Saturday, April 28, 2012

Coffee, Tea or Chickadee?

Yesterday we moved my grandmother's sewing machine into the dining room. This move was inspired by my new-to-me pewter coffee pot which was given to my mom by her dear friend and US neighbour Holly who is almost 90. My parents spend the winter in the USA; Mom's parents were both born in the US and I have enjoyed doing lots of genealogy research of relatives in the Spokane, Washington and Waterford, Wisconsin areas. Holly moved from Canada to California many years ago and enjoys the Canadian ties & friendship with my folks. She has been sharing her treasures with us and they are getting a lot of love.

The crocheted tablecloth is from her also. Thank you dear Holly -- I don't imagine you expected a bird's nest in the coffee pot, but considering it spent many years in the barn in Quebec, (before you rescued it) a bird's nest may not be much of a stretch!

The Dixon & Son pewter coffee pot was made between 1823 & 1835 and made the trek to Quebec with Holly's family from England. The scale was my mother's paternal grandmother's. The binocs were my great grandfather Sid's. My mom remembers the day they got this second hand treadle Singer and how excited they all were. It belonged to her mother Anna, who is on the right in the photo with her sister Belle. I love finding old treasures but when they have family history, the find is even sweeter.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Robins Wanted

Joni McPherson

There were four things that I've always wanted in my yard:

1. Bird Bath (check)
2. Arbor (check)
3. Robin Shelter (check)
4. Nesting robins... no check. 

I'm so happy about the first three and still waiting for Mr. & Mrs. Robin to take up residence. After following Nan and her sweet little robin story at You Could Make That I hit upon an idea to encourage tenants in our robin shelter. 

In this photo from last August you can see the robin shelter tucked up in the arbor that Mr. C.F. and I built almost two years ago. We all love birds at our house and have started the transformation of our barren and beat up yard since we moved in almost four summers ago now. There is a big apple tree to the left in this photo, flowering raspberry behind the arbor and a serviceberry tree right around the corner... robins like fruit, right?

A photo from last summer of the handy fountain/bird bath -- complimentary for all birds and for our laid back schnauzer. Our poor Dr. Suess Tree had a tough spring... it's even looking worse this year. I hope we can save it.

This warbler couple quite liked the temperature of the bath.

Other tenants are quiet. Even Max the mini schnauzer didn't budge when a cedar waxwing landed on him. 

Max doing a secret bird count.

Those pesky squirrels aren't even a problem. Macy's squirrel watching days have been minimized after Mr. C.F. set up the trapline last summer. We liked watching them until they kept digging up the plants, taking one or two bites out of every apple, and harassing the local songbirds. 

The Warden, his assistant, and the catch and release program in action.

The squirrel trap is set and ready on the blue bench under the spruce. Another robin bonus is that we do have an abundance of worms... they seem to like my composting program much better than Mr. C.F. does. I think we have a pretty inviting yard in a mature area of our small city. Still, no robins. So... while visiting Nan's lovely blog I had a light bulb moment and this is my proactive step to robin recruitment:

The clematis and honeysuckle are slowly making their way up the arbor. I mean they will be when they finally start growing again! Hopefully the next time I take a photo of this there is a nest and some of those gorgeous blue eggs inside. It is mid April already, but hey - our tulips didn't even come up in the back until June! Wish us luck.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Robin Party

We had quite the bird party on the 15th. Here are seven of the twelve fluffy robins that were  searching through the skiff of snow for mountain ash berries. I sure hope that one pair take a liking to the lovely robin shelter that is in the yard. So far they've only helped themselves to berries, worms and apples. No takers on accommodations or the colourful yarn scraps available in the suet holder. I have high hopes for this spring.

April in Alberta

One of my favourite signs of spring is when the streets get cleaned. The spring wind picks up the nasty winter dust and gravel making walks rather... dusty. Yesterday was a great day; note the sunshine.

Mr. C.F. pruned the apple and crab apple trees yesterday. This year will be our heavy crab year. Yippee... they are our favourite for eating and for jelly. Note: no sun.

Today was Miss C.F.'s first morning ever walking to school with classmates. She's been walking home with them for a couple of weeks now and loves it. A big step... just as much for mom as for her. Note: mittens and snow. This is mid April in Alberta.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Entrance

I love the jolt of colour we get when we come in the front door. I found the turquoise Jeep in the back of an antiques store a couple of years ago for $2.00 -- it is one of my favourite finds. It always sits at the front entrance on our handy mitten/dog leash/sidewalk chalk caddy.  Other bits come and go but the jeep and the chickadee are always here. They just make me smile.

Another thrift store doily rescue; I think it's so sad that they end up in the boxes of things that no one wanted and find their way to second hand stores. I'm always happy to bring them home - if the price is right. The clearance Michael's bird cage is on my hit list of things to paint white.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Ludie and Johan put away their toque and scarf and are officially welcoming spring. I winged it on the patterns after having a look here and here. (Thanks much ladies for your inspiration!) The boys actually sit on the piano but looked much better here against the blue wall for the photo. They are very agreeable when it comes to posing -- and for fittings. I remember hating fittings when I was a kid; all that standing still and pokey pins. Now I know how very lucky I was to have a mom that sewed clothes for us and taught me to sew. Mom taught me about good egg hunts too; I still remember how there was always one jelly bean hidden under the cradle of the receiver on our turquoise rotary phone.

Our own little (well, not so little any more) egg hunter was busy this morning using the same chicky basket she has used since her first Easter nine years ago. Not much has changed about our morning egg hunts... just the size of the rubber boots.

Happy Easter!

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Snow Family

Sarah from the wonderful Tangled Happy in Kansas asked if we'd be making snowmen after our spring snowfall yesterday. I thought so, but Macy was right; this far along in the season the snow melts too fast. We did make our snow family on March 9th though...

Dad snowman was outfitted thanks to dear Peggy in North Carolina. Macy used the mountain ash berries to work up Mom's tossed salad 'do, and dead ribbon grass from this project worked wonders for Macy's long hair. 

Max was probably wondering if he'd get a snow dog... and he did.

March 31st and this is what was left. Yesterday's snow is still melting; the best part is that the robins, juncos, blue jays, chickadees and nuthatches are busy, busy looking for food and singing. Spring is so good.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Welcome Spring??

I finally put the finishing bits of this together this morning which is a bit questionable when you see what it looks like outside my window right now...

Things were just starting to dry up and the snow was only left in the shady spots. Until last night that is. On the bright side we can always use the moisture and it wasn't more than six inches and it is good snowman quality snow.

Last summer I painted this thrift store frame and added a bit of batting and cream coloured burlap. I picked up and painted the letters then too. I sanded them and antiqued them with my Tim Holtz walnut stain Distressing Ink. Much quicker and easier than a wash of paint and I just used a damp paper towel to soften it.

The part that was the most fun was putting the frame backing in with my new favourite tool -- the Point Driver! I waited for a 50% off coupon at Michael's as I have a big photo wall project in the works for my mom. How nice to never have to use a screwdriver and those little silver push-in thingys again.

 I used Grolier Beveled to print out SPRING, filled it with turquoise and printed it. I love old sheet music because it is usually 8.5 x 11 so it requires no printer fiddling.

Our new sign over the stairs to the lower level. We are looking forward to changing to the SUMMER mini banner... maybe by July. Sigh. Thanks for peeking!

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