Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Last year

I made up my mind to make no resolutions just plans that could be changed if the need arose. Oh boy did the need ever arise. I've happily let go of the negatives that seemed to dog our heels last year so I won't go into them. They are finished with, done. And I've taken what I could from them.

This year, I'm making a few other plans and keeping some of the plans from last year. I took advantage of the public Yule ritual to plant some of the ideas that had been floating in my head since Samhain. I've found this year that for Samhain it is best for me to look backwards to see what I've learned and where I need to grow and to look forwards with a little divination to help clarify where I'd like to go. The time between Samhain and this Yule was used to contemplate what I want to work on for the coming year. It makes sense to me and so I'm going with it. My intentions for the coming year are heavy on welcoming in the positive, heavy on creativity and heavy on getting myself organized.

That last one's going to be a toughie. I'm challenged in the area of organization, I start out meaning well and then things tend to slip and pile up and before I know it everything has gone out the window. This year I intend to keep at it and I have my orange spell sitting in my kitchen window to help remind me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday let down

not the kind where you look at everything around you and feel like nothing measures up to what you had expected or the kind the kind where someone totally makes the holidays a downer but where it's all over and done with and the suggestion of lounging on the couch in a semi comatose state is so very inviting that you collapse there before the thought is finished.

This was our first Christmas with no immediate family since before the Peanut was born. That is itself was both a relief (no need to run from point A to point B back to point A and B then on to points C,D,E,F, and so on) and a disappointment (missing the looks on faces when they opened up the gifts we lovingly made/chose for family), Now that it's all over, gifts unwrapped and put away, new toys scattered across the carpet, left overs taking up refrigerator space all I really feel like doing is napping. Well napping and getting started on some new projects...

I hope all of your holidays were as pleasant as ours, that there was plenty nog in your eggs, the lights shone brightly and if you have children around that the giggles and gasps were contagious.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Like trying to catch water in a lace hanky

the days are rushing by.

Last week was a little slower for us as far as doing family things together.

We had good friends over for a play date /cookie making party
We went to the library and were fortunate enough to snag How the Grinch Stole Christmas
We made popcorn and cereal strings and hung them on the tree outside for the birds to eat (unfortunately we're in Monsoon season here in Vancouver so they quickly became soggy strings)
I went to the public Yule ritual

My brother made a surprise stop for a few days and we took him to Bright Nights in Stanley Park. It was the absolute wettest trip to the train we have ever experienced, Our luck with good weather for train rides is usually fantastic, this time not as much but it wasn't cold and we did get to see "our" Santa. We've been going to see this Santa since the Peanut was 5 months old, he's the same Santa every year and that helped with getting Peanut to feel comfortable enough to sit on his lap for the very first time. We took our second family photo with Santa and were pleased to donate to the Burn Victim fund.

The train itself was beautiful again this year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

my first

public ritual that wasn't for Samhain was this past weekend. I tend to hold myself back in new situations so that I can get a feel for the people and test the waters so during the ritual I did what felt right for me (which is of course, exactly what should be done in any sacred space) and watched mostly and moved when I was comfortable (which was very little). Watching the joyful and energetic dancing of some of the other participants was enough for me.

The difference between the larger Samhain ritual and this smaller Yule ritual were first noticeable in the size of the gathering and the intimacy of the space and then there was the emphasis on spell work, which could not be easily done in a large gathering like Samhain. Planting our intentions for the coming year and releasing any outgrown or negative influences to make room for the new.

I was pleased to see my holly poppet consumed by the sacred flame in seconds, releasing all the energy that has made this passed year challenging felt good. I am now ready to face what this coming year has in store for me without the baggage of all that happened last year beyond what I've learned from them. I have my intention spell sitting in my kitchen window to remind me of where I want to put my energies this year, I think that I will keep it there until I have seen those intentions come to fruition and use it as an offering for next Yule's personal ritual.

Everyone brought something for the Stone Soup and at the end of the evening we shared a meal and exchanged gifts. All in all I found the experience to be an excellent reminder that this time of year is a time for slowing down. Our plan for the rebirth of the sun tomorrow morning is a simple welcoming ceremony that will include a mini dance party at sunrise featuring "Here Comes The Sun"

How do you welcome the sun's return?

Friday, December 18, 2009

The giving's the thing

This is why I have tried to stay away from the whole shopping thing if at all possible:

One of my fondest memories is of the year that we made candles for the holidays to give as gifts.

It was after my Dad's first heart attack. Money was tight. The fact that money was tight registered with my sister and I on some level (I can remember consciously making decisions not to ask for too much during that time) but really, all we were thinking about that year was how much fun it was as a family to make those candles and how proud we were to present them to our friends and family. I can remember feeling a little sad that we weren't doing the same thing again the next year.

Looking back on my childhood, I remember the avarice I felt as winter approached, the thought I would put into each gift request from Santa. Looking back, all my presents from over the years are a blur. With few exceptions, I can't put gifts to dates. I can't recall what I got for christmas the year we made the candles (I know that I loved whatever it was I got but I couldn't tell you what it was). When I think of christmas now I think of those candles, that's what I want to give to the peanut each year time as a family and the practice of giving of ourselves instead of giving loads and loads of things.

Despite what I've mentioned here before about avoiding malls and giant box stores at this time of year, I've had to spend some time there. We are still abiding by our decision to buy vintage and handmade wherever possible but there are those things that are better and more affordable if purchased new and mass produced, socks and underwear for instance.

So the Peanut and I spent one good day traipsing through our local mall and just thinking about it has my tummy in knots and my blood pressure rising and my brain figuring out the best way to avoid this next year, because I never want to have to deal with the crazy frantic shopping people again.

The longer I spent there the more stress I started to feel, the more the idea that I hadn't gotten enough for the husband crept in and I started to notice that I was looking, to buy more more more and feeling guilty each time I stopped mid-purchase and thought about if it was worth it.

The gifts I've picked out for him are small, but they are things that he will find useful and hopefully fun. Unfortunately his stocking may look a little deflated this year and each time I think about that flat stocking I have to squash the urge to go out and spend spend spend some more.

This year I've really been thinking about what I want this season to mean to me and to the husband and Peanut. She's already on the I Want Train, any reference to anything toy related brings on a flurry of statements that go something like:

Can we think about (insert item here for example: that whole bookstore) for christmas eve? How about we think of (insert item here for example: that robot truck) for christmas eve? Do you think that I could think about (insert item here for example: that huge giant dinosaur) for christmas eve? Can I? Can I? Can I?

Teaching her that is going to be our next big challenge over the next year. Are you feeling the push to go overboard with the gifts too?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A thousand Words

City sidewalks, busy side walks dressed in holiday style.... or at least the large crane is ...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Wednesday Word

many changing lights
glow in early winter dusk
too long night coming

Monday, December 14, 2009


weeks and weeks of clinging symptoms I finally felt well enough to get out and see friends. How fortunate that this was the weekend of the holiday party for Peanut's set of friends and incidentally mine as well.

We trekked to the north shore and into our friends home while light and fluffy snowflakes drifted down and settled on our cheeks like fairy kisses. I know, I know it's a little cliched but I'm leaving it as it is. I like the idea of fairy kisses anyway.

Last week I listed all the things we had done to celebrate the holidays and here's an update:

We baked sugar cookies and butter tarts. (my grandma gave me the super tasty recipe she uses for hers which my great grandma called toffee tarts)

We decorated our gingerbread house, and made more paper snowflakes.

We went out to do some holiday shopping (we limit our time doing this though, shopping in the crowds is too much stress and takes away from enjoying each others company. We went to the local Ikea for a new sheving unit for the living room, a bedside table to pile my mountain of books on and a storage unit for the Peanut's art and craft supplies. These are our gifts to ourselves this year and we can't be more pleased with them.

And of course we attended the Christmas party I mentioned above.

On deck this week:
Stanley Park Bright Nights Train ( a favourite of the Peanut's) more baking (as I type this shortbread cookies are scenting my house), a gingerbread man decorating/ play date with our good friends and a little more shopping (this time at some local businesses) I'll also be attending the public Yule ritual on Saturday this will mark the first time I've attended a public ritual other than for Samhain, usually we're heading out to Alberta to visit family around this time so I'm very excited to add this onto my list of activities.

My posts lately have been a little on the word heavy side and super light on the pictures. I've been neglecting the camera in favour of being a part of the fun. I've taken one or two photos along the way and hope to post some here soon. Also I've been feeling the urge to go all lyrical on you but I'm trying to think of a pithy title to use, I'm open to suggestions.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Tag

I found this over on the Pagan Mom Blog and again at Hello Better Than Ever!

~Copy and paste the questions to your blog

~Then Tag 5 or more of your favorite blogs and leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged. (this I will not do, I do invite you to cut and paste and post if you want to. Like Pagan Mom Blog, I find these are good filler and they do give a little of my personality too.)
~When you post your blog, please spread some Holiday Cheer, and leave a link back to Heather’s Blog as well as the one to the blog of the person who tagged you.
The Questions:

1.) Have you started your Christmas shopping? In process. I should be done this weekend but I always find little things to add on as the weeks go along especially for filling socks

2.) Tell me one of your special traditions. Xmas eve we open a special gift that contains a new set of PJ's and a new ornament for the tree.

3.) Are you a “Black Friday” shopper? ummm not if I can help it and I can help it:) , in Canada it hasn't been the same type of hoopla as in the US so other than mercenary shopaholics heading over the border to take part there isn't a huge rush to go shopping or to offer big sales to bring in the crowds.

4.) When do you put up your tree? We try to get it up a month before the big day and take it down in the first week of the new year. This year we were all a little sick so the tree went up a few days before the beginning of the month

5.) Do you travel for Christmas or just stay home? Up until last year we traveled to Alberta for the holidays, flying back and forth and renting cars and all the running around to make sure everyone gets a good visit is too expensive and too exhausting. This will be our second holiday season at our own home.

6.) What is your funniest Christmas memory? Up until last year it was the of one of my nephews about 4 years old opening present after present and getting more and more excited over each gift as he opened them. He's open a gift, gush excitedly and toss it to the nearest adult which happened to be grandpa, as he asked "can you open this?" and then turn to the next gift and do the same thing only with more excitement. Buy the end of the frenzy Grandpa was surrounded by a small mountain of toys and was still wrestling with the packaging of the first gift.

Last year it was the Peanut opening gifts at our friends house before dinner. She had brought with her a stuffy, one of her presents she'd opened in the morning and as she opened her first gift from her Caitlan, she held on pretty tightly to it. The first present was opened to reveal A treasure box decorated with a Chinese dragon that Caitlan had made for her, down went the stuffy and the box was examined minutely. This was the best present ever! Next came present number 2. Peanut was not interested in opening another gift, she had a treasure box what more could she want? So Auntie helped (while Peanut watched still holding her box)open the next present, a pair of Ladybug boots, the treasure box was thrown to the floor and the boots were in it's place being crushed to the Peanut's chest while she bounced up and down singing "ladybug,
ladybug, ladybug!" The bug boots were the best present ever! Peanut was not interested in opening another gift, she had a treasure box and bug boots, what more could she want? Present number 3 was brought out, again Auntie helped while peanut tried on her new boots and rescued her treasure box from the couch. Gift number three opened to reveal a giant barn with farm animals... can you guess what happened? The box again was tossed aside as the barn became the focus of the peanut's attention, this was the best present ever!

This year looks to be even more fun now that the Peanut is a little older and a even more excited about the holidays.

7.) What is my most favorite Christmas show of all time?
I have two favourite shows that are must sees each year. It's a Wonderful
Life and of course the Chuck Jones, Dr Seuss collaboration of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

8.) Do you do your own baking? Absolutely with the help of the Peanut. If we are heading to Alberta the baking is still done by my Grandma, she used to do tons of baking, five kinds of cookies, tarts and squares. She's in her 90's now and has cut down on the baking, and now makes shortbread and tarts only.

9.) Fake or real tree? Because we used live in an apartment we have an artificial tree because real trees are a fire hazard.

10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
Anything that is really really important we get done first so I don't really panic. If some thing's not done by the big day why worry? I was the same with planning our handfasting, nothing will ever be as perfect as you imagine it will be, so it's best to be flexible and go with the flow.

11.) Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas eve? Sometimes yes sometimes no. See above.

12.) What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas? We try to get to the Stanley Park Bright Nights Train. It's put on by the fire department and they collect money for the burn fund. This year we plan on donating a little more than we usually do to offer our gratitude to the fire fighters who put out the fire in our building last February. We can't say thank you to these brave men enough.

13.) What is my favorite Christmas craft? All the crafts I do for the holidays are my favourite, we try to do something new each year. This year I made an Advent Calendar for the Peanut to open each day leading up to the 25th.

I make my own holiday cards, which I also sell online (although at this time there I have nothing in stock at the shop) and I've been collaborating with the husband to make tree ornaments.

This year for Yule the Peanut and I will be decorating the tree in the backyard with some edibles for the birds and squirrels in our neighborhood.

14.) Christmas music? Yes or No? If so, whats your favorite song? I could say NO NO NO but I have some favourites that I can listen to all year long:
The Raveonettes Christmas Song, and Aimee Mann's Your a Mean One Mr Grinch are at the top of the all year long list. Also on the Yes list is the Pouges Fairytale of New York and I've been listening to
Leon RedBone and Zooey Deschanel's Baby Its Cold Outside. I try not to go into the malls or shops too much during the holiday season so that I can enjoy the holiday music better and not be super annoyed by it.

15.) When do you hope to finish all your Christmas shopping? As in the first question, I hope to be done this weekend. Hope is the key word, but no pressure :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


We started our holiday baking this week. We took a special trip to the grocery store to stock up on all the necessities (we still haven't replaced all the stuff that was in the pantry before the fire and the move) and now we're doing a little here and a littler there to make it more an=bout spending time together instead of getting it all done.

The Peanut loves helping to bake and getting her into her little apron and watching her help to measure and stir is lots of fun. We've done sugar cookies so far and decorated a gingerbread house. Next on the list is shortbread or maybe some butter tarts...

Mrs B is holding a cookie book giveaway which couldn't be more timely. I'm entering to win a copy and you should too. Go here to see what's up for grabs.

in other news, WinterGarden on Etsy included one of my photographs in a stormy collection on byhand.me there are some stunning items posted with my humble photograph, go take a look


Over the last few weeks I've been getting spammy comments on one of my posts from back in October.

The comments are all in Japanese and (from clicking the link to the commenter) a p.orn site. I'm not able to read them myself, but when I got the first one I tried to translate it in Babelfish and what I got was a lot of almost zen like nonsense that wasn't explicit in the least so I've been ignoring these comments as I've got my hands full of sick husband, another barnacle in my throat and of course the Peanut and all the holiday activities we've been doing. This morning I checked my messages and saw that I had 12 comments all in Japanese on the post. I decided to check and see just who was posting and got an eyeful. It's the link form the commenter that sends you to the x.-r.ated site.

I though about cutting and pasting the comments in a post for you all to read until I clicked on the links They were kind of amusing but now I just feel a little ill. I don't want the Peanut to have to see what is on those sites, and I don't want to have to look at them myself. which brings me to this short announcement:

I'm going to be moderating my comments and adding the word verification on comments from now on, which is a sad state of affairs. I always find the word verification a little annoying and having to put my readers through the hoop jumping is irksome. I apologize to anyone who is inconvenienced by the extra steps, I'd rather not have them myself but I also don't want questionable material linked to this page either.

Has anyone else had this happen? what did you do about it?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We've been

keeping busy busy with holiday plans and activities. We've simplified our holidays a little so that we can focus on more family friendly activities, taking advantage of some quality time as a family as opposed to running into a crowded mall and stressing about spending and buying and buying and spending.

So far:

We stayed up past the Peanut's bedtime to watch the original Grinch. This was a big hit. All three of us snuggled under the purple afghan my grandma made for us, munched on popcorn and enjoyed the genius of Ted Geisel (Dr Seuss) and Chuck Jones. The best part was trying to explain to the Peanut why Max the dog was helping to steal Christmas. How would you answer that question?

We sat at the table with some hot chocolate, strips of construction paper and glue in both stick form and the glitter variety, to make a paper chain to hang our holiday cards onto. The peanut enjoyed this but found manipulating the strips into loops too challenging after the first five so we decided that I would make the chain and she would add a touch of glitter to each link. The glitter adds a little something something.

We went for a walk to the garden center and spent one of our mornings looking at fresh poinsettias, Christmas Cactus, Paper Whites and tiny decorated cedar trees as well as enjoying the decorated trees in the accessories department. there was a tree full of birds, nests and flower picks, one full of garden gnomes, frogs, snails and turtles and an ocean themed tree with shells and starfish.

We spent another afternoon with paper and scissors making snowflakes to hang in the window. This is something we're going to do again.

We set up the electric train and tiny village with the dancing bear music box.

And we braved the cold to watch most of the Santa Parade in downtown Vancouver. It was crowded and people forgot themselves and pushed in front of the Peanut's stroller making it impossible to stand comfortably and for any of us to see. We left fifteen minutes before the end and made our way into a nearby high end hotel to check out the giant gingerbread house and the castles, ski chalets and villages that were also on display.

on deck for this week:
Going out for lunch with Daddy at work, Decorating our own gingerbread house, baking gingerbread men and doing a snowman craft.

I've been making an effort to limit the time I spend on the computer and we've also made a commitment to make some of our gifts this year in addition to buying handmade and vintage for gifts. We're a little behind on the holiday gift getting for some on our list so we'll be focusing on that over the next week too. My posts will probably be a little fewer as the weeks go on.

How are your holiday celebrations shaping up? Are you planning a parties? Making your gifts or buying them? Is there a flurry of baking in your future? Are you making an effort to spend more quality time with those closest to you?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Thousand Words Thursday

just another foggy morning in Bird-ville

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

stage five Klingon:

That is what this cold is.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocked off my feet and curled up in an ever growing pile of tissues. That part of the cold ended two weeks ago. I'm a functioning member of the household, but I'm still coughing, still have stuffed sinus and still have an irritated throat. It's getting better, but not quite as fast as I'd like it to.

I've been going stir crazy and the Peanut is stirred up even more. She went to a play date with all her friends and Daddy on Sunday (I stayed home so I wouldn't cough all over everyone) and she cried all the way home because she wanted to go back to play with her friends. So more play dates are called for once I've got this sucker kicked, I'm aiming for sometime this week so that we can make it to the Santa Parade on Sunday.

With the weather sunny and rain free, we'll be heading out of the house more so that I can soak up some Vitamin D. Yesterday the playground, today the garden center to look at holiday decorations. We did the tree and set up the toy train and village on the weekend. Setting everything up and starting to decorate meant that we had to rearrange all the furniture in the living room and then put most of it right back where we started.

How is your holiday prep coming along? do you have special plans?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Making your own Advent Calendar Tutorial using recycled materials

A few weeks back I came across this idea when reading Good Mourning Glory's blog. On her post she linked to a page of handmade calendars where I found this calendar . I used the template referred to on Julieree's blog which she got from Brownie Point's blog here. So how's that for linking back?

Of course, telling you how to make one of these in the first week of December defeats the purpose of the calendar but I think you can start a little late with the calendar and still have the fun of it. And next year, you can start at the beginning of the month.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been toying with the idea of getting an advent calendar that can be used and re-used for years to come. There are any number of beautiful premade ones on the market, but I like to go the extra mile... (read: I like to do all the extra work. Well actually, I look at an idea and the the amount of work involved doesn't quite click in the head until I'm knee deep in the middle of it). In this case it was so worth the effort and I'm very happy I took on the project.

I used some light weight cardboard in my project as a money saver (I had it on hand and it was going to be recycled anyway which makes it a greener option than using all new supplies.) This calendar will probably last a few years before it will need replacing; which is much better than the cardboard pop out ones that you can find at the corner store, also I'll get to put the kind of chocolate I like in the boxes and forgo the cheap waxy chocolate flavored stuff.

What you'll need:

heavy card stock (I used recycled materials, the backing for a newsprint pad, a frozen pizza box, a cardboard insert from a sticker sheet you'll need enough for 24 boxes)
decorative paper
acid free glue stick
x-acto knife
bone folder
holiday wire hangers (for Christmas decorations)
garland (for hanging you boxes on)
your preferred chocolate and small slips of paper for writing messages and activities

As I mentioned above, I found the template for the boxes I'm using on Brownie Points Blog, you can download the template there. There are three templates on an 8.5" x 11" sheet. Because I was using cardboard from food packaging to make my boxes, I cut out one of the templates onto the board and used that to outline all the boxes on the board before cutting them all out. Use a ruler and an x-acto blade when cutting the boxes out to get straight lines.

To save a step, you can use heavy 8.5" x 11" card stock sheets; printing out the templates directly onto the card. you can find this at art supply and craft stores, then you can decorate using rubber stamps, stickers, pom poms, glitter or whatever you want. You can also try scrap book supply stores for holiday themed papers and attach laminating sheets to the backside to give the boxes support.

I covered my cardboard with some decorative paper using an acid free glue stick. This allowed me to use up some of the decorative origami sheets I've been hoarding for the last 8 years. To apply the paper to the board, apply the glue to one side of the template and apply the decorative paper with the front of sheet facing up. Burnish the paper with the bone folder.

The next step is to mark the fold lines and make the boxes. Use the printout of the template to make the score marks on the card side of the box. Lay the template down on the cut out shape and, using your ruler again, score the fold lines with the bone folder. Use the pointy side of the folder to make the score, then use the flat side to fold along your score.

Attach the hanging wire to the inside of the box using a small strip of tape, the hanging hook will stick out of the top of the box when the box is folded. Once the hook is attached form the box by folding in the walls into shape.

Fill the box with your chocolate and a small slip of paper with a special activity or craft idea to do that day.

Close your box by folding the bottom flaps together and sealing them with a decorative sticker. Each box should have a number from 1 to 24 on the outside. you can hand write the numbers, use rubber stamps or stickers to date each box.

For hanging I picked up a snowflake garland from the Dollar Store and hang each box along the garland, which is hung on one of the shelves in the living room bookcase. I let the Peanut hang each box in random order.

Some of the activities we included in our boxes; are baking days, snowman crafts, going to the Santa Clause Parade, taking a ride on the Bright Lights train, Decorating a Ginger Bread House, Visiting the local heritage town to take a rid on the Carousal and some other fun holiday crafts.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

27 days

As I'm writing this I'm starting my 27th day with a cold that will not quit. Well, it's starting to slow down (This next part will be full of TMI but I'm a sharing kinda gal. I won't share my germs but I'll tell you all about them) I still sound like Bea Arthur when I talk, I'm still feeling the pain in the ol' sinuses and I'm still coughing the big phlegmy coughs but it's not the non stop can't get that stuff out kind of cough any more. I think I see the end of the tunnel.

I may have bitten off more than I can chew with a new project for the holidays. Last year we did all our shopping handmade online, with a few exceptions. This year we're doing it all over again except that most of our gifts will be handmade by us, either in the form of a family portrait that I will be setting up in the next week or so (thank all Gods for the timed shutter release) or tree ornaments/ sun catchers that we are putting together. Doing the handmade online thing leaves so much more room to celebrate the season without the stress. We'll be spending more time together as a family baking, decorating and visiting the Bright Lights train and adding some new activities to the list of family time, which leads me to the project that is turning out to be more work that I thought when I decided to do it.

I'm making a handmade advent calendar to help us count down through holidays. Growing up my parents used to bring us the calendars with the cardboard pop out doors filled with cheap chocolate molded into sometimes unrecognizable holiday shapes with the one big door for the 24th. I always wanted to be able to reuse them (I'm a bit of a pack rat). Last year we bought one of them for the Peanut and I got the idea that I should buy a wooden one to reuse every year but with money being so tight I never got around to it. Then a few weeks back I came across a do it yourself version that I thought looked pretty simple...

Well I'm in the midst of making one and I'll be documenting all the bits for another DIY tutorial coming up this week.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A thousand Words

the sun broke out for a little while the other day and lit
the drops hanging off the Japanese Maple up like diamonds.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hungry hungry hippos and candlelight baths

This year I'm gifting for my sister. What can I say about my sister? She's the baby in the family and one of the toughest cookies I know. She doesn't pull any punches and will tell you exactly what's on her mind, she'll also say things just for the shock value when someone is being rude. She's mom to my three fantastic nephews and she's a rabid collector of Hippos.

In the past, I've gotten her a hand carved soapstone hippo and she's got a massive collection of toys, collectibles and photographs of hippos. I could shop for hippo things for her, and hippo is one of the search terms I plan on using. But she's just not all about the hippos, she also enjoys a good bath, with nice scented stuff and candles.

Here are a few things that came up in my searches:

Hippo Ring from Jujulee: Zoo rings are here! Hippo ring made from acrylic
glass 1/8 inch thick,Acrylic is light weight and very sturdy. I now offer all my rings
in many
colors: black, white, clear, blue, bronze, brown, orange, yellow, and red.

The above ring would have been perfect but my sister refuses to wear rings that stand up from her finger. She prefers simple bands on her fingers. I thought the ring was super cool though, and the rest of the items in Jujulee's shop are equally fantastic and well worth a look.

The Hippo from MDSparks: I love love love this cute little hippo charm.
Attached to a sterling silver bail and hung it onto a 16 inch sterling silver chain
that closes with a hook and eye clasp. A cute little hippopotamus for your collection!

This is an adorable option which would probably make it into everyday wear for my sister. and there are some gorgeous pieces that are not-hippo related in MDsparks as well.

Vintage Wade Porcelain Miniature Animal
Collection Lot from
ChaoticWhimsey: My mom is an antique
dealer. As a
child I would go with her to antique shows and look for little
treasures. What I ended
up collecting was Wade porcelain miniatures- they were inexpensive,small, and just
difficult enough to find to keep it interesting. 20 years later and I have
a plethora of the little
The fruits of all my searching include this cute little collection of 6 miniature
Wade porcelain animals. It includes a rabbit, gorilla, camel, beaver,
hippo and zebra.

These miniatures looked promising. ChaoticWhimsey has so many fantastic items that I've added her to my list of favourites to check out again and again.

There were so many listings on my search for Hippos on Etsy which was wonderful. Searching in malls and more mainstream stores for Hippo related items is more challenging and finding something that is a little unique on top of that can be a hair pulling experience. None of the above items made it to my short short list and are all up for grabs as I write this.

Searching for bath goods to contribute to a little self indulgence turned up heaps and heaps of items to choose from. Here are a few:

Vanilla Noir Sugar Scrub Cubes by WickedSoaps: Vanilla Noir brings to
mind the glamour of Ava Gardner or Rita Hayworth and the reminder of a bygone era.
Madagascar Vanilla, Dark Vanilla Bean, Black Plum are mixed with Bergamot
Orange and Warm Musk to bring you this dark, sophisticated scent. A wicked blend of creamy
goat's milk soap, skin loving shea butter, and pure granulated sugar, for a convenient body
wash that will leave your skin gently exfoliated and glowing.

WickedSoaps has a wide assortment of luxurious bath products that made me salivate, (I'm a soak in the tub with candle light kind of girl too). As an added bonus you can take advantage of the Thanksgiving Weekend Sale of 25% off everything in the shop! The sale runs from Wednesday, November 25th through Monday, November 30th. If you've got a bather on your list get over there now.

Sand Dollar Lavendar Herbal Sachet by Willywaw: The soothing smell
of lavender is as relaxing as a summer day. This herbal sachet is hand
screen printed on linen union cloth with a cornflower blue sand dollar and filled
with a mixture of lavender and buckwheat hulls. Measures 5 x 5 inches, printed
on the front and back is plain with a Willywaw label. Listing is for one sachet.

Willywaw is another shop with an excellent variety of hand made items.

To find out more about the items and shops I've mentioned here click on the pictures to visit the shops.

MIA why I haven't been posting

When I get sick it's a long drawn out affair which lasts way longer than most people's battles with the cold and flu. My body likes to attack the Neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) in my system so my abilities to fight off illness is a little compromised depending on whether the roller coaster ride that is my my white blood count is on a rise or heading downhill. The good thing, according the the hematologist we went to last fall, is that my body does reproduce the cells, but I get my blood tested every four months to keep track of the ups and downs.

So I'm heading into week three of a coughing, hacking, nose blowing, sinus head aches and sore throat bonanza. I'm on antibiotics this week though, after two separate visits to the clinic last week. These visits really illustrate how the whole H1N1 scare is affecting people. The first involved the Dr standing as far away from me as possible, asking a few questions, treating me like I was wasting his time and putting him in danger of catching something with the advice to come back if it didn't get better in a week. The second visit with another Dr involved a look at my throat, in my ears and a thorough listen to my lungs with a prescription for strep throat and advice to come in again if I experienced pain when breathing and or blood when coughing.

And I haven't really felt up to posting, the laptop has actually been closed most of the week while I've travelled to and from the pharmacy to pick up more tissues, cough drops and some vitamin C for the Peanut who had a fever for three days last week and is now stuffed up. I've been reading my favourite blogs and commenting here and there but posting myself has seemed like too much work. I'm hoping that this week I'll be feeling more up to it, as well as getting the house decked out for winter celebrations.

How are you faring with all the bugs and ickies floating around?

Monday, November 16, 2009

there's a beluga

hanging out in my sinus cavities. That's how I've finally managed to describe how Mommy is feeling to the Peanut. It's kind of backfired though, she wants me to take it out so she can take care of it. on the plus side the barnacle in my throat seems to be shrinking, now if I could just get rid of the bend you over, breath stealing coughing fits I'll almost be feeling back to normal. Of course the cold meds are to be thanked for that.

I'm just pleased that the Peanut has so far managed to avoid the bug from us. keeping our fingers crossed and washing our hands like we bought shares in the hand soap industry. We got started on our holiday shopping on the weekend. We're going handmade/vintage wherever possible this year. We have three gifts off the list and about ten more to go not including the Peanut or ourselves. Next on the list is for the nephews we have six on the list, the rest are on the gift draw (wow time flies it seems like yesterday that they were watching Mumbo on the VCR and crawling into my lap for a story) I'll be doing another gift giving post in the next few days if the cold doesn't tackle me again. hope you are all feeling well and keeping the flu and the cold bugs at bay

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thousand Words Thursday

I'll keep this short, I'm battling a bug, coughing, sore throat and sinus problems are keeping me under the radar. Fortunately the Peanut doesn't seem to have a barnacle in her throat (the peanut's way of saying I have a sore throat) yet so she me get our of this unscathed, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. and limiting lovin's to kisses on the cheeks and foretheads (the Peanut's word for forehead) and hugs and snuggles whenever they're required.

The light outside our window was just too good to miss, the dark
looming clouds and the glowing autumnal leaves begged to be
photographed, so I obliged

Monday, November 9, 2009

The candy coma

is continuing here but only because I've hidden the goods from the Peanut and the husband. Last week was a rough one, as was the week before with sudden cases of bad sinus colds and too much to do and a lot of it not getting done.

On a positive note our Toilet has been revamped with water saving plumbing type things, the wall behind the tank is sparkly clean as is the back of the tank since we took the opportunity of getting a good bathroom cleaning in while the the toilet was in pieces. My husband is not a plumber but he did an awesome job and there is no longer the soothing sound of running water coming from the bathroom.

This week we start our holiday shopping. On my side of the family we draw names. With one grandma, two parents, an uncle, four siblings and their significant others, and 10 kids the holidays could get pretty pricey so we draw names. My husbands side of the family is a little easier and a little trickier but there are less of them.

This year the husband got my Pa. Pa is my second dad. He's a rough gruff cowboy farmer who thinks that a covered wagon camping trip is the epitome of camping, with a wagon that includes a small battery run fridge and heat and a fold down bed from an old camper I don't think he's that far off. He built his covered wagon from the base of an vintage wagon and added a hand sewn canvas my Uncle (a upholsterer and glass artist) made and slowly added little luxuries as he thought of them so that he could entice my Mom into going with him.

He keeps Draught horses and a few cows and he's the mighty machine Grampa in the family.

This year we're doing the buy hand-made route again adding to that we've included vintage to the list of acceptable purchases for gifts as well. To look for Pa we looked in both handmade as well as in the Vintage section of Etsy. Without giving away what we've decided on I've listed a few picks to suit the Pa. When possible I'll be browsing local artists and arts and crafts venues.

When I'm buying for someone on Etsy I take into account their hobbies and personality, among a few different terms that fit the Pa, I also went looking for "covered wagon" in the Etsy search. This term brought up these things from Susantique, MaineMooseToys and CountryWindows on Etsy:

Prairie Chick...Vintage Covered Wagon Still Bank by Banthrico
if Chicago from Susantique
: Vintage covered wagon still bank by
Banthrico Inc. of Chicago.Lots of detail cast in base metal with what appears
to be a copperwash, and there is a lot of patination that has occurred
over the years. Coin slot is on the bottom. Key is long since gone.

Measures 4 1/2" x 4" x 2 3/4".

was first sold in 1970 and last sold in 1971.
Dark amber glass bottom,white painted top,gold cap,
with Original box. Around 4 1/2 inches long.

Old Wagonin Sepia from CountryWindows:
An old wagon that did havethe cover on it at one time, bu was
taken off. The days when peope traveled across country in
covered wagons. This print is 8x10 inches

Of course there was a lot to choose from on Etsy but these items really caught my eye and were on the short list. The final picks aren't here. My Mom reads the blog and you never know who may be looking over her shoulder. I will post links to the shops that we did buy from once we've made our purchases, in the meantime the shops listed here have some pretty incredible items to choose from. If you have the rough gruff cowboy/farmer type on your list these are pretty good places to start your gift search.

Are you buying online and handmade this year?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Thousand Words: Light show

fireworks on Halloween

what you get if you give a 3 year old a glow stick at
bedtime to ward off the scary dark

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I had meant to follow-up on the blog-house-keeping from Monday yesterday but I was sidetracked with Mom duties. There were scissors, glue, glitter, paint and marbles involved and it was super fun. There was also outdoor fun with the magnifying glass.

Juggling online work and Mom duties can be kind of tough, there are days when I feel that the Peanut has ingested entirely too much PBS or CBC kids for any one's good just so that I can finish writing a listing description or a blog feature, other days I have a nice balance and still others I just want to devote 100% to the Peanut.

So back to housekeeping:

During Mrs. B's 31 days of Halloween I entered a lot of the giveaways, there were so many great items up for grabs that I couldn't wait to check in each morning to see what the prizes were. I've already mentioned that I won two fabulous prizes. My ghost ornament has taken up permanent residence in the kitchen window above the sink.

In addition to my little haunter I also snagged Yarnigras' super cool Skelepins. Val, of Yarnigras is one busy lady; always working on something whether it's cooking and baking, reading, making mosaics, sewing, or crochet. I received my Skelepins in the mail just in time for Halloween week. I chose one in each colour and then let the Peanut choose which one she wanted on her coat. She of course picked the bejewelled and sparkly red one, I took the more subdued gray and the husband's coat was decked out in the black. We've gotten so many comments on the pins and I can't wait for next year to wear them again. Make sure you go check out Val's blog, it's worth a read just to see all the goodies that she made for the Halloween season.

In addition to winning a few wonderful little Halloween treats on Mrs. B's blog, I also participated by offering a treat of my own. I'm mailing off Ghost Moon to Tywonna; the winner of that giveaway today. I've also included an extra special little treat picked especial for Tywonna; I hope she likes it. Mrs. B will be getting a nice thank-you note in the mail sent today as well. She did such a stellar job of organizing posting and announcing winners that I thought a little more than a thank you message in the comments was called for.

I'm done, Housekeeping all kept, now it's time to set off on a post office adventure with the Peanut.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Heather from Joy de Vivre photo tagged me!

I'm up to the challenge of course.

Here are the rules:

1. Open your first photo folder.

2. Scroll to the 10th photo.

3. Post the photo on your blog and tell the story behind it.

4. Tag people to do the same.

This is the Peanut having her first bath at home. At the time she was less than thrilled and she's probably wishing that it was dinner time instead of bath time here. For the first few months we bathed her on the table in the dining room of our apartment, Other than the fact that this photo brings back so many memories of those first few days as a family instead of a couple, this photograph also features my Dad who passed away when I was 15. An enlargement of his passport photograph is framed int he background.

I'm not much for tagging with these things, If you want in on the photo tag fun follow the rules and let me know, I'll check ou your photograph and the story behind it too.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yesterday was a day of catching up, resting

and recovering. Last week with the husband home sick for two days and getting ready for Saturday's festivities; things got left undone which meant that come Sunday morning the house was a mess and the laundry was in arrears.

So yesterday was catch-up time and nap time and walk down the hill to the independent grocery store and pick up a few things for dinner time.

Our Halloween was the best yet even with the small number of Trick or Treaters we had come to the door. Our neighborhood is surrounded by schools, there are at least three elementary schools within walking distance from our house and I see kids walking to and from school all the time. I was sure that we would be swamped with kids. I even asked our neighbor how many kids she usually gets each year (she said about 100) and we bought for that number and then added more. We were covered in every sense of the word for the onslaught but it didn't come.

We left a little later than I thought we would and we were the only ones on our block for a good 45 minutes. This meant the Peanut was loaded down with treats galore on her travels. We sent the Husband home after 45 minutes to answer the door and hand out our offerings. We loaded his pockets down with treats to make room for more and when it was all said and done the peanut scored a huge salad bowl of chocolate and (as she says it) lommy pops and other candies.

We weren't far behind the Husband on our trick or treating and when we arrived home there had been no-one to the door. We got our first treaters at 8:30 and our last at 10:30. Our visitors reached just below 20 and that's including the 6 university students going door to door to collect for the food bank. So we are loaded down with the Peanut's treats and the left overs from our offerings to the spooky crowds. Our gingerbread house and people will be candied to the Nth degree this year.

In the lower mainland where we live Halloween isn't just about the candy it's also about setting off fireworks and other loud explosives. From our living room window we could see the fireworks going off as close as a few doors down and as far away as the tall condo's by the large shopping center in Burnaby. It made for a very loud night.

Last year the Peanut didn't really "get" Halloween until the part where she started to pay attention to what the nice people were putting into her bag. This year she was excited about the festivities well in advance and is already looking forward to next year's parties, activities and trick or treating. How did your night go? Did you have few visitors to your door this year? Celebrate your beloved dead? Did you go to a party? The Rocky Horror Picture Show? Or did you have a quiet night in with a scary movie?

It wasn't just my laundry and house cleaning that I've been neglecting; I have a few blog housekeeping items that I'll be posting about tomorrow. See you then.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's time for dressing up

and our day is pretty full today. trick or treating at the Lonsdale quay this afternoon before the Halloween afternoon lunch party then rushing home to get the cauldron out and change the light in the entry and a quick trip through the neighborhood to collect some treats. After the tricking and treating dies down I'll be doing a little personal work for Samhain to start the year.

It's going to be a long long day and I'll be carrying my camera as much as possible.

On a completely related topic Mrs B's last day of Halloween is a doozy! so many great giveaways and the Haunted blog tour is not one to miss. I've put my name in for Octoberfarm's gift basket and for FunkyGreenMachine.com's Peeking Sal Organic Tote, but there's also a sweet tea towel up for grabs, an awesome crochet book from Quirke and a gorgeous pendant from Aunia Kahn.

you can enter for all these fabulous prizes here

To quote Mrs B because she says it so well: Have a safe and happy Halloween! For those who practice, have a blessed Samhain, and for those on the other side from me, have a blessed Beltane!

Friday, October 30, 2009

I love dressing up

for Halloween and my preferred costume is one that I made the year I met my husband. It's a simple costume that I've added and subtracted to over the years. In the last 16 years I've only missed wearing it a total of 3 years.

It was simple to make. Making it was one of the reasons that I decided to do my best to make all of the Peanut's costumes if I could. So far I've been pretty good with it:

City Mouse/ kitty cat at 4 months

Cowboy Fairy Princess

Ladybug/ ladybug Princess

and this year we'll be trying for ladybug butterfly actual costume title is yet to be determined.

As for me, I'll be putting on my costume too
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