Monday, September 24, 2012

One very huge painting

Penny Corradine and Bill Faulkner on the motorized equipment in front of a small portion of their summer project

Penny in front of a small section of her art

A day off school on Friday, so J and I took a field trip to see our friends, Penny Corradine and Bill Faulkner of Wolfpack Studios, at their project in downtown Calgary.
    Quite the Project:  This Summer, Penny  was commissioned to re-furbish the mural, Early Stampede Parade on the Calgary Stampede Grounds.  Penny originally painted the mural in 1997.  
      Bill took the daughter and I up in the motorized lift that he had to take a course to learn how to run.  He even let the seven-year-old paint a square area on the mural, saying in 10 years she can point to that spot and tell people she painted it.  Needless to say, she was thrilled.
      These photos were taken on the north side of the mural and Corral building.  The larger part of the mural is on the Corral building's east side.  
You'll find an entire photo of this larger area at Early Stampede Parademural at   The website's photo was snapped prior to this Summer's  re-vamp.  You'll just have to venture downtown Calgary to see the latest version!
 Penny and Bill taking a break to assess their work.

Bill trains an up and coming artist

Look how excited the seven-year-old is!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ode to Summer

Farewell to the free and easier days of Summer.    We 're thankful for days of learning a bit more endurance on the bicycle for longer treks.

Catching Minnows

Enjoying the wonder of nature

                            We're amazed at how quickly a child grows and gains more independence.
Joel and J (age 5), July 2010

Joel, J and cows, Labour Day weekend, 2011

And we're thankful for every moment!

The Summer Dye Job

            Every summer, it seems the warmer weather drives me to dye something -- something that needs new life.  This year's project started back in June.  J told me -- two days in advance of her Sports Day -- that she was on the Yellow Team and needed to wear yellow.    She held up a pair of yellow leggings I'd made her in the winter: "Can you make these into shorts or capris?"
            I laughed.   It only took a few minutes and the leggings did get made into capris.  And quite frankly, I was glad they were finally getting used.   For Christmas, I'd made her and her Dad matching long-sleeve shirts.  Then J got leggings and Joel got a pair of shorts.  All of them were made out of these high quality, warm knit I'd found on sale.   Daughter and Dad loved their shirts and regularly wore them.  Not so with the yellow bottoms, which, let's face it, yellow just gets dirty too quickly. 

 I suggested to J that we find a more practical colour for her capris after Sports Day.  She agreed and chose royal blue.  We bought the dye together along with the powdery solution to take the yellow dye out.  In the back of my closet, I found a cotton sweater a friend had passed on to add to the dye pot. 
       But the bottom pieces of the leggings missed the pot to pull out the yellow dye.  J and I had also thought it would be kind of fun to have blue leggings with pink bottoms.  

 You can see that J took dying the bottom pieces very seriously.  And she's even wearing the required apron.
    But in the end, we both agreed that the resulting salmon pink clashed with the beautiful royal blue.  So we stuck with the capris and Mom didn't need to sew the bottoms on again!

The blue capris and shorts are getting much more use than their former yellow selves.

And I love my new cotton sweater.  I added a daisy brooch.  It covers a stain I missed on the original sweater before it was dyed.  The daisy brooch cost me less than a dollar.  I bought a flower on sale at Michael's; took out it's stiff plastic parts and added a yellow button from my stash.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Curtains on the Old

 One of my Summer goals was to replace the youngest daughter's curtains.

     These navy blue ones were handed down from when her room was her brother's.  Years ago I added a ribbon trim to feminize it slightly.  But the time had come.  The navy had turned grey on the outside, faded by the sun.
 Her new curtains are re-made from an Ikea bed spread found in the "As Is" section.  She was quite excited about the bright pink.   I love Ikea's curtain rings with clips.  It meant I just needed to sew two rectangles (with deep hems to give them weight).  And yes, the youngest really does have such a beautiful view from her window.

To deter the inevitable fading from the room's south exposure, I added a lining.  It's actually an old bed sheet passed on to me by my parents.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bear sighting means...

...It must be Saskatoon Berry Season!
Last Sunday we took a bike ride west of us heading towards the river.  We were almost at our destination when a black bear cub rose up from the right hand side field ahead of us.  The cub quickly went down on all fours and scampered across the road into bushes and out of sight.
      Where there's a young bear, a protective and potentially dangerous mother is near by.  We knew it was safer to head back home.  But as we turned our bikes around, we saw others had seen the bear cub.  A group of horses was in the same field where we saw the bear but had been further away.  f .   Like well-trained soldiers, they quickly, methodically moved into a line along the field's parameter facing where the bear had disappeared.  Their formation was like a defense line, a warning to the bear and its mother not to return.
     As we cycled back, we encountered our neighbour where he'd been five minutes earlier: perched on his ATV watching one of the bird houses along a fence line of his property.  Our neighbour usually warns us of bear sightings.   This time, he told us this was the first bear sighting he'd heard about this year.  And we talked about the ripe Saskatoons around that may be luring the bears.
     As for his waiting beside the bird house, he'd seen a bird fly out that was neither a tree swallow or a blue bird.  He was waiting for the mystery bird to come back to identify it.  Will have to check in with him on what he discovered!

    My daughter and I headed out later to some bushes further away from the bear.  I brought along to attempt to scare off any bears and promptly lost noise makers in the bush.  No more bears   but certainly a teenaged Robin and Wax Wing enjoying the bounty. 
    The Saskatoons are the best in years -- big and juicy from plenty of rain and warm weather.  Getting a good Saskatoon crop has its challenges.  Sometimes a late frost kills the blossoms before berries can form.  Last year several hail storms took out blossoms and then later, any berries that had been able to form.
    Certainly a few Saskatoon pies to come!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy 50th Mom and Dad!

Today marks 50 years since my parents, Ormand and Gladys, tied the knot.
Asked Dad last night what he remembered about the eve of their wedding 50 years ago.  Excitement, he said.  And happiness.  They'd just had someone lend them a 1953 Ford car for their honeymoon.  Dad's own car was taking months to repair after an accident.  Hearing about their predicament,  a man lent them the car.  It was his mother's and Dad had recently conducted the woman's funeral.  The nine-year old car just had 10,000 miles on it.  But the man still ensured it was checked by a mechanic and the gas tank full before their big day.
        Their honeymoon took them into Glacier Park, back into Canada through the Okanagan and then back towards Alberta via the Roger's Pass.  Apparently they drove through just hours after that extremely high section of the TransCanada was officially opened.  But along the way, Mom was idly playing with her wedding ring which slid off her finger and out the open window.  They stopped the car immediately, thinking the ring was surely lost.  But the new ring, glistened in the sun and they quickly found it.
Sweetgrass Hills near Milk River, AB by R. Gissing
Dad and Mom with Gissing's granddaughter on June 15 opening.

      Today our celebration will be small -- a picnic with family and friends.  Our bigger celebration was last month back in Alberta.    We finally got Mom and Dad to journey to Alberta.  Mom and Dad were giving a painting of the Sweetgrass Hills near Milk River, AB where they lived.  Members of the congregation where Dad served pitched in to purchase the painting by Alberta painter Roland Gissing.  Earlier this spring, Joel noticed that the Okotoks Art Gallery was organizing an exhibit of Gissing's work.  Gissing lived outside Okotoks in his final years.    I checked with the organizers and we were absolutely delighted to get an email from Gissing's granddaughter, Kori Gregory, telling us she was recommending that the Gallery accept my parents' offer. 
Cutting their 50th anniversary cake on June 16.
      We got to be part of a wine and cheese reception to open the Gissing Exhibit on Friday, June 15th and then on June 16th, gathered with extended family and friends to celebrate.  Lots and lots of food and good visiting.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer days and dragon flies

      Yesterday my daughter, her friend and I took a bike ride near us to look for wild flowers.     Along the way, we discovered a patch of tasty wild strawberries.  We used daughter's plastic Barbie bicycle basket to put the berries in that would be used with her Dad's birthday cake.  Somewhere along the way, thunderstorm clouds passed over us.  They brought no moisture then but just enough humidity to intensive the beautiful smell of clover and wild roses. 
      We also discovered scads of flourescent blue dragonflies among the long grass and bushes.  And, while the mosquitoes threatened us all along our trip, here there were none.    Since our back yard is full of mosquitoes, we decided to catch a few dragon flies to bring home.
 After lunch we returned with two mason jars and cheese cloth to cover the tops.  We caught two dragon flies with a butterfly net and then delivered them safely home.  We carefully released them in the middle of a mosquito-infested flower bed.   However, they entirely ignored the feast before them.  As soon as they were released from the jar they instinctively turned south and over the fence back to where they'd come from! 
   But at least, we got a picture!