Tuesday, 16 December 2014

December 2014 - Busy.

I realized today that I had not posted in a while. Typical Christmas prep has been keeping me busy. It will get busier so this will probably be my last post for a couple of weeks. Probably until the new year.
George and I had had a beat up, duct tape repaired, tree for more than 30 years. I replaced it this year (Chris
saved some of its branches for a nostalgic wreath) and I love that the new one is small enough for me to reach the top,
has the lights already attached and stores away in 3 pieces. I also like that there is no duct tape and
I don't have to tie it to a door knob to keep it upright!
Rasta was very curious about it. Its his first Christmas tree.
Rasta has actually been quite good about the tree. He likes to sit under it and I don't have any ornaments actually hanging below it. When I leave though he lets me know that I'm not really the boss of him. There is always an ornament on the floor somewhere when I return.

"I'm ignoring that tree for now, but when your gone.........the house is my playground"

He also likes to participate in the gift wrapping. Chewing on ribbons being his favorite contribution.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all who read this.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Rug Hooking, A tale of 2 cushions.

I love rug hooking. The process of rug hooking. The almost meditative, pulling of loops. The gradual process of creating what I have in my minds eye. The part I don't care for, is the finishing. However, this post is more about the finishing than the hooking, as it was the finishing that gave me as much satisfaction as the hooking, in these two projects..

Plaid Rose Cushion.
I took a workshop at the Annual this spring in which we were taught how to cut apart a plaid to get the different values of colours. With this class came a pattern of a rose that could be hooked with the colours from the plaid.
The pattern hooked as it was given.
I have decided to replace the cushions on my couch so this was to be one of the replacements.

I attached wool to either side of the backing and then hooked up to it, leaving space for whipping.
The plaid I was using was from a wool shirt so I sewed the button section on one side and the button
hole section on the other (and the pocket, just for fun).
I whipped the edges, sewed the top and bottom by hand and viola ..... the back ....
.. and the front.
Wool felted landscape cushion
In November I took a wool felting workshop with Jennifer Budd (woolscapes ) at Five Oaks. Jennifer is a friend and artist from Paris, ON.
We spent the morning on needle felting. This involved using a needle, poked rapidly into the material, to attach wool roving on to a wool background.
The raw materials

The final product, A windswept Lake Erie.
The afternoon was spent learning how to wet wool felt. This involved using hot water, soap and agitation (the moving of the materials, not the emotion) to felt the wool roving together.
So many wonderful colours.

It was difficult to visualize the end product as this was the first time I had tried this technique but I knew I wanted the colours, at least, to remind me of my trip to the UK. I was trying to get the effect of a lake in the Lake District.
At the end of the day I had vaguely the effect I was trying for.
I took it home and did some needle felting on it, to better get the look of mountains reflected in a lake. I then attached the felt to some backing, sewed wool around it and hooked up to the wool.
Wool sewn on, hooking in process.
I sewed matching green wool to be the back of the cushion and then started experimenting with some trim. My original plan was to stitch some matching yarn to the edge of the pillow but that turned out to be too narrow for the size. I tried twisting 3 strands of the yarn but didn't like that look either so ended up braiding 6 strands and sewing it on.

This wool, hand dyed by Ingrid (Ragg Tyme Studio) was wet felted into the mountain, hooked around the
felted piece and then braided for the edging. It ties it all together nicely.
I'm not sure how resilient the felted piece will be so I think the cushion will probably reside in the spare bedroom.
Rasta seems to approve.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

One year later

George died one year ago today, actually it was on the Wednesday at 4am. He had this thing about marking the day rather than the date. For instance he liked to celebrate our anniversary on the Friday closest to June 26 as we got married on a Friday evening. So, obviously, the whole week has been a bit rough. Family and friends have been very thoughtful, checking in with me, making sure I'm Ok.
The gravestone finally was installed in September. I chose the sailboat in front of the lighthouse
because George loved to sail across the lake and took pictures of the Long Point Lighthouse every time.
To commemorate George, and his love of sailing, and racing in particular, we commissioned an award in his name. It was made by Jack Worton who lives on Long Point, near-bye, and George would often go and visit him as he could be counted on to be working on a sculpture in his workshop.
This is how it started, just a block of stone.
A simple line drawing on to the stone.
The finished sculpture that Jack placed on soapstone waves and then on to a wood base.
The name of the award was put on by a local trophy shop.

George and I took our White Sail course for our first wedding anniversary. We bought the Laser (now with the Port Dover Sailing School) the following year. He sailed the Laser every summer. We took our Basic Cruising in Toronto Harbour and then started sailing keel boats. I cant remember when he started sailing with the PDYC race division but the oldest Interclub shirt he had was 2005 and I think it was a couple of years before he did that. He sailed and raced on many boats so it seemed fitting for the award to go to an Outstanding Crew Person with the Port Dover Yacht Club Racing Division.
The first recipient was Mark Boerkamp. He crews on Ritual and has also coached and otherwise contributed to a number of other boats this season. It was awarded at Sailors Night in October and I am very thankful that Simon was able to make the speech and do the presentation. I would have been unable to and I know he found it difficult.

Monday, 24 November 2014

October colours, November colours

Before I left to go to the UK I took some fall pictures. I posted some under "My Hunt for Red October" but hadn't got around to posting the yellows and oranges. I have read that October 2014 was the warmest on record and I can certainly believe it, as there were still fall colours when I returned in November.
October picture. View over Long Point Bay
October Picture. Pile of pumpkins. I was away for Halloween and I didn't mind at all as it is my least favourite
celebration. I was surprised to see it in the UK as it wasn't celebrated there when I was a child. The emphasis was
on Guy Fawks (Nov 5). I gather it was celebrated in Scotland as a Celtic celebration.
October picture. Yellow and orange trees are not as impressive as the red and burgundy ones.

October picture. Both the soy beans and the corn have a pale yellow hue in sunlight in the fall.
November picture. Bob's maple trees had finally turned.
November picture. Mums in flower among the fallen leaves.
November picture. Stupid daffodils. I planted them just before I left, in October, and they
were up and in bud 3 weeks later. I don't think I'll get any in the spring.
Walking on the beach was lovely , the first week in November.
Then it all changed .......

First a dump of snow.
And some wild wind
With some beautiful results.
I am going back to the pattern of ending a blog post with a Rasta picture. Cyndy and Jim were down for the weekend with their dog, Ceilidh. She is a hunter and of course believes that a cat is for chasing. Upon meeting, Rasta ended up climbing the walls - literally - so we kept Rasta upstairs and Ceilidh downstairs for the weekend. Neither were happy about that arrangement. Ceilidh kept whining about it and this picture shows you how thrilled Rasta was.
Pissed off cat, on the top bunk.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Random UK 2014 pictures

I've been back for 3 weeks now and its cold, windy and snowing, so revisiting my pictures is a nice break from the howling (literally) wind.
Paxton's Folly from the Welsh Botanical Gardens. I posted a different picture of this before. We visited some
beautiful and impressive ruins in Wales, England and Scotland. They were built for shelter, fortification or worship.
This was built just for fun, for outings, to see from the mansion.

New telephone box, old post box. I took this the day we walked "The Gower", in southern Wales. That
day we saw surfers off one remote beach and lifeboats in the nearby town. The next week 2 people
drowned trying to save a young surfer which bought home the power of the sea and the need for the
lifeboat system.
Fountain base in Harrogate. Are they mermaids? Cherubs? Cherubic mermaids?
Whatever they are they don't look happy about linking arms and holding up the fountain.
I love the little English Robins but also enjoy the Magpies as they have striking colouring and are quite
prevalent. This one was in the gardens in Harrogate and I had to chase him around to get close enough
for a photo.
Bolton Abbey was the most photogenic place we visited, aided by a lovely sunny day. The
setting, in a green valley surrounded by rolling hills, is on the southern edge of the Yorkshire
Dales. In a field, full of sheep, next to a manor house, it is quiet and peaceful. It is easy
to imagine how impressive and intimidating it must have been when it had the roof , windows and
religious order and what a contrast it would have been to the farm families close by.
This young lady fetched her horse from a field next to where we parked the car. She didn't want his picture
taken because he was all muddy. I love the shot of them walking towards the moors. We saw horses everywhere
but although I intended  to ride on this trip, it didn't work out in Wales or in Scotland. Mind you, I didn't
really push it beyond a few calls to riding stables.

Friday, 14 November 2014

UK 2014 Glasgow

We left the house in Kingussie on time and in style, an 8 seater people mover, leather seats and our own personal driver. Lovely way to travel and not that expensive when divided by 5. Checked in to the airport hotel, literally steps to the departure terminal, in the early afternoon and then took the bus (#500 airport to downtown shuttle, very convenient) into Glasgow.
I had in my mind that Glasgow was a dirty, industrial, scruffy kind of place. As we drove in the amount of industry was obvious but downtown is beautiful and a nice mix of the old and the new. On a Saturday afternoon it is also a very busy place.
Getting off the bus we were greeted by the sound of primal drums and bagpipes and turned the corner on to
a pedestrian street, full of sound and people.

We wandered the pedestrian streets and admired the old buildings.

We admired the statues.
If its not a pigeon, it's a seagull. 
We admired the toilets, really!
Thistle on the side and
Lion on the top.
Having spent the last week in a small town (except for the trip to Inverness), the crowds were a bit of a shock to the system.

After a search for the tearoom with MacIntosh decor and gifts and some last minute souvenir shopping, we went in search of food and drink. The downtown pubs and bars were hopping on a Saturday evening (far earlier than they would have been in Toronto).
The ceiling of a beautiful bar downtown, The Counting House. 
Heather and Don stayed for a pint while Pam and I went in search of food and a place to sit, across the street in Cafe Andaluz. We ended up having one of the best meals of the trip in the lovely small, tasty, tapas choices that we shared. When Don and Heather joined us they voted it the best meal we had had.
Back to the hotel, bed and up early for the long trip home.

This post is 2 weeks late, ironically the internet at all the places we stayed in was better than mine at home - thanks Bell!