Away

Since moving, we have had many forest visits. The place I feel the happiest.

Welcome Back Friends!!

I hope you’re all well!

After many months (more than I was anticipating) I’m sitting down to finally reconnect with you (if you’d like to listen to the music I listen to while writing, scroll down first to play a sweet medieval tune!). My perch looks very different these days! I’m still sitting cross legged in the morning hours to write, medieval chants playing. A hot drink supported by my feet, candles illuminating with their warm light. Freshly knit wool socks warm my feet. Petey the orange tabby lays beside me. Our view is different now, no longer farm fields but a crown of trees, a large body of water and distant hills. Crows settle in the branches. A month ago it was the osprey however they have migrated to warmer climates. So I’ll be embracing the long winter with the crows and the deers in a new home! A new place!

We moved in April. After many years of planning and hoping to move, we had the opportunity and took the plunge. Intuitively, Jamie and I moved back to Nova Scotia!!! Yes, just a province over but one that is so close to our hearts. We met at university here, half of my family lives in this province. I’m in love with the natural landscape. The whimsical towns. Despite how much I’ve wanted this over the past many moons, it has been an intense transition. One with a vast array of emotional ups and downs. I essentially disconnected from my online activity and shop duties because I needed to process the move and get to know our new surroundings. We worked on our new home and had many family visits once restrictions began to lift. When it came time to leave the island, I grieved for our life there. However, with time I feel so happy and grateful for the changes we made in our life. Change is vital to my being and sometimes things can be pretty uncomfortable for a period while you adjust. However, after 6 months I can finally look back and say it was worth it, it will continue to be worth it. Our house is settled (albeit there is some work that needs to be done – okay maybe a lot) and I’m beginning to be creative again, yay!!

My Mom has a new dog named Louie and we spent many summer and now fall days walking forgotten roads in Nova Scotia
The forest near our house is home to deer and barred owls! I have met 3 of these majestic creatures in the middle of the day.
Original paintings up in the shop
Rocky beaches, wildflowers. After living in the island, we feel overwhelmed by all the places to explore in Nova Scotia. This hidden rocky beach looks out to Cape Breton Island.
Backcountry camping in Cape Breton. Jamie and I set out on a few weekend adventures to backcountry cape in Cape Breton and just recently in Kejimkujik! It has been a dream!

PEI is a magical place and I’m grateful for that period in my life. However, I never truly felt at home on the island and you may be surprised to hear that we talked about moving a lot. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how ideal you have crafted your life, if you don’t feel at home with the land you may never feel right living in a place. I honestly always felt a slight unease living on the island – I wonder if you have ever felt that living in a place? The pandemic really escalated my desire to move back to Nova Scotia and Jamie now works remotely so we were so excited to have the perfect opportunity. I don’t know how much detail to give but it was INTENSE trying to find a house, my goodness. It was hard. When we bought our house on PEI it had been on the market for months and we offered lower than asking. I very naively thought this would be the case again. We probably entered the most crazy housing market Nova Scotia has ever seen. In the future, we will look for that piece of wilderness to build a house on but for now, the midcentury home is absolutely perfect for us. We both love it! It’s unique and simple. I will share more about our house in the future after some of the work is completed. I love midcentury design and houses and I can’t wait to share more! I think about painting the house (not the brick) black and the perennial (deer resistant because they are everywhere now!) gardens that I’m working on all the time. While we live here, we started a plot for our crops (garlic, potatoes and everlasting flowers) at my Mom’s house which we can just drive to in a morning now!!! No more ferry or 5 hour bridge drive… it’s such a relief to say. I so enjoy working at my Mom’s as well because no longer am I always solo gardening.

Little glimpse at our new home! It’s a simple midcentury modern home, built in 1957. It’s built into a slope in a charming cottage like neighourhood. The chimney is home to 2 fireplaces! We are in love with it! We had this deck built this summer to replace the rotting one. Next summer my plan is to container garden on the deck and put all my cacti out to be happy clams!
We thought we would be living in Nova Scotia by 2021 so in the fall of 2020, Jamie and I planted 3 beds of garlic from Eureka Garlic Farm on PEI at my Moms. Our house is now on a rocky slope so our crops will be planted at my Moms ๐Ÿ™‚ I just planted next year’s crop of garlic this week – 130 bulbs! I plant as much as we need for cooking in the year as well as how much I’ll need to plant for next year’s planting.
A perch for a girl and animals, our new midcentury home.

These past few months have been so full! From moving in a lock down, living in temporary housing, buying a house, exploring the surrounding forests and wilderness areas, seeing family. Swimming in lakes (Thank you, thank you for lakes!!) and the Atlantic Ocean. Reading books!! The days are growing so short and I feel a sense of calm and happiness when the darkness starts falling early. Now that we are finally settled, I will begin to update my creative world. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I should move forward, what I want to focus on. There is no doubt that I want to continue to create, to be inspired by the natural world surrounding us. Creating and communing with nature is my calling and I’m so happy to be in a place that allows me to do just that.

We sold so many of our belongings. Downsized both the size of our house and property as well as our material things. Our goal is to live more simply, spend more time in nature and less time on property maintenance. The change will allow both of us to focus more on creative endeavours. Carving, music, illustration, design, dyeing! The list feels endless and it’s finally time to begin. I have many items to put in the shop and will gradually update it over the coming months. I am very, very excited for the coming changes and hope you will all join me despite my wild inconsistencies over the years ๐Ÿ˜›

The river we walk along in all her glory. East Coast Autumns are so brilliant because of the native trees, a mixture of birch and sugar maple juxtaposed against the stark evergreens.
This past week, walking along meandering rivers with Henry and Louie.
Exploring new places in beautiful Nova Scotia <3 The Atlantic Ocean is on the otherside of this hill.

I hardly found time to paint or draw these past months however I did manage this tiny quick Comfrey painting. It’s not much but I still love it
My Mom’s charming garden in rural Nova Scotia. The 3 Sisters. Now we have a plot for planting our crops at my mom’s.
The socks I finished this week for myself. I used 2 and a half skeins which cost about 6 dollars for a super squishy wool socks! I bought this wool circa 2019 and wool prices have gone up pretty significantly.
Preparing Cards for opening the shop after a long hiatus! I’ll soon have many news items going up, but for now there are some prints, knits and patterns.
Never can resist biking down lupin lined roads in the summer
In rural Nova Scotia, the colours so so vibrant this time of year!
A beautiful place to join nature, our haven.

Thank you for reading <3 and thank you for understanding this vital change we made in our life. I am so excited now about the future and feel full of life and creativity. I hope you have all been well and finding ways to cope with these very trying times. After an intense transition, I’m ready for future and hope to share the creative aspects with you!

A song that I listen to while writing from an album I listen to on repeat <3

Many blessings on you for this quarter

Julia

Shop Update as well! There will be all new knitted things, art and carvings in the coming months.

21 thoughts on “Away

  1. Just to let you (or Word Press) know that many of what I suspect are photographs in this post didn’t come out.ย I’d really like to see them!SusanSent from my Galaxy Tabยฎ S2

    1. Oh dear! Thanks for letting me know – I’ll try to figure that out asap.

      I uploaded the pictures from my camera and did have some issues with size and uploading. I just double checked in an incognito browser and all the photos appeared on Chrome. Can you let me know if it’s working now for you? Or what browser you’re using? I’ll message around and see if we can get this sorted ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hi! I’ve missed your posts, but so happy for the new journey you’re on! Blessed Autumn ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚

  3. What a JOY to check my emails and see a notification of your posting! Welcome back, dear Julia! I am SO happy for you and Jamie. Seems like we both were destined to transition to a new life chapter this year. I sold my place in western NY during the summer. Moved to Minnesota at the beginning of September (living temporarily with my brother and sister-in-law now). Found a place of my own a few weeks ago and hope to close on it early November. I, too, downsized in house size, land acreage, and got rid of most of my belongings. My place in MN is nestled into the woodlands and has a creek running through it! I am eager to move in and make it my own. Creative energies are already flowing through me, and the land and elementals are eager for my arrival.

    1. Hello Bonnie!

      Wow, so many changes!! Congratulations on selling your place and finding what sounds like a beautiful new place! Just your short description makes me think it sounds ideal for you! I’m happy for you ๐Ÿ™‚ How funny all our changes aligned as well.

      I feel the same with the creative energies beginning to flow! I felt very stagnant no matter what I did on PEI. I knew I needed a massive upheaval in my life. We bought a place that is very liminal and good for us for the time being. Although I don’t see it as our forever home (I would like that forest and bubbling brook someday) it is perfect for this next period of our life! Liminal in that it’s neither in town or out of town, it’s situated right between water and the forest, it’s built into the hill and then towers above it in the sky. I’m excited about it and love it very much although it’s not the same “aesthetic” as stupid as that sounds, I need to get over that part!

      Toast to positive changes in our lives <3 Sending you many blessings in MN from NS!

  4. I’m so glad that you’re happy in your new home closer to family. Judging by your text and your photos I can tell that your spirit must feel so renewed, and I can’t wait to read and see more of what you get up to in Nova Scotia. I long to go back to see all the lupins in bloom – last time I got to see the leaves change and it was magical (especially since I live on an island without trees!).

    It seems many of us are packing up and moving at the moment, myself included. Though we’re not going far, it will be to our very first own house which is exciting. I’m having to give up my garden and an extra guest room, but we’re trying to keep positive in that we’ll pay off the mortgage in a few years and use that money for something much more perfect. It feels like a step back but I have to remind myself that it’s an investment and I’ll be happier for it in the long run.

    1. Hey Emma!

      Congratulations on purchasing your first home!!! That is so exciting! I get totally what you’re saying about seeing it as an investment and that you’ll be happier in the long run, although in the beginning it can be hard it really is so true. We need to make changes in our lives now for our future selves. I think of our lives as being more fluid than you’re just you at this moment but rather you are all stages of yourself all the time (kinda hard to describe but that’s how I genuinely feel). Your down the road self will look back and cry for happiness that you made the changes you did when you did regardless of any discontentment you may have felt. I felt the very same way in all honesty – I knew I had to leave the island and that the longer I stayed, the harder it would be. I knew we needed to buy a house so that we could invest in our future. House prices in Nova Scotia went up by an average 100,000 in 2021!!! I thought… compared to the rest of our country this will only increase so we got in regardless of how ideal the house was and thinking of it as a 5 year plus plan. Our dream is to own a piece of land and build a home on there but that can come later when fibre internet goes out to the rural areas ๐Ÿ˜› (Jamie needs Fibre for his job). Anyway, I could have gone into a lot more detail but sometimes I struggle with how personal I really want to be on here.

      Hope you get to come back to Nova Scotia and someday I can make it to the Hebrides :)!

      Many blessings on you for this change!! and I read your blog as well, a PUPPY!! Yay! He’s very cute!

  5. Hi Julia!
    Welcome back ๐Ÿ™‚ It is so good to read an update on your life. I actually thought about writing you an e-mail last night to see how you were doing, but I got caught up watching The Da Vinci Code with my oldest.

    I am SO glad to read that you are thriving and that this change has been a good one. I think big changes usually are sort of bittersweet, but as you write, now, after some time, you feel good about it. It is never easy to tell at first. ๐Ÿ™‚ It sounds like you are sort of on the same mental journey as me and my partner. We are not moving, but we are working to simplify the interior in our small mid-century house, so that we can spend more time on thing that we actually want to spend time doing. ๐Ÿ™‚ It feels really good.

    I am exciting for updates on what creative projects you have going on. And also, I just bought the Midala pattern to (finally) start knit a sweater for myself. I am just struggling choosing colors. ๐Ÿ˜€ The design looks beautiful, so I hope to have made up my mind soon.

    <3 Camilla

    1. Hey Camilla!

      Good to “see” you! I just responded on Sunday to a DM from you on instagram but it appears that the account wasn’t existing anymore so I don’t think you got it! It’s too funny that you thought of e-mailing me the day I went back online. There were a few funny coincidences. You mentioned a letter and it would be awesome I think, I do have a new address now!

      It does feel so good to simplify and downsize! It’s neat that you are doing that as well – I wonder what kind of things you’re doing to simplify? Sending you all the best wishes in your journey!

      Thank you for trying out Midala! Colour chooising can be so intimidating but I would just trust your gut and go with what ever really speaks to you! Thanks as well for the kind compliments, it’s hard to believe I designed the sweater a year ago – my life felt totally different than but we were on the brink of embracing big changes!

      Julia xo

      1. Hi!

        Thanks for trying to respond to the DM. As you know I have a love-hate relationship with IG. I never manage to decide how I feel about it, and especially that account that ended up being something in between private and crafting. I decided a few week back to just keep an creative account, and will sometimes use @theforestsbook. But there too I can’t bring myself to post as much as I used to. I just don’t know what to say that often anymore. I would like to write more blogposts in stead, and I am trying to plan a few posts to publish during fall. I would love letters if you feel like it? ๐Ÿ™‚ Since I don’t have your address, maybe you will write, if you have kept mine? If not, we can e-mail?

        I think that the downsizing process actually started a year or two ago with changing mentality. To me it has been so hard to let go of books for instance, while giving away dishes and trowing out old paper work was very easy. How do you feel about that? Do you think the move helped with downsizing in things, or do you think you would have done it anyway? I am curious about what other people think about these things, because I don’t know anyone that has approached downsizing as a sort of mindful life choice, if you know?

        How are your pets liking the new place, but the way? Do they seem happy there? ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Hi Camilla! Weโ€™ve both been following Julia for some time now. I have always enjoyed reading your comments on her blog. It is fascinating to read in this newest post about a number of us downsizing, moving, and/or just decluttering and simplifying our lives. I have for the past number of years embraced it as a way of life. We donโ€™t realize the hold our possessions have on us until we decide to let them go. In the letting go, or surrendering, I have found a tremendous amount of freedom. I sense you have too. I admit that it easy SO easy to let go of many things, but a select few others were challenging. But in the end I realize that they blessed me while I still had them and now that they are gone they will bless others.

      3. Hi Bonnie! Thanks for such a nice comment ๐Ÿ™‚ I too, have noticed us following Julia, and I have thought about how we often have similiar (or close to similar) views on different topics. And I am thrilled to read that you too have found downsizing so rewarding! I thought this was a lonely journey, but it seems like it is not at all! ๐Ÿ™‚

      4. Hi again!

        Of course I understand the love/hate instagram relationship (or any SM). I think that ultimately you are probably mentally much better off without it. I should really write a post about how I disconnect from it after truly being addicted to it. But anyway! I fully support you deleting and moving on! Of course, send me an e-mail through the contact on the blog and I’ll get the address to you. Blogging is therapy I find. I had a blog in university that had about 3 readers (my mom and 2 friends) and I think I blogged more then than I do now. It just felt good to send things into the void without the pressure of likes etc.

        Moving was what really forced me to downsize. I have been interested in living with less for a long time. Buying our first house and the massive size of an old farmhouse originally housing 13 people as well as a large property meant that we were filling it with things all of the time. It felt oppressive to accumulate things. We also were so occupied all of the time with tasks on the property or with the house. We knew we wanted a smaller house and a smaller lot so that we could spend more time exploring parks and hiking and doing other things. When we moved, we sold and donated SO many things (as well as threw away a lot as well). It was very liberating. I know just what you mean about holding onto things and the difficulty of letting go. I was essentially forced to because of moving. It got to the point where I just stopped thinking about the things I was giving away. I remember when our house felt lighter and airier because of having fewer things I thought “why hadn’t I done this earlier??” but the fact is that that process takes energy and it was the moving process that gave me that energy.

        I have a few rules now to maintain this lifestyle. The first is that I do not buy books. I use to buy SO many books but now I only use the library.
        I also don’t go to the thrift store anymore just looking for things. Much of what I gave away originally came from the thrift store. I don’t buy clothes unless I need them. I no longer buy house plants because I have enough and can propagate what I have. I don’t buy wool because I have a closet full of it that I should use first. Thankfully I’m a pretty low maintenance person so I don’t buy cosmetics only some very basic things. If you’d like I could write a blog post about it!

        Our pets seem very happy! Weirdly, happier than they did on PEI which is funny because they were outside all of the time there and now the cats are indoor cats and Henry has to be on a leash!

  6. Hello Julia, Have missed you and your writings, sweaters, and everything. I have also missed hearing about your furry family. How has Pangur taken to the move? Heโ€™s quite the wonderful cat! I have moved lots in the past due to my husband being in the Navy, and know the feeling of missing the place you feel connected to. Congratulations to you and Jamie on your decision, your new home, and the new adventures you will be experiencing!!! Iโ€™m so happy for you and wish you the very best!
    Pamela

    1. Hiya Pamela,

      Thanks you for leaving a kind comment and the well wishes <3

      Our animals are doing well! When we first decided to move and downsize, we were most concerned about our animals. Our cats were outdoor cats at our old farmhouse and had actually destroyed screens in order to get out! Once my friend and I were saying goodbye in our driveway and Pangur 's head suddenly came breaking through our screen porch window meowing at us!!! It was hilarious… but we had to get new windows after that. Much to our surprise, they all seem very happy and content to look out the window. They each have their own cozy places too to snooze the day away. I read later that being an outdoor cat is actually stressful to them so perhaps that's why they seem happy and calm? I'm not sure, it really took us by surprise and was a huge relief!

      Henry has 2 large forests to walk in each day so she is pretty happy. I do keep her on a leash now (on PEI, I rarely met anyone so she was often off leash) except when I'm out at my moms. I'll post some photos of them all on here soon ๐Ÿ™‚

      Best wishes to you!

  7. Hiya Julia,

    Itโ€™s so good hearing that all your furry family members are happy and feeling content in their new home place! Having the forests for you and Henry to walk in is also so important. This gives you and her the opportunity to explore and lets your hearts be content with your new surroundings; it just makes everything alright and exciting too!

    Iโ€™m looking very forward to hearing about all your new adventures, your projects, and seeing all your new pictures!!

    You will always have your memories from the past to remember. And now you have the time in the present and future to create new experiences!

    Wishing you all the very best,
    Pamela โค๏ธ

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