Wednesday 23 December 2015

Oh Christmas Tree

With the holidays just around the corner, we are getting the house decorated and starting our holiday baking.  Watch for the upcoming post about the epic Christmas cake.

For me, the Christmas Tree is an important part of our tradition. 
I can't have a fake tree.  Its got to be REAL.  

So, one of the things that I absolutely LOVE about living in Nova Scotia is that here you can go to a Christmas Tree farm and cut your own tree down.  Gone are the days of trudging up to the mall parking lot, picking out a tree and then – how we ever did this I will never know – taking our 7 foot real tree home on the bus!  Crazy!

Anyway, a couple of weekends ago we went with some friends to our local Christmas Tree Farm – the Embree's Tree Farm in East Sable River

The setting is gorgeous – unspoiled woods with a multitude of trees to choose from.  All shapes and sizes.  It is difficult to pick the perfect tree. 

Too tall!
The trees are all so beautiful.  We always have a discussion about how large it needs to be? how wide?, are there any bare spots?  
Just right
After trudging through the woods, we finally come across the PERFECT Tree for us.

The highlight for the boys is the hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows and homemade cookies in the camp.  
Hot chocolate over an open fire

It must be the setting that makes the hot chocolate taste fantastic.

It is such a wonderful tradition. 
Our motley crew
The tree was set up and allowed to rest over night.  

Ready to decorate

Well, that pesky elf - one of Santa's surveillance team - decided that we were taking too long to decorate the tree, so he did it himself.

Elf on the Shelf decorated tree.

Fake flowers and stuffed toys!  Really?  You would think that one of Santa's elves would do a better job than that.  I mean - wouldn't that be part of the job description?  

Seasons Greetings to you all.

Monday 19 January 2015

It's Drafty, so I'm getting Crafty

Growing up in drafty houses meant that we always had door snakes or draft stoppers by our exterior doors.  They were pretty standard fair.  Long tubes filled with fabric and placed in front of the door to stop the winter chill. 

We've lived in our current home now for quite some time and every winter I say I'm going to make a door snake and never do.  So, we resort to the ever so attractive towel placed in front of the door.  An effective lazy woman's hack.
But no more ... I spent a few hours designing my new and improved draft stopper.  I didn't want to make a snake because then my Ophidiophobic friends would not be able to visit. 

So I made a log.  A door log.  The design was inspired by the Yule Log I make every year.  Instead of being filled with butter cream icing, it has an inner tube filled with popcorn while the rest is stuffed with wool sweater cuttings. 

When I showed it to my children, they thought it was rather plain and boring, so they suggested that I make a couple of creatures to live on the log.  A ladybug 
felt ladybug, diy ladybug toy

And a inch worm.
felt inchworm, diy inchworm,

And, now, my house is warm and my front door looks lovely!

draft stopper, door snake, DIY door snake

Don't you love the vintage purse I found?

If you want to make one of these yourself, search for "DIY Door Snakes", you will find all sorts of sites with instructions.  Hope you are keeping warm. 

Sunday 11 January 2015

Happy New Year

Eleven days into 2015.  Is it too late to wish everyone a Happy New Year?

When the blog is slow, life is busy.  It appears I haven't posted anything since July!   I guess I had a busy summer.  
The summer certainly did seem to fly by.  The cottages were booked, festivals were happening and we went to the beach as much as we could.
Nova Scotia Beaches, Shelburne, Sandy Lane Vacation Rentals
kite flying at twilight
We took a family trip on the Nova Star Ferry to Portland.  From there we traveled on to Boston and New York City to soak in a bit of BIG CITY culture.
New York Skyline from the Staten Island Ferry
It was Wonderful!
For me, one of the highlights was a trip to MoMA where were were lucky enough to see a couple of my favourite paintings: Broadway Boogie-Woogie by Piet Mondrian and Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh.

Of course, a visit to New York is not complete without a visit to the Central Park Zoo.

and a giant New York pretzel.

Fall sailed on by with more festivals: the 14th annual Whirligig and Weathervane Festival was in the last week of September and Sandy Lane sponsored a new Festival: the first Shelburne Film Expo. Both events were a blast.  

Fall turned into Winter and with that came Christmas and a much needed break.  We spent days and days just relaxing!

2015 is going to be another busy year with lots of new things happening for Sandy Lane Vacation Rentals: 
a new web page, an improved reservation system, a new logo AND a new assistant! It's all good.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year.
May 2015 be kind to you.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Hurricane Arthur

Hurricane Arthur paid us a visit over the weekend.  
By the time it arrived, it had been downgraded to a Tropical Storm.  
But what a storm!  It sure packed a punch.  
There were some pretty hairy gusts with wind speeds of 140 km.   
We lost 4 or 5 really large branches from our maple trees.  
There are branches, sticks and leaves all over the lawn.
I took the boys out for a drive around town to see how the rest of the town had faired.  
Shelburne is a town with a lot of old trees. 
There was a lot of damage throughout the town. 
This huge Ash came crashing down, just missing a friends house.
What helpful kids, clearing branches off the roads.
Our power was out for 24 hours.  
Phone service went down, except for emergency calls.  
My service provider did not think the calls I have to make were emergencies.  
That was a bit of a problem, because I was waiting for some guests to arrive and I needed to let them know that there is no power or water at their cottages. 
We were lucky, there are still people with no power 5 days later.
Our "Talking Tree" lost 2 huge branches.

Have you ever noticed that when the power is out, all you want to do is things that require power?  “I think I’ll do some laundry”, oops no I can’t. “ I need to check my email”.  Oh No! can’t.   After spending a few minutes running through my list of things I could not do, I thought of something I could do …  Paint.

So, I spent a very peaceful hour or two finishing a painting.  
Here is it.  
I think the background still needs work.  

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Lockeport Celebrates Canada Day

The seaside community of Lockeport comes alive on Canada Day.  
 Folks from all the local communities gather to celebrate Canada's birthday. 
 Events include variety shows, concerts, parades, pet shows and dances.  
The ladies of the Anglican Church serve a Strawberry Shortcake Tea 
that is supposed to be divine.  I'll have to test that out.  
Also on the schedule is a pie eating contest, a seniors social, 
Duct Tape Boat races and a greased pole.  
I'm intrigued by the Greased Pole event.  
Contestants have to travel along a greased pole over water 
and retrieve a $100 bill at the other end.  
Its an event that requires skill, determination and audacity.
This picture was borrowed from the Coast Guard Newspaper article.  
I hope they don't mind.  My pictures did not turn out as well.  

So, if you find yourself on the South Shore on Canada Day, 
head over to Lockeport and join in the fun.

See you there! 
Happy Canada Day

Monday 30 June 2014

Halifax Happenings

A while ago, we took the family to Halifax for a change of scene.
We checked out The Stubborn Goat Gastropub on Grafton Street. 
It was busy for a Thursday night, but we found a table upstairs.  
There is an extensive craft beer menu that includes 
Shelburne's locally brewed Boxing Rock Beer.  

 Boxing Rock

The children had Lobster Mac-n-cheese and Pizza.  
The Pizza received the comment "this is the best pizza I have ever eaten!"  
High praise from a youngster.  
We sampled our way through the social menu: Risotto Croquettes; 
Coconut Shrimp, Crispy Chicken wings to name a few.
Risotto Croquettes
 Everything was delicious!  
Here is a sneak peak at the menu.  
I liked the "Social Menu", it sounds friendly.
The Social Menu
On the way home the next day, we added a new member to our family.  :)
Meet Coco the Hamster

Have a good one!

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Signs of Spring

Spring is on its way.    Really it is.  

Although yesterday's weather felt like Mother Nature's April Fools joke.  
Freezing rain and NO SCHOOL. 
Again ... for the 10th time this winter! 

Walking through the garden this morning, I noticed these early signs of spring.
Snowdrops - my favourite flower.   I just love these hardy harbingers of Spring.
Crocuses and Irises are starting to poke their heads up.  
It makes me want to go outside and do some yard work.
Raking here I come!

I love seeing all these Spring bulbs and buds on the trees, but the very BEST sign that Spring is on its way is the beautiful Florence has arisen from her winter sleep.  
Welcome back Flo.  Can't wait to take you out girl!