Secrets and Shadows

It’s doing it again!

Overnight we had a ton of snow followed by icy sleet. Lovely.

I had 2 snow days.

I had a lot of admin to work on, and also got a chance to finish off some projects.

I’ve got my new year decor done with a nod to Valentine’s Day.

I love putting Christmas decorations up, with the exception of the tree which I hate doing. But I am SO ready to take it down again and this year the snowy weather gave me the chance to stay home and get it all done on New Years Day.

I am particularly smitten with my mantle. It came together pretty nicely and a new addition is a beautiful “friendship ball” from my cousin Debbie in England.

I got a few hours down in my workshop and got some new pieces started, and actually finished.

This would certainly fall into the “Secret Garden” category.

This is a container thingie I found in my thrifting rounds. It was just an empty cylinder when I started and it’s now taken on a life of its own. It’s marked The Bombay Company and I have searched online to see what it might have been but to no avail. Never mind what it USED to be I’m quite taken with it in it’s current iteration.

A couple of old frames found new life too:

I was pleased with how this shadow box came out. I was watching “All Eyez on Me” (the Tupac story) while I was making this so I am kind of surprised how zen it turned out, considering the ambiance at the time.

I haven’t decided where they’re going yet – I am running out of wall space. But since the weather is so disgusting again today I am about to go and finish off a couple of other bits and bobs.

#crafts #art #whimsical #snow #frames #jewels #shadowbox

Time for More Secrets

Summer is crazy round here with guests coming and going and I have little time to myself, let alone time in my workshop. Plus, while people are in the suite I can’t really work in there because it seems intrusive being right next door to them and of course I can’t paint (fumes) or use tools (noise).

I have been sneaking down whenever I can and my goal is to finish as many projects as I can…a kind of de-cluttering. (yeah, right…)

So, here are some before and after shots of some of the things I have been getting finished. I love these plaster candle pillars which I bought for about $2 at the Sally Ann in Abbotsford. I love that they have little lids.


I have a pretty extensive elephant collection in my office…

Seriously, I try to stop myself from buying more, but occasionally fail. Here are a couple of candle holders which were a nasty shiny enamel black.


I did lots of other bits and pieces too…but the main things I’ve been working on are more “Secret Gardens” and I pulled a couple of older ones apart and redid them. I am so happy with them!

This is one I’ve had around for ages but was never 100% happy with it so I changed it up and put some lights in it – such a big improvement!

This was an old picture frame with a naff wedding verse in it. I think this has turned out to be my favourite. Click the arrows for more pics.

I picked the big one on the left up from Voila the last week and had never been completely happy with the bottom part…so I revamped it. Much better!

I had this little wooden mirror and had a fun afternoon jewelling it. It’s a thing of beauty! Click the arrows for more images.

Sooooo, I found these little curio cabinets I guess you’d call them: 2 of them. I have one almost finished and this is the one I completed tonight. Click for more images.

It’s late, I’m tired and I’ve got early breakfast.

My thoughts are with all the people affected by the wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes.

#floral #creations #secretgarden

Low Carb Lime & Coconut Icecream

I put the lime in the coconut and VOILA! Best Icecream Ever according to Jim and I am pretty sure Tracy was equally enamored.

First of all, I am not a HUGE icecream fan – put me in the once a month category and that would be maximum consumption and I always go for the artisan gelato bar places. Unless I’ve got company I never keep icecream in my freezer at home.

BUT last week I found a perfectly pristine icecream maker at Value Village for $7.99 on a Tuesday (so I get 30% off). It is a Donvier. I looked the brand up on my phone and liked what I saw, so bought it.

The Donvier is a plastic frame with a paddle, a lid and a handle. The magic is the cylinder inside the plastic frame. You put it in your freezer for 6 hours and then you put the custard into the cylinder and turn the handle twice every 2-3 minutes for 20 minutes and you have made icecream.

I made a Martha Stewart vanilla icecream which was VERY rich. Nice but Very Very rich.

So, since I was making Mexican chilli lime chicken with Mexican rice I decided to make a paired icecream concoction.

I adapted this recipe (a lot). I used a lemon icecream recipe as a base and just winged it from there.

It turned out creamy, but not rich and heavy. The coconut flavour was evident and the lime flavour was intense but not tart. It was a winner and I could eat it for breakfast.

Wait….I just did.


Lime Curd

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1/3 cup sweetener (I use Xylitol)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon lime zest

6 tbspn butter, cubed

Ice Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup sweetener (Xylitol)



Whisk eggs, yolks and sweetener in the top of a double boiler or a medium bowl until well combined and fluffy

Stir in lime juice and zest

Place on double boiler or if using a bowl, on a pot of boiling water, taking care that the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the water

Whisk while cooking on low heat – about 7-10 minutes. The mixture will start thickening quite slowly and then BAM! So be very careful.

Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let it stand for about a minute and then stir it up to combine and become smooth.

Cover with plastic wrap covering the surface completely in order to avoid a nasty thick skin. Chill for about 3 hours.

I made my curd in the morning before I went out and then finished the icecream at 5pm when I got home. It was ready to eat at 6.30.

Ice Cream

In a large bowl whisk the heavy whipping cream, coconut milk and sweetener together. Add the lemon curd and mix until combined and smooth.

Pour mixture into your icecream container and churn according to instructions.

Chill for one hour.

I put a loaf tin in my freezer, lined with plastic wrap and then put the churned icecream in there.

It freezes quite hard but at room temperature softens nicely in about 15 minutes.


#lime #coconut #icecream #dessert #lowcarb


Resolution 1: Say No More Often

Resolution 2: Less Shit More Fun

I’m a people pleaser: firmly in the “better to give than to receive” category.

Ironically, while I love helping other people, I find it hard to accept help and I certainly never ask for it. Doubly ironic is that I know quite a few other type A people who are the same and they drive me crazy.

Gift giving and surprising people with treats is one of my favorite things – but I am awkward when being on the receiving end and have to work really hard at being gracious and accepting.

When I ‘m asked to do something, or to help, because I feel flattered, I rarely refuse. So in 2018, I am trying to say “no” more often because I tend to take on too much and become overwhelmed.

I WANT to make a difference, and I NEED to feel like I am contributing – but It must be worth it. It must be fulfilling: otherwise it’s a waste of time and energy.

Years ago, one of my bosses coined the phrase “Shit to Fun Ratio” which tickled my fancy and is my measuring tool for staying/continuing anything: Jobs, clubs, relationships, committees, projects…whatever.

Does it make me happy? Do I feel fulfilled – or do I just feel frustration and the need to kill someone?

Every situation has it’s share of crap to deal with. It’s when the crap is out of proportion to the fun and feel-good that you’ve got to know it’s time to say “sayonara”.

Leaving is hard – it’s always easier said than done, which is quite a dilemma. When you’re in the throes of making the decision, you tend to focus on what you’re going to MISS and LOSE – not what you’re going to gain. Last night I was at a party and was shocked to hear of a decision a friend had made. After a series of frustrations, she decided that the best thing for her to do (for HER) was to quit. She’d tried to fix things from within to no avail and was just DONE. I was sad but proud of her at the same time but it’s given me a jolt.

Recently I joined the board of Gwynne Vaughan Park which is a charitably society and I am love, love, LOVING it.

I have never worked with, or been part of, a group of people so friendly and welcoming.

They’re united by their love of the park, and they’re all gardeners. Members of the society are called “Friends”, which is how everyone is treated, and it’s genuine – nothing fake or forced about it.

Everyone works hard, with a big smile on their face…and there’s always a tea/coffee break built in. Anyone is welcome and their help is gratefully received and thoroughly appreciated.

I’ve been tentative in getting involved – not wanting to step on any toes or wade in and cause offence by being too forthright, or pushy.

But this group – oh my goodness! There are no big egos…not a sign of “that’s the way we’ve always done it”.

Instead I’ve experienced complete open mindedness, a thirst for new ideas and a willingness to try different approaches. They’re practical and pragmatic and well organized and I’ve observed how they appreciate and acknowledge everyone’s expertise. It’s a pleasure and a bit of a culture shock. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.

Nice segue back to the Shit to Fun Ratio.

Crunch time is approaching for me to make some tough calls. I’m trying hard to weigh pros and cons. I am soul searching to see how much change I can create through having a different attitude and approach to the way things are working (or not). For me not caring isn’t an option.

So, in the end I will make a choice. I will choose less shit and more fun.

Happy New Year!

#work #Park

In From the Shadows

January is (blissfully) quiet here at the Bed and Breakfast. I’ve only had a handful of guests, and they’ve been mainly upstairs so I’ve had full run of my downstairs workshop, plus the time to work on finishing a lot of projects.

I finally got the dollhouse finished. It had been upstairs in the lounge since around October but I hadn’t glued anything in place and some lighting needed work. Done and DONE!

I’ve also been itching to finish some more shadowboxes – I had a stash of “findings” and frames that needed to be put together. That was a lot of fun, but once again, it’s nice to have them finished.

These crafty projects are like an itch…the ideas are there and I’ve got all the components…just missing the time to get them done.

Many of these latest pieces were made with people in mind. Consequently I find that they’re actually the most satisfying to compose.

Below is “Happy Camper” – I made it for Jim. He loves it! It is very symbolic too which he appreciates. Obviously. (sorry about the reflection)

Here’s another shot of it. At least the reflection is in the other corner now…

So in no particular order, here are some of the new creations.

I have a young lady in mind for this one…

The next few are just ideas that I played around with til I was happy with the results.

I have a large apple blossom/japanese secret garden I am finishing (soon) and there were some bits and bobs left over and they found their way to the shadowbox below.

This one is all whimsical/retro

This is tiny and I made it for a friend. Cannot wait to give it to her.

I also am quite certain that the minute she sees it she’ll know it’s for her.

It goes with this one which is even tinier

I didn’t intentionally make them as a pair but Jim insisted that they MUST go together, so there we have it.

I made this one for my sister in New Zealand.

I guess this means it won’t be a surprise…

There are only a couple left to finish. Well, four actually.

Yes, I am a crazy person.

Back at the Ranch

I guess Santa decided it was time to bale

Jim’s sister lives in a tiny, isolated village in the mountains about 30 minutes out of Kamloops.

For the past 2 Christmases we have all gathered at Linda and Al’s for family Christmas – it’s the only time all year that we’re all together. Jim and I have never been able to go away for Christmas because of having to be up early on Boxing Day for our sale. Last year we decided not to bother and to start OUR Boxing Week on 27th so it’s a quite a novelty to be able to get away. The family loves to hang out and party together. Some activities are not advisable though: like ANY game. Or anything competitive. Or anything with rules open to interpretation. This Christmas we even played a euchre tournament and no one died which was a big deal.

Linda loves her animals…this is her horse. She owned the mother and has had this guy since it was born.

That’s his barn in the picture above.

Jim and I and his brother and nephew stay just a few kilometers away on a ranch in rustic little cabins with incredibly comfortable beds, good water pressure, surprisingly good artwork, and a wood burning stove.

It’s an actual honest-to-goodness ranch and

just went on the market for $3.5m

They have a riding school and do horse-riding in summertime as well as alpaca spinning workshops. Janice, one of the owners, is an amazing artist and gives lessons too.

We looked out over snow covered fields, white cloaked mountains and solid frozen lakes.

The population is about 500 and there’s a small general store. They didn’t have toothpaste, AAA batteries, Kleenex or Splenda but they had TONS of booze.

It’s very wintery up in the mountains – SO much colder than down here at the coast. It was -27° when we got there. All the lakes were frozen and it was winter wonderland-ish. I took lots of random pics due to my fascination with snow and ice.

It was a lovely Christmas. Full of peace and goodwill.

I hope yours was too.

#family #christmas #winter

Obviously I am Obsessed!

I had a hugely busy day today with the morning taken up at Gwynne Vaughan Park and our big spring clean-up. Check out the park website by the way – I just finished it a couple of weeks ago and am pretty stoked with it.

I took a bunch of pictures the other day and when I came to edit/cull them it was quite amusing to see how many MIRRORS I’ve got – and quite a few hallways too!

The mirror below (and the table) were both scores at the Old General Store auction which I would go to every Sunday. I miss the auction but it’s nice having my Sundays back, and not having so many pieces of furniture to restore!

This starburst mirror (from Winners years ago) used to be upstairs, where the antique one is now. I painted the downstairs hallway last weekend and hung a new light fixture, and it didn’t work for me anymore, so I put the starburst downstairs and I think it looks fab. I got the little chandelier from Re-store for $15.

Below is a pic of my early spring decor in the downstairs foyer.

I refinished the first mirror I ever decorated. It was an annoyance to me for ages but I had never gotten around to fixing it. I am SO glad I tackled it because it’s a favourite now.

Wandering round the place I just kept clicking…

I love these colours

My downstairs “foo foo” area. I wallpapered it last year, and it’s one of my favorite wee corners

This cabinet is in amazing condition. It was one of the last auction items I bought (absentee bid). I placed a “stink bid” of $82.50 and got it for $70!!!

Gilded box. it used to be a ghastly white plaster thing!

A bunch of the shadow boxes I’ve still got left un-gifted. I sent a couple more out this week and will be delivering one too…can’t wait!