birds, berries & barnacles

Monday, November 28, 2011

a few early morning photos from the last few Saturday & Sunday

vacation & me ... 2 words you don't often hear together.

Fortunately I really love (more & more all the time) my expanding creative world (work) & thus work really never seems like work. How amazing is that ?? but I must say I have been zoomin' for the last couple of months, multi-tasking, burning the 8pm oil, I have a cold & flu bug & I'm tired of thinking about a zillion things at one time. The best cure for what currently ails me ??

A wee 2 night stay at the Halifax therapeutic spa & retreat of best friend & ultimate chat-a-thon compatriot MLouest- Uh Huh !! Shut ! Up !! Not only does she have an amazing home, in an amazing hood (in a wooded park near a sheltered harbour) with trails to walk through tall trees & beside tiny lakes with big giant craggy rocks but she is also a fantastic hostess, a wonderful cook, time absolutely flies when we're together + I won't have to think about a thing. I'll get to do some city things, drop off some of my creative wares at 2 tres cool Halifax shops Inkwell & Love, Me Boutique. Eat out in a restaurant, socialize- & who knows what else.

Heaven !!!

sung by a whole bunch of angels

see ya Thursday ;-)


Sunday, November 27, 2011

quince - polaroid sx-70 from les polaroid archives & not a bad scrabble word

oh winter of whites & greys, of palest blues & browns ... I do miss my flowers
a wee B2G1* sale continues for 3 days dans my etsy shop

* buy 2 get 1 free


Saturday, November 26, 2011

blue, foggy & still. light rain. be still my heart. be still our hearts. Miss D & me.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another

Anatole France

Things are changing. I'm changing ... accidentally on purpose I guess you could say.

I'm desiring changes. I'm embracing changes. I'm planning & scheming lots of changes & plenty of changes are just happening on their own because they are meant to be. This blog is changing naturally. I'm not the same person I was when I began it over four and a half years ago. I'm not the same person I was two years into it ... or three, or four.

I am incredibly grateful for the journey I've exposed here in the 1,624 posts (avec images). The word incredibly is woefully inadequate. There is no word for how grateful I am for these archives, that by some weird accidental whim one day I chose to begin documenting bits of my daily life with photos. My joy, my sorrow, my love(s) & passions. It has shown me who I am.

You may (or may not) have notice that I've removed a few favourite sidebar tidbits - friends blogs, my book list, creative/design blogs ... these are all only temporarily shelved while I do some blog housecleaning. A change I'm increasingly craving is simplicity, more spareness in my life. Blogger allows you to create separate pages that you can link to on your main page by list. Between now & the new year I plan to do a little revamping (that is if my wee particle of a technical brain can figure it all out) I'm choosing to believe that it can & will. I do love a new year after the whirl wind that has been 2011 I am thrilled to be saying Bonjour ! to 2012 with so many brand new dreams, goals, plans & wishes. I want this blog to best represent how I feel as I rush arms wide open into this new year.

So stay tuned please ... & bear with me. Merci ! & have a Happy Weekend !

Pre Christmas Deal 4 days only - ETSY SHOP B2G1 SALE - BUY 2 GET 1 FREE - Shut ! Up !!!

petite feature

Friday, November 25, 2011

1). detail of zinnias 2). zinnias 10x12 giclee print 3). hope 10x12 giclee print - Susan Black

Thank you to Jan over at PoppyTalk for her kind feature of my botanical collages - in my shop
Check our table out at this month's PoppyTalk's Handmade

I do

Thursday, November 24, 2011

with my girl Winn always by my side, our early Wednesday morning grey & snowy walk

I choose to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise
I do


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

yesterday's early morning walk along the harbour with sweetest Missy D

Currently snowing, our first winter snowfall advisory, they've forecast 10-15cms - bonjour white.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

inspired - oh my Michelle your paintings are so beautiful - her blog & etsy shop

This early morning, second cup of coffee in hand, sun just beginning to announce her presence I checked my email & smiled a big wide grin. This virtual world we live in - it's amazing how our lives become so entwined. Let's see if I can explain this in a way that doesn't leave us all lost.

les cast of characters

Moi - blog writer, foodie, lover of cats, creative empire builder, etsy purveyor, floral freak
Storbee - brave, handsome, Brooklyn born, beeg, blag, Dominican cad - his blog
Marie - Wooman of Storbee (otherwise known as Don Estorbo) & gardening/food blogger extraordinaire - 66 square feet + 66 square feet food
Chickory - Ande Cook, incredible artist, lover of chickens & dogs of nature & beauty - her blog
Rachel - of Slow Lane Life (although not mentioned specifically in the email I'm sure she is implicated in some way + thus also entwined in this tale of kinship)
John - does not have a blog but leaves a wonderful trail of regular comments & occasional emails with all mentioned above. Also a tres grand patron of the arts & has been my best etsy shop customer - purchasing several originals (turns out he's also bought from Ande/Chickory)

Back at the time of Canadian Thanksgiving I wrote a post about our (the Prince & my) most excellent heart healthy feast. John left a comment announcing that he would like to recreate my exact menu, especially the stuffing, when it came time for his American Thanksgiving (I commented back that I would send him the secret Maritime ingredient - summer savoury with recipe & promptly added that to my must-do list. Meanwhile over in Brooklyn at 66 Square Feet Marie (& Beence) were planning a small trip away and were looking for a beeg, blag, cad sitter for the Thanksgiving weekend (sigh... time spent in Brooklyn in the company of the D. cad a job I myself tres covet & am determined to have at some time in the future). Turns out - John signed on as Storbee's long weekend cat seeder (I missed this post somehow?). Still following ?

So ... while I'm madly making sure that my package of Maritime/Canadian contraband summer savoury (avec recipes) with appropriate card & note is mailed in time for John to make his Thanksgiving stuffing he unbeknownst to me (because weirdly I missed that one blog post) is madly packing & getting ready for a wee trip to Brooklyn to stay with Storbee (lucky John). Way back ages ago a bunch of us blog friends & acquaintances participated in a swap Ande of Chickory sent me a package of goodies and in that package a set of gorgeous greeting cards with her amazing painting/illustrations. Knowing that John hangs out often at Chickory I thought I'd send him an Ande Cook card with the contraband, note & recipes & I DID MAIL IT ON TIME (many will scoff in wonder at that declaration but 'tis true). On another loosely related note Marie (who often comments here at 29 Black Street) chose my botanical peace notecards last year for an article she wrote online 10 Great Gifts for Gardeners & John purchased the original gouache painting Botanical Peace which was reproduced on said note cards. Freaky

here's the email I received this morning from John

Dear Susan,

Now here I am, all ready to receive gifts from you to ferry to Estorbo, such as catnip (isn't "contraband" code for catnip?) and other assorted Northern goodness… Checked my mailbox late tonight, and sure enough, there is something squishy inside that stiff cardboard envelope… And even when I pull out your packet, I say to myself, yep, catnip for Estorbo… But not. I'm leaving that summer savory in my bedroom. I will definitely cook Susan's Best Stuffing for Christmas with butter and sausage and the pumpkin pie, both sound wonderful.

The chickory card could not be more perfect. I have a small pond in my back yard with feral ribbon snakes, they come for the frogs, circle of life thing, we each move quickly in opposite directions as soon as we see each other. I've learned I can jump really high when properly motivated. Also bird feeders with cardinals, a special spot for crows (anti-hawks, and I like that they collect shiny things), and a dry corn stand for squirrels. That covers your card except for the fish and bear. I have chickory's Blackbird on a white wall going from my kitchen to the living room. Very bright, saturated palette, zings on that wall. It is a small world.

Oh, and before your package arrived tonight, I was packing for Brooklyn and set out that geranium card you sent me a while ago. I plan to make it a thank you note and leave it with Marie.

Regards, John

I implicate Rachel of Slow Lane Life because I'm quite sure she was the original thread that began all this beautifully entwinement. It makes me feeling incredibly happy & tres grateful ;-)

new day

Monday, November 21, 2011

a black tangle of bare branches is silhouetted against a pale blue lavender sky
pink orange cotton puffs of clouds glide silently by the sliver of moon
seagulls float & soar above a full tide, white caps chop angrily against the sea wall
flocks of starlings chatter cheerily high atop the naked poplars
what leaves remain blaze like fire
intense golden shimmering light kisses everything it sees
Winnie D. & I move through our foggy breath as we walk away from the sea
favourite fleece headband & gloves are donned (avec happy polka dots)
cheeks flush, pink & alive with the crisp early winter chill
frost ices still green lawns & hydrangea petals
& ice covered puddles wait expectantly to be stepped on.

good morning new day !


Sunday, November 20, 2011

bits & pieces of my first ever rug hooking project - a beginner mat of paisley & dots

hooked ? oh, oh

In fairness it's early days yet so it's possible that this new bug that appears to have bitten me might not amount to a full blown groove. Remember my goal (perhaps not a good one) was to have less grooves. My friend Deb & I went to the nearby larger town on Thursday to partake in a beginner/basic 2 hour rug hooking workshop with Deanne Fitzpatrick. I had ulterior motives: I was curious about the technique & process (I took another beginner rug hooking course years ago & remember distinctly thinking at the time that it seemed rather labour intensive & not at all for me), my friend Deb has just retired and had expressed interest in rug hooking as a possible activity to fill some of her new found free time + I would get a chance to finally meet Deanne (who I've spoken to many times on the phone & read her blog regularly) & finally check out her store/studio/workshop space.

Well ... it all exceeded my expectations & let me tell ya those are words seldom uttered by moi. My expectations for most things (people, activities & events) in life are so often tres overblown, way high up above the puffy clouds of life where the planes fly - leaving me, natch, in a state of perpetual mild disappointment. But not this time !

Not here. Deanne is wonderful (as I suspected) & so very inspiring to me. Her shop is stunning. It's in an amazing physical space, a revitalized older down-town building & it is filled with gorgeous stuff ! filled to the brim yet all displayed in that super aesthetically pleasing way with just the perfect amount of spareness. Many rugs & smaller hooked items adorn the walls & are displayed all about giving you plenty of ideas for potential projects. Patterns, books, tools and wool, wool & more wool in colours & textures that made me want to weep. Oh my, the small skeins of hottest pink gnarly wool, the limiest greens & the boldest oranges along with as complete a palette of neutrals & historic colours that anyone would ever desire.

So am I hooked ? I just may be. I will confess that since Thursday hooking has been been taking up a rather large portion of my thinking. Every evening since then, when it's time to do those breathing exercises & tone down the vibration of my day's busyness I've picked up my hooking.
So far it's been a perfect, very relaxing & fun way to wind down. The other great news is my friend Deb was bitten by the hooking bug also ... & Deanne & I are getting together again soon.

uppin' the ante

Saturday, November 19, 2011

from a series of photographs of things gathered - from les vast & plentiful iphoto archives

That's the thing about the journey I'm on - I'm forever uppin' the ante, stir that with just a smidge of obsessive compulsive perfectionism (in all things except house cleaning I'll willingly confess) and that's one big ol' carrot constantly dangling in front of moi. Further, better, faster.

& ya know ... I secretly love it, thrive on it & I know it makes my many neurosis all herd together to sit quietly in the back row of my mind. Not a peep from them for days on end. I've been in a wee phase of go-go-go, multi-tasking, wearing several hats, doin' more freelance, learning new stuff, planning for 2012, high speed, rampin' up for holiday etsy/wholesale order season & by 9pm when my head hits the pillow and I crack my latest good read my body (& mind) are still vibrating from all the to-do's, should- do's, OMG wanna-do's, don't you dare forget to-do's & on - you get the drift. I'm w-o-u-n-d up, way too wound up but I know now to breath deeply for a few minutes it has a near instantaneous calming effect. OK & another, deep, slow, inhale through the nose .... ahhh ... hold for just a sec, now exhale slowly .... slowly, slowly, slowly & again as needed. It's the simplest thing & it's the best thing. It works. I tell those kids in the back row to shhhhh the movie's about to begin, I open my book & off we go to someone else's life.

I love lovin' what I do ... hmmmm ... let's just leave that at - I love lovin'

I'm guest posting tomorrow over at my creative empire guru Deanne Fitzpatrick's blog tomorrow. I'm doing a series of posts on design. Uh Huh ! What is it I do ? & how the heck to I do it ? It's all about process ! & ya know I love's me some process ;-) - happy, happy weekend !


Friday, November 18, 2011

Oliver (most excellent, talented, athletic, handsome, yada yada yada, associate, friend & cat)

oh oh someone's been surfin' the net again.

It's a cat's to rule situation here at the 29 Black Street CE* headquarters. Oliver is threatening to move to TO (Toronto). He wants to work for John Street an ad agency (after watching the video below) where apparently, he thinks, they would "get" his vision (eye roll by me).

The following list of firm suggestions was delivered yesterday to the TTD** (surprisingly his list of demands does not include more money, whiskas temptations or cosmic catnip)

1. more autonomy (more ??? another exaggerated eye roll from moi)
2. an expense account
3. a travel budget (England No.1 destination, apparently a hot bed of catvertising & home of M. Millie with the black nose - FYI to me - there are direct flights daily between Toronto & London)
4. a bigger more private office (still with a harbour view please)
5. more play !!!! (he's suggested I study the blog of now world famous Maru for tips + recommendations about how to keep your cat creatives happy, productive & rockin' with ideas).

*CE - creative empire
** TTD - teak topped desk