About melissa

I am "a hippie with a minivan". A mom of four who has chosen to take the less travelled roads in parenting. We are a unschooling family and learn through life without punishments or rewards. I am a Needle Felting Artist, I love being in the Kitchen, and love to share my passion of Natural Parenting through Workshops and Mentoring. We have a big dream of living on the road and we are in the process of converting a bus!

More off the Wheel…

I haven’t updated on my spinning in a while!

I have been busy with the bus, with felting and with spinning lately. Of course the kids get first dibs on my attention, but the house regrettably has been in dead last position.

So here are some of my yarns since the last time that I posted….

This is the rest a purple single that I had, plied with the rest of that coffee dyed single.


This one I call “Blueberry Cobbler” I have two Skeins like this… One is 226 yards and the other is 255 yards
both are 2 ply – Sport weight.



The next skein turned out SO soft and fluffy! It is an amazing Lilac colour merino and is plied with a thread weight weight merino.

Look how thin this white is!


This is also my largest single skein to date. 670+ yards of Sport weight bordering on Fingering.



And my last skein. This is the last of the Northern lights that I bought when I started to learn how to spin.
Check out what these same fibres looked like when I spun them just 2 months ago!
and here they are now….

428 yards… Sport weight.

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Demolition Done!

We are at a pivotal point in our conversion. The demolition stage is done! Looking on Kijiji last week I found someone that does mobile AC work. I sent him an e-mail and after a few back and forths we settled on a price and took an appointment for him to come Saturday. With his help the last of the luggage racks came out, the freon from the AC (some of which went into our car because we were having AC problems there also) and then the units themselves came out. It was a lot of hard and dirty work but it needed to be done and honestly, we were very happy to have a mechanic to do it! He also loves our project and has offered to help us with some other mechanical stuff that needs to be done. In exchange we gave him the units and he will be able to sell them for pieces or in whole and we will work out other exchanges as time goes by. 20140517_140303

We also had another friend come over on Sunday. Ludovic is a old cadet/high school friend of mine… (I have known him for 25 years! wow!). The last time I saw him he had offered to help us out. He is more into carpentry but having his help on Sunday kept us going and he was a great bit of help to finish dismantling the rest of the AC that was disconnected, getting the last of the floors out, getting the last traces of the luggage racks out and getting the drivers seat out. He also brought his beautiful dog Spot over for the day which the kids absolutely loved!

20140518_145250 What Simon looked like after being under the bus for a while… 20140518_174358 Yesterday, Sunday was cleaning time… in the bus and in the neglected house. There were a few screws left to grind and then all the metal pieces to pick up and find a place for and then we swept the floors. May14-105May14-89 May14-117

All that is left in the Bus now are the heaters that are still connected and the table that holds our tools for now. The rest is done. Today I vacuumed and then washed the floors and suddenly the scent in the bus changed. it doesn’t smell like a bus anymore. I can’t wait until it smells like home.

A Family First…

I have to say that I knew the day would come at one point. Our family’s first broken arm.

On Thursdays I go out to a knitting group (well, I felt while they knit). I left at about 6 and stopped in front of the neighbors to tell the boys that Supper was almost ready and to start heading home and then headed to the group. After the knitting group I stopped at the grocery store and then went to get some take-out supper for Simon and I (sushi for me and Pad Thai for him) and then got home at 9. Right away, Khéna came and told me that he got hurt. Another neighbor asked if they could go hang out with her after supper they headed back home to ask Simon and then headed back to tell her the answer and on the way back there Khéna’s bike slipped in mud or he get the side of the sidewalk or something but he lost control and fell over. He had put his arm out to break his fall and he hurt his wrist. Now this is 3 hours after it happened, he had eaten, had his bath and even picked up his playmobils. The way he was holding his arm to his side and not wanting to move it raised the red flag for me. I wanted to see his hand but it hurt to move. There was no bruise, no swelling or anything but I just knew.
I told Simon that we should go and I hesitated for a few seconds because honestly, I hate the local hospital and I do not trust them. But we got him dressed and we left.
Miraculously, the waiting room was quiet. We took a number and were called right away to triage and the nurse put a splint on it and sent us straight Radiology. As I stood behind the screen with the radiologist, the x-ray popped up on the screen and it was very clear. He had definitely broken his Radius.


We headed to the waiting room and were called right away into a room and waited for  while there. The doctor on duty didn’t even come to see us but a nurse came in and said that we were to come back in the morning to see the orthopedic surgeon and we could just leave him in the splint for the night. So we left the hospital at about 11:15 and needed to come back at 8 the next morning.

I came home and with adrenaline pumping I didn’t fall asleep until about 3am and then had a restless sleep until getting up at about 6 to get ready. I woke up Khéna and Colin and Wilhelmina and left Xavier sleeping as he stayed home while I went to the hospital with the other 3. We got to the hospital at 8 and after waiting for a while we were told that the doctor would not be there until about 9:30. So we waited until he finally arrived at about 10. After looking at the X-ray, he informed me that both the Radius and the Ulna were broken which meant that he would need a full cast and he was looking at up to 8 weeks in a cast. The bone would also need to be set.

He brought him in a room and then they asked me to step out with the kids. It was so hard to step out and it was heartbreaking to see Khéna watch me go but I agreed that it was better that the kids not see it. I went into the waiting room and after about 3-4 minutes I couldn’t stand it anymore and asked a family that was there with us since the morning if they could just keep an eye on Wilhelmina and I went to be with Khéna. I opened the door and asked if I could go in and she smiled and said that he was sitting right next to her. And he was. Already with his cast on. He had tears in the corner of his eyes but he did not shed a tear at all. So brave and so strong. I gave him a big hug and I felt some of his stress release and we headed to the Radiology department again to make sure that the bone was right. We waited for while and again he went inside alone but he knew what to expect and he knew that there was nothing to fear.


With everything alright, they fit him with a sling and then gave us an appointment to head back in 3 weeks for another X-ray. If it is healing well by then, they will take the full cast on and fit him with a smaller one. That is what we hope will happen in any case.

We left the hospital and he requested Sushi so I picked some up on the way home and he of course made the first stain on his cast with soy sauce. Very fitting. Then he watched one of his favourite shows (America’s Funniest Home Videos) on Netflix and fell asleep for a well deserved nap.

Today his energy is back and he is trying to adjust to what he can do with one hand. Luckily he has amazing siblings that are willing to help, along with a little sister that bugs him just like before. So besides a few limits, life goes on as usual.

First attempts at Dyeing

A stone troll trying to burst out of my crock pot? No… roving soaking up coffee. This was my first attempt at dying roving.

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To be honest, it didn’t work out as planned. Not that the colour didn’t turn out, but my roving felted which is not a good thing when you are wanting to spin. Luckily it was a small batch so I tried again right after with a new batch and got a better result. It turned out a light caramel colour which I thought was a perfect addition to that purple that I still had.

What do you think? 210 yards of Worsted weight (8 WPI) in purple and coffee dyed merino…
My 2nd (or technically 3rd) attempt at dyeing was done with food colouring….

Here is the roving soaking in water and vinegar to prepare for dyeing (I was so nervous someone would come by and throw something into the sink… I think I will use a container next time!)


The roving is next spread out out on the table on plastic wrap….


Then I added the dye. I used four colours. Teal, brown, orange and green. Before wrapping it up I did press the dye down and make sure it was all covered but looking back, I should have used higher concentrations of dye.


I then steamed it for 30 min and at the end, most of the dye was exhausted but the coloured broke (which I expected) and I don’t think I left enough time for the green to really set.

This is what it looked like after coming out of the steamer…


And then the result once dried…

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It turned out a bit more pastel than I wanted but I am pretty happy with the result… I can’t wait to spin it up and see what it looks like and I also can’t wait to try again!

More Spinning and a New Wheel….

I wanted to write this post 2 weeks ago… wow… so many things to do and it is hard to sit down and take the time to write.

My first spinning wheel didn’t stay in the house for long. I bought it on a friday and by Monday I felt the limitations and I also confirmed to myself that spinning was something that I wanted to do. That was part of the hesitation of buying my coveted wheel in the first place. With that hesitation gone, there was nothing left keeping me from buying the wheel I wanted. A wheel that I would not only be able to grow into but I may not grow out of soon and as a bonus, would be able to fold so that it would come with me when we head onto the bus.

This wheel is the Lendrum wheel.

Made in Ontario by Mr. Lendrum for the last 30 years, this wheel is loved by many. I ordered it from a distributor in Ontario on the Wednesday and on Friday, it arrived at my door. Exactly 1 week after I bought the Kiwi 2 (which is now sold and in someone elses home as their first wheel)

I got the Lendrum Complete Kit. It has a double treadle and came with the regular flyer, 4 bobbins, a Lazy Kate,  a fast flyer and a jumbo flyer and bobbin. It folds into half for easy transport and spins beautifully.



Here it is all set up and ready to spin!

My first thing that I spun on it was this purple…. 

Which I then Navajo Plyed… not my favourite but it is all practice…

I then made another attempt at this colourway which I love… I needed to make more because I wanted to then knit it up into something wearable.


Isn’t it pretty?

Then I made this pretty yarn using a orange merino and plying it with white merino…

This is one of my favourites… it is 163 yards of DK weight (13 WPI) I call it “Creamsicle”


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