Thursday, December 29, 2011

Knives For Christmas

My Husband knows me.  He knows me very well.  He not only bought me the best knives I've ever had the pleasure of using, he bought me jewelry for the kitchen.  Have you ever seen more beautiful knives!?
They are made by Shun which is owned by the Japanese company Kai.  I won't bore you with all the wonderfully, interesting details of how these are manufactured.  I will tell you that they are sharp!!!  Sharp far past the point of being dangerous. 
I had barely cleaned up the mess in the living room after unwrapping our gifts, when I headed to the kitchen to see what I could chop up.  Celery, lemons and potatoes all met a useless end so that I could see what these knives were capable of.  To make a long story short, I now understand how they can do what they do with knives on TV. 
My old Victorinox knives from cooking school will still be upkept and used to train my kidlets in the kitchen, and I won't lie, I will have a hard time letting anyone else use the Shun knives.  So I had better keep the old ones around for the rare occasion that someone else uses my kitchen.  That, and I have many memories attached to those knives.
I currently find myself planning our meals to included foods that require a lot of chopping and slicing.  That is not to say that I am particularly talented with a knife, I'm really not.  But I do enjoy being in the kitchen and especially when that kitchen has plenty of beauty and quality to offer.  Like life in general should be, full of beauty and quality.  Why settle for anything less?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Beautiful, Frosty Morning

Waking up to snow on Sunday morning was nice, but waking up to a thick hoar frost this morning was wonderful.
Before Halloween was over the leaves had already lost their colour for some time, and all that was left for cheeriness out there was the bright orange of the jack o' lanterns.  But with the freezing nights and the warm days, they quickly rot and I had to haul the seventy or so personalities to the compost pile.  A sad moment indeed, and I already find myself looking forward to next year and searching out seeds for different varieties to grow. 
Anyway, back to the snow, and the overnight change in seasons which put me in a very surreal and calm place.  With the yardwork done for the next five months, (minus the snow removal), I feel like I can really get back into my  hobbies. 
Cooking and baking bring a new satisfaction and eating those preserves I worked so hard on through late summer is now paying off.  Throughout the spring, summer and early fall, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find the time to make jewelry again, and already I have created several new pieces and have been able to put some much needed energy into my wee Etsy shop.  Even reading a book is far more enjoyable for me, when I can curl up on the couch with a blanket.  Going out for a short walk and the simple act of coming into the warmth of my beautiful home creates a feeling of peace and security. 
I cannot imagine a place without the vastly different seasons.  Each one brings it's own sense of wonder and change that is necessary to the health of my mind. 


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Update On The Newest Addition

The little kitten we rescued from the wild has taken to her new home so well, you would never know she was brought up wild.  She loves to play with Junior, my 18 year black male, and he has accepted her into the family without question.  Here he is giving her a bath, and she only complains when he pays too much attention to her nether regions. 
It took quite a bit of debating on a name for our new, little kitty, but we finally settled on 'Georgia Winifred', and we've been calling her Georgie for short.  No one escapes a nickname in this house, and I'm sure, with her strong character, she will earn many.
JuJu (Junior-the black one), has been having to put up with being chased continuously.  Anytime he decides to  go for a walk, she is relentlessly at his heals, playfully nipping at his paws and backside and jumping for his tail.   If JJ gets tired of it, he jumps on a windowsill, and she looks up at him with eyes that say, "Now, that's just not fair!".  But the old fellow is a snuggler, and he has been enjoying having a companion once again for his catnaps.  I know he'll enjoy her even more when she's got more weight and therefore more warmth to give off.
There is some good and bads news where Mama Cat is concerned.  The good news is that she has happily moved into the new heated cat house we put on the deck last week.  The bad news is that she has not brought anymore kittens, so it looks like the other two did not survive, (sniffle).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Meet The Newest Family Member

On September 1st, while doing some yard clean-up, we came across a Mama kitty and here litter of 3.  We promptly set up a proper shelter for them and brought Mama some food and water.  By the next morning she had moved herself and the week or so old kittens to a place we couldn't find.
We just kept taking food out, and it kept disappearing.  Curious as to who I was feeding, I put the food on the deck, and sure enough, Mama showed up.  Twice a day, everyday, she enjoys her meals on the deck under the picture window in my dining room.  But, we can not get close to her.  She will sit about 5 feet away, and if you take one step nearer, she bolts.  Hopefully, in time, this will change.
After about a month, I really started looking for the place she was hiding her litter.  For feral cats, 6 to 7 weeks is not too early to intervene.  But I had no luck. 
Then, yesterday morning, while blogging actually, I heard a terrible cry from outside.  I quickly threw on a coat and started searching.  It was coming from under the deck.  It took me awhile, but after a bit of tag playing, she settled down under a board right beneath the front door and refused to move.  I got a drill, removed that board and plucked the kitten out before she new what was going on.  She instantly clung to me, and stayed close for several hours. 
We recognized her from that litter of 3 right away.  She is a very unique colour mixture of black and orange.  Whether the other 2 are still alive, I don't know.  But, Mama is still coming for her meals, and hopefully one day we will be able to befriend her also. 
We haven't settled on a name yet, but 'Tiger Tiger' and 'TT' has been tossed around.  She is bonding and settling in very nicely.  She has even received her first bath from my 18 year old male, Junior, and has used the litter box on her own.  We've already visited the vet and will again in a couple of weeks for her first set of shots. 
Everyone is so glad to have another kitty in the house, especially after recently having to say goodbye to our sweet Sarah, who we loved for 14 years.  Life can only be described as bittersweet.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Autumn on The Front Porch

There have been so many pictures online of beautiful, inspiring front porches decorated for the season that I thought I ought to share mine. I have this gorgeous set of iron planters that I always have something going on in. This fall it is chrysanthemums in the perfect autumn colours, homegrown pumpkins, gourds, and corn. There is a wreath made from Engelmens Ivy and a few handmade brooms I threw together with caragana branches, twigs and grass.

On the other side are my set of black, basket weave planters.  They contain another chrysanthemum, poplar brances, corn stalks, cattail grass and a couple of super cute gifts from my sister.   She gave me that little ghost solar lantern and, look closely, there is a crow she created from corn husks.   I have no idea how she did this, but I plan on going out for a lesson.  I also had a couple of pumpkins that lost their stems, and so they have been stacked and topped with a gourd, that apparently is trying to blend in with his cousins.  That is the only one I have out of 21 gourds that has turned orange

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Autumn Montage

Here is a scattering of things going on in my house right now. 
Any pumpkins that were ripe, (and a few that were not) have found their way to various locations inside the house.  They are in piles on the floor near cabinets and the front door.  They are lining the staircase and the half wall, and a few have found their way onto pedestals and window sills.  Yay, I actually have deep window sills in my new house!  There are still about 80 greenish turning orangish ones on pallets in the garage.
There are several clusters of grapevine pumpkins, (not all shown) and there are the ones I have crocheted while watching many a movie.  There are also metal pumpkins and mini pumpkins on vines (putka pods), and pumpkins in paintings on the wall, (also not shown).
The wooden signs that say 'Trick or Treat' and "Happy Halloween' along with the countdown to Halloween blocks, I created this past week.
There is an antique, glass jug which my sister gave me last week, and it contains jelly eyeballs.
There are ravens galore!  No, I do not just keep moving around the same one so that I have one in a bunch of photos.  There are 3 large ones and a dozen or so smaller ones scattered here and there.  I even have a gorgeous metal statue of one up on my buffet.  I think I'll have to do another montage. 
There are fall leaves, some real (preserved with glycerin) and some fake.  They add colour wherever a dose is needed.
I have also done up the front porch.  I'll save that one for the week-end's entry. 
Happy Fall Everyone!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Front Hall

Open the front door to my house, and you are greeted by a large landing with 13 foot ceilings.  There is a mudroom/laundry room at the end, across from the entry, directly to your right is a large, 4 step up, curved set of stairs up into the kitchen/dining area, and to your left is a double set of closets.  Mainly, there is a lot of room for decorating. 
This is just one of the pieces I have down there now.  It is an antique (circa 1940) wash stand that my sister picked up for me at an auction.  It will always be decorated for the season. 
Here is what I did for Halloween.  The little sign hangs from what would have been used for towels, and I have a garland strung across and hanging down the side.  The bowls currently contain black licorice, black and orange gummy worms, and the big bowl is holding a mixture of autumn coloured candy.  I've had to refill these twice in 2 weeks, and I've been able to keep my freezer stash of goodies just a bit longer than usual.  The raven and the crow finish off a look that I feel is rather effective. 
We've just got started our decorating for Halloween, and we have all sorts of plans for this year's display.  I'll keep posting as we keep doing.  I hope you enjoy the process.  Happy October everyone!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mothers of Boys work from Son up until Son down...

Meet Jared, my 6 year old boy, a tumbling ball of energy.  I've yet to meet a Mother of a little boy who cannot relate to me.
His most frequent question is,"Mommy, can I climb this?".  His second favourite is, "Mommy, can I hit this with that?".  His third, and this is what makes up for all the rest, is, "Mommy, can I have a kiss and a hug?".  Well, at least I don't have to say no all the time.
Creative, imaginative, energetic, and my favourite, snuggly, are all words that perfectly describe my little guy.  My daughter was the poster girl for independence, never wanting to be held, let alone snuggled, so since this wee creature entered my life 6 years ago, well, let's just say, I've yet to have a snuggle-free day.  Works for me, as I've always been a snuggler and it drove me crazy when I learnt that my first baby (girl) just needed to be put down to stop crying.
I miss the days of having a tiny baby in my arms, and even though my kids are getting too big and too heavy to be carried around, as long as I can lift them, I will pick them up for their hugs and kisses, carry them to the nearest bed, plunk them down and tickle them.  I truly dread the time when those days will be over.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

View From My Swing

Serveral years ago, I received a garden swing for Mother's Day.  It has been one of my favourite features in the yard ever since.
In our Cold Lake yard, it moved around constantly, but out here, I put it under a maple in the northeast corner, and it must be the perfect spot, for it hasn't moved in 3 months.   
The canopy, weakened by the sun and damaged by the wind, is better left off anyway.   It is very natural to just lay back and look upward into the branches of this beautiful, old maple.
My kids, especially my son, love the swing.  He loves to lay it out flat and lie down on his tummy with his nose aimed toward the ground.  He then swings himself while watching the ground move back and forth, back and forth, for what seems an impossible amount of time.  It must be very hypnotizing, because he is always in a very relaxed state after he has treated himself with a bit of motion from the swing. 
I might move myself back and forth a little, the equivalent of being on a rocking chair.  But to be honest, I get motion sickness easily, so doing what he does would just make me feel ill.
Usually there is an argument as to who gets to sit beside Mama on the swing.  So I will move from my favourite corner to the middle so that each child has a side to lean on.  This is an absolutely awesome way to pass an hour.

Friday, September 23, 2011

View From The Front Yard

The majority of our yard spans in front of the house, south, and to the west.  We have a lot of trees, most of which are very young.  The ones you are seeing in the foreground are Giant Leaf Poplar, (whose leaves sound like rain), and Lilac.   I'm not sure what the variety is, but they bloom a light pink.  There are also Green Ash, Willow, Larch and some little Spruce trees, all planted in neat rows to eventually shelter the yard from the main grid.  In the background, the trees are mature and with exception of the large spruce to the east of the house, are growing in the wild.  There are mostly maples, poplar, and warrior caragana.  But there are some wild roses, chokecherry and saskatoon bushes as well.  So far, it looks as though everyone has yellow folliage for the season.  I would really like to see more reds, so I'm going to find a way to work in some different specimens to break it up a bit.  There are cherry trees in the garden, but I have yet to find out what colour they will turn.  Their leaves are still a deep, shiny green.
So far, we are having a lot of fun planning and dreaming up ideas for our newfound space.  We are currently working on a garden shed, which well be completed when my Husband gets home next week.  I love outbuildings and the character they add to a yard.  This particular building is just the start of a large garden plan/idea/dream I have going in my head.  It is a lot of fun seeing it come to reality!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mommy - I Can Fly!

"I can fly!', are not  words any Mother wants to hear from her young child.  But when they've spent 3 days working on a flight suit that they hope will make them airborne, one hopes that they will achieve at least a slight lift off.
My 8, almost 9 year old daughter, Kaitlynn has always had a strong, vivid imagination and a drive to create.  She is constantly coming up with new ideas, and actually, a lot of them have worked.  So when she came to me with her paper feather suit and asked me, "Mommy, tell me honestly.  Do you think I'll be able to fly with this suit?"  I have to admit, I was a bit stumped as to what my answer should be.  Should I be honest and tell her exactly what was going to happen?  Or should I falsely encourage her and tell her to jump off the roof?  I decided to walk the middle ground and said something to the effect of, "I think you might need a few more feathers and a stronger support for those feathers, but go play it safe and give it a try."
So off she went on a good, windy day and turning herself full into the breeze, started running as fast as she could down the driveway, arms outstretched so her feathers could catch the air.  Before she left she said, "Mommy, in twenty minutes, come outside and look to the sky." 
My heart was breaking for her knowing the visions she was having for her invention would not come to pass that day.  After about 10 minutes, she came in and said, "Well, that didn't work, but at least I have an awesome, handmade costume for Halloween".
Kaitlynn constantly surprises me with her elegance in dealing with life's dissappointments.  What wonderful lessons we can take from simply observing our children.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Day Of School

After a very rainy couple of days, on September 1, the kids were very excited to start school. 
My sister, Auntie Lynn, is their bus driver, as well as the school cook. Two of her children are on the bus, and the kids just think this is a fabulous connection to have.  
There are only 30 plus children in the entire grades K-8 school, and only 3 classrooms.  Grades K, 1 and 2 are together, grades 3, 4, and 5 are mixed and then the grade 6, 7 and 8's make up the last class.
Their old school had about 70 kids in one grade alone and they were separated into 3 classrooms.  So this is a huge change.  But they are adjusting very well, and have even told me that they really prefer this school to their last. 
Nearly 3 weeks has passed since their first day, and they are feeling right at home.  Their bus ride is even shorter out here than it was in Cold Lake.  A total of 35 minutes a day was shaved off their daily riding time.  So much for city living being more convenient. 
The only thing we truly miss about the city are the friends we left behind, and the fact that they lived right next door.  Oh, and don't forget, they did not have children of their own, so they were extremely flexible, and could bend to our schedule on a whim.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rainwater Runoff

It was fun to watch how our yard handled a half inch of rain in a little under a half hour.  When planning our landscaping, it is essential we know what rainwater does.  In our case, we're lucky.  The water all flows a nice distance away from the shop and the house, through a nice little ravine in the grass across the driveway and into the ditch.  The only thing that needs attention is the driveway.  We cannot change where the water goes, but we can change how fast it drains.  We don't need a massive mud puddle in our driveway for days after a rain, although my kids would disagree.
As for that natural ravine in the grass, I can easily envision a dry river bed running from the driveway, all the way down to the ditch.  How many years will that take me to do?  A few I think.  I've already started eyeing up a few rock piles from which to start my harvest. 
We are currently working on building our garden shed.  A much needed building in order to get organized before winter.  After that, well, we'll see how the weather treats us.  There are a few more projects we would love to get done before the snowfall.

Monday, September 12, 2011

An Early Frost

The threat of an early frost had us fleeing to the pumpkin patch to save our crop. We came home after enjoying a supper with relatives and after being given some serious advice, we were out there with flashlights unil about 8pm (yes, it is getting dark that early already), saving all that we could find.
There were only about 6 plants all together, but the patch grew massive, bearing nearly 100 fruit. We took off about 75, and left the small ones to weather the storm.
We did not get a frost that night and that was over a week ago. Upon closer inspection in the daylight, we have found at least another 25 pumpkins and squash. We will let them grow until the threat of the next frost and then in they will come.
The morning after picking was spent washing each individual with a bleach solution, and then placing them in their own space (not touching their neighbors) on wooden pallets. Now, hopefully, they will last to be carved for Halloween.
To date, the most pumpkins we've decorated for the occasion was 120. That was when we lived in the city. Out here we have a lot more room to spread out the little devils, so next year's patch is going to have to be a lot larger. We carve them in the traditional ways, and we also paint a bunch. Some of the tiniest ones end up scattered in amongst the larger.
This was our first summer in this yard, and the garden was not well planned at all. Actually, it's a miracle we planted anything at all. We came down during the last week-end in May and it was raining and cold, even threatening to snow. But we were determined to get something in, and now we are glad we did.
We've already picked the place where next year's fall friends will grow, and it is a lot larger then this year's space. Our hope is to line the driveway with them one year. The weather would have to be kind to us for that to happen.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Learning To Ride

There is nothing like a wide open space to encourage kids to play outside. My kids have always loved the outdoors, but since we've moved out here, they've at least tripled their time outdoors. Between the snake nest, the salamander crossing and the froggy patch, they are always on some sort of adventure, exploring and collecting. Not long after we moved in, we added bicycling to our repertoire of things to do outdoors. Within minutes Jared was off his training wheels, and my daughter wasn't far behind. Now we all ride together. Our favourite road runs just east of our place. It is quiet and there is a large water feature about a mile down where we love to watch the ducks swim and flap around. It is still very green here, but soon will be my favourite time of year to be outdoors. Once the colours start to change and the leaves start to cover the road and once I need a sweater to be comfortable outside and it gets dark early enough to enjoy the stars again. That is my favourite time of year, and I hope it lasts the next 2 months with no snow until the middle of November. Until then we'll keep riding, a little further each time, exploring a bit further, getting those little legs strong enough so that one day we can ride all the way to Grandma and Grandpa's house, a good 6 miles away. Well, that might not be for a couple of years yet, but for now, we'll enjoy all the little roads around here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Moving To Saskatchewan

After nearly 14 years of living in town, (our entire marriage) we are moving to a 10 acre parcel in the country. Currently in Cold Lake, Alberta, the move will take us over 700 kilometers Southeast to near a little town along Highway 16 called Theodore. The nearest center is Yorkton, Saskatchewan with a population of just over 16,000, not that much different from where we are now at just over 13,000.

So what would take us there? Family. We were both born and raised on farms, within 8 miles of each other. My Husband intends to continue working his current camp job,(week in and week out) and help out his Father and brother on their large, 17 quarter section grain farm. The ultimate goal is to retire into the farm.

The photo is of my two little ones, now 5 and 8 years old, exploring what will be their new yard by the end of this month. Most of that water has dried up already, but we know what we have to look forward to in the Spring. Not only are they excited about the new open yard, but also being just an eight minute drive from Grandma and Grandpa. Their new school is grades K-8, and has a total of 32 children, with a very unique and positive environment. Their Aunt, my sister, will be the new busdriver, and they have several cousins attending school.

The house is new and needs little more than paint, so we will be focusing our attention on the wonderful new yard and be teaching ourselves about landscaping. I look forward to sharing our projects here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Few Of My Favourite Quotes

This one, I first read this morning on a blog I follow, "Artful Living on the Bluff ".
Out of the entire, lovely collection, this one stood out the most. I am definitely guilty of not staying focused. I find it very easy to jump around from idea to idea, constantly trying new things, with very little, or no focus on any one thing.

"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully."
- Steve Jobs

Another favourite...

"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
- Anais Nin

This one came to me at a time when I had to make certain decisions and changes in the way I dealt with loved ones. When you believe that a choice could hurt someone, even it seems best for everyone involved, it is very difficult to get past blaming yourself for the possible outcomes. What I learned is that these said possible outcomes, are just lousy stories we tell ourselves to keep from making the necessary changes. I also learned that our loved ones have a way of pushing us to a point where concerns for how they are feeling become far less important than our own pain. Subconsciously, I believe there is a very loving thing happening. Consciously, however, it often looks very ugly.

And the last one for today...

"No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it." - Albert Einstein

This one always reminds me to call up a friend for a different perspective. It always works.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Prettiest Bouquet

All winter I dream of flowers, and with my birthday being in March, when my daydreams are at their brightest, I receive the most beautiful bouquets. This one has iris, gerbera daisy, spider mums, alstroemeria and all kinds of unique filler, my favourite being that grass. I'm not sure what it is called, but it brings an exotic, romantic look to the bouquet that received a lot of compliments from my visitors.

Now, with Spring just around the corner, my daydreams of flowers can evolve slowly to a reality as all my perennials start to poke their heads out of the ground. Just yesterday, I noticed the first bloom in the garden. Only an inch from the ground, and in the palest of lavenders, was the first viola. In another month, being from the bravest of seeds, she will be the largest viola in the garden, with the most blooms, and if I'm diligent about deadheading, she will continue to bloom well through July.

Spring is long overdue in my books, and on chilly, cloudy mornings like this one, I feel like my world will never be green again. When it finally does come, it will be that much sweeter.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meet Sarah...

A calico with multiple personalities and a criticizing stare, Sarah is my cat, or she was up until fairly recently, when she suddenly turned into an animal I barely recognized.

She has never been an easy animal to take care of, or even to love for that matter. She's always had her own set of problems and attitudes, and she has never been too shy to let us know about them.

It all started when my Husband and I had to stop in at the local pet shop for a few supplies. Here was this very large cage with this very small kitten huddled up in a corner, and she watched our every move. She was the last of her litter that was brought in only a few days before. Sensing her dejection, we decided to take her home and give our only cat a sister.

At the time, I had been missing a quirky friend of mine from college, and decided very easily that this would be my new, little friend's name. Once home, it took Sarah a bit of effort to work her way into the heart of my other cat, Junior, (an entirely different and worthwhile story). It proved to be a difficult task, but it seemed there was nothing more important to her. She tried to cuddle with him and got kicked away. She tried to eat with him and was swatted. She tried interrupting up his bath to steel some of those licks for herself and received a gentle nip, getting her to back off. But she never went far, and her persistence paid off. Junior gave up, and suddenly decided that she was to be adopted and fiercely loved. They were now inseparable and until this day, and everyday, can be found curled up like yin and yang on their favourite chair.

But Junior is the only one in the household she would snuggle with. If you tried to pick her up, she would quickly squirm her way down. For the longest time, she would not even jump up and sit on your lap . If company came over, there was no sight of her. Close friends didn't even know we had a second cat. After a few years, we moved, and Sarah became manic depressive. One minute she was uncharacteristically sitting and purring on your lap, and the next she was licking herself until she bled. We had her on kitty prozac for a time and once she settled down, we weaned her off, and all seemed well. She even became very friendly, but only on her terms. Under no circumstance were we allowed to pick her up and put her on our lap. If she decided to snuggle with you though, there was no choice. She persisted no matter how bad her timing was, until we relented.

This past Christmas, as with all holidays, we kenneled the cats while we travelled to visit our families. When we picked them up shortly before New Years, we were troubled at the amount of weight Sarah had lost. It looked like she had simply refused to eat the entire time we were away. After awhile of trying to get her to put the weight back on, we decided to take her to the vet to make sure there was nothing more sinister than a bad attitude going on. After some tests, the doctor said she seemed fine. Really, other than her being so thin, she seemed normal to us as well. But then she decided to start playing a new game with us . Her eating habits suddenly changed completely. When there is a ham or chicken in the oven, she refuses to eat at all. She will just sit in the kitchen and look at me. If I leave the kitchen, she follows, all the while staring me down until I make eye contact with her, and then she meows at me. Well, it's less of a meow and more like the sound a magpie makes, not at all pleasant. When I head back to the kitchen, she follows. If I open the fridge, she sticks her head in, and when I offer her the can of cat food, she shows interest, only to turn her nose up at it once I have it in the bowl. The next day, when there are no savoury aromas filling the air, she will happily finish an entire can in a day. At least, this is the pattern I've noticed recently. I'm sure she will change her mind tomorrow.

I suppose, given her 12 year history with us, I shouldn't be all that suprised by these sudden changes. If anything, I should learn to expect them. We are moving again this summer, and are planning to have some of that kittly prozac on hand. Maybe she'll surprise us yet again, and handle it all with grace and ease. So far, something this cat has not displayed is grace and ease. We can only hope.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Love Drama...

Here is a collection I put together for a team I support on Etsy. A lovely collection that got more attention than most of my other ones. Although I am quite happy with the number of views and comments, I thought I should elaborate on just the type of drama I'm talking about.
I have a true distaste for the drama that so many people unconciously create in their lives. That is, that soap opera type stuff. Not that I'm an innocent in this category, far from it. I've done my fair share of wave making for no apparent reason.
Having now spent quite a few years on working it out of my system, I have been leading quite a calm, some would say dull life.
Not to say that I don't have a long way to go, but I have managed to transform a portion of the energy that I used to spend upsetting myself, and so many others around me, into creativity.
You'll still find plenty of drama surrounding me in the form of art, paintings, music, pottery, jewelry, really just about anything. Even the people I tend to surround myself with have a predominant creative side, and are quite passionate (a form of drama) about their work and hobbies.
Etsy is a fabulous community for that. There are so many wonderfully talented people using this outlet, not just to sell their work, but to find support with like minded people, and therefore keep the inspiration that is behind creation a constant flow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Trouble With Collecting

The main problem with collecting is that it is way too much fun. The second issue is finding a place for said collection, or in my case collections. There are probably a half dozen other reasons why collecting is a con, but oh well, there it is, I'm a collector.
The brooch in the photo was slated for my shop on Etsy. But I wanted to price it very high, too high, a very good sign that one does not truly want to sell something. So, of course, it ended up finding a special place in my ever growing collection of jewelry.
As a matter if fact, I picked up a small apothecary chest last week to start organizing it all. Much better than a traditional jewelry box, the chest consists of many little drawers that I can further organize with little boxes. It is working out wonderfully. The only problem is, I think I need another chest, or I will soon. So, there is another problem, one collection inevitably leads to anther. In this case, a jewelry collection is leading into a furniture collection.
I've met collectors of all ages. Some of them are just getting started, and figuring out what it is they want to collect. Some of them are in their prime, and have impressive collections, and some are much older and are selling their prized items or dividing it up amongst loved ones.
I'm afraid I'm just getting started. But, if for some reason I decide tomorrow that I am done with jewelry, I have a wonderful outlet to sell it, and offer it up to the other collectors of the world.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How Lucky Am I?

This absolutely fabulous piece of art was done by Ester Orloff of E Makes Art, and I was lucky enough to win it.
During the One World One Heart blogging event, organized by Lisa Swifka, hundreds of bloggers chose something, usually their own creations, to giveaway. Then all we had to do was spend a bit of time blog hopping around the world, leaving comments for all the wonderful bloggers and artists out there. At the end, we just chose a random number out of our hundreds of comments, and Voila!, a winner!
Anyway, more about Esther - she is a stay at home Mom, and a talented artist who loves mixed media, photography, and even making the occasional piece of jewelry. All of her work is beautiful, and if I had to chose one word to describe her pieces, it would be 'calming'.
Here are some samples of her jewelry. Truly unique and wonderful pieces. Click here to see one of my other favourite pieces, besides the one I won, of course.
Take a bit of time, maybe with some tea, and pay Esther a visit. For me, it felt like a little vacation, and as with all good vacations, there is inspiration in the end.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

OWOH Is Over

The One World One Heart blog tour is over. What a ton of fun that was. I met so many wonderful people and their art, and have added several more blogs to my reading list.

A huge Thank-you goes to Lisa Swifka for organizing this huge event. The amount of work she put into it is so much appreciated by all of us in blog land.

The winner of my stone necklace is Vicki from 2 Bags Full, a beautiful blog about her travels and her adventures in knitting and in life. I hope you enjoy your new necklace Vicki.

I have not, as yet, been contacted from any of the blogs I visited during the event, but if I am lucky enough to win something, you'll read about it here.

Thank-you to everyone who participated and to everyone that visited my blog. Although this event is over, I am definitely not finished with bloghopping. I look forward to meeting many more bloggers and their many forms of art.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Own Jewelry Collection

This collection has only been recently started. Last year, I came across a necklace on Ebay, and I just had to have it. It turned out to be, for the price, of exceptional quality and detail. I was hooked, and suddenly found myself researching vintage and older costume jewelry. I found out that there are a lot of people with the same fascination, as there was plenty of material out there to read, and I am still reading. I've purchased entire lots, just for one single piece. The others, though beautiful in their own right, ended up in my Etsy shop. Although, I have to admit, there have been a few that ended up back in my drawer, and there have been a couple that I regret selling. I only hope I come across them again.
The brooch in the photo is by Trifari, and that seems to be my favourite brand. I am definitely not a 'brand' person. But time and time again, I am drawn to the designs that Trifari put out. This molded glass brooch is one of several pieces I have now, and most of the pieces I have decided to keep are either unsigned or Trifari.
These pieces are not just for collecting. I wear my jewelry. I wear all of my jewelry. The vintage pieces, handmade items either by myself or others, fine jewelry my Husband has given to me, and pieces I've inherited from my Mother. I will often pick out jewelry first, and then the clothing that compliments it, and when I shop, I always think about my jewelry and whether or not that top will wear well with it. Or if the material will hold up to the heavy brooches made from the 20's to the 60's.
As any collector of anything knows, it is the thrill of the hunt. The best finds being where you least expect them, and for a phenomenal deal. I cannot wait to see what those summer yard sales will bring. Probably another collection, that will take me in a whole different direction.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Have A Delicious Valentine's Day

This is what we spent a good portion of our day doing yesterday. In the morning we baked, and after lunch we decorated. A large portion of cookies went undecorated and will go to my Son's Kindergarten class tomorrow.
Using pink, purple, red, white and a few sprinkles, we put together a beautiful assortment of cookies to celebrate each other. Several days ago, we also created little boxes so that we could create Valentines for each other and have somewhere to keep them until we open them on Tuesday. We will be celebrating a day late because that's when Daddy gets home from camp.
The kids picked an assortment of different shapes. These are Kaitlynn's cookies and included here are hearts, flowers, birds and kitties. Also, being the super-duper kid that she is, she handmade all of her Valentines. She did 25 for her class, and several for her family as well. I can't wait to see what she put together.

These are Jared's cookies. There are birds, hearts, kitties, frogs, fish, lions and even a baseball bat. They didn't all make it into the photo. One 'broke', so it had be eaten immediately. Another one fell onto the chair, had to be eaten. And this other one wasn't looking quite right, so down the hatch. But enough made it to the freezer to be able to pack a treat each day this week in his lunchbox.
Jared also worked hard on his Valentine's. My little 5 year old signed his name perfectly on nearly 30 cards.
Both the kids are very excited for their parties tomorrow, and even more excited that Daddy will be home in only 2 more sleeps.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My First Zentangle

Here is my first real attempt at a zentangle. I say 'real' because my actual first attempt was a bit of a cheat. First of all, I used pencil, and therefore was too tempted to use an eraser. This is a big no-no when working this particular form of art. The idea is to 'go-with-the-flow', use a pen, and see where that mistake leads you.
This art of doodling is a sort of meditation. It is not only very calming, but in the end, surprisingly rewarding.
In this one, I borrowed my son's hand and traced it, then continued from there. In about 2 hours, (divided), I had completed not only a piece of art, but a keepsake of the size of my little guy's hand at the age of 5.
Are there mistakes in there? Yes. Would I do things differently next time? Yes, but that's the whole point, they are all different. There are no two alike.
I came across this idea when blog hopping around the world during the 'One World One Heart' bloggers event, and new instantly that I had to try it. I'm glad I did, and would recommend it to anyone who needs a little down time. Maybe you're just a bit tired, or are experiencing a creative block. This could be a great way to relax and free your mind.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Blog Event That Caught My Eye

This looked like a ton of fun, so why not?
I started a blog as a way of introducing myself to those who wanted to get to know me better than what my little Etsy shop offered.
I had absolutely no idea where it would go, how long it would last, or if I would get any response. As it turns out, none of that matters. I just love to do it. And I love reading the blogs of others as well. It's far better than TV.
Click on the picture for all the details, and to register your blog.

Here is what I'm offering up as my giveaway. A stone necklace with various findings. All findings are silver plated and it has no clasp because it measures a long 33 inches.
I can not wait to see what everyone else is doing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Grandpa Cookies

My Grandfather always had a bag of 'Dad's' cookies on hand. Out of all the choices, the chocolate chip ones remain my favorite. I love to bake, and I rarely buy cookies, but about once a year, I come across a bag of these, and there in no resisting, (and yes, this is the big bag). One bite, and I'm transported back to a young girl on a warm autumn day, waiting for Grandpa to come back into the yard, turn off the tractor, and invite me to share his lunch with him. He always brought extra, and he even let me have some of his coffee, just a sip. It was the perfect afternoon moment. Later on, when Grandpa could no longer farm, we visited him in town. There was always a bag of cookies sitting by his refridgerator. He must have spent more money on cookies than any other grocery, because there were 5 of us Grandaughters, and we were constantly there, eating his cookies. When we got old enough, he sent us uptown with the money and a list, and I would always, without fail, pick these cookies.
My Grandpa passed away more than 15 years ago. It is so hard to believe that so much time has passed since sharing this special treat with him. But I'll always have my memories, and seeing as how they have been making these cookies since 1929, why would they stop now?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Say 'Because'...A Lot.

I always said that I wouldn't be the parent who answered 'because' to my children's questions. But sometimes, there really is not a better answer. There are just certain things I do not want to explain yet. Like this recent question that truly caught me off guard, "Mommy, why do boys and girls have to be together to make a baby?". My answer, "Because, they just do." She's 8 years old, does she really need that answered honestly yet?
My son often resorts to this word to answer my many questions for him. "Sweetie, why do you need to take apart your sandwiches before eating them?" My son calmly replies, "Because, I just do." There are many times I will dignify my children's questions with long, drawn out reasons that satisfy them. "Mommy, why do I have to clean up my room?" My answer, "Because, if you don't, Mommy can't clean the floors in your room, and then all sorts of little nasties will want to move in. You wouldn't want that, would you?" But after the hundredth time of answering the same question, with many creative answers, I sometimes just can not help myself, and it ends up being a lazy, "Because I said so." No sooner is it out of my mouth, that I regret it. I hated being told that as a child. That answer always made me feel very unimportant. It wasn't intended to do that, but it took me 30 years to figure out that sometimes, the adults in my life, just got tired of answering my many questions. And, I had a lot of questions. I still do, but now I just 'Google' it, because I can.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

For the Love of Vintage

I recently reached the 50 sales mark in my Etsy shop, and that has been (mostly) due to the vintage jewelry. It's funny though, no sooner did I type that, I received an email, saying that I received payment for one of my handmade necklaces.
But it remains true, that the majority of interest has been in the vintage jewelry. There are so many beautiful, reusable pieces out there. I have even noticed that the quality of these older pieces is often superior to a similar item you would currently purchase in a department store for about the same price, and often less. Some people are collectors and have bought pieces to add to their own special vintage collection. Others have purchased a particular piece because it looked just like something their Grandmother had. And some people have bought pieces because they want to do their small part for the Earth and reuse as much as they can. Now, I have never been interested in history, but it has been a lot of fun to have all these wonderful items move through my hands, to learn about their makers and the history of jewelry. I've only just scratched the surface of this topic though, and I intend to get a lot more involved. I can't wait to see what comes up next.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our Beautiful Ginger

A little into our second year of marriage, 12 years ago, we came across this beautiful Husky - German Shepherd cross pup. We both instantly fell in love and without hesitation adopted our Ginger. We lived up North in a small and quiet oil town with a large yard. We also did a lot of hiking and camping, and we knew she would make the perfect companion on our journeys. We already had two cats at home, but that wasn't a problem for any of them. They took well to each other quickly, and you could often find all 3 of them napping together on the doggie bed.
Ginger loved to be constantly by our side, and if I didn't kennel her during the day, she would soon find her way to where I worked and sit outside the window. In a thunder storm, she would come into the house, press her head against my leg, and go wherever I went until it ended. She is terrified of storms until this day, and will do things out of character when one in approaching. She even went missing for nearly 2 weeks last year, after she decided she could outrun the storm, and got lost. We were all fairly certain that was the end, but she was found, and was very happy to be returned home.
In the summer of 2000, after many camping and hiking trips, we moved to a small but busy city. Seeing that it would be too much for her, we took Ginger to my Husband's family farm. His farm had already housed a couple of German Shepherd pets and the family has a natural affinity toward this breed of dog. We missed her a lot, and she was always excited to see us, but the farm was a great home, and we could she was happy there.
Today our Ginger is 12 years old, and age has not been kind. Her arthritis is obviously painful, and she has an immune disorder called pannus, that has affected her eyesight dramatically. Regardless of these facts, she still greets all of us with excitement, and she constantly keeps an eye on the kids when they are outside.
It is very hard to say how much longer we have with her, but the entire family will miss her greatly when she does decide to pass on. Hopefully, she can hold on through this winter and into the summer of next year, because we are moving back to the area in July and will have a lot more time to spend with her.