Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Newfoundland is an island:  a veritable rock in the north Atlantic where the people are known to be cheerful, generous, fiercely proud and extremely resilient. History shows the extreme hardships that we have overcome and how tough life continues to be for many in this fair isle. Winters are long and harsh: not much of fall is seen and spring is often by-passed. And then comes our short summer season, or what we like to call black fly and Nipper weather! 

I still wake every morning rapturously happy to be where I am. And I often feel a mixture of awe-struck surprise and perplexity at some of the other differences between my 41 years in Nova Scotia and my new life here. So many changes! Most are wonderful -- the proximity to family, my new job, my wee little apartment, the scenery, little chubby hands holding me saying "You okay, Nanny B, you okay?"  My new life is grand!

But one thing that makes me sad is the lack of thrift stores, especially here on the West Coast. Newfoundlanders are not "happy thrifters" like Nova Scotians. Many of the people I know would not be caught dead in "someone else's clothes"! I think it comes from years of Newfoundland being the "have-not" province and the pride that people feel at not just making do here on this literal rock in the Atlantic but at prospering. But I've got a few friends as well as my eldest daughter who love a good bargain. And although the local Salvation Army Thrift Store is not a large one, donations are large and it's well attended. I try to check it out once a week (just so I won't lose my thrifting mo-jo!).

They closed last week for 2 days to pack away summer and put out the fall/winter inventory. I visited a couple of days later and scored big time AND I only spent my allotted amount!

I bought this pretty black & yellow blouse (Northern Reflections) as well as a 3/4 sleeve teal, black and white cardigan (Ricki) and a navy blue with white polka dot cardigan (Old Navy). 

 I also bought a pair of brown dress pants and a fantastic cream and yellow Colombia jacket, perfect for fall. (Just needed an Oxy super-soak and a wash in hot water and it's looks good-as-new.) 
 (PS - The color is not true in these pictures. Sorry!)

The Sally Ann here as well as the 2 others in a 50 km radius have helped me replace things I sold before my move like my rice cooker, mason jars and jigsaws & paperbacks. My sister and I purchased most of the incidentals for her very small, informal upcoming wedding. I found a really cute, opalescent glass boudoir lamp for $2 (with just a temporary shade on it at the moment).

But the thrifted item I most love is this fantastic lamp from the early 70's with an antique brass filigree foot and an amber globe with black felted pattern. Now, I've been searching for years for a colored glass globe-style lamp base; and although this is not exactly what I had in mind, it kept calling to me until I paid the $5. I proudly marched out of the store, while the locals stood mouths-agape in shock and horror. "Wass dat daft woman totin' outta here, for da love a God? Das h'ugly as sin, my dear!"  But beauty is in the eye of the beholder; and this beauty has won a place in my heart as well as on my end table.

$30 for the shade (EGAD!), another $4 for the tri-light; not as thrifty as I'm used to but still an excellent price for this sized table lamp.

Plus, when you turn the switch, you hear the sounds of angelic voices. 

How's your thrifting been going?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rabbit Rabbit for my Favorite Month!

Yup! October is my favorite month. Why, you ask?

  • It's my birthday month which means a bonafide reason to celebrate and eat cake. (Not that anything else stops me from eating cake!)

  • It's Canadian Thanksgiving which means turkey and stuffing and all things pumpkin. And most importantly, it means family gathered together to give thanks

  • It means real sweater weather. Not just light pastel cardigans; but big cable knits, lovely Afghan prints, long cover-yer-bums, ponchos and pullovers and V-necks. Warm and wooly and snuggly. And in Newfoundland where it's more northern and surrounded by the Atlantic, I'm needing them earlier than ever.

  • Colors that I wouldn't normally wear in spring and summer come out of my closet. The color of Autumn leaves -- russets and golds and olive greens and browns. 

  • And yes, it's the month that I begin to think about Christmas. I know a lot of you aren't ready to hear that word, but little thoughts creep into my head: What will be on my menu? Who will be at my table? How can I talk my Mom out of one of her 2 small freezers so I can begin baking?

Rabbit rabbit y'all! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumn is Here!

Happy 1st (full) Day of Fall. 

This is my first back home in 41 years, so it will be interesting to compare Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. The colorful leaves are still to come, but there's so much more about NL that evokes autumn. 

Today the sun is shining brightly and it's a lovely 20 degrees Celsius out there. I'm still going bare-legged and sandal-footed. But the nippiness of the mornings and nights have me definitely thinking about changing out my wardrobe somewhat ...... time to put away the sleeveless tees and shorts and get out a few pants, scarves and cardigans.

Newfoundlanders LOVE the outdoors; and it seems that regardless of your finances, most people have a cabin, a shack or something set up in the woods to visit on the weekends. My sister and her fiance have an very small, ancient travel trailer that they've set up off one of the logging roads here. (NL's whole interior is forest, so setting something up on Crown land is something that everyone does with little consequences! Bonus!) I went in with them last Saturday, and it was a slice of heaven! 
He got the outdoor fire going then left us; we opened our wine, started up the I-pod and sat in front of the fire and chatted. There was the occasional really, really loud Tarzan call or "Whoohoo" from me because ............. well, we were  in the middle of the wilderness and because I could! Baked potatoes and stuffed chicken breasts and smores. Two or three cars went past to their spots and tooted the horn. It was cool enough that there were few bugs; and the heavens were full of stars. Magical!

Differences in NS and NL autumns? Well ................

  • In NL, I'll be wearing sweaters, scarves and hoodies much sooner than I would in NS. There's no "Indian Summer" like I enjoyed in NS.
  • There are fewer farm markets in NL (just one very small one in this area) given that some of the only things that will grow in abundance are root vegetables and rocks!
  • My sister's mid-October autumn wedding will probably not happen outside.
  • I won't get to do my annual apple farm visit and purchase cheap, delicious, fresh-off-the-branch apples.
But ...................

  • Hurray! I'll get to enjoy wearing my sweaters, scarves and hoodies much sooner than I normally would!
  • Fresh produce and apples will be that much more appreciated when they do come along!
  • There'll be a plethora (isn't that a wonderful word!) of outdoor fires and nights in front-of with friends and family!
  • Bonfire Night is an official holiday in NL. I shall once again get to experience eating half-cooked, blackened potatoes done over a bonfire made from sticks, old pickets & pallets, green tree boughs and the occasional discarded rubber tire. (Please! Someone bring marshmallows!)
  • And because Corner Brook is a city of hills and trees overlooking the long, protected Bay of Islands, my exposure to gorgeous autumn scenes will be intensified greatly! What amazing views!

I am loving my "new" home and my new-to-me freedom.

Now -- Before the scheduled rain comes, I'm going to get out there and enjoy this gorgeous 1st Day of Autumn. 

Enjoy your day as well.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Rabbit, Rabbit from The Rock!

Rabbit, rabbit from my beautiful home province of Newfoundland which is now my home again!

You know what they say:  Home is where the heart is. And my heart is with my children. 

But as they flew the nest, and my own friends were getting more involved with their grandchildren, I found myself becoming more and more lonely over the past few years. I couldn't be an international Mom forever; that's hard work. And the siren call to go back home was getting harder and harder to ignore. My heart ached to be in Newfoundland.

So without going into long details, I got myself a dream job, donated, sold and/or packed up 41 years of "stuff", found myself a great apartment in the area where I grew up, and hit the long road (and ferry trip) to Corner Brook NL.  My parents, sibblings, eldest and youngest daughters, 1st grandson, and my best friend are all here. And although my house in Nova Scotia is not yet sold, I am not looking back.

I've been here a month now, and I have no regrets at the decision to move back home. Can anything compare to being able to drop in for tea with loved ones? Or take a walk on the beach with a darling little boy who calls you Nanny B and whose eyes are full of wonder at a sea shell? And the constant amazement and blessing I experience at being in this familiar yet different place. So much to explore! It's wonderful!

This rabbit, rabbit is not just luck for the month but luck for the continuation of my new life adventure.

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Spring Spruce Up

Due to my life-of-leisure lately (laid off, collecting EI and working casual), I am way ahead of my usual spring spruce-up game. The gardens have been weeded, fed and mulched; they are looking mighty pretty for Nova Scotia in May!
The front bed is bidding goodbye to the last of the tulips and hello to the primrose and grape hyacinth. The planter under my Newfoundland flag contains basil, thyme and Italian parsley. I don't get a lot of direct sunlight, but I'm hopeful that the herbs will continue to grow throughout the summer.


The side bed next to the brook is filling in. The sunlight only reaches the tree-garden bed for short periods during the day, but the creeping phlox is beginning to bloom and Astilbe, faux Sunflower, sedum and other plants are showing their wee faces. In that area, it's a futile fight against nature, I know; but somehow, I love its wildness.

I've also been painting the entire main floor, ceilings and trim -- something that's not been done in total in the 8 years I've lived here.   I've had some help with that; also, because I want to retain some feeling in my hands and fingers (carpal tunnel), I've made sure there were 4-5 days off in between painting sessions. I choose a lovely light, airy color called "Bluegrass White" by Dulux. (A lot of color for white, huh?) I've been gathering new cushion covers for the past year or so with the intention of changing up my color scheme a little; and I've shopped my house for other "new" do-dads. 
The 2 red cushions were thrifted. The elephant is from Wicker Emporium ($12 on sale); and the anchor was a recent purchase online from Rosegal ($5)

And I just found this beauty at Frenchies last week for $4, cushion included.
What a difference a color change makes! Besides the downstairs looking clean and fresh, I feel more energetic and positive every time I look at it. As they say:  "A change is as good as a rest"!

Next chore are the 3 decks. I'll hire someone to scrape and then I'll tackle the staining. And when I "shopped" my paint can area of the basement, I was lucky enough to come up with just enough stain and paint in all the right colors. Nice to know that won't cost me any money. (Must keep in mind the summer wine supplies, huh.)

Now to get back to sprucing myself up! Several weeks of painting and gardening have ravaged my hands and nails. I guess I need a week of soaking in the bathtub with wine spritzers. 

Not a problem at all!
Get me out before I'm pruny!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day

It's another glorious day in my little part of the world. The sun is shining, birds are singing, green things are growing.

Nova Scotia was the first place on earth to make recycling and composting mandatory. It's become a way of life for me that I proudly teach each of my international children. It takes practice but there's really nothing to it; and it gives you such a sense of good stewardship to help in this small way. (Now, if we could only convince manufacturers to not use as much packaging!)

Another way I take care of the earth is by carrying my reusuable cloth bags with me whenever I shop. And I have my own water bottle which I use 99% of the time. I could do so much more, I know. But each little bit helps especially if others join in.

What will you do to celebrate Earth Day? I'm walking to meet a friend for coffee; and I'll carry a bag with me (plastic this time) to pick up any garbage I see along the way.  I love this planet and all it gives to me. This is just a wee way to give back.