Good morning everyone! Today is Family Day where I live – a holiday. Most stores are closed, so we’re staying home.
I mentioned mind maps for project planning in Friday’s blog post. I thought I’d explain a bit about what they are and how I came to be doing them.
Mind mapping in its simplest form is a diagram similar to a flow chart, with multiple “arms” or branches you can designate however you want. Usually the “arms” all radiate from a central image or note of some sort. I used it for decision making at first. Then for note taking. The central idea or focus of the whole mind map goes in the central part. The radial arms are supporting ideas or a further breakdown of the topic at hand.
I was introduced to mind mapping when my daughters were in Kindergarten and grade three. It started with me trying to analyze a difficult situation we had with the local school. I needed to consider a lot of variables at once, brainstorm ideas, and come up with a solution that everyone understood.
I knew a school teacher and she loaned me a book by Nancy Margulies called “Mapping Inner Space”. I read it and, while it pertained to the classroom situation, could see applications for it far beyond that.
I wasn’t the only one apparently. The concept of the mind map was invented by Tony Buzan. He wrote several books aimed at educators and the general public. After reading his book “The Mind Map Book” I was hooked! I was mind mapping decisions we had to make, vacation plans, my daughters’ learning, and project planning.
To give you an idea of what a mind map looks like, here is my current unfinished projects mind map. These are projects I’d like to complete this year.
As you can see, I have a lot I want to do! Each branch, or arm, of my mind map can be further broken down, or continued, by adding steps to my various projects, like below:
I use an excellent little program called Simple Mind. It is an app I use on my iPad. I find the iPad easiest for mind mapping. I have the full version of Simple Mind. It’s only a few dollars and has been well worth it for me.
You can easily sketch or draw mind maps by hand, especially if you are artistically inclined. You don’t have to include colour, but I do. I find it helps me remember things. Some people just use images or illustrations. But that is optional too. The idea is we remember images better than words. I find it easiest to use point form text and colour code my mind maps.
A lot of people are into bullet journaling as an overall planning system these days. I can print my mind maps off and attach them to a page in my journal with a product called Washi tape, though you could use just about anything.
If you’re interested in learning to mind map probably the best book for a quick overview and to start is Tony Buzan’s “The Ultimate Guide to Mind Mapping”. Borrow it from your local library, grab some scrap paper and a pen, and start today! It’s easy. It’s fun. And it’s helpful.
If you’ve been reading, thanks! Have a great week everyone!
Good morning everyone! It’s been a busy week for me. I’ve been working on Workshop Week 2 projects.
Monday I focused on the market tote bag from Beth Miller’s class. I finished hooking the mandala on the first side. Tuesday I started the second mandala. By Thursday I finished it. Now I’m looking forward to the next session to sew the tote bag up.
Monday I also worked on designing my fraktur chair pad. I had a video/text meeting with Susan Feller to help with the design. I was having problems with the placement of one element – a bud. Thankfully she knew just how to fix the problem. Basically it was an issue with balance – there were simply too many elements on one side of the stem of my carnation pattern. I was glad she could make the time to help me. I quickly sketched the new design properly and put it on backing. In the process of sketching the design I used colour pencils to determine colour placement. I don’t normally do my colour planning like that, but in this case it helped a lot!
Tuesday morning I worked on a design for Nadine Flagel’s class – Text to Textile. I decided to use the hourglass shape and focus on the phrase “time to grow” in my daughter’s poem. This wall hanging will have beads on it, and, if my hands can handle it, embroidery.
Thursday I came in late to Beth Miller’s Parris House Zoom hook-in. I had a good time listening to everyone chat while I finished hooking the mandalas for the tote bag. I cleaned up from that project and started the hourglass pattern.
Today is Lunar New Year and we will spend time chatting with our Asian friends. I also hope to make more progress on the hourglass pattern.
I decided this week it was time to get an overview of unfinished projects, or “planned but not started” projects. So I created a mind map of different types of projects that need finishing. It’s a bit disconcerting, but also a relief to have them all on paper. I can see where I’m going with them now. Most of them have some progress, I just need to focus on them one by one and finish them! But that discussion is for another blog post.
If you have been reading, thanks! Have a great weekend!
This week is a red letter week! I finished binding the 44 year old quilt yesterday. All that is left is to fix and finish knotting the hand quilting. It’s mostly done, but needs a bit of touch up. I need daylight to see to thread needles. So it will happen Tuesday, because…
Today I have a friend coming to help me plan, measure, and cut curtains for our master bedroom. We actually have them planned already. This afternoon we’re getting together with the other friend in our five person Covid bubble to play some Scrabble. Come evening I expect to be sewing curtains. I doubt I will finish in one evening, but I should be able to finish all but the hemming in a few days.
Tuesday daylight hours are quilting time.
Wednesday I hope to have curtains hung by the end of the day. They have to hang a while before hemming. I’m leaving them a few days.
Thursday it’s back to hand quilting if I haven’t finished by then. If I have, it’s back to rug hooking. I’ve ripped out the table and mug in the corner of the “Autumn” piece I was hooking. I will be rethinking how to hook that corner.
I also have three photos of South Korea I’d like to make sketches of for some hooked pieces. Plus I have the border to finish hooking on my large South Korea rug.
Thursday I’ll also be taking my three pieces of needle work to be framed.
Friday I will be prepping for Workshop Week next week! Workshop Week is being hosted by Karen D. Miller of In The Studio. There are several teachers offering classes. I’ve signed up for four. I will have a lot of projects to finish when I’m done. I’m keeping them small, if possible. I have a lot of my own projects I want to work on.
Happy Friday everyone! This week was short, but productive. I’ve been busy reading “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. I wrote down everything I had in my mind that needed doing, then created a project list from the things I needed to focus on, and then a next actions list for the list of things to do. I’m swamped! I’m also loving it! But I can’t take on anymore.
I’ve also been working on my South Korean roof tile end cap wall hanging. It’s slow going, but looking better these days. A friend was over to help me pick out fibre for the border. I will be doing some dyeing and overdyeing.
We also went through the poetry wall hangings I want to hook. They are on backing and ready to go. I just have to finish this South Korean wall hanging and swing back to them for awhile.
I’m still sketching the South Korean designs in my sketchbook. Lots to do yet. Plus I’m still working through Meryl Cook’s “The Creativity Workbook”. I’m enjoying the inspiration of the fall colours around me.
I’ve been listening to Cindi Gay’s rug hooking podcasts while hooking or afterwards. She is a very wise lady full of all kinds of knowledge about rug hooking. I don’t hook the primitive style, but I still learn from her. Thanks for doing the podcasts Cindi!
The last week of October will be a busy week. The In My Studio Workshop Week is on then. I have a Travel class with Karen Miller, a Words and Images class with Elizabeth Miller, and Intuitive Hooking with Meryl Cook. There will also be a group hook-in and a panel discussion I’m looking forward to stepping outside my comfort zone to learn more from these talented teachers and others.
If you’re interested in taking classes I believe there are a few openings left. Contact Karen D. Miller on Facebook and check into the events she is hosting.
If you’ve been reading, thanks! Have a great weekend!
I hope everyone had a good and happy Thanksgiving! Even though we were encouraged to stay home or in our small bubble, it was possible to get together with family and friends through technology. Long live FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and other apps that connect us!
I just went through my first Thanksgiving without a deep freezer. Let me say how thankful I am for our food supply chain. I picked up a frozen turkey Friday and it thawed in the fridge all weekend. I have a fridge that runs cold, so it needed that time to thaw. In fact, it was still partially frozen Monday morning! I ran cold water in it before stuffing it and hoping for the best. I cooked it in a Look bag and tin foil roasting pan, as we have no roaster and no place to store it if we did have it! It turned out just fine.
Because our current chest freezer does not work properly and our upright freezer, which we ordered in August, has yet to arrive, I decided, in the best interest of not wasting any food, to gift our Thanksgiving guests (my daughter and her husband) with leftovers to take home. Hopefully little food will be wasted.
Other than Thanksgiving this has been a quiet weekend for me. I took some time off to read, review and reorganize. I’m reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” for the second or third time in about 15 years. I realize just how much I have put on my plate to deal with right now. I decided to back off and focus on the big picture – the long term view – for the moment. So I’m back in a goal setting phase, making sure every activity meshes with future goals and my vision of where I want to be ten years from now.
This is a challenge for me. My husband is seven years older than I, and is a senior now. I have discovered that in marriage planning cannot happen in isolation. You have to consider the other person and what reactions or parts they might have in the plans. This is especially true for me as I am not driving at the moment for a variety of reasons.
I am going back through photos and sketchbooks for ideas for mats of various kinds. There are way more ideas than I can possibly hook. It’s so hard to decide what to do and what to leave undone. Do I compromise and hook a small mat instead of a large one? Or is it better to just not hook it at all? In the meantime, I have South Korea mats and poetry mats to hook.
By the way, I discovered the shape of “joy” to me this weekend. I drew a sketch to twig my memory. It needs some revamping, but the basics are there. I may have another mat to hook soon!
If you have been reading, thanks! I hope you enjoy your week ahead. Cheers…Jean.
I found myself really fighting my South Korea roof tile end caps wall hanging this week. I decided to not rush it and just work on it briefly each day. Instead I’ve been busy sketching more designs – both of South Korea and from Meryl Cook’s “The Creativity Workbook”.
Despite spending more time this week drawing designs for South Korea wall hangings, I’m not sure how many will actually make it onto backing. I’m seriously thinking about the viewer, as well as the creative act (by me). There’s a balance that has to be struck there for me. In previous years I hooked too much for the viewer, with the odd exception. Now I’m wanting to get back to the act of just creating. It’s important for me to know what I want to say with my work first though. So I’m thinking.
I’ve been working through Meryl Cook’s “The Creativity Workbook”. I am paused on finding a design that expresses how I feel joy. I did go and experience a couple of things that give me joy – walking in nature amongst the fall foliage. I picked up a variety of shapes and colors of tree leaves and have been busy designing leaf patterns and templates. But to actually draw joy is another matter altogether. I think I know the color/s of joy for me, but not sure of the shape of it…yet.
Wednesday I joined an In My Studio Zoom meeting to listen to Judi Miller talk about artist residencies. It was a very informative talk about the options available, what you need to have a successful one, and her experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and would like to thank Judi publicly for making the time and effort to do it, and to thank Karen Miller for organizing and facilitating it.
I received my ProChem dye powder shipment this week. I’m looking forward to more dyeing. I’m wanting to dye the pine trees, ocean and skies using Lucy Richard’s spot dye formulas. I’ll be dyeing the old-fashioned way – in the oven – rather than in a microwave I do not have a microwave to dedicate to dyeing, nor a place to put it.
Well that’s my review for this week. If you’ve been reading, thanks! I wish you all a happy Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, wherever you may be. My next blog post will probably be posted Tuesday. Take care everyone!
I had the delightful pleasure of meeting Susan Logue this weekend when she showed up on my doorstep to look at some wool for a friend. I really enjoyed contact with another rug hooker. Susan wrote the “Past & Present Antique Dyes” books, which I have and have used in the past. It was a fun time chatting with her about rug hooking, and it was nice to meet her friend.
One thing the visit made me realize was how starved I am for other artistic people in my life. I’m enjoying the online classes because of that, but somehow they aren’t the same as real live one-to-one encounters. They have their good points too though. I sure am glad to have the online experience too!
Saturday I tuned in to Lucy Richard’s FaceBook LIVE dye workshop. It was an interesting experience for me. I hadn’t microwave dyed before meeting Lucy. To be able to do a spot dye by microwave is great! And the pine tree, ocean, sky colours were great! If you head over to her website or FaceBook page you can find a link to donate to her video making efforts. If you donate $10 or more your name is entered to win a gift box of goodies. This time she is including the wool she dyed, among other things. It’s a half yard of wool folks…just saying. It’s a great deal! And a great gift. And it keeps Lucy doing videos.
I’m so anxious to get my dye studio up and going. Hubby is finishing painting the upstairs hall and then wants to do the guest room. It will be awhile before he gets to the dye studio/laundry room.
I hooked more on my South Korea roof tile end cap wall hanging. It’s slow going. It’s been awhile since I’ve hooked circles. There are a lot of circles in this wall hanging. It’s a challenge.
I started Meryl Cook’s exercises in her book “One Loop At A Time: The Creativity Workbook”. I was surprised how I could pull out one issue that was really bothering me, journal it positively, and create a rug design in under half an hour! I now have at least an 18”x18” design to put on backing and hook! I may have to expand it to 20”x20” or larger to fit in all the lettering, or cut back on the lettering.
This week will be a bit of redirection in my studio. I have an appointment today to see about having a small wall hanging framed. I’m not sure how it will go. It’s a new custom framer. I’m hoping it’s not too expensive. I have other work that needs framing.
Tuesday I’m busy taking Karen Miller’s creativity class “Getting Inspired: How to Find Ideas for your Art”. I’m looking forward to it. If other rug hookers are interested there may be more spaces. Search for Karen D. Miller rug hooker and contact her.
Tuesday I’m also fielding a call from a client wishing to order some art. Wednesday I’ll be preparing the order and attending my cardiac gym program. Thursday I’ll be shipping the order out.
Meanwhile I am continuing my studio makeover. We are hanging artwork on the walls. I’m having to make tough decisions on what to hang and what to store away. It does, however, look a lot more homey down there.
Throughout all this, and in-between it, I will be hooking on my South Korean roof tile end caps rug again. Hubby and I have decided it will hang above the electric fireplace. But we shall see. The colours are not what I had planned for that space. Still, it’s the right size, we think. We’ll see.
I finished both “African Dream Mini” (10.5” x 15.25” – wool, silk, nylon on primitive linen – #6 cut) and “Hearts”! Both have a hanging sleeve on them. Next up is to cut dowels for the hanging system, find some cup hooks for them, and create Certificates of Authenticity.
After that I’ll be planning my next retreat. It’s actually going to be a painting retreat. No rug hooking. I have a third retreat in mind that I’d like to use to explore plein air hooking in the Maritimes.
What is plein air hooking? Check my blog post Monday for the answer!
Things are moving along here. I spent this past weekend hooking on the “African Dream Mini” for a friend. I’ve finished the hooking. Now for the binding and hanging sleeve. I hope to finish it this week.
I’m also planning my second and third retreats this year. Nothing like making hay while the sun shines! I have no idea if I’ll be able to take advantage of my friend’s cottage in the future. One of the retreats I’m planning isn’t really a retreat. It’s a visit to see relatives. But while there I’m hoping to fit in some photography, sketching, and painting.
Later this month I’ll be talking to a new web designer/graphic artist about redesigning my website and logo. We’ll be talking branding and marketing.
In the meantime I continue to sell supplies and greeting cards on the Facebook group Buy and Sell – Rug Hooking – Canada. I’m slowly emptying out bins in my studio.
Currently I am editing another video on my studio. It is an almost final peek at it. It is not perfect. The sofa bed won’t arrive till the end of September into October. That means I’ll be short sleeping and seating in the basement till then. I also am using the studio “as is”, so it’s a bit cluttered.
I hope everyone is geared up for a great August! Take care and catch up with you on Friday.
This weekend I decided to rest and relax and just “be”. Funny thing about that. As soon as I made that decision oodles of possible activities and things to do crowded my mind and I ended up scheduling them in my planner on my ‘to do’ list. So in reality this weekend became a time for planning and doing.
What did I plan? Saturday I rested, tended to my deck garden, and put down everything I could think of to do in regards to my business in another mind map – a six page mind map. I also dried some peppermint.
I also connected with someone who wants to buy all my scrapbooking supplies. My goal is to deliver them before the end of the month. I’ll be truly dependent on digital scrapbooking after that.
What did I plan Sunday? My next retreat! I also finished drying the peppermint – there was a lot of it – and dried some parsley. Plus I made sourdough discard crackers.
I also managed to serge the edges of all the patterns I drew on linen during my retreat. Plus I colour planned a medium sized African Dream wall hanging. It’s about 10” x 16”.
I set up some books for my business. I had officially shut my business down the end of 2018, when we made the decision to move in 2019. Now we’re relocated I’m wanting to keep records for the taxman or woman. Plus, I’d like to know my income and expenses for my own general knowledge…and planning. I’m in the process of starting my business up again now.
After a walk Sunday evening I updated my plan. LOL! So much for sitting and just “being”!
Artist Retreat, that is. This week I had a lovely time at a friend’s cottage on the Bay of Fundy with my husband and my creative gear.
I took far too much stuff. We could barely fit it all in the car! But we did! Aside from gear we had to take clothes, bedding, food, and water for five days. Hubby took his bicycle to fit in some riding. We both took technology to work on various projects. It was forecast to rain.
I took work to finish. I took my camera for inspiration photos. And the tripod, just in case. I took my rug hooking frame and South Korea rug. I took my sketchbook and watercolour pencils. I took reading material and watching material. Also I downloaded some podcasts. I took linen and Red Dot interfacing to transfer those patterns I enlarged last weekend.
Our destination had no internet, so I used my cell phone to create a hot spot every day in order to finish an Udemy course on composition.
I organized for this retreat using an app called Simple Mind. It is a mind mapping app that allows me to see a lot of information in point form at one glance, and how it’s all interrelated. I was able to adjust my retreat plans as it happened, to accommodate for finishing things early. Not being distracted can really be a big boon to productivity.
We went on a lot of walks, with and without camera. Some to the beach, some not. Some with sketchbook, some without.
I read “The Art of Botanical Painting” by Margaret Stevens. It’s a great book if you want to be a botanical painter. I am not that detail oriented. I did garner quite a few colour and composition ideas for an upcoming series of wallhangings I plan to develop.
I also took Keith West’s “How to Draw Plants”, “Nature Drawing “ by Clare Walker Leslie, and “Drawing Scenery: landscapes and Seascapes” by Jack Hamm. These were more for reference. I haven’t drawn a seashore close up before.
I did manage some watercolour sketching for future design ideas. Lus I finished the Hearts wall hanging and coasters.
Hi everyone! It’s been a busy week. The IKEA furniture arrived yesterday. The delivery guys would only take it to the front steps. Our son-in-law was here to help us bring it into the house. He also helped my hubby, Charlie, put together the sofa. They also managed a great start on the large 4’x6’ Besta china cabinet/storage unit for the dining area. Charlie and I finished it today. I unpacked quite a few boxes into it.
Charlie also put together a small Billy bookcase. So far I’ve been able to unpack several small book boxes into it. I figure I’ve unpacked about ten boxes today – a fair bit of it glassware and china. So far only one item was chipped. The living room, kitchen, and dining area are looking much better!
We had the pellet stove technician in. He fired up the stove in the studio and gave us the situation. It’s a very noisy older unit and awkward to start. Plus the automatic shut off isn’t working. We have a few choices: leave it and be careful when we use it, don’t use it, replace with a newer model, or just have the thing removed and taken away. I’m leaning towards the last option as it would give me more usable space in the studio.
Right now all sources of heat in this house are electric, which comes in on overhead lines. We’d like to have a backup heat source that isn’t electric. We’ve been investigating solar. We have a wonderful southwest exposure to our roof. Plus there’s a provincial grant for going solar. We’ll see.
The pellet stove technician also works with air exchangers. Ours doesn’t work, but he said he’d do some research to see if he could find a suitable replacement and quote us for it and installation. It would be real nice to have one up and running.
I finished washing and repairing my main studio wall earlier this week. Charlie was down there to wash them again and do touch ups today. Hopefully he can tape it off and start to prime it tomorrow.
I’m excited to be getting the studio underway finally. But first I have a few pieces of furniture to refinish: a small cupboard, a small bookcase that fits on top of it, and an old table. All of them need a serious cleaning and painting before going to live in my studio and dye kitchen.
Well that’s it for this week’s review. I hope everyone has a great weekend. Thanks for reading. Take care everyone!
I’m excited to be planning my new-to-me studio! It’s the family room in the basement of our new home. Furniture arrives next week sometime, according to IKEA. But we shall see. With Covid-19 nothing is a sure thing!
Whether it comes or not, we won’t be ready for it. I have light fixtures and bulbs to replace and walls to prep and paint. There will be precious little time for that. Right now Hubby is busy prepping and painting his own office. Then my studio, then the master bedroom, before finally painting the guest bedroom. That’s as far as we can go without major renovations to bathrooms and kitchen.
We had intended on all the renovations being finished before we moved in. However, Covid-19 got in the way of that, so we’re living in a bit of chaos right now. That’s okay. I have some room to work. Though I’m not sure I’ll unpack much of the studio furniture when it does arrive.
Below is a floor plan with furniture placement of how I want the finished room to look. Right now we cannot buy sofa beds from anywhere because of Covid-19. That’s okay. We’ll wait on that. We can do the rest of the room. It’ll be a good chance for me to cull my stuff and see if I can get everything to fit.
My primary concern is to improve the lighting. Right now the room is fine on sunny days. But if it’s overcast, evening, or night time the additional lighting in the room just isn’t good enough for me to hook rug and see colors properly.
We have a pellet stove in one corner of the room that looks like it hasn’t been used in ages. I called a pellet stove technician to come check it out and make sure it’s still serviceable. If so, great! If not, then it will be removed. I’m not sure we need one. It doesn’t get very cold here.
I made a video of the current “before” state of my room and posted it here on my YouTube channel. Check it out!
Today we’re having an “at home” day. The wind outside is howling and blowing snow around. Police are advising people to stay off the roads. There are a lot of snow drifts developing and accidents. We are taking their advice!
I thought I’d take some time to fill you in on my latest reading:
I finished Meryl Cook’s “One Loop At A Time”. I found it a very interesting way to rug hook, having never heard of chakra colors before. I love the look of her work! I am so glad Meryl decided to pick up the hook and work her way through recovery using rug hooking! This book is the story of how Meryl worked towards wellness and recovery following surgery using rug hooking and her creativity. I find times of sudden illness have been life changing for me as well.
I am finally getting serious about Karen Miller’s book, “Eyes Open To The World”. I am loving her writing style! Both she and Meryl have great writing styles. They don’t waste words and they are very clear in what they say and mean. I like that.
I’ve finished chapter 1 on traveling and really seeing what’s around you. And I agree. It’s too easy to just go, go, go and not really see what’s around you. That’s what happened on our South Korean trip in 2017. Thankfully I captured a lot with my camera on that trip. It definitely helps to be a decent photographer when you travel, or to travel with one!
As one of the featured rug hooking artists in her book, I can see where I have an unusual word cloud of artists and people who’ve inspired me. I think sometimes we’re too narrow in defining which “artists” have inspired us. I have to include my grandmother, a fibre artist long before they were called such. She was an excellent needlewoman, seamstress, quilter, etc. She inspired me to make time for my creative work and to aspire to excellence in technique, as well as interpretation. She inspired me to create works with meaning – something I am still working towards at this time.
I also find my children’s poetry to be inspirational. They were pretty good poets as children – far better than I was! They created a large body of work and have given me permission to use some of it in my rug hooking. I am currently planning a three day retreat for myself in order to put more patterns on backing, color plan, and dye fibre for them. That’s a tall order for three days, but we’ll see how far I get.
Of course I am inspired by the usual Impressionist, Van Gogh, Emily Carr, Group of Seven, Georgia O’Keefe, etc. They all affect how I perceive and interpret what I observe. They teach me, as Karen writes, about light, perspective, and color.
I am also finding inspiration in unusual places. Take for instance, the manhole covers in downtown Vancouver. Don’t laugh! They have great designs I’d love to do a rubbing of some day. Unfortunately it’s rather crowded for that. I settled for snapping quick photos!
Aside from reading and being inspired by Karen and Meryl, I’ve been busy quilting. The quilt I’m currently working on is from a South Korean quilt book a friend owns. I have no idea who the designer is or the name of the quilt, let alone the book. All I could decipher was the pattern diagram. A friend who used to be a quilt instructor gave me instruction on how much to enlarge it and how to quilt it using the freezer paper appliqué method. So far it’s working great! I have one block I have redesigned, as it requires tricky machine quilting to determine what it is exactly.
I’m hoping to turn it into a queen size quilt for our bed. We still don’t have a quilt for our bed. I’ve made lots of quilts for other people, so now it’s our turn. I have eight blocks completed and need at least forty-two total. That’s another thirty-four blocks! I can appliqué one a day.
I’m also knitting a pair of Merino wool socks from Ella Rae yarn. I was originally planning on making a shawl, but the yarn had breaks in it. In the end I decided to not only make socks, but to make bed socks. It’s cold where we live…especially at night. The breaks won’t matter if I’m just keeping my feet warm at night in them.
This morning I gathered up all my unfinished projects and took them to the upstairs living room, where it’s warmer. I stored them all in the large tote I have of projects I want to do or finish. I’m hoping to make strong headway on emptying that tote this year!
That’s my Weekly Review folks! Hope everyone has a great weekend!
I have plans. Big plans. I sat down and went through some unfinished projects I’d like to finish, and some I’d like to start. It’s going to be a busy year!
Finished over the holidays were the following: ~ a soy silk/alpaca drop stitch scarf, modified free Ravelry pattern, ~ a soy silk/alpaca tuque, my own pattern, ~ an alpaca/Merino/bamboo set of wrist warmers, free Ravelry pattern.
In progress are the following: ~ a trip-around-the-world quilt…yes, I’m still working on that. ~ a South Korean appliquéd quilt pattern. I’m gathering supplies for that. ~ a needlepoint cushion cover. Yes, I’m still working on the hydrangeas. ~ the sandpiper crewel embroidery. ~ a hardanger wall hanging that just needs framing and hanging. ~ hardanger Christmas ornaments.
In the wings, waiting to be started: ~ a gold work wall hanging, ~ a robin needlepointing piece, ~ several sketchbooks of patterns to hook into rugs and wall hangings. ~ various scrapbooks from the last 18 years of photos.
This all sounds like a lot. But I have a partner in crime. Someone who can help me by encouraging me and holding me accountable. Not just my readers my friends, but also our current hostess/landlady. Our hostess is a craftswoman herself, and knows how valuable motivation in the form of accountability to someone else can be. She and I have decided to start a quilting challenge on Monday, January 6th. A block a day. That could be difficult for me as I’m starting with an appliqué South Korea quilt. But we shall see. Any forward progress is good progress in my view.
I have been sick with a flu/cold/migraine combination this past week. It’s been miserable. On top of that, our vaporizer bit the dust. Hubby, bless his soul, would fill it up, turn it on, and shut the door. The entire room would become filled with acrid smelling fumes, like some damp wood with moss on it trying to burn. Yuck! I unplugged it for the last time yesterday and announced it was time to buy a new one.
During my illness Hubby was super helpful. He made all the meals and brought them to me, did the laundry and dishes, and stood over me looking worried more than he ought to have. Finally, to make the poor man feel better, and myself (he was beginning to have me worried!), I called our local 811 number. That number puts you in contact with a nurse who can help assess the severity of your situation. Basically, she told me to drink warm fluids, and cough up as much phlegm as I could. Nothing new.
Now I’m feeling a bit better I am working on another rug hooking pattern. This has been drawn on backing for over a year. I haven’t touched rug hooking in that long. Partly because of the move and everything being packed. Partly because of Dad’s death and illness, and my illness. And also partly because I needed a break from some of the poor attitudes I was finding in the rug hooking community.
This is not to badmouth or color the whole community, and it is not to point fingers. It is just a comment. I think some people are truly unaware of how they come across and how others react to them. It pays to think with your head and your heart, using a bit of compassion and common sense when dealing with others. I just needed to step back, regroup, and focus on my health for awhile, before continuing. It also helped to take time to work on other projects.
However, now I have picked up my next piece. My South Korean rug. I have sort of color planned it, but not totally. I know what colors I want in it. I’m just not entirely sure exactly where they are going to be in it.
People ask me how I color plan. I usually design from a color photo or series of photos I’ve taken. I print the photo on glossy photo paper and lay it on the floor or the table in natural light on a shady or overcast day. Direct sunlight is too harsh. Then I sort through my stash and pull out options that match colors in the photos. I don’t stop with just one option. In fact, I prefer five or more different types of wool or yarn (textures), depending on the pattern I’m working on.
When I have most, if not all of the colors represented, I package them up in zippered gallon plastic bags (depends on size of the project) and set them aside. That’s stage one done.
Stage two is usually on another day and requires cutting wool strips. I use a mixture of fabric and yarn, wool, silk, and nylon. Right now I do not have a good steady surface to cut wool strips. It was a real struggle to do this yesterday afternoon. We sold our good sturdy dining room table that was just right for the job. I had my Beeline cutter clamped to a wooden TV tray table, and was jamming it into the corner of the room against moving boxes with my foot to stabilize it enough to cut strips. My strips are none too perfect I’m afraid! Sigh.
Stage three is to set up my hooking area and start hooking. Not having hooked in awhile I need to build up wrist strength and agility again. I’m taking it slow for now…no more than an hour a day. I’m trying to make sure my technique is good so I don’t damage my wrist. I am also being cautious because I still have a bad cough, and the dust off the wool fabric is causing me to cough more. Not a lot of hooking done yet.
At any rate, here are some images of what I’m working on so far. I will be posting more on Instagram as my work progresses. I hope everyone has a great week!
A belated Happy New Year everyone! I guess I almost made it for Ukrainian Christmas? A little late for that too… Maybe I can be early for saying Happy New Year to my Asian friends? Lunar New Year is early February this year.
At any rate, we had a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of company. I enjoyed talking to family far away, and I also enjoyed playing many games with people near. Both Hubby and I took last weekend to just rest up. We are feeling a little older. It takes a while to recuperate.
I haven’t done much creative. I prepared my bullet journal for 2019. For those of you who don’t know, a bullet journal is an organization tool/planner. Google “Ryder Carroll”, or just “bullet journal”, and you’ll see plenty to feast your eyes. If it seems overwhelming, type in “minimalist bullet journaling” and see what you get.
I had an email pop into my inbox the other day advertising a Scrap Meet for scrapbookers this weekend. I sat on the fence about it for a while, and then thought about the boxes of memorabilia and photos, etc. I am moving. I decided to bite the bullet, spend the money, and do up some albums before I go east. That should help with decluttering a bit.
This is a big project to take on. I have 18 years of scrapbooking to do! Needless to say, I’m hoping to get a few years into each scrapbook. The photo at the top of this post only scratches the surface of what’s here. I’m looking at a couple of bankers boxes full of memorabilia, plus stacks of planners, boxes of journals/diaries to sort through.
To that end the last 48 hours has been pulling things together. I spent time culling duplicate photos (should have done that long ago!), and creating a timeline for the first year I have to work on – 2002. I haven’t finished 2001 yet, but I didn’t discover that until late this afternoon. It can wait until I finish with 2002.
The good news is these Scrap Meets are held every month. So as long as I can pony up $50/mth. for admission and food, and another $50 for an album and supplies, I can spend up to 12 hours working on an album. Not bad.
I am still looking at yarn to knit, fibre to make into bundles for sale, and a rug to hook. I unpacked my wool cutter the other day. Now I just have to figure if it will clamp on the table edge for cutting. I’m a bit concerned it won’t. If not, then I have some cubbies I could clamp it to.
I’m thinking of carrying #6 cut wool strips in my shop, but am not sure. Is there a market for such among rug hookers? I see some for sale occasionally by various vendors. I had a lady drop in one day and buy my scraps off me because she was just starting out and didn’t have a cutter. I’m just not sure if it’s better to leave the wool uncut or cut it for my customers. Any feedback from cyberland?
Well, that’s my post for this week. Hope everyone has a good rest of the week and weekend. Take care!
This week I reknit the Fleece Artist Fundy National Park yarn flat-topped hat in new modifications. The top is no longer flat.
I also finished the Fleece Artist Greenwich Dunes National Park yarn neck warmer, and am halfway through knitting the wrist warmers.
Aside from knitting, I’ve been organizing and planning knitting projects. I’ve been researching how to combine David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” and bullet journaling. Some serious project planning happening. Check out these videos…
Checked out Assiniboia Gallery’s “Trains” exhibit yesterday. Great show! Some lovely work in a wide variety of styles. They also have a couple of small Rod Charlesworth pieces for sale as well, but they are not part of the exhibit. I love Rod Charlesworth’s style.
Spent last Saturday at a music concert at the local university. It was a modern and contemporary music concert by Barbara Pritchard and Rose Bolton. It was really interesting. I’ve never really been exposed to that type of music before. It reminded me a bit of atonal music, but it was better. (I’m not a fan of atonal music.) It was very good, and I (and the people I went with) could see applications for it right away. So funny. Hubby is a movie buff and saw the applications for it in the movie industry. My friend is a family therapist who saw therapy applications right away. The 15-year-old who went with us confessed to being scared in the middle of one piece (!). And I was just mesmerized. The theme was “Fire” and all the pieces related to fire in one way or another. I felt like I was by the campfire or a forest fire, and warm for the first time in ages! It was a fascinating body of work.
This week we had our wedding anniversary. We headed out for a drive in the nearby countryside and enjoyed the scenery. We went for a short walk by a lake. Stopped in a small town at the local bakery for drink, snack, and conversation with the locals. Came back to town just in time to stop at a favorite restaurant for supper. A lovely day.
Met someone in the grocery store the other day who was curious about my ‘craftwork’ and wanted to know if I would show it to him. I assured him I would be here at least the winter, and would be delighted to share my work with him. To all my readers, if you want to come talk crafts with me, I am available. I haven’t gone anywhere and won’t be until next year sometime. Just use the contact form on this site, or give me a call.
This past week I’ve been busy listing items for sale online, and selling them. I spent too much time this week sorting LEGO for sale. LOL Also listing furniture and selling it. We’ll gradually get this house cleared out! I had no idea we had so much stuff packed into it! I guess after 24 years you collect a lot of junk.
I’ve also been following my rug hooking friends on Facebook and Instagram. There’s some really cool stuff going on in the world of rug hooking. Check out: Val Galvin, Della Ackles, and Janine Broscious. Della and Janine are on the road! I love following along on their adventures! Val is busy offering hook-ins and workshops out of Chemainus, BC, where she lives. Wish I was there Val! 🙂
I’m busy planning upcoming projects and resting my wrist after a minor medical procedure. Next week I start at a gym three days a week. Hopefully it won’t tire me out for the rest of the week. I’m planning to start some new projects.
The Shirt Project continues! I’ve moved on to designing quilts from Dad’s old L.L. Bean shirts and quilting this week. I started out trying to keep it simple, so it would go quickly and look good – a simple 4.5″ square quilt with stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. When I moved my design board downstairs to the dining room the plain quilt looked, well, a little plain. So I added some flying geese squares. Not too many because I’m starting to run out of fabric to make things match. It still looked plain. I decided to add appliqued moose to the centre blocks of the quilts. Still not totally happy with the design, but it has elements that reflect my dad’s interests. I’m sure the recipients will be happy with whatever they receive.
Running low on fabric has its challenges. I was scouring YouTube looking for ways to make quilts from scraps. I discovered crumb quilting this week! A crumb quilt is a quilt made from pieces of fabric too small to make a piece for regular quilting – meaning usually less than 2 1/2″ in any direction. (This is my generic definition.) I watched all ten videos in one series by Darlene Michaud. I tried to make a 4.5″ x 4.5″ square. It took an hour to come up with a very poor looking one. I think I made my crumbs too small. Lesson learned. Having taken the time and thread to do that though, I think it will be easier on my time and thread to make a plain scrap quilt from leftover blocks 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ and larger. I’m going to try and design one that way first. If I don’t come up with enough blocks, then I’ll switch to doing a version of a crumb quilt…with larger pieces of fabric.
Other than that, not much exciting happening this week. I am debating the best and most affordable way to bind these toddler quilts, and the best and most affordable way to get all these mementos to their recipients. I think a trip to Alberta is in order as thirteen recipients live there. It’s cheaper in gas to drive there and back than it will be to mail to the thirteen different recipients. Plus we get to visit and stay with relatives.
There’s snow on the ground here. Temperatures are unseasonably warm and the snow is melting, but as of right now, today, we still have snow! That brings Christmas to the forefront of my mind. That, and the query by Maggie Bathory of Aspen Rug Hooking about what Christmas themed ideas I might have have for rug hooking!
It’s not too late to embark on quick little projects for the house or the tree. How about a candle mat? A tree decoration? Is your tree already up? How about a small decoration for around the home? A seasonal themed hot pad for the table?
What kind of patterns might you hook for Christmas?
Christmas trees, stylized and not
ribbons and bows
Frosty, the Snowman
snowmen in general
chimneys with stockings
What types of items can you hook?
hot pad for the table
seasonal door stopper
Ideally I start in February thinking about hooking for Christmas…especially when selling in shops or online. I like to have a variety of items ready for the season and send them off in August or September.
I am only selling at the Saskatchewan Crafts Council Fine Craft Boutique this holiday season, and from my webpage shop. However, it might be time to revisit some seasonal hooking for myself, my loved ones, and the house.
What kind of Christmas projects are you working on or have you made?
While I’ve been sick with this cold I decided to take a break from dyeing fibre and focus on planning next year. I’m a planner. Anyone who knows me know I like to plan…well in advance…often to the extreme. I love researching options and alternatives. I like to challenge myself.
Having said that, my big challenge in life is learning to pace myself. I also suffer from periodic bouts of depression. Anyone who has this knows it can be challenging to deal with. On top of that I am an out-of-shape middle-aged woman. So my goal for the rest of this year and next year is to refocus my energies, such as they are, to becoming a healthier me. And I want to enjoy smelling the roses as life goes by.
I have tried many types of planners and day timers in the past. They all worked to a certain degree, but seemed like an awful waste of paper to me. There were a lot of blank spots that didn’t pertain to me, and places I needed spots to write that didn’t exist, which necessitated buying an extra journal or scribbler to find space.
For a long while I was on the journal kick. I had a journal for everything: a giving journal, a gratitude journal, a spiritual journal, a daily journal, a work journal… It was too much. I ended up not using any of them because, well, I had no time!
So I embarked on a Google search. I found YouTube bullet journal videos. I wish I could say I was smitten right away, but I wasn’t. The videos I was watching were more like scrapbooking. I didn’t have time for that. Still don’t most days. I tried it anyways, and lasted one month. I liked the idea, but it was expensive. I decided to cut costs and create my own Midori style planner. It didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. I let the whole bullet journaling thing rest a year or so.
Then, not long ago someone online mentioned bullet journals again. Hmmm. I thought I’d revisit it and checked with my eldest daughter, who is into organised living. She suggested checking out Ryder Carroll’s bullet journal website. If you haven’t seen this system before I highly recommend it.
I did away with the fancy scrapbooking style and started with a simple Dollar Store 5″ X 7″ scribbler. I’ve been trialing the system since September. I’m impressed by the versatility of it. I can combine several journals into one using the collections feature of Carroll’s bullet journaling system. I am not wasting as much paper as my old system of journaling. I like it.
To give you an idea of how the system might work, check out Ryder Carroll’s website. Here are a few sample pages from my bullet journal setup in the slide show below. These are not perfect pages. They are a first attempt.
I hope to become better later on. I sure hope this system continues to work for me, because not much else has in my many years of planning!
Absolutely no rug hooking done this week. However I did work on the website. Or rather my web developer did with my input. It should be fully operational now. If you encounter a problem please email me under the “contact” button.
I designed a pattern based on our travels in South Korea this spring, and put it on backing today. It is large – 36″ X 25″ – for me. I will have to do some dyeing for it. Probably tomorrow or next week sometime. I find my days getting busy now I’m back home and well again!
It’s come to my attention that my photos could use a bit more organization. To that end I spent considerable time today organizing them. I have them in three places, supposedly. Unfortunately, due to technological and human failure, I have some only in one place. I need to organize and rectify the situation.
How do you organize your digital photos?
I have thousands. Right now I set up a file system that starts with ‘Photos 2006’ and has folders up to this year. Inside each folder I have the year and month folders (eg. 2017 August). After that I tend to fall apart. Right now key events get their own folder in the year folder, among the month folders. For example, “2017 Sauder Village”.
This seems to be a good way to keep photos from getting lost. Unfortunately, I still have to use the search engine more than I’d like to find images. I need to get these labelled properly and under control.
I have close to 16,000 photos (including duplicates and edited versions). I’m looking for a good way to organize these so I’m not panicking whenever someone needs a photo of my work.
I plan on a working Saturday and taking a break Sunday. I hope everyone else has a great weekend!