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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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

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and who are often found snuggled up together.

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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Thank goodness for things we find on the beach!

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They make going to the beach way more fun.

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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…

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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!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Newest Additions

Yesterday was a most exciting day! Sofi and Benita have arrived as the newest four-legged members of our family. When my mom decided that she wanted to get a horse, we thought that an older horse would make it's way into the family, one that was low maintenance but still rideable.  Instead, we fell in love with Sofi. She is a nine month old Rocky Mountain filly who melted our hearts as soon as we met.

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Research was quickly done to learn more about Rocky Mountain Horses and how much work it would be to train her. Everything we read talked about how these horses have an amazing temperament. This certainly seems true as Sofi is just as calm and friendly as can be, especially considering she is only nine months old.

Of course, my mom couldn’t just get Sofi and not get her a buddy to keep her company. And so Benita has also joined us.

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Benita is a miniature donkey and is really quite small. We were a bit worried that she would be noisy. The roosters up the road already wake the neighbours up - what would they think if  the neighbours on the other side of them got a noisy donkey who brays all the time!?!? Luckily she has been very quiet and only heehawed once when she was first unloaded and a bit scared.

We have been pleasantly surprised by how good both Sofi and Benita have been with the dogs. Sofi was as cool as a cucumber when a neighbour’s dog barked right in her face and although donkeys do not apparently get along very well with dogs, Benita has taken quite a liking to my brother’s dog, Bailey, following her around like an old friend.

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A big welcome to “the girls.” I’m sure we’ll have many stories to share…

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fun with Fonts

Despite my best intentions, I haven’t managed to get much done in terms of organizing or housework lately. On top of that, I haven’t done any knitting in the past two days, which is terrible since I have exciting projects that I want to finish.

I have, however, finally had a chance to do a little blurfing (e.g. blog surfing). Some of the blogs I came across were full of inspiration and you can find buttons that link to them on the right hand side down near the bottom. These lovely blogs led to others and somewhere along the way I saw a font that made me stop in my tracks and wonder why I have only ever stuck with what my laptop already had. I mean really, I have business cards and jewelry tags and now they seem so boring. I went on a search for the font I had seen and along the way I found all these other beauties. I thought I would post them in the spirit of sharing inspiration and here they are by name. (I had thought of including one for every letter of the alphabet, but then I would have to look for more and also leave some out, so never mind.) There were all free and most were from in case you also feel the need for a little something extra special for your graphic designing needs.



Dead Hardy


effloresce antique

first crush






Lewis F Day 191


miss claude



sir talks a lot



worstveld sling extra

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Long overdue…

I have neglected many things, including this little corner of cyberspace, over the past six months. Now that I have completed my B. Ed. and am awaiting my teaching certification I have time (and no excuse!) not to remedy the situation. So here is a little recap…

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Let’s go back a ways… to my favourite season, because that is where I left off last time…

During the summer I spent my weekdays in university classrooms, and on the weekends I went to Cobble Hill and did my assignments in the studio so that we would be ready in the event that customers stopped by. Business was quiet, but we did have people wander in from time to time, and the studio was a good excuse to escape from the confines of our small city apartment and head for more peaceful surroundings.

Summer’s glory came in many forms…

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including a most magnificent garden with flowers and organic veggies galore,

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breakfasts on the patio while the dew evaporated under the sun’s warm rays,

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and walks to the creek with the ducks and other friends.

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With the passing months, we began to notice distinct differences among the ducks, in addition to those we had already become aware of, such as mama Bella’s protective nature, Lola’s friendly and clumsy ways, and Red’s daring try-anything-once attitude. We noticed curly tail feathers on two of the ducks and learned that these are what distinguish the drakes from the females… Lola is actually a Lolo!

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Summer’s brilliance faded into fall as I began more classes and prepared for a practicum in a Grade 4 French Immersion class which turned out to be an amazing and enriching experience in so many ways.  Thank you Grade 4s!

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As winter was setting in for good, I was busy with the last minute details of my program, and then with getting ready for Christmas. For the first time in years, I put up a Christmas tree and managed to make quite a few handmade gifts. I love being done school!

One of the things my mom and I did over the holidays was strain the blackberry vodka she started months ago with her own berries. It is delicious! I especially like it with with a bit of tonic water… so refreshing, it is a true taste of summer in the dead of winter. And so another batch has been left to sit and soak up the sweet berry flavours.

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Between the blackberry vodka, the bumper crop of green beans in the freezer, and the squash, summer’s bounty is still being enjoyed.

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Even on misty, mossy days like today.