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Spring 2018

heaven SEVEN’S






Advance tickets


$30 at the door Featuring:

A variety of local pizza Beer and spirit vendors Live music by the Kitchen Criminals Tickets will be available at Scotia Bank New Glasgow, Big Al’s, and at the Pictou County Wellness Centre

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ON OUR COVER: It’s always a kitchen party at Kathryn Finlayson and Mark Anderson’s house on High Street in New Glasgow. Children Mary, Charlotte, Kate, Sandy, Beth, Adam and Andrew grab a quick snack in their newly renovated kitchen where there is a space for everyone. PHOTO BY STEVE SMITH, VISIONFIRE STUDIOS

Work, sunshine, adventure opportunities to see the world and all it has to offer. Lots of things take you away, but after all that...

we’ll bring you home.

PUBLISHER: Fred Fiander EDITOR: Crystal Murray SALES MANAGER: Dave Wood ART DIRECTOR: Jamie Playfair GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Barbara Raymont PHOTO EDITOR: Steve Smith FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: David Wood, Sales Manager, Halifax 902 422-4990, ext. 1819 Blake Ross, Sales, Pictou County Phone 902 485-8014, ext. 1108 Nicole Fawcett, Sales, Strait Area 902 625-3300, ext. 1509 Lyndia Wellwood, Sales, Truro and Colchester County 902 893-0375 Kristin Hirtle, Sales Tatamagouche/Colchester County 902 956-8099

Northern Nova Scotia’s premier magazine for local lifestyle, information and insights at the heart of our communities. Find us inserted 4 times a year into HubNow, Pictou Advocate and selected Herald publications.

Gina Tagliapietra, Sales, Antigonish County 902 968-1588 FOR EDITORIAL INQUIRES CONTACT: Crystal Murray 902 485-1990 At Home on the North Shore Published four times per year by: Advocate Media Inc., 2882 Gottingen Street Halifax, NS B3K 3E2 Printed by: Advocate Printing & Publishing, 181 Browns Point Rd. Pictou, NS B0K 1H0 902 485-1990


Inside this issue Vol. 3 Edition 2 Spring 2018

The Inside Story



12 Off the Wall

Farm Your Own Flowers Keep blooming and cutting all summer long

16 At Home with… Taking it Outside & Inside with Sue Stanfield

Cover Story 30 Seven’s Heaven A renovation big on style and family

35 The Upside of Downsizing Paired down spaces that work at any stage

37 Put Some Zing in your Spring A professional organizer might be your thing

On the Table

Fancy Pysanky Easter Eggs

14 Thresholds Décor for your little darling

28 The Library Lifting the cloud on The Mill

29 Field Notes Bee-ing grateful

43 deCoste Performing Arts Centre A season of new entertainment springs back into action

50 DIY Boho Baby

22 North Shore Pizza Three Ways The local spin for your favourite pizza pie

Healthy at Home 44 Medaling with My Food Tracy Stuart makes friends with Sam the Sourdough

48 Less is the New More Single Task, disconnect and do less to get more out of life



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hen I was running my dogs on the beach this weekend I was doing a little mental review of what we have on the pages of our spring issue, in particular our cover story Seven’s Heaven and Taking it Outside and Inside with Sue Stanfield. I remembered that I used a form of the word “gestation” in both stories. My first thought was to get back to my computer for a quick edit. Was I using the word just because I was writing about women? Their pregnancies were not the focus of the feature but it was obviously part of their personal journeys and there is no question that there are nine beautiful children between the two stories. Was it somehow anti-feminist of me to use the words just because I was writing about women? Would the word have even occurred to me if my stories were more focused on their male partners? Was I just having my usual panic before publication that I made a mistake or a misrepresentation? I decided to just let it be and let the words sit where I put them as an underpinning of an ongoing theme that seems to emerge in each and every issue of At Home on the North Shore. We have incredible women, some mums and some not, with multiple dimensions to their life doing amazing things in Nova Scotia. At Home on the North Shore is a magazine for everyone but in this particular snapshot in time when women’s issues are making headlines almost everyday, I can’t help myself from wanting to continue to champion the women and girls in our communities. In this issue they are an artist, a vet, a retailer, a farmer, a professional organizer, a festival planner, a chef, a designer and a whiskey-making Olympian. Because of them we have stories about a beautifully renovated house that makes room for seven kids, a farm that grows happiness, a business woman challenging the marketplace, a couple who demonstrate the upside of a downsize, pizza that will have you fighting for the last slice,

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an artist whose work will bring a new meaning to walking on egg shells and tips and tricks to stay organized and how to put on the brakes when it’s time to slooow down. It’s all in there and I would say with at least an 80/20 split for the girls this time because we can’t forget our favourite photographer. As much as these stories speak to women they also speak of hope and a chance for new beginnings that is synonymous with the emerging season. Maybe it’s because I had two golden hair babies in the spring. Maybe it’s because I love a fun pair of rubber boots. Maybe it’s the smell of the earth as the frost heaves its way out from under winter’s mantle. Maybe it’s the moment just before the buds of the trees burst open where sun and chlorophyll do their thing and colour realizes that it’s alive. Maybe it’s all of these and a few more that makes this my favourite time of year to refresh, renew and believe that all things are possible.

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s there anything better than a fresh cut of blooms on your kitchen table? Or better yet receiving a little posy of love from someone special. A fist full of daisies and clover are my favourite but as much as I love to receive flowers they are just as much fun to give. So to make sure that I have enough blooms to go around this year I am totally digging the idea of having my own cutting garden to pluck from whenever the spirit moves me. People have been adorning their homes and special places they want to honour for thousands of years. While flowers were often and still are an important part of many religious celebrations, the ideas of bringing your bloomers inside to simply brighten your space is just as storied and beautiful. Flower arranging is a coveted art form but before you can even think about how you are going to make a statement with your cut flowers it’s important to know what to grow.


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INSIDE STORY Megan Balodis and her husband Eric own and operate Marshdale Farms – Beef and Blooms. Megan, a graduate of the Faculty of Agriculture from Dalhousie with Bachelors in Plant Science and Masters in Agriculture, is no stranger to research and science. In the last few years that she has been farming flowers she has started to figure out what flowers bloom best and how to plant so that you can be cutting and enjoying flowers in your house all summer long. After graduation Megan went to work for a company exploring vertical warehouse farming. She enjoyed her work but something was missing in her day. It wasn't until she met Eric and settled on their farm that it became apparent, she was missing the sun. Megan happily gave up the computer screen and launched into farming beef with Eric and soaking up as much daylight as she could. Megan says that their farmland has in one way or another been part of her husband’s family for decades but after settling into farm life, she found herself wrestling with her role and needed something more. As we chatted on a bright February Day with the farm acreage still a foot deep with winter’s frost, Megan shared that she was never an animal person. “Plants are my thing,” she says, with seed catalogues on the table and flowers everywhere you look in the farmhouse. The “Blooms” portion of the partnership began in an experimental capacity as any new adventure does on a farm. Seeing a niche and resurgence in cut flower farming, her natural ability to produce gorgeous blooms was evident, but not without hard work. Today Megan has about a quarter of an acre planted for her flower farming. It doesn’t sound like a lot and only a small percentage of their property but it’s enough to keep Megan in the cut flower business from spring until late fall.

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Most of Megan’s flowering plants are perennials. Last fall she plugged 100 peony bulbs in the ground and is expecting to have about 60 different varieties of bloomers throughout the growing season. Sunflowers and wildflowers with a mix of ornamental grasses are some of her more popular bouquets that she sells at the New Glasgow Farmers Market once her plants begin to produce. In the next month she looks forward to the first spring flowers to emerge from the earth. Daffodils and tulips will wake from their winter slumber and the show will begin as the Queen of blooms, the Peonies start to bud and the Cosmos, Zinnias and Snap Dragons respond to the warming sun. Being a flower farmer brings a special joy into Megan’s life. She says she loves when she chats with her customers at the market and they will share stories that are evoked from memories of flowers. And just like the fresh produce that vendors display Megan’s flowers offer that freshness that can’t be found in a flower bought in a store that has had to travel far before it makes its way to your favourite vase. “I believe that flowers shouldn't be for special occasions only, “ says Megan. “They improve quality of life and therefore should be part of your everyday. Of course I would love to sell my flowers to everyone but at the same time they shouldn’t be so hesitant to cut their own. Arranging flowers isn't a science, just relax and put things together that you like.” Planting some extra would ease the pressure if the thought of cutting those precious blooms will disrupt the displays in your landscape. Megan's right. We do need to relax and just pick/cut the flowers! They do grow back after all.

MUST HAVES FOR YOUR CUTTING GARDEN: Calendula Daffodils Hydrangea Ladies Mantle Liatris Lily of the Valley Peonies Queen Anne’s Lace Snap Dragons Tulips

OBEDIENCE FLOWER Did you know that the flower got its name because you can bend it in just about any direction you want so it is a great flower to add to arrangements.

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Ladies Mantle


Lily of the Valley


Queen Anne's Lace

Snap Dragons


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Margie Beck of Westville is known for her bloomers. This summer she will be hosting a number of workshops at the Stellarton location of West River Greenhouse including a chat about growing flowers to share. She answered a few questions about backyard flower farming so there will be no seeds of doubt that you can grow your own too.

AH!: Margie you are well known in the gardening community. What should a new gardener consider if they want to plant a cutting garden? MARGIE: There are so many beautiful flowers. I mostly stick with perennials with lots of blooms but I also think it is important to grow a few species of greenery to really show off the colour. AH!: What are your favourite flowers to grow for cutting? MARGIE: That’s a tough one but I do love lots of Daisies, Black-Eyed Susan’s and Cone Flowers. Dahlias are awesome too and so are Liatris they have a unique shape and they have three or four flowers on a stem. AH!: Do you plan your garden so you have blooms all season long? MARGIE: If you plan properly you can have flowers or at least something to bring indoors all year long. From the first little pansies to come up to Lily of the Valley and hyacinths right through until the fall with Chinese Lanterns. Then there are things that you can forage as well like pussy willows. I also like to take a Forsythia branch indoors. If you put it in the dark for a couple of days and then put it in water you will have spring blooms before the snow is even gone. AH!: Is there a right time to cut a blossom? MARGIE: For a lot of flowers you should cut just as the colour is starting to show in the bud. Then you are going to get a much longer life out of the bloom. This is especially true for Roses and Peonies and Glads. AH!: Is there an renewed appreciation for more of the heritage plants or plants that were often in your grandmother’s garden? MARGIE: I think that flowers are very nostalgic and as the Baby Boomers continue to age there is more time to reminisce. For younger people I think there is a trend or a need to return to more simpler times and flowers will do this. The garden is a happy place for a lot of people. Once the weather improves I live in my garden and sleep in my house.

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SARA JEWELL “I never knew you could make jelly out of dandelion petals until I interviewed a woman for a column about preserves,” admits columnist Sara Jewell. A recipe for dandelion jelly appears in her book, Field Notes: A City Girl’s Search for Heart and Home in Rural Nova Scotia. Learning that spring flowers like dandelions are an important source of early food for bees inspired this month’s Field Notes column.

LORI BYRNE Spring is the time of birth and refreshing so get ready for babies and purging your home! This issue we’re looking at down-sizing and getting ready to make that move, as well as prepping a nursery for the addition of a little one. Spring feels like a new lease on life after a long winter!


SARAH BUTLAND is the author of many of her own books and is honoured to share her opinion of books by local authors with local readers. The latest The Mill: 50 Years of Pulp and Protest certainly shed a lot more light on living in the county and the controversy of one of our major employers. As a teenager, Scott Paper was known to her simply as an employer, indirectly on occasion, to those close to her. Now, especially after reading The Mill it’s so much more. Living in Frasers Mountain, Butland stays connected to the whole county through book clubs, writers groups, her sons sports, and so much more!

RACHAEL MCLEAN There is nothing like the first smell of Spring. The warming sun, the first signs of green or a new pair of rubber boots, the change of season is good. In this issue, Rachael, a local Landscape Architect, explores the simple power and beauty that plants can bring to our lives and encourages you to farm your own flowers.

DEELLE HINES is professional lifestyle coach and co-founder of Dream Candy, a youth selfdevelopment organization. With anxiety and depression on the rise, the busyness epidemic that is so rampant in our society today plays a role in this major problem, In her article, Speed Bumps, Deelle talks to local wellness professionals about why it’s important for us to slow down and appreciate the moment.

DEBBI HARVIE While a student at McGill University, Debbi discovered her passion for writing and continues to foster that passion in many creative ways. With spring right around the corner, Debbi is looking forward to the warmer weather and the true sign that sunnier days are to come, the cormorants on the causeway and, of course, the opening of the ice cream shops. In this edition of At Home, she spent some time with Jayne Holmes, organizer of Tata Fest, discovering what this year’s event has to offer.

TRACY STUART The Olympics are over however Tracy was going for gold when she dedicated herself to the art of Sour Dough Bread making for our spring issue. She spent so much time with the process that she felt that she had to give her bundle of dough a name. We hope Sam the Sour Dough will give you all you Knead to know to make your own at home.

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LINDSAY CAMERON WILSON is a bestselling cookbook author and host of Love Food, a cooking show that celebrates food, family and community. Lindsay studied history, journalism and the culinary arts. She lives in Halifax with her family but summer time brings Lindsay to the North Shore where she is finds her inspiration for North Shore Pizza, Three Ways. “Between my favourite Earltown general store, my friend in Tatamagouche who sells us biweekly eggs and enough pork to last a lifetime, the Tatamagouche farmers market in the summer, and our cottage life, I feel I’m already a ‘down homer on the north shore’!


STEVE SMITH Welcome Spring 2018! How about that cover story with the Andersons? Seven kids! What a great family! There’s a certain closeknit energy present in that house with seven children, so I hope the photos let you feel that. In Antigonish we found a whole different scale of energy in Caitlin’s micro apartment, but a cool vibe just the same. And check out those Pysanky Eggs by So Jeo. Amazingly intricate and beautiful, and slightly terrifying to hold in my hand and set-up to photograph. I hated to see them leave our studio, but was relieved to give them back intact and uncracked. As always, everyone and every place we photograph for At Home is fun and interesting and reflect on how great our part of the world really is.

HEATHER LAURA CLARKE is an award-winning journalist and columnist who grew up in Halifax and moved to Truro in 2011 to channel her inner Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her writing appears across North America in newspapers, magazines and websites like Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post. For the spring issue she reached out to a local styling expert to talk kitchen clutter and how to cut through the collection.

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he creation of Ukrainian Easter eggs, known as pysanky, is a timeless tradition dating back over a thousand years but as So Jeo LeBlond discovered, one doesn’t need roots in Ukraine to become skilled at the intricate art form. “I’ve always been very crafty,” she explained from her newly renovated studio in the old farmhouse outside Scotsburn, NS, she shares with her husband and two teenaged children. “I knit, embroider, and sew. I have an interest in making things.” She’d first tried her hand at Easter eggs when she was a child, intrigued by a show she’d seen on television about Ukrainian women making the eggs. A few years later, she received a Ukrainian Easter egg craft kit for Christmas but wasn’t satisfied with her result. Yet decades later, when her children were young and her husband, a boilermaker, worked away, she returned to the eggs as a way to fill her evenings. “Paul could be gone for weeks at a time so I had a lot of free time after the kids had gone to bed,” said LeBlond. “I ordered the supplies online and started working with the materials. I’m one of those obsessive people who watches videos and reads up on things in order to learn how to do it myself.” Derived from the Ukrainian verb, “pysaty,” meaning “to write”, each pysanka, or Easter egg (plural: pysanky), tells a story using colour and symbols. In the ancient Ukrainian tradition, the finished egg symbolizes life, hope, happiness, and rebirth. According to LeBlond, there are different views on what is actually considered pysanky. “A lot of people consider what I do ‘art eggs’ because I don’t use traditional designs.” A self-taught artist, LeBlond creates her own designs because she didn’t find it interesting to copy someone else’s traditional patterns. “I have no Ukrainian background, no grandmother or mother to teach me how to do it or pass along meanings,” she said. Since she enjoys gardening, her designs often include flowers.

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Using primarily turkey eggs, LeBlond prepares them herself by blowing them out and cleaning off the dark spots, then uses an egg marker to divide each shell into eight vertical sections. “There’s a lot to my designs and I use smaller tips than other people so I have a lot of design on a very small surface,” she said. The process includes applying beeswax to elements of the design to protect them from the layers of dye. “The wax seals in what you want to keep,” explained LeBlond. When dyeing is complete, the wax is melted off. LeBlond seals her finished eggs with a single layer of varnish. “When I’m working on an egg, I kind of know what it’s going to look like but I don’t really know,” she said with a laugh. “It’s always a surprise at the end.” LeBlond uses special technique that gives her art eggs a distinctive three-dimensional quality. At different layers, she etches right into the eggshell to allow the outlines and certain elements to stand out. Because she uses such a fragile canvas, she works with two or three eggs of one design at the same in case one or two don’t make it to the end of the process.

Despite the two dogs and two cats in the house, LeBlond said there is very little breakage. “It’s a really rare occurrence for an egg to get broken. Even when the kids were little, they just knew they weren’t supposed to touch anything.” Having taken over what was the children’s playroom, LeBlond recently renovated the space to create a brighter room with ample storage space for the eggs and dipping jars. While she works, she listens to audio books from the library. “I like historical fiction, like Diana Gabaldon, and crime and detective stories,” she said. Considering it can take between one and four days to complete an egg, LeBlond prefers long books that keep her attention for days at a time. Her love of small details inspired her to create a line of jewelry as well. To make bracelets, pendants and earrings out of her designs, LeBlond uses finch eggs, which are paper thin and extremely delicate. “They’re really hard to work with so that’s another speciality, making jewelry with the little eggs.”












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It’s 2018, Baby! Setting up nursery is one of the joys of waiting for baby’s arrival. Selecting the crib for your wee one to sleep in or that comfy rocking chair to rock your bundle in is a right of passage to parenthood. Painting the walls and hanging up art work that you have deliberated over is all part of the nesting process and can be a great way to pass the time while you wait. Babies are babies for such a short time, ask any mother of a teenager. So when you’re planning a nursery, select things

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that can grow up with your little bundle of love. A crib that converts to a toddler bed, art work that isn’t too babyish and storage that works well for little baby things but can also accommodate bigger clothes are all good choices. And speaking of clothes, they need to be adorable, fashionable and comfy! Special touches throughout the room can add the coziness that babies love, snuggly blankets, stuffed toys and warm, soft towels to wrap baby in after bathtime. Filling the room with heirloom pieces gives a nod to the past while adding character, whether it is a special dresser, rocking chair or toy cradle passed down through the generations. And while it is all well and good to have a nursery ready for all of those baby and me selfies, having a space that functions well is truly important. Ample storage for diapers, clothes and books makes life with baby just a little bit easier. Baskets are a great way to store things so they are within reach of you during a diaper change or for a baby who is learning to explore their world. After all, it’s 2018, baby!

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SOURCE GUIDE BASKET Winners, locations in Truro and New Glasgow

TURKISH TOWEL Angela’s Attics, New Glasgow

PRINT Above and Beyond Home Décor in Truro

OUTFIT MINI + MOON found at the New Glasgow Farmer’s Market and online

JELLYBELLY RABBIT Above and Beyond in Truro

CRADLE Stock at Farm Fresh Style

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Sue and her family live in Truro but she calls her lake cottage her happy place. Cheerful tones of blue sky and water in her dĂŠcor and artwork create the calm atmosphere she often craves when she wants to escape for a bit with faithful canine gal pal Roxy.

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Sue Stanfield BY CRYSTAL MURRAY PHOTOS BY STEVE SMITH, VISIONFIRE STUDIOS Waiting for spring at her Shortt’s Lake retreat. Regardless of the season, Sue Stanfield tries to take it outside every day.


ue Stanfield doesn’t think that she has to toss the whole notion of work-life balance out the window with the bath water but perhaps it’s time that she takes a closer look at how she measures her time. For the last eight years she has been doing what more and more women are doing every year and walking the tight rope of being an entrepreneur, mother and partner. As the never-ending conversation about women’s roles and rights marches on, the question of whether or not women can have it all still hangs in the air like dirty laundry. While she recognizes that she now lives a privileged life she still has been faced with some tough decisions on how she self identifies and what she needs to live a full and happy life. “Balance does not have to be measured daily,” says Sue from her office in Truro where she operates Take it Outside, one of the fastest growing life style stores in Atlantic Canada. “I’ve learned to believe that over time we can all find balance. Some weeks I kick ass as a Mum but I am a substandard leader. Other weeks I rock as an entrepreneur and I am okay as a Mum and partner, but that’s life.” Believing that women should go for what they want and take risks has landed her in the midst of one of the greatest journeys of her life. Ten years ago Sue pack up her bags and moved to Vancouver. She was only a few years out of University with a degree in 17 -

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Recreation Management. She had spent some time down under working in a Scuba Dive Shop and hotels in New Zealand and Australia before returning to Nova Scotia and taking a job as Manager of Recreation Services for Colchester County. She was a Nova Scotia girl but had grown up in Dartmouth, so Truro still didn’t feel like home and itchy feet got her moving again. With the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver just around the corner she thought that she would find new opportunities, challenges and sense of place in one of Canada’s top adventure cities but surprising to her she felt a tug back to Nova Scotia. Four months after moving to the west coast she realized that she had left a little piece of her heart in Truro. When Sue returned to Truro she accepted a role with the Stanfield’s group of companies. A change from her field of recreation but she felt the synergies with the Stanfield’s brand and adventure lifestyle. The offer came from Jon Stanfield, the man who would eventually become her husband. “I have always been very independent and I had a plan to some day work for myself. My dream was to operate high-end remote spa destinations and here I was back in Truro. I had to work hard at reassociating myself with Truro. This wasn’t part of my life plan. I had always expected that I was going to explore the world and here I was putting down roots and I was barely 30 years old,” says Sue. A year after moving back to Truro, Sue and Jon were married. She was enjoying her work with the US-based companies owned The North Shore


Because the cottage is only 20 minutes from the Truro home it’s easy to sneak away for a little quiet family time. Hockey and weekend ski lessons will soon wrap up for more lake time.

by Stanfield’s. The experience gave her a chance to dust off her customer service skills that she had learned while working abroad but also to see the other side of business. “I was learning about marketing and branding and selling to the retailer. It was neat to have the experience from the manufacturing and sales drops to understanding consumer needs.” While she might not have realized it at the time Sue was laying down the bricks to build the foundations of her own business. In 2010 when Sue and Jon celebrated the arrival of their first child Gabrielle, Sue was also gestating ideas for her own retail operation in downtown Truro. With infant daughter on her hip she started to look at a few locations and build her business plan. Baby number two didn’t take long to follow and in the last few months that she was carrying her son Jaxon, she convinced her husband to become a business partner in the former Margolian’s building on Inglis Street and she launched her business. “I had a new baby and a toddler,” says Sue remembering those days not really all that long ago. “I wasn’t sleeping so when I was awake through the night with babies that were not sleeping I put my energy into my business plan.” In August of 2012 after a lot of soul searching and research Sue opened Take it Outside. She will joke that the business name was the only one that her husband Jon didn’t hate; however, her sole mission right from the days she started her degree was to get people outside and be healthy. “The core of my being is travel and being outside so it was a natural to open up a store than enables people to have this type of lifestyle. It is a perfect fit for me.”

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Connecting with nature and being in tune with her own body are important parts of Sue’s daily practice. Sue hopes that nature and nurture will help guide her young daughter Gabrielle on her own path for a happy life.

Sue says that she likes having husband Jon and the history and tradition of the Stanfield’s brand on the fringe of what she does. “Jon is my volunteer CFO when I have questions around budgeting or any big decision; I bounce things off him.” Surrounding herself with successful people has been part of Sue’s modus operandi. She makes it a practice to meet with successful business people, many of them women, where she keeps her ears open and asks questions. “I am very fortunate to have an abundance of inspirational women in my life on a daily basis, all of them who I look up to. I am attracted to strong personalities and find my own strength through their success. Whether I am talking to a girl friend with a home-based business or another who is winding down from a role of managing partner of a law firm, our struggles and success, fears and triumphs are similar. I learn from them all.” As important as it was to learn from other people’s experiences, success and failure Sue says she often felt that there was a momentum that just kept everything moving forward. Less than a year after opening in Truro she expanded into the city market with a new store in Dartmouth Crossing and the following year in Historic Properties with storefronts for Take it Outside and women’s active wear brand Lolë. “I was a new Mum, flying by the seat of my pants with all of these decisions but loving every minute of it. It didn’t occur to me not to keep trying.” With four locations to keep afloat Sue had to manage the amount of time she was on the road and away from home base. She credits her great team with the ability to work around her children’s schedules and still have opportunity to carve out a little time for herself and her husband. “It definitely has been busy but that’s the way I like it.”

ol atto try u have . I have

Just as she was finally getting her rhythm, Sue was approached to purchase the Trail Shop, a well-established lifestyle store on Quinpool Road. “ Taking over a business with 50 years of history was a whole other bag of challenges. Just after the purchase we were celebrating 50 years of business. Take it Outside shoppers were also Trail Shop customers. Like every retail business the success comes from the loyal customers and I am very grateful for the Trail Shop following. I am excited to see an increase of customers who are proud to support local, independent business and understand the value of shopping at home. We need to support each other so retail can grow in Atlantic Canada.” Because the two stores were very close in what they offered she decided to close the Historic Properties store and start to focus on the purchase of the Quinpool location. This spring Sue will take another leap of faith and she hopes that her customers will follow with a move that in essence takes the Trail Shop outside. Sue believes that the business will blaze a new trail in the revamped retail space in the Keep Building a few blocks away from the old location. “It will be the old Trail Shop but an entirely new experience that I think everyone will love to explore,’ says Sue who believes that the future success of store based retail has to be innovative customer service. Competing with the ‘Amazon’s” of the world is a daily battle for most retailers like Sue. She never takes for granted her customer base and believe that it always needs to be growing and changing with shopping trends. “My next business will be to invent a crystal ball so all retailers can be armed with the data to master their market.” Sue is only half kidding when she makes this statement as she is already testing a new retail app that she has helped

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While career, travel and health are all important quests in her life Sue believes what matters most is the little family she has created with her husband Jon.

develop that is intended to change in-store experiences. “Checkmate is a platform to relay information from consumers to ensure retail success,” she says. “Retailers need to be creative with their offering, have an ecomm presence and promote their strengths through various mediums.” Owning business that sells to the work hard, play hard set Sue says she does her best to be true to herself and return to the outside as often as she can. She says that she does her best thinking when she is outside and it’s often the place where she finds the answers to her most important questions. With women’s issues capturing the headlines almost daily she reflects about her own role as a woman in business and the world where she hopes both of her children will feel free to explore equally. “I certainly believe that it is important to be your own person and stand up for yourself. Women should always be respected, have equal opportunities and be empowered by their leaders and their peers. I am not certain every women wants to be her own boss but they should be equally valued in any role or position both in a corporate structure and in personal relationships.” Sue accredits most of her daily accomplishments to momentum however she cherishes the moments that she can slow the pace and switch gears to other important objectives in her life. Prior to having children she made volunteering a priority, something that she is happily returning to as Gabby and Jaxon are growing up. She takes pride in being able to make donations to locate charities and is currently on the I.W.K. Foundation Board of Trustees and a member of their development committee. “The I.W.K. is such an important place to my family and to our region. Almost everyone I speak with has a story about how the hospital has helped their family. It’s amazing to be part of something so vital to women and children’s health.” A healthy lifestyle, chances to explore the world, purpose as an entrepreneur, mother and partner are all things that would seem to solve the equation of having it all but she doesn’t take any of these elements in her life for granted and knows how quickly the values of that equation can change. She believes that she is the sum of all of these parts and intends to work hard and set her intentions to be the best version of herself that she can be so everyone knows what is on the inside and outside of Sue Stanfield.

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I’ve cooked pizza in ovens, in a fire place when the power was out and in various barbecues, both coal and gas fired. My dream, however, is to make pizza in a Toney River bonfire. I’ve read you can make dough using ocean water by running it through a sieve then heating gently to bring it up to ‘tepid’ before adding the yeast. You then press the dough into a roasting tin and top it with whatever is best that moment in the summer, then cover the tin with foil. Nestle the pan into the glowing driftwood coals, and I imagine by the time you’ve rinsed your hands in the waves, the pizza will be ready. This dream is carrying me through these grey drizzly days of April when winter is drawing to a close but spring has not yet sprung. So until bonfire season, I’ll be making pizza, practising, working the soft dough and topping it with ‘whatever is best that moment’, creating second nature muscle memory so I’m ready when things get wild. That’s the beauty of pizza; it rolls with the seasons. The base can vary – saltwater, spelt, or dough purchased from the grocery store – while toppings can be whatever is in season, whatever you love. April calls for wintry greens like kale and radicchio or fruit from the cellar topped with a splash of micro greens grown on the window sill (or found in special shops or on a friend’s window sill). A fresh sunnyside-up egg nestled in crumbled sausage is the perfect pizza centrepiece for early Spring – a promise of life that’s soon to come. And why not add a touch of maple syrup; it’s at its best, right now. The following recipes capture this special time of year, with a wild dreams thrown in. They are designed for one 10-inch pizza base. Pizza dough recipes – either spelt or regular flour – follow, but feel free to buy dough from the grocery store or from your favourite pizzeria. Or, get creative and use tortilla or naan bread as a base – just divide or multiply toppings accordingly. All pizzas were tested in an electric oven, but feel free to nestle them into any hot spot that hits 450F, or the temperature of red-hot, driftwood coals on a Northumberland Straight beach.

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Pear with Blue Cheese and Micro Greens Pear topped with the heady, saltiness of blue cheese is one of my favourite combinations. If you’re not into blue, substitute goat’s cheese or feta. As for the crown of micro greens, I’ve grown them through the spring months in trays in my sunny kitchen; they’re the perfect pop of green when life is grey outside. If you’re not into growing, Wayne of North of Nutty Farm sells his beautiful micro greens at The Earltown General Store or look for Bramble Hill Farms at the New Glasgow Farmers Market.

Have one rolled out 10-inch pizza round ready and waiting a piece of parchment paper. Preheat oven to 450F. If using a pizza stone, slide the stone onto the lower rack of the oven so the oven preheats with the stone inside. 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 fat pear, cored and sliced 2-3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese Handful of micro greens Salt and cracked black pepper to taste If not using a stone, slide parchment, with pizza, onto a baking sheet. Drizzle pizza dough with olive oil and spread it around with your fingers. Fan pear slices over dough and top with pieces of blue cheese. Slide pizza into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until pizza is golden and crispy around the edges. Garnish with micro greens and salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Slice and serve.

Sausage with Spinach and a Sunny-side-up Egg We get our eggs delivered every other week by my friend Stephanie of Sweet Earth Farm, just outside of Earltown. In the summer we pick up at the farm, where we get to hang out with farmer and chief egg washer Sadie, Stephanie’s eightyear-old daughter.

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Have one rolled out 10-inch pizza round ready and waiting a piece of parchment paper. Preheat oven to 450F. If using a pizza stone, slide the stone onto the lower rack of the oven so the oven preheats with the stone inside. 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 Italian sausages (or substitute your favourite) 4 cups loosely packed spinach 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 1 fresh egg Salt and cracked black pepper to taste Heat olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Cut a slit down the length of the sausages and tip filling into the pan. Discard the casing. Break sausage up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When Sausage bits have cooked through, add spinach to the pan. Stir to just wilt the spinach, then take pan off the heat. If not using a stone, slide parchment, with pizza, onto a baking sheet. Cover pizza with sausage and spinach. Make a little space in the centre of the pizza for the egg to sit, then top pizza with parmesan cheese. Slide pizza into the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, gently crack an egg into a small bowl. Take pizza out of the oven and tip egg into the well, then slide pizza back into the oven. Cook for five minutes more, or until egg is cooked to your liking and pizza base is golden and cooked through. Season with salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Slice and serve. The North Shore

Burnt Maple Butter Kale and Feta Pizza

The following toppings will fill one 10-inch pizza round, with extra kale chips for snacking. It’s best to make the kale chips first, then cook the pizza base, and top with the chips. The kale will scorch if cooked in the high temperature required for a pizza. But, if you don’t mind that extra singe, cook them all at once.

Have one rolled out pizza round ready and waiting on a piece of parchment, then get going on the burnt maple butter. Alternatively, make the butter anytime in advance and pull out when needed. Burnt Maple Butter ¼ cup maple syrup 8 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces ½ teaspoon fine sea salt Heat maple syrup in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Let the syrup bubble away, without stirring, until it’s volcanic, about 10 minutes. Christina uses a candy thermometer – she let it go until 350°F. I go by colour – the bubbles will start to blacken around the edge of the pan – this is what gives the butter the ‘burnt’ quality. Don’t panic. Swirl the pan and take it off the heat. Slowly, one by one, add the pieces of butter, whisking well as you go. It’s important to keep it smooth – you don’t want the butter to separate from the syrup. When everything is smooth, whisk in the salt. Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and allow to cool. Whip, using the paddle attachment, scraping down the sides every so often, until very light and fluffy. Scoop butter into a container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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For the Kale Chips 1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves chopped and washed ¼ head of radicchio, thinly sliced (for colour and to counterbalance the sweetness of the burnt maple butter – totally optional) 2 ½ tablespoons burnt maple butter, melted ½ teaspoon sea salt Heat oven to 225°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and cover with torn kale. Drizzle over burnt maple butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Use your hands to toss it all together, making sure each piece is coated. Spread kale across the sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until ‘chips’ are fully dehydrated and crisp. Cool. (Don’t cool in them in the oven, like I’ve done, then forget about the chips then crank up the heat to make pizzas. Kale chips are still good singed, but it’s not ideal).

For the Pizza 1 tablespoon olive oil 2-3 tablespoons crumbled feta Turn oven up to 450°F. If using a pizza stone, slide the stone onto the lower rack of the oven so the oven preheats with the stone inside. If not using a stone, slide parchment, with pizza, onto a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over dough (spread it around with your fingers), then scatter feta over top. Slide pizza into the oven (or onto stone) and set the timer for 8 minutes. At this point the pizza should be golden brown around the edges, puffed in places, cooked through, and the feta golden. Pull out of the oven and top with kale chips. Slice and serve.

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Spelt Pizza Dough

Traditional Pizza Dough

I buy Speerville’s Spelt Flour - I like its unique, nutty flavour. Spelt is gentler for those with gluten intolerance, but it isn’t ‘gluten free’.

This dough uses the ‘sponge’ method where some of the flour is added to the water and yeast, and this ‘sponge’ is allowed to rest before the rest of the flour is mixed in – a baby step towards sour dough.

Makes 4 x 25cm / 10-inch pizzas 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) warm water 2 teaspoons (2 sachets) dried yeast 4 ½ cups (525g) spelt flour 1 teaspoon salt ¼ cup olive oil Sprinkle yeast over warm water and leave for 5 minutes or so until it’s bubbly. Put flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and all yeast water in stages, mixing well as you go. Add the oil and continue mixing. Use your hands to transfer the mixture to a lightly floured surface – dough will be a shaggy mess. Knead the dough (fold in half towards you, turn a quarter turn, push away from you with the heal of your hand, fold, repeat) for about 10 minutes or until it is a smooth and elastic. Place ball back into the mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place to rest for about an hour until doubled in size. Turn the dough back onto the floured surface and divide into four balls. Spread a few tablespoons of olive oil on a baking sheet. Place balls onto sheet and roll them around in the oil. Leave to rise again in a warm spot for another 30 minutes. Knead balls, one at a time, for a minute on a lightly floured surface. Press the dough out flat and, using a rolling pin, shape it into a round circle, about 10” in diameter. Using your knuckles press just inside the edges to raise them slightly. At this point, slide dough onto a piece of parchment. Preheat the oven to 450°C. If using a pizza stone, place it on the middle rack and allow it to preheat with the oven. When dough is covered with toppings, slide dough onto pizza stone, or onto a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes, or until crispy and golden and the base is cooked through.

Makes 4 x 25cm / 10-inch pizzas 4 teaspoons dried yeast 1 ¼ (300 ml) lukewarm water 4 cups (500 g) all purpose flour 1 teaspoons salt Dissolve the yeast in about 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Add about 2 tablespoons of the flour, mix to a smooth paste, then stir in the remaining water. Cover and leave the yeast mixture for about 30 minutes or until it is bubbling and foamy. Whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast liquid and remaining water. Work the ingredients together using a wooden spoon by pulling the flour into the liquid mixture until it comes together. Use your hands to transfer the mixture to a lightly floured surface – it will be a shaggy mess. Knead the dough (fold in half towards you, turn a quarter turn, push away from you with the heal of your hand, repeat) for about 10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a round loaf and cut into 4 even-sized pieces. Form each piece into a ball and leave them all to rise under a clean tea towel for about 1 ½ hours, or until they have doubled in size. (This can happen in the refrigerator overnight. Let dough balls come to room temperature before baking). Use one ball of dough for one pizza. Punch down the dough and knead for a couple of minutes on a lightly floured surface. Press the dough out flat and using a rolling pin shape it into a round circle, about 10” in diameter. Using your knuckles press just inside the edges to raise them slightly. Leave the dough to rest for 10-15 minutes. At this point, slide it onto a piece of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 450°C. If using a pizza stone, place it on the middle rack and allow it to preheat with the oven. When dough is covered with toppings, slide dough onto pizza stone, or onto a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes, or until crispy and golden and the base is cooked through.

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The Mill




axter is a brave voice, one of many in the county that she speaks for. In approximately one year she did the research, penned many stories and met so many local opinions balanced with astounding facts we all should be privy to. The number one best-selling book in Nova Scotia for December 2017 for Chapters/Coles, The Mill is fully loaded with views from all sides who wished to be featured. The obviously missing party was The Mill itself who was asked, along with board members and politicians, but declined to speak with Baxter about her “project”. This book is hard to read based on the story it tells of our community but written in a format that even young readers with a yearning to learn more about their environment will enjoy. With a glimpse of Nova Scotian history while covering comparisons to other like businesses, Baxter met with those who lost their lumber businesses based on their decision to stand up for what they felt and still feel is best for our forests and health. Asking for answers wasn’t easy for this Tatamagouche resident as so much information and the real truth was difficult to reveal. Baxter gives an example of her struggle to find the truth and the complexities of telling the full story with continued obstacles like a power point promised to her after filing Freedom of Information request only to receive a document that was missing the majority of its contents. Working to uncover truths was a challenge as main sources were not available to speak with her and layers of paperwork on top of multiple changes of ownership clouded perceptions. This is a book that should be read by anyone in the county. One thing is certain and that is change is in the air.

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ere’s a fun fact about honey: it’s not bee vomit. Apparently, honey comes out of a bee’s mouth so it’s been misconstrued as regurgitation. In reality, after collecting nectar from flowers, a bee stores it in a “honey stomach” which is separate from the stomach used for digestion.

I thought you should know this in case a five-year-old asks. Bee vomit is the kind of thing a five-year-old asks about and it’s good to be prepared. It’s also good to be grateful for bees. Not only because we love honey and beeswax candles, but because we love food. Threequarters of the world’s food crops require pollination. Think of what you’ve eaten today and thank a bee. I would tell you to hug a bee but something tells me bees aren’t the hugging type. A fact about bees: Their scientific name is anthophila which means flower lover. But all is not rosy in the bee world. Like a canary in a coal mine, bees are a so-called indicator species. If bees are doing well, it means the ecosystem in which they operate is functioning properly. Experts, however, say that bee populations are less healthy and abundant than they have been in the past. To raise awareness about our need to protect bees, the United Nations has declared May 20 “World Bee Day”. The day is inspired by the birth date of Anton Jansa of Slovenia (1733-1774), considered the pioneer of modern beekeeping practices. May is the month when bees get back to business after winter hibernation. They are reproducing and heading out into the

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world to find the first flowers of spring. One of those flowers is the dandelion. Oh, the lowly and much maligned dandelion! I have a friend who prides herself on having eradicated every single dandelion from her lawn; yet she has a friend (me) who sits in the midst of a beautiful crop of dandelions that her husband has mowed around, and picks the petals to make dandelion jelly. I don’t use the earliest flowers; I save those first tastes of spring for those who need the sustenance after hibernation. In her memoir, Unearthed, Toronto author Alexandra Risen declared, “Fairy clocks. Not weeds. Dandelion flowers close at dusk and open in the morning light.” How wonderful, then, that a week after the world celebrates the bee, the village of Wallace celebrates spring’s bee-utiful flower, all because of a gift Doug Perry, who moved to Wallace in 2001, received ten years ago. “My son was in Ottawa and as a Christmas present, he gave me a photograph of a dandelion,” Doug explained. “On the back of it, it said he’d purchased it at the dandelion festival in nearby Kemptville.” In 2008, he took the idea of a festival to the Wallace and Area Development Association (of which he is currently president), and they liked the idea so

much, they told him to plan it for the last Saturday of May. “We’ve tried various events but the ones that seem to stick are the yard sales and the flea market at the community hall, where organizations like the churches and 4H and Men’s Club set up,” said Doug. There’s also a community supper and a display of dandelion art created by students from Wallace Elementary School. For this spring, there’s talk of a community baseball game, and they’re doing the flotilla down the Wallace River again. Last year, only eight canoes took part but Doug said it was a cold day, with the north wind blowing right up the river. As with everything in Nova Scotia, the level of participation is dictated by the weather – even when it comes to the flower of honour. “One year, the dandelions were here and gone by the last Saturday in May, and sometimes they’ve been right on,” said Doug. For those wishing good weather for the 10th annual Wallace Dandelion Festival, here’s a thought from an unknown source: “When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see a field of weeds or a field of wishes.” I think you know which field I’m standing in, wishing for an abundance of bees.

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It might not always be heaven but Kathryn and Mark prove that you can have a houseful of kids and still be a modern family.



hen I arrive at the door of Kathryn Findlyson and Mark Anderson’s home on High Street in New Glasgow I am greeted by Mark and their three-year-old daughter Charlotte. She does a little twirl and picks up the hem of her pretty spring dress. A few steps behind, two year old Mary mirrors her glamorous older sister and makes sure that I take note of a certain famous female mouse on her frock. Bouncing enthusiastically in his “exersaucer” obviously excited by the fashion show is eightmonth-old brother Andrew. It is a lively scene already but within minutes the porch door swings open and older siblings Kate, Sandy and Adam kick off their boots and drop their backpacks. But there is still one more to arrive before the Anderson troop will be all present and accounted for. Beth, who is ten and the eldest of this group of seven, will soon fly through the door after being pulled out of her band practice early for our photo shoot at their newly renovated century home in an historic neighbourhood on the hill over the East River. I guess you could say that Kathryn and Mark’s family grew exponentially much the same way that plans for home renovations do. They started out with a few little projects but then the list kept growing. The end result is quite spectacular and the house is pretty nice too. While the kids have been ten years in the making the renovation project had a little shorter gestation period; however, it likely didn’t feel that way at the time. It was almost two years ago when Kathryn and Mark decided to take the leap and go for the big transformation of the main floor of their 4000 square foot home. They purchased the house in 2012. At that time there were only three kids in tow and one on the way. The house had pretty much everything they were looking for from the perspective of space. There were five bedrooms and a big back yard. The other important element

Left: The dining room scales down in size from the

kitchen, but not in elegance, where Kathryn played up

the timelessness of the architecture. Ceiling mouldings add an additional interest and a china cupboard that

looks like it was always there was built in for additional display space and to provide a little more privacy.

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was the proximity to Kathryn’s work. She is a Veterinarian and owns her own clinic just off the East River Road in New Glasgow. Mark is involved on the administrative side of the business and has been the primary parent at home with the kids. While Mark grew up on a farm on Greenhill and still maintains that connection, Kathryn jokes that she could never live in the country and she needs “to live where there are sidewalks.” While they had taken a quick stab at a refresh of the kitchen not long after they moved in and then built two more bedrooms in the attic as the kids started to multiply, they had left the house very much the way it was when they purchased it six years ago. Not being daunted by the challenges of simultaneously growing a business and a family, Kathryn was ready to make the house the home that she and Mark had the vision for from the beginning. Now with six children and one on the way the kitchen became the priority for additional space. The existing kitchen was gutted and a larger eating area and mudroom for all of those boots, sports gear and backpacks was added on. An old “servants” entrance was modified and was built in as a butler’s pantry using the cabinets that were pulled out of the kitchen.

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COVER STORY A makeshift island in the middle of the kitchen space with a rigged up sink and stove meant meal prep was not hindered beyond mild inconvenience during the reno. The bigger challenge was keeping toddlers and curious youngsters out of the sawdust and building materials. “I think what made it all so much easier was having really great contractors,” says Kathryn. “We hired Bill and Michael Meyer from Bridgeville and they were absolutely meticulous with everything and they were so great with the kids.” As the renovation progressed Kathryn and Mark welcomed baby number seven. Andrew was born last May when the project was well underway. “The builders just became part of the family,” says Kathryn. Mary, whose first two developmental years were in the midst of the project, clearly enunciated the name of one of the carpenters when she spoke her first words. Part of ease in the renovation was Kathryn knowing what she wanted from the beginning. She said Mark was involved in the decisions for things behind the walls but she had full reign on the design and décor. “I had photos pulled from magazines and I just handed them to Bill and said this is what I want it too look like and he was able to make it work,” says Kathryn sitting in the library room that only a few months ago was a sunporch. As the kitchen reno progressed the redesign of other spaces on the main floor evolved. Kathryn and Mark were careful to maintain the character of the period and enhanced some of the more special architectural elements of the interior. The home now has a refreshed modern feel that captures the elegance that was intended when the home was first built over one hundred years ago. The balance between the two worlds is most profound in Kathryn’s choice for lighting. She say that she was close to being obsessed to find the light fixtures that would make a statement in each of the new finished spaces. There are now five spectacular chandeliers that project a personality in each room.

Far left: The chandelier over the baby grand piano is one of five expressive features that were installed during the reno. Middle: Beth and Kate arrange a bouquet of tulips to add a pop of spring colour to the neutral tones of the kitchen. Below: Three year old Charlotte sneaks a peek at the dining room table set for an Easter celebration.

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A semi-abstract painting of a retriever is a focal point in the library room. Kathryn found the painting on a family road trip to

Over the kitchen island a sun burst of gleaming spirals of metal and glass goes madly off in all directions as if it is the epicentre of their family universe. Through the open French doors to the dining room, a classic crystal chandelier catches the natural light and sends a speckle of tiny prisms onto the walls and over the silver tea service by the windows. A smaller version of the dining room chandelier is suspended over the baby grand piano that gets tickled by little sticky fingers. Two modern variations of the other crystal fixtures bring additional interest and continuity to the living and library rooms. Despite the grandeur of the classic design the home softens with the embellishments of childhood playfulness and the incorporation colourful contemporary art that demonstrates the family’s love for animals. Throughout the house equine, canine and feline are equally represented in the artwork and décor. The library room is more affectionately referred to as the American Girl room complete with a horse stable that would likely keep any child’s imagination humming. Books, puzzles and games go from floor to ceiling and there is the occasional allowance of a digital tablet for the older kids if their chores and homework are complete. The original layout of the home with the new addition and the repurposing of the sunroom creates an enviable amount of space. There is a openness that is sought after with modern living that makes it easy for the welcoming of guests to an already full house but there are enough little spaces that teenagers and parents can retreat to when personal time beckons. There are still a few areas of the house and property that Kathryn and Mark would love to tackle. A small TV room off the front entrance will eventually get a refresh to catch up to the rest of the main floor and a new garage is on the some day list. But for now Kathryn and Mark feel like it’s time to catch their breath, enjoy this stage of their life and savour the little moments with their seven children… without the sawdust.

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Maine. Ten-year-old Beth does her best to grab the attention of her younger sisters for a little story time. The ample floor plan provides space for everyone to find a place to retreat. Adam and Sandy have managed to keep their race track intact and away from the curious fingers of their younger siblings. Trayed ceilings and built-ins transformed the former sunroom that was not being utilized.

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hange is never easy. Whether you are transitioning from a large house to an apartment, or moving from an apartment to a smaller apartment, it takes planning, thought and organization. Downsizing can be an overwhelming task, but there is an upside because it can be extremely satisfying if you tackle it with a plan and positive attitude. When George and Pauline Henaut first started thinking about making a move from their Terrace Street, New Glasgow home of 35 years, their initial thought was, “How do we get rid of all this stuff?” Organized people by nature, they got down to work by making a compartmentalized list with three objectives – Must Keep, Might Keep, and Not Keeping. This basic formula helped them as they sorted through pieces of their life and either packed them up for the move, passed them on to family friends who were setting up a first-time home or donated them to the local Salvation Army. The Henauts were packing up their brick ranch style home and only moving a kilometer away to The Willows, a 60-unit apartment building in New Glasgow. When they decided on this apartment complex they had the luxury of seeing

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their space during the construction phase of the building. They picked a spacious three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment on the 4th floor, overlooking the East River with a welcoming green space in the back yard of this friendly neighbourhood. George and Pauline say that having a good peek at the inside allowed them to map out the layout of their furniture and help them determine what would fit and what they needed to pass on. Between their list and mapping out the layout, very few mistakes were made. The apartment also has fabulous storage and with the help of shelving and totes they feel very comfortable with making everything “fit” and organized. The Henauts made sure that things that really mattered to them made the cut – a large dining table to host guests, artwork with history, a room set up for practicing music and dramas, as well as a den that lends itself well to writing and reading. Being surrounded by the things they loved made the new space (even though it was much smaller) feel like home for George and Pauline. Different stages of life are often dictated by square footage and a yearning for simplicity. Small spaces cry out for simplification and even an approach to minimalism. As the Henauts had 35 years

of life to redistribute and resettle, STFX student Caitlin Playfair was looking for a place where she had the convenience of everything being just an arms reach away but have high functionality and appeal to her sense of style. The idea of micro-living is just for her. Last fall, Caitlin enrolled in the accelerated nursing program at STFX and moved into a downtown Antigonish micro-apartment that is only 217 square feet. The modern aesthetic and contemporary vibe appealed to her. When dealing with such a small space, it needs to really multi-task – a bed that turns into a sofa, built-in storage around the fold-up bed and mirrored closet doors that reflects light around the tiny space. The apartment has a fresh, modern feel to it, giving it an edge that you wouldn’t find in many rentals in a college town. Prior to moving into her tiny apartment Caitlin was a little worried that downsizing would be challenging even without a lot of possessions as a student. “Downsizing was something that seemed impossible when I first thought about it, however as I broke it down, it became much easier. Furniture was easy, in the Micro Boutiques all furniture is provided and is there when you move in. When it came to my clothing, I found it was refreshing to go through and donate The North Shore


clothes that I may have never considered giving away and ultimately would have sat in my closet anyway. Despite there only being 217 square feet, there is ample storage and shelving that makes it easier when deciding what you can bring with you and not. Even now I find there are several storage units in the space that have nothing accumulated in them.” Janine Young, a local certified KonMari consultant, finds that most people do get

overwhelmed at the prospect of having to downsize or even just decluttering their home. But Janine says, “The KonMari Method provides a clear and easy to follow guide for achieving not only a home that is void of clutter, but also a sanctuary of joy and comfort.” The unconventional way of determining what stays and what remains of asking one simple question, “Does this item bring me joy?” This mantra has proved

Student Caitlin Playfair makes the most of her micro apartment in Antigonish and believes that when it comes to living but not learning “less is more.”

Janine Young offered these specific tips, based on the KonMari Method, to downsizing your home. • Don’t tidy by room, but rather by specific category (i.e., clothing, books, paper etc.). This ensures thorough decluttering (or tidying). • When going through specific categories, bring all related items together to allow for a full visual inventory of first the volume of belongings, but also as an easy way to compare one item against another. Keep belongings that first bring you joy or simply make you happy and consider how many of any particular item is beneficial or realistic to keep. • Do not keep things for “someday”. This can be such a culprit of clutter. • For specific things you are holding onto for your children, have the conversation with them. You may find you are storing things that they have no interest in acquiring. • Keep storage and organization as simple as possible, this maintains order in the home

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successful for many who are downsizing. The thought of only being surrounded by items that bring joy makes the thought of downsizing less overwhelming and more appealing, making the KonMari method very popular and successful. As the Henauts settle into life in their new home, they are fortunate to still be in the same neighbourhood, shopping at the same grocery store and taking their regular walks on the same streets. Their apprehension of living in an apartment building has been put to rest by the wonderful community they find themselves in and the activities they fill their days with are the same one they have always enjoyed, music, dramas and writing, without the workload of owning a home. Even though they miss their award-winning gardens, they still find ways to surround themselves with plants and flowers, regardless of the smaller space. Apartment life has benefits like underground parking, on-site gym and neighbours you can visit without taking off your slippers. As I recently watched my parents downsize from our family farm into a one bedroom bungalow, I am brought back to some words that Pauline shared about their own move. “It was time to make a change before change was thrust upon us.” As a child watching my parents sort through years worth of memories, I was thankful this was their choice and that they are healthy enough to enjoy this next stage of life. The boxes and things are simply just that, yes, there are memories packed up in the nooks and crannies of every house. But don’t let the items hold you back from living a life better suited to where you are in your journey. Whether you are a college student looking to live a simpler lifestyle, or a retired couple moving onto the next stage of life, downsizing can be an exercise of letting go and surrounding yourself with the things that bring you joy.

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PUT SOME The idea of hiring a professional organizer just might create as much stress as the mess that you want to clean up but we met with a couple of At Home on the North Shore readers who made the call and brought in a pro to control their clutter and chaos.

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zing J


acinthe Bennett or “Jiggy” as she is more affectionately known in many circles in Pictou County is one of those people that you seem to run into everywhere. Most Saturday mornings she has her coffee bar set up at the New Glasgow Farmers Market. Her customers are lined up for a chat as much as they are a to grab a hot cup of java before they make their rounds to their favourite vendors. She’s a regular at the local Y and spends a lot of time at the grocery store stocking up on ingredients she needs for those home cooked meals she prepares daily for several members of the Weeks Crushers Hockey team that board at her home in Little Harbor. Walking in to Jiggy’s house you would never guess that she would need to call

in the help of a professional organizer. Her house is pretty much always Bed and Breakfast ready and she enjoys the welcoming atmosphere that she has created with her husband Tim. But to take a different spin on the old saying, “you never know what goes on behind closed doors,” Jiggy opens the door to her own little messy secret. Now to be fair most of us have a room and a closet or two that catch all of the odds and ends and we stockpile the things that are just to good to throw away or might have a use someday. Jiggy’s room is in her basement where her school teacher husband retreats to read, mark tests and make lesson plans. In the last couple of years Jiggy found that the pile in the middle of the rooms

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INSIDE STORY kept getting bigger and she was starting to worry that the “sprawl” might not be contained much longer. Her problem like most people when faced with a daunting organization task was where to begin. She had to consider a few special pieces in the space that she and her husband could not part with, as well as a lot of personal items left behind when her two young adult children made their moves. She had read about professional organizers and decided her first step was to look for a little help. Enter professional organizer Heather DeVouge. Her process is pretty much consistent wherever she goes. There is an initial consult that allows her to see the space, discuss the problems they are


encountering, look for the root causes of the clutter and determine the end goal and use for the space. “The goal is not to make the space “Pinterest Perfect” says Heather of her approach to organization. There are a lot of ways to achieve success without a lot of money. The goal is to make the space more functional, enjoyable and easy to maintain. Heather generally tries to customize a plan for each client. In Jiggy’s case she was looking more for direction than my time to sort things out. She really wanted to tackle this but needed some guidance and some affirmation that it was ok to get rid of things. Letting go of items that are no longer useful to us is challenging and perplexing. “We feel the need for abundance,” says Heather. “We are a consumer driven society. It’s often more about quantity than quality. On average our homes are bigger today and have more storage space than they did 60 years ago but the self storage industry has been growing at the

Before: A basement office space became the catch all for excess in Jacinthe Bennett’s home in Little Harbour. After: With very little going to the landfill, repurposing and donating Jacinthe reveals her paired down, clutter free room.

same time. We are buying and keeping too much.” Once Jiggy got on a roll she says she found the process actually made her feel happier. “There was a lot of stuff that was still really good but I just didn’t need and it made me feel good knowing that it went somewhere that it was really needed. “The process is very psychological,” says Heather who had to learn about the physical and psychological aspects of organizing when she took her certification. “The brain doesn’t want you to make these decisions because it causes anxiety. For some people the thought of getting rid of something triggers the same part of your brain as panic.” While Jiggy is still a going concern and just in middle life she did pull out the term Swedish Death Cleaning. It’s not something that any baby boomers like to think about however there is a practicality to cleaning up and decluttering so your loved ones don’t have to wallow through decades of accumulation. Jiggy’s project took about a month to complete. She invested in a few plastic bins and started to deconstruct the small mountain the had piled up in front of her husbands desk. There wasn’t much that had to go to the land fill which made her feel much better about the process and


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she even found some uses for a few items that were buried and she forgot about. She still has a little more that she would like to tackle however she feels that she has regained control of the space and no longer feels like she has to keep anyone wondering what is behind the closed door. When Kristina Jones and her husband Mitchell Fraser took possession of their century old farm house on the outskirts of the town of Westville they had most of their décor planned out and their belongings paired down so they could appreciate all of the little details that went into the remodeling of the home that had been in Kristina’s family for several generation. Like Jiggy’s house everything had a place and there was a place for everything. The only area that seems to elude her in her passion to maintain control over the natural compulsion for clutter was in her open door pantry. For Kristina the utilization of a organizing professional had its greatest value in the generation of new storage and organizing ideas. While the pantry of her farmhouse kitchen was far from an eyesore it certainly craved a little attention and by implementing a few details and a different approach to grouping food and cooking implements you could say that she did achieve her Pinterest Perfect Pantry. “I had things grouped together in how they were packaged,” says Kristina. “However I learned that it is better to group things in how you would use them.” This made a lot of sense and actually is a time saver as well when you are rushing home to make a meal. Kristina also learned how a few small baskets can make a big difference when trying to isolate little packages or pantry items. “Kristina’s pantry was just disorganized,” says Heather DeVouge when talking about the before and after pantry project. “I pulled everything out and sorted it. There was nothing to purge and then just put it back in but with a new order.” Heather also helped Kristina with some labeling so when she replenishes the pantry she will remember what items go where.

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EDITORS NOTE: We loved Kristina and Mitchell’s farm house so much we want to go back for the full story of their century home cellar to roof top redo. Watch for their story in an upcoming issue of ah!


Before: The pantry in Kristina Jones county kitchen was lacking functionality and appeared to be cluttered because there was no system to how she inventoried her cooking supplies and implements. After: Kristina (left) and Heather DeVouge of Whole Home Organizing enjoy a cup of coffee after they put the final touches in the pantry. The sight lines into the pantry are now more in keeping to Kristina’s simplified style.


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Love it or let it go Professional organizer Heather DeVouge shares stress-free steps to get rid of your mess. We feel the need for abundance. We are a consumer-driven society. It’s all about quantity over quality. It’s like we’re “keeping up with the Jones'”… American homes are over 60% bigger than they were 40 years ago while the self-storage industry has been growing at the same time. We are buying and then keeping too much! Need to realize that stuff does not equal happiness. Decide how much is enough.

Find security with having more. This may be common among people who lived through the Depression or grew up in low income families. They struggled to survive and find a sense of security in having more.

Thinking you might need it someday. Decide when someday is. You could box it, date it and see. Or decide now: What are the realistic chances I will need it – 20% or 80%? What is the replacement cost? How much space would be recovered if you let it go? What is the worst thing that might happen if I needed it someday and no longer had it?

We feel a sense of obligation if it was given to you. Many feel a sense of obligation to keep every gift or greeting card they’ve received, every letter or piece of art, or hand me down. You do not need to feel obligated to keep things if they are intruding on your space, time and sanity! At that point, the gift has become a burden. Take the fact that the item was a gift out of the equation.

life. But those items are only physical objects…that can’t take place of your memories and you will not be dishonouring that memory by letting go of something you no longer need.

We’re holding on to the past. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of items that remind you of a happy time in your life. A time where you felt youthful, happier, or successful. (Career award, or skinny jeans we once fit into). Stop holding on to the past and cherish what you have right now.

I paid good money for this. Strategy: Accept that the money is spent. No amount of hanging-onto an item can bring your money back. Whether you keep it or not, the money is gone. Cut your losses, let it be a lesson learned, and move on.

I could make money selling this. Call this “garage sale syndrome” – when you have decided to let go of some things and yet they continue to linger, waiting for the big garage sale. Waiting for a garage sale simply extends the process. Instead, find a charity you’ll feel good about donating your items to. When faced with the decision of letting go of items, a part of our brain lights up - the same area of the brain that lights up when you feel physical pain. Your brain views the loss of one of your valued possessions as the same as something that causes you physical pain. And the more you’ve committed emotionally or financially to an item, the more you want to keep it around. However, the more you let go of things and start to experience the positive feelings, the easier it becomes!

We fear losing the memory if we get rid of something.

Steps that can help us in the decluttering process.

Many fear that if they get rid of an item, they’ll forget that person, experience or important time in their

Ask yourself these questions for each item: 1. Do I love it? 2. Do I need it?

3. Do I use it? 4. If I saw this item in a store today, would I buy it? 5. When was the last time I used it? 6. When do I plan on using it? 7. Can I borrow or rent it? 8. What’s the worst that will happen if I got rid it? If you answered “yes” to any of the first 3 questions… keep it! If you answered no or you are unsure, ask yourself the remaining questions. Question #8 is perhaps the most poignant and sobering question… but one that makes you take action and often allows you to let go. What are the benefits of clearing out the clutter?

Save time because your home is arranged efficiently. You’ll get your day to day tasks done more quickly and no longer have to hunt for misplaced items. • Have more time to spend with friends and family relaxing and enjoying activities you love to do! • Save money because you’ll no longer lose things and have to buy replacements. • Lowers stress and worry. • Improve your relationships by alleviating the strain clutter can cause. • Feel comfortable welcoming guests into your home. • Enjoy your home, family and life even more! • Feeling more calm and energized. • Your mind sharpens and increases your ability to concentrate and focus

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT CLUTTER? • Everything needs a home • Don’t bring it into the home (don’t buy or accept things you don’t need or want, stop subscriptions, sort out junk mail at the post office, etc.) • If one is added, then one needs to go. If you buy a new shirt, make sure you take one out.

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Downsizing in the kitchen: 5 tips for minimizing cooking clutter BY HEATHER LAURA CLARKE


f you’ve ever complained your kitchen doesn’t have enough drawers or cabinets to store everything, your kitchen’s probably not to blame. “We don’t need larger kitchens. We need less cluttered kitchens,” says Liz Toole from Above and Beyond Home Decor in downtown Truro. She says it’s inspiring to browse through photos of minimalist European kitchens that maximize every inch by holding only what gets used regularly. Toole says it’s more pleasant to work in these pared-down kitchens that have a place for everything, and nothing more that what’s necessary. Ready to attack those cabinets and drawers? Here are five tips to make the process easier ...

1. Choose multipurpose gadgets. Why let a serving spoon take up valuable drawer space when there’s a gadget that could take the place of four other kitchen tools? Above and Beyond regularly sells out of the Joseph Joseph five-in-one Uni-tool, which acts as a slotted spoon, a flipper, a solid spoon, a spatula and a edging edge. Toole also loves the Elevate carousel that neatly stores six kitchen essentials, like a flipper, a slotted spoon, and a ladle. “Instead of three drawers jammed with cooking utensils, you only need to have this one carousel by the stove,” says Toole.

2. Eliminate unnecessary duplicates.

4. Quality over quantity.

“We have these big drawers filled with cooking utensils, but how many of them do we really use?” says Toole. “We don’t need three or four different flippers because we’d never use that many in one cooking session.” However, she admits it took her husband to point out that she didn’t need five flippers in their utensil drawer. She pared down her collection to just two – one for most foods, and a longer one for fish – and donated the rest to Colchester Community Workshops. “There’s always somebody out there who could really use your kitchen tools because maybe they can’t afford to buy brand-new right now,” says Toole. “I regularly go there to donate anything I no longer need.”

It might feel frugal to spend $10 on a can-opener, but you may need to keep re-buying it every few years when it breaks. Toole says they sell plenty of the popular $25 OXO can-opener at Above and Beyond because it has a lifetime guarantee. Customers love that it’s the last one they’ll ever need to buy.

3. Be realistic. There was a time when everyone aspired to own fancy china and silver for hosting dinner parties, but Toole says that’s no longer realistic – or logical – for most people. Instead of holding onto mismatched dishes and cutlery from years past just to have as much as possible – “What if we have a party?!” – Toole suggests keeping one reasonably-sized set and donating the rest. “Service for 12 takes up far less room in your cupboard than service for 20. You don’t need the extras you think you need,” says Toole. “The dishwasher’s likely running once a day anyway.”

5. Keep track of what you never use. Still unsure about parting with those mismatched water glasses or dusty stack of salad bowls you received as a wedding present? Toole has a tip for tracking if you actually use everything in your kitchen. She tipped all her mugs upside-down in the cupboard and only the ones that she used were put back rightside up. After six months, she donated any mugs still facing down. But what about the rarely-used platters, trays, and serving dishes reserved for holiday dinners or parties? Toole says you may be hanging onto far more of them than you need. After all, she points out, everyday plates and bowls could do a lot of the heavy lifting. “The entertaining world is not what it used to be. It’s a very liberating time,” says Toole. “Our coffee table and end tables no longer have to match, and neither does everything in our kitchen.” “It’s more about being practical about what you own.”


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springs TO LIFE TATA FEST 2018

Celebrate Soil, Soul and Society with Sean McCann BY DEBBI HARVIE


aven’t heard about Tata Fest… well Great Big Sea’s Sean McCann has and he wants to go. Late last year McCann reached out to the festival organizers and asked if he could perform at the 2018 summer festival. It’s a recognition that has the festival organizers dancing a jig as they amp up for their fourth season. “I think it speaks to the good feeling people have had over the last three years in attending Tata Fest,” says Jayne Holmes who has been part of festival organization since the beginning. “It’s very local in terms of our advertising, so obviously good things are being said out there in the community to have performers like Sean McCann contact us. We are just so excited about this because up to this point we have been chasing people down and he had heard of the festival and wanted to perform. He isn’t doing any other shows in the area.” McCann will kick off the festival events with a solo performance at the Grace Jollymore Joyce Arts Centre on August 19. A full schedule of entertainment and activities will keep festival goer’s tapping their toes all around town with events popping up in all of the communities cultural hot spots.

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“We have entertainment at the Grace Jollymore Joyce Arts Centre, the Fraser Cultural Centre, Creamery Square and we try to tie it into the Farmer’s Market,” says Holmes. Festival Events celebrate the intrinsic values and traditions of historic town with include outdoor entertainment, weaving and drumming workshops, Scottish reenactments, a free-school at Waldergrave Farm, a fun day at Nelson Memorial Park with wagon rides, kite-making and music, as well as different events hosted by local shops. The final weekend will showcase the North Shore Players’ production of Bard by the Bay, a unique adaptation of different Shakespeare works. “When the festival started, it was really quite an organic thing,” notes Holmes. “It’s the Tatamagouche Festival of Soil, Soul and Society. It’s really all about the spirit of collaboration.” As enthusiasm for the event grows, new organizations and businesses are becoming involved with the festival and creating their own signature events with the intention to keep patrons in town for an extended stay. “The idea is that people can come for the whole week or just for the day, there’s really something for everyone,” she says.

With Tata Fest finding its place in the summer festival schedule in Nova Scotia new funding sources have come on board. Holmes says that this funding was secured from the Municipality of Colchester the North Shore Community Development Association. The businesses have also gotten more involved with the creation of a village map that contains coupons from different local spots. “What I’m really hoping to see is the businesses staying open a little later this year during the events.” And other local draws will continue like the Tatamagouche Road Train that brings in many visitors over the summer months. “The festival is such a worthwhile thing. It’s nice to see it continue on and see more people get involved.” The festival currently brings a variety of events and activities together under one umbrella with the goal moving forward to create larger events, draw bigger entertainment and have an all-together larger event. Holmes says they are always looking for people to get involved, creating more exposure for the village and its hidden talents. For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets for the Sean McCann performance check out the Grace Jollymore Joyce Centre website,

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Cassie & Maggie MacDonald – April 21, 2018

Welcome to The deCoste Spring Season Performing Arts Centre

Phone: 902-485-8848 Toll Free: 1-800-353-5338 APR


APRIL Rotary Club of Pictou Presents




Thursday, April 12 | Friday, April 13 | Saturday, April 14 7:30 pm | Tickets: $30



Saturday, April 15 | 7:30 pm | Tickets: $49.50


Paul McKenna Band | Cassie & Maggie MacDonald



Featuring the Paul McKenna Band from Glasgow, Scotland and Antigonish’s own Cassie & Maggie MacDonald Saturday, April 21 | 7:30 pm | Tickets: $35




Rock Steady - CD Release Friday, April 27 | 7:30 pm | Tickets: $40





Sunday, May 13 | 2 pm | Tickets: $25 | Members: $22

18 13 24 MAY




Friday, May 18 | 7:30 pm | Tickets: $25 | Members: $22



Saturday, May 19 | 7:30 pm | Tickets: $38 | Members: $35


Matt Minglewood

A musical tribute to the incomparable Neil Diamond Thursday, May 24 | 7:30 pm | Tickets: $45

STARS OF CORONATION STREET William Roache (Ken Barlow) Since 1960 Wednesday, May 30 | 7:30 pm Regular Admission: $50 | VIP Admission: $100






William Roache (Ken Barlow) Since 1960



LAURA SMITH AND KIM DUNN IN CONCERT Saturday, June 2 | 7:30 pm | Tickets: $28 | Members: $25


Featuring Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon Presented by VaughnCo Entertainment Tuesday, June 5 | 7:30 pm | Tickets: $49.50



here is nothing like the smell of homemade bread fresh out of the oven, my mouth waters at the very thought. It transports me back in time. When I was a little girl I spent many hours with my grandmother on the Cameron family homestead feeding the pigs, fetching milk from the parlour, and making bread for the week. I have had a long love for sourdough bread, but the thought of baking it myself seemed far too daunting. A four-day starter, feeding it, natural fermentation, all seemed very complex yet intriguing to me. At the start of 2018 when everyone is making resolutions and declarations for the upcoming year, I found myself on the treadmill listening to an archived broadcast of Stuart McLean’s vinyl café called Sourdough. I was completely amused by the story where the infamous character Dave, finds himself babysitting his neighbour’s, Carl Lowbeer’s, sourdough starter. The starter came with its own genealogy, that was passed down through generations. Through the hilarity of the story, I knew that I had found my resolution, this year I would learn to make sourdough bread! Where to begin? Typically I try to find an expert; BY TRACY STUART we are fortunate enough to have an expert in the area at the Earltown General Store. However, luck was not on my side this time, the day before I was to roll up my sleeves and get into the dough their oven went down. Ohla-la, this meant that I was going to have to take it on my own from there! So next stop, the internet. After much surfing, reading and watching video tutorials I believe that I have found the right one for me. The author had me when she wrote, “making a good loaf of sourdough bread feels like striving for the World Cup or an Olympic gold medal. It’s the challenge to top all challenges and takes real commitment, but it’s also something that’s completely achievable.” Voila, I could relate to this! The long lead item is of course the starter, which is, to my delight, way easier than I anticipated. It all begins with equal parts water to flour, I know right, easy! During my time at cooking school in New York, I learned that it’s preferable to use a kitchen scale when it comes to baking since the measurements are best when they are precise (this goes completely against Tracy is an Olympic medalist my freewheeling ways). So I dug out my kitchen scale with a nice glass bowl, and has a Chef’s Diploma from took a deep breath and was ready to begin. I followed the instructions from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Emma Christensen from for making the perfect starter. Health and Culinary Arts.




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Emma’s lesson was easy to follow and turned out wonderfully! Four days to a beautifully ripe starter, each day following the simple instructions of feeding the starter equal parts water and flour. We are off to the races, thanks to the wild yeast in the air! Although according to Emma… “while the wild yeast is certainly the star of this show, it’s not actually what makes the bread sour. That distinctive sour flavour comes from two kinds of friendly bacteria – lactobacillus and acetobacillus – which grow alongside the wild yeast in the sourdough culture and help ferment the sugars in the dough.” There we have it, I have learned something new! Without further ado, the time came to actually attempt my first sourdough bread. I felt like I was into this marathon and going strong. After reading the recipe several times over, I realized that it was going to take another whole day before I was able to place these babies in the oven. I think to myself this better be the best bread I have ever tasted! The Italian phrase piano-piano, came to mind as I worked my way through the recipe, essentially meaning one step at a time. Slowly and methodically I ticked off the instructions working my way through the list to complete Day 1 of the bread

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(make sure you have approximately 7.5 hours on your hands before attempting to begin). This is not for the faint of heart. At the end of the day I felt like a real mother to this dough ball, I had been tending it and looking after it for 5 days now, I really believe that it was taking on a personally, so I decided that it should have a proper name. Sam, yes, Sam the sourdough seemed like the perfect name. After a great night sleep I greeted Sam in the morning with excited anticipation. This was a big day for Sam and me, would we crush it and bring home an Olympic Gold in bread making or would Sam be a flop? I had faith that we were on track for success when I smelled the mouth-watering smells that filled my kitchen. The answer was revealed two

hours later. I was nervous; I hadn’t felt this feeling since my last race in Lucerne. After Sam was cool, I gave a little knock on the crust. Time to slice him up to see what we had. The air bubbles were perfectly formed, the smell was divine, and the flavour was everything that I had hoped for. Sam was a hit, medal worthy for sure. Six days in the making but worth every minute. Now that Sam the sourdough starter is in my life, the time it will take to make the next loaf seems insignificant. I am looking forward to a year of practice and tweaking. Thanks to Sam this little experiment has been a slice, no pun intended!

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How To Make Sourdough Bread Recipe adapted by Emma Christensen from

Ingredients for the leaven: 1 tablespoon 75 grams (½ cup) 75 grams ( cup)

active sourdough starter all-purpose flour or bread flour water

Ingredients for the dough: 1 tablespoon 525 grams (2 ½ cups) 700 grams (5 ½ cups)

salt water all-purpose flour or bread flour

Instructions 1. Make sure your sourdough culture is active: If your sourdough has been in the fridge, take it out two to three days before you plan to bake. Feed it daily to make sure it’s strong and very active before you make the bread. 2. Make the leaven (overnight): The night before you plan to make the dough, combine a tablespoon of active sourdough culture with the flour and water for the leaven. Mix thoroughly to form a thick batter. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight, for about 12 hours. 3. Test that the leaven is ready: Generally, if the surface of the leaven is very bubbly, it’s ready to be used. To double check, drop a small spoonful of the leaven in a cup of water; if the leaven floats, it’s ready. 4. Dissolve the salt: Combine the salt and 50 grams (about ¼ cup) of the water for the dough in a small bowl. Set aside, stirring every so often to make sure the salt dissolves. 5. Mix the leaven and water: Combine the leaven and the remaining 475 grams (2 cups) of





Makes 2 loaves

Equipment • Small mixing bowl • Large mixing bowl • Plastic wrap or other covering for the bowls • Spatula • Pastry scraper • Bread proofing baskets, colanders, or mixing bowls • Dutch ovens or large heavy-bottomed pots with lids • Lame, sharp knife, or serrated knife

water for the dough in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a spatula or use your hands to break up and dissolve the leaven into the water. It’s okay if the leaven doesn’t fully dissolve and a few clumps remain. Add the flour: Stir the flour into the water and leaven with a spatula until you see no more visible dry flour and you’ve formed a very shaggy dough. Rest the dough (30 minutes, or up to four hours): Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes or up to four hours. This is the autolyse stage where the flour is fully absorbing the water and enzymes in the flour begin breaking down the starches and proteins. Mix in the salt: Pour the dissolved salt over the dough. Work the liquid and salt into the dough by pinching and squeezing the dough. The dough will feel quite wet and loose at this point. Begin folding the dough (2 ½ hours): To fold the dough, grab the dough at one side, lift it up, and fold it over on top of itself. Fold the dough four times, moving clockwise from the

top of the bowl (or giving the bowl a quarter turn in between folds). Let the dough rest 30 minutes, then repeat. Do this a total of 6 times, every half hour for a total of 2 ½ hours. The dough will start out shaggy and very loose, but will gradually smooth out and become tighter as you continue folding. 10. Let the dough rise undisturbed (30 to 60 minutes): Once you’ve finished the folds, let the dough rise undisturbed for 30 to 60 minutes, until it looks slightly puffed. This dough won’t double in size the way regular, non-sourdough breads will; it should just look larger than it did when you started. 11. Divide the dough: Sprinkle some flour over your counter and turn the dough out on top. Work gently to avoid deflating the dough. Use a pastry scraper to divide the dough in half. 12. Shape the dough into loose rounds: Sprinkle a little flour over each piece of dough. Use your pastry scraper to shape each one into loose rounds – this isn’t the final shaping, just a preliminary shaping to prep the dough for further shaping. Shape them into rounds by

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slipping your pastry scraper under the edge of the dough and then scraping it around curve of the dough, like turning left when driving. Do this a few times to build the surface tension in the dough (it makes more sense to do it than to read about it!). Flour your pastry scraper as needed to keep it from sticking to the dough. 13. Rest the dough (20 to 30 minutes): Once both pieces of dough are shaped, let them rest for 20 to 30 minutes to relax the gluten again before final shaping. 14. Prepare 2 bread proofing baskets, colanders, or mixing bowls: Line 2 bread proofing baskets, colanders, or mixing bowls with clean dish towels. Dust them heavily with flour, rubbing the flour into the cloth on the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. Use more flour than you think you’ll need – it should form a thin layer over the surface of the towel. 15. Shape the loaves: Dust the top of one of the balls of dough with flour. Flip it over with a pastry scraper so that the floured side is against the board and the unfloured, sticky surface is up. Shape the loaf much like you folded the dough earlier: Grab the lip of the dough at the bottom, pull it gently up, then fold it over onto the center of the dough. Repeat with the right and left side of the dough. Repeat with the top of the dough, but once you’ve fold it downward, use your thumb to grab the bottom lip again and gently roll the dough right-side up. If it’s not quite a round or doesn’t seem taut to you, cup your palms around the dough and rotate it against the counter to shape it up. Repeat with the second ball of dough. 16. Transfer to the proofing baskets: Dust the tops and sides of the shaped loaves generously with flour. Place them into the proofing baskets

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upside down, so the seams from shaping are on top. 17. Let the dough rise (3 to 4 hours, or overnight in the fridge): Cover the baskets loosely with plastic, or place them inside clean plastic bags. Let them rise at room temperature until they look billowy and poofy, 3 to 4 hours. Alternatively, place the covered basket in the refrigerator and let them rise slowly overnight, 12 to 15 hours. If rising overnight, bake the loaves straight from the fridge; no need to warm before baking. 18. Heat the oven to 500°F: Place two Dutch ovens or other heavy-bottomed pots with lids in the oven, and heat to 500°F. (If you don’t have two pots, you can bake one loaf after the next.) 19. Transfer the loaves to the Dutch ovens: Carefully remove one of the Dutch ovens from the oven and remove the lid. Tip the loaf into the pot so the seam-side is down. Repeat with the second loaf. (See Recipe Note if your loaf sticks to the basket.) 20. Score the top of the loaf: Use a lame, sharp knife, or serrated knife to quickly score the surface of the loaves. Try to score at a slight angle, so you’re cutting almost parallel to the surface of the loaf; this gives the loaves the distinctive “shelf” along the score line. 21. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes: Cover the pots and place them in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. 22. Reduce the oven temperature to 450°F and bake another 10 minutes. Resist the temptation to check the loaves at this point; just reduce the oven temperature. 23. Remove the lids and continue baking 15 to 25 minutes: After 30 minutes of baking, remove the lids from the pots to release any

remaining steam. At this point, the loaves should have “sprung” up, have a dry surface, and be just beginning to show golden colour. Place the pots back in the oven, uncovered. 24. Bake another 15 to 25 minutes. Continue baking until the crust is deeply browned; aim for just short of burnt. It might feel a bit unnatural to bake loaves this fully, but this is where a lot of the flavour and texture of the crust comes in. 25. Cool the loaves completely: When done, lift the loaves out of the pots using a spatula. Transfer them to cooling racks to cool completely. Wait until they have cooled to room temperature before slicing.

Recipe Notes • Whole-wheat sourdough: You can replace up to half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat or whole-grain flour. • All-purpose vs. bread flour: Bread flour will give your bread a sturdier, chewier texture and a loaf that’s easier to slice. Loaves made with all-purpose flour will be a bit more delicate, especially when you cut them, but still work just fine. • If your loaf sticks to the proofing basket: This still happens to me all the time! It’s annoying, but not the end of your sourdough dreams. If some of the dough stays stuck to the lining of the proofing basket, try to gently disengage it or pinch it away with your fingers. Fold a pinch of dough over the tear and bake as usual. The crust will look a little rough where it was torn, but the bread will still taste delicious.

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ah! Spring 2018

The North Shore

Less is the new more Single task, disconnect and do less to get more out of life. BY DEELLE HINES


re you struggling to keep up with the endless demands of your busy lifestyle? Do you find yourself rushing to manage your commitments only to feel like there is so much left to be done? If you often get to the end of your day wishing for more hours and extra hands to juggle your workload, you are among the many who suffer from a busyness epidemic that is running rampant in our society. Wellness experts agree that this widespread and pervasive problem is affecting our mental, physical and emotional health. Being overly busy leads us to become overly stressed, and our bodies, minds and souls are being pushed to the limit to keep up with the go-go-go lifestyle we’ve tried so hard to become accustomed to. However, experts also agree on an unexpected solution to this common issue. While it may sound unlikely and feel counterintuitive to a person constantly on the hamster wheel of the go-go-go, it is well recognized that the most productive thing you can do for yourself is to slow down. As the saying goes “you must slow down if you want to speed up.” Sonya MacDonald is a registered psychologist in Pictou County. She

identified this busyness epidemic in many clients who have come to her over the years with symptoms like fatigue, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, heartburn, bowel disturbances, weight gain and feeling disconnected from others. She notes that her clients’ stress levels have far exceeded what is necessary to maintain good health, and admits that even she can struggle to maintain balance between the demands of a busy lifestyle and the benefits of slowing down. “I can speak from both personal and professional hats on this topic.” Sonya states. “The concept of ‘slowing down’ can be caught in the trap of ‘all or nothing’ thinking. A person could say, “I don’t have hours a week to slow down…. that takes time and I’m telling you I don’t have time.” So, the person waits for that perfect moment to start slowing down. And yes,

you guessed correct, it does not arrive. That’s because the perfect time does not exist.” Sonya believes that the best strategy is to make small changes throughout the day in order to slow the rat race pace without killing your much needed productivity. She kindly shared these tips and suggests that if we seize moments throughout our day to put them into practice, we will find ourselves to be more peaceful, happy and productive. BE PRESENT. It’s not enough to just slow down – you need to actually be mindful of whatever you’re doing at the moment. FOCUS ON PEOPLE. Too often we spend time with friends and family, or meet with colleagues, and we’re not really there with them. We talk to them, but are distracted by devices. We are there, but our minds are on things we need to do. DO LESS. It’s hard to slow down when you are trying to do a million things. Instead, make the conscious choice to do less. Focus on what’s really important, what really needs to be done, and let go of the rest. DISCONNECT. Don’t always be connected. If you carry around an iPhone or Blackberry or other mobile device, shut it off. Better yet, learn to leave it behind when possible.

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HEALTHY AT HOME SINGLE-TASK. The opposite of multitasking. Focus on one thing at a time. Breathe. When you find yourself speeding up and stressing out, pause, and take a deep breath. SAY NO. Saying yes can open you up to new possibilities, but saying no can give you a chance for me-time: an hour when you don’t have to keep any commitments or please anyone else, or a half-hour when you can just kick back and do absolutely nothing. Bella Cameron is a local nutritionist who spoke about the toll that our too busy lifestyle is taking on our diet and eating habits. “People eat for three reasons: comfort, joy, and sustenance,” says Belle who cautions that our go-go-go lifestyle is detracting from all of the benefits we are meant to reap from our food. Bella states that stress reduces our ability to break down and absorb the nutrients in our food because it interferes with the production of hydrochloric acid. “The lower your stress levels, the more nutrients you will absorb.” Overstress detracts from the sustenance we are meant to receive from our food. Bella explained that the slower you eat, the more time your body has to give you feedback. BELLA’S TIPS TO BRING COMFORT, JOY, AND SUSTENANCE BACK TO YOUR EATING HABITS. BE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR FOOD Admire how it looks and smells. Be thankful that you have food while so many in this world have to go without.

SIT DOWN AND TAKE A BREATH Pause between bites to savour the flavour. Be conscious and chew slowly. This helps with nutrient absorption and helps you enjoy every bite. EAT WITH COMMUNITY Nothing will add comfort and joy to your meal like good company and great conversation. CREATE TIME AND SPACE FOR EATING Eating on the go and rushing to eat detracts from your joy and adds to your stress levels. Make it a priority to enjoy your meals. PRETTY DISHES HELP TOO! Bella also highlights the benefits of slowing down to cook for yourself and your family. “Not only does cooking home meals tend to increase your nutrient content, it can be made into a relaxation ritual. Good tunes. Good conversation. It can be a creative outlet.” Dr. Amy Punke is a local naturopathic doctor who’s medical practice focuses on the healing power of nature, and body’s innate ability to restore and maintain health when it is supported and stimulated. She describes how our body reacts to stress with an elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure and tension of the muscles. Dr. Punke shines a light on why our system reacts this way when under pressure, stating “Your body is preparing physiologically for “fight” or “flight.” She further explains this innate reaction by reminding us that our prehistoric ancestors needed this stress response in order to flee from predators and survive in the harsh environments they were faced with. They would experience short bursts

of extreme stress, followed by long periods of recovery. Our brain has not evolved to differentiate the difference between the life and death stress that our ancestors experienced and the daily stresses we face in our world today. “The response is the same,” Dr. Punke asserts. “The body kicks into high gear, and we are under this “fight or flight” response on a regular basis.” Dr. Punke sees our chronic stress manifest in mood disorders, high blood pressure and heart disease, digestive issues as well as other illnesses and disorders. She explains that the stress hormone cortisol surprises our immune system, leaving the body more susceptible to sickness. “Ongoing stress often turns into distress,” she warns, “and can wreak havoc on the mind and body.” Luckily, Dr. Punke has some tips to curb and manage our stress and restore our mental and physical health. She suggests that to keep our bodies from jumping into “fight or flight” mode, we must practice the body’s opposite response, which is “rest, digest, and restore”. With so many local wellness experts advising a slower, more mindful way of being, it is hoped that those of us swept up in the go-go-go lifestyle begin to realize the benefits of making time for self care. The body innately responds to stress in some negative ways, but it also has infinite restorative powers and can overcome the pressure we put it under. With practice and awareness, you can model a the cure to the busyness epidemic and reap the benefits of a more balanced, relaxed and peaceful life.

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ah! Spring 2018

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Boho Nursery Wall Hanging Decorating for a new arrival is such a fun part of expecting a baby. But, truly, babies are babies for such a short time so you want to wall decor that will grow with them. This very simple, easy to make wall hanging is the perfect accent for the little Boho baby in your life.

SUPPLIES: Dowel or driftwood 2 to 3 skeins of yarn in coordinating colours Scissors Ruler Painters Tape Cord


Cut your lengths of yarn to the maximum length of the project, allowing a little extra for trimming.


Group your yarn into clusters of 3 to 7 threads, depending on the thickness, so they all have roughly the same bulk.


Starting in the center, create a loop with one cluster of yarn, going from back to front below your wood and flip the tail up over the wood and pull it through the loop, pulling it tight around the wood. And if this description doesn’t help, watch a YouTube video of how to tie a Larks Head Knot or Cow Hitch Knot.


Do this for the remainder of the clusters of yarn so that it is symmetrical.

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Lay the wall hanging on a flat surface and make sure the yarn is all laying flat. Measure down the outside of the wall hanging to the length you want the sides and measure the center to length. Using painters tape, tape the line from side to center and trim with sharp scissors, repeating on the other side.


Loop your cord around the ends of the dowel or driftwood and tie off, creating a loop from which to hang it. Feel free to add a little embellishment with some wooden beads or handmade tassels out of the some of the same yarn.


Hang the wall hanging in your nursery or gift it to a special little baby in your life.

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At Home Spring 2018  
At Home Spring 2018