Dolls, Fibre Scultpures and Costumes

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Spring, eh?

It is just pretending.  A week ago we  got 30 cm of snow and it was -21 c, yesterday it was +9 c and there is water everywhere, including in the large hole in the basement.  But the forecast is for more snow.

Regarding that large hole… Plumbing isn’t rocket science, friends, we have been doing it since the Romans made hot & cold running water a common thing in bath houses.  So how come I have a hole in the basement that will take a good sized body?  It seemed a simple thing, get a back flow installed to prevent the sewer from backing up every time we have one of the new, climate change, rainstorms.  The thing is a foot long, so why do we need a grave size hole that is now filling up with water?  Mostly, it seems because the people who built the house hadn’t a clue what they were doing and they used a honking big clean out trap to connect the inside with the out side.  Yes a clean out trap 4 feet underground and running under the wall of the house. I am hoping they don’t need to dig a hole outside the house in front of the only door which is wheelchair accessible, it would mean breaking up concrete and digging through ground which is still frozen.  Oh and the water pipe coming into the house sits right on top of the this sewer pipe.  Sigh….

rainbow stockings

rainbow stockings

On the lighter side I have been knitting a lot because I hurt my back picking mom up off the floor.  It made sitting in the studio a pain, literally, so I have been leaning back on hot packs and knitting.  I finished my rainbow stockings.

I started a shawl and a sweater  for my little dog, Katie.  The shawl, Wingspan, has been put on hold until I go to Nova Scotia in May.  It will be a perfect travelling project.  Details can be seen in the link to my Ravelry project page.

I did get into the studio on Saturday and and with the help of some Ibuprofen managed to get a few hours done on Pan.  It was mostly sculpting his armpits, which don’t show so I didn’t bother to take pictures.

One Year

I have been in Edmonton one year this month. One year. So far not much has gone as I expected it to, neither the renovations, the “work”, nor me. The thing that most surprises me is how much trouble I am having dealing with the combination of chaos and rigid order. I am not getting much done because I want to kick at the order and tame the and control the chaos. Neither is possible so why rail at it? Part of me doesn’t want to start anything because I am going to get interrupted anyway, so why bother. And then I get frustrated because I see myself frittering away time and opportunity when the interruptions don’t happen.
I do have the studio and get some time in it on my sisters good days. I have been working on the Pan doll. Here is the WIP so far.

Pan Body parts

Pan Body parts

Pan Torso

Pan Torso


Getting the torso sculpted was a challenge.  I searched for my photos and couldn’t find them at first.  Then I looked for some gay male magazines but they aren’t anywhere I shop.  Lots of naked women but no boys.  Most of my photos were from free Montreal add magazines promoting the bars and restaurants.  They don’t seem to have an here.  All I can find free is seniors and job placement handouts.  I finally found a gay travel magazine that had a  swimsuit segment – yeah abs!  Then I found all my resource materials back.  I know, I could have gone on line, I did that once.  I really don’t want to do that again.



It has been a while since I posted. A long, dark, cold while. I Should have posted, I Should have journalled, I should have exercised, I should have done more baking, I should have worked on my art more, I should be able to tune out the TVs and audio books, I should be more patient, I should be nicer…… I hate SHOULD.

I spent a lot of my life using anger and a kind of bravado to get where I wanted to be. It is very efficient use of energy, it even got me on the front page of the Edmonton Sun. It is the kind of energy you can use to organize protests, to break through barriers, to climb “Mountains”. It feels clean and righteous. But it doesn’t work for dealing with the situation I am in right now and it doesn’t work for health issues and most off all it doesn’t work for the “Should”s. When I hear Should I get angry and dig in my heels, which doesn’t help.

I chose to be here. I knew it would be hard and a challenge. I am not the touchy feely nursey type person, in fact in school I scored rock bottom on those attributes in the guidance tests. This endless winter has me feeling trapped and struggling. Mom has gotten worse and a couple of times I have hurt myself lifting her or dealing with a wheelchair and snowy side walks, the car has had problems – all little things but they have really gotten under my skin.

I was lucky however, someone on one of the health forums had an issue with her treatment and I tried to help and as I was typing I realized just how much I was answering my own issues. I need to find a way to let these issues flow free. Morning journalling was one way but it is not working. Mom keeps calling for me every time I set a pen to paper, the private time I had early in the morning is gone unless I re-arrange my morning and that is hard to do. Getting up earlier is not the answer, I need sleep.

What is helping is that my sister is giving me a few hours after lunch to escape down stairs to the studio. At first it was hard to switch gears but now I put on my music and meditate for 15 minutes before trying to throw my self into the creating.

Once upon a time I learned to ride a horse (mostly because it looked like my daughter was having such a fun time and I thought in a moment of total craziness it was a mother/daughter thing we could do together) It was going ok (not great) when due to a bizarre combination of circumstances I was thrown of the spooked horse and it was several weeks before I could get back on to it. This was when I learned that you can’t ride a horse by conquering your fear, because it knows and it laughs at you. The only way to really ride a horse is to learn to let go of your fear, anger and anything else that gets between you and riding that horse. You would think I would remember that. It took many tries in bitter November and December weather before I figured it out.

So I have to figure out how to ride this “horse” so I can let go of the SHOULD and just DO it.

Mindful Cooking

This post has nothing to with dolls or making pictures, but it does have to do with creativity and mindfulness.

I moved here to help look after my parents, specifically my mother who has had many mini strokes, because my sister had gotten sicker and sicker and could no longer look after them.  She has continued getting sicker and had some rather yucky tests from which she was just not recovering.  One of the things suggested was a blood test for celiacs but she was to sick to drag to the clinic so I suggested, why don’t we try gluten free?

I did some research and made gluten free muffins.  They stayed in, and so did the other food (non gluten).  Not only did it stay in but by the end of the week she was free from toilet dependency.  At the end of the month I have a new sister, one that can do things for more then 2 hours a day.  One that is not passing out.  One that is thinking clearly.  One that is even thinking about going out and meeting people again and is currently installing a floor in what will be the studio.

My challenge was baking gluten free.  Not only gluten free but diary, soy, potato and baking powder free.  I spent hours reading recipes on line, in the library looking up books and reading them.  The best book I found at the butchers (the owners have gluten issues), “Company’s coming – baking gluten free” by Ted Wolff.   Not only does it have nice recipes but it explains what I can substitute for the other nasties.

But my biggest challenge was “being mindful” , thinking about every ingredient, reading the labels.  It is so easy to be on auto pilot when cooking – baking powder -sure, oops, salt, sugar, butter.  Sometimes I felt like the centipede who suddenly pays attention to all its legs and trips over them.  But sitting on my counter is a fluffy white egg bread that is rather tasty and has no gluten, dairy, soy or potato.  It is my 3rd bread.  The first was a flat little brick, the second a dense but tasty “herb loaf” , but this one is “Bread” – one that will make sandwiches!  My best piece of art work yet.  I couldn’t be more proud!


Bread and rolls


Living Here

Ok so I am not yet blossoming, but I am “Living Here”.  The last of my “possessions”  are on their way – my cat and dog – they are flying tomorrow morning.  I am chewing my fingernails, metaphorically because they taste awful, actually I am snacking, chewing my nails would be better for my health.  I did start working out last week but we are not going to whine about that here.

What I forgot to post last week is that I joined the VAAA “Visual Arts Alberta Association”.  My sister and I went back to Harcourt house to see the exhibition that we thought was on.  It wasn’t.  They were setting up for another one.  So we wandered across the hall to see if VAAA had something.  They didn’t but we got to talking with Sharon Moore  Foster, a potter and sculpture, who signed us up for the VAAA.  We had a wonderful talk about art, time and health.

Next week is “The Works” in Edmonton.  I am planning to go to the VAAA  reception for its “Coming of Age: The Graduates” on the 21st.  We might go to some other exhibits too.

Blossom where you are planted

It has been almost 2 months since I last posted.  I finally have a finished bathroom! Yay!  The laundry room holes in the walls have been closed.  As soon as it is finished being plastered and primed we can get the flooring in and then we can have bedrooms with floor space again.

The other thing that has been happening is SPRING (cue music from Jaws)  The trees have been doing their thing and for the last two weeks I have been surviving under the influence of antihistamines.  Things are finally getting back to normal, I have only a drippy nose without them now.  I can focus for longer the 3 minutes again.

“Blossom where you are planted” is from Julia Cameron’s “Finding Water”  one of the sequels to “The Artist Way”  I started journaling again in the morning and making my way slowly through the book.  Due to my living situation most of the exercises in the book  are not applicable at this time but reading and journaling has helped.  Many weeks ago I cleared desk space and unpacked partially some of my drawing supplies and promptly ignored them.  My mind was being about three years old, throwing tantrums “If I can’t have my fabrics and sewing machine then I don’t want to do ANYTHING!” it wailed.  That was really helpful in dealing with the slow transition….

After weeks of writing that, I finally got past the block.  My granddaughter posted a picture of herself with bright blue streaks in her blond hair.  It is a lovely picture full of her character.  I thought about different ways to play with it but I couldn’t decide.  Then an internet friend Lynnette posted a partially completed image of a new piece she is working on.  All about the phoenix with feathers in her hair and I knew what to do with the picture.

So here is my granddaughter – the parrot girl.  9 x 12 oil pastels

parrot girl


This will be a short note with nothing much about art in it.  My art supplies are either in that “safe place” or in a box somewhere in transit.

I arrived in Edmonton last week.  This week has been all about beginning to settle in and preparing for the big renovation to the bathroom.  I have shuffled things around in the kitchen because both my sister and mother are several inches taller then me and things kept falling on my head when I was trying to reach for them.  Also climbing on a chair in front of the stove while cooking, to find an ingredient really wasn’t safe.  The most interesting thing about this process was a jar of crunchy peanut butter from the 1997.  I have not yet had the courage to face the canned goods which are everywhere.  In case of a major problem we have enough canned beans, soups and fruit to last for many weeks if not months.  Last spring I tackled the packaged food, much of which had expired five or more years ago, some of which were growing interesting new life forms.

My boxes are still somewhere between Montreal and Edmonton with all my clothes, art supplies and stuff, which is good in a way as we had no place yet to put it.  We finally cleared a lot of the studio to be and it is actually bigger then I had expected.  The light is better too, even though it is a basement it gets the sun most of the day and the windows are quite big.  We found some oil paintings I did way back when I was 16, they have been recycled so don’t expect to see any pictures of them.  We did some reno work on the furnace room so we could store a lot of the tools and screws, nails and other bits in there.   I won’t be able to get set up the studio however, until after the bathroom is renovated as we need this space for storage for what is in the bathroom right now.  It is like a giant messy Rubics cube.   Reno starts in about a week and will commence with the breaking up of lots and lots of concrete to fix the plumbing issues.

So right now it is all about hurry up and wait.  The only “art” work I am doing is designing a pair of fingerless gloves/wrist warmers for my granddaughter to match the hat I made.

One thing though, my asthma is much better then it has been in months.   Where in Montreal last month, walking several blocks made me breathless and gasping,  here I am hauling boxes of flooring, doing light reno work without difficulty.  I guess the stress of the situation was really taking a tole on my health.