Wednesday, July 30, 2014


This morning I rose early and was able to get a jog in before it got too hot.  After breakfast, I headed out to Stettler, where I ordered the material to refinish my kitchen counter top.  Then I headed to the beach at Rochon Sands...

I found the perfect parking spot.

I found the perfect spot on the beach -- a grassy knoll in the shade of a willow.

The beach was clean, clear and quiet.  This was the view from my lounge chair.

I could see clear through the water to the bottom of the lake.  
I swam out to the buoys marking the edge of the safe swimming area (before it gets deep) -- and back.

The pelicans were out at the Point.

I ate a little lunch, made a couple of watercolour sketches...
and left for home as the families began to arrive for the afternoon.

Playing again, for the first time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Give Me a Garden!

Gentle Readers, if you've followed this blog for a bit you know how much I love my garden and my "Outdoor Studio".   This time of year I spend as much of each day as I can outside.  It should come as no surprise then that my "Dream Collection" for the 2014 SAQA Benefit Auction is "Give Me a Garden".  Here are the pieces I've chosen:

Lirio Rojo - Phyllis Barnett
Copper Seeds - Shelly Burge

Pink Peony Centre - Carolynn McMillan

Iris - Ruth Powers
Full Bloom - Victoria Rondea
Windswept II - Nancy Ryan
You can see all of these pieces -- and more! -- on the SAQA website.  The Online Auction begins on Monday, September 15, when you'll be able to add to your "Dream Collection".  :-)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Untitled, for Friends

Today, for all who have loved and lost loved ones.

What the Living Do

Marie Howe
Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up
waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through
the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,
I've been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,
I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.
What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss—we want more and more and then more of it.
But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep
for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.
Copied from The Academy of Poets  with thanks.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Up and Down

For the past couple of weeks the temps around here have surpassed their usual, pleasant early July pattern (mid-twenties Celsius) and soared up to 30 C or more (with humidex).  When there's been a breeze, it's been fine for being outdoors.  Work on my kitchen cabinet painting project has progressed.  All nine doors up above the counter have been finished -- and of course, what was taken down had to be put up again:

First Doors Up

Now I am working lower down, below the counter.  You can get a glimpse of before and after all at once:

What a difference between old (L) and new (R)!


Most of Wednesday was too hot for this project, so I spent hours researching abstract painters for my online class, "Abstract Art for Quilters" with the wonderful Elizabeth Barton through the Academy of Quilting.   I found a gem guaranteed to inspire and buoy me up when I'm down in the doldrums, as I have been much of this summer.  Her name was Agnes Martin (1912 - 2004), born and raised in Saskatchewan, who studied and lived most of her life in the art mecca that is New Mexico.  Some of her wisdom re: art and life:
Do what you were born to do.  That is the way to be happy.
Art is the concrete representation  of our most subtle feelings.
 Music is the highest form of art.  It's completely abstract.
Although I don't believe there's any relation, her paintings remind me of the work of one of my textile art heroes, Judith (Judy) Martin of Ontario. to wit:

The Islands - Agnes Martin
72" b 72" - acrylic and graphite on canvas

paradise is what lies beyond the horizon (one)
Judith e Martin - 2012
19" x 19" - domestic linen, acrylic paint, thread, paper

You can follow Judy Martin on her blog HERE, and from there follow links to her work.  Agnes Martin's work is still being exhibited by the Pace Gallery.  You can listen to wonderful discussions of her work as related to that of other abstract artists, and to an interview with Agnes herself on You Tube - "Agnes Martin on Not Thinking".

(NOTE: the clip is preceded by an advertisement.)


Art making -- doing anything with my hands, really -- anything rhythmic and colourful -- is soothing.  It lifts me up out of the world, up out of the griefs and sorrows -- the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' (Shakespeare - Hamlet) -- that conspire to keep our spirits down.  Like Agnes Martin, I'd like to train myself to stop have "...a clear mind, so that when something comes into it, you can see it" and take it from there.

(For SAQA members, there are a couple of recent conversations underway on the  SAQA Yahoo Group about art making while living as we do in the midst of personal and global tragedy, violence and unrest...)

And that's whats off my wall today, so I might as well link this up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday...and see what the others think (and what they're up to)!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

In Betwixt and Between

hot weather
monkey mind

landscape so beautiful it hurts

going underground for a while

Every day I want to speak with you. And every day something more important
calls for my attention—the drugstore, the beauty products, the luggage
I need to buy for the trip.
Even now I can hardly sit here
among the falling piles of paper and clothing, the garbage trucks outside
already screeching and banging.
The mystics say you are as close as my own breath.
Why do I flee from you?
My days and nights pour through me like complaints
and become a story I forgot to tell.
Help me. Even as I write these words I am planning
to rise from the chair as soon as I finish this sentence.

PrayerMarie Howe, Poet

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Today in the Outdoor Studio

Some spinning for the Ravelry Tour de Fleece 2014

Bobbin #2 - almost full

Some quilting for the 15 x 15 Group challenge

Stitching down the facing

Some work in my sketchbook

And...some cross-stitch/embroidery

Linking this up with WIP Wednesday over at The Needle and Thread Network...

Stay cool, everyone!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Of TDF, TSP and Toothbrushes

I was going to quilt yesterday -- really I was.  I have the facing strips for my 15 x 15 piece cut, as well as the pieces for July's "4 x 4" Block of the Month.   After spending the cool, cloudy morning washing 9 kitchen cabinet doors, and scrubbing their "retro" handles, I found the weather had turned sunny and pleasant (not too hot) with just a light breeze -- perfect for sanding said doors as Step Two in my Kitchen Reno Project.

Formerly grimy knobs, soaked in TSP and scrubbed with an old toothbrush

Sanding with my Black & Decker "Mouse" hand-held sander
Isn't it cute?!
The sanding took the better part of the afternoon.  After I changed my clothes and cooled off, I was ready for something different.  I caught up on my daily stitching of "MOB" and then turned my attention to the spinning I want to get done during Ravelry's annual 'Tour de Fleece'.  Faithful readers will recall that I participated in this bout of spinning craziness in 2012 -- and actually got quite a lot of batting spun up into usable yarn (which I have yet to use!).


I have more to use up, and I've decided I don't want to save it all for needle felting.

Quite a bit of it is labelled 'Shetland' -- one purchased package of roving (far left) two bags of batting that I prepared myself from a Shetland fleece I bought a few years ago (centre two bags) and some off-white batting of unidentified breed (right side of photo) that I was given by my friend B in Calgary.  (She's a wet felter but didn't have time, space or opportunity to use it.)  I've begun with the Shetland and will spin it all up before turning to the Unidentified Breed.

Today after church I went weeding again at my sister's cottage garden, as she can't get up there till after the Calgary Stampede is over (she's working double and triple hours as Marketing Director of the Ranchmans Cookhouse and Dance Hall, Calgary's only genuine western night-spot)...

Sis grows the finest chickweed this side of the Rocky Mountains! LOL!  In two sessions -- 4 hours on Monday and 2 more today, I've managed to locate her veggies at last.  :-)


Now it's time to enjoy the evening -- a little supper, a sip or two of wine, and some spinning in the Outdoor Studio!  Have a great week, everyone!

(P.S. Because I still can, I'm squeaking this into Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday for July 4!)