Sunday, February 28, 2010

etsy sale this week

at the end of this week i'll be packing up all my product (including what is in my etsy shop) and mailing it off to toronto (for the spring one of a kind show march 31st-april 4th). i'll keep working for the next month and take whatever else i make with me. so, if there is anything in my etsy shop that you've been eyeing, this week is your last chance. and as further incentive, i'm offering 20% off all my yarn (from feb.28th - march 4th). just go ahead and purchase and i'll give you a refund via paypal.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

thank-you for the sun

my plan this past week was to dye up "all the colours" and spend this coming week spinning. the weather was perfect for drying the fleece outside - warm and sunny. and i even got my first load of laundry out on the line. now, if the weather turns and we get the storms that the rest of eastern north america are getting, i've got all i need to get on with my work...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

light and shadows

yesterday, on the warmest, sunniest day we've had so far this year, with the windows and doors open to let the fresh air blow through the house, i dyed up my darkest colours yet. colours that seem to be in deep shadow...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

fruit bowl

the past few days have been mild so i've put all my effort into dyeing up a big batch of fibre. with the warmer temperatures i can hang the dripping fibre outside and not worry about it freezing. my colour inspiration on monday was this bowl of fruit. today i'll be donning my mask and mixing up some new colours including black...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

poking my head out of my shell

i hadn't planned on this winter being so solitary. i'm usually teaching a course at the university in the winter which gets me out a couple of days a week. it's often "downtime" for my craft - no urgent deadlines - so i can be a little more sociable. but with no teaching this winter and with my decision to go to the spring toronto one of a kind show, it has meant alot of time spent alone spinning and knitting. this past weekend was an exception. our west coast craft group met at urve's on sunday afternoon. we hadn't been together as a group since last fall and it was great to catch up on what we've all been making/thinking. then last night my tiny book club (we're 4 now) got together to share a wonderful meal and discuss dickens and "little dorrit". i came home full - belly and spirit. i appreciate my friends...

Monday, February 22, 2010

coronation street

last year i made a conscious effort to become addicted to coronation street. i had always known about it (my mother watched it for years). just hearing the theme song would make me feel warm and cosy. it took me awhile - i often would forget to watch. but as i figured things out and the characters became real and interesting to me, i became hooked. i love the grittiness of it (compared to american soaps). it comes on here in newfoundland at 7:00 - just after dinner. it marks the end of a day and beginning of an evening.
yesterday morning i decided to spin up a skein of "coronation street" yarn. red and rust brick, steely grey cobbles.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

barn swallows

the summer i married (1970), my young husband and i looked after his parent's home north of toronto while they took a long holiday. a 100 year old farmhouse and a huge family garden. we spent our days picking and canning the produce. the sweetness and heat in the raspberry patch. in the evening we'd sit on lawn chairs on the edge of a field facing the sunset. the barn kittens posing and frolicking beside us. in the sky, the delicate tips of the barn swallow's wings caught the last light of the summer's day.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

library day

although the spring craft fair is looming. i've finished all my library books and have decided to take the morning off (it is saturday afterall) and go to the library. it's a beautiful 45 minute walk through town and along the corner brook stream trail. just sorry i can't take abigail (no dogs in the library...)
i'm absolutely in love with the audio books. as i knit or spin during the day, i get lost. i've just finished colmn toibin's "brooklyn" - the story of a young irish woman just after the war who gets sent by her family to the new world to get work. it's a quiet book reminding me of books i read when i was in my early teens - like "a tree grows in brooklyn" or "how green was my valley". unadorned description and events. and in the evening (mostly in the bath) i've been reading jessica grant's "come, thou tortoise". the heroine, audrey, is summoned home to st. john's, newfoundland from oregon because her father has been in an accident. the narrative shifts back and forth from her childhood to the present. i love her child's voice. it's one of those books that please me so much. brilliant writing.
since i last used the library (over 10 years ago) everything is automated. last night i went online and was able to see what books that i'm interested in are in our library, which ones will eventually need to be brought in from another branch. which are on audio. so i have a tentative plan.

Friday, February 19, 2010


yesterday morning we woke to a beautiful white world. every surface captured and held an inch or so of snow. still and pure. my inspiration was to go in the opposite direction. spinning a crazy noisy skein of my wildest colours and fibres.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


i'm working flat out now spinning and knitting product to take to the toronto one of a kind show in the spring (march 31-april 4th). but i also have a list of things i need to do before i leave. the most onerous task was my taxes and i needed to do that by the end of february in order to figure out if last year's income was enough to allow me to buy an rrsp (registered retirement savings). so yesterday was the day and i gathered all my receipts from last year and all my invoices of sold work and spent the day figuring. i made it as pleasant as possible with bach in the background and a flow of my favourite herb tea. and my reward at the end of the day was to take all of my most luscious fibre - bamboo, soysilk, milk fibre - and spin it into a couple of the most luxuriously deliscious skeins.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the first sound of spring

in the middle of february, around valentine's day, the blue jays change their call. is this a mating call? is this the first sound of spring?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

good health

yesterday i met with my doctor to go over all my routine test results. the bone scan results aren't in yet but everything else is good and my cholesteral levels (which i was nervous about because of family history) were better than 2 years ago. (i think partly because of the big green salads that i started having every lunch when i was (mis)diagnosed with macular degeneration 2 years ago). i feel i've been given a gift. i left the doctor's floating. the sun(that has been very illusive for weeks now) broke through. everything seems to be in clearer focus. my promise to myself in this year that i turn 60 is to do everything i can to be as healthy in the year i turn 70.

Monday, February 15, 2010

pan ice

in a normal winter, at this time of year, the bay of islands would be frozen over as far as the eye could see. the ice-breaker would be guiding the ships in to the mill. this weekend, with the warmer temperatures again, dark cove is full of pan ice.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

hearts and flowers

12 years ago keith and i got our first cabin at dark cove. our relationship was new (we'd been together 2 years). the beach seemed to be covered with heart-shaped rocks. every time we looked down, there was a heart. from miniscule to boulders. i was still painting then and did alot of work based on these heart-shaped rocks. most of them sold. this one i saved for us.
hearts and flowers to all of you on this valentine's day . to all you love. to all who love you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

quick trip

i've gotten used to jumping at the chance of getting into st. john's to visit with my daughter and son-in-law and the grandchildren. it's an 8-10 hour drive in the winter - nerve-wracking if the weather is bad, pleasant if it's good (somehow in the winter you are seeing only the "bones" of the island when you are travelling across). and i always manage to get lots of knitting done (5 pairs of gloves this time).this week's trip was shorter than expected because we left early to try to miss the storm. so how much can be fit in in 1 1/2 days?
1. eamon is almost 10. i walked him to school and picked him up after for a "special" time downtown. a snack at hava java. a walk along water st. and duckworth going into his favourite shops - ballistics for hats and sneakers, sword and steel (i really don't know what was in that store - figurines, games, dungeons and dragons stuff), downtown comics. i went to his basketball practice the first evening.
2. lucy is 4 1/2, we made cut-out dolls ( a princess who needed only ball gowns and a wedding dress (some things never change..) and we went to the rooms (newfoundland's archives, museum and art gallery) to see a wonderful multi-media show about glaciers.
3. finn is 1. i followed him around the house as he explored his world. we went to chapters (he already loves stories). and i watched him as he bathed.
and of course lots of stories and cuddly times for all. and in between quick chats with my daughter. a fast catch-up and infusion for us all. next trip will be april...

Friday, February 12, 2010

outrunning the storm

the forecast for today was rain and freezing rain and snow, so we left st. john's yesterday afternoon and drove as far as grand falls where we spent the night and had only a 3 hour drive in the bad weather this morning. good to go, good to get back home...

Monday, February 8, 2010

bullets are hardened tears

please make a pot of tea, pick up your knitting, sit down and listen to this. thank-you robyn for sending it my way.
i'm heading off to st. john's tomorrow until friday - catherine is driving in so i jumped at the chance to visit with the family. i'll knit fingerless gloves there and back...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

being british

all week i've been listening to the audio version of mary ann shafer's "guernsey literary potato peel pie society" while i was spinning and knitting. i finished it yesterday. while i was listening, i realized how at home i feel with british literature. as a child, my mother came to canada from scotland. aside from my nana, all the relatives on her side were still "in the old country" so our upbringing was very british. our childhood books were rupert and noddy and the secret garden (there were no canadian children's books in the '50's and very few american). as a young teen i devoured agatha christie. and then the classics - jane austin and the brontes. and for more contemporary it was orwell and isherwood.
i absolutely loved this book. yes - the setting (london and guernsey island just after the war). yes - the historical information (what it was like for the islanders being invaded and occupied for 5 years by the nazis). but mostly it was the words. her intelligent and soft humour that kept me captivated.
i thought it would be hard to get into another book after reading dickens but this one didn't disappoint.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

picasso's plate

when i was 15 i knew i was an artist. i was living in a small community north of toronto (thornhill has since been swallowed up by the city). this was the mid-60's - well before the internet - so it was not easy to find the work of other artists to look at. our high school library had only a few books. van gogh. leonardo. and picasso. i knew i should love picasso. but i never did. his painting seemed (and still does) messy and undefined. but i loved his sculpture (especially his assemblages) and i particularly loved his ceramics. i still remember a photo of him working outside in southern france. dresed only in a pair of shorts. squinting into the camera. that to me was my ideal studio. outside in the heat. working with clay. i thought an artist had to paint.i didn't know that an artist could just do that.

Friday, February 5, 2010

house plants and huskies

this time of year, because it is so cold. because everything is still and dormant and unchanging. i'm always caught off guard by how strong the light is getting. how long the days are growing. and then i'll notice that my houseplants are putting out strong green growth. my african violets are blooming. it used to puzzle me that our beloved husky jim would start shedding in january. at the coldest time of the year. but he too was responding to the light...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

she's limbed

my backyard has been limbed (a wonderfully descriptive newfoundland term meaning to make a mess -usually in a destructive way as in "they had a party at the house the other night and limbed 'er).
we seem to have a large back yard but most of it isn't our property - it belongs to the power company. last summer they came and cut a corridor in the back removing brush. intrusive but not too bad. yesterday they returned and cut down all the big trees.
i could do nothing. i stood outside in my p.j's in minus 20 degree weather and cried. "you are breaking my heart" i told them. they were sweet and sympathetic and just doing the job they were hired to do. one after another the trees came down. i paced inside the house all day. i felt like my body was being ripped open. i didn't know what to do. it's rare these days that i'm in a situation that i don't know how to handle. by the end of the afternoon i'd been able to draw on my buddhist practice of non-attachment. i am only suffering because i'm attached to these trees. if i let go, i will find peace.
this morning is clear and sunny. i look out. the yard is wounded. but i have a bigger view. and i can see trees that were left, in behind, that i hadn't noticed before. and they are lovely (but i'll try not to get attached...)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the public library.

yesterday i went to the library. i hadn't been in over 10 years.
the library had always been a huge part of my life. as a child, some of my happiest memories were about going to the library and coming home with a pile of new books. in the summer i'd sit outside under our poplar tree and read all afternoon. in the winter i'd go to bed early with my books and fall into someone else's story. my first permanent full-time job, after leaving home at 17, was in a library. when i did my art education degree, my 2nd subject was library studies.
when i moved to corner brook at 25 - my young husband and i first lived in a cabin. some days that first summer he would come into town to teach and i would come with him - my belly swollen with my first child - and he'd leave me at the corner brook public library for the day and i'd settle in with my packed lunch and my books. it's in the tallest building in corner brook with a panoramic view of the city and out the bay at the blomidon mountains. when my children were little, with no local book store, the library was essential for all of us. i haven't been back for over 10 years.
when i started making craft for a living, i always had work to be doing. i'd sit down and pick up my sewing(rug hooking, knitting). so my reading was relegated to just before falling asleep at night. any books i needed i bought or borrowed from friends. any research i needed i did online.
this past year i've re-introduced reading to my life. setting aside time in the evening (usually long baths to stop me from picking up my knitting). and this year, i promised myself (after finishing little dorrit) that i'd get back to the library.
last week i read a wonderful blog entry by gina about giving yourself time to read. she mentioned a couple of books that i knew i would love. so yesterday, i wasn't able to get "the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society" in book form but got the audio version and in the afternoon i sat at my wheel and spun and was read to. on a cold snowy newfoundland afternoon, i was in heaven...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

winter sea

february and we're feeling the force of winter. strong wind, snow and bitter cold. this past full-moon weekend, at high tide, the waves at the cabin were strong and angry. crashing up onto the steps. swallowing the beach.