Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Art School Fair

This past weekend I attended the first ever Art School Fair in Ottawa. It was an art materials trade show, but it was great fun.  The vendors were from the manufacturers themselves, so they all knew their products well. They were able to demonstrate and answer questions, and in many cases you had the opportunity to try the products before making the decision to buy.  Some of the vendors even handed out samples.  What they were really good at was getting you inspired to try new things.

The admission price was just five dollars, which was waived if you signed up for one of the many courses available.  I didn't do that this year, mainly because the ones I was most interested in were fully booked by the time I found out about the show.  The event was a great success though, so I hope I can get in on at least one of the classes next year.

As this is the first year for the Art School Fair and because it went so well, hopefully they will find ways to expand it in coming years. I am very sure they will do it again, and I am also sure I will attend.

I certainly came home with more than my entrance fee in samples.  I got a PITT Artist Pen, some watercolour dip dots from Daniel Smith, a nice little bag with 6 products from Golden, plus a beautiful t-shirt I will be proud to wear. I also purchased a new journal in support of the Ottawa Art School for another $5.  It is divided into right brain and left brain sections. A quiz inside tells me I'm definitely Left Brained, which kind of confirms my theory that I'm not all that creative.

Did this trade show do it's job? Yes, indeed. I came out of there knowing about products I had never heard of before, and plans to try them.  I want a water soluble graphite pencil. More than that, I want some Daniel Smith Watercolours. They have granules in them that create interesting textural effects and I'm already dreaming up ways to use them.  I also am very interested in the Mixed Media products by Pébéo.  Yes, I'll go again next year, and every other chance I get.  Great show!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Witch Crash

 Wishing you all a happy Halloween season. 


Please watch out for excited children on the roads.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

An Unintentional Collection

Recently our New Horizons group held what amounts to a Show and Tell. They asked the members to bring in samples of any collection they might have.  At first I didn't think I could take part in this event.  I don't collect anything.  At least, I didn't think I did.

As I looked around the house, I discovered that I have an unintentional collection.   I have gathered a few samples here to show you. These are not in their normal positions.

There are birds everywhere, but I never set out to collect them. I guess they just sort of followed me home. They are nesting on all manner of flat surfaces, and there are even some now on the walls and in my cupboards.

I guess it all started with one of those Blue Mountain swans. I got it as a retirement gift over 40 years ago.  I know that some of the others were things I picked up on vacations, as souvenirs.  I liked the look of them, and brought them home.
I even bought a corn husk duck at a  major craft show as a present for my hubby one year.  He had really liked it when he saw it, so I managed to sneak it home.

When the surfaces were full, a few birds even landed on my wall.

 I inherited my grandmother's milk glass chicken, and that started a new trend. When I was
learning to paint, I painted a chicken on a plate
for my kitchen wall. 
Then I thought a group of three would look nice above the window.  Other chickens began to roost in my kitchen, until now
I have a flock of ten.  A couple of them have even managed to invade my cupboard.

I told the group all this, an that I don't actually collect birds. Some of them later tried to tell me that I do.  But doesn't a collector actively search out and collect?  I'm certainly not searching for birds. I didn't actually even realize they were collecting here.  I have no intention of actually buying any more birds.

Oops.  Last weekend we went to the Westport Fall Colours Studio Tour.  Sharon Benson is a  Paverpol artist. That means she crafts sculptures using wire and tin foil, which she covers with t-shirts, and/or other material dipped in a stiffening agent (Paverpol) to create figures with realistic folds in their clothing. In the past I've mainly seen just people sculptures done in this way, but Sharon also does birds. There were cranes out in the front yard, that she says will withstand the weather all year round. It was the little bird inside the house that I found fascinating. She had used a lacy doily to craft it's wings. I had never seen that done before, and I thought it was a really clever idea. The price was very reasonable, and it was the only one there. I knew if I went home without it, I'd kick myself. So, I have added a new bird to my flock.  That's what I have you know.  It's a flock, not a collection.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Be Cool about Cold Calls

I often hear people complaining about telemarketers. They don't want the product, but for some reason listen to the spiel.  Then they seem to try to justify why it is that they don't want to buy whatever is being offered at this time. That's two mistakes right off the bat.

In my youth was once a door to door sales person for a short time. Before being put on the street to deal with the public, I was trained in how not to take no for an answer. If you had an excuse for why you didn't want what I was offering you, you were just giving me more to work with.  I was not a scam artist, but apparently the company I was working for at the time was not a legitimate one. They cleaned out their offices and disappeared before I was able to collect my pay.

Telemarketers are today's door to door sales people. They get to call on a lot more people in less time because they never have to leave their chair.

There are a few things I'd like you to remember, when dealing with the telemarketers. Firstly, please remember, these are just people doing a job so they can eat.  I think you have to really need a job to accept one at a call centre. Where else could you work where you would be submitted to such abuse?

Secondly, since they always identify themselves, right off the bat, you know from that moment on whether you are interested in the product or  not. If you are not interested, just say so and hang up. These people are likely paid according to how many calls they complete, and like I said, they need the money. There is no need to be abusive, but there is also no need to listen to what they have to say when you don't want to.  I simply say, "I'm not interested, thanks," and then I hang up. I do not engage them in conversation, or offer any excuse as to why I don't want their product. If the same company calls more than once, ask to be taken off the call list.  By law. they must comply.

Thirdly, just remember that the phone is there for your convenience. If a call isn't convenient to you, don't bother answering it. If you do answer it, to make the darn thing stop ringing, quickly state that you aren't interested, and hang up!  There is no need to frustrate either yourself or the person on the other end. It's much easier to put a receiver down on it's cradle than it is to shut a door, especially if a salesperson has his foot in the doorway.

If  you must amuse yourself, ask a question. It's sometimes fun to throw them off their spiel, just to see if they know anything about the product other than what they are reading.  But really, there is no reason to be rude.  We all need to eat, and at least these people are doing their best to earn a living. For that, you should be grateful.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Day on the Land

Last week we took a day to attend the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo just outside of Finch, Ontario.
We drove down some narrow back roads, and were directed to park in a large field. Then we hopped
on a hay wagon for the rest of the trip over to where the tent city had been set up.

This year's IPM took up 11000 acres of prime farm land in all.

One of the ways one could get around was to ride in a wagon being pulled by horses.  The site was set up in such a way that it had access road for that sort of transportation, so that people didn't have to get out of the way on the paths where the displays were.

There were lots of things to see like old vehicles,

new tractors,


big and small and other displays.

 There was lots of farm machinery on display,

some of it was even being demonstrated. 

I found most of the interesting stuff was inside huge tents. 

But we walked all over the site and enjoyed the way things were decorated. 

We even stopped to see a square dancing tractor show.  Unfortunately we didn't time things right to see the rodeo, but we still had a great day.  We got lots of exercise and the weather could not have been better.

Next year the International Plowing Match will be held in Wellington County.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Finally Seeing the Light

In the Maritimes, lighthouses have helped to keep ships off the rocks for centuries.  Lights would warn the crew about rocks they might not have seen in the dark. Now, with a Global Positioning System (GPS), mariners know exactly where they are in all kinds of weather.  They no longer have to steer by the stars or try to figure out where they are by what lighthouse they see in the distance.  Unfortunately lighthouses are no longer needed and are being decommissioned.

For several years I have wanted to get back to Nova Scotia to do the lighthouse tour before they all vanish.  One year we got as far as New Brunswick, and ended up doing what I called the All Saints tour instead. (St Stephen, St Andrews, St George, St John, and St Martins), and another year we tried the American route, and enjoyed Vermont and New Hampshire and never did get to the coast.  We tend to head in a general direction, but if we end up discovering things along the way, that's fine. We are, after all, on vacation, and enjoying ourselves if more important than getting to a specific destination.  Last year I let the possibility of bad weather keep us from the east coast and we had a staycation instead.

This year, we did actually get to the Nova Scotia, and followed the Lighthouse Route along the South Shore.  Even though I had lived in NS as a child, I had a specific shape in my head as what a Canadian lighthouse looked like. We saw so many different varieties, I know now that there is no one shape, even in Nova Scotia.

Naturally, the people of Nova Scotia do not want to see their lighthouses disappear, so they are finding ways to preserve them. The Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society maintains a list of lighthouses on their website, including ones that are open to the public.

 I know we missed several, but here are the ones we saw:

 This is the Gilbert Cove Lighthouse.  It was also the home of the lighthouse keeper and his family. Now it's a museum.

The Cape Forchu Light Station was the most impressive site we visited. The apple core style lighthouse guards the entrance to Yarmouth harbour.  It was the last lighthouse in Nova Scotia to have a resident light keeper. It was also the first one to be taken over by a municipality. 

It has 19 acres of groomed grounds to explore.  It's so beautiful there I was inspired to paint. If you make to South Shore of Nova Scotia, don't miss this one.

We visited a Historical Acadian Village, and there was a little lighthouse there, tucked back among the trees. There were, admittedly, other things to be found there that I found more interesting. 

A lobster fisherman by the name of Olen, who works at the village during the summer, is a particular delight. We caught him demonstrating how to make gill nets by hand. He is full of interesting stories, and loves to share them.

 We visited Shag Harbour, the site of the famous UFO sighting, and found a red and white lighthouse there too.

Near Bridgewater we located the Fort Point Lighthouse Park.

Then we took some back roads to nowhere, and after a few false roads finally located another lighthouse in a very secluded area.  This one was more the iconic shape I expected to find throughout the province. 

And of course we cannot leave out the world famous lighthouse at Peggy's Cove.

On the way home, we stopped by one more on the opposite side of the province.  This one is known as  the 5 Island Lighthouse. It is situated on a 22-acre  park on the Bay of Fundy with panoramic view of the Five Islands, Minas Basin and remarkable tides. The style of this lighthouse is known as a  “Pepper Pot”.

In historic downtown Fredericton, we found another lighthouse along the St. John River. This one is known as the Lighthouse on the Green, and functions as a restaurant.

 We have always driven right past Fredericton, but this was our excuse to actually go downtown. There were other fascinating things to see in the same vicinity. the soldiers who do a little changing of the guard ceremony at city hall.

And finally, in Edmonston, we found what was more of a Blockhouse than a lighthouse, but it too stood on a rock overlooking the water.

It may have taken us years to finally do the lighthouse tour, and though there were still many we didn't see, we had a very enjoyable vacation.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

North Gower Farmer's Market

I can't believe that summer is almost over and we've hardly done any of our usual summer things. We made a point of heading to the North Gower Farmer's Market this morning. It's suppose to rain here tomorrow, so we wouldn't likely make it to the one closer to home.

One of the best reasons to go to the North Gower Farmer's Market is that you can get Frank's Buttermilk pies there.  Now, don't turn your nose up and try to tell me how much you hate buttermilk.  I wouldn't touch that stuff either, but in a pie, it's marvelously creamy and sweet. And to prove it, Frank offers samples.  One little bite will convince you to take one of these amazing treats home.

He sells plain ones, and I've had them with raspberries in them, but today we chose a blueberry one. It only costs $8.50 per pie.  You won't get a better deal for anything so delicious anywhere else. I guarantee it.

There are, of course other pies available, as well as tarts and other goodies.  I understand he also has a shop in Ottawa.

Hubby also made off with a great big date square as a morning treat. While I usually grab a butter tart (there are several varieties), today I couldn't resist a different vendor at the other end of the room that offered huge, and extremely delicious apple fritters. I can't show you those treats as we got into them before we got home, and I actually I forgot to take the camera with me. We likely shouldn't eat the buttermilk pie tonight, after pigging out early in the day, but I'm sure we won't be able to resist.

We brought home corn, and tomatoes too. This assortment of tomatoes cost me a total of $2.  I think that's pretty good as another booth was selling large single tomatoes for that much each. Apparently these are the last of the tomato crop, according to the lady I got them from.  That was rather shocking to hear. It really makes me sad for two reasons. It means the cold weather can't be far off, and it also means my own tomato crop was a total failure this year.  The plants stayed really small, and though they are now producing a few tomatoes, not even one has started to ripen yet.   I love garden fresh tomatoes, so I was really happy I got these today.

The trip was totally worth the effort and made for an enjoyable morning.