Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I promise I'll actually post something current soon, but I was working on a new website that we are going to be putting up shortly (you're gonna love it) and was looking for old photos of Tina & me when we had our shop at the Renaissance faire. This was probably taken at least 12 years ago, probably more! Oh, I see that was the year of the huge hyacinth bean vine which climbed up to the top of the second floor. That would have been our second year, so 1993.. yep, I was right.

I'm the one on the left. Tina is on the right. Look at her long hair! I loved those clothes. We are standing in front of our shop, looking quite pleased with ourselves. We were solidly in love with the Faire that year. Everything was fun and none of the sleazy management stuff that made us decide to leave had started yet.

Well, just popping in to post something... Sure brings back some fun memories.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Birds

Since we have been *enjoying* our share of the tail end of Wilma today, obviously this picture was taken a couple of days ago.

I was inside and started hearing quite a commotion outside, looked out the window and thought I was watching a remake of "The Birds".

From time to time in this area, we have infestations of crows. So far we've escaped them, but this day, we were the target! They roosted all over the trees - covering them completely. A dogwood tree was completely black. I haven't checked yet, but I bet a good portion of the wealth of berries it held is gone. When I decided to go outside and get a picture of the blackened trees, they, with one mind, took to the air in a swirling black cloud.

I imagine this happens in a number of communities, but crows were a huge problem a year or so ago in a couple of local areas. In particular, the birds were damaging the covering in the center of our large local mall.

There were a number of methods tried to get rid of them. The one I liked best was cannon fire!

Our local mayor is a cannon collector. Give him a chance and he will fire a his cannons. He brought fireworks to downtown Lancaster for various celebrations and other than a few stray burning pieces landing on the tops of parking garages... it was a good idea. It got people into the center of town. He brought them in for the 4th of July celebration and also, we now have a non-alcoholic "First Night" (New Year's Eve) celebration, complete with fireworks, for folks to attend.

Anyhow, the mayor, of course brought out his cannons and they were used as one of the attempts at deterring the crows. I forget the other methods that were tried. None of them really worked. They all probably annoyed the crows, but basically, one day, the crows just decided it was time to pull up stakes and leave.

Luckily, our visitors just stuck around for an hour or so and decided this wasn't *home*. It was interesting - and a little frightening - but, at least it was temporary.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Food/Soap.... some thoughts

Although the past few days I have dedicated to making all the old stand-bys and building up soap inventory, a couple of weeks ago, we decided to try another seemingly hare-brained idea that we read about on a forum.... Whipped Soap.

On our first attempt, we followed the directions to the letter, but part of the pastry tube was missing, so we had to "make do" with just plopping the soap lightly into mounds. A bit of gold mica and *I* think they look like meringue kisses. The soap itself is nice enough. It's our usual recipe, but just made in a different way. An interesting novelty, but nothing that sends me into spasms of enthusiasm. I haven't tried to do this yet, but understand that it floats, so I guess that is something...

Our second attempt, we were a bit more organized and had all the parts of the pastry bag together in one place. They look somewhat *Martha* and they are scented with vanilla, something that usually turns soap brown. As you can see, they are just a bit off-white. I'm thinking they look like white chocolate and would be great packaged in a candy box with hot pink tissue for Valentine's Day...

Everyday is a chance to try something new... some of them are winners, some are just a new experience. I'm not sure quite yet what these are! Food/soap, is this a good thing?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A glimpse of the past... mostly our own

Well, after receiving passes from a good friend at the Ren Faire, we decided to pay it a visit this afternoon. Now, you have to remember that we haven't attended for about 10 years - after having been vendors for 5 years and selling our herb shop there. I guess it's necessary to visit from time to time to remind ourselves of what we left and why....

It was wonderful seeing the old friends that are still there .. and kinda sad realizing just how few we still know. Laura, who sent us the passes, and Val, both at the Nature's Heirlooms Shop. Across the street was Judy whose head wreaths were always a big part of the faire day. Mark the potter, who we knew first as a patron and then, as a fellow vendor. The Marquis, who we thank effusively on the rare occcasion that we see him for steering us in the right direction for an amazing night out many years ago.. long story, but it involved a group of almost naked men! We enjoyed surprising "our" queen who is again the queen in honor of the 25th anniversary. She dragged us aside for a few brief moments to catch up and take a good look at Molly, Tina's daughter who followed her around for a few years when she played a gypsy and Molly aspired to be her child, I think!

Another bright spot in the day was the group, Corvus Corax. They are from Germany and are described as a Medievel Rock Star band... Yep, that's about right. If you like drums and bagpipes... lots of drums and bagpipes... kinda oboey bagpipes... and men jumping around in long robes, but scantily clad underneath... very interesting group. We loved them so much we needed to purchase a CD.

The grounds have grown hugely, booze is now sold, and apparently there is next to no "street play" or interaction of the characters of the Shire with the patrons. The street play was always the highlight of the day there for us... and the side conversations of all the villagers in their Olde English accents.

Even the vendors were given lessons on proper speech way back when. We were even encouraged to develop back stories for our own characters so that we all came together as a community... and you know, we did.

Nowadays, anachronisms abound and apparently it isn't important for even some of the actors to speak with an accent.... sad. We even overheard one of the actors on stage discussing the sports scores for the football game that day with the audience... unheard of back in "our day".

Well, we know that we miss a bit of it all, but the changes and growth certainly don't make us miss it all.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Beadfest, Soap and Road Apples!

I know, I know... It's been a long time. It's been a busy week, but lots of fun.

The piece at left was the result of a class I took on Thursday at Beadfest in Ft Washington, PA. The instructor, Susan Lenart Kazmer, is someone whose work I have always admired and found fascinating. When I had the chance to take a class with her, I was thrilled.

We learned to rivet and create dimensional layers of metal along with different surface treatments. There's a picture in the center which is sandwiched under mica between the "frame" and the copper backing.

Susan seems to spew positive energy all over the place and her enthusiasm for what she does is quite inspiring. I'd jump at the chance to take another class with her in a minute.

Other than the class, Beadfest seemed to be even bigger and better than ever before. Lots of variety in the vendors - at least the ones I saw. I felt I hardly had time for shopping, or the energy for it, but I still managed to make a few purchases. Friday night, I met up with some friends, Nolly & Laura "The Bead Ladies", for what I hope will become an annual event... Margarita Night!

The trip home on Saturday morning was a real nightmare since we were experiencing the dregs of Hurricane Tammy. I can't complain about the rain, we needed it desperately, but it did nothing for driving on the Turnpike!

Earlier in the week, we delivered the finished cookbook we've been editing for Nancy Reppert at Sweet Remebrances Tea Room in Mechanicsburg. It's going to be a winner. I think I may have gained 5# just typing some of those great recipes!

We've also been packing soap, making soap, cutting soap, trimming soap...... Lots of orders have come in and we are also planning to open the soap & jewelry studio to our Christmas tree customers this year here at Frog Hollow along with participating in a consignment craft shop in Lititz, PA.

Today, we seem to have managed to finally reach a point where we can breathe in the soap/orders department and finished up a new product we've been working on for quite some time.... Soap balls, but we're calling them "Road Apples". It'll be a special item at first for the Amish roadside stand that sells our soap. We'll see how it goes, but, you know around here, there is a chocolate candy called "Cow Patty" that looks like.... well, you know. And they sell that stuff....