Friday, 2 December 2016

Nostalgia and Wistful Thoughts Today.

Our intense cleaning is done. Until we have to clean again, because wishing with all your might that the cobwebs will stay away, doesn't mean they will.  The good part is that now we can clean little bits at a time instead of the entire house at once.

And for me the fun of dusting off old treasures from the storage room begins. I feel nostalgic as each item has certain memories that are attached.

I am emotional also because I am tired.  I am emotional because a lovely family we know has lost their beloved, young 19 year old son, tragically.  I am emotional because sometimes I struggle living in a beautiful house and having beautiful belongings.  Like I'm not sure I deserve to have.  I struggle having when many don't have.  

My thoughts run deep and heavy these days.  

It's a snowy, winter day outside and so inside I am trying to create comfy corners.  Places where company can come and relax and visit.  Corners where I can think and ponder and be creative.

This is what I found in my storage room today. Table cloths from sisters.  Candle holders.

Come over for a bowl of soup sometime.  You will be welcome to sit around our table.  A table my brother made when he was in high school and the same table my hubby D renovated many years later and added the benches.  My mom has had this table in her kitchen since I was very young.

I love doilies.  They are part of a dying art.  

My hubby D built this tea wagon when he was 14.  That makes it vintage!  I love it.

These items were bought in Israel.  We went on a trip there many years ago.  The amazing thing to me was that family friends took us.  As in financed the trip for us.  As well they gave us a handful of film to take as many pictures as we wanted and some spending money.  This little tea set is special because of their generosity.  The wooden camels come from Bethlehem.

This is our little common area upstairs where we relax in the evening.  It gets all cozy up there from the wood stove heat.

I have so much to be thankful for.  

I want to be intentionally generous this season.  I will think of ways to share.  I will try my best to be kind, to listen well, to feel the pain of others, and help them carry their heavy load.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Light at the End of the Tunnel.

Our days are consumed with cleaning it seems.  Our beautiful house is big and kind of empty with just two of us living in it.  Actually we are currently camped in the basement while we clean and repair after 6 years of renting.  It is taking some time to get everything back in order.  The interesting thing about moving is that life continues on.  One still has to eat and sleep and relax.  

We are determined to make sure we take care of ourselves in this process to ensure we don't get sick or hurt or exhausted.  So everyday we make a plan.  We do our stretching and exercises.  We eat well.  I have been using the crock pot almost everyday for nourishing soups and bone broth.  We have been spending time foraging for food as it is more expensive here.  If I find discount veggies I have been freezing them and building up some stock for the winter.  For the first time in 6 years I have a freezer again and so I am grateful for the ability to preserve food.  We try to go regularly for a walk and get away from the work for a bit.We also try to have a quiet time each day to think and ponder to pray and be grateful, to listen to the Bible.  This is all helping us survive this great transition in a healthy and positive way.

It is about 20 years since we started building this house.  My hubby D always dreamed of building his own home and I was not going to stand in his way.  He did most of it himself.  He learned a lot about physics as he maneuvered 400 lb timbers around in his shop, planing them and preparing them for assembly.  I helped and our kids helped and at times friends and family helped too.  During all the house building we parented and lived life and were active in our community.  Our three kids grew up.  Bit by bit the house got built.  It's not quite finished but we are excited about the projects to come.

Meanwhile, because we were away for 6 years, we have some catch up to do.

Every surface needs to be cleaned.  Floor, walls, windows, ceilings and all sides of every timber and brace.

I am thankful for my strength and tenacity.  Sometimes I wish for more but I am doing my part.

I am so thankful for a partner who is smart and capable, healthy and strong.

From upstairs looking down.

It has been fun cleaning the bedrooms that our kids were in.  We are officially empty nesters for the first time in 32 years.  We have many great memories to cheer us along.

I decided to set up our office and craft space in one of the upstairs bedrooms.

One of my sisters lives nearby and had a crafting project she is working on.  My little space worked perfectly.  

Two minutes away from our home is a canal where we walk.  It is so beautiful there and therapeutic to be in nature.

I recently added a few more play mats to my Etsy shop.  Crafting is something I need.  It balances me I guess.  I sometimes struggle as an artist or crafter but I am still compelled to try.

You can check out our shop HERE.  My daughter and I have a little shop we manage, if you would like to have a browse.

While I haven't been able to actually move furniture into our home yet, I have enjoyed a few beautiful touches.

I am grateful.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

A New Chapter

A new chapter is beginning for my hubby and I.  We recently moved back to our property in the forest.  To the house we built on the side of a mountain.  A house surrounded by trees and bordered with a creek on one side.  It's fairly isolated.  Quiet, calm, mysterious. Nature all around.

After living in a small city for six years we are back and still getting used to the strange but familiar.

We see people we know, we know but can't quite place them or we remember a face but not a name.  We are back in a small town where much has changed and much has not changed.

The house my hubby and I and our kids built was never quite finished and we want it to be finished. It deserves to be finished because it's beautiful.  There are memories here of our kids growing up.  Blood, sweat and tears, literally, went into this house and land.

So we are here.  Preparing to hibernate for the winter.  3 cords of wood has been chopped and stacked in the wood shed.  Food is being prepared for the freezer.  Plans for all kinds of indoor work are being formulated.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Wet-felted Play Mats - Imagination Explosion.

The girls at the daycare where I work love felting.  I introduced this craft to them a few years ago and we all still love getting together to create.  Recently we had a needle-felting workshop and the girls were amazingly adept at creating little story props and children's toys.  They made balls, mushrooms, hedgehogs, turtles, dollies, birds, mice and boats.  You can see some of the items adorning the wet-felted play mats below.  

We talked about how effective these little characters are at story time.  As the educator models how to use the story mat and accessories the children can soon use the items themselves in imaginative play. Along with needle-felted items I like to include "loose-parts" on the play mats as well.  Sticks and stones, chestnuts or conkers, pinecones and glass gems are some examples of things that suit this type of play invitation.

The next workshop we had was to make wet-felted play mats.  I usually like to do these on a Saturday morning because they are more labor intensive and take a bit longer.  However, being as it is the summer here, the vote was to reserve week-ends for free time and do the workshop during the week.  Everyone was a bit tired but they all created amazing story mats!  Some created theirs with an actual story in mind and others made theirs to be used any way the child imagines.

This little mat has a lovely cave for the mouse to live in and a gorgeous river running through.  Notice the needle-felted mushroom and turtle which transforms this mat.  Some stones carefully placed make this mat so inviting.

This mat has an open-ended concept and can be used multiple ways.  Right now some unique and colorful mushrooms are placed by the flower garden and some farm animals look right at home by the pond.  There are little tree cookie "trees" on the side with a drilled hole and a piece of greenery inserted.  

This colorful fall mat is based on the story of the Little Blue Truck.  Complete with a mud puddle the children are sure to enjoy this mat for many hours.  This play mat also has a tree cookie tree!

Here is an example of loose parts on a play mat.  There is so much thought provoking ideas available to the children here.

The children in the toddler room never tire of Old MacDonald and his farm.  The beauty of this play mat is that it could be used for other things as well.  Maybe insects would be at home here or it could be used as part of a forest or garden exploration

This quaint mat was created based on the story, "Who Sank the Boat?".   Can you see the tree stump on the bottom left corner?  There is a little mouse poking his nose out of the little doorway.  As well, a river and a cave provide interest.

I was very proud of everyone for their hard work and great ideas.  I know the children will all benefit immensely from the storytelling and the imaginative play that these felted mats provide.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

One of our Daycare Yards.

Our toddlers played outside for three hours this morning. Outside time is very important to us as educators because we see the positive effect it has on the children.

 The post today is featuring our top yard where we spent most of our time.

Temperatures hit 32 degrees Celsius today so it was especially nice to be in this particular yard given the generous shade provided by the pine trees.

Our yard was recently up-dated with a lovely plank fence.  The children can easily see into the yard down below.

Years ago the volunteers built a log cabin and an awesome wooden truck that has traveled many miles and carried many a load in the back.

This is the view of the actual daycare center but mostly I was admiring the many trees, many shades of green, home to many birds.

This top yard has numerous swings.  This one is homemade, literally a large piece of cloth the children hang in, push off and twirl around and around.

A tire swing that has room for three to sit or stand.  Lucky today they had someone to push!

And a cozy hammock swing that is good for a little quiet minute.

Talking of quiet minutes, there are places in this yard where one can sit in the grass and ponder.

A little water can add complexity to the children's play and learning.  Pouring, scooping from one bucket to another and what happens to the sand that went in there?

Little rivers are fun to step in and jump over!

Today I just let the hose run and the children used the water how they wanted.  Cleaning off a friends shoes for example.

Our large sand box is well used.  From this vantage point the children are surrounded by nature.  

Driving the old wooden truck.  I wonder where she is off too?

Room for two.

These two are in a ferry boat going to an island to visit Grandma and Grandpa.

Hope you enjoyed the tour.

And this is just one of our yards!  Lucky kids!