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Allan Macpherson House

I love historic houses; they are just brimming with character and stories to tell. Allan Macpherson House in Napanee is no different. So if you’re in the area and have an hour to spare, check it out. Admission is by donation and it really doesn’t take that long to see the entire house so why not? And the staff are super friendly and eager to answer any questions you may have, no matter how weird or stupid.

IMG_0975It was built around 1826 and is one of the oldest houses still standing in Ontario. It originally belonged to Allan Macpherson, a prominent citizen in Napanee in the 1800s. He was Napanee’s first post master, a magistrate, Major of the Lennox Militia, land agent and the list goes on. He operated grist mills and saw mills, a distillery and general store. He was a pioneer of the printing press, builder of schools and established the Agricultural Society. And it doesn’t end there; he was also involved in building the toll road and rail line and helped several denominations secure land to build churches. Whew! Now that was a busy man!

IMG_0999The house has been restored to how it would have been in the 1830s, including era appropriate furnishings.

UntitledYou were even allowed to go down into the basement. Which was scary looking.

IMG_0994Something ominous lives down there I’m sure of it. It’s just waiting down there, slightly out of sight, waiting for some unsuspecting person to make their way down, then BAM! There goes your leg. It’s not like you needed it. Better to give it to the dark demon basement dweller that was a little peckish.

But I digress, here’s the view from the second floor of the back yard.

IMG_0988

Isn’t it peaceful?

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Farmtown Park

IMG_0972On the weekend, a friend and I decided to go to the museum in Stirling, Ontario. The museum has been there since 1997. I’ve grown up in the area and never knew there was a museum in Stirling until about a year ago. Since then I have heard really good things about it. Everyone who says anything about the museum always mentions that there is a street of buildings inside a building, made to look like a street in a small town in the 1940s or so (because that didn’t sound confusing at all). So I just assumed that was all there was to the museum. Just the one building with the village inside it with exhibits in the buildings and artifacts to suit each building. And really that sounded pretty cool all on its own.

IMG_0952Let’s just say I was more than impressed by this museum. It was enormous. Not only did they have the heritage village which incorporated an entire street with a chapel on the end and a one room school house outside, but they also had several more buildings on top of that! The heritage village was beautifully done and can even be rented as an event space for weddings and such.

IMG_0961Stirling cherishes their agricultural history. It’s quite impressive. And they’ve built a great monument to that history in this museum. It is great to see a community that takes such pride in their history and turned it into something amazing.

IMG_0941The main building that you enter first is the main museum dedicated to telling the history of agriculture, which is primarily dairy farming in Stirling. There are exhibits on cheese making, milking cows, making butter. Then there are other buildings dedicated to tractors, plows or steam engines in addition to the heritage village building.

If you’ve read this blog before (or know me personally) you may already know I’m creeped out by mannequins. If not, well…I’m creeped out by mannequins. I’m of the opinion that mannequins should only vaguely look like a human (you know, less likely to eat you that way). The mannequins that try to look incredibly realistic really freak me out. Also the ones that look like they are pantyhose stuffed with something. Those ones just look bloated and unnatural. I’m pretty sure they are plotting my imminent demise. Just saying.

But I digress…the point I was going to make was that I’m pretty sure there was a sale on this guy…

UntitledAnd Farmtown Park took advantage of it. There seemed to be the same mannequin with the same weird facial shadow in a variety of locations, only dressed differently. Or maybe it was the same one and he was stalking me. A very clever, sentient mannequin. That must be it.

Now…on to the machinery with facial expressions!

Untitled1Can’t you just imagine that telephone (on the left) is in the middle of saying “SHE SAID WHAT?!?!?” and the…whatever the thing on the right is, is just happy to see you. If it had arms it would be waving “Hi!” excitedly I just know it.

Did you know that there was such a thing as cheese auctions?

IMG_0946The image above shows something called a Dutch Clock. It was used to auction cheese. Here’s how it worked: The numbered discs in the centre were held by a particular buyer. When the buyer bid on a lot of cheese, the disc lit up. The window at the top displayed the current base price per pound of cheese. The clock would start at the 12 o’clock position and run counter clockwise. A buyer would click in when the hand pointed to the price of cheese he wished to pay.

I don’t know why but I thought that was weird and interesting.

Lastly, I will leave you with a bit of an enigma

IMG_0959Why is this cow out of order? What did this cow do? Could you milk it? Did it moo? Is it a magic cow? Could it talk? I guess we’ll never know because the cow is out of order…

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Batman Sock Monkey

In the course of my nerdy sock monkey making endeavours I determined that Doctor Who sock monkeys and Castiel sock monkeys were not a thing. However Batman sock monkey is a thing. In fact most superheroes have sock monkey versions, I found out. I thought this was strange.

But by searching out these Batman sock monkeys I was provided with plenty of inspiration in order to create my very own version.

IMG_0643I made this as a Christmas gift for a friend. For the other nerdy sock monkeys the choice was obvious. One was a big Doctor Who fan and the other a big Supernatural fan. For this friend…well… she’s a huge nerd. And I say that in the nicest way possible. But I couldn’t decide what nerdy sock monkey I could make for her. I mean, she likes Doctor Who. She likes Supernatural. Plus I know she’s into Anime, but I know absolutely nothing about Anime and wouldn’t even know where to start so I vetoed that idea early on. Finally I decided on Batman. Because, really, who doesn’t like Batman? Batman’s awesome.

IMG_0644For this sock monkey, I am especially proud of the Bat logo. It turned out beautifully. I was a little afraid I wouldn’t be able to cut out the felt so that it looked right, but I shouldn’t have worried because it’s perfect.

IMG_0645And, if you want to be a huge nerd? The bat logo is attached to a safety pin so you can remove it from the sock monkey and wear it as a brooch. That’s probably saying something about me that, that idea would even enter my mind. I admit it. I’m a huge nerd. Batman is awesome. Which I may have already mentioned o.O

IMG_0646I discovered something interesting after making this sock monkey. Batman transcends geekdom. He really does. When I was making the Doctor Who sock monkey I would show it to people and they would be like “aww cute, the sock monkey is wearing a bowtie and suit jacket” and they wouldn’t realize that it was a character from a show. But with the Batman sock monkey, I would show someone and didn’t need to say a thing and people would be like “Batman!!!! That’s so cool!”

IMG_0647Then there’s the Castiel sock monkey. My mother didn’t believe that my friend would recognize who the sock monkey was supposed to be. She’s never watched Supernatural so why would she know? So I actually filmed my friend opening the present so I would get her reaction and prove to her that it wasn’t just a random flying monkey wearing a trench coat. Thankfully my friend proved me right. But everyone loves Batman. Everyone knows who Batman is. Batman defies nerdy boundaries.

IMG_0648In conclusion? Batman is awesome. Enough said.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Castiel Sock Monkey

I was telling a friend about the Doctor Who sock monkey I was making for another friend. Her reaction was basically, “that’s cool, but you know what would be better? A Castiel sock monkey!” And I thought, “hmmm…” and the wheels started turning.

In case you don’t know, Castiel is a character on the show Supernatural. He plays an angel. He looks like this.

Castiel_807I love Supernatural. It’s one of my favourite shows and Castiel is one of my favourite characters on it. But my friend, like, LOVES Castiel.  So making a Castiel sock monkey for her was perfect. Alright, so first thing I did was make the sock monkey.

IMG_0545Ok. Done.  I knew I needed a trench coat because that’s what he wears in almost every single episode he’s in. But I wasn’t sure about what else I should include. So next I googled  “Castiel Sock Monkey” for inspiration. Apparently that’s not a thing because the only thing that came up was the actor who plays Castiel in a sock monkey hat. Not. Helpful.

Instead I googled “Castiel plush.” That is a thing and there were tons of things to choose from. From looking at those images I decided that I needed to include a blue tie and black wings. Made of felt.

IMG_0649Castiel also wears a black suit with a white dress shirt underneath but I decided against making that as well because once again I didn’t know how and it seemed like too much work.

IMG_0650Also note that the tie is an actual tie and tied like a real tie. No clip on for Castiel. And it’s loosened because that’s how Castiel wears it.

IMG_0652The only thing I don’t like about the Castiel sock monkey is where I placed the wings. From the front they look alright, but from the back they are in the wrong position. In my opinion. But they are now firmly attached so that is where they will stay. And to show you what I mean, here is a picture where it looks like he tripped and fell smack on his face.

IMG_0653And I saved the best for last. This is my favourite picture of the Castiel Sock Monkey.

IMG_0654Can’t you just see him saying, “Hey baby, how YOU doin?” (think Joey from Friends)

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Doctor Who Sock Monkey

I have a friend who is a big Doctor Who fan. Her birthday was in December and I needed a birthday present. I was thinking about the sock monkeys I had made one day when the idea struck. I should make a Doctor Who sock monkey! Brilliant!

I don’t really know much about Doctor Who, science fiction really isn’t my thing. I’ve seen exactly one episode of the show and it was the Don’t Blink stone angels episode. From that episode I really didn’t feel the need to watch any more. I get the “timey wimey” references and the stone angel references. So here’s what I know about Doctor Who.

  1. Doctor Who is some kind of time traveling alien
  2. He travels through time in something called a TARDIS that looks like a police box
  3. There are things called Daleks that look like overgrown salt shakers with plungers for arms and say “Exterminate!”
  4. The police box is “bigger on the inside” and he has a sonic screwdriver
  5. There have been 11 doctors and the show has been around for a really long time. One of the doctors had an extra long scarf. Another doctor was David Tennant who was in a movie called Casanova and it was kind of disturbing.
  6. “Time is a … big ball of timey wimey stuff”

I think that about covers it, or rather covers what I know about Doctor Who. With all that in mind I set about trying to make a Doctor Who sock monkey. Here’s the sock monkey I made to start.

IMG_0545I had to do some research to see what Doctor Who looked like. It seemed to me that all of the doctors wear the same thing all the time so they have an iconic outfit that you can recognize them by. I didn’t know which Doctor Who was my friends favourite so I decided to just go with the current doctor. His outfit includes a beige suit jacket, a red bowtie and a red fez hat. That seemed simple enough.

I started with the bowtie.

IMG_0550I want you to know that this is actual bowtie, made of felt, not just some clip on. I wanted the “authentic” look for my Doctor Who sock monkey. I fought with the stupid tie. Bowties are complicated to tie! Finally I got it to look the way I wanted.

Then I made the jacket and the fez. Felt and hot glue are the name of the game in making these clothing items. The fez is attached to a safety pin so it can be repositioned if need be.

IMG_0570So there’s my Doctor Who sock monkey! Isn’t he cute? Now because I don’t know much about Doctor Who I didn’t know if the sock monkey would be immediately recognizable as being Doctor Who. So I wanted to include some other elements, like the TARDIS and the Dalek. At first I thought I would make more clothing-like things to put on the sock monkey. Like a Dalek or TARDIS dress or something. Then I thought…No. I don’t know how to do that. That sounds like too much work. So instead I decided to make a sandwich board.

On one side you have the Dalek

IMG_0571And on the other, you have the TARDIS

IMG_0572I decided that sock monkey Doctor Who liked to play dress up and he liked to go as a Dalek or TARDIS for Halloween or something so this is what he would wear. Again I had to look up what the things looked like. Then I drew them out on some white Bristol board, cut them out and attached the two cut outs with string that could go over the monkey’s head.

IMG_0576For all my other sock monkeys I made a mouth out of embroidery floss. But for Doctor Who I kind of liked the minimalist look he had without a mouth so I left it.

IMG_0573And because I think the sock monkey is cute, here’s one last picture.

IMG_0574So how did I do? Did I capture the true essence of Doctor Who? Doesn’t really matter though, in my opinion, because in the end I have a super cute sock monkey.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Hot Air Balloon Ornaments

I think it was last year that I saw this post about making hot air balloons from Christmas ball ornaments.

IMG_3212 copyBasically you turn a Christmas ball upside down and suddenly it’s a hot air balloon! Mind. Blown.

If you click on the picture it will take you to the tutorial.

I thought they looked awesome and wanted to make some of my very own. From the tutorial they didn’t sound that difficult to make. But like most crafty things I see online or in books I don’t have all of the equipment that those people do. Essentially my craft supplies are whatever I can find in the dollar store. You can find some interesting things in a dollar store.

IMG_0607Needless to say my hot air balloon ornaments did not turn out nearly as nice as the ones that I saw. Mine look homemade, while hers look professional and fancy.

IMG_0602They took me a ridiculously long time to make too. But not because they are difficult or anything like that. It was because I started them in January, got frustrated with it not turning out the way I wanted and then left it until December.

IMG_0610I determined that the reason I was having such a difficult time putting these together was that I was trying to do too much with them. Once I simplified what I was trying to do, basically attach a “basket” and put some glitter on them, it all came together. Keep It Simple Stupid became my motto from that point.

So even though they did not turn out quite the way I envisioned, I still kind of like them. They’re… unique. I had fun making them anyway and that’s what counts.

IMG_0609This one is my favourite. I think it looks like a planet.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Tarzan Sock Monkey

Here’s the next sock monkey I made. I call him Tarzan…but really I think he’s dressed more like George of the Jungle.

IMG_0585I was asked to make a sock monkey for someone and they wanted something with animal print. I could have just made a scarf in animal print like I did for the two sock monkeys in the previous post…but where is the fun in that? Instead I decided that the sock monkey needed a loincloth of some sort made out of animal print cloth. So first I started by making the sock monkey.

IMG_0578Ok. Done. I had a package of three pairs of socks and somehow I managed to make two sock monkeys before realizing that the third pair of socks was different. This pair of socks does not have a different colour heel and toe! All that means is that the sock monkey’s muzzle will not be a different colour than the rest of its head, so I decided to go ahead and make a sock monkey out of these socks anyway.

IMG_0583So I made the sock monkey and made a simple animal print toga/loincloth outfit. I even cut a hole out of the back so that the tail could fit through.

IMG_0586Then I thought I was done. But I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. The sock monkey just needed a little something else, but I couldn’t think of what. Suddenly it came to me! Tarzan sock monkey needed a red bowtie!

IMG_0588Now we’re talking. Now It’s perfect. If perfect is Tarzan becoming a stripper. And in my books it is. That’s what Tarzan was missing! Bonus feature? That bowtie ties like an actual bowtie and isn’t just a clip on. It took skill. It wasn’t difficult to make, but it was difficult to tie. But in the end? Awesome.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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