Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I got a surprise the other day, and it was a really good one.
Darla from More Family and Flowers sent me a package when I won her give away.
I love getting packages, there is this wonderful element of surprise, and a connection with the sender, life is good when you get a package.
This one was superb, among the items it contained were a homemade delectable candle, a beautifully painted terra cotta pot, can't wait until I find a little something to fit snugly inside it.
And a "I feel famous" hand painted T-shirt. She blocked out the words Muddy Boot Dreams on it. Brown, my absolute favorite color, and it has a heart on it. I heart this T-shirt. Love it!
Bootsie insisted on being my model for the shot.
Thank you Darla. I might just have a little surprise for you in the works, watch your mailbox.
I also wanted to share this great, simple recipe from a wonderful food blogger Dinner with Julie.
She practically saved the day for me. Last minute gift ideas for those who work. Chocolate truffles, and they were so simple to make!
She practically saved the day for me. Last minute gift ideas for those who work. Chocolate truffles, and they were so simple to make!
I made Earl Grey Tea, and Cherry Chili, infused truffles, packaged them all up, just in time for those drop in visitor's Christmas gifts.
Too bad I can't send them over the border to Darla, but I bet the sniffing dogs at the border would have a fit.
It would almost be worth it....
Monday, December 28, 2009
We rarely get to go home for the holidays with my family up in the Okanagan.
A snow covered 5 hour drive requiring snow tires, or chains, over a mountain pass, that may or may not be closed without warning during winter. You might make it through, but there is always the chance that you may not get back until spring.
Also when you work retail, the hope of more than Christmas day off is very slim. I have made my peace with it, I am not happy, but I live with it.
So when a friend lent us a web cam a few weeks ago, my mind started to whirl. And it wasn't just from the busyness of Christmas.
I downloaded Skype, and found out that Skype to Skype customers can make free calls to one and another. And then the scheming began.
We would connect via Skype to my sister's house and surprise my Mom and Dad. Pretending to have emailed a video of Christmas good wishes to them.
It was fun to sit beside Gar and pretend that this was a taped video. With our little speech and happy wishes almost done, my Mom remarked about seeing themselves in a box visible on the bottom of the computer screen.
This was the point that I told her, that the box was the reason we could see, and hear them. The look of surprise on both my Mom, and Dad's faces was priceless.
We chatted with everyone for a while, talked and laughed. They got to meet Bootsie, he even waved a paw at them with our help.
So although it is not the same as being able to give them a hug in person, it certainly felt that in some ways, we were home for the holidays after all.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The day after Christmas is kind of like a fairground with the rides all packed up and trailered away.
There seems to be ornaments strewn across every surface, the fridge is bulging with turkey leftovers. And I think that Bootsie is hung over.
Just joking about Bootsie, at least I think that I am.
He has been on a extended "staycation" at our house, with very infrequent day trips. Gar is playing the concierge, and I am the masseuse.
He isn't impressed with the level of service that either of us are offering. I have a feeling that he won't be a big tipper.
What does he expect for a
cheap free vacation?
He is lucky we aren't fully booked, and could upgrade him to the presidential suite. Read that as, he takes up most of the bed.
We have returned him to his rightful home many times. One night last week I was even tromping across the street with a squirming cat scratching my best weatherproof jacket, and snow filling my garden clogs. I could barely see with the driving snow covering my glasses, it was dark, and very cold. What I don't do for that cat. And no, I didn't get photos.
He is determined to have his Christmas holiday at our place. Black and white cats have a mind of their own, and he is determined.
My garden is sullen, and pouting, at least those plants that survived the chilly -7 C temperatures. Another apology post to the perennials is in the works. As for any of the more tender plants, well.......that certainly is a big compost pile isn't it?
Bring on the new year.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wishing everyone a very
Jen, and Bootsie.
I think that I am taking a few days off to enjoy that turkey, my family, and friends.
Muddy Boot Dreams would like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas, and I will see you in a few days.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Turkey and I go way back, as far as disastrous events occurring goes. I don't remember my Mother ever having difficulties with turkey's. She merely went to the store, picked out a bird, popped it in the oven, and later we ate it. It was always wonderfully juicy, succulent, and well turkeyish. Did I weep when the turkey forced the oven to blow up, and we lugged the enormous bird up two storeys and across the apartment complex. No, I just carried on. There is nothing that puts me in the holiday mood as much as my oven blowing up. Or the time the turkey never fully defrosted, after hanging around taking up valuable real estate space in the fridge for two weeks. Then after 6 hours in the oven, it still refused to cook. Waking in the middle of the night, making lists, all topped with "Get TURKEY" I knew that I couldn't relax until I had my bird. Even if it meant shopping after working one of the busiest 8 hour shifts of the year. Fighting our way into the parking lot of our local big "W", the super store version, 5 football fields wide, we hustled into the store. Lamenting the fact that the anxious Christmas shoppers with a full day's head start had probably grabbed every available bird and carted them home to their freezers. We were waved through by wilted greeters, who could barely muster a hello, and stunned to find signs on all the doors saying " We regret that the turkey shipment has not yet arrived." Undaunted, surely they must have turkeys, no matter what the signs said, we walked to the back of the store. And we walked, and walked. And such a sight to behold. There were shoppers with glazed looks on their faces circling the open freezers like sharks around a fish dip, glancing from the empty cold storage, to the signs on the doors of the meat section. The remaining aisles were full of only devastation. There was hardly anything left to purchase. Earlier shoppers had run havoc, after all it was only 6 days to Christmas. They had not only grabbed every possible turkey, they had stripped the shelves bare of any produce, staple, or carbohydrates. Sad, and with sore feet, our story doesn't end there. We did finally manage to get our turkey from somewhere else, and it is happily defrosting in the fridge, and as far as I know, the big "W" isn't going to get their million dollar shipment of turkey until next month. Not much demand for them then. Me, I am happily crossing that chore off of my list. And looking forward to a good nights sleep. Just to reassure everyone that I would never, ever think of having a purple poinsettia in my house. These shots were taken at West Coast Flowers garden centre.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I keep having dreams, or maybe it is just wishful thinking that Christmas is almost here. Almost here, as in, any day. Of course it is a few days away, but these dreams are so real. And then I wake up feeling like there is still so much to do, and so little time to do it in. Of course that is a fact, but when you live in denial, that usually doesn't bother you. Denial is a great little town to live in. Yes I know, you thought I lived in White Rock, near the ocean. Yes I do, but my other self lives in Denial, Canada. I even have a postal code, DEN 1AL See Deeeenn IIII all. Denial is such a great place to live that it allows me to sit at the computer reading blogs, instead of doing what I should be doing. Which is? I am not sure, but I know that I should be doing it and fast. Or working, I am doing a lot of that in Denial, sure takes up a good chunk of your day, when you work in Denial. You have to live somewhere other than Reality, when the Christmas music is pumping out of the paging system at full blast. So you can find me in Denial, and busy working at it. All those other chores that I need to do, like Christmas baking, present wrapping, and decorating, they can wait. Things don't move to quickly in Denial. That's why it is such a great place. And I seem to have a lot of friends who live in Denial also, so there is always someone to keep me company.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Brilliant ideas come to you at odd times. But then sometimes brilliant is not the correct term.
Take Bootsie, he waits outside on the potting bench in the cold, and I feel bad about that. So I thought if I hung some jingle bells on the patio door, and taught him to ring them we would know when he wanted in. After instructing Gar to only open the door slightly, reach down and ring the bells, before letting Bootsie in so he would catch on. I realized that it wasn't Bootsie who needed the training. The bells were hung on a long string, that swung with the movement of the door, and immediately got caught in the door jam. Gar pushed, after all he is amazing strong, and then, voila, no more jingle bells. And poor Bootsie, he will still have to wait outside. And I am going to have to buy some new jingle bells.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Ever wonder what goes through a bloggers mind, how they resolve the issues of coming up with new and interesting blog posts for their readers? What spurs them onward, what inspires them? Our journey starts here:
3:00 am - Wake up, start to visualize the next post for your blog. Fall asleep. 4:30 am - Wake up feeling a sense of dread, what will you write about? 5:00 am - Wake up again. Plan in your head the most interesting and visual blog post you have ever written. The eloquence of the phrases makes your heart soar, this is sheer poetry. The best post you have ever been inspired to write. Fall asleep again, dreaming of comments, and happy readers. 6:05 am - Wake up.....again. Realize that you can't recall any of the subject matter of the imagined post. Nor can you recall any of the words, phrases, or photos that you had thought to use. 6:17 am - Pull yourself out of bed, because there is a scratching noise at the patio door. 6:18 am - Open the curtains to reveal a unhappy and impatient cat called Bootsie waiting outside. He looks so cute with his black fur, and snow flakes speckling him, that you tell him to "hold that pose" and run to get your camera. 6:19 am - Bootsie scratches at the glass door as you madly click away. Wondering if the neighbors think that you are just a crazy photographer, or a very cruel person who won't even let stray cats in during a snowstorm. 6:21 am - Wonder what you are going to write about today? 9:15 am - Mention blogging to a colleague, and see a blank look on their face. Wonder what you are going to write about today? 12:17 pm - During a conversation with a customer realize that you have discovered what you are going to write about. Mark it down on a piece of paper and shove it in your pocket. 5:48 pm - Come home, cook dinner, do laundry. Wonder what you should blog about for the next day? Oh right, there was something written on a piece of paper, you put it in your pocket....... oh no. Fish pants out of washer, too late. Wonder what you are going to blog about tomorrow?My apologies for the word verification. It will only be up for a few days. I am having terrible trouble with spammers, and this has already cut it in half.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
They say that close only counts in horseshoes, but close was good enough for me last week. Our local news station, Global BC news, has a weekly contest called "the weather window." I don't make these names up, Wayne Cox did. It features one photo of BC per night, with a weekly winner announced on Fridays. It is seen all over BC. which is pretty cool, and since they upped the ante and started offering a $200.00 gift card to ABC restaurants the competition has been fierce just to get one of your photos featured. I was a lucky contestant again last Wednesday, with Wayne featuring my White Rock sunrise photo. Trust me, it is exciting just to be featured. My sister Turf Toter, up in Armstrong was watching the news, when she realized that Wayne was mispronouncing my name, and that the photo was mine. And my Mom and Dad even managed to see it this time. Last time there was some confusion over which photo was mine. And by the time they figured it out, it was gone. I was working a late shift on Friday night when the winners were announced also but, my manager let me watch it on the bank of TVs that we sell. I stood in anticipation, while Wayne Cox seemingly meandered around describing various weather conditions, knowing that any minute a customer could walk by and require help, or I could be paged. Would I get to see my photo? Would I win? He finally announced the "Weather window contestants" and all five photos flashed by. There was mine! Oh the excitement! "And the winner is........oh......it wasn't mine. But I was close, and that might only count in horseshoes, but it meant a lot to me. I am enabling word verification temporarily since the spam box is overflowing lately. It will only be for a few days, hopefully they will lose interest in my blog by then. Please bear with me. Jen
Monday, December 14, 2009
I wanted to share with you two of my blogging friends who are very creative. And since they both have their own online stores, you might be inspired to fill your Christmas shopping list with their beautiful creations. A Glowing Ember Carolynn has just opened her new Etsy shop. As she says, the paint is still wet from the renovations, drop by and visit her shop. She recently took up knitting again, and the ribbon scarf creations that she is offering would make such a lovely gift for someone on your list. Inspired colors, with delicate tracery in the stitches, and the most exquisite imported Turkish knitting ribbon make these scarfs a year round accessory. Drop by her Etsy shop, or her blog and say hello. And let me introduce you to another Blogger who is a amazing photographer. City Gal Moves To Oz Land. Not only is Susan a great photographer, she has just started making organic dog biscuits, that are getting rave reviews. I am sure they would please the pooch on your list. You can also find her over 150 photo creations in her Wheatgrass Designs Store I recently was fortunate enough to win a give away contest that Susan held. And I got to choose my own calendar from her sidebar. It came in the mail, and is even more beautiful than the blog showed it as. I am loving it, and so looking forward to seeing it hang up in the new year. So check that list twice, and pop on over to both Carolynn, and Susan's sites. I am sure that you will find something that you just gotta have. Jen
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I think that for awhile I had lost my Christmas spirit. Misplaced among the chaos resulting from too many years of retail Christmas. With tinny carols blasting out of paging systems and too many stressed out shoppers taking it out on which ever unsuspecting customer service rep crossed their paths. Too much excess of over decorated, over primped displays of yet another cheaply produced, but expensive to purchase, and not needed "item of the year." My Christmas spirit seemed lost in the warehouse of never ending and overpriced gift items. Rat poop infested fake trees that needed to be rewashed each season, then dolled up, and put out in the hopes of trolling for a customer. In hours spent on your feet, smiling and being pleasant when all you long for is to curl up on the couch with your loved ones. In missing yet another year of spending Christmas with my family, because I don't get time off in December. Something happened today, when I was unpacking boxes of Christmas ornaments. I found my Christmas spirit again, apparently I had packed it away last year. I thought it was lost. Found it in the nostalgia reflected in delicate copper colored glass balls that hung on my family's tree over 4 decades ago. Each year it seems there are less, some are a little worse for wear, but they are so cherished. It also bounced out from little clear ornaments, that Bootsie played with, as I unwrapped them from their layers of tissue. Seeing the joy in his tail as it swished among the tissue, each crinkle exciting him into a frenzy. It was hidden in the treasures that held memories, and each item unwrapped added a little boost to my Christmas spirit. My poor battered, tired, lost Christmas spirit, is now shined up, and sparkling just like our Christmas tree. Looking around at the glimmer, and glow, from the glass balls added to our decor, to the cat bouncing through boxes like a kangaroo, and Gar snoozing in the chair, my Christmas spirit returned. Just like the credit card bills do every January. Only this is one delivery that is worth it.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
There was a lot of interest in the Christmas Moss Baskets that I posted the other day. I thought that I would also let you know about the Christmas planters that would look perfect on your doorstep. You can use any size of container, just tailor the amount of greens to fit the size. Just as easy to make, start with a plastic grocery bag of moist soil, tie the top firmly. Make it enough soil to fit into your planter with a little room for it to settle into. Turn upside down into your planter so the knot is on the bottom. Or if you have a old planter that contains leftover annuals, go ahead and utilize that, you can skip the plastic bag step. Just don't use a planter that contains perennials, the branches might damage the root system. Follow the same idea of starting with angled cut branches that are slightly longer in length. I like to use red dogwood twigs, or even pine as my starter branches. The length is up to you, and depends upon the size of the container. Start them in the centre of the planter, and work your way downwards, using the opposite sides, and turning a quarter of a turn each time. You can refer to the Christmas Moss Basket post here, for further directions. Finish with a nice bow, or other decorations. These are just as easy to make, and very versatile. Make sure to water frequently in order to keep the greens moist and fresh. Enjoy.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
There is something I would like to say.......but Diane Schuller has done a much better job of it than I can. She has written a thoughtful and interesting post called Dear Diane, I took one of your photos, that's OK isn't it? Well actually now that you ask, NO, it is not OK. And I am only one of the people who share their photos online, that isn't happy about it. Please take the time to read Diane's post, think about it, and share it with as many people as you can. Someday you might thank her for saying what we all would like to have the guts to say. Diane is a natural light, on location photographer in Edmonton, and Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. She is a amazingly talented photographer, and you are really going to enjoy looking at her site, Diane Schuller Lifestyle Photography. Tell her that I sent you, just remember, hands off her photos. Jen
Monday, December 7, 2009
I have been visiting a wonderful local garden centre/grower, called West Coast Gardens quite a bit lately. They have just started to carry my Muddy Boot Dreams line of art cards, and I am quite thrilled with that. But I am also happy to see this garden centre sprout from a nice grower style to the destination garden centre that it has become over the last few years. Part of their success is due to a good friend of mine, whom they know as the "energizer bunny." Min is tireless, a amazingly hard worker with a creative streak a mile wide. She was giving a Christmas moss basket demo on the day that we dropped by, and although I did not have my camera, I will try to explain what she did. It is simple, and fast, and a wonderful idea. Take your old moss basket and cut off any foliage that is sticking out. Water well, it is important for the greens to stay hydrated and in the right spot. You might want to work outside for this. Starting at the top of the basket, and using a angled cut, poke assorted greens of approximately 10 - 12 inches into the soil part of the basket. You can vary the length of greens depending on what you have available, and the shorter pieces can be used as filler. Working your way down, and placing greens in opposite sides of the basket, and then rotating the basket a quarter turn, ensures a rounded finished product. Keep repeating the process until you work your way down to the bottom of the basket. If there are any empty spots, fill them with left over greens. When you are done the fun part comes along. Tie a bright Christmas ribbon or two, or three onto the wires, and add some pine cones. Use a good florist wire, because the wind can tear these off easily. If you have some red or white berry branches, or any thing else be sure to add those. Be creative. These lovely evergreen Christmas Moss Baskets do very well outside in the rain, and if yours is hanging under cover, just water it regularly. This keeps the greens moist, and fresh looking. We really enjoyed watching Min talk a mile a minute, as she broke her own creative record and made one of these Christmas Moss Baskets in under 45 minutes. While yours may take a little longer, they are very easy to do. I hope that some of you do attempt to make your own, once you have started they soon will become a fun Christmas tradition. West Coast Gardens is located at 172nd Street in Surrey, BC. Open seasonally, call 604.541.1117 or check out their web site for more information.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Welcome to Hawaii, wish you were here....... Well if you were judging by these shots you just might think that you were receiving a postcard of a beautiful Hawaiian sunset. But no, this is sunrise on White Rock beach. And it was cold, so cold that I needed gloves, and a scarf, and probably a hat. Except, I don't wear hats, unless it is extreme conditions. This wasn't one of them. Welcome to White Rock, wish you were here. See, I knew that if I gringed enough about all the rain, it would stop, and the marvelous sun would come out. Of course with the sun comes the cooler temperatures, but hey, frost covered anything looks wonderful at any time of the day. Who's complaining? I got up really early, to get these shots, and I am sure that you appreciate that. Especially since it was my day off. Now we come to the "missing you" part of my post. I am still around, but I am working, and working, and working. This happens when you work retail at Christmas time. So consequently I have let my blog reading pile up a bit. I am trying to visit everyone, but I read a lot of blogs, and I promise to catch up on my next day off. Meanwhile, enjoy the sunrise, wish you were here.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
We have been breaking some records for rainfall around here. I guess it is just part of life in a rain forest. But before you start thinking that I am down about it, I am not. I have found myself to be very grateful, because the more it rains, the more I appreciate the brief pauses in the downpours. Those rare days when there is this unfamiliar glow coming in the windows we rejoice, the weatherman calls it sun. I am not thrilled however that they always seem to land on days that I am working. Constant water dripping makes you realize that you really appreciate it when it stops. More moisture than the shower, more fog, more mist, more wetness than you can mop up, makes you very grateful for the breaks in the weather. And when the sun comes out, so do all the people, the dog walkers, and the older folks who push their walkers to the mall. Everyone hits the sidewalks to get out there and breath in something other than rain. The parks fill up, and the streets are filled. Some brave souls even venture out into the garden. So bring on the gloomy dark days, the endless rain, and the shivery dampness. When the sun comes out, we Rain Forester dwellers sure know how to party. And on another note, a great big thank you to Lona. From A Hocking Hill's Garden for passing on a best blog award to me. While I don't participate in awards, and such, I really do appreciate being thought of, and I wanted to acknowledge receiving the award. So thank you Lona, I love your blog, it is a beautiful and relaxing place to visit.