Chloe and I took a long lunch and got lost in vintage dresses.

Isn’t it wonderful to take one day of the week and take some time?

C and I decided to go to a favourite, funky part of Vancouver, called Commercial Drive, to our favourite coffee shop, Cafe Calabria, for lunch and a good mooch around the neighbourhood.

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It’s been one of those soggy Vancouver days where it’s hard to feel motivated to go anywhere, but the promise of visiting the owners (our long-time friends), hot tea, a sticky coconut macaroon and a Frank’s special panini, was just too tempting.

There was way too much macaroon and panini for us, so we took half to go.

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And we wandered up and down the block till we came to C’s favourite store, Mintage.

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You’ve got to love this store. Just look at the juxtaposition of those frilly tutus above the cowboy boots!

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There’s so much fun here, from vintage bridal…

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To heavy woollen sweaters.

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And accessories too. Shoes and boots, belts and purses, scarves, tuques, and the most amazing jewellery.

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When I look in my closet, I’d love to see funky cowboy boots, soft, beaded moccasins and an old pair of roller skates. I’d love it just for fun.

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C and I grabbed a hand full of vintage dresses each and tried on the fifties. (These dresses were such keepers…OMG)

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We squeezed and wriggled our way thru the sixties…

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We flower powered our way thru the seventies. (Hey, I had an almost identical dress to this one for my high school dances, and, if it wasn’t for the $180 price tag, I so would have bought it! Loved the way it looked and felt on.)

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And we giggled our way thru the eighties. C dubbed the black dress “the Avril Lavigne” dress.

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We ended up with this keeper bunch which we loved to pieces.

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When we were speaking to the lovely Alex at the cash register, we told her we couldn’t think of any place to wear the (above) pink and lace dress, and she told us a story. She was late for work, dressed in her wonderful vintage, ran to the bank for some cash and suddenly she was aware that it got deathly quiet in there. She thought for a split second that there might be a bank robbery happening and, looking around, she saw people smiling and complimenting her on her dress. So she said, “It was the fabulous dress all along!” So that’s it, we shall wear the pink and lace one to do our deposits and withdrawals.

Too much fun :D

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Fis(c)h, Miss Herzfrisch’s drawing challenge

I looked around and realised that I actually paint a lot of fish! There are goldfish in the living room, koi under autumn leaves and goldfish lanterns in the family room, and a surrealistic azalea and koi painting in one of the guest bedrooms.

And, although I drew myself a steampunk fish on some handmade paper,

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I wanted to do something a bit different.
Chloe has been having some fun with wire wrapping crystals and left the wire and pliers in my studio, so I thought I would give a try with a little wire sculpture.

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C’s wire plus a few beads and voila! Here are my two fish:

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I took them outside to photograph them in the morning sunshine. I love how they sparkle.

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I think maybe they might end up on the Christmas tree among my collection of glass ornaments, but for now, I think they’ll hang out on the grapevine wreath above the fireplace.

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Come on over to Sabine’s and check out everyone’s ideas. :D

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A trip to the antique market

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Around us in OXON, there are weekly antique markets. I always think that they are too expensive and professional and so rarely visit one, but this one in Newbury, at the racecourse, coincided with a drop off R needed to make to a friend, and so I decided I’d do that for him and visit the market.

It’s the most beautiful autumnal weather here. A bit drizzly, a few sunny spells and that generally unsettled England that we all know and love, but the drizzle didn’t dampen the spirits of the antique hunters. Holy smokes, there was a lot of beautiful stuff here. Mostly things I couldn’t afford, (or didn’t want to afford, because I’m used to finding bargains and unrecognised prized treasures at flea markets and car boot sales, and so an organised antiques market seems a bit pricey to me), but I did still find beautiful, affordable and worthwhile treasures.

I bought some of those spools from the Victorian cloth factories, some scraps of 18th and 19th C materials, and an album of sorts dated 1909, kept by a travelling girl. I’ll show you next time.

What are everyone’s thoughts on organised antique fairs? Here in E, they have a large and booming trade, but then there’s a huge population here, so maybe that’s the mitigating factor. Hmm…

WordPress weekly photo challenge, Fray.

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I was just thinking of another meaning. Of how deer fray the velvet off their antlers to mark territory. And I was thinking of how I sat in the grass at Charlecote Park and watched the male roe deer grazing. And, as I sat there, a small group came running down the meadow to join the larger group. They rubbed antlers, smelt noses and accepted each other.

A fray of sorts.

For the wordpress weekly photo challenge, Fray.

Charlecote park kitchens, laundry and brew house

Oh boy, I was in heaven in these Charlecote park rooms.

As a collector of all things vintage, my heart went all out to everything here and I just wanted to move in. As a matter of fact, I contemplated applying for the volunteer job the lady had in the kitchen, making scones for the children and petting the kitchen cat all day.

Except I’d end up painting in these rooms…lol…I just know it. Great big canvases stood up all along the walls. Might not go over too well with the National Trust.

Anyway, have a look and this incredibly photo-heavy post…but then you already know that’s the standard round here. :D

What follows is the most beautiful vintage house porn you’ve seen in a while, and, if you’re like me and love old copper and black steel and ironstone, let’s move in here together.

You can do the scones and I can paint. ;D

Kitchen:
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Laundry house:
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Brew house:
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The Chilterns View, a dreamy holiday stay

The other day, Robert and I gave Catherine a ride into London.
We picked her up from a dreamy little cabin in the middle of nowhere. It’s a little holiday complex called The Chilterns View, and, for being so central to practically everywhere, it’s standing in the middle of the lovely Chilterns countryside, beautifully isolated with fields, trees and wildflowers.

R drove up into the middle of a field and asked, “where is the path again?”

There’s a path?!?

But yes, there was a line where the clover wasn’t quite so high.

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He said, “follow me. :D ” and walked past a fire pit beside a pond…

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…past a little rustic shelter…

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…down a narrow path lined with wildflowers…

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…up an even narrower path between trees…

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…and onto the front porch of the little cabin.

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Inside…OH WOW! To me, the little cabin looks like a bijou cigar box made form the finest, rarest woods to keep the precious contents perfectly safe.

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Everything you might need is all contained within that little jewel of a box. There’s a two burner kitchenette, a ultra modern bathroom, a little sitting area around a woodburner and a wonderful, comfy bed.

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This is the view form the front porch. Couldn’t you just sit out here and paint, write, photograph all day?

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The outer skin of the cabin is a tough and beautiful canvas.

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And THERE’S A HOT TUB!!!

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This is the patio space where you can sit and have a glass of wine. (and look out over that view)

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I loved this boot pull and welly drier beside the front door.

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This is R’s look of, “One more shot and we really have to go, V.”

(sigh) I know.

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I can see this being a fantastic artist’s retreat. :D

In case you would like to check this wonderful place out, here are the contact details again.

What’s that? Carole’s wonderful drawing challenge

The other day Robert and I were out in the field test driving my Land Rover and our neighbour Polly came to see and ask if we wanted some fresh eggs from her chickens.

We were delighted and walked with her to the chicken coop.

We looked in on the girls and I said, “what’s that?” It looked like a shiny black bead looking directly at me from under the steps of the coop. It blinked and revealed itself to be the eye of a rat!

This rat wasn’t going to give up his eggs for anyone…oh no!

But we had Polly’s huge dog with us, (and he wanted an egg), and so eventually the rat saw the game was up and hopped away giving us the middle claw.

And me without my camera. :(

Today, I took a piece of lino and carved that daemon rat on it to show you exactly what he looked like…to the minutest detail!

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I printed him on a piece of newspaper with the article, “The Value of Disrespect.”

It seemed to fit…lol.

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Also yesterday I took this photo. Any idea what that is?

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It’s the after effects of a huge military jet from a nearby RAF base disturbing a cloud. Cool, isn’t it?

Sharing with Carole and all the gang. :D Pop over when you have a chance and see other wonderful interpretations of the theme.

Taking a chance

Yesterday, C and I pointed the car west and began to climb out of the Okanagan valley up, up, and up the Coastal mountain range for what seemed like an awfully long time. Driving my large 4-wheel drive often means that open windows leave little room for conversation, however air conditioning leaves us dying for fresh air. So, when we were two hours driving, I spied a little turn off and a little dirt road which promised a lake.

Look at those inviting clouds showing the way. Can you blame us? :D

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About two km down the road and there it was. A perfect little lake in the middle of meadows set about with wild flowers.

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We stopped the car, got out and decided we needed a walk around. How glorious and warm the day was.

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The crickets were chirping, the red-winged blackbirds singing, the swallows swooping above the water where a loon was diving, and, every so often, a lake trout jumped for a fly and landed with a gentle “glop” sound and perfectly circular ripples.

We walked and then we sat and took it all in for a long time.

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And then, we hit that interminable highway again.

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Sharing with Mary at Mosaic Monday

Another announcement! A summer blog tour

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I’ve been invited to take part is an exciting summer at home blog tour featuring some wonderful gals.

It was the brainchild of my friend Kelly and her friend Julie and the line up is as follows:

Wednesday,  June 18th

 On Sutton Place

Stone Gable

My Soulful Home

Thursday,  June 19th

 Country Design Style

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Lilacs & Longhorns

Friday,  June 20th

 Thistlewood Farms

At The Picket Fence

Jennifer Rizzo 

Saturday,  June 21st

Our Southern Home

Southern Hospitality

Debbie Doos

And ME! Right here, Saturday!

And if you come have a peek on Saturday, I will give away this little announcing Towhee on Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet , (after I finish him up.)

And now, as a thank you for sticking around, here is something I spied today:

This guy has been left double parked.

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Oh, wait…that’s better. :D

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Coca Cola, Rachel’s wonderful drawing challenge

Well, this was an interesting twist for me.

I don’t drink coke. I can’t imagine filling my body with ten teaspoons of sugar and huge amounts of caffeine and DNA destroying potassium benzoate. :( (but I hear it’s great for getting rust off of metal)

I actually don’t drink any pop at all, so it was a bit of a stretch to come up with something coke related.

The first thing I thought about was pop art, Andy Warhol, as in: “You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”

So, ubiquitous as it is, I didn’t really want to disseminate the whole coke image.

I thought about buying a can, dumping the pop out and using the aluminum for some art… recycling the rest…making more cans of coke available…but then again I ran into the problem of personally not agreeing with contributing to the cola market.

What to do…what to do…

Then I got an idea!

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I searched out the biggest pieces of sea glass in my collection and tried a few photo transfer, and it worked!

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The funny thing about photo transfers, is you have to draw the image, then scan it then cut it up and transfer it then remove the paper backing then clear coat it…

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That’s like seventeen steps when you could simply have drawn the darn thing on the object in the first place…lol.

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But it’s much more fun this way, isn’t it?

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So who knows if this glass came from coca cola bottles, but then who knows if it didn’t? I’m taking artistic liberty here ;)

I can see there being a few more photo transfer pieces of sea glass in my life.

When you have a chance, drop by Rachel’s and check out some other fantastic coke related art.