Panel #1 of 6

I used to do all of my Blog posts while my little guy napped.

And then my little guy stopped napping.

So I always feel like I’m doing a bit of catch-up in the Blog department.   My evenings are when I work on new pieces and I don’t always get a chance to write something up.  If time passes, it isn’t that I have forgotten you all, I just haven’t had a moment to sit down at the computer and write!  🙂

I mentioned awhile back that I was embarking on a fun-just-for-me-to-make-me-happy project comprised of six panels of pictures of my kids.   I recently finished panel number one and am really thrilled with how it turned out.

I took this photo of my daughter in Summer 2014 on our vacation in Iles-de-la-Madeleine.  We had gone to one of our favourite beaches to walk around in the sea caves that are accessible when the tide is out.  As soon as we pulled into the parking lot it started to dump rain.  So the four of us broke out our lunch and ate in the car waiting for the weather to clear.

In not too long the rain stopped- the sun didn’t come out but the rain at least stopped. So we piled out of the car and went down to the beach.  Because there are all of these incredible sea caves, there are of course all these great, big sandstone rocks to clamber around on.  My daughter climbed up onto one of these huge ones and walked down to the tip of it and just stood there looking out at the ocean.  I was torn between my natural mother reaction to yell up at her “Be careful” and my equally strong reaction to just stand and watch her and marvel at her.  I went with the latter.

Watching her so high up and pensive I was immediately struck by how grown up she had become.  Gone was the little toddler of what feels like not so long ago.  In her place is this strong, confident little girl.  Seeing her looking out at the world like that I made the realization that without question, she will some day and in her own way change this world.   She will do great things.  And she will continue to be a great person.  I’m so proud of who she is and who she is becoming.



So naturally this photo had to be a part of this project.  I had a lot of fun doing it.   My first go round with the coat and the pants did not go well.  I tend to one of those people who can’t move on to the next part if I’m not happy with something so I knew I had to redo those parts.  Luckily my second attempt went much better so I didn’t have to rip it out again.


This is the finished piece.  Not the best photo and I haven’t gotten around to taking a better one. I will when all the panels are done and it is in the frame.  It measures 10″ x 13″ and was hooked entirely with yarn.  When I look at it I immediately see my girl- it is her posture and her form exactly.  And it reminds me of that moment on the beach.

On to panel #2…..


Plein Air Hooking- Part 1

I went on vacation knowing that I wanted to try some plein air hooking while I was there.  Since I had my frame with me anyway to work on some pieces for my upcoming exhibit, and I was surrounded by such wonderful scenery, it seemed like the perfect time.

In preparation I tried to pack as many bits and pieces of different colours that I could.   The struggle with plein air hooking is that you have to use only what you have on hand so you want to have as much on hand as possible.  This was my first lesson learned- I hadn’t packed nearly enough colour variations and many of the colours that I did bring I didn’t bring enough of.  But, I was still determined to make it work.


For this trip we had purchased a beach sunshade because we figured that between beach vacations and our many camping trips it would get a lot of use.  Best. Investment. Ever.  Not only did it provide a nice shady location for me but it also blocked the wind.  Iles-de-la-Madeleine is nothing if not windy.

Then I got down to work.  I selected a seashell that my daughter had collected from the beach as my first subject.  I realized later that I didn’t take an actual photo of the seashell, but you can glimpse it in the first photo.  I was attracted to it because of its interesting combination of greys and orangey, peachy hues.  I thought it looked unusual and I liked the swirly pattern.

My second lesson learned is that in my haste to get down to work I wasn’t meticulous in drawing my border lines and so they are not perfectly even and straight.  Not fatal but definitely noticeable, at least to me.  I reflected later in the project that it might actually have been interesting to avoid doing a square and making the piece more rounded to reflect the shape of the shell.  Art does not always have to fit into a box.  I’ll pursue this angle next time.


Lesson learned number three is that if you choose to hook on a beach, your piece will get sandy.  I was amazed when I shook it out at the end how much sand came out of it.  Instead of stressing about it I choose to believe that that adds to the authenticity of the piece and the “naturalness” of plein air hooking.

Lesson learned number four is that with young kids, you won’t get nearly as much time to work on your piece as you may think you will.  In that way, choosing an inanimate object like a shell was perfect.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to stop to reapply sunscreen to children or fix them a snack.  With a shell, I didn’t have to worry about my subject wandering away or shadows changing throughout the day.

What I didn’t get finished at the beach I worked on in the days that followed on the deck outside our cottage.  I was determined to do all of the work outdoors!

plein air

And here is the finished piece.  Is it perfect?  No.  Did I have all of the colours I needed?  No.  But I do think it turned out ok.  AND, I discovered that I really enjoyed the plein air approach!   There was something really special about working on a piece that was based on the ocean while sitting steps away from it, on a beach, hearing the waves crashing around me.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I did a second landscape plein air piece while on the trip.  I’ll share that one soon.  I would encourage everyone to try plein air hooking at least once!


Photo by Karen D. Miller

Prince Edward Island 2014






PEI 22

We are just back from two weeks away in the maritimes.  The first week we spent in Prince Edward Island.  It is the fifth time I have travelled to PEI and it is always worth the long drive from Ottawa.   The weather all week was terrific and sunny.

Lots of seafood was eaten.

Every evening was spent at the beach.

Many shells were collected.

Green Gables was visited.

Lots of laughs were had.

Many hours were spent watching the kids play in the sand.

I got SO many inspiration photos while I was away and they will be trickling out here on the blog over the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, here is some of the beauty of PEI.


Hooked Rug by Karen D. Miller