I've been working my own fibers, wool mostly, and have been thoroughly engaged with the activity. It intrigues me how fiber that is clumpy, rough, dirty and crusty can turn into something so light, fluffy and soft. The entire process is time-consuming, but so soothing to me.
Burl and I have been making play dough for a while now. We've experimented with recipes, ingredients and natural additives and have had a delightful time in the process.
When I was at Urban Craft Uprising, I was happy to meet Kari of Mama K's Play Clay. I bought some of her clays and love them. And look how adorable she is! She was recently the featured seller on Etsy, a well-deserved honor. I highly recommend supporting her shop and purchasing her clays.
I also high recommend making your own. It's an easy and fun activity that engages sensory development. I follow a few recipes, but this one is a good starter. Burl and I made a few batches this year for Christmas gifts. I skip the food coloring and instead add dried botanicals for color, like beet powder, golden seal, alkanet and spirulina. I add essential oils for therapeutic affects.
Burl helped color the sticker labels :) and we put them all in 4-ounce size tins. Voila! A simple, earthy, healthy, non-toxic, non-synthetic gift.
It's coming down tomorrow. I can't help myself. Once Christmas Day has passed, I'm ready to move on. I know I get way ahead of reality, but I'm ready to start seeds indoors, shop seed catalogs, till my garden, rush in Spring, and ignore the snow all together.
This year we were gifted a beautiful (and huge!) poinsettia. I've never had one before, tell me, what do you do with yours after Christmas is over?
With twinkle lights, a tree and some findings from outdoors, we've kept our Christmas decorating simple. Burl and I foraged our garden and neighborhood to decorate our home; we picked holly berries from our backyard, bay leaves from our herb garden, fallen pine cones from down the road, and evergreen branches. Filled in baskets, little glass jars and cloches around our home, we've really enjoyed the simple feel these natural touches have added this season.
Merry Christmas, my dear friends. His love and peace to you all.
Isn't love really all you need sometimes? It's an old proverb I remember my dad sharing with us as I was a little girl.
Burl has a sticker collection on the car doors. It keeps him occupied and prevents him from running in the streets as I unlock the car doors.
I think this may be our last year buying a freshly cut Christmas tree. I love live trees, but it just feels like it's time to evolve into something else. Something less expensive and more sustainable, you know?
Happy Saturday, friends!
I didn't buy much at Urban Craft Uprising a couple weekends ago. But I HAD to buy this darling little coat for Burl, from Ricili Kids. It's made from a recycled adult size flannel.
It SO reminds me of high school in 1993. Alex says he had a flannel just like this that he wore to an Alice in Chains concert. All Burl needs is a pair of Dr. Martens and he'll look just like all my old high school boyfriends. Except way cuter, of course.
I'm so comforted by the outpouring of kindness from you, my friends. Please know that each of your comments, thoughts and prayers are appreciated more than I can express. Thank you. So very much.
Here's a sneak peak at my mom's gift for Christmas. My sweet friend, Heather Smith Jones is the author. Her new book is absolutely beautiful.
I've been away from this space, I know. And I left without warning or explanation. I'm back now and I feel comfortable sharing a little about where I've been.
Several weeks ago Alex and I were thrilled to learn we were expecting our second child. It was especially fabulous news for us because it has been so challenging for us to conceive. I spent the next little while in a splendid daze of queasiness and bliss. Thanksgiving day brought us heartache though, as I woke that morning with something just not right with the baby. We spent most the day in the ER as I miscarried our child.
My parents and sisters rushed to be with us and to care for Burl while Alex and I waited at the hospital. As he and I drove home later that day, I was filled with two overwhelming and opposing emotions. I was so, so sad for what had just happened. Yet I was overwhelmingly thankful for the life I live. For my husband. For our beautiful son. For the life that had been inside me. For the happiness I have. And I felt that if these are the worst conditions I'm having to endure, I will endure them willingly.
I spent the next week or so feeling sad and sorry for our loss. I tried embracing the despare and really allowing myself to experience the grief. I tried finding the proper balance between feeling disappointment yet not wallowing in sadness.
I'm on my way back up now and I feel good. I have deeply rooted beliefs in a Savior and Father in Heaven who love me and want me to be happy. I am blessed, and I know I will continue to be blessed. So thank you for being patient while I was away. And thank you for being my friends.
I'm a little late here, mainly because I just got my film back. Also because I tend to procrastinate. But I wanted to share how we did our pumpkins for Halloween this year. I followed an idea I saw on Crafting A Green World.
This activity was more than just pounding holes in our gourds. Burl exercised his concentration, his gross and fine motor skills, we talked about all sorts of different subjects from spelling, to counting and subtracting seeds and pumpkins, anatomy, nutrition, compost. I'm already really, really enjoying my experiences with homeschooling/ unschooling my sweet boy. And although it's well past Halloween, we still drift off to sleep together with a small candle burning in one of our little pumpkins. So very sweet.
I'll be back in another post to show you what we did with our pumpkin seeds.
I know I've mentioned here and there about how much I would LOVE to have more property where I could take in and care for rescued farm animals. Truth is, as much as our family plans on and would like for this to happen, it will be a while before we're able to make a move like that.
In the mean time, we've decided (actually I decide, usually spur of the moment, and late at night) to make small changes along our way while we are in our home. For example, like ripping out the hallway carpet at 10pm several months ago. I knew we had wood floors underneath, I just didn't know what kind of wood and what condition. After spending the entire night ripping out and cleaning up the who-knows-how-old carpet, carpet padding, 60 or 70 year old cardboard/ sheep fiber-type glued on padding, we found fir flooring underneath. IT WAS DISGUSTING! There was so much dirt, muck and grim on that wood, I was horrified to know we had been living with and breathing it in our home for these many years. It felt so good to get it all out. We still have two rooms to go.
The wood seems to be some sort of sub flooring and needs to be sanded and finished. Until that happens, we chose to paint the floor white. Our hallway is a small and dark place and needed some lightening up, so white was a good decision. Although dirt and dust are a lot more visible than they were on the carpet, I'm confident in our decision to make our home more healthy.
We ventured down to EcoHaus in Seattle, which I highly recommend. We chose to use paints by American Pride, for several reasons. Zero VOC's for starters. We started with one layer of primer. For the top coat, I mixed a 50/50 ration of Interior Eggshell Pastel, in "Grace's Smile" by American Pride and Vermont Natural Wood Finish, in semi-gloss. After living with the finished floors for several months now, I plan to add one last coat of the Vermont Natural Finish.
Every now and then I treat myself to a little something. Probably more often than I should, considering we're on a tight budget. But when I do splurge a little, I try to purchase things that everyone in my family can benefit from. Like the 3191 quarterly magazines. They're worth every penny.
Tonya, of Plain and Joyful Living.
I want to thank ALL who donated, I had so many wonderful comments. So many wonderful friends, so much support I feel here in my little blog. My heart is full. I appreciate you allowing me to be myself and express just who I am. And I appreciate having your support for the causes that are dear to my heart.
The plans are rolling ahead for our weekend getaway to Forks, Wa. to assist Olympic Animal Sanctuary. I plan on camping out in a motor home with Burl, my mom and our dogs for the weekend. My mom and I will take turns entertaining Burl and working with the rest of the group. My mom traveled down to New Orleans with me in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to help with the animal rescue efforts there. So she and I are accustomed to roughing it together for the sake of the animals.
Thank you again to all who donated to the animals of Olympic Animal Sanctuary! Tomorrow, I'm spending the day volunteering with my dear friend, Dr. Brad Cauer who is the medical director of the Seattle Humane Society. We're working a low-cost Spay/ Neuter day and hope to alter 200+ cats! It's going to be a loooong and rewarding day. See you later this week, my friends. Xo.
I was inspired by the the Fall Collection Board posted on Design*Sponge by Small Stump and Studio Choo. Burl and I made our own board to display our Autumn findings. We purchased our materials from the thrift store and spent less than $5. We're filling it with all sorts of specimens collected from our daily walks. It's a work in progress, we're still finding items to add, identify and label. It's been a perfect Fall project to work on with my sweet, nature-loving boy.
I'll be back later this afternoon to announce the winner for the giveaway. Happy Monday, my friends.
Happy Thursday, Friends.
All this talk about being poor, going without certain luxuries and wanting more has really got me thinking that I need to appreciate more what I do have. And all the time these past few months I've spent preparing for my Etsy feature, and the hours and hours of work since then has taken a lot of my time away from Burl.
When I was younger, I used to think my life would be complete with a husband. Then I wanted a home to call our own. Then I wanted a baby. Now I want another baby. And more land. When does it stop? There will always be more and more that I long for. I've decided to try to live more in the present and appreciate the full life that I'm living and the blessings beyond measure that I have.
So, my babe and I have been working on several projects together and spending lots of time in our cozy home and outside walking in nature. I'll share some details and pictures soon.
Until then, THANK YOU! for all of your comments and donations to Olympic Animal Sanctuary. Keep them coming. I'm so excited to choose the winner!
Have a lovely day, my friends.