Thursday, October 23, 2014

In The Nest

            The cold weather arrived with a gust the other night- actually several gusts- all night long- our first real storm of the season sent umbrellas inside out and patio furniture scattering. I am feeling that once the clouds part we will see snow dusting the North Shore mountains- it's just that time of the year. With the less than delightful weather I have been pushing myself to stay active outside- which can be tricky because I would rather spend my winter curled up in the corner of the sofa next to my knitting basket.

           So much can be said about self care and for me it is so easy to just hibernate- spend my days inside where it is warm and dry- my inner bear really likes this behaviour. I've been around this old sun enough times to know better though- my mental health is always better when I am breathing the fresh air and stretching my legs. Striving to find that balance between the cozy nest that is our home and the bracing elements which always give me a clearer head is hard and something that does not come easily to me.

           My new goal or challenge every week this winter is to document the delightful surprises I find on my urban hikes- juxtapose them against the splendid coziness of home and be celebrate the extreme differences. To be honest this little challenge will not be all that hard- not only do we live in a beautiful place but lets be honest the elements in Vancouver are not all that harsh! A fun game I will make of it all indeed- tricking myself into a fun fall adventure!

           As the days get darker and the earth starts to fall into slumber I notice like most animals our family wants to tuck into home more and more- drawing in closer to the light. I love this time of year-  when the veil is thin- this is truly the season for relaxing- slumbering and recharging.  I'm bringing lots of yummy textures into our living space- warm, nubby blankets from Mexico- fuzzy pillows- of course the lovely texture in my knitting basket- all encouraging us to cozy into our den.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Deep Thoughts

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honours the servant 
and has forgotten the gift.

                                                                                                        Albert Einstein       

Monday, October 20, 2014

Simple Sewing

              The other day I had a few hours and two meters of fabric on my hands so I decided to do something completely radical- sew something for myself! Shocking! I haven't done much sewing for myself in quite sometime as my Littles grow so quickly and constantly seem to be in need of longer garments on a constant basis. So this fall I decided to make my own wardrobe a priority and jumped in with this easy little tunic from one of my favourite Japanese sewing books Simple Modern Sewing.

          What I like about this book is as per the title the items are simple and basic- just what I need in my day to day life. While the fabric and styling may be cute I can bring in little details like the ceramic flower button to make things a bit more interesting- this fabric has an interesting texture to it so I really didn't want to overwhelm that.

             Aside from the patterns this book is so well styled and a pleasure to look at for leisure- lots of great wardrobe building tips- in a restrained manner- not too much but just enough. I am working to build a uniform or look for myself- something I can just throw on at a moments notice and not really think about- this top fits the guild lines I have set for myself. Simple Modern Sewing- great basics!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pumpkin Patch

           Today- instead of another Thrifted Thursday- I thought I would change things up a bit and bring you highlights of the most adorable and soaking wet field trip to the pumpkin patch! All three kindergarten classes from our school boarded yellow school buses first thing in the morning and headed out of town to Westham Island Herb Farm. For a group of city kids the bus ride - on an actual school bus- was exciting on it's own and they were all in the highest of spirits by the time they reached the farm.

        We were all treated to a tour of the farm with one of the farmers leading a conversation on food that they grow on the farm- including talking about where our hamburgers come from while standing in front of the cow. While this may seem a bit harsh and possibly upsetting it is important for kids to know where their food comes from and see the face of what they might be eating- all the kids took it in stride and most seemed to know the facts already. We visited the chickens, donkeys, goats and more cows- which they all loved.

        It may have been pouring rain but everyone had a great time- these are Vancouver kids after all- they were all well kitted out in full rain gear- ready for anything. After our tour and a quick lunch break in the green house we headed out to the fields to find the perfect pumpkin! With an entire field to choose from the pickings were abundant and it was difficult to chose just one! Miss Lo managed to narrow it down and found a pumpkin she declares will make the perfect jack o lantern- Halloween is only a few weeks away!

         Westham Island Herb Farm is such a grew place for a day trip- close by the Rifle Bird Sanctuary we were treated to flocks of geese stopping over for a break- the giant formations filling the steely grey sky. There is history here as well- a long tradition of feeding British Columbians as a former supplier of potatoes to White Spot Restaurants.

          This was my first pumpkin patch trip- I missed out on going last year with The Boy as tiny siblings were not invited along. Although it was possibly the wettest day we have seen so far this fall it was still filled with laughter, fun, lots of mud and puddle jumping as well as making new friends. It was so great to see my girl with her little kindergarten friends- at one point they all were giving group hugs- they are just so happy! With that kind of joy it is tough to feel crabby about the weather!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Studio Wednesday

          I have been thinking a lot about where I come from as of late- thinking about connections with the earth and my ancestors- thinking a lot about these ladies pictured above- my Grandma- Great Aunt and a long forgotten cousin. Young women posing by the lake and in their Sunday best- familiar faces yet totally a mystery at the same time. They are part of a life I have very little connection to- life on the prairies- on a farm- before- during and after the Depression.

          In the studio I am starting to explore their lives- explore ties to a farm and land I have never visited yet feel strangely connected to.  I am bungling my way through working with encaustic again this week- enjoying the physical act of scraping back more so than building up layers. Loving how the wax reminds me of layers of prairie sky- creating depth by working the under painting in oil and graphite- honest materials for a more basic and possibly more honest imagery.

         So much about this life of my own amazes me- the fact that I can "play around" in the studio where only a few generations ago my family was working to eat- literally farm to table. The pretension that surrounds much of what I do does not go unnoticed- the shear luxury I have to pursue this life as an artist. Yet the connection between my Grandmother and art is strong and the reason I am who I am- she gave me my first set of oil paints for my eight birthday- she was a painter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rhythm of the Weekend

           These days our weekends are much different than what we are used to- with this Momma returning to work I have had to let go- a tonne- let go of my preconceived notions of a clean kitchen- let go of brushed hair and mostly let go of our glorious time spent exploring and wondering together as a family. I miss our weekends of exploring- that said we are all looking forward and in time the pay off will be immense! At any rate this past weekend was a holiday weekend- Thanksgiving for Canadian folks- time for family and time for food!

           So with additional time off we do what our family loves to do- we headed for our local farmers market to pick up a few extra goodies for our holiday feast. Flowers of course- a chicken that lived a happy life and a few treats to make a grey day a little brighter! Our local markets are all winding down for the season- I was so happy to get a visit in before the Winter Market opens up- there is just something so magical about the markets at this time of year- truly a celebration of harvest and bounty.

           With so much scary information coming out in the news regarding our food source these days it's nice to be reassured that our country still produces good- whole food. One doesn't need to be reliant on fruit and vegetable from California- we have it here and by shopping farmers markets we are increasing the demand and supporting the farmers for the coming season. There is a spirit here that you can't buy in a grocery store- the busking fiddler or the Granny who knows our Littles and what treats they like best- the chicken lady who always insists we take a bigger bird or gives us a dollar off eggs- it's a beautiful thing this community.

          The seasons have definitely changed for the cooler- darker days- hearkening Winter Solstice and ultimately the return of the sun- this cyclical rhythm happening almost unnoticed. Our family has so much to be thankful this year- now that we are slowing down- spending more days inside we are reminded of all our wonderful adventures- of legs stretched and knees skinned. Thankful for lingering tan lines on our feet- evidence of hours spent on wooded trails and rocky beaches. Thankful for our health and strong bodies.

        Our weekend together- reconnecting with each other and dear friends was such a treat- good food and love at the centre of it all- snug and cozy out of the pouring rain. Things are different this year- no trip to the Okanagan- different but good- learning to create new traditions of our own. For me what it all boils down to is this- all though our life is not perfect- so far from where we want to be- it is blessed- so blessed- so much goodness- and for that I am Thankful!

Friday, October 10, 2014


           These days my life has been all about change and as Shrek says "Change is good Donkey"- so lots of change happening around these parts both literal and figurative. We have already established that my babies are now in full day school- away from me- foraging ahead into the world of being a kid. For the first fall in almost eight years I'm not pregnant- I'm not pushing a stroller or holding one or more hands constantly- while this new found freedom made me a bit jittery at first- unsure of my place in the world at large with no stroller to seek shelter behind- I am- after a few weeks- getting used to it. My days are beginning to take shape- I am attempting to take on a new shape- a slimmer shape!

        Enter in my bike- stage left-  for the past few years my poor bike has sat neglected but for a couple of rides per year. My bike which predates both husband and children- has seen a lot of miles- mostly forest trails but plenty of street- my bike and I have have a relationship. I have missed riding my bike. For me- now that I have this gift of time in my day- getting back on my bike is a metaphor for so much more- I'm ready to make room for myself once again- to make myself a priority once again. So it was with great excitement that my Mr. and I headed out onto the seawall yesterday morning in the brilliant October sunshine- secure in the knowledge that our babies are well cared for- free to reclaim some time to ourselves. This is a massive change!

         Heading back to work for me to has been a big change- in only the best of ways- I am beginning to see how hard it is for full time working parents. My hat is off to you I say! I am so glad to have found something that fits in with our schedual- no juggling- except the dishes and laundry. The important things are covered- our children are always with either the Mr. or I - one of us is always there to pick them up from school and take them to the library on weekends. For us right now this works - giving our family that added bit of income to make our dreams become a reality- our eye is firmly planted on the prize!

         One last bit of change- you may have noticed a new look happening around this corner of the interwebs- I am so pleased with how the blog is shaping up! I was fortunate enough to work with local designer Cathy Matusicky from State Creative Group- she really helped me to focus my vision for this space- clean it up significantly and add a few pops of fun! Sometimes we need to seek outside help to bring order to all the ideas swirling about in our heads- Cathy was able to do just that. I felt with all the change going on in real life it was an excellent time to create a bit of change here as well- freshen things up if you will. I'm quite excited to announce that I am looking to partner with sponsors who align with my values- creativity, environmentalism, family! So a few exciting changes around these parts for sure- because as well all know by now- change is good!

      Friends it is Friday- again- how the heck did that happen! I am looking forward to date night with my Mr. tonight- which almost never happens but thanks to a dear friend we are hitting the town tonight! Hope your weekend is full of turkey and love Friends- Happy Thanksgiving!