Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Everything Changes And Yet ...

As much as change is inevitable, this year I'm struck by how many things stay the same.

Tonight 2014 is on the wain and a shiny new year will be ushered in with party horns and and glasses of champagne.  For some, it is a starting line to set off on new personal adventures and the race toward goals. Others will welcome the new year with a fervent prayer that the hardships or mistakes of the old year will be swept away and better things will come their way.  

It's a time to pack away the Christmas finery in plastic totes.  The memories, we will store in our hearts. ~


I always take time to assess my blog for the past year, look at the stats and consider the hits and misses. The same, old post on how to make a shiny bucket rusty remains the champion for four years straight. 

Rack up another 22,000 views for that one! ~

If you missed that post you can click on it here.

The second runners up are always cooking posts. ~

Gourmet herb butter for steak was the hit this year.  You can find that post here.

I'll tell myself that I'll do more projects and cooking posts and stop rambling about the state of the world or, worse yet, the forever jumbled state of my life. I know I won't stick to that. It would take a much more orderly person than I to follow a plan for writing.

Instead, I'll veer off into whatever direction is uppermost in my mind that day.

Today it may be my backyard feathered friends. ~

Tomorrow, it could be house destroying cats. ~

It may be a tragedy that pulls on my heartstrings or advocating for a healthy food supply.  For sure I will speak out against oppression or cruelty whenever I hear of it.  Those posts mean more to me than any opportunity to up my reader stats.

Over the holiday, I have been reading L.M. Montgomery's journals. ~

She is fourteen when she begins them and they carry through to after WWI and on to the end of her life. She writes of all the things that any of us would; childhood beaus, money worries, feeling unappreciated or unloved, dreams of success, broken hearts, boredom, physical ailments and the pain of giving up dreams for family responsibilities.  Her times were not so different from ours.

She felt all the frustration of the limitations imposed on women.  She wrote her novels in the the two hours a day she could eke out from caring for others and fulfilling the obligations of a minister's wife. The daily news during WWI was agony for her and the uncertainty was much like we feel in today's world of global unrest.  For all of that, she still cared about a pretty dress and how many chickens she had canned for the winter.  It is a fascinating account of the life and times of a woman who became one of Canada's best loved writers. You can find the journals on this Amazon affiliate by clicking here.

Yes, everything changes and yet a great many things stay the same.  I'm going into 2015 with hopes of change for the better and a comfortable sense that not everything will be unfamiliar.  I like that mix!

I choose a new word for each year.  It helps me focus and stay true to my intent. 

 My word for 2015 is Write. 

Happy New Year! My life has been so much richer with all of you in it.  It is wonderful knowing that we are all opening the book together and sharing the first chapter. May 2015 be all you wish it to be! 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

My Version Of Frozen

This is my way of doing Christmas decorating that works for adult entertaining and still gives the grandkids some fun.  Like every other kid on the planet, my grandkids are obsessed with the movie Frozen.  While I'm not going to use Disney characters in my library, I can bring enough snow and ice into the theme to please all the Elsas and Olafs out there.

If it's white, crystal or silver it goes on the black Christmas tree. ~

The angels my daughters made for me so many years ago keep their place of honour over the mantel. A snowy owl and a couple of snowflakes hanging from the urns will work.  On the fireplace a grey and white winter angel presides over a bowl of "ice chips". ~

I'm still in declutter mode and determined to work with only things that I have on hand.  I WILL NOT BUY A SINGLE ORNAMENT!  Remind me of that when I go shopping at Michael's tomorrow.

A wind storm kindly left me lots of fallen branches in the yard and I popped a few in a vase with some 'passed their prime' silk poinsettias.  It doesn't really show in the pic but the poinsettias perked up nicely with some glue and glitter.  The branches are perfect for hanging some dollar store snowflakes.

The library is the first room you enter from the front door.  It's a very dark room and difficult to photograph so you'll have to trust me that there is plenty of glitter and sparkle in here. ~

The larger set of bookcases gets the frozen treatment as well with silver branches, ice chips and Christmas photos. ~

The great thing about using old decorations is I don't feel bad about cutting them apart to tuck into places. ~

If it says snow or ice to me it finds it's way into the library.  Lots of little things are down for the kids to explore and play with. ~

This is the kind of grandma house where kids get to touch things, even the antiques.  One of my grandmas had a house where nothing could be touched and the other one had a house where kids could actually have fun.  I know which kind of grandma is the kind you actually want to visit!

I haven't done much with the other end of the room yet but I'm sure more winter things will make their way there as I root through the Christmas bins.  If I'm lucky, the kids will want to take something home with them and the clutter will become my daughter's problem.

This is the end of the room near the front door. ~

Well, that's the first day of my very late start to Christmas decorating.

But, what would a post from me be without a cat picture.  Clara Jane just had to get up on the chair with the polar bear that the kids tormented last year.  He looks like he has a bad case of mange now. That's the polar bear I'm referring to, not the cat. The cat is as fine a specimen of pampered, rescued feral cat as you will ever see!

Next post I'll show you some close ups of how I do the bookcases up without spending a penny!

Monday, 1 December 2014

It's All Art

A few years ago I stumbled on this delightful piece of art tucked away in the back of an antique store.

It's the costume designer's sketch from a Stratford Festival 1957 production of Hamlet.  I loved all the notations on fabric, design and accessories.

It was a great reminder of the summer my university age cousin held a summer job at the festival as Christopher Plummer's dresser.  I was still in grade school and it was a memorable occasion when my aunt and uncle took me to Stratford, Ontario and my cousin gave me the full back stage tour.  I fell in love with theatre that day and couldn't wait to see my first live play.

Last year, one of my granddaughters, that has had a hard time finding her place to shine, had the good fortune to attend that same theatre on a school trip.  The play was Romeo and Juliet and my granddaughter became Juliet, heart and soul, over the next few weeks.

I scrambled to put together a Juliet costume for her last Christmas.  I'm not really a sewer so it wasn't great, but she was very happy to parade around in it calling, "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?", to any audience she could find.

In October, she got to put that practice to good use when she won a small part in a television show The Murdoch Mysteries.

She loved every minute of her day on the set.  From wardrobe to filming, she was in heaven! ~

Even a ten hour day didn't tire her and she begged to stay longer to watch the other actors working when her part was done. ~

For now, the sketch will continue to hang on my dining room wall, but I have a feeling it will someday go to our budding thespian. ~

While she dreams of gracing the Stratford Festival stage, I'll be dreaming of the thrill of sitting in the audience for her performance.  What a full circle that would be!

I'm sharing this find with What's It WednesdayThursday Favorite ThingsInspire Me MondayShare Your Cup Thursday