27 June 2012


I will tell you now that if you are at all squeamish, turn back now!!

I was fortunate enough to sneak out of work early one day this week - no, wait, that is not at all what happened.  I was stupid enough to commit myself to a half day of work on my day off!  When I left the day was glorious sunny, a true bright spot in a week bookended by three day bouts of heavy rains. 

I decided to use the weather to my advantage and finally finish some of the garden projects that I started but hadn't yet had time to finish.  Grabbing my flat of seedlings, I trotted off to the garden. It was as I was picking up one of the bags of soil that I had carelessly left out beside the garden for a several days that I realized the ground below it had become a hidey-hole for horrible little bugs.  Don't ask what kind- they were bugs and that is all I care to know!

Immediately, I panicked!!  Bugs!!  AH... and herein starts the conversation that took place between crazy, insanne me (CIM) and rational me (RM).

CIM:  BUGS!!!  Ack.  Ick.  Oh my god.  OH MY GOD!!  They're in my hair. THEY'RE IN MY HAIR!!!

RM: They aren't in your hair.  How could they be?  They didn't fly there; they have no wings.  They didn't leap there; their legs are too stumpy and kneeless to be leaping legs.

CIM:  Right. Yeh, they aren't in my hair.  OH MY GOD!!! They're in my shorts. THEY'RE IN MY SHORTS!!!

RM: *sigh* They aren't in your shorts. How would they have immediately gotten into your shorts.  Look at how slow they are.  They probably didn't run there; they can barely be bothered to meander!

CIM: Ugh... they are just so gross.  Looks at them.  Ick. eeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwoo.

RM:  Ok, relax.  Go to your happy place.  Gooo toooo yoouurrr hhaaappy plaaace.

CIM: Happy place? My garden is my happy place, but.... IT'S ALL FULL OF BUGS!!!!

RM:  Stop.stop.stop.stop.STOP!  You have more happy places.  Go to another one.

CIM:  OK.  think.think.think.happy.place. The Museum of Natural History! DAMMIT.

RM: I give up.  Crazy... you win!

13 June 2012

What to Do With a Free Wednesday?

Road trip!  My lovely husband was working at the bottom end of the province this evening which meant he had a morning free and would be passing skirting along the South Shore later in the day.  Taking advantage of a perfect day, I decided to follow him part way out and we met up in Lunenburg for lunch.

We stopped for a lovely lunch at the Salt Shaker deli where the special of day to my complete delight was Lobster Mac-n-Cheese.  Homemade mac-n-cheese is always a treat especially when topped with a super layer of melted, bubbly, slightly browned cheese.  Adding lobster to the mix, well, that just makes a good meal even better!

After we parted, I continued a mini-tour of Lunenburg and managed to catch this glimpse of the Bluenose II which is currently undergoing an extensive restoration.  It looks so much bigger in real life than it does on the dime, no? I can't wait to see it someday in full sail!

I took the scenic route back home, taking short detours along roads that had "Point" in their name.  It's always a safe bet that you will be afforded a gorgeous ocean view if you follow these twisting, turning mystery roads.

My meandering route took me eventually into Mahone Bay where I made a stop at Jo-Ann's market to pick up their amazing mushroom pate.  It brings me immense joy to slather this pate on a slab of baguette and I have been known to drive to Mahone Bay for no other reason than to satisfy my craving.

While in Mahone Bay, I was also treated to a visual feast as wild roses and irises were bursting into bloom all around.  Look at the beauty of these deep purple irises.

 From Mahone Bay more meandering roads brought me to Chester.  While in Chester, I naturally had to stop at Julien's for an espresso and a pair of chocolate croissants for tomorrow's breakfast.  And, I just realised how today seems to be about nothing but food.  How did that happen?  Ah well, I walked off some of it.  But, really it wasn't all food, there are also more gorgeous deep purple flowers.  This time, it was lupins growing near a picket fence.  What maritime prettiness!

And leaving Chester, the plan was to just go straight home but I saw the exit for Peggy's Cove and had to make the turn.  I don't think that I have ever been able to resist the turn to Peggy.  And so, here she is - the world's most famous lighthouse.

Here is a view of her full cove complete with what was once a tiny fishing village.  Off in the distance you can see the fog starting to form and thicken.  It does that quite often at this time of year.

And maintaining her seafaring tradition, the cove is still home to lobster traps and dories

I can't wait for my next free day.  Summer is meant for roadtrips and I think I kicked the season off in good fashion this year.

5 June 2012

In Bloom

Here in Halifax we seem to have entered the rainy season, also known as summer.  Coincidentally, most of the rain days seem to happen on my days off work.  No surprise there!  It would be easy enough to sit and moan about sloshing around in wet shoes, wrangling frizzy hair and a restlessness to get out into the garden. Instead, I used the opportunity last week to dive into a project that would bring a little gardeny goodness inside. 

I found this amazing tutorial on how to make crepe paper rosettes on The Idea Room.  I used the tutorial and made a pair of rosette topiaries.  Here is my version - step by step.

First, I built the topiary structure.  I used 24" styrofoam balls, cuttings of birch saplings from my yard, styrofoam block and metal flower tins.

Next, I started crafting the crepe paper rosettes using the tutorial I posted above. My first attempts were horrendous!  I actually clicked into the additional video clip and it made things much easier to follow.  As you get used to twisting and wrapping it becomes easy and you will get much quicker at it.  Relax, the roses look prettier the less uptight you become about them.

Once I had finished my first roll of crepe paper, I started hot gluing the roses onto the styrofoam ball to get a sense of how many I would need to craft.  The answer... a lot!  I used a full six rolls of crepe paper and should have used a seventh.
Here, the result is just a funny topiary toupee.

And so, keep on wrapping.  I have to say, I love the rosettes all just sitting together in a single layer in a shallow tray.  I was resting mine in a shallow black enamelled tray and the pink just popped against it.  I think I will make an arrangement in the tray sometime.

Here is the topiary completed.  The rosettes really fill the ball out and it looks all lovely and puffy and pretty.  I did go and steal some moss off the base of a tree to wrap around the bottom, but apparently forgot to take a photo of it in its completed stage.  I had also planned to tie a ribbon around either the stem or the metal base, but didn't.  I think if I repeat this craft for Christmas I will do so to make it even more festive.

Here is one final closeup of the topiary ball covered in rosettes.  In the end I decided that I preferred the roses more loosely wrapped. They created a fuller, vintage English rose look.

Sadly, I am not keeping these topiaries at home for my own enjoyment.  These went back to work with me where they were used as a table decoration for a Diamond Jubilee party.

 And, while it is raining again this week, I will say that rainy days do have some merit.  How gorgeous does my bleeding heart look covered in raindrops?

PS... these topiaries would be fantastic decoration for a wedding, shower, or any party.  If you are in the Halifax area and might be interested in ordering some, drop me a note.  :)