Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The 2015 Garden

Anyone who has ever visited our house knows that we continue to live in a bit of a gravel pit but I take heart in the fact that this is also how Butchart Gardens started. 

DH is involved in some sweat equity this summer as he sorts good dirt from gravel (the triangular contraption in the top left corner of this picture is of his homemade gravel sorter). I'm inspired by the large stones surrounding The Plantation in Quidi Vidi (more on that in a later post) so those rocks will be put to good use.

I planted a wee garden in the back yard next to the house three years ago. It was always supposed to be a temporary location until we put in a clothesline (which is still outstanding BTW). It turns out to be a lovely sheltered location and the few plants I've put in there have done really well. 

This is my only peony and this is the first ever - and one of one this year - bloom. It was a stunner.

For Mother's Day this year, the boys bought me this rose, Angel Face, from Veseys in PEI. I don't know which is prettier, the rose or its scent.

Though I still only have two lavender plants, my bushes yielded double last years crop. The fact that I can grow lavender in my back yard makes me feel both ridiculously happy and quite posh at the same time.

DH invested in some strawberry plants as well this year. They have yet to make it in the ground (!) but are doing very well in their temporary planters and are yielding quite the crop for us which is an unexpected delight.

Here is the total garden in a spot that roses and lavender love.

I hope to cover the pipes and concrete in the background with lattice. Some day.

I scored some cheap garden ideas from Pinterest and here is the result. Take one thrift store glass vase (.99) and a thrift store crystal(ish) style bowl (also .99). Find a dowel in the garage and push it into the dirt as deep as you can. Insert the vase over the dowel and flip the bowl over the bottom of the vase. Voila! Glass mushrooms!

I loved the first one I made so much that I now have three.

It might be small and currently dwarfed with the rest of the unfinished garden but its a start of how we want things to look in the future and its very exciting!

Friday, August 14, 2015

2015 - A Happiness Project

In May, June and July, I took a course through the Mental Health arm of Eastern Health and one of the things that was reinforced was the importance of soul enriching activities such as creativity and how to ensure their place regularly in your life. I have been feeling better in 2015 and I think that is one of the reasons why my crafting output has been much more prolific than usual.

I have been rug hooking:

I will have this one for sale at a local market I'm participating in on
August 29th. It's 5" X 7"

I've finally started my Ayrton sweater from Jane Ellison's
Noro Family knitting book. I'm using Plymouth Yarns' Mushishi
Color 01. It's nice... I bought both the pattern and yarn when
we visited Alaska in 2010.
Occasionally selling tea and most definitely drinking lots of tea.  And taking care of children.

One thing that I have definitely not been working on is on the house cleaning front. I'm sure DH would agree. He and I had to lose our fastidiousness around the house when the boys came along and I still find it demotivating to clean, knowing that what I just cleaned with be just as dirty - or dirtier - 30 seconds later. It's a busy, happy, usually messy household and the mess sometimes gets me down so I've turned to FlyLady for some advice and, honestly, a bit of a system to help my overwhelming spaces.

But, house cleaning comes AFTER house cleaning in the dictionary you see...

Thursday, August 13, 2015


When DH travels and it's just the four of us, I find that my inspiration to cook is depleted. The boys are typical in their desire for plain, uneventful food (hardly any spices or variance from bland - bleach!) and I'm often at a loss as to what to make for them.

I love reading blogs, as you know, and there are several blogs that I turn to for food inspiration, even if I'm not making and of the recipes at home. I would recommend Skinnytaste, ChocolateCoveredKatie and pretty much any Weight Watchers recipe (I've linked this one to one of our favourite family recipes) as food resources.

The following is one dessert recipe that I tried because I had chocolate baked something craving but didn't want a load of leftovers in the house. I have now tried this recipe several times, both for just myself as well as for two when I've had a girlfriend come over for tea.

It's even yummier than it looks and EASY! So, if you're looking for a new dessert recipe just for you, give this one a try. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Little Bit of Crochet

I know there are some knitting and crocheting purists out there but I'm not one of them. I couldn't tell you which one I prefer the most. Knitting allows me to relax and read a book, watch TV or simply sit and think. Crocheting is fast and satisfying. I often compare the two to changing channels on TV. Sometimes, I'm in the mood for a quick and satisfying project that will be completed NOW. Other times I want a slow and steady project that is akin to therapy.

Recently, one of my cousin in laws asked me if I could crochet something over the handles of her bag. This bag is very important to her having been purchased many, MANY years ago when she lived in India. It's unfortunate that I didn't get a better, true to life colour picture of the bag but, as I gave the bag back, these will have to do.

The picture shows the true colour of the bag and the yarn (which
was practically a perfect Briggs and Little match).
It also shows where the woven handle was worn.

Ta da! Horrible florescent lighting steals the show but I think the picture still shows the handle fix nicely.

Awww! It's so nice to know that this piece will last years
longer now that the handles are protected.
A concurrent project to the handle fix was a pretty Granny Square cushion whose colours were inspired by Lucy and her Attic24 blog which is one of my all time favourite blogs that I visit practically every day.

As is normal for me, I worked on this project during leisure times at my course, on picnics and in the van or car, sitting on an airplane, etc..

The yarn I used is KnitPicks Swish Worsted. I love the springiness of wool SO much which was  firmly brought home to me when I was recently working on a project completely hooked in cotton. No relief for the hands there that's for sure.

Ta da! I am missing a picture of the pretty back of this pillow and will add that to the blog sometime in the future. For now, know that I finished the back exactly the same as Lucy shows in this tutorial.

Cute cushion!

Cut cushion with cute cat.
Any crocheting in your future?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Day on the Bay

Our family's visits to Middle Cove Beach are not new to this blog. This particular visit was quite unique and gave DH the chance to cross something off his bucket list!

You can see people fishing from the shore off in the distance.

I had decided that we should have a fire and DH decided he wanted to have it at Middle Cove Beach. So we packed everyone up in their warm clothes and headed off (actually, I wore a lighter jacket but had to come home for an errand and changed into my winter coat which I was MUCH more comfortable in. It was truly a winter coat day with a breeze at 10 degrees). 

The food fishery had just started three days previous to our beach visit. There were several fishermen fishing for cod right from the beach, something I have never seen done before. The fish were so plentiful that we could see them jumping and swarming at the surface of the water! So, we did what any "sensible" fish eating people would do and raced to Canadian Tire and bought rods to try our hand at it. We figured that two fish each would cover the cost of the rods. 

DH caught FIVE!

Uncle Baldy was a bit of a late bloomer but managed well too. Between the two of them, and the loss of a few lures, the rods were paid off from just one afternoon of fishing. I told DH that that was the fishing trip of a lifetime. I've never known cod fish could be caught from a beach before.

You can see the nice size of these fish in comparison to the boots on
rock in the above left corner.

Though I've watched the professionals gut and filet fish at the fish plant in Forteau, Labrador when I was a little girl, I was no help to DH when it came to cleaning his catch. Onto YouTube and DH was off. I think he looked downright professional too. By this time it was quite late at night but I had to stay up with him for 'emotional support'.

We now have five huge meals of fish in the freezer and that fishing rod might just get bronzed. A wonderful day on the bay indeed!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Camping in July 2015

Let me tell you a few things that I learned during our July 2015 foray  into the 'wilderness' (Frenchman's Cove Provincial Park) with an eight, six and three year old. Be warned, this is a graphic post...(in the biological functions sense...).

Burin, Burin Peninsula 
The boys LOVED climbing over the rocks. It made their day!
Which was awesome because most of the time they were just shivering
complaining about the cold.
  1. Bring winter coats for all five family members and not just youngest. We froze a few essential bits off.
  2. I hadn't noticed it before, seeing as we live in an abode with running water and flushable toilets, but our kids go to the bathroom. A. Lot. And for significant periods of time. Now this is fine when we're home and they're in the next room over (bathroom). And DH chose our camping site partially because of its proximity to the pond and partially because it was equidistant between the outhouses and the comfort station where there is running water and flushable toilets. However, neither one of us anticipated fear of outhouses and subsequent parent accompanied bathroom trips for the Rest. Of. The. Camping. Trip. I swear I knit half a sweater waiting for them (Then promptly tore it out because I'd knit it wrong. Cold addles brains).
  3. Locking yourself in your van to knit, read, swear, is a totally acceptable way to escape the under tens in your family. You can still hear them however. 
  4. Six year olds have no filter. So when you walk into a home grown museum in a small town and your six year old throws his head back and yells 'Boooorrrrrinnnng" well, the staff are going to hear him. The lovely, white haired sweet kind of staff. Sadly that hole didn't open up under my feet and swallow me down.
  5. Fog is hard to see through. So is rain, drizzle and fog (RDF). Couldn't really tell you what the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador looks like due to the RDF. It was a pisser of a week. I hear it's beautiful though and the beaches that we could see through the RDF looked gorgeous. Too bad it was cold enough to freeze the ball bearings off a tractor).
  6. If it's cold enough (10 degrees C), your boys will stay in their cozy sleeping bags and sleep much longer than if at home. Bless them.
A few more pictures for you...