holiday in the highlands


We are into our second week in Scotland and this is the first minute I’ve had to write on the blog. When I say minute, it’s a bit of an exaggeration. It’s just taken over 10 minutes for this sketch to download. So I won’t be adding more today.

We have been in Orkney for the past few days. I’ve tried to sketch every minute I can, including in the high wind on the ferry. My goal is to finish the sketchbook this time with little drawings as well as some more finished sketches.

I loved Kirkwell and sketched both the sandstone buildings and the craigy countryside. The Scots are incredibly friendly and I’ve had lots of people stopping to talk and offer comments and critiques. The highlands provided stunning material for sketching and the bonus is that we have had sun! Everyone is telling us its the best weather of the summer.

And now the outer Hebrides. A visit to Harris with its textles and rugged landscape has long been my wish. I read Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy in preparation for the trip, so I’m even more excited to see some of the romantic placenames come to life. I’ll report on my visit one way or another–probably from Canada.


a new marimekko tote and pouches

Here is another great Marimekko pattern made into a tote. I think it is the perfect pattern for fall and winter–fun flower cutouts in bright reds and orange on a dark background. The tote has comfortable leather handles and a wide leather base. It closes with a durable brass coloured metal zipper which opens extra wide. Inside the tote is lined in black heavy cotton with a textured leather phone pocket as well as a zip/slip pocket with a screen printed bird. This tote wipes clean inside and out. It measures 17″ wide, 15″ tall and has a base of 4.5″–designed to carry all you might want for travel or everyday use. Reports back from owners of this year’s Marimekko totes say they use their totes for both travel and everyday. They add such a wonderful splash of colour to your life.
marimekko bag 4

marimekko bag 4 int

marimekko bag 4a

And I couldn’t resist making a few pouches for the four patterns I’ve used this year. I love each one of them. These pouches are great for make-up, for your headphones and other cords, or any other small items you want kept separately in a big bag. They are each lined in cotton and close with a nylon zipper. marimekko pouches


last cottage weekend

I spent some time sketching the cottage this past weekend, sitting out on the rocks and looking up. We are soon going on a trip and I want to sketch faster and more often than I’ve managed on previous trips. So I was giving it some practice.  The second sketch here is my favourite, even though it has a big runback. The shadows and the ink line have a light touch which I’m striving for. I want to remember to take a moment to plan, even do a value sketch, find the eye level line and draw a casual border before before beginning the sketch. We will be gone just under three weeks and I’ll try to post as I go.
sept cottage 1

september cottage 2

september cottage 3


odds and ends from our trip to Portland Maine

I know I have not been posting very much lately. I hope to make it up this week with a few sketches and a couple of new bags. But before that, here are a few images from our August trip to Portland Maine.inn on carleton

We stayed in this great BandB in Portland within walking distance of the downtown core.  It is actually called the Inn on Carleton, but the address is right! I guess I was rushing to get the sketch done.

Below is the Court House in Montpelier VT. I love this city because of its architecture and its friendly vibe. It is a place I know well from attending Green Mountain Rug School. We stayed here coming home from Portland and had the best meal of the trip at a ‘farm to table’  called Kismet. It was across from the Court House and I had time to explore the tower again in a continuous line sketch as we were waiting for our meal.court house montpelier

Views below from the ferry rides out of Portland. We don’t count a trip complete unless we get out on the water, and this trip we managed it three times. Islands and ferries are a way of life in Portland and we loved being part of that.sunset cruise portland

sunset cruise 2 portland

And finally, we made the trek to L.L. Bean. My canoe-building partner was enthralled by the canoes hanging about, especially this one, a Canadian cedar-rib canoe.bean canoe


Lake Wes lighthouse

Lake W lighthouse aug 2016

Here is a sketch done this week of the lighthouse on our lake in Eastern Ontario. The lighthouse was constructed in the 1930’s and has been a reliable guide around the point for many years. Apparently, it was originally designed  to generate electricity, not as a navigational aid.  And the rumour persists that both Henry Ford and Thomas Edison stayed at the lighthouse cottage.

Whatever the stories about its past, the lighthouse still stands proudly, a unique marker at the entrance to the main part of the lake. It embodies the lake history and traditions and no matter how many times we pass, and that is often because the lake is 80% water-access even today, gives a sense of stability and well-being.

As for the sketch, I am experimenting with a Japanese brush pen which uses carbon ink cartridges. I’m liking it for the very darks, but in small doses.


3 more 121 day bags

The 121 is a new design which you saw first here. We’ve been road-testing the first two and they have proved themselves great day bags. They are big enough for wallet, phone, notebook and other essentials and yet light enough to sling over your shoulder for a day out. I am finally back in the studio for a few days and here are three more in scrumptious colours. Each of these bags is made from a leather remnant, so each is truly one-of-a-kind. Mocha, denim and emerald.

Each bag is 9.5″ wide, 8″ tall and 1.5″ deep. They have a flap lined in contrasting leather which snaps shut with a magnetic closure and a narrow black leather cross-body strap which can be knotted to shorten. Inside each has a great lining–you can just see the fuchsia dot fabric peaking out of the denim leather bag in the last photo–with a pocket for phone or credit cards.

I’m making these bags and a few others for a show in November, but if you’ve fallen in love with one, just contact me. :)

G121 3

G121 3a

G121 3b

G121 denim


sketching the iconic lighthouse

We’re home from our week in Portland but I still have a couple of sketches to share. We spent last Thursday morning at the Portland Head Lighthouse. It is situated in a beautiful park with lots of walking trails and an excellent small museum. It was glorious weather and I had a chance to sketch the lighthouse from both sides. There were other sketchers there as well. This is a much loved and much sketched landmark and it was a pleasure to take part in a long tradition.portland head ighthouse 1

porltand head lighthouse2

1 comment

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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