Monday, October 26, 2015


I'd like to introduce you to Olivine Rolland.
Exactly one hundred and nineteen years ago to this very day, she was fifteen years old.  I know this because it says so on the back of the photo I have of her, although I'm not sure if this date was her birthday or just the date upon which the photo was taken.
When I Googled her name, I found an obituary for a man in Massachusetts who may have been her son, who died at the ripe old age of 96 earlier this year.  It seems there was an Olivine Rolland who married a man by the name of Urgel Paquette and they had four children, two boys and two girls.  I also found information about a woman with the same name, born around the same time, who married Anthony Capiello and they had three children together.  Not sure which Olivine is in the photo above but imagine being able to find that out just by tapping a few keys on the keyboard!

Here's a picture of the cabinet card in its original form, showing the name of the Montreal photographer who took her picture.
I received this photo in a Hallowe'en assortment that I purchased from my friend Vanessa, an offering from her Etsy shop, Vanessa's Fancy.  (It looks like there are one or two similar packages available, if you'd like one for yourself!) An assortment that was so perfect for me, it even contained a photo of a black cat!
I'm thinking I'm going to make myself a photo album this week to celebrate the season, using the goodies I got from Vanessa.  I'm wondering how they celebrated Hallowe'en all those many years ago.  I'm thinking Olivine might need a hat, or an owl and a pumpkin. 
Stay tuned and I'll post photos of what I come up with later this week!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Scenes From A Ball Game

You might be wondering what it will be like today at Toronto's Skydome (now known as the Rogers Centre), when the Blue Jays meet the Texas Rangers for the fifth and final game of the American League Division Championship.  My sister and I were lucky enough to get tickets to last Friday's Game 2 of the series (or should I say, my sister was lucky to get the tickets, I was lucky that she chose to take me with her!).  Here are some images from that game:

There is always lots going on outside the ball park as you arrive - vendors selling t-shirts and hotdogs, people collecting money for charities and even musicians performing.
We could feel the excitement in the air, just like it was back in 1992, when the Jays made it into (and won) the World Series for the first time in franchise  history.
Our seats were right above the bull pen and we watched Marcus Stroman warm up.
He'll be pitching again today, hopefully for the win.  There may the occasional conference on the mound, to discuss strategy or where they're going after the game.
Hopefully there will be lots of strikeouts.
The roof will be closed but that's probably just to protect people in the neighbouring condos from all the noise being generated inside.
Fans sitting in the foul ball areas will, like my sister, be ready with their gloves to catch any stray balls.
The stands will be a sea of white and blue as they wave the rally rags that are given out at the gates as you arrive.
There will also be some fans dressed in costume.
Like these two people, ready for the "rainmaker" Josh Donaldson to hit another home run.
I'm sure they won't be disappointed.
The grounds crew will be out during the 6th inning to tidy up, assisted by the mascot, B.J. Birdie.
He's a busy bird. He'll be out to wave the flag as well!
Let's go, Blue Jays, we're in it to win it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Inside the Hacienda

Here are some more photos from inside the Hacienda Jaral de Berrios.
My favourite area was the main staircase.  It reminds me of a French palace, Versailles perhaps.  You can easily imagine men and women in fancy clothes gliding up and down the steps in days gone by.
It's only when you turn the corner and make the final ascent, that you realize the grandeur of this spot.
The ceiling details were stunning.
But here too, there were signs of neglect and vandalism.

Our group posed here for some photos together.

Stay tuned, lots more pictures to come from this special experience!

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Visit to the Ex-Hacienda

A little over two weeks ago, I returned to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico to take another art journaling workshop led by the amazing Orly Avineri.  The workshop was organized by Rebecca Brooks, who has a special touch when it comes to gathering together a group of artists in a special place and arranging for everyone to have a wonderful time.
Orly and Rebecca
The theme of the workshop was "Standing in the Ruins: Arms Outstretched". Our first day together, we travelled by bus for about 2 hours to visit an abandoned hacienda called Jaral de Berrios for inspiration, what the locals call "The Ex-Hacienda".  Our first view of the building as we approached, along the most heavily rutted dirt road I have ever travelled on, was like coming across a castle surrounded by a brick wall covered with graffiti.
Our first glimpse
We arrived at exactly noon, and just as the last one of us stepped off the shuttle bus, the church across the way starting playing Ave Maria from a speaker in the clock tower.  It was a truly magical moment and we all paused to listen.
Vanessa photographing the church
We then turned and faced the front of the Hacienda.  It was a beautiful and imposing structure
but the signs of neglect were immediately obvious.
Our guide, Hector, began to tell us about the history of the building as we made our way through the front door and into the main courtyard.
Hector walked with us and shared stories and information as we started to explore the buildings and grounds.  We were all fascinated with our surroundings, taking turns grouping together and then heading off on our own to see what we could find, all the while snapping away with our cameras.
Hector and Billy
It was a filthy ruin of a building - there is bird and bat shit everywhere and the smell of same mingled with the odor of decaying plaster.  There are holes in the floors, walls and ceilings, outdoor areas are overgrown with weeds, and everything of value long has long since been removed by scavengers.

Where pipes have been removed from walls
The white marks on the walls are bird poop!
It was also an exquisite example of a time long ago when it was a home of great beauty and grandeur, with remnants of painted walls and expensive wallpaper, silk fabric on the ceiling, beautiful frescos in what was the master bedroom.

Stay tuned for most photos of this fascinating place in my next post!