Monday, November 29, 2010

Winter Warmers

Here's a fairly easy project to make with an old scarf. To keep hot drinks warmer longer and to protect your hands from extremely hot beverages, try one of these knit warmers. You could of course knit or crochet one yourself, but for a quick and easy alternative, just cut a section of a wooly scarf to size and sew into a tube. Make sure that the tube is at least an inch or two shorter that the glass, unless you want a mouth full of fluff with each sip. Slide the selected glass into the tube, making sure the fit is snug enough that it doesn't slide out. The same can be done for a mug but remember to leave an opening in the seam to poke the handle through. Lots of colourful fun for winter!
These colourful warmers should be removed before washing the glass or mug, and if they get soiled or stained just throw the tubes in the laundry.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blue on Blue

Finally, I get to see how snow looks on the fence since I painted it blue. The wreath, festooned with blue-coloured berries, was picked up at a thrift shop, a great place to find holdiay ornaments at a fraction of the price you'd pay at regular stores. It makes sense not to spend a fortune when a decoration is going to be exposed to all sorts of weather. The blue wreath looks pretty but I think something red would really pop!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gone Fishing!

Just look at what I caught on a lunch hour thrifting trip. Every now and then one comes across something totally unexpected among all the usual mismatched chinaware, old sheets, and cast-off mugs. I hesitated for just a moment when I spied this charming wooden fellow, not knowing quite what I would do with him. But then I came to my senses... of course I would take him home with me. At $1.99 what did it matter!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wrapped in Comfort

What could be cozier than hand-knit woolly socks? I've been collecting them in preparation for the inevitable chilly winter days, picking them up for 99 cents a pair! Aren't they scrumptious? It's heart-breaking to think of all the effort, patience and loving care that was put into making them, only to have them end up as cast-offs in a thrift shop! I'm so pleased to have given them a home. My toes will wiggle happily wrapped in their comfort.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mung Beans

Mung beans have a whole new function when they are used to display a treasured object, and I just love their gorgeous green colour. A carefully chosen pebble would look just as nice in a bowl filled with mung beans.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sweet Storage

My friend M. offered me this sweet little cupboard recently. After a good scrub with soap and water it was ready for shelf liners made from some wallpaper borders. It could be filled with anything: teacups, bath things or linens for starters.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sidewalk Art

Nature is the artist in these sidewalk leaf transfers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Path of Least Resistance

How often do you become stuck in the same pattern or travelling the same route? Just as water flows along the path of least resistance, all too often we choose the easiest way before us, leaving talents untapped, possibilities not pursued, and goals unfulfilled. And in the process, these well-worn paths become deeply etched, like the lines on this rock face, making it more difficult to take an alternate route.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In the Element

Do you ever feel like you don't quite fit into the group around you? Or perhaps you stand out because you do things a little differently than others? It turns out that may not be a bad thing. It could be a signal that you have not discovered what it is that places you in your "element".

I'm presently reading a wonderful book about finding your element by Ken Robinson, entitled The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. I only wish I had found it years ago... but it hadn't been written yet!

According to the inside of the book cover, the element "is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion." When this happens, people "feel most themselves, most inspired, and achieve their highest levels". I guess it's what is meant by someone "being in their element". How odd that just days before I came across this book, I had snapped this photo because something about this wee stone seemed to ask the same questions, "What am I doing here? Why do I feel different?"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Art Deco Buttons

Aren't these as cute as, well... buttons? I picked out these art deco ones from a large selection at the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Sale a couple of weeks ago. I seemed drawn to these black and golden coloured ones, finally deciding on these four. I know they will eventually adorn some creative project. I'm so happy that women everywhere used to cut the buttons off discarded clothes, keeping them to reuse. If not for these thrifty ladies, we wouldn't still have these lovely buttons around to admire and appreciate. I wonder how many homes still have a button box, tin or jar where today's buttons are collected?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cushion Cover Thrift

Can you believe these great cushion covers that I picked up at thrift shops recently for 99 cents each? The bold cream and green striped cushion cover adds some punch to my son's bedroom. I was pleased to find the handsome bird and flower print and knew it would be perfect in our living room either on our leather wing chair or sofa. The third cushion cover is made up of the sweetest fabrics and is different on either side, both so adorable that I can't decide which side I like best on our bed. One thing is certain... at this price, you can change a look often!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Autumn Harvest Lavender Wreath

Autumn sent me a surprise second flowering of the new lavender bushes that I planted this spring. So after cutting the blooms I fashioned them into this sweet-smelling wreath. I placed branches at intervals, curving them into a circle, and tied them around with thread of a similar colour to the stems as I went.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Autumn Splendor

With Halloween over for another year it was time to change the displays in the two urns on our front step. I collected various dried plants for their interesting textures and then added in some branches from my smoke bush for their gorgeous burgundy colour. Everything was free for the picking, except for the willow branches at the centre, but because I had bought those several years ago for previous displays, this year's Autumn display cost me nothing. Even the pumpkin is being re-used. Its Halloween face has been hidden from view by turning it around. What kind of Autumn splendor can you create from plant material around you?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vintage Clothing Sale #2

Here are some more views of the Vintage Clothing Sale.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vintage Clothing Sale

Last Sunday was the annual Vintage Clothing Sale at the Chateau Laurier Hotel with fashions from the 1900's to the 1970's. With the vendors' picturesque displays set against the backdrop of the hotel's sumptuous ballrooms, this sale is a feast for the eyes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cocoa Locale Takes the Cake

Here are the two wee cakes I brought home from Montreal's Cocoa Locale. A rich and dark chocolate chai cake and a vanilla cake with pretty pink frosting. The cakes were dense and delicious, moist and yummy! And so very lovely to look at that even my 17-year-old son's friend who had slept over, said the next morning when I offered them a piece, "They're too pretty to eat for breakfast." So we waited until mid morning before surrendering!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cocoa Locale, Success at Last

My blog post of May 20th, 2009 told the sad tale of my attempt to visit the delightful cake shop called Cocoa Locale. I had arrived a short time after opening hours only to find that everything was already sold out and the place was already closed for the day. So on my latest visit to Montreal, I tried once again, and in my eagerness I arrived an hour early! But persistence pays off, so after whiling away the time at some of the neighbourhood's other delightful boutiques I returned minutes after their noon opening. Crossing the threshold, I could hardly believe I was actually inside. And what a delightful wee shop it is. As you can see from the photos, it's chock full of charm and whimsy. And oh, the sweet cakes... some large, some wee-sized for two and of course cupcakes if you want one all to yourself, all with Reema's signature flourish of sprinkled flower petals across the tops. They all looked so sweet sitting there in the display case waiting for me to arrive! And there was owner Reema herself, ready to box up my selections and listen to the tale of my pilgrimages. I was so excited to finally experience Cocoa Locale that in my enthusiasm to take a few more pictures, I left the shop without my boxed cakes! So I popped back in and collected my little cake box at the counter where I'd left it and where Reema had been watching for me. The thought of me heading back home without my cakes was too much for the lovely kind Reema, who said "my heart was crying for you." And she flashed one of her warm smiles and wished me a safe drive home.