Posts filed under ‘arts’

The Great Outdoors

1526746925109

Beautiful basket of flowers at St. Jacobs Country Gardens

Last Saturday I went to the garden centre to promote, sign and sell my book, Harry’s Trees, and then on Monday, I visited another garden centre closer to home (one that also helped me promote my book) to get plants for my own home,  both veggies and flowers.

There were plenty of flowers left and I found that the food plants (tomato, cucumber, etc) were in limited supply. I managed to get tomato plants and a couple of cucumber and zucchini plants that were outgrowing their starting pots. No worries though, the plants will soon be in my garden, with the help of three granddaughters.

1525815850623

Garden stone, made at retreat one year. Back in my flower bed

 

 

 

IMG_20180521_1852337

Raised garden beds ready for planting

IMG_20180521_1855217.jpg

Window box from BAK to Basics, planted

IMG_20180521_1855384

Veggies and herbs

My parsley needs to be replanted this year. Two of my granddaughters love the taste of parsley. The first time they saw it, they asked, “What is this?”

“Parsley, ” I answered. Seeing their puzzled faces, I said their mom might put it in a salad.

“Can we taste it?” they asked.

I showed them that they could pinch off a small leaf and eat it. And so they did. Every summer they look for the parsley and ask if they can have some. They love the flavour.

 

IMG_20180521_1855312

Tomato plants, the non negotiable plant in my garden each year

My husband rescued the overgrown yellow beans from the garden last summer and saved the seeds. He planted them in a shallow plant of soil. We have to get those planted because they’re growing.

Today I’ll go and purchase a small shovel for the youngest member of our planting team. New to it this year, the three-year-old must have her own. It seems she wanted some gloves too. She must have seen someone else wearing garden gloves. Perhaps her other grandmother wears them.

 

IMG_20180521_1855478

And a planter with spikes and other flowers

I like to purchase the flowers and plant them in my own pots so there’s room for them to fill out. And one other thing to do  this evening is to soak the morning glory seeds I’ll plant tomorrow so the shell breaks open and they start germinating sooner.

 

1525119958454

A small one in my life loves being out of doors, looks at the trees with great interest,  even follows a bird across the lawn, now that he’s walking well.

Hoping to get some good pictures of planting tomorrow then I’ll post some.

Happy planting. Enjoy the beauty around you!

 

Advertisements

May 26, 2018 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Book Promotions

This season I’ve been busy promoting my picture book, Harry’s Trees. When I take those books to places, I’m also taking along several others.

Recognizing the connection between trees and plant nurseries, I decided to contact plant nurseries. Several were glad to be asked and accommodated me and a few other places had already booked sufficient activities to fill their spaces at an extremely busy time of year. Fair enough. I’ll check back in with those later when their pace is a little less harried.

IMG_20180505_1134057

This little doll will have my book read to her as she grows. And one day she’ll read it herself. At Belgian Nursery, Breslau.

For the nurseries where I did  go, I had a variety of guests come to see me, some I had invited and others who came to the nursery for plants, albeit on a cold May day, and wandered in to see what was happening in the classroom area of the building.

DSCF1596

Invited guests who travelled a distance, and of course my illustrator, Maja, on the left. At Sheridan Nursery, Kitchener.

 

Sheridan Nursery, the first to accept my idea of shared promotion, gave me the space and opportunity to read part of my book to children, including four of my own grandchildren.

It seemed most of the children, if given a preference, liked the spring and summer seasons best, but a few liked the colours of fall as well. Maybe it’s that they could be outdoors then.

All children coming to my table with their parents get a colouring sheet to decorate in their favourite season, but only the first location provided opportunity for hearing part of the story.

 

DSCF1601

I was glad I had brought along markers so these two girls could colour their tree picture while their mom shopped.

DSCF1603

See the birds flying to and from the tree? And the new leaves sprouting on the tree?

 

DSCF1605

Another young reader in the making. For now, it’s the colours in the book and this little one already loves trees and the out of doors.

DSCF1604 (2)

And long-time friends (since 4-H days) coming to celebrate with me and taking pictures for me.

Sheridan offered opportunity on Earth Day weekend for advance promotion of my book, Harry’s Trees. As my calendar was already filled, Judy, a friend of mine, was willing to read my book at the event. She reported some interesting conversations, especially one with a girl who was interested in the art in my book.

IMG_1192_1

And Amanda, my helper at two of my events thus far. Thank you.

DSCF1619

Thank you, Amanda, for taking such a great photo for me. You’ll see this one on my new website very soon.

Belgian Nursery generously provided maze pens that I could give out to people, especially children, coming to my table. There were engaging conversations and people admiring Maja’s art in my book and getting to choose a bookmark, hand stamped or decorative ones created by my illustrator. And a colouring page too. One of the employees told me that the children were delighted with the page to take home.

 

Then there was the turtle pond and the fish pond at St. Jacob’s Country Gardens and Plant Nursery.

IMG_20180512_1040323

And the fish pond with a small waterfall too, because they also have a pond specialist.

 

IMG_20180512_0935282

IMG_20180512_0932580

And here I was stationed between the two. It’s a lovely place to sit and chat with people.

Thus goes my book promotion for this spring. I’ve been offered the opportunity to return to this third place as often as I wish, and I will take them up on the offer.

Thank you all who came or helped, and for purchasing a book. I hope you will enjoy reading it to your children or just to share with others who you know.

May the children who hear the story come to understand the value of trees to humans and nature. When they do, I know my father would be smiling because he loved them too.

 

 

 

May 14, 2018 at 1:12 am 2 comments

Garden in Bloom and More

After what seemed like a long cold winter, then a late ice storm here in Ontario, our gardens are erupting with colour.  First the narcissus, then the hyacinths. It seemed like they were patiently waiting for the snow and ice to disappear. The stems were up and the blossoms ready to open when the sun warmed the air. Spring has finally arrived.

IMG_20180508_1743581

My garden stone, made at a women’s retreat, is back in place for the season

My granddaughters wait to set up the fairy garden again. We need to wait for some of the plants to emerge to give the fairies shade when they make their appearance. This year when we plant, we’ll have a new addition to the gardeners when another small one gets to help with planting. She’ll have her own fairy too, of course. Guess she’ll need a shovel as well, for digging holes.

 

DSCF1140

fairy home last year

 

1525268625029

Our snow shovels still out last week when my husband put up the window box

 

IMG_20180508_1743345

I love the yellow daffodils in spring. They bring such a burst of colour. Then the little grape hyacinths around them give a purple backdrop.

 

IMG_20180508_1743041

And now the tulips are opening too. Such a riot of colour

 

These past few weeks, I’ve been busy writing content for my new website. Things are shifting and so is my blog, Storygal, back here at WordPress. The posts at my current site are backed up and may appear at this site from time to time. The new website will be launched soon. I’ll announce when it’s ready.

Meanwhile, I’ve been promoting my picture book, Harry’s Trees, at local plant nurseries. Tomorrow at the St Jacobs Country Gardens and Plant Nursery. I launched the general market version last fall after initially starting the story as a family project after my father died in May 2011, two years ago today, as I write.

 

Carolyn's Book Front Cover layout

Harry’s Trees, a children’s picture book dedicated to my father

My garden beds are dug up and raked, ready for the plants. After my book event this weekend, I’ll purchase plants. I have a date with three granddaughters to help me plant. First will come a conversation with the two oldest about what we’ll grow this year. Perhaps there’ll be a request for something new.

Enjoy the spring weather and don’t plant those annuals too soon. They don’t like frost.

 

May 11, 2018 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Write Canada 2016

DSCN1934

Linda Hall, Indie publishing

Next week is Write Canada in Toronto. The committee has been working for months to get it organized and the registrar’s been busy too.

Instead of the intensive like last year, I’ll offering a two-part workshop on writing Creative Nonfiction and another on what you can do Before the Editor Steps In (not the one on your shoulder that taunts you about your writing, but the one who helps get your work ready for publication).

As far as I know registration is still open. Sign up for Professional Day, Saturday, or the whole conference, here.

Looking forward to it and hope you can join us.

DSCN1956

Steve Bell performing at the 2015 Awards gala

DSCN1936

Fern and Ruth share a table at one of the workshop sessions

DSCN1946

NJ Lindquist, ready for gala

CN Intensive Class with CW and SBN

Members of the Creative Nonfiction Intensive group last year with my co-leader, Stephanie (left)

11036595_10152770474891261_6802070711534580882_n

Sharing photos at gala, l. to r.: Donna Mann, me and Sara Davison

 

 

photos by C. Wilker and others at 2015 conference

June 17, 2016 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

Bringing in the New Year

Once a month I post over at the Canadian Writers Who Are Christian blog. Here’s a taste of what I wrote this month, so early in 2016.

22581694128_cdbe97abd6_z                                                                                        At the Fall District 86 Toastmasters conference in Blue Mountain

 

Bringing in the New Year—Carolyn R. Wilker

 

We’re nearly two weeks into 2016, but for a few moments I want to reflect on the old year that we’ve just put aside.

This past year was momentous in so many ways and sad in others. Three people in my circle of acquaintances and friends—some for as long as 30 years—died in 2015, plus one young teen who attended our church. As I mourned the loss, I also felt grateful to have known Kathy, Susan and Patricia, and Samantha. I reflected on the blessings they brought to my life. Susan was part of my early writing life and edited my first book, Once Upon a Sandbox. Kathy had invited us to her place when we were new members at the church and then to the Bible Study she often hosted. Patricia was a kind and generous neighbour who became a friend, and Samantha is gone too soon at the age of 16.

Even while I mourn the loss, there were good times aplenty. My husband and I gained a new granddaughter, an addition to the two small grandchildren we already have. I had new publishing credits (Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon and Tower Poetry) and requests for a column in our national denominational magazine, Canada Lutheran, and publication therein, but also invitations to do my memoir workshop in new locations to new organizations. There have also been new friendships in the making and a fabulous writer’s critique group in my corner.

Read more here.

 

 

Canadian Networker Fall Business Expo Fall Business Expo in Kitchener, Ontario

January 12, 2016 at 12:37 am Leave a comment

Christmas Eve Day

We’re nearly there, at a day we celebrate every year. Presents bought and wrapped, cards sent and received, a tree in our living room. Often a Christmas party or two as well.  And the creche on the window ledge.

 

 

DSCF9575

the stone creche after our story time

 

I asked my granddaughters who are 4,6 to help me set it up. They were  here for the first two days of the school holiday.

“What’s a creche, Grandma?”

“You’ll see.”
I got out the box and invited them to help me unwrap the figures, but first we took out the stable, and I began to tell the story of a man and woman travelling a long way to a place called Bethlehem.

We unwrapped the other characters and I named the items— the angel, shepherds, Mary the mother and Joseph the father, and of course the baby Jesus. There were shepherds and sheep to unwrap too, but not wise men for they didn’t come to the stable. Also a donkey for travelling and a cow for the stable.

I moved the white stone pieces around as I told about Mary and Joseph travelling a long long way, then how there was no room in the inn, because so many people had come there, but the inn owner said they could stay in the stable out back where they’d be protected from the wind.

I told the girls about the shepherds in the field watching their sheep and how an angel came to tell them the good news of the new special baby, then more angels appeared in the sky and sang to them and about a special star in the sky. It was not an everyday occurrence to see an angel so the shepherds were afraid at first. But then they were excited to see the baby, so some of them went to find the stable while the others watched the sheep.

“What do you think a shepherd would take as a gift for the baby?”

“A toy?” said the six-year-old.

“Might they bring a baby sheep? They can get the wool cut off and make a blanket for the baby.”

They nod their heads.

“The shepherds were really excited about this special baby and they went and told other people before they went back to the fields.”

 

I stop there and let them ponder this much of the story. Better in smaller parts. Besides they’ll learn more later. I let them play with the figures and move them around.  And the photo is the way they ended up. It’s fitting they’re all there together at the end of the story. Think I’ll leave it as it is for now.

 

 

December 24, 2015 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

The Shedding Christmas Tree

DSCF9515

My granddaughters, aged 4 & 6, each made one of these for their tree a few weeks ago when we were doing a craft. I made one along with them.

 

Pets shed their fur, people lose hair upon combing it, and trees eventually lose needles when they’re brought indoors too. But our tree is not a real one and it’s shedding too. Pretty badly, I might say.

We take our tree out of its storage box each December, assemble the poles that are never really hidden and put them in the stand, then stage the branches according to colour sequence from top to bottom. Then at the end of the season, sometime in early January, I take it apart and put the branches and all back in the box.

All of this came after a year or two of having a real tree and then needing to put them all out of the curb each January with all the others. That was before they were collected for environmental purposes, at least that I knew of. I worried about all those trees cut down for a short season indoors and decided to do something different. And so we bought our first artificial tree.

Once the pieces are out of the box and on the tree, we, rather I, spread out the compacted branches and then put on the lights. By the time I have done this, the living room carpet is full of those fibres that are meant to resemble needles on a pine tree. I complained about the fall-out last year when I put the tree up, and this week I said, “At the end of this season, this tree goes out.” Next year, it means we get a new one.

It was a White Rose special, a moderately priced tree, and for a lot of years it served us well. By the time we get the lights on and all the decorations, it’s passable, apart from the spindly topmost pointed branch that always leans when I put on my hand crafted angel, though it’s not very heavy. She looks like she’s had one too many celebrations. Unless you compare our tree to a real tree or one of those with hinged branches—much fuller branches—with the lights already on them, it doesn’t look too bad.

Usually my husband hauls out the boxes—tree and decorations—and hands over the rest of the job to me. When I’m done assembling and decorating, he vacuums the room because every year it sheds. This time I gave him the job of sorting out the lights since he had wrapped them carefully and completed the job on each bundle with tape as he does with all electrical cords, in a neat and orderly fashion.

By the time I returned home from an errand, he not only had the lights sorted, but he had assembled the three strings of green lights and put them on the tree, after a fashion. He said, on my return, “You can rearrange the lights how you like them.” I did some rearranging, but he’d done not such a bad job of it himself. And the bonus, he had the lights turned on. That was to check that all the lights worked, he said.

 

DSCF9518

This ball was a gift from my friend, Amanda, last year. Love it!

 

This morning I began to decorate the tree, putting on my myriad collection of ornaments, snowmen, Santas, angels, pewter ornaments, some of those coming from various parts of the world. In previous years our children helped decorate the tree, but they have homes of their own and have their own ornaments—some collected throughout childhood. Last year it was my granddaughters, Evy and Ana, then 3, 5 years old, who helped me with the finishing touches. This year the lower ornaments on the tree are ones a baby can take off and hold without the fear of breaking.

 

DSCF9521

one of my Nova Scotia ornaments

 

I’ll put on Christmas music while I decorate—this year a collection by Michael Cavan Kelly—and remember the Salvation Army brass ensemble that played at the grocery store last evening. Then we’ll move the tree into its place, wrap the tree skirt around it and my husband will vacuum again, because as sure as the tree needs to be decorated, more of those green fibres will be on the carpet and on my socks and all through the house. After that, and only then, I turn off the rest of the lights, and sit back and admire my work.

 

DSCF9516

our tree, all decorated

 

I’ve already begun my shopping, in fact, I have a good chunk done. And this weekend I’ll finish writing the last of my Christmas cards and get them in the mail. What we all do for a holiday such as Christmas! And only then will I get out the white stone crèche and figures and arrange it somewhere out of reach of our eight-month-old grandchild, who’s seeing Christmas for the first time.

And that’s our preparation for Christmas, besides preparing our hearts for the Saviour we will celebrate.

May your hearts be filled with joy and peace this holy season and may health, healing of relationships and love of family and friends be yours this Christmas.

 

 

 

All  photos on this blog are my own unless otherwise mentioned.

December 10, 2015 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Older Posts


Twitter Updates

Top Canadian Blogs - Top Blogs

Book title

Harry’s Trees


debi riley

The Creative Zone for Making Art

Shot By Sarah

Photography

Janice L. Dick

Tansy & Thistle Press: faith, fiction, forum

LEANNE COLE - The Photographer's Mentor

Fine Art Photographer ~ Daring to be Different

SIMPLY LIFE with Kathleen Gibson

Just another WordPress.com weblog

I Like It!

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Whatever He Says

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Baden Storytellers' Guild

Continuing the Tradition of Oral Storytelling

Tenacity

thoughts on faith and fiction

gardenchatter

Garden adventures and advice...

Promises of Home

Stories of British Home Children, written, compiled and edited by Rose McCormick Brandon