Category Archives: Family Life

The City Where I Grew Up

The gals at Bamboletta have written a few posts on our surroundings in the beautiful Cowichan Valley. The special thing about Vancouver Island is how many great towns, nooks, beaches, bike trails, tressels, lakes and cafe’s there are throughout. Unlike most of the crew, I’m really new to the Cowichan Valley. In fact, I just moved up there from Victoria a few months ago, ready to give up the hour long commute and nestle into a sleepier lifestyle with my pals. I feel inspired though to write a post about Victoria. I mean it is the place where I grew up, where I moved away from in my 20’s and came home to 10 years later to have my daughter.

The landscape of Victoria hasn’t really changed much from my youth. I’ve always lived downtown and aside from a couple bigger changes (The Atrium – my absolute favorite place to spend time when I’m there) and business’ coming and going (though, there are way more business’ that have been there since I was a kid than not), it’s pretty much just the same. Thamar and I went there on Sat to a craft market. She’s from Holland and we often get caught up in conversations about our hometowns. She understands why Victoria has lost a little of it’s shimmer for me, but honestly, there’s nothing like going home with a friend who isn’t from there to remind you of it’s charm. It’s easy to transform yourself into someone just seeing the city for the first time. You get caught in between a world of pointing out houses you grew up in and streets you walked down everyday, and suddenly it’s exciting again!

Here are some of my favorite places and things to do…maybe if some of you come to visit our studio someday, you can check out my list!

The Atrium. Home of amazing cafe’s, restaurants, shoes, kitchen wear, a living wall AND beautiful and modern architecture.

Milkman’s Daughter. The Smoking Lily lifestyle store. I love going here just to poke around and get inspiration. We’re big fans of their clothing at Bamboletta and this store has so many other unique things…it’s a store full of pretty!

Picnic. A super awesome sandwhich shop off the beaten path but right in the touristy part of town.

Beacon Hill Park. It’s a totally magical park I never get sick of visiting. There’s an awesome children’s play park, a put-put course, flower gardens, an outdoor movie theater (I saw Edward Scissor Hands there last year) and the BEST petting zoo!

Lojo (Lower Johnson St). I moved away for ten years and when I came back, Johnson St had been dubbed ‘Lojo’ officially…with a sign and everything! Victoria is tiny, you can walk across Downtown in 15 mins and our good shopping is limited almost to one block, but it’s got some pretty amazing stores and a pretty huge variety too. When I travel to Vancouver, I never find as much stuff as I do on this one block!

Ogden Point Breakwater Pier. This is my happy place. My whole childhood was spent walking along this pier. I kissed a first crush near the lighthouse. When I was 6, I fell between some of the big cement blocks on the lower level of the pier and got a scar I still boast. I walked this pier when I was pregnant and now do so with my daughter. They’re putting in handrails after decades of falls and I can’t believe it took them this long! Kind of sad though as it takes that thrill of a windy day away…for good reason, obviously!

So, there you have it, some of my favorite Victoria things 🙂 I’ll leave you with this video I saw the other day. It’s kind of sweet and you get to see different shots around the city.

Thank you for reading!

xo

Brooke

danica - June 10, 2013 - 12:40 pm

I love this, I have a lot of darkness from my time in Victoria and these are some of the places that I so fondly remember, I have still yet to go to the atrium! MUST VISIT, looks so cool!

Kate - June 10, 2013 - 12:51 pm

I also love this city and it is a fantastic place to raise kids, although the comic ham valley is paradise as well!

Kate - June 10, 2013 - 12:52 pm

Silly autocorrect, it was meant to say the cowichan valley!

Brooke - June 10, 2013 - 1:15 pm

The Atrium is awesome for kids too, there’s cool things to play on and it’s nice to have a coffee and have your kids be distracted too 🙂

Andrea - June 10, 2013 - 1:35 pm

My hubby took me to the Breakwater on our first date. We don’t live on the island right now, but we took our daughter there on our vacation last year. One of my very favourite places.

Regan - July 13, 2013 - 8:59 am

That is so fun that you mentioned the Atrium! My husband and I have a shop there and we so enjoy the feel of this wonderful building! Our kids love to play there too! Even on a rainy day it is a bright fun place to be!

Regan - July 13, 2013 - 9:22 am

…my daughter has a beautiful Bamboletta doll (that is now over 4 years old)…we love your work!

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Little Visitors

Since the weather has warmed up, all sorts of little visitors have come out to play on our property. Dragonflies, hummingbirds, bumblebees and frogs. Not too long ago after arriving home from work, my daughter Emily announced that a bird had flown into her room. So with soft reassuring whispers we carefully cupped it in the palms of our hands and set it free back out into the sunshine. We often gently relocate all sorts of insects found on our living room windows and though the feeling is rewarding (save the bees!) they are hardly exciting compared to the rescuing of a trapped bird . It was such a magical and lovely experience and made Emily’s wish of holding a real live bird, come true.

Our second little visitor of this season came as I was watching a movie in our bedroom. I noticed something move out of the corner of my eye when on the far side of the bed, I saw a small shadow jump. This instantly got me up for an instant investigation. I was surprised to  discover a little green tree frog perched on the edge of my grandmother’s quilt. If I hadn’t know better I would have said he actually seemed interested in my entertainment for the evening! The way he just sat there quietly facing our TV screen, atop his small hill of patchwork, certainly made it seem that way! My husband and I had a good giggle thinking of this. Then, picking him up gently, I returned him back into the outdoors.
This is our family’s fourth year at Iron Wood Ranch. It’s now common knowledge that soon-to-be-summer rescues and little visitors will become weekly, even daily, events and welcomed ones at that. To me they are the simple, small reminders that we are all connected, and a part of something greater…..

Actual frog from story not pictured 😉

Happy Spring!

xo

Sarah

KarenK - May 16, 2013 - 2:08 pm

I grew up in a family of critter rescuers. The memories of so many of our saved friends has always stayed with me. What a lovely way to teach your daughter that “we are all connected, and a part of something greater”. Beautifully written!! 🙂

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Home Life – Building

The fact that I have a love for everything that has to do with fabric (almost everything) is a given, but that is not the only material I enjoy working with. A while back, my fingers were itching to make something from some leftover pieces of wood in our little shed and this is the end result…

xo

Thamar

Catherine - May 13, 2013 - 4:06 pm

Stunning! Will it stay outdoors? What a peaceful, lovely setting, too.

Linda JT - May 13, 2013 - 4:09 pm

Thamar, What will it be used for? A plant stand? A sewing table? Do tell…..

Kim. G. - May 13, 2013 - 4:29 pm

It’s like an open door when you’re creative. I love that you delve into other materials. Once again, expansion/contraction. What a great jump-board to new and beyond!!

thamar - May 16, 2013 - 9:34 pm

I use the bench in the kitchen to replace some chairs(chairs I don’t even have), in fact, i’m sitting on my bench while typing this comment ;).
Being creative has no bounderies… some of my projects are quite usefull and look great some not so much 😉

xo
Thamar

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Cowichan River

Well, last weekend the summer seemed to hit. It was quite amazing to
garden in the sun and take in the light of the warm season. It was so warm that
my husband, my 11 year old son and I felt it was time for our first river swim of the year.
Our place is a 5 minute walk to the  Cowichan River which is a Canadian Heritage River
that carries a great amount of history in it’s flowing path.

We made our way down through the forest and enjoyed exploring the wild flowers of spring and listening to the birds
celebrating life through their symphony of song.  The sound of the river grew louder and the green life
surrounding us felt heavenly as the light danced through the upper branches onto the layers of growth beneath them.

We made our way to the edge of the forest and over the uneven rocks that strengthened our balance.
I brought my bodyboarding booties for my dip as my ankles seem to get really sore when it’s cold.
We took our time feeling the water with our toes and eventually I went in for about 5 seconds.
My water loving husband went in for a bit longer and our son just stood at the edge.

I felt so alive after that dip in the river. I’m so grateful to call this place my home.

“Every year we were assured great riches as the spawning salmon returned to the Cowichan, Koksilah, and other rivers and streams.  Their capture and distribution was carefully managed by our Elders through the use of fish weirs, a gift from the First Ancestor Syalutsa.  The weirs ensured abundant fish for our people to eat, while allowing enough fish to reach the spawning beds to ensure future returns.  Other resources were equally managed with an eye to future abundance.

Our ancestors touched the lands, rivers, and oceans in our territory lightly and with respect.  We used only what nature provided, and only what we needed.  Today, you can walk on ancient village sites and see little evidence of our ancestors’ presence because of this respect for the earth.”*

*From: http://www.cowichantribes.com/about/History/Pre-European%20Contact

 

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Hk’s Bicycleitis

This gorgeous weather we’ve been having has motivated me to get on my bike and cycle around Shawnigan Lake.  I love Bicycleitis, our local Shawnigan bike shop.  Hans, the owner, knows me by name and helps me with even the smallest things.  I stopped by the other day to grab a repair kit for a flat tire I had.  When I got home to fix it, I realized I was missing the thingamajig to take the tire off the rim, and by now the shop had closed and I wanted the bike repaired asap.  I was honestly too lazy to find something else to use, so on my way to work the next day I left the flat and a note at the door of Hans’ shop and on my way home, stopped in.  Instead of repairing the tube, Hans used a new one because as he told me “A tube is only $6 and a repair is $10 and besides that, your tube had countless patches already”. Hans had repaired my tire and only charged me for the tube…$6 and no elbow grease on my part.  Not only is Hans cool with notes left at his door, but he’s quick, super knowledgeable and very inexpensive (and he sells fresh eggs too).  I was able to get on my bike the same night and ride the approximately 25km around the lake.  And I found a sweet little waterfall along the way.

Thanks Bicycleitis!

Brandi

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