Friday, January 30, 2009

Tying up Odd and Ends

I finally broke through my 'artist's block'. This is the first drawing I have done in about three months. No real reason that I can identify, except that I kept making excuses for myself ... it takes too much concentration... it was too hard on my eyes...etc. etc. So I made myself concentrate on colors. I find I am very attracted to color and secondarily to form or shape. So I combined three items I saw in a catalog, put my own slant on them and came up with this. I promised myself I would be able to put more colors in this rendition and that gave me the impetus. May have to coerce myself this way again for the next one.

I called this The Circle of Life.

Below is another mural I found in down town Carlsbad -- on the second floor this time. The down town area has some really interesting stores and malls. They are only a couple of blocks from the beach. The stores and buildings are unusual in architectural design, many are in boutique style, and are well worth a visit. The main area is about two block east of I-5 and a couple of blocks on either side of Carlsbad Village Drive, (old-timers call it 'Elm' !). Don't let the monstrous old Encina Power Plant on the ocean front color your impression of our town. It is due to be removed sometime soon -- sadly to be replaced by another one, which is supposed to be put in a more appropriate place and to be more aesthetically pleasing, but that is still in the hands of politicians and city government, I believe.

Thought you might like to see the close-up of that unusual cactus I posted the other day. It has either flowers or fruit. I've never seen one like this before. I have no idea what it is called.

** Today I took another look at that gardenia bush I posted the other day. The buds are just about to open. It looks like it is going to be be quite a display. Photo coming up .

** Bailey seems to be maintaining his weight loss. He is now entirely on diet food.

QUIZ ANSWERS (from the last post): Products of Northumberland UK....
1. Pheasants' feathers

2. Sheep's wool

3. Leeks ( usually associated with Wales)

4. Fish


P.S. There is no new news on Sylvia except that she is fading. I have not been able to see her because of my terrible cold and cough. I will see if she can have visitors tomorrow. Pray for Joe, her husband. He is having trouble accepting what is happening.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Sorry for the delay in posting. Like many people I have been down with that nasty cold and cough that seems to be hitting everyone.

I have continued to buy quite a number of old post cards on E Bay that depict my village of Flamborough before 1945. Some of them go back to 1906.

In one packet I received, the seller included as packing the pictures below that are from a brochure promoting the county of Northumberland in Northern England.
I was intrigued by them, mainly because although I could quickly identify #1-3, picture #4 puzzled me for a couple of hours. They are all products of Northumberland. What do you think they are?


Sadly, my dear friend , Sylvia, had to be put into hospice care last week . The cancer they wanted to remove has spread throughout her body. The good news is that Sylvia has a wonderful and secure faith in the Lord. She tells us she is ready and knows the Lord is there waiting for her. She has a remarkable life story from her childhood in Armenia where she and her family suffered much persecution . She is fading fast. If you can spare the time, prayers for her peace and comfort as well as for the comfort of her family, would be so appreciated.


Friday, January 23, 2009

My Firescreen Update (For now)

I purchased small glass stones (the teaspoon is for size comparison). They were supposed to be amber, at least that's what they looked like in the store. But when I got them home they were more cranberry colored and I don't have anything red in the room. I wanted amber to go with the gilt candle holders and to intensify the more yellow gold shade.

However, once I got them in I decided I liked the cranberry shade because if there were a fire there, the embers would be glowing this color.

But from a distance you really can't see the cranberry color very well.

Ah well, I tried. I can either get some different stones, and/or lightly dust the black leaves in the frame with a coppery spray paint -- or leave well enough alone!!

GOOD NEWS ABOUT BAILEY: He has lost 4 pounds since Thanksgiving. He is now 17 lbs-- at least that's what my scale says, I haven't checked the vet's scale yet.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chaffinch and Robin

This morning I visited Claude's blog (click here)
It is in French, but Claude always kindly gives an English translation. She has posted several photos of birds that were in her garden today. I was so happy to see one of a chaffinch and another of the English robin. Both these birds are my favorites in England -- cheeky and plentiful. We don't have either of these on the West Coast of the US -- I'm not sure about East Coast birds. Anyway just to show that they are indeed my favorites, here are two photos of fluffy ones I bought when I was in England a year or so ago. When you press them they 'sing' a real recording of their real song. I have had them hanging in my den for quite a while. The songs don't fool Bailey though.

This is the chaffinch:

This is the English robin:

Tomorrow I will show you what I came up with for the fireplace, as my sister asked 'though it's not too exciting. And I have some good news about Bailey!

A Demain
as Claude would say, (Until tomorrow)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Sideboard, Bargains and Serendipity

A year ago last Christmas, MOTH bought this indoor water fountain for me. You can see the water bubbling from the top and it runs down the sides of the globe. Because I wanted sage green accents in my kitchen/dining area, I placed it on a soft green runner on the sideboard.

What I call a side board is, I think, what most people over here call a buffet. We called it a sideboard because years ago, probably Victorian times, the sideboard held the side dishes for a meal and the drawers and cupboards held dishes, cutlery and table cloths etc. Ours has never been used for that. It was made and purchased in England and was my mother's. When we moved over here in 1960 we brought a few pieces of furniture with us. This was one of them.

The colors of my kitchen /dining area are sage green and apricot. (The walls are supposed to be apricot in this photo). The sideboard has a hand carved oak veneer and the dining table that we came a cross in a garage sale is also oak. I placed the globe on the sideboard and for the past year, apart from the candles behind it, I had two photographs in gold frames on either side of the globe.

I was never happy with the photographs in that location -- too cluttered. So when I went out to Michael's, our local craft store, today to see what I could find for the fire place screen, (see last post) I thought I'd see if I could find anything for the sideboard as well.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw these two birds almost the exact same shade of green and in a very similar design. Not only that -- they were only $5.00 each!!

Here, I have placed them next to the globe so that you can see the similarity between the birds and the globe. I could have got two birds in exactly the same pose but I am too much of a fanatic about symmetry. So I shut down my urge and took two different poses. Here's the final look.

All in all I'm very happy with my choices. The flowers at the back are in the center of the five place candelabra. I'm not sure if I will keep them there, although they are a pretty shade of green and white. And I may do something with the other candle holders, two of which hold tiny African Violets plants which actually grow in that place. I do not have a green thumb. The other two have candles in them. I think I still have to experiment a bit back there.

All this happened in a weekend in which I also found a long sleeved top in shades of lilac and muted purple which exactly matched a pair of pants I have. The great thing about that purchase was that it had been marked down three times and when I went to pay for it I found it had been marked down again -- to $5.00 !!!

This was my weekend for bargains and serendipity!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter Flowers in Southern California #3...and a Mural

These two bushes are Gardenias. They are growing beside the office wall at the church. The flowers are pink, red and variegated. I could have taken a better photo of the flowers but I wanted you to see the bush that doesn't have any flowers in contrast to the other. If you look closely at the bush on the left, you can see it is covered with small, round, yellowish green things. They are the flower buds. (Click to enlarge). Each bud is quite hard and tightly bound up. This bush looks like it will soon be covered with flowers, that is if the children who walk by don't pull off the buds to use them as ammunition at one another.

Further down town Carlsbad, the Carlsbad Animal Clinic is located. A number of the old buildings down town have some attractive murals on their walls. This is the one at the animal clinic.
I have tried to take this picture several times but there were always cars parked in front of it. As you can see it has a western theme. This is on one of the older streets in downtown Carlsbad. The town is quite old and was built because of the spring waters available here. They named the town after Karlsbad in Bohemia, now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. The link with Karlsbad, Bohemia is because a well was dug here in the 1880's and when the water was analyzed it was found to be equal in mineral content to this European city, one of Europe's most popular health spas. The well can still be seen beside the Coast Road, the old highway#101 that spans the length of California.

So although the town has a western flavor, (it is situated on the southern coast of California,) being so close to Mexico and once a part of Mexico it also has the Mexican influence. Many of the old ranches and lagoons still have their Mexican names. But nevertheless, it also has links with Europe through Karlsbad, Bohemia. Karlovy Vary is Carlsbad's sister city.

I took this close-up of the cactus growing by the mural because it seems to be in bloom and I have never seen one at that stage before. Again, click to enlarge.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas Gifts

We have a very nice fireplace in our living room and I have just discovered that I have no photos of it with the fire lit. We only light it on cold winter evenings which for us is usually the last couple of weeks in December and a couple of weeks in January. It has gas lit logs which are very realistic, but during the rest of the year it sits there , rather like a black hole. It does have screens which pull across but it is not very attractive.

And yes, that is the new Henrietta sitting there on the left. She's only there until the rainy season is over.
If I ever have a large vase of flowers I will often put it there. On the left side of the fireplace I used to have a seagull, in keeping with our rather vague nautical theme in this room. Other pictures on the wall have an ocean or harbor theme.

So this year I discovered a really nice fire screen which can sit in front of the fireplace when it is not lit and I asked for it for Christmas.

The little glass candle holders have a gold sheen to them. I didn't want more candles since at Christmas time we would be moving the new screen each evening, so I put one colored glass Christmas tree globe in each one. Of course I forgot to take a photo!

I have decided to try to come up with a seasonal theme to sit in the candle holders, so for now they sit empty while I make up my mind what I want to do. I will have to spend an hour or so at Michaels -- the craft store.

But there is a mystery here. Moth bought me a set of six very nice stylish cats all in different cat poses a couple of months ago. I had them up on the mantelpiece under the painting before Christmas and replaced them with candles and a nativity scene for Christmas. Now that everything Christmassy is put away, I can't find the cats anywhere! I know I put them away safely because I remember thinking, they will be safe there... but now...where???

Thursday, January 8, 2009


See previous post.

We've just had an earthquake --a 4.5 centered in San Bernadino at ten minutes to eight.

I didn't feel a thing -- not even a rattle -- unless it was those OOOFS! I felt when I was listening to Mario Lanza!!! (See previous post)

Hope you're OK, Wanda


I have just finished talking on the phone to my sister in Canada for about an hour. We were comparing notes on the book we both received for Christmas: "The Right Side of the Dyke" by Margaret Smith and Rita Sellars. Such a great book! All about our village of Flamborough in the UK. In the book you can really hear the fisherman talking in that great Flamborian accent. Now that the holidays are over I can sit down and digest it more slowly. I absolutely gobbled it up in two evenings when I first got it.

Aerial View of the Headland. (Click to Enlarge)

First we lived in the village, (center), then we lived at Silex Bay, right where the black line for the road ends, just above the 'g'. Later we moved to Bridlington about 6 miles away. Just follow the road that goes off the map. The 'Dyke' is the green line that cuts across the headland. It is known as Danes' Dyke and is a fairly deep trench supposedly cut by the Danes (800 A.D.) to make Flamborough an island but actually it goes much further back in time than that.

Thinking about Flamborough, I decided to get out a CD I've had for quite some time but haven't listened to for ages --"Your Hit Parade 1951".
OOOF! That brought back some memories. Two Mario Lanza favorites "Be My Love" and "The Loveliest Night of the Year" almost brought tears to my eyes, and as my hu
sband will tell you I am far from being sentimental! I can still see "His Master's Voice" red labels on the records which I played over and over again in the front room at 15 Woodcock Road. Tonight I had the house to myself so I turned up the sound. There was just me and the cat. Though I have to admit, the cat took off to sleep under the table in the kitchen.

However, back to the music. The last piece on that CD was "Charmaine" by Mantovani and his orchestra and that brought back another memory!

Eventually we moved from Flamborough to Bridlington for a couple of years. While there I joined the Youth Group at Christ Church. There were about fifteen of us as I remember. It was a great group of young people and often we would all go as a group to The Rep. This was a weekly performance done by the seaside Repertory Company who put on a different play each week at the Spa. I can't tell you now what the shows were (I think one was "Charlie's Aunt") but I do clearly remember that Mantovani's "Charmaine " was the main theme music all the way through one of the performances. I've loved it ever since.
I listened and......OOOF! That feeling again.

What is that strange feeling you get just above the heart and somewhere in the back of the throat? It's not tears and yet it's not quite happiness. It has something to do with nostalgia and all those wonderful feelings we experienced when we were young and life was full of surprises and excitement -- things that I am so thankful to have had, yet saddened because they are from so long ago.
I just had another birthday this past Christmas. That makes me 71. Yet those memories and feelings are as clear to me now as they were so long ago. I am so truly thankful that I have these wonderfully happy memories to look back upon.

Thank you Flamborough and Bridlington and thank you Lord for giving me a great life of happiness!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Winter Flowers in Southern California #2

This is a very easily grown succulent. It is Jade. If any one of those leaves is planted it will grow into another bush. I like it because it is so proliferent in January, especially since we have had a couple of weeks of good rain. Its flowers are in heads of pale pink florets.

Quite tiny, but so pretty and delicate. We have several quite large bushes of these in our back and front yards.

Anything that blooms in January is worth noting. By the weekend we will be having another Santa Ana. A mixed blessing, because we love the warm weather but the fires can also come, along with the Santa Ana winds.

Off the subject, but an important part of my life is the fact that I start my new Bible Study session tomorrow. We will be studying the book of Hebrews. Quite a challenge, but these ladies love a challenge. Honestly, I have three ladies who are in their nineties and quite a few in their eighties but they are sharp and love to study the Bible. Tomorrow we will do an introductory lesson to see how we got from Hosea (which we studied last summer and fall) to Hebrews -- a leap of about 700 years. Below are some of the books I use to study and prepare from. Moth just gave me two more, yesterday. One is, "Jesus, our Man in Glory" by A. W. Tozer, for all you Tozer fans out there. We were privileged to sit under Tozer's preaching when we lived in Toronto many years ago. What a blessing!

P. S. So far, Bailey's diet is progressing well.