Thursday, January 31, 2008

the chaos that surrounds me

i live in material chaos. because i make a variety of products - hooked rugs, sewn and knitted goods, painted wooden objects - i have alot of materials around me. i live in a small house. people give me alot of old clothing - some of which i can use, the rest i send off to the salvation army. yesterday morning i discovered that probably around christmas unintentionally i sent off all my own stored summer clothes. i rushed over to the salvation army (i needed to get some more yellow tshirts to cut up for rug hooking anyway) but didn't find any of my clothes. they said that they don't put out summer clothes till may and besides, they share with other stores. so they're gone. much of my clothing comes from value village anyway - so although useful, it isn't valuable. but there were a couple of summer dresses that i could cry over - 1 that my daughter gave to me as a birthday present about 10 years ago (when she could hardly afford to give a gift) and the 1 that i wore to her wedding 5 years ago. i have to be ok about letting go. and i have to get some kind of organizational system going in this house...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


last night keith rediscovered his grandmother's thimble and gave it to me to use. minnie dower was from conche on the northern penninsula and raised 9 children. like many outport women she had to "make do". the only floor coverings that the family
had were the hooked mats she and the girls made. this thimble holds this history...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

it's all in my head

as with any task, you have to be able to picture it before you can do it. the trouble i've been having with this exhibition i'm preparing for in march is that i haven't been able to see what i want. this weekend it all became clear. i know what i have to do and, although there will be changes along the way, basically now it's just doing it...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

mustard coloured yarn

we had our monthly west coast craft co-op gathering yesterday at nancy's. i love the looseness of this group. we take turns hosting. no fixed agenda. if someone wants to discuss something , they bring it up, and discussion is always lively. we come with something we've been working on for "show and tell" and the work is amazing. we all work in different materials, processes -but the language is shared.
nancy and urve took over the knitting from brenda and myself for a few hours...

ps. i made it into another 2 treasuries on etsy yesterday. check them out!

up early

i've been up working before 6:00 these past two mornings. so much to get done these next few weeks. the mornings so cold and still.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

lotus mats

this week i finished the lotus mats. there are 6 of them (1 has already been sent to the gallery to be photographed for the invitation). they're 8" square and will be displayed with 6 of deb and ray's lotus tiles of the same size. so that's the last of the collaborative pieces and i'm now working on a larger "paisley" mat for the show. i have a clearer idea about the rest of the work i want to do now. and i have a month to do it in...

Friday, January 25, 2008

we are all knitting...

the yarn arrived on wednesday - all 60 skeins of it! it's been distributed around corner brook, to my students, to 6 women in port saunders on the northern penninsula. i've even taught keith how to knit and he's working on it. a box of yarn is in the fine art office at the university if anyone else in the area wants to participate in robyn's knitted mile project. let's see what we can do!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


every day, when i need a break and a little bit of inspiration, i check on my girls. that's how i think of the blogs i have linked to my site. (they just happen to be all written by women...) one of my favourite sites is honeybunch i've been following her blog since it was written up in the globe last year. the other day she talked about another site called noticingproject it's a site where 2 women take 1 photo each every day of the small things around them that often get unnoticed. it's a form of meditation. a way of pulling yourself in in a quiet way.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

how's etsy workin' for ya?

i've had my etsy online shop going just over a month now. i've had 7 sales (which is just fine because that work would have just be sitting in my studio all winter). but i'm learning that the experience is about much more than just the sales. it's definitely a community. i've joined a couple of groups on etsy. one is a boomers group. most of the sellers on etsy are young women . it's also good to hear what women my age have to say. and i've also joined a group of fibre artists. yesterday there was a big discussion about pricing. again - living in such a small (but growing!) craft community here in corner brook, it's great to hear other perspectives. i was also involved in an online discussion yesterday about "what do you call yourself?" artist, craftsperson, knitter etc.

it's like being at a huge craft fair every day. it helps me figure out how my work stands up in the international craft world. this week my "wildfire scarflette" was chosen by peers to be part of a treasury (these treasuries get put on the front page and bring lots of viewers to your shop).

and i've also been approached by an online british magazine called mookychick to write a DIY article on either my scarflettes or on rug hooking.

it all takes work, but what shop wouldn't?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

bivvering cold

it's so cold. for the past 2 days we've been getting minus 20 degree temperatures not including the windchill. abigail crosses her legs not to have to go outside to pee and old crippled skipper makes it back to the house in record time when i have to put him out. keith works in the shipping department at the mill and complains that it's "bivvering" on the warf. i love that word. from the warmth of my livingroom i hear the cry of the blue jay as clear and piercing blue as it's feathers, as this cold day.

Monday, January 21, 2008

crunch. again.

i realized at the end of last week that i don't have much time until my show at devon house (it opens march 8th). so of course panic has set in. i finished off this mat on friday. it will be used on the invitation for my show in may, but emma needs it now, so i'll send it out today to have it photographed. i have been wanting to do some little heart paintings to sell at the cafe for valentines, so got these done saturday morning. the rest of the weekned i watched old movies and hooked. it stormed off and on all weekend so it wasn't a bad thing to be doing!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

inch by inch

i've always been a teacher. over the years, off and on, i've taught art to all ages from pre-school to university. but i've never been comfortable in the school/academic setting. i love getting students out of the classroom. that's why yesterday was so much fun. an afternoon of knitting. on comfortable chairs. the sun pouring in. green tea and home baked cookies. a very happy little dog. we started work on the knitted mile. inch by inch... i passed my knitting on to brenda thursday. she was on her way to st. john's for 3 days of craft council strategic planning meetings and needed something to work on while she was there. she'll get more knitting done this weekend than i would. this is definitely a collaborative project!

Friday, January 18, 2008

fresh start

i cleaned house most of yesterday. the wall wiping, floor washing type of cleaning. i usually do this before christmas but because we had no family coming this year, it just didn't get done. yesterday, for the first time in weeks, the sun was streaming through the house and i couldn't ignore the dust and dirt any longer. and today i have my students coming to knit for robyn's project at my house (there are only 5 of them and it's always good to get them out of the classroom setting.) tea and cookies and a clean house...

Thursday, January 17, 2008


i ordered some beautiful roving on etsy yesterday from londonwul (a farm in new brunswick). it has all the colours. brenda has more fibre that she is going to give me and today hilary offered me the use of her spinning wheel because she doesn't use it much right now. it's all so horribly tempting just to jump in. but for the next few months i have to concentrate on rug hooking for the shows. i also finally got started on robyn's knitted mile project. i'll set aside an hour a day work on that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

this winter

it has snowed now for over a day. the temperature not too cold, but the wind is strong. the snowbanks already well over my head. the last few winters have been mild - little snow and many thaws. this is a real winter. burrow in...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


last evening brenda and rilla and i went to hilary's for a "spinning" evening. brenda has spun before and rilla is a pro (and took her wheel with her). but i am a complete novice. i knew i just needed to "see" to know whether or not i wanted to pursue this. i do. hilary has taught spinning and had prepared her studio for demonstration. bags of different types of wool in different stages of preparation. brenda showed me how to card the fleece. hilary and rilla showed me how to use the drop spindle. now it will just take practice. oh dear - a new obsession...

Monday, January 14, 2008

lazy sunday

yesterday was cold. horizontally blowing snow most of the day. so i took it easy:

1. slept in till 8:00

2. long breakfast, coffee with the saturday globe.

3. started a new mat. if it's good we'll use it for the invitation for the may exhibition.

4. watched old movies on turner classic movie channel while i hooked, including "johnny belinda" which i hadn't seen since i was a child. a good movie!

5. napped in the afternoon

6. went out to dinner with my oldest friends catherine and marilee.

7. and 5 more sales on etsy - it seems to be working!

a good sunday...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

deb's lotus

this is the first of 6 eight inch square lotus's that i'll be doing for the march exhibition. they'll be interspersed with deb's lotus tiles (it's her design). i love collaboration. i love opening up a section of my imagination and letting someone else's flow in...

Friday, January 11, 2008

a sale!

i made my first sale on etsy! (this mini-scarf). it was bought by my friend barb so i don't know if it really counts, but it sure is nice not to be looking at that big fat "0" in front of number of sales! now it's a lean elegant "1".

i finished another scarf yesterday morning. i joined an etsy group of fibre artists called etsyFAST (fibre artist street team). they have an interesting forum of discussion (yesterday it was about the high cost of novelty yarns and why), and each month they set a team challenge or theme for the group. they've been working their way through the elements and this month is the last one "fire". here's my contribution:

these scarves are made of everything: handspun wool, silk, strips of recycled tshirts, acrylic, bamboo.

february's theme is "un-valentine" (kind of an unconventional love theme) and march is fairy tales - i can see getting excited about that one.

now back to my hooking...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

a cup of tea

1st class of teaching is always stressful. i don't sleep well the night before. worry and anticipation. am i prepared? will they be receptive ? have i forgotten anything? do i have anything to teach them? but of course it's always ok and sometimes it wonderful. and yesterday it was wonderful. so today i'm home and will treat myself well. this exquisitie tea cup came in the mail on monday. a 1930's royal albert tea cup i got on ebay for $7.99. it reminds me of the first tentative rosebud of the new year. i'll take a slow day enjoying these simple things...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

class prep

i go back to teaching today. i teach 1 course at the university in the winter semester (2 afternoons/week). it's an art basics course for third year stage craft students. it's an ideal teaching situation (i have taught in many not ideal situations over the years!). i usually have a class of around 4 students. very keen and dedicated. i start the class by seeing what they need - it's often figure drawing, confidence in colour theory etc. i introduce a craft project each year (very important!). last year the students came to my home and i taught them how to knit. this year barb hunt will come to my class and teach embroidery. i hate to leave my home, my routine, my work. but if you have to work outside the home (and most of us "self-employed" do), this ain't bad!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

knitting and spinning

i did hook most of yesterday and the big mat is almost finished. sunday evening brenda dropped in with a bag of her own hand dyed fleece - exquisite deep colours . and some carders that she showed me how to use. so yesterday afternoon i gave in to temptation and spun my first tiny bit of yarn. magic! and alluring!
check out robyn's blog Robyn Love she is working on a large knitting project for a conference show in dallas at the end of feb. and needs as many knitters as she can get to help. it's a mile long strip of garter, so you needn't be an expert knitter. and she'll provide the yarn.

Monday, January 7, 2008

etsy promo

i've been given a feature onidiefindsonetsy today. i've been spending alot of time on etsy - looking, posting, tweaking my store, participating in forums. still no sales but i've had to believe that the work will pay off. i guess it begins with getting noticed!

and still it snows

this has been the snowiest winter here in years. every day it snows.

took a break from work yesterday to enjoy it. barb and i with our skiis. keith on snowshoes. and the dogs. we went to the caves - so beautiful this time of year. icicles "growing" up from the cave floor. sometimes coloured yellow and orange from the red ochre of the rock.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


i've been feeling a little overwhelmed the last few days . it dawned on me yesterday that my show is in 2 months. had a good talk with deb last night and we know what we are both doing and how much space (floor and wall) we'll each need. we've come up with another collaborative piece and the rest we'll do on our own. so i know what i have to do. what's hard is that as i work on the shows i'm not "stockpiling" product, so there's no break in site. i also start teaching again next week. it's only 1 course, a tiny class and i've done it for many years, but it takes me away 2 afternoons a week. and flora doesn't make it easy for me - getting hooked up on the hooking!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

the tree comes down

in newfoundland the christmas tree comes down january 6th - old christmas day (they really do celebrate the 12 days of christmas!).

my little tree came down yesterday because it was major cleaning day. i've always loved taking down the tree. putting it up is usually chaotic - so much happening around the occasion. when i take the tree down i'm alone. i can look at each ornament and reminisce . although the tree was so small this year, the livingroom still looks vacant without it.

Friday, January 4, 2008


for months i've been dreaming about learning how to spin. i can picture the yarn i want to make. i can smell it and feel it. i have no time to take on anything new. and i have no space for another project. my partial solution was to start with a drop spindle instead of a spinning wheel. i ordered this sweet one on etsy - handpainted with vines and roses and it came with roving and instructions. it arrived yesterday. now - if i could just sneak off and play...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

wooden head

my latest purchase from etsy. a vintage wooden hatform to display my knitted hats on, but it's too beautiful to cover up. a brancusi sculpture.

red lotus

now that the holidays are over, i'm needing to turn my attention to my spring exhibitions. the first is at the newfoundland and labrador craft council gallery in mid-march. it's called "the relationship of bees to flowers". i'm exhibiting with deb kuzyk and ray mackie. they are artists/ceramicists who live and work in nova scotia lucky rabbit pottery. we all became friends during their 20 years in newfoundland. because we are friends, because we draw from nature and colour for inspiration, because we share buddhist beliefs, we want to collaborate on a number of pieces - to show the interconnections. this first piece is based on a tile that deb sent me. i'm working with this motif to create a 30" square mat - 4 repeat flowers surrounded with a large curlicue border.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


i've been amusing myself the past few days knitting some very fun "scarflettes". they're quick and take up little material and i can be playful and imaginative and not too serious. i've put them up for sale on my etsy shop.