366 days

Sunday, October 31, 2010

the beautiful basement

don't be afraid
have courage
speak your truth
trust in love

trust in love ...
trust in love ... trust in love ... trust in love ...

He's in the basement now, as I sit typing, he's sawing something. He's making shelves I think. Shelves for his things. His tools, his stuff, his basement stuff. He's settling in. His house has sold the closing date was Oct 29 one day shy of our first date - 366 days ago

oh yeah ... and Boo !
to you

mean ness

Saturday, October 30, 2010

japenese maple

Oh my, reddest of reds, oh you stunningly beautiful japanese maple. I, Missy D and my camera, we will be back to see you ... perhaps daily from now until your beautiful leaves fall.

Just this past week almost all of our trees have changed from the spectacular flame of their vivid yellows, golden, oranges & reds to mostly bare. It all happens so fast ... each & every autumn.

Be kind, for everyone you meet
is fighting a harder battle


+ new sidebar feature (above blog of the week) - Last Night's Movie with a 1-5 * rating & link.
90% of the movies we watch each night are borrowed from our county library - Wow !


Friday, October 29, 2010

yesterday's early morning harbour side walk with Winnie D - oh my, how heaven & nature sing

The grand show is eternal.

It is always sunrise somewhere;
the dew is never dried at once;
a shower is forever falling;
vapor is ever rising.
Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming,
on sea and continents and islands,
each in it's turn, as the earth rolls.

John Muir


Thursday, October 28, 2010

beautiful original watercolour by dimdi

The means to gain happiness
is to throw out from oneself, like a spider

in all directions an adhesive web of love,
and to catch in it all that comes


We have a pet spider in our kitchen. She is black and shiny. She's built her dusty nest underneath the kitchen cabinets, at the back and at the corner that faces the sink. There is a fluorescent tube light high above the sink, the kind that gives off that slightly eerie blueish light and it will be changed into something brighter & better when the cowboy & handy cat arrive at the kitchen reno. For now this task light will do. When I'm washing the dishes I observe her. I've tried several times to capture her over the summer to take her outside, to place her on a plant or tree, to take her to a new much larger world. And every time I reach for her, gently, with my spider/insect capturing apparatus she stubbornly crawls into a little crevice between the wall and cabinet, her petite cave, she hides from me, saying No thank you, I like it here ... so I leave her.

Fruit flies are her specialty ... a delicacy.

I love spiders ... and would never dream of killing one.

Please check out dimdi's amazing etsy shop. 8 x 10 original watercolours - $25. a steal and she also will lovingly paint custom pet portraits ... oh oh ;-)

the secret of my success

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Miss Winnie Dixon & I love this time of year - blue skies, orange, yellow & reds. Sigh

Do what you love
and love what you do.

The secret of my success ...

and I am talking about the secret to my emotional success. It is always so tightly wrapped and tangled up with my life as a designer. Who am I ? First always, I am a self employed designer/illustrator or at least that would be my instant reply. I could give you a few other details of my personality, my likes & dislikes but mainly I like to create things for someone else to enjoy. It is, by far, the biggest part of who I am. It's the big, cozy fleece turtleneck I throw on each and every morning. It's what I think about 90% of the time and it never feels like work to me but on a good day I get paid very well for doing it - excellent !

When I don't have work I become depressed, my self worth plummets, lots of previously insignificant things in my life race to the forefront niggling, twisting and bugging me, I become sad ... I start to dislike myself. I think too much, I spend way too much time longing around in my mind. Never a good idea. I open the door to all those shady thought characters who've been patiently waiting in the wings for just this opportunity. They never go away they just hang in there, back in the shadows, waiting for a slip in my demeanour and then they all race out and party hard. Making me feel desperate, hopeless, + worthless.

Thankfully I have many (well 3) exciting new opportunities on the go here at the much loved teak topped desk. I'm almost too busy. But I hate to say that because I really feel that there is no such thing as too busy with me. Busy keeps me from drifting out into deep water. I'm getting better at balancing a few projects at the same time, becoming more efficient, and wasting less time. I'm so happy this way I could burst - that's the feeling. Having lots of projects on the go and new customers to get to know and to please is very exciting and the validation, the positive feedback becomes like a thick, sweet tonic to me. Soothing me, pushing me forward, exciting me and making me feel very happy & content.

Oh yeah ... and that darn Prince with his endless support & love ... that's the big thick frosting !!
on top of my budding Creative Empire cake ... and ya know how much I like frosting ;-)

katie daisy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

beautiful inspiration & very affordable art from Katie Daisy

Her work is so happy, colourful and very inspirational (especially to me). Last night I received the sweetest little note from Miss Katie Daisy telling me she loved my work and reminding me that we shared a double page spread in an article last year, in the way cool design magazine HOW, an article on hand lettering. Well, I zipped her back an email tout suite that said simply Shut ! Up ! in my best Chip To Dale voice OMG - I LOVE your work and I really do !! We even love some of the same quotations. Please check out her fabulous Katie Daisy site & her etsy shop.

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson

bon jour ! creative empire

Monday, October 25, 2010

three of a dozen or so new giclee prints available this week dans my etsy shop

I'm happy to report that I'm participating in PoppyTalk Handmade this next 2 months & beginning today ! and Oh my goodness ! I am in some pretty impressive company - so much amazing creative talent out here ! Phew ! it's been lots of work getting many new things ready for my shop, making a new little thank you gift that will ship out in each package, working on not quite finished NEW stuff and creating 8 x 10 giclee prints from many of my favourite collage pieces as well as a few new ones. A new favourite - those 3 owls - Hugo, Joshua + Morella.

I've wanted to sell giclee prints of my work for ... oh ages now. Finally it's happenin. Plus I found a new giftware customer to design for and I have another great customer waiting in the wings that I just have to nail down... and I will. They both love my work, my designs and that's a very good thing. Hoping to have a tres steady income once again.

Plus - Uh Huh !! another plus I'm very close to signing my very first licensing contract with another big gift company. Bon Jour ! Creative Empire !! It's all very exciting, I'm having a blast working happily at teak topped desk with my much loved CBC radio 1, Miss D and Oliver often well into the night ... while that darn Prince (of ATG)* watches a movie downstairs. A few nights ago he watched the movie 1 Week - which has the most amazing soundtrack - all Canadian. Two songs that I especially love Calendar Girls by Stars and handsome Sam Roberts - Hard Road

* that would be the Prince of All Things Good. Sighing

heart healthy favourites

Sunday, October 24, 2010

fish n' chips with rainbow coleslaw and our favourite shrimp & vegetable lo mein

Enough already ... enough with the self portraits and self revelations ... it's Dim Sum Sunday !

and this weeks' challenge is to fire out your best heart healthy recipe(s). The cowboy and I have been following this way of eating, this lifestyle for months. Basically it means to us little to no animal fat and as low as we can go cholesterol. So absolutely no more pork or beef, no butter, cream or whole milk (except once or twice a year when we celebrate with chocolate mousse).

It's no secret that I love to cook. I consider myself a foodie and we foodies we like to try new things and to experiment. I really enjoy taking a favourite recipe that would not fit a heart healthy diet and adjusting, tweaking & substituting until I come up with a version that does fit our lifestyle. Example No. 1 our take out - or fish n'chips, with rainbow coleslaw & tartar sauce.

fresh haddock or other firm white fish cut into thick fingers
1 egg white beaten (add a little water if needed)
seasoned bread crumbs* (Old Bay, garlic powder, salt & pepper)

preheat oven to 425. Using a wire cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet use a paper towel folded up to rub the rack with canola oil. Dredge fish fingers in egg white, then through crumbs. Bake at 425 turning once for 6-8 minutes. * I make my own bread crumbs by saving the heels of bread and whirring them up in the blender, add chopped nuts or sesame seeds if you like and store in the freezer. Our grocery store now carries panko crumbs which are also fantastic !

4-5 medium potatoes sliced into fries (we like white flesh no Yukon Golds)
1 tbsp. olive oil
seasoning of your choice

Cut the potatoes into fry size pieces, place fries in a bowl and cover them with cold water, let them sit in the water for at least 5 mins. Drain and dry well with a clean tea towel. Dry the bowl also. Dump the potatoes back into the bowl, add oil and using your hands stir and rub so that each potato slice is covered with a bit of oil. Spread potatoes out on two cookie sheets trying not to crowd them and put in 425 oven on two racks. The secret is to flip the potatoes a few times so that all sides have a chance to become golden and crispy, each time you flip them also switch the sheets from bottom to top rack in the oven. At the half way point of cooking season with your favourite seasonings (we love the combination of Old Bay and garlic powder). Continue for 20 -30 minutes. Checking and flipping every 5-10 mins. until fries are golden & crispy.

rainbow slaw
2 cups grated purple and green cabbage
1 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup grated green pepper
1/4 cup grated onion

drizzle with olive oil and apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp (or to taste) of brown sugar. Stir well and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

tartar sauce
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup low fat Hellmans mayo
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. favourite sweet relish
splash of lee & perrins
big squeeze of fresh lemon

stir together and allow flavour to blend at lest 30 mins.

shrimp & vegetable lo mein
This fast lo mein recipe is my go-to recipe when I'm in a rush and I need a quick delicious dish for our supper - we both love it. We buy President's Choice raw zipper back shrimp and I cook them frozen with the shells on (steaming them effectively) in a shallow pan with a little oil and lots of chopped garlic and fresh ginger. Cook until shrimp are just pink and set aside. Stir fry a big heap of your favourite vegetables in a little canola oil and lots more crushed garlic and fresh ginger* I like to make my heap almost half cabbage or bok choy, I also add celery, broccoli, onions, carrots, green & red pepper (zucchini, cauliflower... and combination of your favourites). Place rice noodles or packaged Chinese noodles in a pot of just boiled water letting them sit and get soft while you stir fry the vegetables. The secret here is to always have a tetra pack of low salt chicken or vegetable broth in your fridge at all times. As your stir frying instead adding more oil, drizzle in chicken broth, adding tons of flavour without fat. I make my ratio of noodles to vegetables the opposite of most recipes. 1/3rd noodles (for example 1 packet of Mr. Noodles without the seasoning) to 2/3rds vegetables and I use 12 large shrimp and the final secret

the special sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1-2 tbsp. chicken broth.

Stir sauce ingredients well in a small bowl. When vegetables are cooked just right - still a bit crunchy. Add in shrimp with ginger/garlic liquid from the pan. Add softened noodles. Mix together while adding special sauce. Mound onto plates and top with chopped unsalted peanuts and chopped fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime. Delicious.

* lots of fresh ginger, chop into tiny matchsticks and use a 2" piece total between the shrimp and the vegetables. A lot of ginger adds so much to the overall taste plus it's very good for you


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Miss D & I both have a big ol' crush on this sweet guy - Juicy - Newfie/Australian cattle dog cross
Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter won't mind.

Dr Seuss

I never start out to be so candid here. I always mean for this to be a visual blog - photos mostly, design, creative stuff but inevitably out comes heart on sleeve gal and the next thing ya know I'm posting photos of myself or sharing inner thoughts and feelings, details of my life and loves, and goodness even photos of me kissing the cowboy. Yikes. I can't seem to help myself and the reason is, I think, it's because that is who I really am.

In live social situations, certainly ones that involve more than one or two people, I might be perceived to be withdrawn, aloof maybe, shy ?? Because goodness knows that's what I'm aiming for. Always in preparation for such an event, a social situation involving more than 2 or 3 people (which thankfully are intentionally rare events in my life) my pep talk to myself always includes don't talk too much just be quiet and listen. Don't be exuberant, don't sparkle, go easy on your enthusiasm, be demure - blend in. Don't stand out. Please.

But ... it's almost impossible for me. Being myself in a live social situation (not a blog which appears initially to be private & solitary) at the time usually feels OK but always upon returning home to the safety and security of this old brick house I feel remorse. A thick layer of self - consciousness & anxiety sticks to me, lingers and makes me feel cross at myself. Why did I laugh and smile and talk so much. I told you, I scold myself, you didn't listen to me and now you suffer.

It began a very long time ago. 8th grade to be exact. I remember the very day, just boom, it seemed I went from bubbly and completely at ease to feeling shy and withdrawn. Suddenly the worst thing that could happen to me would be to draw any attention to myself. It (anxiousness & self consciousness) arrived that day and it's never really left me.

I wonder ... why is it so difficult for us to just be who we really are ?

ps. thanks for all the votes, thoughts & opinions yesterday on the photos of my self