Bealtaine Gardening : Gardening on PEI in the month of May

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transplanting ferns below the Pine – They seem to be doing very well 🙂  My hope is for the ferns to take over an invasive ground cover species that the previous owners planted

Good Morning on this June 6th!

I am curled up on the couch with Henry, a candle lit, fairy lights on and an espresso, green tea and giant glass jar of water with me (Not a bit excessive).  It’s grey and cold and rainy out there.  I uploaded these pictures of the garden a couple of days ago feeling so happy and optimistic with the growth I was seeing, only to be hit with a solid 5 days of cold and rain.  My basil plants turned black and died as well as countless other things.   I have been feeling depressed and I think it’s linked to my poor plants that I foolishly put out too early (we had 2 days of 30 degree weather!  It was amazing but TRICKERY).

Last night I woke from a deep sleep to quite a shock – what felt like a full on assault to my face.  Petey, jumped on my face cutting right under my eye >.<  This morning I asked Jamie if my eye was swollen to which he said NO!  I thought how strange because I feel like my vision is kind of blurry there but it’s normal?  I wonder now if Jamie knows what I look like because my eye is SO swollen!  So, today I’ll be taking it so very easy with facemasks and bags of frozen peas, pretending that my eye is better and the sun is shining >.<

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Petey and Hugo
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Sun Room Plants – Geraniums and some window box cats

The garden though!  We were late getting our firewood this year (yes, it’s there… all 6 chords of logs now) so during the month of may when I’m usually splitting wood – I was gardening.   I have a small patch this year of kale and spinach – already thinking of planting more because it’s really not a lot!  This is doing really well in the cold.  I also planted peas, carrots, beets, onions, potatoes, countless flowers and herbs as well as rutabaga.  Everything seems to be fine but I am SO worried about the beans that I planted.  Black Beans that I collected from my plants last year as well as an old Acadian variety called “Goose Gullet” Bush Beans – they notoriously do not like to be cold and wet while germinating.  So… at this point, all I can do is wait and see and then possibly find a new source of black turtle beans (maybe I’ll just order some today from Hopeseed….)

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The growth of the Horse Chestnut, just this spring!  Amazing
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Home
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PEI ❤ a beautiful evening at the end of May
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The Cherry Blossoms – I hope the bees could get their fill before they were blown away by the wind
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Enjoying the winds
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Part of the Garden – This section is roughly…. 12 X 20 feet (That is a major Guess, haha I have no idea what it actually is but I can measure it another day!) Growing Garlic, Peas, Beets, Carrots and tomatoes – there are a couple of beds that I haven’t planted yet
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Henry girl on a hot day – behind her is a bed of onions and rutabaga
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Too hot to be out so window sills and drawing the fresh apple blossoms
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Quick drawings on a lazy hot afternoon
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More Drawing – the Black Swallowtails are out and and about – fluttering around around yard

Oh, I know it won’t be long before the weather changes.  It feels like winter in a way here – Last night when I stepped outside, there was such a chill in the air and all you could smell was wood smoke from our chimney and our neighbours – not at all a June evening.  Tonight, I will have to cover the tomato plants that I put outside with pots – I have dog hair and straw all around them and have already had to put pots over each individual plant to protect them from frost (we already have a frost advisory for tonight and actual “wet flurries” in the forecast for the day).

And so, I’m going to go put on some rubber boots with aloe smothered around my eye and see how those plants are doing (good thing I live in the country 🙂 )   Hoping my end of  June Garden update is more upbeat and hopeful, green and exciting for you (I do think I need it for my soul).  But I admit, this is the first June that i have seen “flurries” in the forecast 😛   Tomorrow does mark the upturn in the weather SO PRAISE BE!

Hope you’re experiencing a beautiful beginning to the most lovely of months <3<3<3 And may there be no snow in your summer forecast!

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Knitting and drawing ❤ The swallowtails on a nice day are everywhere around our house! I have a plan for A LOT of dill to be left for the butterflies

 

P.S.

The family of raccoons have officially vacated the property!  I went to check up on them the other day – and it was completely empty!  We were told that they more than likely would move out.  I felt actually blessed in a way that they decided our small backyard was a safe place to raise some wee ones.

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Our resident Family in an old rotting birch

Early April

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Grow my pretties!

Happy Friday and Weekend Otherworldlies!

I hope you have all been well!  I have been having a nice time with family and planting seeds upon seeds in my studio.  It is c o l d here but the long days see us upbeat, light and happy.  Finally! Today, we are off on a small weekend adventure to see family and have some *city* time so I thought I would do a quick update before I busy myself watering everyone and packing.

I have had one solid day this week of working outdoors.  Picking up sticks, separating fire burning wood from just bonfire wood, sawing and pulling out a very large plant that had begun to climb up the walls of our house.  Since, the weather has been really rather unpredictable, I busy myself drawing.  I am hoping to start again doing custom art work and hopefully selling my art work this spring.  So, I started drawing from my own dried flowers and my medieval flower Book.  I just wanted to share a couple photos, hope you enjoy 🙂

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North Shore of PEI in April, beautiful but really cold.  There were already tourists out as well hoping to see the Teacup Rocks but being deterred by the deep and infinite red mud.
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Begin somewhere – Drawing dried strawflower with local Kombucha ❤
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StrawFower – Collected and dried last summer/fall.  I l o v e these flowers and definitely suggest growing them!!  They are really fragile seedlings but grow to be extremely strong plants (the stems are massive).
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The cutest dream cottage on the dunes in Northern PEI.  All of the cottages are boarded up to protect them from the strong winds coming off of the ocean.  The road to these cottages is essentially impassable due to the mud but it won’t be long before they are inhabited again!
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Red Clover drawing in a brown paper sketch book
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Dog Violet – drawing from my Medieval Flower Book ❤
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Yarrow and Sedum!
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Petey ❤ as much as I love you, I’m not sure about you hanging out here, he ate two of my seabuckthorn plants 😦  Life tip – keep Seabuckthorn away from felines.
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Drawn Last year – a collection of my plants pressed in books.
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Another drawing of Straw Flower – can’t suggest it enough!!
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Beautiful Island ❤
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Viola Canina – Dog Violet 🙂  Love Latin botanical names ❤
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Current Works!  This Pachyphytum is blooming as well! (Succulent native to Mexico)

 

Just a couple photos of some recent drawings!  We have so much work to do outdoors as well as indoors (a whole new bathroom).   Knitting is going to really  slow down, however I do have a lot of stock and will begin to update the shop next week! Excited for the future and enjoying having a simple life!

A song for you, the Massachusetts psychedelic rock band Quilt ❤  Perfect for sowing some seeds on a rainy afternoon 🙂

 

** P.S.  I wanted to just let you all know that living in Rural PEI, we have very bad internet.  I don’t know if there have been changes made but as of late – but it has been next level slow.  I can hardly use instagram (it’s mostly me trying to load when I’m on there) and can rarely see videos or actually anything – I have been having a frustrating morning trying to use it and just felt like sharing that it just hasn’t been working for me lately (I’m wondering if you are seeing my stories? I can’t load videos on there or see anyones and new photos won’t load, blarg!!).  Anywho, for everyone living in rural areas with sad internet, hiya!**

A New Year

 

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From my studio window on The Winter Solstice,

Happy New Year!!

Hope you are all well and enjoying the rising of the sun.  I have been feeling very content with a general good feeling about times to come.  2017 was a very big year for ourselves and my family and I am so excited and honestly just motivated this year!

This winter has been strange as anything.  We have been bombarded with frigid temperatures that keep you inside for days.  Breathing is difficult, my lungs grasping for air in the face of arctic winds!  The river was completely frozen.  Just the other day, as I was walking Henry through the fields to the river, I saw snowmobiles in the middle of the river, darting all over the ice like flies on south-facing windows.  We even saw some seals hanging out, lazing on the ice in the sun.

Today – today was 13 degrees Celsius… fog rolling up the river that has completely melted.  My boots sink in the mud and the animals need to be wiped down with a towel when they come inside.  We took advantage of the lack of ice and mild temperatures to bring wood in today.  Tonight we are expecting freezing temperatures again and for the foreseeable future. I would love a good snow storm…

I just wanted to share with you a couple of photographs from the past couple of weeks!  I have been totally absent from social media and strangely excited to get back into the swing of things.  I will have to ‘upgrade’ this website soon and hope to just be more active with getting my art available again.  I have been busy working at the central library branch in town and just other things that I don’t even know really!  I feel like I’ve been saying this for months but I honestly sense a change.

 

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Henry’s Spot ❤ ❤ – watching the sunset on the Winter Solstice
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Working away on little stash mittens
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Before the frigid temperatures – we were going out for wonderful walks – sadly the temperatures have been around -30 C with the wind chill and it’s difficult to breath
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Just around 0 C!
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working by the bridge for an afternoon
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home ❤
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A small island journey
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Up West to this Gem
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Loom Machines when you enter the door!  Not running for the Holidays but the store was still open
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lichen pink
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Home – MacAusland 2 ply for some Maritime inspired folk mittens – time to rearrange my wool!
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All of my wool – slowly getting down there!  I LOVE using up things that I have – part of my frugal spirit
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New Colours to be put away !!!

STILL LIFE…

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Botanical “Knowledge” cards – this being ST JOHN’s WART (and now I’m looking for a St. JOhn’s Wart – Hypericum perforatum – seed supplier in Canada) One step closer to the Harry Potter Universe if I can learn all of the latin names 😉
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Christmas at home this year – my mom made some crochet ornaments for us (hardened with sugar water:)
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The steps down to the basement
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Sent home early due to storm the other week
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Up on my list of happiest moments just the quiet snow, setting sun
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New Sin Eater, one of my favourite contemporary artists hoodie (thankyee, i will try my best to keep it from animal hair)
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Stash Mitts!!  I made this little sweet pair up using two different types of wool that I found in my stash!  ALSO “The Good People” by Hannah Kent, I think she and I are somehow connected, ha.
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Mild Day by the frozen river
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My heart literally melts
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tiny simple paintings just to clear my mind – meditative for me
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One more view ❤

And I apologize for the overload of Photographs!!  Tomorrow I plan to post again so I can keep up with having more trimmed and neat posts that consist of one central topic (like this weekend – oops might be a little broad but less so than pictures from the last 3 weeks).  The Etsy shop will be updated tomorrow along with this little blog here of mine).

Thank you everyone so much for your time and positive thoughts.  I wish you all a very blessed New Year, full of creativity, joy and peace!!  I’m so excited to share more with you and hope you enjoy one of my favourite renditions of favourite medieval song : )

Julia ❤

Gardening, Plants & Herbalism APRIL Pt. 2

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Crocuses!

Hi dearest Fae readers!

How are you all!   I am currently sitting at my kitchen counter, taking a break from making pizzas to finally post my last experience with plants, gardening and herbalism of April 2017.  It has been a beautiful past week, the sun is shining right into the window before me, bathing the plants and warming my soul.  The wind has lost her bite and is back to being a good, powerful ally.  One of my favourite friends.

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A kitchen workspace, sitting on a stool and very happy indeed!
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True love ❤ Petey and Pangur sitting in a tree – this is usually the case somewhere in the house!

This week has been extremely busy and I am happy to finally sit down and not have a million things going on in my head at once (Although, I might still be buzzing – still need to finish those taxes… sigh).   We have been graced with the most refreshing rain (that Henry and I got caught in yesterday, drenched to the bone!), such pleasant warm temperatures and just a general blissful attitude in the midst of a little bit of chaos.

WHY have we been so busy?  Well, I am knee deep in garden working – sowing already potatoes, onions, kale, spinach and wildflowers, collecting natural fertilizer from the sea, planting trees, working with the indoor seedlings as well as just other general things.  Aside from that, which obviously is only limited to certain times of the day – our washing machine broke.  Yes, it  is a 12 year old machine that came with the house when we bought it. I felt rather stressed since we absolutely need a washing machine and the price to replace one is not cheap.  Moreover, the room in which our washer and dryer are hooked up is reached to by going through our upstairs bathroom (probably once a hallway to the room).  Well, the previous owners must have had the washer installed and afterwards, installed a corner shower in the bathroom because the shower blocks about 5 inches of the old door (I’m sorry if this is confusing!  It’s an old house and some things just negate common sense since these houses were not built for showers and washing machines!).   Our solution?  We tore out the shower with the intention of redoing the whole bathroom (it needed to be done at some point, why not now?).  So, our first renovation job for our house is coming a little bit earlier than anticipated! Thankfully, our new washing machine arrived yesterday, so I can finally, finally, finally wash our clothes at home (it has been broken 2 months – yes, we procrastinate and used a laundromat), including sheets and quilts and arg I am so excited!  I really never thought I would see the day that a washing machine would excite me SO much (Have you watched Tales from the Green Valley?  The old way of doing laundry was SO so so much work, I’m very grateful for these machines).  Next step is to build a clothesline and then I will be feeling very grateful indeed.

Anyhow, that was a little overwhelming and maybe a little too much about washing machines.  I wanted to share a couple of pictures from the week about some of the things we have been up to.  The crocuses and siberian squill are blooming – the tulips rising.  Dandelions are popping up all over the place and I have been digging up, scrubbing and cutting up the roots for roasted tea (the plants that have crept up in garden spaces).  The robins have been flying to and fro and I even saw 3 Cedar Waxwings the other day! The tide has been so incredibly low on our evening walks to the river and we are only spotting gulls and ducks – no longer the Canadian Geese.

On the New Moon,  I planted a bed of red and yellow onions, russet potatoes, kale and spinach.  I also began to dig a new garden by our driveway because the earth is amazing.  We think that some time in the past, someone must have had a fire in this spot.  I have dug up small glass bottles with twisted tops, forged nails, and animal bones. The soil is nearly black which is such a contrast to our regular red soil!  I look forward to planting flowers and am hopeful to perhaps start a rose plant for rosehips.  I’ve collected all of the dandelion roots in this area to roast for tea but first they are drying on a screen!  I am SO excited that collecting and working with plants again has begun 🙂  I do believe that we are about a week ahead of last year.

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The guest room is now home to many small plants
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The studio
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My work room – most of my energy is going into working with plants, soil and outdoor things so I am not in great need of this table (or that’s what I tell myself to not feel bad about my drop in productivity..)
Sea Lettuce
We live by a salt water river – a river that stems off of the Hillsborough River that runs through Prince Edward Island into the Charlottetown Harbour and eventually to the Northumberland Strait. Our river abounds with all kinds of seaweed, muscles, clams and even oysters. We have been taking bags down on our walks and filling them with seaweed to place on our garden beds. This kind I believe is sea lettuce (although i’m not completely sure) and is the most brilliant green as well as excellent compost!
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Some sea lettuce for a garden bed, I mixed this into the soil along with some of our compost and planted onions in this bed

 

Dandelion Root
I very politely asked these roots to let go while I was trying to pull them up and miraculously, they did! These are the only roots I’ve had such luck with – I’v been back to using an old fashioned shovel 😉
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Delphinium!
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Siberian Squill in the front yard, flowers for the fairies

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Lichen on our walk!

 

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Breaks in the woods
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Jamie ❤
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Walks in the woods

 

A R T & O T H E R  T H I N G S

Not much art has taken place – or anything aside from domestic and gardening stuff but alas, I did a couple of things!  Granted, they are small. But I thought you might enjoy them!

I also finished a hazel heather Pangur Bán sweater!  I will make a post next week, when it has dried and we have some photos for the etsy shop.

I am still reading Outlander, but have also been reading through The Celtic Realms by Nora Chadwick and Myles Dillon because… Jamie and I are going to  I R E L A N D in 2 weeks and I can barely believe this is happening.  Many of the places we are staying do not have internet, so I will probably not be using it much at all but I will be sure to make some posts about it when we get back.  This is a pretty important trip for us, especially since I was a Celtic Studies student and feel a great connection to my Irish Ancestry (which I’m always scoffed at for when I meet people from Ireland!!  Sorry, we don’t have thousands of years of history in Canada that we feel rooted in).  I am ecstatic… and have kept it in for several months since we knew we were definitely going.  But, soon dear fae friends, you will be bombarded by two small Canadians’ adventure on the emerald isle!!

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A tiny painting for a very dear customer who sent me tea when she read that I was feeling depressed last month – she brought me so much joy that I made her this small bookmark
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Very rough sketch of one of the Dandelion roots that I dug up – it looked so much like a fairy creature walking that I felt like drawing him!  Just going for a stroll into my sketchbook.
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Cutting up dandelion roots to dry!  Dandelion root is a overall health tonic

 

Sadly, I must go!  I enjoy writing these posts so much as I feel as though I’m communicating and almost having tea with all of you!  This evening we are having friends over for homemade food and a bonfire, sending off a friend who is going away for the next month and a half.  I am also seeing it as an early Beltaine celebration.   I have so many other things on my mind, that really makes me feel like blogging more despite the death of blogging (I know I am so late to this).

I’ll be back next week! taking another solid break from SM this week for my sanity and clarity of mind!

 

Blessed be, Merry May and make your own magic ❤

Julia

xo

Simple Knits & Slower Days

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Hi out there Earthlings and Fae Folk!

** It’s now a windy Saturday morning – I wrote this yesterday afternoon with the weather so different than this morning.  It’s strange posting a journal like blog post when you feel so incredibly different than the day before – however I’m going to leave it as it is.  Today, I feel motivated and happy 🙂 **

I am SO incredibly happy to announce.. that is is 12 degrees Celsius.  I can hardly believe it, although it is SO windy.  But look where I am writing this to you! The non-insulated sun room!  We have all been longing to spend time in here since we closed it up in November.  Soon, the windows will be open and plants will illuminate the drafty corners.

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Window Seat (I did displace Petey)

So, here I am.  Sat before our whole world with a salty ocean air candle and the music of Eternal Tapestry – pondering how to delve into the topic of the 2 simple knits I recently completed and the beautiful act of “slow” living.  The wind is demanding attention today, my thoughts are with it since it’s essentially yelling at me while I sit in this room.

This winter/spring has been very slow for me in the creative realm.  I have simply been directing my attention to … I can’t even say.  Everything gets a little hazy at that point and all I know is that I was way more productive last year.  I am taking full advantage of the trendy ‘slow living’ tag I see constantly floating around (although, I find it hypocritical because there is nothing slow about our habitual use of technology and our means for occupying a great deal of our time ~*instagram*~ and showing off our dreamy art of *slow living* but obviously I get where the sentiment comes from – it takes time to knit your own garments, to bake your own bread, to grow your own seeds).  In my world right now, I’m not sure if it’s actually a vitamin deficiency or chopping wood or lack of sunshine, but I have been SO tired and fatigued.  I feel unbearably guilty about this and need to listen to my intuition which is telling me to listen to my body and take things slow.

And so… it took me weeks, months even to finish the two knits I am sharing with you – a pair of Alpaca double knit lace mittens and a lace stole, using the same lace design.  A simple design because I had never attempted lace before but it is easy peasy and if you can do a knit or purl stitch – trust me, you can do lace knitting.

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Walks this month in Nova Scotia

A L P A C A  DK  M I T T E N S

This wool is the Alpaca “baby wool” from We Are Knitters (I think I wrote that they were angora… angora is just the A fibre word always in my brain since we had an angora rabbit named Bunny growing up).  Last year, I received a sweater kit from the company.  They give you large 5.5 mm wooden needles and about 12 balls of the wool and a pattern for an item.

 I made the whole back of a sweater, the entire time really disliking the needles and feeling like the wool wasn’t right for them.  Wondering why I was committing myself to something that was bringing me so little joy from one of my favourite things to do. Anyway, it took a long time to make and I could tell that it was going to be just an awkward, oversized strange sweater that I realistically would never wear because of the colour and weight of the wool.  That being said, I have seen others’ version of the sweater and it looks absolutely beautiful – mine just didn’t come close to the other finished gesture sweaters that I have seen on blogs or instagram.  ANYWAY – I decided to take the whole back out and salvage the wool instead.

The wool double knit is so incredibly lovely.  It’s thick and heavy and oh so soft. The size of these mittens run very very small, so I’m going to make a larger pair of fingerless mitts using two strands of wool as well.

I used 3.25 mm dpn needles and just experimented around.  I will have these up too on our Etsy Shop, but keep in mind they run pretty small!

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Starting to experiment on a Saturday evening at home
Another Saturday morning
Another Saturday morning when there was still lots of snow
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Knitting something special
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Just the ends to weave in
candles and knits
little flame for company
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Plain and Simple
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Drawing to accompany a simple pair of mittens – Poppies!
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to paint or not to paint?
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Happy Saturday Morning! Knits, tea and an early morning drawing

R O W A N  A R A N  T W E E D  S T O L E

Last but not least, this Rowan Aran Tweed Stole.  The colour I chose is called “Scree” and one of my all time favourite colours. I have about a month left I think to wear this comfortably but soon all my knits will be shed in turn for my thrifted dresses and some handmade shifts (as well as my very dirty gardening clothes… realistically more so than the dresses :P)

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What the weather was like when I started this stole
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Rowan Aran Tweed Stole
Life
One fine March afternoon – books, tarot and knitting – life complete
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time to block – the edges still curl though
At a lighthouse
It’s freezing and we are at a lighthouse to share some old fashioned handknit goodness
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For next winter – my new lace stole
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On my mom during one of our late March walks

And there you have it!  2 very simple knits, that took me what feels like a year and a day to make.  I wanted to just slowly enjoy the feeling of some really beautiful and soft wool and feel like I definitely achieved that goal.

Now with the change of season, I feel like I really need to speed up my activity and growth.  Shed my winter skin and become just a little more active.

F  I N & A F T E R T H O U G H T S

All in all, I am really happy with the two knits that I shared with you today.  I am also not feeling as down on myself for my very slow progress these past few months.  My body and mind have been calling for a slow approach to everything in life and I finally obeyed them.

I’d love to hear how you deal with slow, unproductive weeks on end!  Or if that even happens to you >.<  I am really hoping to blog more and will probably be revisiting Instagram for at least one weekday to see how everyone is doing and share a latest blog or knit or what have you!

** Today, we plan to take Henry to the ocean for a walk (if the dirt roads aren’t too muddy), knitting and watching movies

Sláinte mhaith!

Julia

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Fiddling with water colours – it won’t be long yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,yeah,yeah
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Henry got a new bed!  Much how I feel lately Henry
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Walks on the beach with Henry
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Jamie and Henry to the beach
Fairisle on the beach in PEI
The latest Fairisle – handknit by Liz Reddy – available in Ways of Wood Folk Etsy Shop

Preparing Shop Orders & More Snow

 

Back Yard
Henry among the snow

And it’s back.  A foot of snow, freezing temperatures… the chickens refuse to leave the coop and boots full of snow.  We can at least take heart that it is technically *spring* and this won’t last.  But for now, my nose is running and my feet are damp.  I feel like watching The Ken Burn’s documentary about the Civil War and not leaving the couch… eating brownies and drinking peppermint tea. But first, before I succumb to these whims, I thought I would be somewhat productive and share some photos I took the other day while I was preparing for Etsy shipments.

This week, I prepared the folkloric Lopapeysa, A Fairisle pull over  and some hand-pressed cards.  I have been feeling SO lethargic and just “blah” this past week (I think a combination of the blizzard and monthly times), such little drive to do anything at all.  Last week, I baked like 5 different types of bread (2 loaves of french bread, 2 loaves of whole grain, 2 peasant loaves, 12 buns and some naan bread!) and was just on a wild spree of being a productive human being.  I even read one of my favourite books, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and picked out some new books to pick up at the library.  I felt SO good and happy and this week has just been the exact opposite.  I have just been down in the pits or as my girl Anne says, in the depths of despair.  Winter melancholia.

But alas, it is sunny and sometimes, it’s so difficult to feel anything but hope and happiness when you are basking in the sun.

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Folding the Fairisle

P R E P A R I N G

To get out of a funk, I enjoy the creative process of simply packaging up orders.  I wanted to share a couple photos with you since I am much better at that than descriptive writing!

I make wrapping paper for the cards, using hand-carved stamps.  Last weekend, I bought some red ink for a different look (what do you think?).  I really enjoy wrapping up cards and tying them up with string. Simple pleasures that I hope bring a wee bit of happiness to the person that receives them! I stamp the brown paper based on what type of artwork has been purchased, for instance if it is a botanical or fungi print, I make sure it is plant based wrapping paper.

E T S Y   O R D E R S

Wrapping
Pressed Paper for wrapping cards! I just bought some red ink and love it!
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Cards to be shipped out!
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Farewell
Snow on March 24th
The view from my workspace  – snow and wind (and some flies that have taken refuge)
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Choosing a tag
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Wrapped up with a handmade card
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Details of a sweater – lettlopi wool
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Bound up with some extra wool for any potential mending and a hand-pressed card
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a tag with some wool

 

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Envelopes
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Snooow!!!
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Saturday Hike with Henry and Jamie to Strathgartney, PEI
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Beautiful Pine tree, one of my favourite trees ❤
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Snowy Woodland at Strathgartney

N A T U R A L   W O R L D

Jamie and I went on a really beautiful walk in Strathgertney Provincial Park yesterday.  Luckily, there was a path to follow made by snow shoes rather than us struggling in our winter boots in the snow.  The park is beautiful, with a range of different woodlands, walks along the West River.  We only met two other people and were free deep in the woods from the sounds of cars on the nearby highway.  I can not wait for the snow to melt and the mud to dry up so we can freely walk in the different beautiful spots on this island.

A  NEW  WEEK

This week, I am hopeful that the temperatures will rise, that the sun will come out, that we will be free of blizzards and impending storms. My Mom has graciously agreed to come stay with me for the week since Jamie will be going to Ontario for work and I would love company living out in the country during my bluest time of year.  For some reason, the “Winter Blues” descends upon me in the beginning of “spring” rather than the winter.  I feel very alive and happy in the winter months but March often sees me down.

I see the light though, because April, April is next Saturday!  Praise the Gods!

I hope you all enjoy your last week of M A R C H! Bye Legions!

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Bye Friends!  I’ll be out here for the week (Song of the Sea, 2015)

 

Links to our Shops:

KNIT WEAR ETSY SHOP : Ways of Wood Folk

ART WORK ETSY SHOP : Wood Folk Prints

 

 

Carving Botanical Stamps

Carving away
Carving Away with the Fairies

Goodmorning Earthlings!

This March morning, the sun is shining and the birds are singing in the trees!  I went out to feed the chickens in my pajamas and a touque, trusting that the bright sun would warm me despite the dusting of snow on the ground.  It was glorious and I can’t wait to get out there today! But first, I wanted to share with you something I worked on this week, carving stamps.

Anyone can carve their own stamps, it’s fun and really rewarding!  If you wanted, you could even make a template with a leaf or a dried flower, there are so many options!  The only material you need is a linoleum cutter  and whatever block you choose to carve (I am using the rubber from Speedball – available at most craft stores and extremely easy to work with). I started this week, knowing that I wanted to make a very simple dandelion stamp for my tinctures (in my previous post!).  That small stamp, launched me into a morning obsession.  I decided to make a series of three of my favourite flowers that bloomed here on this land last year: marigold, tulips and poppies.

I am forever and ever inspired by the medieval woodcuts of plants.  I can’t explain why, I simply love the blocky, linear designs (Perhaps, I’ll do a whole post on woodcuts someday – or a series of them).  I hope my work will help shed some light on why I love this style so much and perhaps inspire you to look into the botanists and printmakers of the past ;).

I also made a small set of cards, available on my Art Etsy Shop: Wood Folk Prints

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoy the pictures of my process and work.

Merry March Saturday!

Julia

Inspiration
Collecting information about dandelion – I am inspired ❤ The small book with the beautiful red block print is Old Wives’ Lore for Gardeners by Maureen and Bridget Boland, featuring block prints from Gerard’s 1597 Herball. One of my favourite collections of plant illustrations (completely available on archive.org)

 

Mushrooms!
Shortcut to what? MUSHROOMS!
Small Stamp
A small Flower head based on these dried flowers
Starting!
Looking back at some of my old drawings as well for inspiration – this poppy illustration was based on a 16th century German drawing (I found it in a library book and can’t remember any other details!)
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completed! Pressed with black ink
Marigold
Starting a marigold cuts – using a drawing from last year
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Taking shape
Studio Companion &lt;3 Oh Pangur!
Studio Companion ❤ Oh Pangur!
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A print!
plant inspiration
Inspiration for my last carving of the week ❤ I was torn between a tulip or a peony – peonies next!
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Van Gogh Inspired Tulips ❤
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Making Cards!
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Using Red Ink – little remnants of the black in there
Poppy
The Poppy is now a resident of my inspiration wall!
Stamps
The stamps 🙂
Botanical Cards!
Botanical hand pressed cards!

 

 

 

 

Homespun and Winter Walks

So much snow fell on us yesterday.  Our windows were covered by 3 pm, our world grey and dark.  We have been having unseasonably cold temperatures, it feels more like we’ve been plunged in the depths of January and early February.  I talk a lot about the weather… my journal since I was a teenage is half discussing the temperature, the rain or snow, the wind or how the trees bowed and danced.  I love Mother Nature and simply observing her moods.  When I write I think I focus on the weather first as though to clear my mind for what exactly it is I want to say, so please bear with me 😉

This morning, I went out to see the chickens (who refused to leave the coop when they spotted the snow), lit a fire and finally sat down to draw.  My studio/work room had been overrun with my Christmas cards and packaging things up for orders.  This morning, I shipped the last of my orders so my mind has cleared for new projects.  I always have some kind of “Ode to…” brewing in my mind and this morning I worked out an Ode to working with the earth and with my hands. An ode to tradition bound up with the animals, insects and herbs that make a comfortable home. A home that goes so far beyond our front doors.

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Preliminary sketch and my magic fox stamp
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Letting the life come through a little more detailed
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Beginning of the end – I used an old drawing I did based on a Grimms Fiary Tale
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Indian Ink, a beautiful pitch black

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Developing my altar art work

The sheep is at the center, providing us with wool that keeps our hands busy, our minds active and our bodies so warm (as well as countless other things – I’m currently contemplating insulating my chicken coop with wool and birch).  The spindle – representative of transformation – spins the rough wool to the versatile material that we love.  The quilt block is a marker of the home, of ancestors and narratives (to me personally, it is a symbol of love and comfort). The plants are dandelion, sage, lavender and Calendula – all magical, useful and healthful entities.  I included oak leaves for wisdom, the boundary between worlds and for the love of the steadfast tree. Everything ties together to allude to traditional folk lives – working with animals and plants.

I developed it a little further by adding a home, emerging from the quilt.

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A home
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Finished calendula and twisting wool
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A Giver of life and the phases of the moon
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One more thing…
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Homespun – Finished

And there she is!  Homespun – an ode to a working kinship with the earth.  I’m hoping to make some prints on rag paper.  If anyone is interested, please let me know!

To leave you – some pictures from our walk through farmers’ fields today – in a foot of snow.

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Walking along the fields
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To see the remaining Canadian Geese
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The sky changes so quickly
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Interested in the Geese, she is 😉
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To sit and knit with fire and fairy lights during the long evening

Sketch for Dawn 1

These past few months, I have done so little drawing!  The summer really steals away most of my creativity, but now that the leaves are falling from the trees and the nights are growing so long, I feel like I can sit and be patient and draw.  The colder weather just forces me to slow down, which I really need to draw.  I have only started a little bit but hope to do much, much more.  My favourite things to draw are things from the natural world and to simply copy out paintings or illustrations that I love.  I’ve had such a complex relationship over the years with drawing but I finally feel free to just indulge in what I really like to make and not worry about perfection or judgement.

Here are a few of my sketches from October.  Now on to a new Moon, new month, new art ❤

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Girl holding a wee goat
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Oak Leaves and Acorns
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Halloween Sketches
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Work space
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Claude Paradin’s Emblems
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Little Ink Drawings
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Autumn Watercolour & Ink
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Knitting Custom Order and my latest sketch for the Ancestors on Samhain