Monday, September 28, 2009

Arkiemedes Tams... a wise little man

This little old fellow is Arkiemedes Tams. Arky loves contemplating nature and gardening. He has been a scholar in his life and has known and seen much. This never weighs him down though. You can regularly see him skipping down a path and whistling a jaunty tune - don't be fooled by that walking stick he is by no means feeble. Arky is a bit of a tease and can be very mischievous, there is always fun sparkling in his eyes.

I always find it interesting to know where names come from - Arky received his name from one of my aunts. She informed me that he looked like an 'Arkiemedes' the first time they met and she was right, though to me he feels like 'Arkiemedes'. The second half of his name 'Tams' is in honour of Charles de Lint after after the magical 'Tamson house' in his novel Moonheart - full of secrets and magic.

These pictures were taken when we had gone out for a walk and we found a walking stick - as if it were made just for him. The angle of the handle and the height were so perfectly matched - it was meant to be!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Magical Movies

These are some of the movies that I absolutely love and thought I would share. They all have a bit of a dark fairy tale undertone to them which I find very satisfying.

"Alice in Wonderland" (1985) This version is the best I've seen. The scene with the Jabberwocky terrified me when I was little. A very good portrayal of a monster. I'm excited to see that Tim Burton is creating a version of Alice coming out in 2010 - with Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman (how I love his voice!) and Anne Hathaway! How wonderful is that? The next movie "The Fall" (2006) is one that was recommended to me by a friend just recently. It takes place in the 1920's and has an intriguing duality to it - similar in a way to the movie "MirrorMask" (2005) based on Neil Gaiman's book by the same title. Which I also think is amazing! "Into the Woods" (1991) is now one of my favourite musicals thanks to another friend with esquisite taste in the genre. It's full of what if's, and incredible lyrics. I can watch that all the way through and then start again! "Knightriders" (1981) I love because the setting and some of the characters melencholy remind me of one of my favourite books by my favourite fantasy autor Mercedes Lackey. The book "Bedlam's Bard" has the world of faerie, magic, renissance fairs and modern day motorcycles all intertwined. Could you ask for more?

"Labyrinth" (1986) Most favourite movie ever? Yes, yes just perhaps. It's pretty hard to beat. "Neverwhere" (1996) I actually listened to this on a Book CD (where Neil Gaiman read it - he has a lovely voice!) and found out that the book was written after the tv series. Very very good - but I've very biased, I love anything and everything he does. There's a whole world of magic underneith and above and around you that you just don't realize is there. "Pan's Labyrinth"(2006) a very dark fairytale, it reminds you that there is an unseelie court of darkness and some of the creatures here you might see there... Wonderful imagery. "Snow White A Tale of Terror"(1997) Another version that is the twisted darker telling of the fairytale.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sticky Satisfaction!

Yesterday, a friend and I embarked on a grand adventure to quench our thirst for knowledge. This particular quest was also to enhance our skills as domestic goddesses as we discovered how to make jam! Specifically delicious, glowing, peach jam. The peaches we used were so ripe they melted in your hands and mouth. They were the perfect peaches that you read about in books, where the juice drips down your chin... mmmmm...

The whole process of jam making was quite addictive. It felt very nostalgic to me, reminding me of when my mother used to make crab apple jelly. Now jelly and jam are two different matters! The difference happens to be that jelly is clear, free of solid fruit and jam is not. That I learned from The Joy of Cooking. What a wealth of information is in that book! Every kitchen should have something comparable. I wonder why it took me so long to discover this? Another thing about making preserves is to me, it really speaks of an older time. A time when your neighbours were your closest friends and you paid particular heed to the seasons. Canning feels like fall and harvest. Yesterday, along with the peaches, I could almost smell autumn blowing in, and the leaves are definitely starting to turn.
With the end of the peaches, I made a perfectly beautiful peach cobbler - which I proceeded to drop on the floor as it was coming out of the oven! Only half of it was salvageable. It was such a shame that I had to go out and buy more peaches today. Round two, my second attempt, made it out in one piece! I was so proud! It was made with white flesh peaches, so I must also try it with yellow flesh... and perhaps add raspberries to the mix!

Here you see Eolande Ceidkeiypr picking a golden raspberry from my garden. Eolande is a lovely little elf who is responsible for collecting and keeping the perennial seeds safe and planting them again in spring. Watch for Eolande's adventures!

After we spent the majority of the morning and afternoon canning we had our closest friends over for a potluck dinner. I can't even begin to explain how happy events like that make me. I love being able to offer a place where friends can gather. I love feeding them. I love being a hostess and making sure everyone is happy and having a good time. Potlucks are wonderful - sharing food, recipes and conversation with friends. What could be better? Not much! Weeeell, maybe if you added costumes into that mix... Yes - I'd have to say that a potluck gathering at Hallowe'en is the most exciting social event for me to host! It's coming soon too! Every year I host a Hallowe'en gathering for my friends and it's always fun to think up new ideas for this event... Also, the costumes! I love sewing and costuming! There are so many things to do and plan! Though there are events before then that I'd also like to attend:
  • 12-13/09/09 Heritage Park Fall Fair ~ I've never attended the Fall Fair before, but I am going for the first time this year! I'd like to convince a group of friends to take an old fashioned photo with me
  • Calgary Corn Maze ~ I've never visited the Calgary Corn Maze. The website makes it look a-maze-ing! I'd really love to check it out!
  • 18-20/09/09 Portobello West ~ an art market with artist from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto with all kinds of art
  • 18-20/09/09 Alberta Art Days ~ many different events around the city
  • 26-27/09/09 Creative Stitching Show ~ textile and fabric, all kinds of crafts involving stitchery exhibited and sold
  • 01/10/09 October First Thursday ~ down at Art Central
As well as all of those, there is tomorrow which is an especially wonderful event. September is full of "Troll Tuesdays" when Natalie (my best friend, studio mate and all around superb adventuring companion) and I will get together to work on trolls and faery folk - like this little fellow to the right - who is but a head... Tomorrow he will receive hands and feet! A body too if he promises to behave. I have a feeling that he's just waiting to get his fingers sticky in my jam...

Peach Cobbler: 6 cups peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp lemon zest, stir together in 9x9 casserole dish. Now, stir together 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 4 tbsp chilled butter, 3/4 cup milk, kneed quickly and roll out on a floured board, cut into shapes or lattice and arrange over fruit, then brush with egg white. Bake @ 375F for 45-50min