Sunday, June 29, 2008


Can you guess who that bum belongs to?

Oh yes, it's Samson the porcupine.
It feels like we've had another busy week here. We've been developing some new products for the store, which I will unveil soon. The house behind us actually got taken down in a timely manner. Hooray for Canada Day, a great motivator for beautifying the path to the park.

It was pretty crazy to watch the guy take it down. It took him all day, but when he was done, it was hard to tell there had ever been a house there. (A lot faster to take down than to put up.) It seems kind of sad to me that a home could be destroyed that quickly - I kept wanting to yell "stop, I just want to look at that first!" And who knew those jaws could crush a beautiful old wood cookstove as though it were made of kindling? Well, I do, now.

Goodbye house! We can't decide if it improves the view or not. It just looks kind of bare back there right now, like something is missing. But the garden is doing well, and everything is looking really lush because of all the rain we've been having.

Speaking of the path to the park, any of you who have been to our house or are familiar with Bridgetown probably know that our house is surrounded by a painted blue line. The town paints this every year for tourists to follow on the self-guided historic walk about town. They publish a guide book that you can take with you, which includes a very nice photo of our house. This year they decided to add a graphic of a ship and the name of the walk, probably because everyone always asks "what's with the blue line?" Jai noticed the guys with a big machine industriously painting their way through town while he was on his way to work. He stopped to see what they were doing, and noticed that they had just painted who knows how many ships, but something didn't look right. When he got to work he called town hall just to double-check. No, in fact, The Cypress Walk should NOT be spelled The Sypriss Walk. Oops. So they had to go back over them with white paint, and then over them again with blue paint, and now it looks a little messy, but it makes for a cute story. (Although in the official town guidebook and website it's actually spelled The Cyprus Walk. A very quick bit of research informs me that apparently Cyprus refers not to the tree, but to a Mediterranean island. Good thing they added the ship!)
Anyway, here are some pictures that I took along the path from our house to the park. Enjoy!

Happy Canada Day everyone :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Hey! Well, we had a pretty exciting week around here. Almost too exciting!

That is the empty house behind us burning not-quite down to the ground. Those are our fence posts in the picture.

Jai came home from the theatre, and saw that something wasn't quite right. When we first went out, it just looked like someone had a flashlight or something in there, but Jai called 911 right away, and the Bridgetown volunteer fire department were here super quickly. The Lawrencetown guys came, too, so we had about forty firemen milling around in our back yard. They did an excellent job of not damaging the garden, although I saw a couple of cringe-worthy close calls. This is something that Jai has been worrying about for a long time now. We have had to call the cops a couple of times before about kids breaking into the building, so it really was only a matter of time. Luckily it was kind of a damp night, with no wind. Yikes!

In other exciting news, Bridgetown saw the first-ever unicycle marathon pass through it's main street a couple of days ago. Things are never boring around here!

And the garden is doing marvelously well. I did manage to catch the peonies in bloom, and the lupins, although I did miss the lilacs in full bloom. I really love the lupins, and can't get enough of them. Every time we drive anywhere, I have an "oh crap" moment, because I keep meaning to bring scissors and a vase and grab some off the side of the road. I just can't bear to cut ours, they're so pretty where they are!

All the veggies are coming along really well, except no sign of the carrots. Hmmm, it might be time to try some new seed. And I had to replant a couple of the chickpeas, after one of the neighbourhood cats paid us a visit. Still, everything is coming along nicely. I couldn't believe the size of the potato plants, which were just sticking out of the ground when I left, and now are about two feet tall. And we've been eating strawberries out of the garden every day since I got back. Even with doubling the size of the strawberry patch, I can tell it will never be enough. I ended up buying two quarts today at the Farmer's Market, so I can freeze some and have them in the middle of winter.

Plus...Peaches! Peaches everywhere! I had to prune a bunch of them off, because it is the first year for that little tree, and I didn't want him to overdo it. Still, there's about ten peaches left, and they are already getting big enough to be excited about (which, all right, isn't all that big, but, peaches!)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Michael Hosaluk is my hero.

Hello! I'm back! My hopes of updating you during my trip were dashed the first time I tried to get on-line - it took me ten minutes just to get into my e-mail.'s an advanced warning that this may be a long post. If you're in for the ride, you might want to grab a mug of hot tea, and a biscuit or two.
First of all, let me just say that going to Craft Camp is a little bit like going to heaven. It's good to be home again, and I probably couldn't have survived too much longer with so little sleep, but I think I'm hooked.
So, for those of you who don't already know...
I just spent two weeks at Haystack Mountain in Deer Isle, Maine. I took the car and drove down, a 9-1/2 hour trip if you can time the Digby/St. John ferry correctly, and it was a lovely drive. Maine is really pretty, especially down along the shore. There are lots of little towns very similar to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay, except with American flags hanging off every telephone pole. I slept in a dorm with ten other girls for most of the trip. For the sake of my sanity and the lives of some of those girls who liked to set their alarms for 6 am and then hit snooze twenty times, I spent the last couple of nights with friends who were smart enough to pay the extra money for a more private room. Lesson learned!
They fed us amazing food three times a day, and yummy desserts twice a day, and the rest of the time we just worked. The studios are open 24/7, so most nights we were up working until one or two in the morning. Except for the nights we were up partying until two or three.
Two of the things artists do best - work and party.
Michael Hosaluk was amazing (IS amazing!) He was totally up for anything that anyone wanted to make, and really created this totally fun, safe environment to play in. And play we did. We went to the local dump on the second day, and scavenged for all sorts of treasures. It may not sound like fun, rooting through the trash, but it was SO much fun! People throw some amazing things away, and it was like a free-for-all treasure hunt.
They had over $1000 worth of paints there for experimenting with, and the wood was available for anyone to use, or you could buy pieces if you wanted something specific. It was so much fun for me to sit and just play with paints again. I don't know if there are any other art school survivors out there, reading this, but it was the first time in years that I really just explored painting on surfaces again. It was very liberating. Michael is known for his surface treatments (one of the reasons that I wanted to take the course) and he brought all his tools, and showed us all his tricks. He's one of those people that just tries things out, all the time. Nothing is off-limits.
Some of his newest pieces are made by wetting rawhide, and stretching it over wood forms. When it dries, it retains the shape of the form. So I played around with that a bit, which was really fun. The best part about the course was how it set my mind racing with thousands of possibilities. The Haystack campus is quite amazing, and they run several different courses concurrently. So at the same time that we were busy playing in the woodshop, other people were playing with blacksmithing, pottery, jewellery-making, fibre arts, and paper-making. We were all free to roam through the other studios, and discuss ideas with people in the other disciplines. So I also made some paper, and we played with stretching wet paper over wood and wire forms, which was so ridiculously fun. In "real life" I would never take the time to play with something so out of my realm of experience, but now that I've tried it, I can do it again, any time I want to.
And it was so cool to be around so many amazing people. People who take two weeks out to go to Craft Camp already have something in common, and it was such a blast to get to know some of them. I burned off all those desserts by laughing.
Anyway, I was too busy doing stuff to take very many pictures, but I did get some.
This is a picture of the girls dorm, where I spent many a sleepless couple of hours.
Here's a shot of some of the stairs. Haystack is built into a hillside, so everything is on different levels, and there are many, many stairs. It does make for some amazing views, though.
And here's a shot of the outside of the woodshop. That's Michael's Alien head from the Alien Dance Party we'd had the night before. Sadly I didn't get any pictures of the Alien Dance Party, but there were some great costumes, and a live band.
All around the campus is forest and ocean.

We had a lobster dinner on the beach on one of the nights. That's Bradley, Misty, Erin, and Molly in the picture.
And I can never resist a good ocean shot.
This is a picture of the woodshop. That's Michael on the closest lathe, and Patrick behind him.
This was my work space half way through the second week. Patrick actually moved his desk back so I could spread out. Yeah, I know.
Here are a couple of Michael's rawhide pieces.
And here is the paper piece he made during the workshop.
Here's a picture of Michael and Molly, both of whom I absolutely love.
Some pieces by Michael and Marjin.
On the last day, they had a studio walk-through, where everyone showed what they had made. This is some pieces from the paper-making studio, where they stretched the wet paper over wire frames. It dries taught and strong.

Here's a couple of pieces from the Fibre Arts studio.
And the indigo-dyed paper curtain created by the paper-making class.

And I thought I would show you a couple of the pieces that I made. There are more, but the main one isn't quite finished, so I'll take pictures of that one as soon as I finish it. This piece started out as a painted panel that I didn't know what to do with. It became an interactive whirligig, and set my mind racing with all sorts of possibilities.

This is a little piece I made with some basswood that I dipped in the Indigo dye.
And this old broom head was my favourite find at the dump. I couldn't resist adding the legs.
Anyway, I got home last night at three in the morning, so I am too tired to finish writing. I'll try and get back on here soon, so I can show you what Jai has been busy doing while I was gone!