A Birthday Day Out and Getting My Shop Ready for Christmas (already?)

Hello all,

I hope you are enjoying the kids going back to school and the ‘back to normal’ feel that brings with it.

Of course, I just love summer, but I also love the Fall, especially September and October here in British Columbia because even though the temperature is cooler, we still have loads of sunshine and all the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red, gold and yellow – spectacular!


I wish I could say that was my house – but it’s not!

I had a birthday recently, and Mr. LoveThat planned an amazing day for me. I’m not one for huge parties and lots of gifts – I really love simple things. One of my favourite places to go in Vancouver is Granville Island and that’s where Mr. LoveThat took me. 


It’s an island in the middle of the city buzzing with a colourful artistic community, an urban oasis filled with waterfront restaurants, theatres, galleries, studios, unique shops, cafes and the most fantastic fresh food market you’ve ever seen. It’s where we go when we want speciality food items, or really good fish and meat (that doesn’t happen very often in my household as the prices for that stuff are a bit more than in the local supermarket, but certainly worth every cent).

Parking is usually a problem, but it was a cloudy day, and the end of the ‘season’, so we didn’t have too much trouble. The trees were just turning red and gold


Then down to the waterfront for an amazing seafood lunch. On the way there, we stopped to watch the model of the cement works


And then this poster caught my eye


That’s where I’m from – Zimbabwe! I was sad to see the shop was closing, but soon saw why when we went to take a look at the sculptures. They were beautiful, but VERY expensive. Nothing under $10,000.00. Just a little out of my price range. If you are ever in that part of Africa, the sculptures are a lot cheaper.

Seated on the patio of the Bridges restaurant overlooking the bay


We ordered drinks.



and I ordered a huge plate of mussels. I didn’t take a photo and I was too busy getting it down my throat! But they were REALLY fresh and steamed in a lovely parsley/butter/garlic sauce. Absolutely delicious!

Then, on to the Public Market


Past the flowers



And inside



where we wandered around for a while drooling over the chocolates and desserts and cheeses (most of which I’ve never heard of!) and fish and meat, until we finally bought some beautiful Italian salads to go with our supper.

I found a wonderful little shop where I can buy a better quality of fabric paint and I will be buying some there this weekend (yay! another excuse to visit Granville Island). They also had beautiful silk and raw linen fabric there, but certainly out of my price range right now. The linen would make wonderful napkins, but that is still a bit down the road yet. Maybe I will get to paint a silk duvet cover one of these days?

We couldn’t leave without having a beer at the Granville Island Brewing Company













And then home where Mr. LoveThat made me a supper of Lamb Chops to go with the Italian salads we bought that afternoon.

It was a perfect day!

Back in the real world, I got an email from Etsy, as I do from time to time, reminding me that Christmas is just around the corner and they are starting the count down. Horrors! 

So this week, I got on with some Christmas Place mats and napkins and Wine Bottle gift bags.

Pretty silver bells and Christmas wording

A Christmas Tree made out of stars



and just for fun, Santa and his reindeer (well some of them, anyway) charging through the wintry night sky



















And various wine bottle gift bags along the same lines
















I cut out the fabric for Christmas Stockings and will sew them together and paint them on Friday.

I have a few more ideas – tea towels and such, and little gift bags to hold tea and coffee or chocolate and other favours. I have all sorts of small scraps of material all over the place and these will make great little bags.

In the meantime – still no progress on my house which seems to have come to a grinding halt, but I am getting tired of looking at the half-finished kitchen wall, so maybe next week …?

But now it’s time for a cup of tea, so until next week – cheers and have a great week.


Jane

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Small Pleasures, Beautiful Beans and a Fall Collection

Hello again! I can’t believe it’s already almost two weeks since my last post. It doesn’t seem like that much time has passed!



Well, I guess my sewing machine also enjoyed having a long weekend off – a bit too much, I think, because after giving it a well-deserved clean, I started sewing some tea towels for my lovely neighbour as a thank you gift for the beautiful fresh Halibut they gave us a few weeks ago, and it (she?) just wouldn’t cooperate! It kept on snagging here


here


and here


Grrrr! I adjusted then tension a whole bunch of times and tried all sorts of things (yelling didn’t work, by the way) and eventually, when I was about 2 inches away from finishing the hem, I gave up and decided that tomorrow is another day.

Instead, I made a lovely Jamie Oliver stew for Mr. LoveThat and a beautiful side dish of green beans. I say beautiful, because my family is not very keen on vegetables and Mr. LoveThat is particularly averse to them. So I am always looking for ways to make vegetables so delicious that they can’t resist them. And I came up with this recipe for green beans, or French beans, that had both Mr. LoveThat and my youngest son eating the entire serving on their plate and asking for more! Here’s the recipe 

  • Boil green beans in salt water until they’re just done – try one – if it’s soft and not squeaky when you eat it, it’s done.
  • Drain, reserving a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water, and set them aside to steam dry.
  • Peel and slice 2 cloves of garlic. 
  • Put the pan back on the heat, add a good lug of olive oil and the sliced garlic and give it a stir
  • When the garlic starts to turn golden, add the beans and jiggle the pan to coat them in the garlicky oil.
  • Add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.
  • Stir and simmer for about a minute and them remove from heat.
  • Place in a serving dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve immediately.
Delicious!!



The next day I suddenly realized that we’re already into September and I haven’t even thought about Fall, Thanksgiving or (horrors) Christmas. I needed to get some ideas fast for at least Fall and Thanksgiving table linens. So I spent most of that day scouring my imagination, my garden and the internet for something pretty and fall-like. A couple of my first attempts made even my family wrinkle their noses and give me funny looks (I guess that’s why I call it experimenting), but I eventually found a few things I loved and came up with three different designs


A Thanksgiving set


Mr. LoveThat liked these so much, he wants our own Thanksgiving table to be decorated with them.

A Falling Leaves design



I love the little purple/burgundy design on one of the napkins.

and finally, a kind-of wheat design
















I was so excited to get these done, I worked all weekend and most of Monday! I tell you, that really messed up my body clock. I spent most of Tuesday thinking it was Monday and have been a day behind ever since!!

Have a look on my Etsy Store for these.

This beautiful weather just seems to go on and on, and there are still all kinds of things flowering in my garden – the roses keep on blooming


And there are these daisy thingies flowering daily


And pretty Cornflowers along my driveway


And for the first time since we moved into this old cottage, little birds flying around the bird feeder outside my kitchen window.


Maybe they finally figured out that George the cat is too fat, lazy and well fed to hunt them 🙂

So, while I was running errands and grocery shopping on Tuesday (or was that Wednesday?), I heard on the radio that the following day was going to be 32 deg. C and super-sunny, and I realized that this was probably going to be my last chance to get to the beach that I’ve been trying to get to all summer. The minute I got home, I messaged my dear friend Jennifer, and insisted we go. She said ‘yes, yes, yes!’ So yesterday (That was Thursday, right?) I picked her up and we drove to a beach I’ve never been to before – Deep Cove. What an amazing place it is. 

We put our blanket down beside this log

And took in the beautiful scenery

Watched the boats go by (there was a duck too, but he was too far away)

Paddled in the crystal clear water


No sexy life guard today (sigh!)



And found this little guy washed up on the beach (unfortunately, dead)


Being the end of the summer season and everyone is back to work and school, the beach was virtually deserted, but we did meet a couple of ladies who had the same idea as us and we all stood in the water and chatted. It was a perfect day and we were sad to have to leave. But at least I managed to get to the beach before summer is over.

Next week, I have some ideas for Christmas stuff for my Etsy store and, hopefully, I will get round to painting that kitchen wall and finishing my bedroom furniture. There are still a few sunny days left to get it sanded down outside.

I hope you all have a great weekend. Check out the new Fall Collection on my Etsy Shop – lovethat50 and don’t forget to go to our website -www.lvethat.com as there are some lovely vintage ceramics and clothing over there – perfect for Christmas gifts!

Cheers!

Jane


A WEEKEND OFF AND MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MAGAZINES

It’s true what they say about running your own business – be prepared to work long hours. These past few weeks, I’ve found myself doing my books at 6:30 in the morning, sewing and painting and cutting 8 – 10 hours a day, getting 4 – 5 hours sleep a night because I have endless ideas and to-do lists running through my head, supplies shopping and idea hunting on weekends and then performing my wifely household duties in between. I was beginning to get cabin fever and feeling a little burnt out.



So Mr. LoveThat decided that this Labour Day long weekend was a perfect time to take some time off. Once I caught wind of this idea (he tried to keep it a surprise, but that doesn’t work very well in our house!), I became quite excited – such is life in the fast lane!
On Saturday, I ignored the growing pile of dishes in and around my sink, bought a bottle of wine and an Innis & Gunn Rum Finish bottle of beer (all the way from Scotland) and took myself outside to enjoy the seemingly endless summer weather.













At first, it was hard to just sit there under the trees after so many weeks of being so busy, but I soon found it an incredibly enjoying experience allowing myself to think about not-very-much. It seemed all my neighbours had gone away for the weekend, because all was quiet in my street – heaven! After the very delicious beer (I must buy more next time) and 2 glasses of wine, Mr. LoveThat and I drove to the pizza shop down the road and ordered 2  pizzas. We ate pizza, drank beer and guzzled ice cream while watching a movie. And still I ignored the dishes.


The next day, I couldn’t do it anymore and I did a quick clean of the house (including the dishes). After that we went to our favourite Italian coffee shop in the mall (cappuccino for me).







We dream about and drool over this coffee all week and then treat ourselves on a Sunday morning.






With delicious coffee in hand, we went upstairs to the new terrace food court and ordered crepes for breakfast. Something we’ve been dreaming about for several weeks. The reality was just as we had imagined.



Our plan was to wander through the mall quickly and then have lunch at the Buddist Temple, but we ended up in a long line up at our cell phone provider at the end of which we upgraded our cell phone plans and our cell phones. I am now back in the 21st century with a new smart phone and a better plan. I’m sure I will regret it when I see my phone bill, but for now, the thrill of my new phone and all the things I can do with it outweighs what the phone bill will be in a few weeks. I’m especially thrilled about the camera. My old camera broke when I dropped it and, although I could still use it, I had to hold it together when I took photos which became very tiresome. Poor old camera – it has served me well over the last 3 years. However, the sadness over my old camera very quickly disappeared as I started happily snapping away with my new phone and knowing I can download to my computer (and to this Blog) with ease, is very satisfying. Being a little ‘technology challenged’ I was grateful for the help of my son’s girlfriend, who has the same phone, showing me all the shortcuts and easier ways of doing things. I just love her!



We finally got to the Bhuddist Temple and what a wonderful, peaceful place it is. 



It has a hushed air about it amongst the splendour and tranquility of it all.



We wandered about in awe just drinking in the loveliness and peace, the smell of incense strong everywhere we went and beautiful offerings of fruit and flowers. 



What a lovely way to celebrate life. We were going to have lunch there but to be quite honest, we felt a little out of place and decided to eat at home instead. 

On the way home I had to buy some groceries. I picked up a magazine – O magazine to be precise. I had to stop myself from buying magazines some years ago because it became sort of an addiction. I used to buy them because I loved them so much and then I hardly read them. There would be magazines all over my house and they ended up gathering dust somewhere and eventually going to the recycling.


My love affair with magazines began in my teens when I realized that I could get all the information that I needed from one single magazine. This, of course, was before the days of the internet. Yes, I’m THAT old! I could read about other people’s lives, other people’s cultures, how to get rid of pesky pimples (SO important when you’re a teenager) how to put my make up on, how to take it off, how to do my hair, what books I might want to read, how to cook, how to clean – how to do almost anything really. And there was a crossword that I quickly became hooked on. My mother loved reading and crosswords and through magazines, I finally found something she and I had in common. We spent many Saturday mornings over tea out on her sunny patio doing the crossword together and discussing books. It gave us a bond we never had when I was younger and I am very grateful for that.
I used to love nothing better than to curl up on the couch with a magazine on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But then life got in the way, as it does. Kids came along, a household to run, a demanding job … and all of a sudden there doesn’t seem much time for lazy Sunday afternoon magazine-reading.
So, yesterday, on a whim, I bought the O Magazine because it had a feature about hair (always looking for inspiration on what to do with my unruly hair) and today I curled up on the couch and read it cover to cover and back again, while eating my favourite food – chocolate ice cream. It was wonderful and I felt so relaxed at the end of it. It was almost as good as an afternoon nap – another luxury I don’t seem to have been able to do for many years – I think I’ll try that next!


Today is the last day of our long weekend. I have a few more hours of luxurious nothingness and a couple more glasses of wine to look forward to before I have to get back into real life again (and those pesky dishes). But I feel renewed and relaxed and have a couple of ideas for dish towels and table linen to work on tomorrow.

Cheers!

Jane