Halloween, Christmas and a New Baby

HellOooo,

A new year already! and a new decade. Happy New Year to all. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

We’re getting used to living in Edmonton. We went from

and

What were we thinking? I hear you say. But we also went from

and traded

and last but probably the most important

We have much to be grateful for.

I haven’t done much in the way of decorating or too much organizing because our landlord informed us, just after we signed a 6 month lease, that he was wanting to sell our house. So, we might have to move and I didn’t want to get too comfortable. Of course, the kitchen got some love. I put up my “kitchen” sign that Tori made me

and our little monkey fridge magnet that we found in our house in Delta back in 2004

He’s a bit like the Elf on a Shelf. He moves around from time to time to wherever there’s a metal place he can be stuck to.

Our Ikea hack bar trolley has become a temporary kitchen island. Not exactly ideal with the copper railing around it, but it’ll do for now.

The kitchen island we had in our old house has become a temporary drinks trolley for the living room

Back in the kitchen, there are convenient shelves for some of my teapots. I think I have a teapot obsession!

And then there was a strange little cupboard off to the side where I threw things like tools and cleaning products and garbage bags

until one day I could find anything, so I bought some containers and sorted it out

It’s much better, but still a work in progress

We replaced the very old, dirty and falling-apart blinds in the living room and dining room with sheers and curtains. I forgot to take a before photo, but they just had to come down.

My cat spends a lot of time ‘chasing’ the little birds that sit in the tree outside this window

We had Neil over a few times to hang out and paint and draw

He’s so much fun to be with and I never stop learning with him

On October 27th, this lovely little lad was born in London, England, and I became a Great Aunt! Yikes! It makes me sound so old. Welcome John Patrick

This made his grandparents very happy indeed. They look ecstatic despite just having flown in from Zimbabwe that morning.

Soon after that Halloween arrived and this little guy showed up on my doorstep. It was such a lovely surprise.

Of course, he got Halloween candy. Quite a few neighbourhood kids also showed up which was a nice change from our last house where no-one came at all.

And then, just like that, it was Christmas. I bought myself a Christmas present while shopping for the family. I just couldn’t resist – I love all things tea

On Christmas day, the whole family plus Johnny and Cathy came for dinner, and we added a trestle table to our regular dining table to accommodate everyone – 8 in total.

It was a fun night

We spent New Year’s Even with Neil so his parents could have a night out and amused ourselves by taking funny face selfies

and making a bed on top of the couch 🙂

The next day all the decorations came back down. I like Christmas, but I’m glad it’s over and we can all get back to normal again, whatever that may be. It looks like the dogs and cats in this family had a hard year and are sleeping it off in the living room

Willow continues to hate Mondays

and Maggie (demon cat) continues to terrorize the other animals.

Until next time …

 

But First, Tequila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Off to Edmonton We Go!!

Hello all! Once again, I haven’t managed to post for a while. September was a very long month for me. It was first time Tori and I have been apart for that long and it was pretty brutal. It went on and on and on. But finally the day arrived for us to move. Tori drove back from Edmonton, picked up a U-Haul trailer on the way and we started loading. Even though we had downsized considerably in order to live comfortably in a 675 sq. foot space, we still underestimated how much stuff we had. There was quite a bit of tools and things in the shed. As a result, the truck bed was piled high with the things we couldn’t fit into the trailer. I must admit that we looked a little bit like the Clampetts! All that was missing was granny in the rocking chair!

We got up at 4 am on a Friday morning so we could catch the first ferry (6:20 am) off the Sunshine Coast. I had the 2 cats in a big dog crate in the back of my jeep. They both howled for about an hour or so, and then resigned themselves to the fact that they were stuck there for a while. Chewy simply curled up and went to sleep on the front seat.

When we got to Jasper a herd of Elk stopped the traffic in order to cross the road. This one was close enough to touch.

Shortly after that, it started snowing which is terrible for the eyes, but it didn’t last for very long, thank goodness.

By the time we arrived in Edmonton at approximately midnight, we were both exhausted. We were looking forward to pumping up our air mattress and getting some sleep. But alas! It was not to be. When we opened our front door we discovered two things:  1) it was freezing, and 2) it hadn’t been fully cleaned out from the last tenant!

After taking a look at the thermostat and then the furnace, we realized that the gas company had not turned on our heat, even though I had set it all up a couple of weeks prior so this very thing wouldn’t happen. I also noticed that all the windows were wide open! Much wailing and gnashing of teeth went on on my part until Tori reminded me that he has a lovely, brand new big truck sitting in a truck yard not five minutes from where we live, where we can spend the night in relative comfort and warmth. We left the cats on a couple of duvets in a bedroom in the house and took the dogs and ourselves to the truck.

Even though we were exhausted, I woke up 4 hours later eager to sort everything out and get on with the business of moving. After a lovely warm shower, some coffee and breakfast, I called the landlord and voiced my disappointment in how they left the house. He was very apologetic and made some excuse about being out of town and his workers not doing what they were supposed to do. He promised he would get people there right away – which he did. Looking at the house in the light of day, it wasn’t as bad as I had thought, except it looked like the ceiling fans had never been cleaned. Ever.

Still, that was an easy fix.

A couple of hours later, Alex arrived with Neil. He and Tori worked tirelessly to get everything offloaded, while I cleaned, put boxes in their respective rooms and looked after Neil. Neil just wanted to do what I was doing – he “cleaned” and unpacked and ate and cleaned and unpacked, all the while talking non-stop!

The gas company told me that they couldn’t turn the heating on until Monday. This seemed ridiculous to me, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. Alex put the word out on Reddit and a complete stranger came over and dropped off a couple of heaters for us to borrow until our gas got turned on! My faith in the human race was restored.

Later on Na-mee arrived and we ordered take out and sat at the dining room table to our first family meal in a long time.

The next day, Alex was back again to help Tori offload his tools and bike that had been in storage at Clare’s house since the beginning of September. That evening we sat on our deck in the sunshine and had a well-deserved couple of drinks.

And my rose bush, which was stuffed into the back seat of Tori’s truck, seemed to survive unscathed.

The house is mostly unpacked and semi set up. Willow seems to think that the empty boxes and my grocery bin is her bed

Now that we have double the space, we need another couch and some curtains. And nothing seems to match anymore, so I’ll be working on that shortly. The basement needs a little tlc which is a much bigger task and is being put off until I can find the motivation to tackle it.

I did, however, set up a little office in a sunny corner of the living room/dining area which I love. I can watch the sun rise from here when I have my coffee in the morning. We live in a very pretty and well-established neighbourhood and the neighbours that we’ve met seem very nice.

I also managed to hang a couple of pictures including the one that my school friend and partner in crime (don’t ask!) painted for me recently as a gift. This photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s absolutely beautiful and I love it!

Last weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada. Na-mee’s parents were visiting from Vancouver and she and Alex invited us all for dinner. Unfortunately, Tori had to work, but we all made a side dish. I did the brussels sprouts

and the sweet potato pies

everyone brought something, and the kitchen was a flurry of activity getting everything done on time

Some things never change – the “kids” are still at the kids table 😀

After dinner we played a couple of games which was fun. All in all, it was a wonderful evening.

So glad we made this move.

Until next time …

 

But First, Tequila

 

Summer Days and a New Adventure!

I’ve been taking advantage of the beautiful summer weather and walking around our area, exploring places I’ve never been to – so magical.

Things are changing here, once again. Continue reading Summer Days and a New Adventure!

Summer! Good Friends – And Our New Store Launch

Hello everyone. How are you all? We’re all fine here, although it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride and a huuuuge learning curve which has been both exhilarating and panic-ridden all at the same time.

We launched our online store, homequestdecor.com and I became mired in learning all about FaceBook ads, SEO, social media marketing and the like. It quickly became apparent that dropshipping was not the route we wanted to go. Most of the suppliers are in China and the shipping times are just too long. Nobody wants to wait more than two weeks for their stuff.  And I wasn’t very happy with the quality of the products either. I don’t just want to sell all sorts of random home decor stuff, I want to sell a specific type of home decor. More of a farmhouse/beach style like some of the items in the picture below.

homequestdecor

We found 3 suppliers in Canada who sell these types of products and, as soon as we have our business license (hopefully by the end of this week), I can start ordering these lovely things and stocking them in our store. We will be using a fulfillment warehouse to pack and distribute our product with shipping times of between 2 – 5 days instead of 15 – 30. I know that more than a few of these items will be making their way to my house!

The tomatoes that I planted from slices I buried in soil in April

grow your own tomatoes from tomato slices

are now fully grown and starting to flower. Yesterday I saw the beginnings of a tomato on one of them, so it looks like the dandelions I left in for the bees paid off!

grow your own tomatoes

The lavender and herbs are also flourishing in that bed

lavender

 This year we had some volunteer poppies cozy up to the roses

which continue to bloom every year without fail

and we had more strawberries this year than ever before. They were delicious, too. Juicy and sweet.

And lots and lots of wildflowers this year – all over the place

A few weeks ago, we finally got around to cleaning up this eyesore

The remnants of last year’s vegetable garden. Even though we still have garlic in there, I couldn’t bear it any longer, so down she came

and we cleaned it all up as best we could so as to let the garlic continue to grow.

The patio got a bit of a tidy up also. We hung some lanterns

and turned some little glass yogurt jars into candle holders and hung them up along the beam

and then moved the chimes where they could, well, chime

and then just generally cleaned up the whole area to make it a pleasant place to enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine

By that time, it had been over 6 months since we’d been to Vancouver and I was starting to get cabin fever. So I took myself off for a girl’s night out which was just what I needed. I made a couple of new friends too!

The following weekend, Tori and I (and the dogs) spent the weekend at a biker event. We stayed in these cabins

and camped and ate and drank and socialized. It was really cool to see all our friends and people we hadn’t seen for a few months.

Meanwhile in Tenerife, David, my eldest son, has found his niche in the tourist industry and will soon be opening his own coffee shop there. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we can visit him and see this beautiful part of the world. David’s the one on the far right.

And in Edmonton, Neil is having a good summer. We’ll be visiting them in September for his 4th birthday.

Until next time …

But First, Tequila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exciting Things Happening Here

Hello all. It’s been quite a while since my last post. I know I keep saying this, but I can’t believe how time flies.

Lots of really exciting things happening around here. I lost my job somewhere around the last week of March due to the elimination of my department. On the drive home, I decided that I was no longer prepared to work for somebody ever again. I just got tired of relying on someone else for my wellbeing – financial or otherwise – and tired of living in fear that, any day now, my job will be eliminated. During the last month of my employment there, my job became very stressful, to the point where I was in tears most days and I dreaded going to work the next day. So I was somewhat relieved that I didn’t have to go through that anymore.

Over the next couple of weeks I researched various online opportunities. My son David, suggested I look into something called Digital Nomads. These are virtual jobs that you can do from anywhere in the world because they’re all online. I joined a few groups and delved into it a bit further. I finally decided on an ecommerce store selling everything for the home, and signed up for a course on everything to do with that.

It’s been exciting, overwhelming, exciting, overwhelming, exciting. My store is all set up now. I have some awesome suppliers (a lot of trial and error to find them) and I’m now in the marketing phase of my course which I’m enjoying a lot.  I’m hoping for a launch date of June 1st, so watch this space for the link to my new store!

In the meantime, feel free to visit our new facebook page and comment and share!

In the meantime, everything is blooming in our garden. Beautiful Daffodils

daffodils

daffodils

Tulips

Snowflakes

Rhododendrons

and more

and I finally got round to giving my front porch some plant love

the local wildlife have moved in

and Mr. Woodpecker mistaking our shed and patio beam for a tree

We had a bear come through our yard a couple of nights ago. He broke into our shed and stole our little deep freeze.! I kid you not! I found it in the bush a few meters away, completely destroyed. He (or she) had tried to pry it open with not much luck as it was locked. I tell you, you can’t make this stuff up!

April 23 was Tori’s birthday and we spent a quiet evening at home. I made a special dinner. He didn’t want a cake, so I bought an apple pie for dessert and made him blow out the candles on it 😀

 

I’ve been taking the dogs to the beach again now that the weather’s warmed up. Tiki just loves the water

and we spent a windy afternoon at Davis Bay a couple of weeks ago with hot chocolate in hand

Last weekend, we eventually got round to having lunch at a restaurant in Gibsons we’ve been meaning to go to for some time now. It’s called Drift Cafe & Bistro. We sat on the patio overlooking the bay

and sipped on lovely white wine. Their menu is small, but has a good selection of food. Tori chose the Vegetarian Sandwich which he found to be delicious, and I chose the Roasted Chicken Sandwich – equally delicious. We spent a very relaxing few hours there.

We’ve been talking to little Neil on the phone – he’s growing up so fast. He loves spending time with his Dad

We’re hoping to go to Edmonton for his 4th birthday in September.

Not much else going on. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with the link for me new store!

Cheers!

But First, Tequila

 

 

 

Spring – Right on Time

HellOooo all. I hope you are all well. Isn’t that the most beautiful sunset ever? This photo was taken by a fellow Sunshine Coaster – just stunning.

Things are wonderful here on the Sunshine Coast although it’s been pretty busy these past few weeks with what seems like all work and no play. But the days are getting lighter and sunnier and so this weekend I’m going to “dust” off our deck and clean everything up in preparation for after work drinks, barbecue suppers and after dinner tea.

The garden is coming alive again with little crocuses poking their heads up all over the place

and primulas

And the daffodils and tulips are growing bigger by the day

Our garlic is really growing nicely and is now twice the size of when that photo was taken – about a week ago

To continue with “operation clean up” from the Fall, we bought some lovely pots for our front porch along with some little bunnies that I found, oddly enough, in the drug store

In a few weeks we’ll plant lovely shade flowers and herbs in here such as lemon grass, fuchsia, primula bulleyana, sweet woodruff, cascading lobelia, viola, double impatiens, and zinnia.

Until next time …

 

But First, Tequila

Furniture Upcycle (continued), Breakfast Bars and Snow!!

No Bake Blueberry-Lemon Snack Bars

It’s been unseasonably warm these past couple of months and while the rest of Canada was chiseling the ice of, well, everything, we we experiencing quite the opposite. However, all that ended last weekend when we woke up to this a couple of Sundays ago

So we stayed indoors that day and puttered around. I did some baking which I don’t do a lot of because, to be quite honest, I don’t like very much and, therefore, I’m not very good at. It’s too much of an exact science for me. My mother was the master baker in our house. But I’ve been trying for the longest time to find breakfast-type foods that Tori can pack to work with him. He doesn’t have access to a kitchen or microwave at work, so I needed to find something that he can eat on the job, so to speak. I found a lovely blog called Making Thyme for Health which was the answer to all my breakfast prayers, and made Morning Glory Breakfast Cookies (cookies for breakfast – yeah, baby!)

Morning Glory Breakfast cookies

and No-bake Blueberry Lemon Snack Bars

No Bake Blueberry-Lemon Snack Bars

Very yummy – the No-Bake Blueberry-Lemon Snack Bars also make a perfect after-supper treat. In fact, I ate most of them! To read more about our healthy-eating journey, click here.

Tori continued with our furniture upcycle/refresh project and finished one of the kitchen islands.

The green is a very bold colour for us, but I saw a similar kitchen in a magazine a few months ago and fell in love. The kitchen was completely white with lime green accents and the effect was incredible. Our plan is to paint the other kitchen island to match the first one, and then paint lime green on all the kitchen cupboard door and drawer knobs. Continuing the bold trend, I ordered a white (yes, white – yikes) slip covers for our living room love seat which used to be this blue/gray colour

It now looks like this and I’m beginning to wonder how I’m going to keep it that colour with the dogs and cat

You’ll also see the finished product of our end table that we painted blue and white from it’s original red colour. To refresh your memory on this, click here.

We still have a couple of things to complete – our TV stand. If you’ve been following these posts, you’ll remember that I painted one shelf to see if it would work out.

tv stand makeover

and our shoe stand, which used to be a book case. My kitchen letter project was delayed a little due to some kind of drill and/or bit problem (I must confess, I wasn’t really listening when Tori tried to explain it because I don’t really understand how it all works). When I suggested that he just bang some nails into them, the C and T broke, so we had to buy some more letters and paint them

But clever Tori figured it out and here’s the finished product

 

I LOVE it!

The snow is already melting and the days are getting lighter and warmer. This weekend we bought some new rugs for house and some stuff for the garden, so hopefully it won’t be too long before we can continue with Operation Clean Up.

Until next time …

 

But First, Tequila