Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Signs of Autumn - Bittersweet

The summer flew by and now we are enjoying autumn. My brother brought an armful of lovely bittersweet branches, so appropriate for the season. I wasted no time in decorating the mantel!

Speaking of the  fireplace, we have made some changes during the summer. This is what it looked like last year...
and earlier this summer... BEFORE..
and AFTER...

We had the dark brick for 30 years...yes, 30! ...so it was time for a change. The room is considerably brighter. We had the walls painted in a blue-grey color and I am still looking for suitable art for the walls, and new window valances are in the works.
We wanted a whitewash appearance to the brick so we used chalk paint diluted, and a small roller to skim the surface, leaving the indentations more exposed. The most difficult part was painting the grout lines.
Just one more picture...our 4 foot tall vase with summer flowers... I miss them already!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tea and Fruitcake

We don't usually think of fruit cake in April since it is traditionally a Christmas sweet, but I wasn't feeling well enough to bake in November or December. Now I wanted to use up the dried and candied fruit which has been taking up space in our extra refrigerator.
I always watch Anna Olsen's baking series and she demonstrated making your own candied orange peel and used it in a fruit cake.
It all looked so delicious, and the result proved it! The peel is so fragrant and adds a fresh flavour to the cake.

The recipe can be found here
I am joining Sandi's friends at "No Place Like Home"


Monday, December 7, 2015

The Heart Attack

This Christmas season is quite different. Instead of a busy time of baking, decorating, etc., I have been recovering from a mild heart attack. The cause is unknown, as tests revealed no blockages, etc. I have been introduced to the world of medication and am regaining  my strength.
I thank God for His provision of wonderful medical care, my supportive husband and family , and many friends.
I enjoy visiting my favorite bloggers and seeing your lovely home decor and reports of Christmas festivities.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Thanksgiving Day brought 16 of us around our table yesterday. After a glorious fall day on Sunday, we had wind, rain and cool weather as everyone arrived.

We have much to be thankful for.

Today we can enjoy the leftover turkey, and of course, a piece of apple pie.

This autumn our hydrangeas have been beautiful, turning a prettier pink than usual. I seeded some Osaka ornamental cabbages, and they too have been very pretty. I love the delicate markings on the leaf edges.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, and now we can all join Sandi for tea.

Monday, September 14, 2015

French Bakery - A l'Epi de Ble

When we desire a little touch of France, and delectable treats, we head across the river to a little French Bakery. There are only 3 or 4 tables but it as a delightful experience. There is a constant flow of customers, all welcomed with big smiles and a "Bonjour!" by the lovely French owners.
It is difficult to choose among the taste-tempting croissants, cakes, and tarts

Macarons in many flavours....

A nice variety of jams are also available, all from Provence

Big smiles and crisp uniforms add to the ambience.
Of course, coffee is a must!
Let's all head over to Sandi's now, for her weekly tea time. Thanks Sandi!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Forget - Me - Not Tea

I was given a free packet of forget-me-not flower seeds, and was pleasantly surprised at the abundance of sweet little flowers. I have been cutting them for small arrangements.
I was struck by the similarity to the pattern on my favourite tea cup and saucer- Shelley Dainty Blue
A little tea setting outdoors near the pond seemed in order
A blueberry printed tea towel was pressed into service as a runner.
The tea today was Celestial Blueberry
Joining Sandi's tea party today

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Pioneer Homestead

On a recent car trip through Manitoba, we visited the Negrych farm near Dauphin, a pioneer Ukrainian homestead . The buildings were constructed  between 1897 and 1915, and amazingly, have remained in their original style. Repairs are made, but the integrity of the buildings remain.

Buildings are log construction, and most materials came from the farm itself.
The outer walls are coated with a clay-based mixture. All shingles were hand-made.
The style of construction is Carpathian, from an area in Europe. 
All hinges, gutters and other fittings were hand crafted.
I was very impressed with the location which was near a beautiful creek, from which water was drawn, and ice blocks were cut in winter and kept in an ice-house where milk and meat were stored well into the summer.
Kitchen tools and containers were also hand-made
One very interesting building contained a smokehouse and a clay oven. An alcove above the oven (top left) was often used as a sleeping shelf for the younger children.
A reproduction cupboard is unique
Some other views of structures in the yard...they were kept a distance apart so that in case of fire, only one building would be damaged.

This family was very well versed in horticulture and planted fruit trees and a large garden, thus were almost self-sufficient.
Although the last members of the family  resided on the farm until the 1980's, there was never electricity or a telephone, but they did own a car.
The farm is now a public historic site and in summer, guided tours are provided.