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February Art Month

February 4, 2013 by

Inspired by our January felting & looming workshop at Leola’s Studio, Renaissance Woman Sheila challenged the rest of us to commit to creating art every day for a month.

We thought it was a great idea, and each signed up for a few days in February. (Not coincidentally, the shortest month of the year …)

As a result, 28 pieces of art were created by our collective of members. On March 2 we came together at Teafarm to celebrate Art Month and “show and tell” our work.

Here are our creations:

February 1

Love is in the Air, by Sheila Ie:

February 2

A homemade-from-scratch Thai dinner, by Cindy J:

February 3

A springtime necklace, by Patti Talbot:

February 4

Some subversive cross stitch, by me:

February 5

A soother clip, made by Kim K:

February 6

Daffodils by Kim K — one of our photographers:

February 7

“Morning Cupcake, Any Way I like It,” by Sheila Ie:

February 8

Tessa says: “I gave myself a one hour time limit and the task of creating a thank-you card for a friend.”

February 9

Brenda says: “I like to create small spaces for special things in my home and office. This is my Wild Woman corner that I have had in every office for a decade – my ‘wild woman’ does not like sitting in front of a computer all day, so I give her things to play with while I am working. I just made this one yesterday in my new office – I change it up from time to time just to keep things fun.”

February 10

Maeve says: Acrylic on canvas paper. First time painting with something other than children’s washable paints. I call it “What my heart looks like on the inside when I watch my daughters dance an Irish jig in their pyjamas.”

February 11

Cindy J’s art: “It is wet felted and finished with needle felting. My inspiration was drawn from the amazing new energy and growth being brought forth by spring, so appropriately titled Spiralling Energy.”

February 12

My 2nd art day! I gave myself an art moment by attending one of the Writers on Campus poetry readings. It was WONDERFUL to hear poetry in Duncan. Here are some of my favourite lines from Patrick Friesen tonight:

“I felt like I was walking over a plowed field.”

“You come home with stones from the beach and then you wonder why you bothered.”

” . . . naked in your green dress . . .”

“I don’t like long cars. They hold a human like a tiny seed.”

Also, the word “anaphora.”

February 13

Preschooler Valentines by Sheila Ie, made with construction paper, tissue, glue:

February 14

Patti says: Meet “Florencia,” my beautiful piece of turquoise seaglass found at Florencia Beach, Tofino. I made a lovely cage for her out of copper.

February 15

“Tofino Dream Catcher,” by Patti:

February 16

Linda’s poem:

To the mountains! we declared.
A roaring midnight fever
silenced our call.

This rare February day
so bathed in sunshine,
now spent indoors
snuggled on a couch
with books tottering
piled high on blanket folds.

We took council by the fire
with chicken soup
and stories of camping
years past and those to come.

And tonight I sit in gratitude
for tottering books
and this messy life
with her gifts
of unexpected pauses
and so full of fevered blessings.

February 17

Maeve playing “Chariots of Fire” on the piano with video footage of her amazing daughters:

February 18

For my 3rd art day I experimented with hand-quilting designs, using some drawn designs and some freehand. I usually just stitch the seams of my quilts (straight lines), but after seeing Angie’s designs on one of her quilts I was inspired to try this. This quilt has been my “play” quilt — I used it to learn how to hand-stitch curved pieces.

Front of quilt (look carefully to see the yellow thread …):

February 19

Katie made fridge magnets featuring Bruce Springsteen. She says: “The picture of him in the toque is from 1975, the year Born to Run came out.”

February 20

Angie says this about her quilt: “I’ve been working on it since November, with a fabric line called Botany. It’s my first full quilt, and a whole lot more work than I had anticipated (I thought it would be done for Christmas, which is so comical they could make a movie about it). I used a shot glass for the circle patterns, a ruler for the lines and a leaf template for the, well, the leaves :-) Today, to make sure I was doing something arty and specific to to our goal of trying something new, I changed up my pattern for the edge (gasp!), which I was going to leave plain, and did some crazy freestyle.”

February 21

“When the dog bites, when the bee stings,” by Heather K. (mixed media collage)

February 22

Sheila Z. calls this ‎”The Art of Thrifting.” She says: “a roll of salvaged vintage upholstery webbing, a thrifted hanger, and a creation to chart your little bundle of love’s growth.”

February 23

Pressed flowers from last summer made into tiny fairy cards made Linda D:

February 24

Heather K says: “This is what happens when the dog wakes the baby from his nap, the one you were counting on to make some art! This was co-created by myself and daughter Sami after a family hike down to the water where we found the driftwood. It’s called “fairy seahorse”. Her vision; I merely followed instructions.”

February 25

Cindy J says:

Yoga! I feel an hour and a half practice is most definitely an artistic expression. And since I cannot share this visually with you (thank goodness), here are some of my feelings, emotional and physical, during yesterday’s art of the practice of yoga:

holy moly I can’t hold this any longer

Namaste, my Renaissance sisters.

February 26

When one of our members was unable to art it up, Sheila Z. came to rescue with this snazzy magazine holder. She made it using burlap from the same roll she turned into her February 22 art, plus a thrift shop-ed frame (shown on the top left). Final product is on the right!

February 27

“Jewelry Graveyard Resurrection,” by Tessa.

She says: “My art tonight was taking a few broken necklaces, and mending and mixing them together to make a new one! Many of my ‘art’ projects are often more creative repair projects.”

February 28

“Quick trip on a Rocket Ship,” by Sheila Ie (Oil Pastel, Chalk Pastel, Black Ink Pen, Illustration Marker, Paper 2013)

To share in the adventure and cheer on our members, please join our Renaissance Women Facebook group!

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A Hard Row to Hoe

April 24, 2011 by

My four-day Easter weekend started with a beautiful sunny day, so I asked Brock what I could do in my garden. (How handy, to have my own personal gardening advisor.)

Brock had spaded my kitchen garden a week or two ago, but he wasn’t able to get at the 15′-ish-long row between the two fruit trees. So he suggested I weed it, either using our BCS rototiller or a hoe. (Also handy: to have access to the tractor and tools of a professional farmer.)

The BCS rototiller would have been the most efficient and effective option, but that would require a quick re-teaching from Brock on how to start and drive the thing, and I knew he was busy working. So I opted for a stirrup hoe, and got down to business.



It was hard. I haven’t done physical work since October, and I could feel it in my shoulders and back. I got sweaty. Short breaks were required.


After all that hard work I wanted to actually plant something in my garden, to celebrate. It’s still a bit early, weather-wise, and the soil isn’t ready in my garden: Brock will till it with the tractor before I do my big plant-out in a week or two.

Luckily, that row between the trees isn’t tractor-tillable, so I could plant something there and it wouldn’t get in the way. I’ve planned to have my few perennials in that spot (mostly herbs). And we had two pots of chives that Graden and Nancy had given us years ago, which had been living in their containers ever since. So those aromatic chives finally found a home in my garden.

I raked off the weed clumps, hoed out the stubborn areas, and dug two holes for my transplants. Ideally I would have forked up the soil to loosen it first, but I couldn’t figure out where Brock had hid the tools so c’est la vie. My chives went in.

I love chives. They are one of the few plants I vividly remember from my mom’s garden, along with honeysuckles and bleeding hearts. And now that we eat mostly food we grow ourselves, I find that there’s a noticeable gap in onion availability in springtime: my chives will add oniony flavour to our grain salads and egg salad sandwiches.

So here’s my updated garden, with its first inhabitants:

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My Kitchen Garden

January 28, 2011 by

With 6 acres of organic vegetables in production on our farm every summer, it may seem odd that I want to have a garden. And inefficient. Doesn’t it make more sense to wander out to the fields and cut myself some fresh salad greens, a head of broccoli, dig up the potatoes and yank a bulb of fresh garlic for dinner?

Actually, yes, that makes a lot more sense…

When we bought our land in June 2007 I was a complete newbie to the notion of growing food. Aside from an adorable 10′ by 10′ garden that my parents kindly built me in my teens (which I forsake once the aphids attacked), I had never planted, weeded, or harvested a thing. I learned how to grow garlic from Ken of Gabriola Garlic at the farmer’s market our first summer in Duncan, and those first 10 or 20 bulbs were the first food I ever really planted. And harvested. And ate.

In the last 3.5 years I’ve learned more than I ever thought I wanted to learn about organic soil management, microbiology, N-P-K ratios, and the logistics of planting, tending, picking and preparing food. Last summer I attempted to work full-time on our farm, assuming that I would relish every filthy minute. But this was not the case. Perhaps it’s my Generation Y attention span deficiencies, or my distaste of routine physical labour, but by the end of the season I knew I wasn’t a farmer, certainly not like my sweetie is. This man reads tractor catalogues in bed. He watches YouTube videos of farm tours. I’d much rather watch Madmen episodes and do a Sudoku puzzle.

So I’ve returned to my indoor career as a communications professional, and am grateful for it.

But still … I love sunshine, I love planting seeds. Exercise is especially important when I’m staring at a computer for the majority of my day.

Therefore: my kitchen garden. We’ve set aside approximately 3,000 sq.ft. at the front of our farming area for me to grow all the things that our farm doesn’t grow on a large scale. For example: sweet potatoes. I’ll also plant flowers, establish some perennials, and test out some medicinal herbs.

I’m looking forward to ending my work day with a few hours in the sunshine playing with my plants, experimenting with herbal teas and adding random vegetables to our meals. I might not use the entire 3,000 sq.ft. (that’s a lot of weeding). But having this much soil to play with is a luxury, and I am grateful for it.

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