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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Signs are all the rage right now. 
(if Etsy & Pinterest have not steered me wrong!)
And what are a crafty girl and her faithful BFF to do, but get on board?
Thrifty style.

This project began last spring, during a particularly unseasonal heat wave.
A flurry of pinning and a pooling of paints and various tools, and we were ready to roll.

{{I will post an actual DIY / how-to post for the "Learn Something New" sign soon!}}

We just needed some wood.
Michelle, my partner in crafting crime, picked up some scraps from a local Muskoka Chair building factory.
But what we really needed was a trip to the dump (also known as the local zoo... the perfect place to get up close and personal with bears!). Leaving the combined children with a non-crafty friend, we hit the wood pile at the dump. And boy, did we score big!

Along with various boards and old cupboard doors for signs, we also snagged a couple of wooden stepladders and an antique chainsaw box. We *really* needed one of those. Ha.

Finally, over the Christmas holidays, I finished my last project from our dump diving adventure (which was followed by our power saw adventure, but I will share that on the DIY post!). Two of my signs were made with pine shelving which I distressed, and the others with reclaimed wood from the dump.

So here is the round up of my projects, and one of Michelle's:
Distressed pine, hanging in our homeschool space as our motto.
Distressed pine inspiration for my daughter's room.

Michelle's Mother's Day sign, the 'zebra' texture was part of the charm of this old cupboard door.
Mother's Day gift for my Mom, from an old cupboard door.

And the piece I finally finished after Christmas. 
This one was worked onto the shape of the scrap piece of wood, as it was.
And based upon a painted door from Portugal.

I had planned to hang it outside on the house, as we have a sheltered porch, but with our upcoming move, I still need to find a place to hang it~ perhaps outside the new studio (*wink wink* our Kickstarter project for that dream is coming soon! Isn't it tricky how I snuck that in?!)

There is just something about house motifs that I *love*!
I'll get cracking on the DIY post~ I learned some great techniques for lettering and aging wood that I am looking forward to sharing with you. ♥♥

Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Hope is a passion for the possible.
  ~ Soren Kierkegaard

My theological roots are showing.
And well they should be.

This past Sunday I resigned my ministry positions, 
with the intention of not moving to a new position when I finish in June.
I will still preach and serve and be available for leadership within our region, as needed, but I will no longer be a card carrying, pension contributing, full time minister in a pastoral charge (our United Church of Canada version of a parish).
Which is what I have been for nearly 20 years.
So hope and passion and possibility have loomed large in my mind and heart this past while as I sought direction and practiced discernment of call.
And the result is that I have, in Etsy lingo, 'quit my day job'.

Which means that come June, we will be moving out of the church manse, into our own home:
a 90 year old rural schoolhouse ~lots of character, lots of possibility, lots of work
I will continue to homeschool our 8.5 year old daughter, an arrangement that works well for Rowan, 
who struggles with the effects of Tourette Syndrome (+ OCD, anxiety, SPD).
She is a bright and eager student (well, except for subtraction about which she is decidedly less than eager), and the teaching challenges and rewards me as a parent, and a learner, too.
(And Rowan is saving up her money for her own flock of chickens... another new venture!)

While my husband is trucking long haul, I will be able to explore the possibilities of working much more fully on and for Beneath the Rowan Tree from our little home in the woods of Northern Ontario and in the midst of the small community which we have grown to love.
That is a whole lot of possibility.
It is the fulfillment of hopes I couldn't have imagined for myself a few years ago.
But here we are, grasping hold of the possibility and leaping into... well, just leaping!

Since we have gotten this far, and I am kind of getting into this groove 
of dreaming and working towards the dream, 
I have a vision for Beneath the Rowan Tree.

As many of you have been participating in our TOP 8 COLORWAY extravaganza in the last week or so, you know something is up... 
I am working towards translating our 8 most popular colorways from silk to yarn.
Adding yarn to BTRT opens up many possibilities.
But the one I am MOST passionate about is creating a line of natural fiber yarns that are geared towards use in children's toys, garments and accessories ~ drawing on my years of dyeing natural fibers (silk, cotton, bamboo, wool) and our deeply woven-into-the-fiber-of-our-business philosophy that childhood is a time of wonder to be nurtured AND that there is deep value in bringing children into contact with nature and natural materials which root them to this earth and it cycles.
Part of this vision is to have a space to do this creative work in a professional way, but also a space to teach others, adults and children, the joys of working with fiber and colour and one's own creative spirit
This project is the beginning of creating a studio space as a place of business and, more to the heart of it, as community space.

Towards this endeavour, and faced with the challenges of living in a rural area, I am working to create this studio space within the home to which we are moving (I have dyed thousands of pieces of silk in our current kitchen, but it is impractical and in our new kitchen, simply impossible!). And after much thought and research, have decided to open a crowdsourcing campaign through Kickstarter next month

Pursuing the passion for the possible, I am opening up my dream to you and others who may share the vibe to join in with your support as I share back with you some great rewards for your contribution.
The project scope will be the creation of a line of 8 yarn colorways, offered on a variety of bases in sock, worsted, worsted superwash and bulky wool and wool blend yarns. To get there, we are converting a screened in porch to a studio & teaching space, with a professional dyeing set-up.
I will share more about the project as the pieces come together over the next couple of weeks.
For now, I invite you to think about it, share your thoughts in the comment and to come on out and vote Thursday and Friday for the last of the Top 8 colorways which will be added to the new yarn collection.
Voting is happening on our Facebook Page.
Thank you for 7 wonder full years, here's to many more!
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
This week we are voting to determine the VERY BEST colorways in our extensive collection of hand dyed playsilks and silk toys.
And we need YOUR input!

The basics of this project are HERE or just scroll down.

TOMORROW I will be announcing our exciting new project, 
for which we need the best of the best among our colorways.  

Last week, readers helped cut 18 choices down to 12.
There were 6 clearcut winners for the first 6 of 8 slots.
These 6 are already in our Top 8...

The remaining 6 colorway are being voted on this week, to fill the last 2 slots.
Yesterday, over 75 voters (wow!) made their preferences known:
Summer Berries  (28.21%)
Mixed Greens  (20.51%)
Good Earth  (16.67%)
Fairy Tale (14.1%)
Autumn Maple (11.54%)

Heart of the Fire (8.97%)
And Heart of the Fire burns out and leaves the competition....

To enliven the competition we have appointed several 'Colorway Ambassadors' 
who are working hard to keep their faves in the top positions...
Be sure to check out their work~
Donni from Fairy Folk & The Magic Onions
Becca from Mama West Wind
Kristi from Tickety Bu
Amy from The Mindful Home
Serena from Heaven's Earth

So why not come and play and cast your vote today?
You will find pictures of the remaining silks AND the poll through our Facebook page:  

Comment or 'Like' the post on Facebook to get updates throughout the day
and be included in various chances to win prizes and discount codes!

So long Heart of the Fire.....

Tuesday, 7 January 2014
We are working towards an exciting new project here at Beneath the Rowan Tree
and we want you, as our community, to join in the excitement as we get ready!

We are so grateful to all who have supported our small, family business over the last 7 years as customers, contributors, cheerleaders and companions on this journey as we all seek to find ways to connect and create a gentle, creative and compassionate childhood for our little ones.

This month, as we ramp up for our new project 
(sit tight... details are coming over the next few weeks!) 
we want you to be involved in directing its course. 

Follow the blog (left hand column) 
and join the Facebook page to stay in the loop as things develop!

The first thing we need to do is choose our very best colorways  
(a silk colour combination of two or more colours) for the project. 
Best is, of course, subjective! 
So we have tallied up our bestsellers, along with a few personal favourites of mine (dyer's privilege!) 
that are newer but showing promise.

•••The challenge this week is to reduce this list of 18 contenders down to 12.•••

And then the heat is really on~ to pick the 8 very best colorways!
For that stage of the process we have some wonderful guest 'Colorway Ambassadors' 
coming on board to rally support for their personal picks from the top 12. 
Pretty cool, huh?

Know what else is cool?
We have prizes! 
Lots of silk and other natural goodies to give away
and rewards for the supporters of the winning colours as we go!

What to do?
♥ Vote ONCE in the poll below.
♥♥ In order to win a prize, please leave a comment on this post, sharing your choice and why you chose it.
♥♥♥ Get a friend to vote, leave a second comment! And then do it again for more chances to win!

For more playsilk pictures & information click HERE.
{{Winners will be drawn randomly from all comments.}}
Prizes will be at the choice of BTRT~ something handmade and wonder full!
Winners will be announced here and on Facebook. 
Worldwide participation welcome. 

The Top 18 Contestants



And now you have to pick just one! 
(and leave a comment to win!)

VOTING is now closed! Thanks to all who participated... next round voting coming on Monday!

Monday, 6 January 2014
Every year we try to create handmade gifts for the ones we love. 
This year was no exception.

Here is a round up of our creative efforts for the season,
as well as links and some input on how well various projects worked for us.

{ (Us = Me + Rowan, Age 8) }

Pardon the pictures~ I have not been in blogger mode
and have fallen off with my photography!

We started out with some clay ornaments.
The tutorial called for polymer clay, but the cost was prohibitive.
We found Crayola Air Dry clay in 2.5 lb tubs at 40% off at Michaels.
It worked wonderfully and we had SO much fun playing with it...
we may have gotten carried away...

We started with birds (original tutorial on this adorable site).
For some reason I didn't get pictures of them finished {oops!}.
The instructions on the site were excellent.
We finished them with glitter and pearl paints,
and strung them on jewelry wire with beads.
{don't you wish you could see a picture?!}

Rowan made snowmen for everyone, inspired by THIS project.
The air dry clay worked well, although we did have to glue some of the body parts together
once the clay dried.
We used Sharpies for the faces and added yarn scarves.
There may have been a song all about balls
sung by a child during this process.
Here is a very evil looking collection of the snowpeople + dogs.
yes, those are DOGS.
While Rowan crafted her undead snow army
(and Dr. Who fans know just how terrifying a snowman can be!)
I worked on an impromptu mermaid:
And finally, I was commissioned to produce a dragon for Daddy~
I sculpted, Rowan painted and finished.
And I did mention getting a little carried away...
...the result being these monogrammed 'Bracelets of Catan'.
(You are either thinking 'huh?' or 'cooool' right now, I know!)

 We experimented with Shrinky Dinks this year.
Overall, we produced a lot more losers than winners.
We will definitely try again with the 'rough and ready' translucent version
which allowed us to stamp and use pencil crayons over the white which would only take solvent or dye inks and Sharpies and smeared easily and shrunk more/ darkened to nearly impossible to decipher images.
I have a large stash of small stamped images that worked well for earrings,
Rowan drew some by hand,
and we purchased backs and posts on Etsy, along with some lucite roses.
A little E6000 adhesive and we were good to go!

I also managed to finally complete this Pinterest inspired shadow box:

To make some hand dyed silk ribbon wrap bracelets for some cool boys:

And to hand dye the yarn and crochet the hat
to match my sweetie's winter coat:

Whew! No wonder we were exhausted come Christmas
(not to mention church and family commitments and Beneath the Rowan Tree's best holiday season yet!)

Every year I wonder if it is worth the effort to make all of the gifts that we do...
but then I realize that I spent a lot of time thinking about my loved ones
as I made things for them~ a much better investment in our relationship than a gift card rung up at a cash register in a minute and stashed away.
Plus, I get to spend the creative time with my child sharing laughter, ideas and memories.
And songs about balls, which, no matter how grown up you may be,
are just plain funny.

What did you create for the holidays? ♥♥

Saturday, 4 January 2014
Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.
Pedro Calderon de la Barca

In Waldorf education, each day of the week has an associated colour, planet and grain.

Friday's colour is green.
Here in the frozen north we are surrounded by white and brilliant blue.
In a deep freeze (-40C without the wind chill), we are definitely longing for the tender greens of spring!

Keeping a weekly rhythm of colour in season leads to all sorts of wonderful finds, and today I want to share with you some gorgeous greens made with natural and eco-friendly materials for play and home.

one: Toy Dragon in Nest, by Sweet Bauer Knits
two: Leaf Fairy Baby, by Gingerlittle
three: Toadstool Babies, by Radish & Ruth
four: Wooden Cactus Trio, by Woodenful Toys
five: Spring Green Playsilk, by Beneath the Rowan Tree
six: Sea Turtle, by Eve's Little Earthlings
seven: Mother Hen with Chicks, by Hudson Valley Home

Enjoy ♥♥
Thursday, 2 January 2014

Nice to see you here.

So, it is 2014.
And my poor blog has been languishing...
and now I feel that sort of awkwardness like when you see someone you haven't seen in a long time
and you *should* have kept in touch.
That sort of newsy but shy feeling?
That's me.

So, hi.
Whatcha been up to?

Me? Oh, this and that.

Let's see...
  • I am still homeschooling our daughter (now almost 8 1/2), with lots of changes and challenges on that front.  We are using Sonlight curriculum (starting Core C) and really enjoying the homeschooling process and lifestyle. Lots I can write about parenting, schooling and life with what we now know is Tourette's Syndrome. And horses and karate and curling and so much more good stuff, too.
  • my husband has become a long distance truck driver, which is pretty cool, but definitely brought many changes to our home life!
  • we had to say goodbye to our Sheltie, Archie, last summer but have welcomed Boudicca (Boo) the Bouvier into our lives and she has restored my love of dogs and the human/ canine bond. Murray, the Papillon, continues to strain that bond on a daily basis.
  • we bought a HOUSE! We aren't moving at this time, but we did buy a small house about 15 minutes from our present home (church supplied manse/house). It is a 90 year old schoolhouse on a beautiful treed lot out in the woods. We are having lots of fun dreaming and planning renovations and decor.  You can see my thoughts on Pinterest (
  • we are planning to launch a line of Beneath the Rowan Tree yarns (hand dyed, of course) and fibers in 2014 and have some exciting things lining up for this project~ follow us on Facebook to stay in the loop ( ~ there will be opportunities to give your input and support as we go along!
  • and, I plan to whip this blogging thing back into shape! Tutorials, articles, guest posts, contests and more to come...
 Hopefully something in there piques your interests and will encourage you to share/ join/ enjoy the BTRT community this year.

Do you have ideas for posts?
Leave them in the comments, your input is always welcome!
Happy 2014, old friends!

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