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IMG_6940It has been quite a while since I made a new batch of masks. I shouldn’t have taken so long a break, but kept getting distracted by stuffies and jewellery, since those are the bulk of what’s needed for shows. At any rate, a new group just got finished! They were done to use up the last of the edging lace. It makes beautiful crowns and is the best accent for the feathers I’ve found but, because it was salvaged, it was in limited supply. All the full crown masks made with it had found homes, so I decided it was time to just go ahead and use what was left. I stuck to most popular colour combos so there is one gold and black, (pictured), a gold and white and one silver and brown. The silver one also used up the last bit of the long natural coque feathers. It’s always hard to reach the end of a favourite supply, but I should look at as a chance to do something different. Either way, it’s going to be hard to see these ones go.

IMG_6683A few years ago we put in a group of haskap berry bushes. They were sad little sticks when they went in but have done extremely well. We got our first good round of fruit this year and while they are not quite as sweet as blueberries, they can be swapped in for them in any baked good. (the photo is one I took just before picking this spring) Being so happy with them, we had added a few more this spring, but kept the numbers low since they can be a bit expensive. That’s why I was pleased to find a group of them in an end-of-season clearout for a local garden centre. We had been thinking about opening up a new bed for strawberries and finding enough haskaps, at a great price, to finish filling in the row means no more waiting to move them. There were enough to give us a final count of two dozen, and to run the length of the bed to the east of the house. So the strawberries will be shifted to their new bigger home, and we’ll have full rows of both for next year! (and I’ll have to find a few more recipes for using our crop)

tentafterThis is the last of this group of altered paintings and was the one that I felt a bit bad about using. It is the strongest of the group and I think it might have been a students piece or study. I even did some googling of the signature, just in case they had gone on to become a known name, but nothing came up. At any rate, it had come into my hands and was fair game for being “improved”. My first thought had been to alter the people but decided the better option was to explain their situation a bit more. (and putting clothes on him would have made it far less funny) Now they have something to look at and the painting has much more of a narrative going on. It was also the hardest to match the brushwork style of, but I think I got very close. The reflections were especially challenging, but worked out. The colour mixing and paint texture also matched so well that the fact it was altered is surprising most of the people who’ve only seen it in this state. It’s acrylic on canvas, and nicely stretched, so I opted not to frame it but to simply go with the black wrap around the outside. Keeping it down to only it’s modest original size should make it easier for someone to find a spot for this bit of slightly creepy fun. (and that person might be me since I really do love how it turned out) tentbefore

IMG_6193I’d been pulling the pair of anatomical hearts out of the stash periodically for years. I’d look at them, think about possible uses and then decide I didn’t love that option enough. Over this past winter a pair of tiny frames came in and I loved that they were small enough to be used as jewellery. While I’ve had a few similar sized square ones pass through my hands, I found the hard edges read as too harsh. These, on the other hand, not only had a great vertical oval shape, but also had lots of in-scale details on their edges. One was just the right size for the smaller of the two hearts. I went with an antique wood backing piece, for the great grain texture, and painted it white. The heart projects forward a bit, but not too much. It is just clearly three dimensional. The chain was from the stash and I was lucky it was long enough since the weight was just a perfect balance to the pendant. It has already been snatched up, but I still wanted to show it off.

We will be closed this weekend for Saturday, the 18th of June and Sunday, the 19th.

IMG_6878So we got full confirmation that I’ll be part of the Artists Alley at Fan Expo in Toronto this Labour Day weekend! I haven’t been back since 2012 but had a great time at Comic Con this March. (Fan Expo is much bigger and busier, so I have to expect that it will be quite a bit more tiring) I will be sticking to pretty much only the stuffies since space is so limited. While most will be my usual range of plush curiosities, I’m also indulging myself with making some fanart bears. I’ve been loving the Marvel movie Avengers and couldn’t resist making a few Winter Soldier versions of Bucky Barnes. (there is a whole thing in the fandom about Bucky Bear) The few I brought with me all got snatched up at Comic Con, so I’ve been working on a some more for Fan Expo. (and putting a few of them up in the Etsy shop as well) This is one that I just finished and I especially love his face. The base bear was a limited edition one, so it isn’t surprising that he’s so nice, but the outfit and arm prosthetic turned out really well too. I’ve got a few more one-off pieces that are underway too (I want to have at least one in honour of Agent Carter star Haley Atwell, who is one of the guests) and have been hunting some bits and pieces for them. When you find yourself saying things like, ”Look! I just found the cutest mini sub-machine gun!” you start to wonder if you’re heading down the right path in life…

raspThe garden keeps developing and it looks like a few of the longer-term investments are starting to pay off in terms of fruit production. One is the thimbleberries. Unlike our everbearing raspberries, they need to fruit on second year canes and it’s taken a few years for them to spread out enough so we are getting more than just a few to taste. The first year canes also seem to be good eating, as far as the bunnies are concerned, and they all got mowed down to under 2′, over the winter. (which was taller than the years previous where they were mostly eaten right down) That doesn’t seem to have stopped them from producing, so the deeper snow is probably why we’re actually getting a crop this year. This was the early morning haul yesterday and I got almost as much in the late afternoon. The berries are much larger, (most are almost the size of a thimble) a bit sweeter but not quite as tasty as the everbearing, but even so it’s really nice to have a decent run a couple of months before the big flood.