Monday, January 30, 2012

Snow Days

Ha ha, the good old days when kids could have a bit of fun. This is Scheveningen, in the Netherlands.  Below, Drifting ice near Urk. "Ok  kids, I'll call you when lunch is ready"
Wheeeee! The 2012 wimp in me is impressed.  Sleigh leaving ski-jump. Alexandra Palace, London, England, 1933.
Below, fashionable snow storm protection, 1939 in Montreal. Wonder if this particular style will return?
Happy Monday! These pictures are all courtesy of the National Archives of the Netherlands

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tee Iseminger

This is the 7th in a series of artist interviews based on the colours of the rainbow! It has been a fun and interesting project. What impact did each colour have on the individual's life. What is the strongest memory or association with it. We all have our own unique attachments.
Today's colour interview is with creative soul  Tee Iseminger,  a quirky writer and photographer who lives in Reno, Nevada.
Tee has two children, a husband, two dogs and three cats. She runs, writes, dreams, and lives life LARGE. Tee is an adventure collector and inspires me to do more! Right now she is studying for her MA in Literature & the Environment.
A lot of stories occur to Tee in colors, she writes in "tones" that way. Colour shapes the way we feel and remember things. You can find more of Tee's work and thoughts on her Tumblr. Worth a visit! With no further ado, here are Tee's colours!

Red: Right away red reminds me of Clifford, from Clifford the Big, Red Dog, one of my favorite book series when I was a kid. It also reminds me of my first suitcase, bright red canvas with big yellow flowers on it. I was four when I used it to run away from home the first time. I packed it, climbed out my bedroom window, and went and sat on the curb at the end of the road until a neighbor saw me and went and got my mother. That was just the beginning of many travels we had together.

 Orange: Orange reminds me of the sand dunes at sunset just outside Alamosa, Colorado, which provide a backdrop to another book I’ve been working on, The Upside-Down Orange Ocean. The nucleus of the novel, and the village it takes place in, is a young autistic girl whose unique way of seeing the world was the basis for the title. It also reminds me of orange rescue tape, which we have copious amounts of hanging around from my husband’s days as a search and rescue tech.

Yellow:  Yellow makes me think of a photograph I took of my daughter when she was five or six, swinging at the playground in Albuquerque. The sun was dropping in the sky, and down there it’s just this enormous, magnificent, fiery thing. She was swinging between where I was standing and where the sun was setting, and I snapped a shot of her silhouetted perfectly, hair aflight, against all that blazing yellow.

Green: Just outside of Valdez, Alaska, we pulled over to the side of the road to take the dog for a walk, and instead ended up spending half the day hiking on the slopes above the road. The landscape was amazing, not just to look at but to be surrounded by,  even to feel physically. I used to think of Alaska as this very hard, cold place, lots of edges, lots of jagged, icy, scary things, and it can be sometimes from a distance. But once you get up close, it’s actually very soft. Under our feet there was such an endless carpet of soft, cushy, comforting green. Coming from Nevada, that was a big change.

Blue:  Lake Tahoe! Hands down. Nowhere else have I seen what must be just about every discernible shade of blue represented in the same field of vision. From turquoise near the shoreline to deep indigo way out there, with powdery blues and silvery blues and even some flat colonials and jewely royals depending on the light and wind on the surface. And then of course you’ve got the gray-blue and purple-blue mountains rising around it, and that deep, deep blue sky. Incredible.

Indigo/purple: Oooh, definitely my wedding night. My husband and I have a history with meteor showers; on our first real date we stayed up all night and watched the Leonids in November 2001, that was really the last good year. There were hundreds of them. A few months later we were out in mountains above Reno and saw a fireball break up in the atmosphere over our heads. Every year after that we’ve made it a trek out to watch the bigger meteor showers, so when we got married several years later, it seemed fitting to do it on the night of the Perseids. We held the wedding at a remote mountain campground in August, brought blankets to lay out for all of the guests, and we all laid by the fire to watch shooting stars. The first few Perseids started streaking across the horizon right about the time the sky was that rich, saturated purple. I’ll never forget it.

Violet/pink: This is a tough one. I’ve only come to appreciate pink in the last couple of years. Before that I would avoid it, shirk it, shun it, anything I could do to disassociate myself with it – I’m not even sure why, now – and so I don’t seem to have many strong memories associated with it. The one that comes to me, though, is the tiny, newborn “pinkie” mouse our dog brought in one afternoon. He found it in the driveway under our truck when we got home, and dropped it gently at my feet by the door. He was still alive, though just barely, as it had been snowing that afternoon and there was no sign of a nest or any other mice under there. We named him Harold, and did what we could, but he only lived a few days. I still have a picture of him on his towel in the shoebox.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sweet Potato Lentil Mash

Yum! Made this for supper the other night and loved it.Even better the next day. It comes from healthygirllskitchen but I switched it up a little bit. Just like a Shepherd's Pie but with lentils, peas and mushrooms. Fat free and loaded with fiber.
Sweet Potato Lentil Mash
Ingredients (serves 6)
Top layer 
2 12.75 ounce cans sweet potatoes ( I used 2 large sweet potatoes)
1/4 cup almond milk
3 T maple syrup 

Bottom layer 
Frozen apple juice concentrate for sautéing ( I did not have any so used some red currant jelly!)
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced ( I didn't have any but I think it would be even better with them)
10 ounces peas, fresh or thawed
1 package Trader Joes pre-cooked vacuum sealed lentils (or about 2 ½ cups cooked lentils). If using canned lentils, drain and rinse before cooking ( I used canned)
½ cup red wine or broth if you don't have any
2.5 T low sodium tamari
½ tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
dash of hot sauce
8-10 ounces baby spinach, chopped ( I used kale becasue I had no spinach)
I drizzled maple syrup on top before baking  instead of mixing it in with the potaotes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a hand mixer, blend sweet potatoes, almond milk and maple syrup until smooth.** I did not mix in the maple syrup, I drizzled a bit of it on top before baking* Set aside.

Sauté onion and carrot on medium heat in a little frozen apple juice concentrate until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic,and mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes.

Add peas, lentils, wine, tamari, thyme and oregano. Mix well. Simmer about 8 minutes.( add dash of hot sauce if desired)

Add spinach in batches until it is wilted.

Spray the bottom of an 11 x 7 or 8 x 8 Pyrex dish. Pour lentil mixture into pan. Spread sweet potatoes on top of lentils. Bake 35 minutes. ( Iused a small square pyrex casserole dish) You could increase the ingredients by a third and put it in a 11 x 13 dish.

Hard to make a mushy dish look tasty but it was! It would be even better with mushrooms!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Treasure Hunting

 I love poking around antique places, curio shops and book stores. Anywhere there is chance I might find something rare and special.  Even as a little girl I loved old places and curious things. On my way home from Lunenburg last week, I thought I would pop into a great little place called Mother Hubbard's Cupboard for a visit. The name is perfect because..... it is in Hubbards, Nova Scotia! Those green lamps are so cool.
Just about a half hour drive from the city,  it is a wonderful place for a good treasure hunt. There are lots of little rooms to explore. Isn't this colour great?
 I love that they kept the little kitchen and used it to display kitcheny things.
 Chock a block with stuff!
Perfect way to escape the winter doldrums. Mannequins fascinate me:) This one is oddly dapper.
Some very impressive Christmas cactus plants dot the store and they are in bloom right now. Gorgeous!
I picked up an old small standing frame that is on hinges, so the picture can be angled. Needs someTLC. I could have purchased more but one must practice restraint. Right now there is a sale on, in some of the rooms everything is half price!
 Ok, I've probably put way too mamy pics up but it is a fun shop and I couldn't help myself.In fact I have a lot more to share but will spare you:) Tea anyone?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday View

This was last Sunday's view from the market windows as I was packing up to go. That is George's Island with some old fortifications and beyond it Dartmouth. Plans are in the works to make it a historic park. You can see an oil rig in for refit to the left of the island. Living on a harbour is great, there is always something to see. Last week I saw a seal swimming near theisland! Off to the market this morning. Hope you have a great day:)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Young artists at work!

I had the greatest morning yesterday! I spent it here in this grade four classroom. Dianne Levesque, their teacher, asked me if I would help the class with a painting they had to do. Every class in this school is creating a painting to sell at an auction.The funds raised are going to a new playground. Each student, in every class has to have input in the class painting! Dianne saw my work and thought it would be perfect for the class to try.
She showed them some of my art and then they all brainstormed. What would they like to put into their painting? Each student did a drawing to practice and they then did some small paintings.
Finally they decided on the elements they wanted in their painting and who would do them. They wanted their school, a playground, three hills, three houses, three trees, five boats and the Bluenose, a lighthouse, a dolphin and a mermaid and flowers!

I was so impressed with these children, they were polite and eager and interested and so excited to start work on their masterpiece!
I had to be careful taking pictures of the children so they are all taken from the back. Here the school is being drawn. I drew the horizon and sketched in the hills. Everything else was students!
The first thing to be painted was the sun! They each had an element to paint and took turns to do it. The ocean was done by several students:) I helped them with the sky, showed how to blend the colours and use long strokes.
It was very gratiflying to see the co-operation and listen to the conversations as they worked. This is a French school and they were allowed to speak English because I was a special guest.
They worked steadily for the entire morning. Taking turns and helping each other.
Tadah! The work is almost finished. The children will complete it during the week, putting in the grass strokes,sparkles on the water and other details. I think they did a FANTASTIC job! All of the children said that they hoped their parents would win the auction but I think that Dianne, the teacher has plans for it too:) She is retiring next year! Thanks so much for a wonderful morning:) I went home with lots of hugs and a lovely hand drawn card signed by all the students and some small drawings that were done that morning. Happiness.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Scooter in Paris. I would love to tootle around on a scooter:) Just headed out the door to work with some school children. Fun!

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16, 2003.....and how I started blogging..

Thanks to the jurors who have shortlisted me in two categories for the 2012 Canadian Weblog Awards! Very  exciting. Click the link to see all the categories and visit the top 5 blogs in each. Lots of great blogs to visit.
Hard to believe I've been blogging for 9 years. I first started blogging on LiveJournal because of an old school friend I ran into one day on the boardwalk in Halifax. She was a photographer and we had a great time catching up on news etc. She gave me her card and said, "this is the address to my blog." Blog??? I had never heard of such a thing. It fascinated me and I remember thinking how brave of her to post things that "anyone" could read. I started reading and became hooked. I soon found other blogs of people in Halifax and then Nova Scotia and then all over the world!

January of 2003 I decided to dip my toes into the blogging pool. I've never looked back:)

Here is the entry I wrote nine years ago today on January 16th 2003.
" I took a break from jotting things down. Actually, I forgot I had this blog and then when I remembered, I got all self conscious, wondering what on earth am I doing with a blog? It is fun to browse other people's bits and pieces and see what sorts of things make them happy, upset and generally tick. We are all so similar really. I was starting to feel like a lurker/voyeur just reading blogs so voila, here is mine! I am bumbling along.

These journals I read belong to people I don't know. They are so far reaching you can read the thoughts of someone in Australia one minute, and then be off to Alaska and then Italy the next and yet, they are all here and now on our little screens in our own little worlds......magic really.

We are up to our necks in snow. It is -10 degrees outside.Woke up to -25 with the wind chill factored in! Needless to say, I am not venturing very far today. At least it is sunny outside. I do feel sorry for our dog, she really has not been getting much exercise these chilly days. We can grow fat together."

I was thrilled and excited by the world of blogging and still am. It helped promote my art to a wider audience, I got to indulge in writing which I love, and photography, and some of those strangers I read from far away have now become my friends! It really is an amazing phenomenon. I love that those of you who visit me comment sometimes, I love that I can share my world and thoughts here with everyone who happens by...  How did you start blogging?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday morning

I've always LOVED this saying! NEW print available on etsy and if you are interested in the original, it is $100 on wood with 1.5"sides.
Brrrrrr, it is a really cold morning. I'm off to the market! This weather is like a pendulum, one day pouring rain, the next -20!  Winter dawn, view from the market.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Daina Scarola

This is the 6th of a series of artist interviews based on the colours of the rainbow! It has been a fun and interesting project. What impact did each colour have on the individual's life. What is the strongest memory or association with it. We all have our own unique attachments.

Today's colour interview is with Daina Scarola, a lovely artist who lives in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia. She was born in northern Ontario, Canada and moved to Nova Scotia in 1994 to briefly pursue fine art studies at NSCAD University. 
After a series of life's twists and turns in 2003, Daina decided painting was what she wanted to pursue. She bought a book on oil painting and began to teach herself. Daina is now a full time artist, with work in collections throughout Canada and the world. Her work is compelling and full of nature, retro, and surf based imagery.  Lately she has started doing encaustic works.You can see more of her art in her Etsy shop and can visit her on Facebook.
Here are Daina's colours, enjoy....

Red: Reminds me of beautiful flowers- poppies, tulips, hibiscus. And candy! I remember a cherry flavoured old-fashined lolly pop I used to buy at the Circle Smoke Shop in Kapuskasing when I was a kid. It tasted so good. I wish I could find them again but I think they were home-made. Red was the colour of the sun back in 1995 when I tree-planted in northern Ontario. A heatwave made temperatures soar to nearly 47 degrees Celsius and forest fires were everywhere. The heat turned the sun red that summer.

Orange: My favorite winter treat is Maroc Star clementines, so juicy and sweet. A deep shade of orange is Burnt Umber, a golden shade of amber brown, the colour of my late dog Cozmo's eyes. They were so sparkly and bright and seemed to carry the miracle of life in them when he looked at me. Orange is wise and warm. The colour of the setting sun. The crackling comfort of a campfire in the summer, or sipping a glass of Port while sitting next to the fireplace on a cold winter's night.

Yellow: Bananas and pineapples and lemons, some of my favourite fruits. Homemade lemonade on a summer day is so thirst-quenching and refreshing. I think I could live off these 3 fruits! My mom's favourite flowers are daffodils, and I remember them growing in my Grandma Lehtisaari's garden. Sunflowers are one of my favourite flowers. Yellow also reminds me of the centers of Daisies, full of pollen for the bees to make delicious golden honey with. The Sun is yellow and the giver of life and happiness on Earth. The Moon is soft and calming, controlling our tides and cycles.

Green: I think of fresh earthy smells like moss and the sweet scent of Spring and fresh cut grass. Green makes me think of life. I remember my childhood where I spent summers in the forest around my home imagining little miniature villages of faeries and Smurfs living under leaves and mushrooms. Green is the first growth in Spring, and the colour of Spring Peepers (frogs). It's the colour of water as light shines through the crest of a peeling wave.

Blue: The smell of fresh salty-sweet ocean air fills my senses, and the calming sounds and images of gentle waves and crashing surf fill my mind. Together with green and yellow, water is also a life-giving element, the colour of our Earth, the "Blue Marble". Turquoise is my favourite colour. I look at it and it makes me happy. I love how it pops next to orange and red! It reminds me of vintage surf posters.

Indigo/Purple: Midnight is indigo, lit up by the stars and moon. It's the colour of amazing sunsets and sunrises, and spring Crocus flowers. I once met a woman with one eye indigo and one eye brown. It was beautiful and haunting at the same time. My old Japanese Fighter fish from when I was a little kid was indigo and purple. He was mean and ate all my goldfish. 

Violet/Pink: Red Violet oil paint is one of my favourites to work with, especially when I mix it with yellow, or pair it with orange and turquoise. Pink is the uniform of choice for all my 4 nieces. An outfit without pink is one not worth wearing. Pink reminds me of Bubblicious bubble gum, rosy cheeks from a day playing in the snow, and rosy skin from a day in the sun. Pink is the colour of health.

You can read the other interviews HERE

January 10

  Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes! I had a grand weekend. This is a typical side street in north end Halifax. Most of our houses are made of wood. Nothing like a splash of colour! I love that they are all different. Right now it is snowing softly outside. Looks so pretty. Best get to work! Oh, and the  winners of my birthday draw were Moosegirl Maria, Debra She Who Seeks, and Tammi!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Birthday sharing...

"Thank you, Thank you very much!" Another year older and wiser. Elvis would have been 77 today! And.....who knew? There's a Graceland Cam!!!
I wanted to share my blog space today with readers and friends on this birthday of mine and I asked people to send me links to their favourite posts! Here they are, sad, happy, beautiful, touching and silly!.......enjoy.

This is a wonderful HEARTWARMING story about a dog named Chip, big thanks to Karen for making it happen:) First read this. 2nd read this and the happy conclusion!

Cathy Oliffe-Webster is a writer and the Muskoka River Blog is her spot on the internet, this is her HAPPY story about  Ralph Fournier and the home of the giant sugared doughnut!

Sara, a lovely artist friend who has had a few challenges last year shares a walk on the BEACH with us.
Susan is another artist  friend who lives in an old brick house in a little village by the sea with the love of her life. Here are some STUNNING images of her world.
 Sabrina is in Scotland to going to vetrinarian school. Here is the story about her love for Vermont she wanted me to post today.
Marian has asked that I post a link to Mark's POIGNANT blog about his wife's valiant battle with a rare brain tumour. Marian set up the blog so Mark could share with his family and friends.

My friend Alice is a writer who lives on a narrowboat in England!  She writes a lovely post here describing a quiet morning in her LIFE on the water...

Sarah over at Yes and Yes has an absolutely WONDERFUL post to share today about How to Create an Amazing Group of Friends! Really, everybody should read this! Who couldn't use a few  more really great friends?

Teresa  shares a visit to the PRETTY  Reynolda Gardens
My friend  Aimee LOVES this YUMMY cake! In her own words,
" I've made this bundt cake countless times since and I think it's the best thing to come out of my kitchen - ever! I'm a sucker for the mixture of buttermilk, cardamom and cranberries, not to mention the amazing aroma it leaves in the house for days afterward. Aside from my niece and nephew, I didn't buy any presents for anyone this Christmas; I just made everyone their own bundt :)"  
With no further adieu, I give you  Aimee's Spiced Cranberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake!!!!!
Sandy writes a FUNNY essay about women's shapes and sizes...fruit salad anyone?

My artist friend Daina shares the story of her BEAUTIFUL  mural for Lululemon
Suzie does battle with a Blueberry Pie from hell! Funny and DELICIOUS

Snap wanted to share pictures of her cats Cassie and Teddy!

Have you managed to find your way to the bottom of the page here? If you have, leave a comment about one of the blogs here and I will draw three names for a secret prize! There must be a way to contact you or I will have to draw another name:) Cheers!