I Made Pottery


My daughter and I recently completed an eight week long “Parent and Child Pottery Hand-Building” class.  We made SO many things- I was really surprised how many projects we made.  It was a great class and the instructor really went out of her way to do some special projects with my daughter that would appeal to her in particular.  Here are a handful of the larger projects that we made.

Near the end of the sessions we had a class where we could make anything that we wanted to make.  I decided to tackle a bowl and was really pleased with how this one turned out.  I love this blue- I believe it was called “Mysterious Blue.”



I made this vase while my daughter worked on another project.  It was a really quick and easy project but it turned out really neat.  I don’t remember the colour that I used on it but I think it is really nice- kind of a greyish-green.

This fish was a joint project between my daughter and I.  She made the fins and chose all of the patterns and textures on the body.  She loves this fish, I think mostly because she loves the fact that we made it together.  She is super proud of this fish.


Would I do pottery again?  Well, I certainly don’t think that pottery is necessarily my “thing.”  I enjoyed the class and love the finished products but I am much more of a fine details oriented person which is probablywhy rug-hooking and I get along so well.  And I discovered that I’m not particularly talented at the pottery- I can do enough to make it passable but I certainly can’t make it fancy.

That being said- my daughter loved it and is already asking when we can do another class together.  So I am almost positive that there will be more pottery in my future.  And I am perfectly ok with that.



12 in 2012: #5 Try Three New Natural Dye Recipes

This past weekend I crossed one of the three new natural dye recipes off my list when I dyed some yarn using avocado skins.  At first I wasn’t sure that I would have enough skins (I only had three) but it turned out to be enough.

Everyone that I mentioned this project to was skeptical that I would get pink dye from avocado skins but lo and behold that is exactly what I got.

I brought the skins from three avocados to a boil in water and then added my white, undyed yarn.  I let the yarn and skins simmer for about twenty minutes, removed the skins and left the yarn in the dye for the rest of the day and overnight.

In the morning I had a really nice light pink yarn.  The colour ended up much darker than I had anticipated- leaving it in overnight certainly helped it to absorb a lot more colour than it would have otherwise.


After washing the yarn with special yarn soap I hung it outside to dry and just like that I have a really nice skein of almost salmon pink yarn to use in an upcoming project!

Two more natural dye recipes to go!


Hand Hooked Rug by Karen D. Miller

12 in 2012: #11 Try my Hand at Another Abstract Piece


Hand Hooked Rug by Karen D. Miller

Cross this goal off the list.  I’ve finally finished my piece inspired by the mud pools of Iceland.  This piece measures 12.5″ x 12.5″ and was hand-hooked on rug warp.  I think rug warp is my new favourite backing!   It was hooked using mostly Icelandic wool yarn, acrylic yarns and wool blend yarns.

It is hard to explain the colours and well, fascinatingly beautiful weirdness of the Icelandic mud pools.  The colours are so distinct from the rest of the landscape and it is very surreal to see the earth bubbling and steaming all around you.  Here are a few photos that I’ve collected over my travels to Iceland:




As you can see, there are so many interesting patterns and textures in these mud pools that I could probably do a whole series of abstract rugs based on this theme.  Perhaps I will.  In the meantime I have a couple of ideas for where I hope to exhibit this latest piece and will keep you posted.  I seem to never run out of ideas and inspiration when it comes to my fascination with Iceland!


Easter Weekend Highlights…


Fresh-cut tulips.  It seems that every year at Easter I buy a bouquet of tulips and I’ve decided that fresh-cut flowers add such a brightness to the house that I’m going to commit to buy (or pick from my garden in summer) a bouquet of flowers once a month.


Easter egg decorating.  Which was followed Sunday morning by the traditional Easter egg hunt in the backyard.

Our Easter dinner. My daughter wanted to help set the table and when I gave her the napkins to put at each place, she felt that this would be the best presentation….


Yarn that I dyed this weekend, hanging out to dry.  More on this later this week!

And the weekend was capped off by Passover dinner with both Jewish and non-Jewish friends.  Lots of food, lots of kids and lots of laughs as usual!

Lots to cover this week on the blog- I FINALLY finished the piece that I’ve been working on.


12 in 2012……


This totally feels like a post that should come at the beginning of the year, but I figure it is still early in 2012 and better late than never right?

I’m a total believer in having goals, dreams and personal accomplishments.  Because without those, life would just be, well, stagnant.  So, I thought it might be fun to create a number of goals for the year that I can then update on this blog- keeps things interesting AND holds me accountable.  Here are my 12 goals in 2012:

1.  Visit a new art gallery

The National Art Gallery here in Ottawa is terrific, but I’ve been there and done that.  I fully intend to cross this one off the list this summer- maybe even more than one if I’m lucky.

2.  Take an art course

There are so many terrific art courses offered in this city and it is time to hunker down, choose one and get going on it.

3.  Do more sketches in my sketchbook

I feel like this will follow logically on #2.  Once my drawing skills are improved I will be able to rely less on photographs in my art and be free to get even more creative.

4.  Redo the birchbark piece

As you will remember, this piece got ripped apart because it just wasn’t totally working for me.  Before the end of the year I want to resurrect this concept in an even bigger and better way.  Or even if not bigger, at least better.

5.  Try at least 3 new natural dye recipes

I started this last year and enjoyed dyeing with coffee and red cabbage.  Then when the Japanese maple leaves let me down in the fall I stalled on this project.  Time to get down to trying some new ones.

6.  Keep up “recipe a week” with my sister

About a year ago, my sister and I started choosing a recipe a week that we would both make in our respective homes.  It went really well in the beginning and then fell off the tracks when she did some travelling and we never seemed to get back on.  We have recomitted and are ready to take on this project again.  I thought it might be fun to follow our exploits on the blog as we determine which recipes are keepers and which are never to be repeated.

7.  Bake at least 5 new gluten-free/sugar-free fancy desserts

For those following along, you’ll remember that both myself and my husband completely cut out processed sugar from our diet almost two years ago, and neither of us have gone back since.  We are also (for the most part) making gluten-free choices.  We have done a lot of g-f/s-f baking, but I want to branch out even more into fancier cakes and desserts and I have the perfect recipe books to do so.  No excuses.

8.  Play catch up on a lot of meals that we owe to various friends

This should be easy to cross off once our new dining room table is delivered and we actually have places to seat both grown-ups and oodles of kids.

9.  Try rug hooking with at least three new materials

This can’t include yarn, wool, bark, silk, leather or beads because I have already tried those.  This will force me to get creative to think up three new materials and give them a try.  And the materials do not necessarily have to be hooked, they could be adhered to the rug in some other way.  Intriguing.

10. Make a piece using colours that I wouldn’t typically use

In theory, this should work as I have yarn in just about every colour of the rainbow.  The actual process and the end result, however, may not work so well.  But much of art comes from experimentation so I’ll give it a try.

11. Try my hand at another abstract piece

Kind of cheating as the piece I am working on could be considered “abstract”, but since I’m finishing it in 2012 it totally counts.

12.   Blog at least three days a week

I would like to get it up to five days a week, but seeing how sporadic this has been recently I’ll start at three and see where it goes from there.

So, there they are.  I also have five or six business specific goals set for myself this year, but those I tend to keep close until I have achieved success, so you’ll just have to keep following along!