May 4, 2020

I did it!  I quilled!!!  Yeah!  

First, though, I had to be foolish and try to create something free-hand.  After so long, it was a mistake to jump back in and attempt an original project.

So I set it aside and pulled out one of my many books, choosing Quilled Flowers by Alli Bartkowski.

I needed something with good and complete instructions for a project I could sit and finish in a few short hours.

Cherry blossoms were perfect, and seasonal too, so I sat down and enjoyed making this little branch...

...which I actually could easily display in the studio when it was done!  Ta-da!  It felt great!

I love books!  

Apr 29, 2020

Rise up!

So what to do during self-isolation...??  While we still have fixing-up jobs to do around the house (and haven't yet started the guest room re-paint), and a lot of sorting and organizing from the move, some days you just want to MAKE something.  I'm so out of touch with my creative side that I'm having a hard time getting started with any projects, so instead I bake.  

Baking with yeast is such a magical pleasure...

It grows before your eyes and smells so good!!!   You have to care for it and treat it right...

And then you get to beat it with a wooden spoon and stretch it to your will...

You then bake it, literally killing it, and eat it!  

The perfect relationship!  Is my COVID19 frustration showing?  Oops!

Then I made oatmeal-ginger cookies...

Then cinnamon pull-apart breads...

And sent some of each to my favorite essential worker, my sister!  Enjoy, Doris!

Apr 16, 2020

Golden memories

Our new house has less storage space so I've been motivated to go through all my boxes of magazines and recycle/bring away a lot of them to make some much needed wiggle-room.  While doing this, I've discovered some old gems, the most touching being the re-discovery of the first magazine I ever subscribed to:  The Miniature Magazine.  I bought an issue in 1981 (when I was wee!) from a magazine rack (remember when stands in stores had all kinds of neat, strange things to offer?) and was hooked!  I already was enjoying miniatures but this magazine opened up the mini world (and the world in general) in such a deep and profound way that now, almost 40 years later, I remember almost every page, every picture!  It was a bizarre and beautiful experience, to go through page by page and have a clear recollection of what would appear when I turned the pages.  Obviously this magazine made a very lasting impression!  

One article in particular about a stunning house called Laven Dell was very helpful in that it talked about how expensive miniatures were and how to embrace our creativity to make our own items from inexpensive things.  

The lasting power of the printed word...

Other magazines were remarkable in how much they changed over the years.  The Teddy and doll magazines all SHRANK an incredible amount over the decades, and now sadly so many have completely disappeared or gone online only.   

For example, Haute Doll:  this magazine was the "Vogue" of the doll community, a bit risqué and avant garde and beautifully photographed (whether you agreed with the contents or not).  In its glory days, an issue would consist of 114+/- color pages.  Then, in May 2011 it merged with Doll Reader and the two magazines together only numbered 64 pages.  2016 seems to be when the name was dropped entirely and now only Dolls Magazine continues as a printed and digital publication.  Is there any magazine out there that replaces Haute Doll?  Let me know please!

Closer to my heart, the Teddy magazines didn't fare any better.  In the years that I subscribed, Teddy Bear and Friends was a full-bodied magazine, half black and white, that ran about 120+/- pages.  June 1997 had 144 pages!  Then things started to whittle down and by 2014 they were printing issues with only 46+/- pages.  So sad!  

Teddy Bear Review was always somewhat smaller and more a light read but it still had just under a 100 pages or so before they also shrank.  It merged with Teddy Bear and Friends in 2012 and then Teddy Bear and Friends just in the past year or so merged with the British publication Teddy Bear Times.  There is still a printed issue (but you can preview a virtual one here).  Other magazines like Teddy Today disappeared all together.  
(I did not follow the British or Australian magazines so I have no insight into their publications.)

I would like to add that I was honored to appear in various Teddy magazines numerous times:  my most treasured memory was seeing my Quin the Rat in Teddy Bear and Friends in 2003 (see the page to the left) and then being interviewed for a spotlight article in Teddy Bear Review in 2007! (see the three pages below)

Do you have a favorite Teddy, doll or miniature magazine that is still being produced?  If so, please leave a comment so we can take a look and support what remains of our printed community!

Mar 23, 2020

Cabin and Spring Fever!

So just when it was time to come out of hibernation:  COVID-19!  I'm so bummed, we were really looking forward to exploring our new area and all the wonderful Springtime events, like the maple syrup fests... now we're stuck in our house and getting a little stir-crazy.  The pups are keeping us on schedule, though, and long walks help our mood, as well as some of the wonderful things being shared online, like this: 
When I heard some folks were turning their Christmas decorations back on, though, that made me shiver.  Christmas?!  I want Spring, I want flowers, I want mud and birds and green!  So I decorated for Spring, here are our front windows:

Bunnies!  Tulips!  Sunshine!  If you'd like to do the same, there are hundreds of bunny templates online but you're welcome to use mine.  They are about 20 years old, so I don't recall which ones I hand-drew and which were found online...  for your personal pleasure please use them to spruce up your home with seasonal color and fun!  Just print them on a full sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper and use them as templates on cardstock or whatever paper you have in your home.  

Enjoy!  Shine on!  Stay well, both physically and mentally!

Mar 3, 2020

Mount Forest

So I thought I'd introduce you our new town:  Mount Forest!  It's in the North Wellington part of Wellington County and right on the Saugeen River.  Mount Forest is at a higher elevation than surrounding land, which led to the town's motto of "High, Healthy and Happy", so that's high as in high up not the other "high".  

Going back in time, according to Wikipedia, there's supposed to be an ancient native burial site close to our house, but we have not yet discovered where (there's supposed to be a marker).  In 1851 Mount Forest got it's post office, and in 1871 the train stopped here.  Today the population hovers above 5000.
  The "Founding of Mount Forest" plaque photo is from this website.

  Pictures are worth a million words so here are two videos for you to enjoy:

 It shows the Saugeen River, which is lovely and so alive with birds, and while we live close by the video does not capture our house:  the closest it gets is at 5:23 when Oakview Crescent can be seen.

This second video shows the town:

Annually, on the third weekend in July, Mount Forest hosts a huge Fireworks Festival, along with a classic car show and carnival.  We're looking forward to experiencing all the fun!

Jan 11, 2020


It has been a very long time and so much has changed!  My apologies for being so far behind in keeping this blog up-to-date... 

After my last post, we completely altered our lives by MOVING!  YES, we decided to leave behind the gorgeous 1891 Victorian in Elora and seek a quieter, more comfortable life.  It was high time for a little "us" and we closed the doors on The Flying Leap Bed and Breakfast for good on October 15th, 2019.  It was sad but also a huge relief... I don't think we fully realized how much we gave to the B&B and how little we gave to ourselves.

Moving is a very particular kind of hell... We have too much "stuff" and it all had to be boxed and carted away.  That included my 500-800 books, which luckily were packed early and served as the base (under all that black velvet) for a rather useful Hallowe'en display in the entry!  
And then there's the new house, starting all over to make it ours.  There's the painting, the "surprises", the lingering smells of strangers and all those boxes...  Ugh.  Please remind me, if we ever think about moving again, what a hell it really is!!! 

But things are coming along and here's to a bright, healthy, creative, happy and balanced 2020!

Jun 18, 2019

Happy Solstice!

There is nothing like Spring!  These photos are from our gardens, enjoy!  

And we've re-purposed our cast iron log holder!  It has a nasty crack and some superficial rust but with some Lantana, Muehlenbeckia and Cosmos it makes a lovely splash of colour on our otherwise dull, 2 car parking space.   

We hope you're enjoying all the colour in Elora at this time of year!