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Showing posts from February, 2012

When I Just HAVE to Decorate

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Included in the furniture left in our other house to make it look "lived-in" is our dining room table, chairs and china cabinet. The dining room here is thus totally empty. It's great for playing chasing games with the Little Miss, but looks bare the rest of the time. 


Last week I did a little painting and needed the step ladder. In a whimsical moment I decorated the step ladder after I was finished with it. I hadn't intended to leave it, but it fills a corner nicely, and allows for a little space on which to place a few plants. And you'll notice my Christmas cactus is blooming - why I don't know. It bloomed nicely at the end of November and now here it is with beautiful blossoms again. I don't mind.



My painting project was the kitchen/eating area. Formerly yellow, it's now the same grey as our house in Parksville. We bought a LOT of paint and didn't use it all up there, so this cost nothing.  The shelves here are sparse for now. All in good time.



A …

It's Never Too Late

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These days, I'm thinking about creativity, purpose, and the roadblocks to living a creative life of purpose. On my last post I asked what intimidated you. Thank you for responding so honestly. It seems that many, if not all, of us have something that we long to do, but because of various reasons, don't. 


"It's never too late to be who you might have been."
George Eliot is accredited with the above words. They speak to me of the ongoing nature of human development. As long as God grants us breath and clear minds, we can be learning, exploring, challenging expectations, and growing. Becoming. 
I made the above collage because I was thinking about our visit to France five years ago (and wishing we could go again.) Vincent Van Gogh painted his heart out. Others designed and built the Pont du Gard, the Palais des Papes, and the hall in the Conciergerie. Others garden, creating beauty for themselves and passersby.
Living a life that honors God and serves humanity can be do…

What Intimidates You?

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I was called in to teach yesterday. One block was a photography class. The students had projects to work on and I was there just for supervision. So, I spent a lot of time wandering around the classroom, which happened to be held in the art room. My camera was in my purse and since the students were working on photography editing and shooting, I snapped a few shots myself.


In high school I yearned to take art, but never did. I was always intimidated by the "artistic" students - those who I thought grew up drawing realistically from the time they could hold a pencil. I envied them. Creating visual art on canvas and on paper is something I've recently dared to attempt. I love the idea of being able to be free with colours, shapes and textures - mixed media is what appeals to me. 


I was surprised at how intimidated I felt in that art room yesterday. All the old anxieties about not being good enough to even try came to the fore. And yet I longed to pick up those pastels and st…

New Shirts

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We went shirt-shopping this past weekend. It was a success: we came home with two business shirts for my husband - not a small feat considering how particular he is.


While Tim is in the changing room --


salesman: Here's another one. Do you think he'll like it?


me: No, he thinks those kind of shirts look like tea towels.


salesman: oh. 


Salesman walks off and then I notice, he's wearing that very shirt. 


Oops.

February Afternoon on the Beach

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The wind bites hard as I step onto the beach. I stop, pull up my hood and Tim offers to do the snaps for me. We walk, head down into the wind. Waves rush upon the shore in a loose meringue, then deflate and retreat. My heels dig deep into the loose sand and I think virtuously of what a good workout this is. 


A tangle of bull kelp, bleached yellow, lies forsaken under a driftwood log. One red arbutus stick waits lonely on the wet sand until the next high tide when it will again be carried off to float elsewhere. A tug boat chugs through the choppy water, the sound of its engine lost in the rush of waves and wind. Sere, faded grasses scratch against each other above the beach. I would stop and check their bases for any hint of green renewal, but I'm too cold. I pick up sea glass, white and green, smoothed by the tumbling water. 


Home again for tea and chocolate. The scent of chicken roasting in the oven dispels any lingering trace of chill. I am replete with contentment.


Linking to Mos…
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The wind bites hard as I step onto the beach. I stop, pull up my hood and Tim offers to do the snaps for me. We walk, head down into the wind. Waves rush upon the shore in a loose meringue, then deflate and retreat. My heels dig deep into the loose sand and I think virtuously of what a good workout this is. 


A tangle of bull kelp, bleached yellow, lies forsaken under a driftwood log. One red arbutus stick waits lonely on the wet sand until the next high tide when it will again be carried off to float elsewhere. A tug boat chugs through the choppy water, the sound of its engine lost in the rush of waves and wind. Sere, faded grasses scratch against each other above the beach. I would stop and check their bases for any hint of green renewal, but I'm too cold. I pick up sea glass, white and green, smoothed by the tumbling water. 


Home again for tea and chocolate. The scent of chicken roasting in the oven dispels any lingering trace of chill. I am replete with contentment.


Linking to Mos…

Friday Fill-ins

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1.  Finally, I cleared away the stack of papers on my desk. I've always disliked filing.


2.  Chewing each mouthful 10 times, as suggested by a nutritionist on television sure takes some getting used to.


3.  My Dad says: I hate being bored. (And at 77, he keeps himself very busy with all kinds of projects.)


4.  "Bekus" is my favorite nickname for breakfast - a leftover from our youngest child's efforts at learning to talk.


5.  It took a long time, but I'm starting to sew my own clothes again.


6.  Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, though I wouldn't have it any other way.


7.  And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching a movie at home with my husband, tomorrow my plans include a very important date with our eldest daughter and some time with our granddaughter, and on Sunday, I want to attend church, go for a long walk, read a book, and watch "Monarch of the Glen."


Friday Fill-ins

A Fireside Dinner

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Instead of bringing flowers home at the end of the day, Tim surprised me with roses at breakfast. He kept them in the garage overnight. Lovely, deep red ones.



I've not taken many (or any) photos of our home since the move. That's because most of our big pieces of furniture - dining room table and chairs, couch, loveseat, china cabinet, piano, bookcases, etc. are still in Parksville, making the house there look more attractive to buyers. That hasn't worked yet, but we're praying that it will soon. For now, we have a small couch, one easy chair, our kitchen table and chairs and a few end tables and our bed, plus a few odds and ends. Functional, but a bit sparse.


So last night, we lit a fire and some candles, spread a blanket on the carpet, and enjoyed a meal of homemade tapas. It was different. It was fun. 



One tapa was Quinoa Pepper Verrines. Verrine is a French word, and in this sense means a glass, or food in a glass dish. I found the recipe here on Tartelette's blog

Valentine's Day

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Valentine's Day is a sweet holiday - not just because of the chocolates and treats, but because it's a day to express love. However, I think it's been overtaken by consumerism and marketing. Advertisements suggesting that love is shown by a new piece of expensive jewelry or by Roses + Expensive Dinner + Chocolates + you-fill-in-the-blank can only raise expectations and lead to disappointments. 

Managing expectations is a hard task.

On the one hand, I know that my husband loves me dearly, is unfailingly loyal, works hard, is fun to be with and I need nothing. Valentine's Day sales are simply an effort to part us from more of our money.

On the other hand, marketers tell me that I deserve this, that, or the other thing and that bauble or experience will confirm his love for me. And what woman doesn't enjoy a little extra-special attention?


What I know to be true wars with the "diva me." I know who will win now. We'll have a very nice candlelight dinner here…

Cozy Sunday, Mosaic Monday

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Drizzle. Grey. Those two words sum up the weather this weekend. So we were very happy to be invited to a brunch at our eldest daughter and son-in-law's home on Sunday after early church. Seven of us (including the Little Miss and her parents) gathered together in person and our youngest daughter and her husband joined us from Rome via Skype for a few fun moments. 


Yellow daffodils shone brightly as we munched on huevos rancheros, bacon, English muffins, cinnamon buns and berry smoothies. It was the perfect way to spend a drizzly February afternoon.


I hope your weekend was equally fine. Joining with Mary of the Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. 



On A Thursday Morning in February

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Grey. Misty. A fine rain. A day for just made for ducks. 


Tiny rain droplets bead on this duck's feathers, reminding me of the saying, "like water off a duck's back." I was glad he ventured close because ...

although I taught school Tuesday and Wednesday, and will be teaching on Friday, today I played with our Little Miss. She loves the ducks, watches intently, and then jabbers away in gleeful baby-speak.

On our way home we stopped to look at a magnolia tree, its buds swelling with promise. 

And this bush, getting ready to bud, too. It was a good thing we took our walk when we did, early in the morning, for rain set in and the rest of the day we read stories, climbed stairs, chased a purple ball, and sang songs. 
What made your day fine?

"Je t'aime" Pillow Tutorial

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While unpacking my fabric into my sewing room, I was inspired to use up some bits of French General fabric I have. This little pillow was the result. Designing pillow covers to fit the season is one way to add a little (but not too much) seasonal decor. 




This sweet pillow sends a message of love on Valentine's Day or any day.  Here's what you need to make it:
Fabric for front and back: (I used an oatmeal linen)  1 piece 12 1/2" x 10"  2 pieces 10" x 10" Fabric for contrast 1 and 2: (I used fabrics from French General's Maison de Garance)  2 strips 10" x 2 1/2"  2 strips 10" x 1" Quilt batting (I used Warm and Natural)  1 piece 17 x 10" 5 buttons embroidery floss (I used DMC 815) thread, needle, sewing machine, pins, measuring tape pillow insert, 17 x 10 (approximately)
1.  Begin by transferring the design to what will be the front of your pillow. I wrote it freehand, lightly, in pencil, but have included a photo at the bottom that you can enl…

Watching for Spring

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Signs of spring are everywhere. It's hard to imagine so much of Europe covered with snow while here I see snowdrops nodding their heads under shrubs, daffodils and tulips thrusting pointed leaves through brown soil, and shoots of Siberian Iris standing four inches tall in their pots. Today, while eating lunch two robins flew across the yard and perched in the skeletal branches of the plum tree. 

Last night I lit candles and enjoyed their glow against the pale pink tulips I brought home from the market. Beauty feeds the soul.

"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."
Anne Frank
Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary at the Little Red House.

Moving Upstairs

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Have you ever moved back into a home you previously vacated? Did you find it uncomfortable or weird? I am in the process of reconciling the person who used to live here with the person I now am. You can see that the first thing I carried upstairs was my vase of tulips. 



Although only two years have passed and I'm thrilled to be back in this town, I'm discovering that I can't just shrug back into wearing this house with the same ease as when I left it. I'm sure it will just take time. I do know that I will be doing some more painting (not my favourite pastime, but so worth the effort.) I really like the palette I chose for our home up island - grey and blue tones throughout.  

I stand in the kitchen, an object in my hand, and I think, "now where do I put this?" After two days here, I'm starting to move towards a cupboard automatically, finding what I need without a lot of thought. I'll be comfortable here pretty soon.


What with moving upstairs (we were in…