A windstorm in the night

Well, here we are in that terrible West Coast spring weather, where the clouds pile up and crash into the mountains and it rains and rains and rains.

I’ve been busy inside the new silversmithing studio and also I’ve repotted the indoor plants and terrariums.

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Then last night we had a windstorm and all the rain clouds were blown away.

Unfortunately, my greenhouse was also blown away and almost all the seedlings were dumped out into the garden.

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I picked up as many as I could and repotted them and watered them in. Robert righted the greenhouse and weighed it down with rocks and bricks.

Well, this will certainly be an interesting gardening year as I can’t tell my aster seedlings from my bachelor’s buttons from my zinnias! :D

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Still, the sun is shining, and so we got on with some outdoor work. (With Morgan’s supervision of course.)

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We bought a new, small pond pump and created a fountain from an old water pump I’ve had for years, and then, finally hung up a second fountain into a permanent place. Previously, this ornate Italian fountain was in the entrance hall of a past heritage house I owned, and I didn’t know what to do with it since I moved and left it in storage for about 13 years. The jury is still out on that one, but I think it’ll be fine where we put it; especially with a beautiful clematis growing over it.

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And also, we took my dad’s old Craftsman toolbox and, after R drilled out the rivets holding the handles, we sanded down the rust…

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…and sprayed it with rust paint. I love the new shiny red. It still needs to dry and be put back together again and slid under one of the work benches, but as soon as I’ve got that done, I’ll take photos.

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We got lucky today, and tomorrow it’s supposed to be back to the rain, and, I suppose, back to indoor work, but the sun was lovely while it lasted. :D

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Round here

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It’s been a quiet sort of day round here. A little work, a little play, a walk in the rain around the hood…nothing special going on.

I suppose it’s the first day we’ve had without someone rushing around. Chloe has finished her semester now and had a big sigh of relief, and now she’s off to Bryson’s parent’s cabin for a few days rest and cats and dogs and horses.

Robert and I are trying to figure out the best way to photograph my art work without a lot of natural light and it isn’t really working so I’m going to put it off till we get a brighter day.

Yesterday I made C a new ring, a bit of a congratulations of finishing your semester prezzy. I love the way it turned out but I still have a bit of work to finish burnishing the bezel around the beach glass and black goldstone.

And, after starting all the sweet peas and ending up with about 200% more healthy seedlings than my garden can accommodate, I smartened up and bought five nasturtium seedlings…just the right amount.

What’s going on with everyone? How’s spring coming along? Has it shown up in your part of the old globe yet?

My friend John has sprouted enough cabbage seedlings for England, Diane is having to protect her porch flowers from some late frost, Michelle has made the most wonderful, cuddly, bear sweater in the world, (she’s such a talented knitter), and Joanne is brewing some wonderful natural dyes. Can’t wait to see what she does with them. Speaking of, has anyone been dyeing with onion skins lately? I remember colouring Easter eggs with them. Think I might try again this year.

Let me know what you’re all up to. :D

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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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Hello from Sunday night

Hello from a wonderfully lazy Sunday night which resulted from a wonderfully lazy Sunday. Isn’t that how Sundays should be?

Every time…OK, it’s rare, but I try hard…every time I get a Sunday like today, I sink into it and enjoy every moment.

I think it has something to do with the rain…and stillness…and lack of energy after an all out Saturday and very late Saturday night…but what ever’s done it, isn’t it wonderful and decadent to have the time for a Sunday like today?

Actually, tonight is the full moon, isn’t it? Shame the night is so rainy and overcast, otherwise I would be tempted to put the crystals out onto the window sills into the moonlight for a clearing of energy, and grab one of those crystals to help me tomorrow.

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It’s been a hectic week with loads of unpleasantness all round, but I’ve done well. The notices in my Quo Vadis are checked off and everything is accounted for, and generally I’m on top of things. And seven days and counting till Mexico so lucky me will not be complaining.

Balance, it’s hard to find it some days, isn’t it?

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Like today, I decided to get a lazy start on the bunting for the Art in the Garden show. Now I know, I can swear, that I have a rotary cutter…somewhere…but for the life of me I couldn’t find it. Don’t you hate it when you so feel like getting into a project but lack the raw materials you know you have somewhere? Oh I hate that. It takes me so much energy to organise a project that I hardly have any left for the project itself!!!

So no rotary cutter, plus the old cutting board I have is cracked and definitely not self healing any more, meant a drive down to Michael’s to see about replacing the mat and rotary cutter. But then, bonus number 1! Don’t you love Michael’s perpetual 40% off on-line coupon?

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The cats didn’t move even once today. Milo has switched allegiance. He used to sleep on my bed but these days he’s on C’s bed; or rather, under C’s Hudson’s Bay blanket. I tried to call him for supper but he gave me the look as if to say, “you can’t mean me; I had the night shift.”

Morgan…well…Morgan is very good at ignoring everyone…all day.

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But I did hit my closet today. Mainly because our friend Eugenia will house sit for a week and, also, I need to organise some warm weather clothes, so my closet got the overhaul. This photo is from about midway thru organisation with a serious “not sure what to do with” pile on the shelf.

You know, sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who hangs art inside her closet. If you do then let me know; I’d love to feel like part of a pack.

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C’s major focus this weekend has been on homework; on submitting two term papers ahead of Mexico week so she has peace and quiet, and evidence of study is all over her bedroom floor.

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I’m back to the lapidary club tomorrow with Walt to try to cast the silver things. I’m a bit trepidacious about the process, but feel like I’m in good hands with Walt, so feeling so very excited as well. I just want things to work out…you know? Want things to turn out perfectly. I know… the big I…the capitol “I”… ego talking. (But it’s all such a one shot deal…you know…such a long process of preparation and casting and one of a kind materials, which will be destroyed in the process and gone forever if it doesn’t work out.)

Later tonight when I speak to Robbie he’ll remind me that if I think I can control even 10% of my life I’m being arrogant. I love that he grounds me.

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I’ve been cooking for two lately. NO, DON’T GET EXCITED! I meant for two suppers…sheesh…I have three children too many already…and they keep multiplying!

No I meant I’ve been making larger suppers in order to freeze a portion for Eugenia while she’s here. Tonight I made the most delicious pork tenderloin a la Cordon Bleu; a left-over from my Cordon Bleu days. I’ll share the recipe. It’s been a most welcome family favourite for near on 30 years. Do you have family favourites?

We should do a family favourite cook off. :D

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Pork Tenderloin a la Cordon Bleu

2 lbs pork tenderloin
1 cup stock, (chicken or beef)
6-8 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 onion, sliced
bit of oil for frying

marinade for the meat:

2 Tbs soya sauce
4 Tbs ketchup
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs fruit chutney type sauce, like HP sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp pepper

- cut the meat into 2 inch slices
- mix marinade in a bowl and put meat into it and let stand for at least an hour. (I’ve left it overnight, frozen the pork in the marinade…all sorts of shenanigans.)

- pour a little oil into pan
- heat the oil and lift the pork slices from the marinade and brown them. Work in small batches and transfer the browned meat into a pot.
- After the meat is browned, add the onion to the pan, brown, and put into the pot with the meat and deglaze the pan with some stock and the rest of the marinade. Pour the stock into the pot over the meat.
- Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 450 and, after the 30 minutes, lift the pork out of the pot reserving the stock and place pork into an over proof baking dish. Place cut tomatoes on top.
- reduce the stock by half and pour over the meat. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Oh so simple and so yummy. Sorry for the not exactly precise directions. It was a sort of invented on the fly thing, and it’s been ages since I bothered to measure anything…but it’s safe to say you just can’t go wrong with this tangy/sweet/savoury dish.

I usually serve this with mashed potatoes, (mainly because I really love mashed potatoes), but it’s just as fabulous over pasta.

I hope you give it a try.

In the mean time, I hope you keep your balance this next week and please cross your fingers for my Great Lost Wax Method silver experiment; this next step on my silversmithing journey. (Sounds so mysterious, doesn’t it?)

Much love and big hugs. Keep your balance this week and I hope you start it off on a lovely positive note.

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Sharing with Mary at Mosaic Mondays and Dwellings-the heart of your home, and Create with joy.

Something old, something new, something borrowed and blue skies

Does anyone feel like spring cleaning? Oh boy, oh boy, do I ever. I feel like sorting everything out and giving so much away.

So today I started with some stored boxes of material. I don’t know why I keep all this material. I suppose I always plan on that quilt…you know, the one we all plan to make one day.

In the boxes I found a pile of beautiful vintage napkins and brand new French linen tea towels.

Lovely surprise. It’s amazing the stuff I stash away. :D

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So first a pile of material I no longer love.

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I think I’ll put it on Craigslist.

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Clover found a large amount of glazed chintz and fell in love with it and is trying to persuade me to change all the fabrics in the living room.

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Morgan found the keeping it box.

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Then Morgan found the give away pile. She’s so helpful. :D

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Then a pile of bright, cheery cottons. I’ve decided to use them to make long ropes of bunting and hang them across the garden for Art in the Garden. Wouldn’t that look so lovely and festive? And, after all, I made all that heart bunting, so how hard can triangles be?

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I know they’re all so different, but, to me, somehow they all work together.

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While C was dreaming of a life with glazed chintz, I remembered that I bought Robert a wonderful leather jacket at a car boot sale…

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…and remembered that I forgot to tell Robbie about it, so I requisitioned C to model it for a few photos.

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Lol, he loved it…and the photos made him laugh.

And for something borrowed, I borrowed Walt’s silversmithing supplies at his lapidary club to learn how to do the lost wax method of casting silver. Nothing to write home about yet, and I have to wait till next week to see how it all turns out, but I’m so excited for this. I’m making two silver sea shells, a branch with lichen on it and a ring form.

Not sure what I’ll end up making with the finished silver pieces, (except for the ring…which will be…er…a ring), but I’m so excited! I’m thinking a pendant out of the branch, but not sure what else.

Hope it all works out!

PS. Sent some of the photos to R who sent back “Ooooh , we could make steam punk switches for medusa…. like little medusa heads !!!!” (Medusa being his new amazing bespoke car he’s building with twin Jag engines and a five foot long bonnet) Lol, he’s always thinking. :D

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Hello from Sunday night

Hi everyone.
How’s the melt going round the old globe?

Yesterday we were at Whole Foods for a little late lunch, in the absolute pouring rain, and I think all of Vancouver freaked out and went shopping. Isn’t that the way of rainy March Saturdays? :D We sat inside, (after a ten minute wait for a table to become available), and I looked outside at the indomitable Vancouverite spirit. You know that Vancouverites don’t carry umbrellas and do sit outside in all kinds of weather? It’s true Magoo. I got to thinking that it’s high time I planted my seeds for an early showing, (for the Art in the Garden show). High time I put up my little greenhouse too, but who wants to do that in this wretched weather?

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Then, this morning, what’s that I feel on my cheeks? SUN!!! Oh, oh, are we all on standby for spring? :D

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I walked around the garden and there was wonderful birdsong, so I hung up the little ball full of sheep’s wool, to feather their nests, and look who I found in the lawn crocuses. (Yes I do use the term “lawn” liberally, and generally mean that anything growing there, which is mostly green and gets mowed, equals lawn.)

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So into my garage and over to the potting bench, I tipped a bag full of seed started compost into my potting bucket and filled up the little seed pots.

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In anticipation of a predicted break in the weather, I soaked some sweet pea, mange tout peas, runner beans and morning glory seeds over night. It’s always a good idea to soak these seeds and also to scarify them. You should have seen me the other night with the sweet pea seeds and a pair of nail clippers trying to nick the little round things. I was ever so careful to nick each one and keep the dark purple sweet peas separate from the white ones, (because both kinds look brown), and, just as I finished and stood up, I tipped the containers and overcompensated for the tip, spilling the peas all over the living room floor, mixing up the colours. You have to laugh…what am I like. :D

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So as I was planting the seeds I spied Chloe at the little bistro table having a cup of tea. I asked her if she would be happy to plant out some lettuce seeds in the cold frame.

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She said she would be happy to and got the package and read the directions…

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But then Morgan the Garden Inspector had to make sure the soil was suitable for the lettuce.

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I finished putting together my little greenhouse and put my seed trays in it. I gave them a mist of water and zipped them up for the night.

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In other weekend news, I finished my bench and established a little silversmithing studio on one side, (the sunny side). I bought some basic supplies and raided my late father’s tools for some more. Mom gave me an old red tool box with a bit of a rusted out bottom, but nevermind that, a bit of cardboard and felt fixed that right up. I love how clean and red it became after I washed the grime off. I also bought a little silver and some cabochon jewels, and put them into my grandmother’s jewellery box. And my ginger jar lamp, which Kerstie rescued for me from the thrift store, this little lamp which everyone loves to hate, but I love to love, has finally found the perfect home.

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Adding to that a tall, comfy stool, also rescued. I loved this stool because it’s heavy oak with lovely brass details and brass foot rests. Now that stool has found a permanent place in my home too.

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Well, that’s about it from the weekend. It’s been such a busy week; I hope this next week is a bit easier.

I’m getting so excited about spring.

Sharing with Mary at Mosaic Monday and Sunlit Sunday, Inspire me Monday and Dwellings.

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Randomness alert!

Those Valentine’s day roses were so lovely that I wanted to hang on to them past their indoor prime and so I lay them on the cafe table out in the garden where I could see them from the kitchen. There’s something so wonderfully decedent about red roses laying on a table outside. Kind of like dropping the rose petals by the front door. When it snowed they were even lovelier. Now the snow is melting and I suppose I’ll have to compost them sooner or later. :(

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Speaking of snow, do you see Morgan there on the patio? You can just about make her out thru the railing at the bottom of the stairs. She has been the grumpiest cat from hell lately. She absolutely hates the snow and growls and spits each time she’s put outside.

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Went for a walk round the ‘hood and thru a little botanical garden near by. I was after some winter blooming flowers, like this heather, and then came round this greenhouse full of blooming calla lilies and started begonia hanging baskets and thought to myself, “man, that girl has the best job ever!”

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Speaking of gardens, remember when I told you all that I signed the garden for the open garden Art in the Garden weekend? Well, I got the call that the judges would like to come preview the garden this coming Wed to see if they will allow it and the garden looks like a tip! (that’s British for really big mess) Gulp!

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So, instead of working in the garden, I decided to clean up the garage and establish a silvesmithing studio on one of the benches. (The garage also looks like a tip.)

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I worked all day and cleared off one of the work benches and got out the varnish and decided to sand the work bench down and varnish the plywood top to make it look better, but then I thought that actually I really liked the splattered paint and cut marks and scratches, and so I sanded it only lightly and decided to get my stamps and inks and personalise the bench some more before varnishing it.

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I love it! And now I want to paint the walls and rehang the paintings and clean up the potting bench and start the seeds for the flowers and veggies, and invite people in and serve tea at Art in the Garden time, and possibly have some friends come and do some art in there and make my jeweller in there…Oh, I’m so excited for that space.

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And I have to have all this done by Wed. 8O

PS. If you’d like the calendar screensaver then help yourself. It’s right there on the side bar for you.

Sharing with Nancy and looking forward to everyone’s randoms. :D

You know how you take a decision one day…

…and the next day think, “WHAT HAVE I DONE!?!”

Yup I’ve got that feeling.

Yesterday I signed my garden up for an Art in the Garden event.

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This is a local event where artists and gardeners come together for one weekend, this year May 31st and June 1st. Musicians preform in the garden, artists show their goods and gardeners open their private gardens for the event.
So far I’ve only applied the garden but also plan to apply for my art.

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Today the sun came out and made the most beautiful silver linings and Chloe took her studies into the living room and is moving the chair around following the sun. So I decided I should probably take stock of the state of the garden…especially if I’m going to have an open garden tour. (Gulp)

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It’s hard to imagine that my garden could look lush and green and fragrant with blossoms…ever!

So I got out some of my favourite gardening books from my bookshelves and had a good look.

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The Art of Gardening in Pots by Elisabeth Lestrieux is my most favourite “garden porn” book in the world! I couldn’t get it in Canada and I really wanted it, (this was years before Amazon delivered everywhere), and so my poor parents tracked it down in England and brought it to me. Ok, my garden will never look like any of the beautiful photos in that book!

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Next I looked at Chihuly at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, by RBG Kew. Then I decided that maybe what I really need is a load of fabulous Chihuly glass all over the garden…lol. Not practical you say? Yeah, if I had the million to buy the glass I’d redo this whole garden instead.

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So I picked up my good old stand by Martha Stewart Gardening. Say what you will, this book saved my sanity when I was confined to bed for the last trimester of my last pregnancy and I’ll always have a great big squishy spot in my heart for MS.
So now we’re talking doable. That book, plus my other two favourites: The Ornamental Kitchen Garden by the late, great gardener Geoff Hamilton, plus Creating Small Formal Gardens by Roy Strong and I’m set for some serious garden thinking.

Spoke to Robbie this afternoon Van/evening UK, and complained about the state of the garden and questioned what I had done and he said, “Oi, stop being a Joan Collins! … Miss Diva!”

Ok, lol, settling down now! :D

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

Post Valentine’s loveliness plus a new page

Today’s rain and cold is making us want to stay at home.
Hibernate. Have a bit more winter.
But we were out of fruit and so decided on a morning trip to Whole Foods.

Every time I’m there I think of how much I love to live with whole, natural, organic goods.
Do you like beeswax candles and fresh, handmade soaps? I do.

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Some of my friends make their own candles and soap. I’ve made candles before but not soap. I’d like to try to one day.

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It’s lovely at home today. It’s warm and fragrant with flowers.

Yesterday I made another page in my personal journal and it was late when I finished constructing it. This afternoon I sliced up a blood orange, lit some candles and had a good look at the page.

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I love these little candles. They are peony scented, made by a small Cornish company called St. Eval Candle Company. Robert gave them to me for Christmas. They are just so delicious.

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I’ve decided that I really love this page.
The words I found there say: “The problem was not sufficient to keep the drive down.”
To me, this represents my drive to constantly create things, to get over my problems and limitation, you know, not let anything hold me down. The words reminded me of weeds…misunderstood flowers really, plants that belong.

Weeds which are so powerful that they push thru cement and grow and flower in any condition, with any limitations. I love weeds and draw, paint, carve and sculpt them a great deal. I used some vibrant tissue rectangles, which came form a wonderful New Year’s Eve years ago, and collaged the other words away, then painted with my acrylics and inks. I’ve run out of mat medium and so used gloss medium and really love the glossy look. Proves once again that there are no mistakes, just happy accidents. :D

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Now I’ve made myself a cup of tea and am reading the next page. So far the words “experimental genius” have captured my attention. (By the way, this next page is the last page with writing. Not sure how I’ll construct the photo pages.)

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Experimental genius reminds me of R! This Valentine’s we are in different countries and he sent me a little video called “look what I found”. It shows all the flood water running across the field paths and I was completely ready to see some squeaky little thing paddling its head off, and, instead, there was an “I” and a heart and a “U” made from bright pebbles under that cold, running water. And his hand was red from the frozen water!

R is such a keeper! :D

Hope your weekend is lovely and tranquil and you’re all basking in the Valentine’s love, which hopefully sticks around in your heart all year.

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