Tuesday, July 31, 2007

another favourite photo from 2001

Overcast & much cooler temperatures and not so sticky humid. I may take a mini break from my blog...just until Sunday, just too much on the go. Heard back from American Greetings this morning - huge gift, card company so spent my normal blogging time organizing & emailing my portfolio to them ... fingers are crossed.

almost august

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wednesday is August first...this happens every year, the summer just flies by and the next thing you know it's September and the stores are filled with back to school stuff and Halloween candy. My sister, Sandra, and her two kids Michael (19), and Molly (16), arrive Thursday for a few days, that explains the mad guest room preparations. I have a big list of to-do's to cross through before their arrival, all while still managing to get a small amount of my regular work (product designer) done as well. I'm in the middle of creating all the final art for my very first table top collection for Demdaco (big gift company in the US). I need to remind myself how exciting this opportunity is as this project has been dragging on in various incarnations since November of last year, and I'm so looking forward to finishing, at least this initial chunk which is a collection of 20 or so pieces - all different very eclectic, kind of mix and match tabletop. I also must see if I can't drum up some new business, new customers. Busy week ahead.

word of the day - elegiac

Sunday, July 29, 2007

expressing sorrow often for something now past (from elegy - pensive, reflective, nostalgic or melancholy). Armistead Maupin's tender and elegiac novel.


12:45 am and just finished putting the first of two coats of shiny black (although it looks really like very dark brown-which is even better) enamel paint on guest room floor, small side table and little bookcase - now onto porch for futon frame painting. Thankfully it occurred to me while painting, you know how your mind wonders while you're painting and half listening to CBC radio ... that, I only need to paint the parts of the futon frame that show. Phew! that's going to save a lot of time. Hot, hot, hot & steamy humid again today - although it's overcast, so no burning rays of sunshine as of yet. Paint will take a long time to dry/cure in this humid weather. It will be SO great to have 1 room in my house how (or really close to how) I want it to be...that is what is pushing me forward.

sunday morning

"dogs" from greeting card illustration

My most favourite day of the week - I think. Mostly because it's so low pressure...Sunday's seem to be the day to kick back, relax, even if in theory. It's just been pouring rain, coming down so hard the view out my office window has been blurred by a sheet of rain. We need rain, it's been sweltering hot this past week. 30+ and sunny and any time spent out in the open sunshine somehow feels dangerous - burning dangerous. So some rain and clouds a perfect reprieve and I actually love a cloudy, rainy day - again I think it seems less pressure than a sunny day. Sunny days you should be out and about, up (emotionally) and doing things...lawns to mow, cleaning to do and so on. Rainy days...well you can't mow the lawn and you can houseclean, but with a slower more casual, rainy day kind of pace. Or you can cook - one of my favourite distractions from things that actually do need to get done. Or better still, lie on a bed by a breezy open window (if rain direction cooperates), listen to the rain and read a good book or just listen to the rain.

I, as usual, have several days worth of to-dos, neatly written on the Sunday July 29th page of my daytimer. Today's list includes:

• move furniture from guest room into hallway
• vacuum & mop guest room floor
• paint guest room floor with glossy black enamel paint (I tried latex and it's just not durable or glossy I've given in to enamel to have those beautiful, shiny painted floors)
• paint small bookcase and side table (while I have hard to clean up & stinky paint open)
• paint futon frame (which is currently on my front porch)

and if that's not quite enough I also have...

• tidy office &
• clean out & organize fridge

no wonder I get much for reading a good book while listening to the rain :-)

5 am

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Illustration for a set of 4 ceramic tiles

5 am - coffee and one of my favourite times of the day. I'm actually up 15 minutes early this morning. Sitting in my office, at my laptop, both windows wide open and a wonderful breeze blowing off the harbour, the sky just beginning to lighten, and all you can hear is the rustle of the leaves in the trees and the birds just beginning to chirp & sing ... and it's another brand new day. I'm almost always optimistic and hopeful this time of day...anything is possible. It's how I feel nearly every morning. I admit to often veering off that state of mind during the day when the rumblings and noise of day-to-day life, the busyness, can blow me off course and I how I felt at 5 am becomes a distant memory. This happens far too many days but thankfully - another early morning with my coffee is always just around the corner ...
another brand new day.

my favourite book since the 6th grade

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Family and other Animals by Gerald Durell, the first book in a trilogy, that was read out loud to the class by my 6th grade teacher Reginald Porter. He would sometimes laugh so hard that he'd cry and would get his hanky out to dry his eyes. I love this book and have reread it over and over again - it makes me feel safe and happy and comforted.

Gerald Durrell as a young boy moved to Corfu with his eccentric (to say the least) family. Already at that age, a budding young naturalist, he and his faithful companion (dog) Roger would travel around the island exploring.

One of my favourites passages begins Chapter 5. His description of beachcombing with his dog is so bang on and always makes me smile and think of my own beach hunts with my pack of three - Em, Jake & Winnie Dixon

One hot, dreamy afternoon, when everything except the shouting cicadas seemed to be asleep, Roger and I set out to see how far we could climb over the hills before dark. We made our way up through the olive groves, striped and dappled with white sunlight, where the air was hot and still and eventually we clambered above the trees and out on to a bare, rocky peak, where we sat for a rest. The island dozed below us, shimmering like a water-picture in the heat-haze: grey-green olives; black cypresses; multi-coloured rocks of the sea coast; and the sea smooth and opalescent, kingfisher-blue,jade-green, with here and there a pleat or two in it's sleek surface where it curved round a rocky, olive-tangled promontory. Directly below us was a small bay with a crescent-shaped rim of white sand, a bay so shallow, and with a floor of such dazzling sand that the water was a pale blue, almost white. I was sweaty after the ascent, and Roger sat with flopping tongue and froth flecked whiskers. We decided that we would not climb the hills after all;we would go for a bathe instead. So we hurried down the hillside until we reached the little bay, empty, silent, asleep under the brilliant shower of sunlight. We sat in the warm, shallow waters, drowsily, and I delved in the sand around me. Occasionally I found a smooth pebble, or a piece of bottle which had been rubbed and licked by the sea until it was like an astonishing jewel, green and translucent. These finds I handed to Roger, who sat watching me. He, not certain what I expected him to do but not wishing to offend me, took them delicately in his mouth. Then, when he thought I was not looking, he would drop them back into the water and sigh deeply.

swimming with dogs

Jake and Winnie Dixon

Another dip in the ocean at the end of a hot sultry summer day. We go to our morning beach - the beach where we walk and fetch sticks every daybreak. The water is incredibly warm, all afternoon the tide has been coming back in over sun baked sandbars and the first few feet of water closest to shore feels like bath water. I always carry a stick when Jake is off leash, the stick becomes my invisible leash, he so wants me to throw it so he can retrieve it. We waded around in the shallow water between two sandbars - the water over my knees and at the dog's chest level. Miss Dixon is so funny as she dutifully follows me and my every twist & turn the look on her face saying I'd rather not be out here but if you insist then (sigh) I must follow you...

Winnie has become even more attentive to me, she's like my little shadow. I've noticed, it seems since Em's been gone that Winnie's much less secure when it comes to me. She really doesn't want to let me out of her sight and my friend Carol suggested that since Em was top dog in this household Winnie lived much more in dog land but now that Em's gone I've become top dog so she must follow me, the leader of our pack every step that I take.

We continue our sloshing around in knee-deep warm water avoiding the occasional jellyfish then I'd sit down in the water, roll over and float on my belly and Jake would try to pull me and his stick to shore with Winnie coming closer so she could give me lots of worried little kisses - like what's up? what's happening? is everything OK? then I'd stand up again, we'd all walk back out to deeper water and then repeat this fun over and over. Had a little walk on the beach, sat and baked and dried off a bit and back down the grass lane to the car.


word of the day - sartorial

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

of or relating to a tailor or tailored clothes : of or relating to clothes
sartorial workmanship sartorial splendour

lunch in the park

Just back from a 2 hour lunch in the park. Eaton Park - the park at the end of my street that overlooks our small harbour. Had lunch with one of the Heather's in my life, Heather N. We each brought our own lunch, sat at a picnic table under a big tree and gabbed away for 2 hours. Wonderful as always. 2 hours flying by as if were minutes...a big hug and off we go back to our regular lives with promises (always) to get together for lunch again sooner. The weather continues to be perfect - lots of sun, very warm and another dip in the ocean with "the sweeties" tonight perhaps.

dip in the ocean no.1

Susan and the scarlet runner beans - age 9 ( love the red sneakers)

We are having our first real week of summer weather - hot, muggy and thankfully a bit of breeze off the ocean. Last night at supper time we went for our usual quick walk at the beach and I put my bathing suit on. It's so funny to go in the water with dogs - they are so attentive and must be close by no matter how deep you decide to wade out. I stayed in water shallow enough that they could both touch the bottom. Sat down and floated around, immersing my self completely. Wet salt water hair part of the whole ritual. Winnie & Jake just hanging out with me in the water - my best friends - I love my dogs with all my heart.

moody: subject to moods

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Michael 2 years old (?) a polaroid and one of my all time favourite photos

A very unsatisfying description of me and most days in my head. It totally amazes me the gamut of emotions that can occur in the space of a day, a morning, an hour...take a trip and never leave the farm...yesterday was one of those days. From despair to happiness and back again - and it happens all the time, you'd think I'd get used to it but I never seem to. Anyway the day ended on a high note. Michael (my whiz kid 19 year old nephew) and i spoke on Skype for a few hours last night while he gave me yet another invaluable Mac/internet/blog tutorial. Wow ! he can teach me so much in such a short time it's amazing and he'll be here next week in the flesh so I've been compiling a list of things that I need help with. He's so smart and very creative and talented. He has a new blog colonialstreet with incredible photo's (he's a bit of a photo buff as well). I overslept by nearly an hour this morning because I was deep in mad dreams about...blogging (I kid not) I am obsessed and with Michael's help it can only get worse. I'm late for the beach...more later

citrus & blue

Monday, July 23, 2007

I love this colour combination. Wish I had bought more lobelia the darker blue and white. Another Monday, another fresh week, another new beginning. I have been incredibly inspired by all the blogs that I've been visiting. Suddenly I feel again like I have a creative community after many years of trying to stimulate & inspire myself (and mostly not doing a very good job of it). I feel very's a fantastic feeling.


Sunday, July 22, 2007 old (I think 17 in September), crotchety & demanding cat. She is also very brave, fearless really and very affectionate and gentle. Unfortunately she doesn't really meow - she squawks and unless she's sleeping she's squawking...all the time... and it is annoying to say the least. She's been squawking since Dean & I adopted her from the Toronto Humane Society many years ago (she was not a kitten but less than a year old when we brought her home). We nicknamed her way back then "squawkamole". She's amazingly healthy for 16 - a little arthritic I think for when she walks it looks like her front legs are moving faster than her back legs. She is very loyal & devoted to me and enjoys nothing more than to be in my lap receiving lots of loving and most nights she sleeps high a top a pile of pillows on my bed - she is the Queen Bee (top dog & top cat).


Friday, July 20, 2007

Raining again this morning, hard enough that we wouldn't go walking just yet. Thought I'd see what an illustration looks like posted - my ultimate blogging goal to include a lot more illustration (not just photography). Have been finding SO many interesting sights and blogs in my tooling around...mostly found through the links bar on someone's blog. I did manage this morning to figure out how to change my blog name to 29 Black Street, next goal is to learn how to link to things in my text. A word/words in another colour that you click and link to another site that I'm referring to in my text. Also am looking rd to creating more complex layouts in my daily posts - more images, spot illustrations and the like.

Another day spent painting my Florence tabletop collection illustrations (yesterday set of three nesting bowls, and the large canister. Today tidbit tray set, large rectangular platter with handles and all above final art PDF's sent)- a project that I've been working on since November 06 and that I am quite sick of and have lost all objectivity around. Cannot wait until all the pieces are completed and I can really begin to concentrate on designing new collections. Goal next Friday July 27th!

why my life is perfect

Thursday, July 19, 2007

At the risk of my new blog becoming a bit of a cute-fest (kittens in laundry baskets) thought I would aim for some content (musings) this morning. 5:18 am, sitting at my desk in my second floor office, both windows wide open and it is pouring. Love the sound of rain. I do spend quite a bit of time thinking about my near perfect life. I think honestly that financial worries and concerns are the only thing that seems to fetch me up these days - that's probably partly an age thing. I worry a lot about money and my lack of it.

I try to remind myself daily about all that things that are perfect in my life.

I live in a house that I love. As much as I grumble and feel overwhelmed by it at times - I can't think of a more perfect place for me to live - 29 Black Street was meant to be. The same goes for my gigantic yard/garden. A double lot, one house up from Eaton Park and the harbour - my back yard a quiet secluded little forest in the middle of this village.

I walk on the beach twice a day - I spend probably 2 hours every day at the beach except in the dead of winter when we (Jake, Winnie & I) go to the golf course.

I experience nature each day - which is very important to me. Sometimes we see foxes or deer in the morning, I have lots of different birds in my back yard and lately I've been fascinated by the many Blue Dauber wasps I see- a large, long & thin, pinched waist, iredescent black/blue wasp. Very beautiful. Not at all aggressive, solitary and apparently spider hunters.

I work for myself from home - as a (at this time struggling a bit) designer. However I love what I do, I never think of vacation because it feels like I'm always on vacation and I never think of the term retirement (anymore).

I have great health, plenty of food and lots of love & comfort from my family of 6 wonderful pets.

I have a few very good friends that are like family to me - near & dear and have been around a long time.

I do enjoy being very independent & self reliant.

7:15 am

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

our favourite morning activity

Low tide this morning so lots of running-no swimming. Jake is in the best shape ever - solid, muscular and a very happy happy retriever. Miss Winnie Dixon actually found a log-like stick that she approved of-she is my ever fickle fetcher - 1 of every 25 or so sticks meets with her approval. Her favourites are either very misshapen, small and ball-like or so large that she can barely bring them ashore. For Jake... absolutely any old stick will do.

mock orange

Monday, July 16, 2007

my double mock orange shrub in full bloom below my bedroom window...heavenly scent.

ernst (ernie)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

1991 (stray kitten) - December 31 2005
Much loved and missed rare dwarf Alberta cougar

emma jane louise

emma jane louise
September 08 1991 - December 22 2006

We miss her so much...and think about her every single day. This morning at the beach a crow was playfully swooping and flying very close above Winnie, Jake & I and I couldn't help but wonder if it was Em...I hope it was.


Made pesto last night - Froze cookie size blobs on a cookie sheet over night then took them off this morning and put frozen blobs in a freezer bag.


1 big bunch of basil- (4 grocery store bundles)
3-4 large cloves of garlic
juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup toated pine nuts
olive oil to make a thick paste

Put everything except olive oil in food processor - gradually pour in 1/2-1 cup olive oil and pulse until coarse chunky paste consistency.

on blogging

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Now that I'm practically an expert on blogging-it has been over 24 hrs, numerous posts and uploads later and I'm thinking that the constant themes that will likely show up on this blog will be: my family of six (2 dogs and 4 cats), nature, food and books. This will be a perfect and visual (hopefully daily) record of what's important in my day to day life and I think over time that will be quite comforting...I can already see in a way I didn't quite see before...hmmmm

current bedside books

Barbara Kingsolver-Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Ruth Reichl-Tender at the Bone
Elizabeth Gilbert- Eat Pray Love

all non fiction

summer projects

Thought I'd make a wish list of summer projects/activities (I do love a list)

- Freeze strawberries & make jam (check)
- Swim in the ocean at least 3 times
- Barbecue sausages to have with onions, sauerkraut & sweet mustard on buttered toasted buns
- Repair & paint sun porch screen door
- Freeze blueberries
- Make pesto with a big bunch of basil from Harry's garden (check)
- Clean out garden shed
- Make pickles or relish
- Clear out more of my backyard forest with Silvana
- Boycott HarbourFest completely because of the live lobster racing event


Friday, July 13, 2007

Cutting up strawberries always makes me think of my grandmother Flo. I cut up 8 quarts of berries yesterday. 2 quarts made a small batch of freezer jam, 3 quarts sliced with sugar and frozen and the remaining 3 quarts left whole and frozen. One summer task will be blueberries.


Friday evening...a beautiful hot & sunny day. Just back from the beach with the dogs. Tide was way out so we walked on the sandbars & sat on a rock for a bit, soaking up the sun. The peonies are just about gone. So quick-a big burst of showy blooms and incredible scent and it's over within a week or so. Am reading Ruth Reichl's memoir No 1- "Tender at the Bone". She was both the LA Times and the New York Times food critic before she became the editor of Gourmet magazine (a position she still holds). Her three memoirs are great reads-complete with lots of recipes. Looking forward to my bedtime read. Mid summer is here.

perfect purple poppies

Finally...a patch of perfect fringed purple poppies in my front garden

Oh Canada!

A photo that I took the afternoon of the July 1st festivities (actually July 02). Dark and stormy skies coming in over the harbour while the sun was still shining. Picture taken from my upstairs office window.

Friday the 13th of July

My first entry in my first ever blog/website. My intention is to use this blog as my creative journal. Ideally a daily or close to daily uploading of a photo or illustration that I have created. This will be a space where I can nurture and grow my creative spirit (again ideally-this is the plan). Just a quick post to begin as it's time to take my two dogs Jake & Winnie to the beach for our morning walk, swim & stick fetching in deep water adventure. More later...