Thursday, 23 May 2019

Family Rules

Some rules to live by......

Monday, 13 May 2019

Pie, anyone?

Canada first began issuing postage stamps in 1851 with the 3-pence beaver stamp designed by Sandford Fleming.   Since then, Canada has issued over 3,000 different stamp designs. Each stamp focuses on a piece of Canada's history and pride.

I had to smile when I went to the Post Office to get a book of the latest stamps. I could not wait to get  my teeth into some of these truly typical Canadian desserts, my mouth is watering!
Mmmmm Delicious!!!!

No I didn't have to lick them, they are already gummed. They should be pie-flavoured!
Pictures from Canada Post.

Sunday, 12 May 2019


This art installation of HEAT is the concept of Grade 7 science students at a local elementary school.

The students began by brainstorming what they knew about heat - how it affects the environment, what is good and bad about it, how it makes them feel, what colours would best represent heat, and then came up with a way to demonstrate their ideas visually.

They felt that it is important to show heat as energy and that it can move, and that warm colours best represented this. Each student created an individual "atom" that makes up the explosion of creativity, colour and science that is HEAT!

Saturday, 11 May 2019

The Young at Art

The current exhibition at our small Art Gallery features the artwork of students at some of the local elementary schools. Obviously creativity is alive and well with our young people. And congratulations to the teachers who guide them and give them opportunity to express themselves.

Update on our Art Show and Sale last weekend: I sold 6 paintings! I was very surprised and very happy. The weather was good, we had electricity the whole weekend, not like last year's disaster with the power cut. And we had more than 300 people through the door over the whole weekend, a great total for an amateur Art Show held in a rural Commnunity Hall with the only access up a muddy lane! But the weekend was not without it's share of drama. I parked on the grass and got stuck in the mud and had to be pushed out. Many thanks to my brawny rescuers!

Friday, 3 May 2019

Invitation to an Art Show

This weekend the Lemonville Group of Artists are holding their annual Art Show and Sale at the Lemonville Community Centre. The muddy lane to the Community Centre has been graded, the spring potholes have been filled. The cookies have been baked. The lemonade is in the fridge (sorry, no wine, we need a license for that). The art works are ready to hang, we'll be doing that this afternoon. The "SOLD" red dots are waiting to be used.
Fingers crossed for good weather. Last year we had a fierce windstorm and no power for the whole weekend. It was Art in the Dark!
And then it will be time for the Grand Opening. You are all invited!

Monday, 29 April 2019

Muskrat Meanderings

There's a large pond at the end of my street and I quite often go for a walk round the neighbourhood and end up on the path around the pond. A home for frogs and small fish, and a blue heron.
Last summer I noticed a small aquatic animal swimming around but it was hard to get a good look. Too small to be a beaver, and there weren't any chewed up trees. I decided it must be a muskrat.
Now that the ice and snow have disappeared, I wondered if Mr Muskrat had survived the winter, and yes, there he is, happily swimming around.

So far Mr Muskrat seems to have the whole pond to himself, but I wonder if there will be a Mrs Muskrat and some babies later in the spring. I'll keep watching. And maybe get some better photos.

Friday, 26 April 2019

AAP again

(Here we go with blog post 1001!!!!!)
A few more of the works that the AAP Collective has on display at the Town Offices until the end of May. The group started mainly to discuss art and exchange ideas, but it's morphed into an interesting blend of both amateur and professional artists who are experimenting with different creative projects and learning from each other. Among our numbers we have a potter, specialists in watercolour and acrylic, an indigenous artist, and a sumi-e artist.
I blogged some photos of last year's Town Offices exhibition here.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

AAP at the Town Hall (and a Milestone)

One of the art groups that I paint with, the AAP Collective (remember Art Ain't Pretty?), is exhibiting work at our local Town Offices. We hung the work yesterday and it will be there for the public to enjoy until the end of May. Enough room on the walls for 4 pieces each.
Just recently we have been making masks out of recycled cardboard and also clay. One of our artists is a potter and he fires our clay creations in his basement kiln.
Here are a few of our works.... more to come in future posts.

Can you guess which ones are mine?

OOOOOOH! Just noticed that this is blog post number 1000!!!!!!! A definite milestone. My first tentative blog post was November 2006. Such a lot has happened since then. I've retired from my work, my children left home, I lost my partner and lived alone for the first time, become Nana to four sweetie grandies, moved house.... I wonder what's next?

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Plastic bags

We've all seen shredded plastic caught up in branches and we've all heard of the discarded plastic garbage patches in the ocean. There's a huge movement to get rid of single use plastic, and yet the grocery stores in my town still offer plastic bags, charging $0.05 each.

I always have half a dozen reuseable cloth bags in my car when I go shopping, but it surprises me how many people buy those plastic bags.

Last week, I went to two separate grocery stores, and on both occasions, the shopper in front of me at the checkout asked for 6 or more plastic bags. I was very tempted to ask why they needed the bags and what they were going to do with them once they had carried the groceries home.
But I didn't. I restrained myself.
When is it polite to mention plastic bags to a stranger?
Would you confront a shopper about plastic bags?
What's your opinion about this?

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Let's Go Blue Jays!

Our first Major League baseball game of the season and it snowed all day! I thought baseball was a summer game..... obviously I was mistaken. This is what we woke up to.

It was YoungerSon's birthday, so for a birthday treat the whole family met downtown at the Rogers Centre to watch the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Detroit Tigers. OlderSon arrived with a chocolate birthday cake, paper plates and plastic forks so we had our own birthday party up there in the 500 level! You get a great view from up so high. It was the first time the twins had been to a game, and they loved it.... and behaved really well!
 It was a good game.... started off slowly but got pretty exciting towards the end. The Tigers scored 3 in the top of the seventh, then the Jays retaliated with 3 including a home run in the bottom of the 8th. 3 - 3 at the end of the 9th. They went to the 11th inning, when Detroit scored in the top of the inning, but the Jays just couldn't catch up. Final score Jays 3, Tigers 4.
Better luck next time.

Let's Go Blue Jays! CHAAAAAARGE!!!!!!!!

Monday, 25 March 2019

Lady Day

Today - March 25 - is Lady Day
It's one of the four Quarter Days of the old English Calendar. 
The Quarter Days are March 25 - Lady Day also the Feast of the Annunciation in the Christian calendar; June 24 - Midsummer Day also the Feast of St John the Baptist; September 29 - Michaelmas Day also the Feast of St Michael and All Angels; December 25 - Christmas Day.

Quarter days were the four dates in each year when servants were hired, school terms started, and rents were due. Debts and unresolved lawsuits were not allowed to linger on, and accounts had to be settled. Leasehold payments and land rents are often still due on the old English Quarter Days. 

Just to confuse the issue, there are also four Cross-Quarter Days falling between the Quarter Days. These are February 2 - Candlemas; May 1 - May Day; August 1 - Lammas; November 1 - All Hallows Day.

Lady Day was the traditional day when long-term contracts between landowners and tenant farmers would begin and end. Farming families who were changing farms would often travel to their new farm on Lady Day. It roughly coincides with the Spring Equinox, signifying a new beginning.

So have a Happy Lady Day!!

Friday, 22 March 2019

Things Happen in Threes

It's been a rough week. They say things happen in threes, sometimes good things, but more often bad things, but sometimes the bad things get resolved with good things. My week so far...
  1. The rear wheel of my car started getting really hot, made some nasty noises and smelled like hot metal. A quick phone call to the local garage, and I took the car in to have the brakes looked at. Brake pads, caliper, rotor, an unexpected cost. The good result: I was able to get the car looked at very fast and my car is safe and roadworthy again.
  2. A trip with friends to the city to see "Jersey Boys". As soon as I got off the train I started having difficulty breathing and felt dizzy. I was able to enjoy the theatre performance but felt pretty bad about making my friends worry about me. Two of my friends insisted I needed medical help and took me to the hospital where I was diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia.... again! The good result: An overnight stay at the hospital. Electro-cardioversion put my heart back on sinus rhythm and I'm back to normal. Plus we all got to enjoy "Jersey Boys". And I'm so blessed to have such good friends.
  3. Now I have developed the worst head cold I've had for years. Thank you to OlderSon who gave it to me! Runny eyes, drippy nose, plugged ears, marathon sneezes, lifeless brain. The good result: I can't think of anything right now, other than thank goodness I stocked up with Kleenex.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Who was that Masked Man?

We have been having some fun making African Masks from cardboard.... but I'm pretty sure no genuine African would ever want to be associated with this face!
First layer upon layer of cardboard, with walnut halves for eyes.
 Then cover it all in white and black gesso.
 And the finished product, painted in red, white and black, with some glittery sparkling "diamonds" from the dollar store. The bird perched on his forehead signifies wisdom, according to Ashanti legend.
He's going to be part of our AAP Collective Art Show in April, along with masks made by some of the others in the group. We're also making some clay masks. They are currently drying and will be fired next week. Definitely creating this is way out of my normal comfort zone. But it's fun!

Friday, 8 March 2019

Adding colour

Last summer I took my paints and easel and canvas out into the forest for some plein aire painting with others in my Art Group. It was fun being out there in the sunshine, exposed to the sounds of the birds and the buzzing of the bees, not forgetting the high pitched whine of the annoying mosquitoes. I blogged about it here.
At the end of the afternoon, this was my painting but I wasn't satisfied with it.

So I added some details and worked on it for a bit but I still wasn't happy, so it's been sitting in the unfinished pile since last June. I finally decided to have a clean out of the "stuff" accumulating in the room I jokingly call my studio, and decided this was worth having another go at, and this is the result.

Yes, the colours have definitely changed. I like this version a lot better. It may even be worth framing. I'll call it "The Edge of the Wildwood".
Let me know what you really think. You don't have to be polite!

UPDATE! I sold it at the Art Show in May 2019!!!!! I'm so glad that some one loved it enough to give it a new home.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Baby Stripes!

There's a sweet new baby at Toronto Zoo and he's covered with stripes.
He was born on February 13 in the early morning hours. His mummy is Tori, an eight year old Grevy's zebra, and his daddy is Jake, an 11 year old male.
This foal has an older sister and brother..... Leia born in January 2014, and Rey born in July 2016.

There's a contest on the Toronto Zoo's facebook page to name the baby... name choices are "JJ", "TJ", "Chewy", "Obi".
Looks like the popular choice is "Obi" to continue with the Star Wars theme.
He is so definitely gorgeously absolutely CUTE!!!!!!
I loaded a different picture.... any better?

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Negative Painting

At my Thursday Art Group, we have been experimenting with negative painting techniques.
Negative painting is where the subject is established by painting around the object rather than by painting the object itself.
There's a very informative page about negative painting and an excellent description of an example here.
And some of the examples that we produced last week.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Fantastic Mr Fox

There's been a fox living in the neighbourhood for the past couple of years. I've seen him (or her?) quite often during the summer, strolling nonchalantly along the street, no fear of cars or people at all. But I haven't seen him during the winter.
But recently I've noticed footprints in the snow which can only come from a fairly large animal. Definitely not a bunny or a squirrel. And this morning when I looked out of the window.....
 ,,,, there he was, sitting in the snow just outside the railings on my deck. Fuzzy picture as it was taken through a rainy window and a bug screen.
Then he moved from the deck to in front of my living room window... again sorry about the fuzziness, the camera wants to focus on the wet window. He looks well fed, probably thanks to an abundance of tree rats er, I mean squirrels in the area. 
He sat for a few moments to think, then went around the side of the house, crossed the road, and trotted off towards the trees at the end of the street. I hope he comes back, I like him.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Coffee Mug

Last November my oldest grandson's Atom ice hockey team (ages 9 and 10 up to Dec 31) Schomberg Red Wings won their local tournament which was quite a welcome surprise as they really hadn't won many games all season.

However, this was a huge victory for them, and the team now qualified for entry into another tournament that was to be held in January 2019.

This was the International Silver Stick 2018-2019 Tournament Finals held in the Niagara Region. There were over 100 ice hockey teams competing in 13 different arena locations, from all over Canada and some teams from the US.
The team played 4 games, won 2 and lost 2, so they were pretty happy with the results!

Before the hockey games kicked off, there was some social time scheduled, and  time was allotted for pin trading, so of course, if you swap team pins, you have to have somewhere to pin them.  I made each member of the team a pin banner to hang on the bedroom wall. They loved them and the banners were soon covered with souvenir pins.

And as an unexpected thank you from the team, I received this delightful coffee mug..... pictures of the team, all 17 of them, displaying their pin collections on the banners. What a great souvenir.... I'll be enjoying my morning coffee and cheering the team on at the same time! Go Red Wings!

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Live music

Back in the Dark Ages when I was a youngster in England, I hung out at a lot of folk clubs. I loved live music, and saw lots of folkies perform including Martin Carthy, Peggy Seeger and Ewen McColl, Alex and Rory McEwen, loads more whose names I've forgotten. I always wanted to play the guitar but never learned, although I was given a guitar that I strummed along on and actually memorised 3 chords, but the musical gene has definitely missed me.

Image result for concert images
I was recently reading a list of live music concerts that my bloggie friend Suldog has enjoyed, so I thought I'd try and remember all the concerts that I've seen.

Here's my list.... fairly short and in no particular order. Lots of Canadian performers. If I remember any more I'll add them. Anyone else like to offer up a list?

Liona Boyd - classical guitar 1974
Andres Segovia - classical guitar... Portsmouth UK early 1960s
Ray Charles ... Portsmouth UK early 1960s
The Beach Boys ... Rama Casino 2017
Rolling Stones/Everley Bros/Little Richard/Bo Diddley ... Gaumont Southampton UK October 1963
Tina Turner ... Toronto 1980s
Simon and Garfunkel ... Exhibition Stadium, Toronto  July 21 1983
Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee/Ramblin Jack Elliott ... concert at Royal Festival Hall in London in the 1960s.
Boy George and Culture Club ... Toronto  Maple Leaf Gardens 1984
James Taylor ...The Forum, Ontario Place Toronto early 1990s
Jully Black ... 2016
Dave Brubeck Quartet ... Massey Hall, Toronto March 15 1969
Alex Cuba ... 2016
Itzhak Perlman - violin
Gordon Lightfoot ... Peterborough Ontario 2001
Natalie McMaster and Donnell Leahy
Leahy - the next generation ... 2017
Jimmy Rankin
Ashley McIsaac
Dave Swarbrick and Jason Wilson
The Nylons
Shirley Bassey ... 1964
Michael Kaeshammer ... piano
Victor Borge ... piano and comedy, late 1970s, Ontario Place, Toronto

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Olé! Mermelada!

January / February is the season for Seville oranges, those knobbly sour citrus fruits that are so necessary in making marmalade. They are hard to find, but I bought some really big juicy ones at our local Longos, the fancy new grocery store where everything costs a bit more than you'd expect. These oranges were grown in the USA although they carry the name of the city in Andalucia, Spain. Buying Seville oranges is the closest I'll come to Spain in the near future.
Of course, it's marmalade making time. I do enjoy a dollop of golden marmalade on my toast in the mornings.
I used 6 large Sevilles, 2 lemons and 1 sweet orange. First squeeze the juice out of the fruit, and remove the membranes and the seeds.... keep for later. Chop the orange and lemon rinds as thin as possible.
 Add water, and soak the fruit overnight, including the seeds and membranes in a net bag. Then boil it all up until the orange rind is cooked and soft.
Then for every 2 cups of fruit and juice, add 2 cups of sugar, and boil again for about 20 minutes, and it will start to gell. Take off the heat, stir for 10 minutes to cool, you don't want to break the jars, and to make sure the fruit doesn't all float at the top. Pour into sterilized hot jars, slap a lid on, and look forward to breakfast time.
A wonderful quote from Bob Hope:
"My folks were English. They were too poor to be British. I still have a bit of British in me. In fact, my blood type is solid marmalade."
I think mine is too.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019


Remember all that panic and fuss about Y2K? Was that really nineteen years ago? Crikey!
Twenty nineteen is definitely here, and it's time to look forward to the year ahead.
My New Year Resolutions? Well, if I tell you, I'll have to make sure I complete them, so by keeping secret I have a way out. But I do have a list of Hopes and Possibilities.
  • I'll be peeling potatoes and mashing turnips and heating up the haggis as usual for the Robbie Burns Night in January. DONE. The Robbie Burns Night was a great success, and the potatoes and turnips were delicious, of course.
  • I'm taking an acrylic art course on Wednesday evenings for the next 8 weeks. I'm hoping for some improvement with my ideas, designs, colour management, brush work.... well, improvement in everything really. DONE. or at least started.
  • Planning to go to Aquafit at the local pool. First I have to pick up the weekly swimming schedule to find out the days and times. DONE. Picked up the schedule but haven't gone to Aquafit yet.
  • If I'm going to Aquafit, I'll need a new swimsuit. The necessary elastic has definitely lost it's reliability in the current model.
  • Drink more water. Not at Aquafit though.
  • Summer holiday? Lots of possibilities. Rent a cottage on a lake? I've always fancied a trip to Iceland. Perhaps this is the year. Or Britain to visit cousins?
  • Walk more, and use the car less.
  • I want a robot vacuum cleaner. Any recommendations?
  • Finish a quilt that I started 18 months ago. DONE! Finished.
  • Finish another quilt that I started 14 years ago. (Don't hold your breath on that one.)
  • I'm thinking about a renting a plot in the community vegetable garden. But that sounds like hard work, all that digging and weeding. The jury's still out on that one.
Happy New Year to my Blog friends.... and keep Blogging despite all the competition from the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and all those other social media thingummyjigs that I have no idea how to use.