If you think it can’t be done than you are absolutely right

If you think it can’t be done than you are absolutely right.

If you are sure it can’t be done then it will never happen.

I am always thinking about where I will take the rug studio in the next few years.

Metaphorically that is.

What direction? What is the next project?

And I need to remember that if you believe it can happen, then it will.

This sign on the highway is a great reminder of that.

Last spring, Laurie Glenn, who works with me said,”You should have one of those signs on the highway.”

I answered, “I tried to do that but I could not get it. So I am not going there.”

Then I came into my office and I thought. If you think it cannot happen, than it won’t happen.

I decided that it had been years since I tried. I called the Department of Tourism.

I learned that maybe I could have a sign.

Then I did a little dance.

I thanked Laurie for pushing me.

Then I did a little jig…just another kind of dance.

Then I waited for weeks and months until I heard that yes I could get a sign.

Then I waited for months for the sign to get put up. As soon as it did I had oatcakes delivered to the highway garage for the guys who put up my sign. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Then I danced again.

Then a few weeks later I went out and had my picture taken under it. I looked so small…like a little fairy girl standing beside it.

Then the little fairy girl did a little dance, and her little fairy friend took pictures as cars zoomed by wondering what those fairy fools were up too.

Then the fairy girl got in her truck and drove back to Amherst and on the way she turned into herself again and she realized something.

She learned that if she had to keep thinking that she could not have that sign then she would never have. She realized that if you think something won’t come true, than it won’t.

But the big thing she realized is that you have to work at it.

And that when you try, magic happens.

Sometimes that magic might not be exactly what you imagined it to be but sometimes it is just what you thought or even better.

So this little revelation is one I am carrying with me today and into the future.

Because if it can happen for me, it can happen for you.

It can happen for the people we love.

It can happen for our communities.

It can happen.

You have to believe it….but you also have to work at it.

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What if I just let it happen? What might happen?

Why do you do it? Why do you live in a small town?

It is not a question I ask myself because the honest truth is I just found myself here. I never decided to live in a small town. Life does not happen that way for many of us. We live where we live for all kinds of reasons. It might be love, it might be family, it might be work.

Myself I just responded to what came up, love and family then turned into work, which turned into art, then turned into business.

It was never written in a journal. It was never dreamt up. It just simply happened.

There is so much pressure these days to plan out a great life. To seek abundance, to be more, to seek out your dreams, to be the most you can be.

Yesterday I saw a chalkboard that said, “Do something amazing every day.”

Really? How about “Do your dishes everyday.” or maybe “Pack your lunch everyday.”

Maybe just, “Be kind to others.”

I get a lot done but there is no way I can do something amazing everyday.

It makes me think about our studio motto, “create beauty everyday”…let me assure when I say that I mean that a sandwich can be a beautiful thing. I also mean that tidying your sock drawer can be too. Don’t take any pressure from me, beauty is surely in the tiniest of things.

I keep seeing journals with things like “Live your dreams ” written on it. They scare me. I’d rather a blank one so I can write in it things like…”I made macaroni for supper. We were out of cheese so I just ate it with butter. Yum.” I don’t need pressure from inanimate objects around the house.

Even my “think” sign sometimes gets on my nerves.

No one tells you you can end up being an artist and business person just by responding to what comes up. No one seems to say that if you live in a place where the people you love are then you will feel safe and comfortable and you might take a few more risks. People don’t seem to like to say that  you can carve an opportunity out in any place.

We so easily forget the little things, that really are the foundation for the big things. You can’t just “dream” cause the cover of the book tells you to. The conditions have to be right.

Everywhere I look there are quotes telling you to seek, to shine, to grow.

Yesterday I saw a box that ” Stuff I pretend is important.”  I was tempted to buy it just because it was honest. I didn’t.

Believe me, I love change and growth. I think it is important to dream. I just don’t want pressure to do those things because pressure to do those things is exactly what can stunt it.

Let’s try….

“It is okay to flounder.”

“Say your prayers.”

“It can happen anywhere.”

 

 


Just Hope

There is so much about renewal in January it can overwhelm you. Make you feel that your life needs to be more and better, that you need to be more and better.

It is a lot of pressure really. I always feel it in January. It is as if you have to have a plan for the year to be it’s best. Any other day you can just wake up and carry on. But in early January, all of a sudden you need a plan.

Whew, that is a lot to take stock of. Today in my bible study with Don Miller ( also the man who dressed up in sexy jersey for me…so it is a special bible study and he is a special minister) he used a passage in Isiah to remind us that the best is not behind us, there is also much good to come. Expecting good, he said , is a tenet of the bible. Whatever your beliefs are, the idea that there is good to come is essential to good living. You do not have to have a resolution or a big change planned. It does not have to be revolutionary. You just have to believe that there is good to come. I think the word for this is “Hope”. It is so much easier on me to believe that there is good to come than it is to make up big idea for the new year.

The more I think about this, the more I think that is ok for me to just have hope. Hope for my community, faith in the people who live here, and both faith and hope in myself and my own dreams and desires to evolve.

I have not got an amazing plan for the new year. And that’s okay.

I don’t have a plan to transform myself or my community.

What I do have is faith and love, and a belief that together with who and what is important to me, transformation will happen.

Deanne


 

 

Catherine Bussiere: a wedding

it was a week ago and everybody was here
brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles
parents, grand parents, friends
cousins
a few were absent
unable to make the trip
or gone too soon
they were missed
yet present in our hearts

many weeks had lead to that day
a proposal on a rainy day on another continent
a dream that kept growing
a dress bought in a heartbeat

we had a perfect location
of woods and fields
pond and garden
rock patio spread shaded by grape vines

a live dome had been built on the edge of the woods a few years back
covered by hops, an early summer offering
in it’s womb the union would take place
a fairytale setting

a week ago three young men lined up
in front of a small crowd they waited
out in the field a beautiful maiden
surrounded by her dearest
was making her way

the most anticipated moment
the one we had all been waiting for
arose

the groom saw his bride

it was short and simple
as they had wanted
in a few words they were united
in front of all they proclaimed their commitment
love at that moment was everyone’s attire

it was a week ago
as I walk outside
in the field
on the edge of the woods
or as I sit under the shade of the grape vines
I feel thankful for life and for love

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Catherine Bussiere: Hope

I met Hope this week
I didn’t know Hope
I went to her apartment complex where she resides in River Hebert
she used to live on a farm
but at 80 some she now lives in a much smaller space
with two cats
although residents are not suppose to have cats
actually one of her cat is missing
which is troubling her some

I met Hope because I was to interview her about seed saving
going to a seed saving workshop recently I was presented with some beautiful beans that had been saved and planted for decades
in awe of that I had asked if I could interview the lady that did so
and so I ended up in Hope’s apartment

Hope is a lovely lady
she answered my questions graciously
I found simple, plain wisdom in her comments
I kept telling her that I wanted to hug her so content I was with the turn of our interview

to the question why save seeds her answer is this
keep seeds from plants that grow well in your region
keep the best ones
save them, trade them
they are the best seeds you can get

to the question why garden and why buy local
her answer is this
grow your own food or buy from a local farmer because the fruit you get is the tastiest
period

now of course there are political reasons
we can save seeds to fight Monsanto
we can grow gardens to lower our carbon footprint
we can do so for financial reasons
for physical and mental health
(yes, it helps my mental bits to hang out in the garden)

for Hope it boiled down to taste

it made me wonder
have we forgotten what home grown food taste like
think about a fresh, perfectly ripen, strawberry
a tomato still warm from the sun
fresh shelled peas
carrots with their tops and a tiny bit of dirt just pulled from the garden

there are many reasons to grow a garden
save seeds
even forage for wild edibles

Hope said she likes to know where her food comes from
it taste better
I agree

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Catherine Bussiere: father’s day

I always have a hard time using the word husband
as a young woman I had no intention of getting married
I loved a man, he loved me, all was well
then we had a child and that was the most beautiful thing that could happen between us
it was a bond like no others
still, I didn’t want to get married

a year later, as our little blond bundle was running around I wished to have him baptize
I wanted to have a celebration
a few close friends and family were invited
all under the premise of the baptism
I don’t remember exactly how or when it happened but eventually I agreed to tie the knot
my loved one, a patient man, kept asking
it was a surprise for the guests
at the end of that day I had a husband

I remember thinking that the man I would love, the one I would want to spend my life with, had to be one with whom I would want to have children
not that children was on top of the agenda
but, you know what I mean, I didn’t want a fling
I wanted something solid

maybe I didn’t only want a lover
I wanted the qualities of a man that cares for children

As I woke up this morning I knew this blog had to be about my companion
(I think I like that better than husband)
the man of my life, mon amour
has been a wonderful dad
present, playful, patient
loving, generous, attentive
he is and will be there for our kids no matter what, no matter when
I know it, they do to

as I look at our now three young adults
two sons and a daughter
as I see their confidence, maturity, their care for one another
I am pleased and happy
we’ve worked well together

happy father’s day Eric
xo

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Catherine Bussiere: nature walk

I went for a walk in the woods yesterday
it was organized by the Amherst museum and held at the Amherst bird sanctuary
a man named Bill was our botanist on site
a very knowledgeable week end botanist
on week days he is a lawyer

the funny thing was, the night before I had a dream that my car was stolen
I went to see the cops
someone told me don’t bother
you need to see a lawyer

Sunday was a beautiful day
only a handful of us took part of that walk
a brother and a sister were there mostly for the birds
she knew some birds by their song
we heard this lovely chant
she showed me the author in her book

we walked for a few hours
very slowly
our host seemed to know every single tree and every single plant
that kind of knowledge blows my mind
common name, Latin name, other names
properties, how to make the different between this maple and that one

so much to know

we saw the oldest sugar maple in Nova Scotia
twisted and knotted like an old man
majestic

we chewed on a leafy twig
I forget the name of that tree
but it tasted like spearmint

we saw a plant that once upon a time was used for bedding
we saw a tutu fern
a sensitive fern
an interrupted fern
and a cinnamon fern

we saw star flowers
dog wood flowers
lily of the wood flowers
and violets

tucked away just outside of Amherst
lays a protected piece of paradise
check it out if you are ever around

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Catherine Bussiere: week end

attending a workshop on medicinal herbs
I learned that the burdock root is not only eatable
but tastes as good as parsnip
that plantain is good for bites
and flower tea can be brewed by the sun
with leaves and flowers
collected from the lawn

went to visit someone who saves seeds
has a greenhouse
which is
at the moment
filled with tall plants of all sorts
some flowering
others about to

before too long
seeds will be collected
then sowed early fall
various greens will grow through the winter
providing fresh nutrient
in the leanest time of year

got transplants at my nephews
( they have big greenhouses )
tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants
contemplating the promise of wholesome food
rows and rows of greenery of all size
I get some lemon basil too

saw my niece who has an 8 months belly
little baby boy soon to be born
her first
she glows

spring time
some days already feel like summer

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Diane Krys: Threads on the Edge

IMG_7973 In 2006 I bought a new sewing machine. I didn’t sew but I had dreams of stitching things. When I wanted to turn some of my rug hooking into pillows it was a good impetus to take the plunge. I was  eager to explore the wider world of my new found passion for hand made textiles so I opted for a basic mechanical workhorse I hoped would take me into more creative explorations down the road. It’s 2015 and my machine has served me well in the pillow making department and that’s pretty much all I’ve done with it. I used it sporadically so I’m always a little intimidated when I set it up. I still relied on the owner’s manual just to get it threaded. It seems my sewing machine and I have been driving on the straight and narrow together for a long time yet we’ve never really gotten to know each other well enough to deviate into the wilderness or go on a spontaneous adventure. I didn’t know what I needed to tap into this unfulfilled potential until an artist friend invited me to stay with her in Calgary where she was bringing the knowledgeable, talented and daring Karin Millson to her home for a small group session on how to abuse your sewing machine. It sounds like we might be running around like reckless rocks stars smashing our machines but in fact the session was about taking every mechanical sewing machine variable and breaking the rules to stretch and mine them for creative effect.

Ironically, I finally got to know my sewing machine by playing around with what I wasn’t supposed to do with it.  Karin led us on a methodical, thoughtful, progression of experimentation with tensions, threads, stitch lengths, widths, you name it. It provided me with a view into the full potential of my machine to really understand how it works and responds. I felt like I was driving my sewing machine like my standard car with all the knobs controlling stitch length, width, etc. becoming different gears I could change on the fly. What I explored is but a small sampling of possibility but I already feel I can create stitches with character and free motion sew where my hand is in the stitch work even though it’s articulated through a mechanized machine. At the end of the session we had to put our machine back to a factory setting. I must say I found a great sense of liberation in taking things to the brink and then coming back to a perfectly balanced straight stitch. Suddenly my sewing machine looks far more inviting that intimidating. I think it’s about time we went for a spin and had some fun.

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IMG_7969   IMG_7967   IMG_7970 By the way…. I’m scheduled to teach 2 workshops based on my combination rug hooking/ knitting/crochet work at the Fibre Arts Newfoundland Conference this fall!  Here’s a link for more information.  It’s an international gathering to be held in the beautiful Gros Morne National Park.  It should be a spectacular, inspiring event- hope to see you there! (If you’re interested in any of the conference workshops, please keep in mind that it’s better to register sooner rather than later to ensure the workshop you want has the registration numbers needed to run. ) Thanks for stopping in!

Catherine Bussiere: fiddle heads & omelets

we went for a walk in the woods
we listen to nature waking up
the beauty of it all just makes me smile
I feel happy

we are out to collect fiddle heads
one of nature’s first edible
there may be others
only recently have we been going out to gather wild edibles
so far mushrooms and fiddles heads are what we collect
there is something quite enthralling about gathering food from the wild
I love it

by the river we find some tightly curled ferns
they’ve just started showing up through the leaves
you can’t wait too long
when nature wakes up she’s got no time to waste for stretches, coffee, and all
she’s on the move

this morning I made us a fiddle head omelet
for two people I used three large farm eggs
beat them up with a little cream, a pinch of salt, cumin and fresh ground pepper

I steamed a couple handful of fiddle heads
I grated some cheddar cheese and chopped some chives
I pour the egg mix onto a cast iron pan
when the egg mix starts to set I place chives, fiddle heads and cheese on one half of it
I wait a little
the cheese melts
I flip the bare half onto the dressed half

a nature walk feeds the soul, lungs, eyes
today, a nature walk also fed two hungry bellies

happy Sunday
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Catherine Bussiere: Mother’s day

I woke up this morning to the smell of melting butter
it’s a warm, grey, rainy day
my lovely man brought me coffee in bed
I figure I shouldn’t move until I got an okay from the kitchen
I actually thought something buttery would materialize near that cup of coffee
sipping away I was quite content

Eventually Charlotte appeared from the stairs’ opening at the end of my room
beautiful critter peaking out of her den
“come downstairs mama, it’s ready”
I’m thinking, isn’t it coming upstairs?
“come on down, bring your coffee”

alright alright
let me nose guide me

I enter the kitchen
handmade decorations are hanging over my favorite sitting spot
it is sweet and festive and oh so lovely

On the big serving plate / round table lays a beautiful arrangement of tastiness
A plate filled with cinnamon muffins (result of the heavenly buttery smell)
two pretty little blue bowls filled with frozen berries
a tin box (yes; chocolate)
and a card

I am in awe
aaaaaw Charlotte, when did you do this?
she did that yesterday
and woke up early to bake treats
and she is walking around in a most adorable onesie pajama that makes you want to hug her
clever

I get a phone call from my son Sam
my son Isaac posts something funny and sweet of me, online
boys are thinking about me
love, love, love

my kids make me feel lucky on a daily basis
I loved them as babies
I loved them as they grew up
I love who they are becoming
becoming a mama is the best thing I have done

The sun is peaking out
it’s now warm AND sunny
time for another coffee and a call to my mama

Happy mother’s day!

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Catherine Bussiere: Gail

foggy morning, fishcakes and biscuits, company over
my blog is a little late today
it’s Sunday

I visited Gail this week
Gail, in legal term, is my mother in law
in my term she is a friend

I thought Gail would be a good person to interview for my age series
she will be 77 this year
you may think: she’s 76, don’t need to age her faster
no, but the thing is, Gail cares more about the sound of the number then the meaning we might associate it with
and so 77 sounds much better then 76
actually, really, Gail loves double digits

so far, in the few interviews that I have done, there have been reactions regarding age;
mind association that connects age with physical and mental abilities
beauty, energy, hopes and dreams, curiosity, interest …
often I hear concerns, at any age, be it 20, 30, 40
fear, unmet expectations
our own or others
trying to keep up with the time
and the time ticking

The interesting thing with Gail is that age seems like an irrelevant word.

“ 77, what about it ? Nothing ! I’m grateful; I love double numbers.”

When does one become old?

“ It’s a mental attitude, an outlook …
I find it’s enriching because the wisdom is with age,
because of past experiences …
You have great memories of past experiences and that keeps you young,
in thought, mind …
Then I am just grateful;
Thank you!
I’m still able to be independent, and that’s everything.

Being a woman, when you go through menopause that’s the beginning of getting old
and you know it, you feel it, you sense it
you know your limits little by little
and the thing is not to give into your limits because you’ll loose all that muscle
muscle disappears quickly and you want to keep your muscle more or less ”

Time or age never affected you?

“ No, I had a lot of desires so I just went…
I never needed a lot of comfort, I didn’t need to have luxury.
You can be very vain about your body, your face and your living style
and I don’t think I was enhanced with vanity. “

the conversation will keep going
what inspires me with Gail is her will power
whatever Gail wants, Gail gets some way or another
she has lived and is living her life just like she wants
she has embraced an innumerable amount of projects
art, travel, work
she is creative, curious, passionate
she is demanding to herself and others
and is incredibly generous
her life has been and remains full

Next project? : “ my goal is when I’m 80 I’ll go to Cuba “

I love it

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Diane Krys: A Show of Craft

LSP_1136With Craft Year 2015 in full swing here in Canada there’s lots going on in provincial Craft Councils and communities nationwide to celebrate. The Alberta Craft Council recently opened their Language of Craft group exhibit which I’m very happy to be participating in with a new piece of work.

This exhibition’s “call for entry” piqued my interest when it asked “What does Craft mean to you?” Craft is a word with a wide arc of meanings and values so the opportunity to clarify and explore my own thoughts compelled me to apply.

Even though I can be quite content to work and create in my own little nest, I push myself to invest in a small number of show opportunities that resonate and offer a seed for growth. I’ve come to realize the exhibition process is an important part of my creative development even if I don’t always make the cut.

I’m attracted to exhibits that inspire me to take my visual language in different directions and I don’t mind letting a thought provoking exhibit theme drive the bus. It was after a deeper dive into my own thoughts on Craft that I surfaced with the inspiration for the show piece, Maker’s Mark. It draws it’s title from the British practice of stamping gold and silver work to denote who made it.

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Maker’s Mark,  Diane Krys, 2015  The details in a piece of Craft work are richly embedded with the unique hand and story of it’s maker. This piece may look like a cloud of white texture punctuated with splashes of colour yet on closer inspection it’s a mosaic of individual characters, each one imprinted with a fragment of myself and my experiences.

A “call for entry” can also be a call for experimentation. This concept for this piece challenged me to work with a large number of multiples, 100 to be exact, and to build a flexible sculpture that allowed for different configurations.  Future explorations are percolating.

Since I do work quite independently exhibiting feels like taking a field trip complete with a party a.k.a. an artist’s reception where I can connect with other artists, friends, family and interested viewers.  Participating in a show creates a different kind of dialogue for me and my work.  I delight in those moments when this new context has me seeing things in a new light.

I’ll leave you with a few quotes from the show and a question…What does Craft mean to you?

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Related links:

Alberta Craft Council’s Language of Craft

Craft Year 2015

Thanks for stopping in- see you next month!

Catherine Bussiere: Susan and Regina

Two German ladies showed up one evening while the hotel was vacant.
I looked at them walk in wandering for a second what they wanted. We didn’t expect any guest for a couple days and I must have forgotten that we were indeed a hotel providing rooms. It didn’t take me long to clue in and I quickly went to the reception desk to welcome them.

They took a room and stayed with us for a couple nights. The second morning we started a conversation as I was serving them breakfast and I asked if they would be up for a couple questions about age.

Susan is a university professor. She is sixty three.
Regina is a psychologist. She is sixty six.
They are cousin, good friends, and enjoy traveling together.

It is interesting to get feedback from different age group (last week the ladies were thirty). The fact that English is a second language (for myself as well) only added flavor to the exchange.

What is old?

Susan: Being not attractive anymore, not attractive for other people, loosing autonomy, needing help.

I think you can be old in so different ways, I think and I hope I will never be old in that terrible sense. My mind is quite young, my way of behaving is rather young. All the time I’m in contact with young people now so that, perhaps, keeps me young as well.

Regina: What is it to be old? I don’t know.

My body is feeling old. When I get out of the car my legs are stiff, it takes a moment and then it’s good, I can move again. My mind, my emotions, are not old. And when my cousin say we are not so attractive for the man, for me it’s good because I was a very attractive woman and it’s not nice to be that, and now I can look and nobody is looking for me. I love it. I can show my emotion.

Last year I was really old, I lost one (pointing to her breast) and I think it’s good that I am an old woman and not thirty years old. No problem for me. I’m an old woman and I’m very very interested in all things and I’m also naughty. I’m a old time naughty, yes! And I understand a lot of things and when people say: oh, I want to be young, I think no, no. You are very alone then and I don’t want (that). It’s ok I’m old, but my body, my legs, it’s not so nice.

Susan: I see that the norm says you, as a woman, are suppose to look for men who are older or as old as you are and not the young ones. But when you’re getting older it’s for you like for the man that you like the younger ones.

Regina laughs and says “Naughty!”

Susan: And you accuse man of taking second and third women or marrying again and again and you say yeah, he can do that, he gets the new one when the old one is worn out and old and ugly but we’re not allowed to do that. I mean in general.

I have to think about that a lot because I meet a lot of young people that are nice.

The men that are of my age and older I think they are incredibly unattractive. They are so much less attractive then women of my age. And so, what can I do with them? I mean they don’t attract me, I don’t want to share my life with them. They are not lively anymore. It seems they are sort of depress, they are slower, they do not look for what is happening in the world.

I have the impression that women try to get more when they are old, they still want to learn things for themselves; keep themselves upright (she is looking for the right word) dynamic. And of course I can’t say that about all women but there are such women and I meet them and I like them. And I have a big problem getting to know men of my age that are interested and interesting.

Why do you think that is?

Regina:
The garden; the garden of Eden.
Eva say, let us eat from the apple and Adam say “oh God say no!”
She is very interested, she wants to eat the apple and I also want to eat the apple.
And God say no, Adam says no.

(Big laugh from both of them)

Regina:
I think it’s not easy to be old because I don’t plan, I can’t plan the next 10 years.
Oh! I’m going to (do) this and that… It’s over.
You can’t plan.
I think the next five years; I think it’s like now (looking at herself, physically) but then I don’t know. Can I live in my loft?, I have a lot of steps. I don’t know; I – don’t – know.
It’s a difficult question. I think when I have a good day, I think twenty years. (laugh)
Yes; I’m old in twenty years. But I don’t know.
I feel my body much more (now) then when I’m younger, I didn’t think about my body when I was young.
My wrinkles that’s ok. Ohhhh, beautiful! (laugh)

When was beauty not a problem anymore?

Regina:
Fifty.
Fifty years old and I’m sitting on a ship in Sicily and there are lots of men of all ages and they laugh at me and I laugh back and I think, ah! it’s no problem, ah!, the world is opening up (laugh).
The first time I realize this, yes, I was fifty, I remember very very clear.

About youth?

Susan:
Youth has a future. The world is there for you (if you are in such a privilege situation as we are, enough money, good parents, good education), the world is open, you can do many things, you just decide or you wait and things happen. Youth means you have all possibilities, the world is open. People expect from you that you take advantage of your opportunities.

When I got thirty we were joking about things. My friend say thirty, oh yeah, that’s something, and we give you some cream for your face and how to eat in healthy way so you sort of get along with age from thirty on. We’re laughing a lot and I say; you go off with your stuff, I don’t want it.
I didn’t think much change then but I know that when I approach sixty, my age of sixty, I was never fifty nine, I was always almost sixty and it was like aaaahhhh, sixty, that’s quite an age, this is something really…

You have to get over that. Say well ok, I’m sixty, nothing happened, I’m still as I am, ok, ok, ok.

But it is since I’m in the sixties that I’m getting more and more afraid of age… and I’m afraid that people expect me to be old. That they judge me and say: you’re sixty, oh yeah, ok, you’re sixty, not much to do in your life anymore.

I know that my father and my mother were ninety when they died so perhaps half my life is in front of me.
Yes, much life left in you indeed. Thank you Susan and Regina.

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Catherine Bussiere: Blue Kaouki

Blue Kaouki
it’s the name of a hotel
in Sidi Kaouki
long beach, pounding waves, surfers, camels, goats, dogs with teeth that mean it
travelers, campground, hotels, restaurants, surf shack, bicycles
low key
laid back
lovely

our job here is to welcome clients, make breakfast (on the rooftop patio), keep the place tidy
easy

there has only been few clients at a time
only so much to do
we end up chatting, hanging out throughout the day
sharing a little of our lives
I love it
we met a few germans, some english folks, a lovely french couple

Claudia turned 30 while she was here
the big three o
on Friday the 13th
I made her some nice fluffy pancakes with honey syrup
good start to her day

I like this job of easing people’s morning
serve coffee and fresh pressed orange juice
flip an egg
serve that delicious Moroccan bread
(it is delivered warm around 8 every morning)

we will be here until the end of our trip
over the next four weeks
I’ll introduce you to some of our clients
a snapshot and a quote
(yes, yes, I am inspired by humans of New York, the clever idea is not mine)
here’s the first

Drusilla

This lady came in with a cane, luggage and bottles of wine. She told me her doctor told her not to travel. She has been coming to Morocco for years. She is now writing a novel that takes place here. She likes to write at night with a glass of wine and a cigaret. Classic.

What do you like about Morocco?
– I like the people. People don’t care about how you look. They care about who you are.

What makes you happy?
– The lack of pain.

What bugs you?
– Rudeness

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Catherine Bussiere: Taroudant, another carpet ride

After a memorable stay in the desert (I missed last week’s blog for lack of internet but you will find a post on that experience here if you like) we are now in Taroudant, a town that the locals call “the small Marrakech”. We got off the bus two days ago after a long ride through more Atlas where stunning scenery of mountains and valleys, dry river beds, oasis, herds of sheep, dusty road stands with colorful potteries kept us entertained. The landscapes in these parts are rugged and beautiful.

As we got off the bus I started looking for a taxi when Thami, upon asking me where we were staying, offered us directions then took upon himself to lead us there and carry some of our luggage. When I offered Thami a tip for his service he promptly refused, welcoming us to his town and offering us to take a horse drawn carriage ride with him for a tour of the city the next morning at a very reasonable price. Why not. We’ve never done that.

If there is something I have to learn about morocco it’s to be open to whatever the day will give (or lead to). The ride with Thami didn’t last an hour as I had expected, it took most of the day. Not only did he show us the city rampart where here and there we hopped off to climb, get a good view and take photos (he knew of all the good spots for pictures) but he made us visit the souk and of course some shops. Now the nice thing about visiting shops with a tour guide is that you are made to feel that there is no obligation or pressure to buy anything. Have a look, ask questions, take pictures.

We visited a women cooperative where several products are made from the argan nut. I already had bought argan oil in Fes so there was no need for more. We visited a jewelry shop and there, since this region is famous for this art, and because we had not indulged yet, Charlotte and I splurged. We went into an ancient synagogue transformed into a art shop where I saw the biggest carpet show room I had seen yet on this trip along with several rooms filled with ancient and new art from Morocco and other African country.We might as well have stepped into Ali Baba’s cavern. I knew nothing there was within my budget but oh my, what a feast for the eyes.

We saw mountain of spices at the market, and several other small artisan shop. But what took the main part of our tour was yet another carpet shop owned by one of Thami’s relative. Soon after we got in and as a gentleman was about to show us some carpets (tea already on it’s way) we did let them know that we had already bought carpets and blanket earlier on the trip. In fact, that was the heavy piece of luggage that Thami helped us carry the night before. No problem my friends, just have a look, no need to buy.

Of course you know what is next. Next comes an array of beautiful thin blankets made of camel hair and cactus fiber. They are light and roll up to almost nothing. When will I ever have a chance to acquire such beauty. We ponder, we do not have enough cash, I plead that we must go back to the hostel and get a credit card if we are to make a purchase. I think that really we should finish our tour first. The gentleman doesn’t settle for that. It is Friday, couscous day, why don’t you join us for couscous. Finish the tour then come eat with us. Hum, homemade couscous is an invite no one should refuse. We agree, we finish the tour, we come back. I know already that we will get those blankets. After couscous and more tea we not only get three but four blankets.

Maybe because we are not good at bartering, maybe because we spend time, maybe because tourism is low at the moment, who knows, not only our gentleman lowers the price a little but he trows in a few cushion covers to go with the blankets and give Eric a Fatima hand for his mom. Hands are shaken, shukran (thank you) exchanged, we are all happy with our day. Moroccans depends on tourism and will do their best to give you a good time. I have seen here some of the most beautiful craft / art there is. Generation of men and women have passed down their skills from fathers to sons, mothers to daughters, and most of what you see has been made by hard working hands.

Thanks to Thami and extended family for a great day yesterday.

Here are some photos for you textile and art lover!

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ps. one more thing, we visited Amoon, a collaborative of Berber women in Taroudant today, there was one rug that was hooked!

Here is their website: anmoon.com

If you ever visit Taroudant do visit their shop.

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Catherine Bussiere: on the move

packing once again I go through an accumulation of receipts
we are leaving tomorrow morning for Ouarzazate
I love these names
Chefchaouen, Ouarzazate, Tagounite, Essaouira

I am packing once again and trying to organize my “stuff”
what goes in the large backpack; where
what goes in the smaller backpack
what goes in my purse

I empty everything
I even wash the smaller backpack
I think somewhere along the way there was a leak in the ice tea bottle
it got soaked, it dried, I forgot about it
today it looked dirty and felt… well, like it needed a wash

my purse had accumulated a series of receipts, directions and hotel names on the back of printed boarding passes, museum tickets, grocery lists, business cards
I look at them all
I paid 75.00 (euros, pounds, dirham?) at Rodeo something for three Bonnie
three Bonnie?
what was that?
think, think, think
oh yeah, those were chicken wraps just outside the train station in Casablanca
we were starving
they tasted good

I found a map I drew of the main streets around our apartment in Barcelona
brings me right back to the holidays when the boys were with us and we walked the town
memories

tomorrow we leave for Ouarzazate
there isn’t much there apparently except for their film studio
I’ve never visited a film studio
this week we watched “Gladiator” because some scenes were shot there
so cool we thought, we’re going there!

the main thing is that we are heading south and are going inland
rather up and down land
we will be getting into the Atlas mountain range
and then, when we come out of there, we will be at the edge of the desert
the cool thing is that we will be getting further away from tourist traps
if that’s possible
I hope

this week we are to meet and live with a Berber family
still through this helpx thing that we do
I am looking forward to it
It has been nice enough to be by the beach and stay with our American hosts
but we are in Morocco
it only seems right to spend some time with Moroccans

maybe by next week I will have learned how to make tagines
or a proper couscous
maybe I’ll tell you about it

have a good week

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Catherine Bussiere: Textures

it’s been an interesting week
moving deeper into Morocco
new sights and smells
more interaction
with locals
with other travelers
with a new host

we’re by the ocean near Casablanca
Dar Bouazza it’s called
there is a little port where fishermen bring their catch
there’s a few fruit and vegetable vendors
the beach in front of us is sand with the regular pounding of waves
nothing too big
gentle and steady
further along there are very interesting rock formations
their design make me come back for a photo shoot

it is busy this week end
the weather is nice and several cars are parked in rudimentary parking lots along the ocean front
you wouldn’t think much of it
unpaved dirt lot overlooking the ocean
but in the shade with a glass of tea
an attendant keeps watch
over the nice looking cars

I was looking to buy chicken the other day
on the main drag there are several small shops where you can find all the basics
but meat
for that there are meat stalls
I see a big side of beef hanging and a nice array of cuts in one of them
I’m looking for chicken though
I ask the man if he has any
I ask in French
turns out French is the unofficial third language in this country and is definitively not spoken by all
in the north more people speak Spanish as a third language
the two first ones you ask: Arabic and Berber
in Tangier for example, the first boy we met spoke Spanish, French and English aside from Arabic and maybe Berber
I’m thinking of my kids back home
the ones I used to help with french at school
who struggle with one extra tongue
back to my chicken; I am stubborn and ask again, in french, if he has any other type of meat
maybe mentioning lamb (but not pork) will help
the man graciously points to a nice piece of beef
he obviously thinks I want a particular cut
I understand that we will not understand each other if I keep on like this
so, I resort to a universal language and mime a chicken while clucking
that works, the man has a good laugh and points up the alley to another stall

I have been using this method daily with Mina the maid who works here
she too only speaks Arabic
on the first day after many “merci” for this or that
I muster the courage to try it out in Arabic
“shukran”
I can tell she is pleased
later she uses a few words in french
here we go, between gestures, a little of this and that we may understand each other

the photos were taken yesterday
fascinated I was by the various textures on my path

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Catherine Bussiere: Chaouen blues

On the ferry we saw the edge of the Rif mountains
Africa
looking for a culture shock
looking for extra heat

we had been told many things
the cabs, the haggling, the food, the art, the hospitality
go to: Chefchaouen, Fes, Marrakech
do this, don’t do that
and
it won’t be much warmer

we experienced the cab first thing
an old Mercedes
the grand taxi
from Tangier port to the city
a good half hour drive
full speed

as soon as we step out a young boy is offering us direction
I know where I am going
I have my map
it’s around the corner
still he is one step ahead of me
pointing to where I am going
I tell him I have no money
which is true, I will need to find a bank first thing to get some local change
it doesn’t make any difference
one step ahead of me he goes

we’re at the hostel
still the boy and now another one are waiting around for us to be done with checking in
they want to take us to their uncle or other relative for dinner
we are exhausted and just want to settle in
it has been a long day
the clerk who knows them shoos them off

welcome to Morocco

Next day Chefchaouen or like people say Chaouen
the blue city
the Medina (the old city) is so pretty
just big enough to think you may get lost
but really, small, so you don’t

cats are everywhere
most of them look good
I think it’s a good sign
our hosts at the Riad are most welcoming
our house is your house
truly

we venture around
I click away
every door, every step
every shade of blue
catches my eye

there are shops everywhere
everything is beautiful
I don’t dare let my eye linger too much
the vendors know
they will catch me
once your caught it’s hard to get out

eventually I get caught
come to see this carpet shop one says
I will take you there
innocently I go
sure, let’s have a peak
we are treated the royal way
the place is large
mounds and mounds of carpets and blankets
all of them absolutely gorgeous
two men are busy picking several out to show
unrolling them on the floor
tea is offered
we agree
it’s a ritual
it’s also a trap

I really didn’t have any intention of buying anything that day
I was going to be smart and inform myself first
I had been told to bargain
I was not going to buy anything big
we are backpacking

you see where this is going

a couple hours later I came out with a large carpet
two small ones
and two blankets

did I bargain?
no
I couldn’t get myself to do it
the craftsmanship shown to me was so beautiful
how could I undermine it

later I felt a bit like a fool
my daughter and I, on another walk, got caught in a different shop
the vendors are so slick
so nice
like fine fisherman, they know how to hook you and slowly get you in
I am the biggest fish around
he offers prices that are way below what I just paid
I feel tired, I had enough
we manage to get out of this one empty handed

my daughter tells me what we got was way better
thanks Charlotte

there is much to adjust culture wise
as a foreigner I don’t want to offend anyone
we are in Muslim country
what do I know
much to learn

we are in Fes today
biggest Medina in the world
this time we will get lost

here are some Chaouen photos
enjoy

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Catherine Bussiere: Atalbeitar

long days, short week
where does the time go
officially by 9am we should all start working
it’s about right, más o menos quince minutos

Alma goes to school
she is four years old
has curly blond hair
and the features of an angel
morning revolves around getting her to the bus in time
like any other household with a child in school

there is a breath of relief, a sense of achievement, when she is off
we did it again
we can go on with our day

a long list of various task is written on a large piece of paper pinned to the kitchen door
everyone has something to do
sanding, painting, fixing, building
ongoing maintenance of a restored house
very different from our house
this house has rocks for roofing
the ceiling of my bedroom is made of large beams holding a wooden structure that supports loads of rocks
the walls are made of blocks of cement covered with plaster
it enable a creative person to shape them as they wish
to insert rounded selves and small alcoves
I quite like it (I love it)
I want a house like that

it is snowing this morning
first snow we see on our trip
we are way up in the Sierra Nevada mountain range
it’s not unusual to have a little snow this time of year

although Christmas has gone by this snow makes us feel like Christmas

everyday we go for a walk
this village is tiny
it has a church, a bar (run by a gentleman named Jesus) and a handful of houses
most of the time you won’t see anyone in the streets except for cats
I have been thinking there may be more stray cats then people living here
I’m not too far off

the houses are all white
every year they get a fresh coat of lime wash
apparently it has antimicrobial properties
you can spot the villages from a distance
white slashes on the mountains

I like it here
every single time we go for a walk I end up picking either: almonds, walnuts or chestnuts off the ground
mostly almonds
people grow almonds around here
I keep writing this word: almond, because it pretty much blows my mind
it’s a dream come true
picking almonds off the ground, cracking the shells with a rock and eating them
I can scratch that off my bucket list
but I don’t want to
I want to live in a place where I can have an almond tree

do you think I could have one in my greenhouse?

time for another cup of tea
it’s Sunday, it’s snowing, I might just go bake an almond cake

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Catherine Bussiere: Christmas

December 21st
it’s hard to believe
I see the Santas here and there
a few decorations
but really walking around Barcelona
wearing a light shirt under a sunny sky
I don’t feel like Christmas is in a very few days

My son Sam joined us this week
we had said good bye to the hills of Provence
spent a day in Marseille
got off the bus really early one morning in the city of Gaudí
and a few days later Sam was here, on our door step
not in my computer talking to me on skype
but right there in front of me
sleepily standing between his brother and sister who picked him up at the airport
Could I possibly want anything else
my three babies for Christmas
my three adult babies
maybe that’s even more special

Barcelona is great and I should tell you all about it
but in a way
at this point in our trip
it is more like a shell that holds us all
a beautiful shell I must say
it is where we get together as a family for a precious amount of time
where we walk and talk
shop (mostly for food) and cook and drink
laugh and snuggle
where we just hang out and enjoy being together

it is precious isn’t it
once the kids grow up
once life takes us apart
when we all fly our own direction
to be able to take the time
make a pause
and reconnect with our dear ones

of course there’s always someone missing
make that a plural
my son’s fiancé
our moms and dads
brothers and sisters
nieces and nephews
the list goes on

But for what I have I am thankful

I wish you who may read this blog a happy Christmas
I wish you to spend time with anyone who is dear to you
may it be family or friend, make the best of it
Merry Christmas!

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Catherine Bussiere: coming to an end

as this day wears off so does this part of our trip
two days ago Isaac and Haley left for Paris
Isaac taking his belle to the last leg of her trip
she will be going home for Christmas

these past two days were spent doing small tasks
going one last time down to the village
enjoying the 2km path through the woods
looking again and again at this beautiful scenery
soaking it in
saying good bye to the butcher
buying one last almond croissant (make that three actually)

over a month has gone by already
our long time dream of Provence to be over

crazy

today for the first time since the beginning of this trip we had nothing on our agenda
first day of no work, no visiting, no traveling
I walked around the property
I took my time
I walked through the olive grove, into the woods
Geraldine was telling me how wild this place was ten years ago
the way she speaks makes me think of an archeological dig
it was all forest
they did an enormous amount of work to bring it to what it is now

I admire the stone work
some has been redone, some, in the woods, is barely visible
I can’t help to think about the past
who built these walls
when
what were they for
olive trees?
in places huge trees have taken roots
how old are they

I walk some more
at the spring I pick up the clay cup and I have a sip
fresh
I go by tall rosemary bushes
it’s hard not to
I rub my hands with their essence
I look down at the rolling hills
in the distance I see the village
on my back the cliff stands tall
no clouds are caught in it today
I look at the olive groves all cleaned up
much work was done there

this week, working away in the sun, I stopped for a moment and thought how content I was to be outside in such a beautiful environment
yes, this experience has been good

our work is done here and our journey to continue
tomorrow we will be off to Barcelona
this coming week we will reunite with our son Isaac and our son Sam who is joining us for the holidays
now that for me will be Christmas

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Coffee with Deanne Episode Five

Well here is another one….I am really having fun doing these videos. I guess you may have noticed I am doing these instead of writing right now. At least for a little while.

This weekend is our big Grand Opening of Thirty Church : The Women’s Store so I am excited about that. We have a ribbon cutting with the mayor at 11:30 on Saturday.

This fall has been really exciting. On Monday we had a book launch with The Bethany Group in Halifax. It was an honour to be received by them and hosted. We all had a good time.

Today I plan to hook, and order wool in the afternoon but I am working in the women’s store in the morning. I love to be busy in the days and follow that with quiet evenings to replenish.

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Catherine Bussiere: highlights

when one doesn’t know where to start; start with highlights
Paris is already gone by and I barely said a thing busy we were soaking it up
and before Paris there was Canterbury
didn’t even mention that did I
images are worth a thousand word, I will use this

Canterbury: awe, solemnity, beauty, moved to tears when I entered the crypt
why?
I think the sense of time, history, people, us in some ways passing through, achievement, faith, war, love, peace
I don’t know
and didn’t need to think it
the feeling was there and was enough
I loved Canterbury
later on we went back to hear the choir
we went to mass
I never go to mass
it was beautiful
the whole ceremony punctuated by a mixture of voices all tones and range mixed in unison in this huge sacred place

that was Canterbury cathedral
highly recommended

then Paris
an overnight bus ride from London that took us on the ferry in the middle of the night
long and groggy is the feeling
in the middle of the night we go through border
the French one
I’m a little nervous again, borders tent to do that
Charlotte is ahead
the officer says “bonsoir”
she says “bonsoir”
he then says “and in the morning you say…”
She is puzzled for a second then responds “bonjour”
“and in the afternoon…”
that’s the trick question, one must know that to go through border
Charlotte answers: “bonne après-midi”

I go after Charlotte
He says: “Bonsoir”
“bonsoir”
“She looks like you”
“She’s my daughter”
the officer winks, stamps my passport, “Bon séjour”
off I go
I love France already

True things about Paris: people are not rude
or at least no more then anywhere else
also, I was under the impression that there would be dog droppings everywhere
that was an old rumor
Paris is clean, surprisingly clean
Paris highlights: everywhere you look is beautiful, the bakeries, la Seine, the multiple bridges, la tour Eiffel at night, walking and getting lost, our hosts
Paris was thrilling and exhausting
you just can’t help wanting more of it

We are now settled in a beautiful nook in Southern France
up against a cliff looking down valleys
olives trees lined up on “restanques” (dry-stone wall terraces)
a 2 km path takes us to the nearby village (and bakery)
today we’ll explore a different path that leads to a monastery
the monks are known to produce “Chartreuse” and honey
worth investigating

at this point in our trip we have been reunited with my son and his … fiancé!
he proposed in London about a week ago
sweethearts
so it’s five of us for the month in Provence
we will be clearing the orchard, helping out on the land
it is a country where thyme and rosemary grow wild
as my son said “herbes de Provence” could just as well be “weeds of Provence”
we love it

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Catherine Bussiere: this is it

next week, Sunday, I will be writing from … London!
it still doesn’t sound quite real
yet everything around me spells it out

Eric (my husband) is tying things up
painting, touching up cement, getting the house all ready for a cozy winter

Charlotte (my daughter) was done work at the end of September
is done all the homework for her correspondence studies
will do her exams this Tuesday (we leave Thursday)
has been packed for a month

I have been booking tickets, bought insurance, payed bills
I got my website up and running (thanks Michele)
took the cats to Grammy (boohoo we miss them)

So close to departure and feeling like it’s a pretty big deal
It’s the first time we cross the ocean
we’ve been all over North America and down in Mexico
yet this time is different
Is it the fact that we can’t drive there?
must be the ocean
I don’t know

Maybe it’s because we haven’t gone on a big trip for a while
maybe it’s the news
or maybe it’s because these are our last few months with Charlotte before she leaves the coop
Our last fall as a trio
we use to be a quintet
we’re about to be a duo

I don’t know if we’re all a little anxious
for whatever reason
I know I am
even though I can’t pinpoint why

it doesn’t matter
on Thursday night we’ll cross the ocean
on Friday we will meet people
start building new friendship
acquire new skills
fill our eyes with new sights

that is exciting

so, yes, I finally have my website up and running
it’s basic at the moment
it’s like a travel journal at the beginning of a trip
not much in it yet
but it’s coming
I will keep posting here (and on my site) on Sunday but if you get curious about what goes on the rest of the week have a peak www.catherinebussiere.com

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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Diane Krys: 5 Days in Vancouver

I recently attended a Maiwa Symposium workshop on Granville Island, Vancouver. Tilleke Schwartz’s free form, graffiti style embroidery inspired me to pick up needle and thread and try my hand. In and out of class I found a feast for my eyes and imagination.

Funny how I can get up at the crack of dawn when I’m away!  What a lucky break to find myself in a room with this   view of False Creek and downtown Vancouver.

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Since I was up so early, I would visit the Emily Carr University of Art + Design library en route to class. It was a treat for a magazine lover like me, to indulge in the most interesting,international art, design and textile magazines imaginable.

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Maiwa has also compiled an extensive collection of textiles, books and artifacts, primarily from India. It acts a resource centre and workshop space. It was wonderful to be surrounded by this rich textile history as we took in Tilleke’s presentations and worked on our own creations.

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Tilleke brought a work in progress to share.  Her pieces are a mind map of her wit, whimsy and response to the world. You can be familiar with something through images but there’s nothing like a personal encounter.  Awesome!

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I would lunch across the street at the bountiful Granville Island Market.  Every basket of fruit and berries was piled meticulously to a perfect peak; it made for a stunning “fruitscape.” I thought this attention to detail was like the repetition of a tiny plain stitch to create larger,dynamic rhythms and patterns. Clearly, I had stitching on the brain.

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I never knew what would catch my attention walking back to the hotel after class. It might be a piece of art or a guy making giant bubbles with a couple of sticks and a string. I was as mesmerized as the kids in this photo. I couldn’t help thinking of Janet Echelman’s aerial sculptures as the bubble moved and morhped.

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Friends picked me up for dinner one night and we went out for Italian food tapa style. I love sharing plates and sampling-you get to try so much more on the menu!  Isn’t it lovely when food looks so artful and appetizing.

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On an after school excursion I whipped over to Knit City,Vancouver’s big knitting event. CaterpillarGreen was a find. Their hand dyed self striping yarns are ingenious.

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I had the last day to myself so I decided to visit the Museum of Anthropology. They have an extraordinary collection of First Nation totem poles,art and artifacts, as well as, other ethnographic collections. I’m always awed by the quiet dignity and magnificence of totem pole carvings but the simplicity of these Haida bentwood boxes is also beguiling.

 

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Given I had just spent a few days stitching, I was drawn to the needle work in their collections. Somebody please stop me if I ever want to take up making bobbin lace!

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This bright, little piece of Ukrainian embroidery touches on my own paternal Ukrainian heritage. There are so many stories, connections and history in textiles. I feel a tenderness for it’s hand stitching; the variances all show the maker’s hand and soul.

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I’m home now with a suitcase full of laundry and a mind full of new ideas.  It’s a good trade.  It’s refreshing to take in the thoughts and ideas of another artist, try out a few new techniques and breath in the culture of another city.  Vancouver was trip to savour during the cold months ahead.

 

Diane Krys: The Sweater

I’m in the thick of downsizing and transitioning my parents from the house they’ve lived in for over 40 years to a small condo. They are excited for the change so spirits are high despite the amount of physical and emotional work. It’s a sensitive transition going through a lifetime of possessions and then having to part with most of them. Our things can be so embedded with our histories, stories and identity.

For the last few days I’ve been working in my Mum’s old sewing and craft room which was my childhood bedroom. Talk about layers of history-my Elton John Captain Fantastic poster from the 70s is still clinging to one wall. Mum hasn’t done a lot of sewing or knitting in the last years so it’s become a catch-all space. A couple of old Singer sewing machines and stacks of boxes lined the walls and an assortment of bags filled the centre. It was a bit of an archaeological dig but as a maker with a penchant for vintage things it was potential treasure trove to me. In short order I spied a hand knit sweater I clearly remember Mum wearing a lot when we lived in Nova Scotia in the 60s. Now that I’m a knitter I could appreciate the complexity of the pattern and how well made it was. It was a sweater with a story and it was a lovely moment to be able to bring it out to Mum, who was working away in the living room, and share it’s history. It even fits her again!

IMG_7301I also found a stash of vintage knitting patterns and books going back to the 40s. They’re coming home with me- I’ll worry about my stash later! I marvel at how elegant and stylish they are especially the Vogue Knitting magazines from the UK.  Mum and Dad lived in Scotland for a couple of years when they were first married so some of the books are from 1955-57 when she was knitting up a storm with all those beautiful Scottish wools.

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At the end of a long dusty, day I was going through one last box of stuff destined for the Goodwill bag and to my delight I saw a little magazine bent open to reveal the very pattern for the sweater I unearthed earlier. Another one for my pile and another story.

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My parents have given themselves a number of months to transition to the new place. Even so, the impulse for us helpers is to rush, rush, rush, like all the goodness is waiting on the other side. Who doesn’t want to get through a move like this quickly, however, now that I’m in the middle of it, I think the process of getting there has value and can be a quality experience too. Possessions can be memory triggers and there is something very powerful and meaningful in allowing some time and space for those stories to be told. I’m so grateful for these “sweater” moments. I will savour them and they will no doubt become fodder for future reminiscing when we’re all sitting around their new condo. This move is a whole lot of work to be sure but I wouldn’t trade this time with my parents for anything.

 

Note: I have an article in the new Sept/Oct issue of Rug Hooking Magazine where I write about my combination hooking and felting work.  The article also features images from my Illusions, Revelations and Transformations solo show. See you next month and thanks for stopping in!

Diane Krys: Driving Under the Influence

With a title like that you might be thinking this is going to be about some wild party or a cautionary tale but it’s not.  It’s starts with a safe, responsible drive home though the countryside. On this drive there was a beautiful quality of light where a sunny summer prairie sky was transitioning to evening. My husband was at the wheel and I happened to have my camera on hand. I was moved by the light and the passing landscape so I poked my camera out the window every so often and snapped.

At home I sorted through the blurry and nondescript. I didn’t create any jaw dropping photos but I did find a few that held fragments of the strong impressions I felt. There was such stillness in the landscape it seemed surreal; almost like we were driving through a diorama. The colours were smooth and flat and the whole landscape distilled into simple colours,shapes and forms.

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The simplicity of the photos brought my thoughts to the late abstract painter, Richard Diebenkorn’s work. A genius painter’s work and random amateur photos don’t compare but there was a kind of reduction that connected these disparate things for me.  After reading a bit about him and exploring his paintings a few months ago I found myself especially mesmerized by the way he captured a delicate space and balance between realism and abstraction in his landscapes. Perhaps it was looking at his work months ago that brought my awareness to these recent moments where a row of old granaries fused into a singular graphic shape. The light at the  time of our drive seemed to bath the scenery in a way that removed the extraneous details and left the essence.  Perhaps that’s what my subconscious was really responding to when I felt compelled to randomly stick my camera out the window.

 

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That how artistic influences work I think. We may take things in with one intent but we actually have no idea if or how they will expand our mind or views down the road. Often we’re not even conscious when we are under their influence. Influences can be like new windows lined up and waiting in your mind; poised to give you a new view at unexpected moments like when you’re driving through a landscape you’ve experienced many times before and suddenly it feels different.

Sitting in front on my computer with Diebenkorn back on my mind, I took these thoughts a step further and played around with my photographs.  A horizontal landscape turned vertical further removes it from reality. There can be a completely new story in a different orientation. It can be a story about process and mining imagery in a new way or it could be a view to the essence of something once it’s stripped of preconceived ideas.  I think it’s possible for someone to drive around the world and never really see anything new and yet, you can sometimes find a whole new world on a small stretch of familiar road.

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Thanks for stopping in!

I have a new post on my Diane Krys Studio blog, “A Western Wedding”

 

Catherine Bussiere: passion

If you read my previous blogs you know that I spent some time with family in Quebec.

I’ve been back for I week now and I miss them all already.

During my stay I spent a lot of time with my nephew Eliot and my niece Léonie.

It was precious.

For them I made this short video. It’s about passion, creativity, beauty, nature. It’s a little dreamy thanks to the music by Chan Wai Fat.

The commentary, by Eliot, is in french.

Here is the translation:

“I make flies since I’m 6 or 7. It’s my dad that showed me. I like it a lot. Since then I make lots.”

“I like to know that this fly will go on the water, fish will see it. It’s fun when you catch a fish and it’s you that made the fly.”

“I like to fish because; you’re on the water, you see fish, you’re in nature, all of those things that brings you close to nature.”

“When I’m fishing… I feel like… with all my equipment, in the middle of the river… I feel good… I don’t know how to say it… I lose a bit the notion of time… I can stay there a long time… so much I like it… That’s it.”

 

Catherine Bussiere: bike ride

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it is sunny
it is warm
it smells like fresh cut grass
it smells like a warm summer forest
there’s bugs
there’s birds
and fishes
and wild flowers

it’s the country
another country side
a hilly one
with fields, forests, tractors, and hidden ponds
with nephews and a niece
and bikes

it’s June
and it’s summer

Catherine Bussiere: traveling with my mom

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I know it’s fathers day
but
I’ve been hanging with my mom lately

My mom came to visit me in Nova Scotia
almost a month
she lives in Trois-Rivières, Québec
a city gal that can appreciate the country

as adults we may not spent a lot of time with our parents
with the distance that separates us I certainly don’t
but when I do it’s usually a chunk of time

the interesting thing about a long visit is that you have to adjust to each other
each others life style and environment
if someone comes for a day or two you most likely give all your best
on a longer visit the full you starts coming out

it took about a week for my mom to settle in
to adjust to our country rhythm
to adjust to our personalty
to make herself fit in

my mom lives alone and has been living alone for years
it takes adjustments

it’s funny how we both have a tendency to put each other on pedestal
(I didn’t grow up with her)
but face to face, day after day, the pedestal got shorter
we both became more human
with our faults, our imperfection
it’s a good thing
it’s real, it needs work and it works

I drove my mom back to Québec last Wednesday
we stopped in Kamouraska for the night
treated ourselves to a beautiful B&B
if you ever drive through Québec do stop there
this little village on the shore of the St-Laurence river is so beautiful

I’m in Trois-Rivières now
for a week
a country gal that can appreciate the city
it’s good to spend time
beyond the surface there is so much to learn

Catherine Bussiere: Graduation

it’s busy time at the moment
my mom is over for a month visit
yesterday we all went to Halifax for my son’s graduation
he now holds a degree in fine arts
he’s my first to graduate from university
in a card that I gave him I was saying how proud I was
not so much (of course so much, but also) of his talent and achievements
but so happy of the man he has become
caring, attentive, responsible

It’s interesting to see kids grow
their impetuous nature
the challenges we must deal with along the way

It is spring and in this time where all is blossom and growth and promises
I feel so content to see my young man
like these blossoms
fresh, filled with potential
ready to embrace the world

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Catherine Bussiere: school

For the past three year I have been an assistant in french classrooms.
The main requirement for the job was to have french as a first language.
I only have 1 year of university under my belt and even if I’ve done a few years of college, when it comes to certain jobs it doesn’t mount to much.
When I realized I could do this job in two nearby schools, one being where my kids went, I jumped on the occasion. I’d been self employed for a while and the prospect of a regular paycheck was rather incentive.

In three weeks I’ll be done my third year.

During these past three years I’ve had the chance to experience first hand what it is like to be in a classroom. From grade four to grade twelve I’ve spend time along side teachers going over the basics of the french language. Core french it’s called. During these years I have seen how in general the idea of speaking another language is, at first, for most, appealing. The little ones generally have fun with it. And they are quite good. They remember words and sentences, they have fun with it. But as the years go by, it doesn’t take too long, it seems like what was once fun becomes dull and unnecessary.  By grade 8 or 9 the kids are done with it. Even though they are told how important it is to know another language, even though they could potentially get a better job (or a job at all), they are not interested any more and some seem to have lost the little they learned in previous grades.

Many times I’ve come across this attitude of “I’m not good at it” therefor let’s not even try and keep the door shut. I know better. I know better because I have been around those kids for a few years now. I can see the potential. I can see how smart they are. I have kids of my own. Been there. Open up little one, don’t do that to yourself.
It takes a lot of nurturing to convince a kid (or anyone maybe) that they should give themselves a chance. To keep that door open even if it is only a crack. To inspire them.

At the end of the day, after the first year, the important thing for me was not so much how much french they learned. It was that they had met someone from elsewhere who spoke a different language. It was that they could say that they knew someone from Quebec and that person was fine. It was to bring down barriers and let go of the fear. It was to create a relationship of trust and care.

I sometimes wonder how it goes for other subjects. Math, english, sciences. How are they doing there? How much of what we do, what is taught, is for keeps, is of use.

In three weeks I’ll be done my third year and I’m calling it a wrap.
My daughter, my youngest, will unofficially graduate from high school (she’s skipping grade 12 by doing two correspondence courses on her own). We will celebrate with a journey through Europe and after, who knows. I feel like I’ve been in school long enough. I need to experience new things. Have new challenges.
It’s been a good journey though. It has been really good to meet all these fine young individuals. It’s been good to find behind a rowdy front, attention and mindfulness.
It’s been good to nurture the needs and to be trusted to do so. It’s been good to see my own barriers and fears fall.

I’m looking forward to a new journey and I will be happy to hear, when chances come along, the sweet sound of: Bonjour madame Catherine.

 

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that video called memory

Sometimes lately when I go to write this blog I do not seem to have any new pictures and I feel frustrated. I know why I don’t. It is because in my daily life I like to be the lens instead of behind the lens lately. Last week my niece was playing the piano beautifully. I was sitting and listening and I thought “I should go get a picture for the blog. ” Then it dawned on me that in doing that I would miss the moment. Seventeen year olds might only play for a few minutes. I sat still and listened. I wish I had a shot for you of long fingers on piano keys. That lovely  image of skin tone against black and white but I don’t because it is in my mind not on my camera.  I just can’t afford to miss the moment to get the shot.

I still take pictures. I have a nice small camera that fits neatly in my pocket or purse that shoots really good images. I just have been forgetting it is there sometimes and when I do remember I feel like I am leaving the present moment , not enjoying things as they are. Honestly I think this is a good thing, a maturation of sorts for me. I will still take pictures but I think it will be with the intention of taking pictures rather than as an interruption.

For example when I am visiting my little baby friend Charlotte, I only get down there for a half and hour every week or so I want to be with her. Watch how she has grown. See her reach for things, discover her hands, become aware of words. I leave my camera in my purse. Or when I see my daughter and her friends lying with their legs thrown over each other on the couch, or when I see the light hit the orchid on the window sill, or when I see the ice form on the window box, sometimes I am just there and I don’t think I should fight with that. Isn’t that what an artist wants, to be in the moment, to see what is around them.

Yet I want to share what I see. I love it that this blog is read faithfully by so many. I enjoy that instantaneous response on Facebook though I still find the whole Facebook thing odd to say the least….still if you want to join the oddness you can like my Studio Facebook page.(isn’t this ironic?) It surpassed 1800 likes the other day and I felt good about it. Why? Who knows? Just because it is there and I am part of it. I just joined last year and I enjoy posting progress on my rugs, things that go on around me. It is just like a quick little journal. Yet I find it weird that this is how we communicate now. Friends don’t call me much anymore they fb me. We organize get togethers. Today I am going out to a St. Patrick’s Day lunch because a friend face booked me. I would not want to miss the lunch.

So as much as I am a part of the whole social media thing, blogging, fb, twitter, I do not want to miss my life. It is not online that I want to see my life. What if the power goes out indefinitely
( won’t happen, don’t worry, just makin’ a point) and you can’t review your year on fb? I ‘d like to think that I have a movie I can play in my mind, and that I’ll always have that movie cause I lived it and I was there. I smelled it. I saw it. I felt it. I heard it. I was present.

Mind you I ‘ll find time for a few pictures but I’m making sure that there is lots of time in front of the lens, and that my eyes are the lens, and that I am making that video called memory that I can play back just by sitting down quietly for a moment.

Just some shots..

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a weak ode to St Patrick’s Day…..

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Diane Krys: Beginnings

I recently showed my friend Rita how to rug hook. It brought me right back to my first rug hooking experience. While nothing could be easier than pulling a loop, it can feel awkward until you get comfortable holding everything and handling the wool. I felt such tenderness for all beginners when I watched my friend take her hoop and hook out for their inaugural spin. She fumbled and wrestled a bit and was very intent on trying to make her loops the same height and perfectly spaced. I remember feeling the same way. In fact,once I had made some progress on my first piece, I wanted to go back and rip those wonky beginner loops right out. I’m glad I resisted the urge. They’re an important part of that rug’s story and I like that I can pinpoint my first steps.

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First loops,2004.

To start with I set Rita up with a bit of backing so she could noodle around. When she leaned over to show me her first doodles she was all too aware they were wiggly and wildly spaced. Where she saw imperfection, I saw beauty. There was a lovely innocent flourish to those sweeps of color. Honestly, I found them way more appealing than a tidy grid of loops. I didn’t think to take a specific photo of them at the time but later I made a few doodles of my own inspired by her baby steps.

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IMG_5668Now you might think I have something against neat loops and tidy rows but the reality is I like to rug hook corn rows too.  I don’t view any loop; big,small, tidy or wild, as right or wrong. They are all options and a design choice. Because there’s such a wide range of work you can create with rug hooking techniques,from functional floor coverings to art pieces,I like to play around and teach my hook more than one dance move.

We worked away side by side for a few hours and I found it refreshing to keep company with someone just starting out. I often find a lot of inspiration and charm in the unfiltered, uninhibited impulses of early work. We are all children again when we try something new.

Our afternoon had me thinking back to my earlier pieces and I realized my current rug hooking work has areas of wonky loops exactly like the ones I was so eager to pull out all those years ago. The difference now is I create them with intent. In certain projects I like mixing even rows and uniform loops with sections of kookiness for more textural variety.  Sometimes progress takes us right back to where we started.

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Detail of D.T., Diane Krys,2013

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Detail of Sawtooth, Diane Krys,2013

I spoke with Rita the other day. She hasn’t trimmed any wooly tails off the hooked surface yet because she’s unsure of the best way to cut them. She’s popping over this week and she’s anxious to mow them down. Personally, I can’t wait to see her shaggy pillow top. I’m thinking it might look kinda great.

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Serendipity, Diane Krys, 2006

Recent work on display at the Edmonton International Airport

http://flyeia.com/shop-dine-relax/relax/art/illusions-revelations-transformations

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

Pablo Picasso

Thanks for stopping in!

Diane Krys: Shades of Gray

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I’ve had a very tumultuous relationship with the color gray.  It started in my teens. It was the 70s and I was in love with a 3-piece gray wool pant suit. It’s hard to believe I ever wanted a suit never mind what colour it was or why, as a teenager, I felt I needed one, but there you have it. All my enthusiasm flatlined once I tried the thing on. I looked sick. Not just a little under the weather, more like I stopped in to pick up an outfit on my way to the emergency room.  My beloved suit stayed on the rack along with countless other pieces of gray clothing over the years. They called to me like siren songs only to leave me standing in the fitting room feeling disappointed,duped and looking sickly. I eventually dismissed gray as a killjoy and not for me. By extension, when I came to the world of rug hooking and fibre art, gray was simply not a part of any color palette I chose. Ever.

A few years ago I was challenged to wet felt something using a color I didn’t like. I could have fudged it, no one knew my true feelings and sordid history with gray but I decided to give it a go. With a heavy heart I went to the various shades of gray roving pile and made my selection. I covet gray in many contexts but with our checkered history I didn’t want to touch it or have it on my work table. Face to face with this fluffy, innocent pile of rovings I became aware of the depth of my aversion. Without fully realizing it, I had completely blocked it’s creative potential and taken it right off my radar.

You can probably guess what happened next.  When I started to work with it I saw it differently. Like every colour there were at least 50 shades, some warm;some cool. Initially, gray and I found common ground with the warm pewter tones. They played really well with the bold, bright colours I’m obsessed with. My stash of gray yarns and materials is growing all the time and gray continues to charm it’s way into my colour palettes. I’m even sporting a gray wool winter coat these days.(with a mandatory bright scarf) After a long exile,gray seems fresh and new and gives my creativity butterflies. I’m all dreamy and  fantasizing about an all gray, tone on tone, art piece. We’re getting along so well I want to doodle D.K. + G. and draw a big heart around it speared by cupid’s arrow. I may as well just confess- I love gray!

A few shades from my photo library:
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East Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia

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Fish Market, Venice, Italy

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My Backyard

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A nighttime view of my Alberta Craft Council show from the outside looking in.

Catherine Bussiere: February 9

I like how winter is going by
days getting longer
How many minutes a day again?
only a bit (about three)
and so in a sneaky way
day by day
we get more light

I like this time of year because I can look up to things
Spring, summer, garden, heat
All things that I love are in the horizon

There is a lot penned down in my calendar for February
It’s almost surprising
Wasn’t I hibernating
wishful thinking

This week will be my daughters birthday
17
how come it sounds so much more then 16
funny how numbers are
she asked me to make her a tiramisu
that in itself is rather exciting
Tiramisu is an italian dessert that involves ladies finger (the cookies), fine chocolate, mascarpone cheese (like a rich and creamy italian cream cheese), whipped cream and whipped eggs
it may involve brandy
it’s light, it’s rich, it’s scrumptious

This past Monday my son had an opening
he will be graduating from art school this year
he is a creator, a sculptor, a designer
he is a fine artist

my photos this week are from his show
it was called In(ter)action
the premise: you may touch the art
in fact it demands to be touched

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Catherine Bussiere: Serendipity

I like embracing new words
think about them, get a feel of what they mean
english being a second language, every so often I come across a new one that I have to tame
serendipity is one of them
I had, last Monday, the perfect embodiment of the word

About a year ago, my daughter, then in grade 10, announced that she was going to finish high school the following year. She had talked to the school councillor, she had done her research and it was figured out that if she took two classes on her own through distant education and took such and such classes at school she would have all the required credits to graduate. No need to go through another year of high school, she could skip grade 12 all together. Nice. The question was, what will you do the following year. I want to go to Europe, she said, I want you guys to come with me. You guys being my husband and I. In this particular instance I love being you guys.

Clearly, neither my husband nor I questioned that offer. It was the kind of offer we wouldn’t consider saying no to. Our teen daughter wants to spend some extra special time with us before she leaves the nest. Hummmmm, ok.

Now the plan for this coming fall is to travel through Europe or rather visit a few areas and stay, if possible, for up to 6 months. We are not the go on a cruise type or the whirlwind see 12 countries in 12 days type. We are looking at finding a few places where we can spend chunks of time. We found this website called Helpx which connects people from various countries with travelers. In exchange of help around house, garden, business, the host provides shelter and food. Some host have vineyards, bakeries, businesses, small farm they need help with. My personal goal is to learn some new skills, a new language and share my skills. For my husband and daughter it will be, amongst other things, to share their music.

A week ago Sunday we had our first official family meeting. There is plenty to figure out about this trip, just the visa issue was starting to give me a headache. The three of us brought to the table our findings and came to some agreements. It’s a work in progress, getting together made us all that more excited about the infinite possibilities.

Sounds a little gypsy to you, just you wait…

When I came back from work the following day, Monday, I saw a full size winnebago parked in my parking spot. An older one, maybe from the seventies. Now we have musician friends that could potentially own one of those and be touring and be parked in our driveway, but mid January?
I got out of the car, looked around to see the plate and read Tennessee. Louisiana, North Carolina, yes, maybe, but Tennessee… ?
So I get in the house, hear voices in the living room and find my husband in a cheerful conversation with a couple and a teen. We are introduced; Joe, Donna, their son, there is a daughter upstairs with my daughter. They are from Australia. (Oh, ok, now that makes sense!) They have been on the road for years. He is a horse man, a cowboy, a musician, a long rider. He did a lot of his trip solo but is now traveling with his family. He wrote a book that is self published and has cds for sale. They go from town to town telling their story to the newspaper, find a venue, do a show and move on. Like troubadours of another era. Last year they were in Europe for several months. They fill us in with all those details we are wondering about. We talk for hours. My husband plays a few songs, Joe plays a few song. I move to the kitchen and start supper. Little Maddie, the 10 year old daughter, joins me ready to help.

What are you making she says.
Soup, biscuits and brownies.
Can I help?
Sure, let me start the soup, you can help me with the baking.

We shared a meal, stories, they spent the night, we exchanged emails.

Last night they did a show in Tatamagouche, a nearby village. I heard it was well attended.

Oh, you wonder how they got to our place. Serendipity I guess. They stopped at the Chatterbox cafe in Pugwash looking for a venue. That venue being closed the owner who knows us said “you should check out these folks” and instead of driving straight to Tatamagouche like they first intended they backtracked a little and found us. They will be in the maritimes for a few months. If you are curious here is their website: www.joeguylongrider.com

Now, I must go. We are having a meeting!

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Diane Krys: Jasper in January

I’ve been enchanted by tropical tales from my snowbird friends but when we have the chance for a mid-winter getaway my husband and I travel right into the belly of the beast and head to the Rocky Mountains. We’ve been doing this since we were young pups and one of our favourite spots to enjoy winter’s splendour is Jasper, Alberta where we recently spent some time.

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There’s a lot of action despite the soft silencing of heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures. The mountains have their own winter culture and activities.  When we were first going out together, about 100 years ago, Frank and I were ski obsessed. That’s what we all did back in the our late teens and twenty something years. Those kind of excursions waned over time as everyone’s lives blossomed in different ways. In the last 4 or 5 years we’ve revived our Jasper love affair with a trip almost every winter, sans skis mind you, but there’s still lots to do.Image

By coincidence we were able to catch the start of the “Jasper in January” festival this year and spent a day at Pyramid Lake. There were a myriad of activities going on including dog sled and sleigh rides. Snowshoers and cross country skiers wove tracks across the frozen lake and our future Canadian curling team practiced with birch stones. The plowed oval invited skaters and strollers. It was a beautiful day in so many ways it gave me a lump in my throat at one point.

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I’m never more keenly aware of my body’s fitness(or lack there of) than when I’m in the mountains, especially in the winter. I think a big part of mountain culture is about fitness, activity and doing it all in a spectacular natural setting.  It begs you to take the challenge and join the fun.

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It hit me on this trip as I saw skiers jaunting around town in their brightly coloured tech gear, how much I miss the intense physicality of skiing and experiencing the mountains on a downhill run. I felt myself longing for it and a nice Canada Goose parka!

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It also occurred to me I’ve been living like a head in a jar lately. That is to say, detached from my body in a sense because I’ve been so deeply focused on other things. In some ways new challenges have become my mountains to explore and master. It’s gratifying for sure but it doesn’t doesn’t do much for leg strength when you’re hiking up an incline.

I guess it’s about balance and perhaps I’ve lost it in this area of my life lately. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and finding the balance between giving my “all” to something and taking care of my physical fitness is sometimes a struggle for me. I do a lot of work to stretch my mind but am I doing enough to stretch my body. The burning and fatigue in my thighs tells me apparently not.

When winter comes I don’t dream of palm trees. I dream of a view of the mountains and being in them.  They connect me more deeply to nature and remind me that I am nature like the elk and crows. It’s a magical experience. It’s also great inspiration to keep my body moving. Who knows maybe by this time next year I might even find my ski legs.

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curiosity never really killed the cat it just made her life more interesting

I am reading a book about idea spotting. It is ironic that I am reading it for the third time. It was published in 2006. Is it just me or does that seem old? I actually found the word walkman in there today. Are we more time sensitive then ever now ? How will anything get to be a classic?

Once I read an article by Sarah Ban Breathnach who wrote all those daily comfort book for women in the early nineties …we all had one or two. They were actually quite good. One day she was cleaning out her books and papers and her niece suggested they get rid of it all. . She said she could not purge this stuff because it had been the inspiration for her books. Her niece said that she should think about how happy her readers would be if she got all new inspiration. That story stuck with me. So often we return to what we know of more inspiration. If what we now is static and unchanging then the only really way we can new inspiration there is if we change ourselves.

Personally I have always been searching for new ideas. I still do. Sometimes I go to the old books in my studio, sometimes I seek out the new books for new ideas. The truth is though once you have read a lot new ideas become harder to find. Once you have seen a lot, read a lot, it is harder to be surprised. One of my sisters ( I have six you know) told me the years ago. She was about forty and I was twenty three. Now that I have had twenty five more years of reading and collecting ideas I better understand that.

Still though I refuse to settle or to believe that the world is not full of new ideas, or at least old ideas brought forward and reinvented. People are always reinventing themselves, especially today. People change jobs , hobbies, houses these days like never before. We are explorers. I am always meeting new people. I still make new friends. I still come to see old friends in new ways.

Curiosity is so important to me. I would have to say it is one of the things I like about myself and one of the things that frustrates me. It means that I am often looking for something new to inspire me. After all these years I just accept it about myself. I’ll find myself feeling slightly unsettled and I can feel this little motor in my mind starting to rev. The engine just turns over and over and then finally something sparks and it starts running.

If you had to ask me a year ago would I open a knitting shop or a woman’s clothing store I would have told you, I have no intention of it. Intentions just spring upon me sometimes and somehow they collide and settle into something. They usually happen because of the other people in my life. My husband is in the clothing business, Brenda and Megan who work with me are big knitters. I just am that kinda person. I need to feel inspired, to feel busy, to be with people, to create. I need to satisfy my curiosity. I think there are lots like me , we just find different ways of doing it.

Brenda just came in here, she spend the weekend making books. She made the most beautiful book of intentions. I thought to myself, my , how hard that would be to fill, let alone how hard it would be to make.  She made these books because she explores ideas. She loves to make things by hand. She knows the value of trying something new. She is an explorer.

We are all explorers in one way or another. We seek out the beautiful in the new, whether it is an idea or something we can hold in our hands. Our natural curiosity means we seek….we look and hopefully we find.

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Catherine Bussiere: lightness

someone wished my mama lightness for this new year
there are a few definitions
I will share the ones I like

– lack of pressure or burdensomeness

– gaiety of manner, speech, style, … ; cheerfulness

– lack of seriousness; levity in actions, thoughts, or speech

I like it

I was at a women’s gathering earlier today
a friend organized a pot luck
we were to share food and thoughts about this coming year
where we’re at in our lives,
hopes, aspiration, resolution

she had placed pieces of paper in a jar
with questions to think of
one could pick from it as wished
no pressure
turns out that it stimulated various conversation

as there were too many of us to fit around the table
various pockets were formed
I ended up talking with an artist I had been meaning to visit
and a lady I had never met

my piece of paper had to do with new year resolution
and how it would affect me
I first thought I hadn’t taken any
just to be quickly reminded by my daughter of my year’s to do list

are those resolutions?
I guess so

I’ll tell you two things
one is that I feel really good about this year
like it’s filled with potential
there is lots to do and I’m thrilled by it

the other (thing) is that I will make changes and take chances
internal changes as in how I interact with my environment
be more attentive and receptive
it could be anything, people, nature, art, ideas

and take chances
shake things up
get out of my comfort zone
learn, travel, do

what I am not sure
but I feel lightness in the air
and I like it

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Catherine Bussiere: relativity

Christmas has just gone by and there is still New Years to come
yet this morning it feels like the holidays are coming to a close
one of my son is leaving for Cape Breton to be with his loved one
My holidays revolve pretty much around family
family home = celebration
family gone = back to routine
it’s not back to routine yet but it’s looming

Last night we had a little get together
a couple of friends were coming over for supper and last minute we decided to invite a few more
I’ve been wanting to have people over but with all these storms and holiday commitment  I was about to let it go by
last night was just perfect
We had plenty of food and on the spur of the moment my husband just made a couple calls
everyone showed up

I love to mix people up
People that may not know each other
different generation and background
all sitting around the table the conversation never stopped

After much delicious foods we kicked everyone out to go sliding
There really wasn’t any option
so these grown up friends
found themselves on crazy carpets
after what may have been 20 years or more
funny how we stop doing certain things
the sheer joy of sliding down a hill
the inevitable screams of joy
brought everyone back to their childhood

so
much
fun

it really is my favorite winter sport
if it is a sport

as the New Year is coming around
I have on my list to revisit simple pleasures
one thing has been
listening to records
thanks to my daughter who got a record player for Christmas
what a treat

Happy New Year!