Saturday, November 27, 2010


Finally, I'm taking Silversmithing classes.  Even though it'ssilver I'm currently working with, really it's Goldsmithing I'm doing. I do intend on making some flatwear in the new year, and create other Hollowware, maybe a baby cup (silver is not so cheap, I can't afford to make a tea set yet). I've been sawing, filing, soldering, polishing and designing, what a great time suck this has been.

Tag for DH

My Ring Collection.            

Pieces of a soon to be pendant.

What it might look like.

I guess I'm also becoming a Bench Jeweler as I'm working on Lapidary skills, wax casting, lost wax casting and stone setting.  It's hard not to get lost in the stones/rocks.  I was such a  rock hound as a child, I even mounted my specimens lol,  I could cut and polish stones all day.  Silversmiting is giving me something to do with them after I'm done.  Faceting is something I'm going to give a try in the new year along with Chain Maille. 

Cabochon in the works
My first stone in silver setting.
Cabs I made, Thai made the wee black one and Minh made the round green one.

 Now how about some Blacksmithing!


Friday, November 26, 2010

More art work

Lee here...not much going on ...or maybe too much but nothing of interest to blog! One thing that always brings lots of joy is Annie's artwork...she is always creating something. She has a long time interest in ocean life. Sometimes her drawings are whimsical like this one. Our friend Peggy that we do ceramics with, is going to take her outside in the warmer weather and draw with her. Annie has no interest in art classes but just likes to chat, watch and explore. After our last ceramics session, she told me she wishes everyone could learn the way she is learning with Peggy....just sitting around with an artist, being shown some things, seeing everything as an experiment and just going to it, making mistakes and learning.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hangin with my Gnomies....

Lee here....Annie made me this gnome!! Yup, just whipped it up in no time..she is so creative. I am going to have a house full of little gnomes...all tucked in amongst the books, plants, dishes, toilet paper, etc etc. This little guy is made from wool felt and needle felted wool.
You know you have too many cats when.....
..there is a line up at the water bowl!
ps..the floor is dirty and dusty from some bathroom reno.

Making Christmas Fruit Cake

This is one of my favourite Christmas traditions! I first started by choosing an apron ( I have a THING for aprons!) This one I bought in a little collectables shop in Guelph. It was to be my last visit to Guelph before Emma left for BC. SUCH a cute shop and so fun to look through all the retro stuff...and so many laughs, right Lisa? “Golly” that was fun!

Once the apron was chosen I dug out my mom’s old Kenwood mixer. I usually do the mixing by hand, but I figure it will be a new part of the Fruitcake tradition now, seeing as this is my mom’s recipe. Actually, it’s HER mom’s recipe! The machine is cool, but the bowl is not so big and I had to finish the mixing in my big stainless steel bowl, by hand. Still, I think the mixer definitely goes with the apron!

The dried fruit- Thompson raisins, sultanas, currants and candied peel- were mixed in a separate bowl, doused with some Brandy and left to soak for a bit.

The flour is mixed with the lovely spices...cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice..........all the rest of the ingredients are added along with the brandied fruit...

The past couple of years, I have poured the batter into one large and three small loaf pans. We keep the big one for Christmas visitors...SO yummy with a hot cup of Earl Grey....and the other three are usually given as gifts. (This year, I will be sending one out west to Em)
After the cakes are cooled, a bit of Brandy is drizzled over each cake and then they are wrapped in foil (or muslin) and stored in a container in the fridge. Once a week, they get another drizzle of Brandy. That is done for three weeks and then they sit for another week to let the flavours really come together. Then they are ready for tasting! (or mailing)This year, the cakes will be ready by December if you want a taste,let me know when you're coming and I'll put the kettle on for tea!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Woot Woot! Zee here.....

Wow time is just.. well gone by so quickly. 

I've been busy, no more than usual, just competing for time at the computer these days.  Having teens in the house, online school....  It's no longer first come first using the computer, it's all about priority first, which makes me last to log

Christmas is just around the corner,  Bodhi Day even sooner.  The house is getting revved up for down time, oxy right?  My High School attending kids are looking forward to hanging out and having to go no where slowly.  I agree, winter is my time to sit back and just be.  Meditating, hanging out and getting jobs done seems to be much easier, I'm defiantly more productive during the winter months.  I'm looking forward to getting together with family and friends, catching up and making even more memories.

I've been busy baking bread every day. I really, really, really missed my Kitchen Aid mixer {{big hugs}} I don't "LOVE" my mixer, that would be wrong on many levels, but I do like it a lot ;)  I can't wait to get a hold of Andrea's Organic Spelt flower.  I'm going to get started on our ginger bread house soon, a grand homestead this will be!  We are also going to do a ginger bread house for a charity fund raiser at DH's workplace.  You buy the kit, make the house.. they will be displayed in the hotel lobby, then auctioned off with proceeds going to our local Food Bank :)

I'm going to log off for now, be back in a bit with an update on my rock and silver stash.   Oh yeah, maybe the beginners spinning class in the new year :)  And.. of course pottery ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christmas traditions...?

It’s going to be a very different Christmas at our house this year. Emma will be in BC and Jen has a limited time off work (which is a good thing really, because we are SO HAPPY that Jen’s job has been extended and that she will still be working at that time...) But it does mean that it will be just ‘me and the boys’ this Christmas.
Change in a family is inevitable; I know that only too well. It begins as soon as your kids start to grow up. But it gets harder as they become young adults. When Jen left to go away to school, that was really the beginning of big changes. Then Emma left. At first they were just away for the school year. Then Jen’s life included her hubby’s family and now they have to fit both sides into their Christmas holidays. (Of course the up side of that was that we got to have her hubby join our family!) Fortunately, we will get to see them at New Year’s. The hardest change this year is that we won’t see Emma at Christmas. That’s a tough one. Needless to say, I’m a bit sad about it.
Part of my problem is that I LOVE hanging out with my kids! They are so much fun to be with. Aside from the fact that they GET me (well, for the most part), they are wonderfully funny, incredibly smart and just really great people to hang out with (and so are their partners!)
The other thing is that I LOVE traditions...translation: I DON’T like change. I think that’s why I love Christmas. It’s all about doing the same things that we’ve done every year....the Christmas baking (fruit cake, cookies, chocolate fruit balls, biscotti, and pannetonne!) the Christmas foods (the Christmas Eve meal, the Christmas day dinner, the special snacks), the Christmas lights that Greg and Aidan put up on the house (although they seem to do that earlier every year and something new is usually added. This year it’s a 3 ft wreath adorned with lights that now hangs on the wall between the upstairs windows, facing the driveway.YUP, it’s already up there, although I’ve been told they won’t actually turn the lights ON until Remembrance Day is over...)
There are also the Christmas cards, the Christmas music, (which by the way, Greg starts playing as soon as it snows...) and the Christmas tree and indoor decorations. For me, all of that- all the prep work, the decorating, the cooking and the baking is really all about one thing...that we are going to have this very special time TOGETHER. So now what?
I’ve been thinking of this for some time now and have come up with a few thoughts. First off, we have so much to be TRULY thankful for. Yes, my heart breaks a little thinking that we won’t all be waking up together on Christmas morning, but compared to what some other people have to deal with this year, we should be grateful. It’s not like learning that your partner just got diagnosed with cancer. It’s not like trying to get used to living with the death of your spouse. We have our health and we have each other. I know it’s a part of life; everyone’s kids grow up and move out and make their own lives. I know that it’s a good thing. And I am thankful that my girls have such wonderful young men to share their lives with and make their own traditions with.
So I guess it’s time for some new traditions around here. Here’s what I have planned so far:
1) I’m going to start by mailing out some Christmas treats to Emma. Some Fruit cake and Christmas cookies, maybe a couple of stocking stuffers. I will be sending her a little bit of home (and a whole lot of love)
2) I will plan on more than one “Christmas Dinner”...a cosy one on Christmas day with my ‘boys’ and Grandma, and a second one when Jen arrives the following weekend.
3) I will just have to finally learn how to “Skype”, so that at some point over the holidays we all still can be ‘together’.
4) I will treasure the fact that I still have Aidan at home and continue to share some of our special traditions with him (as well as LOTS of Christmas cookies and treats that I know he loves!)
I know I won’t be the only one finding the changes at Christmas difficult. But for the girls, I hope it will be a wonderful time too. It’s a time to start building their own traditions with their partners. And they will become as special to them as mine are to me.
And now, I’ve got some Christmas baking to get to!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Garden and the art process.

The garden is mostly finished...some stuff will be tucked away till next year...asparagus will be covered with straw...newly planted garlic too. Manure and compost have been added...and some leaves. The compost bin has been placed in the new bed where strawberries will be planted in the spring. This picture was taken in the early morning. I bought some bulbs to plant this week...10 daffodils (5 each of 2 different kinds) and 5 little grape hyacinths. I planted some last year and for the next few years would like to plant more..hoping everything comes back and starts to multiply. Annie's artwork....first she draws with pencil...

then inks it in with a fine tip permanent marker..sharpie I think....

and sometimes colors it in...I love the vibrant colors and recommended she start drawing on the walls:)


Fall Back

I love when the mornings are light least for a little while. This picture was taken around 6:45am.... its usually still pitch black at this time .... Lee

Friday, November 5, 2010

Today, November 5th, is the start of Veteran's week; a time of commemorative events and ceremonies honouring our veterans, and then ending on Remembrance day. This week always holds a special place in my Dad was a veteran and my Mom is too. I am truly thankful , but my heart breaks a little more every time I think about what my Dad (and other veterans) went through..what he had to do, what he saw... My sister, The-Keeper-of-All-Things-Family, has not only all our family tree researched, recorded and stored, but she has my dad's Military History too. She has a copy of his Military record- a huge binder of every document that had anything to do with my dad's life in the army. She also has a collection of books written about the First Special Service Force that my Dad was a member of. My sister lent them to me this past week, and I have been rereading them. Unbelievable stories, brutal stories. And impossible to believe that my dad was one of these "Supercommandos". My dad was a gentle soul. Don't get me wrong, when we were kids he could give you that "look" that had us shaking in our shoes. But that was the extent of his fierceness... He was a quiet man, a man of few words. He had a difficult life as an only child and learned early on, to be careful what he said and to who. Maybe that life was what prepared him and got him through the horrors of war.
I have to say here that I don't believe in war. I believe that there has to be another way...but remembering the veterans on Remembrance day is not about what I believe. It's about what those men and women believed; what they did because they believed they were doing the right thing. Every time I think about my Dad's experience at Anzio beachhead in Italy, living in a foxhole for 99 consecutive days of battle under heavy artillery fire, I think, how? How does a person get through that? And how does a person get past that? Somehow, he did. And he went on to be there for his wife and all his children and his grandchildren. So on Remembrance Day, I remember and am thankful. Thankful to my Dad who, no doubt, gave up part of his soul to do what he believed to be the right thing, thankful to God for bringing him home, to my mom for doing her part and then helping my dad get through his, and to my sister who keeps our family story alive. Lest we forget.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Totally my cat

Lee here....This is my cat Kovu. We usually call all our pets "family pets"...except for the adult cat Annie just adopted...but Kovu has really claimed me as his own and is always so demanding of my attention. Here he is right beside me while I'm on the computer. I'm the only one he actually sits on and he follows me around like a puppy..actually our dog follows me around too.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Lee here. First off, thanks Kathee for posting those pictures! They are lovely! We will have to have a hypertufa workshop at your house in the spring!
Here is Minh dressed up as a nice sweet character from the TV show, Adventure Time.
Here is Annie as a ninja zombie. I worry about that girl!

They had lots of fun gathering candy:)

Monday, November 1, 2010


...otherwise known as Hens and Chicks. For some time now I have wanted to grow some hens and chicks in a trough and I want to make a hypaturfa one. In the meantime, I decided I could still enjoy these little succulent plants this winter if I planted them in some clay pots. This spring I want to make the trough and maybe a couple of small pots and will transfer them into it.