May 31, 2014

One of my Favs: Muddy Boot Dreams

The thing that first drew me to Muddy Boot Dreams was the name of the blog.  What a great visual it gave me.  Living in the country, enjoying all the seasons, gardens, flowers, animals...all those lovely romantic visions that I associate with dreaming of a country life.  That's what the title meant to me and I found all that and more.

Oh the is simply breathtaking and I am so impressed and so jealous.  This is something I would like to be good at but I know that I'll never measure up to Jen.  It would be totally worth spending time on Jen's blog if all you ever did was look at the pictures but take the time to read her prose.  She is intelligent, insightful, funny and entertaining all at once.

She has the cutest cat Bootsie (although Boo may not like being called cute).

I'm a sucker for a gorgeous cat and Boo has that claim to fame.  I'm sure we can all agree with that.

Jen's garden is beautiful too and I aspire to have one this pretty.  Just look!

Jen is Canadian as well but lives in British Columbia.  This is an area of the country that I'm not familiar with so I love reading about the differences and the similarities.  She makes winter look like a place you want to be and I'm not a big snow bunny,

See what I mean???  Zip on over and pay Jen a visit and you'll be glad to meet another denizen of our blog "village".


May 27, 2014

Working in the Garden and My First Strawberry

The last few days have been fine in the Peterborough area and I have been working in the garden.  I'm half done the veg garden so no pictures yet.  As for the rest of my time, well I've been waging war with gout weed that has taken over my back gardens.  Right now I'm working on the left side and the violets and the gout weed take a long of time to decimate.  With my arthritis, it is a slow slog.

So instead, I'm going to show you some pretty pictures from the Greenhouse on the River.

I love the greenhouse in the spring...the smell and the humid warmth and the green lushness.
I always wanted a little one of my own.

I bought a cute little strawberry plant to hang by my sunroom.  Hoping to get to the strawberries before the birds do but I won't begrudge them a bite.

See that bright red was delicious!

Happy Tuesday!


May 25, 2014

One of my Favs : Mockingbird Hill Cottage

I am going to start a new feature on my blog on Sundays called One of my Favs and I'm going to introduce you to bloggers I follow and why I love them so.

We are starting with the lovely Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage.

She lives in the sweetest little cottage...

with her lovely and talented husband, Don...

and their beautiful girl, Scout

Claudia's blog is a slice of life blog and they are always the ones I enjoy the most.  We've been talking about the naked niche lately and Mockingbird Hill Cottage fits that to a tee.  While there are some topics that recur (like her wonderful posts about renovating and decorating a dollhouse), Claudia gives you a new glimpse into her life every day.  It isn't long before you feel like her BFF.  She has such a warm and welcoming way about her that you feel like she's just ushered you in for a hot chocolate or cold lemonade, depending on the season.  You have a cuddle with Scout and hear about the garden and her latest job and what lovely piece she has picked up for one of her collections.  You look over the book she's reading and the quilt she's working on and if Don isn't away on an acting job, he may wander in with his guitar to sing you a song he wrote.

This is a house and a blog full of love and creativity and it's become an essential part of every morning for me.  If you haven't met Claudia yet, wander on over and feel the love.



May 24, 2014

The Garden is Beckoning

When I got up this morning and sat in the sunroom with my coffee, the view of the garden filled my heart with joy.

Everything is so lush and green!

And there's a lot of work to do but I'm inspired!

Looks like the garden fairy has left the building and the door open!  Unless it was a squirrel..


May 18, 2014

House Concert

Have you ever heard about a house concert?

I hadn't until my niece Ally went to one.  It sounded phenomenal; absolutely an evening I would love.

It is an old tradition that is breathing new life into the music scene.  In past centuries, music was played in people's houses or salons.  Prior to recorded music, most people only heard music played in someone's home and often a member of the family played an instrument.  It was only during the time of Beethoven that halls were specifically built for musical performances.

We probably all have had the experience of listening to high school rock band (or punk, am I dating myself here?) playing in someone's basement or going to a kitchen party if you're Irish.  Here's one on Youtube...

House concerts are held by people who love live music and are willing to use a space in their home for musical performances.  These are professional musicians often playing their own compositions acoustically in a very intimate setting.  Mostly these events are not advertised, except by word of mouth, underground e-mail list kind of thing.  If you ever get the chance, I urge you to go!  There is usually some kind of a "donation" system that pays the artists.  

On Friday night, I attended a concert that was a potluck, BYOB event.  The hosts, Rob and Annie had their living room transformed into a music hall with a stage, sound system, lighting and stadium seating.  I kid you not.  There was a lot of carpentry work that went on so everyone got an amazing view.  The food was fabulous and the artists were amazing.  It is so cool to get to know the singer/songwriter and to hear the stories about writing every song.  I didn't take pictures as I was a first time guest (a music hall virgin, I was told) and didn't want to be rude.  I definitely wanted to be invited back!

Going to something like this, out of my comfort zone and spending time with people I have never met before was a great experience.  Even though it may seem small, to me it was an adventure.  Everyone was friendly, the hosts were so welcoming, their house is gorgeous and the musicians were great.  I walked out of there like I was lifted up by clouds of pure joy.  Listening to music, stripped down to the essentials was absolutely the best.

Faye Blais

JD Edwards

Rob films the concert and posts some videos on Youtube.  Ones from the concert I attended aren't done yet but I've added a couple of links here so you can get an idea.  I'll add ones of Faye and Trish and JD when they are on-line.  Enjoy....(highlight link and right click and choose go to)

Videos of Faye


May 17, 2014

Naked Niche

I've been in a quandry about my I?  don't I? should I? shouldn't?

Talking to Jen from Muddy Boot Dreams and reading her post about Naked Niches brought me a lot of clarity.  You really need to stop now and go read this post, otherwise you won't really get what I'm talking about.  Jen was so eloquent that I'm not even going to attempt my own explanation.

Naked Niches,  I like that.  I'm a Naked Niche blogger and I want to continue to be; only more so.  (See I told you to read Jen's post.  Now you're worried I'm going to start posting indecent pictures of myself.  Trust me, no on wants that.  Get back up there and click that link!)

Taken with my laptop - I hate having my picture taken!

When trying to decide if I was going to blow this whole blogging gig, I was asking myself all the wrong questions.  Am I wasting my time?  Is anybody out there reading this?  Are my posts at all interesting?

Instead, I needed to go back to basics; strip it down so to speak...and ask Why do I blog? and What's in it for me?

I sorta fell into blogging backwards.  A few years ago, I heard about blogging on TV.  I read a couple of newspaper articles.  I, somehow, found my way to Miss Mustardseed and Cozy Little House and Chris Kauffman.

At the same time, I was teleworking and set up a monthly dinner party with some girls from work.  I thought it would be good for me to stay in touch so I wouldn't begin to feel isolated (and I could catch upon all the gossip!).

I had also made up a little binder for my nieces and nephews with my favourite recipes as they were starting to fly the nest.  All this led to me setting up a blog, Dinner at Julie's in order to share my recipes with family and friends.  I never considered anyone else finding it or bothering to read it.  This blog followed to share home decorating projects and just kind of morphed into a my every day life blog.

I'm definitely not a Firstie, I don't have a big following, no advertising and don't feel compelled to post every day.  I really don't want any of that to change but I do need some changes.

I want to combine my 2 blogs under Julie's Little House. One blog is more manageable.  I want to be more naked.  I am definitely a TMI kind of person and have felt myself constrained by this medium but I'm saying to heck with it.  I am going to share more me, warts and all.  Because really, I blog for me.  Kind of like having a diary but everyone knows where the key is hidden.

When I stop and ask myself what makes me follow my favourite blogs, it is their authenticity.  It is the sharing of their lives, the feeling of becoming friends when you have never met them.  So I'm going to start sharing some of my favourite blogs with you too.  It's how I met them in the first place....getting introduced through other blogs; reading a comment and going to their site because I liked what they had to say.

I like the thought of forming a network of Naked Niche bloggers, supporting each other, introducing one to takes a village.  I've always wanted to live in a small country village where you know everyone and neighbours take care of each other.  Let's be that village...


May 04, 2014

Amazing Graze Alpacas

I went on a lovely road trip with my friends, Linda and Cindi last Wednesday.  I came down with a cold when I got home so haven't had time to post any pictures.  Now, I'm feeling better but my poor mother, Helen got a much worse dose of it.   She's still under the weather but getting a little better.

The first stop we made was just outside of Stirling, Ontario at Amazing Graze Alpacas where we received a warm welcome from Marj, even in the pouring rain.  She was even willing to take us out to the paddocks so we could visit the alpacas. We loved it!

Her basement is like Aladdin's cave with jewelled skeins of alpaca...

It is so soft...all I've done so far is pet my wool.

This is the great stash of wool I got at Amazing Graze.

In the bag is "roving" because I want to learn how to make those wonderful Newfoundland mittens.

If you are in southern Ontario and you're a knitter, make sure to give Marj a call to plan a visit.  If you can't make it in person, check out her website....I'm sure you won't be able to resist.