Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Warning: Construction Zone

Here it is, twenty-seven days until Christmas and
we are starting a wee reno.
On the weekend we happily bid farewell to the carpets we hated disliked immensely.

Now we just have to level the floors, remove icky sconces, choose colours and paint three rooms, lay hardwood, prepare the fireplace for refacing, paint and install new baseboards. I thought we were just laying the hardwood. Things kind of escalated.

My Christmas crafting has taken a back seat. Even my lovely holiday chalkboard plans have been laid aside. I PhotoShopped over the two words I had finished
so that I could bring you my

entirely digital chalkboard art... 

I received the most deeeelightful package in the mail yesterday and I cannot wait to tell you about it!! For now, all you get to see is the same plywood floors and spackled walls that we're enjoying.

I may be a little bit absent over the next week or so
as I hang up my crochet hook and wield a paint brush.

I will check in with you when I can sneak away take a break. 

Thanks for checking in !

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Wishing my parents a very Happy 56th Anniversary today. I sure wish we could be there to celebrate with you (especially since we are in the middle of tearing out our carpet on the entire mail level to begin laying hardwood). Have a wonderful day. :)

Wishing you many more happy years together!

Love from all of us! xo

Thursday, November 15, 2012

(Another) Kitchen Disaster

Behind this seemingly pastoral winter scene in funky turquoise, red, and white is yet another of my kitchen disasters. We didn't need to call the fire department and thankfully everything has turned out just fine. Better than expected actually.

It all started with my bright idea to make a new bunting for the old window that hangs in our breakfast nook...

It only took a short time to make and I loved it. Till I hung it up. The colours were terrible. Although it somehow looks turquoise here, it is really a deep greenish turquoise and the red is... not funky at all. More like a blood red. Eeew. Max even turned his nose up at it.

So, I hauled out a rather sparse bunting I'd made a couple of years ago, got out a box of clearance pine cones that I picked up two Christmases ago (which had the exact number of pine cones required for the bunting rescue), the proper colour red yarn... five minutes and... voila.

I like it even better than the first one. Go figure.

A little bare, but I didn't want anything tooooo Christmassy yet. Everything here we had on hand. The teeny snow S&P are Macy's -- a gift from my mom. The bell is a dollar store item that gets quite a bit of use around here. Macy makes sure that if someone is sick they have the bell to call for service. You'll hear a 'ding' when dinner's ready too.

The flour sifter belonged to my beloved Grandma Becker. She made the very best homemade bread in her coal stove. I'm thankful that I remember that stove and her kitchen well. And how she always smelled like Noxema.

Grandma & Grandpa Becker and me.
I think this is the first photo evidence that my mom used that infamous method of trimming bangs in the 60's...

Thank goodness that progress has been made in the hairdo department!

I love this vintage cinnamon tin -- a gift from Macy & Mr. CF last Christmas.

Disaster averted; I am so pleased with how my bunting turned out. Not sure what I'm going to do with the other one... I'll find someplace for it.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Fairy Garden in the Snow

I hope the fairies are all tucked in tight for the winter...

because apparently it has arrived.

I'd like to imagine they're dressed up warm and churning out snowflakes...

We couldn't believe how light and fluffy the snow was last night.

Plenty of snow diamonds for everyone.

This morning the fairies can only peek out the top floor windows.

If I were a fairy I'd be tucked in with hot chocolate, a warm quilt,
my furry pets, some good history documentaries, and lots of crochet.

What am I thinking hot chocolate?

Diet Coke is perfect for all kinds of fairy weather! 

Stay warm and cozy wherever you are this weekend.

**If you'd like to see what our Fairy Garden looks like in the summer, click here.

November 11, 2012
Remembrance Day

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Puppy in the Crow's Nest!

No worries Max, you're still our main man --

but imagine my delight last week when I was at my Aunt Marlene's
for a visit and she gifted me this turquoise teapot cozy! She had knit it years ago for my grandmother and now it is mine ours. Macy loves it too.

To fully appreciate the poodley-ness of it all you have to have
known my grandmother Gladys...

An animal lover from a tiny tot she always had pets. When I came along she had her beloved white and black miniature poodles, Buttons and Bows. Let's just say that she didn't miss out on that 50's and 60's poodle decor thing either.

Not by a long shot.

So many of you commented on my great grandmother's stern look in my last post that I had to include one of our rare photos of her smiling (middle right) - although it is just a bit of a smile. Born in 1878, the youngest of eleven, she was a hard working no-nonsense woman says my Aunt Marlene (that's Marlene on the lower right looking EXACTLY how she did last Thursday when I went to visit, minus the gloves). Great Grandma Eliza Ann was a very talented seamstress, crocheter, tatter and knitter. She passed her knowledge on to her daughter and my aunt. My grandmother was sought out in town for her sewing skills as she could mend nylon stockings (which were quite a luxury during the war). Throwing them out because of a hole was not an option. Gladys could do an almost invisible mend on them. I don't even darn socks... but I do come from a long line of 'makers' on both sides of the family and that makes me happy. 


Back to Grandma Gladys and her poodle teapot cozy. I am sure that she loved it. After a little searching on the web I came across this book with the catchy title:

Poodle Novelties in Canadiana

It looks like it was the source for the cozy. Marlene also made our family the poodle bottle cover -- I caught a recent glimpse of it in the lower right on this picture
of me on my way to a Brownie Halloween party in 1968.

(That was before I dropped out due to my allergy to
wearing severely pilled brown leotards.)

Apparently there are a still a few more of these puffy pooches around...

The World Famous Crochet Museum

Vintage poodles are showing up in hip and trendy places
all across North America...
Julie's laundry room at First Comes Love

This gal has a particularly fancy collar and I love her sparkly eyes...

Craft Schmaft
The infamous bottle cover... or 'Hooch Pooch'

And don't forget the TP roll covers! Patterns are available again
in new books and you can buy the finished product on Etsy.

Handmade by Mother
If you'd prefer a plastic version there is always Pierre...

Original patterns can still be found in thrift shops. I was lucky enough to receive my friend Louise's retro & vintage crochet and needlework books and magazines. They provided lots of entertainment for my mother-in-law and I last Christmas. We had a hoot looking through the 'fashions' and bazaar items. This crocheted tea cozy must be from about the 60's judging by the clip art. That gal with the apron looks just like me. :)

Apparently poodle decor from the 1950's and 1960's is quite collectable now. Grandma Gladys would be tickled to know that her style has reached sensible folks everywhere. She displayed quite an array of poodle frippery from ceramic cuties to towels, jewellery, and appliques on the dresses she made for my cousins, sister, and myself. Now THAT is a photo I wish I had here!

I don't drink tea, but I love teapots and tea cozies and I'm just happy to have been given this fun girl who happens to be sporting my favourite colour. She keeps us company in the kitchen now and makes me smile. Max is happy too knowing he's still our one and only.

** Edited to add: found that picture... each dress has a poodle applique!

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Sunbeams in November

I can't believe it is November already. Even with all this snow the first day of winter is still more than a month away -- it is technically still fall. Hmmm. 

One of my favourite treasures is the Sunbeam Mixmaster that sits on my kitchen counter. It belonged to my dad's maternal grandparents. (We grew up baking with a chrome Sunbeam and I still think it mixed much better than my fancy mixer does today.) I love its yellowed bits and chipped metal. My grandmother gave this mixer to my great grandparents on their 50th wedding anniversary on February 21st, 1956.

Another of my very favourite things are old family photos and the stories that go with them. I am fortunate in that we do have quite a few of each from both sides of my family and I am lucky that I have aunts from both sides and my parents who remember the stories. 

Marlene and my dad circa 1945 in front of my great grandparents home.

Yesterday I visited my Aunt Marlene (she's the little cutie in the picture above) and we had a fun afternoon going through a new box of old photos. Every time I think I've seen all of the photos some wonderful new ones surface with letters and clippings. Piece by piece the stories weave together. I started my genealogy research on my dad's side with many questions as my grandmother was adopted in Ontario in 1917. I did find some information with the little bit we had to go on but have yet to find any direct relatives. Ontario is a long way from Alberta but I do hope to find more information soon. In the meantime I'll enjoy the new photos we came across. Here are a few...

My grandmother (on the left) at our local lake in the late 1920's with a friend and Grandma Gladys in their yard with a furry friend. I love this photo; Grandma was a real animal lover.

Most photos have no information scrawled on the back so we are left to wonder. I loved this picture of happy children and wish I knew who they were.

I do know who these characters are! The school family dance was held Tuesday night;  Macy and some of her 5th grade girlfriends on a rare occasion when I got them to stand still.

Another favourite activity this week was carving our pumpkin on Halloween.

Pumpkin carving was much more temperate than the trick or treating that followed! One quick cell photo was all Mr. C.F. sent, but I was glad it was him out in the cold and not me! -15C with the windchill is not my idea of good chocolate gathering weather.

I was happy today to have my first visitors (that I've noticed) at our sunflower buffet. One of my favourite yard guests, purple finches, dropped in for a snack. 

Their visit was short. They took off in a flash when this female Merlin zipped over then stopped in our mountain ash tree.

She came up empty handed this time and I'm quite sure I wasn't the only one who was relieved.

So that is what is happening around here after Halloween. We've already had Canadian Thanksgiving in October, Christmas is thankfully two months away, so I'm kind of in a decorating quandary. I feel like I should be decorating with snow rather than leaves but the snow doesn't stay white and fluffy indoors for long. Poor Doughboy isn't even white anymore. He has retained some purple dye and nothing he bathes in seems to remove it. It doesn't seem to bother him -- he just tied on a jaunty fall scarf and went about his day. I am not sure if the cause was the Halloween costume parade. I did catch him rolling around in purple Smarties** yesterday (kind of like the rest of us after Halloween). I'd better check my arms for purple stains.

 **Smarties, candy coated chocolate popular in Canada and the UK. Mmmmmm.

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