Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween at the Craft College

Or, another reason that I like my place of employment
Today is Halloween, as most of you know. Although I didn't have to work today, I did have some business downtown that took me near the school around noon.

O.K. I'll admit it. I planned my errands around being downtown around noon so that I could be at the school for the annual parade and contest of costumes. About 75% of the people that were around today were dressed up. Some had subtle costumes, and some went all out.

I took a lot of pictures and so I am going to spread them out over the next few days. South America celebrates the Day of the Dead over several days, so I don't think that it is president setting.

And here in no particular order are some of the costumes. A lot of them were made by the individual wearing them. The students really are a creative bunch.

Lily Geisha (tied 2nd place)
Killbot (honorable mention)
Poison Ivy (1st place)
Ghost (not in contest)
Foxy Lady, Rachel (who is going as a Cougar tonight) and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas

Eve (note the apple)
Cow (in case you didn't guess)

Captain Haddock (Blistering Barnacles)
Cougar in Waiting, and C as.....I'm not sure what. I have to admit that the noose kind of threw me for a loop (no pun intended)
Funky Fairy (tied 2nd place), Bride of Frankenstein (ties 3rd place) and Twister
Black Bunny of Halloween and Steve the Retired Reaper

Tune back later for more from the crazy place that I call work......

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Well traveled

A number of weeks ago, I received a tentative e-mail asking if I had found a wee package in the mail. I could only reply "nope".

I had sent my sister a package with some handmade soap, a CD, and a few other small items for Christmas one year. It never arrived. Around the middle of March, I had visions of some postal worker with sweet smelling hands listening to "the Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald". I thought that the same fate had happened to the wee package from Scotland.
Imagine my surprise (and glee) when I looked in the mail box today and saw a wee package!

And what a package! Books, people! Books!

The first was a book about weavings of the southwest and their inspiration. I read all the Tony Hillerman books that I could get my hands on. I loved the descriptions of the Navajo way of life and the incredible beauty of their surroundings. The book is full of photos of the landscape as well as weavings and trading posts.

The second book is one written by a very special Hobbit. The world renown and widely read T.
You can read interviews with her, here and here.
I just finished the book that I was reading last night and I am starting on A La Carte as soon as I am in bed. Wahooo!

Thank you very much for your thoughtfulness, my friendly Hobbits. I will treasure both books for a long time to come. I'll even let Mira read A La Carte when I am done.

And the reason that the books were so long in coming? They took the long route from Scotland to Canada.

I think that I feel a little jealous

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

red handspun

New red handspun scarf. You can see a bit of a purple silk one peeking out from the corner trying to steal the show but it will get showcased later.
I am loving doing the handspun scarves. And not only because I love the spinning part. Once the yarn is made, the rest of the weaving process is rather quick. I use a fine weft so that the beauty of the warp is not lost. I love the way the colours subtly change and flow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

On the loom

Actually, as of this afternoon, off the loom.

These are cotton chenille scarves in colour and weave. I bought a lot of chenille yarn a few years ago and I have been slowly working my way through it. Along with making "stash scarves", the other best use that I have found for chenille is the colour and weave scarves.

One warp (this one, two white, two dark blue, and one blue/gray) and by altering the colour of the weft you can get different patterns.

The first one is a weft of two white, two blue/gray.

The second, one white, three dark blue.
The third, two white, one dark blue.

I'm not sure what I am putting on the loom next. I have three warps to chose from. Another colour and weave chenille warp, one dyed cotton, and one dyed fine wool.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hump Day

Skeins that have been dyed by me within that last couple of weeks. Some I like, some, not so much. But that is the way that is goes sometimes. And one thing that I have learned from selling my wares, is that different people have different tastes.

While I was at the lake this summer, we actually spent most of the time there just as me, Bill, and the kids. Uncle Sandy spent about 50% of the time with us, but the rest of the time it was just us. For the first time.

One of the things that happened was that I felt that it was OK to do a little bit of exploring in the recipe drawer. I has seen some old cookbooks when I was exploring in a gentle sort of way, but I am not sure how Grandma would feel about me laughing and snapping photos of some of the recipes in these cook books.

As you can see, the Coronation Cook Book was indeed tried and tested as well as well used. Check out the date. This book was Bill's Paternal Grandmothers.

And this was his mothers when she was a young woman
As you can see, another well used cook book. I am always suspicious when I see a cookbook that is pristine. Either the cook had one of those cook book shields, or the book was never used! Not so in this case.

I had quite a a good time looking at the various recipes. Some of which I snapped am image of for future reference, some of which I thought were funny or odd.

The chili recipe falls into the odd category. What I find odd about it is that it says it serves 12! And there is no chili powder. In a chili! Nor any other seasonings. I don't know about you, but when I make chili, there are all kinds of veggies in there along with the traditional beans and meat. And Chili Powder galore!
I also got a chuckle at the last line in the dressing recipe above the chili recipe.

Tomorrow.... Whats on the loom!

Monday, October 20, 2008

End of a season

Yesterday was the day that we hauled out the garden. It was a beautiful calm sunny day and so onto our bikes we hopped and pedaled our way out to the garden.
Along the way we heard several flocks of geese doing their annual migration. A couple of groups stopped on the river to have a rest (and maybe a snack). They were quite far away and my telephoto will only do so much, so sorry for the less than crisp photos.
While we were pulling dead tomatoes, peppers, and beans (not to mention a lot of very much alive weeds) out of the garden plot, we heard more geese calling and I ran to grab my camera. They were flying onto the sun when I snapped this, so I will admit that I am quite happy that I managed to get them at all!
Along with the weeds, there was one Very Large Radish. As we pulled up the creeping charlie encrusted carpets, and dug out the remaining pea fences (darn you deer!), I came across a small radish patch that Mira had wanted to let go to seed. She is very much a gatherer type of person, and had wanted to grow and save seeds from radishes so that she could plant them next year. The radish had indeed grown a few seed pods (OK, a LOT of seed pods) but they were no where near mature. It was decided that we would pull the radish patch. Imagine my surprise when that patch turned out to be ONE PLANT!
Here is another view of that bad boy. Bad girl actually, seeing as it was silly with seed pods.
Most everything is out of the garden now (except for a few leftover weeds and the two million seeds that they produced) so the gardening season is at a close. And I am glad.

It will start up again in January when the new seed catalogue comes out and I can dream big for a couple of months before paring my order back to things that we can fit into the garden.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Post Cards from the Selv-edge

The October Edition.....
It seems that we are back on track as far as postcards go. I have three left to go. As the postcards have passed from hand to hand, I thought that they would be harder and harder to work on. In fact the reverse has happened. Maybe I have become less precious with each one, or maybe other peoples ideas and sensibilities don't jive with mine. In the last few there has been something that has "bothered" me. In this one, I found a few things in the last few days that I had hidden around my house that needed to be added.

Here is the front "before" shot. I didn't do anything to the front this time but add a couple of extra stamps to the stamp to the pocket that has the stamps. Before, there were stamps from Canada and the US. I added three. One from Australia, one from India, and one from the UK.
Here is the back.

I added a long length of organza and sandwiched in between the original organza and the new piece, I enclosed a poem that came out of a heart shaped bath bomb from Lush. ( Which, it seems, they do not make any more). I'm not quite sure why I wanted the long piece of cloth hanging from this one, but it seemed important.

Detail of the enclosed poem. I almost feel that I should keep it for a few more days and add some words to the banner. It is due to go out tomorrow.

Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mom's Clan

This is my mothers family. It was taken at the reception after my Grandfathers funeral. My Grandmother is in the center in the gray sweater.
17 kids. What a family!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

dyeing to spin

When I dyed some yarn the other day, I also picked up some alpaca roving as well as a bag of mohair roving. They are now all dry and ready to spin. As soon as I clean off some bobbins.
But first, I have to get my next silk warp on the loom and woven off. There are only 3.5 weeks left before my first big show and I am feeling like I need to have more stock.
And I meant to show you what the silk scarves looked like before they are washed out and pressed. Sort of ugly, eh?

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Product

Silk scarves. I am taking a class at the school to get to know the Fabric Surface studio and learn about what happens in there. For the past couple of weeks, we have been learning about the Fiber Reactive dye process and a resist method called Shibori.
After learning how to do an even dye bath of one colour, we started on various folding and binding techniques as well as learning about "The Five Day Method". Sorry about the capitals, but that was just the way that the instructor presented it. All Capitals. Each word stressed.
I did 17 samples of different various folding, knotting, chaining, clamping, and tyeing and then applied a few different colours of dyes. And then you have to wait for Five Days for the dye to "cure".
That was the hardest part. The waiting. But as it turned out, it was worth the wait! Opening my samples felt like Christmas morning!

So I purchased some scarves and got busy right away. And these are the results form my first batch of dyeing. I have 7 more scarves sitting for their Five Days. Right now, we are on Day Two. Far too soon to open my "presents". This last one didn't at all turn out like I though that it would, but I like it none the less and have an idea for an art piece using this technique.
But that may have to wait until later. Right now I am all about producing for Christmas sales. And I am hopeful that with the economy doing a nose dive that people will still be interested in buying local for Christmas.


My Grandfather passed away on Wednesday morning. Out of his 17 children, 16 were there. The only one missing is an RCMP officer in Ottawa who had been there earlier, but was called back to work.
The funeral was today.

And my Grandmother's operation was suppose to be on Wednesday but has been postponed until Monday or Tuesday.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bad Week

In this past week, I have received word that both of my mothers parent's are in a bad way. My Grandfather has suffered an aneurysm and is not expected to live more than a few days and my Grandmother has been diagnosed with both stomach and lung cancer.
My Grandparents live about 3 hours away and I am sad to say that I really don't know either of them very well. First, there is the distance issue and then there is the language issue. I speak English and very little French, and they speak French and very little English.
When I was a child, my family would go up yearly for at least a week to visit. Even though we couldn't speak very much, the language of love always came through very strong. I remember being engulfed in hugs and the smell of fresh baked bread. Memere Roy could bake bread in her sleep and as a mother of 17, probably did quite often.
My mother has gone to be with her parent and siblings for a while. The hospital had to move Memere Roy into a larger room because she has been having so many visitors. I guess that they waived the "no more than two visitors at a time" rule for her. I couldn't see all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins putting up with that for very long anyway.