Monday, August 31, 2009
I, on the other hand, am not. At least, not yet and not likely ever, based on this first lesson. I have a feeling that in the end, I will do better to try to capture what I see by camera rather than by paintbrush. And that's okay, it was a very pleasant experience regardless. We started off in Kathryn's studio, which I deeply covet, it is situated in a lovely little old barn at the back of her garden. Then we took our lawn chairs and headed across the road to her brother's farm, where we set up on a ridge overlooking a vast expanse of countryside and settled down to paint the view. Here is a picture of us getting our chairs organized. You can get an idea from this photo of the weather and the landscape we had to work with.
It was a very grey and cloudy vista to begin with but the longer we sat there, the more the weather cleared up, although it was quite windy and several times, my paint and/or my picture got blown over. I guess that is just one of the hazards of working outdoors. I can see why people enjoy the act of painting though, it was very relaxing and so nice to spend a few hours outside in the warm, fresh air.
Kathryn's sister, Lois, painted a picture of two rusty, old trucks that were sitting in a nearby shed. Here's what they looked like:
and here's Lois' painting which she very kindly let me take a photo of - isn't it wonderful? I especially like the colours she used.
We are planning to have another session sometime in September. I'd like to learn a bit more about mixing colours, getting the right combination to create the shade you are looking for. I know the basics of red plus yellow equals orange, blue plus red equals purple, etc. but somehow in the end, I usually end up with brown. I found the greens we needed to use for this landscape to be especially hard to create, so it would be nice to know how to mix the paint to get the right colours. In the meantime, I know learning any new skill takes practice and I shall play with my paints and just have fun with them.
Here is Kathryn's website, if you'd like more information on her work or her workshops:
http://www3.sympatico.ca/kathrynsgarden/main.htm. If you're in the Port Hope area on the weekend of September 12th and 13th, she'll be taking part in the Northumberland Hills Studio Tour - I highly recommend that you stop by to enjoy both her art and her garden.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
It took me several years to discover that these little wrenches come in different sizes, that one size does not fit all, as my experience with Ikea furniture had suggested.
I also never knew what to do with the wrench once the bookcase or whatever was put together, because in my experience, you never took it apart again, even when you moved, so what did you need to keep the wrench for? Next time you bought something at Ikea, there would be another one in the box anyway!
Nevertheless, at the farm auction a few weeks ago, I picked up this lovely collection of wrenches. Like I said, I don't have any hexagonal sockets that need to be tweaked but I had to have these, mostly because of the wonderful wire wrapping that holds the wrenches onto the ring.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
If so, you might be interested to know that this weekend is the Fan Expo in Toronto. I don't know much about these events, waht they do there. I have visions of a bunch of people hanging around, discussing whether Superman or Batman would win a fight. I know there was something similar in Montreal a couple of weekends ago, the Worldcon science fiction show, because a photographer named Kyle Cassidy (whose blog I read now and again, mostly because he likes to post pictures of his cat Roswell, with whom he is writing a cookbook. I kid you not, would I make this stuff up??) attended that show and took photos of a number of the fans, some of whom were dressed in costume. Here's the link to one of his blog postings with a few sample shots: http://kylecassidy.livejournal.com/540628.html or you can check out the full set of photos on Flicker: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7725107@N07/sets/72157622013791778/
I always thought science fiction fans would be predominantly male but this does not appear to be the case, judging by the number of women Kyle photographed. Also, very few of them are in costume, which is probably a good thing. I find the idea of anyone spending large quantities of their free time dressed as Darth Vader somewhat alarming.
Spock himself, a.k.a. Leonard Nimoy, will be at the Fax Expo this weekend. If you are interested in attending, you can get the details here: http://www.hobbystar.com/fanexpo/
Or, if you're interested in a different type of fantasy genre, I hear they are selling tickets to the Bill Clinton appearance tomorrow at the CNE for only $5.00! ;)
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I believe (but don't quote me) that you can buy a studio card for 10 hours for $100. As far as I am concerned, this is a great deal. For those of us who enjoy making lampwork beads but don't have the money, the desire or the location to set up our own studio, Beadfx has a great, safe and clean facility that you can use and if you're only paying $5 an hour, it's a tough deal to beat!
I just got back from a session there tonight, where I learned that the Happy Hour Torching program, which started this past spring, will be continuing on into the fall. Some Thursday nights are busier than others so it's always best to call ahead and book a torch in advance (there are 6 available in total).
The other benefit of HHT evenings is that resident lampwork artist extraordinaire, Dwyn Tomlinson, is there from 7 to 9 p.m. and is always willing to give pointers, answer questions, solve problems and/or let you watch while she creates her fabulous beads. If you're very lucky and ask her nicely or bribe her with cookies, she's also happy to give the occasional demo or two about a technique or a type of glass.
For example, tonight Dwyn was giving someone a quick demonstration on how to make a round bead, something I am not consistent with at all (I'm kind of partial to the irregularly shaped ones anyway!). Since I happened to be sitting at the torch next to her, I got the benefit of the lesson as well. Even though I've heard the technique before, seen her do it and even tried it myself before, tonight for some reason, it worked for me and I think I made at least 3 or 4 perfectly round beads. I'm so excited! I'll have to wait until I'm back at the store to get the finished product to be sure (did I mention that the Beadfx Bead Fairy is responsible for taking your beads out of the kiln the next morning after they are properly annealed and removing them from the mandrell? Again, you get a lot of value for your $5!!)
So I ask you:
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Here is the link to the Jangles Etsy site: http://http//www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=21263
Sadly, I learned that there is a downside to working with ceramic beads. If you drop them on another ceramic surface, they might chip. That is what happened to this bead with the wire bail, the necklace I made slipped out of my hand and landed on one of those large, antique ceramic crock pots and a piece of it broke it. Talk about heartbreaking! So don't say I didn't warn you, handle your jewellery with care and especially the ceramic beads.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Naturally, I couldn't resist, I just had to order a copy of the book for myself right then and there. The book I received is also signed by the author, personalized to me, now that we are close, personal friends (see photo on the left, taken in Milwaukee), which is also quite lovely to have.
The focus of the book is patterns made with the right angle weave stitch, which I don't have much experience with as yet. I tried it a couple of weeks ago and it wasn't really coming together, so I'm looking forward to reading this book and getting the lowdown on the technique from someone who is a master at it!
Monday, August 24, 2009
I also liked the way this collection of items was displayed against the wall of one of the buildings - I thought the curling broom put together with the vintage curling sweater was a great idea!
I have one booth I always look for now, I believe I mentioned this couple when I wrote about the show in May - he has old tools and keys and things like that for sale, she has buttons and vintage fabrics and various knick knacks available. I picked some more buttons from her, again beautifully presented on decorated cards, and several skelton keys from him, plus a little wooden box to keep them in.
However, I did resist buying the collector edition of Elvis Pez dispensers. I know, I know, no home should be without something like this but really, I just had to say no. :)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I know, it's still August and we've just had two whole weeks of super hot weather so I shouldn't even be mentioning the "w" word, but we had a visitor at the cottage today - a cute little red squirrel who was busy removing the soft cotton lining from our BBQ cover and carrying it off to her nest. We were sitting in the dining room playing Yahtzee near the screen door, when my sister heard this chewing noise (how she heard it over the clatter of 5 rolling dice on a wooden table, I don't know!). She went outside to investigate and the squirrel ran up the nearest tree but stopped to chatter at us with the white fluff still in her mouth. No doubt, she didn't want to show us where she was headed.
But what does it mean?? Is she getting ready for a new litter of baby squirrels or is she getting ready for an early winter??? I certainly hope it is the former, as the ever-informative Internet tells me that red squirrels have two breeding seasons per year, March to May and July to September.
I am praying it doesn't mean an early winter, we've just barely had a taste of summer. I know I'm not the only one hoping for a long, warm fall season.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Did you know you can make yourself into a Mad Men character? The Dixon Chick did and has the result posted as her Facebook photo, she was the one who told me about this website: http://www.amctv.com/originals/madmen/madmenyourself/.
Here's the result: me dressed casually, having a drink with a handsome dude in a bar. Whaaatt??? Nope, that so didn't work. So I switched the scene to a more appropriate picnic setting:
Isn't it time you Mad Menned yourself??
Friday, August 21, 2009
Of course, I had to check this out on Wikipedia, which pointed out that the second rainbow has the colours in reverse order to the first one. I didn't notice this last night but now that I look at the photo again, I can see that! A rainbow appears when the sun shines into drops of water in the Earth's atmosphere. The second rainbow is caused by a double reflection of sunlight within the raindrops. It's all rather scientific, it's probably better if you read it for yourself, if you are so inclined: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow
It was certainly one of the clearest rainbows I have ever seen and I could see where it ended at ground level. As you can see from this second photo, it seemed to end right on top of this house, or at least, in the park across the street from it.
I was tempted to rush down and look for the leprechaun and his pot of gold that is said to be found at the end of a rainbow, but as Wikipedia points out, this is merely an optical effect - as the viewer walks towards it, it will move farther away. Good thing I didn't go chasing after it!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
They also have many interesting types of chain available, and again, nothing like I have seen before in other bead stores. Heather and I both bought a metre of this copper daisy chain to make a bracelet like one they had made up in the store. Perhaps I can prevail upon Heather to send me a picture of her finished piece and I will post it together with mine, so you can see what we made. I have a feeling both of us will make something similar to the store's sample and yet each put our own different twist on it. Stay tuned.
All I can say is, I have a feeling it will be dangerous for me to know that I have yet another fantastic bead store located only about a 40 minute drive from where I live!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
We checked out a couple of bead stores in Oakville, one called the "Beady i" which was nice enough, if you hadn't already been thoroughly spoiled by the selection offered by Beadfx and Bead Junction, and the other called KnitOneBeadTwo (love the name!) which was primarily a knitting store but also sold an assortment of beads.
We had lunch at a very cool cafe on the main drag in Oakville called Isabella's Pasta Cafe. We poked around a few other shops there, including a kitchen store which had a large selection of cake decorating sprinkles - here's picture of them, all lined up on the shelf - don't they look like beads???
We were sorry our other Puerto Vallarta beading pals, Colleen, Stefanie and Kate, couldn't be with us today. But we know they were there in spirit, especially when the first thing we saw as we drove into Milton, our first stop on our road trip, was this dragon lamp, exactly like the one Kate found in Mexico:
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I quickly realized each of these items was bulky and I needed a way to get them back to my car, which was at least 100 yards away, so I bought a bundle buggy, complete with its own bungie cord and heavy cardboard liner, for $3.
Then I bought a bushel basket full of 18 quart-sized Mason jars, very clean but with no lids. I figure they'll be good for storing bits and pieces of my bead stash.
My beloved, very smart sister scored me this lovely, homemade trestle table. It was standing on a large piece of plywood and they auctioned both pieces together. Janine figured the guy who bought them, for only $7, was probably after the good price on the plywood and sure enough, he gladly sold her the table for $2. Isn't it the coolest? I especially like the ropes that keep the table legs from spreading too far apart.
I got this vintage metal plant stand as part of a job lot for a whopping $9.00, that was my most expensive item of the day. It came with a tray full of neat looking bits and pieces that I am looking forward to sorting through.
There were a few other small treasures combined with these purchases, but I'll save the details on those items for another day.
Don't forget, while I'm bringing more stuff into my collection, Kate McKinnon continues to cleanse her soul and her closets. Click the link on the right to see what is available right now and check back often for the next few days, rare treasures at bargain prices are being posted frequently!!