Coffee Sweaters Custom Made For Woods On Pender

Originally posted on Debra Hunter - photography & art:

blog woods_0738 Coffee Press Sweater available from Woods on Pender (Pender Island, BC, Canada)

Ten new Coffee Press Sweaters have just been completed. This batch will be available at Woods On Pender (Pender Island, BC, Canada) very shortly.

Coffee Press Sweaters both protect the coffee press and keep your coffee warm while adding a little style to your table.

Each Coffee Press Sweater is made of 100% Canadian wool, milled in Alberta. The wool is dyed by hand in natural dyes and the sweaters are knit by hand. This collection features dyes of chamomile, pomegranate, turmeric, madder and indigo.

This selection features the resort’s logo and colors, however we can accommodate other colors and patterns if you have something special in mind as each piece is made completely by hand.

If you are interested in a Coffee Press Sweater, feel free to email Debra at .

Art, photography and handmade…

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New Hand Knit Items and a New Gallery

Originally posted on Debra Hunter - photography & art:

wine wrap handmade canadian giftsA new opportunity has arisen and I am pretty excited about it. The Frame It Store in Red Deer, Alberta (Canada) has added a new gallery to their venue, and my Wine Wraps and Bottle Sweaters will be for sale in this new space.

Both items dress up your bottle while keeping the contents cool. All are hand dyed in natural dyes and hand knit. The wool is 100% Canadian produced wool and milled in Alberta.

The new gallery space, “A Maker’s Emporium”, is having its grand opening this Thursday. If you are in town, come and check it out. It’s great to see new things happening in Red Deer’s creative community.


Hand knit Canadian gifts and decor by Debra Hunter

Also for more items Handmade in Canada checkout:










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Red Deer Catholic Schools CHOOSE to neglect student (….or are students just a commodity?)

Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division CHOOSES to neglect a student’s education.


That’s right…..chooses.

Remember THIS blog post? Here is the rest of the story……….

Remember how our son could not take French 20 at Notre Dame High School in Red Deer, Alberta?

Remember how we were told Alberta Distance Learning Center was our only choice for our son to study French 20 in a bi-lingual country?

Remember how our son needs French to apply for college?

So today we decided to make a phone call…… to Lindsay Thurber High School in Red Deer, Alberta…..this is in the Public School system. My husband asks “Did you offer French 20 this semester?” The voice at the other end says “Yes.”


My son could have transferred schools, and have actually received a PROPER EDUCATION……but Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division CHOSE to prohibit our son from a proper education. They said Alberta Distance Learning Center was our ONLY option.


Want the punchline……..the school that actually offers French 20 is 3.5 BLOCKS from our house. So close that we can hear bells and announcements.

One would wonder why a school division so set on the phrase “safe and caring schools” would care so little about a student getting the education they require……the answer…..

100 dollars…….MONEY!!!!!!!!!!

Our children are only a commodity. Each child’s head represents cash to keep teachers in jobs. Education is no longer about the student, it hasn’t been for a few years . Education is now about the teachers, how many can have jobs, and how to enrich their existence. Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division CHOSE to NOT give us this option as they knew this student wasn’t coming back. They knew the cash  (oh , sorry, the student) was gone. They know parents talk. When parents tell other parents they need to consider a whole different school division to even be able to have courses offered to apply for college, a huge group of students could potentially jump ship. Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division won’t give a toss about the “students” …..what they care about is the dollars.

After all what other explanation could there possibly be?

It took far less time to call Lindsay Thurber High School than set up getting the course from Alberta Distance Learning. “Safe and caring schools”……. what a joke.

Catholic schools having better morals…what a joke. We face lie after lie.


So just for fun I am going to share the email response from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools . And yes I am going to leave names in….it is time for people to be accountable. And no, I don’t care if the administration “cautions” me like they and the school board did last time I blogged about this very faulty school division. Here is the thing, the school board are PUBLIC employees, you are being paid by the PUBLIC tax dollar and it is time you did your jobs and did them RIGHT, and are ACCOUNTABLE.

The email from the superintendent:

Good Morning Mr. and Mrs. Hunter,
In speaking with Mr. Kelly about this item, please continue to work with him, and ADLC staff, to resolve this. If this approach is unsuccessful please contact Mr. Ledene in our office. Mr. Ledene is responsible for assisting parents with these types of concerns. I would be pleased to join a meeting with Mr. Ledene.
Take care.

The superintendent feels that we should continue to work with the very person who LIED to us and CHOSE to not give us a viable option. Working with the other party mentioned…..well we tried that last year when we dealt with a situation of our child being interrogated by a teacher over family finances regarding a ski trip and all he could come up with was how “skiing was so wonderful”. I am positive that this is possibly the most incompetent school division that ever existed.

boot room
Where my son was interrogated. Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.

So the Superintendent tells us to continue to work with a liar.

To put a cherry on top, there has been NO RESPONSE from the school trustees.

In the last 4 to 5 years, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools has gone from a great school division to one that is shockingly terrible, with  a slipping quality of education and pathetic morality. One has to wonder what, or who, has caused this.


My husband says we should just pull our children from the system, but I won’t. Why you may ask? Because someone needs to stand up against this publicly funded school division and out the corruption. I will scream and shout and blog. I will write to  every elected official I can. I will link this up to every online discussion I can. This blog comes up EVERY TIME someone searches Notre Dame High School Red Deer, or St. Thomas Aquinas School Red Deer, or Red Deer schools, or any other variation of the sort. If this school division wants this sort of publicity to stop they need to start educating our students properly, treat parents with respect, and stop LYING.

I will continue to do this until Red Deer Catholic Regional School division is cleaned up. I’m going nowhere. I’m in for the long haul. I have 13 more YEARS of children in school.


Our children, everyone’s children, deserve a proper education. It is time that the students come first. That schools are about educating students, not using them as a commodity.

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools….educating a student or sabotaging their future?

The Fallen Student "statue" stands in front of Notre Dame High School, Red Deer, Alberta to commemorate all the students who never graduated and were failed by the educational system.
The Fallen Student “statue” stands in front of Notre Dame High School, Red Deer, Alberta to commemorate all the students who never graduated and were failed by the educational system.

Is your school educating the students or sabotaging their future?

Are schools operating in a student’s best interests or are students merely being used as commodities to keep teachers in jobs?

What is the point of school in modern times?

These are all valid questions. I suspect involved parents, especially ones whose employment is not linked to the educational industry, have been asking themselves these questions quite often as of late.

Now I will admit our experience with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools has been abysmal. Remember the post A Learning Experience , or Fallen Student, or Cash Cow, or Where My Child Was Interrogated by a Teacher, or My Afternoon Off, and Are we Preparing Our Children. Believe it or not this is only a smattering of the problems. At times meeting with principals, superintendents and school board members is pretty much a full time job. This is pretty shocking considering our children are pretty much honor roll students.

Now perhaps that is the point, our children are good students, we want them to LEARN, and SUCCEED, and have a FUTURE. I know, these expectations are a little unreasonable, but we think it would be nice for our children to be educated, eventually have decent jobs, and not live on welfare.

We have discovered getting a decent education, having teachers actually teach, and having teachers and administrators being accountable for their decisions is impossible.



Remember years and years ago when teachers were scathing towards parents for letting their children watch T.V.? It wasn’t that long ago. “Screen time is bad.” “The T.V. is a babysitter.” “You’re not parenting.”. I remember it. My oldest is only 17. We as parents were awful for letting our children spend time in front of a screen, and teachers were fast to point it out. However lets visit 2015, where our children are now forced to sit in front of screens all day at school. IPads hour after hour, day after day… at lunch they put on a MOVIE as the children haven’t spent enough time glued to a screen.

My daughter in grade 1 is so sick of being stuck in front of an iPad that she gets up and SWEEPS the classroom instead. She would rather do menial domestic tasks that be forced to sit in front of the (to quote her) BORING iPad. IPads ARE the new teachers. We started noticing this trend in the 2011/2012 school year, primarily with a pilot project that was carried out in our son’s grade 8 class. Teaching had ceased, technology was the teacher. I remember saying at that point “Why don’t we just hire a babysitter, put them in a flack jacket, stick the kids in front of a screen, and call it good?” Years later my thoughts are still the same, if not more so.

Why are we even sending the kids to school? Government funded babysitting in the guise of education?

Technology is one thing, but utter time wasting is another. Have you ever looked at a school calendar for June for an elementary school? They accomplish NOTHING. Field trips, band concerts, happy assemblies, picnics, swimming, farewells, go to the library…..the list goes on and on. Can anyone tell me WHY we are paying teachers to go on PICNICS? Or to dress up like CLOWNS at a happy assembly? Or to stand on the deck of a swimming pool because they can’t be bothered to get wet with their class (that’s the parents job!)? Why when the government is trying to find money for education are we paying teachers to NOT TEACH? Valid question. Seriously, why are these “teachers” allowed to both waste our children’s time and our tax dollars? If the government wants to balance the budget, scrap June for all elementary schools….they stop any remote form of teaching in May anyways.

But even when a teacher’s teaching is needed, when a student needs help, it doesn’t happen. Check out A Learning Experience for our real life story. In the end we resorted to cyber-school for our son’s grade 10 and 11 math. We tried grade 10 math in the school setting at Notre Dame High School (Red Deer , Alberta) came up against yet another teacher that wouldn’t even answer the simplest of questions, pulled our son out of the class at mid-term and put him into cyber. You have to give your child a shot at succeeding, it wasn’t going to happen in the hands of an uninterested teacher.

So as you can see, I’m not anti-technology, but I am anti “waste my tax dollars and screw over my children”….I’m funny that way.

One could say this was an isolated event, stuff happens………..but it wasn’t.


Let me share our new story……..

Now before I get into it just a little background information. We live in Canada. Canada is a bi-lingual country. We have two official languages, English and French. Our son wished to go to college. Our son wishes to go into the Bachelor of Arts program. Our Son NEEDS French. This is all incredibly important.

Knowing our son’s intention for further education, before grade 10 decisions were made regarding the classes he needed for college acceptance. Our son is good with languages, enjoys languages, sees value in languages. He chose to study Spanish in grade 10 and obviously French as we are a bi-lingual country. He takes Spanish and French 10, does well, all is good. For grade 11 he signs up again for the same classes. Not long before second semester begins, January 2015, the semester in which French 20 is to be held, we are told they do not have enough enrollment for the class. French 20 would NOT occur. This is a school of 1500 students, in a city of 100,000 people, in a bi-lingual country , with at least two French teachers on staff. Yes let me repeat this once again, the school has French teachers on staff…….being paid by my tax dollars……but my son CANNOT have his French 20 class. We flip, our son NEEDS French for college acceptance. The school doesn’t care, they are too busy concerning themselves with really important classes like fashion, cosmetology and photography (I’m a photographer, I’m allowed to scathe); you know, the “fun” classes so that the teachers can have some “fun” teaching. You see education isn’t about the student and their education, that’s been proven, students are simply the commodity to create “teaching jobs”.

After some serious flipping out we were given an option. From the Grade 11 Vice-Principal’s email of February 4, 2015:

Good evening Mark,

Thanks for your patience regarding the options for French 20 since we are unable to run the course due to extremely low enrollment. After numerous attempts to find a way to deliver the French 20 course, the following structure is what we are able to offer.

We could enroll Alex in the French 20 course through Alberta Distance Learning. Alex would be able to complete the course assignments through an online learning environment. In addition to the support network within the ADLC framework, we will create question/answer opportunities with our French Immersion teachers here at the school. This support could occur during RTI blocks of time on Tuesday/Thursday and/or on Flex Friday, depending upon Alex’s and teacher’s other course requirements. There is another student that will be taking the course with the same type of support structure. Potentially, we can create a small cohort of students that can work collaboratively if that would be of benefit to the students involved.

If this is the direction that you would like to proceed, Alex would be able to start the course when he has finished the Math course from St. Gabe’s.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this structure.

Take care,

We choose to go with the option. We can’t quite understand “how” a course with such a huge verbal component is going to work in a “distant learning” format, but it is our only option to try it. We worry that learning French in this way is a little bit like playing Mine Craft and using it as your formal training for being a city planner, but we put our faith in the school system. They offered  a lot of support as indicated in the following statement, so we truly felt it could work:

“we will create question/answer opportunities with our French Immersion teachers here at the school. This support could occur during RTI blocks of time on Tuesday/Thursday and/or on Flex Friday, depending upon Alex’s and teacher’s other course requirements. There is another student that will be taking the course with the same type of support structure. Potentially, we can create a small cohort of students that can work collaboratively if that would be of benefit to the students involved.”

There were initial problems getting the program up and running, we tried to be patient, we tried to believe they were “teething pains”. By March we were still having problems with Alex being able to work efficiently on his distant learning French course at school, prompting my husband to email the administrator who initialized this option and promised all the school support. The email of March 15, 2015 read:

I just thought I should touch base with you regarding Alex’s French course.

We’re quite concerned as Alex tells us that he has not been able to do the speech component at all as there have been technical issues. This is very worrisome. Has Alex received any support with this or has it been a hands off “sink or swim” approach?

It’s likely due to this that he is already behind in the course. Have the other students taking this online course been able to do their speech component?

You also mentioned prior to the course that Notre Dame would try and incorporate the grade 11 students occasionally into class situations if possible to help with the speech. This has not happened and we’re starting to think that it was a mistake going this route.

It does completely feel as if Alex has been simply thrown into it and has no guidance whatsoever. We’re already fed up with having to police him and, to this point, I have allowed Alex to deal with the speech problem. That seems to have got us nowhere though.

You know our concerns about the lack of French being offered in grade 11 and, yes, we do understand about the lack of enrollment. This online course seems to have been a clutching at straws scenario though and we definitely wish that more thought had been put into a viable solution.

Please let us know how we can solve this problem and whether Alex, and any other student in the course, can have some in-school involvement with the speech component.


Mark & Debra Hunter


A reply came back to us on March 17, 2015:

Hi Mark and Debra,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you with an email. I did leave a voice mail with Mark today regarding the information I have, related to the technical issues with the French ADLC course.

Please be assured that we have been supporting Alex with his French course during his block 3 time. Alex has been working in our learning commons on a daily basis. Most often Alex has been working on the French materials while other days he has been using the time to complete work in his other subjects. I have been checking with him periodically to find out his progress and comfort level in the course. When I had checked in with him he indicated that things were going well with the course.

A couple of weeks ago he mentioned that he was having some difficulty completing the speech component of the assignments with ADLC. Members of our Learning Commons team helped Alex contact the teacher of the course at ADLC (Mr. Fontaine), with the intent of solving the issue. It has recently come to our attention that the problem with one portion of the course delivery (speech component) is being negatively impacted by our school network firewall. Our IT department has been in contact with ADLC with the intent to find a solution to the problem ASAP. As of this afternoon, we were still waiting to hear from the people at ADLC.

I apologize for the hold up with a solution to the technical issue. I will keep monitoring the situation until a solution is found. The people at ADLC did indicate that students can access the course at home, where the firewall issue may not be present. Can Alex try the speech component assignment at home and then receive feedback from his teacher? We then can use the information from the ADLC teacher to generate RTI opportunities with our ND teachers.

I will be in contact with you as soon as I have an update from our IT department.

Take care,

We as parents touch base with the situation. We are ASSURED that our son is receiving support. We again put our trust in Notre Dame High School and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.

By May we are asking our son how he is doing with the course and how many assignments are left; we are just making sure he is on track. In this time frame our son even sent off an email to Alberta Distance Learning Center in which he received this response followed by a graph of assignments:

Cher Alex,

Thank you for your e-mail.

As indicated in the Feb 11 email (how to navigate… attachment, p. 11 in the pdf)from early in the semester, This school year: only the activities that have a due date, are for marks.

All activities that count towards your final French mark have due dates.

Hope this helps : (graph followed)

We think great, our son is on top of things, the school is supporting this version of French 20, other than technical difficulties with equipment this scenario seems to be “okay”……

…..but it wasn’t.

By the beginning of June our son was having huge difficulties completing the last few assignments. Audio files wouldn’t work. Communication with the teachers wasn’t working. Our son was down to the last two assignments. On Friday my husband took matters into his own hands, circumvented Notre Dame High School who was “supporting” our child with his French 20, and spoke to the distant learning teacher direct.

In a 4 minute phone call my husband discovered our son only had 15 out of 70 assignments completed. We were shocked. The school was supposed to be supporting our child, this was on their watch. The emails document this. But even more so, OUR SON WAS SHOCKED, he thought he only had two assignments left.

You see, after that 4 minute phone call we drove to Notre Dame High School to meet with the administrator that had arranged this option for French 20 and promised all the school support (both verbally and in writing as the emails indicate). We waited for over an hour and during that time we pulled our son out of his Social class to try and figure out what was going on. We were allowed use of a computer to look at his French course, the first time we had EVER seen the program as the school was the caretaker of this educational option. Our son told us that the distant learning teacher said only assignments with a due date count for marks. Fair enough. As he shows us the program there ARE only a couple of assignments left with due dates. We ask our son if he had received any help at the school, any RTI sessions, any verbal help as was promised he said NO……NONE.


We were assured in writing and verbally that our son would receive support and he received NONE. This school, a Catholic school, LIED straight out to us.

We were assured in WRITING both in February 2015 and March 2015 that our son would receive support in school, yet received NO SUPPORT AT ALL.

Our son visited the administrator who organized this plan numerous times, with problems regarding the program, and still he received no support in the form that was promised in the email of February 2015.

We met with the administrator fuming as to what a poor option we had been provided with for French 20, in which the general attitude was “it isn’t our school”……… but it was your school’s choice to put us in this horrible scenario. It was your school that promised support for this program. Promised in writing.

What also came out in the meeting was that the administrator found out the previous day about how many assignments had been completed and had not bothered to contact us. Lots of excuses were made; classic hand washing and passing the buck. We had been lied to.


The school administrator washed his hand of the whole situation. Clearly not his child, not his education, not his future, not his issue.

That’s the great thing about being Catholic, lie, cheat, do what you like…….prance off to confession on a Saturday…..and you are good to go and can start lying to parents and cheating students all over again. Catholicism is awesome for this sort of behavior.  a “Father forgive me for I have sinned….” and a couple of Hail Mary’s, and these people, these people who out right LIE to the parents and students, feel all is good with their God. (I’m Catholic…this is classic behavior…..Catholicism is all about finding the loophole).

We tried to contact the superintendent of Red Deer Regional Catholic School Division. Not in the office. Of course.

I emailed the superintendent indicating we had a problem and would like a response ASAP. No response. (As a side note, in previous problems he had said, while sitting in his office, to contact him if  there was ever any issue and he would deal with it ASAP. A way to solve things without them going public. Clearly it was just more words with no substance.)

I sent a second email to the superintendent, an email detailing the whole situation, and received no response.

This school division will create a disaster but refuse to fix the mess they make.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE #4 – SORTING OUT WHAT IS GOING ON (a.k.a  a parent’s responsibility)

June 12, 2015. We, the parents, and Alex, the student, are left to figure out what is going on. We had trusted the professionals and it had led to disaster.

We spent the evening trying to figure out what was going on regarding French 20. This is what we discovered:

First, our son, after four months of working on the distance learning course had no clue as to how to navigate the site. Around 6 pm I asked “isn’t there a tutorial?”, he said no. Even the most mundane program now a days has a tutorial but he could find none on the program. This is a student who has done Math via cyber school for two terms, so he is used to an online format.

We then had him start to make a list of what needed to be completed. As he made the list and started clicking all over the place we kept hearing “I didn’t know that was there.” I didn’t know there were assignments there.” It turns out he only thought the assignments were in “contexts”.
We have a student with hardly any assignments completed, who can’t navigate the site, who has technical problems with the audio portion of the site, who has educators that don’t seem to notice something is wrong.

In an effort to make some sense of this disaster we systematically went through every email sent and received regarding French 20. At 8:18 pm I come across this in my son’s private emails:

Cher Alex,

Thank you for your e-mail.

As indicated in the Feb 11 email (how to navigate… attachment, p. 11 in the pdf)from early in the semester, This school year: only the activities that have a due date, are for marks.

All activities that count towards your final French mark have due dates.

Hope this helps : (graph followed)

I ask Alex about the February 11th email. I ask “Did you get a tutorial?” He says “no”. I start going through the emails again and way down I find the attachments; the mentioned PDF’s.

We talked about this , it turns out my son had no idea what an “attachment” was. He’d never received one before. Safe thing is to not open things on an email if you don’t know what they are. He never had the information he needed as it was sent to him in an archaic form for someone of his generation. In his world, tutorials are on the sites not sent as PDF’s. He never had a clue of what was going on.

If the school had given support as they had promised my son would have known how to navigate the site.

If the school had given support, as promised, my son would have known how to find his assignments.

At Alberta Distant Learning Center the teacher didn’t bother  to take notice even though our son had sent  19 emails indicating problems or questions regarding the program, and was seriously behind on assignments.

Our son was left to sink.


Remember my rant about the use of technology at the beginning of this post? My son thinks he has been using computers in school since grade 3.  He has taken “Information Processing” in Grade 10 and “Career and Life Management” in Grade 11 at Notre Dame High School. Could someone please tell me how a school division with millions of dollars of technology could NOT teach what an attachment on an email is in 9 years of computer based schooling? How can a student take “Information Processing” and NOT learn about attachments? How can a student take “Career and Life Management” and NOT learn about business emails that continually use attachments? HOW?

Our tax dollars are used on technology in the schools, our elementary school has an iPad for EVERY SINGLE STUDENT, yet basic crucial information regarding the use of technology IS NOT BEING TAUGHT.

Guess what these millions of dollars are being used for…..playing games like “99 Floors”…my daughter must have played that game every single day of grade 3……including at student led interviews. Yes indeed, parents are to give up their time to come to school to watch their children play video games.

But it gets better. Have you ever watched an 8 year old play “99 Floors”….they literally just push the screen until something happens. I remember the teacher walking past as my daughter was doing this and saying “it was so educational and teaches logic”. I remember thinking “oh my god, the teachers are doing crack in the staff room!” The kids were literally pounding on the screens until something happened.

When basics of email have not been taught over the course of 9 years, including “Information Processing”  and “Career and Life Management” (let me repeat….”career” ….as in “business”….as in “business emails”…..that have attachments!), this educational system IS ABYSMAL.


In a response to try to get caught up on his French 20 class, last evening our son panicked and attempted to do an assignment. He got EVERY SINGLE QUESTION WRONG…..but I guess the assignment is done.

He is completely frazzled.

He has been left to drown by the system.

He is drowning…..and no one bothered to act as an educational professional.

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools lied to us. It is documented.  In writing.

The students don’t matter. The student’s education doesn’t matter. The students are only a commodity to create jobs for the teachers.


Remember the questions I asked at the beginning…let’s answer them.

Is your school educating the students or sabotaging their future?


Are schools operating in a student’s best interests or are students merely being used as commodities to keep teachers in jobs?


What is the point of school in modern times?


…… as I said earlier ……. “Why don’t we just hire a babysitter, put them in a flack jacket, stick the kids in front of a screen, and call it good?” ………… you’ll get the same result, or better, than what you are currently getting in our school system.

Handmade Works in Progress – Handmade in Canada


A “work in progress” post from my other site.

Originally posted on Handmade in Canada:

handmade in canada knitsCoffee Press Sweaters and Margarita Mats are two of the items currently being made by hand by Made of hand-dyed yarns, dyed in natural dyes, each item is completely made by hand. These make great Canadian gifts and are of course handmade in Canada.

To view more items from Canadian makers check out .

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