doing our bit for the local economy

My town held its annual studio tour over the weekend. I pace myself on how often I go because, well, I just can’t help myself. I love local art. I think there’s a recurring theme for me about supporting the community you live in whether it’s food, clothes, books or shoes.

I wanted to buy a lot more than the 3 (smallish) pieces I bought this weekend. I’m at the point where I need another addition for more wall space…or start lending out my art to make room for new pieces. I even had a fleeting thought about…wouldn’t it be a great job to buy big art for big public spaces…I would be in heaven.

As I talked to the artists about their technique and what inspired them, I thought about how much courage it must take to put yourself out there — carefully placing your pieces around your studio space, and watching an endless stream of people wander through gazing up and down…or right past…your heart and soul.

So it made me endlessly happy to pick up these three pieces to add to my collection…grateful to the artists who adorn my walls and make me smile.

Read more about Tiffany Horrocks who painted the barn, and Helen Hoy who created the other two new additions to my collection.

CJR

 

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friday favourite – art on the street

On our recent visit to Guelph, ON for Canadian Thanksgiving, we walked by this art-on-the-street installment, called Street Projects. Part of the Open Field Collective, their mandate is to bring contemporary art into outdoor spaces where art and community can interact.  What a great idea! It’s our friday favourite.

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HAR

re-purposing your grandmother’s china

We just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with our aunts, uncles and cousins on our father’s side of the family. Our cousin Pat showed up with some of Grandma’s china that she found in her dad’s cabinet. She knew he wouldn’t use the hand-painted tea cups or dessert plates—hand-painted by our grandmother— so she got creative with some of his dishes. I neglected to ask where the idea came from, but she showed up with several of the tea cups turned into pin cushions!

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Pat had also glued two different sized dessert plates together with a small glass to separate them, creating a serving plate. She’s so clever!

I started looking in my cabinet at the pieces I have from Grandma and figured I’d brag a little about her talent and post more pictures of her hand painted china.

Apparently, in 1924, painting porcelain was something young women did…she bought the unpainted porcelain from Woolworth’s and did very elaborate decorations on the dishes. These dishes are 93 years old! Way to go Grandma and thanks Pat for the creative re-purposing.

HAR

apple tart

Simple and elegant. Apples neatly tucked into each other on a bed of shortbread.

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Here’s the recipe:

  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Blend well and add:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Press the dough into a springform pan.

Peel 4 apples and slice then thinly. Arrange them on the dough.

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and slivered almonds.

Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes.

 

HAR

new islands

A couple weeks after HAR had discovered Quebec City on foot – and had a selfie with Bill and Hilary — I arrived for a two-day conference on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, at the battle site of the Plains of Abraham.

The first day took us across the bridge, just north of the city, to the amazing microclimate world of Ile d’Orleans. The mostly agricultural island sits in the middle of the St. Lawrence River and captures a unique growing environment. Salt water flows in this fresh water river until about Quebec City.

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It reminded me of other islands we love, that create a world within a world – Prince Edward Island and Nevis.

I would love to go back as soon as I finish the amazing samples I brought back — the ultimate artisanal Le Paillasson cheese from Les fromages de l’isle d’Orleans that was gently grilled and served warm, and a fortified black currant wine from Cassis Monna & Filles that tastes like port.

Thank you to the farmers of Ile d’Orleans – keep creating!

CJR

 

friday favourite – useful travel stuff

When I return from a trip, I take a moment to think about what I really loved having on the trip and what was a waste of space. Having just returned from 8 days of hiking in Greece, it seems like a good time to do this exercise and make it our friday favourite!

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I think I did a good job of packing since there were only two pieces of clothing that I didn’t wear. I had a long-sleeved SPF shirt that never made it out of my suitcase since the temperature was in the mid 90s (35C) and a sleeveless top that I didn’t wear because I didn’t have enough time to shower and change before dinner. We were kept busy!

What made the most favourite list?

A turkish towel that my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law gave me a few years ago. It’s 100% cotton and was useful as a beach cover-up or shawl. Plus they are very popular in Greece so I felt like a local! (Thanks Maddie)

Tilley hat. They are guaranteed for life, they float, have a secret pocket and block 98% of the sun’s harmful rays. And they are made in Canada. I owned one years ago but it never fit me right. This time I took my time to get the right fit and really appreciated the sun protection in the 90+ degree heat!

A cross-body bag for evenings. Just enough to carry my phone, passport and money and have it close to me when in a busy tourist area.

A bandana. Easy to pack and so many uses!

Let us know if you have something that you always take with you when travelling.

HAR

 

return of the roasted veggie

Summer is hanging on, but my internal clock says it’s time to start roasting pans of various veggies in the oven, slathered in olive oil, salt, pepper and perhaps a little herbes de provence. Seasonal veggies are the best, and I just did Brussels sprouts, chunks of carrots and some meaty cremini mushrooms – roasted at 375F for about 35 minutes, until tender.

And when I couldn’t imagine making any more tomato sauce – but still had part of a half bushel of market fresh romas staring me down…I remembered a Michael Smith recipe from years ago for roasting tomatoes. I cut the last 24 tomatoes in half, sliced up two onions in half rings, added a couple garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper, and slow roasted for about 75 minutes until everything started to caramelize (well, kinda burned on the edges but I guess that’s just an extra dark caramel). I froze them to add to a hearty something in the deep of winter…when I’ll remember how warm and humid September really was.

CJR