Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Last Day of January

is the coldest day of the year

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Felting at -49

This little head is a simple wet felted ball with needle felted dtls. The combover is a tuft of fox fur (from someone's parka that had caught on a door jam at a shop in town).

Below are two wet felted pouches and a gaggle of wet and needle felted balls.

(My dry dry dry hands are slowly returning to some semblance of themselves after a few rounds of vaseline, rubber gloves and hot dish water.)

(ok. i was kind of joking about Brit saving my life, but i do love her)

Monday, January 28, 2008


I taught a wet felting workshop yesterday. All 10 people showed up even in this frigid temperature. We made bags, bowls, balls and tea cozies. I spent Fri. and Sat. dyeing fleece and making samples. I've got a mind to make a mat for the floor in front the kitchen sink - a soft, warm spot to stand while doing the washing up.
Felting is at once the ideal and worst activity for this climate. Perfect because you're making something warm; terrible b/c it dries your hands out so badly.

I'll post some pictures of our felted objects tomorrow.

On this frozen night our little house is so warm.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

BIG QUESTIONS: What Is the Past?


New little work by the brilliant star (and #1 favorite of my Dear SP + me) Lynda Barry, titled Activity Book. It's an excerpt from her new book What It Is published by Drawn and Quarterly and coming out in Spring!
Their new flagship shop on Bernard in Montréal is something i missed when i was there in Nov.
So when Chas went back in Jan. he brought this and Dogs and Water by Anders Nilsen back for me. Dinner and Nap was the first Anders Nilsen i ever saw ...about 4 years ago. You could call it a wonderful dream.


Janice, Shelby and Britney (you missed our Wednesday lunch)

Don't worry - i'm sure it'll keep.
(barf noise here)

this reminds me:
until last week i'd never actually heard any of Britney Spears music, but when Sonja was here and she, Chas and i were rockin out every night making stuff, becoming full-blown eggnogaholics and playing each other music, i did.
...and now I'm like, Brit, I'm adding you to the list of ladies who've kept me alive:
Mary J.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Books for Cooks

I miss my cookbooks today.
They're all packed in a box that seems (sit down, Mark) to be missing.
Anyway, thank goodness for the worldwidewebofwonder.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


A somewhat belated look at Sonja Ahlers work. I wrote about our dearly departed houseguest a week or so ago but didn't offer you any images of her F'n AMAZING, delicate, sensitive work.

She makes installation, collage, books, angora bunnies and the world go round.
She loves The Wilson Sisters, April Wine, Narles Barkley and Boney M (who loves her).
She is one of the funniest and most kind ladies I know and can i say how thrilled we are that she's living a (relative) skip away? ...7 hrs. south!

Her most recent book FATAL DISTRACTION is available here.
You can purchase her bunnies here and here on etsy.
You have to be hard on yourself if you need discipline in your work. If you even once say "I'll let this thing go by" all you'll remember is that you let it go by. It's a bit fuss-pot but I don't see any other way of doing it. You can't go through life in a way that suits you without being hard on yourself.
- Mavis Gallant

The Evening Meal

Last night i made this delicious thai green curry from Dinner With Julie - Julie Van Rosendaal's beautiful new site which features the suppers she makes every night for 1 year. She's written a few cookbooks and teaches cooking classes at my favorite food and cooking supply shop in Calgary, the Cookbook Company. Her cooking, her writing about it and her photography of it are inspiring.
(The photos above are replicas i attempted of the photos Julie took of her January 18th curry).
- - visit her site to see hers
+ make some good food.

Thank you to Julie's Mum, Meg, for pointing me there. Meg Van Rosendaal is an advocate for the arts and true gem among women. I was fortunate to work with her on one of her innovative projects in 2001 when i lived in Calgary.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I snitched this link from Camilla Engman's blog.
* * * ok. * * * WOW * * * this CLOUD (that looks more like a kidney (Ric Kidney) embodies some of the things i find most satisfying about material existence: vacuuming, dusting, smoothing bedclothes and icing on a cake, mending things.

- but this has light and sparkle, and it's 'digi'!

Fixing to Draw

But no time now - it's grant season for everyone and the Conservation Society i work for is no exception.
For now: plans + lists + looking back on the oldies. I made this one in April 2006. It is based on a Shaker Gift Drawing made by Hannah Calhoun in 1842. "Drawing" is a misnomer because the Shakers didn't use it to describe what they were making. They referred to them as presents, hearts, tokens of love, rolls, scrolls, sheets, signs, notices. Often they prefaced these terms with the adjective "sacred".

"This definition focuses on the function of the works as gifts from heavenly spirits, rather than on the form in which the gifts were materialized. In fact, the gift drawings often include titles, captions, inscriptions, and extended texts, in English as well as in scripts written in indecipherable tongues, that place them on an uninterrupted continuum with other manifestations of belief, such as inspired writing, ecstatic movement, and spontaneous speech, especially in the form of song." (France Morin, Shaker Gift Drawings and Gift Songs, The Drawing Center, New York, and UCLA Hammer Museum, 2001)

Edward Demming Andrews called the Shaker Gift Drawings "[spiritual] messages in pictorial form," (The Gift To Be Simple, 1940). They were manifestations of visions received by one Sister or Brother (though usually a Sister) and passed to another who would compose a visual image in pencil, paint and ink based on the telling of that vision. They were made between 1837 and 1850, "The Era of Manifestations".
(The same is true of the "gift songs" and other verbal works. The invention of forms in both the songs and drawings is amazing, as is their resemblance to the practice of later poets and artists.)

The Rabbits and the Worms

The best thing that could happen to the world would be for man to disappear and leave it to the rabbits and the worms.

D.H. Lawrence

* angora bunny by Sonja Ahlers, 2005
* letter by Beatrix Potter, 1893

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


A cold day and a warm Little

Hope and Purpose

Jason de Haan and Bobby Niven are in Dawson for a residency at KIAC for 5 weeks. Bobby flew in from Scotland. His is the wasp nest & pink straws, above.
Jason flew up from Calgary. His is the L. of the F. book.

Every Sunday they cook up a nice brunch for anyone who wants to come over. Very generous. They also cook a deluxe dinner. We like to have them over for pink drinks (a concoction of pineapple, coconut, banana, raspberries + rum pictured below in Sonja (All Hers) post) and viewings of D. Attenborough's Planet Earth.

I met Jason 5 yrs. ago at one of the beautiful Bankview House Sunday dinners (of Marky, Lindsay, Jeff and I).
Here he is with our saddest plant.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Early Bird

A beautiful early birthday present from Janice. She's far away, adopting a Mexican Dalmation with foot-long drool threads coated in beach sand (her words).

Thank you, Janice. I love it and you're so thoughtful. This and Maggie are the best presents I've ever gotten IN MY LIFE. Now, bring back that Dalmation and I'll sew him up a fur coat with those red buttons on it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sonja (All Hers)

We've had such a great week ... Sonja's been staying with us!! We love her and want her to stay (read: she may be the next Prisoner of the North).

This is our cinema house set-up - - the most comfy video watching experience ever.

Maggie's heading the Keep the SONja in DawSONja Campaign.

I'd love to be in a position to offer her a guest room, private bath and little studio space (a la le Petit Trianon ..or maybe more like a shithole Hoolie Shack given our locale).

Chocolate Cloud Cake

for Sonja because ch. cake is her fave, and for (the absent) Janice, because in 2008 she's developing a sweet tooth.

A cinch to make, super quick, and flourless. The sort that sinks damply on cooling, the fallen centre filled cloudily with softly whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.
(from Nigella Lawson)

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
half cup unsalted butter, softened=
6 eggs: 2 whole, 4 separated
three-quarters cup superfine sugar
9 inch springform cake pan or a bundt pan
for topping:
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
half teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Butter and flour the pan.

Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or gently on the stove, and then let the butter melt in the warm chocolate.

Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 1/3 cup of the sugar, then gently add the chocolate mixture. In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the remaining sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape but are not too stiff. Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of egg whites, and then fold in the rest of the whites.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre is no longer wobbly. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack; the middle will sink as it cools.

When you are ready to eat, place the still pan-bound cake on a cake stand or plate for serving and carefully remove the cake from its pan. Don't worry about cracks or rough edges: it's the crater look we're going for here. Whip the cream until it's soft and then add the vanilla and continue whisking until the cream is firm but not stiff. Fill the crater of the cake with the whipped cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake, and dust the top lightly with cocoa powder shaken through a tea-strainer.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Amazing Rare Things

New Book from Yale Press.

Beautiful flora and fauna drawings from the seventeen hundreds.

Edited by
Sir David Attenborough (among many things the narrator of Blue Planet).


Telly the Blue

For the last two years I've been following the story of this little guy, Telly -a blue dachshund.
I saw him initially on this Daschund Rescue site.
Blue is a dilute color, a defect. Blue dachshunds should not be bred as it leads to baldness and sometimes blindness. They almost never have a normal life span. Telly is mostly bald - hence his name, after Telly Sevalis.

He was adopted last October and now lives with 3 other dachshunds and 2 humans in Nebraska. His humans maintain this site about him.