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.