everyone, I wish I could! Thank you all for your lovely ideas and I plan to do an article for the blog and my newsletter sharing your amazing playsilk visions, there were a lot that were new to me (I may also have to re-write my info insert, too).

The winner, drawn randonly by an internet number generator (how exciting, huh?) is Hajni.

Again, thank you all, I am so touched (and if you are reading this and feeling lost~ read the comments on this post).
Thursday, 19 March 2009
I am only 35.

But I feel like my grandma when my mom would get out the video camera in the 80s and Grandma would stand still and pose with a cheesy grin for the 'picture'.

My 23 year old sister has informed me that our mother texts better than I do. So she couldn't make sense of 'hummus needpodcast fing thing 2'. *I* knew exactly what I meant!

I bought myself an iPod nano. She is orange and her name is Clementine. And when I plugged it (er, her) in to my computer, she got filled up with the music on my computer (which admittedly I didn't even know was there, that is hubby's department). Yes, I have an iPod and my music consists of: Roger Miller (King of the Road, Dang Me and more!), Raffi (x3 albums) and "I'm Spending Christmas with a Dalek" by the GoGos.


Since then I have managed to find some music, a book and a few podcasts. If you have favourites, I'd love to hear, especially the podcasts (minus the hummus).
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Last night we hit 900 sales at BTRT on Etsy
*happy dance*
Shooting for that top sellers list at 1000!
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Yes, I have a problem. A wonderful exploding wooly problem.
The problem is that the leaning tower of wool was taking over our rec room and my innate desite to organize was being muffled by limited space.

I kept trying to make it look smaller than it was, to stuff things into drawers and boxes and hope no one would know the extent of my problem.

But no matter how good you are at making big things look smaller (!) it is pretty darn hard to hide ten pound boxes of wool on an end table measuring 2 x 3'.
So I gave in and turned over one wall of our dining room/ sunroom to the addiction.

And we are all much happier!
Now I just take a basket, shop the wares and fill it with what I might need and then put it back away when the project is done. I can see what I have without unpacking everything else. I have finally admitted that this is a big part of my life and I am letting it all hang out! Woohoo!

And the best part? There is so much more space to FILL!
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Who loves giveaways?!
We are giving away one 35" square playsilk, dyed in the colour(s) of the winners choice.
We will ship it anywhere.
We want to know how you (and/or little ones) would play with a playsilk!

To enter:
  • Visit Beneath the Rowan Tree on Etsy.
  • Take a peek at all the playsilks and find the colour you like best.
  • Come back and comment with your colour pick AND what *you* would do with a playsilk.
Contest runs Saturday, March 14th - Friday, March 20 at 10 pm.
Winner will be drawn randomly from among the qualifying comments.
Please leave a way to contact you when you leave your comment.
Friday, 13 March 2009
We started out to paint our wooden nesting eggs from themercshop on Etsy. But since we had the paints out, I went sifting through my stash of supplies for more wooden things and unearthed 4 wooden mini bowling pins (available at most craft/ hardware stores that carry wooden craft pieces).

Jackpot! A little more digging and we had the makings of some very cool bunnies!

My assistant is 3.5 and a bath after the painting phase and few reminders not to flick her brushes and we were good to go. Of course, I handled sealant, scissors and hot glue.
Our nesting eggs are pictured here, too (also a cool craft!).

  • mini wooden bowling pins (sample)
  • acrylic craft paint & palette
  • brushes, sponges etc.
  • craft felt (white and pink, or whatever you like!)
  • scissors
  • glue gun
  • fabric glue
  • sealer/ varnish (we use non-toxic/ water based exterior sealer)
  • paint cloth, water
  • cotton balls or wool roving
  1. Give the bowling pins a base coat of white paint to seal the wood.
  2. Put out all your desired colours in a palette (available in most craft stores for $1 or so) or pie tin. Choosing 4-6 will be plenty of variety and still manage the mess. Line up brushes, small sponge pieces or other painting tools with your cup of water and paper towel or paint cloth at hand.
  3. Paint the bunnies! Hint: paint the 'body' and let it dry, and then paint the neck and head for ease of handling. Also remind kids to hold the pin as they paint it (Rowan refused and our wet bunnies rolled on the floor in the dog hair!). In our case, we painted their bodies and heads, let them dry and then I added the faces and tummies.
  4. Seal with water based sealant and clean up paint supplies. At this point we broke for a bath to get rid of the paint!
  5. Plug in your hot glue gun. Cut out ears from white felt. We made one ear and then used it as a template for the rest. Counting ears was a great math exercise! Cut out inner ears frompink felt using same method.
  6. Using a fabric glue / white glue, attach the inner ears to the outer ears and then hot glue the ears to the back of the head. Tear up your roving/cotton and hot glue on the bunny tail.
  7. Voila! Hop on down the bunny trail!
Approx. time (including prep time & bath!) 1.5 hours.
Definitely a number of grownup jobs, but enough to keep a preschooler busy, too. Rowan did the multicolored bunnies (I just did their tummies/ faces) so there was a high satisfaction level for an easily frustrated kiddo, too.
Have fun!
Thursday, 12 March 2009
A while back I connected with another Flickr user around some questions she had about dyeing.

Her dye results were fabulous and then she shared that she makes soap.

Well, 'soap' seems a little too small a word for these works of art she creates and sells locally (she is in Ireland). She sent us a couple to try and they are incredible~ a delight to the eye, nose and skin!

I know this is a tease, I want to respect her privacy, but you have to see these!
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Preparing for Friday's Easter Basket Stockingat BTRT.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009

This Friday, March 13th at noon, Beneath the Rowan Tree on Hyena Cart will be stocked with 4 Easter Baskets full of goodies for auction. A mix of BTRT items and other natural toys: playsilks, Twirligigs, felted balls, itty bitty critters and more!

There will be a basket for the boys, girls, babies and one surprise.

One stop shopping for Easter~ safe, natural, handmade!
Sunday, 8 March 2009
Today is a lovely, sunny day typical of this time of year. But the wind off the lake, also typically, is very cold. Combine this with honeycombed ice, melting snowbanks, salty sidewalks and a yard full of winter presents from the dog and outdoor play is a challenge. We have a nice sunny bathroom, and in search of a novel activity, I set Rowan up in the dry tub with her paints and brushes. The only rule was 'not on the shower curtain'. She has happily passed an hour painting the tub walls and calling for a rinse when her canvas was covered (while I spun up some fiber for a new kid's purse design). Before rinsing each masterpiece, we took a piece of newsprint and pressed it against the art work to save an impression for our art line. Note: the first piece made the best impression as leftover water on the surfaces made the others a little runnier.She is now happily up to her neck in bubbles rinsing away the last of her art project (an activity that could easily stretch into another hour if we don't mind a shriveled prune for a child)!
Friday, 6 March 2009
Today was the World Day of Prayer with a focus on Papua-New Guinea (did you know they have over 800 languages and 1000 cultures, wow!) and the work of women there for justice and against poverty and oppression.

My task (volunteered) was to bring some sweet potato snacks to the luncheon following the service.

With my usual aplomb, I purchased the yams yesterday morning, presented them to Andy with the request for sweet potato chips. The man can cook!

So here is what he did:
  • Sliced yams very thinly (now asking for a mandolin slicer LOL)
  • heated the oil in a deep pan and dropped in the sliced yams
  • let them cook until a deep golden colour began to bloom on them
  • removed to a layer of paper towel to drain, sprinkled with paprika and sea salt
  • some experimentation was needed to get temps/ times just right and ensure a crispy chip
And they were a mega-hit with the (mostly) senior ladies I thought might turn up their noses~ they kept returning to the bowl until they were gone and asking for the recipe. I know we are going to make some more this weekend (we thought we'd have leftovers, LOL).

I am not sure that they were very representative of the food from PNG, but they were tasty!
Thursday, 5 March 2009
The seam on her socks makes her toes 'fligged'.
She has a brilliant imagination and impressive vocabulary ~ at home~ in the world she is quiet and hides behind her imaginary world of characters.
A regular routine, meals, sleep are a must.
Tears flow for movie animals, strangers and simple things that touch her heart.
Movies are generally scary and books have that potential~ I screen for content and even then get surprised.
Making a decision, heaven help us.

Sometimes I hear my mother's voice (and the thoughts of those like-minded!), that we are too soft, she needs a good spanking.
Sometimes I worry about this amazing, ethereal, hilarious child who seems to shut down at odd times or withdraw unexpectedly.
Sometimes I think I am going crazy with this easygoing child who goes through spates of extremely controlling behaviour.

How much is normal kid stuff? How much is being 3? I was so relieved when someone pointed me in the direction of The Highly Sensitive Child~ reading the jacket alone, I was like 'THAT is my kid!'. Now I am not quick to label, nor do I want to do so, but with school approaching and trying to imagine how this kid who is eager to go is going to manage when the teacher reads a book with her scary animal of the moment in it, or what happens when she shuts down, covers her ears and hides because her drawing of the number two has been corrected from 'the way *I* do my twos'.

So, I have the book, along with Raising You Spirit Child for good measure and have started reading in hopes of what is promised~ some skills to help a sensitive kid be healthy, strong and keep her delightful, sensitive spirit intact.

I'd love to hear from other parents of sensitive kids or be directed to resources!
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Today was a big day in our house.
Rowan drank a glass of milk.
Cow's milk.
And she was so pumped!

And it was a bigger deal for me. An anxiety inducing, scary mom moment, actually. Yes, over a glass of milk.

I am completely dairy intolerant, my brother is the same~ it is not an allergy but a total intolerance which includes trouble breathing, migraines, GI stuff, joint pain and so on. Both bro and I had it as children. It disappeared only to return in adolescence and worsen ever since.

So when Rowan showed a reaction to dairy the moment she was moved to formula at 6 weeks, she was flipped to soy, same problem. We spent the first 2 years completely egg, soy and dairy free. It was tough since most dairy is replaced by soy and we don't have access to a big city with these sort of options within several hundred km.

At 3.5 she has been on soy for a year since the allergist confirmed she is not allergic, although she may be intolerant. Same goes for egg and dairy but she was still reacting. Flash forward to the last couple months and Ro has been having bits of dairy and egg in things like a cake with no problem.

Good stuff, right? Absolutely. So why the anxiety?
I had postpartum depression which took 9+ months to diagnose. And my issues/ struggles/ anxiety surrounded feeding~ dehydration and jaundice and breastfeeding struggles after birth lead to majorly guilt inducing quitting of breastfeeding (that is a whole other story) which lead to dairy reaction and the onset of fairly nasty reflux (GERD) in Rowan that lasted until about 18 months and still shows up in texture issues with food. No real biggies, but enough to play into my PPD from the night I spent sobbing in the hospital with my non-responsive/ non-feeding newborn until well into her second year of life.

So here we are with a healthy 3.5 year old drinking a glass of milk.
And I think I am as excited as Rowan is, because it is a step forward to letting go and not putting my issues on her, even as it opens up her ability to share freely with her friends in simple delights like an ice cream cone.

She proudly put the milk on the track at the grocery store and declared she was going to drink "milk that comes from a cow". And I took a picture of her with her very first milk mustache!
I am working on stocking more Twirligigs™ for Easter. What is it? Basically a silk streamer on a wand... but with a few BTRT touches.

We use a 5' silk streamer that is 12" wide~ this prevents the tangling and knotting sometimes found in the thin streamers traditionally used, making it a great toy for toddlers who can't handle the trip factor like the bigger kids can. Add lightweight but durable hardware that allows the silk to swivel (again to prevent tangling). Finally, a sturdy 12" wand is added~ hand painted to match the silk and sealed with a water based/ non-toxic finish.

We love 'em. Since they don't work if you don't move, they are a wonderful toy for encouraging dancing, running, spinning and burning up some of that kid energy indoors or out.

I am always a little slow getting these out because they require sewing and while I can sew (used to have a dog collar business, quilt etc.) I am staunchly keeping my machine away~ every time I take it out to do these I think... 'oh, I should get some fabric and..." that way lies insanity! BUt I have a batch done and will have more in the next few weeks for Easter!

The pieces that are currently finished will be stocked at ::FRESH:: on Monday, March 9th. And there is one rainbow twirler in stock now at Etsy.
Monday, 2 March 2009
...but I don't really 'get it'~ I keep thinking there must be some central place or purpose (and there isn't, which kind of blows my mind!).

SO I am trying it, but the self-centred nature of it, combined with the lack of real dialogue or community building is rather antithetical for me. I mean, I am not that interesting, and I don't know if, in 140 characters/ spaces, anyone else will be either (which isn't an insult, just the truth of how little you can really know someone in that little 'tweet'). I mean, when I am signed in, I can't even find a Twitter home page which isn't *mine* and that makes me nuts!

I'm going to give it a fair run, to see what it is all about, but I can't be alone in my reservations or bedfuddlement!

I am if anyone wants to help a girl out LOL
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