Archive for March, 2010

It’s an early Easter this year and I keep being surprised at how quickly it has snuck up on us! I had hoped to get around to doing a few more things for the

cat themed Ukrainian Easter egg

holiday but, I think, I’ll be lucky if I even get a bit of seasonal baking done. We don’t have much in the way of appropriate seasonal decor items but I do a have a few small things out. Many years ago I learned how to make Ukrainian Easter eggs or Pysanky. Real egg shells are decorated by a sequence of covering areas in wax and then progressively dying in darker colours. Basically, you batik an egg. I’ve never been all that happy sticking to totally traditional designs so most of mine use more personal motifs. This piece uses a layout where the egg is divided into 48 smaller triangles (one of my favorite styles and almost all the eggs in the store use it) and then a pair of designs is alternated in each of the triangles. This one has a traditional geometric pattern in one and a stylized cat in the other.

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Highway workshop

Yesterday I, along with around 40 other concerned citizens, spent most of the day at a workshop with the Ontario Ministry of Transport talking about the

Shakespeare residents at MTO highway expansion workshop

highway expansion issue. (the photo shows Jonny, of Jonny’s Antiques, the unofficial mayor of Shakespeare) Last summer they announced that they planned to expand the current two lane highway to five lanes, and would take it straight through the middle of town! Naturally, the local residents protested and this session was part of their response. What we discussed were the issues relating to a number of bypass options they are now considering. It was a long day but, an important event to attend. It was vital that so many of us were there, both as business owners and residents, to make sure that our concerns went on record. I liked that they also stated unequivocally that we would have a minimum of at least five years before there was any possibility of things getting underway. There will be another information session in the early summer and we’ll have to wait and see what they come up with.

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Earth Hour

I just wanted to remind everyone that tomorrow night, March 27th, is Earth Hour. It will happen here at 8:30pm, so the store will be closed.

water lilies in Georgian Bay

We made the decision, from when we opened, not to keep the lights on after hours. It makes us less visible to the drive-by traffic, but it’s just such a waste of energy I couldn’t do it. I just found out, this week, that there are some new LED lights that would work in our fixtures and provide the same amount of light, (and even in a broader spectrum, which I really like) but only use 3 watts per bulb! So, we’ll be looking into the possibility of switching to some of them this season. With the store closed, we’ll participate by just having a quiet night, probably with some reading by candlelight for the hour. Mother will be at the store during the day, on Saturday, since I will be attending a workshop with the Ministry of Transport about the highway expansion issue. As a result, I think it’s likely I may spend Earth Hour lying down in the dark with a cold compress on my aching head! However you choose to do it, I hope you all will join in.

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hardy plants!

Well, the daffs seem to have made it through the past few days (and colder nights) okay. I had another pleasant surprise in the garden as well.

hens and chicks

We had found a pair of small, concrete urns under the stairs last year. They weren’t in great shape and are very shallow. Since we had no real idea how things would do here, I figured that I’d play it safe and just put a few hens n’ chicks in them. Then I placed them along the entrance of the driveway. The plants did fine, (probably helped by how wet it was last summer) and I didn’t move or cover them for the winter. I wasn’t all that worried, since they would be easy to replace if they’d had a problem but it was great to see that they overwintered just fine!

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There are quite a number of different forms that I use to create my mask bases. Each one produces a slightly differently shaped base,

"Copperhawk" bird mask

even the plain ones. The birds tend to vary even more than most of the shaped ones, I’m not sure why, but I think it has to do with how much I can change them around by how the edges and eyes are cut. I’ve also been exploring different ways of decorating them. I just finished the first of a new style. The entire surface is covered with layers of feather shapes I cut out of an interesting new material. I think it might be a very high-end wallpaper. (although, I think it would be really overpowering, even on just an accent wall) It’s a heavy and flexible paper that has a reflective brown/copper surface and then, adhered over that, it has a layer of tiny clear beads of glass and acrylic. The beads bend and refract the light so it reads differently from every angle. I gilded the beak in copper leaf. It was a ton of work, but I’m very happy with the look. I have a few more ideas on how to use this new material, but other things are higher on the “to-do” list, so I’m not sure when I’ll get to them.

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the first green

I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather reports and am a bit relieved that it doesn’t look like we’ll get much of a real snow fall today/tonight.

daffodil sprouts

It’s also not supposed to get much below -1. I can handle the cold but I’ve been worried about our daffodils in the current bush bed. They were a great surprise when we discovered them last year so, with it being so warm, I went out to take a look for signs. They are just jumping up! It appears we lost a few to some hungry squirrels, but there are tons more coming up. I’m really hoping the cold doesn’t damage them because they are really far along, for this time of the year.

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I grew up in Newfoundland and St. Patrick’s Day is an actual holiday there. (as is Orangemen’s Day in July, just to keep things even) As a result,

lusterware dish

I never had trouble remembering to mark the occasion! I can’t say that I’ll do the whole green beer and sparkly hat thing, but I like to wear something green. We really don’t have much in the store, at the moment that’s a perfect fit to the day so I went with this lovely luster-ware dish. It has a very shamrockesque shape to it and I did photograph it sitting on some Irish linen. We had another little dish that has some small green shamrocks on it, but since it was made in Czechoslovakia, I opted for this one. Although, they do say everyone is Irish today. At least the store is dressed appropriately!

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