About Nissa Gadbois

Posts by Nissa Gadbois:

{Making a Home} | Temporary Schoolroom: Finished!

C’mon in and have a look around.

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

Our cultural studies basket, set up with the India resources.

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

St. Anthony, a gift from my mom, watching over the children.

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

Papa’s liturgical books get a special roost.

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

The nature table. Not filled up yet. We’re making a new chalkboard, too. This one was not meant for heavy use.

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

When the mantel comes back into the room, we will use it for our liturgical year displays.  We still need some artwork on the walls, and to change out the beautiful overhead light fixture for something that allows more light.  But it’s pretty wonderful.  Thanks be to God!

ETA::  Most everything you see here was thrifted or gifted.  Anything we bought new, was bought at at a discount place.  Everything was painted to match, so what looks like a large matched set, wasn’t.  Many of our Montessori materials are handmade, except for the pink and blue rods and the set of bells in the green cartons – those were purchased, used, from a fellow homeschooler.  You CAN do this in your own home, if you can spare the space.  I promise.

**Our favourite little saint peggies were made for us by Catholic Folk Toys

Tutorial:: Waldorf-style Pocket Doll

I had a yen to make a pocket-sized dolly for each of my small children.  James is particularly fond of having something to tote around in his hand.  I think he really likes it.


  • Pattern
  • Scrap of soft fabric (chenille, flannel, recycled sweater)
  • Wool yarn
  • Wool suffing
  • Flesh coloured knit (scrap)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Thread

Cut 1 on the fold just as it is. This is the back of your dolly.

Now fold the hood part down and cut another piece on the fold. This is the front of your dolly.

Slit both pieces to the marking. This will form your dolly's legs.

With your wool yarn, make a ball. Make sure to wrap tightly and evenly.

Keep on winding until your ball measures 4 inches around.

Cover your yarn ball with a nice layer of wool batting in order to make the finished base smooth.

Just like this.

Tie off the batting with cotton string. Wind it 'round a few times first and you'll get a nice 'neck'.

Cut a 5 inch square of flesh coloured knit fabric.

See how many gorgeous colours it comes in?

Smooth the fabric over the head base and tie tightly in place with cotton string.

Choose the best side for the face. Embroider eyes and a mouth about halfway down the face.

Using some embroidery floss or cord in your desired hair colour, wind several times around two fingers.

Tie 'round the middle with sewing thread.

Fold loops over themselves so that all of them are facing you.

Sew securely to the dolly's head. ETA: For a more secure head of hair, you could sew the floss directly into the head, creating loops around a finger.

Snip loops to create a fringe.


Set your dolly head aside and take up your front and back pieces. With right sides together, sew arms and legs, leaving ends open. Fold the hood with right sides together and sew the top seam. Leave the face and neck open. Take small hand stitches and make narrow hems.

Sew up the ends of arms and legs like purse strings.

There's little dolly's body all sewn and turned out. Use a knitting needle to poke out the point of the hood and adjust the hands and feet.


Make four balls of wool batting - two slightly larger - for hands and feet.


Stuff the balls into hands and feet, gather up tightly with thread and bury your knots.


Now place the head into the remaining opening, turning the body fabric under slightly. Pin the center top of the hood to the center top of the head. Sew open portions of the arms, and across the neck edge, adjusting the fabric snugly around the chin area. Tack the hood to the head and bury your knots.


You're finished! Now your sweet dolly is ready for his or her first cuddle.


{Thanks to my daughter Cat for assisting with some of the photographs when I ran out of hands!}

{Making a Home} More Original Details

Please, do come in.  We’re getting so much accomplished with the help of family, friends, and our contractors.  The house has sound sills now – part of our home sits on 250 year old barn beams, preserved from a demolition nearby. The joists are being repaired where needed, and new subfloors being laid.  The large barn doors at the end of our carriage house will be removed soon so that wall can be framed in, and prepared for two large windows.  Later, those walls will be finished to create our schoolroom. The inside wall of the carriage house is about half-way demolished.  That area will be opened up and made into a large mudroom, storage, and staircase to the second floor (which will be made into our office and sewing room).

We expect the plumber to come this week to begin getting our bathrooms and kitchen ready.  That is a very exciting step forward!  But that means that our clawfoot tubs must all go to be re-enameled, toilets and sinks ordered, and shower stalls designed.  Brian and I are going to have a go at constructing the showers ourselves – a project we are both looking forward to tackling.  The most difficult part is making final choices about tiles, fixtures, and layouts.

Here are some more shots of original details in the house.  Most will be preserved.  We have been able to find exact reproductions of everything that can’t be preserved – right down to the door hardware and light switches.

The original doorbell hardware. The bell mechanism is gone now, but we managed to find replica at a reproduction hardware shop.

I love the way the red paint faded from the sun. The door isn't tight enough to be re-used on the house, but we'll save it for another project somewhere on the farm. Perhaps the greenhouse?

Our contractor found an exact copy of this door in one of his books, and the brass hardware is fairly easy to replace as it was a common period design.

The newel posts with their beautiful fluting and acorn capitols will be preserved and replaced, as will the handrails. The spindles will have to be replaced with longer ones for current safety codes.

There are two different spindle designs - one on the first flight of stairs, another on this flight heading up to the third floor bedrooms.

We don't have to do much with this massive built-in wardrobe on the second floor landing. There is a crack on one door, but the hardware only needs a cleaning.

I love these brass drawer pulls. Brian found some loose drawers with identical pulls just lying around the house. We're not sure where they came from, but they'll be re-used, probably in my sewing room or the office.

The interior doors are lovely. They'll need very little done with them. We are fortunate that there are very few painted surfaces. Most of the wood was stained and shellacked.

You are free to draw your own conclusions about this sticker on one of the bedroom doors.

I Love Milk.

The house is changing so quickly now.  I’m so glad that we have recorded what came before.  Perhaps we’ll make a scrapbook for future generations to enjoy. And we’re looking forward to documenting the changes as they come along.


Our oldest daughter Cat was wondering aloud about what the house would be thinking and feeling if it *could* think and feel.  I wonder, too…

Inside there are rainbows

It seems that this will be the winter to measure all other winters by.  We had about three feet of snow on the ground last night before we tucked up in bed.  By the time my eyes opened this morning, there was already another 2 inches of fresh snow.  The forecast is for up to 20 inches of snow over the course of the next couple of days.  We may also get a layer of ice over that.  That should make for some beautiful photographs once the sun shows its face again.

While winter blankets all things outdoors, we’re snugged up in the house.  Inside there are rainbows.

You can make your own using the instructions in Feltcraft and some beautifully coloured wool felt.

Days to Remember

Brian arrived safely home on Saturday afternoon.  After meeting him at the terminal, we  made our way out to dinner at one of our favourite restaurants.  Being a Saturday evening, the lobby was teeming with humanity.  The wait was long, and it was loud, and the warmth was frequently penetrated by arctic blasts from the front doors as more diners arrived.

We sat and chatted, trying to keep the children distracted until our table was prepared.

Suddenly I became aware of someone standing on the periphery of our little family circle.  I looked up to see a face I knew well.  A face I hadn’t seen in several years.”Mary!”, I exclaimed.  We embraced each other and the years melted away.  We had an opportunity to catch up with each other – talking about our children, and life in general.  It’s hard to express what a joy it was.  An unexpected blessing.  Those are always the best, aren’t they?  Like a splash of colour in a dreary landscape.

The same kind of magic held the children spellbound in the presence of their Papa.  He becomes the point of colour in their scene.  And  it produces a day or two of blissful harmony in our home.  A warm glow of contentedness.  They wait to be read to, cuddled, petted, told stories of Papa’s week, shown photographs.  Their world is once again in order, the stars and planets set into proper motion again.

The sun shone all day yesterday, made all the brighter by the snow outside the door.  These are just the sorts of days that invite us to pick up a book and get lost in the story, or in beautiful pictures, curled up together in the sofa or seated companionably at the table.  They are days filled with beautiful music, and domestic hum.  Days filled with wood fires and cocoa, stories and naps.  They are days filled with the soft colour of love.  The kinds of days that will be remembered to our grandchildren.

And just maybe they’ll sit in the winter sunlight and share a book that was enjoyed by parent and grandparent before them.

%d bloggers like this: