Knit one, knead a little

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It has been a really long time since I have written much at all.  Aside from Instagram blips here and there I really haven’t found myself with the urge to write.  Perhaps a lack of inspiration, the winter blahs and a bit of just not knowing which direction I am heading have held me back.

In January my right arm began to ache from constantly knitting in awkward positions and by early February it forced me to stop and pause.  Being away from knitting left me feeling exceptionally displaced – now what?  I needed a way to slow myself down and clearly knitting was becoming more of a hurried to do that I was causing myself pain.

In search of something new to try out I spent far too many hours on Instagram and Pinterest.  I dabbled in a few new hobbies but most were duds (to me not in life) and quite costly in a time when I really need to do my best to keep things affordable.  Single income living for a family of four is incredibly challenging.  Factoring in the above failed attempts and need to practicality I narrowed my search down.

Cue the bread baking madness that has consumed my life!  I got my hands on a copy of Bonnie Ohara’s book Bread Baking for Beginners, grabbed some of the basics from her super helpful supply list located in her profile on Instagram (linked to her website that is full of info) and just kind of dove in to it all.  The book eased me in to the art of making bread, instructing in a way that just makes sense to my directionally challenged mind.

One by one I worked my way through Bonnie’s book while following her journey on Instagram and something about it all just felt… like home.  Suddenly I had bread goals – sourdough and beyond!  Visions of feeding my family and friends deliciously healthy breads baked with love.

I never anticipated baking much more then muffins for my children but our budget wasn’t allowing the fresh handmade breads I wanted my family to enjoy and this was the solution – making it myself!  I was already accustomed to sourcing local foods including flours from places like Oak Manor and Arva Flour Mills so I knew I had basic good quality nutrient dense ingredients on hand to give it my absolute best shot.

One by one I worked my way through Bonnie’s book while following her journey on Instagram.  Something about it all – the way she communicates her passion and her story, her love for community – all of it… it feels like home.  Suddenly I have bread goals as I work through sourdough experiments and beyond!  Visions of feeding my family and friends deliciously healthy breads baked with love.

I’ve since been able to return to knitting and am now happily balancing the pair with all of my other life duties.  I am incredibly thankful for stumbling in to the bread life and will continue to grow and challenge myself with it as I do with knitting.

I have no idea where I am headed in any of it but I am thoroughly enjoying every stitch and every fold as I go along.

If you have any interest in bread baking I highly recommend Bread Baking for Beginner’s.  This is my honest to goodness opinion with no strings attached.  Bonnie is good people and deserves all the love.

JESSICA

Links to the above mentioned businesses:

Alchemy Bread Website

Arva Flour Mill Website

Oak Manor Website

* Both Arva and Oak Manor Flour can be purchased direct from the businesses or from retailers such as the Mustard Seed Coop in Hamilton, Ontario.  Cake and Loaf Bakery in Hamilton also carries a handful of Oak Manor items in their Dundurn shop.

 

 

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HR Ceramics – a look at another lovely Canadian artist

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Just before Christmas I happened upon HR Ceramics (Quebec) on Instagram – yes I find most things on this platform; it is my favourite.  I noticed that Hanna had made this sweet country inspired mug that I wanted to buy for my country loving sister in law.

I reached out through a direct message and Hanna quickly responded she would be happy to create this for me!  Since I was late making such a request I knew it wouldn’t be ready for Christmas – these things take a lot of time – but it was the perfect gift and I didn’t mind waiting at all.

I was updated throughout the entire process and as soon as it was complete Hanna sent me photos and even shipped it directly to my sister in law – who loved the surprise so much.

After admiring Hanna’s work on her HR Ceramics Instagram account for a while I finally purchased something to have in my own home.  Two sweet little dessert plates that have started my hand made tableware set.

The plates shipped out quickly and arrived packed perfectly protected with a hand written note.  I love the little things like that, it warms my heart and is a solid reminder of why I set out to purchase items made with love and intention in the first place.

My entire HR Ceramics experience has been wonderful and I enjoy following Hanna’s inspiring pottery journey on Instagram.

As a bonus if you are local to Hamilton Ontario you don’t have to travel far or online to purchase an HR Ceramics treasure.  You can find some of Hanna’s gorgeous work at Thuya Floral Arts on King St E .  How is that for close?!

I hope this peeks your interest and you go take a look at all of the wonderfully made pieces!

JESSICA

 

 

 

 

 

Terre Ferme Pottery

IMG_2250Yesterday I received a BEAUTIFUL package from Kentia of Terre Ferme Pottery in Alberta.  I was anticipating something lovely but it is spectacular!  I had to share my entire experience with you!

I stumbled upon Terre Ferme in December I think it was on Instagram.  I truly have no idea how I did but there it was – this gorgeous account filled with so much functional art work!  After reading her bio I knew this was someone I most definitely wanted to follow!

Kentia has a delightful online presence.  She takes the time to connect with and interact with her followers.  It’s not easy to keep up with the oodles of comments, questions or DMs but she somehow does!

Her pieces are so unique – textured, full of delightful images, rich in colour and story.  I have followed all of the shop updates watching as the wonderful works are snagged quickly but hadn’t had the opportunity to get that perfect for me piece.

As luck and timing would have it about a month ago Kentia opened up a very limited pre-order for her Canadiana mug (Look for the story on the Terre Ferme IG!) that I happened to catch!  This mug captures the outdoorsy Canadian vibe perfectly and  I was drawn to it the moment I saw it.  I knew this was a piece I was meant to own and I was so happy to secure one.

The time flew by as this custom beauty was constructed and before I knew it, it was en route to me!  I was thrilled to bits to learn I would soon get to see this mug I have admired – in person!  It would be mine to enjoy a morning coffee or afternoon tea!

Yesterday when I picked up the package from the post office I noted the sweet Terre Ferme sticker on the side and the suitable Fragile label so the postal workers would know it is of delicate matter.

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I opened the box  as soon as I got home and in it sat another box tucked in brown paper to keep it from sliding.  The inner box had a sweet ribbon around it and there was the loveliest thank you note.  Inside nestled in packing peanuts was the mug hugged tightly with strong bubble wrap and a final layer of adorable dragon fly tissue, taped with lily pad washi to cradle this precious cargo.  A balance of beauty and practicality this package was.

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I unwrapped all of the layers and there it was – this stunning work of art.  All mine to love and use.  I am so thankful.

I have a strong passion for owning purposeful things built and made with care by fellow makers.  Pottery is just that – so useful and those who create it do so with love.  Kentia of Terre Ferme Pottery builds her pieces with intention and kindness and it shows.

If you love art that you can use as much as I do pop on over to the Terre Ferme Instagram and take a look at all of her creations!  You won’t be disappointed!

 

Happy Wednesday!

Summer update: creatures + herbs

 

Back to the basics

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We are already in to 2018 and so far I have been rather productive!  I am not a traditional resolution maker – in the past I have just disappointed myself after failing 3wks in to a new year and who needs that?!  So I set a mental goal list instead.  One that is loose and flexible so it is almost always obtainable.

This year my goals involve making wearable items.  I intend to knit a pair of socks and knit or sew one wearable item a month.  These things can be started in the previous months, can be larger items like pants or smaller like a hat (which I need) but the idea is I will wind up with a solid collection of handmade items to choose from at the end of the year!

January has been full of handmade.  I completed my Sew House Seven toaster sweater with a gorgeous knit I bought at Needlework, and I knitted a pair of socks and a scarf out of gorgeous Canadian hand dyed yarn from Hello Stella.  Here’s hoping I can keep up the pace!

Aside from making I also intend to me more mindful of items I purchase.  Do I need it?  How was it manufactured?  Is the carbon footprint created in it’s process really worth it?  These are the questions I am asking myself.

As a single income family it is a challenge as things made in a more ethical and environmentally sensitive fashion also come with a larger but well justified price tag.  That is where making comes in handy and shopping second hand.  Thinking of each and every item as a carefully selected piece vs just another “thing”.

We are a wildly stuff driven society and I have become accutely aware of this issue as a consumer.  When the kids were babies I was completely caught up in the “oh I need that” realm of baby world but ultimately we used maybe an eighth of what we had.  And we were broke with a bunch of useless stuff.

Having school age children can make things a little harder.  They see what their friends have and it makes you feel like they should have them too.  I am guilty of this.  So when I am out and about I might grab that package of miniature whatever’s the kids might like but I am learning to put it back more often than not.  It isn’t always easy but I remind myself that it isn’t this “stuff” they will remember anyhow.  It is the moments.  The card games.  The late night movies.  Those are the things I really remember from my own childhood and I know it’s what my children will reflect on when they too are grown.

Writing is something I also intend to make more time for.  I have a sweet project in the works with a dear friend and have already submitted my Spring 2018 article for Live Small Town Magazine!  I look forward to seeing where my written works lead me in the year ahead.

Lets not forget about nature!  Getting outdoors amongst the trees, chirping birds, beautiful landscape and enjoying the peaceful solitude.  I intend to turn to nature more this year for inspiration, it has a lot to offer and is so good for the soul.

Making things, mindful consumption, more writing and getting back to nature is a great way to summarize my 2018 vision and so far I’m off to a great start!

I hope January is treating you well!

JESSICA

 

 

November Hustle

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How did we get here?!  November already!  October was full of fall activities – pumpkin walk at the RBG and picking the perfect pumpkins to carve at this sweet little pumpkin patch were our favourites… well next to Halloween of course!  The kids loved dressing up and trekking house to house to collect treats.

This month making madness begins as I knit, crochet, sew and plan the perfect gifts for the people around me!  I’m hoping to involve Lilah and Max more in the process of spreading joy this year.  They both love to create and share as much as I do so I’m sure it will be a lot of fun for them!

Added in to the mix of my usual creating and mom life is planning a collaborative project with one of my dearest friends.  Since high school we imagined working side by side at some point so this is extra exciting.  It’s basically a dream come true for me and I can’t wait to watch it all unfold!

I also recently submitted my section for the Live Small Town Magazine’s Winter issue so stay tuned for that!

Lots of things going on my way this month, if you follow my instagram you will see bits and pieces as I go.

I hope that November treats you well!

JESSICA