Thanks for stopping by my blog. Here I will be posting information about my creative process, inspiration, tutorials and day-to-day activities that make me who I am. I hope you enjoy it, come back often, follow, and invite your friends as well. Click on the painting to your right to be directed to my website.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

African Adventures Continue...

The children have been away this past week visiting their grandparents.  A great opportunity for me to plug away at some commissions and re-group from our world travels!

We finished Morocco with making Fatima's Hands to hang for good luck.  Then we made our way South to Senegal.

Here we dined on a delicious peanut chicken dish with rice.  I think the food has been my favourite part of stay-cationing.  We made some African dolls and printed fabric.  We didn't have any dried gourds to make stamps with, but potatoes are always available!!  Great activities for hot days on the porch.

We're not entirely sure what we are going to do with our printed fabric, but we're leaning toward making pillows.

During this time, we were having a very real heat wave in Ontario.  We took a day off from stay-cationing to hit the beach.  What a beautiful beach it is...Lake Dore is Canada's largest lake without an island, and the sand bar extends very far out (we ventured about half a mile from shore and could still easily touch, with no sign of it dropping off).  As a result the water was SO warm.  It was a lovely day with friends.

Another hot day prompted African inspired painting, as we travelled to South Africa.  Miss E decided to take a more abstract approach, while Mr.O used his toy elephant as a model. 
Finally, before leaving, we took in the local fair.  The children wait all year for this, and as always, it did not disappoint.  Next week we shall continue on!  Hopefully it will be cool enough to attempt our batik and basket weaving before leaving Africa and heading to Australia!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Oh Morocco- how you do so make our bellies dance.

Stay-cation location two- Morocco.  This stop was a little less intense than Egypt, but enjoyable.  This time we made some lanterns (tea light holders), Fatima's Hand symbols, and tried out belly dancing - or as it is properly known, Asian Dance.  The latter resulting in histerical laughing and surprisingly sore forearms.

Food- once again amazing.  I don't have a Tagine.  I had thought of fashioning one out of a terra cotta pot and base, but I couldn't find one big enough.  SO, I used a dutch oven instead and it was still amazing and new flavours to us- so a success in our books!

Tomorrow we hit Senegal. We will be attempting to dye fabric and make African dolls, batik pillows, and perhaps do some fabric printing as well...it will just depend on how crazy the other two activities get!!  Everyone is still having a great time, and our summer journal pages are filling up with evidence of a summer staycation well spent.

Breaking up our faux vacation was time with friends at a cottage they rented.  Miss E and Mr O enjoyed lounging in this camping hammock.  Swimming,canoeing, crayfish catching, hammock swinging, hamburger eating and marshmallow roasting- what more could we have asked for?!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Personal Policies...

Yesterday I had an interesting horoscope.  Now, I'm not one to live my life by these things, but I do find that the video horoscopes HERE do provide food for thought, at very least.  My horoscope discussed a need to review my personal policies and procedures...you know, what you accept, what you believe, how you allow other people to treat you, etc..  The timing was very apt, so I thought I would devote some time to it.  I realised it had been a long time since I really thought specifically about how I felt about myself and my place in the world beyond being a Mommy.

Many of us say that we deserve the best, etc, but does this statement match your personal policies and procedures?  Maybe it's time you thought about yours too?  While determining what you accept from others in terms of how they treat you, equally important is what we recognise as OUR responsibilities to others and ourselves.  Here are my policies:

Policies for Being ME.
1.I matter in this world.  I will not allow anyone to make me feel otherwise.
2.I deserve the best of what life has to offer.
3.It is against policy to allow anyone to make me feel unworthy through their actions or words.  I AM WORTHY.
4.I will not allow the spiritual development of others come at the expense of my own.
5.I am strong. I can handle anything, and have a responsibility to do so as gracefully as possible.
6.I will express my love and gratitude to those who deserve it.
7.Participating in relationships (friendship, familial, personal) to the best of my abilities is SUCCESS.  What other parties choose to do/say/behave is NOT within my control, and NOT my failure.
8.I will not give more of myself to someone than they are willing to give in return.
9.My value will never be determined by wealth or the material.
10.I have a responsibility to myself to seek joy in everyday.
11.I will make the world a better place by raising my children to be loving and mindful individuals.  I will find my own 'stage' and do whatever I can to impact the people I connect with in a positive way.
12.I will not hold anger in my heart.  I will allow myself to 'feel' pain, but will strive to release it.
13.I will actively seek not to speak or act in anger or hurt.  I will be mindful and intentional in my actions, thoughts and words.
14.I will be open to receive all that I request from the Universe, and all that I am 'meant' to receive and learn from.
15.The light of the Universe flows through me.  It is my responsibility to shine it on the world.
16. It is my responsibility to ensure that my children always feel safe, loved, and respected in my presence.  This will be achieved through not one action, but a lifetime commitment on my part of making it so.
17.I will continue to live honestly, with integrity and with genuine compassion toward others.  It is my policy that kindness is not a fault.  There are people in this world who see what is in my heart and value me for it.
18.People who do not accept or comply with the above policies do not warrant space in my heart.

So what are your policies? Take a little time to think about it...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Egypt was a gas!

Well, we staycationed in Ancient Egypt this week, and my children had a lot of fun.  First we made robes and coloured some amulets to wear, as well drew our cartouche(s).

Mr.O and Miss E liked dressing up, and were very excited to try some new recipes. They absorbed a lot of information.  Mr O really doesn't like mummies though.  He asked if he lived in Ancient Egypt if he would have to be mummified.  I replied that if he had wealth he would, as it was custom.  Mr O dramatically exclaimed, "I don't want to be a mummy!!" prompting Miss E to pat his back and say, "don't worry, you won't be a mummy....you'll be a daddy!"

While discussing the mummification process, we made our own mummies and sarcophagi.  These turned out really well.  I think the tube mummies are so cute!

(blogger keeps rotating this image, sorry)
We also painted some tomb art on pieces of drywall covered in joint compound.

Mr O and Miss E liked dancing to Egyptian music- they couldn't keep their bums still if it was playing!  Aside from all the reading, eating, and creating, we also had camel races.  The children each carried a pillow on their back and raced on all fours.  Eventually they ended up shoving the pillows right up their shirts.  It was a lot of fun, and the giggles were worth all the work on my end to prepare it all.

Next week- Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and Madagascar! I hope we can fit it all in...I see batik and basket weaving in our future!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Stay-cation Preparation!

We're not world travellers.  It's just a cold, hard, fact.

This is not because we do not want to travel, but being a single mum sometimes means you don't get to do extravagant things, like travel abroad....at least not at the moment.  That said, it does not mean that my children and I can't learn about life else where.  It is with this that we begin our summer Stay-cation.

The itinerary is chock-a-block full.  We are starting in Northern Africa (Egypt, Morocco) and then travelling counter-clockwise around the continent, ending in Madagascar.  From there we are heading to Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, India, Russia, Ireland, Scotland and finally Mexico.  My son is anxious to add a stop in Las Vegas- but I think he just wants and excuse to dress like Elvis.

Our trip includes many crafts, foods, and music- all the things that make life worth living (at least in my humble opinion).  I look forward to sharing our creations soon.  We should be in Egypt by Wednesday!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Crashing Computers, Too Many Papers, And A Postal Strike!

Part of me cannot believe it has been over a month since my last post, but the other part of me knows just how difficult it has been to find the time.

One of my biggest and most frustrating obstacles has been my computer not liking the Ning networks lately.  With me being a 'Fire Fly' over on Milliande's Art Community for Women, it is making it very difficult to comment and monitor swaps and RAAKS (random acts of art kindness) as I would like.  Also, I'm signed up for a SuziBlu workshop, but am not able to use the site easily because it too is a ning site.  The result has been me searching for updates for my browser (firefox) and hoping it helps the situation.  If I try to go back to internet explorer, I'm sure my laptop will explode!

In addition to this is the inability to access my studio at the moment.  In a brief moment of gumption, I decided that I needed to sort through the closets in my home.  Naturally this has resulted in piles of things needing new homes, etc, and it all ended up in my workspace (for what was supposed to be a week and has now lasted nearly a month).  My goal next week is to re-claim my space and sort the piles of mystery papers that have landed on my desk!!

To top EVERYTHING off, Canada post is on strike.  The rotating strikes at first weren't too bad, but this whole lock-out situation is getting to me.  I have swap things to get out!  I really dislike people having to wait.

A positive though- I have started a group called Art In Hand.  My hope is that artsy and craftsy people (such as those reading) will help me in this.  I am attempting to assemble small art kits and hand crafted items for children living in women's shelters...well at least that's the FIRST project.  I'm needing people to sew bags to hold the art supplies, as well as make slippers (something the shelter nearest me said identified as a need).  So if you are reading this, and like to sew, knit, crochet, please visit www.art-in-hand.net and see how you can help.  If that [sewing]seems too much, please also consider donating art supplies or used crayons (which I can melt down and mould into new ones). If you are on Facebook, look up (and 'like') the fan page Art in Hand, which shows the following photo as it's profile image.

I'm desperately trying to get photos of things/projects taken, edited and posted.  More to come...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

To Shine or Not to Shine...

 Nothing in life is taken for granted as much as the knowledge that the sun will shine again... Oh, that sounds deep (feel free to quote me on that).  

It would seem that the sun has been having some sort of internal struggle lately (to shine or not to shine). All winter we cling to the knowledge that spring will someday appear.  Now that spring has sprung, it is a natural assumption that the sun will shine and it will be wonderful.  However, while the sun has made a few appearances here and there, so far our spring calender has been a bit grey.  A day or two of sunshine is really only a tease; enough to keep us hoping, dreaming. While the sun seems happy today, there are dark clouds edging their way in every once and a while, and a rather cold breeze still lingers (my neighbour is outside in a toque).  This is a sharp contrast to only a week ago when we were feeling a great deal of humidity and expecting thunder storms.

I suppose in some ways, my expectations of spring are nothing more than 'ideals'.  The problem with clinging to ideals is that such practice only leads to continued disappointment, as they can never really be obtained. Ideals are goals, ambitions, something to be strive toward.  It is no secret -spring has utterly failed to meet my expectations so far.  This thought does, however, lead me to deeper ones.  What other ideals am I clinging to that are only creating blocks in my thinking or experiencing life to the fullest?

Hum...I guess I'll have to pull up a seat in the sun (while it's shining) and think a little more on it

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Miss 'E' Turns 5 with a Garden Party....indoors.

As you may recall, April was the month of my little Miss 'E's fifth birthday.  I will be the first to admit that my 'green'-ness wasn't what I had hoped, but I did make an effort to, at very least, use items that will have future uses.

Invitations were little seed packets I made on the computer and cut and assembled myself.  They contained sunflower seeds for the guests to plant this summer (and are also safe, should any of them try to eat them rather than plant the seeds).

I'm not a big fan of balloons, so it was no real heartbreak to not have any.  Instead, I purchased in-expensive paper lanterns. My daughter rarely has nice weather for her birthday (there is usually still snow), so an indoor party is always to be expected (this year was no exception- children were being dropped off in hail, snow, and freezing rain).The nice thing about these lanterns is not only that they could be used again, but also that they could be hung in my daughters room following her birthday, if she so chooses (which she will).
To vary the height of the lanterns, I used regular household string.  I purchased pre-cut paper flowers, which my children coloured, and I poked holes in them so that they could be threaded on the string as well. I also made garlands out of flower leis I cut apart and re-strung.  These, too, can be re-used.  In the garland I wove butterfly and dragonfly mini-lights.  I made another garland out of the same flowers and paper letters I printed and cut out by hand. This will also be re-used in future years.

In addition to this, I used dried raspberry branches to make the dining table centre piece.  These branches are from my back yard.  I then hot-glued on flowers from old silk flowers I had kicking around...and by 'old' I mean I've had them for 15 years and too cheap to throw them out.  The secret with this is to glue them where you see a bud on the branches.
Yes- I used a plastic table cloth.  The guests were 4 and 5 years old.  I re-use these many times, and then re-purpose again...so while not ideal, this particular sheet of plastic will be used for years before meeting it's demise.

On top of the table I sprinkled fabric flower pedals, which we've saved to re-use for future crafts.  These plastic plates you see have been in use since my daughter's 1st birthday, and come out every year- because pink is always a safe bet with her!  I kept the pink cutlery, too.  The cups are paper, and not waxy, so should break down well.  The paper plates I used for dessert were biodegradable and made from recycled paper.

I hung  (fabric) flower leis on the backs of the chairs for each guest to keep, and instead of a loot bag full of dinky toys, each girl took home a little garden kit- including gardening gloves, clay pots, seeds, soil and  small birdhouses that we decorated together after the cake.

We have a long way to go, I know.  However, when it came time to clean up, there was no real 'waste' from the party other than the paper cups and biodegradable plates.  All tissue and wrapping has been kept for future use, and the packaging from Miss E's gifts were recycled...so, even with some faults, I still think we did a pretty good job. The only real casualty of the party- my electric mixer, which died whilst I was making icing.
Next time....the recycled doll house.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


The sun is shining, a welcome change. I could not resist getting out and (finally) cleaning the flower beds.  Needless to say, I'm sore everywhere and can't help wondering- if I'm this sore after just cleaning the beds, how bad will I be once I extend them and put in a vegetable garden?! Of course, I utter the same sentiment every year.

This spring/summer holds a variety of outdoor projects for me, since this past winter seemed exceedingly hard on our poor ol' house.  While I was examining the yard, I suddenly remembered that I need to buy a new lawn mower.  A fact I thought of only as I realised that I will need to start cutting the grass by next weekend.  [For those of you who may remember, my push mower echoed shades of Steven King's 'Christine' last summer (see my earliest post for more details).  The result was me insisting that my ex-husband be the one to cut the front grass with it (I use a rider in the back).  Luckily, the man is a good sport and took pity on me.]

As for my art, I'm busy with commissions. I always love commissions, and not just because I get paid to paint.  I love being able to feel other people's energy, and relay messages to them.  People are always so appreciative and happy with what I tell them.  It makes me happy to be able to make others happy- even better is the fact that it is my job! How great is that?!

With the children away for the night, I also have the opportunity to get some things around here organised.  Organised, as defined by our family, is the ability to walk through the house and not trip on any of my daughter's things.  God love her, she leaves a trail where ever she goes.  It's part of her charm.  It also creates chaos.  Added to this is the fact that my large Newfoundland dog [see previous posts] is shedding.  By all accounts she really should be bald by now.  I brushed her for 45 minutes the other day, filling a small kitchen garbage bag with her loose hair...only to find clumps of it on the living room floor not an hour later. *sigh* I'm not sure how this is even possible.

THIS ALL SAID, I would rather have a messy house and a happy family than a clean house and no one to share it with.  So, I typically adopt the attitude that while I am here by myself I take the time to enjoy the quiet and the cleanliness.  When my children are home I take the time to enjoy their company, and make messes together.

I was hoping to get more up this week, by way of some of my green endeavours...however, that clearly did not happen.  More to come....Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It's been ages since I've been able to get the time to blog....poor, poor, blog.  SO, over the next week I fully intend to get some photos up and slowly fill you in on the happenings here.  Be patient with me, people.

Recently I've been running a swap over on Milliande's Art Community for Women entitled, 'My Soul Sings'.  It is a 1 for 1 swap, meaning  that for every painting I receive, I send one back.  I've been painting like a mad woman for nearly two months, and happily waved good-bye to a majority of the paintings over the past couple of weeks.

Aside from that, I have had some commissions to work on, and also, smack in the middle of it all, celebrated my daughter's 5th birthday.  The goal was to keep things as 'green' as possible- a difficult task in a culture inundated with plastic party favours, cartoon characters, and a general expectation to spend more than required on one-time use decorations and toys that children don't need or even want.  In spite of this, for a first serious attempt at being more environmentally friendly, I think we did fairly well.  Later this week I'll share some pics and projects on my "Green" page.  

What else has happened?  Good question...it's been crazy around here and I've totally lost track of time.  Hopefully these artsy photos will appease the masses for now.  Until tomorrow, folks!

These are some of the paintings I have sent to participants of the 'My Soul Sings Swap'

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wooden Bead Runes for Divination

Those of you who have read my previous posts may recall that I purchased a bag of wooden beads at a thrift store a while back with no intended purpose.  For those of you who didn't read my previous post- I purchased a bag of wooden beads at a thrift store a while back with no intended purpose.  Now that everyone is up to speed...

I decided to use some of the beads to make my own set of Runes.  I've always been curious about reading runes, but for some reason found them a bit intimidating.  Today, for no particular reason, I felt compelled to give them a go.  I had been reading about Earth Centred activities to do as a family, and the book I was reading suggested using dried Lima beans.  Due to an unfortunate kindergarten arts and craft incident a few years back (which resulted in taking my son to a children's hospital to get one removed from his nose), I tend not to keep dried beans in the house...but I did have this big ol' bag of wooden beads (too large for nostrils and well out of reach)!

Making Runes requires 25 beads (or beans, stones, wood chips, whatever you are using).  I then used a permanent marker to draw on the various symbols.  I used a dark bead for the blank Rune (Mystery).  Rune symbols and meanings can be found readily on the Internet, should you find yourself interested in this activity. You may wish to lightly sand the surface of the bead.  If my wood burner was working (*sigh) I would have burned the symbols into the wood.

Because I am unfamiliar with the symbols, I wrote their meaning on the back as well.  I consider this my 'starter' set.  You then put them in a bag of some kind, shake them gently as thinking of a question, and reach in.  Mix them up a bit, and draw 3 Runes.  These will give you the same as a 3 card Tarot spread.  Past- Present-Future.

My three Runes were exactly what I've been getting in Tarot spreads and messages through meditation and dreams.  I was delighted, and took it as a sign that I did everything correctly.

I should point out, the beads have been stored in my work room- which I smudge regularly.  Before you use your Runes, I suggest you 'cleanse' them of energy.  Place them in the sun for a few hours, or in a window sill for a full moon.  If you are using stones, you could rinse them in salt water- but you will have to let them dry before writing on them (obviously).  You could also smudge them using the smoke from incense, dried sage, lavender, etc..

Another suggestion for using divination tools (any kind), is to be mindful of how you are wording your questions.  Cut and dried questions don't really work well.  You are best to ask questions like "what do I need to know about...." "what information can help me...." .  This is much more 'open' to receiving answers through divination tools such as Runes or Tarot.  Save your yes and no questions for a pendulum.

So give them a try!


Spring/Summer Promotion Starts NOW!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I KNOW my draws were to be for every 50 people to follow both my blog and facebook page, but we didn't quite get there- so I combined everyone and did a couple of draws anyway!!

The winners are: Beth from Leaf Lizard blog, and Helen Goulty.  I'll post pics of the prizes soon! Wasn't THAT organised!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
And the trade winds soft through
The sighing trees
And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright
Lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Solitude.  It's not really the same as being alone or lonely.  It's a chosen state of mind which allows one to reflect, grow, and reach toward something great. As winter nears an end (hopefully), I am using the last of it's quiet energy to reflect and embrace it's wisdom.  Solitude allows the quieting of the mind, and a connection to powers and forces greater than us.  It is in this quiet I am able to connect with myself on a more soulful level, and move forward into the spring with new life.

Originally, I couldn't think what to name this piece.  I have since decided on 'Solitude', as it reflects my current state of mind. The tree sits in rest, stillness, waiting for the warmth of the spring's sun to signal a readiness to blossom.  All the buds (ideas, groundwork) were formed last year, and have sat dormant over the cold winter months- now anticipating their growth, as the Earth Mother begins to bring her grand plan to fruition.

“Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone.”

~Paul Tillich quotes

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Love, Your Valentine"...slush in my ear, and Chinese water torture

The history of Valentine's day is not entirely clear.  Some express that this day is named after a priest who served in the Roman Empire during the reign of Claudius II (around 270 AD).  Claudius believed that single men made better soldiers, and had banned marriage for young men in the hopes of building a stronger army.  This law did not prevent people from falling in love, however.  As such, Valentine took pity on the young men and married them secretly.  When Claudius found out, Valentine was sentenced to death.

Another version of the story (or perhaps more likely a continuation of the story) is that Valentine, while imprisoned, fell in love with the jailer's daughter.  Before being executed, he signed his last love letter to her, "Your Valentine". 

So why February 14th?  After Valentine's death, word of his story spread and people began referring to him as St. Valentine (I'm sure the story now is much more romantic a notion than what actually occurred, after all- nothing spreads faster than the story of someone else's tragedy).  By the Middle Ages, the Romans held a tradition where by on  a special day, young men could give notes of affection to the women they wished to formally see.  The month of February was already associated with love, and by this time Valentine (referred to as a 'Patron Saint'),was believed to over see (spiritually) the festival of love which was held every February 14th.  There have been valentine's found dating back to the early 1400's!
*heavy sigh* I love a good tragedy/love story.  The basis of the tradition of Valentine's Day is so pure and lovely, I do find myself a bit annoyed by the commercialism of it all.  That is why I help my children make their valentine cards.  In keeping with my 'going green' motto for the year, we baked cookies and decorated them to go with the handmade valentines. For my daughter's class, we made little paper envelopes to hold the cookies.  Foolish me, forgot that two children times two classes equals 50 valentines!!  We did it though- our very own little valentine sweat-shop.

Let me be clear.  The valentine process in this house took a few days.  It's been emotional to say the least, and by the time I washed the last of the icing off the wall last night (don't ask), I was exhausted...

Which reminds me of a brief tutorial for Valentine's Day.

I first saw these cubes with Victorian images, and thought to myself, "self, why not put images from your own family".  So I scanned and printed off wedding pictures and images from my ancestors.  I mean, why not celebrate the relationships that made ME possible?!

~two milk cartons per cube (same size, I used 1 litre cartons).
~white glue, a dish, water & old paint brush
~acrylic paint (I used red and burnt umber)
~gel medium (optional)
~spray varnish
~crackle medium (optional)
~masking tape or packing tape

  1. Measure across the bottom of the carton.
  2. Starting at the base of the carton, measure up the side the same width as the bottom and mark.
  3. Cut the carton all the way around.
  4. Repeat for the second carton.  You should have two pieces that are as high as they are wide.
  5. Set one carton into the other so that you create the cube (you may wish to put rice or dried beans in the cube to weigh it down).
  6. Tape the edges closed.
  7. Mix equal parts white glue and water in an old dish and apply strips of newsprint (paper mache) over the entire cube to add strength.
  8. Allow to dry, then paint desired base colour.  Set aside.
  9. OPTIONAL: you may wish to use crackle medium at this point (as per product instructions) and apply a second colour of paint to your block.
  10. Trim the images to the desired size (I printed my images on to photo paper to make them water resistant).
  11. Using either glue or gel medium, attach images to the cubes.  Let dry.
  12. Spray with clear varnish.  Let dry.
  13. OPTIONAL: you may also apply crackle medium at this stage.  Once dry, use a brown colour to rub over the surface to give an aged appearance. You may also wish to apply another coat of varnish over this antique finish.
That's it! 

...So this morning, with their school bags bulging with cookies and valentines, my children set off to celebrate the day with their schoolmates, but not before first taking pity on their poor ol' Mum and agreeing to be MY valentines.  After an emotional roller coaster of a week, I was glad to see them off smiling and happy.

It's a wet snowy/rainy day here.  I gleefully waved goodbye to my daughter as her bus drove off (my son walks) and started off to get the mail and to buy milk.  With a smile on my face, a lightly walked up the street, through the slush with wet snow sticking to my face.  It is warm and my heart was full of love, so it didn't bother me one bit.

As I was approaching a teenage boy walking toward me, I saw his face fill with alarm.  He tensed up.  He turned his body and lifted his one leg.  It was all happening so fast...I suddenly heard the sound of a bus coming from behind me and felt the cold 'splat' of slush hit the entire left side of my body (and then saw it hit the entire right side of the boy).  There was no where to go.  Our options were wet snow bank, or slush in the ear. Thankfully, I was wearing a long, waterproof coat and despite the warm weather had put on a toque (honestly, I was just too lazy to do my hair).  My thought while this is happening- "crap".  We each froze in our tracks, looked at each other, and then laughed.  After the valentine fiasco, if I didn't laugh I'd cry.

It was one of those moments where a person has a choice.  I could get angry about something that has already passed, I have no control over, and cannot be 'fixed', OR delight in the fact that it is warm enough to have puddles and slush, I'm alive and well enough to be walking in it, and for that brief moment, shared laughter with a stranger.  Not really a difficult choice at all, really.

I continued on my walk, chuckling at myself and the situation.  I got to the store, where my previous puddle experience made the store owner laugh (as she observed the 'splat' marks up my jacket).  In that moment I was so glad I chose to see the humour in the situation, in doing so had brought laughter to someone else.  I was, none-the-less, much  more cautious on the way home of on coming traffic.  Having dodged a few more potential slushy disasters, I confidently walked under the branches of a large tree which somehow managed to drip large fat drops of water exactly in the same hole of my knitted cap, in the centre of my forehead, 5 times in a row as I walked.  How is that even possible?  It was like Chinese water torture.

I eventually made it home. My paints wet up past the ankles, my coat dripping (at least on one side), my smile slightly fading. Then I opened my mail...

I received two lovely valentines, from artsy ladies I've never met.  What an absolute delight.  People, in another country, spent the time lovingly creating mini works of art, and then mailed them to a stranger, for the sole purpose of spreading a little love.  Wow.  Isn't that what the day is about? Just as I had shared a story to bring a smile to someone else, people had shared their efforts with me.

I suppose the moral of my story is this: even if your day sucks, even if you're feeling exhausted, drained, tired, and fed up, even if you have slush in your ear or have been a victim of water torture, see the joy and share it.

Your Valentine.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I'm not a huge egg fan. 

With that cleared up, I would like to share a little something with you...

The other day, a friend and I (and her beautiful, sweet, perfect, baby girl) went for coffee and a late lunch.  To my surprise, the cafe that we went to had a variety of gluten free options and the owner seemed very informed as to what I should and shouldn't eat with my sensitivity.  All the food is made on sight, and everything looked delicious.  I finally settled on the quiche.  What was interesting about this particular quiche is that she used potatoes for the crust. 

Maybe this is not a novel thing. Maybe everyone in the world is aware of this except my friend and I.  Needless to say, when Friday night came and my tired (and emotional) children returned from school, I decided to attempt the potato-crust quiche myself.  I looked in my 'end-of-the-week' refrigerator (code for  I need to get groceries) to see what exactly I would be working with.  I managed to throw the following together.

2 large potatoes
6 eggs
2/3 cup grated extra old cheddar cheese
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, stem removed
1-2 leaves fresh sage (finally chopped)
1/4 cup cream
salt & pepper to taste
butter (mmm...butter...)

Step One:
Peel and wash potatoes.  Slice thinly (as you would for scalloped potatoes).  Layer in a large, greased pie pan. Dot with butter.

Step Two:
In a large bowl, combine eggs, cream, onion, green peppers, salt & pepper,  and chopped herbs.  Whisk well.

Step Three:
Pour egg mixture over potatoes, top with grated cheese, and bake in a moderate oven for approximately 50 minutes (or until egg is cooked through and potatoes are soft).

Step Four;
Stuff your face.  It turned out really well, and my children gobbled it up (even having seconds).

The possibilities are as unlimited as with a regular quiche recipe.  This would taste great with feta cheese, red peppers, and any number of other ingredients that aren't in my fridge on a Friday afternoon.

Try it out, and enjoy!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

One Thrifty Gal!

It has been ages since I stepped foot in a thrift store.  Not sure why, I actually find them interesting.  I was fortunate enough to go on a day without my lovely children.  This, of course, meant that I actually got to LOOK at what was there. 

I didn't go in with any expectations.  More of an opinion that if I am meant to find something, it will present itself.  That said, I was a bit disappointed (at first) to see how picked over some of the shelves had been.  In the back of my mind I was silently hoping to find some accessories for my dining room, specifically decanters and the like (of which there are USUALLY many).  Alas, none to be found. However....

I did find a lovely hand-carved teak bowl and some little carved wooden bowls that I decided wanted to come home with me.  You may be thinking to yourself, "wooden bowls make me think of Grandma's rec room".  You would be correct in thinking that, only because they were so popular in the 70's.  However, over the years I see them cycle back into the home style magazines, and figured at $8 for the lot, mine (especially the $4 teak bowl) were a great deal.

Along the way I managed to snag a big bag of wooden beads for $1- no intended purpose yet, I just never seem to have them when I want them.  I also found a heavy duty winter jacket which looks brand new (which I DID need) for a whopping $35.

Now, before I reveal my next find, I need to tell you a little bit about myself.  I never throw away magazines. Seriously.  Home and garden magazines and 'How To' books are my absolute favorites, and I (for some unknown reason) commit nearly every image and technique to memory.  This is, admittedly, a sad reality and such information is taking up valuable real estate in my grey matter- evidence of which can be found in the fact that I have a hard time remembering my phone number and postal code.   That said, a few years ago, when 'shabby chic' was all the rage, I had purchased a book entitled, 'Flea Market Make-Overs'.  I ended up finding the book somewhat useless, since my luck at flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores had never yielded me such treasures as this author...that is until yesterday.

From the book, 'Flea Market Make-Overs'
Whilst poking about this large thrift store, I found something that made my heart stop...the stuff of thrift store legends...the breakfast tray.  (What?! You were expecting something more exciting?)

I KNEW in my mind, I had seen something very similar in one of my books...and sure enough, here it was.  Page 136- 137 in the above mentioned book, is the breakfast tray I had committed to memory in hopes of one day finding. I've scanned the image (and claim no rights to it, please don't send me to jail).

Today was my day!  I found the following bamboo breakfast tray for $5, and have no intention of painting or refinishing any part of it. I actually like mine a bit better, but maybe it is the fact that I actually found it myself.
...and now to convince my children to make me breakfast in bed.