Monday, April 30, 2007

Red Tape Rant

Just a quick update for today. We've been working away making little treasures in the shop, and I just listed a whole bunch of new items in our Etsy store. Let us know what you think if you get a chance to check them out! (There is a link on the left side of the page.) It's always good to get feedback, so don't be shy! Are we asking too much? Too little? We're trying to do as much research as we can before the market begins on the May long weekend. This is a sample of one of the bookmarks I made today:

Phil came over this morning to go over what we plan to do with the addition on the shop. It will be an extra 180 sq/ft, so would be a HUGE difference. Phil and Jai in another shop built by Phil:

Now we just need to qualify for the loan, and then magically make our budget stretch to unforeseen dimensions. FYI everyone coming out this summer - be prepared to be put to work!
And I finally made a business card design that we're both totally happy with, but we have to wait to have them printed until after I've gotten on the Self-Employment Program, because the guy in charge said there is a chance we will have to change our name because we picked it out so long ago, and this is meant to be for brand new businesses only. Can you imagine!???! That's government for you. I'm hoping to find out tomorrow that it will all be ok, but then we still need to get approved by the Nova Scotia Joint Registry of Stocks. We know there is no one else out there with a similar name from a quick check on their database, but apparently they can be pretty picky. AHHHHH! Cross your fingers and toes for us!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mrs. Claws Gets a Collar

Emma and I are enjoying sitting in the afternoon sun. I have a yoga class this afternoon so I have been busy getting ready for that. This morning I met with the fellow in charge of getting me onto the Self Employment Program. I really hope it works, it would be so helpful! We sat down and went through the business plan together, question by question. That was a huge help, as a lot of the questions don't pertain to my business as well as they would to someone opening, say, a convenience store, or a balloon factory.
We have been working on cleaning up and organizing the garden some more. We went to the beach yesterday and picked up some driftwood to lay around some of the beds. That was a little backbreaking, because it's not like the beaches in Victoria, where there is driftwood aplenty, and easy access to the beach from the road. BUT, in a couple of days, when our backs stop being sore, it will have been well worth it! Our daffodils are starting to bloom, and I put in our seed order from Vesey's yesterday.
In the shop, I have started a big run of simple cedar boxes, and Jai has been busy turning lots of little tops. They look really great, and it's so much fun to have a bowl of them sitting on the table!

The market is coming up pretty soon, and we have a lot to do to get ready for it. It's all the little things you don't think about that are so much work. On top of having enough stock to sell, we need bags and boxes and business cards and display racks and a shelter in case it rains and money, money, money. Yikes, and everything has to be shipped in, as there is obviously no place in town to get stuff like that, so it all needs to be planned in advance. We're getting there, though. Or, at least, we're making a list.
Yesterday I took time out to make some cookies. I tried for lemon sugar cookies, but the recipe called for lemon extract and we only had lemon juice. Not very lemony, but pretty tasty all the same. They are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, which is just delightful. I think it's because of the corn syrup?????
And the other thing that happened yesterday is that Emma got a little red collar. She has been driving us crazy with wanting to go outside. We've been opening the windows, and she just sits in them and meows. So far she's not a big fan of the collar, but there are so many cats in the neighbourhood that if she gets outside, we're not sure we'd be able to recognize her! It has a little bell so we can hear her coming, and I think she looks very pretty!

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Little Taste of Summer

Hello! We have been having some really beautiful weather for the last four days. Today we had 26 degrees! So we've been spending a lot of our time outside. The main job has been getting the trailer ready for the big sale. We had to clear all the garbage from the shed onto the lawn, clear all the wood from the rack in the trailer and onto the lawn, move the rack into the shed, move the wood onto the rack, move the firewood pile onto the lawn, move the wood from the outside rack onto the sawhorses, move the trailer forward fifteen feet, move the outside rack onto the driveway where the trailer used to be, and move the wood back onto it, move the firewood pile to in front of the outside rack, and move the garbage pile into the back of the trailer, in preparation for moving it to the end of the driveway for the big garbage pick-up day. I bet that's one of the longest run-on sentences I have ever written. Sorry if I lost anyone on the way there, basically we've been really busy moving stuff around. And we both got sunburns!

I stole some more crocuses, and Pearl our neighbour showed me how to translant some of the lilac shoots that were springing up around the lilac tree on the abandoned property. She also showed us where we had daylilies, peonies, and forget-me-nots coming up, so that was pretty exciting.

Speaking of exciting, we sold our first thing off our Etsy site! This is one of our pages:

It was up for less than 36 hours, and somebody bought Jai's giant maple bowl! Hooray for Etsy! Emma didn't want it to go, and she hid first on the wrapping paper, and then in the box:

In addition to working on the garden, I have been working on our little toys. They're coming along, I really like the look of the milk paint, and it's really nice to work with - plus, totally non-toxic. Here's an in-progress shot:

We also had a fairly exciting night life this weekend (at least for us!) We went to two different dinner parties! Friday night we were invited to Phil and Angela's to eat home-made pizza and meet another young couple who recently moved to the valley from Vancouver. They seem super nice, and I hope we will become friends. As a bonus, they are very big Canuck fans, as I'm sure some of your will be glad to hear!
On Saturday night we were invited to Erin and Andre's new house for fajitas. They purchased a great old fishing house on something like 30 acres with an amazing view of the Bay of Fundy. After dinner, Sarah and Erin and I sat in their sun room, watching an amazing sunset over the water. Very, very nice. And Sarah's little baby, Chloe, is doing just great. She's still tiny, but very sweet!
When we got home, there was an impromptu concert in the park behind our house. A bunch of guys set up in the bandshell with their instruments and their amps, and some stage lights. They weren't playing perfectly, but it was pretty entertaining all the same. I guess you can be assured getting to play for a while, at least, when there's only one cop in town. We got a little taste of summer this weekend, and it looks like it is going to be fabulous!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jai climbs rocks and Lauren steals flowers

Hi! Yes, we're still alive! It's been a while since our last post. We've got lots of little newses. The weather for the last couple of days has been pretty crappy - lots and lots of rain. I dug up some crocuses from the empty lot behind our house and put them in our yard. I didn't feel bad because they are planning on building condos on that lot, and they would have been all bulldozed up, but now I'm worried they're going to drown in their new location! Half of our yard is a giant lake right now. All we need is a canoe.
Speaking of canoes, Jai took a canoe and boulder climbing day trip on Sunday afternoon with Dereck and some of his friends, Erin and Andre. They had a great time, Jai really enjoyed the bouldering, he's been watching bouldering videos on YouTube for the last two nights. He got some great pics of the location too, which is supposed to be an excellent place to camp in the summer. Now all we need is a tent and some sleeping bags!

This is Eve, Dereck and Sarah's first daughter:

And here's Dereck working on a boulder:

Erin and Andre invited all of us over to their house for dinner this Saturday night. They live in Delaps Cove which is nearby, but on the other side of the mountain. Apparently the little community centre has awesome live music there on Saturday, so we'll get to check that out, too.
We've been busy doing lots of things other than working on the kitchen. Things are moving ahead on our business plans. We had a really good meeting this morning with Philip from Catfish Moon, and Elizabeth Rice. We all sat down and talked over our ideas and options, so it was great, and we're both feeling good that we're heading in the right direction.
I also took some time to create an Etsy store, so you all have to check it out. If you haven't been on Etsy before, it's a site for craftspeople and artists, like a giant on-line marketplace. There's some really great stuff on there, and it's super fun to check out. Plus now we can accept Paypal payments, which should make it easier for everyone. Here's the link: - Jai is going to be putting it as a link from our Blog soon. Yay!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter

Happy Easter Everyone! The Easter bunny stopped at our house, and left a big pile of candy. Peanut was very interested, as you can see.

We had a very nice Easter. Jai made a roast chicken and garlic mashed potatoes, and we took two days off from working on the house and just bummed around.
We finally made it up to Kentville to see Sarah and the new baby, Chloe. Jai and Derek went to see Grindhouse and I hung out at the hospital with Sarah and her family. It was good, but I would like to make it up there again, when we could have a better chance to visit. It looks like they will be there until at least the end of the week, so we'll see. Here's a pic of baby Chloe:

She's very sweet.
Other than that, we have been working on the kitchen some more. I got the shelves made and the first coat of stain on them. We are staining them to match the stain on the island - sort of an "antique pine" look. They're looking good so far, but I am impatient to get them on the wall. I thought I was going to have to special order a drill bit to attach the doors I made to our cabinets, but it turns out I have one that will work, so that was a big relief. Hopefully I can get the doors hung while Jai is at work tomorrow, and then when he gets home we can maybe hang the shelves. Every day we get a little bit closer.

We tried to get Emma to write you guys a note, but she just held the pencil and purred. I guess that would look like this: PrrrrRRrrrrrrRRRrrrrrrrrRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Hope life is finding you as content as a cat with a pencil.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Hello! Things are going well. Jai has been working a lot this week, so I have been left to my own devices. I've been spending most of the time in the shop, although it doesn't usually warm up in there until the afternoon. I played around a little bit and finished some small boxes I started before we moved:

And I got the kitchen doors all put together:

I think they'll look really great, I'm hoping to hang them tomorrow.
Our most exciting news is that we met with our friend Phil from Catfish Moon pottery, who also works as a contractor. He brought over pictures of a bunch of his buildings and renos, and sat down with us to hash out what it would mean to build a gallery/studio space on the back of our property. I have been taking an entrepreneurial class here in town and met with a woman named Elizabeth Rice who runs Annapolis Ventures. They are a company here who provides loans to people wanting to start up businesses, and seem much more reasonable than a bank. We have to figure out first what we would need to borrow, and if we can manage that amount, and then work with Elizabeth to create a business plan. Hopefully from there we can find someone willing to finance us! It's all very exciting. And Phil has been really amazing. He and his wife Angela have been running their pottery business for thirty years, and he is helping us a lot with learning about doing the financing and meeting the right people, and learning all the ropes. It's amazing how generous people are around here.
That's all our news for now, I'll post more soon!

Monday, April 02, 2007

hello and good night

Hello Everyone! We've been making slow but steady progress on the kitchen. The island is in place, and the drop lights are hung:

It's looking good. I've started the kitchen doors and Jai has been working on wiring the island. It's going to be so great, it's already so much better!
In other news, our friends Sarah and Derek had their baby yesterday. Her name is Chloe, but we haven't met her yet, as she is very small and will have to stay in the hospital for a while. The nearest hospital with a natal unit is in Kingston, a 45 minute drive, but we hope to head up there and see her soon.
We've been getting some work done in the shop over the last couple of days. My workbench is finally done! yay!

And Jai has begun his new job. So far he is really enjoying it, as it is very social. He's learning all the town gossip. I'm really glad it seems to be going well. And I guess that's it for now. Good night!