Sunday, March 30, 2014

They're Done!

So my books are finally finished and available to the public for purchase. You will notice previews for them on the right side of my blog. You can click through the first 15 pages of each book right there, or make it full screen by clicking the little box with the arrows. If you click on the shopping cart it will take you to the page where there is pricing information.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nursery Designs

The bedrooms for our babies have been getting some work done this week! First off, in Kesten's room, I wanted to bring out the forest theme a little more. So, after ripping off an idea from a good friend, I decided to add some aspen (or birch) trees to Kesten's room. There are many lovely stencils available, but I found the trees to be too skinny on most of them. I wanted bigger trees, so I painted them on myself, using painter's tape to make the trunks and then I freehanded the branches and the bark details. I love the way it looks and so does Kesten. He likes to show people the "big trees!" in his room.

 My parents have been up visiting this week and my dad and I worked on building a dresser that we designed for the new baby's room. Here it is! I love love LOVE the way it turned out! I am so excited to fill it up with little newborn clothes! (The hand-me downs are in the wash!) I love the dark stain we used on the wood and how it really pops in that yellow room. We are starting to think this is the nicest room in the house!
 We still need to add the bedding to the crib and there will be a few more finishing touches, but it is coming together nicely!
 Another view of the dresser and the shelf I made for the room ages ago.
How exciting! Not too much longer until we get to meet this new little person (but it feels like an eternity!)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Finally Saw One!

What an exciting day yesterday was! It started with me getting a new (to me) mountain bike! I am so excited to ride the trails this summer on a full suspension bike. Oooooo, aaaaaaaah! 
 In the afternoon, Kesten, my husband, and I headed up to my favourite trail for a walk. Kesten wanted to get out and explore, so my husband stayed with him and I headed further down the trail to do my own exploring. I wanted to go further than I had been before. Typically when I head up there with my snowshoes, I leave the trail fairly early on to follow animal tracks. This time I wanted to make it right to the gate. About 20 minutes down the trail I had the living daylights startled out of me. A grouse hiding under a tree right beside me decided that s/he better take off, as I might be a threat. I don't know if you have ever experienced this before, but every time it happens to me I jump about a hundred feet in the air and clutch my chest. Luckily I didn't scream this time, or I might have really worried my husband. Nothing shatters the peaceful silence of the woods like the sound of frantically beating wings and underbrush thrashing about. In that brief moment before you realize it is only a grouse, your imagination pictures any number of horrible predators, ready to leap out at your throat. Really, those grouse should take a page from the snowshoe hares and just learn to stay still already. I would probably never notice them if they didn't decide to burst into flight. I guess they just don't trust their camouflage.

From that point on, it seemed that every few feet another grouse was making a mad dash across the trail. I guess I finally found where they were all hanging out this winter. A little further down, I interrupted a male grouse, passionately displaying his fancy feathers to any female who might pay him attention. In his shock at my approach, he froze on the trail, allowing me to capture a couple of photos.
 So fancy. I hope some ladies took notice for his sake.
 Another grouse at the end of the trail, hoping that I didn't see him/her.
 Trying to sneak away unnoticed. Look at those feet! In the fall, Ruffed Grouse grow hair-like projections off the sides of their toes and that help their feet act like snowshoes. No need for those now though, the snow has a hard crust over the surface.
 And now, for the thrill of my life! I turned around at the end of the trail and started to head back to where I had left Kesten and my husband. I was about 15-20 minutes away from where I had last seen them, when I noticed a movement around a bend on the trail up ahead. Thinking that it was my husband coming to find me, I kept heading forward nonchalantly. Hmm, wait, no, that wasn't a man on the trail. It was much lower down. Something on all fours. Grayish. A dog maybe? Nope. A few more steps and I was in full view of a beautiful Canada Lynx standing in the middle of the trail. I froze. Held my breath. The lynx looked over at me and promptly dashed into the woods. In awe and utter amazement, I stood on the trail, frozen, a few seconds longer. Why hadn't I had my camera ready? I was bubbling over with excitement now. I kept walking and passed the spot where the lynx had disappeared into the woods. I looked around to see if it was watching me from off in the bush some where, but no luck. If I wasn't so pregnant, I would have run all the way back to where Kesten and my husband were. I had to manage with a few gleeful skips every couple of feet. I've always wanted to see a lynx in the wild! What luck I had!

Kesten was still happily playing in the snow, pushing his stroller around with my husband right there.
 This boy of mine loves being outside and exploring. Makes my heart so happy to see him enjoying nature.
What a great day it was! I hope you are having a good weekend too!

Friday, March 21, 2014

March Changes

March is a month of transition. Transitioning from winter into spring. And for Kesten, transitioning from his crib to his big boy bed. 
 The crib is now all set up in baby #2's room. It is looking good in there!
 Kesten has now had three nights in his big boy bed and slept all through the night last night. I think the the transition is working!
With days getting warmer, Kesten has been asking more and more to play out on the deck. Now that it is free of snow, he has lots of room to drive his big trucks around. In order to make it easier to go out on the deck, I made a little "boot room" right by the back door. I hung up a hook (that I bought in India on our honeymoon) to hold coats and hats and put some mats down for boots and shoes. Now whenever Kesten wants to go outside, he puts his boots on and repeats "outside!" until we let him out.
 Since we broke all of our lawn chairs last year, I bought a new patio set for the deck this week. We are already enjoying it!
 It is so nice to have a place to sit in the sun, out of the wind and enjoy spring in its infancy.
 Kesten decided to share some of his cheerios with Boos.
 Boos just wasn't sure what to make of it....
 And lastly, I made a little 'mobile' decoration for Kesten's room. He was so excited to see the "bees!" I used one of the old wasp nests that have been sitting empty for years under our deck and attached it to a branch. I then made some fabric leaves and glue gunned them together and used wire to attach them to the branch. Next I needle felted three bees and hung them with string from the wasp nest. I love the way it looks and Kesten thinks it is so cool to have bees in his room!
What an exciting month March is! So many changes and that sweet hint of spring in the air. The longer days and the sunshine, the seedlings growing inside, and all that plant life just waiting to burst forth. It really is intoxicating. I know why they call it spring fever!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring is in the Air

I went for a little walk in the woods this morning. The red squirrels were out and about, enjoying the change in weather. They were curious little guys, running up to within a couple of feet of me and then dashing off. They chased each other through the trees and scampered all over the place, in celebration of the beginning of the end of winter.

 The chickadees also seemed to be in a playful mood. Usually they dash off before I can even get close enough for a picture, but today they were so happy, hopping about, that they stayed still long enough for one or two shots. A raven kept flying by overhead, its mouth full of twigs, building a nest in anticipation of spring babies.
 Back at home, I've got some seeds started. I won't be planting as much this year, as my baby is due in 2 months and I'll be busy, but I do find it hard to restrain myself. We shall see what happens.
 My banana and citrus trees have made it through the winter, a little worse for wear. The citrus trees did not look healthy, so I repotted them and found that they had been staying quite wet at the bottom of the pot (which they don't like at all!). I guess I need to be more careful when I water them. Even though the top inch of soil is dry, the rest is likely still wet.

Friday, March 14, 2014

We're Back!

We just got back from a trip to Ontario. We headed back for some family visits and to try and make some more maple syrup. Alas, the weather did not cooperate and no syrup was made, but we made the most of our family visits!
Our trip started out with a 9.5 hour drive to Alberta (time change #1) where we met up with Kesten's grandparents and flew out the next day to Ontario (time change #2). While we were there, there was the daylight savings time change (#3), then a few days later a flight back to Alberta (#4) and the next day the 9.5 hour drive to BC (time change #5!). We're are so messed up with time now!
 Kesten enjoyed seeing his great grandparents! We stayed with them at their house for the week. Grandpa cooked up some good food for us, including a turkey dinner and an apple crisp! Mmm
 Great grandma is always happy to see Kesten!
 Grandpa and Grandma also came along, giving this very pregnant momma a nice break from chasing after a toddler and changing bums!
 There were so many new and exciting things to discover for Kesten! Here he is mastering cribbage.
 We got to see great aunts and uncles and second cousins! It was a busy time!
 We went for a nice walk in the Ontario forest as Apps Mill.

 And since we couldn't tap any trees, we set up the sugar shack instead.
 The good old Nutbrown sugar shack.
 Our drive home from Alberta takes us through the stunning Rocky mountains. This is Mt. Robson in BC. We stopped here to let Kesten run around a bit and let off some energy.
 There happened to be a helicopter parked in the parking lot, creating a fun diversion for Kesten.
And now we are safe and sound back home. We left in -25c and came back to +7c. It feels like spring and the snow is melting (when new stuff isn't falling!) My favourite time of year!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Needle Felted Moose

I worked on a fun little project this week- a needle felted moose for Kesten to play with. Right now, he likes to call anything with hooves a moose. He gets pretty excited whenever he sees a picture of one. So, to keep me busy during down times, I worked on a moose for him.
To start out, I made a frame for his body out of pipe cleaners. Then I started to wrap raw wool around it and anchor it in place with a few jabs of the needle-felting needles. Once I got a basic shape formed, I went to work felting it in place with the needles and working it into more detailed shapes. Below is a picture of the moose with some loosely wrapped wool with some more felted areas, like his front legs.
 Once I was happy with his body, I added some antlers (on a pipe cleaner frame), as well as some eyes and hooves.
 I don't know if you can tell in this picture, but the hooves are even cleft.

 So far, Kesten likes to give it hugs and throw it around while saying "moose" repeatedly. The nice thing about a needle felted stuffy is that it is pretty durable!

Dog Sled Races 2014

This weekend is the annual Caledonia Classics Dogsled races. Along with the races, our town also is putting on a Winterfest, lasting all week into next weekend. We headed down to the lake yesterday morning to check out the festivities.

The temperature yesterday morning registered a bitter -30c, but had warmed up to -22c by the time we headed down. Brrr! Everyone was so bundled up, that it was hard to recognize people. With scarves, hats, and sunglasses, the only skin showing on most people were their noses.
 We watched one of the sprints take off and then headed over to see the other activities.
 A snow carver came up to the Fort to work on some sculptures with volunteers. Lots of people helped out with the carving.
 A sugarshack was set up, with maple syrup candy being made in the snow. Later they switched to our local Birch syrup.
 A traditional dog sled.
We didn't stay too long, as it was so cold. I headed back at 1pm, when the air temperature had warmed up to -11c, but a fierce wind had begun to blow, making it feel even colder than the morning.  More work had been completed on the ice sculptures then. The sculptor was making the symbols for the four Nak'azdli clans, Bear, Beaver, Caribou, and Frog.

I didn't stay long again. It's too bad it was so cold!
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