Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady

Edith Holden was born in Worcester, England, in 1871. She was an artist, illustrator and teacher and she is probably best remembered for her nature notes, which were published posthumously in 1977 as The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady.

Edith wrote her diary about her observations of nature and illustrated them with drawings and poems. Her illustrations are quite exquisite and detailed and I love to think of her out enjoying her walks and spending time obsesrving the beauty of nature around her.

Her entry for 29th April 1906 reads:

'Heavy snow shower in the night: when I looked out this morning the landscape was all white; the distant tors veiled in a mist of driving sleet. Bright sunshine later, with fine effects of sunlight on the distant tors covered with snow.

The Cuckoo has been heard long ago in other parts of the county; but up here on the moors we have not yet heard it.'

Sadly, Edith died a tragic death by drowning in the River Thames near Kew Gardens in March of 1920, while gathering buds from chestnut trees. It appeared that she had over-reached and fallen into the river.

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady is a beautiful keepsake and a delightful read.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Branching Out

Over the last few months, I have added to my collection of Susan Branch books. The collection was started with a generous gift from Lynda at Hedgerow Hollow when she gave me Autumn from the Heart of the Home. Since then, I have acquired three more of the books in the series with lucky finds on eBay of The Summer Book and Heart of the Home Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen. Then, after months of waiting for Amazon to ship Christmas from the Heart of the Home, only to find that it was still unavailable; I found a pristine copy at abebooks.

If you are unfamiliar with Susan's books they are truly delightful with beautiful watercolour illustrations and family recipes. Susan spends her summers at her home in Martha's Vineyard and her Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen is full of recipes for seasonal celebrations with an emphasis on preparing fresh foods to make delicious meals. I can't wait to try them once fresh local produce is available again.

The Heart of the Home is the kitchen and what better way to spend your time than sharing your love of cooking with family and friends?

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Niagara Falls

I was having an online chat with my friend Tracy of Pink Purl this morning when I mentioned that I was in Niagara Falls yesterday. She said that she had never been ~ this post is for you Tracy!

These are old photographs, as you will probably guess ~ we don't have leaves on the trees this early in the year. Living close enough to visit The Falls whenever we choose; we don't actually take that many photographs, so I had to scan these old ones into the computer.

The top photo is of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls; so named because of their shape. If you click on it to enlarge, you can see the tiny boat at the foot of The Falls. The photo below is of the American Falls taken on the Maid of The Mist boat tour, which is absolutely the best way to view them. Everyone is issued with blue plasic 'raincoats' to wear, but you still end up wet!

The photographs below show the American Falls and Rainbow Bridge to the U.S.A. taken from above the Canadian Falls.

Finally, a view downstream along the mighty and fast-flowing Niagara River. Canada is on the left bank and the U.S.A. on the right.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Spring At Last...

Today has been absolutely glorious with a temperature of 18 C and plenty of sunshine. It seems that spring has finally arrived. I took these photographs when I was out and about working (honestly!) today. If you look closely, you will see my reflection in the window.
Wherever you are, I hope that you are enjoying the sight of pretty spring flowers.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The Gentle Art of Domesticity

The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket of Yarnstorm was on my wish list and on order from Amazon for a long time! When my copy finally arrived, it was definitely worth the wait. After ordering the book, I had read reviews criticizing it for not including patterns etc. for each of Jane's creations, but I think that the people who made these comments completely missed the point of the book.

This book isn't about being able to replicate every single item mentioned; rather it is about Jane's inspiration and creativity. It is a springboard for ideas and it helps the reader to understand that there is inspiration in everyday things: we just need to open our eyes and 'see' what is around us.

The writing is literate and shows that Jane is widely read and has a breadth of knowledge on many subjects. Art is clearly one of her loves and I shared her passion as I read about the art that inspires her. She introduced me to many artists whose work was previously unfamiliar to me.

The photography is stunning. I only wish that I were able to take such beautiful photographs and know that I would probably need several lifetimes to achieve anything close. The photos flowed seemlessly from those taken by Jane herself and the remainder; taken by Debi Treloar.

I loved every minute of this book: I savoured every chapter and jotted down notes about sources and projects that I hope to accomplish in the future. I know that this is a book that will not lay forgotten on the shelf. I intend to keep it on hand so that I can dip into it again and again. Thank you Jane for such wonderful inspiration!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Happy Birthday

Yesterday there was the annual sale at the local church and we went along to see what was on offer. In addition to buying quite a few books, I found this cute cookie jar ~ well, at least I think that this is its purpose ~ there were a few crumbs in the bottom!

As I have always been a fan of Winnie The Pooh stories, I found it hard to resist and I paid $5.00 for it. It seemed an appropriate find this particular weekend, as today is my birthday.

I'm not sure what I will do with it for the rest of the year ~ maybe just save it for some special birthday cookies....

Friday, 11 April 2008

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask, "How are you?"
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say "Hi"?

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift.... Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

I attended a funeral today and this poem was read during the service. It is a lesson for us all to remember ~ life is short and goes by so quickly. We should take the time to enjoy the journey and show our love for those whom we care about.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Blog Swap

Several weeks ago, I read Summer By The Sea, where Natalie was appealing for someone to do a swap. She had been making Easter bunnies and geese from Tone Finnanger's delightful book Crafting Springtime Gifts. Although I own a copy of this book myself, I had only received it shortly before Easter and I did not have time to try any of the patterns myself.

Today, I finally collected her parcel from the Post Office, after they had managed to lose it. I don't know where it had been, but it did look like it had had quite a journey! Fortunately, it was only the outer packaging that was damaged.

Inside, I discovered these lovely goodies ~ the Easter goose and tissue holder made by Natalie a towel from Filey, where she lives; a Yardley soap for some special pampering and this beautiful rose card, depicting The Humanity Rose, which was bred to mark the 125th birthday of the British Red Cross.

How appropriate to receive this card at this time, as I have just sold my products to The Rose Emporium ~ you can read about this here.

Monday, 7 April 2008


We had a glorious weekend, so took the opportunity to head out of the city and visit the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is generally considered to be one of the prettiest towns in Canada. We parked on the edge of town near The Charles Inn (above) and enjoyed strolling along the main street and browsing in the shops.

At the opposite end of the main street is the famous Prince of Wales hotel. You can see the horse-drawn carriages outside waiting to take tourists for a drive around to admire the sights.

This cute shop is The Owl and the Pussycat, which sells children's toys and clothing.

And here you can see the clock tower and the green building behind it is The Christmas Shop. I was unable to get a good photograph of this because of traffic/parked cars, but it is a delightful place to visit.

The sunshine made it pleasant to walk around, but it was cold in the shade. As you will notice, there are no leaves on the trees yet, but we did see the tips of tulip bulbs appearing, so spring is not far away.

Yesterday, we went for a shorter drive to the Toronto Beach neighbourhood. We enjoyed a stroll along Queen Street, but avoided the Beach boardwalk because it was too windy to be beside the Lake!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Notes From Nova Scotia ~ Part Six

On Monday, we went down to Ingonish along the coast and had a trip on a small trawler for a whale watching adventure. We were out for two and a half hours and saw minke whales and harbour seals. It was a perfect afternoon, with bright sunshine and a nice calm ocean! It was quite a sight to see the whales and hear them breathing through their blow holes as they surfaced.

Tuesday was more leisurely with another visit to the beach. I still could not believe that such a spectacular beach was deserted ~ there was no-one else there.

On Wednesday, we drove south to Sydney for essential car maintenance (oil change) before our long drive back to Ontario. On our way to Sydney, we came around a bend in the road and found a male moose standing in the middle of the carriageway. He was about 7 feet tall to his shoulders and wighed about 1,000 pounds (Paul's estimate). I'm told that he was a 'baby' as fully grown; he would be a lot bigger!

We went on to Baddeck, which is on the Bras d'Or Lake; a majestic inland sea on Cape Breton. Baddeck has a beautiful harbour with pretty cottages along the shore. The drive back to our cottage took about an hour and a half and involved a crossing via a cable-ferry, which took about three minutes (the crossing was very short), but saved a long drive around the Bay. The journey was around tree-covered mountains of mixed/boreal forest: in places, the road clings to the side of the mountains, with sheer drops down to the Ocean.

We drove through fog as we made the long climb up Cape Smokey and discovered that this part of the Island had been wet for most of the afternoon while we had been in the sunshine.

Thursday saw us back at Cheticamp for fresh bread and supplies. The drive along the Cabot Trail is very scenic with breathtaking views out across the various bays and the Ocean. We managed to find the sun, as the eastern side of the Island was in the mist again that morning; while the west was enjoying bright sunshine and warm sea breezes.

When we got back to our cottage the sun came out and we spent the afternoon visiting Neil's Harbour, a small fishing village just south of where we stayed. We spotted two bald eagles fishing from the rocks of the Bay: they drew quite a crowd as more tourists stopped to see what everyone was looking at.

It was such a beautiful place that we knew that it would be hard to leave. We knew that Cape Breton and the Ocean had a strong magnetism. As I ended this post, it was almost 6pm and we were waiting for our eagle to appear...

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

One Of A Kind

As readers of Wild Rose will know, I was at One of a Kind last week. Whilst I did not manage to see the show, as I was busy at my booth, I was fortunate to have a very talented jewellery designer called Aimée as a neighbour.

In my free moments, I had a look at her pieces and when I saw this rose pendant, I knew that it was the piece for me. Furthermore, it is truly one of a kind! Then her assistant pointed me in the direction of the glass earrings, which are a perfect match.

Aimée makes beautiful jewellery in silver, glass and enamel. To see more of her work, take a look at her website here.