You see if Arwen hadn't knocked over my backdrop for the little kitchen photography session I never would have noticed what lovely shadows the pinecones were making yesterday afternoon. They really made me smile.
I think I have everything ready for the opening of my etsy shop tomorrow. It will open at 4pm eastern standard time.
Now for the work to begin. I am trying to get my act together to make this etsy shop opening a real thing. I have everything photographed, measured and described at least on paper. All I need now is to figure out the quickest, easiest way to translate all that in to a shop opening on Monday. Any etsy experts out there available for a saturday night etsy support session?
By the way the new cat in the picture above is MacGiver ( not sure of the exact spelling) . I delivered a dwarf spruce tree and a St Nicholas parcel to my daughter Rebekah today. I think he is the softest cat on the planet earth and he eats with his paws although I have never witnessed it.
I was asked a few questions by the sweet and super talented Melissa over at her Melissa Loves blog . I would love it if you went over there to read my answers.
I am a great fan of all types of pine cones. I love collecting them on walks. I decorate the house with them especially at this time of year. I have been working out he best method to make fabric pine cone ornaments for the tree and exchange this year. I started by making these ones but I was kind of unhappy with their lack of volume and texture.
I decided to try them with thicker fabric and I really liked how the first one turned out. It really reminds me of the cones of the white pine trees I love so much especially when we are canoeing on the lakes and rivers of Algonguin Park.
The thicker japanese fabrics allowed me to shape the segments giving it a more realistic shape.
I will really try to find the time to write a little tutorial for these pine cones and the little simple tree made with the left over fabric strips.
I have a very special announcement to make I am finally going to be opening the doors of my ETSY shop on Monday, December 1st. If you are planning to buy some handmade gifts this season please come browse my shop. I will have a variety of nature inspired items made with natural materials and loads of love. A box of my covered stones just arrived back from NYC just in time for the shop opening. All of my items are one of a kind so shop early so as not to be disappointed. I will announce the exact time the shop will open later on the weekend when I sort out the details. I am really excited to offer you the opportunity to have a little bit of resurrection fern for your very own or as a gift for someone you love.
I want to wish a very happy thanksgiving to all my American friends. I hope you find the time today to be thankful for the beautiful and creative lives you all have the freedom to live. I am very thankful that you have elected a new President. I was thinking of posting some more ornaments I made but changed my mind and decided after another beautiful snow fall to show you why we Canadians celebrate thanksgiving in October. The reason is SNOW!!!! I don't think you can really enjoy turkey's and the fall harvest when all you see all around you is beautiful cold white snow. Here are a few pictures I took over the last few days.
You might have noticed I took down the line of doilies in the kitchen and replaced them with forest treasures ( pine cones, acorns and milkweed pods) to go along with the forest theme.
Last weekend I made quite a few more christmas ornaments mostly for the exchanges I am taking part in but a few for my own home/family. I have two themes ( russian and forest) and the ones I want to show you today are definitely from the forest. The inspiration for these started with this absolutely amazing fabric I got in the mail a few weeks ago.
When I got my invitation to make fabric from spoonflower, I decided I had no idea how to do that so I asked my wonderful talented artist friend Geninne if she could design a pattern for me that would be called resurrection fern. The only necessary elements were ferns, snails and mushrooms, all of which she already had beautifully painted in her portfolio. The rich natural colors she used were perfect. I decided to make the first cuts into this precious fabric in making some ornaments.
My idea for these came from the fact that I really want to go winter camping this year. I want to snowshoe into the woods and either sleep in a tent or yurt for a few nights with some of my family. This inspired me to make the forest fernian winter campers , adorable little guys in all shades of natural in forest fern fabric mummy shaped sleeping bags and handknit scarves. Oh and I shouldn't forget the little acorn fabric buttons. The next set of photographs will take you through the process of making them starting with embroidering the little faces on off white felt ovals.
Sewing these onto all shades of natural heads. You see every one is accepted in the land of forest fern.
Breakfast bread and then making acorn buttons.
The sleeping bags were cut and sewn and then the little scarves were knit while watching a movie with the help of my daughter Tamara.
After they were all assembled we took them out for a little winter camping experience in Forest Fern.
I haven't decided who is going to receive these ornaments yet except on has already been sent south in a parcel to Mexico for a wonderful fabric designer I know. The rest will start their travels at the end of the week but I think I may have to keep a few at home to enjoy our very snowy winter.
My secretary, Lisa and I were talking about some Christmas decorating ideas and looking through some magazines at lunch the other day when this idea just popped into my head. Floating flower covered stones in clear glass shallow dishes as a accent on the table for Christmas or any other special occasion. As I so often do when ideas occur to me I just had to see it to fruition.
Materials : Flowers of course, I just went to the local grocery store and bought the smallest colorful red and chartreuse colored flowers I could find, I also used some star anise I had in my kitchen cupboard, florist foam from Michael's Craft store, a knife and some poking device ( I used the end of a paintbrush) , scissors to cut the stems.
Step 1. Using a sharp kitchen or craft knife cut the foam into stone like shapes . I made them flat on one side so they would float easily.
Step 2. Cut your flowers to leave about half inch stems .
Step 3. Take one of your foam stones and make holes in the surface with the poking device . Place your flower stems in the holes pushing down firmly .
Step 4. Continue in this way until you have covered the entire surface of the foam stone.
Step 4. Admire your beautiful mess on the table and then continue to make another one or as many as you like. Tamara made the beautiful red mini carnation one.
Step 5. Float your stones in a bowl filled with water. I discovered none of my bowls could hold all three at the same time so we took turns for the photographs and then settled on placing them in small bowls to place on the dining room table. They were a little more cat proof in these smaller bowls.
Did I ever tell you my first real paid job was working in a florist when I was 15 years old? I have been in love with flowers for a very long time. I even made did all the flowers for my own wedding . Which reminds me wouldn't floating flower stones make a lovely addition to decorations for a wedding. I would love to see a small pond or fountain covered with them.
In case you were wondering about those last two pictures. You see special treats from France from my super sweet husband and in the last picture a little easy to make fabric tree I made with left over strips I had cut for making my fabric pinecones. The entire tree is held together with one straight pin and takes minutes to make. I might show you how if I get any requests.
Guess what it is snowing again and I am loving it.
I had so many lovely comments on the ice wreath hung on the garden gate yesterday that I decided to let anyone who doesn't already know in on how to make them. It is so easy and although I realize they don't last forever if you live in a sub zero climate in the winter and don't place it directly in the sunshine they can last for weeks or even months.
Materials: round pans or bowls from the kitchen cupboard. A bundt pan works really well if you have one, bowls, cranberries or other bright cheerful berries, ferns or other greens, ribbon or fabric strips for tying and water.
Fill your chosen containers with water. If you chose one without a inner circle then just place a bowl in the center weighing it down with a stone if you need to.
Place some greens and berries around the circle. Most of them will float but it works best if you try to place the greens under the berries.
Place the water filled containers in a cold place to freeze. I left mine outside the kitchen door overnight and luckily the squirrels or raccoons didn't eat all the berries.
Bring them inside and place them for less than a minute in sink filled with warm water to loosen the ice.
Remove them from the containers and then loosen and remove the inner bowls if you used them.
Place them outside quickly before they melt . Tie a ribbon or cloth strip on if you want to hang it on the garden gate or door. Remember to not place in direct sunlight. If you don't want to use right away you can store in the freezer but I would first place it in a freezer bag .
Wasn't that easy and look how beautiful and festive they look and all for the price of a bag of cranberries. The greens were free.
Even the birds are getting ready for Christmas at my home. Lots more decorating ideas to come over the next week so I hope you will come back to visit.
Today was our traditional porch decorating day just in time for the evening Santa Claus parade in our home town. We live about one block from the parade route so our home tends to be a gathering spot before and after the parade for friends of my children. This year it really looks beautiful outside with the early covering of snow and the glint of ice crystals still covering some of the trees and bushes.
I fill the porch wire baskets with gathered goods like pine, spruce and cedar branches, dogwood ( the beautiful red branches) , milkweed pods on stems, pinecones and Ilex verticillata ( also known as winterberry). I change the fabric on the lamp after removing the fall mobile. I chose some matryoshka fabric from my stash to go along with the russian theme. I made some ice wreaths yesterday and removed them from their forms to place on the porch and garden gate. I still need to retrieve a few things from the shed like the vintage sleigh and gather or make some festive cushions for the chairs.
Tomorrow in between doing a million and one other things I am going to work on the kitchen and I have decided to finally take down the doily wash line that has graced my kitchen window since the beginning of summer. How is your seasonal decorating going?
I am taking the easy blogging way out today to walk in the forest, clean the house, cook some chicken curry, make christmas ornaments for my exchanges and attend some local rummage sales. I was invited to do a little interview for a series of posts called "crochet geniuses". When Cal emailed me with her request I couldn't stop laughing about the fact that she thought it appropriate to call me that. I made it clear to her before I started that I really only started seriously crocheting a few months ago, that I really only knew the very basic stitches and that I had no idea how to read a "real" crochet pattern. None of this seemed to perturb her. Thanks Cal for thinking of me in a way I would never have thought of my self as and I am looking forward to reading about the other geniuses you have discovered. I am the first and next up in this series is Laura Normandin of Wren Handmade.
I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday.
A great many years ago I gave a talk to a women's group that I titled Don't Waste the Miracle. At that time I discussed how precious life was and how none of us at any time should ever take it for granted. I used as an example a precious little baby girl that was born on christmas day at only 26 weeks gestation. She weighed just over 1 pound and fit in her mother's hand. She survived , miraculously , with love and amazing medical care and now she is a happy, healthy , super smart teenager.
I had my own very personal lesson exactly one year ago. I was driving to visit my mom in Ottawa after having stopped off in the small town along the way that my daughter Rebekah ( she doesn't seem to want to be called Bekki anymore) goes to university in.
It was beautiful weather and I was enjoying the drive when I was going through a small town. Suddenly I noticed a pickup truck pull out of a pizza joint and they made a quick left hand turn right in front of me. I didn't have anytime to avoid hitting them so I decided to at least hit them square on to distribute the force of impact evenly.
You can see what happened. Mine is the once lovely red car that was written off by the insurance company after that accident. If you look really closely you can see the box with pizza under the truck. Those kids were really upset about loosing their lunch and also about wrecking someone's parents truck. Although my car was badly damaged I walked away from this accident with absolutely no injuries, not even a muscle ache.
I had the car towed back to my daughter's university town, talked with the insurance company, rented a car and continued on my way to visit my mom. I really felt other than a little inconvenience and delay that really there had been no consequence to this accident for me but I later found out that this wasn't exactly true.
True there was no negative consequence other than having to find myself another car. I ended up purchasing exactly the same vehicle but a newer model. I really felt it had proven itself in the collision test.
What I came to realize over the next weeks, months and now almost one full year since this event was that somehow it changed me without me even knowing this at first.
I started to become more aware of things especially visually. I felt like I had been given a new set of eyes or at least an occipital cortex through which to interpret what I was seeing. I started borrowing my daughters camera ( I didn't have one of my own then)
I fell in love with photography, mainly because it seemed to be the only way I could share with my family what I was seeing. I have always found it difficult to find the words to describe things well.
I felt like I had been trapped under ice but now the ice had melted.
Everything appeared fresh and green not matter where I looked. I saw beauty everywhere.
And patterns where I don't think I was aware they existed.
My heart was opened to a deeper care and concern for small living things.
At the same time I started to be creative everyday. It started with little things like making wonderful gingerbread cookies and ornaments last christmas.
I have made so many wonderful things this past year and every day I have new ideas that pop into my head , sometimes at the strangest times for things I want to make.
Life is so wonderful and nature so miraculous. If I have one objective in writing this little insignificant blog it is that I would instill a sense of wonderment in each and everyone of my readers to go out into their worlds and start to notice the things that most people don't even see. Look far away at the horizon and savour the beautiful sky that is painted for you every day.
Then look across the road or along the roadside when you are driving or walking.
Take notice of the colors in nature.
I have been really loving the reds I have been seeing this week, accentuated by the pure whiteness of the newly fallen snow.
Nature is a gift no one needed to buy or make but we should be thankful for it.
It asks nothing of us in return but we should want to protect it.
I have been wanting to write this post for a very long time but today it seemed to crystalize in my mind and I had to share it with you. It has been a wonderful year . Thanks for listening.