Showing posts from July, 2008


I saw this interesting piece of art hanging in an outdoor gallery along a floating sidewalk in Genoa Bay - a small community on Vancouver Island. The artist had many more pieces there but I liked this one best. Made from old saw blades, the title is Tournesol - Sunflower in French. I like the rustiness of the blades against the rock background. This would be a great idea for some outside art.

Time for Change

The empty nest is a lonely place. Full-time mothering (which can include working outside the home) is a joy. Oh, I'm not whitewashing the frustration and the fatigue - the desire for time alone or just a good night's sleep. But, looking back over the almost 26 years that I've been a mother, it's been the best time of my life. I've loved cuddling babies, chasing squealing toddlers to sweep them up in my arms and kiss their chubby necks, spending long hours reading aloud, planning birthday parties, comforting hurts, and watching them grow into 3 lovely adults. Two girls and a boy we've raised. And now what?

Even through their university years I was busy enough at home - loving the moments when they came in from class in the middle of the day and wanted to chat over a cup of tea. I was so happy that I could be available at odd times whenever they felt like talking with Mom. And the women's ministry at church, the pursuit of writing to be published, occasional s…

Garden Dance

Hollyhocks and daisies dance to the wind. They bow and nod, retreat and advance. Summer in all its lushness is here - warm days filled with delight, wind with just a hint of sea scent, and everywhere, flowers dancing.


When I was 10 or 11, I asked my mom to teach me how to embroider. I read incessantly and often my heroines from long ago days sat and worked with needle and thread. Little Women, Eight Cousins, the Little House books, Anne of Green Gables - the characters in those books were my companions.

My mom gave me a piece of fabric - I wanted to make a hanky (again, the idea came from my books because we always used disposable tissue.) She had some transfers and helped me press the design onto the cloth, then showed me how to make the stem stitch, lazy daisies and french knots. I remember working on it downstairs in the cool basement during a hot summer.

When I found this little square in my sentimental trunk, I could see myself, bent over my stitching, and I felt the satisfaction I felt then at learning something new, the joy of creating.

When I was a young mom, I rarely sat down without something in my hands - cross stitch, crewel work, embroidery - but I lost that over the years. Now, I'm f…

Summer on a Plate

Lettuce and basil from my garden, local tomatoes and mozzarella cheese drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. One of my very favourite summer tastes. Mmm good.

Today is our wedding anniversary. 31 years - it doesn't seem possible! We were so young, with stars in our eyes. I'm so glad to be married to my best friend ever.

Raspberry Picking

Last week one day my daughters and I picked raspberries. Those soft red morsels are oh, so tasty. I like to freeze them in small containers for sprinkling onto cereal or eating with a bit of yogurt for breakfast. Being with my girls is always fun - there's never a lack of conversation.

Words to Ponder

Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 36:5

Cherry Season - Cherry Clafoutis

I do love cherries. The season is so short, which makes me eat all I can, while I can. My mom used to can cherries in sugar syrup when I was a child, but I never liked them that way - only fresh. So I was a little hesitant to try this recipe, since it involves cooking the cherries. But, oh my goodness - it's delicious. We had it for dessert last night and then I ate the rest for breakfast.

The recipe is from the Chez Panisse Cookbook, by Alice Waters. The sauce that goes with it makes the dessert, in my opinion. Sweet cherry flavour with a bit of sharp lemon in contrast. So very good.

Cherry Clafoutis
1 pound sweet cherries (preferably Bing), washed and pitted ( I used about 1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
pinch ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I substituted a splash of kirsch)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup cream
a pinch salt
powdered (confectioners') sugar


Stockholm Fountain

We're having such fun looking at the pictures from Ashley's trip. She said this was her favourite fountain - in Stockholm. Doesn't it just look like you could blow on it and all the wisps would fly into the air?
Do you remember sitting on damp grass in the warm sunshine, blowing on dandelions and making wishes? What did you wish for?

Sewing Love

Check out this great list of sewing blogs. I'm a new member on the list. There is a ton of inspiration and practical help on these blogs. I'm so grateful to Suze for compiling the list.

I love sewing. And I love this machine. Although it says Electrolux as the brand, it's really a Husqvarna (as sold in Canada) or a Viking (I think that's the US brand). Why Electrolux?
I bought the machine in Quito, Ecuador, in 1983. We were living in a little town on the edge of the Amazon jungle. One of my friends had just purchased an identical machine. I'd been looking to replace my first machine. The exchange rate at the time was in our favour and so my husband and I raced up to Quito (5 hours away), with our 14-month old daughter, bought the machine, at the Electrolux store, and raced back, all in the same day. Maybe racing isn't the right word - jolting, jouncing and jiggling are more apropos.
The salesman couldn't understand why I was in such a hurry. He wanted to show …

A bit of France on the West Coast

During our week on the boat, we anchored in Montague Harbour off Galiano Island. The island is long and narrow, with houses dotting the length of it. We took the dinghy ashore and wandered through the marina, which was just closing at 7:30 pm. Wanting to exercise a bit, we wandered up the road away from the harbour and watched the evening light filter through tall fir trees and lush ferns. About 5 minutes up the road we saw this sign.
"Oh, I remember reading about this place, " said Mr. Handyman. "A woman moved here from France a number of years ago and started a restaurant."
We ventured onto the property and there, tucked among the trees, we saw a wooden building with soft lights shining through the windows. The clink of silverware and glasses drifted on the air, and murmuring voices.
We walked in and saw a room full of small tables and happy diners. We'd already eaten dinner but made reservations for the following night.
What a treat. Each table was set with a vi…

Back Home again

She's back after her European Adventure! Here she is at dinner on the deck last night, showing off her amazing Estonian cap that's a hat and scarf all in one. A little warm for the weather, but cute. She had a wonderful time and I'm loving hearing about all her experiences.

We were away for a few days on our sailboat Journey. We explored a few of the Gulf Islands (just north of the San Juan Islands). They are the same group of islands, but some belong to Canada, others to the USA. They are all incredibly beautiful.
This photo shows an underwater sandy beach off Wallace Island. I just love the textures of rocks, trees, water, grass. We hiked, ate well, read, sat and enjoyed the sunshine and thoroughly relaxed. I spent a lot of time drinking in the beauty around me in huge, quenching gulps.

Perhaps there is a Big Foot! Doesn't this rock imprint look like a footprint? It's huge compared to ours.

From my Garden

One of my rose bushes (and I'm sorry I don't know the name) is just gorgeous. I'm clipping bouquets for the house and for friends. The fragrance is amazing. The bush itself is well over my head. I love looking down on it from my bedroom window.

The other night at dinner I looked at the creamy petals, soft and perfect, blushed with just a little pink and I longed for fabric of that texture and colour. I need to simply enjoy the roses for what they are, just the way God made them.

Friendly Flowers

"Daisies are the friendliest flowers." Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail." These look more like brown-eyed Susans than daisies, but they still look friendly. A page from my art journal.

Gifts from the Sea

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Flower Thoughts

My grandma's favourite flowers were pansies - the purple ones. She said they always reminded her of delicate faces.
As the summer warms up, the pansies go dormant. They are cool weather flowers. I still have some, blooming quietly under foliage. I have to peek down to look at them and am rewarded by the play of light and shadow, colour and form.

Happy Independence Day!

I hope all my American friends have a wonderful day celebrating all that is good about their country. Enjoy family, friends and freedom!

A Fun Bag

I've been sewing this week. A dress that fits me oddly (or maybe I fit the dress oddly), and this bag. Using fabrics from my stash, I puttered on it for an afternoon and an evening, in between making and eating dinner, watering the garden and the other things that call me away from sewing.

Here's the pattern I used. I like the way the handle works - it's one long circle connected to the bag through four loops. Pulling the handle also closes the bag. I used it yesterday while wandering used bookstores in Sidney (BC) with my eldest daughter. I made the medium size and it was spacious enough for an extra sweater, water bottle, the two books I bought, plus my regular purse paraphernalia.

For more great sewing projects check out Sew, Mama, Sew - Always a great source of information.

Happy Birthday, Canada

The flag whips in the wind behind our sailboat, Journey. I am proud to be Canadian. During the years we lived overseas, when I got homesick, I thought about the family I missed and the land I came from. And when we came for visits, my eyes pricked with tears when I saw the Canadian flags and the signs welcoming me to Canada. This is my earthly home and I am blessed.

We're spending the day at home - Mr. Handyman is installing an automatic sprinkler system. I'm finishing a dress and doing some cooking in preparation for next week's vacation. We'll grill a steak (marinating now), eat on the patio, and perhaps go downtown around 9:00 pm to watch the fireworks and enjoy the festive atmosphere.