Saturday, May 7, 2016

Teaching Season Begins.

This week marks the beginning of teaching season for me, with a two-day wide cut Teacher Training class at Niagara College.

My bags aren't quite packed, but I have been amassing piles in the basement as I think of things and as you can see, it takes as much to teach for two days as it does for twenty-two. This does not include my hockey bag of rugs, my clothes and toiletries and my hooking project to work on. Yikes!

In June, I have my "Zen and the Art of Doodling" week at Trent and this will be the first time that I will not stay in residence, since I live in Peterborough. My husband is very happy about that decision - I will reserve judgment till it is over. But I have just finished a couple more samples for the class and will try to squeeze in one more if I can.

In July, I will return to Belleville for Loyalist College Rug Week, where I am teaching a "borders" class. The more I look into the entire subject of borders, the more I realize that pretty much anything goes and I am looking forward to getting people to stretch a bit when considering the possibilities for borders for their projects.

August is a big milestone birthday for me and my husband is treating me to Newfoundland Rug Camp - as a student, not a teacher. I have wanted to go for years and decided there are 65 good reasons to make this the year!! I am travelling with a friend from Peterborough and we are taking Doris Norman's Celtic class.

And in September, I will spend a weekend with my JJ Ruggers friends at Apps Ridge for another "doodling" weekend.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Still not finished.

Winter that is.

Today we got up to light flurries which ended up blanketing the poor flowers that have been blooming for a whole week in the gardens. Man, were they surprised.

And speaking of not finished, today I am spending the day with four mats to get them finished. Three are for my upcoming Doodle class at Trent and the fourth one is a "first mat" by a friend who is smitten with hooking, despite the fact that it does not agree with her fibromyalgia.  

Here is a pic of the first zentangle-inspired mat I hooked in Barbados in 2015 (I know, I put off finishing forever...).  I know lots of people have mentioned the Clover quilt clips which I am using here. They are awesome for holding things together while you stitch.

This little mat was hooked with pantyhose and is being whipped in cotton. Not sure if it will become a pillow someday, but no rush, right?

Some people are much better at really "finishing" their mats once the hooking is done. Here is a picture of a wonderful mat hooked by a student at Loyalist last year. Thanks Jane for allowing me to share it here.

Love the background!! And love how she snuck a row of that bright green in around the top of the horse's head and his tail to pull them away from the border. Brilliant in oh so many ways. I am so looking forward to seeing many of these mats in person at the 50th OHCG Annual at Deerhurst this coming weekend.

Maybe by then winter will be REALLY finished and so will a couple of my mats. Fingers crossed.

Friday, April 8, 2016

I think Spring's spring is broken.

Since we have been home, there have been three storms that have resulted in accumulation. Yes, they mostly melt pretty quickly, but that is not the point. It should NOT be this cold in April. You know the saying "April showers...."

So despite best intentions, I have NOT been walking in the mornings. Too slippery out there and when you live on a street called Summit, you can be pretty sure that there are big hills involved. Maybe today I will bite the bullet and go and join the Wellness Centre nearby. Who knows when spring will actually show up?

In the meantime, I have been hooking away on my multi-colour moose. And am pretty pleased with what I came up with for background and a border suggestion.

I have quite a bit of hooking left to do on my class samples, so had best keep moving on this colourful character.

Right now there is a sale on a Fabricland and polar fleece is 40 -50% off. I think for projects like this, especially if you want a lot of black and white, it's the perfect alternative to wool. And as far as pillows and bath mats go, it feels amazing on your feet.

I heard from another student this week who turned her OHCG fall project into a bag. Another way to make good use of a smaller piece - and promote the art of rug hooking out there.  Thanks for letting me share your picture Debbie.  I am pretty sure you will get lots of questions and compliments.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Back to Reality

It is nearly impossible to believe that a week ago we left Holetown!! And what a re-entry it has been.

The departure and return trip were a lot bumpier - and longer - than ever before. We had been expecting a bit of a flight delay because of freezing rain in Toronto, but what we got instead was a 6+ hour delay, thanks to a protest/strike by the air traffic controllers at Grantley Adams that closed the airport till 6:00. At the end of the trip, we were at my sister's door at 4:05 a.m.!!

Friday we got to see our kids in TO and stayed overnight at Matt and Theo's new condo - very nice indeed. And the plan was that we would hurry back to Peterborough on Saturday to get ready for them to come for Easter Sunday. Drop the suitcase - run to Sobey's.

I also scrambled to take out my dead Christmas greens from the front door and replaced them with these. Such a bright and cheerful change, albeit a bit "artificial" at this point. But a nod to things to come.

Unfortunately, Easter Sunday morning unfolded with other plans, including a nail in the tire of the kids' car. So that was that - no place for repairs and no car rental places open, so no kids and no Jackson. We will have a follow-up Easter this weekend, when we take all their goodies to Toronto.

This first week back unfolded with a "find the mail" hunt with Canada Post - luckily resolved quickly on Tuesday morning. Normally missing mail is not an issue, but not at Income Tax time.

Yesterday, I finally succumbed to a horrid tooth ache and called our dentist in Toronto to see if they could squeeze me in. A marathon of dental visits - to virtually every specialist there is: endodontist to see if they could do a root canal (NOT) and finally a periodontist who did an extraction. This morning, I am feeling surprisingly pain free - in comparison to the tooth ache, this is a cake walk.

With all this done, I am now ready to officially kick off the 2016 Hooking Season. And I have lots to look forward to on my calendar.

April 11th is a punch needle workshop with the Peterborough Hookers. Teacher is Sandra Marshall. If you haven't visited her website, you should go and have a look. Here's a link.

April 29, 30 and May 1st if the 50th Anniversary of the OHCG Annual at Deerhurst. Lots of great people to catch up with. Lots of workshops and vendors. Always a good time. Here's a link to more information if you don't know about it.

Then the teaching gigs begin.
A two-day wide cut class in early May with the TTEC trainees in Niagara on the Lake.
A week at Trent in June teaching Zen and the Art of Doodling.
A four-day Borders Class at Loyalist in Belleville in July. (here's a link to see all the great stuff going on there.)

Lots of work to get ready for the last two as they are brand new to me.

So, I may have been sad to leave my favourite island after 10 weeks. But I am happy to be home again - now that the bumps are behind me.

Happy Spring everyone. When all is said and done, it's great to be home.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Only 2.5 days left!

Well, we came for 2.5 months and now we only have 2.5 days to go here in Holetown before winging our way home again.

It seems to be a regular pattern but about 10 days before you have to leave, your head starts filling with lists of all the things you "have to do" when you get home.  I guess that is one of the best parts of being here in this suspended reality for 10 weeks.

I don't call it a vacation - it is my "other place where I live"- like a far away cottage. There are still daily routines - meals to cook, laundry to do, grocery shopping etc. - just with a view, and climate, I much prefer during the snowy season. But usually, there is nothing that I "have to do" like there is at home. And that in itself is pretty incredible.

We did have another rainy day since I last posted and I got a bit more done on Joseph: The Technicolour Moose. He is looking quite colourful and I am nearly finished the doodles - and I do have a colour plan for the last little bits. Now to figure out background and perhaps border, which I have been sketching away at.

This doodle hooking really is a fun thing to do. Such freedom to hook whatever comes into your head. And I am sure that even this moose, in the hands and heads of 10 different hookers, would turn out completely different.

Can't wait to see what happens in the class at Trent. Once we have doodled and start hooking what we create. (Still no up to date website information there, so if you are interested in signing up, please send an email to Mary Jane Mustard 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Yikes, another month gone!

I have become a very lazy blogger while I am here in Holetown. And it's certainly not because of lack of internet - trust me, I am able to see everything and keep up with emails, Facebook and my "work" work. I guess the days just pass in a rhythm - kind of a Caribbean Groundhog Day - and I forget that I have things to share.

I am not one of those who can turn my back on everything when I am away - and the length of time we stay is more like being at a fabulous cottage for the summer than being on vacation. There are meals to prepare, laundry to wash - it's just a far more beautiful location for the BRRRRR months.

In the past week or so, I have received rugs to share from students in two different schools. The first came from a Loyalist Student who has adapted one of her husband's amazing paintings into an incredible hooked piece. When she does this, it is not exactly the same - the interpretation in fibre always adds that extra dimension. But how wonderful is this!!

If you are attending the OHCG Annual in Deerhurst in the spring, you can see the real mccoy, which is always so much nicer than a photo.

While here in Paradise, I had a visit to Huntes Gardens and saw flowers and foliage that was extraordinary beyond belief and this hooked piece makes me think of many that I saw both there and at the Annual Church Garden party, where the second picture is from.

This island gives me a whole new appreciation of flowers and flower arrangement - either man made or by Mother Nature. By the way, Barbados is a huge winner at the Chelsea Garden Show in England - which is kind of the botanical Olympics, correct?

Continuing on the floral theme, another student from this past fall's OHCG School forwarded me a lovely primitive sunflower mat that is going to become a chair pad. She professes to be the slowest hooker in the world - a statement I have heard countless times. And it begs the reminder that hooking is as much about the journey as the destination.

The more exotic plants may be the winners in the tropical department, but there is still nothing more beautiful in good old Ontario than a field of sunflowers against an azure sky.

Thanks to both of you for letting me share these.

One more plant-inspired tidbit to share. Since my head is already spinning with things for the upcoming Zen and the Art of Doodling class at Trent this year, I realized that practically everything I look at here is another inspiration for doodling.

Case in point, here is a picture of the foliage at my little back table here.

And here is a quick doodle that resulted from it.

Mother Nature not only makes amazing plants for us all to enjoy, she is the original "tangler".

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Rainy Day Doodles

Or should I say rainy DAYS!!  We arrived in Beautiful Barbados on Tuesday and to date have only had one sunny day. This time of year, there is always a bit of rain, and you don't leave home without an umbrella. But this year, the rain is so frequent, we haven't been leaving home.

So, what to do on a rainy day while your Kobo is being re-charged? Doodle.

In anticipation of my class at Trent this summer, I am doing a lot of doodling - both Zentangle - and not, to help create my teaching sheets for the class. I am learning as much from the doodling as I am from hooking the doodles.

If you are both a "zentangler" and a rug hooker, you have probably already figured out that some doodles are much more hooking-friendly than others. And there are quite a few other lessons to be learned as you move from the black and white fine marker sketches to the "fabric on backing" interpretations.

At any rate, a wonderful way to wile away this wet weather. (Unintentional alliteration alert!)
Here are some photos to show. Kudos to the Zentangle folk who are so generous with their doodles on   They were the starting point for many of my sketches.

And since the rain continued again today, I spent most of the day with my Doodle Moose.  I started her on one of the other rainy afternoons. This project was supposed to last for the entire stay. At this rate, I will need either a big change in the weather, or another project when this is done.

I am hooking this very colourful moose with polar fleece - much nicer in the warm weather than wool. And a bunch of very inexpensive print blankets yielded a wonderful palette for this project. I will probably run out of strips before I run out of pattern, but at least "she" will be complete. I will call her "Josephine, the Technicolour Moose".

Doodling and hooking this way is incredibly free-ing, because obviously, many of the regular rules apply. However, I am finding that there are lots of things to consider when embarking on this translation.

One more thing to share before I sign off on this post. I discovered a new App called COLORFY. It is a colouring book app for FREE. And it is lots of fun on my ipad. You can find out more about it at   Some really good stuff in the libraries.

And another great activity for rainy doodling.