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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Look what I just found....

Harry Potter: The Exhibition
at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto.
April 9 - August 22, 2010.

Apparently it's already been to Chicago and Boston.
Here's what it says:

Immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter by trying on the Sorting Hat™, pulling a Mandrake from its pot in the Herbology vignette, and playing a game of Quidditch™ as you experience elaborate settings such as the Gryffindor™ common room, Hagrid's hut and the Great Hall.
You'll also come upon authentic artifacts from the movies - including Harry's wand and glasses, the Marauders' Map, Professor Dumbledore's robe and more.

What do you think? Would having to fight a million kids be worth immersing myself?

Where's Global Warming gone.....

My friend, Heike, wrote me from Germany where she's been for almost 6 weeks, looking after her mom. She's hoping to come home to some warm spring weather. I had bragged to her about our 30C temperatures for the Easter weekend.
Well this is a photo of me yesterdaywearing a fur hat (that kept falling down over my eyes), two sweaters as well as a winter coat and gloves. Ken wanted to finish off the privacy fence that we're putting around our porch.
We spent 5 hours outside. When we came in (with it still not quite finished), it took most of the evening to thaw out. The wind gusts coming off the lake were so fierce and so cold! At one point I thought I saw snow flakes.
Originally I thought our cold weather was only due to our proximity to the lake but apparently Alberta, to the east of us, is in the midst of, what's being called "a long lived strom" that's dumping them with 30cm of heavy wet snow. And to the southeast of us, the New England states are getting hit with 60cm of snow.
Today with the wind seemingly just as fierce, I'm playing it smart & staying indoors! There's not much left to do anyway
Looking at the yellow trout lilies just opening up and the red trilliums in my garden

is making me think we're really fortunate. I'm not seeing snow .....yet!

Royal Gathering in Ottawa...

Some of my friends knew I'd attended the annual Gathering last weekend & have been asking how it went, so I thought I'd just post.

I'd priced the Tom Bishop show in Chicago. Between flight, hotel & workshop it was way out of my league so instead I opted for the 2 day Gathering that this year was hosted by the Ottawa Miniatures Club & held at the Travelodge hotel....and boy am I ever glad I went!

Round trip in driving time was 10-1/2 hours....longer to get there than back; guess the GPS found a better way home while I was at the hotel having fun. I'm no slouch when it comes to speeding. I explained to my friend Chelle, that Canadians are allowed a leeway of 10 to 20 km above the posted limit but because I used all the backroads I went waaaaaay over that... I won't scare you by saying how much exactly!

Most of the distance between here and Ottawa is extremely rural and since weatherwise it's too early to open up weekend houses, I encountered very few cars during my trip. Lots of these kind of signs... but other than a bird flying above me with a snake dangling from its claws, and a muskrat crossing the road (that I slowed down for!) I saw no deer or moose. Years ago when I used to travel northern Ontario with a friend, I'd call those the "figment" signs because as far as I was concerned they were figments of someones fertile imagination. I think maybe during a dozen trips I might have seen one moose whereas when I was a child, they used to be quite plentiful.

Moose generally come out into the open & graze by the side of the road during summer in order to escape the heat & the bugs that are hiding with them in the bush i.e. forest. Both animals are usually encountered at night. It isn't warm enough yet for them to come out of hiding....although it certainly was buggy enough in some areas.

At one point during the drive, the blackflies were hitting the windshield in such numbers that it sounded like raindrops and passing one community, I saw a lady out walking her dog wearing a mosquito netting hat over her head and shoulders.

Arriving at the hotel, I was immediately welcomed & given a tiara (my choice of either mauve or silver plastic) and a badge with my name above the printed word "debutant" but my protest about age in connection to the word debutant fell on deaf ears.

My room was most hotel rooms are; my mattress divine and after 1/2 an hour with tech support (courtesy of the hotel) my internet connection was established so my next goal, of course, was to check the water temperature in the hot tub. Ignoring the wave pool and the humongous water slide, I settled for a leisurely soak & intimate knowledge with one of the water jets on my back.
During my entire weekend stay, the food was so extremely tasty and plentiful that I'm still afraid to get on the scales. Saturday's extravaganza entertainment was local. LOL
Friday evening each table was given a bag stuffed with fabric scraps, scissors & pins with which we were expected to create queenly/princely costumes......if you've read enough of this blog, you'll of course know that sewing is not my strong suit so I restricted myself to passing whatever was called for and murmuring words of encouragement.

The sheik (2nd from the left) won; the lady two over from him was our entrant and the "gentleman" holding up 4 fingers (indicating table 4) had the best sense of humor ....and the fastest drooping bosom of anyone I know; the lady second from the right spent the entire time "weeping" for her dead Albert. She, of course, represented Queen Victoria.

Saturday's entertainment was a parody of that classic Canadian tale about Dudley Do Right of the Mounties (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) rescuing poor, innocent, little Nell from the clutches of the sinister villain, Smedley and ended with another classic Canadian entertainment: a Mounties Musical Ride....

that ended as all things involving horses do ...with someone sweeping up the "horse droppings".

If this was meant to get us all loosened up, it more than succeeded! We were in constant hysterics both evenings. In addition to that, Saturday was dress-up dinner where you were expected to come queenly/princely attired... we had a royal toothache, a Queen Bee, a Queen Victoria in mourning, an aging Cleo, some minor British royalty, the Queen Mum (with the dog biscuit bucket & the giant flowers on her head) as well as many others whom my new camera decided I shouldn't capture. LOL

Being a "debutant", I hadn't brought a costume with me but I've already got my thinking cap on for next years safari themed Gathering.

My 1-1/2 day workshop ran too short as most workshops do but I still managed to bring home a 2 room castle roombox that I actually got Ken to ooh & aah over (without encouragement by me!!). Not only that but here's the other goodies that I came home with: ...the only item that I bought was the little kitty....both it and the orchid were hand crafted by Karl Blindheim. (Not sure you can pick him out: Karl is the gentleman keeping the tree upright that little Nell is tied to) Everything else including the sterling silver orb was either an exchange gift, a centerpiece that I won or a table exchange. Quite a good haul I thought although being greedy as I am, I was disappointed not to have won one of the lovely items sold by drawing went to a good cause. Oh well, there's always next year!!

....oh I almost forgot: here's the preview of what I'll be making at the workshop in Nova Scotia in September
I got to see that there as well.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

SpringFling Garage....Day 3

With the lovely spring weather I like to work outside. I can be as messy as I want which is a good thing since weathering wood can be extremely messy. least the way I do it!
All you need is a mixture of india ink and rubbing alcohol. Since I'd never tried this before, I wasn't sure what the proportions should be. The first coat seemed slightly purple-y & I wondered if maybe I'd gotten the wrong type of ink.
I tried mixing tempera and water but that didn't seem to mix well so I dumped that out & used black acrylic paint with water. Here's what it looked like:
Not bad but too light I thought. I never could wait! So I gave it a second coat of wash. And then for good measure I dabbed on the remains of my wash where I thought the wood might have weathered more than in other spots.
Then I thought OMG, I've ruined it. It's too dark! But once it dried properly, it seemed OK:

Certainly much better than the porch floor boards. They don't look realistic at all. What do you think?
I'll still have to daub on some hints of brown & green but I'll leave that until after my workshop this weekend. One and a half days of learning faux painting techniques. I am so looking forward to it!! Maybe I can even learn to do paint with "subtlety". LOL

In case you're interested in what else have been keeping me busy....
This was before:
This is after:
I didn't paint this one; just repaired it. But I have two more Muskoka chairs waiting for me in the garage....still in the box; not even primed. And I know exactly what type of scene to paint on them!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

SpringFling Garage....Day 2

Have you ever noticed how projects seem to take on a life of their own and even start dictating how to proceed?

From the time I plunked my money down to buy this kit, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it! With the help of Photoshop, I could even see what it would look like.
...a run down, abandoned garage ex-livery left behind during the depression: time weary and weathered! I had all kinds of visual aids, from a painting to the real thing I was going to turn the kit around in order to have one large wall where I could display old signs... ....had all these great photos from the "Dirty 30s" depression that I could tease you with

All for not!

I got as far as painting it black and adding the spackling, preparatory to creating weathered wood boarding.

As soon as I put the store and the garage together and then added that porch, I knew exactly! what it looked like. And it was the furthest thing from a 30s garage.
Oh, I can still use the weathered wood exterior! But all I see is a bait & tackle shop attached to a boat house.

Today is the day of the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival. On this day it has long been a tradition for the weather to be cold, rainy, some other way to be disgusting or all of the above.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ken & I went to a free seminar last night where a large company based out of the mid-western United States, tries to get you to pay for an all day workshop to learn the ins & outs of e-commerce. Then, when you go to that workshop, they work really hard to get you to part with more money on a monthly basis for their internet hosting and customer support.
"Just for tonight we have a reduced price...but you gotta sign up now and give us your money immediately!"
One of the examples they showed was a couple....and of course, none of the people in the examples are ever more than barely computer literate... who are now selling map books. The wife had been working three jobs before signing. Then the speaker showed us how many visitors their website gets a month. You notice I wrote "visitors" not sales! They never actually come right out and tell you that the wife has now quit her 3 jobs; that the couple is now rich beyond their wildest dreams. Ken seems to recall it mentioned that the wife now supports the household....they just didn't say how. Why would people want to buy a map book online & pay shipping when you can get it from the corner variety store or your local gas station? Why aren't they using a GPS, mapquest or google maps to get directions?
I went to one of these seminars many years ago with not a clue of what I wanted to sell. Those guys hype you up so much it's like a chemical high. I parted with many thousands of dollars before I admitted defeat.
If you ever receive an invitation to this type of seminar, by all means go; the paid workshop is immensely educational and you'll learn all about optimization and reverse search engines and how to get to page 1 on the search engines etc.
Just be warned that it's much harder work than these guys let on and the success stories are few and far between. As for Ken & me, we got a nice "little" supper with cookies for dessert but no coffee and two MP3 players as parting gifts.

Are You Feeling Lucky....

You can enter another give-away to win sweet little Ruth. She's not actually a miniature though.
The only reason I'm posting this link is so I can have an extra chance of winning her. Teddy Bears are my passion. They're found in every room of my house! Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Followers & Give-Aways

Just wanted to thank you all for participating in my first give-away. I was quite overwhelmed by how many of you entered. I'd been toying with the idea of a give-away for a while but never really thought about what to give...
At first I thought I'd offer you a piece of my birthday cake. But I'm not very pleased with how it turned out. I think I must have cranked the heat up under my desk a little too much. Reminds me of my very first RL cake making adventure. I was so proud of myself that within minutes of taking the cake pans out of the oven, I started frosting it!

Then I thought about giving you a strawberry and chocolate cake.
But I wasn't any happier about that one. Those strawberry centers look a little too pink for my liking!

Then I got to thinking about chocolates. Everybody likes them.....especially Belgium chocolates! And what better way to display them then in a shiny silver candy dish.

Let's see: there white chocolate & dark, ones with cherries and coffee beans and walnuts on top; hard centers and soft ....I guess with fimo they're all hard centers but we'll pretend.

I picked up a tip from Christel Jensen about the simplest way to make a random selection. I used to pick a name for me. All your names went into 2 piles: one with blogs and one without. Victoria and Brujita would you both please email me your mailing addresses.

Thanks again! We'll have to did this again real soon.

SpringFling Garage....Day 1

Here's what Greenleaf gave us to play with:
I'm not going to divulge what look I'm aiming for as I assemble this garage. Suffice it to say that from the time I was very small, my mother told me I was contrary. It either had to be my way, or I'd refuse to play. Apparently contrarian and contrarism are real words. In the sixies they'd be called "free to be me" people.

Being contrary means you have to be very careful when you pick which parts of the garage go where. I want my garage exterior to appear to be weathered wood and because the "boards" will not fit tightly together, I needed to paint the walls black. On hand I had black tempera & black acrylic paints. Which to use? Can't get the plywood too wet in case it warps. So I decided to mix my two blacks.
Imagine my amazement when they reacted & gave me a thick oozy gel. I've googled to try & figure out why, but am still at a loss. My garage parts, however, are a lovely evenly opaque black....just perfect for what I want.


OK, Last One....

I accept the fact that the UK holds the market on small make that tiny houses!
Bridge House is possibly the most photographed building in the Lake District, and a popular subject for many artists including Turner. A tiny building, originally an apple store for nearby Ambleside Hall, was built over Stock Beck to escape land tax. Once five mills were driven by the power of Stock Beck and some may still be seen nearby. It is said that at some time a family with six children lived here in the two rooms.

It must have been wall to wall beds!

Many thanks to Chelle for this item! She's just gotten a new camera & is currently experimenting with making juice glasses. So maybe I can get her to send me some photos & I'll make up a tutorial for you all....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I think I've started a trend...

Debbie sent me a link to Britain's smallest house:
This one up one down (so two rooms in total) meaures only 1.8m wide....that's not quite 11 ft... is situated on the quayside in Conwy, North Wales. It was apparently built as a fisherman's cottage. The last person to live in the cottage, Robert Jones was 6' 3" tall. You'd wonder why a man over six feet tall would build such a tiny house. He must have had a hunched back & perpetually walked bent over.

Here's the smallest house in Toronto in its heyday 1912. It apparently came back on the real estate market last month for $179,000 ...a mere fraction of the cost of it's neighbors. Totalling 106.6 sprawling square metres, it's been featured in articles and on television, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

In other parts of Toronto you can buy 8,000 sq ft homes! (8000 ft² = 743.224 m²) Do people actually need that much space? Hopefully they can afford a live-in housekeeper. Think I'll quit complaining about the size of my house.

Just a quick reminder that you have until Thursday to enter my give-away. I'm pleased that so many of you are interested. I'm thinking of choosing two names.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Do you Really Need that Space?

Lately I've been hearing a lot of people complaining about not having enough room to work in. I know that not matter how often I clean up, as soon as I get started on something, I'm back to working in a space the size of my laptop.
So when I came across this news item, I was intrigued. Here's a man who lives in a house that's 96 sq ft large. Talk about compact!
Jay Shafer is the creator and resident of the smallest house in the world, which he has proudly named Tumbleweed. He's a San Francisco artist and architect, who sells plans for, and builds, tiny homes in sizes ranging from an extremely small 50 square feet to a practically roomy 500 square feet.
Jay has been living in a house smaller than some people’s closets since 1997. His decision to inhabit just 96 square feet arose from his concerns he had about the impact a larger house would have on the environment, and because he does not want to maintain a lot of unused or unusable space.

I'm too much of a pack rat to manage that ....but I do stand in awe of someone who can!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A new Award

I just received this award from Jaime of Lil Roomer Blog. Thank you Jaime!

I'm giving it to:
1. Deborah, whose husband is leaving for another tour of duty: dlsarmywife.blogspot

2. Elly, who's nursing a sick kitty: ellyinamsterdam.blogspot

3. Nancy, who's a nice lady: basketmasterweavings.blogspot

4. Tom, who's moving across 4 provinces and that alone deserves an award: turningsinminiature.blogspot

5. Jody, who's become a friend: peachblossomhill.blogspot

Followers & Give-Aways

I am indeed fortunate in having all of you as followers. One of my biggest thrills is reading all the comments you leave for me.
I'm nearing 150 followers.....just a little of a year ago when I started writing this blog, I was absolutely flabbergasted when Jean Day became my first follower! Who'd have thought that anyone! would be interested enough in my ramblings to hang around for long.
Today since it's my birthday.....I'm not going to tell you how old I am. I've already gotten way too many humorous cards that're age related...I'm going to have my first official give-away. I'm not going to tell you what it will be. You'll have to wait until April 15th. That's 5 days from now.

To get your name in the hat, leave me a comment, post a link on your blog and let me know where to find it. If you haven't got a blog but you are a follower, leave me a comment & mention those facts & I'll put your name in anyway.
....and now I'd better get busy in my craft room & whip up something special.
Good Luck!


I believe I've neglected to show you what I received from my two latest swaps:

ATM swap had a Beatrix Potter theme while the City-o-Clay's theme was mini animals.
from Luny: a begging puppy
from Julia: a sleeping kitty
from Ellie: a dragon for me to train

from Tara: printed fabric
from Laura: a toy box with a lid that opens to go along with the cradle that she made for an earlier swap
from Cia: a sign and a beehive for the garden
from Alex: a cake
from Kim: some furniture and a toy for the nurseryKim was so worried that the things she made weren't good enough that she added a little Beatrix Potter book that she had bought. I believe it was Kim's first swap and far from worrying, she should be proud of the items she made...the seat covers are hand stitched and it looks like the base that the toy sits on might have been a lego at one time. How creative is that!

This is what I made for both swaps...slightly larger for City-o-Clay than for ATM

I really enjoy swaps. They allow me to try something new that I wouldn't have otherwise ....that and fun is what they're are all about.
Thanks everyone!