Friday, February 26, 2010

Spring Colour!

While the more eastern areas of the continent are being pounded by yet another snowstorm, here spring seems to have arrived. Crocuses smile a cheery greeting and primroses flourish. Last weekend we spent a few hours in the afternoon tidying up the yard.

I'm posting these spring-filled photos with the hope that those who are being inundated with snow will take heart - spring will come!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Artistry on Ice

photo from CBC

Did you watch the ice dancing competition last night? Beautiful, romantic, fun, inspiring - all these adjectives apply to the skaters' performances. One of the top 10, a French skater, I believe, had a baby four months ago. I can't imagine the training and work to be able to skate like that so soon after giving birth.

The American silver medalists danced to the music from the Phantom of the Opera and set the bar high for those to follow. Like other Canadians I was thrilled when Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the gold. Their choice of Mahler's music had me wondering if their dance could hold the excitement of the crowd like the American team had. But it did. Fluidly, confidently and with romance, they skated their hearts out. Tears wet my face by the time they were done.

We Canadians love our land deeply but don't always display it openly. These Olympics have been an opportunity for Canadian patriotism to come out of hiding. During the medal ceremony, Virtue and Moir sang our national anthem with a contagious joy and exuberance. I'm still smiling this morning.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Magazines français!

Last week I checked my "boîte aux lettres" and there was a package from France! So exciting. But wait. The return address showed it was not from the partner I had been assigned in the magazine swap organized by Floss. No, it was from Carole, a blogger with whom I've had some cross-Atlantic exchanges. I thought I had made a terrible mistake and sent MY magazine to Floss instead of to Carole.

Opening the package relieved my anxiety. Carole had sent it as a surprise! How lovely! Here's a peek inside...
The greens are so fresh and pretty - just what I'm craving this time of year. And how brilliant to coordinate the pillar candles with the filler - coffee beans in one, red lentils in the other.


I love all the layers in this living room - the matélesse spread on the couch, the pillows, the books piled on the coffee table, architectural element on the wall, flowers and plants. And the couch is just about the same colour as my own. Doesn't this room look welcoming and cozy?

Thank you, Carole!

But wait, there's more! Yesterday, Floss' magazine arrived!


More delight! Isn't the woodpile behind the table a great background? Makes me want to go outside and take a few photos of my own woodpile. Or set a pretty table there. Or maybe not. It's sunny, but still too cold.


Isn't that row of glassware just the prettiest thing? And again, I'm admiring all the green.


I really like the grey wall in the kitchen. And since I'm going to be moving soon, and repainting will be involved at some point, I'm taking a close look at wall colours. In this spread there's so much to admire - the pots of rosemary, the single rose on the napkin, the coffee pot collection on the table. 

Thank you, Floss!

Be sure to visit both these blogs - these ladies live in France - Carole is French and Floss is British. Creative living is what they do! Their blogs are full of joie de vivre!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Abundance

 
As in years past around the end of December I begin pondering a word for the next year. Last year, it was "new."  Well, new certainly typified last year's experiences - but not in a way I had ever dreamed or wanted. Unemployment was not fun - but it was new. And I learned new ways of coping with difficulties.

When it came time for this year's word, I thought maybe it would be something like "healing" or "grace" or "persevere". But no, the word that kept coming to me as I prayed and read my Bible was "abundance." No way, I thought. But then I started considering the things in my life that I had in abundance. There are a lot of them:

love
family
God's presence
beauty
faith
friends
creativity
hope

And so, I made my collage and focused on what was abundant here and now. I'm so glad I did. Just because my husband now has a job and the future looks brighter does not lessen any of the abundance I already had. The verse quoted on my collage is "You have brought me to a place of abundance." God brought me to a realization that I already had all the abundance I needed BEFORE he provided Tim with a job.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Overwhelmed and Utterly Grateful


This is the view from the front yard of our new house. Yep, we made one trip to Parksville, looked at 7 houses, decided on the last one, made an offer, went back and forth on the price a bit, and finally everyone agreed. Moving date is March 25. This is all very exciting and fast! The house is a project - it has very good bones but needs some work (like replacing emerald green carpet.....). All will be done in time, but not before moving in.

In the meantime, I am overwhelmed with my studies. I had hoped to finish 3 courses by the end of March, but it's not likely to happen. My head just won't stay focused on French debate techniques or medieval history or French partitive articles. I don't know why (ha!). So I'm just going to keep working, and hope to finish the two French courses. Even that is optimistic.

So I probably won't be around here too much. Although I do enjoy a little downtime in Bloggerville in the evenings so saying I won't be around might not mean very much at all.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Signs of Spring

We spent the weekend at a friend's cabin overlooking a meadow with a small lake. Although we didn't spend as much time there as we had hoped, due to house hunting, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Friday and Saturday were dismally wet and dreary. Sunday, however, sparkled with light. We took a rather squelchy walk around the property, up into the woods, along the marshy shore. Although the grasses are still brown and the trees bare, tiny signs of spring abound.

Swelling buds on bushes, croaking spring peepers, and the warmth of the sun all point the way to the changing season. Hurrah for spring!
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Valentine Tradition and News

My first year of college my mom sent a package with her wonderful sugar cookies, heart-shaped and iced in pink. She does a lovely job of icing cookies - much better than I do.

Heart-shaped sugar cookies are a tradition around here, or chocolate cupcakes with white icing and sprinkled with cinnamon red hots. This year, it was cookies. I use my mom's recipe and it always turns out. The cookie dough is just as good as the baked cookies.

We're going away for the weekend, so I passed the cookies out to our children today - except for one package that I'll drop off at our youngest daughter's house tomorrow.

And I have some WONDERFUL news. My husband, who has been out of work since last May (and started a home renovation business in the meantime) has been offered, and accepted a job back in his field. He is excited about the possibilities, and I'm happy for him.

The only downside is that we will be moving two hours north of Victoria. This will be the first move without any of our children. But they will come to visit and I'm thankful that we won't have a ferry ride between us. My head has been whirling with everything that needs doing all of a sudden. I would like to finish these three courses I'm working on before we move, but that will be around the first of April so I'm really going to have study hard. Then there's the packing. I've begun and have four boxes done.

This weekend was planned as a getaway to a friend's cabin. It's an hour north of us, one hour south of where we'll be living, so on Saturday we're going house hunting. We met with a realtor last week and have a list of 7 homes to visit.

We are thankful to God for his grace and faithfulness during these past months. They have been extremely difficult at times. It's a good feeling to be looking ahead with something a little more concrete.
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Sunday, February 07, 2010

A Walk on the Beach

Do you like walking on the beach? We do. Come along with us.
This is French Beach, not long, but oh, so pretty. It's a little ways out of town so we don't get here very often. But my husband had to look at a job out in Sooke, so we decided to go a little further and walk here.

See that big hunk of rock on the right of the picture - not the small one all by itself, but the craggy pile that looks like it's connected to the land. It's not. We clambered over rocks big and small and perched on top to eat our lunch and drink our thermos tea. It's an experience that can hardly be improved upon. Well, I do wish I had sat on the foam mat my husband always has in his pack because the rock was a little cool and damp on my behind. But the view made me forget about that little convenience.

Here's the view back from the rocks towards the beach. Clinging to the rocks were all kinds of barnacles and mussels. The mussels made me long to cook a bouillabaisse or perhaps paella. But this is a park, so we left all the mussels happily holding onto their rocky perches.

I used my underwater macro setting to take pictures of sea life in tidal pools. I thought it was a silly setting on my camera because I knew the camera wasn't waterproof, so why have an underwater setting? But it's for taking pictures THROUGH the water, not in the water. I guess I should have read the instruction book.
Amazing critters live in the water.

 
Here's a close up. Look at those colours. And if these creatures are disturbed, say, by a gentle prodding, they close up tightly, and all of those lovely fronds and petals are tucked inside.
The artistry of the water is amazing. Delicate traceries on the sand look like meticulous brushwork by a fine artist. Doesn't it look like waving ferns or kelp? The rocks are in the picture to provide a little context.

 
Oh look, someone else was drawing on the sand. I wonder who that could have been....
More underwater pictures. Tidal pools full of swaying grass, bits of coral (I think), and tiny, intricate shells. An amazing world contained in a gallon of sea water captured in a rocky depression.

One last parting glimpse of French Beach. Although it was around 2:00 in the afternoon, the light was soft and diffused, casting a silvery net over the water and sand. In the distance, a cargo ship makes its way through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and beyond, the Olympic Mountains of Washington poke up through the clouds.

Home again. Refreshed. As my husband says, "Being outdoors is good for the soul."

Friday, February 05, 2010

Hearts and Words


(The love we give away is the only love we keep." (Elie Wiesel)

For more heartfelt words check out the links on Rebecca Sower's blog. 
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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Valentine Swap Goodies

Today I came home from school (I'm subbing for a week) to find not just one, but TWO packages waiting for me. This first one is from Nerina. The aqua accents really pop against the red.
Trims, paper and mirror hearts, buttons - all kinds of crafty goodness! And the crocheted flowers are sweetly beaded and oh, so pretty. The picture hardly does them justice. Thank you, Nerina.
The next box is from Lynne Laura from A Romantic Nest. She also included a soft and sweet crocheted flower. It makes me want to dig out some yarn and crochet up a bunch.
Lynne Laura used a soft green to accent her goodies - the leaf and the wooden spool of thread make me think of spring. Tickets, tiny Valentines, beads and ribbon are sure to end up in a craft project soon. Thank you, Lynne Laura.


And a big thank you to Heather at Speckled Egg for hosting the swap. The matchboxes were fun to fill and easy to mail.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Stitched with love


Evening projects - something sweet and simple. These will be soon mailed to my Pay It Forward visitors. I'm very behind in getting them off.
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Happenings Around Here

Not quite two weeks ago there was a baby shower. The mother-to-be is our youngest daughter. Her elder sister and sister-in-law and I ho...