Today I am so pleased to welcome Dawn of Simple Things Notebook to the blog. I was first introduced to Dawn through Rhythm of the Home. We shared the same month as guest bloggers in their Being series. I was quickly drawn to nature photography and began following her blog. Her words and photographs really bring you into her world. You can smell the dark earth and feel the dew in your hair. She is also one amazingly crafty gal and I have been pinning away at her craft posts.
Seeing as I am smitten with her photography I decided to put a little twist to this interview and ask her to answer some of the questions with photos. She did not disappoint!
1) In three pictures or words can you tell us what things are the most meaningful to you about living in Nova Scotia?
2) In the first 5 minutes of looking through your blog I see you are a super crafty person. What are your 5 favorite materials to work with? What was the first thing you ever made? What was the most disastrous thing you ever made?
Fabric is by far my favorite material to work with in general. Linen and cotton batiks top the list, but recycled denim is right up there too. I have also just recently discovered the fun of working with burlap from recycled coffee sacks. And felt would have to be in there too.
I grew up with amazingly creative parents so we were always pitching in to help my mom or dad make something. My dad was a wood turner and mom dabbled in just about everything except sewing when I was younger. So of course being the rebel I was (ha) I wanted to learn to sew. The first attempt I remember being a success was a little cotton V-neck shirt. It was a cute little floral print. I remember feeling very proud.
I knew I wanted to learn more about sewing. I started looking around for a sewing class and found one at one of the old historic Missions nearby (I grew up in California.) I was the youngest in the class by about 40 years. The older ladies were very nice but the sweat suit I made out of a gray knit was a total disaster. I have not sewn with knits since.
3) From all of the gorgeous nature pictures we see each week on your blog, it’s clear that your family takes lots of outing and hikes. What are you favorite go to snacks when you are out and about?
My daughter has taken over our hike snack preparation. She always makes a trail mix for us before we head out. It is basically just mixed nuts but she loves putting it together. I also always have a bar of dark chocolate in my bag. We usually have our snack and a little bit of chocolate at our turnaround point.
4) I recently saw picture of your cold frame out in the snow growing little sprouts. What are some of the pros and cons of gardening so far north?
Gardening in California was a relative no-brainer compared to gardening here. The growing season here is really short, with most gardeners not putting anything out until around the 1st of June. There are also some of our favorite things that just don’t grow well here like melons and peppers. Even tomatoes can be difficult.
We do have wonderful harvests of potatoes, carrots and garlic. This last summer was a warm one without much fog here on the coast so my basil went wild.
I am really excited about our first winter with the cold frames. It has been wonderful to harvest fresh greens with snow outside. I also overwintered some carrots in the main garden. We just recently harvested the last of those. Grow lights are a new addition to our gardening mix. It is amazing what a difference it makes for succession planting to start seeds under the lights. It has been fun to stretch the limits of the gardening season.
5) I have two little girls and we are just starting out on our home learning journey, but your kids are already in the thick of it. Can you tell us why you love home learning and how moving to Nova Scotia has changed the way you approach learning, if at all. What books if any would you’re commend to new home learning parents?
I always knew that I wanted my children to have the freedom and encouragement to follow their passions and my husband felt the same. That was the main driving force behind our decision to homeschool. We are happy to see that both of our kids have definite passions and pursue them with excitement.
It is hard to say if moving to Nova Scotia changed our learning specifically. Since we are a west coast family learning about the natural and cultural history of this region has been a huge focus for us over the past five years. But it would have been fun to see those things through fresh young eyes if we had stayed in California.
I think the bigger change has been the evolution of our learning as the kids age. The level at which they engage in ideas and projects has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. It is exciting to see.
I recently had a neighbor ask me about homeschooling. She is debating it for her growing family. I gave her two books: Projected-Based Homeschooling and The Well-Trained Mind. Those may sound like crazy choices (being at opposite ends of the spectrum) but they are wonderful for new homeschoolers because they offer very different angles on learning, while also revealing the possibilities for creating a learning environment that is right for your child and family.
I know you recently did a review of Projected-Based Homeschooling. Lori has been a huge influence from the very beginning of our homeschool journey, almost five years ago, so I was beyond excited to see her finish her book and share her philosophy.
I appreciate the well-researched and developed curriculum suggestions in The Well-Trained Mind for skill development. When the kids have a skill set they would like to develop and are in need of a more formal curriculum I turn to this book for recommendations. We rarely use curriculum, but we recently purchased a math curriculum and they are excited about adding it into our learning mix.
6) Whenever I read your words and admire your lovely images I always feel a sense of peace. Can you show us three things that bring you peace and help you feel balanced?
7) I really enjoyed your mini photo series of one random day. It reminded me of The series Morning, Noon, Night by Heather of beauty that moves. Can you show us one of your favorite place in three picture at different times of day?
These cottonwood trees in our front yard capture my attention for an embarrassing amount of time each day. Our neighborhood family of crows spend a lot of time high among their branches, along with other flocking birds like waxwings and starlings. And we all love to bird watch. Beyond these trees is the bay and little island where we watch the tides, water birds, and the occasional mink. It is a wonderful view.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and go on a photo exploration. You can connect up with Dawn on her blog at Simple Things Notebook or follow with her on Twitter @DawnSuzette.
If you are interested in seeing other interviews I have done click here.