When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Everything Etsy: A Holiday Gift Guide

Winter weather arrived suddenly this past weekend, and the chilly air had all four of us eager to embrace the cozy comforts of the winter season: warm socks and mitts, time spent sitting near the fireplace, homecooked meals that roasted all afternoon in a hot oven. The shift in seasons also has us looking forward now to the approaching holidays, when we'll have the chance to share time and favourite traditions with much loved family members and friends.

Every year around this time I get great enjoyment out of finding thoughtful gifts for the many wonderful people in my life. I've been turning again and again this month to Etsy to browse (from the quiet comfort of my own couch!) for unique and beautiful handmade items that seem just right for each of them. It's always a sweet feeling to see familiar eyes shine with delight over a one-of-a-kind gift that was made and chosen for them with heart.

Today I'm sharing with you an Etsy Holiday Gift Guide that features some of the many lovely items I've come across in my own browsing. Whether you're looking for a special gift or some cheerful holiday decor to warm up your home, you'll find plenty of creative options here. For even more holiday inspiration, take a look at these gift guides created by the Etsy editors.

For the Home

Snowflake Embossing Rolling Pin from Rolling Pin Collection

White and Gold Deer Decor from White Faux Taxidermy

Red Lantern Lamp from The Slumber Jack Baby

For Her

Red Plaid Flannel Scarf from Janny's Girl

Crochet Flower Slippers from Eva's Studio

Pebble Art Family Picture from Juniper Avery Sea Glass

For Him

Rocket Science Necktie from Cyberoptix

Papa Mug from Milk and Honey Luxuries

For Teens and Tweens

Felt Bag from Green Sheep PL

Bacon Hoodie from My Cool TShirt

Crochet Cat Beanie from 2 Mice

Hockey Medal Hanger from AKRO Boutique

For Little Ones

Upcycled Newborn Hat from Rowan's Tree House

Suede Moccasins from Threads and Arrows

Toddler Apron from Sable et Mer

Lumberjack Mini Hockey Stick from des Enfantillages

Small Surprises for Anyone

Linen Holiday Napkins from Kitch Studios

Harris Tweed Coin Pouches from Life Covers

Bear Fridge Magnets from Stoats and Weasels

If you live in Waterloo Region and would enjoy browsing beautiful handmade gifts from over 60 different local Etsy artisans in person, head on over to the Holiday Market being held this Saturday, November 26th, from 10am until 5pm at RIM Park. Parking and admission are free. I'm excited to take a peek myself --  maybe I'll see you there!

Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this blog with your Etsy purchases.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Right at Home

There are echoes everywhere when one moves houses. The obvious physical ones bounce off of empty walls, growing louder each day as the soft things that make a house a home get tucked away carefully in boxes and bins, erasing at least to the eye most traces of the family who has lived and loved there. They're jarring, these strange new sounds in a long familiar place, but it's the echoes created deep within the hearts of the home's inhabitants that are the most unsettling. Every tissue-wrapped treasure evokes a poignant memory; together they clamour of all the years lived and gone now, and there's an aching realization in the final days of packing that the typical, everyday occurences in that house are suddenly significant last ones. Even when a move is decided upon with joyful excitement, there is room among the echoes for doubt and nervousness, for questions about whether choosing a new home was a good decision, or whether the unknown can offer happiness, too.

Matt and the boys and I have been in our new house for just over six weeks now, and any doubt we felt in those packing weeks has quickly dissipated as we've settled in and made this place our home. The spaces all seem just right for the four of us; we're completely at ease as we move together through the bustling days of enthusiastic family life here. All of us are enjoying experiencing the things we knew we'd love about this place when we bought it, and we're also discovering unexpected and cheerful surprises as we get to know the house and yard and neighbourhood better. Changing schools has been a happy experience for Will; he's made new friends quickly and has joined all kinds of extra-curricular activities already. Noah's found joy in discovering new running routes in this quieter neighbourhood close to a conservation area, and in having space in the basement here to play the drums he bought this fall. It's been exciting for Matt and I to be able to create the home we've long envisioned but couldn't quite achieve due to limitations in our old house. We feel at peace here, among the thoughtfully chosen touches indoors and the beautiful trees outdoors that are a haven for welcome little critters.

It becomes easy, I think, as we get older and more settled, to resist big changes that will require us to upset the comfortable rhythms of our daily lives, even when those changes are wished for deep down. A move seemed to us like an enormous undertaking filled with unknowns (and I won't lie, it's been a huge amount of work!) I remember now, though, that sometimes it's well worth the effort and upheaval to experience the pleasure of seeing life from a brand new perspective. At this house the sun rises gracefully every morning, just as it has at all of the other houses in which we've lived. But having it rise on a different side of the building, where the glowing pink light streams in our kitchen window while we sip warm drinks and munch on toast, has made us stop and take notice of its beauty as if we're seeing it again for the very first time.