Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hectic Days

I have not been able to get to my blog in a couple of weeks. All my good intentions have gone out the door in the face of reality. My in-laws, both within two weeks of each other have had a medical crisis so poor Peter (only child) and I have been negotiating and finding our way through the mechanisms of caring for aging parents. If you have not done this before - once immersed you will become an expert. Thank God I have a friend who has helped by pointing us in the right direction, since she has just gone through the same thing.

My poor pup grabs whatever affection he can get from me in between running to work and hospital. Our schedule is definitely up in the air. So this morning I decided to take some time for myself, put a few thoughts to cyberspace and veg out before the daily rituals start.

I am finishing up an order for some wonderful pear and cardamom cameo soaps and filigree hearts for a customer who plans on using them in her Valentine baskets. I just bought a new oil - Rose Garden - that smells so much like a rose garden and reminds me of summer days when the air is laden with the scent of roses. That definitely has to be done up in my filigree heart soaps. I'll be selling those for sure on my website and ETSY.

In this time of turmoil I am finding much joy in working with my soaps and tomorrow it will be the dye pots - making up some spice pumpkin and herb garden wool threads. Have not had much time for punch needle though I do have a couple of designs worked up. I want to finish those soon for the spring season.

Here is my honey soy wheat bran soap layered and permeated with lemon and lemongrass essential oils. I just love the freshness of anything lemon. To the right is my strawberry cream soy soap all packaged up with butcher paper and pretty red fibre paper found on one of my excursions to the art store. These can be found at TDIPT Mercantile and PFATT Marketplace

I promised that I would show my sheep rug that was part of a challenge. I was so glad to be able to finish it on time before all this started happening. It certainly was a challenge but a fun one using up other people's colour choices of wool strips. I loved doing it and sometimes challenges are the best thing in order to get out of a rut. I have spent the better part of a year doing punch needle so this little exercise rekindled my first love of rug hooking. Thank you to Maria of PRHG for making this happen.

two sheep - hooked by Joni & designed by Maria

Roby has just been introduced to the newest member of our family (Gustav - the in-laws cat) and there was much growling and sniffing and a late chase up the stairs but all in all a successful introduction. Everyone is asserting their territory which is normal and we will all just have to be one happy family!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Baking Tradition

In our family the girls - two sisters and Mum get together at the beginning of December and have a Christmas baking marathon for a whole day. By the time we are finished I don't think we want to look at a cookie - between all the sampling going on. They all go in our freezers and come out when we want a little sweetie. Recipe - each person comes to the bakethon with two recipes and any special ingredients and as a foursome we get an assembly line going - add some laughter, Christmas music - some mishaps and a lot of fun makes a great tradition!

This morning I am visiting my FIL for the first time in his new place of residence. On Monday we had to put him in a nursing home so it has been a few days of sadness around here. I will be picking my MIL up and we will pay a visit laden with goodies (this plate of cookies being one). I am anxious to see how he is adapting to this change and hope it will not be too sad for all of us.

I was up with the birds this morning - well probably before the birds because I sure did not hear them chirping at 4:30am. What to do. Not tired enough to snooze until the day's activities start and hated to be unproductive so I started a new punch needle using a drawing by Lori of Notforgotten Farm. Very apropos for this time of the year - a primitive heart in hand with a key. I think this will become a pin cushion for my upcoming venue on TDIPT. Always trying to find new things to offer customers. My soap goes on sale on PFATT tomorrow along with a punch needle I mounted on a wooden hornbook. One of my most successful patterns actually - There is just something about sheep and quilt blocks!

Will be breaking out the dye pots tonight. Just get me going and there is no stopping me. I love seeing the colours evolve during a dye bath and then seeing all the wool threads hanging on racks is certainly very satisfying.

Off to start the day's activities....

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Dad & 1998

The weather is so weird these past couple of days. It is our January thaw and the abundance of snow we have received in December is melting like crazy. Some people are talking flooding but since I live on a hill I am not too worried. It certainly is easier to get up it than when it was snow covered. 10 years ago was the ice storm and that is all you hear on the radio and TV these days. It was a weather event I hope never to see again that struck a city that was totally unprepared. 10 days without power does something to your morale. Some people south of the city had to endure a month without power - could not even imagine that. There were stories galore that made the rounds but I have to say that the story of my dad and his street patrol has a place in my heart. Photos copyright Le Journal de Montreal.

My Dad (who has since passed away), was a WWII junkie who could not get enough of the memorabilia of WWII in the form of movies, books and other items he would pick up. He was a young 15 year old lad who joined the French Resistance and saw his share of the war. He never talked about it - I think there were things he saw that he preferred to forget.

So here is Dad in the middle of an ice storm with his army beret on - his fatigues picked up in an army surplus store - boots firmly planted on the icy road directing traffic over a concoction of extension wires running from house to house - side by side and across. A veritable tangled mess of wiring keeping homes warm and fridges running. Neighbours sharing generators and so much kindness was found those days. Unfortunately did it last? How quickly people forget. But for that short time -tales were made - people shared what they had, friendships were formed and my dad felt so important as people thanked him for his efforts as a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces - him at 68 :) but oh it made his day and he was so proud to be able to do his part in what was the Storm of the Century here in our city.

the young Bailoux clan with our dad - Michael, Lorraine, Ronald, Carole and me on the right -

I started off wanting to show you my soap all freshly cut and packaged but I have just had my Dad in my thoughts with fond memories these past few days with . So I wanted to put this short little story down on paper. Tomorrow I will show my soap.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Pretty Things

Cavallini notebook and butterfly stamps

Nicely textured paper

I treated myself to a trip to the local art supply store and took a browse down the aisles and found the perfect paper to wrap my soap in - some beautifully textured banana fiber paper. I think it will complement the honey, soy and wheat germ soap that I plan on having for sale on Jan 10th on Pfatt Marketplace.

Also came across some wonderful products by Cavellini - a beautiful set of stamps - butterflies and a notebook which I hope will inspire some very creative thoughts. I do love all their pretty things! My cousin got me interested in their product. She writes a wonderful blog which you should check out 29 Black Street.

Have finally dug the car out and took it for a run today with Roby in the back - he so enjoys a good car ride - just sits and watches out the window. Heard on the radio that gas was going up to 1.194 a litre so hurried over to the station to fill up. That is up .08 a litre -where is it heading to. Someone is making money off of us and I would like to know who! Out of my control so I just plan my local trips better and try to use less travel time. Helped this week that I did not use the car for 4 days.

Finally finished my sheep rug yesterday - I just love it and have not decided whether to sell it or not. May use it for a door topper ( a hooked rug placed over a door in the shape of a semicircle. Us hookers have to find whatever space is available :). I can only show a picture after the 6th - it was a secret challenge. Now onto other things. I want to do something with the bird paper I bought - maybe cover a box with it and put some hand painted distressed eggs in it - I would like to try some wool felted eggs with perhaps some decorative stitches using some wool threads I just dyed. The problem being there never seems to be enough time for all these things. I have to keep a notebook or I tend to forget all the spur of the moment ideas.

I entered a new challenge and this is for a big rug so must give that some thought as to what I want in it. I have some ideas but they are not all there yet. Definitely primitive and I am not sure if I want to relate it to my life as it was or my life as I want it to be. That probably did not make sense - or maybe just be whimsical and have fun with it. I don't know what I would do if I did not have these decisions to make. It keeps me alive in spirit with a zest of anticipation and wonder as to how things will turn out. I tell Peter that I am never bored and cannot understand the concept of boredom. My problem is I don't know how to slow down :).

Roby is here curled on my feet reminding me that he needs some loving pats and attention - so off we go - to bind my rug while watching a movie or two.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Snow - OK enough!

Roby eating fresh snow & my back deck.

My car and driveway buried under snow - no dog walking tonight!

Happy 2008! A new year - new projects - new thoughts - new beginnings. What a way to bring in 2008 - another winter storm. It seems like it has been snowing every day. Another 15 cm today. We cancelled our NY day activities as no one is out and about. The roads have not even plowed nor has my trusty little guy come to plow me out. Not that I plan on going anywhere. Roby just loves new fresh snow - he has been in and out about 20 times today just so he can lick away at the snow. Then he prances in all ready for a rub down with his favourite towel. Dogs are such creatures of habit. He constantly amazes me.

It was a day to stay snuggled under a quilt with a good book and finishing up some rug hooking. Have been fighting a cold - hate getting sick. There is just something not right about being sick on your holidays. There go all the plans. Never got to making the rugelach but will have to as the cream cheese is bought and it is pretty expensive to throw out - my thriftiness will just not allow that.

We had a wonderful feed of Chinese food although we had to wait an hour for take out - a very popular place and it did not help that they lost our order. I unfortunately have little patience and thought it poor customer service that they did not discount our meal for having waited an hour before they discovered it lost.

Soap plans are underway - just mulling about the recipe and the presentation - for me always an important part of the product. Off to rug hook some more - deadline fast approaching!