Gung Hay Fat Choy

That might not be the right spelling, there seems to be many versions of  the greeting “May you become prosperous”, but it’s the spelling you see most around here. Vancouver and the rest of the world have been celebrating the Lunar New Year this past week. Parts of the city have bright red lanterns hanging inside the markets, shopping malls and restaurants. There have been parades with dancing lions and dragons as well.

I’ve already started work on some pieces for the Orientation exhibition with Six and Friends coming up this year but thought the Lunar New Year celebrations would be a perfect time to pick up some new sources of inspiration. So with camera in hand I headed out for some creative stimulation and to find a lion….and here he is!

Apparently the lion is meant to bring good luck, it’s an ancient tradition and meant to chase away mythological monsters. Lunar New Year is the only time the lions get out to dance and this one certainly made the most of it.

This shop in the market is ready and waiting for the lion to come by. See the lettuce hanging to the right of the red sign?  the lion reaches up and “tastes” the lettuce then pulls it down.

Attached to each lettuce is a lucky red envelope with money, candy or chocolate coins inside. The lion chews up the lettuce and then spits it out, scattering lettuce and spreading good luck. I was told by one of the merchants that the “chewed up” lettuce represents prosperity and money returning to the shop.

It’s tricky to see but there is lettuce flying in this image! It’s the green blur at the bottom left corner of the white sign. This is the famous BeaverTails pastry stand at the Lonsdale Quay market, just in case you have never heard of them BeaverTails have been referred to as a Canadian culinary icon. These deliciously addictive, whole-wheat pastries are stretched by hand to resemble the tail of a beaver.

Judging from the shower of lettuce 2012 will be a good year for BeaverTails!

The lion is a two-man dance team, with the senior dancer taking the head. The dance is hugely energetic and very loud! as the lion has his own team of drummers and a dancer with the cymbals following along behind.

The lion dance is a very colorful and inspiring thing to see and I took loads of images , a lot of them blurry, but very colorful.

There are some wonderful designs and colours in the lions costume and the head is truly spectacular! I’ve got a few designs started in my sketchbook.

Bye for now, Catherine


a bit of this, a bit of that and steve…

And another week goes winging by! is it my imagination or do they go faster and faster every year. This past week has been filed with all sorts of different things. I know I promised to tell you about things before they happened but I haven’t come to grips with that “intention” yet…must try harder.

I am still entranced with my new kitchen and it has nothing to do with cooking, here’s another reason why.

This is sunrise ( yes, you heard me right – sunrise!) out my kitchen window. Almost worth getting up in time to see it, isn’t it?

This past week I gave a talk to the members of the Vancouver Guild of Fibre Artists. I told them how I develop my work in sketchbooks and shared with them both the sketchbooks and a few of the resulting pieces.

It was a fun evening with lots of questions  after my presentation. I like to think that’s a good sign, that they were paying attention. I got to join in on their regular meeting and the members show and tell which was all about sketchbooks! I really enjoyed seeing how they worked in their books and being able to share mine with them.

I got to spend a little extra time with some of the VGFA members on Saturday, at the Paper and Stitch workshop I gave. Everyone had a good time and despite starting the day with a snowstorm everyone made it safe and sound and on time to the workshop!

Things are slowly returning to a regular schedule after the holidays- life drawing sessions start-up again this week, yahoo! I did get a little drawing time in though with a small group who hired a private model. I plucked up my courage and  tried something I have been dreaming about/pondering on for a while. I have been wanting to draw directly to fabric during a drawing session in an attempt to capture the spontaneous nature of life drawing in a media I love to work with. I knew this would involve a long pose and a clear mind, one easier to arrange than the other. Last Wednesday night gave me the chance to give it a try…meet Steve.

I know this bit of fabric has a long way to go before it becomes anything – if it ever does, but I really enjoyed the process. The drawing is about 48 inches tall and drawn with Lithocoal direct to the fabric. The pose was about an hour and Steve patiently added a few more minutes for me to finish up. I know a section of his back is missing but I have great plans, actually I have a few scattered ideas circling my brain, if truth be known.

This week also brought the first proper snow to Vancouver! A bit late for a white Christmas but oh well… it hasn’t been too disruptive so far. Driving and getting around where I live is fine and it only takes about 30 minutes to shovel the walkways and stairs. It is so pretty when you don’t have to go anywhere!

So that was my week …how was yours?

Bye for now, Catherine



it’s finished …well almost!

The renovations are finished, well….. almost finished. I spent the holiday break “moving” into my new kitchen and pantry, finding just the right place for everything.  There are 3 light fixtures yet to come, but I do have light. Right now there are light bulbs hanging from something the electrician called a “pigtail”, brings all sorts of things to mind doesn’t it!?  The fireplace mantle is being stained and finished and will probably take a few more weeks.  I still haven’t found towel bars and toilet roll holder for the bathroom ( it’s on the list) but that’s it!

So, here it is. I’m hoping you will hum sort of celebratory tune while you look at the images….

If you look in the top left corner of the image you can see the “pigtail” over the kitchen sink. It was a beautiful bright sunny minute (that’s all we have been getting lately) when I took this , please excuse the glare!

I love the tiles! The equally brilliant Mario and Danny were so patient installing these fiddly little things. They even let me play a bit with the loose tiles and the “goop” to get the line along the top edge just the way I wanted it.

Here they are up close, gorgeous aren’t they!?

And looking the other way, the long bookshelf is perfect for my cookbook collection. You can peek into the pantry to the right of the fridge. It all looks so clean and tidy right now with everything put away (which won’t last)  I am almost afraid to start cooking in it. It’s even a pleasure to do the dishes, wow,I never thought I would say that.  This is the view when you are standing at the sink, the shimmery brightest area right above the mysterious blue light is reflections on the water of Burrard Inlet.  It’s hard to imagine I looked right at a wall while doing the dishes in the old kitchen!

I have managed a bit of stitching this past week, but not much. I completed all the machine quilting on my Nests quilt which is going to take the award for the slowest quilt ever made. I have chosen the threads for the hand work  and decided on a plan.

So after I make dinner in my shiny new kitchen I’ll start on the hand quilting, a perfect evening.

Hoping 2012 is off to a great start for you.

Bye for now, Catherine