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Archive for the ‘Story Telling’ Category

April 9th, 2016 our local Abbotsford Arts Council put on our community’s 12th Arty Award event. An event well worth attending; in fact in my opinion, one of Abbotsford’s finest events.

Culinary catered food, fun, quality entertainment and awesome, stone hand crafted awards, made for a night to remember. 

We were introduced to some of our community’s finest, most talented artists – dance, theater, literary, visual, music, culinary, photography …  every category of the arts was represented. 

 

Yes, I got nominated… for the “Outstanding Literary Artist.”

And I won!!  I’m still feeling the thrill of it as I write this. Just had to get that out there. It was pretty exciting. Thank you – everyone who put so much into this outstanding evening. 

 

This year’s  theme was the 80’s. 

It took me several weeks to come up with something appropriate. I searched online for the 80’s style… as I was having trouble remembering – the 80’s were 30 years ago. Apparently I was not very fashion conscious at the time. But the research took care of that. I remembered a dress I’d sewn many years ago that fit a description of the 80’s formal wear. 

Puffed sleeves, shoulder pads, velvet, scalloped neckline. This dress has it all! 

hand sewn 80's dress Carrie ©

Sewn with my Bernina sewing machine – 80’s dress – Carrie ©

I dug into my closet, opened the garment bag… I put it on… it fit!

I was set.

I took a look at my handiwork from so many years ago – “Not a bad job”

… I complemented myself. 

 

The artist, Robert Syrenne, owner of RS Arts in Mission, hand-created the beautiful stone art pieces awarded for this year’s Arty Awards.
I am thrilled with mine!!

Literary Arty Award 2016

 Arty Award 2016

Thank you Abbotsford Arts Council / Kariton Art Gallery & Boutique for putting on this event and recognizing our community’s many talented artists. It gets better every year.

And thank you, Charles Wiebe and Associates, for sponsoring the Literary Award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Writing memoirs c

Novelist Stephen King once said, “I write to find out what I think.” Your memoirs are a LEGACY. Putting them on paper gives friends and family (as well as yourself) the opportunity to FULLY …

Source: Writing your Memoirs Leaves a Legacy.

Novelist Stephen King once said, “I write to find out what I think.”

Your memoirs are a LEGACY.

Putting them on paper gives friends and family (as well as yourself) the opportunity to FULLY appreciate these valuable, interesting and “uniquely yours,” experiences.

Writing your memoirs is different from writing your autobiography.

An autobiography is the complete story of your life.

A memoir is one or more stories from your life. You can write as many memoirs as you have memories.

Outline the events of the story sequentially. Then start your story with a little action. You don’t have to necessarily start the story from the beginning. Weave your story, create suspense. Get your reader hooked, looking for more. Then fill in the pieces – the background – as you go.

Here’s what I do…
Close my eyes. Take myself back in time to the memory I’ve chosen to write about. Now, using my five senses, I recreate that scene. What do I see? What do I feel, hear, smell, taste?

I transfer those thoughts on to paper. I want my readers to feel like they are there with me experiencing what I experienced.

Writing memoirs is the easiest kind of writing to do – because you know the story, inside and out.

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This funny happening,  happened several years ago – and still makes me laugh.

HOFA - watercolor - Carrie Wachsmann ©

HOFA – watercolor – Carrie Wachsmann ©

 

I went to my local House of Fine Art (HOFA) store for some Alizarin, Crimson artists’ oil paint.

Max Gumbacher paint

At the time of this humorous occurance, I was a frequent visitor to this fine little art store.

The owner  was the president of our city’s Abbotsford Arts Council.

As I was paying for my tube of Alizarin, Crimson oil paint,  he invited me to come to the Abbotsford Arts Council (AAC) AGM meeting that evening.

He said, “tonight“, and wrote down the details on the back of his business card.

He also asked if I would consider being on the board and naturally I asked, ” What do I have to do to be part of this elite group?”

“Just come to meetings once a month.” He said “The AAC is part of the city’s planning and direction for the arts, and supports the many art groups in the community with their projects.

My response – “I can do that – that sounds like something I would actually like to do.”

 

I grabbed my receipt, tucked my purchase into my purse and made my way to the door. As I left he said, “See you tonight at the Kariton House.”

 

6:56 PM I arrived at the Kariton House where I was greeted by someone I didn’t know – I looked for Mr. HOFA but he was nowhere to be seen, so I assumed that this someone else was covering for him. Funny, I don’t recognize anybody, I thought to myself.

The “leader” asked, “Are you a new member” and I said, “Not really – I’ve been a member for a while now but this is my first meeting.”

“Well, what do I know,” he answered, looking somewhat puzzled. Then he said that I would be pleased to know that on Saturday they were going on an outing, somewhere up past the city of Hope into the mountains.

Stunned that I knew nothing about outings, I responded by saying, “I didn’t know you do outings. That’s interesting.”

“Oh yes”, he answered, “that’s what we are all about.”
I pondered that for awhile thinking, “Mr. HOFA never mentioned any outings. That sounds a lot more involved than one meeting per month.”

 

I know…you see it coming, but my lightening fast mind still hadn’t put the pieces together.
Here’s how the rest of that evening went:

The meeting starts and I look at the agenda. It is then that I realize….I am in the wrong meeting!
To my chagrin, I am in an Abbotsford Rock and Gem Club meeting. That explains those chunks of rocks on the table and that rock chart taped to the side of it! LOL
I must admit, my first emotion –  embarrassment, but that changes very quickly. No need for embarrassment, I tell myself. This moment is just too humorous to be wasted on embarrassment.

So I speak up at the first opportune moment (actually I butt in and have to be put in order) and I address the group – saying” Please excuse me. You can all have a good laugh at this…(I take a deep breath)… You see…” and I explain myself.

The room is awkwardly quiet for what seems like an awfully long moment. Then thankfully everyone begins to laugh, after which a few sympathetic individuals try to unsuccessfully entice me to stay – to become one of the rockin’ Rock and Gem Club enthusiasts. I insisted that I must find that Arts Council meeting. One individual asked, “The Abbotsford Arts” who?

At that point I realize this meeting is just not going to happen for me, at least not tonight.

Confused but still in good humor, I take my leave and make my way back home.
As it turns out, I would still have the opportunity to attend this very important meeting –  the next day.

I suppose I could have double checked and consulted my latest “Eye on the Arts” newsletter for meeting dates, before leaving my house instead of after I got back.

 

But then I would have missed out on a funny memory worth remembering –  and a a funny story worth telling.

Visit:  carriewachsmann.com/blog for more storytelling. 

You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book

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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

(inspired by a true event)

“It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old.

From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.

‘Peace on the earth, good will toward men’,

from heaven’s all gracious King!

The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.”

Follow me 11
 
“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 1  Carrie ©
 

Christmas music gently filled the little coffee-house. Unlike the carol heralding a ‘midnight clear’, this night was everything but. Snow fell fast and thick.

In the corner, a young man sat alone. He looked out the window and watched as the last patron of the night plowed their way out of the parking lot.

“Young man, we’re closing.”

He nodded, put on his coat and made his way to the exit. He looked to be about fourteen, fifteen at the most.

As the door closed behind him, the cold quickly bit into his face and hands.  He pulled his collar up close to his face.

“Do you have a ride?” a voice called to him.

The young man turned to see someone standing in the shadows of the building.

”No, I’m good,” he answered firmly.

The man persisted. “I’m not so sure about that. It’s Christmas eve. Shouldn’t you be home with your family, sitting by the fire and enjoying hot chocolate, or something?”

The lad shrugged his shoulders as if to say… yah, so what. Who cares anyway.

The man stepped out of the shadows.

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" 2 - Carrie ©

 

“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 2 – Carrie  ©
 

The young man saw that he was an old man. Old enough to make him wonder what someone this old was doing out in a snow storm at this hour of the night.

The old man continued. “Where you’re headed… it is not worth it… You do have options you know.”

The young man was beginning to feel somewhat uncomfortable. He stared at the old man not sure what to make of the encounter.

“How do you know where I’m headed?” he finally asked.

“I know that place, under the bridge.” The old man continued.  “You won’t find what you’re really looking for out there. Running away isn’t the answer.”

Now the young man paused.

How did this old man know that he was going to that “homeless place” where he might make it through the night?

Maybe if he was lucky someone would share their Christmas “Spirits” with him.

And how did this old man know that he was running away?

The old man smiled knowingly and said. “I’ve been young and now I am old…but I have never seen God’s children forsaken”… The old man talked so strange…and yet he was most compelling.

“I know a place.  A place where you can get a hot bowl of homemade soup, and a good night’s sleep.”

“Follow me,” the old man continued.

 

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" 3 - Carrie ©

 

“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 3 – Carrie  ©
 

The old man began to make his way through the deep drifts of snow. The young man hesitated but only for a second or two. “Man…what do I have to lose,” he mumbled.

He began to follow in the old man’s footsteps.

After some time, the old man stopped at a building with a sign that read, “The Welcome Home Centre”.  He turned to the young man. “They will take care of you.  You can stay as long as you wish.” Then he paused, looked the boy in the eyes and added, “God loves you, you know. He’s got plans for you”.

The young man did not know what to think. No one had ever talked to him like this before.

They stood in silence and waited.

Eventually a pleasant sort of man answered the knock on the door. The young man’s last bit of resistance melted away as he breathed in a blast of warm fragrant air. He smelled something wonderful.

“Come in… welcome,” the man said sincerely.

“I…ah..need a place to hang till this storm’s over,” the young man said, hesitantly.

“You’ve come to the right place then,” came the reassuring answer.

The young man sighed.

He turned and started to thank the old man but no one was there.

“That old man, who was here with me. He brought me here. He was just here,” the bewildered young man exclaimed .

“I didn’t see anybody but you, lad,” came the answer.

“But he was here, I followed him here. He told me about you…he knew stuff about me…he…”

Bewildered, the young man took one last look out into the white night. He saw only lonely, empty streets and a fast disappearing, single set of footprints that lead to The Welcome Home’s front porch.

Putting a kind hand on the young man’s shoulder the man at the door said, “It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened son. “I do believe you.  Come…I want to hear all about it.”

It’s now midnight and that brings our 2010 Christmas eve story to an end.

Yes, this young man’s life was changed forever that Christmas eve.

What will this Christmas bring you?

Will you let God’s love bring you a miracle this Christmas?

I wish for you, a life-changing kind of Christmas.

One that you will remember forever because it was…well…life changing.

 

For more inspiring stories check out my author’s Storyteller site, carriewachsmann.com/blog

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NOTE: The Fur Trade Challenge project dates have been moved up one week from previously posted – PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGES:  The Fort Langley tour – Friday, Oct, 11, 10:00 – 12:00 noon (bring a bag lunch to share after the tour)
Classes will be held Tuesdays starting October 15 – Tuesday December 3, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM.

Attention: Home school families in the Abbotsford area… 

I am very excited about offering this new course to home school families. 

Fur Trade Challenge – for Grade 5 Home School Students

Fur Trade - Fort Langley, BC - © Carrie Wachsmann -  watercolor

(NOTE: this project meets many of the HCOS (Heritage Christian Online School) requirements for Grade 5 Social Studies – see list below under “Requirements”)

Here is what you can expect from this course:

Project includes the following:

  1. A visit to Fort Langley – “ Fur Trade Challenge” interactive tour. NEW this year
  2. Research
  3. Descriptive writing/outline & report
  4. Art & crafts/visuals/display
  5. Building a Fort Langley model
  6. Costume creation/character identification
  7. Presentation

Date & Time: The Fort Langley tourFriday, Oct, 11, 10:00 – 12:00 noon (bring a bag lunch to share after the tour)
Classes will be held Tuesdays starting October 15 – Tuesday December 3, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM.
Duration: 8 weeks starting after the field trip to Fort Langley.
Cost per student: based on requirement of 10-12 students  (supplies and facility included)

Cost per HCOS student is $100

Cost per student from other schools is $135

Extra cost: Families are responsible for admission to the Fort Langley tour on Friday, Oct. 4
Cost of admission per student $3.90 & $6.55 per parent  (taxes included – children under 6 – free)

Location: Solid Rock Church 34371 4th Ave. Abbotsford. 604.850.1350

Fort Langley project winter scene

Popsicle stick version of Fort Langley’s Big House and outdoor oven, along with dough characters – done several years ago. 

Project DETAILS:

  • The Fort Langley project takes the students on an exciting adventure into the lives of our pioneering
    ancestors.
  • This project will begin with the students enjoying a day at Fort Langley.
  • Students will choose a character or personality that they would like to represent .
  • Students will have opportunity to create a costume (thrift store shopping) that fits their character.
  • Students will write a descriptive letter to family back home, about their experiences at the fort. (research and outline included)
  •  As a group, students will recreate the fort using popsicle sticks, and branches. Each character will build their own building, and in some cases 2 or more students may work on one building.
  • The fort will come alive when the students fill their fort with dough characters they have made.
  • Students use their resourcefulness to outfit their buildings and finish off the fort.
  • The project ends with a family presentation day where students get to share their story with parents and guests. Parents may want to provide snacks (perhaps something representative of the early Fort Langley days) to celebrate the students’ accomplishments.

Requirements:

The following requirements taken from HCOS Social Studies learning plan are covered in this project.

http://www.onlineschool.ca/outcomes/Socials.php

(italizied areas indicate where this course meets the requirements of the learning plan)

3. What were problems faced by people involved in the Fraser fur trade? Choose one and identify why it was a problem and how it was solved. If it wasn’t solved, suggest a solution (Students will choose a character that would have settled at Fort Langley)

8. Interview someone about their life. (Students will be interviewing tour guides at Fort Langley on the field trip as well as doing other research) Are their answers the same or different? Explain why. Present your questions and answers in one of the following formats: written report. (Written in the form of a letter to family back home across the ocean – about their experiences as a settler to Fort Langley) (hand written rough work, then typed) electronic presentation, illustrations with captions, dramatic, roll play, song, time line, journal, diorama).

9. Find some primary sources (defined as: original document relating to a particular subject, experiment, time period, or event) (research their topic and character) for your own life or someone else’s life (birth certificate, pictures, journals, diaries, school work, art work, stories from parents, etc). Use them to make a secondary source (defined as: a document that interprets or analyzes primary sources and is usually written or produced some time after the initial event took place or work was produced). You could also put the primary sources together into a variety of other presentation forms listed in question number eight.

14. Who were the first settlers in B.C.? Choose a person or group and tell more about them. Clarify things like: when they came to B.C., difficulties they faced, things they enjoyed, daily life, etc.)

15. When creating any of the reports above or for another Social Studies assignment for project, create an outline before you begin. In the outline identify the following, topic/assignment/title, how you will introduce your topic, key points (with details for each point), how you will conclude your topic. Your outlines can be graphic, written, or done electronically.

16. Create an annotated timeline, map, scrapbook, story board, or other graphic to illustrate selected events

18. How did the Canadian environment affect early forms of transportation and communication in Canada? (Rivers)

19. Pretend you are an early settler coming to Canada from another country. Outline the trip and all the different types of transportation you use and why you needed that type of transportation.

26. How are waterways used in different parts of Canada for transportation? How has this changed over time?

46. Pick a job (character) that was around in 1827, and currently (e.g., teacher, grocery store owner, carpenter, farmer). How has technology changed how this job is done?

47. Choose a city that has a natural resource industry (saw mill, mine, fish and marine, energy). When did the town start? Did it start because of the natural resource? (Fort Langley)

82. What did the Canadian constitution give Canadians in 1867 and 1982? Describe the significant events and people contributing to Confederation (e.g., fur trade, gold rush, railway, John A. Macdonald, Pierre Trudeau).

Instructor: Carrie Wachsmann

Here’s what some parents and students have to say about Carrie’s instruction: (feedback from Carrie’s home school course “Writing, Art & Bookmaking”)

(Note: Watch – details on this course to come shortly)

“Well organized. Carrie had 12 kids happily engaged for three hours at a time, asking for more work, and at times forgetting their lunch time. She gave them tools to edit and do their work on their own. This has helped the students to expound their creativity and still keep their original ideas. They shared their very own story/book with everyone at the end. They have learned tons of skills beyond book publishing.”
S.K.

“I love the concept of this course, and my daughter and I are both very pleased with the book she was able to make. We also really enjoyed Mrs. Wachsmann’s teaching style and inspiring creative talent…” R.F.

“The course was excellent. Very well prepared… The cover idea was brilliant.” G.B.

“I think it was the best class I have ever been to.” E.E.

“It was excellent fun.” D.K.

“It was a wonderful course! I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks. Mrs. Wachsmann is an excellent teacher.” J.K.

“… Making a book with you was like opening a door into another world.” A.F

BIO: A little about myself

Carrie library candle stick 5

Carrie (Heide) Wachsmann has been writing stories since she was first able to hold a pencil. Her short, personal stories have since expanded and she is now a published author. Her first fiction book called “The Ryder” was published in 1991. Since then she has also written for a number of national and international magazines. Her on-line articles can be found at examiner.com and abbotsfordtoday.ca. Her personal blog nuggetsofgold.wordpress.com chronicles some of her current and past writing accomplishments.

Carrie also paints, sketches and illustrates books. Some of her paintings can be found at carriewachsmann.myartchannel.com.

In 2008 she was awarded the “Outstanding Emerging Artist” Arty Award, by the Abbotsford Arts Council. This was in recognition for her contributions to art in Abbotsford in writing, painting and videography.

Carrie is currently completing her second and third novels of the trilogy that began with The Ryder.

The Ryder 1991 cover - Carrie  ©

The Ryder 1991 cover – Carrie ©

Her first fictional dramatization of a real life story is being edited by the publisher, and is expected to be released in early 2014.

Not only is Carrie a skilled artist and writer, but she has also developed a series of instructional courses on writing, art, bookmaking and creative, multimedia story telling.

CONTACT: carrie@wachsmannstudios.com

Check out the FACEBOOK Event page – Fur Trade Challenge – Home School opportunity 

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From the moment I first sipped Red Rooibos tea, I was hooked. On the lookout for a tea with interest, I had found one. Rich in taste, full of flavor, and loaded with antioxidants, this tea has a lot to offer.  That was several years ago.

While taking in the many sights, sounds and tastes of the 2012 West Coast Women’s Show, I made a point of paying a visit to Liz Bandelin’s Tega Tea booth. A welcome stop after spending the last few hours enjoying the endless displays of just about everything a woman could want – jewels, clothing, cosmetics, skincare, food, drink, entertainment and adult beverages.

The world slowed down as I enjoyed the tea tasting, along with a little flavorful chat. I treasured the moment.

I was pleased to see new additions to Liz’s already rich combinations and varieties – Chocolate Mint, Chai, Orange Spice, Lemon Hibiscus, Wild Berry and Green Rooibos teas to name a few. Based on my tasting, I decided to purchase the Winter Berry Blend and the Tropical Sunrise. I was already looking forward to a cup before retiring later that evening.

Tega Teas are the #1 ranked fair trade teas in Canada.  To learn why and to learn more about Rooibos and its many health benefits, go to    http://www.nu-tea.com

My next stop of interest –

Epic Cosmetics and their Clear 60 Minute Skin Care line.

We “mature” women are always on the look out for that special something – the miracle in a bottle that will fix it all. Well, maybe not all, but if it erased even a few years of lines and wrinkles (oh, it almost hurts to say that word) we are all over it.

Now, having said that, this “miracle in a bottle” must pass several very stringent tests. Having educated ourselves in the fine art of healthy living, we “mature” women, have become very discerning.

Not only does this miracle in a bottle have to be effective, it must be natural and toxin-free. No more sacrificing inner body health for outer body beauty. Those days are long gone.

Mladen and Tanya, a local scientist and his beautiful wife, work tirelessly to bring us this “miracle in a bottle”. Clear Skin Care is 100% natural, safe and toxin free, highly effective and loaded with anti-oxidants. Clear Skin Care is making its mark and flying off the shelves of local stores.

Did I mention it is effective? You see, I discovered this skin rejuvenating serum a year ago.

I haven’t even touched on the skin clearing capability this remarkable product has. Chronic problems like psoriasis, eczema, hives and various unknown skin conditions are erased or eliminated within hours or days.

Here’s a little secret. It’s not just for woman, nor is it just for the “mature” woman. Check out their website at  http://www.epic-cosmetics.com/

The treasures one can find at the West Coast Women’s Show are endless. If you missed this year’s show, be sure to make it a priority next year.

What do Tega Tea and Clear 60 Minute Skin Care have in common?

Me for one.

 

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A friend and I met for tea this morning and she reminded me that today was the last day of January!

2012 Carrie ©

The comment caught me off guard for a moment. 1/12th of the year is already behind us!

“Where have the last 31 days gone?” I asked myself. Before I could answer, my friend said, “the next thing you know, it’ll be Christmas.”

I gasped, and then quickly recovered, realizing we really do have almost 11 more months to prepare.

Every year many of us declare that December suddenly just “appeared” on our doorstep. How stupid is that? It comes around every year, exactly once every 12 months, or every 365 days; accept for this year which will be 366 days. There are no surprises here.

So this year, I am making a decision. No more surprises.

This year I am putting in my calender that I will start to organize myself today, so that I’m ready for December.

What will that look like?

Does that mean I will do more busy stuff to prepare for Christmas?

Here’s what that might look like, and NO, I do not intend to do more. It merely means that I intend to get the most out of the season, and I will not be caught off guard for the umpteenth time.

More questions come to mind…

Does that mean that I won’t still get the most out of the other months and seasons of the year, because I’m preoccupied with that one month of the year?

Enjoying the beauty of the moment - Jan 2012 Carrie ©

On the contrary, this will be a reminder  to enjoy the moment and season that comes with it.

Does that mean I will spend more money on Christmas?

Most certainly not. I intend to have the time to thoughtfully decide what it is I want to spend on Christmas, and, what I don’t want to spend on Christmas.

Another way to make the most of this wonderful month of the year is by intentionally thinking about who I want to spend it with.

Umm, not sure where aunt Susan fits in… but we’ve got almost 11 months to figure that out.

What about the preoccupation with gifts?

Throughout the year, many fabulous craft fairs and trade shows pop up  just about everywhere in the county. If I’m thinking creatively and ahead, gift giving can actually be fun to do.  I still believe that it’s the thought that counts, not the “how much did it cost?”.

So, that’s my decision.

2012 Carrie ©

January, you’ve done well. As you can see, I’ve had plenty of time to enjoy this season.

February, I have a very good reason to look forward to your extra day.

Yes, I’m ready for the rest of the 11 months.

December, 2012 is starting to look pretty inviting.

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Vintage style aprons…  with a flare of their own.

My mother grew up sewing just about everything.

Her aprons were always delicately embroidered, or beautified with lace and ribbon.  I went searching in my treasure box and found this one.

One of Mother's hand stitched aprons - 2011 Carrie ©

Notice the detail - 2011 Carrie ©

My mother taught me to sew when I was twelve. A gift that will last me a lifetime. These were fun to make.

Polka Dot Black Tie - 2011 Carrie ©

Emerald Lace - 2011 Carrie ©

Purple Party Apron - 2011 Carrie ©

Lady Gardener's Delight - 2011 Carrie ©

Just Peachy 2011 Carrie ©

Sassy in Pink - 2011 Carrie ©

Vote for your favorite. Let me know which one you like best.

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Rocky at Cascade Falls - Carrie ©

Rocky, Rocket Budwiser was a happy dog who lived a long, happy life.

On August 24, 2011, Rocky our 13 year old Golden Retriever, had a mishap.

Our Sweet (Sr.) Rocky April 16, 1998 - August 24, 2011 - Carrie ©

Somehow he partly slipped down the steep embankment at the back of our home while reaching for some tasty blades of grass. At least that’s what we think happened.

A neighbor (for whom we are so thankful) saw him struggling to get back up, and helped him, but… the effort was too much for Rocky’s heart.

He passed away within the next 15 minutes as we held him in our arms and told him how much we loved him.

Rocky had arthritis in his rear knees which left him with little strength in his back end.

A visit to the garden taken this spring - Carrie ©

Other than that, he was in “good shape for an old dog”, our friend the vet told us just last week.

We buried him in the field at the farm where we have our garden. It seemed appropriate.

Rocky RIP - Carrie ©

Horses at the farm - Carrie ©

He loved the farm, the horses, the sheep and the chickens.

We remember him as alert and engaging, loving and gentle, sweet and smart.

Checking out his Christmas present - Carrie ©

A very handsome dog, Rocket Budwiser - Carrie ©

Rocky inviting us to join him for a walk in the fresh snow - Carrie ©

For those of you who left him treats when dropping off courier packages, or newspapers…he felt special and watched for you.  Thank you.

Friends - a man and his dog - Carrie ©

Rocky loved much and was much loved.

We miss you Rockster.

Water sports at Cascade Falls - Carrie ©

Rocky was included in many of my paintings.

Sewing Circle - Carrie ©

Rocky sketch for Sewing Circle - Carrie ©

Rocky and lady 3 for Sewing Circle - Carrie ©

Fishing with a Friend - Carrie ©


					

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Finally, the lazy, crazy, ‘dog days” of summer are here.

Where did that term ‘dog days’ originate?

Answer: ancient times.

In the summer, Sirius, the ‘dog star’, rose and set with the sun.

During late July, Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather.

They named this period of time… ‘dog days’ after the dog star.”

Lazy, crazy, dog days of summer – Carrie ©

Looking at Fido here, lazing in the hot mid afternoon sun,  ‘dog days’ of summer doesn’t need a star to originate the term.

This adorable puppy merely raised an eyebrow while being photographed.

Too hot to move, but happy for it, it’s a dog’s day for sure.

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Ted Williams, no longer homeless, got a little emotional in his interview with CBS News “Early Show”, yesterday. He is looking forward to reunite with his 92 year old mother, whom he has not seen for years. A touching story.

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The top breaking news story today  is a story of HOPE.

Ted Williams, a man with an amazing golden voice, was homeless yesterday. Today he has numerous job offers, one of them from Cleveland Cavaliers. Besides a full time job with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Quicken Loans has offered to pay a mortgage for him. WOW!

Watch this story here:

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To one and all – a Merry Christmas Eve. 

Soap Stone Carving- Nativity - Carrie ©

Tonight we’re making a beef dish called “Rolladen”.

It is of German origin.

My “Rolladen” recipe:

Ask your butcher to slice thin strips of top quality beef (no fat) about 6 inches wide, 8  inches long, and a mere 1/8 inch thick

Spread a little hot mustard on one side

At one end, place a small pickle or pickle piece

Crush fresh garlic and sprinkle over the meat

Do the same with bits of real bacon

Add some sauteed onions

Roll in up and use 2 toothpicks to keep together

Put into a glass casserole and add:

About 1/2 cup water

1-2 Tbsp. virgin olive oil (use a brush to cover the meat with the olive oil)

Salt and pepper

A few shakes of Mrs. Dash.

1or 2 bay leaves (place in the water)

Bake slowly at 325 degrees

This meal goes great with garlic mashed potatoes or dumplings.

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Twas the Night Before Christmas

(inspired by a true event)

“It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old.

From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.

‘Peace on the earth, good will toward men’,

from heaven’s all gracious King!

The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.”

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” 1  Carrie ©

Christmas music gently filled the little coffee house. Unlike the carol heralding a ‘midnight clear’, this night was everything but. Snow fell fast and thick.

In the corner, a young man sat alone. He looked out the window and watched as the last patron of the night plowed their way out of the parking lot.

“Young man, we’re closing.”

He nodded, put on his coat and made his way to the exit. He looked to be about fourteen, fifteen at the most.

As the door closed behind him, the cold quickly bit into his face and hands.  He pulled his collar up close to his face.

“Do you have a ride?” a voice called to him.

The young man turned to see someone standing in the shadows of the building.

”No, I’m good,” he answered firmly.

The man persisted. “I’m not so sure about that. It’s Christmas eve. Shouldn’t you be home with your family, sitting by the fire and enjoying hot chocolate, or something?”

The lad shrugged his shoulders as if to say… yah, so what. Who cares anyway.

The man stepped out of the shadows.

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" 2 - Carrie  ©

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” 2 – Carrie  ©

The young man saw that he was an old man. Old enough to make him wonder what someone this old was doing out in a snow storm at this hour of the night.

The old man continued. “Where you’re headed… it is not worth it… You do have options you know.”

The young man was beginning to feel somewhat uncomfortable. He stared at the old man not sure what to make of the encounter.

“How do you know where I’m headed?” he finally asked.

“I know that place, under the bridge.” The old man continued.  “You won’t find what you’re really looking for out there. Running away isn’t the answer.”

Now the young man paused.

How did this old man know that he was going to that “homeless place” where he might make it through the night?

Maybe if he was lucky someone would share their Christmas “Spirits” with him.

And how did this old man know that he was running away?

The old man smiled knowingly and said. “I’ve been young and now I am old…but I have never seen God’s children forsaken”… The old man talked so strange…and yet he was most compelling.

“I know a place.  A place where you can get a hot bowl of homemade soup, and a good night’s sleep.”

“Follow me,” the old man continued.

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" 3 - Carrie  ©

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” 3 – Carrie  ©

The old man began to make his way through the deep drifts of snow. The young man hesitated but only for a second or two. “Man…what do I have to lose,” he mumbled.

He began to follow in the old man’s footsteps.

After some time, the old man stopped at a building with a sign that read, “The Welcome Home Centre”.  He turned to the young man. “They will take care of you.  You can stay as long as you wish.” Then he paused, looked the boy in the eyes and added, “God loves you, you know. He’s got plans for you”.

The young man did not know what to think. No one had ever talked to him like this before.

They stood in silence and waited.

Eventually a pleasant sort of man answered the knock on the door. The young man’s last bit of resistance melted away as he breathed in a blast of warm fragrant air. He smelled something wonderful.

“Come in… welcome,” the man said sincerely.

“I…ah..need a place to hang till this storm’s over,” the young man said, hesitantly.

“You’ve come to the right place then,” came the reassuring answer.

The young man sighed.

He turned and started to thank the old man but no one was there.

“That old man, who was here with me. He brought me here. He was just here,” the bewildered young man exclaimed .

“I didn’t see anybody but you, lad,” came the answer.

“But he was here, I followed him here. He told me about you…he knew stuff about me…he…”

Bewildered, the young man took one last look out into the white night. He saw only lonely empty  streets and a fast disappearing, single set of footprints, that lead to The Welcome Home’s front porch.

Putting a kind hand on the young man’s shoulder the man at the door said, “It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened son. “I do believe you.  Come…I want to hear all about it.”

It’s now midnight and that brings our 2010 Christmas eve story to an end.

Yes, this young man’s life was changed forever that Christmas eve.

What will this Christmas bring you?

Will you let God’s love bring you a miracle this Christmas?

I wish for you, a life changing kind of Christmas.

One that you will remember forever because it was…well…life changing.

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As I was working on one of my latest art pieces, I found myself smiling.

This was often followed by a soft sigh.

Why? My lightening fast mind kicked in and reminded me that it’s at these moments that my body produces significant amounts of DMAE.

That I was involuntarily producing an anti-aging hormone brought another smile to my face.

Yes, the anti-aging DMAE hormone we all long for…  at least those of us who care. Those who realize we are coming apart at the seams… somewhat.

Before I get on to the DMAE anti-aging – easy to acquire youth hormone… let me add an aside.

A big Thank you to my faithful readers… those who’ve checked in on my site during the summer/fall months.

My usual, at least once a month post, dragged out to be every other month… but I have not forgotten you.

That darn organic garden just took over…weeds and all.

Some important tasks, like blogging, were left for a another day.

Actually I loved the gardening – even the weeding.

A little piece of heaven in my otherwise whirlwind of a world. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

Well, now that ‘nother day is here.

I’ve put the garden to bed for the winter and it’s time to get back into things like blogging and painting.

What makes me smile…

“Milking Rosie”

The story behind Milking  Rosie.

As a child, I would visit my grandparents’ farm on a daily basis. I especially loved to hang around at milking time.

One aunt would often conscript me to hold the cow’s tail to keep it from swatting her in the face.  That tail had a nasty sting as I soon discovered.

Cats and their kittens came out of the barnwork, and waited patiently for a squirt of warm milk. They got pretty good at catching the stream.

Milking Rosie sketch - (oil painting to follow) Carrie ©

Etched in my memory, this experience always brings a smile to my face – the kind of smile that supposedly  immediately increases the levels of DMAE in your body. (anti-aging !!!)

Happy thoughts, laughter, giggles, anything that makes you sign and go ‘ahh.

Think on these things and your internal fountain of youth will begin to bubble and then pour.

(Check out my post on “God Gave Me Laughter” for more on what happy thoughts can do for you.)

https://nuggetsofgold.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/god-gave-me-laughter/

In my research, I discovered that anchovies, wild salmon (not farmed) and sardines contain DMAE.

Rosie, was a Jersey cow.  Jersey cows are quite beautiful, I think.

Anyone who has met a Jersey will be captivated by their eyes. Big, beautiful, soft, and gentle with thick, long and curly eye lashes. (to die for eyes)

Jersey cows produce much more cream than other cows. Rosie gave us plenty of rich cream to turn into butter.

Making butter the way we did, was the perfect arm muscle toner/builder. (another sure fire way to up your DMAE – good healthy exercise)

Today we set aside time to lift weights and count to 10 or 20. Back then we had to shake the container until we had butter. A lot longer than a count to 10 or 20.

My thought for the day – seek out those things that make you smile and make some butter.

As for me, I’m planning to have several more “smile” moments thoughout the day.

And, I think I’ll have Wild Pacific Salmon for dinner…again.

As for making the butter…perhaps tomorrow.

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Snow.  There’s nothing more inviting than a fresh snow fall. I love to walk in it, play in it, look at it and take pictures of it. A walk around the neighborhood is all it takes for a few good photo memories.

 

Santa Bird House

Bird House Basket

Snow Perfect

Checking it out

Fallen Tree in the Park

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For the past few weeks I’ve been digging deep and getting my roots into organic gardening.

First things First...My husband planting a few raspberry bushes

After  putting stakes around our garden section, my husband (far right) promptly dug up a spot in the middle of the garden for his favorite fruit, raspberries.

Our garden spot, approximately 20 feet wide by 100 feet deep.

Pretty ambitious I know…but I grew up with BIG gardens, and had my own little (almost organic) garden for years… so am well aware of what I am committing to.

What’s the story behind this

Organic Gardening Community?


A friend with a farm, and a 6 acre  field, is the impetus for this inviting Organic Gardening Community. This year will be the first of organic gardening for most of us.

A lot of Googling, along with wise advice and teaching from organic garden specialists, is making this experience not only interesting but also quite invigorating.

Let’s just say I am having a lot of fun getting into shape in more ways than one.

Course I’ve had to take several Epsom salt/ lavender baths and drink my Xango Mangosteen juice and Black Cherry juice faithfully…all great detox, high anti-oxidant solutions,  for those achy sore joints and muscles…

A week or so later…and with a lot of good old get down dirty digging, here’s what we accomplished.

Herb Garden in progress

Then our daughter got in on the action. We took her Chevy 1/2 ton up to the top of the field and gleaned some rocks for my herb garden.

A few days later…The Herb Garden is almost complete

Now things are beginning to take shape.

I promised you a Community Organic Garden with a TWISTit’s coming…

To my herb garden, I added some high quality organic mushroom compost and began to plant. I planted strawberries right at the top. I also gleaned some thyme and sage from my home herb garden and transplanted them among the rocks.

I couldn’t resist picking up some pansies to remind me of what’s yet to come…
Now back to the real work.

May 1st - Gardeners 'making hay' while the sun shines

Can you picture a more beautiful garden setting???…I am really beginning to feel like a farmer now.

So far I’ve got the beans and peas planted, pickling cukes, a variety of lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and garlic ( garlic I planted all over the garden to ward off the vampires and other such nasty garden pests), rosemary along with carrots, and leek, onions and chives.

The poles with chicken wire are for the beans, peas and pickling cukes.

I transplanted some flowers into my flower garden  just in front of  the herb garden.  I can’t imagine a garden without Lavender…so I added some of that as well.

Laughing Bunnies - Carrie ©


One bright morning, I found bunny tracks on one of the beds… so immediately a gardening friend researched how to discourage rabbits from loving our gardens… a few plants they don’t like are lavender, garlic and catnip.

So I planted all three.

I do hope the laugh won’t be on me.

Also I discovered, you can sprinkle garlic powder around the plants – this is supposed to work quite well.  I might give that a try if the other doesn’t do the job.

As much as I love bunnies, you don’t need my lettuce… there’s no shortage of clover and healthy non-sprayed dandelions out there for you little critters.

And here is a site with a long list of plants rabbits don’t eat.

So What’s the TWIST ??

Every Tuesday evening, about 25 (and growing) of us community gardeners meet in the loft of the barn for dinner and digging.  We eat, get the updates and training, share our knowledge, and go dig in the dirt.

As a community, separate from our individual gardens, we will be planting potatoes and corn of which we’ll share the fruits.

We all take turns bringing the soup, buns and dessert. The loft has been transformed into an inviting and unique meeting place… or just a place to hang out and enjoy a cup of coffee, tea and tasty torte, after gardening for a few hours. With hot running water, a sink, oven, tables, chairs, and couches, we are well pampered farmers.

You don’t find all this in your everyday garden community.

Our  friend and owner of Little Farm Products has a very creative imagination and generous heart. The opportunities are endless.

That’s the TWIST.

Next time…all about Complementary Gardening and Gardening with the MOON.





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Panda Bear, pencil sketch - Carrie ©

True to my word, I searched my closet for photos of my Newfoundland dogs.

Our two  Newfies, Panda Bear and Dandie Lion,  are called Landseers (Black and White). The Landseer was named after an English painter, sir Edwin Henry Landseer.

For more of Edwin Henry Landseer’s paintings check out the Encore Editions site where I found this painting. Delightful artwork. Encore Editions

Called “Newfoundland and Woodchuck”

“Their big head and kind, gentle expression makes them very adorable and dignified”, as my daughter put it.

Beautiful, dignified, and true to their nature, these dogs were every bit a Newfoundland at heart. How we loved our Newfies.

Panda Bear and Dandie Lion playing soccer - Carrie ©

Panda Bear and Dandie Lion, Someone has a ball! - Carrie ©

Playing in the Back Yard with our son - Carrie ©

I’ve decided to dedicate a page to Panda and Dandie.

A  page where I get to tell stories about all my furry and feathered friends.

I’ll be sure to sneak in a bit of informative stuff as well.

You’ll find these animal stories here: Panda and Dandie’s page

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Theme of the month …

My favorite dog – the Newfoundland

Panda Bear was one of our two, very much loved Newfies. He was the big boy, Dandie Lion, she was a lady.

Today, my story is about Panda Bear.

I was told that Newfies have a sense of humor. I wondered about that… how can a dog have a sense of humor.  I soon discovered they do.

On one occasion, Panda being in a playful mood, snuck up behind our 11 year old daughter who was day dreaming, gazing out her bedroom window.  I was watching from a distance wondering what Mr. Panda Bear was about. I watched as he moved towards her in a deliberate, quiet stalking manner. Then, without warning, he gave her a quick nip in the butt.

Even I didn’t expect that.

He promptly (as if it was all well thought out) jumped onto her bed and barked loudly in her shocked face.

“Come and get me” he challenged.

Standing on the bed beside her he was every bit as tall as our daughter. If one didn’t know him, one would have been quite concerned.

Once recovered from the shock, our daughter began to laugh and of course I joined her. We laughed, really laughted and Panda laughed with us.

Panda was the king – he ruled the neighborhood. He was a good king. He ruled with kindness, he was fair and just. His neighborhood subjects  rarely gave him any trouble and if they did, it was not for long.  If discipline was needed, he gave it without doing harm – using his size and commanding voice – perhaps a good chest plant or maybe a chase around the park.

I think I have a hundred stories I can tell about our Newfies. Perhaps another story another time…first I need to find some of those photos taken before digital – hidden somewhere in a shoe box in my closet.

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I am proud to be a Canadian. I love the spirit of that prevails over this Winter Olympics here in our beautiful country.

Check out this site for some of the most beautiful, amazing photos of the Opening Ceremoniesreally… this is worth your time.

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/02/opening_ceremonies_for_vancouv.html

My husband and son got to hang out with the crowd at the waterfront when Gretzky lit the cauldron. This was their experience…

Olympics 2010 Vancouver, BC, Canada

Olympics 2010 Vancouver, BC, Canada - photo taken by our daughter - Minde W. ©

The streets of downtown Vancouver were almost empty only minutes before the cauldron was lit.

As the news spread that Wayne Gretzky was carrying the torch to the waterfront,  thousands of patriotic Olympic enthusiasts flooded the plaza.

When Wayne Gretzky arrived, it looked like the crowd was going to swarm him, but instead they opened a path for him to head toward the cauldron.

When he lit the cauldron and the flames lit up the sky, thousands of young Canadians spontaneously began to sing the national anthem, OH CANADA.

What impressed us most was this…the youth boldly wearing their patriotism.

It was our youth that lead the crowd in singing “Oh Canada”.

Keep it up Canada.

And keep it up Olympian Athletes – You are doing us proud.

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For those of you who didn’t have that perfect Christmas – here’s to you. Neither did I.

I spent my Christmas in agony perpetrated by an inflamed molar.  I know, poor me.

11 on a scale of 1 - 10 Carrie ©

11 on a scale of 1-10 Carrie ©

In my state of great discomfort, I picked up my sketch book. I started sketching what I saw from the, all be it little, but nevertheless, comfort of my bed.  I soon discovered that sketching helped to control the pain somewhat.

I still had a couple of days until the dental appointment.

I sewed these Raggedy dolls for the kids before they were born. Carrie ©

Teddy bookends  – Carrie ©
Compassion Bear – Carrie ©

Sitting in emergency waiting to get some meds, a dozen handsome firemen came through handing out these adorable teddies. My husband who is always on the look out for freebies, asked for one for me. Seeing my plight they had compassion one me.

Time is a healer and eventually, with it went the pain - Carrie ©

Skates for our son, waiting to be wrapped - Carrie ©

Yes, this is an experience I don’t wish on anyone, but having said that, it is a pain that will go away, and soon my jaw and mouth will be all back to normal once again.

On December 24th 2004 our family lost a loved one. That pain still lingers at times – especially at this time of year.  Yes, the pain has lost its edge, and for that I am thankful. The good part is that I have the hope and peace of knowing I will see him again someday.

Acknowledging the fact that difficult circumstances come and go regardless of the time of year, I will continue to look forward to Christmas whatever it brings.

Nativity Scene

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Is it just me or does Christmas seem to come around much quicker these years?

A couple of weeks ago, when the reality hit me that the Christmas season was fast approaching, I had a momentary feeling of wanting to just skip it ALL this year…that overwhelming feeling many of us are familiar with…I have so much to do in so little time, with so little money.

Then I did a little reminiscing and thankfully the Christmas spirit came upon me once again.

For those of you who need a little encouragement I invite you to come and reminisce with me.  I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Scenes from Christmas past spending time with family….

Come inside where it's warm - Win ©

Building a Snow Church

Building chapels in the snow - Carrie ©

A morning of family cross country skiing - Carrie ©

Scenes along the way - Bench by a temporarily abandoned campfire - Carrie ©

10 acres of cross country trails to explore - Carrie ©

The sleigh ride - Driving Diamond and Silver - Carrie ©

6 month old St. Bernard - came along for the ride - Carrie ©

Diamond and Silver enjoying every bit of their workout - Carrie ©

Antiques hidden in the snow - Carrie ©

I think - a manure spreader from days of yore - Carrie ©

A classic I'm sure - Carrie ©

Where are those sugar cubes? Carrie ©

Pencil Crayon by Carrie © - Rescued Percherons

It may be cold outside, but the fire of friendship is warm and inviting - Carrie ©

Christmas is about relationships and building memories that will carry you through the tough times – sure to come to everyone at some time or another.

Our homemade nativity scene - Carrie ©

This nativity scene the kids and I made when they were little. They’re all grown up now, but we still haul these little characters made from spools and cloth out every Christmas.

Our tradition – on Christmas eve our family tells and acts out the Christmas story of Jesus birth. We each take a part and the characters to go with that part.

The parts about Mary soon to deliver her first child,  and Joseph having to travel by donkey to Bethlehem for taxation. Caesar had ordered it and they must go… we tell of how there was no room in any inn because of this, but then they find the stable where they will be warm and safe. That night Jesus was born.

Then comes the part about the shepherds watching their sheep by night, and then the angel of the Lord showing up – suddenly in a brilliant flash of light, and how he tells them not to be afraid but to go and see the baby that was born, the son of God come to bring peace to all men – to save them from themselves and their own destructions…and the angel is joined by a host of angels singing and praising God. All of heaven is in a state of rejoicing.

We move to the Wise men and tell how they followed the star which led them many many miles, all the way to the stable where Jesus was born. They brought him most precious valuable gifts of Gold and Frankincense and Myrrh…

We light the final candle in the advent wreath…

And then… we open the gifts…

Christmas is complete once again. I sit silently in my comfy chair, alone now among the lights and the glow of the flickering candles, and I am thankful. My heart is calm and full of gratitude…for my family, my friends, and most of all my God who did the unthinkable – sent his only son Jesus to earth so that I, you, everyone, could have a relationship with Him. Now that is what it’s all about. And that is why I celebrate Christmas.

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Chuzzle’s Incredible Journey is written for ages pre-school to Grade Two. A Mother and daughter effort – written by Minde Wachsmann, illustrated  by Carrie Wachsmann (myself).

Chuzzle cover blog

Chuzzle, a young adventurous porcupine with many endearing qualities, embarks on a journey to find his dear friend Whuzzle. Chuzzle and Whuzzle used to play together everyday when they were neighbors.

Then Whuzzles and her family moved far away, past the Little Stream, through the Deep Forest, beyond the Green Blue Pond, and up the Giant Big Hill.

Chuzzle missed her very much. One day he decided he was now old enough to venture out on his own. Saying goodbye to his parents, Chuzzle packed his lunch and bravely embarked on his incredible journey to find his friend Whuzzle.

You can read the complete story at:

http://bit.ly/BxBbk

My daughter  and I have cooperated in writing and illustrating several short stories.

Illustrating this story was exceptional fun. I got another opportunity to use my  Wacom Tablet – a Christmas gift from my husband. Thank you dear.

Minde created the visuals for the characters – then I developed her  concepts into the images used in the story book.

Chuzzles leaves homeChuzzle leaves home – Carrie  ©

I sketched, then pencil crayoned the sketches. I scanned the sketches and detailed them using Photoshop and Wacom Tablet. Using my digital Nikon camera, I took photographs and used them to create backgrounds.

Chuzzle leaves home - Carrie  ©

Chuzzle leaves home - Carrie ©

I’ve been studying some tutorials on http://deviantart.com which I’m finding very fascinating as well as helpful.

Here’s the photo I took of a burned out tree stump. I used it to develop the night scene in the forest.

I’ve learned to always have my camera ready cause I never know what treasures I’m going to find. (my moto: treasures are hidden in simple things)

Burned out tree stump

Burned out tree stump - Carrie ©

Chuzzles arrives at his destination after his incredible journey - Carrie  ©

Chuzzles arrives at his destination after his incredible journey - Carrie ©

You can read Chuzzle Incredible Journey at:

http://bit.ly/BxBbk

Available in Ebook form.

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Summer has definitely  arrived. This past week we’ve enjoyed 30-35 degree weather. (85 – 95 degrees F) I say it’s too hot to be serious about working. Sitting in my little office with merely my fan for air conditioning, I’m thinking of everything but computer stuff.

Some of you may be having images  of a nice cold beer right about now.

Actually, I’m still thinking about last weekend and our weekend retreat at beautiful Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre.

Ferns in the woods - Carrie

Ferns in the woods - Carrie ©

The forest was  filled with inspiring images.

No, I’m not talking about me… I just happen to be in the picture… surrounded by inspiration.

 Where oh where will it lead? ©

Where oh where will it lead? Carrie ©

An Amphitheater! Do I hear Shakespear?  - Carrie ©

An Amphitheater! Do I hear Shakespeare? - Carrie ©

Nothing like a little suspense-sion to test your fitness

Nothing like a little suspense-sion to test your fitness Carrie ©

These ladders are not as easy to climb as it may appear - ©

Me Jane, you Tarzan? A swinging ladder is not as easy to climb as I make it appear - Carrie ©

Steps that lead to the river - Carrie ©

Steps that lead down, down, down to the river - Carrie ©

It’s days like these that remind me why I love British Columbia.

Tuck shop in the centre of Stillwood Camp - Carrie ©

Tuck shop in the centre of Stillwood Camp - Carrie ©

Conference Centre 1 - Carrie ©

Conference Centre - Carrie ©

Conference Centre 2 - Carrie ©

The multi-purpose gym and meeting room. The silo houses a rock climbing wall. Carrie ©

A fine dinning hall & with a lot of fine dinning - Carrie ©

A fine dining hall & a lot of fine dinning here - Carrie ©

OOPS… I forgot to get a picture of the pool.

Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre  is located in Cultus Lake, British Columbia. You can visit it online at: http://www.stillwood.ca

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My husband and I spent last week in Washington DC. This was our first visit to the District of Columbia and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The reason for our trip – our TV pilot “Military Miracles”, was one of 48 documentary and feature films screened at the Third Annual GI Film Festival.

Camp Pendleton   Carrie ©

Taken while filming Military Miracles at Camp Pendleton - Carrie ©

You can view Military Miracles trailer here: http://bit.ly/GvG1X

The GI Film Festival was held at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Carnegie Institution of Washington - image taken from http://www.gifilmfestival.com/location

Carnegie Institution of Washington - image taken from http://www.gifilmfestival.com/location

http://gifilmfestival.com

The GI Film Festival is a celebration of the

American Armed Forces.

Here,  visual artists have the opportunity to tell the heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories of  the American warrior.

Our experience began with a Red Carpet private screening of the MGM/UA major motion picture Valkyrie, staring Tom Cruise – the beginning of 4 days and evenings of fascinating and captivating story-telling.

Information about the film Valkyrie read here:

http://bit.ly/14mED2

The Red Carpet Receptions provided great food and great networking opportunities.

Red Carpet Reception  ©

The Red Carpet takes us into the Carnegie Institution Rotunda ©

Guests of honor included Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospitals.

Hollywood insiders presented a workshop on tips and strategies for success in the film industry.

I even got to rub shoulders with actor Steven Baldwin. Here’s proof.

Win Carrie Steven BaldwinSteven Baldwin is promoting his soon to come movie called “Now More Than Ever”.

Check out the “Now More Than Ever” teaser here:

http://www.NowMoreThanEverMovie.com

Baldwin’s movie is about our American Troops  in Iraq, their stories and their need for our support.

Sunday we took the opportunity to tour DC for several hours.

White House  Carrie ©

The White House - Carrie ©

National Museum Marine Corp.  Carrie ©

National Museum Marine Corps. - Carrie ©

Scene in the National Museum Military Corp  - Carrie ©

One of many scenes in the National Museum Marine Corps - Carrie ©

Military Memorial  Carrie ©

Arlington National Cemetery - Carrie ©

Street scene 1  Carrie ©

Street scene 1 - Carrie ©

Street scene 2   Carrie ©

Street scene 2 - Carrie ©

Garden   Carrie ©

Our Hyatt Garden - Carrie ©

The event culminated in an Awards Night. Then back to the hotel for a quick 3 hours of sleep, and off to the airport to catch the plane home.

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The movie in the works is called “Courage”, and stars  Jason Priestley.

The location – Alouette Lake, Maple Ridge, British Columbia

The scene – The BrantFX crew simulating a huge storm at sea.

The effects – The BrantFX crew used rain towers, large fans and a special compressed air gimbal they designed to rock the boat back and forth.

I took this footage of the BrantFX crew working their special effects. My husband is the one hiding under the umbrella rocking the boat.

To learn more about this company check out http://www.brantfx.com

Some photos of the crew setting up for THE BIG scene.

Alouette Lake - FX team at work 1

Alouette Lake - FX team at work 1

Alouette Lake - FX team at work 2

Alouette Lake - FX team at work 2

FX Team - setting up rain towers

FX Team - setting up rain towers

Alouette Lake - taken from the dock - early evening

Alouette Lake - taken from the dock - early evening

Alouette Lake - the mist creeps in

Alouette Lake - the mist creeps in

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Yesterday I took my art class to a friend’s farm where we sketched Plein Air.

En plein air is a French expression which simply means “in the open air”.

Down at the farm, sketching in the open air

Down at the farm, sketching in the open air

It is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/En_plein_air

Although we were sketching, not painting, we were outdoors and “in the open air’. The sketching lessons will lead us to the next step which is, painting outdoors in the open air.

Here are a couple of my sketches.

The smells of spring mixed with the smells of horse manure added to the enthusiasm and inspiration of the day.

Sketching at the Farm 1 - Carrie ©

Sketching at the Farm 1 - Carrie ©

Sketching at the Farm 2 - Carrie ©

Sketching at the Farm 2 - Carrie ©

After several hours of sketching, we were served coffee and dessert. What a treat that was.  We basked in the warm sun, up on the deck off the loft of big red barn, and talked about our masterpieces.

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5 Life Drawings - The Bather  -  Carrie ©

5 Life Drawings - The Bather - Carrie ©

Life Drawing - The Bather - Carrie ©

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Some of my sketches from this month’s “Life Drawing” session.

I belong to an artist group called the Central Fraser Valley Graphic Guild. Once a month we meet and sketch a live model.

All you need is a few pencils, a sketch book, and someone to draw.

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Outhouses are interesting. Mostly, they are interesting because they bring back memories.

Outhouse - Win Wachsmann ©

Outhouse - Win Wachsmann ©

The most interesting of memories would be the ones connected to 30 below weather, dead of winter, 8:30PM and it’s very dark outside.

My siblings and I pack on our warm parkas, wool mittens and fur lined high-top boots. Our little legs make their way down the snow-packed narrow path to… you guessed it… the outhouse.
This was the bedtime ritual.
As you can imagine, not something I particularly looked forward to.

I am certain you can imagine what the worst part of that memory would be!

Try sitting on a block of ice with your little bare bum!!

Inside looking out - Win Wachsmann ©

Inside looking out - Win Wachsmann ©

Another interesting outhouse memory is connected to  Halloween. Halloween in the country had it’s own terror. The naughty boys of the town would rampage the neighboring farms and tip over all their outhouses.

All except for ours. My Dad was very proud of his outhouse construction. It was the one outhouse in town left standing.

In the country, outhouses remained the toilet of the house, long after city folks hooked up to the modern indoor flush toilet system.

In fact, today I can go to my friend’s farm, and if I have the hankering, I can use one of her outhouses – she has a couple handy.

Outhouse #1. One of the prettiest outhouses I’ve known. Brightly painted with a lace curtain to cover a small window. I step inside and notice the decor. It’s been touched by the hand of creativity.

The little red outhouse

The little red outhouse

outhouse decor

outhouse decor

And when I am finished, I step back outside and there, beside this little outhouse is a container of water, a basin,  soap and a towel. Now how convenient is that?

This little outhouse has been the source of healing from those past chilling memories of years gone by.

Outhouse #2.

outhouse-evita-111

And when any of my other friends come to visit this quaint little farm, I’m sure to introduce them to the  two little red outhouses.

This is more like it.  We took this while on one of our trips into the interior of British Columbia. This one’s seen some interesting times I’m sure.

Outhouse photo taken on one of our trips through the Mountains

An early 1900 Outhouse, Silverton B.C. ©

Other names for toilet are:

(Taken from “Sweeter as the Years Go By” written by my good friend , Hilary Jackson who’s traveled much and seen many toilets)

John – rather crude but we still know what the john means.

Powder room – silly but a feminine touch

Rest room – makes one wonder why anyone would want to rest in the toilet.

Water closet or W.C. – is a term used in Europe. W.C. also stands for Wayside Chapel.

P.K. is a term heard in Africa. It stands for piccanini kia, or little house.

Loo, Lav and so on it goes

Outhouse – is just what the word says.”

Enough of that… I have to go see a man about a dog.

For more outhouse photos check out:

http://nuggetsofgold.weebly.com

Go to the “Story Telling” page.

You won’t be sorry.

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The story behind this piece is about Mel and Irene, and the Percheron horses they rescue.

Pencil Crayon  by Carrie ©

Rescued Percherons - Pencil Crayon by Carrie ©

The Rush’s farm is a sanctuary for these large magnificent draft horses. There is little use for these horses in our day and age, and so they are often left unattended in the farmer’s fields. Lack of care and attention results in a very powerful, wild and unmanageable animal.

Mel is a true horse whisperer. He rescues the Percherons from their ultimate demise, and takes on the challenge of taming these powerful beasts. With both patience and love they become useful and gentle creatures.

Each time I visit the Rush’s Percheron farm I have an opportunity  to go for a sleigh ride drawn by two of these powerful work horses. The first time it was Silver and Dollar who were hitched to the sleigh.

carriedriving-1-mb-2007

That day Mel told me of the latest acquired young adult Percheron named Diamond. Diamond had spent his entire life out in some farmer’s field. He was wild and tough and full of fire. No one could touch him. Without attention his life would be a short one. With great difficulty they were able to catch him and have him transported to the Rush’s farm.

When I first saw Diamond, he was running free and wild in the fields at his new home. Mel stated that at this time, all attempts at getting near to the horse were futile. He had been with them for several months.

A year passed and I once again visit the farm. Mel had just hitched up two beautiful black Percherons to the sleigh and we were ready for another ride through the acres of snow and bush. He handed me the reins. I took them and felt the thrill of the ride in a whole new way.

Mel tells me that the horse on the left is Diamond.

Diamond and Silver

Diamond and Silver

Diamond! I was astonished. This horse was gentle and intelligent, attentive and  eager to work and loving every minute of pulling the load behind him.  Diamond had been transformed.

“How did you do it?” I asked.

Mel told me how they had finally lassoed Diamond and then wrapped the end of the rope around a significantly large tree trunk.  (About a foot in diameter). Seemingly effortlessly, Diamond pulled the tree from it’s roots and dragged it around the field until he was exhausted.

Only then were they were able to bridle him and bring him to the barn. The battle of the wills had been won.  Diamond’s natural gentle nature and love of companionship rose to the surface under the kind and expert hand of The Horse Whisperer, Mel.

I love that story.

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Do you have a special “coffee shop hangout”?   I do.

Perhaps you meet with a friend or two, or perhaps at times it’s just you and a book or your laptop computer.

It's not just about a great cup of coffee

Pencil sketch and Photoshop by Carrie ©

I’m talking about a place where the smells and sounds, the feel of the place draws you back time and time again. A place that makes you feel like you’ve escaped from whatever it is you need to escape from.

I figure it’s not just about a great cup of coffee…it’s about connecting,  about stopping to smell the roses… or the coffee in this case. That’s what it’s all about.

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AT LAST…. The Children’s Story – THE RYDER is now an E-book.

The Children's Story - THE RYDER

The Children's Story - THE RYDER

Several months ago I embarked on a new journey, the journey of blogging and internet marketing. This journey has taken me onto many unknown paths, as well as  opened up many new and exciting doors.

The journey has just begun.

The Children’s Story site is meant to be my Children’s Story Library, where I will be continuing to add new and adventurous stories for “the young at heart” to experience and enjoy.

I want to make you laugh, I want to make you cry,  I want to make you seek and to find, and I want  to stir your soul to embark on your own adventurous journey.

Writing, painting and film are my passion. I want to share my stories with others, in as many ways as possible.

Take some time and visit The Children’s Story site at http://thechildrensstory.traffic4pros.com

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A funny thing happened to me the other day.

I was driving down the street, focused on my destination, when I noticed someone in the vehicle behind me trying desperately to get my attention. I checked my rear view mirror to make sure that the trunk wasn’t open, and my doors were closed properly. My tires seemed to be rolling just fine. I figured it couldn’t be me that this driver was so frantically waving at.

The car closed in on me and continued to honk and wave. Now I could clearly see that it was a woman in the driver’s seat.

I decided I’d better pull over to the side of the road and see what this woman wanted from me. She stopped behind me and jumped out of her vehicle. “There’s something on your car!” she exclaimed, looking both frightened and confused at the same time. She was pointing to something latched on the side of my teal blue Pontiac Convertible.

I gasped and jumped back. I saw what appeared to be a slithering black and pink snake sticking to the side of my rear bumper!

The next second, I burst out into laughter. The pink and black slithering snake was my magnetic necklace.

Do I look like a necklace??!!

Do I look like a necklace??!!

It had come off from around my neck when I removed my sweater and tossed it into the back seat of the car, before getting into the driver’s seat.

I tried to explain the necklace and the magnetic thing – but alas the poor dear still had the look of horror on her face as I calmly placed the necklace back around my neck, and drove away.

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For the last three years, we, my husband Win and I, have been working on creating and producing a TV pilot for the History Channel in the US.

Called Military Miracles, this story chronicles the amazing adventures of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment in their battle for Baghdad in the first 21 days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

The stories of how the Marines were protected are amazing. Of the 1300 Marines in the Battalion, they only lost 2 during the  advance into Iraq in April 2003.

Here’s the 3 minute trailer:

Here’s a link to the trailer if you have trouble seeing this screen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5VMdi76wvs

Here’s a link to the websitewww.militarymiracles.com

Win and I created the show. Win was the Writer and Executive Producer.

The show was produced by Digital Ranch in Sherman Oaks, CA. Our thanks to Rob Kirk and Rob Lihani, Executive Producers.

Right now we are waiting for an air date from the History Channel.

Feel free to comment on this trailer.

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Life Drawing

Life Drawing © Carrie

Yes, life drawing, or drawing real life can be a little intimidating at first.

Once you get use to having people hang around you as you sketch, this exercise can be a lot of fun.

There’s a real satisfaction I get from not caring what someone else thinks.

Something else happens.

You get better at it.!

life drawing sketch - © Carrie

life drawing sketch - © Carrie


life drawing sketch - © Carrie

life drawing sketch - © Carrie

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The RYDER

Chapter 1and 2 of my children’s fantasy can now be found on the STORY TELLING page.ryder2

A little about the book:
David and Jessica have just arrived at their grandparent’s farm in the Cariboo. Previously, they welcomed these visits with great enthusiasm, but this time is different. Things have changed.

Then without warning, through a series of bizarre events, they find themselves involved in a most unusual and exciting adventure in the land of Antoch; a land where dreams do come true, and life is never what you expect.

The Lion's Den - ©

The Lion's Den - ©

Will Jessica escape from the lion’s den? What will happen to David, trapped high up on the treacherous mountain, alone face to face with the huge mountain cat? What about the Ryder? Who is this mysterious person who effects everything he touches and everyone he meets?

The RYDER will soon be available in e-book

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God has blessed me with many artist friends and family, who inspire, encourage and motive me. That alone makes me a “Wealthy Artist.”

One of my very talented and creative friends is a writer (among many other things, some of which include film maker and producer). Lately he wrote a book entitled “To My Beloved Eve, Letters from Adam to his wife”. by Francis Testafront-cover-letters-to-eve

photo-francisI totally enjoyed the book. It was touching and a wonderful read. I immediately went to my Bible and read chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis. I’ve read them many times before but this time I read it with a different pair of eyes. There is so much in those chapters I hadn’t really noticed before!

Adam views Eve like every woman would like to be seen by her man. Priceless and like a precious jewel. Despite all the pain and strife in the relationship, love prevails and the depth of the relationship continues to grow to the very end. It gives hope

Francis portrays Adam’s relationship with God in a way both men and women can relate to. I appreciate the way he makes Adam work through all his issues with God. Adam doesn’t get away with anything.

Be sure to visit his very interesting and thought provoking blog http://www.letterstoeve.blogspot.com

To My Beloved Eve will be available on e-book shortly

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