Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Beauty and the Beholder

I found this amongst the drafts of posts I wrote while touring France this summer.

I never did finish it - I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted that depict the true shabbiness you can find there at every turn.... but the photos below have a little of it...

So as we drove and saw a little of this

and a little of that
patchy grass, empty flower pots, old buildings that were long past their prime,

I found myself wondering…,

How do we decide how we feel about what we see?

How do we decide what is charming,

and what is rundown?

Is it context?

Are we more forgiving in our judgments if a building is 200 years old? Does that it wasn't built to our modern specifications or sensibilities make us enjoy it more; perhaps it's the quirkiness of it that draws both eye and heart?

Or is it geography? Do we have an expectation of finding rust and chippy perfection in the shutters and doors in France and so when we do, they are as they should be?  What we hoped for?

Would we like them as much if they were around every corner in our own hometown?

And then I wondered how ownership might affect that...

Would I like this crumbling, faded, rambling house with it's mossy covered pots carelessly discarded next to the climbing rose, covered with faded blooms  - would I like it as much if it was my yard?

Or would I feel an urge to grab my pruning shears and start trimming back the parts that are past their prime, and leave behind only what was green and fresh, poised to bloom?

Would a tiny, cluttered balcony perched in an odd alcove, high above the ground, lure me to linger if it was attached to my own home? Or would I feel an insatiable need to tidy it?

I never did figure out the answers to this multiple choice question...

perhaps it's all of the above

Friday, August 26, 2011

A New Day?

Busy, busy days, filled with family and fun.
And pride....
Last weekend we were in Kelowna, cheering our son on as he ran a great race in what is considered to be Canada's National Triathlon.


The story really begins here though, a few years back, right here in Salmon Arm when he raced in his very first triathlon. 
The photo below is him coming in to the bay to the finish line (it's a bike, run, kayak triathlon), and he was the only person that raced that was not part of a team; he did all three legs himself.
So proud...

 We had no idea then that this thing would get a hold of him, fascinate him and propel him into a new world, but it has.
And it has taken all of us along with him.

Somewhere in that group he is waiting for the start...

here he is just coming out of the water...

(you really need to click on the pictures to see them better, but here is again, running up for his bike

coming in to the corner on the first bike

and running to the finish!

 What a great day, to see your child do something that matters so very much to them, to be a part of that which grabs them...

When he came out of the water there was a girl standing not far from me cheering him on - and I had no idea who she was. She was talking excitedly to a man near her and I asked if they knew Doug.
"We're his coaches!" they said at once, "and he shaved two minutes off his swim time!"
And I got to say "I'm his mom!"
So proud...

In early July his dad and sister went to see him race the Alberta Provincial Triathlon in Canmore, where he won 1st Place for his age group!  You can see pics and read all about here on my daughter's blog, where she writes beautifully of that day.

And in June, he and his sister ran a 10k run in Penticton that she blogged about here.
If you read nothing else, read that - it's the most amazing tribute from a sister to her brother and yes indeed, as she said, we had many, many tears.

These two amaze me, more and more every day, love without end...

And so I decided my kids should have a day, like Mother's Day and Father's Day... where they are honoured for what they bring to my life. 
I think the last Sunday of August will be a perfect choice for the new "Day" in our family story.

And I think since they will be both be home this weekend, I may just start their "Day" with serving them breakfast in bed!

Friday, August 19, 2011

43 Years In The Making

 Well sort of, but not quite... not really, but kind of...

When I was 7 years old I learned my first grown-up craft - my Mom taught me to knit. I remember it well, the needles were green and the yarn was a deep plum. Quite the visual combination.

I decided I was going to make a scarf for Santa Claus; it was early September and I would have lots of time to get it done. I think I got thirteen rows finished before I dropped my first stitch and took it all apart in frustration. Shortly past that point on the second go-round I realized my scarf was getting narrower; that was when I learned about "knit two together". Out it came again.

I kept trying but after many holes and widenings and narrowings I finally gave up - it was mid November and I knew I wouldn't finish it in time for Christmas Eve. Over the next few years I would come across that ball of yarn and the green needles and give it another go, but it always ended in failure.
 One day, when I was about fifteen, I realized that yarn was so frazzled it wasn't good for anything so I pitched it.

I have knitted a few sweaters over the years but never a scarf. 
Last week I decided it was time...

And two nights ago I finished it. 
This one isn't for Santa, it's all mine and now I'm kind of excited for Fall. 
It's fun and bright,

and I couldn't help but add the saucy little ruffle to the ends. 

it will go with all my coats and jackets...

and there's no fear of losing me in a crowd!

So while it isn't the same purple scarf I attempted all those years ago, and I made it with lovely, smooth bamboo needles instead of the bilious green ones, I finally did knit a scarf!

Friday, August 12, 2011

"It's Only Words"

 "and words are all I have..."

another song from my youth with lines that have stayed with me all these years
 the rhythm of the lyrics, the haunting melody - it was the perfect writing song.

Writing is as important for me as any other craft I take on - perhaps more so if I really think about it


 and so it makes sense to me that bookbinding is something that brings me much happiness - I had forgotten how much I like making books

folding signatures
preparing covers
creating tapes

I've made many over the past decade but all but one were for gifts so today I gifted myself

upholstery grade burlap, with vintage lace for detail, both from my Gilded Girls Stash Society Box

the little wooden butterflies stamped with script were tied to small pieces of driftwood wrapped in lace, sent all the way from Dorthe in Denmark 

perfect imagery for words flying freely

all my favourite scraps of cardstock and papers, some vintage, some handmade 

all bound together, waiting to inspire

I was sad when I heard there is a likelihood that books as we know them will be a thing of the past, what with computers and Kindle and e-books and such 

and in one of the articles I read recently they made reference to how the scribes must have felt when the printing press was invented - I must admit I had never really thought of it quite like that

for every gain there is a loss, but then sometimes for every loss there is a gain

I wonder if that is the true circle of life?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Boogie On

This journal making adventure of mine is such fun...
Full tilt, full steam ahead, in every spare minute.

here is the latest...
hand-dyed fabric from Alaska, vintage lace from France, hand-dyed silk ribbon from an artisan on Granville Island in Vancouver

 a sparkly vintage brooch from Salmon Arm, B.C.

this time I used natural linen thread in size 35/2 for sewing the signatures...
this is my preferred thread for book binding - it's actually for doing Pulled Thread Embroidery, or even Drawn Thread, neither of which have I done in more than a decade...

the shield-shaped lace is also from France, and the metal letters below are from a craft store


what a great word for the cover of a journal; both as an indicator of what may be found inside and a gentle guide for the writer, to always be true in your words and your thoughts

this is my new favourite-so-far!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer School

One of my favourite inspiration bloggers is Alisa at Life Is A Beautiful Place To Be.
She writes beautifully and creates amazing things which she blogs about - thank goodness! 
Seeing her inspiring work always makes me want to get busy.
Lately Alisa has been blogging about Full Tilt Boogie, a book binding course she has been taking for the past few weeks.


I have taken a couple of bookbinding courses myself, but they weren't as free-wheelin' as Full Tilt Boogie seemed to be. So, I checked it out, signed up and am having a blast!

 My sewing room, which I completely re-arranged after Where Bloggers Create is now a disaster...


Full Tilt Boogie teaches three different journals - I am on the first one...except I am making four.
Yep, four. Maybe more.
I can't get on to the Week 2 Journal unless I quit making the journal from Week 1 ..... but they're just so doggone much fun!

I have signatures all over the place, some clamped, others glued and sewn, some just put together but not attached, and a great, heapin' pile of cut of card stock and paper just waiting...


This is the first one-almost-finished... pink linen, vintage lace from France and a button from my favourite antique store that-used-to-be-in-Enderby, B.C.

I love the open spine detail - I used waxed pink linen to stitch the signatures - not my favourite thread but love the look!

The tapes are heavy satin with lace on top and I machine stitched them all together
I have no ephemera at all so used card stock and watercolour paper to make the signatures - I am bound, bent and determined not to buy anything!!

I did have one old music book so I photocopied some pages on to card stock - love that!

and to primp up the inside I glued lace and trims from my trip to France on the inside covers - something old, something new...

I also used some wallpaper samples fro the inside cover as they had such beautiful texture (and I'm not a fan of wallpaper!)

So I still have a blue one and a Christmas one that together with this pink one will be for my Sale, a retro one with a burlap cover I'm making for myself and then another one for my five year old niece who is coming to visit. She loves to paint and is awfully good at it so I'm thinking a journal of her own, all bound, and primed with gesso might be just the thing...

I'm a little hesitant to look at the videos for Week 2 - after seeing what I got into after Week 1.
No wonder the class is called "Full Tilt Boogie"!