bathtubs, trees and a little stitching

I know it sounds like a very odd combination but that has been my world this past week!

The renovations are barreling along, I have to remind myself it’s only been a week since this all started, some days it feels much longer than that. The new walls are all in place, the wonderful plumber and equally wonderful electrician are working their magic.  There’s an awful lot of  “stuff” going on inside the walls right now and none of it will be visible when there are walls!

It may not look like it but things are coming along well. Thanks to everyone who sent along a comment on their own renovations and words of encouragement. The consensus is it’s all worth it in the end and I am reminding myself of that on a regular basis!

I have been doing allot of running around this past week, who knew it would be so tricky to choose a bathtub, it’s not something you shop for very often. But once you decide what you want,  you have to get it home…

yup, that’s my new bathtub upside down in the back of my car. If you look carefully in the top right hand side of the image you will see the new toilet in its blue and white box sitting on the passenger seat. I did get a funny look from the car next to me at a traffic light, but really, how else do you get them home?

Thankfully except for a few days at the end of the week the weather has been glorious! it certainly makes hauling boxes, picking up lunch and taking stuff to the dump allot more pleasant. This gorgeous red leaf tree is right against the fence in my yard and all summer I have been threatening to take it out, it really hasn’t done much but be messy until the weather cooled down this week.

The red tree ( sorry, no idea what it is!) against the blue sky and the yellowing leaves of the climbing hydrangea is really striking. So for now the tree has won a reprieve, it stays.

In the midst of all of this organized chaos I have been getting a bit of stitching done. Truth be known the studio is the only dust free place right now, so that’s where I head when I need a change of air.

I have been having great fun playing with this piece of laminated paper Edwina Mackinnon and I made when I was in the UK this past August. Edwina gave me a lesson on laminating paper and this is the piece we made out in the back garden one sunny afternoon. It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to do with it, but now it’s layered up and the stitching is happening.

I do love working with paper in all it’s forms so paper laminating is right up my alley. I really enjoyed the process and the results are so much fun, thanks Edwina. I must have grabbed the sports section of the newspaper when we got ready to work and have unintentionally managed to include Mark Cavendish in my piece, upraised arm and all. Just one arm I’m afraid,  I accidentally cut one off  in the design, sorry about that Mark .

Bye for now, Catherine


who needs walls!?

The time has finally come! I have started renovating my kitchen. Actually in the spirit of full disclosure, other than cleaning, picking up stuff from the hardware store , picking up lunch for the workers and making endless coffee I am not actually doing much actual renovating … yet!

We are at the demolition stage and things are moving very quickly! After 2 days of sledge hammers  and crowbars ( great name for a tool isn’t it!?) the old kitchen is gone! and a few walls as well.

That yellow gap under the window is where the old corner sink was, the new one will be under the window to the right in a nice loooong counter-top.  The doorway in the picture above  is gone now as well.

Not only is the kitchen gone, most of the bathroom has left with it! that’s the remains of the shower stall in the center of the image above (and the front edge of the toilet in the bottom right!)

Not everyone is as excited as I am about the changes. That bit of black on the far right is Bart creeping around the edge of the door frame, he’s not a big fan of the noise and disruption.

Here we are at the end of day 2 and things are looking good, though a bit dusty ( OK more than a bit dusty, very dusty!) but there’s going to be wonderful light in the kitchen when everything is all done.

This is the new “view” from the kitchen to the sitting room, well almost, those vertical “bars” will be gone tomorrow. There’s more demolition to go and of course with it more dust and mess, but it’s exciting to see the rooms opening up.

I am planning on hanging up my hard hat and heading out to the studio tomorrow afternoon, at least that’s the plan!

Bye for now, Catherine


fabulous felting…

I know I’ve mentioned it before ( maybe allot!?) but one more time can’t hurt!

The Maiwa Symposium is still on in Vancouver, it really is a big event here and runs for about a month of wonderful textile workshops, lectures and events. My latest involvement with the symposium is as a volunteer! I spent 3 days as classroom assistant for a felting workshop with the brilliant Jessica de Haas as instructor. Jessica’s Funk Shui Felting workshop was amazing and even though I was up to my elbows in wet towels and buckets of water for a good portion of the time it was amazing to watch Jessica work her magic with wet wool!

This is the “wet room” and believe me it was! The fan in the picture wasn’t because it was a warm day, getting a little air moving helped to dry things out (a bit)

The students did some wonderful work with wool and silk and over the course of the 3 days developed some exciting designs.

It was an exciting hour at the very end of the 3 days when everyone gathered  around the big table for show and tell. It’s amazing the different work each student created, their personalities came out in their color and design choices.

Jessica uses silk paper and lots of free motion machine stitching on her felted pieces, the combination is wonderful!

It was a busy 3 days but I did manage to make a bit of silk paper and experimented (well for me it was an experiment!) with wool roving mixed into the silk. I couldn’t resist adding a bit of text as well, the newsprint settled into the silk fiber nicely I think.

It won’t end up anything like the felting created in the workshop I’m sure, but I have a few ideas I want to try out….

Bye for now, Catherine


friday afternoons…

There’s something special about Friday afternoons to me, especially late on  Friday! The weekend is right around the corner and I still get a bit of that “just released” from school/work feeling. Though really it’s been a long time since I had a “proper”  Monday to Friday job and even longer since school days!

This Friday brought a treat! My drawing buddy and his partner were going to be threshing the wheat they had grown and I was welcome to drop by and see it done. There was no long car trip to farm land involved, this is the wheat David and Kelly had grown in their garden right here in North Vancouver, who could resist!

They had harvested the wheat and invited other growers( or should I call them farmers?)  from around the city, there’s allot more people growing wheat in Vancouver that you would think!

The wheat is then run through a wool carder to separate the wheat berries from the chaff. It’s the most unusual use of a wool carder I have ever seen! but very efficient. After running through the carder a few time everything is then sifted into the large blue bucket on the right.

This was the group using machinery to help them along but out on the lawn was another group. They had the wheat spread on a sheet and were hitting the heads with sticks to separate the grain, a very satisfying feeling!

They then gathered the edges of the sheet and separated the wheat berries from the chaff by winnowing. Now it was a still day so some ingenuity was required!

The results just about ready to be ground into flour. What an amazing project and a wonderful way to celebrate the end of the week.

David is one of my life drawing buddies but little did I know he is a brilliant glass artist as well! he has been working on a panel ( not the proper name I know but I can’t remember what you called it!, sorry David) ) for their deck. It based on the poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens and is absolutely stunning!

He’s got 7 panels done and 6 more to go, it’s amazing with the setting sun coming through (and without as well)

and I couldn’t resist this fellow perched on the roof of David and Kelly’s studio!

Bye for now, Catherine