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Last year, one of the bigger garden projects was that we put in four 4’x4′ “squarefoot” gardens. They covered over where the old septic tank used to be and make that space usable for crops. (it was solid clay and gravel so even grass had a hard time surviving in it)

I’m still getting the hang of how to make them work the best way for us but so far, they have been productive, even if I heavily over-planted them last year.

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For this season, I started early and put in the first round of peas in mid April. One batch was our regular sugar snaps and the other was a new one called a grey dwarf that is also supposed to make edible pods. Just this week, both started putting out their flowers and I was pleasantly surprisedĀ  at the pretty flowers from the new pea. All the other edible ones I’ve ever grown just had white flowers but these are right up there with most of the sweet peas for the beauty of the flowers. I’m hopeful that the pods will be tasty, but even if they aren’t, I may let a few go to seed since I wouldn’t mind growing these as an ornamental!

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One of the things I did in the past year was upgrade to a Nikon slr camera. I’m still figuring out all it can do but it’s already much easier to work with than my old point-and-click.

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Pretty much all I do is one-of-a-kind so I try to make sure to photograph everything before it gets put out for sale. That is another thing I have to catch up on for this year. At least I did shoot all my 2016 jewellery, so while this necklace has found a home, I have a record. The antique pocket watch piece had such a beautiful, natural oxidation that all I did was add the co-coordinating drop that I found in the salvaged stash and add a chain. I have to wonder if it’s original watch had fallen into salt water and then just got left for a decade or two. I’d love to know more about the stories of the pieces I find, but they mostly stay mysteries!

Changes

Wow! It’s been an incredibly busy year and while I’ve been back at work on a ton of different projects, I haven’t been keeping up here at all. Sorry about that and I’ll try to do better!

The gallery is usually open our regular summer hours, Tuesdays to Sundays, but it’s always good to check in by phone or email if you want to stop in since I am called away now and then. I can usually accommodate early or late appointments too, so long as you let me know.

The biggest change is that the etsy shop is now closed. They’ve made using their payment system mandatory for sellers and I’ve decided it was time to move on. I’ll post here when I’ve figured out a new on-line selling venue but of course, can always do mail orders through the store. Just call, or drop me an email and I can let you see what’s available.

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I have taken on a major project and as a result the gallery will be closed until sometime in late June. The Etsy shop will stay open and I will be a vendor at the Niagara Falls ComicCon, June 3 to 5.

See you in the summer!

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I will be in the Artists Alley at Fan Expo Toronto so the shop will be closed from the 3rd until the 6th. I will probably be in the shop for the holiday Monday, but may not stick to the full hours so please drop me an email or phone call if you’re thinking about stopping in!

We will be closed from the 17th of August and re-opening on the 22nd. While I won’t be around for framing discussions, if you want to stop in the shop, feel free to call and set-up an appointment during those days.

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In garden news, for the first time since we put them in a few years ago, we have plums! Both trees have set small amounts of fruit, but the Pipestone had more and they ripened faster than the Toka. That was a surprise, since we expected the Toka to come in much earlier. The pipestone plums have been a bit bigger than a large egg, perfect and shockingly delicious. The flavour is much more complex than any regular ones, even from the farmers markets. While home-grown is usually better, we had no idea there would be such a marked difference. We’re just not sure if it’s an issue of freshness, them being able to fully ripen on the tree, or if it’s just the varietal.

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IMG_6723Working with the stuffies, I’m always on the hunt for quality pieces in good condition. At times, I come across known characters that qualify. The problem with using them is they are often a bit too identifiable for just parts. Because of this, I’ll often just leave them behind, but it’d hard to resist when I come across a great one in pristine condition. When I got my hands on a group of vintage trophy supplies, I was able to try an idea I’d had for a while. I don’t agree with hunting for sport, so real trophies are a bit icky, but I did like the macabre humour of doing it with stuffed animal heads. Making them was fairly simple, I just took off the head, sewed the neck closed, to give it a more finished look, and altered the back slightly so it would sit properly against the plaque. Some even got engraved plates, if there was room. I’ve got a few others made so far, but Ernie is my favourite. As a child, I sympathized much more with Bert and had a few snickers at the thought of him finally snapping and Ernie ending up as TaxidErnie!