Sunday, December 29, 2013

I Heard a Bird Sing

Many years ago I came across this little verse (by Oliver Herford) on a Christmas card.

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

“We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

One can only hope that winter will be as short and sweet as this verse...

Monday, December 23, 2013

All Is Calm, All Is Bright...

This year I have five Christmas trees in my house. Most ever. Not sure how I ended up with 5 but it happened. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not really a "tree" person. I like all the other things that go along with Christmas but I just can't wrap my head around the idea of bringing a 7-foot evergreen, needle-dropping tree into your house. So I have four artificial trees this year, and one natural tree (a Balsom Fir) in the living-room. Not showing that one, although it's not too bad by our standards, Ha! But this little one is in my dining-room. It's about 20 years old and kinda crazy looking. This year I have it perched in a Ganong Hard Candies bucket and decorated with cookie cutters and red glass balls. 
And here's my mantel all decked out with fresh greenery. I love the way the pine branches droop over the edge. The picture above the mantel is a print by Trisha Romance called The Museum.    Maybe I will do a post about  this artist in  January. 
Have a wonderful Christmas. Hope you get to celebrate the holiday with family and friends!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Three Bears

Once upon a time there was a young girl who loved the story of The Three Bears. When she discovered a hooked rug pattern depicting the bears she asked her aunt to make it for her. Auntie Gwen agreed and the mat was started. She worked on it in Nova Scotia in the summer months,  and then took it to Florida to continue the hooking throughout the fall and winter. But somehow the mat never got finished...
Four years ago my aunt was admitted to a nursing home with a special ward for Alzheimer's patients. As my cousin and I readied her house to put it on the market, we discovered the half finished Three Bears mat. Well finally, after four years in my closet, I found someone who could finish Gwen's mat. (Thank you Lynn for taking on this little project with such enthusiasm.) When I last visited with my aunt I took the finished mat with me. I truly believe her eyes brightened up a tiny bit when I showed her those Three Bears and their bowls of porridge :)

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Merry, Merry. Slowly.

Slowly getting ready for the holidays...

The outside  decor is all taken care of...

The hall tree is swagged...

And MY 55 year old skates are hanging next to Santa's hat. How is it possible that MY skates are this old when I'm only 39? I must have calculated that wrong...they must be MY 35 year old skates, LOL.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Favourite Christmas CD

I have several Christmas CD's but there is one that I absolutely love. It's called Sarah McLachlan Wintersong. Apparently it was released in 2006, but I have only had it in my collection for a few years. My favourite track is "River". I could listen to this one song all day long...
Live footage of Sarah performing 'River'

Friday, December 06, 2013

Santa's Watching

Do you believe in Santa? I do. I guess that's why I have a Santa collection. I like to display some of my collection on our antique buffet hutch in the dining room. (It's a tricky place to take a photo because of the large mirror below the top shelf.) 

I add a new Santa (or two) each Christmas. That tall one I picked up for .75 cents at the thrift store about a month ago.

A few more on the other end. Love that tole painted one with the clay star...

...and a few more below, waiting for SNOW!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Confession # 5, I Love Chicken Bones

I LOVE chicken bones! No, no, not real chicken bones. I love the candy version, especially the ones made by Ganong in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

They are a little on the expensive side, but they are so yummy! Pink, spicy, cinnamon candy filled with bittersweet chocolate. You can either let them melt in your mouth or you can crunch them to get that delicious rush of goodness! Check out this video clip if you would like to see how this delicacy is made.
Chicken bones are labour intensive, I guess that's why they are so pricey. It just wouldn't be Christmas without chicken bones! What is your favourite Christmas candy?

Monday, December 02, 2013

Overlooking the Ocean

On Sunday, my husband and I spent the afternoon attending the River John Country Village Christmas Tour. Since the home tours didn't start until 2pm, we also shopped at the Lismore Sheep Farm Christmas Market, checked in on our cottage, and took a little jaunt over to Pictou. I don't have any photos of the first two homes we toured, but here's one shot of the Robinson Retreat, our third and final stop.

Isn't it lovely? Believe me, it was just as nice on the inside. (Please excuse the quality of the photo, my husband snapped it with his phone.) The Robinson property was settled in the mid 1800s with a traditional Nova Scotia 1 1/2 story home with barns and outbuildings. I had passed by this house on my way to the beach at Cape John this summer, but I had no idea it was being so extensively renovated. The current owners have removed the outbuildings, but they have utilized some unique pieces from the barn in their house. For example, they used huge arch-shaped pieces to define the dining area. They also used a beam from the barn as a mantel for their fireplace. The Robinson Retreat will be available to rent this summer. If  you are looking for a huge farmhouse to host a family reunion, this is the spot!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Sneak Peak

Yes, yes. It's that most wonderful time of the year. The lull between having my first term report cards finished and Christmas. I absolutely love Christmas. I think I inherited that from my dad as he loved Christmas too. So today I decided to begin my decorating. Well actually I put up one decoration earlier in the week, a swag on our antique hall tree. I like to take my time and haul out a few things as the mood strikes.

 These photos show an old crock filled with pine, fir, red ozier dogwood twigs and false holly. They should rename that "hard-to-find holly" as I only found one patch of it last weekend on our way home from the cottage. It likes to grow in wet, swampy areas so luckily I had my rubber boots with me. In the next couple of weeks I hope to share a few more photos of my Christmas decor. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Mr. Mouse

See this little guy. How cute! NOT. No, not when you discover that he has been visiting your trailer!!!
Yes, as I was taking all my goodies out of Betty yesterday, I discovered some mouse droppings under one of my dinette benches. Yuck!  Maybe there was more than one and they were having a party down there...
Oh my, I knew it had to happen sooner or later. Funny thing is, this is the first year that I even thought to plug the sink drain hole with steel wool. But research tells me they can get in through a hole the size of a dime. Guess they had several entrances to choose from, LOL. Lucky for me they did not get up into the living quarters. My 14 pillows would have been shredded to make their little mouse nests. So what did I do after I made this discovery? Well, I cleaned up their mess with Pine Sol and then set a mousetrap outside underneath the trailer. Next weekend before we tarp Betty for the winter I will lay a few fabric softener sheets inside too. Then I will cross my fingers and wait for Spring...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en

Saw this vintage postcard on Pinterest and it brought back some childhood memories. Did you ever bob for apples? Hardest thing ever unless you could corral an apple with a long stem! Hope you have a wonderful Halloween. It's a busy night in our neighborhood. I am writing this post in between running to the door to hand out treats. We usually get 130+ trick or treaters! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rock Star

Do you recognize this little tin can? Yes, it's Betty, painted on a sandstone rock by my young cottage neighbor, Miss Abby. I think she did a wonderful job of capturing what Betty looked like before I repainted the stripe and removed the decals. She even included Brownie, the little rabbit who used to nibble the clover beside Betty almost every day last summer. Every time I look at this rock it makes me smile :) Cottage neighbors are the best!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pillow Palooza

I think I am losing my marbles! I was so sure that I had already posted about my polka-dot trailer pillow, but then I discovered that my newest pillow had not made her debut! So here she polka-dot flannel for the background topped with an off-white wool trailer. I used some vintage fruit and berry fabric for the window and door, then embellished it with a red ribbon stripe and a button tire. This brings the pillow count to 10, no make that 12. Guess that's enough! If the door ever flies open when we're travelling down the road there's gonna be a lot of pillows flying out of Betty!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Girl Camp Canada - NS Rally

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Girl Camp Canada rally at Caribou-Munroes Island Provincial Park. This was the first rally for GCC women from Nova Scotia. Definitely one of those events where we arrived as strangers, enjoyed ourselves, and left as friends! There were six trailers, eight women and three fur kids (dogs). Here is my trailer nestled in a lovely wooded site.
This caravan belonged to Stacey from Sydney. She calls it Bea! Did you notice the little Dutch door? Be still my heart...
You would not believe the size of the window at the hitch end of this English cutie. It's the size of a picture window in some living-rooms!
If you would like more info about this beautiful park along the shores of the Northumberland Strait, here's a link to the park brochure.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Until The Day After Forever

I'm back from my blogging vacation! Wow, when did September become the busiest month of the year? Not only am I back to school (teaching Grade 3), but I've had our youngest daughter's wedding and a trailer rally too. So today's post is about the wedding! Such a gorgeous September day at Pictou Lodge overlooking the Northumberland Straight. Just as we were being seated there were seagulls swooping along the water, but as soon as the ceremony began they flew away. It was as if they knew they were not on the guest list..
This  is a picture of me lacing up the back of  the bride's dress.
Here's a shot of the ceremony. They were literally four feet from the edge of that cliff. I was fine until the photographer got up on a stepstool and then I was nervous thinking one wrong move and someone was going to end up in the ocean, lol.

Jill had chosen coral and turquoise as her "colours". It just so happened that the Lodge had bicycles that fit her colour scheme.

 After the reception, they hosted a beach bonfire very close to where this shot was taken. It was a fun (but very busy) weekend. Congratulations, Mr. And Mrs. David Williamson!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

My Vintage Vacation Treasures

Well, here's my loot from our PEI trip! A salt shaker, a Thermos celebrating Canada's Centennial Year (1967), one cute little Matryoshka doll, PEI camper salt n' peppers, and one vintage table runner. Can you tell what image might be on that runner? Yes, those are antlers. I found this at Time Worn Treasures in Charlottetown. If you like vintage treasures this is a great shop to visit! I made two little deer pillows from that runner. Here's one...

Every time I look at this pillow It reminds me of my dad. He loved to go deer hunting every November.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Betty Gets A Facelift

Oh my, it's been a while since I have posted. I have tried to write a couple of times but once I took that little break it was really hard to get going again. Now I know how kids in my classroom feel when I ask them to write...sometimes it just doesn't flow from your head to your hand. So what have I been up to? Well, we took another trip to PEI which was just glorious. Stayed in Cavendish for two nights at a campground, and then we towed Betty to Savage Harbour where  we boondocked at a friend's cottage overnight. So sweet, two little grandkids who absolutely loved our camper. I suppose to children it looks like a little playhouse.  The boy (who is 3) was calling it a mini-camper. Love that :) But now we have been home a week and I have made a few changes to my mini-camper. Here's what she looked like before PEI...
This week I decided to paint the maroon stripes a different colour, it's called Whisper and it's Rustoleum paint that I actually bought  two years ago to do this project. So are you ready for the big "reveal"? This is what she looks like now after three coats. Drum roll please.....

I love her new look! Oh, and did you notice anything else? Yes, I removed the giant G decals too. Next project is a new awning!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Co-Co the Caravan

I love this little poem, Co-Co the Caravan. It comes from this vintage book:

The Co-Co the Caravan poem reminds me of my little trailer, Betty. I have two lamps in my trailer and I always turn one on early in the evening. That way when I look out from the cottage "Betty" looks warm, cozy, and inviting. Like the poem says, "A warm friendly welcome". Oh, and did you notice the rabbits in the picture? Well, for some reason we have several rabbits around here this summer. I have seen three, but lately it's just been two that come out to nibble. Not at night like in this illustration but more in the morning and early evening. Too cute!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Swimming With Sammy the Seal

Last week was not the best week to be on vacation in Nova Scotia. We had nice weather on Monday, but it all went downhill from there. I stained one of our decks on Tuesday morning and by evening it just poured. My usual routine is to go for a swim every day even if it's not a real "beach day". On Friday  afternoon the sun was shining so I decided to go down for a dip. Just as I was about to get in, I noticed a seal swimming by.

Hmmmm, should I swim or not? Never had this happen before. Anyways, I decided to get in all the while keeping an eye out for Mr. Seal. I kept thinking what do they eat? Where is he? I know he ducked under, is he getting closer? When we were kids my mother would always say, "If you don't get your ducking I'm not bringing you swimming again." Sounds harsh, but  it always worked. (Looking back now I know that my mom would have taken us the next day because she loved to swim more than we did, lol.) So feeling very brave I ducked under to really cool off. Happy ending here! Apparently this grey seal was already full because he never tried to eat me. They eat cod fish and are blamed for depleting the cod stocks both here in Nova Scotia as well as Newfoundland. After I got out of the water I went for a little walk along the beach to look for beach glass. On a busy day there  might be 75 people on our beach but this day there were only 10. One lady said, "You had us all worried when you disappeared under the water!" To learn more about grey seals check out this link where I snagged that cute photo from:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Every Cottage Must Have a Fire Pit

That title says it all. I love beach campfires, but for us it's a lot less work to just have a campfire in our backyard. Nothing beats sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows or making s'mores. For several years we had an old, metal, dryer tub which I thought worked fine. But then new neighbours moved in and they set up their fire pit using a truck rim from an 18 wheeler. Another neighbour said she was going to switch over to this "new" style and she could get us one too. So, here it is! Our new, low profile (all the better for marshmallow roasting) freebie fire pit. (It actually rests on a 24" patio stone but the rim hides it.)

Not pretty, but it works great! However, if I was designing the backyard of my dreams, I would buy one of these.
Handcrafted from old propane tanks right here in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. These truly are works of art!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Betty Visits Spud Island

Caribou Ferry Terminal
I am going to tell you all about last weeks vacation to Prince Edward Island. It's been a couple of years since we had been to "the island", and we had never taken our camper. So last Tuesday we rolled into the terminal lot in Caribou, Nova Scotia at 7am to catch the 8am ferry. It wasn't long before the Holiday Island boat docked and the vehicles started to roll off. I was a little nervous when I saw that there were two levels. My DH assured me we would not be loading on the upper deck but down below with the transport trucks. See that 18 wheeler? These trucks are in fourth gear by the time they ht the parking lot! Although passenger vehicles can make a reservation, we couldn't because of our trailer. But getting on wasn't an issue and it was actually not a busy crossing. As you can see I had no problem finding a bench on the observation deck.

The crossing takes about 75 minutes   so we were on the island by 9:30 and at the campground  shortly after 10am. We chose a wooded site at Seal Cove Campground which gave us lots of privacy. I love wooded sites but the mosquitoes almost drove me crazy! It was so bad  that I didn't even take out my iPad to get a picture of Betty or our set-up. My husband golfed at a different course each day while I poked around the antique and gift shops in Murray River and Charlottetown. On Friday we caught the 11am boat back to Nova Scotia. Here we are in the bowels of the Confederation ferry parked alongside a truck carrying pulpwood to one of the mills in NS. I couldn't wait to get back in our SUV where I felt a lot safer. But overall we had a great time and we might just do it again in August!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

The Big Reveal

The big reveal! Yes, I finally finished painting my *free* wicker planter. That would be four cans of spray paint. So far I figure this project has cost me about $35, but you can't put a price tag on vintage! It has a metal liner too, but I haven't quite got that refurbished. It has a few holes, but I say every planter needs a few for drainage :) Until I get the liner in there I am making do with a hanging pot plopped in. Here's an up close view taken last Friday when it was over 30 degrees Celsius. That's above 90 which is pretty much a heat wave in Nova Scotia!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Time For Tea

Glad you popped in for a cup of tea! I love this little teapot. Actually it's a combination set, the pot sits on top of the cup. This was one of those surprise finds at a local discount store. A red polka-dot teapot, what's not to love? My all-time favourite tea is Twinings Earl Grey. Do you have a favourite tea?

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Internet Connection

Don't you love that term, the Internet connection? I guess sometimes it is easier said than done. It has certainly been a challenge here at the cottage. We have tried a few things over the years -  dial-up, then a turbo hub, setting a hot-spot off an iPhone, etc. But this year I knew I needed something more, something consistent that I could count on. We tried one service provider but they couldn't get a strong signal. But thankfully one of their competitors could! We were supposed to be hooked up last Friday but they had to reschedule to yesterday. I think I did the happy dance when the tech said, "fire up that lap-top". So yes, it's all good here on the edge of the Northumberland Strait. And for the first time in six days the sun finally shone. Hallelujah!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Confession # 4, I Go Curbside Shopping

Yes, it's time for another confession. Sometimes I have been known to go curbside shopping. Yes, it has happened once or twice in my life. Not many times, but a few. Twice a year our county has Clean Up Week where residents are encouraged to put their junk out at the curb. There are some rules and regulations, but basically you can put anything out there with the exception of electronics. So this spring on our way to the cottage I spied a wicker planter. Luckily we were towing our utility trailer and there was room for my "find". My DH said he would stop but I would have to go and get it. He didn't think I would, but I unloaded two pairs of boots from it and carried it to the trailer. It fit in just perfectly between the mower and the tail gate. This is what it looked like then...

This is what it looks like after some prep work and two cans of spray paint. Hopefully I will get it finished before the transplants are sold out. I think it will look  great at the cottage with all my other wicker pieces. Gotta love curbside shopping!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

All Lit Up!

Finally, I have a picture of my new Barbie lamp all lit up. You see, this was harder to get than it looks because I had to get out the extension cords, and the trailer power cord,  and get that all plugged in. By the time that happened I had to move them onto the deck because my DH was going to mow the lawn. Did I mention that lawn mowing is an art form with him? But I do have to say he does a great job of trimming and mowing all around Betty. After he mows it's my job to sweep all the clippings off the trailer and put the step back down, etc. As you can tell this photo was taken midday. You should see how cute this looks at night all lit up! Oh, and to the right of the lamp is my new cocktail shaker. The recipes for six drinks are printed right on the glass. Probably will never make any of them, but since it had a red Bakelite strainer/cover I just had to have it!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chocolate Fixes Everything

One day I picked up this little sign while out thrifting. Well actually it had another picture of roses or something, but I knew I had a more suitable photo. This picture was actually taken at my third birthday. I am the one second from the right. Not sure what I was howling about. Notice that everyone else seems pretty happy. Anyways, this sign pretty much sums up how I feel on this rainy day. "There's nothing wrong with me that a little chocolate won't cure!" 

Monday, June 03, 2013

Vintage Barbie Thermos Lamp

Ta Da! Look what I made for Betty last weekend. A couple of weeks ago I scored this vintage Barbie thermos at the antiques & collectibles sale held at our local thrift store. I only paid $1 for the thermos (probably because it was missing the cup). The lampshade was .50 cents but the rickrack was $2! I already had the lamp kit so it was pretty easy to make. Just to be sure the lamp socket stays put, I glued it to the thermos with E6000 glue! The rickrack was glued onto the shade with fabric glue. Hopefully next weekend I can get a picture of it "all lit up".


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Trailer Pad

Did you know that Betty has her own spot? Yes, yes. Last year my DH and I built a trailer pad out of patio blocks. I love it! We used 24" blocks to make a pad 3 blocks wide by 4 blocks long. Then we added one extra block for the trailer tongue. If it gets muddy (and it sometimes does), I just hose it down. Same thing after he mows - first I sweep it, then out comes the hose. Here's another shot taken with my husband's phone...

It took a morning to build the pad but I think it is worth it. Our soil at the cottage is mostly clay so every time it rains heavy, the water just puddles on top. This little pad keeps some of the dampness away from the trailer's undercarriage. It also makes it easy to level the trailer as the jacks have a nice firm footing. Oh, and those three aprons are just there to demo my little trailer clothesline that I have across the front end. Easy to make using flexible curtain rod tubing and screw eye hooks!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Take Yourself There

Take Yourself There. That's the theme of our new Nova Scotian tourism campaign. According to the press, the tourism industry generates about $1.8 billion annually in Nova Scotia, but economic pressures, rising fuel costs and passport requirements have all contributed to what has been a slow decline in tourism countrywide. The volume of annual visitors to the province has fallen about one per cent a year for the past decade.
To help boost visits to our tiny province I decided to design my own poster using pictures of campsites and a vintage cover from an older camping brochure. Come visit Nova Scotia this summer. Ciad Mille Failte. That's Gaelic for "A hundred thousand welcomes."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Clams and Antiques

This is what I love to do on Mother's Day. For the last few years, my husband and I have taken a drive  to Grannie's Restaurant in Lower Five Islands where we have clams and chips for lunch. On the way home we stop in Great Village where I shop for antiques. There are three stores to go through so it takes a little while. My DH sits in the car and reads golf magazines. I have to say he's pretty patient 'cause antiques aren't really his thing :) Today I was so pleased because I found this Skotch Kooler! It's in near perfect condition--Bakelite handle, only one little dent; smells great too! (Sorry for the poor quality of this picture, but it is pouring rain outside so I had to photograph inside.)

I looked up Skotch Koolers on eBay and this one gallon size is selling for at least $40 (plus shipping and handling). I only paid $20 so I think I got a pretty good deal!  Can't you just see this next to my old Pleasure Chest cooler? Oh yes, Betty is gonna be all glamped up for summer #3!