Category Archives: Arts

Keeping Busy While Stuck At Home – Social Distancing and Witchy Crafts


Social Distancing. Self-Isolation. Quarantine. Whatever you call it, most of us are stuck at home for the foreseeable future.

At the beginning of the month, my kids both had colds, and as the panic over Covid-19 was ramping up, I made an effort to not add to the problem, and decided to keep them home a couple of days until their coughs and runny noses subsided. They were better by the weekend, and I was happy to be able to send them back to school on Monday. Then, on Sunday night, the province closed all public schools. All this is a long way of saying, that in my house, we are on day 15 of social distancing isolation.

These days, most businesses are closed for the next couple of weeks, and we are in the middle of what would have been spring break, so the schools aren’t putting anything out until April to help with the kids education. And since we are doing our part to help #flattenthecurve or #plankthecurve or whatever the hashtag is now, we are finding creative ways to keep busy that involve less screen time, and thus, less fighting.

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My reading has slowed down a bit this week.  I am up to 6 books read, with about 3 more before I have to hit up the library again.

We have had some truly awesome thunderstorms this week, which, unfortunately, means I have been battling the notorious Calgary Headache.  It’s worth it, though.  I love storm season.  And until I can get back to the island and watch the rage come in off the ocean, I have to take what I can get.

Also, my slowly developing novel outline should be ready for me to start writing the first draft in about a week.  I am so enamoured with this story that I have decided that I am not going to wait until NaNo to begin.  With November only a few months away, I can probably use the insanity to help me hit the finish line.  I have a bad habit of getting to the final climax, and then dropping off instead of finishing out the end of the novel.  I think I have a penchant for cliffhangers.

One thing I am finding really entertaining, is step five of the Snowflake method.  Specifically, writing the story line from the point of view of each of the main characters.  Since I only skimmed the page last year, I didn’t notice this part of the step the last time I used it.  I think this is now my favourite step, and having only three main characters, I am going to be a little sad when it’s over.

That said, it might motivate me to try writing the novel itself from multiple POVs.  Those stories are great fun, if done correctly.  We will see, I suppose.

Well, coffee is calling, and I have one more short MC POV to write.  See you on the flip side!

Reading Inspires

So far, my social media hiatus has been pretty great.  In the last couple of weeks I have read 4 books, I haven’t been guilting myself over cleaning, the job search, cooking, eating, exercising, or anything else that sucks the enjoyment out of my life.  I am just sitting, listening to music, reading my books, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and letting my self be.  Being is awesome.

All kinds of ideas are bubbling up in the absence of chatter and stress – from forgotten projects (furniture refinishing), to designs for the approaching dark holidays, to story ideas, to ideas for using up my current stash (while also earning money to buy more yarn).

I found a vintage White #510 sewing machine and folding sewing desk on Kijiji for $20.  At first I was just planning on junking the machine and using the desk for my beloved vintage Bernina, but after a bit of testing and some investigation in the desk drawers that produced the original receipt for the combo (and three packages of vintage sewing needles – how awesome is that!), I have decided to keep it.  And now I have 2 sewing machines!  Now I only absolutely NEED 3 more –  a serger, an embroidery machine, and an antique push pedal Singer.  Then my seamstress dreams will be complete!

When I am not playing with my new toys, and working on new and old handy projects, I have been developing a handful of story ideas.  One is already being worked into a novel outline (perhaps to be ready for November 1st?), and a few others are just scribbled notes in Evernote (so love this program, it’s like a folder full of sticky notes, but I never have to find a sticky or a pen!)

Well, I have summer books calling my name, so I will check in with you all later.  Hope you are having a fantastic summer!

Handmade Wardrobe: Part The Second

English: Bee during Spring Season on a Plum tr...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the part where I daydream of spring and green and lovely light dresses and enjoying the sunshine without need of a coat.

Once again, I spent the spring equinox watching yet another layer of snow fall from the sky.  The Equinox used to be one of my favourite holidays.  These days, it just reminds me that we still have about 6 more weeks before spring is anywhere close to arriving.

Continue reading Handmade Wardrobe: Part The Second

February of Doom

February has been the month of doom at our house.  From colds to colic to more colds and more colic … lets just not talk about it.  Between bouts of screaming, crying, whining, packing, hot tea, more coffee than I should admit to drinking, and desperate prayers for just a hint of spring, I have been keeping busy 😉

I’ve been knitting a few things, felting a few things, reading books and magazines made of paper (old school, right?), and I finally finished up my first “for sale” dolly.

Isn't she cute? Genie Marigold is the name, playtime is her game!
Isn’t she cute? Genie Marigold is the name, playtime is her game!

We will be moving soon, and I am fairly preoccupied with that.  Packing with two littles underfoot is not a treat.

I picked up a new rotary cutter for sewing that I am dying to try out.  And I think I have completely forgotten about the Art Journal project I was working on.  I should check to see how behind I am in that one.  Life never stays on that even keel you find when you sign up for things, does it?

Ah well, no worries.  I have goodies coming in the mail!  I am having so much fun getting back into sewing and knitting bigger projects, add to that the awesomeness of packages in the mail, and I think I can probably deal with just about anything.  I may have to do more of my shopping online.  Would that make me a shut in? I do go out for groceries … and coffee when it is not -20 (we all need the exercise when we can get it).

I have also become addicted to the magazine Taproot.  I may subscribe after we are settled in the new house.  I am in love with the simple life.  I like that even in a busy city like Calgary, I can live at my own pace.  I have discovered that that is what is keeping me sane out here.  I don’t need everyone around me to live the small town life.  I can do it in my own neighbourhood on my own block.

Well, it’s time to get dinner going – have a coffee on me 😉


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In Knitting Colour

Meathiel_red22 Today I have discovered that February is the month when we knitters (and other fibre artists presumably) return to colour after a long fall and winter of neutrals and grays.

I am all for this convention as February marks not only my birthday, but also a festival devoted to fire, warmth, and crafting.  It’s short, but February is an awesome month!

My ‘In Colour’ projects for the month of February will be the Lizzie Shawl in Tea Rose,

Tea Rose Lizzie Shawl
Tea Rose Lizzie Shawl (Photo credit: Phae Talon)

And a new pair of baby legs since the Little Girl has pretty well outgrown the pair I made her when she was 6 months old (she hasn’t outgrown them completely.  She has skinny legs, that kid).  The new pair will feature pom-poms.

Baby Legs
Baby Legs

What are your plans for getting back into colour?

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Journalling in 2014

30m5mqfAside from knitting and photographing the city, I have committed to reviving my artist trading cards (ATCs) in 2014 with actual trading this time, and I am having thoughts towards art journalling as well.

This morning a story on my FB timeline got me to thinking about social media and attention addiction.  The story was about this woman who consumed nothing but Starbucks for an entire year.  I’m not going to link it because it wasn’t anything substantive.  Just a lot of instagram selfies with no info on how eating only from one store affected her health, if at all.  Though, apparently it did end up costing roughly $500/mth more than grocery shopping (there’s a shocker for ya).

Anyway, one of the commenters said that she should do a new project where she writes all her updates in a paper journal to see how well she does without the interaction of blog followers and social media.  This struck me as a really good idea.  Not just for the Starbucks woman, but for everyone.

With schools looking to phase out cursive script because more people print, and the post office constantly raising postage rates (our stamps go up to $1 this year unless you buy them in books), the reasons for writing long hand are growing less and less.  To toot my own horn for a moment, I have some pretty nice handwriting.  I was one of those girls in high school who used to practise different writing styles until I could comfortably write in a half-dozen different ways.

But, I don’t write in script.  Who knows if schools will still be teaching children how to write by the time my little ones get there.  The schools I have picked out are more traditional, so chances are fair, I would say.  Either way, I want to be able to pass this art along to my children before it is completely lost.  To do so, I’d best get practising.

I have a lot of art projects lined up for 2014, and I would like to cut my online time by half.  For me, that means that my thoughts and little quips may get incorporated into my art journal.  Written in script.

I will try to post journal excerpts here, but most will end up on my artist page on FB.  I have both a photography blog and an art blog.  I think I may end up merging the latter into Oracle Lens.

January is full of planning.  Today it is snowing.  New snow to cover the old icy snow in a soft layer of white.

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Fibre Art Goals for 2014

b67Andi’s post about her 2014 knitting goals has gotten me thinking about some projects I’d like to tackle in the new year. 2013 was a year of small projects that could be completed in a few hours to a single weekend.  It helped to keep me engaged and made sure that I always had something new on my needles.  This year, I want to take on a couple of bigger projects.  I want to make sweaters for myself and the kids.  I haven’t made a sweater since 2008, and it took over a year to finish.  Hopefully, I will be able to complete them quicker this time around.


For myself and my daughter, I am in love with the matching patterns Ease and Abate by Alicia Plummer.  For the cuddle baby, the cozy cardigan, Mossy Jacket by Fawn Pea.


I also want to take a bash at improving my skills with a few pairs of grown-up socks; maybe work on a couple crochet critters.  And who can resist bunny slippers?

Aside from knitting, I mean to learn needle felting.  I want to make little soft sculptures.  Of what, I’m not sure yet, but I will come up with something.

I’m going to stop there before I get ahead of myself.  If I plan too much, then it gets daunting and nothing gets done.  I was informed that my camera is back and waiting for me to get out and pick it up, so I should have some lovely progress photos for you all throughout the coming year.

Happy 2014, all!

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