I've literally circled the globe three times but I just got back from two weeks in Sweden and can easily say it is now one of my favorite places on earth. I took over three thousand photos. Yes, three thousand! It will take me a while to whittle them down to about 500 to keep and about 100 to show but for now here are a few of the strangest shots which are always my favourites.
 
 
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I'm going to Sweden in a few weeks. Until a couple of days ago I was too busy to do any research. Now that I've started I'm more excited than ever! The first place I went to get inspired to start my list of "Must Sees" was the Design Sponge city guide for Stockholm.  Since I found the guides about four years ago I've checked them before all my trips. They have led me to some great places I never would have found otherwise (like a bakery in Hawaii with the best cream puffs on the planet, and a great vintage store in Vegas that was way off the beaten track). I love these guides so much I wrote one for the area I live in (the Comox Valley), and updated their Vegas guide after the last time I was there. If not for the original Vegas guide I probably wouldn't have known I could get into the Neon Boneyard (a gravel yard full of the old signs), which, other than the natural wonders I got to see like Death Valley and the Valley of Fire, was definitely the highlight of my trip. Here are some shots I took in the Boneyard. I can't wait to see some of these images blown up to poster size!


 
 
My creative skills are strongest in ReDesign (making old new again). It appeals to me because of the recycling aspect, but it's simply something I do in my head ALL the time EVERYWHERE I go. If I have been to your house you can bet that in my head I've rearranged your furniture, repainted your walls, maybe put in a skylight or a new counter top or simply given you a new throw for the back of your sofa (and if you're my parents you've come home to MANY real changes). Not that I don't like the way you've done it but I'm just curious about how else it could be. I pay particular attention to traffic flow, site lines, and colours.

My friends and family know this is just part of the way I see the world and often ask for input, especially with colour choices. The most recent request was from my dear friend Naomi of mulBerryland.com who knew she wanted a pop of colour at her front door. She already has a red door so was thinking blue for the front. She showed me a primary blue she was considering. I suggested she instead go with a blue that was slightly more natural since the other colours of her exterior are natural. She immediately agreed and got to work. Isn't the result fun? 
 
 
The house a few doors down from my work got new owners about two years ago. It's been great to see the house transform and to see the garden get established. One of the times I was photographing their tulips the lady of the house came out and told me how sad she was that she would be away when the irises she'd planted in her ditch bloomed. I offered to photograph them for her while she was away. She just wrote back to say how much she appreciated the photos. Not as good as the real thing but I do like how the images turned out.
 
 
A friend of mine has painted her den a blue very similar to Tiffany blue and has filled it with cream and white furniture. The next thing to go into the room is a wardrobe which is brown now but needs a refresh. Should it be red or more white/cream? Which of these colour combos do you prefer? What kind of memories or moods do they evoke for you?
 
 
I'm house sitting for people who say they bought the house because of the garden. Can you see why I believe them?
 
 
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I've had the idea to downsize my journals for a while (anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows that I tend to make a short story long and since I've had that habit all of my life my journals are very full and I have a lot of them!). I found these gorgeous new journals by accident recently and they were too beautiful and perfect to resist!

Hmmm... looking at how many stories are in this box... I might have to go buy more new journals! Even my cat looks skeptical.

 
 
The collection is growing. I just love the palettes and the imagery!
 
 
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For a few years now my mum's been making her sandwiches with a little bit of artichoke dip rather than mayo. It is about twice as many calories as light mayo but it's worth it :)

Another way I change my sandwiches up is to use cream cheese (whipped is the best!) with tons of dill in it.

What do you do to ad some flare to your sandwiches?

 
 
First I wanted a serene pale blue/green bedroom so I ended up with a lot of fabrics and a bed skirt and a pillow in those colours. I have a love/love relationship with brown so I also ended up with two sets of brown sheets and beautiful embroidered satin pillow cases that I couldn't resist buying in India. I inherited a blue and white duvet cover that I never would have chosen for myself but really like. And the moment I saw an antique dresser in a shop a few years ago I knew that I was going to buy it and paint it Chinese red.

In my other living arrangements these elements were in separate bedrooms or even other rooms in the house and all worked. But now that I want all of them in the same bedroom I knew it was going to be a challenge. Painting the dresser is not an option because I just love it and the frame I've painted to match. Changing the wall colour is/was an option. Buying a new duvet cover was my plan but I've been keeping my eye open for months and haven't seen anything that has all of these colours in it. I considered making my own duvet cover again if I don't find anything I like by the time I return from my trip to Sweden this summer.
On Monday morning I woke up with the idea that I could make a painting with all these colours in it and later that afternoon I just happened to find two paintings already made! Sorry the photo quality isn't great (I'd never post anything if I perfected all the photos first!) but you'll have to trust me that it all works together. The background of the paintings (a natural linen sort of look) even works with the current and soon to be wall colours! And the paintings were only $30! I couldn't even get canvas and paint for that much! Are you starting to believe how lucky I am?!

The new paintings remind me a bit of two triptychs I did and sold about ten years ago.