Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pavia Gallery, Espresso Bar and Cafe

Doesn't that look pretty? One day last week a friend and I went out for a small hike and a visit to Pavia Gallery Esspresso Bar and Cafe . This is a place I have been wanting to visit for AGES but just never seemed to find the time. Disgraceful really because it is not very far from where I live! It is named after a small town in Northern Italy.
You can find it at the juncture of Herring Cove Road and Purcell's Cove Road. We were there on a sunny Thursday afternoon and it was quite a bustling little spot. People coming and going. That is my big black bag getting it's fifteen minutes of fame, didn't even see it in this pic!
 Mmmm, treats..
The cafe always has an exhibit up on the walls. This one was fascinating! UK artist Ian Gilson who now lives in Herring Cove, has his first show in Canada. Read a review about it here. Photographer Alison Sanford also has some pictures on display in a little gallery at the back of the cafe.
Each of the wee boxes holds a tiny skeleton diorama. So curious and intriguing to look at.

Say Hi to Christopher Webb, the owner of this friendly cafe and a great artist in his own right. He is manning the super duper coffee console. I have to say, the coffee is AMAZING. They bring it in from Florence, Italy. Mokaflor is a small family coffee roasting business and Pavia are the only distributers in Canada. SO delicious.
Add what did I have for lunch? Roasted veggie panini!
After our little interlude at Pavia, we then drove around the corner to the Herring Cove lookoff and enjoyed a lovely walk along the coast.
Again, I wonder why I don't do this more often! (no excuse)That's a house on the bottom left.

 Aah, can't you feel that salty fresh air and hear the surf?

Monday, May 28, 2012


Every spring my 80+ year old neighbor puts this chair in the middle of her "forget me not " meadow. The lawn is not mowed until the flowers have faded. I am so happy she does this.

“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up, and she looks down, she looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
― Pema Chödrön

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Valley Adventure

The long weekend brought beautiful weather and after working Saturday and Sunday  I was desperate to escape the city and head into the countryside!
A friend of mine told me I must go to Luckett Vinyards and I am SO GLAD we did.  It was our first stop. What an amazing view over the fields and off towards the headland Blomidon. Blomidon according to First Nation folklore, was  the home of Glooscap, a Mi'kmaq God/giant/magician/benevolent leader who one day vanished into the sunset.
Inside, there is a tasting bar where you can sample various wines and all around are the large silver containers full of ripening vino. Pete also has a brand of olive oil available for tasting too as wells as other tasty bits and pieces. Buy a bottle, get a picnic and head off into the vines! Something I'd like to do later this summer:)
You eat outside, al fresco, under large umbrellas overlooking that magnificent view. Did I mention it already? Worth mentioning again:)  That's Pete himself making sure everyone is happy.
 We ordered veggie paninis which were absolutely delicious, artichokes and asparagus were part of the inner bounty. Mmmm. I ordered a Muscat to drink, a wonderful fragrant white wine.
The famous red phone box out in the vineyard is a wonderful touch of whimsy and a nod to Pete Luckett's heritage. His signature wine is called Phone Box Red. 
Oh, I forgot to mention that there were three Eagles soaring ovehead as we dined!!!
Our next stop was The Big Red Barn in Port Williams.
I always stop in here on any trip to Wolfville. Hidden behind giant lilac bushes and trees you might miss it if you did not know it was here.
You never know what you will find.
Chock-a-block with goodies. Remember this daguerrotype? I found it here.
Four floors!
OK, enough poking about, onward ho to.. ...oh yes, and they had one of these! Hard to get out of this place, always something else to see.
I better wrap this up, too many pictures I want to share. We ended our day at Domaine de Grand Pre. A small place somewhere in Europe. Ha ha, not really but it could have been. That's my mum.
I mean really, could this not be the South of France or Italy? More alfresco dining. A light supper here before heading home. Of course in between the two meals there were bookstores visited, apple blossom hunting, gelato sampling (I had some ginger beer instead), Wolfville exploring and of course treasure hunting at the "barn". Did not want to make a long post even longer!
Waiting for salads.
Mum had one of the best caesar salads she's ever tasted, I think it was the Dragon's Breath blue cheese that found it's way into the dressing:) This was my parsnip and apple salad with hazlenuts. An exotic coleslaw but oh so delicious!
 I hope you enjoyed our little holiday Monday adventure!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Skin: The seduction of surface....

I was invited here Friday night to the opening of an exhibition called Skin: the seduction of surface. It started May 19 and will run until September 9th. We were greeted outside by the succulent aroma of pulled pork. Sensuous food served up by a snazzy chef. Lookin good:)
This was a fascinating exhibit curated by Sarah Fillmore exploring place, race, religion, identity and sexuality through physical and conceptual ideas of skin in many forms. She gathered together works by Canadian and International artists whose art entertains notions of skin in wide ranging mediums and perspectives.
The exhibit is about  layers, ways we protect ourselves, ways we are exposed and ways we express ourselves. Seduction and it's opposite, revulsion. Covering and uncovering.
The artists include Jana Sterbak,Colleen Wolstenholme, Attila Richard Lukacs, Mitch Mitchell, Duke & Battersby, Till Friewals, Shary Boyle, Evergon, Vito Acconci, Kent Monkman, among others.
It was a thought provoking and unusual exhibit. Some pieces I really really liked and others left me baffled and then there were those that left me cold.
This piece below was one that really intrigued me. These dogs were made from fabric and swathed in veils and fur stoles.The workmanship was so detailed and beautiful. Unfortunately, I did not get the name of the artist responsible for this work so you will have to refer to the list of names above.
This one by david R Harper was called Stewed, Screwed and Tattooed. Goat skins with embroidery. Pretty but disturbing to me also.
There were a few larger paintings that I quite liked.
The most provoking item in the exhibit is the "Vanitas" by Jana Sterbak. Raw meat sewn together into a dress and hung in an elegant gallery setting. Created from 50 pounds of flank steak, this heavily salted meat will decompose, cure and dry out over the length of the exhibit. 
Looking at this dress provokes many thoughts, parallels, fascination and revulsion. Themes of consumption, appetite, sexuality, vulnerability, transience...... Lady Gaga's famous dress was inspired by this one.
I loved this wonderful bear covered in red felt roses.
It was an interesting exhibit and if you are in Halifax, pop into the gallery and take a peek at this latest show. I only scratched the surface here.... 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oh where, oh where has my little voice gone?

Oh my......  I don't know where my blogging muse/mojo/magination is these days. Maybe it has Spring Fever. It will be back soon........in the meantime, I do pop in here frequently.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mail Art

 Tara Bliven of  Ephemera Press (a small letterpress company) has been organizing a fun art letter exchange called The Elevated Envelope. How wonderful to get something like these in your mailbox! Mail art has always been popular but some of these are really lovely! This gorgeous dragon letter with exquisite calligraphty was created by Bridgette Hefferan.
I'm going to register for the next round I think! This green letter was created by Teresa Banman, the snowball globe has actually got a clear cover on it and you can see the small painting she did inside.
 Doodles by Julie Goette I like this one.
An envelope created by Tara herself!  Fun to read about the process.

You must also read the story behind this Lunar Moth envelope done by Elizabeth M Corsa!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Newfoundland Store

While waiting for my annual Spring tire exchange, I decided to have a walk around the local neighborhood and visit this wonderful shop. I am ashamed to say that in all my years here in Halifax, I have never set foot in it! I've admired it many times driving past but that was it.
Tucked away on a neighborhood side street, the Newfoundland Store is a Halifax institution that has remained relatively unchanged for 95 years! The hand stencilled signage on the windows has never been upgraded and is so charming in this world of bold advertising. See if you can read what some of the items are.
Stepping inside is like entering another era. High ceilings, wooden shelves, everything painted gleaming white. Product neatly lined up. Not a lot of it but enough to keep their dedicated customers happy. Children of original customers now bring their children to shop.
Everything in the store is from Newfoundland, products and books that you cannot get here.An ecelctic mix of goodies. Pease pudding. Remember the rhyme? "Pease pudding hot, pease pudding cold, pease pudding in the pot, nine days old"
In the back room are some more unusual items like salted pig's tails, cod tongues and their biggest seller, corned beef. (salt beef). In the old days you could get caribou, moose, venison, rabbit and seal. Flipper pie was a specialty. Now with health regulations and inspections, wild meat cannot be sold. There is a freezer stocked with all sorts of things too.
I loved the bright and airy feel to the place. Clean as a whistle and full of interesting things.
The Newfoundland Store was opened in 1917 by Mr and Mrs Hill. Forty-five years ago, Cliff and Pat Yarn took it over.  Cliff has since passed away and Pat runs the shop with the able help of Dave Harnett. Dave has been working there since he was ten years old! Forty six years he has been there. He lived just down the street and was hired by Mr. Hill to stock shelves because Mr. Hill was too short. A year later the Yarns took over and Dave forty six years later is still here managing the shop. He is the one who makes all the signs:)
Dave loves his work and the customers have become friends. While I was there, there were a few people who popped in for things knowing exactly what they wanted. One woman was purchasing tins of salt fish. I asked her how she used them and she said "fishcakes". So much easier than buying dried salted fish, soaking and then flaking and mixing with onions and mashed potatoes.
Another man was in for his fix of peppermint lumps! (or nobs as the Newfies say)
If you have a chance, do pop by and have a visit. It is on Willow Street, near Robie. A bit of living history.
Of course I had to purchase something before I left and it was a tin of custard powder,  a packet of Jam Jams, another big seller at the shop and their famous summer savoury. (a green herb)
Yeppers, a place to cherish.