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Posts Tagged ‘soapstone’

I was just downstairs doing laundry. I opened the box of Oxyclean and some of the powder flung up into my eyes. My first thought was that it was only a little bit and wouldn’t hurt. My second thought was: OW OW OW OW.

I charged out of the laundry room (in the basement), ran at full speed past the kids blobbed out in front of the TV and pounded upstairs to the kitchen. The children completely ignored me. Good thing I didn’t have to rely on them to phone 911 or something.

In the kitchen, I turned the water on, took the spray nozzle and pointed it straight up at my face. A few moments of that and the pain subsided to the point that I could think a bit more clearly, and I instead grabbed a glass and filled it from the tap. I let the stream keep running into the glass and blinked my eye in the overflow, thereby saving myself a major kitchen clean-up. Now my eye aches, but I can still see, so I am assuming no permanent damage. I had no idea before now that an eye could ache, though.

After I’d finished washing my eye out, I grabbed a towel and dried my head. As I was doing so, Asher came upstairs, took in my wet face and hair and my one red eyeball and said, “When’s dinner?”

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So, having finished helping the kids with all their little soapstone projects, I got back to mine. One was a fairly big peice of Chinese soapstone, which is much lighter and softer than the other stuff I’ve worked with. It makes for easy carving. This is what I made:

I have a hard time photgraphing soapstone. My camera doesn’t like focusing on it. This is the only clear shot I got. I managed one picture when Jasper got up and lay down right where I was photographing, so I put the whale on him to demonstrate the way I intend the whale to be displayed:

That’s because it only has one side, really. The shape of the piece screamed ‘whale’ at me (although my kids are quick to point out that I see whales in pretty much every irregular piece of stone I see), but didn’t have enough stone on one side to make a full flipper. I solved this problem by carving it so that it rests on its side instead.

I also made this wee piece on the weekend. The battery died before I could get a decent shot. It is, for those who can’t tell, a whale. Variety is the spice of life, they say.

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Downloading the whale pictures, I realized I’d forgotten the pictures I took at camp when we picked Asher up. Here he is in his cabin:

Most of the buildings have murals on them, painted by the kids. Maya told me about a mural her group was planning, and when I asked her where they were going to paint it, she said, “We haven’t decided yet. We’ll find an empty wall.” I actually found this quite charming, as well as the tire flower pots at the bottom of the shot.

Here’s a dragonfly who hung out on my hand for the longest time, until Boo spotted me and whined, “I want a dragonfly on my hand. It’s not faaaiiir.” There were dragonflies everywhere and Maya told me it was because they had a ‘dragonfly dump’ a few days earlier. She said a plane flew over and let go of a zillion dragonflies over the lake and now they are everywhere, obligingly eating the mosquitos. I wonder where they get the dragonflies from? Anyway, it sure was pretty, seeing them everywhere.

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Well, I’m sure there’s nothing like a 3-week break to chase away all my readers, but I really didn’t have much of an option. The cottage had the slowest dial-up in the history of the internet. Generally speaking, this is probably a good thing. I had a technology vacation.

We went up to the cottage with our kids and two of my nephews, who are 10 and 12-years-old. This meant everything we did, we did with five kids instead of three and I have to say, I didn’t really notice a huge difference, except for the food thing. Man, can those kids eat.

For the last week, J’s cousins moved in next door, turning our 5-child posse into an 8-child posse. Meals were epic. Oh, and I can’t forget the friends across the road, whose 9-year-old spent most of her time at our house. That was okay. They also have 6-year-old twin boys who followed Boo around like puppies, but she spent most of her time at their cottage, evening things out.

During nice weather, all of use could be found at the beach, and since we have a much broader definition of nice weather than normal we frequently had the beach to ourselves. Basically, it had to be not raining. Although truthfully, we often stayed when it rained too, as long as it wasn’t heavy, simply denying that rain was coming down.

We did do other things. One day, everyone went on this cool obstacle course that snakes down the mountain. It takes several hours. I do not do this. I did take Boo and her boyfriends (she hates when we refer to them as that) to the littler kid version.

I brought my soapstone paraphernalia and had all the kids working on small soapstone pieces on the beach. It is soft stone and can be worked with files, so kids can do it with a minimum of injuries. Only my older nephew, A, showed any real affinity for it. The rest behaved as though I was the ultimate judge and would return frequently to me to ask, “Did I file this enough already?” I’d point out that while the piece was looking more whale-like, or bunny-like, they still had to file this part and that if they really wanted it to look as they said they did. Once cousin pestered me so much that once A, who was happily doing his own thing, snapped, “It is filed enough when you think it is filed enough! Why do you keep bugging her?”

So the truth was, except for A, I pretty much shaped every piece, but they did most of the sanding to make their carvings smooth and were very happy with the results.

Here are Asher and Maya, working hard at theirs:

Another day, someone brought water colour paints down to the beach and we all had a lovely time painting each other.

I also created an enormous scavenger hunt that amused the kids for hours before they discovered the treasure – a pile of golden chocolate coins.

In the evenings, we frequently played huge games of Texas hold ‘em poker. The kids are starting to become good players. My FIL was appalled that we were teaching them all how to gamble, but I’m hoping they’ll become sharks and put themselves through university.

Now I have 2 days to get Asher and Maya ready for sleep-over camp. They leave Wednesday morning, my birthday.

Here are some bonus pictures. This is what I found when I came in to go to bed one evening:

The diving board broke on the raft that is normally swimming distance from the beach, so J towed it in and a couple of the manly men fixed it. Then the kids had fun pushing it back out again.

The necessary Jasper shot:

And finally, a shot of the nape of my boy’s neck. I sat and took about 20 of these one afternoon because I think he has the most adorable, delectable nape ever. I thought this was my particular mother quirk until one of J’s cousins commented on it too, unsolicited. So now I’m sharing it with everyone.

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