Thursday, July 29, 2010

Garden Whimsy

Spotted this garden whimsy in Stratford, Ontario. The gardener has placed these wee feet in a corner by the sidewalk so that anyone passing by can be surprised and delighted when they catch a glimpse of them. It's nice to have a sense of humour and want to share it with others. Every garden could do with just a touch of this.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tea Magic

This strange looking dried plant is actually a tea bud. I had bought a couple of them at a shop that carries all sorts of loose teas many months ago and since then it has sat in my kitchen cupboard, waiting I suppose, for some momentous occasion to try it. Well, tea in the garden on a lovely sunny summer’s day is occasion enough so out came one of the buds and the teapot and on went the water to boil. Once the hot water hit the bud the most amazing thing occured, the bud unfolded and various flowers began to bloom. It rather reminded me of those shells we had as kids that once you dropped into water would open and a paper flower would emerge. This particular bud is called Tiffany Rose Melody and the tea did have a delicate rose scent. Quite magical. This would be great for a tea party!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thrift Shop Find

Some days, the thrift shops call to me. Was I glad I paid attention. I was thrilled to find these queen size cotton sheets from Ralph Lauren, for $5.99 each. One of the great things about buying sheets second-hand is that they're so soft, all nicely broken in.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Taste of Elderflowers

Have you ever sampled the taste of elderflowers? I hadn’t, and I have been wanting to for a whole year, ever since I read a fascinating post at Ragged Roses, a blog from Sussex by the Sea. I gather that the flowers are ready for picking at the end of June each year and that’s when people go into elderflower production, much like we do here in strawberry season. But instead of jam, elderflowers are made into a cordial beverage.

Imagine my delight when I found an elderflower drink packaged for sale at IKEA. These elderflowers were grown in Sweden, not England, but close enough. So today when I arrived home from work on this afternoon filled with sunshine, I decided that this would be the perfect time to sample it.

To pay proper tribute to such a momentous occasion, I decided to serve the drinks on a wee table in the garden. To set the stage and heighten the enjoyment of my very first ever taste of elderflowers, I added a blue gingham cloth and some flowers to the scene. Since I didn’t have any elderflower blooms I made do with some wild Queen Anne’s lace which look similar, sort of. Finally, the moment had arrived. My youngest and I raised our glasses and took a sip. I found the taste to be sweet and delicate and very refreshing. My son, on the other hand, cringed and put down his glass. So there you have it, two different reactions. Why not try it for yourself?

You can read Ragged Roses' account of making elderflower cordial and view some lovely photos of the process at

Friday, July 23, 2010

Waxy Monkey Frogs

Aren't these fellows adorable? My youngest and I went to the Museum of Nature today and enjoyed their exhibition of all sorts of unique frogs. These Waxy Monkey Frogs were my favorite though, and they posed most obligingly for me. These three each seem to have their own unique personalities too.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Westport Residents

For a change of scenery we took a short car trip to the small town of Westport today. It is a sweet wee place with a few intersecting streets lined with small businesses. These streets have that small-town feel and offer a variety of shops that invite visitors to stroll around, stopping in for a coffee here and a fresh baked goodie there, maybe an ice cream cone or some homemade fudge. And if you’re interested in art, jewellery, crafts, fashion or furntiure you'll spot those shops here too. Eventually you will find your way down to the harbor. Westport is located at the west end of the Upper Rideau Lake, at the head of the Rideau Canal. The harbor is a very picturesque spot, in close proximity to a spotless ladies public washroom where for $2.00 you can have a 6-minute shower (obviously provided for the many boat owners who dock at the public wharf.) Spotless washrooms are always appreciated when you're out for the day! There were three charming residents down by the wharf when we visited. And they obligingly posed for me by the most photogenic old shed in a lovely shade of blue.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Coral Coziness

Every now and then you find something that stands out from the rest. I felt this way when I was picking through a rack of throws, some hand-knit and others crocheted. Most of the time the throws one finds at thrift shops have colour combinations that make it seem that whoever made it was using up whatever they had around, making for some loud and discordant results. Other times, the colours may be harmonious but the throw has obviously had a lot of wear. Happily, neither of these were the case with my find of the week. The throw’s coral colour drew me immediately, but my heart rejoiced when I saw the lovely knit pattern and the pleasant discovery that the throw was in such good shape.

Just look how pretty the leaf pattern is. It wasn’t until I was photographing it that I noticed that the other side had an equally lovely ripple pattern. And I know that it is going to look great draped at the end of the new duvet cover that I am finally going to get around to sewing one of these days. What better motivation could there be to get that project underway than this lovely new find? And do you know what? All this lovely handiwork was priced at only $5.99.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Garden Tools Caddy

Back in May of last year I posted ( about a garage sale find, a red wooden toolbox. And at the time I tried out a few ways that I thought I might put it to use. One of those ways was as a garden caddy, and that is exactly how I ended up using it. When my neighbour (and fellow-gardener) saw mine she remembered that she had one hidden away and decided to dig hers out to use in just the same way. But oh my, M’s is such a wonderful shade of deep blue. Don’t they look happy together?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lavender Days

Oh dear, this year’s lavender days are just about over. Already the last of the lavender flowers are turning brown at the edges. Soon there will be nothing left of them to cut. The heat wave we’ve been experiencing certainly doesn’t allow for a long season. Thank goodness I managed to dry some of the flowers so that I can at least enjoy their fresh scent over the winter months. This year I only had two plants to draw from, but hopefully next year the eleven plants I put in this spring will have matured enough to produce lots of flowers.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Peachy Keen

I think this colour of verbena is absolutely gorgeous. The growers called it peach on the plant tag, but I think it also finds its way into the coral range. It is so interesting how the petals on the same clumps of bloom can vary so much. I found two hanging baskets of it for $15.00 which was a very good price and I used them to pot up my planters, along with some similar coloured geraniums.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lavender Potpourri

Today I bring you another way to use dried lavender. Once again I’m using the lavender that I cut and dried from my neighbour’s garden (with her permission and encouragement of course!) Not only does it smell lovely, but it looks pretty too. For extra colour I added some dried rose petals to dthe dried lavender. You can add other types of dried petals or dried citrus peel, anything that adds colour or fragrance. The lavender has a wonderful scent all of its own and all you need to do is give your potpourri a quick stir every now and then to release the fragrance. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil of your choosing or a drop or two of your favorite perfume if you want another scent or medley of scents. So experiment, try different things and have some fragrant fun!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lavender Sachets

Lavender sachets are a lovely and practical way to use dried lavender. They are great for adding a lovely frangrance to your linens, as moth repellents in your closets and if you use bags made with a gauze-like fabric you can use them to scent your bath water. Sachets filled with lavender and tucked under a pillow are reported to help people sleep better. With so many uses, they make great gifts.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canada Day

Perhaps not the photo you would expect to see on Canada Day, but we decided to celebrate the occasion by taking an afternoon hike in the Gatineau Hills, far from the crowds and excitement of Parliament Hill. We only saw a handful of other people while we were on the trail so it was certainly a quieter way to reflect on Canada and what this country means to us. And I think it is a fitting way to spend the day, for what is it about Canada that is great if not its natural beauty?