Tuesday, September 30, 2008

painting, painting

Here's our painted back door and house! We've been working away to get more of it painted before it's too cold. I LOVE it. It looked like this when we bought the house. Yellow and brown. We've been poking away at painting and fixing and replacing things according to our time and budget, and it's easy to forget what it looked like before. We've come a long way, baby. The funny part is that only this back section of the house will be painted for the winter; the rest of the house will have to wait until next summer. Which is fine; I'm learning patience through this whole project!

Monday, September 29, 2008

chocolate soap cake

I try not to post the same things here and at my other blog too often, but I think this one's worth it. My first soap cake, in dark, rich chocolate, and coloured with pure cocoa powder. The middle part, which is lighter in the pictures, turned darker almost immeditely after cutting, and looks beautiful. Mmmmmm. I'm planning on glazing this with some vanilla soap later this week, and having a few of these at my Christmas craft fairs. Cute, eh?

And we fared fine through the storm, thanks! It was still a hurricane when it landed, but quickly lost its oomph and only a few branches from our trees were broken. We didn't even lose power, for which we were thankful.

I'm cooking up a storm this evening, making calzones to freeze and have on hand, as well as some of that heavenly crockpot crème brulée I linked to before. And hopefully a couple of batches of soap - I'm trying to keep up with demand, but people just can't get enough soap! I thought I was getting lots stocked up for the big craft fair at the end of this month, but a local store ordered lots to sell, which depletes my stores. Which is a lovely problem to have. Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


The rain has begun, and Kyle is expected to arrive overnight. I'm cautiously hoping that power to the schools I am to visit tomorrow will be out. (But only the power to those schools, and only long enough for the decision to be made to close them for the day - is that specific enough?) We've battened down, and are hoping things aren't too damaging, but I'm expecting we'll have some yard cleanup to do afterward. Hope you fare well, if you're in the area.

On a completely different note, this is the funniest blog post I have read in a long time.

Friday, September 26, 2008

the last blogaversary giveaway winners

I'm home, the babe is bathed and in bed, and I'm ready to choose some winners! Thanks so much for the stories - I enjoyed reading them.

The local winner of the stainless steel kitchen organizer thingy is Ingrid, who found an ulu (an ulu!) at an almost-yard-sale. That's definitely an odd find.

And the non-local winner of three bars of soap made by moi is TC who wrote the funniest 'heard' comment:

"From someone (namely myself) who values books too highly, and obviously spends too much time reading them rather than working on his math skills.

SIGN: All books one dollar.
TC (with four books in hand): Will you take five dollars?

My bartering skills get rusty over the winter."

I'll get your prizes to you nifty winners post-haste - TC, please e-mail me with the types of soap you'd prefer. Thanks to everyone, and have a fine weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


After supper a few nights ago, as Phillip was happily covered in his meal and I was trying to clean him up, I said "Phillip, you're filthy!" He replied, "Filthy, filthy, filthy!" over and over and over. This was the result when I first tried to get him to repeat into the fingerprinted, smudgy mirror for the camera. First is his sweet little "Wow."

I had more success for this second one. There were a few other failed attempts in between.

let's go for a drive, shall we?

For my job as a teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired, I drive a lot. I teach students at their schools, and one of my students who I see twice weekly is an hour away. I love it. I'm lucky enough to be working in the area I grew up in, and I remember driving past this lovely house when I was a kid. There used to be a doll house in the middle upstairs window, which looked like the house itself. It's one of my favourite houses along the way, and I thought I'd share.
The mysterious headless driver was following me for much of the drive the other day. Seriously, I could not catch a glimpse of an actual person. Just the space above the headrests where a head should have been.
And this little former-store is the reason I took my camera along. It's been closed for awhile now, but that's the Bay of Fundy you can see in the background, and it's just a neat looking place. Really, I am so lucky to have such a beautiful area to travel in. At least three of the schools that I visit have ocean views from the classrooms, and I get to drive in a quiet area with little traffic. How idyllic is my province?

one day left for the last September giveaway!

Don't forget to comment on this post before I get home from work tomorrow and have a chance to select the winners (around 5:00 PM Atlantic). If you're local, you can win a lovely brushed steel kitchen organizer thing, and if you're non-local, you could win three bars of my wickedly fantastic soap!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

dreamy pantry

Melissa just posted this pretty pantry picture over at The Inspired Room. You can see her post here.

I am in love. I adore my pantry and the extra storage space it affords. And it's probably a good think that mine is cupboards and drawers, so all of the odds and ends are hidden. But wouldn't it be a dream to have this pantry with its perfectly organized open shelves with all of those lovely jars? And the antiquey bits and bobs? Love it. Add it to my dream kitchen and dream bathroom, and I almost have my house plans complete!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

subscribing to my other blog

Just a quick note to let you know that the feed subscription issues have been straightened out over at my soap blog. Sorry for the inconvenience if you previously tried to subscribe to that feed but weren’t receiving posts. You may need to re-subscribe and refresh in order to get things up and running - please let me know if you’re still having trouble subscribing. Thanks!

And just as a matter of interest, Bergamot essential oil is my new object of affection. If you've never smelled it, you'll be very pleasantly surprised. It's the peel of a citrus fruit, so it smells kind of citrusy, but with a delightful almost floral note which is joy for your nose. In fact, the combination is heavenly. Dare I say perfect?

Monday, September 22, 2008

apple picking

We had a lovely time picking apples yesterday. Adam took these pictures, and I adore them both. Phillip's not quite walking on his own yet, and still has a bit of trouble if he's only holding on with one hand. But he would not let go of that apple. So he chewed, toddled a few steps while holding my hand, and fell over. Repeat. He has three new teeth coming in, so I think it must feel really nice (and I know it tastes good!) to chew away on some fresh fall food!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

must make soup

I found these at a yard sale. $2 for a set of four, in their original box from the 70's, and with the 'Made in Taiwan' sticker still on each one. Pristine condition. I've never made French Onion Soup, but have determined that from now on, soup in our house will only be served in these. Must make soup.

welcome to yarmouth (lots of pictures!)

Phillip and I went for a lovely quiet walk, bright and early this morning. I took the camera along, and captured some sunny September Sunday morning moments, and the jist of what Yarmouth is like, in case you've never been here. We had been planning on moving away for Adam to go on to PhD studies, but our plans have happily changed, and we're staying put. I find that since making that decision, I'm noticing more things I love about Yarmouth, and I want to share them. It really is a lovely, quiet, safe, beautiful, and historic town, with clean air, friendly people, the ocean, and us, of course! Glad you could join us for our walk.
I love September - it's kind of the netherworld between summer and true fall. I thought the green grass and rusty leaf captured that nicely.
We went down to the waterfront, where there were boats,

and signs,
and the chance to buy some boiled lobster. Mmmmm.
A shiny shop display in beautiful fall colours caught my eye.
Our YMCA uses solar panels to heat the pool. I think that's fantastic.

These adorable hats are in a window display at Hands on Crafts, a local craft supply store owned and operated by a group of crafters and artists, where I buy most of my soap supplies.

And the Old World Bakery and Deli sees us often. Their food is amazing, homemade, from scratch. Real, good, food.
You can always pop in at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Yarmouth branch.
Or watch a ridiculous number of bees competing for space in a particular rose. There were four in the top rose, and two already in the lower rose. And lots more buzzing about - I didn't want to get too close.

Over the past few years, a lovely path has been completed which goes the length of the waterfront, and it's planted with these roses. These roses grow extremely well here and it's nice to smell them over the other fishy waterfront smells. I love how they're growing through this fence.

Well, that's a tiny piece of Yarmouth for you; come for a real visit and we'll see lots more. Hope you're having a beautiful Sunday - we're off to pick some apples this afternoon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"I don't want silk. I want polyester."

Nope, no one's getting this bowl. It's a handmade sugar maple bowl I found at a yard sale this morning. Along with the set below (not handmade, but lovely solid wood). Total: $3. Phillip loves wooden bowls, which is great, because he can throw them as much as he likes.

Here's the deal for this last blogaversary giveaway. I found this at a yard sale (I know, not Frenchy's, but the same idea) and love it. But a) I don't need it and b) it doesn't fit in with anything in our house. We have the antiquey mismatched thing going on, while this would fit in beautifully in a more modern kitchen with brushed steel appliances or an office-y space. It hangs on the wall, has four magnets with it, and pegs for hanging keys on. And the notepaper holder, which I think is dreamy. The catch: it's pretty large (probably 12 inches by 12 inches or so, maybe bigger) and I am not planning on paying shipping for this to anywhere in the world, since that would mean that we would no longer be able to eat. So here's the plan: I'll choose two winners from comments on this post, one local, and one non-local. The non-local winner will win three bars of my fabulous soap!

Here's the question: What's the strangest or funniest thing you've ever seen or heard at a yard sale or thrift store?

Mine were this past week.

Seen: A prosthetic lower left leg with a HUGE foot. No, I'm not kidding.

Heard: "I don't want silk. I want polyester."

I'll choose two winners (again, one local and one non-local) on Friday, September 26. I can't wait to read your stories!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Wow, this whole "let's move every photo I've posted on my blog over to my new flickr pro account" idea is taking a lot of work. Mainly because I have over 1300 images there now, and most of them are untagged and need to be sorted into sets. But I do have all of the images there for your perusal, and there are plenty of pics which haven't been posted here. Primarily soap ones, which I've been posting on my other blog. Anyway, pardon the current un-organized-ness while I plug away at sorting them. Do have a peek, and please add me as a contact under my 'birchbarksoap' username!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

my favourites from abchao

I seldom find a photostream on flickr where I want to view every photo. These photos are from abchao, and you can view her entire photostream here. Now that I've found this nifty mosaic maker, I think I might be sharing some more flickr favourites.

second giveaway winner

Congratulations to Sarah, the winner of the thrifted Gap bag, for the following story:

"I had a recent Frenchy grossness when I was in Yarmouth a few months ago visiting my mother. I was looking for some fabric to make a scarf. The idea I had in my head was driving my nuts... I had all the colours and fabric prints all stuck in my head. I couldn't believe how well I was doing.. finding everything I was imagining. I just needed a dark fabric to use for the outside of the scarf. I wondered over to men's section. I noticed there was someone coming over to the same bin as I, which usually makes my uncomfortable, because others tend to take what I was looking at in the first place. Anyway, the guy that came out of the dressing room, was coming over to the bin for Men's pants, which is where I was. I was looking at the pants he was about to drop back in the bin, and thought... that fabric would be so awesome! So, when he left, I grabbed the pants. They were a Tommy Tweed baggy type pants and they were brown! As I was walking up to to pay for all the clothes I found, I kind of noticed my hand was a little damp.... I'm just going to say that the pants I had JUST picked up, had fresh boogies in them, and I had pretty much covered my hand in it. I was so grossed out... and disappointed because that was the perfect fabric.
(I did find a better fabric at Walmart once I got back to Halifax)


Sarah, I'll give the bag to your Mom next week when I see her, if that's okay. :)

Oh yes, that's gross. And I had forgotten to share a gross story from when I was a kid, which my sister reminded me of when she left this comment:

"Ooo, I have one! At one of the Digby Frenchy's, the person I was with decided to buy some candy from one of the vending machines near the door. She inserted her money, extended her hand and turned the handle to catch the hot tamales...and the pile of ants that came with them!

Oh, wait -- THAT WAS YOU!!"

Thanks, Mar. I still like hot tamales. Mmmm.

In other news, I'm in the process of putting all of my photos in one flickr stream, using Migratr. It's a fantastic free tool for moving photos from one hosting site to another, and I am SO grateful for how easy it makes the whole process that I might even make a donation. I purchased a flickr pro account, and wanted to move all of my pictures (including pics from a different flickr account) into that one. Not possible through flickr. Then I came across this great tool which let me easily move those pictures over, and pictures I've posted here on this blog (which are saved in Picasa web album) without having to rename and tag all of them. How cool is that? The only thing is that it's not compatible with Macs, so I'm moving them on my work computer while I'm doing work (it takes awhile). I should have all of my photos organized and in one place very soon, which I am extremely pleased about. Have I mentioned that this is a great tool?

Monday, September 15, 2008

modified fruit fly trap

Is there anywhere where fruit flies don't appear at the end of the summer? I just might decide to move there, thanks. I originally posted a fruit fly trap idea here. The only trouble came from the smarter fruit flies who figured out how to get up through the funnel. So I came up with a more effective idea (I think I came up with it; I may have read it somewhere). I just took a glass jar, put a bit of cider vinegar in the bottom (you could also use a fruit scrap) and stretched a piece of cling wrap tautly over the jar opening. I then poked several little holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick. The fruit flies can get in, but they can't get out.

Keep the gross thrift store stories coming for a chance to win the Gap bag! Only two days left to comment here!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

mile-long yard sale

Blogless Annie, Ingrid, and I went to a mile-long yard sale this morning in Pubnico. I found a few great things, like these beautiful napkin rings (10 cents each),
and this handmade pottery dish with the imprint of a pine branch tip, which I'm going to use as a soap dish. Also 10 cents.
I love this antique tin, which was 25 cents, and will fit right in to my kitchen.
And I finally bought a Mini! If only a toy version for Phillip to play with. He wanted the Hummer, but I explained to him that we don't really support the idea of driving around in Hummers, and would rather have a Mini in the house. One other thing I bought which I didn't take a picture of is a sun shade baby tent thing. Difficult to describe, but it's similar to this one. Only not striped. We had a lovely time together and a snail's pace drive home because of a) an accident on the highway and b) the international air show was happening today, which resulted in lots of traffic. Which is unheard of around here, and reminded me to be thankful for that!


I bought this chenille throw at Frenchy's a very long time ago. It had a fringed edge which was an ugly, tangled mess. I loved the throw, though - it's a perfect weight and size, and is very warm. When I looked at it yesterday, I thought, "Why not cut off the fringe and hem the edge?" So I did, and it's lovely.
Welcome to our dining room! Fall-ish things are in place, and it's freshly cleaned out. I'm having a bit of a house purge as of late, and have gotten rid of (translation: put on the lawn with a 'FREE' sign) lots of things. It feels so good.
These are some of the sweet gourds I bought at the Farmer's Market yesterday. The little white pumpkins are delightful, and they're so plump I can't help but squish up my nose at them.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Adam took this gorgeous photo of blackberries from our garden last evening. They were just as delicious as they look.

blogaversary giveaway the second

The second giveaway for this blogaversary month is this Gap bag, found at Frenchy's awhile ago. I love it but never use it, so if you will, leave a comment and it could be yours! It's in pristine condition, and has a magnetic snap closure and an inside zippered pocket. It's not terribly wide, but would be great for carrying a few magazines or books.

To win the bag, comments on this post should be a story of the grossest thing you've ever seen (or bought) at a thrift store. Because we all know that along with the great finds, there can be some not-so-great finds. And some plain disgusting things. I think my find just might be the grossest of all.

I was looking for a pair of pyjamas at Frenchy's one day, many years ago. When I was in high school, actually - I've had the Frenchy's bug (not the one that leaves you red and itchy) since junior high. I picked up a pyjama shirt, and something fell onto the bottom of the bin with a small clatter. It was hard and dry and brown and had a sort of handley-looking thing on it. I looked a bit more closely, and realized what it once had been. The 'handley-looking thing' was a tail. I found a dried up, dead mouse in a Frenchy's lingerie bin. And the strangest part, looking back, is what I did with it - I picked it up (picked it up!) and took it up to the cashier. I can't remember what she said, but she promptly whisked it away.

If you can beat that story, you win the bag. If there's no standout winner, I'll get my friend the random number generator to choose a winner. Now these are stories I really can't wait to read! Have a great weekend!

Edited to add: The winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 17.

magical number 7!

And the winner of the scarf is comment #7 from Ms Ready! I was tempted to choose this one just because it's great, and then the random number generator chose for me!

"I don't know if this counts but I will share it anyway because I think it's a great story. There I was, completely engrossed in my Frenchy's shopping. I had just tried on a boat load of clothes and had the 'no' pile at the top of my basket to return to the proper bins. Finally I made my way up to the counter with my purchases. As I began unloading my basket I thought, wait a minute, didn't I come in here with a jacket? Frantically I retraced my steps looking for my favorite comfy $150 wool coat in every bin and dressing room I could find, but alas, the coat was nowhere to be found. Suddenly the cashier says...um...actually I think I might have just sold it to someone else, for $5.00. Nope, I wasn't loving the Frenchy's bargains that day. She didn't really know who the person was that she sold it to, but I left my name and number in the hopes that some miracle would occur and my coat would be returned. A week passes by, and one afternoon my phone rings. God love caller ID when I saw "Guy's Frenchy's" blazing across the mini telephone screen. The lady who had accidently purchased my coat a week before, and subsequently had it drycleaned, had returned to Frenchy's and been recognized by the same cashier. She was calling me from Frenchy's to say yes, I could have my coat back. The next day I meandered into Frenchy's with a thank you card and a little gift for the good samaritan to retrieve my long lost, freshly dry cleaned coat. My best thrift store find ever :)"

E-mail me at grahamsherrie at yahoo dot ca, and we'll work out the details! Thanks to everyone for your stories, I loved reading them! I'll try to post the next giveaway tonight after the boy is asleep.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

so many things to share (or umm, yes.)

I wondered what the parcel delivery slip was for when I saw it on the table. "Oh," I thought, "Someone's swap soaps must not have fit in the mailbox." Imagine my surprise when I picked up a big box (still not sure why it was such a big box) with a customs declaration of 'calendar'.
"Oh YEAH!"
I flipped through to September 15 and found my inchworm! I'm famous! I didn't bother to mention this whole thing when I was asked about it, just in case nothing came of it. Meg from Cute Overload contacted me several months ago and asked if I would like my photos of Inchy McIncherson, originally posted here, included in the Cute Overload Page-a-day calendar for 2009. Umm, yes. Pretty exciting.
I'm also tickled pink every time I use my new mesh produce bags. I whipped them out at the Farmer's Market on Saturday, and the cashier at the grocery store was asking me about them today. Adam laughed at me today when I picked up two avocados. I asked him what was so funny and he asked "Are you just getting two so you have a reason to use the bag?" Umm, yes.
Hmph. Do you know what this is? It's my Black and Decker bread machine, which is one of my most used wedding gifts. Love it, use it regularly. But do you know where it is? On my counter. In the place where my Kitchen Aid should be. Yup, I managed to get not one expensive dud, but two. I seriously think that someone's out to get me with sub-par products. Remember the Mac we bought? It's working like a dream now and we didn't lose any data. The problem was that Macs aren't supposed to have problems, and mine did! And neither are Kitchen Aids. But mine started making a high pitched whiny awful sound while stirring. And now it does it every time, and not intermittently. So after a long saga, they sent me a mailing label and my machine is somewhere between here and Ontario. I really, really hope that they just send me a new one so I'm not wondering when it's going to start falling apart. Hopefully I'll have one again soon!

Don't forget to leave a comment on this post before tomorrow at, oh, let's say one o'clock Atlantic time. ("At the start of the long dash following ten second silence, the time will be one o'clock Atlantic Time." Thanks, Olga!) I'll have the random number generator choose a winner of that gorgeous Burberry scarf when I get home from work. And I'll also post the next giveaway item - it's a good one, too. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I found this beautiful scarf at Frenchy's today. Yes, that's a Burberry scarf. The scarves currently on their website sell for 150-450 pounds. No, I'm not kidding.

This month marks three years of blogging here. Umm... three years?! That's how long it takes to build a $7 million luxury yacht or for a corporate reputation to recover from a crisis. (did you catch that, Maple Leaf?) I could have been doing what this woman did, and have taken a picture a day for three years...

or not, since I would inevitably forget.

I really enjoy sharing little snippets of my life with you imagined readers (not imaginary, but as in I imagine you all sitting at your computers when I post) and I like to think of this blog as a collection of the daily pleasures which might be overlooked if not for the thought "I could blog about that!" I share here what I enjoy on others' blogs - photos (my photography has definitely improved over the course of this blog's life), recipes, household tidbits, garden goodness, sweet babies (well, one in particular), and of course, things I find at Frenchy's.

Anyway, what better way to celebrate this month than having a few giveaways of Frenchy's items? First up is the Burberry scarf. Leave a comment with your favourite thrift store find (and if you've never been to one, I feel very sorry for you. You can just write about your cat or something) and the random number generator will choose a winner on Friday the 12th whenever I remember.

I have a few other items up my sleeve for future giveaways that I think you might like, so stay tuned!