Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A winter wonderland

We woke up this morning to this....

This is a huge snowfall for November.  It came from the U.S. and I think of all those poor people who are travelling for American Thanksgiving tomorrow.  This will play havoc with the airports, to say nothing of the roads!!
But isn't it beautiful?! This is our shed at the bottom of the garden - It looks like someone just planted a perfect layer of snow on the roof.

Remember the big maple tree I mentioned that is in our front garden? Well here it is in all its flocked glory!! Leaves are long gone I'm afraid.

I'm not sure how much we got, but from the look of Wendell's car, I would say about a good 25-30cm.

Our front porch looks even more "Christmassy" now.

These were my footprints as I went out to take some photos. I don't know if you can really see how deep this snow really was!

Merry Christmas everyone!

We leave for Toronto tomorrow to go and spend a few days with Adam & Alicia.  The roads will be fine by then and we are looking forward to a nice visit.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quilt label and a giveaway!

Isn't blog world great?!  Thanks to Elizabeth (check out her blog - it's lovely!), I did a label for the quilt in cross stitch. Don't know why I didn't think of that before as I have done many a cross stitch project.  I did some binding on it and then hand stitched it to the back of the quilt. 

Now it's in the washing machine getting that lovely soft and aged look.

I have been enjoying reading so many lovely blogs lately.  When Wendell and I were first married we told each other how we used to look at young families and dream of the day that we would have a little family and home of our own.  Family was, and still is, something that is very important to us and dear to both our hearts.  To this day, if we go for a walk in the early evening and the lights are on in people's homes, I love to peek inside and see the coziness of a home.  Call me nosy, but I just love to see people at home enjoying all that goes with family life (I don't mind seeing how they decorate either!).  I think that's one of the reasons I love to read blogs.  People often say that they are writing just mundane, everyday stuff - but it's the everyday stuff that makes up our lives. At the end of it all, it's what we do with our time here that matters.  If we have spent it trying to serve others, we will find that in doing so we have found true joy.  A great King once said that "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God".  I believe that with all my heart. As women and especially as Mothers, we serve a lot, and I think that's why we love our families so much.  We love those we serve. So don't get bogged down by your everyday responsibilities.  Especially young Moms, remember that you are doing the greatest job in the world.  Enjoy every day and find joy in the simple things in life. 

Now, because I have had so many lovely comments on my blog lately, and have been introduced to many new people, I have decided to have my first giveaway.  So I have a copy of this little book for someone.

There are some really cute projects in here.  These wrist warmers are lovely (I actually love the bag!)

Love the soft colours of this blanket

This looks like a bag I would have carried as a teenager.

And these teddies are adorable

So here are the rules.  Follow my blog and leave a comment on this post.  I will mail overseas, so don't let that stop you. I will choose a winner on December 3rd, so you will have it in time for Christmas.  Good luck!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Look at me....two posts in two days

I'm feeling a little under the weather today. Sniffles and itchy throat so I thought a day in would be good for the soul.  The wind is howling outside and was really heavy during the night - enough to blow down one of the little Christmas trees on either side of our front door!

Speaking of Christmas trees...

It's that time of year again at the Wagner home!
We had our annual tree trimming party last Sunday and invited our family and friends (who feel like family!)

 The dining room table is covered with the ornaments and everyone takes their pick and starts to decorate.

This year, Norah was old enough to put the star on the top of the tree (with the help of Uncle Alex!)

She was a little overwhelmed at the number of people, but sure enjoyed the treats afterwards!! As you can see, some of the younger ones had their PJ's on for the evening - maybe we should all do that next year - don't you think?!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A finished quilt and some bread baking

This is the quilt I started for Rebekah & Alex before their wedding.  She chose the fabric and it is a mixture of two lines from Bonnie & Camille for Moda called "Marmalade" (you'll love this one Anne!) and "vintage modern".  She also chose the design as she wanted something very simple (that's Bekah's taste).  I put it aside for a while with the upheaval of moving her stuff out and getting my sewing room moved upstairs.  But once that was done there was no excuse and I got stuck in again.

This is a large quilt and measures 95" x 95" and is made for a queen size bed as shown here on our bed.  It was way too big for me to quilt on my little sewing machine so I took it to the quilter and chose this scroll type design which is actually called "surf" (is that appropriate for our family or what?!)

I love the soft flow of the design and am very pleased with how it turned out.  I am trying to come up with a label for it.  In the past I have sewn on a label with a personal message in a permanent washable marker, but the time and money put into this quilt deserves something more and I don't know quite what to do. It also has a white plain background so I don't want to do something which will stand out too much.  Any suggestions from any quilters out there?

For our 32 years of married life we have tried to have some food storage put away in case of emergencies and use and rotate it.

For this reason, we store what we eat.

We have a large supply of wheat and basics as well as day to day food.

Throughout the years we have "inherited" wheat that has been given as people have moved or downsized.

As you will see here, we are using wheat from as long ago as 1978 (before we even got married!)  Wheat is a wonderful thing to store because if stored properly, it will last indefinitely.  So what do I do with all that wheat you may ask?

Well, I have a wheat grinder and I grind it into flour.

Then use it in my baking. While we don't eat a lot of bread anymore, I still love to bake it.  On Friday I did just that and thought I would take you on a step by step process. The kernels are passed through the grinder

To make this delicious flour.  If you have never smelled freshly ground whole wheat flour you are missing something special. Whole wheat flour has the most nutrition if used right away, so I only grind as much as I need.  If I do grind a little extra I will freeze it as that prolongs the nutritional value.

These little granules are lecithin and I use it in my bread dough. It has many uses but in bread dough it helps the even distribution of ingredients and is an enhancer to the dough.
I buy this in bulk and keep it in my freezer.

I love my Kitchenaid mixer for any baking, but it really comes into its own when making bread. Years back, I used to do all my kneading by hand and it was labour and time intensive.  This little beauty does the majority of the work!

When is comes out of the mixing bowl, I simply divide the dough

Shape it into loaves and let it rise for an hour

Then bake and enjoy the wonderful aroma throughout the house - not to mention the delicious taste!

There is something very rewarding about making bread.  It is a staple of life and being able to provide it for my family has given me great satisfaction over the years.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Back from the seaside

We were in Ocean Park, Maine for a week at the end of October and I thought it was about time I posted some photos.  This is the beautiful Billow House where we stay in the Spring and Fall. I had accidentally hit some button on my camera and this setting came across on some of the photos.  I kind of like the antique look -- no idea how I did it though!!

We are literally on the beach when we stay here (just like our cottage in the summer).  We were here for hurricane Sandy last year.  Now you can see why our children were a little nervous for us!
But we were fine and weren't worried as we kept a close eye on things and thankfully we didn't see it nearly as bad as those poor folks in New Jersey and New York!

I love being near the water even though I don't actually swim and have a fear of water when I'm in it!

We love it here in the summer, but it really is a different world when we come in October.  We have the beach all to ourselves, except maybe some dog walkers now and then.  We actually prefer the Fall to be honest as everywhere is so quiet. You lucky people who live at the sea will understand what I mean.

I couldn't resist taking this photo.  This house is being raised to have a basement installed.

This was our first day there in a little place called Biddeford Pool
I love the Fall colours.

On the Tuesday we went to visit our beautiful Boston temple. The grounds are so well manicured and this plant (which I love) is called angel trumpets. Isn't it beautiful?

 Here is my BLT panini (bacon, lettuce and tomato)

Which we ate here at a picnic table while we watched the waves.

I have decided that this "little" house will do for me quite nicely thank you. Don't you think it's the perfect beach house?!

But as the little one below is on the market for $1.5 million, I can only guess what "my" beach house would sell for!!! Oh well, I can dream I guess!

My sweetie with his camera

Look what we found all the way across the Atlantic!

Right in someone's front garden!

We always hit Freeport for some shopping at our favourite store

They even had their Christmas displays up before we left.

Our little reading nook at the Billowhouse

Our summer cottage at 1 Casco Ave

We have booked a long weekend over Valentine's day at the Billowhouse next year. First time we will experience the beach in winter.  I'm going to try my hand at snow shoeing!
We love this place and feel very blessed to have found it. It takes us 7 1/2 hours to drive there and we are envious of all you folks in the UK who live close to the water (let's face it, everyone lives close to the water at home!) However, we also know we live in a very beautiful place ourselves.  We wouldn't trade it for the world. If we can't have England, then New England will suffice!