Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Forgotten Garden - A book review

Okay so I love books, anyone who knows me knows this well. I'm always reading, I even carry a book in my purse. I have read some really good books and some not so great books too. There are books out there that I know I will probably not read - Anna Karenina ( sorry Liz) and 50 Shades of Grey (sorry everyone else) and there are books I've read that I'm sure not many other people have read. Rarely and I mean rarely does a book take me back to a time when I was first discovering the wonder of stories - after the struggle of learning to read (which was not an easy task, ask my parents). It's been along time since I felt like I could live in a book, dream about it even, until this week when I was reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton for book club on the suggestion of my Nana. Check it out at Chapters HERE
It has everything I love, a mystery, fairy tales, a set of twins ( I was really into twins when I discovered reading), a love story and even scrap booking. Best of all part of the book is set at the turn of the  last century, which use to be my all time favourite time period. It's the cross generational story of Rose and Eliza, Nell, and Cassandra. With out giving too much away here's what it is about.
Nell is only four years old when she is left on a boat headed to Australia by the Authoress. After a hit to the head Nell can't remember her name or her parents either. Once in Australia Nell is all alone with only a suitcase and no name and is taken in by the harbour master and his wife. Her world is shattered on her 21st birthday when the harbour master tells her that he is not her father but it is not until after his death and the arrival of her suitcase does Nell go in search of her identity. It takes her to England and the small Cliff Cottage. After purchasing the cottage Nell intends to return to England to put the rest of the pieces together. Once back in Australia, Nell's travel plans are interrupted with the arrival of her granddaughter Cassandra and she never goes back. After Nell's death Cassandra receives the deed to the little cottage and makes her way to England to put the final pieces together.
This was one of the best books I have read all year. I'm so glad Nana suggested it. So as the Brownies say "One good turn deserves another," I'm passing it on to you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dancing barefoot

Here is the story of my sister Patti's wedding to Ryan about four weeks ago and why I walked down the aisle in my bare feet. About 12 years ago my cousin Melissa was planning her wedding. Just prior to her engagement, her sister Cara's boyfriend, Von ( now her husband) had been thinking about asking Cara to marry him but had put if off when Kyle asked Melissa. My Grandma said that was a good thing since if Cara got married first, Melissa being the elder would have to dance bare foot at Cara's wedding or risk never finding a husband. Let's blame Leah and Rachel's father for this. Remember them from the Old Testament? Jacob so loved Rachel but had to marry Leah first because she was older and that was the natural order of things. Apparently in English tradition the unmarried elder sister must serve or dance in her bare feet if she wishes to find a husband, it's actually seen as a punishment to the elder sister, you can read more about it HERE. In French Canada the tradition is for the unmarried oldest sibling to dance in really ugly socks (made for the occasion) at any wedding for a younger sibling and people throw money @ them ( but they don't get to keep the money, the newlyweds get it).
So, it's been a joke that I would have to dance at Patti's wedding barefoot. Since it's not uncommon for women to take their shoes off these days on the dance floor and since the dance floor was cement and felt yucky on my feet, I decided to walk down the ailse in my bare feet. Not so that I would find a husband but because I love my sister and we have been joking about it for so long. In truth Patti, probably was always suppose to get married before me, even being the younger sister she has always been the one to pave the way. She got her ears pierced first, she was the one who asked Mom when we could start wearing bras and to show us how to shave our legs. I have a feeling that I'll be very grateful that she went first when it's my turn.
The wedding was beautiful and I couldn't be happier for both of them...I can now officially call Ryan my brother - even though he has felt like that for years.
Here are some moments which highlighted the weekend for me;
1. The laughter of my family as I arrived @ the end of the aisle in my bare feet.

I think my cousin Bret took this.
2. As I watched my sister walk down the aisle with our parents, the tears started to come and pretty much didn't stop, big fat juicy ones.
I think our friend Andy got this one.
3. I had the pleasure of doing a reading @ the wedding. Apparently some of my family members where not sure I would get through it because I was crying so much but I composed myself and read this beautiful reading.
“Blessing of the Hands"
“These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”
Everyone said I did an good job, but lets face it, I cried thru the whole thing.
4. My cousin Andy and Uncle Bill piped the happy couple out, after being at the Cambridge games all day - in which they got first place. This photo was taken by Ryan's friend Hannah of Red Umbrella Photography, you can visit her on Facebook HERE.
5. Another shot taken by Hannah, to melt your heart. Patti and Ryan's first dance.
Our niece Alexis wanting to join in.
6. Our cousin Greg, whom we don't get to see that often and who is teaching in Thailand, came with his girlfriend Heather. Patti and I had never meet Heather, so we accosted her in the bathroom. Pretty sure she thought Greg has strange cousins, which he does by the way. And a lot of them, welcome to the family Heather!
7. My sister Katie was the MOH. She is 11 years younger than me. Sometimes I forget she is a person and not a baby. Her speech was one of the best...I forget that she can be so funny.
I'm not sure where this photo came from, I think from Ashley and Ainsley's mom April.
8.My cousin Andy also played the pipes at the open jam session, it was so fun to watch Patti and Ryan dancing with the little kids.
9.Two words - Watches Reunion. When Patti and Danny and I were young we had a band called The Watches with our next door neighbour Alie. We reenacted a photo shoot from 1993. Alie is a graphic designer and you can find her HERE.

The original

Dan, Patti, Me and Alie.

10. The next day I got to share a juice box with this little cutie.
My niece Alexis
Okay, wow this post has just gotten way longer than I thought it would, so while there are many many more awesome moments, I'll think I'll leave it there. I will say this, Patti and Ryan's friends love to hug, it was like being in highschool again when you hugged everyone you liked every time you saw them or said goodbye. A great way to spend a weekend.  Oh and the cookie table, loved the cookie table!
Well hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Creative Scrappers- 220- I will remember you

Hi everyone,
It's been along time since I participated in a sketch challenge but last week this sketch from Creative scrappers really inspired me.

I loved the simplicity of it and it was perfect for this LO about the magnolia tree I planted in memory of my step dad, Denis. The purple/pink colour of the paper is the colour the blooms of the flowers will be, hopefully next year.
I hope everyone if enjoying their week. It's raining here again, after over a month without rain, so my brother and I are going to spend the afternoon watching Supernatural. Got to get the rest of the season in before he goes back to Uni in Sept.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Riverstone Retreat

Hi Everyone!! Is everyone enjoying their summer?? Mine has been very busy so far, stuffed with bridal showers, a bachelourette party, a huge sidewalk sale downtown, a baby shower, a Supernatural marathon, volunteering in the heritage village and of course the main event - my sister's wedding. I can't wait to tell you all about Patti and Ryan's day but today I thought I would share a few shoots my Dad got of the venue - Riverstone Retreat.
Riverstone Retreat is located near Durham ON on the Saugeen River. It is a beautiful spot. The couple who own it have not done any advertising and they have 9 weddings there this year and a few family reunions. It is very Eco friendly as it is run mainly on water and wood and a lot of the materials for the buildings were found right on the property and the neighbouring farm (where they live).  They don't advertise because they believe, if you put goodness out in the world, it will attract more goodness. And it has, all by word of mouth and a few other blog posts. My sister found out from Ryan's aunt, who swims with a woman whose niece got married there. Also a women whom I go to church with, her niece got married there as well.

Ernie - the owner, is working on this new fence made from stones found on the property.

The pavilion where Patti and Ryan had their wedding reception.

The EcoNest

The Stone House - every stone was hand picked.

The Saugeen River

The camping area.

The wash house.

This is a naturally occurring aisle. We walked down it, into the forest, where Ryan was waiting for us.

The labyrinth.
This is a truly remarkable place and it was a pleasure to spend the weekend there.