short barn, tiny happy, under the willow, and a little blog award

I love this barn. It's on one of my weekly drives for work, and it looked so beautiful in the snow with the ominous sky when I drove by last week, that I had to stop and take a picture. I need to remember to take my camera with me more often, and consider tossing a pair of boots in the trunk along with my pruners. (That makes me sound like an eccentric oddball who would also be likely to have several cats and really strange things in her grocery cart, doesn't it? But I could have avoided those branchy things in the foreground if I'd had boots!)
I love Tiny Happy. Melissa's blog is lovely, as is all of her work. I especially love all of the nature reflected in her projects. I've followed her blog for a long time, and was excited to order this sweet little pouch before Christmas from her Etsy shop. I took this picture a few weeks ago, and I haven't brought myself to take the little tag off of the zipper yet, or to separate the card from the pouch. Maybe I'm just waiting for the perfect purpose for it.

Photo from here.

Carrie over at Under the Willow was generous enough to send me some samples of her amazing handmade laundry soaps to try! They arrived in the mail on Christmas Eve, so this post is long, long overdue. Just about everything I would write about the soap was already written by Joanna over here. I only used the laundry soap on towels, since P seems to be sensitive to scents in laundry detergent (we usually use Down East, available at Sobeys). The scents are lovely, (I especially loved 'Home for the Holidays', and 'Lavender Grace' is really nice, too) and just subtle enough when the towels came out of the dryer. The whole bathroom doesn't smell like the soap, but you get a lovely whiff as you're using the towel. Mmmm. It's just good stuff, and the price is great! (Oh, and the towels were nice and clean, too.) So go have a peek at Joanna's review, and give it a try! Thanks so much, Carrie!

And Teresa, over here at Homesteading, kindly awarded me a little blog award. I must admit, I'm not really much for these 'chain-mail' things, so if you want to jump in and pass it along, please do! I'm flattered - thanks so much, Teresa! (By the way, Teresa is so sweet, is always up to something interesting, and her garden completely astounds me, so have a peek at her blog.)

Phew! I hope that you have a great weekend - today was a welcome snow day, so I took full advantage and during naptime I whipped up four lovely-looking batches of soap and overdid it a bit this morning setting up Son #2's room. I can't wait until everything's complete and presentable - when it's all together, there will be pictures!


Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life

I just read and thoroughly enjoyed this book. (I don't usually post about the books I don't enjoy because I can't be bothered to waste the time to read beyond halfway. This one was NOT in that category!) I borrowed it from the library, and had it read within a day. Super fast, entertaining, and informative. Informal and fun - right up my alley when I'm feeling like Spring is on the way and I'm feeling all ambitious about homesteading projects. There's information about everything from beekeeping to chicken keeping, baking and finding great antique treasures. There are personal stories for each topic, as well as tons of resources and the practical things you need to know before attempting them on your own. Although there's not extensive information on each topic, she gives tonnes of resources at the end of the book, and extensive information and all of the particulars is not really the point of this book anyway. Jenna Woginrich, the author, also has a blog (are you surprised? I didn't think so) called Cold Antler Farm, where you can check out some more of her projects, including some cute sheep. Incidentally, she has a day job as well as all of her homesteading projects, which I really like - since that's much like me. Oooh, she also has a cute promotional YouTube video, too. Have a peek!


simplest, most effective grease stain remover, ever

Because I make soap, I use lots of oils. Lots of many different types of oils. And because I don't like to slow progress in order to do something as boring as change my shirt, I often have little grease spots on the sleeves, shoulders, or sides of the shirts I'm wearing while soaping (I do wear an apron!) For awhile, I tried a few different things; Lestoil, as recommended by my mother, definitely works, but it is toxic, horribly smelly stuff, and I would have to wash items three or four times before the smell was out of the clothes. Not to mention that I much prefer natural solutions, and who wants to use stuff that smells like that? I tried all of the regulars - baking soda, natural stain removers, OxiClean Baby (which works veeeery well on food and protein-based stains, has no scent, and is recommended by Annie Bond who knows everything about green cleaning) but nothing completely got rid of the grease spots. Until I came across the simplest tip - a regular (i.e. petroleum-based) dishwashing liquid. What we use on dishes is Down East made here in Nova Scotia (it's only available at Sobeys here in Yarmouth here in Yarmouth, it's only available at Sobeys), which I adore, but because it's not petroleum-based, it didn't seem to do the trick on the oil spots. So I bought the most 'regular' brand I recognized - Palmolive (although I'm sure cheap store brands would work, too - maybe even better!) Problem solved. Every grease stain I've treated (even old ones) has been gone after one wash. Just a little squirt before tossing it in the washer, and it's done!

Happy laundering!


orange, juiced & belly, huge

After lunch today, I realized that we had a pile of tiny, juicy oranges and clementines which needed to be used up. So I sliced and juiced them, and it was delicious.

Umm, no wonder people are telling me that I'm huge! 31 weeks last week - I don't know how I'll manage to stretch much more over the next nine weeks, but I'm sure I will.

Hope you're having a great weekend!


blue bedroom

Here's P's newly redone bedroom! It's obviously not complete, but is well on the way. Adam took the picture this morning, and we've been putting fresh wallpaper in the closets today (another snow day!) Adam's Nana (P's Great-Nana) made the quilt for us as a wedding gift. It matched so nicely, I washed it up and moved it from our bed to P's new one. Once P's moved in, we'll be able to set up Son #2's digs in P's current room - exciting times!

Happy Wednesday!


snow days and reading

Lots of snow here has made for a couple of snow days, for which I am always thankful. I just finished reading Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, by Vincent Lam, which was a captivating read. I finished it in no more than three days and picked it up at every opportunity, and that equals a high recommendation from me. I started Zeitoun yesterday, and so far, it's also very good. It's a non-fiction account of one family's experience in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and I think that I will probably learn a lot from it. Given the current situation in Haiti, I'm sure there will be many parallels.

I'm venturing out to do a few necessary errands today, and have a couple of 'pretty' books to pick up at the library that I've read about on other blogs, including Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life, and The French Inspired Home (a bit flouffier than I usually go for, but I'm thinking that there may be some inspiration lurking there). Do you have any other recommendations? As I'm getting bigger and bigger (31 weeks pregnant this week) I'm enjoying sitting down and reading very much when I have the chance. And I won't have much longer until there's a newborn in the house and I fall asleep every time I sit down!

Hope you're having a good week!



This is going to be P's room very soon - he and I will be staying away from the paint fumes for a couple of days while things dry a bit and get put back together. I'll be back (hopefully soon) with some more pictures of the somewhat-finished project!


spot of calm

I am loving this tiny little corner of order in our dining room. It's so refreshing after the cozy Christmas clutter. Adam bought that gorgeous vase for me from lurearts' Etsy shop as one of my Christmas gifts, and what else would I put in it in January other than quince branches? And those are the driftwood shelves I made from found beach wood and hardware store brackets, holding some of my soapmaking herbs in vintage jars, mostly from Frenchy's.

Phillip's new bedroom is in the process of being redone, which means that there is stuff all over the house. (Which makes me appreciate the small doses of tidiness even more!) We've given away plenty of stuff, and will hopefully shed some more as we put everything back together again. It's really satisfying, and I'm excited to put P's new room together and show it to you. These are the colours I decided on - Antiguan Sky and Oxford White for the trim, both from Benjamin Moore. I'm just not very fond of blue, so even the blue that I chose had to have a good dose of green in it.

Lastly, I delivered a large pile of soap to Yarmouth Natural this morning, so if you're in need, they have a fresh supply. Happy Monday!


weekend pics + shop update + a few other things

It snowed, and snowed, and snowed. And this is what we enjoyed on Sunday morning. I didn't want to come inside.

I updated my Etsy shop this morning, and have a fair bit of soap on hand once again. I'll be delivering some to Yarmouth Natural next week, in case you're jonesing.

I've also recently been trying to make the best use out of my new iPod Touch, which is turning out to be more learning-curvaceous than expected. It was a Christmas gift, and better yet, it was free from the Apple folks because we've had so much trouble with our laptop. For some reason, it doesn't seem to want to work in the car - the old Nano worked fine, so I'm going to try to figure out why. The Touch is a lot of fun - I use ShopShop regularly, a perfect grocery / shopping list app, and a few other handy ones for organizing, too. I've been trying to use the calendar for everything, but a pencil and paper agenda seem to suit me much better for work purposes.

You may or may not be surprised at the two apps I actually paid money for - Bramble Berry's soap app, and Family Feud. I love the Feud.

Do you have any podcast or app suggestions that I might like? Tips for using a digital calendar in place of a paper one? Hope you're having a peachy week.


snowfall warning

Well, it would seem that winter's here! We're in the midst of a LOT of snow. Sweet Adam's out shovelling as I type (I passed him my camera to take these since the snow is up to his knees, which are significantly higher than mine); we've had at least 30 cm since yesterday, and we're supposed to have another 15 cm tonight. I think we'll have a family shovelling party in the morning.

That's our car. In there somewhere. We're also supposed to have a very windy night with gusts up to 100 km/hr, so I'm expecting to lose power, with all of the snow and ice on trees and such. Hopefully if we do, it won't be for long.

In non-weather related news, our house is in a very productive, very messy mess. We're hiring a friend to redo one of our bedrooms that we haven't done since buying the house. It's in sad need of some wallpaper removal and paint, and since it was kind of neglected, it seems to have accumulated a massive assortment of odds and ends which are now out of the room and all over the rest of the house. So I am in a very purge-y frame of mind, and we have a lot of stuff going to the Salvation Army. And a lot of stuff to be recycled - we had quite a collection of boxes up there. I'm weeding like crazy, and we're finding other places to put some of the things (like my craft stuff) that were in there. Which requires some creativity, since there is very little storage space in this house, and we don't have a useable basement. It's going to be P's room, and Son #2 will be in what is currently P's. When I ask P what colour he wants his new room painted, "Maple Blue" is his reply. I'm thinking something like the number 1 colour in this post.

Well, I hope that your year is starting off well. Oh - I'm back to work on Monday, as my blood pressure has been behaving very well indeed. I like to think it's all of the baking and relaxing - hopefully it will stay low after I go back. Happy shovelling!