Sunday, June 28, 2009

Toy Drops Made

Here are the areas that we decided to make our toy drops at. So fun! 

The Toy Society Drop June 27 2009 004

The Girl was tied to a small spruce tree on the trail that leads into the Potter Marsh wildlife viewing area. We went to check on her after our Zoo trip and she was gone!

The Toy Society Drop June 27 2009 005

 The boy was dropped at the Alaska Zoo, at the bench in Annabelle's memorial area. We checked to see if it was still there before we left the zoo and sure enough, it was gone!

It was much more difficult than I thought it would be. With so many people streaming by us in both drop areas, it was hard not to be noticed and then to take a photo afterward. Maybe it takes practice and we will get stealthier as we do more drops in the future!

Our First Two Drops for The Toy Society!

Garden, toy drop, dogs 010

These little sock kids will be dropped separately around our lovely town in participation with The Toy Society. I think this is a wonderful concept and the kids and I really have had fun planning how/where to do the covert drops!

According to some people I don't get out enough and that may be true, but regardless of their opinions, I happened to find this experience to be very exciting.
And yes, the dolls are a little out of season with their scarves and pocketed hands, but I just couldn't wait until winter to make the drop. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Taking Jab at Rubber Stamp Carving (pun intended..he he!)

This Friday is my son's tenth birthday! (WOW! I can't even think about how old that sounds). Ten is a hard in between age for choosing gifts, finding one he will like for a long time and one that is not commercialized.

I decided to take his signature drawings, the drawings he has been doodling regularly through out this past year, and make a custom carved stamp for him, something that he can use over and over again and is also very personal.

I have never carved a stamp before, but let me tell you, it is really addicting! I found all my supplies online at Dick Blick, they have everything you need and more including great starter kits.

To begin, I found some drawings my son had left around the house on random pieces of paper. Luckily, these images were all about the same size so I did not need to enlarge/decrease with the copier. I then used carbon paper to transfer each design onto the block and then went over them again with a sharpie marker so I had a nice black line to follow.

Garden, toy drop, dogs 021

(*I apologize for the quality of these photos, it was late at night and I had to be sneaky)
After I carved out the stamps, I took a wooden block that I had from our local craft     store, painted it all black and sealed it so it wouldn't get wet when he washed the inks off his stamps. The stamps were then glued to the six sides of the wooden block.

Garden, toy drop, dogs 046 

I then used the stamp ( I had to make sure it worked well, right?) to stamp each page of a post-it note pad and to decorate the gift box it was going into. I couldn't stop there, so I also used it to stamp the name tags for his party goodie bags and made stamped stickers for his friends.

Garden, toy drop, dogs 054

  I have really enjoyed his art this past year and before I know it, he will be drawing something completely different. Now I will be able enjoy these drawings forever and who knows, I may have even started an annual birthday tradition!
Garden, toy drop, dogs 049

Welcome Little Ones!

No matter how long I live here, it will never be anything less than an amazing sight to see a moose strolling through our yard. The neighbours all stop what they are doing, some grabbing their cameras, and watch just like if it were the first time seeing the scene.

Well, today we were given an even more amazing sight when this mama moose came though, very nervous and very alert, with her new twin calves!

They were so adorable, and still fuzzy, as they frolicked around the yard just being, "kids".
We wish them the very best of luck with the fight they will have to make it into adulthood. Hopefully they will come and see us again!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary....

How does your garden grow?

Our Garden Currently

So far, we are having a pretty good gardening year thanks to all the lovely sunshine we have been getting (ironically, not today though, it is raining). Last year, the sun didn't seem to want to stick around very much, so our garden a very sad and soggy sight.

This year I planted things I knew we would use a lot of; such as three types of leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, zucchini, sugar snap peas, strawberries, herbs: dill, cilantro, oregano, thyme, lemongrass, basil,  sweet basil, rosemary and parsley, chives and spearmint.

Everything, except the zucchini and lemongrass, is tucked nicely into to a 3x5 raised bed that my handy husband made for me.
We also have a few raspberry bushes and one very old, very large  rhubarb plant in the backyard. 

Just planted in the spring: above

Just a few weeks later: below

If anyone has any tips on drying fresh herbs that they would like to share, I would love to hear them! 

The Great Lady Bug Release!

If you've never purchased a bag of lady bugs to use on your property as a natural method of pest control, I suggest you give it a try, at least once. You can usually find them being sold at your local garden store. They come with different amounts of bugs depending on the store. In the past we have released smaller bags of 100 bugs or so, but this year we found a bit more!
So what does 1,500-1,800 lady bugs look like? I had no idea until we brought home the little mesh bag and actually opened it up.

They went everywhere! I sprinkled them onto every bush, tree and plant in the backyard and they quickly went marching up, around and over to get to work. 

It provided hours of entertainment for our youngest son (lady bugs are on his "good bug" list), and he continues to find his friends from time to time, still busy with their natural pest control duties. If only they ate mosquitoes too!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Welcome to the blog!

My very first post!!
I am very excited to have this opportunity to share what happens here at The Pine Cone Gnome! Please feel free to make comments or ask questions and I will be happy to answer them.