Saturday, April 13, 2013

Victorian Style B&B and Bespoke Sign


Our home has now been welcoming B&B travellers for a year and a half. The income has been devoted to the repairing and maintenance of this big thirteen-decade-old house. I held-off on making a sign until we were sure we'd found this little venture to be enjoyable. It has been just that. So here I am, presenting my sign made in the old school and up-cycled style. 


It's not a big sign - we are not Motel 6 after all - it's really for people who have previously booked a reservation; it reassures them that they are knocking at the right place. A handmade sign, it was done without the aid of my computer. Don't get me wrong, I love my iMac and adore my iPad mini, (which I refer to as "my precious"), but for custom work, it was easier to simply use pencil and paper, paint and paint brush.

To see the making of the sign from beginning to end and the creative process behind it, go to my 
art studio blog: studiovignette.blogspot.ca

David Smith is a real master in Victorian sign-making from the UK. Click on his name and watch the video of the artist at work - you will be amazed. Art for commerce, but not commercial art. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Our Neighbour Arthur Meighen


Originally built in 1875, St Marys Collegiate in 1884.
Renamed Arthur Meighen Public School, after Canada's 9th Prime Minister.
(Image courtesy of St. Marys Museum)

 When we bought the Dusty Victorian five years ago, we were very pleased and kind of proud to have Arthur Meighen Public School as a neighbour. It was convenient as well, since our daughter was to be enrolled there. I also enjoyed hearing the school bells marking the beginning of the school day, recess, and end of day. This helped me keep track of my own day. When outside, I could hear the kids at recess and occasionally, even hear my daughter's named being called to come and play ball - she was the only Astrid in her school. Sadly, Arthur Meighen and another old school in town closed down two years after we moved to St Marys. Deemed too old and too costly to upgrade, they were put up for sale. What about Oxford and Cambridge? Needless to say, we were a little concerned about what would happen to this property and all its mature trees. There is a nice variety growing on the front lawn... and then there are the big shrubs and numerous perennials.

I know.  What happened to the lovely building? It's somewhere behind all these additions.
Anyway, two years after its closure, the Arthur Meighen school was bought by Green-Tech, "...a company specializing in facilitating the remediation of contaminated urban properties." In my words, "a company that helps in restoring contaminated city land". According to the local newspapers, the owner Tom Davis, is professor of Sustainable Design, Engineering, and Architecture at Fanshawe College in London Ontario. He’s an engineer, and is also qualified to approve the high-standard “LEED” certification for energy-efficient building practices. We haven't met Mr. Davis yet, but he sounds interesting.


A few weeks ago, while walking the dogs, we saw the numerous maple trees on the school's property being tapped for maple syrup. So... a big thumbs-up to Mr. Davis!


Looking at the school as it appeared in 1884, one can see that the maples had not been planted yet. I estimate that they must be at least 100 years old, if not older. We think St Marys should have a by-law protecting century old trees. They're so much a part of the town's beauty and heritage.


Yummy gold

By the looks of it, Mr. Davis will be a sweet neighbour. Let's hope it's the real thing.