Friday, June 24, 2016

Five on Friday: June 24, 2016

I've missed two Five on Friday posts and don't really know where the time has gone. I'm sure I'm writing to the choir when I say things are busy. Isn't this just a busy time of the year? Backpacks coming home loaded down with papers and proof of a completed school year. Year end events for piano, school and swimming. A last minute three day baseball tournament. And let's not forget the double birthday party one weekend and the family reunion the next weekend, both in one and two weekends time and both with me as chief organizer. Be still my palpitating heart.

With so much fuss I have found it difficult to stop and catch a photo here and there so it's taken me two weeks but here are five things to show you. As usual, I am linking up with the lovely Amy from her Love Made My Home blog and her Five on Friday link up party.

DH has been away and back and away and back again between Canada and Abu Dhabi and Ottawa and Paris... During his extended trip to Abu Dhabi, he took an hour drive to Dubai to visit the huge Mall of the Emirates, (which houses its own ski hill) where there is a Cath Kinston shop. We don't have a Cath Kinston shop near us and I'm a fan. He brought back this gorgeous table runner (complete with lace edges) and matching tea towels for me. I was pleased.

It's hard to believe it but this week marked the end of me and my children playing at the St. John's MFRC playgroup after seven years. Youngest doesn't really understand what a change this is as he is looking forward to going to Kindergarten in the fall. I understand and it was a bittersweet last meet up. We have met so many great friends through play group and the MFRC is a huge support for all of us. I'm not cutting my ties entirely and will be helping out with their crafting group come fall. For our last good-bye session, we brought a cake that I baked and decorated. I had fun using a new decorating icing tip for this one and it came out looking rather 'bridal' I thought.

There's nothing like a new pair of shoes in my opinion and new red ones are a cause for celebration!

Last week I took advance of Youngest's last opportunity to avail of the drop off childcare program at the MFRC and took a walk/run around Quidi Vidi Lake. I'm slowly working my way through a couch to 5K running program. You'll need to click on the following picture to enlarge it enough to see the duck family but they walked right up to me before retreating to the brook for cover. Ducklings are so cute!

Crafting remains my go to when my brain is feeling overwhelmed and my nerves fried. I have been making some progress on this lovely cross stitch pattern that I purchased in kit form during our stint in Germany. The kit itself was purchased in The Netherlands and I love the design and designer, Marjolein Bastien. I hope to have it finished around the Christmas holidays. It's an intricate and detailed pattern.

Thanks so much for dropping by. Now, take some time and check out the posts from other bloggers from around the world at Amy's place.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Busy, Busy

Aren't we all busy? It doesn't seem to matter what stage of life you're at, the regular refrain I hear is "I'm so busy." My family is no different and right now we're gearing up for some extreme busy.

Eldest and Middlest's joint birthday party this year will be held on July 2nd. The following weekend, my mother's side of the family - over 80 of us - are converging on their place of birth for a huge family reunion which I am, gulp, organizing. It's a little like a wedding except longer as it is over both Saturday and Sunday. The number of attendees are fantastic and surprising as family members are coming from all over Canada for this.

So, I'm busy. REALLY busy right now. And what does that mean? It means every creative idea I've repressed over the past few years is coming to the forefront of my brain. Why is that? I don't have time to be more creative than what I need to be to make decorations for both events. Still, I found myself last weekend furiously stitching up a pattern that I hope will become the first in a series of design kits that I want to sell to the general public.

It's an idea I've had on the back burner for years. I've always wanted my own yarn or craft shop but I'm too nervous to get into the game. And, lets be frank, have had little time over the past ten years. Luckily, some excellent craft and yarn stores have opened up in our area over the past few years so there's really no need for me to open one other than to want to open one (don't most people who are involved in crafting/making/creating?).

So, with no time on my hands and party deadlines looming, I've been working on something else entirely. Something I'm not really ready to share more about on the blog unless it becomes a reality but something I wanted to note here as it's where my head is at the moment. When I'm on holiday or the opposite - crazy busy - my creative mind comes up with the best ideas and I'm loath to turn them off. There's nothing like the rush of a new project to get me going and what I'm working on will give me something to look forward to after the party and reunion are over because all of this preparation and the event itself will come to an end and this frenzied anticipation will wear off and then where will I be? A summer spread out ahead of me with nothing to do (ha!) but care for three (or four occasionally) children.

Let the preparations and increased creativity begin...

And because I hate writing a post without pictures, here's where I am on a different project. Lots to go but lots done too!

Monday, June 6, 2016

I Need Proof of Spring

It might be Spring but the weather certainly hasn't shown any indication that it is. The boys and I still prefer our winter jackets over Spring coats and the thermometer rarely reaches double digits. Even sporadic sunny times, like this afternoon, are cold at 8 degrees C and wind.

My tulips have finally bloomed but they've been like this for several days. I think they're too scared to open completely.

The bleeding hearts bush is coming up.

I transplanted parsley from a grocery store pot. With the repeated frost warnings each night, I think it hates me.

The rose that's been in my garden the longest is starting to prosper.

The peony has made the biggest strides of all. I'm hopefully for two blossoms this year.

The hydrangea is barely above ground. It's scared too I think.

Last years new rose addition might make it but I'm worried. This is the only sign of life on any of the branches and they've started to curl.

I planted this rose earlier this 'Spring'. Amazingly, there are signs of life.

If there's a genuine Spring somewhere close to you, we'd certainly appreciate having some of it.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Five on Friday: June 3, 2016

Once again I am joining in with the lovely Amy from her Love Made My Home blog for this Five on Friday post. Please have a look at the other bloggers linking up this week. You might just find your next favourite blog to read.

I promised answers to my Five on Friday post from two weeks ago and haven't been forthcoming! My apologies. Here are the answers:

  1. The photograph of the bird was taken at the Ashmolean as a couple of you had guessed!
  2. The hopeless romantic was none other than Winston Churchill.
  3. Grope Lane can be found in Shrewsbury.
  4. The man was leading a horse who was towing a barge near Llangollen.
  5. And the final answer to what was finished in this town in 1779 was the bridge in Ironbridge.
For this weeks Five on Friday, I thought I'd concentrate on the scenery in my own back yard or, more specifically, just across the road and down the East Coast trail.

This is the cliff across from our house where the waves crash and we can feel the rumble of their power whilst sitting in our basement.

This is the wee clearing where my brother (that would be LB1 - see previous post) and his beautiful bride were married several years ago. The boys and I are quite worried about it as a new house is going up just to the right of it and that looks like a property peg in the middle of the clearing.

This damp photography reminds me that there is still beauty to be found on grey, drizzly days. 

A perfectly tree framed picture of the view.

Gorgeous green moss and seaweed that can only be seen at low tide and when the sea is 'low'.

And an extra picture of the cliffs that you've seen before but I thought I'd post again. Our landscape is so wild and untamed that it sometimes amazes me that anyone survived here at all several hundred years ago. I'm so glad they did.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Other Things

So, what else have I been up to besides dreaming about the UK? Well, I arrived home from the UK for one night before we headed off on a camping trip at my brother's family's cabin about an hour and a half drive from where we live. It's an idyllic place at the end of a very small community with no close neighbours. Both dogs and children run free and adults tend to either sit and knit, walk or tend to the many, many little jobs that need to be done around a cabin to manage its upkeep.

Our sweet abode for the weekend.
It's a tradition in Newfoundland and Labrador to go camping on the Victoria Day weekend (we call it 'May 24th weekend' usually) so DH and I were pleased that the weather cooperated enough for us to sleep in our tent and not inside the cabin.

As I hope you can tell from these pictures, we were spoiled by the landscape and the weather.

I got out for a couple of long kayak rides. That was lovely. I tried to follow two loons across the bay our last morning there but lost my nerve the deeper it got. I usually stick close enough to shore to see the bottom though the depth is way over my head. I like seeing the shadow of the kayak on the sea bottom and the shelter that being closer to shore gives me. Unfortunately, neither of my cameras are water proof so I never get to take pictures from the kayak itself.

The main living space of the cabin is quite cozy with its mismatched furniture and finishings.

My SIL was smart and brought along some of my nephew's toys to entertain the brood. Great idea!

I eased back into the reality of caring for three boys under the age of nine with a little therapeutic knitting. It's growing!

The theme of the whole weekend, though, was fishing. Eldest is quite the fisherman. His favourite book is a fishing guide which he carries back and forth to school to read during his spare time. May 24th weekend is also the weekend when unscheduled (salmon rivers are 'scheduled') fishing locations can be fished so all three boys were keen to get in on some action.

After supper Saturday evening, we drove up to a river where we'd thought the fishing would be good. We were right but it was a scheduled salmon river and we aren't allowed to fish those without a salmon license available later in the season.

Basically to keep Eldest happy and to get his rod some use, we stopped at the local wharf to fish off it. None of us were hopeful and no one got even as much as a bite but I enjoyed taking pictures of the local scenery.

Sunday dawned bright and clear and DH, our boys, my brother and our nephew headed out for some real fishing. We stopped at a couple of places along the way to the larger community of Branch but they were also scheduled. Finally, we found a little brook where we could see wee fish and the boys had some fun. I was the only one who caught anything and that was just pictures of the flora.

What a difference a short hop across the Atlantic to the UK will get you in regards to seasons. We are still very much in early, early Spring whereas the UK is out in full bloom.

Amazingly pretty this wild place we live in is though.

We stopped into Branch to a little shop where DH and LB1 (that stands for 'Little Brother 1') shopped for plumbing supplies while I ordered chicken fingers and french fries from the restaurant upstairs called 'The Loft'. Awesome view of the bay if you're eating in. We, however, did take away and headed to the wharf to eat our meals. It was the best meal of chicken fingers - including my home made ones - that I've ever had! The home made fries were magical too. If you're in Branch, NL, I highly recommend stopping in for a bite.

Now that everyone was sustained with grub, it was time for the real work to begin. We chose a pond on the side of the road that had been frequented by the locals but who had left by the time we got there. The picture below really reflects the landscape we were fishing in. These are called 'the barrens' and most people either love it on sight...or hate it. Luckily, I'm in the former group as is my mainland DH.

The fishing was great. Small fish but really good catching. Youngest and our nephew both caught their first fish! I caught my first fish in over thirty years at least. Everyone caught at least one though many of them were returned to the pond being judged too small. We did manage to bring four small ones home for breakfast the next day.

On Monday we headed back home to laundry and our other property owning responsibilities. It was a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Visiting the UK: Part Six

My last morning visiting A and her wonderful family dawned overcast but never did amount to any amount of precipitation. 

Unlike our late Spring at home, it was bluebell season in the UK. Aren't they gorgeous?

We gave the dogs a walk through the narrow one lane roads. A and the dogs truly have a lovely place to wander and play.

Treats, Mum? Huh? Treats? Huh?
The way was winding and hilly, just the way I like it. A is in a rural part of the world so farmhouses are few and far between and the traffic very light.

And, all too quickly, it was time for me to board the train in Shrewsbury en route to the Marriott Courtyard next to Gatwick airport (booked for free on DH's member points. There are a few perks to him travelling all the time). I went via Crewe and London Euston from where I took the tube to London Victoria and back to Gatwick airport. It was a bit of walking but the hotel is less than 10 minutes walk from the airport, with excellent signage.

En route to Crewe.

Bye, bye, Shrewsbury!

There was lots of opportunity to knit and I made the most of it. I took out that heel flap and reknit it once and for all.

Turned the heel and then the hard part - for me - picked up the stitches I needed around the sock and began knitting again.

I got a sandwich and something to drink at the station in Crewe during my brief 20 minutes there. The train between Crewe and Euston Station was highly entertaining as two holidaying couples sat next to me playing a board game and then went onto cross word puzzles. I wasn't supposed to be eavesdropping but I just could't help myself. An elderly passenger approached and asked if they knew a five letter word for a clearing in the woods. I answered 'glade'. By now, I'm obviously listening in. They all laughed and thanked me. Another one I accidentally answered was 'another name for pitch'. 'Tar.' One of the gentlemen told me I should give up the knitting and go into cross word puzzles to which his female companion replied, 'She's a woman. She can multi-task!'

And here is my last picture taken in the UK. Not a particularly nice one or well composed but there you have it. It is of a lovely old Tudor located in the parking lot of the Marriott. I'm supposing it is too nice to tear down - and I agree - but it does seem a little out of place surrounding by modern cars and pavement. By this time I was tired and sad to be leaving and the sky finally opened up so I had supper in the restaurant (I had hoped to walk to a nearby pub but neither Google maps or the front desk could recommend anything apart from ones within driving distance) which was fine and retired to my room.

My flight the next morning was at 9:20 so I checked out around 6:30 giving myself plenty of time to walk to the airport, take the shuttle between terminals, check in and go through security. Once again and to my great relief my knitting needles were fine to take aboard the airplane. And off I flew back home to reality and the arms of three little boys and one big one.