Monday, January 31, 2011


Have you seen this new magazine yet? The spine describes it as being about "Canadian Art, Architecture & Design".

I heard about it early last Fall, and looked for it everywhere, but wasn't successful until I was in Border's in the US last November (yes! It is a Canadian magazine!) When I was down in Toronto this weekend, I found the most recent issue (with the horse) in the "Home & Garden" section, not with the "Art" magazines.....just in case you have an equally hard time locating it at your local bookstore.

To be honest, I haven't really read much of either issue, but I have had a fun time flipping through and looking at the pictures. The cover is a little misleading (I probably wouldn't have given it a second look, had it not already been endorsed by several other people), but you should check it out the next time you're in a bookstore and flip through to see if it appeals to you. It's one of those rare magazines that's actually more expensive to buy by subscription ($64 for 4 issues) than on the news stand ($10 per issue), so you can definitely pick and choose only those issues with lots of things you love at first sight inside.....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Just for Fun.....

I procrastinated everything else on my list tonight, and decided to play around with the templates and formatting on my blog. I don't know when Blogger launched all of these new options for fonts, colours, layouts, etc., but it was sure fun to play around! ;-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Speedy Snap #3

Another shot at the motif on the book cover !

Speedy Snap #2

I stopped at Anthropologie today to get my fill of eye candy. Alway lots of great patterns, interesting designs and gorgeous colours to see....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Speedy Snap #1

I left on the first of many road trips in the coming weeks....and since I won't be doing much crafting to share, I thought I would try taking some inspiring photos to share, instead. These pretty pillows were shot at Pottery Barn...just using the simple camera on my iPhone and the Hipstamatic app (I just downloaded it today, and this is my first 'play'). Love the colours, the shiny and the random piecing....

Monday, January 24, 2011

a lot

Yes, I did a lot of sewing this weekend. Not the fun, exciting to share sewing, but the more mundane, pattern preparation kind, where the most creative part is getting to choose the thread. I do have to say that my new machine does make the whole process about as enjoyable as it can be....and the little gadgets make it seem a little more like playing and definitely speeds up the whole process.

Apart from spend much of Friday evening, the whole day Saturday and part of Sunday sewing, I also managed to read a book and create a bit of organization in one of my main hooking storage closets. It's still far from fit for a photo shoot -- and probably never will be! ;-) Finishing the book brings my total this year to 3, and I wondering if maybe I made my goal (of reading a book every 2 weeks in 2011) a little facile. But then I remind myself that it's only January!

When I was rooting around in my closet yesterday, I happened upon this tiny mat....

It was started last, last Fall at Deanne's Workshop (first blogged about here), and nothing more has been done since. I decided I'm going to try and finish it this week, and incorporate a quote I want to remember from that class: "hook more, think less". Hopefully I can polish it off in the next couple of nights, before my road-tripping starts on Wednesday.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

casted on....and then some

I'm gearing up for what is usually a very crazy month for me at work (my tentative schedule has me away for a minimum of two nights each week for the next 6 weeks! Yikes, just typing it makes me long for my own bed)...and I always like to bring some small projects to help wile away the evenings sitting in my hotel room. Knitting is a logical choice for short trips, since it takes up so little space - and doesn't require a whole extra trip up to the room, like hauling my hooking stuff seems to require.

I've learned the hard way not to bring an unstarted project with I cast on the other night and now I can't seem to put it aside. This morning I noticed that I am already almost half-done, so I am now going have to force myself to set this aside until my travelling starts next week. Even though I have a long list of projects I have to be home to mind is screaming knit.

Ages ago, I happened upon this pattern and instantly wanted to make one. I've been on the look-out for the proper wool (Crazy Zauberball) ever since. Who knew that it was right in my backyard all along? I was thrilled to discover it up in North Bay on the weekend at Stix and Stones, along with many other wonderful yarns. They have a great selection and I can truly say that I don't think you could make a bad pick there. I will definitely be going back for more.....and more....and more. Is there any such thing as too much wonderful yarn? I think not.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Up close and personal....

ˆ Mary's Hooters

ˆ Wanda's Flutterby

ˆ(my Aunty) Betty's own creation

ˆ Martha's Klimt

ˆ Doris' Hooters

ˆ Sue's Tweets

ˆ Barb's own kitties

ˆ Beth's Tweets

ˆ Beulah's Flutterby

ˆAnne's Mary

ˆ Elin's Hooters

ˆ Barb's Free

ˆ (my mum) Mary's Mary

ˆ Nona's Heaven

Thank you for all of the coin purse love -- and you are so right, they are all gorgeous! It never ceases to amaze me how different the same pattern can look when hooked by different people. The possibilities truly are endless.

My mum's was the only CP that still needs its frame glued — she kindly offered to wait and have me do it another day. Big thanks and warm hugs to all of the North Bay ladies for a fabulous weekend — I had a blast!

just a peek....

I'm home from a wonderful weekend up in North Bay. Who knew you could travel so close to home (an hour and 15 minutes or so) and feel like you had such a holiday? It was great!

I'm rushing to get off to work, but will post close-ups of all of the projects when I get home tonight. In the meantime, here's a sample....

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Despite a little mishap in the kitchen (the incompatibility of hooking and cooking strikes again!), I was able to finish hooking Solo on Wednesday night. It was definitely a little awkward and slow going at first, but eventually I caught on. I had to change my technique a little bit, and use my thumb and middle finger to do all of the underneath work.....and while I was maybe not quite as fiddly as I might have otherwise been, I like it all the same. It's a good thing, since it will probably take several weeks for my nail to grow enough that I will be able to stand having pressure on it.

Oh, when will I stop being such a klutz?

I'm taking a break from cooking this weekend and heading north for a workshop/girls getaway weekend....beginning with a trip to a wonderful yarn shop tomorrow afternoon. See you Monday with a full report....and have a great weekend!

I blew my diet in a big way... wool diet, that is! ;-) Late last Fall when I was at Dorr, I picked out just a little bit of wool and arranged to have it shipped, along with an open roll of rug warp. My sister kindly picked it up for me when she was down in the city earlier this week, and I've been having fun unpacking it all.

Some will be washed to use 'as is' and the rest will be dyed eventually. In fact, seeing it all together at once kinda makes me feel like calling in sick for a couple of days and having a big dye daze. But alas, I am heading north tomorrow for a coin purse workshop, so maybe dyeing will have to wait for a week or two before I can break into the bolts.

Speaking of bolts, up until now I've always bought my rug warp by the bolt.....but this time around I bought an 'open roll' (56 yards, I think). I am really looking forward to having it all be nice and straight (and not skewed like it gets when it's folded in half and wound onto the cardboard into a bolt) -- once I find a place to store it, that is! (it's 60+ inches long) For now, it's keeping Jumbo company - and I have two elephants in my living room! Hopefully I will be able to make room to hide them somewhere.....and soon!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

hooking in slow motion....

I didn't make nearly as much progress last night as I was hoping....partly because I had a late start, and partly because I was hooking on sssssssssssssllllooooowwwwwww speed. The saving grace is that I am loving the look so far....and hopefully I can polish off the last bit of mostly background fairly quickly tonight, before I start (and complete?) another one.

Monday, January 10, 2011

a new batch of CPs

It was a perfect weekend -- just the right balance between productivity and peaceful relaxation. I had planned on hooking most of the day yesterday.....but didn't end up starting until the middle of the afternoon. With my 'hooking brain' still very firmly in the Matrix mode, it was a little bit of a struggle to work on shapes and multiple directions.....

But when all was said and done, I was happy with the end result. These small projects are - or can be - each their own little colour, texture, fibre, cut, technique. Kind of like the Artist Playing Cards that seem to be popping up. It's not a huge investment in supplies or time, so why not play around?

This new crop will be my assembly demo models for my class this weekend. Some might say I'm leaving it to the last minute, but I prefer to think of it as working to a deadline ;-)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

"there are no messages in this folder"

Is there anything sweeter on a Sunday afternoon? Well of course there is! ;-) But I'm enjoying it all the same. You see, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with e-mail. I like to get it, I love to read it....but I don't really care so much for the replying part. I am my own worst enemy, though....I tend to knock off the simple ones right away: read, reply or forward quickly, print if needed....and file and delete. But then there are all of the other ones -- the ones I trick myself into thinking are complicated, that seem require a well-thought out reply, or that I think the answer is going to take more time than I have available. It's this second class of e-mails that seems to linger in my inbox.....and even though I regularly attack my inbox, it's rarely completely empty - nor does it stay that way for long.

So if you're ever waiting for a reply (and this should rarely be more than a day or two, really)...please don't take it personally. It's not you, it's me. ;-)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

holiday handmades

I was a little less ambitious this year, in terms of making gifts. I didn't go crazy and plan to make something for everyone I know (although the snowfolks were cute, the time factor was not). Instead, I played around a little bit with my sewing machine when I first arrived and in the process I made some small, quick table runners and mats. Then I had plans to make an apron -- which morphed into making FIVE! So the crazy ended up happening anyway, and the planned 2 nights ended up being a week of steady evenings of stitching. But enough about what I made....what I really want to share are the lovely handmades that I was fortunate enough to receive....

I received the quilt top centre for Christmas 2009....and my mum finally got around to finishing it up for me this year. We looked at a lot of fabric to choose something great for the border and the back when we were in Vermont last fall, and shortly after we got home, she got to work and sewed it all together. My new quilt is gorgeous and it was definitely worth the wait!

Although my mum has made many quilts over the years, this is the first one that she has ever taken to a long-arm quilter. But it's definitely not the last! She had it quilted by Sue at Quilted Dreams (located inside Gone Quilting on the main street in Huntsville). Compared with tying, the difference is incredible -- it just takes quilts to a whole new level (similar to leather handles vs. fabric ones on hooked purses....). Mum is already at work on another big quilting project, maybe for one of my sisters...?

My mum is not the only talented one at their place, though. My dad had a fully equipped workshop and for the first time in a couple of years, he got busy and crafted some wooden gifts for Christmas. My footstool was made out of a very old, very large yellow birch from my parent's property. The spalting patterns are very interesting -- and very cool (even if they are essentially caused by the wood rotting). In addition to being beautiful, I also think that it might be one of the most funcitonal things he's made for me -- it's not too big, and the height is perfect for a footstool (and it can also sub for a small table).

Wendie already blogged about our little get-together before Christmas.....but what she didn't share was what she made for me. These slipper boots are very comfy -- and also importantly not slippery. Wendie modified the pattern a little and sewed on the bottoms of some inexpensive slippers with no-slip soles. Cushy. Cute. Safe. And, as you can see from the bits of wool fluff clinging to them, they have been well worn already! ;-)

Last, but not least, I also received a set of pouches from my Auntie Betty. AB is a fabulous quilter and is trying to use up some of her 'stash'......and I am grateful to receive any products of this purging. I'm not quite sure yet what I will keep inside, but I'm sure they will all be filled before long, and I will be wanting some more.

I'm very lucky to have such talented - and generous - family and friends.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

it practically knit itself.....

I've loved Noro yarn for over a decade. I think I knit my first hat with some Kureyon when I first moved back up north in 1999...and it's been a true love affair ever since. I've knit lots of things that I consider to be timeless staples, but I don't think I've ever happened upon a pattern that is sooooo perfectly suited to Noro. The subtle (and often not-so-subtle) colour changes blend wonderfully and are really showcased in Motley. It's a free pattern from that you can find here.

I happened upon the pattern by accident, just before Christmas.....and instantly knew that my stash of Silk Garden would soon be transformed. The pattern calls for 3 balls each of 3 different colour ways....but I just used the random assortment of real Silk Garden (not the sock mentioned in the pattern) I had on hand (4 balls of 279, 2 balls of 323, 2 balls of 272 and 1 ball of 241). There is some excellent colour advice at the beginning of the pattern, encouraging you to just go with it, even it it might look a little strange at the beginning. And really, wanting to watch it change and transform and harmonize with the addition of each new square of colour is all the motivation you need to knit, and knit and knit....and before you know it, you are done! I knit the whole thing, from start to finish, during my holidays. Of course it still needs to be blocked and have 2 tails sewn in (yes, only two!), but that's a job for another day.

When I was finishing off the last few tiers last night, I noticed that I actually made mine one row smaller than the pattern -- starting off with only 15 triangles, due to a comprehension problem -- but it is still plenty large enough, even before blocking. It probably also explains all of the little balls of wool I have leftover....but no worries, they can be combined into the next Noro project. I know there will be another one before long....

P.S. Thanks for leaving so many comments and sharing the Jumbo's very motivating ;-)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Week 22: 44.6 square feet

I did it! After a couple of long days of sitting at the frame, I achieved my goal of finishing off the centre of Jumbo before the end of my holidays.....and I humbly confess that I am totally loving it.....

There are maybe one or two spots I might want to change, but I am going to let it all settle take another look with fresh eyes when I return to work on it later in the year. I have a pretty full schedule for the next few months – between work, teaching and getting ready for the Annual.....I also have a couple of smaller projects I would like to work on. So I am going to be rolling up Jumbo this afternoon, with plans to haul it out again sometime in May.

•FYI• Current weight is 26 pounds and actual dimensions are 60.5" by 96.5" (vs charted dimensions of 63" by 102"), so the real hooked area is only 40.5 square feet (44.6 charted)

Happy New Year!

I can't believe that today is the 'Sunday' of my holidays....a time to organize and prepare for the return to reality tomorrow, when I return to work. This past two weeks has been the most wonderful rest for me. I've read (and read and read some more), watched some great movies, played games, gone tubing with the kids, almost knit a shawl, prepared and eaten many yummy things, visited with lots of family, and, of course hooked on Jumbo. It's been a time for relaxing and retreating, and I've enjoyed taking a bit of a tech break from my blog, reading other blogs and answering e-mail (and I will be spending time later today getting caught up, and clearing out my inbox).

A new year is usually a time for contemplation about changes you would like to make in your life. It's definitely not a clean slate -- and there is no reason why you need to wait for January 1st -- but for the first time in many years, I've been thinking about some resolutions that I would like to make. They are not so crazy that it will be impossible to accomplish them, but I do realize that for me having a defined goal is very important.

One of my resolutions is to read more books. I used to read A LOT, but in the last few years, I've been putting books aside in favour of other things, like hooking and knitting. Reading takes a lot of time and single focus, and I tend to gorge on books (reading at the exclusion of most everything else until I read the last page, for fear that I won't find time to get back to the story otherwise). Over the holidays, I was reminded how much I enjoy reading. I also took my time and read the same book over the course of 3-4 days...and re-learned that it's possible to savour a story. My reading goal for 2011 is to read a book an average of every 2 weeks, for a total of 26 novels over the year. I will be tracking my progress on the sidebar, if you're curious. I have quite a stack of books awaiting my attention, but I am always open to suggestions for a great read....and if you are looking for something new, might I recommend Louise Penny? I have just started book number three.

I also want to get my website online this year. I registered my domain a couple of years ago, but just haven't seemed to be able to move beyond that first step. My technology goal is that will be a reality by Fall 2011. I think it's going to take a lot of time, thought, creativity and learning to make this happen.

Of course I have a whole list of other things I want to accomplish this year, some personal, some business, and some very vague notions....but that's the beauty of a new year: it's a time of hope and endless possibilities.