Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

2013 has been a year of everything - - from fun travel, to learning a new hobby, to difficult good-byes. Here is a recap that is long and picture heavy which likely means it was more fun for me to put together than it will be for you to read. Oh, well, here goes (click on the caption under the pictures to go to the post if you want more details):

2013 began at the cottage with family and friends surrounded by snow and beautiful wintery scenes

New Year's

Later in January, Jonathan and I went with friends to a great Robbie Burns supper.  It was a sea of plaid with haggis for dinner and poetry and speeches afterward.  Such fun!

Robbie Burns Supper

As for projects, I completed (finally) our son and daughter-in-law's wedding photo book.  Yay me!  

I made a card for Valentine's Day (which also just happens to be our anniversary) using paper I had decorated in art class

and I made a button Easter egg.

Button Easter Egg 

March was a fun month as we spent a few days in the wilds of Ontario cottage country enjoying the snow and ice

Frozen Cottage Lake in March

and then went to New York City for five days (which you can read about here, here, here, and here).  We had the best time in New York going to museums, art galleries, the opera, and walking, walking, walking to see the sights.

New York City in March

Central Park in March
There really wasn't much time to do any projects with all the traveling, but I did manage to put together a turquoise Easter-in-a-Box for our daughter who was away at university.

I must have spent the month of April recovering from all the activities in March because not much happened.  I did do some watercolour botanicals which really helped me embrace spring.

We went to the cottage for the May long weekend and my son took me to see his favourite swamp (not many mothers can claim that),

We went to an auction at my husband's childhood home and came back with some great treasures.


Knocker and clock from the auction

I made a yummy cake for our youngest's birthday.

Strawberry-Lemon Shortcake

I went to see the Tall Ships in Toronto when they were visiting to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Tall Ships in Toronto

On the last day of school in June we went to see Jackie Evancho in concert in Lewiston, New York.  It was a great concert and a pretty little town and such a fun way to start the summer.

Jackie Evancho, Art Park, New York, June 

Lewiston, New York, June

And as for June projects, I made a shadow box to hold the remnants of my husband's father's military jacket for Father's day.

Memory Box
I also went with my art class to paint a little bridge over a pond en plein air.  It was a lot of fun and I made one of my first paintings which began a love affair with acrylic painting.

My Monet-like paintings
We went to Fort York on Canada Day to see Kate and William as guards.

Fort York guards

I took a Japanese Brush Painting course at the Haliburton School of the Arts in July which taught me lots about brushstrokes and how patient Japanese artists are.

Japanese Brush Painting

I spent a lot of time at the Haliburton cottage with my parents throughout the summer.

I actually made some progress on the family room.  I decided to introduce blue to the largely green room by adding blue pillows and a blue and white striped rug.

Blue accents added to the family room

I went to the Georgian Bay cottage with my daughter and youngest son for a few days.  It is always gorgeous there, but the skies were particularly spectacular this visit.

Georgian Bay Cottage

I went to Letchworth State Park in New York with a friend and had a fantastic time tubing down the river, sketching, and going for hikes.

Letchworth State Park

The whole family went on the South Simcoe Steam Railway for my father's 84th birthday.

South Simcoe Railway

And I painted him a picture of our Haliburton cottage.

I attended Blogpodium and heard Sarah Richardson give the keynote address.


I painted both the bench and the banker's chair in the family room.  There were a few hitches with both paint colours, but in the end I got just what I was aiming for.

White bench and blue chair in the family room

A friend and I went to Toronto Island to have a look around and do some sketching.

Toronto Island

We had our friends from France visiting for Thanksgiving.  Not only did we have turkey dinner and go for a walk in the woods, but we also climbed the Dorset tower and went on the art studio tour.

And we made some leaf art - it's a fall tradition.  

Thanksgiving weekend
I completed so many projects in October.  I made candy posters to send off to our two children in university for some Thanksgiving/Hallowe'en fun.

Candy Poster

I made a leaf stamped table runner in our art class.  

Table runner

I carved a pumpkin to go on the front porch.

Pumpkin carving
And finally, I made advent calendars for the younguns to enjoy.

 Advent Calendar Roll

I finally, finally, finally completed the picture gallery wall in the family room.  I feel free that this room may just be done (although nothing is ever really done).

At the end of November I had a Christmas Craft Party for the friends in my art class.  It was loads of fun and we made three crafts.  The picture of the twig stars went crazy on Pinterest and has been re-pinned over 2800 times (and liked over 300 times) and the carved oranges were re-pinned over 300 times.  Crazy, eh?



Christmas Craft Party

We went to the Toronto Christmas Market with friends.  Such a great way to get in the mood for Christmas.

Toronto Christmas Market

The first week in December was Christmas Cookie Week here on the blog.  It was a bit of a scramble to get everything done, but boy was I happy to have all the Christmas baking completed and in the freezer.  I made five cookies and squares. 

ShortbreadChocolate Chip cookies, Peanut Butter Chocolate BarsSpeculaasBrownies with the world's easiest icing

There's really no explaining why things take off in Pinterest, but this photo of the M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies also went crazy and was repinned over 2000 times from my friend Ricki Jill's Pinterest board.


One of the crafts I completed was to make aluminum foil birds which I used to decorate the mantel.

Aluminum Foil birds
We had a theme tree for the first time ever.  I really enjoyed how simple it looked with just silver and red ornaments and white paper decorations.

Red and white Christmas tree

I spent all fall working away at painting little 5x7 pictures of our cottage and I gave one to everyone in the family just before Christmas.  They were all so complimentary which was very sweet of them.

We also experienced a tremendous ice storm on the weekend before Christmas.  The day afterward it was sunny and everything glittered and shone.  I didn't have time to write up a post about the ice storm so I'm including my photos here (and I should mention that the first five photos were taken by my daughter Kate and the rest are mine).


December was also a difficult month as my father's health was declining and he eventually passed away on December 23rd.  Christmas itself was bittersweet, but we managed and it was good to be with loved ones.  

And so ends 2013 with all its good and bad moments.  We're getting together with family and friends tonight for a Nigerian Curry dinner and some champagne at midnight.  

I can't thank you all enough for your support, encouragement, and kind words over the past year. It has meant so much to me.   I wish you all a happy New Year.