A Little Wanderlust.

Here are some of my thoughts and pictures from a long walk I took in Winnipeg, last Saturday.  Hope you enjoy…

~ Carina Spring


In my last post, I announced that my blog’s technical troubles were finally resolved.  Turns out that my celebrations were, um… premature. Yes, after my gleeful announcement, I joyfully pressed “publish”, and soon realized that the email was not getting delivered to subscribers’ mailboxes.  Every time one problem gets resolved, another one pops up!



Honestly, autumn has brought a few challenges with it, and not just with my blog.  When I stumbled on these words, yesterday, the mindset struck me as helpful:

“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.  Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills.  Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.”

~ Jim Rohn


Anyhow, on Saturday, when I went for a long-overdue haircut, I decided to walk home.  I have been going to the same hairdresser for 15 years.  Her salon is downtown, a fair few kilometres from my home, and in a different neighbourhood.  It was a gorgeous day.  Without thinking much about it, after my haircut, I strolled into the fresh air and started my walk.  It took several hours to get home, though I don’t know exactly how long, because I didn’t pay much attention to the time.

The sun was in my eyes and I carried my big purse over my shoulder, and I felt kind of free: no plans, no car.



By the time I got home, around 5:00 pm, I’d taken a bunch of snapshots with my cell phone (those are the pictures in today’s post), and I’d accepted a friend’s spontaneous dinner invitation for 6:00 pm.

Hiking, even the urban kind, can be so relaxing. There is something therapeutic about walking by yourself, for hours, like a tourist in your own city.  Now, I feel a vague kind of wanderlust.  Like I want to wander. Everywhere.  Even if it’s only around here.


When I was in my late teens, I figured life out by running  kilometres and kilometres at a time.  In those runs I found my strength, and I figured out that life was short, and that it all comes down to the present moment.  I think walks like this one are another way for me to better understand life.

Here are a few more snapshots that I took with my cell phone, if you’d like to see what Winnipeg looked like, from my perspective, last Saturday.  It’s a pretty diverse place.

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Yay… Finally!


“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

~Melody Beattie

I can’t believe it!  After all of the emails, phone calls, and much research, the technical problems on my blog have finally been resolved!  All in one conversation with one talented technician who really knew what he was doing, and took the time to help.  In a matter of 20 minutes, the last of the problems were sorted out!  YAY… it’s finally behind me!

Now, I am looking forward to reconnecting with all of you, and posting regularly!

A water damn in the town of Winnipeg beach. The beauty of autumn in Manitoba.

Today is Thanksgiving, here, in Canada.  This has always been one of my favourite holidays.  We are enjoying the long weekend – it’s amazing what a difference an extra day off makes!   Our family celebrated on Saturday.  My husband prepared an amazing supper, and we all relaxed in the cozy warmth of our home.  Life may not always be easy, but we have a lot to be grateful for around here.

Thanks for the visit!  You are welcome to subscribe, if you’d like to read more.  (Please see the menu at the top.)

I went for a bike ride to enjoy this beautiful Saturday. Birds, colourful trees, unbelievably blue skies.
The beauty of autumn in Manitoba.

Wishing Everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving!  

Testing, Testing!

Hello friends. I have spent a lot of time this September trying to resolve some technical issues on my blog, but no luck!  This is a test, but if it actually works, you are welcome to pop over and read one of the latest posts (that my server wouldn’t send out!).  If you do get this, I sure would appreciate you letting me know.  Take care – I hope to have this sorted out, soon!

A Walk with A Stranger, and The Bizarre Story of Good Memories from A Bad Evening

After my walk with a stranger, I saw this huge caterpillar, and decided to bring out my cell-phone and take some snapshots.

I had an unusual experience last Saturday morning, When I went for a walk.

Just as I entered the park, I saw a woman, probably in her late 50’s, walking a little, white dog.   I casually commented that her dog was cute, when – much to my surprise – the woman began to tear up.  Apologizing, she explained that tomorrow would be 8 weeks since her husband had died of cancer.

Trees at St.Vital Park in September, in Winnipeg.
Trees in the park on a September day in Winnipeg.

I really felt badly for her.  I lost an aunt to cancer a year and a half ago, so I have some understanding of just how hard the whole experience can be.  I gave her a hug, and we started to stroll together.  Wound up doing a lap of the whole park. Mostly, I just listened.

When our walk was done, I felt good that I was able to lend a friendly ear to someone who needed it.  It got me thinking about how acts of kindness really do make both the receiver and the giver feel better.  Actually, this unexpected walk with a stranger also got me thinking about a remarkble experience that happened to my family, years ago.

imageI used to live in the city of Edmonton, Alberta.  One evening, my mom, grandma, brother, and cousin were on their way home after a day-trip to Drayton Valley, when they were rear-ended by a distracted driver on the highway. My mom’s car was a total write-off.  The policemen said how incredible it was that no one had been injured.

The accident occurred in front of a campground about 200 km from Edmonton, so my mom called my oldest brother to ask if he could come and give them a ride back home.  He immediately went to pick them up.


He was a student at the time, driving an older vehicle and – shortly after picking everyone up – his car broke down.  What an evening, right?

Now, it was past 11:00 p.m.  This was the age before cell phones, so my family stood stranded by the side of the road, assessing the unfortunate circumstance in which they found themselves.

That’s when a young farmer stopped to help. He drove my family back to the city, more than an hour and a half in one direction (never mind that he still had to drive all the way back to his farm).  When my mother offered to pay him for his troubles, or at least for the gas, he refused to accept.  No, he said.  Pay it forward.  Help someone who needs your help in the future.

That is not the end of the story.

When the accident occurred, my mom’s car got towed away. In the stress of the moment, my mom wound up abandoning a bunch of the stuff that was in her car.  Some of these items were kind of valuable, like tools.

The following week, my mom and her best friend returned to the site of the accident, in the hopes of recovering some of the items. My mom entered the campground, and asked around a bit, just in case.  Turns out there were a number of seasonal workers who were living in the campground while they worked in Drayton Valley for the summer.  Everyone was so nice.  They had collected all of her belongings and, expecting that she might come back, had stored everything neatly under a tarp.

And there’s yet another twist.  On this trip, my mom had been driving a rental car provided by the insurance company.  Believe it or not, it also broke down while they were out there! Seriously!  It had to be towed, but, fortunately, the rental agency had an outlet in Drayton Valley, and my mom and her friend were able to get a replacement vehicle right away.


What a strange experience, don’t you think?  Such a bitter-sweet combination.  They had a terrible accident, but, miraculously, no one was hurt. Every car that went out there had to be towed away!   Yet, the kindness of strangers transformed the memories of this negative experience into ones that are warm, and rather positive.

There is something very touching, even powerful, about an act of kindness from a stranger – extended without the hope of any retribution.

Sometimes, it can even be simple gestures that make a difference: being patient and present for others, or smiling at someone whom you sense might be feeling alone.

Kindness has a way of coming back to you in mysterious and beautiful ways, and studies show that helping others increases our own happiness.  It has a way of restoring hope, not only in the receiver, but also in the giver.

I am not sure why, but when I was done this walk, I knew it was time to start blogging again.  I am excited to be here, and I look forward to sharing the simple, everyday adventures that challenge, comfort, and enrich.

By the way, after I said goodbye to the woman last Saturday, I decided to do another lap of the park.   This time, for me.  I’d had a stressful week, and needed to process it so that I would have more energy to give to my family and my work.  Even though I had not planned on it, during that second lap of the park, I took a few snapshots with my cell phone.  Those are the pictures in today’s post, in case you wanted to see what one of Winnipeg’s city parks looks like.

Oh, just thought of one more thing!  While we are speaking of the kindness of strangers, have you heard this story of a life-changing phone call?  Not exactly light-hearted, but it gave me goose-bumps.

A caterpillar in St.Vital Park in autumn








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How’s Your Summer So Far?

cordoba ascochinga vacation oscar val horse

My dear blogging Friends!  You may have noticed that I have been away from my keyboard for the last while, and I will be away for just a little bit longer, but I sure am looking forward to connecting with you again, soon!  In the meanwhile, I hope that you are all having a refreshing summer and enjoying it in your own way!


Before I go!  Here is an eclectic collection of ‘homey’ links, in case you are in the mood to explore the web a bit (and the links should work this time!):

transparent house?  

Her work and photographed spaces are the most repinned Pinterest posts ever: See Jennifer Harrison-Ciacchi’s inspiring home.

Feels like home to me.

Placemats: a neat idea, and a way to remember vacations.

Have you been noticing any of these home trends this year? (My bathtub stays!)

This was the first video I ever posted on homehurrah.com.

Would you live in a house like this? (It is surprisingly inviting and spacious!)

…(Or check out this tiny village!)

My unexpected discovery:  I’d love to live in the Flintstones house

For those who like this kind of thing, here are 8 really creepy secret rooms found in houses.

You can’t always trust your eyes!

(…Okay, the one above was not about homes or secret rooms, but it is a mystery to me!)

On a Final (Musical) Note:

This is such a fun song!  “Home“, by the indie pop band Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.

Growing up, my mom would play an eclectic range of music in our home – from classical to country.   That is how I came to love John Denver’s sweet melodies.  It was my mother’s favourite tape cassette (hehe, remember those?) for some time, and I remember Denver’s soothing voice frequently playing in the background of our everyday activities.

A different kind of song about summer and home…

Just for fun, a classic rock song

Thank you so much for the visit!  Take good care!  

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5 Neat Things a Dog Will Bring Into Your Life


Are you more of a dog person or a cat person?

Me?  I can’t choose… I like them both!

Earlier in my childhood, we had a variety of pets, including dogs, but after the age of 10, we’ve really only had cats.  I enjoy cats because they are low-maintenance, elegant, and very loving animals with a complex charm.  So… I guess I would say that I have become more used to having cats around.

Until this year, that is.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might remember my brother’s dog, Carlita.  You can read more about her on my first (and so far, only) Scribble Share.

My brother and his family went to live in France for the year, and they left Carlita with my mom.  Recently, my mom went to visit them in France for a month, so she left the dog with us (me, my son, and my husband).  When my mom returned to Canada, she injured her foot while working in the yard (Fortunately, nothing serious), which meant that she couldn’t walk the dog for most of last week.  So, Carlita stayed with us again until my mom’s foot started to heal.

Having a dog as a pet, albeit temporarily, has been a bit of a novelty for us.  They are a big commitment, almost like another baby!  But it is easy to see why people think of dogs as Man’s Best Friend.

This sweet little Carlita has helped me see some of the neat things that a dog brings into your life, aside from the obvious unconditional love, and loads of fun!


Some of the neat things that a dog brings into your life:

1) A chance to be exuberantly joyful on a daily basis.

Every time I would get home, I would be greeted by the unrestrained joy that Carlita felt at our reunion. Of course, I would join in her excitement, laughing and talking to her in that silly voice that we naturally reserve for babies and cute animals.  Really, though – When else does one get to be that excited about anything, let alone something so ordinary as walking through the front door?

How wonderful that every arrival became an excuse to express unabashed joy!

2) An example of how to be totally in the moment.

One day when I got home from work, I took Carlita for a walk.  I’m usually pretty mindful of the beauty around me as I walk through the park, but on this day I was preoccupied with work, and my thoughts were far away, worrying about deadlines, decisions, and interactions with colleagues.  I was starting to get a headache. That’s when I looked at Carlita and really noticed how, as we walked, she had her nose buried in the thick, green grass.  At that moment, the grass was her world, the reality in which she was completely immersed.  I bet she wasn’t worried about whether I would give her that new canned dog food which she doesn’t like for supper, or which direction we would walk on our next outing.  No, she was just smelling that grass, giving all of her attention to the lush green blades that beckoned.

Yup. Dogs really know how to be in the moment.  Looking at her that afternoon, I took a deep breath, and remembered to pay more attention to the gorgeous, bright day around me.  We have a lot to think about as humans, and learning to take a break by being “in the moment” can be simpler than we make it. Dogs have it licked.

In fact, today when I got home from work, I went for a walk (no dog this time, she is happily back with my mom). I took a page from the book of Carlita.

I looked up at the trees, and focused my attention on the physical world around me. I noticed the shapes, and textures of the trees; the colour of the sky against the miriad of greens; the sound of birds echoing above. I noticed the sensation of the breeze against me, and the drifting fragrance of the flowers.

And I felt relaxed, joyful, and better prepared to take on the rest of the week.

3)  A dog encourages you to get outside and walk.

This is especially true with Carlita, who simply will not pee in the yard.  (I don’t know why! I certainly wished that she would, late on Friday nights). She is a dog that needs to be walked, several times a day. Sometimes long walks, sometimes short, but walking became an obligatory part of my day, every day.

4)  The vitality of a new perspective.  

This relates to the previous point.  With a dog around, I had to walk at times of the day when I normally wouldn’t. Like first thing in the morning, before heading to work.  These morning walks were not long, just a couple of blocks, but instantaneously de-stressed me.  To step outside and move a bit, smell the fresh morning air, and listen to all of the birds chirping their lovely melodies was remarkably relaxing.  And it only took a few minutes.

I also had moments of bliss walking Carlita early on Saturday mornings, when I would normally be sitting on the couch, drinking a coffee. One morning, it had rained, so the bark of the trees was dark, a deep contrast to the rich, green leaves.  The wood chips on the path looked exceptionally reddish, and the air felt soft and fresh. If it hadn’t been because of Carlita, I would have missed the joy of walking in the park on that drizzly Saturday morning.

Sure, I have taken morning walks in the past, and I used to jog in the mornings.  But now days I tend to reserve my walks for the afternoon.  It was revitalizing to change up my routine, and head out for walks when I normally wouldn’t.

5) And let’s face it, dogs sure know how to relax after a good walk!






Oh Carlita, that funny, sweet little dog! (Ps. My husband took these yawning pictures.  They made me chuckle!)

A dog can teach us a thing or two about living well, and I’m not too proud to learn!

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Enjoying Spring in Winnipeg


“The sun has come out and the air is vivid with Spring light” 

Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens


Mahalo. Have you heard this word before?

In my latest post, I talked about the presentation I saw by Chad Pregrake, the 2013 CNN Hero of The Year.  I found his story encouraging because it showed that each of us has the power to act on the things that matter, and that small actions can add up to make a significant difference.

I closed that post off with a song by a famous Hawaiian musician (It’s a medley of two songs: “It’s A Wonderful World” and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow“).  My oldest brother, who loves to visit Hawaii, left a comment on that post that introduced me to the concept of Mahalo:

“In keeping with the Hawaiian theme of your closing, they have this concept of Mahalo, which translates to ‘thank you’ but also can mean gratefulness or thankfulness, and can be expressed as simply as picking up trash and leaving the place better than you found it.”

Mahalo.  I love it.  The soft sound of one word to remind us of our own power to make a difference.

What a wonderful wor(l)d.

And while we are speaking of gratitude…

Spring has settled in around here, and made itself right at home.  We’ve passed the May long weekend, which is when experts announce the official start of the “frost-free” season in Winnipeg.   Gardeners can start planting!

So, today at Home… hurrah!, I am in the mood for a light-hearted celebration of all things Spring, with a Winnipeg twist! (In case you are not familiar with Winnipeg, it’s an interesting little place.)

1.  Spring officially started more than 2 months ago, and this is how the various regions in Canada looked on that first day of Spring.

2. I love birds, and I am always thrilled by my first sighting of geese flying over us, returning after a long winter! Some thoughts on migration here.

3.  In the spirit of spring, I recently tried painting a bird.

It started like this….


Then it went through a few phases.  Can you guess how which one of the two was the final painting?


*See answer at the the end of post.

4. This morning, as I woke up, the fragrance of lilac blossoms reached my senses before I even opened my eyes.  My husband had put some fresh blossoms  in a vase, in our bedroom.  Ahhh… Fresh lilac blossoms, outdoors and indoors!  Love.


“Every Spring is the only Spring – a perpetual astonishment.”  

Ellis Peters

5.  Barbecues!  Actually, this past Friday, my husband made the best burgers ever.  I am not always the biggest fan of burgers, but these were amazingly delicious.  I will soon tell you how he went about making them… if I can pry the secret out of him!

6. I’ve been using my favourite emojis again! 🌸🌷💐🌱

7.  Oh, the joys of being outside on a warm evening…

sunset at the lake, spectacular cloud
An unusual and lonely cloud, illuminated by the sunset (last summer), looked spectacular.

8.  … in sandals!!!  Aaaahhhh…

People who have to layer up in parkas, scarves, hats, gloves, long underwear, two pairs of socks, and boots, can really appreciate the care free experience of slipping into sandals!  (No matter what our feet might look like!)

feet in sandals
It’s so easy to slip into sandals! And the air on our toes feels so good.

9.  When celebrating Spring in Winnipeg, it is not always easy to decide what to wear.  For example, according to Wikipedia, temperatures for April in Winnipeg range from −6.3 °C (21 °F) to 34.3 °C (94 °F), and can change rather quickly.

10. Green!  Everywhere green! We are embracing this glorious season as the dormant world becomes vibrantly awake in May.


…The trees outside my window are dressed in their magnificent, leafy green garments.   (Do you notice the trees around you, too?)

Tree lined streets means lots of trees right outside my window.
Trees ask for so little, but give so much. You can see them here in action… beautifying the city and cleaning the air!  They provide a home for birds and other backyard wildlife, and shelter us from the hot sun.


This list could go on, as I do love Spring, and the joy only increases as it transforms into summer.  So, today, I will leave you with the bottom line:

“That is one good thing about this world… there are always sure to be more springs.”

L.M. Mondtgomery, Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)

Answer – This was the final painting:



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Can’t wait to share my next post with you!


One Piece At A Time: The Inspirational Story of Chad Pregracke

If you think globally, you become filled with gloom.  But if you take a little piece of this whole picture: ‘my piece, our piece, this is what I can do here, I’m making a difference.  And hey… wow, they’re making a difference over there, and so are they’.  Gradually, the pieces get filled in and the world is a better place… because of you.”  

Jane Goodall (Link to the JGI) 

April has flown by and we are already in the first week of May!  The weather is finally feeling like Spring, and I couldn’t be loving it more.

Let me catch you up a little as to what I’ve been up to.  I’ll skip right to one of the highlights: On the last Friday of the month, April 29, I had the honour of hearing Chad Pregracke present at the Burton Cummings theatre.  You might have heard of him?  He was CNN’s 2013 Hero of The Year.  His story is inspiring.

Lately, with all the terrible news we hear around us, I had been feeling a bit discouraged with regards to the state of our planet. But this month has brought me uplifting lessons that have shifted my perspective and left me feeling revitalized. Listening to his presentation was one of those experiences.

Chad’s story reminded me that we might not be able to solve all of the world’s problems, but each of us can play a part in making a small, positive difference around us.  It adds up.

This is CNN’s report.  It’s quick – just over 2 minutes long:

Chad grew up by the Mississippi River.  As a young man he spent summers diving for mussel shells to pay his way through college.  He described how he could hardly see anything underwater because it was so murky, but he was surrounded by sounds – much like we hear the birds when we are in our backyards, but it was the sound of fishes instead.  He realized the river was full of life, but because most people did not hear or experience this underwater world, they could ignore it… and treat the river like a dumping ground.

“This is a problem that people created, but it’s a problem that people can fix.”

~ Chad Pregracke

As he spent countless hours both around and under the water while growing up, he started to notice more and more garbage.  In the presentation I saw, he showed us pictures that he had taken before all of the clean-ups began.  Those pictures actually made the audience gasp.  They were unbelievable.  Or, as he said, “It’s believable.  The proof is right there.  What it is, is unacceptable.”  At the age of 17, when he saw the filth that was contaminating the Mississippi River, he began to look for support to clean it up.

“Wherever you are, no matter if there’s a stream, a creek, a lake, whatever, that needs to be cleaned up, you can do it.  Just organize it and do it.”

~ Chad Pregracke

The Red River is one of two rivers that runs through Winnipeg, where I live.
The Red River is one of two rivers that runs through my (current) home town of Winnipeg.

For 4 years Chad tried without success to get some financial support.  He persevered, and in 1997 he finally obtained a grant from Alcoa.  It was just enough to get started, so he was doing the work for free (and his work continues as non-profit).  He began cleaning up the river by himself, pulling 45 000 pounds of trash out of it by the end of that first year.  As he said, “People made this mess one piece of garbage at a time, we can clean it up that way, too”.

“People made this mess one piece of garbage at a time, we can clean it up that way, too.”

~ Chad Pregracke

As people saw him out there working, they were inspired to join him.  20 years later, he has worked side by side with 95 000 volunteers to clear the Mississippi River of it’s many mountains (literally) of garbage.  The river landscape looks beautiful once again, and 90% of what is pulled out gets recycled.

Chad and the many volunteers continue their work, and have extended their efforts to include other rivers.  Because of these clean-ups, people have become more aware and more careful about keeping the garbage out of the river in the first place.

The thing that really struck me during the presentation was that Chad is just a down-to-earth, regular human being.  He saw something that was wrong, and decided to make it right.  When he started, he was just one person picking some garbage out of the river, by himself, on a boat.

Chad Pregracke is a powerful reminder that we don’t have to wait.  We can act today.  I loved his take away message:  Look around you, and decide what you care about, and start doing something, no matter how small.  

Every little action counts – every little effort, and every act of kindness.  If each of us takes a small action, it adds up to significant change.

My son had a funny take on it.  He said, “Yeah, you know how people can nickel and dime themselves to death?  Well, I guess the opposite can be true, too, right?  You can nickel and dime yourself to a better world”.  He always makes me laugh with his unexpected, 12 year old wisdom.

As Chad said, “I started when I was 17.  You are never too young to start and to make a difference”.  So true, and I would add that you are never too old either.

“People are always saying that the youth is the future.  Yes, no doubt, but more importantly, they are also the present.  You can do something now, you don’t have to wait for some point in the distant future.”

~ Chad Pregracke

Want to learn more?  Chad Pregracke wrote a book called From The Bottom Up that I would like to read at some point.  Also, you might check out his organization Living Land and Waters.

Today, I am signing off with this sweet medley.  Have you heard it before?  It’s played on the ukulele by the late “Iz” Ka’ano’i Kamakawiwo’Ole, who is among the most beloved and celebrated Hawaiian performers.  I fell in love with this medley from the first time I heard it.  For me, it’s a hopeful song; a gentle celebration and reminder that it’s a wonderful world, indeed.  Treat yourself to a listen.

 Here are some other short videos that you might enjoy watching:

Thanks so much for the visit!  If you’d like to receive my latest posts, please feel free to subscribe (See the sidebar menu).  Cheers!

Show and Tell… 4 Things

Many red flowers, one yellow flower, there are no mistakes, Miles Davis, creativity, life.Do not fear mistakes- there are none.

Miles Davis

It has been a few weeks since my last post, but there have been so many interesting things that I’ve noticed and thought to myself, “I’d love to share that on my next post!”  Today, I want to do a quick show and tell to share some of those things, as well as what I’ve been up to around here.

  1.  I’ve spent a little time in the studio these past few weeks, mostly just doing some creative experimentation. I’ve loved pushing paint around, with no plan at all, just playing with the colours and textures.
Abstract painting, Carina Spring (Valerie), playing with paint creatively.
This was one of the paintings that resulted from my recent play in the studio.

As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward.

Vincent van Gogh

2.  I’ve also gone a bit collage crazy of late.

One of my less successful, but most amusing collage advetures was this saggy old satchel that I was going to throw out.  I decided instead to grab some scraps of abandoned, old fabric samples (very limited selection!), a glue gun, and proceeded to experiment a bit.

I rarely work with fabrics, so I just wanted to see what it was like to work with this material and a glue gun.

collage: crafts from old or found objects. Decorating an old handbag with fabric swatches.

Craft: Old handbag, fabric swatches,, collage with glue gun

Eventhough, in the end, I was not very impressed with the final look of my purse, I concluded that working with fabrics might be something I would like to explore further.

I commented to my son that the purse looked rather shabby, and was still just saggy and old. Then, I added that I would nonetheless try wearing the purse out in public to see if anyone would give me a compliment on it. My son chuckled and suggested that, at the very least, someone might give me some change.

Haha!  Clever boy.

Fun crafts: working with old and found materials to make a new handbag.
A fun learning experience.

This is what I wrote in my diary after I had completed the purse:

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time working on that bag.  In a way, that really annoys me because I don’t really like the end product, so it’s tempting to think… What a waste of time, and to feel upset. BUT:

  • I enjoyed working on it, so the time was not wasted.
  • I learned, and practiced using a glue gun (which I never use) and making visual art decisions (which is always useful).
  • What’s the alternative?  Sit around and do nothing?  Because there are no guarantees of how things will turn out (with anything, ever). You have no way of knowing and the only way to learn and improve is by doing and trying. And that’s how you gain confidence and experience.
  • It wasn’t all bad.  While I didn’t love the final look, it does have some interesting designs that I like.

Design details on a handbag made from old and found materials.

So, I’ll have to make some crappy stuff if I ever hope to learn anything because I have to go into territory with which I am unfamiliar and see how it turns out. That’s the only choice, otherwise one sits around paralyzed, dreaming and thinking, but not getting down to the doing.

Craft: Old handbag, fabric swatches,, collage with glue gun.

3. Just over a week ago, I celebrated my birthday.  This year, the gifts I received were all about creativity:

My husband has been spoiling me with his inspired culinary creations for several weeks now. Here are some highlights – I took some snapshots, but sorry to say that they don’t do the meals justice.

chicken parmesan/ parmigiana on my birthday week.
Chicken parmesan… right out of the oven, and there’s enough for the next night!
Steak barbecue, asparagus, and baked potatoes.
A barbecue on Monday night! Seriously!
Russian beet salad with walnuts, prunes, mayo.
This simple beet salad is one of my favourites!
sashimi, sushi, homemade!
Friday night sashimi!
pork roast, delicious treat!
Delicious pork roast.
Healthy and delicious homemade food, pork, salad, polenta.
Healthy and delicious food made at home. A side of polenta is one of my favourites!

He also made me a delicious birthday cake, but I was so excited to eat it that I forgot to take a picture!

…My son made me this adorable pinguin.

felt penguin with google eyes, a birthday gift.

…My mom gave me this beautiful, large painting she made herself.

Acrylic painting by Elsa, mountain goats in nature, by a river.

…And my aunt gave me this gift certificate for a craft store so I can stock up and make more things myself!

Michael's craft store gift certificate (cupcake), Leaf Rapids CD.
My aunt also gave me a CD of a local band, but I’ll post about local music later.

4.  Finally…

Have you heard of Loving Vincent, the first ever movie of its kind?   The story of Vincent van Gogh is told through his own painting style: 12 frames a second, each one hand painted by an artist working in his style.  It’s an 80 minute movie with around 57,000 frames.  Incredible.  Check out this trailer or this short news clip.

An edible terrarium… Wouldn’t this be a great home-made gift?

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend!!

Thanks for reading!


This is one of my favourite pictures because it captures such a genuine moment of shared laughter and joy.  It’s my son when he was about 9 months old, and we had stopped to get gas while on a road trip.

 “Laughter is an instant vacation.”

Milton Berle

Hurrah… It’s Friday!  Do you have any plans?  We’ve had a busy week around here, and I think we’re just going to relax after supper, and watch some comedies.

This has got me thinking that it would be fun to head into the weekend with a focus on laughter.  So today, I’ll share some ideas, links, quotes, and yes… even jokes from around the web.

“I try to find a reason to laugh each day.  Somehow, if you can incorporate laughter into your day, every day, it really helps.  It’s the little things in life that make me happy. “

Faith Hill

I love to laugh… and who doesn’t, really?  Scientists have even observed that some other animal species engage in laughter, too.  Did you know that?  I didn’t, until I researched laughter for this post.  I guess it proves that everyone loves to laugh.  And why shouldn’t we?  I can’t speak for the other species, but I do know that laughing is a wonderful way to enrich our human life.  

Laughing relaxes us, and helps us regain perpective. It is like nature’s reset button.

In fact, there have been a few difficult times in my life when the laughter reset button has helped me… in my sleep!  I call them my laughing dreams.  I’ve only had a few, but they are surprisingly therapeutic.  In these dreams, some little thing will trigger my laughter.  It’s usually something that isn’t really that funny, but in the dream, it seems absolutely hilarious.  I laugh until my stomach muscles ache and tears are rolling down my cheeks.  Isn’t that a delightful dream?  Has anyone else ever had these?  I wake up with a fresher perspective, feeling relaxed, as if I’d just had one of the best belly laughs ever.

 “Laughter is important, not only because it makes us happy, it also has actual health benefits.  And that’s because laughter completely engages the body and releases the mind.  It connects us to others, and that in itself has a healing effect.”

Marlo Thomas 

Laughter is a way to connect with people we love, and a way to gel new friendships.

Laughter can also help us to defuse conflict and soften awkward situations.  Like the time someone at work ripped his pants (loudly).  As the leader of the group, my immediate reaction was to laugh kindly, smile at him and the group, and say, “These things happen… Good thing you’re among friends.”  Silence would have made the incident far more awkward, while laughter was able to soften the embarrassment.  The laughter became a source of support, recognizing that these things can happen to any of us.

“I believe in the power of laughter and tears as an antidote to hatred and terror.”

Charles Chaplin 

Here are some links about laughter.  Why not relax over a glass of wine or a hot cup of coffee, and check some of these out:  

Have you heard of this documentary?  I am curious to see it.

The Power of Laughter.  He gets a standing ovation at the end of this Ted Talk.  

Can you detect the different kinds of laughter? The very funny cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares many surprising facts about laughter.

This man helps people who are in rehab heal by getting them hooked on laughter.

A CNN news clip about  Laughter Yoga.

Want to try laughter yoga? Try this.   Warning: it looks silly. Very.  But I have to tell you this quick story!  The other day, my son was really grumpy about something.  I had just watched this video, so I said, “Hey, maybe we can try laughing yoga to improve your mood!”  I started to do one of the exercises.  He thought I was crazy and refused to participate, but the whole situation was so ridiculous, that soon laughter was bubbling out of him, as hard as he tried to keep a sullen expression on his face.  Within two minutes, his mood had completely changed and we were talking about our day.  So… maybe laughter yoga does work!

Four jokes and some reflection on humour.

Here are “50 terrible, quick jokes that’ll get you a laugh on demand“.  I have to admit, I haven’t read them all!  But I have included a sampler of the jokes, below, because 6 of these jokes are probably quite enough:  😉 


1) It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

2) If you want to catch a squirrel just climb a tree and act like a nut.

3) Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like banana.

4) My friend recently got crushed by a pile of books, but he’s only got his shelf to blame.

5) What’s the best part about living in Switzerland? Not sure, but the flag is a big plus.

6) What did Jay-Z call his girlfriend before they got married? Feyoncé.

Thanks for stopping by home hurrah.com.  Have a great weekend!  

I just got one last thing, I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have.  To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get you’re emotions going.

Jim Valvano