The Show.

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We were not the stars of the show.  We were more like twinkles.  I believe our trailer was longer than our segment on the show. Nevertheless, my girls and I watched HGTV Great Canadian Homes with bated breath last night.  There are some awesome homes on that show and a little glimpse of ours.

For all my friends and family far and wide around this great earth, the full show is right here for you to see.  If you are not interested in fabulous Canadian homes and want to just see me and the family then skip to minute 32:58.  It should take you about 48 seconds to watch it.

Please let me know what you think of the show.  I’d love to hear.

And, yes, Tommy did mispronounce my name.  But I forgive him after all those nice things he said about my place.

 

Marilyn and I

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I am not a performer.  I would much rather sit amongst the crowd, than be in the limelight.  There has been quite a bit of interest from the media about our move to Milford, and our chosen digs.   The phone started ringing after our Globe and Mail article was published in January 2016.  Just last week, a television show from the U.K. and Germany have ask to film our home.  It all makes me cringe slightly.  I am flattered that people find our life choices interesting, but the thought of being on stage makes me want to lock the door, turn out the lights and draw the shades.

The Marilyn Denis Show contacted me about a year ago to appear on their show.  I kept declining as it takes a lot of effort to clean up my home, look presentable, and squash my stage fright.  They wanted to send in a film crew, and I just couldn’t bring myself to say yes.  I kept imagining that I would simultaneously throw up and pee my pants in front of the camera and crew, and then they would accidentally air my social faux pas on national television.  Just for the record, I have never done that in public before but it seemed like a rational concern at the time.

A few months back, they came up with another option.  I was to film the episode myself, and mail it in.  Now this was an option I could get my head around.  Luckily my friend Mike from Authentic Media offered to help film my M.D. spot.  Even when it was just Mike and me, I was still quite nervous.

Yesterday was my big premiere.  I got all dressed up in my track pants, and watched it with my kids last night.  It is not as bad as I had feared.  I was going to quietly let it slip under the radar, but I thought I would share it with you.  I am never going to own the stage (even though I do own a stage but you know what I mean), and be comfortable in my own skin in front of a camera.  It is not a skill I ever plan to hone.  I am going to go with generally awkward, nervous with odd hands gestures, respectively rumpled clothes, not enough make up for television, and a slightly lopsided face. Because that’s me in front of a camera, or in person because I’ve accidentally lost control of my bladder while throwing up in public.

If you’d like to peruse some celebrity homes, learn about front door makeovers, and see my clip then click here.  If you want to go right to my highlights, then skip to minute 21.

Enjoy the show!

 

 

 

Tis the Season to Craft

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I had to give up on my Christmas knitting project due to my knitting disability.  I was going to make a pair of mittens for Jess.  My knitting mentor told me it was possible and then dismembered my sad display of knitting.  So I turned to sewing.  I have been meaning to make my kids an advent calendar for 12 years, and 2017 is the year it is going to happen!  I just completed Day 22 last night.  I have two days left to sew, and fill their advent pouches with treats and little gifts.  After school, my oldest is going to help me cut, and arrange dogwood and fir boughs as a canvas for our advent calendar.

I have put so little time aside for crafting this year, and love that I have a project to work on right now.  I’ve been on a strict sewing schedule for the last three weeks to get it all done my December 1st.  I do love to craft and do anything creative with my hands.  It is peaceful and meditative for me.  I’ll need to find a new craft post December 1st.  I guess I could try knitting again but not sure if I can reach beyond the scarf.  I am very good at knitting but once the pearling, and the stitch counting begins I simply create a giant mess.  Pair that up with some conversation and a glass of wine and I might as well give up all together.

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My girls also love to craft.  Jess has declared that our Christmas tree this year will only be adorned with homemade ornaments.  He set up Craft Central on the stage.  There are a few tables with supplies mostly foraged from outdoors, a glue gun, scissors, paint and markers.  A spray station will be added once ornaments are complete and ready for their layer of shine.  He has also set up the band saw, and taught the kids how to use it.  The two rules are go slow, and don’t cut your finger off.  Really what’s the worst that could happen?  I dare you to show me one nine fingered person who is not living a full life in this day and age?

Jess and the girls have also begun experimenting with their truffle recipe.  They made a delicious batch the other night.  Full production will start soon.  We love to give these tasty treats to our neighbours and kid’s teachers.  Since I’ve been busy sewing on the couch in front of the fire most nights, my role in truffle making is mostly spoon licker and truffle taster.

I would also like to add some carolling to my Christmas agenda this year.  The word on the snowy street is that Christmas is all about agendas.  I’d like to put agenda back into Christmas.  Isn’t that the slogan I’ve been hearing lately?  I have fond memories of going to my mom’s friend Anne’s house when I was a kid to sing carols with all the neighbours.  I’m not sure I am one to go door to door singing for my neighbour’s but I would like to sing more.  I think I’ll start belting it out at home, and see where that leads me.  It may simply lead me to sing all by my loaf.  That’s still better than no singing at all.

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How Far We’ve Come

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Recently, a film crew came to film our house.  We have been chosen as one of the 12 top homes to live in across Canada.  It seems absurd to me that we are in the same category as Justin Trudeau, Wayne Gretzky, and Alexander Graham Bell’s original home.  But who am I to judge?  I just went along for the ride.

It did make me think about the amount of work we have done to this building, and all the different stages of it’s transformation that have occurred in the last three years.  Now that we are heat stable this winter, Jess suggested we have an annual Celebration of Heat in the coldest month of the year, to remind us of how things use to be during our first winter.  The celebration would basically consist of turning off the heat, and trying to cook dinner with our winter jackets and toques on.  I think I may be skipping that party.

Below are some of the before and after shots of the old South Marysburgh Central School that we now call home.  I thought you might want to walk down memory lane with me and have a peek inside.

Outside of our Building:

Before:

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After:

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Boy’s Bathroom

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After:

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Classroom #2

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The Gym

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Backyard

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Elsa Dog

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After:

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What will the next three years bring?

 

 

 

 

Slack Turning Starts Now

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We had a friend come over the other day.  Amongst the Jameson’s, he asked us about our educational backgrounds.  As I rattled off our years of schooling, I thought about how far removed I am from that period in my life.  It is not only long ago in years, but also in ideals.  Since I was a young girl I struggled with what profession to choose.  It was always something new.  I bounced around from artist,  to marine biologist, to architect, to psychologist, to social worker, and then settled on technologist.  My post secondary schooling was long but my career wasn’t.  It got interrupted by adventures and children, as is the story of so many women.  Two degrees later, three children in three years, and some key lifestyle decisions landed us here in Milford, running our bed and breakfast, our Old School Bluegrass Camp, and the odd house concert.  I don’t think any of my schooling prepared me for this current project, but maybe it is that unknown element that drew me here.

I recently met a couple for the second time from my old neighbourhood.  They use to run The Pantry Press on Roncesvalles in Toronto.  Two years ago, they sold their home and moved into a 1990 VW camper van.  It was a temporary move, and they planned to buy a condominium in the city and settle down.  They have been travelling North America, visiting friends, going to festivals and working freelance.  They still run their business but do it mostly online.  When they have a deadline, they rent a house for a few weeks and get to work, but otherwise they are free to travel and follow their hearts.  They are currently doing an artists residency at Spark Box Studio in Prince Edward County  for the month of September.  They plan to mount an installation called Shangria-La, exploring the roadsteaders lifestyle.  They love their new way of life and can’t imagine being tied down to a piece of real estate.  The beauty of their story is that this chapter in their lives was so unplanned but so welcomed.  Neither one of them want to stop their VW camper adventure anytime soon.  You can check out their blog here.

When I peeked into their VW van, it reminded me of the days when Jess and I lived on our boat fifteen years ago.   I have to admit I was intrigued by the smallness of it all.  Living in an 11,000 square foot home comes with lots of perks but cleaning isn’t one of them.  I could whip up a VW van in a matter of minutes.  I could lounge in cleanliness with little effort.  Not having any stuff is also very appealing to me, and I know Jess would love that aspect of small living.  It made me think that maybe my current situation isn’t a forever one.  Perhaps my retirement plans should include a VW camper or a sailboat.

We have been busy around here as per usual.  I am blaming general busyness for my lack of blog posts this season.  I hope to get back on track today.  This is officially my turning my slack around post. I’ve been a prolific Instagrammer as of late, but a real lame blogger.  And by lame I mean I haven’t written many posts lately.  I don’t want you to envision me dragging around my left leg when I walk or being mocked in my cardio class because I am unable to lift my arm above my chest.

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Our Old School Bluegrass Camp was a hit again this year.  We had so much fun, with so many great people and fabulous music.  July seems so long ago, but we are already preparing for next year’s camp.  Registration will open December 1st.

Our bed and breakfast, South in Milford,  has been bustling this season which is wonderful.  We have had some lovely people stay with us.  The tourist season is settling down a bit now, which is a nice change since we are exhausted.  We mostly have guests on the weekends, which is manageable with the kids back in school.

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It was very dry here this summer.  Prince Edward County had a level 3 drought.  Many of our neighbours crops were lost.  It was a very good growing season for the vineyards, although they also struggled with the lack of water as well.  Our garden languished in the heat, and we couldn’t keep up with the watering.  Our 9 acres were yellow and crunchy to the touch.  Most of our 1500 saplings that Jess planted have died.  We have had some much needed rain recently, and the lush green landscapes have returned just in time for fair season.  We spent last weekend at the Picton Fair and we are very excited about the Milford Fair this coming weekend.  Wini will be entering a nature photograph for the photography contest, and I plan on competing in the skillet toss again this year.  I won second place last year and received a $5 prize.  I quickly reinvested that $5 at the 4H milkshake stand.  If you are in Prince Edward County this upcoming weekend come out to the Milford Fair.  It is the best show in town!

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Old School Bluegrass Camp 2016!

OLD SCHOOL BGC POSTER DEC15 FINAL

It is getting down to crunch time!  Only six more weeks to go.  If you love bluegrass, and play an instrument, you need to get over here for July 3-8th.  We have the best instructors a camp can offer.  Check out this list:  Sam Allison, the whole entire Slocan Ramblers band, ya you heard me, Ivan Rosenberg, and Ben Plotnik!

Spots are filling up fast but we still have some room.  Those mandolin players were highly organized this year.  There are no spots left for mandolin for 2016 but we still room for clawhammer banjo, bluegrass banjo, stand up bass, fiddle and flat pickin guitar.

Don’t delay!  Register here.

Love Your Library

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As per usual, things have been busy around here.  The season is just around the corner, and there is a long list of jobs to do.  I’ve just spent the last 5 days painting the staff room which is used as a communal kitchen for our guests.  I have aches and pains in my upper back that I’ve never experienced before.  I am calling it upper cabinet roller shoulder.  It is similar to tennis elbow, except less elitist and it doesn’t look as good in tennis whites because of the paint stains.

On a non manual labour note, we survived March Break even though it was a very soggy week.  When I use the term “we”, I am referring to me.  I did the bulk of daytime child care/entertaining.  Once again having a gym in my home saved us from cabin fever during those rainy days.  There was not a lot of enthusiasm for the bouncy castle as of late, so we have set up a badminton court in front of the stage.  It turns out badminton is the perfect indoor sport.  It is hard to take out someone’s eye or break a window with a birdie.  Unfortunately, Elsa our dog has eaten one of our birdies.  We are down to only a treasured one.

Another saving grace was the Stop Motion Movie workshop at our local library.  Prince Edward County libraries are the best.  It was a two day, free workshop with artist Krista Dalby.  Krista is such an awesome creative force in our community.  Small Pond Arts, Puppeteers without Borders, and The Firelight Lantern Festival  are just a few of the incredible things she does.  My kids loved every minute of her workshop and are now obsessed with stop motion movies.  Wini and Ruby have set up a film set on our stage and it has been getting a lot of use this past week.  To check out the movies the kids made at the library, click here and here.

If you want to see what serious stop motion artists film, click here.  It is a wee bit violence, but don’t worry, it is the good kind of violence.  All in the name of art.

We ended the week with a a good old fashion bonfire with friends to celebrate the spring equinox.  Nothing rings in the new season like the first fire.  My friend Allison captured this great photo of Reya gleefully jumping through the smoke. I’m looking forward to many more bonfires in my near future.

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