A little autumn magic

Today, after a bunch of errands and a shaky nerves inducing dentist’s appointment, (always the way for me even though everything always turns out just fine), I promised myself a little calm and a little autumn harvest of leaves.

IMG_0608 copy copy

I found my favourite little park and had a walk. Look what I found!

Beautiful amanitas!

IMG_0593 copy copy

IMG_0597 copy copy

IMG_0601 copy copy

My absolutely favourite mushroom in the world. The humble toadstool.

But isn’t it just right, isn’t it perfect? Isn’t it autumn to the max? I think so. Those were fairies who came down last night to dance on the grass, to recline in the soft moss under the trees. Those toadstools are formed from autumn fairy magic. We all know this. :D

IMG_0606 copy copy

OK, maybe I did actually stop here to collect some leaves for an upcoming art project. But being in the company of autumnal fairies is always lovely.

leaves

Afternoon break in a hectic day

park2

IMG_0375 copy copy

IMG_0313 copy copy

IMG_0315 copy copy

park1

IMG_0344 copy copy

IMG_0350 copy copy

This little urban park was such a welcome break in my rather full and hectic day. Clover and I walked around and thru it and noticed that the city really did plant an amazing assortment of trees here. This is an old part of town and some of the trees have probably been here for for the better part of a 100 years, and it was lovely to stop the car, go for a walk and watch the squirrels and birds.

And then we got on with this long, but successful day, made even better by taking some time to stop for a while.

Swoon, Tammie’s drawing challenge

I signed up rather late this week. On Wednesday I thought, “Oh, yeah, drawing challenge!” And it turns out, our host is my friend Tammie, with the word “swoon”.

Oh my gosh, does anyone swoon any more?

I sat in my bedroom Thursday morning and thought about swooning, and kept having images of Edwardian ladies in tight corsets. They used to swoon, didn’t they?

IMG_8262 copy copy

So I went thru a bunch of supplies and pulled out an old Toile de Jouy curtain panel. You know that material? With the bucolic images of lovely Edwardian life.

So I studied it and saw a couple hurrying across a bridge and wondered what they were hurrying away from.

IMG_8265 copy copy

Oh! So that’s it! Will you just look at the state of the apple pickers. The youth these days…eh?

And, does she have a nose ring? And flaming red hair? Is she smoking a cigarette and wearing a pointy Madonna corset?

And does he have blue hair and goatee, and gang tattoos and a huge gold chain? I think so.

And is that a longboard?!? And is he handing her a skull?!?!?

IMG_8266 copy copy

Better hurry along little Edwardian couple. That’s enough to make anyone swoon! :D

Come hop over to my friend Kelly’s lovely blog Soulful Home when you have a chance. Not only is she a fantastic decorator, she has wonderful DIY ideas. She’s started a Soul Sister Series and I’m being featured as her first soul sister, Isn’t that lovely? And I’ve offered a giveaway of one of my original paintings.

And remember to pop over to Tammie’s when you have a chance to check on the rest of the swooning. :D

A little catch up…cause I can’t think of a better title

Well then, fall has well and truly landed on the West Coast.

IMG_0176 copy copy

There are much fewer days of sunshine and this means that there is a greater need to get out into the garden for as much of it as possible.

IMG_0177 copy copy

The garden is still going strong with cool weather crops, but I do think that fate has been a bit cruel to my Brussels sprouts. They are full of aphids and have grown to tiny, one centimetre balls. Hmm, so much for organic sprouts. I did spray them with soapy water, but being away all summer hasn’t helped. Oh well, win some lose some. (I’ll spare you the gruesome photos)

IMG_0178 copy copy

Other parts of the garden are wonderful though. What do we think of the beautyberry, (Callicarpa)? I can’t make up my mind if I like it or not. Three small bushes came with the house and garden. Is it me or do purple berries just seem to shout out “I AM POISON” as a rule? (Although I know they aren’t.)

IMG_1824 copy copy

Sunflowers are so worth growing, aren’t they?

IMG_0181 copy copy

Not only are they lovely, majestic reminders of the most beautiful of van Gogh and France, they make such wonderful fall playgrounds for all sorts of wildlife.

This little chickadee keeps visiting and doesn’t mind us or the cats at all. Chloe got really close to him…like directly underneath the sunflower… and kept snapping photos. He gave her a look, as if to say, “yeah? you and whose army?” and kept pecking out the seeds. I guess he owns the garden.

IMG_1806 copy copy

So now it’s evening and C and I have planted fifty yellow tulips, twenty dwarf irises and gathered a bunch of kale leaves for kale chips to eat in front of the telly tonight.

And, I just bought a 60″ Sony…yes I did! To replace my father’s old, hand-me-down, ancient plasma, which emits a high pitched squeal and burns a thousand kilowatts per hour, (marginal exaggeration), and some decent shows are on now, so I think we might stream something and cocoon.

What’s everybody watching these days? I’m liking this silly Manhattan Love Story and really liking Scorpion, as well as all the favourite returning shows. Gosh I feel spoiled for choice.

One day away from the weekend! Cant come fast enough this week for me. :D

Big hugs, and I hope your Friday just flies by and you’re relaxing into the weekend in no time.

IMG_0180 copy copy

Night time, the WordPress photo challenge

101 copy

036 copy copy

My two night times, the city and the country.
For the WordPress weekly photo challenge.

Hello from Sunday night

fall

IMG_9965 copy copy

IMG_9979 copy copy

painters

IMG_9976 copy copy

IMG_0003 copy copy

IMG_0026 copy copy

IMG_0022 copy copy

IMG_0047 copy copy

IMG_0041 copy copy

IMG_0049 copy copy

IMG_0044 copy copy

IMG_0053 copy copy

gardens

Well, hello autumn! Is everyone ready? Ready for the mountains of leaves and crisp apples and chrysanthemums? Bring it on!

It’s been a rainy week here on the West Coast, and just as well for me because I really needed to cocoon and spend some time in thought and meditation, but the glorious weekend brought sun and loads of it and a wonderful Saturday at the river and Sunday at the beach.

Dogs, and farmer’s markets abound and also strange little art get-togethers. I love that, you know. I mean I love dogs and farmer’s markets, but so love to see a group of people, of all ages and expertise levels, set up their easels, paints and canvases and just go for it for the day. There was a group at the river, about 30 strong, ages five to 85, who painted En Plein-Air for four hours and presented their masterpieces in one of the historic shipyard buildings as an exhibition. I just loved every painting I saw.

One more thing which means super fall to me is HOCKEY! YAY! Clove and I caught the first Wolf Pack game. C’s boy Bryson is an extraordinary skater and has been serving as a linesman for the higher league hockey games, and this game was being played 10 minutes away, so naturally we went to support him. The Wolf Pack team is the last minor league boys can play in before they get called up to the NHL, (or not), so scouts are watching, and the game is fast paced and…um…testosterone-y to the max. In the third period, there were three WP players off the ice in penalties for roughing at the same time. I’m so glad that Bryson has years of Aikido as offensive training…lol. Although we’re technically cheering for the refs, it’s nice when the home team wins, and the Wolf Pack did! :D

So, two more days and we technically put summer 2014 to rest. How is everyone feeling about that? Does anyone do anything about celebrating the equinox? A little pagan ritual or something? I’ve been watching Outlander and now love all things Scottish…including Robbie, who is Scots…but now want to do something spectacular to bring in the fall, like build a stone henge right in my back yard and have a ceremony. I know, I don’t tend to do things by half…lol. Maybe I’ll just make a piece of jewellery from one of the pieces of ancient flint I’ve strung up on a copper wire. What do we think? Maybe a necklace with mystical powers? Looking up the powers of flint, I think I need to get this book!

Well, that about sums up my week and weekend. Hope yours was wonderful and you got the best out of it. If it wasn’t, then oh well, tomorrow’s a new day. Big hugs for a wonderful and shiny week ahead everyone. :D

PS: I have another of those darn spaghetti squashes round here. Anyone know something spaghetti squash fabulous?

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D

Hello from Sunday night, which turned into a Monday post…again

Well, I must admit that this operation has knocked me on my butt!

Here I was all lah-di-dah thinking, “right, op on Monday, yoga class on Wednesday.” Well, not exactly what I managed. Actually, not even close to what I managed.

I did some research and asked my mother, (who is an anaesthetist herself), and the long and short of it is that the anaesthetic drugs settle in the fat cells and take a while to clear, and the longer the procedure, the longer the clearing. It seams that the 90 minutes might take up to one month for my body to get rid of the toxins. Damn, wish there was such a thing as organic anaesthetic. (Don’t say they could have hit me over the head…lol) So I’m plodding along feeling awfully tired and moody and no yoga at all.

home

There have been some lovely and bright spots in my week though, The weather’s been so warm and sunny that I washed all the quilts and feather pillows and hung them in the sunshine to dry, had a lovely harvest of organic grapes from the garden, and I also caught up with some of my children for a fabulous curry supper under purple lights…mmm prawn vindaloo. We had Ziggy with us and she was so good that she slept almost thru the whole supper.

curry

Who else loves curry? Do you make it at home? I hardly ever do, except maybe for butter chicken or something like aloo gobi, but I think I should make it more often.

IMG_9850 copy copy

Also, I’ve been feeling a bit stuck at home and have not had much energy for art, so I decided to rearrange things round here to look a bit more late summer-autumnal. I decided I wanted to look at this large oil of a late summer meadow. I painted this several years ago, but it’s one of those paintings I really love, so have never sold it.

002 copy copy

Over the years I’ve built up a collection of vintage decoy ducks, (I buy one each time I visit Quebec), and I decided to have my lone goose on the mantle. Behind it I put an oil I painted when I was 20 something, of aspen in the autumn.

004 copy copy

Further along are some potted plants and a wooden quail/partridge I found in the forest close to my father’s cabins.

013 copy copy

On the other side are the two stupid white cats, (as my children call them), a little art piece of fog in an old tobacco tin I did last year, and a little porcelain of my great grandmother. I have to tell you the story of the stupid white cats: so I found one about 20 years ago and just loved it. Then the second one shortly after that. These two hung around the fireplace off and on in two previous houses for years, and, about five years ago, my children thought it would be funny to start buying me every white porcelain cats they come across, and now I have seven! They still come and go, but these two original ones seem to be hanging around more these days.

024 copy copy

I’m hoping for some cooler weather soon, (the garden sure needs it), and, to help with the cooler weather wishful thinking, I’ve brought in some firewood.

010 copy copy

So now that I like my living room I have to go redecorate the rest of the house…just need a bit more energy.

035 copy copy

But for now I’m rearranging my wardrobe, filling the house with garden dahlias, and enjoying every warm, late summer day.

fall

A little drama and peace restored.

IMG_9542 copy copy

Quiet day at home. Not sure what I was doing just at that time, but I heard a soft thud and Chloe called, “Morgan, NO, Mom, emergency!”

013 copy copy

A little yellow warbler had hit the window and landed panting on the patio. Morgan was up like a shot.

IMG_9545 copy copy

While Chloe blocked Morgan away from the bird, I picked him up and took him to the garage and put him on a soft blanket into the cat carrier to recover in the cool and dark.

064 copy copy

060 copy copy

And got on with a bit of gardening.

garden

Twenty minutes later, the little guy was recovered enough to fly to a garden tree and he sat there for a very long time, and finally flew away.

067 copy copy

Morgan was suitably unimpressed by this, and, especially since she…or Milo…got a small rat in the night…

peace

…but came to terms with it and cuddled up on the little table in the living room and went to sleep.

Peace restored.

peace restored

Sharing with the WordPress bunch for the photo challenge Adventure!

Home, missing home

IMG_9392 copy copy

The last few days at home in West Cottage were so very busy for both of us. It’s always that way when we try to get as many projects completed as we can together. There are things we have to do, like replacing a weak piece of wood at the bottom of one of the large bedroom windows, which is just nearly impossible to do on one’s own.

The good thing is that we managed to get all the jobs done. The bad thing is that now we have to be apart for a couple of months.

IMG_9370 copy copy

But there’s no denying that the crops in Oxfordshire have all been harvested, the fruit is ripe on the trees, summer is ending, autumn is fast approaching, and I have to return to Vancouver. The ideal would have been for R to come to Vancouver with me, but his work and projects won’t allow that right now, and my work and projects won’t let me stay longer in OXON, so there you are.

apples and pears

IMG_9368 copy copy

102 copy copy

IMG_9383 copy copy

So Robbie drove me to Heathrow, we had a lot of hugs and kisses and tears, and off I went.

IMG_9495 copy copy

IMG_9499 copy copy

IMG_9502 copy copy

All bleary eyed and jet-lagged at home, our sweet Chloe had garden flowers waiting for me.

022 copy copy

She took great care of the house here, both the cats and all the plants.

017 copy copy

I dug up some potatoes and garlic from the garden, we stopped at a little organic market for some more veggies…

IMG_9512 copy copy

…and made a hearty roasted veggie supper.

005 copy copy

In one way it’s good to be home with C and the Vancouver cats, but in another way it sucks…know what I mean?

010 copy copy

All work and no play? Don’t think so.

IMG_9054 copy copy
IMG_9076 copy copy

Oh boy oh boy oh boy! We’ve been major energizer bunnies round here.
We’ve been building the carport, and removing stuff to the tip, and collecting plums, and chopping wood, and burning branches, and digging out a huge and ugly privet hedge for a deep perennial garden along a back fence, and we’ve been at it hammer and tongs till our legs are scrapped and bruised and we look like the walking dead.

work copy copy

All this work has left very little time for art, but I’m happy to report the beginning of a carving.

My friend William, (who lent me his father’s chisels), gave me a piece of maple to have a go. OK, so, maple must be the biggest joke wood in the world! It’s as hard as rock!!! In fact, I can’t imagine oak or mahogany being harder.

So, very quickly it became very apparent to me, that I wouldn’t be the owner of a lovely maple woodcarving of a wildflower meadow with a wren. :(

IMG_9060 copy copy

I’ve been thinking about carving a wooden spoon and asked Robbie how I might go about doing this. He looked at me and gave me his jig saw. LOL So I drew some designs on my maple and decided on the one I liked and set to it.

I cut out the wooden spoon with R’s jig saw, (R helped me cut the handle), and started carving it with the mallet and chisels.

IMG_9062 copy copy

This is how far I got after about four hours of carving time, plus you can see the scale of this spoon. It’s a big one! :D

IMG_9187 copy copy

So far so good. More work on the bowl, and, of course, I only have chisels instead of a draw knife for the handle and curved blade knife for the bowl, but I’m getting somewhere.

IMG_9188 copy copy

Where was I…oh yes…fun…

So R got a phone call from his optician to say his contacts were in, so we drove to pick them up, and R surprised me with a day out visit to one of our favourite towns, Wallingford.

This is a beautiful market town of old brick and flint houses and postage sized courtyards and tiny little streets…like this one, called Mousey Lane, where we could hardly walk beside each other.

wallinford

We had a little lunch and tea and a good mooch around the antique emporium.

wallingfordIMG_9145 copy copy

I fell in love with two handmade teddies, some old chisels and a beautiful painting of a very curvy nude, while R fell in love with a gas mask, (which he wants to wear instead of goggles to drive his new project Medusa). We bought the gas mask, a chisel, and the handmade teddies for Binky and Bunny to play with, but, unfortunately, the beautiful nude was pricey and painted on wood, so very difficult for me to ship back to Van.

funstuff

Late afternoon, on the drive back home, R did a u-turn and we parked up at a little hill called Wittenham Clumps for a walk. It’s a special place which has inspired many people, from Victorian poets to contemporary artists. Here is a very interesting site about an artist who dedicated his art to the place.

IMG_9153 copy copy

Run by the Earth Trust as a wildflower meadow, this chalk hill has the oldest stand of beech trees in England.

IMG_9156 copy copy

We walked all the way around the clump…

IMG_9163 copy copy

And looked out over our Thames and over our beautiful South Oxfordshire.

IMG_9166 copy copy

IMG_9167 copy copy

IMG_9169 copy copy

Who says we don’t have any fun. :D

IMG_9185 copy copy