Sunday, October 31, 2010

knowing where your favorite pieces go

Yesterday was a great day, we had surprise company, Laurna who bought our farm, we could never have hand picked better people to buy our little piece of Heaven then the Wallaces, they fit in our old homestead like a glove. Tom was waiting to sell to us and we were meant to pass it along to them . Laurna brought a friend along to meet us Rosanne and I am pleased to say that like so many times before in the past doing shows and selling I have had the pleasure to meet the people who fall in Love with these special pieces, and again this was the case yesterday, meet Rosanne and the felted piece she now was one of my favorite pieces my European Market lady on her special Bicycle as you can see in the photo. I changed the eye color for her and this piece means a lot to her, she fell in Love with it right away..I was so pleased to have it go to someone who really appreciates it and to have met her .
Here we have Chuck and I celebrating Halloween by pounding on our drums and singing a few tunes after the girl's left, I am not kidding when I say ,we march to our own drums:-)really drumming is wonderful exercise and fills your heart ,mind and whole body with joy , we just may have to do it again today, hows about everyday.Do you like our new hair cuts and dye jobs?
I found the other day the most wonderful little chair and my plan for it is a Santa, it looks like it will be perfect, so that will be my next feltie to be made after I finish my Frenchy painting. Hard to believe really that Christmas is in the air, seems like yes ,just the other day I was biking with bare arms and standing outside with bare feet...I think those days are done for a few Months..time to get the socks out.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

finished commission

Needle felted "Farm Fun"

Leave it to me to screw up getting these shots in order. This is a commission piece I just finished ,3 little girls having fun on their Gramp's and Gram's farm swing. I always seem to get my pictures not as I would like when uploading to my blog, someday I may get it right, so for now bare with me. In amongst all these shots is a picture of the girl's on their swing, below I believe. I started out with a sketch ,then sketched in the octagon box once I was satisfied with the layout I began to needle felt the background on a piece of felt adding 3 dimensional leaves on the swing tree. Here is a picture of the girl's starting to come together and here they are on the swing before they are clothed. After their clothing was added they started to come to life ,sorry for the blurred photo, I thought I had uploaded the better shot ,but as I mentioned earlier, I could screw up a glass of ice water when it comes to a lot of this computer stuff, sit me in front of my easel ,give me something to make..i can probably do it, but computers ,well I will continue to learn and work until I can get it right, I do hope I live to see it :-) so scroll up and down ,it should make sense to you .
I am happy with the finished piece and enjoyed trying to get the feeling of fun as it shows in the actual photo of the girl's on the swing .
Today I am working on something I have been meaning to do for sometime, Our local Frenchie's ,many of you out there do know "Frenchie's " second hand clothing store. Here in town we all know the Ladies who work there and I came up with an idea for a thank you to them , I plan to do a painting and make greeting cards from the painting, These cards will be sold at Frenchie's with the proceeds from the selling of the cards to go to our IWK Halifax hospital for sick children as well I plan to give the Local Frenchie's a framed print of the painting . Funny really ,I am in there pretty well everyday ,that stop being my reward for doing my bike ride each morning. Really I could paint Frenchie's by memory but yesterday after asking permission to photograph inside the store and to my surprise there were some of our locals shopping when I arrived with my camera, so there I have people I know to add in the painting, what fun.. as well as a couple of the girl's who work there..I will try and do you justice Ladies. There will be more on that as I come along with it. Today I will get out on my bike early ,there is word of rain and high winds, the other day I went out during a rain shower ,it was a challenge trying to see through my wet glasses but better then how I do in wind, with a strong wind, well lets just say, that is a workout, so no wind is what I prefer.
so off I go for now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tourisum and it's importance in small towns

This morning I responded to a comment on our Local QCCR "Pulse of Queens County", a whats happening here in our community online information page.

Someone asked why our Local "Kings Orange Rangers"( KOR) reenactment group wore their colorful uniforms during the off season at different meetings etc,actually they suggested they were drawing attention to themselves as if to show off. Hopefully I can make some sense to those who question this as to why we need to be up front ,colorful and advertise our towns in what ever means we can.I am not the brightest apple on the tree and never would I ever claim to be, but I have been in the Tourism business since living in Lunenburg back in the early 70's , moving there and buying a 24 thousand dollar house in 1974 ,that house today I would only dream of what it is worth, not that I agree with prices of houses going up in such an extreme dollar way but when you look at the whole picture ,everyone wins, the average person may not be able to buy that house today but because of the work that house may give someone through maybe tourism if it were a bed and breakfast , restaurant etc.,then that someone may be able to then take that pay check ,save and buy another house and shop in all the surrounding stores if they desired. Keeping our money in our Towns.Back then Lunenburg was just another charming little fishing port, as all our Maritimes were and some still are just that ,to yet be discovered .I also worked at the local tavern in the beginning in Lunenburg and saw only local fishermen coming in, today this tavern is an Inn and there are many bars and restraints offering work. Now these local fisherman's daughters and sons have work these days in what was once sleepy Lunenburg. They do not need to go to sea like their fathers before them and can stay home and earn a good salary right in their own town and maybe open a business.There can be nothing but good from being open all year and offering something to those who want . Plus ,we all know fishing is not what it use to be, let alone a lot of business. We need Tourism, Lunenburg can stay open for the most part in the winter these past years because it is on the all year Tourism map not just seasonal. Of course some out there may not see this being busy all year as a blessing, but if you really sit back and look you will see my point and understand that no matter who you are ,we need to keep our little towns open ,up and running, you can save gas and money by shopping at home in your small towns but the only way to be able to do this is to let people know we are here and open. These days it gets harder and harder for small mom and pop business's to get by in the cold Months. We need to let those people from away who want to visit quaint little Nova Scotia towns all year long know that we are here and open for them and we would love for them to visit year round and leave their money so we can feed ourselves during the lean times. Therefore we need to stand out and be accounted for ...yes ,look at us not past us. This is what we have to offer you and this can't be done without something to entice them here. We need to have ambassador's out there showing and telling people where and what we have to offer, they won't stop to see what we have if they aren't hooked with uniqueness somehow. Trade shows are great and we here in Queen's can be thankful for those who have done long hours in period costume at these events ,without them drawing people in with their colorful period uniforms/garb and showing and telling people about Queen's ,our town and surrounding area's rich histories, we would dry up and blow away. People are not interested in visiting a town where the streets and shops are empty, they will not stay if there is nothing for them to be entertained with and we can't justify staying open and paying big rents year round when no one is here to spend their money and keep all alive. Sometimes I hear people say they can't find anything they are looking for in Liverpool ,well if there were more people on the streets 12 Months a year ,the more money would be left behind and the more merchandise will come into town. You see it all works out, there is a good reason and many reasons to keep a small town alive. We have to be unique in some way ,drawing people in, to help with our survival through the Winter months and having a reenactment group in our town of Liverpool as well yes our Native history and so much more, is very good for us, so much we have to offer, not everyone needs to dress in period costume to make us stand out but those that do should be commended for doing so ,because of them, people are interested and will stop look and listen to then have lunch , may even end up staying the night and possibly returning and buy one of our many homes which are for sale someday. We need to attract people with what we have. I must share with you ,one Sunday morning this past Summer I had my open flag out, Sunday's in Liverpool are known to be quiet, but Tourists have saved for their trip and want to make the most of their money so if there is nothing here in Liverpool for them, they will continue down the road to another town. This day a car pulled in and these people were so happy to see me, at first I thought maybe I had met them before maybe while doing a craft show years ago but no, they were excited to see that something was open on a Sunday morning to entertain them, they did not buy but took my card and left a wonderful comment in my Guest book and since then I have heard from them and they plan to return next Summer, so when they do I hope the Town will and can be open for business for them as well as others and this is why we need to advertise us as an interesting town rich in history and the only way to do this is to use what resources we have and that is our local KOR and anything else which may make people stop and look ,if we don't stand up and say, "Hi!!! here we are over here , welcome"we will all end up with houses we can't sell someday and no shops at all in town. We need our "Ambassador's , thank you to all of them, let us all try to be "Ambassador's...OK? We need to be thankful for those who are trying to put us on the year round Tourism map.
Tourism can only help us, we all need to understand this whether we feel we are in the business or not, it affects us all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

work never ending work..

I have been burning it at both ends as the old saying goes these past days since writing is a shot of a mat I finished in my so called down time.."When will you marry" after Paul Gauguin ,years ago when my younger sister married I did a "Gauguin" "Sisters Wedding Day" if I remember the title correctly. It was of one sister combing the hair of her younger sister on her wedding day. Much thought and research was given before doing it and I feel it was very appropriate , special gifts should be just that, something homemade or anything with much thought behind it,as I see it.
Speaking of that, my brain is in gear with plans of doing my older sis a special mat for her birthday to rest on her cottage floor in Summerville. More details on that as it gets closer to Nov. 7th. Also I have been finishing up another couple of mats but right now I will keep them from the blog for now , I am in thought as to what I want to do with them. If anyone would like to view what I have done so far, please call or drop in if my open gallery sign is up. End of season ,left over commission stock has returned and I have a few Xmas products at a very reasonable price as well. The Summer Tourist season was pretty good for my paintings that were out on commission but unlike past years, seldom do I see Christmas product return, hard to believe it but Christmas items do sell in the Summer. Then again it seems by the stores it gets displayed earlier and earlier each year. Here I am in the selling business, will pretty well make you what ever you want and I for one seldom darken the door of these box stores, going to a large Mall or store makes my head spin,it always has...I remember years ago we were doing an art show in a large expensive Mall, I won't say where , it was a special show and only a few speciality shops were open along with the art show, me being and always have been a hat person went into this fancy boutique store when I saw what I thought was the straw hat of my dreams, grabbing it excitedly from the shelf and seeing no price tag, I then asked the clerk "how much?" she replied "$175.00 "yup!!!that much, my response to her answer as I was putting the hat back on the shelf was"does it come with a brain?" I thought she was going to pee herself laughing, me thinking that she would be angry with my comment..not so.....we both had a great laugh and she then came out later that day and bought a painting from me .My step daughter just got a job at "Michael's" art supply store on PEI...I so envy her, I am like a kid in a candy store when let loose in such a place. I remember years ago we would make special trips into the industrial Park in Dartmouth just for "Michael's" these days, online or the art store in Bridgewater. So back to why I have been burning it at both ends, I try, and do succeed most days to sit at my easel but with Winter on it's way ,feeling it in the air and knowing very well when it changes it may change quickly,during these fine days we decided to put all away, taken care of Months of turmoil here there and everywhere in this tiny house and are ready with all my hooked mats cleaned and put away from where the puppy we puppy sit can't play and pull them apart, because of her I started making the cushion floor mats..Thanks Belle.
I remember back in the very early 1970's my Mom died in "73, she and I worked at a local Dept store together here in town which I have written about before. She bought many ,many carpet ends , small mats in all different colors at this Dept .store , they were selling for like 99 cents a piece or cheaper,she and I sat at the cottage one weekend and sewed all these mats together and made a wonderful multi color shag carpet which covered the livingroom floor. We would spring and fall clean the old place together ,at that time there was a collection of bottles from all over the world along the top ledge of the ceiling and we would wash every one of those bottles, today this cottage belongs to my sister and she is smart enough not to have all this stuff to dust, on the other hand I was blessed or should I say ?cursed with Mom's love of stuff...and I have been dusting here for days and I can see clearly now.
I had someone the other day remind me of how much I recycle and have been ever since I was a small child and when I was a teenager I would take from the attic my Mom's old dresses and rebuild them with less length being the 60's and adorn them with lace, to create a new garment. When Chuck and I married ,my wedding dress was made from an antique lace curtain , I did it in such a way so that after the wedding I returned it back into a curtain for our home, I know I should have saved it, but I do have pictures.I took the two lace panels ,folded them down on the outside when I got my desired length ,I tacked them together at the shoulders and cut the one in front to make it look like a dress with a jacket, my under dress was made from a pretty pink satin curtain which I wore for years after.
One of these days I will put up a picture of our wedding and my dress to share here with you . Oh..Chucks wedding shoes were from the old Bills store in Mahone Bay , I forgot to remove the large orange $9.99 sale tag from the bottom of his shoes and as you can imagine when we were kneeling at the alter, all could see how much I paid for him, there was one picture taken of his shoe soles by his father who has since passed and to this day I have no idea where this picture would be, I wish I did.

Friday, October 15, 2010

sea people heads

Here are the sea people sculpted heads . These heads are hand sculpted from potters clay and left to harden and are not fired . When hard the heads are then painted .We have been making Sea People Figurines since 1978, yup that long. The bodies are wood and wire and they are dressed with recycled fabric soaked in a paper Mache' solution and after dry they get varnished and what we call propped with whatever props for their particular characters.
I will be honest , they are a lot of work, but the finished product makes you smile as they take on their personalities, which indeed they do just that. When I start this order I will take you on a Sea People adventure as they progress along and when done and all standing in a row are very amusing. That will be in days or weeks from now.
I have been preparing mats to be painted, the drying weather was perfect this past couple of days so I took advantage of that and I am ready now for days of rain and can continue on with work inside. Our storm windows out front have been taken down, cleaned ,painted and put back up for the winter. Furniture under the pergola has been secured and covered for the coming Winter. A few more things to take care of and we are all set to be stuck inside during our cold Months. This morning we are expecting rain and wind and my dear bicycle is all by herself in the barn, I love my bike and I may have to sit on that stationery bike just for the exercise...blah!!!!
I have an interesting boat bow I plan to do something with this Winter, these interesting pieces are harder and harder to find these days, we don't do as well beach combing like we did years ago when our young legs would take us for miles along our shores to find wonderful pieces of driftwood and treasured boat pieces. This boat bow has been waiting for me for a couple of years now, I have walked past it in the barn for the last time, this will be the season for something special to be done with it. I remember one boat bow which I painted on and it hung on the wall and looked like a boat coming through the wall. I had a Swiss couple look at it. They returned to Switzerland and not a week went by ,I got a call and was asked to ship it as soon as possible to arrive there as a surprise gift for his wife, they liked it that much. This one looks like it will be very similar in size and I look forward to seeing it complete. Before the snow flies I must ready a few boat pieces in preparation for Winter completion.
Also so that I can work into the Winter outside,we are hoping to add a roof off of our shop before the weather changes ,something to keep the rain and sun from us as we work outside Summer and Winter...just another chore to yet be done.There is always something to do,never an idle moment around here, I like it that way.Keeps me out of trouble..yeah ,right :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

finished vinyl mats

Meet my mats..
i so enjoyed doing the "Mona Lisa" and see more like this in my future ..
I am working on another one which has been on my drafting table for days now, being the long weekend and weather was nice ,we had outside painting to do and mouths to feed so little actual art got done. Oh and my house is clean..that I enjoy when sitting long enough to look at it :-)
Puppy sitting today, it got quiet ..must run. Also have Sea People heads to start sculpting.

Monday, October 11, 2010

a lovely wedding

Sunday 10/10/10 was a wonderful sunny day for a wedding and as everyone is saying the magic day to get married.

Meet Yvonne and Kenny. We had a delicious Turkey dinner to share with them as Mr. and Mrs. It was very special like Chuck and I the Minister was a friend of theirs, Yvonne works for the Church, and it makes it all so special to be united in Marriage by someone who really does know you . Here is a shot of Ken alone,I wanted you to see what a wonderful smile this man has.And his beautiful wife Yvonne. None of us there thought we would ever see Kenny married let alone a Church wedding and tie...Ken you did it...Congrats!!! or should I say Yvonne ,you did it...:-) for he fell head over heels for a fine Lady.
Today Thanksgiving Day ,as well as breaking bread again with love ones and after my early bike ride ,my plan is to get my mats varnished and have them here for you to see tomorrow.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

a heavy wedding presant

Happy Thanksgiving to all us Canadians and all who have in the past celebrated with us this wonderful time of year.

I have been painting mats since last I wrote here. But today I am off to a very special wedding ,someone we know from back in our living on the farm days. This young man ,well today he is not so young anymore but this evening he will be a married man and we so look forward to witnessing this glorious day with him. A lovely couple who found each other and we wish them many years of togetherness. Here is a picture of our wedding present for them and it's packaging. He gave me a couple old rotary saw blades which weigh somewhere 25 plus LBS. They raise Highland Cattle,so here we have it. More then likely it will take the two of us to carry this into the reception for sure.

Next week I will share with you the couple other mats I have done since my last writings,or almost done for I am waiting for a good day to finish with the varnishing of them. One is of the "Mona Lisa" yes and I am very happy with it so I look forward to sharing it here with you within the next couple of days. I bought some more cushion floor and made sure to buy the expensive flooring which does not curl,it lays flat because of the good quality and can be painted on the wrong side leaving the pattern as the bottom,the texture on the back side is so nice to paint on ,it paints up like a fine canvas,excitement floods me thinking of future mats.

As well , I got a call from someone in the US who bought one of our "Sea People" figurines from years back .She ordered some for her new shop to open in the Spring 2011, I Will share more of this with you as I start to sculpt the heads next week for them and also once she is closer to opening I will share then her shop info,so you can visit online or in person if you are near.Here now I will show you above a couple pictures of our Sea People who we have been making for so many years , as I mentioned in an older blog installment about how we became the Sea People in the first place back in 1978 in Lunenburg Nova Scotia.