hellos and thanks yous

Despite a recent purchase of this book, it was a home day yesterday and i think most Vancouverites will agree. Little A was home with a cough – nothing to keep him in bed but enough to keep him close. We’ve been into various projects and once the wee one was down for a nap we pulled out a much loved Christmas gift – a box of tools and supplies to make his own stamps including the lino blocks, carving tools, brayers and inks. We’ve both been busy playing and carving! It’s rather meditative and addictive. Some are our original designs and others are ideas from various online inspirations – so sorry not to have remembered where to credit the awesome houses – it’s one of both of our faves. hello and thank you cards are the first things that we’ve actually made with our growing collection of handmade stamps. We have plans to decorate our own wrapping paper, make more stickers and to try some out with fabric paints on linen but after that we’re sort of stumped on the uses of stamps. Suggestions are most welcome here! Oh and we need to know how to mount the lino stamps onto wood blocks! a hot glue gun does not work.


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Geninne’s  stamp carving tutorial from a few years ago was what first got me thinking about this project for Little A. She shows how fun and easy it is. (side note – her watercolor videos make me want to try painting too).

yarn stamp idea from Maya!

koolaid play silks

i cannot believe that i grew up drinking this stuff. well not this ice blue tropical what have you but i drank more than my share of koolaid as a young child. Little A was so excited to stir the packages up, “mmmm it smells like sugar”. i never let on that this is sold as a drink because in my experience it’s really not consumable. in my mind, koolaid = type 2 diabetes not to mention cavities of which i have had my share due in part to koolaid and in part to captain crunch. yuck! convenient food of the 70’s/80’s. nothing good ever came from satisfying my sugar cravings. anyhow, there was to be no sampling of this sugary smelling yumminess as he described because this is strictly dye.

a bit of an experiment

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a bit of an experiment

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i cannot believe the vibrant colors we got!

new rainbow play silks

how we did it (sorry there is not 1 person or site to link to as i gathered information here and there over the past year – that’s how long the koolaid has been sitting in my project cupboard);

1.first we soaked the white play silks in warm water and a splash of vinegar for long enough to trim Little A’s bangs out on the porch.

2.Little A mixed up the first color; 2 packets of koolaid color of his choice + 2 cups water +1/2 cup white vinegar (no sugar). this was enough to dye 1 play silk though i’m sure if you wanted  more pastel colors you could do 2 silks in this amount or you could do 1 silk in 1 package of koolaid.

3.we covered the bowl in plastic wrap and set in the microwave for 3 “express” minutes. it was pretty cool how the plastic bubbled up. i remember ballooning up marshmallows in the microwave when i was a kid. another eww yuck thing that i ate as a child.

4. we let the bowl cool a few minutes before using tongs to stir the silk around. i noticed that most of the color had been saturated into the silk already but still we repeated the 3 minute heating, cooling, stirring and for some we did it 3 times (we lost track as we were often working with 3 colors at a time).

5. once they were cool enough to squeeze dry i hung them to dry as is. once they were dry i rinsed them out and part of me was convinced the color would wash out but it didn’t even a little bit! i hung dry them once again, ironed them and there you go.

Little A loves the vibrant colors and i’m  quite certain the ones i bought years ago were dyed in these exact colors but he’s happy to just have more even if they are the same. he uses play silks constantly. i have used red cabbage (for purple) and onion skins (for brown)to dye silks in the past but i want to try something new and natural. Does anyone have tips for pinks? or other natural dyes?


there seems to be a flow of discovery around here this week. Little A counted his coins and set off down the street to the toy shop for a science kit. he returned with a plaster brick from which to mine some quartz crystals. this was messy work – ideal for outdoors but we were in this time.mining

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the next day we received a very special package from Canada’s other coast – thank you Dawn, Dylan and Fiona  – so much for sharing some of your pyrite treasure. we are grateful. (see photo below)

with this growing interest in rocks and gems i decided to pull out an old typers drawer for Little A to keep his collection. other than telling him the names of certain stones i had to really butt out of this project – organizing is a bit of a passion of mine as it is seemingly so for my boy. next on the project list is to borrow Auntie’s cool label machine!

his collection

Grandma P arrived  last weekend bearing many gifts. amongst the jars of jam and belated Christmas gifts she brought some amethyst stones that my uncle had mined somewhere in Alberta i think.

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Nova Scotia pyrite and some calcite the little one picked up at the gem shop for it’s feel good softness – a characteristic that surprised him about a stone;

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i wonder what he’ll be rolling his coins for in a few years…

home study – flowers

we just love them. that’s all there is to it.


window box


today it's all about flowers

flower pressing;

i wander’d lonely as a cloud
that floats on high o’er vales and hills
when all at once i saw a crowd
a host of golden daffodils
beside the lake, beneath the trees
fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

from Daffodils – William Wordsworth

flower press

we scored A Child’s Book of Flowers by Janet Marsh at the thrift store last year and in addition to the sweetest illustrations there are little poems and verses;



buttercups and daisies
oh, the pretty flowers;
coming ere the springtime,
to tell of sunny hours.

-Mary Howitt

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yesterday we were out with some new friends; beaching, wandering, flower searching and snapping shots. C and her gorgeous belly are due 1 month before me….exciting times! and our kiddos got on pretty nicely too! (i hope you don’t mind i’ve posted this C. i really love it. of course i’ll remove it if you wish)

c & belly

going on a flower hunt

home study – birds

Our Spring break has begun and what gorgeous sunshine we’re having. We’re taking the opportunity to explore some favorite places. This time of year we tend to focus on the birds, their nests, their eggs and their habits. Last year we found ourselves in exactly the right place at the right time to witness a goshawk capturing duck for lunch. Recently we happened upon a heronry right in Stanley Park, a place we’ve driven past several times each week and only just noticed.  After some googling, we’ve learned that the Pacific Great Blue Herons do not migrate. They live in the marshlands and shoreline of our beaches feasting on frogs and stickleback and nesting from March through to July. Their eggs are pale blue and there may be up to 3 chicks in a nest. The park raccoons have taken a liking to the chicks as a meal and so you’ll find that most of the tree bases containing nests will have metal sheets wrapped around to prevent the raccoons from climbing. The young birds are still prey to bald eagles, hawks and great horned owls. oooh if only we could go owling. I’d love to see one.


Some favorite bird books have been pulled out, our crow mobile is hanging in the front window and the little one is keen to do more activities…like build a bird box. Any other activity suggestions are gratefully welcome.


Birds, Nests & Eggs (Take-Along Guides)

About Birds:  A Guide for Children

An Egg Is Quiet

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Copyright © Ella Pedersen 2007, 2008