Monday, July 30, 2012

Primitive Thoughts

Although I have been doing a lot of reading in these past hot weeks, I have been doing a little bit of hooking in the early morning before it gets too warm. I finished the Stand Up Paddleboard mat and forgot to share a snap.  (Technically, not quite finished - still have to press and do something with the edges, which I will do when it is not to hot to hold.)

I was invited to visit a group of fiber artists in Coldwater last Tuesday and wanted something small and lighter to bring, along with my knitting. I had to figure out what to start next and was drawn back to my series of stair risers. I had an amazing time and feel privileged to be included in their ranks.

The goose is the second in a series of stair risers.  I still have a fox, raccoon, bear, skunk, squirrel, turtle, rabbit and beaver left to do. I posted the moose picture before, but am sharing it again.

 Of course, I had to do the moose first.

The sense of whimsy in the designs of these stretched out critters makes me smile and also serves  as a reminder of how much I enjoy doing primitives.

I have decided to make them into small pillows instead of stair risers, for a couple of reasons.
I think a pillow is more useful. It can go on a bed, a chair, a sofa - wherever I want and I love the way they look sitting proudly on display. The stair risers were going to be for my studio stairs, which means only those who come into the "bat cave" actually get to see them. I think they need to be shared.

I have seen pillows this size in lots of decorating stores -  hand made, though I think they are punch needled in India and the price makes me believe that the creators (as usual) are getting very little for their labour. Once everyone has their mark up and duties, etc., they are selling for $50 ($39 in the US)

Speaking of primitives, one of the gals in the group on Tuesday was talking about a Magdalena workshop she is hosting next month. I am a HUGE fan and have been wanting to take a class on this for quite a while. If you are not familiar, Google Magdalena Rugs, or go and visit Rug Hooking Daily and see the group they have there. There are links to a few blogs and websites of the really devout followers of this style of rugs.

I was heartbroken to learn that the class was filled, but this weekend I found out that I am being squeezed into the group. YIPPEE! I am so excited.  The teacher is DeEtta Gilland from the US and she will be teaching us how to design in the Magdalena style. I promise to share more after the class.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Revolving Door of July Guests

Seems like everyone's favourite month for visiting is July!!! And who can blame them.

We have been having so much fun with a series of guests - pretty much back to back. A day off in between to do laundry and re-stock the fridge and then the next batch arrives. I will think back to these very fun weeks in November when I am feeling lonely. Trust me, nobody is lining up to come in the "ber" months.

Lots of SUP (Stand Up Paddle board) lessons - and virtually everyone had success. I think I could post some funny shots, but wouldn't want to do that. Everyone is a little wobbly their first few times.
But we are all of an age where trying something new is a very brave thing, and despite achy knees and hips, everyone managed to get up and stay up.

The weather and water temperature have been perfect for guests. In fact, there has been nary a drop of rain all month, which is a bit scary. I am worried that every time I dip my watering can into the lake, I see the level go down. I don't remember a summer like this in the 20 we have been on the lake.

Speaking of weather, how can people keep predicting thunderstorms - day after day - when the skies are virtually cloudless. Aren't clouds a prerequisite for storms? They are predicting the same thing for today, but now I am completely skeptical.

So, what I have been doing in the studio - not that much, except in the wee hours while the guests are still asleep. 

I did finish the little paddle board mat - will now figure out how to finish.

I have done occasional rows on the knitting project.

I read two amazing books: The Postmistress and Sarah's Key. Loved them both, especially the first one!!

I did discover an incredible artist, whose work I LOVE! Her name is Rea Kelly and I suggest you go visit her site with a cup of coffee.

I did visit a couple of markets and craft shows, including the Muskoka Arts and Crafts show this past weekend in Bracebridge. This year my hubby didn't join me, so I was able to go to the fashion and jewellery booths that he normally hurries past. Here are my treasures:

The little link ring above the silver one was made by my friend Lisa Ridout. She and I go wayyy back to my early copywriting days. She went back to school to study jewellery making many years ago and makes absolutely stunning things. This was her first outdoor show in 10 years. She is a regular at One of a Kind and has a few retailers who carry her lines.

Sorry for the bad shot (into the bathroom mirror). This is an up-cycled dress I got from a vendor who makes all their wares from recycled items. This is made of t-shirts and the thing about it is the design. I think there is some magic in there because although it looks incredibly body fitting, it hides a multitude of sins and is very figure flattering on nearly every figure. Plus it is unbelievably comfy - after all, it is old t-shirts!!

Although it's not easy to see in this picture, this is an incredible scarf that is made by a textile artist who uses a free arm quilting machine to marry all kinds of fibers. This has sari silk, roving and ribbon - in all my favourite colours and it is light enough to be worn all year.

There were many fabulous vendors, but by this point I had blown the budget. But I love getting things that are unique and not on every rack in every store.

Kudos to so many talented Canadian designers and artists for inspiring me to come home and create something.  We all need to get out there and support one another.

So today, I am off to the grocery store to replenish yet again. I think I will also go look for an on-line youtube video for rain dancing. I just checked and found this. Will try later. What did we ever do before Google?????

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Weekend Was Perfect

Except for the fact that our children couldn't be here, this past long weekend was amazing. The weather was absolutely stunning - no humidity, beautiful sun with lots of cooling breezes and the sound of laughter around the bay.

I decided to spend as much time outside as I could - treat it like a special weekend, not just three more days in our wonderful spot. And it worked!!

I was out on the SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) every morning for at least half an hour, greeting the day and taking advantage of the stillness before the wind rose. It's amazing how much tougher it is to paddle against the wind. Your body acts as a windbreaker, but the distance per paddle stroke definitely goes down and you have to work much harder to stay upright when the water is choppy.

It's incredible how many places have the boards now - a couple of years ago, we had a hard time finding any. I guess it is catching on and every marine supply place seems to be jumping on board - no pun intended.

Here's a very funny picture that I found online, since I didn't have one of my own to share.

That is a very brave kitty!
I kayaked and swam a few times, and the water temperature was around 23 degrees Celsius, so not too bad. Gone are the days of small kids who want to spend nearly the whole time in the water. Luckily, we have little ones next door and it's such fun to listen to them play. Between the swimming, the boat rides and the frogs, the squeals of delight were virtually non stop all weekend.

They invited us to their fireworks on Sunday night and in addition to the oohs and aaahs of their display, we experienced some kind of phenomenon which none of us could explain. A bright red dot appeared next to the full moon - we saw it arrive - and then it simply disappeared!! Someone else said they saw it too - so it wasn't just us. And it apparently made a second appearance later. Hmmmmmmm.

It was actually cool enough bring my knitting down to the lower deck and knit in the shade. I think by the time I finish my currrent sweater, it will have triple the "yarn miles" on it. Not only did I change my mind about the first pattern once I was well into it, I also decided to change my needle size in the second pattern, since my gauge was a bit off. So I have "frogged" a good 15" of progress in the past few weeks. Sure hope I like this latest one. It is called "turmeric" and I found it on Ravelry. Now the hunt for the perfect button!!

I topped off the weekend with a good book, which I devoured yesterday. It is called Half Broke Horses and it is written by Jeanette Walls who wrote The Glass Castle. If you haven't read both of these, run to the bookstore or put them on your Kindle. They are fantastic.

The only thing I didn't do much of over the weekend was hook. But I am really finished the SUP mat, and will probably get back to it in the early mornings this week.

Just a little bit more greenery at the top

So back to my normal days here in the land people escape to in the summer. I guess it's appropriate that we should take days off to, to remind ourselves why people love it so much.

Big Bird is Coming Along Nicely

First of all, welcome to another "theme" for my blog. The last one was just too hard to navigate - as an author or a visitor. This...