Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Christmas EVER!!

Hidey ho ho ho folks,I hope this Yuletide season has treated you well.This Christmas was packed full of fun and friends for me.

It started with the annual Wreck Beach Preservation Society Christmas Dance held at the beautiful Heritage Hall just a few blocks from where I live. There were about 10 different bands playing, all friends of mine from the beach. I am very blessed to know so many talented people. It was a wonderful evening of great music and good times catching up with everyone I haven't seen since summertime.

The following week my roomate decided to host a Christmas dinner here at her house. Somehow I got kitchen duty and ended up cooking a full on turkey dinner with all the trimmings for 20 people. Didn't know I had it in me as I usually get invited somewhere for Christmas dinner and have never been the host before. Luckily it all turned out awesome and no one got food poisoning, so I can add that to my resume. Martha Stewart would have been so proud of us,it's a gorgeous heritage home decorated to the hilt and the most beautifully set table I have ever seen, loaded with scrumptious food.

Christmas Eve I was invited to another friend of mine's cabin in the woods for a traditional Czech celebration. A group of 10 of us drove up to Cypress Mountain( a local ski resort in North Vancouver) and hiked into the forest to the rustic 100 year old cabin nestled in the snow covered pines. We chose a small tree behind the cabin, read a blessing to it then decorated it with all things edible for the local wildlife. There were pineapple and red pepper rings, bird seed bells, strings of cranberry berries ,a star made from an apple and carrot sticks and cooked noodles for tinsel. Candles were lit with a prayer for each one and sparklers were added on the tree. A small birdhouse nearby was also decorated as a tribute to the spirits of the woods. It was the most beautiful sight to see the tree twinkling in the snow covered forest. It didn't take long for the whiskyjacks( a kind of bird) to find us and they were soon eating right out of our hands.

Some of our crew at the rest stop at Cypress Mountain

Our Cabin in the woods

Getting the tree decorated

Decorated birdhouse

Our hosts posing with the tree

Proud tree decoraters

The tree all lit up with candles and sparklers

Feeding the whiskyjacks

My Turn

Feasting by candlelight

We then made our way indoors where a thoughtful caretaker had prelit a fire in the woodstove for us. The cabin has no electricity or running water so many candles were lit and we shared a potluck meal of foods that needed no preparing on-site. Eggnog was drunk, stories were shared, presents exchanged and smiles were shared by all.

I am admittedly not a big fan of snow but I do love to see it at Christmas. Living in the Wet Coast of Canada we often have no snow in December and wake up to Christmas drizzle and grey skies. Going to the cabin was perfect,there was snow all around us, decorating the trees and the ground, but the roads were dry all the way to the parking lot, so we didn't have to deal with the inconviences snow can bring.

The next day we cleaned up the cabin and made our way back to town. That evening I went to another friends house for a full on traditional turkey dinner. Shelley and Todd have had me over their home for Christmas dinner almost every year for the 13 years Ive known them. Bless their hearts for adopting me on a day when I can't be with my own family and giving me the perfect experience every time. Her home is gorgeous,filled with beautiful antiques,and its always decorated with all the holiday trimmings. A fire crackles in the fireplace and the dinner table looks right out of a foody magazine with yummy homemade wine to wash it all down with.

My gracious hosts, Todd and Shelley

The cheery fireplace

A closeup of the wonderful houses that Shelley made to deorate her mantle

The decorated dining room

A cool old radio that Todd refurbished into a hidden bar

Boxing Day I dragged myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 8 am and by 9 I was shopping for bargins at Homesense. I manged to spend over $200 (but saved $140) on all the gorgeous ornaments I would need to decorate my own home next year. It's incentive to me to actually manifest this home of mine. I dragged my booty home and spread it all out on the floor and just looked at it all with delight for a few hours before packing most of it away to join the rest of my stuff in storage.

My new Christmas treasures

Later that afternoon I headed over to my friend Dee's house where she was hosting a Boxing Day jam for all her beach friends. It was a wonderful gathering, lots of good music, especially when they started to sing carols. It's so much better to sing them yourself , then be inudated with them as muzac at the mall.

Making beautiful music at Dee's

All in all it was the perfect storybook Christmas.The only pea in the mattress was that I couldn't be with my own family or David( he went home to Ontario for a long overdue visit with his own family). My brother has offered to buy me a ticket to visit them in Ottawa next year. I am so looking forward to that. The last time I spent Christmas with my whole family in one room was 30 years ago. I'm hoping my Dad can join us so we can be all together again. But until that happens , I have to thank my Wreck Beach family from the bottom of my heart for taking me into their hearts and homes and making this holiday a most amazing experience. Bless you all, each and every one of you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Kinda,Sorta Like Living on a Boat

Except I don't get rocked to sleep and I don't have a bilge to worry about. In the best interest of both David's and my sanity, I finally got around to moving out. A good friend of mine had a spare room in her basement and until I can make further headway on building my floathome, I have decided to hang my hat here for the time being. I am living in 125 square feet which is compact living in the extreme. Good thing I had the practice of small space living on my boat, because I am even more condensed now if that is possible.

I have a small room, 9x10 feet, which is my bedroom and kitchen with a 5x5 closet that holds my clothes and computer. I have access to a bathroom with a shower on the next floor and there is a door from my room out to the garden. I miss the wide open space that we had at Davids but have adapted to my present conditions quite well.

My kitchen/bedroom

View of the bed,dresser and entrance to the closet/office

View from my doorway into the yard/looking at the garage

View from the garage looking at my doorway beside the stairs to the upper deck.

Casper ( my cat) wasn't to happy for the first week here as there are 3 cats living upstairs and in his mind, all critters are either predator or prey. He has since come to terms with sharing the house and yard and has made himself at home upstairs with his 3 new girlfriends. He continues to amaze me with his adaptability with my crazy life and continues to grow and become more loving all the time. Such a change from the terrified,shy guy that he was when I first found him. I am so grateful he is in my life, he is such a lovebug these days. It's wonderful to have another breathing being to come home to and cuddle.

Casper the Lovebug

My van is on it's last legs these days, barely starting most days and a meriad of funny noises that give me great cause for concern when driving. Luckily, one of Davids tenents had an old Geo Metro that he had no use for and gave it to me. I am so happy to have a reliable vehicle ( and super cheap on gas, only 3 cylinders!!) especially with winter breathing down our neck.

I'm really enjoying living in a real neighborhood again. Plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes within a few blocks walk and lots of lovely old heritage homes to drool over all around me. I am much closer to all my jobs now, which translates into a few more minutes of sleep time in the mornings ( it's a good thing :) )

In other news.... Here is a picture of one of the big barges that come down our river, gives you an idea why we get nervous about them losing control and hitting the marina. Look how big it is, it's blocking the view of the 3 story condos on the other side

Here is another picture of one of the boats down here that sank a few weeks ago. It had been moved from one location to another and the owner said not to worry about hooking up the bilge as it was late and cold and he wanted to go home, saying he would be back in the morning to deal with it. An old patch on the side had fallen off unbeknowgst to any of us and coupled with a night of torrential rainfall through an uncovered hatch caused it to fill with water and go down overnight. David got it floating again after 2 days of non-stop work which it looks like he won't be getting paid for as the owner won't return any of his phone calls. Tuff business, this living on the water. Makes me kinda glad to be a landmonkey again. That being said, I miss the water terribly and can't wait to get my house built and hang out with the beavers,otters and herons again. Hopefully that day comes sooner than later.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Romantic Home

Ive been following another blog of late,called My Romantic Home.

It has lots of wonderful cottage decorating ideas that I just love such as this great way to recycle old wood windows into a greenhouse garden conservatory.

Today she posted about these architechtual appliques that can be used to dress up your thrift store finds. I can see me buying a ton of these.Check out their site for lots of cool appliques.

I love how she applied one to her bed and what a difference it makes.

Since Ive been reading her blog , I have been collecting thrift store finds that have that cottage feel to them. Unfortunatly, I get stuff so fast and toss it in my storage locker before I remember to take pics. I managed to take a few though.

Here is a rug I got for 45 dollars, its a beautiful soft green colour( for some reason it looks blue in the picture but its not, its green

I found these cool looking jars in thrift stores, the smaller one was in a different store, couldnt believe that I found a matching one.

I love this old candle holder

I found a deal on these at Canadian Tire of all places and bought a dozen of them. They have beautiful purple glass in them. I always wanted a relaxing pillow room and think these would lend the perfect ambience

More junk store treasures....two wonderful fanciful candle holders and a set of small hand- made birdhouses for the patio. I also got a lovely table and chairs that although they are made of resin, have a beautiful rose design in them that makes them look like wrought iron from a distance.Forgot to take a pic of them before they went in the locker.

I really pleased I was able to find two of these containers which I will mount under my home for waste water tanks.They are 4ftx4ftx3ft so should hold lots.Ive been trying to get some of these for months now, so glad that issue is out of the way as I need to install them first before I start building anything.

I got 4 of these windows from a house demo. I'm keeping two for myself and gave David the larger one with the orange frosted glass for his bathroom and the other one for the bedroom loft. It was dark as Hades up there and with no opening to air it out in the heat, quite unbearable on hot sunny days. He just installed it yesterday and what a HUGE difference. It makes the whole house look different to have so much light coming from upstairs and the view is awesome. We laid in bed and watched the full moon rise last night,gorgeous. It also nice to be able to see whats coming down the river at us without having to run downstairs to investigate strange noises. The other night a barge went by and almost took out the other shore from us. Very scary to watch three tugboats grinding away at the hull of the barge trying with all their might to push it away from our neighbors floathome.They just squeaked by with inches to spare.

Our new view from the bedroom

The marina as seen from upstairs

I cant wait to get my place built, as the seasons change, I find myself so restricted as absolutely everything I own is in storage. I may have to go buy a whole new winter wardrobe as I can't find my clothes and don't want to rip out my storage looking for them. In the meantime, I will continue to shop....sigh, life is hard :)