Grab bag surprises and big changes…

S-p-o-o-k-y  Ghost Jingle Ball from N&N

There has been some wonderful news for our family since my last post.  My husband has been offered a promotion and transfer with the Four Seasons Hotel to…*drumroll, please…*…Austin, TX! We discussed the idea of Austin as a family, going back and forth, making lists, calculations, comparisons, and in the end, packing up and starting on our next adventure is the right choice for our family.

We knew we were going to have to move at some point, we just were not sure when or where precisely.  Opportunities would come and go, and we’d say to each other, “Leave it for now. Something good will come along.” In the end, I’m very pleased that we weighed our choices carefully and made this decision together.

Austin or bust…

Austin is an incredibly vibrant and youthful city. To my great joy it is the “Live Music Capital of the World,” home to the South by Southwest music festival, and an eclectic center of art, culture and technology.  It is the birthplace of Whole Foods (yes, two hippies started it there in the 1970s), so incredibly hot your skin sloughs off like roasted chicken (slight hyperbole!) and sunny almost year-round.  I’ve been told it is so warm at Christmas, many people host Christmas bbq’s! Imagine that. My husband will be working downtown on the banks of Lady Bird Lake and vows to eat authentic, mouth-watering Mexican food every single day. We’re up to the challenge!

To my great dismay, Austin is also home to the largest urban population of bats in North America, numbering 1.5 million! While everyone tells me not to worry, that the bats are instrumental in keeping things like mosquitos and other gnarled flying insects to a minimum, what they don’t know is that I am terrified of these creatures. I saw enough of them on vacations in Italy and Greece to say with confidence that a bat population in the millions will freak the living daylights out of me! That being said, the nightly exodus of Mexican free-tail bats from under the Congress Street bridge in downtown Austin is pretty incredible, and tourists flock to the city just to watch this amazing event night after night between March and November….just check out these videos here and here. Holy phenomenal, Batman! Let it also be said right now that I do not wish to get pooped on by bats, so I hope the colony is listening up! If they aren’t, I’m borrowing Commissioner Gordon’s telephone and calling that red batphone right now…

Niko & Nonnie is still in full swing and will continue to be through the very busy upcoming holiday season.  One of the reasons I started this little business was because it is something that I can do from anywhere in the world; the more moves and adventures we do around the world, the more techniques and materials I will amass, hopefully resulting in a truly unique children’s shop. I will literally be conducting business out of my suitcase for the months of December and January – my carry-on is already stuffed with wool, felting needles and beads!

If you live in Vancouver, Niko & Nonnie’s needle felted vegetable and fruit baskets are now available at a lovely eco-friendly shop for kids called Little Earth located on East Hastings.  Here are some examples of what you might find there:

Tomato, eggplant, string beans, pumpkin, potato

Strawberries, pear, apples, orange, kiwi, lemon

Carrot, cauliflower, tomato, squash, cucumber

Halloween is almost here and I am frantically trying to finish up the trick-or-treat bags I am making for my kids, along with a needle felted princess crown, birthday presents for my son  (although there won’t really be a party considering our house is flooded with moving boxes!)… There will be much making of pumpkin pie, painting of miniature wooden cars and trucks, crayon-making, and baking in a very special new tin I absolutely could not resist…

Recycled stackable crayons

Fabulously huge acorn baking tin

Last but not least, on today’s excursion to the craft store, my son and I picked up a grab bag. Basically, it was a great big sack with what was advertised as $100 worth of fall decor for only $2. We waited to open it until my daughter came home from school and this is what we found:
$2 Grab Bag Loot
Can you spot the irony in this picture? I got a massive chuckle at the inclusion of a banner that reads: Home Sweet Home. Yes – we hope to hang it up…someday!
Stay tuned! xoxo
ps: WIP for the holiday season…

Needle felted Christmas tree ornament


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