Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crafting with my kids: The mighty birch

Rachel over at Nest Full of Eggs recently posted about a photography challenge where she photographed a birch tree in four seasons.   The post brought back many memories for me.    My best friend’s childhood home (directly across the street from my home) always had a birch tree in the front yard when we were growing up. My aunt and uncle in Hanover, New Hampshire had a splendid birch forest on their lot.  When my husband and I travelled to Russia in 1996, we had a chance to visit Tolstoy’s estate (yasna polyana)  –  a birch forest lines the path going up to the estate.  These photos were taken on my old Canon SLR, so I scanned them.
On the Yasna Polyana property is an intertwined oak and birch - apparently symbolic of love.
tolstoy0001.BMP This is Tolstoy’s tomb, at the edge of the marvellous wood.  { From my travel diary: It was the first public burial  in Russia that was not attended by a priest.  Tolstoy chose this spot because it conjured up a childhood memory of his older brother (Nikolai) who told Tolstoy that he had secretly buried a little green stick on which he had carved a magic spell.  Whoever found that green wand would become its master and would have the power to make everyone happy.  Tolstoy wanted to be buried with that little green wand.}
November 7: Leo died at six this morning. I was not allowed in until his last breath.
I was not allowed to say good-bye to my husband. Cruel people. Sonia’s Diary.
All this to say, we worked on this wonderful birch tree project this weekend.   Two bloggers I follow knitty gritty homestead and wee folk art have done this with their wee ones. It is based on Kathy Barbro’s art lesson. Here is our experience and I highly recommend it.
Salting. {We used celtic sea salt}.
Peeling off the tape.
The finished projects.

{PS All pundits predict Christopher Plummer is supposed to receive the Oscar tonight. He should have received it for playing Tolstoy in the Last Station :). }
Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Fairy Tale Houses of Carmel


This weekend, I travelled to San Francisco to visit my sister.  We headed down the coast to spend the weekend in Carmel-by-the-sea.  On the way, we took in the 17 mile drive.  The wind was perfect for flying a kite.

IMG_8446 Sea lions on bird rock.


The lone Cyprus.



The 18th tee at the famous Pebble Beach course.


In Carmel, we stayed in at the Monteverde Inn, a small inn just a few blocks from the beach.  With the help of the Visitor Information Centre, we scouted out the fairy tale cottages.   There are approximately 20 cottages which were built by Hugh Comstock in the late 1920s to early 40s.  Mr. Comstock originally built the cottages as a studio and showroom for his wife, who was a maker of rag dolls.  Generally, the cottages have a thatched roof or a whimsical cedar shingle roof.  The style has also been imitated throughout many homes Carmel.  You feel like you are walking through a real life film set.  Many of the houses are located around Santa Fe & 5th Avenue and Santa Rita and 6th Avenue and they are inhabited.

(I loved these cottages so much that I purchased a book by photographer Mike Barton.  He photographed the cottages during the summer months when the gardens were at their peak and had better access to the cottages. There is also an interesting post on architect design which shows some of the interiors.) 

Below are some photos of the original cottages as well as some newer builds.








IMG_8587 IMG_8598


The cottage below is located near the Carmel mission and is on the market right now for approximately $1.55 million.



The Mission.IMG_8671 



It was a wonderful mini break and chance to explore a little spot on California’s stunning coast. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

If there were such a thing as a heaven for embroidery…

I am sure it would be filled with lovelies like these




My bloggy friend Melissa is working on an amazing deer cross stitch right now.  When I saw this piece I thought of her project.





I stumbled upon this grand collection of hand embroidered pillow cases at the Value Village.  They washed up well and I gave the “darling” ones to my darlings for Valentine’s Day. I pumped up the ISO to about 3600 to take this photo in the dark!

IMG_2126I am taking a mini holiday so things will be quiet around here.

Carmel_Street_Sign{Image via}   

Talk to you soon,


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

St. Valentine’s Day


Happy Valentine’s Day!

My bloggy friend Kim sent us these beautiful chocolate boxes. She has a great post on her blog about how she embellishes chocolate boxes with fun images, scrapbook paper, crepe paper and trims. I already have visions of setting up a pretend sweet shop for the girls, so I am going to ask everyone I know to set aside their empty heart-shaped boxes for us to work with (the wheels are turning!).

The other day, Lily wanted to know about the story of St. Valentine so after realizing I could not provide her with a satisfactory response due to my murky understanding of the origins of the holiday, I decided to get her Robert Sabuda’s book, we have other books from the same series and enjoy them. This account is about how Valentine heals his jailer’s blind daughter {but the healing does not prevent Valentine’s martyrdom}.


Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day,


Sunday, February 12, 2012


Winter came this weekend.
We usually make these ice wreaths around Christmas, but this past Christmas was too mild.   We cut up some fruit which was on the verge of spoiling and put all of our Bundt pans to work.
Then we went sledding. I pulled them to the park!
IMG_2142 the trek up the hill
Little dare devil!
IMG_2149fun in the snow
{On a completely unrelated matter, my husband and I were very saddened to learn of Whitney’s passing.  She was a performer who transcended generations.  Both my daughters know all the lyrics to Whitney and Brandy's "Impossible"  – that version of Cinderella (1997) is probably one of their favourites – I picked up a VHS version at Value Village a couple of years ago and had never seen it - nor did I realize that they would enjoy it so much.  If your children enjoy the Cinderella story and musicals it is a wonderful interpretation.}