Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Sunday afternoon at Rosalie Park - Frank is working in the shed and Dale is reading a book (napping). Rosie, the Chocolate Taunting Temptress is basking in the warm spring sunshine on the driveway. All is calm and peaceful.  UNTIL ...

Frank whips the sliding door open and asks "Where's Rosie?". 

We both go into panic mode, because she's our baby. She's six years old, but we have had her only for eighteen months. She was a "free" dog who had had way too many puppies (25 in total) and is gun-shy so she needed a new home with no more Rosie-puppies, no guns, lots of room to run, her own pond to swim in, her own cats, and where she could suck the hearts right out of her new owners with her furiously wagging tail, big brown eyes and puppy ears. She's very gentle and well-behaved. We don't even have to keep the gate closed. Make that "didn't have to keep the gate closed". And she always comes when she's called. Make that "always came when she was called". UNTIL SUNDAY. 

Gate open. Dog not appearing. Frank checks the barn. I check the front yard. NO DOG. 

Then I remember something from Saturday. There is one house between ours and Becky and Colin's. The between house has new people (they are not really "new people" - they are our age, but new-to-us people) living there. They have been doing a lot of work - clearing the ugly stump forest and tearing down old fencing and trying to create a park-like setting (just like we are). And they have a pond. One that Rosie had been swimming in just the day before with her new best friend - Becky and Colin's Cain, the Chocolate Frog Dog. Swimming was followed by a bunch of ball-throwing and pats and running free and just good ol' fashioned neighbourhood friendliness.

Apparently Rosie decided that more fun was available than shed-working and book-reading and off she trotted. According to Becky, Rosie helped herself to a dip in the between house's pond then headed to Becky and Colin's for a dog-frolic with the Chocolate Frog Dog. 

I showed up with my stern dog-mom look, but realized she'd already had a great time and I could not say "bad dog" because she was just doing what she had done the day before. Rosie was having a great time with the Chocolate Frog Dog, Becky and Colin and another couple, C & W. The humans were very interested in a horse that was alone in the riding ring and were looking over some kind of chart marked off in squares. Turns out they were having a fund-raiser for their horse club and had sold tickets for each square. The idea was that the squares corresponded to areas of the riding ring and they were waiting for the horse to poop and whoever owned the corresponding square on the chart would win the pot. 

Becky asked if I would like to buy a ticket - she could lend me $20. She trusts me - what with just living up the street and all and they come here for G&T and Rumoli and we give the kids "little pops" (half-size Coke) and usually support her horse club fund raisers (beer & burgers, silent auctions, etc.) So I buy 4 tickets, have a cup of coffee, call Rosie and we head home. I am happy because we have great neighbours and I have our Chocolate Taunting Temptress trotting along beside me.


Monday morning I get a phone call from Becky. Horse has pooped. On one of my squares. Thanks to Rosie, I won $360.

Love to my family and friends.

Kae-Lee with her "little pop", Rosie, the Chocolate Taunting Temptress
and Cain, the Chocolate Frog Dog (taken when we still had snow on the ground)

Friday, April 24, 2009


Did you ever, in your entire life, get from your sister-in-law a gift that left you completely and utterly speechless? Did you ever, in your entire life, expect to get from your sister-in-law a gift that not only left you completely and utterly speechless, but also wondering "Heavens to Betsy, what ever am I going to do with this ... this ... this ... THING"? Because you know full well that this gift from your sister-in-law is supposed to be put on full display for the whole world to see and that if you don't put it on display, snarky comments will be made about how she goes to the trouble and expense of buying gifts that no one appreciates. And how she's never buying anyone a gift again. And it turns out that two other people are getting something similar and you get to see the reaction of only one.

Jeepers Dale, you say - did you get a Shamwow for Christmas? And I say "No" - then I change that because yes, if you break down "Shamwow" to its parts, it is a "FakeWow" and that had to be our reaction - fake "wow". As in "You shouldn't have" and really mean it. "You shouldn't have. YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE" - now or ever.

And here is a little taste -

but you already saw this picture on my Facebook page, didn't you? So, here is another taste ... (maybe "taste" is not the right word - perhaps I should have used "snippet")

We need to rewind back to October, 2008 for a bit of pre-amble. Her brother (Frank) and I decided that we had enough stuff. Make that we had enough stuff that other people had either bought for or given to us and that we could buy our own stuff. Ergo ... (don't you love that word?) it seemed like a good plan to discontinue the practice of exchanging Christmas gifts with grown adults who also have a lot of stuff. So we tell SIL "No gift exchange for Christmas anymore". And SIL says "But I already bought you a gift". I should mention that I wonder about people who have their Christmas shopping done in October, but I'll save that for another time.

I just bet that by now you are starting to get the picture, aren't you? Turns out that this THING was hand-made just for us - a custom order if you please - by a motor-homing friend who makes these for other motor-homing people who use them as decorative pieces by their motor-home doors ...  

Our niece got one with horses. One in a very interesting position that defies description. Her brother got one with dogs, but I have not seen that one.

These THINGS are bound together with recycled nylon rope. The wood posts look like normal wood. The figures look like other normal resin/acrylic figures. But wait! There's more. Not only are they decorative, but they are also useful! They aren't just a custom-made THING at all! They are, in fact (and unbelievably) solar lights! How very environmentally friendly. Because now, while we are saving electricity, we have to look at one of the fugliest things on the face of this planet. And we will even be able to see it in the dark!

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. William Morris

In the background is our new door to the garage bathroom - isn't it useful - and beautiful? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Today I took photos in my my sewing room to post on the NING group I belong to and after I looked at those photos, I started to think about the things I have in this room and where they came from and how much they mean to me. Most particularly, my rosewood bookcase.

The rosewood bookcase where (funnily enough) my needle-related books are was one of the first pieces of furniture Frank and I bought when we moved to North Vancouver after living in Prince Rupert for five months when we were first married. It's about 34 years old. I still think it is a lovely piece of furniture.

Stored in the bookcase are:

Recipes collected and and saved in a 2lb chocolate box by my mother-in-law, Cora Abeling. A lot are written in Dutch or cut, very carefully, from the newspaper. Aunty Mary Richmond's recipes are in a plastic file card box. Most of hers are low-calorie and low fat or are for Colonel Blimp Chutney. One day I will make a collage for each of them. Just because.

A little book called "Little Sally Mandy and the Shiny Penny" which was given to me in 1956 by Mrs. Dorthea Fountain - a friend of my grandmother Ada Georgina Shoemaker Richmond. Mrs. Fountain was one of the first female doctors to graduate from the University of Toronto. Sadly, both of her sons were killed during WWII. Mrs. Fountain used to send us scratchy socks and Barley Sugar Sticks for Christmas and a $2 bill for our birthdays until we turned 16.

A small pink cup and saucer that Donna and Rob Laydon (Leighton?) gave me when I was born - way back in 1951. My father Charles Herbert Battison and my cousin Sydney Carol Dean broke it when they were throwing a rolled up sock around the house many years ago. It is held together by imbedded Scotch Tape residue and is one of the very few things I own that came from my life with my father and mother. Another item from my life with my father and mother is my father's camera which he left with my mother (Ada Margaret Richmond Battison Smith) so she could take pictures. She didn't bother very often, so there is very little documented evidence of my existence between the ages of 7 and 25 and even then, its spotty!

A handcrafted pottery bunny that my sister Ann Margaret Battison gave me. A cat pushed it off a shelf and broke its ears which have been Crazy-Glued back in place. I know Ann won't mind that a cat broke it, because she likes cats too!

A little Grecian villa, two stuffed desk ornaments, rock bookends, an 'earthquake indicator' and three Russian figurines that were actually purchased in Russia by a Steele & Co. client and which remind me of some of the finest men a girl could work for!

A plaster of paris carving that I made for Aunty Mary when she was Director of Nursing at Vancouver General and I was in Grade 10 at Royal Oak Junior High. A piece of driftwood that either Ann or I cleaned and varnished for Aunty Mary for Christmas back when our mother was feeling 'artsy crafty'. Ann says she made it; I say I made it. Doesn't really matter. I have it.

Framed petit-pointed pansies made for me by my friend Kass who also made the framed cross-stitched butterfly and my own silk-on-silk embroidered flower kit that Frank gave me for Christmas the same year he gave me a calligraphy pen and some Henkel knives - which was the same year his sister got gold-plated faucets for a house they don't live in any more. I still have the knives and I can do calligraphy.

Pieces of decorative china and magical, wondrous sewing things that belonged to Dorothy Peacock and her half-sister (my father's cousin) Kay Peacock Little. Decorative bone china sent to my mother by her uncle George Richmond (Nr. Swindon, Wilts., England) for Christmas over the years.

My precious collection of thimbles - gifted to me by my husband, a former employer, friends, family and Aunty Mary (Helen) Battison Dean who gave me some of Dorothy's and Kay's sewing treasures.

Not one, but TWO cases containing the feet and some other (but not all - by a long shot!) attachments for my Bernina Artista 200 sewing machine that I bought just for me in memory of my mother who taught me to sew and my Aunty Mary who encouraged us in everything we did. (My old Bernina 830 is stored behind my sewing table and my new Pfaff is under the stool that Aunty Mary bargello-ed.)

My rosewood bookcase is a very special piece of furniture.

And look - I have a project underway on the ironing board! It's a scrappy log-cabinish type of quilt and I have actually used some of my stash, including one spool of thread!

And another look!! I have another project in waiting - the floor needs to be vacuumed!

I'll do that sometime.

Stay tuned for things mentioned, but not elaborated on, in this blog! May be tomorrow - may be next week!

UPDATE: Because of this post, I was contacted by relatives of Mrs. Dorthea Fountain's! It's a small cyber-world! Thanks Leslie!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Wallpaper stripping continues. The wallpaper from the main entry area and hallway is now in the trash. The area by the front door was decorated with silvery/flocky/ridgey flowers in a mauve/pink/shiny combo (quite frankly, not my taste at all) and the border print that went down the hall, across a doorway and back up the other side of the hall was another flocky/ridgey floral, but in completely different colours (blue and yellow) from the door area. The remaining border print is in the room I have named the aquarium/cookbook librarium for lack of a better name. Since all the other rooms have names that are indicative of their function or contents, it works for me. 

The stash that was used the past few days? Well, you might think it doesn't count, but if you have two of something that you bought a couple of years ago and plan NEVER, EVER to buy or need again (a.) because all the wallpaper will be gone, and b.) because you will never, ever hang wallpaper again in your entire life), and use both of them, then it is using a stash which, in this case, is wallpaper stripper solution. I must question the instructions on this product. The solution is in a 650 ml bottle. (I assume, but the instructions don't say) The solution is to be poured into a bucket large enough to accommodate the 650 mls plus the required 7 litres of hot water (I ended up with over 1/2 bucket full) and to apply with a paint roller to the wallpapered walls, wait 15 minutes, reapply, wait another 15 minutes and scrape off the offending fugly wallpaper. The instructions say to "USE IMMEDIATELY". I do not understand how this could actually happen, unless one was trying to remove wallpaper from the floor and was able to dump the entire bucketful of solution on the floorpaper, swidge it about an area exactly large enough to use all of it, wait 15 minutes (while waiting - make more) and reapply, then scrape of the fugly floorpaper. I think I need to email the manufacturer and I am just in the mood to do so.

Dale, you say. However did you get yourself involved in the Great Wallpaper Caper when it is so much more gratifying to loll about in your sewing room with paper, coloured pencils, heat tools, that new package of Tyvek ... etc.? Well, I answer - can you read back to the blog about the dumpster bin? I am not going to refresh memories here - just look for the pictures of the blue dumpster and/or the guy on the ladder and you will get the general idea. Think sledgehammer and about 3 tons of bricks and marble.

After the painting of the dining room and living room (and cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, polishing, washing, putting backing, etc. associated therewith), the new roof and associated removal of the fugly fireplace and associated cleaning, dusting, vacuuming ... (and some other improvement project, but I can't remember what), it was (almost mutally) decided that more work was required. Since I am not a carpenter, I let Frank do the filling, sanding, hammering, sawing, ladder-climb-past-three-rungsing, lifting, and drywalling. In return, I got to whine and complain that I already cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, polished, washed, putted backed, etc. from the previous home improvements, make lazy dinners due to the fact that nothing has been cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, polished, washed, putted backed, etc. because this is an ongoing project and I have learned my lesson.

Since Frank has little (or no) patience with finicky work (hence his lack of skill at quilting, pattern drafting, wedding-dress making, embroidery, cross-stitch, artsy-quilty-melty stuff, calligraphy, etc.) (or two periods of 15 minute waiting) to strip the wallpaper from one area, I thought I can do this as long as I only have to climb three rungs of the ladder. So I said I would do it. So I am.

Monday, March 16, 2009


So, Frank has returned from a successful business trip to Nelson. I picked him up from the ferry terminal at about 10:25 last Wednesday night. My two nights or so being able to do whatever I wanted - not so successful. I had started an artsy-quilty-melty experiment to play with while he was gone. The Black Prince's mother returned from her vacation. We had the Balderson's 5-year old cheddar. All the stars were aligned for me to have a perfect few days.

However ... real life intervened and totally screwed up my well laid plans. Firstly, we had snow. AGAIN. The first three flights out were cancelled and the fourth - well, let me put it this way.  Frank rebooked his flight, ending up on the last flight out at approximately 4:30 by which time the snow had almost completely melted - at least enough for me to drive in it.

Head on home from the harbour. Eat Balderson's and have a glass of wine while sewing. Make a few phone calls, e a few mails, ignore Skype due to a plethora of people with screen names that when spoken out loud sound pornographic and wonder why they don't get a life of their own. Poke around with stuff, bore myself into a comatose state and go to bed. Next day, an excursion to Ladysmith and a visit to the Wordly Gourmet (thanks Jenny and Cal) and a walk-about. Return to car to head home and cell phone call from Helen, Black Prince the Relentless's mom.  For some reason, she wants HER dog back. We agree to meet at the Crow & Gate for lunch. Thoroughly enjoy a lovely 2-hour lunch with a glass of wine and pot of tea (she's a Brit) and return home where the Black Prince is out of his mind with excitement and Rosie the Chocolate Taunting Temptress heaves a huge sight of relief and settles into her big puffy pillow for a very long, uninterrupted nap. I realize I don't feel so good and end up with a stomach bug that does not go away until Friday - i.e. two days after Frank's return. SHIIIITTT. So much for quality time by myself with just me and some wine, Balderson's, and my sewing machine. No stash used. Hardly any wine consumed.

Felt much better by Friday afternoon and continued to improve, so Saturday's dinner with our dear friends Patti and Nolan at the Wesley Street Restaurant went ahead as planned. Oh my God. What a fabulous restaurant. What fabulous food. What wonderful friends to have in our lives after nearly 20 years of missing out. The hostess/sommelier chose for us a perfect Pinot Noir (last week's choice was also a Pinot Noir from a different winery) and I look forward to Frank's next birthday in April with great anticipation. He has suggested that we try to go there once a month. TRY? I'm in for once every two months! But, being a dutiful wife (no women's lib here), I'll go there once a month if he really, really wants. After all, I did promise to "obey".

So far for the past couple of weeks, no measurable stash used. Not even thread puked up by one of the cats. I am beginning to think that "using my stash" is just an euphemism for spending time in my sewing room, watching what I want on TV and playing with the laptop. (Or doing diddly-squat and not having to justify it!)

Pictures to be posted in a bit. The greatest news! The fugly fireplace is gone. Toast. History. Derbish (don't ask - or do, if more info is required or you are in need of a good laugh).  And we have a new roof. The roofer had a dumpster delivered for the discarded roofing material. Informed us to put stuff in it, because he wouldn't be filling it. (My regular reader will remember that Frank recently painted ... and I recently washed, waxed, polished, dusted, vacuumed, etc. everything I could get my hands on. Well, those same decorations, ornaments, objets d'art, pictures, windows, walls, picture frames, picture glass,  etc. ad infinitum now require a repeat of ... oh SHIIITTT BUGGER DAMN!)

Anyway - the roofer finished today. (We really hope he brings his wife here for coffee or a beer one day - we liked him. We are keeping our fingers crossed for his wife Sherry whom we have never met - she just had a total hysterectomy and lumps were found in her breast.) The last of the fugly fireplace is in the dumpster, the dusting etc. have commenced. Dinner and wine have been consumed - and even though I know that when I get up tomorrow, I will be spending time with the Beam vac - that goddawful fireplace will never again have Christmas stockings hanging from it and that makes me very, very happy.  New garage doors are to be installed tomorrow. No more rotten/frozen veggies and fruit stored in the garage. Added bonus - there's a tax credit ... great.

Oh. Except ... The flooring will need to be replaced (throughout the house) ... and the ceiling needs re-crumbing or whatever that spray stuff is called (in at least two rooms - no sparkles please).  And the wall where the fireplace was needs painting ... and on and on and on -  but I AM happy. However, I could be ECSTATIC if ... the kitchen were ... the flooring ... new windows ... french doors ... carpeting ... 



AND ... futhermore ... I don't understand why my photos end up at the top of this blog and I have to move them myself - no cut, paste, copy, insert or whatever. Just appear at the top of the blog and make me crazy trying to line them up (anal retentive) where I (bold, underline, italic, big font) want them.

If my long-lost friend ELM (formerly ELD) is reading this - hugs - and I apologize for being a bitch 40'odd years ago.

Next up may relate to calendars and the daunting task of  blogging EVERY DAY?!!!

Love to my family and friends.

AND THIS IS THE GUY WHO DID IT ...!!!!!! (He has been climbing ladders for me for nearly 35 years.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

We have more snow today - about 4 inches. The crocuses are up to their pistils in snow, but it sure was pretty with the mauve and purple blossoms poking through the snow. I have no idea how many crocus bulbs the original owners of this house planted, but they are now happily self-seeding in the garden and in the lawn (the bulbs, not the original owners ...) and most of them are in the mauve/purple family. It is supposed to turn very cold tonight, but fortunately the snow has melted from the main roads, so I shall be able to get out and about without too much trouble - I think.

Frank has gone to Nelson for a few days. He was supposed to leave around 11 am, but most of the early flights today were cancelled, so he did not leave until nearly 5 pm. I have all day tomorrow and a large chunk of Wednesday to play in my sewing room and eat Balderson's 5-year old cheddar and crackers for dinner! 

The Black Prince's mother is due home from her cruise late tonight and she plans to pick him up sometime tomorrow. I think Rosie will be glad to have him gone for a while - she being nearly 6 years old and he being only 2. He's very rambunctious, but not entirely to blame since she's a Taunting Temptress!

I started another artsy-quilty-melty experiment, but it is not yet ready for photographing. Hopefully, I'll have it ready later this week. I did an interpretation of the crocuses too - but forgot to leave the camera set on auto, so a lot of those photos turned out very dark.

I had a birthday yesterday - not a big one really. Only one digit changed. Frank took me to a fabulous restaurant in Nanaimo - The Wesley Street Restaurant. The food was wonderful and the wine perfect. Our friend Patti's birthday is today and she and her husband and Frank and I plan to go out together next Saturday. I would love to go back to the Wesley Street. Pricey, but fabulous.

On Saturday, we went to George and Marjorie's for pizza and hot wings with them and Marjorie's cousin and her husband. Had a great time. We had planned to play Rumoli, but ended up just talking.

On my actual birthday, Frank and I ran some errands and had A&W for dinner ... not gourmet but it worked!

I have joined several NING groups and enjoyed seeing the wonderful work posted by the talented members.

I am now returning to my sewing room - Zero stash used completely, but I have used snippets and scraps from my last artsy-quilty-melty project in the one I am working on tonight. I have also dragged out various and assorted fancy threads for machine embroidery. I need to make something I can work on by hand in the evenings - beading or silk ribbon embroidery or something, now that the needle-hole in my middle finger has healed again.

Love to my family and friends.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Our colds seem to be getting better - and we both felt well enough to go to the local pub for dinner tonight (glass of wine for me, G&T for Frank) - for the first time in nearly three weeks. We ran into friends who tell us that we are lucky because they know people who have had this friggin cold for three, four, five weeks.

Last night I decided to make a friend's brand new baby granddaughter a quilt. I located the fabric (didn't like it then - don't like it now) I bought five years ago for another friend's brand new baby daughter ... anyway, today I finished the quilt and decided to put the babe's name on it with the font feature of my Artista 200. Babe's name is Nevaeh (Heaven backward ....). I mis-spelled it as Neveah because I am old and names should be forward, not backward. My friends all have names that don't spell anything backward - my name backward is Elad. The chances of naming a tiny little 8 pound baby Elad - slim and nil. My sister's name is Ann - Nna. Nope. Frank or Knarf - nope. Ssak - Kass. Neleh - Helen. Eirojram - Marjorie - that's it!!! I'll name my kid Eirojram!! Backward spelling does not work in most cases. Including Heaven. Good thing they did not name the poor wee babe after something that cannot be pronounced when spelled backward. Anyway - the end result - after carefully embroidering Heaven backward, folding the quilt and putting it in a giftbag, I started to second-guess myself. Sure enough, I sewed it as Neveah. Names should not be spelled backward to make yet another name. However ... if one had a bowl of Alphaghetti ... one could experiment first ...

My problem now is how (or if) to fix the goddam quilt. This is not a life-time quilt. It is a large floral - with a satin stitch border. About 8 hours of work, if that. Big enough for a three or four month old ebab to be diapered and talc'd on. Not big enough even for its tsrif crib. Cover up the babe's name with an ironed-on overlay? Pick it out and leave all those needle holes? Ignore the spelling error? Tell the kid's mom that she should have named the baby something forward instead of backward? Neveah/Nevaeh - whatever ... it doesn't change the baby in any way. And just maybe - who knows - the mom may have mis-spelled it on the birth certificate ... and I could be right? There will be no picture of this quilt posted ereh, so don't bother looking for it.

It will be fixed somehow and given to the babe's mom - puked and pee'd on - and passed on to the next baby in that family - perhaps his name will be Bob. One can only hope.

In the right place at the right time - we have been the very lucky recipients of 15 rhododendrons. Our friends have listed their house for sale and had dug up a lot of rhodos that they were unable to replant and which they gave to us. Thank you so much Helen and Bryan. We will miss you.

Love to my family and friends.