Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Culprit and a Nurse

This is the culprit. The 8" widespread faucet that the poor young marble installer drilled a single center hole for. 
This is the new slab of marble to replace the mistake made Saturday.
Yesterday the protective paper covering the floors was removed to reveal 2 large scrapes in the floor, carelessly filled with a cover up pen.
On Sunday we noticed that the windowsills were not cut properly, something we have agreed to accept.
On Monday we noticed the upper and lower cabinets did not line up and the carpenter had to return to move the lower one. 
Today we noticed that the cupboard door does not shut because it wasn't leveled after it was moved.
We discovered 2 large dings in the front of the dishwasher as well as several missing parts. 
Neither contractor will accept blame for the floors or dishwasher and because we were not here, we don't know who did it.
And today when the plumber was here to install the faucet. His name was Geronimo
Geronimo proceeded to slice open his finger and bleed all over the new marble. 
As I raced to apply pressure to his finger, 
it sprayed blood 
all over the front of my new white linen dress.

His truck was in the shop and his borrowed truck did not have a first aid kit.
Unable to stop the bleeding with a roll of paper towels, I finally found my first aid kit which was packed away with the kitchen gear, and i wrapped it tightly in gauze pads and dressings, and to keep the messy dressy tight and neat, I wrapped it tightly in blue painters tape.
In the end, he had blood splatters all over his shirt, me, the dishwasher sink and floor.
Dexter would have been proud.
When the Raz Man came into the kitchen to see how it was going, he found the 2 of us standing in what looked like a crime scene.

He was very pleased with my reaction time, as well as my first aid skills and proceeded to clean up the blood and then finish his install.
Did I mention he was on blood thinners?
No wonder he bled like a stuck pig.

And....after 7 weeks the Insurance Company is now back and fro-ing over whether the claim will be covered or not.
I'm drinking. It's all I can do.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Marble woes

No counters means everything is on the coffee table

A hint of what I am doing in the kitchen

Plants that never need watering

My old Mexican bench

Poolside for morning coffee

The vacant house next door. Sold on Friday for $78,000. Needing a bit of a reno. It's a bit spooky..

Little Mexican place near our house with great food.

Kitchen counter mistake # 1. Polished on the Windowsills, honed on the counters.

Kitchen Counter mistake # 2. The seam on the island is VERY visible and obviously filled.

Third strike and out! I gave them the template, told them to be careful and they drilled it right in the center for an 8" widespread faucet. They tried to fill it but it's a no go.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013



Being a little British child, I was raised reading Heinrich Hoffmann's Struwwelpeter.
 I couldn't get enough of it.
Since I am going to be a Grand Mamma soon, I wonder if people still read these tales to children? I think not!

 Hoffmann, a psychologist, obviously believed in the "Scare you straight" school of child rearing. 
Have you read Harriet and the Matches?

I must read these again with my mum next time she is here so she can remember how awful (fantastic) they were.
You can read some more nasty little stories HERE.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fashion Item of the Week

I can help but have a little bit of a hop in my step when I wear these gorgeous cowboy boots by Freepeople. Made in Mexico, they have a bit of a well worn, rustic character, and look like they've spent many a day rustling up ponies. It's like my favourite blanket and leather boots all wrapped up in one fun ride.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Care Package

The Raz kids never leave this house without a care package. For Boy Child, it's usually sandwich's and fruit and left over slices of cake to get them through the 6 hour drive home to Montreal. For Girl Child, it's usually a couple of suppers to heat up, a package of loo rolls (since when did TP get SO expensive) to help with her grocery budget, and today for my perpetually cold Girl Child, it's soup. Homemade cauliflower and cheese soup sent home in well used jars, far too pretty to throw in the bin. It's going to be -15 Celsius tonight and tomorrow, and combined with a wicked flu season, soup is where it's at. Especially a simple thick vegetable soup because it nutritious and delicious. 

And, because soup tastes better eaten with a real English soup spoon, I'm sending her home with a big old fashioned soup spoon.

Cauliflower and Cheese Soup.
1 onion chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, washed and cut into bits/
1 tetra pak 900 ml vegetable stock
approx 2 cups water.
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ozs grated cheddar

Fry up the onion in olive oil in large pot. when onion is soft and translucent, add the stock, water, and cauliflower. Use just enough water to almost cover the top of the cauliflower in the pot. Boil gently until soft. With immersion blender or food processor, whiz it up until smooth. Stir in the grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I'm sitting here in my cozy chair, coffee at my side, in my warm, sheepy fleece moccasins. Hannah Cat is snug in her bed, as is the rest of the household, but Frenchie by my feet, eyeing my every move, waiting for me to get out of my pajamas and head out into the blustery and freezing cold Winter morning. I would much rather make another cup and lounge longer, but he is compelling, and once I am outside with him on the trails along the frozen river, I'll be glad that he invited me.

Friday, January 18, 2013

How Cute are these?

Remember a few posts ago I commented on how ugly my Uggs were? With great big feet, Uggs look like man boots on me, so I only wear them to shovel the walkway or night walk Frenchie.
But, these are the cutest little things aren't they?
I bought these for the future Grand Babie.

I have a thing for baby boots and shoes. 
Both my children were born with bilateral club feet. We didn't get to have cozy knitted booties, slippers and Baby Uggs. We got to have plaster casts and B-Bax boots and Ortho shoes that were reversed left and right. (and yes, kind strangers always stopped to tell me I had the shoes on the wrong feet).
So in a couple of months, I get to help dress little newborn feet, and I can't wait to try these little Uggies on him or her.

The ultrasound on Tuesday showed some very nice STRAIGHT little feet.

Today I compiled all my business records for the accountant, tossed out 5 years worth of old makeup and bathroom bits, tossed 25 more items into a garage sale box, did the weekend grocery shopping, packed my bag for my trip next week and cleaned the house.. We're out with friends tonight for supper, meeting our friends new grand baby tomorrow, and all my siblings are here for supper along Sweet Mama and Girl Child on Sunday.
I'm in the mode.

Have a Cozy weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Making Changes

One day, mark my words, I am going to use this Mexican tile Mosaic from Tierray Fuego.
I'm thinking for the outside wall of the sun room we would like to build. A long way off, but my ideas usually stick with me for a really long time. I can then parade around in my Mexican boots (I'll post a photo one of these days) and feel right at home. 

I've been totally besotted with Spanish style homes, studying the home of architects Wallace Neff and George Washington Smith. Our Florida home was built in 1936 in the Monterey style with a definite Spanish influence. Original details such as the iron railings, tiled windowsills and arched hallways were left intact, and I embrace those old details.

The kitchen in this house underwent a very extensive renovation before we purchased it. Custom built cabinets, blue eyes granite etc. fabulous and I loved it all. But then disaster stuck and a leak ruined the base cabinets and caused a mold problem in the wall board behind. 

Mold experts arrived. Insurance adjusters arrived. Along with a slew of contractors and workman who removed the cabinets, the walls, the mold etc.
 And now we have a bare kitchen ready for the rebuild, that has now passed all the mold tests, and the house has passed air quality testing.
Did I mention they broke the granite taking it out? 
This is harvested 3 months a year in the Canadian Arctic. The original owners told it it cost them $7500.00. I asked the contractor to save it. I will have my neighbor (a fabulous carpenter) build tables with it or a bar, with the salvage.

The Insurance Company felt that replacing one slab of granite would not be acceptable since it would be newer looking than the rest, so they approved a complete re-do. Sink and all.
So....we insisted they save the cabinet faces and doors. The boxes will be rebuilt. The counters are being changed to honed Cararra, the tap which leaked is being switched out, the sink replaced and I am getting rid of the garbage disposal while I am at it. Plus I need new back splash tile.

The sad thing is, I really loved this kitchen. But since I am forced to re-do it, I am adding a few things like crackle finished subway tile, white marble, an old fashioned tap etc to give it a bit of an older look in keeping with the house.

And, I'm adding some Mexican Tile. Yep...I can't resist.
Hopefully in a couple of weeks I can show how I am "aging" the new kitchen a bit.
And yes, another hair pulling project managed from afar.

The newly renovated kitchen. Now partially ruined by a leak.

Original tiled windowsill.

Decorative ironwork on the bedroom balcony

Original windows and shutters

Archway in upstairs hall.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Cottage Makeover-Ontario Bloggers

Before and after Master bedroom. A whopping 73 sq feet.

Before and after kitchen. Painted cupboards and barn board counters.

Before and After Living Room. In need of while paint for a simple update.

Before and after guest room. Paint, old bed frames, battered cabinets.

Before and after exterior. A perennial garden with cuttings from home and a new stone patio.

Old bits, including garage sale bowls and cups, collected old wood boxes, my mums old rose colored wing chair in a new white slipcover. Pillow my artist Micheline Mann

My wall of old mirrors to reflect the harbour view, a massive dining table to seat all the visitors, my little desk and chair.

The view of the marina in the heart of Northern Bruce County.

It's Ontario Bloggers day over at Cindy"s blog, Just North of Wiarton blog. So today I have decided to show you a little Ontario cottage we used to own.

I've had lots of questions this week about the cottage we used to own. I thought that new readers  would like to see some photos and get a little history on this cottage. It was an 850 square foot little gem, facing right onto the marina in Lion's Head, a quaint little town in the Northern Bruce Peninsula, Ontario.We sold it almost 2 years ago after owing it for 3 years. 

When we bought it, it had just had a lovely big room added to the front, and had been completely re-worked and was well built, cozy and in my opinion a bit drab and dark. This Cottage needed nothing more than a lick of white paint and some pretty furnishings. Other than installing a patio of large local stone, the only new things we bought were the mattresses, dining chairs and the big sofa (Ikea). Everything else was bought second hand, including the dishes, from flea markets, Salvation Army or garage sales, or from my garage, in which I had been hording Bits for years. We used 2 old doors ($5.00 each) to panel the island and my neighbor took some barn boards from a tear down and went right over the melamine counters with a wood "slipcover" to hide it. 

The new owners bought almost everything it it, including the sea shell chandelier, the wall of mirrors and all the antique bits, except for a couple of things that we took South to our new Florida place. By remaining in our very first "starter" home, we were able to purchase another house instead of a bigger house, and this has left us with the opportunity to first buy and sell the cottage, and then take advantage of the crazy cheap Florida market and purchase there. I miss this quiet little treasure, but love the Florida house just as much, just differently.

My door is always open for those who like to stop by for tea for those of you in Florida!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hooked on Houses

My cottage kitchen makeover is featured today on Hooked on Houses. You can see it HERE
I warn you. Hooked on Houses Blog is need an hour to look at all the real estate.E

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I've begun my 100 item purge. My goal for the new year was to get rid of 100 items from my house that I no longer use or want to keep around.
 I have a fear of living to 100 and my kids having to sort through thousands of my Bits. So I'm starting almost 50 years early to make sure I'm not saddling my family with my junk. I decided it would be helpful to my collectors nature to try and remember why I bought these in the first place.

1. Set of 8 coffee cups with saucers I went through a stage when we updated our kitchen of only wanting white dishes. Now although I love these, I have so many lovely cups, I feel I should pass these on.

2. Old juggling pin. (why did I ever want this? I really don't remember) It certainly wasn't for juggling which I find altogether too co-ordinated for my clumsy self. I know who I'm giving this to (Allison) because it goes with her unique collection of Canadiana collectibles.

 3. Silver plate coffee pot 8" I see the charm in this and I bought it at a lovely antique store in Bruce county. It was purely to look nice in my glass fronted cabinets along with all the white china. But it has no purpose, therefore it's on the way out.

4. Red Art Glass plate. This was a gift from someone who thankfully doesn't read my blog. As much as I like it, it does not suit my very cottage'y house.

5. Very large Pottery Barn candlesticks. Far to large for my small mantle. I bought these when Pottery Barn first opened in Canada and I just "had: to have something from there. Giving these to girl child who will paint them white.

6. Small dog drawing of poor quality purchased in the UK during my phase of wanting a wall of random art. 

7. Small round lidded basket to hold junk. (never used)

8. Random red transfer wear dishes. Purchased from a farm sale because they were cheap. Now they are just dusty as they have been on the basement for 20 years. They are old and some are chipped. Never used and never displayed.

9. Pretty silverplate tea set that needs cleaning. Totally decorative and bought only to look pretty on my shelves. No purpose, no keep.

10-15 Random Jewelry. Some was gifted, others purchased because I have a need to buy trinkets wherever I go.

16-19. Bag of scrap wool (no idea, this is not even wool I would use...all poly blends and 1980 pinks.)and odd dog articles accumulated during Foster Dog phase.

21, 22. Crystal candlestick, purchased because I saw them in a Design magazine and had to have some. I bought 3 because I thought they would look good grouped on my table. (they didn't) And a little tiny wire basket that sat on the back of the loo collecting dust.

23, 24. Two very tiny prints bought in Ottawa 25 years ago at the market. largest is about 6" tall. I remember these were all we could afford at the time, when really I wanted a great big piece of art. Far too tiny to look right on any wall in my house. Have not been hung in 20 years at least.

When you look back at purchases, do you have regrets or wonder why you ever bought them in the first place?

Friday, January 11, 2013

English Trifle

To be made the night before you need it. 
Take a large deep glass bowl 
 Drain 1 small tin mandarin oranges and one small tin fruit cocktail. Reserve juice.
 Make 1 64g jelly using 1 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup reserved fruit juice. (1/2 cup less than package directions). Allow to cool.
 Break 1 angel food cake or vanilla cake into pieces. Layer 1/2 cake on bottom of bowl
 Drizzle  a little rum over the cake
 Add a layer of canned fruit as well as fresh raspberries and blackberries. Repeat until you have 2 layers of cake and fruit. Add another sprinkle of rum. Press it down with a spoon.
 Pour the jelly all over the layers of fruit and cake. Refrigerate overnight.
 Take 2 cups of cold custard (not pudding) and pour it over the set base. Add a layer of thick cream and sprinkle with fresh berries, slivered almonds on chocolate shavings. Refrigerate until serving. Will serve at least 12 people.

As a Brit, I grew up with Trifle. My Mama and Grandmother always made it but I seldom make it myself. We were invited to a belated New Years party last weekend and the menu was a traditional Scottish supper of Steak and Kidney pie (without the kidney) mashed potatoes and peas. I offered to make desert and decided to make a good old fashioned British trifle. 

There are many ways to make trifle, however the British way is with real custard and NOT vanilla pudding. You can buy Devon custard in a can in most grocery stores and it is usually really good, or you can use the good old Bird's custard powder and make it yourself. I usually use a combination of fresh fruit and canned fruit. I love mandarin oranges in a trifle and also a small tin of canned peaches and pears, as the fruit is nice and soft and this is far easier than slicing your own peaches and pears. I buy the ones packed in juice, not syrup and reserve the juice to make the jelly substituting and reducing the  cold water from 1 cup to 1/2 cup juice. You can add a little sherry, but I used rum. Because you don't cook it off, you only need a little, unless your friends are real boozers. You can be ambitious and make a plain cake, but I like to use the store bought plain angel food cake and it is light and not too sweet. Top it off with a layer of thick cream, either Devon cream if available or whipped cream. It is very simple to make, best made the night before to allow it to set, and will feed at least 12 for dessert.