Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cozy-ing Up The Home For The Holidays

Hello my friends! :)

Hope you're having a holly jolly month so far. :) Every December 10th, Alex and I plan a tree-trimming day. We go out to harvest our Christmas tree, decorate the house and listen to Christmas tunes. This will be our 5th Christmas together! :) 

Another fun tradition is sweets and "sweetened" egg nog! Brandy and rum...not too much, but just enough to pack a little punch! :) Alex uses the cut off end of the tree trunks to make me little "Charlie Brown" Christmas trees. I kept the one from last year and glued a little snowman on it. I'm going to keep them from now on and decorate them, just the little tree branch has to be replaced each year. 

All of the stockings were hung over the fireplace, though two stockings were missing this Christmas season.

Last Christmas we had Pavlov and Stella with us!

Even though it was a LOT of work during those nine months we took care of them, we really miss them a lot! They were such good dogs. :) They are doing very well, safe and happy back with their owner in Morocco.

We had to wait a few hours to decorate the tree because it was still frozen stiff, so Alex and I prepared dinner. He set up the living room so we could have dinner by the fire. Do you buy wine in boxes? I used to think that only crappy wine came in a box, but there are some good ones out there! This is one of them, Cliff 79, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia.

How cozy and romantic!! Dinner by the fire!

After dinner we got the tree decorated. It smells so nice to have a real tree in the house!

I'm a lucky gal! I've met the nicest people through Blogger I have to say! Pam from Life Through My Eyes at the Whimsical Way sent me a gorgeous Christmas card that she painted.  Isn't that such a beautiful winter scene? Thank you Pam! :) xx

And Joyce from Octoberfarm SPOILED me this Christmas with a box of so many fun goodies, including these little recipe books of Maritime cooking! She knows Alex and I are planning our move to the Maritime provinces and she wanted me to have some great Atlantic recipes! Very thoughtful! Thank you Joyce! :) xx

On milder days, the husky girls always want to be outside, I can't blame them, it's so magical out there when the snow is falling! 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Homemade Dog Boots - The Frugal Way!

Hello my friends! :)

I hope you're all doing well, keeping warm or cool depending on where you live! :)

Temperatures have reached the -20's C (-4 to -20F) here in the mountains some days. We have so much snow, I'm still loving it though! :) 

But it makes for painful "potty time" for the dogs. Their feet get really cold and there are times when they jump around and yelp when it gets too cold for them. So I always make sure I have some dog boots for them.

These are FUNCTIONAL...not fashionable lol...They usually only last a few winters, inevitably some get lost or I just sew the basics without worrying too much about appearance!

I start with dollar store polar fleece mittens. They are kids sizes.

Since I made some for Jack already, I only had to make a set for the huskies to share since they don't always need them. I used the largest mittens they had for kids, cut off the thumbs and sewed them up.

I used to buy the Muttluks dog boots for my pugs. Those are so expensive and honestly they didn't always stay on. My homemade dog boots cost less than $4 a set. 

These boots are primarily for Marlene (though Charlie can use them when she needs them), so I measured around her ankles to get the right size elastic. Then I sewed some velcro on each end, they will wrap around her leg to secure the boot. I made 6 of these. Back boots will have one strap, front boots will each have two. 

These are the back boots. I sewed the strap on just around the soft end of the velcro, so that the strap is loose and can pull tightly around the leg. Each boot also has a thinner piece of elastic sewn as a loop, this keeps the strap from pulling up and the boot from falling down. All dollar store supplies.

Front boot: One strap goes up around the ankle, and the other a little lower down. I put two straps on the front boots because they seem to get more action.

The key to placement of the straps is to make sure they are placed above the ankle bone and they are snug enough to stay in place, but not too tight to cut off circulation.  Most of this was done with my machine, but I had to do a little hand sewing (not a fan!). 

When I made Jack's boots last year, they were a little too short for him, didn't reach up to his ankle bones; so I had to sew some fabric to the top of the boot (the pale blue fabric was an old sweater) - that way the straps fit snugly above his ankle bones. If you don't get that strap in the right spot, the boots come off the minute they take a step.

This year,  I only had to replace the velcro on his boots. They've held up one big winter already, let's hope for a second!

Not a happy husky! Marlene is not a fan of the boots! But her feet get really cold, so she'll have to get used to them. I also made her a little vest out of an old pair of pj's I had - another frugal project. Re-use!!! :)

Charlie's coat is SO THICK in the winter, and her toes are very hairy, so she rarely needs extra help. But on those days when it's -40, we take the dogs out one at a time, and the girls can share the boots!

Jack is an old pro wearing his boots...he's giving Marlene some advice I think! :)

After about 20 minutes of encouragement, Marlene was finally walking around on her own! :) She pee'd but wouldn't poop until I took the boots off, lol...silly dog. She'll get used to them though! 

I have a little set up over the heater by the door to dry up the boots between trips outside. Works well!

Just a note: After reading a few initial comments, I wanted to say that with these dollar store mittens, made with polar fleece, the boots don't really need waterproofing. In really frigid weather, the dogs don't stay outside long enough to soak them through. They dry quickly because I hang them by the heater after each use.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Walk By The River

Hello my Friends :)

My world is so beautiful lately that I just wanted to share it with you! Yup, winter has arrived and here it will remain until mid-May. Even though it's really cold out, I'm drawn to the charm of Nature! Alex and I went for a walk along the cold river yesterday.

Weekdays in this village are pretty quiet and we love that. We made several stops along the river bank to just sit and listen to the flowing water.

I made little snowmen all along the way too, that was fun! :)

Darkness falls quickly this time of year, making winter nights a beautiful haze of blue and white.

Time to head back home through the covered bridge. (Sorry it's a little out of focus!)

A nice comforting meal of Crepes Suzette warmed us up on a cold wintry night! The weekenders are already in town on their snowmobiles, making quite the racket...time to hibernate for a few days!! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Goodbye Autumn Hello Winter!

The theme for the Scribble Picnic this week is "Goodbye Autumn". When I saw this prompt a few weeks ago, we already had a lot of snow on the ground! We said a fond farewell to Autumn a long time ago! Here is my watercolour to celebrate the change of season!!

And of course, for fun, I had to draw Bugs saying goodbye to Autumn too! :)

I'm still fooling around with that digital painting program, slowly but surely I'm learning all of the gazillion functions it has! Though I think I will stick to landscapes until I can acquire a digital pen! My finger on the touch pad of my laptop is way too wobbly for detail!!

Once you start to receive Christmas cards...Autumn is definitely long gone! This lovely card was sent to me by Christine, our fellow Scribble Picnicker and Blog friend. She made it herself too, I love that! Thanks so much Christine!! :))

Charlie would LIVE outside all winter if we let her!

Alex and I did the monthly shopping last glad that's over. On shopping days we don't even bother to cook, we always make sure we have a nice cheese platter to snack on as we put groceries away. :)

We've had some unpleasant surprises lately...lots of power outages due to the heavy snow on the Hydro lines; next, our water pump busted and we had no water for almost a day; not to mention a partially flooded basement. :( We have a great landlord though, and he came over to fix it. Having no water is kind of depressing...but I'm glad it wasn't a big repair, I had some Homemade Salsa and Marinara Sauce to can! 

Another crazy thing that happened was car-related. I would be braking then the car would jerk suddenly and scare the bleep out of me. 

The ABS brake sensor was malfunctioning and last month we had it replaced. But the car dashboard still lit up like a Christmas tree! Oh, and just for fun, the "check engine" light came on too; so yesterday we had to go back and it was some kind of ridiculously expensive bearing on the wheel that had to be fixed. In times of stress, a nice walk in the woods helps. Alex and I came upon this frozen river on one of the trails near the garage.

Despite that surprise expense, I am proud to say we are nearly halfway towards our savings goal for a down payment! :) And...since I challenged myself in early November to only use the car less than 10 times until's been three trips out so far...once for monthly shopping and TWICE to the garage!!! I hope that's all settled now so I can keep that promise to myself! Our next car will have NO GADGETS...these modern cars claim convenience...but the cost to fix them is anything but!!! What do you guys drive?

Time for comfort food!!! This dish was SO GOOD. It's a Vegetarian-ish Shepherd's Pie. I say "ish" because I use Worcestershire sauce in it, which I believe has anchovies.

Green Onion and Potato Soup with Potato Pancakes. Oh Mr. Potato how I love thee! :)

Chocolate Coffee Cake. First time I made this! It was really good, especially the streusel topping!

Cozying up in bed with Jack, my precious hound dog. :)

Farewell little fella...until next year!! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Digital Art - I Don't Know What I'm Doing!!!

Winter Mountains
Hi Friends :)

I've been playing around with a digital painting program the last few days. I really have no idea how to use all of the features and I don't think I have the right computer for the job! But I came up with a few pieces I wanted to share.

Snow Queen
Someone familiar with the software would likely breeze through these paintings, but they took me a long time to create! I'm starting to think that I'd like to someday invest in one of those pens I can use as a mouse so I can draw digitally.

Full Moon
Just for "fun" I looked into an IPad and a drawing pen to go along with it. EEEGAD...we're talking over a thousand dollars for that set up (minimum)!! And that's not including the appropriate software!!

Don't Look Out The Window
I guess for now I'll make do with what I have! I'm going to download a video that shows me all of the features of this program and how to best use them on my laptop. That should keep me busy this winter!!

Speaking of winter...

It's getting colder and colder, sigh. The dogs love being outside, but their tolerance is getting lower. I'm going to have to start sewing some homemade dog booties soon!!

Comfort food is needed during cold weather!! We made a Tomato Pizza Fondue last week and it was SOOOOO GOOD.

Alex wanted something sweet after so he decided to "roast" some marshmallows over the fondue burner. It actually worked!! :)

My little Jack rabbit...not meant for the cold!!! :)