Monday, December 31, 2012

Gifts of Winter

I was watching a documentary last evening. It was called Life Below Zero and was about the attitudinal differences among the citizens of different countries in the northern parts of the world; some celebrate winter, others (Canadians) gripe about it more than in the past.

While on a walk together, a friend mentioned her intention to embrace winter, to get out and enjoy the season. I like that idea very much. The clouds may have rolled in, but we started off with a brilliant blue sky covering the dark trees and fresh, white snow. A ribbon of running creek held everything together; it was a frosty gift of an afternoon.

Speaking of gifts, one arrived from Fiona of Raindrops and Daisies . I was the fortunate winner of her recent giveaway.

Fiona was a bit concerned when the beautiful gramophone tree ornament seemed to be taking its time on the trek from Ireland to Canada, but arrive it did, on December 24th, just in time for Christmas. Guess who I'll be thinking of each year as I hang it.

I can just imagine charming, old songs spinning on this instrument. An episode of Downton Abbey included a scene where the gramophone played Look for the Silver Lining

 "When e'er a cloud appears in the blue.
Remember some where the sun is shining,
And so the right thing to do,
Is make it shine for you."

I've surmised that Fiona is the type of person who pays attention to details and spreads a bit of sunshine. I had made a passing comment, in a blog post, about liking tea towels. Fiona mentioned that in her card and decided to send this gorgeous flock of birds my way. Completely generous, completely unexpected, completed appreciated.   

Fiona, thank you for both of these wonderful gifts.

If you aren't familiar with the Raindrops and Daisies blog, you can find it here. Fiona has a Green Day meme on Fridays that may interest you, either as a reader or participant. I know she'll make you welcome.

There are many gifts of winter: scenic beauty, cozy interiors, frothy hot beverages, pots of simmering soup, walks in the woods, and more. As well, the kindness of visitors to this blog and my Facebook page add a touch of warmth to chilly days.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Note: My wintertime link-up, Sunlit Sunday, will resume for 2013 
on the first Sunday in January.
Please see the tab at the top of this page for further details.

I'm pleased to be linking with Fiona's "Green Day" at Raindrops and Daisies.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Little Things

Here are a few Christmastime photos. 

They remind me of the value of "little things" .

Especially now.

a lantern from a special friend

some lights from my tree, which is placed by the window 
and therefore enjoyed by my neighbours

a  completed, knitted gift


a bit of baking, 

and there

and more to share

Thank you for taking the time to visit.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Little Bit of Green

As I write this, December is just around the corner. Perhaps there will be some snow for a white Christmas, but there isn't any yet.

As a matter of fact, there are some bits of green still persisting in the garden. 

For example, this mint. 

I've tried to eradicate it, but it returns repeatedly. 
I should pick some and dry it.

Drying a bunch of sage may well be a good idea too. It would go so well with chicken or turkey.

As for a couple of bedraggled rosemary plants, I've brought them inside, put them in pots and will see if they survive in my kitchen. Do you ever have something roasting in the oven with rosemary on it? The aroma is fabulous!  

If you have any tips on how to ensure a long and happy life for these two plants, please pass them along. I tried to keep one in the house before; it was an abysmal failure. However, as the old saying goes, "Where there's life, there's hope."


The orchid,  meanwhile, is a happy houseplant. It just sits there, in its purple clay pot, looking splendid with glowing, white blooms and thick, leathery leaves. I'd love to take some credit, but the thing seems indestructible and the flowers last for months.

There you have it, even with the leaves gone from the trees, there is still a bit green to be found . . .

and, increasingly, some cheery red is creeping in to keep it company.

I'm pleased to be linking to Fiona's "Green Day" over at Raindrops and Daisies. 
Thank you for your visit. It's always a pleasure to read your comments. 
You can also find "My Little Home and Garden" on Facebook, here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

✯ A Rustic Star

A few weeks ago, a wind storm blew a branch from my neighbour's maple tree into my yard. I figured I'd cut it into pieces so that it could be taken away with any remaining garden waste and turned into compost.

Then I had another idea.

It was time to try a craft!

I had spotted a star made from fallen twigs in a post by The Swenglish Home. (Scroll to "Lollipop Love".)

 Mine is decidedly more rustic-looking. 

To give a sense of scale, each of the 5 branch pieces is roughly 46 cm (18 inches). 
 Some trimming of the garden twine is needed to neaten things up a bit. 

Nevertheless, a star was born.

                                           ✭     ✮     

I'm linking to Rose Chintz Cottage for "HOME".

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Soup's On (#2): Slow Cooker, Super Healthy Chicken Soup

In the interest of eating well, I tried a new soup recipe on the weekend. I'd never bought kale before (which puts me behind the times) and along with the carrots, sweet potatoes, ginger and other pieces of goodness, this concoction is bound to make a body happy!
 It can't hurt!

I do feel rather pure.

It helps make up for the lemon and cranberry muffin I ate at a café yesterday.
Doesn't it?

As you can see, the chicken noodle soup is made in a slow cooker and yields 8 servings. In my case, that means assorted packets are in the freezer, ready to pull out now and again. (At least they'll keep the pumpkin soup company!)

If you'd like to see it, this recipe may be found at the Canadian Living website, here. There is even a brief video showing how it is made. Easy and delicious works for me!

If you have a favourite soup recipe that you have blogged about, you're invited to put a link on My Little Home and Garden's Facebook page. Let's all stay warm!

Thank you so much for visiting. 
I love receiving your comments and will catch up on replies and visits over the next couple of days.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Soup's On: Pumpkin

As the days get colder, there is something about a hearty soup that warms one up from head to toe.

Having enjoyed pumpkin soup in little tea houses, but never having made it myself, I was looking forward to testing a new recipe.

With a friend coming for lunch, it was a good time to try it. 

I know, conventional wisdom says you don't test a recipe on company; for me, it's a perfect opportunity.

When my lunch guest said "yes" to a second helping, I knew the soup was a "keeper". If you'd like to make it, the recipe is from the "Canadian Gardening" site. Here's the link.

The recipe suggested fresh pumpkin purée; it is from, after all, a gardening site! Mine came from a tin; pumpkin growing is not in my limited agricultural repertoire. Not having pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds filled in nicely. One more thing, I ran a hand blender around it to break up the onions and create a smooth texture.

Some ricotta cheese biscuits, 

a couple of wonky-shaped apple dumplings,

 and that was lunch.

Better still, having made a large pot of pumpkin goodness, I have leftovers.

I sure hope it freezes well . . . 

Do you have a favourite soup recipe?

Given the recipe is from a "green" gardening site, I'm heading to Ireland to link to Fiona's "Green Day".

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Homey Pastimes - Starting

Now that the gardening season has ended, it's time to become reacquainted with other homey pastimes.

There's a pretty-in-pink piece of neglected knitting . . .

and this warm, wooly, would-be sweater as well. 

Are you familiar with Stephanie's blog entitled Millefeuilles? She lives in France, does such lovely knitting, creates whimsical hares, and weaves wonderful stories with her words.

There are books to read; these two were recommended by a dear friend who has a poet's soul. 

The title of this book mocks me, yet I plan to give it another try. Any fault does not lie between its covers, but with my fingers.  

I have a long way to go to develop Claudia's talent for crocheting, evident south of the border at Mockingbird Hill Cottage.

Before I try to learn that new skill, there is bread to bake . . .

and, perhaps tomorrow, banana bread or muffins will follow.

Of course, there is always a frightful-looking closet to be organized, including the one that houses yarns, paints, fabrics and other assorted bits and pieces.

Then, there is decision to be made about whether I will try to design some Christmas cards. I made cards, for the first time, a few months ago and enjoyed the project.

I'd also like to dust off the sewing machine and try making a rag doll.
 Just because.

After enjoying, for some time, the fresh, fabric (and yarn) creations on the English blog, Helen Phillips, it's time for me to play.

Wish me luck, please, with these homey pastimes. As the cold days envelop my small, warm home, I want to read thoughtful ideas, prepare good food, and know the pleasures of creativity that are second nature to so many of you.
Thank you for visiting. 

I'm linking with Rose Chintz Cottage for "Home".

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Woodsy Walks and Fertile Fields

I do like autumn. 

There is something soul-satisfying about shuffling through the leaves on a forest floor and following a path that meanders through a myriad of trees:
red pines 
and more.

It was a glistening, golden morning filled with shimmering, fluttering dancers. 
A few hills were a clear reminder that I need to walk more regularly. Are you a walker?

After the hike, I drove home by a scenic route, past many farms. 

That's one thing I like about my part of the world, rural areas are nearby.

It seems I wasn't the only one appreciating the day.

Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comments.

Here's wishing you a wonderful week and some time to enjoy the outdoors.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, and surely harvest time is something for which to be grateful.

I'm linking with Mary for "Mosaic Monday" at Little Red House.

Have a lovely week. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

At a Loss for Words

Do you ever find

that you have very little to say?

Except for, "Hello, I hope all is well with you."


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