Saturday, May 29, 2010

Before and After

Once in a while as a parent I find myself getting into the habit of saying "no" before I even understand what my son is asking for. But it's really not that important that his clothes stay clean or his feet stay dry. Sometimes you just have to have fun and explore the world. These photos are the before and after of a 90 minute adventure scrambling over rocks along the shore of very shallow, but very cool lake water. At first I warned him not to step in water deeper than the top of his boots, but once he did the fun factor skyrocketed by 100%. Love that kid!

Monday, May 24, 2010

May Long Weekend Camping

There is nothing better for this writer's heart than to toss herself into a world of pure family secondment. An escape from reality. A way to live in the now. For my family that is camping. And I don't mean car camping or campground camping. I mean deep woods canoeing and camping. Everywhere we look, there is something new and wonderful to just feel and see. Ten different bugs, the colors of rocks, the leaves and pine needles, a water filled boot, a fish hooked in the eye, the dog's bug bit lip, our first wood tick, the comfy down sleeping bag, a lightning storm at night, the burnt lost marshmallow, and a cool piece of driftwood. Even though we've seen it all before, it's like a brand new experience every summer. The highlights of this trip were:
# 1 Gavin having to wear the same clothes for 2 days because only his bag got soaked in the overnight thunderstorm. He was just thrilled to be his filthy little self but he never did stay too dirty because he actually swam both days in the freezing lake. Brrrr!
# 2 Cooking corn on the cob over an open fire for the first time. Maybe because it took 20 min. to cook, but it was the best corn we've ever tasted.
# 3 Forgetting the big marshmallows and watching the boys try to roast the mini hot chocolate marshmallows. Gavin called it the Harry Potter technique because Daddy was dipping the marshmallow and stick like a wand into the fire for one second at a time. After about 6 dips it was perfectly magically browned.
Happiness is camping!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Well, I think it is time for a bit of an overhaul of my website. I've had it up and running since September of 2009 and I've only made a few small changes here and there. So now I'm going to take the next week to review every aspect of it and spiff it up a bit. I can't wait to add the new info about the Woodlands Gallery. I'm also going to organize my web gallery into works for sale, and an archive of sold pieces, private commissions and family collection. I'll also remove the patterns. I had such high hopes of creating all kinds of patterns, but I've found that every time I make something I just move on to the next piece instead of making patterns. If you have any comments or suggestions about my website and its navigation or flow, please send me a note through the blog comments. I'm always open to new ideas. This fibre art landscape brings a smile to my face because I was just inspired by buttons that day and it worked so well with the frayed linen behind it. It is also the first fibre art piece I ever sold. I think I hugged that poor fella. He never saw it coming.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tracking Triple Seven - A Novel

What a fantastic book! I read this young adult novel by Jamie Bastedo over the last few days on a recommendation from a YA Fiction teacher named Anita Daher whom I met last week at the School of Writing at the CMU. She also has her own book that I love for teens called Spider's Song. We had a discussion about writing a book with two protagonists, one a human and the other an animal. She recommended Tracking Triple Seven and it was a lightning fast read. I was so pulled by the adventure that I could hardly put it down. It followed a tale of a young boy, the son of a diamond mine owner and a grizzly bear mother fiercely protecting her tiny cubs. Keep in mind it is a fiction for teens, but it was very engaging, especially if you want to write in that genre.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Woodlands Gallery!

Wish it, dream it, do it.
This saying is on the wall in my studio.
Your only limits are the ones you choose.
This saying is on my business card.
I truly believe that you need to surround yourself with good people in order to be a good person yourself. I spent some time with one of those good people today at the Woodlands Gallery. I am so excited to announce that today I signed the papers with Gallery Owner Jenny Tasker to have my fibre art displayed in her gallery. A real gallery. A major gallery. For me, this is a dream come true.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Poetry Writing Workshop

Well, my wonderful week of learning and writing is over and although the term "life changing" is grossly overused, I have to say that I savored every moment and my writing will never be the same. I am about to start the journey of my book. And even though I am excited, inspired and brimming with ideas, I will never speak of the genre or content of this book on my blog until it is firmly in the hands of some unknown but brilliant publisher because they chose me. To all of my classmates, it's been a wonderful experience! And to Barbara Nickel, you are pure sweetness!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Quote of the day

I have the most brilliant poetry teacher for this weeklong workshop. Today she gave me some one on one advice on a poem I wrote. She said the imagery and line breaks were there, but it left her wanting so much more. She was not getting enough info to clearly get my message. She wanted to know what I was hiding and who I was hiding it from. The quote of the day from her is "Write what you know. Be completely honest. Write as if the person you are writing about is never going to read it." This was the best day of class yet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Poetry - Show Don't Tell

Here's a little piece that I wrote for an exercise from yesterday. We were challenged to write a poem comprised of a list of things.


A painted stone,
a watercolor print,
a pin up sign
bought in a vengeful moment.

Listen beneath the surface,
peace and quiet,
what goes around comes around...
fleeting moments
of self assuredness.

This poem went over quite well in class, but the teacher felt perhaps the first stanza could stand alone. Classmates offered that the sayings in the 2nd stanza may be too much and I could show what the items were rather than tell. The teacher said the reader is left wanting with only the first stanza so showing more could work. I love this class.

Monday, May 10, 2010

1st place!

Although I was planning to take a brief break from blogging for this week long writing course, I received some wonderful news yesterday. I won First Place in the art challenge for the Beausejour Quilt Show. I was thrilled. It's hard to believe that something you love and are so passionate about can appeal to other people. It's a bit surreal. So here's another picture of the quilt that won (I've posted the photo to sketch to quilt before) and here is a link to the Common Threads website with the announcement. By the way, the first day of my poetry writing course has been amazing. The teacher/poet Barbara Nickel and the students in the class are so inspiring. There is a lot of talent there. I wrote 3 full poems in 2 hours during an afternoon break. It was fabulous!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 42 of 42

It is unbelievable that 42 days of blogging are over. Just like that. Wow. It went so fast! No worries though, I am still going to write often. I've really become accustomed to it. I have really enjoyed the challenge of writing every day until my writing course. It starts tomorrow. Blogging every day has inspired me to get things done and also to end the day on a good note. I thought at the beginning that I would run out of ideas to write about, but what really happened was that I had too many ideas and had to choose my favorites. And what a great day to end on because it is Mother's Day. I had a wonderful day today! My boys are so sweet. Gavin and Bob surprised me this morning with a lovely breakfast of waffles with berries and whipped cream. It was delicious. Then they took me down to my studio where they gave me a beautiful new chair for my sewing desk and a cycling back pack as well as garden gloves and a hard case for my sewing machine. I am so spoiled! Later, we hosted a wonderful dinner for our 2 moms and everyone had a really nice time. In the photo my mom-in-law Helen is on the left, my mom, Barbara is on the right, and that is Gavin peeking in from behind. They both loved their gifts and of course I loved mine too! Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful moms who actually take the time to check out my blog and thanks to my dad, brother, grandpa, and Geoffrey who also wished me a happy Mother's Day. Cheers!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 41 of 42

Today I went to a lovely little quilt show in Beausejour with my mother-in-law Helen. I love this show for its variety. There were art quilts, decorative quilts, bed quilts and challenge quilts ranging from machine stitched to entirely hand pieced and quilted. It was a great show with tea and brunch and fabulous prize draws. My friend Melissa Marginet, in the photo on the right, runs that show as well as the local quilt group. She also works, runs her new website, which is an excellent resource for quilters, is the photographer for the Manitoba Prairie Quilters and an has an art quilt group. It's mind boggling how she gets it all done. On top of that she has an adorable little grandson. I am part of her art group, but I am not usually able to drive an hour to Beausejour for the meetings, so she gladly sends me the challenges. I completed 7 mini challenges for this show which were sew fun! They were on display with all of the other fantastic challenges. There is a lot of wonderful talent in Beausejour. What a great way to spend a Saturday on the Mother's Day weekend. I can't wait to host a special Mother's Day dinner tomorrow.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 40 of 42

Hooray! I am officially on holidays for a week. Although, I am taking a one week course, which will be pure pleasure because I love writing and reading poetry and that is what it's all about. The best part about my Mother's Day weekend so far... my son just handed me a penguin that he made just for me moment's ago. Man, I love that kid!
Here's a poem about clay...

Work it, squish it roll it
what will I make today?
I can build a sail boat
drifting through the bay.

Mixing all the colors
piece by little piece.
I can build a skyline
filled with flying geese.

My imagination
is growing every day.
The greatest part of building
is giving it away!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 39 of 42

Hooray! I have completed all of the challenges for the Beausejour quilt show and they are registered and hung for display. I think it will be a very nice show. The group out there hosts a bunch of wonderful quilters.

I just got home from a marathon of sewing. My friend Meredith is in the picture with me holding up one of many rag quilts that we quilted tonight from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. If you are interested in hosting a quilting for charity evening in your community, feel free to contact me and I'll give you some tips on how to get started. These twin sized scrappy flannel quilts are perfect for teenagers who are sick or need an extended stay in the hospital.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 38 of 42

I tried the coolest new product today called Texture Magic. I am just finishing up the last of the small fibre art challenges for the Beausejour show this weekend and I was just missing the texture challenge. You basically place the Texture Magic on the wrong side of the fabric and sew them together. You can quilt squiggly lines or whatever. The tighter the sewing, the more textured it becomes. Then you steam without touching the Texture Magic and it shrinks pulling the fabric for a cool effect. Also, notice the small line of glue. That will be for a touch of copper foil which will draw out the copper color in the textured fabric. If I can bind this tonight, I'll be done!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 37 of 42

OK, no new fibre art to speak of today except I am madly beading to get ready for the show this weekend in Beausejour. So I'll post a little poem from random words. I am going to ask my husband for 5 random words...I should have known he'd try to stump me with awkward man words.

first CATCH
thin shimmering scales
tiny and delicate
drying to a thin clear cement
where the HOSE missed

it would take a TRACTOR
to pull that pup all paws in the lake
from his frozen stance
glare towering over
the chain latched FISH

the stone GROUND knife glistens
a light handsome whistle drifts
on a breeze to the cottage
to the crumbs and spice
and softened garlic butter

I love you honey! Thanks for the 5 words. I can't wait for the first fresh catch of the season!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 36 of 42

I had such a great time at the Artisan Market at Fort Whyte Alive this weekend. I saw some of my favorite fibre artists including, Heidi Hunter with her gorgeous sun printed silk scarves and pillows, Pat Findlay with her beautiful beading and embellishments on quilts, and an incredible needle felter named Linda Glowacki. There were beads, buttons, pottery, glass art and more. It was a feast for a fibre artist. One highlight was meeting an artist named Karen Fuhr. I purchased one of her rocks that I cherish back in 2007 from a little shop in The Forks Market. It says "Listen beneath the surface." I have it on my desk at work in front of my computer. To me this means sit, calm myself, decide that other people's problems are not my emergency, think about my goals and what means a lot to me, and then get on with the day. I move the rock aside for the day and then clean my desk and set it back in place at the end of each day. I'm not sure how I got into that habit or why I fell in love with this "calming" rock, but it adds a wonderful little moment to my day. Thanks Karen! It was so nice to meet you.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day 35 of 42

Our house sounds like the deep dark spooky woods tonight. We have this adorable little lizard in an aquarium that we got our son for his 5th birthday. His name is Bowser and he is an Australian Bearded Dragon. My son loves him and feeds him and helps out where he can to make sure he is taken care of. I don't mind cutting up lettuce and veggies for him every day, but I'm not too fond of the worms and crickets. We have discovered a few things about crickets. If you buy them at 4 weeks old, they are nice and quiet. If you buy them at 5 weeks old, they can chirp. Chirping is not good. The problem is, the older ones are easier to catch than the young ones. So if we buy the young ones and Bowser can't catch them all, they hide and grow and then chirp. Hence the forest sounds tonight as we try to fall asleep.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 34 of 42

This is the first lined, pocketed bag I've every made and I love it! It was a challenge from the Manitoba Prairie Quilter's President. The former President brought home loads of gorgeous fabrics from her trip to Africa. They cut them all up into kits and challenged members to make any kind of bag. They were then donated and sold at the Quilt Show Boutique to raise money for the guild. I was thrilled during the show to hear from quilt friends that there was quite a buzz about my bag. Several people were asking about purchasing the bag I made. Then later I found out it was my mother, my mother-in-law, and also my cousin Laura! I laughed out loud. They really love me. It finally went to my cousin Laura. Thanks Laura! You are a sweetie!