february sun

It is -24C today outside my house and, with the windchill it feels like -33C. So that is very cold. And yet the winter sun is spectacular and casts such a lovely light on everything. I have not been here in February for five years and I am enjoying it very much. Each day gets a little longer as we creep towards spring. Below scenes on my street and downtown done in my 5″ x 8″ Pentalic sketchbook.

home feb 16

back of front feb 16


some pages from my sketchbook

Here are some random pages from my sketchbook. I have been thinking about windows and overall composition. I love sketching buildings, but I often am so eager to get it right, the proportions etc., that I forget that it is about composition as much or more than it is about accuracy. In fact I am coming to realize that accuracy is less important than I thought. Anyway here are some pages of learning randomly taken from my Pentalic sketchbook which is nearly finished.

Window pane experiment…sitting in a great café in Hamilton with my long-time friend, talking, drinking latte and fooling around with colour. johnny

Last week I was in Campbellford on a beautiful sunny day. I’ve always loved this town on the Trent River and especially its fire hall which was built in 1889. I found a parking spot just across from it and sketched it from my car.  Before I left I drove over to check the date on the heritage plaque. I was surprised to learn that the fire station is still in active use, although the fire fighter I spoke to said a new station is being built and soon this may be a restaurant. I certainly hope they maintain the unique exterior–the tower and onion dome are wonderful.

campbellford fire station

Prior to that I was in St. Catherine’s to visit the brick and mortar shop of two Canadian designers I like very much. We had a great visit there and then went to a cafe for a quick sketch.  As I’ve said here before, I try to buy handmade goods or great barely-used clothing (more on my favourite spot for that in another post). I really believe in supporting local designers whose work is of such good quality and who make great wearable designs.

Scan 457

…and I think I am obsessed with small town towers.
st catherine's city hall

and windows…this is an incredible building in a small town near my house. I want to take the time soon to do more of it. In the meantime practising windows.stirling



Annie update … into the blue

annie basket

I’ve been spending some winter afternoons with Annie, and making some progress. When I look back at the last post, the progress is not as dramatic as I had hoped…but this is a big rug and it’s good to celebrate even a bit of progress. The green section is done and I am back in the blue, the middle. This kind of circular hooking is fun for me, even in a piece this size. It is a game–each circle is different from the others, in size and texture, in colour combination. And I am getting tantalizingly close to joining the two parts–when I reach that point, I’ll post again.

annie febr 8

annie febru 8


new cobalt nubuck pouches

cobalt nubuck pouches 1

I had a remnant piece of this great cobalt nubuck, enough for about half a dozen pouches. This leather has a beautiful rich colour and texture and makes great unlined pouches. These three are 8.5″ x 5″ with sturdy metal zippers, a leather carry strap and an interior pocket for cards and cash. They are perfect for taking out on their own to carry your phone, money and keys, but will easily slip into a larger bag. Although with this outstanding colour, you won’t want to hide them! In the shop tomorrow.

cobalt nubuck pouches 2

cobalt nubuck pouches 3


the new yorker

My sister and I are long time New Yorker readers. Recently we have added more of it to our world: the daily calendar of great old covers, the daily email articles and now New Yorker radio hour. There is nothing I enjoy more than listening to good radio while I am hooking on my big rug. I’m an avid follower of Serial — listened to season one in under a week once I discovered it–but for season two there is a two-week wait between episodes. Welcome Nyer radio. It’s weekly and has about five pieces in each episode. Great informative listening.

But back to the covers…the other day my sister wrote to me about Friday’s cover, the inimitable George Booth’s 1984 red head at the piano, below. We both love George Booth, especially his wonderful dogs. The Radio Hour just had an interview with him–he is now 90– and that took me to this article from 2014, Beware of the Dog with some of his best covers. my all-time favourite leading off. I hope you will check out the links, and tune into New Yorker radio hour. You are in for a treat.new yorker cover jan 23 1984


phillipa faulkner and the moodie house

philippa faulkner

Phillipa Faulkner was a Belleville artist who was part of a notable city family and lived in what is now the city museum.  I love her vivacious ink and watercolour sketch of the Moodie House, now in the collection of the Belleville Public Library. Her use of ink line and unexpected colour –a flash of green in the window, orange in the stone, chalky white door– and her loose and crazy trees merging into the sky, make this a fascinating sketch of a building I know so well. I posted this sketch of the side view Moodie house earlier in the month, but am inspired by Faulkner’s lively capturing of the old place to give it another try.


closing in on the middle…

I promised that I would post a picture of my rug Annie as she now stands. And, as you can see…I am closing in on the middle. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that for the last four years I have gone to Kenya at this time to teach both school and rug hooking. Now the month of February is open on my calendar. I’m looking forward to filling the February days hooking on Annie. I was looking back at older blog posts of the rug…yes I’ve been at it a while…and I came across this encouraging quotation from another Annie…Annie Leibovitz:

“Talent is something anyone can have. It can go away. It needs to be nurtured, taken care of. The best thing about getting older is that you kind of know what you are doing — if you stick with something. It doesn’t get easier. But you get stronger.”  annie jan 16 1

Here is where I was when I last posted in the summer and the two photos here show today. There is still a way to go, but in the spirit of Annie Liebovitz, I’m sticking with it. I’m not taking this rug out to hooking gatherings anymore–much too unwieldy. But it’s still a great joy to have her on the stand and to pull the loops and join the circles. Kind of like living. Sticking with it and getting stronger.annie jan 2016 2


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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