Hooking Happiness and a Big Yellow Sun

My mom hooked rugs years ago. Everyone did, I guess, and while I faintly recall her showing me how to hook, it was a day-long workshop years later that piqued my interest. I did this one little mat, and then, enthusiastic as get-go, and confident in my newly acquired skills, I traced off the puffin for my next large-scale project. I should know better. I always go overboard. I always go big. I can’t have the box of crayons with your eight basic colors. I have to own the seventy-two box with cadmium red and eight shades of blue!

Anyway, this project has been on the frame for four or five years and only recently did I pick it up again. I should have stuck with small. But here it is – a Newfoundland puffin perched on a rock, blue skies in the background. The only thing missing is a big yellow sun in the corner.

I have seen some amazing rugs hooked by some pretty talented ladies. Mine … I just hope to finish. But what a great way to recycle old t-shirts. That’s what I’m using – t-shirts – mostly recycled from my grandsons’ castoffs. And cut into strips with scissors. Reuse. Recycle.

I suspect it will be a while before it’s finished, but I’ve already decided that my next rug will have huge happy sunflowers. Yellow is such a fun color. Perhaps that’s why little kids always have that big yellow sun in the corner, shining down on everyone and everything! Optimistic, happy, they have yet to experience the doldrums of a gray foggy day. Hooking – crafting – helps me find that sun!

Everything is awesome …

Yesterday the Internet lit up here in Canada as Bell Let’s Talk encouraged dialogue on mental illness.

Negative thoughts. I’ve read that most of us have them in excess. So at least I’m not alone. Not that I want these downers running around in my head. But how do we drown them out? music? art? poetry? I think the key is creative engagement. For me, one answer is Lego. Total mindless engagement – if that makes any sense – and it brings me peace, stills the hamsters who turn the wheel.

The grandchildren tell me I’m not much good at it – Lego. I build sets. I don’t freebuild, which is what they prefer. And apparently, you’re not a real builder if you have to go by instructions. I’m like the man upstairs in The Lego Movie. Have you watched it? You should. Huge lessons there on how to let go, be yourself, be a good parent. “Everything is awesome,” all the little Lego men sing, as they work their way through another routine day. But when you break out of the mold, live in the moment….Wow! Everything IS awesome!

In my defence, I don’t glue the sets together! And I do let the boys play with what I build: write their own storyline and totally wreck everything. And I do that over and over and over. For me it’s not the end product that’s important, but the act of building. Total engagement. Though I must say it would be pretty cool to see a whole city rise from all those tiny little bricks.

Negative thoughts. I understand negative thoughts. But mental illness? I’m not sure. I struggle to understand how poor mental health presents and what my role should be in standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, or in standing by those who do find the courage to get to their feet. It’s so huge – mental illness – so widespread and its boundaries are anything but clearly defined. What is it that allows one person to cope, yet sees another crumble? I look at myself. I look at the person to my right. I look at the person to my left. We all have our strengths and talents. We all face life’s challenges. Sometimes, in fact, your life looks charmed in comparison to mine. Yet you stumble and crumble. I stumble and push through. It’s difficult for me to be always gentle in my thoughts of you. I’m sorry. But I’m trying. I truly am.

And that’s why talk is important. It breaks down barriers, encourages dialogue, destroys stereotypes .. and invites reflection.

everything is awesome …

One Man’s Trash …

Saw this old wardrobe on the side of the road and had my son drag it home for me. Took a few months before I got around to it, but replaced the broken mirrors with wood panels painted with black chalkboard paint and added a couple shelves. A lick of bright, splashy paint, and Grammy’s Pantry is born. The grandsons approved and freely help themselves. As grandchildren should! Total cost of less than twenty dollars and another thing that I should, but don’t want to, let go!




Twice-loved is the birth child of too much stuff – too much stuff in my head, too much stuff in my house, and this terrible inability to “let go” in all things.

So…..   in an attempt to clean house and mind, I am looking for a new home for all this ‘stuff’.  Wonder how much I’ll actually get rid of.

I sometimes envy those who ‘clean house’ with such ease. Everything gets thrown out. Broken or chipped, throw it out. Doesn’t work, throw it out. Too big, too small, throw it out. Just plain bored with it? Throw it out!

I don’t want to throw it out. I don’t want to let go.  I look at X and I see Y.  That’s not necessarily a good thing because I can’t always invest the time needed to turn X into Y and then, even when I do ….

Beautifully broken… imperfectly perfect.  Life would be so incredibly simple if we could all embrace this simple truth. I’m trying. Truly! But it’s a constant challenge for sure!

Fifteen years ago, to recycle two pieces of glass, I had my friend make me a coffee table.  In packing away my Christmas decorations, I came across the old table in a corner of the shed. I dragged it inside, dusted it off, had a colleague cut me two wooden inserts. A coat of paint, a home-made stencil and voila! Twice-loved!  So much so that it’s here in my living room.