Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Who wouldn't want to know How To Make Homemade Soap From Scratch?

For a long time I did NOT want to know How To Make Homemade Soap From Scratch! From Scratch, seemed WAY too intimidating...I was ok, hacking away at different deodorant recipes, kitchen cultures like Kombucha and yogurt. But safety goggles, things blowing up, gloves, poisonous fumes...I'm no scientist.


Learning how to make homemade soap from scratch, is not simply melting and pouring...no that there is anything wrong with that...it's not truly from scratch...but let's get to it. I have never MADE lye, so I guess I too have not TRULY made homemade soap from scratch.


Let's just get the misnomer out of the way...You Can't Make Soap Without Lye! It's not a lie! If you've found a recipe without lye, then one of the ingredients is some kind of lye soap. But here's what I always wonder...who discovered lye? Water mixed with wood ash makes lye - Crazy! My kids are always stirring up some mudcake milkshakes topped with dandelions and grass decor...I can just see it now..."No Children, don't use the ashes from the fire-pit in your mud kitchen, mixing it with water will make it corrosive!!!"


I don't know, maybe I've got it wrong...perhaps I should look up how to make lye. But truth be told, lye is not very expensive. You can buy it from most hardware stores. If you truly want to learn how to make homemade soap from scratch, YouTube has an abundance of tutorials...Cold Process, Hot Process, Slow Cooker Process {CP, HP etc}.  CP was my favorite, but I finally retired my Slow Cooker from food and it is now for homemade soap only...The delicious thing about Crockpot soap, is that the lye is cooked right out. No more curing for days or weeks on end, or burning fingers...NICE for this last minute Mama!


Molds...I've made some pretty ugly soaps...however, is homemade soap from scratch ever really ugly? I don't think so. All that LOVE that's put into homemade lovelies, makes them lovely. Back to molds. You can pick up some fantastic mold-shaped cardboard boxes that hold the tomatoes and produce in many grocery store's product section, for Free. My dilemma with these is that I'm a horrible cutter...I'm too hasty, and so my lines are...eh...bleh. I've tried silicone loaf pans, but the sides tend to sag under the weight of the soap mush...


I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a mold and cutter - YAY!  This will be lined with parchment paper, like I have done in the past, with cardboard boxes. My new mold will be better than my make shift molds of the past (No Harm in doing that). Thanks to the Canadian Etsy store WoodSoapMolds, for this new homestead toy!!!

Warmly, 
Patty-Jean

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dance in The Pas

 ...Found this vintage treasure of a bed linen in Nana's linen closet....

    It's coming on to two and a half years of living seven hours away from our city, friends and family. I'm still enjoying meeting and making the new friends here, and at the same time, treasure our visits south more than ever before.


...Each and every New Years Day that I can remember (and I'm in my late 30's - Oh My, I think that is the first time I've admitted THAT!), my parents have an all day breakfast of Crepes, berries, maple syrup and whip cream....Everyone is invited to the reoccurring event...and yet their efforts are not in the invitations as much as it is cooking the crepes a day ahead, and shopping and preparing their home for the annual celebration...




 ...This past December, we had a special gift of tickets to the Nutcracker, with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet...It was surreal bringing my daughters, 10 and 5....my first live ballet was the Nutcracker at the age of 4...It was nice to see Selah, on the edge of her seat.


...back home, we are starting our own preparations for The Pas Art's Council's Music Festival...I'm excited to see the choreography evolve and begin to take form on my students...even if it is recreational dance...


dancing on,
patty-jean


Monday, January 19, 2015

Surviving a Canadian Winter

This is not a post on 'how to survive a Canadian winter', as in how to survive the elements....just to give you that initial head's up!



It is actually been quite beautiful these last few days...and you can tell the weather is a nice -20 with the whir sounds of snowmobiles.



Back to surviving the elements...My husband tells me we could write a book about the interesting visitors we have in our little church from time to time...travelers with stories...journeying folks that come for one morning or a month and then on to their next destination. Recently, we had Aaron from North Carolina - I don't know his last name...Came on a Sunday this winter - It must have been the coldest day of the year...in his skimpy-army-looking parka. 'Said he was heading to Cranberry Portage to 'live off the land'. Not much or ANY agricultural land up there...but maybe he plans to clear some Boreal forest.


As folks lingered over their after-church coffees, and began to dwindle, the young looking Aaron shared with us his experience sleeping out doors and how he would do it...It must have been -40 at least that blowing dry cold day. I pressed some cash into my husband's hand and said, please give him this...We kicked our selves for not having him over for a full hot meal and sent him on his way with a Canadian Goose Parka we had in storage...wherever he is, prayers are going up for him.



Lesson learned....live love.
I regret, that I thought, maybe, he was too shady a character to have in my home for a meal. 



 People are important...what a beautiful world this would be if every decision we made was about releasing love and not self-preservation. In stories, the ones who choose to preserve themselves, over releasing love or generosity end up being the character of the coward.


{a son's current passion, Young Man's Handybook}

Warmly, (pun intended)
Patty-Jean




Thursday, January 15, 2015

Warmth from Within...



In a freezing climate, the sunshine warms the skin, warms my heart, and warms the spirit. That barren beauty of sleeping trees, scraggles of plants playing dead, prophesy's the coming life...


It has been a season...a season of witnessing loss and brokenness of different sorts, in loved ones, families and acquaintances. In what could seem hopeless - we push on forward knowing that darkness does break, and dawn arrives...and this is what we pray for those we carry in our hearts.


...God's gifts are everywhere, and I believe the quickest way to pass through "the valley", is to notice and walk that gratitude. Our rescue puppy, was a surprise...for a family (us) who said they'd never have a small dog, only big...The humor is that we watched the original Benji movie with our children, and wouldn't you know it, Benji, in puppy form, arrived on our doorstep shortly there after....angel in disguise.


As I gaze and dream over the frozen garden...I crave that warm sun...seeds sprouting...leaves bursting...dealing with fresh homegrown food...Garden planning is going to happen SOON!


This week, I'm hoping to drag the crate of leather scraps out of storage and get the children all in some leather slippers around the house - the house of cold feet...I do think in this season of everyone being so sick, it's important to keep one's feet warm...and one's immune system warm as well. Vetiver warms my heart these days, thieves and oregano; warming up the immune system....
::Stay Warm...
Warmly,
pj

Monday, August 11, 2014

Taking Inventory on Life

This summer marks twenty years from the summer I graduated from high school...which is totally Weird! I still think of myself as a young adult - so what then does a young adult think of me?



(hiker: Kelly @joyinmyheartxo)

A time to take inventory - the only problem is I don't have time for THAT! I can honestly say that my worst fear, twenty years ago, was being bored as an adult...I even wrote a song about it during my closet-song-writing-novice-guitar-playing days. Boredom is not so scary now...yes, it's just beyond my grasping hand, now.

(taken by Shannon; @solnatura)

Over the past twenty years, more than one person has said to me, "Patty-Jean (or PJ), pick ONE thing and stick to it, DO that One thing well!" That is Fantastic advice! Do I wish I took it? Perhaps if I heeded it, perhaps I would have been face to face with what used to be one of my worst fears. At least I can say I have overcome that fear!

 My List these days...

God, Worship, Creative Arts, Creating, Old Kitchen Arts, Dehydrating, Cultured Foods, 
My Husband-Partner, Babies, Toddlers, Children, Children Praying, Filled With Creativity, Honesty, Caring, Compassionate, Bold, Spiritual...



Supernatural, Outdoorsy, Dancing, Modern, Ballet, Old Fashioned, The Soil, Planting, Tending, Harvesting, Preserving, Housekeeping, Laundry, Hanging Laundry, Schooling, Reading, Classics, Music, Song, Singing, Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Leading, Serving, Following, Painting...

Teaching, Being Taught, Oils, Aromatherapy, Herbs, Healing, Nursing, Sewing, Community Sharing, Renovating, Organizing, Writing, Waking Early, Exercise, Conditioning, Scripture, Prayer...
not too mention some future dreams, of being a Doula, Natural Birth Educator, Health and Wellness Counselor, World Traveler, Aromatherapist, Author...It's only been twenty years...There's still time for more dreams. And hopefully one day I can say that I can do at least one of the above well?!

What is your life blessed to be crowded with?
 Or what are your dreams?





Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gardening for the Family

Here's to our second year of gardening on our own! It's wonderful to share gardens - and that is what we've done in the past. But it is actually wonderful to see a dream fulfilled. Being able to step outside with my morning coffee and see the fruit of our efforts before our eyes...not a drive away. 



 My next dream is to be able to garden for winter storage! It really must have been a full time job for those truly living off the land. This year, WOW, the soil was cold! Three weeks, we waited, before seeds had poked out their green from under the dark soil.



To mulch, or not to mulch! That has been our question! The worry of introducing new weed seeds,  it's not conventional, etc. But, seriously, I wanted straw so I didn't have to walk in mud after the rain! I don't really know much about planting onions or garlic except that you plant it before winter in the case of garlic? When we tilled (gasp, Yes, sigh, we tilled), there was a corner of onions and garlic that have been growing for who knows how many years...so my experiment? I pulled it all out, split it up from the clumps, into individual cloves and bulbs and planted in a row - in fall, I 'll see what has transpired. Feel free to share your onion or garlic wisdom in the comments..I can use all I can get.



 One thing I am NOT doing anymore is planting spinach. Maybe it does better in different climates, but as long as I have the abundance of chickweed and lambs quarters (weeds), we are all set. I've been using these weeds in our daily green smoothies and salads.Tastes Just Like Spinach to me!



Low and behold, I've jumped on the Essential Oil battle wagon! This step OR hop was not been without a lot of thought and body/soul searching. I can't say enough of how this has made a difference for me and my family. For the first time in 10 years of motherhood, I've found a cure for pesky, sleep depriving growing pains! Not too mention other happy results.

In closing...

  • Please check out my sweet friend, Coralee's Beautiful Purse Sale!!! You do not want to miss these beauties before she is sold OUT! And what a lovely fundraiser too!
(Sorry for the poor image, snapped it with my phone off her blog)
  •  I have a necessity to clean out, destash my HUGE vintage collection of all sorts - from doll clothes, to magazines, toys, clothes, to crafting stuff...SOoooo, what better way than to put together some GIVEAWAYS! I also have the need to find my writing groove.


See you soon!
xo

Monday, May 26, 2014

Years end...

...nursing around the clock these days, Shilo, eight months, is just cutting his two top front teeth...funny how some children barely react to teething...and well others react - full blown out - SICK!

...this too shall pass, mon bebe...



...when sporadically the sun and moon align themselves and I am unleashed to actually blog...I feel compelled each time to apologize profusely for my absence. 

...The Long Winter, I think about summarizes how most folk felt about winter in the western hemisphere - we too, up where lakes are still partially covered with ice as I type...feel this way. And so Spring, is that much sweeter - ain't it!

That God manufactured fragrance of buds bursting, intoxicates my nostrils.



...spring sprung, season's ending, season's starting...

...the end of  year for many things...

...end of my side job; teaching dance and early childhood music and movement - yup, since the big mama career started,  called Motherhood, that pretty much takes up center stage, no pun intended. Or should I say, no bun intended, while dance and music education really take a backseat.



...it was my first full year, really teaching on my own...as in not being in a community of other dance teachers and arts educators around me...just me, making the decisions and calling some shots...eek...I don't even like calling the shots! But living in a remote and small community now, wow...from a city where, what you offer is a dime a dozen, to moving to a place where, you're it...well, now's a time, as ever, to be brave, (smile)...Gotta love how life offers character building experiences... 





...my modest classes killed it in our local arts festival, despite small town politics...although Selah, 9, may not be a good fit for Abby Lee's dance company - grateful - (I'm drawn to a more wholesome approach, that is, value based on the process rather than on just performance), here are some shots from her piece to Fall Afresh, the Loft Series, Jesus Culture.



....cheers to your year ends...and blessings on your new seasons...

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