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

Wilma writes:


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.



Victoria: City of Gardens

empress hotel gardens

Boomdee poses in the Empress Hotel gardens

After a lovely week on holiday in Victoria, BC, I’m ready to move there.  I’m originally from Ontario, Canada, so I felt a bit of a reconnection to my roots, even though I lived on the other side of the country. Victoria is known as The City of Gardens, another good reason to live there. Of course any good vacation is joyous and fun-filled with minimal responsibilities. Toss in a best friend and her cousin and it’s easy to see why I didn’t want to leave.

Back home and settled in, I’m still dreaming of this beautiful place and making mental plans to return.

orca whale statue

Floribunda: Even the art is covered in flowers


According to a Wiki article on the island:

Victoria’s equable climate has also added to its reputation as the “City of Gardens”. The city takes pride in the many flowers that bloom during the winter and early spring, including crocuses, daffodils, early-blooming rhododendrons, cherry and plum trees. Every February there is an annual “flower count” in what for the rest of the country and most of the province is still the dead of winter.

flower perfection

Flower perfection

Due to its mild climate, Victoria and its surrounding area (southeastern Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, and parts of the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast) are also home to many rare, native plants found nowhere else in Canada, including Quercus garryana (Garry oak), Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy manzanita), and Canada’s only broad-leaf evergreen tree, Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone). Many of these species exist here, at the northern end of their range, and are found as far south as southern California and parts of Mexico.

Victoria Regent Hotel garden

Outside the Victoria Regent Hotel

Non-native plants grown in Victoria include the cold-hardy palm Trachycarpus fortunei, which can be found in gardens and public areas of Victoria. One of these Trachycarpus palms stands in front of City Hall.

I felt right at home.

popcorn cart of flowers

victoria flower baskets

Classic Victoria: Flowering baskets beneath signature street lamps

Intrigued? Check out Tourism Victoria for a list of activities on the Island

Take a ride on a water taxi. We did, and it was loads of fun.

Butchart Gardens: My own take on this national treasure.

Butchart Gardens: A Canadian National Treasure

Butchart Gardens Fuchsia

Fuchsia housed in the former aviary

It’s hard to overdo the superlatives when describing Butchart Gardens. Magnificently creative and stunningly beautiful gardens attract a million visitors a year. Spending time among the flora was one of the highlights of my recent trip to Vancouver Island.

I spent the day at the gardens with fellow blogger extraordinaire, Boomdeeadda and her cousin, Sherri, also a blogger at Smackiland . We spent hours wandering the gardens, snapping photos, and laughing like school girls. Laughter is contagious when in the company of good friends. Looking back, it’s hard to say what was so funny, but we belly laughed throughout the day, making the garden experience all the richer. I highly recommend it. Even the bus ride back to our hotel was a hoot, but I’ll leave that story for another day.

butchart gardens sunken garden

Sunken garden and a couple of happy bloggers

According to our brochure

The Butchart Gardens cover more than 22 ha (55 acres) on a 53 ha (130 acre) estate. It began from an idea Jennie Butchart had to beautify the worked-out limestone quarry which had supplied her husband Robert Pim Butchart’s nearby Portland cement plant.
The gardens continually expanded over the years to become the world-famous Sunken, Japanese, Rose, Italian and Mediterranean in existence today.

You can read the full story of Jennie Butchart’s creative vision here.

In addition to the gardens, we enjoyed a high tea in the Butchart’s former residence.

butchart gardens tea room

Butchart home, tea room and menu

We rounded out the evening with a magnificent fireworks display viewed from one of the lawns.

fireworks show at Butchart Gardens

Trees on fire? Nope. Just an amazing fireworks show

What a day!

Here are a few additional photos (I took over 100!):

Butchart Gardens near entrance

Near the garden entrance

Eryngium (Sea Holly)

Eryngium (Sea Holly)


One of an extraordinary display of Dahlia

Napa, California Earthquake

As many of you know, Napa, California experienced an Magnitude 6.0 earthquake early Sunday morning. We felt the shaking as far south as San Jose, but the epicenter was 104 miles (167 kilometers) away. One young child was seriously injured, but so far no fatalities. Other reported injuries were minor. I’ve attached a link with earthquake footage, charts, articles, etc. If you watch the first video, may I suggest you do so with the volume on low or off.

Earthquake Report, Napa Valley