the melon pouch

melon pouch 1This leather is a wonderful colour for spring so I was happy to see that there was enough leather to make both the bag in the previous post and this pouch. Measuring 9.5″x5″, it fits easily into the larger bag, but is also a good size to carry on its own with the handy detachable wrist strap. It has a durable metal zipper and a double leather pocket inside for tickets or cars and cash. And it is lined with the same great African wax cotton as is in the larger bag. In the shop today.melon pouch 3

melon pouch 4


the melon slouch

melon slouch 3

Here is the new bag made from the jacket pictured in the last post. It is a great colour and a great leather which I have reinforced and double stitched for this its second life. It has the features I consider essential for a day bag. Inside it is lined with wonderful African fabric and has two sets of leather pockets–slip and zip on the one side and on the other, a divided pocket which nicely houses your phone and passport. Outside it also has a big useful pocket and an adjustable leather strap. This bag will be in the shop tomorrow, along with a matching pouch–great to throw inside or carry on its own.

melon slouch 1

melon slouch 2

melon slouch 4


sketching and another new bag

cafe 1

cafe 2Here area couple of my sketches from this week from my two favourite local cafés. The first one is from L’Auberge de France, a local french bistro and bakery and a gem in an otherwise very sad downtown core. L’Auberge has the very best cappuccino and is always full of bustling activity.  And what I like is they serve their café in beautiful sketchworthy cups!

I am loving the online course because I get to see sketches done this week around the world. People are very generous about sharing and about making encouraging comments on the work of others. I am learning so much. We are actually into week two, taught by the adorable Koosje Koene from Amsterdam, who encouraged us to get outside to sketch. I am about to do this afternoon, because the sun is shining here in Eastern Ontario, despite the forecast for rain. The lessons each week consist of several videos and demonstrations. I’ve watched some of this week’s–but am saving the last few until tomorrow because I know Koosje is going to ask me to use coloured pencils, something I have not done since my last set of Laurentians in grade 6! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes…

And I also wanted to mention the shop. It was open briefly with the new bag of the last post. But that bag, Keller 14, sold in a few hours and is on its way to Massachusetts. A very nice welcome back into the world of ‘making’. So the shop is empty again. But I do have a new bag on the studio table. It is a great coral colour and is made from the jacket pictured below on the left. It is well on its way and I hope to post a picture of it tomorrow. But meanwhile, I am on my way outside to enjoy the sun. Hope you are too!

red leather jackets


a new leather bag

keller 14 dThis is my first bag of 2014 and made of one of the nicest pieces of leather I have ever used. Actually there are a few pieces of leather in this bag, upholstery remnants and pieces of men’s jackets–that’s where the challenge comes in–but they are all of the same top quality.  It is a handsome durable bag which will work hard for many years.

It has two outside pockets, both secure. One has a zipper and the other a magnetic closure. Inside it is big on personality. Lined with the Amsterdam squares, it has a pair of fuchsia leather pockets which will hold your phone, passport or other valuables as well as an orange waxed canvas slip pocket large enough for an ipad.keller 14 c

This bag would be great for travel. It can be worn cross-body or the strap can be shortened so you can tuck the bag under your arm. It is large enough to hold all your essentials, including tablet as I said, but a good size to carry easily.

Dimensions: W: 13″ H: 11,”D: 5″ Strap extends to 47″

Will be in the shop by the end of the week.




 keller 14 a

keller 14keller 14 b


sketching with 1000 on-line sketchers

Can you believe it? There are 889 people in the closed Face Book group that is associated with my on-line sketching course! And well over 1300 have watched the first set of lessons. Yikes! Imagine. Our first set of lessons was in my inbox last Friday morning. It included talks about creativity and expression, video tours of two of Danny Gregory’s sketchbooks and a video demo of him sketching his son’s shoes. (And transcripts of all the information ready to be downloaded.) Danny is a warm and generous teacher who believes that creativity is a crucial life force which we should honour. I’ve long been a fan of his approach since I read his first book The Creative License. Check out this link and read his story. He will convince you too.

Anyway, the weekend was very busy with all my family home, something that doesn’t happen often, and lots of tramping about in the sugar bush. But today I got down to sketching. Our assignment is to take our sketchbooks with us and document the week. Today it was pouring rain and cold, so these are indoor sketches. First my Ahnu boots which have been to Kenya and Amsterdam and back as well as braved this Ontario winter–but are now ready to be stored away until next year.

ahnu boot sketch

And then below, 15 Campbell Street. I sat in the library to do this. Our library has full-length windows and wing chairs positioned strategically at each one. I sketched from there last week, but today I found another window at the back and this building which I have walked by millions of times, but never really taken in. It is a 1909 classic, now empty and sad as is much of our downtown. This was a quick sketch–most of the time spent trying to get the angles right. We are to sketch ink first, no pencil, and this results in some wonky lines and do-overs as you will see. I have wanted to document the lovely old buildings in Belleville for some time–it is amazing what you learn about design and craft when you really look. And so I have made a start. I still need to work out just where the sketch will be on the page–so I don’t lose the bottom of the building as I did here!

15 campbell streetAnd for those of you who have been wondering, I have finally finished a leather bag, my first in four months. It has definitely been a long time coming–and should be posted here this week. It is made of great black upholstery leather and lined with the very last of the Amsterdam squares.


sketches…hmm sketches?

moira river

I’m not quite sure how it happened, or why, or even when, but I have become a sketcher. I’ve gone from someone who used a pencil only for words to someone who is intent on capturing the world  in inky squiggles. Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to put my sketches out for you to see, and I’m quick to tell you that I have no pretensions, that this is about process and where my head goes when I sketch, not about product. But what I really love about it all is that I look at the world, the little aspects of my world, in a different way. I see shadows and tones and gradations. I see patterns and beauty. And I see aspects of my city and my world that I never never noticed before. And embarrassed or not, second-guessing myself or not, I am posting them too.

I’ve been thinking about all this because I am starting an online sketching course tomorrow–and it’s really full of talented people–and I’m wondering about my place in it all. But I’m looking forward to it too. Looking forward to expanding my sketching repertoire and seeing new things. And I’m inviting you along for the ride. Starting tomorrow I’ll have 6 lessons from six sketchers from around the world.

north street port hopeMeanwhile…we went to Port Hope this week and I had a little time to try to capture one of the delightful old homes that line the streets. I value and admire the way that city has preserved its heritage. The main street still has many architectural beauties, and the back streets contain gems like this one at every turn.



spring changes


HAPPY APRIL 1st! Here in Ontario we have sun and double digit temperatures, finally. The sap in the maple trees is pouring and it’s time to get out the bikes. HURRAH!

We made a spring change on the blog too. We  put a new button on the right side of the page under Navigation: Rug Hooking Gallery. A selection of my rugs was on the blog at some point, but in one of the updates that page was replaced and somehow the gap slipped by. So I have reposted some of them on this special page accessed from the sidebar button. Check them out when you have a minute. I haven’t been working on my latest rug, How We Spend out Days, for some time but I will get back at that this summer.

brown toteI’m also back in the studio and inspired–finally! I decided to ‘test drive’ one of my totes, a good thing to do for quality control, to see what it is like to live with and use a design. So I packed up this one and took it to Seattle as a carry-on. I’ve been using it every day since. It’s made from deep brown upholstery remnants and it is both roomy and tough. I can stuff it with all my sketching gear, gym shoes, macbook and other paraphernalia and it handles it well.

studio2So…I had some equally good black upholstery remnants and upcycled men’s leather jacket pieces, not enough for a tote, but enough for a shoulder bag. You can see the start  here on the cutting table. I’m considering adding a flash of red to this one, maybe under a pocket flap, or inside the strap tabs.

And to finish off with some colour. This pile of cashmere was on the table–glorious colours. I bought them at a thrift store sale deep in the winter and there they were, through the freezer and washing stages and ready to inspire. cashmere


I am a retired educator and recovered administrator. I have always been interested in fibre, first as a weaver, now as a rug hooker and screen printer. Over the last few years I have become passionate about giving a new life to cast-off wool and leather. This is my journal where I muse about my creative life.

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