Wednesday, January 31, 2018

An Artsy Post :)

Hello Everyone :)

This week's Scribble Picnic theme is "Spicy". I know what you're thinking...I'm off my rocker AGAIN because the above painting does not depict "Spicy". Now...bear with me whilst I explain (whilst!) 😀I was watching the 1932 movie version of Scarface and the word "scandalous" came to mind. Someone who is "spicy" can be considered "off-colour" or "scandalous" according to the thesauraus. Since Scarface is based on Al Capone, who was considered public enemy number ONE and whose life was riddled with scandal, I went with the idea of the 1930's there you go, that is my line of thinking! Too obtuse? ;)

I LOVE the Tom Hanks movie "Road to Perdition". (Here is a 3-minute video of the scene I tried to capture.) He plays a different role than he usually does. I love when actors step out of the box so to speak. He plays a 1930's mobster and he is so wonderful in that movie. My painting is a scene from that movie. Mobsters, tommy guns and scandals...what's not to like? ;)

And as some of you know, I've been participating in a daily drawing challenge. With today's Scribble Picnic theme in mind, here is my drawing for today. Snoopy and Woodstock sharing a spicy pizza. :) There's some spicy for you! :)

For my drawings, I'm still following the theme of Monsters. I am also trying out some Mythical Creatures, so here are the drawings from the last week. :) And thank you wholeheartedly again for all of you who have been so supportive in my drawing efforts. I'm gaining more confidence each day and I'm loving this challenge!

Is anyone a fan of the Irish Rovers? I have The Unicorn song stuck in my head! When I was in my late teens, I worked as a bartender at an Irish pub in Montreal called Hell's Kitchen. Every night at closing time, this song played and everyone sang along, it was really nice. :)

Can you believe it's been FOUR months since we took in Stella and Pavlov??? Pavlov (right bottom corner) is IN LOVE with me lol...never leaves my side. I think that having five dogs has taught me a lot about patience and compassion. Not only did the two new additions need to adjust, our three did too! I'll be sad to see the two of them go next fall, but until then, I have to say I love having five dogs and three cats. There is so much furry love in the house...and fur..omg, our vacuum is a trooper.

Jack's big mouth. :)

The weather is cold but the moon is full, a Blue Moon tonight and if you're lucky, you'll see an eclipse. What will you do "once in a Blue Moon?" :)

Friday, January 26, 2018

A Toast, Hats and More Comfort Food

Yesterday was Robbie Burns Day, a celebration of Scotland's national poet. This is a day that I've been celebrating for many years. I learned about this day from my beloved late grandfather - a true Scot who was born on the outskirts of Edinburgh Scotland in 1917. His name was Wilfred and his favourite scotch was Ballantine's and when I told Alex about that, he bought me a bottle of the 21-year old whisky for my birthday in 2014. It's very good...very "peaty" (smoky) but smooth and lovely with a little ice and water. Scotch is very different from Canadian Whisky and Bourbon - which are very sweet. Anyway...whisky tasting and reviews are for another post lol!

I only bring the good stuff out once or twice a year! :) My grandfather passed away in the 1980's but I really miss him. He used to tell me to ignore my parents (for good reason!), I always felt safe with him. He lived with us, and during high school, I would rush home to watch soap operas with him while he sipped Ballantine's from his thermos. We had very serious discussions about how Luke and Laura were causing so much drama on General Hospital...I think my granddad loved the soap opera drama even more than I did lol! :) He was in World War II, but never spoke of it. I wish I had a photo of him, but was denied this when I requested it from the parents. That's okay, he's in my memories. Miss you granddad! :)

My favourite Rabbie poem. :)

Those mannequins heads were freaking me out too much so Alex found another way to hang my hats! You know those springy door stoppers that you put on the wall behind the door? Those are our new hat hooks! They work really well! The middle hat was another early birthday gift from Alex. He got a great deal on it used and really wanted to make sure it fit me. I have all the feathers in too. I love these hats!

My fourth hat is on the "orange" wall because I'm a SLAVE to colour coordination lol! :) Actually it just didn't fit with the others. By the way, the big painting will be updated soon. I have our three cats...our three dogs...and my two pugs to the left (miss them so much too!). I want to add Stella and Pavlov, even though they'll be leaving us by next fall. :)

What do you do when you have a spaghetti squash and leftover chili? Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash! With some cheddar on top, this was so delicious! I love spaghetti squash, it's so sweet and nutritious.

Alex had an appointment in town this morning, so when we got home, I made dinner early. He's still suffering his insomnia, but each day he's staying up a little later so in a week or so, he'll be back to a schedule he likes. I made a Bacon and Potato Frittata. It was really good! What is everyone eating these days?  I MUST gives me inspiration and ideas!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Scribble Picnic and Drawing Challenge

Hi Everyone :)

This week's Scribble Picnic theme is Table Cloth (follow the link to join in or for more lovely scribbles!). I had no clue what to do for this theme for the longest time, then it came to me while I was watching Disney's Fantasia with Alex. I figured why not paint some lucky person watching the Winter Fairies etch pretty designs on the frozen lake? :) Since it's a formal affair, the table cloth had to be a little luxurious too, likely woven by some generous elves in their spare time. :)

I've been really enjoying the daily drawing challenge and love the encouragement I'm getting from people, so thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I'm so insecure about drawing! I chose MONSTERS...bwah ha ha my theme for this week's drawings...well, I have about 15 in mind, so it might spill over to next week too! Here they are so far! 

And because I had table cloths and monsters on the brain, today's drawing is this one:

This took three attempts!! I LOVE Bugs Bunny...can't get enough of this character. Alex downloaded all of the Looney Tunes shorts and programs from the 30's all the way up to the 60's. We watch them very often! 

Here is a You Tube clip of that scene for you to enjoy! Do you like the Looney Tunes? Which is your favourite character?

During Yoga. Jack is by my head all the time, keeping watch I suppose! Pavlov is always so curious when I'm lying down on the yoga mat lol! It's hard to keep a straight face when I open my eyes to these two.

Mmmm...Baked Enchiladas...

Isn't this gorgeous? No photo altering at all! Yesterday it rained, then we had freezing rain with temperatures just below freezing. It made for a wonderful layer of fog in the park by the river. Of course, that doesn't last too long, it's down to the minus teens again today. Hope you're all keeping warm!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A New Challenge

Hi Everyone :)

I hope your weekend is starting off well. All I can hear is VROOM VROOM VROOM with the odd hysterical lady-laugh coming from all sides of I'm not nuts lol, it's snowmobile season here in our usually quiet little village! For some reason...the tourist-men love to rev those motors and for some further odd reason, the women they are with are terribly impressed lol.

Michael from the Scribble Picnic decided to challenge himself this year. He is going to do a drawing a day and asked if any of his friends would like to do the same. There are no rules, the idea is to challenge yourself to be creative each day for however long you want. I'm up for the challenge! I'm going to tweak his idea a little. I'm going to focus on drawing, as it's my weakness, but I'm also going to paint some days too. 

I think it's important to find time for creativity each day and I'm committed (with the exception of those crazy shopping days I subject myself to). Anyone else want to join? I am not very active on Instagram, but I'll be posting my creations daily (@rainfrancesgarden#dailysketchplan2018) and also once a week on my blog. 

I decided to start with a drawing of Chilly Willy, the Looney Tunes penguin. I'm a fan of Looney Tunes and I love that Chilly Willy cries ice cubes! Plus today is Penguin Awareness Day, that's how I got my idea. :)

When I started watercolour painting, I just couldn't get the hang of it so I challenged myself to paint every day and after a month, I loved it. This new challenge for me will also be a very good part of my daily routine of self-help and self-therapy to conquer anxiety.

Winter is all about comfort here and this Chicken Pot Pie is perfect for a weekend of hibernation!

Sundown along the river. I hope you're all keeping warm and cozy!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Scribble Picnic: Hot Chocolate and Fondue Nights!

This week's Scribble Picnic theme is "Hot Chocolate". During the next few months, my goal will be warm and cozy as we enjoy what winter has to offer. Sitting by my window on a cold winter night, looking at the Moon and watching the snow fall with a big cup of hot chocolate (laced with a little rye whisky!) is warm and cozy! I painted this scene with watercolours.

And just for fun for those who remember the disco era, here is a video of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing". I was seven when this came out but I remember rollerskating to this tune at the local rink, Caesar's Palace in Lasalle, Quebec. Martha did you ever go there?? Oh my gosh, I was ensconced in satin in those days lol!! Please follow the above link if you'd like to see other scribbles! :) Next week's theme is "Table Cloth", why not join in yourself? :)

Whoda-thunk-it? On the 14th of each month, Alex and I have a fondue night to celebrate our "monthly anniversary". December 14th's fondue night brought a big storm and a power failure. Guess what happened again on January 14th??? Big storm and a power failure! Kind of weird huh? :) There was a big blizzard and wind storm that knocked the lines down. This one lasted nearly 5 hours though, so it wasn't very pleasant in -25C weather. We had all the pets in the living room with the fire going. We were all able to keep warm though thankfully!

We decided to make our fondue night anyway and actually made the fondue in the pot with the little gas burner underneath and it worked pretty well, but it took a long time for the cheese to melt! We had an Italian fondue with Mozza, tomatoes and garlic. Mmm! :)

Monday was Alex's 30th birthday! :) I made him breakfast in bed, his Grandma's recipe for "Toast-ettes".

For his birthday dinner I made ANOTHER fondue night! This time it was a Hot Pot fondue. It's also called Chinese Fondue. You dip your meat and veggies into boiling broth and cook it that way. It was a fun meal and we both loved it! :) Note the different fondue pot - I guess we have become fondue folk...different pots for different fondues! :)

Here's an action shot of my cooked chicken. When fondue meats are on sale, I buy a bunch of them for the freezer. It's very difficult to slice meat as thinly as the butcher does; but it can get pricey if you buy the meats regular price. They're also good to make Philly Cheese Steaks.

For his birthday cake, I made a Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie! This was a first for me and it was a success! :)

Look at's homemade lemon curd mixed with vanilla ice cream and a meringue topping on a graham cracker crust. It was SO SWEET...we needed a glass of milk after one little slice! :) 

I hope everyone is having a great week. It's been really cold here again. This is the scene every morning when Alex wakes up. Marlene, Pavlov, Stella and Jack wait patiently when they hear him stirring...

Charlie is so lazy, she waits at the bottom of the stairs, not using up her precious energy...

The hounds. I think I will take their lead and laze about for the rest of the day. :) It's too cold to go outside!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Scribble Picnic: A Battle of Evil

Hi Everyone :)

Today, Michael chose a fantastic theme for his Scribble Picnic! "Your Favourite Fictional Character(s)". Gosh I have so many, but I decided a battle of evil should happen today in my world! :)

I chose the Headless Horseman from Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and of course Poe's The Raven.

I read all of these books in high school, and multiple times since. I'm a fan of anything creepy and scary...but well written, not like the torture crap that's being 'written' in the modern era. I think that Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow is my favourite movie version; Spencer Tracy as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a wonderful movie version too if you can find it! Sadly, the movie version of The Raven was so poorly done. But The Simpsons did a fun version during one of their Halloween specials! :)

Having your head lopped off? Clubbed to death with a walking stick? Or driven to madness by a bird using psychological warfare? Not very good options if you had to choose, lol! Follow the link above to visit other artist's scribbles! And why not join in yourself? :)

Typically, January is "empty the freezer" month. So that's what I've been doing. I made an oven-fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn muffin dinner. Talk about comfort!

We had some of my leftover Mozzarella and we felt like poutine, so I made a version of that...oooh cheesy goodness!

And I made my first "cheese" of 2018. It's a recipe for cream cheese, but I mentioned a while back that it tastes more like a really good sour cream, so that's what I'm calling it now! For the recipe, check out Rainy Day Cheese Making. I'm going to make some more soon so we can flavour them with some herbs and eat them like a cream cheese Boursin. So last night we had pork and chicken fajitas with my Homemade Chunky Salsa. Those little frying pans come in handy for different meats! :)

Trust and innocence. Oscar the cat and my Jack sleeping back to back in bed. :)

The five-pack chewing on bones. We had a very positive and honest video call with our friend and his family last night. He's the one who left his two dogs with us in September and never came back to get them. Well, there are very good reasons we finally found out...illness, family issues and big decisions from his mom as to whether she'll relocate to Canada with our friend or not. SHE was the one who gave us confidence, Mom to the rescue. What a sweet lady. Anyway, we are okay with everything now, our friend will move back to Canada before next winter, anytime from March to September depending on his health, but it's a firm decision.

We are so relieved, not just knowing we'll be able to get our lives back to normal again...but also that he was finally honest with us about everything (thanks Mom), so that maybe we can salvage the friendship. Second chances, I don't often give them; but this time it feels right.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Scribble Picnic: New Year

This week's Scribble Picnic's theme is "New Year" (follow the link for more lovely scribbles!). I mentioned in a previous post that Alex got me a Celtic Tree Oracle deck. It really has inspired me to think of the Earth and how every thing is very much connected. I saw a similar image online and wanted to paint the connection of the animals to the Earth and the trees; for me this symbolizes the Tree of Life and how each year we start with a clean slate to start over again, just like Nature does! :)

On New Year's Eve, we took out the Raclette machine we'd found at a local thrift store. It was a glorious meal! You put your Raclette cheese on the little doo-hickies and warm it under the Raclette and this is what happens...

Gooey melty cheese all over your food! How could I live without it, and I apologize in advance for those who are lactose or dairy poor people. :(

We actually were able to stay awake for midnight! We were watching stand up comics on You Tube to keep us chuckling and celebrated with some Limoncello Sparklers. That is the last of my homegrown lemon I used as a twist! :) I hope everyone had a nice New Year's celebration! :)

It's snowing beautifully today. This is the back woods behind our yard. Part of it belongs to our rental and part to the village. Luckily they haven't used it to build any trails or we'd be overrun with tourists in our yard! It was quiet this morning as it snowed. Love this!

This might look like a cake, but it's not! Alex surprised me on the upstairs veranda last night. He'd brought in some snow and heat up some maple syrup to draw taffy! In Quebec, it's called "tire" (tier) which literally translates to "pull". The photos aren't great because we had candles as our light source.

We made little lines of maple syrup and little puddles in the snow. If you heat the maple syrup up to the right temperature, it should just roll up on your stick like taffy.

Ours didn't quite make it lol! But it tasted amazing. We were going to go down and keep heating up the maple syrup but it was so cold out! We decided to scoop it all up and eat it, then try another time! Anyone have memories like this going to Sugar Shacks, or in French, going to the Cabane à Sucre?

Last night was Twelfth Night. I've often mentioned that I live by the seasons and by my Celtic roots. Part of last night's observance was to celebrate the upcoming fruit crops. My ancestors would wassail fruit trees on this night to encourage them to flourish. Well, I have no fruit trees (though I did give my Meyer Lemon tree a good talking to!), so I made an apple cake and we drank some Apple Cider Wassail. (The recipe called for juices, but I omitted them)

Now it's time to tighten the belt a little bit for the next few months and hibernate in our cozy home! What's going on in your neck of the woods?