Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A fun kids craft.....

I've been trying to find a few different and engaging kids crafts lately with an emphasis on using our hands and just being creative.  Yesterday the kids and I tried some embroidery. We used a scrap of burlap that I had in my sewing stash, it's got nice big holes in it and is very easy to work with. We also used a large and quite blunt tapestry needle to try and avoid any unnecessary pokes. I was surprised at just how focused the kids became, they really got into it! We decided to just go with the flow and not concentrate on the design but after the first few threads went through we figured their design looked kind of like a star or a snowflake :) We stuck with it and I actually think it looks pretty sweet! 

Isobel has tried her hand at finger knitting and liked it and seemed really keen to give the embroidery a go. I think it's a really cool way to develop her hand-eye coordination (as well as ignite a bit of creative passion) and was surprised at just how skillfully she was able to embroider. Neither of them poked themselves at all! They were both interested to watch the other in action and when we decided we were finished they were both very proud of their joint creation!

It's definitely something we'll try out again.

 In other news my camera on my phone is broken! SHOCK HORROR! i don't know how I will cope without it! I'm an instagram addict. Hopefully it'll be fixed soon but in the meantime at least it made me grab my real camera to take photos of the kids crafting and of these rather yummy muffins Bel and I produced yesterday.....

She helped me bake them and clean up the mess and then fell asleep just before they came out of the oven leaving me to sit in complete peace and quiet with a cup of tea scoffing cooling muffins by myself, oh dear ;) 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bel turns 5!

My teeny tiny baby girl is 5! Can you believe it? I can't.  
I have loved her being 4, I really have. Sure, there have been moments when her rigid stubbornness has driven me crazy and her non-stop talking has pushed me to the edge of my patience but her sweetness and sense of magical wonder at even the simplest of things is utterly contagious and because of her I have seen so much with new eyes. Her excitement is so pure and literally beams from her face! The beauty of a snowflake caught on a mitten or the joy of finding just the right shaped pinecone for her collection. The overflowing excitement as we watch a squirrel scamper across the roof and the gleam in her eye when I spend even a few minutes with her immersed in her imaginary world. I really hope that this sweetness and innocence, her view of everything just being really good can stick around for a while longer. She seems to be an optimist with a happy-go-lucky-energy. Quite different to Seb with his serious side and frequent worries. Our happy girl, we always knew she had a special heart :)

We celebrated her birthday quietly at home with a pavlova made by Mummy, a birthday crown made by Seb and a beautiful new dollhouse that Daddy put together. He even had to get creative and fashion replacement parts with his wood saw at midnight the night before when our last minute building went badly wrong and essential bits were broken. I was an overly emotional wreck crying because I thought she wouldn't have a present to open and Daddy really did save the day!

 Thank you to everyone that contributed furniture and people to fill her house! As predicted she absolutely loves it and I kind of do too :)

Happy Birthday Bels!! We love you!!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Quick baby sling project....

Bel's birthday is coming up and one of the things I've bought her is a lovely handmade Waldof doll. Shhh! Don't tell her! I've been looking around at clothing and other bits and pieces to go with her new dolly and one of the things I kept searching for was a baby sling. I've seen a few really nice ones online but sheesh are they pricey!  In the end I decided to have a go at making one. I honestly don't know why I didn't think of it earlier! It was so easy! I used a lovely scrap of fabric I had left over from the baby quilt and whipped it up in about 20 minutes. I did a quick scan of Pinterest and came across this tutorial.  It couldn't have been easier and the I honestly think the end result is waaaay nicer than all the slings I've seen in the shops! I gave her the sling right away just because I was so excited and she hasn't taken it off since. Yippee for successful sewing and lovely handmade toys!

Winter Carnival Fun....

Here are some photos from last Saturday's WInter Carnival festivities on Canmore's Main Street. We watched the Kid and Mutt races, Ice Carving and did a bit of Nordic Skiing on Main Street before warming ourselves with hot chocolate around one of the many street fire pits. It was a perfectly crisp winter's day and the atmosphere was bustling and festive. Just a wee bit too chilly for those of us who can longer zip up our coats :)

Beeswax Candle Dipping......

 February 2nd is Candlemas day. It marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox kind of like groundhog day in that it is supposedly the day that will determine how much longer winter will continue. In fact Groundhog day came about from the old pagan tradition of Candlemas.  "If Candlemas Day be fair and bright Winter has another flight, if Candlemas day bring clouds and rain, Winter will not come again." Hence if the ground hog sees his shadow he'll pop back into his burrow for another six weeks. I'm pretty sure than in Canmore, winter will be around for at least another six weeks whether I like it or not but it's nice to have another little tradition to celebrate. 
To mark Candlemas at Isobel's school we did some candle dipping and made a few lovely beeswax candles to take home. Usually the candle dipping would have taken place outdoors but as we've had a particularly frigid week here in Canmore we set up the dipping station inside the warm and cosy classroom. 

It's quite an easy process of dipping the wick into a can of melted beeswax, taking a walk around the table to let it cool before dipping for another layer. It takes some time to build up the first few layers then it starts to look excitingly like a real candle and you just keep going until you get the thickness you like. 

Ahh! A photo of me! How strange! Look at that massive tummy! Sheesh!

Anyway, once you have dipped to your hearts content you hang the candles to cool and viola....beautiful, knobbly, wonderful smelling beeswax candles! 

 Did you know that beeswax candles do not emit any respiratory system-aggravating soot like paraffin wax candles do? In fact beeswax candles actually purify the air by giving off negative ions that remove dust, dirt and pollutants from the air! Perfect!