a new travel tote and a new everyday bag

I’ve been back in the studio this week and have two new bags to show you. I’ve tried some new things including a zipper placket and an inset panel. I’m very happy with both bags. The leather is really beautiful and the size works, the first for travel and the second for a good all-round day bag which is large enough to hold your laptop. Both bags will be in the shop tomorrow morning.

First, meet the Junco travel tote, a roomy and serviceable tote in a great slate distressed leather. It has a large zippered pocket on the front and inside an ipad pocket and a double slip pocket with a leather phone pocket tucked behind. It has all the essentials of a great travel tote: carry handles, an adjustable cross-body shoulder strap and a wide double bottom with metal feet to protect the leather when you have to set it down. Great hardware and metal zippers. The lining is a new piece from the market in Bondo, Kenya. The Junco travel tote is 19″ wide, 14″ tall and 7″ deep. The shoulder strap extends to 49″.

junco 2

junco 3

junco 5

junco 4

And here is the Siskin Day Bag made from a beautiful brown/green pebble leather with metal zipper and hardware. The lining, from the Amsterdam market, is durable and sprinkled with cupcakes. Outside there are two large pockets and inside there is a double leather pocket for phone and keys and a double slip pocket. The shoulder strap is adjustable, extending to 52″ and it has a double leather bottom with metal feet. This bag can easily hold your lap top and other essential papers or you can fill it with sketching or school stuff. The Siskin day bag is 16″ wide, 12.5″ high and 3″ deep.

siskin 2


siskin 4

siskin 3


the weekend and more on text

My son was up early this past Sunday morning and captured these images of the lake awakening. This is what a summer morning on the lake is all about.  Meditatively silent and beautiful.

lake mist 2

lake mist 1 lake mist 3

And then, on another note entirely, I had an interesting email response to my last blog post on text in art. The writer wondered if I was familiar with the work of  Jenny Holzer, an American artist, whose marble benches are inscribed with thought-provoking text.  I am familiar with Holzer’s work because someone I know very well has a Holzer bench in her front hall. It is inscribed with words we could all live by:



going around in circles

I have recovered my interest in my big rug with the Annie Dillard quotation at each end and have been hooking away on it. Of course we had a very rainy, cold weekend at the cottage and  sitting by the fire, listening to music and working on a rug is a great way to spend a wet day. I’m working through the design block I’ve had about this rug and soon I’ll show you what I am up to–but let me just say that my fellow rug hooker, Liz, made a casual comment about my hooking in circles–or did she say going around in circles??–and that was the germ of the rest of the design. Interesting how it goes.AD rug time

And here are a couple of sketches I managed to do when the rain held off and I could actually get out on the water. I’ve been using a Fabriano Venezia watercolour sketchbook (this book is happily available in my local art store). This is the second of these books I have tried and I really like the paper and size and weight of the book. I wish it opened up better–but now that I’ve read that review, I’m working on giving the book more ‘encouragement to lie flat’.

I am also back in the studio after several months away and have a new bag design almost ready to show you. I should have two new bags on the blog next week.5 sis


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cycle and sketch 2

mapThis week my friend, MB, and I cycled and sketched in a corner of Prince Edward County. It was about 35 kms to North Beach and back and we followed up with a delicious lunch. Since I am doing Liz Steel’s class this week in SBS, I was delighted that they had run out of cappuccino saucers in the Tall Poppy café (which was full of cyclists) and instead gave MB and me a tea saucer. I could not resist doing the homework assignment on the spot. tptc

On the way home I did a few preliminary sketches of one of my favourite churches. I like it because it has lots of symmetrical architectural detail but it is not ornate or elaborate. It was built in 1878 and as I sketch I like to think of the people who designed and built it and those who attended it when it was new. So…I had to go back and have another coffee and finish the sketch. There is tons to learn sketching this building…and that is reason enough to go back for more delicious coffee and more sketches. (Did I say they make amazing lemon squares?)tplc



kilim keeners

Fifteen Moira Mat makers took a Kilim workshop with Anne Boissinot this past weekend. Anne provided us with an amazing array of examples, an overview of the history of Kilims, and a full package of templates to help us design our own Kilim patterns. It was a busy three days with lots of colour planning and problem solving. By Sunday, everyone had a design on their backing — each one with a story and each one different.

kil1Above is a portion of an award-winning Kilim designed and hooked by Anne and below are a few of the many Kilim examples she brought to inspire us.

kilim2Templates are carefully cut out, traced on the backing and then the hooking begins. Anne was there to support and inspire through every step. The Moira Mat Makers say a big thank you to a wonderful teacher. I am sure there will be some incredible Kilim rugs at the next annual!




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a cycle and a sketch

sklI often end the day with a cycle along the waterfront. It is a wonderful way to unwind and put things in perspective. We are having some perfect summer weather and so tonight I took along my water brush and paints and stopped to do a quick sketch of the city from my vantage point across the river. I will try this view a few times and take more time and add more detail. I will also be sure take my stool so I am not sitting on the grass! This first basic sketch is what Liz Steel calls ‘the overall configuration’, just getting a sense where everything is and how each building relates to the others. Liz’s class in SBS semester 2 btw was very inspiring!

I have spent the last three days in a great rug hooking workshop. I’ll write about it tomorrow.



5 sisters

We were at the lake for the past week and I had a chance to do some sketching. Our cottage is on an island about three miles from the marina and this means that wherever we want to go, we need to travel by boat. My favourite boat is my kayak which I have had for over 25 years. The kayak allows me to travel alone and in silence and soak in all the details of the lake. There are lots of remote bays and inlets and I haven’t explored them all yet. I can’t sketch from the kayak–sometimes I clamber on shore with my paints and sometimes I take a photo–it just depends what works.

On Sunday we went in to Bancroft for the afternoon (boat to the marina and then an hour’s drive). Here there is a great independent café, Mixin’ Mommas, right beside the art gallery. I sat on the patio under the umbrella, drank a good latte and sketched the church across the parking lot. Really, a Sunday afternoon in August doesn’t get much better than this. Four people stopped to look at my sketch and make friendly comments! And, speaking of comments…thank you all for the feedback on the blog and via email. It’s a curious adventure, blog writing, and it’s always good to connect with the outside world.

Before we headed back to the lake, I spent half and hour in the art gallery with an interesting juried show and stopped in at Ashlie’s Books for a new novel, The Light Between Oceans, a story of life on an island, somehow seemed the perfect choice. banc ch


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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