Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A little challenge for you while I'm away

The time has just flown by this week. Today was not a fun day. Almost six long hours spent at the VW service centre while they tried to track down some problems with my little bug. Five hundred dollars later, it is running smoothly and ready for our 1600 kilometre drive on Friday.

Tomorrow the movers come to pack our whole house up. Friday the transport truck comes to be loaded. And Friday we'll be heading out in a convoy moving east towards Nova Scotia. We have 2 cars, so John will be driving the 3 dogs in his CRV and I'll be driving the cat and various things that the movers won't take. We're not sure what time we'll be able to get away on Friday, so we're not sure how far we'll get on our trek. We're hoping for half way, which would put us in Edmunston, New Brunswick. I'll be off line for about two weeks until we receive our furniture and get our high speed internet access set up.

Here's a little challenge for you while we're away:You see a lot of flowers in the photo....there are also 14 other items. Send me an email and let me know what the 14 items are. (please don't leave a comment with your answer because then everyone else will have the answer too!) Once we get settled in our new home, I'll send a little something out to the person who has the most correct items. (if there is more than one correct answer, I'll draw for the winner)

I have set up a website for Search Me Toys! It's not quite finished, but almost.

Attention all photographers, illustrators, artists & designers! In addition to my "I spy" pouches, I plan to produce a series of Search Me cards designed by artists all over the world . The goal of each card design is to find certain items in a "busy" picture....something along the lines of the sample above. I am searching for lots of different formats...photographs, collages, illustrations..from a wide variety of illustrators and artists. Each card will be produced in a post card format. When I have a collection of cards, I plan to produce a book! (everyone has dreams!) Each design published will include a page about the contributor. Details will be firmed up before publishing, but will include the contributor's photo, a brief bio, and contact information for their business or design studio. All of you artists, photographers, illustrators and designers can check out the details here.

As for the "I Spy" pouches, it's been a busy few weeks. I have been tracking down lots of fun miniature items. My original idea was to have basically the same items in each different pouch and use a variety of fabrics. This idea has progressed to making different themed pouches instead...seashore, food, alphabet, animals, Christmas, etc. There will be some "general" pouches too. It's been a lot of fun. I also ordered some fabric patches with the Search Me logo (designed by Angelique of Peach Tree Bliss) and website. These little patches will be sewn onto the pouches. And...I've ordered some tags for the packaging. It's all coming together nicely.

So...we're off! I'll be back in a couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Treasures and Trades

Phew!! It's been a busy few days. I'm so lucky...I don't have to pack for our big move so I have time to visit with lots of people. We had dinner out with three different groups of friends over the past 3 nights. It has been wonderful to spend time with everyone, but I have to admit that I enjoyed a nice dinner at home tonight with John just as much. He is a wonderful cook, and spoils me by cooking me dinner almost every night!

The next 2 days will be spent doing all kinds of last minute things. My car decided to act up, and I spent 2 hours in the shop with it today while they tried to figure out what is wrong. Better to find out now, then when we're in the middle of moving 1000 miles! So, back to the shop I go again on Wednesday to see if they can fix up my little red bug.

I have had some fun shipping my collection of vintage brooches from my etsy shop out to various parts of the world.

This one was sent out to Maine.
This one went to California.
And this one went all the way to New Zealand!

But I'm most excited about sending these two brooches out to Melissa at Wild Thyme Boutique. We are doing a trade, so I am receiving a lovely bracelet she created in return! (I'll show you a photo when I receive it) I'm so thrilled I'm going to send her an extra little something. I hope she likes it.

Next: an update on my new venture...Search Me Toys.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The countdown begins

It's been a little crazy around here. One week from today, we'll be driving away from our Ontario home on our way to our new home in Nova Scotia (1000 miles away). Thank goodness we're not packing up our stuff ourselves. For the first time in my life, I'm paying someone else to do it for me! That gives us time to see all the people we want to see before we leave.

Wednesday we drove down to Toronto to visit with Cody for the last time before we head east.

Here we are in his living room. I look like a shrimp, but I'm 5' 8". That's Cody's roommate Mike sitting down at the right of the photo. They are movie buffs (both being aspiring actors) so there are movie posters all over their apartment. It was a long day...4 hours driving to Toronto...4 hours with Cody...and 4 hours driving home. But worth it. I'm not sure how I'll feel living so far away from him. Time will tell.

This week has been full of phone calls. Lucky me, John has looked after almost all of it. Arranging for disconnecting hydro, cable, phone, etc here and setting up all the connections in NS, talking to insurance companies, having our snow tires removed from the cars, etc.

And...we sold the Miata! We had tried to sell it last fall but who wants to buy a convertible in Canada in November? One of the blessings about taking so long to sell our house was that it gave us time to sell my business and sell the Miata. It only took 3 days to sell the Miata. Now someone else can have all the fun riding around in a bright yellow sports car.

We're out to dinner for the next 3 nights with different groups of friends. The first thing I'll have to do once we move is lose the extra weight I'll be gaining during the next week!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A lucky day

This is our 5th anniversary. We celebrated our wedding anniversary in March. Today is a different kind of anniversary. Five years ago today was one of our luckiest days. We were driving in our van on a 2 lane county road and a transport truck in the oncoming lane jackknifed and the trailer came down on top of us. This is the result. Doesn't sound like a good day, does it? In fact, it was a bad day...and a bad week...and some bad months.

John was rushed to the local hospital, and then transferred by ambulance to the trauma unit of one of the Ottawa hospitals. It was during the SARS epidemic, so I wasn't allowed into the trauma unit to see him for the first 24 hours. He spent 3 days in the hospital, and the following months recuperating at home. The only way he could sleep was in a recliner chair in our living room.
So, why was it one of our luckiest days? We survived, and I still have my best friend, my partner, and the love of my life. Each day is a gift now, and we try our best to focus on the good things in life.
We are going to visit Cody in Toronto today....our last visit with him before we leave for Nova Scotia. It's glorious and sunny. A perfect day for a drive.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fun With Photos

Cody with Husky Bailey, Giant Schnauzer Cinder and cat Phantom at Christmas, Cody with Phantom, Cody at the beach in Cape Breton with Bailey, our family at Christmas, Cody learning to walk, Cody as the headless man for Hallowe'en

One of the things a professional stager will recommend to you is to remove most or all of your personal family photos from your home when you're preparing it for sale. I did this before we had a professional stager come in, but I found it hard. Family and friends are what makes a home, and when you remove their photos from your life it feels like you're living in a hotel.

Cody at the Sandbanks Beach, balancing on a rock in Cape Breton, in front of the fire at our condo with new kitten Phantom, his bedroom at our condo with dinosaurs on the wall painted by me, on a canon at the Fort in Kingston

In Cody's room we had made a border of different photos of him around the room. We did this 9 years ago when we moved into this home....before we had a digital camera and scanner and laminating machine.
Phantom in the sink at a rented cottage on Golden Lake, Cody with Bailey, John with Cody and Bailey on an air mattress on Golden Lake, dinosaur costume for Hallowe'en made by me, with his uncle Scott, vampire costume for Hallowe'en
We took photos and made collages on regular 8 x 10 paper, then we had them laminated at a local office supply store. Cody picked his favourite photos and we made them together (he was 11 years old at the time).
Cody with his grandpa and aunt Do (both now deceased), on the boardwalk during a walk with friends, Phantom in Cody's hockey pants, at home in Aylmer Quebec, touring in Kingston, celebrating a birthday

After he left home to go to college, and then to live on his own in Toronto, I would go into his room and look at all the photos in his border. Where does all the time go? How did he get to be an adult?

With John and dogs in Cape Breton, age 2...he loved Batman!, a sleeping bag for Christmas from Aunt Do, at Disney World, a ninja turtle birthday party with his dad, Cody and grandpa

These are just a few of the 8 x 10s we made. Lots of good memories.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Miata Memories

One of the tough decisions we made about our upcoming move is that we are going to sell our 1992 Yellow Sunburst Miata. We've had our little convertible for 7 years and have done a lot of touring in the good weather months. Here are some of our memories.

The first long distance trip we took was in August 2001. We drove down to New Hampshire and met John's son and DIL. This photo was taken on the trip down at Ausable Chasm, New York.
We stayed at the Eastman Inn in North Conway, NH. The inn was absolutely beautiful, the weather was fantastic, and the company (our son & DIL) were fabulous. A very long (13 hours!) drive but well worth it.

This photo was taken with a timer during a trip the two of us took down to Prince Edward County. PEC is one of Ontario's wine regions and has lovely scenery. We took a picnic lunch with us and ate it at a table with this view.
When we're in PEC, we always like to stop by the Waupoos Winery. They have the most beautiful setting overlooking the lake. And of course we have to buy some of their wines while we're there!

Here we are in the fall in upstate New York. My scanned photo doesn't show it well, but the fall colours were just beautiful. It's just a 20 minute drive for us to reach the US border, so we sometimes just go for a drive there. (and if I'm a very good girl we get to stop at the Racetrack Restaurant for peanut butter pie)
We joined the Underground Miata Network and this photo was taken on our first Miata tour. There were over 20 Miatas touring that day.
Here's a very special memory...Miss M taking her first Miata ride in 2002 with her Baba. Not only was she introduced to sports cars, but she was introduced to some of Baba's favourite music too (Waylon Jennings was rocking some tunes that day)John and I took a special trip in 2002...we followed the St Lawrence River and drove around the coast of Quebec and New Brunswick on our way to visit John's son and DIL in Nova Scotia. This is a view of Perce Rock in Gaspe.Here we are with Perce Rock in the background. I have many photos of Perce Rock!

Another photo from this the Irving Eco Centre in New Brunswick. They have miles and miles of boardwalks over the sand dunes.
Another tour with the Underground Miata Network took us to Wilno, Ontario.
Wilno is the oldest Polish settlement in Canada and has the most beautiful church high on a hill. (St. Mary's) We ate some wonderful polish food at a local pub.

Lots of great memories!

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's official - sold!

This is the happy face of our agent Rilla while changing our sign to "SOLD"! We are very happy!
After 5 months with another agent, Rilla sold our home in 2 weeks.

We are going out to celebrate tonight!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Inspection Day - Part 2

Yesterday was our home inspection. Since the buyers were doing the inspection themselves, we prepared the house for a "showing". We wanted it to look it's best. Most showings were only 1 hour, but we had to be away for 3 1/2 hours yesterday. So this time we had to load the 3 dogs and cat into the car for a much longer trip.
Our cat Phantom rides in the passenger seat with me. He starts out by watching where we're headed, but then he settles down and sleeps on my lap. He's very good in the car, which will be great for our 16 hour journey when we move to Nova Scotia.

We took a drive down to Prescott, a town on the St.Lawrence River (just across from Ogdensburg, New York). Prescott has a lovely riverside park there with walking paths. They just created the park in 2003, so the trees they planted are not mature yet. Another 10 years and the park will be quite beautiful.

We left Phantom in the car and took the dogs for a leisurely walk along the river. It had to be leisurely because Cinder was with us. She is a 12 year old Giant Schnauzer that has difficulty getting around. She has always had bad legs, but now she is pretty shaky. Usually we leave her at home and take the other 2 girls for a walk. Anway, Cinder was quite happy to be with us.Here is the description from a sign mounted along the path:
Railways once dominated Prescott's waterfront. A rail link to Ottawa opened for traffic in 1854. Later a ferry terminal, station, round house and sheds were added to the yard. The CPR assumed control in 1884 and maintained operatons at Prescott until the 1970s when the yard closed. Today, only a few remnants of the ferry dock and rail yard remain.

The photo above shows some of the remains from the old ferry dock.

And this photo is how the area used to look:

After our walk, we headed west along the St. Lawrence River to Brockville. We stopped at a little place called Don's Fish and Chips guessed & chips! They serve it the authentic British way, wrapped in newspaper. They just plop the fish and chips all together in a brown paper bag and wrap it in newsprint. They don't have anyplace to eat, and they don't supply utensils. We wondered if eating fish without a fork is the authentic way the British people eat it from their chippy stands? Does anyone know?

We took our packages down to the river and ate on a bench. It was lovely, and a great way to while away the time!

We returned home wondering how long we'd have to wait to find out how the inspection went.
We found a note on the dining room table:
Dear Homeowners:
Thank-you for allowing us the time to complete all the inspections.
We have just a few requests. Could you please leave the information binder. It is very thorough and helpful. Also, any spare opened paint cans left over will be helpful for touch ups and if they can be left behind that will be much appreciated.
Best Regards,

Well, we figured if they were asking for paint cans, they were going ahead with buying our house! We heard from our agent a while later and have received verbal confirmation. We'll get the written contract by Friday.

It's a go! Nova Scotia, here we come!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Inspection Day

I just received this photo from a friend in Australia. This photo was taken when Andrea and her husband Rob visited us in 2002 (they also visited a couple of years ago). Andrea is a long time friend from high school, and it's great to see them whenever they can visit. (I'm not sure if we'll ever get to Australia!) They have never toured eastern Canada, so hopefully we'll see them in Nova Scotia on their next trip back to Canada.

Shortly after we moved to this home 10 years ago, we painted the front door and some window trim red on the advice of a Canadian decorating magazine called Canadian House & Home. No one told us that when you paint with red you should use a tinted primer first, so it took us 4 coats to get it looking good. A lot of work! We kept the red for about 5 years and then changed to a more muted look.

Today is inspection day. We accepted an offer on Friday, but it's conditional on a house inspection and today is the day. The buyer is inspecting the house himself, which is a little unusual around here. Usually buyers hire a professional to do an inspection. When you live in the country, it's also a good idea to have the septic system inspected and the buyer has arranged for that to be done by a professional.

So, fingers crossed all goes well!

Friday, April 4, 2008

wow, really? we did it? really?

A little update on our escapades from Wednesday...

The man who came to take away the dead deer from our yard was from "_____ Animal Feed Company". Yes, it's true. Next time you feed your dog think about that! Dead animals from the side of the road, and diseased cows were in the truck that came to our house. And it's all going to end up as animal feed. Ewww. This is one of the reasons why we feed our 3 dogs a natural diet.Raw meat, raw veggies, and starch (cooked brown rice or potatoes or oatmeal, etc)

And they love it. Nothing like dinner time to make me feel popular and loved.

But...our big news for the day...

We sold our house. We sold our house. WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!!!!

Conditional on the home inspection, which will be next week. We don't anticipate any problems. But now...

Holy moly! We have to get organized for our move 1000 miles across the country!

Going to celebrate now. Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A day in the life

Who says our lives aren't exciting? Never a dull moment around here. My day started off well, with prospects of coffee in bed. However that was short lived as John came back inside from getting the newspaper and shouted "Sara, I need your help!" Somehow a deer ended up in our fenced yard and died. And the dogs were quite interested to say the least. John got the dogs in and we put them in the garage.

Then John started making calls. It turns out that the municipality will only remove dead animals from the side of the road. If the animals are in your yard, you're out of luck. Someone told him that our best bet would be to leave the deer where it was and "let nature take it's course". Somehow I don't think a dead deer in the yard would appeal to prospective house buyers. Not to mention that our dogs are used to a natural diet (which includes raw meat) and they would be helping themselves to their own food supply. Yuck! So after a few more calls, John found someone to remove the deer for $52.50. Worth every penny if you ask me.

But, we had 2 of our dogs booked for badly needed hair cuts so we had to take them to their appointments. Here's what they looked like before we headed out:

Cassie in the first photo, Cinder in the second.

We dropped the dogs off and headed back home. Shortly after we got there, the man arrived to remove the deer.
It turns out that the deer had been shot! Someone shot her in the shoulder and it didn't kill her. It's not hunting season either. She must have ran, jumped our fence and died sometime during the night. She had to be dragged across our yard, lifted over the fence (you can see the blood at the left of the photo) and hoisted into the truck. I'm glad I don't have his job, but I'm glad that he's willing to do it.

One deer removed, and we had to grab a quick lunch before heading out to pick up the dogs. Here are the "after" photos:

All in all, I wasn't too pleased with the results. I'll have to do a little work on Cinder's head myself. This is the first time in 11 years that I had someone else clip Cinder. I usually do it myself. Her legs are so infirm that she can't stand up for more than a couple of minutes, and I clip her while she's laying down. The groomer assured me she would do the same, and I believe she did. But, I think I could have done as good a job (and certainly better on her face). What I really wanted was for them to be bathed. It's been a long winter (we usually wash them outside on the deck but it's been too cold) And they were only clipped. Argh!

And, not to be outdone...our cat Phantom decided to jump up on the bathroom counter to have a drink while I was brushing my teeth.

No, no, no. It's not a zoo around here at all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hard Decisions

After much consideration and many, many conversations we have decided to abandon our dream of living on the east coast. It just seems like it's not in the cards for us. Some dreams are just not worth this much effort. Really.
Tshirt available from

Just Kidding. Happy April Fool's Day.