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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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

Hello from Sunday night

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It was a golden Sunday round here. One of those wonderful days with nothing to do…except a fantastic yoga class. It was a very good thing because Morgan and Milo have just only started to relax after the trauma of Halloween night. Do your animals turn into bowls of quivering, sweating jello when they hear fireworks? Oh boy, oh boy, they basically slept on top of my head all night. I was talking to Robbie Halloween night and Milo was quivering beside me, and I was rubbing his soft fur and massaging his feet when I discovered that the pads of his feet were damp. Did you know cats sweat thru the pads of their feet when distressed? It’s true.

I found a wasp’s nest under the eves in the shade garden part of the house. I think it’s probably best to take it down, don’t you? Although I don’t think wasps come back next year to the same nest. The other day R told me there was a great big wasp buzzing in the cottage and he lost track of it and forgot about it. Then he rolled over in bed and it stung him on his back. Poxy thing!

The great leaf fall has begun and, with any luck, this week’s rain will just bring all the leaves down at once and I’ll be able to rake them up on the drier weekend. I quite like raking leaves. I know that when Robbie reads this, he’ll just say, “Oh, yeah? Well get back here and rake up your maples!” And I’ll say, “Who’s country is the riding mower in?” and we’ll laugh and talk about turning the leaves into mulch for the gardens and piling them in a corner somewhere to serve as warm winder hiding places for the hedgehogs.

Chloe and I are talking about Christmas these days. Christmas! (gulp) It’s here in Vancouver this year, (for the first time in two years), and we’re looking forward to the tree and prezzies and roast turkey lunch and Christmas cake and family. It’s going to be wonderful. And now that Halloween is over I feel like it’s the start of the new season. So I’m slowly saying goodbye to autumn and starting to welcome winter. I suppose I just need to see some fresh snow on the mountains to seal the deal.

I’m completely in love with an old program I found on YouTube, Fork to Fork. It’s a treat to watch one of my favourite Gardeners World presenters carry on organic gardening practices in his home and garden. It makes me even more determined to have an organic small holding and bake my own bread. Here is a link to the first one:

Hello from Sunday night

Oh happy days when the morning shows a little sunshine reflecting on the city across my straight.

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The morning that starts with coastal sunshine has a chance of spreading inland into the country.

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So C and I followed the river out to the country for a good breather from the work week.

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We had the best mooch around exquisite little boutiques.

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We tested organic lotions,

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Saw the best witch’s hats resting on porches.

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Found our reflections in vintage mirrors,

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And gazed into crystal balls.

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Saturday we went to the hockey game. (Canadian, remember :D ) We went to support Bryson, he’s the linesman in the Wolf Pack games. This game was so heated that at one point two Wolf Pack players and three of the visiting players were in the penalty boxes! Boys…eh? (that’s Bryson in the plain striped shirt)

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Sunday was a quick trip to the market for some fresh veggies.

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It may have been the wrong time to go to the market because there were millions of little children in various Halloween costumes and we guessed it may have been a special Halloween happening.

But there was this man blowing gigantic bubbles, and that was a treat for us as much as for the little guys.

Also, there were wonderful flowers for sale. Well, not flowers actually, but these amazing grass seed heads.

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I also found what I think is the eucalyptus my new friend Melinda uses to get orange eco prints, and this beautiful green sweet William blossom. (but just look to the price per stem!)

I was watching my favourite show, Gardeners World, and saw Rachel de Thame, one of the presenters, show off her cut flower beds. That’s the answer! Plant a cut flower bed with all the exquisite blooms. :D

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So, now it’s evening and I’m at home and a little late evening sun is playing on my walls and making my paintings glow.

I love it when the sun shines. :D Hope your weekend was sunny and lovely.

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch.

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.

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

Beautiful amanitas!

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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

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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.

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Afternoon break in a hectic day

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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?

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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.

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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?!?!?

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.)

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Sunflowers are so worth growing, aren’t they?

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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.

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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.

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Night time, the WordPress photo challenge

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