Friday, November 28, 2014

A bit of eating, even less sewing, and sweet playtime

Roasted vegetables. One of my favourite things to eat. Even my sprouts hating husband will eat these little choux de Bruxelles when they emerge tender and slightly caramelized from the oven. And sweet potatoes - best roasted, in my opinion. 

The dining room table is where I like to sew. These days it's piled high with projects of various sorts. I'm hoping for a finish of at least one project soon, to encourage me along. I'm making new stockings for the family. (again? I hear them say) Yep, again. They don't take long and I had the fabric lounging on the shelf, looking very smug. 

For years I've stored my sewing machine feet in a ziploc bag. Then I saw this idea via Pinterest and had an aha moment, as well as some vinyl in the fabric closet. The above bag is my first attempt and you can be sure there will be more of them. So useful.

A little man came over for a visit yesterday while his mother took his sister for a medical checkup. He napped (very short), knocked down towers, cried a little, ate a snack (loves grated cheese), and cuddled. Such sweetness.

The fabric stack on the dining room table won't be going down this weekend. In a couple of hours I'm walking to the bus stop (hope the rain ceases soon) and heading across the Strait to Vancouver to help our youngest daughter and SIL with their move to another apartment, this one closer to her work and in a newer building. It's a quick trip - I'll be back tomorrow night. Then it begins - Advent! 

I hope all my American readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Writing on the Tea Cups

Here's a closer look at the oversize tea-cups shown in my last post. A number of you asked for a closer look at the script. It's Italian, which I don't know, but I can figure out a few words. For a long while now French phrases are everywhere so I was surprised to see these in Italian. And I ask - Is Italian the new French?

I'd like to study another language (in addition to French and Spanish) and I'm torn between German (my heritage) and Italian. The latter would be easier, but I've always been partial to German, too. My parents didn't speak English until they went to school in Canada and would speak it occasionally together when I was growing up. Mostly to keep secrets. But they had suffered teasing and worse as children and determined that their own children would be fully Canadian and wouldn't need German.

That went on a bit of a rabbit trail. 

Tim bought me a tall glass vase containing stones and three paperwhite bulbs. I added water and here's the result. Deep magic!

And another view. Do you think they will bloom by Christmas? The instructions said to add a couple of tablespoons of clear spirits at this stage to prevent legginess, but I don't have any and I'll probably not purchase it just for this. If I did, I could make some vanilla with the rest.

Teaching calls continue. Half a day yesterday. Today. I mentioned to Tim this morning that my work is directly related to the health of the general population. He agreed and said that it's not even winter yet and the hospitals here are overflowing.

So. Languages - do you enjoy them? Any bulbs poking little green shoots up at your house?  I'm off to work and will chat later.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Saturday at Home

Pale blue sky shows through the grey morning light, welcome after a night of wind and rain. I snapped this from my dining room at 10 am. 

The china hutch. I'm becoming fonder of plain white dishes, especially for serving pieces. But I'll always add a bit of colour - here it's blue, although you might notice a tiny band of red on the two oversized cups on the top shelf. They are a recent acquisition thanks to a birthday gift card. 

Soon I'll add greenery and a little more red - the holly berry bush is loaded this year.

Most of the day was spent in the kitchen, baking. The Pecan Toffee Bar recipe can be found by clicking on the link. It will take you to my recipe blog.

The baking is for an event with some of my husband's work colleagues. I offered to bring a tray of goodies so that's what I worked on today, not knowing if I'll be called in to work again next week - it's cold season and there's a doozy going around. I taught every day last week in the same classroom.

How are you all faring? Escaping illness so far? I hope so. Tim and I have both had the current version of a cold and we're glad it's behind us.

Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith of Lavender Cottage Gardening. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's Time

The last of the summer tomatoes. They've ripened on newsprint in the laundry room. Today I'll trim the bad spots and roast them together with pungent onions, fresh garden herbs and a generous glug of olive oil. Goodbye delicious tomatoes.

An oddly shaped package sat on my doorstep when I arrived home from school yesterday. I recently won a giveaway on the blog Delightful Repast. Thank you, Jean. These silicone spatulas will come in handy now that it's time to think about Christmas baking. That blue makes me smile inside and out.

It's also time for Cranberry Pumpkin Bundt Cake. This photo is from last year although I made the cake again recently. For lack of fresh/frozen cranberries, I used dried and the cake is not nearly as good. I also used the tail end of my organic baking powder and I wonder if it's out of date. Baking can really be hit and miss at times.

I'm looking forward to some time to light this candle and spend some time on the couch, stitching away at a few projects. However, I've been called to teach every day this week. 

I introduced Romeo and Juliet to a class of Grade 9 students. Lots of setting the stage, so to speak, before beginning reading the prologue. 

One young man's reaction to the prologue was, "Oh Shakespeare! I'd like to go back in time and plead with you, 'Please, don't write anything. You don't know what you're starting."

I could only laugh and sympathize as I could see my own husband as a high school student having the same reaction. We're onto Act 1, Scene 3 and this same young man volunteered to read a part and succeeded admirably.

How do you feel about Shakespeare? Yea or nay? What kind of literature do you most enjoy?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Find Joy in the Ordinary

The camera sits on the shelf these days. Reasons there are a-plenty: busy days of work, darkness closing in earlier and earlier, and a lack of motivation.

 Over the weekend I picked up my camera and snapped a few photos of life around here. The stack of books I'm reading above - mysteries, writing inspiration, biography.

I'd like to move into this room. Evenings find me sprawled on the carpet with a pillow and a throw in front of the fire. The book there is a new one - I was the first to check it out from our public library. A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey, by Jessica Fellowes, niece of Julian Fellowes. Luscious photographs, recipes, and 12 chapters (one for each month) giving more insight into the world we've come to enjoy.

One caveat - if you haven't watched Season 5 (just finished in the UK) don't read this book quite yet as there are spoilers. I've watched the season on line so nothing untoward was revealed. I'm awaiting the Christmas special.

Candles on the kitchen table add coziness to our evening meal. Finding cozy is important these days. We've enjoyed a good run of sunshine, but the clouds are moving in and the rains will come. 

Jen of Muddy Boot Dreams wrote a wonderful post yesterday about finding joy in the ordinariness of life. It happens to all of us - ordinary things make up most of the day. Jen challenged her readers to find joy in these small things.

What's giving you joy today? Where are you finding cozy?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sit a Spell

seen from the boat as we headed home last Sunday afternoon

Four o'clock in the afternoon. Just home from school. Long slants of light filter through the trees outside my window. A few birds flit here and there in the bare branches. Darkness is near.
I have my feet up, a cup of tea beside me. The fire flickers. Time for a little break before moving on to dinner preparations (just leftovers tonight). 
Thinking ahead to the weekend:  municipal election tomorrow, some house cleaning and cooking, time with one grandchild tonight and two on Sunday night, giving parents time off. 
For now, I'll sip my tea and read a chapter or two of a P.D. James mystery. 
Looking forward to catching up with my favourite blogs over the weekend. What are your plans?   

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

On the Forest Floor

Look down. There's an amazing world on the forest floor. Ashley is interested in learning about mushrooms, preferably the edible kind, so she had me taking photos of all kinds of fungi, from various angles. I had my zoom lens on my camera because I was planning to snap big-picture shots. But we made it work.

This is the only one we positively identified - amanita muscaria, or fly agaric - not edible but highly photogenic.

Lichens and grasses clinging to a rocky cliff edge with the sun dancing on the water in the background. 

A natural collage with leaves, sticks, moss, fungi and arbutus berries for colour. The hand of a master artist.

There were hundreds of apples fallen on the ground and more in the trees. Orchards planted by a settler family who once provided the area with fresh strawberries and plenty of apples. Crisp and delicious and now abandoned.

We hadn't brought any bags from the boat, so Tim tied his jacket into a carrying bag, and I suggested filling my hood. Ashley snapped this photo as we headed back. Tonight we enjoyed a salad with apples, avocado, grapefruit and pomegrante seeds. Yum!