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.


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.


I’m in stitches, again


When my son was young I took up cross stitching. I used to sit on the couch with him at my feet and watching A&E when A&E was still arts and entertainment, and the X-Files when Skully and Mulder weren’t parodying themselves – eons ago it seems.

Recently I came across a box full of embroidery floss (in almost 100 colours), several extra pieces of needlepoint fabric, and both finished and unfinished work.

Being the compulsive creator I am, I never bought cross stitch patterns. I bought the fabric with the smallest weave possible and created my own patterns from gleaned ideas and images.

Berni liked this one, and we took it to be framed. Turns out it looks absolutely lovely hanging in our bedroom. I recall it taking me several years to complete so it is gratifying to see my efforts gracing my walls.


I also found this one, partly done. I had to go buy more thread because I didn’t have more of the blue, but I now have it finished. I may get it framed as well, and I might pull together one or two similar looking images to stitch and make a set. But not right now.


I have just begun an especially ambitious project. I want a new table runner for the dining room. Our table seats 10, so the runner will be 9 feet long. I want it winter, but not Christmas, themed. And of course, I want it completely stitched; foreground and back ground. I spent this winter putting three, three foot lengths of fabric together. I’ve secured the edges with three rows of stitching.


I’ve done some research and have drawn out a plan on a long piece of butcher’s paper. The pattern will repeat down the length, and mirror itself the long sides. The images will be silhouettes.


I want it to be in muted, related colours. I bought some threads that appealed to me and made up a couple samplers like this one to see how the colours played off each other.


Now that I have a plan I can get to work. I will sketch the images on the fabric as I go along, but will be free styling it a bit. I am a HUGE fan of ‘imperfection’. I think the small flaws are what make art, art.

Wish me and my hands luck. It will be slow going because my fingers and thumbs seize up a bit now so I’ll have to take frequent stitching breaks. Some time in 2020 I’ll let you know how it has turned out.