Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sweet Peas!

It's been a while, though I don't feel like there's lots to report. I spent a couple more days visiting in Halifax, and that seems to have thrown all my schedules out the window. I feel back on track now, though.
I did manage to get four more books finished. And three of them I painted on, which was lots of fun. I found a site that show tv shows on-line, so I have watched the first season of Grey's Anatomy while putting this stuff together, and working on a new whirligig (which is so far unfinished.)

I made up some polar bear toys at the request of Mahar Drygoods, so Jai will be painting those soon. Yep, Christmas already. He's been busy turning tops, but did find the time to make a gorgeous walnut pen, as well.

The garden is just at that point when there's not a lot that needs to be done with it, other than weeding. It needs a LOT of weeding this year, because we foolishly allowed our big pile of topsoil to grow weeds all summer last year, then spread it all over our garden this year. Jai read somewhere that allowing weeds to go to seed for one year means seven years of hard weeding. Oh, crap.
Everything is doing well, though. (My rose came back!) The potatoes are starting to die back already, the beans are making beans, the tomatoes are reddening (we've eaten about four, so far), the cucumbers are once again getting out of control, and the watermelons are like little baseballs. We went in to the Farmer's Market last Saturday and came home with a quart of blueberries, and a quart of cherries, plus I bought some Canadian peaches, so it's been an eating bonanza. I think that is my favourite part about summer. Plus I like waking up and having the bedroom be bright. The heat, though, I could live without. (Of course, don't ask me in the Winter!)
It is fun to see everyone out and about. We went for a walk the other night, and the streets were full of people strolling around. It made me feel very glad to live in a small town.
The other thing that made me very glad to live in a small town this week was the Anne of Green Gables Ice Cream Social put on by the library. This is the 100th anniversary of Anne of Green Gables, so they had free ice cream and all sorts of activities for kids in the park behind our house.

Jai wasn't sure that he wanted to go, until I said, "Well, you don't HAVE to eat free ice cream!" Who can resist free ice cream from a girl with red braids?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Progress Report

Hello! Isn't that the sweetest little chickpea that you've ever seen? I just love how these plants look. I'm not sure how many peas we'll actually get (Jai figures about half a can's worth) but it's fun to grow them anyway.

Work-wise, I got a couple more projects done this week. Here is the latest whirligig:

I don't know if you can tell, but I'm having a lot of fun with them. The next one has already begun. I also got a couple of books finished, so I will be listing them in our store this week, hopefully. I'm really enjoying the whole binding part of the new books. Before, it was just straight-up woodworking (with hinges and bolts) but now it is woodworking crossed with this whole other world of possibilities. Plus I like having an activity to do at night while we watch shows. I always did like stitching things together.
We had to do an emergency Halifax run this week, as some of our favourite people ended up in the hospital. We're thinking of you guys every day, and we're sure you're about to make a speedy recovery! The only upside to this was that Jai was able to pick up the guitar my parents bought him. They said it was calling out for him, and it appears that he agrees wholeheartedly :)
We've been having crazy hot weather this week, hot enough to send me running for cover at times. Jai was saying today we need to find some inner tubes so we can launch into the river and spend an afternoon floating around. They've taken down the pollution meter this year, so I'm hoping that just means that it's always safe to swim. The meter used to read (from green to red) "Safe," "Not safe to water livestock," "Not safe to water crops," "Not safe to swim," which always made us wonder why it would be bad to water crops with, but ok to swim in. Hmmm...

Anyway, the garden is enjoying the heat, and we are starting to enjoy some produce from it. This week we saw the first of the cucumbers ready to eat (and delicious!) and bowls and bowls of raspberries. The lettuce bolted, though, so I'm glad I have been staggering the planting this year. Last year I planted it all at once, which meant there was more than we could eat, until there was suddenly none worth eating. I'm learning!
And a progress report on the peach front: so far so good. The clever little tree dropped all but two of the peaches that it started, which is good, I think. The two that are left are looking especially succulent.
I hope you all have a peachy week!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Things that Spin

Well hello again!
It's a little early for me to be writing again, but I just uploaded a bunch of photos for our store, and figured I may as well use them. I finally got a couple of action pictures of our "Old-Fashioned Button Spinners" as we are currently calling them. Although I like "Big Button Spinners" too. Hmmmm... Anyone else want to weigh in on that one?

Also, I have a brand new obsession. I know, I know, I probably didn't need another one, but this one is actually the coolest thing yet. Ever, maybe. Raise your hand if you've heard of the Kinora Viewer. Well, I certainly never had, but maybe it came along at just the right time in my life. They are early versions of the home movie, using flip book technology. Kinoras and Mutoscopes and Midgette Movie Theatres, oh my! (ok, that doesn't really roll off the tongue.)

Check out this link to see the Queen's own Kinora in action.

I just discovered these, and then the next day Etsy ran a feature on flip books, and there was Joe Friedman with his Retroscope. So of course, I had to buy one. For research purposes, of course.
SO much fun. I'm hoping to make a million of these things. I downloaded a trial version of this program called iStopmotion, which allows you to convert film into flip books. And, to me at least, flip books are another one of those toys that should never have gone out of style.
I haven't had a chance to get active on this yet, but stay tuned.......

Jai has been turning out tops like a madman. Everyone is starting to think about Christmas already. I guess that's what it means to be in the toy business. Although I have to say, it's difficult to think about Christmas (or anything, for that matter) when it's 31 degrees and thick as soup. It's hard not to wilt a little in that heat, but the plants seem to be loving it. Everything shot up and out this week. The naturtiums are finally looking like they're here to stay.
And the chickpeas are blooming! I was a little worried that this would never happen, and admittedly we still have a few hurdles to overcome before we are eating home-grown hummus, but it IS a start. We had roasted baby red potatoes from the garden a couple of nights ago. YUMMY! They went too fast for me to even get a picture. And tonight, it was a giant bowl of raspberries for dessert. I'm saving the strawberries for breakfast :) Have a good one...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Fireworks and Raspberries, straight off the vine.

Hello Again! It's been another fabulously exciting week in the lives of Jai and Lauren, as per usual. Well, something like that, anyway.
Our second annual Bridgetown Canada Day Bash was a hit. The fireworks were spectacular once again. I don't know if it's because everything else feels cosier (being in our candlelit backyard with all our friends, as opposed to being in a mad crush of people on the street in Victoria) or not, but once again we, and everyone we know, were greatly impressed.

Jai set up some benches out of haybales and slabs, and we had our market tent and lots of lawn chairs, courtesy of our neighbour Pearl, plus our sawhorse-and-door table.

Unfortunately, I wasn't right on top of it with the camera , so I don't have many pictures. Oops. We also took the opportunity of having a yard full of people to debut our newest toy. I don't really know what to call these yet, so if anyone out there has a good name, please go ahead and suggest it. They're based on a very old toy.

They spin and spin, if you get the hand motion right, and I think they will be great toys for kids 7+. Plus, they are excellent exercise! I don't have any pictures of them actually spinning yet, since I was home alone all day, and it is a two-handed activity, but as soon as I do, we will start listing them on Etsy.

Other activities this week included a beach visit, where I picked up a few new treasures:

And a trip to the Farmer's Market, which was insanely busy this week.

We are wondering if we will be able to get around to having a booth in the market this year or not. At the moment, we are so low on stock that there really isn't any point, but hopefully we can remedy that soon. I got a couple of new books done this week, so some of them will be up in the store soon.

And I finally photographed my newest whirligig. So here it is:

These are so much fun to make and to have around, and I already have another one half done, and ideas for several more. Interactive kinetic sculptures, I will call them when they need to sound artsy, but whirligigs is how I really think of them. I just listed this one in our Etsy store, so if you would like to see more pictures, they are available there.

And finally, in other shop news, I finished the indigo book that I began at my wood workshop. This is two pieces of spruce and some leather that I dipped in the indigo vat. I really love how the spruce turned out, when you can see it close up, it has all sorts of constellations across it, where the sap blocked the dye from penetrating. It really is quite beautiful. And this binding, sewing on tapes, is another new one for me. I really like it, there's a very "ancient artifact" feeling about it, and I have started another one with walnut and tan leather, where I will weave the leather through the wood cover, instead of tacking it on. All the leather comes from old jackets that I bought at Frenchy's from the damaged leather bin. Hooray for Frenchy's, once again!

Things are coming along in the garden. I ended up buying some new carrot seeds, and these ones seem to be coming up ok, so hopefully we will still get carrots this year. Carrots straight out of the ground, and washed off with the garden hose taste so much better than grocery store carrots! The cucumbers have already started to grow, and some of the tomatoes are getting to be a good size (although some of them are still blooming.)Most exciting for today: I had the first raspberry of the year this morning! The first of many...
Well, that's enough news for one week, I would say. Whew!