Saturday, October 31, 2015

Celebrating Hallowe'en (Sort Of)

Today is October 31st -  Hallowe'en.
This holiday is VERY BIG here in North America.  Apparently it is second only to Christmas in terms of decorating, consumerism and being people's "favourite holiday." 
Is it it my favourite?  No way.  In fact I've never really liked it, even as a child.  I can't get excited about skeletons and witches, or jack'o'lanterns and costumes.  My husband says it's because it's not "pretty enough."  Maybe.  I'm not really an orange girl, though I adore the colours of autumn in general. 
However, having kids has made me embrace the spooky season a bit more.  So the other night we headed out for a family walk to look at people's holiday decorations. I convince dthe flock that we needed to walk through the conservation area first to enjoy the leaves, then we'd hit the streets in search of jack'o'lanterns. 

Leaves -- check!
Now into the neighbourhood.
Alas, I  think we picked the wrong streets.
We found lots of gorgeous homes, primped up for autumn, but very few with any sign of Hallowe'en fun.
Secretly, I didn't mind!
Love this blue door and the stonework path and steps.

These stone lintels are luxuriously curvy.  And those geraniums are still going strong!

Number 105 has a front door with just the right number of curly-cues!
I'd love to have a seat on this rocker and watch the world go by!

Oh look! What is this I spy?  It's a jack'o'lantern snowman!!

I am glad we found SOMETHING spooky on our walk!
Have I done any Hallowe'en decorating around our home?  Of course.  I couldn't let the kids down!!
A wreath on our front door:

A witchy-pumpkin on the front steps:

Some spooks peeping out of the pot of mums:

And some spooky elements were added onto the mantel in the kitchen:
And yes - I even "dressed-up!"
Yesterday we had the opportunity to wear costumes at the school where I teach (and the kids' school too!)  My daughter and I both went as black cats.  ( See - I can get into the spirit!)

Although the kids won't be dressing up and going "trick-or-treating" tonight (we have very fun alternative plans this year!), we plan on filling our day with some skeleton cookie decorating and a few Halloween movies (Ghostbusters!).

What are your plans for Halloween?  I'd love to hear about them!

Wishing you the spookiest of days!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

So Many Projects, So Little Time!

Autumn is the perfect time for making, crafting and creating!  
As the evenings grow darker earlier, I have been getting in my dog walk right after supper,  homework time with the  kids then the evening is MINE!
What have I been making?  A variety of things as usual.  I like to several projects on the go so that I don't get tired of anything!

Project One:  Circle Quilt
One of the women I work with is due to have twin boys right after Christmas.  I've decided to make a quilt for one boy and a crocheted blanket for the other.  I am going to use the same colours for both so that there is a matching scheme between them.  
I started with two charm packs of fabric. I sewed four squares into a bigger square, pressed them carefully  and cut them into a circle. 
I'll start applying the circles to the cream backing fabric this weekend, I think.  

 Project Two:  Christmas Star Quilt
I've shown you this before.  I now have 13 of the 20 paper-pieced stars completed.  I bought some new festive fabric  this past weekend and I can't wait to cut out a few more stars.  Hopefully I'll be able to start sewing the stars onto the snowflake-printed background fabric soon!

Project Three:  Spice of Life Crochet-Along Blanket
I am almost done this one!  I'd say I am 3/4 of the way through the main part of the blanket and then I'll get started on the edging.  Oh yes.  And then I'll have to sew in the ends.  Yuck.  I guess is should have sew them in as I went along like I did at the beginning. No sense regretting it now.  Moving on.  

Project Four:  Home Sweet Home Embroidery
I just started this one on the weekend.  I LOVE it! The design, the colours, the stitching and the sentiment make me tremble with excitement! I traced the pattern onto the fabric "old-school" (using a window, tape and a pencil) and got stitching right away.  I am done all the embroidery already, and now need to apply some felt lettering and some holly leaves.  Tune in soon for the finished product!
Project Five:  Memories of Italy Cross Stitch - COMPLETE!!
I am so glad that I can post that I actually finished one of my many projects.  This cross-stitch captures many Italian sights that we viewed on our recent trip to Italy.  Do you see the Colosseum?  The Duomo in Florence?  The tower in St.Mark's Square?  A gondola? The Ponte Rialto? And the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Now to get this framed and hung along side my cross-stitch pictures of Paris and London.  

What  have you been working on?  Do you have a handful of projects on the go, too?  Have you started any festive-themed projects? Maybe a gift or two?
I'd love to hear what YOU'VE been up to! 
Enjoy the rest of your week. 
Hallowe'en is just 4 sleeps away!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

8 Photos of Happiness Tag

 Earlier this month I was tagged by the lovely Gem from Gem's Country Life Dream blog to join in with the "8 Photos of Happiness Tag." The tag was created by Ariel from Ariel's Little Corner of the Internet and is slowly making its way around blogland. 

After enjoying Gem's 8 photos, I was encouraged to find 8 photos of my own that bring me happiness whenever I look at them. 

How does this little game work? 


♥ Thank your nominator/s and link them in your post.
♥ Link the creator (Ariel’s little corner of the internet) 
♥ Post your 8 photos of happiness; the photos can be anything that represents a moment, object, place or feeling that makes you happy.
♥ Pop in a brief description of the photo, why you chose it or let the photos do the talking 
♥ Spread the happiness and tag up to ten other bloggers!

It took a long time for me to sift through the thousands of photos I have saved on my computer, but I managed to narrow it down to just 8.   The photos are quite random and in no particular order, but each holds very special memories for me.  

Our Wedding Day - May 18th, 2002
It was cold and blustery (in fact it snowed!) but we didn't let the weather dampen the joy and excitement of our special day. And you know, what?  I'd marry him all over again!!

Summer of 2009 - Boys Having Fun!
This is my oldest son, Bryn, and my father enjoying a loud and crazy water gun fight at my parents' home.  They both look like they are having a wonderful time - enjoying each others' company and the much needed "cool-off" a water gun can bring. 

July 2014 - Eiffel Tower Dreams
Kevin and I had always hoped to be able to take our children on international vacations in order to introduce them to other cultures, languages and lifestyles.  By 2014, we knew the kids were old enough to journey across the ocean and we spent 3 weeks in France, visiting Paris and living in Normandy in a 17th century farmhouse. 

July 2013- Family of Five
We had these family portraits done in celebration of Kevin's parents' 40th wedding anniversary.  One of my dear friends, Kari, shot these marvellous pictures and every time I see them my heart leaps with joy at the faces in our  little family.  #proudmama

August 2012 - Just Me and Him
Kevin and I don't get to do much just the two of us.  In fact, we rarely do. This trip to the UK in 2012 was the first time we felt comfortable leaving our three young kids for several days. Though we missed the children, this trip reminded Kevin and I  that we adore each other and our time together is precious. We've since been to Italy without the kids, too, and we have a new-found love of pubs and fancy, adult-only restaurants! 

February 2011 - Coming Through with Flying Colours
This is our oldest son, Bryn, 48 hours after having a fist-sized tumour removed from his brain.  We had just coaxed him down the hall on the hardest walk of his life and he had returned to his room, plopped himself back into a chair,  smiled and asked for a  "rest."  Take as long as you need, Little Buddy. 

October 2010 - The Pearson Family
Mom, Dad, my sisters Meghan and Stephanie, and I - enjoying a snuggle on a sunny autumn day.
My young father (62) had recently received 2 terrible diagnosis - Frontal Temporal Dementia and  ALS.  One would rob him of his mental capabilities, the other of his body's.  He could live anywhere from 3 to 25 years, but it wouldn't be pretty.  In fact, he lasted only 7 months after these pictures were taken.  Happily, he passed away gently with the same group of "girls" surrounding  him. 

Christmas 2014 - Every Year
Here is just one of our traditional "Christmas-Eve-in-new-pajamas-in-front-of-the tree" pictures. 
I ADORE the festive season and it has only become better with our three kids involved.  I'm already looking forward to Christmas 2015!!

Whew! 8 photos that stir a lot of memories in me.  Some joyous, some sad, but little moments in my life, none-the-less.  

Now who should I tag? Who else would have 8 memorable photos to share?

Do you ladies want to join in??

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

 Not long until Hallowe'en!



Friday, October 23, 2015

Five On Friday - A Day Out in Elora, Ontario

This past weekend we spent a lovely day out in the nearby  town of Elora, Ontario.    The trees were full of autumn colour and the air had a crisp coolness to it.  I was glad I had dressed the kids in mitts and hats as they found out quickly that autumn had truly arrived and there was no warmth left in the breeze.  
Elora is only about an hour from our hometown, but I am ashamed to say we had never been.  It is famous for its glacial gorge cut into the rock millions of years ago and features a beautiful conservation area and a cute little town nearby.  
We planned to spend time in all three areas.  

First of fall, we checked out part of the gorge by entering Victoria Park.  Look that blue sky and those orange leaves!

Down at the water level we took in the sound of the babbling river and watched the colourful leaves float by on the current.

In the distance we could see one of several bridges that link either side of the gorge.   Can you see the art class standing on the bridge sketching the view?

After lots of fresh air and lots of stair-climbing down into the gorge and back up again, we were ready to head back into town to check out the shops and restaurants.  While my daughter and I headed in and out of a variety of antique and gift shops, the boys found lots of nooks and crannies to keep themselves busy. 

Before heading home, we went into a cute little creperie that had been recommended by my husband's parents.  It wasn't a fancy place, but we were told that the food was well worth the drive.
And they were right. 
The crepes were devine!
We watched Jacques, the owner and head crepe-maker, pour and spread the batter onto the hot crepe griddle.  Then he filled each pancake lovingly with all of the fillings we requested.
Absolutely amazing.  In fact, my youngest loved the experience so much that he has requested we have his birthday party there in December! 

We've already made plans to visit Elora again as the festive season approaches.  We'd love to see the historic streets done up for the holidays.
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!   We have plans to visit a pumpkin patch and get some Hallowe'en decorating done. 
More photos to share next week?  You bet!!
Sharing with Amy's Five on Friday link up party.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What I Wore Wednesday

Variety is the spice of life, isn't that what they say?
I read a ton of different blogs each day, all of them falling into their own category - lifestyle, travel, baking, crafting, teaching and decorating.
I also enjoy read a handful of good "fashion" blogs.  Not high-fashion ones, but rather ones with real looking women who have "real" fashion budgets. 
I have always enjoyed Lindsey's "What I Wore Wednesday" link-up parties that she hosts every week over at The Pleated Poppy.
Here I see a large number of women of all shapes and sizes share photos of themselves dressed their best - whether it be for their role as stay-at-home moms, or as working career women. 
As someone who has always had an interest in dressing well and looking good, I thought I'd join in this week.  As someone who doesn't like getting her picture taken, this has been quite a journey already!
I got to know how to use my self-timer on my camera and spent a few minutes each day capturing my outfit of the day, my figure and my smile. 
Yikes.  This turned out to be quite scary, but already I feel better with photos of myself and I am pleased with the outfits I put together. 
So... now onto the  clothes:
Day One:  Leopard and Red Rose

Day Two:  Denim Shirt and Pattern Mixing

Day Three  Silvery Sweater and Trendy Plaid
Day Four:    Girly Plaid and a Puffy Vest

Day Five: Red, Ruffly and Military Inspired

Day Six:   Merlot Roses, Navy and Pearls

Whew.  I can't believe I just did that. 
 There I am in all my curvy glory.
And I am learning to be okay with that. 
Will I do it all again this coming week...I am certainly going to try!
Thanks for joining me on my temporary sojourn into fashion modeling.  I hope it was easier for you than it was for me!!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Italy 2015 : Dinner in the Tuscan Hills

One of the evenings out on our recent trip to Italy was a wonderful dinner in the Tuscan hills above Florence.
We drove nearly an hour out of the city, through farmland and vineyards, viewing homes and villas on nearly every picturesque hilltop.  The roads twisted this way and that and we were thankful for a confident driver!

Throughout the ride, we viewed every kind of tree imaginable including olive trees, almond trees, lemon trees and pine trees. 

And what was our final destination in the Tuscan hills?

We were greeted with a glass of bubbly, blue bubbly to be exact. It turned out to be a refreshing mix of Prosecco and Blue Curacao - the perfect thing to sip on a humid Italian evening. 

(Kevin is holding my drink so I could snap some pictures!)

This is one of only a handful of pictures of us together on our 10 day trip.  I really must get better at asking others to take  pictures of us!

The grounds of this restaurant were not extensive, but the setting was magical.  There was an old converted farmhouse used as the main indoor restaurant seating area and the kitchens, and surrounding it was a gorgeous garden filled with flowering trees, statues and benches for sitting and taking in the views.

Libero,  the owner, vintner and restaurant manager, greeted us  before we were seated for dinner.  He explained the history of the farm, the vineyard and the restaurant (which he runs with his 2 sons) and of course, where we could buy any of his wines in the area!

After our blue bubblies were gone, we moved into the outdoor dining area and found our seats under the awning. 
Of course, we poured ourselves a glass of crisp, white wine before heading over to the buffet where we could help ourselves to a huge spread of antipasto. 
Doesn't  this look amazing?   I'll admit I went back for two helpings!

Once my second antipasti plate was done, I allowed my tummy time to rest before we were served the "Secondi", or second course, of two kids of pasta.  My husband, who is a gluten-free eater, was pleased to see that he was going to receive a plate of GF noodles, too, instead of missing out on the course. 

While we ate (and drank!) we were entertained by a guitarist and a singer who performed traditional Italian songs, opera arias and well-known pop-songs from the mid-century.  They were quite funny and very talented!

 As the evening continued we enjoyed pork, chicken and beef, fresh from the grill and a wonderful dessert of strawberries, cake and cream.  (No pictures of these - we ate them too fast!)

And of course, the wine kept flowing.  No one had to drive back, and our trip was coming to  an end.  What better reason to celebrate a little more "energetically" on this beautiful night in the Tuscan Hills. 

Such wonderful memories.  My husband lists this evening as his favourite experience of our whole 10 day trip.  I think I may agree with him.  Great food, great drink and a wonderful location.  What else could you want?