Outdoor Movie Nights..

Ahh, the fun we had! This was a produced story I did for Gardening Life Magazine. I set up an outdoor movie night and I have to say, it was fun. This was done in my yard - the blueberry bushes are blazing in the background. I brought in a big fire pit to keep us warm, we rented Hitchcock's 'The Birds' - a classic. Tippi Hedren was pretty smooth through the whole seaside terror. I made caramel apples, pumpkin pie and hot apple cider. YUMM!

Another nifty idea I had - hot water bottles for the guests. We tucked them under our blankets to keep us warm. Happy Halloween everyone! I'm sure we will have posts on our kids costumes or those of our nieces and nephews on Monday.

Photos by Janis Nicolay - my sweet friend who I shot all the best stories with. Sigh, when will the economy turn!!! I miss doing this.

Tag, I'm it..

Koralee of Bluebird notes has tagged me. I met her a few weekends ago and let me tell all of you, she is as lovely as her blog. I was in a headband and gumboots, she was polished and lovely.
So.. Tag? Is this like the actual game of tag? Am I now to tag someone else? Not sure how this works, but I'll say this. One word answers are tough. I'm a rambler.
1. Where is your cell phone? good question
2. Your hair? mess
3.Your Mother? hero
4. Your Father? 'bobo the monkey' says my daughter - I'll say 'artist'
5. Your favourite food? pudding
6.Your dream last night? tripping
7.Your favourite drink? cocktails
8.Your dream/goal? relax
9.What room are you in? office
10.Your hobby? gardening
11.Your fear? failure

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? back

13. Where were you last night? high-tea

14.Something that you are not? wall flower
15.Muffins? please

16. Wish list item? harvest table
17. Where did you grow up? Lower Mainland
18.Last thing you did? tuck in

19. What are you wearing? how rude
20. Your T.V.? sports - UG

21. Your pets? Finn
22. Friends? wonderful
23. Your life? grateful
24. Your mood? changes
25. Missing someone? always
26. Vehicle? safe
27. Something you are not wearing? makeup
28.Your favorite store? antique mall
29. Your favourite colour? aqua
3o. When was the last time you laughed? question 19
31.Last time you cried? thursday
32.Your best friend? husband
33.One place that I go to over and over? garden
34.One person who emails me regularly? Pinecone camp
35. Favorite place to eat? out
Every photo (but Paris) was taken by Janis Nicolay - boy, we've had a lot of fun over the years. Yes, I really did get done up as a show girl.

Birds Nest Cookie Recipe..

Finally, here is the recipe for all of you. Birds Nest Cookies - a.k.a. Bright Eyed Susans, a.k.a. Thumbprint cookies
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespooons water
1 tsp almond extract
1 egg yolk
Almonds - sliced or chopped - your call.
Jam of choice for centres

*oven 350 F

Cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add water, extract and egg yolk. Sift flour and baking powder. Add to butter mixture. Form into balls about the size of walnuts. Roll balls in nuts. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet.

Find the cutes assistant you can to poke holes in your cookies. When cute assistant is not looking, and is proud of all her pokes, fix them to accomodate a teaspoon, or more, of jam. Bake cookies in the oven for 5 minutes - without the jam. Remove from oven - now drop in the jam. Place back in oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes.

Let cool then watch cute assistant with her Mexico Grandpa enjoy. (She calls him Mexico Grandpa as he lives there half the year teaching art and painting) She actually pronounces it Matchco Grandpa.

photo by Janis Nicolay

Watch out for little sneaky seconds stealers.

Fall Days..

Outside of having a wretched number birthday this week, it's been pretty nice just enjoying fall. I was suppose to be shooting an outdoor gardener's Christmas story for a magazine this week, but it's cancelled due to rain. Next week, I'll be back at it. For now, it's just nice to not have a deadline looming, as I search throughout the entire lower mainland for kumquats, and come up empty.

Fall is so designed for kids ...and apparently dogs. What better way to spend a few hours than whacking leaves or just rolling around on your back. It makes me wonder - would I enjoy doing these things too? Am I missing out on something so simple and easy to do? hmm.

Of course, a trip to the pumpkin patch is in order. Though, there seems to be a touch of disappointment with the choices made in our pumpkins.

Just a few pretty shots in the garden here at the farm. The blueberry bushes are stunning. Like they are on fire.
OH, the birdsnest recipe will be out in a day - my dad arrives tomorrow and insists I make them for him. So, I thought I'd document it and post the recipe for everyone.


It truly was the wettest two days of 2009. But, what can you do. Well, I made hot apple cider from our apples, and baked birds nest cookies using Missing Goat jam. Extra jam! Hopefully the two combined, would make the rainy venture bearable for those who came.

I love these cookies and always feel jipped when you buy one and the jam is superficially deep. They are also called thumbprint cookies. I like to use two or three thumbprints - makes for a better jam well!
I'm very happy with my shabby shack makeover. It's simple and happy. The aqua floors and red bits really pop. This stool I have been coveting for a week now. I found it at The Passionate Home in Langley, and had to have it. Carrie, a fellow blogger and the stores owner, gave it to me. How nice is that! Her store is full of treasures, but let me get the rest of mine out first!!
I added simple pretty bits. Gourds from the local farmers market, and rose hips from the yard - the ones that the llamas didn't manage to eat. Bloody llamas. Can't live with 'em, can live without 'em, thank God they are the neighbors.

We had jams to the left - Very Very Raspberry, Blueberry Lavender, and Strawberry Black Pepper and Mint.
Chutneys to the right - Apple and Curry, Blueberry Chutney, and mixed mini batches from copious amounts of fruits in the yard.
So, Welcome Missing Goat!! It's been a while, but now you are here. For those of you wondering what the deal is with the goat, I will tell you this.
Our goat is missing.
He is in France looking for Christine Ferber. She missed a step in her jam making book, and he wants answers. Frankly, he has been hell to live with ever since and we welcome the break. He's French Canadian and fancies himself a chef - need I say more!
Missing Goat web will be up in about a week, for now, please peak at my homepage:

Don't Panic, Ghosts Don't Exist..Right?

The garden was very pretty today. The red mountain ash berries are spectacular, the rose hips stunning and the last batch of rainbow swiss chard is way to pretty to eat.

In the house, I found a secret stash of chestnuts in my sleeping girls coat pocket. I made some grape juice from our concords, and I admired my new lamp - at a steal of a deal 32.00!!

All of this I pondered at the cafe, where I make my Missing Goat jams and chutney. It was chutney night, and I was, once again, trying a new way to avoid my eyes burning out of my head over the onions.
My husbands ski goggles didn't work, so I was worked up and crying already. This lead me to wonder why so many people go in through the out door and out through the in door. Why do they give you such a nasty look, like you are in their way. You are clearly coming in and they are clearly going out, but should be going in. This kind of thing really bothers me.
Anyways, I was locking up and about to leave when I got a frightful chill and heard an odd noise. I completely freaked out and was really scared. It then occurred to me, for the first time in months, that I was making jams in a heritage house that is rumoured to be haunted. Holy Mother..I FORGOT THIS!!
I'm there alone and the area is pretty dead - oh, no pun intended.
This place is old and supposedly a young girl took her life there a long long time ago. She lives in the basement.
On the way home - a very black cat with glowing yellow eyes jumped out in front of me. I almost ran him down. His eyes were yellow and terribly glowy.
Would you go back?
Pinecone camp, you don't need to answer - you are spook freak and I know you would be there in a shot.
I calmed down when I pulled in my driveway and a cute little bunny hopped along by my car. The evil was over, I was home.

Missing Goat...

On Friday, I picked up my adorable labels from Rob, one of the most talented persons I know. I then delivered my first batches of Missing Goat jams to two shops.
One in Vancouver - Butter. Owned by Rosie Daykin, famous for interior design and now homemade square marshmallows. Her bakery is the best in the city and if I keep delivering her jams, I'll get very fat.
The second, is Little White House in Fort Langley. A very pretty shop with a super charming cafe in the back. I've shot several stories for magazines (including the apartment in Paris) with this lady.
So, my farm, Missing Goat, is now going in to production of jams and chutney. We make blueberry with lavender and very very raspberry jams. We also have a very saucy chutney! I'm excited, but very nervous. Guess I'm putting myself out there again, and well, that is never easy.
In celebration of the new Missing Goat launch, I am renovating the Shabby Shack store. We are having a jam and chutney bonanza in a week, so I wanted it to look extra pretty and fresh. Here is a sneak peak at what is going on in there...

If you live nearby and want to come to my chutney bonanza (my sister informs me that is a stupid name, as only a sister could get away with) but still, if you would like to come, let me know and I will add you to the email list.

In the mean time, also in the garden, we are planting many varieties of garlic to sell next summer. About 8 raised beds with some rare varieties. The concord grapes are ready too, so tomorrow it's juicing time. Maybe I'll serve some at the bonanza!!

A Gift..

I started blogging in August of this year. My friend Janis encouraged me to do this. I had never blogged, didn't look at blogs, and really didn't know anything about them. But, as I my creative outlet has been snuffed by this economy, and magazines I work for keep closing, I needed an outlet. So, I blogged.
Then I started exploring other bloggers. Then I felt vastly ashamed of my blog and realized I needed to step it up - a lot. So I joined Picnik and Flikr. I kept exploring and became a full blown bloggaholic. It's frightening how much time you can spend here in this world.
I quickly realized what the attraction was. Why people blog.
It's simple really, blogging is the way that life should be. People are polite, kind, receptive, never have an unkind word about you or your work. There is no fierce competitiveness or backstabbing. No bosses or editors looking over your shoulder. No wanna be bloggers saying they could do it better than you. It's just a lovely world. It's Mayberry. In a bit, we're heading down to the fishing hole with a basket of Aunt B's fried chicken. Goober's fixing the giggly brake light on the car, Otis is drunk - yet responsibly sleeping it off in a cell. Barney is ticketing a jay walker and Floyd is giving bad hair cuts.
Why this long post about blogging..because today, I received a gift. It's my first. It was a picture of roses from a lady named Jean who lives in California. She enjoyed my blog and wanted to send me something. I don't know her blog address or anything about her - but she has a daughter named Lily too. This is the picture she sent me. Everyday someone from somewhere in the world says something kind.
Tara from Blondie 'N' SC did such a nice post about me that all I could do is blush and giggle!
So, I wanted to share something - a gift - for those who visit my blog. I didn't know what to give. What do I have..? Then I realized I could share a very sweet moment in my life, that I otherwise wouldn't post about.
Lily has joined dance class. So please enjoy and thanks for coming.

My Problems of Late..

Outside of my kitchen dilemma of last post, these are my latest issues. They are not earth shattering, or really of any importance or relevance. They are simply what I'm trying to deal with lately.

1. Our microwave broke. I've always been puzzled by those people who say, "We've never had a microwave, and never will". Well, good for you I say, in an admiring tone. But truth be told, I'm faking it. I don't know why they live like this, and certainly don't admire their lack of a speedy reheat. They are like people without tv's. Admirable?? I guess, after all tv is bunk. But I don't want to be one of these people. I have a busy life and a toddler. I haven't had a hot drink in two years. Can you live without yours?

2. It's that evil time of year when mini she-devils come at you from every corner. They attack. You are weak, unprepared for the assault. They guilt you with big eyes and glaring mother's lurking not far behind. And, of course, you are hungry, or worse.... Yes, you know what I'm saying - it's girl guide season. Sure, I could avoid shopping for groceries and alchohol, but my niece, whom I love, is a Brownie for the first time. So I have devoured two boxes in three days. I could vomit, but I don't. I try to order more. The worst part of this story is she is sold out. The even bigger worst part is that I had ordered a box for my friend, and now, I'm going to keep it and not share. She won't know. I'll say they were sold out. She doesn't even really like the mint melties. Is this wrong!

What I love in my home..

So I was asked to do something fun around the holidays in my home live on air. Sure I said, sounds fun! (Yes, if you read my blog from September 1st, you know I was thinking of my whole 'forgetting to swallow my spit and gagging on it" problem).
My second concern was that our kitchen is in mid renovation. Truth be told, it has been this way for about two years. It's just always pushed to the side and was never finished.
We were shooting a house yesterday for Style at Home. Peter, the designer, said "it's all about what you are doing and the fun you are having. Not how it looks". Fair enough. He's right.
So I went about the house looking for things that I love in my home, instead of things I need to fix or don't like.
This is a collection of them.
Above, My bedroom used in Country Living (still looks the same), a painting we brought back from Peru which I simply adore, and Buddha in my bathroom.

This painting is by my dad, who is an artist. I own two of his pieces and wish I could paint like him. Love love love them. The other, my 'his and her' sinks in our en-suite bathroom.

The old window we cut into the wall between the dining room and the living room. The little yellow and green chandelier. I went to Paris for two weeks to shoot a story for Country Living. I was 8 months pregnant. I found this chandelier at a flea market and dragged it home for the babies room. It has the best memories attached to it. The other shot is a corner of my office. It just makes me smile.
So I'll focus on these things that i love, and just get over what is not complete in my home. It's all very silly in the end.