Sunday 12 June 2011

Marie's Sunday Six

Here we are again with my weekly Sunday Six Smile Maker's post. It's hard to believe we are already almost into the middle of June. Isn't the time going fast! I think it's amazing, and a little bit scary. If the next ten years flash by a quickly as the last ten have, well . . . it doesn't bear thinking about! Here's my smilemakers!

Being able to create makes me smile. I have been working on a series of seasonal watercolours, with a seasonal picture on each and an appropriate quote. I love how they turned out. I have tried to put together a collage here for you to look at. I will sell them as a set of prints. They would look lovely framed and hung together on a wall as a group. I was thinking of using them in a book, a book filled with my thoughts, and recipes, family memories, my artwork etc. all to do with the seasons . . . but then last night I thought . . .I'm almost 56 years old. I must have better things to do with my time. Anyways, I will sell them as a group of prints, so if you are interested just let me know.

We went into Chester yesterday. It was a real mixed bag of weather. Showery and a bit cool at times, but the city was alive. It was Ladie's Day at the race track and the city was full of beautifully dressed women, in pretty dresses and hats, all showing off their finery. There were buskers all over the place. I love the buskers in the city. The city rings with music. This video is of a busker in the city, not from yesterday but from a few years ago, but I thought I would share it because you get to see a lot of the city centre, and this guy is really good! Chester City makes me smile.

This is the artwork of Kirstin Cramer (I think that's how you spell her name. If I got it wrong, forgive me!) She has a delightful blog called Tollipop. You can see it here. I have collected quite a few of her pieces of art over the past couple of years. This one here is called The Cardigan Girls. All of her work that I own is hanging in our spare bedroom. I call it the Tollipop Room. It is my favourite room in the house almost. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping and so I go into the spare room and lay down on the bed with a book to read. I am surrounded by all my Tollipop girls and it is so sweet. I feel like I am in another world. I love the Tollipop World. It makes me smile.

This is my newest Christmas Card Creation for this year, so that makes three now. I want to have at least five new ones. This one made me smile. It is done in watercolours and it just speaks of the spirit of Christmas to me. It's all about celebrating the birth of the Christ Child in your home, surrounded by your loved ones isn't it? Once again being able to create makes me smile.

Celebrating Mitzie's first birthday this week makes me smile. I just adore that little dear girl of ours. I know she is just a dog to some, but she is not a dog to us. She is our baby and we love her dearly. She is so patient to put up with me and my incessant picture taking, and cuddling and snuggling. She is so loving and has such a pleasing personality. I know she always looks a bit sad because of her eyes . . . oh so soulful . . . but she is not sad. She is a very happy dog and we love her to bits!

My little family here in England makes me smile. I love my Todd and my Mitzie. Together we are three, and we are a family, eternally bound together, and a part of the joy we were are here on earth to discover. For better and for worse and all that. It will be our 11th anniversary this year. (11.11.11 how crazy is that!) They have been some of the best years of my life. I love my life and all the crazy parts of it. Sure, I am sad sometimes. We all are, but beneath any sadness that I may experience from time to time there is a deep thread of joy, and it lives here in my home and my heart. My family makes me smile.

Well, that is it for this week. The highlights. Little pockets of joy. I hope that you had a lot of smiles in your week as well. Life is what we make of it.

"Contentment is a pearl of great value, and whoever procures it as the expense of ten thousand desires makes a wise and a happy purchase."

Here's a tasty sandwich that is just perfect to take on picnics as there is no mayonnaise involved to cause you any problems. It's hearty and delicious. We love it!!

*Tuna Picnic Sandwich*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is the perfect sandwich to take on a picnic as there is no mayonnaise. It's delicious and hearty. Plan ahead as it needs to sit for a while before eating.

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS white balsamic vinegar
1 TBS Dijon mustard
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (6 ounce) tins of oil packed tuna, drained
1/4 of an English cucumber
1/2 of a small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 (8 inch) round boule (a country style bread loaf)
3 TBS jarred black olive tapenade
1 large handful of fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup)
2 large free range eggs, hard boiled

Make a dressing by whisking together the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard. Season to taste with some salt and black pepper. Stir about 2 TBS of the dressing into a bowl and toss together with the tuna. Place the rest in another bowl and toss together with the red onion and the cucumber.

Take your boule. Cut it carefully in half horizontally. Remove most of the middle bread. (Don't throw it away. I make breadcrumbs with mine and then store them in a zip lock baggie in the freezer.) Spread the olive tapenade over the bottom of the loaf. Layer on the basil leaves. Slice the hard boiled eggs and layer them on. Season with some salt and black pepper. Layer on the tuna mixture and then the cucumber mixture. Place the top of the loaf over all. Press down lightly. Wrap the loaf tightly in several layers of plastic cling film. Place on a plate and then place a baking sheet on top. Place something heavy on top of the baking sheet and press down. Let stand one hour, or refrigerate overnight.

Cut into wedges to serve.

Over in The English Kitchen today, there is a delicious Strawberry Shortcake.


  1. Hi Marie
    I always enjoy reading your smile makers. Just stopping by to say hello. Happy birthday to Mitzie. Can't believe you've had her a year already!
    Hugs, Rhondi

  2. goodmorning Marie,, thanks for the kind words this morning,, your comments are always waiting for me everry morning,, (time differece),, I love your prints for hanging,, they're lovely,, you never cease to amaze,, so much talent,, do you ever sleep.The new christmas card is beautiful ,, really lovey,,I paint a different card evry year then have the print shop print just enough for our family,, just a silly thing I've always done.You have quite a unique date coming up,, 11, 11, 11, so much mumbo jumbo going on about this date,, I think it will be a lucky day for you,, wonderful recipe, and now I'm going to the your other blog,,is your doll house blog still going,, I'll check,,

  3. The older we get the faster time flies for sure. I barely wake up to a new day it seems than its gone. Trying to enjoy the moments as they come helps, but still they disappear before I know it. I hope your Sunday is a wonderful one!

  4. Dear Marie,Your blog's are always so up lifting.You have such telent I don't think theirs any thing that you can't do.I do want a set of your seasonal's later on.I love the video geting to see Chester City a nice treat.And your recipe's
    WOW look so yummy.Take Care.((HUGS))xx

  5. What a nice list of smiles. I just love the pictures of Mitzie... especially the one with Todd. What a sweet little family. I hope one day that John and I can come and see Chester with you. Actually I would love to go anywhere with you.

    I have to run...but I am sending you lots of love. Hugs, Lura

  6. Hi Marie,

    Love your blog!



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