A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Canadian Homes, Christmas Arrangements

The Undomestic Diva – Christmas Planter

You’ve never seen such a glamorous photo of me, I know!

Blue pyjamas, my husband’s house-robe, black socks and beige slippers. And yes, that’s a single blue curler in my hair. Don’t ask why.

Blog Photo - Christmas 2017 Planter and Cynthia in houserobe

I woke up determined to do this thing that I’m so inadequate at. 

It took me such a long time that breakfast had to be brought to me right there on the floor. 

Mr. J., the grand-Pug, kept circling me, bemused.

I kept taking out the dried hydrangea and putting them back in.

And this is what The Thing looked like by the time I surrendered….

Blog Photo - Christmas 2017 Planter Outside

As with all my arrangements, it was still missing something — more greenery, brownery, reddery?

Or a birdhouse. Or a shiny thing. Or something.

But that’s for figuring out on another day. 

My Ingredients:

  1. Small branches of cedar and pine
  2. Wild sumac flowers from the roadside
  3. Dried hydrangea from our garden
  4. White birch branches from our garden
  5. Magnolia leaves bought at the nursery
  6. Potting soil – I normally use potting soil from the summer garden, but this year I used fresh potting soil.

I have no doubt that you are greatly impressed.

Photos by Dan Leca.

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A Good Home, Artists, Authors, Canadian Authors, Canadian Homes, Canadian life

AT HOME WITH AUTHOR YVONNE BLACKWOOD

Yvonne Blackwood is best-known for the books she’s written about her African travels: “Into Africa A Personal Journey”, and “Into Africa – the Return”.

The former bank manager loves books. Writing them, and reading them. 

Blog Photo - Yvonne with Book

Not surprisingly, there are many books in her home north of Toronto. The photo above shows her in the bedroom “nook” overlooking the wetlands behind her home. 

“I can watch the geese frolic there all year except for the winters. A bookshelf stands in a corner and it is chock full of my favourite books along with books bought but not yet read.” 

Blog Photo - Yvonne wetlands2

More recently, Yvonne authored a humorous book “Will That Be Cash or Cuffs?”

Blog Photo - Yvonne at Desk

Long before that book, however, Yvonne wrote two others.

“One crisp autumn morning after exiting the train, I walked briskly up University Avenue (in Toronto) to my office. I noticed a tiny park next door to a large courthouse, and a gang of squirrels were frolicking and having a good time there. The crab apple trees in the park had lost all their leaves.

“It was a beauty to see the slender branches covered with thousands of little ripe crab apples. Some were strewn on the ground and the squirrels were feasting on them. Suddenly, an idea came to me; write a children’s book about squirrels living in a city!”

But she couldn’t find a publisher. Last fall, she “dusted off the manuscripts, edited them”, found an illustrator and published the books herself. 

Blog Photo - Yvonne Nosey Charlie 1

Two Nosey Charlie books – for children 3 to 8 — were published earlier this year on Amazon’s platform, Createspace.

Blog Photo - Yvonne Nosey Charlie 2

How is writing for children different than writing for adults? I asked.

“The big differences are―because it’s a children’s picture book―pictures show the readers a part of the story, therefore, there is no need to spell out everything in prose; you use fewer words. Each book has less than fifteen hundred words.

“You also have to be a bit more careful with the words you use. Although you never ‘talk down’ to children, at the same time you do not use too many big words, and you do not write long, complex sentences.”

BLOG Photo - Yvonne with NC Book

As Yvonne enjoys the summer in her house and garden, there is still more news on the way.

Blog Photo - Yvonne Clematis Vine

A third Nosey Charlie book  will be published in September .

Yvonne says:  “I’ll keep writing the stories as long as I remain inspired and the readers continue to love Charlie.”

Congrats, Yvonne!

 

 

A Good Home, Arabella Magazine, Architecture, Art, Canadian Art, Canadian Gardens, Canadian Homes, Canadian life, Verandahs

The Verandah

Like verandahs? (Perhaps you call them front porches?)
As a former island girl, I love them.
blog-photo-verandah-chairs[1]
See my story in Arabella’s Spring Issue. It’s accompanied by sumptuous art:
A Good Home, Beauty, Canadian Gardens, Canadian Homes, Canadian life

In My Dreams…..

… My garden would look like this — and have a full-time gardener to tend it!

https://cynthiasreyes.com/2014/09/19/a-familys-labour-of-love/