Home Happenings

Home Happenings

I am busy sketching, transferring and hooking more of the Parker’s Cove series. It is a big series with a lot of different pieces to it.  Last week the hooking was actually quite slow.  I spent a lot of time planning the series and adding to the mind map for it. I also spent time dyeing wool fabric for it.

I took time to go through my morning pages, looking for ideas for future creative endeavours.  In fact, dealing with my morning pages from “The Artist’s Way” have taken up so much time that I dread them.  It’s nice weather here, and I want to be outside.

Hubby and I picked up a new gazebo last week. Well, Hubby and a friend.  We couldn’t fit the first one in our car to bring it home and Walmart doesn’t deliver.  When a friend found out, they came to our rescue, and her hubby went with mine for a gazebo in their hatchback.  The two men even set it up right away!   We all celebrated with tea and cookies inside it when they were finished.

Other than that there has been a lot of yardwork happening.

  • I removed the tulips the deer keep eating.
  • We dug up an area of goutweed, only to find landscape cloth and what looks like a dry ditch underneath.
  • I weeded and raked our raised beds.
  • I tried to stake our peonies with tomato cages with no success.  They need something bigger and sturdier.
  • Hubby has been busy weeding the front yard and planting beds.
  • A neighbour came over to cut a few trees from the many on our property.
  • We have been emptying the dirt out of the cloth pots I use for the deck garden.  My goal is to clean them and replant them.

There is a lot in the works right now.  I’m in the middle of moving my  website to Shopify.

I apologize to my email subscribers who received multiple blog emails on Saturday.  The blog posts were old ones.  We, my web developer and I, still don’t know what happened, but we understand it has stopped.  Please let me know if it has not.  My blog is not stopping.  It is merely being moved to another platform.

And to the person or entity in Pakistan that accessed over 1170 blog posts in 2 hours yesterday morning…we’re watching what you’re up to…

Well, if you have been reading, thank-you.  Have a great week everyone!

Monday, Monday…

Monday, Monday…

Good morning everyone!  This past week I have been busy hooking more Parker’s Cove fishing shacks.  I have a few colour questions to fine tune them.  My photos were taken late in the day and some of the shacks were in pretty deep shade.  I need to get back up there to confirm the colour choices I’ve made.

To that end I booked a four day artist retreat in the area for myself in June.  Hubby will go with me and spend time on his creative projects as well. I hope to be finishing the wall hangings by then, but we shall see.  There are a lot more to do!

Last week I also enjoyed the company of real live, in person rug hookers!  It sure is nice to feel comfortable getting together with other people again. We shared our work and hooked away.  The time passed very quickly, and I am looking forward to getting together again this week.

I am still working through “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, with a group in the Parris House Creative Community on Mighty Networks.  I am finding the chapter I’m on is taking a long time to complete.  I am however, being jolted out of complacency, off my butt to get up and do something about my artistic career.

Two of the areas I am exploring are exhibiting and sales options.  I am teaming up with two other rug hookers.  We are all members of the same rug hooking group.  We are tentatively booked for a museum in July.  I am not convinced this will go ahead.  If not, we will hold an art show and sale in my backyard.  I am also checking out galleries for possible representation, though I am not very confident in this area, having had mixed results where we previously lived.

I am also preparing work to be professionally photographed.  This is a challenge, as I have close to fifty pieces that need photographing. I am starting to think it might be more affordable to buy a subscription to Adobe Photoshop Elements after all!

I created a quick two and a half minute video of my studio on YouTube, for your viewing pleasure.  It is, of necessity, very brief. If people show an interest, I may do a longer, more detailed one later.

Well that’s it for this past week.  If you have been reading, thank-you muchly.  Take care everyone, and have a great week!

Make It Happen Monday

Make It Happen Monday

Almost there!  The Boucherouite rug is moving along.  I hope to finish it this week.

Saturday I attended a Zoom seminar on “Women Artisans of Morocco”, sponsored by the Textile Museum Associates of Southern California.  Over 1000 people were in attendance!  Some via Zoom and some via YouTube Live. The speaker was Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis.  She was very knowledgeable about introducing the women and their work.  Her presentation included discussion of rugs, embroideries and handmade buttons of the High and Middle Atlas Mountains. I came away with a new knowledge and appreciation for Moroccan textiles.

I finished reading ”Color Choices” by Stephen Quiller.  I have not studied the colour wheel to that depth before.  I have informally learned it, but not the theory behind it and how to use it to create a cohesive colour scheme.  My use of colour is largely intuitive.  This was a good read for me.

”The Farm” is slow going.  I’m still selecting fibre and embellishments to explore techniques.  Plus I continue to research techniques in an effort to decide which ones I’m going to use.  I have a choice of painting the sky, reverse hooking it, or using canvas embroidery techniques on it.   I need to experiment a bit to see which will suit the piece better.

I am not sure what this week holds, but it promises to be busy.  If you have been, thanks for reading!  Have a productive week everyone!

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Good day everyone!  The Boucherouite rug is progressing.

I worked on ”The Farm” this week.  I embroidered leaf veins to hold background leaves in place.  I used a technique called proddy to create 3D leaves of different shapes and sizes.  I purchased some beads to use as berries.  I’ve done a lot of research on techniques for this piece.

Four more Parker’s Cove patterns are ready to be hooked.  I was looking for fishing rope to devise a unique finishing technique…possibly using knots.  A friend came through in spades.  I am using an old book that predates 1918 for knot ideas.  It’s titled “Knots, Ties and Splices” by J. Tom Burgess.

I had good intentions of repairing “The Wedding (?) Rug”. However, my Fraser 500 wool stripper (strip cutter) broke.  I’m waiting for better weather to connect with someone who might be able to repair it.  We’re supposed to have another winter storm this weekend.  Meanwhile a friend has the right size cutter wheel and will cut the necessary strips for me.

Charlie Dalton, guest speaker on the In The Studio seminar series this month, gave a great talk!  He talked about his journey to becoming a rug hooker and how he drew his inspiration from past and present artists.  Then he gave us a grand overview of his work.  It was a very interesting and inspiring story!  Thank-you Charlie and In The Studio!

I’m almost finished reading “Color Choices” by Stephen Quiller.  I actually borrowed this book for the last two or three chapters in it, but found the first chapter so fascinating I kept reading from the beginning!  It’s a new way of looking at the colour wheel for me.

I’ve been busy working my way through Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” with a group of ladies in Beth Miller’s Parris House Creative Community on Mighty Networks.  It’s been very good so far.

I am really enjoying the supportive community Beth Miller is developing on Mighty Networks.  Beth has demonstrations and Crafternoons planned every month, and finishing days quarterly.  There are over ten boards on a diverse range of topics – rug hooking is only one of them.  Soon she will be adding member only classes to the roster of happenings.  Membership is only $9.99 USD per month…well worth it for me so far.  I encourage you to check it out.  There’s a free three day trial.

Well, that’s my review for the week!   If you have been, thanks for reading!

 

Snow Day!

Snow Day!

We woke up to a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground this morning, and more snow falling. It was quiet and beautiful!

A snow day for us means an at home day. So today I’ve been doing “errands”  and paying bills online.  I’ve also been transferring files from my iMac to my Lenovo laptop.  My iMac is on its last legs and I will not be replacing it.

I managed to copy four more Parker’s Cove fishing shack wall hangings onto backing. I have at least one more long one to transfer to backing, and several smaller ones yet.

I have not worked on the Boucherouite rug since Friday.  Nor have I worked on “The Farm”.  

I have finished spinning and plying some dark green Corriedale wool for rug hooking.

Plus I attended a Zoom lecture by Tom Hannihar, sponsored by the Textile Museum Associates of Southern California, on the molas of Panama and Columbia. A mola is a type of handwork created using reverse appliqué, appliqué and embroidery.  It is often made by girls and women, and sewn to their blouses. It was a fascinating lecture.

This weekend they have one on the women artists of Morocco.  I plan to attend that Zoom lecture too.  

I am currently reading “Color Choices” by Stephen Quiller. This book is aimed at artists and uses manufactured paint names for the various colours on the colour wheel.  The concepts are good for all media though. I am enjoying it. I hope to finish it by the end of the month.

I am also embarking on a re-reading of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”. I am doing it with a group of people on Beth Miller’s Parris House Creative Community on Mighty Networks.   I learned a lot about myself the first time through this book over 20 years ago, and I’m thinking it might be time to revisit it now.

Mighty Networks is a paid platform, and Beth is just getting started there. However she already has some demos, a crafting afternoon, and a finishing afternoon once a month in the works. There are plans to offer courses through the site as well.  Plus there are boards on a wide variety of topics.  You can check out her site on a free 3 day trial.  After that it’s $9.99 USD per month.

Well, if you have been, thanks for reading!  Have a great week everyone!

Save That Rug! Review & Update

Save That Rug! Review & Update

This week I am wanting to work on repairing old rugs and hooking on my second Parker’s Cove rug.  I also want to design and put on backing another Parker’s Cove rug.

I ran into trouble repairing the first old rug. The edge was bent back with no whipping on it. As a result, after years of use on the floor, the burlap backing has broken between these pins.

I’m not sure how I’m going to approach repairing it yet. I thought I’d look in this book by Judy Taylor for ideas.  It is full of detailed step-by-step repair techniques to use on old rugs. There are a lot of photos showing various steps in repair and before and after photos. Thank-you for such a detailed book, Judy!

The second old rug has been neglected for the first, at the moment.  I managed to find some wool yarn in my stash to repair the whipping. That’s a start.

Well, that’s what’s on my plate this week folks!  If you have been reading, thanks!  Have a great week everyone!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2022!  While I had a good year last year, I’m pleased to be moving on this year.  I finished many projects in 2021, including a series of hooked rugs, and a very old quilt. I also finished knitting not one toque, but two, for Christmas gifts. And I started knitting a pair of socks.

I was delighted to be able to help a young lady learn rug hooking this holiday season.  She was gifted a kit and I created a video specially for her.  I hope she continues to rug hook and enjoys it.

While I did not post to my blog over the holidays, followers on my social media accounts (Facebook in particular) will notice I have been posting new work from the last few years in my shop on this website.  I have had such trouble with my checkout that I’ve neglected posting new work. I’ve currently disabled the cart and checkout process by placing my shop on vacation.

However, if you want to purchase anything, feel free to email me at jeanottosenstudios@gmail.com.  I am still here and will ship to you.

This year’s plans are to move forward with a new series of hooked mats I hope to put on backing this week.  Hubby and I have driven around Nova Scotia, our new home province, a lot, and have discovered some wonderful places full of beauty and character.  I hope to create visual memories of these places for my home and others.

And now for the big news!  I have finished the series of wall hangings based on my children’s poetry!  The inspiration poetry was written or spoken from ages five to seventeen.  I hooked ten wall hangings inspired by the poems.  Most of the wall hangings have the poem that inspired it on the back on a label.  Eight of these pieces are for sale.  Contact me for more information.

And in even bigger news…!  I have had an article published in the January 2022 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine!  It is about the poetry series.  I was very pleased to be able to work with the editor and a photographer on this article.   A big thank-you to all involved!

If you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a great week everyone!

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

I finished reading “Making a Life” by Deanne Fitzpatrick this week. It was an excellent quick read.

I am also reading “Mary Oliver – New and Selected Poem” volume one.  I don’t normally read poetry.  I picked this book up because I was told she wrote nature poems.   Well some are, and some aren’t.  Some start out that way and end out in dark places related to the human condition.  So depending what you’re after, some may appeal to you while others leave you wanting.

I also purchased ”Yum and Yummer” by Greta Podleski.  I have a cookbook addiction.  I sold fully two thirds of my cookbooks before we moved…or more.  I’m down to four linear feet of cookbooks.  But when my doctor relative suggested “Yum and Yummer” I sat up and took notice.  I found the cookbook in the Truro, NS Coles bookstore on my way through town Monday.  It’s great!

This cookbook has everything a great cookbook needs – thorough ingredient lists and easy to read instructions, a kitchen wisdom section at the bottom of the page, gorgeous full page photos, and QR codes you can scan for 1 minute videos on how to prepare the recipes.  We tried Cauliflower, Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry.  It really was “Yum and Yummer”!

I was away this week and did nothing creative.  I did share my work with my relatives and one of them shared her work with me.  It was a fun time, but too short.

I am looking forward to planning a day retreat this September.  Hubby wants to do some cycling with friends  I’m going along for the ride and fun. While they’re cycling, I’ll be sketching and rug hooking.

Well if you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Weekly Review – “Making a Life”

Weekly Review – “Making a Life”

Yay!  I had some time to prepare a couple of hooked pieces for the wall. I created and attached labels and hanging sleeves to “Time” and “Autumn”.  They are ready to hang!

I started reading ”Making a Life” by Deanne Fitzpatrick the other day.  It is a great little read with lots of wonderful photography of her work.  I think it’s her most readable book yet.  It’s interesting how, over the years, you can see a writer’s skill progress.  This is true of other authors as well as Deanne.  In this book Deanne writes about her life as an artist the past twenty-five years.  She talks about her initial views on art and artists, and how she grew into thinking of herself as an artist and being an artist. A lovely read.

Next up?!  Colour planning my next project!

 

Misty Monday Morning

Misty Monday Morning

This weekend I pulled weeds, finished preparing the alpaca yarn for sale, and pulled more weeds. Hubby and I had several serious conversations about the yard. Something has to be done sooner rather than later.  We have a major goutweed (aka Bishop’s weed) infestation happening.

Our new mat for the deck gazebo came Saturday.  It’s gorgeous and it’s from Costco.  It was a very good deal.  We are pleased to have a nice place to read, rug hook and spin on the deck out of the sun.

Plans for this week include more weed pulling.  But also more creative work.  I want to get “Gyeongju” finished and off my frame.  I also want it steamed and blocked.  I’m stuck on hemming until I can either have my serger repaired or get to someone else’s serger to do the job. Right now no one is going anywhere due to Covid lockdown.

I’ve been playing around with the project management app, Trello, and one thing it shows me clearly is how many of my projects are stuck because of lockdown.  We aren’t supposed to go out except for essentials, and even then only one person is to go.  That’s Hubby. I can’t call repairing a serger or buying supplies for a hanging system essential.  And I certainly wouldn’t want Hubby to handle those transactions on his own.  So…I can go so far with “Gyeongju” and then I wait…

I am also hoping to enter all my projects into Trello to see how many years of work I have ahead of me.  I need to break it down into a reasonable workload.

Well, if you have been reading, thanks!  I hope you have a good week.  Take care everyone, and stay safe.

Weekly Review – This and That

Weekly Review – This and That

I’m trying out Trello project management app due to a reader’s comment not long ago. I have mixed feelings. I like it for breaking big projects down into smaller steps and creating a daily to do list.  But I find it difficult to get a good global overview. I haven’t decided if that’s good or bad. Sometimes a global overview can be overwhelming and freeze you up.  Other times it can show you where duplication is happening.

I’ve used mind maps since 1993. I’m used to them.  But I think that’s part of the problem with me assessing Trello – I’m biased.  So I’m going to keep experimenting with both and see if one works better than the other.  I’m using SimpleMind for mind mapping…the paid version. It may be they complement each other.  I don’t know.  I have to play with Trello more.

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In other news, I discovered a new website this week for budding artists and experienced alike. Check out Jeanne Oliver’s website.  There are free courses, self study courses and actual paid classes  I notice Deanne Fitzpatrick has a class being offered there as well.  Lots to work with.  I plan on exploring some.

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I’ve been reading a new-to-me book called “Desire to Inspire” by Christine Mason Miller.  It is a book on various artists with creative exercises in it to help you use your “creative passion to transform the world “.  I’m on chapter two. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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I’m still hooking on the border of “Gyeongju”.  It’s a lot bigger than I thought, but it’s looking good!   I figure I have two more hours of hooking to do and it will be finished!

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I processed (or finished) some hand spun alpaca yarn for knitting.  It’s hanging to dry as I write.

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I attended a free nature journaling lecture via Zoom yesterday afternoon.  It was hosted by John Muir Laws.  It was about flower and leaf configurations.  In it I found out the first week of June is International Nature Journalling Week.  John’s website offers a series of Zoom workshops for free or donation (as you are able) during the week.  I’m debating taking some.  It depends on my time.

There is also a nature journaling conference called Wild Wonder June 23-27th. That is a paid event.  More information can be found on John’s website.

If you have been, thanks for reading!  Enjoy your weekend!

 

 

Nature Journaling

Nature Journaling

Good morning everyone!  Today I am talking about nature journaling.  I am a wildlife biologist’s daughter. I spent most of my childhood and early adult life outdoors and enjoying camping. My mother loved birds and plants and instilled her love of those to me. My father took us all out “into the field” from June through the end of August.

“The field”, for those not related to a wildlife biologist, means we lived in tents all summer long in the great outdoors, wherever it may be. For my growing up years that meant a place called Streeter Basin, followed by Gregg Lake, and then Kananaskis Research Centre, where we graduated to living in a trailer.  At Streeter there was no-one around for miles. Just my family, Dad’s grad students (“Don’t bother them!”) and nature. We learned to love nature.

Was this scary?  A bit.  I could tell you stories. But that’s getting off topic.  Streeter Basin was where I became interested in birds.  It was also where I started drawing plants.

By the time I was in high school we started going to Kananaskis.  There a kind botany professor let me tag along on field trips.  My mother was in his class. He would talk about the plants. I would go off nearby and draw them.

I did try and paint a few plants as an adult, upon taking painting courses.  But that was the extent of my nature drawing.  Until Sketchbook Revival 2021 and John Muir Laws’ class.

After drawing the Black-throated Blue Warbler in under two hours, I was excited again!  Here is a more or less cleaned up version of the original drawing, which had a lot of mistakes.

Enter my Internet search for resources. I found John Muir Laws has written, not one, but two books on nature journaling.  I also found Clare Walker Leslie had a book out on nature journaling that she co-authored with Charles Roth. Hmmm… I ordered both books.  (Clare Walker Leslie has a new edition of her book published this year!)

While waiting I decided to try my hand at it a second time.  This time I asked a nature loving friend if she had any photos I could use as a base for my drawings – as reference.  She did!  I received several shots with images of birds.  I decided to try again…this time I made a page for the Black-capped Chickadee.

I see several areas where I could improve my work, composition wise, artistically and with the text.  However, as a starting point these are okay. I need a record to see how I progress.

The books arrived Thursday and I have been immersed ever since. They are both excellent books. Clare’s and Charles’s book, “Keeping a Nature Journal”, is good for someone who has no clue about drawing and thinks they can’t do it. John’s book, “The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling”, is more detailed and in-depth.  Both excellent stuff!  Both are aimed at nature lovers everywhere who want to record what they see.

I was so excited by the books I powered through most of “Keeping a Nature Journal” this weekend.  I also watched a video on YouTube called “How to Build a Journal Page with Kristin Meuser.  On Kristin’s advice I decided to pick a smaller watercolour sketchbook to start.

I found a red journal half the size of the large sketchbook I had been using, and redrew the first two drawings, adjusting for composition.  I also tried some drawing from life, which is what nature journaling is all about.  It looks pretty rough folks, but it’s a start.  Practice makes perfect!

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So if I appear to be neglecting my rug hooking for a while, don’t be alarmed!  I am merely honing observation and drawing skills which will, eventually, show up in my wall hangings.

If you have been, thanks for reading!  Have a great week everyone!

 

They Came!

They Came!

Two new sofa beds are in the house!  That completes the seating for the studio and the guest bedroom cum family room cum classroom.  I do not have room in the studio for my comfy chair and the sofa bed.  So we will be rearranging furniture in the near future.

Karen Miller’s class on Tuesday was a blast!  I had to design a piece on the fly…like a minute or two…and start hooking.  I’m a slow hooker, especially with materials new to me.  The object was to experiment with new materials.  I tried dental floss, pink elastics (off broccoli folks!), fabric strips, parchment paper (yes, the kind you bake on), acrylic eyelash yarn, wool yarn, wool fabric, silk fabric, cotton fabric, sewing with buttonhole thread, some twill weave tweed that shreds like crazy, and more.  It was a fascinating exercise!  Karen is an excellent teacher.  Here’s the results.

The South Korea rug is slowly progressing.  I’m sticking to wool, silk, and nylon for that one…so far.

I spent more time sketching the South Korea photos.  Lots of options for wall hangings.  Lots of elements I might piece together to form one wall hanging.

Branding progress…I think I have what I need now.  I’ll be visiting a local printer eventually for new business cards, hang tags, greeting cards, etc.  I’m hoping to find a local affordable printer who can do an excellent job. I currently use an outfit in the US, but I’d rather use local, if I can keep the quality.

Meryl Cook’s book “One Loop At A Time – The Creativity Workbook” arrived this week.  I’m looking forward to her class during the In My Studio Workshop Week the end of October.  I may sidetrack into some of that workbook before the October class.  I don’t believe it’s required for the class, but it is a good little thought provoking book I hope will get my creative juices flowing along different lines.

I am thoroughly enjoying online learning. I hope once Covid-19 is behind us it will continue. It is just so much easier for me, not just financially (no hotels or air fares), but logistically too.  Three cheers for the rug hooking artists out there putting in the tremendous time and effort it takes to create these online courses.  Know that I, at least, appreciate all you’re doing!

And that’s my review for this week.  I hope everyone has a great weekend  if you’ve been reading, thank-you .

 

Natural Dyeing Resources

Natural Dyeing Resources

Hello everyone! This weekly review is on the various books and websites used this past weekend at my niece’s. She wanted to learn patterned natural dyeing, not dyeing all one colour. She also is interested in growing a dye garden.

I taught her some of the natural dyeing I knew, and we spent one afternoon with Linda Wallbank, a spinner and weaver, who just happens to also knit and dye. She grows her dye plants in amongst her vegetables. So we checked out her garden too, and her animals – alpacas, llamas, and horses.

At any rate, aside from Linda’s and my expertise, I also used a bevy of dyeing books and websites to help us on our natural dyeing journey. Here are some of the websites I found useful:

I also took the opportunity to make use of my natural dyeing library with this workshop. I found the following books useful.

  • “Wild Color” by Jenny Dean
  • ”The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing” by Eva Lambert and Tracy Kendall
  • ”The Craft of the Dyer” by Karen Leigh Casselman
  • ”The Dyer’s Garden” by Rita Buchanan
  • ”Natural Processes in Textile Art” by Alice Fox (rust dyeing)
  • ”Harvesting Color” by Rebecca Burgess
  • ”Natural Dyes” by Judy Hardman and Sally Pinhey
  • ”Eco-Colour” by India Flint
  • ”Shibori” by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice, and Jane Barton
  • ”Stitched Shibori “ by Jane Callender

While we didn’t do any shibori per se, we did spend a lot of time on tie dyeing. Looking at shibori books inspired my niece to stretch her tie dye design repertoire. We surfed the Internet and found some interesting patterns to try.

The top three useful books for this particular workshop were: “Wild Color”, “The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing “, and “The Craft of the Dyer”. Having said that, we did have difficulty getting beet dye and blueberry dye to stick to the pre-mordanted cotton fabric, no matter whose instructions we used! And of course, we discovered they are both fugitive dyes. While I suspected the beet dye of being fugitive before we started, I did not know what to think of blueberry, having never used it. Other dyes we used were: carrot tops, onion skins, and staghorn sumac leaves.

All in all we had a great time experimenting, and the above resources were a great help. Check them out if you’re interested in natural dyeing!

And it’s Out!

And it’s Out!

The pellet stove has been removed! I am pleased to have space for another chair in the seating area of the studio. Kudos to Dan Walker, his co-worker, and Charlie for removing the stove and repairing the wall. The walls have now been painted and it’s time to fix the floor where the pellet stove sat, so the chair has someplace level to sit.

In other news, I am selling all my scrapbooking supplies. I purchased storage on Forever.com, as well as their programs Historian and Artisan. I also purchased a PC laptop to run everything on! I’ve used PCs before, but it’s been a while. This could be a bit of a learning curve.

The laptop is a Lenovo Legion Y740 15″ laptop. This is, I suspect, a gaming laptop. However, it was one of the few I could find with all the specifications required to handle everything I need it to do. Next up, once this is set up, I’ll be looking at a scanner and a printer. I have a lot of old photographs and negatives that need scanning.

I continue to unpack and sift through our belongings. I am to the point where I am shredding entire boxes of journals and papers from when the girls were younger. I have no idea why I kept it all! Hopefully this move will ultimately achieve our goal of downsizing all our stuff, as well as our accommodation.

In my leisure time I am reading “In The Company of Women” by Grace Bonney. It is a wonderful book full of interviews from successful women entrepreneurs. It has some sage advice and great quotes.

I also joined Udemy this week. Their classes are as low as $13.99 each until June 20th. I purchased three by Doris Charest, an artist from Alberta, Canada. They are: “Teaching Art Classes Online”, “Composition Basics for Abstract or Realism for Beginners“, and “Starting an Art Business”. I learned quite a bit from “Teaching Art Classes Online”. I don’t expect to learn as much from the other two. They are more refreshers. Mme. Charest’s teaching style and delivery is very good. I appreciated her honesty about her subject.

This weekend’s project…

Have a great weekend everyone!

My Reading List

My Reading List

Hi everyone! Today I thought I’d take a look in my reading pile by the chair and let you know what I’m reading, why, and what it’s inspired.

One book I’ve been paying close attention to is “Creative Time and Space” by Rice Freeman-Zachary. It is subtitled “Making Room for Making Art”. While not devoted to rug hooking per se it does have an entire chapter on studio spaces of various artists. Since we’ve just moved I read that chapter and decided to do my studio up right this time. At the very least I decided to document the transformation from a very yellow family room to a studio. Keep an eye on my YouTube channel for a video in the next month or so!

Also in my reading pile is “Desire to Inspire” by Christine Mason Miller. It’s subtitle is “Using Creative Passion to Transform the World”. It is a book of ideas, techniques, and exercises that “help you discover your own strengths, goals and potential paths”. It explores the work of inspiring artists and their transformative art.

Following on the heels of that I still want to finish “The Secret Lives of Color” by Kassia St. Clair. It’s more of a fun cross between history and trivia on some of the more common colours used by artists of all kinds.

Then there’s “Living the Creative Life”, also by Rice Freeman-Zachery. The author interviews 15 artists practicing in a variety of mediums, including fibre arts, about creativity. It will be interesting. There’s a section on artist retreats by Sas Colby, a fibre artist. I’m interested in a fibre art retreat, but not with other people. I truly need to be alone, except for meals, which I’d love for someone else to prepare, while I just get some work done!

And last, but not least, I still haven’t read Deanne Fitzpatrick’s book “Rug Hooking with Deanne Fitzpatrick “. I’m hoping to read that as well.

Well that’s my reading list on the creative and fibrey end of things. What are you all reading these days?

What I’m Up To

I finished my first bed sock and am almost done the second. They are a bit large, but that’s okay. If I knit myself a real pair for walking I’ll go down one size.

I finished the first eight appliqué quilt blocks and am onto the next eight. Having a hard time finding time to do this, what with other distractions and only being able to do it during daylight hours. My appliqué stitching is a mess after the sun goes down, even with lights on!

I am reading “Eyes Open to the World” by Karen Miller. I’m really enjoying it! I’m halfway through the book now. I’m a slow reader.

I missed rug hooking, so I scrounged around in bins and boxes for some scrap linen backing. I freehand drew some hearts on it, on top of some squares that were already on the backing.

I commandeered Hubby to move boxes of fibre around so I could find the appropriate colours to prepare for hooking. I settled on pink, red, purple, and white. I am using my usual wool, silk, and nylon.

Then I discovered my portable lap frame had cracked during our move. I quickly mentioned it to a friend and she offered to bring one to our group meeting this week for me to borrow. I took my cracked frame to the meeting and asked for advice on fixing or replacing it. I was surprised the answer was try Gorilla Glue! So Hubby went out for some Gorilla Glue and is poised to try and repair my frame.

I hope everyone else is having a productive time. Take care and I’ll try and check in next week.

My hearts wall hanging
Back at it again!

Back at it again!

Hi everyone! I’ve been spinning and knitting away. I managed to finish spinning the red purple and the golden yellow for my current project – the South Korea rug. We’ll see how that hooking project goes. I’ve determined the pattern is too detailed to add my silk fibre strips. The pattern loses definition when I do. This project will definitely be a learning one, but then, what project isn’t? I find I learn something with every project I do.

I’m also knitting more on the silk/alpaca Dropped Stitch Scarf. It’s a free pattern from Ravelry. Almost done. Only about ten inches to go! Looking forward to blocking and wearing it.

Dove of Peace Ornaments

Aside from the fibre activity I’ve been to the local rug hooking guild. They are a very talented group of ladies! They are a huge group! I visited on a day when some of them were selling crafts as well. I bought some beautiful small dove Christmas tree ornaments and took the phone number of a knitter. That reminds me, I must call her. I’m thinking I’ll put in an after New Year’s order. She knits wool socks and shawls.

I’m also reading. I finished reading “Hooked Mats of Newfoundland and Labrador” and was struck by the diversity of design within the region. There is a history of the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador at the beginning of the book. That is followed by many examples of hooked mats from various parts of the region. I found the history of the mats fascinating.

I’m currently reading “Silk Stocking Mats” by Paula Laverty and enjoying the history in that. I’m not a big history fan, but these two books include a lot of visuals to make it interesting and clarify what happened when.

Two days ago I processed the yarn I spun. I’m already noticing the difference between the humidity here and on the Prairies. It’s taken two days to dry instead of one!

Earlier this week we dug out Christmas decorations and decorated a tree and the main floor of the house where we’re staying.

We baked up a storm and hosted a cookie exchange for our landlady, daughters, and our son-in-laws. I hate to tell them, but our cookies are already gone! That’s probably a good thing, and we probably shouldn’t eat any more! However I know I’ll be making chocolates soon. So there will be lots of goodies yet for Hubby and I to share with others.

Cookies for the Cookie Exchange.

Well, it’s time to get going here. Take care everyone. Have a safe holiday season!

A Busy Time

The house sold and we’re busy preparing for the move and saying good-bye to our many good friends. We will miss you all.

We moved everything back to the house from storage and decided that was enough. We hired a real moving company for the actual move. We were going to do UHaul, but it was just too much work.

I’ve been busy listing items for sale online, and selling them. Hubby has been making trips to the Salvation Army Thrift Store to drop items off. It’s amazing how little you need when faced with paying for a move!

We continue to have our weekly Pizza and Games night with friends. I’m still sick, but it’s only a cold I’ve been told. As long as I don’t laugh too much I’ll be fine. When I laugh I cough.

Creativity these days consists of planning, organizing, and getting things done. Not much. Thankfully my whiteboard is starting to look a little emptier.

In rug hooking news, Karen Miller’s new book is out! I am represented in its pages in the plein air hooking section. I’m looking forward to receiving my copy.

I packed my car bag for the road trip east today. It has knitting in it. I’ll also be spinning some roving into yarn.

Hubby and I were a bit concerned about all the stuff we want to take in the car. So we hauled it all into one room in one pile for a visual assessment. It should be good.

We celebrated a friend’s birthday recently. Baked a cake and had it with ice-cream for dessert. She wanted to learn to make pizza from scratch, so a couple of friends gave her a pizza stone and pizza cutter, while we gave her a couple grocery store gift cards. She and her sister were here visiting about a week ago and I showed them how to do it. They are excited to try.

Well, that’s it. The goal for today is to check the emergency kit in the car and to visit the lawyer to sign the final paperwork for the house sale.

Monthly (?) Update

Monthly (?) Update

Hi everyone. I haven’t posted for a couple of reasons. 1) I’ve been super busy with the move and medical happenings. 2) I’ve been having website issues. I am not a happy camper on either front because they take me away from my creative activities.

On the medical front…MRI is done. No results yet, but I feel fine…except my back…which was the reason for the MRI. I’ll wait a while and see if I receive a phone call from the doctor’s office in regards to it. No call is a good thing. If I don’t hear anything in about a month’s time I’ll call them just to double check everything is okay.

On the moving front, the house has been up for sale for almost two weeks now. We had three showings the first week and two this week. Kind of hoping for more, but we shall see. Like I said above, I’m waiting for about a month for medical results, so if the house doesn’t sell right away I won’t be disappointed.

The sump pump fix was a waste of money. The seepage was coming in even with it, and it wasn’t kicking in at all. So Hubby, under my direction, re-sloped the land at that corner of the house, away from the house. Then he caulked some thick plastic to the foundation and covered it with red shale. I suggested he redirect the downspout into the alley instead of onto the lawn. We took the opportunity to outline the entire area and the front flower bed it abuts against with lawn edging. That will hopefully keep weeds down.

After that we had a couple afternoons of rain and saw no return of the seepage in the basement. So we had new carpet laid. Then Hubby painted the basement and installed baseboards. It looks positively lovely down there!

Still…some nibbles on the house, but no offers.

As for my blog…grrr! I’ve been trying to set up a system whereby I can post from my cell phone or tablet to my blog. This is supposed to be easy, but is not. I cannot get it to work…at all. It posts to my old blog, but not my current one. Very frustrating. I think I’ll be buying a new laptop in my future, to be able to post to my blog while traveling and before we get internet set up wherever we end up.

Nothing creative happening here. Though I am reading “The Secret Lives of Color” by Kassia St. Claire. It’s a fascinating look at the historical side of color. I’m having fun reading and sharing the stories with people.

Have a great day everyone!

Friday Finale

Friday Finale

Hi everyone.  This week I cast on the wrist warmers and started to knit them.  I love the simplicity of the DROPS Design Extra 0-903 neck warmer and wrist warmer pattern.  The only challenging part are the short rows on the neck warmer.  I keep forgetting to wrap them as I do them!

As for the Fleece Artist Fundy National Park Chinook yarn? Let me just say, it is gorgeous to knit with!  Doesn’t catch on the needles.  Smooth and soft.  Nice and thick for warmth.  Also discontinued at this point in time…unfortunately.  However, Fleece Artist is renowned for its excellent yarns.  Check them out at FleeceArtist.com

I am knitting these using the needles recommended – 4.5 mm 16″ circulars for the neck warmer, 4.5 mm double pointed needles for the wrist warmers.  The hat, which was knit from the free Ravelry pattern, His and Hers Beanie, by Krityum, used 4.0 mm 16″ circulars on the ribbing, and 4.5 mm 16″ circular on the rest of the hat.

My current reading is “Conran on Color” by Terrance Conran.  I’ve had this book out of the library before. It’s an easy read for me.  I love the color inspiration it provides.

This week was busy with medical appointments and gym.  Things appear to be going okay.  Still have a ways to go to stabilize things here, but it’s happening.  Progress is slow, but noticeable.

I hope everyone had a good week and will have a great weekend!  Take care and talk to you next week.  Thanks for reading.

 

Weekly Review – Inspiration and Progress

Weekly Review – Inspiration and Progress

Hi everyone!  I’ve been busy this week.  It is the annual Cathedral Village Arts Festival.  Hubby and I have enjoyed some of the performances and plan to go to more.  So far this week we’ve seen the Mandolin Orchestra, a jazz band, a ladies choral group (Sisters of Mercy), and a Baroque ensemble.  This is the first time in five years I have not been a vendor in the Saturday Street Fair.  That’s okay.  It was a great time  in the past, and I will enjoy it again tomorrow as a spectator.

I’ve also been working on tote bags and wall hangings from Dad’s old L.L. Bean shirts.  The tote bags took a lot more fabric than I thought they would, but they are sturdy little 15″ square bags, complete with two pockets inside.

I am still figuring out the moose wall hangings.  I’m trying not to buy any fabric for this project.  I need to bind 40 linear feet of edge in something…I’m thinking I’ll need 2 meters of dark navy or black fabric.  I’ll be going through my stash I’ve already packed to see if I have anything suitable.

I thought I’d tell you about and show you a great little bilingual coloring book on Alberta, Canada.  It is by Doris Charest, an artist operating out of St. Albert, Alberta.  The coloring pages in this 8″ x 11″ book are moderately detailed, and include cityscapes as well as natural landscapes and wild animals…even insects!  If you’re Albertan, or making a trip to Alberta soon, this would be a handy little book to pass away some pleasant hours coloring.  It could be colored by children over ten, I’d say, up to adults.  It could also be used as a tool by teachers to teach their students about Alberta.   The coloring book is available on Amazon.ca for under $12 CAD + shipping.  Ms. Charest’s main art website is www.dorischarest.ca   She also offers online art classes.

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Changes happen. All my rug hooking is packed. I am not ruling out unpacking it, seeing as we have postponed the move for a year.  But in the meantime I am finishing up some projects I started last year.  This baby cardigan is one of them.  It still needs buttons, but that can wait. I gave away all my buttons.  I started this cardigan last fall to match a hat and baby mitts.   I made so many mistakes I did not finish it.  Finally I decided to plow on through and add the band. It is done, short of the buttons.

Knitting is not my forte, or strong suit.  But I do like home knit products, especially those from hand spun yarn.  My next knitting project is a winter hat for myself from yarn I’ve spun

It’s been an interesting week   Aside from making the decision to postpone the move, I have been busy organizing trips to visit sick relatives and coordinating visits with and around my siblings.  I am waiting for spring to come and roads to clear up to make a few road trips.  Right now we are waiting for a severe winter storm to pass through Regina this weekend.

I’ve also been dealing with my own health issues  No worries  Just keeping on top of things can take time sometimes.

I finished watching “Art 21”.  Most of it was interesting. I think it depends on your taste in art.  It was primarily about installation art and performance art, neither of which really excites me.  But I have learned a new appreciation as to what goes into those works of art.

I am currently watching the DVD “Understanding Art: the Baroque and Rococo.  I’m on the Baroque.  The narrator is entertaining, even if I don’t appreciate his taste or viewpoint all of the time.  Most of the time he is very good and, really, the worst is I am left with lots of questions and wishing he didn’t have to move so fast through the material.  I wish I could snag him and take him on a trip to Europe with me!  His insight into what I would be seeing would add a whole new dimension to the trip!  As for the Baroque period.  As far as I can tell, it started out good, but degenerated into a sad state.  I’m glad something came along to replace it!

 

 

Fun and Games!

Fun and Games!

We had a great week this week.  From celebrating Lunar New Year last Friday to playing games with friends.  We also have been getting outdoors more, which makes a huge difference in our dispositions.  We’ve had some snowfall cover the icy sidewalks and streets so we can walk on them again, albeit carefully!

I’ve been updating my bullet journal and coming up with more efficient ways to use the paper.  I don’t like wasting paper. I’m in the process of preparing for March.

Creatively, I’ve been doing more colouring in my adult colouring book. I’ve also finished reading Deanne Fitzpatrick’s latest book, “Rug Hooking”, which was excellent, as usual.  And I found the art section of the DVDs in our branch of the library!

Today I watched “Art is a Mirror” – a look at an exhibit originally created and curated by Canadian artist Jeremie Giles.  It is about Canadian artists – who they were/are, and what they contributed to Canada. Most of the 72 paintings were purchased by a couple of teachers who show the paintings on occasion, particularly in school settings.  The DVD was produced in 2007, so things may have changed.  It is a great way to study Canadian history through the eyes of Canadian artists.

The other DVDs I am checking out this week are: Simon Schama’s “Power of Art – Picasso” (episode 7), “Understanding Art – Baroque & Rococo”, and “Art 21 – season 7”. “Art 21” covers a wide range of artists from the USA to Sweden, Germany, and Mexico. Should be fun!  If I can’t hook right now, I can read and immerse myself in art regardless!

 

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