Sunday, September 28, 2008 update!

Hello! Yes, we're still here. It's been a while, I know. Thanks for the notes of concern. Mostly, I just got lazy :)
I was downed for a whole week by a truly nasty cold that has been making the rounds. Luckily, Jai didn't get sick, because that might have been trouble! Oh well, it was a little bit enjoyable to have an excuse to eat all that soup. I sure do love soup.
Then there was a week-long delay after I realized that I forgot to change my camera format from RAW, after taking all those wedding photos. I'm sure if you have the right software, it's an easy fix to convert RAW images to Jpegs, but apparently we don't have the right software. So Jai converted some of the photos for me, and I'll probably throw the rest out. Some of the Ciderfest events, you will just have to picture in your head! :)
We haven't been up to much around here. I went to do the Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council (NSDCC) jurying a couple of weeks ago. Things were a little frantic around here for the week before that, as I was trying to get some new pieces done to replace the pieces we put in the Trees Gallery. Anyway, we passed the jurying (whew!) so now we can officially call ourselves juried members of the NSDCC, which does carry some weight for those who care about these sorts of things. Plus, now we can do the NSDCC Christmas show, which is supposed to be one of the best shows in Eastern Canada. So that's a whole lot more to get ready for. From now until after Christmas, we are going to be supremely busy.
Also that same weekend, I got to be the photographer's assistant for my cousin Emma, who does wedding photography. I had done one other wedding with her, years before, but it was super fun to do another one. I'm hoping she'll ask me to do more. Here's a link to the album - I took some of those pictures! Anyway, that was actually a super fun way to spend the day, and the food was pretty delicious, too.
And, after that, it was pretty much lying in bed feeling sorry for myself. We did get out to see some of the Ciderfest activities that happened here in Bridgetown. Ciderfest is Bridgetown's big annual cultural festival, and this year was it's 25th anniversary. There was all the traditional activities like pancake breakfasts and pig roast dinners, but I didn't get to any of those. We did get to the giant pumpkin weigh-off, though. That was really fun, there were lots of giant pumpkins, and the biggest one weighed 651 pounds! We grew pumpkins in the garden again this year, but the biggest one we got, you could easily hold in the palm of one hand.
After the pumpking weigh-off, there was movies in the park. National Velvet for the kids, and The Quiet Man for the adults. So Jai and I took a couple of quilts and our big winter coats down to the park, and cuddled up for The Quiet Man. It was a little cold, but they provided hot chocolate and popcorn, and the movie was pretty fun. There's something so nice about sitting under the stars, huddled under a blanket, sharing a little moment like that with your neighbours.

Other days there was a night party on main street, where they shut down the street to traffic, and put out a bunch of carnival games and a main stage where they held the finals for Bridgetown Idol. Unfortunately we missed the end, so I can't tell you who won. The next day, there was a bunch more events on the main street, including a petting zoo and free cider giveaway. We kind of missed the Rubber Duck race down the river, as we waited on the bridge, with all the other people from away, and it happened down by the park. Oops. We did make it back to the park in time to catch the cardboard boat race, though, and I'm so glad we did.
The boats had to be made of carboard and tape only, and there were all different categories for different age groups. It was so much fun to watch them go, and of course there were a few contestants who ended up swimming most of the way, dragging their soggy cardboard boats behind them. Everyone got cheered on equally.
Other than that, things have mostly been quiet around here. We've both been pretty exhausted, but trying to get more work done. Summer is almost finished here. We had the peaches off our tree (yum!) and now the frosts have begun. The leaves are starting to go the most spectacular colours, and there have already been a few nights when we lit a fire in the stove to warm up. Another season change is upon us, and it's almost time for me to knit a new scarf. I'll try and drum up some news in the week to come, so you don't have to wait so long for another update. Until then, keep well!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Beans and Stuff

Hello! I'm a little behind on posting this week. It felt like one of those weeks where we were constantly on the go, although looking back, it is also one of those weeks where I don't feel like we actually accomplished much.

The sad news first . . . Our car is toast. The second shop we took it to called yesterday to say that the motor was not fixable, and a new one would cost $3500, just for the part. This has left us in sort of a quandary (ok, I admit that I'm not totally sure if that is the right usage for the word "quandary" but I'm going to use it anyway, because I feel like it should describe our situation.) We only paid $2500 for the car in the first place, and we only bought it almost exactly a year ago - not exactly a good value, in the end. We aren't really in a situation to buy another car at the moment (or to fix the one we have!) but over the last two weeks, I have put $70 of gas in the truck, when I would have put $20 in the car. So we can't really keep that up, either. Hmmmmmm. Yup, quandary. (Maybe.)
Anyway, on the postive side, my beans are done! This is a giant bowl of the beautiful black beans that we grew in the garden. It's probably only enough for one or two meals, but it was just a small patch of the garden, and they were so much fun to grow, and harvest :) The kidney beans are coming along, but they aren't dry enough yet. Mmmmm - home-made garden chili. I can't wait! Plus we have been enjoying all our home-grown watermelons. It's amazing that something so juicy came out of our garden!

We finished scraping one side, and most of the back of the house, so we finally got some primer on. Then it rained for a week (still raining as I type) so we haven't gotten any further on it. That is a HUGE project that we are still hoping to finish this year, but it's starting to look a little iffy. They say we are about to get the remnants of Hurricane Hannah, so I think we're in for a little more rainy weather.

We did get a little work done in the shop. Jai has been making more tops (of course) and some pens that were a custom order.

And I played with bandsaw boxes, finally. I never was able to get 4" poplar, so I had to get 8/4, and glue it together. It's a bit of a pain, but in the end it works just as well. This is my first finished box, and I'm hoping to make more soon.

Also, still busy making books. I finished up this walnut one:

And my friend Jo gave me my first custom order for a book with this amazing picture of her father to draw on the cover. I started it already, and really love how it looks. I'll post pictures when it's done. The whole process of working with these old photos is just so enjoyable.
I also started a book with some cutout silhouettes in the cover. I had done several of these in the old style of book, and they were always popular, so we'll see if the same holds true or not. I started with a cutout of some maple leaves, in a birdseye maple book, and it is coming together nicely, so far.
We've got one week till the NSDCC (Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council) jurying. I will be taking three products that are representative of what we make, and submitting them for a judgment from peers. Wish us luck! I'm not sure yet which three products to bring, but I have to decide soon, because there is pages and pages of paperwork that has to be done on each one. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Have a great week!