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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Sunday, 6 November 2016
Beautiful, eco-friendly and natural, silk is a perfect gift wrap + gift in one!

Furoshiki are traditional Japanese wrapping cloths.
Used for over 1300 years, furoshiki are delightfully simple to use, and oh-so practical!
Many of the wrapping styles have built in handles for carrying, and all are created with a single piece of square fabric.  Wrap and carry your groceries, your books, your picnic lunch, your gifts for giving.... and instead of tossing out the wrapping~ play with it, wear it, use it again and again!

This is where a Beneath the Rowan Tree silk can come in super handy this holiday season (and all year through). Hand dyed, 100% natural fiber and bio-degradable, silk is a low impact gift wrap option. It is also lovely, available in any colour combo you can imagine AND after opening the gift, goes on to be a staple toy for imaginary play and dressup. If you are wrapping for the grownups, it makes a great scarf, canopy or table cover.
 
Visit Beneath the Rowan Tree to find your colours and size (available in 11", 21", 35" and 44" squares).

Now, let's get wrapping!
Lay out your silk square in the needed size (your best value is the 35" square~ easily adaptable for large or smaller packages and most play value). If you don't iron, crumple your silk in a tight ball (before wrapping begins) and squeeze for a crinkly appearance.

You will find loads of wrapping styles on Pinterest or with good ol' Google.

Here are a few wrap styles that will come in handy!
This wrap creates a handle and is perfect for anything in a box:
Another great wrap for boxes and books, anything with a uniform shape:
Make it a little more fancy schmancy with a few tucks: 
A gorgeous way to present a bottle of wine for the hosts:
(I had to make due with a water bottle~ a bottle with a neck is much more elegant!)
For the long and narrow gift or box:
For your watermelon gifting needs (or other orbs... also great for baskets) with a handle:
A beautiful cover for book giving (or chocolates!):
Whether big or small, a collection of items can be bundled together with carrying handles:

Here is a great diagram to get your wrapping rolling...
TIP: Do not tighten knots too snugly for little hands to undo easily!

Pretty cool, huh? 
Just another amazing reason to love playsilks all year through!
Get yours at http://beneaththerowantree.etsy.com ~ custom orders welcomed and encouraged!
♥♥♥

Saturday, 16 January 2016
Hey there!
Remember me?

It's been a while... but some big changes are brewing here at BTRT so stay tuned for more details... soon! Well, soonish because life.

I decided to jump on the Temperature Blanket bandwagon this January...
but while the idea is floating around in the ether, I couldn't find much in terms of the execution.
So I thought I would share how I am choosing to go about it, and you are welcome to use the info, adapt it, improve it!

What is a Temperature Blanket?
It isn't an electric blanket!
It is a conceptual knit/ crochet project.
Basically, you do one row a day, for every day of the year.
The colour of that row will depend on the colours you have chosen and assigned to specific temperature ranges. You create one row in the colour that matches the HIGH temp for the day.
At the end of the year, you will have a one of a kind blanket that reflects the temperature patterns for your specific location.
Colours, temps, design, size are all up to you!

Getting Started...
The first thing you need to do, is get a clear picture of the temperature range for your chosen location.
Here, in Northern Ontario, our temps can easily dip to -30C, however, our daily highs are more apt to be between -5C and -20C (not counting the windchill) during the daytime in deep winter. Our summer highs rarely go above 30C (not counting the humidex).
So my range is from -15C to +30C.

Then I took a peek at the average temps through the year.
(I used this website~ you can enter your specific location for yearly stats).
The statistics are drawn from the nearest weather station~ I know in our case the station is about 60 km away and we are at a significantly higher altitude so rarely have the same weather, but it got me started.

Tip! Take note of the most common temperatures... and make sure you assign a colour you like to that range, because you will see a lot of it!

If you need to catch up on temps from the first part of January, or at any time, you can grab the weather info from your nearest weather station HERE.

Using this data, I set up my temperature range and chose my colours (more on that in a moment!).
Choosing Your Yarn
I decided on 12 colours to reflect the variations for my area.
As I was on a very tight budget, I went with a bargain acrylic from Herrschners~ their 'Worsted 8' brand as it comes in a wide range of colours and is a sturdy workhorse yarn.  As an added bonus, it is fairly stiff before washing, which is very nice for keeping my crochet in line! I bought one ball of each (8 oz for $4 CAD woohoo!).
My colours, from bottom to top are:
Medium Gray
Glacier
Teal
Seaspray
Pale Orchid
Lavender
Sea Green
Leaf
Haystack
Posy
Raspberry
Salmon
(Note: upon arrival Glacier/ Teal are *very* close and Salmon is peachy).

Pattern
My biggest concern in figuring out how to make my blanket
was the fact that for 2016 there will be 357 rows!!
That is a lot of blanket!
I am choosing to crochet, but I may regret it when my blanket is the length of my house.

The Crochet Crowd offers a chart of average blanket/ throw sizes HERE.
And they have a pattern calculator HERE.

I'm not a calculator kind of gal, but I did decided to shoot for a twin size, with drape  (69 x 90") as my daughter tells me it has to be big enough for two people to snuggle under.

I suggest choosing your yarn, and work up the gauge in pattern, particularly row height, so that you can divide it by 357 and figure out the maximum row height to use (and change hook/needles accordingly).

I want a fairly tightly patterned blanket as I don't have space to waste on holes!
I'm making mine in Granny Stripes.

Here is an option from Attic24 with a pattern


And some eye candy at handmadeandhome.com

I highly suggest looking at a couple Granny Stripe patterns and choosing what suits you best,
my basic recipe is below. 


Here's what I'm doing:
Row Height 1/4"

Worsted weight
G Hook
Finished Size: 69 x 90"

Basic pattern is 3DC, skip two.
Making the 3DC in the sk2 space on the previous row.

So...

CH 250, slip stitch into 2 chain from hook, ch3, turn.
Make a foundation row~ mine was dc in every chain (this was for January 1st), turn ch3.
Proceed with 3dc, sk2 across, turn ch3.
And off you go, repeating this pattern row, changing colours for each day as needed.
We can talk finishing ideas come December!

Are you working on a Temperature Blanket?
I'd love to hear about it in the comments, as well as your tips and ideas! ♥♥


Sunday, 31 May 2015
Things are really hopping around here!

As we await the birth of two new litters of bunnies in the next few days, it seems like a good time to take a breath and update on the developments of our little rabbitry.

First of all, we finally came up with a rabbitry name.  Naming things is a big deal in our family, and this one was hotly contested.  When we stumbled across the abundant folklore which links the rabbit with the moon we knew we wanted to work with that relationship~ look at the moon and you can see the rabbit shape, which in Japanese tales, is making sticky rice balls!  
Bigwig, Top Bunny in Charge (20 lb. Flemish Giant)

The problem is that the sparkly teenage vampires have taken all the good moon names!  We finally agreed upon Flying Moon Farm.
I have been around animals my whole life and spent a number of years active in the dog fancy, running a rescue and so on. But learning about the care and raising of rabbits has been a huge learning curve!  They are truly fascinating creatures.  I have had to let go of my dog & pet mindset as regards breeding and raising stock in order to be able to enter into rabbit raising both ethically and practically.
 
Rabbits produce. A Lot. And I'm not just talking about 'bunny berries' (poop!). They are made to reproduce~ our entire (North American, at least) ecosystem is based on rabbits being eaten by pretty much everything. SO they reproduce quickly and efficiently, adapting rapidly as needed to environment as generations blur past every 31 days.

This means I am developing breeding plans and goals and keeping a careful eye on keeping them on track. Temperament, breed type, purpose, size are all malleable pieces of a good program. And a plan for those who don't fit the plan. When a single doe could produce 70 offspring or more in a year, you have to have a plan for every one of them: pet, breed, cull, eat.

You can find the following image here: The Easter Bunny Problem
Yes, I said 'eat'. And that is a whole other topic. I have never eaten rabbit.  But when I had to do my first cull a couple of weeks ago, it was a terrible waste to trash a 7 lb. bunny. She had developed signs of an upper respiratory issue and the hard truth is it becomes the life of one rabbit vs. an entire herd. And it was hellishly difficult to do the deed with my own hands. But part of my commitment to these animals is humane treatment, which may include a clean, quick death instead of lingering illness. In taking on the responsibility for their lives I owe them that much. I said the learning curve was big.

I will say that watching them breed, kindle (give birth), develop, grow, interact and play has given me a whole new appreciation and deep respect for the species.  Every facet is fine tuned for their life.  To quote from our current reading, Watership Down:
All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they have to catch you. Digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

At the present time, I am working on a Flemish Giant breeding program for size and temperament, as well as working in some interesting harlequin coloring (genetics is so much fun!) which I am calling my Giant Tiger Bunny Project~ we are keeping two does from Clover's first litter, Holly and Speedwell, towards this end.
Rowan is growing out her little Holland Lops and is going to try her first rabbit show in June!
She also hopes to keep a kit out of our Rex doe 'Spice' for the sport of 'bunny hopping' ~ agility for rabbits. And, oh my, the science she is learning without even knowing it!
Coco is always smiling!


If you want to follow our learning adventure you can follow Flying Moon Farm on Facebook and Instagram. ♥♥

{I've just got to say... I know that this topic can be controversial. Respectfully, if you don't like it, don't read it. Respectful dialogue is welcomed, but we reserve the right to simply delete comments that are harassing, negative or inflammatory.} So play nice or I will release the killer rabbits.



Sunday, 24 May 2015
I shared on a Waldorf based sale page on Facebook...
(I suspect sometimes that people figure that BTRT is not a 'small business' or that somehow 8 years means that we don't need their support... but for us, 8 years means skill, quality products, great service and a reliable shop to find great waldorf inspired toys!)


BTRT started 8 years ago when I couldn't find the types of clothing and toys I wanted for our daughter... Etsy was new and I jumped in! It has been a wild, amazing ride of self discovery, networking and creativity.

In the last year BTRT has enabled me to take a break from my 20 year career (much, much needed) and to focus on homeschooling and raising our daughter (twice exceptional ~ gifted with Aspergers, Tourettes and more letters ;)) while my husband works away from home.

We are working on self sufficiency in a very small home in the woods and have started a small rabbitry this spring. BTRT is a work of passion for me, flowing from a commitment to encourage and support gentle and simple childhoods. It is also the means by which we put food on our table and shoes on our feet (when we wear them!) while we adjust to living on much less.

I'm sharing this with you so you will know a little of the person behind the business~ BTRT is very much a family business, every silk is dyed in my kitchen. 8 years doesn't make us a big business, but I am grateful that it has made us a strong one, rooted in quality and community.

Being in Canada we face challenges like high postal/ shipping rates and paying at *least* 30% MORE for our supplies (shipping, duties/ taxes) than our American artisan friends. But we keep at it because I love to do it~ that has been my commitment to myself from day one, don't love it? don't do it!
 

So thank you! Our gratitude extends to each of you who have made our family's work part of your family's play!  In the 'Tag Sale' spirit~ We have set aside nearly 50 items, including some new patchwork fabric crowns at a great 'thank you' price in our anniversary sale section of the Etsy shop.
♥♥

Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Over the winter, my mother found her childhood autograph book.
Do you remember those?

We'd exchange them at the end of summer camp, or the school year
~ getting signatures from all of our friends and favourite teachers?
"By hook or by crook, I'll be the last to write in your book" or my favourite,
"1 1 was a racehorse,
2 2 was 1 2
1 1 1 1 race
2 2 1 1 2".

Having found her book on December 16 (2014), she was touched to find within its pages a note~ from her very favourite (great) Aunt Rachel, written on December 16, 1961 when my mother was 9 years old. Rachel's home on the hill was one of my mother's beloved childhood haunts.
A spinster, Rachel is also remembered in our family as being the aunt with the beard.
Like a full on ZZ Top beard.
She figured that is the way God made her, so let it be!

Touched by Great Aunt Rachel's verse, in her familiar hand writing, my mom made a photocopy for each of us in the next generation. My first thought was that the verse was lovely, and worthy of stitching up.  Then it occurred to me that I could replicate Aunt Rachel's own hand!

I snatched up some natural cotton and gave it a good soak in some boiling tea (with salt) to create a more antique tone.  I enlarged the photocopy to the desired size and using my disappearing ink pen, I copied the text on to the cloth (having taped everything to my brightest window~ I don't have a lightbox).

{I prefer to use the disappearing ink, as I have found that some thread colours will run onto my canvas if I use the washable ink pen~ especially the red based colours.}

The letters were challenging, and I found, after several attempts as finding a stitch that worked for the handwriting, that a twisted backstitch did the trick.  The flowers I added freehand, choosing colours on the fly~ I didn't have a particular palette in mind, but I was trying to choose what might work in my mom's home, her kitchen is pear green with red and yellow, as well as what would suit the period of the original writing.

After a thorough steam pressing, careful not to flatten the flowers, I hooped the finished piece in a natural wood frame.  The photocopied verse was added to a piece of paper inserted into the back of the frame.

Now I just need to drop it in the mail!
Do you have any special words you would like to see finished in a loved one's hand?
My next project is a little note from my grandmother to me. ♥♥
Monday, 27 April 2015
I'm not sure that this is Wonderland, but I have definitely fallen down a rabbit hole.

I feel like I should apologize for the spotty blogging this year (whether out of sheer Canadian-ness or otherwise) but then I stop and check myself.  I am working really hard at not feeling guilty over not meeting expectations (my own or others). It is a bit of PPSD (post-pastoral stress disorder, and yes, I made that up, but it feels real enough!) and a bit of mid-life crisis, maybe? I don't know, but I am struggling to embrace the moments, sometimes whole hours, of downtime that I have in my life these days. But that is another blog post.
So, sorry not sorry on the lack of blog activity!

Homeschooling is taking more time these days.
Rowan is turning 10 and the school demands are increasing each year~ between working on areas of challenge, and keeping up with my gifted child in others, it is a big job!
We have also been taking part in group therapy for her anxiety & OCD, which has meant many trips to the city through the spring.
I am just now emerging from the 6 month crunch of Christmas/ Easter for Beneath the Rowan Tree and keeping busy with custom crown requests and fitting in a little felted art experimentation, too.
 
And now the bit about the rabbit hole... we sidelined our plans for ducks in exchange for rabbits.
A lot less mess and a lot more cuteness (except for my raging allergy to rabbits... hmmm).

I am the proud owner of two Flemish Giants and a litter of 10 kits.  As if that wasn't enough, we also added more rabbits this week, bringing our current total up to 17 bunnies, although our 'permanent resident' status will be more like 10.  Rowan traded her ducks for Holland Lops, which she is breeding for show and pets, and Andy, not to be left out, has a pair of Californians, Royal and Rayna.  Rabbtitry building plans are underway, and I'll keep the cute fluff coming!

(And please note I agreed to getting ONE rabbit this spring. )
 
 
That's the quick update... I'll be back with some more fluffy bunny stuff and more. ♥♥
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