Monday 19 April 2010

Welcome to my home . . .

Up in the North West, down a loooooooooong and bumpy road, you will come to the housing estate called Blacon, which is the housing estate that I now live on. It is said to be Chester's largest housing estate, which is a fancy word for sub division over here. It is a place where many people from many walks of life live and work together. There are schools, and shops, and pubs, a library, and homes of all kinds . . . filled with lovely people, of which now, Todd and I are two!

There is a quiet road, almost at the edge of the Estate, along another roadway filled with bumps, that you will find a very lovely set of terraced homes. A terraced home is a fancy name for a townhouse. They are houses all joined together in one lovely line. Each one set back a bit from the roadway, with a garden in the front and a garden in the back. We are lucky . . . we have an alley between us and the next house, so our house is only joined to theirs upstairs. It is a good way to be able to bring our bins out to the front of the house on bin collection day without having to either bring them through the house, or keeping them out front. Someone was using their 'noggin' when they built these for sure!

And there she is . . . our little home, with the gates out front open wide to welcome you. The blooming rhodendron right by our front door, and two lovely strips of garden bordering our parking area. They are filled with Hydrangea bushes and rose bushes, so come a few more weeks, they will be a lovely riot of colour and bloom! I can't wait!

If you were to open the door and come inside, this would greet you. There are no strangers here, only friends we have yet to meet. The Saviour is the head of this household and He reigns with love and warmth. I can't think of any better way to welcome someone into our home, can you?

Right off the front hallway you will find yourself in our lounge/dining area. The front end of this long room is our lounge. This is where you would find a cosy place to sit on a cold winter's day, a place to sit and relax by the fire and to warm your fingers and toes in comfortable repose . . .

I think this is a room that says welcome home. I would love for you to think of this as your home away from home and for you to be comfortable here and to feel at ease. I have tried to make it as warm and welcoming as I can . . . with the family photos over the mantle and the Jim Shore Angels that grace it's surface . . . and then there is our cuckoo clock, a much loved souvenier from our trip to the Black Forest in Germany several years back . . . and my lovely angel candle holder I got from my friend Angela which graces our coffee table. I just love this room. Sometime down the road we may get an armchair to curl up in, but for now, we just have our little sofa and a few chairs that we can pull out from around the dining table if need be.

Here is our dining area, which is at the other end of the room. It looks alot smaller than it really is, but with the table closed up and snuggled next to the window is it perfect for just us two. We can sit there and eat our tea and look out onto our back garden . . . watch the birds at the feeders, or watch our peas and carrots growing. It is a lovely sunny spot on a sunny day. Oops! Someone hasn't done the ironing yet! I think that would be me!! *blush* I am enjoying taking back over the household duties that I have not had time to embrace over these past seven years . . . the hanging out of the clothes on the wash line, the dish washing, the hoovering, the ironing . . . I know, I am a crazy women. I just love that feeling of nesting and caring for a home.

This is our lovely new sideboard that we built together. We got it from Ikea and I just love it. I have all my treasures in here. My china and my crystal and in those drawers are my chef's knives and doodads that I don't have room for in the kitchen cupboards and drawers. We had ever so much fun building it. I think Ikea directions are the best, especially if you take the time ahead of time to lay all the pieces out in order according to the directions in the book. I did that and it went together very easily. We only wanted to kill each other a few times during the process!

Along the top I have my little bird collection of salt and pepper shakers, including the sweetest little pair of Blue Tits that my good friend Margaret gave me as a remembrance of her. I just love them. In the middle is the Orchid that the girls from work at my old job brought over to me the day before I left. I hope that I don't kill it down the road, as it looks really lovely there! Beneath is a coffee set that I won a long time ago and have kept because it is really pretty and my little wooden Birdhouse, graced with cherries which is one of the first things I painted in my Tole Painting class . . . a long time ago . . .

At the other end is a bookcase filled with my favourite use most of the time cookery books and topped with a part of my chicken collection. Yes, I love chickens, and not just to eat. Somebody hasn't eaten their Easter bunny!! I'll have to take care of that I think!!

Just through the door to the right of that bookcase will find you in our cozy little kitchen. This is the command station from where I work all of my culinary magic. It is tiny, but I think I have been able to organize it and find a place for everything and put everything into it's place!

It's been a bit of a struggle, and I have to take umpteen things out before I use something and then put umpteen things back in the same way in order to have everything fit, but such is the price one pays . . .

We decided to buy a rolling cart the other day to stick at the end of the counter so that I had a bit of extra counter space to work on. It has shelves underneath that I can keep all my canisters and things on so that they don't clutter up the top of the counter. It is sooo much better. Up to that point I had been trying to work in a space about 12 inches square! It just did not work very well!

And now I'll take you up the stairs. Don't let the gingerbread men fool you! It is not a gingerbread house, but they are my ginger friends and I just can't stick them away in a closet somewhere. I love them so much I want to see them every day and they look so cute lining the stairs. Maybe one day they will reach all the way to the top? I don't know, but it sounds like a plan!

Right at the top of our stairs is our bath. It is a bright and sunny room. There is another window just like that one on the other side of that mirror and the tub beneath. I don't have a shower anymore . . . boo hoo . . . I love my showers every morning, but I am adjusting. It is not quite the same to have a bath every morning, but we do what we must do. Joy comes at a price and so we make do. ☺

Here is our lovely bedroom. It is large and spaceous and comfortable . . . and pink! I do love pink. We have filled it with lovely Ikea furniture that we built together . . . a wardrobe, two bureaus, and two nightstands, and once again, nobody was injured or killed in the process! I love my bedroom! It is comfortable and sweet. I have my fairy collection lined up all along the window sill and my dolls sit atop my bureau. I do think that picture over the bed has to go . . . but shhh . . . don't tell Todd! (I'll find something one day that will strike my fancy and the old one will come down and new will take it's place. I wonder if he will notice???)

Probably but . . . C'est la Vie!!

Here is a little peek into the second bedroom, which has become our library/sewing/painting room! The walls are lined with bookcases, filled with my various cookery books. There is a sewing corner, where my sewing machine sits, waiting for me to work my magic, and a table that I am using as my painting station . . . my paints and brushes all lined up and waiting for my hands to bring my imaginations to life. It is good to have a place like this to call my own, dedicated to my arts . . . I am so very blessed I think!!

The third and final bedroom is still a pile of boxes waiting to be sorted and unpacked. I sure hope we will find a place to stog everything! I am sure we will at some point. We need to put up a set of bunkbeds in there so that our guests have a place to lay their heads when they come to visit! We'll have to get rid of the boxes before we can do that!

I hope that you have enjoyed your little tour of my new home this morning. I surely had fun putting it together for you.

Always remember . . .

Building a home is more than an art . . . for home is where you hang your heart.

I wanted to share a dish with you this morning that I have been making for many years. Pierogi. What's that you say? Why they are delicious little dumplings that you first boil and then fry in butter with onions. You can fill them with numerous things . . . sauerkraut and mushrooms, cottage cheese, bacon, etc. but our favourite way to have them is to fill them with cheddar cheese, potato and onion. I got this recipe from a good friend of mine named Esther, back in the 1970's. I have very fond memories of making these together for the first time on a sunny winter's afternoon. Oh we did have a good time. I do love pierogi and I never make them or eat them without thinking of my good friend. Don't you just love it when food and such beautiful memories are intertwined? I do!

Makes about 36
Printable Recipe

A delicious dumpling, filled with a variety of things, boiled and then browned in butter with onions. We like to fill ours with cheddar cheese, potato and onion. Served with sour cream these are a real treat. They also freeze very well. I just pop the unboiled pierogi on baking sheets and freeze, then pop them into zip lock baggies. Then I can take out only as many as I want at any given time!

4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 medium egg
1 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients together. Beat the egg and water together. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Oil your hands and knead this mixture until you have a smooth dough. You may think that this is never going to happen, but be persistant. Just keep oiling your hands and kneading. Once you have a smooth dough, cover it and allow it to rest while you make the filling, or at least 1/2 hour.

4 large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 TBS butter
8 ounces of grated strong cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 small onion, peeled and grated
1 medium egg, beaten

Place the potatoes into a pot of lightly salted water. Bring to the boil and then cook the potatoes at a quick simmer until tender. Drain well and mash. Stir in the butter, cheese and onion, stirring until the butter and cheese are melted and completely amalgamated.

To shape, pinch of walnut sized pieces of the dough. Roll into balls and then roll out flat into 3 inch circles. Place a heaped tsp of the filling slightly off centre on top of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover and then pinch shut all the way around. Set aside on lightly oiled baking sheets while you make the rest, repeating with the rest of the filling and the dough.

To cook:
a pot of lightly salted boiling water
2 or 3 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
a large knob of butter

Sour Cream to serve

Melt the butter in a large skillet until it begins to foam. Add the onions. Cook and stir over medium heat until they soften and begin to caramelize and brown in spots. Keep warm.

Bring the water to the boil. Drop in the pierogi a few at a time. Cook until they rise to the surface. Allow to simmer for about a minute and then scoop out with a slotted spoon. Drop them into the pan of fried onions and cook, frying and turning them until they are golden brown. Repeat until all are cooked and browned.

Serve hot with sour cream.

Note - You need only cook as many as you wish to eat at one time. The rest can be frozen and kept until a later date.

I'm being really decadent over in The English Kitchen today. It's Nutty Chocolate and Marshmallow Mini Pizzas!


  1. Lovely! Absolutely Lovely! Thank you for taking me through a tour of your home. You really do such a fantastic job. Glad to see that you are settling in and getting everything in order--that's a good feeling! I am moving in 2 weeks and absolutely dreading it. Hopefully I adjust as well as you!

    As always, you are great. Miss you! xoxo

  2. Your new home looks so welcoming.....

  3. I love your fireplace. In fact the whole house looks lovely - and how on earth you managed to get the pictures and photos on the walls and the precious keepsakes set out - well, you're more organised than me! As for the unpacked boxes in the spare room, I wonder how many times when you come to unpacking them you will say "Oh, I WONDERED where that was"!

    I did enjoy the grand tour so much. We shall all be queuing up round the corner, us bloglanders!

    By the way, did you see where Antiques Roadshow was from last night? Chester Cathedral!!

    Also b the way, Sandra at Sandra's Scribbles is very good with orchids and getting them to come back and suchlike.

    lots of love, Ang, xx

  4. your house is lovely! very warm and inviting :)

  5. Thanks for the tour Marie! Your new home is as welcoming as you are! Such a cozy and sweet home! Ikea is fabulous! The closest one to us is a 2 hour drive, but worth it a couple times a year. We have the same tall white dresser in our bedroom. What fun! :)
    Have a great day!

  6. Oh look true to your word ,you have given us the guided tour ,and what a tour as you say its home and yes it looks so inviting ,you and Todd have worked wonders in such a short time ,thankyou Jan xx

  7. Well hello fellow Canadian .... I came over from the blog cafe and am also a lover of red and turquoise ...
    thank you for the tour of your home!

  8. Hi, dear Marie! Your new home just looks so happy, cozy and comfy--home sweet home, indeed! It just looks like you've been there a while already, and all so inviting. Wonderful recipes today--I can't wait to see about those pizzas. So sorry to have missed you online last night. We took an impromptu trip to hubby's parents in the evening to help them with some computer related trouble they were having and it all took longer than expected. I hope maybe we can catch up later in the week? Hope so! :o) Happy Week to you both--LOVE YOU HEAPS!! OXOX ((BIG HUGS))

  9. You have a lovely new home! And I'm glad you're settled in! I, too, have a tiny kitchen and you just have to be creative in storage but . . . . like a ship there is a place for everything and everything in it's place!

  10. It was so nice of you to share the pictures of your lovely new home. Now when I think of you I can place you right there among all your lovely things. You have done a lot in just a few short weeks to make your house a home.


  12. Your new home looks lovel, so cosy and homely and comfortable. You have worked very hard over the last few weeks, and it looks as if you have lived there for a long time, you look well settled in. I pray that the peace of God will be felt by all who live and visit there.

  13. oh, its beautiful marie! i love your little touches everywhere. so warm and inviting, i'd love to visit! :) maybe someday. . .

  14. Oh, what a lovely tour of your new home, Marie! It looks so warm, comfortable and welcoming! So glad you're getting to "nest" again--we women need that, I think!

    I LOVE pierogi! I've never made my own, though, so I'm thrilled to have your recipe! (I've only ever bought them frozen, so this will be a treat!)

    Hope you're having a lovely Monday...mine's just beginning! Much love sent over the sea to my dear friend Marie...!

  15. Thank you for the pictures of your lovely home and yard!! I am so happy that you and Todd are finally settled and that you love your new place. Wishing you many happy years there!!

  16. Oh Marie!

    Your home is absolutely lovely. I can just imagine you and Todd there together. Everything looks wonderful! It was so fun to see it and have a tour!

    Now when I read your posts I can imagine you in your lovely home. I am so glad you are both settled and feeling happy!

    I love you, my friend. Have a wonderful week!


  17. Wow, you are so ambitious! Pictures on the walls and everything! That is very impressive. It is a lovely house.

    We love ikea! Several of our furniture pieces are from ikea and were put together by our own two hands. One time a couple of years ago we were putting together a large bookshelf. We had to shut ourselves into the room, build it on the ground and then stand it up into it's place. It took us much longer to put it together and I had to go to the bathroom SOOO bad, but we were stuck inside... yikes, it was a close call. It was one of those moments that you can laugh about later- at the time I thought I might cry, smile.

    It's so great to have you back! We missed you!!!

  18. So lovely!! Thank you for sharing. It looks so charming and cozy...and the orange chimney piece is so interesting!

  19. Marie, thank you for inviting us over. What a great place. I was somehow picturing city life and was surprised with the garden and space around you. It looks so organized and put together you have worked very hard. I am loving all your collections and how you put your sofa on an angle and that kitchen is so cute. It is fun to see what people surround themselves with and what they love. You know me I am hooked on houses. I love that little stove. You will work miracles in there!

    I also enjoy caring for my home. I am most happy when I just stay home and putter around doing things. I always get up and get ready for the day just in case I might want to go out but lots of days I don't. Home is definitely where my heart is.

    I don't know why I cannot just make a simple comment. Sorry, love you...B

  20. dearest Marie... I love your little cottage...You did a lovely job decorating and making it look so homey! I love the red carpet!! and the fireplace is quite interesting. Sweet home..oh and the kitchen looks cozy! You are sure to make many happy memories with your dearest Todd here...Thanks for sharing your sweet home. P.S Let me know if there is anything I can get you here from the states...remember when I sent you those flavored macadamia nuts... Hugs dear friend. Mica

  21. aaah Marie your house is like you: LOVELY!! Is like you my dear is so cute and lovely. I told you before home is where our heart is and you and Todd have a lovely and wonderful hearts!! You made a fantastic job!
    Look like always you be there!! Je,je,
    Love all!I love the fireplace too! and the kitchen! and I have in home little house how you I love them!!
    Thanks by the tour!
    Send you hugss and kisses, a lot, gloria

  22. Marie, I was so happy to take your tour of your new home and I am happy that you are situated in such a warm and happy place! You and Todd are really brave to tackle your sideboard and other furniture yourselves. So glad your marriage survived through it all too. I hope you will be very happy there together. If I lived close I would bring you a welcoming gift of my Italian bread. The pierogies were my husband's favorite. He used to make them himself as he grew up with his mother making them in large batches. Jennifer has even tried them too. Happy spring and happy home to both of you!

  23. Oh I love your new home, so cozy and so inviting, thank you for sharing it with us Marie :)

  24. You have truly made your new house a home. Thank you for sharing it. It is sort of neat to be able to imagine you and Todd there!

  25. Thanks Marie for the tour of your new home.. it's so cosy and lovely and yes, I can imagine (and dreaming) of living in a home abroad.. sitting in the sofa enjoying my quiet time!

    I must say you (& Todd) are good.. the way you both have done up the house. Congrats!

  26. Oh your new home is so pretty and cosy looking, your sitting room is the perfect place for a cup of tea and I love the colour of our bathroom. The kitchen units and knobs are really pretty, just exactly what I like, bright and fresh looking. I wish you all the best in your new home :)

    All things nice...

  27. What a beautiful home Marie. I'm so glad you gave us a tour of it. Living in Virginia, USA things in England have always interested me. I'm really enjoying reading your blog and so glad you are back. I'm going to try the Perogies recipe. I love them and have never made any. Wish me luck

  28. OH Marie, I truly feel like Ive just spent a lovely afternoon visiting and taking the tour of your wonderful new home!It is so much fun to create the nest and keep are blessed to be established so quickly and your home looks so sweet and comfy! I'm with you, though I would miss my shower... But you demonstrate the perfect attitude... blessings to you and Todd in your new home!!!

  29. Thanks for the tour of your new home. Looks like you are all settled in, and what a good job you have done to make it look so warm and cozy and inviting. Wishing you and Todd much happiness here.

  30. I love your new home :) it looks "happy" and so very comfortable!


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