Red Deer, Alberta – Tin Can Ghetto of Canada

Welcome to my city. Welcome to my neighborhood. Welcome to the shitty, crappy, tin can ghetto that has invaded our neighborhood. Yes indeed, our city has outdone itself…..big time.

An evening drive home uncovered that the parking lot of the Memorial Centre in Red Deer, Alberta has been turned into “tent city”…..or rather a “TIN CAN OCCUPY MOVEMENT”. 30+ R.V. units have set up camp in the NEIGHBORHOOD of Waskasoo in Red Deer. Yes indeed….a NEIGHBORHOOD…yeah….with real houses, and home owners and children and full of freaking tax payers . Now this is 5 blocks from MY home, but even better this is maybe (and I will be generous here!) 100 meters from the nearest residential residence…..yeah baby….100 meters. Even better is that it is DIRECTLY across from a daycare centre. Just what everyone wants, a transient occupy camp across from where your kids is being cared for when you go to work. Maybe you’ll be lucky and the gathering will be a pedophile convention (who knows!). No matter what the gathering is, this is a neighborhood, this is not a commercial area, this is not a campground, but what this certainly IS NOT is FAIR.


We called By-laws (AKA the R.C.M.P.) with our complaint. Now considering our past dealings we didn’t hold a lot of hope. Well let me tell you this, the R.C.M.P. are consistent. Sigh!!!!! A while after calling in the complaint we get a message left on our phone:

” This is the R.C.M.P. calling. The R.V.’s that you called about are for the square dancing jamboree at the school and will be parked there all weekend.” (or something similar….the cops should have it recorded if you want the exact wording….there was some static part way through but I had no way of typing it to read like it sounds!)


Maybe I will give you the translation:

“This is the R.C.M.P. calling. Little pain in the ass citizen, please quit bothering us. We really don’t give a rat’s ass that you live in the affected neighborhood. We really don’t give a shit that a tent city has moved in near to your home. Who gives a crap if your children are now in an unsafe neighborhood due to the transients. Seriously just shut the f*** up, quit bothering me…..and by the way DON”T FORGET TO PAY YOUR TAXES!!!!!!”

Happy days!!! Happy days!


This is where I get to give Red Deer the most coveted award……..

(drum roll please!)

I now anoint this city with the blessed title of “TIN CAN GHETTO OF CANADA”!!!!

(ta da!)

………and just think, this too could be coming to a neighborhood near you!

…edited to add these ( ) are the people too cheap to pay for a hotel or campsite (after all why would they actually support the Red Deer economy when they can use and abuse!) …..I expect we will also see piles of their garbage left behind at the end of the weekend to be trucked to the Red Deer landfill for the Red Deer taxpayer to pay for! Brilliant!

How I Spent My Weekend ….. (or tying, tying, tying)

august bracelets blogMore bracelets all naturally hand dyed and hand tied by “moi!”. Tying was very successful this weekend, I played with adding some very fine naturally dyed silk thread and different beads. The colors in this set are different variations of madder, cutch and turmeric. I have new threads mordanting as I write plus some new dye colors to come in the very near future. Building inventory has never been so much fun.

(Online store coming soon, but if you just have to have a bracelet, please use the contact info below!)

Studio H
(handcrafted & naturally dyed wearables and art)

Paddling on Lake Isle – Lac Ste. Anne County, Alberta

Lake Isle, AlbertaWe finally took the plunge and decided to put the canoe in the lake. It has been ages since we have canoed, years in fact, as we had abandoned canoeing the minute we bought our first kayak. Let’s face it, kayaks are toys. They are fun, and our little 9 footer turns on a dime making our canoe feel like it is plodding through the water. However now that our kayaks are happily living on Pender Island, we decided it was time for the boat that had been sadly leaning against our fence to finally hit the water again.

The other weekend the lake looked good and smelled good so we decided it was a good day for a paddle. I had bad memories of a wobbly canoe and panicky kids from times canoeing in previous years, but none of this came true on this outing. Clearly kayaking in the ocean had made us stronger paddlers, braver paddlers and also made for braver passengers ( our children). I had forgotten how wide a canoe was compared to a kayak and how much space we had, that took a little bit to get used to.

The outing was successful. We never get to paddle very far as we take turns rotating through which children get to ride and which ones get to paddle. It is pretty much like a lakeside fairground ride. We had missed the bloom of the water lilies this year, but we still managed to paddle by all the lily leaves floating on the surface of the lake. We paddled back and forth along the lake’s edge; most of the cabins had not put docks in this year which made this an easy task.

Hopefully this coming long weekend we will get another windless day and be able to put the boat in again. The kids were thrilled to canoe, and we were pretty surprised with how much fun we had.

“Somewhere” in Yellowhead County

yellowhead county, alberta We spent this weekend again roaming the back roads of Alberta. Generally we stick to Parkland County or Lac Ste. Anne County, but this weekend we ventured a little further afield into Yellowhead County. Yellowhead County is about an hour west of Edmonton on Hwy 16 (ever notice how distance in Alberta is measured in time! LOL!) and it is very easy to get off the beaten track (quickly!). This is a land of pretty scenery, beautiful farmland and deserted gravel roads. In addition to great views we were treated to this amazing sky with light streaming through the clouds.

Downtown Zucchini

The city of Red Deer has a really cool thing happening at the moment, for the summer months a Wednesday market is held in the downtown area. They close off a couple of streets from 4pm to 7 pm and set up a market.

wednesday downtown 2 I enjoy markets of any kind, and have visited markets in many different countries, but I think this one is particularly great as all the items have to be locally grown or locally made. This is such a great concept especially for those who believe in the 100 mile diet or believe in supporting local economies. The market has a mix of produce stands, preserve stands, meat producers, honey producers, a craft stand, food trucks and more. Today it was busy which is great to see, and people were buying (even better!).

wednesday downtown 1One added bonus to the market is the Ross Street Patio. Each week new artists treat the public to live music. If you don’t make it to the Wednesday evening set, the same musicians often perform on Thursdays at lunchtime (noon to 1:30 pm-ish). We’ve popped by for a listen many times and the music has always been brilliant.

We walked down to market this evening. Downtown being walkable is one of the bonuses of living in a historic neighborhood just off the downtown core. We strolled through the market checking out the stalls and all their offerings. We couldn’t resist the honey stand and everyone just had to have a honey stick; they were very yummy, We then came across a vegetable stand that had the biggest (that should read BIGGEST) zucchini I have ever seen. The stand was run by a farm and U-pick in the Markerville area. Now we didn’t really need a zucchini, but the zucchini were so huge it just seemed like a fun thing to do to buy one of these super sized veggies. Admittedly, I secretly wanted to know just how many zucchini loaves I would get out of one…..I’m a bit of a geek!

wednesday downtown 3Luckily we had a double stroller to transport our big purchase home.


Once we were home our youngest couldn’t resist checking out the huge squash. He thought it was pretty funny.

I guess tomorrow I will find out just how huge the zucchini is when I start shredding it for baking!

Lake Isle – Drama in the Sky

Storm over Lake Isle, AlbertaWe were out at the cabin again on the weekend, a nice way to escape the noise and commitments (A.K.A. “laundry”) of the city. We had just finished clearing up dinner on Saturday when I looked out our back window that has a view of fields and trees to see a weird, funky cloud hanging in the air. I looked out our front window and noticed the same cloud hanging over the lake. This appeared to be a photo op and I just had to check it out. I quickly made the 100 meter trek down to the lake, entourage in tow, only to realize I had never seen another cloud like it. It was strange but amazing. I fired off shot after shot as the light shifted and then went.

Storm over Lake Isle, AlbertaStorm over Lake Isle, AlbertaStorm over Lake Isle, AlbertaStorm over Lake Isle, Alberta

After shooting the sky we decided we needed to run out quickly for provisions…..okay, actually something in the form of an “evil” snack containing chocolate. We headed for Darwell and the sky grew darker. The store was closed. We headed for Fallis Store under even darker skies. The store was closed. (Note: we run on a very different time clock to most people, this explains why the stores were closed!) We headed to Darby’s General Store at Seba Beach under ominous skies, and the store was OPEN. RESULT! (….and it was quite busy too, probably due to the fact it also sells “liquid refreshments”!)

We went the slightly longer more scenic route on the way home. This is when the drama in the sky really started. Lightning surrounded us on all sides. Thunder clapped loudly. It was one of those unpredictable storms when you never know where the lightning will flash next. Halfway home we realized we should have taken the quicker route. The storm had all the deer on edge, we had never seen so many jumping out of the ditches and into the road. watching the lightning and watching for deer made for a slow drive home. (We hit a deer once and hope to avoid that situation again. It wasn’t much fun , but even less fun for our vehicle that suffered $15K worth of damage!)

We finally made it back to the cabin and the storm had eased a little. Momentarily. Then it returned. Lightning. Wind. Then the power started to go off periodically. When the power starts going off and on in the cabin we take care of important things first…..we put the kettle on…..seriously. Our philosophy is if you are going to be hanging around reading by candlelight you might as well have a nice hot cup of tea or coffee to drink. It is important to know what one’s top priorities are in life!

The storm eventually eased up and the power stopped going on and off. It was definitely an evening of drama in the sky.

(I had a lot less drama the next day with a lovely little photo shoot along the edge of Lake Isle. If you’d like to take a look, just click here! It’s the same dock in the background but very different weather.)

Beading Again

beaded sun blogThis piece was originally going to be more about the naturally dyed silk and less about stitching and beading. Once I started on the sun I knew the whole focus of the piece just had to change. Even though this piece will probably take me 100 times longer than my original plan ( or at least feel like it is taking 100 times longer! ), beading is exactly what the piece is calling for.

( Need something to read? I also blog at and at . My work with Hunter Photographics can also be viewed at or on my Facebook page . )

FINALLY finished painting the studio (finally!)

studio portrait 3 blogWell I never thought it would happen but I finally finished painting the studio. “Finally” should be written in capitals,  in bold, underlined and perhaps printed in the color red. I swear it took an eternity and a half to finish. It is a big space. It does have high ceilings. But to make things even better it was an absolute joy to paint the floor with the smelliest oil based paint known to man in an unventilated area. Layer after layer after layer of sticky, smelly paint. It is no mystery why I don’t repaint this area every year or two.

Previously this area was painted in dark blues, so the light earth tones are a significant change. Updating is good. It makes you rethink how to light and shoot your subject.

This is one of a handful of images shot to test the studio area. I have a few more shots in this post on . I also tend to post samples on my website at and on my Facebook page if you are interested in seeing more work.

Dyeing and Tying

For the last little while I’ve been dyeing and tying. Probably the first image that danced through your head as you read “dyeing and tying” were images of Grateful Dead t-shirts on aging hippies, but this is a little different. I will admit it is still a bit of a crunchy, earth-loving  endeavor but with a rather nice product at the end.

I have been toying with the idea of either starting an on-line store or possibly doing a few markets. I love natural dyeing but felt I wanted to offer a range of naturally dyed items rather than just scarves or a few art pieces. The idea of naturally dyed bracelets seemed like a fun item to try.

I have been natural dyeing heavy cotton thread. Some of the dyes are from natural dye suppliers, such as the madder and cutch dyes that I am using. Other dye materials I have been growing (marigold) or finding in ditches (goldenrod). I like the concept of natural dyes compared to that of using chemicals to dye with; to me, natural makes sense.

cotton threads blogI have been using the dyed threads to tie bracelets. Essentially the bracelets consist of hundreds of little knots. The pattern and color combinations are endless, making it so easy to create a one-of-a-kind handcrafted bracelet every time.

naturally dyed bracelets 1 blogI have also been incorporating glass beads into the bracelets for a little sparkle, as well as utilizing repurposed buttons and wooden beads. I feel using repurposed buttons and beads along with the naturally dyed threads really supports the “green” concept of the bracelets. I love the idea of wearing something that is NOT mass-produced, that is one-of-a-kind, and is made by real hands.

naturally dyed bracelets 2 blogI plan to spend the next few weeks tying, trying new color combinations and patterns, and adding new embellishments. I also need to come up with a child-friendly version as my three-year old keeps asking “Mommy you make me one?”.

I will update my website and my Facebook pages ( Hunter Photographics & Studio H ) with my progress of setting up an on-line store and any markets I may participate in. I am looking forward to creating an affordable, naturally dyed product….an easy way for anyone to wear something “green”.