Archive for April, 2011

On Thursday, at Factory 163, Perth Arts Connect held it’s second Artrepreneurship event. I attended and they had some great speakers. (I finally feel like I’m ready to tackle Twitter!) The evening stayed interesting because it was followed by an all-candidates panel discussion about their parties views on the future and importance of the Arts, specifically as it relates to Perth-Wellington. It was perhaps most telling who even bothered to show up. Liberal Bob McTavish, New Democrat Ellen Papenburg and the Green Party’s John Cowling all appeared, well prepared and well spoken. Conservative Gary Schellenberger and the candidate from the Christian Heritage party couldn’t be bothered to appear. It was a good, informative discussion but realistically, there isn’t that much of a difference between the three parties in terms of how they view the arts. All agree on the vital role they play in our social, cultural AND economic lives and that they should be supported and they pretty much have similar plans on how to do so. I hadn’t made it out to any of the other local debates, and so was pleased to have a chance see some of the candidates in person before the election on Monday. ( it should be mentioned that Liberal Bob McTavish has been really getting out and talking people on the campaign trail, so this was actually the third time I’d met him and he is the only one who’s come around in person)

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One of the great things about having a shop like ours

vintage brass and wood cross

is that it’s actually a good thing when some pretty little thing catches my eye and I bring it home, even if I don’t want it for myself. I’d learned to be resistant on items that wouldn’t work in my personal space or that I couldn’t see as even additions to the materials stash. Now, so long as they are lovely, I still have a reason to pick them up and fairly confidant that, if they appealed that much to me, then someone else will also be unable to resist. This cross was one of those cases. We usually avoid things that are bit too strongly religious since many tend to not be all that aesthetically attractive, which limits their appeal. Besides which, I think most people in the market for those items tend to shop in specially stores for them. Even with that in mind, I couldn’t leave this cross behind. It’s a simple and pretty standard icon of Christ on the cross but I expect it dates from close to turn of the century. The figure is finely modelled in solid bronze and has a wonderful aged patina as does the tiny plaque at the top. The wood also still has it’s original surface. It’s been cared for, but never polished so it just looks terrific. It’s something that I know is not for me, but I’m happy to have it around while we help it on to a new home.

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Aside from Christmas, we don’t carry much in the way of seasonal decorations.

yellow Goebels bunny figurine

There are always a few things however that could fit for most celebrations. This little bunny would make a fun and very appropriate thing to have out on display during Easter. That’s not to say he shouldn’t be out all the time, but, if you were looking to do something keeping with the season, he could be moved to a more prominent spot or added as an accent to a group of spring flowers or bulbs. The cheery yellow would bring the right spot of colour to some softer toned bulbs or match a group of daffodils. When Mother brought him in to the store I thought he was a cute little figurine, probably from the 30’s or 40’s, from the style. What I didn’t realize, until she pointed out his label, is that he’s actually a Goebels figure! The level of detail and amount and level of painting is not as high as their most famous Hummel figures, but he is finely made. I expect it’s most likely that he will find a home, either with a collector of bunnies or Goebels but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up leaving with someone who just couldn’t resist his cuteness and charm.

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Last year we were a little too relaxed about getting around

Festival Theatre garden, April 2011

to buying tickets to some of the Stratford Festival shows we wanted to see. Considering how close we live, it was just sort of assumed that they’d be available whenever we got around to finally buying some. The result was that we missed out on The Tempest. It was also close on Evita. This year we’ve been a bit more organized so Dad and I went to see Camelot at it’s first preview performance on Saturday. (tickets for Jesus Christ Superstar will be bought in the near future since it’s my #1 must-see this season) Neither of us had seen a production of it, but Dad knew the Broadway cast album very well. (I’d never heard it) The direction, set design and costuming are, as always at Stratford, amazing. The opening moment is so striking it drew a gasp from the whole theatre. The piece runs almost half and half acting and singing so it works that Geraint Wyn Davies is playing Arthur. He’s not the strongest singer, but a very good actor and, as Dad pointed out, the role was written so Richard Burton could sing it and he didn’t have that big a range. The rest of the cast have excellent voices and show them off well. Brent Carver also consistently rivets your attention on-stage in the two roles he plays. There was some dancing to go with the singing, but I confess that I was a bit, distracted, during those bits by the fact that the men are almost all in tights. (and tunics, but the tunic lengths varied quite a bit!) (Okay, so the tights were always distracting, when they appeared, but that could just be me) Anyway, I found I was less moved by the music than my father, and more intrigued by how it fits into the musical/pop-culture history of the last fifty years. From the Python’s to JFK, Camelot has had an effect, and I understand it better now. Leaving out the meta analysis, it’s still a great time at the theatre and not to be missed.

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Will it ever end?

The snow, that is. I’m not sure what’s up with Sundays lately,

our daffodils, April 17, 2011

but if the weather keeps on the way it’s been going the past couple of weeks, I think I may just hide out under the covers next week! Our daffs survived the hail storm with no visible damage, (although a couple of the tulips were smashed) and are getting really close to flowering. This however, is what they looked like this morning. It’s not all that far below freezing, so I have hope that they’ll pull through without damage, but we’re all seriously tired of seeing the white stuff. And the worst part? It’s still coming down! Next week-end is Easter and here’s hoping we have some actual spring flowers and NO SNOW for the occasion!

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I always ask to see pictures of how clients use my masks, and it’s a thrill when one shows up.

silver Venetian mask as table display

I recently sent a pair of the ornate feather-crowned masks out and Susan was kind enough to send along a picture as well as an explanation of how they were used. She is a designer and was doing the decor for a fundraiser. Old books were wrapped in parchment, with the cause along the spine, and each table had a pair of masks. The photo shows my silver and brown mask. The gold and white one didn’t make it to the event but was snagged by one of her other clients beforehand. The silver one was going to be donated to the events silent auction, so I hope it raised some much-needed funds for a good cause. She also has a stunning blog that showcases her work and you can see some more pictures from the Masquerade event. She put together a number of the decorative masks pictured there and it goes to show how you can get some great looks dressing up some of the plain plastic blanks with a bit of creativity.

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We’re getting a bit more familiar with local spots of interest but are always thrilled to find

butternut squash soup

new ones. Mother recently stumbled across that the Conestoga College has a restaurant. It’s called Bloom and it’s operated by the culinary and hospitality students. (you can also check them out on facebook) They do lunches Tues- Fri and have dinners on Mondays and Tuesdays and that’s where we dined last night. The food was amazing! We each had three courses with assorted breads, an amuse-bouche, tea and coffee as well as an ending truffle. All for under $30 a head! They have everything set up to look like a nice restaurant, except for the addition of a large projection screen showing a live feed from the kitchen so you get to see the food prep. All of the students were working really hard and everyone was practising

toffee souffle and caramel sauce

their more complicated serving techniques. Mother actually got two table-side shows, one for her Caesar salad prep and the other as her chicken was carved and plated. We all tried different things as there were 4 or 5 appetizers, 3 mains and 2 desserts to pick from. All were spectacular with very generous portions. My starter was a bowl of delicious squash soup. The texture was right on, the flavor was excellent and it came to the table at precisely the right temperature. My main was a beautiful piece of black cod that was the freshest and most perfectly cooked piece of seafood I’ve had in Ontario! Mother had the aforementioned chicken and Dad went with a steak that they also cooked to the exact blue-rare he had requested. Dad went with the chocolate tri-layer mousse while Mother and I had toffee souffles for dessert. The souffles came with little jugs of caramel cream for pouring over them. It was so good that I went with a half cup of coffee just so I could make a mini caramel latte from what was left. So decadent! Next week is the final and exam dinner for this semester, but we’ll be waiting until the fall, so we can make attending a regular event.

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Well, that was scary! The weather forecast had been calling for thunder-showers

hail in Shakespeare, April 2011

so I wasn’t surprised when the sky darkened and the downpour started. I moved a few things inside and then settled in to some computer work, when the beat of heavy rain changed to something that sounded closer to gunshots. When I went outside, (just to the porch) I could see we were in the path of a major hailstorm. Chunks of ice the size of golf-balls were pelting down so hard they were ricocheting off the shed and banging the tin sides of the building. I watched it come down in shock for a few moments before I thought to run in and grab the camera. Drivers on the road were smart and pulled off to the sides of the

big hail! April 2011

highway but there was no protecting your vehicle. The van is covered in dents, the worst being on the hood but some are on the top and sides. We’ll have to see what can be done. The Smartcar is undented, but it’s body panels are not metal and the top is an impact resistant glass that held up under the onslaught. Unfortunately the front grill and one of the upper side pieces weren’t so lucky. A couple of houses down a truck windshield was cracked and the roof vents on their house were smashed. The store and house seem to have been fine

hail on the ground, April 2011

and not enough of the plants were up for there to be much damage to the gardens, but there was strong tang of evergreen in the air from the pummelling the trees took. All of the trees have skirts of broken branch bits and the lawns are covered in little round divots. It looks like this severe hail covered at least the region between New Hamburgh and Mitchell, (and it looks like things might have been even worse in Mitchell) so it wasn’t that isolated an area. We’ve had a couple of hailstorms since the move but is certainly the worst we seen and I hope there isn’t another one like it here!

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In the pirate theme, I also made a number of hair-jewel bead strings.

pirate beaded hair jewel strings

On my own pirate headband, I have one longer string built in but it’s not always that good to have it attached. Sometimes you don’t want the more costumed look it makes or it’s just not comfortable. That was why, with the headbands I made for sale, they only have the accent beads on the front. Still, if you do want to run with the whole pirate look or just like the hair jewels as a fashion statement it’s good to have them. The solution I went with was to make them separate. Each one has it’s own little clip (and let me tell you that finding a good, solid, metal clip was not easy!) for attachment to hair, wig or headband and they come in two average lengths. I again stayed with period appropriate materials so there lots of real shells, stones, metal and glass beads on each one. I did mix in some resin ones, but carefully selected to look real, so that they wouldn’t be uncomfortably heavy to wear. Each one was designed as a unique piece, mostly starting with the ending dangle. I’m trying to actively work through the various supply stashes and these were a ton of fun to make. A number found homes at the show and it goes to show how mainstream the pirate thing is since they all were going to be worn as everyday hair decorations!

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There were a couple of things that I premiered at the Home Show.

arr matey! Silk pirate scarves.

Most of which is some “Pirate” wear. We’ve had some beautiful duponi silks in the fabric stash for a while and a couple of years ago I made myself a headband from the red. I’m a bit of a purist, when it comes to this kind of piece, so it had to be real silk and the beads all are, or look like, period appropriate materials. (first movie that is, they changed the fabric of the headband to red with a fine and faint pattern in the later ones) I sewed on a small bead string with a coin dangle on the front as well a longer bead strand that falls behind my left ear. It’s a fun thing that I enjoy wearing, but it’s still narrow enough that it doesn’t scream “Costume!” unless I also work the whole outfit. Considering how little of the red we had left, I decided to make up the rest into more scarves so other people can share the fun. (and did a few in a couple of other colours since red doesn’t suit everyone and they look even more mainstream in softer colours) They are wide enough to match the full movie costume look but I sewed the bead strings to halfway, so they can be folded for regular wear. I also kept them as a scarf, rather than closing the ends like mine, to allow for personal fitting. The idea is that they are accurate enough to become part of the most exacting pirate costumes out there, but are also something that could be worn everyday. I have yet to decide if I’m going to offer any of them on-line but they are available in the shop.

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