Friday night market at the shipyards

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Well, today was one of those fast paced days and I was literally running from appointment to appointment, with the last being a hot yoga class, (which actually was supposed to be my flow yoga, but the studio didn’t cool very well after the last class…whew!)

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Finally ended up at home sometime round sixish and looked at Clover and said, “let’s go out for a little supper.”
C said she’d love to and we headed down to the docks and the Friday night market.

We were so hungry that we actually never even looked at any of the twenty or so caterers and just bee lined it for the first one we saw.

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I’m so glad we did, because these fun people made us the absolutely best pulled pork sandwich (for me) and burrito (for C).

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We had a walk around and found this caterer who had two mobile pizza ovens for lovely stone baked pizzas,

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and we found C’s favourite vegan girls selling organic vegan burritos. We seem to come across these gals all over the place, and we do love their food. πŸ˜€

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We explored the market stalls and found some lovely goods, from bespoke wines, fresh flowers, and funky samurai pants, to vintage goodies, and beautiful jewellery.

Annina from Wanderlust and Faeriedust was selling some lovely natural materials knotted into chunky necklaces.

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Bonnie from Bits & Keys was selling her fun upcyled and handmade wearables.

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But Chloe fell in love with this beautiful hand forged silver necklace by Franny.

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We took a long walk around the market and then walked out onto one of the piers…

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…to see the Esperanza.

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Then back to the market and a little more music.

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And then we bought an armload of peonies, and went home.

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My kind of Friday night. πŸ˜€

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Hello from Sunday night…before everyone heads their separate ways

Well, it’s been a wonderful extra long weekend round here. We lived it up to the max and enjoyed every minute.

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Not only did I get to spend oodles of time with my granddaughters, but Kerstin’s good friend Na’ama came over with her brand new baby and her three year old son for a play date. Kerstie and Na’ama have known each other since they were children, and so it was lovely for them to catch up.

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children and doll house

Binky and Bunny, having had enough of babies and boys, snuck up to the studio to be with C and me.
I brought out the doll’s house and the girls had a great time rearranging the furniture in the rooms.

Later, when everyone left to visit Adam’s family, C and I felt a bit exhausted. Kind of like Morgan.

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There are still toys all over the house waiting to be put back into the huge steamer trunk where they belong.

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But in the garden, the first tree peonies are starting to open…

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…and so are the first roses.

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Plus, something wonderful happened today. All my children and my mother managed to find a couple hours to have lunch together. It might have been the full moon, but, with everyone’s schedules, four generations together for lunch is pretty rare.

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We all met at a local Milestones restaurant on the patio.
Everything was happy and fine, till Bunny found out she wasn’t sitting next to Auntie Chloe!
Cuddles and hugs made everything better.

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Ziggy is at that stage where she just wants to walk around. The trouble is that she picks everything up and puts it in her mouth, so a restaurant patio isn’t the best place to let an almost one year old loose. We played pass the baby around for two hours.

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Binky and Bunny’s water glasses came to the table with those cute plastic animals and only one mermaid! The lovely hostess was sent back for a second mermaid. Another small disaster averted! In the end, all the animals and the mermaids went swimming.

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Jonathan drew something inappropriate in the children’s sketch pad. That’s very Jonathan. Kerstie gave him a LOOK and drew something else over it.

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This was a wonderful moment for me…for us all. Looking forward to the next chance time when we all can get together. πŸ˜€

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Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. Sharing with JudithJudith and the mosaic bunch. πŸ˜€

Hello from Sunday night

Well then!
I’m feeling terrifically accomplished and successful and even am getting this post up on Sunday night! πŸ˜€ …although I’m hopelessly behind on commenting, visiting and replying to my comments. Boy, blogging is hard work. And to think that today I told Robbie that he really has to have his own website to showcase his brilliant designs. (What a rotten girl I am making more work for him!)
He said his YouTube and his forums were enough for now…unless I want to write his blog posts! 😯

But it’s been a wonderful weekend round here for us. C and I went climbing on Friday, instead of our usual Wednesday, and I was very pleased that I got to the top of two of the easier routes. (And to think I was doing this on cliffs 30 years ago. Oh well, I’ll work up to it again.)

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Saturday I stopped at my favourite nursery, Southlands, and had to take a photo of these brilliant signs Thomas put out. Yes, that’s my cart, those are my beautiful plants…hands off you pleb! LOL

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There was a plan to go to Costco. You know, that soulless, breathless, black hole of a box store, but neither C nor I could face it and so, citing hunger as our excuse, we drove past it to Ikea…OK, another soulless, breathless, black hole of a box store, but much more fun!

We had a little lunch and then walked thru it sitting on all the furniture, testing it for comfort and exploring all the rooms…(you know you love doing that)…

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…and having a general gigglefest. At one point, we made a video of C riding one of those huge shopping carts and bumping into the stacks of prefab boxes and sent it to R. Made him laugh.

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And then, we drove in exactly the opposite direction from Costco and ended up at the George Reifel bird sanctuary!

I’ve been worried about the world’s bees these past few years, and was so pleased to see the hawthorns, and all other blooms, buzzing with bees.

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We were so happy to see babies at the Reifel! Can you resist the yellow, baby bums? I can’t. So far one pair of Canada geese have three chicks and one pair of wood ducks have five. The breeding cranes lost their first egg clutch to a bastard mink, but they are sitting on a second egg. Fingers crossed.

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While I was up in the observation tower, I heard a strange bird call. No idea what it was, so decided to go investigate. The marsh is wet and boggy and no way to get off the paths, but I met a birder, an older gentleman, who told me it was probably a Virginia Rail. Then, on the way back, we met the sanctuary biologist, (who took a shine to C), who sang the call back to us and told us that the Virginia Rail chicks are much cutter than the Canada geese chicks. Impossible we said. He said, “take the goslings, multiply that by cuteness X 100% and make them a ball of grey-black fluff and give them legs which are miles too long for them.” Oh man! Now I want to find one!

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And then for something completely different! By 4pm, Costco was out of the equation, but groceries still had to be bought, so we had to stop at the store and I found this sexy thing! I took some photos for Robbie and put one up on Instagram. My son commented, “Eewwwww…Plymouth Prowler…C’mon mom!” and tagged me on a “real” rat racer! πŸ˜€ I’m like “what?” πŸ˜€ And had to tag him back on some brilliant photos I took of some rat racer earlier in the year. “Better” he said. πŸ˜€

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Saturday night C and I heard fireworks and ran upstairs to the studio and watched a lovely display on the downtown waterfront. Lucky us!

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Sunday morning I had a decision to make. I stopped at an antique shop on Saturday and found a beautiful journal. Someone who had a laundry business in 1949, then pasted pay stubs over the laundry lists in 1960. I love that waste not want not mentality and thought some of these pages would be wonderful as a canvas for some paintings. So I could paint. On the other hand, there were all the seedlings I still had to plant waiting on the porch…and a whole week of rain ahead and a garden show to get ready for.

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So planting it was, and gardening, and then, because one thing leads to another, then cleaning out the garage and organising the silversmithing bench.

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I had an inspiration.

Last week, I asked my friend Margot, (who has two horses), if I could have some straw for my strawberries. She told me that she has a whole hay bale that her boys won’t touch and I can have it. We made a date for today and I drove over to the stables.

My biggest mistake was bringing C along who immediately ran up to General for a nuzzle.

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And then to Levy. Last time she saw them was in Princeton.

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Margot and I moved all the hay bales off the one General and Levy didn’t want and put it into the back of my Highlander, and I looked around for C.
Where was she? At the end of the paddock making friends with the Clydesdale!

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Oh boy there’s a lot of hay in a bale! But I spread it around my strawberries, arround the raspberries and blueberries…

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…and then around the garlic, kale, peas and potatoes too.

I’ve never gardened with hay but figure it can go two ways, either horribly wrong or brilliantly successful, (or somewhere between). There’s only one way to find out. πŸ˜€

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While I was cleaning out the garage, C came by and found her professional fire hula hoop, (which will never be lit again), and gave it a whirl and left it outside. After spreading out the hay, I had a go with the hula hoop. WHAT FUN!
OK, now I want to hula hoop every day. Very surprised that I can keep it going for longer than two seconds together!

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And as a brilliant finish to this lovely weekend, at the end of the garden, past the strawberries and blueberries, under the Japanese anemones, I found a lovely display of lily of the valley. I collected a small handful and had a search for the perfect vase.

Really, what else could you ever put in this little vintage treasure?

Now on my bedside table for sweet dreams. πŸ˜€

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic Monday bunch.

Visiting the Bloedel Conservatory

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Some days, when one is in a mad rush, it’s important to say, “Stuff this for a game of soldiers” to oneself and stop for more than two minutes together.

Chloe and I did just this the other day.

We stopped across town in my mother’s corner of Vancouver, to visit one of my most favourite places, The Bloedel Conservatory. A few years ago in danger of being phased out and dismantled… CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?…Vancouverites railed up in such huge numbers that this beautiful, tropical garden, with waterfalls and pools of rainbow fish, rescued airport smuggled lizards and geckos, over 200 free-flying birds, and over 500 species of tropical plant life, was saved.

I love greenhouses and, in many ways, being a gardener here would absolutely be my dream job, (if it wasn’t for the tourists…lol) But really, we don’t come here often enough. Each time we do stop by, we walk thru it from beginning to end, and then reverse from end to beginning and start over again, before we find a lovely bench to sit at, usually at a bird feeding station, and hang out for a few minutes. Only then, very reluctantly, we walk out the door, and only because we probably should not have stopped here in the first place. But for our sanity, it was the best decision of the week. πŸ˜€

PS. First photo is across downtown to the North Shore and you can probably see my house in that photo. Probably about where the two orange cranes on the dock are, above them, if you divide the constructed area into thirds, then just below the first third. (Probably making no sense at all…lol)

Macaroons and the sweetest friend

Today I picked up Chloe just after she taught a particularly colourful art class to some 5-9yr olds (occupational hazard she said)…
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…and we headed to Williams-Sonoma to visit our friend Claire who was selling her gorgeous sweets there.
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She offered us some chocolate raspberry macaroons….
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…and we really only made one mistake…we tried them!
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Oh lord, have you ever eaten anything so delicious in your whole life? Naturally we bought a box, and, after running a bunch of errands…
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…found ourselves at home, at four-o-clock tea time, with a beautiful box of chocolate raspberry and pink lemonade macaroons.
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Chloe just asked if she could have the last lemon one! Oh so yummy. Thank you so much Claire.
If you should like to get to know our sweet friend, and you really should, not only because she’s lovely, but also because she shares recipes!!!
Claire’s website is here: Livia Sweets
Instagram: Clairlivia
Facebook: Livia Sweets
And the yummiest Pinterest: Claire Lassam

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Oh, and one last afterthought, I used Claire’sΒ recipe for olive oil banana bread way back hereΒ with the promise of the moistest banana bread ever, and have never used another recipe. It’s that good!
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Getting ready for Art in the Garden

Recently I was told the happy news. My garden has been accepted again this year as a show garden for the Art in the Garden tour. (Still waiting to hear about my portfolio, but am hopeful)

So today being a lovely sunny day, and with C’s help, I decided to blow out the winter cobwebs and hit the garden.

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First a brief run thru and we took stock. C wrote a list of things to do and it turned out to be rather a long list!

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A simple thing on the list were our tattered prayer flags on the saved apple tree. Since I freed the ancient apple tree from the confines of the child’s fort and planted a flower garden around it, it has rewarded us with a renewed health and tons of apples. We figured that maybe it didn’t need the prayer flags any more.

We took them down…

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…and hung up seven glass globes.

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Morgan supervised from the cold frame.

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I think the glass globes look fantastic, and some have glow-in-the-dark dots on them. That might look really lovely in the evenings.

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Morgan practised her best skulking from behind the irises.

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Then a little weeding.

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Which Morgan approved of.

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Then some pruning.

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While Morgan claimed the box I brought the globes out in.

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And then, C and I spent a couple of hours fixing and supporting the old fences.

And finally, we stopped for a well earned cup of tea.

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A few items crossed off the list and beautiful show garden here we come. πŸ˜€

A night out with my children

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These days, with everybody so busy in all corners of the world, it’s such a rare treat that I have the chance to get together with my three all at the same time. And now that my three have multiplied to nine! It’s even rarer to have them together.

But this evening all the stars aligned and I had a chance to have dinner with four of the nine. πŸ˜€

We all came together downtown. I came from an afternoon with my mother and some lovely visiting British friends and picked up Chloe and Kerstin at the downtown seabus terminal. That’s Kers picking me up on taking photos while driving and I’m like “what?”. πŸ˜€

Jonathan made reservations at the Italian Kitchen, a lovely Italian restaurant, and he and his beautiful girl Chantal met us there for a late supper.

At one point, Jonathan stumped the bartender with a Campari Americano order. Then he explained how to make it. (Jon’s got years of bartending experience)

The restaurant was busy and bustling but also friendly and intimate. The food was fantastic, and Susan, who served us, was lovely and friendly and very accommodating.

We had the most wonderful time, and, by the time we left and said goodbye to Jon and Chantal, it was almost midnight. Not quite closing the bars down, but close enough for me. πŸ˜€

Hello from Sunday night, yes I know it’s Monday morning

You know what I discovered recently?
I actually only have two hellebores in my garden and they’re not very exciting hellebores at that.

Out at my favourite nursery, Southlands, Thomas had all sorts of these beautiful guys. I love winter bloomers.

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Is it me or have I blinked and suddenly there are about a million exciting new cultivars from the boring old Winter and Lenten Rose types? Look at the ruffles and spots and variegation! Have to look around my own hood for houses which will be demolished this spring and go steal save a few.

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The Southlands neighbourhood is a very bucolic country gentry life neighbourhood, with horses and stables and rural life right in the heart of a big cosmopolitan city. It ends at one arm of the Fraser River and the Vancouver airport is on an island just beyond.

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It might look bucolic and country charming, but the average price of houses starts somewhere around $5,000,000 and goes up from there. One particular house overlooking the path and river is listed at $12,000,000 and has 5 bedrooms 5 bathrooms, about 5000 square ft, and an average city lot. Buying a house in Vancouver means that you can probably afford a house anywhere else in the world…except maybe New York, London or Tokyo.

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But it is beautiful here. Blooming trees and pussy willows and horses in back yards.

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. πŸ˜€

A mid-winter picnic

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Take my hand and come with us. Come high up on the mountain, away from the winter ocean fog, above the clouds, into the sun. Come hike the sky line Baden Powell trail for a while. Fall in love with the dogs and mourn as their owners tug them away. Explore the winter weeds and the new spring greening. Don’t worry, I’ve packed some hot tea and some nourishing soup.

Listen to the birds.

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Happy birthday mom

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party

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kitchen talk

Three

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It’s not easy being a Christmas baby. One’s Boxing Day birthday is often very conveniently wrapped up with a Christmas celebration, but we’ve always tried to make it a special day for mom in some way.

My mother turned 80 years young yesterday, and we celebrated in grand style at the beautiful, Christmas-shiny home of our friend Jane. About 30 of mom’s friends came to help celebrate her birthday, and a huge treat for me because my son Jonathan and his lovely girl Chantal were in town and could join us. We all had a lovely time with plenty of yummy nibbles, plenty of wine and wonderful cake.

Happy birthday and many happy returns of the day mom! We love you. X