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Showing posts from August, 2008

Through the mountains and back again

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We just returned from a week-long trip to Alberta for a family wedding. What a wonderful time of visiting, eating, laughing, eating, and more visiting and eating. The drive was long but oh, so pretty. I love the Rocky Mountains. My husband snapped a few photos while I was driving.

Our youngest daughter came with us and enjoyed visiting (and eating) with cousins she doesn't get to see very often. Here she pulls her cousin's daughter who reminds me so much of my eldest daughter.

My sister-in-law is a wonderful artist. She gave Ashley one of her paintings for graduation. She does beautiful watercolours of flowers and nature.
And then, yesterday we drove home again. We spent the night in Golden, BC since driving all the way from Red Deer to Victoria is a little much. I was so very tired when we arrived. We took turns driving again on the way home and I drove the way over the coastal mountains. Rain poured down and the road was wet and slippery. A semi-truck passed me at one point, an…

Peach Blackberry Jam

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Yum! I love opening a new jar of jam. The smell of summer rises and I remember the blackberry prickles and my fingers stained purple. Peaches, sweet and soft, are one of my favourite fruits. These jars, wrapped in 0ld music paper are destined for the Alberta relatives.

Summer's End

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Bits of dried delphiniums and rose petals, pebbles from the beach and red anniversary roses. Memories of a beautiful summer.

Queen Anne's Lace

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How can something so delicate and beautiful be called a weed?

Gather 'Round

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When I was very young I longed for adventure and excitement, and neglected the daily rituals of life that are more satisfying. Sharing a meal and conversation with people I love is one of life's greatest pleasures. As my children leave home, marry, and one day, have children, I think that I will always treasure times around the table. Good food, smiles, tears, laughter and the ability to look into each one's eyes are what makes mealtimes together so wonderful.

Mr. Handyman made this dining table of laurel wood 22 years ago. It seats 6-8 comfortably and has three extension leaves. We've crowded 17 people around the table, elbows bumping happily, for special occasions. It's traveled with us from the jungle to the Andes highlands, and now to Canada. To me, this table represents more than just a place to eat. It holds memories of birthday celebrations, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas dinners.

When we lived in the jungle, our main floor was the second story of our home. I …

Going Green

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I've never made an Artist Trading Card (ATC) before, although I've received a few. Recently I joined a Yahoo group (Christian Paper Artists) and decided to join an ATC swap. The cards had to include the colour green and to have something to do with the environment or recycling.

Scraps of green wallpaper, gift wrap, old photographs, and canceled postage stamps are what I used - recycled materials to create something new. And the words - verbs that describe ways to live well.

I didn't know how I would like the small size (just 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches) but I found it fun. The limits caused me to think a little more about placement of elements and just how much I wanted to include. These are simple and clean cut, but I can see myself making more in different styles.

Mr. Handyman

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My husband doesn't think of himself as creative. Yet he is - in so many ways. Oh, give him a paintbrush and some watercolours and he'd be lost, but give him a toy to fix, a cabinet that sticks, or a squeaky floor and he's in his element. He analyzes and comes up with solutions that are so simple and practical. He makes the physical underpinnings of our home work well.
And then he putters in his workshop and creates beautiful furniture. He created many pieces of our furniture while we lived in Ecuador. The mirror above was the last thing he made there and it hangs on our dining room wall.
Stereo cabinet, dining room table, dry sink, breakfast table, end tables, dressers, he has made many of the pieces in our home.

This armoire that hides our television set and provides storage for movies and photo albums below was his latest big project. I love it for the way it functions, more for the way it looks and most of all, I love it for what it represents to me - hours of calculating,…

Rainy Night

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Yesterday evening the sky darkened and rain fell. Cool breezes came in drifts through the window. What's better on a rainy evening than a cup of tea, some chocolate and an old friend - Victoria. I like to take out the old issues of the current month and peruse them. I'm so glad she's back and will add these to my collection. Victoria never goes out of style.

Inspiration Board

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Rebecca showed this great idea on her blog awhile ago. I finally got around to finishing mine. First, I couldn't find a great picture frame for a price I liked. I found this ultra-plain bulletin board and decided to work with what I had. Instead of wrapping the fabric around the back, I cut it to fit the board, sewed the buttons on, then glued the fabric to the bulletin board, applying glue around the edges and a dab at each button point.
I glued a bit of trim around the edges inside the frame to finish it off a bit better. Now it hangs above my sewing machine, just waiting for inspiration. It won't take long to fill it up with all kinds of pretty things. Right now there's a tag made by a friend and a glass bead piece made by Lilli.
More button detail and trim. I painted the frame with watered down acrylics to give a watery effect. I thought of this detail AFTER gluing on the fabric, so I was very careful with the paint application. When I find a great old frame, I'll ma…

Saturna Island

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We've been out on the boat again for a few days. My, it's beautiful out on the water. Yesterday, coming home, was a blueberry and whipped cream morning: blue, blue sky with wisps of airy, white, streaky clouds. I sat in the bow and just drank it all in, thanking God for his amazing creation.

On Monday, we ventured over to Saturna Island. Tim's guidebook highly recommended the food at a bistro run by the Saturna Island winery. We tied up to the dock at Lyall Harbour, from where the book said it was a "fair walk." We asked a local how far it was and were told, "a couple of miles." We like walking and do a lot of it, so we set off.

Well. Both the book and the local resident neglected to mention that the road took us waaaay up one side of the mountainous island and waaay down the other side. And a couple of miles turned into an hour of solid hiking. The road descending into the vineyards was the steepest I've ever seen - I'd be nervous of driving it. …

Rustic Plum Tart

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I'm loving all the fresh fruit available now. I tried making a fruit tart the other day and mmm, it was so good, and without the fuss of fitting the crust into a pie plate, covering it, crimping it and so on. This went together in a snap. I got this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine - the August/September 2005 issue.

Use your regular pie crust dough. I make mine with whole wheat flour - I like the nutty flavour, and it makes me feel like I'm maybe eating something healthy!

Roll the dough into a 14 inch circle. It's all right if the edges are a little ragged. Fold into quarters and lift carefully onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Unfold.

Prepare the filling:
4 cups fruit - I used plums and a few apricots. Slice them thinly, no need to peel.
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Toss everything together.

Heap the fruit in the center of the dough round. Then fold the edges of the dough over some of the fruit…

Blue Beauties

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One of my favourite flowers.

So soft

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Lamb's Ears in my garden. I love picking a leaf and stroking it along my cheek. Children love the soft texture. And it grows so easily. I clip off the flowers as I don't find them particularly attractive.

Unending flowers

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When we moved into our home six years ago, I planted cosmos. I love the feathery green and the bright pink flowers. They are so cheerful. Well, I've not had to purchase seeds since. Cosmos reseed themselves wonderfully. They come up nilly-willy in the vegetable patch, the flower beds, even the pots. I let them grow wherever, then transplant them to where I want them. So accommodating.

Stitching Bits and Pieces

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I've been inspired by the work of Rebecca Sower and have wanted to stitch a collage for some time. Sunday afternoon seemed just right. The house was quiet and cool. I gathered scraps, needle and thread, a few buttons and embellishments and had the most fun time. I wondered how to make the lettering on fabric - an old typewriter would work well, but I don't have one.
I had the brilliant (to me at least) idea to stamp letters on fabric using an archival stamp pad. Voila! I'm very pleased with the results.
I'm so thankful that God's love never changes - it's constant no matter how I feel. That thought ran through my mind as I stitched.

Day Tripping

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The morning sparkled with potential. Light danced across the water like thousands of diamonds. We headed out past Sidney Spit into Haro Strait.
Fighting currents for the last hour, we arrived in Roche Harbor. Only the captain is allowed to disembark until customs is cleared - here at this cute building on the marina.

Then off to explore. Readers of Victoria magazine will recognize this building featured in the May/June issue. Former President Theodore Roosevelt stayed here on two occasions.

All that fresh air made us hungry. We ate lunch here at the Madrona Grill. While there a film crew from the Food Network was filming. I heard someone ask for which show and something about Rachael's travels. We sat down just as the filming finished, so we won't be included. Great food - I had fish and chips - delicately battered cod with crispy shoestring potato fries and a wonderful coleslaw that included red peppers and cilantro.

This amazing dresser is painted and then decorated with buttons…

Out on the Water

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Today is a holiday Monday in Canada. Our province is celebrating its 150th birthday. Rather than face the crowds downtown at the free concert, Mr. Handyman and I are going sailing with some friends.
We'll be heading over to Roche Harbor in the San Juan Islands so I guess I'd better dig out my passport. I'll be sure to take some photos to share with you.

August Afternoon

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Nothing quenches my thirst like water. Cold and clear, I can feel its coolness trickle down my throat and into my tummy. We keep jugs in the fridge all the time, and unlike our American friends, we rarely serve ice with our water. On really hot days, yes, but it's the exception rather than the rule.

I love flavouring the water with herbs from my garden. I just pick a bunch and plop them into the pitcher. Over a day or so the water takes on the delicate taste of lemon balm or mint, even rosemary.

The piece of lace in the picture is one that my daughter brought back from Estonia. It's of knitted lace - not crocheted. Probably 24 inches long and oval-shaped, Ashley said the lady who sold her the piece said that she makes 3 or 4 of these in a day.

A Little Housekeeping

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I've been looking for a metal bucket in which to put my laundry soap. The biodegradable stuff I use comes in a rather flimsy bag, which is fine by me, but tends to spill all over. And I didn't want a plastic bucket. I found this one yesterday and it fits perfectly in the cupboard above the washer. I made a little label for it (well, a rather big label) using a graphic from Karen at the Graphics Fairy blog. I have a black and white printer but if you've got colour - well, the things you could do with all the beautiful graphics on her site...the mind boggles.

I made some sachets, not too strong. These are just squares of leftover fabrics. For the filling, I dried mint, rosemary, roses and lavender, then mixed them with flax seed to plump up the sachets. Tied in threes with some pretty ribbon and an old millinery flower, I think they'll make nice gifts.