Monday, November 23, 2015

Where oh where does the time go?

I visited my friend Linda in Port Perry
a month ago and during one of my 
walks along the shores of Lake Scugog
I took some pictures of the last of the
seasonal plants.   I love taking pictures
like these that almost seem to have a
texture to them.

And fluffy seed pods are a great 

The days were overcast (until the day I returned
home, of course) but that's okay.   Any time I
can walk near a lake and watch the birds and
breath in the air is fine by me. 

Another day, closer to home.   Glen Williams
is just a 35 minute walk from my front door
and is such a pretty village.   Took this
picture from one of the bridges that spans
the Credit River, which twists it's way 
through the village in two spots on the
main road.

One of my favourite houses in the village.   I think
I take it's picture every time that I do a walk
through of the area with my camera.

On Remembrance Day I joined my neighbour and
three of her kids to walk down to our town's cenotaph
to observe the wreath laying ceremony. 

Love the tradition at the end where members of the
crowd can come forward and leave their poppies on
the base of the monument if they wish to.

On the weekend of the 14th I took the Go bus down
to Toronto to spend the day with my friend Darlene.
We walked through the Jane/Bloor village section
of the city and poked around in the shops located
there.   It's a very European section of Toronto with
lots of fabulous bakeries with glorious displays of
fresh baked pastries and breads and cakes.

We even visited a couple of the Christmas 
bazaars being run in a few of the local churches
in the area which was fun.   In one lovely 
church we were admiring the interior of the
main part of the church from a doorway and 
one of the parishioners offered to give us a 
little tour, which we were delighted to accept.
I love when that sort of thing happens.
This is St. Olave's Anglican church.

We also walked through High Park which is Toronto's
version of Central Park in New York.   Most of the
leaves on the trees there were gone but the willow
trees next to Grenadier pond still retained their 
Fall colour.                                   

Since High Park is just a short walk from Lake
Ontario we just had to go there as well and walk
along the boardwalk for a bit.   This is looking
west,  with our backs to downtown Toronto.

It does look cold and gloomy in that picture
doesn't it?   But we had a nice walk and
were quite comfortable, though we were
warmly dressed.

City Hall, downtown Toronto.    The Toronto
sign was put up for the Pan-Am games that
Toronto hosted this past summer.   It was
decided that since the sign was such a hit with
tourists and Torontonians alike it should be
kept up once the games were over.
Note that it is lit with the colours of the
French flag.   This was the Saturday
after the Paris attacks.


The highlight of our day was in the evening
when we attended the lighting of the 
Christmas lights at Dundas Square in

Live music, dancers and acrobats and lights.
Lots of lights!   In fact the name of the event
was Illuminite.  This is the second year in a
row that we've gone to this show and it was
quite amazing.

This year the show stopper was when four of the 
dancers plus the piano and the piano player were
hoisted in the air by a crane where they (the dancers, I 
mean) danced and spun and tumbled in midair.

I'm sorry that my pictures weren't very good but
at least you get an idea of how it all looked.  We
were told that there were about 12,000 people
in attendance, filling the square and spilling onto
Yonge street which was closed to traffic for the

Books read, or in this case being read by
me in the past month or so. 

The Nightingale is a story that takes place
during WWII in France during the occupation.
I've read a number of Kristin Hannah's books
and this one is one of her best so far.

Amendment:   Nov 26th
Sat for two hours this morning reading this book.
Could not leave it alone.   My bed is unmade and
I'm still in my PJs.    I read it to the end and I 
cried and cried.   It's rare that I shed a tear over a
book, no matter how well written or how much I
loved it.    This is a haunting, powerful story which
resonates in this day and age.   

The best by far that I've read by Kristin Hannah it 
takes her to another level as a writer.   I highly
recommend it but warn you to read it with a box
of kleenex close by.

The Courtesan takes place in China in the late
1800's and is based on the life of a woman who 
lived during that time.  It is Alexandra Curry's first

A young adult novel with an interesting,
thought provoking twist.   I'd been wanting
to read this one for awhile and when it's 
sequel came out a short while ago I got
them both and read them one after the other.
The first book "Every Day" I enjoyed more then
the second book "Another Day" which was the same
story but told by another character's point of view.

David Levithan is a very popular writer of
Young adult novels.

I've been spending my crafting time working on
scrapbook albums that I am making to give as
Christmas gifts.  One is done and the other is
in the beginning stages.    

In spite of the bags of extra time I expected to have
to prepare for Christmas because I'm no longer 
working the days and weeks leading up to December 
25th are flying by just as fast as when I was working!   
This amazes and frustrates me to no end.   

Oh well.    The tree is up and decorated and so is 
most of the house so I need to begin my cards next.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fall 2015

My favourite season is Fall.    I know, I know ....
Fall means that winter is not too far away.   Even so.
I love Fall!!!    

And in the Fall there are certain rituals that one must 
partake in to be able to say that one has sufficiently 
and fully experienced the season.   Visiting a farm
to pick apples or search for pumpkins is one such
ritual and I was lucky enough to be able to do just
that at the beginning of October.

My neighbour Amy and three of her kids headed
out one afternoon in search of apples and were 
kind enough to invite me along.  It was a gorgeous
though cool Fall day and we wandered around the
Halton Hills area (by car) looking for places to stop.

The first place we chose to stop at was a small farm 
where Amy picked up a huge bag of apples.    You 
have no idea of the selection of apples that are 
available until you go to an apple farm and see all 
of the varieties on offer.   

Our next stop was a larger place called Andrews
Scenic Acres and here there was a wider range of
produce and products for sale.   Plus the added 
fun of a Halloween maze,  pumpkin patch,   animals
to see and pet and photograph,  dahlias galore to
pick and the added bonus of glorious, fresh air
and sunshine and the scent of Autumn in the air
and bright blue sky overhead.   In other words

In the store were all kinds of yummy
things from indian corn, to maple syrup, 
to fresh baked goods (salted chocolate
chip cookies anyone?) to jams and 
jellies and on and on and on.

One of the farm's residents.  Love
those gorgeous feathers!

And oodles and oodles of dahlias!

In every shape .... 

and colour that you could imagine.

All available to pick and take home with
you,   which we did.

There were trails to follow all around the property
and the sunflower patch was huge and at it's peak. 
We walked all over and took lots of pictures.

It was such a fabulous day.   Did I mention how much
I love Fall?

Brought these beauties home to remind me of
the day (plus a bag of those afore mentioned
salted chocolate chip cookies).

The Phee approved.   

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Book Lovers Welcome

Every year Toronto takes part in the Word On the Street
book lovers celebration.   Major cities in Canada hold
their own versions of this festival at different times of
the year and Toronto's is always towards the end of

In past years we've gone to it when it's been held in
the grounds of Queen's Park .... location of the
Ontario provincial government building (of the same 
name) .... where the festival was set up beneath a canopy of 
trees, the tents used by the participants placed along the 
pathways that wind through that location.

But this year the event was staged down on the shores
of Lake Ontario at Harbourfront,  former industrial
lands that have been turned into a public space that hosts 
numerous events,  and such things as art galleries,  docking 
space for boats offering tours of the harbour,  a 
place to rent kayaks,  kid friendly activities and places 
for musical performances. 

Word on the Street is dedicated strictly to 
Canadian publishers and authors (as well as
anything else you can think of relating to books)

At the risk of sounding anti-Canadian I admit 
that I do wish that the event celebrated books and
authors and publishers from all over the world
because we don't really have any other major
book festivals like it here that covers all books,
not just Canadian.

There are lectures and book signings by successful
authors including Kelley Armstrong (above) who
appears here fairly regularly.

Some celebrities do make special appearances,
including Poke-a-roo who is the star of a 
long running kids TV program here called The 
Poke-a-Dot Door

I went with my friend Darlene and we 
spent much of the day wandering around the
tents taking in all of the things offered for
sale,  for discussion or for edification.

We ate our lunch sitting next to the water,
watching the sailboats, kayaks, island
ferries and airplanes (the Toronto island
airport was close by) going past us.

It was such a gorgeous, sunny and warm day,
more like summer then the early days of Fall.
As a matter of fact by mid afternoon we were 
regretting the lack of shade at Harbourfront that 
the trees at Queen's Park would have given us in
previous years,  but once the sun began to go 
down the temperature cooled off quickly.

I didn't go too wild buying books, tempted though
I might have been.    I didn't want to be lugging a
heavy, awkward bag (bags?) of books around all
day, not to mention hauling them all the way back
home to Georgetown on the bus afterwards.    

Not far from Harbourfront is a lovely place called 
The Music Garden and when we were ready for
a change of pace Darlene and I walked there and
explored around and along it's meandering pathways.    
Of course at this time of year the flowers are thinning 
out and gardens are getting tired looking but still this 
place was lovely and peaceful and being right by the lake 
made it even nicer.

Speaking of flowers .....  I posted a few weeks ago about
my first attempt at picking and drying flowers from our
garden.    I'd put my chosen bits of flowers and greenery
into my flower press and then had to wait for about
three weeks to see what the results might be.    

I'm happy to report that everything survived and dried
out nicely.   Most retained their colours quite well 
and I was amazed at the details that were able to 
remain after the drying process was complete.  

I will use these to decorate the pages of my stitching/

And speaking of my stitching/scrap book ..... I 
worked on two more pages for that this week
including this Halloween Quaker piece that I 
really, really love.

And a Christmas design from Lizzie Kate.

I still have a hard time calculating and measuring
and cutting the openings for these pages and 
there are times when the air in my craft room turns
an unbecoming shade of blue ... ahem ... but I
keep at it until I get it more or less right.

And I'm still doodling and drawing and
zen-tangling with pen and markers and
paper.     Obsessed?   Me???   Nah!!!!

Found this in the grocery store this week
and of course I had to have it.   Drawing
techniques plus pages to colour, and craft
projects to try.   It's very cool with much
fun to be found/had!

I recently re-read a favourite historical fiction
author who's books I adore.    Judith Merkle
Riley wrote delightful,   often magical
(literally) novels that feature historical accuracy
 wonderful, colourful characters and a knack for
creating a fascinating storyline.

She also had a delicious, sometimes wicked sense 
of humour that I love.   Sadly the author passed away
some time ago but the six books that she wrote are still 
available for purchase and I recommend them all.      

Thanks for visiting.   


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First Day of Autumn

Hard as it is to believe it is indeed a fact that 
today we bid a fond and wistful farewell to 
summer and welcome Fall into our midst.

In honour of that fact I spent yesterday
cleaning the living and dining rooms, packing
away the every day nick knacks and putting
out the Fall decorations.   We had an end of
summer gathering here on Saturday so the
living room was in desperate need of vacuuming
and dusting etc.    Putting out the decorations
didn't take long and since then I've been
tweaking and fussing to get everything just

I love the Fall!   Do you?    The colours, the
scents in the air,  the comfort food and just
about everything else that identifies with the
season makes me so happy.    And since I really
do not care for hot, hot weather I much prefer 
the cooler temperatures that happen now.  So 
much nicer for walking and other outdoor

More long afternoons spent with pen and ink.

Adult colouring books are all the rage these 
days and ... me being me .... I long to buy
and collect every single one that I find.   But
many of those things are expensive.   (Which
I don't begrudge since the artwork is often 
stunning!!)  So I draw my own patterns and
colour those in instead.

I'm a very harsh critic of my own creative
endeavours which has, in the past, often 
caused me to give up and walk away from
anything that I make or create in disgust.
But then I lose out on the joy I get from
initially doing these things.   So I'm trying
to ignore and work through those feelings
and just embrace the pleasure and let go
of the negativity.   

I've picked up this piece and put it down again
countless times in the past year or so but this
week I picked it up again and this time I am 
going to finish it!!!

My stitching has been almost non-existent in
the past few years and that is mainly because
I'm finding it harder to see what I'm doing even
on 28 count fabric.   I have bifocales which only 
helps a bit and my prescription is up to date so 
that's not the issue.  

 I use a  Ott-lite magnifier but often end up having to
 hold the fabric close to my face (roughly near the end 
of my nose) and peer over the top of my glasses to 
get a close up, clear view of my stitches.   This is an 
awkward position to say the least,  and it's a 
wonder to me that I haven't sewn the tip of my 
nose to a piece of fabric yet!

Perhaps I need to find a magnifier with a 
stronger magnification?    

Which reminds me of another issue that I have.

You know that little circle of extreme magnification
that you find inset into the larger, weaker lens surface?
Do you ever use that???   It's magnification is perfect
for what I want but it's so tiny I can never manage to 
maneuver my fabric and needle in just the right spot to 
use it and keep it there.   It's so darn frustrating.

Thank goodness I don't have any issues visually
when it comes to reading.   Here are a couple of
books that I read this year and loved.

The above is a book about Vanessa Bell and her sister Virginia 
Woolf and their relationship circa 1905 and onwards.   It's 
historical fiction, well researched and a fascinating read.    I 
have to admit that I've never read any of Virginia Woolf's 
books and know of her only by reputation in history and I knew 
even less about her sister who was a very talented painter.    
This book gives great insight into the characters of the two sisters 
as well as of those famous members of the Bloomsbury Group 
that were a part of their social circle. 

Then we have The Fortune Hunter which is 
more or less historical fiction as well since
one of it's main characters is Sisi, the 
Empress of Austria.   This woman has been
the central character in quite a few books
that I've encountered lately, some biographical
and some fictional.   She was a fascinating
person I have to say though admittedly a
spoiled and self centred character.   But that is
the way royalty was back in 1875 when this
story begins.  

I recommend both of these books.  These are
the second novels published for both authors.
I have not yet read their publishing debuts .... 
but I plan to.

My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding
anniversary in May with a party, reuniting as
many of our original wedding party as were able
to attend as well as being attended by friends and 

We also renewed our vows during that day in
our back yard, under the big maple tree.   Our
friend Sue is a minister and she wrote a wonderful
mini service and presided over the vow renewal
with love, humour and joy.

It was an memorable day that celebrated an
incredible milestone (25 years???  When did
that happen???) in our lives.   We're so 
incredibly blessed to have found each other
and to be together for this often tumultuous 
and stressful but ultimately wonderful life.

Hope you have a wonderful Fall week!!!