Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday in Merrickville

One of our favourite day trip destinations is Merrickville, a pretty little town on the Rideau Canal. Yesterday, it had a little to offer for all the family.

While my man and I looked at the bikes at the Merrickville First Annual Show and Shine motorcycle show, the kids voted the play structure that amused them as one of the best ever. It has sparked a summer quest where we hope to visit and rate a number of Ottawa area parks and play structures.

We went to Hucklebuck's, one of my favourite garden shops and got my girl some new gardening gloves. And, she agreed that means she has to help weed!

It was a short tour yesterday and we missed a number of other special stores including Mrs. McGarrigles, the glass blowing studio and the village metalsmiths.

Before we left, we stopped for ice cream.  The sweet smells of sugar washed over me when we went in The Downtowne Ice Cream & Candy Shoppe - wonderful! With flavours like chili chocolate and strawberry with carmelized onion, I couldn't resist tasting the ice cream. Amazing! Probably the best I've had. Out of all the flavours, the citrus gelato my boy had was the favourite. You must try it if you go!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Strawberry traditions

For the more than 20 years, my dad and I have gone berry picking. Always strawberries, sometimes raspberries, we pick together and enjoy time for just the two of us.

This year we went to the Dekok farm out March Rd. and for the first time had a choice of strawberry varieties. We picked Kent: medium berries with good sugar content although not as sweet as the smaller Veestar (these were about finished so picking would have taken more effort). The berries are great - sweet, ripe and I didn't get one with a mass of green seeds on the bottom.

With two four Litre baskets, there's lots to feast on. Last night we had strawberry shortcakes for dessert. Today, I made jam using the recipes in the Certo package. Thick strawberry is for my man - it's the only kind he eats - and inspired by the jam my niece gave me for Christmas, I made strawberry/rhubarb for me. Of course we share!

Now after that earthquake today - got me and the dog shaking - we need something sweet to restore ourselves. Guess I'll have the skimmings on leftover shortcakes!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

All fired up

I'm all excited about beading again. After years of waiting, I finally have the opportunity: I'm taking an introduction to lampworking at a new glass studio here in Ottawa: The Glass Shoppe Studio.

Grace is a wonderful teacher. She is so enthusiastic and encouraging as she shares her skill and love of lampworking with the class. Over the course of three nights, I'm learning the basic techniques that will allow me to create any number of different, beautiful (providing I practice!) beads.

My first beads introduced working with transparent and opaque glass, applying dots and laying a stripe. We also pulled stringers and made a twisty: a stringer made of two colours of glass twisted together.

Working the glass in the flame is so exciting.  You have to focus so intensely on the glass, watching how it is reacting to the flame, in order to be able to control it. Lampworking reminds me of riding my motorcycle in that it demands your full attention - a great escape from the rest of your life.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Onwards and upwards

I want to say congratulations to Monica who tackled her pile of unfinished projects and got some nice rewards in pretty clothes for her efforts. Will I enjoy similar results?

Not quite so optimistic but she did get me started. I finally decided to get around to curtains for upstairs and our living room. This means trying to work with an unwielding bolt of fabric that's been hanging out in my sewing room. Not sure how much I have - I bought it to slipcover a wingback chair but found it unsuitable as it pills. It should make half-decent curtains in the living room though and my current ones can move upstairs to our bedroom. The kids both need curtains over their blinds but that will come later...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dangles for my ears

Still working on my bead stash, I decided to try bead embroidery. I haven't been very happy with past efforts so I tried a different technique: stringing the seed beads, laying them in place, and then securing them. It makes for a more orderly design.



I embroidered the beads on cotton and then backed it on suede. This way, the earrings will have enough weight to hang nicely. Just need to finish the second one...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Motorcycle Ride for Dad

Yesterday was the 10 anniversary of the Ottawa Motorcycle Ride for Dad. The event raises money and awareness for prostate cancer. My man has been an enthusiastic participant since 2004 and I have often taken the kids to watch. With well over a thousand bikes doing the ride, it is an awesome sound and sight!

ready to ride

This year is the first time I've been able to participate as a rider. I was a little anxious and very excited. There were just over 1700 bikes. The parade took us from the Aviation Museum down the Eastern Parkway, in front of Parliament Hill, down the Western Parkway, Carling Ave. and out to Mitel. And all the way, roads were blocked for us and people cheered. Too much fun!

happy, with serious helmet head

After the parade came the ride itself: Mitel to Almonte, Almonte to Calabogie on the 508, Calabogie to Almonte on the 511. Great winding roads with beautiful scenery. The ride was well organized with food, entertainment and comfort stations at each stop and all the bikers so friendly and having a good time. It's wonderful that you can support an important cause while doing something you love. Thanks to my ride mates for making my first MRFD so successful. I can't wait for next year. Now I just have to make child care arrangements so that I can ride my own to Dover this August!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Worth the ride

This morning was a gorgeous day to be out on my bike so I had to pick a destination. So why not check out the bead store in Kemptville? Sounded like a plan to me so I gassed up and away I went. Nice winding roads took me there: Prince of Wales to route 44; and the distance was reasonable for a short jaunt: about an hour and a half there and back not counting time spent at the store.

Rideau Art and Beads store is in a beautiful old brick building with lots of natural light. They specialize in Art Clay and have a great space for classes. Very tempting but let me get the lampwork under my belt first! I came away with some fun howlite stars, turquoise rounds and sterling ear hooks. All in all, a very enjoyable day.