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Archive for September, 2010

While many of the masks I make are pretty and romantic, some are not. There are the Steampunk ones, the geeky ones, the creepy ones and then the just plain odd. I recently

Bacon mask

finished and listed this “Bacon” mask. I cut and painted pieces of salvaged leather and then attached them to a mask base that I’d painted in a fairly neutral colour. I was actually trying to achieve a “lightly toasted piece of toast” finish but, since the bacon turned out to look like the uncooked stuff, that would be kinda gross. I’m still working on a pair of ones that will look like cooked crispy bacon, on greasy paper towel. (the paper towel is already done and looks just like it was soaked in grease! I keep thinking that I should be less proud than I am about that achievement) As a completely unjuried site, Etsy has more-than-a-little bit of weird to be found. There are people who make fun of some of the things that can be found, but I prefer the attitude of the  person who set up the Celebrate Odd Etsy! Blog. The idea is to look at the strange stuff and celebrate the well-done, but odd things that appear there in abundance. They are also a member of the sites “Team Bacon” so I guess that’s how I caught their eye. “Bacon” leads a trio of my masks that were featured on it yesterday. I’m pleased to be in such good company so feel free to take a look!

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raspberry harvest

It’s a lovely early fall day outside today. I’m relieved because the past few have been so cold and miserable, it felt like we had skipped September

fresh picked raspberries

and went straight from August into the end of October. One of the things that comes with the fall is the ripening of the raspberries. This variety, an “ever-bearing” puts out a small crop in early July but then sets a second one that continues until the canes are killed by frost. The canes only went in last spring, so we’re really happy that this was the haul from yesterday!  (although, it looks like we’ll have to go for integrated pest management, this fall and going forward, since we have an infestation of the raspberry borer and we lost a number of canes to it already) Picking seems to encourage more ripening and we try to do it daily, so mother can go out and eat her way around the patch in the morning and still find a few more by dinner time. We’re actually getting just enough that we can keep up with eating them fresh and I do love being able to just nip outside for the occasional light snack. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get the borers under control and we’ll be able to let the patch get a little bit bigger next year!

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Royal wedding tin

Actually, I realized we had another tin that has some vintage interest in a totally different way. It’s a British sweets tin that was put out for the wedding of Charles and Diana!

Charles and Diana's Royal Wedding tin

It’s condition is completely pristine. It’s so clear that the original owner picked it up, ate the candy and then carefully tucked it away somewhere safe, as a memento of the occasion. It doesn’t even look like they used it to store anything, unless it was soft and dry, because the inside is a fresh and new as the outside. I’ve had it out in the shop for a few weeks and it’s one of those things that always interests me with how people respond to it. I’ve had a really diverse group of people notice it and comment on it. A couple have asked if we have any other items from the wedding, (at least two have had specific ones that are on their “want’ lists) but it’s the only one we have. It’s interesting to me how the wedding still resonates with people, even after such a long time and some of the stories about why they want a specific item can give you a little window into peoples lives.

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Vintage tin

We’ve opted to have a really wide mix of things for sale in the shop. The thing is, I sometimes wonder if we maybe are a little too eclectic.

Vintage Egyptian motif tin

The only thing that holds the group together is that everything has to appeal to me somehow on a personal level. The problem with this approach is that it’s hard, if someone is a specific collector, for them to know that we carry certain things, and some of those things may only really attract a collector. This little tin is one of the ones I think may be walking that line. It’s small, only a few inches across, but I love the look of it. I think it’s likely to have been made in the late sixties or early seventies and has a partially raised assortment of Egyptian motifs on it. There is some light wear, but the colours are still strong and clear. It’s just so charming that I couldn’t resist putting it out, and I think it could be used any number of ways both as a decorative object as well as a way to store some small, hard to manage items. The thing is, I also expect it would make a collector of this type of tin drool, but I don’t know if they would ever think to check us out. Ah well, it’ll probably find some sort off home soon, or I may just get myself organized and offer it up in the Etsy shop!

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In the last week or so I had noticed some spots showing on the tomatoes. Like most of southern Ontario, we lost all of the late tomato harvest to late blight last year so I

assorted heirloom tomatoes

was concerned. I’ve been keeping a close watch and the signs finally became clear enough to be sure that we once again have it in the tomato patch. According to the reading I’ve done on it, it doesn’t grow or transfer much in hot, dry weather, so we left things until a couple of days ago. The infected plants, (and that is pretty much everything) have to be removed and disposed of. So long as the fruit is not yet infected, you can often save it by picking and giving them a wash in a mild bleach solution. The plants were very heavily laden so we picked all we could and washed and then took down the plants. I’ve sorted them into three categories: totally green, ripening and ripe. The photo is of the ripening tray. I have hopes that almost all of these should make it to ripeness. We also have a large bin of green and mother is making noises about green tomato pickles. It’s really upsetting, because the weather and plants were doing well enough that we could have maintained production until the frost, but it’s not like we haven’t have a good run. There are a few things we can try next year to help reduce the risk but, the heritage varieties are more susceptible to it, there are no guarantees they will work.

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It was pretty exciting yesterday. My Copper Hawk mask was featured in the September Showcase of Etsy finds! It’s on the site and is also sent out to a huge number of

Copper Hawk mask *sold*

people on their mailing list. He’s had a ton of views and found a home a couple of hours after the feature went live. It’s just so great to be noticed!

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“Kick Ass” mask

I had a slightly different challenge brought to me in the past couple of weeks. A teen-aged local friend needed to make a mask as part of her Halloween costume

costume mask

and asked me to help her figure out how best to do it. She wanted to go as a female version of a character from the movie “Kick Ass”. The films character wears a fairly plain mask, in that it has a specific shape on the edges but no details other than that. Considering the simplicity of the design, it was easy to make what she wanted. We figured out which of my mask bases fit her face the best and I cast her a form, making sure that it extended far enough out to fit all the points on the design. Considering the differences between the actors facial shape and her own, I thought the best way to go was to have her draw a version of the mask on her own face. This way we were able to get a fit for both the eye holes and the points that was exact. The drawing was done with a grease pencil and that allowed it to be transferred to a sheet of paper towel. She then cut out the eyes-holes and edges to produce a template we laid over the form and then shaped the actual mask. That was most of the work. All that was left was a few coats of black paint, front and back, a bit of gloss finish on top, and the addition of the ties. The finished piece is light, comfortable and a perfect fit. She also did most of the work herself! I’m hopeful that I’ll get a picture of the complete outfit at some point.

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