Thursday, December 8, 2016

~Christmas memories ~







Through the years we all will be together

If the fates allow

Hang a shining star above the highest bough

And have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now.



I actually love the  Christmas preparations..I love feeling cozy..indoors..looking outside..baking things:)There is NO place like home..every time we come home we say..I just love coming home..there is something so safe,private,and cozy about home.
Any size ..
Sometimes pretty Christmas songs and light pouring in...

The tree is up and is festooned with meaningful decorations..nothing matchy matchy..
memories..family..friends..events..moments in time..my baby Jesus in our crèche was mine as a child♥

The Littles have grown so MUCH..

Adamo is 17
Giuliana  is 15
Lucas is 11
Max is 9
Noah is 8
Oli is 7

Onto the beginning of baking..and every recipe..I will try and halve like this one..

Starting w/ shortbreads..my faves..

these  are a new recipe..that you can find HERE~

I am the tester..remember?:)Not a creator of recipes..a taste tester:)

These are jam filled almond shortbreads.




Now..stocking stuffers..

..the boys from here on end will get useful things..w/ some whimsy..
my girls..I love what I put in them:)
My mom always had the dearest..simplest things.
A highlight for me.

I have funny things this year..yet useful:)For the girls..and the boys won't be jumping for joy..neck warmers..lots of socks:)..mittens..better find one last fun thing for their stockings..


If you have time..listen to one of these artists singing this famous song.
Rosemary Clooney..her voice ♥

Michael Bublé


Rod Stewart


Bing Crosby

Frank Sinatra

James Taylor


Judy Garland

Rosemary Clooney


Next year all our troubles will be out of sight~
I LOVE this song..
Above..a few of my favorite artists singing it..have no idea why..but this is one of the Christmas songs that make me cry..I do have a few..;)



Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 2016~










When we returned from our visit south..we both knew we wanted to get our tree up as soon as possible..and we wanted scones..
We love the tree..we bought this artificial one about 12 years ago.
It just wasn't working for us anymore a natural tree..the needles..cutting the trunk dragging it in..watering it..not to mention scraping door frames..

so after Christmas that year..we spotted this one and bought it..it was so tall and the girth was so wide at the bottom..we took that part off.
There's no theme to the tree..decorations since we married almost 43 years ago.

Some I leave in the box/bin..because some have become a little more favorited..
Jacques is a child at heart for Christmas..he puts the tree up..and it's a feat..especially when the pre-lit tree became less and less lit until it just didn't light one light this year..so all the lights are strung by him....he sets all that up..and then I add the decorations..it takes a few hours..I even forgot the topper.and I am not going back up the ladder...I place each one carefully and we admire..
I think I told you that story about our tree when I was young.The lights were larger..multicolor..and I would see my mom in the dark..contemplating the tree..and the light of her cigarette was the only other light..smoking wasn't that frowned upon 45 years ago.
I have wondered what she was thinking about..her daughter that passed away,my dad's health? Financial concerns?My brothers? Me?
I just know she seemed to be in another quiet place.
Have I mentioned I loved her so much?♥

Anyway that's our tree and I feel lucky to be able to look at it.
It's getting old and it seems to be getting bigger as we get smaller.,shorter,weaker.

Then the scones..I think he is hooked..
so I made them more Christmasey yesterday w/ cranberries..I've shared this recipe many times it is one of the several we like..It's from All Recipes..from Mylène our daughter..Noah's mommy.

Our dear friend Nancy is in Thailand..relishing every spiritual moment..she is there for 1 month ..she returns Dec 24th.
I have received an email..and really..that place is her.She was looking at it as a pilgrimage.
I call her my Buddha:)
She obviously ordered the pointsettias before leaving as they were delivered after her departure.
A box arrived also with dear dear things in it for Christmas..
As you know Jacques and I don't exchange gifts..fun to see someone thinks about you.
Grateful.


I'll start some baking soon..but not to much since my girls make so many for Xmas eve.I do brunch Xmas morning..and everyone is a little less on the desserts.

.
Who knows how long we will be able to keep doing this?
So I will appreciate while we can.
I must say I LOVE the simple vignettes people are posting..of a white stark room and Charlie Brown real tree..and hardly anything in it.
Maybe that's the future for Jacques and I.
Jesus is already in his crèche under the tree..it was mine as a child..he is missing a wax arm..
The boys always go and look:) And ask me questions..
I hope The holidays will be All Is Calm All Is Bright..for you.
That's it..health before everything.
I hope you feel the love of people that have left us:(
Or the peace of just being on your own..
Maybe with friends..or maybe not.
Just peace in your hearts..in your families and friends.
Those of you I know battling illnesses.
Here's to a cure.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Seaview~LONG.....Winded..










Bonjour Monique:)






Time to retire the above..they served me well for quite a number of years♥







The diamonds !





Remember when I made the watercolor watch?
I sent the original link of the person who created the original to an artist friend ..guess what?
He made one..I saw him here and he showed me..his is so much better it has compartments.
I think it is fantastic:)





every day..subtle changes..nuances..clouds..sea..

Below..is NOT where we stay..just a couple of the homes along my stretch..
all different styles..my favorites are the plantation looking ones like the yellow one.
I am partial to yellow homes:)
We stay in something I guess the size of their living room..or less..oh less I am sure..maybe the butler's pantry;)
Some..are so large..the fronts almost encroach the front road.
maybe 15000 ..sq ft..as people we know have a 9000 sq ft one..and these look far larger.
NOT FOR ME.
And I have rarely seen people there.
I guess it's a home here and a home there.





Apart from home..and the Cape..or Maine..this is my favorite place in the world.I guess because I feel at home.
I love France..Italy..I could live in Provence if my whole family could come:)
.. here I feel at home.
It's not a hotel..it's humble..but that's what we sea :) all day long..
the sea.. shore birds..sometimes dolphins..manatees..jumping fish...
we eat in..because we like to..why leave this?:)
No housekeeping... we make our beds and clean the space  ourselves..
I am not big on hotels..too much flafla for me.Younger..my eyes would be round as saucers when we went on business events ..I had never seen such luxury..The Cloister at Sea Island..I was 20 and pregnant and we arrived at this unbelievable place..so yes younger..all that had a different appeal.
I like to wear extremely casual clothes here..flip flops and a pair of knock off black Toms.
To have to dress up would take all the purpose of our totally laid back no obligation trip.
Plus I am not into ritzy.At all.
Have you noticed we eat better at home?
And Jacques and I..find..   that too much food is served..and numerous courses are not for us either.At our daughter's homes..we overeat:) but we eat for hours in our favorite company.

One day many years ago..I went to the Ritz for tea..I must admit that was a fun little thrill..
But I have not been back.
I have no idea why I am like this...but so is Jacques.
He has not worn a suit in decades.Except for our two daughters weddings:)
The people we see..are all so good to sea:)
We all know we care..but we all know we like our spots of privacy.
It is a well managed happy marriage♥s..
 ..they are all sooo nice.





Before I get into my Christmas mode w/ cookies and tourtières..it is such a different life here..no baking..no real cooking..easy quick things..
no baking tools..no knives that cut..LOL..no cookie stamps ..nor cookie cutters..no pie plates..
I can handle that ;)Here.
I did buy a precious set at Williams -Sonoma online though:)
Cookie stamps..

..and honestly..how great is customer service in the states?

Pretty darn good..
ours has taken heed I think and is quite good too:)

This year we FLEW.I will never drive again..for 30 years we have driven..different months ..seasons.. but always drove..except a few times when work didn't permit to leave etc..and Jacques drove..I flew..one way..
We used to do it in 2 days..13 hours..13 hours..  in our way younger days..we drove direct..26 hours..

but 3 days 2 nights....just got to me..and admittedly to Jacques..
You have no control over traffic..the weather..downpours and trucks....ice and sleet and crazy snow in Nov!
Detours and road construction..
White knuckling it is not for me..

I WILL NEVER DRIVE AGAIN.

Blablabla..I write and talk way too much..;)











I often tell myself..you have taken the exact same photos for years on end..but still..the views..make me want to click away to remember..again.

I learned my lesson years ago..to not use my best cameras on the beach:) Sand and cameras..don't get along..
when the Littles are with us I sometimes make an exception..but on our own..I take the point and shoot..
as you may have guessed none of our beautiful boys joined us this year..
They went on a trip to Mexico and loved it..Room service..beaches..pools..Oli won that top in football..:)And he is the soccer player..looks pretty fantastic.At their ages and their parents ages..so much fun.

Above photo..courtesy of Caroline,our daughter

Noah will be at Disney in March:)It's Spring break and he and his mommy make the most of it as it is her Spring break too..I gotta give it to her..she uses travel points she accumulates during the year..makes all the arrangements..totally impressed..I never would have done something like that on my own.


It's all beautiful and natural here  w/out a fancy lens:)
My friend Brenda..Gene's lovely wife..contemplating the beach:)
She had been..I ran in to get my camera..and she wasn't:(
I asked her to go back for 2 minutes..:)Imagine..Gene is an artist..yet he bought a frame for this:)



Prima Tropicals.. pencil and brush...an Artist Loft brush that I LOVE..I have had it for a while..3 yrs maybe..red handle ..perfectly pointed yet roundish..and small.Scott towels..a small yogurt container of water..next time..a mechanical pencil..because I did not bring a sharpener..:( And my Micron was dry..:(
Kilimanjaro paper from Cheap Joe's...it came with my travel kit last year..I did pick up another small block in Fl.
I am so impressed with these Primas..that I also bought Decadent Pies..ap $15.00 I love the granulation..the bright vivid colors  ..here I used soft colors..quite a bit diluted.
I can safely say that I think I have enough watercolors to last my lifetime and more..oh way more..but feel so lucky to enjoy doing this ...that with photography..and baking..I am set to hibernate.

I painted quite a bit..every day  a little something..a card for our UPS gentleman..a card for our manager here.. did a few Christmas vignettes in a new journal..all copied except one and the one I didn't  copy is my very least(oxymoron?) favorite..sob.




And Brenda:)

And then the wind and whitecaps appeared one day under the most brilliant sky and the sound of the surf♥




And I loved it all just as much.We get to see the most glorious sunsets..every night..and they are all different also~
I don't think anything beats babies and nature...and kind hearts like this one..oh please look at it..♥It made me cry..

And then we have the other end of the spectrum..yikes:(:(
I can't believe  it.
Black Friday..Cyber Monday..Cyber Monday continues..

you know..our Thanksgiving is WAYY before the US one..yet..we have Black Friday when they do..and Cyber Monday too..they jumped on a bandwagon.
I used to love Boxing Day..when we were in the need to get things..
now if I go..it's to be with my girls.

and then..this made me smile:):

If my wife was a Transformer..her name would be Amazon Prime.





Photo credit: Brenda



Photo ,courtesy of Jacques.(He bought a mini Ipad:).The guy who does not even use a cellphone..nor owns one..when he worked..he had one..the size of a brick . a big brick..in a faux leather case.
A bit like a big walkie talkie:)

Namaste.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Starting ..











Noelle's boys



Don't worry..I know it's not Christmas..but it seems to be right around the corner and I don't know how in the world that happend.
I have to say..the older we get..I think..the faster  the days go by.

American Thanksgiving..is the 24th of November..a day short of one month from Christmas..I admire that they do so much in one month!
And I hope everyone has a Happy one.


You know I love painting and am useless from my mind..
or flowers or landscapes...it is as if I cannot translate 3d into flat..

..I must go back to "Drawing  with the left side of the brain",there is an acetate sheet to help you to do that..I am always so impatient to progress that I regress...but give me something I can try and copy and I love it..I just read in the book ..A Little Life..that I am a copyist..
BTW..the book is sometimes very hard to read..not for it's length,702 pages..but for the suffering some have to endure.
It is graphic..and sad.
It does however show us that some people are incredibly loving and kind and nice.
It's just that sometimes..one is so marked..there is no turning back.

..the painting to the left is an old Christmas card I copied..you just look at the card..and draw it on a watercolor paper and then paint to your liking..the middle one is really a pink and blue birthday card w/ a chicken or two..I changed the clothes and colors and left out the chicken..the one to the right was also inspired on an old card I kept..
This is what I love doing because..I am sometimes happy enough with the results..flowers..kill me:(

Yet I LOVE them.

Not all my Christmas cards are hand painted..just a few..

because I love some bought cards too..I was just feeling inspired..I have to start early enough in the fall..because we are 12..there are stockings to fill..(8)and gifts to wrap..and I hate wrapping a multitude of gifts..I love wrapping individual ones w/ special attentions given..mass wrapping is..ok let's get this over with..
That's the spirit!:)

The 3 top Christmas cards were painted with..different paints different companies..
I would be hard pressed to tell you which was what..sorry!

But I did want to tell you about 2 little sets I bought ..
that I like***..
The sets have all the cute appeal you could want w/ the black shiny metal case w/ thumb holder underneath..(VG quality)..
All the paints are wrapped in clear then paper wrappers..all numbered and they come w/ a card to paint the colors w/ varying transparency..
I am not an expert at doing this..but am trying to do this w/ every set that comes to live with me..
I bought The Tropicals..and The Classics.
I painted the reindeer w/ the Tropicals..
my first try..  as a copyist of course.
for some reason the reindeer looks paler here..and I will add glimmering snow and place it on a card backround..
I asked Jacques.."Do you find these colors chalky and dull?" Or vibrant?
He said vibrant..
..granted they are not JUICY like M Grahams or Daniel Smith or Sennelier..but I love them.
My daughter's friend's adorable little boys..painted with the Tropicals also..Ipad photo..I am not well suited for phone pics or Ipad ones..she posted this photo on FB..and I tried to COPY the photo.
It appeared to be taken on a wharf..the day was dull..and 2 ducks were swimming by..

Fun fun little kits for travel..or home.
Try finding a pratical beautiful case like this..plus the plastic half pans..and paint for the price.
I don't want to sound cheap..
but all my pearls are not real.

**** These are not for first class  watercolorist aficionados..just saying;) Artists that swear by certain makes..I guess they would call them student grade.. I am  a student so they work for me and my small pleasures..I did buy 2 sets of more artist grade paints but I have yet to open them.

When I bought my Fiat..lol.. the car connaisseurs came out of the woodwork..and said..OH NO!!
I said OH YES.
6 years later..I still love it..well you can't love a car..so I still like it.

My Grumbachers are the chalkiest paints I have and many artists swear by them.

But these little Prima sets suit me wonderfully..and I do have more expensive ones.

PS no one told me to write this:)No one paid me..not sponsored..but the day I got these I wrote an Amazon review after opening 3 colors and trying.





Don't know if you can make out a bit of the name Bill on the table..my brother carved that when he was a child:)maybe it does not show in this area..
Caroline carved her work of art on one of our couches..all I could say was :"Wait 'till your father gets home"..
~ That was my line.

So if you are not getting cards ready..etc..you can..



You can start making bird treats:)...



And getting some of the ornaments organized♥



Footnote..

Leonard Cohen passed away last week:(

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n7WmzfYy00

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGorjBVag0I&feature=share

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o6zMPLcXZ8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrLk4vdY28Q

And Flanders' Fields..

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/11/11/leonard-cohen-in-flanders-fields-remembrance-day-2016_n_12908096.html


All the above are so worth listening to..take the time..sit back..and ..perhaps   be ready to be moved.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Maman's Soup~And Danny Tanner♥







There are only a few things I know how to make because of my mom..
Cottage Pie..Spaguetti sauce..Chinese chicken wings..and her chicken noodle soup.
Her Canard a l'Orange..(with my dad's ducks)(yuck).

I don't know why but I seem to have had  zero interest in cooking and baking when I was a teen..and as most of you know I lost her when I was 19..
but these were some of my favorites and I loved when she made them.
Cottage Pie..I always called Shepherd's pie.. until Marie set me straight;) :)
You know the 3 layer delight..beef..cream corn mixed w/the kernel corn and the best darn mashed potatoes you can make on top..

her spaguetti sauce I have improved upon because of one of my daughters..the addition of capers and black olives..delish.

Her Chinese chicken wings were stellar..bake your chicken wings till done..bring a jar of VH garlic sauce to a boil and add the baked wings till coated and glistening in this rich soyaee sauce..

Her chicken soup.

I LOVED it and my girls have liked it and all of the above..

She would take the carcass of the chicken..leaving some meat on..the chicken was baked..she would put it in a stock pot..cover with water..add  a stalk of celery..a whole carrot.. ..onion..garlic..salt pepper..parsley..a bay leaf..and let all that simmer for a few hours..discard everything except the broth..pass through a sieve..add cut up chicken..and EGG noodles..I sometimes add egg spaetzle..
then her secret ingredient..some Bovril ;)
Parsley on top.
Feel good comfort food..


Some things you never forget..like Vick's Vapo-Rub..:)
I recently bought some and to my horror it was lemon scented..oy..just leave well enough alone.
I had bought a generic one years ago..much better than lemon scent.

With soup or pasta dishes..Grissinis are a fun accompagnement..3 of the Littles ..loved them..

I had watched the GBBS..and they made some..I had not made any in a couple of years..I tried this recipe this time..I used garlic..rosemary.and more salted..3 kinds..so you sep.the dough in three..
don't listen to them though..I had to flour and reflour my surface..as this dough is sticky..

I started using the bread labels in 2013..time races by..you can too..thanks to this talented blogger.

Even if you don't bake your own bread..buy a loaf and bring it somewhere or have it on your table like this:)



There's not much I would not do for another moment with my mom.
Ma meilleure amie au monde..

It seems that to make up of this great loss in my life..He..sent me 2 little girls that grew up..and then the  4 Littles..
He knew what he was doing..
So funny..
Noah came over w/ his mom for a visit while his daddy was away..

have to tell you something..our floors are hardwood and warm colored and shiny:)

When the boys take off their shoes..and walk all over the place..little sweaty wet socks leave footprints everywhere..it's the stupid shine.I would get matte next time..anyway..I keep slippers for them..not when socks are dry:)
But wet..:"here darlin'"..

anyway..Noah was coming for a  visit and he told his mommy..:"Nana is a bit like Danny Tanner.."LOL.she cracked up and yes so did I:)
Any of you watch Full House?

Google him..
and you may see why;)

Honestly..I think I have become very laid back..just our floors..

My girls watched every episode and now all 4 littles have watched thanks to Netflix..


..Take care..
Signed..

 Danny Tanner..aka Nana..aka Monique.

If you want to know what I looked like when he came for his visit..look no further♥I know some of you don't notice sidebars..so I wanted you to see:)
At first the mouth was straight..and I said I thought nana always smiled at you..he said but you weren't smiling when I did your mouth..so he added the wings.


I love it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Paper~And Macarons and Foxgloves~












I enjoy paper products very much..cards ..paper..calendars..craft papers..
I just wanted to share what I ordered from Shutterfly recently and how darn cute it is..an easel calendar♥
You pick your  photos and they fill 12 months..all different styles..no surprise I picked this one..it comes w/ that cute wooden easel..the paper is cardstock..not flimsy..

All Shutterfly all lovely.

Shutterfly is not sponsoring this at all..I just wanted you to see what cute things they make in case you didn't know..with the holidays approaching..they have bags..wall calendars..magnets..puzzles..games.

I love this set of 2 CDs Jacques bought,primarily because my mom enjoyed Frank..and quite truthfully I do too..he is up there w/ Michael Bublé ( poor them right now..their little boy Noah is facing cancer)....Harry Connick..etc..

Lucas came for a visit and played chess with Jacques..so I played with my paints one room away:)♥
I had been so fortunate to find a tiny blooming foxglove:) In the midst of putting the gardens to bed..a precious pastel summer jewel.
And so the paints came out:)
Lucas had a bite of the macaron and put it down..he did not put down the Halloween Oreos:)