Finger Puppets for the Truck Page

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These are the finger puppets I made to go in the truck for the quiet book.  The top ones are of the carrot, corn, peas and tomato.  The one below it is the farmer.  I am sorry there is so much glare in the photos, but I think you can see what I intended.   Finger puppets were a challenge because the details are so small but they were fun to make.  2016-05-03 23.04.03 The book is now finished and bound so all I need to do is take it to my grandson and see if he likes it.

The Train for “Things That Go”

I was a bit stumped about making a train.  Then I remembered that I had bought some plastic mesh canvas.  I cut out the sides and ends of each of the cars and sewed felt to it. I thought about using buttons for the wheels but worried that they might pull off, so I made the wheels out of grey felt. I used an empty thread spool for the engine and covered it with black felt. I attached velcro between each car so that the train would stay together when it was pulled. I sewed bias tape to the bottom of each car so that the elastic could be threaded through it and the elastic is sewn together on the back of the felt background. Eventually the pages that back each other will be sewn together around the outside edges so the sewing won’t show. The train isn’t beautiful, but it does move on the elastic along the short track.

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Train Page for “Things That Go”

I am presently working on the quiet book page about trains.  This is the train track, tunnel and background for the page.  All I need now is to make the train.  Hmmm… that will need some more thought.Trains ride 22016-04-13 16.27.32My plan is to put part of the train through the tunnel on a length of narrow elastic cord much like the car on the car page.  I want the train to be more three dimensional though.

 

 

More”Things That Go” Pages

I have added three more pages to the quiet book for my grandson.  The teddy bear comes partly out of the rocking chair.  The jet plane can “soar” along the elastic and the fish can jump out of the waves.  I’m having fun thinking of ways that the objects on the pages can move.  I think that it will make the book more interesting for a one year old boy.

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The Other Cat

This blog post gave me lots of chuckles. I know you will enjoy reading it as well.

Around ZuZu's Barn

DSCN1031

Having written A Berkshire Tale with a kitten, ZuZu,  as the main character (ZuZu is my own little  tabby I rescued from under a barn.), I’ve found whenever I write a post with a feline tag, cat lovers tune in. They are a loyal audience.  So, today I’m writing just for them.

Often, people who know me and who read A Berkshire Tale solemnly advise that I should write about “the other cat”. They seem to feel I’m favoring one furry child, ZuZu, over the other, Roxie. They apparently are concerned about her self-esteem. They worry she might IMG_0115develop an inferiority complex once the book hits the best-seller list.

Now,Roxie is a bit quirky in a perverted sort of way. She spent the first few weeks with us atop the refrigerator, swatting wildly at me when I climbed the step-stool to pet her head and  coming down to eat at night…

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Adeline’s War of 1812 Journal: July 1815 (part 3)

Tuesday, July 18. 1815

 

 

silohuette of Ada Mae

Dear Janetta,

I went to Charles’ grave in the orchard today and told him that I plan to send our boys to England to protect them.  It will be an arduous journey and I am anxious whether I am risking their lives more by the voyage or if I were to keep them here with me.  When I told Evvy my decision she was horrified and begged me to reconsider, but Mr. O’Meara’s visit has reinforced my decision though it breaks my heart.  I have told my parents and they too, tried to dissuade me, but I am certain Charlie and Andrew must be protected from harm. 

Father has sent word to all our neighbours north of Johnstown to be alert for any sign of a stranger.  The Randalls and the Branch family have promised to come to our defence, but everyone is haying now.  This is the beginning of our busiest time and none can be spared to watch over us. I keep as busy as I can making meals for the men and watching my two little ones.  I am storing up memories and Evvy has not stopped her attempts to change my mind.  I plan to send word to Persephone as soon as possible …

Thursday, July 20, 1815medicine bottles

Adeline is very ill.  She felt ill  early yesterday and took to her bed with a raging fever.  Mrs. Randall was summoned and has been at her side all night.  I have been looking after Charlie and Andrew, but they are constantly calling for their Mamma.  I don’t dare let them see her for fear they might get sick also and they need to be in good health for their trip to England. 

I know my sister is afraid they are 
in grave danger here, but I fear the ocean voyage might be much more of a trial. They need their mother.  Robert drove his mother here and stayed to keep the boys amused while I tend to the meals.  I think he is more concerned about my sister’s health.  It is very plain to see how much regard he has for Addie.  Father and William carried Addie over to the cabin so that the rest of us will remain healthy.  I know that Mother is anxious because she is humming hymns while she works. 

Hector stopped by today, but understood immediately I had no thought in my head but of Addie.  He is the most considerate of men.  He promised to take a message to Everett and his sister if I wished, but although I know Addie wants to tell Persephone that she has decided to give the children up to her, I am praying it shan’t be required. 

Now, I must take some broth over to Mrs. Randall and Adeline.  I do hope there has been some change in her health.

Later: Father has sent William to Fort Wellington for the army doctor.  Adeline is delirious and Mrs. Randall is very worried.

So am I.

Evvy

Adeline’s War of 1812 Journal – June 1815

A fictional account of a young woman’s life during the War of 1812

© 2012 Mollie Pearce McKibbon

The story so far:

Adeline is the young mother of twin boys born after the murder of her husband, Sgt. Charles Houghton, a member of the English infantry, stationed at Fort Wellington in Prescott (Upper Canada).   Before she was married she was abducted by American spies and taken across the St. Lawrence to Ogdensburg.  In order to escape she wounded one of her captors, Jake Bourke.  Bourke has sworn to get his revenge and in doing so murdered her husband, and burned her home.  He was captured and sent to Brockville to face trial but, escaped with the help of two of his confreres.

Sunday, May 21, 1815

Thistledown Farm

Dear Janetta,

I have not had two minutes together to write a line, until today.  Both my babies were sick with croup after my last entry and as soon as they recovered we were busy preparing the garden.  Planting will begin as soon as the evenings are warmer.  We have a much shorter growing season here in Upper Canada than we had in England.  Evvy and I spent a number of days hoeing, digging and pulling up weeds.  It will be wonderful to have fresh vegetables again. 

Charlie and Andrew are growing stronger, getting sturdier and more curious.  I have to watch them every minute.  Andrew is especially mischievous and manages to get himself into more scrapes now that he is walking.  Charlie is still creeping mostly, but he is trying to copy his brother in every way, so it won’t be long before he is tottering around after Andrew. 

Robert hasn’t visited us since that awful day he came to tell me about Bourke.  He  has stopped by to see father and Henry once or twice, but whenever I approach he makes an excuse to leave.  I must admit it wounds me and the children miss his visits.  Mother and Father have not mentioned this to me, but Evvy has.  Evvy says that Robert, Henry and William have taken turns scouting the woods each night for fear of Bourke.

Truly Janetta, I have nightmares about Bourke.  One night, I dreamt Bourke had snatched my babies from their cradles and I woke up screaming. Mother and Evvy came running over from the main house with Father, armed with the flintlock pistol he’d confiscated in Ogdensburg.  The babies were frightened too.  I felt so foolish for letting my fears get the best of me but my babies are my dearest treasures.  I am wrestling with the idea of sending them to England where they will be safer.  Persephone Houghton Norris wrote to us  in April to say that she would be arriving in Prescott in early June if the tides are in her favour.  I must make a decision before then.

Lady-Silhouette-Clip-Art

Anxiously,

 

Adeline

Sunday, June 18, 1815   

Dear Janetta,

Persephone arrived in Prescott three days ago.  Her brother, Everett reported that she found the travel by durham boat extremely tiring and “primitive”, but “she is a game girl” (his words) and is bearing up well.  She has not as yet visited us but is purchasing “suitable bush clothing” in Ogdensburg.  Evvy says that she must be planning on  heavy linen from head to foot.  If so she will find it serviceable but much too warm.  Evidently, she is traveling with a maid and a children’s nanny. I am trying to wean the boys to a cup for the journey, but they only turned one year old yesterday and have no interest in tin cups.  Or, perhaps, I simply am not insisting as the days of departure draw closer.  Oh how can I give up my sweet loves?  They are so affectionate and loving.  They are my only tie to Charles.  I cannot bear the thought of losing them and yet…what if Bourke were to harm them? 

Nothing has been heard or seen of Bourke, or the O’Meara brothers since they killed his guards and released him from the shackles.  William thinks they are laying low over the American side of the St. Lawrence until most of the soldiers have left the Fort.  I haven’t any confidence that Bourke has given up his planned revenge and I don’t sleep well. 

Robert’s brother, Arthur, has returned from America much to the relief of the Randall family.  He was reportedly recovering across the river from wounds he sustained in New Orleans. Janetta, I am glad he has returned and now he will be able to look after his son, Adam.  Adam is just a few weeks younger than Charlie and Andrew, but seeing them play together, you would think they were all brothers.

God’s blessings,

Adeline

Sunday, June 25, 2015

Dear Janetta,

Lady Persephone Norris came calling on Friday with her brother, Captain Houghton.  He, most certainly, had an ulterior motive, that of visiting Miss Eveline Price with the sweet temperament and the mishievous dimples.  Lady Persephone is not what I’d expected.  She is quite practical and gracious.  She brought them warm knitted leggings and jackets which will fit them well in the fall.  Perhaps she intended them to keep them warm on the voyage to England, but I just cannot bear that thought at the moment.  She remarked that in England all children wear frocks until boys are old enough to be put into short trousers, but she felt pioneering required more serviceable clothes.  “Serviceable” is the word of which she is most fond.  Persephone seems anxious to begin our acquaintanceship on friendly terms and she confided in me she felt oddly conflicted about the mission with which she has been entrusted. 

“I think children should be with their parents,” she told me. “That is why I have employed an excellent tutor who boards with us. I want my two girls to know proper deportment, how to carry on an intelligent conversation and how to keep their own account books.  Half the problems in society today are caused by foolish unnecessary expenditures for fripperies. Don’t you agree, my dear Adeline?”

Before I had a chance to answer, Persephone had changed the topic of conversation to how brave I am to bear up under the grief of losing the comfort of a loving companion and helpmate.  She proceeded to tell me some of her fondest memories of Charles as a little boy, how he loved apples, climbing trees, reading poetry and playing with his constant companion, his dog , Plato.  She reminisced about Charles’ desire to see the colonies and how he joined the infantry when he was just 16, barely out of short trousers in her opinion. Although she was three years his elder, she and Charles were evidently close confidants until she got married. 

When I offered to go and get the boys up from their nap, she kindly declined the offer  saying that she would return later in the week Lady Persephone wears a silver locket with the golden curls of her children in it.  She told me her girls, Isolde and Camille, are four and five years of age. 

“It pains me to be away from them for any time,” she sighed, “so I can imagine how hard this decision will be for you.  All I can tell you is that Issy and Cammy are looking forward to having a brother or brothers to share their nursery.  My husband is longing for a son to educate and introduce into society.We will honour whatever your decision will be, but be assured my father will provide an excellent education for his grandsons.”

My distress must have been apparent for Lady Persephone squeezed my hands before she left for Prescott in the wagon with her brother. 

Mother gave me a hug and said “Goodness, Lady Norris is a veritable whirlwind talker!  She wears no frills and furbelows, I’ll give her that and she speaks quite plainly.  I hope she didn’t upset you, Addie.”

My eyes were swimming with tears.  I just shook my head and cleared the tea things off the table. My head and heart were whirling.  They still are.  Whatever will I do, Janetta?

Adeline.

Catnip

I have always wondered about catnip. Here is an excellent explanation.

Jeanne Foguth's Blog

images-3Catnip has quite the reputation with cats, but did you know that according to scientists, only 50% of cats are susceptible to its influence. Rom was not part of that 50%, which made it nearly impossible to ‘calm him’ to go to the Vet.

The good news is that catnip is 10 x more effective than DEET as an insect deterrent, but is not harmful to your cat.

Catnip

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A Fabulous Interview by Kelly Bedard

24 MARCH 2015

My Theatre Award Nominee: Q&A w/ Brenhan Mc Kibben

By Kelly Bedard // Theatre (Toronto)

Before we announce the winners of the 2014 My Theatre Awards, we’re proud to present our annual Nominee Interview Series.

The entire leading trio from Cockfight, Kat Sandler’s superb testosterone-fuelled ode to the makeshift family, is nominated for a My Theatre Award this year (see also: Jakob Ehman and Benjamin Blais). In a fast-moving, hyper-physical, intensely dramatic and wildly funny piece, Brenhan’s quietly heartbreaking performance stood out for its incredible depth and unmatched subtlety.

Can you remember your first experience with theatre?
My mother started a theatre troupe in Spencerville with some friends called the Fencepost Players. She’d direct and produce and illustrate promo material. Initially I was a Fred (usher in tails), but soon I was playing spiders and kumquats in children’s shows. My mother has gone on to start a writer’s guild and a few local magazines. My siblings and I looked up to that artistic initiative. Oh and I also refused to go on as a Shepherd once at St Andrews in Heckston when I was about 5 and watched from the audience in costume like O’Toole.

When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
My mother suggested I would make a good one on account of my love of telling stories. I took her seriously. She could have had a perfectly respectable palaeontologist for a son, poor soul.

What’s your favourite role you’ve ever performed?
The Howie in Howie the Rookie by Mark O’Rowe is the one I probably go out of my way to talk about. David Ferry directed myself and Tyrone Savage in our production in Benny’s shed which held about 25 people. We were right in their laps for forty minutes of monologue each. The play is modern and mythical and a great example of lyrical storytelling. We had a hotplate roasting onions and cabbage atop a broken stove and jars of piss lining the walls. That was our set. I spent the rehearsal process at a derelict orphanage filling in half a floor with Mac Fyfe and working out on the existing half.

Do you have a dream role you’d still like to play one day?
I have a few up my sleeve most times. I can say I’d rather play Macbeth than Hamlet. Or Malcolm. Ross for that matter. I have nothing against Denmark normally. I just got sick of Hamlet around the time I got sick of Holden Caulfield.

with Benjamin Blais & Jakob Ehman in Cockfight (photo by Chris DePaul)

How did you get involved with Cockfight?
Ben and I needed to come up with a play for June in April. Neither of us wanted to do the requisite reading so I presumptuously suggested that we ask Kat to write us a play. We each sent her a text with the idea and within minutes had about a half dozen others do the same. Later that night, she met me for several quarts of Export and a good amount of whiskey and something caught on enough that she started making notes. That was quite thrilling.

What’s Kat Sandler like as a director? How does working directly with the playwright affect the rehearsal process?
Well, if a playwright marries the first draft that reaches 50 pages, I think it can be difficult to workshop anything in rehearsal. But working on the only Sandler play I’ve done, I found her to be continuously assessing and refining ideas. No matter how different you may feel from your character’s lot, she’s probably inserted elements of your own persona to come into some meaningful conflict for the story.

What would you say is the most important conversation you had with Kat in developing your interpretation of the character?
We’ve made a date to have it over a 26er of Bushmill’s.

Tell us about working with the actors who played your brothers (both also My Theatre Award nominees this year).
I’ve seen Benjamin a few times most weeks for the past 10 years, so our relationship is pretty brotherly as it is. Cockfight introduced me to Jakob Ehman. He’s an intense and honest person which tends to make for an actor I like to work with. And they both tip servers. If you don’t tip bartenders then I can’t respect your work.

You played the quietest brother with the subtlest arc. How did you go about making sure his side of the story came through clearly when surrounded by louder, flashier guys?
The play begins with Charlie (my character) alone on stage and ends with Charlie alone on stage so I would admit to an advantage perhaps. The script might even qualify him as the audience’s guide to Kat’s world, although I would also say that the action is pretty evenly split between the brothers.

Charlie’s arc is more than subtle. He makes a rash decision which brings the brothers into conflict and he makes another rash decision to violently resolve that conflict.

And the audience wonders, “does Charlie leave or does Charlie stay in the shithole apartment to build another pyramid?”

Cockfight was one of the most physical shows of the year. Tell us about working with fight director Jeff Hanson. Did anything ever go awry during that epic brawl?
Jeff is an excellent driver, an attentive navigator and very skilled at building furniture. He’s meticulous when it comes to sorting garbage. Luckily, he brings that care, diligence and a great deal of imagination to our other job in the theatre. He really considers the character and objectives of each player from the entire narrative when choreographing the combat. Throughout the run he would check up on us and tighten up anything we were sliding on. Besides projectile cans, I believe Ben once caught a mallet that I lost in the air.

Did you have a favourite moment in Cockfight?
Definitely the Brad Pitt bit. That was Ehman/Sandler gold.

What are you working on now or next?
My wife, Staceylee Turner, and I just welcomed a son, Fionntán into the world. Her partners at the Storefront Theatre had already named him “Skypilot” and the indie theatre community met his birth with hope and excitement. With friends I started Red One and the Downstage so that little Skypilot will have an arts scene in which he can take pride and if he wants to be an actor, take part. So I’m working on that and I’m glad so many others are too.

Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Skypilot may become a kick-ass arts administrator like his mother. We’d all be luckier for it. These people facilitate our prancing about on stage.

In: Awards, Contemporary Theatre, Exclusive Interviews, Interviews, My Theatre Awards, New Works, Nominee Interview Series, Nominees, Red One Theatre Collective, StoreFront Theatre, Theatre Brouhaha, Theatre Interviews, Toronto

Kelly Bedard
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