Showing posts from March, 2010


The sun is shining gloriously after a cold, wet week. Venturing out into our new yard with my camera, I set out to see what I could find. Lots of treasures awaited me. My younger daughter told me that she had placed my Japanese fishing ball somewhere in the garden for me to find. Here it is, nestled among the green, looking quite at home.

Daffodils nod their heads in the front yard. No tulips, though - the deer love them and we have plenty of deer here. I came home from shopping on Monday to discover two of them lunching in the front yard.

This clematis has wound its way to the rooftops - it has to be cut way back according to the house maintenance man, aka husband. And hidden behind all that growth is a lovely stone water fall feature with a small pond at the bottom. It's going to be fun fixing that up.

A lovely pair of stone birds - herons, cranes? nestle under a tree. I'm looking forward to featuring them in some small garden vignette.

And indoors, cinnamon bun dough is rising …

Settling In

Friday was move-in day, and the process continued throughout the weekend. Our children all came up to help out. We couldn't have accomplished what we did without them. By Friday night the living room was set up and turned out to be a great place to crash when exhaustion took over. On Saturday afternoon while I snoozed on the loveseat the boys organized the boxes, separating books from crafts from fabric, etc. My husband's comment, "You sure have a lot of fabric."

We tend to purchase houses that need some work done on them so we can add sweat equity. This one is no exception. And we do the work gradually. The green carpet you see will be going. Wood floors are planned, but first we have a wall to remove in the kitchen and an island built. Also some work on the staircase. I'll try to take before photos and post the progress as we go along.

First off....changing some paint colours. This is the current kitchen colour - not my taste at all. Nor the countertop. And the…

Thoughts on Moving

It doesn't take very long to go from this...

to THIS....

We're in the home run stretch of this move. The movers come on Thursday afternoon to load everything up and will deliver it Friday morning in Parksville. We'll spend the night at our daughter's home.

Over the past several weeks this place where we live has been transformed from a home into a house, a mere shell of the life it once held. Grief and loss are represented in the packing up of treasures of memories. A sense of forlornness fills the rooms. Pictures removed from walls leave blank spaces that are echoed in my thoughts of our immediate future.

This house, our home, has seen enormous joy and enough heartache to make the joy brighter. One high school graduation, three university graduations, two weddings, innumerable raucous family dinners, overnight guests from near and far who have shared pieces of our lives, game nights by the fire, great cooking, dreams, sorrow, and tear-inducing laughter.

This move is o…
Squashing any tendrils of guilt over abandoning both my riveting studies and a house burgeoning with boxes for the move, I talked my eldest daughter, on spring break into accompanying me on a little cruise. We caught the 9 am ferry to Vancouver for a day away. I will mention that she is a high school teacher, not a student, because she is often taken for a student. She is good about saying, "no, I'm not a student, but she (pointing to me) is." And the person behind the desk looks very confused and hardly knows what to say because no one ever assumes that I'm a student.

This was our goal - visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery to see the Da Vinci display. We bused from the ferry to the newly opened Canada Line, then zoomed down to the city center, feeling quite cosmopolitan. Although the line ups that existed during the Winter Olympics had dissipated, there were crowds of people enjoying the Paralympics. A very short line into the art gallery soon had us standing in awe …

Still Stitching

Time - to stitch, to dream, to breathe. In the midst of my busy life I remind myself to pay attention to the moments. My life is topsy turvy these days - piles of boxes pile up in every room, the fridge and pantry look more and more empty, the detritus of life lies in piles to recycle, to discard, or to donate.

A bit of lavender came to mind, delicate buds on green stems. I haven't stitched now for a couple of days, but I'm making a date with myself tonight to settle in on the couch with my needle and thread.

A Little Bit More Every Day

The grasses surrounding the bog remain sere and brown, but there in the distance, the faintest suggestion of green tinges the tops of the bushes. Canada Geese in V-formation fly overhead, headed north once again. Blue waters ripple under the whisper of the raw spring breezes. "It's coming," they say.
Heather glows full and pink in manicured yards - cutting the lawns is already happening.

Hellebores nod their pretty heads in the cool air.

And a cheery robin hops across the lawn, hoping for an unsuspecting worm or bug to cross his path. Yes, it's almost spring, in spite of the snowfall yesterday.

And today, in North America, at least, don't forget to "Spring Forward" one hour tonight.

More French Details

I had such fun with yesterday's post on details in Paris and Versailles Palace that I decided to do another one - details at the Petit Trianon. My family laughs at my interest in Versailles. I told them once that if I lived in France I'd have a season's pass to Versailles. For some reason that caused uproars of laughter. I don't care. So I have a few quirks.
This window is in the gatehouse at the entrance to the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's retreat from the formal life of court at Versailles. I think it charming.

Blue and white is my favourite colour combination and this room, painted blue with white details and furnished with blue upholstery is gorgeous. Not everything is white - the parquet floor and wooden furniture pieces provide a nice balance to what could be overwhelmingly matchy matchy.

I think this red ribbon bow accenting the chandelier adds a touch of whimsy to the room. The ribbon matches the red upholstery in this room, the dining room, if I remem…

Stitch, stitch, stitch

I've decided to stop packing for a week or so or else I'm going to be living in a maze of boxes. The closets are pretty much cleaned out, crafting/sewing supplies are in boxes, bookshelves are empty, all the offseason clothes are packed away and the china cabinet is bare. The pictures are still on the walls, but there's time yet.

So...I'm studying like crazy and stitching when I have a few minutes in the evening.

A bouquet of flowers, a number "3", and some sort of viney-snowdrop-ish square that might get ripped out.

A simple singing bluebird.

And what I've accomplished so far. I'm not following Amy's directions to do the squares one after the other in orderly fashion. I've always been a bit scattered that way. I like the idea of a square here and another one there, and then filling in the gaps. Some squares are outlined already - if I had thread leftover I decided to use it rather than wind it back onto the bobbin for later.

I'm thinking a…

French Details

I wrote another final exam today. Another course to tick off the list. This one was Pratique Orale Thematique - an Oral French course. It involved a lot of speaking of French, which I was happy to do. I can now converse on such matters as traffic problems, environmentalism, prison systems, raising children and other esoteric topics. To celebrate, I came home and looked through my photos of France. Details are what struck me today.

This French street sign in Paris is so pretty. The little curve at the top, the neatly placed nails/screw/rivets on the corners, the blue bordered by green with white writing - doesn't it just look like Paris?

Shiny black painted iron work has always attracted me. It's sturdy yet graceful. Curvey stonework, pink geraniums, tall windows and white limestone buildings - ooh la la!

More details. I went walking early one morning, hoping to get into the Luxembourg Gardens. Alas, they were not yet opened (it was quite early - jet lag had me up loooong before …

Stitching Along....

Three pretty mother of pearl buttons made for a simple square.

This square was inspired by the sunny days we've been having, but it didn't quite turn out the way I'd hoped. And what's with the wonky jog in the bottom right corner? But I decided to leave it. In the grand scheme of things, it might prove charming. Here's hoping.

And one little tulip-inspired flower. I spent some time today thinking about future squares, what I want to include, etc. I came up with some ideas I'm eager to try out. Some new stitches, too.


Although a bit cool today, the sun shone brightly and the temperature was perfect for a little gardening. But first, I wandered around, looking at what was sprouting or blooming. I've been watching these hyacinths from the kitchen window. They are even prettier close up. And so sweetly fragrant. One of my springtime favourites.

This winter has been so exceptionally mild that I've had a constant supply of chives and parsley. This clump looks like it needs a haircut!

Lovely vinca with irises peeking out in the background.

And the raised beds are cleaned out, ready for planting or amending. I won't be doing that this year, since we're moving. But perhaps the renters will want to grow something. I know that my daughter, who will be living in the suite, plans to grow a few things. The beds are ready and waiting. The bushes in the top bed are blueberries and in the back of the lower bed, a rhubarb plant is uncurling itself from the ground.

I'm going to miss this yard. Th…

Stitch Along Day 3

Another double spread. I think fat French knots are my favourite embroidery stitch. It took me awhile to learn how to do them properly, years ago. It's not too late to join in Amy's 39 squares project. Just a little 1-inch square every day. It's about all I can manage and it's just right!

Alternate studying and packing continues. I finished the work for one French course yesterday and will write the exam next Tuesday. The rest of this week I'm working on a paper for Medieval History - it's been lurking, unfinished, on my computer. No more excuses. No more to work!

A Hint of Green

Outside my window leaves are uncurling from their winter rest. Branches swell with promise. The overall appearance of the trees is still brown and sculptural, but from a distance, shrubs are hazed with the delicious fresh colour of spring.

To celebrate - a simple leaf.

Little by little

In the midst of this.....

a little of this is wonderfully calming. I joined Amy's 39 squares stitch-along, except mine is going to be 54 squares. So I cheated a little and did three squares at once. No pattern, little forethought. I just chose a palette of tans, greens and blues with a little pink and yellow for accents and began stitching, filling the one-inch squares with colour and pattern. Fun and easy - just the ticket for these days of packing and studying.