DIY Planner: the later months of the year

I really did not post much this year, huh? Now watch me scrambling, trying to make up for it in the last month. Classic Katje!

So early this year I posted about my DIY planner made with an IKEA catalogue and crafting tape. I did not abandon that project! Actually as time went on, I expanded my sources for creating the collage. I cut up some old Barefoot Books catalogues to create more collages, and for December I’m using part of a wildlife calendar. (As of writing this, I still have not done December. Talk about behind.)

I also got washi tape in addition to the dollar store crafting tape I was using. The month collage pages of my planner look pretty awesome.

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FO: Meat Popsicle

“Sir, do you classify as human?”

“Negative, I am a meat popsicle.”

One of the best lines in one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time.

As mentioned, our nephew is named Korben — so this Christmas I’m going all out with the Fifth Element inspired gifts. Not only is he getting a stocking with the symbol of the four elements on it, but I also crocheted him a “stuffed animal” that he can cuddle with…except it’s a popsicle. Made of meat.

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FO: Scrappy Granny Shawl

I made this back in August, but didn’t post about it, because I’m terrible at blogging. We’ve established this. ;P

The pattern can be found here. I used scraps of whatever I had in my stash, and my trusty 6 mm crochet hook, and managed to hook it up in a matter of days. It was a quick decision to make it, as my mom and I were going to be seeing my aunty for her birthday and I wanted to make her something.

I also bought a couple of skeins of yarn for it, mainly for the edging, because I was running really low on any one stash yarn and I wanted the edging to be uniform. I really wish I could remember what the yarn was called, but I have lost the wrappers that went with it, and my memory is the worst. I do know it was chunky and had sparkly bits in it and I got it at Michael’s. It might have been Lion Brand?

Oh HO! I have just done a Google Image search for sparkly yarns and found the one it was — Bernat Satin Sparkle in Amethyst*. Apparently it says it’s worsted, but the one I got feels pretty chunky. Anyway, it is really nice and sparkly, and I did pick up 2 skeins in Amethyst and one skein in a dark red color which I think was called Cabernet.

In the pictures you can see my mom modelling it after I photographed it lying on our motel bed in Sechelt. (We were there for the Festival of the Written Arts, and my Aunty happened to be there at the same time, so we met up.)

As for my aunty’s reaction…it was a HUGE hit. 🙂

*(Links to Amazon from here are affiliate links — I get a small commission if you end up buying from Amazon after clicking the link. You don’t get charged extra.)

Currently working on: still crocheting the popsicle for Korben and doing 2 knitting orders right now. (I sometimes sell my knitting for extra cash around this time of year.)

FO: The Fifth Element Christmas Stocking

Wow, long time no write. Sorry about that.

I have been insanely busy for a while now, and for a bit I wasn’t really doing any projects (except my planner, which I will be blogging about again). However, the past few months has seen me knitting and crocheting like a fiend! Especially because Christmas is coming up.

A project I’m about 99% done with is a new Christmas stocking for our nephew, Korben, who just turned a year old. Yes, his name is from the movie The Fifth Element, and you’ll see his stocking references the film as well….

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Turning my DIY Planner into a part-time Manifestation Board using an IKEA catalogue, glue, and crafting tape

Hey everyone! Hope your holiday season and your January were pretty good.

It’s been a while since I’ve been on here….January was mostly reserved for me recovering from 2016, and I fell ill a few times. The rest I had was sorely needed, and I hope to have more energy and focus in the near future.

One thing I’ve been working on a bit is my DIY planner. I started this project in 2016, hoping to have it ready by 2017 but that didn’t happen. So I’ve been working on it in January and now February, trying to get it mostly complete sometime soon. So far I’ve got all of February written out and the March title page.

I decided I wanted to do something special with the title pages, and it occurred to me I could do mini-manifestation boards, especially as I’ll be looking at my planner every day.

Manifestation boards, or vision boards, or treasure maps, are something I’ve toyed with off and on since I was in high school and we made one as part of youth group at church. This was years before “The Secret,” and to be honest I’m not a huge fan of the ideas from The Secret or its followers. I believe that desire is a powerful tool, but not as all-powerful as some followers of The Secret seem to believe it is. There are lots of situations we simply cannot change by force of will alone.

However, I do believe that what we interact with on a regular basis does have an effect on us, so seeing (or hearing, touching, smelling, etc) something everyday will work some sort of magic in our lives, for good or for ill.

Continue reading “Turning my DIY Planner into a part-time Manifestation Board using an IKEA catalogue, glue, and crafting tape”

Top Books for Budding Environmentalists

Hey everyone!

So, in light of the fundraiser I’m holding for Standing Rock and against the Dakota Access Pipeline, I thought I’d do a post about books for young environmentalists.

I was raised in BC, on the West Coast, and my mother is very environment-conscious and has been most of her life. It never occurred to me that others might not recycle, or see the earth as something beautiful, valuable, and worth saving. When I got older and encountered mindsets that were anti-earth, it was quite the culture shock, to put it mildly.

I realized that it was no accident I grew up an environmentalist — it was due to the work of my mom, and the type of region I lived in. (BC is pretty hippy, and there are a lot of environmentally-minded folks here. In fact, it used to be illegal to recycle in Powell River several decades ago — but a group of residents still did it, breaking the law because they knew it was the right thing to do for the earth.)

So if I want to raise my own future kids to be environmentalists, or instill those same values in the children who are in my life, then I need to work at it. Books are a great start.

Continue reading “Top Books for Budding Environmentalists”

Standing with Standing Rock

Hello everyone!

How is your November treating you? I hope things are going well.

I wanted to talk to you today about something very important to me, that I think is probably important to you too.

Right now in North Dakota the Dakota Access Pipeline is trying to lay itself across tribal lands and the Missouri River, against the wishes of the Standing Rock Sioux (whose lands are closest to where the pipeline will be, and who stand to suffer the most damage when there is a leak) and pretty much everyone else who lives in that area.

The Water Protectors are standing strong against DAPL, and are fighting to keep their water safe for future generations.

Access to clean water is a human right, but unfortunately not a human reality for many Native communities across Canada and the US (or other communities that are predominantly marginalized, such as Flint, Michigan). The Water Protectors are working tirelessly to protect access to clean drinking water for this generation and future ones.

Continue reading “Standing with Standing Rock”

Book of the Week: Millie’s Chickens

Happy World Egg Day!

Yes, it’s World Egg Day, a day for celebrating and informing the world about eggs and their benefits. (There are actually a LOT of food-based holidays throughout the year. Humans really like food!) So today I’m going to briefly talk about Millie’s Chickens, a sweet book about raising happy hens and where eggs come from.

Millie’s Chickens by Brenda Williams and Valeria Cis.

Millie’s Chickens is a short, easy-to-read book with the story told in rhyme. It takes you throughout Millie’s day and night as she takes care of her chickens and gathers their eggs. The end of the book is packed with information about chickens — different breeds, anatomy, how to raise happy ones — and eggs — how to gather them, different parts of an egg, and how to cook them!

Keeping chickens has become pretty popular recently; I know a bunch of people who do so, both for the chickens’ eggs and because chickens make great pets! I think a lot of people are wanting to become more self-sufficient and finding alternate ways of providing for themselves. Millie’s Chickens, as a companion book to The Beeman (which talks about beekeeping and where honey comes from), is a great introduction for children to the world of chicken-raising.

Also, I personally think we need to teach kids where their food comes from. We’re rather disconnected from that reality in modern society, and I don’t think it’s good for us, emotionally. Millie’s Chickens will teach kids where eggs come from, which in turn engenders empathy and respect for the animals that bring us those eggs.

Do you raise chickens, or have you ever thought about starting?


21st Annual Fort Langley Cranberry Festival

A wood carving of a First Nations wolf design rests on a sign on a traffic island.
The Kwantlen Wolf Spirit Square in Fort Langley.

On Saturday it was the 21st annual Fort Langley Cranberry Festival. I’d never been before even though I’ve lived in Langley for two years, so I decided to check it out.

It was raining, so I didn’t expect a massive turnout. I was wrong. The entire street was closed off for tents with vendors, food trucks, entertainment, and, of course, cranberries. There were throngs of people (and a lot of dogs) roaming around: checking out the vendors, jamming to the music, eating food truck food, and cleaning up on cranberries. Multiple food vendors had cranberry-specific items, such as cranberry honey, and there was a huge tent from Ocean Spray where they were selling cranberries by the pound.

(All the cranberries are local, though they are shipped down to Washington for packaging, as that’s where Ocean Spray is located.)

White tents decorate a rainy, closed off street, and groups of people mill around.
The filled street and throngs of people.

I didn’t even get to see the whole festival, as my back is not back to 100% after September. I tired halfway down the street and knew I had to turn back or I wouldn’t make it home.

Foolishly I forgot to bring cash, thinking there wouldn’t be many vendors and that I didn’t need to spend any extra money anyway. Well, I don’t need to spend extra money, but there were a lot of vendors. And I should have picked up a pound of cranberries! Then I could have made cranberry sauce from scratch this year. Next year I’ll go on a shopping spree!

Musicians perform in an open-air truck-stage in front of a big yellow building with the words "Fort Langley Community Hall" on it.
The musicians performing in front of Fort Langley Community Hall (which is actually where I got married!).

Though I didn’t see all of it, Cranberry Festival is pretty amazing and I am duly impressed with it. If you are in Langley for Canadian Thanksgiving weekend next year, you should definitely come check it out!


Book of the Week: The Boy Who Grew Flowers

Hi! Katje here.

Getting back into the swing of things with a Book of the Week post, I’m going to be talking today about The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz and illustrated by Steve Adams. The Boy Who Grew Flowers was an instant favourite for me and remains one of my top Barefoot Books to this day. I constantly recommend it to people of all ages, because it’s a beautiful story not only for kids, but for adults too.

(I last talked about this book in my post on World Kindness Day, but this review is more in-depth.)

A photo posted by Katje (@katgoesbarefoot) on

A bit about the book: The Boy Who Grew Flowers is a story about “feelings and firsts” that is designed to teach children compassion and to let them know that it’s okay to be different. I’d personally classify it as an “American folk or faery tale,” as it’s obviously set in America, but has the trappings of a fairy story. It’s full of beautiful illustrations and has a simple, but deep and meaningful story. It’s a good book for kids aged 4 to 10 years, but of course can be enjoyed at any age.

Story Summary: Rink Bowagon lives with his strange family on Lonesome Mountain. His uncle tames rattlesnakes, his cousins and brothers are shape-shifters, and Rink himself sprouts flowers all over his body every full moon. Rink enjoys school even though he doesn’t have any friends; the other children think his family is too weird to talk to him much.

When a new girl comes to school, Angelina Quiz, Rink immediately likes her, and notices several small details about her, including the fact that one of her leg’s is shorter than the other and she wears a flower behind her ear. Angelina comes from a dancing family and loves music, but when the dance comes up she says no to everyone who asks her to go, saying she won’t be able to dance with her legs different lengths.

Rink is driven to do something nice for the kind girl in his class, so he rushes home and works for three days building her a pair of snake-skin shoes from the supplies in his family’s house. One of the shoes has a higher heel than the other, so when Angelina wears them her feet will hit the ground evenly.

Rink is so enamoured with Angelina that when he thinks about her wearing the shoes and dancing, he sprouts a bouquet of pink roses from his head, even though it’s not the full moon. He goes to visit her and gives her the flowers and the shoes, and Angelina asks him to the dance, teaching him all the steps she’s known by heart her whole life. They have a wonderful time, and they sit and talk, sharing their secrets with each other. Angelina reveals the flower behind her ear grows out of her head.

Rink and Angelina live happily ever after: they remain friends until they are older, and then later they get married and have seven children, all of whom are especially gifted with plants. They start a family gardening business and live on Sweet Blossom Hill, once known as Lonesome Mountain.

Why I think it’s special: There are a lot of beautiful messages in this book. Rink comes from a family deemed strange, but throughout the story he learns to find strength in that strangeness, in his own differentness from other kids. When he reveals his strange secret to Angelina, he finds that she’s not so different from him. This teaches kids that we’re all a little weird, and that we don’t have to be ashamed of our weirdness, because chances are what makes us different is also what makes us special.

I think this book also teaches us that just because someone’s different, doesn’t mean they don’t have value, and that we should be compassionate when dealing with people who challenge our expectations. This is an important thing for children to learn, as I’m sure most of us remember the agony of being the “new kid” in class. If you don’t get accepted, the school year can be very difficult.

As well, I think this book is good at breaking down gender stereotypes. At no point is it suggested that Rink is less of a boy because he grows flowers; the only reason it’s seen as strange is because sprouting any kind of plant out of your body is considered strange. But it’s never used to make him seem less manly, like if he were sprouting weeds or something that would be more acceptable. As well, Rink is a gentle and loving child, and he is never bullied by his family for being like that, being told to be more manly. He is allowed to be who he is, and who he is is special.

Finally, I think this book also works well at breaking down the stereotypes that cover a certain type of person in America — the rural family. The stereotype of the rural person in America is one of someone who is uneducated, bigoted, and someone who lacks value in society. This book shows that this is simply not true, and even if people are different, they still have things to contribute and we should honor that.

How are you different from others? What makes you a special person?