Thursday, June 14, 2018

Nailed it!!

I have delayed creating a video to “finish” my new site Why? Well, I hadn’t created a video in a few years and there was this “fear” of getting back into it – you know – the learning curve, the setting aside of time, the awkwardness of hearing your own voice, and the emptiness of talking to the void.
Believe me I ‘ve had dozens of excuses for “not getting started.” However, there was also the peer pressure. Yes, it happens even out of your teens 🙂 I had been asked to join a blogging group and my excuse for delaying was that I hadn’t finished my site and I wanted to be part of the group as “” However, I would be there soon. Soon does happen, often sooner than you think!

I knew, I was meeting with these friends on a Tuesday in June and I knew I had to have this video done by then. On the Monday, prior to this particular Tuesday (no rush), I dragged myself to my office, locked the door, laid out my paraphernalia and began to create the video. Alas, it takes more than just one “take” to create an acceptable product. Here is how it went –
  1. Although I did remember to charge the battery on my camera and empty the image card, I had forgotten that a 4 gig card wasn’t large enough to store my ramblings – off to Staples for a larger card.
  2. Again, although I did have several finished samples of the project I was about to film, I realized I needed more (don’t we always need more). So back to the felting pad, needle and fibre to create a few more samples.
  3. The final road block, however, were the nails – fingernails, that is. I have gardener’s nails – chipped from weeding, discoloured by earth and distorted from, dare I say, neglect.
Enter the MANICURE!!. My daughter had several places to recommend that were walking distance away. I had the $35.00 or so to spend; I even had the time to spend. However, I did have the logic to know that I would be gardening the next day and why waste money on something that would be destroyed in 24 hours. Anyway, I didn’t want talons, I just wanted tidy!! It took a few minutes, but I found some clippers, an emery board and a relatively new bottle of nail polish – stage makeup for the hands.
Five videos later, I was finally happy with the product. It could still use a little more polishing – no pun intended, but that will come. Here it is uploaded to YouTube
How to needle felt on fabric.
Have a productive day!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Art is the Distance....

......Time gives to suffering. I read this once, when I was reading some Albert Camus. I struggled for years to understand it. In a vague way, I knew that poets suffered through their poems - "Do not go gentle into that good night" - and we know these poems now as Art - "Too much of love makes a stone of the heart."

Certainly painters have captured suffering for years on their canvases. Tragic plays re-enact the agony of moments in time and music mourns these moments in minor keys.

I have just seen an amazing tribute to suffering distanced by 17 years. Well, the musical debuted much earlier, but, it does take me a while to get around to "things."

"Come From Away" re-enacts in song and dance a combination of suffering and survival. It's hard to imagine a musical celebrating the re-routing of 37 planes that could not land in the US immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade towers. But this work of Art did, winning many awards.

I just wanted to give Newfoundland a great big hug, after the show. I tear up every time I think of the people of Gander, NL, a community of 6,000 people hosting 7,000 stranded passengers for 4 days.

Long live people with big hearts and limited resources. You show us what can be done with a little, actually a lot, of kindness!!

The picture? Not from the musical, but you get the idea!

Have a artful day!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Whatever You Want It To Mean.....

....... In The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy a super computer determined that the meaning of life was/is 42. Naturally I assumed that this was a wry joke on the meaninglessness of life - can I say that? Maybe an accountant would understand - break everything down to a number and you've got the answer or something like that.

Well shame on my ignorance!! It took a note on FB to clarify the "concept of 42." Apparently the author of the book, Douglas Adams, was a computer nerd and knew several computer languages including ASCII. The asterisk (*) in ASCII actually means - "Whatever you want it to mean" and to create an asterisk in ASCII you enter the numerals 42.

The meaning of life - 42 - then becomes "Whatever you want it to mean."

So, applying the statement to this blog, the meaning of life, for me, would be "Whatever happens." Well, on the surface, maybe. But I like to think that, whatever happens has more of a cosmic meaning, rather than just the randomness of life.

The full statement is, "Life is what happens, when you are making other plans." So, again, you might set out by making life mean - whatever you want it to - and then your plans get rearranged because reality happens.

Maybe I should say "Life is Reality." I don't think so. I still want to believe in dreams, in fantasy, in Art or in the art of making life what you want it to be or mean.

Now, do we have to have a discussion of the difference between "being" and "meaning" - maybe another day.

The picture? It's a section of a sweater I knit in a pattern known as "crazy quilt." That is - you create the article, or garment by piecing random scraps together to form a harmonious design. It originally applied to fabric, but I created a randomly patterned fabric by knitting scraps of yarn together.

I am always surprised when life, however pieced together it may seem, turns out to be amazing.

Have an amazing day.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Full Circle

Another circle, I think, has been completed, with the death of Steven Hawking. Not only did Steven die on Pi day, the day Albert Einstein was born, March 14. Hawking was born on the anniversary of the death of Galileo, January 8.

Steven left us on the day we celebrate eternity or at least one of the most famous recurring numbers, Pi, the relationship of the diameter of a circle to its circumference. What could be more fitting.

Galileo, Einstein, Hawking are famous because of their revolutionary thinking. To say that they think (or thought) beyond the normal hum-drum of daily life, is an understatement! Their minds were  in the cosmos, musing on why there is life at all.

As we muddle through the randomness of our days, they have seen the order in this chaos, understood much of what we cannot see and given us hope that there are others out there who will continue their work.

Perhaps another brilliant mind, born on a special day, will take us out of the darkness, this current political and religious regime has created.

This would be someone who does not accept lies as facts, who does not praise ignorance as a virtue and who does not surrender their reason to a senseless belief that a god will save them.

We are living in hostile times and moving into a great unknown - artificial intelligence - be afraid, be very afraid.

The picture, I have used it too often. Can you sense my panic? Would there were someone, with us now, who could lead us from the darkness into the light.

Have a enlightened day!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Out foxed again!!!

Few things brighten a January day in Toronto. However, today ....

1. The sun was shinning.
2. There was no line-up at the bank.
3. I found a legal parking spot.
4. A red fox crossed my path!!

Well, it wasn't just my path there were, obviously, several other pedestrians, a dozen cars, maybe a few dog walkers and one amazing, very clever red fox.

I was coming out of the bank about 2:00pm on a sunny Thursday in January, when I saw this red fox blithely walking along the sidewalk towards me. We do have ravines in Toronto and more wooded areas than most cities, but none were close. Remember this was on Yonge St. - Toronto's main north-south street and in case you didn't know - the longest street in the world. Yonge St, actually becomes highway 11 somewhere beyond the suburbs. Highway 11 goes right up to James Bay, which is a small bay that opens into Frobisher Bay somewhere a little below the Arctic circle. That's a long way away!!

But I digress. Foxxy was obviously out for a stroll. However, he needed to cross the street to get to where he was going and since he was aware of various cars on the road, he walked to the crosswalk, waited for the lights to change and then crossed.

Someone on the other side of the street captured this splendid moment in time. The photo is a little cropped, however, I am on the right side of the street, just a little out of the picture (go figure). The other two pedestrians in the picture walked passed me and commented. At which point, I closed my jaw, which had dropped in awe and answered them!!

In fact, I was amazed to see the picture on FaceBook! I had been telling everyone about the fox incident and now I had proof!! It would have been perfect, though if the angle of the camera had moved just a degree or two to the right and then I could have said, "Look, there I am."

However, this seems to be the story of my life - Never quite in the picture, never famous, always in the wings while others take all the glory!!

This time, that "other" was a red fox. I think the cosmos is trying to tell me something :)

Have an awesome day!!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Charity, thy name is knitting!!

I'm cheating. This is repost from a page I wrote for a knitting retreat that I attend in the Spring - Yarnover Sleepover. This year it's April 20-22 At The Fern Resort, Orillia ON. I hope you enjoy it.

Many of us knit or crochet for charity. There is a wonderful feeling about being able to share not only our talents and our yarn with other people, but also our hearts.

However, it's hard to find just the right charity. There are so many really deserving ones out there. In fact, I don't think that we actually reached out to any one charity, in particular. I think that "The Shoebox Project" found us.

Here is what happened.

One day, as I was coming to work, I was approached by one of the architects on the main floor. He said, "You knit, don't you?" I thought. "Here it comes. Would I knit him a sweater."

Well, slap my wrists. He was wondering if I could ask some of my friends, if they wouldn't mind knitting a few headbands for a charity his wife supported - The Shoebox Project. I said that I would ask around and get back to him.

Here was my strategy.
  1. Call Julia Bryant. I know she has more friends, generally speaking, than myself and many of her friends either knit or crochet.
  2. Do an e-mail broadcast to yarn stores across Canada to spread the word about this wonderful project.
  3. Talk to Yoso members about The Shoebox Project.
First, of course, I had to explain exactly what the charity was. The Shoebox Project is an international organization that gives gifts to woman in shelters at Christmas. In fact, there are 22 chapters in Ontario.

The idea is that over the year, members collect small gifts for these boxes. One of the most popular items, I am told, is a knitted or crocheted headband.

This is how my strategy played out.
  1. Julia contacted her friends and from August to October they created over 50 headbands.
  2. My e-mail to stores brought in several headbands from Creative Yarns, where Trish Denhoed often teaches. In fact, Trish knew of the project and was actually with a friend in California on Hallowe'en - the night a Shoebox group, there, assembled their boxes.
  3. Yoso accepted my proposal to adopt The Shoebox Project as our charity.
All of us are, now, knitting or crocheting headbands and we are asking everyone who attends our weekend to consider using up some of their stash by knitting some quick and easy, or more challenging - especially if you want to try out some new stitches - headbands. Bring them to Yoso and we will see that they get into some wonderful boxes. Or contact a ShoeBox chapter in your area and see if they might like some headbands knit by you and some of your friends.

Here are a few links to free patterns for headbands. Also feel free to add and/or post your own patterns in our face book group - Yarnover Sleepover All Year .

Click here for some free patterns - you will be directed to a Ravelry page. Key "free headband patterns" into the search bar and Voila! Click here for local drop of places or bring your headbands to YOSO and we will drop them off for you.

Please share pictures of your headbands in our FaceBook group too. We'd love to see them!!

To me a headband is like a small "hug" from afar. We've all been through some difficult times and it's wonderful to know that someone cares.

The pictures? Headbands I have crochet, so far, for the project.

Have a charitable day!!

Friday, January 12, 2018

January Thaw...

.....warmer weather is always worth writing about. We have moved from daily highs of -20ºC to +10ºC in just a few days. However, it will move back down to -10ºC in just a few hours - sigh!

Anyway, warm weather thaws the brain and gets the creative juices working. At the beginning of the thaw, I saw a post about a book on creativity - Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I was thinking of buying the book to speed up the thawing out of my brain. However, I've been there before - 1. Bought self-help book. 2. Read the first three chapters. 3. Decided how it was going to end. 4. Closed the book. 5. Did a little something creative and that was it.

This time I went to Good Reads and read the reviews. Well, there was enough in there to light my creative fire, that I didn't have to actually buy the book. So, creatively, this is what I have done -

1. Started a new personal website on felting -
2. Got an idea for a new product and emailed it off to a supplier.
3. Finished a book - "Galore" by Michael Crummey. The book was great, with events that could only happen in Newfoundland - the setting and author's home. (Really, as an author, I would have done a name change.)
4. Continued posting in a group I started on Facebook for our Spring Knitting retreat - Yarnover Sleepover. The magic number for engagement, I am told is 100! We're at 24 - coming along.
5. Started a new headband for our charity, the Shoebox Project. That will be 7 headbands from me, when completed.

Now if I could only continue with the book I started writing last year. I'm at 5,000 words - need another 45,000. I think I need another thaw.

The picture - I've posted it before - whenever I feel that I have seen the light.

Have a brilliant day!!