Friday, December 18, 2015

Bordering on Brilliant

That's the name of my class at Loyalist College next July. And it is inspired by the many incredibly brilliant borders I have seen on rugs done by friends, strangers and many talented people in the rug hooking community.

I received a pdf of the Rug Hooking School flyer from Loyalist college today. And this is the image that was used with the description of my class. I would love to say this was my creation, but it is NOT. And so far, I have been unable to locate the person whose it is, which is why there is not a credit with the image.

As I said at the top, I think this piece borders on brilliant!! It appears to break all the "rules" that one would normally follow when choosing a border, but in fact, it is the border that "makes" the piece unique and memorable. And is my favourite border reference piece - for many reasons.

If anyone knows who created this piece, would you kindly let me know - so that I can give the credit, and congratulations that are due.

In the meantime, I will use this piece as a teaching example and give credit as "artist unknown", which is what I should have done when I submitted it as an image with the class description.

As a person who truly respects copyright, I sincerely apologize for using an image without giving credit. I will continue to try to find the creator.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hook a Doodle Do!

In preparation for my upcoming 2016 class at Trent - Zen and the Art of Doodling - I have upped my game on not only "doodling", but hooking what I doodle. Certainly hooking and doodling are a match made in heaven and, since both are so relaxing, I should be in a full on state of bliss by the time my class comes around.

Here is my latest sample mat which, like all doodles, underwent a huge transformation when colour was added. In fact, seeing how the motifs translated, I know that I will be adjusting the background colour on the right side of the mat. It is too close to the colours in the motif and I need to find something else that bounces the colours a bit more - I will try to post the 'after'.

This mat was designed and hooked on the heels of my William Morris fox stocking project, one that required me to follow some rules and "colour inside the lines". So this was just a light and fun mat to hook.  And isn't that what doodling is all about - whether you follow the Zentangle discipline, or just go out there on your own?  I am pretty sure that this will be the tone of the class as well as the rest of the samples that I create in advance - fun, that is.

And getting back to my William Morris stocking for the favourite (only) grandson, I don't think I shared the finished version. Here it is - and I have to say that it is very, very large. What the heck do you put in a stocking of someone who is not yet two and doesn't yet understand the value of chocolate? Hmmmmmm......

Again, I salute Christine Little at Encompassing Designs for this great pattern. Have to remember to send her a copy of it hooked as well.

Here's to all the stockings that will be hung and stuffed in the next while. Hard to believe that we are just 9 days away.

Happy getting ready, everyone.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Another Loyalist Student Rug

This morning, while sipping coffee and knitting, I received an email from Greg with a second rug that he colour planned while in class at the Loyalist
 Summer Arts Program last summer.

It is hooked all in yarn and I think it is a lovely mat. It has a nice, simple colour plan. And the Eaton Edge which he added is the perfect finish for the oval shape.

My favourite part is the little buds that appear in the centre as well as the outside.
Nicely done Greg. And thanks for sharing.

I will be back at Loyalist next summer, teaching a class on Borders. New material for me, so I am having fun finding out what I want to include in that class.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Student Rug to Share

Just when I think I am becoming a horrible blogger because I take so long between posts, I get rescued by a student. And end up doing a second post right after the long-overdue one.

This is Judy's rug from the OHCG School in Ancaster. It was a free pattern in Rug Hooking Magazine - June/July/August 2014.  She got a good start on it over the weekend and sent me a picture of it finished. I love how much texture and movement are in the background. And I love the single line of red around the outside.

This rug serves as a nice reminder of how many wonderful free resources are out there. Each issue of RHM offers a free pattern, together with a materials list and instructions.  And when they turn out as well as this one, why not go for it.

Nice job Judy!

Monday, November 23, 2015

What does the fox say?

I have been having a lot of fun working away on the William Morris Fox stocking pattern that I got from Encompassing Designs.  It is going to be a "forever" stocking for my grandson Jackson who is not yet two.

There is a story behind the choice of the design, and it is all around the video "What does the fox say?" by Ylvis, which if you haven't seen yet, you should go and watch.  From the time Jackson was very tiny, whenever I saw him, I would sing the different sounds from the video, and he thought his Grandma was hilarious.  Even over the phone, I could evoke giggles galore by just singing the song.

So when deciding to hook him a stocking, I settled on this design. For now, it will still evoke the video and funny sounds, but when he is grown, it will just be a beautiful William Morris classic design that will hopefully be appropriate at any age.

There has been a lot of learning in this project. The thing I have always loved about William Morris designs is how they seem to glow. The dark background and the lightest value around the leaves is lovely, even when you use textured wool, which is what I chose to do.

When the body of the stocking was done and I had the top part left to do, I tried a number of different combinations for the backgrounds behind the crown. I had worried that the candy cane stripe might be too bold for the design, but I really want to line the stocking with candy cane stripe cotton. Turns out the proportion is ok and the red does appear in the flowers below the fox.

The first attempts at the colour behind the gold crowns were too bright and they didn't relate to anything else in the design, but I think I am happy with where I have netted out. I will look for some navy velveteen for the back of the stocking and possibly some cording/piping as well.

I will share a finished picture when all is said and done. He will never know how long his Grand spent on this crazy project, but hopefully he will always smile when he looks at it and remembers "What does the fox say."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

OH, OHCG school was great!

A week ago (already) I left to teach a wide cut open class in Ancaster at the Ontario Hooking Craft Guild School. It was my fourth time teaching there, but every time, I am reminded of what a beautiful spot it is. A quiet little retreat (literally) in the middle of Ancaster, which is a quaint little village. Beautiful heritage buildings and all kinds of interesting shops and restaurants. A fun destination, even without the hooking.

I got to see another side of the village when we went to see the Blue Jays game on the Friday night. A lovely restaurant/bar played host to the Jays 'faithful'. We hung in until the rain delay and then made our way back to the school, finding out their fate in the morning.

My class was filled with 14 women with different experiences and just-as-different subjects.. The chemistry in the room was wonderful and we had a fun-filled time together with lots of laughter, learning and a fair amount of shopping in the rug store down the hall.

The mat topics ranged from a few kinds of flowers to primitive houses, a snow scape, a fruit study with beautiful grapes that changed from purple to green, a photo-to-mat of an extraordinary sunset/sunrise (I can't tell them apart), an exploration in plaid, a wonderful interpretation of a tile, a couple of fall leaf mats, a large bunny mat, and a brave geometric journey on the diagonal.

Here are a couple of pics taken by one of the students on the weekend.

On the Sunday morning, all the classes gather in the gymnasium and show their progress over the weekend. We were such a large class that Pat took the picture from the balcony to fit us all in. 

This is me working with Betty on her giant tulip mat. You can see all her yummy colours in the foreground. And if you look over her left shoulder, you will see a somewhat unusual poster. No surprise that there is a lot of religious symbolism in the old convent school, but somehow the Wanted poster seems a little strange to me. 

I look forward to sharing some finished projects with you as students send them to me. I think that is always the sign of a great class is that people actually do finish what they worked on with you. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

TWAS (The Wearable Art Show) Here I come!

I just finished my first sewing project in my new studio. And I am very happy - even if I have not-so-great photos of the outcome. I will be wearing this to a reception tomorrow night in Toronto for The Wearable Art Show. (Tickets still available for the show on Saturday - two for one if you purchase online - link here.) You will find details re venue and artisans on the site too.

I had no clue what to wear to something like this. I only knew that it didn't exist in my closet, so I decided to make something a little different. Not that mingling with talented artisans will be intimidating.

Last post, I showed you the pattern and talked a bit about my odd choice of fabric.  Here's the pattern:
And here's a picture of the fabric remnants, so you get some context for the photo of the finished tunic. It is a windbreaker fabric with a definite shinier side that I used for the 'good' side. The net result is that it definitely has the body I was hoping for. In fact, it almost looks like leather (faux that is). But windbreaker weight.

So here is a picture of the front - yes, the hanger is the model for now. Will try to get some shots when I wear it.

And here is a picture of the back. You have to love it when you look as good 'going' as you do 'coming'.

Which gets me to the real reason for this post. I have written before about the fabulous Tilton Sisters in Oregon - Marcy and Katherine. They are both pattern designers and Marcy designs for Vogue while Katherine designs for Butterick. They are awesome and I think if I lived closer, they would be my friends!! They have a knack for designing exciting clothing for women of a certain age and I love just about everything they do. So do a lot of other women who sew much better than I do - you can see a few of their followers on their sites.

This pattern truly represents the experience of sewing one of their garments. A little daunting at the beginning, cutting out all 19 pieces, but the journey was worth it. This was like a great movie or an engrossing novel that you just don't want to ever end. Every step delivered a great result and the step-by-step pattern instructions finished with a garment that looks just like the one in the picture. 

Truth be told, you have to have time to spend with these patterns. This is NOT instant gratification - which is usually my favourite fare. This is "slow sewing". And so worth it! I have had the same satisfaction with all their other patterns I have made as well - have even made some of them more than once (a true testament to a great pattern).

Now that my tunic is done, I am even happier with my fabric choice, because I think on milder fall days, I will wear it as a outer layer vest with a long-sleeved tee under it. Though it could be worn without a tee under it and look very funky and evening-ish with some awesome earrings.

Tomorrow night I will wear it with cropped leggings and flats - more like the picture on the left. I may opt for a body tee underneath, just because. But I will go through my earrings or perhaps model some for one of the artisans. 

And I will feel like I am wearing a truly "wearable art" piece that I created myself. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Studio Drought is Over.

Not sure if it is the cooler temperatures, or just feeling a bit more settled, but October and I are very very busy. The studio is firing on all cylinders - hooking, knitting, sewing. And we are both feeling very good about it.

A new Marcy Tilton pattern is my current sewing project, with an unusual fabric choice. Here's the pattern. A fun and functional vest pattern that I figured I could wear with or without something under it. But when it came to choosing fabric, I wanted something a bit different and that's what I picked. A light weight fabric that almost feels like windbreaker fabric. My rationale is that it has the body to reflect the construction of the 19 pieces in the pattern. Yikes. We shall see.

On the needles: I just finished a minion hat and mittens set for Jackson's first Hallowe'en. I figured he is too young for a costume, so a hat and mitts that make him look like a minion but keep head and hands warm all winter is probably a good idea.

And on the rug hooking front, I am happy to report that there is a newly formed rug hooking group here in Peterborough that will meet once a month at "Activity Haven", a re-purposed public school that is filled with, as the name suggests, activity. Line dancing, tai chi, rug hooking. A busy place. And a great turnout for our first day yesterday.

In anticipation of going to that, I ordered the William Morris "fox" Christmas Stocking for Jackson and spent a bit of time colour planning on the weekend. I have been wanting to do a William Morris design for some time and this is my change - albeit with a few liberties taken, such as mostly textured wool. It is an excellent pattern, so a big shout out to Christine Little at Encompassing Designs. 

I will share a picture when I get a little further along.

But it sure feels great to be back "making" again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September the what?

Moving is a black hole. You disappear in there for months and when you emerge, your brain is not quite what it was when you began. I think that is because everything is different. Nothing is in the same place as it used to be and, at least in my case, my poor addled brain is trying to set up a new planogram for my life.

Most of the house is coming together and the hanging of our artwork certainly makes it feel like it is ours versus just us squatting in someone else's place. And our beloved painter, Ian, is done - at least until he comes back for the next project.

So, how goes the studio in this scenario? Slow and steady. Which is how it got to be September 16th.

I ordered three Kallax bookshelves from Ikea which were delivered to my door and assembled with a little help from my Ikea-loving son. Three 6' cases with 25 cubbies each!  Here is what they looked like empty:

And here is what has been put in there so far:

I know!!! Pretty amazing.  However, so far, there are no books, Rug Hooking Magazines or sewing fabric in here. And I suspect that there is still another big box of wool hiding in the garage. So there will not be any empty cubbies when I am done.

As to the actual hooking, I have pulled a few more loops - at a gathering in Campbellford on Monday afternoon, but all my spare time seems to be not-so-spare right now. That too will come.

I did receive a nice email from another Loyalist student who gave me permission to show her finished project. Thanks Pauline, it is beautiful. You must be very proud.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More Loyalist Bragging Rights.

I just love it when students share their finished projects!! It is rewarding to see that the momentum held and that they finished. Too often a class project gets put aside - I think I vie to lead that parade - so it takes dedication to go home and finish.

This little Van Gogh study was done by Susan in the class, who is relatively new rug hooker, but for whom I reserve the term "rabid". She is hungry to learn, to try, to experiment. And she arrived at class with two projects to work on.

This one is finished. I think it has lots of amazing movement, but still leaves the tree as hero. And the colours are wonderful. Post impressionism lends itself so well to rug hooking that the brush strokes create quite a plan for hooking. Susan is not the first person to take on Van Gogh, but I think her rendition is very pleasing and true to the artist.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Loops Pulled in Peterborough.

As the weeks tick by, little by little we are starting to feel like we aren't living in someone else's house. More boxes get unpacked. More rooms emerge from their new paint makeover. Art work gets chosen for locations (though not committed yet with picture hangers). Furniture and bookshelves ordered and carpet on the front stairway. Yep - starting to feel like home.

Last Wednesday, I was invited to join a group of local rug hookers for their regular get together. They are a small group, since they take turns hosting at their houses.  It took me a while to find all my supplies, and I needed to break through some of the plasticized rooms that were barricaded for spraying, but I found something to take with me. I am still a few weeks from being able to take my turn, but hope to do that as soon as the studio is set up - and the Ikea shelves are ordered for delivery on the 26th.

How great it felt to be in the company of this group. And to pull the first loops that I have done in months (well, if you don't call a few demos in class at Loyalist, that is). Just one motif got done, but it was still a lovely re-entry and I enjoyed every minute of it. This is the project that was started two years ago at Loyalist and contains a motif from each and every student who was in the class. I believe the little school house was inspired by Deborah's mat.

Speaking of Loyalist, one of this year's students already completed his rug and sent me a picture with permission to share. He is taking part in a challenge with his group to create mats based on quilt designs. Since he is not a quilter, he created a rug pattern based on 6 blocks of "lures" that he designed himself. PLUS, he made his own hoop and hook. A ton of bonus points for that, right???

One more rug to share, but not one that anyone hooked. One that Rick and I found at our favourite second hand store in Toronto: "Of Things Past".  It is located near Yorkdale on Bridgeland Avenue and has a wonderful variety of previously-loved treasures. We have had great luck finding all our Oriental rugs there. This was exactly the size and colour we were looking for.

Hopefully the hooking will continue - even if just a little bit each week. And I will have to get busy making some sample mats for the Zentangle-inspired mat class that  I have been asked to teach at Trent School of Rug Hooking next year. Lots of fun exploration to do for that course, for sure.

Looking forward to my Wide Cut Class at the OHCG School in October. There are still a couple of spaces left - in my class and some of the others. It's a wonderful longer-than-usual weekend. - Thursday night to Sunday at noon.  And Mount St. Mary Retreat is a beautiful place to stay.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bed, Bed, Oh Heavenly Bed.....

After a month of painting, Rick and I will finally be able to sleep in our own house, in our own bed, this weekend. I can't tell you how excited we are about this. (We have weathered a 30+ degree hot spell, simmering in the extreme heat at my ma-in-law's while our wonderful new air-conditioned home was inhabitable because of the ongoing painting. However, without her kindness, we would be facing an enormous hotel bill, so we are eternally grateful.)

We knew that making the decision to paint every square inch of a three-story, four bedroom, four bathroom house meant a LOT of painting. But yesterday, I decided to start counting and listing everything that got painted or has to be painted and seriously - I can't count that high.

I think that two weeks of the four have been spent prepping. Taping, filling nail holes, caulking and then caulking and touching up the trim after the first coat - and the second.  One of these days, I will count the amount of trim, just to really appreciate the job done.

I can't say enough good things about our painter. He is friendly, obsessive about the job he is doing, and the kind of person you feel good about having in your home.

Yesterday when he started prepping the kitchen and right hand side of the main floor family room, I teased him about the exercise just being "fort building for painters" and he freely admitted to enjoying putting up plastic walls and temporary beams.

When I showed the pictures to our son this morning, he said the house looks like a set for Dexter.. Yikes, I was saying ET, but Dexter is really a scary thought.

So, not only does he put plastic walls up and cover all the cabinetry and separate the space where he will be spraying, he also covers the entire floor in the area with brown paper. Meticulous or just super smart about a quick clean up.

So today he is spraying the wood trim on the big sliding door to the deck, the large window in the family room and the smaller window over the kitchen sink. All the wood trim is going from wood to white - hence the incredible amount of prep. But after this - and once the remaining walls are rolled, we can start to take furniture out from the large plastic-covered structures in the centre of each room and place it where it belongs.  We will finally get to see how we like our furniture and art work in our new home.

I wouldn't advise the feint of heart taking on a job like this - either painter or paintee - but the results are definitely worth it. I will attempt to share some before and after shots in my next post. Because this truly is a stunning makeover.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New Address. Same Boxes.

Well, we have arrived in Peterborough and have been camping out at Rick's mom's while our place is being painted top to bottom. Hence many of the same boxes we packed will have to wait to be unpacked.

Making the decision to paint out all trim should never be taken lightly. It is a HUGE job. Every window, every door, every crown moulding, every floor trim piece. And when you go from wood grain to white, every nail hole needs to be filled, along with every little gap.

Luckily we have an amazing painter who is not happy with less than perfection. And with only a light coat on some trim and a second on others, we can already see that this was indeed the right decision.

We have not had to purchase much for this house, since we were pretty much doing a lateral move, but we have acquired an outside deck set that is pretty amazing. As the deck is on the small size, we have opted for a higher (counter height) narrower table, and that is where I am perched right now writing this post.

I was very thankful to leave the boxes behind for four days while I taught a Wide class at Loyalist College in Belleville. Ten amazing students made the break from moving madness a much-needed respite and I didn't think about any of it until I came back.

I love open classes, because everyone's project is so different, and there are so many "lessons in the moment" that present themselves. Everyone got a good start on their project - and a few people got started on more than one. Good to take advantage of a teacher while you have one, right?

Here is the class picture that was taken outside our room. As you can see, I had two men in this class, which is a first for me. They were both delightful additions to the usually all-female crowd.

Will try to be more frequent in my posts once we are settled. Gotta scoot - the lawn guys are coming into my outdoor office lol.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fewer Weeks, More Boxes

We are down to just over three weeks until the big move. And the piles of boxes are growing in virtually every room. The studio is no exception. Until you pack it, you forget how much stuff you actually have. You forget how much wool and yarn and sewing material fits into those wire cubes that fill the long wall.

I have already filled 17 boxes and 6 bins. And that is in addition to the many Rubbermaid bins in the basement crawl space that are the "other" stuff - the felted wool sweaters, the blanket wool, etc.   I guess I can no longer kid my poor husband about the many, many, many boxes of hardcover books that he is moving to the new place. I am probably keeping stride with him - box for box.

Since the movers told us we didn't have to empty the big pieces, as long as there weren't bottles or breakables in there, I have shoeboxes of worms and small pieces of wool in two pieces and all my miscellaneous tools and necessities in others.

The walls are bare. I have taken down all my rugs and rolled them into my "hockey bag" (which has never actually been to a hockey arena). It was actually my daughter's camp bag many years ago and has carried my rugs to virtually every school and workshop I have taught in the past 8 years.

For the first time in over 5 years, I have packed away all my circular knitting needles, my dye samples and the other things that used to hang on hooks from a support pole in the middle of the room. 

Upping the degree of difficulty to this endeavour, I head off to teach at Loyalist College the day after our stuff arrives, so I have had to be mindful of what has to travel with me, so it will not get lost in the many boxes and bins. My supplies for class will be in rolling suitcases, other than the light box and frames, etc. They will be loaded into the truck and left there so that they don't inadvertently get unpacked. Fingers crossed.

As I purged each of the pieces of furniture in the studio, I came across a few things that I hadn't seen in quite a while. This is one such item - a rock I painted in the 80's that serves as a door stop (or a very very large paper weight) and it pretty much describes how I feel about the whole process of moving. Between the lists, the packing, the prepping for a garage sale and getting ready for my class, this pretty much says it all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Some New Moves for the Move

A while ago, I read an article on Pinterest about different packing ideas, and I have been incorporating some of them.  One was to use towels and t-shirts to wrap things, so vases etc. are wearing t-shirts that were almost ready for the trash - but will keep things safe as they travel. Same with hand towels and place mats and cloth napkins.

But the best one so far was this. Use socks on wine glasses - actually any kind of glasses or mugs - and it is awesome.

how cute is this? 

And a great way to pack your socks!

Martini glasses needed a man's work sock.

So now they are all nestled together - with lots more socks left for glasses and mugs. And when I unwrap them clean and safe at the other end, I just roll up the socks and put them away. ta da!

If you are not already on Pinterest, consider it. This is where all my new knowledge is coming from. lol. Definitely a smarter approach to packing. I am sure I would be much better at moving if I did it more often. And I wouldn't have nearly as much purging to do. 

But once every 25 years or so is good enough for me.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Creative Inspiration

While all the purging and packing is happening, although I can't really sit down and work on my own stuff, I CAN take the time with my morning coffee to be inspired by other creators.

This morning, I came across this amazing embroidery artist

I can't even remember how I found her, but her work is incredible. She considers herself an artist for whom floss is her paint and her needle is her brush. And most of her pieces involve some machine embroidery, like the  cactus here, plus some long stitch embroidery painting.

On her blog, after reading through a number of posts, I  came across a TED talk about cross stitch by a man who calls himself Mr. Xstitch whose site is here. He is an excellent speaker and presents a fine explanation about the "art vs craft" debate and his three factors for determining which is which.

Like most other artists today, he also has a facebook page and a pinterest page, so you can see lots of images there.

My early morning coffee time was made so much better by spending time with these two artists. And I feel inspired to get on with my day of more purging. I hope you take the time to visit both of these sites and enjoy the inspiration they provide.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

More Purging, Packing and Loyalist Planning

I keep telling myself that the worst part of the purging is nearly done. My hubby did an awesome job on the garage, which is good because most of what I earmarked from the basement for "garage sale" has to move out there.

I made myself a "purge" calendar with assigned tasks for each day of May. Some days I do more than one of the places, which is great - I end up with more days of the month lol. And some things are starting to get packed already (even though June is supposed to be packing month).

Rick's books are the #1 item on his list and he is making great progress with the packing. He got 125 boxes for his books and isn't sure that will be enough. His hard-cover book addiction can give my fibre addiction a run for its money, any day of the week. When I asked if he had purged any, he said "yes". Funny that his purging is mostly all my gardening books. Oh well.

This is the only picture that looks like any progress is being made in the studio. The top shelf of my wire unit is now empty of yarn - five full boxes all managed to fit into one tall box. I have also gone through all pieces of furniture and gotten rid of things I don't want to take, so the packing should go quickly.

The wool and hooking stuff can't be packed until the very end as my poor students are dreading my departure and want to keep coming until the moving truck pulls out the driveway.

Since I go to set my classroom up at Loyalist College the day after we move, I am trying to get all of my prep work done well ahead of the packing. And then to make sure that all my class materials are not mixed in with the other hooking things.

If you don't know about Loyalist's Summer Arts Program, here's a link to their catalogue where you can see all the courses offered. This year, in addition to all the other wonderful courses, they are having a hooking week from July 13 - 16, with four classes and a one-day dye workshop. It should be lots of fun.

At least one of my students is doing a mat from a photo, and when I went to put her photo into my favourite online photo editing site, I found out that befunky has done a big "improvement". I was really used to the old platform, so found the new one a bit trickier to navigate. Also found out that many more effects are only available with the "Upgrade". And my teaching sheets feature screen captures from the site, so I will have to do a total re-do of those. Not something that was in the calendar.

And doing this class planning is a nice bright spot and a relief from the purge/pack/purge rhythm.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Purge Before Packing

We have sold. And we have bought. So we are leaving Parry Sound for Peterborough - on July 10th.

The studio has become "purge central", mostly because it is next to the basement, which needs the most purging, but also because there is a good sorting table. And this is what the "chaos before the order" looks like. I have a pile to move, a pile to shred, a pile to get rid of. And a pile for "I don't know what pile to put this in yet".  There is also a spreadsheet on the computer to remind me where I put everything.

Because much of what is on the table was packed up and moved here 5 years ago - and never looked at again - I went through two big rubbermaid bins marked "Office Supplies" to see what was really in there. Enough printer paper and three hole punched paper that I will never have to buy again. That missing box of #10 envelopes I couldn't find. Four boxes of staples - and the four staplers. Several trips down memory lane including finding my kids' immunization records - they are 32 and almost 29. Also a Christmas tin full of cassettes, despite the fact that we have nothing to play cassettes on anymore. So, I do believe that this purge will all be worth it in the end.

To try to maintain a bit of balance, I am allowing myself a bit of hooking time in the early mornings, before I get down to work. I just bring my coffee in here, along with my blinders, and sit for a bit. On my frame right now is a sign - lettering is all done - just a show binding left to do and it will be ready to give as a gift.

The good news at the end of all of this is there is another studio space waiting on the other end of the move!!! And the good news/bad news is that the day after we move, I go to set up a classroom to teach a Wide Cut class during Rug Hooking Week (July 13-17) in the Summer Arts Program at Loyalist College.  If you go to look, scroll down the page and you will find the information on the right hand side.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Little Hooking. Much Bragging.

The two weeks since we came home from Barbados are a total blur. Re-entry is difficult at the best of times, but this year it has been exceedingly bumpy.

We had no sooner landed "in the woods" than we needed to turn around and head back. A broken bridge for Rick that couldn't be totally fixed in B'dos resulted in a marathon day of dentist appointments last week. Two implants and a crown will replace the bridge - for an amount of money that could seriously build a REAL bridge. Yikes, why didn't we all become dentists!!

Then a 30th birthday celebration followed by the Easter Bunny visit - and we have spent an inordinate amount of our time back in the car.  And the treks will continue for the rest of the month.
Add a lot of work (the freelance variety) to that mix and I have not pulled a single loop!!

Luckily for me, others have been hooking, so I get to do some bragging.

I have always said that the best things about being a rug hooking teacher is the students who come into your life. Luckily for me, many of them keep in touch long after the class is over or the teaching is done. And here are two examples of exactly that.

The first is a student, another Wendy, who came to my classes in Toronto where I co-taught with my pal Elaine.  I have been lucky to see Wendy at a few hooking events since I left 5 years ago, and it is always nice to give and receive a hug from her.

Last week, she emailed me and attached a picture of a little sheep mat she did. The pattern was from Donna Grudnik and Wendy said she loved hooking this curly sheep. It is her new favourite subject after cats, and I think it will be the first of many.

The next person to contact me was my friend Lori, who lives here in Parry Sound. She is the person who came to a Magdalena Briner Eby primitive class without ever having pulled a loop. That is pretty brave, but not only did she finish that first project, but she has gone on to completed a bevy of projects since. This is a piece she did for her sister. I helped a tiny bit with the design, but as usual with Lori, she was off and running. She is a thrifty hooker who believes in recycled wool as much as possible. I love that! I think she did an amazing job - and more importantly, so does her sister.

I am hoping that in the next while, I will get back into my frame and hook. But in the meantime, the bragging is almost as good. I love having people share these wonderful projects, so that I can in turn share them with you.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Does Hooking in Colour take the Zen out of Zentangle?

The past few days have continued to be very rainy, so I was able to get quite a bit done on my Zentangle mat.  As my friend Elizabeth Martel says on her blog  hooking Zentangles is a big learning curve. Each of the "tangles" is an element unto itself and finding a way to have the piece feature the different elements in a cohesive way is a big challenge when it comes to the introduction of colour.

I am feeling the same way. I love all the different elements and am happy with the result, but tying the tangles and the colours together so that they create a pleasing overall affect is not easy. There is a bit of trial and error involved. (Part of me still believes the true beauty of this Zentangle form is the black and white - where nothing catches the eye more than anything else. But I also believe that the colour does bring it alive.)

Since I have finished most of mine - and am actually running out of the supplies that I brought with me to finish the outstanding items, I decided to try doing a bit of a hit and miss border around the outside. And I think it is working.

What it is doing for me is bringing the very strong rainbow colours from the biggest motif to other areas of the matt that don't have those colours. So hopefully, when I am done, the border will encourage the eye to travel through the mat and not get stuck somewhere.

Certainly from an "art rule" point of view, it has the verticals, horizontals and diagonals - and I find that the beaded black and white line creates a nice pathway, but I really think this multi-colour edging will help pull all the colours to the outside.

I am also happy that my dominant tangle - which is called Jessicup, but I feel looks like rainblow coloured flying fish - will remain the star of the stage, which is what I was going for.

Amazing exercise and I highly recommend both the Zentangle discipline and then the hooking of some motifs to anyone who wants to experiment with shape and colour. Such fun and so individual.
This will be the first of many for me, I think.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hooking through unsettled weather.

I know I won't get any sympathy from those of you enduring gazillion below zero temps and a ton of snow, so I won't even try. I will just say that a long period of unsettled weather here in Barbados - accompanied by sea swells that inhibit ocean swimming - have encouraged me to hook a bit on my Zentangle-inspired project.

I have learned a lot about Zentangle while I have been here. Like how popular it is. It reminds me of what I call "new car syndrome". When you get a new car, suddenly you notice how many others there are on the road. Same thing with this phenomenon. Everywhere I look now and everyone I talk to is either doing it or knows someone who is. I guess I am a little late to the party, but a happy participant all the same.

The next thing I have learned is how different "Zentagle-inspired" art is from pure black and white Zentangle. The minute colour comes into play, it is a totally different game. And nothing demonstrates that more than the project which I am currently hooking.

Here is the black and white design on the backing:

And here is the progress - with colour - to date:

I really like the coloured tangles - they are very reflective of what inspired them - the colours and the shapes all represent things that are around me here. But the pure graphic feel of the black and white is very powerful.  It would be an interesting exercise to hook this as a black and white after completing the colour one. Not sure I will do it, but you never know.

Today is the "one month to go" date, which is better than the "one week" or "one day" date. Lots of friends have left or are leaving this week, so the gang on the deck at the beach club will be a bit thinner in the next while. Still lots of people we have come to know over the years coming here. And probably a bit more relaxing.

Keep warm everyone. And please try to have all this silliness over with by the time we come back.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Three Weeks Gone and So Are the Kids.

It's amazing how time really does fly when you are having fun!

And fun is the understatement. Last week our daughter, son-in-law and grandson arrived for 10 days and they returned to that crazy climate on Wednesday this week. What a treat it was! Our son-in-law hadn't been here before and was totally bewitched by this lovely island. Little Jackson was the hit of the "hood", with a horde of honorary grandparents. And he left with - well, just everyone who met him - besotted. He loves people and they love him back. It seems very quiet now with him gone.

Here are a few pics of the fun that was had by all.

The first picture is of me with Jackson - solo for a day, while mom, dad and grandpa went on a sailing adventure. Kris (son-in-law) declared it the BEST DAY EVER! And Jackson and grandma had a pretty nice time hanging out at the pool.

The next picture is of the other three returning from their day on Sin-Bad. It was definitely a great day and I will get my turn on the boat before we leave here.

It is very quiet now with them gone, so perhaps I might just start pulling some loops, once I decide what to work on.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Fitting Mat to Feature

It is now the 10th day since our arrival in Barbados. Man, time sure does fly when you are having fun. We have crammed lots in but are trying to pace ourselves and save some special places and pastimes to meter out over our stay.

I think when I was at the airport hotel the night before we left, I received an email from Diana, one of my students in Edmonton. She was sending me her finished piece from the Photo to Mat class. And she gave me permission to share it with you.

It is such a sweet mat of her grandson. And coincidentally, my grandson Jackson is arriving here on Monday with his parents. I am sure that many of the pictures I take of him will look exactly like this little fellow.

Tomorrow, a group of us who are all rug hookers from Ontario are getting together for a Zentangle session. I first learned about them when I was out west and have been doing a few of them since I arrived. Although it is very early in my journey, I am finding it very calming and a perfect thing to do here. And I can see why so many people enjoy doing them. Now that I am aware of them, they seem to be everywhere.

These early explorations have been done in pen instead of the preferred fine point marker and pencil, but I can already see how you can create movement and shape within the shapes. My ultimate goal is to try to interpret this into a hooked piece.

I am hoping that once I do a few more, I can find shapes that capture the beauty here - of the sea, sky, sand and water. And that is what I am planning on doing with my worms that I showed a couple of posts ago.

Whatever the outcome, it is a wonderful way to de-stress (not that there is very much stressful about this beautiful place).

On this morning's coffee walk, we finally saw a family of green monkeys and I took lots of pictures.
This is another thing that might just have to be incorporated into that mat somehow.

Cozy Evvie is Complete - well at least the hooking part.

Here she is. She is all hooked. She has the "best saying ever" on her shirt - printed on fabric, since it was way too small to h...