Saturday, December 26, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Spruced up for the Holidays

This is a small snippet of the newest exhibit at the CBCCD gallery. In the spirit of entertaining it's filled with lovingly hand crafted home decor accents such as glass dishes & ornaments, stained glass panels, wood bowls and vases, wreaths , visual art, and lots of finery to wear out on a night of celebration. Everything is presented on a crisp white background that really brings out the sparkle of the holiday season! More pictures on Picasa

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Christmas Loft

Holiday Spirit was in full swing in the Loft at CBCCD last night. It was a beautiful setting with lots of fabulous food and spirits to start off our weekend  craft market. All of the staff at the centre deserve a big round of applause for putting this all together. The gallery on the first floor is decked out in holiday splendor as well with an all white theme and lots of sparkle!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

All Natural

This is a complete departure for me from my usual weaving. No color! Have been seeing and liking  beautiful cream and white decor in magazines and lots of things made with natural fibers. So, thought I'd have a go at no color but lots of surface texture. Of course there are natural shifts in color within the reed and the seagrass really stands out against the creamy background. Will take these pieces to the Christmas Loft coming up this week and see what the reaction is to them. I do have some plum waiting for me on the work bench so my booth won't be completely void of color.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Birch Bark Wreath

Fresh from the work bench! I save all of the scraps of birch bark after I cut strips for weaving. Can't toss them. Here's the result. Tied up lots of little sprigs of bark and wired them onto a wreath frame. Might try to find a nice copper colored ribbon but I had the burgundy so it does the job.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I've been busy getting prepared for the upcoming Christmas Loft at the Centre for Craft and Design in Sydney at the end of Nov. Pictures of Christmas past are great for getting in the spirit of things. This is the gallery display at the Centre last year and it had a lovely frosty evening feel. The twig bench was great fun to make and the snowflakes created a wintry shadow effect on the walls.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Other Island

I'm so lucky to live in the Maritimes where there are treasures to be found at any moment. The scenery can't be beat and there are so many great little discoveries to be made in small towns and villages. On a recent trip from this island to what I refer to as "the" Island where I grew up I found a sweet little ash basket in my favorite antique shop in Summerside. I make a point of getting to Coulson's Antiques as often as possible. I have other ash baskets I've collected and will share some more pictures as I find them around the house. I wish I knew exactly where the old baskets came from and who the weaver was but it's always left up to the imagination.This little gem has a couple of broken curls but it's perfectly intact otherwise. The strips of ash are so tiny and perfectly cut to even widths which is a marvel to me every time I see an ash basket.

Monday, October 12, 2009

From the Studio

In honor of the view in any direction these days I put a hit of color in some new baskets. This will be my last week to be open at the studio for the season and it's getting chilly. Lots of weaving to do though as one season is finishing thoughts of the next have me dying rich plums and reds!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Myth in the Mist

Great exhibit on at the Center for Craft and Design in Sydney. The Myth in the Mist opened this week and features really fun pieces celebrating the otherworld of faeries. The pieces I created for the exhibit were inspired by the wonderful places I often find in the woods with old tree stumps and soft beds of moss that I could imagine a little sprite taking comfort on. The exhibit includes some fantastic visual art, jewelry, wood, art dolls and absolutely charming creatures from Sarah Beck at Wildfire Pottery. Don't miss out!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Taking a Break

There have been a few much needed breaks from weaving! Had a great day up in Bay St. Lawrence on the water. Check out Oshan Whale Watch Tours. Highly recommended.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tiny Treasures

This picture was taken a couple of years ago and I'm always glad I took photos so I can glance back. The tag is business card size folded in half to give an idea of scale. The three on the outside were woven of birch bark strips and waxed linen and were probably tied to a leather cord for necklaces. The round one in the middle is a combination of waxed linen and embroidery floss and it went to a collector of baskets with lids. Anyway, all of this looking back stuff is to get me jump started on weaving some more little basket treasures 'cause they're so much fun! If anyone wants to share pictures of tiny baskets they have woven or other tiny treasures you make leave a link in the comments section. I'd love to see them. until next time.....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


There is an exhibit coming up at the Cape Breton Center for Craft and Design in the fall called the Myth in the Mist. It will coincide with the Celtic Colors music festival that brings visitors from all over the world so the exhibit is based on the old world stories of little people from many cultures. I've been trying to decide what to weave for this exhibit and have looked for inspiration. The old maple tree in the picture is down by the river behind the studio and it has always made me think that it has a personality or another life we know nothing about. It's very old and has lots of scars from weathering the seasons but still stands tall. Maybe it has it's own guardians in the form of faeires or sprites of some sort? It's a place to start imagining...........

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gift from the Forest

It's never hard to find an enchanting spot when you wander through the woods. There is lots of evidence of hard work in the woods behind my studio. Stones piled along lines that no doubt at one time defined fields of a farm are now grown over with a mixture of hardwood and evergreen. The moss that grows over the stone is lush looking when you get a shaft of sunlight reaching it. I thought this was a great place to take a picture of the antler basket I finished this week. They always start with a bit of handspun wool from my friend Chris at Bras D'Or Lakes Fibre Studio and I choose the colors from there. This piece has a lot of waves in and out as it follows the curves of the antler.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Something New

I had a couple of round mirrors so creating a frame for them was interesting. It's not easy getting a picture of a mirror either as I found out. It didn't turn out at all like I had envisioned but I kind of like the result. Did another one in old gold so it looks a bit like a sunflower. Will tackle a square and rectangular frame next. That will be a whole different challenge but that's what it's all about.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Raspberry Patch

Fresh pickings! Finished this basket on Friday and the color combo reminds me of raspberries. Have another piece that's lavender but it may already have a new home. Trying to get the pantry stocked so to speak.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rainy Day Pal

Seems like every second day is a rainy one this month. You can see the fog hanging low over the hills across the road. My little buddy joined me in the studio for a while today and I'm sure she was wishing for a dry spell like the rest of us!

Good Kind of Blues

I always have a hard time cutting flowers from the garden when they are in their prime.The rain and the heat made the delphiniums in my garden grow tall and beautiful but then the wind knocked them down. Perfect excuse and no guilt cutting them for a gorgeous bouquet! Lots of blooms fell off in the car on the trip to the studio so I put them in the pot of rain water with a few rose petals that I couldn't toss to the wind just yet. Such wonderful colors together!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Do Drop In

Drop by so you can just slow down and listen to the finches and the robins, blue jays, juncos, crows.....

Finally Some Weaving!

Still lots to do around the studio but I've been weaving! It's a pleasure to be almost outside all day. With the windows open and the big screen door I can hear the birds chirp and the wind making the chimes play while I work. This is a fortunate life! Visitors so far have said it's a relaxing spot and I agree. First basket on the left is a random weave pouch in colors that match the love seat fabric. Next is a sturdy tote for shoppers, and the last one is a bird house for my friendly neighbours.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bright Spot in the Fog

The weather is the pits! Rain, fog, more rain. There is one bright spot in the yard though, and that is the gorgeous work of Marg MacNeil at Caperglass Creations. These lovely windchimes are right beside my studio door and they sound as beautiful as they look! I sure wouldn't mind looking at the sun shining through them.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Moving In

Like most projects it's taking longer than I thought to get the studio open. Finally got some cleaning up done and moved in some twig bits. Reed is hanging all over the place and I'll have tools scattered and scraps on the floor in no time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Leafy Wonders

Couldn't resist taking pictures of the leafy greens in the garden today. My favorite attributes in any perennial or shrub are the textures of the leaves and the overall shapes they provide in the garden. There's got to be more than just a pretty flower to occupy space! No wonder green is my favorite color.

Garden Fresh

We had a much needed rain here last night and this morning so the garden looks fresh! The greens seem greener and the flowers brighter with the rain still on their petals. This is the season in my yard for rampant pink and blue forget me nots and wild columbines in shades from white to burgundy. Globe flowers and my Japanese Kerria provide hits of bright yellow. The perennial geraniums are just starting to open some buds and the lilacs are providing the perfume. This year I'm adding salmon impatiens and petunias for a jolt of color. Not a shade of pink I'd usually go for but it will be interesting to see how it fits in with the changes the perennials provide throughout the season. The gorgeous hanging basket is from The Greenhouse Co-op in St. Peter's which is definitely worth the trip if your on Cape Breton Island. This is all of course in my home garden. The studio will be a new start and challenge for gardening. Lots of sun but the soil is not so good. I'll start with nasturtiums!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The View From Here

The view from the little studio just keeps getting greener. Lots of lawn and a perfect maple on one side and the lushness of the woods on the other make the view from the windows very soothing. Gardens to follow.

Bit by Bit

Painting is almost finished!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday Mention from Weavin' Wicker Woman

It's Tuesday but to my delight I got the Monday Mention on the Weavin' Wicker Woman's blog. Just got my slideshow up and running yesterday as all of this blogging is new to me. Glad it made an impression! It's so great to be connecting with folks from afar especially the basket weavers! For some pictures of incredible antique restoration and info on all of Cathryn Peters classes and her fabulous baskets check out her website

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Paint and Paneling

Lots more pro - gress this week with the help of friends and family again! Many coats of paint went on once the walls were filled in with paneling. In the interest of recycling and economizing the paneling that came out of the house (way too much of it in there) got used on the walls in the studio. You've got to love white paint. I also went the "green" path with the paint and picked up several cans of Bomerang recycled paint. It went on really well and covered the brown paneling in one coat over the primer so it gets my thumbs up. Bonus is the price at less than half of most paint per 4 litre can. The paint crew was on a roll so the little wooden ladder with all of the spots of paint from over the years got a fresh coat of primer and will get finished with "blue lake" I bought from Mr. Paint. It will be handy to have in the studio so might as well be pretty!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mixed Media Artisans 2009

My good pals at Mixed Media Artisans are open for another cruise ship season in Sydney. It started off with a sunny and seasonally warm day! I did hear that it was a bit chilly at the waterfront but the atmosphere was warm and inviting! They have all of the gorgeous goodies they had last year with a couple of new artisans added in to the mix. Janet has out done herself with a great selection of new scarves, Les has added clocks and new jewellery to his selection of fine woodworking and Chris as usual has spun together some dreamy fibres to entice all of the knitters. Here's hoping for a fantastic tourism season for all of Cape Breton Island this year. It is after all one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit and live!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Big 'Thank You' to Volunteers!

It's been a busy two weeks and things are progressing nicely thanks to the volunteers in my family. Thank you, thank you, thank you! All of the basics are getting done and it will soon be time to get out the paint cans in the studio. That's where the fun will begin with choosing bits and pieces to put in for work and display. We have managed to salvage a couple of great cabinets to hold lots of supplies and keep the mess a little more out of the way. It won't be easy to keep my creative mess contained but I'd at least like to think it will start out tidy! Anyone who knows me well will have their eyes rolled to the back of their heads by now. Can't wait to get at some weaving too. After all it's the reason for the new space!

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's Happening!

A couple of warm days, a rainy day, a couple more warm days and all of a sudden there are flowers peeking from under brown leaves and a hint of green in the lawn. A bit of sun adds energy to everything including moi! Lots happening in River Bennett. New shed to house contents of barn/studio delivered. Barn cleared out and cleaned by gracious volunteers. One room in the house painted and cleared of most of it's contents for the addition of a new sink and work table. Paneling removed and shuffled to the barn for reuse. It's happening! No pictures to share of changes yet so sharing the lovely pink Barcelona tulips I couldn't resist, little lovelies in my yard that are blooming and bits of larch that I couldn't throw away. I'm sure the bundles will look at home in some future display.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Scholar

Monday started off just right with the arrival of this little guy in the mail. He is the work of artist Sue Shipley of Wovenlight on P.E.I. I found him in her Artfire shop along with her great flower note cards. I think he's very wise looking as owls should be and will be good company for me in the studio. He must have an excellent pedigree as well coming from "The Island" as I did!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Twigs and Turquoise

No need to compromise! Made myself a little sumpin' with twigs and that lovely color of turquoise. Had made the twig frame last year and let it dry, thoroughly as it turns out. The cotton tape was hanging around waiting for a project too. Frame is very light and suitable for tootsie resting. Heavier frames in progress for resting backsides! I hade the good fortune of getting a supply of cotton tape from a fabric outlet on P.E.I. a couple of years ago and you know your gonna find a use for stuff like that some day right. So if you see a bargain and you're not sure what it's for just yet, don't pass it up. If you buy it, the project will come to you...........eventually. Feel the need to go rest my feet now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Inspiration

Lately the days have been spent researching and planning for the renos. Plans fluctuate frequently! The lovely picture is the little getaway of artist Elaine Van Berkel that was featured in the Spring 2008 Cottage Style issue of Canadian Home and Country magazine. I love the bright light, the perky color accents and the rustic chandelier. A very inviting place for anyone to create what they love. This is a great inspiration for my little studio space. Picture twig furniture instead of the turquoise chairs ( although I love them) and add in bright colored handwoven baskets. I found some colors I like from Benjamin Moore so will visit our local dealer Mr. Paint. I even like the sound of the colors "potpourri green" and "blue lake". It's beautiful in my head. Paint a studio in your mind and let me know what you think. Can't wait to get started! We could really use a spring this year!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pussy Willows!

Thought since I said I saw them and they are such a welcome harbinger of spring I should produce a picture. This is a willow I bought a couple of years ago and it's got the most beautiful pussy toes on it. They are perfect in every way. Kitten soft, grey little pods that will eventually burst into yellow catkins to announce the sprouting of new leaves. It certainly seems like it will be a vigorous shrub so I'll cut it back almost to the ground and encourage more shoots for next year. I'm hoping this will be a good willow for basket weaving.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's the little things

Start small and work towards the big things. Whether it's a weaving project or a whole new direction in life, it's that first little step that gets the whole thing underway. Pal Janet at High Fibre Diet inspired this post. It got a boost from Laura who sent her the poster. It's the age old debate about going BIG and where to start. I'm on the "plant a small seed" side. Maybe that's the gardener in me? Janet planted a seed this week and it sprouted a couple of new bloggers already. More signs of spring I'd say!

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's melting!

Just a little one but it's my new home for weaving and twigging. Managed to open the door a tiny bit to get inside. Nice and dry after a winter of steady snow/rain events.
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Walk in the woods

Still lots of snow in the woods despite sunny days. The moss hanging off all of the old spruce looked neat today with the sun getting low and shining through it.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Thinking of Spring

The spring equinox has arrived on our doorstep. Yeah! Found pussy willows already. Yeah again! Lots of birds at the feeders and expect to see those little bits of bright yellow starting to appear on the Goldfinches. The sun is feeling warm on your face........ when you find a spot out of the wind.
I've been visiting my favorite daily blogs like poppytalk , craftzine, and desire to inspire to gather decorating inspiration for my upcoming studio space. Trying hard to keep in mind that it needs room for tangled reed and tools but looking forwrd to creating displays and shifting gears whenever an idea strikes. Of course right now it's those beautiful spring greens and thoughts of robins egg blue that appeal to me. Will try to use a background color that will shift easily with the seasons so I can go from beach to fall harvest and then rich holiday displays. Settled on putting Benjamin Moores 'dill pickle' somehwere. That inspiration came from Canadian Home and Country feb/march 09 issue.
Happily, I'm seeing a mix of twigs, antlers and bold colors in both relaxed country or modern decor. Can't wait to start the renos and get to work on a rustic twig arbor to welcome folks to the studio. Picture is last years garden. Only three more months until those lilies in the background bloom!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Branching out..........

The start of a new project stirs up all kinds of excitement. The new project is a studio space for my twigs and reed and yes, a blog. Expect it will be heavy on the pictures and light on words as the renovations start and the opening gets closer.
I've had lots of offers of help and the enthusiasm of friends will get me through the days when I'm wondering about the sanity of it all. It's a beautiful piece of Cape Breton Island and the community will be as enjoyable as the natural surroundings.