15 things

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


1. sweet
2. for a cat
3. for a dog
4. useful
5. old fashioned
6. scented
7. gardening
8. paper/card
9. delicious
10. salty
11. green
12. culinary
13. natural
14. sparkly
15. soft

Well ... we Oliver and I took all the 9 names and wrote them out on little scraps of paper put them in a cup and Oliver drew names one by one and we put the folded pieces in a line. 1st gives to the 2nd, 2nd gives to the 3rd etc... and the last gives to the 1st. and the list is as follows

Moose's Mom gives to Joni
Joni gives to Alice in England
Alice in England give to Pamela
Pamela gives to Alice in Paris
Alice in Paris gives to Chickory
Chickory gives to me
I give to B. Shamu
B. Shamu gives to Leenda
Leenda gives to Moose's Mom

past swapping examples including packages I've received can be found here
Deadline for mailing package is November 1 - I do love a sensible deadline ;-)
Contact your recipient to get a mailing address ... any problems just let me know.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

creative director, photography assistant, parkour master, sous chef ...

big red retriever in disguise, sweet as can be and all round truly amazing cat - Oliver

The last photo he's waiting for me to present my days accomplishments to him - critique time of course he only gives criticism of the utmost constructive kind. He's a firm believer in the cat nap or the power snooze and his favourite spot to take 5 (or 20) is in his sunshiny, pillow topped office dans les extra wide windowsill. He fancies himself the Don Draper of this organization mostly because of his chiseled good looks, but also because of his often profound ability to generate ideas and concepts - and of course he is quite a hit with the ladies although he really only has eyes for one - one tabby lady with a black nose named Millie who lives far, far away - across the great pond. Sigh ... these long distance relationships are tough. He had planned to take the Concord soon for a wee rendezvous in the UK with his true love only to find out that the Concord is no more. Drat ! Love will find a way he tells me.

ah, there she is ... M. Millie with the black nose from Slow Lane Life - be still my heart, xo Don

bigger photos for your blogs - here's a link that hopefully will help

swap again

Monday, September 28, 2009

a big ship fueling up at the wharf yesterday's early morning walk

Right now I have the following names signed up for the next 15 things swap event.

B Shamu Chickory Pamela Joni Moose's Mom Alice in Paris and me

If your name's not here and you'd like to participate (more info here and you don't have to have a blog) please comment today or tomorrow and we'll add your name to the list. Oliver will be drawing names Wednesday early morning and pairing swappers up

here's the list of words to begin pondering - the secret is found, crafted, recycled and/or regifted
items the point is not all to spend a lot of $$ and in the end the postage often ends up being the biggest expense

1. sweet
2. cat related (of course)
3. dog related (of course)
4. useful
5. old fashioned
6. scented
7. gardening
8. paper/card
9. delicious
10. salty
11. green
12. culinary
13. natural
14. sparkly
15. soft

Hey ! I LOVE the new look of my blog - I can barely stop staring at it and I'm tempted to go back into each post's html (all 837 of them and make all the photos and illustrations big ! but then I think Hey ! what are ya nuts ? that would be well over 1000 fiddly changes - yikes). Merci favourite and much loved nephew Michael. And I'm lovin' the new bolder banner. It's raining here this morning and warm enough to have the windows open. I'm working today on a Tuesday drawing deadline so I'm off to the lands of bubbles & scent.

chili sauce

Sunday, September 27, 2009

12 - 250ml jars of tomato fruit chili relish

I followed this recipe ... with the following additions

1 cup of golden raisins added to the chopped fruit and vegetable mixture
zest and juice of 2 oranges added to the chopped fruit and vegetable mixture
and 1 - 2 inch piece of fresh ginger sliced and added to the cheesecloth spice bag

delicious on hotdogs, hamburgers, with meat loaf, fish cakes or a grilled cheese sandwich ...

* I used Jalapeno peppers in this recipe and it's not hot at all so if you like your chili sauce with lots of heat I'd make sure to use a much hotter hot pepper.

bigger, better ?

pinky red geranium on our front porch yesterday morning

Inspired by Genine's beautiful blog I asked my own personal Genuis Bar - my 21 year old nephew Michael if he could fiddle with my blog to make the photos bigger and use more of the white space. He and I talk on the phone most weekends and yesterday while we caught up with the week's events in each others lives, I peeled and chopped vast quantities of fruit and vegetables while he worked away on all that darn html stuff (?!*@!!). Thank goodness for cordless phones. I still need to fix up my banner, adjust it to fit the new wider layout - who knows I might even go wild and make a brand new banner. I made the font bigger and hopefully easier to read with this new longer line length. I'm really liking the new format. Any thoughts ??

Drawing, cooking, canning, walking, reading, napping ... and taping the new PBS and Ken Burn's documentary The National Parks.

Oh and Hey ! it's Dim Sum Sunday and this week's theme is Chili - (phew) check back later for more Fruit Chili Sauce ... the absolute best condiment ever.

bonjour weekend

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I'm not working this weekend at the little gift and home decor store and I'm feeling quite thrilled about that. It feels like I've been working too many weekends lately. I do have a few hours of design work to schedule in both today and Sunday here at the TTD but I'll make those hours coincide with a few of my favourite weekend CBC radio shows (of which there are a plethora of weekend favs to choose from which makes sitting here and drawing pure pleasure). This weekend I'll have many hours of totally free time - to do with, whatever I feel like. I'll peel and chop fruit, peppers, onions and tomatoes and make my batch of fruit chili sauce. I'll see if I can't finish my current book - What Was Lost (a quirky, funny and touching British mystery) so that I might move on to the next book in les bedside pile. I'll enjoy eating seasonal fruit - pears and plums and apples. I'll get out that ocelot lure and I'll drag it around this old brick house v-e-r-y slowly and I'll see if I can't catch me some miniature wild cats. I'll walk in blustery cooler weather with my girl Miss D. by my side. We'll notice the few leaves along our travels that have already turned - brilliant crimson or vivid yellow. When the wind is cold and coming in off the water we change our route and walk up the hill toward the schools and by the house with the sweet older dog, a shepherd mix who has one crooked ear and we'll call out to him Hey there handsome ! because he is, very and he reminds us so much of Jake. I'll tidy and putter, pitch and sort ... I'll hang laundry out on the line to dry in this crisp Autumn air. Shut Up ! I might even vacuum. And I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday again so soon - how can that be ?
Quiet and contentedly busy here at the TTD*

Happy Weekend !

*teak topped desk

failed crops

Thursday, September 24, 2009


My crop of zinnias failed miserably. A cheery, colourful flower that I love. A flower that sits permanently in my top 5 favourite flowers. I maybe had a dozen blooms and even those looked weak and troubled, as if it took every ounce of goodness in them to unfurl their stunted petals into blooms. But at least I did plant zinnias - always an every summer plan of mine.

The leaves and twining tendrils of my gigantic pot of sweet peas (perhaps No. 1 in my top 5 because of their incredible scent) have climbed to great heights, way up the artful spray of dead branches plunged deep into soil and compost but have had only one blossom (maybe I planted the seeds too late or maybe they didn't have enough sun). The teeny Icelandic poppy seeds sprouted early in masses with great hope and then promptly all died and the morning glories also, didn't ever amount to anything.

I do have a small bed of cosmos blooming happily, a tiny gardening success. They dance & bob on their spindly stems, vivid & bright, each early Autumn morning in the new sun. And nasturiums are trailing out of pots everywhere with their large round saucer leaves and bright orange and golden blooms all from seeds I did not knowingly plant.

It's raining here this morning and the new dawn sky is a strange yellowy colour.

8:40 am it's pouring rain ... it's coming straight down and our windows are all open wide because the air is warm. We're tucked in by lamp light here at the teak topped desk with new projects on the go and I can't explain it - but the rain makes me feel happy.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

more glimpses of our (Miss D & me) early morning walk

All nature is but art unknown to thee

Alexander Pope

Warm and windy.
Windows open wide again.
Gauzy curtains breath in and out with the breeze.
Bubbles wait.
Kittens race and thump.
Leaves rustle outside our window.
The birds begin.
Winnie Dixon snoozes.
Crickets hum.
Seagulls call.
Inky darkness lingers.
It's another brand new day.

a beautiful song

* I have not forgotten about the next 15 things swap event. I'll organize that info (names of swappers and list of words) for Monday's post.

so long summer

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

a glimpse of early red along yesterday's morning walk

we love red

Spent yesterday afternoon away from this old brick house which felt lovely. A break from the everydayness, from the sameness. The trials of being self employed and there are trials (along with all that independence & freedom goodness) - your home is your work place and your workplace is your home - they eventually just meld into one.

Away in a nearby town for an apt. and shopping with a good friend. We stopped at the market for plums, pears, tomatoes and peppers, I'll make Fruit Chili Sauce this weekend - the absolute best condiment I've ever had. And we're having a little burst of summer like weather this week with lots of sunshine, blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures ...

it feels like I'm hanging onto summer this year.

miss placed

Monday, September 21, 2009

sun through the 29 Black Street forest

I seem to have misplaced my blogging voice. I know it's here somewhere and I'm confident it will turn up ... but for now it's missing. Lost somewhere amidst the stacks of books and magazines, or hiding in the folds of clothes I never wear. Early morning M. Invincible whose most often chatty and enthusiastic, always hopeful with the promise of another day seems to have disappeared and her understudy Miss Placed has shown up instead ...

I enjoy the ritual and habit of posting each day so this quiet has been mildly disconcerting to me. Instead of looking forward to my blog I find myself waking and thinking Oh my, what will I post today ... even my enthusiasm for taking photographs has waned. It feels like this abrupt change arrived with the cooler air and the changing of the seasons, a kind of quiet sadness has rolled in on a North East wind.

Lots of design work on the go which is a perfect distraction for these times ... and a stack of new books from the library are piled up bedside. We still hear the hum of crickets each early morning even though our windows no longer are wide open each night. The leaves are just beginning to turn and it feels like autumn is here.

How do the birds make great sky circles ...
they fall and falling they are given wings


r & r

Sunday, September 20, 2009

along the crescent beach

Drawing today here at the teak topped desk all day with hopes for an afternoon break nap/read tucked into the nest of cotton and flannel. Pillows stacked up high with pillowcases fresh from the line and smelling of outside, a big mug of tea, a cat or two and Miss WD. A few Sunday hours of pure r & r ( rest & rejuvenation).

citrus green

Saturday, September 19, 2009


your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find
all barriers
within yourself that you have built against it


Dark and windy
Lavender bubbles and a steaming hot facecloth
Two new projects on the go here at the teak topped desk
A Saturday shift at the little gift and home decor store
Kittens (Gus & Oliver) are racing and thumping
W Dixon's snoring softly
and Bleet's outside patrolling around in the early morning darkness

terms of endearment

Friday, September 18, 2009

Winnie - she's becoming quite a little poser

A few of our endless and ever changing terms of endearment

Princess (her shelter name) her story
Winnie Dixon
Dixon Chicken
Cheeks of Sweetness
My Girl
Sweetie Girl
Sugar Beet
Miss D
Missy D

I am crazy about her ...

Miss D has hurt her leg. One of her back, already busted up, legs. I let her off her leash yesterday in the park so she could play with Toby (handsome young Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever) who we meet up with many mornings. And that Dee, she's so silly and she likes to show off with her spins and twirls and leaps and racing. It's my fault I should have known better but is there anything more joyful than two (or more) dogs running and playing and chasing each other ? With one of her dramatic up in the air spinning twirls she landed the wrong way and hurt one of her already weakened back legs. It didn't really show up until we were back home again after our walk, so I think she'll be OK. What we don't ever want is for her to have to have surgery on her knee(s). So we're going to take it easy for few days, have little short walks and no more of her off leash silly madness ... unfortunately.

update - well we're back from our walk and I'm happy to report that Winnie walked this morning with barely a limp. We did not run into handsome Toby, although Miss D kept turning around with hopes that he might soon appear and even though I had great intentions of us having a short walk ... herself (with very determined tugs on her leash) had other ideas. I am very relieved.