Monday, April 30, 2007

Back to Bliss

Yes! Victoria is being re-launched! I have a collection of Victoria magazines that I refer to again and again. Someone asked me once why this particular magazine held such appeal for me. I liked to think of it as a "thinking woman's magazine." Home decor, cooking, fashion, beauty, travel, handiwork and much more were covered from a thoughtful perspective - one that didn't urge the reader to rush out and purchase more, more, more.

Victoria was a treasure to me in the years I lived in South America. During a quiet afternoon, the house more or less tidy, the rain dripping off the eaves, I would sit in my tree-shaded living room in the Amazon rainforest with a cup of tea and Victoria. It was beauty and relaxation. And after a time with Victoria I was inspired to create beauty - through a meal for my family, a flower arrangement, making a pretty gift, or just tweaking the objects on the piano.

I was also inspired to read - Catherine Calvert, Madeleine L'Engle, Francine Prose, Nancy Mitford and others were featured in the magazine. I traveled in my mind to England, France, Italy, Turkey and even to Vancouver Island, never imagining that I would one day live here.

It's both exciting and frightening to think about Victoria's re-launch. Exciting to contemplate the return of something familiar, yet frightening because I know that it can never be the same. We live in a different world. It can't be the same, but maybe, just maybe, it could be better.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Where Inspiration is Found

There's a little street downtown called Trounce Alley. Closed to all but foot traffic and just one block long, it's full of charming shops. My favourite place, full of inspiration, is The Button and Needlework Boutique.

Just to enter the store is lovely. Classical music, friendly store clerks and oodles of threads, buttons, books and patterns. Ribbons, too. I have to really discipline myself here.

I only discovered the store because my daughter works there parttime. She has become very aware of buttons. I bought a cream sweater a few months ago that had three large buttons on the front. When Ashley saw it, she said, "Mom, those buttons have to go. I'll bring you some from the store." And she did - beautiful shell buttons that make the sweater look lovely.

If you're ever in Victoria, stop into the shop. You'll be inspired to create something!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Susan Branch Interview

I've long been an admirer of Susan Branch. I love her handwritten books and playful drawings. Recently Cherry, from another blog I read regularly, initiated questions from readers to Susan Branch and posted the answers on her site. Susan was very generous and warm in her responses - there's a lot of material there so grab a cup of tea and maybe a cookie to enjoy while you read.

Living Alongside Medieval History

  Several people have asked why we chose Leiden for our visit to the Netherlands. We've found it's easy to stay in the large cities ...