Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year – New Post

The meaning of life is to find your gift.
The purpose of life is to give it away.
David S. Viscott, American psychiatrist and author (1938–1996)

As the first day of the new year draws to a close, I am sipping some of the leftover bubbly – still effervescent thanks to the ol’ spoon in the hole trick. Surprisingly, I am also still effervescent given that I did see the clock tick over from 2018 to 2019. I have not done this in a good many years. While other late night revelers may have been watching the ball drop in Times Square or the fireworks from the London Eye, I was very happily sewing with my glass of Back 10 Cellars Smit*ten at my right elbow.

It has been a very sewy holiday and I have been very content. I set out a few weeks ago to make a comforting lap quilt for a dear lady who is grieving and found myself comforted by its colours and the lines of the Beatitudes worked into its reverse side. Those verses move me at my core and I have fond memories of visits to the beautiful mount on the north shore of Lake Kinnerat so the quilt was a joy to create.

Just in time for Christmas day, I finished a set of fleece-lined shoe bags for S-I-L. Once Dad helped me figure out how to make the grommets, the bags came together gorgeously. Sorry, no photo, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

The next project had me hand sewing the binding of a quilt for my aunt. The fabric reminded me of her lovely gardens and I hope the bright bouquet will be cheery during our gray days of winter. The piece work had been completed a few months ago and then Helen Huburt worked the beautiful quilted pattern using her longarm machine. She finished in time for Christmas so I just needed to finish the edging, which is metres long and requires small stitches to maintain the quilt’s integrity through washings. I never would have thought that I would take so much comfort from working with needle and thread. Yet there I was, sitting in my rocking chair, contently sewing. It’s quite an old-fashioned image and I found myself thinking of and connecting with all the women in my matrilineal ancestry who also took comfort in handiwork.

Last up is a very modern-looking pillow. This is what I was quilting last night and finished today. The design freely evolved as I worked. Thankfully, I like it. ;-)

The unicorn marks the last of the 2018 Christmas presents. It has been a wonderful holiday, full of family, comfort and joy.

I wish all my dear readers a new year full of such comfort and joy, fine friendship and good health.

Onwards into 2019!
(hopefully with more blog posts than in 2018)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Wrapping Up another Wrapped Up

When it rains,
you should pour.
Unknown wino

The Three Winos didn't let the weather dampen our spirits when the ever-changing temperatures allotted us a rainy Saturday for our annual Wrapped Up in the Valley tour. Twenty Valley's wineries warmed our bellies with good food and our souls with good wine. Our friends at Kacaba with Zooma caterers presented yet another winning combination with a pulled pork crostini and their 2016 Cabernet-Sauvignon. 

We definitely intend to cook up a pot of the spicy chili following 13th Street's recipe.

Stoney Ridge also served up delicious comfort-in-a-bowl.

Greenlane Estate Winery can be counted on to serve a fresh, mouth-tingling combo. We wanted seconds of their jalapeno chicken wings -- so we need to get cooking!

The pumpkin cupcakes at Henry of Pelham are swoon-worthy. I would never have thought to pair a dessert with a red but their Gamay works. S-I-L tried to coax the chef to let us buy a half dozen delectables for the convivial family gathering that followed our wine tour but alas we must wait we bake up our own batch.

I am looking forward to today's pairings and the ever-warm camaraderie of the Three Winos on tour.
Stay tuned!

6 p.m. Update

The Three Winos have returned to their dens well satiated. The day began with The Foreign Affair Winery's Cabernet Sauvignon. While extremely good, we are looking forward to receiving their Apologetic Red that will be launched December 8.

Harbour Estates Winery topped their Cremy Butternut Soup with sour cream laced with Vidal Icewine. Yum!

The presentation and flavour of Vineland Estates' pairing of Pork Belly Tacos with their Unoaked Chardonnay marked one of the high points of this year's Wrapped Up passport.

At our final stop we raised our glasses to another great Wrapped Up discovery tour, which launches us into the Christmas season with a pantry full of good cheer. Cincin!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Autumn's Cheer

From dewy lanes at morning,
The grapes’ sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here.
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.
Helen Hunt Jackson, American poet and activist (1830–1885) in her poem “September”

Sweet scents of fermented grapes wafted over a hidden glade within our local woods as Bro and S-I-L treated me to the Ancaster Autumn Stroll. Wine and brews joined delicious food provided by renowned local eateries as the Rotary club hosted its annual fundraising event. Having spent the afternoon in the fresh air foraging in the woods while singing along to classic tunes crooned by the terrific Dunn Brothers band, I certainly feel satiated with autumn’s best of cheer. What a wonderful feeling!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Beauty of Storms

. . . I don’t just wish you rain, Beloved – I wish you the beauty of storms . . .
John Geddes, Canadian journalist and author in A Familiar Rain (2011)

After a morning of heavy rain and with the forecast putting the chance of rain at 5:00pm at 50%, I decided to duck out of work thirty minutes early. And so it was that at 5:08pm, as my commuter train had only just left the station, I could enjoy the beauty of the deluge from a dry perspective.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Friendship Jaunts

In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans;
In one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.
Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American writer, poet and artist (1883–1931)

Dear friends treated me this week to excursions into realms beyond my normal frame of reference. Our adventures led to new findings and lots of fun.

The weekend's junket included a picnic in a shaded, magical garden complete with gargantuan knobbly elms and a pink-garlanded gazebo, a visit to a non-Irish Dublin, and a vast waterscape of the mighty Lake Huron with boats returning to a protective harbour.

As we journeyed we shared past memories (including an old photo from my first trip to the Rocky Mountains) and made new ones (e.g., giggles and tears over trying to remove cowboy boots in a local consignment shop).

I’m truly thankful for friends who add such rich dimensions to the aspects of me.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Smiling Sunflowers

We’re all golden sunflowers inside.
Allen Ginsberg, American writer, philosopher and activist (1926–1997)

As the calendar moves far too quickly into the last days of summer, the smiling faces of sunflowers in the grocery store cheered me. They and gladiolas are Mother Nature’s best birthday gifts. Bring on the smiles! ☺

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Uniquely Canadian

Red meat and gin.
Julia Child, American chef and author (1912–2004), providing the reasons for her longevity.

I’m an apprentice of the spirit of Julia Child, and I certainly enjoy my G&Ts on warm afternoons. A chance conversation introduced me to a gin that found inspiration in the Canadian north. Thoroughly intrigued by the listed ingredients I carried a bottle home from my western wanderings and had the opportunity to taste it this evening.

Ungava gin boasts Nordic juniper, Labrador tea, crowberry, cloudberry and wild rose hip that produce a gentle and refreshing flavour that needs nothing more than tonic to carry it. The mildness of its flavour belies its 43% alcohol content.

I foretell a future television ad similar to that of the Tetley Red Rose tea commercials of the 1970s: “Only in Canada you say? . . . Pity.” ;-)