Wednesday, 1 July 2020

COVID Careful Canada Day

My husband and I are celebrating a COVID Careful Canada Day this year. We spent the day together just the two of us. We enjoyed a mid-day bike ride together just the two of us driving our bikes to Hyde Park Road and 9 Mile Road to avoid city traffic. The wind and heat made for a challenging, but fun ride. I was happy to get back in the car after 50 km. My husband added more distance biking home on his own.

The rest of our day was spent recovering from our ride, eating, swimming, gardening and taking a few photos in our garden.

When I jumped in the pool this afternoon, I was pleased to find one of the young owls hanging out in our small maple tree down by the pool. I rushed to get my husband to take more photos of this adorable little owl posing so perfectly for Canada Day.
My husband also snapped a photo of Sadie keeping a close eye on me in the pool.
He caught me enjoying a refreshing dip in the pool on this hot and humid Canada Day.
Our Butterfly Weed is budding and almost ready to bloom.
My husband is doing a great job with our new vegetable garden inspired by our friend Fernando's garden in Cuba. He planted beans, carrots and tomatoes plus a few zucchini plants in pots. Thanks to our son for taking out the old overgrown juniper bushes last fall. It's a perfect spot for a garden.
I practiced taking a couple shots of our potted pink begonias using manual focus. I think I'm finally getting the hang of this new camera - my birthday gift from last year. 
Happy Canada Day to all our friends and family near and far. I hope you too are enjoying a COVID Careful Canada Day 2020 😊

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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Our Parliament of Owls

I wrote about Our Backyard Screech Owls earlier this month. This family loves to hang out in our backyard maple tree. Owls are shy plus it is difficult to get decent photos among the branches. 

Did you know that owls are generally solitary, but when seen together the group is called a “parliament” as they have long been thought to be of wise disposition?

Surprised to find all four owls together this afternoon, I rushed to get my camera and managed to capture a few decent shots of Our Parliament of Owls. 

Mom and Dad rest quietly in the background while their two babies keep a close eye on me with my camera. 
I am so happy with Our Parliament of Owls this summer ... such a fun distraction from all things COVID. 

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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Showcasing Our Paintings by Richard Thompson

Over the past year and a bit, we have bought four paintings from Richard Thompson. Before covid, we used to visit Richard at his studio in The Baker's Dozen (B13) on Dundas Street almost every Saturday. We would watch his progress week by week as he painted. We loved everything he made. 

His elaborate colourful costumes, crazy over-the-top hats, intricate detailed backgrounds meticulously executed, fun steam punk bits ... all of it appealed to us. We especially loved the Latin titles and corresponding themes he chose for his paintings. 

We first fell for Supercilium depicting "arrogance and pride in possessions". It was on display at B13 and caught our eye even before we met Richard. A fancily dressed man holding a floating steam punk fish on a chain is totally flamboyant and fun. We loved it, yet didn't buy it right away.

Our first purchase was actually the diptych or pair of paintings below: "Amor et Melle et Felle est Fecunddisssimus." meaning "Love is Rich with Both Honey and Venom." After almost 35 years of marriage, my husband and I both totally identified with the meaning behind this message.

Richard's next piece was also irresistible given the title and theme: "Vivamus ut si mori cras. Fusce ut si vivere in aeternum." meaning "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."  This message is one I aspire to follow. I loved this advice and this painting, so we bought it as well.

These three paintings fit in so perfectly in our living room, we decided to add one more to our collection. The biggest of the bunch: Supercilium was our last purchase. Too big to fit anywhere else, it takes pride of place in our front hallway. I love that it hangs front and centre where we pass by frequently. 

All these paintings make me smile every time I catch sight of them. I am showcasing Our Paintings by Richard Thompson because beauty in art should be shared. Enjoy 😊
Depicting Arrogance and Pride in Possessions
Acrylic on board - 48" x 48"
"Vivamus ut si mori cras. Fusce ut si vivere in aeternum."
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Acrylic on canvas 48" x 24"
Acrylic on canvas 24" x 30" - Diptych (right panel [Honey])
Acrylic on canvas 24" x 30" - Diptych (left panel [Venom])
"Amor et Melle et Felle est Fecunddisssimus."
Love is Rich with Both Honey and Venom.
According to a CBC News London article published the beginning of May, "Tenants received a letter from founder William Older stating that B13 — as the space is known — will close permanently on May 29. "In light of recent events, most notably that of the COVID-19 pandemic, there's no options left that allow B13 to keep financially afloat," the letter says." 

Sadly B13 Baker's Dozen in London is closed. Richard tells us he moved his studio into his basement, but hopes B13 will re-open eventually under new ownership. We hope so too.

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Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Bobo Bear for Beckett

I made a Bobo Bear for Beckett our niece's son who is turning two in two days. Two is still young enough to enjoy a cuddly bear. 

I added a mask to mimic current covid fashion trends. It's not that I'm trying to normalize wearing masks; just hoping to make masks and the people who wear them look less scary to kids.

I finished this Bobo Bear for Beckett while staying at the cottage last week. I wrote all about my week with Mom at Lasting Memories Cottage in my last post here. Spoiler alert: We thoroughly enjoyed our stay 😊

Since Beckett's grandparents own Lasting Memories Cottage, I thought it might be nice to do the photo shoot and leave Bobo Bear there for his Gramma to deliver. 

Happy Birthday to Beckett ... crocheted with love. Sending lots of virtual hugs and kisses from Auntie Beth and Uncle Lee ...actually Great Aunt or Grandaunt and Great Uncle or Granduncle but that sounds like such a mouthful for a two year old. 😕

I just love how Bobo Bear turned out. He looks so cute in aqua wearing a mask. I had fun with this photo shoot at the cottage.
For the crocheters out there who might like to make their very own Bobo Bear, I followed my Bobo Bunny pattern exactly for the legs, body, arms, head and hood. 

For the ears and tail, I followed my Boo Bear pattern reducing the size by a bit to fit this slightly smaller bear. 

Eyes - stitched using brown yarn

Mary Maxim Ultra Mellowspun DK 50 gm, 1 3/4 oz
1 ball - Cotton (head, hands, mask)
1 ball - Aqua (body, ears, arms, tail)

Unlabeled DK Yarn from stash
dark brown (eyes)

Hook sizes: 
3.0 mm 

Mask Instructions:

ch - chain
ss - slip stitch
sc - single crochet
hdc - half double crochet
blo - back loop only

Chain 21 (enough to cover width of face)
R1 - 2 ss, 2 sc, 13 hdc, 2 sc, 2 ss, turn
R2 - ch 1, blo (2 ss, 2 sc, 12 hdc, 2 sc, 2 ss) turn
Repeat R2 until mask is big enough to cover face
Chain 30 (to fit around ear), ss down side of mask and across bottom, chain 30 (to fit around other ear), ss across top of mask and finish off, weaving in ends

I plan to continue reworking my patterns with masks for 2020. If you decide to make one too, please do send me a photo. I'd love to see it.

* * * * *

For the record ... I do not believe masks are effective on their own. I personally rely on physical distancing and frequent hand washing to keep covid safe.

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Monday, 22 June 2020

My Week with Mom at Lasting Memories Cottage

Back in January way before covid lockdowns, my Mom booked Lasting Memories Cottage for a week in June. She planned to spend the week by the lake with her friend Zibby relaxing and reading books. They expected to enjoy lovely lake views and drive into into Bayfield for all the fun touristy things. 

Due to current covid concerns making normal human interactions seem risky and downright scary, Zibby backed out. My Mom understood her concerns but still planned to go. 

As luck would have it, my trip to Boulder in May was cancelled due to covid Canada-US border closures. With no way to visit our grandchildren in the foreseeable future, Mom asked if I'd like to go with her to the cottage instead. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. I was excited and looking forward to our get away.
My Week with Mom at Lasting Memories Cottage was all I had hoped for and more. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. A perfect mother-daughter vacation with many lasting memories made. I did my best to capture the highlights in photos.
The weather was perfect the whole week ...warm and sunny. The sunsets were spectacular every.single.night! I took lots and lots of photos of sunsets and lake views. Sunsets ... just glorious!
Early morning lake views ... pretty pinks and purples.
Continuously changing ...never boring 😊
We enjoyed breakfast on the deck overlooking the lake every single morning. It was heavenly. We never got tired of continuously changing lake views.
I prepared plant-based meals for us both all week except Friday night when my husband joined us and barbecued steaks. I appreciated Mom enjoying my plant-based meals. Mom appreciated not having to cook ... win-win 😊 
We made a few trips into Bayfield to enjoy touristy stuff ... shopping and lattes at the Shop Bike Cafe. Covid rules required hand sanitizer for entry to each and every store and physical distancing was enforced. Despite all of that, the shop owners and workers were inviting and friendly. It was fun to wander around the shops after so many months of covid closures.
Mom read books, but not as many as usual. I crocheted, but not that much.
We walked Sadie to the beach, up and down the stairs and around the neighbourhood. We looked for beach glass and stones ...lots and lots of stones. I swam. Mom waded. We relaxed and watched the lake. We chatted. We drank tea. We connected. We sipped wine. We did not NOT watch TV. We watched sunsets. 
And I took photos ...lots and lots of photos. If you'd like to see more photos from our week, check out this album shared on google photos. Lasting Memories Cottage is a fabulous place to stay. We even checked off almost all the rules on their list ...12 out of 15! I'm so grateful Mom invited me to join her.
I absolutely loved My Week with Mom at Lasting Memories Cottage and hope we do it all again next year.
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