30 January 2016

Dreaming of Spring


I've just been dreaming of spring and seed starting and gardening and all that goodness this week. But I'm still a few weeks off from even starting my earliest seeds.  I've planned all that I could plan, or so I thought...

With more time to think about my garden, I am getting more and more ideas.  Most of them, I'll be honest - I probably won't attempt.  But I'm still going to dream on them, and maybe one slower weekend it might just happen - arches seem to be a recurring thought...

There are a few new seeds I am trying this year (I always try to plant something new and interesting - that's the whole point of growing your own food, isn't it? Experimenting with it?).

I will be growing brussels sprouts from seed - last year I bought seedlings, and the earwigs decimated them. This year, I'm going to try and grow from seed, get them a little further along before planting them out, and then netting them until they are quite large and can start fending for themselves. I have two varieties that I am trying, an early and a later one. Varieties: Jade Cross and Gustis


I will be attempting melons this year - shhhh don't tell James hehe, he thinks that the vines will take over everything. Which, little does he know, is my hope. I will be attempting a variety of cantaloupe, and two varieties of watermelon. Varieties: Halona, Fairy and an unknown watermelon seed.

I will also be growing a small handful of Butternut Squash. I know that these can be quite productive if the pests leave them alone. But I don't eat squash, and only James does - so I will be only plugging in two plants, and then pulling the weakest to allow one to sprawl around.  

What I think I am most excited for this year - I'm going to attempt growing potatoes in containers; and will even attempt a sweet potatoes in a container! This will keep these space hogging plants out of prime garden space, I can put them behind the barn all in a nice little row and they will look nice out there. Potatoes have always been pretty easy for me too - it's pretty hard for them to fail - so I look at it as a fail-safe project. The sweet potatoes on the other hand, I have my doubts. But, it will only cost me a couple dollars to try, with potential for greatness - so why wouldn't I?

I will be trying to grow even more flowers in my garden boxes this year. They brought in so many pollinators. Two years ago, with no extra flowers in my garden, I only recall ever seeing one - yes one, bee in my garden. And, I was in that garden all the time. This year, with all the colourful blossoms to 'lure' them in, I saw so many more.

I'm planting sunflowers again along the back edges - they were so beautiful last year when they bloomed, and so many neighbors complimented me on them and said how happy they looked (we have a 'back alleyway path' along our one side of yard, where a lot of people walk past). I will also try to get more Zinnia's to grow, and I'm looking into a couple other bee-loving flowers.

I will be putting vegetables in all the flowers bed around the house again - it was such a great idea and we got so much more food, and didn't waste all this money filling them with costly annuals - and it still looked great! I will try putting a lot of flowers and herbs inbetween, but they will be 'started-from-seed' flowers. I have a couple packages of poppies to put in one corner and make a 'poppy corner', and some other self-seeding flowers to sprinkle around.

I always grow the usual staples: lettuce, beans, peas, tomatoes and cucumbers and more - and I will be growing all those again, some of them new varieties of seed, but keeping with the varieties that worked really well for me. These all grow the same, just will give different looking produce hehe. 

My perennial herbs are doing well - how do I know? The ones by the house keep peaking out every time the weather turns mild and some snow melts.  My oregano and mint will be wonderful next year. They are already to go!

Well until I can start my seeds, and stare at them to start growing, I just have to keep reading up on what others are doing in their gardens!

Some of my favourite garden reads:


 Enjoy :)





25 January 2016

Lazy Weekends


Post-wedding life is going back to normal, and things are starting to go back to a nice and easy going routine. This weekend was the first weekend that felt "normal". I did all my cleaning and "chores" on the Saturday, and even over-achieved steam cleaning the carpets. So, Sunday was left for whatever I wanted to do. We woke up, had some tea and coffee. As I was sitting there, the thought crossed my mind - We don't have anything we have to do. With the wedding, there was always something to do. With the wedding done - we have free time.


So Sunday was spent painting away - I got one, and almost a second painting commission done. As well, finished an acrylic landscape painting and almost completed a mixed media painting. Oreo joined me, sleeping on the back of my chair the whole time while I worked away.  Here he is all curled up, in a most uncomfortable looking way:

 
We then went for a walk with the pooch while various paintings were drying. And he had a blast in the snow:

 
 I couldn't believe this shot that I got - He is just so handsome!!

 
I can't even count the number of photos on my phone - and I'm not even ashamed, hehe.


The weekend was finished off with planning out my gardening, and figuring out my seedling counts and start planting dates - while drinking loads of delicious tea. The perfect end to a pretty perfect weekend.

20 January 2016

Snow Days


Monday was the first snow day of the year, for me anyways. We got over 30cm of snow. So I stayed up all cozy inside all day - couldn't drive anywhere anyways :)


I spent a great deal of time in my newly cleaned up art studio, dabbling away on a new mixed media piece while drinking copious amounts of tea - you can see a hint of it in the background. I had a bunch of tulle left over from making my veil, and thought I would experiment with it in a mixed media painting. I'm really loving the texture:


It is super finicky to work with, but the results so far have been stunning. It feels so good being back in my studio creating again.

We did venture outside, once, to let the dogs play in all the new fluffy snow. They love it so much, we couldn't not let them.


We ended up with two frosty, but happily tired, dogs. They just love diving in all the fluffy snow :)

16 January 2016

Snowy Doodles


Sometimes the most random doodles turn into a picture...take this doodle from break time at work - on pink scrap paper, of all things.


And then the little girl on the pink paper that is no more than the briefest of scribbles, gets worked out in the sketchbook.


And then they both make it onto watercolour paper! It's still a work in progress, but you can see especially the dog has taken so much more shape / personality with the colour added. He might be based on my dear pooch Chewie....

Who say's all this snow we've been getting is depressing?! So far, lots of inspiration has come from it :) So far, 2016 has proven to have given me a pretty creative start! I do think part of it, is that I don't have wedding plans / DIY's constantly running through the back of my mind. 

14 January 2016

Married!


As I mentioned earlier this week - we got married!! Yay!! It was the most perfect day, and we had the most lovely photographer (Kyrene Minty Photography). She even 'leaked' us two shots from our special day, the next day!! How awesome is that? We had just the perfect amount of snow the morning of our wedding, so I could tromp around in it, in my white dress, and not get any dirt on it!


I think our "Midnight Kiss" photo is our favorite so far. And yes, I know we have only gotten two back, but I can't see what will top that! She perfectly captured the moment, and in this picture made me realize how happy I am that we held our wedding on New Year's Eve. 


It was just a perfect, perfect day :) We ran away to Collingwood after for the weekend, and then back to the real world the following week. BUT, that's only so we can fly away to Mexico first week of February! So excited!

13 January 2016

Forest Flurries Watercolour Painting

https://www.etsy.com/listing/263730570/forest-flurries-original-woodland

Today I'm sharing with you a new painting in my art shop! "Forest Flurries" is a watercolour of a woodland forest friend, a doe, wandering through a snowy night. We have been getting quite a bit of snow lately, and some days I feel like we are just a snow globe that keeps getting shaken up! 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/263730570/forest-flurries-original-woodland

Deer are always a favourite woodland critter to illustrate. And, I always love painting stars peaking through the night sky.

"Forest Flurries" - Original Watercolour Painting
The original painting is available for purchase online :) It's the first one of 2016! Yay!

07 January 2016

New Year, New Beginnings - New Names!

Happy belated New Year's everyone! We have had a lot of celebrating happening in our house for New Years - our wedding went off without a hitch! It was so much fun. As we drew closer to the day, I became weary if having a New Year's Eve wedding was a good idea, but it was a party like no other! I couldn't have been more happy! We will have pictures of all that soon!

I also took on a new name - which is very exciting! It's going to change how my signatures will be on my artwork, so I'm going to have to doodle up some ideas :)

Now let's get to our goals for this year!!

1. Sort out my studio and get back to creating. My artwork took a big hit when I got engaged. All, or most, creative focus was shifted towards our wedding and creating things for that - and the endless appointments and meetings for planning. Now that we have that checked off our list, I hope to reorganize my art studio - get some artwork on the walls, and get creative again! I want to create some larger art-oriented goals as well.

2. Gardening - and using more of my harvest. I know it seems silly with the snow on the ground - but garden planning season is here. I am starting to pour over the numerous catalogs that I have gotten in the mail to decide this year's plan of action. I wasn't so good using up all of our harvest this year, and I am hoping that next year I will do better. I got a nifty 'vacuum-sealing' tool for my kitchen, so I hope to use that for freezing produce.

3. Get active again. Planning a wedding took up a lot of time. I hope to get more active again. We are going to Mexico in February, so if anything that should 'jump-start' it. Also trying to eat more healthy.

4. Make more meals. I really enjoy cooking, but with our shift work in full swing during the holidays, and a bit before, we seemed to loose the 'dinner groove'. I hope to get back to that, and try to meal plan a bit better.

Well! That's it! Four general goals for this year to nibble away at, or jump in full swing. Let's see how it goes!!