Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Best View

The best view can come from visiting the past or in this case sites laden with the past.  Seeing something old like this can give a fresh perspective.  What we leave behind becomes embedded in the landscape.  It becomes part of the landscape around us.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ordinariness and Inspiration

I took a snap as we were passing by mostly because something about the features drew my eye. The dull grey sky flattens the light and the ethereal quality of this image is enhanced by drawn and heavy clouds suspended over twin humps of forest in the distance. Railway lines, phone and hydro lines trace the boundaries of wilderness and act as familiar markers delineating the flatness of prairie.

Robert Kroetsch writes in Seed Catalogue of the indelible imagery of the Canadian landscape. His prairies are spare dry and dusty boned; the seeds of growth and the patterns of prairie life are unearthed touching upon a place that dominates as it nurtures. His poetry recalls the plainness of the prairies much like the place in this photograph. To me Kroetsch's poems drum a message of Canadian prairie and prairie living that inspires a host of familiar memories and images from the countryside I grew up in.  When you look at something that is so familiar its familiarity makes it ordinary you have to make an effort to appreciate the beauty.  To really see what makes a place remarkable you need to recognize its power, its ability to unite us and invoke a sense of the sacred.  This is what inspires me to paint.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Toe Challenged

Have you ever bought a pair of socks and after wearing them the first time found that the seam on the toe made the socks unbearably uncomfortable to wear?

I am always on the lookout for wool socks, that are well made, light and hopefully comfortable on the tootsies but occasionally I get suckered.  Like with the last six pack of socks I bought for my husband.  After the first wear they were pronounced unfit for duty.  That's eight whole dollars wasted.  I ask myself, should I throw them away or give them to a second hand store?  No! No way will I waste these socks instead I will attempt to re-knit the toe in a make work project that will involve hours of my time and energy.

I started in the kitchen cutting the toe off, had a nice light snack to bolster my energy and then moved to the living room. 

Comfortably ensconced in my couch I could deal with pulling the yarn back to the line of gray yarn indicating the beginning of the toe.  As I pull back the yarn individual stitches are revealed making it easier for the next part.

After a good stiff drink I began picking up the stitches all around the sock toe.  I don't remember how many there were but its important to pick up every stitch and to ensure that all strands are neatly over the needles.  I used 0 mm bamboo needles which are perfect for picking up the loops.  This process gave me plenty of time to consider factory knit socks. They can be terrific because they are made with very fine materials and very closely woven making them comfortable and sturdy.  Added value comes from not having to make them yourself.  However factory knit socks are often sewn shut along the toe leaving a bulky and uncomfortable seam leaving me, and my husband in this case, bitter and foot sore.

Once all your stiches are picked up the rest is a breeze!  Pick a lightweight, wool sock yarn for finishing the toe and knit it like you would a regular toe.  I like to decrease four stiches every row until I have around 22 stitches left then I will knit two together all around until I have around 5 stiches left which I draw up onto a loop.

Here are several finished socks.  They have been enthusiastically worn many times since I finished fixing them.  No more sore tootsies.   We just won't talk about how long it took to fix.  I can't say its rational, but making or even re-making things is good for the soul.

Monday, January 28, 2013

God, I Love Goats!

The handsome cat pictured above is our Ross enjoying the great outdoors.  We live in the country and spend a fair bit of time gardening and growing our own food. I love every minute of this rewarding lifestyle.   Even so I can't escape a nagging yearning for chickens, maybe a goat would be nice, or a cute sheep or two to mow the lawn.; its enticing this idea. 

So You (Don't Particularly) Want to Be a Farmer (click here for article)  is an article that runs along the same lines a bit long but definately well worth the read. When I started reading the article I realized how much I actualy do have a hankering to be a farmer or "the farm brain worms"  as the writer puts it. I really appreciated the author's brevity and sense of humour.

My parents moved out to a small hobby farm when I was a teenager.  I went through my high school years taking the school bus, chasing ducks and chickens and picking up eggs, and plucking the occasional chicken.  I don't remember any of the real responsibilites of raising chickens and ducks just that they got into everything and chickens really are quite stupid and ducks don't mind the occasional cuddle.  I would be game to give it a try someday; when my hubby isn't looking, a little chicken house will pop up in the back yard. or Maybe next time I reach across the table to my loved one, my words of endearment will echo this farming disease with " God, I love goats."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Railway Ties as Fenceposts

I have driven by this fence a number of times and each time I consider the effort it would take to plant these ties into the ground.  I know because I spent a summer moving railway ties while making a flower bed.  Each tie weighs upwards of 100lbs, and in this case they are planted in a mile long stretch. No barbed wire is laced between posts to tie them together and as a result they crumble, faint and wend askew the entire length of the fence.

Boxed In Exhibition

Here is an invitation to "Boxed In" an exhibition of contemporary craft work by artists including myself along with artists from across Canada.  67 artists are included in this exhibition and the show will be on display in two exhibiton sites, the Rooms and the Gallery of the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador from January 25 to April 14.

Here is a link to the art gallery where my artwork will be on display.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Christmas in the Making

This is the most productive time of the year, from baking cookies to making Chritstmas gifts and ornaments, I love this time of year.  This year I have been busy making fingerless gloves from bits of scrap sock yarn.  As fast as I make things they usually disappear, snatched up by friends and family alike.  A few pair are shown below.

A tradition in my family at Christmas time has been to get together and have a craft day.  This year I had the pleasure of making a tree for another tradition a fundraiser in Winnipeg called the Festival of Trees and Lights.  Myself along with three compatriots hand made a collection of ornaments to decorate the tree.  We decided on a cat theme for the tree as we are all cat lovers and called it "Meowy Christmas."  Here are a couple of photos of the various decorations.