♡ love

Friday, January 31, 2014

love, LOVE, L-O-V-E
this February Vogue cover of Lena Dunham of HBO's girls fame - love the hair, love the red, love the big polkadots ...

a nest, cats etc.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

oh my, cats, gorgeous light, vintage bedding in the chocolate brown nest / omg ! a bloom, a bloom bedroom geranium / air traffic controller / vintage pillow slip / Bleet helping me out with some typographic collage / itty bitty sweetie / breakfast at my desk - western omelet & clementines / thought bubble above Oliver's head - "errrgggghhh she's sleeping in MY bed. I want to puff up like a racoon, torment & tease her then beat her up but I'm not allowed -so I'm playing it cool … for now - hehehe" / adapted from this wheat free Martha recipe / Virgil deep in thought ? in his penthouse pad / heaven-LY

Do you wake up as I do, having forgotten what it is 
that hurts or where, until you move? There is a second 
of consciousness that is clean again. A second that is you, without memory or experience, the animal warm and waking into a brand new world. There is the sun dissolving the dark, and light as clear as music, filling 
the room where you sleep and the other rooms behind your eyes.

Jeanette Winterson

the very best medicine

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

the lawn at Thinker's Lodge at sunrise / old poplars with their coat of lichen / ah the moon, the wisps of clouds / beach grass patterns / the grey & white of winter / winterscape / the wharf & dingy beach / my footprints in the freshly fallen snow / the crescent beach / snow capped queen anne's lace / a favourite vantage point looking out into the strait / cottages at crescent beach awaiting spring 

The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. Now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours. 

Alan Bennet 

I've been happily busily, bustling away at many lovely new & exciting creative endeavours. Sadly ones I can't talk about just yet … 'tis the nature of this beast. Licensing art, creating art for the stationary, gift & home decor markets. I'm used to the secrecy, it's always been this way - I've been doing this on my own (sole proprietor) since the fall of 2001. In February I start 2 brand new e-courses. Feb 3rd the fantastic & fabulous Lilla Roger's course - Assignment Bootcamp - an extension of sorts of the much loved by many Make Art That Sells A & B (I participated in both) & Feb 17th I begin Kelly Rae Robert's new e-course Mixed Media Mantra's - ya know I love me a good mantra & why not learn from les Queen of mixed media technique, art & style + I've taken Kelly's courses before and they're super value, chock full of content & goodness.

Miss Winnie Darlin' Dixon continues to be great ! hooray ! hooray !! coming down those stairs with ease, eating like a horse (and trying to chase the cat food rider), Monsieur Bleetito also turned 15 this past week and he's quite suddenly, in the past week or so become super affectionate, cuddly & has begun sleeping on the bed at night - when he can find a spot ;-) no one needs a king size bed more than we do.

There has been a ton of goodness in my life over the past 6 months, especially creative empire building greatness, but it's also been one of the most stressful upsetting times that I can remember (daily pain in my stomach stressful). I'll admit, far too many of those days, I resorted to using undesirable, fast acting, home remedy-ish coping skills (cupcakes & vino, cheesies, more vino) - but lately my very best coping tools* are practicing self compassion (those are the times when you need her the most), getting away from my desk for a walk with my camera - always a fast acting, trance inducing drug, or having tea on a tray with a biscuit and a cat in my nest (my most favourite room in this house - the chocolate brown bedroom) and/or best of all, when all else fails, reading a book. I find for stress, strain, anger, hurtful feelings, anxiety, and/or all manor of yuckiness…fiction is always the very best medicine.

Never trust anyone who 
has not brought a book with them 

Lemony Snicket

* Oliver reminded me that I left his name off my key badness coping strategies & it's true he should be top of that list for he is the most wonderful, comforting, psychic, loving, affectionate, loyal … cat ever. "if there are tears, he will appear … instantly" thank you sweet cat

this life of mine

Monday, January 27, 2014

desolate & beautiful from the lawn of Thinkers Lodge / free, free / grey beauty, frozen beauty / asters / along the boardwalk / crow tracks / winter lichen love / from the far back corner of our big beautiful fenced in backyard / pine / behind Monty's - Emporium of Secondhand & Vintage Goodness / puddle love

Beauty & sadness always go together.
Nature thought beauty too rich to go forth
Upon the earth without a meet alloy.

George MacDonald

I am filled with sadness, I feel quite lost. I feel I'd most like to lay under our big weeping willow in the dark and sleep for a very long time but I'm realizing, finally, finally that these feelings are just that - feelings. A series of still frames, a snippet, from the ongoing movie that is my life. The plot is extremely complicated at times with many twist & turns, it's filled with lots of good guys & of course the odd villain. I must remember to sit tight, take a few deep breaths and await as patiently as possible, the next upcoming scene … because I know not what it is. I must continually remind myself that this is a story that truly keeps even me on the edge of my seat, sometimes hanging on for dear life.

Have a mentioned how grateful I am to have my entire to-date movie (maybe we should call it a mini-series ;-), my adored blog, all 6.5 years of it back. Among many other things it is my visual gratitude journal. Having it back with me, is such a gift, that I can be once again reminded of just how far I have come, how sad I've been, how that sadness passed, how hard I've worked, how brave I've been, how I've struggled and triumphed & struggles some more but especially I'm reminded of how much beauty I can always manage to find everywhere in this life of mine.

They say everything will be alright in the end
If it isn't alright … then it isn't the end



Sunday, January 26, 2014

oh my … such winter beauty 

My eyes were glued on life 
and they were full of tears. 

Jack Kerouac

It's almost always felt like I have a subcutaneous river of tears right under the surface, always there waiting to bust the dam of my resolve, a resolve which admittedly isn't much of anything at all and never has been. I've always felt close to tears, and sadly I've felt a lot of shame over the years about my ability to cry at the drop of a hat. A stern look, a harsh word, an unexpected kindness, a site or story of someone else's hardship you wish you hadn't seen or heard, something touching, something mean, a bully, an angel and often just something extraordinarily beautiful … the list is long. Lately that river just under my very thin skin is raging, rolling, threatening constantly to break through that fragile surface so today I'm letting it. Gorgeous voices and songs like this one help me relax into those always healing, never shameful, tears.

ps. I've transferred all my posts from the temporary a passionate observer blog back here to their home but couldn't bring your comments along too - thank you to everyone who missed us & who cheered loudly when we came back ;-) thank you Faith, for keeping your word (to me). Thank you google/blogger, though I've yet to hear a peep from you about any of this since that fateful Dec 26th email - I am grateful, grateful, grateful. Backing up, copying, spam preventioning, malware protecting … & so on. Hallelujah. & now here's some beautiful Christina A. with A Great Big World

oh betty … oh itty bitty betty

January/22/2014 - oh itty bitty betty she has quite a fan club out there and we're long overdue for betty post - with a special shout out ! to both of her godmothers ;-)

Itty Bitty Betty has a new (with love) nickname - the hairless holstein.

I saved her most recent photo for the very end of this post as some of you may want to avert your eyes. She currently looks like a poorly clipped harlequin show poodle - it's that bad. Initially, the hair loss was mainly at the base of her tail, we were worried that it was a flea infection, allergy or possibly worse - mange or some other nearly microscopic parasitical thing. We took her to our favourite, longtime vet Dianne Stevens - who after cooing, oohing, ahhing & lovin' big time on Itty Bitty Betty for some time (Dianne is a crazy cat lady also) - pretty promptly said Nope ! it's caused by stress - Ya huh !! Itty Bitty Betty's nerves are bad, she's anxious and/or possibly bored and grooms, or over grooms, herself to accommodate this new neurosis.

Of course Mama's (moi) taking it very personally. I'm thinking Hey ! Betty we rescued you & spayed you sometime in early summer preventing the near monthly gang raping of you in our yard by every poor abandoned Tom for miles around & thus ending the ongoing cycle of new litters of kittens every month or so for you to try and Mother, we feed you well, we adore you, we do still let you outside during the day (when it's not too cold, too snowy, too icy or too dangerous), we provide you with warmth, comfort, shelter … and you thank us me by telling me your stressed !?!

Our vet thinks Betty has Feline Psychogenic Alopecea as she appears to be in every other respect as healthy as a holstein, her skin, which is so clearly visible now, is soft, supple, pink & healthy looking. She's not behaving at all like a stressed out cat, though there are the occasional huffing, puffing, tormenting events from the boys (Oliver & Virgil) but Betty seems to be holding her own and is in no way hiding, avoiding or running away from them. She has had a lot of major changes in her life (including hormonal/spaying) and I guess change is change - good or bad - it's still a different life for her. Our vet said to not worry about it … I'm considering knitting her a few outfits :-)

Stress in your cat’s life can provoke excessive grooming. This usually involves a change in your cat’s environment such as moving to a new home; a change in the owner’s schedule; the addition or subtraction of a family member, including other animals; aggression among cats in the household; moving furniture around; seeing a new animal outside; or boredom and frustration. In addition, you may be unaware of other stressors in your cat’s life. Self-grooming behavior relaxes cats, so when they become anxious, they may over-groom. Over time, the behavior becomes a habit-forming self-perpetuating cycle, and unrelated to the environmental or internal stressors. It evolves into a type of “compulsive behavior,” and may progress to extreme self-mutilation and self-aggression, signs often seen in feline hyperesthesia syndrome. It is a self-reinforcing behavior, involving the release of endorphins (happy hormones).