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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Good Morning

How are you this morning?  I'm well and enjoying the beauty that comes with a blue-sky December day. 

We're enjoying fine weather here; a ridge of high pressure has brought us several clear sunny days, unusual in this part of the world at this time of year.  The lack of clouds allows night time temperatures to drop below freezing and, because the days are still quite mild (9 to 10 C/38-40 F), the ground is warmer than the sky during the dark hours of the night.  This inversion gives rise to thick fogs that shroud the landscape and fur onto rooftops, fences, branches, and grass as thick, iridescent frost.  

In the morning  I can sit in my favourite corner of the couch and enjoy the transition from foggy night to clear skied morning as it unfolds outside my windows.  Before the sun rises, but as the sky is lightening, the sky turns ceruleaan blue.  There's still enough darkness for the street lights to shine, creating a beautiful contrast where they cast their orange light. I see this through the lacy silhouette of the walnut tree beside my balcony.  Traffic lights add to the picture, transitioning through green, yellow, and red as regularly as clockwork.

As the sun appears above the edge of the hills encircling our valley, the fog retreats to the shelter of the trees and swirls in the air above the river winding through the park at the end of my street.  It changes colour as it goes, from white, to soft grey, to the palest of lavenders before it blushes to shell pink and then wafts away for another day.

The lightening of the sky is accompanied by an increase in traffic on the busy streets below my corner apartment.  The sound of engines and the occasional honking of horns mingle with the conversation and laughter of children walking past, on their way to school.  The change encourages me to stir myself too.  I dress for the day and prepare for my morning walk.  I'm looking forward to enjoying the brisk air today, and to seeing frost crystals twinkling in the gardens along my route.

Wherever this morning finds you, and whatever the weather may bring your way, I wish you a heart filled with happiness this Thankful Thursday.  Have a joyful day.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Hallowe'en!


Happy Hallowe'en!  I know it's a busy day for many of you, but I'm hoping you can take the time for a little visit with me.  I've made some coffee and I thought we might share a bowl of popcorn in a bit.

Don't you just love popcorn? It's a great thing to keep in the pantry: quick and fun to make, and much less expensive than processed snacks. There's something festive about a bowl of popcorn too. Just the smell of it popping brings back memories of happy times.  I've shared some links for different popcorn recipes below in case you want to try your hand at some popcorn treats too.

Before we get all busy snacking and chatting though, have you got time for a quick walk around the neighbourhood with me?  It's such a pretty day, with the sun breaking through the clouds. Many of the trees are still brightly dressed in autumn colours. It would be a shame not to enjoy some of that beauty.

The paths by the river are 
scattered now with heart-shaped-cottonwood leaves. They're everywhere right now: on the trail, on the bright green autumn grass of the fields, and even floating on the water, like golden valentines
strewn with abandon by an autumn-drunk Cupid riding home on the wind. 

We'll take the top trail, I think, because the lower trail may well be flooded now, blocked by the several small streams that form when it rains heavily here.  If you glance over towards the river, you can see the brush along the river bank back lit by the light bouncing off the water.  You're enjoying the beauty of
Nature's stained glass windows.

On the street that leads from 
the river trail back towards my place, the sidewalks seems to change colour as they go along, carpeted with leaves from many different trees; here vivid red from the Japanese maples planted by the fish hatchery, there yellow from the ornamental cherries, further on reddish pink from the dogwoods, and several patches of enormous yellow leaves with russet edges from the big leaf maples. Some of them measure
more than a foot across!

People are putting their gardens to bed for the winter now but some front borders still boast colourful chrysanthemums,
nodding sunflower heads - much beloved by birds - and
orange calendula. 
Hollies bear clusters of bright red, pyracanthus branches bend under the weight of abundant orange berries, and rose bushes sport both late blooms and scarlet hips.

How can a person not fall in love with the colours of October?

And here we are, back at my place again, with roses in our cheeks from our walk in the fresh air.  That coffee and popcorn will taste even better now.  :)  Why don't we settle in and I'll share those recipes, and some beautiful things that have caught my eye recently.

I'd eat popcorn for breakfast, especially with coffee and bacon in it. Can't wait to try these coffee maple bacon popcorn treats from Jenni Field's Pastry Chef On Line.

How about a little indulgence?  Check out this Truffle Oil Black Pepper Popcorn from ChinDeep.

This Garlic Parmesan Popcorn from Feasting at Home is right up my alley.

Gingerbread Popcorn? Two of my favourite things in one bowl! From An Edible Mosaic.

Who can resist classic Caramel Popcorn?  This recipe from Premeditated Leftovers is very good.

This Pumpkin Spice Caramel Popcorn from Liz on Call is another wonderful sweet treat.


Caramel Apple Popcorn Balls from Busy Creating Memories combine two Hallowe'en classics into one great treat.

These S'mores Popcorn Balls from i heart eating are another combination of popcorn with a classic treat.  I mean, who doesn't love s'mores?


The first Beautiful Thing I want to share today is actually one of my own posts from 2013. October still makes me feel this way.  I want to write love poems to autumn at this time of year.  

Our autumn rains do many things, not least providing big, still puddles that capture beautiful reflections.  I particularly like this photo of the provincial legislative buildings in Victoria, taken from the Inner Harbour causeway by Doug Clement Photography. 

More fall beauty.  This photo was taken in the Japanese garden at Hately Castle, on the grounds of Royal Roads University, by Carrie Cole Photography.

Aren't the sky and its reflection in this photo, Before the Dock by Paul Fletcher, amazing?

I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit today! Want to continue the conversation?  I'd love to hear what you've been up to lately.  Have you been spending time outdoors?  Gardening?  Cooking? Crafting? Making cool costumes?  Pop over to see me at Aunt B's Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ and share your news. Bring pictures if you've got them and, however you spend the rest of your Hallowe'en, have a joyful day.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Monday, Tea, and October's Gifts

Hello!  How are you?  I've been thinking about you a lot this month, what with the weather and all.  Some of you have had a really rough time of it.  I hope you're okay.


We've had a very rainy few days of it here on Vancouver Island but that's fine with me. Rainy weather's pretty much the norm here in October and I have to say that I love it.  
It changes the landscape from the dry golds of late summer to a shimmering palette of silver, pewter, grey, and blue green, with splashes of autumn yellow and red for contrast.  
Water from the sky, ever drawn to the ocean, forms little streams that leap and chuckle down rocky hillsides, and waterfalls decorate every sudden drop with froths of lace.  
When it's raining steadily, it's like looking at the world through a sheer, silvery curtain; the edges of the landscape are blurred and the tops of the mountains are often wrapped in soft grey scarves.

When the weather's wet and the nights begin to draw in early, I look towards cozy pastimes like knitting and sewing, and to baking bread and cooking roast dinners that not only make the house smell wonderful, but warm it too.  

I'm baking today and  I thought that you might like to keep me company while I work. Pull up a chair to the table by my kitchen and pour a cup of tea. There are ginger scones, still warm from the oven, and butter and honey to dress them with.  Please do help yourself.

Thank you for being kind enough to overlook the mess in here today.  I've been pretty busy lately.  I've emptied my bedroom so I can paint it and hang new curtains, and the furniture, books, and bedding have all ended up in the living and dining room. 




As usual, the dining room table is home to my sewing machine and a stack of fabric on one of the dining room chairs awaits my attention.









The bedroom bookshelf (now in the hallway) has been pressed into temporary service as a repository for greeting cards.  I've been making quite a few of them this week and need to photograph them as soon as I have a bright enough day to do so.
I'm taking and editing photos of my various projects for my new Etsy shop. (Yay!) I'll be opening it soon and I'm really excited about it.  I'll be posting about its opening on my Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages once it's up and running, and I'm starting a new blog to go with it.  Watch this space for more news as my work progresses.

Of course, it's not all been work around here.  I love the fall weather and have been enjoying lots of time outdoors even on rainy days.  I have good rain gear and several lovely umbrellas so the wet is no deterrent to me.  I've been visiting some of my favourite trails, camera in hand to capture the fall colour.


Most of the trails I walk take me along some part of the river.  The salmon are starting to make their way up the rivers to spawn now that the rain has raised the water levels. I've been watching them
make their way home.  

A little later in the season, I'll be heading to Goldstream Park to take some photos of the salmon making their way upstream.  If the pictures turn out well enough to share, I'll write a blog post about it.

Indoors, my entertainment at this time of year often includes attending craft fairs.  From now until Christmas they'll be plentiful. I enjoy seeing all the creative work our local artists and artisans display.  It inspires me in my own work, and when I do purchase gifts I like to support people who take the time and care to make them by hand.  I'm looking forward to seeing lots of wonderful things!

With autumn crafts and fall cooking on my mind, several interesting blog posts have caught my eye recently.  Here are a few of them:













and here are some beautiful things that have captured my fancy along the way:





Book Paper Sculpture - Paper Tree with swing on wood by Malena Valcarcel.  You can see more of her work at her Etsy shop.



I don't know the title of this painting from Jane's Shed but it sure is amazing.  You can find more of Jane Wilson's work with  maps in the Cartophilia Gallery on her website.   









Thanks for visiting me today.  I've enjoyed it.  

I'd really like to hear about your autumn too.  How have you fared with the weather?  What's been keeping you busy?  What's caught your eye on line?  Please do take a minute to comment here, or on my Facebook page, Twitter feed. or on Google+.  I'll look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Hello! I've Missed You!

Hello!  I've missed you!  

Since I have some extra time on line today, I thought we might have a visit over a virtual cup of tea this afternoon.  

Step into my living room.  You can sit in my favourite corner of the couch, where you can gaze out the window and enjoy the view.  



It's cloudy this afternoon, and kind of cool outside; my very favourite kind of weather.  I have lots of energy on days like this and love to go out for walks around the neighbourhood.  The colours of the flowers show so brightly against the grey sky, and lots of people take advantage of the cool weather to work in their gardens or to get out and about as I am, to enjoy the sights.

My neighbourhood is very green right now.  Trees are wearing heavy canopies of leaves, and abundant crops of nuts and fruit adorn many of them like jewellery. The evergreens are dropping their cones right now and squirrels travel along the aerial highway the power lines form, carrying the cones away to stash them for the winter months.  Some of those cones end up in my foraging bag too, destined to be crafted into Christmas decorations.

The river is very low now, chuckling over the rocks where it passes through the park down the street from my house.  You can walk all the way across it now, without ever needing to swim.  At the swimming hole, children and dogs are busy playing, even in this cool water.  The sound of their laughter drifting up through my window as they bike their way home makes me smile.

I've baked a coffee cake just for you.  



The whole apartment smells like cinnamon, and warm steam curls up from our teacups, fragrant too.

So...How have you been?

I've been pretty busy lately.  July and August are busy times in my little town.  We have the 39 Days of July Festival from June 24 to August 1, with live music downtown every day, the Rock of the Woods Music Festival, and the SunFest Country Music Festival, as well as all sorts of other smaller events in the other towns around us.  

I'm not a crowd person so I avoid the big events, but I do check out the smaller ones.  I enjoyed the music downtown and have made several visits to the Forest Discovery Centre.  I've walked much of the Trans Canada Trail here in the valley and especially enjoy the sections in the Cowichan Valley Provincial Park.  


My sister and I spent a day in Chemainus and found what may be my favourite coffee shop ever, with walls of books, jazz music, and - of course - good coffee.  It was a real treat!



At home, I've been doing lots of sewing and crafting.  I'm hoping to share some of those projects with you very soon.

I've been writing too.  Here's my latest piece from b-attitude. There's a lot more on all my blogs, in draft form.  I hope to have enough library time in the coming weeks to publish some of it for you.

You guys know how my magpie mind works, right?  I'm interested in all sorts of things.  Here are some on line things that have caught my eye recently:















And here are some beautiful things have captured my attention:

This sweet yellow vignette in my living room


Path in the Woods by Vincent VanGogh, shared by the VanGogh Museum




This beautiful Monet-inspired photo from The Butchart Gardens


(Cadboro Bay is about an hour's drive south of where I live.)


Milky Way at Skutz Falls by David Chang Photography
(Skutz Falls is part of the Cowichan River Provincial Park, located about 1/2 hour's drive west of where I live.)


Thank you so much for visiting with me!  I'd love to hear your news too.  If you have stories or photos or interesting links to share, please post them in the comments below my link to this blog at Aunt B's Kitchen on Facebook.* I'll look forward to seeing them the next time I have time on line at the library.

I hope that whatever the weather is like where you are, and whether you are enjoying busy times or quiet, life is bringing you things that make you happy.  I hope that you have time to enjoy the gifts each day gives you and that you're able to dream big, happy dreams while holding those you love close to your heart.  

Take good care of you.  I hope we can visit again soon.  


*G-Rated and family friendly comments, photos, and blog links only please. No politics, either.  I'll delete anything I think may offend my readers.