Christmas at St. Mary’s Church, Red Deer, Alberta

St. Mary's Church, Red Deer, Alberta

St. Mary’s Church, Red Deer, Alberta

St. Mary’s Catholic Church is quite a landmark in Red Deer, Alberta. The church was designed by architect Douglas J. Cardinal, and the building was completed in 1968.  St. Mary’s Church is a stunning and unique piece of architecture.  I always feel the church is at its most stunning on Christmas Eve.

st marys interior

The interior of St. Mary’s Church, Red Deer Alberta.

The church has a seating capacity of 650 people, but can hold up to 720 people with additional chairs. Christmas masses are so popular that a video feed of the mass is also provided in the hall to be able to accommodate even more people.

The altar at St. Mary's Church.

The altar at St. Mary’s Church.

This year the altar was adorned with a many poinsettia creating a rich red focal point. The choir added to the atmosphere this evening singing Christmas hymns prior to mass as the parishioners arrived. It was very festive.


The nativity display.

The nativity display is always a highlight with young and old alike. It is located to the left of the altar and is visited by many after mass ends.


(photography taken with an iphone 4s)

Winter Wonderland

The last few days we have had some serious winter weather. It has been very cold and very snowy. Instead of staying inside for yet another day I decided to venture out and take some nature pictures in an effort to embrace the winter season. One thing is for sure, we are having a white Christmas this year.

Chocolate Snowflake Cookies

I decided to do another cookie post. Truth be known, doing another cookie post was decided for me, by a third grade teacher,  indicating in my daughter’s agenda, that she (my 8 year old) was responsible for cookies on Friday. No “please”, no “thank you”, no “would it be possible”, just that my daughter was responsible for cookies. Let’s just say I was, and still am, less than impressed, especially since we provided cookies last week as well.

So I have decided to blog my way through this cookie making experience to divert some of my attitude.
snowflake cookies

The recipe I used this evening was the Cut Out Chocolate Cookie recipe which can be found at I particularily like this recipe as it is made with cocoa instead of melting chocolate. To me this seems a lot more convenient plus I always have cocoa in my pantry. I started the cookie dough at 10:30 pm which meant I needed to find ways to speed up the process. I quickly whipped up the cookie dough then realized I needed to chill the dough in order to be able to roll it out. The fastest way to chill the dough was to wrap it in wax paper and set it out on my deck. When it is -25 celsius outside dough chills quickly.

dough cooling outsideOnce the dough was chilled I got to work rolling and cutting out the snowflake shaped cookies.

cutting out the cookies

Into the oven they went. Out they came. I still needed to decorate the cookies this evening so I again popped them out on the deck to cool. I hoped that Danica, the dog next door, wasn’t roaming the neighborhood and about to find a yummy treat.

cooling baked cookies outsideThe cookies cooled and all were accounted for. It was time for a very quick cookie decorating session. I put together a mixture of 3 tablespoons melted margerine, 2 and a half cups icing sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla and a few drops of food coloring. I put the mixture in a zip lock bag with a piping tip on the end and quickly piped on some snow flake details. My husband was put in charge of the little silver balls in the center of the cookies; popping them on as quickly as possible before the icing firmed up.

chocolate snowflake cookies

By the end of the evening we had made 6 dozen chocolate snowflake cookies.

Christmas Lights On A Cold Winter’s Night

Lights in City Hall Park

I decided to brave the cold tonight and take a few pictures in Red Deer’s City Hall Park. The city fills this park with lights every year creating a wonderful winter wonderland atmosphere.

City Hall Park Lights

The surrounding streets are also decorated with lights, however the cold got the better of me before I had the chance to photograph them.

Christmas Lights With City Hall

You will notice a complete lack of vertical pictures; my tripod was completely frozen up with no movement in any direction. I guess I have learned to not leave my tripod conveniently located in the car (along with cans of Diet Coke which have since exploded in the cold and covered the ceiling of the car in a slushy mess!).

Lights in the Park

Lights In Front Of The Library


Sunset, Thieves Bay, Pender Island

I was planning to keep with the Christmas theme today with the blog. I had already posted about cookies and a Christmas craft, and tonight I was hoping to go out, shoot some Christmas lights and then share the pictures. I was just getting set to bundle up the kids and go out when I decided to check the Environment Canada website for the temperature outside; turned out it was -27 degrees celcius with the wind chill. So I decided to change my plan and share some lovely warm looking sunsets to help everyone forget about how cold it is outside. Here are a few sunsets taken from Pender Island, BC last month.

Thieves Bay, Pender Island Thieves Bay Sunset Pender Island Thieves Bay Sunset

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

A forest of Christmas tree pencil toppers.

A forest of Christmas tree pencil toppers.

We are really getting into the spirit of Christmas in our house. Christmas lights are up. We’ve baked some cookies (and eaten them as well!) We’ve had school Christmas celebrations. We’ve wrapped presents. One little tradition we started a few years ago was putting a little Christmas “something” in the mail boxes of people in our neighborhood and other acquaintances we have. Our children love running up to the mail boxes doing the deliveries; it brings a little bit of Christmas fun to those around us and it has been a great way to meet new neighbors as well.

christmas tree pencil toppersThis year I decided to make Christmas tree pencil toppers. It was an inexpensive and fairly easy craft, just a little bit time-consuming. The nice thing is all the materials can be found at a dollar store. The main part of the tree is felt shaped into a cone and then glued with hot glue. I then hot glued the cone on to the pencil. The rest of the craft is just decorating. I used hot glitter glue for the garland and bobbles on the majority of the trees. This was my first experience with hot glitter glue and I love it, what an easy way to add bling to a craft. The first 18 trees I decorated with sequins. It was so time-consuming that I had to find another decorating option that had sparkle but was fast to use. Last count I have a forest of 108 tree topped pencils.

tree pencil topper with hot glitter gluetree pencil topper with sequins

Homestead (fibre art)

Homestead 2012 7x7 blogLuckily last weekend I has the opportunity to finish off a few fibre art pieces that have been in progress for a while.

The base of this piece is eco-dyed cotton. The cotton was dyed in tumeric, tea and blueberry, with natural cotton showing through areas that were tied off during multiple dyeing sessions. Stitching was completed with eco-dyed cotton and bamboo threads that were dyed at the same time as the cotton base. The piece is embellished with glass beads.

I let the resisted patterns on the cotton base be the source of inspiration for how I approached the rest of the piece. The zig-zag patterns made me think of the miles of barbed wire fence we have in this neck of the woods. My thought process then led me to think of the long forgotten homesteads hidden behind ditches of wildflowers and weeds. It all seemed to work so well with the dyeing on the fabric, plus it is a little piece of home.