Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An unlikely visitor

The other day I was teasing my mom with her lovely country garden, saying that at least I don’t have to worry about deer munching on my roses. I may live in the city and hear the rumble of buses or the wail of sirens on a regular basis, but even this cloud has a silver lining… at least my less than serene garden has its perks. I was wrong…

buck 001

Look who was lounging in my yard when I got up this morning! I guess he was enjoying this spot of shade to chew his cud. Since we are so close to downtown and other parts of the city are so much more appealing (fresh water, forests, etc.), it is not often one sees deer in our area.  And take a look at those antlers! all soft and velvety… this is a 4-point buck!

Since he was just lounging and not eating my plants I let him be and took the photos through the kitchen window. After a while, he got up, shook his head as if to clear out the cobwebs and sauntered into my veggie garden. I had a video but I must have accidentally deleted it… shoot! He didn’t touch my veggies  (thank you!) but he did take a bite out of my fledgling hydrangea before meandering down the street to check out some more gardens. Oh, and when he headed for my veggie patch, we banged on the window and went outside and he was not even the least bit phased.

buck 004

I have to say that it has been a bit of a strange day all in all. I made an appointment this morning to get a dress hemmed (I’m wearing it on Saturday for my brother’s wedding) and I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing: Dress bought on sale… check. Get it shortened… check. Now just a little sun on my legs and I’ll be ready to go, right? So off I go to buy some milk at the corner store and what do I do on my way back? I trip on some uneven sidewalk and give myself a good case of road-rash. I mean, okay, I do clumsy things from time to time and REALLY clumsy things once every couple of years… but this?  now?  this week? I couldn’t believe it. Luckily Doctor Nick came to my rescue and bandaged me up as soon as I had hobbled home… Thanks love.

Friday, May 14, 2010

How To Make a Stamp

When faced with a creative query, I often look to the internet for answers and I have often found helpful information on the blog of another creative crafter. So in the sprit of sharing how-to advice, here’s a quick little tutorial on how to make a stamp – not a rubber stamp, but a means to imprint a design in clay. This is how I made the stamps that I use in my PMC jewelry.

First, roll out some polymer clay.

projects 018

Etch your design or write your text in the polymer clay – sorry I didn’t take more pictures – I used a ball point pen though. Cook the polymer clay according the the directions and let cool.

Give the cooked clay a light dusting of corn starch and tap it off so that there’s not too much in the crevices. Then roll out another piece of polymer clay – make it a bit thicker than the thickness that you will want the finished stamp to be – and press it firmly into the corn starched impression. The corn starch will prevent the uncooked clay from sticking to the cooked stuff and when you remove it you will have the reverse of the design that you originally created (great for text which become reversed again when stamped!) and you can pop it in the oven to cook.

projects 021

If you use brown Sculpey like I did, watch that the folks in your household don’t try eating it – it really looks a lot like chocolate! Now you are ready to add handles. I cut up some chopsticks, gave the ends a light sand, and glued them to my chocolate pieces. Epoxy or a strong craft glue like E6000 will work great.

projects 023

Happy crafting!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Of Birth and Death

The last month has flown by and just as we expected, our ducklings hatched in time for Easter. Red hatched three cute little peepers…

ducklings 004

who stayed on the nest for a while and then came out to play…

ducklings 001

and who are often found snuggled up together.

ducklings 002

Unfortunately, not all of the eggs hatched – Red had kicked a few of them out of the nest so they may have gotten too cold then or perhaps she did so because knew that something was wrong with them… ??

Mom opened one to see what was inside and this is what she found…

ducklings 003

Look at what a tight fit it is… isn’t nature amazing?

It hasn’t been all fun and games though. One of the ducklings caught pneumonia, was one the brink of death, and was brought into the house for some special care… wait! I’m having déjà vu… this happened last spring! Anyways, we have named her Pearl (Mom swears its a female…) and, well, she might become Earl.

ducklings 011

An infection as left her with a deformed bill (see that underbite?) and one of the remedies Mom used has left her with purple feathers… so she’s pretty funny looking to begin with…

but then when she preens or scratches she is quite the contortionist!

ducklings 009

ducklings 013 

Unfortunately, our paddle of quackers has suffered another, more serious, calamity. Bella, the mother of the others was attacked by a hawk a couple of weeks ago. Mom locked the other ducks up when she went into town, but because Bella had built a nest nestled close to the house beside the front porch and was sitting on her eggs, Mom left her there thinking she would stay on her nest where she would more than likely be safe. Mom was devastated when she came home to a macabre pile of white feathers in the horse paddock. Bella must have decided she wanted in with the others and was stranded out by her lonesome. Things just haven’t been the same since then. Jethro still looks for his mate (I know, I know, isn’t she his mom too? it’s just for one generation, we promise) and Red isn’t near as good of a mom as Bella was.

We miss you…

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Weekend in the Country

Back in the city after a quiet weekend with family and friends, I thought I would share a couple of pictures from quaint Cobble Hill. I even love the name “Cobble Hill” – Edward Street in Victoria sounds so stuffy in comparison, doesn’t it?


Here is a photo of mom and me beside the studio with our favourite duck. I think Lolo might be looking at my buttons and wondering whether or not they would be fun to poke at.

lolo 068

When I arrived on Friday, ducks were enjoying the puddles in the driveway and I loved how the reflection of the ducks and the garage looked in the water. What a great way to start to the weekend!

Although it’s a bit dreary and wet right now, the trees are starting to blossom and the ground will dry out soon. Hurray for spring!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Expectant Mothers

Starting in January, our ducks began to lay eggs! Yes, real duck eggs! Red, who is the youngest female - she was just a duckling last spring, remember? – started laying first and was soon followed by mama duck. They started making nests here and there, under the sequoia trees, in a patch of ferns, and mom went around collecting eggs all over the place so she could put them in the 2-nest maternity ward that she quickly built just for them.

lolo 058

Red has quite a clutch of eggs now – almost 10 I think – and although at first she had to be locked in her maternity nest so as to get used to the idea of it and realize “hey, these are my eggs?!” she has begun to sit on them diligently.

lolo 061

She still comes out for some fun though! A swim or a snack in the garden still figures on her agenda some days.

end of feb 019

Here she is one the shovel as I turned up some dirt to reveal a feast of worms – yummm! They’re very good at getting underfoot in the garden… so better watch out!

The other night, when mom went to lock them in for the night (safe from nocturnal critters who might be on the prowl), she found Lolo cuddled up with Red in the maternity ward. The two of them seemed to have a special bond even last summer and he has definitely had more of a tendency lately to stick close to Red and the duck pen, even when he is out and about exploring the yard. I think he’ll be a proud papa… maybe we’ll even have ducklings in time for Easter…

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February sunshine

I just finished reading my friend Kerry’s blog post about our crew of critters in Cobble Hill, as well as some of her other updates ( Her writing and photos are lovely as always and as usual I’m left wondering when was the last time I blogged. Almost a month ago? Again? How did that happen?

And so I thought I would post a few pics from last weekend. We had a lovely spell of clear blue skies and brilliantly sunny days that only recently came to a close. The Japanese plum trees are in full bloom in Victoria and spring has come early, as it is wont to do in our corner of paradise. Of course, it takes the Olympics and the sunny warm weather that has plagued the games to convince the rest of the world that not all of Canada is a winter wonderland in February. But more on why my favourite place is called Canada’s Provence  some other time…

After weeks of gray skies, such a stretch of sunny days was something to celebrate. And so we made plans to head to Port Renfrew on the west side of our great island, invited family folk to come along, and packed a picnic lunch full of goodies.

country 147

This picture is a favourite of mine because although Heidi and Fiona playing with golf balls found at the beach is fun, if you look closer you will see Jordan and Bill talking physics stuff in the background and while Jordan was trying to sketch his explanations in the sand, Kim’s dog Nikita kept chasing the stick he was using… stick? stick? for me? please?… endlessly.

country 143 

Thank goodness for things we find on the beach!

country 140

They make going to the beach way more fun.

country 145

This is one of those long beaches with plenty of driftwood to look at or collect. Some pieces are only good for climbing on though.

Oh, did I mention we were celebrating? Yes, we were very pleased with the gorgeous weather, but it also happened to be my birthday and I couldn’t have wished for a more pleasant day.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fun at the beach

Today was a lazy day… one those days when reason tells you that all those things that need doing can wait another day or two. This meant that I finally took the time to watch Julie & Julia which I have meaning to watch for some time and found thoroughly enjoyable. In the spirit of blogging (the cooking will have to wait for another day…), I knew I had to post a little update.

Last weekend included a trip to Cobble Hill to work on jewelry and hang with the animals. On Monday, my mom and I took Sofi and Benita for a walk to the beach. We are like most folks in that we take the dog for a walk in the late afternoon, but now this sometimes means taking the horse and the donkey out too. Since I don’t mind the funny looks and it’s good for them to experience new environments, off we went. Sofi had been to the beach with my mom once before, but it was the first time for Benita, who was curious and needed to sniff and investigate everything new she saw… sand, seaweed, big open space…

This is what Sofi had to say…

sofi 061

There’s nothing like a good roll in the sand. I bet she’ll like it even more in the summer when the sand gets nice and dry!