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.

Hello from Monday night (Can’t get my act together these days…lol)

It’s been a quiet, low-key weekend round here.

Nice for a change.
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But we did have Kerstie, Adam and our little girls come for supper.

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Mom came too, and we had a lovely visit.

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Jonathan was missed. He originally said he would love to come for dinner, but double booked himself with the new girl friend, (who we know nothing about 8O )

Oh well, we had a lovely time.

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Today dawned bright and sunny, and, after I did some laundry, I got into my silversmithing studio.

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I turned on some Bowie music and contemplated an ancient flint with a hole thru it.

And, although I haven’t finished that piece yet…
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I did make some earrings for Clove. She was admiring some earrings similar to these at Blue Ruby and another chic little boutique and they cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50, and I thought, “are you kidding me? There’s like $5 worth of silver and a half hour worth of work!”

And you all know my motto: How hard can it be?

Not that hard as it turns out. :D

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Now it’s evening and everything’s quiet and calm and I’m trying to resist the urge to get back out into the silversmithing studio tonight.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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I aten’t dead yet!

That line is one of my favourite lines in fiction.
For anyone who doesn’t read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, this line is attributed to Granny Weatherwax, a witch, who lives outside the small village of Bad Ass, which incidentally is what my children figure that the scar on my neck will look like. :D

Well, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I guess you could say that people post traumatic operations should probably take it easy, and I guess I’ve over-done it round here and now I’m in bed feeling not so hot, but over-all everything is going to be fine and ‘I aten’t dead yet.’

This lovely, fragrant posy ended up by my front door yesterday. It came with some lovely pages about planting an all white garden, an interesting art exhibit and indoor plants, with a little note: “From Rosemarie from the Art in the Garden tour, I read your blog.” Isn’t that the sweetest thing?

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Thank you so much Rosemarie, thank you for thinking of me. :D Please say hello so I can get to know you.

I know I should have been resting post op, but after two months away form them, Kerstie brought all three of our little girls over and we got to play with some of the toys I brought for them from England and also to start putting together the loveliest, but also complicated, wooden puzzle made after my friend Jackie Morris‘ drawing of dragon hatchlings.

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And while Ziggy was having a nap, Binky and Bunny redecorated the doll’s house.

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Now at this point I think I should have kissed my little and big ones goodnight and went to bed, but a supper came up with all of my children and I just couldn’t say no!

Jonathan made reservations at a downtown restaurant called Gyu-Kaku Japanese Barbecue.

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Most fun ever! A central grill and loads of dishes equals cook your own supper.

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And so we did.

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Chef Adam and Chef Jonathan hard at work.

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And what do you have for desert when there’s a grill right in front of you? Smores! And lychee ice cream.

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We had such a lovely time…except maybe a bit too much sake and wine.

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And got home way too late!

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Today we had monster truck races…

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…and monster chocolate chip cookie faces…

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Nourishing soup, fresh squeezed orange juice and tea, and I do believe we all felt better afterwards.

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And this evening, in the warm quiet of my studio, Clover and I finished the dragon hatchling puzzle, put it back in its box, and finally I decided I needed rest.

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And so I went to bed early with Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay, and my lovely pages from Rosemarie. For all of you who have never read any of Pratchett’s Discworld novels, I’m so jealous!!! I reread them quite often and I love them to pieces, and to think, you have this whole world to discover and delight in…you lucky ducks you.

Thank you everyone for thinking of me, and big hugs form me, (the bride of Frankenstein), to you. I’ll be back soon. :D

Round here

I can’t believe how fast the month of July has trickled thru my fingers!
Where did it go? I also can’t believe that a whole month has past here at West Cottage. Sometimes I wish I could make the time stand still.

Spoke to Chloe today on Skype. I miss that girl of ours so much, but isn’t it a wonderful world we live in that I can see her live whenever I want to? I also love that she’s finally (after I threatened to not renew her web space if she didn’t do something with it), keeping her blog. And, can I just say that her photography skills are so amazing now! She’s got my professional Canon in Van and has learned to use the tripod and timed shutter release and some of the photos are taken that way. But all are taken by her!

So lately I’ve been gardening weeding waging total war on weeds in some pretty impressive heat, while watching the beautiful Oxfordshire skies for approaching thunderstorms, and having silly fun; like raiding Catherine’s pebble drive and collecting odd pebbles and flints and designing prehistoric families. (My prehistoric man had an impressive cod piece for a while but Robbie waved the subtlety flag.) :D

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This morning R had to run some chores just very close to Oxford and so I begged a ride into town. Thursday is the antique market in town and I was dying to visit the map seller. I usually buy a lot of damaged old maps form him that I can paint on.

Things worked out pretty well as R was going to be about an hour, and so we agreed to meet in 50 minutes and I hoofed it the last mile into town. Good thing I did too. The traffic was a morning grid lock and, despite the ridiculous number of students clogging the sidewalk, (for the summer months), I got to the market in ten minutes.

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OMG! So many beautiful things to see! I want to come back and buy some lovely blue and white plates for Kerstie’s collection, and this dress! If I were to get married I’d so chose a 1940s gold embroidered beauty like this rather than any new gown in the world. (Oh, and also have a couple ribs removed to fit into it! LOL)

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But mustn’t get sidetracked by the shiny sparklies. (I swear I’m half magpie)

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Here is what I came for. This wonderful seller has a box of damaged maps. Just perfect for me and my art. I never want to use perfect old maps. I love the broken, ripped, drawn and written on ones. You know, the ones which have a history; which have been loved to pieces.

Unfortunately, before I got to the map bloke, I came past a tool bloke and got seduced by a sexy chisel. I did have £30 to spend, but, after my chisel I only had £24 left. I chose the maps I wanted and explained to the nice map man about how I couldn’t help myself with the chisel and he laughed and said, “Let’s see what you want and I’ll give you a deal.” Then he totalled up my maps, which came to £30, and said he’d take £20 for the lot! Wow! So I went to a used book stall and spent the last £4 on some more maps! Hooray! Now I have loads of maps to paint on. :D

So happy.

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Later this aft, I took a couple of hours to do some work on the blackbirds. I walked out to the fields and picked some fireweeds and drew them around my blackbirds and began painting them in. Lot’s more work to do still, but I like the way this little painting is coming along.

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And, the village flower and veg show is coming up, so I might enter the blackbirds into the painting competition.

So tomorrow is August. Welcome August! I’m settling into the summer grove and loving life.

And speaking of love, I’m crazy in love with the beech forests right now and R has promised me a walk thru them. Can’t wait. But first we’ll go for a walk beside the Whomping Willow, (which is really a huge chestnut, but C called it that about 10 years ago). I love it there. We always see some deer. Actually, I surprised a muntjac deer yesterday evening. He walked out of some tall grass right in front of me, got scared, ran off and barked at me from the trees. Boy are those little creatures loud!

I think I might go for a walk this evening again to see if I can find him under that amazing sliver of a new moon out there. :D

Big hugs to everyone. Hope your last July day is a sunny and warm one filled with beautiful moments.
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Hello from Sunday night

Otherwise known as the Midsummer Family Love-fest!

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Chloe and I got out of town to the Okanagan, 460 km out of Vancouver, to visit my daughter Kerstin and her family.

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And especially to meet this new little member: Zoe Iris Gray, (Ziggy…naturally), who is four weeks old. She is the baby sister to Ever, (Binky) 4 yrs old, and Isla, (Bunny) 2.

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The Okanagan is a beautiful, semi-arid part of BC, with an abundance of lakes, orchards and vineyards and since the weekend promised to be a hot one, we bundled up a picnic and the babies, and headed for the nearest lake.

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Everyone was very tired Saturday afternoon. The beach will do that. (Although Charlie and Mouse stayed at home, so I’ve no idea what their excuse is…lol)

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This morning Kerstie took us to the Sunday flea market. I just love flea markets, don’t you?

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Binky and Bunny stopped to inspect all the toys, but were just as happy to run around and blow dandelion clocks.

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I just have to show you the treasures I found. I’m especially in love with the sock monkey, which seems to be a very old, well loved one, but at some point in his sock monkey life, someone gave him some tragic glue-on googly eyes. I’ll soon fix that with some vintage buttons. Those tiny pictures are made with 1920’s postage stamps, and the camp stove toaster is headed to England with me so Robbie and I can take it camping.

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After the flea market and some lunch, we said goodbye to all our girls and headed back to town.

We stopped at a local orchard store for some yummies for our trip.

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We bought some handmade squeaky cheese curds, super salty and yummy…our favourite with some fresh basil and these couple huge tomatoes, which actually smell like fresh tomatoes, cherries, honey sticks, some organic bee pollen to keep us healthy, and, we were very bad, we bought that homemade peanut brittle and ate the whole thing on the drive home. (But we couldn’t help ourselves…it was sooo moreish!)

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Back at the car I picked up some tree dropped peaches. I wish there was a way to preserve their beautiful fresh green fuzzyness.

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And so we took our goodies and drove out of the Okanagan and began to climb the mountain passes for home.

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We stopped for some wild sage to make sage bundles and in the alpines for forget-me-nots and lupins, which are now at home, reminding us of our lovely weekend.

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Thank you to everyone who left me a comment on my last post. I’m so grateful to you for visiting and for giving me the chance to meet you all. I’ll draw two names via random generator tomorrow morning 10am (Pacific time), and post the results here and on yesterday’s post. Good luck to everyone.

Big hugs XX

EDIT: Winner of the chickadee/bluetit painting is number 3 Patricia
and Winner of the towhee painting is number 37 Marion

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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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Random things I love

I love that I have green eyes and Chloe has blue and Jonathan and Kerstie have brown eyes. I love that I have the whole gamut in the family. Robert’s eyes are very unusual because they tend to be very chatoyant and can look blue, green and even hazel/brown depending on his mood. I love that too.
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I love pebbles. I pick them up everywhere and stick them in my pockets. They usually end up in the garden or in craft projects or just in random arrangements in jars or on plates.
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I love fantasizing about living in all sorts of places and houses. I look at a lovely house and then think about how much it would cost to live there. Like this place in London. And then I think about the reality and realise that it’s actually 1,2,3,4…15 flats! Yeah. But sometimes I think about selling the Vancouver house and the Oxfordshire house and ending up with enough money to buy a dream like this place in Vermont. (eight times over!) :D And having all that land…and chickens…and rescuing great big Morgans and Clydesdales. (sigh)
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I love drawing on old pieces of paper; maps, books, found bits of cardboard… I love the thought that I’ve taken that worthless bit of paper which someone discarded and I’ve given it worth with my art. Transformed it into something special, multiplied its value exponentially. And then I’m always so gratified to give it away.
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I love my iPhone as a repository of photographs and notes. Spur of the moment ideas, someone’s emails or websites I want to check out, images which inspire me…never has there been a better system. I’d never want to be without one again. :)
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Linking with Nancy and looking forward to catching up with everyone’s random.

Home on a rainy day

It’s one of those rainy Tuesdays after a long weekend with a rather sombre Monday, when we both feel like Morgan.

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Still, time to get to work. I have a lot of painting to do and C has her first formal project management round table discussion in her business administration class. (We’ve been having a formal-casual fashion show all morning. C’s more the skater girl than the business administration girl) Still, the outfit is getting pulled together.

Time for tea.

I bought this well loved and slightly rubbed down tea pot. Would you call it lusterware? I think so but am not sure. The only identifying mark are four gold numbers 1676 on the bottom. I also love the unexpected little raised orange spots along the top part of the decoration. Whatever it is, it was just sitting there, filthy with old tea and priced at about $5 so I had to rescue it and give it a new home.

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I love the way it looks so beautifully with my grandmother’s old tea cups. She brought these cups from the former Czechoslovakia. On the bottom is one of those old Czech marks making them Josef Kuba cups. I wonder if Grandmother had them from her wedding or something. Oh the things I never asked her about.

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Each time I bring these cups down from the cupboard we remember babi (Czech for grandma).

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So, grey business dress decided on and time to wrap up in a warm shawl and have some tea.

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I’ve begun putting the autumn decorations away and setting up a more wintery feel. This whimsical still life has in it an angel graphite painting. I drew this when my grandmother died. My daughter Kerstie was the model. The angel’s collar is copper leaf. I think that somewhere is a cross stitch pattern I made of this little angel. Maybe I should try to find it and stitch it.

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So we’re both looking out there into the rain trying to will ourselves for getting out to school and up into the cold studio.

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The hot tea is helping. But we’d rather stay right here. :)

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Sharing tea with Terri and Martha and Sandi and Bernideen. :)

Finally, a break from the rain

Spent some time with my daughters and our little girls today.

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The girls and I went to have breakfast together and after breakfast look what we found! Raindrops glistening on everything but a tiny bit ever so jewel-like.

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We had to come see for ourselves. What was that? Could it be our long lost sun? It is!

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So, while everyone still has to get on with their business today…

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…maybe we can take a little time and just soak up some sun. :)

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