Busy in the Background

Recently blogging has taken a backseat. It seems the more one has to blog about the less time there is to actually blog.

Today I will share just a few things happening in the background, some of which are on my other blogs.

Photography has been busy recently. Head shots, grads, families and babies. Many an hour past midnight has been spent on the computer editing away. ( http://www.debra-hunter.com or http://www.hunterphotographics.wordpress.com )

With the blooming of wildflowers natural dyeing is a daily event. (www.handmade-canada.com)

 

Plus I have been knitting items for Talisman Books and Gallery on Pender Island and the Bear’s paw Bakery in Jasper. In addition to these two retailers I have been completing custom orders like the hats below…….

blog custom knit hats

and making hats to be posted on the website. ( http://www.handmade-canada.com )

blog child maple leaf hats

With tree pruning there has also been spoon carving. We won’t discuss the scale of this one, it is rather ambitious!

blog spoon

Our land search has taken us to the mountains multiple times, allowing us to enjoy many hikes.

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The thing that keeps us busiest of all are our trips back and forth to the coast. After all, who can resist ocean kayaking? ( http://www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com )

blog kayaking

I do find I am able to keep more up-to-date on Instagram. I can be found at @debramhunter , @handmadeincanada, and at @hunterphotographics ……..social media is almost a full time job!

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The Handmade in Canada Shop Has Been Updated!

I know my blogging has been a little quiet lately, and one of the reasons is I have been working away. In addition to a busy photography month, I have also been updating my other project, Handmade in Canada. Let’s just say when you dye your own yarn and knit your own items it takes time.

So after weeks and weeks of knitting, the shop has finally been updated. There are a ton of new items and we are pretty excited about sharing them with you. All our items are naturally dyed by hand and made by hand too. If you have a moment check it out.

shop image web

 

Also at the bottom of the Handmade in Canada site are our social media links. We can be found on Facebook and Instagram (@handmadeincanada), plus you can hit the follow button to follow the blog. I hope you will follow along and see all the cool items we are making.

leaf red 3x3 square 100dpi stylized 2www.handmade-canada.com

The Blur of a Long Weekend

It feels like posting on my blogs has slipped by the wayside as of recent. It isn’t due to lack of things to share, but rather that we have been on the go constantly. Life has been non-stop.

Some people enjoy leisurely long weekends, kicking back, hanging out, chilling. We don’t do that……ever (seriously). Generally long weekends leave us needing another long weekend to recover. So I thought I would share our blur of a long weekend.

Rogers Pass, BC, Canada

Rogers Pass, BC, Canada

The coast was calling us. We had itchy feet and fancied a road trip of a leisurely drive west. We joke about our “evening drive”. It is for the most part an evening drive, we leave early afternoon, drive evening and part of the night to reach the ferry at Tsawwassen for the first boat of the day. We love the drive, all 1142 km of it, with world class scenery most of the day and an open road at night

Gold nugget at the Royal BC Museum

Gold nugget at the Royal BC Museum

The drive went so well (as did the nap on the ferry!) that we decided to make a quick detour through Victoria (BC, Canada). We’ve discovered that there is a trick to us enjoying Victoria, we have to do the city fresh off the insanity of Alberta. We have to still be in that high intensity mode to handle the busyness and congestion of the city. We have tried in the past to go to Victoria after the slower pace of being on Pender Island and it is just too much, leaving us wondering why we went to “town”. So now we go to Victoria before heading to our little Gulf Island and we thoroughly enjoy it.

The Royal BC Museum had just opened a new exhibit, Gold Rush!, and we were keen to see it. Our children were well into checking out the artifacts and anything involving mining; clearly an addiction to Minecraft fueled this interest.

Thunderbird Park

Thunderbird Park

From the museum we were off to Thunderbird Park and the amazing totems.

Munro's, Victoria, BC, Canada

Munro’s, Victoria, BC, Canada

Our parking time was ticking down, and the ferry time nearing, but we found time for a speed walk through town to Munro’s. Heaven. A real book store. Our children had never been there, but being massive readers they were in love.

blog may victoria fish and chipsFor us, every trip to Victoria must include fish and chips. We suffer chippy withdrawal often. When we lived in the U.K. we were constantly popping around to the chippy for fish and chips, pie and chips, chips and curry……..oooh, and chicken pineapple half and half (we’ll see how many readers recognize that one!). Our chippy withdrawal gets so bad that we have on occasion considered driving to White Rock (12-13 hour drive) just to eat chips (and fried clams) on the front. There is nothing better than chips eaten out of paper wrapping. Even though catching the ferry was touch and go, we hit a chippy, and feasted as we drove to the ferry.

Sunset From the Back of the Ferry

Long weekend ferry travel is busy, unpredictable, and sometimes insane. Perhaps if we didn’t ride the ferries so much in the winter we wouldn’t notice how different long weekends are. In the winter there is always space on a sailing, people are pretty chill, I grab a chai, head upstairs to the sitting lounge, and knit in relative peace (as much peace as you get when you have five children). In the summer cars are everywhere, people are everywhere, behavior is crazy, conversations are entertainingly pretentious….it is a treat. My husband and I could just sit and eavesdrop for hours. I’m not sure what it is about long weekends that makes everyone go all Fruit Loops, perhaps it is spending time with extended family, or the attempt to one-up their friends, but it makes for a people watching extravaganza.

This weekend was no different. people panicking to get on the ferry sailing, shouting at the ferry employee in the booth…frenzy. We sit in our car and watch in amazement. Worst case is that there is another ferry in four hours, and in our world that equates as a three and a half hour nap waiting for the next sailing. Naps are a luxury. We pull into our assigned lane with no hope of getting on the sailing due to leave in less than five minutes. Get settled in. Take off the cowboy boots (seriously…the red ones…..I have a collection!). Fluff the pillow (we come prepared) and plan for a nap. Well wouldn’t you know it our line starts moving. Car after car drives on to the ferry until we are at the front of the line. We’ve been there before, the car that doesn’t make it on a sailing, so we aren’t too hopeful. Just as we are settling in again the attendant says he is going to try to fit us on….and they do….at the back of the boat….sideways. I guess there is a first for everything.

blog may pender_8772 aOnce on the island we took care of the most pressing things. First was grocery shopping; yes we shop local (I’ll collect my gold star later!). Second was to sort out the garden. The vegetable beds were growing great . My new plantings from February and April were still hanging in there (it is an iffy area I’m trying to revive). The apple trees are in bloom with promises of apples. The planters still flowered. The forested part continues to get wilder and wilder. I got to work and watered and watered; hand watering with a watering can is a workout. Hours later,grass cut and plants watered, we headed for an evening walk down to the far end of Medicine Beach.

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Medicine Beach, Pender Island, BC, Canada

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Mark praying to the stair gods in hope that just for once something will be square and level.

The next day was equally busy. A trip to the hardware store was necessary to get materials to replace our deck stairs. Followed by a trip to the grocery store. Followed by a trip up to Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards. We were too late for the food truck (my fault, I was sending an epic text which delayed us!) but had a chance to check out the latest art exhibit. Quite a cool space to display art.

blog may pender sea starNext the plan was to work on the deck stairs some more, but we got side tracked by the sunshine as decided to put the boats in instead.

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Part of our fleet at Peter Cove South, Pender Island, BC, Canada.

Paddling over, we got back to work. Of course as dinner time approached we started to think of what we should make for supper, which morphed into “Let’s not cook, let’s get Pender Sushi.”

blog may pender_8925As Pender Sushi is quite a drive from home, we tend to do take out and eat dinner on the beach. The choice of beach for dinner was Roesland, a Parks Canada site. Food and fresh air are a great combination, and the view was passable…….

blog may pender_8920 aor possibly amazing.

Sunday saw us closing up the house, sorting out another knitting order (yep, always working!), a visit to a beach, and the night ferry out.

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Knitting at the ferry terminal at Village Bay, Mayne, BC, Canada.

And off we went across the sea, over the mountains, and back to the prairies of Alberta.

A blur of a weekend.

“Standing Tall” – newly completed work

"Standing Tall" Roe Islet series (2015) 24"x24" acrylic on panel

“Standing Tall”
Roe Islet series
(2015)
24″x24″
acrylic on panel

Painting has been going well over the last few months. Switching to panel and a square format seems to have allowed the work to flow naturally off the brush. This painting is acrylic on panel and measures 24″ by 24″.

Roe Islet (Pender Island, BC, Canada) continues to be a source of inspiration for my paintings, and I am sure by the time I have exhausted all the painting possibilities I will know every rock and tree on the islet. The arbutus amaze me in the way they twist and turn, and the red of the trunks is hypnotizing.

 

Artwork by Debra Hunter
(Red Deer, Alberta & Pender Island, British Columbia, Canada)
For the website and inquiries please visit:
www.debra-hunter.com

For more work from Canadian creators, you can also visit www.handmade-canada.com .

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Works in Progress, Finished and Things

It seems to have been another busy week that has whizzed past at break neck speed. A combination of trying to finish the order for Woods on Pender, working on Handmade in Canada, plus life, has made for a week of very late nights (well technically early mornings when you work until 3 am!).

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Work in progress. Acrylic on panel. 24″x24″.

I finally managed to put in a few hours painting the panel that I had started before Easter. It is still a work in progress but coming along. The piece measures 2 feet by 2 feet and continues with the Roe Islet theme. This theme seems to provide never ending material. A couple of weeks ago I shot several hundred reference images while walking the ever changing islet, including macros of spring lilies. Hopefully I will get a few of these images up on Island Home Blog sometime soon.

blog painting wipI work on panel differently to canvas in that I tend to prefer to work flat instead of on the wall easel. The upside to this is that it is a much more social way of working. Mark and I each choose our ends of the table, we turn on the “wireless”, he works on “something”, and I paint and argue with CBC radio (and their endless agendas). Sometimes it is BBC Radio 4. We fell into this habit out on the coast and it has now become a great way to spend an evening no matter where we are.

1_coffee press sweater 6x6_7642The order for Woods on Pender is complete. Knit, finished, blocked. I will do the packaging this evening and then the order will be ready to ship. The complete group of items can be viewed by clicking HERE. Each piece is completely unique except for the resort’s logo that is featured in the center panel.

blog planA few days ago I also tackled playing with cabin floor plans. We still don’t know exactly what insurance is going to do. If they can fix the situation it will be great as we won’t be without the use of our cabin for as long, but the reoccurring dreams of the cabin collapsing makes me wonder if the verdict is going to be that the cabin is a tear down. It has been full of water for so long. Common sense tells me that I need to consider all the options for how we may need to deal with this property

So in an effort to be proactive I started drafting floor plans. My goal is to shrink the actual foot print from that of our current cabin. I know this seems counter-intuitive considering the size of our family, but more land and less building makes sense to me when we are at the cabin. The plan above is the ground floor at 780 square feet, plus we would add an enclosed loft portion over part of the cabin to work as a bedroom/studio/study space. The portion not enclosed would become a covered balcony which will give lake views. We’ve learned from the house out on the island that big spaces with high ceilings are hard to heat when you aren’t there full time, so the goal is to scale it back and make heating the rooms, especially the bedrooms, easy.

We are also thinking of putting the water tank and pump in a separate utility building and going with on demand hot water. We are determined to never have another water disaster again.

I figure if we have plans of action in place for all the different outcomes that things will be less daunting when the time comes.

handmade in canada badgeHandmade in Canada is ticking along. We spoke with another interested artisan the other day. Hopefully in a few days I will have another maker’s profile to share.

Well off to package and paint. I have a chance to actually accomplish a few things this evening as the rest of the family sits in front of the hockey on T.V. …..or plays Minecraft.

( I may have been premature in thinking everyone would be firmly parked in front of the T.V. (A.K.A. “out of my way”). Interest is now lagging as the Canucks have scored twice. Hmmmmm.)