Sunday, December 30, 2007

A New Year Right Around The Corner


I'm hoping this post finds you thoroughly enjoying the holiday season. Now that Christmas is over I'm back at work. My family was up for the holidays and left on boxing day so by the 27th I began cleaning up my studio and happened to come across this 6"x6" canvas that I had stored away in the closet. I pulled out some paints, sketched a rough outline from a Toronto photo I had taken and started painting. It was such a departure for me from what I usually do that I had a great time just "fooling around" with paint on canvas. Sometimes it is so freeing to just do something for no other reason than that it is "fun". As you can see it is only "in progress" .... don't know when I'll get back to it but perhaps one day soon.
I have no plans for New Years as I am not a New Years "party person"...... funny but I never have been. Christmas has always been the biggy for me. But whatever your doing have fun, laugh a lot and appreciate the joys and challenges of another year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Generosity in a Cup of Coffee


Yesterday I heard this beautiful story that happened in a Starbucks in the U.S., maybe it was in Pennsylvania...not quite sure. Anyway this story really put me in the Christmas spirit and reaffirmed to me what the season is all about.
It happened in the drive through that a woman pulled up and said she not only wanted to pay for her coffee but for the coffee of the guy behind her. So when the guy behind her pulled up to the window the Starbucks employee explained that his coffee had been paid for by the woman in the car ahead of him. Well, he decided he would then pay for the coffee of the person behind him and so on and so on and so on. This chain continued for two hours at Starbucks where people were doing something simple but kind for another human being. I love this story because it brings home the fact that showing a bit of kindness to another means so very much even in just receiving a free coffee.
So in the vein of this generosity I too would like to do something kind for one of you. Anyone who leaves a comment on my blog today or tomorrow (Saturday or Sunday) will be entered into a draw for a piece of my art. It will probably be an older piece but a piece of my art just the same. I will put all of your names into a hat and have my daughter swish them around and pick one. I will announce the winner on Monday morning (December 24).
Thank you to each and everyone who reads my blog. I have received some wonderful comments about my work from people who don't even know me but it has meant so much. Have a wonderful weekend

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thanks Jane Kenyon.....you made my day



The other day I came across some new work by a textile artist I have always admired............ Jane Kenyon. It's funny how we see other artist's work, appreciate it, are inspired by it, but never take the time to let them know. So I decided I was going to email her for nothing other than to tell her that her artwork had always inspired me and that I had followed her career for quite some time.....I tried to keep in mind that I didn't want to gush too much or perhaps she would think I was some strange stalker woman. The following day I got the nicest email from her. She said she recognized my name (ok, that was definitely the highlight of my day that Jane Kenyon knew my name) so she checked out my website and told me that my work has beautiful and how each piece was like a tiny jewel. I think I'll save that email for the rest of my life.

This whole telling artists how much you love their work also spills over into just telling the people in your life how much they mean to you. I have done this my entire life and believe me.... it feels amazing. I think at times people are taken aback when I just come right out and tell them that I love them (I don't do this to complete strangers ok? I'm not that weird) or how much it means having them in my life, or even simple things such as telling them what a great cook they are, how they knew just the right thing to say in a difficult moment, etc. etc. You get the jist of it. I believe all we really have right now is this moment...........My intention is to always try and make the most of it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Even The Cat Is Confused


Poor Simba........he really loves the outdoors but unfortunately has been forced inside the last few weeks due to the weather. We have been experiencing a major winter storm since last night at midnight and as of this writing (3:46 in the afternoon) it hasn't stopped snowing. So this morning I think Simba had just about had enough of this winter wonderland. When I opened the back door he ran out into the snow and just sat there for a few minutes........obviously confused. ...he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer but loveable all the same. It didn't take him long to realize there wasn't anyway out of this stuff so very gingerly he made his way back into the house....looking very depressed.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Where's My Nursemaid???


Well I should have known...... it was inevitable but here I sit with a stuffed up nose, wads of kleenex and clogged sinuses. The kids are back to school, John has left for work so I'm wondering where is my nursemaid???
Everyone flew out the door this morning with a "hope you feel better soon" as I dragged my tired body to the kitchen. I yelled after them "is there any hot tea?" Nothing....just the sound of the door slamming shut. Oh well.........I'll survive.
I've been sketching quite a bit lately as I have some new ideas for a few abstract pieces that will be bigger than what I've been working on lately. Lots of primary colours and a lot of heavy machine embroidery with various threads in gold and silver.........perhaps even more texture as I may throw some batting in too. Depending on how I feel later today, I will try to spend some time in the studio.
Carol Currie and Stuart Leggett have their website up and running for the Carriage House Gallery. Beautiful job....amazing artists.
Here's wishing you a healthy day.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Up Goes The Tree........The Season Begins


Things have settled a bit here so I'm taking this window of opportunity to blog. John is working tirelessly in his office, my youngest is resting and rehydrating and my oldest says she is feeling nauseous and feels like throwing up ( oh no). I've posted a picture of John and his brother putting up the tree on Sunday. Luckily I wasn't helping out as it looked to be a frustrating experience but I am getting ahead of myself.
On Saturday our entire group converged at our house around 9:00am for a cup of coffee and a few pastries before heading out to find "a great" Christmas Tree. The snow began early and by the time we arrived at Ayers Tree Farm the flakes were huge and plentiful. Perfect!!
It seemed to take us Maddens forever to find a tree we all agreed upon. Near the end I was willing to take a Charlie Brown tree for all the walking back and forth we did. Finally John counted to 5 and cut down one we all "kinda" liked. Unfortunately we had an ice storm about 4 or 5 days ago so every tree there was frozen solid. We usually put it up that night but the poor tree would have to spend the night in the garage thawing out until Sunday. Got back to our place around 1:00pm, heated up the chili, put out some cheese and crackers, rolls and butter, opened a bottle of wine and let the fun begin. Many of the people who were there on Saturday had met on the shores of Lake Superior for our 20th anniversary so it was so wonderful to see them all connect again...........just like old friends should. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I did take that moment to stand back and appreciate all that was going on. This experience will probably take place again next year(hopefully) but it will never be exactly what is was in that moment and that was the moment I was taking the time to enjoy. I believe life is just that......small moments all strung together that create memories that last a lifetime. Now before you think that is soooooo cheesy, let me tell you that is the way I am.........I will always find the sentimentality in everything and I like it that way.

Playing Nursemaid Today


Lots to blog about but perhaps not today. I was up with my youngest daughter all night as she has come down with the flu. My job as of this morning will not be artist but nursemaid. As most mothers know, we would rather it be us who are sick then our kids. That may come to be though as I have a really sore throat all morning. Yikes!! The weekend was memorable and I will blog about it soon but not right now as I have to go and make some soup and take my daugher's temperature.
Hope you are all healthy and well

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Looks Like A White Christmas


The weather has been crazy here these last few days. I don't remember seeing this much snow fall consistently in a very long time. Both of my kids have had two snow days in a row.......lucky me. Although my oldest made thimble cookies yesterday so that was a wonderful treat. Today is the first day in which there have been no "weather warnings". The snow is definitely here to stay.
We have a big weekend planned. Friday night our oldest daughter takes part in the school play "High School Musical" at the Orillia Opera House. All of the kids have been working so very hard to make it all come together so we are looking forward to taking in the performance. On Saturday we will be joined by many of our friends on what I am calling "The Hunt for a Great Christmas Tree" (not very original but all that I could come up with this early in the a.m.). We have done this for years with the girls and it has become quite the tradition. Every year we usually head out with another family or two but lately it seems to have grown which is just fine with me. I think we have about twenty this year which includes kids of all ages. We sit on a tractor(it used to be a wagon pulled by horses but I haven't seen a horse around the last few years.....maybe they've retired) filled with hay bales and they proceed to take us out past reindeer and snow covered trees to a spot in which there seem to be thousands of Christmas Trees. It doesn't generally take us long to find a lovely one since they all seem to be perfect but it all comes down to a vote in the end. Everyone will come back here afterward for chili and refreshments. I will find a moment in which to look around the room and really see all the people that I care about.....together......enjoying themselves. Those moments of realization are so important in my life. Material things come and go and what we once thought we couldn't live without we now find at the back of our closet....forgotten...but how empty would our lives be without our friends and family who love us as much as we love them. When I think of it that way the little hairs on my arms stick up and I feel so very blessed.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's Here.....Get Out The Toboggan



Well it finally arrived last night........15cm of the cold white stuff. My oldest daugher is beside herself as she has been waiting for this moment since November. I could have waited a bit longer but now that it is here I will admit.... it sure is beautiful. The view from my bedroom window this morning was picture postcard perfect.

Tomorrow I am off to "A Spa Day in The Village".........that is not what it is called but it is what I've been calling it. Our friends Bob and Marilyn who are moving to Africa in January to begin another chapter of their lives are having a "spa day" as a fundraiser for their Livingstone Theatre Project. They will be offering everything from a manicure to a pedicure to even something called an Indian Head Massage. A light lunch is provided and then on to the treatments. Can't wait............I'll let you know what that Indian Head Massage entails...............

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Series of Five


This is a sister piece to the previous one I just posted. I love how the reds and yellows pop out from the green background. I am thinking there will be four or five of these in a series that I am working on now.
There is a fabulous sale going on at my framers so I'm trying my best to get all my current work up there before it ends today. I'm headed to the "spa" on Sunday which I'll post about later today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Perils of Driving in Bad Weather



John took my work to the Carriage House Gallery this morning after I spoke with Stu to let him know of it's arrival. Carol and Stu are just about the nicest people you would ever want to meet. I am so going to enjoy being a part of their gallery.

So funny the other day when I was blogging about my terror of driving in bad weather. Last night I had to pick up my oldest daughter and Kelly's daughter from play practice and by 4:00pm I could see the blowing snow and grey skies and yes, I did begin to feel a tad panicky. By 4:30pm when I hit the highway the first thing I see is a major collision in the southbound lanes. Cars in the ditch, cars smashed up, ambulances, etc. etc. Ok, so now the little bit of panic I was feeling has expanded to full panic. Dry throat, rapid heartbeat ....you know the drill. But I am driving slowly and am saying a mantra to myself "you are a good driver.....just go slow" over and over again, maybe that is why my throat was so dry. By the time I arrived at the school the temperature had dropped and all that wet snow had turned to ice. Yikes!!! It was a white knuckle drive home and extremely silent in the car. A drive that normally takes 10 minutes took 30 minutes. Kelly called when I got home to see if I was alright. I just love good friends especially when they know all your "wierdness" and still love you.

I am back in the studio today finishing up another piece and last night was playing around with acrylic on canvas......

Hope everything is good in your part of the world

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I really love this piece. Don't know specifically what it is but something about it makes me feel good. Maybe it's because the photo that inspired it was taken on a great weekend in Toronto with John and the girls. The man reading the newspaper on the steps of the Scotia Plaza on King Street in Toronto just seems so unassuming. The red of his hat sets of the potted flowers behind him so beautifully. The entire piece is completed in acrylic paint except for the folliage which is done in thread. I've been giving a lot of thought lately to selling my work online. I am still thinking about it and haven't quite decided but it does deserve some serious consideration. I would like to reach a much larger audience than I have with the galleries that I am with. There is a whole world out there and I would love more exposure. I would probably only sell small pieces which would of course be framed. I'll keep you updated.

I received an email from my friend Carol Currie and Stuart Leggett a couple of days ago announcing the opening of their new gallery "The Carriage House" in Midland. Carol is an amazing artist as is her husband Stuart Leggett. Together they have formed Claustro in which they create sculpted paintings. Absolutely beautiful work. Since they are both outstanding artists I'm positive the gallery will be wonderful also as Carol has a fabulous eye for design. Anyway, I heard from her again today asking if I would be interested in having some work at the gallery for opening night. Of course, I said yes. John will drop it off on Wednesday and we'll just have to see how it goes. This may lead to being part of a group show or perhaps even a solo.
Hope you had a relaxing weekend

Friday, November 23, 2007

Work In Progress


This is a piece I have been working on for the last few days. Couldn't quite get the greens to come together the way that I had imagined so I have gone through a variety of options until I settled on this. I am enjoying the way the white birches pop out from the mottled green background. The other piece I'm working on is almost complete........I've decided on calling it "The Morning Read". You'll see why when I post it.
Yesterday was a snow day and did we get snow. I had a crazy amount of errands I was supposed to run but since I'm known as "one flake Melody" I waited until today. The whole "one flake" thing came about from either John or Kelly. It is no secret that I do not like (am terrified) driving in the snow. Now I believe "one flake" is taking it too far but that is how I received the dubious title.
My youngest came at me last night with a "brilliant" (her word) idea for her birthday party. "How about we take three of my friends to the spa for the day". I laughed........she didn't get the joke. I suggested a spa day at home where I concoct a couple mud facials and buy some nail polish and emery boards. I don't think that is what she had in mind but..........it will have to do
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers............blessings all around.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Desk That Got The Studio Organized


I attended the "White House Arts and Crafts" show on Friday to see my good friend and mentor Buffi. Buffi is to me what Maya Angelou is to Oprah. She is wise, kind and makes you feel good by just being in her presence. For three days she was managing a booth for a friend who has an antique shop in Rosseau. I fell in love with this little white pigeon hole desk. It seemed perfect for my studio. Finally a place in which to put my cards, papers and pens. So, yes, I brought it home and placed it in my studio. When I stood back and took a look, it seemed to be the only thing in that room that made me feel good....... which got me to thinking....... maybe I've hit a slump with my work because this room just doesn't feel good anymore. Nothing is really organized and everything is just scattered about. I imagine this applies to just about every room in our homes. If things are always chaotic, being at home doesn't feel nuturing or comforting, and to me, that is what our homes are meant to be. A place that instills within us a sense of peace and joy. So keeping that in mind, yesterday I spent all day purging and cleaning everything in my studio and today I've started back to work. Yeah!
Hope your had a great weekend.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow


Looks like we are in for some nasty weather over night according to Environment Canada. Lots of snow squalls and wintery weather. My oldest daughter will be beside herself with excitement. She loves snow and all that is associated with it. What's not to like about snow??? I enjoy crosscountry skiing at a slow pace. .... ask Kelly. A few years ago she and I went back to the park for a ski and I mistakenly thought I could maneuvre myself down this (it seemed like a large hill to me) small hill. Needless to say......... it was a classic face plant. Ouch, it really hurt.
Both of my girls love to downhill ski as does John..........I do not. To my credit I have gone a couple times but it really terrifies me. I think it could be that careening out of control at high speeds that really gets to me. And yes, I did do the snow plow but even that was too fast. But, I do live in Canada and we do get snow and lots of it, so finding outdoor winter activities is mandatory......... sitting in a hot tub with a glass of wine doesn't count.
Changing the subject to great lines I wish I had said. .... last year at my youngest daughter's grade 8 graduation. One of her good friends was chosen validictorian and as such gave a fabulous speech. My favourite line was right near the end when she said "Try not to take life too seriously. It's not like any of us are getting out alive". I love that and try to remember it whenever I get too wound around the bend.
Be well,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weddings................



Yesterday we attended the wedding of our friends Les and Victoria. It was a small but elegant event, a bunch, which was a nice departure from a full on reception. The girls were invited also but wore grumpy faces because the other teenagers that sat at the same table as them weren't too fond of conversation. Actully, they seemed to enjoy "no conversation" Every so often one of them would head over to my table and say "talk about awkward silence, this is brutal".

It was a short service but really beautiful. John put me in charge (thanks honey)of hitting the play button on the stereo when Victoria began walking up to meet Les. Unfortunately I forgot my glasses and couldn't stand far enough away from the CD player to see what button I was pushing. Luckily I did hit the right one and on came Kenny G.

After the meal we all headed back to their house for drinks and the cutting of the cake. I ended up sitting beside this great woman named Barb who is an airline attendant and who flies back and forth between
Toronto and Hong Kong. We found out we had a lot in common and spent most of our time comparing notes on men, life, art, etc. etc. She had a quick wit and was outrageously funny. At one point we discussed age and she said "You look good for 47". I said, "At this point in time it's all in the lighting".......which of course it is. I've had my moments being under bad fluorescent bulbs when I look like I could be the sister of my grandmother. Yikes.........

Well, I had a great day as I'm sure everyone else did who was there. Les and Victoria are wonderful people and I wish them them the best on their journey.

Hope everyone had a great weekend..........happy and healthy

Friday, November 9, 2007

Me To We



This is one of my favourite streets in Toronto.....University Avenue. Although it is an extremely busy street there is still something about it that retains a park like feel. I took a whole lot of photos on this street when we were in Toronto a few weeks ago and they will pop up in my work over the next few months. Right now I'm working on two pieces. One landscape that features birch trees and the other is an urban piece of a man sitting on the steps of the First Canadian Place reading the morning paper.

Yesterday I got a call from a woman who is putting on an art show "The Art Experience" in Muskoka next August. She is going to send me the details and I'll decide from there whether I'm going to participate or not. I will not be doing the Images Show because as I guest you can only be on the tour for two years and then you need to take a year off. Not my rules but rules just the same. This show in August will also feature four artists who also teach at the Haliburton School for the Arts which is quite a fine institution. So........we'll see.

Last night my youngest and I watched MTV (yuck) but only because there was a fabulous show on called " Me To We", ok MTV, you did a great thing. I read the book and was blown away by it last year so I was anxious to watch the program last night. Me To We is a worldwide movement of people finding purpose through living with compassion, strengthening community and making a commitment to our shared humanity. I can't say enough good things about the founders Marc and Craig Kielburger. They have been featured on Oprah's show and she has also written an essay for their book. Well the show was great and I'm so glad we watched it together. I think it had a bigger impact on her than if I had just tried talking to her about it. She immediately went downstairs and checked out their website which also features an organic clothing section (ok, she was really interested in this..........but hey, it's a start). Check out their clothing at Me To We Responsible Style .

Peace to All and have a wonderful weekend wherever you are

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Another Job?


Yes, I have been quite neglectful when it comes to my blog and I feel terrible about it. I have had the best of intentions for the past few days but never sat down to get it done. In my defense I will say I've picked up another job......sort of. John started a new job back in September and until he moves into his permanent office in December, with an Admin Assistant........guess who gets the role temporarily? My days have been filled with data input, setting up appointments and writing out thank you cards. It really isn't that bad as in another life I was an Admin Assistant.....can you say "full circle". I think I was pretty good at it as I didn't get fired and did get a raise every year but perhaps it just wasn't my calling. I did love the social aspect of it though. That is one thing I really miss about working outside of the house. So I imagine you could say that I didn't really like the part of the job that I got paid for just the part where I got to hang out with others and drink coffee. No wonder I didn't last.
I've heard from a few different artists as of late who are selling some of their smaller works from their blog. This is an idea that interests me. I'll have to mull it over a bit more and do a touch more research but it may be a viable option for selling small pieces.
This is a photo I took when in Toronto last. It reminds of of what a great time I had and of the warmth of the sun. We were supposed to be receiving 10-15cm of snow this am but so far nothing. I'm still hearing it is on on the way
Have a fabulous day and "be happy"

Friday, November 2, 2007

Another Year To Celebrate


So today I turned 47 years old. People ask me each and every birthday......"so how does it feel to be another year older?". I always reply "great" because let's face it the alternative just doesn't look to promising. I'm just happy the universe has seen fit for me to be around for another year.
My oldest daughter asked me this morning, "So how old are you now?" I proudly said "47" and she said "well, that's not too old ......yet". Thanks my dear first born child.
Then of course there are the parts of the body which have now decided they don't like where they used to be when I was younger and have decided to move somewhere else. Somewhere lower than where they started out. Yes, I did notice a few wirey gray hairs in my head this morning after I had staggered out of bed but not too many and "so what". .... growing older does happen to all of us regardless of what the makers of "botox" tell us.
There is a beautiful, life affirming piece of writing by Anne Lamott in her book "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith". It is entitled "Untitled" and speaks of aging gracefully and of a total acceptance of "self". I could never write anything more appropriate or brilliant. Please read it if you get the chance as it is remarkable.
I left the house this morning to teach yoga and there was a gift on my front stoop. I went to pick it up and almost dislocated my shoulder. I finally managed to drag it into the house and open it....low and behold it was a set of weights from Kelly. She knows I have been lifting and was thoughtful enough to give me this most perfect birthday gift. Tonight John will bring home sushi for dinner (one of my favs) and my kids will be doing what they can to pamper me (I hope) , I'll hear from other friends and family and have a glass of good red. What could be better? Life is short and none of us knows when our time is up........each and every day has something good to offer...........soak it up.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Weekend In The City


The weekend in Toronto was almost too much fun. I could easily have stayed another night but there are responsibilities at home and I also ran out of money so reality kind of set in.
Here is the restaurant in which we had dinner on Saturday night. I ended up surprising John by inviting his brother and wife as well as his closest friend Jay and his partner. John's mom flew in complete with a beautiful photo album she made for him from his birth up until now. Everyone say "ahhhh".
After dinner they brought out a creme brulee with a candle on top and the entire restaurant sang "happy birthday" which totally embarassed him. John's brother suggested we head over to the Fat Belgian for a beer afterward the believe me the walk alone was fascinating. Everyone in the city seemed to be dressed up for Hallowe'en. I saw a guy who looked identical to Elton John on the cover of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I have no idea how he walked in those platform furry boots as I can't even imagine putting on a pair of high heels at this point in my life. It occured to me that these people had really spent a great deal of their time designing their costumes. When I was a kid I always ended up being a gypsy as my mom wasn't buying my costume.........I needed to be resourceful enough to come up with something on my own. It was usually a ghost, witch or gypsy. There were generally the easiest. But admittingly, most of the fun was in the doing.
Yes, I am digressing............On Sunday I was fortunate enough to take lots of photos for future work. I am currently working on a landscape piece involving a stand of birch trees. I am hoping to post it by Friday.
HAPPY HALLOWE'EN TO ALL..........now get going and make your costume.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On The Run ..........More To Come


Lots to say but it will have to wait until this afternoon. Toronto was fabulous and I took lots of photos for future work. I am on my way this morning to see a potential client. Will fill you in later today about my whirlwind of a weekend...........just wanted you to know I was alive and kicking..........that is if anyone out there is actually reading my ramblings...........

Friday, October 26, 2007

Weekend in The City


I'm off to Toronto tomorrow to celebrate John's birthday as he finally turns 40. I've been in this decade long enough so it's time for him to step into middle age.
We've been planning this trip for some time now as we love to venture around the city just the two of us. I hear it is supposed to rain tomorrow but oh well, an umbrella and a raincoat always come in handy. I'm going to try and spend most of the day taking photos as we walk around downtown. I really wanted to visit the AGO but I just clicked onto their website and they are closed to the public as they are installing 5,000 new artworks. John will be relieved. It's not that he dislikes art it just isn't as exciting to him as heading into Mountain Equipment Co-op. Actually I like it there too even though the thought of camping makes me feel a touch lightheaded. Hiking out in nature is fabulous....for me, sleeping in a tent is not.
I'm hoping to stop in at Lulu Lemon which carry the best yoga clothes available........my opinion. I could really use some new yoga pants which I wear everywear not just for yoga and they make you look as if you've lost 10 pounds even when you haven't...............ok, perhaps that's a bit of a stretch.........maybe 5.
I'm taking John to Le St. Tropez for dinner. We have always loved it there but have only been for lunch.
Ok, I'm rambling so off I go...............
Hope you all have a happy weekend in your part of the world.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Five Ways In Which To Not Start Your Morning


1. Waking up with a headache........I slept really weird last night with my neck on a strange angle so this morning my head felt like it was going to explode. Shouldn't have watched the "Godfather".....great movie but made me restless all night.
2. Remembering a "bad" dream. ....... Last night I dreamt I was applying to a juried show and they called me in for an interview. John and my Mom were there as well as James Caan (who played Sonny in the Godfather movie....yikes). When I arrived they told me my work was too abstract and that they were rejecting my application. I started crying at which time John, my mom and James Caan began comforting me. My mom then proceeded to tell me she was marrying James Caan and which time I began crying harder (guess I was frightened at the prospect of having Christmas at the Corleone home).
3. Daughters Arguing. This always starts the day off on a sour note. Arguing about who is going to use the hair straightener first seems such a waste of energy. I hear myself saying "can't we all just get along" which I know sounds so lame as they look at me with their perfectly coiffed little heads while my hair is plastered up along side my face, my eyes are puffy and my neck is leaning to the right.
4. Garbage on the Back Deck. I totally forgot I left a bag of garbage on the back deck last night. Proscrastination will get you no where.......should have taken it out to the garage last night. Noticed a lot of tiny candy bar wrappers from my Hallowe'en stash. Note to self, never buy Hallowe'en candy a week and a half before Hallowe'en.
5. Burnt my mouth on my morning tea. Pretty self explanatory.
Oh, life is so interesting isn't it?
You what they say........you can't always control what happens to you but you can control your response and you know what "life is good". I'm breathing, the people I love are healthy.....I feel grateful for many things...........that gratitute will snap you back into reality everytime.
But right now you must excuse me while I go clean up the garbage on my back deck.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Walk In The Park



I taught yoga this morning which I haven't done since May of this year. It felt really good to get back at it. I love yoga and practice daily on my own to keep myself from getting to creaky and stiff. As we get older we all start to stiffen up and lose some of the flexibility we had when we were younger so yoga does help combat that. Yesterday I started my weight training again which they say is the new "fountain of youth".......you wouldn't know it seeing how I hobbled out of bed this morning........sore all over but a good sore. I know it is great for the body and yoga is the perfect complement to it.

I mentioned in my last post how I had started an abstract piece that I was quite excited about. Well, I'm not too excited about it right now as I ripped it out of my machine and stomped on it a couple times before I threw it away. It was just not coming together how I had envisioned it and I was feeling totally frustrated so I thought I would take it out on the piece.....which of course I did. Just another immature moment in the life of a textile artist.

Today I'm going to take off to the Copeland Forest to take some photos. The trees here are still unbelievably beautiful and I want to capture as much of it as I can before the snow flies. This photo was taken in the park behind my home......you just got to love the crunching of the leaves underfoot and the smell in the air this time of year.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rainy Days


This is a photo of some beautiful grasses that are growing in my backyard. I don't quite know the name of them but I love their delicate appearance and fluidity. When the wind blows it almost looks as if they are dancing.
This past few weeks we have been experiencing rain almost everyday. Today we are in for mild temperatures, high winds and heavy rainfalls............can you say "global warming". All in all quite scary.
Talked to Kelly yesterday and she asked if I had been back in the studio to which I responded "I've been meaning to". Well last night I actually did clean up a bit and start work on a new piece.......something abstract. It is a touch bigger than the size I have been working on lately but lots of curved lines and circles. I love the symbolism of circles.........wholeness, unity, the feminine spirit or force. Quite beautiful I think. I'm planning on using a lot of colour on this piece. Perhaps golds, deep yellows, aquas and purples. I have a large array of metallic and rayon threads which should add some gorgeous shimmer to the work. I'm excited by the possibilities.
I spent much of yesterday working on an application for the Ontario Arts Council (lots of details) I was just ready to put fifteen of my images onto a CD when I realized by oldest daughter had used all my CDs but put back five empty cases. Just before I decided to pull my hair out I text messaged her. "Trying to work.....no CDs left.........She responded "that sucks". Reminder to self "keep anything pertaining to my work in the studio".
Kelly is headed over tomorrow night for dinner as John is away this weekend. I've been scouring recipes sites looking for vegetarian meals.......not easy. Some of those dishes just sound hideous........"meatless meatloaf". That just conjours up a bad visual for me. Think I'll go with a light salad, vegetarian lasagna, a baguette and perhaps a chocolate swirl cheesecake for dessert. I'll make the lasagna but buy the cheesecake as that sounds like a fair compromise.
A shout out to my friend Steve Caston who makes his big debut tonight at the Stephen Leacock Museum. I would wish him luck but he won't need it.
Hope to post new work on Monday
Have a great weekend wherever you are in the world

Monday, October 15, 2007

Under The Weather


Well I had a wonderful time in Toronto visiting with my Mom.......I always do. I got to spend a bit of time with my niece and nephew too. It was pretty uneventful but that was just fine with me after the chaos of the last couple weeks. We decided to rent "The Queen" which was highly recommended by Kelly. Great flick.
I stopped in at Ikea on my way home from Mom's, yes, I love Ikea. Picked up a few things for the house and hoped John wouldn't notice but it's hard not to notice new pillows on the couch and curtains on both windows. After twenty years "he gets me" and just shakes his head.
Saturday morning I got up and just didn't feel myself. My stomach was bothering me and I had absolutely no appetite. I kind of dragged myself around all day and forced myself to have a half a piece of toast for lunch. Come dinner it was a quarter of a potato and a bit of salad. Yesterday I was in bed all day long. Must have been some sort of wierd stomach bug. Today I'm feeling a bit better just rather weak but I did eat breakfast so that's a good thing.
I haven't been in the studio for quite some time but will head in today for a bit to clean up and perhaps start work on a new piece.
Hope everyone is well

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tour Over, Family Gone Home....I'm Exhausted

This is a shot of Gary Brierley's studio in which I was the guest artist this past four days for the Images Tour. The tour was great but the weather was terrible. Monday ended up being the most successful day as the sun finally showed up, the rain stopped and people appeared. Numbers were down everywhere compared to last year but all in all it was still a good experience. I don't think I've ever received such great feedback on my work as I did this time out so I know I'm on the right path.
Oh, and then there are my friends. I have such a supportive group.....whenever I have a show, there they are. Even though they have seen my work a hundred times they always show up for me....life is all about "showing up". I love each and every one of them and feel especially blessed to have that support structure in my life.
Speaking of friends.........Steve Caston, one of mine, who happens to be a fabulous musician and songwriter, is performing on October 19th at Swanmore Hall at the Stephen Leacock Museum.
If you ever get to chance to see him perform.......you'll be amazed. Click on Steve Caston for more info. Oh, and thanks Steve for the words on Sunday.......I'll surely remember them always.
Today I'm really tired though and the house seems too quiet.
John's parents have been here since Thursday and were an incredible help keeping the home fires burning. His mom was a god send. She prepared and cleaned up after Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday night.........a dinner in which we hosted twelve people, spent time with my girls, cleaned out the fridge and wouldn't stop making food for everyone who dropped by. She's probably happy to have gone home today to get some well deserved rest. Thanks Ruth.
Today it is once again pouring rain...........a good day to clean up, do laundry, wash the floor, etc. etc. I'm headed off to Toronto for a couple nights to my Mom's for a visit.........movies, chinese food and of course a Mom's love. Will post again on Friday.......

Friday, October 5, 2007

Images Tour Begins Today


I'm on the run today as the Images Tour begins........looks like we are in for a great weekend with lots of sun and of course turkey
Will try and post tonight to let you know how it all went

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

In The Home Stretch

Tonight I will thankfully be able to move my furniture back into the living room and tomorrow perhaps hang some art. The kitchen will be painted tomorrow and then ...yeah! it is all over.
Within the midst of all this chaos I have been trying to get organized for the show which starts on Friday. I think I'm doing alright.
This piece and the last posted "Benched" are both from my "City Streets" series.........works from the streets of Toronto. I love the urban feel to both of them as well as "Sunday Morning". I am headed to Toronto again next week to spent some time with my mom and sister so I'll have a few days to get around and take some more photos for potential art pieces.
I must say I am quite tired today. All the renos as well as the upcoming show have done me in but at the same time I am excited. I look forward to the Tour every year as it is such a wonderful experience to connect with new clients as well as old. My work this time out is far removed from what I was exhibiting last year so it should be interesting to hear the feedback I receive.
Oh, and before I forget.......Congrats to my cousin Paula on her wedding to Steve..........great woman....great guy. Your blessed.
Hope everything is great in your part of the world.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Mess Continues


I went looking for my kettle this morning and after ten minutes of what seemed like a fruitless search..........I found it under my bed. This has been my life as of late. I keep telling myself it will all be over in four days but at this moment it all seems quite chaotic. What was I thinking when I made the decision to put flooring in and paint right before my in laws arrive and the Images Tour begins. You could say I was being optimistic or just plain crazy...........perhaps a fine line between the two.
Today is the dreaded pricing day in which I scratch my head a lot and try to figure out what new strategy I am going to use to find prices for my new work. Yuck! I've found from talking to other artists that this is one of the most difficult things to do. Is it too low? Is it too high? Who knows.
I completed an inventory of all the work for the show this morning even though I was tripping over kitchen appliances and shelving. Unfortunately most of the "stuff" from the house has gone into my tiny studio for the time being until the painting is finished. Anyway, I have a list and now I'll just sit with it for the next couple days.
I was also mulling over my schedule for next week.............Thursday looks positively frightening.
This is the way it pans out..........the painter is finished on Wednesday at dinner........my inlaws arrive on Thursday night. Like I said, what was I thinking?
Thursday I have to try and throw the house together........everything back in it's place, curtains and artwork, all lamps, furniture,pots and pans,rugs, books, and shelving. After that I need to drive to town to grocery shop and pick up the turkey, then over to Gary Brierley's to set up my part of the show, then home to start dinner for the inlaws who will arrive around 6:00pm. I'll be serving a big bottle of red wine with dinner that night.
Be well,

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Renovations Suck


My house is a total disaster.
I spent the better part of the morning wiping down doors and windows getting ready for the painter to arrive at noon. My kitchen is totally bare and most of the stuff that was on the counter is now in my studio as well as a variety of shelves, artwork and kitchen utensils. The hardwood floor was finally finished around 6pm but I wasn't around as I had to pick my oldest up from town. I was contemplating starting dinner but thought........no.......take out sounds better.
Ran up to the framers to sign a few mats........I'll be up there again tomorrow to frame five more pieces and then I'm done. Still not sure when I'm to set up for the Images Tour but I am assuming it will be next Thursday.
The painter has informed me he will be done by Wednesday.......my in laws arrive on Thursday night. What have I done? How I'm going to get set up, hang my curtains back up, put my furniture back etc is beyond me.........but I do have faith it will all come together and if it doesn't.....oh well, it doesn't. I've been trying to put things into perspective lately and realize whatever doesn't get done will still be there tomorrow and the world isn't going to end because of it. I'm trying not to get myself too wrapped around the axel these days. The saying "life is short" is true and I'm trying to remember that.
The girls are off on a PD Day tomorrow but I'm taking the day and heading out. I've got a few errands to run and then will hopefully meet Kelly for lunch. I might drop by the house just to check on the painter (something about him just isn't sitting right with me) and to see if the girls would like to go grocery shopping. If they do come it will only be because they try to pull a fast one on me by putting things in the cart when they think I'm not looking or confused. Lately I think I've been confused a lot.........forgetful is probably a better description but I've heard that comes along with menopause. Yuck!!!
John is home all day tomorrow ( let him check on the painter) until he leaves on his overnight fishing trip with a few friends. Good for him, he's been working really hard lately and needs the break.
Just completed the above piece.........lots of thread work on this one. I entitled "Two" and it will be part of the Images Tour.
Looks like a wonderful weather weekend here...........hope you have a good one

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Autumn is Here


I went walking through the park behind our home yesterday and that sound of crunching leaves under foot reminds me that fall is here even though the weather we have been receiving lately feels more like summer. It is a wonderful time of year.
The Images Tour starts in less than two weeks and I think I can safely say I'm ready. I'm usually running around, working myself into such a state because I've once again procrastinated and now need to pull it all together in less than a week. Not this year. I've completed everything that is going into the show. I'll still work on few outstanding pieces but for a change.........no rush!
My house is in quite a state though. We are having hardwood floors put in the livingroom, hallway and stairs so you can imagine the noise. I'm hoping to have everything painted before Thanksgiving but it is looking like it may have to happen afterwards.
I like the photo I've posted, it looks quite promising for my next piece of artwork. So serene, so inviting. As if, no matter how busy your life has gotten you really need to take that walk.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's Not Oprah but Still Television


So last night was my long awaited television interview which I must say was nerve wracking. All day my stomach was filled with butterflies and I had no appetite whatsoever (that wasn't such a bad thing). I drove into the television studio at about 8pm as the show began "live" at 9pm. Met with the lovely host Deanne McCallum and the other two women artists, Andrea Marcuzzi and Lois Green that would also be on the show. I even sat in the "green room" which really was painted green.
I kept thinking of why I agreed to do this as it felt really uncomfortable to me but that was exactly why I agreed to do it. I'm at a time in my life when I feel I need to take on new challenges and anything that makes me feel like I'm stepping outside of the box, out of my comfort zone is a good thing. I kept thinking.....what is the worst that could happen? No, I didn't want to go there. I finally realized everything was going to be fine and all my nervousness was just my mind wanting to make itself heard. Note to self........meditate longer every day.
It ended up being a good experience. The show ran for an hour and we discussed women in the arts, balancing art and family, passion and inspiration, the Images Tour etc. After about twenty minutes I kind of forgot the cameras were even there and it was rather like an enjoyable conversation with friends.
I guess the lesson I learned from this one (yes, I always think there is a lesson) is to take some chances. Do it because it forces you to step out of the box.........you can always get back in later but maybe you won't want to.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Work Completed, Good Music


Last post I talked extensively about my process and showed this piece which was half completed at the time. It is finally done and although there are a few things I would change I am generally happy with it. It don't think there has ever been a piece that I have ever finished that I didn't feel needed some tweaking.....I think I'll always feel that way.
This morning I saw my doctor for my yearly physical (yuck). The good news is I seem to be quite well which was a relief to me as I am a total hypocondriac. I think there was year when I thought I had every symptom of every disease known to man. I will warn you........if you have anything bothering you at any time.....do not go on the internet. I guarantee your symptom will show up with numerous horrible diseases linked to it. But I come by it naturally as everyone in family is a true hypocondriac. I'm just following the genetic path. We are a strange bunch.
John has gone to pick up our oldest daughter from play practice and my youngest is playing some wretched music upstairs that sounds like nails on the chalk board. I don't remember being a teenager and playing music my parents hated. I genuinely believed they liked my music because it was good music. Who doesn't like James Taylor, Led Zeppelin, Steve Miller Band, Bee Gees (yes, I did go through a disco phase.....it was the 70's afterall). Most of what I hear now is just an assault on the senses, wow, I do sound old. I think all that talk of peri menopause was freaking me out at the doctors today. When she asked me if I had experienced a "hot flash" yet I looked at her like she was crazy. I replied rather sharply "of course not". This is a whole new territory that I know is coming in the next few years but I'll deal with it when it arrives. What is primrose oil????
On to literary interests.............I read "Into The Wild" by Jon Krakauer about three years ago when I was up on Superior and absolutely loved it. If you have not read it...........do. It will grap you from the first page and leave you reading long into the night. It is a story of a young man following his dream and seeking authenticity in his life. Those are truly my most favourite books to read. It stays with me long after and inspires me to not only be a better person but to find my own truth. I saw Sean Penn being interviewed on Oprah today and he has turned the book into a film, which according to the Toronto Film Festival is fabulous. I will surely see it when it goes national on October 5th.
Well, must run the girls are upstairs arguing once again over who is taking a shower first tonight.......yes, I am taking a deep breath and am happy that at least they value cleanliness.
See ya

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Work in Progress


Thought I'd post a piece that is almost half completed. There is still much to be done but at the moment this is where I am with it. I think I'll leave the path painted rather than try to embroider it. At times, an overload of thread can cause the entire piece to be just too busy and heavy. I enjoy the contrast between the areas. It is a fine balance.
So for the many of you who have asked about my process, here is a quick run through.
I work from my own photos but do opt for creative license when it comes to moving things around. There is much prelimenary work that needs to be done before I even sit in front of the sewing machine. Colour choices for threads, design options, composition, size of completed work, a rough sketch, etc. This is not an art form for anyone who would like to start and finish a piece within a day.
Once these decisions are all ironed out (pun) I then begin to paint the cotton. With this piece I used a very light gray for the background, almost a wash. I really wanted the green of the trees to pop out against a neutral background. I then loosley painted in where my trees would be positioned as well as my grasses and shrubs. I used a much darker gray for the path and painted it about three times to not only achieve darkness but heaviness as well. Then off I went, the trees were completed in layer upon layer of five different threads. At this point I am following my basic painting of the tree trunks but winging it when it comes to the branches. I do find much of my work has now become spontaneous. Using a variety of browns on the trunks is imperative. Without many thread changes the work will appear flat and lifeless. I have just started on my first green and will probably end up using about eight before I'm done. I think I'll also add flowers to my shrubs to break things up a bit. So, after the work is completed I will then use a piece of quilt batting and loosely quilt it. I really like the added texture the batt brings to the piece and it also just pops everything out adding a three dimensional value to the artwork. Yes, it is an enormous amount of work but I love what I do and couldn't ever imagine doing anything else. I consider it a labour of love and a way to express myself that brings me unbelievable joy.
Till next time,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sights and Sounds of the City


Yesterday John and I had a fabulous time. Our friends Jay and Karen gave us tickets to a Blue Jays game for our 20 year anniverary.........no, I don't like baseball and neither does John but the gift has sentimental value as for our first date we went to a Jays game. Even twenty years ago I never liked baseball but I liked him and if that was what we were going to do on our first date, I was all for it.
So we dropped the girls at my brother in laws and headed downtown. Toronto is such a fabulous city there really is an electricity that runs through the air there. If you ever have a chance to visit you'll love it.
When we arrived at the Rogers Center and picked up our tickets we then realized that our seats were in the nose bleed section as they had been on our first date..........how appropriate. We ended up leaving early (we did on our first date too) and headed over to Le Saint Tropez on King Street for an early dinner. Le Saint Tropez is one of my favourite restaurants in the city as it reminds me of being in France.
All through our meal I couldn't help looking over at John, really looking at him and remembering all of the memories we have shared over the last twenty years. To say I love him now more than I loved him when I married him is an understatement. We have so much history.............and although we are now very different people than we were back then..........I feel we have grown together. He knows I will never like fishing but I know he will never like sewing and isn't that gung ho about art either but that's OK. We share the important things.
I believe he is one of the "best" people I know.
After dinner we headed back to my brother in law Gregor's house. It was his son's second birthday so we joined in on all the festivities.....lots of cake and pizza.
Didn't get home until so much later than I had anticipated and unfortunatley missed out on Kelly's annual bash. It is such a blast and I do look forward to it every year. All types of musicians show up and play guitar and sing.........last year her husbands band played and it was fabulous. Yes, people do get up and dance which I did one year but we won't get into that. That is a story for another day.
Tomorrow back to work...........
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend..............

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fall is Here


Today we had a bit of rain and sun but that wind was cool and the leaves on the trees in my backyard are really beginning to turn colour. It was a great summer though....so I have nothing to complain about. I actually enjoy the four seasons quite a bit but find winter a tad longer than I would wish. Come the end of February I am really ready for spring.
I didn't get into the studio at all today. I picked up some work from the framer, ran a few errands, went for a walk, did laundry, dishes, washed the kitchen floor, got dinner ready, did more dishes.......that kind of stuff.
Andy and Laurie came over today and finally decided on the piece they wanted for their home. It was wonderful to see them and it sounds like they had a fabulous honeymoon.
I also heard from Mary Profitt this morning and I'll leave you with a quote she sent me that is by the spiritual master Rumi.
"Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground" Enough said.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Motivation.........Can't Seem To Find It Today

I didn't have a very good sleep last night......my mind wouldn't quit running and it kept dragging me along with it. This morning at 6:30 am I felt like I hadn't slept at all. Remember when you were a kid and there was no such thing as a "good nights sleep"?.....every night was a good night sleep. I do sometimes long for those days. I think it all started after I had kids (that will do it to you). Your always listening to hear them at night just in case they need you. Perhaps even though they are now 13 and 14 I just haven't been able to break that habit.
This morning my youngest, who never sets an alarm slept in, as did I. Bus leaves at 7 she didn't get up until 6:30. The morning started off in a panic as I must have jumped 3 feet off the bed when she came running down the hall to inform me she was late. I told her she needs an alarm clock she told me "I'm stressed and cannot talk to you right now". Oh........teenagers, they are such a joy.
After this morning I just haven't been able to get my "mojo" going........I think that translates to motivation doesn't it? My kids would just be cringing if they read this or heard me say that word.
I do need to get to work on another small piece I'm in the middle of and head up to the framers to sign a couple pieces.
When I was on line yesterday I read about an artist residency in Italy. Tiny house outside of a lovely village, a garden and studio space..........I can dream can't I?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

On The Search For A New Gallery


I finally took some time today to type up a few covering letters, C.V.'s, and artist statements to send off to a few potential galleries that I like. I would ideally like to find a gallery in Chicago or perhaps New York. I would also enjoy to visit both of these cities so I guess I would be killing two birds with one stone so to speak. I've heard good things about the Vale Gallery in Chicago on West Superior. When we were up at the lake I was introduced to a friend of my mother in laws who is a professor in Chicago. He was kind enough to give me the scoop on the area in which the gallery is located and it sounds great. Anyone out there have any gallery recommendations in either of these cities?
So, I've got quite a bit of work ahead of me which does need to be done. Once the Images Studio Tour is over I need to find a few new galleries for representation. I've procrastinated enough..........time to take some action.
John and I had a good morning as we took off early for the farmers market to pick up a few things. We always intend to pick up a few things but always buy so much more. How can you help it.........fresh local produce, yummy pies, organic meat. Besides I would far rather spend my money supporting our farmers than at the supermarket. I so enjoy walking around outside visiting all the vendors............everything from my friend Jennifer who sells the most delicious pies, to Sharon who farms fabulous organic produce, the bread woman who bakes my favourite sunflower flax bread and the great olive guy (don't know his name) who has six different varieties of stuffed olives (garlic, sundried tomato, feta, blue cheese, roasted red pepper and I forget the last one). I feel very fortunate to have such a great market 10 minutes up the road and for John and I it is a nice ritual. The girls are teenagers so of course they are sleeping in and not interested in heading out to the market. We have a leisurely cup of coffee around 6:45am and are usually at the market by 7:30pm Pretty sweet.
Well, must go. I am making Vegetable Fried Rice for dinner but sticking some organic chicken in so I guess it is not really vegetarian is it? Don't tell Kelly.
The above piece I absolutely love but I don't necessarily love the photo of it. I cannot afford to hire someone to photograph my artwork so the deed is left up to me. I think most of the people who view my work in person see it much differently then it is online. In a photo you really can't appreciate the vivid colour and texture the way you can live. That is surely a drawback when it comes to galleries viewing your work but as John would say "it is what it is".
Take Care

Thursday, September 6, 2007

You Gotta Love A Daughter Who Can Make Sushi


Tonight my youngest daughter made sushi for dinner. I didn't have to participate in making it or help in cleaning up..........all I can say is "yeah". I'm not an all out sushi nut which means I won't eat eel or any other creepy fish whose name I don't recognize. I like smoked salmon, shrimp and tuna but that's about as far as I will go. She loves sushi, california rolls and sushimi and decided it was was what she wanted to do for dinner so I said "go for it". It was fabulous.........she even lit candles and put on "buddha bar".......I love buddha bar music.
This morning the light in my jeep was flashing "check engine" even I, who knows nothing about the care and maintenance of a vehicle knows that this is not a good sign. John and I both drove to town, I did groceries and he went to the dealership. $200.00 dollars later we returned home. My relationship with my jeep is definitely a love hate relationship. Wish we could get away with only having one car but not possible when you live in a rural village.
My girls are getting ready for their first dance of the year at high school tomorrow night. My oldest daughter is on the Student Activities Council and told me the dance is called "Shut Up and Dance" apparently there is a song by someone named Rhianna called "Shut Up and Drive".........I do not know this song and they have let me know that anyone who is anyone knows this song...........I do not which I am assuming means I am not anyone important. Teenagers are such a weird breed of people.........they roll their eyes a lot at their parents, think their friends have figured life out and eat all the time......my grocery bill is getting crazy. They still hug me everynight and tell me lots of stuff that goes on in their life and let me know they love me........... so as a mom I think I'm doing ok.
The above piece is once again from our trip this past spring to Portugal. Thanks and love to Kelly who left a great comment on the blog. She was on this trip with me and we did spend the day together in Cintra........which was a blast. Kelly is the best.............everyone should be fortunate enough to have a friend like her. Love to you Kel..........but you already know that.
The weather here today is stiffling hot which seems bizarre for September but global warming and all that stuff................
Lots of love to my cousin Leslie also.............your emails about my blog keep me inspired girl

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Kids Back To School, I'm Back to Work

I realized today as my alarm went off at 6:00 am that my vacation is now over. I was trying as hard as I could to drag it out but the cold reality is that..........it is over. From the comfort of my bed I could hear my two teenage daughters fighting over who was going to take the last muffin in their lunch. For a brieft second I did pull the covers over my head and pretend I could hear the waves of the lake lapping up over the shore but when the yelling reached a fever pitch I knew I had to get up. My oldest is up at 5:30am for a shower and to "get ready". What getting ready entails is shower, blow dryer, hair straightener a touch of mascara and throwing together a lunch. When I was her age "getting ready" for me was just dragging myself out of bed. When I tell them this they say "well, that was in the olden days" Yikes...... Unfortunately the bus picks them up at 7:00 am which seems obscene to me but that is the price you pay to live in the country.
It rained all day today which made me feel a touch blue. I know the rain is necessary but the dreariness of it all just makes me realize summer is over and fall is on it's way.
I writing this at about 9:30pm and I am tired. I worked off and on from the minute the kids got on the bus until just a few minutes ago. I say "on and off" because there is always laundry to do, dishes to wash, carpets to vaccum etc..........you get the picture. Tonight is our "no" TV night which I think is great but unfortunately I do tend to work more than I should especially when I'm getting ready for a show. It was good to look out the window and see the kids playing badminton together instead of sitting in front of the television.
The piece I'm posting is from the trip John and I took with his company this past spring to Portugal. We spent a fabulous day with friends in the lovely village of Sintra. Yes, Kelly was there. I'm really proud of this one as I love the contrast between the acrylic paint and the thread work. Tomorrow it will head off to the framers and will be a part of the Images Artist Studio Tour in October. Hope your all rested and looking forward to the cooler weather ahead.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Celebration Part 2


When we got down to the beach all of our friends and family formed a circle around us. John's uncle Jim read a passage that he had written regarding love, kindness and strength. Our good friend Bob spoke about what being "a friend" really means. Both of my daughters read a passage that they felt was revelant. One was from the book "The Prophet" and the other a native blessing. Various people spoke from their heart and at times I was having a difficult time not bursting out into tears.
John's family has a family ring which represents their connection to Lake Superior. Everyone of us has one except for my two girls. When they both finished reading their pieces, John's mom and her husband came into the circle and presented the girls each with the ring. Now I really felt like crying. The ceremony ended with our friends Marilyn and Charlie. He accompanied her on guitar while she sang. Beautiful.
Rather than have our guests sign a traditional book we had them leave a message on one of the rocks from the beach.........this way when we are at camp the rocks will always remind us of what a wonderful day that was..........filled with love, good friends and kindness.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Still Basking in The Glow of Lake Superior


I'm finally back from vacation but I left kicking and screaming. It just didn't feel like we had enough time to "just relax"......but I'm not complaining......it was simply amazing.
We arrived at camp on the 19th on a beautiful sunny day. It felt like a wonderful welcoming from the lake. John left the next day with his brothers for a few days of camping and I spent most of the week working out the details for the party which at this point had grown from 30 people to 86. Much of my help came from my sister in law Rachel who was surely my port in the middle of the storm. On the Wednesday we found out our dear friend Tom, a native Cree elder who was to officiate at our ceremony, had fallen ill. Of course our first thoughts were of him and of him making a speedy recovery but now Rachel and I had to put together another ceremony, one of our own making. Yikes!!!
Our friends began arriving on Friday night at which time we threw together a pot luck of burgers, salads, sausages etc. I don't know how we managed to squeeze so many people into our tiny cottage but we did and had fun doing it.
I woke up Saturday morning to a gloomy day and immediately began panicking........yes, we could move the party indoors at the lodge if it rained but I so didn't want to go there. Our ceremony on the beach was to begin at 2pm and I was praying it wouldn't rain. The sun finally began shining but around 1:30 the clouds came back in again. John, being John, said, "it will be what it will be, we can't control the weather". I hate it when he is so sensible in the middle of one of my "freak outs". The picture I have posted is of the pathway down to our beach. At 2:10, hand in hand, we walked down this path to greet our guests and to celebrate.
I'll post more tomorrow...............

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Me on TV????


Isn't this fabulous???Here is my new storage unit for the hundreds of spools of thread I own. It was such a crazy story ........I was picking up a few spools of thread (ok, more than a few but I always tell John a few) at my local fabric shop. As I was leaving I saw this unit sitting outside in the parking lot, looking as if it was destined for the garbage truck. I asked one of the salesclerks if I could have it and she said sure as they had decided not to carry Mettler thread any longer and had no need for the unit. Some very kind little old man helped me load it into my jeep (it was extremely heavy) and off I went. With John's help we set it up in my studio and I am overjoyed. The fact that it was absolutely free is an unbelievable stroke of good luck.
Yesterday I did an interview with our local newspaper for an article they are writing on my work. They did a story on me a couple years ago but the editor wanted to really showcase my new stuff and who am I to argue with free publicity. I also got a call from the Communications Director at the local television station to inquire as to whether I would like to participate in a show called "Woman To Woman". It is in conjunction with the Images Studio Tour and is based on my art as well as balancing family and work. I agreed to do it and come September will post about the experience. I just hope when the camera goes on I don't freeze and start rambling on and on about stuff that makes no sense at all. They mentioned there may be a call in from viewers which I find rather strange.......I can't see there will be many people sitting at home wanting to call in and ask me about thread selection etc. ... but I'm up for whatever they have in mind.
Hope everyone's week is sailing along..............

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Weddings and Twenty Years of Marriage


Our friends Andy and Laurie are getting married this weekend and the weekend after, John and I are celebrating twenty years of wedded bliss.......somedays more blissful then others of course. Andy and Laurie are getting married in their backyard, John and I am celebrating with 85 of our friends on the shores of Superior.
We have been planning this for the past year and were so pleased to know everyone we invited was able to attend. You know you've got "good friends" when they are willing to drive eight hours to help you celebrate. This week I am finalizing all the details.....caterer, wine, accomodations for guests etc. I think it was a bit more stressful than I imagined it to be but were in the home stretch now. I'll post about it when I return.
This piece was inspired by our trip to Toronto where my youngest daughter was quite mesmerized by Tamara Jaworski's "Modern Quartet". I couldn't track her down to get permission to use the image so I just threw one of my own in. The entire piece is painted in acrylic except for the weaving, that I completed in thread.
Hope everyone is well and enjoyed a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Feel of Fall in The Air


I really don't like thinking that we are into August already. Here in Canada the summer is short enough but wow....today I can feel autumn around the corner. This morning as my kids were getting ready for music camp they began talking about back to school shopping and timetables. Kelly and I were just discussing the other day how autumn feels so much more like the new year coming in than January 1st ever did. It seems to signal all kinds of new change. Change isn't something I relish but am wise enough to understand (yes, it does come with getting older) that it is a constant in all our lives.
This small piece was sent off to the framers yesterday. I am quite pleased with it. I used acrylic paint on the sky and thread everywhere else. The flowers in the foreground are lavender as well as queen annes lace, which is growing profusely in my backyard.
Hope your well and not quite ready to let go of summer just yet.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Friends, Karma and Yet Again......Celebrations



The house has been a hub of activity this long weekend. I only seem to catch the back end of both my girls as they race in and out of the house with their friends. Our good friends Bob and Marilyn of the Livingstone Peforming Arts Project had their annual summer party yesterday to celebrate Bob's birthday as well as their ten year anniversary. Lots of food, babmington, horseshoes and later into the evening about 10 local musicians began playing everything from a guitar to a violin to african drums. It was certainly a night to be remembered. My oldest daughter pitched our tent in their backyard and spent the night giggling and "hanging out" with her friends. Bob and Marilyn are leaving in January for Africa to begin a new adventure in their lives. They will leave a tremendous hole in this community when they depart as they have been at the center of everything that has gone on here. To Christmas Music Concerts, Community Clean up Days, Musical Theater Camp.....I could go on and on. They are wonderful friends and we will miss them deeply.
The above photo shows just how disorganized my thread bins are. I have had many people email me to ask me how I organize my threads.....well this is it. I bet you expected nice, neat, stacked spools. For some reason this is how I work best. I have gotten rid of almost all my fabric now which leaves so much more room in my studio. My good friend Marg is going to become the lucky receipient of my stash which I think proves one of my most favourite points which is "everything that goes around comes around".........you know that great belief in karma.
Although my grandmother taught me to embroider by hand, Marg took me under her wing ten years ago and was instrumental in not only teaching me how to use a sewing machine but helping me choose one also. It seems only fitting that she get my fabric.
The piece above is one I just began working on. I have painted my background and have just started to embroider some of the trees. By the time the trees are finished I will have used approximately five to six different browns and perhaps a couple of olive greens to create depth and highlights. I will post the piece when it is completed.
Hope your weekend has been a good one.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Work, Work and More Work


This morning I took a break from work to take my teenage daughters shopping for some back to school clothes. Yikes!!
I might as well have stayed at home and pulled my hair out one strand at a time. The didn't like anything I thought was "cute' and they rolled their eyes everytime I mentioned the word cute. Oh well, at least they chose clothes I approved of and we got some fairly good deals so all in all it was a success.
I was happy to get back home and return to the studio. I picked up five of my new pieces yesterday from the framer and they look fantastic. I even received a cheque today from one of my representing galleries along with a note letting me know the wonderful response they've been getting from my new work. Thanks Michelle.
The piece I've posted is "Reds". It is quite a small piece but with the framing it comes out to about 6"x8". Surprising how such a tiny piece can take so much time. This is done entirely in thread.