Monday, May 30, 2011

What's up

A tree peony from my garden...spectacular colour against the blue painting
Thank you all for "weighing in" on my last post regarding my new diet.  I have taken all the tips to heart and I am especially touched by all the support I am receiving.  I am down 2 1/2 pounds which held steady over the weekend despite attending 2 birthday parties and a romantic dinner out with the Raz Man.  We went to a local restaurant Cucci, and ended up eating at the bar because it was so full.  I really enjoy eating at the bar, especially if it is just the two of us.  It is fun to chat to the bar tender and also be closer to the piano player, who when I closed my eyes, I pretended was Elvis Costello. He was that good.  So, I wasn't good with the diet that night, starting off with 2 gins and a bread basket.......(they were so busy and dinner was so slow)...I couldn't help myself.   And then I text my kids.  Do you do that after a couple of drinks?....start calling your kids.  My niece calls it Drunk Dialing and says her mother does it too.......

I actually read a book of fiction a week.....not just design books
So my big news is THE COTTAGE IS SOLD.  Yay!  They bought almost all the furnishings minus the beds and I kept my vintage dishes and art, so now I am overflowing with stuff here at the house.  We close on June 23.  So, moving onto the next adventure, we are heading to Florida on Saturday for business and to look for a property say I am obsessed with St. Petersburg real estate listing is an understatement.....I can't keep away..............HELP!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Big Knickers and Yep......that's a diet book.

I have struggled with my weight for at least half of my life.  After being a skinny little thing for the first 25 years, bearing children/life/lack of exercise/love of food/sad periods and a whole slew of other things have sabotaged my weight.  By nature I am a bit of a lazy cow, much preferring to lay on the sofa and read a book to going for a hike.  I have been doing a 20 minute treadmill walk/run several times a week though.  Plus, I do love to cook, have an insatiable sweet tooth and as I have recently discovered, I come from a family of pleasantly plump people.  I have dieted and lost and yo yo'd constantly.  Now I am just fed up and discouraged

Being overweight is one of the last few things that are not taboo to make fun of.  Through education and societal pressures and an overall acceptance of just about anyone, we don't make fun of minority groups, people with Down Syndrome, Gay people, disfigured people or pretty much anything that centers people out.  Yet some people still feel it acceptable to photograph fat people in Walmart and post their picture all over the Internet and Facebook it.  And people keep passing on those emails of fat people.........

I even saw on a blog recently, a post that showed a market stall selling underwear, and the blogger had picked the biggest pair to photograph and make fun of, and then compared them to her thong.  I spent some time wondering if she was someone who felt good or bad about herself.  If you think that is funny, it's really NOT.  Those big knickers belong to someones Sister, Mother, Child, Brother, Dad, Grandad or loved one.  That's just not COOL.

So, yet another attempt to get with the programme.   This time the Dukan Diet.   Dr. Dukan explains quite well why the weight comes back with some diets, which makes me feel a bit better about why my previous attempts have failed.

I thought that once I say it on my blog, that this may nudge me to really stick to it.  I am starting next Monday as I am testing foods and recipes over the weekend..  My goal is HUGE.  35lbs.  And then I will re-evaluate how much more I need to lose to be fitter.  Next week I am going to have a Ticker on the sidebar to track my losses.  Wish me luck, and you may want to check out for a while as I am likely going to be a grumpy old cow for a while.  :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gifted - Makeup Bag and Polish

I must say, I do love a zippered bag.  I try to find purse sized pouches that can be used for makeup, pens, jewelry when travelling, and any odd bits and pieces.  I found this plastic coated bag as POSH in Chicago.  I bought a couple because I thought they would make such a great little holder for a gift. 

For this one, I am throwing in a couple of bottles of nail polish, some cotton pads and nail polish remover, nail files etc. Zip it up. Tie a wee card on it and you're done. 2 gifts in one.  You could also fill with makeup, a note book and pen, sunscreen and sunglasses get the picture.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Missing....You either laugh or cry.

I was stressed, depleted and bone tired.  Now into the the 4th week at the hospital, (the first two almost twelve hours a day), I had been there first thing in the morning before work to meet with the doctors, and now it was past my supper time and here I was again, preparing to leave for the night.  I hadn't seen my husband or children all day, and I know they were missing me as much as I was missing them.  My job in a different hospital 30 km away filled the hours between morning and evening visits.  The toll was starting to show.  I was starting to become emotional at work.  If a patient cried, I found tears spilling down my face in sympathy.  My boss was not impressed.

I arranged the water mug with the handle facing just so, on the wheelie bedside table, added a light blanket over her legs so she could pull it up with one hand, and made sure the call bell cord was looped around the safety rail, so she could grab it and press it if needed.  I showed her again how to call for help.  I made her push the button a couple of times, both relieved and worried that they never came right away anyway.  With my coat on and my bag stuffed with bits of laundry and notes for our next Specialist meeting, I kissed her on the head and said goodnight.  She was distracted and anxiously began looking for something.  "Mumma, what are you looking for?"  "I am missing something" she said.  She couldn't articulate the "SOMETHING"

We started the guessing getting more antsy and crabby. 

"is it your Kleenex?"
hand lotion
emergency button" 
and so on for what seems like and eternity.

I think we were both ready to cry in our mutual frustration.  And then she remembered.  She was looking for her leg.  We both dissolved into fits of hysterical giggles as I pulled back the blankets and showed her that her leg had indeed been there all along, just snuggled under the cozy blanket.  Night mumma. Love you.

An excerpt from my journal following my mothers stroke 6 years ago.  She has right side paralysis. At the beginning she has no awareness of her right side.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Giveaway - Handmade House Numbers by Ramsign- The Perfect Fathers Day Gift

I am very happy to be able to offer a giveaway today.  I am sure many of you could use new house numbers or signage and Ramsign ( has some of the nicest I have seen. I would never flog anything that I would not use myself, so I had a good look at Ramsign and was very impressed by their production and the fact that they are still made by hand using old fashioned techniques.  It is the perfect finishing touch on a house, gate, garage or fence.  And it would make a fabulous Fathers Day gift for your Dad or grandfather.!

These porcelain enameled signs are custom made by the craftsmen at this inspiring Danish Company for  a charming and authentic look.  Enameled signs were used extensively in Europe pre war times, but the factories making them in the past 50 years have fallen by the wayside.  " In 1991 Ramsign revived the production of porcelain enameled signs by the help of skilled craftsmen with life long experience. Today the signs are still produced by hand with the original stencil technique and porcelain enamel, also referred to as vitreous enamel, or glass enamel."

The production of a handmade Ramsign
This giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. You can pop over to to view all the possibilities to make a custom house sign/number for your own home.

 If you would like to win one of these gorgeous signs (up to 5 numbers) worth over $100.00
  • leave a comment here (1 entry)
  • post a link to Ramsign on your blog and let me know you did (2nd entry)
  • Tweet, facebook or blog this (3rd entry)
Winner will be drawn on May 24 th.
Thank you Ramsign for offering this lovely and generous giveaway.

All photos and quote from

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Weekend End.

I often think about what makes me content.  It's never about the stuff and always about the family.  Especially the kids.  Now that both live away from home,  I crave having both my "babies" home under my roof.  Of course I don't mean always.  I strongly encouraged both of them leaving the nest to see and experience the world and I actually find it fascinating when they come home to see the subtle nuances and changes and development in them.  But when they are both here is it magical.  Brandon brings Tracy with him, and my girl and Tracy are like sisters.  Then the best friend from across the street comes around and I have my small pack of favourite kids all around once again.  I love to sit and listen to them yapping and laughing and enjoying their company.  Then my Mum and sister come over and we all visit and chat and tease each other.

Today the kids decided to find something to do that wasn't related to malls, shopping or paid entertainment.  They went to the local Provincial park to check out the animals.  Armed with my camera and all the aging fruit and veg from the fridge, they bonded with the piggies at the park.

Yesterday we went to a family party and on the way home we sang all the songs that we sung to them when they were little.  Good Night Irene (the Raffi version) was a favourite.

When they are all here, before I fall asleep, I try to savour the moment.  You sleep just a little sounder knowing they are all here (I think of Tracy as one of them now).  As a parent you always have a small niggle of worry.  Do they have a safe ride home?, Did that cough of theirs clear up? Did they resolve issue that was worrying them?  You know how it is.......Tracy's Mum told me once that "You are only as happy as your unhappiest child".  I agree 100%.  So when they are together and you hear the laughter and happiness, it boosts you and full fills you and gives you  a sense of complete peace and contentment.

Tonight my sister and mother are here for dinner, and I see how their love for my kids envelops them also.

I know how the mama pig must feel  A contented sleep with all my piggies snuggled under my roof.

Goodnight Irene by Raffi

Foxes sleep in the forest
Lions sleep in their dens
Goats sleep on the mountainside
and piggies sleep in pens


Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
I'll see you in my dream

Whales sleep in the ocean
Zebras sleep on land Hippos sleep by the riverside
and camels sleep on sand


Coyote sleeps in the canyon
And birdie sleeps in a tree
And when it's time for me to rest
My bed's the place for me.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Shabby Vintage Junk Extravaganza

A fellow blogger Tamarah from Shabby Vintage Junk is holding her second Extravaganza on June 3 and 4th. 
For those of you who don't know Tamarah, you will soon because she is making news over there.  She also is following her dream.  She has quit her job to run this  SVJ business full time.  And I love to see someone follow their dream, don't you.

 All of you near Melboure will be interested in this fabulous show of hand picked vendors.  All the merchandise is selected to be in good nick, nothing new or mass produced and overall, a fabulous array of unique and quality Vintage and Antique items.

Tamarah has modelled this after USA extravaganzas and has even been to Texas a couple of times to get the scoop on how it's done there.  This is one of those times, I wish I was nearer, and I would be an Early Bird for sure.  There is loads more info on Tamarah's blog .

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

He's Cute, But His Teeth Need a Little Work.

Typical boy pig with his grubby nose...and hairy ears
My sister Bee is a great photographer.  These 3 pictures are her work. Unlike me who prefers to photograph cake and pie and  mundane household items, she's the wildlife photographer in the family.  She's always liked the animals.  

When we were young children living in Kenya, she used to pour water down the burrows to make the tarantulas come out of their holes........Horrible Child!  She was the one to be bitten by animals she was trying to save, and spent a good part of her life delivering race horses.  When I was 16, I took a bus to Kentucky from Toronto, to spend the  summer with her and to work on a breeding farm.....on a breeding farm someone had the job of washing the Stallions private parts before the breeding took place.  As a shy 16 year old, I refused that task.....and was horrifyed for the person delegated that task.

.Our only source of transportation was a golf cart, which we would ride to town for groceries.  It was a fascinating part of the South....We were in Hillbilly country......I saw a side of life, I will likely never see again.......oh the adventures in Kentucky.........

The peacocks are lovey-dovey this time of year.

I love the colours in this photo...the background mirrors the hawks colours.
Photos by Belinda Wagg

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ridiculously Large Farm House Garden Table

My existing patio furniture bit the biscuit, completely falling apart and really unsafe.  The chairs have collapsed under the weight of even our slimmer guests.  I set about finding the perfect table, and really couldn't find the right one.  I wanted to seat 10. It had to be wheelchair accessible for my mum, and I wanted a big solid table that would last for ages, and not end up in a landfill.  Teak was way to pricey and so not an option for a table this size.  I asked my son's friend Kelly to make me one from cedar.  And this is what we came up with.  I went with a Farmhouse Style table.  Simple and Solid.

He was creating this during the Easter week and I am sure the neighbours thought he was recreating the Last Supper.  I actually took 2 feet off it before he was too far along, as it was too big for the yard. It is 10 feet long. Total cost of materials was $395.00.   If you used pressure treated lumber it would be half that.

I was actually quite chuffed with it but my delightful Mum, whose stroke has caused her to abandon her sense of tact and diplomacy, took one look at it and declared it "RIDICULOUS.  Ridiculously large....a stupid idea".  The funny thing is, it comes out of her mouth, and then she realizes what she has said and gets the giggles, then it becomes the family joke.  "Mum, come sit at the Ridiculous table" to which she laughs her head off.

And right about now, on this fourth photo is where I stepped on a very rusty nail from the old set, which pierced through my Emu slipper and pinned it to my foot like a well hung shingle.....just to the left is where I was rolling on the ground trying to extract the nail...... cursing like a truck driver........

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cottage Photo Dump

No closet in the master, just pegs.

I am stealing this idea for a Photo Dump from the lovely Mark at My Simple Life, whose blog I found recently and really enjoy reading. Wicked sense of homour that boy has.  I am feeling nostalgic for the cottage, to which we haven't been lately due to weekend commitments.  Plus I am somewhat disconnected from it lately.......................

With the cottage Maybe Sold (should know next week), my thoughts have been on what I have there to keep or sell.  The buyer has expressed interest in a lot of the furnishings, however we may end up having to bring the whole kit and caboodle home with us.  There's really nothing new in the whole place, except for the beds and sofa.  Everything else came second hand from thrift shops, antique or flea markets.  Especially for this place.  I am going to hate dismantling it. For almost every piece, I remember where I bought it and who I was with.  These pieces are not just furnishings, but were part of my adventures and days out with friends.

Made from an old shutter, this peg rack holds towels and nighties in the bathroom.
My bar stools and old cupboard....I bought that the day of my bosses funeral.
 We had arrived way too early for the service, parked and had coffee.
 We then found this shop beside the Church. 
Even though it may seem odd to shop on the day of a funeral,
 I think of him fondly when I see this cupboard.
 It reminds me of that sad day, but what a wonderful, gifted man he was.
He used to take me for lunch on my birthday. 
His funeral was on my birthday.

My super comfy "napping sofa" with the wall of mirrors behind it.
My mums old wing chair in it's new slipcover. 
Hooked pillow by Canadian artist Micheline Mann.

Sea blue accessories just worked so well in here.....

Wall of mirrors reflecting the vintage rose paintings.

Reflection of my old boxes...a bit of an infatuation for me


My yellow Cubbie with my snow globes.....

Not sure why I bought a kids chair other than liking the colour. 
It serves as a door stop most of the time.

My favourite cabinet has alligator like finish....
It will leave a huge gap if I have to take it down, plus huge holes in the walls.

French market bag...a gift from my SIL.
She bought so much stuff in Lyon, she had to buy bags to put it in.

And the kitchen counter is covered in odd Bits.

I have been trying to decide if I should offer to sell them the entire contents, as is.  Perhaps they like and will use all the Bits.

Because it all seems to go with the place.  Most of it will not work in my city home, and will be too costly to ship to Florida.  But now I am putting the cart before the horse as it is still not really SOLD.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Friday Photo Challenge - Bird.

I am without a camera this week, so I had to pilfer my files for a bird photo.  I shot this little guy last year at the cottage (camera shot).  I think most people find sea gulls to be noisy, messy and all around just not so cute. 

I kinda liked this sweet fella.  He had a bad leg.  You can see in the first photo that he had a bum knee.

I am going to give the Friday Photo Challenge a bit of a break.  Please add your link below.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sad News

One of our Blogging Friends Nellie over at McCARTHY DESIGNS could use your love and support today.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Girl's Birthday

It's my girl Mikyla's 24th Birthday today.  We only really called her Mikyla for one day.  Her brother nicknamed her Ky the minute she came home from hospital and that is what it has been ever since.  We are hoping that she goes off to Nottingham next year to finish her degree.............We bought her a pair of Frye Engineer boots because SHOES is her middle name.  I think her shoe obsession is my fault.  She was born with club feet and had to have several months of casting followed by ugly orthopaedic shoes.  Once she was out of those, there was no turning back, I am taking her for lunch and for a nice mani and pedi, then her friends are spoiling her for dinner......


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rogue Silver

Bundle it up and tie with pretty ribbons to make a gorgeous and practical gift................................

All of this silverware in this post is second hand.  All purchased at a flea market or garage sale. Along the way a few real silver Bits made it in to the pile, a lucky purchase perhaps......Nothing was bought to match, however over time, I ended up with several pieces of one pattern......

It's what I call ROGUE SILVER, and to me, it;s the best kind.

And now I have masses of it.  Enough for the largest dinner and a huge buffet.  There are sweet little mustard spoons (perfect for jams and jellies) long spooners, pickle forks, baby spoons and forks.  Although mismatched, the steak knives all go well together and I love the colour of these handles...............

I like to tie a pretty vintage spoon onto a jar of jam for a gift.  Sometimes I end up with the right initials engraved on the spoon for the recipient.  Magic when that happens.................................................... 

My favourite are the little ones....

During the war, the patterns of silver that were allowed to be made were limited.  These are my favourite knives with the climbing roses all around the handles.............

I think they all look beautiful together......I don't care that they are mismatched.  Beautifully functional.  No packaging.   No long journey from a factory overseas (of course many were from the UK brought over many moons ago).  Reused.  Recycled.  Very inexpensive.  Why do we think we need matching, new, packaged, imported and expensive silverware, when flea markets and second hand shops are bulging full of old silver BITS.?

Have you, or would you go Rogue with your silverware?

I am getting with the program over at The Old Grey Mare and linking up for Suzan's Program Genesis.  Because the little things can make a difference.