Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Treasure Tree

We filled the tree with happy memories again this year.

Almost every ornament on the tree has a story connected to a friend or relative. It makes for a fun evening when we haul the boxes out of storage. We didn't have room for everything this year on our compact tree so we stuck to the mostly handmade and favorites. After all, we've been adding ornaments to the collection for 25 years. It's time to retire some and send others off to adorn our sons tree at his new home.

If you have nothing better to do or need to escape for a few's a treasure hunt

There's two blue birds, two penguins, a puffin and chicken
A stocking, a lighthouse, sea urchin and mitten
Two houses for birds and one for a mouse
Four balls of yarn and a bird like a grouse
A lace wreath on one side and glass tree on the other
Four elves altogether but one with some bother
(He's in a canoe without any paddles)
Pete Pan is quite old unlike the two snowmen
They are hung with a bear and shepherd that's German
A red cardinal's hiding and one is down low
and four icicles hang by the lights so they'll glow
Do you like hunting and still feel quite keen
then look for the pine cones you should find fifteen
Don't finish without counting the stars from a friend
Find fourteen little tin ones and we'll call this the end!

Now get back to what you're supposed to be doing!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winter Gardening

Had a little bit of time to dress up some pots and make a swag to hang by the front door. I like winter gardening. It's nice to reuse those summer pots and add a bit of cheer to the dullness of Dec.

This is the first time I used Sinamay in an arrangement. I think I resisted because it seemed to be everywhere and well, it's plastic. I am a convert now. I like the frosty effect of the silver I used and it looks great at night with the string of lights shining through it. It also hides all of the light cords during the day.

So back to the garden to add a few more lights and try to tidy up the perennials before we get snow again.

ps. Just put my cold hands in my coat pockets and remembered the marvelous little warmers I tried out today! They work!  I bought a box of Little Hotties hand warmers ages ago and never used them. Trying to twist wires with gloves on is impossible so I stuck the hand warmer packets in my coat pocket and kept diving in when my hands got too cold to work. That was about 4 hours ago and they are still toasty warm.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Fun

There's more fun to come at the gallery on Charlotte St.

They are hosting member artisans each day now so visitors can meet the folks behind the art. Gordon Kennedy from Iron Art got things started with his metal work on display today. A fabulous wood tuner from Port Hawkesbury, Hugh Ross, will be there tomorrow and I'm on the schedule for Monday. It's always a pleasure to hang out at the gallery because the surroundings are so beautiful.

I'm working on a couple of little extras to take into the gallery shop with me Monday. Stop by and say hello if you get a chance while you're in downtown Sydney. Checkout the CBCCD website for an updated list of artisans being featured.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Many Thanks

My little buddy and I want to thank everyone that dropped by to see us at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design on the weekend!

It was so great to see lots of familiar faces and meet so many news folks! Thanks to the staff at the centre for being such wonderful hosts too. Loved the jazz. Sorry Elvis. Hope everyone has a fabulous holiday season and thank you all for your enthusiasm for handmade.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Made it!

The weekend craft market at Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design got off to a great start last night with Holiday Spirit!

The third floor looks amazing all decked out with festive lights and the vendor displays look fantastic. The little fellas I took with me have almost all found good homes already.
Thanks to those of you who stopped by last night and I hope to see lots more familiar faces over the weekend. Oh! The gallery at CBCCD is all decked out in holiday glitter too! Drop in to enjoy the surroundings and get in the holiday mood.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Winter Arrives!

Whoa! The first snowfall of the season was a whopper. They forecast 35 cm and I'm sure we got that and more. I went out to get my countdown photo and settled for snowballs when I really wanted to take the morning to make six snowmen.

I am supposed to be working. The birds were catching up on whatever they didn't eat during the storm I'm sure. Lots of chickadees, goldfinches and a lone woodpecker in for a suet treat.
The temperature is supposed to be back up above 10C by the weekend so it won't last long. It's already starting to melt but pretty once the shoveling was done. Credit goes to darling spouse, all he left me to clean up was the front step!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Counting Down The Days the Holiday Spirit event at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design. There probably won't be a lot of time for writing posts but I'll continue the countdown. It's part of the plan to stay focused and keep creating! Just...

Friday, November 18, 2011


I'm logging the hours to get everything finished that I want to for the upcoming Holiday Spirit show at the CBCCD. It's very optimistic of me. I never feel completely ready for events. My brain skips around to all of the different things I could or should create so I'm trying really hard to stay focused. This little guy will have to be my supervisor for the next few days 'cause he's got his specs on and won't miss a thing!

The near sighted ones are still my favorites.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bluefaced Leicester

I know kittens aren't pink but that's what this beautiful wool feels like!

I've tried lots of different wool over the past few months as I discover it in local shops. My favorite for needle felting softness is the fleece from the bluefaced leicester breed of sheep. I went and had a look for some info and there's a great site by the Bluefaced Leicester Union of North America. Everything you need to know! What explains my fancy for the wool is that BFL is considered the softest of the longwool breeds.
This gorgeous color of roving is from Fleece Artist. I found it at Baadeck Yarns here on Cape Breton Island. It is the exact color of an old fashioned rose I planted, just a hint of purple in with the soft petal pink.

How could I not make sugar plums! It wasn't the only color of BFL I bought so perhaps a little wooly mistletoe for the upcoming Holiday Loft?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Better Than Roses

This beauty is what I look at from my kitchen table.

My tree lovin' husband brought this Japanese maple home from one of our favorite nurseries about 15 years ago. It seemed extravagant at the time at a price of $90 for a three foot tall tree but what a beautiful addition to our yard! It has gorgeous dark burgundy leaves all summer creating a shady backdrop to the rest of the shrubs and then it seems to change overnight to this crimson red.

Like I said, better than roses! It's a gray November day and the rest of the trees have lost their leaves but this one is still in it's glory.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Special Ops!

This project was a side trip for me. I've been weaving and felting but not sewing much. A special request from a pal prompted the design and execution of this special op!

It needs a few tweaks but hey a computer fits in it! That was the goal. I've been thinking birch bark, gathering birch bark and working with birch bark so it's not hard to figure out what inspired the felted trees. I just have to look out my kitchen window and the design was right there.We have had beautiful clear evenings with a bright full moon this week as well. Now to see if it stands the test of time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Have you heard about Movember? It's a great way to support the health of the fellas in your family. I thought I'd offer up a little inspiration for any of you that might be considering your mustache options. Let me introduce you to Mr. Frank Badger...

 Mr. Thomas Blacklock... 

 and Mr Russell Arnett... 

These distinguished gentleman are of another time in our family but aren't they handsome? Grow for it! :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Storm Passed

It was a wicked storm that passed through Cape Breton Island and the rest of the Maritime provinces last night. Power outages are getting restored, thank goodness, as it's been a chilly weekend. We haven't lost any major trees but there are some down in neighboring yards. 
They all graciously fell away from houses around here at least. Now on to the cleanup of cutting wood and raking up leaves. Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

27 Pumpkins!

Thanks to all of the workshop participants at the Family Studies Teachers Association conference today. It was lots of fun and so great to see everyone get a little pumpkin made. I hope I've given at least a few of the attendees the felting bug!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Amazing Stuff

It's SUGRU! I stumbled on this product on one of my many romps through craft sites and flickr photos. As soon as I saw sugru I needed to try it on my felting needles. It arrived in the mail today and I've coated all of my #38 star needles with it and will keep going with the other sizes.

I got five colors in their multi-color mini packs so there's enough in each colour to do several needles of each size. Yeah! I love it when I find something that is such an easy solution. Now to try to combine two and three needles into one sugru handle!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Along the Way

Fall seems to surprise us each year with a few warmer than normal days. It feels like a special treat especially if you like to hike. Last weekend gave us a couple of those days and I got a chance to go for a walk through the woods behind the studio. 

 All of the local flora are throwing off their seeds to sprout for next year and there's lots of goodies for the birds to enjoy as they fatten up for a long winter.

The rain we had made it hard to get down to the pond so we waded along the side of the river bed and back through the woods.

A lot of the old spruce have been devastated by the spruce bark beetle so many of the tree trunks look like turnstiles. I have a favorite spot in the small wooded area behind the studio. It has the remnants of hedge rows of stone piled up up along what used to be farm fields.  I can't imagine trying to grow potatoes in the stony ground here.

There is some hard work on display here even though it's now tumbled and grown over with moss.

Here are the tiny little fruits of my garden labor this year. I had a stack of them rolling around on my table over the Thanksgiving weekend. They are so cute!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Catching Up

The last couple of weeks have been full of work but not without some fun too! October started off with Lumiere and then there was the opening for both the Inverness County Centre for the Arts Textile Festival and Roots and Branches at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design. I gave you a sneak peek at some of the work.

So here's the rest of the story...

Each basket has an accent of different materials. This one had copper foil and mesh added to it. The handle is a piece of alder branch. The next one had seagrass cord and grasses as the textural element.

The basket I called "Meadow" has wool added to it in the form of needle felting. I made the handles for the sides and lid out of lovely soft merino wool roving.

There are no photos yet of the pieces at CBCCD because I forgot to take some! Eventually. The other fun project I had on this week was the Pimp Your Tam O'Shanter workshop at CBCCD. The participants were brilliant and caught on to needle felting in no time. I'm hoping they share some photos with me because .... I forgot to take some. These are tams that I did for demo.

I did have time to get outdoors and enjoy the nice weather last weekend so I'll sort through those pictures and share tomorrow.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lumiere 2011

Thanks to everyone who came out to Lumiere 2011! It was so great to see the crowds of people downtown for the event and all who stopped by to say hello to the critters and I.

It rained but it didn't seem to dampen anyones spirit!

So many dowtown merchants opened their doors and welcomed the artists and their imaginations.

The art, music and theatre events were fabulous and I have no doubt that all the participants were thrilled with the great job done by the organizers.


I'm sure everyone is exhausted and taking a well deserved day off (or two) but can't help thinking ahead to the next project. Hope to see you in 2012!