April 01, 2014

I Am Not A Quitter (or how I almost lost my mind with Miss Mustardseed)

I am not a quitter...I'm really not.

Sometimes things don't work out and sometimes I have one of those "why me" days.  (I can get a really good whimper on at times)  But I always go back and try again.  I learned this lesson in my young adulthood when I gave up on people and things too easily.  You can miss out on a lot that way so now I persist.

But I'm starting to think that milk paint has me stumped.  Don't get me wrong.  I have nothing against Miss Mustardseed.  I love Marian...her style, her taste, her talent, her creativity and her lovely family that are obviously the most important thing in her life.  She is a huge inspiration.  If you don't know her story, check out her blog.  It is fabulous!

But my attempts at milk painting to date have been disastrous and of course, I've bought LOTS of it because I never do anything by half measures.  If I had a tattoo, it would say "go big or go home!"

I know it's me...not the Miss Mustardseed paint.  I've seen what magic Marian can perform and I have seen the multitude of  fabulous projects on Pinterest.  I've watched all the how-to videos.  I usually consider myself quite crafty and creative but gee, here's a picture of my table.

I wish I could say this was April Fool's but it isn't.   (I did soften the picture to make it look a little better ;).  This is probably about the 5th coat and it still isn't what I want.  Oh well. I'll let you know if I ever get it looking good.  Off to try another coat...


March 17, 2014

A Thirst That Can't Be Quenched

I don't know if it's just the time of year or if it's the huge drifts of snow fossilizing along the roads but my depression has been an insidious ghost enveloping me.  I can't seem to shake it this year.  It's worse and it's better.  I can recognize it and beat it back so it doesn't completely overwhelm me but my feet are dragging and I can't outrun it.  Usually my depression besets me to the exclusion of all else but this year, I feel like I'm just a spectator; watching it all unfold through the looking glass.  It's disconcerting but it's better than being carried along in the deluge.  I know there's really nothing wrong and that my life is good and I am happy. It feels like I have one of those viruses that hang on and on and make you feel like you've been hit by a truck.

Maybe I just need spring.  I have a yearning, an ache and a hunger for spring that can't be satisfied until I can smell that deep, earthy, wet smell of decomposing leaves and tiny green shoots of new life.  This year, I am counting the days and the hours.


February 24, 2014

Organizing Pinterest

Stuck in bed with a bad cold today so I decided to do a little organizing.  Took the better part of day to go through my Pinterest boards and tidy them up.  Remove the duplicates, delete things I'm no longer interested in and move pins to a more logical board. Not much but I still got something accomplished between sniffles.

xo Julie

January 29, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait..

Tuesday was one of those days. I spent most of the afternoon taking my Mom to a medical appointment.  I did get some grocery shopping done and a nice dinner put together but I didn't end the day with a feeling of accomplishment.

In the morning, I got up late and spent my usual hour with coffee and e-mail.  I did a little knitting. I'm still working on some cowls for family and friends.

One of my friends, Deb was coming over after work to pick up her cowl so I made up a pan of lemon squares.  Her boys like them best.  I pulled out my Kitchenaid food processor, plugged it in and measured out the ingredients.  I pushed the button and nothing.  So frustrated but I won't rant about it again.  I'll be doing my research before buying another one.  I want to buy appliances that are manufactured in Canada or the States.  So hard to find but you can't count on a company's past reputation any more.  I think the only way to get manufacturing back to North America is to put your money where your mouth is!

I had to transfer everything to my blender which doesn't work as well for this recipe.  It took the shine off my good mood.  Even though we are still freezing here in Ontario, the sun was shining brightly this morning.  I started to grate my lemon and aromatherapy really does work.  Just the smell and bright strips of lemon rind makes me happy.

It's been so cold this year that most of my Christmas bulbs were late flowering. My dining room is cold when I don't have the fireplace going. One of my favourite Christmas activities is planting my paperwhites and amaryllis. I got a red one for the dining room and pink one for the living room this year.

The paper whites went in my white ironstone casserole.  I've added some moss and tied them up when they got too tall.  These are one of my favourite things about Christmas and they lasted right through to the first week of January.

My red amaryllis bloomed just in time for Christmas and we've already cut off one of the stalks.  The pink however is just blooming now.  It's quite nice to have something in bloom in the house when I am longing for spring.

Poor stick!  He really doesn't like the cold and every day is a struggle for him.

Here's Miss Lucy.  As soon as the camera comes out, the girl strikes a pose!

January 26, 2014

Downton Abbey Addict

Oh, Mr. Bates! (imagine all shades of inflection here)

I have come late to the party and was hooked on Downton Abbey in a millisecond.  Oh the clothes, the manners, the decor.  I'm not sure if it speaks to my "station" in life but I'm most intrigued with "below stairs".  The homespun clothes and the lovely aprons and copper pans and all manner of utilitarian appliance.  I love it all.

Shortly before Christmas, I watched the first two seasons on Netflix.  Even though I bought season one more than a year ago, I just never found the time to pop it in the TV.  Probably just as well.  I truly enjoyed "bingeing" on DA.  I went out and bought season three before season four started this month.  Now Sunday evening between 9 pm and 10 pm is sacrosanct.  Don't ask me, I cannot come.  I will be at home or as they would have said in those days "not at home".

On a more personal note and after my confidences of yesterday...

I had set myself a goal to lose 10 lbs in January and I have succeeded!  So I am setting the same goal for February and planning to start some exercising.  That has been sadly lacking in my life to date.  My rheumatologist suggested I start with walking. To that end, I bought new winter boots on Friday.  My boots were a full size too big due to orthotics (which did nothing for me except wreck my knees!) and therefore, extremely uncomfortable to walk in (besides being ugly bugly).  While I was at the shoe store, I found a couple more items on sale (ahem)...navy patent leather pumps and plum moccasins.

Here's my first "dieting" tip for you...don't reward yourself with food (you're not a dog and shoes work so much better!)


January 25, 2014

To Blog or Not to Blog...

...that is the question?

I haven't posted to my blog at all in January.  The truth is I was considering abandoning my blog.  I was feeling that it was taking time I didn't really have.  It's a small little personal blog without a big readership so I was going to let it quietly fade away.

This year started oddly for me.  I formally retired on December 31, 2013 and was expecting to feel relief, joy and the promise of possibilities.  Instead, I mostly felt grief...for a job I didn't even want to return to.  So contrary!  Of course, I usually am pretty contrary. I suppose it was natural.  It wasn't really a retirement of my choosing.


Mostly I have worked through those emotions and am feeling open to whatever comes my way.  I plan on concentrating on me this year.  A year long project to find my bliss; to accomplish those things we all list as New Year's resolutions but give up on by mid-January.  This year my word is


No matter how many times I fall off the horse, this year I am getting back up.  I'm going to take the opportunity to try new things, learn new skills, and find what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I may not always succeed but I want to try to say "Yes!" instead of "No".

There are a lot of creative projects to finish around the house and a renewed interest in my garden.  I have a great group of friends that I spend time with every week and that will definitely continue.  Maybe I'll find some time for a little romance this year as well.  I feel younger than I did 10 years ago so that's not bad.

Of course, top of the list right now is working on getting my extra weight off (once and for all...it is do or die time!) and start exercising.  I want to make my heart a lot healthier before I consider put it out there again.

Having or not having a blog really doesn't affect any of these goals but I think it might be good for me to document them.  If anyone else finds it interesting, that will be a bonus.  But this time, it is for me.

I've been reading a lot of blogs in the last month (even if I haven't been posting) and it is the time of year for introspection and self-examination.  A lot of you have been writing eloquent posts.  Some of your posts have informed me and inspired me and left me to gnaw away on an opinion or two.  What I've learned from you is that I have to stop being intimidated by what I read.  I'm a lousy photographer with cheap equipment and that isn't going to change any time soon.  My writing skills are rudimentary but they are my own.  I have to let my competitive nature ebb away because I don't have the wherewithal to compete with the amazing blogs out there and really wouldn't want to devote the time necessary if I did.

I want to make every day count and make up for too many days lived by rote.  If I'm going to continue doing this, it needs to be for me.  A sort of diary of my life rather than trying to fit into any niche or format with pretty pictures.  I'm going to try to be as honest as I can (while protecting the identities of the innocent - grin).


If you want to come along for the ride, feel free.  Any advice or comment is always welcome.


December 30, 2013

December 2013 Roundup

I haven't been posting a lot in December and no, I wasn't one of the unfortunate Southern Ontarians who lost power over Christmas.  We did get the ice storm but didn't bear the brunt of it.  The trees were covered in ice and looked pretty.  The roads and the sidewalks were treacherous and prevented me from venturing from home for a couple of days but we were lucky.

Honestly, I was busy with Christmas and friends and family and making gifts and baking and basically having fun.  Stopping to write a post felt like work, not fun and I promised myself that I would not continue to blog if it wasn't fun.

I'm not saying that I am stopping, just that it felt natural to take a break.  I don't have advertisers or sponsors to answer to so I don't have to blog every day.

Big changes are coming in my world...tomorrow I am officially retired so I guess I now need to figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of my life.  I think I'm looking forward to it.

yum...ginger cookies

I did a lot of little projects this month but I didn't take pictures or share them because they were Christmas presents.  I might see if I have anything to show  you later.

Today was definitely a R & R day.  I spent the day in bed....catching up on reading your blogposts, e-mail, Facebook and started knitting a cowl for my Mom in teal.  Tea and cookies.....Downton Abbey and Victoria magazine.  A couple hours wasted on Pinterest.  It was a delight.  I need more days like this.

"Mom, are you done yet?  When can we go outside?"

I'll let you know how retirement goes...

Finnie using his Martian mind meld to try and shut my laptop down


December 14, 2013

Snow, Knitting and a Lovely Present from Migonis Home

It's Saturday night and we are having a big snowstorm today.  I hope it stops soon and doesn't accumulate too much.  I want to go visit a friend in the country tomorrow but I won't drive if the roads are too bad.

Yesterday was spent baking for Christmas and it was just one of those days.  Things didn't work out well so I needed a rest from baking today.  I'll try again tomorrow...sometimes it's just better to wait out the bad luck.

This morning I took my Mom over to the mall.  She wanted to get a couple of new sweaters to wear for bowling.  She often finds the alley cold.  At 88 years old, she's still bowling every week in a league. We were lucky and found a big sale at Cleo's.  I got a couple myself but I bought cardigans. Still having hot flashes so I'm not ready to wear pullovers, ha!

I did work on a knitted cowl today.  It's a gift for a friend...

I also got a gift this week. I was the lucky winner of a gorgeous mercury acorn tree ornament from Jen's blog Migonis Home. If you haven't visited yet, make sure you do.  She has such a beautiful blog.  I love following her posts and I never win anything so I was pretty excited....

I love it and decided to add it to my dining room table vignette, instead of hanging it on the tree.  I thought it would be noticed more on the table and it's definitely one that you want to show off.

Are you all ready for Christmas??  I'm not and I'm tired of people asking me...especially in stores. I'm making most of my gifts so I'll be busy every day til Christmas!  Any time I try to buy a gift, I usually just end up buying one for myself  :).  I've been very indulgent this Christmas.  Budget starts January 1!

I just bought myself some locally grown and ground flour.  Hopefully the bread turns out and I can share the recipe.  I went to a Christmas pop-up store at South Pond Farm last Thursday evening with friends and ohhhhhh I want to live in the country on a farm! It might be too late for that dream to come true but when you see a beautiful farmhouse like this one, you just want to move in.  I was able to get a few Christmas gifts here.  All local artisans selling their wares.  I'm really trying to support local business whenever possible.  Maybe it's time to start some wrapping.

I hope your weekend is lovely and warm,


December 09, 2013

Christmas in Port Perry

I realized that I never showed you photos from our little shopping trip to Port Perry at the end of November.  Port Perry is a lovely old town in southern Ontario.  It used to have one of my favourite stores - Settlement House.  Two floors of award-winning furniture and home decor.  Unfortunately they closed.  I never knew why.  Because of that, we don't visit Port Perry as often as we used to but there is always an obligatory Christmas shopping trip and Luke's General Store is a great destination.  We also poked through a bunch of other stores but most of the pictures are from Luke's.

Red is always a big colour this time of year.

This is for my American friends. I fell in love with Hobby Lobby.  You can get interesting furniture knobs really cheap there.  Here in Canada, most seem to be about $5 each.  I'm buying a lot next time I visit!

I have fallen in love with all the driftwood accessories out there.  I'll have to add something to my sunroom this year.

All the aqua gorgeousness reminds me of my friend, Linda

Lots of grey and silver out this year.  I'm glad I've worked that into my living room colour scheme.

Okay, I had to show you this really tacky purple tree.  Because I'm using shades of purple of my living room, anything purple catches my eye.