Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday. Geranium Seedlings

 As always, click on photos to get the best view. . .

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Travel Tuesdays. Wintermission

Someone Twittered the phrase Wintermission and it describes what we've had for the last few weeks perfectly.

Today was an amazing day once again and it's the last for a while if the weather man can be believed.

Days like this are meant to be savored and if you can share it with a friend, so much the better.

Jada and I headed out to our favorite Old Glenora neighborhood, this time staying a little west of the museum.

Walking here, much of it along the river, can't help but bring a peace that can be hard to find in the city. It always refreshes me.

I'm pretty sure Jada enjoys herself as well . . .

Time to go home . . .

Awwww . . .

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Twist on the Traditional Sunday Soup

I grew up having soup for supper on Sundays.

I don't know if it's a dutch thing (my parents emigrated from Holland with their parents in the 50's) or a practical thing but Sundays always meant soup for the hot meal.

Everyone I knew had soup on Sundays, visit a friend and Sunday soup was on the menu. Go to Oma and Opa's after church in the afternoon and you knew what supper would be. Sunday soup.

That's what we called it too. Sunday Soup.

Chicken noodle soup packages (or dutch soup packages) carrots, celery, green onions and meatballs was the soup most commonly found. Some ladies made red soup once in a while for variety (my mother in-law made both each Sunday to appease her 10 kids) and every so often you would be served soup that had actual chicken in it.

Sunday soup.

I didn't even know other types of soup existed until my late teens when I discovered cream soups. Cream of broccoli, cream of cauliflower, leek and potato . . . yum.

When my kids were small I served soup on Sundays. With a morning and afternoon service it just made sense.

As they grew older soup showed up less and less often. Green or Red soup fell out of favour and I began trying to cook the large 'Sunday Dinners' it seemed the rest of the world preferred.

Last week I finally threw in the towel.

Cooking a full meal with roast beef or roast chicken just wasn't working. By the time we got home from church in the afternoon it was 4:30 and the last thing I felt like doing was preparing a large meal.

Sunday dinners became sad and pathetic 'help yourself'' affairs. Something had to change.

I decided to bring back Sunday Soup but it was going to be Sunday Soup with a twist.

No more Red or Green soup (or . . . very little). From now on Sunday Soup at our house is going to be an opportunity to try out something new. Fragrant, exotic soups, hearty comforting soups or spicy, burn the top of your mouth soups will be taking their place.

Yesterday was our first soup adventure. Italian Wedding Soup. Both Holly and Jesse had had it a restaurants and loved it so we figured it was a good place to start. (Plus it has meatballs so we still had a bit of the familiar. . .)

I did a Google search and found quite a variety when it came to recipes but in the end we went with this one. . .

Italian Wedding soup from theKitchn 

People . . . try new soups!  It was delicious! We did tinker with it a bit because both kids had had orzo in their versions so I added 3/4 of a cup to this one and used spinach for the greens rather than escarole. there was a a bit too much  orzo though, so next time I'll only add a 1'2 cup.

I would have taken a picture but by the time I thought of it the soup was gone.

Time to search for something  new to try this Sunday.

What about you? What does your family eat for Sunday Supper? Do you have any favorite soup recipes I should try??

Friday, January 24, 2014

Photography. Playing with Textures

I've been looking at more and more digital art and the first step seems to be adding texture and perhaps some text.

I'm quite intrigued by it all and decided to try out something super simple in PicMonkey.

It's kind of fun and I'm thinking it's long past time to dig into the Fine Arts Grunge Photoshop course I bought last summer.

Here's my first effort:

Original . . .

Textured and texted . . .

What do you think?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Peaceful Winter Afternoon.

I had big plans yesterday afternoon.

6 pounds of butter softening on the counter, eggs coming to room temperature and a new 20 kg bag of flour resting on the island.

I was going to bake up a storm.

First things first though. It was time to make a little strawberry jam. I wasn't able to pick strawberries last year because of my leg but I was able to get just enough local berries to make a small batch of jam. As usual I ran out of time and just threw them in the freezer.

I had taken them out to be thawed on Monday and it was now or never.

The smell when I unzipped the bag!! 

It was summer in January. Pure bliss.

I made 3 jars of freezer jam in no time flat.

After all that work though, I needed to take a bit of a break. I made myself a nice cup of tea, snuggled into my comfy chair and basked in the sun streaming through the window.

I woke up a couple of hours later to discover Jada and I had shared this peaceful afternoon. Me snoozing in my chair and she in hers.

Oh well, there's always tomorrow. . . ( and not to worry Cindy, I'll be posting a recipe for the Monkey Bread next week. ;D )

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday. Monkey Bread

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Travel Tuesdays. A Byzantine Winter Festival

Holly and I decided to look for adventure in the great outdoors a few weekends ago.

It was a brave act. It's winter in Edmonton and you know what that means . . . snow and ice. 

Snow and ice is cold people! Some days it's really, really cold! Brrrr. And we are wimps. Winter wimps.

But, we pulled on our Big Girl panties (or in this case, long underwear) and headed out to the 'Deep Freeze . It was billed as a Byzantine Winter Festival and we were intrigued.

So you could join our little adventure, I made a video complete with marauding Vikings.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Jesse and the Double Lolly Caper

Do boys ever grow up I wonder?

This is my boy Jesse. He looks like a man doesn't he???

I mean, he has facial hair and everything . . .

When I was outfitting my little studio I made a quick trip to Costco and came home with a big bin of double lollies.

I put them in a nice retro glass jar I'd found at Target last summer.

I figured they'd be good bribes  rewards for any older kids who might come to the studio.

Very, very few young kids have come to the studio thus far.

Which is why, when Holly and I were in the studio to look at some fabulous new props I had gotten, she found something odd about my lolly jar . . .

Shouldn't the jar be a little fuller?

She had only had a couple, so why did the jar seem a bit empty???

Upon further investigation  . . .

The jar was VERY empty!!!

What in the world?


With a sheepish, rather mischievous grin he admitted to the 'borrowing' of my double lollies.

"But I was going to get you a new bin of lollies . . ."

Grown man or ingenious boy???

I leave it to you to decide . . .

Either way, Holly and I laughed our selves silly that night.

Friday, January 10, 2014

And the Winner(s) is/are. . .


Congratulations Aunty Nancy! Your calendar will be on it's way shortly. . .

And just so no one can accuse me of nepotism (and because I had already planned to send her one. . . ;D )

Henry drew one more name  . . .

Congratulations CJ!  Just click the envelope icon on my side bar and send me your mailing particulars!

 I have to admit I'm pretty excited to be sending something as far away as the United Kingdom. :D I love your allotment garden by the way, I'm rather jealous of the green in it. . . .

Thanks to everyone for playing along. I hope you all have a fabulous New Year!

Following Your Dreams

Today I wanted to share this amazing video from Brooke Shaden where she talks about pushing fear out of the way to follow your dreams.

It really speaks to me today. . .

Don't forget, today is the last day to enter the Calendar Giveaway. (The deadline is anytime before I post the winner. . . ;D)

I will be posting the winner later on this evening, so enter now!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Oh how I Love Babies!

I've gotten the chance to take photos of two babies in the last few months, first 5 month old Abe and then in December, six day old Fox.

Oh my, they are just so stinkin' cute!

Here's the video I put together for Abe. . .

How adorable is he?!

Waiting for the next one to come my way. . .

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Travel Tuesdays. A Winter Farmers Market

On Saturday Henry and I got up early and headed for the Old Strathcona Farmer's market.

Henry has been walking around in moccasins that are so well ventilated, more sock than sole touches the ground when he walks. He loves his moccasins though and as he bought them at the Farmer's Market we figured it was past time for another visit.

We went early so we could have breakfast and turn the outing into an adventure/date while we were at it.

Getting the chance to see green growing things was a good start to the day. . . .

Breakfast was fabulous and we lucked out and got too hear two amazing boys play the violin while we ate.

Strolling around after breakfast we noticed that many stall were empty and then. . . that the moccasin man's stall was occupied by someone else!


To top it off  when we got to the Happy Camel's stall they weren't there either! Whaaaat! No tzatziki or Za'taar flat bread???


I did, however stop to chat with this nice young woman who asked me if I was going  to the Byzantine Winter Festive the following weekend.

I had never heard of it. She urged me to go telling me it was the perfect place for a photographer. There are ice sculptures, fireworks, mummers. . . All manner of opportunities for interesting photos.

She called me an artist . . .

So that's where you will find Holly and I this Saturday.

Maybe it's time to see if I am. . .

If you live in the Edmonton area and want to go on a little adventure this weekend you might want to check out the Deep Freeze Byzantine Winter Festival as well.

Travel Tuesdays Facebook page

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Giveaway to start the New Year off right!

As promised, I have a giveaway to celebrate a new year.

I have one 2014  calendar printed on heavy card stock to giveaway and, if I do say so myself, it's the best one I've done yet!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling all of us what you are looking forward to the most this year.

It can be a trip, a new family member, a celebration, a new project or just the blessing of waking up each day to whatever the Lord has in store for you.

What ever it is, let me know in the comments and don't forget to leave your name as well.

Check back here next Friday when I will announce the winner!

The contest is open to everyone regardless of where you live. I'm willing to spring for postage even if you live as far away as Russia or Australia.  ;D

Good Luck!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's a New Year!

Hello 2014!

I like to start the New Year with some type of plant project and this year is no exception. I received two amaryllis bulbs a few weeks ago and finally found the time to plant them.


I've been reading a few blogs today and many of them talk about what their new goals, resolutions or words are for the New Year.

I'm not too big on resolutions, I think they often set you up to fail.

Words for the year can be fun though. Last year Barb's at Keeping With The Times was work and if you check out her beautiful blog you'll see she worked hard  . .

I've set goals for myself in the past although not necessarily because it's the new year.

Towards the end of October I decided to work towards one last goal for the year. I was going to give my all to the coming Christmas sale. There was to be no excuses for not doing my very best in all aspects of the sale, both in the making and the marketing.

In the end. . . I was very proud of what I accomplished. Although attendance was not what I hoped, it wasn't because I fell short somewhere. It just was what it was.

  And I'm okay with that.

I'm not quite sure yet what I'm going to focus on in the year ahead. . . 

Well. . . that's not quite true. . .

I know I want to make my sweet, laid back, very accommodating husband Henry my first priority for a change.

Over the years, kids, bus driving, Ladies Aid and many, many projects have managed to sneak ahead of him when it came to priorities.

My kids are grown (although two of them still live at home) and I'm not driving the bus or running Ladies Aid anymore.

Projects though. . . Oh my . . . I don't know how it happens, but a project can take over my life to the point that I become deaf and blind to everything. else. going. on. around me.

And Henry just smiles and says "Whatever makes you happy dear. . ."

Well, this year what will make me happy is to make HIM happy.

 Now all I have to do is figure out the very best way to do that.

He likes to tell me that I should be catering to his every need, at all times . . . tongue in cheek to be sure, but . . .

What if ???  And  . . . how would that look?

I'm not sure yet, but I'm looking forward to figuring it out.

There are a few other things I want to work on this year but I've decided not to stress myself out by making a public declaration. I'm just going to pray and try to do a little better each day without beating myself up when I don't measure up.

I did think it would be fun to try a 365 photography project this year though, so I'm joining Kelly from FocusingOnLife in her Year in Photos project on Flickr.

Here's what I took today:

I had planned to announce a giveaway today as well but I'm not quite ready, so you'll have to tune in tomorrow for all the details and the chance to enter. (Aren't I sneaky. . .  ;D)

I hope you all had a lovely time ringing in the New Year.

© A Life of Whimsey