Friday, April 17, 2015

EBMC April - Seduced by Colour, Part III

I sent my blocked "quilts" to EB about half an hour ago.  In my e-mail I told her...

Given all that's going on this month -- including assorted deadlines, sewing machine repair, and leaving for the SAQA Conference in Portland on the 29th -- I thought I'd try killing 2 birds with one stone.

A bit of back story:

In 2013 I made my first "miniature" -- a 5" x 7" piece matted to 8" x 10" for a benefit auction at the SAQA 2013 Conference in Santa Fe.  I discovered I really liked making these tiny pieces, and since then have finished several dozen.  Many have sold and I have about 2 dozen out in 3 small Central Alberta galleries.

One of those galleries recently sold 3 and wants replacements.  I promised the owner, "after Easter".  Here it is...A.E....and they're more than past due!

I decided to take my selected colour palette for this month to make a couple of the minis.  
I started with a different inspirational photo, because I can't get the notion of a sunset out of my mind:

Sunset...somewhere in Mirror, Alberta, Canada

Then I laid out a background...and tried on a couple of alternatives (because, remember, I have to make more than one mini for the shop in question)...

Sample #1 for "Sunset by the Slough"...
Remember the fence?

Sample #2 for "Sunset by the Slough"...
Reminiscent of...

Red Shed (C) 2013 (sold)

I closed by admitting to Elizabeth that taking a scene like "Red Shed" and tweaking the colours so they admittedly border on the unrealistic was definitely outside my Comfort Zone.

And yet...

And yet...

Reading my friend elle's guest blog post today over on "And Then We Set It on Fire", I know in my gut that there's a larger piece -- in that 'wilder' palette, in a very abstract form -- just clamouring to be created.

Now that I've hived off enough fabric for those minis, maybe I'll see what I can do...

But first a walk, some knitting, and a cuppa while visiting the others joining me over at Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  See you there?


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Squeezing Lemons

"When life hands you lemons...make lemonade" -- right?

Today I've been squeezing lemons.

Monday I got my 'back-up for my back-up" sewing machine ready to go with free-motion quilting on my SAQA 2015 Benefit Auction piece.

Today?  Couldn't get the tension right for love nor money!

Solution?  Make do with 'regular motion' quilting.  But...my walking foot (which I usually use for RMQ) doesn't fit my double back-up machine...and that machine didn't come with it's own.

"Okay, Lord", I prayed,  "If I'm meant to contribute this piece to the 2015 Benefit Auction, You're going to have to help me with this!!"

I cleaned all the dust bunnies out from under the needle plate and around the bobbin.

I put on a new needle (90/14 Superior Top-stitch).

I filled a bobbin with Bottom Line thread and inserted it.

I installed a fresh spool of King Tut thread -- to match the grass -- on the spool stand and threaded the machine...

And...by the end of the morning, all was quilted --  except for the tree, which was fused...

Yellow tree...under construction...

I went for lunch with a friend...Thus fortified, I came home and quilted the tree.  Then I trimmed the piece to 12 1/2" square, ready for facing:

"Yellow Tree" (C) 2015 

And a detail shot...

"Yellow Tree" detail (C) 2015

All of this was done with a conventional foot, feed dogs up, no free- motion in evidence.  I'm thinking I'll be doing more work this way.  Keeps my blood pressure under control!  ;-)

That finished, I can get back to blocking my EBMC piece for this month.

On the knitting front, Sock #1 for the April Socks-from-Sash challenge is finished...



And...the Wedding Shawl is at 18/25 pattern repeats...

So I'm linking to WIP Wednesday over at The Needle and Thread Network...and starting shawl pattern repeat #19.

Have a great rest of the week!



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hooped?

Not sure.  With the back-up sewing machine, definitely.  This morning I was taking it out for a spin, so to speak, and had just finished various stitching samples.  I was pretty satisfied, having also figured out how to change the foot, where the feed dog controls were, etc.



I was now ready to see what kind of seam it could sew, before moving on to free-motion experiments.

Did I tell you that this machine had been given me by my friend B, who'd had it given to her?  B's DH takes care of much of her machine maintenance -- except for the computerized stuff -- so he'd tweaked this Pfaff 1222-E.  One of the tweaks was to replace the presser foot lever, which was missing, with a long bolt and a nut to hold it in place.  It worked fine -- that is, until the socket in which the bolt had been riding disintegrated...

What's left of the socket on the wall of the machine


Replacement "lever" and the other 1/2 of the socket

There's no gluing it back together, either.  If I want to keep the machine as my back-up (to the Husqvarna Lily 555 currently in the shop) I'm going to have to have it properly seen to as well.

So...

Blessedly I have a back-up for my back-up: I may be able to borrow an older Husqvarna from my friend J.  I did this a couple of years ago and it worked well.  I've left J a message and am hopeful...

Meanwhile, I'm blessed to have other things to do in the Sewdio...

Backing up a bit...before the sewing machines went to heck in a hand-basket, I finished my April "Zen" BOM (over a week ago now!)

"Triangle Squares"
I enjoyed this one rather more than its predecessors, and was pleased with most of my 'points'.  I had to give it a good zap of "Best Press" (R) because as is typical when using assorted fabrics, some of them are flimsier than one would like...but their colours are right!

On Thursday I received EB's feedback on my "Colour" sketches and selections -- and this fired me up yesterday to go in search of that field and fence for more photos.  EB wrote:

Color scheme looks good, - but if you notice she [Referring to Sharon Lynn Williams' painting] really doesn't have much green in there....she has a complementary scheme of red/orange versus the blues  and I think it's the orange blue combination that really makes it.......

Red brown is a difficult accent color because brown is a neutral - being a mix of all three primaries, so it will be hard to get it to stand out.  In the above photo, the very saturated red is the one that stands out - so that's the fabric you should use in those accent areas - which usually are not large, but pull your eye  to the focal point - the center of interest.
And now for the key comment (the one that really 'spoke' to me:
you could go with either sketch but I think if you go for a landscape, it will be easier for you to be adventurous with the color!!!  If you decide to choose the fence, crop right down in close to the fence and imagine the boards having LOTS of different colors in them - not brown!
Thus my search for the fencing yesterday...and I found it...and took many photos...and got back and printed several off...and tried to express in another painting session how I felt and what I wanted to demonstrate.

I was out on my back stoop (it was sunny and warm, even if a tad breezy), painting, pacing and muttering to myself.  (Good thing my neighbours were out for the day!)  And this is what my 'gut' spoke:




No matter how I looked at it, the piece must be dominated by the sky and the land. "The Fence is Man's Mark on the Land".

Next up: audition exact fabrics to use and block out the piece (deadline: April 20).  Dunno where I'll put the 'orange'...if anywhere...

And YES, there is knitting...

The Wedding Shawl is now into it's 17th pattern repeat (of 25)...and I am about to turn the heel on this pretty April sock - #1 in this month's Socks from Stash challenge on Ravelry...

Yarn: Spirit Trail Fiberworks - Colour #414 (discontinued)
Pattern: Show-off Stranded Socks by Anne Campbell
(a free Ravelry download)

 The purple perfectly matches the one jolly-jump-up pansy bravely blooming in my plot east of the garage.  :-)

Linking this up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  Let your imagine take you away...and have a great rest of the weekend!  

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Wait Five Minutes

A lot can happen in a few days.  Even in a few hours.

After my April 4 post, I went into the studio to spend the morning quilting my piece for the SAQA 2015 Benefit Auction.  Several samples and three attempts later -- accompanied by weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth -- I realized I was down.  Not out.  Just down.

For months I've been dealing with ignoring the fact that my sewing machine (a Husqvarna Lily 555) has been skipping stitches, especially when I try to quilt free-motion.  It's happened some with straight quilting too (walking foot) -- and even with piecing, when I 'put the pedal to the metal'.  But mainly when I do free motion.  Going through the hoops (cleaning the bobbin area, new needle, right thread combo etc., etc. wasn't helping.  Saturday, I realized I couldn't put it off any longer.  The **!!@@ machine needed a look-see.

Blessedly, I was going to Red Deer in the afternoon anyway, for the Central Alberta Quilt Guild's Annual Show -- so on the way, I took the machine in to the Red Deer Sewing Centre. Rolly, their Main Man when it comes to machines, will clean and tweak and check the timing, which is what we (the RDSC staff and I) think is the problem.  Estimated pick-up date: April 22...

A mere 6 days (two of which I have to spend at my 'day job') before I leave for the SAQA Conference in Portland, when said auction piece is supposed to be finished and in my carry-on for delivery to the Powers That Be for all things 2015 Auction related.

Not to mention that I have to turn in my quilt for the April EBMC class before I leave...

Sigh.  

What to do?

Well... a few months back a friend gave me a mechanical Pfaff 1222-E, which her husband had brought up to speed, but which she neither needed nor wanted.  Containing sturdy metal parts, it weighs a ton, but will long outlast even the most expensive sewing machines on the market today, which are full of computerized gizmos and plastic parts, sensitive and flimsy.

I figured I'd better dig it out and see if I can use it -- and lo, and behold!  It has a FMQ foot!

Stay tuned for the adventure!*

*P.S.  I've done a bit of Internet snooping, and think I'll keep this review of the 1222E (which is about the same age as my daughter, born in 1981)...with the manual.  ;-)

EBMC April: Seduced by Colour - Part II

With my head clearing, I was finally able to get back to my first assignment in the EBMC for April...on the topic of colour.

We had to submit several images this month.

  • A proposed colour scheme and it's inspirational source.
    • I chose a watercolour collage done by my former watercolour/drawing teacher, Sharon Lynn Williams of Calgary.  I bought it at an art show/sale there about a decade ago (it's untitled):


    • Here it is with the fabric I bought (see Part I).  

    • From there we had to categorize our colour selection (this was really tough):
      • Main colour: blue-green
      • Secondary colour: peach
      • Accent: red-brown
    • Proposed neutrals: beige/tan (not shown)
  • Sketches -- even tougher...
    • First, a colouring of one of my sketches from the January project.  I wasn't satisfied with this; the watercolour pencils didn't do justice to the fabric colours or my idea.



    • So...I made a new sketch -- watercolour only.  You can see the hint of the fence in the lower left corner.  I thought about putting it in...then tried to eliminate it...:

So...all have been sent off to EB, and await her feedback.

While I wait, I'm linking up with The Needle and Thread Network for WIP Wednesday.  Why don't you join me to see what other Canadian fabri-holics have been up to?  :-)




Seduced by Colour - Part I

As my head-cold worsened, my ability to think clearly about colour declined...hence several days' delay between my last post and this one.

The afternoon of that last post, I drove in to Red Deer for the Annual Central Alberta Quilters' Guild Show -- one of the largest in these parts.  This year, I was going on a mission...mainly to do with the merchants at the show.  

On arrival, I was greeted by my friend Briony, who is in charge of the Exhibits this year.  She's also a collector of antique and vintage sewing machines.  This year she collaborated with other collectors to create a special exhibit:



Log Cabin quilt - date unknown - on loan
from the Innisfail & District Historical Village

My favourite machine was this one, owned by M. Wagner:

1911 Singer Fiddle Back with inlaid mother of pearl

From there, I made my way around the circumference of the main room and down the hall, then back to take in the quilts on display.  I confess that this year there weren't many traditional quilts that took my attention.  There was one that showed a wonderful use of fabric, though, and reminded me of Bonnie Hunter's adage that no fabric is so challenging that it can't be used if cut small enough.  Once it's cut small enough, a print "just becomes another colour" -- in this case, shades of blue and turquoise.  Wonderful!

"Eureka!" - Donna Parsons, Red Deer

"Eureka!" detail 

Then there was the collection of wildly coloured pieces by my friend and colleague, Patti Morris.  Two I particularly liked:

"Bubbles #2" - Patti Morris
Made for a class she taught at Quilt Canada 2013
"Colour Play and Experiment"

and her prize-winner at the show -- Best of Show, 'Innovative Art':

"Art Camp @ Lazy M"
From an art workshop at Lazy M Lodge

Demonstrating the use of colour in a different way...my friend and SAQA colleague, Wendy Greber, who made a sample for the Guild's "candy bar challenge".  The concept?  Take the colours from a candy bar wrapper and use them in a quilt.  Made to inspire her fellow guild members, Wendy's was a show winner too:

Here's the wrapper...

And here's the quilt:

"Chocolate Bar" - Wendy Greber, 2014

My adventure with colour didn't stop at the exhibits, though.  I moved from there back to the designated shopping area.   Hamel's Fabrics was having their regular show special: 1/2 metre cuts of batiks at $4.99 each.  I bought six...in the palette I plan to use for EB's MC topic this month...

And then it was suggested I visit one of the vendors 'down the hall' -- Quilters Dream Fabrics of Vancouver (not to be confused with Quilter's Dream in Edmonton) where, apparently, there was a wonderful collection of 1 metre cuts -- more batiks...and I bought 4 more...

Here's the collection:


To go with, I treated myself to one of Jerry's books at Copperfield's Books:


Ms. Issett is someone I couldn't afford to see when she taught (teaches?) at Gail Harker's Creative Studios in La Conner, WA...now I have her in my library...another book to inspire play...

And I visited the Superior Threads vendor, Cotton Mills Threadworks, where I bought a couple of spools of King Tut (my fave for my landscapes) and a package of needles...

I left around 3 p.m., completely satisfied with my afternoon.  :-)

To find out what happens to the fabric, stay tuned for Part II...

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Everything's in Order Here

Woke early to try to see the lunar eclipse.  Living in Western Canada, I'd have had a good chance of it...but for the snow.  So...back to bed, but couldn't sleep.

I lay there, sipping a cup of sweet tea (yes, I'm nursing a cold; it's the only time this coffee afficionado drinks tea)...and thinking about my agenda.

I like routine.  

I've never been very spontaneous.  I dislike surprises.  My late DH was the only one who could ever get away with surprising me, and even he stuck to doing so on my birthday or at Christmas -- when one can get away with it.

This morning, pondering this aspect of my character, I realized my tendency to plan and organize has a powerful impact on my creativity.

I like deadlines, and like to give my piece(s) plenty of time to 'percolate', both before and during construction.  Once begun, I generally break a project down into steps and pace myself, doing a bit each day on each of several projects.

Currently on the go?
  • This month's Master Class theme is 'color'...and I have to have five items (images) sent off to EB by April 10...so yesterday I tackled the assignment as follows:
    • Read through all the notes and instructions;
    • Checked out the recommended links (including a video or two);
    • Looked at inspirational sources to create a colour palette.
    • Recorded those sources as photos.  Here's a sampling:

Canvas-work cushion made by my mom

Needlepoint footstool done by my mom

Water colour collage
Sharon Lynn Williams,
Calgary, AB (ca. 2004)
    • Next steps: 
      • close colour studies to develop final palette;
      • create a design or colour in a sketch from January's work;
      • audition fabric.

  • SAQA Benefit Auction piece:
    • Next steps:
      • sandwich and quilt background;
      • fill in stitching details;
      • add foliage to tree;
      • face or bind;
      • apply label and sleeve;
      • submit!

  • My knitting projects are even more closely organized.  For example, the Wedding Prayer Shawl used to look like this:


It's now several times longer, as a total of 14 pattern repeats have been finished.  Each repeat is 24 rows, broken down into sections of six rows each.  There are 25 repeats to do before the shawl is finished, and the wedding is mid-June.  I won't be attending (another commitment) so have to finish and deliver sometime around the end of May or right after Quilt Canada (June 4-6).  My agenda?  
  • Knit a minimum of 6 rows per day.  
    • If I knit 12 (or half of one pattern repeat) and am consistent, I could finish this baby before I go to Portland for the SAQA conference later this month.

Then there are the April Socks-from-Stash...the first one is now happily about 3" long, meaning I'm almost 1/2-way to the heel...

What about you?  Are you super-organized or more spontaneous?  How d'you think your tendency to be one or the other governs your creative practice?

Linking this up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday...

If it stops snowing, I might just get in to Red Deer for the last of the Central Alberta Quilt Show.  And yes, there'll be a sock in my tote...  :-)

Happy Easter! Happy Passover!  Happy Spring!  Happy Fall!  ;-)

Have a great weekend!





Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Resist

In art, the term 'resist' -- or 'mask' -- generally refers to a substance that is used to cover an area of paper or fabric...so that when one paints or dyes that paper or fabric, the covered area 'resists' the paint or dye.

Alas, that's not what I mean here.

Instead, I'm referring more properly to 'resistance' -- also known as 'procrastination'.

Sigh.

I've had an inspiration for weeks -- maybe even months -- for the 2015 SAQA Benefit Auction.  Inspired by a song on a CD I got for Christmas, I could close my eyes and envision it, whole and complete.

A few weeks ago, I made a sketch drawing:




I "sat on it" for a while...something wasn't quite right.  The tree...the banjo...

Finally I looked up "the tree in my head" and found this image (I'd already looked up the banjo...) :


Note: it's an oak, and I don't have much experience with oaks as they don't grow in these parts, generally...but there you have it!  (This is why I'm thankful for the Internet.)

Of course, the proportions meant I had to figure out the size of the...um...figure under the tree...(another Internet search):


Thank you, shutterstock.com!

So...this afternoon I bit the bullet, took the bull by the horns, put my butt in gear (insert your favourite cliche here)...and began the lay-out of the piece.

First, I prepared the foundation fabric, using a 15" square piece of light-weight cotton recently acquired from my friend J (she's been cleaning house):


Prep = applying fusible web (in my case, Wonder Under) to one side.  The colour of the fabric doesn't matter because it's going to be covered.

Next I placed the background fabrics -- both auditioned beforehand -- for sky and foreground:


The sky is a self-dyed piece of muslin; the 'grass' is a commercial batik (but I bet you could figure that out!)

Once the edges were trimmed, I auditioned the positioning of the key elements:


NOTE: I use off-cuts of laminating plastic -- lovingly donated by my daughter from her office -- for my "patterns" or "templates".  In this case, I taped 2 pieces together and drew my general outline on them in a defined 12" square -- the size of a finished SAQA Benefit Auction piece.  You can see quite easily that I didn't stick with the over-sized banjo player!

Satisfied, I put pieces in place and fused them.  Here's the piece (thus far) on my design wall:

"Yellow Tree" (WIP) - 2015

Of course, I'm wondering if a) it's going to be 'good enough' for the auction; and b) whether or not I should have quilted the sky/foreground before adding the smaller details (too late now!)...

Then I remind myself that a) the quilting will make a difference; b) the quilting will include thread embellishment on tree and banjo, and create a hat for the banjo player; and c) there will be leaves added to the tree and hints of grass (in stitch) added to the foreground...and it will all be trimmed from 15" square to 12.5" square before binding/facing...

And so...I relax a bit and start something else...

First, the April "Zen" BOM (Block Of the Month), now cut and ready to assemble:



And...I've cast on my April "Socks from Stash" challenge socks -- in the Spirit Trail Fiberworks colour #414 (discontinued) as chosen by the group...using Anne Campbell's "Show-off Stranded Socks" pattern:


It's a simple pattern -- perfect for the weeks ahead -- and the colours in the yarn are so rich and lovely!  Ah....

Now to link up these Works In Progress with WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network...

Stay tuned for an EB Master Class posting before too long.

Blessings for Passover or Easter for those who celebrate...and to ALL of my Gentle Readers, Happy Spring!

Oh...and that inspirational song?  Pour a cuppa and enjoy...."Daddy Played the Banjo" - Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) and Gary Scruggs (yes, that Scruggs family)...


This one's for you, Steve!




Steph Does It Again

I rarely re-read other bloggers' posts more than once, but THIS ONE warranted a re-visit today, and I just might save it as a PDF.  It makes me grin every time I read it -- and there are photos, too.  Hint: it's the story of The Yarn Harlot and the Astronaut.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Box of Dreams

In 2003, my family endowed a bursary to the Educational Foundation of my former high school.  The bursary honours my father and his sister, who were both teachers.

There are two equal awards given each year -- one to a boy and one to a girl -- students in the graduating class of the given year who document why they want the award and the extent of their need for financial assistance.  In addition, each applicant must provide two letters of reference (one from someone in education/the school and one from the community), and records of his/her marks.

The students are marked out of 10 points each for their letter, their references and their marks -- and 20 points for financial need.  I am but one person on a committee struck by the Foundation to assess the applications, prepared anonymously.

The box of applications for 2015 arrived earlier this week: 37 from the girls, and 11 from the boys. (Getting high school boys to see the value of applying for scholarships and bursaries is like pulling teeth.  None of us adults -- parents, teachers, Foundation members -- have ever figured out why, and the boys aren't telling.)

In the 12 years I've been reviewing these applications, I don't think I've had as much fun as this year.  This may be due in large part to the students' opening gambits, the first thing I read.  For example:
Ever since I can remember, it was always hard for me to make decisions...With all of the options that are open to me, I can't seem to choose a path because I don't want to miss out on anything.
Or how about these...striving for humility...?
As arrogant as this may seem, I would like to tell you why I would be an excellent candidate for an Education Foundation bursary.
As blatantly self-serving as this makes me seem (not a pleasant feeling, I can tell you), please allow me to present myself as a candidate for an Educational Foundation bursary. 
And these (honest is the best policy, right?):
Running around is what I do best.  What's the point of anything if you are not willing to improve or try something new?
As I child, I was very clumsy.  I spent countless hours in the emergency room with broken bones and other injuries.   Yes, she aspires to enter medicine. :-)
I'm not going to lie; [college] is a big scary change.
 And these...
Honestly, as nerdy as it may sound, math has always been my favourite subject....It is so rare to come across somebody like me...
Since I was little I always dreamed about being more than just somebody in the crowd.  I have pushed my limits to the maximum so that I wouldn't be ordinary.  I want to be the person who makes a difference in our world, I want to be extraordinary.
Those opening lines were written by some of the female applicants.  The males?
Ever since I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was six, doctors have been like parents to me; I would see them every day and often more than I saw other people.  (Another future doctor.)
 ...I have been passionate about joining the Canadian Armed Forces my whole life.  There is a long line of military history in my family.  It all starts with my grandfather protecting the coasts of Canada from the threat of Nazi invasion during World War II,,,
For years I have been dreaming big and have strived [sic] for success...
More honesty, keeping it clear:
Quite simply, the reason I am writing is because I want to go to school...I am a decent student and every once in a while I was able to be on the honour roll...
This one brought tears to my eyes...and then a chuckle...:
...All my live I've faced people whom [sic] always miss judged [sic] me and thought I was never going to amount to anything.  This is something that has never changed and till this day I am still proving people wrong even though all the odds are against me.  It is because of my great charisma and sense of leadership I've been able to make it this far in life...  
Then there's the boy who's boarding with a Canadian family at 17 in order to finish his education in Canada.  He's from China...left his family there and is all alone, learning not only English but French...adjusting to a very different culture...

In addition to the students, in the midst of the usual patter from references, one author -- a teacher -- stood out.  It got so I recognized her 'voice' in her letters.  She's a real cheerleader for "her" kids:
I am writing to support ____________'s application for a bursary...I did not know him before this year and this year I have been pleasantly surprised.  ___________ is a gentleman and a scholar....
I am writing to support _____________'s application for a bursary.  I taught __________ last year...but his parents are colleagues and friends and I have known [him] since birth...I feel I can comment on his personal attributes with a small bias, but on his academic attributes objectively....I know this is a tough balance to strike...
She is a supportive realist when required:
___________ is in my Grade 11 class this year, though I have known him socially around the school for a few years, and am well aware of the impact that his concussions have had on his learning.  ___________ is a star athlete, the fastest runner in the school, and has unfortunately suffered a few concussions in football season which have slowed him down academically quite a bit. 
I have taught _________ now for two years....[His] father passed away the summer of 2013 I believe, and he returned to school in September right away, and was in my Grade 10...Having lost my own father (albeit at 40 years old, not 15) I know how hard it was...I was amazed that such a young person was able to handle himself while grieving with such fortitude, grace and integrity...
And really got 'into' the personalities of each of her students:
_________was a student in my Grade 10...class last year, and this year she is one of the few students whom I miss...Sounds funny; of course there are others who are wonderful to teach, but [she] has an alchemy as a person and as a student that changes the chemical balance of a room...
  Even the ones whose performance was less than stellar:
I am writing to support ____________'s application for a bursary...I know it seems strange to be writing to support someone who has not submitted most of my assignments (over two years even).  But there is just something about [her] that is too lovable; you just have to stay in her corner and keep rooting.
 And then there's the reference -- from this same teacher -- that made me laugh out loud:
I have know of ___________ as she is of course a colleague's daughter; however, this is my first year teaching [her].  I am officially a believer -- a ________-ite.  I have drunk the Kool-Aid.  This kid is as awesome as advertised. 
 With a teacher like that on one's side, a student can't help but feel valued, encouraged, supported...and on his/her way!

The Box of Dreams goes back to the school tomorrow.  I try to attend the graduation ceremonies every five years to give out "my" bursary...next scheduled for 2018.  I shall miss meeting this exceptional group of applicants, but maybe...just maybe...their teacher still will be there...

I leave you with a tune that's been a favourite recessional in recent years, for classes graduating from my former HS...


 Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road...
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.
So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos and memories and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth it was worth all the while
It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.
It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.
It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.*
*"Time of Your Life" - Green Day