The Weekend We Had a Break From the Rain

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Following a string of rainy spring weekends, the sun finally broke through and the temperatures warmed to more seasonal levels. It was a fortunate change for the one hundred fifty artisans who had committed to an outdoor show. There had been so much rainfall the day before, the event closed two hours earlier than advertised.

The craft market had been set up on the grounds of a local winery. To reach the allocated parking areas, one had to drive over some muddy tracks and then walk back over them  to join the line of people at the entrance.

Wandering from booth to booth, I noticed  a strong trend amongst the crafters towards upcycled, repurposed and eco-friendly craft.

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Notably from past shows fewer crafters were selling jewellery, woodcrafts and hand painted signs. However, there was one who did offer hand painted signs which really caught my attention because the merchandise was being offered inside a reclaimed vintage travel trailer. What a lovely idea!

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But they weren’t alone at this show with such an ingenious use of an old trailer. The second trailer offered vintage -look clothing for women and children. I took a few moments to speak with the lovely couple who owned this trailer. The woman who sewed all the items told me that she scoured thrift shops and flea markets to find the fabric used to make her “housewife dresses” and other wares. Such a clever use of discarded tablecloths and sheets.

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I was sorely tempted to purchase one of the housewife dresses but the one in fabric I liked was too small and would have taken most of the cash I had brought with me.

There were quite a number of booths offering hand made clothing sewn with natural fibre, particularly linen which is my favourite to wear in summer.

Two very popular booths at this show sold glasses of wine. I suppose that wasn’t surprising, since this show was being held at a winery.

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Tips: Bring  enough cash with you when visiting a craft show. Although ATM’s are available extra fees are charged for the service.

Also wear comfortable, weatherproof footwear.

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Everyone seemed happy to enjoy the sunshine.

Difficult Words

Beginning last weekend when I had every intention to post a blog entry, our lives were upset. Our beloved Bella began to show signs of distress caused by a heart murmur. This had  been diagnosed a year ago and  she was receiving medications twice a day. We changed our plans to ensure that we made each remaining moment for her as lovely as possible, including a car ride to a nearby ice-cream stand, and lots and lots of cuddle times.

Bella became a member of our family eleven years ago when I found her for sale on kijiji. I was immediately drawn to her beautiful eyes and said to MDH that we had to rescue her.

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After five days of ups and downs we knew it was time to do the humane thing and take her for that last, dreaded car ride to the veterinarian. Unfortunately this task was left to MDH because I had to be at work. He assured me that Bella behaved more bravely than he did.

At this time I will share two significant quotes:

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from my collection:

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Dedicated to Bella -forever in our hearts.

Crafting a Souvenir

Following our field trip to Graycliff I wanted to make a  souvenir/ gift for DC who initially had suggested the trip. Amongst the photos  taken were a few that included him which could have just been emailed, but I wanted to do something different.

Software was used to make the photos look  faded and vintage  before being  printed  on glossy paper. With inspiration from Youtuber Nik the Booksmith,  I proceeded with the next part of the project. She generously offered a “Polaroid” template to download. I printed several copies on glossy cardstock. The centres of each “Polaroid frame” had to be cut out with an Xacto knife.

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After gluing the frames to the photos they were added  to a small booklet which I had made from cardstock. It included space for DC to write his memories of the day.

Using Kraft cardstock, glue, string, brads, and a paper punch I crafted  a “folio” type folder  to mail the photo booklet to DC.

I happened to have a rubber stamp with a favourite travel quote which I stamped onto the back :

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It wasn’t exactly an apt quote since we had a destination in mind, but we did have a few detours along the road to Graycliff, so I guess one could say we “got lost”, if only for a few moments.

This project turned out to be only the first step on my journey to altered books.

Return From Respite, A Field Trip, Found Inspiration

It has been quite a respite from blogging, but not from creative endeavours. My current creative interest, oddly enough, arose from a field trip we took one blustery day last October.

We crossed the border from Canada and drove the hour or so it took to reach our destination, Graycliff,  Derby, New York. Graycliff was the summer home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Darwin Martin family of Buffalo,  New York. It was built from 1926 -1931 atop a sixty foot cliff on the south shore of Lake Erie  and has been restored and opened to public tours.  While I am not a fan of Wright’s architecture, my taste being “English Cottage/Shabby Chic”, I can appreciate how his designs incorporated the environment where they  were built. Since Frank Lloyd Wright also totally controlled all aspects of building from landscape design to interior decor and furniture, I know that I could never have worked with him!Graycliff-1

Our tour began outside  the visitor centre/gift shop at the front of the property. We encountered rain, hail and sunshine in the few minutes while our docent introduced history of the property before leading us to the main house. It was pointed out to us that when approaching the house, windows on the ground floor allowed one to see completely through to the lake at the rear. The water feature at the main entrance was designed to be a tribute to Lake Erie. water_feature-1

The foyer  branched into a sun room on the left, living room on the right and staircase directly ahead. Graycliff-2 We climbed the stairs to the second floor where bedrooms with ensuite baths were arranged off a window walled gallery along the length of the house. Several of the bedrooms opened onto terraces that availed lovely views of the lake.

I was excited to see bathtubs identical to our bathtub at home, (built-in, not clawfoot).Graycliff-7

At the far end of the second floor we descended a narrow staircase to the service areas of the house. There we found a butler’s pantry that led

into  Mrs. Martin’s flower arranging room. The windows here provided abundant light for Mrs. Martin, who was practically blind, to enjoy her flowers. In fact Wright purposely designed this entire house to incorporate as much natural light as possible because of Mrs. Martin’s diminished eyesight. The work counter was situated directly in front of windows and featured a double sink. Of all the rooms we saw,  this  was my favourite.Graycliff-10

The kitchen was located at the back of the flower arranging room. It was a spacious area that featured a porcelain sink, a  cooking range, and a  substantial refrigerator. Refrigerators were quite a novelty appliance in the 1920’s when  ice-boxes were more commonly available.

We left the service area of the house passing back through the flower arranging room into the low ceilinged dining room, followed by the living room, a fern room and the side porch.

We concluded the tour outside of the main house.

Throughout the hour and half of the tour, the docent was passionate about the history and restoration efforts at Graycliff and shared her knowledge with warmth and humour. I highly recommend a visit to this property if you find yourself in western New York, USA.

In trying to create a memento using photos from this field trip I discovered a new passion: altered books, but that’s a story for another day.

Shabby by Design, or Accident?

The porch off our kitchen has evolved into a shabby enclave. Years ago I gave up fighting the rain, heat or humidity that made exterior painting such an unrewarding, futile exercise and just let the paint crack and peel into its  current shabby appearance.

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I have propped up an assortment of old doors and shutters to create a sense of privacy and protection from chilly north and east breezes. Seating is provided by wicker chairs whose seats are slipcovered with fabric purchased many years ago on one of our road trips. (I loved the pattern and colours so much that I bought the entire 50 metre bolt.)

The buoys on this part of the wall were collected over the years, souvenirs from various trips to the coast. There is a fishing shack by the harbour outside Orleans, Cape Cod that had a wall covered with buoys and  it was the inspiration for this display. porch-3

The bird house was home to a wren family this summer and has been shelter to sparrows during the winter.

This shabby  oasis is my favourite place in the spring,  summer and early autumn for enjoying morning coffee, or afternoon tea, for reading,  watching birds, listening to frogs, crickets and trickling water from a nearby water fountain.

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This Thanksgiving weekend as I rock away on our porch I have made up a list of things that need to be done before winter arrives. Storing the wicker furniture in the cellar, bringing the geraniums into the house, draining water from the fountain and taking it apart, storing the doors and shutters in the barn all need to be done – but just not yet!

Happy Thanksgiving!