Stonecrop Sister

From the corner of my eye, I seek the reason why.


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Cakes

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I love all things chocolate, and on a weekend, baking is one of my favourite things to do.  I love how the house smells when I bake, and having a sweet treat at the end of a meal is always a welcome end to the day.

Last weekend I went to my favourite bookstore and picked up Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykin.  This recipe collection takes its name from the bakery in Vancouver that opened in 2007.  They soon became known worldwide to have the best gourmet marshmallows in North America, and are currently in more than 300 stores throughout the US, Canada and Japan.  Recipes like homemade-you-know-what‘The Homemade You-Know-What” cookie (yes, it really is called that) made it to Oprah’s attention, and was on Vancouver Magazine’s list of the 101 things to Taste Before You Die.

I made Butter’s Chocolate Cake and while it was a long afternoon, the end result had my daughter and her friends filling their plates with this four-layer piece of heaven.

photoLike most of us, I have to watch what I eat.  The temptation to indulge regularly in this type of dessert is not something that I can do if I want to maintain my weight, given I am not an active person.  But I enjoy baking as an outlet for stress, and life is short.

So expect to see Stonecrop Decadence as a regular feature going forward.

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Costume Party

748bb53b0efa413da0614913c4bdfa32On the weekend,  I reorganized my closet with the goal of letting go of those pieces that I no longer wear, and making room for some of the warmer clothing I’ve had hanging at the back, or hidden away in drawers.  It was a good exercise to put some order to it, and as I took each piece off the hangar to consider whether it was a keeper or in the discard pile, I gave some thought as to what I had envisioned for myself when I made the purchase.  Clothes are costumes, they provide us with an opportunity to try out a different facet of our personality.  I must have a lot of personalities. I could give Sybil a good run for her money judging by the bags I gave away.

Taking some time to clean out a drawer, throw away that blue mascara, hand wash and iron those few pieces you have tucked away on a shelf awaiting your attention, can help bring you back down to ground zero, and remind you of what your core image is.  It is hard to justify buying a new sweater, or outfits for work, if you have lost view of what is most important to you.

I get pleasure out of drifting through a few of my favourite stores and eyeing what catches my interest.   Paring down and making some mental notes about what is still working for me has been a good thing — it has reminded me of how much I have, and that buying more costumes is not always the correct or only avenue for making changes for the new and improved me.

Here are a few style images that appealed to me this week:

 

 

 


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Sisters

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You might have guessed from the title of my blog that I believe that it is a magnificent thing to be part of a sisterhood.  I have two sisters, and one very patient brother.  I live on the opposite side of the country, and I am not often in their neighbourhood, nor they in mine.  But I have good memories that are particular to these women, and it is from sitting on a bench at lunch that I watch those memories float past me, all those holiday dinners, like a movie reel, the nuances of their strengths, and complex personalities come forth, and for a brief time in my day, I am with them once again.

It is waiting at the window, pulling back that white cafe curtain just a bit more, was that a car, are they here yet?  And the first car spilling out it’s occupants, sisters and family, platters of foil covered dishes, corning ware, tupperware, bags of rolls, salads, wine yes I would love a glass, packs of beer, slip those down to the basement would you, pies, always pies, cakes, bars, pots of potatoes.  Busyness in the kitchen while others arrive, voices, voices, long table cheerfully set, we’ve 18 this year, imagine, lucky for the second table as well.  Not much time to socialize before dinner, younger days younger children, always a child at a sister’s skirt, looking up, wanting a snack a drink let me in let me out.  Snowsuits on, snowsuits off, will uncle rich toboggan as well? And then the food is on the table, hurry now, eat while it’s hot and sisters resemble a game of whack-a-mole, one is sitting down but another is up and out to clear a dish, refill a plate, check on the mug of water in the microwave, are you ready for that now Dad, pour a glass of wine, clear the passthrough of turnip casserole, hand through that carrot cake, who wants apple, and who wants lemon? One sister washing, one sister drying, let’s get these done so presents can be next.  Sisters talk as the dishes are done, it’s an interwoven dance, an invisible folk weaving of habits and patterns ingrained from a hundred years of dinners like this one, it was Evelyn and Rita and Bernadette before us, and it is Marie and Carolyn and Nancy and Mary Ellen and Kate and Jenny and Elaine and the girlfriends and new wives of the boys, and Naomi and Kyra, and Sammy and Gabby.  Sisters, my beginning and my end.

 

 

 

 

 


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Time for Fall Dresses

 

 

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Time to shop for the perfect fall dress! Dresses are my choice of clothing for work.  I love showing off  heels, and as the seasons change, so does my style of dress.  In summer, my eye goes to linen shifts, or beautiful floor-touching maxi skirts with simple white Tee’s and a little bolero jacket.  In the fall I look for dresses, and I prefer solid colours, accessorized with earrings and rings, watches and bracelets.

I like the look of the day dresses in the 1950’s.  Cinched waists, flaring skirts, three-quarter length sleeves, materials like gingham and light wools, to crepes and satins.  Figure flattering no matter what your shape.

I bought a Diane von Furstenberg dress because of this throw-back in style to a fuller skirt, pockets, and wrapped bodice.  I really love it, and think it will last throughout the years as a staple in my wardrobe.

Here are a few images that my eye spied this week.  Enjoy!

 

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Starting Over

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I am excited for a few things this weekend.  First, it’s pay day tomorrow, so I feel less guilty about heading out to my favourite shopping strip to see if there are any great early finds for fall.  I love this upcoming season.  The need for cozy, soft sweaters in hues of burgundy, greens, browns, or ambers.  Throws you can reach for in the evening to wrap around shoulders as you sit outside with the outdoor fireplace on, or on the couch with a good book or maybe watching the fall TV shows as they come out of hiding.

I like the dark mornings, and the early sunsets.  I like putting a bit of brown into my blonde to tone down the vibe from summer.  Autumn seems to represent new beginnings to me.  I think September should be the start of the New Year.  I feel like a year completes the circle at the end of August, and regardless of our age or stage, it signifies a psychological shift in the board game of life.  It’s time once again to pass GO, and to stop, stand still, watch and listen.  And then act on what will give you pleasure.  Maybe if you are solitary and sometimes feel lonely, it is joining a group to push yourself out of the comfortable, just to see if new friendships are in order.  If it doesn’t work out, then maybe you will in turn be grateful for what you have discovered about yourself – that you enjoy your own company.  There is certainly nothing wrong with that.

Maybe it is about taking a course, or committing to some regular exercise after dinner, even if only for a quick 10 minute walk.  The fall is a great time to begin the thought process of what will enrich your life.

The world has been a chaotic place this summer.  Fighting in the middle East has been devastating; the loss of the Malaysian plane over the Ukraine took with it one of our beloved managers from my company.  I look for images that give hope, that remind of us that no matter what, we have beauty all around us, that it is only waiting for our eyes to spy the moment in time.  These moments are snapshots, and we are the lens.  Hope is in the super moon, and in fabulous boots, gorgeous dresses,  beautiful women, and breathtaking landscapes.  I am so lucky to be a woman.  Enjoy the beauty.

 

 


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A Place to Call Home

What kind of house do you dream of?  Growing up, I would read books about houses with secret passageways, opulent bathrooms adjoining each bedroom, multiple staircases leading to different parts of the house.  My mom collected Better Homes and Gardens for years, clipping pictures of beautiful exteriors and while I cannot say that I have her talent for decorating, I do love lingering over the images of comfortable rooms, nooks and crannies.

I have always been a lover of books, re-reading favourites, accumulating them, first in bookshelves, then on the floor in piles by my bed.  Libraries big and small captivate me.  I could easily disappear into the fantasy land of Downton Abbey, and reside forever in the library.

 

 

A balcony view of water is something many of us would not mind having at the end our day. It’s a reminder that the world is a big place, and our troubles for the most part are small.

 

 

Do you have plans for creating a relaxing area outside where you can lounge with friends and family?  Backyards have come a long way since the days of cement patios and the lone red topped barbecue set up against the fence.

 

 

I dream of a space I can call my own some days.  A room with a big white couch, paintings on the wall, a lovely desk for writing, french doors, fur rugs, throws and pillows.

 

A small bathroom with personal touches can be the perfect spot to relax with a glass of wine and a good book.

 

 

I love the look of neutrals in a bedroom, with different textures of a patterned rug, high ceilings, chandeliers, crystal based lamps, fur throws.

 

A New York living room.  Enough said.

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Do you have a favourite room or project you would like to take on? Home is a special place, a sanctuary for us at the end of the day, and it provides a blank canvas to express a bit of our own personality if we so desire. If you have a picture or comment you would like to share, I would love to hear from you.


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Time for Reflection

IMG_7337It’s been a busy two weeks.  I was at the cabin for the first week and a half, and then had a few days puttering around home.

I had the best of intentions to do exercise everyday – the type that would yield results at the end of two weeks for arms and abs.

I had a list of songs I was intent on downloading for a new playlist – like The Pretenders Back on the Chain Gang, Robert Palmer’s Mercy Mercy Me.  Oldies I know but how can you not love them? I did get some reading done – Elin Hilderbrand’s The Matchmaker, Jussi Adler Olsen’s The Purity of Vengeance.  But I still have Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, and Robin Galbraith’s The Silkworm on my nightstand.

But time slipped by and I remained unoccupied.  Instead, I did a lot of thinking, watching water and children and dogs playing. Not a bad way to pass the time.  It was a different vacation from any other.  I had to say goodbye to our dog Molly, a beautiful family member. She had been sick in the spring and we knew that these would be her last few weeks with us.  Still when that day came, my birthday no less, I was not ready for it. It came quick, there was no one other than me at the cabin, so it was a hard day, and affected all of us for many days afterward.  But I believe that’s okay.  She deserved our sadness.

So this post is to say a brief hello to all, and to post our Molly’s picture one more time.  The best dog in the world.

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