Friday, April 30, 2010

Raindrops keep falling on my head

You go down a road you've never been before, a horse quietly munching away makes you stop. All you can hear is the wind, some birds, and the sound of grass being ripped out of the ground.
He pays no attention to me at all, never raising his head to see what I am doing or how close I'm getting. It's spring and there is new grass to enjoy and that is all he is thinking about.
Our favourite part of the day - a walk through the village. The creek is running swift and brown, tulips everywhere we look, and the magnolias are drooping in the rain, their wax-like petals strewn about the ground in pink and white piles.
An empty lot with the remains of someone's garden - the clusters of tulips enduring even though there is nothing left of the home. We pause in the rain and wonder.
Down by the lake, the firepit is waterlogged, the benches wet and lonely.
The newly painted chairs patiently wait for a sunny day, a day of relaxed conversation while the world walks by.

At the play school we spot three peacocks perched on the porch railing, having heard their cry even before we saw them. Dozens of quails bustling about from one side of the road to the other. Ducks in the park enjoying the downpour.
A walk in the rain does not dampen our spirits, it actually has the opposite effect if you take the time to observe all that benefit from the warm spring shower.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

An apple blossom day

We are back and even though it was a nice relaxing time we are glad to be back home. All the excitement of Ian Tyson at the Timmy's in Merritt - I don't think I could handle much more.
We have been anticipating our lunch at the pub for the past six months. They make the best burgers ever. No luck on the pull tabs.

After a pub lunch a walk is in order so we bundled up (yes it was cold and rainy) and walked down to the McCulloch Trestle. The view is fantastic from the trestle, the vineyards are bare but there is a lot of promise there, and the apple blossoms on either side of the trail made the walk so much more enjoyable.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

R and R

I have been collecting boxes and containers since I was given two music boxes for my 16th birthday. Most boxes in my collection are just plain square or rectangular. Some have drawers and some are made of my favourite wood, oak. But this heart-shaped container caught my eye not because it's hand carved but because of the idyllic scene painted on the lid.
We will be away for some r and r travelling country roads hoping to find some peace and quiet.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Afternoon bag

This was left on my desk at work the other day. I have already thanked my lovely friend for her wonderful gift. This is just what my other tomatoes needed, someone they can look up to and aspire to be like.
Tried a new scone recipe from the Levain Bakery blog (New York) and even though my scones do not look at all like the ones in their pictures, they taste great. Loaded with oats and half and half, I omitted the raisins but they were a hit at breakfast.
I went to my first auction just after we moved here. It was in Barnhartvale and I was the lucky bidder on a box of junk. I can't remember everything that was in that box but my reason for bidding on it was that it contained a huge jar full of clothes labels. So this afternoon I picked out my favourite or ones that have meaning for me and made a bag following the instructions from Clare Youngs book, The Perfect Handmade Bag. Well, I sort of followed the steps in the book. The one thing I did change was sewing the labels onto a backing - she suggests sewing the labels together by hand. I tried that and there is no way I would have got this bag done in one afternoon. I first glued them onto the fabric and then I stitched them on by machine.
I used my old jean shirt for the top of the bag. I used the buttonhole band and the button band so that the bag can be closed if I so choose. The lining of the bag is from my fabric stash - wood grained fabric and the pocket from my jean shirt is sewn on the inside of the bag. The brown floral fabric I chose for the back of the bag is one of my favourites.
For the handle, I used an old fabric belt that has been hanging in my sewing room for quite some time. The bag is 12 inches square and is the perfect size for around town or for travelling.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Every morning as we sit at the round oak kitchen table, we can watch the birds feeding. So far we have only seen two robins but plenty of sparrows, flickers, warblers, blackbirds, and even the occasional magpie and crow. The previous feeding station was a plastic bowl that was held down by a very large rock.
So, we decided to build a fancy bird feeder with a roof to keep out the elements and those pesky crows and magpies. The rock is still there but the bungee cord will help when we get one of those nice breezes from the west. We used a plywood box for the base that I had bought at a thrift store many years ago (another item bought with good intentions) and cedar for the roof. We are still searching for a ridge cap. A few coats of paint that was left over when we had the outside of the house painted and it was ready to go. After securing it to the deck and filling the box, the blackbirds wasted no time in paying a visit.
My favourite tree in our yard is the siberian crab apple and about a month ago the guys were over to prune and they did a great job of shaping the tree to an almost tear drop silhouette. And they also made sure to be very careful and not disturb the nest. We have been keeping an eye on this one but it does not seem to be in use this year.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stockpiling scarves

Some people look at my craft room and tell me how great it is ( notice there are no photos of this so-called great craftroom) and marvel at all the shelves filled with jars of buttons, game pieces, wooden beads, old keys, stamps, and a million other collections. There are bins full of fabric and bags of yarn bought because it was too good a deal to pass up. In an effort to clean-up and de-clutter and re-organize, I have started knitting scarves. There are no fancy patterns, no circular needles, and no cable stitch holders. I'm not even purling. I'm simply knitting scarves in a sort of patchwork design. The first one I made, which my teddy bear Persimmon is modelling, is a mixture of three different shades of pink for a very special someone.
The second scarf is extra long and done in my favourite cotton, acrylic knubby yarn. And the one I am knitting at the moment is a combination of a Swedish yarn of mohair and wool and the other yarn is from Switzerland and it is a cotton-acrylic mixture with a tiny bit of silk thrown in. The colours are blue and white.
Yes, it's getting warmer every day and knitting scarves just doesn't seem the thing to do at this time of year. But winter is coming and by then I will have a stockpile of scarves to giveaway.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Minus fifteen dollars

My no-spending week (for the record I lasted eight days) ended the moment I heard the words ESTATE SALE. At first I had no intention of going, I don't need anything, and I wanted to keep this experiment going for as long as I could. But my curiosity got the better of me and I ended up going to not one but two estate sales and on the way to the second sale there happened to be a couple of garage sales in the same neighbourhood so I thought it wouldn't hurt to have a quick look-see.
This is what I would have liked to take home to add to my collection but the large ceramic containers were priced at $100 each.
My splurge for the day was this harvest basket from New Brunswick made by a Mi'kmaq. It was priced at $25 but all I had was $15 and they accepted my offer but they told me to take it and run before the owner realized what I had paid for it.
At the second estate sale, I almost regretted buying the basket. Everything in the house had to go. Some of the kitchen drawers were still full of all sorts of gagdets, utensils, and there was even a junk drawer. The closets were bursting with clothes; underwear, socks, and belts all neatly organized in the dresser drawers. The basement had piles of boxes of craft supplies, christmas ornaments, and tools. The beds were all nicely made up with duvets and blankets, the dining room hutch was filled with china and pottery, and the sheet music was all set up on the organ as if someone had just finished playing.
I have been to quite a few estate sales but they have never bothered me as this one did. I think it was the leather belt that did it. In the master bedroom I found a wonderfully tooled leather belt with a silver buckle depicting a cowboy on a horse. I thought it would be perfect for my cowboy but as I turned it over in my hands, I saw that the owners name had been written on the back of the belt. I quickly rolled it back up and put it back in its place with all the other belts.
I quickly left, it wasn't fun anymore even though all around me people were walking out with armloads of stuff and talking about what a great deal they had just gotten.
Are we, with all our buying and accumulating, just preparing for a huge estate sale?
As of tomorrow, I am back on the no-spending routine.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

First Farmers Market

Cloudy but warm, no crowds, and only about a half dozen dogs made the first farmers market an enjoyable outing first thing this morning. Going to try and grow fava beans this year

The very last stall had a lot of fun baby stuff like these high-tops for a newborn.
Can't wait for next Saturday.

Goodbye buttons

I have been hearing the 'R' word around our house more frequently these past few weeks. Yes, we have been talking about it more as two of my co-workers have decided that now is the right time for them to retire.Valodya is also thinking about it but he still has a bit of time before he has to make that decision or someone makes it for him.

One of the staff that is leaving brought in a tin of buttons for me. Can you imagine the excitement? The moment when I open the tin and the treasures spill out, the world stands still. You just never know what you are going to find in such an old collection.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


This is the best bread ever - very simple recipe of flour, yeast, salt and water. But how could something so simple taste so good? Is it because it is allowed to rise twice or is it because the dough is very sticky - less flour makes a much tastier bread? Could it be so yummy because it is kneaded by hand on a huge bread board? All of the above.
With the same dough I made some fried bread - the little kids just loved it!
There was so much dough that we even made a pie - the filling is made with a mixture of eggs, sausage (homemade, of course) ricotta, grated parmesan and mozza and lots of parsley. An Easter tradition.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A lovely bunch of daffodils

Yesterday was daffodil day which is why I had a hard time finding the blooms. But the last store I tried had eleven bunches left so I scooped them all up and spread them around the library.
The library has a lot of cement walls so introducing the bright lemon yellow of the daffodils is quite pleasing to the eye. Several people commented on the great decorating scheme and it is always such an easy way to put a smile on someone's face.
My favourite moment was when a lady walked right over to the bunch of daffodils and stuck her nose right in and took a deep breath. That put a smile on my face.

And for anyone keeping track, this is day one of my no-spending experiment. I did not even go near any stores but had a great walk in the sunshine.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Around the world in fabric

If I laid all my fabric end to end it would circle the globe (an exaggeration) and I have more then enough plates to feed an army ( an estimate) but I could not resist this wonderful Vallance pottery plate that I found at my favourite junque store. I have been collecting Vallance pottery for some years now and am always surprised when I find a piece to add to my collection. Will I stop buying this pottery? Not likely. But I am going to make a concerted effort not to purchase anything unless it is absolutely necessary. These photos document my last visit to my favourite junque shop.
Tea towels are another one of my obsessions and this one, besides being 100% linen, is a wonderful example of Haida art.
In the next six months I will endeavor to not spend any money on needless stuff but will continue to post about the many, many collections that I have accumulated over the years.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cake for breakfast

Who said you can't go home again? This is what was waiting for me after a gruelling seven hour busride (in which I'm sure we broke all sorts of speed limits) home to visit Mom and celebrate my birthday and Easter. It has been a long time since I have had a cake baked for my special day by my Mom so I felt like a little kid again. Cake for breakfast? Why not? This cake was so good - light and lemony. My favourite part - the sprinkles. With a double espresso, this was a most pleasing way to start my birth day.
My no flour, sugar or caffeine regimen will resume after all the festivities are over.