Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Where Have All The People Gone?

That's what a lot of blog writers will be saying tomorrow as they lose Google Friend Connect and, with it, their roll of members.  This is heartbreaking for them because they have worked hard, and shared so much, to build their readership.  If you realize you haven't seen a post from any of your favourites in a few days, check to make sure they haven't lost the ability to show up on your Google Reader.  We're all sticking together on this one and we all thank you for hanging in there!

You may have noticed that I now have three ways of following It's All Connected.  The RSS feed delivers posts directly to your email and I don't know who you are.  I'm not affected by the changes in Google Friend Connect as I'm with Blogger and that is owned by (guess who?) Google.  I've added Linky Friends Connect in support of my friends who are affected by the changes.  It is simple to use and your ID is not shared with any other persons or companies.  There is another way of following that involves joining circles and a whole bunch of hoopla that I do not subscribe to.  I know I wouldn't go to all that trouble to follow someone so I'm sure not going to put you through it!  I'm delighted to have you follow whatever way you like the best.

I do have one teeny problem the changes have created.  I like to send a welcome message to each new member.  In the beginning, I had so few I could really have baked a batch of welcome cookies and driven it to their house!  With multiple means of joining, my little brain fried and I lost track of who had been welcomed and who had not.

Soooo - this is ONE BIG WELCOME to everyone who is new and ONE BIG THANK YOU to all my loyal friends!!!  You have given me a wonderful opportunity to connect with people on every continent and dozens of countries.  I've been able to laugh and cry with you.  I learn from you everyday and carry your comments in my heart through every day.

Instead of showing up at your door with the cookies, I hope these vintage images convey my appreciation.  They are from a vintage baking pamphlet that is over 75 years old and you are welcome to use the images any way you please.  I've done them in JPEG in the original colour and black and white for Citrasolv transfers.  I've even inverted one for Citrasolv or ModPodg transferring.  Right click on the image to send it to your desktop.


"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive."
~ Anais Nin 

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Puppies & Cars & Gross Stuff

Yesterday was certainly interesting.  I got a call, in the morning, asking if I could help a friend take her puppy to the vet for his shots.  Her husband had twisted his knee and couldn't go.  I adore this puppy and any excuse to get out of housework is fine with me!  We intended to bring the puppy back home and head off for some shopping.  Of course, I dressed up for the shopping part.

This is adorable Blarney.   ~


He was a little less adorable fifteen minutes into the ride when he decided to empty his bladder into my purse, my shoes and all over the back seat.  I was in the back seat with him!  While I'm mopping that mess up with wads of paper towel, Blarney is whining and drooling profusely.  My friend Wendy is apologizing and offering to pull over.  After another fifteen minutes, the drool has turned into a veritable waterfall and no amount of paper towel is saving my coat from turning into a gobby mess.  We have all the windows open and my hair is  looking like that scene from Bridgit Jones's Diary where she loses her headscarf, while riding in a convertible.

Blarney is now terrified and shaking like a leaf.  He starts passing gas and it smelled so bad we thought he had actually pooped on the seat.  

We're getting so close to the clinic that I urge Wendy to keep driving.  We can make it!  Blarney gives a pathetic, long moan and buries his head in my boobs.  And then it happened.  He threw up a whole bowl of kibble into my bra.  He threw up in the cracks of the seats.  He threw up in the seat belt holder thingys.   

By the time we took him into the office, this pedigree dog looked like some mangy mongrel we had found on the side of the road and I looked like I should be pushing a shopping cart around with all my worldly belongings in it.  I'm thinking I didn't smell all that nice, too.  Wendy is apologizing profusely and I am thinking, "Lord help us; we have to make the trip back!". 

I think this completely makes up for Wendy looking after my old cat and stepping in a big pool of diarrhea beside the litter box.  Don't you?

I still will give Blarney kisses and Wendy is still my good friend and blogging buddy.  You can read all about Blarney's adventures on her blog Here.  But, the next time Blarney can ride with his daddy!


Hope you have a little less eventful day!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

My $4 Shelf

I've been meaning to add a shelf over a little electric fireplace in my office and came across one in a thrift store that I thought was about the right size.  The price was perfect at $1.99. ~

I will be so glad when I repaint this room and get rid of the huge, black gouge I put in the wall when I whacked it with a piece of furniture!  You'll have to ignore the mark as this is the best light I could get on a rainy day.  Anyway, this is a the kind of floating shelf you see everywhere and the finish was sort of a shiny maple.

I also picked up this package of Carved Magic composition ornaments for
99 cents. ~

The shelf gets a light sanding ~

My primary colour is going to be home made chalk paint, which seems to adhere to anything without priming, but I'm also using a sample bottle of Martha Sterwart paint in a grey called Crevecour and I need to sand so it will stick.  I paid $1 each for a bunch of these sample pots when Home Depot was selling them off and there's enough inside to do a small table.

I swipe some of the Crevecour on the areas that I want to look chipped. ~

When that dries, I mix up some cream coloured latex paint and plaster of Paris to make my chalk paint.  To find out how to make your own click here.  I paint the the maple sections and lightly drag the cream paint over the sections that are painted grey.  ~

I'm being very explicit with these instructions because a dear friend told me they are not always clear to persons who don't paint anything that stands still for a couple of minutes.  Here's a close-up of the finished paint.  ~

I'm not sure what the ornaments  are made of but you are supposed to steam them and then they will bend around curves.  You can also cut them apart  to alter the design.  The grapes are pretty 80's so I cut them off. ~

The steaming process activates the glue and makes everything pliable. ~

It appears my thrift store finds had actually fossilized and I couldn't get them to do more than barely bend and had to use No More Nails to glue them on the shelf. ~

Oh well.  This is supposed to look old and a few cracks only add to the character.  I paint some of the grey into the grooves and across the leaves and leave to dry.  I have to say Martha's paint dries quite fast.  Then I dry brushed the cream chalk paint over the appliques. To dry brush, wipe almost all the paint off your brush onto newspaper.  The bit of residue left will catch on all the raised areas.  Chalk paint dries super fast and then you need to spray with a matte finish sealer or put a clear wax on top to stabilize the paint.  ~

By only painting the cream lightly on the grey areas, I don't need to sand back for a chippy look.

Here she is all done and hung. ~

I like how the grey picks up on the shadows in the watercolour of trees in winter.  Oops, I should have turned the fireplace on so you could see the little fake flames. ~

I haven't really styled this yet and will play around with some St. Patrick's Day things.  For now, its holds the little, white vase my dad made and two vintage mercury glass vases.

I'd have to say the hardest part of this whole project was hanging the *@#& shelf.  I thought I would go mad trying to get the stupid thing on the screws!!!

I'm sharing this project with:

Creative Bloggers And Hop

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Indoor Gardening

Although snowflakes the size of dinner plates are falling outside, I'm puttering in my garden!

I've turned a cloche into a mini terrarium.  ~

If you want to learn the proper way to do this go to Miss Kopy Kat and follow her tips on what drainage to use and what plants are best suited to this form of gardening.  I intended to do that and then remembered I was lazy and just grabbed a hunk of moss and dirt from the front yard.  I added a couple of tablespoons of water and plopped it under the dome.  I did this a week ago and the moss is doing fine. Something that looks like a Forget-Me-Not has sprouted up in there.  How much fun would that be to grow indoors?

A dollar store bird and some eggs add to the fun.  Add a French tablecloth and I have Springtime In Paris!  Set out my grandmother's rose teacup and a napkin with floral cutwork, that she did herself, and I've trampled down the winter blues for another day!

Maeve thinks I've gone mad and won't come out from under the table.  She has no idea this is saving her from the horrors of the puppy I was going to get for some winter fun!

Have a day of living in whatever fantasy you feel like!

Monday, 20 February 2012

I Want To Be In The Garden!

Right about this time of year, I get desperate to start planting things.  I miss dirt under my fingernails and checking every hour to see if any little sprouts have popped up in the garden.  I know I'm more than a month away from any of that, so I was looking around for something to plant indoors.  It was that or get a puppy.  Can we say cabin fever?

I saw this cool idea from Chickens In The Road about regrowing celery.  Click on the title of that blog for full instructions.  Basically, it boiled down to cutting the bottom off a bunch of celery and putting it in a dish with a couple of inches of water.  After a day or so, you plant it in a pot or the garden.  

I got busy after I did the water part and forgot to transplant it.  Then, the cat drank the water and I figured it was time to give it a decent burial in the composter.  When I looked closely, I saw this. ~

Another few days and I had this! ~

It's growing!  There are the cutest little celery stalks showing already.  Tomorrow I'll pot it up and we'll see what happens.

It's so wonderful to see that little bit of life popping up and it looks right at home beside the parsley and rosemary that have wintered indoors.  ~

How's that for getting mileage out of your grocery dollar?  Hmmm - what else can I do this with?  I read somewhere that you can do the same thing with the roots on green onions.  I think I'll give it a try!

Have a day full of happy surprises!

I'm sharing this with:

Wordless Wednesday at Create With Joy


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

NYC Celebrities & Fallen Heroes

Let's check in on Katie and Baby and see how the Brooklyn adventure is going.

It wouldn't be right to miss out on the chance to see the famed Central Park Zoo.  A quick stop for a bite of lunch from Waffles And Dinges ~

For a child that was never allowed to eat anything that wasn't organic and carefully researched by Mom, Baby seems to be hitting the junk food places pretty hard in this city.

Although the penguins were her absolute favourites, this polar bear had Baby laughing and squealing so hard she was breaking everyone up around her. ~

I vote this dude for "coolest haircut in the zoo"!  He votes Baby for "funkiest hat"! ~

Baby was having a great time playing with another little girl and the goats. ~

At this point Katie realizes Baby is hanging out with celebrities!  In the back you can see Samantha Bee and Jason Jones of The Daily Show.  Baby doesn't care about that but their daughter was sure fun! ~

This week, Baby also toured a Brooklyn firehouse.  Katie has had a thing for firefighters since grade four and one came to talk to her class.  She raved about the handsome fireman for weeks and begged us to drop in for a visit whenever we drove by the station.  

Now, Baby doesn't seem all that interested but Katie is having a great time as this sweet fellah obligingly poses for a pic. ~

Katie learned that her front door was painted red in tribute to the 78 Brooklyn firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11. ~

This station house has a permanent memorial to it's fallen heroes. ~

The firehall visit inspired Katie to record a song she wrote ten years ago when her closest cousin was killed, titled, "Do You Still Hear Me?"

I'm sharing this with the great readers at:


We pray they all still hear us when we sing!

Monday, 13 February 2012

For The Love Of Antique Lawn Ornaments

I adore antique lawn ornaments!  Faux Bois benches and tables, cast iron urns and moss covered Grecian statues make my heart go pitty pat. I just cannot afford them.  No matter, I'll fake it.

The first thing you have to do is race off to the dollar store, where they are bringing out their summer lines.  You want to get there before all the good stuff is gone!  Hahahahha.  I'm breaking myself up here.

Grab yourself a couple of these resin bunnies. ~ 

The detail is pretty good on these.  It's just the paint finish that screams, "Look at me.  I'm from some Dollaplooza or Wally World store!"

The price is certainly right.  Sorry to show his little butt like this. ~

I'm using craft paint because it dries really fast and I'm in a hurry in case spring comes early this year.  I dob them up with splotches of white, dark grey and light grey.  ~

Then, I give them a good coat of white and gob it on pretty thick in some areas so it looks like they've been repainted many times.  ~

If I wanted them to look like painted cement, I would water some dark grey paint down to the consistency of water and drizzle it in the bare spots.  That would simulate paint wearing off and the base showing through.

I want mine to look like painted terra cotta with green slimy stuff growing on it.  I took some forest green paint, watered it down and dumped it over the bunnies.  It naturally found its way into all the spots where moss would grow.  ~

Of course, when I move them outdoors, you will see them more like this. ~

Please don't notice anything stuck in the cracks of the floor.  People who live in houses with 200 year old wide plank floors always have stuff stuck in them.

I think these bunnies would be sweet spray painted in pastel colours for Easter decorating!  For outdoors, mine will have to be sprayed with exterior Varathane.

I'll wait until the weather warms and do that outside.  Trust me, you don't want to see what a 200 year old, dirt floor basement looks like!

I'm showing off the bunnies at these great sites:

Sunday's Best Par.tay
Sweet Talkin Sunday
Uncommonly Yours Link Party
Power Of Paint
diy mobile app, diy
Home And Garden Thursday

Feathered Nest Friday

Thursday, 9 February 2012

What Is Love Anyway?

In a day and age of escalating divorce and and fear of commitment, it is easy to be confused about the meaning of the word love.  We use the word lightly and substitute it for like, enjoy or appreciate.  We make marriage vows that promise to be true to each other, "as long as we both shall love", and may not even be sure what that ambiguous phrase means.

My parents never seemed to question what love was.  In good times or bad, happy times or sad, richer or poorer, young or old, they loved each other.  All six of their children knew that.  It was our example of what a lifelong commitment to someone meant.  For some of us love was elusive, but we still knew what it should be.

Let me tell you a little Valentine's Day story.

Mom was 19 and Dad 21 on their wedding day, February 15th. ~

When their first child was on the way, Dad sold his car to buy a washing machine and walked to work.  With five kids to support, Mom went back to work as a telephone operator so Dad could go to teacher's college and become an educator.  His first position was as principal of a two room school in Northern Ontario because that is were Mom wanted to live.  That's how it went - back and forth, back and forth so each could live the lives they wanted.

As seniors, they operated the antique store/ice cream parlour across the street from my home.  Their lifestyle was simple and revolved around friends and family and their pets. Then, Dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and deemed untreatable.  He was not expected to live long.  But, there were ten years left to run on the mortgage and Mom would not be able to keep up the payments without his full pension.

I am convinced it was love that caused Dad to keep going into remission each time they said he was terminal  and allowed him to survive for thirteen years.  

Dad spent most of the last six months of his life in a hospital bed in the living room.  Mom was sinking into Alzheimer's and all six of their children were taking turns staying with them and helping to ease the days.  On February 14th, I came home from work and headed across the street to stay with my folks while the married siblings celebrated the day.  No one was home!  No Dad in a hospital bed and no Mom sitting at the kitchen table reading the same page of a book over and over again.

So, I waited and, in good time, their car pulled in and the two of them came into the house full of smiles.  Dad had taken Mom to a restaurant a couple of miles away for a combined 57th Anniversary and Valentine's Day dinner.  This is a small community and everyone at the restaurant made a big fuss over them.

I asked myself how this could possibly have happened and the answer is found in the words of Lao Tzu. 

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."  

The next day, the owner of the restaurant showed up at their house with a big teddy bear and said they were the winners of the draw.  Mom was so pleased that I didn't ask any questions. 

Dad passed away at Easter and that teddy stayed on Mom's bed for the rest of her life.  When we packed up Mom's things, I picked up Teddy and brought him home with me.

Teddy is a little beat up from my grandchildren playing with him and that is exactly the way my parents would want it. 

They would also want Teddy to remind us that, "True love stories never have endings".

Have a truly lovely day!


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Repeating My PEACE Mantra!!!

I'm having a stressful week!  I'm trying to collect money from someone who can well afford to pay and simply won't.  I don't like collecting money at the best of times.  It's not genteel to ask for money!  I prefer to unobtrusively slip a bill in the back of a design and hope they notice it and cut me a check.  I prefer to have a conversation about the weather with my tenant and hope this is one of the months she feels inclined to pay her rent, in full, sometime within a thirty day period.  This system of collection doesn't work very well and the tenant has decided to take advantage of my delicate sensibilities and stopped paying for her rent and utilities altogether!

Dealing with the legalities of the situation is seriously disturbing my commitment to my word, PEACE!  This is taking more than the one little plaque I painted and hung in my bedroom.  I'll need something on the main floor to reinforce PEACE in my mind.

Joy @ A Vintage Green has a darling set of children's alphabet blocks on a cabinet in her kitchen and uses the blocks to spell out words that matter to her family.  If you click on the name of her blog, you'll see the display right in her banner.

I picked these up at Value Village for $3.99 ~

A little rummaging and I have my word! ~

Those primary colours aren't going to work for me, so I grab my craft paints and turn them black.  The raised letters are simple to highlight in white.  As soon as I walk in my front door, I see these on the high shelf in the dining room.  Sigh.  Ommmmmm - PEACE - ommmmm - PEACE.  I'm in the zone! ~

On a lighter note, my friend Wendy at Her-Ballistic Garden has a fantastic give away of this ~

These pillows are genius!  The heart detaches and you add another embellishment!  They are held on with velcro!  ~

No problem with pillow storage and you can make your own adornments or stick with the five she is including with the pillow.  To see all five click Here.  You don't have to jump through any hoops for this one, just become a member of her blog.

Have a day where you take a deep breath and hum PEACE!