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Life Lately

I’ve tried to write this post 1/2 a dozen times but life lately has put a stop to it. I’ve had things to share, but for now they’re not important.

The cottage is quiet today, I feel quiet today. The only sound is the hum of the oven, baking a fresh loaf of bread. I went for a run this morning in the freezing cold and darkness, but I was rewarded by getting to see the sun rise as I crossed over the train bridge. It’s the little things, right?

It’s very windy here today, but the sunlight keeps coming and going, drifting through the window and is slowly starting to crawl across the wall and towards the mantel. All of Christmas has been tucked away now and the house doesn’t feel so much bare as it does streamlined.

Sitting on the mantel are a pair of strawberry pink candles nestled in the antique milk glass candleholders my parents gave me for Christmas. A clear glass bowl of moss covered grape hyacinths with their shoots poking through the soft green mossy blanket, rests between them.

I love that I can see their creamy white roots running down into the dirt and moss that line the bowl. It’s like getting to watch a science experiment. In front of your eyes Nature grows, in all of Her glory.

The candles are lit and the kettle is on, as I think only copious amounts of tea can warm me up today.

Here’s to Friday, because I’m already ready for it!

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Back to School

The house got a quick “spit and a polish” yesterday. Things were put away and tidied up. Christmas is still up and will remain that way until the weekend. We always keep things up till after Epiphany. To be honest, I normally keep them up a bit longer. But not this year, I will have to be good and put everything away till next Christmas as we have some New Year’s work to be done in the cottage. That’s what happens when a pipe bursts! Luckily the damage appears minimal, but we’ll have to wait and see.

We didn’t sleep a wink last night with “Storm Eleanor”. We had wind gusts of over 70mph. We watched things fly by from our window. I saw a neighbours gutter get ripped off and fly down the street. Garbage cans were rolling down the road like they were in some kind of race and the wind was so hard, it sounded like someone was punching down the door. But our little cottage held her own.

Today was back to school day. I don’t think I was ready. I never am. So here’s to a short work week and here’s to the weekend, may it arrive quicker than I can blink!

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Santa Lucia

Happy St. Lucia Day!

We did not wake up to Swedish saffron buns this morning as we are a house where everyone has a cold. But we did the next best thing; we feasted on buttery toast, hot tea and the candles were lit.

I have long been in love with this special feast day of St. Lucy. I have spoken about it a few times  here in the past, usually in a Halloween related post. But, I was a very lucky girl one Christmas and Santa brought me Kirsten, the Swedish American Girl doll. I loved her so.

One year for Halloween I dressed up just like her St. Lucia outfit. My Mom braided my hair and put it up in loops held in place with red satin ribbons. She pulled out one of her Christmas wreaths and tied red satin bows in it and nestled battery operated candles in the branches. I wore a long white tunic with a huge red satin sash tied in a big bow. Only I would dress up as something Christmas related for Halloween.

Identically dressed, Kirsten and I went trick-or-treating together that year. My next door neighbour who was Swedish, got the biggest surprise when he opened his door to us. He was delighted! I will never forget the look on his face and the memories that that brought back for him. G. was a great story teller.

I hope someone brightens your path today and brings happiness and light to it on this wonderful feast day of St. Lucia. 

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It’s Beginning to…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our little cottage. The candles are lit, the decorations are hung, Christmas music is playing and my little lady’s risengrød is almost ready for the Nisse.

Risengrød is Danish for “rice pudding”. Eating rice pudding as part of your Christmas meal and making a bowl as a gift for your Nisse is a Danish tradition. My friend R.’s sister lives in Denmark and around this time of year we would always talk about leaving out our little bowls of risengrød for the Nisse.  I think R. might have been a pixie himself, there was always a twinkle in his eyes.

You want to keep your Nisse happy you see, especially at this time of year, or they’ll play all kinds of little jokes on you. Nisse love to tease! Our Nisse is usually very well behaved, but I know he’s been up to some kind of magic in the cottage lately. I heard laughing the other morning and came down to find that he had been feasting on a bowl of Christmas candy I had set out. A pile of foil wrappers littered the floor and a little trail of chocolate crumbs was leading away from it.

I’ve been very lucky this year because my little lady is making us a big patch of risengrød to put up in the attic for him. I prefer keeping him happy as I don’t want him to get up to too much mischief! 

Countdown

After a busy weekend out and about, I was very happy to have a day to myself yesterday to just be and get odd jobs done. Today, however, I’m all geared up. I’m on countdown! In “T” minus 2 days Thanksgiving will have arrived! We’ve set the menu, I’ve drawn up a plan of action, the groceries have been bought and little by little things are getting checked off of the list.

I can’t wait! I’m even more excited for Friday night when we have leftover turkey sandwiches piled with stuffing and cranberry sauce for dinner. Happiness is…

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November First

Above are the remnants of our Halloween table last night. I like table decor that you can also eat!

We feasted on fall favourites, munched on candy, listened to a great Halloween playlist on Spotify and then made our way down to the movie theatre. The night was cold, the sky was cloudy, the moon was playing peek-a-boo; it was perfect!

We went to see The Lost Boys. That’s about as scary as I get for Halloween. We feasted on popcorn and candy and after the movie slowly made our way home before the bewitching hour had begun.

Easy Breezy

I woke up this morning at 3:23am to our curtains blowing and then slamming back into the window screen. The wind was so strong, it’s still strong.

I was bleary eyed as I got up and closed the window. I went downstairs to check on everything and peek out at our plants. I’ve had to do a search an rescue in the wee hours of the night before when the wind has carried one of our pots out into the middle of the street. All was safe. I headed back upstairs and curled up in bed. I laid there for another hour before I fell back to sleep, just listening to the wind whip around the cottage.

It’s gorgeously sunny today and I’m indoors waiting on that wonderful package to arrive. It never arrived yesterday because although three people told me it was on a delivery truck, the fourth person said, “Nope! It’s still sitting at the depot! What would you like me to do with it?” Oh, lucky me!

So this morning, I’m taking it in my stride, even though I’m annoyed I can’t do my morning run. Obviously the Universe just wanted me to wait till today to receive this parcel. So, I’m drinking coffee, listening to Father John Misty and reading e-mails.

I’ve got laundry to fold and a marinara sauce to start this morning too. We’re making a Friday night dinner for some friends of ours who have a lot going on at the moment. So, the pressure of cooking dinner is one thing they can take off of their plate and instead feast on homemade lasagna, bread and chocolate cake with my Nana’s mocha frosting.

Here’s to Wednesday, we’re almost there!

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Home on the Range

I’ve been absent for the past few days because I’ve been lost in the land of a red-headed curly haired cherub, tiny baby toes and two wagging lab tails and I couldn’t have been any happier. I even got to see the Wienermobile! What a treat! As we move into this weekend, I wish everyone a blessed Easter. Happy weekend! Long may it last!

Sally Bell’s

There is something very unique about the South. There’s an essence to the people, to the way of life, to the general mannerisms. The South is a place that my heart yearns for when I’m not there. As there is everywhere, the South has a lot of off the beaten path joints and those special places that relate just to your town. Everyone has their favourite diner, their favourite hang out. You know who has the best sweet tea, where to the find the fluffiest melt in your mouth biscuits and who has the best pecan pie as close as you can get to tasting like your Mama’s!

A few months ago while reading an article, I discovered a Virginia treasure. Sally Bell’s, in Richmond, has been in business for over 92 years! Even more incredible then their longevity is the fact that Sally Bell’s was started after the meeting of two ladies at the Richmond Exchange for Women’s Work. An organisation that allowed women to earn money for selling their wares and work toward becoming self-sufficient. Just as important in 1883 as it is today. They’ve been at their present location since the 1920’s and not too long ago, after VCU purchased their property they moved to a new spot. In that move they discovered numerous pieces of their history stored away in the nooks and crannies of cabinets, drawers and hutches, they hope to put these on display in their new home.

Sally Bell’s is a place near and dear to many people’s hearts. That is clearly evident by not only the patrons that have been coming for generations, but also the people who work there. They are a family and they put heart and soul into their food. Their box lunches would be a treat for sure! I couldn’t imagine anything better. It’s nice to know that as the world continues to march forward, places like this still exist. The nostalgia they carry forward is so very important to who we were, where we are going, what we want to become and what we don’t want to lose value in.

I loved watching these ladies put the lunches together. What is it about something wrapped in wax paper? Maybe it just conjures up a certain time in my childhood for me, watching my mother and grandmothers wrap cakes or sandwiches in a layer of wax paper. The crinkly sound it creates always makes me think of a scene in Driving Miss Daisy, where Jessica Tandy prepares a lunch for her and Hoke. She wraps their lunch in wax paper and tucks it into a shoebox so nothing gets crushed. That sound the paper makes as she folds the corners in and later as they eat by the roadside, drinking Coca-Colas from a glass bottle, Hoke crushes up the wax paper that housed his deviled egg. The crinkly, crunchy, soft sound that it makes, I love that noise.

One day, I’m making a road trip to Sally Bell’s. Besides my boxed lunch, I think I will also be walking out with a box of cupcakes, because it just wouldn’t seem fitting to not do that!

Below are three brief, yet interesting articles on Sally Bell’s, worth a read:

Martha Crowe Jones & Marcyne Jones

Richmond Magazine: First Look: The New Sally Bell’s

Eater: A Boxed Lunch That Has People Lining Up at 6 a.m.

The Grand Total

Since my last post about reorganising the closets, we’ve given away a whole lot more! The grand total now stands at 10 garbage bags and one large shopping bag worth of clothing, fabric, towels and home accessories. Decluttering is an amazing thing, it frees the space and it frees you. I haven’t missed anything that we have donated. I’m truly enjoying the bits and pieces we decided to keep. I took great pleasure in making a loaf of bread yesterday, on countertops that were practically devoid of clutter. It’s very cathartic and something this little dollhouse and us were desperately in need of.