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Friday, December 31, 2010

Morning has Broken

Morning on December 31, 2010.

The start of the last day of the year.
The start of my daughter's adult life.
The start of the rest of life.

Happy New Year!

Christmas Day

I love a good fire.
I hope everyone had a good Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas in Several Countries while Home Alone

I have the day alone at home today. It is a much needed respite from the hustle and bustle of pre Christmas busy-ness.

Not that I am not being busy.

So far I have done some kitchen and bathroom cleaning. There will be more general cleaning through the day. As well as getting serious about finishing some last minute gift projects.

While cleaning,crafting and calming down I am listening to CBC2's day of Christmas performances from Europe and Canada. So I have heard a concert from Finland and Norway.

AND THEN....or NOW...I will be spending a few minutes researching Christmas traditions in the featured countries. I will share the links with you along with a photo of knitting from that country.



Czech Republic:

Seems that the Czech Republic is known more for bead than knitting.






Wednesday, November 24, 2010


"Bioremediation is the degradation, decomposition, or stabilization of pollutants by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and cyanobacteria. ...... The microorganisms feed on and eliminate the pollutants. When the pollutants are gone, the organisms die."
This idea of nature taking care of itself after an oil spill is part of what I was thinking about when I was working on my latest knit tree.
I had started the tree shortly before the gulf spill and became obsessed about the damage it would be doing to our world.
Why have we not made an alternate less volatile form of energy more accessible? How can we keep drilling into the earth and extracting oil and expect the world to stay healthy?
This doomsday thinking started to turn to thoughts that maybe the Earth has a way of adapting.
That possibly nature will mutate and adjust to the new environment it is in. That possibly our messing with the natural recovery systems that may be in place to deal with our human mess will only cause more harm. (and around the brain spins!)
And...then...from this new environment will a new beauty evolve? A beauty very different from what we have now.
How will trees survive? What will this new beauty look like?

This is the end result of that brain spinning.

It just got accepted into juried show at The Station Gallery in Whitby Ontario.

My thinking continues...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Compassion and Aging

One of the things about running a yarn shop is that I am a part of the community.

Not just a shop owner and knitting adviser.

Also a person who hears all the good and bad things that are in my clients live's. A bartender of sorts I guess. People come to relax and to relate and, sometimes, for rescue.

Rescue of the knitting/crocheting kind and of the personal kind.

Over the past years I have received a handful of items that were started by someone ill or now deceased for completion. I find it really difficult to say no to these requests. Yes, I know, not very business like. But...I yam what I yam!

Yesterday was about the saddest request I have ever received. Sad for me mainly because the couple involved were still a "real couple" even in their mid 80s.

A few months ago the couple was in purchasing yarn for the woman to knit a sweater for her husband. She sat dressed to perfection calmly waiting for him to choose the yarn and the style he wanted. He, in his jaunty hat that she had knit for him many years earlier, hemmed and hawed and touched all the yarn before settling on Manos wool Classica.

Back to yesterday. The gentleman, now donning a jaunty tartan hat, came into the shop carrying a brown paper bag. Alone. Already I am worried.

When asked how he was doing he responded "Not well." geez....

Well, the story is, his wife has been knitting the sweater and has it almost finished but 2 weeks ago she started forgetting. She (who once taught knitting) often can't remember how to knit. She often doesn't remember him. She is, in his words "Losing her mind."

Such sadness. How much I wanted to be able to do for him. What I will do for him is finish his sweater.
And, I will not charge him for it. I just can't.

She had finished the back and both arms and most of one front. You can tell where she started to forget. Instead of decreasing for the arm hole she increased. It must have made her feel so helpless. The poor woman. The poor man.

Today he popped in to bring the rest of the yarn I would need to complete the project.

And Chocolate

And a hug.

note: Photos used were one available on the web, not mine.
Couple is by Woman's eye is at

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I'm Published!

Yup.....The Festive issue 2010 of A Needle Pulling Thread
I'm Pumped!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crafting in Newfoundland

I am back from 10 lovely days on the rock called Newfoundland.

I managed to rekindle my creativity and relax and fall in love with the land.

I did very little knitting during my time away but did manage to throw in a class on my Slouchy Christmas Tree.
Dianne (on the right) got hers completed in 2 days!
They are still a fun and quick knit!

My projects were 2 different styles of rug hooking. One was hooking with yarn

and the other is called Ragging or Proddy. The Proddy is fun because it is so quick once the prep work is done (cutting fabric rectangles) but I have become completely enamored with hooking with yarn.

Yes, I think this is going to be my next big thing.
What I love most about it is the ability to "paint" with the colours of yarn. It combines my love of yarn and my love of surface design so perfectly!
Oh ! I also did a bit of needle felting that I added to my Tomato does Christmas hat.

In between the crafting I did get out to see some sights and do some shopping in St. John's.
Houses at Witless Bay.

St. John's Harbour.

The Duke of Duckworth.

Morton Bay.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flobs of Turkey

Thanksgiving dinner has come and gone with minimal stress and maximum relaxation. But...then ...I am not the chef in my household.

I was going to bake an apple pie but Jim visited The Big Apple on Friday... no not THE big Apple as in New York city....No...The BIG Apple on the 401 highway at Colborne....

Impressive isn't it.

While he was there he bought an apple pie so I was freed from that task.

We still have a bunch of apples though from the box that was given to me. Apple Butter maybe?

Where Am I?.... oh ya.... flobs of turkey....

I have very creative children. They are never at a loss for words either. ...

So...Rhea was explaining why she didn't take a turkey leg at dinner (why?....probably because she has this strange aversion to touching meat...) And because she didn't want a leg she picked the "flobs" of turkey.
What the heck are flobs?
Current definition in the Rhea dictionary... flobs: slices of meat.
I mean, where the heck did she pull that combination of letters from?
Yes she is creative...
Left over turkey is now becoming ...Turkey Flob Broth

Friday, October 08, 2010

Creativity Procrastinated

I sit here today in the shop wanting to be creative.

It is hard to be creative when the shop is open. People tend to interrupt just as creativity starts to flow. I do welcome them though.

I, like other creative people, have doubts about my creativity and sometimes distractions are easier than the pushing through of ideas into a concrete form.

The extraction and mutation of thoughts and technique to tell a story that exists only in a murky world between worlds is sometimes tortuous.

It is the fear that the end result will not be understood or disliked that is the cause of much of my creative procrastination. This is probably true for all creative people.

I am noticing that I am avoiding the word "artist". I still feel like I have not "become" an artist. But, what is the definition of artist? Is it merely someone who creates or is it a thing one becomes once pieces are shown in galleries etc?

Oh...Look...I have pulled ideas from my brain and put them on paper.

I have been creative.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Of Fall and Farms

October is here and the trees are now pushing on through their blaze of colour to become skeletons for the winter.
There is always a magical hue to the world at this time of year.
It is all golden and rosy.
The last gasp of foliage splendour before the first frost.

The furnace has been turned on and the windows closed up against the chill.
The sweaters are out and being worn.

Closed toed shoes containing socked feet are crunching on the fallen leaves.

And... the farms are opening their gates for the public to see.

Rhea and I visited a local sheep farm called Greendale Farm.

The current owners have only been there for 7 years but have been in the sheep raising business for a long time.

This lovely old barn is where the sheep sheering was going on. Sheep barns are ...well.. stinky..

Outside their were some Border Collies showing off their sheep herding skills.
Preacher is a very experienced dog and had the herd well in control.

A less experienced dog had the sheep scared so they ran as fast as they could to the fence near the human handlers to hide.

This girl really wanted to help but she is a wee bit in a puppy way so had to settle for observing.
Rhea got lots of photos for her assignments and has submitted a photo to the local paper. Fingers crossed that is gets published! If she can get 2 photos published this semester she will get 100% in one of her courses.

Every time I go to a farm with lots of animals I am reminded that I love to be around them.

Do I want to work on a farm?

That would be NO.

But...I would sure love to hang out at one more frequently.

But what have I knit lately?

This most excellent fall Pumpkin hat! Knit with Manos del Uruguay Maxima (yummm).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Big Changes!

Yes, these past few weeks have been full of changes.

The biggest by far was the departure of our oldest child. Rhea has left for college. She is set up in a dorm on Loyalist College Campus. She is studying Photojournalism for the next 2 years. Here she is setting up her room. My but rez rooms are tiny! As you can see the blanket I was making her made it to the finished stage. Although it is a bit smaller than I had planned. It is good and warm and I know she'll love cuddling in it.

The house is emptier. With Patrick's active social life Jim and I are eating alone more often.
The other changes are purchases of new laptops for all family members. Ca-ching!!
It all started when Rhea's refurbished died just prior to her departure. That sent us to the local big box electronics store where we purchased the last sale laptop for her.
We then found out that the sale was on for 1 more day and that they were expecting another shipment in the morning.
WELLL...of course the one at the shop was on its last legs. The desk top computer at home died a while ago and Patrick's cheepo desktop was wheezing.
Back we were to pick up 2 more of the same laptops as Rhea's the next day for the shop and Patrick.... Poor Jim all left out!
But... today he is poor no more. Or should I say he is more poor...
We are all cyber connected now and loving it.
The other change? Patrick is now in a new-to-him bedroom. His old bedroom is now where Rhea will sleep when she is home and an office for Jim. Oh...and Patrick is now in grade 12.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Caution: Honking Dog

Sleep eluded us on Monday evening this week.


Kessie was honking. Yes she sounded like a Canada Goose. It was almost non-stop.
It felt like we were parents of a baby again.

I woke up (after, what, 15 minutes sleep) on Tuesday morning with that fuzzy, not quite sure, but still have to carry on, tiredness that parents of little ones so often have. How the heck do we ever manage?
Jim, of course, managed to roll over and get a bit more sleep than me. Huh....

Luckily, I had already scheduled a vet appt. It was supposed to be for shots but turned into an appt. for getting antibiotics and instructions on how much Benelyn-C to give her a day. Shots to take place in 2 weeks time.

So, that started the 3X daily administering of drugs. It is not easy to give drugs to a dog. Especially a wiggly dog like Kessie. It is a 2 person operation. One to hold her in place and one to try and get all the med. in the mouth and swallowed.
Jim and Patrick had the first shot at the cough syrup. (I happened to be at the shop). From what I understand she foamed it all over her face...
Then it was my turn. Being the expert (ahem) that I am I managed only a slight mess. After 4 days of it I am now able to get it all in and swallowed without the need for a face wash afterwards. I have impressed Pat.
The pill is another matter.
First one was wrapped in cheese and went down without hesitation.
Second one was eyed suspiciously but still went down.
Third...she has learned to lick the cheese off and spit out the pill. So....a combo of peanut butter and cheese is used.
Fourth....Cheese only ( because she should just damned well take the effin pill because I want her to ) and holding the mouth closed and rubbing her neck to make sure it goes down while holding another piece of cheese in front of her.
Fifth...Cheese...Ram to back of throat, hold mouth closed, rub neck, do not let go until swallowing action is observed.
Only 6 more pills to go....I am sure I will be standing on my head and spinning her around to make centrifugal force to force it into her tummy.
And then there is the yogourt which is supposed to coat her tummy to reduce stomach irritation. She ate it with gusto the first day. Now refuses to even go near the bowl it is in.

The good news. She is no longer honking. No more cough syrup unless she coughs again.

I am worn out. She is probably loving the attention.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Steps Away

I have been knitting Rhea a blanket this summer. It is getting rather large and heavy at this point and I feel like the knitting is getting slower not to mention warmer.

The end of this project signifies Rhea's first steps away from her birth family. Her first step into her next phase of life. Her first big step towards independence. Steps...

I grudgingly knit on.
I want her to grow and be independent but I want her to stay my baby. Maybe if I never finish the blanket she will never leave.

I knit on.

That is what parents do. Despite every cell in our beings needing to protect and to keep our children close we let them push away. We let them declare that they are completed. We let them set the time when we need to cast off and enjoy the end result.

Rhea picked the colours and I picked the design. I am calling Loyalist Log Cabin blanket since she is going to Loyalist and the design is based on the log cabin quilting design. Built into the design are steps and home and comfort. And...washability...yes..knit in Mission Falls MACHINE WASHABLE wool. She may not choose to clean it but she will not destroy it if she does.

With the gift of this blanket I will be sending love and security with her. Even a 19 year old needs comforting from time to time. I hope that the blanket gives it to her in a pinch.

Do you think I could get her to knit me one?