2020 Wow!

Happy New year everyone! Are you like me and can’t believe its 2020 !! So much has happened in my life and in the world in the first two decades of this century ! Time is flying way too fast for me ! No resolutions here as I never follow through so just making the intention to continue following my heart ,doing what I love and spending time with friends and family!

My 6 year old Grandaughter Clara is crazy about sewing ! I taught her to hand sew last year, now we are learning the sewing machine . She started a charm quilt for her new doll! Together we will come up with lots of new projects for her this year !

My Grandaughter Mabel ,8 is very artistic and is coming over with her sister Edith and Clara for a paint pouring workshop with me tomorrow ! It’s so nice when their interests mesh with mine so I get the pleasure of teaching these amazing little minds !

I’ll post pics of their work next time !

Christmas was busy with family but so much fun ! Lots of colds going around ,me before the holidays and my Hubby after Christmas!

We had a green Christmas here in South Western Ontario, but New years was white with a few inches of snow ! Unfortunately a warm front is heading in so won’t be white much longer….ah well January and February can brings lots of snow so be careful what you wish for Jaye !!

New Years Eve was quiet, I babysat for my Daughter and hubby went to bed ! Oh well he’s on the mend now and in a few days all will be back to normal!

As always I can’t stand the Christmas decor after New Years so yesterday it all came tumbling down and put away !

a little “winter” decor

I just love my little snowy tree so decided to leave him up for a bit !

a vintage vignette

I took this antique mirror out of my front hall and couldn’t figure out where to put it …it is dear to me as it was given to me by my late Mother in law. It was her Dads shaving mirror!

I decided to lean it here till I figure out a more permanent home but I really like the layering and the beveled edge catches the light and sparkles!

Doesn’t it feel like your home just takes a deep breath and sighs when the heavy decor comes down and spaces open up ? Or maybe that was just me !!πŸ€”πŸ˜

This is also the time of year many of us get the urge to purge !! Quite a few of the bloggers I follow are getting ready to clear out their “stuff” and reorganize ! I do this 2 or 3 times a year as my tiny cottage just can’t accommodate too much stuff!

Last year I purged a bit too much and have regretted a few of the books I parted with but they are gone and that’s that ! My clothes need a small clean out …I’ve kept a few things that I haven’t worn in years so as much as I like them they are getting the old heave ho !! I’m thinking a clothing swap with friends would be a neat way of cleaning up , might just try that!

my new Christmas mug !

Well my bread machine is going to beep at me any minute so I shall sign off for now !

I hope your holidays were all you had hoped for and that 2020 is an amazing year for all of you !

Cheers , Jaye!!

Printed one of my paintings for my Christmas card this year !

Christmas Wishes

My door is decked out !

Ah Christmas time …my favorite time of the year ! Sounds like a song ,no? πŸ˜‰

I must say this year I’m well organized and very relaxed for a change ! Why??Β  Well I have my shopping done and wrapped, house decorated, Christmas dinner plans are off my plate, except for taking mashed potatoes and squash to my daughters home and baking is planned but not started as I need it to last ! Too easy to see a freezer full of goodies and to sneak a few out at a time ! Hubby and IΒ  both have a sweet tooth !!

As for decorating I tend to make do with what I have collected over the years and add lots of natural boughs and cones ….my little frosty tree is new this year and my mercury glass garland….oh how I love mercury glass!

One of my many little gnomes!!
Little snowy tree in a vintage pudding bowl!

I love to use bottle brush trees…they come in all colours and sizes of course but my little ones make great miniature scenes. I use pickling salt as my fake snow…eco friendly and after the holidays I combine it with baking soda and put it down my drains with a chaser of vinegar! Cleans all the guck out ! You can also use epsom salts and reuse in your bath !

Our tree is a faux one …as it’s nice and narrow and easily put up( prelit too!) It will be the last one we buy until we dispense with putting up a tree altogether! Then it will be donated .

All is Calm….πŸŽ„

Our bedrooms got some festive decor as well….I found some replicas of Christmas patents a couple of years ago ,printed them on card stock and popped them on top of the botanical prints above our bed !

The guest room has a painting done by my late father back in the late 60’s and a cloche with another tiny scene!

Twinkle lights and greenery in the kitchen !

Gift giving can be a stressful part of the holidays for everyone ! What to buy ,how much is it all going to cost what if the reciever doesn’t like it ….etc. etc.!

Our family decided a few years ago to choose names so we all only have to buy one gift . We set a limit of $75…however because we all like to buy for the Grands, we all do ! I also like to get each of my kids and in law kids a little something so I do !

Come up with a budget, make lists and try to stick to both !

I do buy certain gifts ,usually something that I know the person needs or enjoys, but most of my gifts are made ,either by me or another artisan.

I love to support local artisans and businesses,and if I’m really not sure what to buy consumables are the best option! Things that get eaten or used up ! This year I made many of my gifts both to save money and because I enjoy creating ! The 5 Grandchildren will each receive a painting I did ,the girls another hand made gift and the boys an outfit each as they are growing like weeds at 14 months and almost 2!

One of my Bee series

As you know my blog is about living “green” and one of the things I love to do is making my own beauty products .

Last year all the ladies in my life recieved homemade lip balm,this year its bath salts ! So easy to do, here’s the recipe!

If possible buy the salts at a bulk store and fill your own containers !

Lemon Lavender Bath SaltsπŸ‹

2 cups epsom salt , 1cup Pink Himalayan salt (fine) , 1/4 cup baking soda,

Mix well in a mixing bowl ,then add any combination of essential oils that you like .

These are 2 of my favorites: 20 drops lavender, 10to15 drops lemongrass essential oil

Or jasmine and yang ylang,

Lemon and orange with a bit of peppermint is uplifting ,good for a morning soak!

Just 1/4 cup in a warm bath is all you need,!

Bath salts

Mix very well so oils get evenly distributed fill small Mason jars or snap lid jars,and a pretty bow and tag and your ready to gift! I always write on the tag exactly what the ingredients are in the product as you never know if someone is sensitive to one of the ingredients.

Essential oils all have their own benefits , just depends what you like or need.

Ready to gift!

What are the benefits of a salt bath?

Epsom salts have been used for ages for relaxing muscles and easing soreness….they are made up of magnesium and sulfate. It helps to reduce stress and the magnesium is absorbed by your skin and helps with sleep and stimulates detoxification .

The Pink Himalayan salt does that as well it stimulates circulation and deeply cleanses the skin .

Some oils can irritate the skin although I have not had an issue with lavender or lemon. If you are concerned about that with the oil your using, mix the essential oils with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond or avocado oil before adding to the salt mixture .

I’m planning to experiment with a few other products and will let you know how it goes !!

Β  Do you send cards this time of year ? I do mainly because so many family and friends are far away…

I’ve been painting cards in watercolour for a few years and love creating something new each year . Usually my kids or close friends are the ones that get an original one of a kind card but this year I did one that I was extremely happy with so had it printed onto cards.

So now everyone can have a little piece of me !

A few special ones,watercolour and ink on 300 pound paper
My first printed card !

I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season filled with joy and love ! Find time to rest and reflect . Whether you are with family or friends, appreciate the little moments that we are all blessed with! A child’s excitement, a hug, a snowflake caught on your lashes…..

Life is what we make it and blessings are everywhere!

Love and hugs ! Jaye

November musings….

Hi everyone! Hope you are well in your little corner of the world ! I am well albeit a little down now winter has a hold of Ontario…and to be honest I have a hard time with November! Why you ask? Is it the darker days,christmas shopping hanging over my head ? All of that I guess but mostly it’s the month that my Mom and Dad passed over as well as my beloved pooch Tika who I talked about in one of my first posts. My Dad served in WW2, so remembrance day makes me think of him and the unspeakable trials he and countless others endured…So it’s kind of a melancholy month .

BUT….I’m good and busy so all is well. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge the sadness and let it go …I’m a very positive person most of the time so it’s pretty easy to focus on the good in my life ! I read an article the other day ,written by an elderly women about aging …it was really thought provoking so thought I would share my thoughts on the subject…

What does aging mean to me ….first I still feel youngish …lol…and I try to stay active and eat well. I take 3 yoga classes a week with a couple of different teachers,walk and alot, well now I’ve found a kindred spirit at my Bookclub who is also an earlybird and loves to fast walk so we are getting out for 4to6 kilometer walks more often and my old walking partner and I get out once or twice a week.

In order to age well we need to keep fit ! I can do a balance pose in yoga no problem and power walk for an hour or more with no pain. Falling is a huge issue for the elderly but if we keep our backs ,abs and glutes strong and maintain good balance we can prevent alot of falls and broken bones !

Eating a clean diet of few processed foods , scratch cooking and limiting alcohol and of course no smoking keeps our insides going strong !

Autumn walk

As for the mental aspects, I have always felt very blessed and happy about getting older , so many people aren’t given the opportunity. My sister passed at 37, too young for sure but I also believe in life after death and soul purpose so I know she is with me always .

My Mom always told my sister and brother and I to not tell anyone her age …she said people judge you by your age . I was confused by this as a child because it sounded so negative and of course I thought she was so wise and beautiful!

Fast forward a few decades and I will proudly tell anyone who asks how old I am ,😁 64 years young! My Granchildren think I’m ancient which to them I am but my 6 year old Grandaughter said last night that Nana knows everything ! Lol…so there is that ,we have lived, learned and sometimes the lessons have been tough, but most important for me is I’ve learned to let alot of stuff go!

Yes I get upset or angry at people but I have a rant and then move on . I’ve learned to not hold grudges…honestly they just weigh you down and make you bitter! We live in a country built on immigration and all those people from so many different parts of our planet arrive with their customs, foods and ideas that make Canada a very diverse and rich country . My parents lived in Richmond BC for 35 years ,that’s on Canadas west coast and it was what I called the United Nations city! They had a rental home beside them that saw people from all over the world stay for a few months or years at a time . Fiji, China, Austria, and my Mom loved it ! She learned about their food and cooking practices,how they arranged their veggie gardens, and about their traditions . She found them fascinating and some became life long friends.

My parents really taught me how to age well and enjoy it ! Stay fit ,stay busy and engaged, be around people and as Mom said ,” if I don’t learn something new everyday it hasn’t been a good day! ” She proudly walked a mile everyday till her late eighties…had to shorten them up as she aged ! Cooked and quilted into her 90’s ! Dad was an avid gardener and woodworker till 90…they both did lots of volunteering as well.

Retirement has been a blessing as it has allowed me to spend lots of time with family, expand on my hobbies of painting ,quilting, baking , gardening,and decorating . I can think of no downside to getting older other than a few aches and pains ,arthritis in my hands gives me grief, and my time here on this planet is getting shorter, but if I could say one thing to those who are young and get a weepy about turning 30 or 40 it’s this….

Embrace your age, learn from your mistakes, don’t take offense to so much, feel gratitude everyday for your life and all the people in it, even the difficult ones you brought into your life to teach you something, love your family as they will be with you through thick and thin, let little ( or big ) grievances go . They just hold you back from finding joy!

I noticed one day as I was thinking back on my life that everytime I began a new decade in my life something big happened to stear my course. Want to know what they were?? Well here goes…age ten…no memories there! Age 20…got married….age 30 had my 3rd and last child …age 40 changed careers and became a Dental Assistant…age 50 ..divorced my husband of 28 yrs …age 60 remarried to a wonderful man !….70 what will you bring ???

I don’t know but not worried either , I plan to live with joy and gratitude and keep expanding my interests.

Well that’s all I’ve got for today, next post I’ll be decorating for Christmas!

Until then, whatever your age and stage in life be HAPPY!

Love to you all !πŸ’— Jaye

Fall,Autumn, whatever you call it …

I love Fall, maybe because it’s my Birth month and I LOVE Birthdays ….but also it’s the cooler temperatures and here in Ontario the foliage colours are to die for !

Maples are turning orange and red, other trees are turning bright yellows and golds. The cool nights make me break out all my throws and pillows and light candles in the evenings As much as I love Spring, Fall makes me want to hibernate a bit ,cook warmer foods like soup and stews, and hunker down in the evenings.

Love this fabric,cotton bark cloth with navy chenille on the back !

I don’t go too crazy with seasonal decor but do like to add a bit to every room. I brought out my cotton stems for the bathroom…not sure if they are a fall thing but I like the autumnal colours in them!

A little corner of the front hall
Porch pumpkins

I love all the “new” colours of pumpkins/ gourds there are now! I really wanted a pale pink one for the porch but my dear Daughter Laura said”no Mom you have to buy that cool speckled one !”

So of course I caved ! I’ll carve them and add candles for Halloween ! The hydrangeas from my Annabel fill in nicely and were free!

A wee nest made of horse hair,a mouse asleep in a pea pod ,and a sweet cone from an unusual tree in Victoria.

Baking is something that I get back into in the fall …I love baking pie ! Apple of course and today I made some peach turnovers to use up some overripe peaches. Pastry is made for pumpkin pies I will be making for our Thanksgiving celebration this weekend …

Can’t wait for my big turkey dinner on Sunday with the whole family….I love to set a beautiful table, light lots of candles and be surrounded by all of the people who are most important to me !

It’s a bit of bedlam as my cottage is small but we all fit around my table and with luck the weather will cooperate and the Grands can play outside.

Trying out ideas for my Thanksgiving table ….I love old dishes ,transferwise especially.

This setting has my newer Sophie Conran dishes as the base with transferware from the 1800’s on top…both are dinner plates …about two inches difference in diameter! I really think modern plates are too big and that equals us eating too much ! Oh well cant do much about it !

The silver flatware is mine ….a wedding gift from my parents in 1976. The wine glass was given to me by a friend , I have 6, love the shape.The water glass from France has bees on it so I love that…and the napkin is old from an antique shop. The silver candle stick,one of a pair were given to my parents as a wedding gift in 1949.

Transferware love !

This red and white transferware that reads as pink, I’ve collected over the last 10 years or so from antique malls ,thrift stores or garage sales. I have 6 plates that are the same pattern and then 6 or so that are all different ! The tea cups were at a church rummage sale, 8 for $5.00! They are made by Masons and normally quite expensive!

Gotta love thrifting! The silver is my Mothers and I have to say is in much better shape than mine as she always hand washed it !

Well which one to pick….hmmmm!

I hope you are enjoying fall as much as I am and I wish you a safe and bountiful Thanksgiving weekend if you are in Canada!

Till next time my friends ! Cheers!🍁

My New Deck!!!πŸ’ž

Hi everyone ! Hope your enjoying the beautiful late summer weather ! We’ve had warm days and cool nights which is heaven!

As usual we’ve been busy too. Last weekend we tore out the old deck in the back yard to make way for a slightly bigger one , thanks to the hard work of my husband John, son Nick and sons in laws David and Rafal.

It’s always a big job with lots of mess and a few hiccups but this went quite well I think! This coming from the lady who was not really involved but was running a garage sale out front !😁

Here’s the old one partially ripped out.

It’s done!!

I know ….a garage sale on the same day ??? Nuts …but the neighborhood that I live in has a big one every year, and this was the chosen weekend ! My youngest wanted to get rid of some stuff as did I so we set up shop! Didn’t make much but we had fun !

Back to the deck …we decided after much deliberation to go with a composite product …I know …is that a green choice !?

My oldest daughter Amanda didn’t like the fact that it’s basically a plastic deck but it is made from recycled plastics and wood waste from the lumber mills .

It is held together with resin which I know is not environmentally great but it will last us a very long time as opposed to a wood one and requires no maintenance.

The lumber guy discouraged us from choosing cedar as he said it is all farmed now and as it’s encouraged to grow fast, it’s not as dense and long wearing as it used to be .

As I always say in my blog, it’s not that we all need to be perfect in our choices to lead a greener life but to do as much as we can on a daily basis !

As you know, I follow CBC Waves of Change on Facebook and I see so many people giving up toilet paper on their quest for a greener life ….not me …sorry I am trying out some bamboo toilet paper but I cant give it up …no way no how !!!😳 There’s a limit to what I will do to be green !

Do what you can and what your comfortable with ! On to the garden !

Absolute perfection !

A late summer rose…just because !

My Japanese Anenome, I highly recommend this plant if you have a mostly sunny spot, although it does fine in part shade too. It fills in an area quickly but is easy to dig up to control its spread .

The blooms appear in late summer and last for weeks! In the morning it is covered in bumble bees ,sometimes 2 or3 jostling to get into one bloom!

In a little breeze the flower stalks gently sway….so beautiful!

Next spring I plan to transplant some to the front of the house !

The veggies are almost done …waiting for the rest of my heirloom tomatoes to ripen, carrots are getting bigger and the swiss Chard just keeps on putting out new leaves !

My beets and lettuce are done …onions as well.

Rainbow Chard
Today’s pickings !

Big salad for dinner tonight !

My Daughter Laura’s apples!

Yes it really is starting to feel Fallish isn’t it ! We were in Muskoka 2 weeks ago and the trees were starting to put on their colourfull coats …sumac turning red ….here at home its also starting …

My favorite time of year, maybe because I was born in October …but I love the cooler temps, cosy sweaters and throws on the sofa.

Next time I’ll show you how I decorate the house for fall.

I prefer natural things such as leaves and nuts ,moss and candles ….maybe few pumpkins !?

Must be time to do some more baking too! Laura’s apple’s are from a very old tree and are soooo sweet and crunchy …time to make more pie !

Ok, pastry 101 and apple pie for my next episode!

Cheers everyone ! Thanks for letting me show off the deck ! Jaye

Thoughts on my August garden…

August ….a beautiful month but one that makes me realize Summer is slowly closing her door….

I spent a few hours this morning trying to tame the chaos…viney weeds twisting their way where they’re not wanted….creeping charlie….ugh!!!

Neighbour’s grape vine filling my back corner….etc. etc. !

At this point in the season its a case of deadheading the flowering plants in hopes of encouraging a few new blooms , keeping ahead of the weeds …losing battle that one…and enjoying the late blooming perennials like Black Eyed Susan, Phlox, Rose of sharon and my white and pink Cone Flower .

These are filling one side of my front bed !

This is my Oak Leaf Hydrangea…here’s a close up of the colour… so pretty . I pick them when the turn pink and they dry beautifully !

My Annabell is done blooming and the blooms have turned green …the exact time to pick for drying ! Cut a fairly long stem as it’s easier to handle , place blooms in a vase with just a couple of inches of water and they will naturally dry in a week or 2. If you try to dry them when the blooms are white it is hard to do as the blooms are very delicate. They usually just droop and dont dry! Here are mine that have dried in about 10 days.

My Rose’s are in full bloom right now …the Sunset one has a beautiful scent ! They will bloom till first frost !

Had to include a cute little Bee! Without them my flowers and veggies would not “bee” so magnificent !πŸ˜‰

This white Coneflower I planted last year …it only gave me 3 or 4 blooms but this year is putting on a show ! Love it! They last a long time as a cut flower so of course there are some in the house !

The purple campanula self seeded, don’t they look amazing together!

The veggies have done well …my heirloom tomatoes are HUGE! Just need them to ripen !

The lettuces and kale and multiplier onions are done ..just waiting for my carrots and beets to get bigger.

I will make more beet pickles…made some last month with beets from the farmers market .

As summer winds down I find myself not wanting to do too much in the garden and come fall I’m ready for a winter’s rest from it all!

Sounds weird I know, I live to garden but it becomes more tiring the years progress! Wow did I just admit to getting old !!!??

In a few years I’ll be able to hire the Grands to help me !

Marjorie Harris is a gardener , author and teacher in Toronto who I have followed for years ….she is so interesting !She’s one of these people that I would love to have a good old chat with over a cup of tea !

She was interviewed in her Toronto garden for the show Ageless Gardens on the Knowledge network…and talked about how gardening changes as we age .

She hires out the heavy work and now weeds sitting on a stool, trims, waters and deadheads almost daily. She attributes her good health in her 80’s I believe, to a lifetime of digging in the soil and communing with nature.

Yes Marjorie I agree….

It’s so good to see schools realizing the importance of teaching kids to garden …planting green spaces to play in, instead of all tarmac and cement .

Workplaces incorporating living walls of lush tropicals and hotels and restaurants growing rooftop veggie gardens !

Finally people are realizing the importance of being in Nature and gardening organically even in our little postage stamp city yards !

I just love watching all the bees and butterflies when they visit . I know nothing here will hurt them …I only hope they dont find flowers with deadly pesticides on them in someone else’s garden!

Here is my bee watering station . Don’t laugh, it’s a thing !! Bees cannot get their wings wet or they cant fly so need a shallow place to safely get a drink .

I know I will garden till the end of my days …whether it’s a big garden or a few pots , I will always need something .

So my friends …go forth and grow something …in your yard ,on your patio or balcony or maybe just a pot on a windowsill, it will nourish your soul, I promise you !!

Well calling it quits today …tomorrow I’ll do some more !

Happy August !!πŸ¦‹

Jaye

Lazy days of Summer!

Hello friends …I know , I’ve been AWOL again !! Its Summer and boy have we been busy!

We spent 10 days or so at our cottage in Muskoka Ontario on Bruce lake . My oldest Daughter and her family were there for the week before with her husband’s cousin from Australia…then at the end of our week my youngest daughter and her family came up for the weekend .

So much fun but I came home exhausted!

We just had a great family weekend at my kids Great Aunts cottage in the Kawarthas…all 3 kids and their spouses and kids !

Some of us had colds so that put a bit of a damper on things and babies didn’t sleep well….but we had a great time! My kids grew up spending time there every summer so to see their kids enjoying the lake too was wonderful !

Early mornings ..late nights…little ones discovering new things and perfect weather…who could ask for more!

One of our favorite things to do while up North is to go thrifting ! Well in truth my Daughters and Daughter in law and I enjoy it ..not the guys …they fish !!

Here are a few of my finds …at our cottage the area community centre has an annual “garage sale” and it always has great stuff for great prices!

This old bike basket was $2 !

The blue saucer was a set of 3 …I love blue and white transfer ware ! They can be used for lots of things …under a plant , hold a candle , corral odds and ends , rest your stirring spoon in the kitchen …and lots more I’m sure !

The enameled fridge container I found in a small antique store in Port Carling . I was thrilled as they can be hard to find .

As I’m phasing out plastic in my home I plan to use it to store veggies like celery and carrots….just keep a little water in it ….my garden greens washed and wrapped in a damp tea towel will keep beautifully in it as well!

I also like red and white transfer ware. This little cookie tray I found in a junk/collectables shop in Bala Muskoka.

We went there to go to the hardware store but when I saw this place beside it my Hubby laughed and said “ok ,you go look around I’ll head into the hardware store !”

Gotta love that man ! He knows me so well!

It was $3.50 I think , I also found some pretty little serving dishes I left at the cottage .

In Havelock my Aunt, Daughter in law and I went to a small antique place we make sure to visit every year .

I found the copper pot for CHEAP! And Jen found me the little pink vase to hold my posies from the garden .

Most of what is in my house , furniture included was inherited or thrifted. I love beautiful things but I love a bargain.

I buy things like mattresses new and our couch is new ..we need good support at our age !!

My parents had mid century modern teak which is beautiful ,well made and still in fantastic shape . Now I enjoy it as well!

The first chairs they bought in 1952 I still love and use ….I think they have been recovered about 4 times !

Old things speak to me…they have a history . Generations of women home making …utilitarian items that were well used ..made well …and continue to give future generations pleasure .

In this age of out of control consumerism I believe we need to cut back , learn to fix ,reuse , and make do like past generations .

My Mom was surprised I wanted these chairs but they are super comfy and hold alot of memories!

Well how can it be August already !!?? My garden has exceeded my expectations …we have had lots of rain and hot sunny days so things are thriving !

I’ll do another post on that and share how I make sure all my potted plants outside survive my absences!

My Hubby is off this week with one of his son’s for Yellowknife in the North west Territories of Canada to visit his oldest 2 kids and his 6 grandkids and do some fishing with old friends!

I have plans to do alot of relaxing …make some jam …paint some trim ? Maybe !

I have joined a bookclub…just for people in my neighbourhood, so have a new book to read…we don’t take it too seriously…talk alot and eat and drink wine ! Met a fellow artist who had me over for a pouring workshop.

Felt like these were my people right away ..they all love reading ,gardening ,art and we are all passionate about the beautiful Heritage area that we live in!

That’s what life is all about ..the comfort of old friends , meeting new friends, new experiences, spending quality time with family…..

I hope your summer is filling you up with good memories and lots of love!

I leave you with one of our beautiful sunsets….

My son sent me this one from our time together this past weekend …

Till next time … I hope your enjoying your summer or winter if your in the southern Hemisphere….πŸ’ž

Jaye