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Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Having spent so much time on the Fishing Hut, I can't decide if I need a break from making minis for a while. With the weather so uncharacteristically cool & rainy, I just feel like vegetating. I thought I'd heard that there's a rainfall record ready to be broken....

I'd like to start working on my vintage kitchen on baking day inside an old fashioned roll top bread box especially since my little doll has been finished & being sent out from Germany already. I've seen photos of her and she looks so sweet with her little face smeared with chocolate but I'd like to show her in her proper setting.
I have a July travel swap to make 4 items for.
I also need to start working on the 5 exchange gifts and 40! tidbits that I need to bring to my castle workshop in September as well as decide whether to buy or make the Gothic window for the castle tower room. I already know I'll be making the fireplace!
As Ken would say: "Why do you get yourself into so much!"

Don't know!! It just happens.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Canadian Quiz & Give-away

Here's the answers for last weeks' quiz ....coming to you late thanks to the changes in the CDHM tutorial rules which means that I now have to follow it live, a big fruit tree sale at a local nursery, and a lovely steak dinner at Kelsey's...

1. Canada is home to the world's largest island in a freshwater lake. This island itself has 108 freshwater lakes. In what body of water is it and what's the name of the island?
Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron

2. Canada has one-tenth of the world's forests but a population of only 3.4 people per square kilometer. About 5.5 million people live in Canada's largest city. In what province is it located.

3. The longest street in the world is 1896 km long; it starts at Lake Ontario and ends at the Minnesota's border. Name the town it starts in.
Apparently I was using old information; the correct version should have been:
Now Wiki states that "Changes in provincial responsibility separated the now locally-funded and controlled Yonge Street from Highway 11 during the 1990s. As a result, Highway 11 does not start until Crown Hill just outside of Barrie, several kilometres north of where the name "Yonge Street" ends. The Guinness Book of World Records no longer lists Yonge as the longest street in the world, citing instead the Pan-American Highway as the world's longest "motorable road"."
I stand corrected; thanks, Doreen.

4. Canada has the fifth largest island on earth, more than double the size of the UK but slightly smaller than France. Name it.
Baffin Island has a land mass of 507,451 square km.
Some of you thought it might be Newfoundland, the largest of Canada's island provinces. The island of Newfoundland at 111,390 square km, is only 1-3/4 the size of Great Britain.

5. Canada is so large it covers 6 time zones. When it's noon in Victoria, B.C. what time is it in St John's?
This is a trick question! There is a St John New Brunswick but also a St John's Newfoundland. With current daylight savings time, Newfoundland is 4 hours and 30 minutes ahead of British Columbia. At 12:00 PM in British Columbia it is 4:30 in St. John's Newfoundland.

6. Since Santa Claus lives at the north pole, what country is he a citizen of?
No country owns the north pole. So technically Piikko is correct. Santa is a citizen of the world.

BONUS QUESTION: If you went into a Timmies, wearing a toque, would you be able to get poutine or a double-double?
Toque is a typical Canadian word meaning a knitted, brimless, closefitting cap wore in winter and has nothing to do with the question.
Poutine is a Canadian dish consisting of french fries topped with fresh cheese curds and covered with brown gravy and good for at least a million calories. It's served at many fast food places but not coffee shops....
There is at least one Timmies ...or Tim Horton coffee shop, located in every town but particularly so in Ontario, where they're located almost on every street corner.
A double-double is a coffee taken with double milk and double sugar.

The bucket of clams & the seagull are flying off to Wasaga Beach where they will reside with Doreen Playter.

Susan Hale gets the fishing rod & the trout even though her answer about Santa is not fully correct. Apparently our immigration minister has "officially" given Santa honorary citizenship with full Canadian fly over rights. If it wasn't Santa, you'd hear me grumble about illegal aliens jumping the immigration queue yet again!

Zona Ray will have to make do with the sand pail & the sandcastle but it's all good as she informed me that she'd be happy with any of the three.

Special prize of a fishing rod & fish goes to Gary Sokol for being so persistent about getting his answers right ....he tells me he even stayed up until 5:30am looking for answers.
Not sure I believe you Gary LOL

And this is what Toronto, the Good, looked like todaySince we're hosting the G20 Summit, we have had thousands of protesters setting police cars on fire and breaking Starbucks windows; they've protested everything from the seal hunt to the emptiness of their own wallets.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

SpringFling Garage....contest closed

It's finally been announced and if you click on the link, you can see all 44 entries & the reason why the judges took 9 extra days to make their decision. Sure is some super talent out there!!
Everyone who entered will get a quarter scale version of the Baslow Ranch! Not bad for having fun...

Polymer Clay Sculptors

I want to introduce you to one of the best sculptors of children that I know of. At the moment her work is still reasonably priced!

Here's a link to her blog.

Going to go back to working on my give-aways and Caterina's holiday swap. Hopefully no earthquakes or tornadoes today LOL

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Old Chinese Curse

...says: May you live in interesting times!

Shortly before 2pm today, Ontario had a magnitude 5.0 earthquake that apparently rattled buildings from Sudbury in the north to New York City in the south area that includes us! There've only been 2 recorded earthquakes in this area with a greater magnitude.

So you'd think that would be enough.... but about 6 pm, we also had a tornado come through Midland, a town only 20 minutes away from us.

This poor guy has already started trying to clean up... He lives just off the area where touch down occurred
The rest of the hydro pole was sheered off at about car height but left standing. The city is declared a disaster area. There were rubber neckers everywhere, including us. Where the worst damage occurred was cordoned off. It was still light enough to see but not enough daylight left for long angle photography; so that was the best I could do.

This is the second tornado I've been through but not directly affected by.This was Barrie in 1985 when an F4 tornado touched down and destroyed the south end of the city. I remember driving past some of the damaged areas; it looked like a war zone. Trees were left still standing without a single leaf or any bark left. There 155 deaths that time; I believe todays damage was to property only.

According to Environment Canada, during an average year, we get approximately 80 reported tornadoes. Many more touch down in unpopulated areas and go undetected.

I think I've had enough interesting times for one day!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Re country living:
At 5 pm, having waited since 8 am, I called a different plumber who came within 20 minutes, told me the seal had gone on the pump. He advised that a new pump was too costly & unnecessary; he'd be back first thing tomorrow morning to disconnect the pump & take it away to be fixed. need to worry about your well. It's usually the little things that break down.

I made it to my steak dinner on time ...barely. They truly are the best restaurant around!

By 9, I was back home for a lovely refreshing bath in the lake. After today's heat, the water temperature was perfect.

So all's well again in my world!

Country Living / Harry Potter Exhibit

PART ONE: Cottage/Country Life
Our house is the one with the red roof, taken last October.

Ever since I posted about living in cottage country, I've been getting envious comments and yes, it is idyllic ...most of the time! Now let me tell all you city slickers, the down side of living in the country:

Having tidied my house, I spent some time watering my plants but must not have completely turn the outside water tap off when my daughter and three grandkids came for the weekend. Some time later, my oldest granddaughter asked: "How do you flush your toilet, Nan?"
Guess I'd run my pump dry. We have a drilled well that I've been told is over 100ft deep. No way should we run out!

I woke up to my pump still running and the water reservoir empty. After frantic phone calls to friends in the area, who might know of a good local plumber; fruitless calls ...then more calls to plumbers located from the phone book, getting only their answering services but no call back, I turned off the electricity to the pump and within 1-1/2 hours we again had running water. Problem solved! ...or so I thought. The plumber was cancelled and we had a lovely rest of the morning by the lake, a late lunch and then off we went to the Science Center.
That evening, we ate our supper around a blazing campfire. When my grandson first came here, he was an absolute fiend about campfires. At the advanced age of 17, he has become a little more circumspect but deep down I don't think he's outgrown his fascination. It was lovely to sit there. Everything was enveloped in a velvety darkness with only the fairy lights around the gazebo and the house lights in the distance disturbing the night. Well, they didn't disturb it for long. At about 10 pm, the only lights remaining lit were the ones powered by solar panels! We had an outage!!
We trooped in after the fire died down with the kids thinking it creepy to walk around in a blackness so intense that you couldn't see the person standing in front of you until you ran into them ...literally LOL.
My grandson discovered that the ice cube maker on the fridge doesn't work without hydro power and didn't see why I wouldn't have a backup reserve in the form of ice cube trays! I didn't tell him about the container of fridge made ice ...there wasn't any water to have with it anyway!
And they all discovered the wonderful brightness given off by old fashioned oil lamps ...of which we've had a good supply ever since we were without hydro power for three days during the severe ice storm 2 years ago. They also discovered why a hundred years ago, people used to go to bed with the dusk and get up with the dawn. There's just not that much to do!

We went to the local bakery. Everyone knows of our bakery ....including the tourists driving through town! You need to go there early to get a good selection. Things just don't last.
Then I took everyone to the local fruit & vegg market. When the kids are up visiting we would go every Thursday and Sunday and they would each get a dollar bag of candy. My daughter being slightly older was enthralled for an entirely different reason: sales bargains! Along with fresh produce, you can find used books, antiques, selected salamis and kielbasas at the open air "butchers", clothes. You name it; they sell it.
Back home again we feasted on spicy salami, ham kielbasa, goat cheese and fresh potato bread followed by sweet red cherries and even sweeter pastries. A meal fit for a king especially since we ate down by the lake. Then they went off for a canoe ride while I laid back for a well deserved nap. The rest of the day was spent swimming and suntanning and all too soon they had to leave for home and I to do a huge laundry load of towels.
Guess what!
I got my laundry done but that was the last time I had running water.
Today I've phoned the plumber before 8am. It's now after 2 pm and I'm told someone should be out by about 3!! My Monday was supposed to be filled with an exhilarating afternoon on a sail boat with a friend followed by a meal at one of the best steakhouses in Collingwood. So far I've had to cancel my sailing date! How much do you want to bet I'll miss my dinner plans....
If plumbers were medics, there'd be turkey vultures flying overhead!!!!

PART TWO: Harry Potter Exhibit
The Ontario Science Center is a hands-on place for kids of all ages. There are... pretend astronaut suits to stand behind and moon rocks to look at....water images with goldfish swimming ever more frantically, the more you walk on it and disappearing when you photograph them, perpetual motion machines where you have to literally push the little tykes aside for a chance to play, a shoe making area filled exclusively with "big" kids, a paper plane making area totally littered with discarded paper airplanes and so much more!
...and then there's the reason we came:Unfortunately no cameras allowed! But everything we saw is shown in the book.
Aren't these cool! I've got some great ideas for Halloween swaps
I pulled a squealing mandrake out of the pot...
I sat in Hadrid's chair ...and three more people could have comfortably fit in with me. The rest of the photos were taken from the gift shop.
Quidditch robes and broomstick...
Harry's, Hermione's, Lord Voldemort's and Dumbledore's wands......don't look at the price tag. That was one of the cheaper items.
The flying Ford Anglia car was by the entrance.
There was truly magic all around: I instantly turned into the bestest, ever Nana in THE world when I agreed to buy some special ink in a bottle and a writing quill.
And magically all the fudge flies flew away and disappeared never to be seen again. I'm not opening the chocolate frog package in case they come hopping straight out at me!
On the way home, the kids amused themselves by feeding us "Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans". I got smart very quickly, eating only half and feeding the other half to my daughter. I'm sure we were the talk of the Don Valley Parkway; I know we got lots of laughter and a few stares from passing cars, at the faces that my daughter pulled. We ate pepper beans, cheese beans ....old smelly, long past expiry date cheese!, onion beans, gravy flavored beans, yuck!, truly disgusting, long dead! fish flavored beans. We had a blast!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Not to brag but.....

Piikko has set me a challenge so.... lets see what the Wiki encyclopedia says:

Canada has more than one hundred times as many lakes as Finland. In fact, Canada has the most river, lakes, and fresh water,as well as a longer coastline and more lakes, than the whole world combined. There are roughly 3 000 000 lakes. Finland has 187 888 lakes.

But that isn't quite fair is it, since Canada is also almost 30 times larger than Finland. I noticed that I now have more than 200 followers, so lets make this challenge interesting.

Can you answer these questions correctly:
1. Canada is home to the world's largest island in a freshwater lake. This island itself has 108 freshwater lakes. In what body of water is it and what's the name of the island?

2. Canada has one-tenth of the world's forests but a population of only 3.4 people per square kilometer. About 5.5 million people live in Canada's largest city. In what province is it?

3. The longest street in the world is 1896 km long; it starts at Lake Ontario and ends at the Minnesota's border. Name the town it starts in.

4. Canada has the fifth largest island on earth, more than double the size of the UK but slightly smaller than France. Name it.

5. Canada is so large it covers 6 time zones. When it's noon in Victoria, B.C. what time is it in St John's?

6. Since Santa Claus lives at the north pole and the northernmost settlement in Canada (and in the world) is Canadian Forces Station Alert on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island, what country is Santa a citizen of?

Bonus question:
If you went into a Timmies, wearing a toque, would you be able to get poutine or a double-double?

Email me with the correct answers by June 26th...don't give it away on the comment form. Choose your prize:

a beach bucket & a sandcastle
a bucket full of clams & a seagull
a fishing rod & a freshly caught trout

I'll give away one of each...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Holiday Swap 2010

I really wanted to take part in this swap but I also have a swap at AllThingsMini that's due at the same time. So I'm taking the easy way out. No fuss, muss or imagination needed: I chose to go to the cottage.
I live in "cottage country" on the shores of Orr Lake. I don't vacation in the summer; I'm already here!
Until recently I thought everyone knew what a cottage was. But apparently in other parts of the country, it's referred to as "going to the cabin". Canada has more lakes than any other country in the world so it stands to reason that we build our cottages at a lakeside.

So come along while I try and explain cottage life:
We start Friday after work. Everyone piles into their car & drives several hours in heavy bumper to bumper traffic. The later you leave, the heavier the traffic.
Cottage life doesn't just include a cottage. Depending on the amount of money you earn, you might be arriving with your tent or camper at a Provincial park, a trailer park (camper vans only) or a traditional cottage.
This is a 2 season cottage: It was probably built in the 1930/40s. There's no insulation and the outside is finished in "insul-brick", a type of pretend brick made of the same material as roofing asphalt shingles. There's an indoor toilet but you need to bathe in the lake. Your heat comes from a wood stove. There is no TV, internet or phone unless you bring your mobile.
These are also cottages:Just past the volleyball net, is their soccer pitch complete with goal posts & lights. The house on the left has it's own traditional pizza oven on the patio. Although these houses have all the amenities, they're usually not used more than a few times during the summer. The reason I know so much about them: between the two is us. We live in a small house, nothing fancy ...and obviously our lawn isn't maintained weekly by a gardener.
When I was a child, my parents' cottage was so isolated that you could only get there by boat ...after a 3 hour drive. We live 5 minutes from the nearest village, 10 minutes from a major highway, yet during the week, we almost have the lake to ourselves.

So if the weather holds on the weekend, you have your choice of any number of water sports; fishing ...the lake contains bass and perch, two very good tasting fish! Because Orr Lake is so small (2-1/2 km x 1-1/2km) and so shallow (13 ft at it's deepest), the water temperature warms very early in the season. Great for swimming! Or you could just sit at the end of the dock and watch the world go by.
Then in the evening, you can sit under a canopy of stars, in front of a roaring fire,toast marshmallows or wieners, tell ghost stories or just stare into the flames.
Then on Sunday, you do it all over again except instead of building a fire, you get to pile into your car again for the long trek home. But this time, the later you leave, the lighter the traffic.

BTW Caterina's swap rules are: make a relevant container and fill with 2 items from your vacation. Swap ends on July 14th.
My vacation memories are going to Norma, who I believe lives in England and I will receive mine all the way from Rotterdam Holland from Maria. Here's what she wrote:
I am not going on a vacation this year, but maybe we go to the zoo and the swimming pool and a couple of concerts; I can make some mini's about that or mini's typical for Holland.(that's were I live)
Greetings and a big hug

I'd love to receive some typical Dutch things. I'll keep my fingers crossed that that's what I get.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's open until Sunday evening: sign up with Caterina

Friday, June 11, 2010

SpringFling Garage....Finished?????

I'll start with the easiest first ....and that's the boat house:
I used twigs to build up the moorings and the posts; Ken is forever cleaning up our beach ...just amazing just how much driftwood we find. Well, for once it came in handy!
I wanted my walls to reflect the age and condition of the house, so I chose a "broken plaster" look using air drying paper clay. My clay was at least a year old, not exactly dry but ...close to it. I used a marble rolling pin to roll it out, just like cookie dough. Since I tried to keep the clay thin, it was sometimes difficult not to have it tear, lifting it off the tile. Brushing the underside of the clay with a watered down white glue makes it adhere to the plywood walls which I'd gessoed to avoid warping. You have to be careful about air bubbles but other than that, this is such an easy and quick way to finish walls.
Add a little water to your finger to smooth any joints; I purposely allowed the torn edges to form gaps so I could imitate broken plaster. Unlike most people, I covered my walls first with the clay and added the "lathe" after. Before the invention of drywall, builders would nail small strips of wood called lathe between the wall studdings and then cover them with plaster. Hence the term "plaster and lathe" ...which I'm sure you've heard of.
Our one furniture making company in town has a bin out front that they regularly fill with scraps of wood. Free for the taking! Most of the wood is of varying thicknesses and roughness. There are usually lots of veneer thin strips and that's what I used for my lathe and my floor boards.
The dresser is something I found in my stash; it had originally been stained a rich maple then overlaid with a RL size crackle effect. I'm not sure where I got it but it looked so fake! Nothing that a little bit of scrapping and sanding couldn't fix. Two "freshly caught" fish and 2 fish fillets on a plate sit on the dresser; the heads and fins are on the newspaper laying on the floor and yes, there's also a few cans rolling around.
The stove is a Chrysnbon kit with some missing parts that should have been thrown away long ago. Since the lost pieces were black, I merely cut some black foam to fit. Hard to tell the difference, even close up.
There's a rusted enamel frying pan with melting fimo butter on top of the stove.
Almost 2 weeks ago I managed to win a wooden row boat and a metal diving helmet on eBay UK. They arrived in the nick of time!
It was all finished, photographed and my entry sent to on Thursday!
I wasn't going to do this post until I could give a link to my entry and ask all of you to vote for me but apparently the people in charge of the website are too busy. They did however assure me that they'd "get around to it when time permitted".
So instead I'm going to pretend that I'd actually won the Facebook competition ....because that's how I feel!
All your comments have kept me going, when I felt I like quitting.
Dale sent me some lovely archival fish pictures, which I didn't get to use.
Doreen mentioned that she wasn't going to vote until she saw my entry.
I could go on and on. So thank you! I feel like such a winner and it's all due to you guys!

I'm going to take a few days of well earned rest. Ken's off to Edmonton for a couple of weeks, so I thought I'd do some cross border mini shopping just to see what they have that we don't. And while I'm in the area I'll visit the dollhouse museum in Fort Erie. I promise to take my camera; hopefully they'll let me take photos.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

SpringFling Garage....interior

Well my month is rapidly passing by... it's filled with lots of barbecue parties and visits. So there's no time to lose getting the insides finished. As you can see, I'll be starting from scratch. There's nothing inside. If I'd had a plan of what this was to be, I would have glued the buildings directly onto the foamcore foundation. As it is, I'll have a lot of finishing to do to make it look presentable
In the house, the curtains and the rod are removable. I'd like to have the interior match the rough and aged exterior; after several days of worrying about it, I've come up with an idea: peeling wallpaper with the boards (or plaster and lathe) showing through and cracked plaster!
But there's no way I am going to stick my head inside and still be able to do a good job; I therefore have 2 choices: air drying clay rolled out paper thin, or I can go with pasting paper towels/toilet paper directly onto the walls; it's a great technique ...very realistic looking when you want to display old plaster.

As for interior accessories, I thought: fishing net, lobster trap, old fashioned life jacket, creel basket, bobbers, ...and of course, fish & a table to display them on!
Don't think I haven't been busy so far. My fimo fish've just finished baking.
Since they're supposed to be rainbow trout, they still need speckles and eyes dotted on and a newspaper underneath them to catch the mess.
I've also made the lid for a creel basket but made the opening the wrong way around so I need to do it over again.
No idle hands here to become the devils tools....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Coulda, Shoulda...

I took a quick peek at some of the other entries for the SpringFling contest. There sure are some talented people out there. I saw a pottery shed, a number of beach houses including one that could have come straight from Malibu. I only looked quickly in case I got too depressed. Not too many used the garage kit as a straightforward garage. But I did see one that was a vintage livery, wired up with coach lights too. That one should win...really well done!
You can check it out here: Greenleaf forum
I guess I should have built in a more toned down version rather than going with the bold look. Only that's not me...

Today is really overcast. We've had rain for two days now and today, I think, will be no exception. ...a good day for making fimo fish and weaving creel baskets.