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           .....that's right....you guessed!  A Halloween Party!  With a bonfire and lots of treats to eat!  Now, I'm in a dither....what will I be for Halloween?!

            Because....we're going!  We rarely go to any halloween parties as it's so much effort to figure out what to be, but, this one's only down the road a piece and a bit more...sooooo, we're going!

            Should I go as a rock star?  How about an M&M...teehee....our kids were M&M's one year!  Big, bright blue circles with M&M written in the middle of both their costumes!  Our older girls went as pussycats with their friends one time!  But, I don't think people would appreciate a 49yr old woman in a skintight cat suit....nah!  (Gag me with a spoon...that's gross!)  Oh!  I know!  The couple thing!  That's almost like wearing his & her sweaters...sorry to all you his & her sweater fanatics....I know...you're just wearing your love on the outside!  But, really....how about a gangster and a cigarette girl (oops, back to that sexy costume thing again!)  or maybe Bullwinkle and Penelope Pitstop (nope...still sexy).
Maybe I should stick to fairytale images?  Jack & Jill?  Who'd know what we were supposed to be?  Unless Dan carried a pail and had a bandaid on his head (crown)!  We could put his beer in the pail!  on ice!  But, would he want to carry it around all night?  Oh sure!  He won't mind!  Hahahahaha!

          Okay...lets get real.  I don't want to spend hours and hours agonizing over a costume.  Maybe we could go as Mennonites....we had friends who did that one year and they looked fabulous, and none of those same people would be at this party....is it wrong to steal an idea from one group of friends to use at another?  Oh! Oh!  Mary Poppins and the Chimney Sweep?  One of our daughter's went out with her hubby as Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife Beth!  They looked soooo great!  It was amazing how wonderfully they did their costumes!  One of our son-in-law's has a chicken costume...yah....a giant chicken costume.....a 49yr old woman could wear that feasibly right?

            If anyone has "ANY" suggestions, could you please contact me?  Something easy and fun!
                

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                                I guess there's always this simple idea!

                                                    Help Me!

 
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            I'm a little confused about who I am.  When I was a 911 Operator/Police Dispatcher, it was easy to help others at work and keep your home life in perspective, but since I've been off with my back, I'm really confused. 

            I'm confused with how far I should go in helping others with their "stuff".  I don't mean physically helping them...I mean emotionally.  I've always been the person who "helps a fallen bird", you know, the person who will take others into their home just like that!  No questions asked....as soon as I hear of their woes, I want to help.  Not only did we have the five kids at home, but also student tenants as well as friends periodically over the years who needed a safe haven I guess.  My problem is...where do I draw the line?

            I'm not getting any younger, I still have chronic back pain and this urge to incorporate other people into our lives is still as strong as ever.  I feel like, if I can help them out then I should, because if I don't, who will?  And if I don't open my big mouth and say "Awww...come stay with us.", will I feel horrible if they go into a downhill slide? 

            As mentioned previously in a blog last week, I just got my craft room/office/spare bedroom back to myself  (we only have two bedrooms in this crazy big house) and it was a lovely feeling straightening it all out, but now I'm worrying about someone else again and Dan has said this person can come stay with us...that we'll help him.  Dan said that.  Not me.  But, of course, I jumped on the bandwagon and here we go again! (possibly).  Those of you who know me are probably shaking your heads right this very minute at the computer screen, thinking, oh no...Wendy....really?  Why don't you just take time for yourselves?  And, I agree...to an extent.

            I was ready to do that when we moved out here to our rural paradise, but now...maybe it's because I can't help so much physically anymore (not that I ever could....woosy girl!), and so my mind tells me to do what comes naturally?  You start having all those thoughts like, "Why are we here, if not to help others?", "How much are you putting back into life, if you aren't helping others?", "Can I live with myself if I turn my back?".

            And, the newest person is someone I don't know really well, but is my blood, by birth.  Could I live with myself if I didn't help, when I know the history of why he is the way he is?  Yes, there've been moments where I firmly tell myself to not get into this...just enjoy life...but then, why do I feel so selfish doing that?

            I know...this is pretty deep and not very lighthearted bloggy-like, but is there anyone else out there who has this urge all the time that can give me some advise?  How do you let it go?  I'm worried right now because I haven't heard from him in 24hrs.  Which is worse?  Worrying about him from afar, or helping him up close?

            What would you do?
            What have you done in the past about similar situations?

            Dear Abby....are you out there?

           

 
This is going to be short and sweet, because my internet is totally
ACTING UP!
(well...really....it is raining hard...oh yah...and overcast!  Sheesh!)

Did a little more cleanup getting ready for winter today!
Brought my plants in from the outside and
the long red harvest table from the screened-in room has taken it's
proper winter place in the kitchen!
(wow....only 5 tries to load photo!  hahaha)

This year I have less plants to bring in, because I'm letting
those darned geraniums go!  They were good for two years and
I'm thinking "That's good."  They are spindly and super sad!
See what I mean?
Ew.

(unbelievable....got knocked off again!)
My point is...wow....every year I know Fall is here and
Winter's A-comin' because I have to drag my table in and my plants and
put the patio table into the screened-in room (not myself of course! teehee!)
Usually, I put my herb drying stand out, but this year...don't have a heck of alot of herbs to dry!
It's a very large expandable contraption I like to perch right on top of the red table
and it stretches the length of it! 
Next year, I'll have a literal farm of herbs, but I've used alot of what I had already!
Little did I know I'd start a blog in August!
Planning is good.

I hope your yard cleanup is going well!

 
When I was in my twenties, my dad gave me an
ironing board that belonged to his mother.
I had it for years and loved it so!
He took it home a few years before he passed away to refinish it for me
and it's still sitting at my mom's.
(but that's a whole other story...
not a bad one...just a quirky one!)
Today...for the very first time in my whole life of antiquing....
I FOUND A DUPLICATE OF IT!
OMG!
I'M SOOOO HAPPY!
Not only is it a stepstool, but it's also a sitting stool
and an ironing board!
Isn't this so cool?!
I have plans (just like the birdcage....it's coming...don't worry!)
You'll just have to wait and see!
This is definitely going to entail my sewing machine...eek!

While we were in the antique market, "Crossroads" in Brantford,
I also came across something else totally coincidental
to my life!
In 1975...yup, that's right (I was 13!)....my next door neighbour, Mrs. Harris,
gave me these two lovely pictures which I just recently repainted the frames of
and hung on the wall near my vanity table in our bedroom.
I carried these pictures around for the last 36 years!
Wow!

Today, I found this following picture with the exact same
picture frames as my originals!
How great is that!?
This one is double the width of the other two originals
and thank god I used 3M tape to hang those other two because I'm
going to have to rearrange the pictures above the shelf!

I also hit paydirt when I found 11 doilies for $7.50...half price!
Doilies are indispensable when you are trying to
make your bedroom into a French Country look!
So, that was the end of my day....a nice end!
I spent the whole day running errands, taking my mom to the doctors,
all those things that you absolutely must do!
And, at the end, on our way home, I said to Dan...
"Let's go to Crossroads, cuz I'm feeling like there's something there waiting for me".
And....I was RIGHT!!!
 
My history of Garbage Picking
began when I was 18yrs old!
Oh yah!  I was living in my first apartment with my old friend Nancy
and one night, we were walking home from Tim Hortons at
2:00am in the morning.
It was a long way from our apartment and it just happened to be garbage night.
We saw a chair for our living room...
like this....
Only....ours was orange and the wood on it was carved.
(so much classier...hahahaha)
We carried that thing at least 10 city blocks and we were stopped by the police.
"Hey, ladies....where you going with that chair?"
We actually had to convince him that we hadn't stolen it from someone's home!

Fast Forward to when I'm around 25, and I'm down the block
at my friends place, have just had a baby and
lo and behold....there's a change table sitting across the street in the garbage!
Woohoo!
It was in perfect condition!  I mean perfect!  Clean, no rips on the pad.
The tubular steel doesn't have a single spot of rust!
I picked that up and used it for Megan!
(I couldn't find a photo of what that one looked like, but you know the type!)

So, now we're at me being about 33yrs old.
Dan & I have a house, with five kids and two student boarders.
We are thinking of putting a third washroom in our basement for the boarders
and....
we see a shower stall and it's like brand new in the garbage on Scenic Drive,
(which is an upscale area of the city).

Dan actually went up to the door and asked if it was indeed garbage....
we didn't want to be caught stealing!
And...it was definitely garbage they said!
Pay dirt!  Hahahahaha!

Driving down our street a few years later, we look over and a chair like this is in the garbage now!

"Dan, Dan! Stop the car!"
We had one just like this until the seat finally rotted out of it.  Dan fixed it up because
it truly did need a little TLC, however, I guess it was too far gone, but...
I put it in my garden and it looked gorgeous for years with just a plant on the
hurt seat.

Don't be shy about getting out of your car and garbage picking!  It's so much fun!
It's like going to a garage sale without the haggling!
And, although you feel kinda like you're stealing, it's soooo worth it!
On your next Garbage Day...especially big pickups....
Keep your eyes peeled!
 
            Isn't this a beautiful photo?  This was the start of a gorgeous day yesterday.  I was so happy all day and it was an easy, peaceful day with a bit of family and a couple friends enjoying each other. 

            We didn't have a "Thanksgiving Dinner" this year.  It was complicated.  I didn't feel well at the beginning of the week (either a flu or allergies....still not sure what it was?).  Half the family had plans for the day we were thinking of doing Thanksgiving dinner, so we said "X-nay on the dinner".

            My daughter, Megan and her boyfriend were down from Ottawa for a Thanksgiving visit and I don't get to see her as often as I used to and wanted to spend some quality time with them....didn't want to be in the kitchen with Dan preparing for a large meal all day for everyone to eat in 20 minutes because as I mentioned before, we are a blended family and so, she shares her visits between her dad's family and ours, which cuts all of our visits in half. 

            Like I said, yesterday was "perfect".  We had Robynn (Dan's oldest) and Adrian out and I got to say hello to our unborn grandchild!  Heehee!  Megan's boyfriend Tobias was here and his brother Andre came for a visit.  We've never met him and he's very nice!  Old friends came out...Lisa and Dave... and our evening was complete!  It was soooo relaxing.  And, later around 11pm, we were all around the fire and Alana (my oldest) popped in with her man, Mark!  I loved that she made the effort to come out to the country even though she had plans during the evening.  What a lovely surprise! 

            We  had some awesome appetizers - spinach dip, bacon/cheese dip and Robynn's famous Anijitos....which are by far the best appetizer you've ever tasted and I didn't even ask her to bring this one!  She just does sometimes and it's delicious!  Soon as I get the recipe from her, I'll post it!  TO DIE FOR!
            Are you jealous yet?  All you women, sweating over a hot stove on Thanksgiving?  Making sure you remember the cranberry sauce, the stuffing, peeling veggies for hours, basting turkey all day!  Hahahaha!   I didn't even have to clean up from our lovely BBQ beef tenderloin steaks, baked potatoes, baked garlic shrimp, green beans and salad!   The girls did it all!  I was soooo lucky!  Waking up to a clean kitchen rocks!

            The best part was sitting down by the fire after dinner, relaxing, enjoying the evening and the conversations along with ....you got it.....marshmallows and Baileys.....just can't stop them from niggling their way into our gatherings! 

            And how great was it that the temperature yesterday ended up being 29C at the high point!  Wow!  October!  Amazing! 

            I missed the people we didn't see, but it was nice not to have all the fuss encompassing the planned traditional Thanksgiving meal and to just fly by the seat of our pants impromptu...just another day in Paradise!

            Happy Thanksgiving to all of you that have the time to read this!  Heehee!
 
The idea for this Wreath came to me while Dan & I
were driving into the city....and I think when I yelled out
"Oh!  I've got it!", he had one of those strange
moments where he looks at me like "Do you have to get so excited when I'm driving?"
Needless to say we didn't crash.
(knock on wood)


I'm very happy with how this turned out....I thought
it might look super tacky when done (and I know....
I truly don't want to be one of those super tacky crafters that only think their stuff is nice...and really...
it's so bad, you wouldn't even buy it at the dollar store!).
But,
I kinda love it!

I picked up a twig wreath at Michaels for a couple bucks,
Spraypainted it black,
tightly wired on a $1.00 web I picked up at the dollar store,
and wired some fall foliage onto it and
the Spider!

So fun!  But wait, I didn't stop here....
I also decided that "yes...I do need a centerpiece for my dining table"
(even though I'm still mad at it for hurting me yesterday!  Hahaha)

Here, I've used a brown metal oval bowl my daughter, Alana,
gave me last year (which kind of modernizes it) and padded the bottom with
that "wickedly messy Spanish Moss".

Then I added some plastic pumpkins, more fake foliage, a sparkly Christmas candle,
and real pinecones (that I gathered painstakingly while weeding in the summer).

And, seriously...this dining table was made for the Fall of the Year!
The colours compliment so well, don't they?

I'm happy!

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
 
Recently, we had a friend staying with us for a few months,
but now......
he's gone and I have my guest room/office back! 
YAY!

Today, I spent the whole day, cleaning it up, dusting and changing the shelves' contents
so I could have all my reference books handy to my computer.
And, my printers....yes, two... because I just recently picked up
a laser printer for those French Flowerpots and other crafts I plan on doing
that will require it as well, but still need my fax/scanner/photo printer!.... and now
they are handy to my laptop, instead of me having to go upstairs to print anything!

(The table shown here is our old harvest table, made by Mennonites in
St. Jacob, stained by Dan years ago and scratched up by kids and dogs
over the years....couldn't part with it, so it became my desk!)

Oh yah!  I'm Stylin' now!

And this.....FABULOUS!
I was losing my herb books (shown here), as well as my aromatherapy,
gardening, psychic/spiritual and craft books
in the melee of all our other books!
Now...just an armslength away from my blogging frenzy!

I also, SPAZ-tically, cut my head open today!
That's right folks!

On the corner of our Dining Room Table!
GAWD!
I was wiping off the tables to put the printers on and
abruptly straightened up from my bent over position and
BOOFED my forehead at the hairline
on the corner of this slate table!

That's when I ran into the garage to find Dan before I might pass out,
and he led me bleeding back into the kitchen where
blood was pouring out of my head all over my clothes and the sink and the floor!
Dan put pressure on the "wound" until it stopped bleeding.
Wow!  Spaz or what?!

But it was all worth it because now....
I'm ORGANIZED!
 
We did think that!  And look at it!  I had to dig through the drawers of
old photos to try and find just one of our old playhouse we had almost two decades ago
for Miranda and Megan...our youngest two girls!
Yep...you got it....we actually paid $50.00 for this!  There actually is a door
behind that blanket hanging there!  And a real roof!  But, sadly,
no windows or fancy accessories....ooooh....if I only still had it!

The reason for today's subject is that while enroute back home from
Southampton on Monday, I spied the shed corner in Tiviotdale,
also known as Bosman's.

OMG!  You should see these playhouses on display there!  I should have stopped on the
way up and taken photos, but nooooo...I figured I'd catch them on
the way home.  Dumb, dumb, dumb...it was pouring cats and dogs on the trip home!
These are three of the Play Houses!
The Firehouse
The Victorian Mansion
The Schoolhouse
Aren't they AMAZING?!
Can you imagine having the property and the money to build a wee town in your backyard (field)?
Here's my two Blow Me Away  favourites!
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Play House General Store
.....wait for it......(heehee)
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Play House Movie Matinee
Isn't this awesome?  A ticket wicket and everything?!  Billboard slots?!  Wow!
All this kind of puts our old playhouse to shame doesn't it?
Wonder if it comes with a big screen inside and reclining couches with cupholders?

I'm just so impressed with the imagination used to build these Playhouses,
never mind the imaginative fun times all the kiddies
who receive these buildings are going to have!

Go to Bosman
and check out all the different structures they make!
Gazebos, Sunrooms, Signature Sheds,
Recycled Plastic Furniture, Playsets, Chicken Coops,
Cozy Kennels, Pavilions and Pergolas, Sheds, Lawn & Garden Structures,
Garages, Play Houses and Wooden Furniture!
Whew!  That's alot of carpentry!

You never know....we are having a grandbaby....maybe just one playhouse though?
Not a whole town!

Maybe we'll just go play in them!


(ps....not selling these!  Just interested and amazed on my way home from my weekend away!)


 
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            That's right!  I'm like a kid in a candy store when I go to this place.  They opened a couple years before we sold our trailer in Southampton and I was so looking forward to exploring it upon my return this past weekend.  I wasn't disappointed!

             The owners of The Cook's Cupboard, Elspeth Macgregor and Glenn Conlan, are so personable and knowledgable about the products in their store and are happy to answer any questions you may have.  If you'll recall, I wrote about the Paltita Avocado Oil?  This is the store I purchased it in the very first time.



The  Tour!

There is everything in this store!  This side when you walk in has gadgets, specialty cocktail accoutrements, candles, cookbooks, and so much more as you can see.
Can you picture when you were a kid picking out your penny candy!?
SAME THING!


That's Glenn Conlan heading into the back room...they were very camera shy! 
The display area here has high end oils, vinegars, pickles, pastas,
sauces, chutneys, crackers, bbq sauces....it's endless and amazing!

There's a huge wall freezer at the rear of the store with I believe four doors on it
and it is filled with The Village Kitchen frozen prepared culinary entrees...
a fabulous idea for all the cottagers who arrive in
Southampton and don't want to cook, but still want
a gourmet meal!

Although I can't decide which section of the Cook's Cupboard I love
most, this back portion consisting of two rooms
is right up there on my faves!  Beautiful le creuset cookware,
dinner settings, linens, small high end cooking appliances, and gorgeous
cutting boards!  (I bought one a few years back for Dan...handmade out of Larch in Canada)

I picked up some coconut oil, which the owners told me was fabulous on popcorn! 
Definitely will be trying that!
Also, some jambalya seasoning and souvlaki seasoning.  I also nabbed
a little something for our grandbaby on the way....but shhhhh...I can't tell you what...cuz it's a secret!
All I'll say is they were made in France! 

It's an all round happy experience when you enter this store and the owners are so sweet, taking time to converse and share parts of their lives with their patrons.

If only they could move their store down the street from me!
Bon Appetit!