Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ahh......time to put my feet up.

The Christmas Dinner gang.  That's me behind my Mum. I love this picture of my mum....she looks so happy...she treasures every minute spend outside of the Home with family.

We haven't had all four of us siblings together for 17 years at Christmas.  One being in the UK or New York, the other travelling to the Arctic or Africa at Christmas time, so it was lovely for my Mum to have all of her children together. 

We have a small house, so I set up 2 dining tables on the main floor leaving no space to gather pre-dinner.  I had the brilliant idea of having everyone downstairs in the large spacious basement for drinks and presents.  So the guys hauled my mother, wheelchair and all down the stairs.....not as easy as it sounds. 
Thank God my mother is a good sport and my brother had a stiff drink after as it shook him up more than her.  I was in the kitchen at the time, but if you could have heard the commotion getting her down....

Anyway, I have told her next year we will get the capsule used in the Chilean Miners rescue....which I think was one of the best feel good moments of 2010.

We had our usual big bash on Xmas eve with the kids friends and ours and neighbours.  Our neighbours introduced their gorgeous new daughter Amelie who seems to have adjusted from her life in China to Canada with extraordinary ease.  I went to bed at 2 am and left the kids to take care of the stragglers.
I had a lovely quiet early morning on Christmas Day with a book and latte waiting for everyone to wake up.
The kids cooked us and my brother a lovely breakfast with mimosas....
Brandon peppered us with questions all morning as he worked on the crossword....then skated on the pond around the corner, while Ky and Blake watched Elf for the 10th time. 
Our dinner was lovely, all hands on deck.  Everyone brought dishes already prepared that made the workload light. And we finished up with carrot cake and trifle.. And then we looked at my grandparents family album on disk which was a great way to end the night. 
Today is my day to relax and put me feet up....there's trifle for breakfast and left overs for lunch so I am free and clear of canteen duty all day.  Bar service is self serve today.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas

I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas.....

And to let you all know that after our huge Christmas fight, our family have made up and are moving on wth celebrating the season.

So Happy Christmas to all of you.  I hope you are able to do what brings you happiness this Christmas.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stormy Waters-Where is Norman Rockwell?

Have you ever had a big, huge, all encompassing, yelling, door slamming family fight right at Christmas.?
When you threaten to call off the whole celebration.?
And tell them to throw the turkey away?
And take down the tree.?

Well, we all did
And we have retreated to our respective corners
and no one is speaking.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How to be alone-Spoken Artwork

I haven't got a clue how I captured this image.  I was out on the lake photographing feathers in the water.  The lake was choppy and I think water went over the top of the feather and captured the reflection of the sky and made the feather very blue.

Christmas is a time when we often stop and think about people who are alone.  We just can't bear to think of people alone at Christmas, or really any other time of year. We associate being alone with loneliness. 
But it is possible to be lonely, but not alone.

I recently came across this video on a great new blog I have started following called Dirksen Dabbles.  You can check out this blog here.
The video is called How to be Alone-Spoken Art.  I found it quite moving.
To view this video clicke here How to Be Alone-Spoken Artwork

I thought you may enjoy seeing it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bathroom Reno Before and After

The master bedroom bathroom is finally done.  The tub had a marvelous journey across America and finally arrived for it's installation. So now we have a lovely spot to bathe after living with this for 21 years. 
This was the closet on the left. 
And the 2 piece bathroom on the right.  For 21 years, this toilet has had a mind of it's own....trickling and whooshing at will, despite having it's parts replaced and tinkered with a dozen times.  The inside of the toilet was marked 1979. 
And here's the before view with the wall between. 
Wall gone 
And the after view.  The doorway is now right where that crucifix was hanging. (it has sentimental value and will be re hung).  Now the focal point from the bedroom is the sink and mirror. 
To the left where the closet once stood is the bathtub.  This is from The American Bath Factory and is beautifully made and priced about the same as many crappier acrylic tubs.  I ordered from CSN Stores and got free shipping. (hence the long journey) 
I used Polished Nickel light fixtures and taps from Restoration Hardware.  I first saw these taps 10 years ago at Restoration, and loved them immediately and knew I would use them one day.  
The other view towards the window.  It is hard to photograph small rooms!  I drew the plans for this bathroom 6 years ago in Design School for my final bathroom design project. 
And, the toilet, despite being in a new spot with all new plumbing and being a brand new Kholer, still trickles and Whooshes at will, waking me up at night.  We clearly need the plumber back to do something with it.
Head over to The Lettered Cottage Cottage to see more great projects.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Not So Decorated House

I've been faffing around making gifts and catching up on work and de cluttering my entire house.  Room by room I have purged the unnecessary and undesirable. Since the master bedroom is still under construction, all of it's contents are in other rooms.  I can't stand clutter, so I been ruthless.  I have only a few things to go back into the bedroom when completed. Two loads to Goodwill.  A load of dog towels, toys and pet beds to the Humane Society. (I hope you Burlington Goodwill hunters enjoy some of my donations...there were some great bits). 

Everyone has been posting their Christmas Decor on their blogs for weeks.  I did string a cedar garland over the mantle and some Indian Mercury glass balls.  Along with my Santa Bunting that I purchased in Chicago.

With great effort I tossed 2 huge pine cones on the blue dresser.
My...I still have pussy willow in the big vase....shame 
I usually fill the footed dish with Christmas chocolates, but it is getting low already..... 
We are putting the tree in the basement this year.  We haven't got a great spot in the living room and with loads of people and my mum's wheelchair, it is far to cramped.  We will get 2 large fellas to carry her down in her chair on Christmas Day. The tree will go up next Wednesday when both kids arrive home.

This gorgeous painting was a trade with my friend Lorraine.  Her husband hated it, so I traded a vintage table for it......I think I got the better end of this deal. 
I love this not so jolly paper mache Santa....a gift from a friend I have sadly lost touch with...I do think of her every Christmas though... 
My fake Paper Whites. Next to the antique plastr mirror that I found on the road.  Really.
Evidence in the hallway.....Lindt chocolate wrappers...and dust..Christmas dust 
It's not a lot of decorating, but all my house can manage.  Any more and it starts whinging.
I did throw a red woolly blanket on the guest room bed......

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Home Made Greeting Cards....another easy gift.

I've been making gifts this year...avoiding the malls and the mass produced.  Since no one in my family likes vintage bits, I decided to make them a pack of greeting cards.  Blank, so they can write their own message.

I though it would be a way to use some of my favourite photos that I have taken this year.

You can buy blank cards at a craft shop like Michaels.  I bought 25 cards for $6.00. 
I picked my favourite photos and made a collage out of several.
You can do this easily with free software

     I printed them 4 pictures to one page, so as to not waste photo paper. Slice off the edges with an Xacto knife, then simply glue it with a glue stick to the blank card.

Package them in a clear cello bag and adorn with a trinket, ribbon or tag. 
 I used some of my clay tags that I made yesterday.   
 While I was at it I made this years Christmas Card from our family.  A collage of 2 photos.  Simple grey border around the photo. Handwritten scrawl inside.  (I used to work for a doctor and I had by far the worst handwriting in the entire hospital.)  

Here is a shot of the "variety pack" .  An assortment for various occasions.  I have 2 friends battling cancer this year and I think they would make nice gifts for them as they won't have to worry about picking up cards through the year.  And for my brothers who every time they are here ask "you don't happen to have a card I can borrow for so and so, do you?"
I am not sure how much they each cost to make.  The card and envelope was 25 cents.  Photo paper varies and you don't need to buy the really heavy stock.  You can do 4 cards per sheet. Printer ink is likely the most expensive part.  Even if it costs $1.00 per page, 4 cards per page is another 25 cents. So maybe 50 cents per card. 

Watch me get them all back on my Birthday.....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gifting Marmalade

Yesterday I posted on a quick and easy way of making Marmalade for Christmas. I gift a great deal of marmalade and I like to add a wee something to the jars. Last year I tied a vintage spoon on each jar, but this year, I decided to make a reuseable clay tag, tied with a little organza ribbon.
I quickly found this clay making addictive and made about 50 favourite is this bunny.  This would make a great craft for the kids.
I made Robins..... 
And Fleur-de-Lys.........Lots of Fleur de Lys as half my friends and neighbours are French Canadian...
You can see I got carried away....with clay. 
Back to the task at hand, which was decorating my jars.  I put a square of Parchment Paper on each jar, secured with an elastic band that I have saved from the mail man's delivery all year.  Almost every day, the mail man drops (tosses) an elastic band on our lawn as he undoes his little post office organized piles, and everyday, I retrieve it and keep it in my "Never buy and elastic band" jar. 

So there's a pile of gifts waiting to be gifted.  If you guys bring me back the jars I will refill.......

(Nancy, I know you are low, I am coming on Sunday to rescue you from your marmalade shortage)

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Shortcut to Amazing Homemade Marmalade

I make a lot of jams and jellies over the course of a year, and always Marmalade at Christmas.  Marmalade is best made with Seville oranges, which prove elusive here in Canada.
  I once made a trip to the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto just to buy Seville oranges, but due to the fact that they travel from Spain, they aren't as fresh as I would have liked. 
So Voila, I introduce to you something so marvellous, it makes Marmalade Making so much quicker and easier.  Ma Made is fresh Seville oranges, all peeled and pith removed in a can.  Along with either thin or thick shreds of gorgeous ribbons of orange peel.  If you have ever made it from scratch, you know how long it takes to de-segment an orange and zest it.  This is a Marmalade makers miracle! (I buy it ad Dennigers here in Ontario)
Look at that beautiful vibrant fruit........All you do is add sugar and water........... 
 And boil it until your whole home is fragrant with cooked oranges.......
 Pour into warm prepared jars, cap and process (boil under water) for 10 minutes.
Sit back and listen to the snappy, poppy noises as the jars cool, and you have beautiful gifts of the best marmalade you will ever taste.  I always do a nice ribbon and tag on the jars which I will show in another post!