Monday, October 18, 2010

giving thanks...

I'm not sure if it's because it's the month of my birthday and my mom's, or what it is exactly that has always found me so inspired by Fall.  I only know that to live in the somewhat remote area I live in, we can find many things to complain about in terms of things that are lacking, but drive along the shores of the mighty roaring Restigouche River or the Bay of Chaleur late September/early October through this hidden valley in the Appalachians, you will never find anything that compares to what Mother Nature graces us with faithfully every year, this time of year.  Call it her grand finale or showdown of all gifts bestowed upon us of the year's previous seasons, we do get it all in the consistent true fashion of  'go big, or go home'...this is my 'home, sweet home'.

Maybe it's just the occasion the time of year allows us in officially giving thanks...for the many blessings in our lives, or for all we've come to eagerly anticipate this time of the year...

If not for the turkey and a plentiful harvest, then for this, my blessings above all blessings...

that I so love the season. 

To the many friends of My Painted Porch, wishing you with big hugs from New Brunswick, Canada, a warm and cozy Happy Harvest and Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

childhood summers be a kid!  I remember spending awesome summer vacations on my grandparent's farm.  Helping my grandmother bang together a scarecrow for her vegetable garden, shooing all of her grandchildren away from underfoot while she prepared meals for a crew of men working in my grandfather's fields during hay season. That usually consisted of potato salad made with real home-made mayonnaise, cooked ham, her wicked homemade bread, with butter and a cup of 'real' tea which is, according to any serious East Coast tea-totaller, King Cole Tea; picking string beans from the garden in large plastic bowls and after having cleaned (snapped) them all, being rewarded with a stick of Wrigley's chewing gum; sitting on my grandad's knee warm summer evenings counting fireflies, while admiring how the moon reflected off of his bald head which I was allowed to buff on occasion much to my delight; games of Ghost Down Cellar around the mulberry bush on their front lawn...a velvety green carpet gently rolling down to the mighty Miramichi River; How Many Birds In the Bush with marbles, in an old tent we kids had retrieved from some one's trash and Simon Says with the lot of us, ALL cousins, whom were loved more like sisters and brothers than they were cousins...we had our own little army of 17; the church hymns and stories of her childhood she would send me into slumber in her big brass bed with, while curtains softly danced in warm summer breezes.
My grandparents have both passed on since those times, God rest their souls.  I miss them and still shed a tear from time to time in recalling them and the wonderful days of summer as a kid.  I wonder if they realize what a tremendous legacy of a truly amazing childhood, they left each and every one of their grandchildren with, to last us a lifetime.

My mom doesn't own a farm, so unfortunately, my children will never know such memories of summer!  And eventho failing sadly in comparison, hopefully what they will remember, are the small and seemingly, at least to me, minute traditions I've tried to consistently provide them with year after year.  Whether it be the must of cotton candy at the annual carnival rides, fireworks never missed bundled up with snacks and cuddles, afternoons playing in the pool filled with lots of laughter, family time, grilled dinners where it's not so much about the eating as it is about the family event itself, never ending supplies of Popsicles and Mr. Freezes following strenuous bouts of play, hours spent on the front yard swing that Papa built, camping weekends filled with campfires, roasting marshmallows, playing in the garden hose with Murphy, or the Sunday evening "ice cream drives",  that would have us guessing, it's all been good thus far. We can't be sure, but we've not heard any complaints.

My mom is selling her cottage tho.  I don't suppose she would consider buying...


Thursday, May 27, 2010

I hope you dance

If you've read any earlier posts on this blog, you've for sure heard me talk about the wonderful ways of my devoted husband, and his neverending reserve of patience as the devout dad that he is.  There is nothing the man wouldn't do for our little wonder. We've all seen the cheese commercial where the dad is forced to sit at his daughter's play table while she assures him that his princess crown wearing days are over when she says they're over...and that's pretty much Joe and Lizzy.

We enrolled Lizzy in dance class last fall.  Just shy of her 3rd birthday and the youngest in her class of 3-5 year olds, we thought it was something she could have fun with due to having what seemed to be a natural rhythmic ability, for her hips didn't just sway, but actually more 'boogied' much like the dancing baby in the viral video! We have endless footage on video of Lizzy in front of the stereo or television with music playing, grooving to the music to the point where she would make herself dizzy.  What that basically translated to for us if you were to see her in perfect rhythm, was her possessing more natural dancing ability than Joe and I put together.

And so, off we would go, the 3 of us to Saturday morning dance classes for a half hour of ballet, followed by a half hour of jazz...but they didn't all go quite as planned.  This was Lizzy and I in roughly the first 2 or 3 dance classes where we listened intently and well, preferred to quietly observe. 
Some mornings it would take the both of us to help her break thru her shyness and simply be comfortable being part of a group scenario...other mornings it would be only me she wanted in the studio with her, but for the most part, it was only Joe.  We then found that as long as the two of us were there at the onset of the class, it created more confusion and a distraction from an already limited focus, but yet asked if she wanted to go to her 'dance party this morning', she would jump up and down with excitement!  And so we did as any loving parents would do...we both put any slighted feelings aside while carrying on in assuring her a sense of security at all times.  I would sit in the observation room where I sat filming yet even more video footage chronicling this minute moment in her life, while she could still see me to wave to on occasion or run back into for a hug, while Joe willingly entered the dance studio with her as the seemingly only parent of her peers required to be there.

Joe is 6'4" one could imagine, he did stand out ever so slightly among the 3-5 year old sea of pink tutus. Nonetheless, if they had to spin, he would spin while gently persuading Lizzy to do the same...if they had to point toes, he would point toes. Lizzy, being at Joe's side with him holding her hand, was assured, and as long as that worked for her, it worked for him.  Just as precious, was the moment a 4 yr old standing on the other side of him, eagerly reached for his free hand making it official...he was now a much accepted member of the troop.  Ballet to Itsy Bitsy Spider or jazz to the Black Eyed Peas, he executed the moves to the best of his ability all too aware of Eliza's sole focus on him, and leading her thru it all, babystep by babystep.  Every Saturday morning became a case of hit and miss where never the same approach worked twice.  It would be interesting to say the least, to see how the rest of the season would biggest question being, would my husband find himself in the year's end dance recital?  I however, could only be grateful for Eliza's sake, and for all, that it was Joe's dance skills called upon to hold her attention and not mine.

So imagine the elation when one fateful Saturday morning, she took the leap turning to Joe, and said quietly "it's okay Papa, you can go now", entering the dance studio doors herself to join her classmates...and stayed. 
She soon grew to be quite comfortable with being in the studio with her new little friends, and began to go through the motions of her own accord.  Stacy (the dance studio director) and her assistants, traded off one on one attention to her along to a few others, and we watched our shy little peanut grow increasingly more comfortable in her now familiar surroundings and routines. 

This past weekend, a long weekend, saw Lizzy perform in her first ever dance recital open to the public.  Allowed only to escort her to the side stage door in the line assembly of her corps with my heart threatening to jump out of my chest while I struggled to swallow over the lump in my throat, I kissed my little marvel with a wish for loads of fun, while warning her to be quiet as she entered the backstage area as others would be performing.  The stage doors open, and without so much as a glance backwards, off she trotted with her peers in her little blue tutu and hair pulled back into a successful heart stopped. The stage doors close....I thought I would die.
Off I run to the main entrance of the theatre and present my ticket as any paying audience member.  I discretely assume my standing position at the back of the theatre while the lights are low following the first dance number.  The 'baby ballerinas" are introduced.  My stomach flips while my heart races...'Will she need to go to the washroom?  Will she cry when she realizes she's without me or Joe?  Will she spot him in the audience 3 rows back? Will she be insulted by the laughter in the audience totally entertained at the adorable 1st year students' number?  Is she already being consoled backstage by one of the assistants in fear of the performance?
The curtain opens...and there standing 2nd from the left, our beautiful little ballerina, who just months ago dispensed of her last diaper, relinquished her beloved soother, grew a distance of independence from Mr. Froggy, and who needed Mommy and Papa close at her side doing whatever was required of us, while she grew wings.
Alison Krauss sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and my little star does just that...and of course, not without waving to Papa spotted in the 3rd row.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

our first interview

I always hesitate to post when our creations have been featured somewhere, as I'm not comfortable with appearing to be tooting my own horn, but as long as anyone reading understands that it is all for the purpose of interest and business promotion that shops and products are featured, then I don't feel so sheepish for promoting and making mention of the feature. I was thinking to create a seperate category for such features or make mention elsewhere on our blog for our readers, but haven't yet figured out how to do that. And so, with all waivers aside, here's the latest with the hopes that you'll share in our excitement!

We were quite thrilled at Gabreial Wyatt's interest in us! Gabreial is Editor in Chief of Vintage Indie and we do sincerely thank her for the honour of inviting My Painted Porch to an interview. In the event you would like to read her feature, you can do that here at Vintage Indie.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the Indie Bride feature

And a great way to start the day...Erika Pitera, editor for Zest for Life Media, Inc Publications, informed me this morning that we've been featured on their wonderful new site The Indie Bride...take a peek! Thanks so much Erika!
Sweetest Moments offers a wide variety of beautiful, vintage-inspired wooden wedding signs to add elegance and charm to your special day. The signs are more at The Indie Bride

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

bridging the great divide

WOW!! I'm always so proud to see fellow Canucks do well. Such a young and fresh approach to something of great value and reader appeal with tons of potential in the wedding industry, is sure to be met with huge success. Sharing is just one of those things we as women do best. I love that women not just across Canada, but across the globe are far beyond finding a voice, but creating their own means to have it heard far and wide. So proud of A and Monique...the latest of blog pioneers on the Canadian Wedding scene helping to bridge a gap that comes none too soon. Gotta love all things Canadian, and I do! Thanks so much you guys, for the recent feature of our Sweetest Moments Wedding Collection!!

Je T'aime: I Saw The Sign! - Bride Scouts

Hi Hi,If I could put up a sign for every detail of a wedding, I swear I’d do it! SIGN: Ceremony this way SIGN: Reception that way SIGN: Bathroom around the corner SIGN: Centerpiece on table… you get it. I LOVE signage and today’s post is all about my feelings towards them. In scouting all things Canadian Wedding, we found this amazing company nestled in beautiful New Brunswick...READ MORE

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

all by myself

What do you do at 3 o'clock in the morning while everyone else in your household is fast asleep? Why, write a blog post of course!?

I was recently invited by an online wedding publication, who felt us worthy of a feature in their online magazine, to submit pics to them to accompany their article. As I began sifting my way through the many gigabytes of photos stored on our pc, it occurred to me that the very location of My Painted Porch in it's constant state of organized confusion, has never to date been shared with anyone. And so this morning (or night), I thought to share some pics of my creative den...where it all happens, well...most of it that is.

While I write, I take note of all that surrounds me...a tube of my fave hand cream, my eyeglasses (it's an age thing), hairclips, an emery board, the usual coffee cup (or teacup...depending on the day), telephone, fax machine/copier, scanner, filing cabinet. This is where what starts as an idea, goes to paper with a sketch and graphics. Did I mention the area also serves double duty as my dining room :-0?!! But too messy to take a photo of...

It then makes it's way to my husband (my carpenter), who deciphers and traces my skillful hen scratchings into something recognizable (he also finishes my sentences on occasion), and the idea soon finds itself in our basement at the mercy of a saw. Also too messy to take a photo of...

With the form cut, and carried up 4 flights of stairs to the studio, here it lies awaiting my abuse. Also too messy to take a photo of, but permitted somehow, and so I did...

I LOVE my space!! It gives me a birds eye view of Athol Street, and our neighbors as they leave for their traditional 8-4 jobs, dressed fashionably with lunch bags tucked in arm, while I envy the thought of coffee breaks and lunch hours beckoning adult conversation, and comparisons of past weekend experiences along with the most recent fashion purchase. As I look down at my overalls, spattered in paint, the orders held in place with clothespins, and wondering if today is my turn to eat (hmmmm....actually, I think mine was yesterday), I remind myself that I wouldn't trade it for anything...EVER!! It can be a lonely existence, but I have the best boss in the world! And on many a fulfilling occasion, she has afforded me the opportunity to be creative, accountable, self-disciplined, focused, and challenged...for that I am so grateful!

I'm sure I'll find someplace to wear my new riding boots not too far off into the distant future...but I must say, they ARE looking rather trend-setting and funky with my kitty cat pyjamas!

Monday, March 22, 2010

the times they are a-changin'!

Hmmmm...I'm from the Maritime Provinces of Canada. When we speak of fishing, something many of our forefathers raised their families on, we mean some of our guys going out in a boat, or on the ice, with what is commonly known, maybe even universally, as "a 6 pack" of NB brewed beer, or Tim Horton's coffee, dangling toes in the cool waters from the stern of a canoe, or in the hot ice-shanty fires and that can burn the toes of your socks if you're Australian and not careful, to cast a line, or a net, in the sparkling reflection of the sun on the water, or on the crystal covered ice, to gain none other than, fish! NEVER, in my wildest dreams, did I dream that phishing, could ever mean, invading someone's website, with the intentions of stealing someone's private information, for the benefit of absolutely no common good, but for one's own lazy, greedy, ruthless and illegal personal gain.

As a Canadian, snowbound, and anxiously awaiting a Spring vacay with toes buried in sand, the sun shining down on us, ice-cold drinks in hand and Caribbean music swirling around our heads, as we try to figure out how to make the fins on the fish more indented without caving our 3 yr old's sand sculpture, I'm sure to be thinking that I personally know not much about fishing, or phishing.

Only this...

To the dirty dogs who phished our website and deemed it "account suspended" and inaccesible, shame on you. Didn't your fathers ever teach you the value of hard work for your benefits, and how to 'fish', the old fashioned way??

Thursday, February 11, 2010

love is in the air

I found myself in quite a nostalgic mood yesterday. Joe and I were married almost 4 years ago in the Caribbean in a small ceremony on the beach, with some family at our side along with some wonderful friends. With toes in soft white sand, turquoise waters behind us, a Cuban trio playing softly as we whispered vows of 'together forever', a surreal moment was born for us and our spirits soared. Yesterday, I watched our video of our sweetest moment several's never without a tear, and the lyrics Amanda Marshall sings in the background would have it almost seeming 'Marry Me' was written just for us.

We are celebrating our love this Valentine's Day week with our little one...we've become a bit of a three-man show these days, Joe, Lizzy and me. It seems like only yesterday tho when on the eve before Valentine's Day and before Lizzy, my German husband not yet accustomed to Canadian winters and our minus 40 temps, stayed out all night. I guess I could have been upset at that had it been for any reason other than for what it was. Frozen eyelashes softly tickled my cheek waking me from my sleep at 4 am. The alarm rang at 6 again, and again, he disappeared. We are leaving our driveway as we head out for work Valentine's Day morning, and I'm told to look to my left only. "Don't looook, don't looook" our car turns the corner, "okay, now you can look...Happy Valentine's Day my big, big love"...

Wow...WOW! Of course I had to stop the car...if not for a closer look, then to avoid the snowbanks as I really couldn't see for the tears.

For sure having a little one in our lives now has changed the dynamics of our life together in many ways. Without a doubt, we will never have the time nor energy to meet the huge wonderful gifts to each other of the past in ever quite the same ways, but earlier this week, I was upset with Joe for something...sitting at the computer pretending to concentrate on the task at hand, a small white plate very slowly made it's way across the width of my desk, stopping in front of me. What has never occurred to me before, is that a strawberry, when sliced, is the perfect shape of a heart. Amongst those five hearts adorning the small plate, stood a toothpick waving a white paper flag, reading "I Love You"...

Much like the strawberry, I've learned with him on this incredible journey we have embarked on in our life together and this amazing love we've shared for 10 years already, that the beauty of a truly deep and profound love can be spoken anywhere, and in the simplest and most tender of ways. There is just never a wrong way to say "I Love You"...and no matter how simple or grand the package, it's always big, and always enough.

Happy Valentine's Day...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sweetest Moments

Oh My! Here she comes with another apology for the long lapse in postings...nope!

Happy New Year everyone! I'm hoping that all spent a holiday season surrounded with loved ones, as we did, and that 2010 is showing itself thus far to be a year filled with great promise, hope and signs (no pun intended) of all of your wishes and dreams coming true. And today, maybe I'll be forgiven for that long lapse as we are so happy to have our wedding series of vintage inspired signs Sweetest Moments, finally launched! Check out some of our newest items from MY PAINTED PORCH...

 Let your guests know how important their presence was to you both, with this sweet Thank You sign displayed on your gift/card, favors or sweets table This sign would also look adorable held by you as a couple in your Thank You card pics!
For display at your reception on your head table, or hanging from your bridal suite at the end of the day, this “Mr and Mrs” Cottage Style Wedding Sign makes an adorable and fun way of introducing you as the newly married couple and can later be held by you both in your Thank You note photo.

“Grow old with me...the best is yet to be” is a wonderfully romantic sentiment to direct your guests on your wedding day, display in your home as a keepsake of your tender moment, and also makes a very thoughtful wedding gift for the happy couple.

“And They Lived Happily Ever After” in text type shown is a wonderfully fairytale and romantic sentiment to direct your guests on your wedding day, to display in your home as a keepsake of your tender moment, and also makes a very thoughtful wedding gift for the happy couple. Another adorable use is to have it carried by your ring bearer or other of your wedding party down the aisle following your exchange of vows, have it displayed from your getaway car, or hold it as the newly married couple in your Thank You notes photo. This sign would be the perfect touch to your Fairytale themed weddng.

...and these are just a few! Visit our shop and take a peek at what we have to offer thus far in capturing your SWEETEST MOMENTS.