Monday, March 03, 2014

The Furry News Coverage Continues

There were a few other papers which had photos of the VancouFur furry convention, but Ande didn't appear in them.  But we were both featured (talking!) on the CTV news last night.  I don't know if this is a permanent link, but here is the video.  I was nervous that people from work may see me on TV (although if they did, nobody has admitted it yet), but here I am, posting it on my blog.  Pretty safe, since my friends and family mostly don't read my blog!  Ha.

When I have a chance, I would love to assemble a few photos from the construction of the fursuit, and post them.  Would anyone be interested?  Or am I just posting for myself?  (Oops, did I actually type that?)

Oh yes, I finally did remember to get a photo of Ande and me together, on the last day of the convention:



Saturday, March 01, 2014

Ande is Famous Already!

There was a photographer from the Vancouver Sun at the furry convention today, so "Ande" was in one of the photos in the online newspaper by this evening.  Pretty cool.

Here's the whole "page":

I got lots of photos today, but as I downloaded them this evening, I realized that the one photo I don't have yet is a photo of me with Ande.  So I'll need to remember to get at least one tomorrow.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ande's Debut

I had the pleasure of finally meeting Ande tonight, he made his debut at Vancoufur.  He has been long anticipated.  Much time and love has gone into his making.  It was a wonderful moment to see him come alive!!  I hope he will be feeling better soon, and will be able to come out and play many more times this weekend!
Ande, you are so adorable!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Winter's Last Stand

We have actually had a very mild and manageable winter in Vancouver this year.  I think there was only once it snowed enough to shovel the driveway, and there were a few weeks where it was bitterly cold.  With signs of spring already popping out of the ground, it was a chance for Winter to make its last stand today.

This is the back yard after snowing for a while during the day.  It has continued to snow, and snow is in the forecast for tomorrow also.  But I think this will not last long, and Spring will soon conquer.

If you follow this blog at all, you'll notice that my posts have been noticeably absent lately.  Although I have been in a garden occasionally, I have not been very diligent about carrying my camera with me, so don't have much to show.  And for the most part, my attention has been elsewhere.  For one, I have been putting in many hours on the fursuit for my 15-year-old.  But after my first few posts (e.g. this one with the paws and tail) he has asked me not to post any of my many photos until we are completely done, which will be by next weekend since Vancoufur 2014 starts on Thursday already!  We are feverishly finishing his fursuit, and I will be happy to post after the conference.

I've also been heavy into my ceramics, which I am thoroughly enjoying.  I am posting quite regularly to my ceramics blog, but here is a few teaser photos :

In terms of indoor gardening, I've gotten hooked recently on sprouting seeds for eating (mostly in wraps).  I tried all sorts of seeds, including lentils, fenugreek, and quinoa, before buying some alfalfa seeds.  They have been the most satisfying, producing a large volume of sprouts from a very tiny amount of seeds, and in a very short timeframe.  For example, this is a jar of alfalfa only 3 days after soaking!!  I was able to harvest some already after only 2 days :
I look forward to Spring, spending more time with my garden, and posting more photos to this blog.

Friday, December 20, 2013

It's Definitely Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

This is our second round of snow here (Vancouver, BC), and this time it is really coming down.  The back yard is already blanketed, and there is no sign of stopping....  I guess I should go get some corn for popping....

I was delighted to be asked to play piano at the elementary school again this year, while the kids had their pancake "Breakfast with Santa".  So I played about 2 hours straight, while the kids came in and out, and stopped to sing songs for a while.  I've done it for many years now, often taking turns with my friend Shelley who is a piano teacher.  Me, this is really the only time of year I play much piano at all.  But it is some of my favourite music, especially when I have a chance to flip to my hymn book and the beloved Christmas carols.  This year, the kids kept arriving to sing, so I played mostly songs about Santa and reindeer and jingle bells.  Since I bang these out louder for the kids, my fingers were actually sore by the time I was done.  But it was lots of fun.

It was great to see other moms (and dads), and my friend Beth gave me these adorable gingerbread men:

I like the idea of the ziplock with the bow in it, so they will make it home safely!  Ha ha.  They look too adorable to eat.

We were fortunate that we had visitors a week ago, which forced us to get our tree, and decorate and clean up the house early.  So we are now in pretty good shape for more entertaining.  Here are photos of our tree, and a Christmas centerpiece I quickly assembled from the variegated cedar in our yard, and berries from our female Skimmia Japonica bushes.




Monday, December 02, 2013

Snowmen Fun Trailer



Wow, my neighbor Helen created this delightful movie.  Anyone who has been bit by the "collecting" bug (and who among us hasn't?) will laugh our hearts out at this movie, and take comfort that we are not the only one!!  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fall "Flower" Arrangement

Although my parents live only 7 minutes away, they don't often come for dinner.  So when they do, it is reason for celebration, and a good excuse to cut something from my garden to create a centerpiece.  This was the one we enjoyed this weekend :
Here's a closeup:

The purple berries in the center are from my Callicarpa (beauty berry) bush.  They are accompanied by bright red rose hips from my wild rose bush, and the purple leaves from a purple Cotinus (smoke bush).  It seemed to be the only bush which didn't drop its leaves as I tried to cut a branch.  The leaves placed around the arrangement are from my Liquidambar (sweet gum) tree.  The little rings around the candleholders are not from the garden, they are a wood and silk set I received from my neighbor Helen a few years ago.  They matched the fall colours well.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rattie Fursuit Feet : Part 1

This weekend we worked on our rattie fursuit's feet.  My 14-year-old provided a pair of comfy (I would have preferred new) runners as a base, and we built the feet around them with foam.  We have yet to finalize the trimming/shaping, and then need to cover them over with the pink fleece.  Here are a few photos of this weekend's progress :
part one of rattie fursuit feet - foam on top of runners

first step of rattie fursuit foot paws - just foam on runners

rattie fursuit feet so far - just the foam on shoes
I've got to do something about my glue gun.  I have a large gun which doesn't work well (although I forgot what the issue is), and a small gun which works well, but the trigger is really hard to push.  So even half an hour after finishing with the gluing, my fingers are still red and sore.  Last time, when we were working on a paw, my fingertips were numb for a couple of days afterward.  That's not good, since we have lots more gluing remaining - when we create the head.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Garden Treats and Treasures

One of the many things I love about my garden is how it surprises me with treats - such as the few remaining Fall Gold raspberries which I enjoyed today.  And the wild strawberries which are still bearing fruit.  And then this cheerful Michaelmas Daisy which sprung out of our outdoor chess board :
It was perfect gardening weather today, so I spent about 2 hours in the garden, cutting down old flower stalks, and pulling weeds.  I was surprised to find a persimmon (the larger one in the photo below) lying face down in the lawn.  The lawn was cut a few weeks ago, so it had been dropped there since.  I suspect it is from the neighbour's persimmon tree, since although I also have one, it is not doing well, and has not borne any fruit yet.  I'm sure it was carried into my yard by a squirrel, and dropped on its way to find a hiding place for its little treasure.
The second persimmon was even more of a surprise.  I was flattening some mounds left by the mole in the lower yard.  It has been making a complete mess of the yard all summer, and I've been shoveling and carrying away the mounds of dirt and rocks (wondering how it could possibly push up SO much material, and what will happen to our yard when those tunnels and holes collapse).  Today, I decided just to flatten them, and scatter some grass seed on the soil.  One of the mounds contained the persimmon, nicely buried inside, like buried treasure.  Squirrels, for sure.  This time, it reached its hiding place.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fimo Mickey Mouse

I recently made an attempt at making a Mickey Mouse figurine from Fimo clay.  I am probably half way there, in terms of effort, but the results are already pretty good, I think :
You can read more about this, and other ceramics related adventures, on my new blog, Ceramics : It's Just Dirt.  I hope you can join me there.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thanksgiving Arrangement

We just celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada.  We had the big turkey dinner on Sunday, and were happy to get almost all of the extended family (14 of us) together.

I have seen photos of pumpkins used for flower arrangements a few times now, so decided I would try my hand at it.  I think the arrangement turned out pretty nicely, with branches and flowers from my garden :
Thanksgiving pumpkin flower arrangement
My sister had the idea of adding the fresh cranberries (on a bamboo skewer).  I think that was a nice touch.  I asked my husband to cut off the top, and we cleaned it out, scraping the insides until clean, not stringy (I managed to get 4 cups of cooked pumpkin, and a small tray of baked pumpkin seeds out of this part).  I didn't bother with an oasis, I just crossed the stems as I added them (a trick I learned from a professional flower arranger).

I hope you all had - or for our U.S. neighbours, will have - a great Thanksgiving.  We have so much to give thanks for, in this part of the world.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dragon Lady

Well, actually, just the dragon gloves.  But I think they turned out pretty cool :

I wasn't really planning to make dragon gloves, I was shopping for fur for my 14-year-old's rattie suit, when I spotted this wonderful shiny "black snakeskin" fabric which I couldn't resist.  Since my character is a dragon, that would be my project, if I were to build a suit - which is not my plan, just the gloves!  I'm not much for machine sewing (I don't even have a sewing machine), but I am pretty good with a needle and thread.   I designed the gloves myself, copying roughly from a pair of fleece gloves, and then I created claws and spikes from fimo clay.   Here's an earlier photo, before the fimo additions.

Here's the first paw and tail of my kiddo's rattie suit.  We've now started on the second paw, but we have quite a way to go.  The grey fur is folded up and sitting on the piano, waiting for us to tackle that.  We are designing the suit ourselves as we go along, so it is a bit daunting if I think about all the work ahead of us.  Especially the head.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rattie Fursuit - First Paw and Tail

Now that my son and I have decided to build a rat fursuit, much of our "spare time" is consumed with shopping for and creating parts for his suit.  In the past couple of days, we have made good progress.  We now pretty much have the first paw :

It is built on a latex-dipped gardening glove, with foam to give it the oversized finger shape, and then effectively a pink fleece glove (hand-sewn) pulled over that.  Here is just the glove with foam, before covering with the fleece :

Yes, the two middle fingers are glued together, to achieve the rattie 4 fingered paw.

Now that we know how much work went into the first paw, it will be hard to convince ourselves to move onto the next one.  :-)

Today my son went to Grandma's house to use her sewing machine to sew the tail, and then stuffed it.  I think it turned out even better than I had expected.

Next (after the second paw, hopefully), we will tackle the feet.  Then we will likely switch over to the gray fur, and start working on the body.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The World of Furry and Other Outlets for Creativity

If anyone actually follows my blog, they might notice an absence of garden-related posts recently.  It's not for the lack of stories to tell, of the abundant Italian plum harvest  (I actually had so many I discovered the joy of drying plums), the gold raspberries which are still continuing, and other delights.  I even have some photos to post, but haven't made time for it.  My attention has been turned elsewhere, into the indoor world of the Creative.

My 14 year old and I attended BronyCAN in August.  It was a great experience, to meet a whole group of My Little Pony enthusiasts, many of them young men who relate to the story's messages of friendship and loyalty and magic.  Many of them who are otherwise quite introverted, but who, within the safety of a community of likeminded Bronies, found courage to join enthusiastically in karaoke and other activities.  It was really neat to be part of that.  I was happy to show off my Twilight Sparkle costume, and had a blast making costumes with my son (who was Fluttershy) :

While at the conference, we were exposed to the world of Furry.  I found out that some people choose to dress in fursuits, not just for some miserable (and hot!) job as a mascot at an event or character in an amusement park, but as a fun way of expressing themselves and their inner fursona, in the safety and perhaps anonymity of the suit.  There is apparently a strong fursuit community in the Vancouver area, with the VancouFur convention in the spring, and the smaller Howloween event in the Fall (this year it will be Nov 2).

My son and I were both impressed by this concept, and my son has chosen his character, a yet unnamed rat.  So we have been busily shopping for furs, and reading up on techniques for building a fursuit.  We found some really wonderful grey fur and pink fleece for the hands and feet and nose.  We started sculpting and creating one hand last night.

My fursona would be a dragon.  Probably a very shiny, sparkly green and purple one, with large wings, and which can breathe puffs of black smoke.  But I have no plans to build a dragon suit, at least not at this time.  It will be more than enough to learn and help my son build a rat suit, since we are both perfectionists, and will surely spend many hours on the project.  Then I will need to be driver and assistant for him when he goes to conventions and hopefully other events.  Not to mention, I spend much of my non-working hours thinking about and reading about ceramics, looking for inspiration and collecting up anything which I can use as stampers or shapers of clay.

But while we were shopping for fabrics, I accidentally ran into some "black snakeskin" fabric which was irresistible.  So I ended up bringing it home, and spending a number of hours creating a pattern (using a simple fleece glove as an example), and sewing my dragon gloves.  Here is the first one, partly done :
The photo doesn't do the fabric justice.  It has wonderful iridescent reflections of green and purple and other colors, in a stretchy fabric which has a pretty close feel to a smooth cool snakeskin.   Anyhow, where it is now pinned along the back of the hand and arm, I have decided to put in a row of spikes.  I plan to buy and create them from purple fimo clay.  Also matching claws.  I think it will turn out pretty cool, and I will be happy to wear them to the furry conventions, but still have my hands relatively free to assist my ratty son and take photos and other neat stuff.
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