Monday, 21 January 2008

In The Bleak Midwinter

The temperature has plunged in the last few days and we really are experiencing the bleak midwinter. This morning we awoke to -12 C with a wind chill of -22 C. I haven't been out since Saturday morning and I am trying to put off the inevitable as long as possible!

I went to the thrift shop on Friday afternoon and look what I found. I bought this pretty quilt for $6.00 ~ original price $7.99, but they were having a sale! I think that it had only just come in because it was still on a rack with a load of clothes and had not been added to the relevant section. I saw someone else looking at it, but she walked away and then I made my move! She had obviously rejected it because of a couple of marks I spotted, but with a bit of elbow grease and my incredible stain remover, they soon disappeared.

It went straight into the washing machine as soon as I got home, then spent two hours in the dryer with a few drops of lavender oil and was soon fluffed up and sweet smelling.

I had been looking for a quilt for our leather sofa for some time. When we purchased it, we were persuaded that it was perfect for all seasons, but that is not strictly true ~ it is cold to sit on in winter and hot and sticky in summer and yes, it is real leather!

It proved to be the perfect fit ~ it is actually a similar colour to the sofa, which is a creamy/beige leather, so it matches our existing furniture. And in case I want to know whether to venture outdoors, I also found this German-made barometer ~ another $6.00 bargain, which polished up beautifully and is now hanging on the wall in the hall.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Reading And Relaxing

It is a cold winter's evening here tonight. I had planned on posting about a recent trip to the thrift shop and the bargains that I found, but I think that will keep until next week, as I have yet to take some photographs.

We don't actually have any snow at the moment, but with the mercury dropping, I am planning on spending most of the weekend indoors and catching up on my reading. I am currently reading Pride and Prejudice as part of Cherry's book group ~ I've read it before, but it was a long time ago. I'm also reading Murder at Deviation Junction by Andrew Martin which features Jim Stringer as a railway detective. The story is set in Victorian England and this current novel is based in Middlesbrough and York ~ both places that are familiar to me. I think that I may light a few candles to create a homely atmosphere ~ I love watching those flickering flames. Enjoy your weekend and stay warm!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Summer Dreams

We have been to the Toronto International Boat Show today. This show takes place each January and it brings a hint of summer to the cold, dark days of winter. Who can resist dreaming of the summer days to come?

We own a boat, but it is a long time since we have been sailing because it has been undergoing major renovations. It has been a long job and there is still a lot of work to do before we can launch again. We were hoping that it would be ready for this coming spring, but that may be a little has already been out of the water for more than three years.

I know that when we are ready to launch again, it is going to be a reason for a party! I doubt whether I will be allowed to smash a bottle of champagne against the hull (might damage the paintwork), but maybe I can spray it over everyone like they do in Formula One!

Monday, 14 January 2008

The Glass Island

Shortly before Christmas, I was fortunate enough to receive some beautiful pieces of Murano glass jewellery. The necklace was a trade and the earrings a gift.

Glass has been produced for centuries in Murano; an island on the Venetian lagoon. This glass is very colourful and elaborate and the jewellery is quite beautiful. The necklace is formed of tiny beads of glass which form the 'chain' and the pretty pendant in shades of pink.

The photograph does not really do it justice, for it is so delicate and appears to change colour in different lights. I love wearing it and know that I will treasure both pieces in the years to come.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

The Joy Of Journals

A New Year and a new journal ~ blank pages waiting to be filled with thoughts and gratitude for everyday events. I saw this journal and knew that it was just perfect. The cover depicts one of Cicely May Barker's Flower Fairies and what could be more appropriate for both the front cover and the first page I opened than Rose Fairy?

Flower Fairies are tiny creatures that live in gardens and meadows. When a seed sprouts, a Flower Fairy baby is born. Flower fairies live in their chosen flower and look after it, ensuring that it remains strong and healthy. Flower fairies are shy creatures so if you are fortunate enough to spot one ~ the best time to see them is at twilight, midnight or shortly before dawn ~ be sure to keep their presence a secret.

Cicely May Barker's beautiful stories were first published in 1923 and they have delighted generations of children and adults alike.

The World is very old;
But every Spring
It groweth young again,
And fairies sing.

Flower Fairies of the Spring, 1923

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Twelfth Night

Twelfth night marks the end of the season of Advent and Christmas and a time of celebration at the end of the festivities. In the Christian church, it is marked by the feast of Epiphany ~ the coming of the Magi.

Traditionally, it it time to take down the Christmas decorations, although reading many blogs, it would appear that some Christmas trees are lucky to survive the New Year before being unceramoniously dumped outside the home. Even before New Year, I saw beautiful trees lying forlornly outside neighbourhood homes awaiting collection for recycling.

I think that one of the reasons why so many people can't wait to take down their decorations is because they decorate their homes so early. In the UK, I never saw decorations in homes before December at the earliest and often it was only the week before Christmas that my mother would let us put up the tree. Here in Canada, homes are decorated by mid-November, so it seems hardly surprising that people are tired of their trees before New Year.

Traditions associated with Twelfth Night include the drinking of wassail (punch) and the baking of a Twelfth-Cake, which contained a bean and a pea. Those who received the slices containing them were King and Queen for the Twelfth Night celebrations.

Shakespeare wrote his famous play Twelfth Night or What You Will, which was performed as entertainment for the twelfth night in 1602.

Epiphany is an illuminating discovery or revelation. The Magi or wise men brought gifts to the infant Jesus which revealed his existence to the wider world.

However you decide to mark the end of the Christmas season, I wish you a year full of illuminating discoveries and precious gifts.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Can It Really Be Thirty Years...?

I was looking through the BBC Radio 2 website and came across a tribute to Abba ~ a musical extravaganza called The Ultimate Abba Chart, featuring thirty of their top UK singles; album tracks and rare recordings.

Growing up in the late 70's/early 80's; I was a huge Abba fan and I still enjoy their music, so how could I resist listening online? I used to own most of their albums on vinyl records, but they are long gone after many moves across two continents. I replaced most of them with Forever Gold; a compilation of Abba Gold and More Abba Gold; which was released on CD in 1996.

Listening to their songs brings back so many memories and I still remember the words! I sing along ~ hopefully when no-one else is listening ~ and sometimes get up and have a boogie! Abba's music is full of energy and it still has the power to lift my spirits and brighten my day.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

A Cold And Frosty Morning

This morning dawned cold and bright. With a temperature of -14 C (6.8 F) and a wind chill of -24 C (-11.2 F), I was certainly going to need a lot of clothing before I ventured out to post some letters. By the time I was all bundled up in thermal underwear (!) a thick fleece tracksuit and outer jacket; fleece hat, scarf, gloves and boots; I couldn't wait to get outdoors ~ I was dying of the heat!

I decided to go a little further than our local postbox, which gave me a chance to take these photographs. A couple of minutes minus the gloves and I felt like I was going to lose my fingers. It is all too easy to get frostbite in such temperatures and the wind blowing in my face was not a pleasant experience.

Some of you may recognize some of the houses in our neighbourhood from a previous post. They all look a little different under a blanket of snow. We had fresh snowfall yesterday, hence the snow on the ground looks relatively white, although it soon looks dirty after the traffic and the plough has been through.

This is my view on the way home. The roads are clear, but the paths are slippery in places where they have not been cleared properly and they have glazed over with the wind. I decided not to venture far, as I did not wish to risk a fall.

I'm now safely tucked up at home and I have thawed out ~ it looks beautiful out there, but it is lovely to be warm.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Inspirational Blogs

I had a delightful surprise yesterday when I received a comment from Denise at Mrs Nesbitt's Place telling me to drop by and collect not one, but two awards! I have received the 2007 Inspiring Blog Award, which is a huge honour and the You Make Me Smile Award.

The You Make Me Smile Award has been around for a long time, but if you are a reader of this blog and you have not yet received it: please copy and paste it to your blog.

I would like to nominate the following for the 2007 Inspiring Blog Award:

Lynda of Hedgerow Hollow

Rebecca of Irish Sally Garden

Anna of Nature Trail

Tracy of Pink Purl

Thank you all for your inspiration.

Happy New Year!

Ring out the old, ring in the new;
Ring, happy bells, across the snow.
Lord Alfred Tennyson