Saturday, May 31, 2014

picture window

when we moved into this house,
almost 18 years ago,
this window did not exist.

instead, a solid wall with a teeny tiny window measuring 2ft by 2ft 
was the only portal into the south facing back yard.

can you imagine it???

like new homeowners, we didn't have much money left after purchasing our home.
so the wall remained... (for at least four years).

we were busy changing wall colours, refinishing floors, replacing doors and 
other projects that kept us returning to home depot.

then, i don't quite remember what hit us... severe light depravity, i think!!!

we would spend hours in the back yard,  or on the deck,
then come inside, and feel so completely cut off from where we just were....
we so ached for that continuity of indoor/outdoor...

so we phoned our favourite handy person...
the incredible mr. bugslag 
(yes, that is his real name)

we told him what we wanted....

he told us what was feasible....

and then he worked his magic.

the window came with three panels,
each measuring 2ft by 5 ft.  

we wanted it to be as big as we could get.

we wanted the window to resemble 
the other windows of this 
old 1917 house of ours.

only the third panel, 
furthest to the right,

can you spot the handle?

the project turned out soooo perfect.
since this wall faces south, our kitchen is now flooded with morning light.
we are now able to cook and putter around in the kitchen
 while enjoying a view of our back garden.

the total bill was so reasonable,
 we couldn't have bought an original painting with the same dimensions
 to fill this space with what we had spent.

anyways, i wouldn't have chosen a painting over this live, ever changing scene.
would you?

 we were so happy with our new window, 
you can just imagine our ecstasy when we 
doubled our pleasure with $50 mirrors from ikea.

fourteen years later, we are still tickled pink with this project...
it was pivotal in making this space our very own!!!


Friday, May 30, 2014

moment 5/30/14

a moment...

a single photo, no words, capturing a moment from the week,
a simple, special extraordinary moment i want to pause, savour and remember.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

a rare find

 i spotted something so rare ... 
so incredibly uncommon... 
(at least it was to me,...)

if you don't already know, i live in victoria, bc (aka the city of gardens).
here, in the southern tip of vancouver island, flowers start popping out and 
showing off their colours as early as january.

by february, victoria holds a flower count... 
an annual event organized by butchart gardens and tourism victoria. 

it's actually a way victorians show off 
the fact that we have the mildest climate in canada 
(spring temps averages between 10-15 degrees celsius) 
while the rest of canada and much of the united states 
is still in the cold clutches of winter.

if you like gardens, this is your city.

if you don't like gardening, 
its very likely that your neighbour will garden your lot for you 
or that you'll be converted soon after.

it's difficult to live in victoria and not catch the gardening bug... 
you are bombarded with blooms from every corner,
the nurseries run incredible plant sales,  
and if your are low in gardening funds, 
just walk around the neighbourhood and you'll find free divisions 
from generous gardeners just waiting for you to bring them home.

since walking harlow (the dog) is my other full time job, 
i've become very aware of all the blooms in the neighbourhood.

i know the block where the yellow tree peony grows, 
or which corner to find the biggest collection of irises of every variation.

i know where some of the thickest meadows of blue camas are,
and where the smelliest of roses reside.

over the years, i've watched the neighbourhood garden beds 
become wider and ever more colourful.

being a very visual person, 
i'm captivated by all the different hues and shades that a particular plant displays.

most captivating at this moment... are the poppies which are in full bloom !!!

aside from its natural brilliant orange-scarlet, 
selective breeding for gardens has created a range of colors.

  starting from the top of the blog, 
these are the colours i've seen around the hood:  
orange red, salmon pink, pale orange, pink, and red.

but yesterday, i stumbled on a rarity....
the blue himalayan poppy

apparently, this blue poppy is the national flower of bhutan 
and is notoriously difficult to grow.

and here they were, just waiting for me... 

unlike the other poppies that thrive in full sun, 
the blue himalayan requires a cool, sheltered position.

and that it exactly were i found it, under the shade of a large rhododendron.

finding rarity is so exhilarating....
  • it forces me to fine tune my senses and to slow my pace so i can take notice of what's in my life-path;
  • when everything becomes routine, it reminds me that there is so much more out there, waiting for me, to be discovered;
  • finally, to witness something so uncommon is such a gift to the soul because it reminds me that uniqueness/ individuality/ not-fitting-the mold is so stunningly mind blowing and refreshing.  

why would anyone/anything strive to be otherwise???

have you spotted anything so rare lately that it blew your mind away?
i'd love to hear about it.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

thrifted threads: tent turns tunic

the beauty about thrifting 
is that you never know what you are going to find.

the trick is to have an idea of what is in fashion 
and what look you are trying to achieve.

i stumbled upon this dress because... how could i not?
the stripes were practically jumping off the hanger.

i was lucky, because it was hiding in the plus size section 
(which, by the way, is my favourite section of thrift shops).

it was ginormous on me,  
it was tailored for someone much bigger and much taller than i am.

if i had a staff and a herd of sheep... i could be a shepherdess.

if i had some poles and some stakes... it could be a tent.

it was one of those pieces that needed imagination, 
and some minor tweaking
and for $4.00 why not?

the stripes were gorgeous, i loved the way they flowed in different direction.
if mrs. roper (three's company) could pull it off, i could too?
at least i thought so...

after trying it on at home 
and deciding that although i absolutely adore
 the randiest landlady and her fabulous muumuus, 
helen roper's look was not for me.

i took out my handy dandy scissors and lopped off half the dress.

this tunic length suited my frame much better.

i kept the accessories to a minimum (aka nada...)
because i thought the stripes were making quite a statement already.

i paired it off with some cropped jeans
and voila....

i am so happy with how my 'tent to tunic' project turned out
that i wear this outfit every chance i can.

the temperature this past week,
 had been hovering around 15 degrees celsius
so this outfit totally worked.

what about you... would you dare lop off a tent to make a tunic?
i'd love to hear about your thrifting adventures...


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

my second address

 our local public library has the most beautiful spring display... 
that i just have to share with you !!!

suspended in mid air, 
smack dab centre above the information desk, 
is this larger than life and 
pinker than pink paper flower on a tree branch.

its enormous size just grabs your attention 
the second you step into the library.

i was immediately drawn to it

usually i head straight to the fast read or fast view shelves
to check out the new titles in books, bluerays and dvds.

or i b line it to the hold shelves because
i'm so excited to see which of my requested books/dvds have arrived for me.

but not today, i was captivated by this display!!

behind the pink gauzy petals of the flower is a nest 
filled with eggs or hatching eggs (i couldn't really tell)

the eggs or hatchlings look similar to the origami art form 
and they were constructed with bright coloured paper filled with words.

if you look along the branch,
you will see a bird 
also made with coloured paper covered with words.

i'm assuming with it's wings spread out, 
the bird is either flying towards the nest or about to take off.

 the whole display was stunning !!!

i love this imagery of the written words hatching to become a bird in flight.

the whole idea of birthing imagination...
or of formulating ideas...
or of expanding knowledge...
all from reading (written words).

i love the library

it is my favourite place to hang out.
it definitely is my second address,
 if i'm not home, this is where you'll find me.

while i consider myself an avid reader, 
this resource is so rich that i have only scratched the surface of what it provides.

i haven't bought a book in decades, 
all my favourite titles and all my future favourites are here.

we, as a family, haven't rented a dvd in years,
since the library now holds all the new releases and all the oldies but goodies.

my book club has read (without cost) over 50 titles as a group, 
 the library has a great selection of bookclub sets 
(included within are discussion questions). 

yup... it's my favourite place to spend time in.

what about you.... have you visited your local library lately ???


Monday, May 26, 2014

compact living

when my dog and i walk our route around the neighbourhood, 
the houses that have the strongest tug at my heartstrings, 
are the littlest homes on the block.

i slow down for these homes that are no larger than 800 sq ft,
and usually have only one level.
most of them have the same box shape as the little
red houses in the game of monopoly.

this preference of mine
 is probably because of my infatuation with the ingalls as a child.

i read the whole series of  little house on the prairie books 
and watched most of the episodes on tv .

  i love the ingall's little cabin in the prairie 
especially the attic loft that laura and mary slept in. 
(do you remember their pajama kerchiefs?)

i loved how cozy they were in their little cottage, 
and how they would walk all the way to school 
from the middle of nowhere.

today, with a family of my own,  i still feel the same way.

whenever i pass by these little homes, 
 i ponder what kind of people the home owners might be like.  

surely they've been able to simplify their lifestyle and 
minimize their material possesions
 to be able to function and contain 
all their stuff within 800 square feet or less.

did you know that the average home for a family of four 
has increased from an 
average square footage of 1000 sq.ft. in 1950 
to 2,200 sq.ft. in the year 2000.

as our square footage per person more than doubled, 
our material possession quadrupled (if not more...)

this is because although most household possessions are not extravagant, 
they accumulated over the years, especially as we 
moved into larger and larger homes.
each move would result in more rooms to furnish 
and bigger closets and storage areas to store our stuff.

as fashion changed, we bought new clothes...
as new technology emerged, we purchased new gadgets...
as big box stores offered unbeatable prices, 
we stocked up on loads of food and rolls and rolls of toilet paper.

but these little homes are so compact,
that the most generous closet inside 
would only be able to house about twenty pieces of clothing.
(if you include a vacuum cleaner).

 these homes are so tiny, that even furniture have to be 
scaled down in order to fit through the door.

their home owners wouldn't dare buy a ginormous screen tv
unless they're the type that likes sitting in the front rows of movie theatres.

these little homes solve one of the 
biggest problem of our modern society.

by not providing storage space and excessive living areas, 
occupants of these homes are forced to 
recognise what they need and what they can do with out.

within these little homes, i like to think that 
possessions wouldn't have control over lives.

the less we own, the less time we spend
cleaning, polishing, organizing, sorting, repairing, 
replacing, maintaining and insuring.

the smaller the house, the less money we have to earn
since the purchase price wouldn't be as high.

also, we would spend less money and energy
to be warmer in the winter or cooler in the summer... 
because there is less space to heat or cool down.

yes, the ingalls had it right!!!
compact living is simple living.

it's so inspiring to walk around the neighbourhood and see
numerous examples of people living this lifestyle.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

painted poles

strolling through our neighbourhood
 is like walking through an art gallery.

there are over 100 telephone poles painted 
and used as palettes for designs such as 
flowers, elephants, giraffes, fish and many more.

the pole painting project was created 
to help slow traffic, 
curb vandalism, 
and create a warm, friendly and beautiful 
public environment.

yesterday, i took pictures of these unique works of art.
there are soooooo many of them... more over the years... 
so i've posted my favourites

i leave you to enjoy them 
with a beautiful poem on community by Rumi.


a community 
of the spirit
taken from 

the essential rumi

translated by
coleman barks

there is a 
of the spirit.

join it, 
and feel 
the delight

of walking in 
the noisy street,

the noise.

all your passion,

a disgrace.

both eyes

to se
with the 
other eye.

your hands,

you wan
to be held.

sit dow
in this circle.

quit acting 
like a wolf, 

and feel 
the shepherd's love 
filling you.

at night,
your beloved 

don't accept 

your mouth 
against food

the lover's mouth 
in yours.

you moan,
"she left me." 
"he left me."

twenty mor
will come.

of worrying.

think of 
who created 

do you sta
in prison

the door is 
so wide open?

move outside 
the tangle 
of fear-thinking.

live in silence.

flow dow
and dow
in always

rings o