A Happy Autumn Treasure From Across The Pond

The lovely Cathy at Words and Herbs just celebrated a special birthday. I’ve been following her blog for several years. She posts stunning pictures of her rock garden in Bavaria, and she also shares vegan recipes. She is currently publishing a series of recipes for World Vegan Month. Cathy also creates wonderful flower arrangements every Monday year round, in a feature called In a Vase on Monday. I’m always so impressed.

When I learned it was Cathy’s 50th birthday, I asked for her address. She in turn asked for mine and before I could pop my little something in the mail, a charming box arrived at my door.

I’m in love!

crochet-pumpkin-001

Crocheted pumpkin with wooden stem

She crocheted a pumpkin with soft orange and green yarn, then added a wooden stem. She even included “warts” made with straight pins for an authentic pumpkin detail.

If you’re not already following along, you can check in with Cathy here at Words and Herbs. Today she published her recipe for Vegan Chocolate Amarena Brownies. You might have to head straight to the market for all the ingredients. Yum!

crochet-pumpkin

Crocheted pumpkin with “warts” cleverly made with straight pins

Thank you, Cathy!

Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching Together Art and Friendship Around the Globe

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook is a collaborative effort, born from the seed of an idea between bloggers Anne Lawson and Kate Chiconi. It started when Anne offered (and mailed) sketchbooks made from experimental drawings or practiced watercolor washes. Anne offered them to blogging friends and sent about half a dozen around the world.

sisterhood Cover and map

Inside back cover: Foldout map (left) and original page art by Anne Lawson (right)

Kate added her own gorgeous drawings and some fluffy feathers to her version of the book, then sent it back to Anne.  You see where this is going, right?

Anne posted Kate’s drawings here, and then through this comment thread:

I think we need a larger sketchbook, and initiate a Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook ~Kate Chiconi

the project grew wings.

All told, 15 bloggers signed up to take part. One of the sisters set up a Word Press blog, another created an interactive map of the traveling sketchbook. Anne is adding photos to a page on her blog as each of us completes our entry and sends it on to the next sister.

sisterhood sketchbook inside

Opening page: Textile art by Kate Chiconi

I broke out in a cold sweat when the sketchbook arrived in the post. I’m crafty and creative in my way, but was a bit intimidated by the artistic abilities represented in the sketch book. I calmed down, let different ideas wash over me, and eventually decided on a paper quilt using images of the art and poetry that came before me.

My entry is The Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching Together Art and Friendship Around the Globe. I copied each of the traveling entries so far, and created a collage of squares. I printed the squares on watercolor paper, then double stitched them to a piece of onion skin typing paper. I included a square of the map, and a square of my recent squirrel pillow project. It’s called Four Loves: Animals, Sewing, Nature and Photography.

The poem in the upper right hand corner comes with a sad tale. Viv in France, part of the original sisterhood, died suddenly and unexpectedly while visiting her daughter in July. I found this poem on her blog, and hope her family will appreciate the posthumous entry on her behalf.

sisterhood quilt full page

Sisterhood Quilt: *Upper row* Kate, Chas, Chas and Viv *Middle row* Anne, Sandi, Sandra and Alys *Bottom row* Anne’s cover, book detail, map (copyrighted material belonging to original artist)

sisterhoood quilt

The threads that draw us together

Contributing Artists so Far:

Australia

Anne Lawson
Kate from Tall Tales from Chiconia
Sandra (Lady Red Specs) from Please Pass the Recipe
Megan (Chas) from Chas Spain
Sandi, who lives in Wandin East

sisterhood map of Australia

A corner of the map. All this fun started in Australia

The States

Alys from Gardening Nirvana (that’s me)
Sue From The Magpie’s Nest (the sketchbook is with Sue now)

Artists to Come:

Ushashree from Creative Crafts DIY

Europe

Marina in Greece, Athens Letters
Lyn, also in France, Tialys
Constanze is in Germany
Annett blogs at Knetty Craft
Jan is in Britain, The Snail of Happiness
Margaret, also from Britain, The Crafty Creek
Then back to Anne in Australia

It’s been a joyous experience taking part in this project*. I hope you’ll come visit our shared blog and get to know us a bit better.

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.
Isadora James

*except when I freaked out at all the talent on the pages before me

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Art in the Mist: The CreARTfuldodger

You know how it goes. You follow a blogger who follows another blogger and before you know it, the three of you are walking on a beach in Victoria, BC.

Wilma and Boomdee, Victoria BC, August 17, 2014

Wilma and Boomdee, Victoria BC, August 17, 2014

Two years ago this month I met Wilma, the artist behind the blog creartfuldodger (CreArtful Dodger). When I returned to Victoria in June with Mike, Wilma drove into town to share a meal. She offered to pick us up at our hotel, and when I gave her the address she knew it well. Wilma’s daughter works at the same hotel. Serendipity!

Wilma with her art

Wilma with her art

Wilma is great company, a wonderful tour guide and an accomplished artist. Over dinner, she surprised me with the gift of this inspired bird collage.

Knowing my love of Nigella aka Love in a Mist, she used an original, 1900’s seed packet as the starting point. She incorporated airmail stickers and stamps, also my favorites and created a tag using a vintage book cover. It’s beautiful and thoughtful. She also included my initial on the gift bag, a charming addition.

Creartfuldodger

Creartfuldodger: Layered seed packet, postage stamp, mailing labels and other ephemera. The green image shows detail from the back of the tag

Wilma writes:

Love-in-a-mist,

It is truly hard to resist!

Perhaps Alys will remember, with pleasure, her stay,

And return again one fine day. – Wilma Millette, Creartfuldodger

With great pleasure, Wilma. Love and thanks.

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Alberta on my Mind

I’ve had an extraordinary ten days in Alberta. In typical holiday fashion, the time passed in a flash. It was full of highs and more highs. So it goes when you’re spending time with a treasured friend.

Jasper National Park Alberta

Good times at Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

I met Boomdee via WordPress, a wonderful forum for finding your people. There are days when I still can’t believe it.

Boomdeeadda

Boomdeeadda

Yet here we are, making the most of our time together, while making do with the time apart.

Boomdee lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She hosted me at her home in Edmonton. We also took a two-day excursion to the mountains, the world-famous Canadian Rockies, about a five-hour drive from Edmonton. Mr. B, as he’s affectionately known, drove the ten-hour round trip. The drive was breathtaking.

Japser National Park Alberta-034

The mostly two-lane highway passes magnificent forests of Alpine Larch, Spruce, Fir to name just a few. Meandering rivers are a glorious milky blue this time of year as the snow and glaciers melt. We stopped at two or three waterfalls on our journey. It’s difficult to describe the power of the water slowly carving out the mountains as the icy waters rush downstream. This video will give you a general idea.

The high point of the day, if you’ll forgive the pun, was time spent above the Columbia Glaciers. You walk along a cliff-edge walkway before arriving on a glass-floored observation platform 918 feet (280 metres) over glacier-formed valleys and rushing waterfalls. If you follow this link, you’ll see the full magnificence of the viewing platform, unobstructed by tourists like me. Boomdee preferred the solid footing of the cliff.  I ventured out with Mr. B, weak-kneed but excited to experience the incredible view.

That night, we stayed in her friend’s cabin just across the border in Valemount, British Columbia. It’s a small village of about 1,000 people. What a treat!

Valemount, British Columbia

Valemount, BC

On our way home, we enjoyed lunch at the historic Jasper Park Lodge, known locally as JPL.

Back in Edmonton we packed in more fun. We visited Fort Edmonton with Ben and Sherry, and enjoyed coffee and banana bread with her Aunty Kathleen. We visited Urban Scrapbook, The Duchess Bakery and Greenland Garden Centre and nursery. Boomdee recently replanted her boulevard, but saved a space for a plant that we bought together. Isn’t that the sweetest? We sat on her deck or patio, enjoying tea, coffee and toast.

When you get back from a trip, you often here “What was your favorite part?” In a word: Boomdee.

Together we giggle like school girls and seemingly travel on the same emotional plane.  We have similar loves and shared world views, which make our time together easy. She’s a gracious host, married to a lovely man and together they live with a pair of charming cats named Blossum and Petals.

I felt welcome and right at home. Do you have a friend like that?

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We’re already planning our next trip, which makes the time apart seem more doable.

Come have a look at Boomdee’s post about our time together. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s still  dark, but actually very warm outside this morning. When I say morning, it’s very early, only 4:25AM.  The kitties followed me downstairs and did a drive-by snacking.  Now, I’m thinking they’ve gone back to bed because the house is very still and quiet.  It’s Alys’s last day here in Edmonton…[read more]

In case you missed it, here is my post documenting her creative process for Urban Scrapbook.

Ten Reasons to Visit Alberta (and BC)

Glacier Skywalk Experience

Trees of Alberta

Jasper National Park

Valemount, British Columbia

Fort Edmonton

Jasper Park Lodge

Edmonton Parks

Delicious Restaurants and Wonderful Service

Urban Scrapbook

Boomdeeadda

Friends Who Blog and an Enchanted Light-Catcher

Washington DC and Virginia

The Gathering of the Bloggers, Washington DC and Virginia, Spring, 2015

A year ago last spring, I spent an extraordinary week gathering with bloggers from around the world. It was an experience I’ll never forget. We traveled from Canada, parts of the US and as far away as New Zealand, gathering in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

Laurie of Life on the Bike, and Julia of Defeat Despair, invited us to stay in their homes. They were excellent tour guides, showing us the sites and sharing stories about their community. Shelley, of Peak Perspective hosted several of us for an engaging afternoon atop a hill in Virginia. We enjoyed laughter and an amazing spread of food under the watchful, curious eyes of Haggis the dog.

Lisa of Arlingwoman provided local perspective as she guided us through the enormous Washington Mall. Her knowledge increased my enjoyment of the incredible history that resides there. We toured Lisa’s community garden and learned about her Plot Against Hunger.

We shared a meal with Lisa as well as Stacy of  Visual Venturing and Patti of Displaced Beachbums.

Rounding out this amazing journey: Kelly who blogs at Boomdeeadda and Kelly’s Korner  and Pauline of The Contented Crafter.

What started as “blogging friends” became “friends who blog.”

One of the visual reminders of our time together is my beautiful light-catcher. Pauline made one for each of us, selecting charms to reflect our interests and our lives.

You can see the amazing details in the short video below.

Five years and 940 posts later the most amazing statistic is this: there are nearly 16,000 comments on this blog. Comments become conversations, conversations lead to friendships and in this great big world of ours,  interesting, like-minded, bright, clever, talented, and wonderful people from around the world, log on and add sparkle to my day. I can’t thank you enough.

How to Add a Word Document to Your Post

screen shot articleA fellow blogger posted this question earlier in the week, so I decided to investigate myself. You can always cut and paste text to a post, but sometimes you want to save a document as a link. Here’s how.

Most documents saved in MS Word or Word for Mac will have the .doc extension, for example:

A Quarter Here, A Nickel There.doc

You want to “save as” then select PDF from the drop down menu.

Using my example, your document now looks like this

A Quarter Here, A Nickel There.pdf

Now add a new post and save it as a draft. We’ll come back to it in a bit.

This is where it might get confusing. There are two places to Add Media in a post. One appears at the top of post drafts. It’s how most of us upload photos.

To the left of this draft under Dashboard, there is also a place to add Media. Hover over the word Media. You’ll see two options: Library and Add New. This is where you’ll add your document.

Click on Add New. You’ll see the option to browse and from there you can upload any document on your computer.

Once you’ve uploaded and saved your document, return to your draft post.

In the body of your post, click on Add Media, this time from the top of the edit screen (where you upload photos). Your document will appear there at the top of the list.

To confirm, simply preview your post and click on the link.

Here’s an article I wrote a few years ago for my organizing blog and linked to this post:

A Quarter Here, A Nickel There

It’s fun trying new things. Let me know if you’re inspired to add a document to your own posts. It could be a list of all the plants in your garden (a huge project for me but it’s on my list), a knitting pattern, or even a mini e-book.

Please let me know if you have suggestions for improving this post to make the instructions clearer or easier to follow.

Happy media sharing!

 

 

Celebrations: Anniversaries, Birthdays and Boomdee Comes to Town

Life is full!

Mike and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary September 23rd.

20th anniversary collage

Celebrating at Santana Row

Then Boomdee (aka Kelly or Petals) came to town.

together at redemption

My favorite photo of our week together

I had a birthday…

Birthday collage 2015

Cards from dear friends are the best part of any birthday

Then hosted a gathering of friends.

gathering of friends 2015

Good friends gathered around the table

I ate too much cake and homemade flan but enjoyed every morsel. By the way, peeking out from under the plate is one of my  gorgeous new dinner napkins also known as serviettes. Kelly meticulously hand-stenciled them as a birthday gift. Please check out Kelly’s Korner for the full reveal and tutorial. They’re stunning!

bunny's flan

Bunny’s delicious flan

We road a steam train up a steep grade through the redwood forests, traveling on a narrow-gauge railroad.

felton train collage

Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow-Gauge Railroad

We visited the historic Ainsley home in downtown Campbell.

Ainsley House Collage 2015

Ainsley House 1925 English Tudor home in Campbell, California

On Sunday we Skyped with Laurie and Pauline, covering topics both serious and mundane. It was good to catch up.

Kelly and I enjoyed full days and unscheduled nights, with time to relax, have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and to put up our feet. What a joyful week.

In a flash, it was time to put Boomdee on a plane, as we made plans for a visit next year.

Next up: Edmonton, Alberta Canada.  If my surgery goes well I’ll have an honest to goodness bounce in my step. Planning the next visit makes the goodbyes a little easier.

Blogs Near and Dear

I’ve missed your blog and look forward to catching up with you in the next few weeks.