Homemade Puppet Theatres

For Christmas this year, instead of buying a pile of toys for my four nieces, I decided to build something for them. Although a wiser choice may have been a doll house or something a little smaller (as my oldest two nieces are only 2 1/2 years old), I built two puppet theatres. Here is a 'short' retelling of my venture! Step 1: Buy/collect building materials (1/2 inch plywood, primer, purple and pink paint, chalkboard paint, hinges, curtains, curtain rod, knobs, etc). I already had a drill and an electric sander, and all I needed to buy was a second hand jig saw (Black & Decker - from Kijiji for $20). Step 2: Plan out cuts needed to make for folding and windows; Cut out main window in center piece as well as the rounded windows on each outer side piece using jig saw. Step 3: Sand all edges and sides for toddler-safety with electric sander! Step 4: Use hinges to connect sides to one another. Connect windows to window holes using smaller hinges. Step 5: Paint all sides with primer. When dry, paint a second layer of primer. Step 6: Paint outer sides with pink (for Lily & Elena) and purple (for Olivia & Lexie), respectively. When dry, paint a second layer on each side. Step 7: Make stage and mini chalk board; stage is removable and rounded, and the chalk board is a simple rectangle with chalk board paint on it (2-3 layers). Add stage. Glue chalk board to front of main/center piece. Step 8: Add curtain rod and curtains; Add knobs to movable windows. Step 9: PLAY! PS: Thanks to my mom and dad for helping with the last part of the project - readjusting hinges, sewing the curtains around the curtain rods, etc! I was working on them right up until after our Christmas eve supper on December 24th! Also a big 'thank you' to Malcolm, who helped me pick out the material, get the material to our house, came for the drives to buy material, and came to help me down in the cold basement every time I called for his help! :)


Daisy (14.06.1996 - 11.11.2010)

On November 11th, 2010, our (my family's) dog Daisy 'completed' her long doggy life. She was 14 years and 5 months old, yet to me, she was still the little puppy we brought home from Bridgewater that day in 1996.

Daisy was born on June 14th in 1996, and we brought her home as a puppy only few months later. That day, our whole family drove to Bridgewater to go grocery shopping. As we were walking through the mall, and with weeks of wanting to get our very first dog as we had just moved to Canada, we were approaching the pet shop... and my dad said to us "If there are golden labs/retrievers in here today, we will get one". I don't think that at first we really believed him, but as we rounded the corner, and saw five or six little Golden Retriever/Labrador mix puppies yelping and wagging their tails, we were ready to take him for his word!

And so it came, that we brought home our little Daisy - from the stinky mall in Bridgewater, to our 'free space' at Little Tupperlake on the South Shore!

I could go on and on about what may have classified Daisy as being "the best dog in the world ever to exist", but I will just say that she was awesome. Absolutely awesome. Daisy was the most perfect dog anyone could ever hope for - she was kind, playful, obedient, loving, snugglable, and most of all, loyal. Whenever I was sad, afraid, or angry, Daisy seemed to be there just in time to make my problems disappear.. or at least seem less important. She accompanied me down to the lake when I was scared to walk there by myself in the evenings, she slept in our beds, running from one Kluge sister's bedroom to another as she was called, she cuddled up with us, with her daughters, and with our kitties whenever possible, and she was an overall joy to have in our lives.

I have only ever known Canada with Daisy in it, and it feels different now that she is not there to greet us in the driveway at tupperlake anymore. It feels different now that we can't hug and squeeze her goodbye anymore when we leave the drive way. And it feels different wanting to call her name, knowing she will not come to us when we do.

And now, when I look through all of my pictures, I am thankful for every photo that we took of her... and for every photo that she seemed to sneak herself into when we weren't aware of it.

Daisy, we miss you.


Last Gig: Green Fest 2010

Malcolm's band Covalent Bond has recently hit the stage for their very last gig as a full band together at Green Fest 2010 (Clairsville, New Brunswick). The band performed there last year as well (and we even met Lennie Gallant and got a picture taken with him), and went back for a second round this year. It's always a great time of camping with music, friends, and complementary buffalo burgers for the band members! And this time around, Malcolm even got to play drums for John Gracie for a song or two!

Malcolm playing the drums for John Gracie

From left to right: Pat, Peter, Malcolm, and Dave!

Congratulations, Covalent Bond, on all of your creative song-making, friend-bonding, gig-performing accomplishments you've attained over the years. What started out as a two-piece with Malcolm and Peter in a basement dungeon bloomed into an awfully fun and creative four-piece. Though all things must come to an end, I am sure you will treasure these kinds of memories forever.

"Covalent Bond"


ARCADE FIRE: LIVE.. A Dream Come True!

For six years now, I have dreamed of the day when I would see ARCADE FIRE live.

Malcolm and I went to the OSHEAGA Music Festival in Montreal, NS. The music festival took place on July 31st and August 1st, 2010. The line-up included Arcade Fire, Metric, The National, Weezer, Keane, K'Naan, Snoop Dogg, Sonic Youth, Pavement, The Cat Empire, The Black Keys, Stars, Jimmy Cliff, The Gaslight Anthem, Charlie Winston, Owen Pallett, Sarah Harmer, Jamie Lidell, Robyn, and many more!

Arcade Fire, Metric, and The National are three of my very favourite modern bands, and I was able to see them all in one weekend!

When I first found out that Arcade Fire would be playing at Osheaga, I was a wee bit sceptical of the news. After six years of listening to this band over and over again, marveling at youtube videos, looking up concert venues and dates, and being more than lightly obsessed with them, my dream of seing them live came true. Not only that, but we saw them in the very first/front row!! And what a show it was - it was magical... it was (literally) amazing... and it was all that I hoped it would be, and more! What a ridiculously amazing band!


My Fourth Niece: Lexie Eva Cameron-Kluge

My fourth niece, Lexie Eva, was born on July 25th 2010, weighing 3327 grams and being 50.5cm in length!

How lucky is my dad? Four daughter AND four granddaughters!

Congratulations to Sylvia, Andrew, and big sister Olivia on the precious new addition to their family! Welcome, Lexie!


Recovering Puppy

Okay, so Maidy isn't really a puppy; rather, she is a 12 year old dog. That being said, with her upbeat/loving personality and her looks, she could definitely be mistaken for one.

On Friday Maidy had a number of mammary tumours (lumps) removed, and she was spayed at the same time. I drove her all the way to Mahone Bay (Oakland Veterinary Clinic - strong positive recommendations coming from my way). When we first arrived at the clinic, at around 8:30am, Maidy was quite excited, wagging her tail and sniffing at all of the yummy bags of food with huge sniffs. I was then told that I could leave her there and pick her up in a few hours.

At 3pm, I picked Maidy up again. To be quite honest, it was slighty heartbreaking to see her in the condition in which she was in. I think the toughest thing was that she just "wouldn't wake up" from the anaesthetics she had been given for the procedure. She was given quite a bit more, as the procedure took quite a bit longer than expected. Although we got Maidy to wake up just a little bit, she did not like having her wounds touched in any way, so when we tried to pick her up, she yelped (another sad thing to see/hear). What we had to do, was to lift her up using the blanket she was laying on, and carry her into the back of the car with it. It went quite well.

The drive home was tough as well, as Maidy occasionally whimpered. She must have been so uncomfortable and very scared. Thankfully, she did seem to be knocked out for part of the drive (probably still from the meds), so hopefully she did not feel too much during that portion of the drive. When we got home, Malcolm and I had to once again carry her into the house using the blanket, and again there was no problem with this.

Maidy has been camping out in the livingroom for the past few days. We laid down a number of doggy blankets for her so that she could have the entire floor. The first 24 hours were the worst. She whimpered every once in a while for the entirety of the evening, didn't eat or drink anything, and her wounds still were very fresh (and therefore had fresh blood every once in a while too). At 11pm, she vomited, what could only have been bile. Again, so sad to see. For the rest of the time after that, she seemed to sleep for the majority of the night, and had gotten quite a bit better in the morning.

Since then, she has slowly built up her strength again, has started wagging her tail, eating, and drinking, and has even started going out for a few short walks. For two nights in a row, Malcolm and I camped out in the livingroom with her - one on each couch. We spent both nights waking up every few hours (or was it minutes?) to stop her from licking her wouns.
Today Maidy is doing a lot better. She seems to be in high spirits, and is much more active than she has been over the past few days. I'm very happy that everything has gone well, as I was somewhat doubtful about her recovery that first day/night. She is 12 years old after all - that's something like 84 doggy years! I couldn't imagine going through a procedure like that at 84. Maidy is one brave brown bear! What a sweetheart!



Recently there have been a few changes taking place in our lives. To list a few...

* I have recently finished my 3-month teaching practicum, and am now completely finished with my two-year B.Ed degree at MSVU. Now I am anxiously awaiting May 21st, when I will be walking across the stage during my convocation, and receiving my Teacher's License. Thereafter, substituting will begin.

* Yet another baby girl was born into our family (Elena Lee Rawding; Born April 14th 2010 at 11:44pm). This is my third niece, and she is as precious as the other two. It seems that our family is growing exponentially, and I am loving it! There is nothing more amazing than watching my nieces growing up. I am also anxiously awaiting a fourth niece or 1st nephew (Cameron, this time), due in July.

* Malcolm and I have "adopted" Madelaine (AKA: Maidy). Okay, not really adopted... she has been my family's dog for the past 12 years, but as my parents often go on motorhome trips (this time they are gone for 6 months), we have pretty much accepted Maidy as being our second daughter (Eleanore being our first)!

Just a short updated to try to get back into blogging. I realize it's been quite some time since the last blog, but better late than never.

Elena Lee Rawding-Kluge (Born April 14th 2010)