December 08, 2009

Amber in Wonderland!!

What a whirlwind of a week it was for Amber!
After many hours of rehearsing and learning over 300 lines opening night was on Thursday.
The West Kings High School production of Alice in Wonderland was a huge hit. With 6 performances in total. The make up and costumes were wonderful.

The children played their characters perfectly and it was a thoroughly entertaining production. The Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Three young stars after the final performance on Saturday
Craig, Jemma, Brian and I went along to watch the finale on Saturday and were a very proud family :)
After Alice in Wonderland we woke the next morning to find that a Winter Wonderland had descended upon us! Somewhere between 10 and 15cm's of snow had fallen during the night and covered everything in a thick layer of the white powdery stuff! Jemma and Brian left for the City later than planned as they had to wait for the roads to be ploughed first, being a Sunday nobody was in a hurry. Today and yesterday the sun has been shining making the snow glitter like millions of tiny diamonds and it looks very pretty. The fire is constantly stoked now adding to the cosy pre-Christmas atmosphere.
Amber had her 16th Birthday on December 1st, because it was a dress rehearsal that day, she was at school until 9.30pm. I suggested she go into school a little later in the morning so she could catch up on some much needed rest and we decorated the Christmas tree together. Sweet 16!!
This week it's preparation time for her postponed birthday party. Eleven of Amber's girl friends will be arriving on Sunday to celebrate. I'm not quite sure where Craig and I are going to hide? At 16 they won't need much supervision, just plenty of food, drinks, music and freedom to giggle for hours on end!!
Some less happy news is that my Mum and Dad had another break in at their home outside Johannesburg very recently. Luckily they were not harmed, just pretty shaken up by the whole ordeal. The thieves took off with a TV and a few other smaller items. They knocked some photos off the wall which woke my Dad, who went to see what the noise was (not a wise move). Thank goodness the baddies scarpered before he discovered the break in and sounded the alarm. Now a special metal security gate has been fitted to their bedroom door so they can lock themselves in at night. Several perimeter beams have been installed in the garden and some ugly but necessary razor wire! At least they feel much safer now and can relax in their own home.
I can clearly remember how frightened I used to feel when we lived in South Africa for a couple of years when the girls were toddlers. It has become a way of life there, panic buttons, alarms, security gates and razor wire are all deemed necessary unless you are living in a gated community where armed guards protect the residents and their properties at all times. A high price to pay for what is considered an affluent lifestyle and perfect climate. I think I'll just be content with the long winters and rely on the internet and telephone to keep in touch with my family so far away. I do miss them, especially at Christmas :(
Brrrrr, time to put another log on the fire!!
Hazel x

November 26, 2009

Advent Calendar

 The festive atmosphere has begun this week and I have been out shopping more than once to find the perfect something something. Of course I have also been busy making stuff, which I enjoy just as much.One of the projects I started making was an advent calendar. The existing hand sewn one was looking a bit worn out, I probably made it when the girls were only about 6 and 8 years old! I had seen a pretty Scandinavian looking one on a blog a couple of years ago, but never quite got round to having a go at making a similar one myself until now. I used some off white wool fabric and a bright crimson embroidery thread. First I cut out 24 envelope shapes from the wool fabric and sewed them together before attaching them to a length of red bias binding.
Just a couple of mistakes were made along the way. I 'should' have drawn the numbers on before embroidering them freehand, hence some are slightly bigger than others! The second mistake I made was sewing the buttons on 'after' I had made each little envelope! Quite a tricky bit of maneuvering was required with my needle and thread for those. I got a little impatient trying to find some red buttons, which was my first colour choice but I wanted to keep sewing in the meantime as I was keen to finish. I looked everywhere for red ones without any luck, so I ended up using these little white buttons instead, which I already had in my button stash. A length of embroidery thread wraps around the buttons to tie them securely closed once I have put some assorted wrapped chocolates inside. To finish off I tore strips of red and white polka dot fabric and tied little bows between each envelope. I have attached the finished product to the chest of drawers to see how it looks, but should probably take it down until the 1st Dec. In case it's unlucky or something??
With Christmas decorations in my mind as I was browsing in a local hardware shop (looking for the elusive tiny red buttons!) I found this lovely cotton runner that I wanted to show you. It is by Martha Stewart and is quite Scandinavian themed too. I think it will look great on the dining room table for Christmas dinner and also for Amber's birthday party.This weekend I shall be working on altering and adding to Amber's costume for the play, the dress needs to be taken in and I was so lucky to find the perfect petticoat or crinoline in my local thrift store for only $3!!
It is a full length one made to go under a wedding dress, the top is tiered cotton with netting layers underneath and it fits Amber perfectly. I still need to shorten it quite a bit so it just peeks out from under her blue dress, giving it plenty of fullness.
Tomorrow is Craig's company 'do' which should be fun. Christmas dinner and a live band with possible dancing with a bit of luck.
Amber is just a few days away from her 16th Birthday on Dec 1st. The planned party has been postponed until after the school production when she can relax and celebrate with a few friends from school and I can decorate the house for the event.
Hazel x

November 15, 2009

Snipping and Stitching

Before I get onto the subject of sewing, I have to admit that I was a bit of a plonker a few days ago. I'm not a particularly hairy person, but when I discovered a couple of tiny WHISKERS on my chin the other day (cute on kittens only) I had to take action! So, I decided to try a nice 'gentle' facial hair remover NOT! I won't mention the brand, but after following the instructions carefully I ended up with a nasty chemical burn about the size of a penny right in the middle of my chiny chin chin! It was so painful and resembled a bright red traffic light for a few days. Anyway, lesson learnt and I am thinking that a discrete little pull with tweezers in future will suffice.
This week I have been scratching my head thinking of ways to improve my shop and income, which is not looking too healthy right now, and at this time of year it needs to be. I received some very sweet polka dot cotton fabric in the post, ordered from another Etsy seller. I decided to try it out on a new slightly different birdie design. Inspired by the colours associated with the lovely Cath Kidston I made a set of three, this time adding little felt wings and elongating the tail on my pattern a bit.
I have put one in my shop so far and shall see if it sparks any interest. I just love polka dots, they make me smile :) Also made some more white doves from super soft fleece, which are filled with a mix of poly fill and vanilla scented aroma beads. 

It won't be long before I shall be getting out our Christmas decorations, this past time always fills me with excitement. I love to unpack them all and lay them out, remembering when and where we made the very special hand crafted ones. When Jemma and Amber were young we would try to work with a new material each year whether it be paper mache, salt dough, embroidery or felt. Those decorations are the best ever as each one is filled with love, nostalgia and wonderful memories.
The question this year is whether to have a real tree, as we did last Christmas or to use our quite realistic one stored in the attic/basement? Less mess and more environmentally friendly versus lovely fresh scent of pine and a natural element in the house. I am leaning towards the former at this point, mainly because Amber is having a birthday party and would like the decorations up by Dec 1st. I am not sure a real tree would survive for that length of time over Christmas and into the new year looking fresh and remaining intact.
Other sewing projects I have on the go are a little something for Jemma's dorm room and a couple of surprise gifts, but I can't tell you about those just yet.
What other news do I have this week, not much I'm afraid, I seem to be spending more time on the computer these days with regular conversations on MSN with Jemma, face book chats/comments and looking for inspiration in numerous craft sites and blogs.
This time last year I felt that I had no time for myself at all. I missed out on all the pre-Christmas excitement and planning, everything was a last minute rush. This year is much better and I have my daily lists that I can tick off throughout the day and have a sense of achievement. It sounds trivial but it's just the way I am.
Hazel x
Now where did I put that bit of paper........

November 10, 2009

Moving on again ....

It has taken a while for me to get back into a routine again after Archie's sudden departure from my life, but it really is time to move on. Not a day will go by that I don't think about him and all the happy times, his quirky habits and soft white tummy, that smelled so clean :) I always say a few words as I am hanging out the laundry by the special tree, where he has been laid to rest underneeth the branches. Craig planted some snowdrops there which will remind us of his frisky little spirit that was always awakened in the Springtime.
Amber has been reading her many lines (over 300!) for the school play and I feel as though I have an 'Alice' in the house. Jemma is slowly winding down after a couple of hectic weeks of exams and tests. She still has another 3 scheduled for December, with her last one on December 19th when she will come home for the holidays. We spent this last weekend in Halifax to attend the scholarship presentation after she was awarded the Coy Family award for Science. With continued good marks it will be renewable for the next few years which is wonderful and she certainly deserves it after all the years of hard work she has put in throughout her school days. My little shop is picking up slowly, but of course after a years break it will take time to establish some more fans of my tiny felt animals. It as been ages since I made a 'new' animal design, I am waiting for some inspiration or a special request to add to the designs I currently make, any suggestions?
I started sewing with cotton fabric recently, My friend Terri, who owns and runs a delightful Tea Room, kindly offered to display a few of my items alongside her pastel enamel and polka dot pottery ware.
I made some little wash bags (previously sold as doorstops), tea cosies, egg cosies and cotton birds that all blend in nicely with her pastel colour scheme.
The apples are all gone now and it is so quiet around us with no sound of machinery, moving crates or the steady thud of apples hitting the barrels.
A burst of winter brought snow falls to us last weekend 10cm's in the city, but it has warmed up again to a seasonal average this week so my jumpers have been put away again for a few days.

I really appreciate everyone who reads my ramblings and all your comments (so many for dear little Archie last post - thank you)
Hazel x

October 30, 2009

We will always love you Archie

Nothing can prepare you for the heart wrenching pain of losing a family pet.

My eyes are raw from crying and my heart feels like it has been shattered into a million pieces. Our very special cat Archie was tragically hit by a car yesterday and his injuries were so bad that we had to make the hard decision to have him put to sleep. 
Archie came into our lives in 2003 when we lived in New Zealand he was just a tiny 7 week old kitten that I could hold in one hand.From day one he craved affection and gave an abundance of love in return. Crawling up on to us at any given time for a cuddle, to nestle down, purr and have nap.
There was no question that he would come with us when we decided to leave NZ and head back to England the following year. We had to leave him behind with a friend for 6 months due to the rabies requirements, having microchiped him, had all the necessary vaccinations and filled in endless forms, We chose this option as opposed to the alternative of having him put in quarantine. The 6 months seemed like forever, but when he finally joined us after the long wait and ridiculously long flight, there was no doubt at all that he was pleased to see us again. Nuzzling up to each of us in turn, it was as if we had never been apart. Anyone who says that cat's aren't loyal should have met little Archie. Due to unforeseen financial circumstances our stay in England was short and we were forced to move once again, this time to Nova Scotia, Canada. Luckily because of the paperwork and formalities already completed we were able to bring Archie over just a couple of days after. 
He arrived well in advance of our belongings, which took 4 weeks to get to us! He loved the land around our property and outdoor life we had chosen, exploring the garden, running in the orchards, climbing the trees and enjoying the fresh air and space during the day. He never objected to the routine of being brought indoors at night for his safety and happily watched the nocturnal activities from his vantage point at the window of his own little room every night. Having encountered skunks, raccoons and the feisty cat next door over the years here, with only minor injuries. I hoped he had a few more of his 9 lives left. 
Until yesterday, when my world came tumbling down as I heard him crying outside on the deck. In a state of extreme shock, dragging the crumpled lower half of his body my heart was wrenched with emotion and love for this poor helpless animal. I will never know how on earth he managed to get from the road to the house, but he came home to us for the last time. 
The vet who treated him was nice, but with internal injuries so bad and broken bones the kindest thing to do was to put him out of his pain and suffering sooner rather than later.
I can't ever imagine getting over the loss, I miss him every minute of the day. I keep expecting to see him in his bed, at his window, by my feet, watching me sew or sniffing the cat nip growing in the garden. He has been my companion in the house every single day that we have been here in Canada and part of the family for such a long time.
I hope that somewhere he is enjoying a new kind of freedom, this time with wings and that he will remember the happy life he had here on earth as part of our family.
 Sleep peacefully Archie xx

October 18, 2009

A is for Apple!!

Being that apple harvesting is well underway in our neck of the woods there has been a hive of activity all around us with plenty of pickers scattered amongst the trees, picking all the different varieties of apples. We wake up to the thudding noise as each apple hits the collecting bin before being tipped once full into a wooden crate. These will be the apples for juicing as the eating apples get collected very carefully in special picker bags worn like a baby carrying sling. There are so many varieties again this year;
Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Gravenstein, McIntosh, Jonagold, Cortland, Ida Red, Cox's Orange and Amber's favourite, Honeycrisp. To give you an idea of the size of the Honeycrisp apples we pick, here is a photo of one taken beside what I would consider an average sized Golden delicious.
Crisp, juicy and very sweet. This year it has some fierce competition though in the form of a new variety from the US called SweeTango .
Because there have been so many apples available I have been baking a few batches of apple muffins, which seem to disappear almost as fast as I can bake them! On the topic of food, we went out for a family celebratory lunch last Saturday, which just happened to coincide with Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Jemma heard a couple of days previously that she had been awarded a substantial scholarship. It will help her so much in repaying the student loan she has taken out for her first year at SMU.
We visited a very posh restaurant at the Grand Pre Winery, the food was delicious and the girls both had fancy deserts that we just had to take photos of :)
A little after lunch look around the winery shop to view the various wines for sale, well there's no harm in looking!
Monday brought some more good news, this time for Amber. She has been chosen to play the lead part of Alice in the school production of Alice in Wonderland!
She is so excited and just a bit nervous at the prospect of learning over 300 lines off by heart over the next few weeks!! I expect that once she gets into the swing of reading the script along with her fellow drama students, she will feel more confident.
On the decorating front, after finishing the laundry room we moved into the adjoining mud room, otherwise known as Archie's room. Previously painted a moss green colour. It's the little room he sleeps in at night and watches the nocturnal goings on outside from his vantage point beside the window. No prizes for guessing my chosen colour scheme :) Craig and I worked as a team to finish off this little room last Sunday, I am still working on sewing the curtains.
Ahem! some of us take our painting quite seriously!!
Well, that's an update for this week. I can report that it is getting decidedly chilly outside though. There was even a threat of snow earlier in the week. Shock, horror and it's only mid October!! It wasn't so bad, more of a frost really, but it is coming soon I can tell.
Hazel x

October 08, 2009

The laundry gets a facelift :)

Here is the laundry after a bit of a 'lift' and change of colour.
The bench is an old one rescued from a yard sale, which got a few coats of paint a couple of years ago. During the summer it stays outside on the front veranda, but each Autumn we bring it indoors for the Winter months. A made to measure padded box cushion came from the local fabric store. Covered with 100% cotton red buffalo check fabric from Etsy seller Honeybeehumble. The red and white striped oxford style pillow is a shirting fabric, also from an Etsy seller 'Vintage Urban Girl' . I was still missing some plain co-ordinating red fabric, which I managed to find at a local thrift shop in the form of a torn red wool blazer that was hiding in a box, for just $1! Once I had used the pinking shears to cut up it up I was surprised at the amount of fabric I could use, more than enough to make the little square pillow below. The rest has gone into my fabric stash to be used at a later date. Inspiration for the hand embroidered birdie pillow came from a wonderful book called Sew Pretty Homestyle, mentioned in a previous blog post last year.
It's now a nice cosy place to sit and read with a cup of coffee or glass of wine by the fire.
Of course Archie couldn't resist jumping up and claiming a spot immediately!

Hazel x

October 03, 2009

Beautiful Autumn Colours

October is here, which signals the arrival of Autumn or Fall .
There are pumpkins everywhere, all shapes and sizes and the shops are full of Halloween costumes, face paints, wigs, nails, spider webs etc. Summer is becoming a distant memory, but who can complain when the sky is this blue?
I can never resist taking a few snaps of the trees in their rich colours, before all the leaves sail to the ground leaving the branches looking bare and a little sad, until then we can admire their beauty.
Craig and I took advantage of the warmth of the sun on Saturday morning, taking in the beautiful scenery across the Annapolis valley.
I have been warned once again by the people working on the apple farm not to walk up towards the woods at this time of year. A bit frustrating as I do like being outside in the early morning walking along with my latest i-pod tunes playing. Apparently, there are quite a few bears out and about at the moment, stocking up on food ready for hibernation and I don't want to become a 'tummy filler' thank you very much!!
We are adjusting to life without Jemma around during the week and really look forward her coming home for the weekend. This weekend she decided that it was better to stay at University. With upcoming exams already she needs to study and finds the 8 hours spent in the car to get out to us and packing etc. is quite disruptive and the last thing she wants to do when she comes home is study. So, we keep in touch through facebook, msn and skype. The wonders of technology! It will be extra special having her here for Thanksgiving weekend in a few days time.
I try not to spend too much time on the computer as the hours quickly disappear once I get immersed. I feel terribly guilty and should be concentrating on sewing orders.
Today I finished making these 8 tiny animals for a lady in California. As for my laundry, well I am still awaiting some fabric, so that will have to wait a wee while yet. I keep looking out for the raised red flag on the mailbox, but until it arrives, I shall have to busy myself with other projects.

September 27, 2009

Let there be more light!

Last week I made a 'light tent', in preparation for the winter days when there won't be as much daylight to take decent photos of my 'sewing projects'.
First I had to find a sturdy cardboard box.
Then came some careful measuring .....
Some tricky cutting out .....
Finally I covered the inside of the box frame with white card and the holes on the outside with some polycotton sheeting, taped down with cellotape. 
The final step was to find a suitable light to place over the top so as to eliminate any shadows.
I am still in the process of finding the best way to position the light and I could possibly do with another one, so I can have one on each side. I found that the light from the energy saving bulb worked best, as it gives a white glow rather than yellow.
The tent (or box) definitely eliminates most of the shadowing but with an extra light source it should be even better. I shall try it out with coloured card too, as I prefer a soft blue background, especially for the felt animals, the white card looks a bit grey.
This week I am working on my laundry room, having ordered some fabric online from Etsy, I am very excited to get measuring and snipping once it arrives in the mail box :)
At the moment I just have a bare canvas, Craig repainted the bench as it was a teensy bit worn from being outside all summer. The blue accessories have been moved elsewhere and it is ready for a make over .....

Hazel x

September 19, 2009

Getting Crafty :)

I'm not sure exactly why, maybe it's because the daylight hours are shorter and I can't spend as much time outside but I have gotten itchy creative fingers again. With Jemma off at Uni and the house looking neat and tidy after my housekeeping had become a little 'casual' while working outside my home for a year. Anyway who wants to be pedantic about the housework when the sun is shining? The Canadian summers are far too short to spend indoors cleaning all the time!
I do enjoy creating things, but it seems to come over me in waves. Back when the girls were small I experimented with textile paints sewing and painting hats, waistcoats, pillows and nursery pictures which I sold at a local market in South Africa. The sunny climate and white walls of the modern homes went well with the very bright colours I liked to paint with.After a few years teaching primary school children, where any art work seemed to involve glue, paper, glitter and fuzzy pipe cleaners! I lost my enthusiasm for painting and sewing in my spare time. I dabbled ever so briefly in painting in New Zealand, once again using really vivid colours.
Here in Canada starting an online Etsy shop rekindled my love of sewing and from the little cotton birds and bags in the very beginning I found that it was the tiny hand sewn felt animals that seemed to be most popular. My shop has been put on hold for a year while I worked in retail, getting out meeting people and being part of a team made for a nice change. Sorting through all my craft and fabric supplies this weekend, now that everything has been relocated to a new room, I came across some forgotten stock and have been thinking of new ways to improve my designs and think about different outlets to market some of these forgotten items.
They really are quite a contrast to my previous work, much softer colours and pretty fabrics which are more in keeping with my current home decor style and more suited to a shabby chic Victorian home with a touch of Scandinavia :) 
Little cotton hanging birds and doorstops.
One of my 'to do list' jobs over the next few days is to make a 'light tent' I have found an online tutorial which I shall follow and let you know how it turns out (good or bad). The need for a light tent is so I can take more professional photographs of the small items I make. With the lack of natural light in the winter months it is often a challenge to take good photos for listing purposes and I am hoping that the home made light tent will enable me to improve my winter photos.
Hazel x

September 02, 2009

Last days of summer

With the sun still beating down on us as a new school term began today, it's sad to think that summer will soon be over, but it has been such fun. Waving goodbye to Amber this morning as the familiar yellow school bus pulled away from the front of our house I felt a small lump in my throat. (just cos I'm a soppy mummy!)
On Sunday Jemma moves into her tiny dorm room at University two hours away, it will be a day of mixed emotions as she leaves the nest to become independent, studying and working part time. She has now met all the other Cultural advisors she will be working with, so feels comfortable and is quite excited at the prospect of starting a new chapter in her life.
We have tried to make the most of the last few days of the school holidays, which always seem to speed up towards the end as we cram as much as possible into the last week or two.
Nothing fancy, just simple memories like the day we had an impulsive lunchtime picnic in the field at a local elementary school. Watching my grown up girls laughing on the climbing frame and sliding down a children's slide, was something I didn't think I would ever see them do again, it was so funny :D
We did a bit more blueberry and blackberry picking, had some 'Paris tea' at the Telegraph Tea Room.Coffee at Starbucks in Halifax, trips to the mall, and watched a few chick flicks snuggled up on the sofa :)
The next few weeks I will be immersing myself in household jobs that have been put on hold and getting back to my sewing room, which has been neglected for far too long! Watch this space for new animals in the making :) With the big change around, swapping the study and craft room over it will be refreshing to start up again in a new space.
Hazel x

August 23, 2009

Hurricane Bill

Hurricane Bill was predicted to arrive with a vengeance earlier today, with the threat of flooding, major power cuts and destruction to buildings and trees. Luckily he just skimmed by our area, with only a heavy downpour and a fairly strong wind. We were well prepared, having kept a watchful eye on the local weather reports for a few days prior to the storm coming inland. All our garden furniture had been put safely away in the barn and Craig secured a couple of the younger fragile fruit trees. We had been especially concerned as we had a family weekend booked up at the lake and were looking forward to spending time in a little cottage, but it looked as though we were in for some stormy weather during our stay. I was able to collect the boys, Curtis and Adam and we headed up to the cottage by lunchtime on Friday and the weather was lovely all afternoon and all day Saturday too.
The children had so much fun on the water, either in the canoe, pedal boat or just swimming out to the floating deck, diving and jumping in the lake, getting along well as a group of four.
Archie hardly knew we were away as Craig stopped in on his way home from work and then I was able to pop down the road early Saturday morning to feed him and let him outdoors so he could spend the day in his current favourite spot under the shade of the Hostas.
Craig and I had the opportunity to get to know the boys a little better too.
It won't be long before the girls are back to school and university as we head towards the end of the summer holidays. I'm glad that this weekend was a special memory point for them.
Hazel x

Enjoying the sunshine

This week I am a single Mum while Craig has gone off to London for a week. Snapping up a cheap ticket, his bags were packed and he was on his way to the airport before I could say "Jack Robinson" (who is he anyway?). Nobody could accuse my hubby of not being impulsive!
The morning after he left two painters turned up on the doorstep with one 'very' long ladder awaiting my instructions! After a quick hunt in the garage, double checking codes written in the decorating notebook it was confirmed that the paint was indeed the right one for the tall end of the barn. The last section to be painted, it was looking pretty shabby but at 3 storeys tall, Craig has no intention of painting it himself. I left the eager painters to do their thing and when I returned from work it was completed and now matches up with the rest of the building. Craig took on the mammoth job of painting the side barn during our first summer here 4 years ago when we were both not allowed to work in Canada. It was a back breaking job that took hours of preparation, but regular maintenance is required to keep the buildings protected in such a harsh winter climate.
With the peonies about to burst into bloom any day now we have all been making the most of the beginning of summertime. The grass is growing at a rapid rate and I am still fighting off the blood thirsty black flies (the NO BITE ME soap kept them away for about 30 minutes I can report) The sticky residue on my skin was quite gross and I couldn't wait to wash the stuff off! I have decided to just take some non-drowsy antihistamine pills to relieve the symptoms as bite prevention seems unlikely. Tried the Listerine again, but the little flies seem to love it!
Some pics taken 'before' the dandelions got chopped:

Happy week everyone :)
Hazel x

L is for......

Lilacs, Lupins and Lobelias! In my favourite shades of blue and purple. I am particularly fond of the two lilac bushes in the garden which, although they only flower for a short time give off the most wonderful scent.The lupins are everywhere this time of year, growing like pretty weeds in all the ditches on the edges of the roads.Craig picked a bunch of them for the dining room table.Our trademark dainty blue lobelia trail delicately in baskets outside the kitchen window, flourishing as they do every summertime, much to the delight of the hummingbirds.
My hubby arrived home safe and sound, armed with a few little goodies and special treats for the ladies in his life. He couldn't resist the English sweeties, minstrels, Rowntree's fruit pastilles and wine gums :) The Twilight four book set was a huge hit with the girls, including the latest release 'Breaking Dawn' . I was thrilled with my M&S cotton T-shirts and a copy of Good Housekeeping UK magazine. Craig enjoyed his trip and was able to meet up with his niece and nephew in Buckinghamshire.
He took numerous snaps of the places we lived and visited when the girls were young, post office, school and parks. It took me on a little trip down memory lane just looking at them. Not much has changed really, except that the trees have grown to an enormous size and the roads seem ever so narrow :D
The familiar lane leading to our old home in West Clandon, Surrey. I walked down here many times while the girls rode their bicycles
Back here in the Maritimes, we were invited to a local wedding on Saturday. Friends of ours Brian and Jess tied the knot on a perfect sunny afternoon at a local hotel. The reception that followed was lovely, with so much attention to detail and foot tappin' music from a live band. It made a nice change for us to don our 'glad rags' and even get up on a dance floor! I haven't been to a wedding in years and felt a little sad that I have missed both my younger brother's weddings, my sister's and Craig's sister's too :( The downside to leaving South Africa is that we haven't been able just pop back for these special occasions, even though we would love to have done so and shared their happy day Craig and I were even colour co-ordinated in sky blue :)
A visit from our English friends Terri and James on Sunday morning made a very pleasant start to the day. Inspired to do a spot of baking I mixed up a quick apple tea bread, which we ate outside on the deck and drank cups of tea. They couldn't stay very long as they had their own tea room to open up to the public in the afternoon.
This week is a busy one for the girls, with all their end of year exams, for Jemma the end of her high school lessons forever! The Graduation Prom is on Monday and then the Graduation ceremony on Thursday - crikey, it's all so final and my baby is growing up fast.
She is off to Prince Edward Island with the International students on Friday. A wind down after exams before the summer holidays begin. She is very excited to be meeting new foreign students, some of whom will be going to the same University in September. As a 'helper' she gets to go for free, which makes it even better.
Hazel x

August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Special Hubby!

I wanted to write an extra post this week to let my darling husband know that we are all thinking of him on his Birthday, today :)
It will be the first time that we have ever missed each other's birthday in the 20 years we have been together!! He is celebrating with his family in SA, his sister Tess in the morning and then his other two sisters' Cheryl and Bev in Cape Town later in the day. The Cape Town families haven't seen him for 3 years, so will no doubt spoil him a little. I do know he has enjoyed being with his Dad very much.
Before leaving here, Craig did a great job of installing a new light fitting in the kitchen He then went on to replace the old taps with a new kitchen faucet and veggie spray hose (just out of the pic) I keep admiring his handy work, which looks very professional. The sun is shining once again, August has been a great month so far, yesterday I took Amber and her 3 friends up to the lake for a couple of hours so they could get their feet wet and look rather gorgeous in their bikinis :) Bathing Beauties: Marcy, Jen, Tanisha and Amber
Jemma got a happy phone call yesterday informing her that she had been chosen for the job she applied for at St Mary's. The position is a cultural advisor in the TESL centre on campus and the hours fit in perfectly with her study schedule. Being based on site means she doesn't need to travel to work and with most weekends and holidays off, she can come home. She is so excited and will enjoy the independence of earning a few dollars.
Today Amber and I collected our very first batch of wild blackberries from the bushes up the lane, not overly sweet at this stage, but with a few more days of sunshine to ripen them, they will be delicious.We have only been to pick blueberries once so far this season, Amber's boyfriend Adam came along (they are celebrating 6 months together tomorrow!) Well, it's getting late now so I shall finish off by sending Birthday wishes across the miles to my best friend.
I hope you have had a lovely day