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Lip Balm recipe and how to

At this time of the year, my lips crack like crazy. It’s very painful, and certainly not beautiful. After buying some fancy homemade balm, and getting them eaten by my kids, I decided to make it myself a try. I’ve looked around on the internet for recipes and made up my own based on those and on what I had on hand.

What you will need:

1½oz of beewax, grated

10z of coconut oil

1 Tsp of Lanolin

1 Tsp of sweet almond oil

10 drops of peppermint oil

A sauce pan

A glass/metal cup


Wooden or metal stick

2 oz jar


What you need to do:

1. Put all ingrediants into glass cup except the essential oil. Put water in sauce pan and put the cup in them, making you a bain-marie.

2.Still with the stick until everything looks homogenus.

3.Remove from heat and stir in your essential oil.

4.Pour into jar.

5.Wait a little for it to harden

6. Enjoy the relief!

It’s very easy to make and I’m happy that I tried. Please tell me if you try this recipe!

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Sun God Baby OR Baby Jesus Tutorial

I thought you might like trying to make a little baby to add to your nativity or to give to someone. They are very quick and simple to make. Let’s get going!

You’ll need a little squarre of yellow fabric ( I used felt), a wooden bead (that you can paint gold) and yellow embroidery treat and needle.

*You can use white felt and thread to make a Jesus baby!

Fold the top to create a border. The bead’s hole should be paralelle to the edge.

Wrap around your bead, pinching the excess thigthly.

Insert your needle from the inside out where the hole is.

Insert the needle and go throw both holes.

Insert the needle and go diagonally through the pinched excess around the bead.

Fold one side.

And the other over it. Cut the excess.

Pass your needle through the top of the folds.

Blanket stitch the side and bottom and you’re done! Now Enjoy!

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December Traditions: Pagan Yule part II

A new thing we have is a little collection of holiday books. They are to be saved until the first day of snow, when I take them out and read one of them. How the kids are thrilled when we take them out of the box!

Our main solstice tradition is to have a great meal together. A cipaille, potatoe candies, candy cane bark and other delightful things!

A cipaille is a slowy cook dish composed of various meats; originally woodland hunted animals such as moose, white-tailed dear, perdrix and hare, it is now more commonly made with beef, porc, calf and chicken. You would need a lot of potatoes too! As much as many different kinds of meats as you have.  And a good broth of chicken or beef. Cut everything in cubes and throw into a big deep dish and add the broth with some allspice and thyme, let your meat and potato marinate in it for a while. Get it out of the fridge and cover with your favorite crust recipe. Put it oven and let it cook slowly for around 6h. My mom used to start it  before going to bed and let it cook over night. We’d wake up to the wonderful smell and have some for breakfast!

(Image source)

The other thing we like to do on solstice night is take a walk in the brisk air. I remember walking with my mother once. It has been warm that day and actually rained, which never happens in Québec in December, and it froze in the night. The trees, all departed of their leaves, were covered in icecles and illuminated by the street lamps. It was gorgeous!

I also do a personal ritual; a very simple one. I reflect on what happened to me and my family since the Summer Solstice, how and what changed, what did not. Then I think about the half of year to come. What I’d like to achieve until Summer Solstice, little goals I set to myself. I can also write a wish on a paper and burn it to send my message to the universe.

This is a time where we will be moving a lot; we are renting and planning to buy a house to sell it some years later and move back to our original region. That much to say that I didn’t want to be bothered moving the huge plastic pine someone kindly gave to us along with us every move. I told myself I’d find something good enough for a Yule tree that is not time consuming and ecological. I came up with a construction paper evergreen that my daughter helped me with; She cut all the fringes while I was doing the gluing. Her brother was doing the “I mess around with any other craft supply on hand” part of the project. It’s way too small to put on any handmade ornaments we have… But it fit that salt dough moon that purposefully watches over the cedar bed.

I hope you like this little intrusion in our family’s custom! Please stay in tune to read what other families are doing in December!

December Traditions: Pagan Yule part I

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December Traditions: Pagan Nativity

Afoot our Yule tree stand different characters from your usual nativity scene. Ours represent the rebirth of the Sun God, who’s noted absence brought us self-reflections and slowed schedule. We are thankful for It’s return. We appreciate the lessons that if you want light, there must be darkness. And as we know for sure the Sun will rise on the morning, we are also confident that after this time of darkness, the days will grow longer, the weather warmer and our heart, lighter.

I wanted to make sure the scene would be playable for my young family…And what’s more playable then toys?

Here you see the Sun God on a bed of cedar. I actually cheated to show you the whole pictures; like some does with baby Jesus, we don’t place our baby Sun until the our of the Solstice is passed (it changes every year, this year it’s on December 21st, at 11:12).  After the pictures I carefully place Him in our kitchen cauldron to reside until It borns again. The cauldron symbolize the Pregnant Goddess.

Surounding the Sun God are the woodland animals, creatures and people that came to witness Its birth. I use our regular wooden figures and playscape accessories; Accorn people, felted animals. wooden ones and felt everygreen.

There are tree importants figures that specially came to watch over the Reborn Sun. The Maiden (white) is all that is new and begining. The Mother (red) is what is fullfilled and comited. The Crone (black) is the wisedom gained by living and everything that is ending. They are the Goddess in her Trinity form, and are very dear to me. Their symbol is that everything goes in cycle, that ends are always new beginnings.

There are a lot of people on this picture. Now I only left the animals and the Trinity. Everyone will come back on the Rebirth Day. We will then have cookies and hot cocoa to share together in expectation of opening our stocking!

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December Traditions: Pagan Yule part I

I grew up with an atheist mother. There was very little celebration around our year, apart from our birthdays and Christmas… a christless Christmas. But a family gathering. The biggest happening of the year. I remember looking forward to that time. We would decorate the tree and place the little village underneath it, carefully placing the empty Christmas ornament boxes to make hills and ponds underneath the glittery white felt drape. And there would be the food. Oh the food! Little picky me would delight of all my favorite meals at the same time! The big bowl of olives for me to pick as much as I wanted, the little cubed cheese, and the bowls of chips to put in our plate while eating the main dish, a cipailles (I’ll give you the recipe!).

I definitely want to recreate this hype with my children! The exitement in the middle of frozen days, the waiting, and the willing to create gifts for those I love.



But I also wanted to give everything a meaning other then “gift giving and recieving and over-eating”. The first time I talked about this holiday with my partner, he confessed that he didn’t really care for Christmas, that it was totally meaningless to him! How painful to hear!

So I explained him what all that fuss what meaning to me. To me it means that the Sun is coming back. I told him that I actually prefer the Solstice day as the celebrating date, to which he totally agreed. I explained him that people would feast for the days would get longer, and that is was a reminder that warmer weather was indeed ahead. When you would have poor housing and little food supplies, the rationing of food was a big deal, and so was the one blessed day you could eat the best beef and bake sweets. It does not apply to today’s bountifullness, but as a son of farmer, he could relate to the changing of the seasons.


We are a new family; so “traditions” are new…We are in the process of building them. They are what we want them to be!

I couldn’t relate to the Christ nativity scene. We had a plastic one under our tree, but no one ever bothered explaining who all those people were, what they were doing there (camels in the snow!) and why they were there. My mom eventually stopped taking out the set when I got too old to play with it…But I remember loving to play with the characters, so I decided to pursue that traditions, only with my little twist. I want to do a full post on how to make your own pagan nativity, but I can roughly explain the characters above: The woodland animals and creatures are looking at the Sun God who just had reborn. Nearby is the Goddess in it’s trinity form; The Maiden, The Mother and The Crone, carefully watching over Him. The Moon hangs above them; another protecting sign.

What I instored that I didn’t have in my childhood are the stockings. Instead of having a billion of gift, I’ve made a rule that most gift should fit the stocking, and 2-3 non-fitting wrapped in silk. They are to be fill the eve of the solstice (children are too curious!) and should be open after the meal. Beads, stickers,  but mostly things I made myself and handmade by the wonderfull artists on etsy.

(to be continued…)

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Maman! The snow came to our house!!!

This is what I heard as I walked down the stairs this morning. So much joy and exitement in her little voice! After came the running sound of her brother, and they stood by the window, amazed. I wish I could have captured the initial face, but I rarely have my camera on hand when I wake up.

I’m so thankful for this joy, this present moment. For some minutes, forgetting what snow implies for me, the adult: triple the time just to get out, car to unsnow, careful driving on frozen streets and the cold icy bitting wind. Nothing of that I could see in their eyes. Just magic.

“Let’s make snowmans!!!!”

Yes my darling, lots of snowman ahead.

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Handmade Holidays: Tutorial for Sweater Pants

Pants made out of sweater sleeve is a classic in our house. They are comfortable, cheap and easy to make. I always get compliments on them when my little guy is wearing some. When I explained how easy it is, they all say : What a great idea!

This is a very easy and quick project that the even the I-barely-ever-touched-a-sewing-machine beginner can do.

You’ll need:

  • Sweaters
  • Thin or wide elastic for the waist.
  • The recipiant children’s pair of pants for a guide.

Cut out the sleeves of your sweater. The older the child, the bigger sweater you’d like to use.

Fold guide pants in half and place over sleeve. Cut.

Turn once sleeve inside out. Put the right side out sleeve into the inside out one.

Sew along.

For the waist, Method 1:

Serge the waist or double fold it. Sew along leaving a place to insert the elastic.

The elastic should be the circumference of the waist. Insert, sew both ends of the elastic and close the whole.

Method 2 : this one is less pretty, but it’s useful when you know there won’t be enough room for the butt if you fold at the waist. Some might want to use a coordonating color one. You can easily dye elastics. Ultimately it doesn’t show when there’s a shirt over it.

Take a wider elastic and sew ends together. Place wrong side facing elastic over right side facing pants and sew or serge around.

Now you know what to make of that pile of sweater people always give you ( I know I’m not alone! Someone even gave me only the sleeves…) I always make a pair of those for the Winter Solstice morning and they are always a hit.

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A witch’s Halloween

I once had a sort of argument with another mother on a parenting forum. She posted about how much she disliked Halloween and all the dead things that go with it. That celebrating death was a total nonsense. Somehow it hurted my feeling.

As someone that is celebrating the Cycle of the Year and try to teach it to my children, Samhain, the witch’s Halloween, is very dear to me.  It’s a time to turn inward and think about the year that have passed. For us it’s the last day of the year. In celebrating Death, we celebrate something that first was alive. In Fall, we celebrate our mother earth that gave us her bunty and now takes a well deserved rest. We celebrate the shortening of daylight because it was once delightly sunny all day. Like in the Winter Solstice, we celebrate the shortest day of the year for it can only go up from that point, Samhain is the deadest point of the Year and while the land will freeze and the animals will hide, everything is still alive, just waiting.

Celebrating Death dosen’t take anything out of Life…Death is not the opposite of Life, it is it’s rightful companion. Most of religions and spiritual paths consist of finding one’s balance. People wants and need to be scared a little, they need to listen to sad songs even when they are happy. Ignoring all the skeletons, vampires and zombies is ignoring a part of ourselves.

Samhain is also a wonderfull time to look back to where we come from.Take some times to teach about your ancesters. Talk about your parents, grand-parents, great-grand-parents if you were lucky enough to know them or if someone told you about them. Create a family tree to display if you don’t already have one. Find pictures of them, younger ones are especially special to kids, frame them and display them along with your Halloween decorations.

This is the opportunity to slow down and rest. Enjoy what you already have at home, and the people that are in it.


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Reford Gardens/Les Jardins de Métis

Please let me lead you into a little piece of heaven on Earth from my region. It’s a beautiful garden that became a prime touristic destination in the area. In the summer of 1926, Elsie Reford began transforming her fishing camp on the Metis River into a garden. Located 220 miles north-east of Quebec City, at 48.51º N. latitude, the gardens she created over the next thirty years were the northernmost in the eastern half of North America. Known to some as Les Jardins de Métis, to others as Reford Gardens, the gardens have become famous since they were opened to the public in 1962. It was our usual end-of-year trip at my primary school and a favourite place to go when we had family coming over the summer. Last June was it’s 50th anniversary and the entry price was only 50¢ (the price from 1962!) so I grabbed the occasion to show the garden to a friend that just moved into the region and I also grabbed my camera, hoping you’ll enjoy the photo tour!

Gardening was by no means Elsie Reford’s  first calling. From the early 1900s she had come to Grand-Metis to fish the pools on the river. She also rode, canoed and hunted. She continued fishing until 1926 when an operation for appendicitis intervened. Ordered to convalesce following surgery, her doctor suggested gardening as a genteel alternative to fishing. She was 54 years old. During the summer of 1926, she began laying out the gardens and supervised their construction. The gardens would take ten years to build. The construction would extend over more than twenty acres. When she began, with the exception of a flagpole, a cedar hedge and a tree-lined driveway, the property was barely landscaped at all. The hay was cut to provide feed for the horses. Flowerpots were arranged on the veranda. It was, after all, a fishing lodge.

Note from Elsie Reford, July 13, 1954:

“Lilacs were marvelous, azaleas very brilliant but I sometimes wonder if the sweeps of blue poppies are not the most satisfying, for apart from their great beauty they outlast everything else for length of time of flowering. They have now been giving much delight for almost a month.”

The Blue Poppy Glade was so named because it was where Elsie Reford displayed one of her rarest and most enchanting plants. The Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia) is one of the marvels of the plant world. Native to the Tsangpo Gorge in the southeast corner of Tibet, it grows at altitudes of 3,120 to 4,000 metres (10,200 to 13,100 feet). These blue poppies are the progeny of the first plants that Elsie Reford grew from seed in the 1930s. Intrigued by the enthusiasm it generated, she was among the first gardeners in North America to try the seeds, obtained from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland. Nestled between martagon lilies (Lilium martagon var. album) and maidenhair ferns (Adiantum pedatum), the blue poppies bloom from the middle of June through the end of July. Notoriously difficult to grow, part of our success is due to the climate of the Lower St.Lawrence, which provides the plants with the humidity and cool night air that the Meconopsis enjoy.

This flower became an icon of the region, and it really is beautiful to see! Hope you liked the visit, and if you ever come into the beautiful region of Mitis, you’ll find that the people are as charming as the landscape.

Information and facts taken from the Reford Gardens website. All pictures by me.

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Dragon Wings Tutorial

My children are really into slaying dragons right now. If you come by our house in the middle of the day, you’re most likely to find them, sword in hand, running around screaming at dragons. And if you saw my toddler’s face when I handed him his very own pair of dragon wings to wear… It lit up! He put them on and off he went…With mama trying to get a good picture of this little beast!

To make one for your little dragon you will need:

  • A strong fabric; I used wool.
  • Jewerly wire, but a hanger could work fine
  • Two bands of elastic (those in the picture were too short, I advice you to go longer)
  • Tools: wire cutters, fabric scissors, safety pins

Make your wire frame. I went with a simple, small baby dragon style.

Double your fabric and cut along your frame, leaving enough clearing for sewing.

Sew the bottom part of the wings, leave to top open so you’ll be able to insert your wire frame.

Flip your wings outside out and insert your frame.

Close the top with an overstitch and, if you feel fancy, overstitch details.

This is also optional; Make cover for your elastics.

Flip right side out and inset elastic.

Sew both elastic in the middle of the wings.

Use wire to give shape to your wings and you’re done!

And see your little one fly away, away from the camera!