Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Midsummer Mosaics

Where did the month of July go? Well, part of ours was spent in the beautiful Muskoka region of Ontario.

Meeko is always up for a road trip. He will often hop into the van before we even get a chance to pack it. He's like a space marker. "Don't forget me!"

We spent nine days with family (cousin time!), reading, walking, cooking and swimming. We visited the lovely Wednesday farmers' market in Gravenhurst. Always a treat.

Meeko swam in the the lake and then swam some more.

We saw some forest creatures--several deer and two sweet fawns (in the photo above). I got a fabulous photo of a toad. Who would have thought that a photo of a toad in a rusty old wheelbarrow could be so beautiful?

I did a bit of painting while I was there. There's something wonderful about painting on a screen porch while listening to soft music and accompanying waves.  Chloé made a video of me. I didn't realize what she was doing. I'm very camera shy and probably wouldn't have cooperated if I knew what she was up to. Then she posted it on my Instagram account. The rascal! You can see it here. I'm not looking particularly glamorous but I am definitely deep in the painting 'zone'.  At the end of the video, you will hear a steam whistle. Meeko barks every time he hears it--even when I play the video. :) It's the whistle of the historic Segwun steamship that is North America's oldest operating steamship. It tours Lake Muskoka on a daily basis during the summer months.

I'm always amazed how much a garden can change when you are away even for a short time. It looks great thanks to our wonderful neighbours who water my flowers when we are on vacation. The garden is definitely in the billowy midsummer curve towards fall. I came back to hydrangeas blossoming and echinacea is in full bloom.

We have another short trip planned before the girls go back to school. When I was young, we would never go back to school in Ontario until after Labour Day. In Quebec, schools start in late August. I can never quite get used to that.

Hope you all had a beautiful July. I'll leave you with some photos of my mid-summer garden.

The photos in this blog post were all taken with my iPad. I did the mosaics with a cool little app called 'Picstitch'.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Summertime and the living is...busy

In the summer, things always change for me. My teenage daughters are in the house all day and I find myself easily distracted. I haven't painted very much the past few weeks as family life takes precedence. I'll have to figure out how to sneak in some painting time when the house is quiet (maybe when they sleep in each morning? :)

I always feel stress at the beginning of the summer as I feel my daily routine being tugged away from me. There are so many things I meant to do before the summer started and, well, here it is.

I celebrated my birthday on July 1st. Emma made me a fabulous beach-themed cake. I've always felt lucky to have my birthday on Canada Day. Canada is 146 years old now. I am younger.

Other activities from the past few weeks: sleepovers, visits from friends, an early birthday party for Chloé who turns 14 on July 7th, dips in the pool with Meeko who loves to swim, house cleaning, garden weeding (they're still winning), and Ikea furniture making (an art storage cabinet for me, a bookcase for Emma and some CD shelves for the basement).
Guess who wishes Emma had made a cake for his birthday?
I find the burden of my Etsy treasury teams hard at this time of year.  That's been complicated by all of the recent format changes Etsy has made that have gummed up traditional ways we've all made our treasuries. Some of my teams have reduced their quotas for the summer and that has helped me step back a little. Less time at the computer is a good thing. I don't think many people enjoy change all that much, but I think it's our resistance to it that creates the most problems. Maybe it's good that all of these changes happened just as the summer began. It gives us time to consider what's important and adjust. I know that it would be better if I spent more time making art and less time worrying about what Etsy is doing or not doing.

Last night we all went to a fabulous concert in downtown Montreal that was part of the Jazz Festival. I like how a concert transports you from your ordinary life. Camera Obscura from Glasgow Scotland was the opening act. I'm just getting to know them. I was searching for the words to describe them and Emma said 'indie pop with a retro twist'. Sounds good to me. I enjoyed them. The main act was She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and Matt Ward). We have all of their albums here. It's rare that all four of us can agree on one group. The concert was fabulous. Zooey packs a very big voice into her small frame and it was fun to see her play piano and ukelele. I liked when Matt and Zooey sang together. Their voices combine beautifully and you could see that they enjoy each other. The backup singers were amazing too and I read after the concert that they are the daughters of Tom Chapin and the nieces of the late Harry Chapin. I can remember listening to Harry Chapin 8-track tapes (there's an age indicator) in the car when we were on summer vacation when I was young.

There are more distractions ahead: family visits here, a trip to Lake Muskoka to visit my parents and a trip oceanside in Maine. For my part, I'll try to keep going with the summer flow.

Happy 4th of July to all of my friends in the United States! I was born in Manitoba but spent my first year in Cleveland, Ohio! I came very close to being a dual citizen! 


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