August 30, 2008

Bats in our brolly!!

Imagine my surprise a few days ago when opening up the umbrella on the deck, I found two of these little chaps hiding inside!
We had seen them flying around in the evenings and I believe they usually spend the day in trees (but maybe not).
They squirmed a bit and were quite reluctant to leave. After debating whether or not to close the brolly up again I decided that we needed the shade more. Eventually they flew off to another resting place for the day :)
My intended blog post was put on hold last week because I wanted to take part in The Tree of Happiness. I was going to tell you about the 'little vintage clothing trip'. Both Jemma and Amber were really keen to investigate the various used clothing shops in the city. Amber downloaded a street map for us to follow. Wearing suitable comfy walking shoes we trekked the streets in the city centre. Craig and I made a few 'patient' coffee stops at Starbucks, while the girls hunted amongst racks of dresses, tops and jeans. They both managed to find a couple of cute items at bargain prices and were pleased as punch. It was a lovely day with the City having a great Cosmopolitan atmosphere on a Saturday. Such a lovely memory point. As the children don't have a school uniform here (how I wish they did!) their clothes become one way of expressing their personalities. Our local shops are quite limited, with the clothes all being fairly similar, so it is always refreshing to find something a little different in vintage shops and on e-bay occasionally too. Actually some of my own favourite pieces are finds from many years ago in the English charity shops I found hidden away in quaint villages. I have a couple of 'designer' pieces picked up for a song, even though I am not into labels at all they are extremely good quality and classic.
This week I was approached by Rebecca over at The Ardent Sparrow, she is also an etsy seller and has compiled a little ongoing competition with various etsy sellers in Canada donating a 'freebie' from their shops. It has given some sellers including myself a little more publicity at a quiet time of year. With people starting to think about Christmas (crazy I know!). I think her timing is perfect. Also, someone is going to win a great collection of goodies. I included little Hanna, a golden labrador puppy to go into her prize parcel. If you pop over to her blog and you can read more about it.
Finishing off, I just had to include this picture of Craig looking ever so happy whilst picking peaches at a local farm. I love this time of year!! Yummy fuzzy peaches
Bye for now, til next week
Hazel xx

August 25, 2008

The Tree of Happiness!

I was surprised and delighted this morning to find a comment on my last blog post from Emily , giving me 'The Tree of Happiness Award' Yay! Thanks Emily for choosing me and also for the links to some lovely new blogs to visit.
The award states that I must list 'just 6 things' that make me happy. Well that shouldn't be too difficult so here goes.....
1. My family (an obvious one for most I am sure)
I met my wonderful husband Craig on an aeroplane, it was pretty much love at first sight (sounds cheesy I know, sorry) we have been together for almost 20 happy years! My two daughters' Jemma and Amber have put countless smiles to my face over the years and still do on a daily basis. I am so proud of my family and love them to bits.
2. Friends.
My real friends living in various parts of the world, who accept me for who I am, don't judge me and who I know will be there either in person,on the Internet or at the end of a phone line through the good and bad times. Never underestimate the importance of true friendship.
3. My early morning 'me time' walk.
Every other day I walk the same route at around 6.30am. It's never boring because I don't know what I will see from day to day through spring, summer and autumn. Breathing in the crisp air, being close to nature and the ever changing view from the top of the hill across the valley.
4. Growing our own organic veggies and fruit.
Picking washing and eating it ! Thanks to my husband, who is so much better than me at remembering to water it regularly! Nothing compares to the fresh taste of a salad full of baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced courgettes, tiny carrots, sliced peaches, toasted almonds and creamy poppy seed dressing.
5. The Internet

I like to keep up with the times and the Internet gives me the opportunity to keep in touch with friends and family (not everyone likes to write letters anymore) It enables me to run my etsy business, which I love, find new ideas and inspiration. All of which makes me very happy in a modern world. It also keeps me sane through the long cold winters in Canada.
Whether it's a new song that makes me want to get up and dance or a song that brings back a memory of a different time and place. Something about certain music just fills me with happiness.
Here are a few happy friends I am passing the award to, I would love to find out what gives them their own 'happy feeling'.
Kat, Kathy, Kali and Keriann (all the K's!)
In my shop this week I had a flurry of interest over this little guy!He was a special order made up for Taci who's daughter specifically wanted a green dinosaur with a blue tummy. After designing, sewing and listing him as reserved I had three customers ask for one of their own :) I do enjoy designing something new and this one could be for the boys too for a change!
I hope everyone has a happy week :D
Hazel xx

August 15, 2008

More Berries......

Moving on from the blueberries last week, we went on this summer's first 'blackberry' hunt yesterday afternoon. I had noticed a couple of days ago that they were coming along nicely at the side of the lane. With a recent dose of rain and some early morning sunshine, the first little berries were just about ready, not as sweet as they will be in a few days but tasty none the less with a sprinkling of icing sugar on top, Mmmmm. 
It was Craig's birthday on Wednesday, which coincided nicely with a company function we were invited to in the city. All the nearby hotels were fully booked, so we opted to stay in a B&B instead. This turned out to be a very good decision, as we discovered The Pepperberry . A beautiful heritage home in Halifax city centre, run by Mike and Karen, a friendly couple who emigrated from England in 2004. Our room was perfect, in the Garret loft and the breakfast was 'excellent' with fresh fruit and home made pancakes. They were even kind enough to serve gluten free pancakes and toast, which I was able to enjoy!
Jemma and Amber were happy to hold the fort at home taking care of Archie. It was the first time we had left them alone overnight!
My final 'berry' to get a mention is the cranberry, an essential ingredient in a 'Crantini' One of several drinks mixed up at a girls Martini party up at lake George last night. About 25 ladies, including my friend Tina (no men or kiddies allowed). We all had a fun evening sampling a few different Martini cocktails, including the Crantini, Appletini and a Pomegranate martini.
"Ok who's next?"

Hazel xx

August 07, 2008

Yummy Blueberries!!

The blueberries are now ripe and ready for the picking!
Amber and I went for our first visit this summer to the 'pick your own' blueberry farm, which is just a 3 minute drive away. Normally I manage to control myself, but they were so juicy and tempting I lost track of my 'tasting' and ate a few too many thus confirming that purple lipstick is really not my colour! It was fun to be amongst other eager pickers in the early morning sunshine. We collected two punnets full, most of which have now been measured into little bags and put in the freezer for later. Of course I left a generous bowl on the table for Craig to nibble on when he comes home from work.
Some other Organic 'edibles' to be found in our own veggie patch are the sweetest baby carrots. When I pulled up this one (or two) I thought of my online blogging friend Rachael.
Cute carrot couple :)

Of course my graphic computer skills are not quite up to her standard but I couldn't resist having a go, just for fun.
The days are slowly beginning to get shorter now with the sun going down at around 9pm. This huge lone and rather ominous looking cloud appeared in the sky the other day. Craig was hitting a few golf balls out in the field and called us all outside to take a squizz, while he took a snap of it.... and gave it the thumbs up too I see :) My little etsy shop remains awfully quiet, but I promised myself that I would not become despondent. I have to remember that it is the very thing that keeps me sane during the winter time, along with my computer, which enables me to remain in contact with my friends. I am trying to sew a couple of animals each day in anticipation of busier weeks ahead. I was however quite upset to receive my first 'neutral' feedback a few weeks ago. A new customer reported on the feedback section in my shop that she hadn't received the tiny puppy I had mailed to her. I quickly made her a replacement for free and sent it with my apologies. The original one did show up, just a little late (I suspect the replacement one did too). By then she had already left her comment in my shop and didn't bother to change the wording. I am disappointed to have my selling reputation slightly tarnished, but am trying not to let it get worry me too much.
My growing army of tiny animals!

Hazel xx

August 01, 2008

Summer Thrifting

So far this year my finds on the 'thrifting' front have been a little on the sparse side. Perhaps because it's our third yard sale season here and there are only so many 'bargains' a girl can snap up! Craig and I did stop at a couple early last Saturday morning. We met a very friendly lady called Shannon who was selling some of her unwanted items at her parents home in our closest town Berwick. We got chatting and have since visited each others blogs. Shannon even bought a couple of my tiny felt animals!
I didn't find any items of furniture, which I am always on the look out for, just a few small bits and pieces like this cute little recipe book from the 1950's.
I selected some vintage craft books and magazines, which are always fun to look through especially on those cosy winter evenings, if only to laugh at the advertisements.
My shop bought 'Sale' find this week is this pretty candle chandelier. I had in mind the library, above the stairwell as the perfect spot. However, within minutes of bringing it inside the girls had disappeared with a collection of 'props' including my new purchase, to do a little photo shoot under the weeping willow tree!
As for the chandelier, having served it's purpose in a few snaps, it is now hanging in the library thanks to Craig and his diy skills. Quite a tricky manoeuvre, as the sheer drop into the hall below could cause a nasty injury. Securely harnessed by some rope to the bedroom door frame (sounds interesting), he managed to stand on a stepping stool and lean out far enough to put the hook in the tin ceiling. Mainly for decorative purposes I am now on the look out for some smoke free candles, which of course would only be lit when we are in the room. It can easily be reached from the stairs, but I think it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Hazel xx