Tulips in Winter

Thursday, January 31, 2013 by

Wow.  I am so ready for a sunny jolt of bright-coloured life right about now.  Mother Nature has been alternating between gray drab dreary-ness and blistering icy freezing-ness.  Take your pick.  So when I popped into the grocery store and a huge display with buckets of tulips stood right inside the entrance….  Well, to say they were calling my name would be an understatement.  Rays of warm sunny-ness for four bucks.  Three bundles for ten.  Sold.  My favourites are always the ones with a hint of variegation.
Cut tulips in winter - personallyandrea.com
These yellow ones with a tinge of dark orange at the edges of the petals were the winners.
Once home I employed two little tricks I’ve learned to get the most longevity out of cut tulips:

Cut tulips in winter - personallyandrea.com

The first is to to trim the bottom bit from each stem.  And you might notice the bottom of the stem was split open a bit.  So you want to cut a new slit into the end of each stem like so.  This I learned from Steven Sabados on the TV show Steven and Chris.  Have loved that guy ever since he started out on Cityline back in the day.  He’s a smart one with good taste and do-able design projects.  
But I digress.  I think the idea behind this trick is to help the stem soak up as much water as it can and keep the bloom fresh.
Cut tulips in winter - personallyandrea.com

You know how cut tulips can quickly droop right over as soon as you get them arranged in your vase?  The second trick is to drop some tarnished pennies into the bottom of your vase.  It helps to keep the stems straight for a longer time.  Don’t remember where I picked up this little tip.  But it works.  And when it’s time to pitch out the flowers, you’ll be left with some super-shiny pennies!  I’m sure it’s very scientific.  Sometimes the drooped over flowers can be artsy looking.  Sometimes it just looks sad though, when all you wanted was some fresh flowers on the kitchen counter. 
Cut tulips in winter - personallyandrea.com

Which is what I have now…some rays of sunny freshness.  For a few dollars. From the local grocery store. To get me through the next little while of alternating dreary-ness and freezing-ness.
Why don’t you get some too?

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Snow-Covered Branches

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 by
We had the prettiest snowfall the other night.  This is what we woke up to in the morning…gorgeous winter sunlight reflecting off freshly fallen snow.  But oh my gosh was it freezing.  I did head out with my camera to brave the elements and try to capture another one of my winter “moments”.  This was taken right outside our front door.  Proof that there can be beauty in the ‘burbs. 
IMGP5767_riverwood_001Then I hopped in the car and headed to a local conservation area.  Did I mention that oh my gosh was it freezing?  I lasted about twenty minutes before my fingers could hardly manipulate the camera anymore.  But it was enough time to capture that pretty combination of bright sun and fresh snow.
I have no idea what this thing is.  But I loved the contrast of the bright red against the bleaker colours of winter weather.  Also in this shot you can kind of see how the wind was blowing and swirling the snow up from the ground and down from the trees.  You know the feeling of ice pellets being whipped against exposed skin?  Yeah.
One last shot.  Nothing snow-covered but this is my favourite one from that little outing.  It did capture the gorgeous winter light.  So there you are.  Some pretty pictures to brighten up your day. 
Are we enjoying winter yet?

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Entryway Organization

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 by

Entryway Organization | Personalized Storage Bins | personallyandrea.com

Well it’s January, the house is de-Christmased, and I am in the mood to organize.  One of my favourite things in life.  Some members of The Family who shall remain nameless would say I am Obsessed.  I prefer Passionate.  But seriously the best present I ever EVER got was my label-maker.  Love that thing.  I would take it with me if I was stranded on a deserted island.  But I digress.

The entryway.  So the organizers/decorators of the world…myself among them…tell us that a tidy, well-functioning entryway should have a shelf/console table/cabinet…some surface on which to tidily drop our keys/sunglasses/mail/etc as we come in the door.  So once upon a time Yours Truly set ours up with not one but two of the above.  One for the mail with also a lamp, mirror above, vase of flowers.  All organizer/decorator approved.  And one for all the other stuff.  Hmmm.  It soon became apparent that this system would be excellent for a household of one or two, but not Five plus A Dog.  A New Year’s resolution was in order to remedy this situation.  I spare you the Before photo of random receipts/keys/reward cards/sunglasses/charging cables/pens/keys/dog treats piled on the shelf by our front door.

Plan B:  Five of these stainless mesh baskets from Solutions.  A most excellent store.  A portrait of each member of the family converted to black and white for a fun contemporary way to identify each basket.  An alligator clip to attach each photo.  The observant among you will notice the clips are different colours.  Yes each family member’s belongings and schedules have their own colour.  Passionate.  Not Obsessed.

Entryway Organization | Personalized Storage Bins | personallyandrea.com

So here we have the end result.  Personal and funky and functional.  Notice that the five baskets fit perfectly along the length of the shelf.  Thank you very much.  Enough space for everyone to keep their own stuff tidy and accessible.  No The Dog does not get her own bin.  I draw the line.  Her stuff stays hidden in the closet.  And the closet is deserving of a New Year’s resolution of its own…another day.

It remains to be seen whether this system will stand the test of time but I have high hopes. 

New Year’s resolution #1…check.

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Monday, January 7, 2013 by
Backyard Skating Rink | personallyandrea.com
Photo #2 in my series on Capturing Winter…skating.  With a bonus addition of hockey-ness thrown in for good measure.  This is Youngest Son out on our Backyard Rink.  Relatively successful this season.  Although almost anything could be deemed successful after last winter’s epic failure.  But we persevered and good times are here again.  There is something iconically Canadian about skating outdoors.  Home video of Wayne Gretzky as a kid skating on a frozen pond in a Tim Horton’s commercial.  That part might not be true, but it should be. 
Of course not many of us will become international symbols of Canadiana because we skated in our backyards.  And there are trials to be endured.  The leaks before the rink freezes.  The bodychecking and deking of Teenaged Brother.  Tears over falls and bruises and the ever-present unfairness of life with siblings.  The inevitable days of slushiness as the temperature hovers above freezing.  Shouting at The Dog who will take off with the puck at any opportunity…it is so awkward to run through deep snow in skates after a dog who just wants to play. 
But we persevere.  Why?  For a reason to be outdoors in the dead of winter.  For family-friendly fun.  For laughter.  For making memories.  That’s why.

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