Monday, August 30, 2010

Missing Blogging

I've missed catching up on my blogging friends' activities this past week. There just hasn't been time. That little girl pictured above wearing her grandmother's heels and purse, now 20 years older, is the reason. 

She's always had a great sense of fashion. Yes, the rhinoceros beetle is alive. They are really very docile. She was born in the jungle and grew up with bugs and such. 

On Saturday, she'll be walking down the aisle, preceded by her older sister as matron of honour. It's going to be a wonderful celebration, full of beauty, God's presence, and fun!

And afterwards, I hope to get back to posting more regularly. I've missed you all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Words to Inspire

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows."

James 1:17

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Incoming Tide

On Sunday evening, driving home from Victoria, I noticed the faintest hint of yellow on some of the trees along the road. Summer is ending. A sense of urgency fills me and I want to capture as much sunshine as possible.

An hour on the beach walking barefoot in the sand, with gull's cries overhead and the rush of waves lapping over the warm sand is a perfect antidote, or complement to any mood.

Tidal pools teem with life - tiny crabs, mussels, barnacles, nutrient-providing shells. Light shimmers and dances with the wind and water. I crouch down, taking time to observe small intricacies of life.

Bits of detritus lie littered on the beach, left behind by the receding tide. Soon, the tide will return and they will once again drift, suspended.

Autumn is coming in small waves, similar to the incoming tide. Cooler nights, bluer skies, a hint of chill in the wind. This quotation expresses what I'm sensing about this season...

"When summer gathers up her robes of glory, 
and like a dream of beauty glides away."

Sarah Helen Power Whitman

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Fun Day

There were flowers...

and fruit....

and goodies galore!


and friends and family, with plenty of love, laughter and good wishes. (Here I am with my daughters - two by birth, one by love.)

Yes, it was a bridal shower, and it was so much fun. How blessed we are to have friends. Being together with some of them today made me realize how much I miss getting together with them regularly.

We're less than 2 weeks away from the wedding. Excitement builds. Lists are written, accomplished and items ticked off. I can hardly wait!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Peaches, Blackberries, Dahlias and Deer

Finding a new blackberry patch took a little time. Our favourite one in Victoria was found on Christmas Hill. Here we spent some time driving around, stopping periodically to get out and inspect the bushes. The right spot for us is away from roads (to prevent car exhaust fouling the berries), a source of water (for juicier berries), and accessibility (utterly crucial).

We found a spot with all of the above and one more thing. Proximity to the sea. We can hear the waves rolling in on the shore as we pick and then, the buckets full and in the car, we walk a few steps to the beach, kneel at the water's edge and wash our sticky hands. Boy, does the salt water ever make those blackberry thorn scrapes sting!

Most of the berries are in the freezer, to be used in cobblers, sauces and on Tim's breakfast granola. This morning I made a batch of peach blackberry jam. Oh, so yummy on toast or scones.

Last week, with the first batch of blackberries, I made some peach blackberry turnovers. And as you can see, I forgot to take a picture until I'd taken that first bite. Ooops. I make them with phyllo pastry sheets - fast and easy.

I'm pretty sure the deer are angry with us. We've been trying to protect our shrubs and plants from being devoured by covering them with mesh. That worked for awhile, but the deer soon learned to push down on the mesh and the most tender new growth would poke through, enough for them to chomp every bit of it down. So on Saturday Tim put up bamboo poles and a serious deer mesh fence. No pushing will permit leaves through this! It's not pretty, but until we can get a fence built we would like to protect the plants.

But the very next day, my dahlia plant was missing the largest, most beautiful blossom. You can see a few scattered petals that escaped being dinner. I thought deer didn't like dahlias. I'm sure it ate it just out of spite. It left two other blossoms, and there are many buds coming. Will they survive? It might be time to expand the fencing. Sigh. Our yard is looking like Leavenworth prison - but keeping the plants IN and the deer OUT.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ready for Visitors

When we moved last spring several people asked if we were going to downsize our home. Nope, I said, I want lots of space so our children can all come and visit, and others too. We were blessed to find this home that has three large bedrooms in the basement. They were in rough shape - lots of holes in the walls, weird paint colours, baseboard that just stopped or broke, closet doors that didn't work well and so on. Simple stuff, really. But it all takes time to fix. The plusses included good quality carpet and space. 

So here's one of the rooms mostly done. I still want to put up curtains over the window and get a red throw for the bed. Actually, I have plans to make one, but that's going to have to wait awhile. I painted the walls a greyish white called Winterwash. I blogged about the nightstand here. You'll notice it's the only painted piece of furniture in the room.

I wanted this room to be calm and fairly neutral, with hints of red for warmth. I'll definitely be adding more to it as we go along, but I'm pleased with it so far.

I'm linking this post to The Lettered Cottage's list of wonderful guest rooms to visit.

Less than three weeks until the wedding. The dress arrived - YES! - and it needs NO altering. That's a huge load off my mind. We'll be going down to Victoria for the wedding, but afterwards the guest rooms here will fill up with family and friends for a night or two. I'm looking forward to some wonderful visits!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cool Birds

I wondered if summer would ever come. A very long, cold spring made summer hesitate. But these past few days we've had record-breaking temperatures. Wading in the ocean is the best way to cool off. The Canada Geese apparently thought so, too. And a bald eagle is perched on the rock in the very bottom photo, the same eagle seen flying off in the top photo.

I'm not minding the heat at all. I know its days are numbered and I like to soak it in while I can. Visit Mary's blog for more Mosaic Monday photos.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation."
Psalm 5: 3

Morning reflection in Annette Inlet 2008

Friday, August 13, 2010

Night stand Makeover

Around here we're all about finely finished wood. My husband spends hours planing, sanding, jointing to create beautiful pieces of furniture. Painting his work is a BIG no-no. So my love of slightly shabby white painted furniture is "love-at-a-distance."

However, we've had this piece of furniture around for about 10 years. It's a night table our son made in shop class. Constructed mostly of plywood, with a few rough edges from hauling it from Ecuador to Canada, I thought that perhaps I could indulge my love of white paint with this small project.

I didn't remember to take a "before" photo. But here is an "in process" one taken while waiting for the paint to dry. Painting was done outside, on the deck but brought in for the night.

Then, I found an old French Harlequin romance and decoupaged the top, the drawer front, and the back of the open shelf, adding a bit of music paper for contrast. A new black handle and voilĂ , my first piece of shabby chic vintagey style furniture. It's gracing one of the downstairs bedrooms where I've been painting walls and trim, cleaning, and generally getting organized.

I'm linking to Frugal Fridays at The Shabby Nest. Click on over there for more fun and frugal do-it-yourself ideas.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Tomato, Tomahto

Yes, it's that time of year! Tomatoes. As a child I was never very fond of raw tomatoes, probably because I usually had to eat them as a green salad ingredient. To this day I never put tomatoes in my green salads. (unless they are whole cherry tomatoes that I can avoid and give to my husband) Tomatoes deserve a place of their own, in my opinion.

I have just a few tomato plants on my porch here, so that big platter of tomatoes is last year's photo, taken when I had a big garden. Gazpacho, roasted tomatoes, tomato, mozzarella and basil salad, and rustic tomato tart are pictured in this mosaic.

I made the tart yesterday when our daughter and her husband were up. We had a wonderful relaxing time together. After dinner on Saturday night we watched "The Young Victoria." I found it so charming. Sunday morning we visited the sand sculptures again and found them unharmed by the day of rain on Saturday. (They are sprayed with a mixture of environmentally friendly glue and water to help them withstand the elements.) A short walk on the beach, then lunch, and a game of Thurn and Taxis rounded out the afternoon before they left for home.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Finishing Things

Lately, it seems that I have so many UNfinished projects lying around the house. Not just for the wedding, although there is a stack of those. Decorating and renovating are unending, but I can let those go for awhile. Wedding stuff, not so much.

But I have finished a few things. The veil, for instance. It's beaded, all 422 inches of the perimeter and looks very nice, if I do say so myself. No photos, tradition must be preserved you know.

Today I finished the "ring book." It's not a pillow, but it will be used for carrying the rings down the aisle by a cute little ringbearer.

I saw this idea quite awhile ago (sorry I can't remember where). We wanted a meaningful book, but one we were willing to cut up. I wouldn't use a Bible. Browsing around the thrift store recently I found this old hymnal and thought it might work. It was in pretty bad shape. I inserted new end papers, gluing ribbons behind them for tying the book shut, clamped the pages together and cut out a box with a ruler and my X-acto knife. I sealed the edges of the box with PVA glue and lightly glued the pages together. The pages are very soft, hence the fuzzy look in the corners. But they are all sealed up so they won't shed.

This afternoon I stitched a couple of silk flowers for the front - colours of the wedding, and secured the binding with book repair tape. Simple writing with a gold pen and voilĂ , a "ring box."

That's my own ring in the box. I think it looks quite pretty there after 33 years. The Bride-and-Groom-to-be have not yet seen this, and have to give final approval, but I hope they like it. I do.

I'm linking this post to Vintage Black, at the French Cupboard, and to Show and Share Day at Just a Girl, And Made by You Monday at Skip to my Lou.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sand Castles

On Sunday afternoon the Bride-and-Groom-to-be drove up for a short visit. That evening, after a dinner of west coast shrimp bought off the boat, we wandered through the sand sculpture displays in Parksville. They are amazing works of art.

This was my favourite - a little girl reading a book with a world of castles, a knight in shining armour and a dragon behind her. And the words "She lived in a world of her own." That was me. My brother and sister say that their only memories of me as a child involve me with my nose in a book. I think they highly exaggerate, but I did and do love to read. I can easily lose myself for an hour, an afternoon, or an entire day in a book.

Just a bit more than a month until the wedding. Don't they look happy?

And what's more romantic than a stroll along the beach at sunset? My own sweetheart and I enjoyed it just as much as the bridal couple. It's fun to construct castles in the air together, dreaming of what might be.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Queen Anne's Lace

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in, 
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

John Muir

Of Spare Rooms and House Guests

  If you've ever read L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables , you'll remember the importance of the spare room. It was a long-...