doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles?

I'm hopping on the bandwagon with the other bloggers and listing my favourite things:

First off, let me make something completely clear:
My favourite makeup products are pictured below. I love, love, love buying makeup... and my favourite place to buy it is Sephora. Latley I'm hooked on the newest Benefit cheek colour "10", not pictured here... I still love my Hoola and Dandelion, though. The Bobbi Brown sunscreen? The best tinted moisturizer out there. My skin even gets better when I use it regularly. Bare Escentuals? Fantastic. I mean, I bought it from an infomercial, and I was hooked. Nars blush? Yes, please. I don't want to tell you what shade (orgasm) *blush*.

Hollywood Glo? I just love the bottle, and the smell too. It's so old fashioned. So retro. Benetint is a real classic, and I'm almost out. Mascara? Kiss Me "tubes"... they are so funny! You put it on like regular mascara and then you sort of wiggle it off your lashes with a damp cloth. The mascara slips off each lash like a tube! Waterproof all the way. Same for eye colour and gel, totally waterproof. I could cry at any minute. Bobbi Brown eye gel or Laura Mercier eye cake. But you have to get the special brush they sell with both products. Really you do.

Who doesn't love Lip Venom? Just the name alone! I had to give up on my favourite scent, No. 1 by Laura Ashley, when it was discontiued. I hoarded the last couple of bottles in existence and used the very last drop on my wedding day. I am now experimenting with Benefit's Maybe Baby. It smells like 1948 in a bottle. Ooooh, and I also got my mitts on Tiramani by Shelly Kyle - it is to die for! No word of a lie!

My favourite consumable in the whole, entire world??? The one, the only Tim Hortons Iced Cap! Now I've even got my mother and my oldest child addicted. I knew I belonged in Ben's family when Kelly wheeled in with a tray of iced caps the first time I met her. It was meant to be, I tell you. Order one of these bad boys with extra cream and don't look back. I'm telling you, it's worth the plane fare to Canada, people.

Snack? Doughnuts, spelled British, with the "GH", 'nuff said.

Hands down, without a doubt, my favourite city to visit is Chicago. It's my kind of town, Chicago is. My kind of town.

With a pool in our yard, this is my favourite shampoo for keeping condition and shine in my hair... I love, love, love it. It contains avocado oil. If I use it at any other time of the year, my hair looks like a mop. But in the summer, it's perfect.

And finally, anyone who truly knows me, knows I always have one of these on my person:

the pergola is up

It's a little hard to tell from this photo, but the pergola makes a huge impact on the backyard-scape. Now that the house has been painted, it was time to put it up. Ben, my dad and my brother spent most of the day on Sunday bolting it into the ground - now I really can't change my mind about where I want it! It's a little hard to visualize right now, but here's my plan to complete the makeover:
1. I have fibreglass window boxes the same colour as the pergola for the lower windows. Hope to get them attached this weekend and maybe even planted.
2. I'm ordering new shaker-style shutters for the upper windows when I get replacement shutters for the front windows. I think that it will fill the space above the pergola and the upper windows won't look so naked.
3. New outdoor light fixtures... maybe this style.
4. New garden doors opening out on that hideous blue "deck", which by the way has to go, to be replaced with some functional dark-brown wooden deck and some sort of surround for Ben's barbeque.
5. We need a new fence on that side of the yard for sure... a nice TALL brown fence, or maybe the colour of the house? Anyway, did I mention TALL?
6. I have oodles of white twinkle lights for the maple tree and about five packs of globe string lights for the pergola.
7. This is the outdoor furniture I desire oh-so-badly... but it's on sale for a fraction of the price here.
8. Can I grow vines on that pergola? What kind of vines would grow well... one of the legs is very near the flower bed... I can plant a perennial this year and see what it does.
9. Even with a tall, brown fence, that house next door is a bit of an eyesore. Our neighbours might be moving in the fall, so here's hoping the new owners opt to paint next spring. I'd miss our nice neighbours, but I don't think I'd miss that pink. Plus, this spring they cut down a whole row of trees on their property line, so now we really, really see it.
Any other suggestions?? I am so open for suggestions.

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
You look like a farmer...
And you act like one too!
Happy Birthday Jack!
Love Auntie Sasha and Uncle Ben, Evan and Sidney
.... and Wrigley too!

nothing says you care like... prunes!

This weekend we went to the 40th birthday bash for our best buddy Bruce Rempel. It was the "Journey to the Tourney" event as he has FINALLY secured tickets to the gallery at Augusta for the Master's Golf Tournament next April. Why take flowers... when you can give someone a lovely bouquet of prunes to celebrate the next phase of life? I arranged the greens that I purchased from Carla at Blossoms and added the prunes that I'd picked onto bamboo skewers wrapped in floral tape. It was a very, very classy bouquet.

Today I was in my all-time favourite scrapbooking store - evah! I've been to scrapbooking stores in Chicago, Phoenix, San Fransisco, Windsor, Toronto... well, let's just say there's no place like home sometimes when it comes to shopping for craft supplies. In my hometown we are lucky to have a great miniature store and a wonderful scrapbooking store. Who knew? I did, that's who! Just Scrap It is now on Blogger! I've been shopping there for my scrapbooking supplies (oh, and there have been so many) for years and Ralna has the best shop, bar none! Every time I'm on a trip and get all gassed up to search out scrap supplies, I always realize that Ralna has the best selection... you just can't top Just Scrap It! That's my shout out for the day. Now I'd better start scrapping those birthday pictures.

our visit from beyond

When we moved into our new house, we noticed a cute little doggie on our street who never wore a collar and seemed to belong to... well, nobody. Even in the cold of winter, he strolled the crescent, sat when he got tired, and generally hung out. Nobody seemed to worry about him as if he were lost, in fact, people waved at him as they passed him on the street. He seemed to just be a part of the street, like one of the trees or the houses.

Since he had no collar, we didn't know his name. He was so friendly, always coming over for a pet or a visit... Ben and I started calling him "Gramps". He reminded us of Ben's Grampa who passed in July of 2005. He was such a friendly sort who went for walks and stopped to talk to everybody...

As winter turned to spring, Gramps came to visit more often. One afternoon I was in the porch doing some painting and had the door propped open. He wandered inside and sat down. He stayed for almost two hours. He comes and goes as he pleases, visiting all the neighbours on the street and making himself at home. He likes to know everybody he meets.
The day before yesterday, I went to check on the pool, and there he was, lounging in the shade of our backyard. He lifted his head as if to say a casual "hello" and returned to his resting position. He drifts in and out of our yard and our life. We found out his real name is "Jimmy" but we still call him Gramps most of the time, and he answers to it. I think Ben secretly likes the idea that that dog is his Grampa. I secretly like the idea that it makes Ben happy to think that.

peonies in bloom

The peonies I have waited for all my life are in bloom now. Do you think that means something, now that I've turned 40, I find myself in a home with a garden with my happy family and... peonies? Could this be happening? Or am I dreaming? If I am dreaming, please, please don't wake me.

serendipity, secrets and faries

Just today my fairy jar arrived from my friend Little Melfie. Isn't she adorable?

She came with a lovely banner for the wall of the craft room... and a secret question...

Thank you so much Mel! I love her. The little touches (and the little bird of inspiration) are so perfect! So you've heard of "the secret plan" have you? I'm working away at it these days, but you know how it is! The whole fairy jar swap did inspire me so much though... I can't wait to incorporate the whole thing, including your lovely jar into the plan.

Mel fretted quite a bit about the tardy arrival of this jar. Fairy must have seen a ton of sights on the way to Canada. But today, just when I needed a pick-me-up the most, she arrived. Loopy was home from school and I was flat on my back with my arthritis. We both badly, badly needed some cheering up and when the postman rang the bell I knew just from the sound of it that it was my fairy! So you see, she waited to show up at just the right moment in time, like all fairies do. Fairies rely heavily on serendipity.

If you look closely at the shredded paper in the jar, it looks like directions to someplace very interesting, a secret location that only the fairies know about... but then of course, they shred their documents. The attention to detail on this jar is amazing. Mel had some input, a "little birdie" gave her a hint about making this jar special! It has a wonderful skeleton key that I'm going to incorporate into my "secret plan"... more about that another day. Thank you again, Mel! I love my fairy! Thank you for hosting such an inspirational swap.

battle of the bands

Friday: Battle of the Bands 2007. Buddy's band, the Slacking Spacemen (still looking for a really good name) didn't win, but they have a good story to tell when they're famous one day. Their best song "Dakota Fanning" - a cheeky love ballad, got cut from the set. Apparently they ran out of time. Tough luck, but there's always 2008 and I'm sure love for Dakota will still be unrequited at that point... it's actually a gag song about how she's too young... "maybe it's because you were born in '94"....

Winky the Magpie was taken to the SPCA when he couldn't hold his head up any longer and I suspect that he is no more. No word of a lie, I think his mother came down to the fence and beaked at me over the weekend. I mean, really, really bird-called me. I might have to stay indoors and work on the craft room for a few days.

winky the magpie

We found a baby magpie sitting out by the pool today. He can't fly and one of his eyes is closed. It was getting cold and windy out - so we brought him inside. I think that probably breaks all "being touched by humans and then being ignored by your bird mother" rules but there seemed to be little else to do. I thought he may be injured. We need to consult with Marit to find out what to do with him. In the meantime, he's enjoying his nest of towels on the kitchen counter.

The mural on the craft room wall is progressing... watch for a major reveal next week! Here's a sneak peek, taken with my new camera.

Unpacking after a long time is like going shopping. You forget about all of the treasures that have been hidden away, and when you open them up again, it's just like Christmas. My old toe shoes are filled with friends and hanging in the craft room.

little melfie's fairy jar

Want to see what I sent Little Melfie for the Fairy Jar swap? It was whisked away by parcel post last Thursday... have a little peek inside the parcel, why don't you?

This little fairy was flibberdygibbeting about my garden with tiny little froggies - so I captured all of them for Mel!

The theme of the swap was "Home"... it's a good thing because I am pretty sure our new home has lots of fairies in it. How handy.

I posted lots more pictures on my flickr account if you would like to read the details. This little fairy went to her new home with a poem:

May the light always find you on a dreary day,
when you need to be home may you find your way.
May you always find courage to take a chance,
and may you never find frogs in your underpants.

I hope she just loves recieving it as much as I loved creating it for her. She hosted this swap and I wanted to send her something very, very special. I hope the fairy in the lantern lights her way home whenever she needs it.

three generation all-girl road trip

I am exhausted. In a good way. In an attempt to keep myself busy while Ben is away, I drove my mother "the fan" and Sidney "Loopy" to Alberta for a long weekend visit with Ben's mother. Loopy was in dire need of some Double-Gramma-tag-team-attention.

We had great weather and fine company. We shopped and walked and ate and visited as much as we could. We found the cutest little shop called Honey-bee's on Kensington Road in Calgary... if you are ever around there, you simply must check it out! They are working on a website so I will keep you all posted.

We had a little dog-and-pony show getting home. It's a good thing we had such a great visit with my mother-in-law, that took the edge off a really, really bad, "we'll laugh about this in a few years" kind of trip home.

It started with a quick spin through IKEA on the way home and of course I overdid just a tad. A tad enough to be tying two big boxes onto the roof rack of the Jeep - just before the torrential rain started. We ducked into a Fatburger for takeout and Sid needed a bathroom pit-stop. So we hit the road for home in the worst rain I've ever seen, it was pounding. The straps (we thought) were making quite a racket in the rain as we sped along and then they stopped. Right about the time we were well out of town and the rain let a bit I stopped for Krispy Kremes for the road and guess what!? The cardboard from the boxes was torn away by the rain and the wood and there sat the pieces - all of them if you can believe - tied and strapped to the roof rack, ready to spill at any minute! So that was the rattling sound. At least the straps held onto the furniture. Doughnuts save the day again.
We had to repack the entire vehicle - no small feat! All the while it was drizzling and a wind had kicked up. The joint was out of doughnuts and things were NOT looking good for the trip back, as I'd made a bed for Sid in the back seat with the wooden planks of my IKEA shoe bench and hat rack. She was not amused.
Back onto the expressway and Little Miss Loopy in the back seat bursts into tears, she's forgotten her novel back at the Fatburger!!! No place to turn around so I have to drive to Airdrie, Alberta to turn around, while phoning the place to make sure they've got the book, and she is in quite a dither over her lost book, the rain is pouring down and in Calgary even on a Sunday night the traffic is bumper to bumper. We make our way back to the restauraunt and they can't find the book when I go in of course. Not even an open bookstore in sight to buy a new copy of the book as far as I can see in the hail which has now begun. They locate the book and her little bag and she is so grateful, why she absolutely needed to read that book all the way home. She is asleep in four minutes, the book is wedged under the shoe bench.

This is the point where goofy directions, poor road signage, weather conditions and road construction get us hopelessly, completely lost, just trying to get out of town. I finally announce that the compass on the dash says EAST so by god we are staying on this road and going east, this city has got to end sooner or later and I will find a road going northeast.

It's a very good job that Ben phoned me right at that moment because he was just wondering where we were at and he gave me directions to get back on the right road home... at almost two o'clock in the morning.

Don't let the horrible road home story lead you astray: it was, in fact, a fantastic weekend. Have you ever had a crazy road trip? It just happens sometimes. It's good to be home.