Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Saying Goodbye.

May was such a sad month for our family. On May 2nd we said goodbye to our beloved dog Mabel.  It has taken me some time to find the words to write this.  It was too fresh, too guttural, too heartbreaking. Yet I knew I wanted to say something.

It seems unreal.  I still expect to see her outside in the backyard or lying in her favourite spot in the family room.  A spot where she could keep an eye on us and make sure we were with her.  It's the little things I miss.  The sound of her tags on her collar as she walked, the sound of her low grumble to let us know she wanted to go outside and her enthusiasm for laundry fresh and hot out of the dryer.

We speak of her often and I'm glad we do.  She's everywhere in our lives but yet the emptiness is there.  I still dread coming home knowing that I will return to an empty house with no greeting at the door.  No stretch of her legs upon my knees and no burying of her face into my chest when I picked her up.

Over the month the weather has turned warmer and we've been out gardening but there is something missing.  She loved this time of year when we spent more time outside.  She would keep close while lying on the grass with her head held high and taking in one of those lovely spring breaths.  She would wriggle on her back in the grass for that perfect satisfying back rub.

She was a quirky, loveable dog. She was loyal and protective of her family and she loved us.   Outside of her loud greeting to strangers, and even visiting family members at the door, she was a calm, gentle spirit.  In quiet moments she could even convince non-dog people to like her.

We said many times how well she fit into our family because really we're kind of quirky too.  I'm not sure if we were meant for her or if it really was that she was meant for us.  She did everything with us. Everyday she was always nearby. She traveled with us, camped, hiked and loved going up to my parent's lakeside cottage.  She was fabulous on long car trips but completely awful on short ones whining and howling as if we were going to leave her at the groomer or vet permanently.

She grew up with us.  The girls were 8 and 10 when we got her...and Al and I? Well, we were younger too. :)

We've had lots of good memories to share and so many funny Mabel-isms that we just got used to and made us love her even more.
  • Mabel was afraid of hardwood floors which led to many funny situations.  
  • When caught trying to pick up kitchen floor food remnants she would back out of the kitchen really slowly as if thinking we would not see her.   
  • She had a weakness for paper.  Although she had mostly grown out of this one day in March we returned home to find some chewed up paper in the living room.  We didn't say anything but Mabel couldn't even look at us.  She immediately went to the corner of the front hall and gave herself a timeout.  (Something we never did or requested of her just simply something she thought she should do.) She was her own self regulator.

She did have her health issues over the years that I could certainly relate to.  At age 6 Mabel went in for surgery to remove bladder stones the same day I was going to the hospital for a follow up to my kidney stone procedure.  That is just such a strange coincidence.

She could look deep in your soul with those amazing brown eyes and I swear she understood what I was telling her.  Through the worst times or even just trying to recover from a migraine I would feel a little paw on my knee or arm just to let me know she was there for me.  I remember in February when she had been diagnosed with an enlarged heart I was upset and sitting on the floor with her.  Her little paw on my knee and those eyes looking up at me.  The dog with the biggest heart literally had the biggest heart.

Maybe looking back we can see that her death was not so unexpected but it does help us to know that not only a week earlier she was running around almost puppy-like.  She was happily running for toys and giving excited greetings at the door.

Mabel loved her family and was the most happy when we are all together. In the last few months it was a rare time when we were all home together. Erica was in London at University and Al had many business trips and Sydney's dance season was upon us.  On the Wednesday I picked Erica up from residence for her summer break.  On Thursday night Al returned home from a 5 day business trip in Florida. On the Friday morning Mabel was out chasing rabbits in the backyard and only hours later I was rushing her to the vet.  I sat with her on the floor of their office while we waited for some medication to kick in.  We were expecting it to work like it had in the past.  It took Al a couple of hours to make it home from downtown and within 20 minutes of him arriving at the vet she let in and laid down.  She gave us enough time to get the girls over to the vet and she didn't leave us with any decisions to be made.

She had her family around her just like she would want.
We knew it was her time to rest.
Feb 12, 2005 - May 2, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Quick Spring Update for your Kitchen Counter - 10 easy steps to freshen it up!'s been a while.  Actually it's been almost a year since my last post.  I was feeling like I needed a break from posting and I guess it was true.  If you're a first time reader thanks for dropping in and if you've been here before welcome back.  It's nice to be here!

While I'm waiting for spring to appear outside my window I decided that a little spring cleaning is in order for our kitchen.  I've been debating for a while about our kitchen backsplash.  Last summer I painted the kitchen walls a light grey and I ended up leaving the backsplash its painted yellow colour.  I was thinking about tiling it and then I thought I would do those Smart Tiles but never could decide and then didn't do anything about it.  Two days ago I decided to just paint it.  Eventually we will have to invest some money into updating our kitchen and any tiled backsplash installed would have to be removed so why spend the money and time to install it.

Paint is my good friend and such a quick fix.  I decided to go with Pale Sea Mist from Benjamin Moore.   It may not look that different in pictures from the yellow but it is definitely green and such a fresh pretty one that it instantly brightens up the kitchen.

Pale Sea Mist (2147-50) Benjamin Moore
1. Paint your backsplash to add some colour and freshen it up.


2. Clear off and clean everything from the counter.

Our kitchen area is not that big.  We have very little storage space and because of this we do store some of our appliances and kitchen things in our basement.  It was time to clean up and clear out.  Things we didn't use often I relocated to cupboards.

3. Return only the items you use regularly.

 A kitchen also has to be functional though and things that we use all the time have to be handy.  I just have to face it we'll never have that magazine spread look but would I really want it to not look like our family lives here, cooks here, bakes here, eats here?  I don't think so. Our kitchen really is the centre of our home.  It's the place where we all meet for dinner.  We've laughed here, talked here, danced here and even cried here.

4. Clean your cupboard doors and handles.  If needed swap out some new shiny chrome or brushed nickel hardware to give an instant boost.


I like to have things easily accessible so I have a canister containing our kitchen utensils near our stove.  I managed to find some pretty blue utensils to replace old and broken ones.

5.  Add a canister or crock to store kitchen utensils.

Clean and cull your kitchen utensils.  If you don't use them regularly store them in a drawer or elsewhere.  Another trick if you're not ready to throw them out or give them away is to store in a box and date the box.  If you haven't gone back to use it in a certain period of time (say 6 months-1 year) you likely don't need it.

6. Add containers to hold cleaning products.

I added a little ceramic crock next to the stove to store the smooth top range cleaner, a scrub and the razor blades I use to keep it clean.

7. Buy new dish towels.

These robin egg blue ones are perfect to go with my green and blue theme.  Also, warn your family that these are show towels for at least 24 hours. After that it's a free for all and I know to see tomato sauce and peanut butter on them.  :)  


8.  Sort items into areas.  We enjoy a tea sometimes in the afternoon or in the evening so I set up a little tea nook on the microwave.  I used a large rectangular plate to hold some tea boxes and a little dish to hold some loose tea bags.

If you use sugar add a small dish of sugar cubes.
If you have a coffee machine add of bowl of your favourite coffee capsules.

9. Change your electrical plates over to white decora ones.  (We still need to do this but the replacements have been purchased just need the time to do it!)


10. Personalize your space.  I added artwork that I really love above the stove and by the tea nook.  I purchased two beautiful prints from my sister Kathy of Trowel and Paintbrush and they look just perfect!

Berries and Leaves Watercolor Painting by Kathleen Maunder

Tea Watercolor Painting by Kathleen Maunder

All in all this was a quick transformation.  It took me less than 5 hours total to do the cleaning, painting and putting back what I needed.  24 hours later it's still clean but only because I'm guarding it and everyone happens to be out this afternoon.  It will be back to its happy 'ol state of kind of, sort of clean by tonight! :)

 Do you have any good tips for a quick makeover in your kitchen? Share them in the comments I'd love to hear them.

Have a wonderful weekend friends it's nice to be back!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy 5th Anniversary!

It's hard to believe but today I am celebrating my 5th anniversary on Etsy.  My Etsy shop has taken me to places that at one point I could have only dreamed about.  Knowing that something I designed is being worn and loved by a woman across the world is something pretty special.  I've had so many lovely conversations with customers and I've been so happy to be part of their weddings, birthdays and Valentine's gifts or just a part of their everyday life.  I thank all of you for your wonderful support!

This spring I've introduced some gorgeous colours into my designs.  Bright yellows, corals and orange. Mint greens, periwinkle blue and turquoise.  A perfect way to add a splash of colour to your wardrobe.
  • Colour Block necklaces.  So fashion forward and perfect for your summer!
  • Stretch bracelets with glass beads and semi-precious stones in vibrant colours and sterling silver accents.
  • Vintage glass jewel earrings in opaque brights.  
  • My Lemon Cloud Necklace was in a design contest this month.  Although I didn't win it was fun to have been asked to participate and be a part of a group of jewellery designers from around the world. Thanks to all those that voted! ❤

To celebrate my anniversary please use this Coupon code: HAPPY5TH  to save 15% of your purchases. (excludes custom orders) 

Coupon expires April 28th, 2013. (11:59 p.m. EST)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Add some Colour to your life!

Let's celebrate spring and bring some colour back into our wardrobe.  I'm done with my drab black and grey t-shirts.  I just love the colours of spring.  Mint green, blues, corals, orange, pinks, neon brights. 

It's so easy with these stretch bracelets.  Just pop one on and you have instant colour. I've used materials such as premium glass firepolish beads from Czechoslovakia, semi-precious stones, sterling silver beads, premium cord and care in making. 

Mix and match.  Just pop one on and you have instant colour.

To celebrate spring I'm having a bracelet sale in my etsy shop.
BOGO Sale.  Buy one get the 2nd one (at same or lesser value) for 1/2 price.
Limited time offer.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bunny Tales

As a nice diversion from my morning here are some pictures from my garden over the last couple of days.

As you can see he's pretty comfortable in our backyard.  In fact, he and his siblings have become playmates for our dog!  It's become a pretty leisurely chase around the garden now.

We're getting so close I'm sure before I know it he'll be expecting a proper dinner invitation.

I'm pretty sure I know who is eating our tulip leaves.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sixteen Candles

Time is a funny thing.  I  remember my Mom telling me that when I get older time will just seem to fly by....and she was right.  Yesterday was my youngest daughter's 16th birthday.  How did that happen?!  When I turned sixteen my parents gave me a bouquet of roses and we've kept up the tradition with our girls.  These pink roses are the most spectacular and perfect for Sydney.

 We're so proud of all her accomplishments.  She's such a thoughtful and caring person, an amazing dancer, excellent student, and a fabulous daughter.  How lucky are we!!

Erica made Sydney this fabulous cake with the perfect Dr. Suess quote.  The world is at her doorstep and it will be so exciting to see where it takes her.

Happy Birthday Sydney!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Spring!

I'm not sure what happened to March but it sure has come and gone quickly.  While I'm still trying to grapple with the idea of spring the Easter weekend is already before us.  The snow has melted in the front yard and glimpses of spring are starting to be seen as the first bulbs push themselves through the soil.  In the backyard there is still mounds of snow mixed with inches of wet, sloppy grass by the midday sun.  

Our backyard is visited daily by two or three local rabbits and our dog is most interested to greet them and as often as possible.  This makes for lots of paw wiping when she gets back in the house and that is a sure sign of spring.  I've noticed the birds singing.  I don't know if they have always been there and their voices muffled by the snow or they have just returned from a southern winter but it sure sounds nice. The garden is wet and brown but there is hope out and there and a sense of excitement as to the possibilities.  Spring is a very welcome sight to me.

Happy Easter!  
May you enjoy your weekend with some rest, sunshine and friends and family.