Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blanket Cheer

There has been a distinct chill in the air the past week or so. It’s definitely time to pull out a blanket to wrap oneself in while curled up to read. Wonderful old blankets from the thrift shop are perfect for this purpose. If you keep your eyes open for them, you will eventually be rewarded with genuine old wool blankets from England or Scotland (often marked “Pure New Wool”) that are soft, cozy and very inexpensive. Some of the colour combinations are quite cheery. At very affordable prices (this one cost $4.99), you can have them ready in waiting , one draped over a comfy chair, one near the television for cozy evening watching and yet another in the car. The wool ones from Britain speak of quality, their wooly softness from countless washing is perfect for snuggling into with a hot drink and a good book on a chilly day.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Beauty

I snapped this photo in a flower stall at the Granville Market in Vancouver but saved it for an autumn post. The gorgeous and rich dark orange flowers with the beautiful bright green buds in the foreground were a fortuitous combination. The orange flowers were labeled Solidago (goldenrod) and the green pods were marked Crocosmia. Fall beauty.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fresh Find

I consider thrifting a creative pursuit. I say this because when you encounter someone’s castoff it takes a creative mind to consider how it might be repurposed, improved or transformed. It’s this looking at something in a different way that is where the creativity comes into it. Sometimes the solution is simple and easy, other times the change takes lots of time and effort.

This latest thrift shop find falls into the former category. This wee wooden child’s chair was tucked into a corner of a local Sally Ann among children’s toys. When I saw the bright orange paint my heart leaped. So absolutely scrumptious. My brain went into overdrive, what could I do with this tiny chair? And then it hit me. It is such a Halloween colour, why not use it somehow in a Halloween display? But wait, before I got too excited it would be prudent to have a look at the price tag, after all this was not something that would likely become a permanent fixture in my home. Happily, the pricing person had been kind... only $4.99. I was so going to buy and use it! I must admit I was quite giddy at the thought! And seeing as there is still quite a stretch of time before Halloween, I decided that I would press it into service in an autumnal display for now. How simple was it to give it a good scrubbing and fill the seat with a potted mum? I will probably add pumpkins and gourds to the mix as I come across them in the coming days.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fungus Trompe d'oeil

At a quick glance this might look like the stump of a tree that has been cut down, poking out of the grass. But in fact it is a fungus that I came across on a hike in the woods. Just look how it mimics the growth rings of a tree. Isn’t that amazing?! The wet leaves that have stuck to it only further add to the camouflage effect.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Harvest of Gourdly Delights

Such a lovely tumble of gourds were for sale at the farmers’ market when I went the other day. Ornamental gourds truly are one of the best visual treats during harvest time. The beautiful blends in rich colours and wonderful textures and patterns seem fresh to my eyes because they are available to us for such a short period of time each year. I didn't stop to buy any that day and I should have... because just a couple of days later I made a find that these gourds would have embellished most wonderfully. And I won't say more for now because I'll be posting about that find in an upcoming post!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Birthday Wisdom

“Woman must come of age herself. She must find her true center alone. She must become whole.” (
Anne Morrow Lindbergh)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Around the Bend

With the arrival of my birthday tomorrow it’s only natural to look ahead and wonder what might be around the bend for the coming year. After a challenging summer with family health issues, hopefully life will settle down a little to make space for challenges of the happier variety. It’s always good to allow oneself the room to try new things, as well as to re-acquaint oneself with old passions that have for one reason or another fallen by the wayside. And of course it is human nature to also look back at what has been and reflect on the paths taken and not taken. But if one does take the time to look back, then it better be with the intention of learning what one can from what has been and then look forward once again, to plant oneself firmly in the present and do things differently or at least strive for growth and development. Here’s to a year of new discoveries, treasured memories and lots of joyful creativity.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Faded Elegance

Bright blue hydrangeas have always been among my favourites, but these purple blooms, have given me pause. The most gorgeous shades of purple, all on the same bush. I love the dusky inkiness of some of these blooms. They provoke feelings of faded elegance.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reflections on Summer

My goodness, I have finally stopped long enough to realize that we’re in September already. Now how did that happen without my knowing? September is my favourite month. For one thing there is that whole nostalgic back-to-school feeling that lies beneath the surface as I sense the days shortening and the mornings getting a little nippy. I have experienced that shopping for school supplies rush firsthand again this year as both boys are still in school, albeit high school and this year... university. No matter how many years go by since I was enrolled in school, I still love the feeling of new beginnings, of the possibilities that a new school year brings.

It may have taken me all this time, but happily the epiphany was reached while there was still summer left on the calendar. With fall not scheduled until September 22 this year, lovely sunny summer days lie ahead to enjoy. So I’m grateful that my awareness has come in time to step back and be conscious of these last days of summer. I hope you will take a moment each day to find the pleasure in the warmth of the sun above and the grouond below your feet and of course that warmth that comes from all the lively sights and sounds of this spirited if sometimes lazy season.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sticky Toffee Pudding

I just tasted the best sticky toffee pudding in this world at a restaurant called Enigma, on West 10th Avenue in the Pointe Grey area of Vancouver. The pudding was light and delicious, the caramel sauce was superb and if that wasn't enough, it was accompanied by vanilla ice cream and a whole host of extra garnishes. A true work of art. I am now dreaming of sticky toffee pudding. And if I lived in Vancouver, I would be stopping in there at least once a week for this incredible dessert. Kudos go to the co-owner, Lynette, who bakes all the desserts herself. If you’re in Vancouver give this restaurant a try. Close attention has been paid to the elegant d├ęcor, welcoming atmosphere and delicious food of the highest quality. A truly enjoyable dining experience.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Part 2

Here are some of the little details that add so much to this unique Vancouver garden.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vancouver Shops: The Secret Garden

Care for a cup of tea? If you’re in Vancouver then you might want to consider trying a lovely tearoom called The Secret Garden. A very popular spot for lingering over a pot of tea and plates of bite-sized sandwiches and sweets, you will quite possibly find yourself waiting for a table depending on the time of day that you visit. If you do, you can sit at a table near the counter and help yourself to a sampling of the featured tea on offer while you wait or go for a stroll and take advantage of the time to drop in on some of the really beautiful shops in the vicinity. The Secret Garden’s delicious offerings come in a seemingly endless assortment, sure to make choosing a difficult task. All the ones I sampled were delectable, and happily, their scones are accompanied by jam and authentic Devonshire cream. Yum!