Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First Signs of Winter

Well last night we had our first sprinkle of snow. OK it wasn't much but very pretty. I love snow until Christmas, after that it can go away!

Roby is a great dog for snow. He has lots of fur and never gets cold so he can sit and roll around for quite a bit. When it snows he wants out (frequently) so that he can lick as much snow as possible and then do a couple of self back scratches. You know where they flop on their backs with all four legs in the air and just squirm in all directions. I don't know why they do that. Peter says they are rolling in dead things - but I don't have dead things in my yard - well maybe dead leaves. I prefer to think it is just the joy and happiness of being a dog that is well loved and cared for :)

Have been very busy preparing for a show in mid-November, hence my lack of blogging this month. I am trying to keep to a theme of wool. Making lots of punch needle pincushions in little wooden boxes, some wool balls embellished with hand dyed threads and glass beads and rug hooking like crazy. I have a couple of kits in the works - one a snowman which you can see here and the other a cardinal on a fir tree branch. They are kitted using lots of British wools. I find the texture is so different when you use these types of wools. There is a movement to the wool that you don't see as much with a solid coloured wool. I am framing lots of my original punch needle designs.

I also plan on having bags of wax tarts (great for stocking fillers) with all the latest seasonal scents. So lots of stuff in the works with 2-1/2 weeks to do it all. Am i stressed? Not yet!:)

It's amazing how US politics have taken over our lives in our house. I am not even American but wish I could vote. I hope everyone does go and vote and exercise their right to do so. We had an election here in Canada and only 58% took part. It was pathetic - the worse showing of voter participation in all of our history. So go and VOTE! It is your democratic right. I have always voted since I could - never even thought that there were some people who did not.

I sit here in my big comfy leather chair with my laptop on my lap - feet up - the wind blowing the fir trees back and forth, Roby fast asleep by my chair, CNN politics on TV and eating Lindt chocolate halloween balls - what a perfect Wednesday afternoon. Happy Halloween everyone.

Just a few minutes ago the doorbell rang and my four legged warning system went off on cue. A box from Rebecca Erb from the Wool Studio arrived. Now all of us rug hookers know what that is about! Into the washing machine and dryer to get them ready for some blissful rug hooking on the weekend. A very perfect Wednesday!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lots of Punch Needle

It's been a hectic week. I did want to post during the week but work has been busy. After work I end up in my big leather chair with my mohair throw watching some TV and snoozing for an hour. Then it is a full evening of creative work.

I am preparing for my show in mid-November so getting a lot of punch needle done. Did manage to design a couple of kits where everything is supplied except for the hoop. Great for those wanting to try this new craft. The first picture is a sheep on an Ohio Star quilt background. It is made up as an old fashion pin keep. The second piece is a pincushion based on a old applique quilt block.

Also worked on making six little pincushions with old time quilt patterns that will go in six little boxes. I'll show those later in the week.

The upcoming week will be devoted to putting together some rug hooking kits for the show. A festive seasonal snowman rug and a round one for a chair (I love these designs) I usually do a geometric and add some flowing elements like flowers or leaves. I had read somewhere that a good design is a balance of both. It works for me!

I picked some lovely apples last weekend and they are still waiting to be turned into a strudel and apple crisp. I discovered a new one for me - honey crisp. They look like a gala but I find are much sweeter. Apple season is such a wonderful time of the year.

I signed up for an online felting course so I can use all that wonderful roving I have piled in my work room. Now to get down to doing it. I would love to make some sweet sheep to hang from my tree this year. Peter is busy making spicy beeswax Santa's. He has started candle production with the new Christmas scents for this year. This year he is trying wax tarts along with the seasonally themed wax embeds and votives. For the next couple of weeks I will walk into the house fragranced with the current scent of the day. Today was Winter Wonderland - peppermint wafting through the house!

A new punch needle pattern was released this week - finally! It is called Little Blue Jug and was a design that started one way and ended up looking like something else. That happens with me. I mull over ideas for a bit and them expand on that. I started with the background - I wanted it all monotone but enough of a difference so that you could see the basket quilt block emerge from it. I had a lot of fun with this one - although I agonized over colour choice. It is done with my hand dyed wool threads. You can find the paper pattern here on ETSY or you can get the pattern as an instant download here on PATTERNMART.

copyright - Joni Black c. 2008

Off to get some supper and finish punching the last of the pincushions. Good night and have a wonderful week. J.

Monday, October 13, 2008

To Be Thankful

It's been awhile since I've posted. Time seems to just runaway. Today is our Canadian Thanksgiving, which means thoughts of what we are thankful for and turkey dinners. Our family celebrated yesterday rather than today because unlike the USA Thanksgiving not all businesses are closed today. To be honest I prefer American Thanksgiving as it is taken more seriously and it is a time for family get togethers. More attention is paid to it and for me it is the beginning of the holiday season. So although the sentiment for Thanksgiving is not as strong here, we as a family celebrated yesterday with all the pomp and ceremony that made it a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

We all went to my sister's "house in the woods", where we had an outdoor bonfire, the kids played pretend games in the woods and we gathered in the kitchen and talked about topics relevant for these times. In Canada we are also having our election so there was lots to discuss. It was a general melee of family atmosphere and I guess if I were asked what I was most thankful for it would be family. There were 15 of us from 7 years old to 79 years young. We are a very passionate family with different opinions but are always there for each other. So being together for a wonderful dinner of turkey and fixings is something to be very thankful for.
I think that with what is going on in the world today we should be so thankful for what we have. I have always felt that as long as I was able to put food on the table and have a roof over our heads that would be enough. The rest is just glitter and it tarnishes with age. As long as you have the basics - to me my life has foundation. I think that is why I love my primitives so much. It evokes an era of simplicity. Not that I am giving up modern plumbing or anything like that, but I think that you need to put your wants and needs into perspective. There is so much unnecessary consumerism in today's world and I think that the current economic crisis brings that home. I guess it is a question of what you NEED vs what you WANT. I have been more conscientious of that mantra over the past few years and I always question my wants. With what has happened this year, we question ourselves more as to the necessity of "things". It helps to say NO to things that really add no value to your life.

So what am I thankful for:

a husband who takes care of the household chores while I create
a 4 legged best friend who loves me unconditionally with his puppy love
a great big passionate family
my quiet life

I think it is important to take stock of what you have and to be thankful for what you have. There are so many out there in dire situations - how can we not be thankful and appreciate what we have; maybe not complain so much of what we don't have and really don't need.

Be Thankful and Happy Thanksgiving.....