Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spring Inspiration in the Midst of a Deep Freeze.

I was supposed to drive the bus for the first time this afternoon and I have to admit, I've been rather anxious about it.

Although I've driven bits and pieces of the route before, a lot of the surrounding landscape has changed, making parts of it unfamiliar. Most of the kids are unknown to me which makes figuring out who is or isn't on the bus difficult. Some of my route, while in my neighborhood, has me dropping off new kids at unfamiliar houses. All in all? A little nerve wracking. Two weeks from now I'll likely wonder what I had to be nervous about, but today it's the first day of a new job.

That makes everyone nervous, right?   

However . . . while on Facebook early this morning, I saw status updates from two of my sisters-in-law. "No school today. -43 with windchill at the International Airport."

Whaaaat?! Alright! Except . . . . it's minus 43 Celsius at the International Airport!

Arghh!  I'm knee deep in growing and planning for the Spring Plant Sale as well as a big Mother's day sale. . . Will winter never end??!

I found something else on Facebook this morning and, if you're as sick of winter as I am, you might enjoy this Spring Fever blog hop. It's a lot more fun than looking out the window at the moment. . .

Click to visit the Spring Fever blog hop with 10 Garden Charmers
 Here's my contribution to the cause. . .

A few garden pictures to remind me that winter doesn't last forever. . .         

Now I'm off with map and student list in hand to drive out my new bus  route in the truck . . .

I'll be glad when it's two weeks from now.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Travel Tuesday. Touring my Teeny, Tiny Photogaphy Studio

 Our adventure today brings us to a small room in my basement.

 I'm pretty excited to show you all how my teeny, tiny studio makeover turned out.

Remember what I started with??

Thankfully, I had kids willing to help out, and after a lot of white paint and some new base boards I had a clean slate to work my magic on.

I seriously had so. much. fun. outfitting this minuscule room.

 I hit up thrift stores and wandered the mall looking for rock bottom deals. I used every last bit of white paint, wielding my brush with abandon. I did a little bartering with Cindy Panek who's starting up a business of her own. She crocheted me some fabulous baby things in exchange for photographing her goods once she has her Etsy store up and running.

Win Win.

I rummaged through the house looking for whatever I though might work. All those not quite white towels will be perfect for filling baskets.The little green doll crib I got as a girl was dragged out from under the deck and scrubbed within an inch of it's life.

 I had a blast!

The studio was finally ready for business.
So, without further ado, I give you my new photography studio . . .

How cute are these? 

I love purple. Now all I need is a baby girl to dress up.

Isn't this one adorable!

I see a fairy shoot in my future . . .

I tried this with a real, wide awake baby. I did not get this shot. All I can say is that Holly had her hand right there for good reason.  (Ahem)

I hope you enjoyed your tour. I know I had a wonderful time putting this room together and now. .

I'm just waiting for kids to fill it. :D

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!

I decided I wanted to do something fun for Valentines day and make my own card for all of you.

A little digital art if you will.

Henry's not huge on the whole Valentine's thing. He always says everyday is Valentines day . . .

It certainly lets him off the hook romantically speaking doesn't it??

Any hoo . . .

I decided that if Valentines day was all about love it, could just as well be about the love we have for friends and family as well.

Thus my card.

I started with this picture just because I think these pigs are so darn cute. I took it while Henry and I were on a romantic weekend away so it's an appropriate one for the occasion.

(don't forget to click on each image to get it full sized.)

A lot of experimenting and playing around and a few hours later I came up with this:

Happy Valentines to all of you! I hope your day is a beautiful one.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Change is in the Air

It may nearly be Valentine's day, but at our house love is not the only thing in the air. . .

Reality. Cold, hard, reality knocked on our door a few weeks ago.

My business has not grown as quickly as I had hoped. Cancer and it's complications slowed me down considerably in regards to getting a business up and running. It also took a significant toll on the family budget.

After the surgery, it was several months before I could get back into the swing of things and once again pick up the household reins. I' m thankful for the fabulous job Henry and the kids did in keeping things going. We couldn't have gotten through as well as we did if they hadn't pitched in and just gotten things done.

But . . . Keeping an eye on the budget and our finances is my job at our house. Watching prices, looking for sales and planning our meals accordingly, paying the bills, keeping track of what's coming in and what's going out . . .  That's always been my job.

None of that happened while I was recuperating. The bills got paid of course, but the sharp eye you need when you are on a very tight budget just wasn't there. Truthfully, even after I was better I let things slip. I didn't want to think about restrictions, I just wanted to live life and enjoy it. Still rather modestly mind you, no wild and crazy trips to exotic locals or fabulous shopping sprees, just dinner out when we felt like it, very little forethought when grocery shopping and some rather self indulgent purchases for our home and personal hobbies.

While checking into our upcoming mortgage renewal, one thing became abundantly clear.

 More money was going out than coming in. Much more . . .

Time to act like a grown up again. Time to tighten the belt and start bring in more money.

So . . . although it startles me as much as it might startle you, I'm going to be driving a school bus again!

My leg may be cancer free, but since the surgery it's not quite the same as it was. If I stand around for much more that an hour it starts to swell. Not a lot, but enough to be uncomfortable. If I go longer than that without putting my leg up for a while, it starts to hurt. Sitting at my desk and working on my computer it seems to pinch the muscle that was moved so I have to work in bits and starts there as well. I have to be very careful not to get any cuts or sores on my leg. With the majority of my lymph nodes gone, an infection would be a serious problem.

That lets out a lot of jobs, even assuming I would want a regular job, which, quite honestly I don't. I'm not ready to give up on any of my dreams yet, but they need more time to grow. And more money . . .

Enter bus driving. I've missed the kids, but not the cold, early mornings or climbing on the hood to hack at the frost/ice on the windows. Then it came to me! What if I skipped the early morning thing and went straight to the afternoon???

When we first started driving  and we  still had small kids at home, Henry drove in the morning and I drove in the afternoon. Aside from finding nap time a bit tricky I liked driving in the afternoon. I didn't even consider it a 'job'. It was just a regular part of my day. If you would have asked me if I was a working mother I would have said no. Henry and I shared the route until Jesse started grade one.

  Driving twice? That's a job!

All of a sudden last week I thought. . . what if I went back to the beginning? What if I just drove in the afternoons? I would get my kid fix again, along with a regular dose of sunshine. I could also enjoy conversations with other women on a regular basis, something I miss being at home all the time.

Hmmm. . . Could it work???

I mulled it over and prayed . . . a lot . . .

Somehow, surprisingly to me, it felt right. I  had always thought  that going back to work would feel like I was going backwards.As though I had failed to achieve my dreams.

In actual fact though, I'm kind of excited about the whole thing. I'm wondering if the Dollar Store has any fun window clings and how John, who's driving in the mornings, will feel about me cluttering the bus up with all kinds of cute stuff. I'm hoping there are a few 5 and 6 year olds who like to chat.  Maybe even some slightly (only slightly though!) mischievous, older boys who will keep me quietly chuckling at their antics.

So, starting next Tuesday, I'm going to be driving a school bus every afternoon. I'm hoping my leg won't mind. ;D and I'm feeling incredibly blessed that this option was open to me.

Yes indeed. Change is in the air.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Favorites

Here are a few of my favorite posts from around the web this week:

Vintage Floral Plates from French Country Cottage

Texture Tuesday Strong and Gentle Kim Klassen Cafe

A Hauntingly Beautiful Spot and a Murderous Tale. Three Dogs in a Garden
This last one from Jennifer at Three Dogs in a Garden will give you goosebumps and make you think , plus, her pictures are just stunning!

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An Amaryllis Blooms

My Aunty Nancy had asked me to share the progress of my amaryllis as it bloomed so I thought I'd make a little movie to show you all the process from start to finish.

I think it's a lovely way to start a chilly winter's day.


Monday, February 3, 2014

February. Extreme Home Purge Month

It looks like February is going to be  Extreme Home Purge month at the Veldkmp home this year.

Henry and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary this fall and although I have purged and purged over the years, somehow I've still managed to collect more stuff  than will fit into our little bitty house.

Partly this stems from the fact that money has always been tight for us. For years I had a wish list as long as my arm of pretty things for my home and garden if only the funds were available. Which meant that when things did come our way whether new, used or gifted, we held on to them.

Henry and I both have an eye for re-purposing and more and more 'things' came to live at our house. . . .  Because we might be able to use it one day. . .

Occasionally extra money became available and things from the wish list were purchased.

But It's been nearly 30 years!  (gulp) Even on a tight budget you can collect a lot of things over that many years!

At this point in our lives I would be hard pressed to come up with a wish list at all. The odd plant, a few photography accessories but. . . that's about it.

I have been faithfully purging over the last few years and brought in an organizing expert this summer when my friend Joyce gave up a few of her precious holidays to help me out.

It was marvelous. But it didn't go far enough.

It's time to get extreme.

I love old houses and spend time at Fort Edmonton every spring, summer and fall admiring them and a way of life from long ago. It all seems so so much simpler.

I'm always amazed at how little space entire families had. Spaces that were beautiful none the less.

Have you ever wondered why old houses have so few closets? It's because they had so few clothes.

I've been reading old Lucy Maud Montgomery  books and many of them talk about the pride women took in their skills in home keeping.  In creating good food and a comfortable home. (Jane of Lantern Hill being an excellent example)

I want that for my home.

But all my 'stuff'' keeps spilling out of corners, off shelves and down from my cupboards.

I've decided to take a page from the past. I will be going through every room in the house this month, getting rid off absolutely everything I don't either use regularly or is so beautiful I can't bear to give it up.

I started in my office/workroom today. As I type I am surrounded by things I thought I could never bear to give up because I might find a use for it someday. Oddly, I'm not finding it hard at all.

Keep an eye on my Facebook page because I'm going to be posting things for sale or giveaway all month.

I'm tired of being weighed down by more than I need. It's time to live my life with just enough.

I was going through pictures on my old laptop trying to decided what to save before I bring it to the recycle depot. I came across this picture of me with my sisters Tamara and Lisa at a wedding. It's my all time favorite and I thought I had lost it!

Me , Tamara, Lisa

Why is it my all time favorite?

How could it not be?! We're all glammed up, a professional took the picture and that mischievous look on Lisa's face is classic!

Here's my favorite of the two of them. . .

Hmmm. . . this might just be a fun month after all!
© A Life of Whimsey