Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Endings

During the Christmas holidays, (there, I said it- I celebrate Christian holidays - and that is not meant to offend the non-Chrisitians of the world.  I like your holidays, too!) and after my custom orders were completed, and all jewelry re-stocking requirements for Textures Craftworks were taken care of, I decided to finally take some time out to do different things for a change.  More and more of my free time during the year gets taken up with making jewelry and "feeding the demands" of my membership in our little craft cooperative enterprise, and while I do enjoy it, I finally realized that other pursuits were taking a back seat.

Things like painting my dining room, for instance.  I've been looking at the same patchy white walls since I moved into my house over three years ago, and I always thought I should "do something" about them.  But I didn't.  Mostly, because I was lazy.  I admit that the thought of clearing off and moving three bookcases and a buffet packed full of china made me tired.  And that was just the thought of it!  The reality was SO MUCH MORE!

I did attack the project in stages, however, and in the end I got through it.  For your reference, I recommend waiting until you have someone with strong arms to help you move the furniture.  I didn't do that.  Bookcases got stripped and moved to a new home in the living room, and then they were redressed there.  That took one day because, well, you kinda have to vaccuum after you move furniture out of the place it has been sitting for three years.  Who knew?  The plan at that point was to start with the painting once the wall was unearthed, so it was dry before the family came visiting for Christmas. 

So, once Christmas was over and my husband set off to work on his Boxing Day sales, it was time to begin.  I must say, I hate doing prep work more than anything during any project, and that will often scuttle any project I contemplate taking on.  But I got out my ladder, and diligently taped the baseboards and the ceiling (not that you can tell there - oops!) before really getting to work.  For a change, I also looked after myself during the execution of my project by taking regular breaks, and I kept myself hydrated.  Important things to remember if you wish to survive.  I stopped working for the day when I was half way through, and moved furnishings back into place along the first half of the wall.

On the second day, I continued to work until I finally reached the end of the walls to be painted, and once they were dry, the rest of the furnishings for the dining room were put back in place, and a few new nail holes were added to the finished product in order to hang existing artwork in new locations.  And after that, I sat back to gaze upon my handiwork and think about painting the kitchen!  But there's always next Christmas for that - just thinking about that pantry cupboard that would have to be emptied and moved...

So with the wall now painted an actual colour (called "Lover's Rock, incidentally - kind of an olive-y green, golden brown-ish colour that changes in different light throughout the day) I decided to take up my next project - knitting myself an infinity scarf!  Several months ago I was contacted about helping to coordinate a "Shopper" feature in the Hamilton Spectator featuring infinity/tube/mobius scarves.  After working with our knitters Diane Paquette and Ella May Russell to coordinate this, and seeing the project come to fruition, I thought that I would like to make one of these lovely things for myself!  If you missed the feature, unfortunately it never made it to an online posting, but it was fabulous. 

Here is the page:

I hardly believe it, but I was able to find my knitting needles in the first place I looked, and I sat down with them and the lovely balls of brightly coloured yarn I had purchased in anticipation.  And then it hit me - I haven't done any knitting in about 15 years!  I don't even remember how to cast on!  All of the craft books I own that covered any sort of knitting project made the basic assumption that the reader at least knew how to knit!  Duh.  Luckily, it was Google to the rescue!  You can look up just about anything on the internet, including "how to knit". 

Five minutes later, I was refreshed, and on my way!  A friend of mine asked if Google will tell you how to untangle skeins of yarn, too.  Yes, it will!  Check out this delightful blog posting explaining how to go about it:

Several weeks later, I am quite a few rows into my infinity scarf, but it is still no where near being done.  Good thing the heavy duty snowy weather has held off so far!  But I am still plugging away at it.  Ultimately, I probably should have gone to Textures and bought one of Diane or Ella May's beautiful scarves.  Maybe I should just go to Textures anyway and request their "Happy Endings" service.  That way, a professional knitter will finish for me the project I started with such good intentions - and finish it before the first buds of spring are opening, at that!  Happy Endings all-round...

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Circle of Life Continues!

Here we are on the first day of the new year - January 1, 2010!  Folks always seem to be so pumped about all the great possibilities a new year holds.  I must say, I actually feel more open to the unknown this year than I have in other years.  My natural tendency is to look back and mourn all that was left unfinished in the old year, but I think 2010 is going to be amazing!

The year 2009, while challenging for most people in some ways, was a mostly great year for Textures and our little band of independent artisans - and we have you to thank for that!  Our customers are great people, and have been very supportive!  It is encouraging for all creative souls to find an appreciative audience, and your continued trips to our little gift shop on Locke St. South in Hamilton keeps our group of about 50+ local artisans fired up with creativity to make something even more amazing than the last great creation!

Our group is much like a family, and we do have our occasional squabbles (if you have a sibling, or you have two or more children you know what I'm talking about!) - any group of individuals is bound to have disagreements about the direction the whole group should take.  But one thing we always agree on is our love of creating the best we can for our customers!

Thank you for all your support and encouragement in the last year, and we look forward to welcoming you back for a visit in 2010!

We are starting off our new year with a show of all that is colourful and bright - "Passion and Panache" starts tomorrow, and is sure to banish the grey days of early January.  Hope to see you soon!