Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Truly My Garden

First of all I want to apologize for the how the wording is coming out on my blog. I spent a while typing everything up and only after I was finished did I check it. ARGGHHH! It doesn't justify and it looks completely normal, like a paragraph on my edit page  so hopefully it isn't to painful to read and I can get it right the next time. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

We inherited a beautiful north facing backyard when we bought our home, complete with trees, shrubs and flowers planted by the late Millie Quibelle who's father owned and renovated our home in 1915 from a Gothic Revival 1 1/2 story home to a 2 1/2 story Queen Anne. Moving from a basement apartment to a home with a garden proved to be quite a challenge for me. I had never even so much as had an indoor plant in my previous abode and had to constantly bug our then neighbours behind us for all kinds of gardening tips (we didn't have a computer then to just google any question I had).

I still do not have a green thumb like my mother but I am doing ok I think.  What I try to do is keep it simple, plant those plants that need very little care and water! How can you go wrong with that?!

So a couple of years ago Todd dug out our south facing  front yard to the right of our flagstone sidewalk right down to the clay soil by hand  because it was his way of getting rid of the grubs that were infesting it. Since we were adding back good soil and sod we decided to make a nice new garden. We amended the soil on the other side of the sidewalk too to accept new plants.  I have seen many beautiful gardens in the shelter magazines but most were created my master gardeners, or people who hired master gardeners or retired gardeners who could spares days on end tending their gardens.

our not so lovely front yard when we first bought our home

then Todd added flagstone to the walkway and our first (weak) attempt
at a garden.

But one day I flipped through this wonderful UK Homes and Gardens magazine and just had to buy it
because it was full of inspiration and the colours and shapes reminded me of our front garden.


            Easy to grow drought tolerant plants in shades of green, silver green, purple and hot pink

                                                           Gorgeous texture abounds.

                                                   Round shapes, purples and whites with touches of yellow.

                                         But this is the garden that just takes my breath away.
                      Huge round box woods, lavender, white peonies, yucca, blue and purple delphiniums.
     Funny thing is I had once planted delphiniums in our old garden and my brown thumb killed them.
                                                      I must try my hand at them again.

I also love the grey stones and wonder if we could incorporate some of that one day.

                So on a more modest scale I believe I have found my inspiration to finish our garden.

               We previously planted lavender, box wood, pinks, pin cushion, white coneflower and  limelight hydrangea.

I can't wait for the hydrangea to flower

This is how the hydrangea looked the first year we planted it. Limelight is such a hardy hydrangea to have if you are ever wanting a low maintenance one with big white flowers.

Sadly my english lavender on this side did not do well and so I have replanted with munstead lavender
                                           which is supposed to survive our winters better.

                                   For the life of me I cannot remember the name of this plant but the bees just love its flowers. 

I really adore those hot pink miniature pinks and must see if I can find some on sale. They are called an evergreen and so you are not supposed to cut them down in the fall otherwise you will not see flowers the next year. I haven't tried it but if you give them a hair cut with scissors just taking the spent flowers off it may give you a second round of flowers later on in the summer.

 I've always had luck with our Real Canadian Superstore for great prices and selection on plants.                                              
                                               I just planted historical soapwort (yes they used to make soap from it) which I loved for it's drought tolerant white flowers but now I learned it is very invasive and so it's not staying after all.

                            Last week I bought two of these succulent drought tolerant hot pink flowering stone 
                                                                  crop  that were  just $6.99 for a nice big size.

                  and some white flowering Shirley Temple  peonies. They were on sale for
                                             just $7.67 each  which seems like a deal to me.

     I've been at home under the weather the past two days and it has been raining amazon style rain but I can't        
                                                  wait to get them in the ground just as soon as I can.

  As this is mostly a summer flowering garden I hope to plant it full of purple, white and pink  tulips this  fall so it will look just as nice in the spring time as it does in the summer.

Well just maybe my thumb is turning a little bit green after all!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Almost Free ORB Lighting

It is a picture perfect summer day and I plan to truly enjoy it. I have been laid up the past few days but yesterday I was feeling better and I managed to do a few small and easy things that made me feel good. So while my Mr. Wonderful was working through the weekend doing this a few doors down

I grabbed a can of this amazing spray paint.

and sprayed and sprayed and got this $2.00 light looking snazzy, and ever since I spied one almost the same in the hallway of Sarah Richardson's farmhouse stairway I have wanted one.

And then I sprayed this one that had I had previously sprayed a silver (ick) and found for $20.00 at Restore. Once it's dried I will put the glass panes back in. I need to put smaller bulbs back in too. I think it would be a cute guest room light.

But the real deal is this incredible hurricane light, you see the lovely young  couple that own the home that Todd's renovating, gave it to us! When Todd asked me if I wanted it I said HECK YA!
I have always loved hurricanes and you simply cannot beat FREE!

We plan to renovate (hopefully) our  living room by the fall (or at least before the snow flies) and so we will pack up the dining room and make that our living room during the reno. It was the living room once before as you can see here and so Todd would like to hang it in here instead of the chandelier. I'm not sure I will prefer it but the guy really does deserve a say every once and a while. LOL!

I've been selling up a storm on Kijiji and have now have enough money to get this for our upstairs hallway and I can't wait.

Well I'm going to put the final coat of paint on my $18.00 window box for our garage which will get planted with these purple and white shade loving beauties.

and these brackets to hang it with that Todd added the L shaped backing to for me.

 They are leftover Ikea brackets from our mudroom shelving and so cost nothing extra.

Well I'd better get off my butt and get out there. I hope the sun is shining for you and you are having a great day!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This Ones For You, Dad

I know I'm late with this as Father's day was last weekend (sorry Pop's)and the weather was spectacular.  We visited my mom and dad and had a little BBQ.  Because the weekend was so busy I never had the chance to scan some beloved photos to share with you why my dad is so special. He is the kind of dad that gives and gives and keeps giving and doesn't know how to do anything but give. When we were younger Dad worked at not one, not two but sometimes three different jobs to give us all that we ever needed growing up. He always had a twinkle in his eye looking for the next opportunity to poke kind fun at someone to get a chuckle.

My gorgeous younger sis Catherine and a very proud father of the bride.

Dad played hockey all his life and in his footsteps each of us played baseball or hockey or both and Dad coached all of us sometimes giving up 3 or 4 weeknights plus weekends going to games and tournaments all over the place. He even coached my younger sister to be the best softball pitcher in Ontario in her age group and took my older sisters team all the way to the provincial championships. Very impressive indeed!

I was small but mighty on the ice
(at least I thought I was, LOL!)

and my brother was a star thanks to Dad's coaching

 If you ever needed anything he was always there.  Everything and I mean everything he did was always for his family and I want him to know that I appreciate all he ever did for us. Dad has never been  a gusher with his words to express how he felt, (except when I really ticked him off when I was a teenager which I'm sure I did a lot) but his love was expressed 100 fold in his actions.

We spent the last two weeks in August at a cottage mom and dad rented for us each and every summer. It was also the best times of my life, swimming, boating, water skiing, weeny roasts, fish fries, marshmallow roasts card games, board games, frog hunting, ice cream eating best ever times. I  would hear my dad and older brother get up early early in the morning to go fishing and remember being so jealous that I didn't get to go. It probably was the only time that dad got  to bond with my only brother and so that was good that the pesky little sister didn't get to go after all.
Ken with a huge musky catch!

Dad worked his butt off so we could move to a beautiful hobby farm complete with 10 acres of pasture, with a fresh water stream running through it, an apple orchard and a small but charming century home. I guess that is where I got my love of older homes as it was the best years of my childhood. We were so very lucky to have experienced such a simple but grand life here.

I didn't want to move away from my friends out to the country at the age of 13 but Dad promised me something very very special, my very own horse! He was a 7/8's Arabian gelding named Silver Jubilee and we called him Jube. I adored that horse and the memories are so very precious. I don't think I've really ever let Dad know just what he and mom gave me and how my life was so enriched.

And to keep Jube company, Dad fell for a lively colt named Sunny. We had both of them until we sold the farm. That's Ed Harrington, a friendly gaint of a man who used to play for the Toronto Argo football team. He co-owned the stable that we bought our horses from and patiently showed me all I would need to know about taking care of our horses before we brought them home.

Dad was there for us helping when mom took time out to pursue her degree to become a teacher. I just know it was not easy but we never ever knew if it was a challenge. They shielded us from whatever struggles they may have been going through.  That is what great parents do, they protect their kids no matter what.

Dad would not have seen it any other way than to have his grandchild and daughter (my older sis) move back home after the father decided to bolt and abandon my sister and her newborn the day she went into the hospital to have him. Dad has always been a stable constant in Rob's life, not a father replacement but someone he could always count on.

                                  Always a proud grandpa who loves his grand kids to death.

And even with all he had going on, the farm, the kids, work, he 
ran for town councillor. I had no clue what it was all about at the time but
looking back it makes me both amazed and so very proud of what he accomplished.
        He even found a way to send me to college for my Cosmetic and Aesthetician Certification.

In 1994 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, the first in my family to have a serious illness. I was supposed to be in Mount Sinai hospital in downtown Toronto for just 5 short days. Hospital error in surgery along with other hospital errors extended that stay to 6 weeks and I almost lost my life twice to those preventable errors.

My dad would get up every morning I was there and fought the terrible traffic to drive my mom over 1 hour to the hospital to spend the day with me. He would then drive in traffic to work which was not near the hospital, work all day and then after work drive back down to the hospital to see me for a bit and then drive home the long drive home again.  He did that each and every day, every single day for 6 weeks.
My Dad saved my life by giving me the blessing of having my mom there for me. She was able to watch over me like a hawk, take notes and question anything that didn't seem right and demand answers. If he didn't do that for me then I know without a doubt I would not be here today.

                          Dad, I know I don't say it but from the bottom of my heart

                                    THANK YOU FOR BEING MY DAD!

                                                        I LOVE YOU!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hanging from a Cliff

Hi All!                                                                       
This picture reallly is how I feel these days, I've climbed a good part of the climb and now I'm stuck. You see I have made greate strides with my health in the last year and a bit and  would say that I'm 60-65% better. I have had set backs with surgery etc otherwise I would be closer to 80% since I switched from synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine (or synthcrap is what myself and others call it) and started taking bioidentical cortisol hormone for my severely ailing adrenal glands (caused by synthcrap).

What has happened to me and I knew it would as my old self awakens, my spirit, the true me is coming through and it is a good thing for sure but it leaves me feeling very stuck. You see I'm not well enough to make a change but well enough to be very very frustrated with my current job environment. I take great pride in my job (even though during my illness I was literally dying inside I never showed it to my customers) and get a huge amount of satisfaction from a job well done as well as  making each and every one of my customers feel special and understood when I design their spaces for them. I choose this career, it was not just happenstance and accept that it is not the same as working with professionals in a fancy kitchen studio but I expect a minimum of enthusiasm and feel that only about 10% of my co-workers  feel the same way as I do.

There are even certain powers that be that have me shaking my head in amazement as well with the decisions or lack of decisions made. Don't get me wrong, I am not a victim. I choose to be here based on my financial needs, for now. If I won the lotto I would definitely move on and go find my ultimate place to be. Instead I will keep climbing the proverbial cliff of health and take it one day at a time, even though daily I want to scream at the top of my lungs out of sheer frustration.

Someone wise once said to me "You are where you are meant to be until you are not meant to be there anymore". I think I'm gonna sign up for a yoga class, maybe that will help. Ahhhhhhhhh! Brrrreeeeaaath!

And here is the place that makes me feel peaceful and happy, even if I can hear the neighbours kids scream nonstop all the time. HA!

Have a wonderful weekend.