Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The kids took may pictures of the tree, but I think that this one is my favorite. It is like one of the old style trees with the candles instead of lights. Either that, or an Ent who has had enough and is getting ready to leave.

The kids decorated the tree again this year and I have never heard such squabbles. Nobody was putting anything on in the right place, everybody was in the way, no one was choosing the right ornaments, or conversely, everyone wanted the same ornament to put on. I have put on the 2010 calender at the beginning of December, " Decorate the tree ALONE" And I just may stick to it.

It seemed to be the year of big presents. I was the giver of small presents but the aunts and uncles and grandparents were givers of big presents. Mamoo and grampy gave a big tent that the kids can use camping or at the lake in the summer, Uncle Sandy gave sleeping bags to all the kids, and Aunt Christine and Uncle Joe gave the kids a Telescope. A real on that Joe found second hand from a woman who's husband apparently said "you have too many telescopes so you have to get rid of a couple". Unfortunatly, the photographer was asleep behind the camera. either that or she gave up trying to get a good photo of the animals around the kill (aka: kids around the presents)

And here is the nasty puzzle that I dumped at the farm. Hmmm. Maybe I should have said "brought out" to the farm. I once had a fellow tell me, upon hearing that we liked to do puzzles at Christmas, that if I wanted, he could get me a 15,000 piece puzzle.
I told him thank you , but to take a long walk off a short pier. I did puzzles for pleasure , not for the challenge, and definitely not as a thing of torture. 15,000 pieces. Jeese!

Mom said that she didn't think that such a puzzle existed so I did what any one would do and googled something along the lines of "nasty large puzzles" and found a puzzle that was 24000 pieces. NO THANK YOU!

So mom, how has the puzzle progressed.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


It is 9:23 and the kids are all still sleeping. There is no need to harass any one to get up, get dressed, have breakfast, make lunches, wash faces, brush get the picture.
We had a great day yesterday. Opening presents here and then off to my parents house to eat freshly made waffles (thanks Joe) and more presents.
There was great conversations and too much food. Mom and Christine worked on one of the two puzzles that Christine gave me last year. I did one last year, the one that I thought was the easier of the two and it was devilishly hard. So I thought that we would all do it this year. Bwahahaha!

NOTE: The next day......

So life happened around me and here we are , the next day. December 27th. I did a little cleaning and rearranging yesterday while the kids spent the day watching movies. Bill made flan in preparation for New Years and we discussed what else needed to be prepped ahead of time.

I am starting to think about my next felting project.

There is no need to haul kids out of bed again this morning!

Vacation is grand!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas all!
I am posting from my new I-pod touch!
It is a lot of fun,but it takes a little more time than using a regular key board so I don't think that I will be posting with it too often. But it is a really neat new toy!
Thanks papa for the awesome present!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

pounds and pounds

Of meat?
A couple of weeks ago, Bill went to pick up our yearly allotment of beef. It is raised by a fellow that Bill's brother went to school with. It was a full side of beef that weighed in at about 400 pounds. It was all pre-cut and labeled into steaks, various types of roasts, stew beef, hamburger, and a couple of bags of brisket. I had never heard of brisket before and the first year that we purchased a side of beef (a quarter actually) I really had no idea what to do with it. Eventually, I decided to treat it like a roast and cook it slowly in the oven. WOW! It was the tastiest and most tender meat that we had eaten in a long time! Lots of fat and bone, it is true, but the flavour was amazing.
When you get a whole side of beef, it is really amazing how many T-bone steaks there are! I think that we are set for the next year. It is really wonderful to know that the meat that we are eating had a good life, lived out doors, and was slaughtered as humanely as possible near the place where it was raised.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Art Trek

A few weeks ago, Fredericton Arts Alliance had an Art Trek. The basic idea was that practicing artists and crafts people would open up their studios and the public would be able to drop in and have a look around and purchase you wares if they were interested.

My studio (a small corner carved out of a messy room) is NOT where I want to be inviting people so my friend Karen said that she would host any of our fiber group that was interested. Trish and I took her up on her offer.
Karen has a beautiful house over looking the St John River. She has sunny windows and a husband that dressed up and played doorman.
Trish is a felter of hats and garments. The garments take a lot of time and I think that she has much more fun with the hats so she had many hats. Many many different hats.
Here is my corner of the room. You can see a couple of Trish's scarves and her large vessel that are also made of felt.
Here is Trish working on her needle felted world ornament. She has family scattered all over and has given some of them a felted world. The idea is that each Christmas pins with the other family members names are placed on the world in the correct location.
Eric is taking a break from being the greeter with a quick look through the paper. Doesn't he look spiffy?
It was a fun weekend and I even made a couple of sales!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


So I guess that it has been a while. I have been super busy weaving, dyeing, and getting ready for shows. Not to mention the other things that fill up one's day when one has work and a family. Unfortunately, a lot of what I have been producing have not been among my favorite things. Don't get me wrong, they are fine, but they are not spectacular. No pictures of anything. But the list goes something like, 8 shawls, 5 (soon to be 6) scarves, and 20 odd skeins of yarn (dyed, not spun). My spinning wheel has been sitting rather silent lately except for one wonderful weekend.

The spinning retreat.
Halloween weekend, Fredericton hosted the 9th annual spinning retreat. It was in a hotel that is located in the heart of downtown Fredericton and not to far from the craft college. About 60 people attended from the Maritime Provinces and some people even came up from Maine.

There were about 8 informal mini workshops that were included in your registration fee, and three larger workshops that had a bit of a cost attached to them. I taught a dyeing one where the students all dyed 100g of merino roving. A good time was had by all. Did I get pictures? Nope.
But I did get some pictures of one of the mini ones. This is the crew who did needle felting.
I brought Victoria with me and I worked her hard that weekend. Every spare second that I wasn't eating (and eating well, I might add) I was spinning up some dreamy 50/50 silk/merino roving that I bought from the Yarn Source. I also picked up some mohair locks from the Black Lamb. As well as some bamboo/merino/alpaca from Legacy Lane. All together there were many more vendors (about 13 or 14) but with a limited budget and a lack of desire to deal with raw fleece, I limited my spending.

Check out the carpet in the ball room that we were in! You should seen all of the fluff and stuff that was left behind when we packed up our wheels and went.
It was great to spend a weekend with like minded people. Where talk of fibre content and ratios and favorite wheels were the norm and not the exception. There were people who had been spinning for years and others who had never spun before but wanted to learn. Some had very modern wheels, others that were showing their years, and one woman had a huge antique one that she had refurbished. Next year's retreat is in PEI. If anyone out there is interested, let me know and I'll let you know the detail when I know the details.

Edit: So after talking about what I bought, I forgot to show you! Silly me!

To the left, the white stuff is 80 merino, 10 cashmere, 10 nylon. At the low low price of $10 per pound! So I got 2 pounds. Wouldn't you? Next, a mix of (I believe) merino and bamboo. Then merino, bamboo, alpaca. The small green bag is merino and silk, and the small orange bag is merino locks. Yummy! And it is all displayed on one of the eight shawls that I wove in the past few weeks. This one is destined to go into the Crafts Council show "Snow".

There. That's better!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Children BEWARE!!!!

From the comic Luann......

Has a certain kind of appeal, doesn't it?

Sorry for the long absence. I'll be back soon with some FO's! Including knitting. Life has just been crazy busy and couple that with a slow computer and you have some serious posting issues.

As they say in the TV business.....Please Stand By.....

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bitter Sweet

Almost two years ago my friend Charlotte died of ovarian cancer. She left me her large loom. I had (and still have) no place to put it. Not even in storage.
Last May, her husband and I took down the loom and put it in storage in his house. At the time he told me that I could have her yarns. Two things prevented me from acting right away. Again, I had no place to put them, and it also seemed like desecrating a shrine. I asked if it would be alright to wait a few months. He said that that would be no problem.

Fast forward more than a year. Bill cleaned out some of the stuff in the back shed, we got rid of the couch and moved the chair that was stored in the shed to the living room. And I saw vacant space. That could be filled with yarn. I would have loved to put it in my studio, but unfortunately, that room, at this time, does not exist.

Last Wednesday, John and I bagged Charlotte's yarns. I has a day full of errands to run so I borrowed my dad's truck. We managed to fill the back of the truck with yarn. I had no idea that there was that much there.
And it all had to come into the house.

It made the first stop in the living room. This was, as I mentioned, on Wednesday. After the yarn was dropped off, supper needed to be made. Homework needed to be done. No time to sort yarn and no place to put it when it was sorted. I needed to make a trip up the hill to buy some plastic containers. I bought 5.

Silly me.
I didn't get back to the pile until Friday. Nicole wasn't feeling well, so I had to leave work early and pick her up. It turns out that she couldn't have felt too badly because she became upset when I told her that we were going home and not, as she wished, out to eat at a restaurant.

I fed her lunch and put her in front of a movie so that could start sorting. Things got much worse before they got better. I sorted all afternoon Friday. And more on Saturday. And I finished up the sorting on Sunday. I also had to make a couple of more trips to buy some more bins. The final bin count was 19.
6-60L bins of DK weight skeins of yarns, mostly from Briggs and Little, a local mill (and mostly in browns), 1 mohair, 1 linen, 1 with silk, rayon and the extra cotton that wouldn't fit in the cotton bin. 3 of fine wool, another of superfine wool.
One that I called "boucle and fun stuff". It will be interesting to open up that bin again. One that has a lot of Fleece Artist and Henry's Attic yarns. One that I called "Odds and Ends". Again, it will be interested in seeing whats in it.

One that is full of full bobbins.
Charlotte was a tapestry artist and used lots of colours and made a lot of her own bobbins from paper. This was a practice that she continued with her other weaving. There are some regular bobbins that have yarn on them too. A surprising amount actually. So between the paper and regular bobbins, there is a 45 L bin full. I have a few idea about what I can do with them.

I also found out that Charlotte had inherited the yarns of another weaver friend who had died a few years ago. Nel was from the Netherlands and was also very active in the weaving community. I have a lot of her handspun yarns too. All in natural animal colours. Maybe enough for a blanket.

There was also a couple of bags that I passed on to others. The bag of acrylics and other types of synthetic yarns that I knew I would never use went to the salvation army thrift store, and the bag of yarns that were perfectly fine but things that I, again, knew that I would never use, I brought to the school for the students to pick through. I might go through some of the bins again later so that I can give a bit more to the students.

I'm sure as I haul things out to use, I'll let you all know that it was from the "Charlotte Yarn Collection". I have already used a few bits and pieces in my latest shawls. The shawls are hanging off the back of my chair begging to be fringed and have their ends sewn in. I'll get a round to it. At some point.

So as you have now may have guessed, the sweet in the title is from having a whole new stash to play with. And the bitter comes from the fact that I really would much rather still have Charlotte around doing her magic with her yarns.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How many men does it take.... raise a tent?
I never did get a final count, but I now know that it also takes one woman....

Over the summer, the barrack square between the school and the casemates was home to a tent that was used by the EdVentures program. It wasn't big enough to serve as a venue tent for the Harvest Jazz and Blues festival, but it worked fine as a beer tent, so the tent builders unlashed it and walked it over to its new location.
Then one fellow needed to remove the pegs that the tent had been lashed too. I was wondering how this was going to be done and then he started to work with this odd contraption.
Next the poles for the new tent were laid out and the workers set to building the roof.
once the roof was all framed in, they needed to put the tarp on. It was laid on in sections and pulled into place.
and then lashed together
Once the roof was all on and secured to the base of the roof frame, they had a tent raising party! All the workers gathered at one end and on the count of three, most lifted while one went to work inserting the legs.
This was repeated all around the tent. Here you can see the woman in blue placing a leg pole.
Then new pegs had to be put in so that the tent could be lashed to it. They used a jack hammer with a cup like attachment to pound the pegs into the ground. When they came to the asphalt, they used an attachment to drill the hole first.
It was one of life's small mysteries that I now have an answer too.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

cleaning up

my desktop. Here are some yarns spun this summer. If you have seen them before, please forgive my forgetfulness. It happens sometimes.

And some dyed roving.

Now that I have shared, I can get them off my desk. Just a few more things to clean.
Like the garden. We are suppose to get a hard frost tonight. Grrr. Guess what I am off to do?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Goodbye lake......

Mira harvested lake grass again.
My little wheel inside one evening.
The kids made a fish holding pond.
And Liam caught a fish to put in it for a little while.
Kid fishing in kayaks.

Kids pushing Uncle Sandy
Front porch with the red truck on the side ( I have to admit to a serious amount of guilty pleasure derived from driving that truck. It is so big that it beeps when it backs up, but it was great to drive and we all fit! Thanks Dad for the loan for the couple of weeks that we were away)
Look who came to the fire one night!
Well marshmellowed kids around the fire.

There may be a few more random lake picture show up when I am up to my neck in snow. Just to remind myself that this too, in time, shall pass.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Heaven on Earth Explained

You have heard me call Skiff Lake "Heaven on Earth" several times now.

Here is the reason.....
Bill's cousin made this plate in a ceramics class and gave it to Bill's mother. She showed it to me one day when we were all there and "Heaven on Earth" was suddenly very frequently heard. It became the cheers when beer o'clock rolled around, or when we were sitting on the front porch just watching the ducks swim by begging for scraps. Waking up in the morning and having coffee on the front porch, or at night while having a sip of something a little stronger around the fire.


Heaven on Earth.

I did some dyeing before I left for the cottage. I knew that my new wheel was coming with me and I didn't want to run out of things to spin. One of the bundles was purples, blues, browns and greens.
This skein was the other one that was completed at the lake and was given its soaking in 100% genuine Skiff Lake water.
It, too, had the hanging with the can treatment on the front porch and here it is, at home, on the current warp on my loom. The purples and blues are the heaven and the greens and browns are the earth. So...."Heaven on Earth"!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Is this better?

Scanned from an old photo from about 20 years ago. The photo credit goes to a fellow who was know by the unlikely name of Bunny. An old friend, Andrew T, found it a stack of old photos and put it up on FB. And then I snagged it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Aug 09 -Heaven on Earth 4- Really?

This is what happens when you give a 5 year old a camera and the subject gets tired of being the subject.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spinning My Wheel.. Lake Edition

When I packed up to go to the lake, I made sure that I packed up Victoria to come, along with enough fiber to last me two weeks.

One of the colours of fleece that I worked with was this blue. I really wanted to call it "Skiff Lake" but they were too dark.

But because I was there, and because there was a bucket and a lake near by, this skein was washed in the hallowed waters of Skiff lake.
There was a convienent porch rail to hang the skein from and of course canned goods to weigh it down. Once there, it is hard to think of going to the grocery store in Woodstock. The store in Canterbury sells staples like milk, bread, chips, ice cream, and beer, but fresh veggies are rarely fresh, so we resort to some things canned or frozen.
What do you think? Stormy lake? Deep Waters? Skiff Lake Waters?