December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas friends and family!

Today is boxing day and I am feeling a little tired after another late evening spent with our neighbours'. I feel like curling up on the sofa and finishing my book this afternoon. I am reading The Quickie by James Patterson, a thriller which I am enjoying but never seem to have enough time to read more than a few pages every few days. This means that I forget what I have read and have to go back a page or two for a re-cap, so I am taking forever to finish it!
The last mail delivery on the 24th brought a surprise parcel from my blog/flickr/etsy friend Kat, (Secrets of a butterfly) over in Newcastle. I opened it on Christmas morning and found 3 pretty Cath Kidston soaps for Jemma, Amber and I, nicely presented in a red organza bag with the cutest Belle and Boo tag! It was so sweet and unexpected.
Christmas eve was lovely, we meandered over to the Dupuis' house next door in the early evening, ate, drank and chatted for hours. They all came over to us on Christmas day for more festivities. We also watched the movie The Holiday, which I had seen before but it was the perfect day to watch it and I think it's a great feel good Christmas dvd.
I got some special gifts from my family, beautiful hand made items from the girls and a spa/beauty voucher from my hubby! I also got the warm pj's and fluffy socks and watched plenty of smiling faces throughout the day. Keriann, as I suspected had made a pretty Christmas heart which looks perfect on the tree amongst all my other Scandinavian decorations.
Archie loved his new bed (an igloo style) and was curled up in it fast asleep within a couple of minutes, after playing with the wrapping paper! He remained there for the rest of the day. He is so happy now that the snow has MELTED (typical on Christmas day!) This morning he was keen to get outside and go investigating the newly revealed green grass which has been buried under snow for a few weeks. Having said that we now have another weather warning, predicting about 20cm's of snow tonight. I will try to remember to take a photo of the lounge tomorrow to add to this post.
Thursday 27th - photos added above and below of the lounge. Hazel xx

December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Mid morning on Saturday and I am all alone as Craig and the girls have gone into his office to do some secret 'stuff' before Christmas.

Feeling a little tired after a late, but fun evening, which consisted of Craig's office Christmas party followed by a visit to our friends up at the lake.

I was so excited when a parcel arrived this week from my good friend Keriann all the way from New Zealand! The parcel included a lovely letter, a couple of local newspapers from the village of Havelock North, where I used to live. Also some pretty tissues from Cath Kidston and cute Christmas napkins (pictured above), which I love. The little tissue wrapped surprise has gone under the tree to be opened on the 25th. Such a thoughtful friend who knows my taste exactly. Very sweet Cath Kidston tissues sitting amongst my cookie cutters!
Christmas eve is just around the corner and we will be visiting our next door neighbours for the evening. We all get on so well as families, it does help that the children are the same age. Of course just being a stones throw away it certainly has its advantages at this time of year especially. The snow is still quite deep and the temperatures below freezing almost every day.
Archie our cat is a bit depressed, which I may have mentioned before? He sits looking out of the window with such a forlorn look on his face and is not eating very much. Occasionally he will venture outside a few feet away from the back door, only to do a swift about turn and come rushing indoors with his 'crazy wild cat look'
My shopping is all done and hidden away, with just the wrapping and labelling to do. Lots of small gifts as usual, to compensate for having no relatives around. Each year I get more nervous of getting it right as far as gifts are concerned, anyone with teenage children can relate I am sure to the ever changing fashions and trends, this weeks purple could be next weeks red! I hold on to all my receipts very carefully, just in case :)
My own wish list for material presents this year reads as follows; warm pj's, warm sweaters, warm fluffy socks, warm gloves, warm..... Actually I will be happy just to see happy faces on the day and get a few hugs from my family (even if some of them are only on facebook)
Sunday evening.
I decided to paint the lounge :) A sort of spur of the moment thing! It got finished this afternoon with Craig's help and I am really pleased with it. Previously the wall were a dark dusky pink which was ok, but looking at it for our third winter I decided a change was due. Now a warm cream with just enough contrast against the white ceiling. No longer confined to having pink soft furnishings I can make some nice new cushions for the spring. No photo to show yet as it is now too dark.
Happy Christmas!Hazel xx

December 09, 2007

A white Christmas perhaps?

Some re-vamped Christmas decorations.
The snow is still lying on the ground and it looks like this year we may well have a 'White Christmas'. After the two previous winters we have pretty much adapted to having heaps of snow fall on our doorstep, although according to the locals, we haven't seen a 'proper' Canadian winter yet! We did get snowed in last Tuesday and the girls had their first 'snow day' so were thrilled to bits to have an unexpected day at home.
Last weekend was a busy one and included a get together with some friends on Saturday evening where there was even some dancing! Well, just us girls, I had great fun as I haven't moved to music (out in public) for quite a while.
Ladies having fun on the dance floor!
Our Christmas tree has been decorated by my two little helpers and it looks lovely in front of the picture window in the parlor.The photo at the top of this post is of some tired looking doves which were a faded gold colour and are now painted white, the little birds along with some felt snowflakes are this year's new decorations, which are dotted around the downstairs rooms. This is a pic of Jemma's chandelier (mentioned in a previous post) She bought it with her saved up pocket money during our trip to Boston. It comes from a shop called Urban Outfitters. A sort of contemporary meets traditional look in her bedroom.
I have been feeling festive all week because of the snow everywhere, people dressed in wooly hats and scarfs running in and out of shops with rolls of wrapping paper and fresh green wreaths. The decorations look lovely down the streets and Christmas music everywhere.
It's early Sunday morning and I am the only one up and about, the fire is already roaring and a pot of fresh coffee is brewing :D
Hazel x

November 30, 2007

November comes to an end!

Well, the trip to Boston certainly threw me off course a bit and I have been trying to keep my head above water since our return. I left with 4 orders pending and arrived to find more orders waiting for me. I am not complaining at all, but keeping up with the sewing this month as well as juggling other things in my life has been pretty tricky! November has been my best month of sales so far since starting this little business, with over 100 tiny animals sewn and posted off to various parts of the world .
Tomorrow is officially Amber's 14th birthday. However, this year she has decided 'not' to celebrate on December 1st, instead she wants her presents and a party in the middle of next year. June 1st will be her 14 and a half day!! Every year she feels that everyone is caught up in the Christmas excitement by December, herself included, and she sometimes feels that her birthday is a little insignificant :( With Jemma's birthday being in the summer as well as our next door neighbours children also having birthdays in July and early August, she wanted to be a part of that and have something to look forward to along with them. We will give it a try and see :) I am sure that tomorrow will bring a few cards and a cake of course.
If I thought that the girls would be fed up with shopping after visiting Boston, I was wrong. Last weekend they asked to be dropped off at the New Minas mall while I had my winter highlights done. They had fun browsing and taking a few photos too!
A rather stylish Amber
Jemma heading for the changing rooms?
I finally managed to write and send off all my Christmas cards, I always forget how early they need to be posted to go to places as far away as S. Africa, Australia and New Zealand. I am usually very organised with hand written letters and photos in each and every one, but this year with my blog posts and facebook activity it seemed a little uneccesary and I didn't want to repeat myself with old news.
In the past we have always waited until a week after Amber's birthday to decorate our Christmas tree. This year we plan to do it on Sunday, which will be nice and early for us. The Canadians are into decorations in a big way with lots of lights, especially in their gardens, on bushes, trees as well as animated reindeer etc. Being quite a minimalistic person our tree has a Scandinavian theme with hearts, wooden figures, embroidered mini pillows etc. Every year the girls and I make a couple of new decorations and remember how young they were as we pull out the old ones from the boxes where they are carefully wrapped in tissue paper. They all seem pretty much intact apart from the occasional 'salt dough' figure which may have gotten a little damp and had to be bid farewell.
Decorating our tree on Sunday will be a time for reminiscing, laughing and donning our red Santa hats of course!
Decorating the tree in New Zealand a few years ago.
No doubt the camera will capture the moment once again :)

Hazel x

November 20, 2007


Yes, since my last blog post we have indeed been to Boston and back by car!
This little adventure came about after one of Craig's impulsive suggestions over dinner on Tuesday evening. Jemma and Amber were grinning from ear to ear whilst spewing out endless names of places they wanted to visit on a weekend trip. I, on the other hand adopted a jaw dropping expression whilst numerous thoughts came into my head of why this was a bad idea. When some of these thoughts were vocalised they were met with snide comments of me being far too sensible, negative and quite positively boring! The discussion continued the following evening by which time I had given in to defeat and decided to be excited instead, the majority vote was to go ahead....
That's when they all went off to school and work, leaving the packing, ironing, cleaning, sandwich making, camera charging, unplugging of electrical appliances, turning off heaters, posting parcels, sorting out a cattery for Archie and putting out the garbage to ME! As well as grabbing handfuls of felt, thread, scissors and patterns for my etsy orders to do en-route.
This of course all had to be done by noon when I attempted to bundle a non-complying Archie into his carrier while he scratched me frantically thinking he was off to the vet again. After picking up the girls at different schools we drove to Craig's office to swap cars for the long journey ahead. Fortunately I do manage to remain calm in these situations and my tick list got steadily 'ticked' and added to throughout the morning, whilst I was on a buzzy coffee high!
The 12 hour journey there went well with Craig doing most of the driving to our first stop at Bangor, an hour past the border post. After our first overnight stay in a Motel I started the early morning drive towards the city and we managed to navigate our way to an Ikea! We did an spot of shopping and had a lovely Scandinavian lunch too.The second overnight stay was on the outskirts of the city. Saturday was the 'big day' Watching two teenage girls getting ready to do some serious shopping is quite sweet, they were so excited and their saved pocket money was burning a hole in their purses. Taking the tube in we arrived at H&M as their doors were opening, that sorted out some clothes shopping. A quick stop at 'Wet Seal boutique' and it was on to the 'Oh so posh' Fairmont Copley Plaza, where the security guard wouldn't let us take a photo of the Jimmy Choo shop :( We walked the entire length of Newbury street doing some window shopping before finding 'Urban Outfitters' right at the very end. Jemma had some specific things she really wanted to buy for her bedroom and was in retail heaven.
I loved all the brownstone buildings and the sheer size of the downtown skyscrapers (remember I am now a country gal) There were to be no tourist visits this time, being such a short trip. But then we have done all the museums and historical buildings in London, scenery in New Zealand and wildlife in Africa. So this really was great for us rural Nova Scotian residents.
Our last morning in Boston sadly meant that it was time to head home. The roads were dry and practically empty as I took the wheel and drove to the border with the sun shining all the way, even though it was constantly minus temperatures outside. The drive home was long, actually very long. After collecting Archie and my car arrived home early evening to a roaring fire, kindly lit by Wayne our next door neighbour. It all went by so quickly like a dream.
On reflection it was a memorable weekend. The girls remained best friends throughout. We probably made too many stops for 'junk food' but then we haven't done that for a few years and I was impressed to find that they now all do a 'version' of a salad, with the dressing on the side :) The girls found it highly amusing that I carried my bag of apples, sunflower seeds, water and herb tea with me everywhere.
I would like to do a city trip again, but probably in warmer weather and preferably by plane not car. Definitely a longer stay, which would be less hectic (my feet are worn out). London would be great with all my favourite shops; M&S, Next, Laura Ashley, Whittards.... I could go on.
Until then we will have to make do with much smaller buildings, little local shops and e-bay!

Hazel x

November 11, 2007


Seems like the most appropriate title this week! This pic was taken this morning looking over to our neighbour's house across the meadow. I never used to be one to talk about the weather, leaving that topic of conversation to my husband, who is well versed on the subject. His favourite TV station is the weather channel funnily enough :) However, the weather here in Nova Scotia is certainly varied with very defined seasons, with the recent hurricane and now this early snow there has certainly been interesting. In New Zealand the weather conversation would sometimes lead to the subject of the serious danger of skin cancer (hole in the ozone layer etc.). In South Africa, where the climate is enviably 'perfect' the conversation usually got followed by " if only there wasn't any crime". In England it was often just weather 'whinging', too hot, too wet, too many leaves.... (but quite honestly nothing that couldn't be cured by some excellent retail therapy! I still miss the shopping)
This morning we woke to 15 cm's of the pure white crisp stuff, lying silently on the ground and covering the branches of the trees, many of which still have some leaves on them and even apples up in parts of the orchards. The snow has arrived a few weeks earlier than normal so today we aren't going anywhere. It's hard to believe that just a couple of blog posts ago we took photos in the sunshine picking apples.
Craig collected a super new treadmill while we were out (which has been on my 'wish list' for the last two winters). This was after much debating on whether we should re-join the gym which is in the opposite direction to his place of work. It didn't make much sense, so the treadmill was a good compromise and we can all use it hopefully. He and I managed to assemble it yesterday afternoon, after it was removed from a box the size of a small house! It came flatpacked with a set of less than clear assembly instructions and we didn't swear once! We have all had a go on it and are very impressed, I am certainly not venturing up the hill anytime soon.
I deleted the bit on my last blog about the land in Gaspereau as it wasn't completely finalised. Now it is a done deal and we are quite excited to own a couple of acres in a lovely area just 3 minutes drive from the town of Wolfville, further down the Annapolis valley and much closer to the city of Halifax.
Just a quick mention of my etsy shop. I sold another elephant to a lady in Toronto. Posted off the 18 animals to Hawaii, made my first Panda bear and am currently working on Christmas orders.
Molly, the pink elephant and Gregory, a tiny Panda.
Facebook continues to be fun, I was so pleased to make contact with my brother Michael in Australia and Amber's old schoolfriend from nursery school in SA. At least I don't feel too isolated, as long as the computer works. It is my lifeline throughout the winter months.
So, as my good friends and family enjoy the summer sunshine I hope they think of us snowed in as we rapidly head towards the 'season to be jolly' I love Christmas.
Hazel xx

Happy birthday to my nephew Luc in Johannesburg (who sadly I have never met!) he will be 3 on Monday 12th. Also happy birthday to my other nephew Alec, in Adelaide (also never met ) who turned 6 on November 9th.

October 27, 2007

Busy day on Blossom Hill farm

Golden leaves, taken on a recent walk.
I am determined to get back to my weekly blogging, so here I am grabbing a quick half an hour in what is turning out to be a busy Saturday morning. Amber has been safely dropped at her volleyball tournament at 8.30 this morning. Craig is lying down with a bad migraine, dosed up on ibuprofen. Some guys arrived with their boat, to be stored in the barn for the winter and a neighbour with some furniture also being stored in the barn.
I was driving into town two days ago and looked up to see the biggest flock of migrating geese I have ever seen. I slowed right down as did some other drivers and watched in awe at these amazing birds flying south for the winter. They certainly have the right idea, if only it were that easy :D
This evening, assuming Craig is feeling better, we have our neighbours visiting for supper. I want to prepare a nice meal and open a bottle of 'bend in the river' wine.
Perhaps I should finish the mowing first or do I get busy sewing?
My Christmas orders are starting to come in and I like to have at least 10 animals listed in my shop. I love to hear stories from my etsy customers. This week one of my customers, Adrienne gave her own tiny elephant to a young patient in pediatrics, a little girl, who clutched the baby Ellie as she fell asleep and he was the first thing she asked for when she woke up :)
....Back again at 11pm. Feeling happy but tired after a lovely evening with our friends. Dinner was a success and our guests kindly brought along a yummy cheesecake to follow the stir fry chicken with pasta, sun dried tomato Alfredo sauce and my favourite salad, this time with thinly sliced pears, grapes and oven toasted sliced almonds with a special zesty dressing containing mango and orange juice. The four teenagers even volunteered to do the dishes for me as a bonus!
Hazel x

October 21, 2007

Long lost friends

Hi there!
Not sure why, but I just haven't been in the mood for blogging recently (two whole weeks have gone by since my last post).
All is well up here on Blossom Hill mountain, after several days of glorious sunny weather the wind arrived yesterday with a vengeance and blew thousands of golden leaves to the ground. Now where there was lawn there is a carpet of red and gold, still soft but soon to become irresistibly crunchy underfoot!
I have been dabbling on facebook a little and came across two long lost friends. Well, actually I found their children who were able to put me in touch with Sheena (who I last saw about 11 years ago in England) we took National childbirth trust classes together while expecting our first babies, and Marie in Norway, going back even further to my wild early 20's! The wonder of computer technology :D
Mid week I had a lunch out with some girlfriends, something I haven't done for ages, not since I lived in New Zealand where I used to meet my friend Keriann for coffee after swimming, or in Napier at a wonderful cafe called 'port o' call'. Here in Berwick on the other side of the village is a lovely cafe called the 'cider press cafe'. Tina, Kathy and I had the yummiest curried carrot soup and fresh salads. They also serve great herbal teas (I had pear) and Tina indulged in a lemon chiffon type desert with whipped cream.
All the local apples are pretty much stripped from the trees now with just the 'drops' on the floor to be picked up and put into crates to be used for juicing (backbreaking memories of last year!) There are quite a few varieties surrounding us; Honey crisp, Golden del., Red del., Spartan, McIntosh, Empire and Gravenstein. I am now finally getting to know the difference after living here for my third apple season.
I was glad yesterday that the weekend had arrived as I felt we hadn't spent much time together as a family. Craig has been working long hours, the girls both had extra mural activities after school which involved lots of driving around and during time at home we seemed to all be doing our own thing. A family discussion was called at the dining room table last night to go over some 'issues' which I think have been pretty much ironed out now. We used to have family meetings on a regular basis and even had a suggestion box to put ideas into, but the girls have grown up so quickly recently and we just got out of the habit.

I don't imagine I will get many comments on this post as it is mainly family orientated and I have no diy, sewing or decorating projects to report on (still working on the chest of drawers).
Bye for now
Hazel xx

October 06, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Well actually it is on Monday 8th, but everyone is celebrating today and tomorrow. The weather has been glorious today creeping up to 23 degrees, so of course we have all been outside making the most of the Autumn sunshine. Craig finished off the car port by temporarily covering the roof with some tar paper until he finds the right shingles to match the other roof tops. The particular style of tile he needs are discontinued, so he is hunting. Meanwhile, the tar paper will be fine for this winter.
Amber's days at camp went well, and of course I needn't have worried, she had lots of fun with her friends and it was a great experience for her.
The apple harvesting is in progress right now, the pickers are busy stripping all the trees. The hundreds of crates have been distributed over the orchards. Many of the trees on either side of our house are the dwarf variety, which hold just as many apples as the larger trees and take up less space. Amber and I went for a walk this morning and took the camera along for fun.
Thanksgiving holiday is not something I am familiar with in England but here in Canada it is a big event and everyone gets together with friends and family. We will be joining our neighbours along with some of their family members for a pot luck supper tomorrow.
Amber is now officially taller than me. I measured her today and at 5ft 5", she is an inch taller in fact, and she is only 13 years old!
My etsy shop topped the 900 'hearts' today. This means that 905 other etsy members so far have added my little shop to their favourites, I am thrilled and hoping for a busy autumn and winter period, keeping my fingers crossed for reasonable sales.
Jemma joined the after school yoga classes on Friday. It was quite busy as the whole boys volleyball team took part too! (they had a tournament later and the coach thought it was a good idea) A little unnerving perhaps, but she enjoyed the class and will be back again next Friday when it should be less busy.

No animals on my walkabouts this week, just a fresh crispness in the air and some amazing cloud formations and views across the valley. Mowing has now pretty much stopped for a while and we can forget any leaf sweeping (totally pointless).

We heard this morning that Craig's sister Tessa and her family may not be visiting us next summer after all. They are postponing their trip to 2009. Jemma and Amber were really looking forward to seeing their cousins, we hope they change their minds and manage to come here in 2008.

Hazel x

September 30, 2007

My little girl is off to camp

Amber is off to camp tonight, along with the other Grade 8 team leaders. Not a huge event for most 13 year olds, however neither Jemma or Amber have ever been great fans of sleepovers or school camp, so it is quite a big deal for her, so she has been feeling nervous all day. Craig has just come home after dropping her off, along with her huge overnight bag and hiking boots! Unfortunately when they arrived she and her friend Jennifer were told that there were no beds left in the cabins! I am not sure exactly what that means, but as an overprotective Mum I am a just a little worried :(
The grade 8 leaders are there tonight to set things up ready for all the grade 6, 7 and 8 students, who will be arriving bright and early tomorrow morning. They then return later in the week to prepare for a second lot of kids organising, games, hiking, campfires etc.
Craig has been a busy beaver this week, building a carport on the side of the garage to protect one of our cars from the snow during winter. I have to say I am very impressed with his carpentry skills, it looks pretty nifty and only has the shingles to go on and it will be finished.
Amber ready to leave, standing in front of Craig's handiwork
Today has been a glorious Autumn day, blue skies, warm sunshine and lots of golden and red colours as the trees continue to turn.
I got a bit of a fright earlier in the week when I was on my early morning walk up the hill. Listening to my I-pod (Mika, I think) striding along I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. A huge porcupine was standing just few feet away on his hind legs. I had no idea they were so big! At first I though it was a bear and continued to walk at the same brisk pace making sure it didn't decide to follow me. I am not sure if they are aggressive at all, but have heard nasty tales of pet dogs and cats coming across them before and being speared by their sharp quills. So far on my walks I have come across chipmunks, squirrels, groundhogs, raccoons, skunks and now a porcupine (I really DO NOT want to add a bear to this list).

This week I got two special order requests in my shop, one for 3 little embroidered doves and another for a mobile for a baby boy, due in late November. Five tiny animals sold last night, so I will need to replace those tomorrow.
Our friend Doris popped in for a cup of coffee yesterday, her family used to own our house, she was actually born in the front room! Now in her 70's she still likes to call in occasionally to see the changes we have made to her childhood home and tell us stories of when they used to breed chickens in the barn. She was happy to leave with a punnet of tomatoes from the garden.

I will be doing another paint project I have decided, even though the dressing table was going to be my last for the summer. A chest of drawers bought in South Africa about 8 or 9 years ago which is stained a rather garish orange colour, definitely needs a little face lift. At the moment it is sitting in the library empty, but I plan to move it to the study as storage once it has been painted and fixed up. Hopefully I will have a photo to show on my blog post next weekend if I finish it by then.
Other projects on the go this weekend have been drying more hydrangeas, making some new curtains for the kitchen and sewing a duvet cover in cream cotton for Amber.
Hazel x

September 22, 2007

Turning Leaves

Taken yesterday morning
The leaves are slowly turning orange and red and our wood is finally stacked under cover, mostly in the garage, but a few logs down in the basement in case we get snowed in or are just feeling extra lazy!
The blueberry season is almost finished, all four of us went for our last 'pick your own' earlier in the week and ate ourselves silly at the same time (a hazard or perk of picking your own, depending one how your tummy feels afterwards) I have frozen batches of them in plastic bags to use in home made muffins or to eat with cereal in the mornings. Today Craig and I decided to get out of the house early, being a Saturday we now appreciate our time together so much more. We left the girls sleeping and headed out to visit the pretty University town of Wolfville where we browsed around the Organic farmers market. The stalls are quite diverse and the atmosphere festive, as there was a live band playing. We bought a few bits and bobs and then called in at the Gaspereau Vineyards .
I am happy and relieved to hear this morning that my sister Heidi is back home safe and well, after holidaying in Malaysia for 3 weeks with her family. During their stay there was an earthquake, tidal wave and even a plane crash at the local airport!! She has been able to send messages to us on face-book, so we knew they were fine. Some new things in my Etsy Shop this week just to add a bit of variety, a little sewing tray and another bird mobile in pink and green. I am working on some new patterns for animals too, possibly a pony (as a special request).
I wanted to include this picture of my pantry. Craig brought some funny 'reject' shaped eggs from work, they range from perfectly round little golf ball shapes to double yoked ones the size of avocado's!
Tonight we are visiting our friends Greg and Tina up at the lake for dinner.
Quick Monday update: We had a lovely time at our friends on Saturday. Tina rustled up one of the best salads ever which included baby spinach leaves, peaches, grapes and toasted almonds, the dressing was a secret recipe, which I must try to get from her next time :) We also shared a bottle of 'Bend in the River' wine alternated with glasses of elderflower juice.
Craig is busy right now building a car-port for his Matrix to keep it protected when the rain and snow arrives. Better go and make him another cup of tea!


September 15, 2007

Last painting project of the summer

Another week comes to an end, It's hard to believe that we are past mid September and heading quickly into Autumn.

This is my last painting project for the summer. I have never had a dressing table before, so when I spotted this at a yard sale about 3 weeks ago, my eyes lit up. It was a shiny dark wood with quite a few scuff marks and scratches. I liked the shape of the legs and the fact that it is not very deep, perfect for our bedroom. Some sanding, washing, three coats of paint and voila! A doddle after painting two whole rooms. The Lloyd loom laundry box/stool is also a thrift find all the way from Hampshire in England a few years ago
Little Archie, with Amber.
I came home from the post office on Monday to find Archie, our cat in a bit of a bedraggled state. He emerged from under the front veranda looking sad and very dirty, having had a bit of a scuffle I suspect. After washing him with warm soapy water and an old towel it seemed that the only visible injuries were a few scratches on his ears and one on his nose. He looked pretty sorry for himself and quite ashamed for a few hours until he had cleaned himself up properly in the laundry room. At least it wasn't as bad as previous encounters he has had with raccoons and even a skunk! No trip to the vet was required this time and he is now as right as rain.
Jemma is really enjoying her days at school so far this year. Especially as our next door neighbour Laura is now at the same school and in the same grade. They travel together on the bus, have their lunch and recess time with some other friends and take 3 of the same classes over the two semesters in Grade 11. On Friday they were both over at Laura's house, where Jemma got a fun 'make over'. She came home looking very glamorous indeed. She doesn't wear much make up, just a little mascara and lip gloss, so it was quite a dramatic change for her. She also got her first pair of heels this week, I have been hunting high and low to find a small pair of size 5's (UK 3) and found some peep toe 2.5" wedges in black. She loves them and is looking forward to wearing them soon.
It's that time of year again when we collect the wood for our winter heating. Craig and I have been up the the wood pile with the trailer several times, stacking it in the garage ready for the first cold snap. The girls even got involved over the weekend forming a chain from trailer to wood pile, which meant things moved along at a rapid pace.
The apples in the orchards are ripening up nicely. The pickers' caravans are in place at the apple warehouse next to our property and soon there will be a hive of activity. I did pick some myself last year, but only 'drops' from under the trees, which are used to feed the deer, I think this year I will leave it to the experts with strong backs and plenty of experience!
We have a whole forest of cherry tomato plants that have appeared late this summer, having re-seeded themselves, we didn't have to lift a finger! They are tiny, sweet and very tasty, perfect for salads. I have been experimenting with drying trays of them in the oven at a low temp for a few hours. They are now safely stored in the freezer to be eaten during the winter months when they are not available in the shops. There are pumpkins everywhere at the moment too, leading up to halloween they can be seen on doorsteps, in gardens and even 'pumpkin people' which stand at the side of the road really funny and a little strange. Quite different to anything I have ever seen in England.
Thank you for your comments and I hope you have a great week.

Hazel xx

September 08, 2007

Back to Normality :)

My goodness, so many days have gone by since I last posted on my blog! We have been 'without computer' for over a week after a nasty virus attacked our home computer, destroying all the USB ports and eating up quite a bit of information stored on the hard drive. I was able to borrow a laptop from Craig's office, but with four of us sharing it and without my etsy photos etc. it was not ideal, so my sites have been neglected. However I am now back on line and appreciating it so much more having not had access for what seems like a very long time! The final days of the school holidays had us all running around doing last minute preparations and also trying to cram in more fun stuff while the sun was shining and the days still pretty long.
School started last Wednesday for both Jemma and Amber and the first three days went well, both are familiar with the schools, teachers, students and general routines, so not too stressfull for them. I have tried to keep very busy so I don't miss them 'too' much, so before I know it Jemma is home at 2.30pm, we have a drink and snack while she tells me all about her day. Amber comes home later at 4pm, usually quite tired but always manages to perk up at around 7pm (a real night owl!)
During the holidays Amber developed a keen interest in cooking! (no complaints from me), in fact lots of encouragement as she whipped up various tasty pasta dishes and salads for us all!
Jemma sent in her first 5 page assignment last week over the internet for the AP biology course she is taking this semester and is looking forward to meeting her teacher and other students from different schools in person. She has already got together with the other student at her school who is doing the same course and they have been given some nice privileges during their study time.

The home decorating projects finally came to an end. Once the study was decorated we continued into the adjoining filing room and both rooms became Jemma's new bedroom/study. Cream painted floorboards and oatmeal walls for Jem.
Anyone who has two daughters (especially teenagers quite close in age) will know that as parents you have to be fair (well most of the time if possible) So, when Amber saw how lovely and stylish Jemma's new bedroom was.... Alas the pretty sorbet pink is no more! Replaced instead with a soft creamy coffee colour, much more suited to a 13 year old.
Cafe au lait walls for Amber
The Inspiron Notebook finally arrived yesterday, after several delays it actually turned up sooner than the final date Dell had predicted after all! It is a wonderful piece of technology that Jemma will no doubt find very useful over the next few years.
Jemma's stylish new Inspiron Notebook in 'Spring Green'
Etsy has been fairly hectic for me this week and my poor fingers have taken strain with all the hand sewing of tiny animals, an order of 15 for one lady which needed to be done in a couple of days for a birthday party! Then another 11 animal order at the same time, but with less urgency.
The animals came in two by two!
I am so grateful for my little online shop, which is now almost empty again, so I know what I will be doing to keep myself out of mischief over the coming weeks :D
Hazel xx

August 24, 2007

Changing Rooms!

Me, taking a water break at Dempseys corner orchard
This week seems to have flown by, with the school holidays rapidly coming to an end :( I do enjoy having the girls at home for two full months, especially with the weather being so nice 'most' of the time. This week the walls got painted in the study 'twice'. The first choice of paint was a pretty shade of robin's egg blue, it looked lovely on the tiny swatch card, and a similar colour looks great on Jemma's chest of drawers.Once we had covered two walls though I had to admit it was a mistake! It looked far too clinical and a bit sickly. I had already taped all the window frames and doors so it was just a case of painting over the blue once it had dried. The second choice is a subtle shade of oatmeal, which looks perfect. So perfect in fact that Jemma decided that she quite fancied the study as a bedroom! She has been kind of 'lost' in her beautiful, but large current bedroom for the last 2 years and the study with a little filing room off the side did make sense, now that she is in her final couple of years in high school. So we have spent quite a lot of time moving furniture, sorting out files, old school work etc... quite a project. Tonight her bed got moved in and her little bedside table and it is looking very cosy.
We enjoyed a shopping trip to Halifax over the weekend getting some final retail therapy out of the way. During the week on one of the nicer days we spent a morning picking fruit at Dempsey's corner orchard, a short drive away. The blackberries are coming on nicely down the lane behind our house and Amber and I often go and pick a bowl full as they ripen. Picking peaches and plums at Dempsey's farm

August 15, 2007

Another trip to the lake

I started writing this blog yesterday, but wasn't really in the mood after a frustrating and tiring shopping trip with Jemma and Amber. We came home empty handed with not a single 'back to school' item of clothing. (How I miss the simplicity of a school uniform). They are both young ladies now, Jemma was also searching for her first pair of high heels (not that surprising at age 16) I remember my first pair so well all those years ago and also just a UK size 3!
Anyway that was yesterday and I am sure the next trip to the mall will be more successful. Perhaps we will have to go further afield to the City of Halifax where there is more choice.
Today I woke up early to blue skies, went for a walk up the mountain and picked a whole punnet of blackberries for our breakfast. Once home I made a packed a picnic lunch for us three girls whilst doing Craig's sandwiches for work. We headed up to the local lake at about 10am where we all enjoyed a swim. It was amazingly quiet considering that it was a hot morning. We had a fun time chatting and I even managed to catch up on some sewing for two orders I have in my etsy shop, one to the US and one to Australia. At about 2.30 a bus load of small children arrived which prompted us to head home before we got invaded by buckets and spades! Looks like they have the whole beach to themselves!

Adding the finishing touches to a tiny kitten!
Decorating the study has been on stand-by for a couple of days while the floor paint settles and tomorrow I will begin preparing to paint the walls. The colour is going to be a very pale Robin's egg blue which should cover up the grey nicely.
Craig loved all his birthday presents at the beginning of the week, especially this very smart notice board and coordinating note books made by the girls for his new office. Just a quick note to my sister Heidi if she reads this, the French beauty products sent as a gift for the girls are a 'huge' hit. They can be found cleansing and moisturising together in the bathroom each evening before bed, so thank you very much xx.
Still no sign of Jemma's laptop (her 16th birthday present) there have been manufacturing delays :( The suspense is killing us.
Well It was nice to hop on the keypad quickly before my dear hubby comes home for dinner and the girls get back from a photo shoot in the orchard..... I will download some of them on my flickr (see top right of this blog).
Hazel x.

August 09, 2007

Painting the study

This week I decided to revamp the study! The nasty bottle green carpet has been driving me potty for two years it is one of those acrylic carpets that really attracts every tiny bit of cotton, fluff, hair etc, which means it needs to be vacuumed almost every day. Also it is (sorry was) the only remaining room in our house with a carpet in it.

Anyway the carpet came up, along with the stubborn under felt which had been nailed to the floor with about a thousand staples! Nothing that a screwdriver, pair of pliers and crowbar couldn't handle. The whole thing got rolled up and hurled out of the window - good riddance I say :D
Before starting on the wooden floor I decided to paint the trim, I donned my trusty painting shirt and coated the skirting boards, window and door frames in brilliant white. The pale grey walls will be just fine with a bit of a scrub to brighten them up. The trim had been painted in the same colour so there was no definition. It looked as though someone had let a paint bomb explode into the room (like in the funny Mr Bean sketch) Today the floor needs a quick sanding before filling in all the tiny holes ready for painting.
This week the rain finally arrived and the garden is happy, as it was starting to turn ever so slightly brown with the intense sunshine for about 5 or 6 days in a row.
Craig is very busy this week and is now quite immersed in the 'poultry' business, finalising the annual budget for the company. His birthday is coming up so the girls have been busy working on his 'present', which is traditionally something hand made by them.
Jemma and Amber are off to a party next door tomorrow, a possible sleepover in tents too and much giggling I am sure as there will be about a dozen girls there for Laura's 16th birthday party.
The grown ups will no doubt be here during the early evening escaping the noise and having our own little get together just a stones throw away.
The initial facebook frenzy (mentioned in my last post) has died down somewhat. I tried in vain to contact friends either old or new, only to discover that every name I typed in was not registered! Added to the fact that most of my childhood school or college friends would have undoubtedly changed their surnames, as I have done it isn't really surprising.
Oh well, no harm in it remaining dormant for a while, maybe someone will find me instead :)
Hazel x

August 01, 2007

I have joined 'facebook'

As if I didn't spend enough time on this computer! My little sister Heidi invited me to join 'facebook' this week and I am now addicted and I have to admit it is fun. In case you didn't know facebook is a social interactive site where you can display photos and messages amongst friends and family. A few of my family members have joined already and some like me only this week. Not sure I can keep up with my blog, flickr, etsy and now facebook too! (but can't all women multi-task?) I expect it will be easier in the winter months when I will want to be in a small warm room with a nice cup of tea to hand.
This week we drove up to the lake, about 8 minutes drive away and swam in the clear waters, it was so refreshing as the temperature has been over 30C for quite a few days now. I did manage a spot of baking earlier this week with Amber as my little helper. We made some very yummy peach drop cookies, using a new recipe found in the latest Martha Stewart's Living magazine. They were delicious, I popped them in a tupperware container after I took this photo below, but they didn't stay there very long! On the Etsy front I was happy to do a special order for my friend Lyn in Singapore. She ordered a baby elephant a while ago and wanted a couple of bigger ones made up. They have packed their trunks (lame) and begun their long journey overseas. Tomorrow we have been invited to a 'lake party' by some friends. A bottle of chilled rose wine is in the fridge 'begging' to be taken along so I shall have to oblige :)
Hazel x

July 29, 2007

Jemma is 16!

Just a quick post today, now that I am back to updating weekly rather than daily.
Jemma turned 16 yesterday!
She had a little lie in after spending the previous evening next door with her friend Laura until late. Amber set the breakfast table with all her favourite cereals and lots of freshly picked fruit.
Lunchtime was in the gazebo in the garden, decorated with bunting, English rose lanterns and handmade party blowers (by Amber). A perfect hot sunny day at 30C, with Jem's favourite cake, a strawberry topped cheesecake - Yum! We had a quiet lunch, just the four of us.
Jemma loved the little gifts we had bought, but her main present is still in production and will only arrive on Friday. Her very own laptop!! by Dell and in Spring green too. It was a total surprise, which we had purposefully kept a secret. She is very pleased and a little shocked.
Hazel x