Ah, it's over..

Ok, that was a tough one. Shooting cocktails from 9am till 630 pm was toooo much. I actually felt hung over the next day.
I snuck a shot of a pretty cocktail I put together - the hibiscus was in my yard. I grabbed it that morning before the shoot. Part of the job - running around in your housecoat at 7am looking for anything to use for the story. The budget is blown again. Please dear lord, let there be a flower in the garden! There was!
This is the studio were we were shooting 15 drink vignettes. We also had to make them look like they were in a home setting. Sweet Mother of Pearl!

In My House..

I mentioned I was updating my web portfolio. I have to laugh at all the shoots we have done here. I have an average house - two floors, but nothing special. We've been working on it for ten years, trying to give it old farmhouse character.

It's such a staged world - my job. When I look at these shots we did here, it makes me chuckle to know the reality of it.
The shot above was done in the same room as this shot below.

These two stories were done in the same room too. Summer white to country cozy. Voila!

Welcome Fall..

Where were you on the first day of fall? I was in Vancouver's Chinatown looking looking for funky bar ware accoutrement's. Sadly, I discovered one of my favourite shops, Funhauser, was closed. No more tiki fun cocktails for this gal. A trip to Bamboo village and their ceiling of paper lantern happiness cured my woes.

I heard about Dirty Apron through a friend in the summer. It's a fantastic new cooking school and shop on Beatty run by the Chambar and Medina people. If you don't know - Chambar is one of the best restaurants in Vancouver, Medina is next door and has little waffles to die for!

I also hit a favourite store on Cambie called Walrus - which really is a pleasant surprise. Last spring HGTV Canada asked me to blog about my top stores and Walrus is first on the list. Not only is everything unique and beautiful, but the owners are adorably kind. Caroline gives me a shot of hip-ness as this gal is 'not so hip' now that I have a two year old. Thanks for the chat Caroline, you always brighten my day. I'm also featuring some very cool items from their store in my bar ware story.
That was my first day of fall. Hope you had a lovely day too!

By the way, does anyone know where the followers have gone. I know they are there, in the background, but I do enjoy seeing the happy collage of images. I find them comforting.


Photos by Janis Nicolay
I was updating my portfolio last night. I have about thirty new images to add - yikes! I thought I'd share a few. I produced these shots for an all white product carrying store in Fort Langley named, appropriately so, Little White House. White is my favourite color. I adore it and my whole house is white. I do prefer to add splashes of colour here and there - depending on the season of course.
I'm off to shop for a story on bar ware today. Come Friday, it's martinis and swizzle sticks all day!

My Broken Heart..

On a beautiful sunny Sunday, while Lily flew her new kite with Grandma, we took our sweet kitty of 18 years to the vet. He went to sleep in my arms for the last time.
He was famous you know. A celebrity among his peers. He's been in more magazines than I could ever keep track of, whether we wanted him or not. He was a crusty old tabby who loved the ladies. But what he loved most for the past two years, was his best friend, the little kite flyer above. They went everywhere together.
She simply 'lubbed' him so, and told him often.

As Lily and I walked the garden today, we did it alone. The swing just felt empty with only two, and his spot under the bush was bare.

Lily and Jakey.

Trout Lake Market..

We hit the trout lake market in Vancouver on Saturday. It was a perfect day.

In line for savoury and sweet crepes made fresh in the purple trailer. Lily opted to wear my face washing headband today. Maybe I should have called her Olivia.

I spent 45.00 on garlic - am I insane! Why yes I am. We are planting garlic on the farm to sell next year. Then someone can give me 45.00 for garlic.

I just love crab apples. The taste like rubbish, but look so pretty.

Creepy but beautiful distractions..

I was planning on sharing the perfect start to a day in my blog - a big foamy latte and yummy french toast.. but then I was completely distracted by what I saw out my window...

It was like spiders had toilet papered my vegetable garden. They'd had a riotous party, and things got out of hand. The only thing I hate more than a liquored up spider, is a group of liquored up spiders.

Lily and I booted up and headed out to get a closer look. Webs every where! They are quite beautiful. Till the big mother of a spider showed herself. Then we ran like the girls we are back inside.

yesterday the garden..today the kitchen

Seems to be my life these days. One day in the garden, the next in the kitchen. I had Midge (aka Lily) my handy dandy assistant on hand to stir up our apple crisp. I most certainly did eat right out of the pan. Lily was sleeping and well, it seemed like the best way to enjoy some down time. Tired moms are lazy moms.
Here is my question for you: What is the difference between a cobbler, crisp and crumble? Lily informed me I had made a cumble - no 'r'. I've no idea about this.

I snuck a shot..

I shouldn't have done it, but I snuck this shot of the garden we were shooting for a magazine on Friday. I took it with my phone, so the quality is..well, it's not good. This little path lead down to the ocean. This was a home of opulence. More money than I can grasp right on the beach in West Vancouver - one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Do they use the beach - no. Do they live in the home - hardly at all. Do they know what they have?! Sigh.

They had a large water fall installed to drown out the deafening sound of gentle waves lapping on the sea shore. That seems to me, very ungrateful. I think that there are some people that need to be reincarnated as a puddle. Just a little puddle somewhere peaceful where they can reflect for a while. Or at least until a shiny black Aston Martin races through them, turning their world to mud. The passenger, some foreign model with legs up the yahoo and a head wrap right out of Vogue.

Yes, for those of you wondering, I did indeed parked my pontiac vibe next to their convertible Aston Martin and the model was real. Who cares, I like my ten dollar joe fresh t-shirt and 39.00 dollar jeans with the yogurt smear that Lily applied that morning.

Tricks of the trade..

I thought I would share more of my work with you. This is my greenhouse. My husband built it for me as a wedding gift. We did it up beautifully for a Country Living shoot, but sadly, it's back to being a greenhouse now. Colleen Sawatsky of Vintage home had all these fabulous props to play with! Colleen - you need a store! All photos by ...you guessed it, the fabulous Janis Nicolay.

Busy Busy..enjoy and relax

photo by Janis Nicolay

It's been a busy week - three different shoots - a mid century home yesterday and two gardens to shoot today. So, I wish you all a fabulous weekend. Enjoy the final sunny days of summer.

Stop Everything!

photo by Janis Nicolay
Ok, fellow blogger 'Pretty Far West' left me a note in my last posting regarding the s'mores. She doesn't know what they are. This was shocking to me. I ask you..are s'mores a North American thing?
Here is a quick how to make and how bake a s'more for you folks in Ireland. S'mores, for those of you not in the know, is slang for "I want some more". Now that I have said that it makes me think perhaps it is a North American thing. We are lazy and combine as many words as we can to save making idle chatter. lol. See.
Buy a box of graham crackers, a bag of marshmallows (jet if you can find them) and a big big bar of milk chocolate. Find a stick. Stick marshmallow on end of stick. Hold marshmallow over fire. Here is where the choice is yours - you can 1. slowly roast the marshmallow till golden brown. 2. Let the marshmallow catch on fire, when it goes out, it's done.
Remove marshmallow from stick, place on top of a graham cracker. Stick a piece of chocolate on top of marshmallow. Stick another graham cracker on top of chocolate. Voila. You're done.
As I had a rain storm occur during our roast - I simply stacked the trio of treats on top of each other and baked them in the oven for about 6 minutes. Made the chocolate more melty.

A lovely long weekend..

We started a yearly tradition last fall. Each September, we have an outdoor final blueberry picking, fire roasting, s'more making, pot luck, wine/giant beer event here at the farm. But what to do when it's pouring rain and blustery outside!!! Well, you grab the wine and giant beer, run inside and bake the s'mores in the oven!
I also discovered, for those of you that may not know, that cold left over s'mores the next morning are equally delicious as the night before.

A quick decor enhancement for my soiree. Jute twine wrapped around tea lights with cinnamon sticks or bay leaves.

Signs of fall in the yard. The blueberry bushes are turning red. The apples are falling to the ground. The acorns are ready - I love their little chapeaus.

My sweet kitty Jake. He's about 18 and is not well. Sigh.

My Guest Bathroom..

It's been a slow week for inspirational blogs on my end. Not much has happened, the farm closed yesterday.

I did decide once thing this week. I thought that one day, before I move beyond this world, I'd like to be described as effervescent.

The new Style at Home Magazine came out and has my new guest bathroom in it.

September..it's September!?

I didn't realize it was September today. I'm very much done with summer 2009. I love this arrangement. I made it a few years ago for Canadian Gardening.

Every night, around 7pm, the llamas next door make this very odd noise. Like they are laughing at a really bad joke told by the horse.
I have a theory about this nightly noise. I think they are having happy hour every night with the horses from the next farm over. The horses are 'socially inept' and tell bad stories. The llamas can't get out of it, they're neighbors.

This summer, I had the nicest experience of my career. I was chosen to be interviewed by Roadtrip Nation. Each year Roadtrip Nation picks 9 students graduating from College or University who still don't know what to do with their lives. They each get to pick a person of interest to them anywhere in North America. I was chosen.

They all travel together in a giant green RV that they drive themselves - there is a life experience! This time, they also came with a tv crew filming a documentary for PBS.

At first I was hesitant. I'm terrified of being on camera. I forget to swallow my spit and ramble like a high teenager confronted by the school principal.

But I tell you, I adored these people. I could have kept them here for the whole day chatting about life and art and being brave. I don't know what it was that made me so fond of them. It's hard to explain. I don't know that I was at all inspiring, but I do know that they inspired me!

The picture above is the Roadtrip gang in California. They interviewed the Yo Gabba Gabba creator before coming up my way. Love that show - but I have at 22 month old.

check out http://www.roadtripnation.com//

This is the thank you card they sent me. The chicken is the magnet holding the card on the fridge.