Kitchen limericks

We hosted a play in our house in June. It was a site specific play, so small groups of audience members followed cast members through the house from scene to scene. I knew they’d be paying attention to the scripted action but I wondered if they’d notice the house. I don’t know if I’m an attention hog or what, but I felt I had to put a wee bit of myself into the drama.

I decided my kitchen chalk board was the perfect tool to do just that. So I sat down and composed a few kitchen themed limericks. I had meant to change them up more often, but I had too much on my mind and missed most of the days. I managed to get three done, and may just use the other ones some other time for fun if I can squeeze it into spare minutes between my summer plans.

      

 

My garden greenman

Last year I decided my garden needed a a bit more pizzazz. We have been putting in shade plants for the past few years to liven up what was a very sparse yard. The greenery is coming along, and the space cried out for some decoration to compliment the new life. 

I decided on a greenman.

I spent all winter imaging and planning something to hang on the fence on the shady patio side of the house. As soon as I could be comfortably out in the garage this spring I began working with some cedar fence boards. Sketches in hand, I pulled out the band saw and got to work. 

                    

It took some work to get everything to line up but I am pretty happy with the result.

 

Weaving cloth

My youngest son says I have loom madness. I think I’ve just found my calling.

Since getting my 36″ rigid heddle loom for Christmas I have been weaving non-stop.

I signed myself up for some very helpful classes on Craftsy.com to help me master the craft more quickly. The first couple months I got a feel for some basics; warping the loom, making the edges even, and finishing the top and bottom ends off neatly.

I must say though, my favourite part is playing with colour and texture. I have woven some really nice plaids and stripes. My next project will be a check or a log cabin pattern.

I only have one reed and it is fairly large, so I initially only worked with number 4 yarn. It turned out nice but the resulting cloth is a heavier weight. I did some small placemets, then moved on to some larger pieces of the heavy cloth.

My husband calls this the camo plaid.

I made three pieces of it.

My hope is I can turn it into a cape style coat like another coat I have, but with a slightly different collar. I’ll be fiddling with making a pattern from that coat over the summer. No rush for a coat right now, after all.

 

I also made 165cm long piece of blue plaid. Initially I though it could be a table runner, but the number 4 yarn is too coarse.

I have a good amount of this yarn left so I may weave more and make myself another jacket. I found a pattern for this one. It’s a flapper style and I think it would look good with this fabric.

 

Then I decided I needed to branch out from the heavier cloths. In one of my craftsy videos the instructor mentioned that she doubles the warp thread for some cloth. So I bought a gorgeous number 1 yarn and doubled the warp threads.

This was my first doubled thread cloth made from the finer yarn. It is incredibly soft and it drapes beautifully.

I intended it to be a table runner, but it almost a shame to use it that way. At 36″ my loom makes cloth just barely wide enough to make a wrap.

This is for my mom, so she can decide.

 

This is the same yarn, different colours.

Again, made with a table linen in mind but certainly soft enough and just wide enough that is would make a nice wrap.

This one is for my mother-in-law’s 75th birthday.

I’m on a one week weaving hiatus right now, but I don’t expect it to last long. I have a large wicker basket full of yarn calling my name.

I have a gorgeous number 2 charcoal yarn I want to weave with, and some lovely pastel pink and blue number 4 cotton yarn I want to make a checkered fabric with. I have several balls of burgandy and cream number 4 yarn. I have orange. Navy. Taupe. Mustard. Light brown. Dark green. Bright red.

So many options!

I am going to watch the video for the log cabin pattern one or two times more then try some different weaving patterns, finger weaving, wrapping, and adding beads.

And I’m pretty sure I’m getting some add-ons for the loom this Christmas so it won’t end there.

 

Family portrait gallery – an amateur wall of family portraits

Tessa
Gudrun
Bernard

My home is my castle. And you know what castles have? Family portraits. Walls full of portraits.

I think my family is no less portrait worthy. And I love to play around with paints.

I am not an artist. I am at best a hobby painter.

Brothers
Darcy
Franco

I am working on a family portrait project.

The finished paintings will hang on the long wall at the top of the basement stairs.

It’s almost the only wall in the house that will accommodate them, and it’s on display enough that they won’t be a waste of time gathering dust but not so on display that I’ll have to answer questions about them.

Garrett
Mitchell

The catalyst for this particular project was a cute little picture I painted of my dog last year.

That picture of her now hangs at the top spot in the family portrait arrangement. She earned top spot. In dog years she was the senior family member. Plus since she passed away in February it puts her closer to heaven.

Jessica
Nicole

I’ve got a bunch done and hung in the stairway . Some of the pictures are better than others. One or two really capture their subjects well.

I accidentally set something on one of them when it was laying on my desk and punctured the canvas so I will have to try it again.

Averie
Arielle

When I complete the set I may go back and attempt a couple others to see if I can make them better.

I am also still working on them. On my easel right now I have my last nefew and a picture of my siblings and I as kids.

 

April
Carly

Practice makes perfect, so maybe this will help me develop some style and some skill.

Mostly though, it’s just something else for me to dabble in. Another hobby for me.

Kris
Gavin and 3 siblings – in progress

I have many hobbies; so many hobbies in fact that I may begin telling people I am a professional hobbiest.

What do you think? Should I get business cards? Darcy L Hoover, Certified Professional Hobbiest.

 

 

The habits and hobbies I keep – stitching memories

tessa-inspirationIn March of 2005 I spotted a skinny, mangy, lonely puppy in the corner of a kennel. She was there in Petcetera with a dog rescue group. The group was trying to find homes for four rescue pups. In the other corner a crowd watched three furry, beautiful white husky pups tumble in play.

Tessa Beloved family member 2005 - 2017
Tessa
Beloved family member
2005 – 2017

I was drawn to the sad eyes in the corner. I could read her mind. She knew she was not what the crowd wanted. I’ve never been one for crowds.

I took her home that day, and I helped her recover from the mange and fed until she was healthy girl. Over the last 12 years she has been my shadow. Under foot. In the doorway. Waiting at the door.

On February 11, 2017 my beloved dog Tessa took her last breath. I woke up at 7 a.m. and looked over at her bed. She was motionless.

Dogs don’t live forever. Nothing does. I know that. But habits die hard. Going downstairs in the morning and not letting her out the door to pee. Going
out to shovel the walk and calling her to join me. Going to bed at night and calling her upstairsfamily-fence for bedtime. Going out to buy groceries and not saying “Bye bye Tessa, be a good girl” as I close the door. Coming in the door and not exclaiming “Hello Tessa!” Laughing as she tries to sit pretty until I take off my shoes while she waits for her hugs. Frying bacon and turning to watch the dog come around the corner.

Habits die hard because they bring us happiness. So do memories. To that end…

I carved her into the family fence in the garden a couple years ago. I painted her portrait last year. We had the vet make us a paw imprint that I will place beneath her likeness in the garden. This morning I added her to my 365 day embroidery challenge. I’m planning in my head how I can sculpt her likeness.

So while I know there is no way that her absence won’t change the way I go through my day, I can insert her into all the other things I do so that she will always be a part of the habits and the hobbies I keep.

img_20170214_105929 img_20170214_110947 img_20170214_115103 img_20170214_125743 img_20170214_141120 img_20170214_170419

best

Stitches and more time, please (a tale of too many projects)

Hubby and I have spent a good portion of the winter sitting in our cozy living room working on our personal crafty projects. He makes things out of leather, I make things out of fibre. Crafty couples are happy couples.

I’ve made progress on several projects.

  1.   Needlepoint Table Runner                                                                                                 I made a sketch on craft paper to use as a guide, then stitched together three, three foot lengths of Aida cloth. The finished project will be a runner just shy of nine feet long. When it’s done I will edge it so it will likely end up about 15 inches wide.             It’s taken me just over a year to finish a 27 inch long section. It’s definitely a multi-year project.             feb-8-2017-crop-brighter
  2.   365 Day Embroidery Challenge                                                                                         I got this idea from an article on Facebook. I started on Jan 1, 2017 with my embroidery co-conspirator Ashleigh.                                                                                 I make some basic stitches with thicker strands of thread. Looking at Ashleigh’s finer work I decided I was falling behind because my inability to focus close (old age sucks) so I bought some cheaters and am now able make the finest stitches. As I chose the project because I wanted to master the satin stitch, the cheaters are a blessing.                      feb-8-2017-crop-brighter
  3.   Woven Placemats                                                                                                               My always doting husband bought me a 24 inch rigid heddle loom for Christmas. After weaving a few throw away bits of cloth I decided my first full project would be a set of placemats.                                                                                                                 I bought five skeins of yarn in complimentary colours and tried to sketch some pattern ideas in crayon, but in the end just ended up warping the loom with no plan. The resulting plaid was gorgeous.                                                                                       So far I have five placemats done and five more on the loom.                 plaid-1
  4.   Celtic Cross-stitch Triptych                                                                                               I came across a half finished cross-stitch of a Celtic inspired boar in a dusty box last year. I finished it up on planes and in airports.                                                           It pleased me. As my husband has often noted I tend to do things in multiples, and in true form I decided to make a triptych.                                                                   I started a raven on planes and in airports over our Christmas holidays. We go to New Orleans soon and I’ll be taking the project with me. On some future trip I will stitch a salmon.                                                                                                    feb-8-2017-crop-brighter

Winter isn’t over, but a spring deadline for the interior arts looms large. I figure I have until the crocuses bloom to work on these projects un-distracted.  

 

 

 

 

Dream weaver – my new rigid heddle loom

I had a rather unpleasant junior high school sewing instructor and because of that I img_20160626_224632resented sewing, yet was obviously drawn to it.

I made doll clothes and little pillows from collected scraps of fabric and yarn.

I was and still am fascinated by colour and texture.

I even collected art books about the textile arts.

My final year high school art project was to choose an image and depict it in four different media. I created my image in pastels, watercolours, as an etching, and I cut shapes in coloured denim and stitched them together to make a geometric representation of my image. I got an A+ and a special img_20161231_143219compliment on the innovative use of fabric in fine art.

For some reason even with that success, I dropped my pursuit of textile crafts. Until now, that is. Now, approaching 50 I have shaken off that bitter home economics experience and am diving headlong into my love of fabrics.

I’ve written about my cross stitching, embroidery and sewing. This blog is about learning to weave.

For Christmas my doting husband bought me a 24″ rigid heddle loom. To help me get going I ordered an img_20170117_151945instructional video from Craftsy.com.

I started weaving with some spare yarn I had left from a costume I made for my son a few years ago. Once I got the feel for the loom and managed to get my edges pretty straight I decided I would make placemats for my
dining room table.

img_20170118_144459I was going to do simple stripes, but one yarn lead to another and I ended up creating a plaid. The test mat turned out really nice. I love the way the colours work and they look great in my dining room – which has a paprika red feature wall behind the fireplace.

I plan to spend the next month or two slowly working on 12 place mats. I say over two months because I will be weaving in between cross stitching the table runner, my 365 day embroidery project, some paintings of my family, painting my upstairs hallway, painting the downstairs bathroom and some small sewing projects I have on the go.

Hopefully I get it done before early spring when I’ll want to move outside to work on some garden decoration projects. I’m pretty sure I’ll die with 20 unfinished craft projects. What a wonderful way to go.