Tuesday, November 29, 2011

First Candle of Advent


We may not have been home for the first day of advent but that didn't stop us from lighting the first candle :)


Sunday happened to be the day we were stranded at my mom's house during our flooding but she has the very same advent candle holder or Aadventsleuchter as me so during dinnertime we set it on the table and lit the first candle starting our journey of filling our hearts with the joy of the season and getting ready for baby Jesus' birthday :)

Felt Star for Advent

Over the past several years I have slowly been moving our family further away from the hub bub of purchasing mass amounts of unnecessary gifts and the focus on santa and what he is going to bring us. Instead of all that we think of all the good deeds we can do for others during the holiday season and what special handmade gifts we can make for one another. One of the books that I love to pull out for inspiration on scriptures to read, craft ideas and ways to make Christmas even more special is Celebrate with Joy by Sondra Burnett. I've had it for a quite a few years and while I've read it over and over many times I always find something new to add to our festivities :)

This year I thought it would be fun to make our own advent countdown calendar since everyone is old enough now to wield a needle and thread *grin*. I've been cutting out little felt hearts, stars, gingerbread men, trees and more and we've been stitching them together and filling them with a bit of wool stuffing every afternoon. I have a few more that I'm going to finish up tomorrow and we'll have them all ready for the first of December.

Candle Snuffer

In the coming days I'm looking forward to sharing stories with the children about St. Nicholas to and how he gave selflessly to others without any expectation of receiving something in return and I have a big baking party in the works. Every December there is a seniors dinner at our community hall that is open for everyone to come down and enjoy and if you are home bound you can also have a meal delivered right to your door. How great is that! So I thought it would be fun for us to bake cookies for the dessert portion of the meal that can be taken home and enjoyed later and it is something that even my 5 year old can do and feel really proud of himself for helping with :)

I just love this time of the year *grin*. I just pulled out my stash of hot cocoa and am looking forward to crafting and sipping it in front of the fire with the children. They don't know it yet but I'm going to set aside a few special nights for each of them to spend some one on one gift making time with me to so that if any of them needs help finishing or making a gift they can do that after the others have gone to bed. What child doesn't love staying up later to work on secret projects :)

What do you have planned for the holiday season? Also hop over to Frontier Dreams to read more lovely entries others have shared about this week's advent.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Flooding Again


Seems like all I've been doing lately is talk about the weather and today is going to be no exception *grin*.

Yesterday morning when I rolled out of bed just before 8am we went into full on evacuation mode around here as the water started to creep up over the irrigation ditches around our home and into the fields. I was hoping we were going to make it through this year without any flooding but I must have thought it aloud and jinxed myself!

Running to higher ground

Hubby is busy working up north gathering a log tow up at the head of Knight's Inlet so it was just the kids and I and I wasn't feeling up to staying home alone as the water surrounded us and started to poor into the basement so we started packing. My mom lives next door on higher ground so we gathered clothing, food, toys and crafts to keep us busy, lifted up some of the books that were on the floor along with picture boxes and the computer tower and then I flicked off the main breaker to the house cutting off all electricity in preparation for a lot of water.

Waterfront Property

We made it down the road that connects between our homes just in time. Only a short while later it was already at least 3 feet deep and I know just how cold that water is when you have to wade through it :(


We were safe and dry but it's not exactly fun to stand on the other side of a brown and raging river and watch it creep closer and closer to your house.

The Girls

My dad had moved the cow up to higher ground by our chickens so that it would be safe and the girls lost all of their yard to the brown deluge but they were safe and dry as they looked out their door :)

Darkness comes

High tide came just as darkness was settling in and we checked the water levels once more before turning in while willing our thoughts to happier things like working on our advent :)

Swollen & Muddy

When I woke up this morning the water was gone again just as quickly it seemed as it had come and we found what remained of the four feet of water that had made its way inside our house. My oldest son and my dad pumped out what was left and dry firewood was brought in to try and dry out the woodstove so that I could get the house warm again and tonight we're all tucked back into our own beds again.

Despite all of the sloshing around in my gumboots I'm still doing in the basement it could have been worse and I am so thankful that we are all safe and forging ahead like it never happened. Now I just hope it doesn't do it again at least for a little while *grin*.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Storm Watching & Video

Storm Watching

We had storm warnings all along the east coast of the island today with winds reaching upwards of 90 km/hour at its peak, ferries between us and the mainland were cancelled and poor Hubby and the kids spent the whole day without power. Lucky me I was further down island where the power was still on *grin*.

On the way home I stopped to catch some of the action after the wind had slowed down a bit but the waves still towered way above me as they crashed over the sea wall in Qualicum this evening. I managed to stay dry but at there were a couple of times where I thought I was going to be soaked for sure as the water rushed upwards in front of me :)

I took a little bit of video on my camera while I was there to share to :) It's only about 10 seconds long but really cool to see how the water just rockets along the wall as it hits. If you are reading this via email or google reader you might have to jump over to my blog to see it :)


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gingerbread Snack Mat

gingerbread snack mat

With the snow falling outside and the cold temperatures I've been feeling really festive which is perfect because I have some holiday sewing that needs my attention *grin*.

Holiday Fabric

I started going through my holiday christmas fabrics and found an adorable charm pack of Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas and a bunch of other scraps and started cutting little 2.5 inch squares to make a cute quilted border for a set of gingerbread men snack mats I've been wanting to make. With all of my squares cut I sewed strips of 5 blocks together using a quarter inch seam and then sewed it onto a 6.5 x 10.25 inch rectangle of natural unbleached muslin.

I can't claim this idea as my own though as I actually saw a photo of it on Flickr first but for the life of me I can't find it again to share a link to the original. So if you know who created this first I would love to know so I can give them credit :)

Heat & bond

Then with a little paper gingerbread man that I had traced from a cookie cutter I copied him over and over onto the backing of my Heat N' Bond ultrahold that was going to be my glue for my applique work. This stuff is great for quick and easy applique projects :) Just iron it onto your fabric, cut and place it on your project and iron once more for a secure stick.

I love the natural look of the muslin and wanted to incorporate burlap into my mats to but burlap tends to unravel if it isn't stitched down well and washing can be tricky but I was crossing my fingers that the heat n' bond would do the trick. So I did a little test patch taking a chunk of burlap, gluing it onto some scrap cotton and it stuck on like a hot damn. Oh my goodness, that burlap is not going to move!

Gingerbread Men

So with all of my little men positioned on my snack mat tops I took a dry iron to them and set them permanently in place. Just to be on the safe side I did topstitch all of them though so that they would make it through a round or ten in the washing machine *grin*.

With the addition of a little bit of adorably cute mini ric rac for their icing they were complete and ready to be sandwiched between a layer of organic wool batting and an 8.5 x 10.25 inch rectangle of muslin that created the backing to my snack mat. Using a 1/4 inch seam I stitched all around the outside leaving roughly a 3 inch opening at the bottom so that I could turn the whole thing right side out to be pressed and finished off with a topstitch all around the perimeter :)

Gingerbread Snack Mat

I just love how they turned out and can't wait to make a few more because these ones were actually destined for a seasonal swap the kids and I participate in and are already wrapped up and on their way down to the US where they will be swapped around with other wonderful goodies and in return we will have a new little box full of all sorts of homemade goodness just in time for the holidays. I can't wait :)

Have you started your holiday sewing yet?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas Scherenschnitte

Wise Men

I've been having fun making some holiday paper cuts using japanese linen paper. I just love that stuff :)

Holiday Paper Cut

So far I've got the three wise men, some holly and candles...

Christmas Paper Cuts

Angels singing and of course Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

I haven't done any paper cutting in over a year and have somehow misplaced my nice little craft knife so I had to use a honking huge exacto knife but I'm very happy with how they turned out :)


The next step is to turn them into window transparencies using velum and kite paper to paint color into the open spaces. That way when the sun shines through them they are going to look amazing. I can't wait!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Snow & Winter Storms


Wind storms, power outages and snow are back as winter creeps closer :)

On our way into the city for swimming lessons this morning I creeped along through slush and a mini blizzard for nearly an hour before it finally turned to rain again. Thank goodness we were behind the snow plow for part of the way so that we had a somewhat clear lane. I am so envious of those of you who have squeaky dry snow for traveling on. It seriously makes such a big difference *grin*. If hubby could run his tugboats on the prairie I think I'd head eastwards LOL.


As we traveled further south the snow and slush disappeared and the white gave way to dark gray clouds, wild wind and waves.


We stopped at one of the rest stops and joined in with some other storm watchers to snap a few photos but we weren't brave enough to actually exit the car to catch the perfect shot of the waves though. We barely managed to keep the window down as the rain blew in sideways and soaked us immediately LOL.

Winter Storm

It was beautiful to watch the waves crash against the beach spraying water and sea foam into the air and we managed to miss the power outage that was going on at home to :)


Monday, November 14, 2011

Martinmas Lantern Walk

Martinmas Lantern

This was our very first year celebrating Martinmas and had a lot of fun creating special lanterns for our lantern walk :)

Papier mache

We started by heading outdoors during a break in the rain showers we've been having and collected red japanese maple leaves, deep purple leaves from a smoke tree, yellow leaves from some of the phlox in the yard and then started to paper mache our balloons with a drippy mix of flour and water for the glue and strips of crepe paper :)

The first layer was just paper mache and then we placed our leaves on top in patterns and just randomly and then covered them with one more layer of paper mache to help them stay in place without worrying that they would start to lift or fall off. I don't have any photos of us actually doing the paper mache because I was right in there with the kids slopping paste and paper on my own balloon *grin*.


We left them to dry overnight by the fire and in the morning the balloons had started shrinking and were pulling away from the sides of the paper...

Papier Mache

leaving us with great big giant bowls that I punched 4 holes into around the top and then tied strings onto them for hanging :)

Martinmas Lantern Walk

The children wore their cloaks pretending to be like St. Martin in his cape when he came upon the freezing man outside the city gates and then we headed out into the darkness. I retold them them story of Martin and the poor man that I used from Melisa's blog and we sang the following song from out of my Autumn Wynstone Press booklet :)

The sunlight fast is dwindling,
My little lamp needs kindling.
Its beam shines far in darkest night,
Dear Lantern, guard me with your light.

Martinmas Lantern Walk

We had so much fun walking with our lanterns glowing in the dark. Although I think next time we might do it a little earlier as when it gets dark around here it is pitch black and there isn't a street light in sight for a great many miles. I had to keep myself from thinking of bears and other wild animals that love to lurk in the dark around here LOL.


I just love how they glow so brightly showing the silhouettes of their leaves through the paper mache. We've brought them into our family room and hung them by the window so that we can enjoy them in the evenings with the flicker of candle light dancing from within them :)

I hope you had a lovely Martinmas day to and I would love to see photos of your lanterns if you shared some on your blogs!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget...

Red Poppies

In memory of all the fallen soldiers that have fought so bravely for our country....

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae May 1915

While I don't believe in war we still take a moment to remember those who did fight gallantly for what they believe in and to remember my own family members that fought and died in world war 1 & 2. So on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and this year on the 11th year as well we will sit silent for a minute in memory.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Tree Art Fun

Fall Tree Art

The weather has been absolutely miserable here for the last week so we've been bringing the outdoors in and we tried making some of the fall trees I saw over at the artist woman using watercolors, acrylic paint, straws and pointillism :)

Blowing Paint

Remember a couple of days ago I had mentioned I was going to let the kids blow paint through straws and cross my fingers that it didn't end up splattered all over the walls? Well it all turned out good and boy was it fun!! If you take some regular acrylic paint and thin it out with tap water to a runny ink like consistency you can actually drop it onto your paper in a blob and blow it all across your page to create tree trunk forms :)It's really cool to watch it streak along and branch off in different directions. The key we found to nice smooth branches was to make sure that we didn't drag our straw along through the paint as we blew. This made the shapes thicker and more blobby. And of course try not to drool through the straw as you blow LOL.

Fall Tree Art

After we let our tree trunks dry we randomly dotted fall colors using q-tips to our branches creating fun fall colors :)

Fall Tree Art

They're going to look great hanging on the wall when they're all dry :)

What fall art projects have you been doing?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yarn Along ~ Lichen Kerchief

A post of my current read and what is cast on my needles ~ Inspired by Ginny over at {Small Things}

cotton/linen yarn

I've been pretty busy at my sewing machine the last couple of weeks so I'm so happy I finally have some more knitting to show you all after missing last week's yarn along :)

This pretty mauve cotton/linen blend yarn by Linsey has been in my stash but I hadn't used yet because it's more coarse and stiff than what I would usually knit with but I just love the color and while I was having a peak at what all my ravelry friends had hearted in the last little while I came across the Lichen Kerchief pattern that is perfect for my little girl :) You've got to LOVE ravelry!

yarn along

I apologize for the dark photo of my knitting but I've been spending the last couple evenings knitting by the fire keeping nice and warm :) I just love to listen to it snap and crackle and its warmth is so welcome now that we have been freezing off and on outside at night. The kerchief has a neat little pattern of v-shapes interspersed throughout it using a simple twisted stitch and I think I'll probably get it finished up tonight and get the buttons on it sometime in the next couple of days so she can start using it. I'm in between books this week so no photo to share but I have a couple good ones, The China Study & Hunger Games, requested through the library so I hope they arrive soon :)

I can't wait to see how this kerchief fits and what you all have been knitting this week!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Painting & Knitting


Underneath the tablecloth on my kitchen table is a permanent patch of butcher's paper securely taped down. Why you might ask? So that when the painting bug strikes my children which is quite often this mama can just whip off the cloth and and let them go wild without worrying about how I'm going to fix water marks and paint stains *grin*.


I seriously love this stuff! And it's pretty much indestructible :) If you have never used it there is one side made of brown craft paper which makes great wrapping paper that you can stamp and draw on and on the other side it has a water proof waxy coating that you can spill on, paint on, get marker all over and wash it all up with soap and water when you're finished :)

Today they were painting the backgrounds for a fun fall tree picture that will have them blowing paint through a straw tomorrow to make free form tree trunks and then we'll add colorful leaves using our pencil eraser ends. I just hope we can keep the paint from blowing out of the straws and onto the walls! Maybe we should to some practice breathing through the straws before I actually hand over the paint LOL.


While they happily painted away I pulled out my yarn swift and a couple of skeins of a pretty mauve colored cotton/linen blend of yarn that I've had put away for a rainy day :)


I think I've found the perfect project for it but you'll have to wait until tomorrow's yarn along post to learn more about it *grin*. Gotta love ravelry and free patterns!


Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo Is In Full Swing

K's book cover

The novel writing bug has bitten all three of my children this year and each one of them has taken on the personal challenge to compete in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

My oldest son is creating a sci-fi story full of aliens and spaces ships and has set his word count at 12000 words total. He's been spending the first couple hours of each morning so far writing furiously as he works towards his goal of 400 words a day. He isn't a huge fan of writing stories so when he shows me the four pages of double spaced writing it takes him to get there I can't help but smile from ear to ear and cheer him on :)

L's book cover

I know that he's going to need a lot of cheering as he reaches the middle of the month and starts to feel tired of all the writing but he has both his younger brother and sister to keep him going to. They are in a bit of competition with him *grin*. Their word goals are much lower resulting in lower word counts for their days and they have been surpassing their numbers at least three fold and it really bugs big brother that their word graphs on their NaNoWriMo pages are way higher than his LOL.

Are any of your children participating in the youth NaNoWriMo?