Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One of Gabriola’s Tastiest Treats

There is nothing like starting the morning right, and no better way to start than with treats from Gabriola’s, Slow Rise Bakery.

Waking up this morning the sun was shining, it was another beautiful day in paradise, the trees outside were in full blossom and the garden was finally starting to grow! On route to an early morning house inspection, I made a detour to Slow Rise Bakery. I was glad to see the welcome signs of their wood fired oven – which meant it was a baking day! Stepping into this beautifully created building, I was greeted by the smells of a combination of granola, brea, chocolate pannini's & scones, and the two smiling faces of the bakers, Dimitri & Paul. Only a 5 minute wait for the fresh triple berry and white chocolate and berry scones, it gave me an opportunity to see the baking in process. I was intrigued by the flow as I watched them work, and was firing a million questions at them, which they seemed happy to take the time to answer.

Slow Rise Bakery products are available at; Village Food Market, Artworks, & starting the May long weekend they will be at the farmers market. No trip to the island is complete without sampling their offerings! But be for-warned its highly addictive it will keep you coming back to the island for more!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Administrative Professionals Week

This is a salute to our two office personnel and the amazing job they do not only this week, but every day of the year, to keep our office co-ordinated, running smoothly, and for them going above & beyond to ensure the success not only of our company but off all the individuals in our office.

Their knowledge & customers service skills are invaluable, as they are the greet new people to the island, I think of them as embassadors for Gabriola! They are a vital part of our business, and we are fortunate to have the best of the best!

If you haven’t done something nice for your office administrators, it’s not to late to recognize, everything they do. It can be simple; take them out for lunch, spa services (tend to be a favourite), who doesn’t like getting a beautiful arrangement of flowers, a gift certificate to a local nursery, or perhaps some time off… & don’t forget the card with a personal note!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gabriola - More than a place to live!

Being a Realtor on the island, I am often asked what I like best about living on Gabriola; of course it’s hard to sum up all the things I like about the place I’ve called home for 29 years. Other than the islands inherent beauty and the amazing people that make this island what it is, I would have to say the amazing sense of community!

With a base population on the island of approx. 5500 people, made up from all walks of life, there is a fantastic sense of community. A simple visit to the islands local grocery store is changed from a mundane task, to an opportunity to visit with friends, catch up with what’s new with the cashier, or visit with your “neighbor” in the line up.

For me one of my favorite spots is the Co-op, where at 9:00 am you’ll find the friendly faces of the same crowd nearly every morning, there to get their morning coffee fix & catch up on the local happenings.

It’s not hard to become part of this community, find a hobby, interest, or volunteer (there’s always plenty of organizations looking for assistance) – it’s a great way to meet new friends and integrate into the community… What's your favorite thing about Gabriola?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gabriola Novelty Map

I was so excited to receive an email that Gabriola’s Novelty Map, created in the 1980’s by island artisan Edd Ulushak, is back by popular demand.

When the opportunity came along for local businesses to mark their place on this artisans map rendition, amidst the Gabriola scenery – we just knew we had to take the opportunity to get involved. The Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Ed to get local businesses involved. These are sure to be a collectors item, we still have an original in the office, and often get queries from both locals & tourists alike where they can get their copy of the map. There will be a limited quantity available, and they are likely to sell out quickly!

Whether you are a business wanting to participate & be a part of island history in this unique way, or if you are looking at getting your copy of the map check it out online at: .

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

Earth Day has spread all over the world since it’s inception in 1970, as people made promises to help the environment. It’s amazing how everyone stops to recognize that there are problems we need to work on & look at the planet and identify those things that need to be changed.

On Gabriola, today in the grocery stores they were encouraging the use of paper bags decorated by school aged children of the island, these bags were pieces of art, each with a colourful and vibrant message. What a great way to educate kids by having them participate in one way to help the environment by using less plastic bags.

We are fortunate to have many businesses on the island that focus on a greener lifestyle choices and living with a lighter foot print. Many of these businesses are home based, or web based I’ll be featuring them in future blogs – so make sure to stay tuned for some exceptional island offerings.

It is truly amazing to think that this day was started by one person who had an idea & kept working on it as it became an international event of people working together - it’s amazing what happens when people care about our world!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

There is nothing better, than those things that make us reminisce about our childhood. For me it’s the smell, well that and the taste as well of Mom’s chocolate chip cookies. We were fortunate to have a Mom that enjoyed baking, so often times after school we would come home to her freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I thought I would share her recipe with you:


1 ¾ cup Flour
½ tsp Salt
2 cups Quaker Oats
1 pkg Chocolate Chips (or less)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Butter
1 tsp. Baking Soda
¼ cup Boiling Water
1 tsp Vanilla


Cream sugar & butter, add vanilla. Blend in flour, salt, quaker oats. Set aside.

Dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Gradually stir into creamed mixture. Mix chocolate chips. Spoon heapfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes & transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes approx. 18 – 24 cookies.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Green Solutions Demonstration Home

Today we visited the Green Solutions demonstration show home in Fairwinds. It was amazing to to see the developers team with local contractors and designers to showcase products & design; that respect the natural environment, incorporate “smart” technologies, conserve water & energy, and allow for the opportunity of aging in place.

The home is absolutely stunning and featured an array of energy efficient products, including energy star appliances, solar tubes allowing the natural light to filter into the home, West Coast Design windows with low E glass & so much more…

Among the most popular features in the homes was the engineered hardwood flooring, which I have been recently seeing more of in homes. It is an environmentally conscious alternative to solid hardwood flooring, it is very durable & conserves natural resources.

If you have been thinking of building or renovating, it is well worth the trip up to this show home, where it is easy to view the many practical & easy ways to incorporate greener building practices.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Tomorrow, my sister & I are loading up the kids and heading to town… We’re going to meet up with our good friend Jodi, and do the 10 km walk to help raise money for MS.

Jodi, was diagnosed with MS when she was only 31, she is an amazingly vibrant person who has not let it affect her day to day living, or her attitude on life. She is a hard individual to keep up with as she is very athletic & outgoing, when she sent out the email, Tina & I decided to walk with her, in hopes to raise some money & awareness, and to also for the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with a good friend!

So tomorrow, we are walking, to support our good friend Jodi and the other friends, co-workers, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters out there who are struggling with this… We want to let you know, we care and we are with you every step of the way. We are walking in hopes that a cure can be found!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Call of the Bald Eagles…

It’s always such a welcome to arrive home at the end of the day, especially to hear the eagles calling. We are so fortunate to share where we live with several bald eagles, and it’s not an uncommon sight to see them diving towards the waters with their amazing 6 to 8 foot wingspan, poised to catch a salmon.

No matter how many times you’ve see a bald eagle, it is an absolutely amazing experience to see these majestic birds in their natural setting. There are many good areas to see the eagles on Gabriola, Drumbeg Park, is one of the areas where the combination of the old growth forests which provides trees for the eagles to perch in, the open fields & oceans for them to feed - is an amazing setting to experience the spirit of the birds in their natural setting.

I always know I'm close to home when I hear the amazing sounds of the bald eagles!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Trendy & Re-usable Bags

A year ago, a friend introduced me to my first, yes very trendy, but re-usable bag. After I started to use it, my sister decided that she needed one as well… These eco-friendly bags are catching lots of attention – with their vibrant colors & patterns their like a new fashion accessory while persuading individuals to make a small and easy lifestyle change to benefit the environment.

On Gabriola we are lucky to have the support of our local grocery store, Village Food Market. They have just announced a contest, looking for the artwork which will appear on their re-usable shopping bags. They are challenging artists to portray an image of what Gabriola means to them, and are offering a $500.00 prize for the image they use. I’ve been encouraging Tina, to get out the paint brushes and put something together – she’s a fabulous artist. ..

I can hardly wait to get my hands on my trendy uniquely Gabriola “Green “ Bag!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What are you doing on Saturday night?

On Gabriola, there is never any shortage of things to do… Known as the “Island of the Arts” every weekend seems to bring, new plays, presentations, art displays, workshops & so much more…

One of my favourite Island Artists, Sheila Norgate is giving a special presentation this weekend with all proceeds being donated to People for a Healthy Community. When the opportunity came out to hang out with the girls on Saturday night and see “Charm, Beauty & Poise, timeless tips for girls who have let themselves go,” we couldn’t resist the opportunity. Not sure whether to get out the Birkenstocks & put on the house coat, or put on a pair of heels & maybe even a skirt – the dress code is sure to be all over the map!

Sheila Norgate, is one of the islands gems; an amazing & very accomplished artist, community volunteer, friend, and a brilliant presenter – this show is a must see! Tickets are available at Artworks (in the Village) and are a bargain price at $10.00, however, this show will set out FAST, so make sure to pick up your tickets right away! See you Saturday, April 12th 7:30 at the Roxy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Adopting a Polar Bear

It’s quickly approaching my brother in laws 41st Birthday, since I don’t think he knows how to google, I don’t think there’s much chance of him reading this, I hope he doesn’t prove me wrong! I was trying to come up with some gift ideas, when I thought about my niece & nephew and what they might like to get their dad as a gift, and of course that’s when it came to me...

My brother in law has an amazing fascination with Polar bears, my neice and nephew share his enthusiasm of all animals. I quickly did some research online to come up with the idea of “Adopting a Polar Bear.” For a $40.00 donation, you can help the WWF in their work to save wildlife & help in protecting their habitat. This is a gift that keeps giving, in helping to preserve the natural heritage for generations to come – and how can that be more suitable than getting this gift from his children!

The WWF also has a polar bear tracker, so you can read the biographies of 6 female polar bears & cubs in the Hudson Bay area & track their migration at; .

I’m looking forward to the shared enjoyment the family will get from their adoption kit, including a photograph & adoption papers, a plush animal, along with a brochure outlining the work that is being done. Happy Birthday Guy!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Humming Birds are Back!

Every April we eagerly await the return of our hummingbirds to Degnen Bay on Gabriola, yesterday we saw the first two return. To us it symboloizes a sure sign of Spring! So we quickly got out the hummingbird feeder and made up some nectar.

Directions: One part sugar to 4 parts water, you can boil the mixture to help it dissolve, although it’s not necessary. (There is no need to put red food coloring in the mixture!) At this time of year, the birds are not feeding as heavily, as well all of them have not yet returned, so we usually have extra syrup, the syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. In another couple of months, we’ll have to put up additional feeders as they go through the syrup in a matter of hours, and we want to ensure we keep them around.

There is little maintenance to do, however, it’s important that each time you re-fill make sure to rinse thoroughly with warm water, don’t use soapy water – the birds seem to be detracted by it. Once a month, it is necessary to clean the feeder, any easy way to do this is to soak it in a bleach/water solution for at least a ½ an hour and rinse thoroughly before re-filling it.

In my garden, I have also included some flowers that attract hummingbirds including; Bee Balm, Columbine, Foxgloves, Nasturtiums (I just spent the morning planting 750 seeds – hope there’s no more frost!) & a butterfly bush. I’m hoping the abundance of plant nectar & syrup will increase the buzz of these amazing creatures at our feeders! Just another spring pleasure here on Gabriola.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I heard someone once say that they thought that in a past life they were a crow, I was intrigued to hear it was because in this life they were attracted to shiny objects.

My fascination with shiny objects usually is of the wearable variety, mostly jewelry and particularly necklaces. It started some time ago, by a piece I received from family back in Norway, I was so intrigued by the uniqueness that I found the designs online. I’d like to warn you before visiting this site that it is highly addictive, but absolutely beautiful quality pieces . I am amazed how many times when I wear these accessories I am asked where I found them.

Of course living on an island with so many fantastic jewelers, the collection gets rather large, as it’s nice to support all the local artists, a visit to Artworks on Gabriola will give you a sampling of the wide variety of offerings. Many of the jewelers on the island also have studio’s, at their homes that they open on occasion & some exhibit their works at the Farmers Market. A trip to the island isn’t complete without discovering the amazing talents of our local artisans.

With my deep attraction to shiny things, I also believe in my past life I was a crow!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

BC Ferries Coast Card

The new BC Ferries Coast Cards are now in circulation. There are a few places you can get you card, including at the Nanaimo terminal of the Gabriola Ferry.

After 29 years I’ve become a creature of habit. it’s going to be hard to give up the paper tickets & replace them with an electronic swipe card, but I’m making the transition. On the brighter side I’m trying to sell myself on the benefits including the ability to register them. In addition to the loss protection it offers, these cards will offer islanders & tourists (who are planning to do some travel) an opportunity for reduced fares, on participating routes, by loading a minimum amount of $40.00 for Passengers or $75.00 for Vehicle & passengers. This is a considerable savings over the posted fares, and even the long time islanders, who see how long we can go between trips to the “big city” aka Nanaimo – the savings are appreciated.

For daily commuters who want to keep an account of their travel - there is the possibility to use the travel account history report. You can even have multiple cards for different uses!
If you’ve got your card make sure to register it online at: .

Planning a trip to the island this summer? Consider taking advantage of the savings offered by the Coast Card, after one visit your sure to want to come back again soon!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Realtors Safety

I was alarmed to hear of the death of a young Realtor in Victoria, earlier this year. Coming from a small community, we tend to feel very safe in our surroundings; it’s one of the islands attributes that I like best! It’s unfortunate that something so drastic occurred before beginning to review & consider the way we do our business…
Around the office we started discussing safer business practices; meeting with clients at the office, keeping showing hours during daytime, client screening, & accountability measures. On the island, open houses are a rarity so we are blessed not to have the additional safety concerns associated with sitting alone in a home – which I am thankful for.

Today I had the opportunity of taking the SAFER program offered down in Victoria, which provided some additional ideas to Realtors in their day to day practices, focusing on awareness & prevention, we’ll be taking that information, along with researching what is being done for Realtors safety elsewhere throughout BC & abroad, to a newly struck, Realtor Safety, task force & bringing recommendations back for the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board of Directors to consider.

I feel fortunate to belong to part of an organization that cares about its member’s safety!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Gabriola Home & Garden Tour

Mark your Calanders, the Gabriola Home & Garden Tour takes place this year on Sunday, June 29, 2008.

Planning is underway for the 10th annual Home & Garden Tour. This this self-guided tour of island homes & beautiful coastal gardens will give you an unforgettable taste of island life including local musicians & artisans at featured sites. Organized by People for a Healthy Community to benefit the Emergency Food Depot, the Christmas Bureau, Violence Prevention and Response Program and other community support programs and services on Gabriola Island.

As the tour draws nearer, I'll be sending out some "teasers" on the sites for this year, so stay tuned.

It's a great way to explore the island, and support local programs!