Monday, June 27, 2011

The Virtues of Vitamin B1

Rumor has it that taking vitamin B1 - Thiamine - helps to ward off mosquito bites. Unfortunately, there are no documented scientific studies that have proven it.  Many studies, in fact, claim that this remedy may be useless.  The truth is that the attractant level of each individual to biting insects is based on a complex interaction of many chemical and visual signals. I can only relate my personal experiences and leave you to make your own conclusions. 

After my partner began taking Warfarin, an anticoagulant taken to thin the blood & prevent clotting, he became a misquito magnet.  Something about the effect of that medication on his system made him very attractive to them.  He was getting eaten alive at outdoor events!

Nothing seemed to deter them from their tasty meal.  Citronella just attracted them more.  Most of the commercial repellents did not work either, aside from DEET.  But not wanting to use such a harsh chemical on his body, he went searching online for an alternative.  That's when he encountered the controversial information about Vitamin B1, and he decided to try it.

Miraculously, it seems to work quite well.  Taking one tablet a day between April and October keeps the misquitoes away.  He no longer seems quite so yummy to them.  *smile*

It takes about two weeks to build up the vitamin B1 level in your system and there are many healthy, thiamine rich foods that you can eat to help too....

Sunflower seeds are particularly high in thiamin
Beans, such as black beans, green peas, and lentils
Whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice
Yeast (brewer’s yeast supplements)
Dark leafy greens, like kale
Organ meats, such as liver
Enriched bread products

One thing to note, since vitamin B1 is water soluable it is continually flushed from the body and your reserves will need to be replenished regularly either by taking a vitamin supplement or by eating any of the thiamine rich foods listed above.  Does it really work?  It seems to for us.  Is it worth trying?  Absolutely!  Let me know how it goes for you.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Handmade Glass Beads by Louise Ingram

I originally connected with Louise on Etsy.  I fell in love with and purchased a goddess bead she had created.  I was so impressed with the bead I received that I asked her about purchasing a bulk lot of them to sell at events.  I've been showcasing these beauties for her since 2009.

Each goddess bead is a miniature work of art.  Her work is absolutely amazing!  It's hard to believe that Louise has only been lampworking (making glass beads) since 2006.  She is primarily self-taught through online tutorials and books, although she did take a couple of classes last year to learn some new techniques. 

In June of 2010 three of her Space Monkey beads headed into orbit on the Space Shuttle Atlantis as part of a special project initiated by Beads of Courage.  Sam Supernova, Mike Mercury and Ray Gamma were honoured to be a part of Beads in Space

You can see of more of Louise's incredible work on her website or in her Etsy shop.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Upcoming Event: Georgetown Highland Games

We have participated in the Fergus Scottish Festival for many years now and vending there has been fairly profitable for us.  So, we decided to try branching out to another similar event this year, the Georgetown Highland Games.  It takes place this Saturday, June 11th at the Georgetown Fairgrounds, 1 Park Avenue in Georgetown, ON.

From the outside, it does not appear to be a well organized as the Fergus event.  We don't even know what time we have to be there to set up or what time the event is over.  The first indication we were even accepted to vend was when the bank statement showed that the cheque had been cashed.  A week or so after that we received a short, message via e-mail stating that we were 'in'.

No other information was forthcoming, so I've sent an e-mail to several members of the committee to try and clarify things for us.  What I do know is that all the events seem to get started at 8:30 a.m. and that all the awards ceremonies begin at 5 p.m.  We're aiming to be there at 7 a.m. to set up shop.

The Georgetown Highland Games are committed to promoting and preserving Scottish culture & heritage in our community.  This year is the 36th year for this local event.

2011 Admission Prices

Adults: $15.00
Seniors & Students: $8.00
Children 12 & Under, with Parent: Free
Parking: $5.00

Dogs Welcome - On Leash At All Times

Come on out and visit us there!  It looks like it will be a fun day.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Coleman Instant Tent 6

We bought a new tent at Canadian Tire yesterday.  It was on sale for $169.99, regular price $229.00.

•6 Person/1 room tent
•10’ x 9’ footprint, 72" center height
•Exclusive WeatherTec ™ System Keeps you dry-Guaranteed™
•No rain fly required - all seams are taped
•Poles are pre-attached to tent
•One minute set up or take down
•Heavy-duty 150D fabric (2x thicker than standard tent fabric)
•fits 2 queen airbeds

Naturally, we had to test the 'one minute set up' claim when we got home with it.  OMG, I'm not sure it even took us one minute to set it up!  It's so easy to do that I could do it by myself.  I'm sure we will also be able to put their claim that it 'keeps you dry-Guaranteed' to the test this summer.  *smile*

The sale ends on June 9th.  If you are in the market for a new tent this year, check it out.

Yes, We Do Accept Canadian Tire Money

A customer once asked me in jest if we accepted Canadian Tire money.  At the time, I chuckled with her as I told her that, 'No, sorry we don't.'  Upon reflection though, we've decided to offer our customers the opportunity to save money on their purchases from The Chain Mail Guy and Jasper Moon for a limited time by using their Canadian Tire money.  We are regular shoppers at Canadian Tire so, why not?  In fact, we bought a cool new tent there just yesterday.

Canadian Tire money was introduced in 1958, and was inspired by the wife of Canadian Tire's co-founder and first president as a response to the promotional giveaways that many gas companies offered at the time.  Initially, it was only available at the company gas bars but was so popular that in 1961 it was extended to the retail stores as well.  It has become the most successful loyalty program in Canadian retail history.

Today, the newest releases of Canadian Tire money incorporate the latest anti-counterfeiting technology available.  Special watermarked paper is used in the printing.  When held up to the light, a white outline of the Canadian Tire triangle is visible through the paper. Raised lettering on the face of the bill, a maple leaf image, and anti-copier tints are used to create the background patterns.

Each new series of Canadian Tire money is catalogued, tracked and collected by people, not just in Canada but around the world. Rare bills are quite valuable among collectors.   There is even a Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors Club that was founded in 1990 that publishes a quarterly newsletter reporting discoveries & information about different varieties and issues of the Canadian Tire money/coupons.

So, yes....we do accept Canadian Tire money.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Event Shut Down Early

We were really looking forward to a day in the park at Robin in the Hood this weekend.  Unfortunately, a flash thunder storm that blew through just after we had set up felled numerous tree limbs, some of them quite large.  One landed within 3 feet of one of the other vendors.  There was some minor flooding in the low spots too.  The parks & recreation department of Elmira closed the park due to safety issues.

So, we came, we set up, we tore down, we left....and we sold very little.  We'd packed the truck on Friday evening, left the house on Saturday morning by 7:30 a.m. and were home just after noon.  The organizers we very apologetic as they went from vendor to vendor informing us that we needed to vacate the park.  They thanked us for taking the time to come out and set up our wares and voiced their hope that we would come again next year. 

Yes, we will go back.  Weather does not deter us.  I recall one particular three-day event where we experienced torrential rain, 100 km winds, marble size hail stones and funnel clouds whirling above us.  Not to mention that we were ankle deep in water and that several of the other vendors had their canopies collapse or blow away.  Thank goodness for the super-duper tent pegs we use or we would have been chasing our shelter across the field too. 

We've also been at multi-day events where there is no running water and we had to shovel the horse manure off-site before we could set up our tent.  We've been to late autumn camping events where the temperatures at night were well below freezing point and all the tents were so covered with frost in the morning that they looked more like igloos than tents.  I remember one event where we were plunked in the middle of an open field, had no trees for shelter and the rain was coming into our booth sideways. 

Heck, we would have stayed on Saturday if the park officials had not told us to pack up.  The rest of the day turned out to be okay, weather-wise.  We would have been fine.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June Birthstone : Pearl

From one of the humblest of life forms, the mollusk, comes the pearl -- a gem of unsurpassed beauty and elegance.  Known as the 'Queen of Gems', June's birthstone possesses a distinctly feminine charm and mystique.  With a hardness level of four, a pearl glows rather than sparkles, like the soft gleam of moonlight.  It was probably the first gem to be universally appreciated by mankind for its beauty and rarity.

Although natural pearls are extremely rare, they occur throughout the world, wherever oysters or mussels are found, in both salt and fresh water.  Unlike crystalline gemstones, which typically must be cut and polished to be fully appreciated, pearls need no help to bring out their quiet, powerfully seductive allure.

Eastern cultures believe that pearls symbolize purity and spiritual transformation. Simply wearing a pearl reminds the wearer to be honest, pure, wise, and to walk with the utmost dignity. Different colours of pearls have different meanings.  White pearls symbolize purity, innocence, faith, and honesty. Gold or black pearls symbolize success, prosperity and riches. Rose or pink pearls work well with the heart Chakra, while all pearls work with the solar plexus Chakra, beneficial for digestion and immunity.

Queen Elizabeth 1 was always painted wearing pearls

I love pearls and when the acclaimed exhibit 'Pearls: A Natural History' was at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2004, I went down to see it.  I even purchased the 232 page book published to accompany the exhibition.  Read a news release from the time for more details....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Upcoming Event: Robin in the Hood

We will be all decked out in our medieval garb this coming Saturday, June 4th at Gibson Park in Elmira, ON.  The Robin in the Hood Medieval Festival was started in 2000 by local drama teacher. DJ Carroll.  The two day festival promotes a family friendly environment to educate people about life in the middle ages.  There will be magic shows, knights in battle, jesters, musicians, jugglers, comedy and archery.  There will also be numerous merchants selling jewelry, leather goods, armour, toys and other period novelties, as well as, a gypsy fortune teller.

There is a special theme and story line each year, brought to life by a large team of local drama students and volunteers.  This year's installment is called 'Good Knight Sweet Prince'.  Festivities actually begin on Friday with an education day.  Close to 1,000 grade four students come out and learn about medieval life.  The students rotate through a series of hands on workshops that allow a first hand look into history.  On Saturday the park is open to the public and everyone is welcome to come and experience the shows, merchants, and food while becoming part of the ongoing plot for the day.

The gate is open at 10 a.m. and festivities go until 5 p.m.  Cost is $4.00 per person, $12.00 per family (Parents & Children, 5 people or less).  Pets are allowed as long as they are people friendly, on a leash and their owners must clean up after them.  People who attend in costume receive 10% off all Robin in the Hood Card Game Purchases.  Come out and join Robin Hood 's merry band of outlaws pull one over on the Sherriff of Nottingham!

For more information go to