Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Gifts

Okay, I know that it is never as bad as I make it out to be. I'm just not a Christmas person. I may have said that in another post - I don't remember. I am the kind of person that wants to give gifts when I feel like it, gifts I make or find that I feel will be just right for that person. This year as always I gave my mom a gift pertaining to Christmas on her birthday - November 22 when she turned 87. I usually give a gift pertaining to Christmas so she can enjoy them for the season not just on Christmas day. Her gift this year was tree ornaments - including a little rooster. She used to raise chickens when she was younger and able to get out there to feed and water and collect eggs. 

This year I made dolls for my grown children and their families. They are replicas of outfits worn by the Iroquois women that I've seen when we go to ceremonies. I add a lot more beads and decorations to the dolls. These dolls are called stump dolls because they have no legs. It takes me about three months to make one of these dolls because I don't work at them every day. There is an underskirt and then the dress over top. If she had legs she would also be wearing decorated leggings.

I can now share those pictures with you.
Tim and his wife Fina received my gift on the Friday before Christmas when my sister and I went into Toronto to view the Chagall works at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Their doll is called Butterfly Woman - for obvious reasons. Her dress is made out of a black background piece of material that my friend had left over from making her husband a ribbon shirt. I thought the colours were wonderful and found the beads and ribbon and other materials to compliment. This doll doesn't look like she is dancing - she may be resting.

The next doll was given to Mike and Tuesday on Christmas Eve when I go and visit them. I enjoy my time with them and this year I gave them a doll called  Turquoise Woman again for obvious reasons. I found the material and really liked the colours but found it hard to select the ribbons and beads to match. The fabric stores don't always have ribbon that will coordinate with the materials and the sales people get frustrated with me sometimes. The bead store near my home is a little more helpful - well a lot helpful. I bring in the swatch of material and ribbons I've selected and we find the beads that will go with the selections. This doll has some fine wire in her cape to help her look like she is dancing.

The last doll I made was for Monica and Harv and she is called Bear Woman because I don't have a different name for her. She might have told me her name but I forgot and for now we will just call her Bear Woman. She has a skirt and blouse on over the underskirt. That is a different design for me. I've seen one or two women wearing something like this when we go to ceremonies. She has a heavier wire in her cape to make it look like she is dancing hard. Her right arm is to her waist and the left arm is holding her shawl out to the wind. This doll has a lot of bear charms or as we used to call them fetishes. Monica chose the colour of the fabric from my stash one day when she was here and I just made up the rest. I took the fat quarter to Fabric Land and the lady there helped me find the right colour material for the shawl. It was a darker colour than the turquoise of the flowers in the material but it worked. I also found the same shade of ribbon as the silk for the shawl and that was a bonus.

I really enjoy making them - it's the costuming that is the most fun. So now you know the part I enjoy. Making the dolls, costuming and especially giving them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Season

The Christmas Season brings many different emotions and questions for me. What was it like for the people before television and commercials? What was it like before? Always before? I ask those questions when I get stressed around Christmas.
When I lived in the United States the best and my most favourite holiday was the American Thanksgiving. That was way before Black Friday. American Thanksgiving was family, food, and no need for presents. My mom and dad came to visit from Canada and I made dad his favourite pecan pie. There was no need to run out and go shopping after the day of food and family.
Right around Christmas I sound like Scrooge and I grumble about not liking Christmas. It happens every year since 2007. That year my brother had a really bad car accident and a massive heart attack. He's recovered but I guess I got scared. I also moved from my home where I raised my children after their father died and we moved back to Canada. I moved into a little one bedroom apartment the week after my brother's accident. My boys helped me and joked that they would only have to push me down the hall when I got older because the apartment building is attached to an old age home - really it is the Alzheimer's home I think. I told them when I got old I was moving where it was warm.
I worked so hard setting up my apartment and trying to get things for my family for Christmas I got sick. I spent the entire week of the holidays in bed except for taking the dog out for his walk. It was the flu and strep throat so I was down for the count. I missed Christmas but I didn't. There was no hustle, bustle, disappointment, excitement, or anything except a visit from my friends Deb and Don who brought me Christmas dinner in a take out and my sister Ginny and her son Burt who also brought me Christmas Dinner in a take out. The food stayed in the refrigerator for a few days til I could swallow.
What am I saying? I like the quiet and yet I like being around family. I like making my presents for people. I want to see everyone but I like seeing them in little bunches not the whole bunch at the same time. There are nine of us and I'm the oldest. My siblings go to mom's in groups because her house isn't big enough.
I go in the morning to help her with some of the little things, vegetables to be cooked, table to set, making sure that she has all things that she wants and likes for the family meal. And then I leave. My sister has already been over to mom's about four in the morning to put the turkey on to cook.
This year I will go and spend time with my aunt who lives in the retirement home. I've been looking after her and my uncle for the past number of years - about ten I think and this past March he passed away in the long term care side of that place. I want to be there for her and I because it is hard that first year of grieving especially during the holidays.
This weekend we went to Church on Saturday night for Carols and Lessons and to hear the bells that had been given to that special church by the Queen. And yesterday I drove her into Toronto to have dinner with her son Ron and her sister who is younger - 84. Those are different memories to add to my collection. Maybe this time next year I won't be asking what was it like before the commercialism - maybe it will be back to how it is supposed to be. Family and fun and food - along with the friends and their celebrations in their different ways.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Making Choices

Well, this has been an interesting week. After much deliberation I quit the clarinet lessons. I did well for the first three months reading music and learning how not to make the clarinet squeak too much but then we got into the notes where I had to use my right hand for more than holding the clarinet. My right hand is a bit ill-formed, unformed, or deformed and I couldn't make the hand hold the clarinet and stretch to reach the holes and cover them completely. You need to cover the holes completely or the instrument will not make clear sounds no matter how much you blow into the mouth piece. My right hand works perfectly well for most things. It is a tiny bit smaller than the left hand, and it has that fleshy piece at the base of the thumb missing. Otherwise you wouldn't notice it - if I didn't tell you. So, I can make art and I can write and I probably could play the baritone if I wanted to but - I don't want to. It was my choice to resign or quit or leave or whatever you want to call it. I know that after I turned in the music books and chose not to learn the baritone I left with sort of a relief and a lot of tears. I really had wanted to learn to play the clarinet since it was given to me. I can play certain notes but not all of them. I, however, did not think of myself as a failure because I did learn a lot and I did accomplish a lot and I tried for three months. I believe you are not a failure if you try. The tears, I'm not sure what they were. Maybe it was because it had always been my favourite instrument and the music from the Big Band Era is still my favourite music and I'd dreamed of playing that kind of music. Oh well, I tried.

So that all said and done we move on to the middle of the week. I was able to take my aunt shopping and go to do a few errands but every once in a while my car would not start. I'd planned to go and take a beading class on Saturday and when I went out to the car it would not start at all. I got a hold of my daughter and she and my son-in-law and grand-daughter came and he proceeded to fix it. (His passion is cars and repairing them). Well, he got the part off and then almost finished putting the new part on when he noticed that something was wrong. The part store gave him the wrong starter. The package says it was for my car. He had all the information from my motor and car year and make and still the wrong part was delivered. He phoned and long story short there is apparently two types of starters for my car and the wrong one was sent. He cannot get the new part until Tuesday. Good thing I live in the city and good thing that I'd gotten all the fresh vegetables that I needed.

After they left yesterday, I came back in and took a nap. Then instead of getting up and making or finishing my wall doll, I laid down and rested - tired from the hard work of taking a nap I guess. My body said to lay down so I did and listened to the body for most of the evening (except for preparing a salad and making dinner.) Often I didn't do that. I kept right on going no matter if I was tired or not feeling good.

I'm all set now to see if I can decorate my living-room/studio/kitchen/dining-room for Christmas. I will have to find out if the tree will fit and if not will there be any other things that can decorate the room. Or I can move things on the book shelf to make room for my paint brushes and paints but that means cleaning this area and moving my gnome and tree spirit seen here.

Or I can just repeat yesterday's afternoon and lie down again.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spirit Dolls

I had one on-line friend ask about the spirit dolls and my making of them. I've got a few pictures.
In this picture you see the little pod. I start with an egg shape that I trace on the wrong side of a piece of fabric. I chose the wrong fabric here - it is a piece of an old tie, maybe one of my long passed uncles - but it is dark. I pin the fabric to the other fabric which will be the back and then hand stitch around the outline. I then cut out the fabric leaving about a 1/4 inch all around.

The fabric is then snipped on the back to form a slit, turned inside out and stuffed. Then I glue on a face and let that dry while I make a few more of the little fabric bodies. In the picture to the right you will see the face glued in place and waiting to dry. The face is made by my friend Steve Smith of  Talking Earth Pottery and they are some that he has given me. He told me that maybe I could use some to add to the dolls I make. He uses the faces on some of his pots. I add the beads around the face to secure the face on the fabric. I don't want to have it fall off so I use the type of beading used in making cabochon jewellery.

More beads are added for surface decoration as well as the picot edging all around. This picot edging also stabilizes the seams because it is stuffed quite well. The surface beading follows the design on the material and beading it flattens out the doll to some extent. When it is all beaded I add legs and arms and I cover the back with a piece of felt that I sew on with the blanket stitch. This piece of felt will cover all the stitches.

These dolls to the right (in the bad lighting picture) are some that were finished a few months ago. I can either sew pin backs to them or add a magnet so they can hang on the refrigerator or filing cabinets. I try to also sew on  what we used to call a fetish a long time ago when I did other kind of bead work. In the one to the left you will see a bear and the other one has a bear as well but it is dark blue. These seem to be the only fetishes I can find right now. I've got to go to Toronto to find different bead stores to find more. Sometimes I add a tiny heart or a pearl or fancy button if I can find them in the stash. The hair that you see them wearing are beads that are sewn on and hang like dreadlocks.
So, that is it. The dolls in progress are just two that will be made from ties (I experimented) and then I'll go back to the brightly coloured fabric in my stash. Have a good one

Saturday, November 26, 2011

American Thanksgiving

American Thanksgiving was and probably always will be my favourite holiday. I used to live in New York State and have fond memories of thanksgiving dinners with family and friends. Last year I was invited to have dinner with my friend Chandra and her family at her mom's. This year my friend Sue had invited me to go to Michigan with her to her family's dinner but then she got invited to speak at the University in New Zealand so Michigan was out.
This year instead of going to visit family or friends in the good ole USA for thanksgiving dinner I finished cleaning the studio space and started on the spirit dolls. This picture above is the shelving unit where I've removed the mess and organized the things I use most in my art doll making. I've removed the paint and drawing materials and have yet to set up that space. The picture to the right is the table I use and even though there are beads on this table it is nothing like it was.
Instead of going to Black Friday sales (which I've never done and will continue to never do) I helped my friend Joan do more packing of her studio for her big move and no I didn't take a picture of that - she'd never forgive me.
Next task is the make a space for the Zentangles I love to do and the drawing and painting I've been yearning to do.
Have a great one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm not finished yet

I did clean and rearrange my art space and while doing that I discovered that I'm not finished yet. Lying in bed at 5:30 this morning - just before getting up to start the day - I thought through my list of interests and things that I have supplies or needs or wants for. Besides my painting and drawing, which includes the Zentangles that I'm sadly neglecting, I have "stuff" for ATC's and or art journals and other art pieces in mixed media, I have materials, beads and baubles for art dolls and quilted wall hangings. I have photographs that need to be scanned so that someone - not me - can make scrapbooks for family members, and I have all the paperwork for genealogy.
I was feeling overwhelmed so I started to clean the kitchen table and realized that I need to send the information to the librarian for the upcoming conference in February that I will attend because I am a library trustee. I really enjoy being a library trustee but it does get frustrating. I was told by the chairman in an email the other day that I sounded cranky, after reading a response of mine. He added "rightly so" and that I guess was to say he understood my crankyness over politics.
So what am I saying? Just that all the above means that I am scattered to the wind in case you are wondering.
I don't know how to not do all those things so sometimes I just get depressed and sit and read a book or go away. Today is not one of those days tho because today is mom's 87th birthday so I am taking her to lunch and to buy her the ingredients for the Christmas Cake. I told her that I didn't think I needed to buy any more Christmas decorations for her. We could start a store.
I love going to her house and seeing all the "stuff" she has to put out. It breaks my heart that she can't decorate the way she used to because of her frailty, and we don't need any more broken bones, so we go and decorate for her. Usually the four sisters and maybe a grand-daughter or two. She tells us what to put where. After we are done, she goes and re-arranges things and we just giggle when we come back to her place and see things have been moved.
So, no pictures of the finished room sections. Just a bit of an update. have a great one

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Changes

Well I figured out how to not be so frazzled. Now to put it into practice eh? It is the doing too much and not concentrating on what I love to do. I love to write but I don't love writers meetings if there is no reading and/or sharing of the writing so I won't be going back for a while.

I really love the sewing and the beading but I don't like the messiness of the table when I do that. So, today is a cleaning day. This is a glimpse of a portion of the "studio" right now. You can't see the table with the coloured pencils and the paints. You can't see the book shelves with the reference materials and the gnomes whose pictures were shown a post or two back. Maybe that is a good thing.

I spent the majority of Saturday just puttering. I didn't have to go traipsing off in the car so for the most part it was parked. That is what tires me out the most I think, driving. I wrote once somewhere that if I could figure out how to lose weight by driving I should have disappeared by now.

While I spent most of Saturday and Sunday at home I worked on finishing the one doll and like I said the Turquoise doll hollered because she wanted a crown.  I didn't get a good photo of them but you will see what I mean by the crowns or hats. Remember in the last post I said that the Turquoise Doll wanted a crown instead of a ribbon - well I did finish it. The other doll she just spoke up quite loudly and she was finished in all her glory as well. Here they are:
I will show better pictures of them when I get better lighting. Maybe after I clean and re-arrange.

And now I'm off to clean the messy desk before the outing and some music. Have a good one

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Is that how you spell worn out, exhausted, at the end of the rope? Frazzled? It isn't as bad as all that. I do like to exaggerate some times. Guess it's the writer in me.

Frazzled from doing too much and going in too many places. My friend Pat and I get to talk on the phone about every four months because we both do too much and go in too many directions. Our mutual friend Joanne tells us that we need to imagine that every day when we wake up we have one hundred marbles. We need to put energy values on each marble so that we don't over spend our marbles and our energy for the day. Today I think I'm into the year 2020. Overspent.

I don't do anything that anyone else wouldn't do in my circumstances. I have an elderly aunt that I take out to shop once in a while, to the harvest suppers when they are on at the various churches where she comes from and to lunch once in a while. I take her to get her hair done, to eye and dentist appointments etc. I love being with her and listening to her tell me about the activities and the people in the retirement home. I also like to visit my elderly mom once in a while - she has three other daughters near by to take her places and I do go and take her once in a while to an appointment if they are stuck with work or something. But my sister said, "it's your job to look after auntie as she has no one here to do that." So visiting mom or taking her to lunch is more fun than sitting in dr's offices or grocery shopping.

My problem is that I make art and I love doing that. I make art dolls. I make art dolls that take a long time. I put beads on them. I also have ideas in my head that need to come out into the day light so that needs to be done. And then I look at the "studio" in the middle of the little living room area of my apartment and I cringe because it seems that while I was dressing the last doll all the beads and ribbons and lace decided that they would have a fight to see who would be chosen. Well, they figured they couldn't be chosen if they were in their proper storage boxes and drawers - ooohhhh nooooo! So, there is that to do as well - clean up after them and chase them back into their proper places.

Oh, and did I mention that I also like to write? Well, that too can take a bit of time and energy and then pretty soon, I haven't picked up my paints or coloured pencils that I've been wanting to get at - they too jumped out of their hiding places and are dancing around on that little table over there. I will put them in the space where they will be in full view and I will today get at them.

You see I cannot decide what I want to be when I grow up. There isn't enough time to write, draw, paint, sew, embroider, bead, never mind get into music. I have the illustrations to do for that Strawberry story and I really want to do that but - it is only partially started. All these things keep yelling at me and so I go outside for a walk in the fresh air and sunshine or cloudshine and come in to the ... what's the artistic word for mess?

Friday, November 4, 2011


Just a quick note to let you know the reading was a success - as far as I am concerned. The book, in case you've forgotten is titled "somebody's child". I did cry, but not buckets. The hardest part of the reading is the part of being in the hospital and getting to hold my son for that full week of six or seven days knowing full well that he could not go home with me. I cried buckets there in the hospital and I cry whenever I read that. I also cried buckets at the Children's Aid Society where I had to sign papers a month later to let him go. I got to hold him one more time and then let him go to another family.

The reading at the university was with another mom who also gave her son away. It was on a lighter note and by that I mean it was her decision to give her son away to another mom. She too reunited with her son, because she had known the mom who adopted him. That lady had her mom with her. My friend, another artist in the community came to hear me read. The audience was made up mostly of journalism students and of course there was a lot of questions both during the talk and then after.

I am used to doing readings whenever asked at the publication of a new book and I must say that they are all different. This was an emotional reading for me and a few of the audience members. I did get them to laugh a bit though when I prefaced the talk by saying - This is my story, it is the truth as I remember it and I have a philosophy - if I tell my story and I tell my truth then there is no room for blackmail. Have a good one

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Learning

I've just spent a few days with my three lovely aunties. The one I spend most of my time with is 93. The one who came to visit is only 16 years older than me and has some form of dementia. The other aunt that I drove the two to visit is 83 or 84, I'm not sure.

It was a new experience for me to be around someone who has dementia. Someone who I've always seen as the beautiful, capable, smart lady who worked her way up a corporate ladder and went as far as she could up that ladder to only be stopped by genderism. That is my word for gender bias, gender crap. Anyway my learning is that I cannot look after someone for a little while who has dementia when I am not familiar with the disease and I am not familiar with what my auntie is like on a daily basis.

I think it was scary for her. We ended up in emergency because she started to get heart palpitations, shortness of breath and dizzyness. I ended up exhausted but she was okay. I don't do well with little sleep. The visit was great when we were together. All three sisters visited in the kitchen of the apartment and my cousin Ron and I visited in the living room. Ron is also an artist, but we both love cooking shows and we watched those while we waited to go to lunch.

In hindsight we've decided, her daughter and I, that she will not come to visit alone anymore. We've also decided, my 93 year old aunt and I, that we cannot go and visit them because it is a 6 hour car ride or more - depending on the border - and my aunt can't do it. She said she is getting tired just going to Toronto/Scarborough to visit the other sister. I hate to think about that time coming.

As to other news, I'm to give a reading at the University tomorrow night pertaining to the story in the book "somebody's child". I've had to take the story and re-work it to make it only a ten minute reading which means cutting out a lot of it. Do come by and join me if you get a chance. I'll be the nervous woman crying buckets while I relate the story of having to give up my son for adoption and crying more buckets this time buckets of joy for reuniting with him 36 years later.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

An Awareness

Okay, you might think me a little off plumb, and that is quite okay with me because others think that of me anyway. I am good with that because I enjoy being in the land of faeries, gnomes and elves.
I once had a friend make that sound like a bad thing. But it isn't. That is her opinion, and when you think of the faeries, gnomes and elves helping nature and being a part of all the elements then living in the land with them - it is a good thing. I used to say that all the time because I was making gnomes and faeries in my art dolls and I think she thought I wasn't living in the real world.

I also became aware this morning that I am mentally beating myself up because I haven't done all the things that I want to do. Well hellooooo, I do have quite a few done. And that hellooooo is for me. I help my family when I can, and I help my friends when they ask. I enjoy doing that. When I get home after doing that I'll lay down and take a quick nap so I can do my work. Some people have told me that I must do my work first, and I do - it depends on what it is. Beating myself up mentally for not accomplishing things or not doing things according to the ideas of someone else is, is, well it's ludicrous. But I cannot change things about me until I realize what needs changing. And that I see needs changing.

I realized the other night that sitting in a tree wondering - and hopefully you have all had that experience - is the best thing a child can do. What makes things work? Who created all this beauty? Who gave the names to all these things? And most of all who said that a tree is a tree? Who first gave the name "tree" to the tree? My friend Yvonne told me that I made a lot of pictures of bare naked trees. I do. I like their form and their shapes.
I wanted to apply to the Creative Writing Department of the University in Tucson Arizona because my writing teacher suggested it. I showed some of my art pictures to the head of the department and he asked me why I wanted to write when I could paint like that. When I wanted to take art courses in university I had to show a portfolio. Because I was never an art major and never took art lessons, I had little to no portfolio, just a few photographs of some of my paintings. I did, however show this piece of watercolour. It is called "The Sentinals" and the art teacher accepted me to the course and suggested that I redo this painting on some good watercolour paper. I haven't done that yet but I plan to. More things to do eh?

Another piece of art work is called "Gratitude" and I did that in needle felting. I had a needle felting teacher in a one day workshop teach us about wet felting. I liked the needle felting part but I didn't like the wet felting part so I haven't done any more of these. This piece wasn't very big but for me it was beautiful and I got so excited with the work. I even surprised the teacher when she suggested that I put in some rocks along the water and instead of just making a flat rock I made them three dimensional. She said she never thought of that. Anyway it worked. You can see the little doll in the bottom of the picture - I put dolls in all of my fabric art pieces and wall-hangings. Not a great piece of photography but you get the idea of the picture. Photography, another thing to learn.

Art is exciting for me. Whether it be drawing, painting, needle felting, making my art dolls, writing or music. I just spent an hour or so looking at blogs about embroidery to see what new things are out there. I'm afraid to get out my embroidery because then I'll be beating myself up because that isn't done and this isn't done and - whatever! I may have told you that I taught myself to embroider by watching my gramma and using the books with patterns. My mom taught me the chain stitch in crochet work and I got  pattern books that had step by step instructions and I worked that out. My dad taught me how to cast on for knitting and from there I used a pattern book to teach myself more. I basically taught myself how to do most of the art that I do. What amazes me now is that I never kept it up as a young person. I listened to others all my life and I heard "you can't earn a living doing that kind of stuff." so I didn't pursue it. Now I am.

The awarenesses about ourselves that we have can help us to change - but only if we want to. I cannot unlearn all the things that I have learned whether with a teacher or the things that I have taught myself. I cannot un-hear things but I can re-learn how to take them. By that I mean I can take what I thought was a criticism about my living in the land of faeries, gnomes, and elves and turn it into a positive for me - yes, I do live there periodically when creating my art doll gnomes and faeries and also when I am watching how I treat the earth and all inhabitants.

I am aware now that I am grateful for the people who have said things that I once took as criticism and Now look at as opportunities for growth. Otherwise I wouldn't have had the chance to move in and out of the lands of faeries, gnomes and elves.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Trip and the Pictures

Okay now we are going to try and upload pictures. See I'm including you in this post as if you were sitting right there beside me. Maybe if you were I wouldn't be having so much trouble.
I said in my last post that if I could upload picture of the trip that I took I would. But it seems that I can't. I still haven't figured this out - new program or new fingers not sure which is giving me more troubles.
I do however, have pictures that I took in the back yard - well in the yard there is a raised garden and this is what it looked like last week when I took pictures.
Out of no where there were some little people in my pictures. Well, actually I made this little guy about 4 or 5 years ago and he is called "The Leaf Gatherer" because he came out of the woods with a basket of leaves and leaves all around his hat. I just love him.

I made this other guy - he is much bigger. I hope he will let you see him. His name is "The Woodcutter" He's kind of shy though - guess he is worried about his size.

This is what he looks like when he isn't hiding
 And now I'll show the two of them together so you will understand his embarrassment.

Well, that is the raised garden although there are a couple of hams making sure that you see them instead of the beautiful flowers. Maybe next year you will get a glimpse of the flowers and then eventually the beautiful fall colours. Yes, that is spelled correctly according to Canadian spelling.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Vacation

Well, I'm back from a wonderful trip. I went to visit my friends Donna and Chug in Western Massachusetts. I took the Amtrak from Buffalo/Depew, NY to Springfield, MA and then we drove back to Donna's place about forty minutes from there.
Saturday Morning we went to the post office and the library of  Leverette, MA and then on to the great little bookstore - well great used bookstore called the Bookmill of Montague, MA.
While visiting Donna and Chug and their dog Isabella - Bella for short, we went for walks, rested, read, ate and I did my sewing or showed her my Zentangles. Here is the home page of Zentangle a fantastic drawing/meditating/zen technique invented or discovered by Rick and Maria and which I've been doing for over a year periodically. I really like doing this form of meditating and use it to rest from the busyness of the days.
On Sunday while her husband went to Boston for a Red Sox game Donna and I went to Brattleboro, Vermont to see the museum there. The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center was a lovely building with a great lady at the front desk, great exhibits and for me in particular the Salley Mavor exhibit. After walking around the town a bit we visited the Delectable Mountain Cloth where I bought a few yards of tiny lace for my dolls. This store was absolutely wonderful - crammed full of fabric, lace, buttons, jewellery, - anything you can imagine for doll costuming and for that matter costuming in general. The links to these places are by no means the only links. While you are checking out the Brattleboro links check out the ones with the pictures of the floods from hurricane Irene.
We were going to go to the Peace Pagoda but time slipped away from us. Donna had an appointment in Amherst MA on Monday and then we went to have lunch with her friend in Northampton, MA. I have been to western MA to visit before and every time I'm there I feel like I need to move there. But I'm that way when I go to Tucson, AZ or St.Petersburg, FL as well.
When I can figure out how to put my pictures in my blog I'll show you some of the view from their home and some of the landscape from the train. Oh, and the train ride back was a bit different than the one to MA. The train was about forty five minutes late into Springfield from Boston and then we slowly lost time to get me to Buffalo/Depew, NY at 2:30 in the morning. I had booked a hotel room because I do not like driving in the dark expecting to get in shortly after midnight. Good thing they had saved my room. In spite of the delay I had a wonderful time both travelling and especially with my friend Donna.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Procrastination or P-Writing

I’ve been stuck. Stuck on what to write, what to draw, paint, sew, anything. I’ve gotten so I just run away. I make plans to help someone instead of doing my art and I don’t know what that is about. I really enjoy doing my art. I enjoy the sewing and the beads and the little dolls and the wall-hangings but I’ve been stuck. I almost wish I could start over but I don’t know what I would start over at. Does that make any sense?

When I get right down to it I think I am stuck because I said I wanted to do this wall-hanging but I also see it as the illustrations to a story and I’m afraid the person who is waiting for the illustrations will be disappointed in my work or at how long it will take.

I’ve also been sitting here wanting to draw and to paint again and there seems to be no time for both. What I did recognize was the “running away” or as my son Tim says procrastination. It’s his birthday today. When we met for dinner last week I mentioned that I feel stuck and it is almost a depression feeling that I get between projects. My friend Deb calls it a “blue funk” and that is what it feels like. I’m not really depressed just listless when it comes to the art. So instead I sorted and cleaned the beads. I sorted clothes and took unused and unwanted to the Salvation Army. I’ve even done dishes.

The only solution I can figure out is to go away and have a cup of coffee and take my writing materials. I go to the coffee shop and journal. I write and I ask myself questions, P-writing it is called from the book Writing the Mind Alive.  This method helps to clear the muddle and the fuzziness of not really knowing.

Also, I’ve noticed while watching my thinking that I seem to feel that I need to show something on my blog, some piece of art instead of just writing. How silly is that. I’m a writer as well as an artist. So I’ve decided to put a poem on my blog. This poem is from my book of poetry published last year. I hope you enjoy and I will write more later.

collective consciousness

as I stroll through woods
of sugar maple
their cover of crimson
gold ochre and green
now discarded
crackles under
my footsteps

Alleghany Mountains surround me
worn and rugged
their faces hold many stories
their aura touches and comforts me

the earth in her glory
soft and warm with birth and death
invites me
sit for a while and rest
listen to the gentle winds
drifting through the trees
I hear those voices
words that float
on breath
from generations past

I am told they are veiled
yet I see them
dressed as pilgrims
and traditional Iroquois style
English, Scots, Irish and French
mix with Mohawk Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca

they are visions
for those who see
they are voices
for those who hear
they bring stories
told for generations
that one day I will tell

Barbara-Helen Hill

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Show

I was gifted yesterday with a chance to see Cirque Du Soleil "Totem" performance. What a wonderful show. Mary received tickets for this show as a Christmas gift but her daughter was unable to attend with her and so she asked me. I drove to Toronto and that in itself was an adventure. I normally drive to Toronto once a month anyway so I thought - no problem. Well, just following directions from the internet was going to be a cinch right? Not! Just after we turned onto the 427 South the traffic started to back up/slow down/stoppppp!. I listened to my favourite all news station for travel to get the traffic news and decided to get off on Dundas St. knowing that I could then drive back into Toronto to avoid the Parking Lot on Four Twenty Seven which normally would be moving smoothly. Of course all of the other drivers had the same idea so there I was in another grid-lock for about 15 minutes while I tried not to panic about being late for the show. Dundas St. was busy but I then moved into the lane to take Kipling over to the Gardner Expressway which is where I was supposed to be anyway. What an adventure. I think the driving and maneuvering in the traffic was an adventure for Mary as well because she'd never been in that traffic situation on Toronto highways from my understanding. So all in all it was a fun day. A beautiful sunset greeted us on the way home and I did manage to make - I don't see well driving in the dark!!!
Here is the link for the Cirque Du Soleil if you want to see some of the promo pictures. It was great!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lovely Day

Well, the day started off ordinarily then I had the extreme pleasure of having breakfast with my cousin at Williams Pub and Eatery or whatever it is called. Good Coffee. As I was returning with my coffee I passed a lady sitting at her table looking at some interesting books. I stopped to talk and we introduced ourselves because she said she was a calligrapher and it turns out that it is a lady I had talked to by email. Her name is Heather Held and her  blog is one I follow at  "Heather Victoria Held" and enjoy very much. The trouble is that when I go to her site I get lost for hours. I didn't stay and visit because she was working but it happened we left the coffee pub at the same time and I told her I'd be writing about meeting her.

I went to an organic store yesterday outside a little town called Ayr, Ontario. This place, called Oakridge Acres, is a wonderful little store where the food is all healthy with no additives and preservatives. I have been looking for organic produce and grain fed cattle. There are other products there but for this first time shopper I took my time and bought just a few things. I definitely will go back.
Off now to have lunch and then do some writing and maybe get back to those little dolls for the planned book illustration and wall-hangings. Have a good one.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

My art

I started writing this morning and then hit the back button by mistake so everything disappeared again. I was whining and complaining about not liking to down load pictures from my camera because I don't know how, and that is why there are very few pictures and very few blog posts.
I decided to write about my art and to share with you that even though I've been making my little spirit dolls I haven't taken many pictures of them. I do have however, pictures of some of my previous dolls. Here is the front and back of a doll taught to me by Deborah Downey about 4 years ago. Miraculously I still have it and I say miraculously because they are usually given away and just lately some have been sold. 

This is the front side to the left and the rear of the doll is to the right. 

The doll body was made by Deb and then we decorated it according to her suggestions and yet the doll is mine because I put into it my creativity and my choice of colours and beads. I've thought of making another but right now I'm having fun making the spirit dolls even though they haven't sat still long enough to have their pictures taken.

I also wanted to show you some of the dolls that were sold at the Native American Indian Women's conference at the end of June but I either didn't take them or haven't downloaded them from the camera. Seems that this is where I came in so I will sign off and look for pictures. Have a good one.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Writings and Websites

Yesterday evening when I checked my mail I found a copy of "Talking Stick -Native Arts Quarterly" with a story written by me over ten years ago. The story is even on-line - if you go to this website and then click on the Talking Stick issue Volume 14.3 you will find my picture and the link to This Time It Will be Different.
I really enjoyed writing that story. While living in Penticton, BC I walked most of the time but once in a while I'd ride the bus to the other part of town for shopping and different people on the streets sparked my imagination. I started writing up character descriptions and drafting some stories. Lately I'd been thinking of that story and when Mary Jo asked if I had anything to submit I found it in my files and polished it up. I'm now more encouraged to get back to my writing and one story in particular is calling to me. 
I haven't heard any more about the book that I just finished illustrating. I'm like a new writer in that I sent the book to the publisher yesterday and I want the acceptance letter tomorrow. I know it doesn't work that way. It is just that I am also now planning the illustrations for another story and I'm quite excited about it. My friend Marky sent me a story - an Iroquois story that her mother wrote down or handed down and Marky and I talked about me doing some illustrations for it. It means putting aside the little spirit dolls for a bit and concentrating on the illustrations. This time I may give you sneak peaks.
In the mean time check out the story in Talking Stick on-line and let me know what you think.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time Flies

Today is Saturday and I'm resting at home. Well, not really resting as my friend Diane might view it but as I view it. My friend Diane has a little poodle named Tash and for her, resting is sitting outside under the trees having a cigarette and holding Tash or not. Sometimes Tash just sits on the lap of someone else - because she can. My resting is not driving anyone anywhere and not going anywhere for at least an hour. My resting consists of doing my bead work and/or reading or even playing Freecell on the computer.
I've finished the Turquoise doll and for now that is the last one I'll do. Maybe later on, if someone wants one, I'll do another. I'd like to now finish the one wall hanging I've been working on and start the pictures for the children's book that I'm about to do. We'll see how that turns out.
So for today after four days of driving I'm sitting in my apartment - beading/resting/reading and watching Perry Mason. Have a good one.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A New Anthology

A new anthology is coming out in late summer early fall called Somebody's Child and it is about adoption. I have a story in that anthology about my giving my son up for adoption. It was a painful time but the story is written from a more healed perspective because Mike and I reunited when he was 30 and that is all that I will say about that. It is a good book full of stories from children who were adopted out.

I finished making the cape for the Turquoise Woman Doll. Here she is and compared to Butterfly Woman she is light and airy with movement showing in her cape or shawl. Butterfly Woman was made months ago. She represents an older woman - standing and watching the children dancing. She has been to a few shows and to the conference that I went to in Niagara Falls but she hasn't sold. I guess she wanted to stay around and wait for Turquoise Woman. I really enjoy making these stump dolls but now I'm going to make something different - and I'm also exploring ideas of another children's book. I'm not sure if there will be another stump doll but I am considering it - maybe a different version. If you look to the side of the blog you will see pictures of my art. When you watch the carousel you will see two birds - those are also made in the stump doll style. I may make a few more of those. We shall see what comes up because there are so many ideas running around in my head. Back to work - till next time.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spirit Dolls

I have been making more of the Spirit Dolls. Those are the little dolls I showed last post. They are not easy to make and they are time consuming but they are fun. It is nice to follow the spirit in decorating and placing things on their clothes to make them sparkle. I've also been hunting for wool felt. I want to make the illustrations for one of our traditional stories and I want to try a different medium. The illustrations for the last book were done in wool roving.
I received a broach from my friends who attend the Waldorf School in Burlington, Ontario. The broach is made from wool felt and beads and it is just what I was thinking of doing on one of my dolls. I couldn't seem to find a wool felt source here in the Brantford/Hamilton area and then when I received the broach I thought - ahha, Waldorf school. Okay back to the work and back to the searching for wool felt. I'll post a picture of the broach soon and maybe even a doll. Have a great one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Conference

This past week I attended the North American Indian Women's Association (NAIWA) conference in Niagara Falls, NY. It was a wonderful conference, no pretense, no politics to speak of, just a grass roots organization of women who walk softly on the earth helping others.

My friend Diane Hill spoke at this conference and she gave two workshops. I set up my table of dolls and my poetry books to sell. I also sold her books for her and gave out her brochures. I made some pin dolls to take with me as well as the other larger dolls. These dolls are a sample of dolls I made but I added legs. I enjoy making these little dolls and made some while Diane was speaking. The only doll that came home with me was the doll with the white face. That white face is a ceramic face made by my friend Steve Smith of Talking Earth Pottery.

This week I a am working on a few more pin dolls and I'm also gathering materials for the next story book that I am illustrating. The first book was one version of  the Creation Story from our people, the Haudenosaunee.(The French Call us Iroquois and the English call us The Six Nations among other things.) I say 'one version' because you have to remember that there are six different nations as well as the different clan families within these nations and although the story is the same the versions can be different. This first book with illustrations done in needle felting is written by Rick Hill, a noted historian and museum consultant from here at Six Nations. This next collection of illustrations I'm working on is to be done in mixed media. I'll say no more.
Have a great week.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I took auntie to church yesterday. Saw many old friends and a relative or two. We went to lunch with my cousin and his wife and had a lovely visit. On the way to the retirement home where she lives Auntie says "I find that I get tired a little faster than before and can't do as much. I'll probably take a nap when I get back home." All this said to my questioning whether she wanted to go the Mohawk Chapel at 7 pm for the re dedication. Mind you, I could understand that because she is 93. I'm so amazed and really want to be as bright and mobile and active when I am 93. 

Last week I made a pin doll and finally named her Rainbow. I got so caught up with her I made three more and now have bodies cut out for at least 7 more. I'm afraid I don't have pictures right now but will post them when I get them. My friend Marzie took the pictures when I showed them at the bead shop. 4 Sirius Beaders is a place I like to go and hang out for an hour or so when they are open and buy supplies and show my work. They were open this past Saturday and while there I got some feedback on my work - all good.

 I am off today to Niagara Falls, NY with my friend Diane to help her at a conference. I am also taking my pin dolls and some of my other work to see if they will sell. It is interesting to me that historically Niagara Falls was the place you would see the other Native Americans/Indians/First Nations people sitting on blankets selling their raised bead work. Today you seldom see that. The bead work is still being done but it is now sold in other places and for much more money than was paid back even thirty or forty years ago. Yes, I'm talking a long time ago the Tuscarora and other nations were selling their raised bead bead work at Niagara Falls. There are many links to the Iroquois Raised Bead Work I'm talking about and this is just one. No, I don't do that kind of work "yet" but I will try some day. I'm more into the pin dolls, art dolls, and the wall hangings for now. And, of course, the children's book illustrating. 
Have a good one.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Artists works

I must learn not to use the back button when I'm writing my blog. I've done this beginning three times now. Okay now we are starting again.
This past month I visited with Kathi Kuti and together with another lady we learned how to make a teeny tiny pot of violets although my pot of violets looked like they'd been through a terrible wind and rain storm. I gave them to my aunt who is in the retirement home and the one I go and visit all the time. I took a picture of the mouse smelling the flowers beside her coffee cup.

This past Thursday I visited another artist Steve Smith who is a famous potter. His website Talking Earth Pottery shows the fantastic work that he does. I was feeling quite blah about my art and he lifted my spirits and encouraged me. So I got back at it. I made a doll pin, but she has no name. Maybe Rainbow would be a good name. I'm afraid my photography needs practice. So now what? More pin dolls and some business cards.

I spend most of my time when I get down in the dumps searching art blogs and embroidery blogs. One blog that I spend a lot of time on is Salley Mavor and I may have mentioned her before. I made a quilt years ago and put some dolls on the quilt. I didn't know how to do that but I just did it. It turned out pretty good and I think it is in the slide show of my art. There were seven dolls on it. Turns out that those dolls are almost made like the dolls that Salley Mavor makes. I'm excited about that because I so admire her work and found out that even though we live miles apart we do similar work. The art piece I showed you a couple of posts back had tons of french knots on it, and so does her art piece on one of her posts. Do I sound like a star struck kid? Alright!!

Okay enough of the idolization. I'm going back to my dolls now and even though it is almost 90 degrees out side I'm making chicken soup. Wasn't feeling all that great yesterday and today so I'm going to see if that will help. Nothing serious, just a bit of blah!! Have a great one.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Work is changing for me. I've been a counsellor, an author and an artist. I've also been a teletype operator, a nurses aide, a bartender, a teacher's aide, an economic development officer's assistant, an executive assistant, a treatment director and a file clerk. All good and honorable jobs. I've enjoyed most jobs and really enjoyed working with the people. What I'm finding now with the world as it is, I most enjoy writing and talking with people.
When I first wrote the book Shaking the Rattle  Healing the Trauma of Colonization I wrote it as a story of healing. When I went to the En'owkin Centre and re-wrote the book it changed or as they say today it morphed into something completely different. I rather enjoy the book as it turned out. I enjoy writing and I'm going to go back to that with a little art work on the side. Part of my discussing this with you is that I'm also going to be writing on the blog - not like this - but in another page or blog if I can set it up. I want to continue helping people and the best way for me to do that is to answer questions. Questions that people need help with in their search for healing, help, self. So please bear with me as I figure out the technology to do that.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Writing

There has been so many changes in my life since I wrote the book "Shaking the Rattle  Healing the Trauma of Colonization. When I wrote that book, and it was published in 1996, I was moving from a career of counselling and being a Treatment Director, to becoming a writer and an artist. I detoured to SUNY Buffalo in Buffalo, NY where I achieved an MA in American Studies and had the privilege of being a guest lecturer in a few classes and becoming friends with a few of the professors and faculty members. After graduating with my MA I went home to lay on my mom's couch and be ill for about 6 months. I didn't realize how fried your brain could get doing academic work until I got out of it. I also didn't appreciate becoming ill during graduate school but that happened as well. One man saw me during that period and suggested I go on to get the Ph.D and I said very plainly "are you nuts?" and we both laughed.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can create more than the usual symptoms. I became depressed and with that the symptoms exacerbated. I read when I felt like it but didn't get to the information about depression until another year had passed. That information says that depression comes when there is a death, a job loss, a chronic illness, relationship ending etc. Anything traumatic can cause depression and depression can cause illness as well.

So the writing started. It wasn't writing a novel or even poetry. It wasn't even an academic paper or essay (which I swore I'd never write - but now do) I had faithfully done morning pages from The Artist Way before going back to University for a year and a half. I knew deep down inside that I wanted to be a writer and an artist - I just didn't know how to get there. Then while recovering or recuperating or depressing and trying to figure out how to get out of it, I went for a drive to Massachusetts with my friend Martha to visit my friend Donna. Donna introduced me to a journaling technique that she does.  It was called PWriting or Proprioceptive Writing. This writing helped me so much that I was able to get back to seeing colours again- you know how everything looks gray when you are depressed? So this Pwriting was a miracle for me. I thought of trying to become a teacher of Pwriting but financially I was blocked. I taught a course for Mohawk College part time in late 2004-2005 and used that Pwriting on the students. It helped, even though they grumbled.

Now I want to go back to writing again - my art has taken up most of my time - but the writing is calling me. I'm going to be using the Pwriting and the Artists Way to help me focus again and I'm going to try to blog -writing. As my one favourite teacher used to say "time she marches on, and more will be revealed."

New Learning?

I get frustrated and it is no longer fun to blog when things don't work. I spent half a day Wednesday trying to get a widget to work from to show my favourite books. It didn't carousel like I wanted but was just a static piece showing those favourites. Well, now it is a carousel showing only some of my favourite books - since there are probably hundred's that could be labeled 'my favourite' books. This time this editing only took a half hour or so. I'm getting better at the technology for this anyway.

I was at a spiritual conference in Olean, NY - St Bonaventure on Saturday. My friend Diane Hill, with whom I traveled, was a plenary speaker and put together a piece for the audience incorporating her knowledge of quantum science, and Native or traditional Native science. She also incorporated the Wel-systems information into this presentation. It was amazing to see the universe, the human body, and the traditional stories linked together in a one hour presentation.

While I was away for those few days I met a few old friends and made friends with some new people. I was encouraged again to get writing and to get my books out there. For the past few years I've dabbled in writing by submitting to anthologies such as Birthed from Scorched Hearts and Genocide of the Mind and published a poetry book but I haven't written a novel or another book like Shaking the Rattle  Healing the Trauma of Colonization which was published in 1996. People are saying it is time for another and also they are telling me that the first book is still relevant and is still needed. All I can say is I'm working on it. Like my favourite fabric/felt artist Salley Mavor my work can take weeks and sometimes months to complete and I have been spending time on that rather than writing. I guess it is time to attempt both.

I'm attending another conference in a few weeks with Diane and bringing my art work to sell. I am sure that there will be people there that will ask if I have books for sale as well. Yes, I will bring books as well. Since I have chosen not to have a laptop computer right now, I will be writing but it will be by hand which is where quite a bit of information comes from - connection from the heart and the spirit to the hand.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Okay I just finished writing a blog where I spoke of how I had writing tools that helped me through my depression around the chronic illness that I got while in University and I hit the wrong button and it allllllll went away. I guess I feel like a ditz - well maybe I am right now.

So, to start over again I will say that I finished school at the En'owkin and the book "Shaking the Rattle  Healing the Trauma of Colonization" was published in 1996 by Theytus Books Ltd. I detoured to SUNY Buffalo to get my Masters in American Studies where I became friends with students and faculty and even guest lectured in a few classes. While at the En'owkin Centre I moved from being a counsellor and Treatment Director to become a writer and an artist.

Before going back to school I wrote morning pages from the Artists Way because deep down inside I knew I wanted to be a writer and an artist but I didn't know how to get there. After I finished my MA, a few years lapsed where I was chronically ill. I slowly came back to life with lots of rest, sunshine and fresh air and friends. I moved back into my own house after six months lying on mom's couch being depressed because she was healthier and stronger than I was and twenty years older than me.

My friend Martha invited me to drive with her to Massachusetts where I went to visit my friend Donna who introduced me to PWriting or Proprioceptive writing. This was a miracle for me and I thank these people in my life so much. The Pwriting helped me to get out of the depression and that helped alleviate the symptoms of the illness. I've learned so much and am so grateful. Depression comes with information telling you that you have a chronic illness, or you have lost your job, or you have lost a loved one, or you are suddenly getting a divorce that you didn't see coming - any kind of trauma can cause depression and depression can cause physical illness.

The writing led me to the art and more writing. The art work for me is mostly fabric art and art dolls. The writing has been put aside for a while so that I could actively pursue the art career. Now I feel the writing starting to nudge me. So, I'm going to start a blog or a page on this blog about writing. I have no idea what it will look like but as my favourite teacher says "time she marches on and more will be revealed." We will see...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Day New Work

This is the third day of cleaning my "studio space". It is actually a little corner in what is supposed to be the living room of my small one bedroom apartment. I like this place and I like the little space. If I had a real studio it probably wouldn't be any cleaner than this one and it would have more "supplies". I am an artist and author but I am a collector as well. When the room is cleaner I'll post a picture of my collections and the "studio space".

I've also "discovered" some unfinished pieces. This is a picture of a piece I started over seven years ago inspired by a birthday card that my mom gave me. Yes, of course it needs ironing but it is not finished by any means. Look at the background - it is done with french knots. Not the smartest idea but at the time that I started this I was laid low with a chronic illness and maybe I wasn't thinking clearly or I just enjoyed sitting and knotting. The handwork is soothing for me. So that's a picture of piece of needle work that I carry with me and work on while I wait in Dr.'s offices or hair salons or ...

Back to the cleaning and then off to the second hand store to see what is dying to come home with me. have a great one.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's Finished

Well, the art work is finished for the children's book. I am pleased with the work but I know there is going to be some tweaking when the pictures go to the publisher. (I wish I could show you a picture)
Needle felting can be a bit tedious but I finally did get to enjoy the work. Time to clean up the work space and put away all the roving until another project comes along. I am excitedly planning the next project and I'm supposed to have some pieces ready for sale at a conference or two this summer but...
We'll see what the Creator has in store.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Books

It was hard choosing the books for my little wheel. I have so many that I read and re-read. My favourite authors to date are Miriam Grace Monfredo, Jan Karon, Elliott Roosevelt, Monica Ferris, Earlene Fowler, and on and on. Miriam Grace Monfredo - I've had to buy used because the last books that I've found written by her are in the 1990's. Her books are wonderful mysteries - well researched - about the late 1800's in and around NY State. Elliott Roosevelt, again mysteries, are set in and around the White House with Eleanor Roosevelt as the smart cookie who solves the mysteries. Monica Ferris and Earlene Fowler are authors with needlework and quilting as the common denominator in the mysteries. The mysteries I've been reading are called "cozy mysteries" I've been told by a mystery writer who doesn't write like that and probably doesn't like to read them either.
Jan Karon books are about a little village and the people in it with the central character a Father Tim. It is known to many as the Mitford series. I read these books for the peace that I feel when reading them.
Of course I don't just read mysteries, although they are my favourites. I read what interests me - like helping people. If I was still in counselling I'd be recommending many books and maybe I'll make up a list again someday. At the top of my book list back when I was working in that field was the Louise Hay book called "Heal Your Body". It was wonderful for working with clients.
I also read books that I was introduced to in University - like the books by Vine Deloria Jr. Very simply and well written. There are many other Native Authors that I read and there is a website to find them on.
I don't like to read academic books. I write like I speak. My books that I've written don't have a lot of superfluous words in them.I also read books about art doll making, art, painting and nature like "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. Beatrix Potter, E. Pauline Johnson and many other poets, are on my book shelves. Children's books and books on faeiries, gnomes and elves are the most collected. I have found and finally admitted that I collect children's books mainly for the illustrations. I cannot say right now who my favourite illustrator is because there are so many. I am going back to reading now, and maybe go and hunt out some new books in the second hand shops around. Have a great one...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Needle felting Illustrations

I'm almost finished the book illustrations. Oh, yes I'd forgotten to tell you about that. I've been asked to make the pictures for a childrens' story book and I'm almost finished. I've got three more to do out of eighteen. I have to speak with the author about the last few pages because with needle felting I've found that I cannot do a lot of detail work like I do with my art dolls. I've enjoyed struggling with this. That may sound weird to you but it is exciting to have a new challenge and then to work out the ideas and make the creations from those ideas. It gets a bit tiresome though when I wake up at three or four in the morning and can't go back to sleep for "figuring out".
Of course that is the way it has been in trying to put this blog together too. Like I said before, I'm technically challenged. I even had to have my daughter help me with the cell phone when I first got it. So I'm off now to do another page of needle felting and then try to figure out how to write on the other page.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New again

Hello, I'm back and this is now a new blog - again. I've done this about five times now so we'll see how this goes. There will be two or three pages to my blog as I'm an author and a self-taught artist. I've got two or three projects on the go, and tying myself up trying to blog.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New Chapbook

Good morning all. Just wanting you to know that I am still writing and still making art. I did have an okay holiday - since that is the last time I posted - and looking forward to spring and summer because I like warm weather not cold.

My new chapbook of poetry arrived on Monday. I'm so excited. It is my first chapbook, not my first book, but it is still very exciting.

I'm posting a picture of the cover as soon as I can figure out how to do it.

Have a great one. helen


Okay, now I'm going to try and add a picture of my book cover. The title of the book is Shaking the Rattle  Healing the Trauma of Colonization and was originally published by Theytus Books Ltd. Penticton, BC in 1996. It went out of print by them and was then sent to POD. Since then it is distributed by out of Brantford, Ontario Canada. I painted the picture while I was at the En'owkin Centre in British Columbia. I was in school there for Creative Writing and Fine Arts. It is portrait that we were instructed to paint. I had no idea what I was doing (kind of like all the art that I do) but I liked it and so did others. I originally went to school for writing so that they would publish this book. I managed to make all the changes and edits and learned to write poetry. A wonderful book that is still used in colleges and universities - when they can find it. Amazon has one or two for sale at exorbitant used prices thinking that it is out of print - it is not.