Gigi Blog » The life and loveliness of Gigi's World

Gigi Blog bio picture
  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Blessed to be a mother to half a dozen girls & one boy. Wife of an undertaker.
    Photographer. Homeschooler. Daughter of the King. Chicken and goat raiser.
    Lover of Jesus and all things pink and vintage. ♥

A Little Spirit

Lavender and Spirit {who is such a lovely horse – so well mannered and gentle – we are pleased}:

June 26, 2016 - 9:38 am

Danessa Stride - Hello from Newfoundland!! I can’t tell you how much I love you blogs, I look so forward to the next one, keep up the good work:) I love how you are raising precious family, it is so refreshing in todays society to see how much you love the Lord and is teaching this to your children. I love the country and all things vintage! Just love it:):) Keep the blogs coming, look forward to see what other exciting adventure awaits your family:)

June 25, 2016 - 12:26 pm

Erin Lynn - Such a little beauty! She is starting to look like a little girl rather than a baby.

June 24, 2016 - 3:51 pm

Renee - Oooh what lovely pictures! Lavender is so precious!! Xo

Rosewater {DIY}

 

 

“There is simply the rose;
it is perfect in every moment of its existence.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love roses  – what female could resist the charms of such a lovely flower? Alas, I do not love them enough to ask my husband to bring them home at a very costly expense neither could I use them in our wedding flowers with such a high price tag. Roses are such beautiful flowers, so lovely and fragrant and delicately perfect in most ways, however the price of them is just too high for purchasing on a whim.

 

Often wish I could go to my garden and pick a small bouquet for the kitchen table or tea time on Tuesdays …  so this year, I decided to try my hand at a tiny rose garden… just six different varieties of roses scattered through my garden, but mainly near the front porch (which is my favorite place to sit and have tea – which is exactly what I am doing right now).

 

They are so beautiful and bring me so much joy. They replaced a portion of the garden that was simply filled with “filler” ground cover so I am delighted to see this area used in a more pretty fashion.

 

 

Roses are not just amazing for their beauty, however. I was delighted to have roses so I could collect rosehips and use the flowers for various projects – such as homemade rosewater.  Rosewater is often used as a natural facial toner and can be added to baths for a romantic touch. It can be worn as a lightly scented perfume and used to refresh bedding with a spritz bottle.

 

There are a few ways to make rosewater – but the way I chose was very simple.

First, pluck off your rose petals and collect them in your basket. When  you have a nice amount, you may choose to rinse them or place them directly into water in a small pot.

 

Just barely cover the rose petals with water. Cover with a lid and  let the water simmer for about 20 minutes or so until all of the color have left the petals.

 

Strain your water into a measuring cup, which you will use to pour into your glass containers or mason jars.

 

 

 

And that is it! It is very simple and yet produces a lovely reward. If you wanted to intensify the scent, you can either add more rose petals or add a drop of rose essential oil. {Personally, although I would like some, I do not have rose essential oil and actually do not mind the lightly scented water.}

Keep your rosewater in a cool location or the fridge. And enjoy! Tiny, prettily wrapped bottles would make lovely presents for dear friends. I am going to give one bottle to my daughter, who as she gets older, is getting into more of a good nightly routine for cleansing her face. Using rosewater sounds like a romantic, lovely natural way to take care of your skin. Rosewater is antiseptic and an astringent.  It can also be used topically on minor wounds to help heal and stop the bleeding. Rosewater can also gently fade marks of acne or blemishes on the skin.

 

 

There is something very rewarding finding ways to save money, lift your spirit and encourage good health … all from you home.

 

 

“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,
but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice
if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”

-Anne of Green Gables

Linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims

June 27, 2016 - 7:09 am

JES - Good morning! Just a little note to let you know this post has been * featured* this week on The Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! We hope to have you join in again this week! :)

June 27, 2016 - 1:10 am

Kelly-Anne - Oh, what a beautiful, inspiring post! I would love to make my own rose water, but first of all I need to establish a little rose garden of my own… Your photographs left me longing for a dreamy rose garden… {{smiles}}
Visiting from The Art of Homemaking Mondays today!

With love,
Kelly-Anne

June 25, 2016 - 2:35 pm

JES - Another stunning tutorial! I just love your beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims! :)

June 21, 2016 - 6:09 pm

Lauren - Gillian it’s so nice to see your wonderful blog back up and running! I missed it! I so enjoy reading your posts with a cup of tea, during the children’s nap time!

June 21, 2016 - 9:40 am

Sarah - Your roses are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your recipe for rose water. I hope to make some soon!

{Retreat}

 ”A good wife is a good housekeeper.
I know well how unromantic this remark will appear to those whose dreams of married life
are woven of the fancies of youthful sentiment, but these frail dreams of sentiment will not last long amid the stern realities of life,
and then that which will prove one of the rarest elements of happiness and blessing
in the household will be housewifely industry and diligence.”

- Homemaking by J.R. Miller, 1882

It may seem old-fashioned – and perhaps, it is indeed in this feministic, fast-paced-experience-everything-society we are living in- but I truly enjoy homemaking. I love being a mother, I love staying at home, I enjoy schooling the children at home,  I love making the home a blessed sanctuary from the rest of the chaotic and unsafe world.

Our bedroom was the last to be painted and refreshed since moving into our home 2.5 years ago. I could put up with the mossy green colored paint for a while because it was not as bad (in my opinion) as the muddy/butterscotch paint that covered every room in the home when we moved in {bedroom green also pictured here}. So finally .. after everything had been painted … it was our bedroom’s chance to be refreshed.

It is refreshing to change things around, move furniture, give away the extras, sort through items and organize and tidy up a bedroom or closet in a proper way. {I’m certainly not saying my house is super clean. Usually in my home, I finish one closet and I need to tackle another one, or a kitchen cupboard needs organizing along with cubbies in the mudroom, etc. but let’s take it one step at a time…}

And sadly, I do not have before photos of our bedroom … but you can see colors of the walls in the above links … the bedding was changed to summer bedding and the walls were painted. It was not a terrible room, but it certainly needed to be repainted. Everything else was just re-arranged and cleaned, sorted or tossed and moved around. We always have a baby sleeping in our room so hubby’s dresser was moved to inside the closet (he did not mind) to make room for the tiny crib {found on kijiji} in the corner.

I choose the same paint color as the hallway that we redid a few months ago because we all appreciated the calmness and simplicity of the shade.

 

 

 

 

It is most fun to find treasure for decorating. Avoid the big box stores and the mainstream shops. Find treasures in thrift stores or garage sale and your style will be more personal. On the bed, the sweet pillows are hand-me-downs from my mom … the dresser from kjiji, repainted a few years ago … the shelf was a gift from my sister when Abby & I first were married … the bed frame was a gift from Abby’s parents. I spray painted it white a few years ago and should re-paint it again soon. (If you know me well, I usually have a spray can handy for makeovers.) The oil lamps are also from kijiji.

 

 

My favorite party of our bedroom is a little balcony that is accessible from our room… when we moved in, it had no railings. Abby had iron railings made for it, which made it use-able and oh-so-lovely. It has an odd shaped arch at the top of the framework so we have yet to find/make a screen door to fit. I love to sleep in the room with the door wide open. It’s rather silly as anything could come through the door (raccoons, mosquitoes, etc.) but hearing the wind in the trees, the crickets singing, the rain falling … that is the best music with which to fall asleep.

 

There’s just enough room for a little sitting area for two … a sweet lavender bush with some geraniums {which always remind me of my parents, as every summer, they planted geraniums in our garden} are some of my sweet pleasures.

“There are many reasons to ‘take to one’s bed’: heartbreak,
disappointment, irritating husbands, and possibly an illness. This is the reason that you should invest in a peaceful haven from the outside world.”

-The Art of Retreating to Bed

 

 

On the dresser, a picture of Abby & I, a few months into our marriage,  in Zambia on a short term missions project – the best trip ever …

Abby was not sold on this idea, but I took down our sliding closet doors. They were so outdated and ugly. I kept them in case we need to put them back on one day (but would surely need some updating of some kind). Lace curtains will do the job in a much nicer fashion, I think.  {A paint can holding open the door … freshly painted, I still need to put the can away.} It also made the room appear larger, which is appreciated. I did not realize the curtains were mis-matched until I hung them up – I will be on the lookout for matching lace curtains at thrift stores or garage sales this summer.

 

 

Do you enjoy making an old space new again? Do you ever retreat to your bedroom for quiet time? It is quite relaxing. You should try it sometime …

 

June 27, 2016 - 5:36 pm

Kristina - Wow, what a beautiful room! I love the mismatched lace, actually. Isn’t it always the way, that our own bedroom is the last room of the house to be done? We had hospital green paint in our room for a year and a half, until just recently. And the master bedroom in our previous house was hospital green for two years before we changed it, too!

June 22, 2016 - 6:25 am

Gillian - Kristi, thank you for your note. It’s nice to hear from you. I will be praying for you as you welcome another baby into your family! How exciting!

June 21, 2016 - 9:52 pm

Kristi - Hi Gillian, You don’t know me but our parents go to church together (that’s how I found your blog I think..) Anyway I just wanted to say thanks. I probably check your blog once a week for an update. It is always refreshing and uplifting and as a young mom of a 20-month old and a baby due next month, I love reading and learning from you. Thanks for your openness and honesty. I often wonder how you manage to do everything you do…you truly are an incredible Mom, your children surely will rise and call you ‘blessed’! :)

June 18, 2016 - 8:37 am

maike - This looks really beautiful and so light and calm. It is indeed a nice place to retreat to. I very much like the lace curtain idea. It doesn’t look as cold and plump as doors do and not messy and unsettled as open doors. It gives the room a dreamy softness. :-)

June 17, 2016 - 8:57 pm

Gillian - Hi Jen- nice to hear from you! :)
Well, I looked on the can of paint to see a name but there is no name, only a code. It is from Home Hardware. I think the code makes the color so if you’d like, I’ll write it out! :)

June 17, 2016 - 9:49 am

Jen Heemskerk - what a lovely colour for your room. May I ask what it is called? And what brand? You are so incredibly blessed with the gift of interior decorating and making things look so beautiful and simple/quaint. Well done! It all looks very lovely!

Girlhood

 

One of the reasons we wanted to get a {mini} horse is for our eldest daughter – who is 12 years old and growing up quickly but slowly all at the same time… she has had a love affair with horses since she was very little … we did not want miss this little window of girlhood … it is also a great learning/training experience for all involved – all six girls (over time). They can share the responsibility and the joys of owning a mini horse.

 

 

 

We certainly did not want to “spoil” the girls – but we have been waiting to see how they do with their outside barn chores, taking care of animals – (the goats, the chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits … the list goes on here …. always something new!). Between the inside chores and outside chores, they work hard, turning into fine workers. They make mistakes and sometimes still need reminding for certain chores:), they are great helpers around the home. I would never have this many animals if I did not have these girls helping me out! Our life is centered a bit around being home, working at home, getting projects done at home. We  do not give the girls electronics that cost a lot of money (iphone, ipads, anything of that nature – I could do a whole post on that topic!) or sign up for a lot of events/team/sports, summer camps, etc.  We rarely go away (beside camping an hour from here, we have not left for four years) so having the animals care for properly is rarely an issue.

 

 

The previous owner {Applebrook Minis} just left as she came over for a little talk to the girls on hoof care, grooming, etc. They have been so kind and generous with their time to help answer questions and hold our horse until we were ready (we were waiting for school to finish!).

 

 

Abby is in the process of building a second shelter for the horse and chickens (or goats … or whoever decides to home themselves there) as we have already outgrown the first goat barn he built last year. It will be nice to tear down our old *ugly* chicken coop and have everyone re-homed in a much nicer looking shelter. So proud of this man’s willingness to learn new skills – when we move here 2.5 years ago, framing a barn was a complete mystery.

June 27, 2016 - 1:14 am

Kelly-Anne - Dear Gillian, I see that you have six girls and a little boy…so do we!
I am the eldest of seven – six girls {we range in ages from almost twenty to almost four} and a baby boy who joined our family in April! What a blessed journey it is indeed to be part of this family and one learns so much…

Just wanted to tell you I enjoyed my visit to your lovely blog this morning and it has blessed and inspired me! I hope to return for another visit soon…

With love and blessings in the Lord,
Kelly-Anne

June 18, 2016 - 10:25 am

Gillian - Rebecca … yes, having them take responsibility is key.
Sherri, we look forward to seeing you again!

June 16, 2016 - 2:55 pm

Rebecca - Oh I bet your girls are just over the moon! My girls keep talking about wanting a horse — maybe someday we’ll have to get a mini horse. But my oldest is only 6 so I definitely need them to get a bit more helpful with chores first!

June 16, 2016 - 11:32 am

Sherri Smith - Adorable. Miss those girls so much. They will have to show me around the new barn(s) this fall. xo

A Dreamy Day

Yesterday was probably one of our dreamiest days ever as a family.

 

The arrival of a long-anticipated-wished-for-dreamed-of extended animal family member….

 

Yes … something the girls have saved up for, read about, hoped for, but had no clue we had arrangements in the works for their special surprise to arrive this lovely Saturday morning…

 

It was *quite* the morning. After a week of giving tricky hints, the big day had finally arrived. We blind-folded a gaggle of giddy girls as they anxiously waited for the surprise ….it was quite hilarious and hazardous leading them outside off the porch into the backyard while filming/taking pictures, helping toddlers and carrying babies. Kate, the girls’ godmother was here from New York, and captured  the surprise reveal {whilst helping guide blinded girls and little toddler Lavender}…

 

Can you guess what made the day so dreamy?

 

 

 

 

I think everyone was in shock for the whole day …

Welcome to the family, Spirit! You will be well loved, adored and cared for … by many girls who just love you to pieces already.

It did not take the girls long to braid her mane and tail – they couldn’t wait any longer!

 

The girls are still pinching themselves to see if it’s real or a dream … and to be honest, I am too. We have talked about having a miniature horse for the girls for so long, but we never really thought the day would come – or that we would be brave enough to finally do it. But here she is … Spirit … our newest animal family member …

This is going to be a fantastic summer …

 

“All horses, at least once in their lives, deserve to be loved by a little girl.”
-Author Unknown
-

June 15, 2016 - 12:02 pm

Sarah - How exciting! What a fun summer your daughters have ahead of them! : )

June 15, 2016 - 11:27 am

Kate - Such a great day – thanks for letting me be a part of it! Spirit is definitely a lucky horse to have so many girls to love & look after her xoxo

June 15, 2016 - 10:42 am

Lynda lu Gibb - The girls will have an amazing time with Spirit. As a girl I had two horses my first was Ginger , a Shetland..after that it was a pinto named Aurora. Wonderful memories of life on the parties and life. on the farm.

June 15, 2016 - 7:50 am

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - This is so amazing!!! So happy for everyone!!! And I did see a BIG smile on Daddy’s face – he loves making his girls happy! Welcome little Spirit!

June 14, 2016 - 2:34 pm

Maike - Oh how splendidly wonderful! This is going to be so exciting :D
The girls will surely not be bored over summer and the horse in the most loving home there is.