1870’s PEI Farmhouse Bathroom Reno

Hello!!!

I am so excited to share with you the first major renovation in our house!!  I am a little overwhelmed over how positive an impact a bathroom can have on your well being, but there it is!  After 13 months, we have a shower and a spot where I feel I can dedicate to self-care.  Yay!

We bought our house in late 2015 – an 1870’s farmhouse in the country outside of Charlottetown, P.E.I (Canada’s smallest province in the East of Canada!  Home of our girl Anne).  We loved the house when we first went to see it and were so eager to own our home that we jumped at the chance – affordable, close to town, private.  It checked so many boxes while at the same time we knew the immense challenge that was ahead of us.  At 26/27 years old and going from living in Apartments and town houses with roommates, the house was perfect – no changes needed – but for one very obvious eye sore – the upstairs bathroom (although now, it’s almost every room that we want to update).

Homes from the 19th century, especially country homes were not built with plumbing and washrooms in mind.  I’m not sure where the old outhouse must have been (although, I did dig up a spot where the red earth is black – so perhaps this was it) but there is no doubt that one would have been used for likely 40/50 years. This room on the 2nd floor is odd- it’s a small corridor room which links the upstairs bedroom area to another room (which now has our laundry).  So there is a very old style of door with a latch as the far wall.  It definitely was not meant to be a bathroom but when bathrooms became in vogue (thank you) it was the top choice for the previous inhabitants.

The room is tiny and based around the doors on opposing sides.  We had to think of a way to compactly fit a shower, sink and storage without obstructing the door to the hallway or the laundry room.  I didn’t take a lot of before pictures because I thought of it a little too late, but I have a few to share with you…

BEFORE PICTURES 

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For a year, this shower was a board over some old pipes – not used – just a constant reminder of “this needs to be done at some point..”
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View from the latch door, laminate wall, a sink from maybe the 50s or 60s?  and just.. lovely as can be clearly seen
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The Floor – a linoleum glued to a base board – a joy to rip out (not really, it was glued with a vengeance)

 

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The view from the shower – The wall with the toilet paper is covering some plastic pipes.

So, as you can see the space was challenging.  We looked up “Windowless bathrooms” to try to get an idea of what we could do.  This…. was often not even helpful because image search results would reveal picture after picture of beautifully sunlit bathrooms, full of plants (sigh). We knew we wanted a couple of things:  a small, compact sink, more lights, tiled floor and walk in tile shower with a glass door.

What would life be if you didn’t have some help?  We are so grateful to have had Jamie’s Dad help us (okay he probably did about 95 per cent of the work).  Jamie and I are not handy at all – maybe if we didn’t have the option of asking for help, but it’s just not innate to either of us.  Both of our Dads however, are very “handy”  (is there a real word – I’ve only ever known Handy haha).  He and Jamie put up the walls, constructed the shower, laid the tile floor, did the electricity for the new lights.  He transformed this tiny space into exactly what we envisioned.

AFTER

The same view of the washroom as the first Before picture – Jamie’s Dad built a wall for the shower.  We also wanted a bit more colour in here so painted just the built wall and behind the toilet a sage green.  I wanted to evoke the feeling of just the natural world a tiny bit. We also put a mirror on this wall to open the space a little bit.

The space for the shower was pretty awkward to figure out.  The previous shower was a corner shower insert which actually covered quite a bit of the door. We decided to work with the space we had and build a wall which has a shelf insert on the other side and subway tiling so that all would be required for the shower is a glass door.  We bought the cheapest shower door at Home Depot we could, I think it was around $250.00 CAD and is pretty awesome. Jamie and I spent a lot of time looking at tile and doors and trying to figure out how we would do this.  When we told Jamie’s Dad our plan (which seemed inconceivable to us), he figured it out and made it a reality!

Shower!  A large Spa Shower head and subway tiles
The floor of the shower – small honeycomb tiles
Shower space – an old professor of Jamie’s is a blacksmith hobbiest and made us some iron hooks.

We ended up going with subway tile because it is affordable and pretty timeless as a style. We also chose a dark large tile for the floor.  I originally wanted black but the stores didn’t have a matte finished black.  The finished floor tile is a kind of charcoal, chalk board black which I really love!

Shower from the entrance – we did take a trip to Ikea in Dartmouth, NS and bought the sink, mirror and storage unit

The 19th century (or early 20th, note sure) door was a feature I absolutely wanted to keep.  I really love these style of doors so we just put a coat of paint over it. Jamie’s Dad also put up the sconce lighting and probably one of my favourite features of the room, a dimmer.

A fake plant because… there is absolutely no natural light coming into this room and of course a difuser with some lavender and ylang ylang
A laundry basket for towels, etc. And a new cozy spot for the cats ^.^
Self-Care ❤

And there you have it!  I do hope you like our small bathroom.   It is so small that it is a little awkward to take photos of at certain angles, so the photos I am sharing are pretty limited.

It’s funny – I watch a lot of house shows – house hunters/ house hunters international.  I love looking at old homes (1960s and earlier) and am always SO confused by the people in the show.  They always want everything you could possibly imagine – walk in closet, double vanity, high ceilings, 2 car garage (blablabla, the list always seems endless)  but they also often want an old home with character.   They seem utterly horrified by small washrooms and closets, by small anything really.  I always think now, how much I love this small washroom – that it’s perfect and fits us so perfectly!

The design Jamie’s Dad built for the pipe – Petey has really been enjoying sitting up here
North Shore with Henry and Jamie ❤ Now, finally when we come home having salty hair from the sea, we can actually have a shower (sigh of relief)  *and yes that is Henry fetching a stick – girl loves to swim*

Next for this old farmhouse, a new roof, our bedroom and the sunroom.  Maybe in the next 3 years we can share the finished results with you ❤

Be well and Take care ❤

April Garden

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Siberian Squill knows!  The first flower to emerge ❤

A Very Happy Bealtaine to everyone!

Even with the steady grey sky and rain, I feel so full of life and happiness!  The buds on the trees are swelling, the squill and and lungwort blooming!  I even spotted my kale peaking above the soaking earth.  It has been so damp here, so there is a fire on but we have plenty of firewood left over from the winter so it doesn’t bother me so.

The mercury hasn’t dipped below 0 for the past week or two – I have planted our potatoes, kale, onions, rutabaga and all kinds of random flower seeds.  I’ve transplated some chives and rhubarb and echinacea.  I even broke up the root of a comfrey plant and stuck two pieces of it elsewhere – they are already coming up! My hope this year is to make lots of comfrey fertilizer teas for my plants and young trees.

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My work table, transformed by seedlings, can you identify any of these plants?

Oh, there isn’t much to share in way of gardening photographs!  Outside, although the smell of damp earth is intoxicating and there is a little bit of green finding it’s way up, up up – it is still mostly shades of brown and grey. I have a feeling that in the next week all of the buds will burst.  The surrounding landscape will remain muddy until the fields have been planted but at least the trees will soon breath again.

The life that I’ve spotted gleefully includes, lupins planted last summer, echinacea, poppies, sedum, a thousand maple trees (I think I’ll pick 10-20 to come up), some chestnut, rhubarb, catnip and roses. Some of the garlic has also begun to crest the straw.  Inside, I have tomatoes, peppers and flowers galore!  Chamomile, Hollyhocks, Marigolds.  I imagine an old fashioned garden full of fairy tale flowers.  Someday, I hope to have the property completely enclosed by trees and shrubs and inside an oasis of flowers.

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It may look a little gloomy – but there is a bit of green and things are growing!!
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Still a snow mound a few weeks back – but the sky isn’t completely pitch at 9pm
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sowing seeds in trays
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A helper, always
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My beloved Witch Hazel!!  Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana) is native to the Maritime Provinces – I planted this one in November and am so in love with this little plant!
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Tomatoes
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Lavender, each with a crystal companion
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Catnip!  Planted in the potato bed to help ward off the dreaded potato beatle
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Supper Outside the other day – and some very excitable explorers
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Transplanted a couple of tomato plants and put some dog hair around them for warmth in the sun room.  My friend is a dog groomer and brought me a massive bag of hair for my garden! Hair is so rich in all kinds of trace elements really ideal for the soil (also, helps keep pests away!).
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The Lilac was cut back last year, but look at all of this growth and life ❤
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The pond and our little wood – so much to do, our place will likely be pretty wild this summer
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Saying goodbye to April 2018, welcome May ❤

 

Goodbye and Blessed Bealtaine!  The sun is actually here!  I watched a really wonderful movie on Netflix Yesterday called “Dare to be Wild”  (I may have been crying for most of the film) and then continued to listen to Mary Reynolds speak in a podcast.  I highly suggest, she is amazing!

I wish I could leave you with the sound of our chimes!  I’m sitting in the sunroom, windows open wide listening to the birds (I wrote burds and it made me laugh) and the gentle chimes.  It’s cold and there is a fire on, but I don’t really care. Perhaps I’ll try to post it on my instagram stories, I feel a strange sense of completeness hearing them.

Green Blessings!!

 

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The sun decided to come for a visit

 

 

January Dreams

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Sprouted Oak – this acorn sprouted in the cold room so it will be planted in a cup for now!

J A N U A R Y

January is like the deepest sleep.

“Tending my inner garden went splendidly this winter. Suddenly to be healed again and aware that the very ground of my being — my mind and spirit — was given time and space in which to go on growing; and there came from my heart a radiance I had not felt so strongly for a long time… ”

Rainer Maria Rilke, to Heise, 1922

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Seabuckthorn – planted in early December in this pot – hopeful for it to establish itself outside this spring.

 

The sun definitely begins to restore that “radiance” in January.  The still, bright night sky all a lit with pure silver cast stars!  The sun that lingers in the kitchen while I fix dinner, cats wandering on counter tops.  I feel like we primarily driven by the sun and the moon, so it makes total sense to me that the longer days have me dabbling with seeds, earth and growth!

I have sensed revival and growth – and maybe I express it through a primeval way – working with new life.

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Seeds Collected over 2017

The earth and plants have bewitched me and I feel like I’ve become their faithful, voluntary servant.

And so, early in January I began to take a little bit of action in this realm, despite the seed packet guidelines.   My logic is that I have house plants of all kinds, so why shouldn’t I be able to start some perennials as “houseplants” before transplanting outdoors.  I have done this for the past 2 years since we have had our own acre and never experienced any problems with starting some early plants! It actually really deepens my bond with the particular plant because they receive so much early care (as opposed to my plants in April because there are hundreds!)

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Mostly Holly Hock – collected from one beauty plant in the back!
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Seed Packets for 2018 – collected in 2017!  Among the Foxglove to be packaged up and a pack of poppies filled to the brim – I use old window frames to house the seeds throughout late summer and fall
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The tiniest echinacea beginning to germinate – to plant in the spring – the last seed that I have as well.  Echinacea or coneflower does not flower the first year of planting (like so many others!) and are difficult to germinate so I like to give them a little bit of a head start.
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Milkweed in a David’s Tea tin – I will have to move these quickly – I wasn’t expecting this many to germinate!
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Hollyhock in a yogurt container and a very dirty window – taking these photos makes me realize how badly they need cleaning 😛
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Peperomia – I actually gave this beauty a ‘hair cut’ yesterday
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January Yard – Today it is 5 C and there is no snow – the river is melting – such a strange up and down winter
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A small seed order – I have one more to place for the final veggies, flowers and herbs –

So it begins… I can’t wait for the day in May that we go to the nursery, the greenhouses!  But for now, I really don’t mind just the stirring of life, the rising sun and clear night skies.

In other parts of my small world – I am working in the library, knitting a sweater that just needs button bands and buttons and preparing to make a little pattern available on here for the last pair of fingerless mitts.  It may be so confusing which is why I am just going to put it up here and state “make at own risk.”

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Mountain Ash

 

In memoriam of Dolores O’Riordan – she helped me through being a teenager and always, always made me think of spring and life and growth and just moving on.  I feel so incredibly sad for her and her family and just wanted to share with you her beautiful voice ❤ May she rest in peace

 

 

Entering the Dark time with Company

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Peppermint, ginger and green tea for our late November walk.  We stopped along the streams to sit and drink a hot cup.  Health to you!

The sun has set and it’s not yet 4:30!  The days have been grey, but every evening the horizon hosts a brilliant pink and gold sunset, fading in the west to a gentle dream-like purple.  It only skims the skyline below the grey cloud, but it is beautiful! My window faces the west.

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View from my work window – to the West – that fading dreamlike winter sky.  And overnight, the snow melted! (The only time of day we glimpse a blue sky – The window is obstructing the view of the river, it reflects the sky and is lovely).

 

We are having very happy days, my Mom is visiting and we have been spending time knitting by the fire sipping peppermint tea, re-potting plants, going for long winter walks with the dogs, watching silly Holiday movies and gushing over Collette O’Neill of Bealtaine Cottage.  She brought rose plants for me, hand-sewn bags for our etsy shop and little pieces of porcelain.  Every evening we have been having delicious home cooked meals (last night was a fish chowder – one of my favourite meals of all time… not stereotypical at all for a Maritimer) and I’ve just felt so warm and happy.  Tomorrow, I am working in one of the libraries (and consequently, going to the Spinners & Weavers Guild to do some spinning and dyeing!) so we will say goodbye just for a short while.

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A late afternoon walk on November 28th
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A walk in the woods before the snow
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before the first snowfall of the season
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Beauty of freshly fallen snow! A stream between the trees.
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Red Squirrel Galore, Two best friends very excited

We both love to use our hands – create!  Since she has been here she has made a sweater for a wee one and has already started a pair of baby soakers (She has two grandchildren on the way and I am soon to be an aunt to 3!!!).  I have attached the arms of the grey lopi sweater and put it aside to work on a pair of lopi mittens for the Etsy shop.  I also finally used some calendula and rose infused oil, combined with beeswax and spruce sap that I collected last winter to create a salve.

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Calendula & Rose that have been steeped in oil since August!  I finally drained the herb infused oil for making salve today
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I finally used the spruce resin that I collected last winter during winter walks in Nova Scotia, and with the calendula oil – made a salve.  Perfect for wounds or cracked skin this winter.
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Among the spruce, I did make a grand mistake using my regular pot to make this salve – sap is very tricky to clean :\ I think it’s worth it though!

We also went to a plant shop in Charlottetown this week to bring home a little bit of pure happiness.  Plants are so expensive so I just continually get clippings from other plants, root or start from seeds but occasionally, I buy a new plant >.<  I bought a little cactus and a succulent.  I also received a very sacred package from Incredible Seed Company in Nova Scotia.  I ordered a some seeds that need warm and then cold stratification in order for them to germinate.  I will be busy this weekend 🙂  I have already started dreaming about planting for next year so there is nothing better than getting started early 😀

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Two new plants!  I am so excited about these two!!  I now have 3 cacti plants and a new succulent that is very beautiful.  
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Repotting a couple of plants – the bird terracotta pots are new, as are the plants inside of them!  The rain came and washed away the snow (the rock is a piece of Obsidian that I found at a garage sale many moons ago!)
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A Begonia, Hoya and Moses-in-the-cradle rooting in an old pepsi bottle that I dug up while digging gardens.   Now have a home in my very last plant pot (eep!)
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A couple of plants that require extra love and care for germination (except for the lamb’s ear – I just added those on a whim in the case I forget when I place a larger order in the new year).  We have Witch Hazel, Mulberry, Apple, Cherry, Dogwood and Korean Pine!  SO much you can do on 1.25 acres.
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Two Seabuckthorns I grew from seeds (also I think some poppy seeds fell into these pots!).  hopeful for these two 

And now, I am sitting by the fire listening to the ambient works of Aphex Twin.  My Mom and Jamie are making dinner together and I am going to join them.  I do hope you enjoy this and are finding happiness and solace in the darker part of the year (and happiness to all those in the light half!).

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An absolutely wonderful gift from a reader!  Thank you SO much Holly, I am so excited to read about this fascinating woman.  This book is right up my alley, I love it!! 
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Until next time ❤

 

 

Dyeing Wool with Mushrooms!

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The woods by our house – autumnal glory

Hello and I hope you are well!

It has been awhile.  I am SO inconsistent, especially because I have been drawn into a place and time sans social media or blogging or even e-mail.  Of my own choosing… I didn’t go to an off-grid camp or anything like that (although.. I would love to :))!  Sometimes, I just love to detach and it’s beginning to feel like such a luxury, so wonderful to be “offline.”  It’s funny because I feel as though going back online is returning to “the real world” when in fact, it’s anything but!  But… it’s the reason why I feel like I’m not alone in my musings, my hobbies, the way I see this world!

Alas!  I have SO much to share.  The first is that our dear orange tabby, Petey, is well!  After my last post, we had to bring him back to the vet.  He was put on a catheter and had to stay at overnight : (  I was so worried about him…. but knew that we could not do what the vet could at home. He is much better and is drinking fluids and peeing.  He slept curled up against me the whole night that he came home ❤

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Walks close to home and a haven for red squirrels, fox and mushrooms!

I have been making and gardening quite a bit.  Jamie and I planted garlic this morning.  Our wood is almost completely split and stacked and we had our first frost and consequently fire yesterday.  I love fall so much, it’s so fleeting.  On our walk this morning, most of the bright red sugar maple leaves were already under our feet.  The earth is damp and the north winds strong.  Henry and I have been walking down a beautiful wooded path to the river that we live by every day.  The mossy parts of this wood are replete with beloved mushrooms.

Mushrooms…. the reason why I write to you today.  What amazing specimens they are!  Not only are they adorable and surrounded with fairy lore, they are beyond healthful and practical!  A couple of months ago, I posted on instagram about wanting to dye a pair of socks with lichen.  A user suggested that I use a type of mushroom: Cortinarius Semisanguineas or red-gilled webcap.  On one of our walks, I was looking very closely (okay, on my belly in the moss looking up at the gills…not weird at all) and noticed how beautiful the colours of this mushroom was and it clicked.  It was the very mushroom that the user had suggested! I got so excited and went back to the spot with my knife and a basket to collect and experiment ❤

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Cortinarius Semisanguineas!  How beautiful are these colours?
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Warm Autumn Day in The east of Canada
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Collecting – I sliced the mushroom so not to damage the root of the mushroom in order to grow and thrive next year.

And so!  What did I do?  Welllllll, I first collected mushrooms.  I have read a lot about dyeing wool and nothing intrigues me more than using what grows close to you rather than what you can buy from a grocer.  I am not despairing the use of avocado or yellow onion skins (I plan on trying both!) I just don’t find the process as exciting, rewarding and directly engaging with this eco-region!  Something that naturally finds its home and is nourished by the same rain water that falls on my skin, on the earth that grows our food.  I want so badly to be more entrenched in the land around me. Dyeing is such an ancient way to connect to the land, to even represent the region you live!  I remember as a Celtic Studies student, learning that Scottish tartans began to be associated with certain clans simply due to the plants that were available in their region!

I first boiled some water with Alum and Cream of Tartar.  Once boiled, I added the wool and let it simmer for a short while (This is a mordant.  A mordant is the chemical composition that holds the natural dye to the fibre, otherwise you could end up with very washed out colours after exposure to the elements or a wash). I used pure white wool from MacAuslands here on PEI and an angora wool from We are Knitters.  once this wool was dry, I collected a small basket full of mushrooms (I only like taking a portion of what the earth provides), boiled them on the fire in the backyard and added the wool with the boiled mushroom broth in a mason jar.  Cortinarius Semisanguineas are actually poisonous so be cautious when handling!  They will not harm as a dye but they are not edible and I wasn’t crazy about having them in the house for long, especially with 4 wild ones about.   I repeated this process 3 times, hanging the experimental wool in a crab apple tree to dry.

I have looked at quite a few pictures online.  I believe it was the amount of the mordant that made my end result significantly paler than what I have seen and the amount of mushroom caps that I used.  Other examples are such a deep orange or red!  I really like the salmon shade that these turned out. I did try one strand of wool without a mordant and it was significantly darker.

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A Little mushroom study – The drawing on the right is a result of humidity, it looks a little strange but honestly, this is what they looked like!  This door was closed to critters while I worked with this fungi!  I love to draw plants and fungi that grow close to home.
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Drying outdoors after their first dye bath
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A closer look
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A second dye bath – I started to do most of the process outdoors – partly because red-gilled webcaps are poisonous
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After a second dye bath – in our crab apple tree
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Beauties after the 2nd bath
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Beneath the mother white pine ❤  This tree is wonderful
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A third dye bath never hurt anyone…. with the straw and wood for a couple of nights – a deep red!
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Finished Result, I brought it back to the woods where I found the mushrooms to show them what wonders they do for us ❤
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End Result – My sorry attempts at twisting a skein of yarn and my mushroom study

There you have it!  My first experiment with a close to home fungi!  I am SO excited about this project.  It was a lot of fun and very inspiring.  I hope you enjoyed this, even if you just looked at the photographs!  In our yard is a beautiful horse chestnut tree and I hope to use the husks to actually make a pair of fingerless mitts using the two colours 🙂

Autumnal blessings to you and I hope this post finds you well, inspired and happy ❤ I would love to hear about your own experiments or even desires with natural dyeing!

Glimpse of Summer

S U M M E R

 

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Poppies  in the back garden ❤ Last year I just had one plant – this year there must be a hundred

It feels as though it has already come and gone…

 

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Mossy woodland deer trail

I first of all, want to come back to blogging! Summer is a little like entering the Fairy Realm… I’m just not sure what happened to that time.  We host many visitors, travel to Nova Scotia numerous times, we garden and garden and eat so much good food.  The days are split between harvesting, taking Henry for beach walks or just.. I don’t even know!  I did sleep near a fairy fort in Ireland so…

But now, finally, that cool air is forcing me inside with a more productive mindset.  I have a new study/studio (whatever you want to call it) and I have never felt more inspired by a small room before (I will do a post on the room, or something of that nature, I would love to share it with you!).  And so, here I am reflecting on the summer.

Our gardens have been bountiful, the weather has been very kind with both sun and rain, heat and cooler days.  The bugs have been atrocious but in turn, the butterflies and bees have been so numerous you can hear the buzz or clicking of their wings as you walk through the fields.  There have been trips to the beach, walks in the woods, bonfires, fresh garden meals, preserving and jam making, knitting (but not as much), long bike rides and old friends.  All in all, it has been a very pleasant season.

And yet… I can not seem to remember very much of it!  I also did not take very many photographs at all.  So, I wanted to share just a couple, just to get back into the swing of things.

I do hope you enjoyed your summer, where ever you found yourself!  What did you get up to?  Does anyone else feel like it passes like a dream?

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Fields and fields of flowers, blackberries and of course hand knit sweaters !
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Beach Camp with the rising sun
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Two loves, Astilbe and Pangur (and then I realize the trees and rocks and lilac and sedum !! Okay, many loves)
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A dry spell – the river runs dry and we get to go on a new hike (happens usually once a year) – The rock formations are amazing!!
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Success with Hollyhocks ❤   This beautiful black hollyhock plant grew in our back garden.  I even collected some of the petals and dyed a pair of socks with them – the result was a pale grey/blue.
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Family visits to the beach on a full moon and an opportunity to photograph a beautiful handknit Olwyn that Meaghan knit
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A good neighbour
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The river wasn’t always dry and the land was covered with clover and buttercups, once upon a time
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Laughing Lisa, we share a birthday and on this day, we climbed Mont St. Hilaire ❤  Afterwards we joined our family who lives below the mountain for a delicious homemade dinner and cake.
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The heart is a lonely hunter
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Jamie asks me to pick everything for Tabbouleh – parsley and tomato
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Two sister witches, photograph their knits in the woods (it was near impossible in July to not have a bug on your foot… or realistically on every square inch of your body )
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One very good reason to plant a crab apple tree
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A very good companion while I pick, day in, day out 
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Sometimes, I have an urge to cable and so mittens seems like a very simple way to satisfy that urge!  Also, a book I picked up at the Hill of Tara in Co. Meath, Ireland.  
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GHOST PIPE (Monotropa uniflora) just saying hello
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Queen Anne’s Lace by the wayside
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The little specks of paint have been cleared and yes, our *new* old floor – covered with 30s linoleum and carpet, we made this a summer project – the floor of our study/studio.  I think it is Red Oak and the tree must be from the 17th century.   We washed, stained and finished this beauty floor – I honestly couldn’t feel happier with this project of ours and have this sense that the house feels happy too.
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Prince Edward Island, side of the road stops (very essential)
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16 Cups in the freezer, I braved the deer flies and black flies so we can have some jam and pie ❤
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A finished project – Shall I write a blog about this sweater?
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Tor Bay Provincial Park – I lose myself when we drive those winding roads and park here, a place like no other.

 

 

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Sunflower Eve in my Mother’s garden
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Only a July evening light
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My loves on the ferry
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The ferry brings us to these walks
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We currently have thousands of Painted Lady Butterflies around our home
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But just at our house, we have these evening walks ❤  If you can imagine having dozens of painted ladies flutter around you while you walk toward this fairy tree, basked in golden September light
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Collecting blackberries from our walks – we have several jars of jam now in the cold room

 

**  I’m sorry this is such a short post!  I do wish I had been actively blogging this summer, documenting hikes or anything really!  I think it’s safe to say that stepping into a sun drenched (although.. my photographs make it seem like we had a very cloudy summer – I am just drawn to taking photographs when the sun isn’t beaming down on us) fairy realm is pretty accurate ; ).  I really like to take my time with plants, just to be with them, observe them, I spent much of my time in this manner, leaving my phone turned off or hidden away somewhere.

Lastly, I am sorry this blog is more like a visual diary than what I see most blogs being – instructional sites.  I simply enjoy documenting the little things in life and don’t really see myself as being an authority on anything on this planet for giving people instruction.  Sometimes, I wonder if it’s even still relevant to have a blog simply documenting your life… but alas, I do enjoy it (regardless of the hiatus) and really love the conversations and friendships that I’ve made on here.  So Blessings all and I hope you’ve been well!

A song for you, that I sometimes play on repeat (like right now)

PS  I still fully plan to write and share about Ireland, it’s only my second home ❤

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    Walks with Henry

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    “Song of the Sea” My favourite movie – We did see seals this summer as well while crossing the strait.  I love them!

April Gardening Pt. 1 & other ramblings of a fae folk

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gardening and knitting 😀  

PINK MOON IS ON ITS WAY

Well, the pink moon has passed but any opportunity to quote Nick Drake 🙂

The weather is WARM and the sun has been gracing us with his presence!  I am happy, so incredibly happy.  A little sun burnt and exhausted but so full of the cleansing, full happiness that fresh air and manual labour brings.  I’m back to communing with the land, with roots and branches, robins and bluejays.  April is a muddy and plan brown (or red on PEI), drab time of year here, but as soon as you get outside and take a wee closer look at the earth, the trees the colours of life on this green earth are just abounding.

The work on our 1.25 acre is endless.  Especially since our plans include using every inch of space for flower, vegetable and herb gardens, animals and trees.   We have a huge checklist which includes new gardens, a ton of raking, preparing wood for next winter, tending to our forest (really a small wood but the forest just sounds so much more majestic ;)), mulching, digging, burning, felling trees (I’m starting to sound a little destructive but it’s all part of the process!).

This week has been g l o r i o u s.  I completely disconnected from instagram and feel as free as a bird by just removing myself from social media.  The earth is speaking to all of us, if we listen and work with her.

At this time of year, we are not even touching vegetable gardens because the earth is too damp to turn. So, it’s mainly raking, woodland, and clearing up flower gardens.  I even started to plant some chestnuts that have sprouted in our basement.  I hope you enjoy the photos of our work and can not WAIT to show you the contrast of now and a couple of months!

Horseshoe
Found while digging in a garden! Folklore tells us that nailing an iron horseshoe above your door/barn door will keep the fairies at bay.  Fairies detest metal and were notorious for interfering with livestock and crops – you still see remnants of this tradition 😀  It also translated over to holding your luck (I think originally because it protected you from fairies) however if you hand it upside down, your luck will dribble away from you : (
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Clearing out the rose bushes and plotting stones for a fairy garden in the front of the house – Not much colour at the moment! I started to mulch the roses with decomposing stumps and lining this garden with mossy logs and branches.
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Flora Helping out!
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Among the rose bushes – offerings from our beach walks to the elemental beings that inhabit the earth
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A friend of mine gave me this really cute, vintage garden gnome!  I’m so excited to finally give him a home in the garden ❤
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I see growth on this rhubarb plant!  My mom brought these over last year from her garden –  I love having a family connection to plants as well as a earthly entity connection (I guess we are all one big family afterall)

 

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One of our raised beds that I wattled last year – Not a lot going on in this part of the garden until late May so I’m leaving the cover of leaves on there
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Rosebuds ❤
Chestnuts
sprouted chestnuts I collected last fall – to be planted in the woods!
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The Forest literally looks like a tornado lingered there for a little bit – weedy like trees are trying to choke out our maple and trees and branches down everywhere!  On a good day, we have a long day of burning down what we can’t salvage (which is still a lot!) – the process of turning the woodland into a shangri-la will take years but it will be SO worth it – benefiting the soil, animals, insects and humble humans
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We have been making baked potatoes in the coals of our bush burns – salt, pepper, butter and a potato from down the road – delicious!

I N S I D E

And on the indoor front – it’s getting a little wild!  The plants are shooting up and need daily care.  The tomatoes are strong and the herbs already fragrant.  The lupin seeds I collected on the side of the road last year have sprouted and I am beyond excited to give back to the insects of our world!

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A little painting of one of my favourite spring time flowers – Siberian Squill – painted for a friend
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Tomatoes growing up and up – we still have a month and a half before they can go outside! I can’t believe how quickly they are shooting up – so different than the past 2 years
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A Vintage Owl Mug with a Tulsi basil plant as well as a few parsley plants
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Little Pine Tree ❤ I collected a few seeds last fall and am so happy one of them has burst into life!
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Two more trays of seeds – displacing my work area and some old drawings I found from Botanical Art class back in 2010 (eep!) – I decided to spruce them up a big and still working on it 🙂
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Little Seedlings – my babies
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WORK SPACE MAGIC – It won’t be long before plants completely displace me 😛

A P R I L  P I C K S

BOOKS

I’m reading OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon and I can already say that it is fantastic.  A friend of mine suggested it when I told her I was watching the show and felt like it was made for us (plants, magic, Highlands of Scotland, yes please!). I stopped watching it immediately and started the book

I’m also reading through some Norwegian Folk Tales as well as our man, Ronald Hutton’s Witches, Druids and King Arthur.

TV / PODCASTS

Other than repeatedly watching Tales from the Green Valley, I’ve been listening to The Higherside Chats with Greg Carlwood – about fringe topics.  He has an episode on PLANTS that I definitely suggest called “Earth Alchemy, Plant Spirits, & Engineered Abundance” with Shamangineer.  My sister suggested it to me and I am hooked.  It’s available both in his website and youtube.

Maybe I’ll reveal a part of myself I don’t tend to share on the internets but, I was thinking of making a compilation of books/videos/documentaries on modern fairy lore.  I’ll start with a really fun documentary that hits very close to home here on the East Coast  ❤  ❤ ❤

THE FAIRY FAITH

KNITS

I’m working on a lopapeysa, of course! Hazel Heather and I’ll show you soon, I promise!

MUSIC

Quilt’s self titled album (on Google Music) and the birds that are singing a consistent tune.  I love slow, droning psychedelic guitars, need to start playing music again !!!

Other than that – I’ve been working outside and then coming in exhausted and ready to sleep zzzz.

B E   W E L L

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Beach Girl ❤  Something I love about living on the East Coast – often the only people at the beach

March Gardening

Tomatoes
Starting a little bit early this year since last year we had many green tomatoes ripening in the spare bedroom!

H I   F R I E N D S

It’s the last day of M A R C H!  You guys, I am so excited.  Right now, it’s blowing snow, minus 10 with that wind chill and just down right unpleasant.  I love winter, but this slow rebirth honestly tears at my soul.  I’m confused and feel like I’ve been swallowed up by some eternal grey and cold void.  But it’s never as bad as all that, since it’s so temporary and it won’t be long before we are outside in the sunshine smelling the damp earth.

I am currently sitting by a drafty window with my big headphones on blasting the band QUILT (self titled album) and drinking caffeinated beverages interspersed with water and trying to figure out how I am going to write about the almost non-existent March gardening season (PHEW long sentence!).  But I can’t stop thinking about how I need to play guitar and mandolin more and just change my life completely?  Throw away my phone, read more books and just work on becoming telepathic with plants and how can I start writing music (sounds reasonable)?

A N Y W A Y . . .

If there is one thing that lets me feel a never ending sense of life and excitement during this time of year, it’s SEEDS!  Yes, seeds. This year, I ordered some from the Incredible Seed Company and Hope Seeds (both heritage seed companies in Nova Scotia).  I have a few packets from Heritage Harvest Seed (now 2 years old) and Veseys,  an Island company about half hour drive from our place. I also have quite a few collected from the garden.  My ultimate goal is to become self sufficient and not have to buy seeds, but this is only our 2nd year on our acre, so not quite there.

Dream
Seed Packets – flowers, tomatoes and peppers
Poppy Pods
Poppy Pods, collected last year 2016

I started …

Tomatoes (many different types: Bloody Butcher, Alaska Tomatoes, Acadian Cherry Tomatoes, German Johnson, Black Prince, Black Krim, Orange Mennonite Beefsteak, Amish Canning Tomatoes, Early Rouge… Okay I have an addiction to buying seeds), peppers, F L O W E R S & H E R B S (lavender, rosemary, basil, sage, catnip, hollyhock, echinacea, black eyed daisies, bergamot, strawflower, poppies, zinnias and I know I’m forgetting quite a few).

I also planted a giant pumpkin seed which is slow going and a couple of pine tree seeds that I collected in the fall.  Last year, I planted Oak and Horse Chestnut so hopefully this year, I can add some pine to the property.

Starting
Last week, I’ve now added quite a bit more!

S T A R T I N G   E A R L Y

For the past couple of years, I have followed the instructions on seed packets.  6-8 weeks indoors before the last frost in your area.  Last year, many of our flowers bloomed around (or didn’t bloom for that matter) the first frost of the season.  Our tomatoes had to ripen inside and our pumpkins were definitely not orange or big enough to carve.  I don’t know if this is going to be WAY too early to start a lot of our tomatoes and flowers, but my rationale is that when I go to the nurseries in late May and Early June to buy perennials, they are WAY older than 8 weeks and they do swell.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes

E C H I N A C E A

Echinacea is sprouting!  I am so excited, last year I planted a lot of it hoping that we would forever have echinacea in the summer.  Nothing happened at all.  I was disappointed, my visions of an everlasting supply of the cold busting flower destroyed.  I blamed it on the seeds not being viable and bought new seeds from a different company, without actually doing research on growing the flower.  When it came to starting it again… I did the sensible thing and looked it up on the internet.  Apparently, you should stratify the seeds, so I put them in a damp paper towel, sealed in a plastic bag for a week or two and placed it in a cupboard in the kitchen.  Lo and behold, they sprouted! I was SO excited and immediately went to the recycling and found a home for them.

Echinacea
In the plastic container – ECHINACEA!!! And yes a very snowy and grey exterior

H O L L Y H O C K S

I dream of a house being surrounded by the fairy tale flower, and will do my absolute best to grow these.  The past two years, I have failed terribly.  I bought seeds from Heritage Harvest Seed Company (I think out of Manitoba) and I could not start the hollyhock seeds at all.  This year, I ordered from a company much closer to PEI (Hope Seeds in Nova Scotia) and have about 5 little plants growing!  I am going to baby these in the hopes that they will grow and grow and grow and live on for the centuries to come on our little farmstead.

They are black jet Hollyhocks and I dream about them at night. They are growing into beautiful wee plants and this is the reason why I am planning to document plant growth.  I can’t wait to show you in August or September.

Hollyhock
Beautiful little plant, I promise you the sun will shine

W A X I N G  R E P O T T I N G

 And, when the new moon graced the skies, my Mom (visiting for the week <3) and I repotted many of the house companion plants: Aloe Vera, Jade, Hoya Wax Plant, Peperomia, Spider plant, English Ivy, Haworthia.  You have bigger homes now for the summer and I hope you will be happy!

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Pots and plants and plants and pots
Repotting
Mom and I repotting
Haworthia
Roots of a Haworthia – yep just messing up the floor – thankfully I do have a broom 😛
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Plant World ❤

F A C I N G  the C O L D

During my Mom and Merlin’s visit this week  – we still braved the cold, heading out through the fields to visit the hundreds upon hundreds of Canadian Geese on the river.

Canadian Geese
Resting on the river 
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Shell of a nest
Snowy Woods
Heading toward the woods to visit the river and the geese

T H A N K  Y O U

And I just want to thank you for reading and joining me on this absolutely magical journey of starting plants from seeds.  I almost feel like I need to apologize for the total lack of colour from my posts lately, the glimpses of green though – life and more life in this grey and stark winter world.  It won’t be long I hope before our world is bursting with colour.  Before, winter feels like a distant dream and summer a sweet, buggy reality.

P.S.

Planting seeds is E A S Y and honestly so incredibly vital to life on this planet.  Evolution before your eyes.  Vesey Seeds is currently giving away free packets of wildflower seeds in an effort to bring the extremely concerning issue of vanishing bee populations to the public as well as obviously providing more food for the bees.  If you would like your own packet to help out, simply fill out a form by clicking  H E R E

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)
Ways of Wood Folk
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

 

 

Last of Winter

North Shore
The Beach is no longer mud!

S P R I N G 🌿

Rejoice, rejoice!  It’s cold outside with a north wind.  I’m sitting on a cushion on the floor while the animals sprawl out on the couch.  I felt like just doing a quick post, to share a few pictures of our last weekend of winter.

Despite the cold and the wind, I still feel spring in the air.  This past weekend, we didn’t just hear the crows cawing but all kinds of birds and geese honking overheard. The bluejays have returned to our compost pile and the tips of the maples have buds.  Spring is a late bloomer here and we likely will be in an in between state for another month.  We are all itching to get outside.

The sun was so strong this Saturday and the temperature so pleasant.  Jamie and I had a busy weekend going for walks with Henry, working outside and going on aimless country drives.  It was a really beautiful end to this winter and I wanted to share with you little bits and pieces.

The outdoor work on this little piece of land seems endless!  This weekend, we focused on picking up sticks that have fallen during the winter gales. We had a bonfire and let the chickens and Henry free (Henry is pretty good with the chickens, although she occasionally runs as fast as she can at them to scatter them to the wind :\ ).

Chickens Free
The chickens had free range on Saturday!
Bon Fire
First bonfire of the year, many, many more to come!
Garden Shed
The Garden Shed, so much cleaning up to do!
Dorothy
Henry scared Dorothy and she came running to me for protection ❤
Driving
Driving along the north shore this weekend with Jamie ❤
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My boyfriend and girlfriend ❤ First Beach walk of the year
Window
It won’t be long before we can use the sun room…
Morning Light
The morning sunlight and a pair of angora mitts I’m working on
Lighthouse
More Lighthouses, this one is at Wood Islands ❤
South Shore
Beyond the Lighthouse
The Strait
The Sweater, we drove to the strait to get a photo of the sweater and say fare well to winter!
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Brilliant sunset for the last full day of Winter 2017

 

The end of winter!  I can barely believe it!  It does go by so quickly.  I would like to do more posts about gardening and despite the cold, I have started quite a few seeds already indoors.  But the extent of our gardening this month is cleaning up the yard and starting a few seeds.  I am ecstatic for the growing season!

Wishing you all a beautiful new season!