Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Life Lessons from a Kiwi

Sometimes life lessons are staring you in the face.

Take the kiwi for instance. Hairy and blah brown at first glance. Why did someone think to look further? Why not judge these little fruits by their cover and move on to prettier fruit like apples, pears, plums, and berries?

But somebody did look further. Or many people did.

Cut open the hairy, brown fruit and you’re met with gorgeous colour, fantastic taste and nutritious deliciousness!

Lessons: Look deeper. Don’t judge.Be open.  

Learn at every turn. 

Kiwis are happily brought to us by the letter K, as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

J is for Jos.

If you’re Canadian, you know what I’m talking about. Jos. Louis. 

The famous snack cake made by Vachon. For those of you who haven’t tempted your tastebuds with one, here’s what they are: two round red velvet cakes (that’s news to me, I never would have known to describe it as that. Thank you Wikipedia). Then between the layers is a cream filling, and the whole thing is encased in a chocolate coating.

As kids we always called them “Joe Louis” and ignored the “Jos.” I suppose we should have pronounced it “Joseph Louis” because Jos. is short for Joseph. Apparently, again my thanks to Wikipedia, Joseph and Louis were two of the Vachon sons.

Did anyone else eat them by slowly peeling the chocolatey coating off first? One of my childish methods of eating a Jos. Louis. I can’t be alone! Whether you eat the Jos. Louis by eating the coating first is an indication of your character, somewhat similar to whether you took apart your Oreos and Fudgie-O’s. Very telling, your sugar-eating habits, I tell you.

So if you’ve never had one, try a Jos. Louis or a ½ Jos. Louis as soon as possible. It’s likely you will not regret such a step. Personally I was always okay with the ½ size, other than the obvious shortcoming in pleasure. But I didn’t like the super Jos. Louis, a gargantuan version, when it came out. Seems counter-intuitive, but it was just too much for me. Thoughts?

To me though, the best thing ever made by Vachon were the Vachon cakes…the little cupcakes that came with either white, pink or chocolate icing. There were four of each per box. Heaven for your mouth. In recent years I’ve only ever seen them hit the stores around Christmas time, then this year, not at all. It’s a sad, sad day for Canada when the Vachon cupcakes can’t be found. Chalk up another loss to big business buying out family-run companies. Sorry to say. 

Today's trip down memory lane was inspired by the letter J, as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Ice, Ice Baby

Mother Nature has been cruel of late. More snow, more ice. Will it ever end? Of course it will. In fact the rest of the week is looking up, way up in terms of temperature and sunshine!

[insert mental picture here of incredibly grey day]

It’s amazing how kids still embrace snow even in April. They still take pleasure from the fun that snow provides. Such a simple joy and frankly one we could all learn from, if we would just stop being such grumpy-pants. When do we lose that innocent joy in simple things? At what point in our stretch to adulthood do we refuse to embrace snow and just stay nasty all winter long?

The temperature is rising so it’s becoming slushy as I write. So, Mother Nature, perhaps it was just more moisture we needed to get our gardens growing this spring. After all, you know best.

Before we know it, we’ll be begging for ice in our drinks to cool the oppressive heat of summer. Cheers to that!

This post is inspired by the letter I and the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I'm an unofficial participant who sadly missed the letter H. Please don't be offended, I have nothing personal against the letter H. 

Friday, 8 April 2016

Gosh and Golly Gee

G. I am stymied by G. I will undoubtedly think of something once I hit 'publish' on this. But for now, all I can think is "Gee Willikers, G is a tough one!"

G is for good. G is for game. G is for Granny, how we do miss her. G is for Gin, a good friend and a good drink (to some). G is for grain, how lucky you are if you can eat some. G is for Google, a daily part of our lives. G is for glasses,  I need 'em and so does Smidgie. 

G is good. A good letter. Keeps F and H company. Gee, thanks. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

F is for Fibre, not Fiber

I know, I know. You want to spell it ‘fibre’ not ‘fiber’. That is if you live below the 49th parallel. Those of us above the 49th parallel spell it ‘fibre’. 

Actually I’m lying. A good portion of Canada’s population lives below the 49th parallel; myself I live at the 43.6339° N parallel. I didn’t use anything more sophisticated that Google to come up with that. Sorry if that spoils your image of me doing something highly techy to figure that out.

If you know me, you know I’m a fiercely proud Canadian and a stickler for spelling and grammar, hence the need to write a paragraph about the spelling of fibre. Now, let’s move on, shall we?

Yes, today’s blog post is sponsored by the letter F. Okay, not sponsored. That would imply that F has some funds (see what I did there?) and is spending it on my writing. As far as I know, F is flat broke. Today’s blog post is inspired by the letter F. Phew.

Fibre is fantastic. Fibre is fun. Fibre is….what I live for in actual fact. No I don’t mean that I calculate the fibre content of my diet, day in and day out. While I do enjoy fruits and vegetables and try to enjoy a very healthy diet, I’m not referring to that kind of fibre. To me, that’s not fun or fantastic. I live on that kind of fibre, not for it.

Fibre is wool, cotton, hair, silk, linen, thread, fabric, yardage, art, craft, and so much more. As a maker (I prefer to call myself a maker instead of getting into the overly discussed topic of crafter versus artist), I am moved, inspired and thrilled by fibre in all its many forms. I love fibre and the limitless opportunities for making with fibre. Natural fibres…all the way, baby.

On the subject of fibre, I finished hooking my “Bunny Warhol” piece* last night (shown above). Here it is in its unfinished glory. Finishing will happen. Eventually.

So to wrap up, for F's sake enjoy fibre in all its forms and spellings!

Today's post is my part in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, which I am not officially part of (long story). 

*For those of you that have been reading this blog longer than a week, you realize that Bunny Warhol will be considered part of the #16in16 challenge. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

ECHO Echo echo

Echo echo echo

The other night I was in a church hall that has one of the worst cases of echo I have ever experienced. I’m sure the ringing in my ears had nothing to do with the fifteen screaming 9-11 year olds in the room! Nope. Literally had to escape a couple of times and let my ears calm down.

Which brings me to the other meaning of echoing, something that’s used in craft/art pursuits such as quilting and hooking. Probably others as well that I’m not well versed in.

I know that some people are not fans of echoing in rug hooking, but it’s a personal favourite of mine. I don’t answer to the rug hooking police….you know who you are. Or actually maybe you don’t. You may not realize that you get all judge-y with other people’s work. In my world there is no “right” way to do things. Perhaps there are techniques that serve to accomplish certain desired (to some) outcomes but I don’t worry about those.

So back to the echo. I fancy an echo in hooking, yes I do. If you’re not sure what I mean by echoing, it’s when a strong line or key element is followed exactly and repeatedly with the next row of hooking.

In one piece I completed several years ago, I made Echoing a major element of the piece instead of a subtle means of filling in the background. That’s just how I roll. 

Actually I’m not usually a rule breaker in life. Getting in trouble troubled me deeply as a child. Being sent to the principal’s office was my greatest dread. Now I feel like more of a rebel to know that in this one small way I’m a bad ass.

A bad ass who’s ears can’t handle the screaming of fifteen kids in an echo-y room. 

Today's post is courtesy of the letter E and the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Which I'm not officially part of because I tried to sign up too late, but I'm still participating. Bad ass again. Did you see that? 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Definitely Design

It just so happens that the Smidge is home today, suffering horribly (NOT!) from a cold. Suffice it to say she’s sick enough to be home, so that she doesn’t infect the other kids. But she’s healthy enough to be driving me cuckoo!!

I said to her this morning, “D is for…..”? Her reply “Dinosaurs”. I refused to discuss dinosaurs for my blog post today. You’re welcome. So then she came up with Draw. Design. Decorate. Now we’re talkin’.

I’ve always been attracted to the idea of designing my own patterns – whether it be quilting, knitting, crocheting or rug hooking. To me it’s far more creatively satisfying to design my own work. I have a long list of new ideas that are busting forth. Time to get going on some of those.

Rug hooking by far (imho) provides opportunity for designing and seeing your vision come forth. I’ve done some of my own designs in the past. Some are not so great, others are better. One thing for sure is that there’s a fuller sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when you hook and complete a piece that came solely from your own ideas.

I was chatting with someone just last night about the stress release that comes with drawing and colouring. Hence the explosion of adult colouring books on the market. I haven’t bought one only because I think I might never stop colouring if I got one. I can see it being addictive, in a good way.
Drawing is something that I’ve been “meaning to do” for so long, because I acknowledge that you just have to do it to get better and to enjoy it more. I have one of those big books that’s full of prompts and blank paper. Really should get back to that.

So get to it today. Design something. Draw something. Get out your crayons or pencil crayons or really nice pencils that you don’t let the kids use. Or glue, sew or make something. Release your inhibitions (cue the music).   

Our kids do it so well because they haven’t yet been pounded down by society’s expectations, disappointments and judgments. Be a kid. Just today and maybe tomorrow. See what happens.

Why not draw a dinosaur? 

Blogging about D today as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge

Monday, 4 April 2016

New Chapter

My work life has taken an abrupt turn, as I made a decision to resign from my full-time position to give my health a break. I was suffering from very frequent migraine headaches and just couldn't handle the pressure to be at the office, sitting in front of a computer screen for 40+ hours a week. Perhaps a radical decision, but so far (3 weeks into it) I am happy, more balanced and have been mostly migraine-free!!! 

So you may think that this has opened the floodgates of creativity and productivity. To a certain extent, yes. I did get a pair of jeans hemmed that had been waiting for 5 months. I know what you're thinking... "Wahoo"! I've done a few other little bits and pieces in the Making Room, but nothing substantial because I still have my school work to do, and this particular course (my last in this journey) is a whopper. 

I have assembled a list of making to-do's, which is a list of WIPs that need to be finished:
  • finish whipping the 2nd mermaid rug
  • whip landscape rug
  • whip 01/16 rug (the January Journal rug has been completed)
  • finish hooking Bunny Warhol
  • finish K's quilt top
  • finish K's sweater before it's too small to wear (already a possibility)

Then I will launch into the copious new ideas that I have brewing!

C is for Catch-Up

Late to the party again. No worries, I’m not much for parties.

How many of us are perpetually in catch-up mode? It seems to be part and parcel of this spin cycle era that we are living in. Rush, rush, rush. Multi-task. Stress out. Cut corners. Make do. Quickly followed by exhaustion, guilt, feelings of inadequacy.

We continually promise to catch up with friends and family. More often friends though. Oh we must get together and catch up. Does this ever happen? No. Too much rushing around. Crazy busy. Busy busy busy. Where does the time go?
Laundry. House cleaning. Chores. Gardening. Dishes. Always catching up. Never ahead.

Is this the life we dream of? Is this the life we want to look back on and say “Wow that was fantastic. I’m so glad I got those sheets washed on April 2nd and that dusting was an amazing accomplishment mid-March.” 

Not. Bloody. Likely.

How many of us dream of freedom? Freedom from work. Freedom from debt. Freedom from responsibility. But in reality, will we ever feel like that day has come? Or will there always be something to catch up on? 

We run ourselves ragged waiting for that glorious day when we can retire and the only thing to catch up on will be our reading, sunning and napping. Truly though, will we get to that day and actually feel like “Aaah, this is it. The moment I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived.” Or are we more likely to then be driven to catch up on doctors’ appointments, babysitting grandchildren and getting our investments figured out.

So forget catching up. Yup, I said forget it. Instead, why not stay caught up. Stay ahead. Say no to more. Say yes to yourself. Say yes to enjoying today for today's sake. And for your sake. 

Blogging from A to Z as part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.