May 31, 2012

White Peonies

My white peonies came out in bloom today.  They are gorgeous and I'm so happy that I got them tied up before they all flopped to the ground.

The buds open white with red stripes and then turn a pale blush pink.  

The fragrance is heady and fills the room.

I love this time of year when I can cut a beautiful bouquet of white flowers and bring the outdoors in.


May 30, 2012

Little Lake

Little Lake
On my way home from a doctor's appointment today, I stopped for a few minutes by Little Lake.  If you are not familiar with my hometown, there is a small lake in the very centre of the city.  It is part of the Trent Severn waterway.  You can navigate from Lake Ontario to Lake Huron through a series of waterways and locks that cover 386 kilometers.

This is a view from the west side of the lake straight across to "East City".  On the right hand side of the picture, you can see what looks like a white water tower.  That is the Quaker Oats manufacturing facility.  The lovely fountain you can see was installed in 1967 to celebrate Canada's centennial.  It is lit up at night with multi-coloured spotlights.

This view is looking northward.  The building in the centre of  the picture is the Holiday Inn.  The hotel is right on the water front.  The marina is just to the left of it and the white structure hidden in the trees at the left is a stage where free concerts are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer.  The Little Lake MusicFest is very popular with tourists and locals alike.  From my house, we can usually hear them doing their sound check in the afternoon.  Little Lake MusicFest Lineup 2012

There are some interesting places in my hometown that I will share with you as the summer goes along.  Soon we will take a trip to the zoo before school lets out and it is over run by munchkins.  We  have a beautiful zoo that attracts families from the Toronto area on day trips because it is free and there is a lot to see and do.

My last picture of the lake, looking southward.  It may be hard to believe but behind those lush trees is the oldest cemetery in the city.  It is such a lovely location that it is frequently populated by the living too!  It is a favourite place for people taking a walk.  I hope you enjoyed the tour and I will try to share a new locale once a week this summer.


May 26, 2012

It's a Jungle Out There.

Have you noticed that the pictures of my garden are all close-ups of the flowers.  After being inspired Sarah at and talking to Claudia at about reality in blogging, I decided to tell the truth and it truly is a jungle out there.

Last year my knee was so bad that I was unable to garden.  I got some help from my honourary nephew, Josh but it was impossible to stem the tide.  The neglected garden spread like wildfire with weeds taking over.  It was a before scene from The Secret Garden.

These are the views starting at the gate and following down along the garden at the right to the back right corner, including views of the base of the gingko tree and my oval garden with the magnolia.

These photos are the garden on the left of the shed, along the fence to the garden beside the patio and the vegetable garden at the side of the house.  This is the reality and while I have already spent 4 or 5 full days on it, I have the whole summer to get it back where it should be.  So now you have seen the work in progress and I will keep you up to date with Garden Glimpses.  Wish me luck!


May 25, 2012

the lost week...

Were you wondering where I've been all week?

Paris? non....

Turks and Caicos?  unfortunately not...

Playing with some new technology.  Sadly no, although an I-phone is on my wish list.

I really could have used an I-phone this week.  I spent a lot of time in waiting rooms - hospital waiting rooms and doctor's waiting rooms.  If I had an I-phone, I could have read your blogs to while away the time, taken a few pictures and maybe even posted to my blog.  Unfortunately, my ancient cell makes and receives calls and that's about it.

A family health issue took a lot of time this week but it was so worth it to find the problems are small and treatable instead of large and deadly.  There is a little exhaustion and a lot of relief in our house tonight.  A dinner out at Red Lobster was celebratory.

Tomorrow is the time to catch up on housework, gardening and grocery shopping. Well, I was able to fit in a few minutes of shopping - vintage shopping and magazine shopping but I'll post about that later.  Take care and have a good night.


May 21, 2012

Happy Victoria Day...

...or as it's commonly known in Canada, the May 2-4 weekend.  This is traditionally the weekend to open the cottage, take your first camping trip or start planting your garden.  I fall into the last category and have been working on the garden sporadically all month.  There's a lot to do after all the neglect it suffered last year but the lilacs are in bloom...

I can smell their sweet scent as I'm writing this.  I wish I had scratch and sniff for you.

I took my coffee and my camera for a stroll through the garden this morning (and yes, I was still in my PJs).  I think the neighbours are used to it.  My Japanese tree peony opened its buds into full flower this morning.

They are stunningly beautiful.  No photo editing here - just a border added.

My Star of Bethlehem opened today too.  So gorgeous but it flowers for such a short time...

I love scent in the garden but find so many plants have the scent bred out of them now.  I purchased a couple of highly scented roses for the garden that I will plant later when it's a little cooler.  Roses have not been a plant that I have much luck with but maybe this time will be different.  A couple of days ago, I was sitting in my willow chair on the front porch waiting for my sister to arrive while I enjoyed the view.  The scent from the lily of the valley was just intoxicating.

The cats are really enjoying the garden too.  Every time I go out, there is a pathetic little face pressed against the screen door.  This is the only time you can get Finn to stay still when he is awake.  Usually my pictures of him look like this...

Lucy just follows his lead but mostly spends her time lying in the shade...

Happy Monday,


May 12, 2012


I was just reading Annie's blog Knitsofacto with her post about the blogging world and how different bloggers approach it.  Are you a blogger who lives in Utopia on the world wide web?  Does your blog reflect your real life or the kind of world you wished you lived in?  Are the pictures perfect with a curated air?

I'm not judging.  I love the beautiful soft-toned pastel perfect blogs that make me feel warm inside.  I like the cheery, colourful country blogs that make me feel like I'm having a chat with a friend.

Laura Ashley

Unfortunately that isn't me.  I share myself, warts and all...I probably share too much but I've never been shy or circumspect.  When I started blogging, I was terribly naive.  I had friends requesting recipes for things I had made and I had given my nieces and nephews a photocopied homemade cookbook.  I wanted to keep that updated and provide more pictures for people who were requesting more detail in my recipe instructions so I thought a blog would be the perfect answer.  After a little internet research, I set up...

I took a lot of pictures and limited the writing to the recipes.  I didn't introduce myself through this blog because I expected everyone who read it would know me personally.  It never occurred to me that anyone else would ever want to read it.  After a few months, I discovered you could check your stats and found that there were people all over the world reading my blog.  What the....????

I had also started a blog about decorating my house

After starting to read many other blogs and discovering a whole new world out there in blogland (at a point in my life when I really, really needed that connection), my own blog morphed into more of a personal blog/diary.  It's far from perfect but it is real and I appreciate every one who reads it and especially when you comment or contact me.  I have enjoyed every minute of shared friendship, ideas, laughter and tears that your blogs provide.  I'm missing the comraderie I had with people at work but I'm finding the same connection with bloggers out there and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Don't stop writing and I won't stop reading!


May 11, 2012

Garden Update and a Sneak Peek...

Another beautiful sunny day and I spent most of it in the garden.  I got a couple more gardens weeded...

Looks like my Japanese tree peony will be nice this year

I started the veggie garden today - some tomatoes and herbs...

The lettuce in my cold frame is ready to eat!

And now a sneak peek...what does this look like to you?  Some people think it looks like junk...but one man's junk is another's treasure...this beautiful (and almost free) treasure will be my new headboard and potting bench.  I'll show you the steps from junk to treasure as I go.


May 09, 2012

Garden Glimpses

I've been spending time in the garden lately and neglecting everything else so the next few days will be spent doing housework and updating my blogs so you'll know what I'm up to...

Here's a cute vase that I picked up at Vinnie's a few weeks ago...


Sarah Richardson and House and Home magazine

I wanted to share the design gallery that House and Home magazine has on their website.  It features rooms designed by my favourite designer, Sarah Richardson that have been featured in the magazine over the years.  Thanks to Tommy Smythe for Facebooking me the link...

One of my favs


May 06, 2012

Sunny Saturday in Southern Ontario

It was a beautiful sunny day in southern Ontario with a light breeze.  Perfect weather for working in the garden which I wanted to do as soon as I woke up.

But there was necessary shopping to do today first. My coffeemaker bought the farm as they say and I cannot start my day without coffee.  There was much discussion of the merits of various coffeemakers.  We were replacing a Tim Hortons one and I had decided to try something new.  I didn't want one of the cheapie $30 ones - I've already done that.  Various friends were consulted on the single serve "cup" models that I see many bloggers touting.  I decided we drank too much coffee and often are trying to serve coffee to 8 or more people at a time to go that route.  We decided on the Kitchenaid coffeemaker because A) I have many Kitchenaid small appliances and have always been happy with the quality and B) it was on sale at Canadian Tire this week.  I'll be trying it out tomorrow.

The day was not wasted however as I did get out in the garden for most of the afternoon.  I got some more weeding done, hung up 2 bird houses, rescued one cat from the gingko tree and started my container planting.

A great vintage wheel barrow I bought.  I was planning on planting directly into it but decided I didn't want to put drainage holes in it and it is too shallow to add enough gravel to the bottom to properly drain.  This way I can move containers around however and whenever I like.

And if you haven't already guessed, I played around with some photo editing today.  I am a total neophyte when it comes to photography and was always intimidated by photo editing but I listened to my blogger friend, Claudia and expanded my horizons.

My magnolia was a little burned by frost but it still looks pretty good...

And the grape hyacinth is out in full bloom...

One of my favourite flowers; the official flower of Ontario, the trillium is in full bloom in the woodland corner of my garden...

This fall I want to plant scads of tulips.  Right now I have only a few stragglers in the garden...

I hope you enjoyed the picture show and I hope I'm not too sore to work outside again tomorrow...good night.


May 01, 2012

A Little French Flair

I went shopping at Homesense yesterday for new bedroom pillows.  Unfortunately I can never get out of that store with just the things on my list.  I did get lovely new pillows but I didn't take a picture of them (pretty boring and utilitarian).

I did take a picture of the new lampshades I bought for the living room.  They had ones that were burlap with French calligraphy on them but I decided they would be a bit busy.  I ended up buying ones that were pleated burlap with covered buttons...

button detail
They are much plainer than the burgundy ones I replaced...

This may seem counter-productive when my goal in this room is to tweak a few things and bring more colour to the room.  But I want to add some  homespun charm to this room with colourful cushions and drapes, maybe a quilt or two, a new light fixture and by painting some furniture white and distressing it.  I think these new lamp shades will be perfect.  I'll have to donate the old ones.

These weren't the only things I bought - I got a new set of Cynthia Rowley towels in Apricot for the bathroom - bringing a splash of spring colour into it as well.  I will post a picture after I hang my spring/summer shower curtain (yes - I change them seasonally although some people thing that's crazy!).

Then I got to the checkout and found they had bags for $1.49 - I HAD to have one.  Now I can carry a little French flair around with me when I'm shopping...
Lucy is inside trying to entice Finn to play.....