Tag Archive | gratitude

My Purpose

I had the absolute honour and pleasure of helping Wendy with the beginner spinning program last week at HSTA. I get so excited when she asks me to help out. I LOVE watching people learn. I literally get butterflies in my stomach knowing the potential and how this may change their lives like it has mine. The joy. The peacefulness. The outlet for creativity. I could go on. I think I held myself together pretty well, but deep down I was crying tears of joy for them! I know some will fall comfortably in the vortex. Others have their toes on the edge. But this is something they will always have. If they spin today or 5 years from now, the option is still there.

Another thing I giggle about is how somebody gets something set in their mind that they probably won’t enjoy, but once they get their hands on it, game over. For example, there was somebody who wasn’t overly excited about dyeing. The next thing I knew, she was running around making up her own concoction and wanting to get the perfect colour that she held in her mind. I love it!

I just really enjoy passing on what I know. I know that I’m far from knowing a lot about spinning, but I do know enough to get people going. And it felt good. When I wasn’t sure about something, I would tell them how I understand it, but I wanted to double check with Wendy. More often than not, I was correct. I just wanted to be sure that I wasn’t passing on misinformation. It was also so cool to watch them do a technique that I demonstrated.

Sun dyeing at Fleming - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Sun dyeing at Fleming

Sun dyeing at Fleming - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Some more colours

I think I was put on this planet to teach. In fact I became convinced of that when I coached skating. I LOVED working with the kids and watching them grow. There were a couple of girls that grew into amazing skaters. I couldn’t help be think that maybe something I taught them helped them to get to where they were. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a music teacher. There were a bunch of perceived barriers in the way (if I knew then what I know now, I would have knocked them right out of the way!), so that never happened. I’m currently teaching workshops at the Kinmount Artisans Marketplace this summer. I love it. I just love it!

Soooo… I’ve got my sights set. I want to teach spinning. I want to fuel the fire in others the way Wendy fuels the fire in me. Whenever I do a spinning demo, I hear “That’s a dying art” a lot. I tell them that I’m on a mission to change that or “Not on my watch!” I want to suck as many people in to the spinny vortex that I can. That would make the world a much prettier, happier place.

To those whom I assisted last week: You all just blew me away with your enthusiasm, creativity and especially how quickly you picked up on spinning! I’ve seen a few others at the same stage, but I have never seen a class as a whole grasp it so quickly! You all did amazing! I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, spinning and other. I hope to see some of you at OHS Level 1 in 2017 if I don’t see you before. If I can be of assistance in any way, you know how to find me. Don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you so much. I did my best to keep a lid on stuff, but I will say that you helped me through a pretty rough week. I appreciate it. Keep up the good work!

Spinning: Two years later

Wow is all I can say. I just read back on my post about the first time I had spun. I had said that I was going to release the negativity of that day. I didn’t stick to it though because I had actually shared what had happened to upset me that day. I am now going to delete it in a promise that I had made to myself about releasing it. Unfortunately, I’ll probably always have the memories of what happened that day before I started spinning. But if I don’t write them down, perhaps I will forget in time. I hope.

It’s my second spinaversary today! Here are the links to my post about my first experience and my first spinaversary:
A Brand New Chapter
Happy Spinaversary, One Year Later

Oh, my morning started off just absolutely dreadful two years ago today. And I’m going to leave it at that.

Thank God for Wendy.

I was a wreck when I came into that classroom. I had missed the portion about the spindle and with the way the course was set up, there was really no time to go back. So she came over to me and gently said “Let’s go try the wheel.” I walked over and she showed me what I was doing. Then I sat down.

Magic happened.

I really don’t know how to describe it, but I will try. It’s as if everyone and everything around me melted. I was pulled into another dimension where it was me, the wheel and the wool. Nothing else mattered. I was able to shut EVERYTHING off, including the horribleness of what I had just experienced not even an hour prior. I just started spinning. It felt like this was the piece to my life that I had been missing, yet I didn’t know it was missing until I experienced it. I picked up on it like I had done it before. I swear, I had to have been a spinner in a former life!


I loved spinning so much that my boyfriend bought me my own wheel:


Since then, I have been going to a spinning group every month. I have taken the Intermediate Spinning Course at Fleming College. I have volunteered my time to do spinning demonstrations. My future is bright too. I will be joining the spinning guild. I will be enrolling in the OHS (Ontario Handweavers and Spinners) Master Spinning Program next August. I will be spinning at Finnegan Lake Gallery next weekend. On the 28th, I will be spinning at Canada Culture Days in Kinmount. I will also be on the Kinmount and Area Studio tour on Thanksgiving weekend.

I have also set the intention to teach. I want to do everything I can to help preserve the art and pass it on to the next generation. Nothing makes me happier when a child sees me spinning and asks me questions about it.

And to close out this post, I think I’m going to do a spinning version of Jeff Foxworhty’s “You might be a redneck”…

If you’re at a fair or a farm and look at sheep, alpacas and other animals and see your next project… you might be a spinner

If you tear your kitchen apart to find sandwich bags to pack your child’s lunch, but you end up finding them in your spinning tote because you were using them for fibre samples… you might be a spinner

If the food colouring you have stored in your kitchen is NOT used for food… you might be a spinner

If you have two sets of pots, two crockpots and two separate heating sources… you might be a spinner

If you’re doing a demonstration when somebody asks if you’re spinning in bare feet because that’s how the pioneers did it and your response is “No, it so that I can “feel” my wheel”… you might be a spinner

If you have more fibre in your closet than you do clothes… you might be a spinner

If you plant your garden based what colours the plants will produce on wool… you might be a spinner

That’s all I have for now. I know there are some spinners that do run across my blog, so feel free to add on in the comments if I missed anything 😉

So here I am, two years later. I couldn’t be more grateful that spinning has come into my life and the timing of it. It sure has got me through some rough times. I’m so thankful that it has the ability to shut everything else off (this is why I don’t spin when my son is around). It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Little Mickey’s New Hat

My Sweet Pea was gone for most of the month of August (and he was NOT happy about that, but we didn’t have a choice). I missed him like crazy. I threw myself in my work and that’s when Minion Hat Mania hit. It was very fitting because he LOVES the Minions from Despicable Me. Every time I worked on a hat, I could see him smiling.

I always try to do special things for him. Especially things that make him laugh. He has giggled non-stop about the Minion hats I made for both of us. So I figured that his beloved Little Mickey should join the club:


He went crazy when he saw this! And I giggled the whole time I made it!

I’m so glad that he appreciates the things that I make for him. He thanked me just last night for a hat that I made for him over a year ago. I hope his appreciation for handmade items carries on through his lifetime. I sure it will 🙂

The Wheel Just Keeps Spinning!

After having such a wonderful week of spinning, I had the honour of ending with week with… More spinning! On Saturday and Sunday, I was at Gooderham’s 140th Birthday Celebration. I had such a great time! There was a lot of interest in the spinning process. I had quite a few kids asking me questions too, which is really exciting. They’re the ones who are going to keep this art alive. I met a lot of nice people and I made a couple of new connections as well.


I had put out a bunch of samples of fleece, yarn and tools as a part of my display at Gooderham’s 140th Birthday Celebration


A seldom-seen kind of photo of moi, in my attempt at 1800’s fashion

After I got home, I completed a pattern test:


The latest pattern test from Crochet by Jennifer, the Kate Bonnet.

And on the EXTREMELY AWESOME news front… The four Minion hats I put in at Kinmount Artisans Marketplace have all sold! I have been asked to bring in some more. So I dubbed today “Minion Hat Monday.” I’ve been making the bases for hats all day. I will start working on the features tonight. I will have some orders fulfilled and I will have a few extra to put in the Marketplace. It’s all so exciting!


Assemble the Minions!

Day 1: Intermediate Spinning

This week I find myself back at the Haliburton School of The Arts. I tell you, once you take one course there, you’ll want to keep coming back 😉 This time is a little different (and a LOT more relaxed). We’re focusing on spinning. Wendy, who taught the spinning and weaving portion in the fibre arts course I took, is teaching us this week. She’ll also be joined by Karen, who I’ve never met. I’m looking forward to it! I’m also in a group of delightful women which makes the course even more fun!


Course materials

The first day we did quite a lot of work with colour. Have you even had one of those moments where you’d just like to smack yourself upside the head because you “didn’t think of that??!!??” Yes, I had some of those today! We did a lot of colour blending with roving. Well let me tell you, this put a whole new “spin” on spinning for me! If you know me (or have looked around my blog), you’ll know that I LOVE colour. Put colour and spinning together and you get one happy camper.


Colour play on the wheel


Sample card… This is just so that we can remember how we got those colour combinations. Keeping notes in spinning is VERY important so that you can get consistent results if you spin something you love (or know what colour combinations to not do if you don’t!)


A variety of spinning combinations from just three colours



We did a LOT of plying today too. I already knew how to do Andean plying from school. I was introduced to Navajo plying (I realize that this is not the new “politically correct” term, but the other one seems to have slipped my mind since this term has been used for so long). I definitely want to play more with that plying technique because it allows you to keeps strips of colour. That is something that is very appealing to me.

The course is being held at the high school in the music room. So right off the “batt” I was smiling because of all the good memories that room holds for me. That was my home when I was in high school. I think I may see if I can feel anything by standing in the spot where I used to sit for my three years of taking music there. By the way, Pete the Fly is still there. And he’s just as annoying as he was back them. Good times. Good times…


And to those who think they have “won” and that I would be shut down and curled up in a ball this week… Think again.


A Random Act of Kindness

God: How do we change the world?
Evan Baxter: One single act of random kindness at a time.
God: [spoken while writing A-R-K on ground with a stick] One Act, of, Random, Kindness.
– from Evan Almighty

I try very hard to not talk about my personal life on my blog. I’ve made a few exceptions. I HAD to share this story. I hope that it serves as a reminder that YOUR random acts of kindness do not go unnoticed.

I won’t go into detail, but I think this past week could easily be described as one of the WORST weeks in my life.

Yesterday I had to take my four-year-old son to the ophthalmologist to determine whether or not the glasses he has been prescribed were effective enough to straighten out his eyes. They turn in from time to time, so there is a chance that he may need surgery to correct it.

On our way for the hour-long ride, he threw up about half way there. This is a child who NEVER throws up (I believe this was in keeping with the theme from my horrible week). The last time he threw up in the car with me, he was just a little over a year old. I got him cleaned up and we went on our way. Well, about 20 minutes later, he threw up again. My poor little guy. So I got him out of the car again and cleaned him up again. This time I took off his glasses and put them on the roof of my car to get them out of the way as I cleaned his little face. I dressed him in a t-shirt that was way too big for him. It was the only article of clean clothing I could find. I then called the doctor’s office to tell them that we were going to be running late. They said they’d squeeze us in, given the distance we had to come.

When I got him out of the car, he asked me where his glasses were. I could feel the colour draining from my face. I already knew the answer and my stomach just turned. There were a million thoughts going through my head and then reality set in: I left his glasses on the roof of my car as I drove off.

I started to cry. I had to pay $300 for these glasses out of the remainder of my student loan money. How on earth was I going to be able to afford to pay for a new set? We went in to the office and explained the situation to the receptionists. After we checked in, I sat in the office and rocked my little sweet pea, both of us quietly sobbing.

Suddenly, one of the receptionists came over and crouched beside us. She said “If it will help you, my daughter has outgrown her glasses. I don’t know what your son’s prescription is, but after you see the doctor, we can have a look to see how close they are.” She had mentioned that they were Spiderman. My son was THRILLED! They were also “transitions” lenses, which means they get darker in the sunlight, eliminating the need for sunglasses. I thanked her for her generous offer. I told her that I had planned on going back to where I thought I had lost them in hopes that they would still be there. But if that didn’t work out, I would certainly be in touch with her. I did all that I could to keep the faith that we would find them intact.

We went in to see the doctor. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much he could do without seeing the glasses on my son. He rewrote his prescription and said he would see us in 2 months. We went back out to the receptionist. I gave her my son’s prescription. She looked up her daughter’s. It was off by just a tiny bit. She gave me her home phone number and said that the offer is there if we need it. I thanked her and we left.

I retraced our steps. I looked down and found part of a lens. Across the road, I found the little frames all bent. I picked them up and then I started to cry again. What was I going to do? HOW was I going to pay for these?

I decided to call the eye doctor in my town to see what could be arranged. The line was busy. I tried again. The line was busy. Then I had an idea to call social assistance to see if there was any way that they would be able to help us out. My phone dropped the call.

Twenty-two minutes later, I received a message.

It was the receptionist. She said that she had checked with the doctor to see if her daughter’s old glasses would work for my son. He said that they would! She left the times when she was available for me to pick them up.

I started to cry. Again. This time it was tears of joy! I screamed at the top of my lungs “THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!!” My son started shouting this too.

This woman did something that saved us so much. It might not have been a big deal to her since the glasses were of no use anymore. But it meant the WORLD to us.

I asked her if her daughter still liked Spiderman. She said “Who doesn’t like Spiderman?” I sense a mother/daughter Spidey hat combo coming on 🙂

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again… Even what you perceive as the TINIEST gesture may mean the WORLD to somebody. I used to think I had nothing of value to give. Having experienced this first-hand, a can of soup means everything to somebody who has nothing. And when you help somebody who has nothing, you inspire them to help those in the same boat when they are in a position to give back.

What goes around, DOES come around.

My gratitude for SIRCH

I just finished doing a presentation for SIRCH Community Services this morning. DOES IT EVER FEEL GOOD to be on the other side!!! The side where I can give back for what they have given us!

For those who aren’t familiar with what SIRCH does, they are a community organization based out of Haliburton, Ontario. They have various programs such as hospice, Community Kitchen, School’s Cool, parenting assistance programs and so much more. They are also a springboard for some services to help out members of the community. They helped launch the Dental Outreach Program, a service for low income families who need emergency dental procedures. They were also the ones who put Sew Resourceful together, the program that helped propel me onto the path I have ALWAYS wanted to be on!

From the day I say how generous people were that Christmastime my son and I had to spend in a shelter, I decided right then and there that I want to be in a position to give back. I’m here now!

I just wanted to share some parts of the speech I gave this morning. Once again, I welled up and barely got through it. I’ve told my story a million times now and it still chokes me up every time. But it’s no longer from the pain we endured. It’s from taking a step back and looking at how far we have come! Three and a half years ago we were in a shelter. We had no place to go. I had no idea how I was going to support us. All I knew was that being in a shelter was far better than where we were.

Since then I have secured a home for us. I got connected with SIRCH and some other services to give me the resources to rebuild our lives. I lived out a life-long dream by going back to school and taking a fibre arts program. I graduated 2 weeks ago 🙂 I am now building a home-based business, doing what I love AND being there for my son. It’s picking up momentum and there are times that I actually feel unprepared for where it’s going! This is SO exciting!

And SIRCH has played a MAJOR part in how we’ve got to where we are. I think my speech will tell the story…

I am a volunteer and client of SIRCH.
I am a survivor.

Because of SIRCH Community Services, I am empowered.
Because of SIRCH Community Services, I am the voice of many.
Because of SIRCH Community Services, I am a resourceful mother.
Because of SIRCH Community Services, I am confident my son will have a happy, healthy future.
Because of SIRCH Community Services, I am a positive role model.
Because of SIRCH Community Services, I am now an entrepreneur.
Because of SIRCH Community Services, I am a graduate of Fleming College.

My son and I are one of MANY people whose lives SIRCH has touched. If you would like to know about them, please click here.

One more thing… This is just a small glimpse of what we’ve been through. I ask one thing… Please don’t see us as victims. I held that view for a short period of time and it got me nowhere. When you hold that view, you get sucked into a very negative vortex that is just so hard to get out of. If you look at what you’ve overcome, that is so empowering and it just fires you up to shoot big! Xox