Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What I learned at my own workshop

I taught a workshop last night and in the process, I learned a lot. It was a temari ball workshop that I was asked to give to a local stitching group. Here are the highlights of my lessons. I am sure that many little lessons were learned by me, but these are the BIG ones that really stick out in my mind.

Lesson # 1.

Set your price per head with a minimum number of heads.

I had agreed to do the workshop before agreeing to the price. Silly me. So last night I ran around the table containing 11 people for 3 hours and was paid $50. I had taught some workshops in the past through a weaving group that I belong to and we were paid $120 plus materials. I think that that is much more reasonable. Thankfully I received a kit fee in which I included a fee for the time it took me to make up the handouts (about 6 hours) and was promised for 15 kits. So I feel a little better about getting $95 for my efforts last night.

Lesson # 2

Have a maximum number of people.

In the case of temari balls, 11 was a bit too many. I couldn't keep an eye on what everyone was doing and there were the fast people and the slow people and some ended up waiting while others took up a lot of my time. Some people charged ahead thinking that they knew what they were doing and ended up having to pull out a lot of stitches.In temari, every step is important and not following the exact directions from the first will lead to problems later.

Lesson # 3

Don't expect people who know a lot in one area to be proficient in a related but different area.

In the case of last night, the group was a group of embroiders who range in age from mid 40's to 60+. When I asked my contact how experienced they were, she said that their group were all very good. In this case, a very good embroider does not translate into a good temari ball stitcher. The "expertise" of the group was one of the reasons that I agreed to host a workshop for such a large number. Live and learn.

Lesson # 4

Be VERY specific about the materials that you ask people to bring.

I thought that I had done this, but I guess that I was just specific and not VERY specific. For example I said "glass head pins" when what I should have said was "Glass head pins in the following colours and quantities , 8 green, 8 yellow, 8 red, 1 black and 1 white." Next time I shall know.

Lesson # 5

Buy the beer before you go and not on the way home.

We didn't finish until slightly after 10 and in Fredsville the Liquor stores all close at 10. Even if I flew, I couldn't have made it. And I sure could have used a beer last night after I got home.

Monday, January 30, 2006


So here we go. Thanks to the odd ball, I have my subject for today.

It's the tag of fours.

Four jobs you've had in your life.

1. Swing manager at a fast food joint. The swing shift was low manager on totem.

2. Summer student at an art gallery

3. Coffee shop lady in attendance.

4.Health food store worker. I actually med DH while working here. He said that I was the best thing he ever picked up there.

Four Movies you could watch over and over again.

This is a hard one for me. So I will go with movies I have watched more than 6 times.

1. Men with Brooms.

2. About a Boy

3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

4. Finding Nemo ( this one courtesy of baby N)

Four Places you have Lived.

This will be boring.

1. Lincoln,N.B.

2. Fredericton ,N.B.

That's it. Pathetic,eh?

Four Places you have been on Vacation

1. Cambrige, London, Devon, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, England

2.Glasgow, Edinburgh,Stirling, Highlands, Scotland

3. Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine

4. Skiff Lake, N.B.

Four Places You Want To Visit.

1. New Zealand

2. Newfoundland


4. Australia

Four websites you visit daily.

Sorry guys, my browser doesn't let me do that auto link thing. Unless I am doing it all wrong. Entirely possible.


2. Washington post

3. watchers web funny farm

4. oddball knittery( don't you feel special Kate)

Four things on the floor/trunk of your car.

1.Snow brush


3.chocolate bar wrapers

4.dirt/snow/ice/water/sand/mud depending on the time of year. I have kids, right. Kids=Dirt.

Four people I am tagging.

Well, actually , most of the people that I know who blog have already done this, and I don't think that it is a polite thing to tag people you don't know, ( kind of like sending chain mail letters to names picked out of the phone book, which I once did in a bid of desperation back in the days when snail mail was the norm and I was still afraid to break the chain) so there is only one person that I will tag and he will have to count as four.

1-4. Broken Joe

And here is a little bit of fun for those of you who have not yet seen it. I am a hornbeam and It seems quite accurate. And even if you don't perceive your self to be like your tree, maybe others do.

Have fun

Find your birthday and then find the definition of your tree. This is
really cool and somewhat accurate. Then send it to all you friends, so
they can find out what tree they fell from, but don't forget to change the
subject line to your tree.

Dec 23 to Jan 01 - Apple Tree
Jan 01 to Jan 11 - Fir Tree
Jan 12 to Jan 24 - Elm Tree
Jan 25 to Feb 03 - Cypress Tree
Feb 04 to Feb 08 - Poplar Tree
Feb 09 to Feb 18 - Cedar Tree
Feb 19 to Feb 28 - Pine Tree
Mar 01 to Mar 10 - Weeping Willow Tree
Mar 11 to Mar 20 - Lime Tree
Mar 21 (only) - Oak Tree
Mar 22 to Mar 31 - Hazelnut Tree
Apr 01 to Apr 10 - Rowan Tree
Apr 11 to Apr 20 - Maple Tree
Apr 21 to Apr! 30 - Walnut Tree
May 01 to May 14 - Poplar Tree
May 15 to May 24 - Chestnut Tree
May 25 to June 03 - Ash Tree
June 04 to June 13 - Hornbeam Tree
June 14 to June 23 -! Fig tree e
Jun 24 (only) - Birch Tree
Jun 25 to Jul 04 - Apple Tree
Jul 05 to Jul 14 - Fir Tree
Jul 15 to Jul 25 - Elm Tree
Jul 26 to Aug 04 - Cypress Tree
Aug 05 to Aug 13 - Poplar Tree
Aug 14 to Aug 23 - Cedar Tree
Aug 24 to Sep 02 - Pine Tree
Sep 03 to Sep 12 - Weeping Willow Tree
Sep 13 to Sep 22 - Lime Tree
Sep 23 (only) - Olive Tree
Sep 24 to Oct 03 - Hazelnut Tree
Oct 04 to Oct 13 - Rowan Tree
Oct 14 to Oct 23 - Maple Tre! e
Oct 24 to Nov 11 - Walnut Tree
Nov 12 to Nov 21 - Chestnut Tree
Nov 22 to Dec 01 - Ash Tree
Dec 02 to Dec 11 - Hornbeam Tree
Dec 12 to Dec 21 - Fig Tree
Dec 22 (only) - Beech Tree

YOUR TREE MEANS : (in alphabetical order)

Apple Tree (the Love) -- quiet and shy at times,lots of charm, appeal,
and attraction, pleasant attitude, flirtatious smile, adv enturous,
sensitive, loyal in love, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender
partner, very generous, many talents, loves children, needs affectionate

Ash Tree (the Ambition) -- extremely attractive, vivacious, impulsive,
demanding, does not care for criticism, ambitious, intelligent, talented,
likes to play with fate, can be very
egotistic, reliable, restless lover, sometimes money rules over the
heart, demands attention, needs love and much emotional support.

Beech Tree (the Creative) -- has good taste,concerned about its looks,
materialistic! , good organization of lif and career, economical, good
leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime
companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.).

Birch Tree (the inspiration) -- vivacious, attractive, elegant,
friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors
the vulgar, loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of
imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and content atmosphere.

Cedar Tree (the Confidence! ) -- of rare strength,
knows how to adapt, likes unexpected presents, of good health, not inthe
least shy, tends
to look down on others, self-confident, a great speaker, determined, often
impatient, likes to impress others, has many talents, industrious,
healthy optimism, waits for the one true love, able to make quick

Chestnut Tree (the Honesty) -- of unusual stature, impressive,
well-developed sense of justice, fun to be around, a planner, born
diplomat, can be irritated easily, sensitive of others feelings, hard
worker, sometimes acts superior, feels not understood at times, fiercely
family oriented, very loyal in love, physically fit.

Cypress Tree (the Faithfulness) -- strong, muscular, adaptable, takes
what life has to give but doesn't necessarily like it, strives to be
content, optimistic, wants to be financially independent, wants love and
affection, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied,
faithful, quick-tempered at times, can be unruly and careless, loves to
gain knowledge, needs to be needed.

Elm Tree (the Noble-mindedness) -- pleasant shape,tasteful clothes,
modest demands, tends not to forgive mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead
but not to obey, honest and faithful partner,
likes making decisions for others, noble-minded, generous, good sense of
humor, practical.

Fig Tree (the Sensibility) -- very strong minded, a bit self-willed,
honest, loyal, independent, hates contradiction or arguments, hard worker
when wants to be, loves life and friends, enjoys children and animals,
few sexual relationships, great sense of humor, has artistic ta! lent and
great intelligence.

Fir tree (the Mysterious) -- extraordinary taste, handles stress well,
loves anything beautiful, stubborn, tends to care for those close to them,
hard to trust others, yet a socialbutterfly, likes idleness and laziness
after long demanding hours at work, rather modest, talented, unselfish,
many friends, very reliable.

Hazelnut Tree (the Extraordinary) -- charming, sense of humor, very
demanding but can also be very understanding,knows how to make a lasting
impression, active fighter for social causes and politics, popular, quite
moody, sexually oriented, honest, a perfectionist, has a precise sense of
judgment and expects complete fairness.

Hornbeam Tree (the Good Taste) -- of cool beauty, cares for its looks
and condition, good taste, is not egoistic, makes life as comfortable as
possible, leads a reasonable and disciplined life, looks for kindness and
acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of unusual lovers, is
seldom happy with its feelings, mistrusts most people, is never sure of
its decisions, very conscientious.

Lime Tree (the Doubt) -- inte lligent, hard working, accepts what life
dishes out, but not before trying to change bad circumstances into good
ones, hates fighting and stress, enjoys getaway vacations, may appear
tough, but is actually soft and relenting, always willing to make
sacrifices for family and friends, has many talents but not always enough
time to use them, can become a complainer, great leadership qualities, is
jealous at times butextremely loyal.

Maple Tree (Independence of Mind) -- no ordinary person, full of
imagination and orig! inality, shy and reserved, ambitio! us, proud,
self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many
complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life, wants to

Oak Tree (the Brave) -- robust nature, courageous, strong, unrelenting,
independent, sensible, does not like change, keeps its feet on the ground,
person of action.

Olive Tree (the Wisdom) -- loves sun, warmth and kind feelings,
reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant, cheerful,
calm, well-developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free of
jealousy, loves to read andthe company of sophisticated people.

Pine Tree (the Peacemaker) -- loves agreeable company, craves peace and
harmony, loves to help others, active imagination, likes to write poetry,
not fashion conscious, great compassion, friendly to all, falls strongly
in love but will leave if betrayed or lied to, emotionally soft, humble,
needs affection and reassurance.

Poplar Tree (the Uncertainty) -- looks very decorative, talented, not
very self-con! fident, extremely courageous if necessary, needs goodwill
and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity,
great artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean toward philosophy,
reliable in any situation, takes partnership seriously.

Rowan Tree (the Sensitivity) -- full of charm, cheerful, gifted without
egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, unrest, and even
complications, is both dependent and independent, good taste, artistic,
passionate, emotional, good company, does not forgive.

Walnut Tree (the Passion) -- unrelenting, strange and full of
contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon, unexpected
reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and
uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired, ingenious
strategist, very jealous and passionate, no compromise.

Weeping Willow (the Melancholy) --likes to be stress free, loves family
life, full of hopes and dreams,attractive, very empathetic, loves
anything beautiful, musically inclined,loves to travel to exotic places,
restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live
with when pressured, sometimes demanding, good intuition, suffers in love
until they find that one loyal, steadfast partner; loves to make others

Friday, January 27, 2006

Where are passing gypsies when you need them?

So last Friday, I played host to a couple of extra kids. Liz's kids as it were. It was one of those rare days that my patience was boundless. Usually the noise created by these six kids is enough to wake the dead, cause significant hearing loss, drive me around the bend, cause fire to spew from my ears, eyes, and mouth. You know the routine. On my nice days, my last words are usually "If you want to make noise, take it outside, otherwise, be quiet." Nine times out of ten, they go out. They are wize, these children. This magical day, their noise making wasn't bothering me. It might be that they were actually being creative instead of just loud. They made, or found musical instruments , got out the tape deck, and proceeded to record their first single. "Dancin' with the Monkeys" This is their band picture. Later, we created the video to go with the single. What can I say, our kids are unique. Strange. Wonderful.

Note the authentic costuming. Pay special attention to the headdress of M-boy in the middle back row. Yes, gentle reader. It is a chicken. Little did Liz know when she called him her little chicken when he was a baby, that the name would stick.
To the left of M-boy is M-girl. My multi-layered, air tasting, xylophone playing eldest. This is a picture to show to her prom date.
Completing the back row is #1 son S. #1 because he beat his brother by 10 minutes. I think he was going for a Jack Sparrow look. Pirates of the Caribbean ya know. He does have a sword that you can't really see clenched in his right hand. Pirates 2 is coming soon and we can't wait!
In front of S is second son L. Or cool cow wizard. A couple or years ago, he couldn't decide if he wanted to be a cow or a vampire for Halloween, M-girl, very logically said, "Why don't you go as a vampire cow" The best of both worlds. Instead of Trick or Treat, he said"I want to drink your milk!" in his best Count Dracula voice.
Front and center is wee N on the recorder. And yes she was every bit as bad as you can imagine. But some humming cute!
And lastly is I-girl. Note the tongue, the hand gesture, the steady stare into the camera. This girl could already be a seasoned rock star.

And there you have it folks! Dancin' With The Monkeys!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cat deserting a cooling heat vent

I don't know how this picture ended up on the camera, but there it was and I decided to share.

Happy day all.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My balls

Actually it is only one ball. I have been doing trials with creating patterning with needle felting. So I started with a simple sphere and started adding swirls and spirals of colour. I think that next time I will start out with dyed fleece underneath instead of white.You can see the white peeking out from between the colour in the bottom photo. I quite like needle felting, but prefer the surface of a wet felted piece, so I am going to continue with more experiments before committing my hand to wet felting. Also my wool ( Briggs and Little from undisclosed sheep type) may not have the same surface when finished as the merino that Denise Richard uses with wonderous results. It's a budget thing. I can get a generous pound of B&L wool for $10. Plus I get to go for a nice drive in the country.

And one for Dudley Spinner.I know that you like to see what people do with your roving and I spun a tiny skein from the sample that you sent. It looks so like a forest floor that I am going to use it as such in a small tapestry. But that probably won't happen just yet. I haven't set the twist yet and it is still some what "highly energized" . I tried to e-mail it to you, but there was a short circuit between the chair and the keyboard and it didn't want to attatch. I can't figure it out.

Thanks All

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Do we have contact?

LOOKLOOKLOOK!!!!A picture of my "studio"! Everything is safely out of reach of little hands. This is one of my "studios" around the house. A drawer here, a shelf there, and the top of the toy cabnet.

My hand before dyeing.

My hand after dyeing.

And... Drum roll please... A sock that I HAVE been working on. It looks kinda camoflageish. But I love the colours and the wool is so soft and not itchy. I wish that I knew what it was. It has been in my stash for about 4 years now and the label is long gone. It was from Fleece Artist in Nova Scotia.

And on a political note, Conservative minority up here, which means that they are on a very short leash and will not be able to push hard nosed right wing religeous views, for which I can only be thankful. Believe what you believe, but don't try to ram it down my throat. I am all for the seperation of church and state.

And on a technical note, can anyone tell me why, when I imported my pictures :-) they all went up to the top of the page even if the cursor was at the bottom of the compose page? Any quick tips? Or is it just my browser thingie. I use Safari on a Mac.

Thanks all.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The band wagon

If you are Canadian, please go vote. If you are American, Vote the next time that you are able to. I'd like to say something like do your part to get the ass monkey that is ruining your country out of office, but I might offend some people, so I won't. Let us all ensure that the rights of others are not trampled, even if we disagree with their point of view. The obvious excecption is when their actions or views hurt others.

On an almost positive note, I TOOK PICTURES ON A DIGITAL CAMERA YESTERDAY. So where are they you ask? Hubbie borrowed a camera from work and when we went to move them to the computer, The wrong cord was included in the camera case. He will ( hopefully) get the right cord today, which means maybe tomorrow there will be pictures to look at.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Catching Shit

As some of you know, I have a two year old who has learned how to deal with the velcro closures on her diaper. She is potty training, although loosely. No pun intended. So there I was, yesterday, typing away and she runs into the room sans diaper. She has a rather concerned expression on her face. Uh oh, think I. Do you have to poop in the potty? Nooooo was the quavering reply. She started to run out of the room and.... plop. Hurryhurryhurry! say I let's get to the potty. Noooooo. again she says. I see something else starting to make its way out and so what do I do? You read the title. I caught it. So here I am laughing, she's crying and I have warm baby shit in my hand. At least I didn't have to wash the floor. I mean really, I disposed of the poo in the toilet and washed my hands, which I do at least two dozen times a day, I only wash my floors on average every two months. And that is when the in-laws are coming. I chose the easier clean up. I suppose that I did have to clean up the other plop, but it landed on a throw rug, which, after disposing of the poo, I threw in the washing machine. Easy clean up.

The other day , she came in the room, holding her diaper loosely between her legs , squatted, and started to pee. Well, you can imagine what happened. Diapers weren't designed to work well that way. It ran all over the floor. Spot clean. So I said Noooo! That's not what you do, you pee in the potty. Oh, she says. Stops and runs to the potty and finishes! Wow! She has some degree of control. I really do have to take this potty training a little more serious.

I suppose that my two months is almost up. I shall have to think seriously about mopping again. I don't think that I would hate it so much if I didn't have to deal with all of the stuff that is in the way. You know what I mean. I think that I could find enjoyment in mopping an empty room. Ahhh, space.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I love the CBC

Today on the noon hour show on CBC radio, an author named Shirley Lock (or Locke, I am a bad speller) was interviewed. She wrote a book about her father who was, and still is at the age of 80, a country doctor who takes at home phone calls and makes house calls. There are still doctors who do this? Who knew?!? The wonderful thing about the book is that it is called "The Ladies of the Sock Drawer" because it is told from the point of view of his socks that have been hand knit by some of his patients over the last 60 years! Of course a doctor would have to wear socks when he went out on calls and they would have seen and done all sorts of things. The "ladies" are named after the ladies who had knit them and they only tell their stories on the night of remembrance day. They only talk then because they feel that it is important to share old stories with the new socks, and to hear from the new socks what the doctor has been up to over the past year, and well, to talk every night might lead to gossip and there is the privacy of the good doctors patience to conceder.

Speaking of socks, mine have more rows and more mistakes as I knit some more on them last night and I kept dropping stitches. I didn't even have the excuse of alcohol in my system. I brought the recycling back today and so can justify spending what little money I got on beer. Maybe I'll try knitting tonight with some beer in my system and see if I do any better. I know that these will be blue ribbon socks in my heart only.

My felted hand is coming along nicely. I am going to (GULP) dye it. I just have to take a deep breath and do it. I have decided to put a base on it and have it as if it is coming out of water or some such thing. Could be interesting. I am not quite sure how I am going to go about it or how well a felted thingie will dye. Has anyone ever dyed already felted things?

And on the other "hand" I am sitting here waiting for ..... Goat meat. My upstairs neighbour's brother(I think) has some goat meat that he had got for someone in town who doesn't want it. Would I like some? Free food to feed my ravenous hoards. Do I look stupid? Really, my kids make piranhas look like picky eaters. And the boys are only 8! Some day they will both be 15! And then 16, and I will have to feed them for at least two more years after that ! I'll just get rid of the table and chairs and put in a food trough. 54 jars of dills left out of the 92 (was it) that I put up this year. I just checked and it was 91, so I was close. We didn't start eating them until October. I have pickle pigs. In fact, the other day when I had spare kids courtesy of our snow day,someone asked if they could open a jar of pickles, and I said "sure". Like piranhas, they were. Less than 3 minutes into it, the only thing left was the dill sprigs and a few pepper corns. I am glad that they like my cooking and pickling and that none of them are truly picky eaters.

What do all of you think of the pathetic excuse of a spell checker that comes on blogger? So far as I can tell, most everything else about this site is great, but the spell checker SUCKS! And I am a bad speller. I often go to google to check spelling words that this spell checker doesn't get. Like "piranhas". Ya know. The little fish with the big teeth? I'm thinking that I am not the only person in the history of blogger that has used this word. And another small thing, but it also refuses to accecpt that north of that east/west line some miles south of me, colour is spelled with a "u". Neighbour too.

Look at that! A whole post and I didn't mention the weather! Well there was that snow day reference, but that doesn't count.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Snow day

Here is another great reason to be Canadian. Snow days. Y'all in Florida just don't get 'em. So today, because of the threat of freezing rain ontop of our "snow packed and slippery roads" gave the kids a day off from school. No lunches, no hustling reluctant kids out of bed, no "would you just hurry up!?!?!?" I have to admit that it is great that I am a stay at home mom and don't have to scramble to find someone to take care of my kids. Bonus. In fact, this morning, I had three extra kids due to the fact that Liz had classes this morning and had her own and one spare anyway. It was not as bad as one would think. 7 kids and there is pretty much always someone to play with and the cool new computer game for those that want to sit quietly and do some logical thinking. It is called "Zoombenies logical journey." Yeah, what can I say excecpt that even I find it challenging to try and solve the puzzles that are presented. It is a good game. Add seeing as it was not FREEZING out , there was also the outdoor option that a few kids took for a while. Looking out the window now...it is positively dumping! It is going to be some slick out there. A few days ago we had "flurries" that dropped about 3 inches which was then packed and so ontop of this the freezing rain lands and creates a weak skating rink. I do tend to go on about the weather, don't I? It's a Canadian thing, I've heard. I tend to talk about the weather much less in the summer. "Some hot, eh?" is about the extent of it. Occasionally " Some dry. Sure could use some rain." Neither of which can be taken as a complaint, mind you. Just a statement of fact. I DON'T complain about the heat.

Speaking of complaining... We in Canada are in the final throws of an election. Next Monday is the big day. I am mildly interested in politics. It does matter to me who leads our country. I am going on vote on Monday. But after 6 weeks of everyone attacking everyone else, I am getting kinda tired of it all. I was just wondering how all of you Americans deal with a whole YEAR of this shit. I think that I would go stark raving mad having to listen to speeches and promises and bullshit for a whole year. 7 weeks is long enough. Another reason that I am a proud Canadian.

But I still like import beer.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Yea of little faith

I worked on my sock last night while watching a movie, The Birdcage. I think that there are a few more errors in my sock than there were before, but seeing as they shall only grace my feet and I shall not display them for inspection to any keen knitter, I can live with them.

So I am looking out the window at "flurries". Looks like snow to me. And there is a windchill of -20 this morning and I suggested that my 11 year old wear her snow pants and she refused. Sigh. It has started. Cool wins out over warm. I don't think that she is in danger of frost bite but it is a 20 minute walk to her school. Her choice. Her consequences. So long as they are not endangering her, I shall bite my tongue when she makes choices that I don't agree with. How did my mother do it? Or my grandmother? GOD! That woman had 17 kids! Yup, you read right, 17. Good old back woods New Brunswick RC. Apparently when mom was young (she was #3) when the priest came around, if Memere wasn't pregnant or carrying an infant, he would say that she wasn't doing her job. Her job being, of course, to breed more Catholics. I think that the pope should try having 17 kids and doing all of the work that comes with them. Maybe he would change his tune on birth control. Could you imagine cooking,on a wood stove no less, for 17? Mom left home to go work before her youngest brother was born. In fact my older sister is a year older than our youngest uncle.

We've come a long way, baby!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

It's winter again

Not that I didn't enjoy the past few days of warm weather,+14 C on Friday, but it is somewhat less worrying to have winter weather in the winter. -10 C with a wind chill of -18 C. Now I can get back to bitching about the cold. In the summer I NEVER complain about the heat so that in the winter I can bitch with a clear conscience. Let's face it. There is quite a bit more to complain about in the winter. The cold for one. Heating bills. Fresh veggies, or at least what the grocery stores try to pass off as fresh. The price of the aforementioned this time of year. Snowsuits. Wet mittens and that distinct odor that accompanies them. KIDS INSIDE!!!!! Coughs, sniffles, runny noses, congested chests,cold feet, fevers, chills and shivers. So what if it gets hot and humid in the summer. Feet in a kiddie pool and cold beer in the hand always work for me. But I live in Canada. If I lived in Texas or India, the bitching might be the other way around.

The hand is almost done. It is nicely formed and now has knuckles and some of the major palm lines. I am still unsure as what to do with the below the wrist part. And I think that I might colour this one. I am working on a test piece to see what embellishing with colour might look like. Or I might just drop it in a pot of dye. More testing and trials needed. There is something so satisfying about repeatedly poking a sharp object into something and having it create instead of destroy. I can't think of anything else that could withstand a felting needle and not come out like mush. Wool rocks!

The sock has stalled. I will work on it tomorrow. I promise! No, really, I will!

Hubbie has found a new way to waste time


It is satellite images of the earth. You can go look anywhere. We found my sister's flat in Scotland, His brother's in BC, Various places that we have visited. There are some areas that are quite clear and others that haven't yet been rendered in high resolution. For example, Fredericton downtown, where I live is quite blurry. It looks fine from 10,000 feet, but when you zoom in, it get kinda blurry. But Just outside the city limits too the east, we were able to pick out a couple of friends' houses. Who knew? Warning, it gets somewhat addictive for some people. Kinda like Snood.

Friday, January 13, 2006

April in January

Yes indeed. As much as I am loving the mild weather (+9 C forecasted for tomorrow) I am concerned. How long before global warming really rears it's ugly head and my fair city of Fredericton becomes like Venice? Every spring the Saint John river floods. I grew up about a ten minute drive down river in a little burrow on the outskirts called Lincoln. My Father, a dairy farmer, owns about 200 acres down that way, right on the river. It is beautiful. I had an idyllic childhood roaming the fields, playing in the barn, and hanging out with cousins imported every summer from Montreal. But, every year in the spring there is a flood as the snow upriver melts. Some years, we reach flood stage and then the water recedes. No big deal seeing as water rarely came over the road.Others, like last year, are what one could call doozies. My parents could only reach their house by boat. My brother has a wonderful picture of the lane to my parents house taken from a canoe. Nice adventure, but not what one would call convenient. Not to mention the clean up of the basement.

Is this the way that it is going to be? Already the Inuite in the north of Canada are having problems because in their considerably long winter, they rely on the ice as their roads. Some of the communities are quite remote and once the ice goes, or becomes unsafe, for some, it is either LONG trek's overland, or air travel. The ice is becoming unsafe earlier every year. Which means that there is more time for the permanent ice pack to melt. And that water is going somewhere. Ocean levels rise. Fredericton will be flooded. That sucks. How long will it take? And how long is it going to take big business to cleanup their act and stop contributing to the mess. Can we save our planet, or have we gone past the point of no return yet? What will my kids have when they grow up? When I look at the changes that have taken place since my father-in-law way born (he's 82), and I project into the future, to when myself, or even farther to when my kids hit that mile stone, I can only wonder what will be left by our consumptive society.

On a more immediate note, the outdoor skating rinks are all going to be pooched by the end of the day. Apparently it takes about two weeks to get a rink built up. When we hit below freezing again, the rink making guys are going to assess whether or not it is feasible to build them up again. I hope they can.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Rain and a hand

On the weather scene, today we are scheduled for a couple of inches of rain and above freezing temperatures. Won't that be fun when it freezes. We have a couple of inches of snow on the ground so we are looking forward to a slushy mushy mess. Sidewalks are going to get interesting.

On the plus side, I was cleaning the top of my dresser the other day (read "catch all") and found an old deck of tarot cards. I though, "What the heck" and shuffled, thought " What should I know?" and pulled a card. The basic interpretation was "take a definite step towards a change in your direction". So I have decided to get together a body of work and get my self a gallery show. I would like to apply for Canada Council Creation Grants at some point in the future, Which means that in order to be eligible, I need to be creating. I need to have a body of work. And I need to have been "recognized by my peers" which I take to mean having had a show or two. I have an idea for my first BIG project that I will need cash for and I guess that now is a good time to start on prototypes. I have started by needle felting a hand that is modeled on my own. It is much harder than I thought. I have done needle felting before, but my creations were rather soft. This past summer I did an artist in residency week term with Kim Vose Jones. I wish that I had photos of her creations to show here. They are magical. She takes mythical creatures and creates them out of felt. The average size is about 10 inches high and into each goes about a pound of fleece! These things are FIRM. Who knew? So I decided to make my new hand firm. I have worked about 6 hours on it and I now have a general hand shape. I have to start building up the pads on the palm and nuckles on the back. The fingers are still a little thick too. Can't have thick fingers now can we? I am uncertain as to what to do once I past the wrist. Right now, it is still pretty loose fleece. I am keeping my options open and my fleece unfelted for now.

M is still on my loom, although I have seen very little progress lately. I am going to have to light a fire under her butt. I want my loom back to start weaving for my show. Where and when???? Who knows. I just know that it is going to happen.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Do you hear that?

That, my friends, is the sound of silence. Well, the baby is watching a video, and there is a load of laundry in the washing machine, but other than that, it is quiet. It is THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!! Gotta love it! I can clean up and not have it immediately undone, Lunch for only two, And the true silence of nap time. Although nap time shall soon be going out the window. Yesterday, wee N made it through out the whole day without falling asleep and was in bed at a decent time. She became only a little unmanageable at the end of the day. As for potty training, no progress. Still more puddles on the floor than in the potty, as well as a few other things landing on the floor. Ick.

I have about 3 inches on sock #1, and I am gearing up to do a temari workshop at the end of the month. I am getting a bunch of balls in the various stages ready. I finished my "this is where we are heading" ball. No weaving right now. M is still on the loom, She is about half way through the weaving process. I hope to convince her that she should finish soon. I am going to make up a couple of warps to dye and hopefully get them dyed before spring. Dyeing is not something that I like to do when I have little hands to help, if you know what I mean.

It is gently snowing outside right now. We are suppose to get a couple of inches in the next day or two. The kids will be glad. They built an incredible fort in the yard during a mild spell. It had steps, a slide,and archway and a lookout tower. They carved a face in one of the walls. And then it started to rain. Quite heavily. And it sort of partially melted. The kids have been waiting for more snow since.

Friday, January 06, 2006


O.K. Christmas is over. The cookies are gone. The chocolate is gone. All of it. The candy is all gone with the excecption of a HUGE candy cane that someone bought for baby N. That will get divided between the three older kids. I don't care for candy cane. But in the face of sugar withdrawal I might consider it. My problem is the wee bit of weight that I have put on during the holiday season. All bets are off and I do not say no to my food desires in late December. And then there is getting rid of the leftovers that sometimes lasts into January. The things that we have to do. They are all gone now and I find my self trolling the fridge and cupboards for sugar containing substances. I am trying to content myself with celery. It's not working. Although I once heard that you burn more calories chewing celery than are contained in the fool stuff. I can only hope.

School starts in three days. And for that I am thankful. Sleeping in has been great, but running errands with my kids is like herding cats. I took them downtown yesterday to skate at an out door rink , warning them that we would not be staying for a long time because little N would get bored, and cold , and hungry and cranky which would make her cry. When I said that it was time to go( 6 times) they finally came into the little skate changing hut so thoughtfully provided by the city, the baby was starting to whimper. Skates off. Boots on. 5 minutes. Whimpers are starting to be punctuated by crying. Big clue people. Get her home. What do the other kids do? Run out on to the ice again to go "booting"!!!! If one does it, they all seem to think that permission has been given. Drives me nuts. And they wonder why we don't go lots of places. At least,as of Monday, I will only have to herd them out the door in the morning.

M's scarf is coming along nicely. I told you I would let her weave. And she has done it all herself( with a few pointers and reminders) She is weaving a beautiful colour and weave in eggplant and plum. Very subtle and will not show too many mistakes. Two shuttles you know, so there are bound to be a few. The tree was in my weaving corner for the past two weeks and the loom was in her bed room. Neither room is very large and it was good to get the tree down and everything back to where it belongs. Did I mention that we are spacially challenged. That means 6 people, 1 cat, 3 bedrooms, kitchen, small bathroom, living room and what I shall call DH's room of piles. Squatters rights I guess. The family has expanded, the stuff has expanded , but the space has not. Soon please, Great Spagetti Monster, soon.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

How much is too much?

The other day, instead of cleaning in the back shed (too cold out there) I attacked my boys room. I got a grocery bag of garbage out of there including the stuff in their very small garbage can. And so now I have several questions.Why can't those boys put garbage in the garbage can? Why is it that most of the stuff in their garbage can is stuff that I put in there? I mean, I understand that there are some grey areas in what is considered garbage depending on who's eyes are doing the viewing, but there are definitely things that are garbage in anyone's eyes. Like....small bits of string, blister packs from Christmas presents, cardboard backs from Christmas presents, small plastic bags that have been torn open by impatient hands. You see where I am going here? Add to that scraps of paper and bits of crud, and you have GARBAGE. I suppose that the answer to my question is the same answer to the question " Why can't they put their clothes in the laundry hamper?" The floor is easier.
Next question.... How much lego is too much? I think that we are just about there. I have been buying lego for Christmas and birthdays since they were old enough to to play with the little stuff. They make amazing things out of it, but almost never large things. Usually they are space ships or aliens to go in the space ships. Picking up all of the lego, including all of the pieces that had migrated under the dresser made me think that we had enough lego. In fact I did not buy ANY lego this Christmas for anyone. They have two plastic tubs that are about 3'X2' and about 8" deep and they are FULL. Too full. I think that we need another tub. They have a hard time finding any pieces because they like the little ones and they sink to the bottom. No wait, they have the perfect solution, just dump them on the floor and shove the excess under the bed. My dream house now has a lego pit.

On the crafty side, I have done it! I have started a sock. I knit standing up in my bedroom, ( which is just off of the kitchen) and this negates the problem of a small girl crawling up on my lap and asking for a hug. Or at least telling me that I need a hug. The knitting stuff is in a bag on the top of my dresser which is tall enough to keep away curious hands. I started it two days ago and have an inch done. Sigh. My father-in-law tells stories of two of his aunts getting together and sitting and knitting socks and chatting. He said that once they started, they may have glanced down when they turned the heel and finished within a couple of seconds of each other. Now that is pratice!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

Well, Happy New Year one day late.

We had a great time New Years eve. The whole lot of us went to Linda's and ate, drank and were merry. The kids watched a variety of videos and the only one who fell asleep before we left at 2:00 was baby N. My kids have stamina! Sue played some games with the kids while we helped in the kitchen and then the only other game that we played was Monopoly. It had been a while since I have played with adults( my son L is the game player in the house) and I actually came away holding most of the property and all of the money! For once. A sweet sweet victory. If I could only get some money and property in real life....

DH went back to work today. No rest for the wicked. The kids all have another week off. No rest for the weary( that would be me.) There seems to be so much to do and most of it centers around cleaning and organizing. If only I could really start to chuck stuff. But most of the things that I want to chuck belong to someone else. And they tend to get a bit upset when I start fooling with their stuff. In fact that is my biggest threat to get the kids to clean their rooms " Either you clean it...Or I will!" They all know that when I clean, I make good use of the garbage can.

The older kids have all gone off to play at a friends house and the baby is asleep. I have blessed silence for the next hour or so. After doing the chopping and prepping for supper, I think that I will attack the back shed with a garbage bag in preparation for that most sacred of all days... GARBAGE DAY!