Showing posts from February, 2013

A Taste of Vancouver Architecture

The City of Vancouver is Canada's third largest city, and its busiest harbour. In preparation for the World Fair of 1986, the city built Canada Place. The building, a conference center, replicates a grand sailing ship. 

Walking along the promenades outside of the building does evoke walking around a ship. The green glass windows and white railings contribute to the ship experience.

Just a few blocks away from the modern lines of Canada Place is the Dominion Building. When it was completed in 1910 it was the tallest building in the British Empire. Financing for the building was provided by the Counts von Alvensleben, and it's widely accepted that they were a front for the Kaiser's money.Thus, it could be said that the Empire's tallest building was financed by the Empire's greatest rival. 

We were downtown Victoria on Canada Day and drifted into conversation with a couple from the Netherlands. They commented that there was nothing old here. They are right. Recorded hist…

Of Muffins, Roses and Vegetable Stew

There are many abandoned apple trees in our area. As fall approaches, we scout out the harvest and when the apples are ripe, collect them. I think it's terrible that so much food goes to waste. I don't think the food banks would take these apples because they are usually small and imperfect. But they make great applesauce. 

Applesauce is a main ingredient in these muffins. They are so good. I wouldn't want to admit to eating three of them while they were still warm. But I just might have done that. Try them, you'll like them. Not too sweet, with a lovely cinnamon warmth. 

I read a little tip about preventing the rose droop - you know, several days after clipping the stems, adding the food, and putting them into water, the rose heads begin to droop. Infuriating. Well, I can't remember where I read this, but one suggestion was to prick a hole just under the blossom with a needle. The theory is that air bubbles get trapped there and prevent the water from rising to the …

Enjoying Late Winter

The wind rose around 4 am this morning with a gust that rattled the window and clanked the blinds. I got up to close the window (we always sleep with the window open at least a crack). After crawling back into my warm bed, I didn't go back to sleep right away, but listened to the gathering storm. Soon, rain hurled against the window, sounding like pebbles thrown in a fit of temper. 

The official start of spring is still more than three weeks away. Yet so many of us are impatient for sunny days, for an end to winter. Winter's lingering presence can create impatience which wears on a person until one feels ragged, much like those cattails in the photo. 

It occurred to me in the night that wishing away these late winter days denies the value of time, of the gift of each day. Rather than merely putting in the time until spring, I have decided to embrace, as well as I can, the last of winter. Here are some things I wrote down this morning: 

* Observe the slow tilt of the earth leaning…

Red Roses

A bouquet of red roses showed up with my husband on Friday. What a sweetheart. We have enjoyed this weekend MUCH more than the previous, lost weekend.

In the midst of sickness, I wondered if I would ever have energy again. Our God-given healing mechanism is amazing - I spent Saturday outdoors, digging in my garden. The dirt was a little heavy with moisture, but the sun shone and I rid my garden bed of the last of the pesky vinca and lamb's ears. No more spreading plants for me. Not content to confine themselves to an allotted amount of space, they threaten to take over the entire garden bed and suffocate anything else that tries to grow there. 

Today we're back to chilly winds, clouds, and occasional drizzle. A good day to stay indoors and play with my camera and roses. How did you spend your weekend?

Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary of the Little Red House.

The Many Colours of White

I read recently that there are more shades of white available than of any other colour. Just looking around my house, I can well believe that. 

My husband's paternal grandmother crocheted this tablecloth, also seen in the above photo. She loved needlework and created many beautiful things, of which I have several. I wrote a tiny bit of Dora's story here. I don't know how old this tablecloth is, but I'm guessing between 40 and 60 years old. For the past 20 years or so, it has adorned a table in my mother-in-law's home. I'm honoured that last summer she gave it to me. Although slightly yellowed with age, the intricate and even stitches have undeniable beauty.

One of this year's goals is to improve my photography skills by reading and applying the information in my camera manual. On each photo I've added specifications - the speed, f-stop and ISO. I can see differences in the above photos, but they are minute. So which one is the better photo? My camera is n…


Just a quick note to say that if you receive an email from my yahoo account, it's likely something you won't want to open. I think I've been hacked. Will be changing passwords all around. Sorry about that.

Just Around the Corner - Vee's Note Card Party

Each month Vee hosts a Note Card Party - she asks us to choose four images previously posted on our blog that we think might be suitable for printing as note cards. 

This month, I am longing for spring, hoping for colour in my garden where there is little, and so I went back to find images of spring past.  

Are these flowers not glorious examples of springtime abundance? I can hardly wait to see them in real life again.

Colour! Bring it on!

We are redoing our garden beds this year and I didn't plant bulbs last fall. I'm really regretting that now. I have a few in pots that will have to do. Do you have a favourite spring flower? Mine changes with what's in season. To me, each blossom is full of the very best kind of magic - life after winter. 

Today's sunny skies have me thinking that a walk after lunch would be the very best thing I could do. Tell me, what are the signs of spring around your place?

Linking with Vee's Note Card Party.

The Lost Weekend

Well. Remember Valentine's Day? Waaay back. Candlelight dinner in front of the fire. Very nice. Last proper meal I've eaten. And that's all I'm saying about that. It was intense but short-lived and has passed through 9 members of our family, including the little granddaughters. 

So. No blogging. Lots of television (inane). Read three novels. Stayed home to prevent any further spread of this. Today I'm going to teach. Will catch up with you all later. I've missed you. 

How was YOUR weekend? 

Our First Valentine's Day Together

We attended a very conservative Christian college in Saskatchewan. Boys were not permitted on the girls' floor.  A central lounge area and porch separated the dorms. To contact someone from the opposite sex, you asked someone entering the dorm to take a message. No cell phones or personal computers back then.

On Valentine's Day, which happened to fall on a Saturday that year, I was in my room when I heard someone in the hall calling my name. I poked my head out the door and the messenger handed me a single red rose and a card. Other girls experienced the same, but I remember most of the girls in the dorm coming by to see MY card because it was so different, and almost risqué - referring to kisses and all. The inside of the card reads, "But you can keep trying."

That night we attended a concert in Regina, about an hour's drive away. Back then a date with just the two of us counted for more than a double date, and date points were strictly rationed by the month. We …

Valentine's Day Cookies and a Kitchen Tip

Should you come to my house for tea today or tomorrow (and I'd love it if you would), you'd be served sugar cookies. This is a recipe I got from my mother years ago and is her standard. Crisp, buttery, and so good. When I went away to college, she sent a box of pink iced heart shaped cookies at Valentine's Day. You could say they are a family tradition.

Unlike my talented daughter-in-law who makes the most amazing cakes, I am not a decorator of food. I cook, I present, but I don't decorate. My lines are uneven, and I'm never happy with the results. I'm learning that icing consistency is EVERYTHING! Today I couldn't find my icing bag and tips (that's how often I use them). Instead, I found these condiment holders, never used. I cut the attached lids off since they just got in my way. What an easy way to decorate. I'll probably never go back to the bags. Well, I might. But this is easy. Trust me. 

Most of these cookies will be going out the door to my …

A Parcel from Afar, A Little Sewing, A Misty Day

Elizabeth, who writes the blog, Cornish Cream, held a recent giveaway and I was lucky enough to win. How fun to receive a parcel bearing the mark "Royal Mail." Makes one feel positively queenly! Barbara's gifts included a book on Cornish Gardens that I'm looking forward to perusing with a cup of tea nearby, a tube of scented L'Occitane hand cream, a tea towel featuring the fruits of England, a map of the great gardens of Cornwall, and a pretty bookmark. Oh, and a tissue holder stitched of beautiful rose printed fabric. Thank you, Elizabeth, I'm thoroughly enjoying this parcel.

I had great plans before Christmas, but then ended up working more than expected, so my plans went sideways. One of my goals was to stitch up this cute vest for Little Miss A. It's made of rose-printed floral flannel and lined with pink polka-dotted flannel. I used a pattern won from Running with Scissors, although the pattern itself is by Sweet Charlotte. I like the asymmetrical zip…

Views Here and There

Along one of my walks around the neighbourhood, there is a yard with naturalized plants - daffodils, crocuses, narcissus. I was so pleased to see these crocuses sprinkled all over the lawn yesterday. They look like they are reaching out to embrace all the sunshine they can. This photo was taken around noon and look how long the shadows still are. Winter may linger for awhile yet.

Saturday was not sunny, but we went for a short hike up Mount Douglas - an urban park here in town. It's possible to drive almost to the summit, but there are also a number of woodland trails. Tiny ferns sprout from moss-covered rocks. All is lushly green. I wish I could capture the scent and embed it into the post. Utter freshness.

This was the sky from the top of the hill around 4:45 pm. Below the filtered sunlight lies the city in half-darkness, with the ocean on two sides (three, if you count Finlayson Arm, not visible from this vantage point).

Tomorrow is a brand-new statutory holiday for our province. …

Bright Days

While the eastern part of the North American continent has been preparing to hunker down with blizzard warnings and preparations for snow, we've enjoyed some delightfully sunny days. I admired these ducks on a recent walk around the bog. 

Although the bullrushes are brown, soon new growth will replace them and all will be green again. The trees are beginning to show the first hintsof swelling buds. Life is burgeoning all around! 

Linking to Sunlit Sunday at My Little Home and Garden, hosted by Karen.

On the Topic of Home

Mary, of the Little Red House, suggested a weekly prompt to spark inspiration. This week's word is home. Click over to her post to see what others have come up with.

A Tourist Visits Balboa Park

Before visiting San Diego I had no idea of the vastness of Balboa Park. Set in 1200 acres of land in the city, it's one of the world's largest urban parks. Home to 17 museums, numerous parks, a theatre, and other delights, it's someplace where one can spend oodles of time. 

The Spanish-influenced architecture is amazing. Many of the buildings were constructed in 1916-17 for the celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal. More construction happened in the 1930s as part of a make-work project during the Depression. I was taken by the light slanting through the openings of this long colonnade paralleling the main pedestrian avenue.

Wonderful mosaics and carvings embellish the buildings. While there I visited the Timken Art Museum, and the Museum of Art. Tim spent his time in the Museum of Natural History.

When we visit a place with palm trees, Tim always reminds me of something I asked of him when we were first married. Having grown up in northern BC I had never seen a palm …

What Came in the Mail, Books I Read, and What I Ate

Have you visited Donna at Cottage Days? She takes amazing photos of nature on her trips. Recently she held a giveaway for a photo book of her trip to Alaska. She also gave away a desk calender, which I won. It arrived the day before we left on our trip, so I didn't have a chance to photograph it and show you. I'm going to enjoy looking at this wonderful scenery while seated at my desk. Thank you, Donna.

These are the three books I read on our vacation. Each one is unique, although both The Postmistress and Mr. Churchill's Secretary are set during the second World War. The School of Essential Ingredients is a series of chapters each focusing on various members of a cooking school class. What really sets this book apart is the description of food - it made me want to go home and cook, cook, cook.

When we are on vacation, we do some of our own cooking, and some restaurant meals. I like to try new dishes or new ways of eating something familiar. These green beans, cooked in a l…

A Taste of Spring

We flew home yesterday afternoon via Seattle. As the plane began to descend, I thought we were over the ocean because all I could see was glowing sunshine on white billows. As we continued our descent the billows became clearly distinguished as clouds. Passing through the clouds we landed in grey-sky Seattle, and connected a flight to grey-sky Victoria.Somehow, it cheers me up immensely to think of this grey cover as such a thin veil that cannot keep that brilliant sunshine from us indefinitely.

Our days in Mexico were grey, too, but each vacation day in California was warmer and sunnier than the previous one. Our sun-starved bodies and souls soaked in all they could. You can tell by the photos that I was craving colour - bougainvillea, osteospermum, asters, and a flowering decorative pear tree.

The planting in the above photo captured my attention. Driftwood logs - we have those. Succulents - we have those. A hollowed out driftwood planter may be in my summer garden plans.

Meanwhile, …