Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve!

Lee big plans...a glass of wine and pizza with Chris and Stef. Bed by 10ish to read and up early January 1 to leave the house at 5 am to take Stef to work. I haven't thought about resolutions this year...I am currently working on my weight loss goals and will just be carrying that through to 2011. To health and happiness! Cheers!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Lee here. My neighbours just brought us a beautiful gift basket full of different cheeses, hot red pepper jelly, yummy crackers, guacamole, grapes, and chocolates. NOW I'm hungry! I have been really watching what I eat so having a few treats this holiday have been so great. I feel in control and happy to not have to resolve to "start" losing weight and getting into shape on January 1st.

We are going to inlaws tonite for dinner..I am bringing a huge salad with black olives and feta cheese so I will mostly have that. Later tonite though, Kate and I are planning on making nachos and watching "A Christmas Story"! Big Hugs to Kathee and are awesome friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First day of winter

Lee here...sometimes I am thankful for needing to get up and walk the dog. The first day of winter was so crisp and quiet at 7:30am...and look at this moon! This is the shortest day of the year which means from here on in, we get a bit more daylight everyday!

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 more sleeps

Lee here..I am really excited that its the holidays...I love Christmas! The music, shows, tasteful decorations, getting together to eat yummy food....ok I guess visiting with family is ok too. I really enjoy the story of the Nativity. I like being able to actually take "time off"..and sleep in etc. Annie is super crazed about Christmas as usual..and has been counting down for the past 45+ days. This week is too full of last minute things..I have already put a date on the calender to start Christmas cards and baking for next year....the last week of November. Some night this week we want to go for a drive and look at lights...with a hot chocolate in hand. I really miss seeing Zee and Kathee! We will have to plan something for after the holidays..I picture yummy snacks..tea and knitting.
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Christmas tree is up!

Lee it really feels like Christmas time! The girls always decorate the tree after I put the lights on. We pull out the bin of ornaments and have a fond memory for most all of them. I got these 3 wise men from Chris's parents...they used to go on their tree...they are about 30 years old I think.
Annie wanted to make a star for the top...I was skeptical but thought, why not...and I think it is perfect! Kate got the ballerina from Yaya when she was 4 years old...and the spirally, delicate glass ornament was from when my parents were first married and decorated a 48? years old?
This is Annie's Charlie Brown tree...ok, its actually rosemary and was just a photo op....She didn't want to kill the poor plant.

I think the tree is perfect!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Things that make me happy at this time of year....

My collection of vintage Christmas treasures!
my "boy"chopping wood....and then filling the wood cubby!

Christmas baking......

My poinsetta...

How happy my hubby is when we get the Christmas tree!

and how amazing it looks when it's branches have fallen and it's all decked out!

and a few other things........Christmas cards, the smell of the Christmas tree, surprises in the mail!, the birdfeeding 'station' that we have set up, making Christmas gifts!, picking through the Christmas fabric bags and scraps to 'wrap'the gifts in, sitting on the couch with a hot cup of tea and watching the snow fall.......... happy days!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My favourite quilt...

My mom made this quilt many years ago and it is one of most favourites! I am fortunate enough to have several quilts that she made and I love them all for different reasons. I have a few reasons why this one is the best. First of all, I LOVE the pattern. It's traditional, old fashioned and basic....hmmm, sounds a lot like me...... I also love the colours of the squares and how there IS no real pattern to how they are laid out. The weight of this quilt is so great too! It has a lot of stitching to it, so that adds to the weight and when you cover up with this quilt it feels like it's hugging you. And now, after all these years, it is SO soft. I have it covering this little wooden chair at the moment, but it tends to be the first quilt I grab when I need one. It's perfect to cover up with when it's a bit chilly in the morning waiting for the woodstove to get going, or when I'm on the couch in the TV room. It's also perfect to lay on the floor when I want to warm up nice and close to the woodstove...

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Finally, I'm taking Silversmithing classes.  Even though it'ssilver I'm currently working with, really it's Goldsmithing I'm doing. I do intend on making some flatwear in the new year, and create other Hollowware, maybe a baby cup (silver is not so cheap, I can't afford to make a tea set yet). I've been sawing, filing, soldering, polishing and designing, what a great time suck this has been.

Tag for DH

My Ring Collection.            

Pieces of a soon to be pendant.

What it might look like.

I guess I'm also becoming a Bench Jeweler as I'm working on Lapidary skills, wax casting, lost wax casting and stone setting.  It's hard not to get lost in the stones/rocks.  I was such a  rock hound as a child, I even mounted my specimens lol,  I could cut and polish stones all day.  Silversmiting is giving me something to do with them after I'm done.  Faceting is something I'm going to give a try in the new year along with Chain Maille. 

Cabochon in the works
My first stone in silver setting.
Cabs I made, Thai made the wee black one and Minh made the round green one.

 Now how about some Blacksmithing!


Friday, November 26, 2010

More art work

Lee here...not much going on ...or maybe too much but nothing of interest to blog! One thing that always brings lots of joy is Annie's artwork...she is always creating something. She has a long time interest in ocean life. Sometimes her drawings are whimsical like this one. Our friend Peggy that we do ceramics with, is going to take her outside in the warmer weather and draw with her. Annie has no interest in art classes but just likes to chat, watch and explore. After our last ceramics session, she told me she wishes everyone could learn the way she is learning with Peggy....just sitting around with an artist, being shown some things, seeing everything as an experiment and just going to it, making mistakes and learning.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hangin with my Gnomies....

Lee here....Annie made me this gnome!! Yup, just whipped it up in no time..she is so creative. I am going to have a house full of little gnomes...all tucked in amongst the books, plants, dishes, toilet paper, etc etc. This little guy is made from wool felt and needle felted wool.
You know you have too many cats when.....
..there is a line up at the water bowl!
ps..the floor is dirty and dusty from some bathroom reno.

Making Christmas Fruit Cake

This is one of my favourite Christmas traditions! I first started by choosing an apron ( I have a THING for aprons!) This one I bought in a little collectables shop in Guelph. It was to be my last visit to Guelph before Emma left for BC. SUCH a cute shop and so fun to look through all the retro stuff...and so many laughs, right Lisa? “Golly” that was fun!

Once the apron was chosen I dug out my mom’s old Kenwood mixer. I usually do the mixing by hand, but I figure it will be a new part of the Fruitcake tradition now, seeing as this is my mom’s recipe. Actually, it’s HER mom’s recipe! The machine is cool, but the bowl is not so big and I had to finish the mixing in my big stainless steel bowl, by hand. Still, I think the mixer definitely goes with the apron!

The dried fruit- Thompson raisins, sultanas, currants and candied peel- were mixed in a separate bowl, doused with some Brandy and left to soak for a bit.

The flour is mixed with the lovely spices...cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice..........all the rest of the ingredients are added along with the brandied fruit...

The past couple of years, I have poured the batter into one large and three small loaf pans. We keep the big one for Christmas visitors...SO yummy with a hot cup of Earl Grey....and the other three are usually given as gifts. (This year, I will be sending one out west to Em)
After the cakes are cooled, a bit of Brandy is drizzled over each cake and then they are wrapped in foil (or muslin) and stored in a container in the fridge. Once a week, they get another drizzle of Brandy. That is done for three weeks and then they sit for another week to let the flavours really come together. Then they are ready for tasting! (or mailing)This year, the cakes will be ready by December if you want a taste,let me know when you're coming and I'll put the kettle on for tea!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Woot Woot! Zee here.....

Wow time is just.. well gone by so quickly. 

I've been busy, no more than usual, just competing for time at the computer these days.  Having teens in the house, online school....  It's no longer first come first using the computer, it's all about priority first, which makes me last to log

Christmas is just around the corner,  Bodhi Day even sooner.  The house is getting revved up for down time, oxy right?  My High School attending kids are looking forward to hanging out and having to go no where slowly.  I agree, winter is my time to sit back and just be.  Meditating, hanging out and getting jobs done seems to be much easier, I'm defiantly more productive during the winter months.  I'm looking forward to getting together with family and friends, catching up and making even more memories.

I've been busy baking bread every day. I really, really, really missed my Kitchen Aid mixer {{big hugs}} I don't "LOVE" my mixer, that would be wrong on many levels, but I do like it a lot ;)  I can't wait to get a hold of Andrea's Organic Spelt flower.  I'm going to get started on our ginger bread house soon, a grand homestead this will be!  We are also going to do a ginger bread house for a charity fund raiser at DH's workplace.  You buy the kit, make the house.. they will be displayed in the hotel lobby, then auctioned off with proceeds going to our local Food Bank :)

I'm going to log off for now, be back in a bit with an update on my rock and silver stash.   Oh yeah, maybe the beginners spinning class in the new year :)  And.. of course pottery ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christmas traditions...?

It’s going to be a very different Christmas at our house this year. Emma will be in BC and Jen has a limited time off work (which is a good thing really, because we are SO HAPPY that Jen’s job has been extended and that she will still be working at that time...) But it does mean that it will be just ‘me and the boys’ this Christmas.
Change in a family is inevitable; I know that only too well. It begins as soon as your kids start to grow up. But it gets harder as they become young adults. When Jen left to go away to school, that was really the beginning of big changes. Then Emma left. At first they were just away for the school year. Then Jen’s life included her hubby’s family and now they have to fit both sides into their Christmas holidays. (Of course the up side of that was that we got to have her hubby join our family!) Fortunately, we will get to see them at New Year’s. The hardest change this year is that we won’t see Emma at Christmas. That’s a tough one. Needless to say, I’m a bit sad about it.
Part of my problem is that I LOVE hanging out with my kids! They are so much fun to be with. Aside from the fact that they GET me (well, for the most part), they are wonderfully funny, incredibly smart and just really great people to hang out with (and so are their partners!)
The other thing is that I LOVE traditions...translation: I DON’T like change. I think that’s why I love Christmas. It’s all about doing the same things that we’ve done every year....the Christmas baking (fruit cake, cookies, chocolate fruit balls, biscotti, and pannetonne!) the Christmas foods (the Christmas Eve meal, the Christmas day dinner, the special snacks), the Christmas lights that Greg and Aidan put up on the house (although they seem to do that earlier every year and something new is usually added. This year it’s a 3 ft wreath adorned with lights that now hangs on the wall between the upstairs windows, facing the driveway.YUP, it’s already up there, although I’ve been told they won’t actually turn the lights ON until Remembrance Day is over...)
There are also the Christmas cards, the Christmas music, (which by the way, Greg starts playing as soon as it snows...) and the Christmas tree and indoor decorations. For me, all of that- all the prep work, the decorating, the cooking and the baking is really all about one thing...that we are going to have this very special time TOGETHER. So now what?
I’ve been thinking of this for some time now and have come up with a few thoughts. First off, we have so much to be TRULY thankful for. Yes, my heart breaks a little thinking that we won’t all be waking up together on Christmas morning, but compared to what some other people have to deal with this year, we should be grateful. It’s not like learning that your partner just got diagnosed with cancer. It’s not like trying to get used to living with the death of your spouse. We have our health and we have each other. I know it’s a part of life; everyone’s kids grow up and move out and make their own lives. I know that it’s a good thing. And I am thankful that my girls have such wonderful young men to share their lives with and make their own traditions with.
So I guess it’s time for some new traditions around here. Here’s what I have planned so far:
1) I’m going to start by mailing out some Christmas treats to Emma. Some Fruit cake and Christmas cookies, maybe a couple of stocking stuffers. I will be sending her a little bit of home (and a whole lot of love)
2) I will plan on more than one “Christmas Dinner”...a cosy one on Christmas day with my ‘boys’ and Grandma, and a second one when Jen arrives the following weekend.
3) I will just have to finally learn how to “Skype”, so that at some point over the holidays we all still can be ‘together’.
4) I will treasure the fact that I still have Aidan at home and continue to share some of our special traditions with him (as well as LOTS of Christmas cookies and treats that I know he loves!)
I know I won’t be the only one finding the changes at Christmas difficult. But for the girls, I hope it will be a wonderful time too. It’s a time to start building their own traditions with their partners. And they will become as special to them as mine are to me.
And now, I’ve got some Christmas baking to get to!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Garden and the art process.

The garden is mostly finished...some stuff will be tucked away till next year...asparagus will be covered with straw...newly planted garlic too. Manure and compost have been added...and some leaves. The compost bin has been placed in the new bed where strawberries will be planted in the spring. This picture was taken in the early morning. I bought some bulbs to plant this week...10 daffodils (5 each of 2 different kinds) and 5 little grape hyacinths. I planted some last year and for the next few years would like to plant more..hoping everything comes back and starts to multiply. Annie's artwork....first she draws with pencil...

then inks it in with a fine tip permanent marker..sharpie I think....

and sometimes colors it in...I love the vibrant colors and recommended she start drawing on the walls:)


Fall Back

I love when the mornings are light least for a little while. This picture was taken around 6:45am.... its usually still pitch black at this time .... Lee

Friday, November 5, 2010

Today, November 5th, is the start of Veteran's week; a time of commemorative events and ceremonies honouring our veterans, and then ending on Remembrance day. This week always holds a special place in my Dad was a veteran and my Mom is too. I am truly thankful , but my heart breaks a little more every time I think about what my Dad (and other veterans) went through..what he had to do, what he saw... My sister, The-Keeper-of-All-Things-Family, has not only all our family tree researched, recorded and stored, but she has my dad's Military History too. She has a copy of his Military record- a huge binder of every document that had anything to do with my dad's life in the army. She also has a collection of books written about the First Special Service Force that my Dad was a member of. My sister lent them to me this past week, and I have been rereading them. Unbelievable stories, brutal stories. And impossible to believe that my dad was one of these "Supercommandos". My dad was a gentle soul. Don't get me wrong, when we were kids he could give you that "look" that had us shaking in our shoes. But that was the extent of his fierceness... He was a quiet man, a man of few words. He had a difficult life as an only child and learned early on, to be careful what he said and to who. Maybe that life was what prepared him and got him through the horrors of war.
I have to say here that I don't believe in war. I believe that there has to be another way...but remembering the veterans on Remembrance day is not about what I believe. It's about what those men and women believed; what they did because they believed they were doing the right thing. Every time I think about my Dad's experience at Anzio beachhead in Italy, living in a foxhole for 99 consecutive days of battle under heavy artillery fire, I think, how? How does a person get through that? And how does a person get past that? Somehow, he did. And he went on to be there for his wife and all his children and his grandchildren. So on Remembrance Day, I remember and am thankful. Thankful to my Dad who, no doubt, gave up part of his soul to do what he believed to be the right thing, thankful to God for bringing him home, to my mom for doing her part and then helping my dad get through his, and to my sister who keeps our family story alive. Lest we forget.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Totally my cat

Lee here....This is my cat Kovu. We usually call all our pets "family pets"...except for the adult cat Annie just adopted...but Kovu has really claimed me as his own and is always so demanding of my attention. Here he is right beside me while I'm on the computer. I'm the only one he actually sits on and he follows me around like a puppy..actually our dog follows me around too.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Lee here. First off, thanks Kathee for posting those pictures! They are lovely! We will have to have a hypertufa workshop at your house in the spring!
Here is Minh dressed up as a nice sweet character from the TV show, Adventure Time.
Here is Annie as a ninja zombie. I worry about that girl!

They had lots of fun gathering candy:)

Monday, November 1, 2010


...otherwise known as Hens and Chicks. For some time now I have wanted to grow some hens and chicks in a trough and I want to make a hypaturfa one. In the meantime, I decided I could still enjoy these little succulent plants this winter if I planted them in some clay pots. This spring I want to make the trough and maybe a couple of small pots and will transfer them into it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween cookies!

Look at these owl cookies that Annie made today! She has some wrapped up to give to the librarians and to our friend Dee at her store in town. They are a simple sugar cookie decorated with little candy corn for the wings and mini m&m's for the eyes.....held on with orange royal icing.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Art Display

Lee here....So, I bought this little shadow box that was on sale at Michaels..not as big as I wanted but the larger ones were too pricey and weren't as plain and simple as this one... but I think it works. I glue gunned them in place and had to pick these ultimate favorites out of about 50. The white blotch has Annie's name and the date. I'm not sure where this will go but it is definetely a keepsake for me! I really love how she has the parents holding their children, whether they are babies or older kids..and holding hands if not being held :) Kate is the dancer in mid centre.

On a side is supposed to get very windy today so I plan on going out this morning and bagging some leaves that I need for the compost and new strawberry bed. Otherwise they will blow away and I will lose all that free organic matter!

Monday, October 25, 2010

fall soup

Lee little nephew had thrown together a soup with the help of his mom (my sister) and it was delicious. I called today to ask for the "recipe" and Annie and I whipped this up. Looks so nice in the new bowls I got from IKEA...and the white bowls off to the side are from value village.

~The Soup~
a couple of white potatoes
a couple of sweet potatoes
roasted squash
veggie broth
a big bunch of leeks
an apple
a bit of oregano, pepper and 1 tsp cumin.
cook till soft and then puree with submersion blender
SOOO GOOD on a cool fall day......

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The weekend

I had such a busy weekend driving 2 girls around..waiting for hours and hours in town, that I am amazed that I got a couple of jobs done at home and pleasantly surprised that we got to have fun as well! Annie raked leaves to jump in..and will eventually make it into my compost...the leaves, not Annie.

Found a stick bug to well as a giant grasshopper that took off before I could take a photo.
Annie helped me plant a bed of garlic. We also planted 2 heads of "music" garlic to try something different.

Working on jack-o-lanterns... Annie still insists that we buy 3 pumpkins. Its one of those traditions that is difficult to let go of. top of the weekend (that felt way more rushed and busy than fun)....Kate, Annie and I went out for favorite meal out!