Monday, December 30, 2013

do you see what I see?

I find myself attracted to minimalist scenes these days....the feeling of space and calm. I would have liked this photo better if there was better light, but unfortunately I don't control the sunshine! (if I did, there would be a lot more sun in Nova Scotia in the winter months)

My little article was published in the paper last week. From the emails I received, I was happy to see that it touched many people.

I found the emails quite interesting. Many people read the Christmas Tree Memories and mentioned how difficult my life has been. Hmmm....not quite what I intended the message to be. I meant it to be uplifting. Life is full of memories.

Yes, I have faced challenges but I don't dwell on them. They helped shape who I am, and I feel so very, very lucky about what I have...and the people I share my life with.  Everyone faces many challenges in their lives. It's how you deal with them that counts.

It's as simple as looking at this photo. Do you see a dreary day? Do you find it depressing? Or do you see wide open spaces? A beautiful clean field of snow? Peace and calm? 

It's how you look at things that matters.

Happy New Year. May the new year bring you peace, calm and many good things!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Importance of a Christmas Tree

I wrote this piece after putting up our tree last year. It will be published in the Progress Bulletin, December 25th edition.


In 2012, our family returned to the tradition of having a Christmas tree after a 2 year hiatus. In 2010, I was recuperating from surgery for breast cancer, and we were anxiously waiting to hear when a series of radiation treatments were going to be scheduled. Coping with putting up a tree, and then taking it down a couple of weeks later, just seemed like too much to deal with. In 2011, I was recuperating from shoulder surgery. At the same time, my husband had just gone through emergency surgery on his knee, his third surgery on the same knee in six months. Again, putting up a tree just seemed like too much to deal with. 
In 2012, it was time to take back this Christmas tradition. Our neighbour generously offers us a tree every year, so we rode out on our 4 wheeler, cut down a tree and brought it back to the house.
2012
Then came the best part....taking out the Christmas Tree Box. This is what I missed for two years...pulling out the decorations one by one and taking myself back in time.
It was 1985, the first Christmas for my husband and I to be away from "home"...living in Alberta, far away from our friends and family in Ontario. I received decorations in the mail from two of my school friends. A brass reindeer, wooden rocking horse, and wooden tree with red painted hearts, all remind me of my school friendships. One of those friends has disappeared over time, but another still stays in touch even though she is now living far away in Australia.
It was 1989, my first Christmas alone with my 2 year old son after a divorce. Money was limited, and decorations were scarce. Decorations consisted of pine cone reindeer, and a small box of red balls. I still have the small white box labelled "decorations" from that year, which now many years later holds only a small portion of the decorations we use.
It was 1990, and my son made a bird decoration using pine cones and red feathers. No one but his mother recognizes that this is a bird, but I still proudly pull it out every year...and he is now 26.
It was 1991, and the first Christmas that my tree had some of my mother's favourite decorations. Breast cancer took her from us in 1982, and in 1991 our family gathered together to help my dad move from our family home. My sister and I divided up my mom's white feathered birds between us, and 1991 was the first year I had them on my tree. 
It was 1992, 1993, 1994....each year my son and I painted our own decorations....each one a memory of sitting together at the kitchen table.
It was 1995, and I received my first ornament from my new partner in our new home, a lovely clear glass ball with a tiny teddy bear inside. Married now, and many years later, it still warms my heart to pull it out of it's box to hang on the tree.
It was 1996, and my dad sent me a string angel...made to raise funds for a stroke recovery group. He had a major stroke in 1982, and the doctors, who said he'd never walk again, were proven wrong. That angel will always remind me of his determination and strength.
It was the turn of the century, and we were still living in Ontario, but by now we had moved from the nation's capital to a small community in the country. For several years we received a "Nova Scotia" ornament from our son and daughter-in-law living in Nova Scotia...a lighthouse wrapped in lights, a fisherman in a yellow slicker and sou'wester, a handmade snowman by an artist. In 2008 we moved to our new province and these ornaments are reminders of the years I spent dreaming of the "someday" that we would be living in our own Nova Scotia home.
It was 2012, the year that reminded me that no matter what challenges I am facing, it's the memories and love from family and friends that are the important things about Christmas. Decorations from the past. Decorations from my son....and now decorations from my 3 grandchildren. Decorations from family, and friends. My tree is not a "designer tree". My tree is a tree filled with memories, and filled with love.

our tree in 2012 - this year's tree will be put up on Saturday when our family arrives

Saturday, December 7, 2013

under the lights

Ready...Set...Action!
Last week was a pretty exciting week. I was flown into Toronto for 2 days of filming and hob nobbing with folks from San Francisco....I was one of six people from Canada picked for this project.  Too cool for words. Actually, the whole thing was pretty exhausting! 

I'll be able to talk about the whole story when the video comes out, but I just had to share this photo of me in my temporary office!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hummingbirds

Life has been busy, and blogging has taken a back seat. I thought I'd share a window I just finished...Hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds, a commissioned window


detail, top of window

detail, bottom of window

I used sand coloured grout for this window, but it looks black when the light shines through

Monday, October 21, 2013

Early Morning

 Last week I headed out early in the morning to take some photos. The above photo was taken at Wagner Lake. After that, I was intending to go to another favourite spot of mine, but something told me not to take the turn and to continue down the road instead. I spotted a couple of horses and some sheep grazing with a glorious sun rising in the background. Wow...made me glad to be up early!





Saturday, October 19, 2013

Just Walk Beside Me

I took this photo on an early morning excursion last week, and added a quote about friendship by Albert Camus:

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.

More photos from my early morning jaunt coming soon.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Paws For Charity Notebooks & Planners

Paws For Charity Notebooks and 2014 Weekly Planners are ready! All proceeds are donated to S.H.A.I.D. Tree Animal Shelter.

Perfect for stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, or just a little gift for you or a friend.


The Paws For Charity Notebook is a 186 page notebook, sized 5 inches by 8 inches, filled with black and white artwork & photographs printed on cream non coated paper. Half the pages are "blank", and half the pages are "lined"....perfect for taking notes, making sketches, journal writing. Available for just $13.97 (US) each! 


You can preview the entire notebook by clicking on the image below, or at this link: http://blur.by/19YD47m


The 2014 Weekly Planner is a 142 page planner/daytimer. Two pages per week, sized 5 inches by 8 inches, filled with black and white artwork & photographs printed on cream non coated paper. Available for just $12.65 (US) each.  

You can view the entire planner by clicking on the image below, or at this link: http://blur.by/14lfiza

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hirtle's Beach

On Saturday, I joined 9 people from our photography club at Hirtle's Beach. Four adventurous souls took the 7 km hike around Gaff Point, but I stayed on the beach (still waiting for physio and I didn't want to press my luck). It was a beautiful day...nice and warm with no fog (rare for Hirtle's Beach!). I'm not sure why my photos turned out so dark...the sky wasn't nearly as dramatic as it looks in my photos...but I like the look.
I tried to take some video of the waves and the sound of the rocks chattering as the waves pulled out from shore, but obviously I don't know how to work the video part of my camera because the 3 videos I thought I took aren't on my memory card!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

surprise!

Some things can catch you by surprise. I was reading the newspaper the other morning and looked up to see something on the living room window. A grasshopper was on the outside of the window looking in. Of course, I headed for my camera!

Monday, September 16, 2013

calm

I didn't have my camera out much this summer, but when I did I found myself attracted to scenes that were calm and serene. This photo makes me remember the grass blowing in the light breeze...and the little dot that is the fishing boat out in the ocean...and the hazy island in the background. 

Calm....something I need at the moment. This evening I'll be making a presentation to the local garden club. I'm a little nervous, but just the healthy kind. If I start to get butterflies, I'll picture myself back here...calm.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

close encounter

We have several red tailed hawks living nearby, and often see them soaring above our fields. I had a close encounter with one a few years ago, when I caught it eating one of our guinea fowl. My elation at seeing the hawk so close quickly turned to dismay when I realized that he was dining on one of our guineas! 

But this year we have been visited by a "new to us" hawk. We had a close encounter earlier this summer when we were sitting on our back deck. There was a rustle of wings, and we looked up to see a small hawk chasing a dove. They both flew within 10 feet of us. They hawk missed his meal that time.

This morning I was in our living room reading, and saw something from the corner of my eye. I looked up and there was a hawk sitting in our small crabapple tree...just 20 feet from the window. I have checked our bird books...I think maybe it's a Sharp-Shinned Hawk, but I'm not sure. He was there long enough for me to grab my camera and take a few photos through the window. What a great way to start the day!




Monday, September 2, 2013

forgotten


There is something about an abandoned building that calls out to me. They intrigue me. There is always a sense of sadness and wonder. What was the history? Why does it sit forgotten? 

A friend of mine introduced me to this old church. I could have spent a lot of time here, but our spouses were waiting in the cars and it was a very hot day. I would love to visit here in the winter.






Sunday, September 1, 2013

to brighten a dull day

outside of the Joy Laking Gallery

It's a gloomy day here...so dark that we need the lights on...with the sounds of thunder outside. 

This photo was captured in July, outside the Joy Laking Gallery in Portaupique, Nova Scotia. Some day I'd love to own one of Joy's paintings...my favourites include her watercolours of chairs on porches, flowers in the windows, laundry blowing on the line....

Friday, August 30, 2013

lunch in Chester

At least once each summer, I like to head down to Chester and lunch at The Rope Loft. I don't go for the food (which is okay), but I love the location. Who wouldn't enjoy sitting by the water on a warm day with a cold drink...watching the boats go by?






Wednesday, August 28, 2013

feeding time

It seems a little late in the year, but we still have Evening Grosbeaks feeding their young.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013