Monday, May 21, 2012


Sure wish I'd had more time to work on this week's theme, but this was a holiday weekend in Canada, with lots of visiting and visitors. I'm tired and heading to bed, but needed to get this finished and posted.

Our theme this week is labyrinth:



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lovin' the Garden

Both DOTH and I, each recuperating from our individual surgeries, have a little more time to spend in the garden for a while - and the weather has been beautiful.

Here are just a few of the scenes we've been enjoying:

This is "Red" - he's tiny and beautiful, but...

...he's VERY territorial - guards the area of the bird feeder like a hawk!

The Trillium - Ontario's provincial flower since the 1930's

White-throated sparrow. He's the one who sings, "Dear sweet Canada Canada Canada"
Fluffy Mourning Doves
And we thought they wouldn't like the new birdbath!
Don't mess with me, buddy!
I'm still watching you!
A peaceful scene

Monarch butterfly - we have had an unusual profusion of them this year as they travel their migration path

Last, but not least, new visitors to the garden...

...two chipmunks. They have a ton of fun chasing each other round the garden, and even across the patio around our feet!

Our garden - a little Eden, and I'm lovin' it!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Inchie Monday - answer to quiz

The answer to my Monday Inchie dragon question.

The book on which my inchie was based is Arthur Ransome's Missee Lee - one of his famous Swallows and Amazons series. If your childhood didn't include any of his books, you were severely deprived (my own, personal opinion)!

Snafu wins the distinction of being the first to guess (see his cleverly veiled comment). I am not surprised - we share a love of Arthur Ransome's books!

Missee Lee finds the original cast of Swallows and Amazons (Nancy & Peggy, with their uncle, Captain Flint, and their friends, John, Roger, Susan and Titty) sailing in the South China Seas. Suddenly their boat is ablaze and they are adrift in two small dinghies. They make their way to land only to find themselves the captives of one of the last remaining pirates off the China Coast - Missee Lee. She is a most unusual pirate, though, and not to spoil the story, it is still worth the read, even as an adult. I have the whole set now, and recently re-read them all - such a treat!

This is the illustration that sparked my inchie idea.

To tell you what the dragon dance was all about would be to give away the story - you'll have to read it now!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


This week's Inchie topic is

'dragon' ...


...and it comes with a tiny quiz:

My inchie is based on one of my most favourite British childhood books. It is just one of a series of books by the same author. There is an illustration in the book from which I derived my drawing.

Can you name the book and its author?

No prizes, but have fun guessing!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Flatiron

So, yesterday was the day of my first cataract surgery.
I think I prefer to call it a "lens implant" - makes me sound a little less 'elderly' somehow, and more like something going into my eye rather than coming out of my eye!

Anyway, it went well. There were about 50 of us lined up in the waiting room like lambs to the slaughter. DOTH, at age 44, was quite happy to be the youngest in the room!
Although we sat for 2.5 hours before I was called (second to last), I was quite impressed with the care and the procedure.

The nurses were very kind, explaining every detail of what was about to happen, and dealing sweetly with any anxiety. Unlike the fellow beside me (some men are such babies), I actually was very much relaxed and at peace throughout the process, and after 20 minutes of someone fiddling around in my eye (I was somewhat sedated) it was all over.
Not quite this easy

The clinic was all the way downtown, and DOTH actually took the long route, right through the centre of downtown Toronto. It was quite an eye-opener (no pun intended) for me, as it has been some time since I have travelled that route, and I enjoyed some long-forgotten sights.
There were many great Kodak moments but, unlike my sister, ChrisJ, I have not yet gotten into the habit of taking my camera with me everywhere I go.

This was one shot, however, I was not about to miss. I managed to get my cell phone out just in time to snap a couple of photos as we approached:

It is one of the most unique views in Toronto, and the old building, set against skyscrapers of the Financial District towering in the background, is apparently one of the most photographed in all of Canada. Bear in mind, UK readers, that Canada is only 144 years old, so for us, this building, built around 1891, I believe, is REALLY old!

It is known as the Flatiron, because of its unique shape - which you can see more clearly in this next shot:

The building's proper name is the Gooderham Building, and it was built by architect David Roberts Jr., at a cost of $18,000, for distiller George Gooderham, son of Gooderham and Worts distillery founder William Gooderham. It was the office of the Gooderham & Worts distillery until 1952 and sold by the Gooderham Estate in 1957.

This was the first shot I took of it, and I just missed getting the CN Tower in the photo too. It would have made a great photo. You can just see it peeking round the left hand corner of the left hand skyscraper, in the above photo.  Below is the shot I got of the Tower just a few minutes later. 

Wondering what The Flatiron building might look like inside, these days?

Here's a short tour:
For more of an inside look, you'll need to arrow down that same page to the link that reads,
"Photos: Inside the Flatiron Building", and you can also read about the present owner of the building and what he plans to do with it, along with a further description of the interior.
He paid over $15 million for it - sure hope he recoups his investment!

Oh, and by the way, I'm reserving judgment on the success of the lens implant, until the second one is done. Not seeing so great right now!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I received this sweet greeting card in the mail a few days ago.

It's from a dear friend with whom I have breakfast every six weeks or so. We spend a couple of hours (sometimes more!) at Cora's - where they have an amazing and healthy breakfast menu.
This  is one of my favourites!

As I usually do with any greeting cards I receive, I placed it on the mantel over the fireplace for a few days.

The message inside says, "Let's get together soon!"  So I guess I was concentrating on the message rather than the artwork. But as I walked by it one day, I took a second look at the picture, and I was amazed (and still am) by the simplicity of the lines that created such a pleasant picture.

I am no artist. I am basically a copycat. To draw something from my imagination takes huge effort and a less than pleasing outcome. But this looks so simple to do that I have determined I am going to try and create a picture using those kind of simplistic lines.

But first...I decided to copy it, to get the feel of the design and the lines:

My table and chairs definitely look a little wobbly, but I think, in copying it, I managed to gain an understanding  of this style of drawing.

Don't hold your breath, but I am going to try a creation of my own - sometime soon, I hope! 

Monday, May 7, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, our Inchie theme was 'make-up'.

This week, our theme is 'grandfather' and, for me, the two themes are related.

No, my grandfather didn't wear make-up!  I'll explain in a minute.

Here is my Inchie for this week:


This is my rendition of a beautiful gold locket that belonged to my paternal grandfather. It is 14K gold with a tiny diamond in the middle. I believe my grandmother gave it to him when he went to war, and he wore it throughout his time on the battlefield, and I am assuming it had photos of them both in it. The story goes that one day he lost the locket in the midst of a battle. Heartbroken, he later returned to look for it and he found it!

Ultimately, the locket was bequeathed to me.

The photo I used for our "make-up" Inchie not only showed me experimenting with my mother's powder compact, but I was also wearing my grandad's locket. I still have it to this day, although it is kept locked away, for safekeeping. There is a little dint in the back which apparently happened while it was lost.

This is a larger version of that photo, hand-colored by my mother.
She managed to give me stunning brown eyes and luscious lips!

(More interesting info on the old-fashioned method of hand colouring photos, which is now apparently coming back into fashion, can be found here and here)

I probably remember more about our paternal grandfather than my sister, ChrisJ, as I am somewhat younger than she is and used to spend many of my summer vacation days with my grandma and grandad. He was a lot of fun. He was always joking around, and especially liked to dress up.

Here he is dressed, according to the notation on the back of the photo, as "The Muffin Man."  I remember seeing him dressed up like this, but I was very tiny when this photo was taken and I think I was a little scared!

I think he was probably singing the children's song:

Oh, do you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Oh, do you know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane?

(click here to find all the verses - I thought there were only two!)

The photo was taken in front of Powis Court, Bushey Heath, Herts - the home of Sir David Rutherford. My grandad was his chauffeur for many years.

I have lots of lovely memories of my grandad!