Wednesday, December 30, 2009

fresh start

yesterday i bought a new computer. 10 years ago i was out of work and realized that whatever came next, i would need to be using a computer. so i bought one and bit by bit my friend ivan taught me how to use it. technology terrifies me because i don't understand it. ivan taught me how to be less fearful. so yesterday he went with me to get a new computer. the old one seems arthritically tangled up. and full.
my new one is young and bright and full of potential. we'll pick it up today and install it within the next few days. so i may be away from cyberland till the new year. if so - i wish all of you a fresh start.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

sunnyside up

on these final days of the year, on these cold dark mornings, the occassional feed of golden eggs cooked sunnyside up in fresh butter and served with hot wholewheat toast and the first cup of coffeee in the morning, are just the thing. and a wonderful source of colour inspiration.

Monday, December 28, 2009

quiet town

corner brook is a mill town. in the early 1920's the british bowater's pulp and paper company built the mill and then built the town. in the 1980's kruger took it over and laid off hundreds of workers as it "modernized". there were 2 other pulp and paper mills in newfoundland and in the past few years they have both shut down. the demand for pulp and paper is just not there. so kruger had a 1 week shut-down in the fall and for the first time ever it closed down for christmas. for 4 days there has been no steam coming out of the mill stacks. the parking lots are empty. kruger is still the biggest employer in corner brook (rivalled only by the hospital). the town was silent. we don't know if the mill will survive. i felt this past weekend that i was looking at a corner brook without the mill.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

following the light

the days are short. where i live in corner brook (townsite) we are ringed with hills. the sun appears around 8:00 in the morning and dips behind the hills again around 3:30. i find when i'm indoors on a sunny winter day, i'm keenly aware of the light. the shadows it's creating. when it hits the livingroom. when it's in the kitchen. i follow it around.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

what is real

i went to bed last night - christmas night- feeling that my whole cyber world was collapsing out of control. i desperately need a new computer -- serious problems with this old one- and have been trying to get through the holidays so that i can get a deal on my purchase. but last night nothing was working and warnings were popping up. it's a little calmer this morning. and just before going to bed i checked my etsy shop and a "complicated" customer had resurfaced and emptied my shop (purchase without payment). i sorted that out this morning too. but it left me feeling very empty. this cyber world that i depend on so heavily now. that i don't understand and don't have control over. and i compare it to the solidity. the simple strength of what is around me. the cold ocean and the comforting fire at the cabin christmas eve day. the wonderfully thoughtful gifts that i received yesterday from friends and family - including this bowl to match my coffee cup that brenda gave me -(i had wanted to purchase or trade for at the one of a kind show and unknowingly brenda beat me to it). i need to simplify my online world and educate myself about it so that i don't feel so vulnerable when something goes wrong.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

i know i shouldn't be thinking like this...

but the weather has been mild for days now and the snow is melting in a spring-like fashion, and yesterday the first of the seed catalogues arrived in the mail, and i look outside at the greenhouse wrapped up in a bright blue tarp like a gift of potential...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

tweaking rituals

we all have daily rituals. those little things we do every day - from either necessity or just choice - that weave in and out creating the pattern of our days. as i get older, i enjoy my rituals more and more. and it's what i miss when i'm away. i also find i pay more attention to them and work at getting them "just right". my nightly bath and read now involves a small heater in the bathroom so that i don't get out of the warmth of the bath to face a frigid room. another ritual keith and i share is having a small bowl of yoghurt (with a dollup of fruit or jam) in the evening. we never had the right size bowls and often ended up eating more than we wanted because the bowls were too big. while in toronto i bought these sweet little bowls at anthropologie (a store that i discovered in nyc and that nows has a couple of outlets in toronto). every evening, while i spoon yoghurt into them, i marvel at their beauty. this ritual is now just right...

Monday, December 21, 2009


winter is the season i wish didn't happen. i see it as a difficulty and just want to shut the doors and turn up the heat and wait it out until spring. today is the first day of winter. yesterday on our walk along the old highway, i watched the dogs (and their friends). they were just happy to be out and moving. it didn't matter to them that it was cold. that the colour was gone. i want to be like them...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

some quiet magic

for the 2nd year in a row we'll have no children or grandchildren home for christmas. this means that we can decide - just for ourselves- what we do and don't want to do. and once again we've chosen not to get a christmas tree but to put up only a few well-chosen decorations to remind us that it is the holiday season. so friday, after finally cleaning the house, i hung an artificial bough with tiny lights over the livingroom archway. and instead of outdoor lights, a tiny artificial tree with twinkling lights in the front window. and on the mantel only my favourite decorations - ones i never tire of looking at - the papier machier reindeer and the feathery white trees flanking a vase of flowers (which i'll keep changing over the next few weeks). and later in the day i witnessed the light and shadows playing with the ornaments and i knew that if the room had been more cluttered with decoration, i would have missed it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

december's blue sky

in western newfoundland, december is another grey month. in recent years, it can rain in early december (something unheard of in the past). late december brings the first of the winter's snow storms. so in december the sky is grey or white. but early this week we had a rare sunny day. the sky deep blue. the sky we usually begin to get early in the new year. that makes winter bearable.

Friday, December 18, 2009

hot and spicy

keith is a vegetarian version of a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy. he likes his food simple and familiar. so it was a happy surprise when he raved about the lentil dal that my daughter and son-in-law made us last week. we're experiencing a cold snap here in western newfoundland (as they are in most of canada this week) so it was a perfect meal to make a couple of nights ago. and it inspired my most recent skein of yarn...

lentil dal

saute a chopped onion, some garlic, a grated carrot and a spoonful of curry paste (i use mild patak curry) in lots of margerine
add a tin of diced tomatoes, 1/2 a veggie cube, 1/2 c. green lentils, 1/2 c. of red lentils and some water.
cook until the green lentils are soft. adjust seasoning to taste.
i served it with naam (spread with margerine and lightly salted and baked at 400 for about 10 minutes) and a salad. yum yum.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


i took 60 shawl/scarves to toronto and sold out in the first two days of the show. for the following 9 days i kept knitting and taking orders. at first people wanted to order a shawl like the green one in the poster. i displayed my own pink shawl in my booth as a sample and got alot of orders for pink shawls. so tuesday i dyed up pink fibre and yesterday spun 4 skeins to incorporate into the pink shawls (and one to go up into my long-neglected etsy shop!).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

and now i'll rest

the past few months have been crazy busy leading up to the toronto ooak show. the positive reaction there kept me running strong for 11 days, 11 hour days. the constant talking and dry air in the building gave me a cough which has stayed with me. the trip across the island and 5 days with the grandchildren have finally caught up with me. now i need to rest. lots of sleep. food that my body is used to - that keeps me healthy. i took orders for work at the show but knew enough not to promise anything before january and although i've slowly started filling them, i'm doing it without pressure. rest.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

finding christmas in st. john's

i spent 2 weeks in toronto. 11 days working the toronto one of a kind show. a couple of days before and after the show re-acquainting myself with toronto. out of the corner of my eye i kept seeing signs of christmas. the huge tree in the centre of the ooak show. the animated window displays in the bay's downtown store. and it kept catching me off guard. "oh, yes, it's almost christmas". i was too busy all autumn leading into the show to give it any thought.
we just returned from 5 days in st. john's - visiting with my daughter and her husband and the grandchildren. and there i found christmas. setting up the christmas village on the first morning and 4 year old lucy spending every spare moment with it all weekend - arranging and re-arranging the magic. watching poppy keith and eamon (who both have beautiful singing voices) singing at the wassail pageant at cochrane united church where 2 of their other grandparents (my grandchildren have 4 sets of grandparents) were wassail dancing with bells and jester's hats. the "boys" playing with the new shuffle board game that eamon got at a christmas party that nanny milly took the children to. making rice krispie christmas tree cookies with poppy on the last morning (we discovered that none of the adults in the house had ever made rice krispie treats. being with family. being with children. that's where christmas was hiding...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


i've been home for a day now and am leaving again tomorrow morning for a few days of visiting with "the little family' in st. john's. then home to settle in for the winter. while it's all still fresh, i wanted to share a few of my highlights of my trip to toronto for the one of a kind show.

1. grayona tourist home. although i have friends and family in toronto, i choose to stay at grayona tourist home on king st. west. it is close to where the exhibition takes place. i can walk in the morning (a 45 min. walk), so can get some exercise before the 11 hours each day at the show. it has a private kitchen and bath so i can make my own breakfast and prepare a lunch and come home after the show and cook a hot meal. from the windows i look out over lake ontario. feels like home.i took this photo the first morning of brenda's elegant head forms that she let me use at the show to display my scarflettes. the sun pouring through the lace.

2. on the first evening i met with family (i have a brother and sister living in toronto). we went to "pan's" for dinner - a greek restaurant on the danforth. wonderful food. lively music and the sweetest belly dancer. i love the ethnic mix in toronto (newfoundland tends to be mostly anglo). at the show i loved hearing stories of spindle spinning in malta and portugal...

3. there is alot of "stuff" in toronto. everywhere. very exciting and stimulating but ultimately exhausting.

4. meeting my customers. most of my selling is online (etsy) so i don't get to see who is buying my work. on the first friday, this young woman bought a skein of yarn from me. 3 days later she returned to show me what she had made from it. a crocheted cowl - tightly crocheted so she could also use it to wrap up in her hair. she brought her mother along and they each bought another skein. nothing like face to face...

5. the other vendors. i always feel that these craft fairs must be like being on a cruise ship (with alot more work!) you become very good friends over the course of the show with the vendors in your "neighbourhood". you take care of one another. watch each other's booths for pee breaks. bring each other food and water. make trades of products. look forward to re-uniting at other shows. dawn who makes jewellery in burlington bought a shawl scarf from me. doesn't she look radiant?

6. and finally, after a successful show, brenda and i allowed ourselves a few treats. a little shopping. and at the airport on the way home - a shoeshine (something i've always wanted to do...)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

beyond my wildest dreams

my experience at the toronto one of a kind went better than i could have ever imagined. this was based mainly on the incredible pre-show advertising i got with this shawl/scarf. and giving the spinning workshop drew attention to my work on the ooak blog and website. so i sold half my product (yarn and knitwear) in the first 2 days, and by the end of the 11 day show had completely sold out. i kept a sample of each product back - a skein of yarn, a shawl/scarf, fingerless gloves. a baby hat and a scarflette, so i was able to take orders (which i'll begin as soon as i catch my breath). because of the sucess, i've decided to do the spring show too (march 31 - april 4th) and try to keep the momentum and interest going.
to all of you blog-followers - it was lovely meeting you and having a few faces now! tomorrow - when i wake up a little more - i'll post some more show photos.
i'm off to st.john's for a few days at the end of the week, so next week my etsy shop will start filling up again...