Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another day in China

Here I am ready for another day at the tradeshow.

I have to say that it was overwhelming to see how much 'stuff' there was at this fair exibit.

The Jinhan fair was mostly ceramics, and although we did find some interesting pots, the majority of what we saw was figurines and all kinds of giftware.
Any figurine, chotchke, or doodad you might imagine was at this fair.

Eleven floors!

I must say I will never look at decorative ware the same again!

After several hours of walking we decided to stop for lunch.

We walked into a green oasis.

A small fountain trickled as we came around the corner. Another surpise waited around the bend.

As we entered the restaraunt we saw this lovely room .

We could have chosen this room to have our lunch but. . .

We ate outside instead.

I was not feeling particularly adventurous when I ordered lunch, but choose to have a grilled ham and cheese sandwhich.Of course the ham was a little different in flavour and the cheese was swiss but, it was a ham and cheese sanwhich!

Tamara, on the other hand went for the unusual.

Coconut soup with seafood and noodles.

Unfortunately for her the seafood was still in it's whole state. The shrimp had a shell and eyes! This little octopus's dangly legs defeated her and he remained uneaten.

Good call if you ask me!
When the time came that none of us was able to go another step ( Okay, once I couldn't go another step) Daisy managed to find us another restaurant where we sat and had a refreshing drink and waited for our driver to come and get us.
This one had a garden as well.

Weren't we lucky?

Monday, April 28, 2008

First day in China

Good morning!

It's Tuesday morning, Tamara's in the shower and I thought I'd take a minute to write a quick post.

Tamara and I in front of the Trade show building. For someone who doesn't shop I thought I did rather well. My feet, in their new shoes. . . not so well!

The bathroom facilities came as a rather rude shock to my sister! Don't worry Tam, just pretend your in the woods. Thankfully there were few regular toilets!


Our host Daisy, explained that with so many people in the city it would be impossible to keep the toilets clean.

After a long day checking out what's new in garden decor our Hosts Daisy and Eric brought us to this restaurant for a food adventure

All the seafood here is fresh and you choose what you would like to eat for dinner.

The fish is cleaned and prepared in huge kitchens that are open to view.

Some of the more interesting offerings were crocodile and. . .

Sashimi! This came from Canada. Did any of you know that this is what sashimi looked like?

We also had pigeon.

Can you believe I was this adventurous?!

We are going on a river tour.

A beautiful evening on the Pearl river.

Back at the hotel we kicked off our shoes ( I may never get mine back on!) and crawled into bed.

Tomorrow's going to be another busy day.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

We're in China

Hello all!

Due to the wonders of modern technology (and Tamara's laptop!) I'm sending a quick hello.

We had an interesting flight, it was very long, but, as we had the blessing of traveling first class, there was lots of space, food and a hot washcloth to help you refresh yourselves every so often.

It certainly made us feel pampered!

We arrived here in Guangzhou at about midnight.

I had been traveling for about 24 hours.

It was raining, but the air is warm and humid,smelling of growing things.

We are off to breakfast and the the trade show.

Zai jian. ( good bye)

For now. . .

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Last minute details

Well. . .

I'm getting some last minute things out of the way before I leave.

I had my second hepatitis shot today, picked up another makeup bag and a word search at the dollar store.

I went shopping with my friend Ev and we each bought a pair of shoes while I bought my money belt and a pair of earrings.

Ev also gave me some great fabric that I hope to make into a tote bag before I leave. My chances of getting that done have just increased ,as Henry has taken the rest of the day off and will do the dog walking thing for me. He's also going to give Jada her bath.

An extra couple of hours right there!

All little, trivial, things but, with each one the anticipation builds.

I'm going to China!

Jenny over at Cottage on Fox Hollow tagged me but I just haven't had a chance to play the game.

I haven't forgotten Jenny, but it will have to wait I'm afraid.

I won't be posting while I'm gone but. . .

I should have plenty of good things to 'Show and Tell' when I get back!

I' m leaving you with a few pictures to remind those of us still waiting for spring that it will come.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm not sure how to fix this. . .

Good morning!
You will find today's post just below yesterday's post.
I don't really know!
As you know, I was working on it yesterday and had a few technical problems. Once I had dealt with these I decide to save the post for today, only, when I posted it it, showed up under yesterday's post.
Anyone know how to change that?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Problems with Blogger

I wrote another post that I had intended to share with you but. . .
There are a lot of pictures and the blogger upload isn't working!
I'll keep trying.
Hopefully they will fix it soon.
I would consider changing it to another service like Type pad or Word press but. .
I wouldn't even know how to start, let alone switch everything over!
It gives me a headache just thinking about it.
Oh well, I'm not going to worry about it, because I'm off to do a bit of shopping.
A comfortable pair of shoes, a good looking tote bag and a money belt.
And maybe a few good books.
I love having a good reason to buy new (or new to me) books!
Any good suggestions?

A hobby

A while back I mentioned that I was working on a garden design, and Brenda wanted to know what that involved.

I have done a few designs, some consultations and a garden class here and there.

While I did get my Master Gardener's certificate from our local Botanic garden, the majority of my knowledge in design, has come from self study and experience.

The lack of formal training can be a real problem sometimes, as I set rather high standards for myself and with this last design particularly, I just kept second guessing myself.

have a real horror of mediocrity in (professional) design, yet I don't necessarily have the technical skill to know how to get what I want when it's something to do with the hard scape (stone, retaining walls, structures etc).

For some reason, that became a real stumbling block with this design and it took a very long time to get it done.

I had design block!

The good news is. . . I'm done!

Even better news. . . My fee has given me spending money for my trip. Whoo hoo!

I thought you might like to see how I go through the process so. . .

Here it is.

It starts with a client meeting, were we talk about what they hope to get out of the garden, what their likes and dislikes are, how much time they want to spend taking care of it and so on. I leave them with a big stack of garden pictures and ask them to pick out the ones that they like and then post it note each one with the specific things they liked.

These will go up on my inspiration wall.

I start out with lots of books, my inspiration wall and then I spend time dreaming about what could be done.

I take pictures of the garden and Henry and I measure it out. Something that came as a big surprise to me, was the fact that you really do need some of the stuff you study in school! If only I had paid more attention in math class. Henry did though, so he gets to come along and make sure I'm doing things right. He's so sweet!

I print off a picture of the garden (or garden sections) and print it out as large as I can.

With tracing paper I sketch out different ideas. As you may be able to see my sketching skills are, to say the least, sketchy.

Our Botanic garden is having a week long 'Drawing in the garden' seminar later this summer. Five full days in the gardens learning how to draw gardens. How cool is that?

I will be attending.

I go online to research various plants and then put them next to each other and see how they look.

At this point I have another meeting with my clients to go over my ideas and we refine the design.

The next phase has me trying things out on the plan itself.

Here is one version with different ideas in pencil.

One aspect of the finished design.

The main plan, finished.

A close up of some detail.

With this plan my client also receives information on all the plants being used, any specific work that needs to be done in a particular way and tips to help them grow a great garden.

It is very satisfying when I'm done.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Contest winner

I was going to post a picture of me drawing the winner's name out of my garden hat.

But I just had to post these pictures instead.

Can you believe it?

These were taken yesterday afternoon.

The snow has doubled since then and we are under a winter storm warning.

This morning's bus run was pretty nerve wracking once I got to the highway, as it was sheer ice.

There were cars in the ditch and a small bus had rolled over.

Thankfully the Lord was watching over us and we all made it to school safely.

We will leave an hour early this afternoon to avoid traffic.

And now. . .

The winner of the 100Th post contest is. . .

Brenda of thebrendablog!

Congratulations Brenda!

Make your selections from 'rubitin' e-mail me ( ) with your choices and address and I will do my best to get it in the mail this week!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Quiet Sundays

Saturday, April 19, 2008


This is what happens when you don't keep track of the weather forecast closely.

I've been able to leave these pansies out for the last week as pansies are hardy to -5C.

I knew it was going to cool off and that snow was a possibility but. . .
It was not supposed to drop below -6C!

These pansies were in a nice sheltered spot and should have been fine.

Only I didn't listen to the weather before I went to bed.

It went down to -10C.

Today's the last day to enter the contest. Check out Tuesday's post for details.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Well, that terrible cold going around has finally caught me.
I thought I was going to escape it, but it has well and truly gotten me.
I'll be spending most of the day in bed.
It's days like this that I'm thankful I drive a school bus.

Don't forget to enter the contest before tommorow night!
The winner will be announced on Monday.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

In the garden

It's a beautiful morning and likely the last one for a while, so I'll be out in the garden this morning!

The forecast is for temperatures around freezing during the day for a least a week, but, that's April for you.

I don't have much time to spend outside as I'm meeting my mother-in-law for her birthday lunch and Morgan is having friends over tonight and I have to come up with something delicious for dinner.

Any ideas?

Well if I'm going to garden I'd better get to it!

Don't forget to enter the contest and check back Monday morning for the winner.
You'll find details in Tuesday's post.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I've got flowers!

Here's a peek at what is bloomimg under my lights. . .

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Contest Update

Who can enter?
Family, friends and all my other readers, because let's face it , if family and friends don't enter there may not be any entrants! LOL.
Have fun.

Contest Time!

Well, as promised here are the details for my contest.

In the comment section tell us one random thing about yourself and that you would like to enter the contest.

My friend Brenda over at the brendablog has mentioned that she has been unable to comment on some blogs that use blogger so. . . if any of you run into that problem you can email me your entry at .

Now of course you are probably all wondering what the prize might be!

So here it is. . . My friends Loretta and Jurrina have just opened their Etsy store rubitin and sell the most amazing soaps and hand creams.

So. . .

Browse their shop and the winner will receive $20 worth of their product.

As none of us is at all techno savvy we have no idea how to do coupons etc. I will be purchasing the products directly from them and then sending it to you myself.

You have until Saturday night at midnight to enter.

One entry per person please.

The winner will be announced on Monday which is a bit before my 100Th post but I'd like to send it out before I go.

Good luck!
[ Edit. I realized, while walking Jada, that I had forgotten to tell you how the winner would be chosen. I thought I would stick to the tried and true, so, all entries will go into a hat (my garden hat!) and, while blindfolded, I will chose the winner!]

Monday, April 14, 2008

Starting my countdown

Well it won't be long now.
I have started to countdown for my trip.
I still can't believe I get to go to China!
I finally finished a big project that's been in the works for some time and I'm now free to think about something else.
So. . .
I'm off to shop for a comfy travel out fit, a money belt and a good tote bag. Then I'll head to the library to see if I can find a good travel guide.
Time to start another To Do list!

Tune in tomorrow for my 100 Th Post Contest details. I'm at 90 posts today but I'd like to give everybody a chance to enter and hopefully announce a winner before I leave.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Quiet Sundays

Friday, April 11, 2008


Have any of you ever been caught unprepared?

My cousin, whom I've seen once recently, for the first time in several years, just dropped by.

I knew she was coming, but I thought she would be here after lunch.

She walked in to find me in muddy sweatpants, with a bag of garbage in hand, and bird fluff drifting on the breeze. (I had just cleaned the cage.)

My house has Jada hair in deep drifts along the walls, dishes in the sink and worst of all. . .

I had no baking!

Oh the horror!

Thankfully she's a mom like me and kindly ignored it.

The lack of baking turned out not to be a problem, as she had planned to take my house guest out, rather than visit here.

Whew! A narrow escape.

I'm off now to clean the house and bake a coffee cake.

This will never happen again!
If only I could believe that!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

'Springing' up

I've just come in from the front garden.

Things have started popping up all over!

Last year's primroses each have two buds this year.

Crocus spears, snowdrops and the tips of Solomon seal are also making themselves known.

There is green on the flax and chives.
Purple buds have formed on the violas.

Tulips peek out in every corner of the garden.
Ahhh. . .
If you need me, you know where to find me.

I'll be out in the garden!

© A Life of Whimsey