For my wife and I- daffodils mark the start of spring. In fact today at 2:24pm is the Spring Equinox. I am excited for this season to begin. We even had a small preview this past weekend of beautiful weather.
Before we left for Calgary, our daffodils had begun to sprout up in our gardens. They hadn’t bloomed yet and we were eager to enjoy their bright petals upon our return home a week later.
The daffodils did not disappoint. The bright yellow pop of colour brought my wife and I much joy seeing them around our home. Knowing they don’t last long, does upset me. However, we have a variety of other plants that show up and blossom throughout spring, summer and fall.
So this past weekend, my wife and I took advantage of the warm sunny weather and cleaned up the gardens around our home. We cleared out old, dead growth, leaves, and the fluffed the soil. We also transplanted some plants into new locations that we had discussed last year. Our home is beginning to look pretty post-winter.
We cannot wait for more flowers to start popping up! Bring it on Spring!
As spring quickly approaches, nature is already giving glimpses of things to come.
Outside in our front garden you can see the start of the daffodils coming up through the earth. In a short time they will blossom and bloom a vibrant yellow. Their showcase will only last a short time, but I view it as the start of spring and a precursor to the future flowers that shall grow. Their beauty always makes me smile.
Inside of our home, my wife has begun her yearly planting. Beans, peppers, lettuce, etc have been germinating in small trays under grow lights at our window sill.
This year, my wife has chosen to keep them in our bedroom so she can watch their growth. Because I close our blinds for my sleep after a night shift, her grow light remains on during this time. This set of plants will soon be moved to another pot and the next set shall be planted. This will allow for a various growth of vegetables throughout the summer, keeping us well fed with freshness at our fingertips.
Spring is welcome to show up at any time now. Let the longer sunshiny days commence and a garden to grow!
January and February flew by already. We are now into March. Around here we had some whacky weather happen leading up to this month.
This morning’s skyline was absolutely stunning as the sun came up. As I was driving my son to school, I saw numerous people taking pictures of the colours in the clouds. I was just enjoying living in the moment (and paying attention to the roads).
This afternoon, I ate my lunch and stared out our back window watching the clouds sail by. I like that there was a mix of dark and light clouds leading off into the horizon. Soon spring will be upon us and life will begin to spread some colourful vegetation. Winter will be a distant memory and the summer sun will be beating down upon us in no time.
Spring is that beautiful transition from winter to summer. It’s one of my favorite four seasons. Each season has a sense of wonder and beauty. I enjoy nature’s creativeness immensely.
I had noticed that our tv in the basement was a bit quiet. I didn’t want to spend money on a sound bar. So this weekend I decided to pull our home theater stereo out of the attic and set it up.
Wiring the speakers was a bit of a challenge. Lucky for me, above the fireplace was hollow, so wires were easy to string in the wall. The only downside was the wood that was blocking me from running the wires below. I bought a 16” long drill bit and was able to slide it through the hole in the wall. I was surprised at how easy it was to run all those wires.
Now I have speakers set up on the wall around the tv. All that I have left is to run wires for the surround speakers. I’ll probably do that later in the spring. Mostly because I will have to remove the baseboards and then run the wire up the walls. That will probably take me a few hours to complete. For now the speakers that are for the back of the room are sitting beside the fireplace.
The last thing left to do is make sure of the sound quality. Probably watch some tv or a movie. Then try out music.
Today we had our piano tuned up. We kind of neglected doing it for a couple of years. Which was not good. But the tune up went well- just took a bit longer than it should have. At least no repairs were required.
Now that the piano is sounding better, hopefully we will hear it played again. I know that our kids periodically “tickle the ivories”. When their friends come over, many of them can play piano, and enjoy sitting down to play.
This will be nice to have it all sounding good once more. Now to just keep up with the tuning twice a year!
This evening I changed out the aerator to the faucet in my bathroom sink. The other day I had noticed the faucet water wasn’t running very fast. Just coming out in a stream.
The water was still running, but just didn’t seem as strong as it once was. I figured it was the aerator since that’s the piece that usually clogs. Last night I removed it, but damaged it in the process.
No aerator makes for a messy spray out of the tap. So I needed to get a new part pretty quick. A stop at the hardware store and buying a new end to the tap was surprisingly easy. It seems most faucets use a standard size and style.
Now my tap is doing that neat thing where the water seems to come out smoothly and with a little bit of bubbles to make it feel soft. I guess that why it’s called an aerator. Now my water feels gentle and happy again.
Every so often, specifically on Valentine’s Day, I have brought home flowers for my wife. From lilies to roses and the occasional tropical flower- my wife has appreciated the sentiments behind the flowers.
I have always loved a pop of color in our home as well as the fresh scent the flowers give off. As beautiful as the flowers can be, they don’t last long.
Periodically my wife would dry them out. Then we would have a lovely arrangement that can last for years.
This year I decided to pick up an Orchid Lego set as a Valentine’s Day gift. We really enjoyed the Bonsai Tree from a couple of years ago and still have it on display (read about it here: Lego Bonsai). My wife has always wanted orchids, but we both know that real ones would not last. With the Lego set, the flowers will look pretty all the time.
Building this set will also be a fun activity for us to do laster this week. We really enjoyed doing some of the Christmas sets as a family and have built other sets as well together over the years. I love that Lego is creating these sets for people of all ages.
So have a Happy Valentine’s Day! And I hope that if you gave or receive flowers that the last a long time!
I’ve been doing tufting now for a little over a month. During this time I have gotten visibly better at it. My coworkers are genuinely surprised at my skills. Which is totally understandable- I usually keep work at work and my life outside of there is where the fun is.
But after seeing my work, two of my coworkers asked me to make rugs for them. Both very different designs. Both are something I wouldn’t have done on my own either. I looked up ideas online and got feedback prior to creating the rugs.
The first “commission rug” was requested to be a mushroom. The colours just POP in my opinion. This is going to be a gift for his wife since she loves mushrooms. Before doing the rug, we discussed what style to do and went with a cartoonish style- reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. This one was fun to make because I was able to create it in a more whimsical style. When I finished it, I wasn’t sure what rug to make next. So I contacted another coworker who asked about a rug the other day.
This next rug was from Naruto. It was a Mangekyō Sharingan symbol. He asked for this specific design with black and red. As simple as this image looks, it was far more difficult to make than anticipated. I decided to draw a circle on the fabric and lined up the image to fit perfectly. The hardest part was sewing the curves. The monks cloth is set up horizontal and vertical. Making the turns takes longer and is slow going.
In the end, these two rugs are the most perfect ones I have made to date. I’m really happy that they are going to new homes. My house is getting full…
Today I made a rug for my wife. She requested a rug to go outdoors for the summer. A rug that will be for her feet as she exits the pool. So I took what she asked for and made one specifically that would make her happy.
Ever since we moved into our home with a pool, my wife has loved pink flamingos. Naturally I had to make a flamingo rug with a palm tree. After weeks of tufting, I am finally able to make the “waterfall edges” between the yarn colours more defined. A tight cut allowing an obvious transition between each shape.
I love this hobby and have been enjoying the fanart I have created. I make one or two a week currently for myself and my family. It’s given me a good opportunity to learn this skill.After about a month, I’m finally feeling confident.
Perhaps it’s time to start selling some rugs. I can only have so many rugs in our home… I’ll probably start with commission sales and custom orders. If anyone wants to contact me- direct message my Instagram: Tuftleupagus. I’ll do my best to create something that you will enjoy.
Hope you like my rugs and watching my journey to get better.
Today I spent hours cleaning the garage. I went through a bunch of cupboards which contained boxes and tubs filled with stuff. Stuff that I thought I may need one day- so I kept it around. That is until today. Today was a cleanse.
Besides the cupboards and shelves getting cleaned out and organized, I tidied up my workbench. I even took the time to finish gluing a couple of models that I 3d printed in our old house. Originally I was holding off because I wanted to add lights to them. But I realized as I was cleaning that even if I did add lights- I’d probably never turn them on and they’d be stationary anyways. Soon I’ll paint them and put them on display.
I also realized that I am not using my 3d printer, and haven’t for over two years. Since it was given to me, I paid it forward to a coworker of mine. Removing the printer from my workbench cleared off a lot of space. It doesn’t mean I won’t be printing anymore. In fact quite the opposite.
My wife got herself a resin printer from her work as a Christmas gift. The space it takes is far less on the workbench. Bonus- I get to learn a new toy over the coming weeks! This printer is one I have wanted for a couple years, but now my wife is excited about it, so that’s different.
As you may know, I love being crafty and creative. The hardest part about the creative process is keeping everything clean and organized. Hopefully with this start of a clean space will help. I’m still doing my best to keep my rug making area clean.
Anyways, the garage looks better and more open now. The clutter is gone. That makes me happy.
Today I took apart our pool pump to check the seals inside. It had been leaking recently and I was a bit concerned that it may be something bad.
After watching some YouTube clips, I realized that taking apart this pump isn’t that difficult. I also learned that the seals are pretty much the parts that fail the most on these. That was a relief. It only took about an hour to take apart and reassemble.
After putting it together, I filled it back up with water and fired it up. There was a bit of a leak along one edge, so I tightened a couple bolts just a quarter turn more and it seemed to stop. Now only time will tell.
I do like doing my own repairs, but plumbing is not one of my favorites. Hopefully this will be resolved for a few more years now. I guess we shall see.
We love our home. I’m pretty sure I have talked about it a few times in my blog. Since moving in we have made many changes to its curb appeal. I’m happy with our final result. I am also happy with our Halloween and Christmas decorations that we put out. Changing our lights to white was a huge improvement over the colored lights we had our first year at Christmas.
We have had many people in the neighborhood compliment us on our changes. Even strangers walking by have noticed. At Halloween, I overheard children talking about our Freddy vs Jason banners and at Christmas people pointed out our six foot nutcracker statue. We see them from our windows stopping to look. Today, someone decided to stop in the middle of the street and take a picture of our home while on their walk.
That’s a weird, yet awesome feeling. Thank you stranger for appreciating our hard work. Perhaps they took the photo for inspiration in their yard. Maybe they are stalking our house. It could be they want to come back and sell us some window washing in the spring. Whatever it may be- thanks for taking the time to make our day as we are curious as to why you paused.
January 2nd. Back to work. Kids are heading back to school tomorrow. Christmas season is over, right? Not if you follow the idea of The 12 Days of Christmas also known as Twelvetide. That ends January 6th.
Respectfully, that is the date at which we take down our Christmas Decorations, the trees, and lights. Our home will once again feel open and clean. As a bonus, our electric bill will go down since lights won’t be sucking power for hours on end.
Half of our neighborhood has already been taking down lights and decorations until next December. I won’t be the first, but we also won’t be the last.
Do you follow the Epiphany? Or have you already taken down the feeling of Christmas in your home? Or perhaps you leave the decorations out a bit longer.
It started with a design. I wanted to try something elegant and easy. I chose “L“ for my wife. Besides it being the letter of her first name, it’s also from one of her favorite anime shows- “Death Note”. I took the image, reversed it, shone it from my projector onto the back of the fabric- where I traced it out with a sharpie.
Then came the fun part! Using the tufting gun. It was a neat process and once I got going, my confidence grew. I started with the outline of the letter, then filled it in.
It wasn’t necessary to keep the lines or yarn touching as it filled out pretty good. My wife gave a couple of tries as well. I think she may want to tuft in the future as it is a very satisfying sound and feeling.
The way the yarn comes out thick a full makes me happy. The rug is already feeling very soft and looking pretty. Obviously I hope to see some progress and get better at it.
After a couple of hours, I had made quite the mess and used two full things of yarn. I had to call it quits since it was getting late and I have work in the morning. There’s still a few more steps to go in the process before I can say I have made a rug. Like gluing the back to prevent the yarn from being pulled out. Or trimming the front so that everything is smooth and even looking. The final step is giving it to my wife to have.
Stay tuned for an update by the weekend on the final results.
Today my wife and I tackled organizing her studio in the basement. We had discussed doing this over winter break, but Christmas came and then we were just avoiding it. Until today. Today we made progress!
Back in 2015, we turned a portion of our previous home into my wife’s studio. It was modest to say the least, but it accommodated all that she needed to do. It moved the sewing outside from our dining room table and spare bedroom. It made our home feel like a home.
Today we arranged and made a layout for my wife getting back into making hats. This room is larger than the last one. Plus it’s far cleaner and inside our home instead of in the carport. The electrical should also be far superior; and no sawdust or spiders making a mess. Bonus- it has its own bathroom!
My wife has graciously allowed a small corner for me to work on tufting. Actually, she set up the yarn and helped with the layout. I’ll get to tuft and watch tv while she does her sewing on the opposite side. This studio is becoming more of a cooperative setup than before. We are planning on utilizing the space as a hobby area for previous projects and new ones still to come.
In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out a good name for my rug making Instagram account. Do any of you have a suggestion? It could be a pun, or straight to the point. Gimme some ideas in the comment section!
Post Christmas Day in Canada is Boxing Day. My wife and I opted to not do any shopping this year. We are going out later in the week, but not for any big sales. Just a few essentials for the home.
Instead of shopping- my wife and I are having a day of just the two of us. Our kids are doing their own thing- watching tv and playing video games, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have some quality time together. We put our phones into their new matching cases and headed out into the world.
We went for a Five Kilometer walk in our neighborhood. Most of the snow is gone now and the temperature was almost in the double digits at 9°C. A lovely afternoon together getting some fresh air.
For the balance of the afternoon, we are going to eat some leftovers for a late lunch followed by some video games together. My wife has requested that we play a classic for our family- Skylanders Giants. We are going to start the story from the beginning on our Wii-U.
Chances are we will play pretty steady for the next few days. I’m excited to re-play this game series as it was a ton of fun ten years ago! Let’s see if it holds up.
I hope you are all enjoying your holidays and time with family.
Christmas Eve was a nice evening spent with my wife and kids. We had a lovely dinner where my son spent a few minutes trying to set up the perfect photo. He discovered it’s not as easy to get everyone to cooperate as he thought.
The kids did sit still for a quick picture after dinner. That’s because they were receiving their annual Christmas pajamas. After opening the gifts, they got changed and came back downstairs in their new wares.
When they arrived, we “watched” our traditional Christmas film- A Christmas Story. Our kids were more on their phones than paying attention, but hey- we were all in the same room together. Then it was bedtime.
Santa showed up immediately after they went to bed and laid out gifts for the family. The evening ended peacefully. My wife and I went to bed exhausted, hoping that the kids would let us sleep in.
Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope your day is as wonderful as ever.
What better way to round off my 12 Days Of Appreciation than with FAMILY.
I love the time I have spent with my family over the last 40+ Christmases. From being a child and unwrapping gifts to watching my own children do the same. Christmas is the one time of year that I have the fondest memories of family time.
As a child, it was the time that I can recall my father being his most jovial and pleasant. He would sit with us on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Morning. He would share stories, laugh at our innocence over believing him, and genuinely allow a more emotional fellow to come out. When he smiled, it really lit up the place.
As a father myself, I always do my best to make sure our kids were getting extra quality time at Christmas. If they want me around for playtime, movies or video games- I am there. Their enjoyment of the season is paramount every year. I always share numerous stories and memories of my children. They are the best gift I have ever received, as cliché as that might sound, it is true.
Spending time with the family you love is important. It’s a time to set aside differences and do your best to share the happy stories of years past, as well as live in the moment so you can talk about it in the future. I have had difficult moments in the past with my parents and sister, but somehow we always get through it and work on being better.
As I finish my 12 Days of Appreciation, I want to wish everybody a safe a joyous season!
How could I not mention how much I appreciate my friends in my appreciation posts? That would be silly and unheard of- especially for me. I love my friends tremendously!
Over the years I have made hundreds of friends. A few of whom have lasted for decades now. Those who I rarely speak with or see in person, I still try and interact with via various social medias. Everyone I have accepted as a friend has played a significant role in my life. Some are like “The Butterfly Effect” where it was a small encounter, but made a big impression. Other people have gone by the wayside and just moved on, the same with me.
I can honestly say that my friends have been there for me when I needed them most. Through losses, parenting woes, work, depression, or even celebrations, birthdays, and adventures- having friends there for me has made all the difference in the world.
Opening our home to friends has always made me happy. I love having them mingle and just relax in a warm and loving environment. As busy as life can get, I love that my friends are there for me when I need them; even for a quick text or call.
I’ll always be there for them as well. I have a special spot in my heart for each and every one of them. I wish all my friends the Merriest of Christmas! Thank you for being there for me over the years! We have had such great times and made wonderful memories.
If you have a memory of me you’d like to share, please do! I can only scroll through so many thousands of pictures to add to my blog. If you aren’t pictured, do not worry, I still care about you!
My life is incredibly blessed with everything that we have worked towards over the years. My biggest appreciation of all of our possessions is our home.
We wouldn’t be here without hard work and help from our parents. They helped us out financially, and we paid them back after years of struggling. Almost 20 years of homeownership I can honestly say that I am so happy with where we have gotten to.
The biggest thing for me is to open up our home for friends and family. Tonight being the winter solstice, we have some close friends coming over for laughs, food, and general good times. That’s what having a home is for. To open up your doors to the ones you love.
Every Christmas I have spent in my home. Even growing up- traveling or going away at Christmas never happened. Christmas was a time to just appreciate what you have and stay warm throughout the winter season.
I appreciate our home and all those who are invited in to share our space. I hope that over the holidays your home is as warm and wonderful as ours.
Christmas is a time of over indulging. I appreciate all the food that comes out at this time of year.
Every year, my wife and I stockpile meats and cheeses. We set out these spreads on the Winter Solstice and continue to graze through the remaining bits until January rolls around. Adding to the delightful feast, I also make “Fancy Sandwiches” which is a recipe I learned from my father many years ago. His tradition was to have them ready for Christmas Eve. Honestly, 30 sandwiches hardly lasts in our home- and it’s just my immediate family eating them!
My wife and I also do a lot of baking during this time. Specifically cookies. A few years back, we would fill large tins with a variety of treats and give them to my wife’s brothers. One year we gave away tins to about a dozen different families who came over to celebrate solstice with us. Needless to say, we love cookies at Christmas, but if we start too soon, we have to make another batch (or two.)
Everyone has traditions involving food at Christmas. Besides “Fancy Sandwiches” we also make schnitzel and liver ball soup on Christmas Eve. And yes, the kids do enjoy the soup. But only once a year as it is fairly rich and heavy. But that’s a tradition my father did for us growing up, so it was nice that my wife wanted to keep it up. I hope our kids will pass it on to their future families and such. Plus we also do a fondue on New Years Eve. That is a family favorite by far!
What are your favorite foods or traditional meals that you enjoy over the holidays?
It wouldn’t be the Christmas season without lights! I love Christmas lights and always have. When I was a child, the outside lights that hung from the roof strung right past my bedroom window. There was no specific sequence of colours- just glass bulbs. Some painted solid colours others were clear. My bed was under the window and I would fall asleep staring up at the lights. One would flash randomly off and on. It was magical to me as a child.
As I grew older, I began having Christmas lights and a small tree in my bedroom. I wanted the magic to be around for the whole winter and the lights stayed on over night; every night. Our next home also had the lights outside my window. Only this time there was a peak, so I got to enjoy twice the lights. My father had changed our lights to be two red and two green alternating now.
Now that I have my own home and can decorate for our family, I have the Christmas lights up on the outside of our home and on by December 1st every year. This year we bought all new lights and everything is warm white. I love how we match more of the neighborhood and it really suits our home much better.
Of course the Christmas trees need lights as well. Over the years we have done multi-coloured, straight red, and now white. I like having matching lights inside and out. It adds a sense of elegance. Christmas lights just brighten my day and I love seeing them everywhere.
Even yesterday I added some lights to our palm tree in the backyard. This is not just to look festive, but also functions to keep it warm as the temperatures drop as we crest into winter.
Are Christmas lights a favorite of yours as well? Show me your lights in the comments or send me a link to Instagram! I’d love to see them!
I love decorating for Christmas. I am one of those people who start decorating on November 1st and finish around now. This has always been my favorite part of the transition from Halloween to Christmas. It’s a slow and gradual season change for our home.
I have always loved putting up decorations. As a child, I would put up handmade snowflakes in my room and I even made winter scenes for my toys on display. With the use of craft paper and white cotton batting- my toys enjoyed a winter wonderland. As I grew older, I continued to make my own decorations and put them out. Sometimes I even made decorations and gave them away to specific folks.
Over the years, my wife and I have changed our styles of decorating. For a while it was whatever hand-me-downs and handmade decorations and ornaments we had. Now it’s still some of our own handmade decorations, yet the new ones have become more elegant and comforting.
Soon there will be a time when some of our decorations will be given to our kids. They have been given ornaments over the years that they will take as they start their own decorating and traditions. At that time, I wonder if our home and trees will feel emptier.
But for now, I love seeing our home decorated for the festive season. I also enjoy being inspired by others and how they decorate their homes. Christmas decorations bring me joy and really get me energized for Christmas.
I love to cook. In doing so, I also love to experiment with foods. I’m generally pretty good at what I try, but sometimes I have gotten a bit carried away with tastes. A few weeks back I tried to make a peppercorn mushroom gravy on a steak. A tad too many peppercorns were added and it destroyed the taste. But I learned from my mistakes.
On Friday I made dinner for my wife and I. A Cesar salad, potato patty and a lobster tail. Fancier than most of our meals, but I wanted to have a nice evening as a late birthday dinner. I am always surprised at how easy lobster tails are to make. This dinner was the best one yet.
The next day I made a crockpot soup. Specifically a cheeseburger soup. This was pretty amazing as well! It really did taste like cheeseburger. My wife and I loved it, but it was not the hit with the kids I had hoped it would be. I’ll probably make it again in the future as it was the perfect meal to make ahead and slow simmer all day.
With many more opportunities to experiment with foods, I can only hope that our kids will try making something out of their comfort zone as well. You ever know what you may like if you don’t at least try it.
Last night we went to work decorating our main Christmas tree. In doing so, we kept our regular traditions alive of how we decorate.
First, we put on The Wiggles: Yule Be Wiggling. This video has been played every year for nearly two decades. It’s a favorite of our teenage kids and it wouldn’t be Christmas without singing along!
Second was having eggnog. My wife had a spiked FIRENOG this year. Which we have been making for years. One of the best combinations for a festive drink that i can imagine. So easy: Fireball and eggnog. Warm and tasty going down.
This year we finished decorating the tree in just under an hour. Later this week our oldest will be coming out to put up their sentimental and special ornaments. They were supposed to come over and join in the fun, but got taken down by Covid earlier this week and hadn’t quite gotten their energy back yet. Maybe we can show The Wiggles again while they decorate their portion!
About two weeks remaining until Christmas and I’d say that our home is festive and welcoming for Jolly Old St. Nicholas to swing by. As well as friends and family- we’d love to share our space with you.