Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year Ambitions!

Forget the resolutions and just get on with the ambitions! I'm not sure why the parameters of a year are so significant to the world at large. After all it's another month, week, day just like the rest some how. We're all told to live in  the moment but my thoughts keep slipping to weaving and felting and getting out to the woods to find some great treasures all in preparation for next year. Today I got a course calendar in the mail for the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design where I'll be teaching needle felting. Next week I have new work to start on for a customer and you know studio season is only a few months away. Another moment just ran past! Really, I am anxious to get to the new of the year ahead. Maybe it's the possibilities contained in a calendar year we anticipate that make it such a big to do. So here I go from Reading Ladies to Songbirds. 

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Will That Be All Sir?

Don't you just love the butlers in anything from the BBC archives? The have a perfectly prim manner and those half closed eyes so they don't notice TOO much of what's going on. You get a Christmas card in the mail with cute penguins sliding down a snowbank, your on a steady diet of old British television shows and it stands to reason the felted penguins get smart little vests to wear.

Good day then Ma'am!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Little Fun

There are baskets a plenty
on the work table you'll find
7 of reed
3 of bark
1 of wax linen and beads

the smallest is copper
about the size of a penny
5 tools of the trade
can you find any

there's 3 snowflakes
an angel
2 gnomes and a ewe
3 sweet treats from Spain
and a red gecko too

red wool and white wool
for holiday cheer
2 packs of power
and a device for your ears

there's wire and clothespins
and bark from a tree
a lavendar wand
and a new box of tea

a glimpse of my workday
it's clutter and fun
now back to work
and there's errands to run!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Favorite Things

Two of life's simple pleasures for me are fabric and magazines. Today was a bonus. I got a great deal on this beautiful cotton print this morning and then came home to find my copy of Holiday magazine in the mail box. Kismet! Guess what I'm doing as soon as the coffee is ready..........

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rough to Rustic

This little dresser was the perfect fit for a small spot in my kitchen. I felt things needed a little shaking up in my cream to beige world. And it's November and it's dull outside most days so I picked Sun-dried tomato from Sico. It might be a bit more just-ripe tomato than sun-dried but I like it! There's a rosy glow coming off the dresser and it certainly has the desired effect on the kitchen. :) 
 The rough part...

and the rustic part ...

 I haven't spruced up the wooden knobs that were on it yet. Anxious to get it ready to use I improvised with branch and twig scraps I had and I kinda like the rustic finish. It will look great for the holidays and I can change them later.

The knobs were really easy to make. Chopped the slices of birch (at a slight angle) and alder twigs on my chop saw but a pair of pruning shears and a hand saw would work. Drilled a pilot hole all the way through the twig and just to start a hole in the birch. Please use a pair of vise grips or a bench vise to hold the twigs while drilling if you try this! Slide a screw through the back of the drawer and attach the two pieces of wood to the dresser with it. If I decide to leave them on I'll do some sanding and put a coat of varnish on them so I can wipe them easily.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What to do with the scraps?

Remember those paper chains we all made in elementary school? They were bright, colorful and easy to make. I always have bags of scrap bits from basket weaving and they are getting too many in number. 

 So while I'm indulging in  Midsomer Murders (not the inspiration for the holiday cheer) I've been twisting these fun little chains together. Something cheerful for a foggy day in November. I think I'll work on making enough for an all reed Christmas tree. They will go with the snowflakes, reindeer and birds I've made other years. Oh, and these little guys are great for using up bits of reed too.                                                                                                                                                               

 For the basket weavers with make the star - start with 6 or 7 inch pieces of  #6 and split each one to one side of the center and insert the next "stick" to create the overlap. Once you have the 5 pieces of #6 connected together start weaving at the point of the star with #3 tucking the end along the inside of the sticks. Weave each one individually from the point down towards the center and then on the fifth point wrap the tail end of your weaver around the center of the star. You can tidy up the ends and snip those pesky hairs more than I did.  If this is clear as mud send me a note and I'll try to reorganize my thought process! :)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Standard Time

The light really is different in November. It makes the world look a little softer somehow. I'm working on a new project and will be anxious to see what the fading light of fall does to it's appearance. A sneak peak of the prototype. Just a teeny bit.

Better get to work!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Little Paint and Fabric

Chairs, chairs chairs! You can't have too many comfy ones and sometimes the sturdiest ones aren't the prettiest ones. I tackled a quick redo on these dining chairs because they are sturdy ones. They are for my oldest child who is getting settled in to his own home. Yes, finished university and gainfully employed. Don't ask me how that happened! Anyway, back to the chairs. A little sanding, a couple of coats of metal paint and some new fabric....much improved. Slight problem with doing the next two. I can't find any more of the brown fabric!  Next chair post will be about 'Mix and Match' I guess.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Studio Closed for the Winter

Yes, it's the end of another season at the studio in River Bennett. It just gets too cold for my fingers to weave without heat! The work continues though and I'll have some new goodies ready for the Gallery at the Centre for Craft and Design this holiday season. Look for upcoming news about Holiday Spirit.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sites In the Highlands

These photos are from Northern Cape Breton along the Cabot Trail. They came to me courtesy of Wendy at Glass Artisans. She snapped them on one of her recent drives to Cheticamp. It's always a thrill to see moose on your travels. Sometimes they arrive in your yard too!

They're awesome!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hydrangea Harvest

It's chilly out today and by the time I came in it was raining again. However, I scooped up lots of beautiful hydrangea blooms to save and dry for winter bouquets. 

The colors in the blooms are so pretty and will stay for a few weeks as they dry.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sugar Plum Pink

These birch bark wreaths even go with pink! I picked up some new rolls of ribbon at Canadian Tire of all places. Debbie Travis gets credit for the newest bows on my birch bark wreaths. When you think of birch bark you see black and white but the more I use it the more colors I discover in it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pick Your Favorite Color

It's officially here. Fall color is around every corner and hitting it's peak in St. Ann's Bay.

There are a few perennials still making an effort and the sunflowers are trying hard to ripen their seeds.

The inspiration is overwhelming! Their are beautiful color combinations and interesting textures around the yard so I've been gathering lots of bits and pieces to add to new weaving.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Fall in Cape Breton brings it's own special beauty to the world.

Even with all of the fall glory the change in weather makes some creatures think about migrating.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Oh Deer!

September is quickly coming to a close! I've been barely keeping up with the weaving. Lots of inspiration along the trails and at the markets. I'll share some more pictures and get back to work.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Good Read and a Clear Sky

Those of you that know me would agree that I like a magazine or two to read. :) Well I just found Sweet Paul online so thought I'd share the joy of flipping through a new magazine without the tree guilt. I'm gonna try the Butternut Squash and White Bean Stew on page twelve. Sounds yummy and plenty hearty for a fall supper.

Here's a little of my own fall inspiration. 

On the topic of fall weather, I'm happy to report that the fog has least for a couple of days. This is what was missing from the last road picture I posted.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rainy Day Rewards

Rain...a hint of sunshine....more rain.....but at the end of the day a double rainbow. I captured this delight on Wednesday. I walked out the driveway to take in the signs for the studio and didn't notice it until I turned around with my arms full so I had to run for the camera. These moments can be fleeting!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sunflower Love

No, it's not a small basket, it's a big sunflower.


I have a few of these on the go in different colors. I'm pleased with the little leather tab handles. These colors are of course inspired by the mammoth sunflowers I've been looking at from the studio. I noticed a few maples starting to turn color along the roadside today. Guess that explains the change in temperature the last few days!  Will add some rich reds, gold and rust to the weaving palette. Maybe some wooly goodness too. 

Here's a little bit of summer still hangin' around in my garden. Spot the busy bee in the nasturtiums!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Foggy Commute

Do you ever feel like your not sure where you're going? What about when you can't see where you're going, should you go anyway? 

This was the beautiful mist over St. Ann's Bay on my way to the studio this morning. The sun was breaking though behind me and it turned out to be a lovely morning. It's hard to imagine the hills hiding behind this wall of fog. Then there are these....

The constant humidity and rain has produced a crop of various fungi in the yard. I can't tell you what they are (until I find a good book at least). I love the bright colors of the first two and the third merits mention for it's ability to pop up overnight to a generous size.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

As Advertised

These little beauties bloomed as advertised and have lots of side shoots yet to open.The seeds I planted in the flower beds did not fair as well so obviously this Ikarus variety is happy to be potted up.


The Russian mammoth sunflowers I planted have just opened as well even though the dreaded Earl knocked them sideways. I tied them back up to the railing in hopes they will survive the the uprooting. They were a ray of sunshine on a rainy day. 

No doubt the birds will have a great time when the seeds mature.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Weaving with Wood - Island Traditions Store Home of the Basket Weavers

 More great video of  traditional basket weaving in Atlantic Canada. I have a couple of treasures from the hands of these weavers!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Antler baskets in the works

These are fresh pickings from the studio. I did the first one in some soft summer colors and then shifted to fall for the second.

I'm staying busy weaving and getting a little felting done on the side. This little guy ( my version of a nuthatch) is the newest critter and he looked right at home in the pine tree!

We are enjoying great summer weather in Cape Breton for the end of August. Hard to think of a new school year and busy lives again for the fall. I won't mind when the black flies leave though! Cheers until next time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Basket Making Weaving - Fortress Louisbourg


The folks at one of Cape Breton's National Historic sites, Fortress  of Louisbourg, do a great job of preserving our past and sharing their knowledge. It's a visit you don't want to miss if you are traveling to Cape Breton Island. The Fortress is located in a spectacular coastal setting that juts out into the Atlantic ocean and guarantees visitors to the site a truly old world experience. I've had the pleasure of meeting and weaving with some of the interpreters at the site and they are fabulous weavers. Go visit them!

Thanks to mycompasstv on YouTube for the video!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Even More Lilies!

These are the best gift a gardener could ever get! A whole collection of lilies arrived last fall. My sisters garden needed thinning. They have been surprising me for the last few weeks as each one blooms. I had no idea what color or size they were when I put the roots in last September. 

There are at least nine varieties in shades of yellow, orange, wine and red, so far. One more to open and reveal it's secret.

Sunday, August 15, 2010