Sunday, November 23, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree

I'm trying to find a Christmas tree. An artificial one. A FABULOUS artificial one.

I usually buy a real one, but since I go away for a week or two over the holidays, a real one isn't .... a realistic option anymore.

The tree below is my usual style. I've tried everywhere that I can think of to find something like it, but, sadly, no luck. ( Home Depot, ikea, the Bay, Canadian tire, Target, Michaels, etc, : the small trees are all so tacky)

I need it to be about 4 feet tall. I want to be able to see it in person before I buy it, so online is out.

Does anyone have any idea where I might get one in Toronto?

I would definitely consider a feather tree! But I can't find them here... Has anyone seen one in Toronto?

At this point, I'd also consider a large branch..... Anyone have one of those hanging around their yard?


Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Rowing on the Pond

It took all summer to get the rowboat on the pond. I didn't even get to row in it this year!
But Mr. B took my mom out on the last night that we were there.
That's the "pond" .  I would call it a lake :) But it is tidal (through the dyke adjacent to our property).

Isn't it beautiful?

For those of you who have asked where it is -- it is in Port Mouton, Nova Scotia. (claim to fame = Carters Beach)
A few miles "south" of Liverpool.
Or about 45 minutes south of Lunenburg , or an hour and a half south of Halifax :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WooHoo - a place to swim!

The problem with summers in Nova Scotia is the water is COLD. Too cold for me to swim (my feet turn purple just walking on the beach)

I was talking to my neighbour and she said that she used to go for a daily walk with another neighbour to a lake. With a beach.
I had heard that there was a road somewhere to a large lake in the woods, but , although I could see the road on some maps, it didn't appear to be where it should be.
I was told to walk down someone's driveway and "keep right and keep going". Ms. L and I set out on an adventure. Down an old, overgrown logging road. Through a stream or two. Over the poison ivy.  20 minutes later. There it was. Like a Muskoka lake. Sandy! Warm!

We swam and I brought Mr. B back a few days later. I am thrilled. Our summer paradise keeps getting better and better :)

Next year I will try to bike there.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Afternoon at Keji Seaside

When Miss L came out east this summer, we walked out to the Keji Seaside Adjunct.
 A 15 minute drive from our house.
A 45 minute walk in, then a nap on the beach, then a walk out :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Fisherman's Office

Always looking for some photo ops,  I took Joanne to my friend Bob's "office" -- his fishing shed. I hope to take some more photos here next year -- there was too much to see!

Click on these -- they look fabulous enlarged.  Really!


Sadly, Bob's wharf was destroyed in a huge storm in February of 2012 . He has spend the past 2 summers rebuilding it. His big fishing boat is currently docked at the Government Wharf down the road (that's where I met Bob because I walk Andy out there every day :) I cannot believe how hard those fishermen work every day. Lobster season in Nova Scotia is from mid November until May. Imagine being cold and wet every single day.....


Old lobster traps.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia

After Joanne and I left Lunenburg, we headed to Blue Rocks, a mile or so away. Very picturesque and not as touristy as I though it would be :) I've been to Lunenburg many many times, but never out to Blue Rocks (likely because there isn't an ice cream shop there :) (or any shops for that matter)(not that I need shops...). It's beautiful there.....


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


My friend Joanne from near Kalamazoo, Michigan, came to visit me in Nova Scotia this summer. Yes way!
We spent a whirlwind 3 days being tourists on the south shore.

First up we went to Lunenburg. Lunenburg is a Unesco Heritage Site.

Lunenburg is full of beautfiully painted buildings. This first photo is from the town's website, the rest are my own. Click on the aerial photo to go to the Lunenburg site.

We saw the Bluenose II, which is featured on our Canadian dime:

If you ever go to Lunenburg, Eat at  Magnolia's Grill. I love the fishcakes there! and Joanne said that the Lobster Rolls were the best (or close to the best?) that she had ever eaten!

And a must-go to shop for handmade gifts is Dots and Loops. And The Makery if you like to make stuff. And Luvly if you like to wear stuff.

I also love The Fisheries Museum of the Atlanticin Lunenburg.  I didn't go this year, as I have been many times in the past.  Lunenburg also has a fabulous Folk art Festival every summer. Which I also didn't get to as I was alone at that point. And I don't drive.

You can see some of Joanne's fabulous photos here, on her blog.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Liberty Lanyard

Well, it appears that I stopped blogging -- I had a short hiatus. I was out... living....

Since I last posted I had a whole summer!  Over the next week or weeks I will try to catch up. I have so much to share. Some old news, some new news :)

First up:
June, 2014
I've been trying to use up fabric scraps. I have some beautiful scraps -- especially because my friend Meep gives me all of her Liberty scraps (well, the ones that are too small for her to make anything with. So, in June, I made my friend KB a lanyard. She's a teacher too and she loves clothes. And LOVES Liberty. She left my school (sniff sniff) and has moved on to teaching at a different school. I miss you KB :)

Anyway, I need to make larger things out of these scraps. This certainly wasn't a 'scrap buster' as they say in quilting land....
* as always, please click on these photos to see them larger!*

(thanks, Miss L, for being my model)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


In May, I succumbed to Ms L’s pestering  influence, and began Crossfit. The gym ("box") that I go to is right near my school ( Danforth and Coxwell). Tidal CrossFit. (There are also locations in York Mills and Burlington) Miss L recommended it—she teaches at a few different Crossfit Gyms, but she knew that I would only go if it was convenient, and Tidal sure is, so she recommended going there. I started with the “ Foundations” class - because there would be only up to 4 people, so there would be more individualized instruction. Mine was taught ( mostly) by Mags—the co-owner - and I was the only one in the class, so I got personal training. It was $199 - for 6 classes ( 3x a week)(1 hour classes) and then unlimited regular classes for the rest of the month. It was well worth it!!! Mags and Stephanie made me work HARD.  When I gave up, they made me keep going. They made me laugh... and didn’t make me feel like an idiot when I couldn’t remember things from one day to the next. 

(I try really hard not to bore my friends to death with my enthusiasm)

I had always thought Crossfit was too expensive, but it’s really not. You really get personalized instruction, and it is motivational. I used to go to Goodlife, but it wasn’t really friendly, and after the introductory hour, you’re on your own, unless you take classes, which I found too intimidating (seriously -- I NEVER knew what was going on -- and the instructor was too busy to ask). At Tidal -- ask away -- that's what the instructor is there for. So now I’m totally a Crossfit convert :) I started doing this to make Miss L happy—but I kept going because it made me feel good and it’s an investment in my health.
The classes start with a warm up, then go onto strength (often some form of Olympic Weightlifting) and then the WOD ( Workout of the Day). I am there, working out for over a full hour ( I get there early, because for some reason, the warm up takes me 10 minutes longer than everyone else , lol) . I go 3 days a week -- Mon/Wed/Fri.
I am getting WAY stronger—and lost 12 pounds in just over a month. Seriously. I sweated it off, lol. Don’t worry, I’ll put it back on this summer with all of those Privateers Bounty Ice cream cones. And also, in my Nova Scotia, chips are a valid vegetable :)

I am trying to continue on with the workouts here in Port Mouton. I ordered equipment through Amazon and Walmart ( free shipping! ) Some dumbells, a kettlebell ( OMG - so heavy) , pull up bar, rings and a skipping rope. I am VERY DETERMINED to master double-under skipping this summer. I’m still doing workouts on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and I skip on my off days.

I’m even looking forward to September when I can go back to Tidal. -- Not just for the exercise, but for the community. I miss everyone! They are all so encouraging and inspiring!

If you live/ work in the East end of
Toronto, check out Tidal. Your won’t regret it. Tell them Martha sent you :) !!
This was my workout for today -- on my own
3 Rounds:
10 squats
10 burpees

3x 6split squats on each side

kettlebell swings (25lb)

5 rounds
100 single under skips
50 squats 
(I could feel Mags' evil eye on my wobbly left knee every single squat)

Here is my work out gear corner:
 (missing -- my pull up bar -- it is being installed in a doorway)
(and I need some 10lb weights -- those 15s are too heavy for thrusters right now)
(you can order from Walmart. Free shipping. Hate Walmart, but I'm cheap)

Here is Andy's work out gear corner -- he piles it all up together -- sometimes right on top of mine :) 

p.s. I got new shoes. Less dorky than the old ones. Now they won’t get stuck when I try to escape from the rowing machine.

If you want to see how strong Miss L is -- here is a short video of her competing in the 2014 Canadian Senior Weightlifting Championships in Saskatoon, SK. She takes after me (hahahahahahahaha.... not).
  (66k snatch and 79k clean and jerk)

Sunday, July 06, 2014


That would be Hurricane Arthur - Tropical Storm Arthur - Post Tropical Storm Arthur - paid us a visit out here in the maritimes. We're on the South Shore - the southeast side of Nova Scotia , and we weren't hit as bad as the west side -- and New Brunswick.
However -- we woke up on Saturday morning with no power, so we've been puttering around waiting for the power to come back on. Back in
Toronto, I have a gas stove -- so if the power goes off, I can still cook. Here.... Nothing. Severe caffeine withdrawal! At least chips and dip don't need cooking...... 

Here is my attempt at heating water over a candle (hey, it worked!)

And wow! That is some wind! I don't know how the leaves stay on the trees!
The rose petals have ALL  blow off of my rose bushes. Humph. My peonies are horizontal!!!
I didn't want to get into big painting projects until Mr. B had left, so I couldn't begin painting ( upcoming -- the living room ceiling and walls, then the mud porch)
So I've been reading. I just finished The Book Thief ( ripped m heart out!! - can't believe that this is a children's book!) now I'm onto Shauna Singh Baldwin's - The Tiger Claw -- set at the end of WWII. I'm only 27 pages in, so,not sure if it's as good as What the Body Remembers.

I'm also finishing ( knitting) a pair of socks and am about to start a new pair.
We've begun a new tradition here. Happy Hour! Snacks and libations on the sun porch! 

*** we finally got our power back at noon on Sunday ***

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Ahhhhhh, summer......

We left Toronto enroute to Nova Scotia at 5 am Sunday. Our car was FULL. Well, actually, see for yourself -- I guess that I could have fit a tiny bit more in.....

This time, we drove south,through Buffalo and took the I90 east toward Boston, then the  I95 North to Portland, Maine. The drive is about 10 hours of actual driving -- it took us about 14 hours -- Ray ( and Andy) need frequent stops. ( please note, that if you are traveling to/from the US with a pet, you just need a note that they have had their rabies shot within the year, but also more than 30 days ago. No problem at all, we sailed through customs)
We arrived in
Portland around 7 pm -- so we had a few minutes to stop at Trader Joes ( olive tapenade, rosemary raisin crisps... You know, just the basics :) Portland is such a pretty town/city -- I hope to be able to explore it more next year.
7:30 we got in line for the ferry -- NovaStar ( from Portland to Yarmouth, NS) the Ferry is gigantic! It is touted as a "cruise ship".  We were a bit worried for Andy - who had to stay crated in our car for the 10 hour voyage. But we cracked down our windows a bit ( this is a night crossing -- and quite cool - no sweltering heat, don't worry) and wired a bowl of water to the door. His crate is his safe and happy place,so we were hopeful that he would be fine. He had his blankie. Night night Andy -- see you in the morning.
We splurged a bit and booked a cabin ( so glad), so we dropped our stuff off and then went to explore the ship ( note to travellers -- the power outlets on the ship are international, so you can't charge electronics or plug anything in). Our room had 4 bunks ( the top ones were folded up), a bedside table, a tiny desk, rack for clothes, and a bathroom with toilet, sink and shower. Toiletries and towels in the WC. We booked an interior cabin because we would be travelling at night and not really needing a view.

The ferry left dock at 9 -- the sun was just starting to set. The port was beautiful. Many car alarms were going off below deck, so we worried a bit about Andy, but the ship managed to contact everyone to shut off all of the alarms. 

We stayed on deck until it was dark , and then headed off to fine some food. There are 3 places on board to find food -- a "fine dining" establishment that we never came across :) , a buffet, and a pub where you can get muffins and sandwiches. We chose the buffet ($23 each). The food was FANTASTIC. We started with salads ( Caesar, tomato) then moved to the mains. I tried some curried beef, seafood wontons and baked fish. All excellent. I had blueberry pie and Mr. B had blueberry cheesecake. 
Have I mentioned the Ferry Staff? So helpful and efficient :)
We were tired ( by then it was
10:30) , so we ambled back to our cabin. Only a small roll and rumble, so I wasn't seasick yet!
We slept like babies, and were awakened by a VERY
LOUD announcement that it was morning and we would dock in an hour and a half, and would we please vacate our rooms within a half hour.
We showered, packed and headed to the buffet for breakfast ( I was still full from supper the previous evening, but Mr. B says the breakfast ($12) was great.

Another announcement invited us down to our cars... We couldn't remember where our car was ( note to self: next year, pay attention), but we found it, and Andy seemed
JUST FINE. We drove off the ferry, and quickly sailed through customs again, and stopped at the tourist information centre to walk Andy. He hopped out of his crate, happy as can be. We walked around for about 1/2 hour, and then he happily hopped back into his crate for the rest of the car ride. What an awesome dog we have!!!!

 (that's the ferry in the background!)
We will DEFINITELY  take the NovaStar again!
Then we had less than a 2 hour drive to our summer home ( stopping in Barrington Passage No Frills for more groceries)
Yay! We are here -- the roses and peonies are beautiful. Time now to relax.
If you are reading this and have any questions about the ferry, please leave a comment, or email me, and I will get back to you asap)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Polar Vortex is loosening its grasp...

Today is sunny! and above freezing! WooHoo!

I'm going for a walk... I have to mail some letters before our postal rates go from 63cents to 85cents on April 1. Craziness.

But today... I'm Walking on Sunshine :)

I've seen Katrina and the Waves play a few times.... back in the day....when I was younger.... sigh....
but hey! I just heard that The Fleshtones are playing at the Horseshoe on April 11..... hmmmm... seriously considering going...... 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This dress

I really (really really) want to sew this dress:

The pattern is available from here, and looks like this:

But it's in german -- and I don't even know if it is a downloadable pattern(I don't think so) or even if they ship to canada , sigh......
Does it look like a knit to you? or  woven? I think that I may have to hit up my German friends for some translating help :) Uh, I think that it's German....


Oh, how I love Pinterest. I've been there since close to the beginning, back in the beta days when you had to be invited to join...
I spend so much time curating my boards -- trying to choose pins that are all about me :) (except for my teaching boards -- they are just a wild pile of "maybe I will try this" -- kind of like the piles on my desk)
It used to be so easy to embed the pins to posts -- but then Pinterest changed and I lost all of those embedded images (darn), and it frustrated me and left me a bit disillusioned. I'm going to try it again (if you are having trouble, see this article on Oh So Pinteresting ) but the embedded pins aren't what they used to be! I have been complaining to Pinterest about this, to no avail....

This is one of my favourite kitchen pins from this week. I love everything about it. The white. The floors. The lighting. The island. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Decorate With Flowers

I CAN'T WAIT for this book to come out!
Decorate With Flowers
I didn't think that I wanted it (I love Holly Becker's Decorate) because , well, I usually leave the flowers outside :)
But after seeing some of the page shots, I think that I need it. I just love the papercut font that they have used throughout the book!

This is the UK cover -- I like it far more than the North American Cover!

Below is the North American Cover

This shot is called "by the seaside" 

A bottle chandelier:

 And how about we tape those flowers to the wall!
Its release date for North America is April 8th.
What do you think?