Saturday, May 30, 2009

LILACS!!! One of my favourites!

This is one of my favourite times of the year. When we purchased this property there were a few lilac bushes, but then we planted another 32 lilac bushes all along the south side of our property. It will be a few years yet before they are big enough to have tons of blooms, but they are still pretty anyway.
Where we live, however, there are lots and lots of them growing along the roadside and if you drive with the windows down the aroma is just so wonderful ( except for those that are allergic ... I feel sorry for you guys )
We finally had a fairly nice day today with sun for some of the day. We've just had three straight days of rain, rain and more rain. Although I spent most of they day inside cooking, baking and printing many of my photos, I did take a coffee break mid afternoon and sat outside just taking in our gardens and the awesome smell in the air from all the lilacs around. LOVE IT!!!
I spoke to the woman at the Tea Room and we will get together Tuesday to pick out which photos she's like framed and hung in the Tea Room. I'll also be putting out a collection of matted 4 X 6, 5 X 7 and a few 8 X 10's backed and in cellophane envelopes for sale. She is being extremely fair of the consignment split and I, for one, really, really hope she's majorly successful. She's worked so hard at it! When I talked to her today, she was baking and cooking for friends and family to sample and critique what they liked or didn't like....brave girl!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


There is a new 'Tea Room' opening in our village within the next two weeks. Yesterday when I walked down to pick up our mail, I noticed the new owner heading in to the building. I stopped and introduced myself and welcomed her to the village and said many of our residents were SO anxious for her to open. We used to have a 'tea room' and then it closed and has been empty for some time. When I was a child this 'Tea Room' was a treat we got once a month and the food was amazing!
The person opening this 'Tea Room' is a former employee of the original owners and they are still involved in helping her get up and running.
I asked if she would consider letting me put some of my decoupage plates and my photography in on consignment and she was totally receptive to the idea. I'm so excited but now have a lot of work to matte and frame some of her photography choices to hang on the walls and she'd also like some just matted and put in cellophane envelopes. I guess I know what I'll be doing for the rest of this week. This could be a great opportunity as we get a lot of tourists in this village through the summer. Fingers crossed....for her and for me!

Monday, May 25, 2009


I'm still not up to speed on all the technicalities of blogging.. I have yet to take the time to figure out how to add more than one picture to a daily segment...I know it's possible but just not there yet...duh!
I'm posting another view of some of our front gardens and will continue through the spring and summer to post as things grow up. I can't wait to show you all the tall grasses when they get to their proper height....stunning accents to any garden and easy, easy to grow.
In the back, I'm FINALLY getting my arbor that I've wanted in the back corner garden this year...yeah! It will be another little 'zen' area for me to sit and have my morning coffee...can't wait. My husband promised he'd get it built within the next month to month and a half. Each year he says he will build it and then something happens and it hasn't as yet been accomplished....they add such an awesome feature to one's yard and gardens.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


We've been gardening for two days straight and have two more days or more to get all the gardens in shape. We decided to have curbs put around most of our gardens this year. We spend so much time pulling up grass that grows into the gardens and when it rains we get a lot of run-off. We then have to replenish the top soil almost every year. The curbs are suppose to slow these things so ultimately it isn't as much work or expense. Time will tell.
Today, I spent most of the day on my knees and tonight I'm really feeling my age. Between my hips and my knees, I can barely walk! It's a good thing we love to garden. It's so rewarding when they are back in shape. We constantly split and move things, but enjoy sitting out front and looking at the end result in the evenings.
We still have lots to do, but we now have to order some top soil and compost as we've run out of the stuff we generate ourselves.
Aside from the personal satisfaction we get from doing it, it's nice when some of the people in the village tell us they enjoy seeing our gardens and what we'll do next.
For me, it's kind of therapy and cathartic. It's funny because as a kid, I hated doing gardening when my parents required me to weed, etc.
It is so worth the work!

Friday, May 22, 2009

140th BIRTHDAY..........

We will be leaving shortly to attend our friend's 140th birthday celebration. We got the invite stating they were celebrating their 140th birthday which was such a unique idea, I thought. Their birthdays are very close together and so they combined their ages and announced it as such. I've put a gift basket together as they have most everything they need or want. My husband turned a wooden bowl for them and then I filled it with unique foodstuffs, etc of items I know they'll enjoy. We are driving up to Milton where they live and on the way making a few other stops. We will be back late tonight. This couple were originally from Norway and met when they were young. He moved to Canada and married and had two beautiful daughters. Unfortunately, the marriage did not last. He then took a trip back to Norway to visit family and met his childhood sweetheart and the rest as they say, is history. They reconnected, she moved to Canada and they got married and are so, so happy. It's one of those happy ending stories. He will be 71 and she will be 69 and they are so interesting and very special friends. He used to work with my husband and they've stayed connected for all these years. We are very different couples and yet we really, really enjoy spending time with them. They are always doing something or going somewhere and age certainly hasn't slowed them down one bit! They are another couple we are blessed to call 'friends'.

To all of our American friends and family, have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This is a perfect day as far as I'm concerned. The sun is out, it's warm, and there is just a light breeze to help keep the bugs away. Some of the work we've done to the gardens is paying off big time with lots of colour. It cheers me up.
My rock garden is doing beautifully and I took some pictures to have a permanent record of the beauty. This afternoon, I'm planting some more bright pink and white phlox (the creeping kind) and I purchased some lime green stonecrop that also creeps to add even more colour to the rock garden. I'm after lots of colour, impact and a goal to have it so full and robust that no weeds can get established. I've included a picture of some of my rock garden. It is on the slope of the hill and runs almost 70 feet long. A lot of work, but SO worth it. In about another week, it will be even better and in a month all of the lavender plants will be in bloom and then is stunning!
Tonight I plan to watch the finale of American Idol and will work on some plates that I have custom orders for and need to complete.
I baked this morning as my husband is having the executive of his Woodturning Guild here for a meeting tomorrow and the host usually provides cheese,crackers,fruit and some sort of dessert. We'll get everything ready tonight so I can take off tomorrow while the guys have their meeting. I need to go shopping for some stuff for a birthday gift.
Our friends in Milton are celebrating a joint '140th' Birthday Party on Friday afternoon and we will attend. Their birthday's are fairly close together so they decided to have a joint celebration. She will be 69 and he will be 71 thus the 140th.
Should be great fun! We're only going up for the afternoon and evening and back that night.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Well, the weather didn't cooperate too much the four days we were away. Nevertheless, we had a great time catching up with some long time friends. We spent one night in Kingston with a friend (she used to work with my husband) and we met her 'new man'. She has been struggling with some health issues and yet she insists on fighting on despite the pain she is in most of the time. As long as we've known her, she's never been a quitter on any level. We went out for dinner and then to a nightclub in Kingston called 'Brandees' where we had a few drinks and listened to one of our absolute favourite blues/jazz singers and her band. Her name is Georgette Fry. If you go to her website at you can get more info and even purchase her music.Wonderful!
We spent a lot of time eating, drinking and just catching up with our other friends in Brockville. Sunday, the weather cleared up enough to go to a little tourist town about one half hour away called 'Westport' where lots of really cute and interesting and eclectic shops have opened up. I got SO excited as I had my first Chip truck french fries of the year. We have a lot of 'Chip trucks' in our various tourist towns and they make the BEST french fries ever..yum! It's silly, but it's a highlight of the season for me when I can buy french fries from one of these trucks.
We then spent most of Monday before heading home on the new deck our friends have built along the whole length of their house. Stunning view to the river from the top deck and then they added a complete lower level deck and tied it into an enclosed hot tub underneath they already had. We watched about a couple of freighters go by and I saw a rower training as well. There is often a power boat or a sea-doo or sailboat passing by as well. When you look across the St. Lawrence River you are looking at the USA. It was so pleasant sitting on the upper deck sipping morning coffee and talking. Their daughter had come home from Ottawa for a day or so and she has grown into such a wonderful woman now with great attitude and enthusiasm. Her parents are so rightly proud of her.
We had a wonderful time with some wonderful friends. Hopefully, it won't be so long between visits the next time!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This is a long weekend in both Canada and the USA. Tomorrow we will go to Kingston and spend the evening and overnight with a girl my husband used to work with and we will go to a club in Kingston where an amazing, amazing blues singer named Georgette Fry sings every Thursday night. We are then going to take a few days to go see some friends in Brockville, which is about three hours away from here. These are long time friends and sadly, we haven't seen them for almost two years.
They have an absolutely beautiful home with a large property that is right on the St. Lawrence River. It's so wonderful to sit out on their deck or in their sunroom and watch the freighters and boats drift it! One of my dreams would be to have a property on the water. We have lots and lots of lakes around us,but we don't live right on the water. Oh well! :(
Although, I have so much to get accomplished, just for this weekend I plan to let it all go to have a great time with some great friends.
Everyone, have a great long weekend! The weather is looking a little ominous, but have fun no matter what!

Monday, May 11, 2009

INSPIRATION DAY .......... # 11

This is a fellow Canadian Etsy shop owner and I have become very intrigued by both her and her art.....I just love it!

The shop is Priscilla Mae.......

I picked this day to post her inspiration as she so honours her Mom...

PLEASE go visit her shop AND her blog..... you won't be sorry you did!

I've just changed the original image which was a photo of her Mother, but wanted to show you some of Priscilla Mae's work.... I still haven't figured out how to get more than one image in a post.....oh,well!

I've taken this inspiration contribution directly from a writing from her blog she posted last year(with her permission)..........very touching.

Who is Priscilla Mae? And why did I call my company Priscilla Mae et al?

For many months, I tried to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life. One night, I was sitting on my porch with a glass of wine or two and enjoying the absolute peacefulness of the evening. I was thinking about my Mom's life and whether she had ever sat and dreamed of what her life could have been. She was a brilliant and wise woman but who lived at a time when women didn't have as many options to decide the direction of their life. Mom raised our family and she did a wonder job but she had so much more in her.

My mother died many years previously and I was having some difficulty remembering what she looked like. So with my wine glass in hand and a pencil and paper, I began to sketch away to try and bring back my mother's face. The faces kept coming but they were younger pictures of my Mom and maybe they incorporated a bit of me. It was a wonderful night and the time just flew by. Before I knew it, there were dozens of faces all over my porch floor. Not just faces of my Mom or me but lots of faces of women. Funky women with big hair, bedroom eyes, funky earrings, great hats with feathers...they made me happy!

It came to me then. Draw what I know...women. And call this new endeavor, "Priscilla Mae et al," in honor of the first and most important woman in my life .. my Mom.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


To all the mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day!
For me, it's always a day that I'd like to skip over. My daughters don't live close and as the years go by, we know we love each other deeply, but the distance between us causes distance between us. We don't really see each other very often at all. They have their own lives to live and I have mine and although we talk every couple of weeks, it's not the same.
I really have no idea anymore what their daily lives are like and vice versa. I am REALLY lucky if I get to see them two or three times a year.
Somewhere in my head, I thought I'd be able to spend more time with them, but it hasn't worked out that way.
I'm not sure what time we'll get together this year. I'm starting up this new business and it will be taking more and more of my time. Both girls have told me to go for it and make a life for myself. So, I'm taking their advice and at least making an attempt. This business will be an uphill battle and could become all consuming shortly. This is a huge commitment and I've failed at things before and really don't plan on failing this time.
I also lost my mother five years ago so there's a void there as well when it comes to this day.
It's almost midnight and the day will be over...whew!
I did speak to both of my daughters tonight briefly and will have to be content with that but it's just not the same as having them close by.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Well, this morning was my 'Keene Artists Meet and Greet Brunch' held here in our home. The weather didn't cooperate as it has poured rain for the past two days, nevertheless 17 people came and we all had a terrific time! There was two woodworkers, two woodcarvers,three fabulous oil painters, two acrylic and water colour painters, a quilter, a sculptor,a mutimedia specialist, a weaver and rug hooker,a woman who handpaints on silk scarves, a tole painter, an illustrator, and a woman who designs and makes amazing lamp shades. We got to network with each other and there is now a supportive network to help each other get their art 'out there'.
The feedback from each before they left was so positive and all were so thankful that we held this brunch and commented on what a terrific idea.
We then went to see the new 'Canal St. Gallery' that is in Lang,a village just north of Keene for their Grand Opening today. We met two more women who own and run this new gallery. It's a blend of antiques and then they plan to add to the local artists works in the gallery. They, too, will be another resource for all the local artists. I'm taking some of my work in for her to see in a couple of weeks. I'm providing them with a list of all the artists that were here at the brunch and they will in turn contact them about their shop. A mission accomplished.
I'm really tired now, but am so happy I put this event together for many reasons.
Tomorrow is Mother's Day and for me it's just like any other day pretty much. There is too much distance between me and my daughters. I send them both cards as they, too, are now mothers. I wonder where their children will be when they are my age. I'll never know as I certainly won't be around by then. I must admit I was a bit envious of the women here this morning who have their children close by and were telling what has been planned for them tomorrow... hopefully, they'll have nice weather for some of their plans involving outdoors.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

CINCO DE MAYO..........

My first and only experience with Mexico and the Mexican people, I can honestly say it has been one of the absolute highlights of my life! In 2005, I spent one month in San Miguel, Mexico and would go back in a heartbeat. There are times when I think I could actually live there! The people have so little and yet are so happy and SO hospitable! The children are probably some of the happiest little people ever! They laugh and play with very little and are so genuinely enthusiastic!
I've included one of the hundreds of photos I took while there. This was one of three festivals held in the town square while I was there.
I will say, however, that the Mexican food that was original wasn't all that's actually fairly bland and very little colour on one's plate...
San Miguel has quite a few ex-pats from both Canada and the United States so there are some excellent restaurants there and the culture and the arts are just amazing. I think one of the things I loved most, beside the people, was their love of colour. I'm sure all the colour used helps boost them mentally....just beautiful.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I'm late getting this inspiration posted, but it is still Monday...whew!

My inspiration shop this week is 'Copper Leaf Studios'. Can I just say I am so taken with this artists work. For me, it draws me in and I'm totally fascinated by the process and the end result so obviously speaks for itself....beautiful, beautiful works! You MUST go visit her shop and her website! It is definitely worth taking the time to admire and even buy some wonderful art. I had asked the artist to provide a picture of her favourite piece, but I'm hoping she'll forgive me and let me put in my favourite! Some day I hope to own a piece of her work!

Here are her links to go see for yourself......

And now, in her own words from questions I asked her is her 'inspiration'...thank you, Chris. I really appreciate you taking the time!

1. Who has been your biggest influence and encouragement?My critique group, a group of five friends/ colleagues that has been together for nearly 14 years now. We all grew up as artists together. Each of us has our own medium & style, but we seem to interweave ideas every so often. It’s been an incredible experience to challenge, encourage, and refine each other as artists.

2. What or who inspires you?Tons of things! Lines, shapes, colors, and texture. Mostly texture. Some of my best work is completely void of color, with subtle textures layered on top of one another. A lot of my work is derived from nature, and carefully balanced with an architectural geometry. So inspiration can be anything from a crack in the sidewalk, to the metal beams underneath a bridge, to the edge of a continent.

3. When did you realize you had artistic creativity?It’s always been a part of my life; I took it for granted for a long time. I didn’t consider it seriously as a career option until I was at college. I would bring embroidery or sketches to work on in during lecture classes. I suddenly felt self-conscious when I realized I was the only one doing this! It hadn’t occurred to me to not be constantly making something. I realized at that point that I had better find a way to integrate it into my future career.

4. What haven't you tried yet that you'd like to try?Working with glass – slumping, fusing, stained glass. I’ve done the tiniest bit, and I would love learn more.

5. Who would you love to spend a day with to study them at their art?Maya Lin, Sabrina Ward Harrison, Erika Carter, Nancy Crow… a ton of people! I’m sure it would be an incredible learning experience, no matter who it was.

6. Did or do you have a mentor?Chris Pekoc has been an inspiration – he is a local artist that has risen to international acclaim. Although he’s not a mentor in the formal sense, I’ve been fortunate enough to watch his career develop. He never lost his enthusiasm, and was just as excited to be involved in a local show as a solo exhibit in Europe. And he creates his incredible work from everyday supplies in a humble basement studio.

7.What have you learned about yourself while on your own personal journey?That my work comes as much from my mind as from my heart. Some artists are all about the emotive side, but I love to balance intellectual stimulation with creativity. Some of my work is created as if I am solving a visual puzzle. I think that analytical side and attention to detail has made me a better artist, and a better businessperson.

8. What's the best advice you've been given that has helped you?“Do what you love and the money will follow.”

9. Where would you like to be in 5 years?Living in my little house, making a lot of artwork! Spending my summers sitting beside my koi pond, and my winters in front of my fireplace… enjoying life.