Friday, May 29, 2015

This Moment

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


         Summer vacation is just around the corner and with this in mind I thought I would share some of our favourite crafting resources. First up is the Get In Art books- we have the Animals volume and it is so very inspiring. The idea is the book is both an art history lesson and an art project rolled into one was lesson. Taking a famous piece of art and talking about the artist and then translating that into a very easy to follow- family friendly project. Quite simply put we love this.

          Recently- one afternoon with The Boy at a friend's house- my girl and I set up in our favourite spot for creating- out on our deck in the warm breeze. We carefully looked through the book and eventually settled on a lesson about Edward Bawden- an English painter and graphic designer/ printmaker.

         Known for his illustrations of birds this project is based on the fabulous feathers represented in many of Edward Bawden's fine fowl! A mixed media piece- we started out sketching a peacock on a nice heavy piece of water colour paper- heavy paper is needed for projects like these- I quite like student quality watercolour paper. Once our birds were sketched out we started to fill in our drawing with oil pastels- creating a resist for the acrylic paints in the next step.

           This reduction technique is so much fun- magical to small children but equally fascinating for seasoned artists. Once our drawing was fully coloured in with oil pastels we took acrylic paint and painted all over our entire drawing- covering all our beautiful colouring work. Using a popsicle stick we removed paint from specific areas in the drawing- creating a pattern of feathers and outlining details of the bird- revealing the colourful oil pastels underneath.

            I so love hanging out one on one with my Littles- it doesn't happen very often making our time together even more special. My girl declared that her favourite thing to do with me is make art- this is of course something that warms my heart!

         With the dogged days of Summer just around the corner I would highly recommend Get Into Art- Animals. My kiddos love the animals- might remember something about the famous art artists I talk about- they will definitely remember hanging out on the deck with Momma in the shade creating fantastic works of art!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hiking: Burnaby Lake

          We have some friends who are participating in a really unique family challenge- they have challenged themselves to cover 2015 KMs this year - 2015. As May is Friends and Family month they invited us along on their adventure- not only is it Friends and Family month but it was also friend Erin's birthday- perfect day for a hike. We headed to an area of the Lower Mainland that I have yet to explore- Burnaby Lake.

         In my opinion Burnaby is better known for it's shopping malls and condos than hiking- Burnaby lake is a bit of an anomaly. Located just off Highway 1 I didn't even know it existed- I always assumed the swath of trees we cruise past on our way out of town was in fact wind screen for warehouses- not the case. We were all pleasantly surprised to find basically a forest in the middle of the city- Burnaby Lake is the largest lake in the Lower Mainland- with over 10 KMs of trails, equestrian facilities, archery range as well as being adjacent to the Rugby club and sports fields.

         Home to an abundant amount of wildlife we encountered Canada Geese with their babies, turtles, slugs, Sandhill Cranes, Sand Pipers even a good sized frog. We saw lots of evidence of the beavers that call the park home but evidence was all we saw- no beavers in sight. With lots of explore this easy, flat hike kept the Littles engaged and going for the most part- a few falls and plenty of band aids ensured they did the entire loop mostly under their own steam.

         I will admit- the idea of hiking in Burnaby was not exactly my cup of tea- I balked at the idea that we would essentially be walking on sidewalks- I was convinced that this hike would indeed be just like Stanley Park- over run with tourists. I will be the first to admit I was wrong- Burnaby Lake is a little slice of heaven! The perfect easy hike for anyone- strollers and Grandparents alike- the 10 km loop is full of beautiful distractions as well as pit stops. The nature House features a butterfly garden and interpretive centre full of cool stuff like salamanders to engage visitors of all ages- along with well maintained washrooms. I would recommend this little oasis to anyone wanting an escape from the busy trails of downtown- oh and did I mention the free parking!

         We are so happy we got to be a part of our friend's 2015 in 2015 challenge- getting outside and hitting the trails is our jam!  Overall the entire day - including a stop at Deer Lake post 7-11 break- was 13.50 KMs hiked. Thank you Fowler Family for making us a part of May's Friends and Family Challenge- glad we could walk some Kilometers with you!

Monday, May 25, 2015

In The Studio: Texture

               The more I work in the clay studio the more cognizant I am becoming about texture- the more I realize how inspired I am- consciously or unconsciously - by texture. My paintings have always been really texture heavy- possibly to make up for the lack of technique- it's always been something I am attracted to. With eyes wide open inspiration is abundant and free for the picking- and so I start to record the textures of my life daily.

        Low tide on the sea wall reveals new ideas for glazing- weathered wood inspires a mug- the shape and feel transcribed through the idea of weathered wood rather than a literal interpretation. My work is still very rough and new- fresh hands on the clay- still rather awkward- many chunky plant pots have emerged. Still each time the kiln is unloaded new surprised are revealed- I made these things! Also can I really ever have too many plant pots? Can I ever have too many succulents?!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Why I Can't Do It All

      These days my life is full- very full- working full time combined with parenting as well as being married to a man in the film industry makes for some long days. While the days are full I couldn't be happier- my kids are flourishing like little flowers- reaching towards the sun- as a family we have hit that sweet spot- a day I once thought would never arrive. The baby days are over- all the baby gear passed along or sold- we don't even have a stroller anymore which is strange but nice. They are becoming more independent with little social lives of their own- together but separately we are all changing.

     After all these years I am working at a challenging yet fulfilling job- I am discovering strengths I didn't know existed- learning- making mistakes and making some good moves. I am doing something for me for the first time in over eight years! I often find myself looking around in wonder that I have landed where I am- how my life has changed.

     For all intensive purposes everything appears to be good- balance is being found- everyone is emotionally happy and this is really all that matters. Yet as a woman- or perhaps it's just something that is exclusive to our family- I feel deep seeded guilt- the guilt lurks under beds and behind doors- it takes the form of dirty laundry, dusty baseboards and piles of dirty dishes. I don't even want to talk about the bathroom- sharing a bathroom with a seven year old boy is anything but tidy and the exact opposite of not covered in pee.

   So although my family is perfectly happy- growing like weeds- fed and for the most appropriately clothed a part of me still cringes when I see the mess creeping in. My family doesn't care- they drop their dirty socks randomly through out the house and cease to see them. No one cares about the popcorn covered carpet- or the mismatched bed sheets because popcorn is in the tummies and the sheets are clean. I am the only one that sees any of this mess and like 85% of the time it really doesn't bother me- but the other part of the time it drives me nuts and makes me feel like I am failing as a parent and a woman. Because what sort of homemaker allows the dust to build up?

   This is madness isn't it? I have a perfectly happy family, am working a full time job that I love and have a great relationship with my husband and friends- yet somehow I feel that I am failing. I can't do it all and I don't want to! I want to be hiking trails instead of washing dishes! I want to be snuggling my babies rather than picking up socks! This myth that a modern woman needs to do it all- including keeping a well maintained home is such bunk. I have better things to do with my time than clean!

 The reality is that a working mother does two full time jobs- she does that job she is paid for during the day- immediately transitioning from one job into another- mom mode. School pick up, snacks, dinner prep, laundry, tidying up, feeding people, bathing people, picking up dirty laundry, dishes, straightening up the living room. Very little time for much else and while I'm not whining or complaining I am willing to say I cannot do it all- I am tiered and I have crafts to do! So if you want to come to my house- expect piles of dishes- crummy carpets- funky coffee mugs full of wine and happy mismatched children!

   Friends it is Friday again- hip hip hooray! The weather is looking fair to good for Vancouver and most of BC- I play on spending much of the weekend outside and not doing the dishes! I hope where ever you are the sunshine is on your shoulders and in your heart- much love and Happy Friday Friends!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Victoria With Kids

          A few weeks ago we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to swap our city for another- we hopped on a ferry and headed to our Province's capital- Victoria. We have some dear friends who have recently moved there and so it was only natural that we pay a visit once they were nicely settled. The ferry ride alone is still such a novelty for us and this one was especially memorable as we saw several whales, sea lions and allegedly a baby dolphin- the weather was perfect and we could not have asked for a more relaxing crossing. The wonderful thing about being on the ferry is that once you are on board there is literally nothing to do for a solid hour and a half but to sit back and relax- a great way to start a weekend away.

           We realized that the Mr. and I have not actually been to Victoria since before we had the kids- up island yes but to Victoria no. We were so excited to see so many changes have taken place downtown- lots of new shops and restaurants to explore. First stop for us was the Moss Street Farmer's market for salmon burgers and cider! With our bellies full we checked into our hotel and met up with our friends again- we headed down to the water to take in the classic touristy sights- low and behold we ran into our next door neighbours- proof that this is indeed a small world!

        Looking at a city through fresh eye with kids in tow is so much different than visiting a place as a single couple. Gone are the days of luxuriously sleeping late in a hotel room- our Littles were up and at em bright and early- ready for breakfast and ready to explore. Hunting down an inexpensive but yummy breakfast was not too hard. We headed to QV Bakery and Cafe- breakfast comes in at $5.00 each with lots to chose from- in a converted gas station the restaurant was just the kind of funky ease we needed. Plus the coffees were massive!

          Sunday morning we followed our friends to Beacon Hill Park- I think that if you have kids this is a must visit spot- the playground is good- so very good! Lots of space to run around in- trees to hide in- just lots of space to play. We paid a visit to the Beacon Hill Petting Zoo- admission is by donation- this is such a beautiful little farm. Full of peacocks- strutting their stuff around the grounds- up on buildings and in trees- their calls sounded prehistoric. The Littles all loved brushing the goats- who were super friendly!

           I think my favourite park of the day was when we followed a magical little trail- through the tall grass- a field full of wildflowers- up a hill to behold the most spectacular view of the ocean. We all leisurely wandered- letting the Littles set the pace- my girl of course stopping to pick as many wildflowers as she could possibly get away with. It was a moment of peace- nothing to do but just be in the moment- no where to go- just enjoying the sun on our shoulders and the company of good friends.

            Of course after such a morning of activity- fresh air and sunshine our tummys needed attending. The best part about hanging with locals is they know all the great spots to eat. Just on the outskirts of Beacon Hill Park is a great little spot- the Beacon Drive In- yummy sandwiches, corn dogs and of course the best soft serve ice cream! 

         Of course even the most wonderful of weekends must come to an end- heading home is just as relaxing as heading out at the start of our weekend. Once again on the ferry there is nothing to do but sit and relax- Momma sits in the sunshine and knits- the Littles and Mr. head to the arcade- everyone is happy. This visit to Victoria was so very different than any other time we have been there- seeing a city through the fresh eyes of our Littles was so fun! There are- of course- so many more things to see and do in Victoria with kids- we have only scratched the surface- until next time these memories will tide us over!

    Friends it is Friday again today- and the long weekend here in B.C.- we will be hitting the hiking trains- celebrating friend's birthdays and hopefully enjoying some fine boxed wine! Happiness and Sunshine always- Happy Friday Friends!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

From Scratch: Toothpaste

      In my quest for a simpler and more basic life I have made the big switch from conventional store bought toothpaste to- wait for it- home made toothpaste. Yes I have gone over to the other side and while this is most definitely not for everyone's pallet I have grown to enjoy it. With home made toothpaste there is no leftover cloying sweetness- no weird bubbly foam running down my arm- just fresh breath that stays with me all day.

     There are of course many health benefits to using homemade toothpaste- many health benefits to avoiding store bought- but my intention here is not to create a polarizing argument with my parents- who paid for years of dental work. One key point that I will point out is that this toothpaste is so inexpensive to make- like pennies to make. Also the environmental benefits cannot be denied- this is almost a zero waste product. Plus the clay is really good for you!

The Goods:

2 Tbsp bentonite clay
2-4 Tbsp of boiled or distilled water
4 drops of tea tree oil
5 drops of liquid stevia
10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil
a pinch of real salt

The Deal:

Combine clay with 2 Tbsp water in a non metal bowl- stir with a non metal spoon (I used a popsicle stick)

Add tea tree oil, stevia and 10 drops of peppermint oil- mix well

add salt and test the taste- adjust taste one drop at a time- you can add in more water at this time as well- going slowly

Be sure to store toothpaste in a jar with a glass or plastic lid- the toothpaste will dry out over time so be sure to keep it covered up when not in use!

Side Note:

Thieves Oil is great in place of Peppermint oil- perfect for cold and flu season

The addition of a few drops of colloidal silver is a great way to fight against periodontal disease- as a natural antibiotic colloidal silver fights bacterial pockets and helps fight the battle against cavities

Full Disclosure: I am in no way a Doctor - this is a recipe that I found to work well. You can also visit the Soap Dispensary to purchase a re-fillable toothpaste with many of the same ingredients. I also want to note that I am the only person in my family that actually likes this toothpaste- our kids still use Nature's Gate.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Notes To My Child

         It's not what
you look at
that matters,
It's what you

                                            Henry David Thoreau

Friday, May 1, 2015


        I don't know if you guys know this about me but I really like cacti- cactussssss! I am a little bit obsessed- so I was plenty stoked when I bartered a trade for this awesome tiny cactus painting with artist Annalise Carlacci. Currently Annalise is working on a whole line of tiny paintings- her miniatures are awesome! Check out more of her work over on her web site- be sure to have a gander at the Star wars print- which can also be ordered on t-shirts- perfect for Father's Day!

Website- Annalise Carlacci 
Etsy- Annalise Carlacci Art

     Friends it is Friday- and while I may have been a bit absent over the past few weeks in this space it doesn't mean I haven't been thinking up a million bagillion stories to share- please be patient while I figure out this whole work- life thing! And just be comforted in knowing that while I may not be bringing my witty repartee to this space I am still somewhere out there swilling fine boxed wine and thinking of you all! Happy Friday Friends!