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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Hello from Sunday night

Does this ever happen to you with a shortened week?

There was the holiday Monday this week and I keep feeling like it isn’t Sunday today.

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Or maybe the shortened work week has been so intense, that I felt a little like I was going in two different directions at the same time, (boy I really could use another weekend), and consequently, there has been very little art happening round here.

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So, half way thru October and some plants are really pushing past their prime now, aren’t they?

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While other plants are just coming into it.

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I’m still not ready to give up the Indian summer yet, even though I can quite definitely see that it’s over, I’m still hanging on to it with as much hope as I can and with lovely sunny things like olives, which always remind me of warm France, but I’m so happy that the “r” months now are fine for mussels, another absolute favourite of mine. Does anybody still believe in that myth about not eating shellfish in months which don’t have an “r” in them?

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At home, I’m over the bright colours of summer and feeling a more subdued, neutral tone. I’m also taking more time to read, and am rummaging thru my library, my friend’s books stashes and my favourite book haunts for new, lovely books to read. It’s so lovely to start to cocoon at home with books and quilts and open fires and early evenings. I’m sort of looking forward to the long winter nights, but I’m sure I’ll be feeling differently by the middle of winter.

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Today the weather in my part of town, (right under the mountains), was that sort of grey/black gloomness which bunches up the clouds and dashes them against the mountains, that kind of unpredictability the west coast is best knows for, but on the other side of town, beside the river delta, there was sun and scattered clouds. So a walk at the river it was. A walk by the old fishing village, in the warm wind and weak sun.

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And just now, the sky is full of hundreds of snow geese returning, some 20,000 strong, returning to the delta for the sun and the mild, escaping the harsh, just as I’m beginning to welcome the cooler seasons.

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D

Chloe and I took a long lunch and got lost in vintage dresses.

Isn’t it wonderful to take one day of the week and take some time?

C and I decided to go to a favourite, funky part of Vancouver, called Commercial Drive, to our favourite coffee shop, Cafe Calabria, for lunch and a good mooch around the neighbourhood.

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It’s been one of those soggy Vancouver days where it’s hard to feel motivated to go anywhere, but the promise of visiting the owners (our long-time friends), hot tea, a sticky coconut macaroon and a Frank’s special panini, was just too tempting.

There was way too much macaroon and panini for us, so we took half to go.

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And we wandered up and down the block till we came to C’s favourite store, Mintage.

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You’ve got to love this store. Just look at the juxtaposition of those frilly tutus above the cowboy boots!

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There’s so much fun here, from vintage bridal…

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To heavy woollen sweaters.

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And accessories too. Shoes and boots, belts and purses, scarves, tuques, and the most amazing jewellery.

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When I look in my closet, I’d love to see funky cowboy boots, soft, beaded moccasins and an old pair of roller skates. I’d love it just for fun.

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C and I grabbed a hand full of vintage dresses each and tried on the fifties. (These dresses were such keepers…OMG)

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We squeezed and wriggled our way thru the sixties…

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We flower powered our way thru the seventies. (Hey, I had an almost identical dress to this one for my high school dances, and, if it wasn’t for the $180 price tag, I so would have bought it! Loved the way it looked and felt on.)

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And we giggled our way thru the eighties. C dubbed the black dress “the Avril Lavigne” dress.

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We ended up with this keeper bunch which we loved to pieces.

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When we were speaking to the lovely Alex at the cash register, we told her we couldn’t think of any place to wear the (above) pink and lace dress, and she told us a story. She was late for work, dressed in her wonderful vintage, ran to the bank for some cash and suddenly she was aware that it got deathly quiet in there. She thought for a split second that there might be a bank robbery happening and, looking around, she saw people smiling and complimenting her on her dress. So she said, “It was the fabulous dress all along!” So that’s it, we shall wear the pink and lace one to do our deposits and withdrawals.

Too much fun :D

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Challenges! WordPress and Photo Friday

Dreamy and Blur.

A photo of a gentle, autumnal morning. Gone in the next rain. Gone in a blur. :D

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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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Hello from Sunday night

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Breath comes in hard gulps. Hiking up the trail to the white pine before the rains come again. That’s autumn round here. The week world is made of city and mountain. Warm patio sun traps and city sized gardens, and cool mountain air, fresh pine smell and spongy trails.

On these rare breaks form the rain, I hike up the mountain to sit at the base of the white pine in the forest high above the city and absorb the calm.

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When there’s more time, there’s a break to the country.

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Misty mornings give way to sunny afternoons. Garden centres, little boutiques, lunch outside on a restaurant patio.
Country charm and country calm.

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And then, like the busy bees, back to Monday and back to work and, quite probably, back to the rain.

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Sharing with Judith and the Mosaic bunch. :D

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.

Hello from Sunday night

fall

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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

Stopping at my favourite garden centre

It’s the ideal time, here on the West Coast, to plant garlic in the garden, and so I popped over to Southlands, one of my most favourite garden centres, to get a few bulbs.

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There’s nothing quite like fresh, homegrown garlic. Anyone growing it? This year I harvested a few bulbs, (it was a trial year and I only planted a very small amount), but the flavour of my homegrown garlic has been amazing. This year I went to three different kinds, including a Mexican variety which promises to be potent.

I guess I just have to make sure everyone eats it along with me, or there’ll be no talking to me face to face…lol.

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I got my garlic bulbs and had a stroll around the nursery.

Look at these amazing vintage pink flamingos! I’d say they’re right past kitsch and out the other side into the chic area of garden decoration. :D I love them.

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One trend I’ve been noticing lately here in the North West is a huge import of all sorts of semi tropical succulents. They’re becoming the easy, must have of the garden.

I love them.

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I’ve always loved them, even before they were “fashionable”.

I tend to do really naughty things, like import a little leaf or piece of branch or tiny rosette from San Francisco, my friend Catherine’s plant in Oxfordshire, a random front garden in Mexico. No succulent is safe…lol.

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But can you blame me? They really are so very lovely.

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Clove thinks they look like land-bound sea anemones.

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I was absolutely stopped in my tracks by this one reaching its flower up to the sun. How spectacular is the geen pinkness of it?

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It’s part of this spectacular arrangement.

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But it’s normal for the wonderfully artistic team at Southlands, and what would you expect from a nursery who find and bring in land-bound sea anemones.

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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