Thursday, March 28, 2013

And We're Off!

It's 9:26 pm, I'm packed.  V. is still in the midst of his packing.  I hope I haven't forgotten anything.  I'm sure my clothes are all wrong.  What seems just right for France is not really it for Mexico but what the hey... We're going for a good time.

I took a personal day just to be home, tidy up, do laundry and pack.  Lucky I did because I've been troubled by allergies.  Snow is melting fast and I guess that releases naughty things that give me a pain... in the sinuses.  I took it slow but steady and got a lot done. Now...

Do I have everything?

Clothes
Bathing suits
Beach shoes
Cosmetics, potions and lotions
Hostess gifts
Novel
Knitting
iPad
Sandals
Pills 
Jewelry
Sunscreen
Compression socks for the flights
Ear phones
Passport, bank & credit cards
UGH!

I'll find out what I forgot after I've left home and make do when I get there.  It's usually my toothbrush & toothpaste or my hairbrush. 

I have to go to sleep now because our flight leaves at the ungodly hour of 6:20 am which translates into a 3:00 am wake up.

Hasta luego muchachas!

Stella

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lift Off in 66 Hours

Friday at 6:30 am we leave for San Carlos where we will be staying with friends who have a lovely beach-front home.  These friends are very active, they go boating, fishing, paddle-boarding, kayaking, hiking, walking, climbing... but my friend E. has just had knee surgery so I don't think there will be a lot of mountain climbing... thank goodness!


San Carlos is in the province of Sonora on the sea of Cortez.  This sea has the highest concentration of marine life that you can find anywhere in the world.  


The sea of Cortez is protected by the long arm of Baja California at the end of which is Los Cabos.


 On this map, San Carlos is situated right beside Guaymas.  We will land in Hermosillo.  On MY list of things to do:

1. Hang out with dolphins.  When we go out to sea, if we are lucky, they can be seen by the hundreds.  This experience is enhanced when aboard a Seadoo...

Swimming with dolphins is on my bucket list.

2. Go fishing, catch fish and fry fish in beer batter.

3. Paddle-board and Kayak with my Honey.

4. Lie like a slug by the pool and read.

5. Cook in E's gorgeous kitchen and serve deliciousness on the long table on the patio.

6. Take a Tequila tasting course.

7. Buy multiple bottles of Mexican vanilla to bring home.

8. Find a nice hat for V. 

9. Celebrate V.'s birthday on April 3.

10. Get a manicure and pedicure.  E. tells me a pedicure is 12.00$ in San Carlos...



Did I mention that my beer of choice is Corona?

Have a good one!

Stella

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grandmother's Quilt Update

This is what I (gulp) did...

I cut off the undamaged squares leaving at least 5/8 seam allowance.

Three large rectangles and a few squares for cushions.





Will show you what the finished product looks like before December 31st 2013.  This is a way of making sure that I do the deed before too long.  I think they would look fabulous with velvet backing in black, dark orange, oyster, or blue to match the fabric in the squares.

Besides cushions, what else could I do with these pieces?

Have a great weekend,

xo Stella

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Persistence of Winter

Yesterday, after the snowstorm which dumped 25 cm/ 10 inches of fresh, light as air snow on all of our world, I came hope to a crackling fire, a glass of red wine, a selection of cheeses, fresh bread and veggies and dip.
After that, we watched two more episodes of Fringe on Netflix. I hemmed my boy's new jeans and settled for a long winter's nap.
What can you do?  It is what it is.
This is a picture of our deck after the snow storm we had last October.
Here is a picture of our deck after yesterday's snowstorm.


 That's almost 6 months worth...

When you live in a northern country, this is your reality.
You deal with it.

Then, you go to Mexico.

À la prochaine,

Stella

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Paris Wife

Nothing goes better with a fire and a good novel than a Blueberry Tea
It's Sunday and I just finished reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. I am hosting our reading circle tomorrow night and I wanted to remember as much of it as I could for our discussion.
I Loved it!
As we are planning a few days in Paris this fall, it was a really good book to read beforehand (hence the notebook in the background).  This novel is full of mentions of famous people and places in the city of lights and makes me want to read more about famous Paris expats of that time:  Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo, Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, Ezra Pound and James Joyce...
 The book is written from the point of view of Hadley, Ernest Hemingway's first wife from 1921 to 1926.  She is the Paris Wife because most of the time they were married, they lived there.

The life that Hem and Hash fell into keep readers entranced with the magic of the city of Lights.  Paris was cheap in the 20s, artists could afford to drink at Les Deux Magots and eat at the famed Closerie des Lilas.  Hemingway and his like made Paris come alive for many of us on the other side of the pond.  This was the time of the Impressionists and Josephine Baker and Colette and Chanel... Escoffier and Sarah Bernhardt  had passed through and left an indelible mark on the city.

It is a novel about new and tender love, new frontiers and the fragility of relationship.  This book is worth the read even if it's just to have a glance at the man that was Hemingway in an era where a new American intellectual and artistic frontier was being established in Paris.

Ernest Hemingway summed it up well in his own words to a friend:

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”



Bonsoir,

Stella


What to do

Rescued from a box of junk in my Dad's garage, this quilt was made by my maternal grandmother in the 1930s I suspect.  Maybe you can tell me.  It's a pinwheel scrap quilt made from old clothes.  It was machine-sewn together then each triangle was top-stitched.  I have yet to identify the name of the stitch.  It sometimes looks like the stitch Mom showed me to hem pants.
Although it may appear to be random, there is a pattern to the quilt. 
 
The cotton used to embroider is in different colors.

 I like the fabric contrasts.  I see tweed and wool from trousers or jackets, plaids from shirts, paisleys from dresses or blouses, stripes from blouses...
 I love the red bits.  Unfortunately... many of the red bits were made of flimsy fabric and they went first.
 The quilt has many damaged spots.  It has no batting.  I suspect there was no money for that.  I believe the back is made of flour sacks.


 I'm thinking of cutting it and making it into pillows.
Would that be a sacrilege or would it be giving it a new life?  As I am not a textile restorer, nor am I confident in/ attracted by the job of fixing this baby...

What do you think? 

Bon dimanche!

Stella

Saturday, March 16, 2013

It's True...

via behance.net


In the past year or so I have taken up knitting AGAIN and KEPT ON!  It is such a calming, joyful, hopeful activity.  Any of you knit out there?

Love,

Stella

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Post from the North

 V. and I are up north at Dad's for a few days.  Work brings me here and a visit is making the stay a little longer.

We've had 8 inches of new snow since this morning and it's still coming down.  Temperatures are dropping and we are back in the land of winter after a mild February.

Driving on the way here I marveled at the landscape, flat as a pancake with toothpick trees and the odd weathered wood granary against a stark white backdrop.  This is the land of my childhood and youth.  I remember yearning for something that I couldn't identify.  Remember not being a good fit for the place I was born.  I was a dreamer and an imaginer.  I imagined myself right out of the village, the city, the province, the country and landed comfortably in the south of France where belonging is a more familiar feeling.
I'm in a reflective kind of mood.  Wondering how many more times I will make the 450 kilometer trip.  Dad is turning 92 in July...

Today,  I cooked in Mom's kitchen.  Minestrone and petite tourtieres for the freezer.  I had a little difficulty finding everything.  Mom was so organized and she has been gone for 8 years now, kitchen is a little topsy turvy and everything is so old.  Lucky for me my brother and his wife were here before me and she cleaned the kitchen and bathroom.  Dad thinks that his housekeeping skills are up to snuff.  We know they aren't...

I normally come up with my sister D. and we laugh a lot at the flat pillows, unmatched bedding, ratty towels and cruddy corners.  We make light of it by laughing while we scrub and cook and remember the days when you could almost eat off the floor.

Dig those homemade oven mitts!



I have a report to read for tomorrow and many rows of knitting to do on my friend Debbie's 60th birthday poncho.

A la prochaine!

Stella

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Production of Spinach, Feta, Greek Olive rolls

Yesterday was a working bee day at my sister D's.  We had three jobs to get done.  First were the rolls, which took from 10 am to about 12: 15.  Then we had a great lunch of home-made pea soup and yummy savoury rolls.




 We made about 8 dozen. I came home with 3 1/2 dozen. I'm sure they won't last long.  Found the recipe here from a Pinterest link.  D. made bread dough with her handy dandy Bosch Mixer.  Makes the greatest bread and pastry crust...

Have a great sunny Sunday as we are having!

xo Stella

Keep Calm and KNITTING  Poster

Thanks Corey for the tip.  To make your own poster, go here.

xo Stella

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mid-Week Fun

What do you do to help the work week be more enjoyable?

I have been cultivating creative pursuits and recently, have added watching a Sci-Fi series on Netflix with V.  It is good that we are able to find little common interests like these.  We make supper, we hurry up and do dishes and go down to the TV room to watch an episode or two before we move on to other things.

Have any of you watched Fringe?  Having taken the habit of following with the male majority in my house, I have watched all of Star Wars, Star Trek (and all of it's spin offs), the X files and more recently, Game of Thrones.

This little Fringe series, filmed in Toronto and starring Joshua Jackson (a Canadian born hunklet) is innovative in its story lines and is fun to watch as the three main characters get to know each other and form a team to investigate extra-ordinary crimes or rather a series of crimes mysteriously called: The Pattern.

Tonight though, I am going out for supper with a former colleague to talk about up-coming retirement moves and plans.  Then, next thing you know, it's Thursday!

Have a good one,

Stella

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Quartet

Four Friends Looking for a Little Harmony
Lush English countryside, aristocratic manor-turned-retirement-home, inspiring music, outstanding cast, great humour and story line. That's entertainment!

Yes!  if you want to be entertained, Quartet is the movie for you.  I say Bravo Dustin Hoffman who, at 75, has decided to try his hand at directing.  What a thoroughly delightful movie!  Our attention was held from the first moment to the last.  V. sniffed throughout because of the beauty of the landscape and the Beechwood resident's appreciation of it's many nooks and crannies to practice their art.

Oh!  I forgot to tell you, this is a movie set in a retirement home for gifted artists.  There are opera singers, directors, orchestra players and, in their 70's to their 90's, they practice with a joy that they may not have had the opportunity to feel when they were earning a living.

A truly inspirational movie for those of us who are approaching or already in retirement.  This is how to live life!

O.K.  who has the opportunity to live out the rest of one's days in such a place, and surrounded with such talent?  But no matter, if you suspend that little corner of disbelief (retirement homes are not normally filled with designer-wearing-fit and spirited artists), you can have a really good time watching this movie.

Bon dimanche!

Stella

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Movie Night

V. and I are going to see Quartet, Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut.

Watch the trailer.



A cast of magnificent British actors and a funny story line, should be good!

Talk to you about it later!

Stella