I'm almost there!  After much relocation and rearranging of my many stashes (fabric, beads, yarn, paper.....) I am almost settled into my new sewing/work room!  I really have to get everything into its proper place and then take a few decent photos--the above pic was snapped with my cellphone, so forgive the quality.  Better to come!

See the panel on the worktable?  I was completely inspired by a quilt I saw online and decided that my next pillow cover (to cover the world's ugliest cushion #2, brother to the world's ugliest cushion #1) would be birdhouses.  I sat down, drafted a pattern, tweaked it, added inlays, and broke out my fabric scrap stash.  Have I mentioned recently how much I love my fabric scrap stash? 

Notice the stepladder that I'm currently using as a stool?  Yup.  A stepladder.  I have to find a stool that is just the right height for the worktable, so I'm improvising for the moment.  As I said, this is a work in progress...  but I love it!
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My worktable was just over 8' long and flooded with natural light from the big windows. My sewing machine and serger had a permanent home at one end and I used the other to do everything from cut out patterns to wrap Christmas gifts.
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The beautiful windows were bigger than they appear in these photos, and my kitty girl Bingy could usually be found lounging on the wide window ledge of the left hand window--her blanket stayed there permanently. The squirrels in the overhanging trees were constant entertainment for all four kitties!
Many of you will remember me talking longingly about my sewing room in my home back in Canada.  Sadly, my house was contaminated with furnace fuel in a flood a year ago and the beautiful old lady who was built well over 150 years ago had to be demolished. 

It broke my heart.

Literally. 

When I think about that house my eyes well up and I feel a heaviness in my chest.  It's something I work on every single day.

The above photos were taken after everything was cleaned out of the house shortly before it was demolished.  I had the room custom-built into an existing attic space above the kitchen, and my carpenter worked with me tirelessly to create a workspace exactly as I wanted it.  There were custom storage cabinets built into the space under the eaves where the ceiling sloped down to almost meet the floor.  The space under the eaves of the opposite wall was empty...  waiting for cabinets that would never be built. 

My carpenter's name was Jim and he was the most marvelous man--a tireless worker who carefully and quietly constructed amazingly beautiful pieces with his calloused hands.  His father had been a builder as well, and he took after him in his ability to take rough wood and nails and create spectacular pieces of furniture and cabinetry constructed from the blueprints in his mind.  His talent was astrounding and yet he was humble.  Such great ability in such an unassuming individual.  If anyone asked Jim how he was doing on a particular day, he would smile and say, 'The very best!'  His love for his wife, children, and grandchildren was as well-known as his love of Pepsi and Worther's Originals candies.  He was truly a lovely human being. 

Sadly, we lost Jim to a tragic hunting accident in late September, 2010.  The loss was shocking and the event sent a ripple through the whole community.  Everyone knew and loved Jim, and his death made us all stop and evaluate our lives.  Our reality can completely change in a split-second, and that is a frightening realization. 

On a sun-drenched Friday afternoon I spoke with him for a few minutes before he walked out to meet the weekend head-on.  He was looking forward to heading out with his wife and friends for a weekend spent in the woods--hunting season had just opened.  I wished him a happy weekend and we said we would see each-other on Monday.  The next morning a friend's truck pulled into my driveway, and he came walking up the pathway with tears in his eyes.  The unthinkable had happened... Jim was gone.
I honestly think that everyone in our circle was in shock.  I walked through the house, touching the cabinets made lovingly by his hands just months before, feeling the cool tile of the bathroom that he had laid just that past month.  I stood in my almost-finished sewing room and looked around me, pictured him standing by the window painting the woodwork carefully, his hat casting a shadow down over his face as he concentrated on his work.  

I cried uncontrollably and wondered why...
There was a box sitting in the corner where the last set of cabinets should have been until the day more than two years after his death when I cleaned out that room before demolition.  Jim had left the paint for the room in a box with other odds and ends that he would use later to finish and touch-up everything.  I couldn't bring myself to move it.  Silly, but somehow with that box still sitting there Jim wasn't really gone--he would be back to finish my room. 
The box contained half a can of pale yellow wall paint, a container of ceiling paint, woodscrews, a paintbrush, a cloth rag...  and an empty Pepsi can as well as an assortment of shiny golden candy wrappers.  Simple little reminders of the man he was, and the legacy he left behind.
The very best, Jim... you'll always be the very best. 
 
 
Wow, what a week.

All has been absolutely silent on the homefront this week due to a series of mishaps and frustration...

You know how you sometimes read a friend's facebook status saying that they've dropped their phone in the toilet and what should they do to salvage their extremely pricey piece of soggy electronics?  Remember how you usually snicker while you're reading it, wondering how anybody could possibly be silly enough to let their phone take a nosedive...

Never laugh at that.  Karma will bite you in the behind.  Seriously.

My beautifully sunny Sunday turned sour when we returned home from breakfast with some friends and I managed to drop my phone... yup, in the toilet.  In fairness, it was in my shallow trouser pocket and it slid out on its own without me actually dropping it... but really it all amounts to the same thing in the end.

Strike one.

Mr Android spent more than 24 hours with his delicate insides exposed to the air and bouts of brutal hair dryer action (on the cool setting, of course), and I am happy to report that (so far, at least) he is working normally.

Thank goodness, because my husband just gave it to me for Valentine's Day.  A six week lifespan would be seriously unlucky for Mr Android.

Monday morning our internet connection decided to die... and it wasn't restored until TODAY.

Yes, that's right.  This (FRIDAY) afternoon we were finally connected once again to the grid.

It's just been one of those weeks for technology, I guess!

On a brighter note, in the absence of electronic entertainment, I managed to commandeer the upstairs guest room (recently vacated by my husband and his home office in his move to the new warehouse) and gave it a fresh paint job and a serious deep clean.

I finally have a work room again! 

The excitement of this room is indescribable.  I had a beautiful custom-built sewing room in my house in Canada (yup, the one destroyed in last year's flood) and I have missed it terribly.  Putting a new workroom together has given me a lift that I have needed since I watched my house being demolished last August.  Finally, I have a proper work space again!

And Mr Oliver Puss (aka Pussito) has reclaimed his spot, as you can see above.

Shots of my new room coming soon... I can't wait to really use it!

Happy Easter, Everyone! 
 
 
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Sunny South Beach Weekend
Happy Friday everyone!

Friday has a different feel to it--at least I think so.  The sun seems just a little brighter as it streams in to touch my face and rouse me softly from sleep.  As the day ticks along a sense of anticipation builds--that slight excitement you used to feel as a child at the final school bell on a Friday afternoon when the weekend stretched in a ribbon of endless possibilities before you and anything could happen.  The expecation of time spent in pleasurable weekend pursuits and sleepy mornings when you wake up thinking you're late and then remember that it's the weekend...  sheer bliss.

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Saint John River at flood level
Unfortunately this is not going to be a breezy, carefree weekend for me.  In a small corner of Maritime Canada, nestled in a river valley, lies a little place that I call my hometown.  A shockingly blue river winds its way through some of the most beautiful mountains that you will find in that part of the world.  A haven for bass fishermen and photographers, it glimmers enticingly during the summertime, reflects the amazing colours of the autumn leaves, and lies dormant under a pristine blanket of snow during the winter months.  But it is spring when it becomes a deadly force. 

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Beautiful, Deadly ICE
During the spring thaw, inconceivable quantities of water and ice move through my hometown--sometimes the ice goes out smoothly and everyone breathes a sigh of relief.  But some years, it lets go with a fury and grinds its way along the banks, driving huge chunks of ice high up onto the shores and catching up in ice jams that cause the water levels to rise to alarming levels.  Sadly, this is one of those years.

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Under Water--notice the water height on the houses
I got the news this morning that my town was under an evacuation order--via  facebook, can you imagine?  I found out about the evacuation before my family did,  and they live directly in front of the river.  The power of social media really  is amazing. 

I have spoken with my family, and  they are now safely on higher ground, but the town is in lockdown and the roads  into town are closed, as well as the bridge that links the two sides of the community.  It is frustrating to be sitting in  the sunny south knowing what they are going through and I can't be there for  moral support.  I have personally been through countless 'almost' floods, as  well as four actual ones, and it is always stressful and emotional. 
The worst flood in my lifetime was in 1987 and it deposited 5'3" above the main floor of our house.   Yes, that's five feet and three inches.  Taller than my Mum. 

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Mum's building on the far left.... luckily she doesn't live there at the moment!
My town has now declared a state of emergency.  I've been on the internet and the phone with friends and family all day, and apparently it is worse than the 1987 flood when the ice swept away our train bridge and devastated the whole area.  If you have never been through a flood, all I can tell you is that it is so frustrating to be sitting and waiting when you just wish you could do something.  Anything.  But at this point, there is nothing to do but wait.  Wait for the water to subside.  Wait for clearance to go back into town.  Wait for the aftermath of nature in all its fury. 


Wait for the hours of clean up and frustration... the tears and the hope. 

All my love to everyone sitting and waiting it out... my prayers are with you all.