Keepin’ warm

Hope you all have been keeping warm what with that Polar Vortex and all.  Seriously?  Polar Vortex?  How is it I’ve lived in Canada my entire life and have never heard of such a thing. It sounds so glamorous and sexy…and maybe a bit terrifying.  To be honest having ice everywhere hasn’t been very fun and has made getting outside a bit of a challenge.  So the kids are stacking ice instead of making snowmen.  Our efforts to walk more and drive less are still being met at least partially since J has a pair of yaktrax.  I’m gonna need a pair if things don’t change soon.  The rest of the time you can find us in the backyard, away from the ice damaged tree branches doing things like this:playhousedrivethroughI think this means we can officially give the hideout a designation of a ‘drive-thru’.  Just ski up and get a cup of hot chocolate.  Devine!

IMG_2253The hideout kitchen is always hoping.  Apparently these kids are messy cooks though…oh well, not my house.  I should point out as well that the solar lights are working out really well in case anyone was considering them for their own outdoor sheds, playhouses and what-not.  In this picture we have one of these solar lights turned on and you can see how well the place is lit.

IMG_2254And of course the place looks so cute lit up on the outside as well.  The Missus has been using it as a home base when she skis around the yard.  She always checks in with “Coach” aka her dad regarding her form and speed.  It is just about as adorable as you can get.

IMG_2264See?  Adorable.  And warm and cozy.  Despite all this Polar Vortex nonsense.

What are you doing to stay warm and keep your winter spirits up?

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Goodbye Christmas…

It is always bittersweet taking down all the decorations, the garlands, the tree.  This year it was particularly hard as I was quite in love with some of my handmades…

I took some pictures so I could remember and thought you might enjoy them too.

Solstice StockingsI’m particularly sad to see these babies packed away.  I’ve been wanting to make them for a while and finally got around to it this year.  I started in July and got sidetracked. I embroidered two of them while at a conference in November and of course I finished the last one two days before the holidays.  The pattern can be found in my favourite craft book of all time:

Scandinavian NeedlecraftYou can find other projects I’ve made from this book here (don’t worry I fixed it) and here.

Scandinavian Heart embroidery

Scandinavian Snowflake Embroidery

Scandinavian Snowflake Embroidery Christmas StockingWell, you can see why I love them can’t you?  They are so beautiful!  (as a side note, I had a good laugh while editing these photos.  Take a good look at some of the titles on the bookshelf…I hung this stocking in front of “All Family’s are Psychotic” LOL…that might tie in with some holiday celebrations non?).

pinecone garland

Pinecone garlandAnd I couldn’t resist taking this photo in the morning light (no editing I swear) of my favourite handmade holiday decoration.  I make one every year.  I collect the pinecones in the fall at my in law’s place. I also took a fallen branch or two from their forest and used them around the house and on the porch in the form of garlands and evergreen swags.  The pinecones I keep in a paper bag in the basement until December and they usually have opened nicely by then.  The orange slices I dehydrate in the oven the same day I make the garland using jute twine.   This year I hung it along a pine branch that I secured to the curtain rod in my front window.  I love how the light shines through the oranges like stained glass.

cedar wreaths with red ribbonMy second favourite decoration this year are these cedar wreaths I made using cedar branches I trimmed from our cedar shrubs in the front yard.  I really hated taking them down.  I love the way they looked and with them gone I can’t decide what to put in their place.  Any ideas?

cedar wreaths and juniper boughsI tucked some Juniper boughs into a basket my friend’s mom made me as a wedding gift.  Santa had a kind of Scandinavian look and I picked him up from my local VV.  The red wooden bead garland? VV.  The reindeer candle holders were also a find at VV and now that I am typing this, I can’t decide if they are my second favourite or not…no.  They are my third favourite for sure.  Mostly because it was a nightmare trying to put the candles in place without splitting them.  So they get third place…

Solstice mantle

IMG_2082Here is what they look like lit up.  So pretty.  The chalkboard (from HomeSense) did boast a chalk christmas tree but I erased it before I thought of taking any pictures.cedar wreaths in windowAnd finally, one of my very favourite handmades this year, cedar branches hot glued onto embroidery hoops hung with red ribbon at my kitchen window.  I loved waking up to this bright and cheery window every wintry morning.  It made me smile.apple candle holderAnd this sat on my window sill.  I made a few of these apple candle holders and used them to light our Solstice dinner table.  I love the red of the apples…and the fact that most of my decorations will now find themselves in the compost heap and not the land fill. In fact I now only have one box of Christmas decorations to store.  Mostly ornaments and lights.

So while it was hard to take them down, I do like to start the new year with fresh walls and less clutter.

Here is to fresh starts!  Happy 2014 everyone!!