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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Saturday, 23 October 2010
Don't miss our giveaway with the wonderful Soule Mama blog!
There is also a discount code good for this weekend only (October 22-24)...
Monday, 18 October 2010
I keep whistling the theme to 'Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings'.
Maybe because we now have a giant chalkboard in our kitchen hall?

I have wanted to do this for several years~ each time I pass down that boring hallway, each time all the pictures fall off the front of the fridge when I open the door. Up to this point, we kept an 'art line' (picture wire and clothespins!) in our family room.  Now that Rowan is reading, it seemed like a good time to create a central communication hub (so I told Andy to get him on board~ really I just wanted to write on the walls!). So I did it.

We used the Rust-Oleum products (magnetic primer and chalkboard paint), both of which are  waterbased and non-toxic with minimal fumes.  You can also make the chalkboard paint out of any colour of latex paint you wish by adding unsanded tile grout.  Since we wanted the chalboard look, we went for the Rust-Oleum tinted to 'Moonstone'.
 I put on four coats of the magnetic paint (the full can) to maximize the 'stickiness' of the wall.  These were applied over the course of  4-5 hours (they dry quickly) and then left to cure for 24 hours. This was followed by 2 coats of the chalkboard paint, four days of curing and then 'seasoning'.  The seasoning meant covering the entire surface with chalk (I had an eager helper!) wiping it off with a damp cloth and we were good to go!
 We have some leftover sidewalk chalk, but we also hit the store and cleaned up on clearance summer products with chalk (Crayola).  I have ordered rare earth magnets as we do find that standard magnets don't quite hold like they should on the magnetic surface (and now instead of things falling off of the fridge, they fall off the wall when you breeze past!).
 My little artist is over the moon!  And the addition of a set of Kid's Magnetic Poetry as a 'new reader' gift keeps her at the wall for hours.  Although, I should mention, that my painting the wall because it was 'boring' had the unfortunate consequence of inspiring Rowan to paint our downstairs bathroom with her fingers in sparkly green paint because, like the wall, it was 'boring'. Thank goodness for washable paints (and she had as much fun washing it off as she did painting it!).

Well you know my name is Simon,
and the things I draw come true,
Oh the pictures take me, take me over,
Climb the ladder with you.

Sunday, 17 October 2010
In Waldorf education, each day of the week has an associated colour, planet and grain.
I love to feature handmade, natural items that would be wonderful to help mark the rhythm of the week at home with your little ones.  Many of the items come from members of Etsy's Natural Kids Team (search: naturalkids team).

Sunday is white.

It is so delightfully simple and inspiring.

From Woolies, Winter the white horse:
Nushkie's fairies are always so lovely:
How about a little white mouse from Fairyfolk?
I want this white lion just for me, from South African artisan mamma4earth:
OK, I want this one, too! Gogeous 17" polar bear by binnebear:
And from the Vermont Branch Company, some fabulous birch blocks:
 Have fun ♥

Friday, 15 October 2010
Fall is my favourite season (have I mentioned this?!).  Crisp air, blue skies for miles and warm sunshine. 

One day after school last week, a friend stopped by on her way to visit her horse and after two years of planning to meet her horse, we jumped at the chance to follow her to the farm where he is boarded.

Heaven.  While I know the thought of a farm fills my husband with terror, it makes me so happy.  Having grown up on and around farms it is home for me.  As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian and I am still an animal lover, a trait which I share with my daughter. 
 The miniature horse, donkeys, chickens and dogs were a delight in the late afternoon sun. But the horses, oh the horses, were divine!  Thoroughbreds and Canadian horses by the paddock full.  Each paddock had a hand painted sign indicating its inhabitants: The Big Mares, The Baby Mares, The Boys. And they were the most affectionate and curious horses I have ever had the privilege to meet.  The big mares quickly gathered at the fence and whiffled hot breath in our ears and lipped our hands and cheeks (horse kisses!) with exquisite gentleness.  Rowan was enchanted.

At one point, I turned my back and she had made her own way over to the 'Boys' (which included a stallion) and my heart skipped a beat as I saw her leaning her full body inside the fence at knee level (growing up we had an almighty respect for 'Sir' my uncle's very large Clydesdale Stallion who kicked and bullied anyone and everything).  The stallion reached down and sinffled his way through Rowan's hair and she laughed in his face causing him to dance back and toss his head but keep his composure.  Standing out among this group was the old gentleman himself.
Licorice, my friend's horse, is 28. He is going from black to grey and he looks like an old man.  She calls him her 'life horse; as they have been together for 23 years, the constant man in her life!  Placed on his back, Rowan's eyes grew wide with wonder (to date she has been too leery to mount the horses we have encountered).  And I remember that feeling of warm body and coarse mane ~ I haven't ridden since a back fracturing accident at age 16~ and I saw the spark light up in her eyes as a horse lover was born.

We spent a little more time just visiting with the horses, and Rowan set about digging in the dirt alongside the mares fence.  One mare was intensely curious and managed to wedge her head through the lowest fence rungs so she could put her nose right down to Rowan's level and check out the building progress, when she tired of this she took to nibbling the ends of Ro's hair and bumping her for attention.
On our way out we met Larry the 200+ lb. pot belly pig and said goodbye to Pearl, the miniature horse.  The farm owner was outside and he nodded at Rowan nose to nose chatting with Pearl and said "she has the touch, Pearl doesn't bother with children", my friend nudged me and said "that's high praise!" and she's right, it is. I couldn't have been prouder.
On the way home, we enjoyed smelling like horses, and there were tears over having a shower because 'we won't smell like horse an more', so I firmly assured Rowan, post-shower, that she stilled smelled like a horse.One more happy memory to add to that scent memory of the smell of horses ♥
Next Friday (October 22), I will be in Oshawa at the Mamas & Chicks Show.  I have free tickets to give away to anyone who might be interested in attending~ just leave a comment with either your first and last name or your email so I can contact you.  The tickets will be left in your name at the door.
There are lots of vendors, both regional resources and clothing, toys and other products for families.  I am bringing lots of natural toys, along with tees from Daydream Believers and would love to see you there!
Friday, 8 October 2010
We made our annual trek up to the 'lookout' this past week.  It seems we went a tad too late as many of the branches in our vista were bare, but it was stunning, anyway!  We brought along our town's new funeral director (who is also the youngest daughter of a dear friend and classmate of mine from theological school) as it is always fun to experience the view through new eyes!

We live in a highlands region in Ontario's 'near' north ~ meaning not nearly so far as the true north (strong and free), but north enough that city dwellers 'down south' think we are at the end of the known world.  Our winters are terribly long, and the months of November and December are desperately dark (dusk is falling when the kids get off the bus!) but January usually brings a hard, deep cold and a sparkling sunshine that lasts for a couple more months, and the growing warmth of the sun is bliss (when you are out of the wind off the lake).
All of this means we treasure each beautiful autumn day with its brilliant clear blue skies and low sitting sun.  And the colours, well,the colours in our forests are simply divine.
Our trip up the hill is always an adventure.  This year, Rowan carried a bag and collected many found treasures on the way.  Twice we moved quickly through the overwhelming pungent scent of bear spoor, reminding ourselves to 'look big and scary' should we meet the depositor (there have been nears in town already this fall,and here we were in the woods!).  We spotted some 8 different types of mushrooms and found what looked like hull-less acorns, glowing green with purple spots (iphone camera was not up to capturing them).
 We brought along the dogs.  Archie was surprisingly delighted with crashing through the brush for a herding dog.  Hooligan, of course, was in bird dog heaven but had to remain on leash almost the whole hike due to the lack of brain combined with the sheer drop off along which the path winds, separated by only 10 feet of bush.
You can just feel Hooligan's enthusiasm for the view, can't you?
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
In Waldorf education, each day of the week has an associated colour, planet and grain.

Wednesday is yellow.  This time of year, yellow makes me thing 'harvest gold' ~ not so much the old appliance colour, but the warm, rich, mellow yellow of autumn abundance~ the yellow of the changing leaves in our highland hardwood forests.  The bittersweet yellow of the tamarack trees, the 'last lights of the forest'.

Searching throught the listng of Etsy's Naturalkids Team, (and then further afield) I found some lovely warm golden gems!

From seller Miuddy Feet, felted leaves:
Yellow Mandala window star by Harvest Moon by Hand:
 They may not say 'fall' but the colour was right, and ohmygoodnesstheyarecute! by Living with Art:
Nova Scotia shop Tizzy Bee calls it like it is, with their pure beeswax:
An ingenious brooch made with recycled felt and zipperss by Woollyfabulous:

And finally, how sweet is this yellow fox made from an upcycled wool sweater? by Driaa:
Monday, 4 October 2010
When I was expecting our daughter I stumbled across the book 'Snuggle Puppy' by Sandra Boynton on my first tenative foray into the children's section of the bookstore.  It made me cry and I brought it home.
In those long days of waiting for Rowan to arrive, I would sit in the nursery and read the book aloud to her. I would imagine what it would be like to meet her and read the story with her in my arms.

Fast forward to today.
Rowan's reading skills are blossoming and she has put together the phonics with the sight reading and is doing well~ my favourite part is that she is SO excited about learning to read and is reading everything she can (labels, signs, mail...). 

Tonight, with only a little help (and ok, yes, she knows the chorus parts by heart!), she read Snuggle Puppy to me.

And again I was moved to tears.

OOOO Snuggle Puppy of mine,
everything about you is especially fine!
I love what you are, I love what you do!
Fuzzy little snuggle puppy I love you!
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