Deanne’s Diary:I believe in you Spring

I believe in you spring even though it appears you are hidden under layers of white.

Each layer a Sunday past when the snow fell thick and heavy and I was held up inside with my hook and frame.

I know that the little bit of sun today that warmed me on my walk will charm you out of hibernation.

You’ll arrive one morning and I’ll meet you in a skirt and sweater, dressed up to celebrate your coming.

I’ll cherish you while you are here because my fondness has grown in your absence and I now know how much I love you.

Spring.

I know you are coming.

That thin blue line in the distance is the open water. Another sign.

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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paying attention to the what’s on the go right now

Dear Diary,

Yes, I am back to writing dear diary because I  feel as if I am writing to myself when I start like that. It is so much less intimidating. You will have noticed I am blogging less. I will keep trying to post once or twice a week.

I have to say I am excited about my new book…the best book yet…with out a doubt. Not only is it in hardcover but it is full of surprises and interesting instruction as well as my more personal writing. Simply Modern…I can hardly believe I wrote it.

My friend , Donny Miller, said one of the things he does not love abut me is that before I take time to appreciate one thing I am on to the next thing. We were talking early this fall, being honest with each other and that was his honesty with me. I really heard what he said. I was not like I did not know it. I know myself pretty good. I know that I might relish the moment but as soon as I do I move on to the next thing. It is a weakness and I plan to work on it. In fact I am working on it right now. Relishing my new book. Relishing the new store across the street. And it isn’t easy for me.

When I was in my thirties I sometimes thought that if I could do it, then it wasn’t a big deal. I took it for granted . That has since changed but I remain speedy. One thing done, on to the next. In my life there are lots of quiet and slower times but I am always thinking about the next thing. What should we do next? I think for the coming year, though I have some projects I am working on, it is important for me to think about how can this be the best?

That is what I did with my book., Simply Modern. I thought a lot about how it could be the best possible book. It is what I have done with my studio and it is what I want to do with our new womb’s clothing store, Thirty Church. I want to work on, instead of move on, taking Donnie’s advice seriously.

It isn’t easy for me. It’s a goal I suppose, to relish things more. To savour. Not to eat it all so fast that you barely get to taste it.

This is what I’ll start saying to myself…”Take yer time girl, yer not running a race.” or maybe I’ll try “Deanne , Deanne, don’t do it just because you can.” It is going to take some adjusting but this fall I want to savour, I want to relish, I want to love what I a;ready have, what has already been done for it is try;y beautiful; and it deserves my full attention.

 

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Catherine Bussiere: fruit salad and biscuits

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there are times when all is planned
we’ll do this and we’ll do that
and all is great

today was running nice and smooth
all moves going in the right direction
spirit high and happy
everything in place
ready to go

and then
as the train is about to roll
the phone rings
unsettling things
no alarm
nothing major
just enough
to break momentum
to put a dent
a hiccup

no matter
the food
the company
the enchantment is gone
and leaves room to accommodation

somehow it shouldn’t be a big affair
yet it is felt from the inside
and not much can be done about it
you must follow direction
and your whole body seems at odd

when it’s all said and done
there’s an empty feel left
the anticipation hasn’t been fulfilled
there is somewhat of a void

it only last so long
the day goes by
it will be a memory
it may not even make it

funny how things are

Amherst Shore

Amherst Shore

summers of children playing  on the red sand

wading after hermit crabs

calling out to each other

crossing lawns to find one another

summers of breakfasts at grandparents

washed faces, combed hair

games of cards at night

summers of teenagers

with bon fires and sleeping bags

and long long nights

of talking til the sun was about to rise over the straight

summers of quiet evenings

books and walks

and going out for a visit.

Summers at the shore

are bound to change

they arrive again after all

as if you never left

but we always come home again

slightly different than when we left

it is the way of children

it is the way of young ones,

grown ones, and old ones

we come back with a little more

knowing, a glimmer of understanding,

for in the months between we are soothed, or sometimes shaken,

and we learn that coming back is always new

and we gather who we love

in thought, if not in deed

and we walk the shore

and praise the shells

and bow to the banks

and reach out our arms in thanks

for all we ‘ve known

and for what we have yet to discover

 

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writing books

What makes you write a book. As I start my new one with just a half a page written, I wonder that myself. Maile, a reader who has been here for a workshop, asked that in the comments to yesterdays’ post. How does the process work?

My first book, Hook Me a Story happened because I was afraid that rug hooking would not been seen as part of the culture of Atlantic Canada. There were many books on rug hooking but none coming from the place where rug hooking had been so prevalent for a hundred and fifty years. That book was really about preserving culture. At the time rug hooking was  a quiet little  craft and I wanted to do my part to bring it closer to the mainstream. So I had a bit of a mission with that book.

It took a long time after that to get the go ahead for a second book. Finally , Rug Hooking Magazine published, The Secrets of Design that is now out of print. In that book I poured out everything I knew about design.

The two books I published since then have been with Nimbus Publishing, a small Atlantic Canadian Publisher. One of them, East coast Rug Hooking was also published by a bigger Publisher in the states for the British and Australian Markets. It was retitled Hooking Mats and Rugs. They did a good job producing the new version of the same book. All together, Nimbus and I have sold 25,000 books about rug hooking since Hook Me a Story was first published. Hopefully this has meant that at least that many people have tried their hand at rug hooking. I am pretty sure that is true.

So what is the process of writing a book. I think first the subject has to matter to you, and you have to believe the book has meaning. For me to write, I pretty much have to have a bit of a mission, a reason for getting the words on to the page, in some form. In my last book “Inspired”, I poured out the artistic side of myself. For some reason, I felt I needed to do this. I do not always know why I want to do something, but I really had a desire to write about the nature of creativity. I think that book, though appealing to rug hookers, was really written for anyone who wanted to make art.

My next book has to do with my desire to see younger women, and men keep hooking rugs. I want to see it emerge as a modern craft or art as well as a traditional one. It is both, undoubtedly.

The how of writing is like the how of making a big hooked rug. You just gotta show up and commit to it. I find writing much harder , mind you , as my comfort for it, and my ease with words does not really compare to my ease with wool. I can do it but it does not feel as easy and natural all the time. Sometimes it flows, sometimes it sputters. I just decide that I am going to do it. For this next book, I will be making the rugs first, or along with the writing. The other thing I value is an editor, who can pare down what I have to say to the essential elements. Sometimes you can use twenty words when only ten are needed. It makes a real book, having a good editor, and each time I wrote a book with Nimbus, they have provided me with that.  Thanks Maile, for asking the question .

I also wanted to tell you a nice thing that just happened to me while I was sitting her writing this post. The light was fading and my brother in law, George, got up out of his chair and walked across the room, which is a big deal for him as he finds it hard to get around, and he turned on the light for me to see better. I am so thankful for such small kindnesses. That was so sweet.

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not forgotten

Dear Diary, Sometimes after I write a post I really like, such as yesterdays where I get something off my mind, I find it hard to follow. It is like when the cookies turn out just the way you like them but then the new batch do not quite live up. Blog writing is like that. You do not have it all the time.  You have probably noticed that over time the writing on the blog changes. It goes from community, to personal, to studio. This is very real and honest progression because over time, even in the course of a year my interests change. My abilities also change. Sometimes I just can’t seem to write in a personal way, while another day it just flows. The practice of writing a blog is a practice, that is for sure. You promise yourself to show up and sit and write what you can. Sometimes I think it might be better if I wrote less frequently, and more personally the way I used to when I first started but then the blog would not be a record of my studio life.

A studio life…what the heck is that? Well it is a life built around family, art and creativity. It is a life that focuses on trying to be honest and authentic so that will show through in my artwork. It is a life of just trying to my level best. It is my life and I share it here day in , day out.  My notes here are like,”notes to self”. Sometimes it feels inauthentic to write Dear Diary when I know full well that I am writing to you, the readers. Then I remember that I am writing this blog for you, but also for me.  I write here to connect with my own thoughts and ideas. When I am busy writing a new book or course, this writing changes. When I am lost in a new project or teaching a workshop this writing changes. I would not say it suffers, it just morphs.

Writing is kind of like a prayer for me. I just ramble on a bit, get lost, then wind my way back and reel it in. So I come here sometimes to let go, sometimes to find myself. It is my notebook, and I am happy to share it. I am actually glad to read your comments on it. This year I hope to be more diligent in responding to your comments. If you take the time to leave comment I will try to respond back when I can. The more I think about it the more right it feels, so I’ll do what I can there.

I have not forgot about the blog give away. In fact, everyday, I change it a little. You see Peter, the man who helps me with my website is  re doing my front page and I want to celebrate the give  a way as part of that.  So it is coming, and I hope you’ll like it and not think me foolish! I am actually a little foolish, it is something I cultivate, so you might think that, and that’s okay! The thing is , I have not forgotten.

 

As for Comments on blog posts, here is one you might like:

From a Comment on the blog posted by blog reader Marianna Halassy. I thought I might repeat it here as it is lovely and might get missed in the comments section of yesterday’s post.

The  following is from one of our famous journalists, Regina Brett, who is 57. I think all of you will enjoy it!

– Regina Brett’s (Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist) 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.
It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written.
My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Warmly,
Marianna

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Moments

by Catherine Bussiere

My 15 year old daughter Charlotte is a singer songwriter. About a month ago I made a music video for one of her song. Here is the video and the lyrics. Enjoy.

(Click on the photo to view the video)

“Laying in an open field, letting the tall grass cover my fears, I’ll let the sun shine down on me today.

But the shadows of my life, still linger close behind. Where the sun don’t shine and the devil likes to play.

But I can forget even a minute enough to believe that the goodness is here to stay.

So hold out your hand and we can take a stand. Make a memory out of us today.

Moments pass me by each one a treasure trying to hide but I will dig them up for my sake.
And I will forget each moment that I regret and let the good ones back in.

Walking down the street, a stranger smiles to me, I hope he knows that he’s brightened up my day.

And I do believe that its moments like these that make the dullest days seem great.

Moments pass me by each one a treasure trying to hide but I will dig them up for my sake.
And I will forget each moment that I regret and let the good ones back in.

All these little things mean so much to me, so I’ll think about them till they bring a smile to my face.”

Catherine

paths well travelled

Dear Diary, My son said to me once, “Everyone like to feel like that they chose the road not taken.” I had to agree. I don’t know why but we do. We like to feel unique I s’pose. Every time I see a path  I am reminded of the Robert Frost poem. We all wonder once in a while how things might have been had we chosen a different path, made a few  different choices. Every little choice we make affects so many other choices. I guess William Carlos Williams was right, a lot does depend on a red wheelbarrow, or if you ate the cool crisp plums out of the refrigerator.

Poetry is everywhere, and in it we find the metaphors for our lives. It describes us to a tee, which makes me think we are all more alike than different, and that many of us choose the path well travelled.

 

 

 

 

habits to form with your journal

  1. Write in your own voice as if you were writing a letter to a friend.
  2. Find a time ever day, the same time, so you create a habit of spending a few minutes with your journal.
  3. Use the five senses when you describe things. Think about how it tasted, smelled, felt. Think about what it looked like, and what it sounded like.
  4. Make your sentences shorter rather than longer. It is easier to read.
  5. Add some colour with coloured pencils or markers.
  6. Draw, sketch, or paste as well as write in your journal.
  7. Use it as repository for ideas, none to small or too big.
  8. Keep it close at hand and a pen with it so you can write if you only have a few minutes.
  9. Save them. Reread them every once in awhile and you’ll surprise yourself.

the readers rugs….i enjoy hearing from you

Dear Diary, One of the things I enjoy about my blog is the community around it. I love hearing from people , seeing their work, and knowing that they are on a creative path that is all their own.

That is what this blog is for,  to spur you on creatively, to put a bit of artfulness into your everyday life. Whether it is through a recipe for chicken and coconut soup, or  a story about rug hooking, I bring the blog to you to share my own stories and  interests. Years ago I wanted to create a newsletter like this, but it was impossible because of the costs involved in production and mailing. The advent of blogs and great, free,  open source software like wordpress developed by Matt Mullenweg, and given to the community, has made it possible for me to create this little news magazine about creativity, art and life.

You will have noticed if you have been reading for years that this blog has grown into something. It started on my website  when I was using a program called front page as words only. It was a place where I would go and write dear diary…and tell you a little about my life. I think that was in 2004. It is only in the last year that I started adding pictures to my blog. Can you believe that? It seems as if it has been forever.  Thank you to Hollis Bartlett, the local web designer who helped me take my ideas and make them pretty. So nice to be able to work with someone in your own community, to create what you want.

The readership on the blog according to Google, has increased 400% in the last year. Pictures speak I guess. I thought it had doubled, but in fact the readers have quadrupled. That makes me feel as if the effort I put in here is worthwhile. As a real cook says, “if you ‘re cooking for ten you might as well cook for twenty.” I have been invited to join a network of blogs for women called Blogher, and I would like to do that because it will get my little stories out to more people. If everything works out, you may see a sidebar with links to other blogs in that network of women bloggers from around North America. I just wanted to let you know that so you would not wonder what it is about. It means that I can connect with readers and writers of other blogs about art, craft, food and life. This is interesting to me because blogging is about community and creativity. I am open to new ideas. I have spoken by email top some of the bloggers in this network and they have had good experiences.

So many of you know a little about me before you actually get to the studio, and come see for yourself. Now you even know that I can be kinda crabby thanks to my friend Lily’s post. I have alluded to that before, but she gave you proof. Mostly though  I am happy as a lark, because I love what I do, who I work with, and I have a good loving family. That’s the real cinch, in anyone’s life, their family. I love my children, they’re great people, even if they look down their nose at me for eating too much sugar (isn’t that weird..shouldn’t it be the reverse?). Anyway, I remember a time when they would have eaten gummy bears over canned spaggetti for supper, not that I ever fed them that.  My husband is a good man, “my good man”, I call him ( when I’m not contrary). Friends like Lily, ( I have a few, thankfully) keep me in tune, and remind me to have fun.

So many people who come to visit the studio, tell me they read this blog, and they too , are an important part of my creative life. I am thankful for everyone who reads, guest authors, comments, clicks the “like” button on a post for Facebook, who tells someone about the blog, who sends me a picture of their completed rug ( you can see some below).

Anyway, this is thank you for reading Monday I guess…..Wish I could make everyone of you a cup of tea and an oatcake but the most I can manage is the recipe .The blog lets me offer you a little something at least.  I’ll keep writing, please keep reading…..

 

Shirley Julian , frequent commenter, sent me this picture ."Well there it is, the medal I won a couple of weeks ago for coming first in my age group in the 5K Dairy Capitol Run or walk. I was in the Nordic Pole Walking group. Money raised for the Woodstock General Hospital."

 

by Amy Ruck in Missouri

 

My pattern hooked by Deb Smith, editor of Rug Hooking Magazine

 

hooked By Diana Butler

 

coastal girls adapted to a foot stool by Karen Stanley

 

Girls hooked by Heather Cockerline from our kits

 

A year by the sea…..a book review

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

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

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

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

 

a poem for an answer

Dear Diary, Today my friend Catherine Bussiere, a photographer emailed me and said she was painting her kitchen. Naturally I asked what colour and here was her response……

Green, like the first tender green of the elm trees
Red, bolder then brick but not like fire truck.
And white, called playhouse white.
It just feels nice, like you walk in and relax.

I thought she answered me in a poem, isn’t it nice to have friends like that.

So here’s to green and red, and friends that talk like words matter, and colour paints your life…..

if art is a coal mine then donna morrissey got her pic and shovel

Dear Diary, On Saturday I took a writing course with the writer Donna Morrissey, author of Kit’s Law, Sylvanus Now, Downhill Chance and What they Wanted. I had read all of her books so I thought it would be interesting to play with ideas for a day, and learn whatever she felt like teaching. She is from the West Coast of Newfoundland , and her books published by Penguin, are mostly set in NL.

It was at the local library and organized by a friend , Darlene Porter, who I hooked rugs with years ago, and who still comes by the studio to pick up bits and pieces for her projects. I did not take the course because I wanted to write fiction. Rather I took the course because it might stretch my brain, reorganize the way I see things. I also took the course , because as an artist I enjoy being around artists who’s work I admire. I like to learn about other people’s artistic process.

She gave us some good exercises to learn about voice, about sharpening your writing skills, bringing things down to the bare bones. Those can be used anywhere, in any artistic pursuit. As she was talking , I was thinking about how what she was saying about writing is what I sometimes say about rug hooking in my workshops.

Voice is about finding a way to express yourself that is uniquely your own. Finding a voice is true in all artistic pursuits, whether you are writing a blog, or a book, hooking a rug, or creating a painting. Some people naturally land upon a recognizable voice, but most of us flounder a bit with what to say, how to say it. Our voice changes over time, deepens, develops, re emerges.

Donna Morrissey was good teacher. She had good ideas, structured exercises, balanced with common sense, and question and answer. She , herself, is a bit of an entertainer, funny and charming. At three o’clock, she flung herself into a chair, and said, “whew, I’m exhausted.” I was amazed she had lasted that long.

She got us reading our work right away, just threw us into the frying pan. She had expectations, and the group met them.

I learned that what I need to write fiction is already getting used up in my mats. There is no way I could dredge myself any deeper, because that’s what art is, a dredging of your inner self. You are the mine, and the miner. Your interior self is the one that matters.

Donna said, rightly, that the story is always on the inside. You cannot go looking for it outside yourself. You can travel a thousand miles, you can listen to every little detail of another’s life, but your story is always inside of you. That make’s art kind of risky, kind of hard, kind of heavy, but sweetheart, that’s art. It ain’t easy, it’s a coal mine.

fellow coal miners....Betsy,Darlene and Betty Ann

 

write a letter, it’s something to savour,

 

Dear Diary, this morning a letter came in the mail. I saw it was from another blogger, Martie, who came to a workshop years ago. We share a love of fibre and art, and the natural world.  Instead of reading it in a rush , or a blur, I let the letter sit there all day, set aside for when I could take some time to savour it.

When I came home tonight I sat down quietly in my chair, lifted that thin parchment paper into my hands and settled down with. It was a little gift to behold. Something real in my hands.

How different was it from reading an email? Well it was like the difference between night and  day, black and white. They are both good but they cannot be compared, but sometimes you just like one more than the other.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy emails, and hearing from people but a letter, or a hand written note is a gift now that we have moved so far away from them. Many young people have never written or received a letter written by hand. The idea is getting a bit lost.

When was the last time you got one? When was the last time you wrote one?

Yet it is still so easy. It takes only a little time. You say things in a letter that you would not bother saying in an email, because the process slows you down, and you become more thoughtful. It is not fired off in haste, but thought out. It is really a contemplative act.

I knew from the writer that the letter would give me something to think about. I knew that it would give me repose. The paper, the feel of it, the weight of it, the ink, would all add up to something more than the words.

That’s a letter. It’s more than the words on the page.

 

 

 

 

thanks for 449 and still counting

open the door, and see what you find

Dear Diary, Seven or so years ago when I started writing here I had no idea that I’d be creating something. I just saw a possibility, and I went with it. That is exactly how I started rug hooking. When you go with the flow, peek in through unopened doors, you never know what might happen. I became a rug hooker, then I became an artist, then I became a writer, and now I am trying to become a better photographer. One door leads to another.

I am really happy that the new format of the blog is working the way I wanted it too.  I have pulled up some good articles that have been buried for years and put them back on the front page. I am able to do this with different articles for a period of time. This new format is about what I wanted for my writing. It is also what I wanted for my photos as they have become a hobby. They help me with both my rugs and my writing.

I have so enjoyed  your participation in the blundstone boots contest, and the quotes you sent. Thank you to the 29 people who clicked the Facebook  “like” button on the right corner of the post, and then added a link from their Facebook page to the post.I know this meant many more people learned about the blog, and sent in a quote. Up to today, we have had 449 comments…a few of those are my own, but still it is impressive.

Through the quotes I have learned about some writers I need to find out more about. So many of the quotes are about living fully, and creativity.They have given me some insight into who is reading, and it is nice to know a little about you. I have read every one, thanks for your notes and encouragement.

I see the blog as a place to tell a story, to talk about what I feel and think, to be creative in a different way. I see it as “making something” because all these words strung together in sentences, make up little stories. Many , many stories make up this blog. In fact there have been over 458 posts, more really as some of those some of those contain many of the older posts from the online diary. To date, there have been nearly 2000 comments. In a way, the blog itself has become a body of work. My little notes to myself, get archived here, and all together make something bigger. That is creativity….all the little steps and parts add up to something more than the sum of the parts.

Keep reading.Keep clicking the “like ” button if you are on Facebook to any posts you think your fiend will like. My goal is to build the readership of the blog, slowly over time.It matters to me, and from your comments I believe it matters to you.

Thanks, keep coming over to play with me.. I’ll keep thinking of new ideas, and I’ll keep writing. It is just part of who I am.

peek through doors and see what's behind them
unlock your creativity

why I blog

my first sign for the studio

Dear Diary, Why do I blog? Why do I write to you? What makes me sit here nearly every day and go on and on sometimes about things that have nothing to do with rug hooking?

I wonder. I wonder so I answer my own question.

For years I have written to you but I have been sporadic. Sometimes I would go a month or more and not speak to you. I’d hold my tongue. Last new years eve, that is 2009 I made a little resolution. Sometimes they work you know. I used a  New Years resolution  to quit smoking twenty five years ago and haven’t taken a draw since.

Last year I decided that I would resolve to post a little something on my studio blog everyday. I missed the odd time but mostly I was good and committed.

I make sure I get to it. Why do I do it..I wonder…well if I just start writing about it I’ll find out.

she thinketh too much...the blog is a place to go

This is why I do it….

  • Writing helped me figure out what I have to say. It helps me know what I think.
  • I write to know myself better.
  • I like to write
  • It keeps me from blabbering on too much….it keeps me from repeating the same stories over and over again, it has been written down I don’t need to say it.
  • I have ahhh ahhh….a kind of…. big sort of ego… I hate to say it but it’s true… also… me saying makes it less hurtful if someone else says it.. ..to blog or write a book you have to believe you have something worth saying. I think I do.
  • it is a record of my thoughts. I can’t find them in my head when I need them but here they are all archived nicely
  • I think it might help people get creative with their rug hooking, or creative in general
  • I think it offers something interesting, fun , and inspiring to those who read it. It is a way to give back for being lucky enough to have gotten to make a living as an artist, writer, rug hooker
  • I think it puts a face to the website http://www.hookingrugs.com…the studio is more than a business it is kinda like a family farm without the heavy equipment
  • I am afraid to dive in and create a magazine…I just don’t have that in me but I want one, just not the headaches of having one. I am  an artist and writer, not an editor, advertiser, producer, printer, distributer…this blog lets me play with the idea of a magazine while still respecting my own limitations
  • it is a way to be creative outside of rug hooking
  • I have a lot to say…and my friends get tired of hearing it…now I ask them to read it
  • I get to show off other people’s talents and abilities
  • I get to show off my own talents and abilities
  • It is kind of a hobby….for a girl whose hobby is her job…if you could call this a job
  • it is full of possibilities…keeps me on my toes about the internet and on the look out for things to write about. It makes me view the world differently.
  • it gives me something to do
  • I want people to think I’m artsy ( my son said that…. not me)
  • I am running out of reasons…oh I forgot…. there does not have to be a reason
the blog is another way of being creative

a book is a powerful little thing

a book for every mother, every woman

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

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

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

this book changed the way I saw things

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

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

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

word by word, bird by bird

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

That is what a book can do.

A book can change your life.

Powerful little things they are, aren’t they?

change is the only thing that’s constant

going with the flowDear Diary, So you noticed …. I have changed things up a bit because I want you to be able to read more, see more , more easily when you visit the site. Everything is still here, it is just more organized.  For years I have played with a dream about starting a magazine….but I have no real intention  to do that. I just like playing with the dream.

Truth is, I want to hook rugs, fool around, read and run my studio. Make things pretty. I don’t want to  slog away editing( you can probably tell this from my typos), worry about paper weights and postal rates. I admire Mary Jane’s Farm,and some other beautiful magazines. They inspire me and make me want to create one myself…..but I don’t want all that goes with that so I thought here would be a good place to play with the idea in a smaller way.

You have probably noticed that I bought a new camera if you read here often. I was inspired by some photography websites to learn how to take pictures. For years I never added a picture here. It was all about the written word. Now  I am learning about aperture, and light trying to show you more about how I see things. It is a new interest, and one that has enabled me to get closer to my idea of a magazine style blog. I hate the word blog……( males me think “blah, blah, blah….she talketh too much”) but it is a word that describes this place.

and here's....Hollis Bartlett

I love to write in this diary. It began on the way home from a Jan Arden concert before the I ever heard the word blog. I think it was in 2002 but may have been 2001. I just started writing, one word at a time about my work and my life adding it daily , or weekly to my website. I did not actually put it in a blog format until two years ago after much urging from Hollis Bartlett, who adds so much to the life of this website with his good  creative techie ideas. He is like having a friend who likes to help you move around the furniture. You use what you have but you make it better. From it’s beginnings the blog has grown and changed as I have.  So folks, this is my little magazine, my blog, my diary, my place to go and write and post pictures. These are the changes I promised earlier. You won’t see any advertising on here in the near future. I have decided that I like it ad free ( and all about me… yippee).

I’ll continue writing, hooking rugs, playing with ideas, taking pictures and just being myself. I dream that you’ll keep reading and that you’ll tell your friends about the site and they’ll read to. You can now add the posts to facebook, forward them to friends, twitter them or a half a dozen other things that I’m not sure about .

Please keep reading , commenting, and let your friends know that the blog is here…that there is this tall skinny (5′ 11 and willowy….not) in Amherst, Nova Scotia who writes all the time about art , life, creativity and rug hooking, and she is having fun doing it.

the middle of winter

icy resolution

Winter begins with a cool series of resolutions

that can rarely be kept

Ice forms, then cracks

Water fills brooks to overflowing

and the banks on it sides never give way

they just take the over flow

as much as the river gives

the excess does not make the river

love it’s banks anymore

the sun shines when it feels like it

but mostly there is a crisp greyness

that you just have to accept

pleased that there is no storm

Watch for the changes in this blog

Hi  Everyone, new posts are below, a little note to you here…

I just wanted you to note that I am going to be having some work done on this blog . I’ll be writing more here myself, and I am going to make a few changes that will make it easier to use, and to find older posts. It is loaded with information and stories, and I want to make it even richer. With over 11,000 visitors coming to this site each month, many of them do read the blog. Just this week, my newsletter subscribers list reached 2000. As I said before one of the reasons I write is because you read. Thank you. Since last winter I have noticed a big increase in daily readership, and I want to invite more people to read it. I want the blog to be better, and to have more readers.

In the next little while, together with Hollis, who makes this site as good as it is, I’ll be adding more interesting content, and making it easier to access. As always, I’ll be focusing on art, creativity, daily life, and rug hooking. I hope to be able to find ways that you can participate more if you like. I have been reading many blogs, and been inspired by a few. I’d like to see more interaction, and also I want to start giving away some lovely , beautiful things, because so many of you, have been so good to me.

Sincerely from the bottom of my red boots, to the top of my slightly greying head, I thank you, thank you, thank….. keep reading, and tell your friends to read too….

because you read, I write

keeping in touch

Dear Diary, thank you for connecting me with so many people.

Thank you for all your notes and cards and letters and the comments you made on the site wishing me a Merry Christmas. I truly appreciate them, and  have enjoyed them very much.

It was great fun to get the mail in the last few weeks with notes from so many people who have come to workshops over the years. Thank you.

I plan to work lots on this blog in the coming months, making it better and richer, more useful to the readers and the community. I look forward to writing here because it keeps me writing. Because you read, I write. Thank you.

poem for the end of winter

Three Doors Down a Country Road

Winters back is broke

Said my neighbor to his wife,

The second wife I’ve known

to him in my life.

They have gathered

her stuff and moved her in

and built a shed to start again.

They live on a hill

Above a grove of birches

That supports a beaver dam.

The river never really flows

that strong and you can’t see it

from their three windows

that sit in front of two rocking chairs

in the living room where there were sitting

curled up in each others arms

when I walked in for tea on a dark night

at the end of February.