Thursday, March 31, 2011

and another duchess

since i'm feeling all brithishy lately i decided to spin up a "royal wedding" yarn. the colours of the union jack (which i remember colouring in as a child before canada had it's own flag), and a little regal gold.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

the duchess

i'm working flat out these days on a big order for the newfoundland and labrador craft council. it's due april 15th and i leave for cuba on the 13th. so it's long days of dyeing and spinning. to help pass the time, this week i subscribed to netflix. my wheel is beside my computer so it works out well. my first choice has been "the duchess of duke st."- a british series made in the late 1980's. i'm just loving it. edwardian england is a place i feel most at home...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

peacock blue

recently my grandson asked if i could show him how to write his name in long hand (script). i was shocked to learn that children in newfoundland are no longer taught long hand writing. how will they read old letters that they find in the attic?
growing up in the 50's and 60's we were taught long hand in grade 3. in grade 5 we began using a pen. first a straight pen with a bottle of ink. then a fountain pen. ballpoint pens were frowned upon. i fell in love with peacock blue ink.
this summer, if i can drag him away from the swimming hole, i'll teach eamon how to write long hand.

Monday, March 28, 2011

victorian gardening party

although we got a new pile of snow over the weekend, my thoughts are turning to the garden. gardening shows are starting their new season on tv. on saturday i watched "gardening confidential" about the history of gardening and i was struck by the victorian gardening party. everyone in white clothes - gowns, hats and suits - which contrasted with the brilliant colours of the flowers. that was the inspiration for this skein of yarn.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

simply white

lately i'm being drawn to all things white. this little bowl (a recent etsy purchase), white flowers (the scent of hyacinths in the middle of the night), and yes - even yesterday's big snowfall. a calm simplicity.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


there's less than 2 weeks left in the semester for my students and they are overwhelmed with work. so yesterday we took things a little more slowly. we held our class at my house. tea and cookies. and barb gave them a lesson in creative embroidery techniques. their assignment is to describe an incident in their lives with non-representational use of colour and embroidery stitches.

Friday, March 25, 2011

playground games

newfoundland is being hit with a major snowstorm today and spring is seeming far off.
what games do children play in the spring now? for us - growing up in the 50's and 60's, spring meant skippng ropes and marbles. that was the inspiration this skein of yarn.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


yesterday, just before heading out to teach, i learned that liz taylor had died. when i got to class i mentioned this to my students. one had heard of her, the others didn't know who she was. that made me sad. but it's totally understandable since she stopped acting before they were born. this is how history fades.
growing up, i felt that liz taylor was a member of our family. she always reminded me of my mother. they were beautiful and glamorous in the same way. the same captivating eyes. my mother was a few years older. both were born in britain and came to north america as young girls. they shared a self-destructive appetite for life and suffered poor health because of their appetities. both died of congestive heart failure. so yesterday and today i'm feeling a personal loss.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

the joy of spinning

i spent all day yesterday spinning. except for a mid-day break at barb's to share a going away lunch with robyn who leaves for new york next week (she's returning in june so it's not such a sad good-bye this time).
i used my new ashford "joy" wheel for the first time and am already loving it. small and smooth. it's permanent home will be at the cabin. looking forward to a summer of spinning by the ocean...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

back on track and online

i arrived home on sunday evening to a computer problem (couldn't load my photos onto the computer). but all is well now. it was an odd day. being home without a computer. when i travel or spend time at the cabin it's easy to forget that competers exist. but at home my computer is in the living room. i pass by it all day long. i spin beside it. i start my morning at it - blog entry, etsy shop update, facebook etc. and then during the day its checking and responding to emails. researching etc. i can't do what i do without a computer but it was nice for one day to not be feeling the pull.
my trip to st. john's was quick and lovely. a seminar panel saturday afternoon. an intense concentrated visit with my daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren. delivering orders and picking up my new spinning wheel. saturday night the whole family headed off to j's korean restaurant on duckworth st. for dinner - a first for all of us and it was like being on holiday in a foreign country. the children are experimental eaters and loved delving into new foods like seaweed salad.
this morning i'm back on track and beginning the next order. maybe with my new wheel!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


to get involved, you can make a donation here


i slept in this morning. that never happens. 2 phone calls didn't wake me. tomorrow i'm heading off to st. john's. today i need to finish up an order to take in with me. i have to spend time organizing my thoughts for the social marketing panel discussion i'm on. i need to do laundry and pack. make a soup and bake some bread to leave for keith. get the dogs out for a good walk (we're looking after blackie this week) so they're tired out tomorrow while keith's at work. but at least i am well rested for the day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

spinning colour

this weekend i'm heading into st. john's to participate in a seminar on social networking for craft producers for the newfoundland and labrador provincial wholesale show. there's a whole series of presentations going on and they're open to the public. and of course i'll be multi-tasking. delivering skeins and batts to a good yarn. delivering a couple of felt pieces for jurying to the craft council for their upcoming show "blue". picking up my new spinning wheel. oh joy. and of course lapping up as many cuddles from my grandchildren (and daughter and son-in-law) as i can in 2 days.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

full moon

this weekend we'll be seeing the biggest full moon in almost 20 years. i'll be in st. john's so hoping it's not hidden by fog.

Monday, March 14, 2011

planting dandelions

last week marilee gave me an advanced copy of her daughter's first book "planting dandelions". i've known kyran since she was 6 and we all moved to corner brook. the university was just starting up and her father and my ex-husband came to teach in the english deptartment. kyran was the oldest of all the children. the leader of the ebb and flow of kids who came in and out of our vision at every party, every holiday celebration.
kyran moved from newfoundland to little rock, arkansas to follow her bliss (her now husband patrick) and they now have 3 young sons. i've been following kyran's blog for years so i wasn't surprised at how good this book is. kyran is wise beyond her years. it's a book i couldn't put down. this collection of essays tells us who she is and how she got to be who she is. you can get to know her through her new website and you can pre-order her book through any large online bookstore. it's coming out in may.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

it's about time

yesterday i finished off my banff order. this order was for only earth tones - 18 skeins of green, brown and gold. by the end of it i was dying to add a little turquoise, a little scarlet. the weather had turned incredibly mild (9 degrees celcius) and i was able to dry the skeins outside on the line for the first time this year.last night we put the clocks forward an hour and beginning today the light will last longer into the evenings. and i get to re-introduce all the colours i want for my next order that i'll begin today.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

looks like it could be...

i've been going a little stir crazy this past week. housebound, trying to get ahead of my orders. feeling fed up with winter. the dirty snow.
so yesterday morning - before going teaching - i took abigail for a good walk up on 3 bear mountain. and was delighted to feel the sun. and see that the snow was beginning to recede and expose the grass. could it be that spring is here?

Friday, March 11, 2011

emily's greens

this week i've been working on my banff national park order. they want only earth colours - brown, gold and green (when you look at the website you can see why). whenever i look at lots of greeens i think of emily carr and how surprised i was travelling to the west coast of canada for the first time in the late '60's and discovering that she hadn't made up those greens.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


i have been a big reader my whole life. i love books. and the physicality of books. the smell of new and old. i've illustrated children's books. i've worked in bookstores and libraries. in my marriage and raising my children we had over a thousand books on floor to ceiling shelves. when i walked away, i left almost all my books and haven't been a collector since. only a few books for visual research. i give away novels i have read. or i borrow them. living in such a small community with only a little chain bookstore i don't buy many books. and although i appreciate the public library, i don't like to wait my turn for a new publication.
for all these reasons, i decided to buy an e-reader this past december. i tried one out while i was in toronto (knowing how important it would be to hold one before i committed). it takes getting used to. waiting for it to turn on. clicking the pages to move forward. although it tells me how much of a book i have read (you have read 37% of this book) it's not like seeing the bookmark and knowing how much more to go. but. i love it's lightness and that i can read on my side at night. i love that books cost only around $10.00 to purchase and download and that i can have them immediately. i can take it down to the cabin and plan to take it to cuba - much easier than a pile of books. yesterday i purchased the next book that our book club will be reading - peter carey's "parrot & olivier in america" . i'll have to get back into making notes on a seperate piece of paper (as i did as a student researching an essay with library books). no more sticky notes. i still love books. but it doesn't have to be either-or

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

i'm not buying it

we had our book club gathering last night. our latest read was mordecai richler's "barney's version". so the menu was montreal (montreal smoked meat on rye. hummus for me), paris ( brisket and foie de gras. omelet for me) and jewish (latkes). we have a new member to our club so we're at an all time high of 5. some of us loved the book. some of us (myself included) hated it. barney is an egotistical, misogynist prick. and because the novel was narrated in first person, his presence and opinions never let up. i've known this man throughout my life. i've given up too much of my own power to this man. so i squirmed while i read it. and resented having to. one of our members didn't read it all and ended up throwing it out. a fitting act on this, international women's day. i don't buy into this any more.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

earth bound

most of the orders i've been working on called for brightly coloured yarn and kits. storm mountain lodge(in banff national park) is looking for something different. my challenge is to make 18 kits of earth toned yarns. to get as much variety as i can from brown and green and orange. more dyeing today...

Monday, March 7, 2011


yesterday. on my regular walk up behind the old hospital. on snowshoes. i felt winter turn to spring.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

dreaming in cuban

i'm really just now starting to plan for my trip to cuba (mid-april). this trip is intended to be a holiday. i'm going to havana with a good friend (who is also an artist). but the idea is to relax. not to work or think about the future. just be there to soak it in. we'll take day trips outside of havana but mostly we'll wander the city. so i'm looking for advice. what to see in and around havana. and what books to take. (i'm thinking cuban authors but anything will do). if you have any suggestions, you could leave a comment or you could email me at

Saturday, March 5, 2011

you asked for colour

most of the orders i picked up in halifax, for knitting kits and skeins of yarn, wanted just a wide assortment of colours. some were more specific. wendy johnston of hopewell cape, new brunswick asked for mostly bright colours. (if you look at her pottery you'll understand why). so this week i'm dyeing and spinning up some exciting colour combinations.

Friday, March 4, 2011

that's enough. thank-you.

it snowed again yesterday. a very beautiful snowfall. wet with no wind so the snow stuck to every surface, every twig. but right now - today - with only 2 weeks left before the official start of spring - we have more snow than we've had all winter. and today is cold. minus 12C. please winter. i've had enough.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


i leave for cuba in just over a month so preparations are beginning. this morning i had an early appointment to get my vaccinations - tetanus, hepatitis a & b and cholera. when krista, the nurse, set these little bottles of dukoral in front of me and explained how to use them, i almost wept. i understand how privileged i am to be able to go to public health and protect myself from these deadly diseases. so simple yet so unattainable for those who need them most.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


the o'hagan siblings are scattered across the country and although there are phone calls and emails, we can't often get together. what does bring us all together each spring is american idol. we watch it "together" - from newfoundland to vancouver. and every week we compete to see who will get voted off. a flurry of emails back and forth. a hilarious exchange of opinions and insults. it's like being a family again...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


filing taxes has become too complicated for me to do alone. as a small business i need to keep all of my receipts - house costs (my studio is in my home), art supplies, travel, books, etc. to tally up. and then all of my art income - sales, grants etc. and submit these numbers to my accountant. this is how i spent yesterday. my brain aching by evening.