Sunday, February 28, 2010

magic cottages

After yesterday's post I thought I would go back to our regularly scheduled programming. I just love these cottages, they are part of a wee row of houses near the Brig 0 Balgownie in Abderdeen. Very old. My mother grew up next to them and I have spent many happy hours wandering around the neighborhood.

They all face the river Don and there is an ancient public footpath that meanders along it.

They are delightful and I never fail to get inspired, wanting to create some of their magic in my own home.

We are about to get pummeled with another storm. So glad it is going to be rain. I have painting plans today.Hey, it's the last day of February!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

unexpected beauty

I is a bit disconcerting but...... isn't it fascinating? This is a female mummy in the Louvre Museum in Paris. I was completely awed with the care that had been taken with the wrappings. Absolutely beautiful. Thousands of years old. She played in Egypt as a little girl, grew into a young woman. and now sleeps for eternity. Life is mysterious, no?

Friday, February 26, 2010

wet and wild

"Holy raining cats and dogs, Batman!"
It has been wildly raining and the wind has been howling all night long! Better rain than snow. This is the tail end of the huge storm that just crossed the northeast US.

Watched the figure skating again late last night. So pleased for Joannie Rochette, she won a Bronze medal. So hard to stay awake and see it. On Tuesday, my mom was was determined to stay up and watch the ladies short, next thing she knows, she is waking up just as Joanne leaves the ice! lol. Don't you just hate it when that happens:)

I watched the skating with a charming chipmunk by my daughter got her wisdom teeth out yesterday. Ouch. Rite of passage. Actually the swelling is not that bad although I hear it gets worse day 2 and 3. So far she's doing just fine. I have a giant stockpile of puddings and applesauce and jello and ice cream and smoothie makings.

Hooray for Friday!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


This week I had another nice surprise. I got a package from the Isle of Wight! Roxane put together a delightful assortment of goodies. It was a swap organized by Alice in which we had to choose 5 small gifts according to a theme.

Home~ A lovely white embroidered" pajama" bag and a small heart plaque.
Vibrant~ A small wooden frame with the UK flag!
Delicious~ 2 amazing chocolate bars, mmmm
Scented~ A wee rose geranium candle
Natural~ Some wonderful orange, cinnamon, clove soap!

Thanks so much Roxane! It brightened up my day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Guess what I made from this? Yep, cauliflower soup. Easy peasy recipe. I always mix and match according to what I have on hand. February calls for warm comforting bowls of food.

I watched the Ladies figure skating short programs last night. These late nights are wreaking havock with my equilibrium. I tend to be an early to bed early to rise kind of gal. I wanted to see and support Canadian skater Joannie Rochette even if just in spirit. Her mum flew out to Vancouver to be with her and unexpectedly died of a heart attack on Sunday. Joanie is an only child and very close to her mum. She is devastated but determined to honor her mom's memory by skating at these Olympics. Last night she skated her personal best score and came in third. It was a wonderful skate. She was crying as she finished. My heart goes out to her..... Tomorrow is the long program.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

~~~~Sweet Dreams~~~~

Three Cat Quilt, hot off the easel! Original painting is available here and I've just listed prints of it on Etsy.
I've also listed prints of this cute painting below on Etsy today also. The original has been sold, it is an older painting:)

service matters

Hiya! Busy, busy or at least trying to be:)

I got a nice surprise earlier today. I had ordered some Lululemon stuff online in January, it arrived promptly and I was pleased with it. Did you know there is no shipping charge for anything ordered online and you can return it to any store? Great customer service.
Well ... it gets better... the doorbell rang this morning and there on my step, was a Fedex man with an envelope. I was not expecting anything so I was a bit curious. Once inside, I opened it and to my surprise,found a letter from Lululemon, saying that due to an odd foreign exchange processing error they had charged me $2.84 more than they should have and would I accept this $20 (!!!) gift card as an apology. Um, ok! I would never have been aware of the $2.84. Grateful.

Anyone local, aged late 20's-30's interested in auditioning for a travel/wine/food web show host/hostess? Shooting March 15-17th

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I have been engrossed in season one and two of True Blood this weekend. Sheesh. Hard to stop watching when one show leads into the next. A gritty, dark series about the South and vampires with some really likeable characters. I read a couple of the books and have heard so much about the show I thought I would give it a whirl. Bad idea. I've spent a good part of my time in front of a screen this weekend! It feels like I am living in two worlds. Really weird. Thank goodness I am off to meet a friend later today! Shake off the world of Sookie Stackhouse:)

Friday, February 19, 2010


Just noticed that this painting is tilted. Hmm, never mind:)
It is a treasured possession of mine, painted by Rod Mackay who lives in Lunenburg. I have had this painting for many years and it has never once failed to give me joy. I don't know what it is that grabs me but I absolutely adore it. The sky. The water. The colours. Very typical Atlantic scene.
Yesterday I tore my kitchen apart, starting an early spring clean in the hopes of dispelling some of the blahs and wow, doesn't that make a person feel good. I got rid of a lot stuff and was slightly horrified at what I was putting into the compost. What a waste:( Stale grains, beans, stuff....things bought with good intentions of being used and then pushed into a dark drawer/cupboard/bin, to be forgotten. Spices long past identification.... Anyway.... no more of that!

Today I am meeting a friend for a birthday lunch. Lots of birthdays this month:)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February stuff

Cupcake at FRED in Halifax. I was there on Friday to celebrate a friend's birthday. So pretty, glimpses of spring in the flowers. Sigh. I always have a hard time in February and this year is no different. We just had a huge dump of snow yesterday.

Things to be happy about:
We are 30 days away from the first day of Spring
There is more light every day
Only 10 days left until March
It does start to warm up a bit in March.
I have a warm roof over my head.
People in many places are experiencing the same thing, it is not just me:)
Olympic sports are fun to watch!

ok, ok, so it is a boring list but it helped:)
How do you get over a February slump?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

armchair escape

Loch Shiel in Scotland. Behind me is Bonnie Charlie's monument and behind that is the famous railway viaduct you see in Harry Potter when they all head to to my right is Glenfinnan House Hotel. What a spot!

I've posted this pic before but I LOVE the colours in this sitting room overlooking the lake. The tall windows....We had coffee and biscuits served to us here. Would love to visit Glenfinnan House again.

All this is in STARK contrast to what is happening outside my window. Snow, snow, snow and wind. Have to get out and shovel soon. Nice to escape winter a bit by going through some photos:)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

and the dog jumped over the moon....

Just listed on eBay The red fence and dog are not as similar in colour as depicted here. Browns and reds often scan as almost the same shade.

I'm tired now. Just finished this and I am desperate to get outside for a walk. The sun is shining and it looks gorgeous outside! That will perk me up:)

Monday, February 15, 2010


Just listed on eBay....
Having fun with these new backgrounds:) Fun to experiment a bit.
I was watching/listening to the Olympic men's downhill as I painted. Talk about thrilling, those skiiers go at such tremendous speeds, my heart is in my mouth each time the gate opens.

Year of the Tiger

Look what I made yesterday!
Veggie potstickers to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Thanks to Suzie for the inspiration. This is the recipe we used. So simple to make and using my food processor made it even easier:) I also just used regular cabbage instead of nappa for the filling and extra ginger. Filling them was fun. It took a few to get the hang of it. You wet the sides of the wrapper to make them stick together.

Here they are all nestled in the pan getting their bottoms crispy:)

But I have to tell you though, for me, it was the sauce that made

Heavenly Asian Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup light soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar ( I didn't have enough so made up the diff with sherry)

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 lemon, zested ( lemon peel)

Stir everything together in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Yowza is it good!

Yield: about 1/3 cup

Oh, and the winners of the One Heart One World draw are .....
#11 Wabii Sabii-Running with Scissors and #195 Katie Foley!
I had 501 entries!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

“I will not play tug o' war. I'd rather play hug o' war.
Where everyone hugs instead of tugs,

Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug,

Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins,

and everyone cuddles,

and everyone wins.”

Shel Silverstein, one of my favourite poets!

Hope your day includes chocolate:)
Love yourself...

Friday, February 12, 2010

friday fun

Collaroy Beach, 1908, photographed by Colin Caird
, State Library of NSW collection.

We have come a long way! Look at these bathing suits! I love pictures like this, the girls look so happy. I'd love to know their stories...

The Olympics start today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

twilight cove

More summer dreaming:) Original available on eBay...

educate every child about food

One of my personal heroes.....Jamie Oliver. Here he is last night in California presenting his"wish" to the TED foundation. Jamie was this year's TED prize winner. The benefits of winning are that you get to make a wish and the TED foundation puts all it's resources together, along with influential interested individuals with government/corporate connections, and they try to make that wish come true. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. They have conferences every year and the speakers are always amazing and thought provoking. I have been inspired by many, well worth checking out.

On streaming CNN last night I watched Jaime live, as he gave a passionate speech about the state of America and Britain's eating habits, obesity, fast food and the growing ignorance of children with regards to what "real" food is. He showed a chilling example of children not being able to identify produce, thinking tomatoes were potatoes, an eggplant was a pear, broccoli was celery, etc. They won't eat what they don't know. Parents are relying on fast and packaged foods, loaded with junk. Cooking arts and knowledge are not getting passed on. Health is suffering.

His wish was this:
"I wish for the TED community to create a movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and bring people together everywhere to fight obesity," said Jamie. “My hope is that millions more people will learn, as so many have already, that it is a happier, healthier life that is built around eating good food, together with family and friends.”

Jamie called for the foundation to inspire a nutrition revolution through communication, education, social networking and by challenging corporate America and the food industry to help transform the culture of junk food into a culture of healthy eating.

It was wonderful to see the members of the audience pledge their support and offer the resources they had. You can read more about it HERE

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

summer cove

A little bit of Nova Scotia summer:) Sigh. Original here on eBay When the days are cold, create summer! I've got another scenic one the go :)
Headed to the gym this morning, then post office, then lunch and then back to painting:) Somewhere in there I want to get a pot of soup made also. Tonight I am going to Neptune Theatre with my mum to see Sexy Laundry! Nice treat. There you have it, my plans for today!
What are you doing?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is it March yet?

Having a bit of a February slump. Always happens this time of year. So glad it is a short month!

Remember this painting? I've just made it available as a print.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I've uploaded some new prints to my photography shop Broomhill Pictures
Took forever and I have so many more I would like to do. LOVE this one:)

Big game on tonight but I am not much of a football fan. Probably will watch bits and pieces. I like to see the halftime show.

Went to a "cottage pie"cook off last night and guess who won? It was fun to try all the different versions. All good in my opinion. Cottage pie is what we call shepherd's pie. Ground beef with a mashed potato crust. In Britain, "shepherd's" pie is made with lamb and the version with beef is called cottage pie. I used a Gordon Ramsay recipe. Gosh we had fun, I don't think I have laughed so much in AGES!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

saturday recipe

A bowl of health:) Yep, this is what we are supposed to be eating and lots of it:) Greens! Greens! Good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you.........part ways with bad eating habits:) I know what you were thinking:) This is kale. I got it in my veggie box this week and a friend of mine recommended the recipe. Thanks Cathy! I loved it.

Bedazzled Kale

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1/1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth ( or a bullion cube and water)
4 cups of stemmed , torn and rinsed kale
1/4 cup dried cranberries (I used craisins, cherry flavour)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped almonds ( I had some smoked salty ones)

Directions: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Toss in onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent, about five minutes.Stir in the mustard,sugar, vinegar and chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the kale, cover and cook 5 minutes until wilted.

Stir in the cranberries and almonds and continue boiling with the lid off until the liquid has reduced by about half and the cranberries have softened, about fifteen minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. ( You are actually supposed to sprinkle with the almonds before serving but I popped them in with the cranberries and they were yummy)

Finished product and it is really tasty.

Friday, February 5, 2010

february sushi

Just wanted to share this with you. Last night's sunset, from Citadel Hill looking west of course. It was a FREEZING night but this looks so warm and soft. I was headed to meet friends for sushi and was early so I passed the time with my camera. I parked outside the Black Market. A great wee place to poke about. Got some fun pics in there but I will show you later.

This is Fujiyama, a small Japanese restaurant tucked into the bottom of an old building. You might miss it if walking pass quickly.

It used to be called the Cave and served great cheesecake. Now it is a Sushi place:)

I had veggie tempura and sweet potato rolls . Very good:)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

big comfy chair

I've always liked this painting but cannot sell it as a print because I deleted the "big" tiff file and only have it as a small jpg:( Don't you hate it when that happens:) Arghhh....The colours are warm and summery. Just the antidote we need for these really cold February days. I do have to say that I've noticed the light starting to change! Hooray. Getting brighter for longer.

Saw Avatar on the weekend and loved it. The colours, the gorgeous world Cameron created. It was really just the story of Pocahontas retold in the future. I still want to see many of the Oscar films. Lots of good stuff out there.

Making soup today but have not decided what to put together. My organic bin arrived last night and there is kale, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, lemon, avocado, fruit..... I never know what is coming. Hmm, not sure what to make.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

broken wings.....

To Haiti with Love is a weeklong fundraising event curated and managed by visual artist René Joshi Sims of fruityfantastica and author Kate Inglis of sweet | salty. It is an online auction of art, photography, papercrafts, clothing, and creative goods. All proceeds will go direct to the St. Joseph's Family of homes for children in Haiti. Broken Wings....

The auction opens at 8 AM EST on Monday, February 1, 2010.

The auction closes at midnight EST on Monday, February 8, 2010.

René first heard of Wings of Hope via the Canada for Haiti telethon on January 22, 2010. The fragile and extraordinary children on screen reminded her of her son and the many children she knows in the special needs community. She emailed Kate, Kate emailed everyone else, and voilà. " Here we all are, with so much to offer," she says.

I've donated a few items too:)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Valentine Cottage ( 5 day auction) original available on eBay
Prints available on Etsy


This chandelier has been hanging in my dining room for years. I keep meaning to replace it with something a bit more modern but it has grown on me and I love the way the morning light sparkles through it. Ages ago I replaced the central crystal with this wee heart and it gives me a little lift each time I see it. Just outside that window is my bird feeder. Monty sits in the window enjoying the sunshine and watches the birds and resident squirrel most afternoons:) These last few days I've been really vigilant about keeping it full, these cold days are hard for our feathered friends.

February......the short on the frozen, salty coast of Nova Scotia, this short month is welcomed:) It brings us that much closer to Spring! Right now it is FREEZING outside but at least the sun is shining! I was hoping to get out for a walk but I think I will nix that and do something inside.

After my epic exercise session on Saturday I was surprisingly not sore at all. Just really tired and it lasted through yesterday too. My team raised $11,718 amazing...... Thanks...

On to the day....have a good one :)

Monday, February 1, 2010