Saturday, December 2, 2017

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

How is it possible that it is December already?  The weather feels like spring, but all around me things are beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I am still working to fill orders for customers - once again this year Mug Rugs are the most popular item I make.  I have pretty much sold every one I had made for my sale in November, and now I am slowly working through the next batch.

But something is really bothering me.  Something I heard a few times as people passed my table at the sale, and I've heard it in general conversation a few times since.

It's about the word/s "Craft/ Crafts/ Crafter" and how it is used, and maybe more than that, it's about people who craft, and how they are looked upon by others.

If a person with talent paints a nostalgic picture of a vintage camper sitting under tree, they are considered an artist.  I agree - they certainly are.

If a person with talent creates that same picture using fabric as their medium, layering various colours and prints, tiny pieces of fabric, until they have a vintage camper sitting under a tree -  then they are a crafter.

Why is that?  They might have taken the same amount of time to achieve the same results - and realistically the fabric camper most likely took longer.  They both used a medium to achieve their results, they both used their talents to achieve their results - so why is only one an artist?

Taking it a bit further - if you asked the painter to create the fabric version, and the sewer to create the painted version - how do you think that would turn out?

Have you seen a Baltimore quilt?  Craft or art?

Have you watched someone make a picture appear on the back of a sweater they were knitting - craft, or art?

If you ask the talented people performing their crafts (whatever the medium) I know they will all consider themselves to be artists.

So what's the difference?

 Craft - is a skill, especially of the hand ( Winston Dictionary)

Art - a skill acquired by study or practice: natural aptitude: knack: as the art of sewing (Winston Dictionary)

Artist - a person who practises an art, such as painting, sculpture, music, literature, or the like.  In any field, a person who shows creative power in his work: as, your cook is an artist. (Winston Dictionary)

And according to the Winston Dictionary - if you are "Crafty" you are deceitful and wily.

I know what I have always believed about talented people who create with their hands in any medium,  I am so glad that the Winston Dictionary agrees with me.

















Thursday, November 16, 2017

IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE WORK?

Our first couple of days of reorganizing the antique shop have gone very well.  We managed to move a couple of large pieces and are on our way to creating our "county kitchen" complete with an operational wood stove, which in a few weeks is going to be called to duty to heat, and also to add the scent of Christmas to the shop.

But first, the kitchen area has a beautiful old early 1900's kitchen cupboard in original condition.  This piece is a rare find, and is as solid as it was the day it was built.


  We are adding a beautiful wooden country kitchen table, and loads of marvelous treasures to please any cook or baker, or collector, who just wants to add that special antique or vintage touch to their own decorating.



Nothing says vintage better than this Corning ware coffee percolator, or these Corning ware pie plates!
 And we have have 6 of them!

We have moulds, cake pans, a glass rolling pin, and we also have the glass and earthenware pitchers.  These are wonderful accents for any kitchen island.

We have a beautiful collection of vintage cookie jars, and antique and vintage cookie and cake tins...


And we are just getting started...

We haven't even started adding Christmas yet, and already I am way past excited!

Stay tuned!



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

THE WORK BEGINS...

Do you realize it's only 6 weeks until Christmas?  How did this happen, exactly?  I swear I feel like it was only weeks ago, I was still out working in the yard, and Christmas felt like it was a long way away.

Now W network has Christmas movies all day every day, stores are in full Christmas attire, and I am listening to and practicing Christmas Carols and music for our Nine Lessons and Carols service coming up in just 4 weeks.

I am participating with UNIQUES AND ANTIQUES (our local antique shop here in town) in a Christmas open house.  Louise, the shop owner and myself met this past weekend to plan our event and discuss things we want to do.

We are holding our Open house over 4 days - December 6th through the 9th, with extended hours on Friday evening.  In the next few weeks we will be busy rearranging the store and refitting it for our Christmas event.  I will be adding my handmade articles to her antiques and uniques, and as well we will be serving hot apple cider, cookies and sweets to our customers.  We also will be having daily draws for gift baskets through our event.

It's a big undertaking for both Louise and I.  It's going to be a lot of work, but I think, also a lot of fun.

I will be linking my blog to the shop's face book site for the time up to and maybe even past the sale.  Both places will have the same articles, stories, recipes and images for a little while.

The work starts tomorrow in the shop... packing up some items, unpacking others.  Moving furniture around, and setting up "Christmas rooms" within the shop to better feature the items we want to promote.

I will have lots of photos of our progress as we go along, and hopefully a few of you will have the opportunity to come out and experience our event for yourselves.

YOU ARE INVITED:











Thursday, November 9, 2017

LETTING WINTER OUT OF THE CLOSET!

I guess the snow is here to stay.  It doesn't look like we are going to have a significant warm up to melt any or all of it, so that means one thing in Dale's home!

Snowmen can come out of the closets, or cupboards - wherever they were stashed at the end of the last winter!  The very first one to come out, usually with the first snowfall, is the snowman cookie jar that our son Jonathan gave me for Christmas when he was about 8 yrs old.  To this day it remains one of my most favourite and beloved Christmas gifts ever!




He was a bit tardy coming out of the cupboard this year - I think he waited until the third snowfall - but he's out now, and yesterday I baked cookies, so he's also full.  He will stay on the counter now until all the snow is gone in spring - it's Tradition!

Christmas crazy me, is just itching to start decorating, it is a bit early for Christmas decorations, even for me - but thanks to the snow - winter decorations are quite appropriate.

I'm not supposed to do anything strenuous because of my eye, but there were a few things I could do this morning just the same.

I dressed this little beauty who sits on my mantle in her winter coat and hat, and because she is so adorable, I also made her my profile picture on Face book.

Then I decided to make a wreath for the front door.  Every time I find a bag of Christmas greens or things at the recycle I haul it home.  Today was the day to make something pretty out of all the used things I found.

I started with a pair of skates I have had for a long time.  I took the laces out and replaced them with some red cord, and added some bells on the laces as well.  Next I crocheted some red cuffs for the top.  I found a little wreath in a bag of stuff that I had picked up, so I attached the skates to the wreath.


Then I added some greens to the wreath...

add some pine cones, glass balls and decorations...


and finally a bow.

The finished product:


a pretty door decoration made 100 % from recycled used materials. 

Who says you have to spend big bucks for pretty!


And now I will rest... for a little while!








Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A TURN IN A NEW DIRECTION!

Everything happens for a reason - do you really believe that?

I do, actually.  I have found that when things happen in my life that are not exactly planned or even wanted, my brain goes into overdrive thinking around the problem, and often times pointing me in an entirely different direction.

Something like that happened to me on Sunday.

I had worked so hard for months preparing for my craft sale here at the local community center.  I had no expectations, but I did have some hope that I might do well, or at least fairly well.

But that was not the case.  There were 40 tables at the sale, and many many wonderful crafters with well made, beautiful things to sell.  But there were also commercial vendors like Scentsy, Pampered Chef, Epicure, and more.  In fact I'd say there were more of those tables than crafters.  There was even a lady there doing nails!

It was a bitter pill to swallow.  It was more common to see people walk right by my table without even glancing at what I had to sell, than to make eye contact with me as they passed right by.  That told me that the buyers were there for specific tables, and not to shop the whole floor.

My table rental was 30.00, and I made 28.00 the whole day.

As if that wasn't punishment enough, after standing all day, the foot that I had been nursing along for the better part of the week was past painful, and I had a massive headache from the florescent lights.

I went home with my tail between my legs, put my feet up and fell asleep in my chair for a couple of hours.

When I awoke, it was to a light show happening in my left eye.  At first I thought it was just my eyes getting accustomed to being open from a deep sleep, but the bright flashes of light continued all evening and all day Monday.

Yesterday, in full panic mode, I went to the hospital to have both my eye and my foot checked out - my eye being my #1 priority.  The foot needs orthotics, and the eye will be seen by an eye doctor on Monday.  In the meantime, the flashing lights have pretty much stopped, to be replaced by a very large fuzzy floater in my eye.

I'm sidelined from just about everything - not something I do well at all.  About the only thing that can keep me sitting in one spot for a time is music - but even I can't do that for days!

So yes, I am sitting quietly, looking for all intents and purposes like I am resting - but oh, is the mind every moving.  I have been writing a new story.  Formulating a new novel.  It's been about 10 years since I wrote my last one, maybe its high time I returned to something I truly love doing.

I'd love to write my Aunt's story - the story of her life.  I already have the characters and a lot of the pieces of the puzzle, but there is research to be done, which is another aspect of writing that really pleases me.

I can do this - with my eyes closed!

Well, you know what I mean...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

INSPIRATION FOUND!

I love to use the first good snowfall of the season for an opportunity to take my camera for a walk.

I know a lot of you don't love the snow - but I really do.  There is something so quiet and peaceful about snow.  It says Shhhh.... no talking - just look.

After Gary and I dug our driveway out on Saturday, I decided to spend a little more time outside taking some pictures.  I had plenty of great subject matter, and I went no further than the edge of my property.

Here are some of the beautiful images I was able to catch...


In my garden

Heavy Laden




The Colours of Winter

One Last Sing



Greetings!



In The Dark


None of these images would have looked quite the same, without snow.  One good wind, and all the snow that is clinging will be gone - and so will my beautiful subject matter - but I was lucky - I went for a walk before the wind blew.

I decided to send one of my photos to our local TV station on the weekend, and yesterday the photo that is on the top of my blog was featured on the 6 o'clock news.  My 3 seconds of fame come and gone so quickly, but I was happy to share the snow with the rest of Manitoba, and maybe even some of Canada.




Saturday, November 4, 2017

MERCY, GRACE AND THANKFULNESS!

I don't usually post on a Saturday, but today is a perfect day to be sitting at my computer writing, so here I am.

Did you see my cover picture?  Well that explains, why I am sitting at my computer writing.  We are getting snow - a LOT of snow.  It started overnight and is supposed to leave us 20-25 cm by the time it is through.

It's a very gentle falling snow - not the type we usually get here in Manitoba, I suspect it is filled with water and if the temperatures warmed enough it would be gone, but I can't see that happening, so I guess it is ours until spring.

It's been a slow day.  I finished the last of my projects for my sale on Thursday evening, yesterday I finished pricing and packing everything up, so today is sort of a rest day for me.

Even though my sale hasn't come and gone yet - my mind is already on my next major project.  This one occurs Dec 10th.  I am playing my first Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.  I am not stranger to this service, I have sung it many times in the choir, and have heard it many years when our Son was a boy chorister.  It is one of my favourite events of Christmas.  It is a simple service of the nine lessons ( readings) of Christmas, and the singing of many many carols.

Our little church doesn't have a choir to sing some of the music, so I decided I would play selections where a choir would normally sing - so I will be playing 17 carols - some to be sung, and some just me and the organ.

It's quite the undertaking for me the non-organist, but the organ and I are starting to really get to know one another, so I think we will do fine!

Today I decided that perhaps I should get out some popular Christmas music and start practicing that for the nursing home.  I have a huge Christmas book with nice arrangements so this morning I started practicing.

At the back of this book there are some more challenging Christmas and New Years songs.  One I forgot was in there, is one I really love.

FOR THY MERCY AND THY GRACE.

The music for this piece was written by Georg Christoph Strattner - an Austrian born composer from the 1600's.  It is a beautiful piece of music that always tears me up when I play it... and I'm not sure why.

Same thing happened this morning when I played it, and I was so moved that when I finished playing the song I bent over and kissed the keys of my piano.

I have no idea why - I have never done that before, but just at that moment I was so very thankful for the gift of music, and for my ability to play it.

Right on the heels of that kiss came another thought - I am so very thankful that my parents gave me the opportunity to learn to play the piano.  Even though they had little money for frivolous things back then, they somehow found a way to buy a piano and pay for lessons with a Registered  Conservatory teacher.  Their actions have given me a lifetime of pleasure, comfort and purpose, because of everything I do - I love to play the piano the most.

So many times in my life, I have turned to my instrument -  whether it be a keyboard,  upright, or spinet, whether it be electronic, hammer, or air.  I have turned to it for that which nothing else can give me...  Comfort, peace, or pure enjoyment.  My life just would not be the same without it.

So on this snowy day, once more - one song has taken me here - to share this experience with you.

My oh My - how lucky I am.




FOR THY MERCY AND THY GRACE
(Words by  Rev. Henry Downton 1843)

For thy mercy and thy grace,
Constant through another year,
Hear our song of thankfulness,
Father, our Redeemer, hear.

Lo! our sins on thee we cast,
Thee, our perfect sacrifice,
And, forgetting all the past,
Press towards our glorious prize.

Dark the future; let thy light
Guide us, bright and morning star;
Fierce our Foes, and hard the fight,
Arm us, Saviour for the war.

In our weakness and distress,
Rock of strength , be thou our stay;
In the pathless wilderness
Be our true and living way.

Who of us death's awful road
In the coming year shall tread,
With thy rod and staff, O God,
Comfort thou his dying bed.

Keep us faithful, keep us pure,
Keep us evermore thine own.
Help, O help us to endure;
Fit us for the promised crown.