Thursday, May 29, 2008


When I hike I like to stop and pick up bits and pieces, turning them over in my hand, wondering about their shapes and textures. I collected these treasures on Sunday afternoon, on Portland Island. A piece of slate, a seashell, mossy branches, seaglass and a bit of driftwood.
Sometimes I place them in a bowl or on a plate to admire, but this time, I stitched them to a piece of fabric and sewed on a stick for a hanger. Whenever I see it I remember the day and the warmth of sunshine washes over me.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

See that article title on the cover - the one that says, "Walk your way to a Stronger Marriage"? Well, that was written by yours truly. I'm thrilled to have an article published in this magazine.

Here's a link if you want to read the article on line instead of the print version.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cottage Charm Giveaway Update

Here are a couple more items I'm adding to the giveaway...

a sweet book bag with eyelet lace trim. The bag is lined in white and above the eyelet is some flowered ribbon. Just perfect for a trip to the library or the beach.

a cottagey quotation collaged and embellished. So much fun to place in a vignette on a side table, dresser or guest room nightstand.

If you haven't signed up yet for the Cottage Charm giveaway, here's the link to all of the sites with giveaways, and here's the link to mine. Just post, leaving an email address or blog where you can be contacted. The draw will be held Saturday, May 31, so you have a couple more days to enter. There are lots of pretty things out there.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 26, 2008

Portland Island escape


What a weekend! Two days of sailing around the beautiful Gulf Islands. Saturday we sailed with the other boat owners - two couples with whom we're good friends. We sailed over to Pender Island and ate lunch at Poet's Cove resort. Delicious and delightful.
Yesterday we took our youngest daughter and a friend to Portland Island, just a short sail, anchored in Princess Bay and hiked around the island. All the textures on the beaches are amazing. This is some dried sea plant lying on a rocky beach. There's beautiful slate on this island, I picked up one large piece that was as thin as cardstock.


Isn't this rock texture amazing?


The girls explored the intertidal pools and barnacled rocks. Just two weeks and these two are off on a 5-week European adventure. Is Mom nervous? No, not really, but they look so young.


The intrepid explorer viewing the land, aka The Handyman Husband.
Posted by Picasa

Island Praise


Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
you islands, and all who live in them.
Isaiah 42:10
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 23, 2008

Finishing Stuff

We painted the little social bathroom off the laundry room a couple of months ago. It's a very neutral sort of blah colour and I've been planning to do something with it for a long time. Well, I finally got around to it. I made these 3 collages and had a lot of fun. Each one has a quotation about a specific colour.

Here are some closeups of the quotations. I had a terrible time photographing in this small space.

This mirror was a wedding present. It's accompanied us to South America and back. I've always loved. But I thought the original brass colour was looking a little tired so I had Mr. Handyman spray it black. I might tone down the black with a little aged cream paint in the crevices.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lilac Time

I am thinking of the lilac-trees,
That shook their purple plumes,
And when the sash was open,
Shed fragrance through the room.
- Mrs. Anna S. Stephens, The Old Apple-Tree

Sweet, sweet lilacs.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cottage Charm Giveaway

I've been so inspired by bloggers and wish that I had something to give back. So I'm offering my first giveaway.

Kim at The Twice Remembered Cottage is hosting this lovely event. Visit her for a list of all the giveaway participants - there are some wonderful artists and generous people out there willing to share.

And don't forget to sign up here. I'll be adding a few more things to my giveaway package, but wanted to get started so here's what I'm offering so far
* a hand-embroidered crazy patch pillow to tuck on a bed, dresser, or chair
* a decorated bottle, great for a window sill or bathroom counter - tuck in a few flower stems or greenery
* a creamy Battenberg lace doily
* a tag with some trims for your own projects - bits of lace, ribbon and buttons

The winner will be drawn on May 31, so don't hesitate - sign up now. If you don't have a blog through which I can contact you, just leave an email address in the comment section.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kitchen Garden

Melissa at The Inspired Room did a post on kitchen gardens, inviting comments about our own gardens. I don't think I'm a very good gardener - there's so much to learn, but I do enjoy it. And I enjoy growing things that are not just pretty to look at, but delicious to eat. In our area, we don't plant too much outside until after the May long weekend - which happens to be today!

Herbs add so much flavour and I love trying new ones. Quite a few last over the winter here, so I have a rocky area where they can spread out and do their thing. Left to right in the collage there are
* oregano and rosemary
* my potting bench with lavender, petunias and in the long container, thyme, cilantro and oregano
* strawberries
* mint
* sage
* the pot of lavender again
* vinca (not a herb but I needed another photo in this set)
* lemon balm
* oregano again

Here's a view of our yard from an upstairs bedroom. You can see where we've been weeding - trying to get rid of a plant called "snow on the mountain." It's beautiful but ever so invasive - it's taking over everything. We're going to confine it to pots and set them here and there in the garden.
Trees are in short supply in our yard. We've been here 6 years and planted a hedge that's growing well and a few trees that are taking their sweet time in growing tall. Gardening certainly cultivates patience.

And just to the left of the prior photo are the raised beds. I have tomato and pepper plants in the first one, along with cucumbers and basil. Strawberries, spinach and rhubarb in the middle bed, and the last one has carrots, lettuce, peas (to climb the trellis) and blueberry bushes behind.
Oh, and to the very left is a row of raspberry canes and our delightful compost bins!

I spent part of Saturday and Sunday puttering (slaving) in the garden because the weather was incredible. And I have a doozy of a sunburn to show for it. My husband is scolding me for not putting on sunscreen. Today is much cooler and I'm glad I did the planting already. However, there's still weeding...

It's Victoria Day here in Canada - the day we celebrate the Queen's birthday. It generally marks the start of summer - we wait a long time for warm weather and from this weekend on, enjoy it to the full!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 16, 2008

Glorious Sunshine


Yes! It's finally here. It may not stay long, but I'm going to enjoy it while I can! Yesterday afternoon I worked in the yard, planting annuals, digging weeds and we even ate outside on the deck! Wonderful warm sunshine. And today the sky is blue, blue, blue. I'm heading outside!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 14, 2008



I've been needing some more art for my walls and have had fun doing some collage work. This is one of the pieces I finished recently. It will hang in our back entrance, a mud-cum-laundry room. I used old music sheets, dictionary pages, and a bird cut from an old book. Finding the embellishments was like a treasure hunt - an old earring in the gable, a key charm, a bit of ribbon and bird-themed postage stamps.


Detail of key and gable. I'm finding collage to be fun, but challenging too, in how to put everything together so it works well. I'm not one to over embellish, but sometimes I wonder if I should push myself to add just a little bit more.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bluebells and Cockleshells


Because of living overseas for many years, Mother's Day with my mother is a rare occurrence. So yesterday we left home at 7:30 am, caught the 9 am ferry and arrived at my sister's house around noon.
It was a wonderful surprise for my mom, whom I love so much. She is the one who has had an enormous influence in my life - her homemaking skills are beyond excellent, creativity abounds in everything she does, and she's a godly woman who prays faithfully for all of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At 71, she's one of my inspirations.

After we got home around 8:30, my husband and I took a walk and I found these sweet bluebells growing beside a path. They are everywhere these days, nodding delicately on their stems. I plunked them into a jar and set them on the windowsill beside a bunch of herbs from our yard. They looked so pretty, I snapped a few pics.


So tiny and perfect. Do you remember jumping rope to "Bluebells and Cockleshells, eevy, ivy over?" It seems like a long time ago - do children still jump rope to those rhymes?
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 09, 2008

Dinner Party Tonight

Spending an evening with friends is always a delight. We love having dinner parties. Now that our children are mostly on their own, it's strictly an adult affair that lingers long into the night. We start out with appetizers while standing around the kitchen table and countertop while I finish last minute preparations.

Then we move to the table. Tonight I'm planning a French-style dinner. I love trying new recipes and then decorating the table accordingly. I've grouped a cast iron Eiffel Tower with a sandwich-style menu board, some candles and I may add a rose in a silver bud vase.

Making the menu board was easy. I had my husband cut 2 pieces of thin wood (5 x 7 inches). I hinged them in the middle with a piece of cardboard (4 1/2 x 3 inches) that I scored in the middle for a hinge. I glued the cardboard to the back with white carpenter's glue, placed a book on top to make sure it all dried flat, then painted it all with chalkboard paint. The boards stand well on a tablecloth, but for a smooth surface I think I'll glue some ribbon on the inside to prevent the two sides from splaying out.

I tied a little bit of black and white polkadotted ribbon around the pillar candles for a bit of pattern. Tied in a simple knot instead of a ribbon makes them "not too sweet."

I have votives set around the room. I resized a photo of the Eiffel Tower and printed a bunch of them on patterned vellum, then wrapped the vellum around the votive holder.

For place cards, I'm using brushed-silver toned picture frames found at the dollar store. Pale pink parchment with handwritten names is easy to do.

And here's the place setting. Pale pink tablecloth, black napkins, creamy white china and sparkling crystal. I love a pretty table!

Oh, the menu...

Cheese crackers, shrimp and sundried tomato pesto on cucumber slices (appetizers in the kitchen)
Asparagus in a light vinaigrette (1st course)

Cold Avocado Soup

Roasted Chicken with Thyme and Dijon mustard
Julienne of Carrots, Zucchini and Leeks
Potato Gratin

Green Salad (with cheese)

Apple Purses with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A few days in the mountains

My husband attended a business conference in Whistler, BC, near Vancouver. Whistler is a ski resort town and will be hosting some of the 2010 Olympic events. I went along and enjoyed relaxing and sightseeing while Husband attended the conference. What a life!


View from our hotel window - what a sight to wake up to!


Where does the path lead? There's always something interesting around the corner, in hiking as well as in life.


Many of the buildings are faced with stone - I love the texture and patterns.


During one of my walks in the woods, I noticed this tree root - to me it resembled a forest monster, rearing up to defend its territory.

Spring has been very late in coming this year. Patches of snow lingered in the shady woods. The forest is not silent in spring - birds sang with lusty vigour and everywhere gurgles of water added their accompaniment - tiny rivulets, gushing streams and small waterfalls.

I took a walk around Lost Lake, trudging on top of packed snow at times. Mountains, water and forest combined to fill my eyes and restore my soul. I catch a glimpse of God's glory in his creation and it is wonderful.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Little Break


Enjoy the scenery...I'll be back Wednesday!
Posted by Picasa


Angela over at Cottage Magpie is hosting a Color Challenge featuring...Yellow! It's such a cheerful colour when done correctly and so awful when wrong. Of course, what's "right" and what's "wrong" is entirely subjective! But I'm fussy about yellow. There are bits of it around my house...

outside in the garden - a few primulas not looking so great.

Fabrics in my stash. The plain fabric is a lovely raw silk that my brother brought me from Thailand. I used a wee piece in a pillow, but I don't know what to do with the rest of it. Maybe a table runner? I love the feel and sheen of it. Some fabrics are just meant to stroke and sit prettily on the stash pile, adding enormous cachet to the cottons and linens.

A watercolour done by my talented sister-in-law. It's hanging in our kitchen/family room that has buttery yellow walls. So cheery in the dank days of winter rain we get.

And pineapple! Yummy, especially when piled onto a plate with a fudgy brownie pie, ice cream, chocolate sauce and strawberries.
Posted by Picasa

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 ...