Saturday, 25 December 2010

Well that's that then!

Christmas Day!  As usual we spent ages working up to it and there it was...gone!  I admit I approached it with some trepidation this year, although to the outside world I presented a confident, positive attitude, inside I was secretly scared and succumbed to the odd bout of closet tears.  Our first Christmas away from everyone we love so dearly.  Could I telephone/skype everyone without falling into a sobbing heap?  What on earth was I going to do without all the cooking and entertaining? As so often happens the thought of doing/coping with something was far worse than actually doing it!  So it was that I enjoyed several phone conversations and video links with everyone.  I cooked a full three course lunch, just for 3 of us, which went SO smoothly I was convinced I had forgotten something!  Our friend Jim came from across the street and joined us and we spent a leisurely afternoon with a late lunch followed by afternoon tea and sweet treats, good conversation not to mention a good bottle of wine and a little Christmas spirit if you get my drift!  Lovely Man and I agreed no presents as neither of us are working yet but my wonderful little brother and my best friend decided that they would not adhere to this particular stipulation and sent us parcels anyway!  So Lovely Man and I are now sitting with our evening cuppa sporting lovely new PJ's.  He has a new book to read "Man v's Wild", I have a "How-To" book for Adobe in-Design (much needed as I really struggle and bug hell out of both my brother and son on this one!), a lovely Moleskine Cahier note book (so I'll look real professional when I cover an event for the Echo!), and a gorgeous shawl cardigan, matching beret and necklace!  Thank you Jan, Derek and Ellie, Jay, Nik, Dan & Jack!  

So, I survived after all!  Lovely Man I know will always survive no matter what...I just sneaked a peek at his book.  He will learn how to make a meal from maggots, skin a snake and eat it, build a shelter in the snow, cool himself using his own urine and live without his cell phone....Mmmmm Nice!

So what now?  Well already that New Year feeling is seeping in.  That feeling of anticipation, of new beginnings, good intentions and optimism.  I am looking forward to some spring cleaning, knocking a hole in the wall (the new dining room worked perfectly and I think the hole may appear sooner than I thought!), a new art class with Tam starting on 17th January and hopefully some visitors from the UK.  So much to look forward to!

So, here's wishing everyone a very happy, positive New Year where dreams come true and peace and love are in abundance.  Happy New Year everyone.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Well it is Christmas Eve at last!  It feels like I haven't posted for months, let alone a week!  Where does the time go to?  But at last I am sitting on the couch with my red christmas PJ's on, with a glass of my new favorite Christmas Drink (Smirnoff Cranberry & Lime if anyone's buying!).  The baking is all done, my hazelnut meringue for dessert came out perfectly this year,  meat is ready for the oven.  We also fixed the car, yes it broke AGAIN!  This time a bearing on the water pump ceased.  A friend suggested we just buy a new car, but why bother?  With all the new parts we've had to buy and put on the darn thing we almost HAVE a new car!  Oh and remember that Family room downstairs?  You know how we laid laminate flooring and bought a couch etc. etc. etc.??  Well....we sorta decided we wanted the dining area upstairs on the same level as the kitchen and the lounge.  So....after Lovely Man finished fixing the car, took me shopping, stocked up on my new favorite drink at the Liquor Store he then patiently took all the dining furniture up to the smallest bedroom and took all the bedroom stuff down to the basement! He is the most wonderful, patient man I know!  Now what it really needs is an arch way from the lounge to the new dining area, but I figured I was maybe pushing the season of goodwill a wee bit too far.  So I'll wait a while, although I did see a half price fireplace in the Home Hardware Boxing Day Sale flyer which would look Oh SO nice in the lounge...perhaps if I'm a REALLY good girl....

Christmas has been a little hard this year, being so far from our family and old friends, I confess I've had more tears than usual, a little homesickness, past hurts have crept up and bitten my butt, it's funny how you think you've gotten over being cast out of someone's life without knowing why,  then something happens and it smarts a little, like salt in a wound.  But then I got to thinking about all the good stuff too, like being able to follow a dream, like being able to share some of that dream with those same friends and family when they come to visit and I decided that I am very lucky.  My New Years resolutions will certainly include being a little more mindful and thankful for all the good things in our life, and to show gratitude I will being taking every opportunity that comes our way and giving it my best shot!

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone and I wish you everything you wish for yourself in 2011.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Saturday, 11 December 2010

New Etsy Shop Now Open!

Just a quick post tonight!  My new Etsy shop is now open and currently has three listings.  Three more to be added tomorrow!  Please drop in to take a look around MistieBlue and let me know what you think!

Well it's been another day of x country skiing!  Tomorrow Lovely Man and I are looking after the clubhouse for two hours before heading off for another scoot around the trail!  Mind you there is going to be a wind chill factor of -30 apparently so I may change my mind!  Then it's back to catch up with my loved ones via Skype and then maybe a spot of baking...oh and home-made chicken Korma tomorrow, Mmmm!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Sooo thrilled

Oh My Goodness!  How excited am I!  You remember last week I did a post about Breastless in The City?  Well I received an e-mail today from Cathy!  I am the lucky winner of her book!  I can't tell you how thrilled I am, firstly because I actually won a giveaway and secondly because I have been wanting to read her book for a while now.  So thank you Cathy! xx  Ok.  Calm down now, gotta get back to work - deadlines to meet!

Monday, 6 December 2010

A bit of fun!

This morning I did my usual nosey around facebook with my morning cuppa.  I've never been one for 'social networks' until fairly recently but I find it a good way to keep up with everyone since we moved across the pond.  Mostly I steer well clear of all the gimmicks.  Things like the recent 'change your profile pic' thing which, this weekend, someone pounced on and spread the ugly rumour, again via facebook, that it had been set up by paedophiles to entice children to join the group, are not something I join in with.  For two reasons.  Firstly I cannot see how changing my profile picture or status 'raises awareness' about something that is a fact of life.  Any of us who truly care about anything are more than aware that child abuse, violence and paedophiles exist, and I think that covers the majority.  We don't need to 'raise awareness' we need to stamp it out, by being vigilant, reporting anything suspicious and, more importantly, the police and other professionals need to act upon that in a timely and effective manner.  Secondly, you never really know for sure whether the thing is genuine, unless of course you wish to trawl the websites like Hoax-slayer and Snopes to check it out first every single time.  Personally I'd rather spend that time actually communicating, in a meaningful way, with my friends!  

HOWEVER, I did find a thing called status shuffle which, I confess, has given me some amusement!  Apart from the irritating bad spelling like "...making ends meat"  and "...doesn't know weather to.." I did find a lovely one this morning, it read..."This morning I opened my mouth and my mother came out".  Oh how true!  Have you ever noticed that, as we get older, this seems to happen?  When we were younger we often fought this urge with all our being, determined not to say those irritating things our mother said.  Like when you can't find something, mine would say "Well where did you see it last?"  And I would roll my eyes to the heavens and get quite exasperated, "Mother! If I knew that then I would know where it was and I would be able to find it wouldn't I?"  But now, at the grand old age of 49, I often hear my mother talking and I suddenly realise it's me!  And just for the record, I don't really mind anymore!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

First online sale!

I have just three of these little bags ready to go!  They are made from soft cream fleece fabric, the tree design is felt applique. The tree is home to a little removable toy,  a handmade robin (cotton & felt) or a tree sprite keyring.  I usually make the whole thing but these two sprites were the last in the shop and so cute I just had to have them!  The bag is lined with cotton fabric and has a MistieBlue Logo  (That's my Etsy shop name)  label sewn into the side seam.  At $30 plus shipping they make an ideal gift for a child.  If you would like to purchase one (or more) please contact me via e-mail so that I can advise shipping costs  (I would need your post code to give you an accurate quote and delivery time).  Please note the cute Teddy in the red jumper is not included.

I also make these cute custom made silk books.  The photo's (which you would supply via e-mail) are printed on to habotai silk and made into pages for the book.  I will edge them with lace and embellish with beads and embroidery.  The cover can be made from various fabrics according to your requirements.  These make ideal gifts for all sorts of occasions: anniversary, new baby, christening, birthday or friendship.  These will retail at $50 plus shipping.  Again please e-mail for full details

Monday, 29 November 2010

Breastless in The City

Hi, one quick second post today.  Here on blogger I have made some lovely 'blogging' friends.  One of them, Cathy Bueti, is one very talented and brave person.  Not only has she survived breast cancer she has written a very frank and positive account of her journey to recovery.  This week she is hosting a blog giveaway, the prize a copy of her book, Breastless In The City. Do pay her a visit.  She also has another blog, Artsy Buttterfly, which is also well worth stopping by.  Cathy is a self taught artist and photographer and trust me, she's good!'re on camera!

This morning I got up real early.  Lovely Man had to go for blood tests, I thought at 8.30, so when I woke at six I got up so that we wouldn't oversleep.  As it was he didn't have to be there till after nine and at seven when I woke him he just turned over and went back to sleep!  So there I was wide awake and there was nothing for it.  I turned on the laptop.  One of my new friends in town was up too, she had taken some of our skiing photos and uploaded them to a thing called "SmileBox" which she e-mailed to me.  Impressed with this little application I eagerly clicked on the "Get your own SmileBox".  A new window opened.  More good news.  This clever little application is FREE!  Wow! Neat!  So I followed the instructions, click this button, click that button, wait a few seconds...there done. " We have installed SmileBox and put it in your application folder" it said.  So I opened up the folder and double clicked the SmileBox icon.  The program opened, so far so good.  The application, upon first opening, will automatically upload the last six pictures downloaded to you computer it said.  Great!  I can get started straight away on my Christmas news letter for back home with some of the pictures I took yesterday.  

You can only imagine, my friends, how I felt when, before my very eyes it uploaded the first six photos in my i-photo library.  I watched in horror as, one by one, photos of me riding my bicycle around the naturist camp uploaded!  Now another horror!  The program did this all by itself.  Oh Please God...Nooooo. Supposing it had automatically posted to Facebook, or to my friend who sent me the link?  Panic stricken I closed the program.  Then I opened it again.  What I thought this would achieve I'll never know, but I was panicking!  Nope, still there. I went to my I-Photo library and deleted them from there, hoping that the computer may forget they were ever there and they might disappear from the SmileBox.  Like that was gonna work?  I'll uninstall it thought I.  Trouble is until now I have always relied on my son or my little brother to do anything like that.  I didn't know HOW to uninstall a program.  I dragged it to the trash can and it disappeared.  I tried to empty the trash can but it said it couldn't because I had put an application in there!  "I know it's there.  I don't want it, please take it away.  Get rid!"  I pleaded.

In sheer desperation I mailed my friend who started all this and tried to explain what had happened.  Did she know how to delete them?  This caused her to panic too thinking she had somehow been responsible for my demise!  A few seconds later she mailed back "No it's ok, I still have just your skiing pics".  Feeling a little hot and sick I returned to the dreaded program.  Then I saw it.  A tiny button at the bottom of the window with the word 'delete' on it.  Thank goodness for that!  So, in the words of corporal Jones, in future..."Don't panic Mr Manwaring"  just look for a delete button.  Or maybe just don't keep anything you don't want published anywhere on your computer!!

Needless to say there are NO pictures for this post!!!!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Snow...a pleasure...Simples!

Oh how I love this wonderful white stuff!  Like the post title?  Snappy eh?  As I typed it I suddenly remembered there's a new book on Amazon by Aleksandr Orlov which I am desperate to get my hands on!  So anyhow, I took more pics of our back yard today, you can hardly see the deck and the stuff hanging off the roof looks a little precarious!

So this week I have made no bags at all...shame on me!  We spent the entire week playing in the snow!  And after all why not?  Soon enough Lovely Man will be back to work at the hospital, once that pesky Ontario College of Nursing sort themselves out!  And then there'll be none of this pleasing ourselves everyday!  I have to smile sometimes...friends said "what will you do up there? no shops, nothing for miles?"  LOL!  All I can say is...don't knock it till you try it!  I don't miss shopping at all...yes Jan, Deborah, Vicky et all heard me correctly. I DO NOT MISS SHOPPING!  Of course I like it when we do go to Thunder Bay, but generally I don't miss it!  Bored?  Hell No!  How can you get bored with a bush out back, wild life everywhere, lakes, snow....great neighbors.  Not to mention curling and ballroom dancing!  I do miss the kids, my mum, my brother and my friends, somedays that makes me real sad and I'd give anything to get on a plane and go visit, but only VISIT, but most days I just look forward to them coming here so they can share a little bit of this place.

I read an article by a friend of mine, Kassie, yesterday and it made me think.  Yes I miss my family, but I talk to them all the time, then I look forward to the days we'll be together.  But this is my opportunity to experience many things that I only ever dreamed of.  I remembered my dad, always saying what he would do when he retired.  Sadly he never saw his retirement, not in a healthy state at any rate, he suffered many strokes and needed 24 hr nursing care before he was old enough 'to retire'.  So here we are taking life by the horns and living each day as if it's our last.  I wear my best perfume even if I'm not going out, I light my best candles even though it's only us two here watching TV, and I wear my best undies even just to go skiing!!

The U.S. have just celebrated Thanksgiving, we celebrated it last month, and so I am thankful for my health and my life and my Lovely Man, my family and my friends.  And I say to all of you don't dwell on the things you don't have, or the things that you think you should have.  Focus on what you want and then be brave and go for it, things always have a habit of working out if you do, and then when you get there be thankful and live it!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sold out!

Well almost!  Yesterday I did my first ever craft fair.  I sold 8 of my twelve bags and had four enquiries for my silk keepsake books!  For some reason my red velvet xmas stockings and gift bags didn't tempt anyone at all.  I made these last minute to make things look a bit christmassy as it was a christmas craft fair, perhaps people are not so keen on this sort of stuff anymore?  Never mind! 

Earlier in the week we did Thunder Bay one last time before the winter really set in.  The road was really pretty this time! Last time we passed through Schreiber I was intrigued by a number of trees bent over, almost in a perfect arc, at the side of the road.  Our friends, who have lived here for years, explained that there was an ice storm a few years ago and this was the result!  Fascinating! The frozen 'waterfalls' on the rocks at the side of the road are pretty impressive too!

So this week really saw the arrival of winter with our first real snow of the season, although I guess by local standards this still isn't anything to get too excited about!  It dropped to about -18 yesterday then rose back up to about -10!  After the craft fair Lovely Man and I decided to take a walk in the snow.  Having been shut indoors for two days sewing I was eager to get out there.  So eager I did the usual 'grab your boots and coat and out the door' thing.  Note to self - choose something you think will be warm enough and add another layer underneath!  Although I am told we will acclimatize eventually.  It was a strange experience.  Wearing only thin brushed cotton jeans my thighs got real cold even though I was walking quite quickly.  Within minutes of being back indoors they were suddenly on fire!  At one point they were SO hot I considered taking a cold shower!  I did, however, manage to get some nice shots of the beach and lake - all frozen of course!

So today is lazy Sunday.  Cooked breakfast, a little tidying up and then a whole day just painting and maybe another little walk in the bush!  Have a great week all!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Nearly There!

Ok, so today has been VERY productive after all!  Not only did I manage to get next week's column written I also managed to get two childrens bags, one evening purse and a christmas stocking finished!  Off to bed now!!!

First Snow

Woke up this morning to our first real snow.  Umm actually I'm not really sure that statement is correct!  You see, so far, we've had four separate days this month where it has snowed ALL day...but it didn't settle.  Therefore it wasn't, in my book anyhow, real snow.  Last night it snowed whilst I was asleep and it settled just to show me when I woke up this morning that it had done it's best.  So I declare it to be 'real' snow although I guess the locals here won't even notice it!  If it doesn't come up to the windows around here it doesn't count! Apparently it's only a lot if you can walk from roof top to roof top.

So. How has my week been?  For the most part I have been working like a girl possessed on my two sewing machines having decided, at the eleventh hour, to have a table at the craft fair next Saturday.  Notice i said two sewing machines?  I bought one, when I arrived, in Walmart.  The other one I purchased from a lovely guy,  Ron, when he moved out of town.  It is a Singer Denim Deluxe machine which will sew denim and even leather.  I tried it out for the first time when I was trying to stitch some thick handles on one of my bags.  What a dream, it sews beautifully, and it's the first sewing machine I've ever had that simple hums along instead of making that awful clattering!  So far ten bags complete and ready for sale, one silk keepsake book, one red velvet Christmas gift bag, one red velvet Christmas stocking ready as examples for custom orders.  So today I aim to get two evening bags ready for sale and a childs novelty bag.

Thursday night I did take some time out to pursue a new sport.  Lovely Man wanted to try curling.  Stick curling to be precise.  So at 7pm we arrived at the curling club.  I should point out at this point I have NEVER been anywhere near an ice-skating rink, nor have I ever had any inclination to.  In-fact I absolutely hate that feeling of sliding along.  I tried roller skating, skateboarding and even snow boarding and I'm sorry to say I hated it!  So it didn't do anything to inspire me when we arrived to watch the first games from the viewing gallery only to witness two people slip up on the ice, one of them having to be taken to the local hospital to have stitches in the back of her head!  By the time it was our turn to have a go I was unable to speak to anyone, and feeling somewhat sick!  At the last minute every inch of me wanted to turn and run, however with the help of a lovely local lady, Priscilla, I actually managed not only to walk on the ice but to push a few rocks down the lane!  AND, excuse me, I got two of them in the target zone, very close to the centre!  So we joined!  Watch this space!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

New Items

As most of you guys know it has been my intention to work from home, making bags and other pretty things to sell locally and online.  So far I have finished 5 bags and a silk keepsake 'book'.  They are all handmade by me.  Each bag has a small logo label, individually hand embroidered.  They are fully lined, the tote bags have extra stitching on the handles for strength and also a hidden vinyl panel to re-inforce the bottom.  The Fabric Tote bags will retail at $30 CAD, the bambo effect handled purses at $40CAD (+ shipping).

Chocolate Burlap Tote with Rose Embellishment

Floral Tote

Cream Rose Tote
Lime & Blue Purse

Cream Rose Purse
The keepsake books are custom made to order, the one shown was made for a dear friend.  The pictures, 8 or 12 of your choice, are printed onto Habotai Silk, and are permanent. The photos supplied by you will be suitably cropped and sized by me.  I can include other materials, such as a poem or message but nothing that is copyright protected.  The 'pages' will be embellished with beads, lace and ribbons and then sewn into a book.  The cover can be made from various fabrics, with or without embellishments.  Apart from the top stitching around the cover which is machine stitched, everything else is stitched by hand.  Each one has a sewn in ribbon and bead bookmark.  The books can be made to suit many occasions: Anniversary, new baby, friendship.  These will retail at $50 CAD (8 pics) $65 CAD (12 pics) + shipping.  

Keepsake Friendship Book
Inside Pages
Close-up Book Page

I will be setting up a shop on in the very near future, but in the meantime please feel free to contact me via e-mail if you would like to place an order.  

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Walking with Coyotes

This morning we walked up to the Ski Club, which turned out to be much nearer the back yard than we realised!  Only about the length of a football pitch away from our place!  It was really sunny and crisp and we found a walking trail!  Having checked out the skis and stuff in the clubhouse we decided to take a walk and found a lake almost straight away which we didn't know was so near either!  Where have we been for the last four months?  Anyhow the lake is partially frozen already and looked really pretty in the sunshine.  A little further along the trail we found another!

After this we carried on around the other side of town and explored the road to the old mine.  We were feeling brave assuming that the bears were all hibernating.  We didn't see any, but to be honest we weren't really looking.  Our neighbor passed us in the car, she stopped to ask if we saw any bears!  apparently they are still about!  And there was us tromping through the bush without so much as a whistle let alone a bear banger!  Oh well!  To top it all we came along the old bush road which leads to the back of our house only to see a coyote run out from our yard and into the bush!  I was so surprised I didn't even get chance to switch the camera on!  They are SO pretty!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Just one mixed up crazy kid?

Well I kinda couldn't sleep - again!  So after about an hour of trying to lie still and not wake Lovely Man I got up in the dark, fumbled for my fetching pink velour lounge suit and slippers,  and crept off to the kitchen to put the kettle on!  It wasn't till I got to the lounge and started to actually put on what I'd grabbed off the bedroom floor that I realised I had actually picked up odd slippers (I have 3 pairs).  so picture if you will a slighty over weight, forty something (nearly 50!) woman, with bed hair, wearing a ghastly pink velour 'lounge' suit (it keeps me warm ok?!) one white furry boot and one grey and white stripe slipper with a zebra's head on it!  You notice this post doesn't have a picture right? That's because this morning I want you to use your imagination!

So anyhow I sat here thinking about life, like I do from time to time.  I started to write my book the other day.  The one I want to write about Angels and the Laws of the Universe.  And well, I got to thinking about stuff.  Roughly 10 years ago I was at a very dark time in my life and although it often felt like nothing was ever going to change there was a part of me that used to dream.  Daydream that is.  I used to imagine being with someone who I REALLY loved and who loved me back.  I used to imagine living a life in the country, painting and crafting and generally being happy.  And then that's all it was.  Daydreaming.  Or was it?

Almost out of nowhere I seemed to get myself by the bootstraps and haul myself out of the bad time.  I had lots of help along the way.  Some of the help didn't seem kindly at the time, but looking back everything that happened had to happen to get me where I am now.  Where I needed to be.  Where I dreamed about being.

So here I am in a new country living on the edge of the wilderness, painting and crafting.  Writing and getting paid for it - still can't believe that one!  I have a man who makes me just SO happy - Lovely Man- and it's a million times better than I ever dreamed of! I dreamed of an English country cottage with roses in the garden, that evolved to living near a lake in Canada.  I dreamed of not having to go out to work but instead work at home.  We both dreamed of living in a small community, and playing a part in it, being able to do stuff we didn't seem to have time for before.  And OH BOY just look what we got!  A house, on the edge of the bush - literally - in a small, close community, with three lakes!  A town where everyone knows everyone, where people like to stop and chat.  A place where we can get involved because we have the time.  As for there being 'nothing to do' in a small northern town, nothing could be further from the truth! We have had more invitations to functions and events in one week than we'd have in a year back home! The whole community has more going on in a small place than we seemed to hear about in the larger towns we came from! There's even a dog pound and a cat rescue in town where I have been able to volunteer to help out - that was in my plan too!

And as I started to write this post I wondered.  Is it just because I was brave enough, or mad enough, to try?  Did I just get carried along? Or was it just meant to be?  Did I just attract it into my life because I used to focus on it so hard?  See? Just one mixed up crazy kid!

And then I remembered.  One night, about six years ago, at church I got a message from my uncle, who is in spirit, he said that I should be patient and trust, and that one day things would be better than I had ever dared dream of.  At the time I just accepted it and hoped he was right, and then as time went on I held on to that message, trusting it to be true. 

So to all my blogging friends, and non blogging friends too, I say don't be afraid to dream. In fact dream a little harder and more often.  You may be surprised one day. As one of my new friends, Kassie, would say "Always expect miracles".

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

De Ja Vu

This morning I woke up to yet more rain!  It feels like I'm back in the UK!  I'm in a pondering mood today.  All week I have gradually been slipping into the abyss of chiding myself for not getting things done as fast as I'd like.  I set targets, I changed them.  I made lists, I added to them.  Little wonder I started to feel at odds with everything.  So this morning I pondered the meaning of my life and decided that actually I have achieved what I originally set out to to do this week.  So unlike Lovely Man who announced he's off down to the basement to 'do bizzies' I am going to have a day of indulgence.  Blogging, painting, baking and a little ballroom dancing at lunch time!

I have made my target of five bags over the last few days.  I am now waiting for some good daylight to take better photos ready to list them on Etsy, but here's a sneak preview:

I am still a little undecided on how to sell these.  We have a craft fair coming up at the end of November and the locals are keen for me to have a table, but I'm not sure I can get enough stuff made in time to do it justice.  I can get a good amount of bags done but I want to have other stuff too which is going to take a little longer to make (all a bit top secret right now cos the first one will be a gift for a very special friend, now that's got your attention eh?!).  So right now I am pondering.  Craft Fair or Etsy?  But for today....

"The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work"  Anon 

I'm going to indulge my inner child and show her the rainbow!