Weekend of fairisle, painting, walks

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A tiny arctic fox painting with Pangur and some freshly finished fingerless mittens

Happy Mid January!

We have had quite the juxtaposing weekend!  Yesterday was the most mild Mid-January day of recent memory and today is well below 0 and snowing lightly.  I am so happy today!  This weekend has been lovely, with the starlings and crows at our door. I feel rejuvenated to create and just be one with the earth!  Painting, knitting and ultimately my favourite, being outside with the trees and light snow flakes. In all the quietness and ultimately achieving nothing that our society places importance on – I feel the happiest and most fulfilled. A full fridge, a fire in the stove, snow flakes dancing out my window and a very tired dog from a long hike.  Warm socks, a patient book and unlimited amounts of tea with the possibility of a cat cuddle <3<3<3

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A little Arctic Fox and northern flowers
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Some sweet fairisle fingerless mitts i dreamt up – they are made using random stash wool and an image in my head.
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The Mitts that I have completed over the past month and a half, for our Etsy shop and finally to be posted
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The Rain clouds are drawing closer casting dark shadows in this room ❤
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Early Sunday Morning – Latte, a nearly finished novel and a long abandoned but not forgotten knit
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Jamie, Henry and I ventured out today!  We only met birds and the earth was completely frozen which was a joy to walk on (no sinking in the mud!)
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We captured many of my knits for the little Etsy Shop!  So excited to finally share these small, humble items
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Witches’ Butter?  
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It was a little bit cold – Pine Green Fingerless Mitts for the shop
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Taken with my phone – The mossy path
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Lilac Fingerless Mitts up in the shop!
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SinEater Illustration Hoodie!  In all honesty, I do prefer to wear hoodies at home and absolutely love love love this artist’s work!
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Black Lopi Fingerless with Linden Tea on the forest Bridge
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Sweet Little Pangur Paws

And for this evening, Jamie and I will have a nice dinner to celebrate our 8 years together, sit by the fire and I will more than likely start another little knit for the shop and will finish The Good People by Hannah Kent.  We started to watch Tales from the Green Valley AGAIN (about once a season we watch this series). It is one of my most soothing and therapeutic shows – I love it! All I need is to hear the opening music and I feel whisked to a very safe place. Jamie and I have developed stories between the historians and archaeologists – for instance, we are certain something happened between Alex and Chloe… but anyway, for another time and place !!

I wonder if you can feel the peace I feel this weekend through the photographs?  I forgot to mention that Jamie gifted me with a new camera for Christmas and I am so incredibly excited about the pictures that I have been taking.  I do have A LOT to learn because though I have always enjoyed taking pictures – I have never done more than point and shoot.  There is a bit more too this one and I am in a wee bit over my head at the moment.  All in good time, right?

Love & Light for the last half of January!  I am already looking at seed catalogues as the light ascends!

Hope You’re well and DO let me know if you watch the link I provided 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

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A New Year

 

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From my studio window on The Winter Solstice,

Happy New Year!!

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.

 

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Henry’s Spot ❤ ❤ – watching the sunset on the Winter Solstice
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Working away on little stash mittens
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Before the frigid temperatures – we were going out for wonderful walks – sadly the temperatures have been around -30 C with the wind chill and it’s difficult to breath
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Just around 0 C!
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working by the bridge for an afternoon
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home ❤
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A small island journey
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Up West to this Gem
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Loom Machines when you enter the door!  Not running for the Holidays but the store was still open
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lichen pink
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Home – MacAusland 2 ply for some Maritime inspired folk mittens – time to rearrange my wool!
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All of my wool – slowly getting down there!  I LOVE using up things that I have – part of my frugal spirit
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New Colours to be put away !!!

STILL LIFE…

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Botanical “Knowledge” cards – this being ST JOHN’s WART (and now I’m looking for a St. JOhn’s Wart – Hypericum perforatum – seed supplier in Canada) One step closer to the Harry Potter Universe if I can learn all of the latin names 😉
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Christmas at home this year – my mom made some crochet ornaments for us (hardened with sugar water:)
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The steps down to the basement
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Sent home early due to storm the other week
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Up on my list of happiest moments just the quiet snow, setting sun
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New Sin Eater, one of my favourite contemporary artists hoodie (thankyee, i will try my best to keep it from animal hair)
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Stash Mitts!!  I made this little sweet pair up using two different types of wool that I found in my stash!  ALSO “The Good People” by Hannah Kent, I think she and I are somehow connected, ha.
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Mild Day by the frozen river
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My heart literally melts
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tiny simple paintings just to clear my mind – meditative for me
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One more view ❤

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 : )

Julia ❤

Our little shop

Home
Home in the fog

Good Evening Kindreds!

It’s so dark!  I am sitting by the fire, the room lit with fairy lights and a cup of black tea piping hot beside me.  A friend of mine gave us some lavender sugar and I find it so delicious in a strong cup of black tea ❤  It is so late for me to be drinking caffeine but I am oh so tired and I very much felt like sharing a couple of things with you.

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shaking hands, blurry picture but our forest cat is beginning to embrace his nature

The weather continues to promise snow but only to cruelly trick us with rain.  I guess that is life living in a maritime climate.  Today has been a wet day and we have chosen to stay home, only to take Henry out in the trees behind our house.  The cats are venturing outside each day.  They stick right around the front door, guarding the entrance to their domain (or perhaps waiting for us to let them back in?).  A day inside finally means I can sort the latest knits for our shop!

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Latest Knits to make listings for : ) My work desk a wee bit disorganized 

I have been having a lot of fun lately, working with my stash of lett lopi.  I have a very strong desire to actually use all of my wool stash before continuing to buy new wool.  I love using everything that I have and don’t really like buying anything without a real purpose behind it.  I currently have enough wool to make 3 sweaters and several pairs of fingerless mitts/mittens what have you.  This winter I will focus on the small bits, some of which have been set aside for several years!  I first knit an Icelandic Sweater with Lett Lopi in 2013 and believe I may still have some from this time.

A bag full of lopi
I have three small bags full of bits and bobs of lett lopi – I love using them and seeing this stash dwindle
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New work space – Jamie put the shelves up and painted the room ❤ I absolutely love it in all it’s simplicity.  Current Wool Stash – I would love to free up the top shelf for only plants.
Decisions.
Decisions, Decisions!
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Handknit stripped socks
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Fingerless Mittens in Heaven Blue and Hazel Heather
Woodland
Woodland trail
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Maritime Folk Mittens – Prince Edward Island Wool and Flying Geese pattern, knit by my very special Mama
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“New” Cedar Chest for all the woollens and a beauty kitty
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a couple of tags for our handknits
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Another pair knit by my Mom
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New knits, a cozy chair, Arthur Rackham Fairy and my little fairy cat, Pangur.

 

Only a couple of pictures that I have captured over the last couple of days.  I am currently looking at 2 weeks before my next shift in the library (unless I am called in) and Jamie gets 10 days off from his work for the holidays! I am definitely feeling like hibernating while simultaneously desperately wishing for snow to play in.  Jamie and I are getting snow shoes for eachother for Yule so we can continue to walk our favourite trails despite the amount of snow we usually receive in the deep winter.

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I have a lot of tiny knitting projects planned.  My wordpress account is almost at the full capacity for storage space so I will be changing my account to a ‘business account’ soon (unlimited space) so I hope to raise the funds to support this little website with my knits.  I hope i can come up with some wee special mitts, etc. I will be busy sitting by this fire, thinking up colour combinations with the remaining lopi 🙂

Hope you are all well, we are nearly at the solstice to welcome the lighter half of the year!  So much hope.

As a farewell parting gift, A beautiful Scandinavian Folk song for you:

Gjallarhorn – Ye Ride so Carefully

Blessings to you ❤

Julia

Dyeing Wool with Mushrooms!

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The woods by our house – autumnal glory

Hello and I hope you are well!

It has been awhile.  I am SO inconsistent, especially because I have been drawn into a place and time sans social media or blogging or even e-mail.  Of my own choosing… I didn’t go to an off-grid camp or anything like that (although.. I would love to :))!  Sometimes, I just love to detach and it’s beginning to feel like such a luxury, so wonderful to be “offline.”  It’s funny because I feel as though going back online is returning to “the real world” when in fact, it’s anything but!  But… it’s the reason why I feel like I’m not alone in my musings, my hobbies, the way I see this world!

Alas!  I have SO much to share.  The first is that our dear orange tabby, Petey, is well!  After my last post, we had to bring him back to the vet.  He was put on a catheter and had to stay at overnight : (  I was so worried about him…. but knew that we could not do what the vet could at home. He is much better and is drinking fluids and peeing.  He slept curled up against me the whole night that he came home ❤

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Walks close to home and a haven for red squirrels, fox and mushrooms!

I have been making and gardening quite a bit.  Jamie and I planted garlic this morning.  Our wood is almost completely split and stacked and we had our first frost and consequently fire yesterday.  I love fall so much, it’s so fleeting.  On our walk this morning, most of the bright red sugar maple leaves were already under our feet.  The earth is damp and the north winds strong.  Henry and I have been walking down a beautiful wooded path to the river that we live by every day.  The mossy parts of this wood are replete with beloved mushrooms.

Mushrooms…. the reason why I write to you today.  What amazing specimens they are!  Not only are they adorable and surrounded with fairy lore, they are beyond healthful and practical!  A couple of months ago, I posted on instagram about wanting to dye a pair of socks with lichen.  A user suggested that I use a type of mushroom: Cortinarius Semisanguineas or red-gilled webcap.  On one of our walks, I was looking very closely (okay, on my belly in the moss looking up at the gills…not weird at all) and noticed how beautiful the colours of this mushroom was and it clicked.  It was the very mushroom that the user had suggested! I got so excited and went back to the spot with my knife and a basket to collect and experiment ❤

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Cortinarius Semisanguineas!  How beautiful are these colours?
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Warm Autumn Day in The east of Canada
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Collecting – I sliced the mushroom so not to damage the root of the mushroom in order to grow and thrive next year.

And so!  What did I do?  Welllllll, I first collected mushrooms.  I have read a lot about dyeing wool and nothing intrigues me more than using what grows close to you rather than what you can buy from a grocer.  I am not despairing the use of avocado or yellow onion skins (I plan on trying both!) I just don’t find the process as exciting, rewarding and directly engaging with this eco-region!  Something that naturally finds its home and is nourished by the same rain water that falls on my skin, on the earth that grows our food.  I want so badly to be more entrenched in the land around me. Dyeing is such an ancient way to connect to the land, to even represent the region you live!  I remember as a Celtic Studies student, learning that Scottish tartans began to be associated with certain clans simply due to the plants that were available in their region!

I first boiled some water with Alum and Cream of Tartar.  Once boiled, I added the wool and let it simmer for a short while (This is a mordant.  A mordant is the chemical composition that holds the natural dye to the fibre, otherwise you could end up with very washed out colours after exposure to the elements or a wash). I used pure white wool from MacAuslands here on PEI and an angora wool from We are Knitters.  once this wool was dry, I collected a small basket full of mushrooms (I only like taking a portion of what the earth provides), boiled them on the fire in the backyard and added the wool with the boiled mushroom broth in a mason jar.  Cortinarius Semisanguineas are actually poisonous so be cautious when handling!  They will not harm as a dye but they are not edible and I wasn’t crazy about having them in the house for long, especially with 4 wild ones about.   I repeated this process 3 times, hanging the experimental wool in a crab apple tree to dry.

I have looked at quite a few pictures online.  I believe it was the amount of the mordant that made my end result significantly paler than what I have seen and the amount of mushroom caps that I used.  Other examples are such a deep orange or red!  I really like the salmon shade that these turned out. I did try one strand of wool without a mordant and it was significantly darker.

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A Little mushroom study – The drawing on the right is a result of humidity, it looks a little strange but honestly, this is what they looked like!  This door was closed to critters while I worked with this fungi!  I love to draw plants and fungi that grow close to home.
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Drying outdoors after their first dye bath
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A closer look
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A second dye bath – I started to do most of the process outdoors – partly because red-gilled webcaps are poisonous
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After a second dye bath – in our crab apple tree
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Beauties after the 2nd bath
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Beneath the mother white pine ❤  This tree is wonderful
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A third dye bath never hurt anyone…. with the straw and wood for a couple of nights – a deep red!
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Finished Result, I brought it back to the woods where I found the mushrooms to show them what wonders they do for us ❤
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End Result – My sorry attempts at twisting a skein of yarn and my mushroom study

There you have it!  My first experiment with a close to home fungi!  I am SO excited about this project.  It was a lot of fun and very inspiring.  I hope you enjoyed this, even if you just looked at the photographs!  In our yard is a beautiful horse chestnut tree and I hope to use the husks to actually make a pair of fingerless mitts using the two colours 🙂

Autumnal blessings to you and I hope this post finds you well, inspired and happy ❤ I would love to hear about your own experiments or even desires with natural dyeing!

Hazel Heather Pangur Bán Handknit Sweater

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Hello 🙂

I wanted to share a few pictures of the latest Pangur Bán sweater.  I have it all ready to be shipped off to California but wanted to document it as much as possible!  It’s a funny thing, dedicating countless hours to knitting a garment and then shipping them off to their new homes – you so often forget about things that you have knitted!  Instagram has been good in a lot of ways to go back and remember different things that I’ve made in the past, however I find blogging about it just a wee bit more personal.  And I don’t feel like there are these silly rules about how many pictures I can post 😀

You can see the wool (Léttlopi) I used on the Alafoss Website.  The main colour is hazel heather and the contrasting colours are beige, black heather, oatmeal heather.  I guess I didn’t take too many pictures of the process, so I hope you enjoy the few that I did 🙂

And so, without further ado, here are some photos of my latest handknit sweater (you can read more about the design of this sweater in one of my first posts!).

Sleeves
Still winter and so much snow when I started this knit!
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Finished sleeves – I had the mug pictured here for such a short period of time 😦 it was chipped and cracked after it fell off the coffee table and now is home to an English Ivy
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Sunroom Knitting
Working on the yoke
Yoke Knitting
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My knitting basket and Pangur ❤
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It was windy – I started with my hair up and it slowly falls out 😛  But in this photo, you can see Shipwreck Point Lighthouse and below are red rocks and the ocean
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Feeling the wind by the Ocean (i.e. just posing for a camera :P).
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Colour Contrast
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The blocked yoke
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Laid flat on the old
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packaged up with a card and a little bit of extra wool in the emergency situation
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The workroom has been completely taken over by plants!
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Lastly, stamped handmade bag !

Off she goes today!  I am being swamped at home right now with chores upon chores to do before we catch our flight in Halifax this Friday.  I can hardly believe that in a week’s time, we will be driving on the left side of the road and in the country of my ancestors.  I have a lot to share with you all before we go and will likely afterwards as well!  We have had a lot of rain which has made the PEI country side so lush and wonderful. It’s hard not to be happy in the midst of all the green and warmth!  Especially when hiking in the mountains on the other side of the Atlantic is just before us!

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Our side of the Ocean ❤

I am on the fence currently about bringing any knitting on the trip.  For some reason, I am hesitant to bring knitting needles on the plane – I have read that it should be fine, but I remember once I had my knitting in my bag when a friend and myself went on a tour of the Parliament Buildings (just for fun one random afternoon when I lived in Ottawa) and they took my knitting from me and sealed it in a bag!  I may go scout out some wooden circular needles tonight (cross fingers that such thing exists in PEI!).  I do hope to, we have a 5 hour lay over in St. John’s and a long plane ride which I will be incapable of getting any rest >.<

Anyhow, my family is coming tomorrow to house sit for us and I have SO much to do before!  Getting very excited!  I may be very stereotypical and post a packing for Ireland blog, if I have time!!!

Slán!!

Simple Knits & Slower Days

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Hi out there Earthlings and Fae Folk!

** 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.

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Window Seat (I did displace Petey)

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.

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Walks this month in Nova Scotia

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!

DK knitting
Starting to experiment on a Saturday evening at home
Another Saturday morning
Another Saturday morning when there was still lots of snow
knitting
Knitting something special
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Just the ends to weave in
candles and knits
little flame for company
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Plain and Simple
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Drawing to accompany a simple pair of mittens – Poppies!
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to paint or not to paint?
Fin
Fin
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Happy Saturday Morning! Knits, tea and an early morning drawing

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)

Nova Scotia January
What the weather was like when I started this stole
Stole
Rowan Aran Tweed Stole
Life
One fine March afternoon – books, tarot and knitting – life complete
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time to block – the edges still curl though
At a lighthouse
It’s freezing and we are at a lighthouse to share some old fashioned handknit goodness
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For next winter – my new lace stole
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On my mom during one of our late March walks

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

Sláinte mhaith!

Julia

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Fiddling with water colours – it won’t be long yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,yeah,yeah
Henry
Henry got a new bed!  Much how I feel lately Henry
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Walks on the beach with Henry
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Jamie and Henry to the beach
Fairisle on the beach in PEI
The latest Fairisle – handknit by Liz Reddy – available in Ways of Wood Folk Etsy Shop

Preparing Shop Orders & More Snow

 

Back Yard
Henry among the snow

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.

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Folding the Fairisle

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

Wrapping
Pressed Paper for wrapping cards! I just bought some red ink and love it!
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Cards to be shipped out!
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Farewell
Snow on March 24th
The view from my workspace  – snow and wind (and some flies that have taken refuge)
Ways of Wood Folk
Choosing a tag
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Wrapped up with a handmade card
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Details of a sweater – lettlopi wool
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Bound up with some extra wool for any potential mending and a hand-pressed card
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a tag with some wool

 

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Envelopes
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Snooow!!!
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Saturday Hike with Henry and Jamie to Strathgartney, PEI
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Beautiful Pine tree, one of my favourite trees ❤
WOodland
Snowy Woodland at Strathgartney

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!

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Bye Friends!  I’ll be out here for the week (Song of the Sea, 2015)

 

Links to our Shops:

KNIT WEAR ETSY SHOP : Ways of Wood Folk

ART WORK ETSY SHOP : Wood Folk Prints

 

 

Knitting a Folkloric Lopapeysa

My Sketchbook :)
Sketching away to keep the winter blues at bay

 M A K I N G   A   L O P A P E Y S A

March!  Oh March!  The month I feel the most conflicted over.  Here on the East Coast, it is a time balanced between spring and winter with winter as her favourite.  This winter has been inconsistent – a constant tantrum between freeze and thaw.  I am so ready for spring, eternal spring.  A lasting thaw.  March has left me unmotivated, uninspired and lethargic.  My fingers are itching to work with plants, with the soil so I have been re-potting the indoor plants and starting some lavender and pumpkin seeds… because I am desperate.  My creative world is only now slowly beginning to peak above the sleeping soil, I am ready.

I thought I would start by sharing with you my latest Lopapeysa sweater.  I quite honestly made this one blindly without any idea of what would emerge.  It’s a result of a deep winter longing for spring.  It began during a snow storm in early February.  I just wanted to knit and not think about anything, let myself rest with the earth. I started with the sleeves since they are so quick and I enjoy finishing them first.  I made just a basic design at the cuffs and used the oatmeal heather since I didn’t think I had enough of the main colour for a whole sweater (planning ahead ;))!

The sleeves took I think about a week to finish, maybe even a little less. It’s strange remembering time frames in the winter, my memory gets hazy and often all I can think is either “that went by so quickly” or obviously, the opposite.

I started the body during a week of storm after storm after storm.  We were house bound for around a week and I accomplished a lot during this time!  The white landscape inspired me to make a flower based design (perfect sense, right?).  I actually had some difficulty with some of my wool – it kept on tearing which drives me absolutely crazy.  I was splicing again and again (what are you doing to your wool Istex?).

This sweater went on a small trip with us as well.  I made sure the sleeves were attached to the body before we drove to Nova Scotia.  We rented a cabin in Cape Breton and then I stayed an extra week at my parents house since my sister was visiting from Toronto. There, I made much of the main design in the yoke – a flower reaching toward the sun. During this time, we had such mild weather.  Lisa and I sat on our front steps having our morning tea, basking in the sun and feeling the warm wind from the sea.

Below are some photographs I took of the process.  Including my colour inspiration, blocking and my sketchbook!  I am planning to put this sweater up on our Etsy shop; however, it won’t be until I have my vlog post ready (if that works out) and get some photographs of it out in the big wide open world rather than just my house.  This weekend, the wind is cutting right through our windows and I have no intention of going outside except to check on the chickens (it’s around minus 20).  My skin is chapped and I have a chill right in my bones.  I’ll be spending the full moon day right by the fire, chapping my skin more but at least my bones will thaw ;).

First Sleeve
In the beginning, a sleeve
Lopi Sleeves
And then there were 2
Closer Look
Snow, tea and knitting
Splicing
One ball of this lett lopi kept on tearing so splicing away!
Spliced wool
These stitches have been spliced together, can you tell?
Storms Witch
A lot can be accomplished when you’re working with a storm
Packing
Joined before setting off to Nova Scotia
Cheticamp
February driving
Starting the colour work
In Nova Scotia, I started the yoke. This is the only early photo I took!
Knitting outside during a thaw
During late February, the temperature reached plus 10 degrees! Here, I was knitting on the clothes line platform in the morning.
The river is breaking up
Walks along the river during the thaw
Shelf Fungi
Pretty pretty pretty Shelf Fungi
At home on PEI
Finishing up!
All the weaving and grafting left
a Simple finish to this flower power inspired sweater
Loose ends
Weaving in those ends – so close to being finished!
Kitchener stitch
Kitchener Stitch
Grafted
Underarms grafted together!
Colour Inspiration
Colour inspiration – Tangerine Quartz found near my parents home in Nova Scotia – The colours of the quartz match so perfectly!
Tangerine Quartz
Close up with wool pieces in the background!
To be blocked
Working location
Sleeping Baby
A helper
Blocked
Washed and blocked – now to dry
Blocked
All blocked ❤
After a long day of work on the thistle farm
My sketchbook detail – a gnome walking home after a long day at work on the Thistle Farm
Details
Details from my sketch book – a guardian and her plants
The final sweater and Pangur
Pangur and the finished sweater – now to be tucked away until someone claims it.
Final
Just put it on to share with you the fit! and of course my mug 😉

F I N A L  T H O U G H T S

In my head, I was imagining floral designs based loosely on old world Scandinavian embroidery.  I didn’t have anything really to model it on so just began to sketch away and make a thistle like design (influenced by my Scottish ancestry and the thistles that abound in the East Coast).  I wanted it both delicate and blocky in the yoke.  The simplicity actually came from not having enough black wool to make a full detailed yoke!  Meaghan gifted me with the rust heather which I am so very grateful for – I love the contrasting colours!

All in all, I am really happy with the final design of this folkloric lopapeysa!  It really for me encapsulates this winter – frigid temperatures interspersed with warm thaws  – extremities free of stiff wool to flirt with the wind!  The promise of spring dangled before us on a string.

T H A N K  Y O U & B L E S S E D  B E

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and look at the pictures of my latest sweater.  It has been around a month and a half in the making.

This morning our clocks sprung forward while the moon waxes for the last time of her cycle.  Another turn of the wheel, this time hopefully for a change in season (despite a warning for a blizzard this Wednesday!).

A birch
Beautiful birch bark

Winter in Cape Breton

Packing
Packing essentials for a weekend in the mountains – lopi knitting, books and tea (Petey not included of course ;))

 

This past holiday weekend, Meaghan, Reg, Jamie, Henry and I drove up to Cape Breton Island to stay in a cabin.  It has been a dream of mine to see the Cabot Trail in the snow but have always thought it not practical because of the unpredictable nature of the weather at this time of year.  But, we did it!!  And after a little bit of a stressful drive over one of the snowy mountain roads, it was a piece of cake 😉

In short, the weather was perfect.  Storm upon storm battered us last week but now the weather has mellowed considerably with around 0 temperatures and a steady dusting of snow over the several feet that has previously fallen.  The drive through valleys dotted with farms and old barns, cattle and horses in the snow .  We met very few cars  but would come across dozens parked along the side of the road for tobogganing down the ideal hill.   Dreaming about one day owning a little piece of land on this beautiful Island.

When we finally reached our airbnb, nestled at the bottom of the mountains in Cheticamp (just before the entrance to the National Park) there were a few *hiccups* before we could settle in (a broken water heater, our car stuck in the snow, a drive to the owners barn to use the washroom and another instance of our car stuck in the snow….. just a WEE bit of chaos).  We decided to drive to the National Park while we waited for the water heater to be fixed.  It was M A G I C!  The sun was setting, the mountains covered in snow and the ocean had a greenish/grey tint with the sleeping sky.

Once we made it to our cabin with the freedom of being able to use the washroom, we cooked and Jamie went with the owner to get us a huge glass jug of fresh mountain water. They drove into the National Park in total darkness. It was delicious and we drank the whole thing with our sauna trips.

Our stay was filled with tea, walking up the mountain behind the cabin, reading plays aloud, sitting by the woodstove, knitting, a sauna and sleeping E A R L Y!  We were without service and the internet and I just wish I could live like that forever.  It’s strange, I felt compelled to use the internet when I came home and was overwhelmed with sadness.  I just need to be aware of my use and start by cutting it down.

Meaghan also finished a beautiful Olwyn lopi sweater for our Etsy shop, it will be available this weekend! We photographed it in the woods behind the house and very excited about the outcome!

My heart yearns for a deeper connection to this place.  I feel very, very lucky that we can drive there and it’s just our neighbouring island but I feel the need to know the trees, streams, rocks in the old hardwood forests.  I feel like they speak to me and I, in my meager way, speak back to them.  I hope.

Cheticamp
Driving into Cheticamp!
Cabot Trail
Brief stop at this beautiful spot on the Cabot Trail in the Winter
The Cabin
Jamie and the Cabin or Chalet! It was so cute and the perfect size
Mixed Forest walking up the mountain
So many birch and maple in the woods
Winter Walk
A happy dog and Jamie and Reg in the distance
Inside details
All the Lopi sweaters ❤
Lopi sisters
Meaghan and I – WAYS OF WOOD FOLK- photographing the latest OLYWN for the Etsy shop (this is a design I made a few years ago and Megahan’s beautiful colourwork and handknitting)  – we are not sure why she looks so much taller than me since we are about the same height!
Beautiful baby
Henry in her chair by the wood stove ❤
Higher and higher
Henry and I climbed the mountain the morning before we left – it was magic although I did have a dream last night that a moose was chasing me …
Enchanted
I feel like the earth has been a spell on me when I’m walking in the woods in the winter – all the birch white and gold
Up in the woods
Jamie captured me in my natural habitat – it was only around 0 so after a steep climb you really don’t want mitts or a hat on
Almost there Henry
Henry waiting for me to stop taking photos of the woods
THE OLYWN
Meaghan’s Olywn!
Mountains
The morning we left, the fog lifted and Henry and I could have kept walking
Perfect Stream
In a dip before the climb up the mountain and a beautiful little stream – we actually alarmed a duck while we walked past – startling both Henry and I!
Cabot Trail
Stopping to do a U-turn on the Cabot Trail
Cabot Trail
Leaving the Cabot Trail with the Sun

Blizzard & Knitting Progress

On Saturday, I wrote about my peaceful mornings.  Filled with tea, knitting, scents and animals. Winter is so unpredictable in Eastern Canada that I feel like we see the moon more than the sun.

And then there are winter storm mornings that stay for days and nights. There is something about blizzards and winter storms that I find really exciting (as long as you can stay home – there is nothing exciting about having to go out in a storm).  I can probably partly attribute this feeling to my childhood and snowdays.  However, now as an adult, I love the energy of the storm and my very legitimate excuse to just knit all day by the fire!  I started the body of my latest Lopapeysa which I am either going to name “Celtic Garden” or “Folklore” because of the pattern I have in mind for the yoke.  If you’re curious about our last 2 days staying in doors while harsh wind and snow drove at us, please continue on!

M O N D A Y

Winter Storm

On Monday morning we awaited a blizzard – impending sense of wild, lashing doom that rips across the province.  I definitely received a not so peaceful omen during the early hours of Monday.  When I woke to bring Henry outside, I could just hear the wind was beginning to pick up.  I walked downstairs and in the dark I could see something not right sitting on the kitchen floor with cats padding about.  Lovely! A very inverted mouse, thank you so much Petey.  We always know that Petey is responsible for the crime – he just sits and watches too when I clean up his work.  Afterwards, I took Henry outside in the wind and the misty rain while a small murder of crows flew directly over us, swaying in the wind, caw – cawing.

I decided to just sit, knit and drink tea and fill the house with some warming, calming scents. I sat by the window to watch – but nothing happened really until around noon. The wind and snow began to pick up.  The chickens were out during the morning but we closed them back in around noon when the storm really was upon us.

Our main task during storms is to make sure we are prepared if the power goes out, that the animals are taken care of and that the house is heated.  The previous evening we made a double batch of chili so food would not be a problem.  I collected all of our candles to make sure we could turn darkness into light (luckily it never went out!). But otherwise, I spent most of the day knitting!

When I slept, the house shook. I imagined the roof tearing off and somehow fell asleep after that thought.  How calming?

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Monday morning  – waiting for the storm and the progress of my latest lopapeysa
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Henry and I get out before it really picks up
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The snow is picking up ❤
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Snow sticking to the front door
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Making a calming tea for my cabin fever – Chamomile, lavender and lemon balm
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Preparing candles for power outage
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Cabin Fever is producing Knits!!  A thistle ❤

T U E S D A Y

The province was shut down yesterday.  The blizzard statement was lifted around noon or so.  We were greeted by very large snow drifts throughout the yard. Shoveling to be done in the chicken run (it had about a 3 foot drift which was preventing us from even opening the door to it) and the front walk way  –  no where near as exciting as the previous day.

Since the power stayed on, our only real challenge was shoveling, etc and dealing with the stress that can accompany staying in doors for too long.

I still had a lot of time to knit.  I have put away the shawl that I have been working on and have been knitting a new lopapeysa for the shop.  I made huge progress this past week since the weather has been a bit mad.  Finishing both sleeves and making very good progress during the blizzard.  I decided to make a little border of thistles along the bottom of the sweater.  When it’s complete, I will make a post just about this particular sweater 🙂 But for now, I will just share the progress photographs ❤

For Valentines Day, Jamie and I hopped in the car when our driveway had been plowed at around 4 30 and drove very, very slowly to town for the sole reason to pick up pizza. Usually we make our own, but time was of the essence!  We had pizza by the fire and watched a murder mystery show with all the animals.  It was perfect.

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Morning out with Henry
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Early morning light, showing my progress
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For the Clean up in the diffuser
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Feel the love ❤ Pangur, Petey and Henry
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And out to shovel!
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Snow drifts, oh boy
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wood’s a little damp
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a path is cleared!
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Breaking down and having hot chocolate instead of calming tea
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An afternoon of knit

 

Today, My body is aching from shoveling (in a good way).  I have been so off-kilter from my regular schedule since last Friday (we had a storm as well) and since Jamie has been home due to the storm that I hope to grasp some sense of normalcy today.  There are orders to be packaged up and shipped out, a lot of laundry and general cleaning up, a dog that can actually walk down the street rather than jumping in the snow.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my progress over the storm and a couple of photographs.  I didn’t manage to take too many of the storm because it was basically impossible.  I couldn’t really go outside and from the window it just looked like a white blur.  The weather is around 0 today, and the landscape is a host of white, grey and black (until of course you look a little closer).

I hope everyone on the East Coast of Canada/United States stayed safe and indoors and enjoyed time as much as we did ❤

Julia

xo

P.S.  I will soon have the most awkward vlog!  I bought some ‘equipment’ (I don’t know why I put that in single quotation..) and although I have much planned for the next couple of weeks, I will try to squeeze a video in there (how hard can it be….right? :|)