Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Fabulousness and Favourites

I'm writing this on Tuesday night, before I leave for a five-city interview trip. I feel tired already....and I know that come Friday I will be longing for home, my bed, and some fun crafty times. Fingers crossed that Sunday lives up to its name, and that there is a good breeze to set the scene for some dyeing - a big box of 100 skeins just arrived and I'm itching to get playing in the pots.

:: if you like improv quilting and colour....or even improv quilting or colour, check out this beauty I happened upon by sheer accident earlier this week. Je l'aime!

:: ....then that blog lead me to another blog, that lead me to these fun finger puppets...and these ones. If only the people in my family were still little enough for these....I guess I will have to wait for the next generation. LOL!

:: while my next quilt is definitely going to be made with the Liberty Tana Lawn I splurged on last Fall in London, seeing this quilt the other day has me fantasizing about a quilt made out of velveteens - pure luxury!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I <3...

I am staying in the Hilton in Windsor (gotta love Hotwire!) and had to share thus quick snap of the awesome wallpaper in the bathroom. I so want some for my place.....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

it's you know where your hooks are?

I've been meaning to get around to mounting my old hooks in a shadow box since last Fall. There is only one problem - the box that I purchased (at Chapters) was too small to accommodate all of them. I know....a nice problem to have... :-)

A couple of weeks ago, at Ikea, I found some smaller ones (Ribba) that would perhaps make a better display on the wall. I picked up one, thinking I would see if it worked and how many I would really need. I haven't started with the job of mounting them yet - but my plan is to drill holes in the backing board, then cover it with some cloth (wool?) and hold them in place with fishing line. First up, I need to pick up some more frames. Hopefully I will be able to fit in a (never very quick) stop to Ikea when I'm on my road trip over the next few days.....

As for the original box, I think I'm going to use it to keep my 'new' tools in....scattered willy-nilly, but still visible. This original box has a hinged lid that is secured with a magnet, which will allow easy access. And hopefully I'll never loose a hook again. One can always hope....

Monday, March 26, 2012

the perfect weekend.

Mine went kinda like this...
Yummy homemade lattes with Vanilla Agave Syrup. Waking up the natural way - sans alarm clock. Getting back to proper eating, now that the birthday season is over for a little while (both my mum and dad have birdies in March, too). Tidying up and cleaning (almost) all of the corners of my place. Smelling Method Almond floor cleaner - and knowing that the floors not only look clean.....
Cleaning up my desk, sifting through the papers that were starting to slide off the pile. Feeling like there are so many fun things I want to start, that it took me a while to choose. Watching season one of "The Killing", and practically counting down to the two-hour season two premiere next Sunday night. Going for long walks. Finally settling on a new project that has been stewing since a December discovery...working out the kinks and falling in love with it, all over again. Modifying my plan and making many prototypes* fun, so quick, so rewarding. Mad Men. Sewing and pressing through the commercial breaks. Forcing myself to go to bed.
* I'm not quite ready to share yet.....but there will be pictures - and a pattern! - forthcoming. The pile above is some of the wools I was using - and the tools...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Fabulousness and Favourites

I'm just starting a self-made long weekend....and it's so nice to be able to laze about in bed, reading the news and checking a few blogs - even if I did wake up at the same time as if I were going to work! At this rate, though, I will be lucky to start 'working' at lunchtime. My wish list for the weekend is a long one.....drawing patterns, dyeing (if the wind blows the right way to make the yarn nice and fluffy), preparing yardage for a big dye spree (next weekend?), and experimenting with a couple of sewing projects that have been stewing. Hope you have a great weekend, too, and find some time to play and make.

:: I think I need to declare a moratorium on candy this Easter....and just eat real eggs, instead. Here is a great online tutorial on dyeing your own eggs with natural dyes, so you can have pretty and healthy at the same time!

:: Not that I want to lessen my odds of winning, but have you seen Christine's anniversary giveaway yet? Run - don't walk!

:: I so want to make some of these friendship necklaces for's just a matter of allowing myself a big enough window of time. Soon. Hopefully soon. I don't think the world is quite ready for me to sport them around my waist, yet though.... ;-)

:: One last one....check out this cool scarf - knit one row each day, replicating the colour of the sky that day. Perfect for people who only have a wee bit of time to work on a project each day....and what a unique way to record the weather!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Spring is in the air today....actually it's been so warm the past few days (low to mid 20s C), if it weren't for the little piles of snow you can still see here and there, you'd think it was summer. People are pulling out their summer clothes and walking around town in sundresses and shorts....and I'm hoping to lunch on the patio today - which would definitely be a first for March, I think.

I've always regarded the 21st as the first day of see it's also my birthday, and when I was a little girl, I was always told that I was born on the first day of Spring. So regardless of what is on the calendar (which for the last several years has shown the 20th), today is always my First Day of Spring. So happy First day of Spring to you!

A few weeks ago when I was travelling - and visiting Starbuck's on a daily basis - I was always on the look-out for the 'free song' cards. Surprisingly they seem to vary from store to store, so you can usually pick up different ones in different places. About half-way through my trip, I noticed some 'free app' I picked one up, and then proceeded to load Snapseed onto my iPad at the hotel. My first impression was that it was a nifty app - kind of like Instagram, but with a bit more control over the settings. So on my subsequent visits to Starbuck's, I started picking up extra cards to share.

I haven't played around with it as much as I would like to you, but my impression so far is that it's definitely easier (better?) on the iPad than on the iPhone....but it still works on the smaller device. And works well IMHO.

I took a couple of quick snaps of my new pens laying on my desk yesterday. Pictures were taken just with my iPhone - here are the before and after shots....

You can see much more interesting examples online...but if you have an iPad or an iPhone and would like to try it out for yourself and play around with your photos....drop me an email (fisheyerugs AT hotmail DOT com) and I will happily send you a code off of the back of one of my extra cards. First come, first served!

Monday, March 19, 2012

my comments on comments

First off, thank you so much for all of your comments lately. If you have a blog, you know how wonderful it is to get a comment....and when so many arrive at once (especially all of that Jumbo love yesterday - wow!), it's a little overwhelming - in a very good way! ;-) So thank you, dear readers, for taking the time to take part. I love reading every single one.

A while back, Tammy posted about commenting over on her blog, and asked people their thoughts on etiquette, expectations, etc. Although I didn't really leave my two cents at the time, I've been thinking about it a few times since.

I see comments as a furthering of a conversation. A blog is very much a one-way conversation - most of the time - and the comments are a way for people to 'nod back' and acknowledge they're listening, ask questions, and effectively further the conversation. Of course, I know (and stats would confirm) that a much smaller percentage of people leave comments than actually stop by to read my ramblings. Proportions probably similar to odds of winning a lottery!

I will sometimes reply to comments – if there is a real question being asked, if someone new stops by, if I have something to say, if time permits...or most often, if I am procrastinating doing something that I know that I should be working on instead . But many times I simply sit, smile, and read them, and promptly get back to work on whatever I was doing before I realized I had a new message. While I really cherish my little internet world, I also try to make a life beyond the computer. I need to make things, I need to read books, I need to talk on the phone with my family and friends, work, cook, eat, etc....and I really need to sleep for 8 hours each night - or everyone pays! There is simply not time to do everything I would like to do (not to mention all of the stuff I should do!), and managing my time is a constant struggle. In fact, I'm becoming convinced that perfection is a myth.....but that is a story for another day....

I will fast admit that I don't leave as many comments behind on other people's blogs as I should or as I would like to. To be honest, sometimes I try to leave a comment, but get frustrated by the multi-step process to do so (type comment, sign in, attempt to decipher the code, try a second time, approve the preview....only to have to wait for the the owner's approval in any case!), and sometimes my internet connection is super slow (and I don't have time to wait for each screen to load each or any of the above-mentioned steps), and sometimes I realize too late that I thought I was done, only to miss a final step at the end and get booted back to the beginning which time I've forgotten what I was saying in the first place. But sometimes the main reason I don't comment much is that I tend to over-psych myself out about written small talk ....whether it be in a greeting card or on a blog, I have a tendency to obsess. I'm not a fast thinker+typer (not that you can tell....LOL!), so sometimes when my spare time is scarce, I'd rather read more and type less.

So keep commenting - if you want to, I do love to get them! - or not, if you prefer to lurk, or you're just busy with life and making. That's perfectly fine, too. If ever you ask me a question, I will reply in the comments - and if you click the box regarding follow-up by email (otherwise I can't reply directly to you), I will be sure to copy and send you the answer to your question, so that you don't need to come back and check.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Week 41: 90 square feet (or thereabouts)

Well, I did it! Finished pulling loops on Saturday night, just after 8 o'clock. Pushed the furniture out of the way as best I could and then rolled it up and ventured into the bathroom to hop on the scales. (I sure hope that I never see such a large number when it's just me standing there - yikes!) When I did the math, it ended up weighing in at a whopping 43.3 pounds. I expect this number will shrink a bit once I cut away the excess rug warp around the edges, but imagine it will still be above 40 pounds. It's just tucked underneath in these pictures - the rug still needs a major pressing/steaming and binding.

It was my mum's birthday today, and we had a lovely day together. My sisters and I took her and AB and some of the kids out for all you can eat sushi feast for lunch (delish!), and then came home and sat around chatting into the evening, with cake and ice cream for supper. Somewhere in there we hauled my rug out onto the deck and attempted a photo shoot. It was impossible to get a proper picture of the whole thing at once.....without the aid of a step ladder or a professional basketball player - and we had neither nearby! Even my tallest sister couldn't get a square shot of the whole thing, while standing on a chair (that's her feet in the next picture - we're all wanna-be foot models in our family, I guess....LOL!). I will wait until later this spring when its a nice day out and spread it down on the grass and shoot it standing up above, on the deck. Hopefully that will do the trick!

Everyone wanted to 'try out' the rug, including the Pat (my parents' lab/Newf cross).....and these pictures help to show a bit of the scale.

I have a whole list of little things I wanted to mention about it, but they're still just darting around in my head, and I need to head to bed. I will try to jott a few down and share in a post later this week. For now, I'm just enjoying a little bit of bliss -- and finally again being able to sit in my living room without having to compete for space with wool bins and piles and the rug itself. Now onto the desperately needed dusting....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

the vacuum - it's for more than just the floor!

The wool dust and lint is everywhere in my place right now, and I am practically counting down the hours until Jumbo is done (just 22 squares to go - hopefully I'll be basking in the glow of completion this evening) and I can finally do a very thorough - and desperately needed - tidy and dust. In the meantime, I've just been trying to keep it off the floor around my workspace....and when I had my vacuum out last night, I happened to glance over at my rug-less frame and realized that it was time to clean off the gripper strips again. Have you ever done it before? It's very easy to do....

Just remove any attachments from your vacuum (so that you're down to just the bare nozzle), and run it across the gripper strips. The lint gets sucked away tout de suit, but some of the short threads of wool might need a couple of passes. I used to be very anal and help them along with a hook or a bodkin, but now I just leave the stubborn ones – I know they will soon be joined by friends! :-)

While the attachments are off, you can also give your cutter a quick pass, too. I just hold the nozzle over top of the plastic separating rings and slowly turn the crank a few times. Don't forget the bottom set of heads, too!

Personally, I've never found the little brush (that comes with the cutter) to be very effective at removing the lint that builds up under the plastic rings. If you ever feel that it's difficult or requires more effort to turn the handle while cutting strips, my first guess is that your cutter is full of lint. If you leave it unchecked, eventually the plastic rings won't be able to move freely and will begin to chip -- not good! With a regular vacuum to clear all the lint away, everything runs smoothly.

Hopefully these simple housekeeping hints will keep your tools is top shape.....but sadly they won't stop the lint from flying through the air and landing everywhere! LOL!

Happy St.Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Fabulousness and Favourites

Another week has come to an end....and although I was hoping to get back here with another post or two, I decided to put all of my time and energy into hooking this week. Things are looking hopeful (and being helped along with my working just a half-day today, so I can sit frame-side this afternoon) that I will be finished sometime tomorrow. I can hardly wait - and neither can the list of what I will work on next! It seems that the closer I get to the freedom of being finished, the faster the ideas are I'm thinking I might be in for a bit of a disappointment. Some prioritizing - and a reality check! - are definitely in order.

:: I've been indulging in a few treats fuel me along during my long hooking sessions. I've been having a real thing for peanut butter lately (yay Reese's!), but my latest discovery is the new Cadbury's Dairy Milk Pretzel + Peanut Butter bar, accidentally discovered while wandering the tempting centre-aisles at my local grocery store.

:: Lately I've been starting my day reading Karen Kahle's new blog: Primitive Spirit. Great writing, thoughtfulness....and lovely eye candy. Who could ask for more?

:: If you're into quilting, or just like to read about other people's thoughts on colour....check out In Color Order and her series on "The Art of Choosing" just don't forget to keep pushing "next" at the bottom - there are many, many posts in this series.

:: Did you see the new show Missing last night? Ashley Judd kicks butt - and I think it's my favourite new show in a long while.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The March/April/May issue of Rug Hooking Magazine arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Pretty exciting, if you ask me – and if you've seen it, you'll know why I was excited....

It all began about a year ago, around this time, when Deanne Fitzpatrick sent me an email inquiring about writing an article on me for RHM. It took me about half a second to bashfully agree. She sent me a list of thought-provoking questions, and gave me a month to labour over my answers. Sometime in the summer the article was written, and just before I left to go England I was asked to gather together some suitable photos. At the end of October I did a little photo shoot weekend at home (dodging raindrops while I snapped outside) and sent off a disc of images. Then I waited. And then I forgot all about it. Until the emails started arriving on Friday (I guess people in the US get their mags a day or two earlier than we do)....and it all came rushing back to me. The wait was over......but it was so worth it.....

Thanks so much to Deanne for her lovely words. I'm still blushing.

P.S. I only had a chance to flip though the issue and read a couple of articles so far, but must say (humbly, of course!) that it looks like a really good issue. There's also an article on Judith Dallegret, with great photos of her work. I'm so lucky to be in such great company! :-)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Week 40: 84.4 square feet

By the time the weekend arrived, this week was starting to feel like the week that never was -- it flew by so quickly, with just a huge pile of work (real, not fun) in its wake. It was like springing ahead by 5 days, not just an hour. Instead of making up for lost time on Saturday, I took the youngest 3 nieces and nephews tubing....and then went up to my parents for my dad's birthday celebration. We spent a few hours preparing and assembling 32 Cornish Pasties for the feast (once everything is sliced and diced, we have an assembly line and each person is responsible for adding an ingredient...and my two sisters do the sealing and traying. Fun, delicious....and enough for leftovers!)

Needless to say, I'm not quite where I was hoping to be on this end of Jumbo's border....but still pretty good progress considering all but 2 squares were completed yesterday. Just 89 squares left to go, and I will definitely be back at the frame tonight (and hopefully every night this week!) If I can get a good chunk done this week, I should be able to squeeze in the last bit on the weekend - for an even 40 weeks of actual or intended hooking. Wowza! I still can't believe it! The end is soooooo close.....

Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday Fabulousness and Favourites

This week has gone by at break-neck speed, and at the same time, it seemed like it was crawling by.... How is that possible? I'm not sure, but I do know that I have a lot of hooking ahead of me (Jumbo looks the same as it did on Monday....sadly), and that I'm looking forward to having a couple of days off from the office.

:: My newest favourite app for the iPhone is the Tom Tom GPS app. Yes, it's pricey ($49.99 for Canada only and $59.99 for Canada and the US)....but that's about the only drawback. If you don't have a GPS (and want one) and you have a newer iPhone (with internal GPS), I would definitely recommend it. A neat feature is that you can search in Google for the place you're looking for....which is great if you don't have a proper name in mind.

:: Twiggs in North Bay. I had to be in North Bay for work this week, and ended up at Twiggs for a couple of hours. I cannot say enough good things about this place....and the London Fog drink is dee-lish (Earl Grey teabag in steamed milk with vanilla syrup - so much better than it sounds). Oh, and the desserts in the case looked to-die-for good. If you're coming to the OHCG Annual in May, you might want to make a stop (there's a location just down the hill from the college/university - 501 McKeown). It would be a great place for lunch, a snack or light supper.

:: All you can eat Sushi places. I like sushi....and have eaten it in lots of different places, but this week was the first time I went to an all-you-can-eat place. Again, it was in North Bay: a place called JT Sushi on Lakeshore (I can't find their site, but if you google it, you will quickly find lots of reviews, maps, menus, etc.). Whenever I think of all-you-can-eat, I think buffet....and when I think buffet and sushi, I feel sick.....but this place provides table service. You order from the menu, they make it fresh and bring it to you. The menu is quite diverse and also includes things like terriyaki, tempura, soup, salad, dessert.....and a variety of Thai food. Another suggestion if you're travelling to NB in May.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

prep work

I must confess, I didn't pull a single loop last night. Truth be told, my hands were rebelling a little bit, following the marathon session I pulled on Sunday. And yesterday's busy day at work catching up (and sending a whopping 110 emails while I was there, amongst other things) didn't really help. All morning long, I felt like I was 80 years old and suffering from arthritis, while I pecked away at the keyboard....willing my fingers to work properly. It was a lot better by the time I arrived back home, but I still though a little break might be in order.

Rather than completely 'waste' the evening, I decided to do what I can to make the coming evenings' worth of hooking easier. First I popped up my little table and started drawing the gridlines, counting out the threads between the different sized sections, and crossing my toes that it would all align when I got to the other side. And it did! Then I started arranging my knotted bundles of strips.....and was so happy to discover that I'd pre-cut almost enough. I guess spending all of that time over the last few weeks while I've been cut up bundles for the other sides was worth it in the end - I had enough to go this far.....

...and only needed to cut for 9 or 10 more squares (to fill in the holes, above).

But with all of these piles, I did need to come up with a system for keeping my plan straight....and happily discovered that I had more than enough lids from my bins stacked up and waiting patiently until I'm finished with the bins, and they're are ready to go back on the shelf.

When they're all stacked up like this, it doesn't seem like so much is left to do, eh? Just 110 squares to go, plus the checkerboard (the equivalent of 11 more squares). Tonight I begin again....

P.S. Thanks again for all of the Jumbo love....your comments are motivating me to the finish line! xxoo

Monday, March 05, 2012

Week 39: 82.4 square feet

I arrived home at the end of the week, hooking Thursday and Friday nights, Saturday during the day, and Sunday all day and all night. I was on a mission to finish off this side -- and I just made it! Actually, I had a little time to spare, since I also hooked my edge row on the first side (it wasn't until I was mid-second-side that I had settled on what to use, and I've been hooking it in tandem with the rest of the border). Because of all of the vertical rows, I wanted a row of something going all of the way around to help put a halt to the curling that tends to happen otherwise.

I also decided to take a bit of time yesterday morning to fix up the part in the centre that has been bothering me since last year. I knew that if I left it until the very end, that I would be feeling so relieved to be finished that I would just leave it alone. So yesterday was the day, when I felt like I had some 'spare' time to mess with it.....and two hours later it was reborn. It took so long, just because it was very awkward to hook with such a large amount of (heavy) hooking in my lap, but I'm glad that it's now done.

There is the before (above) and here is the after (below)....

On Saturday morning I plotted out all of my wool for the remaining 45 squares, cutting what I needed to finish off this end. Having the colours pre-determined saves a lot of time when I'm hooking.....since I'm making multiple decisions at once, instead of one at a time. I'm going to try and do this with the last remaining side, this week. I'm hoping for a sprint to the finish, but doubting that it's humanly possible to work that much hooking in and around everything else - even the stuff that I can't really ignore for 7 days, like work, cooking and eating, sleeping (I need my beauty rest!), showering, etc. Fingers crossed I make good progress this week....

Friday, March 02, 2012

Mark your Calendars • R.U.G. on May 5th

I received this reminder earlier in the week.....and wanted to pass it along....


~ A Social Gathering For All Those Interested in Traditional Rug Hooking ~
Everyone Welcome!

May 5, 2012


Hosted by the Teachers Group!
Featured Teacher: Carolyn Clemens

Special Presentation by Jan Lord-Giraldi on the Hooked Rug Museum of North America

Location and Time
Simcoe County Museum
9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m

The Simcoe County Museum is located at 1151 Highway 26, Minesing, Ontario,
minutes northwest of Barrie.
From Barrie, follow Bayfield Street North and exit at Highway 26.
The Museum is on the south side of the highway.

Vendors, Auction, Refreshments, Entertainment

Do not forget to bring - your hooking projects for 'Show and Tell', a brown bag lunch with a mug,
and of course your name tag!
As always please remember: The museum is a nut free

Please bring
Any items you wish to donate to the Rug Hooking Museum of North America
Any items you wish to donate for auction to support the Simcoe County Museum

NEWS FLASH: “Scissor Sharpening Plus Fraser and Bliss Cutting Machine Clinic”

Reminder of upcoming dates and Hostesses

Fall R.U.G. is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2012. The host is "Others" group.
(those individual attendees who do not belong to a branch that is responsible for hosting at R.U.G.)

Friday Fabulousness and Favourites

I'm so happy it's Friday. Even though I have a few things planned for the weekend, it will be great to have some relaxing moments at home, too. And get some major hooking done - I hope! Here is this week's list...

:: washing dishes by hand. The warm water is so soothing to my hands when I've been hooking up a storm. Sometimes I will fill the sink for just a couple of things, just so that my hands can have a little soak.

:: The Needle Emporium. While I've ordered from Julie lots of times before, this week brought my first visit the stone and mortar shop....and if I had to describe it in just one word, I think it would be overwhelming. There is just so much lovely to look at - and touch.....but in the end, after wandering around like a lost kitten, I settled on enough Tosh Vintage to knit a cardigan (maybe this one?) in the summer (in Graphite) and Tosh Merino Light to knit another Alga (in Manor). Oh, and I also picked up a few assorted balls of Noro Kureyon Sock for my mama - they were such a great price (just $12 a ball!) Even though I won't really have time to knit until after the OHCG Annual (at the end of May), I'm looking forward to having some great projects to work on at the campsite.

:: Lov Organic Tea. I love a good bargain....and I have a hard time resisting great packaging. So I quickly indulged in picking up a few boxes of All my Lov tea assortment at Chapters when I saw them in the sale stacks for 75% off (of the regular price of $27). And now that I have savoured my first cup, I am already wishing that I'd bought more!

:: fancy food shops. Last week, Elaine and I went to check out McEwan's....and practically drooled the whole time we were there. When my cousin Laura took me to Whole Foods for the first time, she told me to "always take a basket, never take a cart" (or you will have a heart attack when you get to the check out)....and the advice applies here, as well. Pricey, but oh, so interesting and exciting and delicious and decadent. Mmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

at last

Man, it's good to home. It's fun to travel and explore....but there is nothing so sweet as stepping over the threshold and arriving home after some time away. Except perhaps waking up in your own bed.....but I will have to wait until tomorrow morning to experience that! :-D

As soon as I finish unpacking, I am going to just sit, hook, and relax tonight. I will catch up on email tomorrow - although I tried to keep on top of it while I was away, I was a bit too busy some (okay, most!) days. For some strange reason, I had this (false) sense that there would be heaps of spare time, and so grandiose plans of finishing my sweater, reading a couple of books, exercising, and of course, blogging were hatched. And swiftly abandoned. I didn't progress very far at all on that particular list.....but I did get a lot of work done, which was the real purpose of the trip, I guess. And eat quite a few wonderful meals (on the company's dime, which makes them even better). Oh, and a wee bit of shopping happened.....

Mostly tea -- all of these are newly added to my cupboard -- and yarn, and a few other things for my closet and camping in the summertime....but I will blog about that more later. But right now, I am going to go and sit and enjoy my cup of tea, and contemplate what I will 'watch' on Netflix in the background while I hook -- what a luxury to have that be the biggest decision I need to make before bed tonight! Back here in the morning....