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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Let's Remember

Talking to self here.....

Keep in mind the spirit of Christmas and what it's supposed to be about. Keep it real, keep it grounded. Keep yourself grounded. Yes, there's a certain amount of "stuff" that needs to happen, but a few desserts will do, there doesn't have to be a dozen to choose from. One thoughtful gift is enough. Spread good cheer, merriment and hugs. Give up the deep sighs, stress and frenzy.

Here's Smidgie in her role as The Littlest Tree....



Charly says Merry Christmas....


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Doing

The pre-Christmas season is all about verbs....have you noticed? There's so much to do. Here's a partial list of my 'doing'......

  • writing Christmas cards
  • knitting hats and socks
  • hooking ornaments
  • buying gifts
  • planning meals
  • making lists
  • cleaning constantly
  • checking availability of perfect gift items
  • wrapping, wrapping and more wrapping
  • paying bills
  • driving here, there and everywhere for gifts
  • surfing the 'net when items aren't close enough to drive to
 
....and the list goes on.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

What is it About Christmas?

I don't know what it is about Christmas, but when it comes to gift-giving, and giving hand-made gifts, I seem to also resort to knitting. Knitting was my first craft, learning from my grandmother and mother. Since I've been doing it so long, I'm quite bored with it and don't knit regularly at all anymore.

But when I get to thinking about Christmas gifts, I always think of knitting. Never fails. Each year around the 24th, I swear I won't knit anything the next year.....and then it happens.

So what am I doing this year? Well I can say that I've kept it to a minimum at least. First, I'm knitting a Dead Fish Hat for my daughter. Which means I can't work on it until she's in bed at night, thereby stretching this project out way too long. I am almost done though, I'll post a picture when it's complete. I have dorsal fin and pectoral fins plus the finishing to go. Stupidly, I'm already planning to do one of these for a friend's child for a birthday in January.

I'm also planning on knitting a pair of pedicure socks for my niece. Amazingly with all the projects I've done over the decades, I've never knit any socks. So now I'm going to try and tackle a tricky pair. What am I thinking?

What crafts do you revert to when it's time to make a gift?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Little Extra Something


If you’re like me, you’ve started your Christmas shopping in earnest. I have a list of everyone I need to shop for, with ideas for gifts listed beside each. My favourite part is when I get to write DONE beside a name. I always try to get my gift shopping done in November, so that I can focus on merriment, baking, and enjoying the season in December.

My friend Jan, shared this  Santa with me and I’m hooking a bunch of them for those people on my list who need a little extra something to round out their gifts. For instance, I’ve bought gift cards for Smidgie’s teachers and will also send along a Santa to each. Or for Sparks leaders, dance teachers, bosses, etc. They’re quick to hook, use up leftover worms and are fun!

What do you make for those “little extra somethings”?

On My Frame


Just sharing what’s on my frame right now. A pattern I picked up two years ago in Vermont, designed by Carolyn Buttolph. She’s a delightful person and a wonderful rug hooker.

I’m avoiding doing some challenging projects that I’ve designed myself. So instead of tackling those, I’m enjoying this ‘Old Maple’ design of Carolyn’s.
 
 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Man, I feel like a Woman

With a nod to Deanne Fitzpatrick’s post today, I decided I would also blog about what I like about being a woman. Just last night while hooking away, I was thinking about the fact that my pals and I need to concoct a get-away or evening out….must bring that up for discussion.

So what do I love about being a woman?
  1. Not having to like (or pretend to like) changing tires, changing oil or loud motorcycles.
  2. Owning more than one winter coat, and more than one spring/fall jacket – I’m a bit of a jacket-aholic.
  3. Having an excuse for a wee bit of flabbiness (from child-bearing).
  4. Not getting a second look when I cry in public, like when the National Anthem plays.
  5. Cooking and baking and sampling it all.
  6. Wearing make-up to cover the not so lovely effects of aging.
  7. Not having to be the one to get up when there’s a strange sound in the house at 3 a.m.
  8. Wearing colour, lots of colour.
  9. Being a strong, (mostly) independent, confident example for my daughter.
  10. Hugging everyone, not just shaking hands.

What about you? Add your ideas in the Comments. Have a feminine day!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

TWM

It's acronym week, apparently......here's a link to a video outlining what you stand to gain when you join The Welcome Mat. In case you were considering it and aren't sure about making the investment. I believe you can join for a month for free to give it a try.

Watch the video first, it's very informative!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

RHM

Well this is quite exciting, my Sincerely Jane rug is included in an article in the current issue (November/December 2012) of Rug Hooking Magazine. I believe my rug is shown on page 27, at the top.

The Sincerely Jane project was initiated by Jo-Anne Harris, in the spring of 2011, with a plan for each person to do their own version of a rug based on a quilt created during the Civil War, the patterns for which were created by Brenda Papadakis in her book called Dear Jane.
 
The project was a lot of fun and my own rug was completed in about four months. I was surprised by how fast I completed it, but having little blocks to work on helped the process.
 
Check it out, the article is called Sincerely Jane, as we called our little group of Yahookers who each created a rug.
 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Finito!

I actually whipped two pieces this weekend and can strike them off the list. Feels good. I actually enjoyed whipping these two rugs. Very happy to have them off my mind. Now to figure out what to do next.....

 

Above is my "Spirit Meese", which was a free pattern on the Welcome Mat, a year ago. No comments please about how long it took.


This piece is small, but was inspired by a sketch I did about a year ago. I was intending to do a set of 3 rugs, together they are to be a self-portrait series. So this is panel #1. I didn't draw anything on the backing, just hooked while looking at my sketch. Not the greatest, but it was important to me. Done anyway, don't know when the other pieces will be started or finished. Life is a mystery!




 

Friday, 2 November 2012

November 2, 1957


Most people choose either warm, sunny summer months or pleasant, breezy spring or fall months for weddings. I don’t know the exact year of my grandparents wedding, but it was November 1st and probably sometime in the early 1920s. I wish I knew why they had chosen November 1st, maybe because it was All Saints Day.

To honour dad’s parents’ anniversary but not overshadow it, my own parents decided to get married on November 2nd, 1957. Theirs was a whirlwind courtship that started with a blind date on Boxing Day, 1956. Can you say a blind date was love at first sight? Interesting concept, I believe theirs was. They were engaged on February 21, 1957, a week after Valentine’s Day. My father waited a week, apparently with a diamond ring locked in his glove compartment (who would risk that today?) because his mother didn’t approve of my mother (a long story but one rooted in the fact that mom’s parents were divorced: a scandalous, unforgiveable situation in the 1950s), and he waited for his parents to leave for a trip to Florida!

Later that year, the nuptials were planned for November 2nd. One wonders why when November is such a cool, damp and miserable time of year. Today marks their 55th anniversary but sadly it won’t be celebrated. Dad has been deceased for over 17 years now and Mom is declining significantly as a result  of Alzheimer’s Disease. Ironically, Mom was one of those people that remembered everyone’s birthday and anniversary and called people to wish them the best. But today her own anniversary will pass with nary a thought. She’s happy though and has just moved in to a beautiful care facility where she’s the life of the party and bringing joy to the other residents and staff as well.

God Bless them both. I’m certainly thinking about the incredible love they shared and the strength of their marriage, it was a wonderful example of respect, kindness and support to have witnessed.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Hallowe'en!!

Hope everyone enjoys the evening. Be careful of the goblins and spooky stuff!!

 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Yikes! Catch up time {not ketchup}

I've been remiss, so badly remiss, about blogging. I'm one of 'those' people that frustrate me, not blogging often enough. And now I've come to the table, or to the mouse I should say, empty handed. Yup, no photos. Camera's not with me right now.

What's been happening? Sadly, very little hooking. But I have completed two small pieces for Christmas exchanges....which means I can't show photos! Or at least not until they've been received. And I really, really, like them. Especially one in particular. Can't wait to show you.

Smidge lost another tooth, and wrote another note to the tooth fairy. And the tooth fairy almost missed her cue. Yup, sleeping on the job. I almost fired her a@@, except well, you do the math on that one. Suffice it to say, I noticed she was sneaking into Smidge's room at about 6 a.m., and got away with it.

I was sick last week, Smidge was sick this week. Wouldn't it be nice if that was the end of the illnesses for the year? I know it's bad to say, but I enjoyed the one evening at home when Smidge was sick. It meant not having to run out the door after a hastily thrown together dinner. But I was punished for such thoughts when her coughing woke us many nights in a row. All better now.

And it's the weekend!!!! Yay, soon time to jump into all the errands and chores that have to be done. For instance, our backyard is yellow. Yes, yellow. As far as the eye can see, yellow. Leaves, maple leaves, thousands of maple leaves. The only thing more torturous than raking them would be having to count them. Imagine?

Photos soon, I promise. Of what? I don't know, but something to catch your eye. Maybe, we'll see.

Halloween up next. Time to prepare for all the teenagers in non-costumes making too much noise and rudely demanding candy.

See ya next time.....

Friday, 5 October 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saying life has been hectic is an understatement. Suddenly it's October and I don't know where September went. Plus it's Thanksgiving, which means a whole pile of preparation for the weekend. So far I have baked pumpking cookies and carrot cake. Tonight I'll do scones and prep the rest of the foods for meals, to pack everything in the morning and take the trek to the family cottage.



I hope that all my Canadian friends out there have a very peaceful and happy Thanksgiving weekend with their dear families and friends. What a glorious fall we are having - such gorgeous colours everywhere you look!



Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sharing

I thought I'd share some interesting blogs with you today. I visit these occasionally and find them to be truly inspiring. Have a look-see, you're bound to enjoy the great work of these amazing artists.

Camilla Engman, painter and mixed media 

Cecilia Levy, paper artist

Nina Johansson, sketch artist (drawer)

Suhita, sketch artist

Geninne, painter/artist

I'm not affiliated with any of these talented folks, just in awe of their work.  

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tooth Fairy

Smidgie lost her first tooth at school yesterday. She got a fancy tooth-shaped plastic container on a plastic necklace to hold her tooth in until she made it home. Thanks school secretary - you think of everything!

So the girl was mucho excited about her first foray into the world of tooth fairies. She has proclaimed that there must be more than one, as it's far too much work for one fairy to possibly handle. I agreed, never having seen the tooth fairy, that there could indeed be several, because how would we know?

We talked about leaving the tooth under her pillow, and that she could expect something from the tooth fairy in the morning. Eeeeeerrrrrrrr (brakes screeching sound).......no Mom, I don't want the tooth fairy to take my tooth away, I want to keep it.

Quickly thinking, I said "why don't you write the tooth fairy a note and explain that you'd like to keep the tooth if possible". And so she did. Tooth (in cute tooth-sized chest) and note were placed under her spare pillow at bedtime.



Lo and behold, this morning she didn't want to check alone. Up I went with her and revealed what remained under her pillow. Tooth in tooth-sized chest : check. Money: check. Note: taken away by the tooth fairy as evidence.

Methinks the tooth fairy may keep that note for oh, about 20 years and then return it to the writer. ;)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Words

I find words so inspiring. Single words, phrases, quotes. I hear a song lyric when driving and a new design springs to mind.

I love the idea of creating art from the wealth of images that evolve from a single word.

So today's words of inspiration are:
 
mockery
 
harbinger
 
metamorphosis
 
doom
 
maverick
 
sprout
 
smidgeon


 
What do these words bring to mind for you? Do you feel creativity bubbling forth?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Fair results....at the Fair

I decided to enter a few things in the local fair this year for the first time. I'm always so busy helping Smidgie get her entries organized, that I haven't ever entered my own things. But this year, I decided I would, mostly because I wouldn't have to make anything new, I could just use stuff I had already on hand.

So here are my results. For any readers from the U.S. - red is first in Canada, and blue is second.

In rug hooking:

 
Smaller quilt, machine quilted:
 
 
larger quilt, machine quilted:
 
 
Canada Day door hanging:
 
 
Smidgie did very well for her first year up in a new age category. She received 3 firsts, 6 seconds and 4 thirds. Plus she was overall winner in the 6-8 yr old category, at 6 years of age.
 
Pretty fun weekend for all of us - we were at the fairgrounds three days in a row!!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sold!

This original design of mine was hooked specifically to upholster this antique seat. My friend did the upholstery job and sold it in her store. Funny enough, the lady that bought it has the same first name as me - and same spelling. Apparently that clinched the deal!
Hope she enjoys it, it was a fun piece to do.

A Touch of Autumn

Quickly hooked up these three leaves this week. One is a 5 cut, the other two a 6 cut. They were fun. Glued to a wool backing. Tricky cutting the edges but not bad I think.





Monday, 10 September 2012

School Year


Back to school time was busy this year. Lots of supplies and shoes needed…..for only one kid! Coordinating her extra-curricular activities was daunting. I waited and waited to hear about what night Sparks would take place, and everything else had to fit around that. Finally everything fell into place.  Tuesday night is gymnastics, Wednesday night is Sparks, Thursday night is swimming, Saturday morning is dance. Tap dance. Loud tap dancing, but I guess that’s obvious. Glad there are only 4 girls in the class. Also glad that there’s a wall and a door between them and the parents. Wow. Smidge already declared she wants to do tap next year too. After one lesson. Guess it left a good impression. There was no pity on the parents this year either. Almost all the activities are already starting up. No rest for the parental units.

School started with a wet day, but didn’t dampen the spirits of my squirt. She ran ahead of us the whole way, briefly stopping to look back and urge us on. The school seems fantastic and Smidge loves her two teachers. She fell asleep each night last week while trying her new French words:”bleu, rouge, rose, blanc, noir….”. Then Friday night she told me that Madame has three rules in her classroom: Respecter, Écouter, Travailler. She remembered them in English and French and pronounced them correctly. Colour me proud.
And so we head into the full power of the school year and all the busyness that comes with it.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Ah September

Late August included a 5-day trip for the family to Michigan, and into northern Ontario. We visited Frankenmuth, and were amazed with the beauty and quaintness of this town in Michigan. Now that we're talking about it, we're realizing how many people seem to know about Frankenmuth, and for good reason!!







Summer's been great but oh so incredibly fast to go by. We've had some great produce from the farmers' market.



We've had some great swims in small lakes......


 
and Great Lakes.
 
 
 
 
And now we're prepping for the school year. Where does the time go?

Egads!

Apologies for my absence, August got away from me. And here I was getting upset when some of my favourite bloggers weren't posting much!!!

New posts coming your way, and hopefully there'll be some hooking time coming my way.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Fall Swap

I know what you're thinking....don't say the 'f' word.....Fall. But alas it's on the horizon, and I have a fall rug hooking swap to prep for. This is the last of four seasons, and I've swapped a mat for each of the four.

I wasn't driven to do any particular subject, so I picked a turkey. I'm not supposed to make my rug public until the receiver has received it, but I doubt she'll be reading my blog. So hopefully she'll still be surprised.

So here's Tom, 8" x 8", hooked with 5 cut strips.


As usual, life's been pretty hectic around here. Would love some more peace but it's not in the cards. Summer activities are winding up - Smidgie finished her T-ball season, and swimming goes for another couple of weeks. We're looking at activities for the school year - she's trying to decide on some. For sure she's doing Sparks, gymnastics, swimming and dance. She may also try curling and the dance style remains to be determined. Looks like a lot of driving around for ma and pa.

Rocketman had an eventful day at work yesterday. He and his partner were clearing some brush and he got stung, though it seems like he must have been on a ground nest of something because in fact he got stung a lot. He came home to have a shower and get some Benadryl. I guess he thought the shower would reduce the heat and itching. Well it did, but boy oh boy....he was literally covered in hives head to toe and his whole body was swollen. His face looked like cro-magnumon man! I went out to talk to his partner and said "don't leave him alone, keep an eye on him" because of course he thought he'd go back to work. As it turned out, he continued to worsen so his partner drove him directly to the hospital. They took one look at him in Admitting and ushered him right into a room, hooked him on on an IV and got epinephrine into him. He had to stay for 5 hours so they could monitor him. But he came home from work at 11:20 p.m. and looked almost completely normal. A bit of swelling and heat remained this morning, but he's feeling much better. Scared the tar out of me.

We've been riding a lot this summer, just got home from another ride with Smidgie. I got new wheels a couple of weeks ago, so it's been fun.


Now off to design some other Fall pieces and maybe even C stuff.....yup, evil aren't I to say "Christmas" in August!!!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Some Better Shibori

I took another crack at Shibori dyeing a few days ago, when we finally had a rainy afternooon. I'm much happier with these results. Now the question is - do I really want to cut these up to use them?






Methinks I'm in love!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Go Canada!

Just had to weigh in on the London 2012 Olympics......I'm a a really proud Canadian and happily support our athletes.




Did you know that Ian Millar on our equestrian team has competed in more Olympic Games than anyone else, ever?

I'm so proud of our athletes when they're interviewed before or after their competitions. They're well-spoken, polite, nice people. They're really representing our country amazingly.

Thanks to all of them. And hurray for our Women's Soccer team - Canada's first medal in a traditional team sport at the Summer Games since 1936 apparently. You rock!


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Shibori

Now taking another quick online course in shibori dyeing. Did some experimenting on Monday, and this is the result:



Need to do some more experimenting, using other colours and stronger colours I think. It was fun, as dyeing always is.

Need more time - aaaaaahhhhh!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Six Summery Joyful Things

Six stupendous summery bits of joy:

the arrival of August, my favourite month.

Smidgie and how she's blossoming in personality and zooming in size.

good health :: feeling good about what I've been cutting out and what I've been consuming.

veggie garden :: though we're in a drought, our garden's bounty is delicious.

art :: two summer online courses have spurred me on to new adventures and stretching my artsy side.

new blogs, new people, new artists :: connecting with new-to-me people and having the opportunity to see their creative achievements.

So much joy, so little time. ;) 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Ah creatively we go

So, some of you know I'm taking an online course right now through Squam. Love Squam, love the teacher, Sarah Ahearn Bellemare. Love her art, and she is adorable. She may not like to be called adorable, but truly she is. You can just tell she's a great person, and isn't it nice to 'meet' people like that?

The course is interesting and well put together. I was proud of myself for signing up, because the painting I do goes on the walls, or as you know from last week, on the outside of my house. I haven't touched art paint since kindergarten. And even then, I'm not so sure, there was a lot of focus on napping back then and I don't have any proof of having painted anything (thanks mom for throwing out all my kindie artwork, I'm not scarred at all, truly).

This is the beauty of online courses, you can get up the gumption to take a course that you would never take in person. And take a course from someone that doesn't live anywhere near you. Very cool aspect of these times we're living in. I took one online course in 2011, and this already my second in 2012. I have a third lined up for August.

So that pre-amble was all about me avoiding talking about my actual painting. And here I go again. I liked the pastels a lot. And I wouldn't have thunk it. Yes, that's vernacular, I know it's incorrect. I did a board with pastels last night, with little bitty bits of paint on top and I liked it a lot more than the paintings I've done this week.

Some of the amazing ladies in the course are doing awesome work, and it's an absolute thrill to see their stuff. What a joy to 'thumb through' their posted work on Flickr. Inspiring, yes. Sarah is an inspiring and supportive teacher, yes. I've told myself that pursuing perfection is futile and ridiculous, yes. I've told myself that nothing is wrong. And yet, I still feel like a complete loser that is producing complete crap.

Aaaaahhhh well, big sigh, it's still been a good exercise.





Last week we had an assignment to go sketch outside. Smidgie and I went on our bikes to the local lakeside and had a grand time, both of us sketching.





My pastel sketch of the weeds (drought-affected) beside the lake.

I just noticed that since I taught Smidge to use the camera last Sunday, she's since taken about 75 pics around the house!! Egads! :)




Happily Bundt-ing


Well I’ve been quite absent of late, not because I haven’t been having creative time. No, I’ve actually been quite busy.
First let me tell you about a delectable Buttermilk Lemon Pound Cake I made last weekend. I’ve never been big on lemons – well that’s not true entirely. I love lemonade, especially fresh homemade (made that too) and I love a slice of lemon in water, especially in hot water in the winter time. But I haven’t been an eater of lemon desserts, that’s more accurate. Being a die-hard chocolate lover, I wasn’t too open to desserts that didn’t involve chocolate.

But alas, I thought chocolate might be too much, too heavy, too kid-like for adults. I don’t know, I guess I was open to new ideas. I sent hubby to the farmer’s market (because I was working) for blueberries, and he came home with 10 lbs of beets. Seriously. Apparently there were no blueberries and being a beet lover, he felt compelled to buy not one, but two containers of beets. But that’s a different story.
So I scrapped the Blueberry Bundt Cake recipe, and then scrambled for a new idea. I’m proud to say that I didn’t falter and lean heavily on my usual chocolate recipes. No, I stood tall like an adult and found a recipe for an adulty (yes, that’s a word) dessert. I found this recipe and baked it in a bundt pan. Though I’ve done a lot of baking in my days, I haven’t done a lot of bundts. Rarely have I bundted, and I don’t mean bunted as in softball. I love the word 'bundt'. And for those like me that love facts and info and useless knowledge, enjoy this history of the bundt cake. Who knew?

So, all this to say, it was delish! It came out of the bundt pan so easily, I was shocked and thrilled because truth be told – it was a concern. I made the glaze a little too loose, so that’s an important thing to aim for next time. And oh yes, there will be a next time.
Next post, what else I’ve been up to, creative-wise, or really non-too-creative-wise, because I’m not thrilled with what I’m producing. Aaaaahhh well.

Photo - who had time for that? It was half gone before I could think to snap a photo. Maybe I'll take a pick of the remaining cake later and post for you!

Hooked on bundts. :)

Monday, 16 July 2012

Aztec progress

Progress is such a cruel word, when you haven't made any. It's hot, damn hot. Even though we have air conditioning, I find it difficult to get myself to hook in July. I love hooking, but the wool just does something to me psychologically. It makes me hot just looking at it. Which from October to April, is a good thing in Canada. Not so much in July.

So here's a shot of the minute amount of progress made on the Aztec. Mea culpa.

You call this creativity?

Well Rocketman and I decided that we'd take a 4-day weekend in July to paint the exterior of our house. I figured that we had the best chance of good weather. We did, if you want sun for drying. We absolutely roasted. I just dripped sweat all day for two days. Rocketman continued for an additional two days after me. Why? Well, I landed myself in bed with a migraine after two days, so Rocketman fired me. Oh and of course there was all the other stuff to do, the regular stuff, like groceries, banking, cleaning, laundry, etc that are the cornerstone of every weekend.

Here are some in progress shots. Covering the white with a grey-blue to match the shutters and new front door. That's the extent of my creativity for the weekend! :)