Saturday, February 19, 2011

What Men Are Good For

My electric beaters broke and my wrists felt too sore to beat the eggs by hand. Fortunately, my husband had a solution!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Geeky Valentines

I packed my kids off for school on Valentines with cookies for friends. Then my husband and I rushed to the bedroom and...ate chocolate while making Dungeons and Dragons characters. Hubby has this great plan to introduce the kids to "Warcraft on paper" (he figures this is how to explain it to the modern sensibilities of children). From there, when he saw me making the children little needle felted Valentine's ladybugs, he said, "What about me?" I figured he wanted ladybugs, but no, he wanted a Dungeons and Dragons Beholder, first edition style. Here's his belated Valentine's present!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Real Snow and Wishes of Spring

After boring my kids silly telling them that we never get any real snow, we finally got some. You know, the stuff that the dog can barely wade through and that invites hours of snow angels and fort making. But i found myself dreaming of spring despite having wished this snow for the children. I made this gentle little spring celebration doll for my Etsy shop and tried to imagine the gentle breezes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Let's Give Nova Scotia Some Love

What a beautiful, fun, creative province we live in! Everywhere, I meet talented musicians, artists, business people and people-people! Yesterday, I checked my e-mail and saw I had the delightful news that some great folks on Etsy started up a team for Nova Scotia named 902 Hustler (actually, I wonder about PEI because I think they are area code 902 as well). I looked at the shops in the membership, and there was so much to see! You can give them a visit here. Blueberry Bay Photos also made a great treasury to give a sampling of the talent I'm talking about (just click on the link). You should visit her shop, too, while you're at it. I've used a couple of her photos for treasuries in the past: they're stunning!

I just added another treasury for the team as I needed to cheer up in this weather. It's spring inspired! Click here for spring cheer.

Friday, January 28, 2011

More Winter fun

It's been ice and snow and cold all around! My poor rooster frost bit his comb, so I've been keeping the chickens in, and we've been in a lot more, too. The kids have been in tennis and some ice skating at the rink, but I was so much wanting them to get to skate outdoors. We were going to go skating at a pond by the beach, but the ice wasn't ready and the wind was bitter cold. I did get to take some nice, moody, gray pics of the beach, though.

At last we had some good skating conditions a couple of days later and the kids went skating on a flooded puddle in the woods. They did OK, and the woods were a lot more sheltered and pleasant.

Our rabbit, who used to be a house bunny (litter trained and all that), wasn't very happy when we adopted our dog, Tucker. A couple of months ago, we moved him to an enclosure in back of the chickens. He quickly burrowed under the coop, and now he has the run of the yard and a warm place to hide. he's been playing a lot with the cats and the chickens. this morning, the rabbit and our cats were all playing around the swimming pool, which is frozen over. I've got some cute pics of the three of them. Charcoal is the rabbit, and Socks (black and white) and Diamond (gray) are the cats.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nonteam Treasury Challenge

Every week, I've been enjoying playing the nonteam treasury challenge on Etsy. Here's how it works: The winner of the previous weeks challenge gets to enter an item from their shop as the inspiration item, and the contestants build up treasuries using a theme inspired by the object. I's a great win-win situation because people promote each other, meet each other and have fun with a creative challenge. The link to the blogspot is:
Anyone can join the fun!

I got featured in a fun treasury for this challenge by Stone Savvy:

Here's my treasury that I just completed for the challenge:
It's all about things meant to be together: Moms and babies, wine and cheese (mmm!)and happy couples.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Words of Wisdom from my 10 Year Old's Spelling Sentences

"We get feed to feed our chickens so they do not die"

True, true... And in return they feed us with lovely eggs.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Here's my latest creation for Etsy: a needle felted black lab.  I wanted to tell you a bit about its inspiration: our dog Tucker.

When we moved out here to Guysborough County, we found we had a common link to the three siblings who had sold us the house.  One of them had a son whose then fiancee I had once babysat. (It is an amazing fact about the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia that you can travel three hours along its coast and find connections between yourself and a few people in any given community.  An amazing small world phenomena, along with that while living in Alberta I still manged to bump into people I know from the Eastern Shore.)After getting over picturing this girl full grown and not eight years old, I also learned that my neighbor's son was funny, creative, a good person to have as a friend and that he had been blind since his late teens.  Tucker was his very faithful and hard working guide dog.  Tucker was getting on in age (he just turned 10) and wasn't up to guide dog work anymore due to his arthritis.  His owner was trying to find someone to adopt him that was home more often than not and that would be OK with him visiting his old friend once in a while.  And that's how we came to have Tucker.

Now he gets to be happily retired, watching chickens, going for leisurely walks in the woods and being my artistic muse.  Isn't he lovely?  I couldn't do him justice.

Wisdom in my 10 Year Old's Spelling Sentences

Last night , my son wrote this sentence from the word "keep" in his spelling list : "My Mom keeps the house very clean so we don't get any rats".  If you did not know me, you would think I was either very tidy or very fearful of rodents.  Actually, I am definitely neither.  I keep the house clean enough for safety and sanity, and that's it.  There are so many more interesting things to do with one's day than clean the house.  And I rather like any wild animal for what it is.  I don't really have any expectation of animals other than they will do what they must to survive and that the abundance of survival strategies is amazing.  This spelling sentence is really a reflection of living in an old farm house.  Here's the background:

Last year, we bought and moved into this over 100 year old house.  We found a mouse peering at us from the front door step the first day we came to see it, and after buying it we found several (dead) mice and voles in the wastepaper baskets.  Now a word about voles:  people living in more urban locations never seem to know what I mean and correct me, saying, "Don't you mean moles?", to which I peevishly respond,"No, moles are insectivores, like hedgehogs are and voles are rodents, closely related to muskrats and lemmings".  Now you know, too, if you didn't, and you can look them up all over the internet as they are a pest to farmers. (They ate everyone's cucumbers out here this year and much of the carrots, too).  Anyhow, once we moved in, we saw no more signs of little creatures, so we thought they were gone.  We underestimated the hunting skills of our cat.  Once he (sadly) was hit by a car, we realized there were certainly rodents about the house.  The kids couldn't stand the idea of us killing them, so we got a live trap that kept going click, click, click several times a day as the little critters got in.  It started with a few mice, but then many, MANY voles.  My children thought I had gone mad because one morning I thought I had even seen a groundhog.  Well, whatever it was, it was huge. Huge guy got trapped eventually, and it turned out he was an exceptionally large vole.  I've since found out on the net that they can continue growing nearly unendingly if they have sufficient food and space.  Lovely. The saving grace was that the voles didn't appear to climb, consistently seemed to only go after potatoes and carrots (and once I figured this out I just put them up) and at least they didn't seem as gross as the rats my son so wisely sited in his spelling sentence.  But, I didn't want them in the house, so we got ourselves two new cats.

For the most part, the cats were chasing them into the live trap rather than hunting them directly (maybe they wanted to keep their paws clean), but the cats ended up doing something far more valuable.  One day, our cat Diamond (then 3 months old) chased a vole across the kitchen floor.  In front of my disbelieving eyes, he stopped running, stood on his hind legs and swatted toward the kitten (he didn't quite make contact) and then kept going.  Stunned at his behavior for a moment, Diamond paused, then continued to give chase, and I then followed them.  The little vole ran into the porch and then dug his paws into the porch floor before I could catch him.  I told my husband, who promptly ripped up the old rotting floor and replaced it with some plywood left over from chicken coop building.  Since then, NO MORE VOLES.

My conclusion from all this:  The reason my son wrote that I clean to keep the  rats at bay, and not the voles, is that the only thing to do with voles is to have a sturdy floor and a CAT.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Beginnings

I celebrated my birthday last week and it's had me thinking of beginnings. This past year had many. We bought our first house and way down the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, blissfully far from the city. In this past year, we've learned to brew our own wine, we've begun raising chickens, and I've adjusted to the switch from full time health care worker with a stay at home Dad for a husband, to the other way around. This has afforded me the time to work on my art second to full time (the full time job being mothering three very busy children) and to open a shop on Etsy. I thought that maybe one of my new beginnings this year could be sharing what this transition to working with children, church, community, chickens and reams of wool and silk from previously working full time in a large facility in Halifax has been like.

Back to the birthday: I once again had the delight of making my own cake. Honestly - I love being responsible for my own cake because I am insanely picky about them. I made a walnut torte from the amazing cookbook Nourishing Traditions. I don't ascribe to eating this way as a lifestyle (I definitely eat a lot lower on the food chain on a daily basis for one), but there are lots of delicious real food recipes in this one. I had to separate six eggs to make this cake (it was rather more of a meringue), and I looked into the bowl that I had separated the yolks into. They made a beautiful, sunny flower and i just had to take a picture.

The weather was cold but kind of wonderful in that wintry way that keeps the children busy. I took some pictures of them sledding with our dog, and our chickens, who decided to brave the snow.

I ended the day sharing a glass of home-made wine with my husband, and finishing this fuzzy little bunny that i put up on my Etsy site. Altogether, a really great beginning of a new year.