Cabin Fever

The cabin

Living in reasonably northern climate, we have already had about 19 weeks socked in with snow. By this time of year a lot of people are getting a bit antsy….okay a more accurate word might be grumpy…from being stuck inside. A term often used to describe this is “cabin fever”. “Cabin fever” took on a new meaning for our family this weekend, the weather was shaping up to be good, so we had the idea to go check on the cabin and see how it was faring through the winter. Our cabin is not winterized, we are on old-school wood heat, so we tend to use it mostly May to October with the odd year starting in late March if we are feeling particularly rugged. Knowing that we had a month, or two, or three, before the first cabin weekend of the year we thought it would be fun to look in on the cabin and go for a little snowshoe outing as well.

Country Road

The drive was a beautiful 215 km back-road drive. Environment Canada was promising a temperature of +1 Celsius with no windchill at our destination, which is pretty much tropical for Alberta in February. A little over half way we noticed the wind was starting to blow, but we still had hope. By the time we hit the cabin it was definitely not +1 Celsius and it was blowing a gale. Snowshoeing was not going to happen.

The Cabin

The cabin was all nicely tucked to bed for the winter just as we had left it months before. We had evidence of visitors (mice……yes children, this is why we don’t eat in our bedrooms!), luckily that is my husband’s department. Everything around the cabin was firmly frozen.

View from the yard.

My favorite trees at the cabin. They have been painted and sketched many times.

My favorite trees at the cabin. They have been painted and sketched many times.

Despite the cold and the wind, this rural area was quite picturesque. Blue skies. Sunshine. I did a little tour of our yard taking a few pictures to remember the cabin in winter, and made a few mental notes for where I want to plant more trees. One can never have too many trees.

The frozen lake.

From the cabin we did a very quick walk to the lake.

Snowman at the lake.Frozen lake.


The lake was frozen and quiet except for a lone snowmobiler. Over the lake was a fabulous sky.

Winter sky.

We put our cabin back to bed for winter, locked it up and waved goodbye. We have a tradition of everyone saying “Goodbye cabin!” every time we leave it.

Winter view.

Snowshoeing may not have happened this time, but the drive did provide the added bonus that I had time to finish mitts for my youngest and a hat for my oldest child while my husband navigated the roads.

Thimbless mitts.

Thumbless mitts.

knit hat

It was nice to check on our little cabin. It might be a few more months before it is warm enough to stay there, but I can spend the next little while planning all the projects that will keep us busy throughout the coming summer.


Portrait on a boat

Portrait on a BoatThe idea of doing a portrait on a boat was a new idea that quite appealed to me. The boat “architecture” is surely different to shooting in a studio or against a building, plus there is the added bonus of a landscape or interesting sky in the background.

Portrait on a Boat

However shooting on a moving boat certainly presents a whole new set of challenges. The biggest challenge being the wind; I eventually took the approach to embrace the wind rather than fight it….if the shoot is on a boat it should have the feel of being on a boat.  The other challenge is lighting as you don’t exactly get to pick the direction the boat is facing; for this set of images I shot on a lower deck, which was covered, allowing for more even lighting on the face.

Portrait on a BoatShooting portraits on a boat is a project I will continue to explore, however in the future it will not be the 7 a.m. boat…that is just too early to shoot a portrait!

Flower Garden, 2013

flower garden blog” Flower Garden”

dimensions : 16 inches by 20 inches

media: silk hand dyed with hand-crafted natural dyes, embellished with cotton, bamboo and silk thread, and accented with glass beadsflower garden detailWell ” Flower Garden ” is finally finished, and finished before the submission date…some how.

It is a fun piece, a little folk-artsy, a little child-like, and a whole lot of beads. The red beads in the border total just under 2800 beads alone….I didn’t work out how many beads the whole piece contains, I’m not quite that insane. Unfortunately the little pictures in the blog don’t really show the texture, the shimmer, and the detail the piece contains; it is a piece that really needs to be seen (and touched) in person.


February Morning Surprise


As I looked out my kitchen window this morning I was greeted by a pleasant surprise, my orchid had bloomed. This plant clearly survives on neglect as in the past year all I have done for it was the odd watering and a relocation to the kitchen window. Most of the year it has looked quite sad, but this morning it proved otherwise, a beautiful off white bloom brightening up a winter day.

Lured by shiny things.


I will admit that I have recently been lured by shiny things. This is how it happened:

Last Friday I took out  a naturally dyed and stitched piece I have been working on, to mount. For about three months I considered the piece finished except for mounting, so today was the day to finish it off. I took a final look at the piece and decided it needed more than just mounting, so I decided to add a border. Sounds simple. Well it actually meant spending Friday and Saturday twisting and tying and dyeing silk in marigold and strawberry hoping to get colors that would go with the original piece. The colors worked, the border was added, but it still needed MORE. Now I could have taken the easy way out and cut back the border to make it narrower and called it a day….but no. My answer to the problem was BEADS.


Now I do enjoy working with beads. I like the sparkle. I like the bling. I like how they sit above the surface on a stitched piece. The downside is beading takes time.

beads 3 blog

The beads I am using are roughly 1mm in depth by 2mm in diameter. Teeny.

6.5 cm by 9 cm corner detail of "Flower Garden", currently a work in progress.

6.5 cm by 9 cm corner detail of “Flower Garden”, currently a work in progress.


I am hoping I made the right choice to add the beads. A “finished ” project is now a long way from finished, and I have hours and hours of beading ahead of me. I originally had a plan for this piece and needed it finished by the 14th. Clearly that probably won’t happen now, but it will be pretty when it is done.