Friday, 5 October 2012

Back In Action!

Well!  Where did the summer go?  Where did I go come to that!  I spent most of May and June getting the house ready for visitors, then I spent July and August entertaining them all and then September came with all the tidying up, extra work (to make up for all the time off!) and suddenly it is October and guess what?  Time to start getting ready for Christmas.  I found a wonderful idea on Pinterest, well three actually.  The first was an Advent Bucket

the second a Red Work Quilt

 and the third an "Open at Sunset on Christmas Eve" gift.  

So I combined the three into one for my nephews.  I had planned something similar for my Grandkids but I thought I had loads of time as they were coming to us for Christmas.  Sadly I learned last weekend that due to unforeseen circumstances they cannot come.  I was so brave when my son broke the news, but I admit I bawled most of the morning after we hung up!  Trouble is due to shipping times and the fact that I would have to make 3 large lap quilts they won't get to the UK in time so I will have to put plan B into action - no idea what that is yet but give me time!

Quilting is all new to me and I am very much learning as I go along (hope no-one gets too close to inspect the wonky stitching) but I am feeling quite proud of myself.  First I drew up some of the images into my work book, then I put my fabric over the drawings and traced over them lightly before embroidering each ne by hand.  I also added a couple of my own, like a comical moose witht the words 'Merry ChristMoose' to give it a personal/Canadian feel.  I didn't have the confidence/patience to work out a random looking quilt block like the one above so decided to go with a log cabin block thinking it would be easier. Ha! NOT!  Log Cabin is actually quite irksome to do for a beginner!  Anyhow I finally finished them, added some popcorn, hot chocolate, a DVD, some candy and Marshmallows and finally a small bottle of Magic Elf Bubble Bath!  

They are now packed up and ready to go to the Post Office tomorrow (the other twenty three packages went last week).  If anyone from Canada Post/Royal Mail reads this please look out for my parcels, they were made with so much love and care, please speed them on their way to two very special little boys!

Ok so now I am going to do the dishes and then come back and catch up with all the blogs I haven't visited for a while!  Ciao

*** Update:  Almost forgot in my excitement.  I purchased my fabric for the quilts from a wonderful lady, Ginger, from Five Monkeys over at  The fabrics were excellent value, very true to their colors on the website AND they shipped real quick.  Thanks Ginger!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Package Pals Part 2

Yesterday I shared with you the lovely parcel I received from Kathy, the lady I was paired off with at Jamie's Package Pals Party.  Well now I have received a very excited e-mail from Kathy to say she collected her package from the Post Office so I can now share with you what I made for her.  Kathy doesn't have a blog, although I am working on that one, so we agreed I would do a post about both packages and link them back to Jamie at C.R.A.F.T.

Well my little bit of Inspector Clouseau detective work revealed that Kathy is mad about crochet and that her hubby calls her The Happy Hooker!  Her favorite colors are; lime green, red and orange.  Her lounge accented with the former and her kitchen colors the latter two.  Kathy also loves to send handwritten notes to people and, like me, loves to go to yard sales and thrift shops whenever she gets a chance.

So this is the package I made up for her: A fabric covered ring binder to keep all her patterns neat and tidy, with a personal touch,  two hanging hand towels for the kitchen, a pretty throw pillow for the lounge, a tote bag to bring home all her thrifting goodies and finally a set of four hand made note cards all done in her favorite colors!

We both really enjoyed the challenge of making something 'tailor made' and we were both so happy with our surprise parcels.  Thanks again to Jamie over at C.R.A.F.T. for hosting and roll on November for the next round of exchanges!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Package Pals - Part 1

Recently I signed up for my first ever Handmade Gift swap.  Lovely Jamie over at C.R.A.F.T. hosted Package Pals and I was paired off with a lady called Kathy, and would you believe she lives just five hours down the road from me!  So of course that means we may actually get to meet in real life at some point very soon!  The minute we were 'paired up' we immediately started talking, first via e-mail and then via Facebook!  Kathy and I have a lot in common it seems, thrifting, making new stuff from old and all sorts of stuff!  Anyhow Kathy is BIG on crochet... actually doing it that is, whilst I am big on buying anything crocheted.  I am currently trying to learn, but it is like knitting... small stuff that gets finished quick is good, bigger projects ... well they just don't grow fast enough and I get bored and give up.

So within a few days Kathy managed to weedle out of me my house color schemes, likes and dislikes and a whole host of other info, including the fact that a good friend of mine is expecting her first baby.  By Friday she announced she had been to the post office and posted my package!  That's when panic set in...  I had loads of ideas buzzing around in my head for her package but hadn't actually started any of them.  But I am glad to say I rose to the occasion and a parcel is winging it's way as we speak.

Now for my package!  Can you believe all these little flowers are crocheted?  Kathy knew I had a flowers and butterflies thing going on in my newly decorated guest room so she made this cute bouquet!  For my pregnant friend she made this adorable bonnet and bootie set!  A lovely set of 6 placemats and napkins with a crochet border... for my new table!  Some pretty little butterfly fridge magnets and some crocheted dish cloths.  Just look how cute they came... for a minute I almost thought they were another little gift for my friend!  Thank you Kathy!  And Thank you too, to Jamie for hosting the Package Pals Party

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Confessions of A Blogger!


Hi my lovelies!  I have just read a hilarious post by my friend Kim from Tiara's & Bowties, read it that is after a few minutes of frantic panic and e-mailing.  You see I clicked on her link in my reading list and got a message to say her blog had been deleted!  Having immediately e-mailed her in panic (I have heard of several people recently whose blogs have literally just disappeared), Kim somehow managed to find out that dear old Blogger had 'found malicious activity on her blog" and deleted her!  If you have ever visited Kim at Tiara's & Bowties you will know that although she has made some revealing confessions she is far from 'malicious'!  Anyhow all's well that ends well and the blog was quickly re-activated so I was able to read her post!  And so it got me thinking... we've been talking a lot lately about 'being real' and being able to 'get to know' fellow bloggers for who they really are and not just because they can do an awesome furniture reno or masterpiece painting.  What better way than to share a few funny, even slightly risque, confessions?  So are you ready?  Well then here goes... oh and to the good folk at Blogger if you're reading this please don't delete me...I'm a nice girl, really I am!

4 Confessions of a non perfect (and slightly naughty) blogger!

I once attended a whole day of fire training and yet that night, when my pork chop caught fire under the broiler (because I dozed off in the chair) I put it under the tap!  Of course the flames leaped up to the ceiling (I did say I just woke up!)  anyhow I opened the back door and threw it out onto the patio and threw some more water on it.  However, I realised at this point that I had absolutely nothing else defrosted that fussy eater ex husband (notice the word EX here) would eat.  In a panic I picked up the pork chop, rinsed it under a hot tap, dabbed it with paper towel and served it up anyhow!

When my son was small (it was just me and him) I packed him off to his granny's house for the weekend.  Whilst he was gone his beloved Russian Hamster, Smartie, selfishly unfortunately died.  I went out and purchased another the next morning in the hope that No.1 son wouldn't notice!

I refuse to put gas in the car!  That, my dear friends, is a blue job.  As is locking the front door at bedtime, getting the glasses of water at bedtime and cleaning the oven!  In fact Lovely Man was called away to the UK recently and left me with the clapped out classic Landrover (his pride and joy) with about a quarter of a tank of gas in it.  So I found myself standing at the pump scratching my head and looking dumb helpless hoping that someone may take pity on me and do it for me.  They didn't!

I once had this desire to learn Burlesque Dancing and duly dragged set off with my friend Lucy for lessons.  The second to last lesson involved learning to tassle twirl (we are thinking Dita Von Tease here ladies)  So we all stood there with our tassles firmly taped to our nipples, in front of a large mirror.  The process involves doing little bounces, feet together, back straight, tiny quick bounces at the knee.  This makes your boobs jiggle sufficiently to make the tassles twirl!  And if that isn't exciting enough if you raise your arms slowly at the same time the tassles will start to twirl the other way when your outstretched arms get to shoulder height!  Impressive or what?  i must have been in front of that darned mirror for about twenty minutes totally awestruck at my new found talent!

Now before I get to the finale (doing the fan dance with those HUGE, gorgeous ostrich feather fans) I should explain that I was wearing dancers' tights underneath my panties and stockings for a smooth tanned look (as opposed to white and wobbly).  This meant that everything was very silky.  Anyhow there I was with these enormous fans twirling them around in front on me as seductively as I could when I felt something brush across my foot.  Now we were in the basement of a public house (bar) in deepest, darkest Portsmouth so I assumed it to be a mouse or worse.  With a shriek both fans went up in the air whilst I did a little more jiggling and prancing, nearly falling flat on my face.  You see all the previous bouncing about coupled with the silky smoothness of dancers tights had made my panties suddenly drop to my ankles! Mouse indeed!

So there you go, sorry Kim only 4 for me, but I think they made you all giggle!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Package Pals

I am just sooo excited about this!  I visited Jamie's Blog C.R.A.F.T. the other day and saw her post about Package Pals (read it here).  I love getting packages in the mail, but usually I know exactly what's in them and I've had to pay for them!  How nice it is though to receive a package that you didn't 'order' or 'pay for', a package that contains a complete surprise especially crafted for you by someone you've never met!  not only do you get nice pressies you get a new friend as well!  So I'm happy to say I signed up and when I got home this evening I had an e-mail from my new 'pal', Kathy.   And you never guess she lives in the Soo!  Ha! For those not familiar with where I live that's Saulte St Marie just a five hour drive away from where I live!  So that means I may actually, at some point, stand a good chance of actually meeting Kathy in person, which will make her a 'real' friend and not, as my son refers to my blog friends, an imaginary friend!  So far I know she crochets and has chicken pox right now poor thing!  I hope her favorite color is pink...maybe I could send some calamine lotion!  Only kidding, I have to send handmade goodies and don't have a clue how to make it lol!

So, I'm off to put my thinking cap on and you guys reading this, if you want to join in visit Jamie's Blog and register before 29th June (I think that's the cut off...go on, visit now and check!)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Happily Ever After...

This week has been a tough week.  A week ago Saturday we received the phone call that we had been half dreading, half needing to hear, to say that Lovely Man's father had passed away.  He had been suffering for many months from pancreatic cancer and so it was a relief to hear that he was no longer in pain, but very sad at the same time.  For financial and personal reasons this meant that  I was to stay here and keep the home fires burning whilst Lovely Man returned to the UK for a short while.  Apart from the odd work related conference and one week training courses we have rarely been apart for the last 8 years and yes it's tough!  Don't get me wrong I'm not sat here in a pool of tears and I'm not sobbing down the phone adding to his worries.  But I do miss the guy!  You see he's my Mr Right, the man I thought I would never meet let alone spend the rest of my days with. 

It all started when I finally found the courage to leave what was a particularly toxic marriage.  I had been married for 15 years to a man who had emotionally and verbally abused me, but in June 2004 I found courage from somewhere and I left.  I mean I literally disappeared to another county for three months, but then he found me.  So rather than be in a strange place, with hardly any friends I moved back to my mum's, what was the point in being so far away from those I loved if he could pester me there anyway?  At this point I was homeless and jobless and penniless.  My mum lent me a deposit on a small flat and my wonderful boss found me work back at the company I worked for previously.  It wasn't my original position, but it was work and it paid the rent.  Around the end of September I decided I needed to look for extra work and had thought about working as a Health Care Assistant at the hospital.  I also remembered that a friend of mine and my Ex's was a nurse, I checked my cell phone and found I still had his number so I sent him a text to ask who I should contact at the hospital to see if they had any vacancies.  He text me straight back, saying "Hi Sexy" and how lovely it was to hear from me, he said he didn't work at the hospital anymore but he had the number at home and would call me later.

David & I had known each other, through my ex, for around 15 years.  He had been married but that had ended some years before.  I had often wondered why this woman, his now ex wife,  had ended the marriage as he seemed to me such a lovely man...the sort of man I wished I'd married.  But that was it, just a passing thought, a dream...after all I was married, albeit unhappily but at the time I couldn't ever see a way out and often I would dare to dream what it would be like to be in a loving relationship with a regular guy.  So there I was reading and re-reading this text message.  The woman who had decided that she was giving up completely on men because there was no hope of finding a decent one was now feeling like a confused school girl!  "Hi Sexy"....REALLY?  Nah!

Anyhow he did call.  He gave me the number I needed and added "how about we meet for coffee sometime?  just for old times sake?"  I explained that I'd just had surgery and really wasn't up to going out right now but he could always drop by the flat sometime if he wanted to.  So that following Friday evening he called round.   We drank coffee, we chatted for hours.  The next evening we swapped text messages for over an hour, each asking the other what they were doing and each making out they were highly engrossed in something or another, both hinting we wanted to see each other again but neither of us wanting to risk making it obvious in case we were rejected.  Eventually, he decided it wasn't going anywhere like that so asked if I liked red or white wine, five minutes later he was on my doorstep with a bottle of each!  So another evening drinking and chatting.  This time he confessed that he had secretly thought I was 'lovely' but had never taken that thought any further due our then marriages!  And of course I confessed that I had always thought how nice it would be to have a husband/partner like him.  So there it was... two fumbling adults, both afraid of getting hurt again, both thinking they wouldn't get involved again suddenly thinking that perhaps they could be wrong! 

That was 8 years ago this October.  I can honestly say they have been the best 8 years of my life (not counting raising my baby boy).  He is my best friend, my lover, my partner and just about everything in between.  Two years ago we moved from the UK to Canada, something he had longed to do for many years.  His dream became mine and supporting and encouraging each other we took it to the limit.  Together we have embraced not only a move to Canada but a move to a small far flung, quite isolated, township in Northern Ontario where it gets to minus 40 in the winter and we get eaten alive by blackfly in the spring!  Now that IS true love!

So there it is, my true love story...a little bit of who I was hard to do, took me hours and lots of deleting and then re writing (not changing just sort of being chicken and deleting the whole darn thing!) 

Thank you to Kim at Tiara and Bowties and to Catie at Catie's Corner for your support and inspiration.  xx

Drop by tomorrow and I'll show you what I have been up to whilst he has been away...poor chap won't know his own house when he gets back LOL!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Backed Into A Corner

Have you ever backed yourself into a corner, got stuck in a groove that isn't really a groove but more of a thin crevice that stifles you?  Well that's just what I feel like I've gone and done.  I became obsessed with all the home reno programs on TV, the Better After Blogs, the arty blogs.  I love crafting, I love making good stuff from old stuff nobody wants...and that's good right?  It is, and don't get me wrong I love each and everyone of my arty blog friends, my crafty blog friends and my 'how to make a silk purse from a sow's ear" blog friends.  But somewhere in all that I lost 'me'. 

Tonight I was hopping around blog land, putting off working up the energy to do the ironing and I happened upon a new (to me) blogger Catie from Catie's Corner.  I read her post about how she met her hubby, their whirlwind romance and how she moved to Canada.  Catie confessed how she had been blogging for ages and yet not really shared anything about herself much, and how vulnerable she felt about doing so.  Her love story wasn't all that dissimilar to mine, and I too left my homeland  to live in Canada with my soul mate.  Her 'about me' said her blog was about "everything from DIY projects, to cooking and anything else I feel like talking about". 

Lately I have struggled to post anything on my blog monthly, let alone daily or weekly, and for that I felt guilty and disappointed that, as my ex mother-in-law liked to point out, I never really stuck with anything for long.  And tonight it hit me.  I had been soooo busy trying to be the artist blogger, the make something from nothing blogger, the popular go to place if you want to know how blogger that I forgot to be me!  When I started this blog I chose the name carefully....Life's Simple Pleasures.  My intentions were to share anything dear to my heart, anything positive, inspiring, beautiful...and real.  And yet I fell into the trap of trying to be one thing, of only ever posting about stuff I made completely forgetting all the other good stuff in life!  Consequently when life got busy and the painting/crafting/making slowed down I had nothing to post.

So thank you to Catie, for giving me a little nudge, for inspiring me to get back to the real me!  I joked that maybe we should start a linkey party thingamabob about our love stories (although I haven't a clue how to do one - linkey party that is), but my next post is going to be My Personal Love Story.  It will be difficult, like Catie I feel vulnerable...but I want to share it because it's real and it's me. 

Hi, welcome to Life's Simple Pleasures.  My name is Ro and I'm back....