Friday, December 30, 2011

Wrap up

My best pic of 2011...Interior Design Show in Toronto
I hope everyone had a really nice Christmas and are gearing up for 2012.  We had a lovely time in Montreal. I fell asleep on Christmas Eve to the sound of horse hooves clopping along the cobbled streets of old Montreal and woke to snow falling lightly all around.  It was magical lying in bed watching it, hoping the Raz man would wake up and go get me a coffee.  We stayed at Le Petite Hotel...a quaint and charming little boutique hotel, very well priced in winter and with complimentary fruit, croissants and coffee for breakfast.  I just hate going downstairs to get it when my hair is all crazy and I have no make up on.  So I wait for him to wake up and get it for me.  My son made a cooked breakfast for us alter and we enjoyed a fabulous evening at his In Laws...loads of people and noise and music and fun fun fun....

IDS Show this photo

Of course now it's almost done, we need to reflect on 2011......the good, bad and ugly of it.  I was very fortunate this year. The highlights of my year were
  •  We sold our cottage up North and bought a house in Florida for our family and hope to make many happy memories there in 2012....
  • We went on a business trip to Vegas and I ditched the business part to meet up with Suzan from the Old Grey Mare blog who took me sight seeing and to buy cowboy boots.
  • I took Girl Child to Mexico for reading week.  She went back to college to get another diploma and has had 2 great internships this year. 4 months to go until she graduates. 
  • We went to Florida house hunting.....bought a house...fell through...went back..bought another one.
  • Traveled to Montreal for bridal shower
  • Traveled to Exuma for the most magical wedding (son's) and week of festive mingling with the new in laws and friends.
  • Back to Montreal for the reception
  • Hosted my brother and nephew in Florida...tried paddle boarding.  
  • Met a new friend from the UK
  • Met my father's brother for the first time.
  • My sister bought a house.
  • Christmas in Montreal...the first escape for me in over 30 years.
  • Dinner at friends tomorrow.

So many to choose from in Vegas
So that's quite a list of fun and travel, but I was most lazy in many other respects.  I haven't lost as of today a single pound in 2011....a complete disappointment for me, but hardly surprising since I've been a bit of a sloth.  I also made no progress in moving my business ahead in 2011. SO...for 2012, I am planning the following.

  • Swimming at the Y...Aquafit and lengths.  
  • Yoga at the Y.
  • Weight loss goal of 12 lbs.  Although that is not enough, I think it should be attainable.    
  • Despite working for an Orthopaedic Surgeon for ages, I'm not keen on them seeing them as a patient.  I have a really bad knee and need to see one soon...which will help me lose weight if knee was more stable.
  • Paddle boarding both in Florida and Ontario
  • Kayaking..easy on knee
  • Make an effort to make huge batches of jams, jellies, clay tags, cards etc for November 2012 craft market.
  • Start felting again
  • Knit something
  • Find a book club
  • Plan a girls dinner once a month
  • Get out more
  • Advance my Internet business with new products
  • See more live performances
  • Make Lemoncello...I was given a homemade bottle by the handsome Italian boyfriend of my sons sister in law....can't wait to make it.
  • Make more time for my sister
  • Find and shop at a farmers market consistently
  • And the number 1 thing........SPEND LESS, SAVE MORE.  
I've written down here so I can look back next year and see if I can check them off the list.  I gained 3 followers in the past few days....some interesting folk....which was nice as I lost a few the week before..what is it about blogging that make losing a follower cause doubts?  I've dropped blogs that I followed for various reasons, then dumped because they weren't my thing, didn't post enough, too many posts on babies or perfect husbands or  whatever, or just too many to read.....Face it, a good percentage of those smiling faces are not real followers anyway....  Two blogs  I dropped because they were mean and encouraged people to write in and say mean things about fat people or people with bad hair cuts. GONE WITH YOU...I SAY.

So the ones that I do follow are all on my sidebar (I think).  I have a great mixed bag of blog reading there so pop over to have a look...Happy New Year to All.

My Beautiful Ky.

My handsome son and his gorgeous bride

Florida Dining Room

Florida Living room

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Christmas

I woke up in the night in a fit of worries.  We usually have my mum for Xmas dinner and she is going to my sister's this year. Last night as I watched my boy Chris Rene lose X factor at her house, I noticed that my sister's front steps are high and steep for a wheelchair. There was no way my sister would be able to yank the chair up the steps  like the Raz Man does.  And the wheelchair taxi drivers can't do it.  So I fretted half the night and has visions of mu mum not getting into the house.  This morning I went to the wheelchair store (not the most exciting place) and found I could "rent a ramp" which I did and is now installed at the house.Pheww....

As the week winds down and things are winding up for the weekend, we find ourselves with an empty fridge and our bags packed.......and it's wonderful.   I am all for changing things up and I am so revved up for tomorrow when we fly to Montreal.  Boy Child will pick us up and we will settle into our hotel quickly so we can join our daughter in laws family at church and then Christmas Eve is an open book.  I would like to roam the streets of Old Montreal in the snow...and drink champagne with the "sisters" and sing carols with my appalling voice. Glad I sent my parcels by UPS because the airlines are saying no wrapped gifts....

All day today Girl Child has been checking her phone for messages.  She was to hear about an Internship she had interviewed for at a Fashion magazine.  They said she would know by today.  The publisher called her today at 4pm and SHE GOT IT.....we were so excited ,,,she's going to be styling for photo shoots and something to do with Pop Up shops, which is a new thing to me. I am so proud of her.  We can't wait to celebrate with her brother and SIL tomorrow.

Blogging has brought me some lovely friends this year. One I actually met in Vegas and so enjoy her friendship as well as the cowboy boots she helped me to pick. Some have made big changes, many have reached great personal and professional goals.  Some have big worries and I hope these will resolve in the next year.  A couple of my favorite bloggers have lost beloved people recently.  It's a hard time for them right now, and I just wish them the best they can manage this Christmas.  Some company, some laughter, shared love, and a little peace despite the heartbreak. 

We've gotten to know each other a little bit, what makes us smile, cuss, frown and ponder.  I so look forward to another year of all your adventures and antics.  I wish all of you a Happy Christmas.

Chania (and yes that is my real name...someone asked me the other day)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Trend Alert

I've noticed a new trend around the blog and design worlds lately....(besides red and white butcher twine)
Angel Wings...on the back of chairs, doors, earrings etc.

I do love this sculpted Raphael's Wing - an original art piece from

Angel Wing Platters from 


Cropping up everywhere.....I predict some feathery creations from bloggers and artists alike in 2012.  I am pondering making my own art piece from handmade wool felt....(we'll see if I actually get that done).

image from HERE Earl from Saving Grace

Speaking of angel wings...have any of you watched the series Saving Grace with Holly Hunter?  It is my absolute all time favorite show....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I may be predictable and boring, but every year I give the gift of marmalade.  To me a jar of homemade marmalade tells my friends and neighbors how much I care about them.  I want them to have something special made by me. I am trusting that if they are sick of it, they will drop me a small (or big) hint.  I've met so many really lovely people on my blog, I wish postage of a 2lb jar wasn't just plain ridiculous or I would send you a jar.

Each year I change it up just a little year old mason jars, last year clay tags (you can see those HERE).  This year I decided to go Old School, so I used Ball jars, a simple brown paper lid wrapping cut out from left over wrapping paper. You could also use brown paper grocery bags.  A silver shimmery ribbon and a little robin stamp on the top. No further wrapping needed.

I've just boxed some up in my parcels heading to Montreal.  My son's new Grandmother-in-Law, is a big fan of my marmalade.  Her 83 year old husband bring her toast and marmalade in I need to keep George well stocked.

I made a double batch which gave me nine 16 ounce jars.  I tried for many years to get real Seville oranges (the best for marmalade) here in Canada, but if available the quality sucks, so I use Marmade...a tin of fresh Seville Oranges, already peeled and ready to doesn't get much easier than that.  You can see my post on Marmade HERE if you are wondering about it.

I know some people think making jam or marmalade is a daunting task, but it really is simple and makes a really inexpensive and old fashioned gift.  If you have any questions about making a batch, just ask me. 

Gift Exchange

I recently signed up for a gift exchange you can see HERE.  It was all about exchanging gifts with a little glitz to bring some sparkle into the holidays.  I was so lucky to get linked up with Sarah from Scissors and a Whisk.  Sarah is a teacher from Texas and has a really fun blog.  She sent me such a lovely parcel, and I was remiss in actually linking it up.  I do want to thank her so much for all the treats.  I was horrified at the postage poor Sarah had to pay to get this here. 

As you can see, there was a really great assortment of stuff.  A bright pink picture frame (my favourite), an eye shadow set, nail sparkle, candy cane sweet treats, candles, an ornament.  She really treated me to some lovely things.  Thanks so much Sarah. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

How Sarah Richardson and other Canadian Designers do Christmas decor.

Sloan Mauran from House and 

I've been perusing the online versions of Canadian House and Home Magazine and Maison et Demeure today so I could gather some photos of Canadian Christmas Decor.  Because we have cold and often snowy winters, plus vast forests of beautiful trees, we are fortunate to have access to beautiful Christmas trees and and abundance of Christmas greens, all of which last throughout the season. And we use them to our full advantage. From draping over mantles, trailing down stairs banisters, adorning front porches, wreaths and the typically Canadian suburban front porch urns filled with Christmas greens. We also enjoy decorating our homes on the outside with lights, like many of you do in other parts of the world. I found some really great photos of homes of Canadian Designers and thought I would post a few.

Virginia MacDoanld House and Home
Sloan Mauran.. Canadian House and Home.

Garland, urns ,burlap.  Sloan Mauran House and Home
 Canadian House and Home
Candace Olson Canadian House and Home
Candace Olson Canadian House and Home
Jennifer Worts House and Home

Jennifer Worts House and Home

Maison et Demeure
Maison et Demure Sharon Mimram
Michael Graydon House and Home
Sarah Richardson House and Home
Sarah Richardson's Farmhouse House and Home
Sarah Richardson Farmhouse House and Home
Sarah Richardson Farmhouse House and Home

Sarah Richardson's home. House and Home

Sharon Mimram Canadian House and Home

Shelley Penner House and Home

Images from  www.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pizza Dough Cinnamon Buns- A Cheating Girls Guide to Homemade Buns

I thought I would share my.."so easy..I had to have cheated" recipe for cinnamon rolls.  Within 5 minutes you can have a batch of these whipped up and in the oven....the scent wafting down the stairs on Christmas morning or Boxing Day brunch.  I'm not a big dough occasional bread, but really have no time for faffing around with a bread dough.  All you need for these is a fresh ready made pizza dough from your local grocery store. I think kids would love to help make fact Dad can get up early with the kids and get these started..

On a floured board or piece of parchment, stretch out your dough to about 18" long and 8" wide.  You can just stretch it or use a rolling pin. 

Spread the dough with a thick layer of soft salted butter (about 3-4 ounces).  Yes, they are loaded with fat and sugar...there's just no other way....

Sprinkle generously with brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts, pecans, raisins, dried fruit or whatever strikes your fancy.

Roll the dough gently into a long thin roll.  Pinch the final edge shut to keep in the brown sugar.  Slice the roll into 1 1/2 inch slices and lay on a pan pre-greased with more butter.  Cinnamon buns need to be cozy to the one beside it, so let them touch gently to help them stay together and not spiral out of control. 

Leave to rise for about 1 hour at room temperature.  Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown.  Drizzle a little white icing (icing sugar, milk and vanilla) over the top.  And that's it.  All you need is a lovely piping hot espresso and your a wonder woman. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What to Wear to a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party - When you really don`t want to wear a tacky Christmas sweater

Man shirt to girl shirt.

Have you noticed how many Christmas parties have become Tacky Christmas Sweater parties...A miserable trend if you ask me.

Girl child was invited to such a party tonight.  A nightmare for a 24 year old girl who likes to dress up.  While everyone faffs off to Goodwill to sift through the 1980`s castoffs with baubles and pompoms, my Girl Child as a budding Fashion Arts student is having none of it. When asked what she`s wearing by fellow attendees....she replied ``a man`s red plaid Christmas castoff shirt``.  Clever girl that she is, she`s made it a Fashion item complete with the requisite Christmas Bow. 

Here`s how to make a man shirt into a girly shirt.  Take a man shirt and put it on with no arms in sleeves.  Button it up from the bottom until it is buttoned tight under your armpits.  Take the sleeves and tie them in a large festive bow around your waist.  Black skinny jeans and heels....sparkle bow on your head and your good to go.  Buck the trend I say.

Pretty Bow Tie Shirt.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Get This Party Started - Canadian Style

I thought you may like this version of the Little Drummer Boy by 16 year old Winnipeg high school student Sean Quigley.  This should get you hopping.  So, let's get this party started.

Here's what Sean had to say about this video:People have been asking... so, yes, I played all the parts, sang, arranged and recorded the whole thing. I had my sister run the camera for specific shots, then I edited the video and posted it here! - Glad everyone is enjoying it so much!

Now Available for download:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gifted-Cream "Knitwear" Pottery

Handmade Pottery by Alyssa Ettinger on Etsy
I hope certain people aren't reading my blog, or the cats out of the bag with regards to their gifts. I found these adorable tumblers and demitasse cups on Etsy.  Handmade in Brooklyn by artist Alyssa Ettinger, they are imprinted with knit wear.  

There's a ribbed cup, cable knit and stocking stitch.  You can go to Alyssa's website HERE to see the other colours and pieces she creates.

I think they would be great to hold cotton balls, loose earrings, paperclips, pens in the get the I have to wrap them so I am not tempted to add them to my treasures.