our house

Thursday, September 30, 2010

6 photos of my shaggilious sweet girl D (who says no thank you to all grooming attempts)

Our house is a very, very fine house
With two cats* in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy ... 'Cause of you

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

* actually that would be 1 big, fat, black velvet chicelet in the yard plus 2 crazy kittens inside

Thank you Mary, most excellent yoga instructor, for helping make my wicked Wednesday oh so wicked and in that lovely, chilled out, Hey Susan let's be nice to You today kinda way. At the end of our practice as we lay on our mats in the darkness of the elementary school gymnasium, breathing in & out with deliberation & focus allowing our thoughts to bob along our breath like the seagulls we see bobbing carefree on the waves in the harbour ... she read to us this poem.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


My mind and body both whispered, thank you.

styles & sensibilities

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

another 8'x 8' canvas children's art piece - a work in progress

I've been happily wearing my graphic designer hat of late working on a few local jobs - a logo, signage/promotional material for an all pet boarding kennel in our area plus working on a 12 page newsletter for the hospital foundation, a newsletter that I work on every year at this time.

I'd like to have a second etsy shop where my product focus is all whimsical, typographic, inspirational art (original & giclee prints) for children, and of course, for the young at heart and
that shop is where I see these two pieces fitting nicely.

I love balancing back and forth between the super clean, fussy, organized computer work that comes with the graphic designer turf and the messy often, devil may not-know-what-comes-next 'tude of this mixed media collagey stuff. And my newest series of collage posters with quotes, is kind of a marriage between the two styles & sensibilities - something quite graphic but collagey too. Truth be told it doesn't really matter what style I'm working on - as long as I'm working - I'm having a ball.

Although ... yesterday was a tres Yucky day. You know those days that are just plain blah, you can't put your finger on anything specifically bad or unsavoury about them and in fact I actually had some fantastic work/project news (news I'd been expectantly waitin' on) news that had Missy D and I doing our big, little happy dance around the TTD for a spell. But even that couldn't scoot away those darn Yucks. Sigh. The kind of day, that all day, you have that feeling that you won't be sorry to see this day be put to bed. Nighty- night yucky day.

It was a terrible Tuesday - what can I say. Here's hopin' for a wicked Wednesday

Bonjour - today will be a very fine day- 8'x 8' mixed media canvas

in this perfect moment

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

along the waterfront - Missy D and I sure do get around and we like to take lots of photos

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The lines flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

Derek Mahon

there will be dying, there will be dying - this line leaps out at me. I must prepare, I must be ready. A very good friend sent me this poem a few days ago and although upon reading it I thought it was very beautiful and the gesture of her sending it to me made me feel loved and happy a little voice, tiny, barely a whisper said to me ... that's not necessarily true.

It wasn't even actually a voice, more just a feeling ... in my stomach, a tiny knot feeling. That tiny knot always and ever ready to swoon and swell in an instant to 10x it's normal size. Sometimes I want to defend my sadness, my vigilance, my watchful eye, my spider sense's humming always as if they were a bullied younger sister who needs my protection.

Geneen Roth in her amazingly insightful book Women, Food & God suggests that you just "put it down" that trunk or battered suitcase of sadness, worry, lovingly stored & packed away feelings not felt or dealt with. Just put them down and walk away. I think to myself are you nuts ? what if I don't want to ? what if I can't ? Everything is going to be all right. what if that's not true ? All the things in my suitcase are things I'm very good at. Practiced and honed skills and abilities.

Eventually we see that it was the investment in the brokenness, the constant effort to fix ourselves, that was the very thing that kept our wholeness at bay. If you think that your job is to fix what is broken, you keep finding more broken places to mend.

Geneen Roth - Women, Food & God

in this perfect moment,
the one that I'm in this very instant
everything really is ... all right.

I must own this book

Monday, September 27, 2010

illustrations by the fabulous Camilla Engman - find her also at Studio Violet

This book, A Homemade Life - Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table
written by Molly Wizenburg (creator of Orangette the blog) - is lovely. I must own this book.

It's lovely, it's perfect, it's beautifully & magically written - it's like a hot mug of perfectly brewed tea, it's like your favourite duvet or quilt, fresh from line tucked up under your chin, it's like the hot water bottle you've perfectly positioned under that darn knot in your shoulder. It's the kind of book, that barely a few sentences in you find yourself exhaling that deep sighing breath ... that soft whooshing barely audible ahhhh and think to yourself this is going to be an amazing read.

My copy is a library book. It's the second time I've borrowed it, the first time it was relatively newly published and quite popular - therefore book had holds which meant I couldn't renew it and could keep it only 3 weeks. Not nearly long enough for my read 6 pages and fall into a deep sleep bedtime only reading routine. I do remember, back then, mentioning the book to best friend & designer gal MLou (who is a foodie as well and from way back). I told her then You, are gonna love this book ! with great confidence & enthusiasm. Well I'm sayin' it again.

So this morning I'm dolling out virtual copies of the book and encouraging everyone to either buy a copy or borrow a copy from a friend or the library. If you love talking about food and love listening to people talk about food, if you gasp when you find a book that's written so descriptively that you can't believe that you aren't actually there with them .... say, in her mother's 80's aerobics class, there with your own brightly coloured spandex & legwarmers thumping around in unison to Olivia Newton John. Her descriptions of places and people, of her family and events and of cooking & food are nothing short of magical. The book is filled with recipes also, to go along with each chapter/story about some family member, event or occasion in Molly's life that most often centered around food.

Molly's book reminds me of two other great food writers (food, family, life writers) Laurie Colwin & Ruth Reichl whose books are all pretty amazing as well. But ... this book tops my list currently. So I'm handing out some of my extra virtual copies now to a few friends who I can almost guarantee will love this book as much as I do.

MLou, Big Shamu, Rachel, Pamela, Willow & Marie.

I carry your heart

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I carry your heart - collage - versions 1 & 2

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart ... I carry it in my heart

E. E. Cummings

drink the wild air

Saturday, September 25, 2010

live in the sunshine - collage, gouache & ink

Live in the sunshine.
swim in the sea,
drink the wild air

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I sure am drinkin' the wild air these days ...

I'm planning to make 11 x 17 giclee prints of a series of these collages avec quotes - for les shop
Available by mid-October

to new friends

Friday, September 24, 2010

another hydrangea from our front garden - this one starts out with pale citrus green blossoms

1 & 2 - hyndrangea 3 asparagus 4 & 5 queen anne's lace 6 & 7 harebell 8 & 9 another more pink hydrangea 10, 11 & 12 double impatience oh my we love that pink !

I overslept this morning by an hour*, unheard of for me. I've been so happily busy lately the moments and the days seem to be flying by me. I keep checking items off of my long list of September to-dos and with 6 days remaining it's looking like I'm going to check every thing Hooray ! The cowboy's been away for a few days this week and I taking advantage of my freed up evening hours last night - I had dinner guests. Shut ! Up !! I know 'tis shocking ! OK, those of you who've just fallen out of your chairs, pick yourself up and believe me, as surprising a revelation this may seem - it's true and I had the best time. I made homemade veggie pizza and a big tossed salad and they brought dessert - individual pineapple upside down cakes served warm with a lovely big blob of coconut milk, vanilla bean ice cream. Yum & tres delicious !

I had the new girls over accompanied by their tres handsome, large & goofy dog Juicy, who's personality is so like that of my big red dog (and true love) Jake. Juicy is the real reason I introduced myself to these girls in the first place. They had just moved to this village, into a big, beautiful old yellow house that looks over the harbour and which is on our twice daily walking route. The whole family were outside this particular sunny June afternoon working in their garden - big, gorgeous, dog along with them and I looked at Missy D and I said we gotta go meet that dog - so we did and it turns out we're crazy about him and we kinda like those girls too.

Today I'm Rockin' On that (6 days left) September to-do list and havin' a ball doing it. M. Invincible's back it seems, I'm lovin' having her here for a visit and I never know just how long she's gonna stay. Thanks to Miss Arty Lovely who sent me a fantastic paper goodness package all the way from the magical far, far away island of New Zealand. Merci Sweet Pea !

*woke up to Oliver waiting patiently curled up on my belly, he always insists on sleeping on top of me. Turns out he was waitin' for me to wake up to hear my shrieks of joy upon noticing the very dead tiny mouse he had loving placed, feet up, on my quilt about 8 inches from my chin. Gee uh ... thanks Oliver ... um ...Good Cat ?? Sighing ... Life with cats ;-)

autumn's here

Thursday, September 23, 2010

scarlet runner beans

Have I mentioned how much I love ...


and the light in our tangled back garden in early evening
the shadows & vines & citrus green leaves
a big, fat, orange full moon over the harbour shining in on our darkness this early morning
a tub full patchouli blend bubbles
walking the streets of this little village with Missy D when many are still tucked in their beds
and the lovely autumn


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

pink clouds, brown churned up surf, a fire in the sky, the beauty, the blues and the sea

It's different always ... it's never ever the same, but it's always beautiful and often awe inspiring.

I feel so lucky, so very grateful, to live by the sea in my old and charming brick house, in this tiny and mostly sleepy village ...

with my handsome, handiest of all, cowboy - the one with the very tall moustache and with les felines garcons (BleetNess, Oliver & Virgil*) and the ever fabulous Missy Darn D. Out on our walks, I look up to the sky or out to sea past the harbour's entrance and into the strait and daily I whisper thank you ...

thank you ... thank you ... thank you ...

*the cat formerly known as Gus