Thursday, December 24, 2015

White Christmas in Saskatchewan

We've had steady soft snow for the last day and a bit so it will certainly be a white Christmas here in our little corner of the Canadian Prairies.  We generally get snow in the form of high winds and nasty temperatures but this snow is like someone gently shook a snow globe.  As with everything else about this winter so far, we'll take it.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!  May the love and joy of the season be with you all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

get them while they're young

One of the core philosophies that guided my life as a teacher is that learners must see themselves as learners.  To that end, a child must believe that he is a reader to become a reader; she must believe that she is able to succeed before she actually succeeds.  A positive attitude is crucial to learning.

We know that instinctively when our kids are very young.  We make a big deal out of our little ones learning to walk and talk; we encourage them as they develop fine and gross motor skills.

I certainly see this theory in action when I teach new spinners.  Children pick it up much more easily than most adults.  I think it's because adults have the mindset that it will be difficult to learn and kids don't have any preconceived notions about learning this new skill.

To me, this is a no-brainer as I groom my granddaughter to learn to spin.

When she sees me spin (which I often do when she's here because she needs to see me as a model for spinning) she asks if she can spin on her Ladybug wheel.  We have to set her up at the fireplace hearth because her legs aren't long enough for her to put her feet on the treadles from any chair.  I push the drive wheel and she holds the leader yarn.  In her mind she is a spinner.

Yep, it's best to get them while they're young.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Of course the extremely mild fall temperatures couldn't last here north of the 49th parallel.  We haven't had deep freeze weather yet but we now have enough snow to cover the ground and some fog has given us these lovely trees covered in hoar frost.

Friday, December 11, 2015

a sad day

Our fibre community suffered a huge blow yesterday with the loss of friend and mentor, Deb Behm.  She was a gifted fibre artist, teacher, writer, and friend.

Deb taught fibre arts in our community for a long time through city programming at the library, as the Resident Fibre Artist at the Neil Balkwill Arts Centre for more than 20 years, as an active member of the Regina Weavers and Spinners Guild, and through Golden Willow Natural Fiber shop classes and drop-ins.  And that long list just hits the highlights of her involvement in our community.  She also taught for Olds College during Fibre Week and was a contributor to Spin Off and Ply magazines.  She earned a SOAR scholarship to the Spin Off Autumn Retreat in California a few years ago and while there was honoured with the Gisela and Bill Evitt Scholarship which is awarded to individuals who work with children and youth, teaching them how to spin, knit, weave, or felt.

Deb was also a student and teacher of yoga and she used her fibre practices as meditation opportunities.  This is evident in her beautifully written blog, Heart Like a Wheel.  Click the link to see her last post when she knew cancer had returned.  I reread it today and it made me cry.  Further browsing on her blog will demonstrate her clever and sometimes irreverent humour and her interest in social justice.

I remember Deb telling me about visiting with her friend and spindle maker extraordinaire, Ed Tabachek, at Olds Fibre Week each year.  Ed would bring new spindles in the trunk of his car and Deb said that she loved to get a chance to see and buy some in the parking lot before he set up his booth in the vendor area.  Ed recently succumbed to cancer too and I hope that he and Deb can spin together again where pain can't touch them.

Deb loved spiders and bats.  I knit this square as part of a throw that her friends made for her in November as a 'warm hug' from us.
Farewell, my friend.  You will be missed.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

so excited!

This special little girl is so excited!  December is a big month for her because she has a birthday and Christmas two weeks apart.  It's hard to believe she's only been in our lives for three years.

She must be in a growth spurt because she is a little noshing machine.  The other day, when she was starting on her second mandarin orange, she told me, "I am literally hungry."  

it's got to be El Nino

So here we are in December and we're still having October weather.

This afternoon was 7C (45F)!  To put that in perspective, the average high for this date is -6.5C (21F) and we usually have some good sized snow banks by now.

Most people around here are not complaining.

The public library has hosted a Maker's Fair the last couple of years and the Regina Weavers and Spinners Guild participates.  As we were carrying our wheels and looms in and out of the library on the weekend, while wearing summer shoes and light jackets, we remembered driving through a snow storm to last year's event.  

We introduced a lot of people, mostly children, to spinning and weaving. It always amazes me how quickly children learn these skills.  They don't have the mindset that it will be difficult which is what gets in the way of most adults when they get started.