Saturday, 17 November 2012

bridging the gap

A lovely sunny Saturday morning with only a few days before I leave the comfort of ...

my cozy kitchen. 
My dear sister at Sparrow Avenue  will be exhibiting her lovely graphic textiles in Toronto at Canada's biggest art and craft show starting next week until December 2, and I'll be there to help her, hence away from my cozy kitchen of which I've become quite fond.
Besides preparing for 2 weeks away, I'm hoping to have some quiet time to play with fabric and/or paint  this weekend as I had a super trip with new playmate Pam Frail to Halifax yesterday to see the Designer Craft Show  where I saw some inspiring work and got my feet wet again in the world of retail at a busy show.
I have no particularly good shots of the show but here are a few interesting ones I took in Halifax.
A rare opportunity to take one of the two big bridges that cross the Halifax harbour
 with Pam as Wally hates the height of them.
This fabulous suspension bridge called the Macdonald
 led us from Dartmouth right into downtown Halifax.

As usual the two second delay on my camera meant that I took many blurry shots,
but this one had a certain pizzazz that I liked.

a harbour view from the Cunard Event Centre where the Christmas Show was held.

and on the way home again,  a blurry but telling shot of the vastness of the Macdonald Bridge.
What an exciting feeling of the big city crossing this massive structure was for me

as one by one we passed under these huge "suspenders?"
I found the whole experience quite exhilarating!


Not nearly as exhilarating, but no less fun for me, was stitching this angel on paper.
I will try to do one more post before I leave for Toronto, but if I don't, I know you will forgive me. I expect to have so much to show you when I get back.
for now
keeping present
where all is
as it is

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

an atlantic day trip

After a  fairly quiet week of plugging away at my sketchbook embroidery...

coming along...polyester, cotton, and silk threads on paper...not knowing where this is going...
we ran away to Chester.
This post will be filled with some of the houses of Chester,
 a sheltered bay that is filled with many charming homes.
Note the interesting diamond patch of cedar "shakes" or shingles above the door.


a great old maple outside a great old home. Imagine the sun pouring into these wonderful windows.

 I'm a big fan of beautiful stonework. These simple steps are lined with wrought iron on both sides.
a lovely gate that leads through the hedges
Another shingled house with a super trellised entryway to the garden.

Another day with the tide out, we walked past people waiting for the ferry
 to take them to their various islands.

 This little house was a particular favourite of mine with its manicured facade, cobbled drive and wooden shuttered windows. I liked the yellowy front door too.

 A great old house trimmed in cream and burgundy, traced by the late afternoon sun with the shadow of its great old companion tree.
Eager to make it to a beach before we had to head home, Wally made an extra turn back  because he had seen these 2 giant bulls laying by a fence as we passed that he me to see. 
You wouldn't be believe how fast this young bull got to his feet as I got out of the car. It gave me pause.  I didn't want to have him test the electric fence for my sake, so I took a few shots while he eyed me, motionless. He did have beautiful eyes though.
Further down the road we stopped to eat a late lunch as we watched a woman throw a frisbee for her eager border collie to catch in mid air as her old terrier limped along behind. I didn't see the chihuahua for the first while, so small and camoflaged.

How interesting it is for this land lubber to walk along the edge of the sea at low tide. I didn't know how these sea plants could lodge themselves so firmly to a rock. It was impossible for me to wrest a beautiful mussel shell away from their clinging fingers.

The fascinating ribs of washboard in the sand that the waves had left

our collection of stones, shells and seaglass

 waves of whatever this sea plant is flowing like weird tresses of ogre's hair
 and the tide comes rolling back in
the ebb and flow
you don't think about the pull of the sun and the moon
til you witness the tides'
ebb and flow
and then you remember how so much in life
indeed doth ebb and flow.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


A sunnyfrosty good morning here.  It promises to be a lovely day. 
This is a detail from an ink and watercolour

I often find myself liking details of my pictures better than the whole.
I suppose I could cut out the parts I like and call them the finished piece
or use them as elements in something else. Something to think about...

I hesitate to share the picture as a whole with you.
Perhaps you can see why I'm keeping it so small. I tried to doctor the piece with an umber wash,
 but it just isn't working for me.
I do love working with the concept of Queen and will, no doubt, come back to it
 once my pride has healed.
This work in progress is necessarily large so you can see it.
I am stitching on paper, a slow, careful process that I enjoy. I have no idea where it's going.
watching the miraculousness of the day unfolding

Monday, 5 November 2012

simple truths

You might think that all we do around here is gallivant.  Lucky for me, when Wally has a day off, he wants to go exploring too, which we try to squeeze in with all the must-do's.
So on Saturday we took off to the Halifax area to do some household research
and peek into a few fun shops along the way. I was taken with this glorious ornamental kale with its giant drop of water caught in its leaves.

There was a huge craft/antique/food show at the Halifax Forum that we arrived at late in the afternoon.
I know there is a term for this kind of oriental ceramic figurine, but darned if I can remember it.
 Regardless, I wanted to share its perfectly imperfect delightfulness with you.

like this worn wooden sculpture too.
An earthy pair of sea nymphs, bold and bawdy
And this brazen mermaid sat among the ship wheels, buoys, ropes and brass navigation tools and nautical paraphernalia that Wally and I became enmeshed in. What fun we had. Wally selected a copper-coloured brass swivelling hook and eye from amongst that pile you can see to the left of the mermaid
Here is the little owl (waiting for her bottom weight) that I made from felted sweater scraps
 that were donated by an artist for stuffing at the sock monkey class I took 5! weeks ago (I know, "Where does the time go??")  I unstuffed my monkey (yet to be finished) when I got home from that class and recently bought some recycled polyester filling for stuffing dolls which I feel much better about, especially the recycled part. My owl is a first attempt at stitching cut up sweaters, naively made without a pattern as I was so eager to get started (which slowed me down a little as you can imagine.) She has a pale blue hood, a tail and a name: Polly.
There's been a certain something on my mind since researching that link I made on Maud Lewis in my last post.  It's got to do with poverty and age. Last week I found this amazing article, watched the 1934 version of Imitation of Life on Youtube, and then today was sent this delightful link, all of which have substantiated my feelings not only about the richness that can be found in the simplest of things, but how essential it is to make room in our lives for this. 
Clarity, the inner eye of the storm, is where authenticity can be found.
This is a universal truth that will lead us to peace one step at a time.
I believe this.

Friday, 2 November 2012

down the digby neck

And wasn't that a quick week - for me. It's hard to believe it's almost Saturday when I've been meaning to post these pictures from our jaunt last Saturday down to Annapolis Royal, Digby and Digby Neck.

Does Digby Neck sound funny to you? I don't know why, but it makes me think of Andrea Martin's line in the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "the man is the head, but the voman is the neck."

I realize that so many of you are not familiar with the layout of Nova Scotia so I thought this map would not only give you a better idea, but also show you the extent of our day trip from Kentville
 in Kings County down to the end of Digby Neck where one must catch the ferry if one wants to go any further.
This image is provided by

You can see by the larger map that Digby Neck is a peninsula that hangs off Digby County to the southwest like a tail.
image provided by


 Well, I can't say that we were terribly impressed with the drive. Perhaps it was because of the unchanging landscape, so drab this time of year. Perhaps we just spent too much of the day in Annapolis Royal and were squeaking this part of the trip in because it was our original plan.

 I always seem to take pictures these days in case the right shot comes along


 Certainly Digby had its charm
 This tribute to Nova Scotia's beloved Maud Lewis was painted in her style on the side of the Digby information building.

 An amazing old barn along the way.

Looking across the channel at the charming coastal town of Tiverton.
From here we watched the ferry take a load of cars and their occupants across the diamond dappled water before turning homeward again, saving this crossing for another time.

In our desire to squeeze just one more thing into our day
 we turned into the amazing fishing wharf at Little River.
Well, maybe this building doesn't seem so amazing,
but there were so many fishhouses, each with their own personality,
that I was quite intrigued.


 It was late Saturday afternoon and the pier was deserted.

A local man drove to the end of one of the piers and started fishing. Immediately he caught a mackerel, and then another and another. No wonder there were so many seagulls waiting around. I'd never seen such a gathering of them. Unfortunately my camera didn't do justice to the quantities.

Across the inlet we saw eagles. This is low tide as you can see.

 Because of low tide, we had the vantage of seeing the seagulls fly
off the rocky bluffs, so beautiful in the evening light.
Please forgive my blurry shots; I was so happy to capture them in flight.
 such exquisite creatures 
Another lucky shot: a circle of seagulls!
And then it was time to go, past the long corridor of fishhouses
 where the fish are packed for shipping.
The setting of the sun behind the forest above cast the long shadows of evening.
This fisherman who's seen better times looks longlingly after us.

And now a trio of India ink and watercolour paintings I made on 4.25 x 9 inch watercolour paper.

Playing with washes and a "dirty" palette excites me for the colour possibilities.
I automatically "revert" to animals when I draw.
I try to get away from them, but after all these years, they are second nature to me.
There are new things I've been working on this week which I will show you next time.