Mar 12, 2021

And suddenly...

 ... it's Spring!  These photos were taken March 10 and today 3/4 of our snow is gone, mostly overnight with +8C and strong winds.  

Here's the runoff from our downspout, a real flow!

The Willow buds are showing just a crack of white...

while the snowdrops are seriously sprouting!!  

Happy Spring!

Jan 5, 2021

The story of a fox

In June 2020 I ordered an intriguing needlefelting kit from Fibrecraft, a Mississauga based online business that sells a nice range of quality needlefelting supplies.  It was my first ever order from this small business and I was impressed by the entire experience, from an easy to use website, straight-forward ordering procedure, super fast delivery and well-packaged products (there was even a little extra "gift", which was a treat!).  In these COVID times when visiting a farm to buy rovings isn't possible it was nice to find a great Canadian online spot!

Fabian the Fox was just what I needed:  a challenge!  I've completed simpler critters but nothing at this level.  I was eager to get started...

First the instructions were detailed in how to create the wire armature.  Then I started to build up the core body, and then legs.  Instructions were step-by-step but I feel some experience is needed as it's not aimed at beginners.

I have to mention that the fibres were delicious to work with, so soft and felting quite easily. (And plentiful:  there was enough for the fox with some left over.)

Once the basic body was created...
It was time to work on the face.  Eye holes were created and beads inserted to hold the positions.  This was well described... but the nose?  The instructions left you to figure it out on your own.  I ended up with a rather large nose.

Then the black "mascara" was added along with the mouth and other facial markings.


Ears were made from scratch... with good instructions on how to do this.

And eyes were created from felt too!  That was an amazing feat, I thought!  I was impressed with how they turned out!  Again, though, the instructions were a little short:  how do you make smooth eyeballs?  I found it was very helpful to wet and role the eyes in my hands to get nice, smooth balls.  

The next step was not so much fun:  adding the black to the paws to build up the feet.  Because of the wire armature, there was no room to poke without hitting the wire.  I broke two needlefelting needles trying to get the black fibres to stay in place.  Also, the instructions at this phase were very short and didn't supply the necessary details on how to create the feet.  I looked online for reference images of fox feet for help.

Luckily I had other needles and could keep going...

Until they were finally done!

Now it was time to make the fox furry!  The thighs and hind quarters were done first, adding long fibres and then trimming them down to the desired length.  The chest and tummy followed and finally the tail.
The reverse needle was used at this stage.  Here the instructions were good on how to blend out lines and add just a bit of fluffiness to even out the fox's coat.

And Sabian was finished!  I think my fox is more a female then Fabian so Sabian seems to suit her.

Yes, it took me 6 months to finish her!  But there were LOTS of interruptions!

Ta da!!  
Aside from the one shortcoming in that the instructions could be a bit more thorough, I would certainly do another Chicktin Creations kit.  The unicorn looks like fun...

Happy New Year!

 To everyone:  may 2021 bring back to us all the things we sorely miss, remind us not to fall back into old habits that bog us down and let us experience grand new adventures!  

Dec 9, 2020

Hallowe'en withdrawl

It's December already and I'm still looking at Hallowe'en goodies and eating those wee little chocolates.  Sigh.  Around here, it's incredible the amount of Christmas decorations that people have put up!  I just wish they had had the same enthusiasm for Hallowe'en!  

Anyway, we had a LOVELY Hallowe'en, even with the COVID restrictions.  Everyone was super polite and wore masks, and I handed out candy with my BBQ tongs... this certainly slowed things down a bit as the children marveled at my clumsiness, but that was okay. 

We had an absolute blast taking all of October to unpack every box and set up every decoration in and outside the house!  Wow, there were forgotten treasures!  Here are some of the best pictures of our yard:

It was the perfect night:  not too cold, dry and just a bit of wind!  

I think everyone's favorite was the skeleton under the tree with his doggy skeleton friends!  Three pups enjoyed his company, each one with its own bone to chew on.  

Howler and Beelzebub were also enjoying the evening air, and as it grew darker, Beelzebub enjoyed the spotlight! 

And then the moon came up and it was magical!  

The next night was far more sombre as we set up out alter for the Day of the Dead.  Since it was SNOWING we had to change our plans and set up inside, so we used the sunroom.  

First we enjoyed some homemade Day of the Dead bread and hot chocolate.

And then we created our best Day of the Dead alter ever!

Hallowe'en certainly is all about creativity!  
I hope you enjoyed October as much as we did!

Oct 4, 2020

Pre-Hallowe'en 2020

Last year we moved in October and I practically skipped Hallowe'en; I promised Sam (see the movie Trick 'r Treat) and myself that 2020 would be different and I would unpack EVERYTHING.  And so it begins... 

Of course, Mother Nature is setting the tone and presenting a stunning, traditional launch to my favorite season.  Take a look at those colors!


While some stores seem to have cancelled their Hallowe'en offerings and jumped right into Christmas, I did find a good selection at the Dollarama and other dollar stores.  Zehrs also had some nice skellies, like the dog with the bone and the hummingbird:

And I'm baking, Day of the Dead Bread to start (getting the hardest done first!). Here's the dough before it went into the oven, lovely!  The smell of fresh baking bread with orange zest is something else on a cool October day!

And although COVID19 will butcher trick-or-treating, that doesn't mean we can't have fun this Hallowe'en!  We are decorating, and it looks like some of our neighbours are getting a head start too!  

And here's our house so far:  pumpkin lights and the "oldies" in the windows with one small ghost in the garden bed.  

More to come!  I'm really enjoying opening all the boxes and finding forgotten treasures!  

Sep 8, 2020

Finding Zen

 Of course I didn't find Zen (if you know me at all, you know I'll never be Zen-like!).  

But I did find my COVID19 critter!  Since it's not possible to go to any shows (and there are few and far between) and only online versions are available, I've been hunting for the perfect addition to my collection from home.  I browsed all the good shows as they came up (and can recommend the eBears shows and the Bearhugs4you shows) but I didn't find anyone who spoke to me.  I have to admit, imagination seems to be lacking, probably a victim of COVID19.   Anyway, finally in August things began to open up here in earnest and with safety protocols in place we could start to explore around Mount Forest.  Hanover was one of our first stops, which has a lovely main street and the Hanover Flea and Farmers' Market.   

And at the Market we explored the isles and on a top shelf I spotted a Steiff Waldi.  A Steiff in excellent condition!  I rolled him around in my hands, checked for moth damage, slid my mask down so I could sniff him for mildew or smoke, and debated his price.  He has his button, his yellow ear tag and original green leather collar too.  

I'm very familiar with Waldi as he has been a character in my life since childhood:  my sister has a life-sized one that was a gift from my grandmother.  It was therefore particularly nice that of all the Steiff out there I should find a Waldi of my own.  And I named him Zen because in 2020 that what you need most!   

So despite all the hurdles and being disappointed with the online offerings, I added one perfect pup to my hug.  

And thank you Rose for using all your reference guides in an effort to try to date my Waldi!  It seems that the 1970s were a time when Steiff didn't really record its creations well.  

And now?  With Hallowe'en coming, I'm looking forward to the upcoming Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween show on September 19!

Sep 5, 2020

Green to Gold

It's September already and I realize I never got around to sharing our beautiful garden!  

  This is our first Spring and Summer here so we had very little idea of what would appear in the flower beds.  We brought quite a few plants from the old house and dug them in here and there late last fall, but what would happen in Spring was a mystery!  

  And there was COVID19 to consider.  Because of COVID19 we ended up with a super LOVELY garden, not only due to all the time we spent working on it but also money.  Since we couldn't go on vacation, we splurged on the garden.

  In the Spring we planted Clematis along the fence.  They were a little too far along for Spring plants, so hopefully next year they'll be more in step with the seasons and fill out.

All around the deck and gazebo, we have a collection of hostas, many we brought with us from the old house.  

I needed a place for my memorial stones, and so here is the dog's memory garden.  This was where the former owners had their compost bins and was very neglected.  Starting from scratch after cleaning that all up (we now have compost pick-up once a week),  I wanted a flowering dogwood but learned they do not tolerate Black Walnut trees, so we selected a Cypress, a Staghorn Sumac and a Lemony Lace Elderberry.

Beside the doggy garden we were surprised by poppies, poppies, poppies!  We enjoyed clusters of poppies in early Summer all along part of the back fence!

I'd brought along the Evening Primrose and they survived the move, looking good!

There's this patch under one of the walnut trees that made a good spot for a faery garden.  I found these blue shiny stones BURIED in the front lawn... how they got there we'll never know.   But obviously they wanted to sparkle and shine again so here they are.

A friend gave us this exotic plant with lovely leaves and strange, intricate flowers... they look fragile but they are hardy and lasted a long time.  At the old house the plant was beneath a maple tree where it didn't get what it needed but here it came forth with this lovely crown of blooms!  (Thank you Olga!)

Over the course of the season, we watched the garlic grow.  The scapes developed into curled dragon heads which then opened and looked entirely alien!  The "garlic pearls" are now being eaten, but we planted a few too.

Another treat was this lovely phlox!  It's right on our driveway and smelt wonderful for a good long while.

And our vacation money?  It brought home for us this incredible garden rock.  Mom always wanted one, and here it is, all 1522 pounds!  It's not going anywhere.  

And we have Black-Eyed Susans, big clusters of them!  This was also a lovely surprise, and a glorious finish to Summer.  (Don't look at the lawn... it's all crab grass and weeds!  We're furiously pulling it out by clumps before the seeds spread!)