2017 Craft review

On Dec 31 2016 I posted my 2017 craft goals to Facebook. Looking back I can see how well I did, and where I failed miserably at predicting what motivates me. 

I started out well…

“I start my 365 day embroidery project with Ashleigh tomorrow.”

👍 We both abandoned the 365 day project but both took up other embroidery projects. 

“I will start my first project on my loom, and learn to weave on it.”

👍 👍 👍I have done a lot of weaving over the past year and have improved considerably. I now have  enough confidence to move into more expensive and nicer fibres. The one on the right is linen.

“I will keep working on the 9′ table runner.”

👍 I put this aside it in favour of other projects in the spring. Then I misplaced the original sketch. Then I misplaced the background colour. I found both misplaced components and have started this up again.

“I will finish the Celtic cross stitch triptych.”

👍 👍 👍Done, framed and hung on my studio wall.  I did a lot of work on them on airplanes and during long drives. Fun story – I had to borrow scissors from the hotel front desk in Pincher Creek because I hadn’t pre-cut enough thread for the trip. I ended up having a great conversation about fine crafts and fibre arts as a result.

“I will start the 4-part purple flower cross stitch project.”

👍 👍Two done, framed, and hung in the library. They’ve been there since October and hubby only noticed them a couple days ago.

“I will finish my ‘close ups’ painting project. Set of 6 images.”

👍 👍 👍This project exploded. It made me so happy that it lead me to just paint everything that pops into my head.

“I will start the a book related sculpture that right now lives only in my head.”

👎 Still in my head. 

“I will paint more brick books for my garden library.”

👎 Prepped the bricks then never went back.

“I’ll weave sturdy seats for the old wrought iron deck furniture set so I can sit and watch my garden grow.”

👎 Not done.

“I’ll make my big cedar garden green man and install him on the fence.”

👍 👍 👍 Done and looking fabulous.

“I’ll finish and hang the Viking inspired cedar ravens for the shed roof.”

👍 Idea re-purposed for the garden trellis.

“I will sew.”

👎 Sewing machine died. We got a new one. Rearranged my studio to include a sewing area. Now ready to go.

“I will ride my beautiful bike, Daisy, to and from the farmer’s market and coffee shop.”

👎 Did until July when a health issues meant I couldn’t ride. I’ll have Daisy back on the road in the spring.

“I’ll work on perfecting good bush cooking with Berni.”

👍 A little done. Not enough. 

“I will at least have a good plan for a cedar tree-trellis for on the house behind the pear tree.”

👎 Still imperfect in my head. Put off because I want it to tie into the deck when we re-do it in 2018.

I will paint my art room, ceiling and all.

👍 👍 👍 Painted, but not the ceiling (yet). I also painted the main bath, basement foyer, and helped paint my hubby’s man cave.

I will learn to bake bread.

👎 Nope. Haven’t bothered.

I will plant, tend, and harvest my garden.

👍 👍 Done, but not well. Some gardening energy was diverted into replacing the cottoneaster hedge with edible berry bushes.

I will read.

👎 Some. Could always be more.

I will write.

👎 Not done. 👍 Unless you count this blog?

One of the things I began doing that I didn’t predict was really enjoying playing with sculpting in wood. I sculpted a little viking, and decided I had to do more. So my darling husband, my dad and my son cut down a couple trees on my parents’ property that are curing for me to use this summer.

I predict that this year will be a banner year for creativity.


A room of my own

dotingI am blessed with a doting husband. When we looked for our current house he never hesitated to add ‘art room’ to the list of spaces our home must have.

For the past five years I have made ever expanding use of this a glorious room of my own. It has windows on three sides, a fireplace, and view of my garden.

I right away installed a gallery art hanging system on the 11 foot wall so I could display what I created.

I have stainless steel tables for playing with clay, and ink, and paint, which also serve as my desk.

I have cabinets for my stuff.

I have a big easel in a corner.

I have a an old door made into a table for my loom, for which I will eventually get a glass top cut for so I can use it to keep weaving samples on display.

I have my grandmother’s old vanity holding my painting supplies.

I have a spot for my laptop and a iPod player.

I have a brand new sewing machine which has a table and window all to itself.

And I have a fireplace to keep me toasty warm.

The room was almost perfect, except that the walls were an uninspired dingy cream.

So I decided to make it perfect. Choosing colours came first.

I chose a colour that is somewhere between Tiffany blue and Birks blue. You could call it robin’s egg blue. I call it gorgeous.

It took me five days to get it all painted, then one more to put the room back together. It is a huge improvement on the shabby beige it used to be. My time spent here was always fine, but now the time spent in this room of my own will be sublime.

(Take a little tour here)

This winter we’re taking advantage of a forced remodel of the basement due to a spring flood to make my hubby a room of his own. I’ve offered to paint it any colour he chooses. I hope his happy space turns out as well as mine.


Family portrait gallery – an amateur wall of family portraits


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.

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.



Now playing – Shakespeare on vinyl

2012-12-19-17-34-29This is not about one of my projects, but it is about an add-on to the first home project my husband and I undertook in our house – our library.

We’re both bibliophiles, we both brought boxes of books with us, and we had purposefully bought a house with a room that could be converted to a library.

But in addition to my love of the printed word, I am a fan of theatre and music. My portion of the library includes several plays; and yes it does include the complete works of Shakespeare.

place-to-be-libraryWhen we had the carpenter build our library I made sure that one section was set aside for my stereo, turntable and record collection.

My music, literature and theatre had one home.

I have just acquired a finishing detail quite by accident.

A few weeks ago I got a message from an old friend. She had spotted something at a fundraiser that she believed would appeal to me. Among a lot of items donated to a fundraising rummage sale was a boxed set of LPs with complete readings of Shakespeare’s plays by actors like Richard Burton, Vivian Leigh, Peter Finch, Peter O’Toole, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and Maggie Smith.

She was right about this being up my alley.

They are a fabulous find. They are in good shape. The sound is good, the boxes look worn in a stately way.

I’ve given them a home beside the treatable and above the leather bound set of Shakespeare’s plays that I bought in my early 20’s. I think this spot is their destiny.



Here’s a little number

I’ve been distracted by a kitchen renovation. A lot of my time has been taken up by moving my pantry and dishes to a temporary home and dealing with the insanity that comes from not being entirely able to organize my life or clean properly.

I have managed to complete one little project that has been in the back of my mind for a old house numberswhile now. New house numbers.

When guests look for our house they usually drive by a couple times before they are sure they’re at the right address. We’re a corner lot surrounded by a tall hedge and old spruce trees. The driveway is a car and a half long for the house numbers are relatively far from the curb. All that can be seen from the road is our garage IMG_20160823_191050door and the brick surrounding it. The house number is next to that garage door in very small inconspicuous brass on that brick.

The numbers were basically camouflaged.

housenumbersinstalledI wanted bigger and better. I looked around but found nothing I liked. Nothing
significantly bigger. Nothing simple.

So I made my own out of a discarded piece of oak. I painted them white, which is way more visible from the street, particularly at night. They’re three feet tall, and easy to read from a distance.

I also think they suit the house and us. One small project off the big project list.