Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Unacke House

A quickly purchased picnic. Chicken, brie & cranberry sandwiches, chocolate, clementines, interesting drinks and some "Argentinian Flame Grilled Steak" potato chips (really!). A wonderful location beside Martha Lake on the Uniacke Estate, makes for a great lunch. There are lots of gorgeous trails here and they are open year round.

After eating, we went for a tour through the house itself. One of my FAVOURITE places to visit. Built by Richard Uniacke in 1813. He was originally from Ireland and became the Attorney General of Nova Scotia. A big giant of a man at over 6 feet, he was considered to be a warm and likable person with progressive ideas.

He married Martha Bonner Delesdernier in May of 1775, the daughter of his employer, when she was only 12 years old!! She had her first child at age 14 and continued to have ten more! Four daughters and seven strapping sons. They lived in a large home on Argyle Street.
Sadly, Martha died after a long illness, on a cold February day, aged only 40. She and Richard did have a very happy marriage and he was devoted to her, remarrying five years after her death. It is said that he always spent the day of the anniversary of her death in quiet contemplation. Alas, Martha never got to live in this house:( She probably picnicked here with him, and maybe they had a small cottage to overnight in before it was constructed.

Loved this wee painting. Really exquisite. The house is full of the original furnishings and linens and dinner settings. The estate was left to his fourth son, a Minister who died without children in 1825 and then it passed on to other family members, the last of which was an old bachelor who left the entire house and contents to the Nova Scotia Government. ( thank-you!)

There were children and parties and good times in this house. Every room has at least two large windows letting the light flood in. There are also six large wood stoves and a giant one in the front hall. At the time they were very modern, just invented and visitors were curious to see them, most houses just had large fireplaces. They kept his home very warm and probably prevented it from burning down, a fate that many estates succumbed to.

The front hall was lit with whale oil lamps. A very expensive oil, but it burned brightly, slowly and had no soot. This is where the dancing was held and often dinner parties.

Richard's study and library and huge chair. Specially built for him. Here he read and considered the running of his estate, which comprised of hothouse, barns, dairy, ice house, billiards room, boat house, cattle, sheep, orchards, fields ... an idyllic retreat indeed.

The location of Uniacke House is halfway between Halifax and Windsor. Most of the gentry at the time had summer houses in Windsor but Richard, always one to buck the trend did not want to bother with an extra eight hours by carriage so built his home half way on the beautiful lake that reminded him of Ireland. He loved to watch the carriages travel back and forth to Halifax on the road in front of his estate and often had visitors popping by.
It really is a fantastic place to visit and I am sad that it is a place that not many people seem to visit any more. Sort of forgotten. There is also a wee tearoom downstairs. Great place to go for a hike and a day outside, even if you don't go inside the home. Only 40 minutes from Halifax.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Just a bit of fun:) I have no idea if anyone might be interested in these but I am thinking of doing up a few different recipes as prints. I love illustrated recipes. This is available in my Etsy shop for $16. The image on Etsy is very low resolution, what you will get is closer to this image in sharpness. Maybe they would make good cards or postcards? I don't know, it is sort of off the wall. One of those crazy, spur of the moment things :)

monday showers

The rain is falling steadily outside my window this morning. That soft, really wet, soak everything kind of downpour. The Queen arrives today for a three day whirlwind tour. I think it is supposed to rain for the next few days. Ah well, nothing that a yellow sou'wester can't handle.

The picture above was taken at Uniacke House, a WONDERFUL somewhat forgotten, historic estate thirty minutes from Halifax. I will be posting about it soon. I've been visiting that place since I was a child.

Today I am making a plan. That is, I am planning on making a plan:)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Native Pride

Last night I went downtown to the Halifax Commons where a huge celebration of Aboriginal culture is taking place over the next few days. It is a Mawiomi-Powwow. I was tired after a busy day and was half thinking I wouldn't go BUT I am so glad I did!

The festival is Grand Chief Membertou 400 Last night Buffy Saint Marie gave a free concert. She's still a force to be reckoned with. There were lots of people out and about, it was a gorgeous evening with the setting sun as backdrop.

This was inside one of the teepees looking up to the sky.

Wonderful to see such beautiful costumes and pride in culture. I was enthralled. There were displays and talks and dancing and food sampling.

I chatted to these two guys for quite a while. The man on the right is Gary Knockwood from Indian Brook First Nation, N.S. He is also a member of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council which is considered to be the traditional (and original) government of the Mi'kmaw people and on the left, the chap is from Newfoundland.

I wish I had asked the man on the left his name..... he had one of the most extraordinary carved pieces of wood I've ever seen. It is a dancing stick, talking stick, prayer stick, medicine stick, holding special magic and meaning to the maker. It was made from one of the most difficult wood you can carve, full of knots and twists. A cluster of trees that grow together to support each other. (the symbolism starts with the choice of wood) You can see where an eagle feather has been inlaid into one of the knots. There were carved wolves heads, a sea turtle, native faces, it was topped with fish teeth, stylized hooks, had beads and tassels and a gorgeous eagle feather was tied to it.

Absolutely beautiful and very special.

Today there are dancing and drumming competitions, more music, lots to see and do and Mi’kmaq cuisine sampling, Mini venison burgers with blueberry preserve and crispy fried onions, Nova Scotia mussels steamed and drizzled with cider vinegar and nut oil, Wild mushroom caps stuffed with smoked salmon and mixed nuts. Concert by Shane Yellowbird tonight. Well worth a visit!

Friday, June 25, 2010


Watched a story on the news this evening about this very useful site.
Fish and Chips Please Four pals have been visiting all the local fish and chip spots and rating them according to a list of criteria. So far, I agree with their ratings on the places I have sampled. There are a few I would like to try based on their recommendations. Putting the link on my sidebar for future reference:)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

mini meditation

Need some space?
Stop for a second right now and become aware of your hands .
Look at them. Feel your back against the chair, how your spine is supporting you.
Breathe carry on:)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lynnes Garden

I painted this yesterday, inspired by the first day of summer!
A lovely friend of mine passed away on Sunday after years of battling cancer. I dedicate this painting to her. She was a cheerful soul who loved life and made the world a better place for being in it.
8 x 20 on eBay

Monday, June 21, 2010

Midsummer's Day

First day of summer:) Always a magical day. Summer solstice. Makes me think of fairies and fireflies and daisy chains. The word solstice derives from the Latin sol sistere - "sun stand still"

In Halifax today, our start of summer is cloudy and close but the sun is valiantly trying to break through. Last night we had wonderful thunder storms rolling through, the sky flashing and flaring, rain muffling the deep rumbling booms~ Good reading weather. Enjoy this long day where ever you are.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Foodie Weekend

It started on Saturday with Dim Sum. Yum. So much food.

Don't know what these were but they were DELICIOUS. First time I've tried them.

Sunday it was on to CATCH the Nova Scotia Seafood Festival. Great seafood, wine and music along with demonstrations and competitions.

This was Anthony Sedlak, one of the chefs from the food network doing a salmon demonstration. What a fun and engaging host.

This was not what he made but isn't it beautiful. Poached salmon w/new potatoes, Tokyo turnips, radish & tarragon and other yummy things. Made by Feisty Chef, Renée Lavallée

Anthony got down on his knees to plate the food to make it easier for everyone to see.
At one point he calls out to the audience, what do you call it when you roll up herbs and chop up finely? I immediately think chiffonade. A woman near me then calls out "chiffonade." "Hey," he yells, "You just won yourself a cookbook!" Drat. I should have thought out loud:)

Friday, June 18, 2010


Yee Haw! Forecast is for a hot sunny day. These wee chaps ride the fountain in the Halifax Public Gardens. I've got some tomato plants to transplant, a bit of work to do and then I hope to escape the city! We shall see. Sensational Snap Society starts today, still time to sign on:).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cat's Paws

Fun! These are my Cat's Paw shoes, (actually Ked's) available at Zazzle. Designer sneaks. For the person who has everything!! I'd seen these done before and thought I would have a go. Really fun designing them. These are 7.5 US but any size is available. You can make all kinds of things there. I'm going to try some others when I have time. This is all I have now but I am going to play around with other designs as I have time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quilter's Cottage

Ah back in the saddle, first one of these I've done in a while!
Quilter's Cottage, original available on eBay
Print version on Etsy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Snap Happy

Looking for some summer fun? A little project to get you energized and creatively charged? My Sensational Snapshot Society photography e-course starts this Friday and runs for 6 weeks.

No technical "know how" needed, any camera will do, we are learning to see our surroundings in a new way. The goal is interesting pictures, fun projects, confidence and kindling a passion for photography. The world is out there ready to be captured! Who knows, you might just make some new pals along the way:)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dartmouth afternoon

This is Eastern Passage, one of Halifax's best kept secrets. Fifteen minutes from downtown Halifax, across the bridge and along Dartmouth's harbour. This is looking across to Lawlors Island, next to McNab's Island. The smell of the wild roses was divine. There is a quaint development called Fisherman's Cove here with working fishing boats and whale watching, small shops and the home of maybe Nova Scotia's best fish n chips. Well....certainly a contender:) They are working on getting home cut fries. My two friends and I really enjoyed our meal, sitting outside on the deck in the warm June sunshine.

We also shared a Greek salad to balance it out. This one had mozzerella in it too.

After lunch one friend had a quiet moment while we took a stroll along the boardwalk trail to stretch out our legs, not to mention tummys!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

books and pals

This print is called Friendship Makes Everything Better (oh and in case you are wondering, the bird and cats are buddies) I'm packaging it up today along with others to send to a shop called Flea Amigos..... Don't you just love that name?! It is an animal themed gift shop in Annapolis Royal.
Continuing on the theme of friendship, I'm going to a big fat book exchange tonight. Love this idea. You bring books you love but want to clear out and others bring theirs and then you take home an armload of new ones to read. There will be wine and cake too :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

happy tasks

Headed here today with a friend from Calgary. Really looking forward to a lunch of chowder and gingerbread for dessert:) Looks like another gorgeous day out there. Click on the picture for a live webcam view of the Peggys Cove lighthouse.

I'm happy that Artful Penpals is doing well. So far 23 people have signed up and are excitedly waiting for their perfect match. The task of aligning people according to their common interests and dreams is daunting but I do the best I can and hope for good things. You do not need a blog to join and there are a few blogless people onboard.

Don't forget that the latest round of Sensational Snap Society starts next Friday:)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

summer living

My honeysuckle plant is just starting to bloom. It is entwined through the wooden side slats of my deck and I love the way it looks, all tangled and wild. One of my plans this summer is to make my deck into a small oasis of calm and beauty. I've always had tomato plants and pots of growing stuff on it but they have been haphazard and standard. This year I am planning on doing things out there with a bit more thought towards asthetics and on a budget:) Fragrant flowers and herbs. Colour. I would love to have a water feature. Don't you just love the soft song of running water?

I bought some comfy new brown chairs at Costco ($15 each) and managed to snag a brown and green beach umbrella at Superstore which matches beautifully and does the job just as well as a regular table umbrella (at least for now). Our summers are gorgeous but short and I wish to spend as much time outside enjoying it as I can. Making my deck into a summer "room"will help:)

This weekend is the annual YMCA fundraiser Over the Garden Gate. A few wonderful private gardens are opened up to the public and we wander about soaking up inspiration and beauty. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, finished with a cup of tea somewhere:)