Dapple Design Shop will be CLOSED FOR CHRISTMAS from December 10, 2016 to January 4, 2017.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

String of Stars Tutorial

This is my first foray into Christmas decorating this season.  The Christmas bin is still in the garage, but I was ready to hang something festive in the window.

This string of stars garland fit the bill.  The concept is simple enough to come together quickly.  In fact, it's simple enough that my three-year-old could help.

If you'd like to whip up your own string of stars you'll need:
- wooden popsicle sticks
- glue gun and glue sticks
- yarn in your choice of colours
- more yarn or jute twine (not shown) for stringing the stars

Begin by hot gluing five popcicle sticks into a star shape as shown above.  You'll only need a bead of hot glue at each of the five star points.

When the glue has set, tie one end of the yarn to the star leaving a tail of 2 or 3 inches.

Keeping track of the yarn tail, start wrapping the yarn around the corners of the star.  Wrap around the star in one direction for 3 or 4 turns, then switch to a different corner and wrap another 3 or 4 turns.  Somehow I ended up with a mini star shape in the centre of my star, but random patterns are fine too.

Don't forget to wrap the points of your star too.

Remember that tail of yarn that you left when you first tied into the star?  You'll need it now.  When you're happy with the look of your star, cut the yarn and tie the two ends tightly together across the back of the star.

Trim the ends.  This is the back of your star; the knot is not visible from the font.

Make a constellation.

I mentioned that my three-year-old helped.  After the hot glue was dry, she chose this blue-green yarn.  I tied the first end for her and she wrapped to her heart's content, which turned out to be just one star.  Then the markers came out and she decorated another one her way.

To make your stars into a garland, thread a long piece of jute twine through several strands of the wrapped yarn at the back of each star.  This is easier if you tie a knot near the end of the jute.  The stars will hang more evenly if you thread the jute near the edge of the star as shown above.

Continue in this way  until all your stars are strung.

My garland is hanging in the dining room window, but it also looks nice across the mantel.  

Monday, 26 October 2015


The leaves are falling in earnest now.  Every day I take Miss S for a walk and we come home with fist-fulls of new-fallen finds.  We hang them in the windows or fill bowls with them for centerpieces.  Mostly, we let them dry into crunchy curls, but I pressed a few in a book last week and remembered them today along with a creative idea that I've been meaning to try.  Thanks to Jean at The Artful Parent for a very enjoyable hour of creative fall fun.

How do you enjoy the fall leaves?

Linking to Mosaic Monday

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A morning walk

The sea is placid today.  Pacific.  Passive.  Reflecting sky and hills, still green.  Amplifying gull cries; highlighting wingtips with sparkle and spray.  Retreating in a long exhale of tide.

Joining A Spirit of Simplicity for Tuesday Afternoons


Monday, 21 September 2015

As Summer Fades

Yesterday we had a misty morning and a rainy afternoon.  Today I ate lunch on the sunny front step.  And so the days bounce back and forth between summer and fall.

Last you heard, here, I was taking a month away from blog land to settle into a new house.  A month away became summer vacation, but that back-to-business September energy has finally caught up with me.  I'm here with a few tidbits to share.

From Home:  This fuzzy friend crashed our front-step lunch.  I'm no naturalist, but I would like to know what sort of butterfly he will become (assuming he survives Miss S's adoration).  Does anyone know?

From the Studio:  I've been adding new listings to the Etsy shop almost daily.  Getting the photos right has been tricky this time around, but at some point the listings just have to go live.  As fall creeps in, I'm enjoying the simplicity of this burlap table runner.  What do you think?

Linking to Mosaic Monday hosted by Lavender Cottage.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

On Motherhood

Motherhood is a journey.  One that begins, I am convinced, well before the pink line on the pregnancy test.

There's timing to be considered.  Career.  Finances.  The desire to mother grows slowly.  It can take time for the stars to align, but then the congratulations roll in.  Joy on your own terms.

That's the path of the very lucky.

Some babies arrive on cue.  Others never come, though mothers' hearts are waiting.

My own path to motherhood was excruciatingly long.  I watched so many others pass ahead of me into the blissful realm of 2am feedings and endless snuggles.  I hated Mother's Day, when women who already had it all got flowers and kind words while the child-shaped hole in my heart swallowed me whole.

Until, by the magic of technology and the grace of God, I had my own sweet girl.

Motherhood, it turns out, is worth celebrating.  It's not easy watching a piece of my heart race headlong into life.  The joy of it is overwhelming.

I am mother to a growing girl, a ray of sunshine, an overflowing helping of joy.

And this year I am also mother to very small shimmer, a heartbeat lost into the arms of Jesus.

I share this because so few people understand that motherhood is heart wrenching even before it begins.  Celebrate, yes!  But please be kind to a mother in waiting.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Lilacs and Boxes

Lilacs and a few bluebells.  Plopped in a jar with very little fuss.  They're bright and fragrant.  A very welcome scrap of pretty.

But the real story here is in the background.   Boxes in corners are multiplying.  Walls are bare, cupboards empty.   The real work starts on Thursday when we get keys to the new house.  If I don't post for a week or two, feel free to picture me in old jeans, up a ladder with paint on my nose.

Monday, 20 April 2015

A Weekend Away

These Northwest beaches are nothing like the ones I knew when I was young.  My family would drive down down down the mountains to scorch our feet on the blistering hot sand and frolic in the frothy waves.

Here there are more rocks than sand and the water is cold enough to freeze the breath inside you.  Even so, the sea is seductive and I am very happy to don windbreaker and rubber boots for a walk on the beach.

G and I did lots of beach walking this weekend.  We drove just far enough up the west coast to lose cell coverage and feel distant from the every day.  The shapes of the trees suggest that a bracing wind is the norm here.

But we escaped the worst of it by sitting right down on the rocky beach.

Selfie time.

The waves blow in then roll the rocks around on the inhale.  My favorite beach sound.

This big guy flapped past, harried by some seagulls.  Was he stalking their nest?  Stealing their fish?  We stalked him back -- through three perches until the light and angles were right for portraiture.

A rope swing on the beach.  Oh yes!  It was an erratic ride between the bouncy tree branch and all that wind, but no one smashed into the tree trunk so it was fun.

Finally a cozy retreat.  Rustic but comfortable.  Close enough to the water for the waves to flood our dreams.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Works in Progress: Crochet Cloths

It's really starting to look like we're moving.  Piles of boxes line the dining room walls and the cupboards and cabinets house-wide are increasingly empty.  This is all very good, but I've had to slow the packing a bit as we still have to live here for another 4 weeks.  

Somewhere in all those boxes are my sewing things.  As luck would have it, I'm feeling especially inspired to sew this week.  Pawing through fabric and patterns (to pack them) will do that.  

So I've been expending my creative energies via crochet.  I needed some new dish cloths, so I tried out a couple of patterns and picked my favorite.  Then I kept going.

I''m a little obsessed with these flower-topped bundles.  They're great fun to line up and admire.  These are already up in the Dapple Shop with a few more colours to come.

I've also begun something on a whim because I saw it on Pinterest.  Oh Pinterest.

Just one square doesn't look like much, but maybe I'll make enough for this retro circles blanket.

What colours would you combine with this blue?

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Pink and Yellow

On our walk this morning Miss S and I passed along this bit of sidewalk.

Lovely, isn't it?  These trees turn bright orange in the fall and glow with twinkle lights in the winter.  As you can see, they sing choruses of pink in the spring.  Walking under them, pushing a stroller with one hand, clutching coffee in the other, has become one of my favorite small indulgences.  This is the way to the library and the playground, but not for long.  I'm going to miss having such ready access to the town centre when we move.  

Closer to home, other things are blooming.

Miss S called them Dandy Flowers, and I think they're her favorite.  I'm pretty sure the new house will come with a few of these.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

DIY Non-Plastic Easter Basket Fluff

An Easter basket just isn't an Easter basket without a few handfuls of fluff to nestle everything into.  Fluff.  You know, those strands of coloured plastic that the box stores sell in small bags beside the chocolate bunnies.

It's Easter basket tradition.  But this year I just couldn't bring myself to buy it.  Plastic fluff may be pretty, but it's still plastic.  We pay good money for it, use it once and contribute it to the landfill.

No longer!  I made my own this year.  It cost virtually nothing, took only seconds and looks great.  Here's how:

You'll Need:
- A paper shredder.  We use this small one for our receipts.
- Several sheets of newsprint paper.  This is the dollar store stuff that my daughter uses for colouring.  it's cheap and made from recycled fiber.

Watch your fingers and shred away.

If the colours are important to you, try shredding coloured paper or letting your kids draw all over the paper before shredding it.  I prefer to let my coloured eggs shine bright against a neutral backdrop.

Best of all, when Easter is over you can add your Basket Fluff to the compost pile instead of the landfill.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A Spring Outing

A Garry Oak reaches, gnarly and solid against the somber sky.  Below it, a drift of Magnolia billows and blows.

Signs of Spring are everywhere in Beacon Hill Park.  Flowers bloom.  Ducks beg for (and often receive) handouts.  Peacocks strut.  Best of all, goats at the Children's Zoo sit patiently to be brushed by adoring, but not always, gentle little hands.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Burlap Birdies

These adorable little birdies are the result of an bad bout of boredom and an overfull scrap box.  They're bright and cheerful in a simple way.  They make me smile.

I'm repainting a small wooden frame to catch the blue one in.  Something fresh to hang in my new house.

Given the popularity of my Simple Burlap Place Mats over on Etsy, I'm wondering about making a set of Burlap Birdie Place Mats.  Which design do you like best?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Somewhere New

In a city that draws bus-loads of tourists to Butchart Gardens, you might understand how the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific escapes notice.  I had never heard of it, and certainly never visited, until last weekend. 

Perhaps I would never have visited had Miss S not been invited to a birthday party there.

A flock of pre-schoolers swooped and swirled through the mazy pathways in search of treasure (chocolate coins and dollar store bead necklaces) before settling down to a feast of cut veggies and cake.  What fun!

But not the best way to take in the gardens.  I did notice an abundance of Heather and Hellebore.  There seemed to be a Japanese garden with a steam and a bridge.  I got off a very few photos, chalked the Horticultural Centre up to a delightful discovery and resolved to return soon on my own terms.

Have you made any new discoveries this spring?