Oh Christmas Tree!

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It has been some time since my last post and the tree has been up for a few weeks so I wanted to share my annual photo of my Christmas tree.  When Santa came to town on November 18 2018 I wasn’t sure if I was up to going down and participating in the festivities but the entire morning I felt a little push to get myself ready and get going down to the place I always watch the parade every year with my family.  Perhaps it was the emotional time I had with my mom being ill or watching her slow down this year she just looked so frail I wasn’t in a festive mood.  However while driving down to the corner of Euclid and Bloor an emotion so strong came over me and I knew I was making the right choice by keeping the tradition alive.  My dad had a very tender spot for Christmas and he attended the parade every year.   Even that last Christmas before his passing, he slowly walked down to his favorite spot and took part in the festivities.  His eyes sparkled as he watched the floats go by and just before the rest of the crowd began to part ways.. I watched  him sneak home and I had smiled knowing he had enjoyed it.   Although traditions are wonderful to keep they do get just a bit more difficult when the people that share them with you are not there any longer.  My parents brought Christmas into my life, they taught me the reason behind the celebration and ensured I honored the day.. they also taught me to be humble and kind with myself and with others.  Christmas shouldn’t be about lists and requests, the gifts come from the heart whether big or small they are always appreciated.   I have been disheartened about the traditions and the gifts lately because they sometimes turn into expectations and for me… this is not what I believe the holiday represents.   This is my feeling and I am sharing it with you.  We all get caught up in the right Christmas gift, and the hustle and bustle of the parties and gatherings..  I am just feeling a little nostalgic and I was reminded on that drive down to the parade while thinking about my dad.. that although I might not have the “right” gift , perhaps I didn’t buy it from the right store or maybe it wasn’t something the person desired.. it is possible… however it was my gift ..my thought of the person and my heart that wrapped it with love and sent it your way… If we reject it simply because it isn’t our color or name brand,  we reject the thought, the love that goes behind it.  

I grew up with limited gifts and finances, my parents had their struggles, but I always felt rich … because I had the traditions, and cherished each and every cousin and didn’t know the difference between sibling and cousin… they were all my siblings to me… When you don’t have siblings, the people that come into your life are ..your family !  I had quality time decorating the house with my parents, and that quiet time when we would close the lights and leave the tree on .. just to feel the magic!  I didn’t get the name brands and the quantity of gifts but whatever my mom managed to wrap up for me.. was opened with excitement and joy just the same.  I couldn’t imagine giving it back to her and letting her know it was not wanted.

The Christmas tree was the most enchanted in our home and we each still have an ornament of our own that shares a special spot on my tree.  My dad is no longer with us to pick his special place so my mom and I do it for him and so my tree represents memories, family, laughter, and love…  It takes me hours to decorate the tree as I try and find the perfect spot for each cherished jewel that I add as each one represents a story, a moment in time, a memory.. and it will sit on the tree each year lovingly. 

I am trying not to feel disheartened by the overall change in Christmas spirit but wish that all of you think back to a time in your life when the gesture of kindness made your heart full and spending time with friends , and family was truly what makes the holiday meaningful .  Once that seat becomes empty it never gets replaced however I have found a way to keep my dad in my heart always … especially at Christmastime.. and so my tree represents our love, and our family and those we call family along the way.. I hope you enjoyed the story and my tree.. Oh Christmas tree!

Please click onto the link as this is my gift to all of you this year.. this was my favorite song growing up and my husband managed to find a beautiful snow globe that plays this exact song.. such a simple gift yet one that I will cherish forever…

Take a listen!

October’s Trick or Treat

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October has always been one of my favorite months; not only do the leaves begin to change from green to vibrant reds and yellows but the Thanksgiving holiday reminds us to slow down and spend time with loved ones.  The plump orange pumpkins stick around all month first for décor and then they become spooky faces for Halloween …. This painting above is a combination of something old and something new… and I will let you decide if it is still as spooky as it was when I was a child.

Halloween was always so exciting; picking out my costume, being part of the parade at school… do you remember what you dressed up as on Halloween? There was a princess with a facemask that was hard to wear since I wore glasses, and there was a super girl, a wonder woman, and when I got a bit older I did my own make up … a kitty, a clown, but my very favorite was … a witch!  A big pointy hat and black gown to my toes… that one seemed to stickwith me even today I still wear my witches hat when I give out treats on Halloween night .

Wasn’t there a house in every neighbourhood that just spooked you? We had a house at the end of our street  that we called the “Haunted house”.  There was no decorating, no festive orange pumpkins and no candy. Usually it was the darkest house on the block, the trees clinched the walls like they were protecting it from anyone that dared to walk up the path to the front door.  All the children spoke about this “scary house” and although I preferred to avoid going anywhere near especially on Halloween, the rest of the kids gathered together and dared one another to be the first to walk up and ring the bell…

Even the walkway was eerie, crunching leaves can be heard with every step, lights went on and then turned off, the gate was timeworn and falling apart, although every other house lit like a Christmas tree, this old house seemed to stand alone…

The Halloween nights that were rainy and dark were the worst.  Although I anticipated wearing my costume, trick or treating in the neighberhood with my cousins I knew once we got to the end of the block… the fun seemed to fade and the fear set in.  What was it that the kids thought they knew? There were fables of all sorts; I heard a man jumped to his death from the bedroom window, I also heard if you walked by you can feel eyes looking upon you , following  you home, there were stories and as time went on and I got older I stopped listening to them just enough to put my mind at ease about the old place…. except … on October 31st when logic gave way to legends, shadows and spirits.

Today that old house has been torn down and a sweet looking cottage like home sits on the same lot.  The bushes seem lighter, the trees still hug the house but in a friendly manner and the door opens on October 31st to all that walk up the path…  If you pass by the inviting home and you didn’t know what lay there prior, you would not think this was the “Haunted house” that entertained us as children…… but to us… the kids that grew up on Palmerston Gardens, Clinton, Euclid, and Manning… we can’t help but be reminded of what lies beneath all the sweetness can we?

Dark windows, broken porch handles, dried out bushes and crispy leaves, sometimes wet with rain.  The thrill of the dare, knees shaking as we walked up the path, fingers trembling as we thought about ringing the bell, curtains moving ever so slightly in the house … and the creeking sound that we all know we heard even if the door never opened… All Hallows Eve…and we can give our thanks to the house at the end of street.

In case your wondering why go through all of the trouble? It was a broken down old place, it did feel unsettling, but to all of us, it was part of the neighborhood and part of the night.

When we got home, the older cousins got to go through all the chocolates and we got the left overs.. but they were still sweet, tasty and worth the work!  We finished off the evening with our animated cartoons – Charlie Brown was never left out of our celebrations and finally as we parted and went to bed… as our lights went off and all was calm.. right before I fell into a deep and wonderful sleep…the last image that came to mind… I saw the house… ” the scary house” , and heard the creek! Boo!!

Happy October everyone, until we meet again,  Katerini

I think you will enjoy this tune, not one of my jolly usual’s , this one is specifically chosen for the house at the end of the street !

https://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-rogers-rogers_001&hsimp=yhs-rogers_001&hspart=rogers&p=gallows+pole+iron+maiden#id=13&vid=82456a22f45fabe4ff4987e3da6caf82&action=view

 

Filosophy Cafe Art Exhibit

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Begins Friday October 12 -14th 2018 & Meet and Greet on Sunday between 3-4:30pm Location: 912 Bloor St. West (Just west of Ossington on Bloor).

I have been working on my Seasons in the City series since the beginning of the year, sharing drawings and short stories about special places, moments and experiences growing up in Toronto.  I am so excited to share my original works with you and in such a perfect location.

Filosophy Pastry & Espresso Bar is located in the heart of Bloorcourt Village; what better place to display my Art but in the very same area the scenes and stories were lived and created.  This series has been very intimate for me as I share moments embedded in my mind and heart.

Above is a dreamlike image of Filosophy and as I worked on this drawing I thought about the word Filosophy – Filo in greek means “friend” and this is truly a magical place where “friends” gather for a cup of velvety cappuccinos,  savory pies, classic baked goods, creamy ice cream and delectable Greek desserts that are irresistible- you will not resist bringing some home.   The owners ( Toula & Peter Bekiaris) have created an inviting space for customers to linger over a good book while having a cup of steamy Earl Grey Tea, or perhaps sharing secret whispers with a loved one while sharing a piece of spinach pie and retro soda.

Treat yourself this weekend or perhaps the weekend of October 12-14 2018, and pop to Filosophy for an Espresso, I promise you will not be disappointed.

On  October 14 2018 – please join me as I unveil my original works of “Season in the City”, take in the images, and share in my memories…. once you step into Filosophy you will feel the magic…. the most difficult part of being there is deciding what you will order and what little sweetness will accompany you home.

Until we meet again, Katerini

P.S.  When I left Filosophy one evening after spending some time speaking with Toula, and enjoying a cup of coffee I couldn’t get this song out of my head.. and it is a perfect way to describe the feeling when your in a place that feels so special … its’ like I stumbled upon a treasure and I want to share it with you…. here goes!

https://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=dancing+in+the+moonlight#id=12&vid=01e946da50078434dc0f4959d03ae69f&action=view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Secret Garden Part 2

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How enchanting is a summer garden? Wildflowers grace us with their simplicity, annuals are planted in rustic pots sometime in early May, and the Perennials magically make their way back outside, standing tall and proud as each year they grow and spread taking ownership where they can find the space.

Twilight is my favorite time of day – it is a time where the flowers huddle together gently preparing for the light to dim and shadows to form on the ground. It is a special time and so I ensure that twinkle lights surround the flowers, providing them with just a spark of brightness to get through the night.

summer gardens are full of mystic charm, they grace us with ambience as we enjoy warm evenings outdoors sipping a crisp rose’ wine and nibbling on a baguette with roasted sweet tomatoes and tangy goat cheese. The garden creates a backdrop to a perfect setting and the flowers are the main characters in this story.

Fairies dance among the pansies and sunflowers, looking up at the bright moon they spread sprinkles of dust upon the garden ensuring it remains bountiful and vibrant.

Midsummer night’s peak with little whispering winds and the chimes create a musical concert; if you listen very carefully you can hear the fairies singing as they bless each daisy.

I have created a painted story on each of my terracotta pots. They are hand crafted with outdoor acrylic paint; they come with an Art card and short story about Midsummer dreams, moonlit skies and starry nights.

Each pot carefully created with the season in mind, as I tried to capture snow drops, sunflowers, violets and wildflowers growing in my garden…

They are meant for you to plant the seeds, watch them as they grow, and decorate your garden as summer finds us once again next year. The fairies always follow where they are needed and so you are ensured a touch of magic on those warm nights when the wind blows softly and the daisies dance.

My secret garden – holding a sense of wonder 

 If we shadows have offended,
Know but this and all is mended.
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear,
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding, but a dream.”
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Mystery, Nighttime, Energy .. Sarah always has just the right words, especially at night in my Secret garden…. enjoy the music

Until we meet again,  Katerini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Secret Garden

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Autumn has always been my favorite time of year; the turning leaves, crisp fresh air, Halloween and pumpkin pie! However this year I seem to be having a difficult time letting go of Summer.  Perhaps it is because we have had many extreme humid days where staying inside seemed to be the best option, but there is change that happens at the end of August where the flowers sway just a little bit more as they prepare themselves for their finale.  The Sunflowers huddle together creating a breathtaking beauty and the Daisies dance in the soft wind, creating wildflower images far beyond our imagination.  The sun beams down just a little earlier and the vibrant colors create a portrait in an instant.     The last few weeks of Summer I worked on something new.. while the flowers still sparkle and appear to be at their highest point of beauty I created “My Secret Garden”.   Above is an Acrylic painting on Wood and I have worked on Ceramic plant pots; adding color and flowers, hoping to capture a bit of the season.  …… Next Saturday September 15, 2018 I will be in Kleinburg for the day at the Annual Binder Twine Festival, featuring “My Secret Garden” for something a little different.  I believe the SprinklesofMoondust that touch each and every Garden assist the growth of the flowers along with their transformation.  If you have some time to stroll through the town, treat yourself to Apple Strudel homemade, and different flavors of Fudge, walk along the street and meet the Artisans that work so hard creating their personal beauty for us all.. and once you get to the Starbucks you will see me.. and “My Secret Garden”.  I love wildflowers; they bring me joy, hope and as I watch them transform I see the magic that happens overnight.  It is quiet and timely .. making me believe that anything can happen and that there is hope in all our tomorrows.  Hope to see your smile on Saturday! 

At Christmas I no more desire a Rose than wish a snow in May’s New Fangled Mirth;  but like of each thing that in season Grows”.  William Shakespeare

Until we meet again,  Katerini 

Please take a moment .. beautiful song and one that clearly speaks to my heart and to all of you!

https://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=i+have+a+dream+song+mama+mia#id=1&vid=be00f88e7b784a411d2847a3dc2ed93b&action=click

 

 

 

 

 

Stairway to Heaven

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It’s almost the end of summer and many of us are still trying to tick off our to do list hoping that we are able to squeeze every single item in… tick, tick, tick, the beach, the movies, amusement parks, picnics, bbq’s, birthdays, etc… .. it all sounds wonderful and… exhausting.  It is almost as though we need to get it all done to assure ourselves we did everything we were suppose to do to have a good summer.

I remember a time when the simple things we did during the hot months were what made it so wonderful..  We lived on a picturesque street and we were lucky enough to have a Cherry tree in the front yard.  This was no ordinary fruit tree! To my cousins and myself it was a main source of entertainment.  You heard me.. and before you go thinking that sounds very simple.. it was… not.

The Cherry tree was tall with strong branches perfect for sitting on .. what a view we had as we placed ourselves carefully on the largest branch … of course we couldn’t all go on at the same time.. just like the roller coaster at the CNE, this tree had a waiting line.  The four of us would share the tree.. of course my older cousin always got to go first , the rest of us whining for her to hurry up as we all wanted a turn before our parents called us in for supper.  My Grandmother usually came out to pick a few of these juicy fruits and she thought it was absolutely normal to see her grandchildren hanging of the tree branches.

When it was my turn to climb the tree, I was filled with excitement.  I had my mini boom box in one hand and I held on tight with the other … up there in the sky with the leaves and warm wind blowing… the music sounded so much sweeter from up above.  It was an escape and it was lovely.  At times I would bring my journal and pencil with me , pick my favorite branch .. the one highest to the top and just write away.. The summer list was simple and somehow we managed to tick off every single item without even noticing that our evening ice cream truck,  the late night walk, a day at the pool, Sundays at the beach with the rest of the cousins, aunts and uncles…the Freezies, soccer games and …. the Cherry tree were all part of what made our summer perfect.

Above is a drawing to honor our Cherry Tree and all it has represented to me and my summers on Euclid.   When I climbed up onto the branch I was flying high, daydreaming and listening to music while picking a red sweet cherry or two.  Can you guess what was on my boom box at the time?

The photo below is a moment in time , while I was growing up being an only child, I never felt alone.  I was surrounded by cousins, some who lived around the block, others who lived a bus ride away and the three that I grew up with.. they are siblings in my heart, the songs sung, the stories we shared and the love that we had as we spent our summers underneath our Cherry tree.

I wish you all an enchanting rest of Summer, and I can only hope you find your magic place …a spot that will represent your Summer memories and your heart.

Until we meet again,  Katerini

Please don’t forget to click the link, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Play it LOUD!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endless Summer Daydream

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Summer.  Warm temperatures, suntan lotion, beach days and travels to places unknown.  So many different doors to open, new finds to discover and memories to cherish.  How would you like to spend your summer vacation? Close to home, rummaging through the garage and finding forgotten treasures that have been missing for months, tackling organization in the basement and hosting a few festive barbeques? or are you a wanderer?   Is your ideal vacation somewhere secluded like a cottage up north, or exploring new bike paths ? and if you are a traveler where are you in your mind right this second?   Is your vacation a flight away to Europe or a sweet Southern Town?

Wherever you decide to go and how ever you wish to choose your time during the hot summer months, I hope you find the relaxation you so deserve.   When I was a teenager I would sit on my porch and daydream about spending a Summer in Greece.   In this daydream there would be a time old house near the sea with a rustic wooden blue door surrounded by potted flowers and grape vines.  My wardrobe would be simple, gypsy skirts, off the shoulder blouses and comfortable sandals for walking on the white sands.  I imagined the bouzouki musically entertaining the crowds and the aroma of charcoal grilled Souvlaki with lots of lemon sprinkled on top.  My blue wooden door was always in my day-dream. It represented a portal to an enchanted place anything was possible on the other side.  Perhaps my view from the back window would be the salted sea with the water as blue as the sky on a clear day.  I always imagined a reading nook where I could sit and read or write.. a quiet place just for me overlooking one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  The culture, food, music, tradition and of course history.. would all be waiting , welcoming and encouraging me to let go… if only for a summer…let go of the worry, the responsibility …  live and cook like the locals.

I heard many stories from my parents about a place where they grew up.  Some of those memories were painful and many were glorious.  Simplicity was the key to happiness.  Full bright moonlit nights were perfect for sleeping outdoors, Summers spent out on the porch singing songs and reciting poems… it all sounds so lovely to me.

In my daydream you will always find me… by the sea with a notebook, pen in hand, and in this story of mine there will always be a rustic blue door inviting me to walk through and begin my endless summer.. …

….This painting above is an expression of my daydream, and a wish for all of you to take some time this summer to play, laugh, splash, and walk through the door of your dreams…. Happy Summer !

Until we meet again- Katerini