When I lay these ques­tions before God I get no answer. But a rather spe­cial sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, cer­tain­ly not uncom­pas­sion­ate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiv­ing the ques­tion. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’

- C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

new things, and news :D

I’ve start­ed some new projects that involve try­ing new things. One of these new things is knit­ting. It’s not that I’ve nev­er knit­ted before. On the con­trary, in my teenage years I’ve knit­ted sweaters with colour­work and cables and lace pat­terns. But some­where along the way I’ve put down knit­ting and spent all my time cro­chet­ing instead, and I’m sur­prised how much I’ve for­got­ten, how for­eign knit­ting has become to me. It feels like I need to relearn every­thing from the start.

I was look­ing for a cardi­gan pat­tern and tried sev­er­al cro­chet ones but end­ed up frog­ging all of them. I had been eying the Every­body Knows cardi­gan (so named because “every­body who can knit knows how to knit garter stitch”.) from Knit­ty for a few years now. I real­ly like the sim­plic­i­ty and the shape of it, and when I think about mak­ing a new cardi­gan that’s the cardi­gan I want to wear, oth­er cro­chet pat­terns just would­n’t do.

So I start­ed the project this week, it’s com­ing along slow­ly. Because I don’t usu­al­ly knit I don’t have a col­lec­tion of nee­dles like I have with hooks. The nee­dles I’m using were giv­en to me by some­one who no longer want­ed them. I’m not even sure what size they are, but they seem to match (size, not colour) and work well with the Shet­land Chunky I’m using. Actu­al­ly, the dif­fer­ent colour nee­dles help me fig­ure out the right side/wrong side. It just feels a lot slow­er than cro­chet­ing, but I’m deter­mined to com­plete it, hope­ful­ly in time for ear­ly spring.

Anoth­er new thing I’ve start­ed try­ing and learn­ing is play­ing the ukulele. I bought a rather inex­pen­sive (i.e. toy-grade) one yes­ter­day with the help of my broth­er-in-law, who knows a lot about music (thanks Dan!). I did­n’t want to invest too much in it because I’ve nev­er been very musi­cal and I don’t know whether I can keep it up, but I’d like to try any­way. Appar­ent­ly kinder­garten chil­dren learn ukulele at school nowa­days, so if a 4 year-old can do it, I should be able to do it too! I found a use­ful tool to tune it last night, and tried to learn a few chords. I don’t have a very good sense of rhythm, so I’m hav­ing trou­ble with the strum­ming, but I hope to get bet­ter with practice.

And for the year of the rab­bit I’m read­ing a new book, Water­ship Down by Richard Adams.

I’m still try­ing to get into the sto­ry, but it’s inter­est­ing so far. I love that it’s based on car ride sto­ries — tales that the author has made up and impro­vised and told to his chil­dren dur­ing long or short car rides.

And final­ly, some good news! A sale came through my Etsy shop today! Hur­ray! I’ve had a cou­ple of cus­tom orders through friends since the shop opened, but this is the first order that actu­al­ly came through the shop itself, from some­one I don’t know! So I sent the Chi­nese Greens on their way today to their new home, along with lots of bub­ble wrap in case of a bumpy ride and an origa­mi bird note­card for a sweet note that the Greens were asked to pass on.

Safe trav­els, my friends!

It’s a bit sad to see them go, but know­ing that they can make some­one else smile makes me happy.

The shop has been slow, and I have con­tem­plat­ed clos­ing it down, actu­al­ly. Hon­est­ly I haven’t real­ly done a lot to pro­mote it because, after all, I do enjoy shar­ing free pat­terns a lot more than try­ing to sell peo­ple things. But the first sale is a great encour­age­ment, and I will con­tin­ue to work on some ideas, and hope­ful­ly stock the shop with new things soon! :D

Thank you for vis­it­ing! Have a love­ly day!

I saw this today

Pete Eck­ert is a blind visu­al artist. He was diag­nosed with Retini­tis Pig­men­tosa, and lost his sight when he was 28.

via Liv­ing Design and Pho­to­jo­jo.

I am only a tourist in the sight­ed world. Women talk about a glass ceil­ing. Blind folks face a glass front door. We can look into the work­place but aren’t allowed to enter. I do some­thing else. I slip pho­tos under the door from the world of the blind to be viewed in the light of the sight­ed. I view my work dur­ing the event of tak­ing the shot in my minds eye. I “see“ each shot very clear­ly, only I use sound, touch, and mem­o­ry. I am more of a con­cep­tu­al artist than a pho­tog­ra­ph­er. My influ­ences come from my past mem­o­ry of art and what I now find in the world at large. I now ask to touch sculp­tures in muse­ums too. That’s anoth­er long story.

I am try­ing to cut a new path as a blind visu­al artist. Sight­ed peo­ple don’t help me make the art. They do give me feed­back before I do the final large prints… I want sight­ed peo­ple involved. It is a good bridge between the blind and sight­ed. I want to be includ­ed in the world and accept­ed.

It is impor­tant to me that the sight­ed think about blindness. What I get out of tak­ing pho­tos is the event not the pic­ture. I do the large prints to get sight­ed peo­ple think­ing. Talk­ing with peo­ple in gal­leries builds a bridge between my mind’s eye and their vision of my work. Occa­sion­al­ly peo­ple refuse to believe I am blind. I am a visu­al per­son. I just can’t see.


I saw this today, for which I am thankful.

green with deliciousness

A friend gave me some matcha pow­der ear­li­er this week, so I decid­ed to test them out today. We start­ed the day with some green tea lat­te. I’ve nev­er made one at home before, but my first attempt tast­ed pret­ty good.

2 tsp matcha + 2 tsp sug­ar + fill mug half way with hot water and stir
Fill mug with milk and microwave for 1 min and, voilà! Green tea latte.


And then I baked some green tea cook­ies. I fol­lowed this recipe because it seemed straight­for­ward. Look! So green!

I decid­ed to make them leaf-shape after I saw Martha’s green tea short­bread. I don’t have a leaf-shape cook­ie cut­ter, so I cut them out with the back of a but­ter knife, and each leaf is dif­fer­ent, which I like very much.

The veins were also made using the back of a but­ter knife.

They turned out a bit puffi­er than I want­ed — I was think­ing about the bun­ny cook­ies I made and how they did­n’t expand at all, so I did­n’t expect these ones to expand or rise, since it’s pret­ty much a sug­ar cook­ie recipe. But I did­n’t pay atten­tion to the fact that this recipe has both bak­ing pow­der and bak­ing soda, plus eggs, so I guess it’s sup­posed to rise. Hmm. Per­haps next time I’ll just fol­low the plain sug­ar cook­ie recipe and add a cou­ple of table­spoons of matcha.

But I’m still rather pleased with my tea leaf cook­ies. There’s a very sub­tle green tea flavour, and the cook­ies are light and flaky.

And to top it off we watched The Secret of Kells tonight, with the rich­est, most glo­ri­ous emer­ald green, and each scene an exquis­ite water­colour with lay­ers and lay­ers of vibrant colours and brush marks. Very inspir­ing film, I must say. I high­ly rec­om­mend it.


Have a won­der­ful Sun­day, everyone!


(Hap­py Year of the Rabbit!)

Today is Chi­nese New Year, and it is the year of the rab­bit! So I thought it would be fun to do a round up of bun­ny plush.

It is cus­tom­ary to do some clean­ing and orga­niz­ing for Chi­nese New Year. So maybe it’s time to do some­thing about that stained sweater or shirt that is nei­ther good for wear­ing nor donat­ing. It might make an awe­some rab­bit, like these ones…

Sweater turned rab­bit, tuto­r­i­al on Craftzine.


Men’s suit turned rab­bit, instruc­tion from Martha Stew­art Liv­ing.


This cro­chet white rab­bit is too adorable — must make!

Pat­tern for Alice’s white rab­bit from Crafty is Cool.


And rab­bits for the knit­ters too! I think it would make a great baby show­er gift, with a jin­gle bell tossed into the stuffing.

Pat­tern for Bun­ny Nuggets by Rebec­ca Dan­ger.


And a rab­bit rat­tler! *jin­gle jin­gle jingle*

Pat­tern on A voir etc…


This is not a plush, but I thought a change of scenery for the new year would be refreshing.

Down­load reed­bun­ny wall­pa­per on Jin­jerup!


Wish­ing you a healthy and blessed year of the rabbit!

happy groundhog day!

Today is Ground­hog Day and we have a snow­storm, just like in the movie. And because of the snow­storm I got to stay home all day. Since I have all that free time I thought I should cel­e­brate the day by mak­ing a ground­hog. But I could­n’t find any free pat­tern, so I decid­ed to make my own.

For this ground­hog I used some tan acrylic yarn and some fuzzy brown wool, the 2 strands of yarn held togeth­er. Both appear to be sport weight, but I can’t be sure because they were giv­en to me with­out labels. I used a 5mm hook. I think 1 strand of bulky weight yarn with 5mm hook would also work.

I also used 2 4mm beads for eyes, some white felt for teeth, and some nee­dles and thread for sewing.

Ground­hog is about 3 inch­es tall. Not very big and does­n’t take long to make.

Head and Body:

Row 1: ch 3, 5 sc in 3rd ch from hook, sl st. in top of begin­ning 2 ch.

Row 2: ch 2, [2sc in next sc, sc in next sc] 3 times, sc in top of begin­ning ch.

Row 3 and on: sc around until desired height (mine’s about 2 inch­es), end with last st in cen­tre front (I just eye­balled it, but one could count the stitch­es to make sure it’s cen­tered if desired). Take hook off stitch, keep loop on mark­er and don’t fas­ten off.

At this point it would be a good time to sew on eyes, embroi­der nose and mouth, and attach ears.

To make ears:

I made the ears with one strand of the acrylic yarn with a 3mm hook. One could prob­a­bly use a thin­ner yarn in a sim­i­lar shade and small­er hook, or if using 1 strand of bulky yarn con­tin­ue to use same yarn but use a 4mm hook.

With a sep­a­rate ball of yarn attach yarn at top of head where you’d like to posi­tion ear, ch 1, sc in st where yarn is attached, ch 1, sl st in st where yarn is attached. Fas­ten off, weave in ends. Repeat for the oth­er ear.


Place hook back in loop at the end of body, ch 2, bring the ch across the open­ing of the body and sc in a st in cen­tre back (I just eye­balled it, but one could count the stitch­es to make sure it’s cen­tered if desired), like so…

Then, sc in each sc until the ch 2 in the mid­dle, sc in each ch, then sc in each sc for 2 more rounds, sl st. in each of next 2 sc, fas­ten off.

For the oth­er leg, attach yarn to the same st in cen­tre front at the base of the oth­er leg, ch 1, sc in next sc, sc in each sc until the st in cen­tre back at the base of the oth­er leg, sc in the st in cen­tre back, sc in each ch of the ch 2 in the mid­dle (one would have to cro­chet in the back loops of the chain), sc in the begin­ning ch 1 of this leg, sc in each sc for 2 more rounds, sl st in each of next 2 sc, fas­ten off.

Now would be a good time to stuff the ground­hog through the open­ings at the bot­tom of the legs. After stuff­ing, close the bot­tom of the legs by weav­ing through the inner loops of the open­ing with yarn and nee­dle, like so…

Pull tight, tie off, and weave in ends.


Attach yarn to where you’d like to posi­tion the arm, ch 3, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, sl st in next ch, sl st in st where yarn is attached, fas­ten off, weave in ends. Repeat for the oth­er arm.


Cut mul­ti­ple lengths of yarn (I used around 8) about 4 inch­es long each. Thread a sep­a­rate piece of yarn and use it to tie the lengths of yarn togeth­er in the mid­dle, like so…

Then sew the tied strands of yarn to the back of the ground­hog, like so…

Trim tail to desired length, and unrav­el the indi­vid­ual strands, so it’s all fuzzy.

And we’re done! We took some pho­tos on the bal­cony, which was cov­ered in snow…

“No shad­ow in sight. An ear­ly spring this year, I pre­dict. Now, must we linger in the cold outdoors?”

When we came back inside I thought he might look good with some buck­teeth, so I sewed on some white felt for teeth. Now he’s patient­ly wait­ing at Mike’s desk for him to come home, because Mike is an enthu­si­as­tic cel­e­bra­tor of Ground­hog Day but he does­n’t get to stay home for snow day today.

Hap­py Ground­hog Day everyone!


p.s. I real­ize that the leg part of the pat­tern may be a bit con­fus­ing — please leave a com­ment if you need any clar­i­fi­ca­tion or if you spot any mis­take and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

there and back again

We took a short trip up north on the week­end. I found out after I got there that Zumi was out of bat­tery. I was a bit dis­ap­point­ed, but still hap­py with the pic­tures the pink cam­era took. There are more pho­tos in my flickr set, but here are some of the ones I liked.

Sun­rise over Muskoka.


At lunch time, ici­cles glim­mered in the sun off the roof of the din­ing hall.

Late after­noon, the sun start­ed to set over Lake Rousseau.

I paint­ed a tile in the art cab­in. (The paint nev­er dried prop­er­ly in the cold and lat­er melt­ed along with the con­den­sa­tion on the tile — just like a real snowflake!)


The next morn­ing, more explo­rations by the lake. There was a cir­cle of unfrozen water near the dock, and it was so blue.

Home­bound. I was mes­mer­ized by the dust-frost­ed school bus win­dow and how it fil­tered the sun­light and shadows.

Back on city roads again. The school bus bask­ing in the warm glow of the set­ting sun.

So, what I learned from this trip, is that over the years, though my com­fort zone has been stretched in cer­tain ways, it’s also become restrict­ed in many areas. As I became old­er I learned more about myself and I learned to bet­ter avoid stress and stress­ful sit­u­a­tions. I learned to avoid sit­u­a­tions that would poten­tial­ly trig­ger unpleas­ant mem­o­ries. So it’s rather unchar­ac­ter­is­tic of me to take this trip, but some­how I felt that I need­ed to do this. And I guess I need­ed to do this so that I know I’m not as adapt­able as I thought I am and I still have a lot of spir­i­tu­al and emo­tion­al grow­ing to do.

Any­way, I think this makes some good reflec­tions on Chi­nese New Year’s eve! A new year begins and hope is renewed as we look for­ward to spring. (Er, despite the snow­storm that blast­ed through the city last night…)

Have a hap­py Wednesday!

“Never stop making art.”

He was one of the most com­pas­sion­ate peo­ple I knew. A true artist. He believed in the artist in me, even when I had giv­en up on every aspect of myself.

And he said to me as we part­ed ways, “no mat­ter what you do, nev­er stop mak­ing art.”

And I wish I could tell him that, over the years, how much his words had helped me nour­ish myself and the artist in me. That even though many years have gone by, his words still encour­ages me. That I haven’t stopped mak­ing art, and I will nev­er stop mak­ing art.

And I will always remem­ber your kind­ness, C. I hope you are at peace.