Maritime Mary: Summer

No pressure Summer, but so many are so invested in you. We have plans, many plans that we want to jam and cram into two short months. We ask and are asked about our intentions for you Summer. We make lists, book trips, plan barbeques and family get togethers. We think greedily of the time we’ll have, all we’ll accomplish, the friends we’ll visit, the books we’ll read. 

So Summer, we are invested in you. Be good to us. 


Look with Lorna

Sheree Fitch stopped in after her visit at the Spa. As she sat at the table hooking she said “I think I was a rainbow in my past life.” I think she may be right.

Jan 31, 2014 026 Jan 31, 2014 025

All about the launch

Well well well what a wonder the last few weeks have been. You would think I would be relieved to have a break but honestly I miss all the action. I loved the joy workshop and that was followed the following week by our launch of Sheree’s book at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Nimbus treated us well and we were feted to a nice hotel for a few nights.
On Friday morning we went to the Global television studio were we recorded a segment for tv. When it was over Rhonda Brown the producer gsve us a studio tour to see all the great design. The studio on Gottigen Street in Halifax was beautiful. You can see the funky furniture I saw there below.

Later that day we had an interview with Bill Roach on CBC radio that was fun and easy. On Saturday, the AGNS and Nimbus hosted a great launch and I got to watch Sheree entertain the kids. They love her. In between all of this I had a very good tome visiting my son, eating and even started Christmas shopping. I also gound a great boutique on Barrington St called Grismo and met Jessie there and bought a great wrap dress that she made! I cannot wait to wear it.
So you can see why I would miss all the excitement. It has been so much fun. Ussually I miss home but last week with Sheree in Halifax was a time. Seeing my boy for hours at a time… Well that is as good as it gets.


Catherine Bussiere: visiting

I woke up at my mama this morning
A few years ago she moved from the house she owned and had been born in to a bran new condo
It was hard in a sentimental kind of way to see her sell the old house
It was hard to let go

For her it was time

I woke at my mama this morning and you know smells
Each house has a smell
Turns out the smell of the old house seemed to have transferred to the new condo

It must be the books, the house plants, the bedding, the tablecloth

Not only the smell but the feel of the old place transferred to the new place
It must be my mama

I did realize at the time of the move that home was not so much that old house but rather where my mama was

I love the way she decorates
She likes books, artwork, photos of her children and grandchildren, plants
She likes wooden furniture, she likes owls

It feels warm and welcoming







Friday night

Dear Diary, Friday night with a fire and a book from the local library and a stack of magazines. My kind of cozy.

I like the American Craft Magazine because it is full of inspirational ideas. It is good to see what the best artists in craft are doing. My book is from the local library . I find that all I have to do is ask and they find you any book you want. It always amazes me.

I spent all day sorting wool, hanging wool, pricing our new batch of sari silk, and organizing the dye kitchen so people could shop in there. It had been a while since I spent a full day putting around and I really enjoyed it. Tonight I am physically tired and glad for the fire, the book, and time to rest a little.



Look with Lorna

Our Beautiful Sketch Books printed by Harry


Our sketch books are available for $12.95 each in the online shop. Great to throw in your bag for the beach.

 “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.”

Paul Klee



nine books for deanne fitzpatrick

Dear Diary, Today I went to Flow and had a really good coffee. Upon leaving I said, “I have to go….the library is about to close.” She was chatting away, and I said, “You cannot talk to me any more. I am leaving I need books.” On the way in a rush to the library, I saw my friend Mike, and I knew he’d want to chat, I said, “If you want to chat with me , walk with me. I need books” .

He was bewildered. He walked with me fast. I needed books.

We got to the library, our temp one that has odd hours while the real one is being fixed.” I opened the door..”Yes I thought I’m in. ” I thought.

They said, “We are closed”. ” “We do not open for another for another ten minutes.”

Mike pokes his head in, he wants to teach the library lessons about customer service or something, saying why not let her in. I see what’s happening, the librarians are just arriving, they are frazzled. He is a negotiator. He just wanted the challenge of talking his way into that library. I wanted to stay in good stead with the librarians. They give me books for free. I am not about to piss them off.

I  pulled on Mikes coat , said, “Leave them alone, come with me, and we walk back to his office, and had a good chat.

I went back to the temporary library cause it was opening at four , not closing. I picked out a few books while she got the sweet child who had lost his card a  new library card so he could rent movies and books for free. Good deal, I say.

I waited my turn, and said, “…there is a book here for me.” She said, ” a book…there is nine books here for you”.

Nine books. I did a little dance. Some will be great, some not so great, but still a pile of books for my shelf. A pile a books to wait for me. A pile of books that lets me walk away from a dull read just cause I feel like it. Now why would I torment the librarians. Mike wouldn’t really either, but he’d like to talk about it.

So as I was checking out she said, “Next week we are back to our library regular hours and location.” Amherst has a beautiful library, but sadly, it was painted dusty rose through out the inside. I always felt the colour of the library was a smear on literature but I never said much about it because librarians give me books for free.

So I said, ..thinking, “Please for the love and honour of Mordecai Richler, let them have changed the colour.”… and “What colour did you paint the library?”

and they said,”… soft yellow with  an indigo blue sorta  purple stripe.”

And I smiled, and thanked all the author saints in the sky.I am looking forward to seeing the old library  looking new again, and the pink having passed on, and yellow lighting up minds…

imagine why she is so happy? the answer is books





Dear Diary, A gift came in the mail and I sat and savoured it all afternoon. It is a book of collected drawings. It is interesting to look at someone’s drawings, the pens they use, the marks they make, how they capture what they see. It is a great reference book.

And the winner of the blundstones is…it’s time to win red blundstones

Dear Diary,

So today is the day, the votes are counted, we are around 268 , and I reached in the bag and the winner was pulled. The last two mornings I wore my red blundstones on my walk, and i hope theses  new boots comfort and cozy up a set of toes as much as mine do.

So the next step is, she has to email us and let us know her size…she can try them on somewhere and check them to be sure if she likes because we order them in special for the winner, we can only do it once.

She should contact me at and tell us her size, and we should be able to get them to her shortly after …..

The completely randomly chosen winner of the boots, the very merry, beautifully comfortable red boots is

Clare Booker

Submitted on 2011/11/22 at 9:55 am

I’m with Donna….”Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”. Barbara Kingsolver takes her family (husband, teenage daughter and university bound daughter) back to her roots in rural Arkansas. As a family they have resolved to eat local and seasonal food for a year. Although I read it several years ago I still remember their wait for the first fruit of the spring and the relief to go to the Farmer’s Market and find…rhubarb! The anxiety of having to give up favourite packaged cereals. Will there be enough to feed their extended family on festive occasions. It’s an easy relaxed read, lots of recipes and a few facts about the economic impact of eating locally. She gently leads you through the decision making processes they made throughout the year.

And then for something completely different, “Late Nights on Air” by Elizabeth Hay. A fabulous story about a radio station in northern Canada, living in the north and in a small community.

it’s time to win red blundstones….

Dear Diary, When the light snow fell last week, I pulled out me red blundstones to go out for my morning walk and I thought that it is time to post a prize of them on the blog again. I thought about coming up with something new but last year over 500 of you entered and that was really fun so 499 still want a pair. It is worth doing again.So let’s start fresh this winter season. You can win a pair of red blundstones just by commenting on this post about a book that changed you.

So here is how you win……

You comment on this post by telling us about a book that changed your life, or at least a book that changed the way you saw things, a book you loved


in a couple of weeks I will randomly select a winner…the draw is not based on the book you select , but it does help me to get to know you a little better, also it will be fun for all the readers to read some of the books suggested over the winter.

I’ll buy the boots from Robert at Mansour’s Men’s Wearin your size and mail them to you.

So think about a book that made you see things differently, a book you think we should all read, and tell us and your name will be entered.

Only enter once….Only one comment on this post per person

Giving things away is such fun.

they make me happy


the tips of my toes


you just pull them on


love that light


a long time favorite, read again and again




love that elastic on the sides




summer sunday retreat

Dear Diary, for nearly eighteen years I have spent summer Sundays at the shore. It used to be with little kids building castles on the beach but now it is with tea and a book. Today I am reading a novel by Denise Mina, A Scottish mystery writer that I enjoy.  I had a nap, a swim, a drive to a friend’s house and I’ll probably fry a potato for supper like I used to do when I was a kid.

It has been a day to myself, not the several weeks or months of retreat to the seaside that Anne Morrow Lindbergh, or May Sarton would have us take. But in truth, a day to myself where I only cook for me, only do my own dishes, and look after my own needs is retreat enough for me. I am not sure how I ‘d make out on a year long retreat like some authors have taken. A day away always restores me. Katherine, my friend said to me this winter, “all you need is a day away” and it’s true. A day to myself is like a big gift.

I do wonder though what would happen if I did take a big retreat for a few weeks to learn or create. Don’t you wonder this yourself? Have you ever done it? What is the meaning of a retreat? Is is just a visit with one’s self.

My friend has just built an ocean side cottage and today I though a good gift her for her might be some of the books I have read about life by the ocean. It is true , what they all say, that time and tide begin to blend, and you slow down to a more natural rhythm. These are a few shots taken today as I slowed down. Simple shots taken from a phone…part of a day with no expectations.

I hope you get a little retreat.





poetry reading

Dear Diary, a simple post today, about one of my favorite poets, Alden Nowlan. It was over twenty years ago that I found  the work f the poet Alden Nowlan. I liked his directness, the simple, but not simplistic poems that left me thinking about our emotional life, our relationships. They were poems about people, and I think that is why I liked them so much.

Once I went to a poetry workshop at The Northrup Frye Literary Festival in Moncton, with Robert Blye. It was the first and one of the few workshops  on writing I have gone to. It turned out that Blye had recently written the foreword for  a book of poems by Alden Nowlan, and I won the book, to add to my collection of many of his other books. It is  published in 2000 by  The Thousands Press in Minnesota.

Nowlan was a journalist in New Brunswick, having left school at an early age. Though he had little formal education , he eventually became the writer in residence at the University of New Brunswick, an extraordinary thing. He died in 1983 at the age  of fifty.

Poetry goes unnoticed by so many, but I have always found that  a book of poems can be revisited, and that in in just a few lines, an idea or a story is put forth. It is like  a condensed story. I keep my books of poems because then they are around when you need them. It’s comfort food for the mind.

A year by the sea…..a book review

Dear Diary, this week I read a little book called, ” A Year by the Sea” by Joan Anderson. At first I admit I was a little irritated thinking that perhaps this was a revision of the book ” A Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, but quickly it became apparent that the author Joan Anderson, had a much more personal story to tell. She gave a riveting story about a year she spent in her family cottage in Cape Cod, coming to terms with herself. How can such a story be riveting? I wondered that myself, but Anderson , is a good writer, a good storyteller, and she is not afraid of revealing herself.

I usually steer away from books like this lately, but my last trip to the little city with Lily, led us to the big bookstore where we each picked up a copy. For some reason I thought that Anderson’s story might reveal something to me about myself. There were glimpses in there I’d have to say about how your family sees you, how you see your self, belonging, and being. It was a meaningful little book and I have laid it upon my shelf. Most books I read go right into our studio book exchange. I am not building a library so I give them all away…except for a few. I’ll keep this one a little while at least until I ‘ve had more time to think about it.

Lily, my friend and tormenter, is only two chapters in, and is liking it also.

Today I was at the beach, and it made me think of this lovely little book written in 1999 that I just came across last weekend. I thought you might like to know about it.


tiny book reviews to remind you….


Dear Diary, This is the first post in a new category for the site called “Books”…very simple quick little overviews of the books I have read or am reading, with a photo of the book jacket to remind you of it,  if you see it. I won’t give away the stories…or expound to long about them…

Lets call them “tiny reviews”…to take off any pressure

My blog is part of my life and my art. It is my work, and it is my hobby. As always I strive to make it better to offer you more to read and learn here, about art, life, creativity and rug hooking. I love the idea that  it might  be a place you go with your cup of tea and take a few minutes to yourself.
I try to post everyday, and I plan to continue to do that. I do want to make it a little sweeter, a little richer, while keeping the same format. I have some ideas I am working on that will give you more content and more frequent posts. I know some of you read once a month, or once a week so when you come there is lots new. Now though I am discovering so many of you check in everyday…..and I’m thinking about how I’d like there be more for you to read and to peruse.

I love my diary/blog…it is a record of my little life in a house by the side of the road, it is a way I get to be a friend to many, thanks for reading……

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

My first tiny review…. I just finished the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. I’d have to say I got off to a slow start with it but found that the more I read the better I liked it. It was a series of letters used to illustrate the most interesting characters that lived in Guernsey, and island in the English channel during the second world war which was under German occupation. The writing style was interesting because of the use of letters. Instead of it being a series of letters between two people, it was many letters from different people, all revolving around a central character. There was early a bit of magic in how these letters were strung together to tell a captivating story, and a good deal of history about the Channel Islands.


well read detectives

Dear Diary, I am reading a Henning Mankell novel, the last it seems in the Wallender series. I’ll miss him like I miss Rebus from Ian Rankin. I get attached to the grouchy old detectives in these mysteries. When I am out somewhere in the middle of reading these books I wonder about the characters. That is good writing. As I read Wallender I think , how can the writer stop with this series, how can he end it. Then I remember, that’s the art of it, the diving in, then the letting go.  If he kept at it, I’d probably lose interest any way. A writer should write what they feel like writing, not feed a market.

I am at the end of my pile of books again. I scoured the library the other day and came home unsatisfied with my finds. Then I headed to the bookstore and bought the Mankell Novel, that has just been translated from the Swedish in 2011 in hardcover. For me that’s something. Gwen , who works at the studio with me will always spring for the hardcover but I am tight. I thought though that it is my turn, so I picked it up, emailed her right away so that we did not duplicate. Now I have duty to plow thru it so she can have it. Well that is no hardship. I sit in my little upstairs studio and read away while my mat waits for me across the floor.






Mary Logue, rug hooker and poet answers ten lovely questions

About five years ago Mary came to a big Rug Hooking Workshop that I hosted here ion Amherst. Since then I have read her books and kept up on her work. I am happy that she has agreed to participate in ten lovely questions….here’s Mary….


1)  What do you find lovely? Most natural objects, the sky, the river.  Trees are really knocking me out lately.  In the winter you can see their odd and beautiful forms so clearly.  Peter, the man I live with, nailed it when he said that I liked things that are “small and crooked.”  I love old, used objects: spoons, wooden bowls, carved creatures.  I think seeing the human hand—both making and handling an object—makes it so full of history.

2)  When was the last time you surprised yourself? I think when I started meditating seriously and enjoyed it.  I had always said I couldn’t sit still that long, also my work is about sitting still so in my free time I like to move, walk.  But I have come to enjoy my meditation time every morning and look forward to it.  Breathing and watching thoughts flow through my mind or not.

3)  How old do you feel? This is really a day to day question.  I’m 58 and in many ways feel and enjoy being this age.  The quality I like the best is the sense of having a bigger, broader view of the world.  Having lived through more, you start to see the patterns, the cycles.  I feel like I don’t take the crisis as seriously, in a good way.  Because I’m a writer and I teach at Hamline University, ageism isn’t much of a problem.  I teach with people who are in their seventies and writers just go on until the pen drops from their hands.  On the physical side, I have a sturdy, small body that’s holding up pretty well.  However, I don’t like root canals.

4)  When do you know it’s time to get creative? When I’m feeling sluggish and blue.  I feel the most alive when I’m slightly obsessed about a new project— be it a new book or a new rug.  I love beginnings.  I really enjoy starting something—that’s when I feel all is possible.  When I get to the middle, I start to slog. It’s time to get creative when I don’t feel like it.

5)  What’s you next great plan? Rugwise: I want to do a rug that is of the whole Mississippi overlaid with the body of a woman.  Ambitious.  I get excited to try to do a design that I’m not sure I can pull off, a real challenge. Bookwise:  I’m finishing up my fifth book of poetry, and I’m thinking of starting a book in the next month or so that’s half memoir, half diary of a year in Stockholm WI, where I have a small farmhouse.
6)  What is your earliest creative memory? The first time I can remember writing a poem I was about seven.  My brother broke a bird’s egg that I was trying to hatch.  I took poetic license.  All I remember is the title: “How I Cried When My Little Bird Died.”

7)  Name three people you’d love to invite to dinner.

Jane Austen, Georgia O’Keefe, and Hillary Clinton.

8)  What was the last interesting idea that your grasped?

That there really was a time—not that long ago—when people thought the world was only six thousand years old.  I just read REMARKABLE CREATURES, which is about fossil hunting in the early 1800s and the scientist were struggling with this notion.  It makes me think—what do we take for granted that in ten, twenty years we will know to be wrong.Whenever I try to think about the universe, my mind grows.

9)  Name three things that are “so not you”. Violence in any form–football or war or video games. Poorly made food (fast food) or poorly made objects (Walmart). Fingernail polish.
10) Name three words that sum you up. Engaged.  Punctual.  Enthusiastic.



I have written many books–nonfiction, children’s books, but I’m mostly known for my Claire Watkins mysteries, set on the Wisconsin shores of the Mississippi.  There are eight books in the series and the latest is FROZEN STIFF.  I have also published four books of poetry: DISCRIMINATING EVIDENCE, SETTLING, METICULOUS ATTACHMENT, and HAND WORK.  I’m currently working on a new book of poetry.
Here’s two poems from that book:
Perched next to your ear, the baby monitor catches
any sharp movement, any change in sound.
Hearing a moan, you throw on clothes,
trudge to the barn and find it warm with hay and wool.
You kneel, work to show the animal what has been bred out of it.
Your hand slides up the canal to find smooth hooves.
Pull and relax, the thrusts soon
have the new baby diving into your arms,
wet bundle of fur and curl, hungry for all the sweetness
it can mouth, ready to stand on its own four feet and totter forward.
Still on your knees, you worship this splitting moment:
Where there was empty air, there is now lamb.
for Sharon Stumpf
The blue bowl full of water
the postmistress puts out for the village dogs.
The tan man who mows my lawn
with the care of a lacemaker.
The river reminding me to catch
what passes before it disappears.
Always the trees, sheltering house,
birds, sweeping the air clean.
Dark dirt of my garden accepting
my hands into its deep generosity.
The light that is cupped in the folds
of the bluffs and grows golden.
When night comes in this small town,
we all sleep deep, in good company.



a book is a powerful little thing

a book for every mother, every woman

Dear Diary, I’ll read anything. I read the cereal box. I am a committed reader. I like mysteries, stories, non fiction. I just like books really. I am not a hoarder of books but I am a hoarder of ideas, so I can give away the book and keep the idea.

My lovely friend Carol Oram says, “If you pay $20 for a book and get one good idea, it was a good deal.” Since she said this to me ten years ago. I have spent a small fortune on books ( it could amount to what might have been a trip to some place far away and exotic). Instead I have a heard full of ideas, some of them I can’t even recall. Suits me fine. Her notion is a true one. Imagine if someone said I ‘ have a wealth of knowledge, you can have it for $20, or $30.

I just bought a book  on Digital Photography by Scott Kelby, that a rug hooker visiting the store showed me. It was $30 for a tiny book, I wavered because of the size and the price. Then I thought of Carol. So far in the first chapter I have learned three good things that I will use. The next chapter is on Wedding Photography. I’m not interested but I’ll read it any way. I am a woman who reads cereal boxes and milk cartons, every poster on the bulletin board at the rink. What have I got to lose?

this book changed the way I saw things

I also use the library as often as I can. They are good about getting me anything I want to read. I just have to patient. There are books I keep, but so many I am happy to read and return.

Beauty, by John O’Donohue, pictured above is not one of those. I bought this book in a little store about six years ago, brought it up and read it slowly and quietly for days. It is a book that I take with me when I travel sometimes because it makes me feel at home with myself. It is a book about creativity and spirit. Some people I suggested it to, find it difficult to read, but me, I loved it. My friend Tish called and said, that was the worst $20 bucks she spent. That is what a book is like though, it strikes a chord with one person, and puts another to sleep. Truthfully, I have given this book away to about ten people, and only a few love it, but those who do, love it a lot.

When I feel at a loss for words as a writer, I remember funny Anne Lamott’s book about writing, and her story about how you just approach it word by word. When I look at it this way , I know that what ever I want to write, or have to write, is possible. I just sit down and do it word by word.

word by word, bird by bird

The book at the top of this page came in the mail this week, a gift from  a lovely soul in Missouri who knew I liked it. It is an early copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift from the Sea” with an original dust jacket. I have read this book a few times and was initially surprised how the simple metaphors about shells, and the experience of a woman in the nineteen fifties could resonate so clearly with my experiences today. There is nothing new under the sun….( Ecclesiastics) but it seems that at the same time, there are always new ideas because of human individuality. So this beautiful copy will travel to Amherst Shore, at a bedside, where I’ll read it again and again, and perhaps one day it will  help someone else make sense of their lives.

That is what a book can do.

A book can change your life.

Powerful little things they are, aren’t they?

word hog heaven

more art magazines please

Dear Diary, I know you are a reader yourself. I know you are like me, a word hog. You like words, or you would not be reading this bit here on the website. You like to see them strung together in pretty sentences.

Words are like beads, you can string them together in completely different ways, and get a new jewel overtime. Last week my friend Katherine and I went to Moncton. She was busy for an hour so I said I’ll go to Reads new stand downtown. For me that is a pleasure trip. Time to waste, to flounder on words.

There were tons of magazines, journals and newspapers that you cannot get anywhere. They specialize in magazines. I think I touched every magazine in the place. I like to look at the pictures. I like to discover a magazine I never heard of that interests me. I like to get lost in words and pictures.

there is a magazine about everything

It was a clear case of small town girl goes to the little city….My head was a’ swivel.

There were so many good choices…like going to the rink canteen when you are seven years old.

when you walk in..imagine my joy

You know it barely matters if you are interested in the subject, so many magazines are like works of art in themselves. So much design and planning goes into them.

I did find a magazine on something I am interested in though…actually I found many. I have bought the last two editions of Artful Blogging, because if I am going to do this I might as well do it as beautifully as I can.

Thanks for reading…keep reading…we’ll be updating the blog soon…and I have not forgot…there will be prizes, and further foolishness…because I’m foolish, and frivolity matters, don’t let anyone tell you different.

off I go, the kettle’s storming……

I even found a magazine about writing a blog

woodstoves, rug hooks, and a hot kettle

Winter..long and steady

Dear Diary, my little back studio is heated by wood. I have other forms of heat but I have never turned them on because I love the warmth of the fire underneath me.

In these parts making sure you have a few cord of wood in a nice dry place is a big part of winter. I love my little wood shed. Everyday,I bring in three or four loads of wood. Occasionally I grumble, but mostly, I see the beauty in it, and just take it as exercise.

Winter is a harder season by most accounts. There is less light. It’s harder to get around but there is the fire…

the kettle is always hot

I spend so much more time indoors in the winter. I try to indulge myself in the kitchen, knowing it is time to haul out the recipe books, find a new stew, or soup. Winter foods.

time to cook slow food

There is time to cook things slowly. In fact, I sometimes do it right on the wood stove, leaving something to simmer all day. So  right now there is a fire underneath me, the kettle is hot and I just got back from the library with a stack of books, and three  of the latest Rug Hooking Magazines arrived in the mail today so now its time to winter in……and plan my next rug series

finding myself between the pages

the words , they matter

Dear Diary,  Some of the best times I have had, have involved a book. Some might say that is sad, but to me it just says I love to read.

I have noticed in the last few years that the more I read, the more I value a story. One time I valued ideas, or books that made me think. I still respect them. I have a few I’d never part with…..but of course we part with everything eventually. We just entertain ourselves with the notion we will not have to. That is just a way of saying that some of my books matter to me more than others.

When I read for story, I don’t really care so much about the book as a thing itself. It is just something passing through my hands. When I read for ideas, I often see the book as a thing of  beauty.

Most books I read either go right to friends, or directly to the book exchange at the studio. I hoard nothing but wool. Well I really like clothes…but not as much as wool. I’d part with my clothes first cause I could always cut some arm holes in a blanket and wrap a belt around it , just like I made barbies clothes as a child.

Books are a big part of my life. They are a place I get inspiration from. They are a source for learning and knowledge. They are a place to spend time, a spot to get lost, rest, and renew my energy.

from the library

Every once in a while I find a new author at the library that I enjoy. About once every two weeks, I go and bring home a small stack. I have discovered that they’ll order in any book you want. All you have to do is ask. I ask. In fact I have one waiting there for me now.

two fine books

Some books are as beautiful as they are good. These, the keepers, should be looked after. I like to lay them around sometimes, just to look at. They are decorative. They are like sculptures for the mind.

There are books that carry to away. I like to read for character, story, and place. My latest reads were set in Louisiana, and Texas. I have been to places in my mind that I may never visit. Sometimes I get to revisit places I have been, like the Burren, or Edinburgh, or somewhere close, like the marsh. Writers carry me away. I don’t have to pack and I always know where my hot water bottle is. So much easier than metal detectors and line ups.

Sometimes, even the simplest books, even the hardest books, matter to me because they make me think. They bring me ideas in their open leaves, and I’m grateful for the offering.

Sometimes I revisit a book because it strikes a chord. I am not a big re reader but there are one or two that matter…..

a long time favorite, read again and again

bits of a life

collecting the bits

Dear Diary, I believe in collecting the bits. I like scraps of paper, bits of fabric, broken stuff, little ruins, old birds nests, dried seaweed, shells, rocks, postcards. Over the years I have stashed away scraps of this and that. Some are pasted into books. Sometimes they are framed. Sometimes, they are laid carefully around my house.

I have seaweed from the beach in Placentia stuck in an old jar and it is as beautiful as any sculpture. I am not a junk collector. I am very selective about the bits and ruins I keep. I usually choose them based on shape, form, or colour, and I keep the pieces sometimes for years. It is amazing how an object can remind you so well of a day you spent, or a place you have been. How a piece of birch bark can help you recall that very day you gathered it, amonst so many days that you saw a birch tree.

Souvenirs, I guess they are. Not the dime store variety but the natural kind. In my bathroom I have a beach rock from Advocate Harbour, and shells that I picked up on the beach on the Aran Islands , off the coast of Ireland. I remember that day, finding the place so beautiful, and interesting. As I picked up the little shells, “I was thinking what am I doing here?”. Even though it was a good place, I had no idea why I was there. I felt a little lost. The big, rock and the tiny shells have been a juxtaposition in my bathroom windowsill for years. One says, you belong here, the other says, you have been there. Together they remind me that I am where I belong.
the blog factory

In my little office at the down town studio where I write sometimes, I pin up bits and pieces everywhere, freely, madly, in a wanton way…mmmm sounds risky. I also tear down the bits and pieces and renew whats on the boards a bit . I keep a stone in the corner, that has the word “truth” on it. Heather Lawson, a local stone carver did it and I picked it up last summer. It is now written in stone that I must tell the truth. I never lied much anyway, except to my kids about what I put in the Sally Anne Bag, but I thought it was a good reminder to a writer to tell the truth.

I keep a picture of myself as a kid, a little five year old girl  in hat and sunglasses to remind myself that I am her as well. I keep a picture of my good friend Lily, who won “Principal of the Year” a few years ago, and I rouged the portrait from her son’s room when I stayed with her. My sister complains I do not have a portrait of her up there. I tell her there are too many of her( sisters). She goes on a bit more, in a way that makes it  clear she could care less. I have a picture of me with my father in his hey day, when I was little enough to love with out question. I have newspaper clipping of my kids. There stands my life.

These important lovely things are there amonst the trash, papers, groceries, boots, scarves, and the necessities. They stand out, and wrap their arms around me and say,”this is your little life….guard it fiercely, love it grandly.”

hooks and books

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books are free, and the reading is easy

free books everyday

Dear Diary, Everyday at the studio we give away free books. It is a way that people can come visit the studio if they are not rug hookers and still be inspired. I am not exactly a minimalist…you should see my wool cupboard, but in no way am I a hoarder. Once I have read a novel, it is sent off to be read again and again, with a few exceptions. I covet my David Adams Richards’ novels.  I keep them though I never want to reread them. I occasionally lend them to a trust worthy soul who, unlike myself , is good and faithful about returning books. I also save some reference books I keep, and I savour my poetry books and rarely lend them or give them away. They nearly fill one shelf. If it gets overflowing I’ll pilfer a few. Because I love to read I have a book exchange at the studio. You can take a book from our bin anytime, and if you can, you can drop one in another time. We get some really great books in there and some doozies that no one will ever read. It is a chance thing. What it does though is adds another bit of interest to my place on Church Street. It is another reason to come see us. If you happen to order and want a book from the exchange just tell us or put it in your comments if you order online. There is no telling what you’ll get but we’ll throw one in for you.

eye candy and soul seasoning

Dear Diary, Today during a hockey game there was a craft show going on and a local potter, Eric Sparling was selling his novel, “Tantramar” at his pottery display. My husband bought the book for me and I just spent a few hours reading it. I really enjoyed it. He had been in to the studio and we had taught him to hook rugs. I knew he made pots but I had seen the novel around and wondered who wrote it. It was funny to make all those connections once I saw the book on his display.When I saw the book my husband had just purchased it for me, unbeknownst to me.  The author kept saying to me that it was not very good….that I should not buy it. I was puzzled, what writer would say that about their own book. I said, “How bad can it be, Breakwater published it.” Finally he said I don’t know how I can stop her as I kept shoving the money at him. He and my husband were laughing and I was bewildered. Finally my husband said, she does not pick up on things, and pulled the book out from under his coat. He had bought it for me for Christmas. I started reading it on my way home from the rink and kept at it  till I finished it. I loved the references to the Fenwick hill which is just beyond my house. It had very good characters and was a good book. Christmas was early.. no fear as my daughter says, I am easy to buy for. He’ll have to come up with another gift. Mothers generally do okay at Christmas. I think that is how your family shows regret for the oodles of dirty dishes they have left for you, and plan to again, right after Christmas dinner.

I worked in the studio today, enjoying seeing the visitors come in for Christmas gifts, either for themselves or someone else.So many know that their favorite gifts are the ones they get for themselves…. that yard of linen, or skein of sub. It was fun to see. I also did a bit of writing on a project that I want to create for next year…I’m cooking something up again.

We were pretty busy today. Norma dyed some tan paisley wool green and it was so gorgeous you just wanted to throw it over your shoulder and wear it somewhere. Then she dyed the same in gold and I wanted to wrap that around me and go somewhere else. Years ago , Libby Moore from Newfoundland was visiting the studio and putting together piles of wool on the counter to add to her stash. When I was about to  add it all up, she look at it and said, “Oooo I just wanna get naked and swim around in this stuff.”  Crazily enough I knew exactly what she meant. I had this picture of myself filling up an old fashioned tub with all my favorite colours and textures and bathing in it. The wool just makes you feel so good. Even my daughter said the other day…”Your studio looks so pretty.” Who cannot be charmed by colour. It is candy for the eyes, seasoning for the soul.

busy hands,light heart

Dear Diary, I do not have a rug on the frame today. I have to think about what I want to hook. I think it will be a series of smaller 20 by 30″ abstracts but I have not got it all worked out in my head so I’ll leave it for a day until I can’t stand it any longer. It seems I need to hook rather than want to hook. It is one of the drivers in me. Even if I don’t have the right thing to hook, I just will hook anything.

The last few days I have been crocheting beautiful scarfs, fun curly locks scarfs with big ruffles. The last one was red and orange. Very pretty. Most of it was done at the rink watching hockey. Busy hands , light heart , they say. It might be true. It seems to me that knitting, sewing, hooking projects  can save you from worry. My husband talks about remembering older people , when he was in Lebanon years ago, holding worry beads. I think hand work is like this, except at the end you get something lovely.

I just started “The Friday Night Knitting Club”. It was a NY times best seller a few years ago. It jumped into my library pile and I could not resist the cover…nine skeins of mohair in yellow, fuchsia and green. I am just another sucker for wool.