Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Mom

Mom and her kids - 1969 (L-R, Lorraine,Michael(the baby),Ronald, me (with the braids) & Carole)

A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"
"Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you."
The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don't have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy."
God said, "Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy."
Again the child asked, "And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?"
God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak."
"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"
God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray."
"Who will protect me?"
God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking it's life."
"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."
God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you."
At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, "God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel's name."
"You will simply call her, 'Mom.'" - unknown

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lady of Shalott

I am totally engrossed in my latest read, "The Illuminator" by Brenda Rickman Vantrease. It's a wonderful tale that takes place during the late 14th century at the time of the feudal lords and on the eve of the Renaissance. Where books are a rarity and owned by the wealthy churches and are illustrated with such rich colours, symbols and gilt. Hence a glorious story of an illuminator and the love, faith and treachery he encounters.

And to make it even more interesting for me there are details of raising sheep, shearing the wool and going to market. Not really surprising though considering sheep played an important part in the livelihood of the manor. There is your wool connection (All About Wool). :)

I love the cover of the book - a painting by Giovanni Bellini, Woman at the Mirror. 1515.,
which brought to mind a painter that I really like -John William Waterhouse whose obsession with Tennyson led to a series of paintings he did of Alfred Lord Tennyson's (1809-1892) poem The Lady of Shalott. A Victorian poem loosely based on medieval sources.

I am halfsick of Shadows - 1888

Water Effect

This is a painting I used as an inspiration for an applique pictorial quilt that I drew up. I am afraid it will never be a quilt but there is hope that it will be a rug. It will be my challenge piece. I drew it up while listening to one of my favourite songs - The Lady of Shalott by Loreena McKennitt. She is a hauntingly powerful singer who never fails to amaze me with her vocal abilities. The music you heard when you came to visit me here is her Lady of Shalott. Her song inspires me to get that drawing out again and see if I can't make it into a hooked rug. It will be my Christmas holiday project where I spoil myself and do some of the things I never seem to have time to do.


PS Susan, I know you are not fond of music on blogs - but I think you will make an exception to Loreena :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dog Days of August

It has been a lazy kind of day. Started my day at 5:30 am with all the good intentions of getting some much needed things done. As the morning progressed the day got hotter - even more humid than yesterday and I am just not a summer kind of person in the best of circumstances. I wilt terribly in anything over 24 Celsius. So I could tell today was going to be one of those days. I did watch the closing ceremonies of the Olympics and thought to myself what am I going to watch now - your focus has been for two weeks on one thing. It was my background noise when I did my needlework. Since Fall is approaching and the days will get cooler I will make a place for myself in the breezeway with the radio on.

I love this time of the year - the blueberries are in the market- my favourite berry..especially good in a vanilla yogurt with granola on top, it's my standard breakfast fare. Tomorrow I will have blueberry muffins. They are easy to make and taste scrumptious.

Of course one must sample! and of course Roby is there waiting for his fair share. He has this look in his eye - Mommy please - how can one refuse :)

Isn't the Internet a fascinating tool? For children today it is an everyday item they use with such confidence. For my generation it is something learned sometimes very cautiously and with trepidation. I think I have adapted very well and have taken to it like a duck to water. I use the Internet quite a bit and today was one of those days where I was on the hunt for information.

I am planning to do some punch needle pincushions using historical quilt patterns, so off I went to find out what I could. There is a wealth of information out there and in my travels came across this website, The Quilt Index, which documents old quilts from long ago to more current. The sources come from private collections to museums pieces. Definitely worth a look!

I always wonder at how my taste for quilt design has changed over the years. When I first started quilting in the mid 8O's, the fabrics I chose were very modern in look as were the patterns. I bought a lot of batiks and Hoffman florals. Over the past few years I have fallen in love with the traditional quilt designs and the beautiful reproduction fabrics. My shelves are now stacked with those fabrics which I use to make pillows and other items to set off my punch needle or other needlework. A great site for reproduction fabric is Bonnie Blue Quilts.

Although I don't quilt anymore it is never far from my mind and I do appreciate a well turned quilt especially when it is hand quilted.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ocean Breezes

I have been thinking of the Maritimes a lot - it is my home away from home and a place which I love. This is the time of year we normally go, so it is in my mind. It is again a hot and still night. Poor Roby is flaked out on his back in much appreciated air conditioning after his walk.

Bath time furry rug xxoo - you can just see his head peeking out :)

Thinking of the Maritimes and a much wanted ocean breeze on this hot muggy night brought to mind my first hooked rug I did which certainly captures ocean breezes. It is designed by Deanne Fitzpatrick and if you have not been to her site - you need to go and look at her gallery of quilts. She is one of my favourite artists and lives in Amherst, Nova Scotia not far from where my husband's family - the Black family has lived all their lives in Sackville, New Brunswick. Her rugs depict Maritime life and her portrayal of people is amazing.

I hooked this rug using all hand dyed wools and some roving for texture in the sky. It was very ambitious on my part having never done a rug to take on a sky using so many different wools while the ground amazingly uses only one hand dyed wool with lots of variation. This is one of my favourite rugs as it combines my love of quilts and a feeling of things past. I like to think of this Maritimer hanging her quilts on the top of a hill overlooking the ocean catching those wonderful sea breezes.

I came across this poem while reading about Maritime rugs...


I am the family wardrobe, best and worst of all the generations from the first,

Grandpa's Sunday-go-to-meetin' coat,

And the woolen muffler he wore at his throat;

Grandma's shawl, that came from Fayal;

Ma's wedding gown, three times turned and once let down,

Which once was plum but now turned brown;

Pa's red flannels, that made him itch;

Pants and shirts; petticoats and skirts;

From one or another, but I can't tell which.

Tread carefully, because you see, if you scuff me.

You scratch the bark of the family tree.

Good night!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Still Hot Night

Sitting in the breezeway at 10:00 pm, watching the recap of the Olympics and our two medal wins today. The cicadas are making such a noise tonight - it is one of those hot heavy nights we have rarely been getting this summer. It reminds me of the days we spent up North in the mountains last September when you could hear a pin drop. The water was so still and glassy, any sound reverberated off the mountains. It was a place of peace and relaxation. This year I will have to make do with my small little island of peace on Queens Road.

Roby and I say good night.....lots to do tomorrow. Hopefully will have some new wool threads dyed and hanging in the breeze to dry. A tray of scrumptious blueberry muffins ready to be eaten while musing on some new projects to be started.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wooly Angel

Look what the postman delivered today! She was waiting for me in a big red package and oh what a beauty she is. Thank you Sharon of Mustard Seed Originals. To see more of her wonderful dolls just click on Mustard Seed Originals.

I fell in love with her when I saw her - she is dressed in a beautiful soft fabric and has rug hooked wings and a beautiful hooked piece on the dress. She is all about the wool!

A beautiful sunset tonight as I type out this blog and at the same time watching the Olympics. Nothing like multi-tasking. I came across a wonderfully interesting site today which is all about women and the history of their lives and quilting called Women Folk.

I am a former quilter of 20 years and although I have given it up for rug hooking and punch needle, the design elements still interest me. I use those designs in my punch needle and still feel connected to the world of quilting in that way. I guess you could say I have built on my previous experience and have just taken a new path. My new punch needle pattern is called "The Blue Jug" and the background is made up of quilt blocks done in a small scale. Now to get it finished!

Yea Canada we now have 13 medals!! G'night....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lazy Sunday!

Well all my good intentions went out the back door. Roby getting me up at 4:00 did not help. I do love early mornings - usually- but with the Olympics broadcasting all night on CBC it makes for very late nights. Mornings are my quiet time. I love to sit in the breezeway - listen to the birds chirping away with Roby at my side. It is like we are the only two living things ..then the bustle of the day starts.

early sunrise in Maine from my balcony

Did not bake my chocolate cookies or dye my wool threads or do all the other things I had listed in my mind. No I watched Olympics, cruised the web for 3 hours and worked on my Etsy shop loading up some new wool and checking out some of sellers out there. My they are a talented group of artists. What was the practical thing I did - cleaned out the freezer and every time I am so disgusted by the amount of food that gets forgotten and then thrown out. We keep promising ourselves to be more diligent - it is a work in progress!

I have been inspired by an artist on Etsy - to try something new. It will incorporate my punch needle which will be used to showcase the PN. We'll see how it all works out. Now I have to make the time. Still have one more commission piece to do and then start preparing for the forst show I am doing in November. I have no idea what to expect so it is a little intimidating.

Here is a sneak peak of one of my patterns that will be available in a couple of weeks. This was done for my sister who had a house built in the middle of the woods. The original now graces her front door. This was done using my hand dyed threads - Red Island Threads

They are waking up in China and the Olympics are starting up and I need to finish up my newest pattern...

I can't see myself posting every day so it will probably be about 3 times a week.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

We won 3!

Well it finally happened - we won 3 medals overnight in the space of 45 minutes. There was much despair in the family that Canada was not going to come home with any.
Our family are big Olympic fans. The TV is on the CBC channel night and day during the two weeks. It is probably the only time I watch sports constantly. I am not a big sports fan except at the Olympics and that is when I get my fill for 4 years. Vancouver, Canada will have the winter olympics in 2010. That will be something to look forward to. Can't decide whether I like the summer or the winter games. What the heck I love it all! Congrats all Olympians...

Checking out the orchids to see how they are doing. They are such unique flowers. I have just started my orchid collection and getting into it slowly. I want to make sure that this is something I can grow - knowing my green thumb. Right now they are spending the summer in the breezeway where I sit and read and can admire them. The winter will be the telling of whether it will be a success or not - indoor heating can be very temperamental - especially in our house where I like cool temps for my sanity and saving the $$$.
Off to make chocolate chip cookies with Ghiradelli semi-sweet morsels.. a treat. Watch more Olympics and finish up some punch needle.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Where is the Sun?

We have had a terrible wet spring and summer has not turned out to be much better. If we get two days of sun in a row - we can count ourselves lucky. It has been a very wet 8 months!

I did manage to take a picture of these beautiful gerbera daisies that I planted in my window boxes. They looked pretty good then but are a little scarce in the flower department now. Lots of green but that is about it. I heard on the radio the other morning that "green" is what is happening in the gardens around here. I hope I will get some beefsteak tomatoes, which make up my favourite sandwiches. I am sure they will be scarce and expensive!

I am working on some new punch needle patterns. I have two winter ones done but I am just now finishing up some commission pieces so the patterns are on the back burner. I promised myself that I would make sure they were published by the beginning of September. The days just seem to fly by!

Did manage to make a trip to Maine in May - I just love the ocean. It is where I go every year to find my piece of calmness in the hectic days of my life. The ocean will definitely be the place I want to spend my later years when a job is not such a necessity.

The dye pots are being prepared for Sunday. I have 8 new colours of hand dyed wool threads that I did recently. You can see them on my website but I have a plan to do some background colours in light and dark in a one step process so that all the lights blend but there are subtle variances. It will be an experiment and if it turns out I'll post them here.
I made a pledge to my self to be more diligent in posting to my blog, but life tends to get in the way but now that things have settled down with the family I see more time on my hands.