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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Friday, 29 April 2011
Congratulations to Melissa Zeffer!

Become a fan of our Facebook page for latest news, giveaway info 
and 'fan only' specials and sales.
You can also become a Follower of this blog (box in left column) 
so you never miss a thing!

**The entry deadline for this giveaway has been extended due to BTRT's absence during the timeframe, due to a family funeral**
This week we welcome Jenn Alexander, the owner and vision behind Pulling at Strings, an online fiber and yarn store specializing in indie artisans. Take a peek at her bright and appealing shop and you will find not only yarn and fiber, hand dyed and gorgeous, but also a great selection of handmade accessories including yarn bowls, shawl pins and stitch markers.
 I asked Jenn to tell us about her business and she said:
Pulling at Strings grew out of my love of artisan dyed yarn and fiber. I love supporting indie dyers and crafters and wanted to share and showcase their work with the world, particularly the work of WAHMs. Knowing that every skein, braid, shawl pin, etc, sent to me was hand created with love, sweat, and a pair of skilled hands fills me with awe, respect, and love. There is nothing like knowing what you hold in your hands was independently crafted just for you.

While I am sometime sad that I no longer paint or knit as my business anymore (as I did with babyMACH) I do thoroughly enjoy my job as a retailer and fledgling pattern designer. Currently I only have 2 patterns available, but I have one almost ready for release and a few more that are almost ready for testing. It's extremely exciting to see others knitting from patterns I write. 
 When asked what is inspiring her right now:
With 4 kids, I find it hard to get out and end up spending most days at home. Being crammed inside my little house, I've learned to appreciate the beauty inside and around my home, and even more appreciate where I go when we actually leave it. This has been so inspiring to me, that I've been creating exclusives colorways with some of my favorite artisans. These colorways are all inspired by local events that we frequent, my children, and everyday life for our family. Helping shape the final colorway and working with the dyers is a wonderful and amazingly creative process that I thoroughly enjoy.
A great family day at Jenn's home is:I guess that would be a day when I feel that I have accomplished something. I've learned that at this time in my life, it is impossible to accomplish everything I have on a todo list, yet I cannot just toss the todo list for a day of nothingness since that just means my next day will be overpacked as well. I have 3 areas that I focus on: Housework (laundry, cleaning, organizing), Pulling at Strings (listing products, designing, packing and shipping, inventory, etc), and Family (quality playtime, cuddling, reading stories, being mommy.) As long as I strike a balance between these three areas, I find that I feel better about myself, my business, and my life; which in turns puts me in a good mood and leads to a great family day. Happy mommy = happy family, and honestly, that's what life is all about. 

::The Giveaway:: 

4 oz. Sweetheart SW Fingering Weight Yarn
Kettle dyed by Katie and Sharon of Yarn Love, Sweetheart is a delicious blend of royal purple, fuchsia, bubblegum pink, and chocolate.

Scarlett O'Hara is a superwash fingering weight 60% merino, 30% bamboo, 10% nylon wool that has a beautiful silken sheen.  Approximately 4oz, 410 yards with a recommended needle size of US 0-3.



TO ENTER:
This week we are offering four ways to win
(and you may use all four, you must leave a comment confirming each entry)
1) Leave a comment on this post about your favourite item at Pulling at Strings
2) Become a Fan of Pulling at Strings
3) Become a Fan of Beneath the Rowan Tree
4) Become a FOLLOWER of this blog (box in left hand column).
5) Already a fan or follower? 
Invite a friend to do the same and get one more entry for each friend
who completes #1,2 or 3 above! Just have them put your name on their entry as their referrer!
(be sure to leave a way to contact you, either through your blogger ID, email, or other 
on EACH entry)::
The winners will be randomly drawn from qualifying entries on Monday, May 9, at 10 PM est.
This giveaway is open to anyone (anywhere)
♥♥♥
Thursday, 28 April 2011
As you may know, I have been working on a 'Princess Proofing' series.  And one of the planned posts pertains to the value of learning about real princesses.  And this week, with the wedding of Wills and Kate, we have one royal 'teachable moment' on our hands!

I'll admit to holding a fond memory of rising at 3 am 30 years ago (!) at the age of 7 to watch the Royal Wedding of Charles & Diana.  My grandmother was a royal watcher and as years past, I enjoyed thumbing through her royal books and watching the young princes at play on the pages.
And so, being good Canadians, Commonwealth, and all that... I have decided that we will embrace the wedding fever, at least participate and take our teachable moments as they come.  If nothing else, have some fun and maybe create some happy memories for Rowan of the day we watched the Royal Wedding (although we will *not* be rising at 3 am... oh the joys of modern PVR technology!).
With this in mind (and with a terribly busy schedule this week) we quickly whipped up some royal-worthy fascinators to wear to the wedding... being young and modern, we are eschewing hats in favour of the elaborate hair clip.

The humble clips....
The 'stuff'... (oh, the stuff!).
We hastily made some curled petal satin flowers (so hastily I burned some edges!), stitched in rosette centers and embellished with silk cord and ribbon. And we are ready to take our seats in the Abbey.
A little too garish, perhaps? Maybe so, but did you *see* the hat Camilla wore to her wedding to Charles? 
Eep.
We'll report back after the event, and after our royal tea of cucumber sandwiches, angel food cake and, well, tea. Cheerio!♥
In Waldorf pedagogy the days of the week each have an associated colour, and the colour for Thursday is orange.
Here are some great oranges to brighten the day and mark the season for your home, nature table or just for fun!  I started my search with the Natural Kids Team and found all of these lovelies! 

1. Carrots! by Fair Trade Family.
2. Bunny! by Fairy Folk.
3. Bamboo! by Tickety Bu.
4. Sunburst! by Harvest Moon By Hand
5. Lily! by Chimera
6. Fairy! by Elemental Handcrafts
7. Flower! by Handfull
8. Gnome! by Beneath the Rowan Tree

{I apologize for the copious exclamation points! I think all the bright oranges went to my head (!).)♥♥
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Beeswax polish is a wonderful, all natural way to preserve 
and protect your wooden treasures, toys and trinkets (furniture, too!).  
Here's how to make your own!

This is the finish we use on our wooden toys at BTRT.
First and foremost, because it is natural and safe for little hands (and mouths).
Add that it provides a beautiful gleaming finish that brings out the warmth of the wood, that it repels water, dirt and oils, and can be re-applied as needed to restore the beauty of any natural wood surfaces.
And it smells good. (oh that your monitor was scratch and sniff right now!)
And is great for your hands!
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Set aside about 30 minutes to complete this project.
Supplies Needed:
  • Beeswax (50 ml melted wax will make nearly 8 oz. of polish)
  • Jojoba Oil (5 oz./ 150 ml will yield 8 oz. of polish
  • Glass measuring cups in suitable volumes
  • Pot 
  • metal spoon
  • essential oils, if desired
  • glass or other non-porous, sealable containers
You can make as much or as little polish as you like, 
simply keep your beeswax to jojoba oil ration at 1:3.
For a softer polish, increase the jojoba (technically a wax, but liquid at room temperature).
For a harder polish, increase the beeswax.

1) Gather your supplies:
Set your pot on the stove, high heat, and fill part way with water to boil.
Put your measuring cup for melting the beeswax in the pot to heat with the water.
OR create another double boiler of your choice.

Make sure your jars or containers are clean and dry, set aside.

Figure out how much polish you plan to make, and measure the jojoba oil into the second measuring cup.
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2)  Melt the Beeswax.
SAFETY FIRST: Beeswax has a melting point of 143-148 degrees.
All waxes may ignite if they are heated to their flashpoint.
Never melt your beeswax in the microwave.
Always use a double boiler set up and remove the wax from the heat once it has melted.
TIP: Use a grater to shave off smaller amounts of beeswax for faster melting.I generally choose a small chunk, melt it in the measuring cup and eye up whether I have enough, adding more if needed.  If I over-melt, I simply pour off the excess into a non-porous container to cool and store for later use.
Mind that your pot does not boil dry and simply wait for the beeswax in your glass measuring cup to melt.

3) Mix the Oils.
When your beeswax is liquified, pour the needed amount into the glass measuring cup holding your jojoba oil.
Make sure you have figured out your ratio and measurements ahead of time!
Place this mixture back into the double boiler to melt together (the beeswax will immediately begin to harden in the cool jojoba oil~ you could heat the jojoba ahead of time, but why dirty more dishes?), stirring regularly until you have a liquid mixture.
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4) Fill Your Jar(s)
Pour the mixture into your waiting containers. I suggest heating the jars with hot water to avoid shock breakage when the hot liquid wax is poured in!
 Add essential oils at this point.  Just a few drops, and stir.
Lemon and lavender are my favourites.
We actually use flavour oils for added insurance of safety for toys that end up in kids' mouths!
Set the jars aside to cool and set up.
 This may take one to several hours depending on your ratios and temperatures.

5) Go Polish Something!
I prefer a flannel cloth~ preferably an old one so there will be less lint.
I keep my cloths in the jar for storage so they remain lint free and ready for polishing.
Apply one or more thin coats of polish to your wood.
Allow to dry, buff to shine!
Enjoy!
(Top coin has been polished, lower one has not)

BONUS IDEA: Your melted beeswax can be used for making toys and ornaments.  Simply pour it into the candy moulds used for chocolates, which come in endless shapes and sizes.  Let them cool and pop them out.  To add a string for hanging, simply use a hot needle to pierce the wax.

You can also poke about online for waxed paper boats and more beeswax fun!


{{Some folks are unsure about where to find beeswax. You can try a local apiary (we get ours from a local honey farm), or checkout online sources such as busybeebeeswax.ca .  You can search for beeswax, but also 'encaustic supplies'}}


Have fun! Feel free to link up your own beeswax adventures in the comment section! 
This feature is one of my favourites... literally... I take a whirl through the shops that have marked mine as a favourite on Etsy and make a discovery of a wonderful shop to feature.  This time, I will admit to finding the shop less by random swirling and more by mutual shopping!

Serena Wilson Stubson's shop 'Heavens Earth' has been in *my* favourites for some time now.
Blending paper, paint, colour and vision, Serena creates engaging and delightful art with intriguing layers and textures. And birds, circles, flowers, houses and trees~ some of my favourite motifs!
Orange Bird Love Song
Serena lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is the mother of one little fellow, with a daughter on the way. A daughter namd Poppy *swoon* I knew I loved this woman, the name rocks, no?
3 orange, 2 green, 3 blue flowers
The image above is part of an original painting featured on the front cover of the May/ June 2010 Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine. You can check out Serena's shop and read more about her work as a mixed media artist (and a mom) on her blog "what a sweet life ♥"
yellow house 8
As cool as Serena's artwork is, you will be delighted to find out that you can wear it, too!  Throughout her shop you will find brooches, pendants and other incarnations of her work. You really must take a peek ♥
Enjoy ♥!
Welcome to the Playdate!
Everyone is welcome to link up to this post all week long with your play related posts, pics and ideas!
Snag the button below and add it to your blog or post...

Spring is trying to arrive, here in Northern Ontario~ which generally means a mix of rain and snow, sunshine and cold winds.  But hearty souls that we are, we take advantage of every spare moment for the rites of passage belonging to this season.

And one of those is the bicycle. Tricycle. Big Wheel. Wagon. Whatever has wheels...

There is an exhilaration that comes with the feel of speeding off under your own power (or that of a parent who knows the thrill and provides the power for the younger child!).  I remember well the joy of motion and confidence that come with riding one's bike~ it is a sense of our own determination and strength, moving as one with the bicycle over terrain we had to walk across all winter long.  And the particular elation of mastering the 'big bike' and all the independence that goes with it.

Watching my daughter learn her way around a much bigger bike this year (and much heavier) has been exciting.  Practicing the best grip on the handlebars for walking it, learning to let go of it should it fall to avoid painful entanglements.  

And helping her work towards the lofty goal of 'no more training wheels' brings back the muscle memory of what it takes to ride a bike.  The need to place your foot on the high pedal and push with the other foot to gain momentum. The delicate adjustments of the handlebars while in motion to restire balance. The lean of the turn. It is all in the body... just as they say 'it is just like riding a bike'. When you know it, you know it.

Tell Us About Your Wheeling adventures this spring...

Blog about it, or any other play related topics, photos or ideas and use the link up tool below!  If this is your first playdate at BTRT, follow this link for the button and complete (but simple!) instructions for participation! Don't forget to add the button and link back ♥

Hint: Use the title of your blog post for the 'name' portion of the link up!

Monday, 25 April 2011
We don't have too many opportunities to really get dressed up  in our small town lives, so we do it up big for Easter... or at least Rowan does (I am usually so exhausted and bleary eyed by Easter Sunday I am lucky to put my clothes on right way 'round).
In your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the easter parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the easter parade.
On the avenue, fifth avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your easter bonnet,
And of the girl I'm taking to the easter parade.
This year, I spotted the pattern for the 'Darla Jumper' from Kati Cupcake and I was smitten.  Combine that with a passionate spring fling I am having with kate Spain's 'Central Park' line and I couldn't wait for spring!
I was not overly happy with the pattern itself and found it had a number of shortcomings in both the writing (lack of photos, unclear directions) and in the finished dress. While I would make significant changes were I to use it again, we did enjoy getting Rowan all dressed up for Easter Sunday services!
  A shrug and a very hastily made satin flower brooch on Easter morning finished it off.... (just what a crafty mom needs between services and an unfinshed sermon, a sewing project!) (note the hint of her  stitches on her chin ~ chin met pool changeroom floor.... floor won)...


Rowan was so taken up with getting dressed up that she even let me do something pretty with her hair (usually ponytails are as much as she will allow) although she 'hated' it when it was done!  I loved it ♥.
 What's in your spring project basket? What projects are you excited about right now?
Saturday, 23 April 2011
I have seen this kicking around on various blogs and since I am feeling revelatory tonight, I thought I would share 7 confessions of my own.

{{1}} I used to have a registered goat herd. Pygmy goats~ I adored them.  And I would love to have goats (and sheep!) now. And a horse, which I would never ride, thanks to a back fracturing accident at 16~ I still love them, but have no desire to ride on anything with a brain!~ I think I could happily live a pioneer life, off the grid somewhere here in the north.  My husband, however, could not. Impasse.
{{2}} Sticky freaks me out.  I can do slimy, muddy, dirty, dusty... pretty much any kind of unclean you can name... anything but sticky.  As a toddler, all I had to say to my daughter was "How does Mommy feel about sticky?" and she would parrot back "She doesn't like it!". I can do sticky, like glue during crafting, when I know I can go wash it off. But a kid with sticky maple syrup fingers touching me and leaving stickiness. Eek.

{{3}} My escapist film genre? It is a toss up between historical period dramas (I read Gone With the Wind in Grade 7 and  I was hooked) and teenage comedies (being a 'Sixteen Candles' and 'Breakfast Club' vintage girl), which, I sadly admit, I thoroughly enjoy when I want to just relax and get away. The last one I watched was 'Easy A'. Both classes of film which I must watch alone. Impasse, again.
{{4}} I have PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) and no, it is not just bad PMS.  It is a mood disorder (recently classed as such), and while I likely have had it since my early twenties, it has only become an issue since having my daughter 5 years ago and flowing out of PPD (and one hopes it will disappear with menopause!). About 1/2 to 2/3 of every month is a struggle for me: anxiety, depression, physcial pain... mitigated by antidepressants, but some times are worse than others.  It has been a real personal struggle to accept this for what it is and to maintain healthy and open relationships when there are days when all I want to do is disappear until it is over.  But it was put to me like this: if I had a bad leg, I may not be able to run 10 miles every day, but I could walk 5.  So when I can, I run ten, and when I can't , I try to be gentle with myself and enjoy the 5 I can walk.  Most people would (and will) never know this is an issue for me, because I keep it that way. On the other hand, I am not ashamed, I think I am a darn functional person despite the PMDD(!), and if sharing this connects with someone else, then it is worthwhile!

{{5}} I am an ordained minister (gosh, that can be harder to confess than the PMDD! given people's preconceived notions...) and have been practicing ministry for nearly 17 years with the United Church of Canada. I work full time, in addition to having my business (BTRT). And I would rather do a funeral any day over doing a wedding~ sounds twisted, I know, it isn't about enjoying death, but about being in a place where people really connect with one another and our human condition.

{{6}} I am hooked on Lucky Charms. Yep. The junk cereal I would never let my daughter eat.  It started on a camping trip last summer, when I realized that the world of  sweets from which I am cutoff due to a complete dairy intolerance (longstanding, protein issue) opens wide in the junk cereal aisle... so many sweet treats, just add soy milk! My dream line up would be Chocolate Lucky Charms, Corn Pops and Froot Loops.
{{7}} I have a huge pile of clean laundry in my basement (outside the dryer). My husband is supposed to fold it and bring it to me to put away. He never 'gets around to it' and I adamantly refuse to do it any more~ thereby defeating his 'if I leave it long enough she will just do it' strategy. I often wear unmatched socks as a result. Clearly, I am winning. (Impasse, anyone?)
There. 7 confessions from me.
How about you? Add your link to your confessions in the comments, please!
C'mon, it is good for the soul (I ought to know!). ♥♥
Friday, 22 April 2011
A warm welcome to Erin, thoughtful and eloquent mom of three~ telling the story of her life interrupted (in a way that is perhaps more common in the US than for us Canadians?).  If you have a parenting story to tell, or something to share and you are interested in guest blogging here at BTRT, drop me a line!

My Life Interrupted
People like to ask me two questions when they learn that my husband is deployed.  #1 "How do you do it?" and #2 "What, are you supermom?"  My answers are "I don't know" and "Good grief, NO!".


But, if you really want to know, my typical day as a single wife with kids = Chaos.  I'd like to say it is at least organized chaos, but it isn't.  When Manley is home and not playing with planes (um, I mean serving our country in the Air Force) life with three children in fun organized chaos.  The kids are always the center of our day.  
When he's away we all go into survival mode.  I am so outnumbered, even an extra set of hands wouldn't help.  3 extra sets, maybe.  The children are; Rayna (7), Maris (turns 5 in May) and Griffin (turns 2 in July) plus two dogs and a three legged cat.


My day revolves about getting everyone where they need to be as close to on time as possible.  Rayna has to be at school by 8, Maris at preschool by 8:45 (note: there is just enough time between school drop offs to stop by Dunkin Donuts for an iced coffee!  Caffeine is my bff), then I cram in the Y, grocery shopping, bill paying, maybe a play date with the AP group, mail a package to Manley, laundry, clean the kitchen from breakfast, etc and it is time to get Maris from preschool.  That is all a typical mom's morning, though.  And, if Dunkin Donuts coffee isn't part of your morning routine, I certainly hope another coffee joint is!


Afternoons are the quiet before the storm - nap time.  Blessed nap time!  For the kids, anyway.  I start dinner.


Once Rayna gets home from school we start all over with homework, soccer, swim lessons, bible study... This is the time of the day when I could cry from wishing so hard the garage door would go up and my husband would come rescue me from the noise/wants/needs of the kids.  Oh, and if he happens to get the chance to call - everything stops.  Everything! Meals, baths, bedtime, soccer games...it all gets put on hold to hear his voice.  The world takes a wonderful deep breath and we are a family again for a few minutes.  We live for the ringing of the phone.

I've watched our children grow up immensely these past few months.  There is no one to turn to and gasp at when a milestone is reached.  I try to down play them when I talk to Manley.  The hardest part of him being away is just that, he's away.  He's missing so many memories that can't be recreated.  There is always a quiet moment on the other end of the phone when I tell him of the great things his children have accomplished recently.  It hurts to hear the catch in his voice when he does speak again.  I can hold and snuggle our kids when they miss Daddy.  I can sneak in their room and watch them sleep when I miss my husband.  We have each other.  When he misses us, and the phone conversation ends, he's alone and far away.  I can't make it better for him.

But, the kids won't slow down just because Daddy can't be here to witness it!  The baby is now walking (ok,running) , mimicking everything his sisters do and talking.  Maris is getting ready to turn the big 05 and  graduate 4K and move on to joining her sister at the "big school" and Rayna, Rayna is my hero.


She's only 7 but she amazes me every day.  Rayna and Manley are two peas in a pod.  Manley is Rayna's best friend.  The day he left for duty, she broke.  She begged me not to leave Daddy at the airport through heart wrenching sobs and tried to grab onto the pillars in the parking garage just to be able to stay as close to him as possible.  (Just so you get a clear picture of this:  Rayna is screaming, sobbing and trying to run back into the airport across 4 lanes of traffic.  Griffin is perched on my hip crying because it feels like I am about to drop him while trying to crab at Rayna.  Maris is pulling at my shirt asking where we are going to go for lunch. I promised them lunch out.  Go ahead, you can laugh.  It is funny.  Now.  And I am sure it is all on a security camera somewhere soon to go viral.)


Back to Rayna: She refused to eat even her favorite foods and she shook when a plane flew overhead for days.   But, she still did this really amazing thing because her father couldn't be here to do it.  She gave her heart and soul to help other kids who needed a friend.   Last month, Rayna shaved her head for St. Baldrick's.  She shaved it.  Bald.  And, boy is she stunning!  She shines even more now.

Manley participated in the charity for the past two years and, upon learning his dates, Rayna asked if she could stand in his place.  She wanted to show kids that they are beautiful no matter what. (Yay, she does hear me when I speak. Hope she still believes this when she's a teenager and life gets even more tricky.)  Rayna set a goal of $5000 and through the help of other amazing shavees she became captain of a team and together they raised $15,000 for pediatric cancer research!

The past few weeks have been a little rough.  Kids can be so mean.  Adults can be so mean.  I've watched her get off the bus in tears because someone called her a boy but she also told me, after an especially nasty comment, "But, Mommy, if she had to say something mean at least she said it to me and not someone who was sick. Isn't that why I did this?"   My 7-year-old gets it.  She understands what it is to be a good person.


I don't think I am a supermom at all.  I think I am muddling through what life has handed me and being met with hugs and kisses no matter how much I mess up.  I think I'm blessed.  I think my kids are super kids.  I think most kids are.  Think about it - they are the ones who have to deal with us adults.  They are innocent, loving, curious, free, truthful and we are the ones who change the world around them to fit into our dreams.  I think, if I want to be a supermom, I need to take a lesson or two from my children. 

Many thanks, Erin, for sharing your story (I think you are pretty super, definitely in supermom territory!)
Thursday, 21 April 2011
As is in HOLY COW, what a week.
Not to be sacreligious~ just a crazy week, so I thought I would pop in and wave and promise to be back blogging up a storm in a few days. in the meantime, I'll let a little of the crazy show...

As a minister, this is a busy week, and a powerful week, and a meaningful one.  And a busy one, yes.  And in the midst, we are marking the passing of a 97 year old community saint and beloved educator. 

And I spent last evening in emergency with my daughter who required stitches to close the gap in her chin created when face met swimming lesson changeroom floor. And... and....

I am happy to say I had a chat with the Easter Bunny and he has agreed to visit our house on Monday. Glorious, free (so far) Monday.

And excited to say that our social worker is coming in two weeks to begin our adoption home study!

And now I must run and celebrate Communion at our Holy Thursday service (and hope that the freezing from the filling I had today leaves in the next 30 minutes or it is going to be a drooly service!).
And then listen to a little Jesus Christ Superstar, one of my personal traditions...
and sleep. Sleep is good. Eat first, then sleep.

And I wish everyone a healthy, happy and joyous Easter as we give thanks for all things made new!♥
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Maybe it goes back to my own childhood.
Put me in knee socks and a dress and all I wanted to do was climb something. Or jump over things.  Anything other than behave like a little 'lady' because I was dressed like one.
Maybe it is that my own daughter likes to be comfortable and has serious isues with restrictive clothing which prevents her freedom of movement or imagination.
 Either way, I make it a priority to make clothing that is made for movement~ for climbing trees and jumping over puddles and chasing rainbows.  You know... for real girls!

With this in mind, I am pleased to introduce the Chasing Rainbows™ Reversible Pinafore.
Available in sizes 2T - 5/6T.

 Lots of room to move, combined with high quality quilting weight cottons (I am on the hunt for some organics and have some dyeing projects in mind!) makes for comfort combined with style~ and being fully reversible, you have two tops in one!  The swing style and length allow for wear through several sizes.
Check out our instock clothing at Beneath the Rowan Tree on Etsy, or inquire about custom work.♥♥
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