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Sunday, 19 June 2016

We Really Tied One On!

Yesterday, we were on Broadway for SOMO fest, so while I was there, I was able to get some good photos of the construction fences for you!  : )

I took a photo of each individual panel, and while we looked it all over, we found some really terrific additions!  Thank you whomever you are .., you made my day!

Above, a girl!  Looks like a dolly.  How did they DO that!?  : )  WOW.

And below - of course if you are creating prairies, you have to have the weather as part of the landscape.  There's nothing like a good storm.  THIS was brilliant!

Isn't that cool!?

The last panel is now finished, based on 'Prairie City' that is touring with Dimensions 2015 (soon to show in the Chapel gallery in North Battelford fyi).  It's currently crammed in a hallway after putting it together at the SK Craft Council with staff and summer students.  It will get added.

some little birdie added a nest!  xo

Where to begin naming great things that came out of this?  Well... it was FUN.  It was Prairie.  It was public.  It was fibre.  It was community.  It's images are spreading like wildfire on social media too!  In fact, there is now a great big woven fabric installation on fences in Weyburn (you can look up Jaynie Himsl on Facebook to see).  How fun!  Anyone can do this, but you do require permission from construction sites and from the city or school.  So - take it easy out there!  Make sure it's welcomed first.  And I would like to stress using bedsheets and curtains that are not fit for donating / reuse.  Tearing up usable bedding seems just plain wrong.  If you make sure you use things on their last legs, then it's usually also free.  How great is that?  This fabric cost us nothing.

It's fun to see the sense of pride from those who helped 'tie one on'.  Again, thank you to all volunteers, artists Mo Junk and Wendy Sharpe, everyone at the BBID and the Saskatchewan Craft Council for helping dream this up and invite me in.

Last week, I went down to the site to meet Josh from CBC Radio!  He asked for an interview and the very next morning, it was on at 8am sharp on the Saskatoon Morning show.  How fun!  

CBC Radio Saskatoon Morning

I do not have a clip of it - which is rather tragic, because in my opinion, the best part of it was recording the sound effect that are so iconic to CBC radio news report.  THE BEST!  lol  However, this is here if you'd like to see it.

Enjoy!  p.s. it will be up until the construction is over.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

It's the People.

What made my trip so great?  The landscape - of course.  The weather - yes.  The fact that I was free as a bird - yes.  The part of it all that made it the most worthwhile though, was the people I met.  Some folks were so excited to take a class or hear the lecture.  That made it very fun indeed.  Everyone who billeted me though - those are the best.  Spending time in someone's home makes way for early morning visits and late night talks.  There's sharing of food and drink and time in the sunshine together admiring flowers or ripples on the water.  I'm so very grateful that I didn't stay in hotels.  There's nothing better than meeting new people and making new friends.  It started with Gimli years ago when I stayed with Heather Lair - forever in my heart.  Then last fall, I enjoyed staying with Bev in Innisfree so much so, that I count her as family.

So, thank you to my sister in law Breena in St Albert.  It was so good to spend time alone with her instead of always in the mad rush of family gatherings.  Thank you to Maureen in Edmonton who drove me around and fed me a meal.  It's the conversations you share in the vehicle that start the friendships.  I got to spend time with people I've known for decades like my Aunt in Battleford and Tanya, one of my best friends in Calgary.  Stange and wonderful.  It's a very different life hanging out with adults that don't have housefuls of children.  We walk and eat and walk and eat and talk and sleep.

Wild roses in Bowness

Then... Effie.  Effie B.from Stafford Lake contacted me months ago out of the blue to see if I'd come to her home for an extended weekend and teach two days of classes.  When I'm on the road, I like to fill in the spaces between big city events, so this was perfect.  Spending time with her and her sister Faith was so good for my soul.

high up on the hills near Lethbridge AB

It was a beautiful setting and the food and friendship was awesome.  We ate, stitched, sewed, drank, paddled, hiked, and enjoyed a bonfire on the beach.  IT WAS SO GOOD!!  : )

thank you so much Effie

A little light reading on the deck after supper...

Wine and Stitch Magazine on the beach after a long day.  YUP!!  : )

The studio was lovely and the sewing group was such a fun gang of women.  That was well worth my travels.

sewing and eating and smiling and stitching

It's so awkward when I arrive as a stranger, and then so sad to leave after becoming fast friends.

Off I went to Regina.  THIS was the first time I had been through Cypress Hills.  Rolling, rolling, rolling pastures.  I felt woozy watching the land swoop up and down as I zoomed down the highway.  I didn't get in too deep to where there are trees and cliffs and water.  What I did see was PERFECT.

This spot.  I pulled over and stepped out into the wind and the sun, surrounded by green, and able to see as far as I wanted to.  There's a lot of spots like this obviously... but there was something about THIS spot.  The air was so SO clean.  The land was pasture and not tilled crops.  It was just different.  I could live and die here and feel pretty darn satisfied with life.

haha.  I guess that makes me an introvert?

Then came Regina...  I pulled up at my Billet's home, awkwardly as strangers again.  This was Shelby's home and Shelby has a very green thumb.  She is also a great cook and very wonderful to talk to.  She's with the quilt guild where I went to present to the following night.  I got there at the end of the day, and spent most of the next morning tucked away in the spare room trying to catch up on emails and texts with family.  I'd be home in 2 days and feeling like I'd run out of steam a bit.  "Come up to the garden" she said. "The sun is shining."

Well, my gosh.  She has a garden!  She has a back yard that is like the greenspaces at Olds College!  Wowee.  There were tall trees, bird feeders, rock walls, a stream & pond, flowers and bees and inspiration galore!  And so, I spent the afternoon sketching.  It was like therapy.  No where to rush off to.  No one to take care of.  It was just sit and smell the roses, and so I did.

It turns out, Shelby is good pals with Martha Cole.  'Martha Cole' the fibre artist whom I've never met.  I think I'm the last person in this province to have never taken a class from her.  (Truth be told... I've never taken a fibre art class from anyone.)  Effie had gifted me with a little box of Martha's inspiration card deck back at her place.  I told Shelby.  Shelby laughed, got on the phone, and when she was done she said, 'Martha is coming over to meet you and then she'll be at the guild meeting later tonight to hear you speak.'


And so that's what happened.  Martha came over, we had a quick visit.  I can see how Martha would be a good teacher - she is pretty fun!  I passed her one of the cards and asked her to sign it.  hahah  You know you are an artist when...  Martha autographed the card and then became distracted by the lovely purple and began doodling on the box and saying, 'oh my!  look what you can do with this!'  hhaha  : )

Off to the guild meeting with Shelby we went.  Shelby was a greeter and when the meeting started, she was called up about nine times for various awards and recognition.  That was crazy!  She smiles and smiles and has so much spunk.  What a great person to be billeting with!

So, I did my slideshow and then visited with the guild members afterward.  I got a lot of great ideas for our Saskatoon Guild!  Oh my, they have some terrific challenge ideas.

Shelby's flowers, Shelby smiling, Shelby's guild, Shelby's dog, and Shelby's garden.  : )

THANK you Shelby for your hospitality.  What a good time at had visiting with you!

And then I made a pit stop at the MacKenzie Gallery Shop to see the artist trading cards display and drop off Art Cards and more work for the upcoming tourist season.

All in all, I figure that I met up with nearly 700 people in the span of 3 weeks.  That is a LOT !  Again, thank you everyone for the opportunities and a special thank you to the folks who fed and housed me.  : )

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

On My Travels

I'm home.  I'm done.  I was three weeks on the road teaching and speaking - North Battleford SK, Edmonton, Olds, Lethbridge, Regina, and now I'm back in Saskatoon prepping for a solo exhibit and celebrating my ONE YEAR with Handmade House!

I want to catch you up on it all, but where do I start?

The last post covered the Olds College/ Potpourri weekend.  That workshop was fantastic.  It is just perfect for 2 days of teaching, so I am already in the planning phases of delivering is again here in Saskatoon and Manitoba later in the fall.

My down time in Calgary was a much needed break.  i need to write about that.  I got to clear my head, be responsible for only me (!gasp!) and create a bit.  I came down with a fever and cold and slept much more than I wanted to.  I didn't visit old friends nearly as much as I had planned.  Part of me is sad about that, but part of me knows I can go back any time for more reunions.  It's all good.  If I missed you in Calgary, I'll catch ya next time!

Before heading south to Lethbridge, I did a last minute run to the Rocky Mountains.  Gosh, I forget how CLOSE they are to Calgary.  I drove into Kananaskis Country, parked, and just wandered around on my own.  I WAS ALL BY MYSELF.  There was no one out there on the hot sunny Friday.  It was weird!

I walked around the lake a bit - freexing cold mountain run off water.  This was the beach that we would take out kidlets to when they were really little.  It brought back so many memories!  I cried.  The last time I kayaked on the lake, I was pregnant for the last time.  The water was SO high that all the little flowers at the edge were underwater.  I remember looking down into the water beneath me and seeing purple and white flowers in full bloom.  It was one of those 'Alice in Wonderland' moments.

This time, the water was so low that the beach went on for ever.  It was great walking around there.  I ventured back to where I was parked and noticed OMG!!  Indian Paintbrush EVERYWHERE!  I was squealing with delight!!  This was my first time up close and personal with them.  They were scattered everywhere.  This lone photo is the only one I have with the mountains in it.  lol.  My girlfriend in Calgary totally teased me.  'You go all the way to the mountains and you are still taking pictures of the little teeny flowers!?'


Afternoon was approaching and it was time to head south to Lethbridge for my next class. It was gorgeous.  The weather was gorgeous.  I stopped at Morley Flats first for a photo op.  It didn't look like much was going on there... but the closer you look!  HOLEYMOLEY - it was full up with 3 flowered avens, just prior to turning into the 'Prairie Smoke' stage...

... closer ...

On and on I drove.  I drove and drove and drove, all the while with the distant blue mountain range beside me.

This was a pit stop detour I took from 'Head Smashed In Bufallo Jump',  Seeing the cows grazing with the mountain backdrop always reminds me of the Coop milk cartons. : )

Beautiful for as far as you can see.

I think I should have worn sunscreen in the van though!  It was scorching hot and not much for shade with those clouds.

This was a little closer into the Cypress Hills area.  I love it.  I so deeply soaked in my entire trip.  I would rather stare out the window during the longest drive ever than watch TV any day.  It's my 'nature channel' and it's total therapy, total freedom.  I saw hawks, goats, colts & mares, prong horned sheep, and even a herd of deer on Barlow trail (!??).  The clouds kept me company.

Finally, I made it to Effie's at a tucked-away little lake near Lethbridge.  Oh the fun and the thrill never ends!!  : )  This is the view from her home.

But wait - that's not all!  The next morning I ran up into the hills behind her house.  The honey bees were buzzing and busy.  My heart was full up!

We took SO many photos.  Up into the hills, and under the windmills was SUPERB.  I could not stop taking photos!!  Check it out - blooming cactus.  I had no idea.  I guess I've been through more ditches and fields than I have Cow Pastures.  These were SO huge, the thorns were the size of porcupine quills!!

I drove through the gorgeous rolling land of Cypress Hills.  The drive is about 3 hours, and I was mesmerized.  I have not one photo.  I will have to go back.  I googled Cypress Hills to show a friend how amazing it was, and all I could conjure up was photos of cliffs and trees and water.  The drive was not like that at all.  It was like seeing the prairie as a waterbed, and having the whole things roll and ripple endlessly.

Well.  I guess I'll have to go back!  : )

I'll end here and save up some stories for you summer reading later in the week.  I have many, many good stories to tell.


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