No matter what you feel about New Years resolutions it is hard to not see this time of year as a new beginning. The holidays are such a busy time I was very grateful to take a week after it was all over to decompress and sit with my thoughts.
I have kept a journal all of my life and would recommend it to anyone. The process of recording your thoughts and impressions of the day can clear the brain and make room for new thoughts and ideas. I have also used my journal as a long term planning tool, a place for dreams. I would like to think that putting things on paper helps you manifest those dreams and can change your future.
Lately there has been a resurgence in planners, they are everywhere. Entire Pinterest pages, and Instagram accounts are devoted to beautiful, complicated books of art, stickers and washi tape. I must admit I have fallen down the hole that is pinterest on more than one occasion.
I wonder though, at how in this age of digital everything there are so many paper options. I’ll fess up. As much as I love the digital world, I will never give up on paper. So maybe I can understand this draw to it. There is something about the feel of it, the process of pen to paper that will never loose it’s appeal.
I keep several planners, one for work, one for personal use and a small note book that I use to track my daily food, activity, and moods and habits. The older I get the more lists I need just to get through the day. I’m not sure if I should just blame that on my age or because we all have too much on our plates, but the planners are more than just tools. My personal planner has become one of those sticker, washi tape extravaganzas. The time I spend in the evenings adding the entirely unnecessary frills to my lists and plans is both soothing and a way to access creativity while still being useful.
Today was one of those beautiful winter days with brilliant white snow and blue skies and bright sun. We drove down to the beach, it was almost a busy as a summer day. Nothing like a bit of sun to drag hibernating Canadians from their dens.
Well HELLO Petal!
Lovely to see you again.
Where have I been?
Well hibernating for one, it was winter for a long time. Even though we did not get the mountains of snow we get some years, it still slows you down and cuts you off from the world.
So what was I doing? Hanging out on-line and finding cool stuff to buy like …..drum roll……this!
So I stumbled across an ad for Quaintly &Co on Facebook. It immediately caught my eye as it was featuring the next installment as the “Union Jack box” and having a weakness for all things Union Jack, I had to have a peak.
They are a British company that selects and curates a group of items based on a theme and deliver them to your door. (or as close as the post gets) There are many such companies out there shipping everything from dog treats and toys, to sock yarn, to beauty products. I have been tempted before, but this time I took a leap.
They offer different sizes and price points and have options so you can try the service out without signing your life away. I felt like I could trust them as a company, and happily I was proved right.
There is something a bit like Christmas waiting for a parcel to arrive with things you know you will like, but will also be surprised by.
And you know how much I love Christmas.
I was so excited to open it but I did hold back long enough to set up an “unboxing” video. I have even started a Mrs Murfins You Tube channel where you can watch the whole thing. Just click here —-> https://youtu.be/aXqCtCJnbno
So lets look at what I received!
So this came in 2 pieces, the makeup pouch and the removable patch. Its a great concept because to feel the back of the patch you would not think it would stick like Velcro…but it does. I say in the video that I would sew the patch on a denim jacket, but it was much easier than that! I just placed it on the pouch and it is firmly stuck, but it can also be removed and you could switch out for a new look. Clever!
It is lovely quality I know will be using this daily.
Next we had some little mugs and a magnet from John Lewis.
These are just the sort of thing I love to buy, though I do not have any in this espresso size. Very sweet and a nice addition to my collection.
The wee felt Union Jack heart is also something I would buy. It is from a maker called Bella and Roo.
The bracelet is so tiny and fine, it is almost impossible to get a good picture, but it is a perfect addition to my growing collection of bangles I wear constantly. The teeny tiny charm is, of course, a Union Jack.
And finally a tea towel. What is more quintessentially British than a tea towel? It is actually easier to see the Union Jack in this shot than when it is up close as the words (all about tea) distract you. It says on the description card that this design was made especially for Quaintly $ Co so it is a bit special.
Over all I am very please with the contents of the box. It is a bit on the expensive side. Especially as they are “treat” items, but it is a nice idea for a birthday gift for someone who you know loves British stuff as much as I do. (hint hint Mr Murfin)
Next month is a Jane Austen Theme. I will be watching to see what other themes they come up with. I think this may not be my only purchase….
Well it has been much longer than I had anticipated to get back to the keyboard and write a blog.
Winter around here does tend to get a bit dismal. After all of the colour and excitement of Christmas and blogmas I went into hibernation mode. You can imagine how pouty I get when we have to take down all of the Christmas lights and my garden is so dark at night.
We have had some lovely weather in amongst many cloudy days. This sunset last week was spectacular. Of course way better in real life that this picture can ever convey. The pinks were vibrant and shimmery.
Today, February 22nd has been incredibly warm. Late in the afternoon it was 15 Celsius. I had the windows open in my office!
You can see there is hardly any snow out there, and actual blue sky. I go nuts on a nice day.
I get all sorts of energy.
I even get around to blogging for the first time in 2 months!
I haven’t been entirely idle over the winter. I finished a knitting project that is making me very happy.
This is the Light and Up Shawl designed my Caroline Wiens. The pattern is available on Ravelry for free. It is an easy pattern and was a good choice for the beautiful yarn I purchased at the Kitchener Waterloo Knitters fair last fall.
It is called Gobstopper yarn and is a 50% Merino and silk mix. Lovely to work with, deep colour penretration and a beautiful luster. I highly recommend it. You can find it here
I added an additional repeat of the lace rows to allow the full gradient of the yarn to show. Blue and brown are one of my favourite colour combinations. It turned out lovely, and is so soft to wear. The colour name is “sinkhole” which made me laugh because I am terrified of sinkholes. But I believe this is the nicest one I have ever seen.
I was knitting by the fire in January when the weather was much less friendly than today. I’ve been embracing the Hygge and all round cozy-ness. I loved these books.
“The Little Book of Hygge” by Miek Wiking which is widely available. And “The Year of Cozy” by Adrianna Adarme.
I have read both cover to cover and keep them beside my chair so I can dip in and enjoy again. Lots of inspiration and ideas to make life more enjoyable.
Nothing better on a winters day.
The weather today is making me think of spring. I have been out poking my fingers in the soil, standing and squinting at areas of the garden that are up for transformation this year, and yes I have already ordered some seeds.
The open window had my nose twitching at the prospect of garden time soon.
It is all on here at Hedgehog Hill. There is baking and cleaning and wrapping going on in every room. Right after Christmas last year I picked up a really cute cake pan. I have never attempted a traditional gingerbread house as I am afraid of the construction. But I though even I could do these cute cottages.
So I have been waiting about a year to make these. Now that I think about it I could have made them anytime…with any kind of cake, but I get stuck on the rules you know?
So I had also made a great ginger cake last year from a British cookbook and instead of the recipe on the Nordicware package I used that. What I had not taken into consideration was that the amount of batter would not be the same and I was not sure how full to make the pan….so I’ll be cleaning the oven tomorrow, had a bit of a flow over.
But I just cut the excess off and no one will ever know.
I’ll have to post the decorated pictures on the last day of blogmas.
But those last gifts I was going to wrap the other day? Still not wrapped. I need to get the turkey out to thaw, More baking, no more shopping, It is almost here.
I do have to say that I am amazed at how fast this month has gone. Blogmas is almost over and I have not missed a day. The next 3 days are crazy. I’ll try to keep you up to date.
Hello my little pine trees
Now if I had been thinking ahead about this I would have posted this topic yesterday. But it really didn’t occur to me until I saw a bunch of posts on Facebook that it would make a good topic.
Personally I like to mark the solstices as a special day. My reasoning is that both the longest and the shortest day of the year are something that is real and tangible, and the same all over the world (yes given that they occur on opposite days based on if you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere). So on this day it was either the longest or shortest day no matter where you are, or what religion you are, or what language you speak. We all experience the completion of the season cycle and the return towards the other extreme. So why not celebrate that? Something all humans, indeed all life forms on earth experience?
I’m not suggesting we ditch all other holidays or celebrations. But if you think about it even though Valentines Day has roots deep in Christianity (St Valentine) it is really something encouraged by greeting card makers and then florists and chocolate makers got onto a good thing and now it is a multi million dollar day. Except for the very devout, no one is really celebrating St Valentine.
The same can be said of Mother day and Father day which are not even the same calendar day in all countries. Halloween which has become a huge marketing scheme is actually the Celtic/Pagen holiday of Samhain. Thanksgiving is celebrated in October in Canada and late November in the USA.
Again these are all fine holidays and I’m not suggesting we stop celebrating any of them if we choose. But none of them are experienced by everyone in the world the way the solstices are. They are fact and science and humans have recognized the significance of this change to the worlds axis at least since the building of Stonehenge. So why have we lost touch with the significance of these 2 days?
If you are expecting an answer here you won’t find one because I don’t know. But I will continue to take some time to be quiet and thankful on these days that the earth still turns towards and away from the sun. I will be grateful for the changing of the seasons and respectful of Mother Earth.
And tomorrow the days will start to grow longer and we approach a weekend of family and food and fun and I’ll raise a toast to that.
Hello my little cranberries
It is only 4 more sleeps until Christmas! Who is getting excited?
One of the things I still have to do is wrap the stocking presents. Over the years I have been surprised at how different families do the stocking thing. Of course as a kid you think that everyone has the same traditions.
In our house we didn’t hang our stocking by the chimney with care they just turned up Christmas morning on the end of the bed filled with goodies. I used the be amazed at all the stuff in there. I still have my childhood stocking and I am amazed at how small it is. Maybe it was magic, but I always thought it was a mountain of goodies. And in the toe was a mandarin orange.
We opened the stockings in bed and one of the gifts was always a chocolate letter. This is a Dutch tradition that we adopted in our family likely because there are a lot of Dutch families in the area and well it is a good policy to adopt all traditions that include chocolate.
Somewhere along the line a magazine was included in there as well. This gave you something to read as you munched your chocolate letter waiting until it was late enough to hit the living room for the tree presents.
I still like getting a magazine and I look forward to taking a break sometime during the day and having a few quiet minutes flipping pages.
The rest of our presents were usually little things, socks, notebooks, toiletries and more chocolate. they were always wrapped which is what I should be doing right now.
I followed those same traditions with my own kids. Now that they are grown we tend to open the stockings around the breakfast table while having a juice or tea before moving on to the bigger tree presents. I love it when I see the whole family with their noses in the magazines and reaching for another chocolate.
Some families pass on the stockings and have moved on to Santa sacs that does allow for some bulkier gifts. I have to admit I get carried away and sometimes have to have an overflow bag for the things that won’t fit in. Or rather Santa gets carried away….
I was doing a bit of last minute shopping today at the mall and came across the finalists in a ginger bread competition. This was not individual people entering but businesses and office groups creating local landmarks in gingerbread (and other edibles) on a big scale. I did not even know it was happening so I’m glad I just stumbled across it.
The closest town to us is Goderich Ontario and has about 8000 people living there. Not very big really, but it is the largest town in the County. Our mall is only about 11 or 12 stores and businesses – welcome to living in the country. But we have everything you actually need. It was nice to see that so many people had put so much effort into the contest.
These pictures may not be the best as I only had my phone to snap pictures. The building above is the mall itself, well at least the Food Basics store.
The public works department did a full scene including white icing snow (lots of it) chocolate roads, Oreo crumb “dirt”. leggo workers and trucks and diggers. There is a battery pack in the middle…I bet the little digger can actually move the “dirt”. The building looks like a log cabin made from those rolled cookies. I don’t think the real works shed is a log cabin! Maybe that is wishful thinking.
The Air Cadets did a great airport (we do have a small airfield just north of town) They made their own planes from cookie dough. I think they should get extra points for that! And a graham cracker runway. The one issue might be that the plane is too big to fit through the door of the hanger….
But the grand prize winner was the amazing town square made by the folks at the local radio station “The Beach”. Goderich is based around a circle road surrounding a big square County building. A few years ago we had a horrible tornado and the solid court house was one of the few buildings still standing (the windows were gone, but the building was OK) All of the trees in the park surrounding it were lost. But the town has now recovered and the park is just as beautiful as ever. This is a great candy model of it. Very impressive.
The three dimensional trees are amazing. And I notice that Santa is on the roof! He’s a little early I think.
Well done to all. It was a very festive thing to come across the week before Christmas and made me feel all Christmassy.