a small collagraph print with colour added digitally

I am so pleased with this new blog design. As it turns out, it is the perfect eighth blog anniversary gift from Elisa and J, though likely the timing was serendipitous. As you may recall, it was J who started me on this fascinating and addictive project eight years ago. I’ve surprised myself that it’s still going, even if sometimes limping along (like me).

This is the biggest redesign yet, affecting many areas of the blog. If I recall correctly, this may be the third banner, after the one put up on its 4th anniversary. Then a couple of years ago, youngest daughter Erika changed the font. As I wrote then, I’m very picky about fonts so am pleased we found this one called Calluna Sans Light.

This redesign is still a work-in-progress, as are most creative projects, with a few little details to adjust. One new and developing feature is the ‘About’ page. You might notice the old gallery/slide show is gone because Flash no long works with this design. Hopefully a new improved one will come sometime. So many dead links floating around now – will I need to update them all?

I wonder if anyone else feels a sense of loss when changing things in a bigger way. Like the banner…it’s just not the same to have the digital file and a screen shot as to see the whole blog with it. Rather like when moving house, I feel sadness leaving the old one, but nervousness and excitement with the new. I hope to have more adventures ahead, shared in the deep pleasure of friendship with all of you readers. Thank you for being here on this journey.

Related: the first anniversary, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and the seventh


My artist-designer-blogger daughter Elisa has been working her magic on the redesign of my blog, with the technical assistance of her sweetheart. I am very excited by this major update in design, a facelift if you will.

The changeover will start soon and take several hours, I think, so this is just a warning that things may look funky temporarily. Some parts of the blog will still be works in progress, more on this later.

Many thanks for this lovely design and all your hard work, Elisa and J! How lucky I am to have you and your talents.

2011 in review – 2

Continuing my review of some of this year’s favourite photos from the Photoworks theme, this time from the July to December posts.

July: junkyard finds 6

August: almost September

September: jute

October: autumnal shadow play

November: hand in worship

December: oh ginger

As mentioned in the previous post of images from January to June, it was an interesting exercise and at times difficult to choose from so many images. Curiously, there was only one post, ‘shadow play’, this year with images under the ‘urban’ category, whereas I think 2009 was a bumper year with lots of urban shots of London and Paris. Not surprisingly, for those who know me, the most popular categories are ‘rocks’ and ‘nature’.

So, this is the last post on the last day of 2011, a very turbulent year around the world politically and economically. Just for a while on this New Year’s Eve tonight, I wish all of you peaceful thoughts and happiness in your own little world of family and friends. Many thanks for visiting and commenting (or not) and continuing to make this blog venture such a pleasure for me even as it nears eight years.

Happy New Year 2012, may your hopes and dreams come true! Hauskaa Uutta Vuotta ja paljon Onnea! Frohes Neues Jahr! Bonne année! See you on the other side!

Related: one year ago

2011 in review – 1

Inspired by other bloggers who are doing year-end reviews, usually of books they have read, I thought this year I would try one for the first time. I have chosen a month by month review of my better photos from the Photoworks theme, choosing at least one from each sub-category.

Here are my favourites from the January to June posts. I will do the July to December ones tomorrow.

January: leaves in ice

February: round and white

March: Beaty Biodiversity Museum – 3

April: trickster?

May: Gabriola’s petroglyphs 2

June: sensuous rocks

I found this an interesting exercise and to note that this year there was only one post for the ‘Found Objects’ category – the mask in ‘trickster’ above. More observations to come tomorrow.

Related: five years ago



Getting ready for a special teatime on the deck, one summer afternoon a few weeks ago, after daughter Elisa came home from an unusual visit to her favourite Italian bakery in Vancouver. How excited and round-eyed the grandgirls were, as were we adults! Please read and enjoy the very special story behind the significance of the appleturnovers, pictured below, and why she chose it as the name of her blog.


I forget the name of the amazing cake below so I’m calling it profiterole cake, for the round chocolate-covered custard-filled minicakes on top of the big cake. Oh my!


Happy first blog anniversary to appleturnover!

visitors from Hawaii


left to right: Terry, Marianna, Marja-Leena and Fred by False Creek, looking north at Vancouver’s condo towers

Yesterday’s highlight was a wonderful visit with blog friend Marianna (of Hattie’s Web) and her husband Terry who are in Vancouver for a family reunion and their almost annual visit to the Vancouver Folk Festival. Marianna and I met the first time two years ago so this time our husbands were included. We all felt at home together and enjoyed much stimulating conversation and laughter over lunch at a longtime favourite restaurant overlooking False Creek. Terry took a great photo of us so do check it out over at Hattie’s post.

The weather here is usually in its best summer mode between mid-July and mid-August but this year it has been absolutely awful in all the Pacific Northwest the last few days so we were lucky there was a suitable break in the monsoon-like showers. We hope they were able to catch a few of the FolkFest events without getting soaked and cold. Hope to see you again next year!

Natalie’s serial novel

illustration by Natalie d’Arbeloff, from chapter 4, La Vie en Rosé, used with her permission

I love the way a story builds up in a serial novel or sequel format à la Dickens. It is a clever format for building up anticipation, yet definitely tries my patience as I eagerly await each new episode. I particularly recall in my silly teenage years reading serials in some monthly magazines, waiting weeks between issues – a clever way also for publishers to keep up sales and deplete my meager allowance. One summer vacation at the cottage, I found a stack of very old yellowed Finnish newspapers with a romantic serial novel in it and that was heaven without the wait!

I’m sure most of my readers need no introduction to my friend, the artist, writer, long-time blogger, Natalie d’Arbeloff of Blaugustine fame. If you don’t know her, I suggest you visit her now and read one of her latest creative ventures, the serial story La Vie en Rosé (and it’s free). There are already sixteen chapters to savour. Like many good tales, it has an intriguing true story within the story, interesting characters and a bit of French. The illustrations are very much “Natalie” yet unlike the graphic novels that she is well-known for.

Here are two excerpts, the first her introduction to how it all began:

The first installment of this story, posted on June 15, 2009 on Blaugustine, was my 250 word contribution to an online game of Consequences (each successive entry in the game began with the closing lines of its predecessor). But because some readers encouraged me to continue where I left off, somehow it just grew and became this illustrated story, which will finish whenever it finishes. New installments are added in consecutive order whenever I write a new one. Your patience is appreciated.

Then a passage from Chapter 13 which particularly had me smiling:
Susan closed her notebook and took a deep breath. The words tumbled out like marbles scattering haphazardly all over the table. She spoke too loud, too fast and too intensely. The important thing was to get through.

“After I saw your garden you know Père Lafitte I went home and looked up the postman Cheval and something changed something happened I don’t know I started walking every day the roads around here have you seen the rubbish at the side of the roads all the plastic bottles and everything I counted them I made notes you know when I was a child an only child we went to the beach and I’d take my little spade and I’d be building sand things all day long not castles just small houses with big windows and gardens once I won a prize for my sand house you know if that postman was alive today maybe he’d be picking up rubbish instead of stones along the country roads to build his Palais Idéal that’s what I was thinking and Père Lafitte listen it’s not impossible in Los Angeles a man called Rodia built amazing towers out of broken glass all by himself like Cheval and I was thinking maybe I mean why not I could collect the stuff in my car the plastic bottles especially it wouldn’t take that long and I’d bring them to your garden and then we could I mean you could and I’d help you build something you know maybe some kind of chapel and it would always be there I can see it in my mind I’ve been dreaming about it remember when you told me about doing something extraordinary comme ça for no reason Père Lafitte something just clicked then like I’ve always known it but never heard it expressed before so what do you say ?”

Do leave a note for Natalie, she loves to hear from readers. (And tell her from me to hurry up with the next episodes.)

birthdays and valentines


A blog-friend who knows and shares my love of rock art and images of hands captured this wonderful pictograph** and created this lovely birthday card for me. Thank you for this, Siona. Siona’s blog is a treasure of beautiful, sensitive, poetic writing which is also a gift to her readers, do visit!

We’re having a pleasant weekend at home, quietly celebrating my birthday (it was on Friday) and Valentine’s Day tomorrow, all in one as we usually tend to do. As I’ve been too lazy to make a Valentine to put here, I ask instead, dear readers, that you imagine these artists’ hands waving to us across the ages, making a long ephemeral thread of connection to our ancient past. Doesn’t that give you a shiver, better than heart shaped cards and chocolates (ok, maybe not better than the latter)?

Happy Valentine’s Day tomorrow! Happy Friendship Day to my Finnish readers!

**Siona could not remember the source of the image, whether Australian or South American or? If you should recognize this, do let us know.

UPDATE Feb.15th: We have the answer!! As you can read in the comments from ‘il’, who is Ismo Luukkonen of Finland, the hands are from Carnarvon National Park, Queensland, Australia. I’m so excited, not only to have the answer, but to hear from Ismo himself for I’ve written before about his stunning photographs and website on Finnish rock art. Kiitos!

dear blog


thank you for this place where I have been able to share my thoughts and experiences
thank you for this home for my art work
thank you for inspiring me to do more photography
thank you for amazing learning opportunities and connections
thank you for the gifts of many new friends around the world

as one who’s never kept a regular diary, I am stunned that I’ve written 1557 entries and some of the over 8,400 comments!

happy seventh anniversary, dear blog, it’s been an astonishing journey!

From the archives, if you are interested:
the first anniversary, second, third, fourth, fifth, and the sixth

end of November



‘Tis the last day of the month of November, and the last day of this month’s challenge to write a blog post daily. I’ve not done this before and must admit It has been a struggle sometimes, especially the last while when I’ve been extra busy in the studio and then very tired in the evenings. I’m not sure I’d do it again, though my friend Jean speaks very well for the daily practice. Thank you all for reading!

Now on to December and preparations for the winter solstice celebrations. I managed to print my cards today so I feel a gratifying sense of accomplishment.