Friday, May 29, 2015

Our resident Robin family

Since we moved here, in Birdland (as Aldershot is lovingly called) we had the opportunity and humbling honour to watch birds nesting around our house. If it's in the bushes around the house, or under the roof, I scarcely recall a year without birds. For a few years in a row, we had a family of doves - and one year they had 3 series of baby birds! It was always spectacular to watch the entire process.

Around 2010, Robins decided we are harmless and they can safely raise their family with us. I am not sure if it's the same family or not... all I know is that there is a family of Robins laying eggs every year in a nest close to the house.

This year they took residence on top of our backyard TV, which is mounted right under the roof, with a mere 20-30 cm between the top of the TV and the roof bottom. Apparently even the shape of the TV box is what they are looking after, so it was with awe we watched them tirelessly building the nest, straw by straw.

I couldn't check when the eggs were laid, so I missed that Robin-egg-blue this year! However, when we came back from Arizona, I saw the Mommy and Daddy bringing worms. I knew the babies must be out, although I could see little.

About 10 days ago I started to take daily pictures (it's a long post)

May 18: there is four of them, but you can barely see two.

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

May 20: not much of a change

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

May 21: Sleeping and in action, this is probably the first born

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

May 22: They're growing fast, and they've started to look better :)

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

May 23: Feathers are growing in, look at that :) Eyes are still closed shut... patience is the name of the game

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

May 24: I was still using the phone, so pretty impossible to get a close-up shot of the Mamma Robin, so please excuse the quality of the 1st picture. All four are very hungry; it's so cute how baby animals have a feature that's huge on them until they grow into it (for dogs it's the ears :) for the baby birds - the beak!).

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

May 26: They are getting bolder every day and still very, very quiet

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

May 27: the big ammo came out, I took the Canon, with the tele-lens. Now we can see something (pictures are taking from inside, behind the glass door to the patio)

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

May 28: Fully grown wings! I knew the time when they are going to be out of the nest will be soon.

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

May 29: When we came back from the farmer's market, they were still in, still quiet... but flexing those wings a lot.

Robin nest, baby birds ~ the miracle of life :: All Pretty Things

Sadly, by early afternoon, in a space of 3 hours - they left the nest. We missed the moment (I would have loved to see how they hop out of the nest!). I know they are still safely somewhere on the ground, in the wooded area of the backyard (the space between our yard and our neighbour's is separated by a line of tall cedars, we have a mini-forest in our backyard), I saw one of them hopping around and spreading its wings and jumping on low branches.

I hope they will survive - I am also very happy the four of them got to this point in their lives.

Bitter-sweet feelings... for birds I've know for less than 2 weeks (maybe 6 in total, if you count when their parents started to build their home). I wonder what kind of feelings I'll have when our own nest will become empty, with the little bird flexing his wings out in the real world...

Then, just like Scarlet O'Hara says, "I'll think about this tomorrow".


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tutti-Fruity - real life version

I have been MIA for a while, a long while. I miss writing every now and then, at least, and I definitely miss creating something, anything, on a regular basis. But I do what I can :)

We knew this year will be taken to a whole new level of craziness. Why? Florin has been named the National Shotgun Coach for the Junior Team - yay! congratulations to my lovely hubby and coach!! On top of that, being a PanAm Games year, and Toronto being the host, he has also been asked / tasked with being the coach for the team. Which meant a couple of extra trips for him, as coach.

What's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing - however, if he's not here, half of me is not here... which means half of the work doesn't get done. On top of that, I get some extra work on my plate, from all the 'make the luggage-unmake the luggage' every 3 weeks.

With all the extra training and competitions this summer, we had to also re-arrange our school's travel schedule. And our personal one - so we had a very early vacation this year, and I'm afraid that's all we'll get.

Which gets me to the tutti fruity subject.

This is what we've been up to so far this year:

In February we took our first real-real vacation in 10 years. Last time we went to the Caribbean, on a vacation, in an all-inclusive resort was exactly 10 years ago, almost to the date (early April then vs. mid-February now). Oh, what a beautiful trip! All I had to care about was packing for all of us for a week. That's it! This time we chose the Dominican Republic, we wanted to see how the small islands are - they are wonderful!

Dominican Republic, Bahia Principe vacation, February 2015 ~ beaches, safari, all inclusive, relaxing vacation :: All Pretty Things

We had sun, beautiful beach, a 'safari' (a trip through the mountains, to learn more about how they live and what they do there), waves, pool, full service... and, of course, hats! :) It was a wonderful trip and sadly it's already so long in my past, it almost feels like it happened eons ago. Oh, well, no complaints.

Exactly a month after this trip, we went on our first training camp with the team - in Puerto Rico. It looks like the year of the islands :) A huge difference between the 2 islands, though. With one thing in common (besides gorgeous beaches and warm weather): people in the South know how to enjoy their lives. Thankfully for us, we have never been truly caught in the work-home-repeat circle of life in Canada (and North America, in general), but we can still feel it around us. We (the generic 'we') always seem to rush somewhere, to be in motion. The entire society seems to be afraid of stillness.

Not so much in the Caribbean: they are ok doing absolutely nothing. Which is comforting to me, I like to stop and stand still quite often. How else would you capture the moment?

Puerto Rico High Performance training camp, March, 2015 ~ Arecibo Observatory, beaches, Olympic Park, Trapshooting Academy :: All Pretty Things

Same ocean, different view - gorgeous beaches, the sunset is the view from our hotel - very relaxing, the team (having fun now and then, and working hard at training), plus a visit through the rain forest, over the mountain, to the largest radio telescope in the world, the Arecibo Observatory. And, of course, the hat!

Back home we barely had time to get back into the rhythm, with Easter coming and passing quickly afterwards, and the busy schedule at all our respective schools... and we had to go again. This time to Tucson, AZ, for the Canadian Trials for PanAm Games. We spent about 10 days in Arizona, in the middle of the desert, in a very dry heat and dry everything. Florin loved it. William and I - meah. Yes, it is nice to be in a warm area, absolutely. But after a few days I had enough of the acres and acres of dry, cracked land, with nothing but cacti. I am not the type of literally hugging a tree, but I do draw comfort from touching the leaves, the grass, I love just lying on the ground and watching the clouds in the sky. Towards the end of the first week, all I could think of was "if I want, I cannot hug a tree here!". But the area is absolutely gorgeous otherwise, a great place to visit.

Tucson, AZ May trip: Desert Museum, Old Tucson, Airplane Museum, Cacti, Canadian Trials Shotgun :: All Pretty Things

This time we explored a little bit more: we went to the Museum Desert, to an Airplane museum, we hiked those mountains you see in the middle  / bottom picture (another strange feeling: to hike and be surrounded by cacti), we even stopped at a lapidary / metal-smith store on my birthday. Yes, of course I bought myself something - it was my birthday, after all!

Happy birthday to me: Blue Chalcedony & Hachita Turquoise :: All Pretty Things

Beauty 101 :) Two (very expensive) Blue Chalcedony cabs, and two (decently expensive) Hachita (New Mexico) Turquoise. I am still in hoarding mode with them, admiring them and deciding on a design. I know what I want to do with both sets: a pendant and a ring. It's the pendant that I am still thinking on how to make it, but I will come to a conclusion soon: I have decided to use what I already have around in the house, 'cause I do have tons of beautiful gemstone cabs that are waiting to be used. And wore too!

This is my Tutti-Fruity story - Happy Anniversary to my lovely hubby who's training part of our high performance team away from home right now. 19 years together - can you imagine?! I just checked and the stone for 19th anniversary is Aquamarine. Which is the child's birthstone too. But check this one out: next year is our 20th anniversary... gemstone? Emerald!! Whose birthstone is that, eh?!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

CC7A May - Tutti Frutti, hosted by Therese Frank

Hello again, and welcome to a new CC7A get-together - the May edition, hosted by Therese of Therese's Treasures.

For this month, Therese picked up a very cheerful picture of flowers, springy and happy and colourful. Tutti Fruity is her theme.


Lovely, isn't it?

Yesterday was a very busy day (we celebrated our 19th Anniversary a couple of day in advance - since hubby is on his way to Ohio today) and at one moment we took a mini-stroll through the mall. Might not seem very romantic, but it was in a way - we haven't just walked through the mall, aimlessly, hand-in-hand, and not necessarily needing to buy anything since... I can't really remember, probably since the winter William was born and we used the mall as our park (that winter was a horrific one, incredibly cold, and we wouldn't dare to get the poor newborn baby in the frigid Canadian weather for more than 5 minutes).

Anyhow, you might ask yourself 'ok, nice, what has this to do with anything tutti fruity?!'.

Not much, but this:


A brand new store has popped in the Burlington Mall (we still call it 'the small mall' after all these years) and I had to take a picture of its banner :) foretelling, eh?

Well, going back to our business - the jewelry. I bought a couple of painted mother-of-pearl eons ago (literally 5 or 6 years ago!)... then on our 2nd trip to Myrtle Beach - that's 2013 - I found these lovely matching beads (the rondelles are plastic, the orange pillow beads are some sort of stone, don't ask me what kind, though). The entire group has been waiting patiently in my stash... for a long time...


Until this Sunday, when I decided it is time to use them:


I kind of tutti-fruity on materials, as well as techniques. We have shell, stone, and what looks like plastic beads... we have copper, antique copper, and thread; then we have swirls, wrapped beads, wrapped elements, swirls connectors, crochet thread and what not :)


Look at the braid for the neckpiece - that's 2 different hanks of embroidery floss, coming from my magic box (the one I won at an auction 5 or so years ago and it's brim full with embroidery floss in all the imaginable colours! I always find something matching in there :) )


As I was taking pictures, I realized I did't like the ends of the braids, so I quickly added one rondelle on each and now it has a more finished look.

One in one, I am happy with my version of Tutti-Fruity - I realize I'm heavier on orange and yellow than the picture, but I'm happy and I hope Therese will be too!

Please make sure you visit the rest of the group, I am sure they have had as much fun as I did!

Therese (May host)
Sally (June host)
Monique (August)
Cynthia (September)
Emma (October)
Christine (November)
Alicia (April host) ~ you are here

Saturday, May 16, 2015

CC7A - May get-together

Hello again, and welcome to another monthly installment of the CC7A, 2015 edition!


In case you missed it last year, it's a small group of very talented artists, from Canada and US, and we meet 7 moths of the year to have fun and do what we love most: create.

Last year we based our creation on the same small package of items we sent each other. This year, being a tad crazier for me re: schedule, the format will change slightly.

For 2015 what we do is pick an image and get inspired by it.

Therese will be the host in May and this is the picture she picked for us:




A beautiful springy palette, don't you think?

The reveal for these monthly get-together is the 26th - hence I am inviting you to come back at least on the 26th to see what everybody created with Tutti-Fruity :)

The CC7A composition:

Therese (May host)
Sally (June host)
Monique (August)
Cynthia (September)
Emma (October)
Christine (November)
Alicia (April host) ~ you are here

... yes, I know how to count the months, we have all decided July is mostly a crazy summer month, with vacations and kids out of school... so we have decided to keep this fun and not very stressful, and skip July altogether.