Hello from Sunday night

Hello everyone, exciting things are happening here. :)

So much has happened this week and I have so much to tell you!

Robert and I cooked up a surprise for Clove several months ago.

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R planned to be in Canada for the spring and we kept the date secret. He flew in on Wed afternoon, just when C was in a class, and I went to the airport to pick him up.

We knew that by the time we got back form the airport, C would have been home already, so I dropped R off a block away and walked in to the house, gave Chloe some flowers to put in the vase and excused myself to the washroom.

In the meantime, R walked to the door and rang the bell.

And C had to go answer the door!!! :D Oh hugs and tears and disbelief! We pulled it off! It’s so hard to pull one over on C. We had a blast. :D

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I came home from Mexico to lovely good news.

My seedlings for the Art in the Garden early display are doing very well.

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And I’ve been selected as one of the artists to show my work. Hooray! I’m so happy.
But now I have to get painting.

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The weather has been good enough that we’ve had our first lunch alfresco.

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And Morgan’s been bothering the chickadees and finches in the garden. I guess I should say that they’ve been bothering her with their singing and displaying.

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We’ve been cleaning out the garage to ready it for a studio space of sorts, and attacked the second work bench with my stamps and pens.

I love family projects. Everyone has so many fantastic ideas.

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I have a limited amount of stamps but they’re good stamps, and sharpies were used to write out our favourite sayings, someone found all sorts of glitter stuff, and the Bonjour fish made a reappearance in several spots.

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One other thing we did this week is finally get my father’s vintage Raleigh 20 bike tuned up.
He bought this bike in the early 1970s. Anyone remember the oil crisis of 1973? Well, my father decided he could cycle to the hospital and his practice if the worst came to the worst, and still tend to his patients.

Anyway, the worst never did come to the worst and this little bike stayed in the basement untouched and unridden till mom gave it to C. She washed and polished it, R pumped up the tires, WD40′ed the chain, and adjusted the seat, and that was that.

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That’s one happy girl.

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Speaking of happy girl…

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Clove sends you this little clip. It’s of the most ridiculous porcupine, and is sure to make you happy.

Sharing with Mary for Mosaic Mondays, with Dwellings, and with Create With Joy. :D

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Patrice’s wonderful drawing challenge, water

This morning I sat in the cool light contemplating the ocean and Patrice’s drawing challenge.

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For some reason I had yesterdays sand sculptures on my mind; especially this lovely iguana which was claimed by a pelican. I wondered if the sea came up in the night and the water claimed the sand back as its own.

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This afternoon I used the resort’s acrylics to draw myself the sea.

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And then I walked down the beach and offered the sea a bit of art. Ephemeral as it is, it will be washed away by the water and the only thing left will be a memory. :)

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When you have a chance, click on Patrice’s link and visit some of the other wonderful artists. :D

The Magnificent Frigatebird…my tropical love

There was a time when I though I wanted to be an ornithologist.

Quite earnestly and sincerely.

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Either an ornithologist or a marine biologist, I imagined happy hours trampling thru forest and fields or wading in the ocean, scuba diving, collecting samples…But then I realised that what I really wanted to do is photograph and draw the things and creatures and not actually dissect them and pickle them in formaldehyde and that was that.

One of my biggest loves in the bird world is the Magnificent Frigatebird and I’m always thrilled when I see them, no matter where I am; can’t get enough of this aviary pirate, the Blackbeard of the sea.

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Today we were having a rest day. Every once in a while we declare a rest day and it seems to pay dividends in our future energy.

So today I decided to study the Frigatebirds and sketch some in my travelling sketch book.

I couldn’t really get up close and personal with them and so took a liking from some on-line images for the close-ups.

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We scooped ourselves one of the beach beds this morning, hung up our beach tote and stayed all day.

A certain freckle faced girl kept stealing my new sun hat. :D

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And I watched the Frigatebirds and sketched.

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And C watched the people around us and chatted with some of our fellow holidayers.

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I used my water soluble charcoals and watercolour pencils, plus a light green and a grey crayon and India inks, and slowly, over a few hours, Magnificent Frigatebirds began to emerge and started to do their rolling, boiling, tumultuous flight on my journal page.

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So here they are. I figure I’ve drawn four males and two females. We’ll call them Demetrius, James, Heyreddin and Eustace, Rusila and Elise. All fine pirates, all Magnificent.

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Connections, Kristen’s wonderful challenge

It’s funny sometimes how a spur of the moment though…actually, maybe it’s more accurate to say, a mind empty of thoughts, a mind in the present, how that inspires the perfect action.

I knew that the challenge word for this week is connections. I knew this for a full week and everywhere I went, everything I did, I saw connections in. But then, you might be saying, you can hardly help that, can’t you? Well, it’s true, but rarely do those connections inspire a meaningful piece of art.

Yesterday at the beach, it was gloriously warm and bright. I picked up a piece of orange nylon rope thinking I would recycle it properly, and, as I sat looking around me at the sunshine and the happy dogs I decided to save that piece of rope and weave it into something which connects.

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So I walked along the beach to find the perfect branch and some other objects and took them home.

I was going to wait till this morning to do something with them, but the evening was so lovely that I decided to start right then.

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I wove the nylon rope around the branch and thru itself.

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I found some ribbon and yarn and wove that in to symbolise seaweed and the reflection from shells.

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And then I went to get my other found goodies to add those on, phoned Robbie and went to bed.

Sent photos for the weaving to R and he said, “you’ve made yourself a talking stick. Even more connections. I like it!”

This morning my newly proclaimed talking stick lay on the dining room table.

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It sparkles in the harsh morning light, with its beads of birch bark, its combinations of man-made and natural elements, discarded and wanted, saved and used. Offers, connections, from the ocean and from my hands to your heart.

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I took it outside to greet the day and held it up against the sky.

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When you have a chance, the list of participating artists is here on Kristen’s site. :D

Hair, Nadine’s wonderful challenge

You know, I’m one of those persons who knows her art limitations. Really I do. I do but, as you probably suspect, I tend to ignore them.

Last week my friend Nadine invited me to take part in a weekend drawing challenge. Just like last time, the challenge was to take a word and depict it in an image. This word was “hair”.

Now I feel that I can draw almost anything, but believe I’m absolutely naff at portraiture. It’s true! But the more I thought about it, the more I really wanted to draw some beautiful hair on a beautiful girl. Growing up, I did the requisite copies of my favourite album covers and people’s images, (there’s a whole portfolio dedicated to Bowie somewhere at mom’s house I think), and I also remembered drawing mermaids.

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I used to draw a lot of beautiful mermaids. Some coming out of the water with long flowing hair floating on the waves, pearls and seashells dripping from their bodies, well, anyway, that’s what I decided to draw.

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So I started this morning and have my mermaid finished by lunch time. (Only one day late…lol)

Well, finished is a relative term. I believe I could be shading and refining and lifting and tweaking for another four hours. But that’s not going to happen today, because I hear the mountains calling my name. :D

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Thanks for this opportunity Nadine. And thank you for inspiring me to bring back a skill from my childhood and give it another try.

If you guys have a chance to, please pop by and visit the other extremely talented and fun artists:

Barbara, Tammie, Ariane, Carole, Demie?, Emily, Joanne, Patrice, Leena, Celine, Renilde, Kristen, Roberto, Kim, Mano, Stefanie, Nadine.
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Bit of a mixed up tea this Tuesday

I guess by now you all may have heard that Vancouver is under a bit of snow.

I KNOW! RIGHT!?! My poor little garden flowers…which might be made for the snow…but still.

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There really wasn’t anything to do about it but go shopping and have some tea.

Actually, I should have been working and Clover should have been studying for her midterm…but whatever. :D

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You all probably noticed that my child has been looking a bit blonder lately. She’s got that ombre thing happening, you know, where she looks like an alien with tin foil all over her hair and can listen to BBC Radio thru her teeth for 30 minutes, and now, the side effect of all that free broadcasting thru teeth, is that she looks completely washed out in my Chanel Coco Rouge lipstick, which she loves to nick for an evening out.

So high on C’s priority list was finding a red lipstick for evening which actually looks good on her. And for C, it has to be organic, cruelty free and affordable. So we did the lipstick run-around and when she was finished trying seventeen different shades and five different brands, she ended up looking very pink around her chin and cheeks from the Kleenex and lipstick smears.

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By the end of the lipstick adventure I was dying for a cup of tea and C was feeling starving so we stopped at a new cafe called Faubourg Paris Café and I ordered my Earl Gray and C a ham and cheese croissant.

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This is a lovely cafe with a patisserie where they make fabulous pastries, but the Mariage Freres Earl Gray tea they served was just way too weak and flavourless for me. And I did let it steep for a long time.

On the other hand, the cafe is lovely and bright and twinkly with loads of crystal drop chandeliers and pendant lamps, there is a gently projected movie on one wall and the chairs, with the Lucite centres and painted feathers, are lovely.

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So back at home, I still wanted my lovely, fragrant Earl Gray and so brewed myself a cup from my super secret, only for me stash of loose tea from Fortnum and Mason and I chose this sweet little cup to have it in.

I love this frosty rose from Royal Southerland and it seems like a fine homage to this ridiculous February snow.

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So I had my tea and C got into her sweats and her cue cards and I sat down at the kitchen table to think about my personal journal and see if I could come up with a page.

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You know, this page was so hard won. I loved the words “experimental genius” and tried to form a thought from among the other words on the page but it just wouldn’t come and wouldn’t come…and I’d been staring at it off and on for about a week now.

So I sat there and had a little meditation over the page and suddenly there the words were! Right there all along!

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The words say: “await the experimental genius in the magnificent fabric of the mind’s eye today”

I saw the experimental genius as swirling colours. Bold and bright colours, mixing and rushing in, taking over an empty space.

But I also saw the experimental genius as small and shy and quiet and softly moving in on silent wings, and you turn around and there he is. So suddenly I was painting an owl. A Little Owl. One of the smallest owls out there.

And then I dulled down the magnificent fabric with a little bit of soft, white tissue paper, a little imperfection, so we don’t take ourselves too seriously as artists. :D

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Sharing tea with Terri and Martha and Sandi and Bernedeen, and, just after I drive C to the uni to take her midterm, I’ll be around to catch up with everyone.

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Tea for Tuesday. Winter’s last Hurrah!

In one way, we are lucky here on the West Coast that we very rarely have a winter wonderland and our flowers come much sooner than anywhere else across the 49th parallel, but on the other hand, there’s all this rain!
I swear that some years it rains for most of the year.

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So when the rain actually stops and the sun comes out between the clouds, no matter how brief it is, we usually find the sunniest spots to hang out in and stay there a while.

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You really can’t blame us. :D

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This morning, C’s boyfriend Bryson texted from his hill-top university to tell her it’s snowing at his campus! What?

So in honour of our winter’s last hurrah, I chose to have tea in this sweet, little Royal Standard storybook cup.

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I was inspired to pick it because it is the only cup I have with winter blooming flowers on it.

Don’t you love winter blooming flowers? I’m always so impatient for winter aconites and snowdrops and iris stylosa and crocuses.

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Last year I lifted hundreds of snow drops from green spaces where people have dumped their garden waste and this year they are rewarding me with a beautiful display in the shade garden.

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So I will have my tea in the sunshine while it lasts and look at my beautiful book of macro snow flake photography, by Libbrecht and Rasmussen, (how do people do such wonderful things like photographing snow flakes?), and say “good bye winter; hello spring.”

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And then we will both get back to work.

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In the sunniest rooms of the house.

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Sharing with Terri and Martha and Sandy and Bernideen, and wishing you all a swift end to winter.

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Hello from Sunday night

Today’s been one of those lovely Sundays where there was no hurry and nothing urgent to do.

The sun came out in the morning but by noon the clouds rolled in again.

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Yesterday we had an entertaining time watching Morgan and Milo trying to get in on C’s friendship bracelet threads.

Those cats get so obsessed over threads and bits of string. :D

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C and cats

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milo

But today I had sleeping cats and time on my hands. I started a few new pieces of art on old paper and finished this one.

A little marsh tit on a dictionary page with the word harbinger on it. I like that thought, a harbinger of spring; although I’m not sure this little bird qualifies, I still love waking up to bird song. The bird song in Vancouver pales in comparison to Northmoor, but still there are chickadees and mourning doves and all sorts of twittering things. And, especially flickers drumming out their territory on the neighbour’s metal chimneys at 5am. They always make me laugh. :D

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Sharing with Mary at the Little Red House and Create with Joy and Sunlit Sunday and Amaze Me Monday

The making of a personal journal

It’s been a few strange days of hectic pace mixed with low energy, (first mom and now I’m coming down with some sort of bug, desperately hoping C doesn’t catch it), so I’ve upped the vitamin C to mega doses and C’s been making delicious smoothies with fruit, spinach, flax…everything good. I wanted to have my usual tea cup Tuesday post, was actually looking forward to it, but then, again, ran out of Tuesday time and sun light. (What ever happened to my New Year’s resolution to stop running out of time and start running into it instead?) Isn’t it a funny old world?

So, actually, this is as close to “tea” that C and I got yesterday…apart from the copious mugs and mugs worth throughout the day to soothe my throat and warm my heart.

Oh well, at least we have Morgan…who could enter the world’s cutest sunshine cat in the cute sunshine cat Olympics…and her half cat/half sea anemone face to make us smile.
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The other day, when I was at Dalyce’s book store, she gave me a lovely 1956 book of London and I got the idea to make myself a personal encouragement book. Sort of a hopes and dreams and aspirations book. These books are so easy to make and so much fun that I thought I’d give you a little tutorial of how to, so you can make one too…if you like.

This book is about 7″x10″, so not too big, but not too small either, (small books tend to be very fiddly), and I loved the red canvas front plus the two golden dolphins. I guess the trick is to get a book which resonates with you. For example, I know what is under each one of my pages and would not be very happy if there was something depressing or something I was against. I guess what I’m saying is think about what it would feel like to have that subject under your page, because, subconsciously, you’ll always know it’s there. This book doesn’t have too many pages and the paper is pretty sturdy. This is also good for a first try.

This book is divided into two distinct sections, the front is all typed introduction and description, and the rest, the major part, is black and white photographs of London.

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Now go thru the book gluing every three of four pages together with a glue stick. If you come across a page you don’t like, then tear it out. Don’t leave those pages in the book. (subconscious comfort) As long as you glue pages together around the torn pages it will be just fine. Here I tore out about five pages I didn’t like, including one depicting dead foxes. Not having that in my happy, positive journal! Plus, you’ll be collaging and gluing into the book making it thicker, so tearing out some of the pages is actually a good idea. The resulting pages will have a thick, card stock-like feel. Perfect as a backdrop for any amount of paint and glue.

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I started the first pages, (which only have writing), by reading thru and picking out the words I liked. Words which were positive to me, sent a message. Then I linked the words thru the spaces between. I got the inspiration form a most wonderful book called “A Humument” by Tom Phillips, which I bought last summer. I linked it to Amazon, but if you google images you’ll get a better idea.

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Then I got my stash of paper and my acrylic mat medium, and began gluing around my new found sentence.

This takes a long, long time, and some patience, but, when one is feeling poorly and a little artistic distraction is good, then it all works out.

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So now I’d like to show you the first three finished pages.

I left the beginning and end pages just as they are to make it feel like an authentic book full of surprises. Then, the first page, which had the publishing info, I substituted my info (didn’t feel good about publishing my addy in this photo, so photoshopped it out), but if the book is lost, it could be returned.

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Then, I left another page alone. It is a page with a couple lovely quotes about London.
And then the first complicated page I made has two sentences on it:

” It seems to me that a better position seizes artistic interest. To be less inhibited and to have a surer eye for significant detail.”

This to me, represents my desire to get my art out into the world. To contact places like Anrthopologie to see if I can interest them in my map series, to be freer with my art like the butterflies, my dream of selling in a gallery in New York (the sign of an established artist), to be in artistic circles…well, you get the point. But the main point is that each scrap of paper is deliberately chosen, each stamp, each image, each drawing is purposeful to make me happy. And that’s the whole point.

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I finished this second page yesterday evening in about two hours. This page is telling me that I must take the first step. The two sentences say:

“The door steadily opens. Situation one essential to other vast splendours to be found.”

I love the rich gold patina, made by brushing a gold powder onto the wet-ish mat medium. I like the escaping swallow; escaping out of her enclosure, the golden circle, even if it is golden, to be free, to spread her wings, and I love the happy daisy chain.

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Well, that’s as far as I got so far. I hope you try to do this too. It’s so satisfying to make a little jewel of a book like this. If you like, you could use all collage, you could write your personal thoughts in it, you could draw, stamp, glue, use your own personal photos, photos of loved ones…the possibilities are endless. If you do try this, or you’ve already made one, let me know. I’d love to see it.

Also let me know if I can help you with one, I’m happy to answer questions, show more photos of a page process, keep showing additional pages as I make them, make a little how to video…Gulp…on second thought, a video would require some effort, but I probably could if you’d like me to. Just ask. :D

Sharing over at The Dedicated House

Hello from Sunday night!

Well, welcome year of the horse! I have high hopes for you. Not only have I just bought a cheesy 1956 paperback western called,”Thirty Notches” by Brad Ward. (gotta love those macho names), but I also painted this little painting of three horses to celebrate you.
I love threes, don’t you? For me it represents all sorts of wonderful groupings: R, C and me, my three children, my three cats. Does anyone remember that Schoolhouse Rocks little vignette “Three is a magic number”? It rather is, isn’t it? Ok, I just had to link to the Blind Melon version now that we’re adults. :D
This little painting started life as a left-over art card. I used a purple-ish vintage wrapping paper that then I wasn’t crazy about and so I painted the horses over it with acrylics. Then I wasn’t happy about the chalky, blocky look of the acrylics so painted over that whole painted and collaged mess with my oils. Ahh, that’s better. Soft, misty, blended colours. Horses coming form on high down to Earth for the lunar year. So GONG XI FA CAI everyone!

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Outside the few early snowdrops have opened. Those precious few immediately were brought inside and put into one of the little ink bottles I bought at the car boot sale. I could hardly wait. I’m sure my neighbours thought me strange peering down into the shade garden every day, (seventeen times/day) checking on them. There are hundreds coming but these six first ones are just so very welcome. As I write this they are beside me and later will be moved to my side of the bed. They have a soft, gentle fragrance and I don’t want to miss a moment with my first garden flowers of the year.

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Today I had it in mind to organise and cull my overflowing book collection. So I dove into the library and then the arduous task of deciding which books to actually let go of began. The thing is that sometimes I don’t remember that I have the book and have to put it aside to read thru it to decide whether it’s a keeper or not. Some books I’ve completely forgotten about, like this lovely 1941  ”A Choice of Kipling’s Verses Made By T.S. Eliot”, and then read it over lunch completely forgetting that I actually set out to clean up the library. But with a thousand books in the house…well…I do understand and appreciate that I really don’t need two copies of several Simon Winchester or Diane Ackerman books…even if I love them to pieces, and so get on with the task.

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So, in the end I enlisted Chloe’s help going thru the books and took about one hundred books to Dalyce at our most favourite Booklovers used book store. If you’re anywhere within fifty miles of the Lower Mainland, it would so be worth your while to come visit.

Mind you, the minute we drop off books we’re buying new ones. And by the way, Dalyce gives a credit for books brought in, which applies to books being bought. How can you go wrong? Anyway, if you come, let me know when and I’ll meet you. :D

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So back home now with a few of new books and looking forward to cuddling up with a soft, warm blanket, my snowdrops and books. The empty bags are waiting to be filled up with more books to bring to Booklovers, (except this one, which seems to have been expropriated by Morgan), and in a day or two the library will be organised and orderly. (then I’ll take a photo to show you.)

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Sharing with The Dedicated House for make it pretty Monday