Monday Meanderings

Monday Meanderings

I have to start this post out with a correction. Apparently the driving force behind International Nature Journaling Week is Bethan Burton – a nature journalist from Australia. The week was made possible by numerous volunteers. Today is the last day of Zoom classes.  It was such a wonderful experience it motivated me to sign up for Wild Wonder.  Wild Wonder is a nature journaling conference that runs between June 23rd and 27th. It will be twelve hour days for me, so I will, in all probability, not be posting to my blog until it’s over.

I am planning an artist retreat for a few days in July, and another for September – both by the ocean.  When the Atlantic Bubble opens up again, I hope to spend some time in Prince Edward Island and maybe New Brunswick as well.

I finished hooking “Gyeongju”!  I have one circle I want to fiddle with a bit, but otherwise it’s ready for pressing and blocking. I am waiting for lockdown to lift one step further before heading into a lumber store for the piece of trim needed to hang it.  Next up is finishing the embellishments on “Time”.  I have a bit of embroidery to do and that should be it.

I received an email about In The Studio’s Workshop Week 3 this past week. I am only taking one class this time.  I took too many last time.  They were all good, but I just found it overwhelming. I really only have time for one class. Workshop Week 3 happens the end of October.  You can access more information on karendmiller.com .

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

 

Weekly Review – Gyeongju

Weekly Review – Gyeongju

Good morning everyone!  It’s been an interesting week here. Nova Scotia is officially in lockdown again…for the next four weeks. Covid is getting out of control.  We are canceling gatherings and staying home. It could be a good opportunity to get more hooking done!

Speaking of hooking…I’ve recently had some people ask me about my rug “Gyeongju”  (the South Korean roof tile end caps rug). I think it may need some explanation for those not versed in Asian architecture or Korean history.

South Korea is a beautiful country that has been decimated by wars during the 20th century.  Since the Korean War, which ended in the early 1950s, South Koreans have worked very hard to rebuild their land and heal their people. At one point all the trees were stripped off parts of the land so it was easy to see the enemy advance. That is why the forests in parts of South Korea look young…they were replanted after the Korean War.

During the early part of the 20th century South Korea was taken over by Imperial Japan. The Japanese tried to systematically destroy Korean culture.  One way this was done was by destroying the palaces in Seoul.  Since the 1990s there has been a focused and systematic approach by South Koreans to rebuild sites of cultural significance, including the palaces in Seoul.  How many palaces are we talking about?  There were five!

After years of helping South Korean immigrants and International students adjust to Canadian life, we had the opportunity of a lifetime to visit South Korea.  In 2017 we packed our bags and headed overseas with a previous boarder from Busan area in southeast South Korea.

Busan is a city of beaches that stretches along the coastline of the East Sea (if you’re Korean), or the Japan Sea (if you’re Japanese).  While in Busan we went to Dongbaek Island Park and saw the conference centre built for APEC 2005.  There was this magnificent carpet on the floor of the round central chamber where the heads of state met.  The colours of that carpet became the border in my rug “Gyeongju”.

We spent a couple of days there before travelling north and a bit west to Gyeongju.  Gyeongju is the historical capital of the old kingdom of Silla  Let me backtrack…

Long before the World Wars…in the 7th century…there were three kingdoms in what is now modern day Korea (North and South).  By the end of the 7th century one of them, Silla, was dominant over the others.  Gyeongju, as the capital, was home to more palaces which housed kings, and queens.  There are many royal burial mounds there, an observatory, and renovation of a famous garden has begun.

In Gyeongju there is a large park with five buildings that form one of many sites of the National Museum of Korea.  We were able to make it through two buildings in half a day.  One housed samples of the old roof tile end caps.

They were a designer’s delight!  All different designs in varying conditions and quality, the patterns on them piqued my interest.  Did they mean anything?  What were they?  How were they actually used?  Lots of questions, but few answers.

Enter our trip to Seoul!  After visiting Gyeongju we took the high speed train to Seoul.  There we visited three of the reconstructed palaces.  Here is a reconstructed South Korean palace roof.

The end caps were at the end of the roof tiles to prevent rain from sucking back up the underside of the roof tiles onto the wall of the building.

As you can tell from looking at my rug, “Gyeongju “, and the above photo,  I was also taken with the palace colour scheme.  Here is the throne room of the main palace.

So “Gyeongju” is really a memory rug of a wonderful trip to a beautiful country halfway around the world. I call it a rug, but I’ve been informed by Hubby that it will hang on the living room wall above our fireplace. The pressure is on people!  I want to get it right if I’m going to see it every day!   😂

Well if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Good afternoon everyone!  I worked hard this week and finally finished off the Sketchbook Revival 2021 lessons I wanted to do. This week there were classes in printmaking, mark making to loosen up, character design, costume design, collage, watercolour and nature journaling. I was enamoured with the nature journaling and think I’ll do more of that.

To that end I ordered two books: John Muir Law’s “Nature Drawing and Journaling” and Clare Leslie’s and Charles Roth’s “Keeping a Nature Journal”. Our library had multiple holds on both books, so I decided to buy them.

Here’s a slide show of finished work from the second half of Sketchbook Revival 2021.

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In other news…

I hooked quite a bit on the border of “Gyeongju” (the South Korean roof tile end caps rug).  Still have a lot more to go.

Hubby and I also took a day off and went with a friend for a drive out on Digby Neck here in Nova Scotia.  We meandered around, taking the scenic route on the way there.   My imagination wasn’t captured until we got out of the car at the wharf in Delaps Cove.  I was mesmerized by the age of the wharf, how battered it was, the rusty spikes and bolts holding it together, the huge granite boulders that made up the breakwater, and, of course, the fish shacks.  I took a lot of photos and endured quite a bit of teasing for doing so!

But that was just the beginning for me.  I requested we stop at the wharf in Parker’s Cove on the way back.  Once again I took lots of photos.  Our friend, from a fishing family, was having a good chuckle at me taking pictures of rope.  But you know, I’ll say here what I said to her – every good original design starts with a good photo.  I will probably get one or two pieces out of all those photos…and that’s okay.

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

 

Finishing Up

Finishing Up

Good evening everyone!  I’ve spent some time working on my pieces from the earlier Workshop Weeks and finishing them up.  I just have the embroidery and beading to do on “Time” now, before finishing it.

The abstract pieces – “Ocean Sunset” and “Poison” are finished, complete with hanging sleeves.


Autumn” needs a good steam pressing and, possibly, some fixing on one edge in the hemming.  Then a hanging sleeve attached.

I also finished the Fraktur chair pad, but feel it’s too small for a chair pad.  It will probably end up on one of my living room tables.

Next it’s onto the South Korean roof tile end caps rug, which I think I will simply call “Gyeongju”.  Gyeongju is the city with the museum where I saw all the ancient designs tile designs.  South Korea was originally an amalgamation of three separate kingdoms.  Gyeongju, historically called Seorabeol, was capital of one of them – the Silla kingdom (57-935 AD).  You can read all about it by googling it.  It’s a fascinating city, nicknamed “The Museum Without Walls” .  It is a National Park filled with reconstructed sites and buildings from the old kingdom.  There are burial mounds of kings and queens, and archeological digs abound.  Plus there is a five building museum.  It’s just fascinating.  We were there one day.  There is no way we had enough time to do it justice.

I have a series of wall hangings I’d like to do on South Korea.  We’ll see if I get to them.  I want to finish some poetry wall hangings first.

Other than that it’s been a busy few days.  I’m trying to at least watch the videos for Sketchbook Revival, which technically ended March 31st. The videos are available until April 16th.  I’m rushing to fit them in, but I doubt I’ll have time to do the projects.

I’m looking forward to spring and summer.  I’m already planning my artist retreats for the year.  IKEA says they’ll email when the kitchen cabinet frames come in.  I’m hoping to work my retreats around the kitchen renovation.

Well that’s it from here.  I hope everyone has a great week!  If you have been, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

It Starts Today!

It Starts Today!

Are you ready? Or more accurately, am I ready?  Today marks the first class in the In My Studio Workshop Week for me. I’m excited to be in Karen Miller’s Travel class. I have several sketches from my South Korea trip to work with, and several photos otherwise. I’m looking forward to learning her process for taking an idea to pattern to finished piece.

I finally finished the centre of the South Korean wall hanging! Now I’m onto the border.  Last Thursday I dyed some fibre with a friend. Last evening I finished off the dye job. Hopefully these colours will work with the rest of the wall hanging.

I also checked in with the local spinning group via Zoom and spent time at my wheel spinning some gorgeous alpaca. This will not be going into a hooked piece. It will be used for knitting. It is spinning up very fine. Just right for some lace knitting.

I hope this finds everyone well and safe, and looking forward to the week. If you have been, thanks for reading. ❤️

 

Artist Retreat #3

Artist Retreat #3

I have been incredibly blessed this summer. I just finished my third artist retreat for the summer. We went back to Scots Bay, Nova Scotia for the weekend.

This time I focused on plein air hooking. I took all my miscellaneous leftover “worms” – strips of wool and silk fabric, pieces of yarn and nylon stockings – and tried to hook the scene of Scots Bay from the window of the cottage.

Why indoors? It was far too hot and sunny for me to be outdoors. I could have moved to the deck and been one foot from where I was, but why? I would have loved to go down on the beach to paint and hook, but the sun and heat prevented that. I think I need to take my artist retreats earlier than July and later than August, when the weather is cooler.

But I’m not complaining! These three retreats have been great for jump starting my creativity and getting things done! My camera has been mega busy, followed by my paintbrushes and my rug hook. Plus I have managed some reading and work on my business plan. I also have had great quality time with Hubby. I’m hoping to have a couple of retreats a year from here on.

Prairie Sky – Sunset
Frenchy’s!

Frenchy’s!

I was on a wonderful trip to New Brunswick this past weekend. Partly to see family and partly to deliver all my scrapbooking cabinets and supplies. While there I had the opportunity to visit the gardens at the Irving Plantation in Bouctouche. I took a lot of photographs and did some sketching.

While in New Brunswick I also stopped at the Art Shack store in Moncton. It’s a friendly little store with knowledgeable staff. I picked up a couple of watercolour pads for my next retreat. I’m hoping to go to the cottage again before fall – this time for photography, sketching, painting, and hooking.

Frenchy’s!!! Need I say more? All the local rug hookers know Frenchy’s means fun! We stopped in Shediac and I went into a Frenchy’s thrift store for the first time in about ten years the other day. To be fair I lived about 1500 miles from the nearest Frenchy’s up until six months ago. I spent half an hour in the store and came out with two silk blouses, a wool skirt, a long wool vest, and lots and lots of pantyhose. Total cost was under $45 CAD.

What am I going to do with this haul? I am going to wash it, deconstruct it, and dye the nylons in preparation for rug hooking. Then I will cut it into swatches and strips to use some and sell some. It all sounds like a fun time to me!

That’s it for today folks. I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Making time…

Making time…

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”!

Retreat Time!

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.

It was very productive.

More Culling and An Offer We Can’t Refuse!

More Culling and An Offer We Can’t Refuse!

It’s amazing how much we collect, both in our personal and business lives. Nothing has shown me that more clearly than this move. I have STUFF! As fast as Charlie puts together IKEA storage units I fill them.

I made a decision. I’m selling all my scrapbooking supplies and going digital and online. I’ve been toying with the idea for a couple of years now. I don’t do much scrapbooking, but when I do I like to attend weekend scrapbook meetings and accomplish something in one fell swoop. I notice hauling around the supplies is getting to be an issue for me. That would be alleviated by going online and doing everything in the comfort of my own home.

I’ve made photo books online before and have had moderate success. I discovered an online business, forever.com, at one of the scrapbook meetings I attended. I’m giving them a try. I’ve seen some of their finished photo books and they’re great! They seem to be using good paper and good ink. Owners of the books claim the books are as good now as when they bought them years ago. I’m ready to try and find out.

I’ve also discovered I have a lot more rug hooking supplies than I thought I had. I’m sorting them out now and preparing to list some for sale online. I’m using my Facebook page – JLT Studios – and the newly formed Rug Hooking Buy n Sell Canada Facebook page. I will also use the local Kijiji and VarageSale.

Charlie and I took a break from working on the house last weekend and headed up beyond Canning, Nova Scotia. It is beautiful country up there. We stopped at Grand Pre National Historic Park on the way. We walked through the woods to the old Acadian church. I really enjoyed all the wild flowers on the way. There is also a great planting of coleus just before the statue of Evangeline of Longfellow fame. The colours were magnificent! I sense another rug coming on…

A friend has offered us the use of her cottage this summer, whenever we want it. We could both use it. I’m thinking of taking an artist retreat out there for about five days. Charlie has been trying to write a book on his laptop. There are trails in the area we could hike. It was very kind of our friend to offer the cottage, and we hope to take some advantage of it.

My Work Basket

My Work Basket

Today I decided to go through my work basket beside my comfy chair and see what was there that I could work on. I found a lot more than I bargained for! Some of these unfinished projects date back a decade or more ago!!! I’m going to try and work my way through them.

Not much happening these days. We enjoyed the weekend at Wascana Lake watching the Canadian National Championship Dragon Boat Races. We had friends racing in one of the boats.

TeamKorea – Canadian National Dragon Boat Races

I’m still attending a cardiac gym three times a week, which wears me out. However I badly need it.

A few weekends ago we drove up to Last Mountain Lake Wildlife Refuge and watched the various birds and waterfowl. The pelicans, black terns, and red-winged blackbirds were out in force!

We noticed a lot of building construction at the headquarters site. Looks like a new observation tower is going up, as well as a new information kiosk.

Pelicans at Last Mountain Lake Wildlife Refuge.

Two weekends ago we went out to Moose Jaw, SK to walk some of the trails in Wakamow Park, down by the river. Afterwards we stopped in at Grant Hall Hotel Lounge for appetizers, drinks, and dessert. We had a lovely time!

We’ve been enjoying our summer by going to places we’ve never been the entire time we’ve lived in Saskatchewan, or places we’d like to say good-bye to. We’ve been here 24 years now. It’s the longest we’ve ever lived anywhere. Now our children have moved east we have no family here. We are moving closer to family.

If you’ve been reading and made it this far, thank-you. Take care and have a great week!

Motoring On

Motoring On

Hi everyone!  I’m back from our little trip.  The trip was a great time to engage other artists about their work.  I was able to attend the Okotoks, Alberta spinning drop in and take my knitting.  It was interesting talking to the ladies and I was able to wind my next ball of yarn there.

I was also able to visit a fantastic fibre artist – Deb Loosely – while in the area, and had a tour of her huge studio!  Deb quilts, spins, knits, and weaves.  Oh, and she sews as well.  Found a wonderful costume book on her bookshelves that I haven’t seen in years!

By the time we made our way to Edmonton, I was in need of another fibre fix.  I met up with an excellent intuitive painter.  She is just on the cusp of deciding whether to go professional or not.  I encouraged it as her work is very good.  When she is ready, and gives the go ahead, I will post some more about her and her work here.

While away I took some time to knit.  I finished the neck warmer to go with the hat I knit.  Next up are the wrist warmers.  They are knit from Fleece Artist’s Canada’s 150th National Parks yarn, in the Sable Island, NS colourway.  The pattern is a free one from DROPS.  I found it through Ravelry.

I’ve also been spinning a bit.  A friend had some very fine stranded yarn given to her.  It’s actually six fine strands laying together to form one strand.  However, because it’s not plied it will probably split easily when knit.  So I plied one ball and we processed it.  It’s hanging to dry.  Once it’s dry I’ll wind it into a ball and we’ll pass it off to our expert knitters to compare with the original yarn, to see which is easier to knit.  If they like the plied ball better, I’ll ply the rest of them. There are a lot of balls.

In-between all that Hubby and I have been packing stuff, selling stuff, and designating stuff for charity.  It’s a time consuming process. But we are managing to whittle things down slowly. We want to be done the process by the end of the month, when the painters come to move most of our stuff into storage before painting the interior of the house.

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi all!  We’re back from Alberta.  We stopped in at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer to see Alberta artist Doris Charest’s exhibit.  It was lovely work!  While visiting Ms. Charest later I found out she has published an adult coloring book on a nature theme.  I looked at some of the coloring pages and commented she needed to find a rug hooking pattern maker to turn some into patterns.  For anyone interested, her website is dorischarest .

We spent time visiting family and friends for most of the week.  Not much artsy going on.  I did finish knitting my Garter Stitch Scarf from Shannon Okey’s book “Spin to Knit”.

I also purchased some of the Canada 150th Birthday National Park yarn by Fleece Artist from Unwind Wools in Okotoks.  Thanks ladies!

Now I’m home it’s time to catch up and decide what project to work on next.

Banff, Alberta 2018

Banff, Alberta 2018

We really enjoyed our time in Banff this past weekend.  We took time to check out the local cuisine, go for walks, check out the Luxton Buffalo Nation Museum, and we even checked out the nearby town of Canmore.

Moving on to Red Deer and Edmonton.  Saw a gorgeous art exhibit in Red Deer by Doris Charest.  It’s upstairs in the Sunworks Home and Garden store, in the Harris Warke Gallery.  There’s a cafe right there for a snack before or after viewing her artwork.

Made it to Edmonton tonight.  Just chilling out and having a good time.

 

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Weekly Review – Just Traveling On

We made the trip to Calgary area one day later than planned.  There was a snowstorm in Calgary Monday and we decided to avoid it.  Or so we thought.  We headed out on the road Tuesday and found the snowstorm between Moose Jaw and Swift Current.  But it was okay.  Only an hour long drive at 80 kph behind a semi-truck before we drove out of it.  Otherwise our trip over was smooth sailing.  Stopped at the Swift Current and Medicine Hat malls to do some shopping and to stretch our legs.  Arrived in Calgary area by suppertime.  Our hosts fed us a wonderful supper and we chatted the evening away, while knitting.

Hubby and I have been busy visiting IKEA in Calgary, checking out their furniture.  When we move we want to leave most of our furniture behind.  We’re checking out what we might replace it with and how much it will cost us.  In case you’re wondering, it works out to about $1500-2000 per room to furnish an entire room. We decided to keep our old Billy bookcases because they are 1.5″ deeper and more stable than the new ones.

We also visited Okotoks and stopped in at the Heartland Cafe for tea and dessert.  I had the best Carrot Cake with Pecans there.  And huge slices!  After snack I headed to Unwind Wool, while Hubby headed to the bike shop.  I found some of the 150th Birthday yarn from Fleece Artist there and purchased enough to make quite a few hats and neck warmers.  I have plans to gift these ones.

Since being here I have finished another homespun hat and started a homespun garter stitch scarf.  Hope to finish it by the time I go home.

I hope everyone has had a good week and will continue to have a great weekend!  Take care and God bless.

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone!  Finished my slouch tam hat from the free pattern, Three Way Chunky Hat, on Ravelry.  Had to take off the ribbed edging and reknit it on needles two sizes smaller.  It worked!  Fits like a charm now.  Though one lady did comment the hat was too big for me.

Not much happening here…well…not rug hooking related, unless you count ‘liking’ various rugs on Facebook and Instagram!  I’m loving what I’m seeing from other rug hookers these days.  Lots of variety, and excellent quality work.

I’ve been focused on knitting.  I started the blue Corriedale/BFL (Blue-Faced Leicester) wool hat from handspun yarn.  It is a pattern from Ann Budd’s book “A Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns”, modified of course. I’ve knit the pattern once before for someone, slightly different yet again.  This will take a while to knit as it’s on 4 mm circular needles.  However, it will be a nice, warm, comfy hat.

Aside from that we’ve been busy with friends.  Last night I was out with a friend to a movie called “I Can Only Imagine”.  It was a stunning movie of forgiveness.  A great theme song too.

We’ve had friends in several times for meals and games.  I thoroughly enjoy those times too.

I took a friend out to an art gallery opening reception.  The art was gorgeous.  The people were a bit of a disappointment.  No one greeted us or talked to us the entire time.  Really weird.  Usually gallery staff are right there to answer questions.

We had a gentleman come look at the house, but I suspect no sale yet.  No problem.  We actually were going to hold off putting the house up for sale till next year, due to extenuating circumstances in the extended family.  The only way this man made it through the door to look is because he knew someone who knew Hubby, and well, one thing led to another.  Right now there is far too much work to be done on the house to make it desirable to a buyer.  It’s in a great location, but it definitely is a fixer-upper!  Solid house, just we haven’t been able to keep on top of things over the years, what with everything else going on in our lives.

I’m off to visit relatives the next couple of weeks.  I’ll try to post, but can’t make any promises.  My iPad Mini and iPhone don’t like the Word Press app for posting to blogs.  Frustrating.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep posting to my Facebook page – JLT Studios though.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

Sick Day!

Sick Day!

I’ve been busy catching up from our trip a week or so ago.  I’ve been reviewing my photos from the South Korea trip and have plans to sketch a wall hanging using roof tile end caps at the inspiration.

However, I managed to pick up a weird cold that is on again off again, or has been for over a week now.  BUT I have also been busy restocking our freezer and pantry for the remainder of the year.  Lots of baking and cooking happening.  Our boarder is happy.  Or at least will be until I present him with some vegetarian dishes.  They are now added to our rotation in the interests of me losing some weight and improving my overall health.

While in British Columbia, I stopped by Granville Island in Vancouver.  Had a great time chatting with shop proprietors and purchased some lovely silk yarn and ribbon, and some wonderful wool yarn.  I’ve already sold one of the skeins of silk ribbon.  I look forward to trying the others out before putting them up for sale.

Silk yarn and ribbon.

Here’s to feeling better and hope to soon be able to do something around here!  Have a good week!  Talk to you later.

 

Home Again!

Home Again!

We had a great time on our trip to B.C.  A beautiful drive down the Fraser Canyon led us to a very busy lower mainland. Spent time visiting with family and checked out 10th Ave. Found the lovely Figaro’s for a real cup of tea and dessert.

Saturday we headed out to Granville Island. We checked out the Market. I had great fun poking around, and picked up yarn for hooking at SanJo Silk and the Fibre Art Studio.  Also checked out Maiwa and Paper-Ya.  Picked up a quality notebook for next year’s household bullet journal.

Sunday we went on a very informative walking tour of Chinatown.  It was a free tour, which meant you tipped for it.  The lady who gave the tour was excellent.  She talked and walked us for 1 1/2 – 2 hours!  We finished at a Chinese pharmacy that had dried geckos in it, to treat asthma and back problems.  I’m curious how they’d use it…

We had a late lunch, and then walked back to my sister-in-law’s condo.  Checked out some design features in the cityscape on the way.

Monday we checked out the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum and the Britannia Museum. It was a day of lots of walking.  We had a beautiful walk down by the shore in Steveston.

Tuesday we headed to Vancouver Island to visit friends.

Brentwood Bay, B.C.

We spent Wednesday in Sidney shopping thrift stores and bookstores for anything rug hooking related.  I found a book on Celtic knotwork and calligraphy I plan to make use of.  I found a rug hooking book for my friend who is learning to hook now.

Thursday we headed up Island to Chemainus in the rain to visit Val Galvin of Renditions in Rugs in her home studio.  We took the Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay ferry.  Quaint and small, but got the job done.  A fun ride, even in the rain!

View from ferry heading to Mill Bay from Brentwood Bay, BC.

Val is very friendly and helpful.  I was able to purchase some pencil hooks from her, so if you’re looking, keep an eye on my page or contact me to have a look and a try.  Thanks Val!

Jean Ottosen and Val Galvin

Friday we took the ferry back to Vancouver to be with family.

Ferry to Vancouver (Tsawwassen), B.C.

My sister-in-law and I had a great time checking out Michelle Sirois-Silver’s studio on her Open Studio Saturday.  It was nice to see her again and chat.  I loved seeing her work with zippers in it!  While there I took a quick photo of the books on the counter.  I’m always on the lookout for a good book!  I’m curious to know which of these Michelle found most helpful.  Guess I’ll have to interlibrary loan them and check them out. 🙂

My sister-in-law and I checked out the Artisan Market in the West Vancouver Community Centre.  I dropped a fair bit of change on homemade jams and jellies, chocolates, etc. It was deadly on the pocketbook because everyone was using Square, meaning they all took credit cards!

We also attended the Vancouver Institute’s lecture Saturday evening on the global arms trade.  It was very interesting.  Mr. Andrew Feinstein from South Africa (well now from London) spoke.  I had no idea how widespread it was and how bad it was.

Sunday we were at the Vancouver Art Guild Show and Sale.  Lots of good work there, but the artists who stuck out for me were Beatrice Watson and Robert Kitt.  Margaret Stott had some whimsical work that was excellent as well.

Monday and Tuesday we spent the days driving home.

Evening in the Rockies.

Dawn in the Rockies.

It’s a long haul from Vancouver to Regina!  But Hubby was eager and I was glad to arrive before another snow storm.  Yes, Regina was covered in a blanket of beautiful white snow when we arrived, and more followed.  Hubby has been out shoveling and I’ve been busy with laundry and making a grocery list. And so life goes on!  A wonderful trip and a great big thank-you to everyone who made it possible!

 

On The Road Again

On The Road Again

Hi everyone!  I’m back on the road again!  Hubby and I are heading to the west coast to Vancouver and Vancouver Island.  I’m hoping to check in with Val Galvin in Chemainus for a fibre fix.  Possibly I’ll be able to check in with a rug hooking retreat at Yellow Point on the Island too.  We’ll see about our timeline.  We are visiting friends for the most part.

In Vancouver I hope to check in with a fibre gallery I discovered. Hopefully we’ll get to Granville Island to check out the Craft Council of BC’s gallery and a few other galleries there.  I would like to check Michelle Sirois-Silver’s studio out on Nov. 4th as well.  Once again, family comes first.

We’ve spent the last week in Edmonton reconnecting with family and friends.  Had a good visit with an artist friend from long ago.  I brought my sketchbook and laptop so I could sketch some rug designs from our South Korea trip.  I managed about four drawings so far.  These are going to be much larger wall hangings than I’m used to doing.

I’ve also been knitting on the Baby Cardi from “60 Quick Baby Knits”.  I’m almost done the second sleeve.

I also took part in the Facebook Black & White Photography Challenge.  I didn’t do as well as I’d wished to, but considering my distractions, I did well.

I’m off to enjoy a breakfast here at the hotel.  Hoping to make Vancouver by nightfall.  Take care everyone and have a great weekend!

 

Back Home Again!

Had a great time in Winnipeg.  My niece beat her personal best times in swimming in all her races.  So proud of her!

While in Winnipeg we saw the Picasso exhibit in the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the more traditional art exhibit.  Also saw The Manitoba Museum and The Museum of Human Rights.  Stopped in at the Assiniboine Park and down at The Forks.  There was free entertainment every night at The Forks.  We made it down a couple of nights.  Checked into several really good restaurants in town – Kiwa Korean Cuisine and Tuxedo Village Family Restaurant (Greek food) stand out at the moment.

Came home and Monday we had a gas insert installed in our fireplace.  Tuesday we had window cleaners here to clean all the windows in the house.  Today we had a painter come finish the paint job on the house.

Yesterday I went with a friend to a nearby beach town to drop something off and have dinner out.  Today Hubby and I went to Assiniboia to see the Shurniak Art Gallery, have lunch, and check out the library.  We drove home through Ogema and stopped for ice-cream.  Cute little town.

Now I have no excuses.  I have to figure out my website situation.  I can’t post photos and I can’t renew any of the plugins on it.  I will talk with my website developer this week about it.  Apparently my theme is no longer being supported by WooCommerce. 🙁

Have a great week everyone!

Week in Review

I’ve been having difficulties with my website this past week and weekend.  Please bear with me till we figure out what is going on.  Until then there will be no photos on the blog.

I have, however, managed to finish knitting my Painted Desert Shawl.  I need to weave in ends and block it.  Then it will be ready for a photo.

I have also worked a bit on “Escapees”.  Not as much as I’d like, but quite a bit none-the-less.

Plus we’ve had painters come and paint the exterior of the house.  They will have to come back and do some touch ups in a couple of weeks, but basically it’s done.

Next week there will be no blog posts.  I’ll be off in Winnipeg watching my niece swim in the Canada Games.  It will be a fun family time.  I hope everyone has a great week! 🙂

In My Studio

I had a delightful day trip last week to Dilke, SK.  Found this gorgeous fieldstone church there.  One of the town residents opened the door for us to peek inside.  I believe it was called St. Lucy’s Anglican when it was being used.  It hasn’t been used in over two years.

This past weekend was interesting.  We were creative in finding places with air conditioning to hide out in.  Our house doesn’t have a/c.  One of the places we ended up was the MacKenzie Art Gallery.  I really loved viewing the Alex Janvier exhibit.  It was awesome, informative, and sad at the same time.  I wished Mr. Janvier was there to talk to though.  The placards describing the work didn’t go near far enough!

After seeing Janvier’s exhibit we did a quick walkthrough of the rest of the Gallery, then headed to the Gallery shop.  Hubby waited outside while I went in to look around.  About 15 minutes later I went to leave.  To my surprise there was no one else there!  No staff, no customers.  AND the grated doors were closed and locked up!  With a sign saying the staff member would be back in half an hour!  Oh my!  Locked in a museum shop!  Not exactly my worst nightmare. Ha!  Actually, it would have been nice, if the staff had been there to answer some questions.

I caught the attention of a woman trying to get into the shop.  We were laughing at our predicaments – me trying to get out and her trying to get in.  I caught the attention of the security guards who by then had figured out something was going on that was abnormal.  One of them came through a side door, through a workroom, and into the shop to escort me out.

Hubby decided I needed to be treated to dessert out to help me deal with the “trauma”. LOL!  We headed to a lovely Regina restaurant called La Kasbah de Maroc for dessert crepes.  They have a lovely Toasted Coconut, Banana Crepe, with Caramel Sauce.

It will be a mixed bag kind of week. We are having work done on the house.  It may cause some disruptions.  That, plus selling items online.

  • I will be working more on “Escapees”.
  • I also have some Certificates of Authenticity to print and fill out.
  • Plus I want to prepare a couple wall hangings for sale with new hang tags.

I’m wanting to design some wall hangings, but it’s too hot to do anything here.  We do not have air conditioning.  The outside air temperature hit 36 C yesterday.  Thankfully we live in a big old house that takes a long time to heat up.  Especially if doors, windows, and curtains are left closed.  Unfortunately that makes it too dark for hooking.  But even with our fans running, it’s hot!!!

 

Home Again!

Dancing Sheep – CASA art gallery – “Ganglamb Style”

For those of you following me on social media, you know I’ve been busy buying supplies, touring art facilities, and visiting art galleries.  I’ve also been researching artist retreats and residencies.  Unfortunately my iPad and iPhone would not let me post to my blog.  That will have to be remedied somehow.  Not sure how.  That’s the quick recap, now for the details.

We headed to Edmonton to check in with family and relax.  My stepmother is a prolific knitter and I spent a good hour or so one day going through part of her book collection, taking photos of ones that might interest me.  I’ll check them out at the library first.

Elk Island National Park – beaver lodge

While visiting Edmonton we went to Elk Island National Park for an inspirational (?) outing.  We went on a walk by Astotin Lake with tons of mosquitoes and frogs!  I think I managed to take some good beaver lodge photos.  Plus later we were able to catch a bison photo or two in the bison paddock.  Three cheers for Parks Canada and their free pass for Canada’s 150th birthday!

After a few days in Edmonton we headed south on the old highway – Hwy. 2A – through Wetaskiwin, Ponoka, to Lacombe.  Hubby and I like to find local places to eat – places with homemade meals and unusual items on the menu.  On the way to Edmonton it was Lionel’s Place in Vegreville, where we had the Ukrainian platter, with perogies, cabbage rolls, and kobassa.  It was delicious!  It also came with a tossed salad with olives and pickled beets! And how could we turn down home baked lemon meringue pie and a cup of tea?  So when we were closing in on Lacombe I pulled out my cell phone, did a trusty Google search, and turned up the Morrison House Cafe.  It is a lovely older home where the main floor was turned into a cafe and the upstairs is where the owners live.  It was very busy and I was glad I called ahead to reserve a table.  We had a wonderful meal there.  However, because it was so busy it was an hour before we were on the road again.

Legacy Studio – wool, linen, “Primary Fusion” kit, bent handled scissors, and ProChem sample cards.

That made us a bit late for meeting up with Laura Johnson at her home studio – Legacy Studio – in Cochrane, Alberta.  But Laura is very kind and accommodating.  We arrived an hour after we thought we would and I spent another hour in her studio shopping and purchasing supplies for this coming year.  I am now supplied with wool and linen.  Laura also solved my problem with cleaning my drum carder.  I purchased her flick carder out from under her.  It works like a charm Laura!  I was also able to pick up two rug hooking books – “Scrappy Hooked Rugs” and Deanne Fitzpatrick’s new book,”Rug Hooking with Deanne Fitzpatrick” – and a “Primary Fusion” kit on how to use ProChem dyes.

We raced from Laura’s studio to relatives in Okotoks via Bragg Creek.  Originally we were going to stop in Bragg Creek, but we just didn’t have time.  We were already an hour late arriving at Okotoks.  We are glad we arrived when we did, because not long after our niece arrived with a birthday cake for her mom.  I had no idea it was my sister-in-law’s birthday!  To say we were unprepared is putting it mildly.  I went out with my sister-in-law in the evening and was glad to see her friends, where we went, celebrated her birthday too.

Unwind Wool – yarn and book

While in Okotoks I had the pleasure of visiting the new knitting shop downtown, Unwind Wool.  It just opened in February and is quite small, but packs quite a bit into a small space!  I walked out with a lot of yarn, and a new knitting book.

“Prairie Sky – Altocumulus 13”

My sister-in-law also took me to a spin-in at a friend’s place.  I took some rug hooking with me and finished a “Prairie Sky – Altocumulus” wall hanging there.  I was fascinated by what I was seeing at Robin’s house.  Robin had a weaving studio too.  We wandered upstairs to see her Canada 150 project – a large blanket she had spun and dyed warp for that was on the floor loom awaiting her weft.  It was the most beautiful warp I’ve ever seen!  Every colour of the rainbow!  And I didn’t get a picture of it.  Sigh…too caught up in her studio and how she did things.  I quizzed her up about her dyeing methods. I noticed a sketchbook being used to record weaving patterns and asked about that as well.  I need to use my sketchbook more.

Which brings me to our next stop – Michaels.  There was a Buy One Get 50% Off the second deal on large sketchbooks.  I bought.  I now have two large sketchbooks to work in this year.

Later that day Hubby and I headed off to Lethbridge.  It was quite funny because it turned out my sister-in-law was heading to Lethbridge the day after with a group of weavers.  They were going to have lunch, visit the Lethbridge weavers, and tour CASA – the art center there.  My sister-in-law wanted to know if I wanted to join them for lunch and the tour.  You bet I did!  So we had a wonderful time of it.  The weavers took us up to their studio in CASA and we spent time looking at warp and chatting with them.

CASA – Weaving studio

One of the ladies had just come back from a residency in Iceland.  That got me thinking.  It never occurred to me there would be residencies for fibre artists.  I chatted her up a bit and noted the link for where she found the residency.  I spent considerable time later in the evening and during our visit researching art residencies.  There really is nothing out there for rug hookers.  The more I thought about it, the more problematic it became.  In discussing it with other relatives we were visiting the question came up “What is your goal for the retreat/residency?” and “Why not design your own?”.  Both very good points.  I sat down and designed one on the spot.  I think I will be giving the idea a dry run at home though.  I may have some quiet time in July for it.  We’ll see.

After spending time at CASA in the weaving studio a young man showed up to give us a tour of the facility.  We asked a lot of questions I’m afraid, and he ran over his allotted time, but it was fascinating!  An artist can become a member for $200 per year, and rent a cupboard space that is about 3′ x 8′ with a locked door for another $200 per year.  That gives you access to a shared studio space for 24/7.  I could go for that.  Just over $1/day for studio space!  What a deal!

CASA – 3D studio

CASA – Pottery classroom. They have a gas fired kiln too.

 

My sister-in-law and I parted at CASA and I met up with Hubby at the public library.  We didn’t spend time looking around however.  Instead we headed right out to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens.  We had a relaxing time walking the gardens and taking photos.  I have lots to work with for awhile.

In the morning, before I went to lunch with the weavers and to CASA, my husband’s cousin took me to the CCWG (Canadian Wool Growers) shop.  I picked up some roving to spin.  Then we went to Knitting Time, the local yarn shop, and I picked up yarn to hook and knit.  Then it was off to Marshall’s – the local fabric store – to check it out and pick up a few sundry items.

Lopi destined for wall hangings or rugs.

A word about Knitting Time…I was fascinated by this small shop.  The proprietor not only carries yarn for knitting, but also fibre for crocheting, thread for tatting, rayon thread for Brazilian embroidery, cross-stitch supplies, felting supplies, and spinning supplies.  Plus she has pattern books too.  For a small shop she packs a lot in there!

The next day found us at SAAG (the Southern Alberta Art Gallery) checking out exhibits we did not understand.  I wish I could have talked to one artist in particular.  I liked her exhibit.  I think I understand what it’s about, but when my very logical and practical Hubby started asking questions, I was at a loss for words.

We also went to the University of Lethbridge to check out their gallery, only to find it closed.  But they did have the hallway exhibit – “Habits and Habitats” – up for viewing.  That was good.

Habits and Habitats

On Monday, yesterday, we headed home.  We stopped in Medicine Hat and Swift Current.  Tried to get into the art gallery in Swift Current, only to find it closed and them taking down the exhibit we wanted to see.  Oh well.  They did have a few pieces of the artist’s work in a display case in the library in the same building as the art gallery.  So we ended up checking out the library.

I found a book, “Where Women Create” by Jo Packham, which I took out and read on the way home.  There are a few good ideas in the book that I will implement.  I was reading the description of some of the studio spaces to Hubby.  He was floored to think some people have more space than I do. lol.  I must admit, my crafting takes up two rooms in the house – one for rug hooking, and one for everything else.  I keep trying to get it in order, but it seems as fast as I empty a space, it fills with something else.

We had supper in Moose Jaw at the Mitsu Cafe.  There is a sushi bar in the back of the cafe, and you can order dessert from the cafe out front.  We shared a Caramel Apple Crepe.  It was huge!  And delicious!

Mitsu Cafe – Caramel Apple Crepe

 

Dye Day

 

I knuckled down yesterday and dyed some fibre for “Escapees”.  I needed a variety of lighter greens.  My stash is mostly blue greens at this point, and I have a lot of them.  Might need to colour plan a wall hanging to use some of those up.  I also need oranges and grays for “Escapees”, but I have the grays from a long time ago, and the oranges were dyed earlier this year.

My website has been up and down this past week.  There seems to be irregularities with it.  I have my web developer working on it.

I’m thinking of sorting through my leftover worms and offering some for sale in the near future.  I’ve been thinking of doing a scrappy rug for some time, but now “Escapees” has come up and it will probably be a while before I start something else.  I seem to produce leftover worms at an amazing rate!

I’ve finished designing the photo book for our South Korea trip.  Hubby and I are “letting it sit” for a few days before we send it in to be printed.  He may have extra photos and text to add.  I’ve been impressed enough with the program from this company that I’ve decided to create a mini portfolio through them.  It would be more like a look book – just a taste of my work.  It’s much smaller than the large book we’re doing for our trip.  The trip book is 12″ x 12″ and 145 pages long.  The portfolio book will be 5″x7″ and 100 pages long…or thereabouts.  Not entirely sure yet.  First we’ll see if the trip book turns out okay.

In big news:  I will be off August 7th – 12th to watch my niece swim in the Canada Games.  This is a great achievement for her and we are extremely proud of her.

Below are some of the results of Dye Day in more detail.  I’m loving the casserole dye jobs.   The photos are showing more white than there really is on the fabric.  That’s wool on the left and silk on the right.