08 December 2010


I am having a bad day, one where everything that can go wrong does and thought I would post some photos from a nice quiet walk in the snow last week just to bring a bit of peace into my day...maybe tomorrow will be better.

07 December 2010

thrift shop finds

I thought it might be fun to tell about my Saturday morning.

The hubby was renovating the bathroom...(due to a previously mentioned mold problem)...which looks great by the way and I will post photos soon...it is almost done. Anyway, I decided to quickly pop down to the local thrift shop to see if there was anything new and exciting. I don't go in very often, but when I do I often am able to find some interesting dish or book or something for REALLY cheap. But, when I arrived Saturday morning I was surprised to see a sign declaring a one day unbelievable special...fill any size box for $3!


Seriously! Unfortunately for the hubby left at home renovating the bathroom with four children watching over him my quick pop down turned into a three hour all morning shopping spree!

I know, I know...very inconsiderate of me...but in my defense how many husbands have their wives come back from a three hour shopping spree with a van full of purchases and only be missing $24 from the bank account??? He really couldn't complain about that could he. (and yes I was quick to remind him of that fact).

He is amazing and did not even remind me that in our 600 square feet of house (where I have been boxing up and packing away what wasn't already boxed up and in storage) we really didn't have room for a vanful of new items. But, I really couldn't help myself...$3 for a box FULL!

Now, I didn't find any really great pieces...but I did get a lot of cool stuff and I also got my shopping fix for a mere $24. My amazing hubby then entertained the  kids all Sunday afternoon while I unpacked, took photos and repacked all my goodies. (I really don't have the room, so into storage they go... )

I found three boxes full of books...including this really cool handyman's do-it-yourself encyclopedia.
If I was really smart I would have wrapped it up for the hubby for Christmas, but I was so excited to show him all my great deals that I didn't think of it!

I found a bunch of vintage looking ornaments, I'm not sure how old they are although there were a few of the same set that my mom bought in 1971 and a few that looked pretty old.

I also found some cool pink ornaments and a pink basket...a few of the small balls look pretty old and the jingle bell is really sturdy and may be old, anyway it is definately not a dollar store bell. I love it.

I also found some pretty pink plates. Three by Myott

and one royal swan. I love it when I turn a plate over and don't see the words microwave or dishwasher and I especially love to see England. Speaking of which...

I also found a really cool vintage Hudson's Bay Company wool coat (made in England)...

Which I absolutely love...even though it doesn't fit...

Maybe this will be my incentive to push forward with my resolution to have a more active lifestyle this year...the one drawback to all the baking I love to do is I also really enjoying eating it...

I found a lot of stemware including these pretty amber glasses.

a bunch of vases...

a pretty pink fluted bowl that I thought would look really cute filled with easter eggs...

I found this punch bowl with twelve matching glasses and when I unwrapped it from the bubble wrap it was covered with I discovered another smaller identical bowl inside as well! It is quite heavy and looks like it may not have been used it is just dusty...not bad for about 75 cents!

Since everything was included in the sale...I decided to wrap my glassware with doilies I found in a box to protect them.

Now, my husband looked at me funny when I brought these out...but for some reason I like them.
They have actually been sitting in the shop for awhile and I have been eyeing them up...but since I could just include them in a box with everything else and they only ended up costing me 50 cents...I couldn't help it. There are fifteen of my ceramic "warriors" (everytime I look at them I think of the Terra Cotta warriors from China).

and one matching centrepiece. I think I may have to have a dinner party (when I get a larger entertaining area...or maybe in the summer outside). The smaller pieces look like they may hold place tags. I just have to decide what nationality they are to plan the menu accordingly...Austrian maybe?

Anyway...that was my Saturday and since this post is already too long I will spare you my other finds (which are many)!

Happy thrifting!

05 December 2010

cookies and kitchens

One of my favourite activities is baking with my kids. Each of them has started experimenting
in the kitchen not long after they could walk. All of them love it.

The problem I have encountered over the years is my kitchens have never been able to accommodate a large group of bakers. I have never had an island in my kitchen and I have never had ample counter space. For example my current kitchen is five feet by ten feet - in total. So when the cupboards, counters, fridge and stove are added in there is VERY little space for anyone other than myself in the kitchen.

 Usually what happens is My oldest and my middle son argue over who had the last turn and they recount all the baking that has been done over the past few weeks to see whose turn it is (both my daughter and middle son site chef as a desirable future career). If my youngest is in the mood, he just boldly tells everyone else to get out. He is the youngest of four and not afraid of anybody. He is definately the alpha male when it comes to his siblings.

My oldest son also loves to cook, but not enough to get involved in the "whose turn is it" battle. So, every once in a while (and yes I do realize I need to make a chart or something), I step in and announce that it is my oldest son's turn. This week was his turn and I enjoyed watching him so much.

We made Martha Stewart's Hazelnut thumbprints...

But, instead of filling them with jam as Ms. Stewart suggests ( I rarely follow recipes exactly; I always like to adapt them a little) we decided to fill them with...

dulce de leche...YUM! I love dulce de leche. I bought a jar of the Bonne Maman brand when I was in Quebec this summer and I had been waiting for an opportunity to open it up and use it. It was well worth the wait. The caramel and toasted hazelnuts were so good together.

My son and I had such a good time together; we really need to do it more often...

Which makes me think of my small house experiment. While in many ways it is a good thing...I have been dreaming of a big country kitchen for about a decade now. I really do want a big island that my entire family can fit around to bake cookies, make chocolates and decorate gingerbread houses. Especially at this time of year. I don't need a big house...

just a big kitchen.

03 December 2010

bark thoughts

I have been having a little too much fun with my camera lately and I have been photographing the strangest things. Yesterday while my kids were toboganning I found myself playing with the macro setting on my camera again.

taking extreme close-ups of tree bark.

I really find that as I look at things through the lens of my camera I notice more details.

As I pay attention to the details I realize how complex everything is...

and how beautiful.

looking at some of these close-ups I am reminded of arial landscapes.

and I wonder what is there that we don't see?

I think of Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss.
(I spend my days with young children, so I often think of Dr. Seuss).

 Looking at a tree my eyes make an immediate judgement. I know what it is...it is just a tree.

But, looking through my camera...I notice so much more. Moss, lichens, spiderwebs, tiny bugs, holes, cracks...so many little things that make up each tree. Each one is so different.

and I think...maybe people are a little like these trees. Maybe instead of just seeing people as I always see them, I should realize that there are many small details that I am not aware of. And maybe those of us who aren't standing as tall and majestic as we could be have a lot of small details affecting us that aren't seen unless looked at closely. I mean, how many of us have reached our full potential? I tend to be fairly critical (of myself mostly...but it does tend to migrate towards others as well)...this holiday season I think I will try to remember my camera and my macro setting.