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.

Save

Save

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.

The Luck of the Draw: Fairy Gardening 101

You won’t believe my luck!

Sheryl Normandeau, the blogger behind Flowery Prose, hosted a book giveaway.  Yours truly, lover of all fairy gardening, won!

Sheryl reviewed two books on her blog, Fairy Gardening 101 by Fiona McDonald and Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden – Julie Bawden-Davis and Beverly Turner, then generously gave both of them away.

Here is an excerpt of her review of McDonald’s book:

Fairy gardening 101 book

Side by side: My Fairy Garden and a book filled with future inspiration

This purposeful how-to book gives you all the information you need to create a fairy garden, with lists of supplies, suggestions for interesting containers or settings, and tips for successful long-term maintenance of your beautiful creation. Easy to follow, step-by-step instructions cover the making of miniature furniture, fences and other garden structures – and, of course, even the fairies themselves! What I’ve always loved about fairy gardens is the use of recycled/upcycled materials and found objects (either natural or man-made) that you discover in your home, yard, neighbourhood…or garage or thrift sale! The sky truly is the limit when it comes to sourcing materials for your mini-garden – and that’s half the fun!

In addition to blogging from the Canadian prairie, Sheryl writes numerous articles and short stories. She is a contributor to the forthcoming book “Growing Gooseberries” in The Prairie Garden 2017: Fruit and Berries available this month.

One of my favorite chapters gives instructions for building your own fairy garden furniture, including a fancy looking canopy bed. Once I’m back on my feet I’m going to give that a whirl. Another chapter features fairy garden kits to give as gifts. Isn’t that a fun idea? I don’t know if I’ll be able to muster the energy between now and Christmas, though I know two little girls that would delight in one. I might put something together next spring.

Thank you, Sheryl, for this treasured gift!

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.

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Come Join the Fun, Day One

Good grief, Charlie Brown, has it really been three weeks?

I was about to say that Pauline of the Contented Crafter posted three quotes last week, then offered up the challenge/opportunity for others to do the same. It’s actually been three weeks, reminding me once again that life is just a teeny bit too busy now.

I digress. Doesn’t this sound like fun? Here is my own little twist: in the next three weeks, add three quotes spread out over three days and be sure to have fun doing it. That’s what we’re all about here. If I call out your name below, it’s because a) I think this is fun and b) I think you might enjoy it. NO pressure. In fact, you can forget I even mentioned it. It is kind of fun though and you never know who you’ll inspire with a funny, clever, pithy, creative, mind-bending quote.

Here’s what Pauline says:

like so many of my friends here in the world of blogging I’m not given much to following rules and I’m hoping some of you might just like to keep the thing alive by posting a quote on your own blog and you can nominate or not – according to how you feel about rules. Let me know if you pick up the banner.

This is what I think about ‘Quotes’: Quotes can be read and not understood. Quotes can be read and not seen.  For a quote to have meaning, I must attempt to live it.

Pauline posted four quotes. What a rule breaker! 😉 That’s how much fun this is. You can read Pauline’s quotes here, here and here.

You can quote me on this…

quote day one washington dc

Washington D.C.

Tag, you’re it (but only if you want to):

Lisa at Arlingwords
Diane at Garden Sunshine
Sheila at Sewchet
Johanna at Mrs. Walker’s Art and Illustrations

Catching the Light, Sharing the Love

Given the time, I could write an entire book on my extraordinary trip to Virginia and D.C. earlier this year. One of many highlights included the unveiling of the light catchers, intricately hand-crafted and lovingly presented by Pauline King. On our flight home, Pauline offered to make one for my sister Sharon and within weeks it arrived at my door.

Here’s Sharon’s reaction when she opened the gift:

It’s difficult to convey how special these are. Pauline describes her process in a recent post found here. When writing about Sharon’s light catcher, Pauline says:

I have made my light-catchers for a few years now – rather sporadically, as I enjoy making them especially for someone. They are my gift of good wishes, good fortune and a bit of magic woven into beads and charms and crystals for someone special. I like to think of the person I am creating for, then I choose colours and shapes and crystals and charms especially for them. Then it all just weaves itself together.

sharon's light catcher pauline king

Like most artists, Pauline is far too modest. She weaves a special charm into each one using glass, crystal, semi-precious gemstones, beads and the most delightful charms you’ve ever seen.

The enclosed card says “the charms have been especially chosen for you and represent the following”

Teddy Bear: for the child within, may there always be cuddles.

Boot: for fashion and style!

Music Notes: May there always be music in your life.

Jigsaw Puzzle: for when you need the last bit of the puzzle.

Ballerina: to remind you when the body can’t dance, the spirit can!

Cat in the Moon: to remind you of the magic and mystery of both.

Babushka Doll: we all have hidden layers…..

The Witch, the Skeleton and the Spider: for your love of Halloween.

Book: for the places your imagination can go.

Purse: may there always be enough.

Pentagram: may you always be protected.

Fairy: may you always see the magic.

Sharon has tall ceilings in her home, so I’m enlisting Mike’s help so we can hang it in the perfect place.  After one foolish mishap, I count my lucky stars and no longer climb up a ladder alone.

The following bloggers enjoy catching the light:

When Ordinary is Extraordinary

Sleeping Fairy Baby

Sleeping Fairy Baby

There’s nothing extraordinary about gathering around the table on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe you’re eating a slice of toast or reheating your tea. It’s a cool, early spring day.

But this isn’t just any old Sunday. Gathered around the table is a group of women who’ve met through blogging. We’ve formed enduring friendships across the miles that allow us to sit comfortably in our pajamas, talking and laughing and sharing gifts. It feels as though we’ve known each other for a lifetime.

Aristotle said that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” That’s how I felt the entire trip. Our shared energy and enthusiasm for each others lives was palpable. The ordinary seemed extraordinary.

On that same Sunday afternoon, Pauline who blogs at the Contented Crafter presented each of us with a hand-crafted, personalized glass and bead dangler. We were all ‘in the moment’ and didn’t stop of course to capture her words, but now I wish we had. Pauline gathered crystals, beads and charms then infused them with one-of-a-kind reflections of each of us. It was moving hearing her thoughts as she shared each one.

Once home, it was tricky photographing the full length of this charmer without sacrificing the detail. Instead, I’ve photographed it in sections, so you can see the charms up close. I took pictures of the dangler in my garden to maximize light, but when not on a photo shoot, it hangs in my living room window. It’s 22 inches (55cm) long.

Pauline captured my love of fairy gardening at the top. There is also a fairy baby since I enjoy nurturing the small children next door. The teapot represents sustenance (and also happens to be my beverage of choice). There’s a small clock in honor of my passion for organizing and a tiny book, celebrating our Little Free Library. There’s a cat of course, sitting on the moon. Isn’t it just like a cat to make itself at home anywhere?

There are two separate hearts, entwined to show our friendship and a third heart that says ‘Made With Love.’

I’ll say!!!

Pauline enriched the rest of the dangler with gorgeous stone, glass and crystal beads.

Here it is:

section one

Garden fairy, clock book

section two

Crystal beads in warm browns and purple hues, tea-pot and butterfly, cat on the moon

section three

Two hearts = friendship

section four

Beads, hearts and crystals

section five

Bottom half of fairy baby, butterfly and beads

DSC_0040

Part of a long strand of gorgeous beads and silver fixings

section six

Crystal globe

We’re all back home now continuing with our lives, but changed profoundly by the experience. When I see the dangler reflecting the light, I’m reminded that what makes ordinary, extraordinary is friends.