Hope you are all well and enjoying the rising of the sun. I have been feeling very content with a general good feeling about times to come. 2017 was a very big year for ourselves and my family and I am so excited and honestly just motivated this year!
This winter has been strange as anything. We have been bombarded with frigid temperatures that keep you inside for days. Breathing is difficult, my lungs grasping for air in the face of arctic winds! The river was completely frozen. Just the other day, as I was walking Henry through the fields to the river, I saw snowmobiles in the middle of the river, darting all over the ice like flies on south-facing windows. We even saw some seals hanging out, lazing on the ice in the sun.
Today – today was 13 degrees Celsius… fog rolling up the river that has completely melted. My boots sink in the mud and the animals need to be wiped down with a towel when they come inside. We took advantage of the lack of ice and mild temperatures to bring wood in today. Tonight we are expecting freezing temperatures again and for the foreseeable future. I would love a good snow storm…
I just wanted to share with you a couple of photographs from the past couple of weeks! I have been totally absent from social media and strangely excited to get back into the swing of things. I will have to ‘upgrade’ this website soon and hope to just be more active with getting my art available again. I have been busy working at the central library branch in town and just other things that I don’t even know really! I feel like I’ve been saying this for months but I honestly sense a change.
And I apologize for the overload of Photographs!! Tomorrow I plan to post again so I can keep up with having more trimmed and neat posts that consist of one central topic (like this weekend – oops might be a little broad but less so than pictures from the last 3 weeks). The Etsy shop will be updated tomorrow along with this little blog here of mine).
Thank you everyone so much for your time and positive thoughts. I wish you all a very blessed New Year, full of creativity, joy and peace!! I’m so excited to share more with you and hope you enjoy one of my favourite renditions of favourite medieval song : )
How are you all! I am currently sitting at my kitchen counter, taking a break from making pizzas to finally post my last experience with plants, gardening and herbalism of April 2017. It has been a beautiful past week, the sun is shining right into the window before me, bathing the plants and warming my soul. The wind has lost her bite and is back to being a good, powerful ally. One of my favourite friends.
This week has been extremely busy and I am happy to finally sit down and not have a million things going on in my head at once (Although, I might still be buzzing – still need to finish those taxes… sigh). We have been graced with the most refreshing rain (that Henry and I got caught in yesterday, drenched to the bone!), such pleasant warm temperatures and just a general blissful attitude in the midst of a little bit of chaos.
WHY have we been so busy? Well, I am knee deep in garden working – sowing already potatoes, onions, kale, spinach and wildflowers, collecting natural fertilizer from the sea, planting trees, working with the indoor seedlings as well as just other general things. Aside from that, which obviously is only limited to certain times of the day – our washing machine broke. Yes, it is a 12 year old machine that came with the house when we bought it. I felt rather stressed since we absolutely need a washing machine and the price to replace one is not cheap. Moreover, the room in which our washer and dryer are hooked up is reached to by going through our upstairs bathroom (probably once a hallway to the room). Well, the previous owners must have had the washer installed and afterwards, installed a corner shower in the bathroom because the shower blocks about 5 inches of the old door (I’m sorry if this is confusing! It’s an old house and some things just negate common sense since these houses were not built for showers and washing machines!). Our solution? We tore out the shower with the intention of redoing the whole bathroom (it needed to be done at some point, why not now?). So, our first renovation job for our house is coming a little bit earlier than anticipated! Thankfully, our new washing machine arrived yesterday, so I can finally, finally, finally wash our clothes at home (it has been broken 2 months – yes, we procrastinate and used a laundromat), including sheets and quilts and arg I am so excited! I really never thought I would see the day that a washing machine would excite me SO much (Have you watched Tales from the Green Valley? The old way of doing laundry was SO so so much work, I’m very grateful for these machines). Next step is to build a clothesline and then I will be feeling very grateful indeed.
Anyhow, that was a little overwhelming and maybe a little too much about washing machines. I wanted to share a couple of pictures from the week about some of the things we have been up to. The crocuses and siberian squill are blooming – the tulips rising. Dandelions are popping up all over the place and I have been digging up, scrubbing and cutting up the roots for roasted tea (the plants that have crept up in garden spaces). The robins have been flying to and fro and I even saw 3 Cedar Waxwings the other day! The tide has been so incredibly low on our evening walks to the river and we are only spotting gulls and ducks – no longer the Canadian Geese.
On the New Moon, I planted a bed of red and yellow onions, russet potatoes, kale and spinach. I also began to dig a new garden by our driveway because the earth is amazing. We think that some time in the past, someone must have had a fire in this spot. I have dug up small glass bottles with twisted tops, forged nails, and animal bones. The soil is nearly black which is such a contrast to our regular red soil! I look forward to planting flowers and am hopeful to perhaps start a rose plant for rosehips. I’ve collected all of the dandelion roots in this area to roast for tea but first they are drying on a screen! I am SO excited that collecting and working with plants again has begun 🙂 I do believe that we are about a week ahead of last year.
A R T & O T H E R T H I N G S
Not much art has taken place – or anything aside from domestic and gardening stuff but alas, I did a couple of things! Granted, they are small. But I thought you might enjoy them!
I also finished a hazel heather Pangur Bán sweater! I will make a post next week, when it has dried and we have some photos for the etsy shop.
I am still reading Outlander, but have also been reading through The Celtic Realms by Nora Chadwick and Myles Dillon because… Jamie and I are going to I R E L A N D in 2 weeks and I can barely believe this is happening. Many of the places we are staying do not have internet, so I will probably not be using it much at all but I will be sure to make some posts about it when we get back. This is a pretty important trip for us, especially since I was a Celtic Studies student and feel a great connection to my Irish Ancestry (which I’m always scoffed at for when I meet people from Ireland!! Sorry, we don’t have thousands of years of history in Canada that we feel rooted in). I am ecstatic… and have kept it in for several months since we knew we were definitely going. But, soon dear fae friends, you will be bombarded by two small Canadians’ adventure on the emerald isle!!
Sadly, I must go! I enjoy writing these posts so much as I feel as though I’m communicating and almost having tea with all of you! This evening we are having friends over for homemade food and a bonfire, sending off a friend who is going away for the next month and a half. I am also seeing it as an early Beltaine celebration. I have so many other things on my mind, that really makes me feel like blogging more despite the death of blogging (I know I am so late to this).
I’ll be back next week! taking another solid break from SM this week for my sanity and clarity of mind!
** It’s now a windy Saturday morning – I wrote this yesterday afternoon with the weather so different than this morning. It’s strange posting a journal like blog post when you feel so incredibly different than the day before – however I’m going to leave it as it is. Today, I feel motivated and happy 🙂 **
I am SO incredibly happy to announce.. that is is 12 degrees Celsius. I can hardly believe it, although it is SO windy. But look where I am writing this to you! The non-insulated sun room! We have all been longing to spend time in here since we closed it up in November. Soon, the windows will be open and plants will illuminate the drafty corners.
So, here I am. Sat before our whole world with a salty ocean air candle and the music of Eternal Tapestry – pondering how to delve into the topic of the 2 simple knits I recently completed and the beautiful act of “slow” living. The wind is demanding attention today, my thoughts are with it since it’s essentially yelling at me while I sit in this room.
This winter/spring has been very slow for me in the creative realm. I have simply been directing my attention to … I can’t even say. Everything gets a little hazy at that point and all I know is that I was way more productive last year. I am taking full advantage of the trendy ‘slow living’ tag I see constantly floating around (although, I find it hypocritical because there is nothing slow about our habitual use of technology and our means for occupying a great deal of our time ~*instagram*~ and showing off our dreamy art of *slow living* but obviously I get where the sentiment comes from – it takes time to knit your own garments, to bake your own bread, to grow your own seeds). In my world right now, I’m not sure if it’s actually a vitamin deficiency or chopping wood or lack of sunshine, but I have been SO tired and fatigued. I feel unbearably guilty about this and need to listen to my intuition which is telling me to listen to my body and take things slow.
And so… it took me weeks, months even to finish the two knits I am sharing with you – a pair of Alpaca double knit lace mittens and a lace stole, using the same lace design. A simple design because I had never attempted lace before but it is easy peasy and if you can do a knit or purl stitch – trust me, you can do lace knitting.
A L P A C A DK M I T T E N S
This wool is the Alpaca “baby wool” from We Are Knitters (I think I wrote that they were angora… angora is just the A fibre word always in my brain since we had an angora rabbit named Bunny growing up). Last year, I received a sweater kit from the company. They give you large 5.5 mm wooden needles and about 12 balls of the wool and a pattern for an item.
I made the whole back of a sweater, the entire time really disliking the needles and feeling like the wool wasn’t right for them. Wondering why I was committing myself to something that was bringing me so little joy from one of my favourite things to do. Anyway, it took a long time to make and I could tell that it was going to be just an awkward, oversized strange sweater that I realistically would never wear because of the colour and weight of the wool. That being said, I have seen others’ version of the sweater and it looks absolutely beautiful – mine just didn’t come close to the other finished gesture sweaters that I have seen on blogs or instagram. ANYWAY – I decided to take the whole back out and salvage the wool instead.
The wool double knit is so incredibly lovely. It’s thick and heavy and oh so soft. The size of these mittens run very very small, so I’m going to make a larger pair of fingerless mitts using two strands of wool as well.
I used 3.25 mm dpn needles and just experimented around. I will have these up too on our Etsy Shop, but keep in mind they run pretty small!
R O W A N A R A N T W E E D S T O L E
Last but not least, this Rowan Aran Tweed Stole. The colour I chose is called “Scree” and one of my all time favourite colours. I have about a month left I think to wear this comfortably but soon all my knits will be shed in turn for my thrifted dresses and some handmade shifts (as well as my very dirty gardening clothes… realistically more so than the dresses :P)
And there you have it! 2 very simple knits, that took me what feels like a year and a day to make. I wanted to just slowly enjoy the feeling of some really beautiful and soft wool and feel like I definitely achieved that goal.
Now with the change of season, I feel like I really need to speed up my activity and growth. Shed my winter skin and become just a little more active.
F I N & A F T E R T H O U G H T S
All in all, I am really happy with the two knits that I shared with you today. I am also not feeling as down on myself for my very slow progress these past few months. My body and mind have been calling for a slow approach to everything in life and I finally obeyed them.
I’d love to hear how you deal with slow, unproductive weeks on end! Or if that even happens to you >.< I am really hoping to blog more and will probably be revisiting Instagram for at least one weekday to see how everyone is doing and share a latest blog or knit or what have you!
** Today, we plan to take Henry to the ocean for a walk (if the dirt roads aren’t too muddy), knitting and watching movies
And it’s back. A foot of snow, freezing temperatures… the chickens refuse to leave the coop and boots full of snow. We can at least take heart that it is technically *spring* and this won’t last. But for now, my nose is running and my feet are damp. I feel like watching The Ken Burn’s documentary about the Civil War and not leaving the couch… eating brownies and drinking peppermint tea. But first, before I succumb to these whims, I thought I would be somewhat productive and share some photos I took the other day while I was preparing for Etsy shipments.
This week, I prepared the folkloric Lopapeysa, A Fairisle pull over and some hand-pressed cards. I have been feeling SO lethargic and just “blah” this past week (I think a combination of the blizzard and monthly times), such little drive to do anything at all. Last week, I baked like 5 different types of bread (2 loaves of french bread, 2 loaves of whole grain, 2 peasant loaves, 12 buns and some naan bread!) and was just on a wild spree of being a productive human being. I even read one of my favourite books, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and picked out some new books to pick up at the library. I felt SO good and happy and this week has just been the exact opposite. I have just been down in the pits or as my girl Anne says, in the depths of despair. Winter melancholia.
But alas, it is sunny and sometimes, it’s so difficult to feel anything but hope and happiness when you are basking in the sun.
P R E P A R I N G
To get out of a funk, I enjoy the creative process of simply packaging up orders. I wanted to share a couple photos with you since I am much better at that than descriptive writing!
I make wrapping paper for the cards, using hand-carved stamps. Last weekend, I bought some red ink for a different look (what do you think?). I really enjoy wrapping up cards and tying them up with string. Simple pleasures that I hope bring a wee bit of happiness to the person that receives them! I stamp the brown paper based on what type of artwork has been purchased, for instance if it is a botanical or fungi print, I make sure it is plant based wrapping paper.
E T S Y O R D E R S
N A T U R A L W O R L D
Jamie and I went on a really beautiful walk in Strathgertney Provincial Park yesterday. Luckily, there was a path to follow made by snow shoes rather than us struggling in our winter boots in the snow. The park is beautiful, with a range of different woodlands, walks along the West River. We only met two other people and were free deep in the woods from the sounds of cars on the nearby highway. I can not wait for the snow to melt and the mud to dry up so we can freely walk in the different beautiful spots on this island.
A NEW WEEK
This week, I am hopeful that the temperatures will rise, that the sun will come out, that we will be free of blizzards and impending storms. My Mom has graciously agreed to come stay with me for the week since Jamie will be going to Ontario for work and I would love company living out in the country during my bluest time of year. For some reason, the “Winter Blues” descends upon me in the beginning of “spring” rather than the winter. I feel very alive and happy in the winter months but March often sees me down.
I see the light though, because April, April is next Saturday! Praise the Gods!
I hope you all enjoy your last week of M A R C H! Bye Legions!
This March morning, the sun is shining and the birds are singing in the trees! I went out to feed the chickens in my pajamas and a touque, trusting that the bright sun would warm me despite the dusting of snow on the ground. It was glorious and I can’t wait to get out there today! But first, I wanted to share with you something I worked on this week, carving stamps.
Anyone can carve their own stamps, it’s fun and really rewarding! If you wanted, you could even make a template with a leaf or a dried flower, there are so many options! The only material you need is a linoleum cutter and whatever block you choose to carve (I am using the rubber from Speedball – available at most craft stores and extremely easy to work with). I started this week, knowing that I wanted to make a very simple dandelion stamp for my tinctures (in my previous post!). That small stamp, launched me into a morning obsession. I decided to make a series of three of my favourite flowers that bloomed here on this land last year: marigold, tulips and poppies.
I am forever and ever inspired by the medieval woodcuts of plants. I can’t explain why, I simply love the blocky, linear designs (Perhaps, I’ll do a whole post on woodcuts someday – or a series of them). I hope my work will help shed some light on why I love this style so much and perhaps inspire you to look into the botanists and printmakers of the past ;).
I also made a small set of cards, available on my Art Etsy Shop: Wood Folk Prints
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoy the pictures of my process and work.
So much snow fell on us yesterday. Our windows were covered by 3 pm, our world grey and dark. We have been having unseasonably cold temperatures, it feels more like we’ve been plunged in the depths of January and early February. I talk a lot about the weather… my journal since I was a teenage is half discussing the temperature, the rain or snow, the wind or how the trees bowed and danced. I love Mother Nature and simply observing her moods. When I write I think I focus on the weather first as though to clear my mind for what exactly it is I want to say, so please bear with me 😉
This morning, I went out to see the chickens (who refused to leave the coop when they spotted the snow), lit a fire and finally sat down to draw. My studio/work room had been overrun with my Christmas cards and packaging things up for orders. This morning, I shipped the last of my orders so my mind has cleared for new projects. I always have some kind of “Ode to…” brewing in my mind and this morning I worked out an Ode to working with the earth and with my hands. An ode to tradition bound up with the animals, insects and herbs that make a comfortable home. A home that goes so far beyond our front doors.
The sheep is at the center, providing us with wool that keeps our hands busy, our minds active and our bodies so warm (as well as countless other things – I’m currently contemplating insulating my chicken coop with wool and birch). The spindle – representative of transformation – spins the rough wool to the versatile material that we love. The quilt block is a marker of the home, of ancestors and narratives (to me personally, it is a symbol of love and comfort). The plants are dandelion, sage, lavender and Calendula – all magical, useful and healthful entities. I included oak leaves for wisdom, the boundary between worlds and for the love of the steadfast tree. Everything ties together to allude to traditional folk lives – working with animals and plants.
I developed it a little further by adding a home, emerging from the quilt.
And there she is! Homespun – an ode to a working kinship with the earth. I’m hoping to make some prints on rag paper. If anyone is interested, please let me know!
To leave you – some pictures from our walk through farmers’ fields today – in a foot of snow.
These past few months, I have done so little drawing! The summer really steals away most of my creativity, but now that the leaves are falling from the trees and the nights are growing so long, I feel like I can sit and be patient and draw. The colder weather just forces me to slow down, which I really need to draw. I have only started a little bit but hope to do much, much more. My favourite things to draw are things from the natural world and to simply copy out paintings or illustrations that I love. I’ve had such a complex relationship over the years with drawing but I finally feel free to just indulge in what I really like to make and not worry about perfection or judgement.
Here are a few of my sketches from October. Now on to a new Moon, new month, new art ❤