About the January drive for fresh, new, spring, clean

You know what I do when I need to clean up?
I buy flowers!
And what’s better than one hyacinth? Two! :D
At the moment they are gracing both sides of the kitchen sink, but they might want to move to follow me around the house.

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So I swept the floors and got to the dining room floor and suddenly the cat hair and dust stuck to the hardwood. I thought, “what the heck?” I thought it’s my miracle orchid. It tends to drop sap drops from its blooming spikes. So I washed the wood underneath it and kept going.

Imagine my surprise and then imagine my horror when I discovered sap under my saved palm! “Oh, oh”, I thought, and had a good look and my worst suspicions were confirmed. The dreaded scale!

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Oh boy! I’ve thrown plants out for less. But this palm is already four feet tall and luxurious and I actually love it. But scale is so hard to control…and there was a huge infection! Right here is the reason I don’t really do house plants! So what to do? Save or compost?

Oh alright then…Save!

I got a large (2′ x 3′) plastic tub and filled it with warm, soapy water, stuffed newsprint into the pot to stop the soil from falling out, and tipped it sideways into the soapy suds and grabbed an old toothbrush and scrubbed the living daylights out of each and every piece of that palm for over an hour!

After the palm, I really wanted to put away the few Christmas decorations which got missed…

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…but ended up playing with Morgan instead. She commandeered the box anyway.

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Last night C took down my spotlight and vintage tripod to take some photos for her work.

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She finished her photography and said, “Mom, I think your spotlight might have an electrical fault because it really smells like it’s burning.”

Oh no! Not another thing wrong round here! :D

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Then we investigated and guess what we found!!!
A wasp nest? What? A little wasp nest was burning under that super strong light bulb.

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Well, that makes sense. I haven’t actually touched this spotlight since since last May or so. (Counting back, May and June were fine for light, summer I was in E, and since Sept there has been that other bit of nonsense happening…so that makes sense)

I should really get back to work, but today is cold and rainy, and so we all feel like Morgan looking out into the drippy world. Well, maybe I’ll put the rest of those decorations away since Morgan is out of the box. :D At least I will have accomplished something today.

Boy, I really have to get back into my strong work ethic.

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We all live under the same moon

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beach love

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Yesterday I took a walk on the beach at sunset and I thought about how intensely I miss Robert now that he’s had to return to E. Then I looked to the West, into the setting sun, and then at the rising moon, and thought, “that’s the same sun that warms him, that’s the same moon that lights his way at night.”

It’s a comfort of sorts.

Christmas day warmth

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Christmas day

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Christmas day warmth.

Here on this dreary, rainy West Coast, the sun came out for Christmas. It came out and warmed up our spirits and the neighbourhood pussy willows.

Our Christmas day was full of roasting and baking and icing. It was full of quiet moments, sleepy lap cats, candle light and open fire. It was full of The Queen’s Speech, Doctor Who and James Bond.

It was merry and bright and warm. :D

Sharing all this Christmas warmth with the WordPress photo bunch :D

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas

There’s so much excitement round here. Do you all feel like that Christmas eve?

Christmas eve is the traditional Czech Christmas celebration, and, as my mother is coming to celebrate with us, I’m making a traditional Czech feast which includes a carp.

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And here is the beast!

Robert thinks carp is a big joke. I explained that one must eat the carp to have the right to put the carp scales into their wallet, to insure that one won’t run out of money for the whole of the next year.

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And he said, “Let me get this straight. At some point millions of years ago, some Czech officials said, ‘How are we going to get our good people to eat this horrible, bony, but prolific fish?’ ‘I know, let’s make up a superstition!'” :D

Lol, it might be true! It’s as big a pain to prepare as it is to eat. See that scale in my hair? That one chose me!

This particular fish came completely intact, which meant I had to gut it! (Brave girl me!) I have to tell you something. Inside carp is a sort of hourglass shaped sac which is its swim bladder. It looks like a balloon, and, as children, my cousins and I were given these “balloons” to play with while our grandmother prepared the fish. (there were usually three or four carp swimming in the tub over night) I told R this story and he laughed and said that next jousting day, I better not say anything about the little British children marching around holding fake severed heads if I played with fish organs as a child. I guess he has a point.

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There was a little last minute prezzy wrapping.

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And, as usual, Morgan did her best to help.

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Then, then all the wrapping was done…

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…Morgan took up station in the kitchen to keep an eye on supper.

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The evening came and we sat down to our Czech Christmas supper.

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And Morgan took up residence in the dining room.
Yes, she was given hand-outs under the table. Spoiled cat. Milo was under a blanket in the TV room and so he missed out on the carp.

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We had a bit of wine and exchanged prezzies with my mom. She gave me the most beautiful and huge amethyst geode. It’s just so glorious that it now has pride of place in the middle of the mantle. I’ll take a photo soon and show you.

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Then we kicked off our shoes and went into the family room to watch a movie. R picked You’ve Got Mail. I’ve never seen it and it was lovely.

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All the prezzies went under the tree…

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…and off we went eager to wake up for our traditional British Christmas morning.

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Just as we were in bed, there was a soft thump from the kitchen. That scrubby little Morgan climbed up on the counter and dragged a whole loaf of bread out of the bread basket and onto the floor!!!

But now all is still and all is calm. I wish you all a wonderfully merry Christmas day with loads of love and warmth to sustain you for the whole year. I thank you for your loving support and friendship. It means to world to me and you’re all in my heart.

May you be loved.

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Hello from Sunday night

Hello from Sunday night my dear and so loved friends.
I can’t even begin to thank each and every one of you for your deep and loving wishes on my last post. You’ve all moved me to tears and I treasure every sentiment of good will.

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And even though the weather is our typical dreary wetcoastness, my heart is warm and shiny.

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Inside there are flowers. Beautiful flowers. Beautiful Christmasy flowers. The top bouquet of red roses and green chrysanthemums came from mom as a happiness prezzy and the beautiful one below came from Chloe as a wonderful surprise for me when I came home from the last treatment.

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I have an old book from 1908. It’s one of my favourite books in the whole world. It’s bound in suede and is called “White Hyacinths”. The author, Elberd Hubbard, writes, “If I had but two loaves of bread, I’d sell one and buy white hyacinths to feed my soul.” Flowers do feed the soul, don’t they?

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The house is shiny with Christmas warmth.

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I’ve hung up my Oxfrodshire Christmas map above the mantle so I can see it every day. I really love this map. I painted it over Christmas at West Cottage a couple of years ago.

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One one side of the old Craftsman mantle is an old, (but new to us), Christmas village. We’re into watching Murdoch Mysteries and, when I saw this little village in the local thrift store for something ridiculous like $14, I though it reminded me of that gentle Canadian era, and beside, I always wanted one. I haven’t figured out any lighting for the houses and lamp posts, but give me time and I will.

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Also on the mantle are these two ancient alabaster cups. I love how they glow with candle light.

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The last of the autumnal apples are keeping cool on the back porch. They are still delicious and crisp. Inside, in a big wooden bowl, are cookie cutters ready for this year’s gingerbread. I think it’s about time I got my act in gear and made some, don’t you?

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Last time I looked Milo was sacked out on C’s bed, but I’m not allowed into C’s room right now because of the Christmas prezzie situation, but here’s Morgan, eyeing the baubles on the Christmas tree. One of my ornaments, a beautiful glass peacock, came apart this year. Not a big deal, just the bottom clip separated from the glass base. Before I could glue it back together, Morgan grabbed the peacock feather part and made off with it to play. Luckily she didn’t break it. Scrubby little cat.

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And, just in case you think it’s all beautiful and bucolic round here, here is a photo of the kitchen table, where we are hanging out at the moment. R is researching replacing a missing lead to some headphones and I’m writing this post. Please note the sculpey, the tape, the sheep’s wool duster stuck behind the table, the camera lens cover and other detritus of life. :D

Happy solstice and big hugs to everyone.

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D

Hello from Sunday night

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Hello everyone. :D I know it’s been an age since I posted, and to tell you the truth, I’ve missed photographing and posting something rotten.

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Speaking of something rotten, C came down with a nasty little cold last week. Tis the season, huh? We drove down to our favourite juice bar, the Juicery, and picked up some good medicine. She was over the cold in no time.

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R and M
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One big bit of news, Robert has flown in for Christmas. :D It’s so lovely to have him home again. And, with R here, we went to find a Christmas tree. We found a beautiful, slightly imperfect, spruce, which a) we could afford!!! (seen the price of Christmas trees this year?) and b) reached up the nine feet to the ceiling.

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Then it was just a matter of decorating it. I’ve been collecting glass ornaments for about a million years now. I love them more than anything. It’s been two years since we got them out because Christmas has been in England for the past two years, and I was so excited to see them again. They’re like old friends…do you know what I mean? There’s that wonderful familial comfort in seeing Jonathan’s baby ornament, (34 yrs old now), my grandmother’s favourite one to remember her by, one special glass bird we somehow brought out of the Czech republic in 1968, the street car from San Francisco, vintage silvered glass bells from the antique markets in England…so many special stories attached to so many of them.

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So many beautiful ornaments gathered in various places over many years. It took me four hours to put most of them on.

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Especially since you can see just how much help I had…lol.

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch.

Hello from Sunday night

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Well, here is a turn-up for the books!
I know all my friends on the less temperate parts of the old globe will be thinking “oh, just shut up V!”, but we’re thrilled to bits with the Friday night to Saturday morning snow. Oh yes we are!

We didn’t mind the frozen fingers and the scraping of the car first thing Saturday morning either. Didn’t mind one bit because we were invited to our wonderful Realtor‘s client appreciation party at the cinema. C was incredibly excited because the film on offer was the third Hunger Games film. At some point in C’s young teen life, apparently I agreed to see all those dreadful Twilight movies with her and she held me to that, and now, teen-agy films, especially if she’s read the books, seem to be a C and my tradition. Anyway, these films are much better than Twilight, so there’s that, and there was hot tea and glazed doughnuts.

The sun shone cool and crisp for rest of the weekend, and, with the exception of a bit of laundry and a bit of grocery shopping, I really didn’t do much else except enjoy the sun and some good books.

And sometimes that’s as it should be. :D

Linking with Judith and the mosaic bunch.

Getting into the holiday spirit

It’s beginning to feel very wintery here…as much as the West Coast gets “winter”, but as you can see from this “artfully arranged” reflections shot :D the atmosphere here is cooler, whiter, and darker than ever.

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Recently mom bought some beautiful little Christmas lights at Anthropologie and I helped her string them up in her living room. They’re the same ones I have, (which stay on all the year long), except mom’s are a longer chain. Aren’t they lovely and twinkly?

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Yesterday we had a walk in mom’s neck of Vancouver, Kerrisdale, grabbed mom a coffee and had a good mooch around some of the stores. This place has changed so much recently. The sky-high rent prices have forced almost all the quaint little boutiques to relocate or close, and ubiquitous chains have moved in. Shame really, but that’s life. Still, a couple of little boutique stores remain. In front of mom’s favourite coffee shop, Cafe Artigiano, was this tiny little dog waiting for his master. He was so friendly and so super cute. Across the street is one of the last remaining boutiques, a flower shop, with a completely different animal in the window. Isn’t that fabulous? Chloe said, “Narnia”. Talk about holiday spirit!

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The other side of the shop had this wonderful window full of branches. So many surprises dotted around this window that we couldn’t stop looking into it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to replicate something at home for Christmas? I think so.

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Next we drove down to my favourite garden centre Southlands. I love this fragrant, warm greenhouse and could very easily just move in! :D

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I suppose if I lived in a greenhouse there wouldn’t be much room, or need, for a Christmas tree :( I suppose some vintage Santas and a painting or poster or two might be enough?

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Or maybe just plant some festive flowers, like Christmas cactus, poinsettias or these fabulous red bromeliads or maybe some gingers, or bird of paradise.

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Actually, probably not…lol…I’d still fill it with my millions of glass ornaments (marginal exaggeration) and over-the-top gingerbread houses.

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And just look at the fabulous trees waiting for December! Wow!

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Since this year Christmas is in Canada, I’d love a 11 foot tall tree in the living room. I bet it will end up completely covered by my ornaments.

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But not like this…lol. This is a little over-the-top for me. :D

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I usually get my tree on December 15th and then it stays up till twelfth night. But now I’m so into the Christmas spirit, that I can’t wait to get the tree. I might not last till the 15th. :D

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Hello from Sunday night

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hula hoop

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What a fabulously glorious weekend round here! :D

After a solid week of rain the sun peeked out on Saturday making the whole day shiny and bright. Kerstie and Adam came back form their holidays and stopped by with our little girls for a full day of family fun. We’ve missed them like crazy and each time they come for a visit it seems like they’re so much older. Binky (Ever) is now four years old and in preschool, Bunny (Isla) is two and everything a bright and shiny red-headed girl should be, and baby Ziggy (Zoe) is the smiliest, happiest little six month old in the world. There was a whole lot of toy exploring, blanket rolling, baby cradling, book reading, castle building, and crayon drawing going on.

Kerstie found a “professional fire hula hoop” and brought it for Chloe. Chloe tried it on for size and loved it to pieces. Morgan was completely entranced looking at the spinning hoop. No, it isn’t going to be lit on fire at any time.

We explored the grandma hand-knit sweater box to swap out some of the sweaters that the girls can now wear. I guess that for them this is the great-grandma sweater box. Chloe was telling us about how much she loved each sweater. Remembering when and where she wore them and telling us which were her favourites and why. I sometimes think I really should learn how to knit. Maybe just a sock or two. Wait, I guess it would have to be two…lol.

The sun shone all day Sunday as well. My indoor plants, which usually have a nice holiday outdoors all summer, are all doing very well, and I was super excited to find several nice, fat flower buds on my cymbidium orchid. I’m super excited because this is only the third time in, like a million years, that my little miracle plant is promising me a bloom. I must have done something right this year. :D

Hope you’ve all had as shiny and bright a weekend as I have, and if not, I hope your week ahead is wonderful.

Linking with Judith and the mosaic bunch.

Folds, Carole’s drawing challenge

When my wonderful (almost) neighbour Carole suggested “folds” for this weekend’s drawing challenge, I thought of the origami I keep failing at in such spectacular ways...lol.

In the china cabinet are two tiny origami cranes right beside a tiny Alice, a present from a visiting friend, and I can’t even begin to think how such a tiny thing is folded. Chopsticks maybe?

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So I decided that a painting with a bit of collage might be more suited to my style, specifically tissue paper collage.

I love using tissue paper and moving it with the brush and the mat medium, and making it fold in soft waves on the painted page.

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So here is my piece for this week, The Dove. I love the soft folds in the texture, I love the folds of the dove’s wings, I love the gentle folds in the hands. It’s a good one.

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When you have a chance, come hop over to Carole’s for links to the folding bunch. :D