Living with 4 seasons is fantastic!

This past weekend we went off for a few days to enjoy the fall colors in a bit of mountains.  This is still a fairly new feeling for me.  The past 12 years before I came to Canada, I lived in NorthEast Florida.  It was so beautiful there and being in North Florida meant we had a bit of cool winter.  In fact Orange trees can’t be grown there commercially due to potential for freezes in the winter.  The freeze temperatures only ever last a handful of hours but still, it freezes sometimes!  NorthEast Florida had wonderful weather, nice hot in summer or not so hot in fall spring and cool-ish in the winter, but no grand change of seasons.

I grew up in the NorthWest US, near Seattle.  Same thing there, beautiful place but really just the season for rain and the 2 weeks of summer.  🙂  OK, I exaggerate a little, but there was no massive 4 season change like here, a bit for sure and more than Florida but no grand change that lasted for very long that I remember.

Coming to Canada 2 years ago put me in a place where we live with 4 very distinct seasons.  It is really fantastic, it makes you appreciate the different times of the year more.  I savor summer now because there is no way we’re going to get a 75 degree day in January (like we’d have gotten in Florida).  I relish in the new flowers of spring, they can grow bulb flowers here and the tulips are phenomenal!  The winter has its’ white pristine beauty and fun activities, but by far – my favorite season is fall.  The trees in their glorious colors, the crispness of the mornings – enough to need a bit of a jacket, the smell of the fireplaces in the houses, the pumpkins and gourds abound at the grocery.  It is a season that is a true treat for all the senses.

Heading off tomorrow for Italy!  Not sure if connectivity will allow me to blog from there or not, so it may be a couple weeks before I’m back online.  Wish me luck!!

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Drawing out a project for enjoyment

Do you ever draw things out just to prolong the pleasure?

The Tribal Fish is coming along and I’m so happy with him.  Yet, I haven’t felt a big rush to hurry and get him finished.  He’ll be done for sure within a week but he probably could have been completed much faster.

I pondered the why of this the other day as I had the options of mosaic-ing all afternoon or going to yoga.  I chose yoga and just mosaic’d a short bit of time.  I realized that I’m getting a ton of enjoyment watching the Tribal Fish evolve.  Watching the background fill in bit by bit is really floating my boat so to speak.

Thought about if I do this in other areas of life too and realized the answer is a resounding yes.  Once there was a book I enjoyed so much I didn’t finish it for 2 years – I read other books in that time of course, and it wasn’t slow reading that took me so long – it was just I loved the story and didn’t want to find out everything quickly.  So I’d read a small bit, put it down for a few weeks, read a bit more, etc..  Desserts get a similar treatment, not the 2 year treatment, but they are eaten so slowly.  I have a giant sweet tooth and trying to make the sweet taste last as long as possible is delightful.

It was a bit interesting to see this pattern reflected in many other areas of my life too and get a bit of new insight!  A final pic of Tribal Fish totally completed will come next week – but here’s a tiny portion of it with the background as a teaser!   Though not yet grouted….

Have you ever felt like pummeling your partner?

There is a new rule in our house, my significant other is no longer allowed to touch the mosaics.

To be fair, he was originally trying to help out.  He takes amazing photographs, understands all the settings and has patience for setting up a shot, stuff I have no patience for.  I’m an auto-focus, click it and move on type of gal.

Remember the Cherry Blossom Tree?  Of course you do, it was just a couple weeks ago.  Frustrated by my horrible picture taking, he wanted to take some final shots for me.    I gave it to him and followed behind to observe.  He kept moving it around then all the sudden, the worst thing ever, he knocked the chair he had it on and it went flying up into the air.  I gasped but was too far away to do anything – it flipped over and over and landed on the hard deck – SMACK! – face down.  Thankfully it was not damaged, a dent occurred in the backing wood – but likely a dent only I will ever notice.

Of course he is mortified, and apologizes tons.  But a few minutes later he knocks the chair again, thankfully this time the mosaic does not fall all the way off,  but we cease taking pictures.

Fast forward to this past weekend.

Sunday afternoon, he wants to help me take some “in-progress” pictures of Rodin.  Often when working I cut pieces and arrange them on the board in zones – like color zones, or certain pieces are triangles and are grouped together for future use, or I like a piece I’ve cut but am not ready to set it because I want to think on it a bit more.  All these pieces are loose, laying around the board – can you see where this is going?

Not happy with taking a picture of Rodin flat on the kitchen island where it was safe – it gets moved over near a window and balanced on the sill so he can have some natural light.  A minute later, Rodin is bumped hard while setting up another shot, thankfully he isn’t completely dropped, but like Olympic trampoline champions – all those little pieces that were arranged for future use went FLYING up up and into the air!  Gasp!!  Twisting and turning, I watch helplessly as they hit the floor – then heard many of them tinkle down the air vent never to be seen again.

Apologies abound.  He was just trying to help after all.  I started giggling – he’s lucky I’m so nice about this – and lovingly tell him, that is it – he is not allowed to touch the mosaics ever ever again.

Sometimes it’s the little things

Have you ever made small little discoveries that make life exponentially happier?   The past few days have led to 2 of these for me in terms of mosaic and a few others in terms of life.

Working on cleaning up the background of the Cherry Blossom  ( more pics to come later this week!  )  I ran into a snag when eraser wouldn’t remove the residual pencil marks from the wood.  A search of the issue on the internet told me to try rubbing alcohol.  The background though also had a bunch of cement blobs that were mucking it up and I’d thought I’d need to use sandpaper to get those off.  Not looking forward to this as there were some tight areas to get into.  Putting off the sandpaper, and buying the rubbing alcohol first, I discovered that not only did it remove the pencil marks quickly but also removed the residual cement!  Score!!  Easy removal, quick clean of my board and it looks fantastic!  Small discovery, easy implementation, exponential happiness!

Small discovery #2, sometimes it is hard to find a suitable surface to put mosaics on, mosaics are heavy, the backing needs to be solid and thick enough to not warp.   When I lived in the US the choices were plentiful and easy to order.  Living in Canada now it is harder to find what I want, I no longer own a saw to cut my own boards,  and shipping from the US to here is crazy expensive so not a good option.  Everything in Canada is so much more expensive than the US.  So imagine my excitement at finding Wediboard (a funky type of composite foam/fiberglass/concrete product) not only in Canada, but Montreal (just 2.5 hours away and a city we go to often) and CHEAPER!  yes cheaper by about $30 than in the US!!  Super excitement, small discovery, major increase in happiness and ease in my mosaic life!!

These may seem like silly small things to be so excited about, but think we need to focus on these little positivities in life more.  Focus more on enjoying that Sunday morning coffee on the deck outside in the summer, enjoying that lovely summer evening walk with a friend, thrill in the discovery of the new hard candy from the bulk store!  ( <– my sweet tooth also became exponentially happier this weekend )  Big goals and successes are great but it is relishing with verve in these little discoveries and small nice moments that make everyday happiness.

Keep up with me this week, more pictures will be posted of the Cherry Blossom, it is the goal to finish it before Friday for sure!