Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Victorian Pastels


When I was younger (teens through thirties) I thought of myself as one of those "gentle, pastel-clad, always elegant" Victorian women. I dressed in pastel colors, had longish hair and dreamed of alabaster skin. Well, I discovered that wasn't me.
While I continue to strive for elegance and grace, I've learned that I can do that while still being myself - crazy as a loon at times, ready for adventure, with short hair.

My youngest daughter feels much the same as I do. We laugh over our idealization of the wispy floaty pale dresses that continue to appeal to us although we dress in definite colors. But monochromatic palettes still appeal. This morning I came downstairs to find this oh, so lovely paper rose in a silver vase on the breakfast table. Made by my daughter, the card accompanying it said, "soft, victorian pastels - sigh. Have a Happy Birthday, Mom." And we laughed together.

It's my birthday today and I'm blessed with a wonderful family. My official party will be on Saturday, together with my eldest daughter who also celebrates this week. But today is THE day. My husband is taking me out for a casual dinner this evening. My mother called (we don't live in the same town) and I opened her gift to me - a lovely crystal cream and sugar set.

I have a few hours to myself today, before heading off to teach. What will I do? I can't decide between sewing something fun or wandering through a used bookstore. I may just head down and see if I can find the new Victoria magazine on the newsstand. It's supposed to be out today. I signed up for a subscription, but was informed that I won't be getting the first issue.

A day filled with potential!
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Sunday, October 28, 2007

One of the best days


On Friday night my husband and youngest daughter and I watched "A Good Year." It's not a great movie but the scenery took me back to June. My husband and I had a wonderful time visiting Paris, Provence and Spain. In Provence, we stayed in Avignon. One day we rented a motor-scooter. I was VERY nervous at first, envisioning my skin scraping along the pavement if we fell. With only the most rudimentary map, we zoomed our way to the Pont du Gard. I was in awe. As a lover of history, I wondered if perhaps some of the Roman soldiers who were in Palestine during the time of Christ and the early church might have tramped along the bridge.

The day was hot and sunny. Tim and I had brought along our swimming suits. Changing in the bushes was a prickly experience and the rocky river bottom hard on my feet. But how cool and refreshing the water felt. As I floated on my back and gazed at the bridge I was sure the men who had built with stones had done the very same thing.

Later that day we drove along small country roads. Warm air scented with olive trees, vineyards, sunflowers and rosemary rushed against my face, filling my senses with the sights, smells and sounds of this small part of the world.

Now, with winter descending in grey skies and cooling air, I know that summer is gone but the memories will remain.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Corners of my Home


I love the main bathroom. My daughter found some prints of elegant ladies and we took our cue from them to create a "French-themed" bathroom. The shower curtain is like a page from a French newspaper, in black and various beiges. I found the silver tray at a Salvation Army store and like the look it creates - corraling all the bits and pieces of the bathroom counter.


I accented the room with red towels, candles and a few other accessories.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Christmas time's a'coming


My partner for the Christmas swap, Andi wants to see more of my home. I realized that I haven't taken many pictures that feature my home or decorating efforts. I'm trying to do more of that, inspired by the lovely photos I see in so many blogs. I love decorating and creating vignettes throughout my home. I just never thought to take photos!
On the doorknobs of our rooms I hang these crazy quilted hearts that I made years ago. I don't really decorate the bedrooms, but like to have a small touch of Christmas upstairs to complement the downstairs.

This was last year's tree. I'm hoping to add more white to it this year. I like simplicity, but not minimalism, if that makes any sense. I don't like clutter. I love seeing the branches of the tree. To me, the tree is a large part of the atmosphere and I don't want to use it just as an ornament stand. We always have a "real" tree. The scent wafts through the house.

I do something different every year for the dinner table. Last year I went with a red and white theme (obviously). I cut paper snowflakes from vellum and laid them over a red table runner. I wish I had added some greenery to the candle tray in the middle of the table. I haven't really thought about what I'll do this year.

Hope this helps a little, Andi. I'll post more photos of my home in the next few days.
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Monday, October 22, 2007



I sometimes wish there were more signposts like this in life. It would make things so much easier if I knew that if I chose one direction, I'd end up at exactly the right destination. But choosing just one path means I'll miss the others. And how do I know which one I should choose?

I pray and trust God to guide me in my decisions, and I know that he does. But sometimes the confirmation that what I've chosen is the right path comes long after the decision - when I'm well down the trail. And I trudge on...
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Beautiful Scandinavia

I wish I could read Danish (I was wrong, it's Swedish). At least, I think that's the language of this blog. The photos are luscious. Here's a link to Min Lilla Veranda Do you think it might mean My Little Porch(or Veranda). I'm just guessing here.

I love the serenity of Scandinavian design and all the white used. I have a Finnish friend whose home is filled with light - she says it's because of the long dark winters.

Monday, October 15, 2007

So Many Ideas

I found this book in our library. It has great ideas for adding personality to a home. I can only read a little bit at a time because I want to jump up and rearrange something.

An Afternoon Stroll


First to the bog near our home to watch the ducks barely disturb the surface of the pond,

then along the trail where roses once bloomed. Now fat rose hips recline along the fence.

From the bog to the library, then home again for a cup of peppermint tea, haunting music, candles flickering, and more papers to grade.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Moments of Calm


My days have been full to exhaustion. I took on a short term teaching position - two classes of grade 8 French - for a teacher who is out on surgery leave. I'll be teaching until the end of January. I love it, but adding another job to my already busy life has proven, uh, challenging. I'm learning that there are some things that can be let go. That's hard for my tendency is to perfection. And I'm learning to savour small moments of calm - like taking a few minutes to sit in my peaceful living room watching a flickering candle.

In the midst of busy days, I'm learning more about David's reminder in the Psalms, "Be still and know that I am God."
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Monday, October 08, 2007

So Thankful


This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. We had our turkey dinner yesterday. I love having my family all together. A university student whose home is on an island at the other end of the country joined us. It was a mellow evening, full of interesting conversation, comforting food and a small bit of drama.

While cleaning off the turkey carcass, before dessert, the knife slipped and I gashed my finger badly. Ooh, it hurt. I ran it under the water while my husband and daughters scrambled for towels and bandaids. Husband decided that it just might need stitches, so off to the family clinic we went. As it turned out stitches were not needed, but I had a tetanus shot. And came home to a clean kitchen and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
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Friday, October 05, 2007

Wide Open Spaces


My husband and I were in Alberta last weekend. Red Deer, to be specific. I loved the broad expanses of sky and land, the dry, crisp air and the golden trees.

I attended a writer's conference and then we spent time with family. Walks through falling leaves, watching ducks swim, eating a yummy Alberta beef dinner. It was all good.
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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Birthday Season


September begins what we call "birthday season." Our three children were born in the autumn, along with me. And our daughter-in-law and son-in-law were also born during this time. My husband has his birthday off in the spring.

The last birthday celebration was a couple of weeks ago. We had planned a hot dog roast on the beach, but blustery wet weather forced a change of plans. Instead we roasted hot dogs in our fireplace in the living room. A quilt spread on the floor acted as sand and I had a pile of driftwood on the hearth for effect.

I was inspired to give these small bags as take-home treats (even though everyone is an adult, don't we all love take-home party bags?) A few tea bags, some chocolate and a pretty tag.
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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 ...