Monday, 30 January 2012

A Lesson In Appreciation

I was reading a blog titled Sunny Simple Life and Elaine was talking about cleaning up the oranges from her back yard tree.  In January, she is picking oranges and I am sitting indoors while a cold drizzle falls outside.  I am actually jealous of Elaine.  These are her oranges and you can hear all about them by clicking on the title of her blog. ~

I walk to the patio door to see if the weather has improved and this wondrous sight appears. ~

I grab my camera and head out into the yard.  The arbour wears a crown of white. ~

The raspberries bow their heads in the silence. ~

Even the lines of the farm fencing are softened. ~

The river keeps it's own council in the dusky eve. ~

I circle back to the front of my house and pass these silent sleepers under their covers of down. ~

They sleep under the watchful eye of the steeple. ~

The flurries pick up and it looks as if mist is covering the land. ~

Back again to my own dear, little home. ~

Night has fallen and the camera flash turns snowflakes into a veil of diamonds that glitter in the trees and are jewellery for my home.

Though the camera is old and simple, not one of these photos needed to be doctored.  The beauty of the evening simply was.

Elaine has her sunshine and oranges and I have my silent, snow covered evening.  We are both lucky in what we have and I intend to appreciate this wonderful place called home!

Have a day filled with appreciation!

I'm sharing this with ~ 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Reworking A Picture Frame

At auction, I bid on a grouping of a dozen picture frames. They averaged out to $4 each. Some were more elaborate than others but all will get used eventually.

My favourite one was this ~

It's a deep frame and the "carving" is intact.  That's unusual as the detailing is made of plaster and easily chipped. If it had the original gilding, I would have left it alone.  This one had been spray painted gold.  Really, really shiny gold.  The answer is to age the paint job.

If your frame is chipped and the white plaster is showing, you can start at the spray it gold step.

Once the frame is dry, mix some black craft paint and water.  Any black or very dark brown will do and thin it to the consistency of water.

I use a brush to paint sections about 12" long and let the black drip into all the crevices. Immediately wipe it off with a lint free rag or paper towel.  If it has pooled too much in some of the carving, use another brush to wipe out the excess.  This leaves the raised sections looking like dulled gold and the crevices are darkened with age.

If the sides are smooth, paint a couple of swipes of the diluted paint on and wipe off. Hopefully, there is enough grain in the wood to catch the dark paint and tone down the sides.

Here she is aged to her original glory! ~

                   (The chicken is the tablecloth pattern but I thought it was kind of cute.)

If I had decided to change the colour of the frame, I would have used the same technique so the detailing would stand out.

I'm snowed in here tonight and hope that holds true for tomorrow!  I may get to tackle a few more of these little jobs!

I'm sharing with these great blogs ~

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Living in Brooklyn

This story starts way back in 1987 when it seemed like a good idea to take my daughters on a business trip to New York City.

Katie is 11 and this is her first flight ~ 

One glimpse of that amazing city and she is hooked!

She went into Saks Fifth Avenue and sweet talked a sales girl into selling her a Swatch watch for $5, purely so she could walk along the street carrying a bag that said Saks Fifth Avenue.  She even asked for a big bag!

I'm not sure why she has a NY T- shirt slapped on her chest.  Katie always did strange things like that!

From that day on, she swore she would live in NYC someday.  And....when her husband had to leave Toronto to work on a film in Brooklyn, I knew it was only a matter of time before she picked up Baby and hopped a flight to join him.

I clung to her and wailed, "Don't leave me!".  Kidding! That was my inside voice.  My outside voice said, "How wonderful! Great adventure!".  She's there for at least six months so that was pretty sporting of me, don't you think?

So, here is Baby on her first flight ~

I figure that I might as well accept this and we can all join in on the experience through the miracle of the world wide web.  If you already live in New York, you can tune out or read this as a tale of some poutine eating, touque wearing, hockey crazed Canuks in the big city!  The rest of us want to see the sights!

Katie has never been shy and has no problem with doing the tackiest, touristy thing if the mood strikes her.

I submit this next photo as proof ~

And this photo taken in FAO Schwartz as proof that nothing has changed ~

Her film making hubby never misses a chance to check out locations from films.  This shot of Adam Sandler in Big Daddy is taken in Luigi's famous pizza place in Brooklyn ~

And here's Baby ~

It really is good pizza! ~

Mommy made the pilgrimage to the place she first made her vow and stands in the same spot ~

Baby doesn't look all that impressed.  Perhaps she's vowing to live on a ranch in Alberta.
Back home on the subway with Daddy ~

A little playing in the snow with the kids on the street ~

While singer/songwriter Mommy writes this song and posts it on youtube ~

I can't wait to see where we go next!  Let me know if there is any spot in NYC you want to see and we'll send Baby to check it out!

I'm sharing this with

ps ~ So many of you have asked where you can hear more of Katie's music that I'm adding this link to Youtube.  It will bring you right to more of her tunes.  Thanks for all your support of a struggling artist!

Saturday, 21 January 2012


Last night was my second birthday celebration!  I headed to Niagara Falls, Ontario to an authentic Greek restaurant, Koutouki, with my sister and my authentic Greek friend, Liz. What a blast we had!

The restaurant is decorated in the style of a Greek tavern with lots of distressed wood and brick instead of the usual blue and white touristy look.  It had a cosy and friendly vibe from the moment we walked in the front door.

You couldn't find a friendlier, more fun loving hostess than the owner's daughter, Georgina!

Since my daughters read this blog, I won't say what I thought of our handsome waiter!

Hey, I'm 60 not dead!  The flaming cheese was delicious too!

Let the food festival begin!

Appetizers ~

Octopus ~ 

Salmon ~ 

Stuffed Chicken ~ 

An undisclosed number of glasses of this ~

These would make great trivets and you could do it with $ store bamboo cutting boards and some corks!

By this time, we had forgotten we were in a restaurant and hanging with the owner, Steve, and Georgina like one big, happy Greek family!

My sister is having fun! ~

I toured the kitchen with the owner, complimented the chef, and we were on to dessert! ~

Oops, not much of that left to show you!

When your sides hurt from laughing and the table looks like this at the end of the meal, you know Koutouki is a great place to celebrate! ~

Just pay heed to the words of the great philosopher Aristotle ~

If you are in Niagara Falls, Ontario, you really must check out Koutouki!  I loved it! They are at 5745 Ferry Street (905)354-6776.

Disclaimer:  I'm not receiving any remuneration for raving about the place but I did have a couple of complimentary birthday drinks.  Shhhh.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Go With Your Gut

I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but yesterday this baby turned 60! ~

It doesn't seem possible that I could be that darned old when I still feel like a 30 something and my little girls will be coming in from school at any minute.  The woman in the mirror does often surprise me and I have no idea how I keep shrinking my clothes, so I suppose it must be true.

The up side of reaching this lofty age is that I'm allowing myself to go with the flow more and not do some of the things I just don't feel like doing.  This morning I cancelled an unimportant appointment because my nose was sniffly and, to be honest, I stayed up into the wee small hours at my birthday party and was tired.

An hour later, this was the view from my front door. ~

Had I gone, I'd have been country driving in whiteout conditions! I sat nice and cosy, with a mug of hot coffee, and watched the storm rage from from my family room. ~

I have learned a few things in my years of living.  One is to always use the good stuff.  It seems sad to me when I buy lovely crystal, linens, etc. at estate sales and thrift shops that have clearly never been used.  Were the owners afraid to use their fine things in case they were damaged in the using?

I bought these Irish linen napkins this week for .99 each.  I'll use them and never worry about stains. I'll even let my cat sleep on them!  (See baby curled up in the corner here?) ~

Burn the candle shaped like a angel, eat from the good dishes and silver and sit in the front living room. You really can't take it with you!

I've also learned that storms always end and the sun will come shining through! ~

Who wouldn't feel peaceful, as the day winds down, with this view from my kitchen window.  I'll take it at any age! ~

Have a day where you trust your instincts and enjoy all the fine things around you!

I'm sharing this with ~

Monday, 16 January 2012

I Have Found My "Word"!

Layla of the Lettered Cottage wrote a beautiful post about her journey to find a word that symbolised where she was going in 2012.  She asked what each of us would choose for our personal word for this new year.

I'm a fan of self-help and inspirational books so that should not be a problem for me.  I pondered over all the wonderful, positive statements and affirmations in my library.  I read all the great sayings that were on Pinterest.

They were perfect  They were true.  They were life enhancing.  They just didn't feel like me - in this spot, in this time, in this place.

And then it came to me.  This was my year to focus on PEACE.  I let that gel for a couple of days and gave the concept a good workout in my day to day life.

It felt right.  It felt, well....peaceful!

I knew I'd need a visual to keep me in the Peace zone every day of the year.  An 8 X 10 art canvas from the dollar store and some craft paint was at hand.  I washed the canvas in pale blue because that is a peaceful colour.  I swiped on some grey and white paint to simulate driftwood and drew a few black lines to create the seams of boards.  Some white paint, dry brushed on top, mellowed it all out.  It wasn't until I had finished prepping the canvas that I realized I had copied the weathered wood on the front page of the Lettered Cottage.  That's okay.  It will help me remember Layla and that she got me started on this!  

I chose an image of birds with a banner from The Graphics Fairy and sent it to Picnik.  I added the word PEACE and 2012 and printed it out.  I cut out the image and glued it to the painted canvas.  The whole process took about half an hour and I know it will be invaluable for fixing this word firmly in my mind.

I want to feel peace.  I want to project peace.  I want to be at peace with the past including all it's failures, hurts and disappointments.  I want to be at peace with the present including it's challenges, changes and fears.  I want to move peacefully into the future with grace and trust in all that is to come next.

My commitment to this process includes nurturing a peaceful attitude within myself and stopping whatever actions or words I use that are not making others feel peaceful.

You don't have to be a blogger to join Layla in finding your word.  To find out how to join the party and read what others have chosen, and why, click Here.

 The Lettered Cottage  
It is really worth popping over there to read the 295 words already chosen for 2012!   

Have a day filled with peace!

I'm also sharing this with ~

Thursday, 12 January 2012

My New/Old Ruffled Tablecloth

It's a rainy, grey day here in Ontario and I wanted to add some pick me up colour to the house.

I like the rich colours and country vibe of this tablecloth I bought at Homsense a couple of years ago, for $14, and thought it would fill the bill. ~

Then I remembered it irritates me because mass produced tablecloths are skimpy on fabric.  The drop on the cloth should be 8 to 12 ".

The sides on this one only have a 6" drop. ~

I've been meaning to add some kind of a border for a better fit.  Then I remembered this great one made from dropcloths Courtney, at French Country Cottagemade for her dining table.  You have to click on her site and pay her a visit.  She has a full tutorial on how she made hers.  Whenever I need an awwww moment I head over for a fix of beautiful!  ~

Tablecloth from dropcloths

I have a painter's drop cloth and I'll do just about anything to put off prepping my kitchen cupboards for painting!

I'm not a sewer.  I'm more of a figure out how something was made and copy it my own way, kind of girl.  So, you know this will be simple to make.  I buy the lighter drop cloths so they are more flexible to work with.  They shrink like crazy, so be sure to wash them and throw them in the dryer before you sew.  

Here's a trick for making sure your fabric is straight.  Make a cut and then start pulling a thread. ~ 

This leaves a nice line for cutting, without measuring all the way along. ~

Courtney made her tablecloth loosely casual like a slipcover.  Casual works for me!  I start pinning the fabric, right side of ruffle to right side of tablecloth, with random spacing. ~

I've used the pre-hemmed parts of the drop cloth so there is no sewing there.  I did have to join ruffle sections to get enough length but that is just a straight line, so no big deal.  Then, it's a simple line of stitching all the way along the tablecloth.  

Here she is all dolled up ~


Now that I managed to use up most of the afternoon, I can stop for tea ~

That gives me time to figure out how to get out of working on the kitchen reno tomorrow!

I'm sharing this with ~