Category Archives: Day to Day

Busy Bees of Summer

Summer is finally here! Lots has been happening around Studio – major house renovations and all sorts of stuff. I know the website has been a little quiet lately, and I have been opting to take a bit of a hiatus from Ravelry, Facebook, and any other social networking. I just find it all a bit overwhelming and it tends to detract from actually getting real things done. So, these days I am focusing things, getting lots done, and focusing on more in-person shows, and stuff. But, very soon I will be revamping my office to allow me to do more daily website updates, blog updates, etc. I still likely won’t be on social networking much – except for Studioloo blurbs and pictures on Facebook and Instagram. It’s really working out nicely for me not to spend hours of my day scrolling through stuff. We have to balance life…not make ourselves too available all the time. For me, it’s especially important as I have a day job, dogs, family, and so on.

Last weekend we had a big yard sale and managed to knock out Phase 2 of cleaning out the garage – getting rid of old artwork and antique stall stuff that we no longer want to hold on to. It was a fun, successful day. Having a yard sale is a great way to connect with neighbours and meet people.

 

Most of what I have been doing lately has centred around home renovation and preparing for Twist Fibre Festival in August. I have been dyeing loads of yarn, and still have a lot more to dye, and I have been washing loads of fleeces from my haul at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

This week we are also putting in hardwood floors in our living room, and painting away all the ugly beige. My to-do list is a little bit of a nightmare but I am working through it.

So, if we haven’t chatted in a while ….this is why. I will return to civilization shortly..I promise.

Peeping From Under the Covers…Frolic Time!

Well, it’s been a busy, quiet Winter, and I have developed some bad habits but despite this unrelenting snow, I am going to kick my life back into gear. I guess we all feel this way at this time of year. I have been wasting my time doing so many things…facebook….playing games on my iPad where I am far too committed to building fake towns, and feeding fake animals and destroying blocks and things. That…needs…to….stop! Now! But, the good news is that I have not only been wasting time. I have been doing a lot of cool things that don’t happen on the internet.

I have been a supreme hermit and I am pretty sure that my friends are likely convinced that Mike is keeping me in a cage in my studio, but that’s not the case. Trust me, I am still shaving my legs and making art and having fun. I have really fallen in love my our new home and I have been working on it most weekends and evenings. I have been reading more, watching lots of documentaries, having date nights, playing with my dogs…including our new rescue dog and so much more.

But, it is time to balance and come back into the light. I have a bunch of plans to accomplish things I have been wanting to work on for some time, and I have an action plan.

So, this period of quiet is over, starting with the upcoming Knitter’s Frolic. So, I am going to start blogging again, and updating my site. I am planning on scaling back some parts of Studioloo…things I need to abandon to create anew. Looking forward to growing and changing more and more.

DKCposter_halfsizeAlso, my show schedule so far is updated: http://www.studioloo.com/upcomingshows.htm

 

 

Minimize to Maximize Life

This month has been an interesting project on living within my means deeply, as well as living with minimums. It started with money – we decided we would spend very meagrely after embarking on home ownership to be able to replenish some savings, setup the emergency fund, and have a security blanket in case of any disasters. That has been okay actually. I find that I don’t do a lot of shopping anyhow. I haven’t been to a mall for anything other than banking in longer than I can remember. I am just no longer the mall type. Most of my shopping is thrifting, online and now yard saling. It’s just more challenging and fun…actually feels like an activity instead of a zombification of consumerism.  I like old stuff, stuff that needs work, stuff that meant something to someone at some time and will eventually mean a lot to me.  Beyond just money, I have been living meagrely in terms of creation, creativity and hobbies. That has been the biggest challenge. I have left myself only the basics for everyday living – 2 knitting projects, 1 basket of fibre …I spin a little bit of it into the same yarn in progress every day….a couple of books, 1 book of word puzzles.  I have only about 10-12 outfits which are not currently packed. I think that not having a vast studio to pull inspiration from is the most challenging part of all of this. I have been drawing a lot of mental pictures for what my new house will become and I scare myself a little when I think about the big projects I want to take on.  But, I do have a sense of ‘all things come in time’ and you make little improvements as you are able to.

This has been a whirlwind few years for me which I don’t see stopping any time soon…and that feels great. I have so many personal goals to achieve for myself, my body, my business and my family. Things are going to just get more amazing.

If I am a little quiet over the next month or so, it’s because I am getting situated in a new home, and a new life to prepare to make this space, and myself, the best version it can be.

Inspired Weekend

It has been a really great weekend of getting work done! I have put a new face on the Studioloo website which I am quite happy with and will be putting up a lot of listings. I have finished so much work that is not currently posted on the site. I took a bit of a hiatus from the duties of running an online shop. It’s a lot of work – the photography, photo editing, writing descriptions of products, uploading photos, updating inventories, carts, e-commerce, FTP’ing information, website updates, and so on! It can be somewhat exhausting at times. But, I do love to get my work out to a broader audience than those in Ontario. I really enjoy selling my work in person as well – it’s nice to hear people tell you their plans for your yarns or how something you made will accent their homes.

I have done a lot of spinning this weekend. I think I caught the spinning bug remembering Janice Rosema, an incredible fibre artist who passed away last week.  She was a great inspiration to me and overall just a really sweet person. We are having a little spin-along in the Ravelry art yarn community HERE.  Feel free to join in or post your photos of your inspired works for Janro on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #spinforjanro.  I also did a bunch of crock-pot dyeing of rovings and yarns and managed to finish a bunch of administrative work for shows I am applying to and so on. My to-do list is getting a lot shorter.

There has been a lot of snow here lately so I have been fighting off my cabin fever just working away on things, doing a lot of home cooking and watching documentaries. They have included ‘Sweetgrass’ – a doc about sheep herders going through the Rockies with their flock, a documentary about all of the craziness and politics of the Barnes’ art collection and it’s foundation, a documentary about the making of South Park and how each episode is done in only 6 days, and a bunch more.  I am a documentary addict at this point.

I have also been working away on my Beekeeper’s Quilt and have passed the 300 mark. 300 Hexipuffs! Holy cow – one day this will be a quilt. I also designed a few charts – one of Catbus (for Studio Ghibli fans) and a few for Adventure Time. They are below:

 

 

 

Have a happy Family Day or President’s Day long weekend!

 

Apparently…I am crazy when stagnant!

My poor little pup, Toasty, developed some kind of illness in the middle of last week and through the weekend so I stayed home with him…all….weekend. I have really come to the point in my life where I can’t ever stay inside the house for an entire day. I don’t know why…but it makes me insane…and makes me think about how I could be doing a million different things but I just sit there…and watch TV.  It’s bizarre but I think a testament to the human body and mind needing nature, activity and stimulation.

So, I looked at my to do list from last post…let’s see how I did:

1. Update Art Yarn page in the shop with all new art yarns.
2. Finish reading driving manual and look into booking test.
3. Review required updates to pottery guild website
4. Think about trip to US and PR stuff with husband, start a plan.
5. Determine packaging for wooden buttons and start packaging.
6. Dye sock yarn.
7. Photograph and update Ravelry with rebranding on new yarns.
8. Work on cowl pattern.
9. Walk every day.
10. Work on documentation database for work.

Ok, not too bad…I finished 4 of 10 things but also managed to finish a few things not on the list…like teaching the husband to weave the rope rug I have been working on so he can help me and as a result I finished 2 more circles and he finished a couple. Here are mine:

 

And, I made really good food, including lovely beef short ribs. Here’s a photo mosaic of the process:

On Sunday I finally broke down and had to take a walk. Toasty was starting to feel a lot better but still just wanted constant sleep so we packed him up in his own little, cuddly crate and walked the beach. It was a nice, inspiring walk and was very nice in that I felt like part of a busy, artsy city. It was quiet and had freshly snowed.

The swans that I visited throughout the summer were there. I photographed these babies in various stages of their growing up process. Now they just look like baby swans but in an adult size.

There were guys filming a music video, singing and playing guitar. They had a cool, little rolling track that the camera could move farther and closer on.

There was even a lady letting her wee bunny take a run around on the beach. He was wearing a cute, little purple sweater and I even got to give him a little cuddle but I only managed to photograph his butt.

Then I collected a lot of amazing drift wood, some charred and a bit piece that looks like a bird head from Beetlejuice or something. I love it!

 

And there was much knitting hexipuffs for my ever-loving Beekeeper’s quilt.

And, in the shop there is a big new art yarn update! Check out the shop here: http://www.studioloo.com/handspunartyarn.htm

Take a peek at these handspinnies!

Also, I am in the middle of re-branding, dyeing, and photographing a ton of new sock yarn and other yarns. But, my best friend, Mat of Manspun fame has also written a lovely sock pattern for use with my yarn.  It’s called Man-Tastic Socks! and works for men or women. It’s a fun knit and great with variegates, solids or semi-solids!

Pick up your copy here! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/man-tastic-socks

 

Weaving with the Walrus

It was a fine New Year’s day spent at the Toronto Zoo with the husband. I took a ton of pictures with my new Nikkor telephoto lens that I am really happy with but I don’t have them edited yet. I will share some once I do. I spent the last couple of days prior to the new year just organizing things, planning projects and relaxing. I managed to pull a back muscle over the holidays which has slowly been getting better.

I picked up the weaving that I was working on some time ago and have started up on it again in an attempt to use up this giant basket of rope that I have collected over the months for this project. I was thinking it would be a rug but I think it will be too nice and end up being a wall hanging.

Here’s a shot of one of two circles I finished over the last couple of days.

I have more shots of this project on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/studioloo/coiled-rope-rug

I am thinking that beginning tonight I am going to start tackling a big to do list so I can feel more accomplished. For my own benefit I will list 10 things I need to accomplish over the next week or so.

1. Update Art Yarn page in the shop with all new art yarns.
2. Finish reading driving manual and look into booking test.
3. Review required updates to pottery guild website
4. Think about trip to US and PR stuff with husband, start a plan.
5. Determine packaging for wooden buttons and start packaging.
6. Dye sock yarn.
7. Photograph and update Ravelry with rebranding on new yarns.
8. Work on cowl pattern.
9. Walk every day.
10. Work on documentation database for work.

Work is sort of too quiet this week. Most of the clients have taken the rest of this week off, as well as a lot of the staff here. I am trying to keep motivated to work on a few things and use this down-time as best I can but it can be challenging after just coming back from holidays. I think I will feel more focused tomorrow as I have a meeting, and get to dig into some new things.

Tonight I will be working on some fun, secret things for a swap I am taking part in on Ravelry. The theme is ‘Mash-ups’ where you design a package for someone, secretly, and you mash up their 5 favourite fandoms. My partner’s fandoms are run and have a lot of child-like imagination so I have a lot of ideas. I see much photo-collaging, felting and assemblage happening tonight to put together a couple of the bigger projects.

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like….

Holy buckets! It’s almost the holidays. Things have been a feverish flurry of present making and wrapping, holiday shows and so on…but it will soon be time for that lovely Winter lull – the time I will have to fully update studioloo.com with loads of brand new yarns of all sorts, ceramic work from buttons to sculpture, etc.  I will be adding an image gallery to the site as well to document projects I am working on and generally things I am excited about, but that won’t be in the shop.

There has been some spinning going on in the last while. I have been going a bit to the Sunday Sit n Spin at The Stash and really enjoying it. Susan has a beautiful shop, in a nice, quiet area. You can also find my hand dyed yarns and buttons there now.

The holidays should be very nice. I am fortunate to have a bit of a break to visit family back home and then spend a few more days away. I want to absorb myself in things like being in the hot tub, eating gourmet food, enjoying the seasonally warm weather and being a tourist. I am really hoping for some snow though. It just isn’t Winter without snow…..leaves cause for concern.  The ground needs the moisture. All this Winter darkness is not made tolerable without that bright white snow. It’s hardly snowed for more than a few minutes so far.

Here’s another sneak peek at some yarn that will be showing up in the BIG JANUARY SHOP UPDATE and now it is time to wrap more presents and plan a few feverishly last minute things.

Camping Break

Labour Day weekend proved to be lots of fun, camping with the family – having awesome BBQs, smores over a fireplace, hiking around lovely woods, catching frogs and snakes (and letting them go of course), kayaking with dogs, and just relaxing. This is totally the break I need before a big knitting show. We stayed in a lovely area of South Eastern Ontario where there is a tiny population out in the middle of 120 acres owned by a friend. I was able to sit outside most of Saturday evening and Sunday morning and spin yarn outside while the dogs ran around, off leash, having a great time.

 

The dogs normally don’t get much chance to run off leash as I find a lot of the dog parks in the city are overrun with big dogs and lax owners who don’t really pay a lot of attention to their dogs. But the land we stayed at was basically a mowed field in the middle of the woods so the dogs were pretty good about not venturing away. Toasty, the pup, was the most adventurous so we had to keep our eyes on him a little more. But, he’s cute, so it’s allowed.

 

It was nice walking around in the marsh – although it was a bit dry because of the summer heat, but the frogs knew where the water was and there were literally hundreds of them all jumping around. This area seems to be populated mostly by leopard frogs although I did see a couple of bull frogs.

I even got to see a super cute hummingbird at the feeder near the camp site. Sorry for the blurry photo – they are always so tough to photograph or get very close to and I only had a point-and-shoot.

We took a drive to the Black River which is really beautiful black slate. The river was really calm and there were a lot of small speckled fish swimming around.

Then we got to check out O’Hara Mill – it is a nice conservation area, perfect for hiking and picnics, with several pioneer buildings – log cabin, blacksmith, schoolhouse and such. It was a nice day to wander around there.

Schoolhouse

Great poster

Mike, being Herculian

And, a cool rock

And, I got to meet my Aunt’s dog, Peanut, who is totally adorable..

Since arriving home, I have been working away trying to get everything all done for Kitchener/Waterloo Knitter’s Fair and I think I am finally finished. I dyed up a custom order lastnight and put the final touches on a few things and organized all the stock for the show. Come out and see me at The Black Lamb’s booth – we will have lots of great stuff. Other than being a great friend and partner working together at shows, Laurie is awesome because she gave me all these veggies from her garden! Yay for having friends that are basically like a CSA!

Pretty Things

Some days it is hard to feel positive when you have to see things you really despise in politics, social issues, the environment and so on. I have decided recently to try to do my best to clear my life out of these things by getting rid of media, people, and other exposures to things that don’t make me happy. On my own I am able to seek out the issues that make me passionate; I can fight good fights without having to constantly be bombarded by people who feel opposite of how I do.  I think that social media makes people really angry, pseudo-anonymous, and really geared up to fight, shout their opinions regardless of how they could make others feel and so on.  I have taken a step back recently on how that makes me feel – and how I want to basically portray myself more as a full human being, instead of just someone who has a certain view on a specific social topic. There is more to me than just the fact I support a certain decision. That being said however, I am really torn because there are certain people who I love for what they do, but not who they are – and that can really be a hard thing to deal with. I guess that is a good reason to not ‘friend’ someone on social media – instead ‘like’ their pages where they discuss their art, their business, etc. This being said – I am removing a few people from my social media websites so that I don’t have to be blindsided constantly by political things that I have no power to change – things often that take place in a country I don’t even live in. I know that we don’t have the power to agree, but I want to have the power still to respect the amazing art that is pumped out of these people.

It has been an insanely busy week – I have gotten so much done so that I can go away and spend some rare time with my family on a camping trip. I have dyed and packaged 3 new fun yarn kits/lines for KW knitter’s fair. I have done a full load of pottery – new yarn bowls, vases, bowls, cups, and more – some to join me at the Art in the Open market and some for KW knitter’s fair.  I have gotten a lot of work done at my day job. I have dyed a ton of yarn….and spun a lot too! I am bringing my spinning wheel on this camping trip and I hope to get some great, relaxing spinning time along with some kayaking, hiking, photography and just relaxing.

Here’s a peek at some faux cashmere I dyed – one braid of several different colourways. This is such a nice fibre to dye.

 

And a peek at a yarn I spun this week with some nice wool flowers. I actually got to spin this at my knit night at Whole Foods – it’s such a great place to do creative things. I find you get a lot of positive attention.

 

I bought this beautiful burl from the exotic wood store some time ago and my husband/business partner/slave finished staining and sealing it for me this week. He is truly the blessing of my life and helps me with so many creative endeavours that I cannot even think of ways to possibly thank him enough for all of his patience and support. I am very lucky.

 

There are still about a million things to do tonight before I head to bed early to prepare to wake up at 5am for the market so I should get packing clothes and toiletries, and washing yarn, and so on! I leave this post with a picture of a sleepy, unimpressed Poppy in his new gnome costume.

Breakfast and the Workload

This morning’s breakfast did not feel like it was part of my week of being poor. Homemade scones, a recipe taught to me by one of my early mentors in life, my first employer at a lovely little tea room I used to work in. Along with it some leftover cheese curd from Black River Cheese which I picked up on my journey home last weekend, homemade strawberry/raspberry jam that I canned in July, whipped cream, and melted chocolate. Chocolate strawberry tea pulled the whole breakfast together.

I have about a million things I need to do – emails to answer about artist talks and workshops, and a lot of prep work for shows. I am spending the majority of today trying to resolve a lot of issues with one of my projects in my real job but then once the work day comes to a close, I need to try to finish up ball winding 20 more of these super complicated, secret yarns that will be released as a line in hopefully a week or so. I am really excited about them but they are by far the most complicated yarns I have ever made. They will more than likely be very limited edition because I really don’t see myself wanting to make them very often. Some things are just like that – you need to give yourself those allowances in life and not make everything you do marketable, or well, marketed.

Another venture I have taken up, along with Mike, is making buttons – ceramic, wood, some highly decorated, some very simple. I have a bunch of lovely exotic wood that needs to be sliced into buttons so perhaps later today I will pull out the band saw. Thankfully my dad was able to turn a bunch of the wood on his lathe and make it much easier for me to work with.

I have also started trying to ramp up enough work to fill up a kiln for my bisque firing this month. I will have a whole bunch of new yarn bowls – some with fibre themes and a big load of my octopus yarn bowls. I will also have a lot more buttons and pendants – all to be completed before the KW Knitter’s Fair in September.

I have been feeling really inspired to create lately and filling up a journal with ideas for all sorts of things I need to make/build/sculpt/create and it feels really good. I am totally stoked that this weekend I am taking a paper clay workshop with Lesley McInally.  I have not worked with paper clay before but I love the look of it and she is an incredible artist who’s work captivates me.

After the workshop it will be time to get my fibre mojo working and dye a lot of yarn. I have to dye up a big load of ‘Candy Sprinkles’ sock yarn, a ton of Bootsie sock and and work on my new line of Bamboo yarns as well as dye up more Bamboo lace. It should be great days of finding a lot of colour inspiration.