Monthly Archives: August 2009

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As most of you already know, the Folk Festival was this weekend.

After a busy week of last minute preparations and one final restless sleep, I awoke early Saturday morning with the deep yearning to hide under the warm covers in comfort.  My gut was churning, the sky was grey and threatening to pour rain over us.  But we got up, showered, and packed the wares into every spare inch of our tiny car and we were off.

As soon as we pulled into the park, it began to rain.  Poppy and I sat in the car while Mom, Wayne {my step dad} and Mike put up the tent.  We then began to set up which proved difficult due to the fact that the tables and displays were wet and the new tent was not 100 percent waterproof.  If we put anything too close to the edge it was sprinkled with rain.   Everything was damp and curling.  It continued to rain. 

The decision was made to purchase some plastic for makeshift walls, but while we waited for Wayne to return with it, my heart began to sink.  I knew that this wasn't going to be a fair guage on how all craft shows would go for me, but had put so much of myself into making it the best I could that I knew it would be difficult not to be disappointed.  I must admit, I was grumpy and short tempered in these moments and took it out on those supporting me.  When the plastic arrived and my creations were out of danger, I relaxed a little. 

It was a difficult day emotionally and I found myself wanting to leave the tent and wander outside like I was no part of it.  I couldn't bring myself to promote my goods shamelessly so left that to Mike {my very proud husband who, in contrast, loves to promote my creativity without shame}.  As the day wore on, we fell into a natural rhythm of me leaving when it got too busy and him coming to my rescue like a well rehearsed wrestling tag team.

The day got better and better as friends popped in with supportive words {and sales} and family made the long  drive just to be there.  Mom and Wayne stayed the whole day and lured people over with free spaghetti squashes from their garden {more popular than you might expect}.  I wandered around and made some new friends and ate delicious roti.  I quickly discovered that one of the fun bonuses of having a booth was that vendors tend to do trades for wares rather than exchanging money.  The only thing I bought was some homemade soap in Lilac and Canadian Shield {not sure what that really smells like, but this soap is lovely and sweet}.

I didn't keep track of what exactly sold, but I know the pendants and magnets were a hit as were the wallet sized prints and handmade earrings.  My booth seemed to draw people in and was, at many times, overflowing.  Many other vendors asked if I was having a "good day".  I told them I had nothing to compare it to.  But was I enjoying myself?  Most definitely.  Were Poppy and Mike enjoying themselves?  Absolutely.  Was there a good response and positive feedback to my booth?  Yes. 

Despite all the factors working against me what with the rain and perhaps lower than usual attendance, not to mention, the change of location and the lack of an ATM {something they have had every other year and I am sure people were counting on}, I brought in close to $400 in 6 hours.  I have no idea if this is folk festival success or not, but it makes me happy considering most of the items sold ranged in price from 1 dollar to 10 dollars I feel good about it.

I am encouraged and have two other shows in view (one with Amanda in Uxbridge and one with Rae in her new home studio) and would like to do as many as possible between now and Christmas.  It won't likely be until next summer and fall that I will be ready for bigger shows or festivals, but this is definitely something we all want to do.  These shows combined with an Etsy shop {opening soon} and cleaning Mike's boss' house twice per month while also cutting out unnecessary spending makes for a very hopeful Mama being able to stay home with her baby!

e.

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Sunday16

 

annette::erin 

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Soaringstudiosdiptych

Soaring Studios Pottery
Come Let Your Creativity Take Flight

Lessons and Workshops
Newmarket, Ontario

(905)716-3491 ~ jamiepottery@yahoo.ca

What is your favourite colour?
Red.  Now if I could only find a red glaze for my work that I like!

What is your favourite number?
26 ~  It is the birth date of both my children.  One is the 26 of September the other the 26 of March.

If you were a tree, what kind would you be?
Lilac bush. My grandmother had one at their place and we as kids would always play in it, making forts and hiding.  Just the smell of Lilacs makes me stop and remember being a kid again.  

Favourite item of clothing?
A sweater that I knit for myself while I was pregnant with my daughter.

What is the best time of day?
I am a night person.  I enjoy the quiet at the end of the day.  Everyone is in bed and the house is quiet.  I love this time to myself to knit, read, and enjoy time snuggling on the couch with my husband.

How do you take your coffee?
I am a double, double gal.

What is your Zodiac sign?
I am a tried and true Aries.

What do you collect?
Butterflies.  When I was at university the bathroom in my apartment was a butterfly theme, with the curtain and all the accessories covered in butterflies.

What music do you currently love?
Currently I am loving “Wintersong” by Sara Bareilles as well as “Incomplete” by Alanis Morrisette

What does your ideal day look like?
A quiet day to sip Starbucks Chai Lattes and create in whatever medium it pulling at me that day! The kids laughing and playing in the background enjoying the world that they living in at that moment.

What is your favourite magazine?
I love Mothering.  I wait every other month for it come to my door. 

What was your proudest moment?
After I gave birth to my daughter here at home.  I was so afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to it after the hospital birth of my son.  It was a amazing and all I could think after was “ I Just Did That!”

What is your favourite quote?
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly." ~ Anonymous

What is your favourite book and favourite author?
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.  It is such an amazing book I am excited for the movie to come out in August.  It has so many levels I have had to read it several times.

If you could change your name would you and what would it be?
I kind of feel like I got that chance when I got married.  I was able to strip away that past and become a new person.  With a new name I felt like it was a name to be an artist with and took the leap.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you wish to have with you?
Lots of Yarn, Knitting needles and my Journal.

If you could have a house bought and paid for anywhere in the world where would it be and wht it be like?
I would love to live on the East Coast.  My husband and I feel in love with the East Coast and each other on our trip out there.  I would love to look out the window of my studio and see the rise and fall of the ocean everyday.  Plus, the houses are so bright and beautiful, how could you not be happy all the time with a bright yellow or pink house!

What is your art philosophy?
I don’t just make pottery but I also teach.  At the studio my philosophy is that I am here to teach you what you want to learn not what I want to teach.  I use this in my art as well.  I am make art for what I want to make not what others want me to make.  I don’t want to ever me making things because I “have” too.   I try to make what my heart wants me too as well as what the clay wants to be as well.

What is your favourite thing you have ever made/written/built/created/invented/photographed?
My first mug is my most favourite thing.  My coffee just tastes better out of it.  After making the mug and holding it in my hands that I knew that clay was what I needed to work with.  I wanted to make mugs and pieces for people to hold in their hands and be their favourites. 

When do you have your most inspired moments?
Driving in the car and laying awake at night, just before sleeping. I think to myself I had better get up and sketch that and then I fall into sleep. 

When did you realize that you wanted to make your art a priority in your life?
After University I had a “regular” job and everyday I kept thinking that I would rather be sitting behind my wheel rather than behind my desk.  So after the birth of my son I took the year to start the studio.  I have had so many wonderful things fall into place allowing me to know that I am doing what I was meant to do.

What advice do you have for fellow/aspiring artists?
Don’t wait.  This moment is the right time to stop what you are doing and follow your heart’s desire. 

What is your medium of choice?
Clay and Yarn.  Now if I could just figure out how to put them together. I did however use my knowledge of the two and created the yarn bowl.  This way your yarn doesn’t go rolling across the floor!

Describe your studio or work space.
 The studio is in a large room in the basement.  There are three wheels and lots of work space.  It is a creative space in which when I walk through the door I feel a ‘sigh’ in my body and I am calm and relaxed and ready to let what needs to be created come through.

One Last thing…

Go to your book shelf, take down the first book with a red spine you see, turn to page 26 and type out the first complete sentence.

“As the giant dropped them into the box with the harp, Mickey escaped."  Mickey and the Beanstock

 

 

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This week's challenge is a bit different again, but I hope you enjoy it as much I have.

A few weeks ago, a dear friend emailed me with an idea she had found in this woman's book "How to Be an Explorer of the World".  You are to find an old photo of someone you do not know and write a short biography for them.  You can use photos you already have, photos from old books, purchase them from second hand stores or even use google images {though I am unsure of any copyright issues that may lurk there}. 

I have always been curious about the old photos you often find in antique shops and church thrift stores.  I often wondered about their journey and how they ended up on an ornate little plate in a second hand store.  As these sorts of things often go, the rather haunting photos where nowhere to be found in local stores and so I turned to Etsy.  I found this little store with tons of great photos perfect for this challenge and bought two sets entitled "Couples" and "Matrons".

Before you read on, study the picture of the woman.  Define her traits and quirks and give her a name.  Think about it for a few moments and then read on to hear my version of this woman and her life.

As always, check out Flickr for last week's submissions as well as previous entrieslinked in the comments of each challenge.  If you are interested in joining, is is open to everyone so just send me a request via Flickr and I will gladly accept!

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Meet Madge.

Despite her rumpled and somewhat gruff appearance in the above photo, Madge was a gentle woman with a whimsical soul.  She had a difficult childhood as her mother fell into a deep depression after the birth of her youngest brother Charles.  Madge never understood her Mother's cool demeanor and found comfort in her father's presence and in nature.  She loved her father deeply and her fondest memories were of time spent with him and her siblings.  It was from her father that she learned a great love and respect for fairies and gnomes and their intricate worlds.

This was a love she was sure to pass onto her three children.  She spent many afternoons exploring with the children in the woods, looking under mushroom caps and asking toads for directions.  They had many chance encounters with the elusive fairies and gnomes as they trusted her and her children. 

Madge loved baking bread, in fact, that is just what she was doing moments before this picture was taken as her husband good naturedly dragged her out into the yard so he could try out their city-folk cousin's new fangled camera where the light was best.  Madge never concerned herself much with outward appearances and secretly loved it when the wind would loosen wisps of her hair from her practical bun and make it dance upon her head.  She loved red stained fingertips from picking wild raspberries along the lower road.  She looked forward to the children running ahead and into the forest until she was all alone in her quiet contemplation of the importance of sunshine and dessert.  While thinking of these things, she would often slip off her shoes and sink into the damp squish of the deep ditch where the rain collected, place a sun-warmed berry in her mouth, and raise her face to the sky.

As one can plainly see, Madge was a dreamer and a romantic, but lucky for her, so was her husband.  John was a short, fat man with playful brown eyes.  He loved to tease the children and pinch Madge's bum at every opportunity.  He spent most of his days tinkering in the barn inventing both useful and not so useful gadgets and hoped he would one day strike it rich.  You see, John felt terrible that his house was not a stately one that Madge could be proud of and show off and he wished to give her a housekeeper so she could spend her days exploring and writing.  But Madge never complained, and he loved her all the more for that.  He kept this photo in his breast pocket long after her death and thought her to be the most stunning woman he had ever set eyes upon.

Madge loved many of her wifely duties such as sewing and baking, but wasn't one for housework.  The house was always warm with fresh bread or cooked roast on the air and though it was untidy, friends and family were always welcome.  These friends and family thought John and his rumpled wife to be quite eccentric and unconventional, but couldn't deny just how well mannered the children were, how delicious the food always was, or how much they laughed and smiled while visiting these kind people living deep in the woods.

Some may say she lived an unremarkable and forgettable life, but Madge and those who loved her, knew the difference.  She died tragically while swimming at a church picnic near the falls just outside of town.  She swam out to explore an island that had always caught her eye and was never seen again.  She was 72; an explorer until the end.

Her callused hands and dancing hair live on and become grander and grander with each generation who tells the tale of this rather remarkable woman.

e.

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Sunday15

 

annette::erin

A day or two late, but what can I say…life happens.

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How about an overdue garden update!?

When I first planted our beloved little plot, I had visions of perfectly defined rows and weeding nightly with love in my heart and a baby softly cooing from the pea pod {AKA: the ergobaby carrier}.  However, it was not that romantic and the tiny tomato plants quickly turned into small shrubs overtaking the pepper plants as I was too slow to "cage" them.  Bending over with a babe strapped to your torso proved more difficult than originally thought while putting her on my back seemed like a feat fit for the talented folks at Cirque du Soliel.  So the weeds grew, but so did the vegetables.  The meslcun mix grew quickly and thickly, but was too bitter with what tasted like arugula {or "chicken weed" as Mike likes to call it} for both of our tastes.  So I cut it down to give the peppers room to breath as the tomatoes encroached on their space.

We have close to a billion green tomatoes hanging from the vines of our eleven {yes, eleven} plants while only one plant seems to want to produce red ones about the size of large grapes.  The rest seem to have no agenda for redness.  So I wait.  And wait.  And wait.

The cantaloupe never came up and only two tee pees of red runner green beans managed to show up.  The potatoes grew to be plants of four feet tall {I have never seen such tall potato plants} and then fell over during a particularly exuberant rain storm.  The pumpkin plant has taken over her half of the garden with ease and twirls through the fallen potato plants and up through the fence in a rather flamboyant fashion, but we have two or three good sized pumpkins for Fall carving and maybe I will try my hand at pumpkin pie.

I thought I would have jars and jars of tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and salsa by now.  I know that they need lots of sun and heat to turn red and they are in full sun all day, but I fear the vines that have overgrown provide too much shade.  Any suggestions for ripening these beloved jewels?

On Friday night, I decided to make this delicious Granola recipe{emailed to me by a lovely reader}  which I tweaked a little by adding cinnamon and a great deal more maple syrup {you can never have too much maple syrup!} and after putting it in the oven I strapped Poppy into the Pea Pod and wandered out to the garden.  There I found long green beans, a few more perfect red tomatoes, and two large green peppers {the third fell off as I fought with the tomato plants}!  This inspired a late night snack of summer garden goodness.  I made some delicious brown rice, green beans with a bit of butter and salt {perfectly understated}, and a fresh tomato salsa with cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a smattering of crumbled feta.  In  my fervor, I forgot to take pictures of the finished artwork but was too covered in butter to care.  I finished the late night feast with yogurt topped with the freshly made granola.

So, though my garden is not the perfectly manicured one that I envisioned, it is again proving to me that nature is ever-forgiving and determined to do its thing despite obstacles and imperfections.  Perhaps there is a lesson there.

e.

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As you may have noticed, I have been rather quiet and contemplative of late.  I have been unsure of why I am writing or where this is all going to lead, if anywhere at all.  I have been feeling a deep need to write for myself; without editing or re-thinking or worrying about sounding self-absorbed.  And so  yesterday morning I returned to the handwritten journal and am already seeing things more clearly.

I found a most perfect journal {a most necessary, albeit induldgent, tool for the simple act of writing…there is also something to be said about the perfect pen, but that is for another day} which inspired me to begin {again} the tradition of "morning pages" in which you write soley for the sake of writing.  Even if you have nothing to say, you write "I have nothing to say" until you have filled 3 pages.  It is here that I can forget about grammar and spelling and cohesion.  I felt lighter with each curving line and thought that sprawled out accross the page.  You see, thoughts are quick, fleeting things and when I write them out I seem to be able to finally catch up with it all.

The landscape turned into a slow moving liquid place in which leaves danced, butterflies flitted and my heart felt light again.  I wrote six full pages and looked forward to the next morning date with myself and a cup of ritual coffee. 

After I finished, I chatted with Mom over the phone about how sad I am to see Gramma's house leave the family.  At that moment, a hummingbird buzzed into the garden and began dipping into the nectar of the green bean blossoms.  I have never, in three years of living here, seen a hummingbird in our yard. Was that you Gramma?  It visited every little scarlet flower before flitting away as quickly as it arrived.

This morning, I awoke from a dream in which Soule Mama was making us apple pie while telling us funny stories about her book writing experience.  Delightful.  I kept a promise to myself and rose early, and put Poppy back to sleep in the thrifted wicker bassinett set carefully at my feet.  I slipped Gramma's Reader's Digest Jazz CD in the player, made my coffee and began to write again feeling quite inspired while wearing Gramma's retro cool short sleeved blouse with faded and torn jeans.  I filled 5 more pages of hopes and fears and, finally, a good pep talk. 

I have been struggling with the focus and purpose of this space and reminded myself of the goals reached and compliments received in a mere four months of blogging.  I have no idea why I chose Typepad or why I put so much effort and time into challenges, projects, recipes and tutorials.  I wondered why I was giving so much of myself when I should be concentrating on things that will supplement our income when my maternity leave is up.  Then I remembered the kind words of those who had featured my blog on theirs.  I remembered the kind email from Soule Mama; an authour; mama to 4 brilliant babes; an unshcooler; a crafting heroine and force to be reckoned with in the blogging world.  I remembered that she, amoung others, came here and read my tiny words and saw something that I don't.  I thought of the people who find inspiration here when I can't seem to find my own inspiration.  People who see something that is hidden from my own eyes.  Strangers sending me kind and encouraging emails.

In that moment of clarity, I knew it was time to re-focus.  Time to make some plans; apologize for my lack of commitment and interesting things to say; share some recipes and tutorials; and to make writing, both for myself and in blog form, a priority once again.  So I closed my journal and signed on to Typepad.  For some silly reason, I checked my stats and referrers (something I rarely do these days).  I noticed, at the top of the list, a referrer I didn't recognize and clicked to investigate.  It brought me to this page.  A recent interview with Soule Mama on the Typepad blog about her new book, her blogging experiences, and which blogs she frequents.  There, nestled within the names of some incredibly talented women, sat "Apples for Poppy Anne".  Serendipitous glee mixed with a disbelief filled me to the brim.  At that moment, I knew it was time to buck up and begin again. 

I have no idea where this writing and sharing will take me, but I know I need to continue with it.  The Universe, being the clever creature that it is, was conspiring to lead me here and, though not always easy, I will listen and not question the process.  I will continue to write from my heart for myself and anyone else who needs it or cares to listen.  I I have said it before and say it again… "I promise, not perfection, but honesty".

So thank you dear readers for staying with me.  I hope you can forgive me for ever doubting the process.

e.

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Embracetheblur

This week's photo challenge seems fitting for my state of mind as of late.  I feel as though I am beginning to lose focus with too much emphasis on the end product.  Losing focus and direction in my writing and crafting.  Too many things whirring and whizzing around in this curly-mopped head.  I am days behind, uncertain of where to go next, hoping that it all works out, forgetting to take my own advice.

But through it all, I am reminded of one of my favourite quotes: "Just when we feel we will never smile again, life comes back.".  Afterall, it is a good blur of babies and colour and craft mixed with unknowns and deep-seated fears about to be broken, but a blur nonetheless!

This week, embrace the blur and trust that it will all come back into focus in good time.

Note to "it begins with a colour…" members:

I am sensing a wane in interest and enthusiasm for the "it begins with a colour…" photo hunt these days.  I know summer is fleeting; I am admittedly seduced into her sultry embrace these days, but perhaps Fall will bring a renewed sense of routine.  I do see it as a healthy creative challenge {if only for myself and a handful of lovely peeps who still play along} and will continue on with the challenge for now.  If you have any suggestions or ideas I would love to hear them and incorporate them into future photo hunts!

For those still playing along, check out Flickr and previous submissions found via links within each week's comments!

e.

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I have begun reading Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair and am loving the intuitive, back-to-basics advice within its smooth cover.

It is, however, bringing to light just how many unhealthy food habits we still carry around.  After everything I have read, all the things I know, the documentaries I have watched, and despite my father and step mom being generous organic farmers I still struggle with eating right; I am still at war with these clingy, unhealthy pounds.

During pregnancy, I ballooned and was 55 pounds heavier by the final day.  I had good intentions and promised myself I would eat whole foods, green foods, nutrient dense foods.  I promised dad to eat all organic meat and to let him know when our freezer needed re-stocking.  I vowed to walk everyday.  The first 6 weeks were fine.  We toasted almonds and made a delicious spinach salad every night.  I always envisioned myself to be a glowing goddess when pregnant, but when pregnancy reality hit, it hit hard.  I was shipwrecked and plagued with constant nausea.  I craved comfort and "reward" foods of childhood days; things like alphaghetti, and kraft dinner became sad dietary staples.  The scent of the toasted almonds and spinach made my stomach churn and head spin.  I forbade Mike to make it in my presence again.  Pregnancy played evil tricks on me and I spent most of that summer on the floor or in bed with a sour stomach eating popsicles, grapes, and apples.

The nausea stuck with me for most of my pregnant days and I continued to grow, sleep and eat while Mike ran and shrank (nearly 40 pounds) and medicated me with food.  All of the things I had feared and hoped against had found me.  The lack of exercise and nutrients led to bouts of crying and dull depression and the cycle continued.

Today, I have managed to lose 42 pounds fairly effortlessly due to breast feeding and a more varied diet without aversions or cravings.  Though I am still eating a far from ideal diet.

I, in no way, want to make this blog about weight or weight loss, but it is an inevitable part of my journey.  In order to live an authentic and healthful life, I yearn to find balance in all areas of my life.  A great deal of my self-hate stems from my sub-par care of self.  This isn't something that I want to pass onto Poppy.  I want her to be in tune with her body's signals and needs and follow her intuition.  I don't to restrict her as forbidden fruit is always the most attractive, but I want to empower her to to make the right decisions. Until this morning, as I read Feeding the Whole Family, I was living in some sort of dream world in which I feed Poppy organic and homemade foods while I eat things I would never dream of giving her.  The day will come that she realizes we are eating different things and an unnecessary war begins.

Don't get me wrong, I love to cook, I love to bake, I love fruits and veggies, and there are very few foods that I refuse to eat.  We eat mainly organic meat and more veggies and fruits than most.  We drink water and rarely have pop in the house.  We avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs.  I love quinoa, and brown rice and never turn down herbs and spices.  Yet, I still cling to this unhealthy love affair with food; a part emotional, part physical addiction.

This book and new way of viewing things may just be the stepping stone I need.  You see, I have been a terrible friend to myself as I constantly make promises and then break them days or hours later.  Perhaps by doing this for Poppy it will be given a new sense of urgency and importance from which we will both benefit.

My goals

  • Eat strictly organically produced meat, eggs, and dairy
  • Greatly reduce processed sugars, high fructose corn syrup in daily foods
  • Eat more legumes and grains
  • Make from scratch the daily meals and snacks
  • Limit or eliminate completely, sugar, pop, and processed convenience foods
  • Participate in walking, swimming, light weights, jogging, yoga, and or meditation at least 5 times per week

Of course life will take hold at certain times and convenience will win.  We will eat birthday cakes and indulge ourselves in a pop {organic or not} or two.  We will undoubtedly eat Tony's pizza on hot days and at some fast food joint along highway 401 during a long road trip.  But with a good foundation all will not be lost.

e.

P.S. If you have some yummy and healthy recipes you would like to share, please email them to me at applesforpoppyane@hotmail.com!

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Sunday14

 

annette::erin 

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