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Archive for May, 2009

In the green

It was a busy day yesterday. Lots of people stopped in and friends came bearing gifts. (all of which were green!) One of my favorite authors, Lois McMaster Bujold, says “all true wealth is biological”. In that sense, I’ve been feeling very wealthy lately.  Friends keep giving us plants. The soil is good and there are so many spots that get great light. The bare fence that is the southern boundary of the property is getting filled in with euonymus and big ferns.  Both should spread out over the next couple of years. We’ve also discovered that there is a grape under the stairs.

mystery flavored grape

mystery flavored grape

It is very petite and we have no idea what type it is, but Dad agrees that it is definitely a grape. We’ll train it to go up and fill the back of the stairwell. The east bed has had more ferns put under the stairs as well as some hosta. The front of the bed is being used for production. A friend starts black cherry tomatoes from seed and they are amazing! The plants are undifferentiated, so they keep growing and can end up over 16′ long. They set strings of these very tasty black/purple 1”-3” diameter tomatoes and just keep producing until frost. We may drown, but is it even possible to have too many tomatoes?

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May 30th

Tomorrow isn’t just our “official opening” it’s also the day of the town-wide garage sale. (yes, I know we’re actually only rated as a “hamlet” rather than a town, but it feels a bit awkward to use in casual conversation) The word around town is that it’s a bit of a zoo. I doubt I’ll be able to get an entry up for tomorrow morning as a result. I’ll let you all know how it went on Sunday. (or late tomorrow, if I get a chance)

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Now that we’re pretty safe from frost I’ve filled the three urns that are on the edges of our parking lot. I wanted something classic, that wouldn’t clash with the white and red flower barrels that the the town puts out. (and since I’m a believer in low maintenance gardening I wanted to only have to do them once, before the fall)

urn planters

urn planters

They are also in FULL sun and, since they are urns, prone to getting dried out. I went with a center spike, surrounded by two types of sun and dry tolerant white flowering annuals and ivy around the edges. It’s a very classic design, with good height and I like the drape of ivy. We’ll see how they do, but I’ve hedged my bets by going with a couple of varieties of each group (except the spikes, but they look very healthy) so they should still work even if one type doesn’t make it. We still have a few more plans for more greenery around the store, but it’s all coming together. I love how they look!

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Lantern slides

Apparently, before actual motion film, you could see shows that used something called a stereopticon lantern. It was basically a projector that had two lenses. The pair would allow for smooth transitions between slides so it would be a more continuous show. The slides are typically around 3 1/4” square. Some are black and white, some hand-coloured, some image only, some just text and many with both. The images are printed on one side of a piece of glass (the colour is filled in by hand) and they are then covered by a second glass sheet and the pair is taped together.  They seem rather reminiscent of microfiche. We seem to have ended up with an interesting range of subject matter. Religious stories (mostly the United Church, they were labeled), picture tours of Japan and China (circa 1909), versions of books (“Robinson Crusoe” and Milton’s “Paradise Lost”) and a few random ones. Some of them are truly odd, including a few on the theme of “God and Industry”. The Milton group is just gorgeous.

Milton slide

Milton slide

This one has the inscription: Book I, lines 221-222   “Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool His mighty stature;….”  They would make a stunning edge around a stained glass window.  I don’t work in glass, but we’re going to talk to Ellen and Marie and see if they they want any of them.  I think some of the prettiest Bible ones would make lovely, and very unique, Christmas ornaments. They are not easy things to show properly in the store so I’m not sure what we’ll do with them. At least it’s all been an educational experience.

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The hunt is always on for Mother. As usual, she’s been keeping an eye out for things I might want to use in my own art projects. She recently brought back a few things that I ended up having to do some research about before I could figure out what they were and some others that are mostly far too nice for me to use in that fashion. The first ones turned out to be “lantern slides” (and I’ll explain about them tomorrow) the second is a large group of photos from the late 1800’s. Three main types of photos were in the group; cabinet cards (4 1/4”x6 1/2” photos on cards that would typically be displayed, shockingly, in a cabinet), carte de visit (2 1/2”x4” photos that could be used as calling cards) and some tintypes. (a lower-end version of a daguerreotype photo but printed on tin. Most of ours are less than 3”x5”) The small cards are by far the largest group. We only have a few of each of the Cabinet cards and the tintypes.

Victorian photos

Victorian photos

The pictures have some amazing outfits in them! The full body shots of women in their Victorian finery are my favorites. The backs of the cards are almost as interesting as the fronts. I have no idea about how the collection came together because the photographers are from a wide range of places; England, Ireland, Ontario, and the U.S. There are a number from Berlin, Ontario, which is no surprise really, since it was the name of Kitchener before it was changed in 1916.  I might frame up a couple of the most interesting dresses. I also been thinking of doing up a sample memory box so people can see what can be done with all the family bits and pieces that are sitting around. I’d like to  know more about who some of these people were but, when I checked on line, I wasn’t able to find anything about the ones that have their names inscribed. I’ve put a few aside, that were the least interesting and/or slightly damaged, for me to work with down the road. The rest have been put out for sale.

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The east wall

I think this is one of the biggest patches of Lily-of-the-Valley I’ve even seen.

Lily-of-the-Valley

Lily-of-the-Valley

It’s at the east edge of the property, right up against the side of Land and Ross. (a lovely antique store that is our next door neighbour) There is a run of daylilies that comes from the front of the building and then meets the Lily-of-the-Valley spreading up from the oldest (and biggest) spruce tree on the lot. (it’s over 80′ tall) They seemed to have reached some sort of détente, with minor L-of-V encroachment, but I’m not sure how things will turn out in the long run.

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So, this is where we left things yesterday.

in progress

in progress

Most of the frame’s finish is intact so it didn’t make sense to cover it all over. Traditionally, gilded frames had painted edges. This was mostly due to the cost of metal leaf and to bring more attention to the front of the frame, rather than letting shine from the sides distract. This was why I decided to go with a painted finish on the sides.  The finish has a very dark brown tone to the leaf, much closer to a bronze than gold, with a grey/cream antiquing in the deep spots. While it would be possible for me to match the colour, it would be difficult and very time consuming. (It also still wouldn’t be a perfect match. Different techniques and materials guarantee that.) Due to the piece being intended for sale it made more sense to simply change all four corners so they match each other. I went with a gold leaf and then did a layer with a brown antiquing wash to darken it a bit and bring out the details.  Due to the  drying/setting times for different stages, this repair took a little over seven days to do.

the repaired frame

the repaired frame

The corners are now dramatically different from the colour on the lengths, but I think it works. (I have a couple of intact copies of this frame, but I prefer this one!)  It’s now ready to make some great art look even better or to shine on its own around a mirror.

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