Thursday, December 17, 2009

cheese, anyone?

So, I really should have brough my own camera so I wouldn't have to steal from the FARM website, but they've done a fabulously artsty job of photographing their restaurant, so why should I bother?!
Anyway, I was just there for lunch (and I mean, I was just there and just put my leftovers in the fridge) and it was fab-u-lous!  Kristin and Aurora and myself try to meet up once a month for a lunch, and being able to head outside of downtown is a boon.  Aurora was absent today (being in Italy I don't feel so sorry for her) and as such Kristin and I were on lead to a tiny table for two and given directions by a very helpful waiter.

To start, we looked over the menu and I picked the mac'n'cheese (I ordered the large and should have ordered the small, hence the leftovers in my fridge).  Kristin ordered the goat cheese fritter.  Both were really great - my mac'n'cheese had a cayenne kick to it, and her salad had lovely sections of grapefruit.  We also both had tea, which was loose leaves and put into a French Press to steep (much like at Steeps in Mount Royal Village). 

We mulled over the list of cheese/meat selections and chose the 5 item spree.  Our waiter helped us to determine which particular ones to have.  I would love to say I remember them all, but I don't.  Each came with a specifically paired condiment.  The Lamb Liver Pate had a Saskatoon Berry compote of sorts; the coppa (much like prosciutto) had a grainy mustard; the german cheese had an onion spread; the Quebec cheese had a tomato-ey spread (I can't call these salsas but maybe they were); and the soft cheese starting with the letter M had a grapefruit puree to go with it.  It was so good and we were both so happy we decided to extend our lunch with this lovely platter.  And they weren't chintzy on the bread either - when he saw we had pretty much consumed our allotment, he brought a whole plate more! 

Wouldn't it have been great had I remembered the names of the cheeses though?  Alas, we just munched and muched away with nary a thought to writing things down.  I guess I'll have to go back again, you know, for further research.  And perhaps I'll remember to bring my camera too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Pink Door

Seattle, just north of Pike Place Market, up some little alleyway, we spotted a great patio.  But it looked like the access point was three flights of stairs down, which would imply three flights of stairs back up.  No way, Jose.  Looking down the alley, we saw people ducking into the side of a building.  No signs, no pomp, no circumstance.  Just a pink door.  Turns out, this woman-run Italian Restuarant has been in business for years all due to word-of-mouth advertising.  And I can tell you why it's been so successful - the food is great.  And unlike most of the other places we visited while in the States, the portions are human-sized (not giant-sized).  I had Linguine Pescatore and Scott had some spicey tomato based pasta dish.  He started off with a carafe of wine since I was busy with the Tarot card reader, and when I was done I joined him, although I had white and he had red.  Would love to tell you the names of the wine, but I don't remember.  We really enjoyed ourselves, after a long day of wandering around Seattle, just sitting there in the mid-September's dying light looking out at the ocean and listening to the other patrons talk about the football game.  It was a lovely start to our weeklong trek down the coast.

It was all good, and we had the pleasure of having Mr. Mustache as our waiter.  He was even a good enough sport to let me take his photo!  So if you're in Seattle and you're looking for a great place, try the Pink Door.  You will not be disappointed!  Mr. Mustache guarantees it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

pocket full of sunshine

"I got a pocket got a pocket full of sunshine i got a love and i know that its all mine."  Natasha Bedingfield

Pretty much, there is nothing cuter than a teenie tiny little pocket.  It's 2 inches by 2 inches and it's one of 24 for an Advent calendar a client ordered.  My paper Advent calendar would be toast pretty quick around their 2 year old, so a fabric one makes much more sense.  I've spent the past few days thinking about how to do it, and purchasing the fabric, ribbon, and threads.  Now that I've started, I am just in love with these little pockets.  Maybe after 24 the love affair will have cooled off, but I'm only at pocket #6 now, and I'm still smitten!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

over the fields we go

Dashing through the snow
On a one-horse open sleigh,
Over the fields we go,
Laughing all the way;
Bells on bob-tail ring,
Making spirits bright,
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight.
-James Pierpont

If you don't live in Calgary, perhaps you aren't in the middle of a deep freeze with a mountain of snow.  It all started last Friday, the day I was to pick up my Mum from the airport.  It took us 3 hours to do a half hour car trip.  Great times.  White outs along the road, black ice, people in the ditch.  But it was warm-ish.  Now it's super cold and the snow is not going anywhere anytime soon.
So here I am in the studio putting together a couple Christmas card orders and trying to fill in my Christmas cards at the same time, when all I really want to do is crawl under the covers and sleep until spring.  I hear there are people who like winter, actually love it.  I am not one of those people.  Maybe if I'm head to toe wrapped in polar fleece and look like the little brother in A Christmas Story, then the cold is at least bearable.  I guess I should be thankful that we at least are sunny through these long months, instead of cloudy like Vancouver.  Oh, enough griping!  On with the card assembly already!  The clients await.

mmmm.... roasted garlic

For the summer, we generally host a Garlic & Brie afternoon at our place, rain or shine or scorching heat.  We whip up an assortment of appy's, depending on what is in the fridge and the cupboard (it's a great way to try new things or finish off things too!).  Along with our ad hoc assortment, we always roast two bulbs of garlic and bake a small round of brie, and have some bread on hand to smear it all onto.  It's a great time and a good way to connect with friends throughout the summer who are not always available for the One Summer Party, but can come by for an hour or so every once in a while.  Plus, it gets Scott outside and using his backyard, which is a priority for him every year since we have so few weeks of weather nice enough to sit outside in the late afternoons and evenings.  We usually get the chiminea going too, although Scott is gunning for gas heaters.  Keep dreaming, sweetie.

Here are the recipes for the garlic, the brie, and the toasted baguette rounds.  As you can see, preheat your oven 350°F, toss in the garlic, get your baguette going too, and in the last 15 minutes of the garlic roasting, toss in your brie.  I'd suggest cutting up your baguette while the oven heats up, but basically, most of this can be done while you sip some Sangria or get together other appetizers (or setting up the table).

Roasted Garlic
  • Cut the top ¼ inch off the garlic bulb, ensuring you open all cloves.
  • Pour 1 Tbsp of olive oil into the opened bulb.
  • Sprinkle cracked salt and pepper on the top. To add an interesting taste, crack different types of pepper on the garlic bulb (like Fire Dragon Pepper, White Pepper, Chile Pepper Flakes etc.).
  • Place in a small oven-safe dish and put on the top rack of the oven for 45 minutes at 350°F. It's done when you can squish the cloves out of the bulb easily.
Baked Brie with Apricots & Pecans
  • Unwrap the brie round and place in the brie baker. Leave the rind on (it is some people's favourite part!)
  • Spoon 2 Tbsp of apricot jam on top of the round.
  • Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of chopped pecans on top as well.
  • Cover and put in the oven on the top rack for 15 minutes at 350°F.
  • Be careful when opening the brie baker, and when first slicing into the brie, as it will be hot & bubbling.
Grilled (or Toasted) Baguette
  • Slice the baguette diagonally into 1/4-inch slices. You should have 20 to 25 slices. Place the slices in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Brush each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with cracked salt and pepper.
  • Bake the toasts at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are crisp and browned. Alternately, you could grill the slices in a pan ini grill, in a large frying pan, or on the BBQ.
  • Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Taco Flavoured Kisses

mmmm    Mexican food.  Our favourite place to pretend we're in Mexico (without the heat, of course) is Salt & Pepper.  We were introduced to this restaurant by a friend of ours who lived near Bowness at the time, and after our first meal there we've been back time and time again.  The waitress at the McLoed Trail location knows what we want as soon as we walk in the door.  We don't even get menus anymore!  On most visits I will have the pork chops and Scott will have the chorizo burrito.  To start we will usually get the homemade chips & salsa.  He has the special coffee (it has cinnamon in it) and I will either get water, or iced tea and then water - it's spicey stuff, this Mexican food!

The platter, which is meant to be shared, is huge and filled with just a ton of great food.  Most of it I can't pronounce but I can point and say "that's mine!" quick enough.  And I can't say I was ever a fan of guacomole, until I tried it at Salt & Pepper, Bowness.  Our friend, mentioned above, didn't get the platter with us, but was stealing all the guac off our plates and I complained, in jest because I actually wasn't eating any.  The waiter overheard my complaint and brought us a huge bowl of guac.  How could I not have any now?  I tried it and instantly knew why everyone else was gobbling it down!  Fresh is best, and that's just how they serve it.

Another funny event was when we noticed the salsa at the McLeod was really really really spicey hot.  When we mentioned this to our favourite waitress she said theyhad noticed the jalapenos were hotter than usual, and so they had to cut the called for amount in half when making it - but it was still really hot.  As soon as she left the table I said to Scott "Who was that poor S.O.B. who discovered they were twice as hot!?"  And we laughed, assuming the person could either tolerate a lot of heat, or had instantaneously combusted as a result of the jalepenos! 

I've had business meetings there, my birthday there, quick lunches, and long dinners.  I've even take my sister & nephew there where he said his first unprompted word (as far as I know.)  He wanted our drinks (margaritas) and our favourte waitress made him a strawberry smoothie but put it in a margarita glass and he was so impressed his eyes got really big when he saw it and he said "WOW!"  She was his favourite person for the rest of our meal.  He even tried to get her to dance to the music while she was trying to take other people's orders.

I could go on and on an on about this place.  It's just great.  I'm glad they have a location in Cochrane as well, but did sorely miss the location on 16th Avenue NW closing down - it was so easy to stop there on the way home when we lived in Chestermere. Everything is fresh but still fast, and at a fair market value.  I never like it when the prices increase, but everything else in Calgary started costing more during the boom a couple years ago, and so it was only a matter of time before they increased their prices.  They did just that and although it's more for a meal now, it's still really worth it.  We were just getting a screamin' deal before.  And in case you missed the reference in the title of this post, if you don't watch South Park then it's just too tough to explain just how funny the Taco Flavoured Kisses episode was.  Hilarious!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mindful Eating

I receive a daily dharma from Tricycle - thought today's really fit in with our food blog.  It's an interesting meal, when eating mindfully. 

Pausing When We Eat

Here are some methods for helping yourself to slow down your eating by creating pauses:
  1. Pause before beginning the meal. Look at each item of food, taking it in with the eyes. Notice colors, textures, shapes, arrangement on the plate or bowl.
  2. Take a moment to say grace. Thank the animals, plants, and people who brought this food to you. Be aware of their gifts as you eat.
  3. Begin the meal by pausing to inhale the fragrance of the food. Imagine that you are being nourished by just the smell.
  4. Eat food like a wine connoisseur tastes wine. First sniff the food, enjoying the bouquet. Then take a small taste. Roll it around in the mouth, savoring it. What ingredients can you detect? Chew slowly and swallow. Take a sip of water to cleanse the palate. When the mouth is empty of food and flavor, repeat the process.
  5. If you notice that you are eating without tasting, stop and pause to look at the food again.

 -Jan Chozen Bays, "Mindful Eating," Tricycle, Summer 2009

See Tricycle's Daily Dharma if you'd like to receive their daily dharma too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Slow Joe's

Okay, so it's actually Original Joe's, not Slow Joe's, and the service isn't slow.  But for some reason Scott started calling it Slow Joe's and it stuck.  It recently opened up in Quarry Park, just down 18th Street from us, and we have been there every couple weeks since.  There isn't a lot to choose from in Riverbend (Boston Pizza, McDonald's, Tim Horton's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Ricky's, Subway, some Chinese food place, and The Riverbend Station) but sometimes it's just too much effort to go out of our neighbourhood.  I know that sounds lame, but that's how it is.

We initially had their Fish & Chips and I've had it repeatedly now.  I've also enjoyed their Beef Dip, albeit without onions (I hate onions).  Scott has gotten their side salad - some thai type thing - along with his meals, whereas I stick to the fries.  Perhaps I should branch out and try the salad, but when you're eating Fish & Chips, you wants Chips with your Fish.  Not carrot sticks.

The one time we had dessert it was because we shared an entree.  Everything there is a little bit larger than life.  The entrees come with your choice of two sides even!  Anyway, back to the dessert.  It was two slices of their Dirt Pie, and it was fabulous.  Frozen ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate, probably mocha somewhere in there too, on top of a bed of cookie bits.  We actually had to take it home and had it the next day.

All in all, it's a good bit better than a pub, but not quite a restaurant either.  There are multiple big screen TVs and loud music after work.  But it's still beats the rest of the options in Riverbend, hands down.

Mingle & Jingle, snacks & crafts

In conjunction with a little open house on December 6th, I’m hosting a small craft sale from 10am to 4pm. Scott & Maggie & I will be decorating & playing holiday music & cooking up some yummy snacks. Okay, so Maggie will just be begging for the snacks, but she will be on hand to bark randomly and get snuggles from everyone.

There will be some snickey-snacks and some eggnog (provided Scott hasn’t consumed it all by the time you get there) as well as all of my paintings & cards & crafts on display for sale, at special Holiday prices! I’ll have my wrapping supplies on hand in the wrapping station, so if you’d like your purchase gift wrapped as well, I can do that too.

Come by early for the best selection of crafts (oh, & snacks!).  Let me know if you can come by so I can ensure there are enough snacks for everyone.  :)

Monday, November 23, 2009


This is going back a few years, but ...  I've got the photos so here we go.  We were in Arles, France and Scott wanted to see the coliseum where they do the 'nice' bull fights (not where they die).  I, being near the Med Sea, ordered prawns.  I did not know they don't actually do anything other than boil them.  Ewwwww.  I have to say, I was turned off prawns for a while after this.  I mean, there's little eyeballs and everything's left attached.  And there is not really any flavour.  I'm used to garlic or chili peppers or.. well.. something! 

The only saving grace was Scott's meal wan't really any better.  He had bull.  So apparently on of the bulls from the ring didn't make it.  Not sure what happened there.  But it was tough and gamey.  The potato and other veggies weren't any more appetizing.  And don't you love the plating of the dishes?  A triad of tomatoes and herbs surrounding each plate.  Yeah, that totally makes up for the icky food.  Totally.

We couldn't wait to get back to our baguette avec jambon, fromage, et tomat.  I may spell it wrong and say it wrong, but at least I can enjoy it.  Which is more than I can say for this meal!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

chowda, baby

Let's start off with the fabulous chowder we had at Mo's Chowder House in Florence, Oregon.  We had read about it in the book we bought about travelling down Highway 101 from Oregon to California.  I am a bit of a snob when it comes to chowder, and I get it from my Dad.  "None of that red crap!" as he says.  I want a thick, hearty soup, and no rubbery findings anywhere in sight.  What we got was amazing.  Scott got the bowl, and I opted for the bread bowl.  Both of us were plesantly surprised with the addition of melted butter off on the side of each of our bowls.  The fine sprinkling of paprika was another bonus.

Mo's crowded us all in to a variety of picnic tables with bench seats.  We were lucky enough to get the table in the back corner by the open door.  It was pretty hot in there!  The cheery gingham oilcloth, along with the large plastic cups for our drinks (raspberry-lemonade and traditional lemonade) really spoke to the Mom'n'Pop feel of this restaurant.  The wait staff were happy to serve us, even with the overflowing amount of people milling about.  I can't say the bathroom was any screamin' hell, but then again I wasn't there to use the loo.  I was there for the chowda baby, and that's what I got!

We love food!

Welcome to the first posting of our new blog on food.  People keep asking us about good places to go and eat in Calgary, as well as some of the recipes we make consistently.  So we thought we'd start up a blog about all the things we like to consume.  Hence the name, Consumption Junction. 

As a budding photographer I am also going to try to take photos of the things we nosh and imbibe.  We will be attempting to label all of our postings so you, the reader, can take full advantage of our ramblings about places to eat around town (or on our vacations).  I am pretty certain I will be writing most of the postings, with my husband only chiming in every once in a while.  My sister and her husband are big foodies and I will be lobbying for her writing & photography skills to join us as well.

Looking forward to hearing your comments and feedback on our blog, but mostly, I'm just really looking forward to the food!

~ Michelle

Monday, November 16, 2009


"A man (or woman!) should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than he was yesterday." - Alexander Pope

Ahhh Charlie, the sweet little terrier-poodle cross from the Humane Society. Had you been the only dog in our house, this would have all worked out fine. As it stands, Maggie is the Ruler of the Roost, and you and she just don't get along. I'm sorry, little dude, but I had to take you back to the Humane Society so a family who has more space (and less Maggie) in their lives could adopt you.

Here's the back story - after realizing that children will not be a part of our lives, I wanted to add another dog to the mix. The theory being he or she would be a playmate for Maggie, our poodle from the Humane Society 3 years ago, and would help to calm her down a bit (did I mention she's kinda high-strung?). As well, caring and loving him or her would fill a little more of the empty spot in my heart, and let me love another little soul (albeit a soul covered in fur.)

Maggie, however, had other plans. She has Plans of World Domination, and her world is our house. I know she's gotten along with other dogs before; not famously, but well enough that I thought perhaps this could work. Enter Charlie. The 'meet-n-greet' went okay, but once at home the clashing began. Maggie would hide in her kennel. Charlie would eat her food. Maggie would lash out. Charlie would fight back. hmmmmm...... Not good.

There is the theory that I could have waited longer, given them more time before taking him back. Maybe things would have improved between Queen Margaret and Prince Charles. Maybe they would have worked it all out, and I was being too impulsive. But I felt so bad for Maggie! Here she was, finally settling in and not being as aggressive as before, and then I go and add another dog to the mix, and he's getting all the attention! She had to share her bed, her food, her water, and my lap, Scott's attention. And then I felt bad for Charlie! Here he was, all set to be adopted by some nice family in the near future (he'd only been there a week) and I plucked him out of there with promises of a Lady-friend and many quiet naps on the couch, and a few belly rubs too. And what he got was a lot of surprises instead.

I didn't want him (and us) to get so attached that we couldn't see that this wasn't going to work. I also knew that people who were looking at him last week would still be checking the Humane Society website, and would be happy to see him still there for them. So I decided this was just an expensive weekend for all (emotionally and financially) and took him back to the people who could best find him a good home. Sadly, we are not a "good home". But I am wiser! I will never adopt a dog while Maggie is still with us. I swear.

And so, his little bark, funny walk, and voracious appetite are meant for someone else. Good luck, Charlie (although I don't think you'll need it, cute boy!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


"twas the night before Christmas, and all throught the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse" C.C. Moore

click on the above to get a larger view of the collage
I recently found a project I had started before we moved into our house (2 years ago!) An Advent Calendar that didn't involved chocolate. I incorporated the classic story into little cards and envelopes to turn around and read. It's really a lovely piece. I'm going to be taking it to the Craft Fair this weekend and see if it sells! If it doesn't, you'll see it on Etsy by Monday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

U2 360 Tour

"Music is what feelings sound like." anon.

I love U2. Always have. And now I'm going to see them when they come to Edmonton next June. How cool is that? Too cool. Gotta love eBay. And Bono. And the Edge. But mostly Bono.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

thank you and thank you again

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone. ~G.B. Stern

Just got home from the craft sale and had to say a big "Thank You" to the people who purchased from my table - a photograph, 4 paintings, and a couple cards. WooHoo! And the people who I met there were just great too - one lady made comfy pants and another made bathbombs and soap and those bags you heat up and wrap around you - her Mom was fabulous as well. It was a great day. People were very receptive to the collage ideas I added to the paintings, which, I have to say, made me very happy. It's nice when people like what you do. I guess I'm not supposed to be attached to this type of ego boosting, but.... I am! (haven't quite reached that "be unattached to the outcome" zen like state).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

craft sale

I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning... Every day I find something creative to do with my life. Miles Davis (1926 - 1991)

It’s that time of year again – craft sale season. I’m starting off in my home community at the Riverbend Community Center this Saturday from 10am to 4pm. I’m going to have a variety of paintings and collages for sale, and if there’s room on the table, maybe some photography and notecards. There’s a variety of other crafters at the sale as well, so please stop by. It’s always nice to see some familiar faces!

Saturday - October 24th, 2009
10am to 4pm
Riverbend Community Centre
19 Rivervalley Drive SE, Calgary, AB T2C 3S1
Glenmore to 18th Street South, second right onto Rivervalley Drive, large building with parking lot on the south-west side of the intersection

Kennedy Ink
Shoppe -
Website -
Flickr Photography -
Flickr Paintings -

Monday, October 5, 2009

happy Monday!

"You don't take a photograph. You ask, quietly, to borrow it." ~Author Unknown

I'm taking an on-line class on photography. I'm finding Manual mode to be challenging and my usual subject (my dog Maggie) uncooperative. So I took my weeping Buddha from his usual post and used him for this lesson on Focus Points. I look forward to the feedback (perhaps too much) and feel really happy to have received the comments from the instructor (below). It's nice to know it's not just myself who likes my photographs! (To see more of my photographs, you could go here.)

Class Exerpt
K100D - pentaxAperature: f/5.6Shutter Speed: 1/350ISO : 800Focal Length : 55mm
I put my weeping Buddha on my Dragon's Blood Stonecrop and began taking shots focussing him on the left. It didn't look right, so I put him on the right and decreased the Aperature (the automode wanted f/5.6, 1/350). This could have a sweet quote off to the side, a texture and/or filter applied, and voila! Art.

[Oct 05, 2009 at 01:01 AM]
Michelle, this is art as is. The focus on the Buddha is perfect, and from an artistic standpoint there are so many ways to interpret this photo: A tree was cut down to be carved into this statue, which is placed back into a natural environment. One can ponder why the Buddha is weeping. Typically when an item is "looking" to the right and is placed on the right, the viewer's eye drifts off the edge of the frame. However, since the Buddha's face is down covered by his hands, the viewer is stopped by the frame and is brought back into the photo. You have a great eye for combining color, texture, and composition in your photos.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

is that a chill in the air I feel?

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Okay, so I'll admit it - as soon as the first leaves start to turn colour, I start to think about the upcoming Christmas season. A little early, I know, but I thought I would make up this decidedly non-holiday themed pdf sheet as a reference for card orders. I had a couple clients last year surprised by the square card overages, and a couple clients this year whose wedding invitations went over the 30gram allowance. Both situations translated into higher postal costs for them. So I thought I would be preemptive this year and do the research and post it for all to download.

Let me know if you are feeling the Christmas vibe already too! If you feel like jumping the gun on the season as well, we can talk about cleaning up my inventory of the cards I have in stock. If you’re into having a variety of sizes and non-traditional colours, I can certainly accommodate you, and your budget.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

home again, home again

“Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep... wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you're just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky his is to have you.... The one who turns to his friends and says, 'that's her.'”
samwilson123 at
..... below is my guy & me

Well, we're back from our 7th anniversary trip. This time we went from Seattle down to San Francisco along the coast highway in a convertible Mustang. It was a blast. I have a bit of a farmer's tan now, but no burns. And we're a little lighter in our savings accounts, but I think that's why we work... to travel! I would do it all over again, except for trying to drive in San Francisco traffic. I didn't like that part. But everything else rocked.

I'd suggest Seattle Washington, Newport Oregon, Mendicino California to anyone. They were all great and had different things to offer. In particular, I loved the Glass Beach where we found sea glass. I guess the area used to be a dump, and when they cleaned up the dump all this sea glass was there. People have been lugging it out of there by the bucketfuls for decades, which begs the question... why isn't it regulated? oh well. The other strange thing we noticed was the size of the meals - HUGE! Do the restaurants think we don't eat for the rest of the day? It was amazing. I think one place in Seattle (The Pink Door) served a normal size meal that was actually finish-able. Everyone was incredibly friendly (even in San Francisco!) and it was hard to take a bad photograph. The weather was great, until Healdsburg, where it was 100F (so sayeth our car). We just went from tasting room to tasting room and art gallery to art gallery to keep out of the heat.

It was a great trip, and we got to finish it off by picking up our dog, Maggie, from my parent's place. We were both really happy to see each other (thanks Mum for taking care of her and giving her snuggles!) And we're both really happy to be home again. Although I could go for someone else making my bed and cleaning up after me every day! ha!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Out of Pocket

On holidays from Sept 12 - 21. (A great excuse for a photography extravaganza from the Oregon Coast down to San Francisco!)

thought I would include the photo I took at a wedding I attended Sept 6th. I believe this is a Harvest Moon. I had to capture it (as best I could) as my husband and I got married under a Harvest Moon as well. Best wishes to the newlyweds!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

summer wedding

Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that. ~Michael Leunig

My old friend Pat got married to a lovely lady this past weekend. Although I didn't get the best photos, I did catch a few that PhotoShop just made better (I love tweaking in PhotoShop). There was a scary photographer lurking in the background of this one, and I cloned him out of there, along with the wall sconces and the ribbons galore.

I tried viewing the wedding with my camera up to my eye, but still able to take in the moment as monumental in Pat's life. Although it was a little hard with the DSLR (it's heavy, and therefore distracting), I did catch a few really heartfelt moments that made my heart go pitterpat. When he pulled a tissue out of his pocket for his bride during the vows, when he closed his eyes as she said her vows, both of them fiddling with their rings after they were put on. And then I had the "ah, this is going to turn out great" moment when they gave each other a high-five after they were proclaimed and did the first kiss. A very intimate moment between the two of them (it's probably something they do all the time and never give a thought to it) and it was on display for us to see.

I didn't attend the reception - I was a B list attendee and as such didn't want to impose on them to pay for an extra dinner at short notice, nor on my husband to attend (he's not much for crowds of people he doesn't know). So I chatted a wee bit with the people I did know, and met a nice lady who made the cake (too bad I couldn't chat more with her; she seemed really nice!) and went on my merry way. A lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Congratulations, Pat!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." ~ Henry James

Sophie, the ever patient lab, sitting and waiting for my sister's kids to drop their licorice. It won't ever happen Sophie. Give it up.

It's been a busy August. Scott's brother in town with his boy (and it rained - great!), and then Andrea came to town with her two kids. We drove up to Red Deer to visit with Mum and Dad, and then back down to Calgary to pick up her husband from the airport and to head out to visit his side of the family in Vernon. Then back in town, up to Pigeon Lake, get slightly burnt in the sun, back to Red Deer, then Calgary, a couple days rest and then up to the airport to collect the car seats from them. Whew! And now friends are in from Dubai, and in the middle of September I'll be driving down the Washington/Oregon coast for fun & photography.

We just don't stop around here. And I wonder why I never seem to really get anything done! ha!

Friday, July 31, 2009


"Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value." Albert Einstein

'Someone' suggested I actually get down to business and decide who I want as a client (you know, as opposed to just letting people pick me and feeling like I have to conform to what they want, instead of being true to myself). So I brainstormed the other day and came up with this list. I found a fabulous illustration on istockphoto (Dream Station 'Beauty') and after I printed it out, I did the old graphite on the back of the printout, and then sketching the important bits as a transfer onto the canvas (thank you for the idea, Cloth Paper Scissors!) I hope Dream Station doesn't mind me playing around with their image (as I'm not selling it or anything, just playing).
Here's the list...
My Clients
value my time
appreciate my work
pay FMV, within 30 days (Fair Market Value)
recommend me
repeatedly buy my services/work
give clear, well thought out RFPs (Request for Proposals)
maintain a consistent vision
trust my judgement
welcome SOW contracts (Scope of Work)
are reachable via email or cell
are flexible
provide good feedback
are open to suggestions, comments
are proactive
are open minded
can follow instructions
realize the benefits of working with me
are kind
are calm
are considerate
are supportive
are thankful and generous

Saturday, July 18, 2009

new shoes

"take me wandering through these streets where bright lights and angels meet. stone to stone they take me on; I’m walking ‘til the break of dawn" Paolo Nutini
I have a zoom problem. I forget I'm on zoom and I go to take a self portrait with my DSLR and I get these shots. Although they're a little funny, I love them! All these shots were taken during my hiatus from life in March 2008 on Vancouver Island. This is class 13, so I'm assuming it's the last one. The only thing I couldn't get my project to do is the colour masking like she suggested, so I'll have to try that again. I just put the coloured photo ontop of the sepia tones adjustment layer. Worked!

Friday, July 17, 2009

fly - trio

The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” Douglas Adams

The latest task in Jessica's class - a storyboard. We only did 3 images, but I'm guessing a person could do a whole schwak of 'em. I love the shots I got of the Blue Heron out in Parksville. Thank goodness for telephoto lenses!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In the depths of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. Albert Camus

Day 11 - selective colouring. Way easier to do it Jessica's way than the way I was doing it! Only a few more days left of this class and I would rather it didn't end. :(

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

life is slow and easy

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” the Buddha

How cool are the rounded corners, eh? Jessica Sprague's class - this is day 10's class. A kind of culmination of the past week. We had to come up with a finish for "Life is..." and this photo reminds me of where I took it, when life was slow and easy. More like a dream now. Ha!

Monday, July 13, 2009

the sea

"Voyage upon life's sea, To yourself be true, And, whatever your lot may be, Paddle your own canoe." Sarah Bolton

Day 8 of the class - Day 7 was just a review so it was kinda boring. And although I add text to my photos all of the time, it was neat to add the texture of a folded up piece of paper over this photo. Gotta love free textures!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

inevitable - day 6

Day 6 of the Jessica Sprague class. TTV frame and texture, after I vintage-ified the shell photo, and added a quote from Katie Peritret (from Christopher Reeve). This is soooo cool! I love this class!

Friday, July 10, 2009

my boat is so small

God, be good to me. The sea is so wide and my boat is so small.

The boat picture was layered with 3 textures and overlayed with a couple filters, and then a frame added (along with the quote). Day 5's challenge for Jessica Sprague's course.

This photo just had a little highlighting done, and then the clipping mask (see the grungy edges?) Day 4 of JSprague's course.

I had more fun doing Day 5 than Day 4, but I see the benefits of Day 4 to be sure. Had a great Skype chat with KarlaBelle while downloading today's textures. This should be a daily event!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I don't feel it anymore

I have to say, I am so happy that a blog I follow suggested I check out William Fitzsimmons. He's just amazing. I'm taking guitar lessons but I am really lame at it. Perhaps one day, if I practice a lot I can potentially play this. Singing, I have no issue with (I do it constantly), but actually plucking notes and strumming chords is really hard.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date

Too late is advice when the mischief is done. ~ French Proverb

Remember when I was so gung-ho about Jessica Sprague's course? And how we all thought I was going to get to it at midnight when she posted the links? Yeah, well. Life got in the way and I kinda put it to the back burner. And then I got a call from Dubai. Karla was concerned that I may be sick or dead in a ditch somewhere because I hadn't posted anything to the gallery on Jessica Sprague's site. Talk about being relied upon to be predictable! :) Very sweet to have her worry on my behalf, but I'm alive and kickin' and now I'm done all the challenges, too!
I guess I will be more consistent in my attendance to class now that I know I'm expected to be posting daily. I've already learned some cool stuff - like the tinting on the train above. Looking forward to tomorrow's class. With bells on.

Friday, July 3, 2009

what makes an artist, an artist?

All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.::: Eckhart Tolle :::
Okay, this is something I am struggling with, so maybe, those of you who read this blog, can help me out here. What makes an artist, an artist? Where is the line drawn that says someone's splatterings of paint is just a bunch of splatterings of paint, while another's is "fine art"?

I post my version of art for sale on etsy, and I see a lot of other artists there as well. But some I see I wonder about - what makes their 8x8 painting worth $400, while I charge $25 - $45? Is it accreditation? Or just a gutsy move? Does what I put on canvas not hold as much value as others simply because of their value of themselves, or is it their knowledge of the marketplace and my naivety?

I thouroughly enjoy the process of painting, but not the process of valuing and putting my work 'out there'. I am thrilled when someone likes something I've done, and slightly puzzled when they don't. And that takes me right back to where I started - what makes an artist, an artist?

Monday, June 29, 2009

the evolution of every day

This is the process of painting I went through to complete my piece titled "every day". enjoy! (oh, and it's set to Moby's Guitar and Flute.)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

the most interesting man in the world

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." ~Mark Twain, "Old Times on the Mississippi" Atlantic Monthly, 1874

okay, maybe today is the last day of the challenges at Jessica Sprague's site... I thought it was yesterday. I'm obviously out of the loop. I love the Dois Equis ads (he is the most interesting man in the world) and was glad to be able to use this photo of my Dad - it's my absolute favourite of him.

Friday, June 26, 2009

almost done

There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. Nelson Mandela

I'm having such fun with these challenges from Jessica Sprague! I think today is the last day. I'm gonna miss the fun of waking up to a new thing to do (that isn't housework, yardwork, or accounting work) that I didn't have to come up with!
BTW - this layout was featured on Jessica's blog's front page today (June 27)! Woot!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

movie poster challenge

"To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time."
~Clara Ortega

This was the 3rd day of challenges at Jessica Sprague's site for her 2nd birthday for her website. I've posted in the gallery of her site, and am enjoying the love people are leaving for me. I actually impressed myself with this one. LOL

BTW - this layout was featured on Jessica's blog's front page today (June 25)! Woot!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

rig a jig

"Give a man a fish and he has food for a day; teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend." Zenna Schaffer My Dad's essay entry to win a fishing trip. If you could vote for him, that would be great! Thanks!

So, I've scanned in some images for Dad to use with selling his Rig-a-Jig contraption for ice fishing. Not the right time of year for ice fishing, but I guess really it's the right time of year to be getting ready to sell things for ice fishing. A peculiar sport. Getting all suited up to go and sit on a frozen lake with a little line down a hole in the water. hmmm. Give me hot chocolate and a warm fire and a good book instead, thank you. But he likes it, so I've helped him out with it. If you ice fish (or someone you know does) check out his Rig-a-Jig at

Friday, June 12, 2009

digi love

"Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution." Ansel Adams

I love love love taking photographs. And I like it even better when what I've taken turns out to be a good shot. Sometimes, they need a little digital assistance, which is why I think anyone who reads this, if they take digital photos, should look at Jessica Sprague's site and think about taking her free digital photo editing class. Just click on the photo above to find out more.

I've taken a couple classes from her site, and I've found none better. I didn't take her class when I went to Creating Keepsakes University in 2007 and I really wish I would have. If I ever go again, I will. Until then, I haunt her website and try to come up with good reasons to spend money on her classes. With this free class, I don't need to convince my inner spend-thrift!

Registration starts June 22, and the class starts on July 6th. Hope you can make time for it!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

enjoying wasting time

"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Bertrand Russell

I gotta be honest - I could do this all day. I love the name of my 'new band'! (see below for instructions on how to make your CD Album Jacket)

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random”or click The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"or click The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Angel Policy

"The reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly." ~G.K. Chesterton

Just had an interesting chat on Etsy with some sellers in the Alberta Street Team. I mentioned the Angel Policy idea and there is definately some mixed feelings about it. I thought I would post what I've compiled - by no means a complete listing, but at least it's a start! Feel free to print this off.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Things your dog should not eat

"My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet." ~Edith Wharton

I saw a great poster the other day at the vet's all about what your dog should NOT eat. But I can't find one online. So I poked around and compiled my own. Nothing was copyrighted, so feel free to copy the 3 pages and keep them around for your reference. I'm always arguing with my brother in law about what Maggie Mae (shown above) should and should NOT eat. His favourite line is "well it probably won't kill her." That's just not the risk I'm willing to take. Plus, even if it 'only' makes her vomit and poo everywhere, do I really want to deal with that? Noooooo....

If you would like the pdf copy of this listing, please let me know and I'll forward it to you.