Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sexy Shoes

My husband's work Christmas party is this weekend.  It's a huge affair, suitable for a huge company.  I'm pretty sure of what I'll wear (either my LBD or a brown lace dress that I've had for years and is very forgiving).  But I have no shoes to wear.  Of course I have my faithful black lace sandals that I've worn to every fancy event in the past ten years, but  I guess I'm getting old and I don't feel like having snowy toes this year.  And then there's my cute granny shoes.  But they're a little too granny.  Taking up knitting is about as granny as I want to go at the moment.

So my kids and I stopped in a shoe store while we were at the mall for other things.  I found the perfect shoes!  I just love them.  Patent leather(?) in a nude/blush colour, with an adorable strap.  Of course they didn't have my size.  I tried on both 7.5 and 8.5, but neither fit.  

Then I found a super sexy red patent pair. Yes, I would still wear these to church.  Of course they didn't have my size, again.  I could tell that if they had been a half-size bigger, they would have been very comfortable.

Then I finally found my size!  Yay!  Unfortunately, although they were totally cute, and I loved them, I was looking for something a little less traditional than black patent mary-janes.  And I don't like wearing black with brown (I'm really leaning toward wearing the stretchy-forgiving dress)

If I can't find anything tomorrow (heading to Winners!  Possibly with four kids in tow, depending on what time of day I manage to make it there), I'll go back and get the black shoes.

Oh...and what am I going to do with my hair?

Yarn Along

So, I'm suddenly obsessed with knitting.  My husband calls me Grandma.  A friend taught me how when I was sixteen, but I never progressed beyond teaching myself how to do a basket weave.  I did a knitted patchwork baby blanket once.  It took me five years, and that was just garter stitch!  I was sure I'd never be able to learn how to do cables. And lace...can you even knit lace?

I think what started my obsession was the Rock Island shawl.  I first saw a grey version on someone's blog that I fell in love with.  I didn't immediately think, "I must learn to knit lace so I can make that shawl!"  No, I thought, "I wish I could find someone to make that for me." And I left it at that.

Then when I was going through my Christmas Pinterest board, I remembered The Nester's knitted garland, which fits right in with the handmade, white, simple Christmas decor I'm aiming for.  So I bought some soft bulky off-white yarn at Michael's.  Then I saw a gorgeously soft seafoam green that I couldn't leave behind.

I've been browsing patterns, and joined Ravelry, and I think I'm going to make a Clara Cowl with the seafoam green.  That should help me learn how to do cables.  Then I can learn eyelets.  And eventually make my way up to lace.

As for what I'm reading, this month's choice for book club is Blue Like Jazz.  It is an interesting memior/discussion of Christianity.  I'm halfway through it, and the meeting is Thursday.  I'll get it done, right?

I'm also reading (because I can never read only one book at a time) Legally Wed, by Patty Froese.  I love her writing.  She should teach classes on how to write relationships, and not just hero/heroine relationships.  In this book, I love reading how the hero, Rich interacts with his mother.  And the great thing about this e-book is that I can read and knit at the same time!  Add a cup of tea, and I'm in heaven.

I'm joining Ginny of Small Things in her Yarn Along linky.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Herb and Cheese Crusty Bread

I found this overnight no-knead bread recipe on Pinterest yesterday (Thanks Jillian!), and couldn't wait to try it.  Indeed, it was very hard to wait to mix it until after 1 pm so that I could bake it first thing this morning  (Pardon the archaic sentence structure...I've been writing Regency.  It's my version of method-acting, I guess).

To the basic recipe, I added 1.5 cups of cubed cheddar cheese, and 1 tsp each of dried basil, oregano, and rosemary.  I suspected (and was proven right), that the long rising time would soften the rosemary, since it's normally like pine needles.

I was so nervous to cut into the bread, worrying whether it was fully cooked or not.  I made it for our moms' group at church, and waited to cut it there so it would stay warm.  I had to breathe a sigh of relief when I cut it and it looked and smelled just as delicious as the outside did.  The flavours blended perfectly, and everyone said it was good.  Whew!

Since I don't have a big pot, dutch oven, or lidded dish that was oven safe, I used my 3 litre Corningware casserole dish.  It was exactly the right size, even if it did give my loaf that funny rounded shape instead of the flatter artesian bread look.  I also used parchment paper to keep the cheese from sticking to the dish, and help in getting the loaf out.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Another Classic Ontario Stone House

Ontario Stone Home has another gorgeous stone house listed for sale.  This one has 50 acres and the setting is just gorgeous!  Adorably, it has both an elegant "front parlour" and a rustic "back parlour".  Check out more pictures on the site.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A Masculine Grey

Our en-suite bathroom is no longer yellow!   I'm quite thrilled about that.  And the light fixture is no longer rusty.  My husband and his brother installed the new one a few weeks ago.  The grey paint colour is a mistint I bought at Lowes.  It is Valspar brand exterior paint with primer, so I inhaled way too many paint fumes that weekend.  I thought it would have a lot more brown in it, based on the bit painted on the outside of the can, but I really like this grey.  It's a good thing I'm not picky!  I added some simple modern trim at the level of the trim around the shower (which is why it's interrupted by the light.  To get around that, I just cut the two pieces at a 45-degree angle).

The grey colour paired with the white makes me think of a schoolhouse or a boat.  And with the yellow gone, it feels very masculine in there, despite the curvier light fixture.  For a while I was at a loss about decorating.  Because there is very little wall space, and only one tiny shelf space on top of my cabinet.  Eventually, I just popped my two little bird tea light holders on top of the cabinet, and it ended up being exactly the right amount of femininity for me to feel at home.  I may eventually add artwork to the walls if I come across something suitable.

What do you think?  Is the grey and white too masculine for a shared bathroom?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


I thoroughly enjoyed the Canadian Finals Rodeo this past Saturday.  Except for the whiny kids I had to sit with.  I think next time I'll go with a friend and leave the kids at home.  I'm not even sure if my husband enjoyed it.  He wouldn't say.  But I loved it.  There were so many beautiful horses to look at!  Palomino, buckskin, and this elegant-looking dappled grey.  This one looked like he should be wearing English dressage instead of western.

I love watching the barrel racing.  Those women are so fast!  When I was 12, my riding instructor tried to get me to try barrel racing, but I was too afraid to go fast enough, or close enough to the barrels  and I kept forgetting the pattern.  I was not one to accept a challenge at that age.  There are so many things that people encouraged me to do that I wouldn't even try.

My serious husband and grouchy daughter:

My son was much more interested, but we were on the opposite end of the arena from most of the exciting stuff, like the bull riding.  If we had been closer, it would have held his interest better.  We were front and center for the team roping in row 4 though!  Two teams tied the arena record of 3.7 seconds!  Now that is fast.

Thanks so much to Canadian Cowboy Country for the great tickets!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

An honest look at the home of a decorator

The weird shelf-mantel-thing above our fireplace has plagued me since we moved in here almost four years ago.  It is off-centre, and meant to hold a TV, but it is too small and too high to hold any decent-sized TV, and it wouldn't work with any proper furniture arrangement anyway.  I prefer having the TV in the basement.  So I haven't known what to do with this awful space.  If I had my way I'd either build walls to make it even, or completely tear out the awkwardly-placed gas fireplace.

Any decor I chose to place there has to look nice from both front and the side.  And to make matters more difficult, that's the only place to put our sound system.  The shelf just ends up collecting random junk and looking awful all the time, under its layer of dust.

I was looking at that shelf today, and suddenly I had to do something about it.  I think I have finally found a solution that looks good from all angles: Books!  I needed to move my vintage books collection anyway so that I can paint the shelves this week.  My husband might not be 100% enthusiastic about this solution because he can't turn the speakers toward the kitchen when he wants to, but I say he can just turn up the volume instead.

I still hate the shelf, but at least it doesn't look so bad any more.

This is the view from the front door, the first thing guests see when they walk in the house.

And this is the view from the stairs.  Even that view is not so bad.

As lovely as this looks, I do have to keep things honest and show you what the other side of the room currently looks like.  One shelf conquered--moving on to the rest of the house!  My mother-in-law is coming to visit next week!  But first I have to make supper...

Monday, 12 November 2012

A day at the lake

Many thanks to my in-laws for always letting us use their lakeside cabin.  It was a great little getaway.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Rodeo Style for a City Girl

I have always wanted to be a country girl.  Growing up I kind of was, in a way.  We lived on the edge of a tiny city/big town with train tracks behind the house, and a farmer's field at the end of the street.  I ran around outside all summer.  But, except for the amazing summer I spent living on a horse farm, we still functioned as a city family.  At age 14, I moved with my family back to the city I was born in. Although I still longed for the country, I melded with the city until I kind of forgot about it most of the time.

I love country music, and that's all I've been listening to for the past month (except for a few afternoons of Bing Crosby Christmas music).  Some of my current favourite songs are:
American Honey - Lady Antebellum
Sweet Southern Song - Ali Dee
Marry Me Again - Kourtney and Dave
I've also been crushing on western clothing.  Maybe it's the time of year, with the Canadian Finals Rodeo coming to town.  I get to go to the rodeo this year!  I won tickets from Canadian Cowboy Country.  I wasn't able to go last year when my plaid-clad family went.  I will of course wear my favourite city-girl cowboy boots.  And for some reason, I really want a leather belt with a huge, ridiculously fancy rodeo-style buckle, like this one:

source: Country Outfitters

Of course, I've yet to find a decent pair of jeans.  But I have discovered that I should be shopping in the juniors section for jeans.  I just don't have the womanly hips or booty required for women's sizes.  That should help the next time I go shopping.

Do you like country?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Beautiful Books, Old and New

Hello friends!  I didn't mean to take a week off like that!  The week has been spent with a little painting, a little Christmas-gift-making, and fun times with family.  Oh, and a blizzard.  That was yesterday.

On Sunday we had lunch at my grandparents' house, and my sweet Papa decided to give me his set of works by Sir Walter Scott.  There is no date in any of them, but they are very old.  The covers are interesting.  They look like hardcover, but they don't have boards in them and they're somewhat flexible.

Papa believes that it is very important to read the classics, to form a good foundation in life and culture.  Besides these books, he has given me paperback copies of classic children's books to read to my kids.  I agree with him, and I look forward to sharing all these books with them.

And speaking of classics, I found something wonderful at Costco!  Anthropologie had these beautiful Puffin Classics for sale a couple of years ago, for $18 per book.  I loved them then, and I always meant to go buy one or two but never did.  Then last week I spotted the complete set at Costco for $34.  I couldn't leave them behind!  So I told Kevin it was my Christms gift.  He doesn't mind.

It has become so rare to find modern beautifully-bound hardcover books!  Usually the dust jacket (I hate dust jackets) is beautiful, but the book underneath is so plain, even downright ugly, and you can tell just by looking at it that it was cheaply made.

These gorgeous books remind me of the oldest book in my collection, in the detail and beauty.  I hope beautiful books like these will become more plentiful.  But if they do, I'm going to have to get a job to support my book buying!