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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011
It is a miserable, dangerously icy day.
It is also eeriely beautiful.

This is the first 'snow day' of our long winter season~ as our life goes, I got Rowan up and ready for school without ever looking outside. We were running late and she has been sick for days, so we pushed to get out the door... only to go sliding across the porch.

Well, we had made it that far, so we pushed on.

While today lacks the stunning beauty of a snowy January morning, bright with sunshine and ice coating the trees, it does hold a quiet beauty, accumulating as the sleet and freezing rain continue to fall.  I snagged the camera and snapped a few pictures of our front garden... the one I should have sheared off, but I always enjoy the interest of the black-eyed Susan and Yarrow heads in winter.

The ice transformed these dull, dead remainders into jewel toned beauties...
 Look at all that ice!
The hardy geranium frozen in its fall hues...
The yarrow I thought was just a drab brown...
And even the grass is transformed!
The forecast is calling for freezing rain turning to accumulated snow overnight.
The time has come to make sure the generator is gassed up and to settle in to a little bit of winter ♥♥
Thursday, 24 November 2011
As our last week of sales for the year approaches, we are offering a store wide discount!

We close shop on or about December 1st to ensure holiday delivery for all orders (since we are in Canada).

From November 24-28 you can save 10% on your whole order, including already-on-sale items.
Just enter the code THANKS10 at checkout and the discount will be applied.

Be sure to checkout our Holiday Sale section for great prices (reduced as much as 50%)~ I need to move out inventory to make ready for a fresh start to the new year!
Beneath the Rowan Tree on Etsy
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
It's all about me tonight.
Actually, I am just behind on blogging and bogged down in copious silk dyeing for holiday orders, so I stole this idea from Crafty Minx, who not only has hands identical to mine, but a super cool blog with a Crochet School ~ my December goal is to learn to crochet.
Sweet Print by Six Under a Tree Studio on Etsy.
So here it is...
A. Age: 38,  think. I always have to do the math. My husband turned 40 yesterday, so right now, I am happy being the one who isn't 40 yet.
B. Bed size: Queen. On the side that gets the view of the lake and the sunrise. When we lived in the city, I always wanted to change bed sides with my husband. He refused. So when we moved here, I kept my side, which just happened to be the lake side (score!).
C. Chore that you hate: vaccuuming. I can't even spell it.
D. Dogs: Yes. Murray the Four Pound Fury (Papillon) and Archie the Sheltie are the latest.
E. Essential start to your day: A snuggle with my girl and a snooze button.
F. Favourite color: All. How can I choose?
G. Gold or Silver:  Meh. Silver I guess.
H. Height: 5'6" although i still dream of being 6' tall to improve my height:weight ratio.
I. Instruments you play: I played the French Horn for 7 years but I am mostly tone deaf, bad choice!
J. Job title: Ordained Minister, well, title is technically "The Reverend" which is an honorific more than a title, as in, "This is The Rev. Lori" and not "Hey Reverend! How are you?". Doctor is a title, Rev. is an honorific. Ask Emily Post. But I digress.
K. Kids: I am in favour of them. And I have one.
L. Live: Small town, 'Near North' region of Ontario.
M. Mother's name: Jane. Unless you want to make her mad, then you call her 'Debbie Jane' a name she rejected in Grade One.
N. Nicknames: I was Low for many years to certain people.One colleague called me Lo-J. Rowan is currently calling me Snuggleface.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Hmm. Whooping Cough age 5 (mean nurses!), Gall Bladder age 25, End of pregnancy and post-partum age 32, Breast Reduction age 35 (yay! but mean nurses!).
P. Pet peeve: lateness
Q. Quote from a movie: "That'll do Pig"
R. Right or left handed: Right.
S. Siblings: Oh, yes. One sister, one half sister & one half brother (twins), another half sister, two step sisters and a step brother.
T. Time you wake up: Alarm goes off at 7:22, I hit snooze a few times...
U. Underwear: sure.
V. Vegetable you hate: Brussel Sprouts. Little malodorous brains. Ugh.
W. What makes you run late:  Nothing with a will to live. But generally marriage and motherhood... slowest. family. ever.
X. X-Rays you've had: neck/spine (broken spine), many, many ankles (all mine), chest.
Y. Yummy food that you make: guacamole! and those cereal bars with peanut butter and corn syrup that can be made dairy free.
Z. Zoo animal: Yes, please!  Although I am partial to the monkey named Chili we met this fall~ after a long drive to the zoo, during which Rowan and I discussed the source of various meats~ beef, pork etc~ we got to the zoo and the first animal we saw was Chili the monkey. The look on her face was PRICELESS. "Is that where chili comes from? Monkeys? Ewwww!".

There! I did it!
Feel free to add your own sordid alphabetical tales to the comments or your own blog!♥♥
Friday, 18 November 2011
You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right.
 ~Maya Angelou
As winter begins to shake out her snowy robes around us, we begin to settle into our house after a season or two lived out of doors. 
In our part of Ontario, we expect wintry weather from now until late April.

With this on my mind, perhaps it is no surprise that I was thinking of little houses and the comforts of home!
And so inspired, cobbled together with silk and wool and cotton... some sweet little houses.
Perfect for gift giving and house warming!
And if there was any question that winter was on its way, the scene outside of my window on Thursday morning, following our first snowfall,  removed all doubt! 

The birds are stocking up, already making good use of the feeders we have begun to fill again.

My favourite, the bold little Chickadees, who stay close all winter long:
 A foursome of raucous Blue Jays took charge of the feeders for a while:
The Jays made such a mess, picking through for their favourites, that one very self contained crow found a feast on the ground, while a few Canada Geese also checked out the area.  And then, to my surprise (looking for the suet) came a lone woodpecker:
By the end of the morning, the first snowfall had melted away, the birds were full and I had some little houses finished.  Not a bad way to spend a sunny November morning. ♥♥
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
I don't know about you, but I love toys.

Sort of like Sy Sperling wasn't just the President of the Hair Club for Men, but also a client.
That's me.
I make toys and I covet other people's toys.

Today I thought I would feature some of the amazing natural toys that have caught my eye in the past little while, and invite the kid in you to enjoy them, too!

1. Waldorf Wooden House, by Twig Studio Kids.

2. Guardian Dryad + Two Gnomes, by Rjabbinik.

3. My Village, by Syko.
4. Spinning Top, by Urban Turn.
5. Herb of the Month Club, by This Cosy Life.
6. Wool Snails, by Muddy Feet.
7. Custom Waldorf Doll, by Fee Vertelaine.

Monday, 14 November 2011
Welcome to part five (and final) of this series of informational posts to help parents and family shop for playsilks for the little ones in their lives As the holiday season approaches and you look for long lasting, beautiful, natural playthings, these posts can help you choose quality silks.
playsilk, play silk, waldorf, guide, help, explanation, explain, natural, toy, natural toy
You will find the past posts here:
Part One :: Why Playsilks?/ Is it Silk?
Part Two :: Quality
Part Three :: Size Matters
Part Four:: Of Colour & Dye

As you may have realized, I am a little passionate about playsilks.
Unabashedly so.
My latest calculation is somewhere nearing 12 000 pieces dyed in my sinks, in my kitchen, in nearly 5 years.
And every single time I get out the dye pots I am excited to see what happens!
Silk is a gorgeous, versatile, durable fabric.
As a tool for children's work of play it is definitely an investment.
But dollar for dollar, I guarantee that a single playsilk will outplay and outlast most other toys.
It will become a standard part of a child's play, used in myriad ways that we grownups cannot imagine.
It will last through years of play.

Our tagline for our silk is: "Endless possibilities, just like a child's imagination."
And we mean it.

{{You can check out an article about creating a more natural 'toolbox' of toys for kids (Declutter & Save Money) and the skeptical parents of boys might want to take a peek at our article about silks for little boys (be sure to read the comments, too!) and the amazing potential to release them from the narrow world of wheels and guns.}}

As a natural fiber which involves a fair amount of hands on human labour and care (not to mention hand stitched, hand rolled hems) silk is not a cheap fiber.
But like wool, it has merits that warrant the price tag.
It has qualities that are unsurpassed by any other fabric.
When you factor in the durability and long life of playsilks, across years of evolving play, the price tag begins to make more sense.
Add that many, many families are trying to simplify their lives, add more nature and reduce plastic clutter, again, the playsilk is a powerhouse alternative.
The price of silk has nearly tripled in the last five years, along with other natural fibers.
Silk is generally imported from China and India where the silk industries are ancient and integral to the culture and economy of these nations. Very little silk is produced outside of these regions.

At BTRT we ensure that our silk is ethically sourced from manufacturers who practice fair labour and sustainable husbandry.  Our dream would be to work one to one with a manufacturer of tussah/ peace silk (a process in which the silkworms are not destroyed, in order to achieve a vegan acceptable product), but this remains out of reach right now!

Our silk is priced to reflect the cost of the materials, time invested in creating each one of a kind, dyed-to-order piece, experience, quality and the fact that we strive to earn a living wage as artisans.

When shopping for silk, and making price comparisons take all of the information into consideration~ not all silk is created equal~experience and consistency can add a measure of reassurance when purchasing something sight unseen, and to last throughout a childhood!

All of the information in this series can help you make an informed and confident investment in tools for your child’s work of play.       

And no matter what size or seller you choose, you will be making a choice of something natural and beautiful for your kids.  I guarantee you they will be delighted with their gift and bring delight to you as well when you see them hard at play!
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Welcome to the Playdate (#30)
Everyone is welcome to link up to this post all week long with your
kid related posts ...
recipes, games, crafts, parenting, stories...
just think of it as our virtual play group!

Grab a button and join the fun!
Beneath the Rowan Tree

The Playdate Guidelines:
♥ Add your link and thumbnail below and please visit some of the other links and comment.
♥ Your posts can be old or new, we welcome your best! (no more than 3 per week, please)
♥ Consider adding the playdate button (above) to your post or sidebar, or even a text link back to this blog ( ~ you don't have to, but it sure would be sweet ♥!
♥ ANY kid/ baby/ family related posts and ideas welcome... but please no shop links, promos or giveaways.
♥ I will feature my favourites from the playdate in next week's Playdate post (choosing from those who have added our button or link to their shared post).
♥ Become a follower of this blog, if you wish!
♥ Hit the Facebook or Twitter buttons below and share with your friends!
Friday, 11 November 2011
We ♥ stones.

I am regularly exasperated with my daughter, who, since she could crawl, has collected stones (and stuffed them in *my* pockets).
She shows no signs of stopping.
We keep a basket at the front door for her 'collection'.
Every once in a while I release some of her captives back into the wild.
stones, painted, paint, story, story stones, nature, craft, activity, storytelling, kids, children

But how exasperated can I be when I consider my own collection of beloved stones?
From the large doorstop sized pink granite and quartz stone from the Northwest Miramichi River in New Brunswick which my husband curses every timeher stubs his toes on it in the dark..
To the satisfyingly egg shaped purple rock with a blue and yellow stripe that has sat on my desk for many years, my touchstone for prayer and contemplation.
To the tiny pebbles in a rainbow of colours, collected on an Atlantic beach on a foggy day at low tide and lovingly glossed (with clear nail polish!) so many years ago, that sit in a dish on my bookshelves.

The kid comes by it naturally.
And she has a great eye... these are a few of the real beauties I found in her basket..
I just wish that she would stop filling her backpack with several pounds of grey stone chips from the school yard on a daily basis, claiming themto be dinosaur fossils that she simply must keep.

A while back I spotted the Story Stones at Red Bird Crafts.
And I was smitten.
Stones AND stories in one? Sign me up!
Simple pictures or words, added to stones to be used for storytelling.

Rather than use paper to applique images on stones, I hauled out my paints and made some simple images on the stones.
You can use paper, fabric, permanent markers, ink and stamps or paint to make your images.

Seal them with a quick coat of Mod Podge.
 How easy is that?!

As my daughter is in Grade One and a precocious reader, I decided to make a mix of 'noun' stones and 'verb' stones.  For the verbs, I used the simple root which will allow her to use in the tense and form she needs.  For younger children, picture stones alone will be sure to spark imaginative storytelling!

When Rowan arrived home from school she was thrilled with her basket of colourful stones.
I suggested she choose a few and write me a sentence or two, which she did, gladly.
What a great way to encourage writing practice~ especially for a kid with ADD who sometimes needs a 'hook' to make a routine activity more challenging and interesting.
After writing we played a game where we each drew a stone from the basket and told the next part of the story, having to incorporate the word or image we had chosen. After that, we lined up the stones and made a story using the stones in order to build the narrative.

I hope to continue adding new stones~ particularly those representing her list of spelling words each week to sneak in a little extra practice.

Such a simple and wonder full idea... go do it!♥♥
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
As in I thought this would be easy.
yarn, wrapped, letter, yarn wrapped letter, tutorial, how to, how to make, diy, craft, pattern, word art

I have been admiring the various yarn wrapped words and letters out there, a current trend.
So I thought I would try it out as an excuse to use up some more of my yarn stash.
And be trendy (ok, really, I am so not trendy, but I can live with that!).

And it was hard!
Maybe because I had the letter 'R' with its odd angles and roundy bits?
Or because I decided to use up some 'thick and thin' handspun I have kept for a couple of years with no idea of how to use it?
Or maybe I just really stink at this craft.

All you need is a letter and some yarn.
A hot glue gun is always a good idea.

Simply glue down the tail of the yarn and start wrapping.
When the letter is done, stop wrapping and glue down the tail.
 Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
•  Change your kid's name to something that starts with a lowercase 'l'
•  Use a more uniform, finer yarn like worsted or DK weight
•  If you have a small opening like 'P' or 'R' you will need a small enough ball of yarn to fit through the opening (ask me how I know...)~ if you have a large ball or skein, simply wind off a smaller ball for this portion.
•  Use the glue gun on the back to aid with tricky corners and curves.
• PLAN how you will cover the letter, which parts need to be covered first in order to allow you to finish tidily and cover all areas without backtracking. I should have done this!
•  Did I mention, use the glue gun?!
•  Never ever trust a tutorial that has more tips than instructions. Just sayin'.

It wasn't that bad.
I probably would have ditched the whole thing, though, if not for the serendipitous discovery of some Spiral Blossoms (make your own HERE) in my unfinished work basket.
More hot glue and the finished project turned out not too badly after all.
While I was busy wrapping, Rowan created new collars for the dogs.
As she is reading over my shoulder as I type (she should be in bed), she asked that I share her craft as well.
Poor Murray is being a good sport in his new collar (1 part glitter, 1 part glue, 1 part fabric)~
Archie refused to be photographed.
Spoil sport.  ♥♥
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
I sort of love hedgehogs.

Over the past five years I have made them in a wide variety of ways...
Purses and pins...

Wobbly toys...

Itty Bitty Critters... (oh, the many itty bitty hedgehogs I have made!)

and the Hedgehog Ball, still one of my best sellers. This picture shows the standard sized ball amid a prickle of much larger balls which are in the Please Touch Museum, as interactive toys in the Alice in Wonderland world.
But recently I hit a crisis in my hedgehog love.
I met one.
And while she was adorable to look at, holding her was particularly unpleasant, like cuddling a cactus.

So today I thought I would refuel my hedgehog passion by finding some sweet hedgies on Etsy to share.

1. Henry, the Embroidery Floss Holder, by Giggle Snort Society.
2. Hedgehog Booties, by Funky Shapes.
3. Hedgehog Pin, by Hana Letters.
4. Hedgie Finger Puppets, by BTRT.
5. Hedgehog Sewing Pattern, by Little Hibou Shoppe.
6. Pink hedgehog, by Chipmunk Cheeks.
7. Clay Hedgehog, by Iktomi
Sunday, 6 November 2011
Pretty trees for Christmas, or all year through...
Grab the kids, the scraps and the glue and dive in!

I first saw this craft on Pinterest (not hooked yet? come on over and see!) as a craft from the blog H is For Handmade.  What you see here is Amy's idea, with a few changes to make it kid friendly and a couple of extra touches, BTRT style.

You can make your trees as fancy, or as simple as you like.
Colourful? Coordinated? Classic?
You decide!

Children as young as 2 will enjoy sticking on fabric with glue.
Give yourself about 90 minutes to prep, do the craft and clean up.
The children's portion of that time will be about 20-30 minutes, tops.

•  Fabric scraps, cut roughly 0.5" wide and 1.5" long
•  One small square scrap for a stump
•  Tacky fabric glue
•  Canvas board, cardboard or other stiff backing
•  Scissors or rotary cutter
•  Glitter paint or other background paint (optional)
•  Ruler & pencil
•  mod-podge or acrylic spray coating (optional)
•  Buttons or other embellishments (optional)~ and hot glue gun
•  Acrylic paint for border (optional)

One:  Cut your fabric scraps.
We used a 9 x 12 canvas board, and cut our strips to 0.5" x 1.5" (roughly).
We sorted them by colour into small bowls to keep them organized.

Two: Paint your background.
If you choose, paint your background.
I used a clear glitter paint for a subtle effect.

Three: Draw your tree template.
Using your pencil and ruler, create a triangle tree template on your canvas.
I left approx. 2" at the bottom, below the line, and 3" at the top, from the peak of the tree.

Four:  Begin to attach pieces to the tree.
Attach your stump first, and then work up the tree in levels.

Don't worry if your pieces are not exactly lined up with one another!
Turn the pieces slightly at the outer edges to create the triangular shape.

For young children~ make a line of glue and invite them to attach their pieces in a row.
 Five: Paint a border (optional).
In the original craft, the maker added a frame at this point.
We decided to leave ours frame-less, but to paint a border instead.
You could also make a border with ribbon, sequins etc.

Six: Seal the fabric.
As we chose to leave our trees without a frame/ glass, I sealed them with a generous coat of mod-podge to prevent the fabric from continuing to fray at the ends.
I don't have a picture of this step, so I thought I would share what i found in my  (crafting, not sewing to sell!) scrap box when I went to clean up....Hello Murray!

Seven: Embellish!
Keep it simple with a star on top...
Given the current craze for anything with buttons, we topped ours with buttons and added a few more buttons as tree decorations (using the hot glue gun).
 This is one of those crafts that are very satisfying for grownups and children... as the end result looks great whether you are 6 or 38 (as in this case!)~ Rowan's tree is in pink, and mine in blue.  She chose and attached all of her fabric and placed her buttons on her own. In the end, she was very proud and I think we will make a few more for teachers and friends this year.

Have fun♥♥
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