Friday, 31 October 2008

The Wool Fairy Plays Santa

Anyone who knows my little Chi-Chi is well aware of his fascination with dear old Santa. No matter the season, Christmas is a daily celebration in our household. My itunes “play count” for the somewhat irritating tune “Little St. Nick” by the Beach Boys is approaching 3000. The geeky accountant in me emerges once again as I calculate that we listen to this song an average of 9.09 times a day. As one would imagine, it is starting to get under my skin.

When seeking out Halloween costumes at the local thrift store, I was completely thrilled to stumble upon a Santa suit in size 3T. What are the chances? It must have been fate. While other trick-or-treaters were sporting Batman and Spiderman costumes, Chi-Chi was proudly disguised as his personal “super hero”. Muffy, of course, was one of Santa’s little helpers. His elf costume was the perfect match to his goofy little personality.

Inspired by these two festive little cuties, The Wool Fairy found herself in a bit of a giving mood. She has teamed up with April of Nurtured Products for Parenting and is giving away an adorable set of play food for one lucky person! Check out Nurtured's blog for a chance to win this adorable set of woolen fruits and veggies. Little budding chefs will have all the necessary ingredients on hand to host their very own fiesta. Perhaps they will whip up a bowl of fresh spicy salsa, or a creamy batch of yummy guacamole!

These wooly little creations would make perfect stocking stuffers so don’t lose out on your chance to call them your own! To enter, all you need to do is post a comment on April's blog. The contest runs from November 1 to 30th and is only open to residents of Canada. Good luck everyone and have fun! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Let The Magic Unfold...

For the past week, The Wool Fairy has been spending her evenings working diligently in the kitchen. Unfortunately for her family, all this time and effort at the kitchen stove did not result in new and exciting culinary creations. Her recipes were definitely not edible in nature - a pound of wool, a splash of rust, a dab of gold, a pinch of moss green…

I was over the moon when Deanne Fitzpatrick asked me to dye a collection of skeins for her rug hooking shop and studio! As a fellow rug hooker and an admirer of Deanne’s work for many years, I was confident I could fill her request. I chose a few beautifully textured yarns and drew on my inspiring surroundings to create vibrant and rich color combinations. This was an interesting exercise as my efforts ended in the dye pot. I would not be using these tempting reels of yarn for my personal creations. It’s actually rather exciting to think that my precious little skeins will find their way to the hands and hooks of others. These colorful strands of wool will be magically transformed into restless seas, soaring hills and windswept skies.

It’s interesting how our creative efforts evolve and shift over time. When I chose my slogan, “Let the magic unfold…” I was referring to the creative and imaginative play my wooly toys would evoke in a child. When I consider the beauty and mystery that exists within a hand dyed skein of wool, my “slogan” remains a perfect fit! It’s always so exciting to witness the unfolding of hand dyed wool, whether knitting a scarf or hooking a landscape. The hand-dyed aspect of the fiber offers a unique light, color and texture to a work that cannot be replicated.

So, now that my little project is complete, I guess it is time to pack up my skeins, kiss them goodbye and send them on their way. I hope they bring as much inspiration and joy to others as I experienced during their creation!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Reflections from the Woodpile

Although we tend to focus our attention on the glorious sights of autumn, there is something special about the scents of the season. The rich aromas that go hand-in-hand with fall have a tendency to bring out the nostalgic in me. The smell of decaying leaves blowing in the wind brings back fond memories of playing hide and seek in the piles of leaves in our backyard. Turkey and pumpkin pie baking in the oven stir up cozy thoughts of Mom. There is also something comforting about the earthy, woodsy scent of firewood. It brings me back to the cool fall days spent with my father, lugging and stacking firewood to heat our house during the frigid winters in Northern New Brunswick. How I loved hurling those logs down the wood chute with all my might!

After so many years, I’m thrilled to be spending my Sunday afternoons piling wood in my own garage! Like many homes in Nova Scotia, ours has always been heated solely with oil. We recently decided to install a wood stove in an effort to both save some dollars and draw on a more renewable energy source to heat our home. The wooded areas of Seaside Farms recently underwent a Hurricane Juan clean up effort. Although our forest is primarily comprised of spruce and fir soft woods, we were able to collect a fair number of hardwood logs, perfect for burning in our new stove! For the past couple of months, Hubby has been picking away at cutting and splitting the wood. The boys are always thrilled to observe Daddy’s efforts with chainsaw and axe. Chi-Chi and Muffy gladly offered their assistance in piling the logs. Both my husband and I were amazed at the amount of effort and sweat equity that goes into the harvesting and preparation of firewood. It’s been an eye-opening experience for the both of us and has given us a greater appreciation of the amount of energy our family consumes. I guess we had not given considerable thought to the amount of energy and money that goes into producing and transporting a tank of oil for our furnace to burn. It’s so easy to sit back and relax while the oil truck fills up ones tank. Of course, it’s not so easy to swallow those hefty heating bills…ouch! Just as growing a garden or shopping at a Farmer’s Market makes us more in touch with our food sources, being directly involved in our heating source makes us more aware of energy consumption.

Certainly, our family is just taking baby steps in all of these areas. Planting a few rows of beans, raising a couple of chickens and chopping a few cords of firewood are all a good start. Finicky little Muffy refused to touch a vegetable until he started gobbling up our own garden beans fresh from the vine. At the very least, being involved in the process might result in better eating habits for this little guy. He’s now hooked on apples and pumpkin muffins after our trip to the Annapolis Valley last weekend where we put him to work on the “harvest”. I’m hoping he’ll take a liking to farm fresh eggs in the near future. This kid could use some protein!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

My Search for Inspiration

The postman landed on my doorstep late yesterday afternoon with a much-anticipated shipment addressed to The Wool Fairy. With the wee ones enjoying a restful siesta, I lugged the box up to my studio and excitedly tore open the package. I may have actually squealed at the mere sight of the contents – pounds of gorgeous natural undyed yarns just screaming to be dressed in color!

Despite the fact I’ve got a fairly significant dyeing project on my plate, I decided to put the dye pot aside this morning and hit the trails. What better place to seek inspiration and immerse myself in color than the autumn woods in Nova Scotia? I knew Chi-Chi and Muffy would jump at the opportunity to stretch their little legs and investigate nature. With the sun shining brightly, I wanted to take advantage of this beautiful fall weather while it’s around.

Hubby and I packed up the kiddies and headed down the road to the Salt Marsh Trail. What a gorgeous morning on the trail! Our senses were given a jolt as we found ourselves immersed in a rich, earthy palette of colors. Chi-Chi and Muffy had a blast dancing in the leaves, splashing in the puddles and zooming up and down the trails. I enjoyed simply breathing in the clean cool air and soaking up the breathtaking beauty of the landscape. I left the trail with a myriad of color combinations swirling in my mind – reds, golds, browns….

I can’t resist making a small note about the adorable little hats Chi-Chi and Muffy are sporting in the photo. My friend April’s mother has been knitting this pattern for close to 30 years! April says she has not-so-fond memories of this little cap, but I fell in love with it at first sight and requested a copy of the pattern. It’s called the “Patons Ribbed Set for Boys”. They are the perfect fit on my little guys and the snuggly chin straps keep them in place nicely. These hats are perfect for the crisp fall weather. Hubby thought my rainbow dye job on Muffy’s hat was a little over the top, but I think it suits his colorful little personality.

I’ve got about 30 blank canvasses waiting to be transformed. A mere walk in the woods and the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

On The Road Again...

Nine years ago this weekend, my then boyfriend got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I have a reputation in my family for being a bit of a snoop so I was very impressed that he managed to surprise me. He wisely chose the day I ran my first ½ marathon to pop the question, knowing that my mind and energy would be focused on the race ahead. As I crossed the finish line, exhausted and relieved, he presented me with a dozen roses, a beautiful ring and a promise to be my husband. It turned out to be a perfect day despite my exhausted, pain-ridden state.

During my pre-mommy years, I was an avid runner. I would enthusiastically leap out of bed each morning at 5:30 to complete a two -hour workout before heading to the office. I was 110% committed to my carefully planned training schedules, all meticulously laid out in a series of Excel spreadsheets. My training included long rungs, short runs, hill sprints, energy drinks and calorie intake charts. Looking back, I was definitely overly obsessed with running, but wow I was in good shape!
To commemorate the 9th anniversary of our engagement, I bravely decided to participate in the 2008 Valley Harvest ½ Marathon taking place this weekend in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. In reality, I think I signed up for the race in an attempt to prove to myself that I still “have it” even though I feel the exact opposite. Two pregnancies, lack of sleep and motherhood in general have taken a serious toll on my body. My running efforts these days have been half-hearted to say the least. The word pathetic comes to mind.

Interestingly, any significant race I entered in the past always ended in pain, frustration and desperation. Perhaps a change in approach is required….at least that’s what I’m banking on as race day looms ahead! This time around, my “training schedule” consists of nothing more than a few hasty scribblings on the family calendar. I’m now begrudgingly crawling out of bed in the morning as opposed to leaping and bounding. My pre-race meal will consist of my mother’s mouth-watering Thanksgiving dinner complete with a hefty serving of pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Despite all of this, I’m still planning on lacing up my running shoes this Sunday and giving it a go. I've convinced myself I'll be fine and this more "balanced" approach to life will ensure success. It will be very interesting to see how it all turns out. I’m hoping I will find motivation and inspiration in the two chubby little faces that will be waiting for me at the finish line. Wish me luck! I’m going to need it!