Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is upon us and we are finally starting to get organized at our new home.  We went out and bought a tree last Sunday and I managed to find time to decorate it earlier in the week.  It really has been a busy few weeks and I am looking forward to a couple of days of quiet time enjoying settling in and putting my feet up (after I've cooked Christmas dinner, of course!)

Wishing all of my readers, your families and friends a very Merry Christmas.  May all of your Christmas wishes come true.  Have a safe and happy holiday season and I hope to catch up with you all soon.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A Little House On A Hill

In the absence of a pretty fireplace, I decided to display my Advent calendar on our bedroom mirror.  It is almost the only evidence of Christmas at home this year, as we continue to pack for our move.

The big day is next Monday, when we will be waving goodbye to our life here in the big city and moving to a little house on a hill.  I think that the few remaining days are going to be hectic as I try to fit work and packing into my time.  I will let you all know how it went at a later date, as I don't think that I will have an opportunity to post again between now and then. 

A huge thank you all for your good wishes for our move.  I just hope that the snow stays away long enough for us to get there.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

NaBloPoMo ~ Day 30

At the start of November, I set myself the challenge of blogging every day for a month.  Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo and I've done it!  It has been hard going at times and some days it has been challenging just thinking of something to blog about.  This is due in part to the fact that I've had other things on my mind, such as moving house and starting a new job and also to that fact that I've had no decent photgraphs to share with you all because the weather has been dull and wet.

So there is no photo attached to today's post.  Once again, the weather has defeated me and it is even dark indoors.  Anyway, my place is such a mess with packing for the last two weeks that there really isn't that much to look at.

A big thank you to those of you who have shared this blogging journey and dropped by to leave words of encouragement.  Normal service will resume as soon as possible, but we have scheduled a moving date and it is in less than two weeks....now I must get back to packing boxes.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Thrift Shop Finds ~ 3

My latest thrift shop find is this pretty Portmerion daisy dish.  I found it last week on a forage through the houseware section.  All that was required was a good wash to restore it to its original condition.  It was quite a bargain because it was on sale with 50% off the marked price ~ now that's what I call a good buy!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Advent 1

Advent is the period of waiting and preparation for Christmas.  Today, as we observe the first Sunday of Advent, the candle is a symbol of hope.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Thought For The Day


Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge.

Winston Churchill

Friday, 26 November 2010

Afternoon Delight

I don't think that it is too early to indulge in a little Christmas magic and to get me in the mood, I thought that I would start with an all-time favourite.  Who can resist Miracle on 34th Street?  My plan for this afternoon is to spend a cosy time enjoying this Christmas story and dream of our forthcoming move....(as long as I can forget all that packing for a couple of hours!)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The Wonderful Weekend Book

Elspeth Thompson's The Wonderful Weekend Book had been on my wish list since it was published.  I decided that as I am to start working crazy hours next year; it would be a good idea to reclaim some time when I actually have a weekend off rather than frittering it away doing mundane tasks.

I was filled with anticipation as I waited for the book's arrival and I am enjoying reading it and already storing some ideas away for things to do that will make my weekends more enjoyable.  Not that I haven't got plenty of crafts on the go already, but it is always good to have a change.

After dipping into the book, I decided to find out a little more about Elspeth and I was saddened to learn that she passed away earlier this year at the young age of 48 years.  It seems that she was severely affected by depression.  She was a blogger and her husband wrote a moving tribute to her on her blog.

Elspeth was a wife and mother but also a talented writer and broadcaster.  Her obituary appeared in The Telegraph and can be read here.  I may be late in discovering Elspeth's writing but I feel that I have discovered a friend who will lead me in my new journey and fill me with enthusiasm for some of life's more simple pleasures.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Season Of Surprise Gifts

I had a delightful surprise in the post yesterday when I received this package from Louise of Home Is Where The Heart Is.  Back in August, she had a giveaway for her 300th post and I was a runner-up in her draw.

Upon opening this package, I found a pretty card and some delightful Christmas eye-candy!  Yes, I love British magazines and these two were new to me.  I couldn't wait to sit down and browse through lots of decorating ideas and Christmas recipes.

And this little lady was also in the package.  She will probably end up on the Christmas tree, but for now, she is hanging on a vacant hook on the bedroom wall. 

This certainly is the season of surprise gifts!  Many thanks to Louise for sharing the fun and sending this gift across the miles.  It warms my heart to think of the bonds of friendship forged through blogging.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Light Display

Well I may not have any pretty lights on display at home, but these caught my eye yesterday morning.  Aren't they stunning?  This is the street level of one of the downtown buildings.  The architecture is impressive too.

Monday, 22 November 2010

It's Beginning To Look Like...

...a warehouse...we have boxes everywhere.  How will we ever find anything again?  We spent all weekend moving these and more besides.  At this rate, it is going to take weeks to empty this place and I'm not sure that my back will last that long..

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Thought For The Day

In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us.

Virginia Woolf

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Winning Through

This is a little candle holder that I have had for many years.  It reads "Marie ~ Believes she will always win through.  Full of kindness and generosity."

In many ways, this has been a tough year.  Maybe I am finally seeing a breakthrough.

Friday, 19 November 2010

And Then There Were None...

...books that is.  The packing has begun.  Two bookshelves emptied, which filled twenty boxes and lots more to go.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

A Place To Call Home

Picture the scene.  A week ago we went looking for our new home.  We had two potential places in mind.  The first one was the home that I had set my heart on (from the description in the advert on Kijiji).  I had images in my mind of calling this my home. 

The neighbourhood was beautiful: full of pretty houses and a lovely quiet street.  We drove up to the house and discovered a sadly neglected, run-down garden and a house in need of some T.L.C.  We decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and waited to be shown inside. 

It went from bad to worse, from the sorry state of the (bricked up) fireplace, which was mentioned as a feature in the property details; to the ancient kitchen units (freshly painted, but in need of ripping apart).  Oh, I forgot to mention the ancient mis-matched bathroom!  The back garden, which was strangely not featured in any of the photographs proved an even greater shock.  It came complete with derelict swimming pool occupied by a dead tree and a "lawn" covered in moss and slime!  Oh, I forgot to mention that the landlord wanted to rent the basement separately.....we couldn't get away from there fast enough.

The second property was a delightful surprise.  Newly refinished and ready to move into.  I fell instantly in love.  We were not ready to make an immediate decision, so went home to think about it, both waiting for the other to say what they thought.  By the time we got home, I think that we knew.  We called the landlord the next morning and said that we were interested in the property.  He said that he was continuing to show it through that weekend but we could put in an application. 

A few tense days followed until a call on Monday confirmed that it is ours!  Yes, for the first time in my (adult) life, I am going to have a house to call home.  After years of apartment living, I can't wait....

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Waffle

Everything these days seems to be a work in progress: I've no time to actually finish anything that I start.  Take this waffle dishcloth as an example.  I started knitting it about two months ago.  Now just how long should it take to knit a dishcloth...?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Pocket Project

 This is my latest craft project.  Little felt pockets in red and white.  I'll give you a clue as to their purpose...

If you still can't work it out, call back in December!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Change


I have some news to share with you.  I had a meeting with the midwifery practice that was interested in offering me a job and now it is official: I am starting work as a midwife immediately after New Year.  I am very excited, if a little apprehensive.  It is going to be a big change and also involve a house move.  All in just a few short weeks....

The photo was taken from a plaque which was a gift to my friend, who is also a midwife.  It is a framed tile and it is beautiful.  I had never seen one before, but somehow, it seems so inspirational.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Thought For The Day

Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go.

Louise Driscoll

Saturday, 13 November 2010

An Irish Country Doctor

I love re-reading favourite books and at the moment, I'm losing myself in the life of  Dr Barrie Laverty, a newly qualified GP who takes a job in the fictional Irish village of Ballybucklebo.Set in the 1960s, it tells the tale of Barrie's daily rounds and the host of charcters he meets; against the backdrop of an era when life seemed to be lived at a slower pace.

I follow the trials and tribulations of striving for acceptance and struggling to live up to his own expectations of the job.  An Irish Country Doctor strikes a chord with me because I am facing a similar situation when I start life as a community-based midwife in the very near future.  It is a cosy, heart-warming book and I know that I will be left yearning for more when I turn the final page.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Fish Pies And French Fries

Another favourite recipe book is Gill Holcombe's fabulous Fish Pies And French Fries....  She has such great ideas for economical meals which can be prepared in very little time; often with store cupboard ingredients.  She is also good at suggesting substitutions for added variety.

This book followed the enormously successful How To Feed Your Whole Family... which I have used on a regular basis and we have enjoyed some terrific meals at very low cost.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Remembrance Day

ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTH

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds.

Wilfred Owen 1893-1918

Wilfred Owen was a British poet and soldier of the First World War.  He was killed in action in the Battle of the Sambre a week before the cessation of fighting.  The War Office telegram was delivered to his mother as the her town's church bells were ringing in celebration of the Armistice when the war ended.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning.  We will remember them.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Long Shadows

 This is the season of long shadows.  The sun is low in the sky and the days are shorter.

I don't know what species of tree this is, but it has the most unusual bunches of seed-pods and the colour is a vibrant rusty-orange.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Thrift Shop Finds ~ 2


This sweet little rose jar was a find quite some time ago.  It is hand-painted (it says so on the base in french), but I know nothing else about its origins.  As a lover of roses, I was drawn to it and decided to purchase it.  I often admire the colourful design and the contrasting blue stripes.  It suggests mediterranean origins to me, as it reminds me of warm sunny days.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Fading To Brown


Ten days ago, the falling leaves still had lots of beautiful colours.


Now they have faded to brown and are crunchy underfoot.  I'm enjoying these last days of autumn and watching the trees as they are slowly undressed of their foliage.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Thought For The Day

If one's life is simple, contentment is to come.

Dalai Lama

Saturday, 6 November 2010

If We Could Turn Back Time

Well in a way we can tonight, as we turn our clocks back one hour and return to Eastern Standard Time.  We used to change our clocks on the last weekend of October, but then our neighbours south of the border decided to change theirs in November, so we followed suit. 

I still find it a little confusing because I was accustomed to the late-October change and because it is surprising what a difference an hour makes to my day.  It seems to take a week or so before I catch up.

Photo: Microsoft Images (Prague Astronomical Clock)

Friday, 5 November 2010

Guy Fawkes' Night

How I miss Guy Fawkes' Night!  There is something magical about bundling up in warm clothing and walking out into the dark November night for the ritual of lighting the bonfire, complete with effigy of Guy Fawkes atop and the firework display. 

Invariably, it would rain, but that didn't dampen our spirits.  Some years we were more fortunate and I remember crunching across the autumn leaves to go to our town's firework display.  Fireworks and November just go together.  Life isn't the same without them.

For all of my more fortuanate readers who will be celebrating tonight, have a wonderful time!

Photo: iStock.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Nigella Kitchen

The latest addition to my culinary library is Nigella Kitchen, which was a surprise gift last week.  I am thoroughly enjoying this book, especially as I have also been watching the accompanying television series.  How I dream of having a beautiful kitchen like Nigella's!

I've only had time to try one recipe so far and that was her Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, but that proved to be a hit in my household, so it will be added to my repertoire.  One of the best aspects of this recipe and a reason for trying it was the cost of the main ingredient.  Turkey mince (or ground turkey as it is called here) is just so cheap and I got a packet of lean ground turkey for just over $2.  As I'm also on an economy drive at the moment; I could say that it was a double success.

Anyway, back to the book.  There a lots of delicious recipes and some fabulous desserts, which I look forward to trying in the future.  Have you seen her grasshopper pie?  It's actually green.....  I love this book: the beautiful photographs and her chatty style of writing, which is sprinkled with comments that sometimes have me laughing out loud.  Who needs to cook when they can lose themselves in domestic bliss from the heart of the home?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Thrift Shop Finds ~ 1

I enjoy a wander around our local thrift (charity) shop and as it is run by the Salvation Army, I know that any money that I spend goes to a very worthy cause. 

I was in there a few weeks ago and I discovered this melamine coaster mat on the shelf.  It appealed to me and I bought it.  I just love the vibrant city scene, which many of you will recognize as Trafalgar Square; with Nelson on his column and the lions at the base and that quintessentially London sight of the older double-decker buses.

Have you paid a visit to your local shop and found any bargains lately?


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

In A Corner

It has been a long time since I last posted about my coastal cross-stitch.  I have had very limited opportunities to sit down and work on it and so progress this year has been very slow. 

Shortly after I moved back home, I did sit down for a couple of days and do some stitching without feeling guilty about my use of time.  I was recovering from an awful virus and was feeling in need of a little creativity.  As you can see, I stitched myself into a corner.  It has now been put away again, as there are other priorities at present.  I may not get back to it this year, but I know that it will be waiting when I want to pick up my needle once again.

Monday, 1 November 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010

Some of you may think that I am crazy, but I have decided to set myself the challenge once again this year. I've signed up for NaBloPoMo. My goal is to blog every day for a month; starting today.

As they say: "Mighty oaks, from little acorns grow".  If you want to see whether I succeed; I would suggest that you walk along this path with me. 

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Hallowe'en Eve

It is the eve before Hallowe'en, known in some parts as Mischief Night.  I decided to take a walk around our neighbourhood to see how the preparations for the main event were coming along.

There are some fairly unusual guests outside this house.  It looks like they may have been waiting for an awfully long time.

Is that a witch I see waiting outside this door?

I wouldn't like to see this character on a dark night.

And I don't much fancy a walk through this graveyard.

 The spiders have been busy too.  But possibly the most unnerving sight is the giant cat with ferocious claws!

Happy Hallowe'en!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Meet The Tooth Fairy

I found myself wondering what to give my niece for her sixth birthday and then I thought about teeth.  She  is approaching the age when her baby teeth will be falling out and I came up with the idea of a pillow.  Anyway, I did a bit of searching online and found an even better idea ~ a tooth fairy!

This was a fun and fairly easy project which was quickly completed once I had stopped procrastinating about dragging my sewing machine out of its usual place.  The one problem was that the fabric glue I purchased wouldn't stick felt, so I ended up trying to handsew the pocket through hard glue!  Yes, the fairy's mouth is a pocket for the tooth.  As my niece enjoys ballet; I thought that a ballerina tooth fairy was most appropriate.

In my day, I used to put my tooth under my pillow and find a sixpence in the morning.  I think that times have changed.  I don't know what the going rate is for a tooth these days.  If you want to create your own tooth fairy, you can find the pattern here.

Monday, 25 October 2010

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;


To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
John Keats

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Anyone For Tea?

During our recent visit to the area of Georgian Bay known as Grey-Bruce County, we took a scenic drive and stumbled acoss this lookout point which was all laid out for tea. 

The memorial commemorates the 110th anniversary of the Kemble Women's Institute, which is the oldest WI in the world.  Established in 1887; the 'tea table' was created in 2007.


The motto at the bottom of the plaque reads 'Building strong families and strong communities' which is at the core of the Women's Institute.  I read the plaque and then I thought about the daily struggles and hardships faced by the women who settled in this area. I hope that joining the WI gave them a sense of belonging and helped them to make the place feel like home.

In case you were wondering, this is the view from the lookout point.  Not a bad place to stop for tea.