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Monday, August 29, 2011


Do you ever wonder about things happening for a reason?

I went shopping with a friend last week & we talked about spending a weekend in St Jacob which has a big Mennonite community so she could buy a quilt. Two weeks ago another friend and I drove to a barbecue in my car and afterwards we realized that she had left her chair in my car.
Saturday, Ken and I decided to attend an auction where a bunch of radios were advertised. The auction turned out to be filled with junk and of the radios there was no sign. We left but because we were so near by, we decided to return the chair that had remained in my car all this time. When our friends mentioned about the Creemore Copper Kettle Festival being held that same day, we all thought it'd be a fun outing.

Creemore is one of those tiny towns common all around here; its only distinction is the micro brewery located in the middle of town ...that still uses a copper kettle, hence the name of the festival.
The entire main street had vintage cars parked on either side. Just amazing to see some of the cars from the 50s and 60s!You'd need a double parking spot for them in today's parking lots and the insides, OMG!Some have back seats larger than single beds today! It's always great fun talking to some of the owners too. I have so little interest in cars that I can't tell one model from another, but I do love looking at yesteryear's cars!
We stopped for lunch in a lovely little pub in the middle of town; the fact that we first had to wait for a table to become free and then "for the chef to catch the chicken" for our gobbler salads, hardly mattered. It gave us all the more time to enjoy a taste of the new Creemore Springs beer making its debut.
Eventually tho, we continued on down the street, stopping to sample honey ginger elixir and watch a demonstration of how honey is extracted from the combs. Then we took a brewery tour led by one of its founders and had another small sample of beer. We finally left with a ball cap for Ken and a T-shirt for me (both with the Creemore Springs logo) and a 6-pack sampler of beer. Guess that free sip of beer wasn't that free afterall. LOL

Just before heading into the beer tent to listen to some great entertainment, we toured the quilt area and the quilters hard at work
Quite a wide variety of quilts were shown

In a lot of these little farm towns this is still a viable occupation. Along with the lovely demonstrations was the requisite quilt raffle to raise money and I thought of my friend who so badly wants one.

Even I would have loved to have any one of these fine examples:
A pictorial quilt
This pattern is "Court House Steps"... the quilt was made from old clothing by a 16 year old, "great, great aunt Jane", in approximately 1880; the lady died in her 80s and upon her death, the quilt was given to her brother who then used it until his death at age 87. From there another relative who inherited it, placed it, washed and wrapped, into a cedar chest where it remained for an additional 46 years. What an amazing story!
I don't know what most of the quilt pattern names are but that certainly didn't stop me admiring the wonderful colorsWhen I saw this "chicken coop" quilt, I had to restrain myself from reaching out to make sure there was no real wire on it.Even the strips of cloth so accurately resembled feathers.
Then there were the stitches to admireI got tired just thinking about doing them.

This quilt has been in the same family, since it was won 85 years ago; made by the ladies of the town's Baptist church who each paid 10 cents to have their name put on it. Then it was raffled off. Tickets apparently were sold for an additional 10 cents or 3 for a quarter. When you consider the hundreds of dollars ...and in some case thousands of dollars that a quilt costs now, it was quite a bargain for 20cents!!

...and then came an even older hobby demonstration:
a walking wheel:a wool windersome tools of the trade and a few finished productsand the lady whose hobby it is When I admired the lace on her blouse, she admitted to having owned it for 50 years!

After a fantastic time at the beer tent listening to the band and watching an amazing demonstration of how one gentleman drank a stein of beer while doing a hand stand (without touching the stein with his hands!), we left Creemore and ended our day with a huge steak supper. Even Luna, my furbaby, who received the remnants of my incredibly sized steak in a "doggie" bag when we arrived home, spent a long time devouring it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's been such a busy summer...

....I'm almost glad it's coming to an end! uh, no not really

This summer there hasn't been much time left over for miniatures between family visiting, get-togethers with friends and those two wonderful workshops that I took and the new friends I made. Then it seemed like I spent most of August recuperating, doing nothing.
So now here I go again...
Several months ago, I traded this castle roombox for a goth Alice in Wonderland.
Yeah, yeah, OK, I know.... another UFO idea! but I had this absolutely fabulous, out-of-this-world idea for a woven basket chair that would be perfect for an Alice teaparty scene. So as per usual I'm gathering all my things together.....!
This month, one of the forum groups that I belong to, needed funds to keep the site alive and I donated this roombox to the causeand another member decided it was a must have, as well. I offered her a few choices such as stone coloring; she chose sandstone but I guess it was a hard decision because now she also wants a second roombox made of grey "granite".
So I guess the busy-ness will continue. The timing couldn't be better and the weather's co-operating beautifully; we've got sunshine and the temperature's not too hot, just perfect for stone carving outside! Much too messy inside.

Count Down til Christmas

Seems strange to think about Christmas when we're still in the throws of summer. Apparently there're only 125 days until the Big Guy comes bearing presents.

I was out doing some yard work today, tidying up after a much needed rainstorm. On either side of our property, we're bordered by very large shrubs with branches that have a tendency of reaching out where they don't belong. I had quite a few that needed cutting off which brings me to the reason of why I mentioned Christmas.
My wayward shrubs produce mini cones. As I cut the branches, I saved all the cones that I saw.Although most of them are green, I'm sure they'll eventually turn brown. Looking just like regular sized pinecones, they're the perfect size for miniature Christmas wreaths.
If there's wreath making in your plans & you'd like some "pine"cones.... mine are free for the asking; or just about free as all I'd ask is for you to pay the postage.
First email gets them. Please include your address so I can figure out shipping.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

...if anyone is interested

I have one of each of the baked and unbaked lobsters for sale$15US + shipping.

I also have a couple of calamari prep boards$25 + shipping.

If you're interested please email me. Otherwise they will be listed on eBay this week.
Just got a commission to build a castle roombox. That'll be my third. Yeaahhh!
This was my first:
...and my second

Tuesday, August 16, 2011



1.Any of a group of British workers who between 1811 and 1816 rioted and destroyed laborsaving textile machinery in the belief that such machinery would diminish employment.
2.One who opposes technical or technological change.

Hubby and I finally got new phones. Our old ones were only three years old but between the batteries no longer lasting and my grandkids laughing at us for using antique devices, it seemed long overdue.
First came the careful choice about which provider to use ...and the astonishing discovery that in Canada there really isn't much difference between any of them.
Next came the decision of type of phone to get: I wanted an iphone; Ken wanted to support the Canadian manufacturer RIM & get a Blackberry. In the end the sales rep convinced me that I could do just as much with a Blackberry. I picked a Torch; Ken chose the Bold.
Last but most important came the choice of plan. Ken has long been a social butterfly, subscribing to Twitter, Facebook and whatever other social networks are out there. Took me a lot longer & I'm still only on Facebook ...and that because I accessed his Facebook account when Ken was having problems logging in. Once on, I never got out. I can see(read) what family and friends are doing much more readily than I ever could by phone or email.
My plan entitles me to receive emails. I get approximately 100 each day; it used to be mainly jokes at first, then I got into miniatures and started joining Yahoo forums and that's where most of my mail comes from now.
Ken's plan brings all the social networks to his phone.
Neither one of us have any other data plan figuring that if we're anywhere with free wifi we can surf more extensively ....besides I just bought a little 4lb notebook with 4 hour battery usage. This means that for 2 people, we make do with 3 laptops, 1 notebook and our new phones! Life is tough isn't it LOL!

The sales rep assured us that we'd probably spend the evening playing with our new toys; I insisted I'd be much too busy on my laptop. I was wrong!! Not only did I play all that evening but the next day and the one after that.....
I take my phone to bed & when I can't sleep or wake in the night (ADH causes sleep issues), instead of reading a book, I now read emails and check out what the other side of the world is saying on Facebook. I love my phone!
When waiting for my friend to finish shopping, I sit in my car playing on my phone. Once when I was laughing at something I'd read, I looked up to see a man in the car next to me looking rather strangely my way.
I play while standing in a queue.
I play when I arrive too early somewhere. I love my phone!
I've also discovered that the phone camera is almost as good as my actual camera.
Now having said all that, I am still a total newbie. My stepdaughter is moving back to Canada & needs furniture; today I took a picture of some night tables that I thought she might like to have. I could have easily transferred the photo to my laptop and sent her an email but instead I spent the entire afternoon trying to pull all my contacts into my phone ...not easy to do as Blackberries do not like separate address book folders. By late afternoon, I did manage to send my message from my phone with the photo attachment but I also ended up with a gigantic contact list and a new membership to a blackberry forum so that some day my phone contacts can become manageable again. Hmmm, more emails!

Poor Ken! First he discovered that the Blackberry Bold isn't as finger friendly or as see-able as the Torch so the morning after we'd gotten the phones, we exchanged his model for the same as what I had ....while waiting, I played on my phone.
Then for some reason, Ken seemed to become lost with the technology. It took forever to get him to set up his phone message retrieval. I am positive that he'd much prefer to go back to his old phone that does nothing more than send/receive calls. The more his phone is capable of, the less it works for him.
He has the same problem with his computer. Having passed typewriting 101 in high school with flying colors, he's now constantly frustrated that his typing apparently makes the laptop skip and zip off to nether regions. I'm positive that it's more a wonky keypad than his fingers but after a while of being frustrated anyone would begin to doubt themselves. And now comes the added frustration of not being able to use his new phone.

How do the elderly manage in a technologically driven world? It's no wonder I'm hearing so many complaints about kids doing nothing but play games or interacting so much on their networking sites. A friend ended up taking her 12 year old daughter's phone away. By her reckoning, the girl had made 13,000 texts in one week and that during a school week.
Surely it's not that our brains atrophy so much as we age that it becomes harder and harder to learn new things. I think it's more the case of practise makes perfect; either that or become a Luddite which is what I've jokingly started to call Ken.
Oops! Sorry gotta go. My phone's beeping; I think I just got another email ...and we all know how rude it is to ignore those.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sculpting Aids

Sometimes it's better to work from a photograph than a tutorials. A method that works for one person does not always work for the next person:

Following the tutorial, this is how my lobsters came out:
I thought I'd better take a photo before they get totally smooshed! I see they've already lost a claw each.

These were made using a photograph:
No comparisons as far as I can tell!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Second Workshop, Coaticook Quebec

We left Ontario on the hottest day of the entire month hot in fact that records were broken: 38C / 100.4F with a humidex of 43. The car's air conditioning could barely keep up.
This workshop consisted of the same kits as the first one that I attended so this time, my granddaughter would take it. I merely acted as chauffeur.
Quebec is a lovely province that I've been to several times; one of the differences from Ontario are seeing the houses with their stairs on the outside.
We stopped overnight in Chateauguay and managed to do some clothes shopping the next morning before heading off again.
Of course we couldn't drive past the covered bridges without taking photos.

Even the countryside was greener than what we had left behind. Ontario consisted of strawlike lawns. Not only had we had hotter than normal temperatures but we were undergoing a mini drought as well ...something that Quebec obviously was not.Coaticook, where we were headed, is a village not far from both Montreal and the Vermont border.
This time with only three "students" per class, Natalie and Helena had a much easier time giving individual attention and Dana finally got her long awaited shot of all of us in PJs... We had a marvelous time; the food was delicious and the company exceptional. Mornings and evenings, we sat around the kitchen table; most all of us in front of our laptops. What would people do without those LOL!Our hostess, Louise, has an enormous studio, one that I would love to have. One entire wall was dedicated to doll molds. Unfortunately once again the time went by all too quickly before Jade & I were back on the road.
We had come via Canada, but on our way home we wanted to drive through the US which Jade had not been to. Fortunately at the Vermont border crossing, we were permitted through; although my daughter had gotten a passport for Jade, she neglected to provide me with a letter permitting Jade to travel to the States with me. So we were quite lucky.
For most of Vermont, the Appalachian mountains were shrouded in mist but the rain held off.The fastest route to New York state means taking the ferry at Lake Champlain ...another first time of many for Jade.Once in New York state my GPS decided that we should discover as many single car lanes and rural routes as possible as it navigated us through the Adirondacks.
We stopped overnight in Syracuse where I took advantage of shopping at Hobby Lobby. Unfortunately since we only have a Michaels craft store, I tend to overspend. But finally we reached Niagara Falls, which neither of us had explored from the American side. The Falls are roughly divided between Canada and the US with Canadian Horseshoe Falls being the larger of the two.But you can get closer to the Falls on the American side!
We were told that if someone were to fall into the rapids above the falls, they would have only 3 minutes to escape before being swept over. Of the sixteen people known to have gone over only 11 lived; the youngest was a 9 year old boy who accidentally fell in and the oldest (1901) a 63 year old retired school teacher who lied about her age (why?). Several people have even gone over twice! I was quite happy to see it close up but from land.
It really is an awesome spectacle!

We did the Cave of the Winds, which isn't a cave at all but lets you walk right next to one of the smaller Falls. We went on the Maid of the Mist. These boats bring tourists from both sides of the border right to the edge of the Horseshoe Falls.

Then all too quickly the day was done and we headed for home. But not without another lecture from the border crossing guard...