Monday, April 28, 2008

Beaches and Ice Cream!

We've been having beautiful weather this week! :) Warm days and cool nights - my favourite! We got some work done in the garden, building up the beds and general tidying. Things are starting to come up well now, so I'm anxious to start getting some seeds in.

We got two of the beds done, and we'll be doing two more like this on the other side.

Plus lots more, I'm hoping.

We took some time on the weeked to do a day trip with our friends Brandon and Jo. They took us down the French Shore for the first time. It's beautiful! We stopped at all the little antique stores, and saw some treasures.

We stopped for delicious ice cream.

And we stopped at Mavillette Beach, which is quite incredible. And quite deserted, as you can see.

Other than that, it's been a busy week for work as well. I finished the walnut dining table, and will post pics as soon as the finish is dry and we put it all back together. It turned out really nice, and I'm happy with it. Hopefully they will be, too. And Jai's been working on a wholesale order of tops. I've also been playing with some new book ideas, and just got a new shipment of 100bf of walnut, so I've got lots of wood to play with, now. We still have a couple of jobs on the go, but it does feel like we got some things accomplished this week, so that's always nice.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Brief News Update

Hello! Just a quick note this time, while Jai takes out his contact lenses. I can't even believe so much time has already past since the last post! I guess now that the summer weather is arriving, time is truly flying by.
I feel like every second of spare time has disappeared like a glacier lake. We listened to a program on CBC about a woman who studies these HUGE glacier lakes that disappear in the summer. She said they had a lake that disappeared in an hour and a half. Giant body of water to nothing, down a fissure the size of Niagara Falls. Can you imagine?

Anyway, we got lots of stuff done this week, got a couple of commissions out the door, got started on the garden, picked out a new house colour, and built most of a fence around the back of our property. I'll post more soon!
(Old colour on the left, new colour on the right.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hello Again!  We've been out and about quite a bit this week!  On Friday we went up to Port Williams with Brandon and Jo to pick up some ceramic molds that a lady was selling (For my crazy, fantasy pottery studio) and to check out a new restaurant that just opened up there.  We got the molds just fine, after a few scenic detours, but couldn't get into the restaurant, unless we wanted to wait 50 minutes.  Oh well, we'll try again later.  We went to the same old pub we always go to, instead, and it was good, as usual.
On Saturday we went down to Halifax to see Mom and Errol.  That was really nice, although it was a very short visit!  Hopefully we'll see them again next weekend.  
Since then we've been working a lot.  I thought I would put up some pics of the place I work, just for fun.  This is the new CNC that is going to change some things about the way we build:

And these are some cabinets we just finished for a kitchen.  

On Tuesday night, it was movie night again.  Jo and I went for a walk along the boardwalk first, so she could check out her spiffy new binoculars that actually take photos somehow.  

And then through the park, which is always pretty.  

It's  like Spring happened overnight here - suddenly it's warm and light and bright and wonderful.  There's no blossoms out yet, but I do have plenty of blossoms happening inside, as my forsythia branches are bursting with yellow flowers.  Hooray!

Last night I attended a Marketing Meeting by Keeping Lau, which I found very interesting.  It gave me lots to think about, in terms of where I want the business to head, and what I want to focus on in the future.  As I was saying to Jai, my first goal was just to get enough work to keep busy.  First mission accomplished!  Now I need to start narrowing my focus and getting smart about it.  I think for the next couple of months, once I have finished all the current orders, I am going to only make books for a while.  I'll eventually spread out again, and expand the line, but I want to see what the production could be like.  I think there's a lot of potential with the books that I haven't explored because I've been too busy making a million other things.   I would love to hear any opinions or thoughts that anyone out there has on this.  Right now I am trying to be anything to anyone, and that's no way to run a business.  Speaking of business...the box came back!  

This is one of those nightmare moments that you try and think could never actually happen.  The doorbell rang, and it was a courier asking me to sign for a package.  So I did, and he came around the corner lugging a huge box.  "What's in that?" I asked, oh so innocently.  "I don't know," he said, "it says it's a return."  (This is the moment when I should be waking up.)
My coffee tables got returned at the border, because the girl they were being sent to was out of town for a couple of days, and they couldn't reach her to get her social security number.  Don't ask me why they would need/want a person's social security number written on the packing slip, but apparently they do.  So that's the other thing that has been occupying my entire week - repeated phone calls to various people in UPS, US Customs, and the UPS Store.  Blech!  

And the last piece of news (the one I know my Mom has been waiting for!) is that I got my haircut yesterday.  Here's a before pic:

And the after:

I went to one of the ladies here in town, and she charged me $9.00 for this cut.  I think I must have looked shocked, because she said, "I guess that's a little less than what you're used to paying in the city."  Um...yeah.  

Anyway, hope you all are well, and enjoying your spring as much as we plan to!  Every day we go out in the garden to check on the progress, and say "Not long now..."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Random Weekly Update

Hello! Another week has gone by already! I probably say that a lot, but I swear it's astonishing every time. In some ways, I always feel like lots of things have happened, and in other ways, I always feel like I didn't really get anything done. I wonder why that is? Well, here's our update for the week...
Jai is off at band practice. Dayliner is beginning to record some of their stuff, so hopefully soon I can actually post something that you guys can hear. They are really coming along, and Jai is really enjoying being part of something musical and collaborative again.

I am listening to my new cd - The Cave Singers. I totally love it, I think it's my new favourite for this week. If you can find it, I recommend it. It's kind of like a punk-bluegrass-Bob Dylan mixture, with a little bit of Nick Cave thrown in. The new Nick Cave cd is last week's favourite. It's so nice to have access to all this amazing music while living in a rural town (hooray for the internet!) We're probably the only household in the whole county to own either of those cds.

Anyway, I got a new marquetry picture finished up this week. All it needs now is a frame, and then I will list it in our Etsy store. Jai said I should take an "in-progress" picture, so I thought I would show you a little bit of the process. It started with the photo of the cedar waxwings in our oak tree several weeks ago (check back several posts.) I traced two of the birds, and drew out where I wanted the different woods to go. There is a lot of planning at this stage, as I need to figure out the right cutting sequence. As you can see from the second picture, I work from the "bottom" of the picture to the "top." Each piece gets carefully selected, shaded and placed.

Then the final result (sans frame.)

I managed to fit that in, in between some larger projects, which I will post later. Oh, and making ten identical boxes for my cousin Emma, who runs Emma Rose Photography ( She is using them as cases for wedding photos. This is the first time I have built ten identical things at once. Whew! It's hard not to let that get tedious, so it's nice to have something completely different to think about.

Spring is slowly creeping up on us here. Yesterday was more snow, but today was all sun. Those snowdrops are finally blooming, and our crocuses are peeking out shyly.

I have spent a couple of evenings now perusing all the on-line seed catalogues. I found a couple that specialize in harvest seeds, and have such interesting varieties, that I would never see at the local nursery. Check out from Manitoba, if you're interested. I think I am definitely going to try some of their bean varieties, as well as the Minnesota Midget Melons, Pennsylvania Dutch Butter-Flavoured Popcorn, and Alma Paprika Peppers (the actual kind of peppers they grind up to make paprika spice!) And I'll be expanding the tea garden this year through www. from Ontario, who carry, among other things, Rose-scented Bergamot, Apple Eucalyptus, and Licorice. I'm also going to try Soapwort, which apparently can be added to the wash (in a muslin bag) in place of laundry detergent.

I also cut some branches from the forsythia and quince bushes, to see if I can get them to bloom inside. Two days ago, when the ground was covered in snow (again) the idea of something blooming held extra-special appeal.

Anyway, I guess that's all our news. More and less than I thought.