Busy

Things went quickly yesterday.  The kitchen is mostly out, the walls are coming down.  We found out we have insulation in our exterior walls, but no vapor barrier!  Could explain why we are a little cooler in the winter.  The contractor suggested adding vapor barrier obviously.  We still do not know why the hot water pipe freezes in winter.  So that will be explored tomorrow.

The contractor had some good ideas on saving money.  We talked over the job again and he suggested we do a lot of the shopping for the electrician, to save the electrician’s time.  He isn’t coming cheap.  He’s $100/hour!  Yikes!  I should have sent my kids into the trades!  However, to be truthful, this is an old house with a lot of oddities.  As the contractor

Hubby’s off work

Means not much hooking getting done!  I did manage a few loops on Lost Soul, but that’s it.

Instead we have been shopping for flooring, going to the gym, tutoring, and trying to sort out a plumbing emergency in the boarder’s bathroom.  It resulted in shopping for a new vanity and tap set, which were sorely needed.  It also resulted in me scrubbing walls that had mold on them with bleach water.  And determining there are two fewer light bulbs in the bathroom vanity than there should be.  Sigh.

And then we discovered the Shop Vac wasn’t working…due to a ripped bag.  Which meant a major cleanup there.  And we discovered the boarder is not using the vacuum we allotted for her, but the Shop Vac instead.  Must get the other vacuum out of her room and find out what’s wrong with it.  Seems things were just piling up in her area of the house and hubby wasn’t exactly listening to her when she mentioned the problems.  She finally came to me and good thing!  There is a steady stream of water “dripping” from the taps…like the tap is half on…not a drip, a stream!  Calling the plumber today.

Other things on today’s agenda?  Well, hubby is still off work.  I have a student to tutor this morning.  We have to connect with the contractor about flooring.  He’s suggested linoleum a couple of times, but we have a few questions we’d like to ask.  We have to go shopping for those vanity light bulbs and some Shop Vac bags.

If I have time after all that I plan to pull a few more loops on Lost Soul.

Followed by a Busy Day!

I was up late yesterday morning…just in time to swallow down breakfast and put the dye pot on before my ESL student arrived for tutoring.  While he was here the boarder came up for breakfast.  She had a day off from work. While she was sitting at the table the man from the flooring company came to measure our hardwood floors and assess them for refinishing.  It was an interesting half hour or so. 🙂

Basically our kitchen and entry floors cannot be saved.  We probably should not lay tile because we would need a plywood subfloor, which would raise everything to high above the surrounding hardwood, resulting in a situation where people could trip. Means linoleum.

My ESL student did not do well yesterday.  He is learning to write paragraphs and essays. We will see what he accomplishes over the weekend.

My dye job came out lighter than I thought it would, but it’s nice.  I may keep it.  I will compare it to my other dye jobs and see if it is too similar or if I have too much light blue before proceeding.

I cleaned in the afternoon.  Also made a couple GF Rhubarb Custard Pies for company that arrived last evening before supper.  And I ended up talking on the phone with a cousin in Australia whom I have not heard from for ages!  We are “friends” on Facebook, but I have not seen her since I was thirteen!!!  It sure was nice to hear from her again.  We chatted for over an hour!

Left me scrambling for supper for company.  I ended up ordering a pizza meal for four and baking my own GF pizza.  Had to walk to the store for some ingredients in a nice summer shower.

Company arrived and we visited.  They wanted to see my work.  It took a while to show them what I was doing.  They were very supportive and excited.  We went for a walk after eating.  We were all feeling very bloated.  I think it will be a green smoothie breakfast for me today! 

 

 

Busy Day Today

Hubby is off work today, so I will be busy.  It is the way it works here.  We have a kitchen renovation coming up and we need to do some shopping.  We also need to do more weeding.  And I have a dental appointment.  That will be a full day for me.  I will need a good nap after all that.

I also need to fit in some sketching today at least.

Hope everyone has a great Monday! 🙂

Running Late Today

Sorry for the late post today folks.  No photos.  I have been running this morning.  A potential customer contacted me via email and I have been busy figuring out the cheapest way to ship something to her.  Canada Post upped it’s shipping rates to unreal highs!

I also made a run to the Farmer’s Market.  Ostensibly just for Swiss Chard.  But, as per usual, came back with a few extra bags of fresh fruit, fresh bread, flax seed, wild rice, cherry juice, and a treat for hubby.  🙂

Stopped by the butcher’s on the way home for meat and poultry.  Was very surprised by the cost of things.  Chicken is expensive here, especially the anti-biotic, hormone free variety.

As for hooking and spinning.  I am afraid they are on the back burner today and tomorrow.  I seriously need to get some weeding done in the yard.

Life gets in the way

WIP-Lost-SoulSometimes life just gets in the way.  Today I am juggling my schedule to fit in all the people I need to see post vacation.  

I did manage to hook some more on the border of Lost Soul yesterday.  Today I am going to work on the large Prairie Sky scene.  I want to finish the canola fields.  I would also like to finish spinning some art yarn.

I also have the gym to go to. 

Other plans for this week? 

  • another gym day,
  • finishing the processing of some canola field art yarn, and
  • finishing spinning the second bobbin of canola field art yarn.

 

Home Again!

WIP-The-Crossing-Barn

Back home and back in the saddle folks.  While away on our wonderful vacation to Grasslands National Park in beautiful Southern Saskatchewan I had the opportunity to do some plein air hooking. It is the scene out the window of our suite at The Crossing.

The Crossing is a lovely spot right on the border of GNP, not far from the town of Val Marie.  It boasts a campground with tipis, a freestanding upper 2 bedroom unit, and two upper single units attached to the end of the house. The house itself was originally an old schoolhouse from the area.

We stayed in one of the single units attached to the house.  It was a kitchenette and let me tell you, this kitchen came with everything!  It was the best stocked kitchenette I have ever stayed in. 

The appointments in the suite are modern Scandinavian in style and very well done.  There is TV and WiFi for the addicted.  And an alarm clock and fan.  We did not need the battery operated fan.  But I’m keeping it because it might come in handy.

The owners of The Crossing are a delight.  Ken and Johanna Jensen went out of their way to make us feel comfortable quickly and to make our stay as pleasant and productive as possible.  They loaned us guide books, a topographical map, and bug jackets so we could do some hiking.

We did some of the simpler hikes – Eagle Butte Trail, Two Trees Trail, the eco-tour and the trails on it.  But truth be told, I was being a bit cautious because my heart rate was going wild any time I found a hill to climb…and there were lots there.  Still, we took it slow and I had fun examining the plant and bird life in the area. I figure I fit in about 15-20 km. of hiking throughout the week…easily.

In-between the hiking hubby did some writing while I did some sketching.  We read books and played cards.  We visited Val Marie numerous times to support the economy. 😉

Val Marie is a small town of about 100 people.  Very congenial and helpful.  No doubt wondering why we were in town .every.single.day.  Heads up for any visitors – the Museum sells yummy goodies and coffee made fresh every day! The Museum also has a gift shop and art gallery attached.  I finally decided to buy a painting done by a local artist who used to work with hubby. We met her serving tables at the local cafe.

We also visited the Grasslands Art Gallery…twice.  It is chockful of beautiful artwork made by Saskatchewan artists or artists who have lived in Saskatchewan at one point in time.  Laureen Marchand is the proprietress and she is very knowledgeable about art in the region, and in Saskatchewan in general.

On Saturday we went into town to see what was happening.  Only to find most everyone else had gone to a rodeo in Wood Mountain or off to Swift Current.  So we chatted up the ladies working at the Park Info. Centre and the Museum.  Great people!  Great town!  

Come Sunday our trip was just too short, but we had to come home.  We’ll be keeping this jewel of a Park in mind for a future visit as well!

Happy CANADA DAY!!!

Happy Canada Day everyone!  I’m off to celebrate by weeding my yard on the first day of sunshine in weeks!  I feel a bit like a bait for mosquitoes, but I am sallying forth to the battle of the weeds!

Weekend Catchup

Today is a day to get things done around the house and shop for the kitchen.  Hubby is home and I will be busy doing laundry and gardening this morning.  I am taking a lunch over to a friend who is unable to provide for herself due to surgery.  Then will be out shopping this afternoon for a dishwasher and range hood.

The boarder just informed me she will be out for supper tonight, so hubby and I will have a nice dinner alone.  I think I will prepare his favourite meal – scallops.

But for now…onto the laundry…

A little work, A little fun

Hooked some on Lost Soul yesterday morning.  Then did some weeding while waiting to be picked up for the gym.  Then out to lunch and off to the legislature for a tour.

Home for a rest and then pizza for supper.  I had my gluten free version and ordered a regular one for everyone else.

Last evening was grocery shopping.  Boy! Have grocery prices ever gone up here!

Today we plan to check out the Farmer’s Market and the Butcher Shop before taking my niece sightseeing.

Have a great day everyone! 🙂

Company Again!

My niece blew into town for five days.  I am going to be a little sparse on here for a while.

I did not do any rug hooking or spinning yesterday.  But I did have fun (?!) with a kitchen designer for 2 hours in the morning.  Plus I made some Turkey Stock with the help of my niece.  Plus I took two walks.  Not great exercise, but better than none.  Both of them were functional walks to stores.

Confirmed at one store that the demonstrations at the Queen City Ex are off for the year.  Apparently the Ex staff has closed out the Home Crafts section.  I think that’s a big mistake.  All the other big city exhibitions have an arts/home crafts section.  While I am sad to see that part of the Ex close, it does free up my summer.  Which is good as we are doing the kitchen renovation.

 

Hmmm…I forgot

Tomato-SauceI had a prayer partner come yesterday afternoon.  Forgot all about that.  Oh well.  I did get some hooking done on Lost Soul.  Not much, but some.

I did manage to make 4 pints of Tomato Sauce, 1 1/2 gallons of chicken stock, and 6 750 ml and 3 500 ml containers of kidney beans.  My prayer partner also brought some fresh baby dill with her.  I tried drying it in the microwave but only succeeded in starting a fire in there.  I decided it was better to freeze the dill.

I am starting to post my Prairie Sky series on Etsy!  I will post one rugette every day this week to see what kind of response there is.  If I see no change in views, etc. then I will post some different rugs next week.

An Interesting Weekend

blog-straw-rhub-jamMy free day Saturday turned into something quite different than I had planned.  My freezer seriously needs defrosting.  And there is food in there that has been there a long time. So I embarked on a canning day instead.  That necessitated a trip to the grocery store, where I found great deals!

I ended up making Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Strawberry Raspberry Jam, and Crabapple Sauce.  I strained the juice for Red Currant Grape Jelly, but did not have enough juice to finish the job.  Put it back in the freezer until grapes go on sale or a friend gives me more red currants.

I did finish reading Free at 45 by Timothy Stobbs.  I did some fancy calculations he leads you through in the book, and then showed them to hubby in the evening.  We were both too tired to really pay attention though.  I double checked, and corrected, them on Sunday.

I ended up showing the boarder how to make her own yogurt Saturday evening.  It turned out great!  She is happy.  So am I.  It’s much cheaper than storebought yogurt.

I found some old kale in the freezer, cooked it up, and put it in some mini crustless quiches for snacks or lunches.  Still contemplating all the tomatoes and grated zucchini in the freezer.

As for rug hooking on the weekend?…nada…nothing.  I managed to lock myself out of my car at church yesterday and spent a frustrating hour or so getting a ride home for the extra set of keys and then back to the church, and then home again. I was tired and rested for 2 hours…okay, I fell asleep.

Today is going to be busy again.  I have gym in the morning, a noon hour dental appointment that will stretch into the afternoon, and company arriving for supper and the night.  However…in the interests of eventually achieving something this week, here is my goals list. 🙂

  • border on Lost Soul,
  • list a rug on Etsy every day this week,
  • check Goldfish to see if I have all the colours I need to hook it

 

Wacky Wednesday

No hooking yesterday or today.  Yesterday we spent shopping and planting the patio garden.  I did find my clothes for a reasonable price.

Today we are celebrating a friend’s convocation from grad school , and I am off to the gym again.

 

Well that was a bust!

I could not find all the fiber needed to spin the canola art yarn.  Plus I found my spinning wheel bobbins filled and partially filled with a nice beige silk/alpaca.  blog-silk-alpaca

Great for knitting, but not so great for rug hooking.  So I decided to work on it to finish it yesterday.  I did not quite finish, but I came close.  It will definitely be done this week.  And I will be ready to go with the canola art yarn, because after I came home I remembered where I put the rest of the fiber for it! 🙂

Pulled a few loops on Mud Fight…a very few.

Had my six week evaluation at the gym.  No change.  I was disappointed.  I was hoping for a bit of weight loss or strength gain.  However, on the up side, I have not been packing on weight like I was before.  And I do feel a lot stronger.  The staff and I adjusted my exercises for a harder workout for me.  I am a bit relieved…a lot actually.  Maybe I will see better results next time.

blog-canola-fiber

 

Sewing Sleeves & Salesmen

sleeves-and-liningsYesterday I made the hanging sleeves for the remaining rugettes and pressed the linings for the coasters.  Today’s job is to attach them to their respective hooked pieces.

We had an interesting experience last evening.  About a month ago a firm called to do a survey on air quality in the home.  It was a very brief phone call I took.  Yesterday they phoned to say we had won a prize and could they send a “representative” to give it to us.    Ahuh…well, I was in the middle of making myself a GF, DF, sugar free pizza, and the pizza delivery man came to the door with the pizza for hubby and the boarder, and well, I said “yes” to this woman and, foolish me, gave her my address.  Then she told me the “representative” was going to talk to us about their air purification system.  Ahuh…

A bright young man who sounded like he’d had one too many hits of caffeine arrived on our doorstep at 6:30 PM sharp… and proceeded to warm our couch till 8:15 PM.  I offered him coffee, thinking “this outta be fun!”  He had to work around my sale display and I took the opportunity to tell him about the Cathedral Village Arts Festival.  May as well fit in some advertising of my own! 🙂

To make a long story short, apparently he was selling not only an air filtration system, but also, guess what?  A vacuum cleaner!  Aw come on, you had to see it coming. lol  Of course all this could be had for about $3500 CAD…on sale.  It’s over $5000 CAD if you don’t buy on the first “preview” visit.

We had a great time just sitting on the living room furniture listening to him talk solid for an hour.  Hubby and I do not ever buy anything without doing our research ahead of time, and I kinda had on this.  I really like and want a Humidex system in the house.  I mentioned the Humidex to our good looking young salesman, but he had not heard of it.  It is about the same price as this system, but I suspect much better.  This system was not really turned on high enough long enough for me to see if it was much use.  It seemed quite noisy at the higher speeds.  I know people who have the Humidex, and it is great!

Anyway, the final straw came when he got me in the kitchen while he cleaned out the vacuum and basically called my hubby a liar for saying truthfully that we never buy anything without researching first.  It was a tense last few minutes, but he was ushered out of the house far more graciously than he deserved!  Hubby had to reiterate his stance three times before the kid finally left.

Our South Korean boarder sat patiently the whole way through this young man’s presentation partly in awe.  I asked her at one point if she could follow his English, he was talking so fast.  Surprisingly she said she could.  I think even she was surprised!  It was a good experience for her, and a reminder for me not to do phone surveys.

We rounded out the evening by watching the movie “Captain Phillips” .

 

Two down…

WIP-Spring-Diamonds Finished two spring rugettes yesterday.  Now I’m onto summer ones.  I am almost done the rugettes on my backing.  I have three to go and two coasters.  Might not make tomorrow as originally planned, but should be able to make Friday.  I will cut off what I have finished hooking tonight to prepare for finishing tomorrow.  If I hook the full day today I should be able to finish them though.

WIP-Spring-normal

Good Friday

It’s a cold and blustery rainy day.  I am taking the day off folks. 🙂  Had a good time chatting with my sister and at a church service.  Met some old friends and new.  I may go over to a friend’s today for a bit.  Maybe take in a movie this evening.  Hubby is sick and the boarder is not interested.  So will probably go by myself.

 

Maundy Thursday

WIP-PS-storm-4Today is the day Christians remember the arrest of Jesus.  It is a busy day for me.  I have an appointment in the morning, followed by a break in the afternoon (I hope), followed by a supper and evening service at the church.  In the afternoon I hope to hook more on Prairie Sky rugettes for the upcoming sale.  But we will see.

Yesterday I was to the gym, to Crafting, and to do some grocery shopping.  I had time to hem the two Poppy rugettes and the two Crabapple Spring rugettes.  I also put sleeves on them and prepared hanging sleeves for “Mixed Emotions” and “Dead of Winter”.  I prepared another strip of linen backing and drew ten more rugettes on it.  That should be all I have time for before the sale.  But we shall see.  I will do a mixture of Prairie Sky, Poppy, Spring, and Summer rugettes.  I am also going to hook a couple of poppy coasters to have something to donate to the volunteers at the sale.

worms

In My Studio

_MG_1006_0827I am preparing for a full week, in fact, a full month ahead as I create a body of work for the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair.  This week I am…

  1. hooking five rugettes,
  2. going to the gym twice, possibly three times,
  3. helping with ESL tutoring one evening at the church – if I’ve finished my rugette for the day,
  4. entertaining company one day (I’m double booked Tuesday all day),
  5. crafting one afternoon…not sure what I will take this week.
  6. And then there is Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, for both of which I will be singing in the choir.
  7. Possibly attending a prayer vigil at the church.

Not sure how much rug hooking I’ll fit in there, but it’s got to be a least a rugette a day.  I may be hooking into the night this week.

_MG_1020_0841

No Photo Day

I know, I should post one.  But I am sick and tired.  So it’s another day off for me.  Guess I won’t make my goal of getting the rugettes to the shops by today. 🙁

On the other hand I am almost done the spring rugettes.  I have one more to go.  They are looking good.  I will get back to them as soon as I’m better.

Sparking Creativity

perspective-2The ideas in this post are pilfered from a guest post by Steven James over on The Kill Zone in regards to fiction writing. Not only do his ideas pertain to writing, but also to rug hooking. I highly recommend reading the original post.

Mr. James postulates there are five ways to improve creativity in fiction writing:

  1. Explore L.I.F.E.,
  2. Get a different perspective,
  3. Let serendipity happen,
  4. Set boundaries, and
  5. Question direction.

These all could easily pertain to rug hooking.

1. By exploring L.I.F.E. Mr. James means explore Literature, Imagination, Folklore, and Experiences. I find when I am stuck for ideas for rug hooking that one of these four can pull me out of my block and onto a new path.

In place of literature for writers, we rug hookers often explore the work of other rug hookers. But literature opens up a whole new world. From published rug hooking books, to other inspiration books, or yes, even fiction books.

Our imagination is a great source of ideas for rug hooking. Exploring our innermost mind can bring forth some very artistic rugs. These can be abstract or traditionally hooked rugs. They are challenging because they include rugs based on ideas. Ideas can be difficult to portray.

A lot of hooked rug designs are produced around folklore. This theme seems well explored in rug hooking…maybe too much so. I think that is because it is a fun and whimsical approach to rug hooking with mass appeal.

Life experiences make wonderful rugs. Portraits of our favourite people, places, and things inspire us and we want to remember them in a beautiful rug.

2. Changing perspective can create fun rugs and intriguing ones. Viewing something under the microscope instead of at a distance, as in my “Bud” and “Fan Dance” rugs, can change the entire feel of a piece. Or changing a point of view from the ground looking up, instead of straight on or looking down on an object. Truncating an object you normally see whole. All these things can add interest and variety to a body of work.

3. Serendipity…going with the flow. One thing leads to another. I honestly did not mean to make that pine cone close-up look like a bunch of fan dancers, but the colours worked. And when I ran out of light purple, the dark purple just jumped out at me…and away I went with it. Good thing too. It works. Serendipity.

4. Setting boundaries, or the edges of your work, can help you stay focused and maintain your direction. Not setting boundaries can result in a creative block from being overwhelmed by possibilities. It is the answer to “why am I doing this?”

On a more practical level, effective use of the edges of the rug as part of the rug is important to the overall composition or look of the rug. Set your boundaries and edges carefully. Not only where you place them in the design, but also how you plan to finish them. What looks best on your design – a whipped edge? a braided one? a simple fold under? Consider where your rug will be placed. What is its purpose in life? Is it for the back door? In that case you may want a more pronounced edge to protect the hooking. But not so high people trip over it! Though some hookers do not even bother with whipped edges for floor rugs. The choice is yours. But consider the effects of edges or boundaries when designing your hooked rugs.

5. Question your direction if you are stuck. Is it time to get out of your rut and try something truly new? I am doing that with Deanne Fitzpatrick’s Beginning to Hook Abstract Rugs course. Abstracts are not something I thought I would ever get into really, but the more I study abstract artists and their writings, the more interested I become and the more I understand what they are doing. It can be a challenging field, despite what others might think.

If you want a real change in direction, shift to another area in the arts for a while. Maybe try painting, sculpture, pottery, embroidery, quilting, knitting, crochet…whatever floats your boat and inspires you. I switch to spinning, trying to create beautiful yarns for hooking and knitting. I try to design my own stitchwork as well. That helps me when I go back to my rugs. The difference is the rugs are on a bigger scale. I am still thinking about ways to marry the two. 🙂

By exploring Mr. James’ ideas on creativity a person could come up with a plethora of ideas for rug hooking or any other creative endeavour really. Just writing this I have ideas coming to mind I must record in my sketchbook. There is not enough time in a lifetime to carry through on all of them. But that won’t stop me from trying!

Happy hooking people!

perspective-1

Works in Progress

Well I managed to accomplish all my goals yesterday.  Some by a long shot.

I hooked a lot on Lost Soul.  I am going to do some serious colour planning for the books.  This is a bit of a mixed up colour scheme, and I may have to rip some out and redo it just to get them right.

WIP-Lost-SoulI did ply and process the blue silk/Tencel…and processed a few singles (unplied yarn).

BFL-merino-singles pastel-singles silk-TencelI watched two lectures in Fundamentals of Photography.  I took some goofy photos from different perspectives and angles to see if I could come up with anything interesting.

dragon-webAnd I even had time to help my friend. 🙂

Today’s focus is my student I tutor in ESL.  And more rug hooking in the afternoon.

Images of Christmas 2013

Chocolate!  What is Christmas without chocolate?!

chocolatesChristmas cookies! All gluten free courtesy of Ellen Brown’s Gluten-free Christmas Cookies cookbook. And homemade peanut butter cups.  Yum!cookiesThe Christmas puzzle.  We do one every year.  This is a hard one.  Lots of white pieces…

PuzzleAnd nuts…we love nuts.  There are nuts all over this house (and that’s not counting the live ones!).  Cashews, almonds, peanuts, and variations of said nuts.nuts

The Christmas game this year was Monopoly.  I bowed out early in the game.  We had a real estate tycoon who landed on Free Parking five times or more!  Forgive the state of this board.  It’s old…at least 25 years old.

MonopolyAnd the Christmas fire.

fire